By the time he was called back before the SISS on August 9, 1960, Pauling’s refusal to provide names to the committee had
become a national issue. His petitions, he told the press, "were not Communist inspired. I inspired them." He attacked the
committee for attempting to stifle free speech. "Do you think anybody tells me what to do -- with threats? I make up my mind.
If I want to take a chance, I take a chance."
His brave words masked deep concern. His refusal to cooperate with the Senate could cost him up to a year in prison. But by
this time the McCarthy Era was nearing its end, and public opinion was beginning to swing away from knee-jerk support for
anti-Communist witch hunts. The nation’s newspaper editorialists began writing in support of Pauling, with one calling the
SISS investigation "superfluous," and another editorialist writing "My blood tingles with pride now as I read Dr. Pauling’s
refusal to bow to this bullying committee." Pauling’s lawyer succeeded in postponing the next hearing until October, giving
the Paulings time to travel and speak widely about the investigation.
Pauling was behaving more like an honored diplomat than a fellow traveler, speaking across the US and Europe, and meeting
in Geneva with the American, British, and Soviet ambassadors. He attacked the SISS in every speech he gave. By the time his
second appearance neared in the Fall, Pauling appeared to have marshalled public opinion behind him. On the night of October
10, he was served with a subpoena to appear before the committee the next morning -- and to bring the requested information
about his petitions. The hearing room the next day was packed. He was asked again for the names of those who had helped him.
"I am unwilling to subject these people to reprisals by the committee," he said. "I could protect myself by agreeing, but
I am fighting for other persons who could not make a fight themselves." The committee counsel retreated, then turned in another
direction, grilling Pauling for the remainder of the day about his affiliation with suspect groups. In the end the committee
leadership, unwilling to make Pauling a martyr, backed down. Pauling never gave the names, and was never cited for contempt.
Less than a month later, John F. Kennedy was elected President, and American politics took a new direction.