NEW YORK -- The U. S. Communist Party Saturday night defied the new Communist control law and announced its members would refuse to register with the Justice Department.
A party spokesman said American Communists from National Party Chairman William Z. Foster on down will refuse to register even though violation of the law carries a maximum penalty of $10,000 fine and five years in prison.
The spokesman said that Foster had served notice on Congress that Communists would refuse to register if required by law and that that position remained "the definitive party policy."
A further statement by the party probably will be made in the next few days, the spokesman said.
Asked whether Foster or any other party official or member would go to jail rather than register as the law requires, the spokesman said "you can draw the implication from Foster's stated position."
"It remains the Communist Party position now," he added.
He said Foster twice told Congressional groups that "as a party of patriotic and loyal Americans we could not and would not become accomplices to the murder of the Bill of Rights" and "we would not register because we will never expose our members to persecution, ostracism and blacklisting in employment.
"The Communists are confident no other group will register under this law," the party spokesman said.
"We do not regard this control law as a private calamity but as a national calamity," he said.
The bill, passed Saturday over President Truman's veto, provides that all Communists and officials of Communist front organizations must register with the Justice Department within 30 days.