The group , upon the issuance of its first press release on December 21 , 1957 , designated itself a `` Committee of Investigation '' .
In the course of its inquiry , it took testimony from only seven witnesses .
It heard Bang-Jensen twice and his lawyer , Adolf A. Berle , Jr. , once .
Its second press release was on January 15 , 1958 , and it recommended that the secret papers be destroyed .
It also implied that Paul Bang-Jensen had been irresponsible .
On January 18 , Ernest Gross conducted a press conference at the U.N. lasting an hour .
Here , he openly attacked Bang-Jensen and referred to his `` aberrant conduct '' .
This conference was held despite Stavropoulos' assurance to Adolf Berle , who was leaving the same day for Puerto Rico , that nothing would be done until his return on January 22 , except that the Secretary General would probably order the list destroyed .
On January 24 Paul Bang-Jensen , accompanied by Adolf Berle , was met by Dragoslav Protitch and Colonel Frank Begley , former Police Chief of Farmington , Conn. , and now head of U.N. special police .
The four , bundled in overcoats , mounted to the wind-swept roof of the U.N.
There , Begley lit a fire in a wire basket , and Bang-Jensen dropped four sealed envelopes into the flames .
In one of these he said were notes on the identities of the eighty-one refugees .
The method of destroying the evidence embarrassed Paul Bang-Jensen .
He knew it would be implied that it was done in this way at his insistence .
He was right , and Peter Marshall could not help but recall Andrew Cordier's words on the subject , `` Well , it seemed as good a place as any to do the job '' .
The Gross group had been formed for the express purpose of advising the Secretary General .
Hammarskjold's supposed desire to seek outside legal advice in the guise of Ernest Gross is illusion , at best .
Gross's , being `` outside '' the U.N. applied only to a physical state , not an objective one .
But by the time the papers were finally disposed of , the group had informed the world of its purpose , its recommendations , and its belief that Paul Bang-Jensen was not of sound mind .
Shortly the group would issue its report to the Secretary General , recommending Paul Bang-Jensen's dismissal from the United Nations .
The contents of this 195-page document would become known to many before it would become known to the man it was written about .
`` Until this Hungarian Committee matter came up , Bang-Jensen was a fine and devoted individual .
I had known him for some years , when I was a delegate and before , and this manner had never been his '' .
Ernest A. Gross leaned back in his chair and told Peter Marshall how Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold had , on December 4 , 1957 , called him in as a private lawyer to review Bang-Jensen's conduct `` relating to his association with the Special Committee on the problem of Hungary '' .
The result was the `` Gross Report '' , prepared by Gross , as chairman , with the assistance of two U.N. Under Secretaries , Constantin Stavropoulos and Philippe De Seynes .
`` Yes '' , Gross went on , `` Bang-Jensen was an up-and-coming young man .
He had always done well .
Never well known , but he had done his work competently .
Gross had received Marshall courteously and they were discussing the case .
`` You know '' , the lawyer said , `` it's difficult to talk like this about a man who can't answer back '' .
Gross was behind a clean-top desk , only a manila folder before him .
Marshall sat in one of the several leather chairs .
Outside the office windows , twenty-four stories above Wall Street , a light rain was falling .
`` Mr. Gross , your report says that ' our function is investigative and advisory and does not in any way derogate from or prejudice Mr. Bang-Jensen's rights as a staff member .
You know , Bang-Jensen characterized your Committee as having prejudged his case '' .
Gross swung his swivel chair .
`` Well , how could that have been ? ?
I don't consider that he was prejudged .
We were given a job and we carried it out , and later , his case was taken up by the Disciplinary Committee .
`` We have nothing to hide under a bushel .
We did our job , Mr. Stavropoulos and Mr. De Seynes and myself , taking evidence from a number of people '' .
`` What did you think about his mental state '' ? ?
`` I think our report sums up our finding '' , Gross answered .
`` Don't forget , here was a man who had been accusing his colleagues for almost a year of willfully attempting to present an incorrect report .
`` This was not merely alleging errors , but was carried out by day-after-day allegations in memos , written charges of serious consequence .
`` This is a distressing thing .
Supposing you or I were being accused in this manner , and yet we were doing our level best to carry on our work .
No organization can carry on like that .
`` I've been in government and I can tell some pretty hairy stories about personnel difficulties , so I know what a problem he was '' .
`` What I'd like you to comment on is the criticism leveled at your Committee '' .
`` What do you mean '' ? ?
`` For instance , regarding the fact that the Gross Committee issued two interim announcements to the press during its investigation .
You know Bang-Jensen was told the Committee was ' to convey its views , suggestions and recommendations to the Secretary General .
In his own words , Bang-Jensen ' took it for granted that the Group would report to the Secretary General privately and not in public .
He claimed that the release of the preliminary findings was ' prejudicial to his position ' '' .
Gross bristled .
For an instant he glared speechless at Marshall .
`` Listen '' , he said .
`` I thought the entire report was going to be confidential from beginning to end .
But you know Bang-Jensen launched an active campaign against us in the press .
It was getting so that we , the Committee , were being tried .
You can find it in the papers '' .
`` Well , as a matter of fact , I've looked through back-issue files of New York papers for December , 1957 , and haven't found a great deal '' --
Gross shot another look at Marshall .
`` It wasn't necessarily all here in New York .
Don't forget the foreign press '' .
`` Then what about the second interim public announcement ? ?
This cited Bang-Jensen's ' aberrant conduct ' '' .
`` The reason for that report was to settle the matter of the list .
As far as I'm concerned , it was a separate matter from the general Committee study of Bang-Jensen's conduct .
The January fifteen report recommended that Bang-Jensen be instructed to burn the list -- the papers -- in the presence of a U.N. Security Officer '' .
`` How about your press conference three days later -- what was the reason for that ? ?
Bang-Jensen said you told correspondents that you had checked in advance to make sure the term ' aberrant conduct ' was not libelous .
He claimed you made other slanderous allegations '' .
Gross paused and repeated himself .
`` The entire object of the press conference was to clarify the problem of the list , since many in the press were querying the U.N. about it .
What was the list ? ?
I don't know .
Bang-Jensen never explained what the documents or papers were that he had in his possession .
`` It was foolish of him to keep them , whatever they were .
He could have been blackmailed , or his family might have been threatened .
Of course the matter caught the public's attention .
We attempted to conclude this , and did so by having the papers burned .
Hammarskjold didn't like the way it was carried out .
It was a sort of Gotterdammerung affair .
Hammarskjold believes the U.N. is an organization that settles matters in a procedural way .
Peter Marshall reflected .
If Hammarskjold had not wanted the list disposed of in this manner , and if Bang-Jensen had not wanted it -- who had ordered it ? ?
`` Mr. Gross , concerning the formation of your Committee , there's the fact that you have been a legal adviser to the U.N. in the past ; ;
as I understand it , Mr. Hammarskjold wanted outside advice .
Could you comment on that '' ? ?
`` I've served as a counsel for the U.N. for some years , specializing particularly in real estate matters or other problems that the regular U.N. legal staff might not be equipped to handle .
Mr. Stavropoulos is the U.N. legal chief and a very good man , but he is not fully versed on some technical points of American law '' .
`` What did you think about Bang-Jensen's contention of errors and omissions in the Hungarian report '' ? ?
Marshall asked .
`` Those '' ! !
Gross answered .
`` Why , Mick Shann went over and over the report with Alsing Andersen , trying to check them out .
Even after the incident between Bang-Jensen and Shann in the Delegates' Lounge and this was not the way the Chicago Tribune presented it '' .
Gross reached in his desk and pulled out two newspaper clippings .
One was an article on the U.N. by Alice Widener from the Cincinnati Enquirer .
The other was by Chesly Manley in the Chicago Daily Tribune .
Gross pointed to the Manley story .
`` I know Ches , he's a friend of mine .
He probably didn't mean to write it this way , or maybe he did .
There wasn't any ' violent argument ' between Bang-Jensen and Shann , as the Tribune puts it .
That implies that Shann was on the enemy side .
You see what I mean ? ?
How it's phrased there -- the word violent .
`` The case was that Bang-Jensen came up to Shann claiming he had found further errors in the report .
' I've found errors and I want you to look them over .
So once again Shann had to argue with him about this .
But it wasn't a violent discussion .
And after all this , Shann went over all that Bang-Jensen had brought up '' .
( Shann's own report , Peter Marshall reflected , describes the encounter as `` immoderate '' .
Bang-Jensen was in `` hysterical condition '' .
Gross stopped briefly , then went on .
`` Shann was responsible for the report .
He has felt terrible about all this .
It was a good report , he did all he could to make it a good report .
When I speak of how Shann felt , I know well .
Don't forget , I am an old member of the club , a former delegate .
I think you are being unfair to take these things up now .
`` You know , this hits in many areas .
It appeals to those who were frustrated in the outcome of the Hungarian situation .
Don't forget , the U.N. did no more than the United States did .
It takes a great deal of sophisticated thought to get the impact of this fact '' .
from the home of his friend , Henrik Kauffmann , in Washington , D.C. , Paul Bang-Jensen sent a telegram dated December 9 , 1957 , to Ernest Gross .
It said in part :
`` the matters to be considered are obviously of a grave character , and I therefore respectfully request that the hearing be postponed for two weeks in order that I might make adequate preparation '' .
Ernest Gross replied the next day , putting the suspended diplomat's fears to rest .
`` This reveals some misunderstanding on your part .
The group conducting the review is not holding formal hearings .
It wished to pursue , in the course of this review , questions arising from the body of material already in its possession .
It sounded like a fair enough invitation , Peter Marshall reflected , and Bang-Jensen must have thought so too , because on the thirteenth , he met the group of three on the thirty-sixth floor of the U.N. .
There , Ernest Gross further assured him :
`` We were requested by the Secretary General , as I understand it , to discuss with you such matters as appear to us to be relevant , and we are not of course either a formal group or a committee in the sense of being guided by any rules or regulations of the Secretariat .
The only rules which I think we shall follow will be those of common sense , justice , and fairness '' .
Peter Marshall noted that Bang-Jensen had later referred to his two interviews with the Gross group as `` unfortunate experiences '' , and after his second meeting on the sixteenth the Dane refused to attend further hearings without legal counsel .
Marshall pondered the reason for this , and pondered too the replacement of one member of the three-man group .
J. A. C. Robertson , after serving Gross one week , left for England .