Wendell H. Fury followed his script to the letter yesterday, as he told the House Un-American Activities Committee that he has not been a member of the Communist party "at any time in at least two years," and that he knows of no Communist activity now going on at the University.
But he went no further. Under a continual barrage of questions from the committee and its counsel, Frank Tavener, Furry clung to his privilege to silence under the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution.
The most tense moment in the hour and a half long hearing came when Representative Gordon Scheer (Rep., Ohio) accused the physics professor of coming back to Washington only for the purpose of keeping a bargain with the Corporation.
"Didn't you do this because you have made an agreement with officials at Harvard University to keep your position if you answer?" Scheer barked.
"There is no such agreement," Furry answered.
Affidavit Placed in Record
Furry told the committee he had come only to make sure that his affidavit, sent to Harold Velde on March 17, would be placed in the record. In this affidavit Furry swore he is not now nor has been a member of the Communist party for at least two years and that to his knowledge there is no Communist activity at Harvard now.
For the purpose of this hearing, Velde, who is chairman of the committee, created a special sub-committee under New York Republican Bernard Kearney.
The committee members kept feeding Furry obviously loaded questions, all of which he refused to answer, after consultation with Phillip Furer, his lawyer.
At one time Furry was asked when he was last a member of the Communist party.
"That's like asking when have you stopped beating your wife," Furry answered
The members of the committee were annoyed that Furry would testify no farther than his affidavit. Frequently, they commented that he was not cooperating or helping either the committee or himself. The committee indicated that it had decided doubts about Furry's activities.
"Your testimony," said Kearney at the hearing's close, "leaves me the same impression as before, that it is unworthy of belief."
Shortly after this, Furry was asked whether his sympathies now lay with the aims and objectives of the Communist party.
"I feel I have very little acquaintance with them today," he answered, "but if they are as they are represented by the press, I disapprove of them heartily."
During the testimony, Furry was also questioned closely on the relevance of some of his answers to the provisions of the Fifth Amendment. The committee felt that if Fury had been willing to tell the press he was not a Communist, after the February 26 hearing, he should have had no compunctions about so testifying before Congress.