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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Researcher: Hiss Was No Spy

NEW YORK -- A Russian researcher, delving anew into once-secret Soviet files from the Cold War, says she has found no evidence that Alger Hiss spied or that Soviet intelligence had any particular interest in him.

In a speech to be delivered at a New York University symposium Thursday, Svetlana Chervonnaya says neither Hiss' name nor his alleged spy moniker, Ales, appears in any of dozens of documents from Soviet archives that she has reviewed since the early 1990s.

A copy of the speech was made available to The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Hiss, a top U.S. State Department official who played a key role in founding the United Nations, was convicted of perjury in 1950 for lying about being a Soviet spy. He served nearly four years of a five-year federal prison sentence and died at age 92 in 1996.

Calling her efforts "proving the negative," Chervonnaya says: "A thorough combing of all the said archives combined has not produced a shred of evidence that Alger Hiss had ever been a member of the [American] Communist Party and was engaged in any behind-the-scenes interactions with the Soviets."

Scholars and experts have debated for decades whether Hiss was guilty or a victim of anti-communist fervor. The case was fraught with Cold War drama, involving a typewriter and a secret film cache in a Maryland pumpkin field.

Chervonnaya was one of several scholars, writers and historians scheduled to speak Thursday at a daylong symposium, "Alger Hiss and History," inaugurating New York University's new Center for the United States and the Cold War.