Far Eastern specialist Owen Lattimore was indicted on seven counts of perjury by a federal grand jury yesterday. The charges are based on Lattimore's testimony delivered before the Senate's internal security subcommittee.
Lattimore's statement that he had never been "a sympathizer and promotor of communism and Communist interests," was among those challenged in the indictment. No trial date has been set.
"I am, of course, innocent," Lattimore said in Washington yesterday. "That innocence should have to be so long defended against such vengeful harassment as I have been subject to for three years is something that can better be commented on by others than by myself."
The Senate committee questioned Lattimore on his communist connections and his role on America's postwar Far Eastern policy during 12 days of hearings last spring. Lattimore is now director of the School of International Relations at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md.
Dr. Detlev Bronk, president of Johns Hopkins, last night granted Lattimore a leave of absence with pay from his "university duties and official connections until a Federal Court shall have passed upon the charges."
The jury charged Lattimore had lied about seven "material" matters, three of which dealt with his relationship to members of the Institute of Pacific Relations and his policies as editor of its magazine "Pacific Affairs."
Lattimore said the contradictions in his testimony challenged by the senators were lapses of memory about trivial things long ago.
He served as political advisor to Chiang Kai-shek in 1941 and 1942, and as deputy director of Pacific Operations under the Office of War Information from 1942 to 1944.