17
Arrest (1950)

The publicity concerning Tsien's luggage couldn't have come at a worse time for him. It coincided with the trial of Sidney Weinbaum, which began August 30 and lasted until mid-September.

The military had long suspected Tsien and his friends of Communist activities-as early as 1941. The accusation first reached Sidney Weinbaum sometime during that period, when he was working for the Bendix Corporation. During a big party at the Caltech aeronautics department, Professor Clark Millikan informed Frank Malina that he -- Millikan -- had heard that Malina and Weinbaum and two or three other people were members of the Communist Party. The FBI, apparently, had given Millikan the information. Recalled Weinbaum: "So I went to see a lawyer friend of mine and said, 'What can I do?' I was sure that with an accusation like that they were going to refuse me clearance. But no! I was cleared throughout all these years; from '41 to '49, when the trouble began, I was cleared for top-secret work." In the early 1940s, Army Intelligence heard accusations that Tsien was a Communist as well, but no effort was taken to suspend his clearance either. On the contrary, he was granted permission to work on projects classified "restricted," "confidential," and even "secret."

-158-

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Thread of the Silkworm
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page ii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Introduction xi
  • 1 - Hangzhou (1911-1914) 1
  • 2 - Beijing (1914-1929) 8
  • 3 - Shanghai (1929-1934) 22
  • 4 - Boxer Rebellion Scholar (1934-1935) 35
  • 5 - Mit (1935-1936) 40
  • 6 - Theodore Von Kármán 47
  • 7 - Caltech (1936) 61
  • 8 - The Suicide Squad (1937-1943) 68
  • 9 - The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (1943-1945) 93
  • 10 - Washington and Germany (1945) 110
  • 11 - Return to Mit (1946-1947) 121
  • 12 - Summons from China (1947) 132
  • 13 - Jiang Ying 136
  • 14 - Ascent (1947-1948 140
  • 15 - Caltech (1949) 144
  • 16 - Suspicion (1950) 149
  • 17 - Arrest (1950) 158
  • 18 - Investigation (1950) 163
  • 19 - Hearings (1950-1951) 167
  • 20 - Waiting (1951-1954) 172
  • 21 - The Wang-Johnson Talks (1955) 184
  • 22 - "One of the Tragedies of This Century" 191
  • 23 - A Hero's Welcome (1955) 199
  • 24 - Missiles of the East Wind 208
  • 25 - Becoming a Communist 231
  • Epilogue 261
  • Notes 265
  • Index 319
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