Edward U. Condon

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Edward U. Condon

Edward U. Condon (born March 2, 1902 in Alamagordo, New Mexico) was the son of Caroline Uhler and William Condon. He married Emilie Harzik.

Communist front

In 1939 Edward Condon served as a local organizer for the Lincoln's Birthday Committee for Democracy and Freedom, which later became the communist front American Committee for Committee for Democracy and Freedom.[1]

Federation of American Scientists

The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) was founded in 1945 by scientists who had worked on the Manhattan Project to develop the first atomic bombs.

Hans Bethe, was one of the founders of FAS.[2] Leo Szilard, Philip Morrison, Richard L. Meier and Harold Urey[3] were others.

FAS was founded from the merger of thirteen smaller groups. It started with a membership of more than 2,000 scientists and an advisory panel that included Robert Oppenheimer, Harold Urey, Harlow Shapley, Smyth, Leo Szilard and Edward U. Condon.[4]

Association with Soviet Spies

In 1945, Condon became the director of the National Bureau of Standards. While in this position, in 1948, the House Committee on Un-American Activities investigated Condon. In its report of May 18, 1948, the HCUA said that the associations of Condon and his wife were a great concern to agencies charged with the security of the United States. Condon had entertained and associated with persons who were alleged to be Soviet espionage agents.

On May 15, 1947, Federal Bureau of Investigation Director J. Edgar Hoover had written to the Secretary of Commerce Averell Harriman and said that FBI files indicated that, as late as 1947, Condon had been in contact with an individual alleged, by a self-confessed Soviet espionage agent, to have engaged in espionage activities with Soviet agents in Washington, D.C. from 1941 to 1944. Mr. Hoover mentioned that Condon and his wife associated with several individuals from Communist Poland's Embassy in Washington. These associates included the wife of the Polish Ambassador, the secretary of the Embassy, and a former counselor of the Embassy. The latter Ignace Zlotowski, a nuclear scientist, had worked as a Soviet espionage agent in direct contact with the Soviet Embassy in Washington.

The HCUA found that Condon and his wife had been guests in the homes of persons who were attached to Soviet satellite embassies, and present on these occasions were representatives of official Soviet agencies. The HCUA also found that, for at least five years, Condon had been in personal contact with American citizens who were members of the Communist Party. Although the HCUA had no evidence that Condon was a member of the Communist Party, he was a member of the executive committee of the American-Soviet Society, an affiliate of the subversive National Council of American-Soviet Science Friendship, one of the principal Communist endeavors in the United States.

In the opinion of the HCUA, Condon was one of "the weakest links in our atomic security" - of especial significance since Condon had been a scientific advisor to the Senate's Special Committee on Atomic Energy and, as Director of the Bureau of Standards, Condon was at a focal point of intrest for espionage agents. Condon remained with the Bureau of Standards until 1951 when he resigned and became director of research and development at the Corning Glass Works.[5]

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

As at 1949,[6] May 1971[7] and April 1984,[8] E. U. Condon served on the Board of Sponsors for The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists journal.

National Committee to Abolish the House Un-American Activities Committee

As of May 1964, Edward U. Condon Physics, Washington University, was listed as a sponsor of the Communist Party USA front, National Committee to Abolish the House Un-American Activities Committee.

UFO Investigation Contract

In 1966, Condon was appointed as head of an Air Force-sponsored program at the University of Colorado to check the validity of reports on unidentified flying objects (UFO's). The Air Force signed a fifteen-month, $313,000 contract with the University of Colorado for Condon's program.[5]


Condon was involved in the following activities, most of which were Communist sympathizing:[5]


  1. American science in an age of anxiety: scientists, anticommunism, and the ...By Jessica Wang, page 133
  2. http://www.fas.org/about/index.html
  3. http://osulibrary.oregonstate.edu/specialcollections/coll/pauling/peace/narrative/page6.html
  4. Crucibles: the story of chemistry from ancient alchemy to nuclear fission By Bernard Jaffe, page 312
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Biographical Dictionary of the Left, Francis X. Gannon, Vol. 1, pp. 291-292
  6. Letter from Hans Bethe, Chairman of the Board of Sponsors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Feb. 20, 1981
  7. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists - administrative letter to Professor Joshua Lederberg, May 4, 1971
  8. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Vol. 40, No. 4, April 1984, page 28