July 8, 1948, p. 3
Fast to Write in Jail if Permitted
MOSCOW, July (UP). - American author Howard Fast promised the Literary Gazette today to write an article for it on the state of American literature - if jail officials will let him.
Fast, who wrote Freedom Road, Citizen Tom Paine and other works, is going to jail in the U.S. for three months for contempt of Congress. He and 16 other leaders of the Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee Committee refused to submit records of their organization to the House Un-American Activities Committee. He was sentenced and fined $500 July 16, 1947, and subsequent appeals have been turned down.
[Queried at his home in New York yesterday, Fast confirmed his correspondence with the Literary Gazette. He said that he had received the request for an article from the Gazette about three weeks ago and that he had replied shortly afterwards, stating that he would be happy to write the article if he were given the opportunity by prison authorities.]
The Gazette devoted half of its front-page today to Fast's promise to write the article and to the text of his June 15 open letter to the American people, in which he charge that U.S. "reactionaries" were persecuting those with opposite ideas.
"As can be seen," Fast wrote, "I have far too little time to write a carefully thought-out article on the theme (the Literary Gazette) requested. If, however, in prison I succeed in writing, I shall try to write this out and send it to you."
The Gazette praised Fast as a "new phenomenon in American literature" and as an "ardent friend of the Soviet Union."
It also paid tribute to Hollywood writers Albert Maltz and John Lawson, who were given jail sentences for contempt of Congress. They refused to tell the House Un-American Activities Committee whether or not they were Communist Party members.
The Gazette said they were the type of "progressives that reaction is chasing."
Fast's jailing, it added, is a "manifestation of vicious reactions in the battle against progressive activity."