Authorities File Charges
On June 16,
1950, the Criminal Division of the Justice Department was advised of
David Greenglass's admissions and authorized the filing of a
complaint in Albuquerque, New Mexico, charging him with espionage
conspiracy to violate Title 50, U.S. Code, Section 34. On the same
date, Greenglass was arraigned before a U.S. Commissioner of the
Southern District of New York and was remanded to the custody of a
U.S. Marshal in default of $100,000 bail. On July 6, 1950,
Greenglass was indicted by a Federal grand jury in Santa Fe, New
Mexico, and charged with espionage conspiracy.
charging Julius Rosenberg with espionage conspiracy was filed on
July 17, 1950. Rosenberg was arrested at his home in Knickerbocker
Village, New York City, the same day and was arraigned that evening
before a U.S. District judge, Southern District of New York.
Rosenberg was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshal in default
of $100,000 bail for further hearing.
On August 3,
1950, the U.S. Attorney, Southern District of New York, authorized
the filing of a sealed complaint against Morton Sobell, charging him
with espionage conspiracy.
On August 7,
1950, Ethel Rosenberg appeared before a Federal grand jury in the
Southern District of New York pursuant to a subpoena. A complaint
charging her with espionage conspiracy was filed on August 11, 1950.
Ethel Rosenberg was taken into custody on the same day by FBI
Agents. Later, on the afternoon of August 11, 1950, she was
arraigned before the U.S. Commissioner of the Southern District of
New York and remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshal, in default
of $100,000 bail for further healing.
On August 17,
1950, a Federal grand jury in the Southern District of New York
returned an indictment alleging 11 overt acts. Julius Rosenberg,
Ethel Rosenberg, and Anatoli Yakovlev were charged with violation of
Title 50, U.S. Code, section 34.
Morton Sobell's August 18, 1950, arrest by FBI Agents in Laredo,
Texas, he was arraigned before the U.S. Commissioner, Southern
District of Texas, waived removal to New York, and was remanded to
the custody of the U.S. Marshal on August 23, 1950.
Rosenbergs were arraigned before a U.S. District judge, Southern
District of New York, and entered pleas of not guilty on August 23,
1950. Bail in the amount of $100,000 was continued for both of them.
The next day,
Morton Sobell was arraigned before the U.S. Commissioner, Southern
District of New York, and his hearing was adjourned. Bail of
$100,000 was continued. On September 18, 1950, Sobell again appeared
for a hearing before the U.S. Commissioner, which was adjourned to
enable the Government to present its case to a Federal grand jury.
On October 10, 1950, a superseding indictment was returned by a
Federal grand jury in the Southern District of New York. Morton
Sobell, Ethel Rosenberg, Julius Rosenberg, David Greenglass, and
Anatoli Yakovlev were charged with conspiracy to violate the
17, 1950, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg pleaded not guilty. Bail of
$100,000 was continued for Julius Rosenberg; Ethel Rosenberg's bail
was reduced to $50,000. They were remanded to the custody of the
U.S. Marshal in default of bail.
Greenglass pleaded guilty to the superseding indictment on October
18, 1950. His plea was accepted by the presiding judge, and bail of
$100,000 was continued pending sentencing.
entered a plea of not guilty on December 5, 1950. His plea was
accepted by a U.S. District judge, Southern District of New York,
and his bail was continued in the sum of $100,000.
31, 1951, a Federal grand jury handed down a second superseding
indictment charging Julius Rosenberg, Ethel Rosenberg, Anatoli
Yakovlev, Mortin Sobell, and David Greenglass with conspiracy to
commit espionage between June 6, 1944, and June 16, 1950. This
indictment was similar in all respects to the previous superseding
indictment, except that it changed the start of the conspiracy from
November, 1944, to June, 1944.
2, 1951, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg and Morton Sobell entered pleas
of not guilty before a U.S. District judge, Southern District of New
York. David Greenglass entered a guilty plea to the above indictment
and withdrew his plea of guilty to the previous superseding
indictment. The judge directed that Greenglass's sentencing be
postponed until the end of the trial.
applied for a writ of habeas corpus on Febrary 5, 1951, claiming the
indictment of January 31, 1951, was vague and that his incrimination
was a violation of his constitutional rights. The application was
On March 6,
1951, the Rosenbergs-Sobell espionage conspiracy trial on the
superseding indictment of January 31, 1951, commenced in the
Southern Distict of New York. At the outset of the case the U.S.
Attorney moved to sever Anatoli A. Yakovlev from the trial, and the
motion was granted. The selection of a jury of 12 with 2 alternates
was completed on March 7, 1951. Counsel for the defendants made
motions to dismiss the indictment on various grounds, which were
denied by the court. A motion was then made and granted to sever
David Greenglass from the indictment because he had already pleaded
Some of the
espionage activities of the Rosenbergs with their ramifications were
brought out at the trial of the atom spies. Greenglass's testimony
revealed that he entered the U.S. Army in April, 1943, and in July,
1944, was assigned to the Manhattan Project in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
He did not know at that time what the project was but he received
security lectures about his duties and was told it was a secret
project. Two weeks later, again being told that his work was secret,
he was assigned to Los Alamos, New Mexico, and reported there in
In November, 1944, his wife, Ruth Greenglass, who came to
Albuquerque to visit him, told him that Julius Rosenberg advised her
that her husband was working on the atom bomb. Greenglass stated
that he did not know that he was working on such a project. He
stated that he worked in a group at Los Alamos under a professor of
a New England university and described to the court the duties of
his shop at Los Alamos. He stated that while at Los Alamos, he
learned the identity of various noted physicists and their cover
testified that the Rosenbergs used to speak to him about the merits
of the Russian Government. He stated that when his wife came to
visit him at Los Alamos on November 29, 1944, she told David that
Julius Rosenberg had invited her to dinner at the Rosenberg home in
New York City. At this dinner Ethel told Ruth that they had not been
engaging in Communist activities, buying the "Daily Worker" any
more, or attending club meetings because Julius finally was doing
what he always wanted to do, which was giving information to the
told Ruth that David was working on the atom bomb project at Los
Alamos, and said that she and Julius wanted him to give information
concerning the bomb, Ruth told the Rosenbergs that she did not think
it was a good idea and declined to convey their requests to David.
Ethel and Julius remarked that she should at least tell David about
it and see if he would help. During this conversation, Julius
pointed out to Ruth that Russia was an ally and deserved to obtain
the information that was not being provided for its use.
David refused to have anything to do with the Rosenbergs' request,
but on the next day he agreed to furnish any available data. Ruth
then asked David specific questions about the Manhattan Project and
David gave her that information.
1945, David arrived in New York City on furlough, and about two days
later Julius Rosenberg came to David's apartment to ask him for
information on the A-Bomb. He requested David to write up the
information and said he would pick it up the following morning.
That evening Greenglass wrote up the information he had. The next
morning he gave this material to Rosenberg, along with a list of the
scientists at Los Alamos and the names of possible recruits working
there who might be sympathetic to Communism.
further stated that at the time he returned this material over to
Rosenberg, Ruth Greenglass remarked that David's handwriting was bad
and would need interpretation. Rosenberg answered that it was
nothing to worry about because Ethel, his wife, would retype the
A day or two
later David and his wife went to the Rosenberg apartment for dinner
where they were introduced to a woman friend of the Rosenbergs.
After she left, Julius told the Greenglasses that he thought this
person would come to see David to receive information on the atom
bomb. They discussed a tentative plan wherein Ruth Greenglass would
move to Albuquerque; this woman would also meet Ruth in a movie
theater in Denver, Colorado, to exchange purses. Ruth's purse would
contain the information from David concerning Los Alamos.
the perosn who would come to see Ruth, it was agreed that Ruth would
use a side piece of a jello box. Julius held the matching piece of
the Jello box. David suggested that meeting be held in front of a
certain grocery store in Albuquerque. The date of the meeting was
left to depend upon the time that Ruth would depart for Albuquerque.
visit, Julius said that he would like to have David meet a Russian
with whom he could discuss the project on which David was working. A
few nights later Julius made an appointment for David to meet a
Russian on First Avenue between 42nd and 59th streets in New York
City. David drove up to the appointed meeting place and parked the
car near a saloon in a dark street. Julius came up to the car,
looked in, went away, and came back with a man who got into David's
car. Julius stayed on the street, and David drove away with the
unknown man. The man asked David about some scientific information,
and after driving around for a while, David returned to the original
meeting place and let the man out. This man was then joined by
Rosenberg, who was standing on the street, and David observed them
In the spring
of 1945, Ruth Greenglass came to Albuquerque to live, and David
visited her apartment on weekends. On the first Sunday of June,
1945, a man, subsequently identified by David as Harry Gold, came to
visit him and asked if David's name was Greenglass. David said that
it was, and Gold then said, "Julius sent me." David went to his
wife's wallet and took out the piece of the Jello box and compared
it with the piece offered by Gold. They matched.
asked David if he had any information, Greenglass said that he did
but would have to write it up. Gold then left, stating he would be
back. David immediately started to work on a report, made sketches
of experiments, wrote up descriptive material regarding them, and
prepared a list of possible recruits for espionage. Later that day
Gold returned and David gave him the reports. In return, Gold gave
David an envelope containing $500, which he turned over to Ruth.
accepted copies of the sketches prepared by Greenglass at the time
of the trial to describe the information Greenglass had turned over
to Gold. These sketches were admitted into evidence.
In September, 1945, David Greenglass, who was on furlough, returned
to New York City with Ruth. The next morning Julius Rosenberg came
to the Greenglass apartment and asked what David had for him. David
informed Julius that he had obtained a pretty good description of
the atom bomb.
At this point
in Greenglass's testimony the Government prosecutor reverted to
Rosenberg's contact with David in January, 1945. David reiterated
that in January, 1945, Rosenberg gave him a description of an atom
bomb, which David later learned had been subsequently dropped on
Hiroshima, in order that David would know what information to look
continued to relate what transpired in September, 1945. At Julius'
request, he drew up a sketch of the atom bomb, prepared descriptive
material on it, drew up a list of scientists and possible recruits
for Soviet espionage and thereafter delivered this material to the
Rosenberg apartment. He stated that at the time he turned this
material over to Rosenberg, Ethel and Ruth.
At the trial,
Greenglass prepared a sketch of a cross section of an atom bomb to
indicate what he gave to Rosenberg, an this was made Government
exhibit #8. At this point, Rosenberg's lawyer asked the court to
impound the sketch of the bomb so that no one but the court, jury
defendents, and attorneys would be able to see it. Rosenberg's
lawyer stated the he was making this request in the interest of
national security. The judge ordered the sketch impounded, pointing
out that, inasmuch as the defense requested it, the defense would
have no grounds for objection to the impounding in case of an
then continued his testimony as to the composition of the atom bomb,
using the sketch for reference. He stated that he told Rosenberg how
the bomb was set off by a barometric pressure device. Rosenberg
remarked that the information was very good and it should be typed
immediately. Ethel then prepared the information on a portable
typewriter in the Rosenberg apartment.
was typing the report, Julius burned the handwritten notes in a
frying pan, flushed them down a drain, and gave David $200. Julius
suggested that David stay at Los Alamos after he was discharged from
the Army so that he could continue to get information, but David
From 1946 to
1949, David was in business with Julius Rosenberg, and during this
period Julius told David that he had people going to school and that
he had people in upstate New York and Ohio giving him information
for the Russians.
Late in 1947,
Julius told David about a sky platform project and mentioned he had
received this information from "one of the boys." Rosenberg
described the sky platform as a large vessel which could be
suspended at a point in space where the gravity was low, and that
the vessel would travel around the earth like a satellite. Rosenberg
also advised David that he had a way of communicating with the
Russians by putting material or messages in the alcove of a theater
and that he had received from one of his contacts the mathematics
relating to atomic energy for airplanes.
testified that Rosenberg claimed to have received a citation and a
watch from the Russians. Greenglass also testified that Rosenberg
claimed to have received a console table from the Russians which he
used for photographic purposes.
1950, a few days after the news of the arrest of Dr. Fuchs in
England was published, Julius came to David's home and asked David
to go for a walk. During this walk Rosenberg spoke of Fuchs and
mentioned that the man who had come to see David in Albuquerque was
also a contact of Fuchs. Julius stated that David would have to
leave the country. When David answered that he needed money,
Rosenberg said that he would get the money from the Russians.
1950, Rosenberg again told David he would have to leave the country,
and about May 23, 1950, Rosenberg came to the Greenglass apartment
with a newspaper containing a picture of Harry Gold and the story of
Gold's arrest. Rosenberg said, "This is the man who saw you in
Albuquerque." Julius gave David $1,000, and said he would come back
later with $6,000 more for him to use in leaving the country and
that Greenglass would have to get a Mexican tourist card. Rosenberg
said that he went to see a doctor who told him that a doctor's
letter stating David was inoculated for smallpox would also be
needed, as well as passport photos. He then gave Greenglass a form
letter and instructions to memorize for use in Mexico City.
arrival in Mexico City, he was to send the letter to the Soviet
Embassy and sign it "I. Jackson." Three days later after he sent
this letter, David, carrying in his hand a guide to the city with
his middle finger between the pages of the guide, was to go to the
Plaz De La Colon at 5 p.m. and look at the Statue of Columbus there.
He would wait until a man came up to him, when David would say,
"That is a magnificent statue," and tell the man that David was from
Oklahoma. The man would then answer, "Oh, there are much more
beautiful statues in Paris," and would give Greenglass a passport
and additional money. David was to go to Vera Cruz and then go to
Sweden or Switzerland. If he went to Sweden, he was to send the same
type of letter to the Soviet Ambassador or his secretary and sign
the letter "I. Jackson." Three days later, David was to go to the
Statue of Linnaeus in Stockholm at 5 p.m. where a man would approach
him. Greenglass would mention that the statue was beautiful and the
man would answer, "There are much more beautiful ones in Paris." The
man would then give David the means of transportation to
Czechoslovakia, where upon arrival he was to write to the Soviet
Ambassador advising him of his presence.
further advised Greenglass that he himself would have to leave the
country because he had known Jacob Golos (a member of the Communist
underground), and that Elizabeth Bentley (also a Communist Party
later, David and his family went to a photography shop and had six
sets of passport photos taken. On Memorial Day, Greenglass gave
Rosenberg five sets of these photos. Later Rosenberg again visited
David, to who he gave $4,000 in $10- and $20-bills wrapped in brown
paper, requesting Greenglass to go for a walk with him and repeat
the memorized instructions. David gave the $4,000 to his
brother-in-law for safekeeping.
cross-examination, David testified he used the $1,000 he received
from Julius to pay household debts and the $4,000 to pay his lawyer
for representing him.
Greenglass also testified at the trial, and, in addition to
corroborating her husband's testimony, gave the following
that prior to her departure for New Mexico in November, 1944, she
had had a conversation with Julius and Ethel Rosenberg at the
Rosenberg apartment in New York City. Julius told her that he and
Ethel had discontinued their open affiliation with the Communist
Party because he had always wanted to do more than just be a
Communist Party member. After two years, Julius had succeeded in
reaching the Russians and was now doing the work he wanted to do. He
requested her to enlist David's help furnishing information to him
for the Russians about Los Alamos. Ruth declined at first, but Ethel
urged her to approach David. Julius then gave her instructions for
David as to the particular type of information he wanted. A few days
later, he gave Ruth $150 to defray the expenses of her trip to New
On her return
to New York in December, 1944, after visiting David, Rosenberg
visited her apartment, at which time she informed him of David's
decision to cooperate. She furnished Julius oral and written
information that David gave her and informed him of David's
impending furlough. Prior to her departure for Albuquerque in
February of 1945, Julius visited her and gave Ruth instructions
concerning a meeting with an espionage contact in Albuquerque.
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