Liz enters and is surprised to see Leamas. The President of the tribunal begins to address Liz, asking when she joined the party. Suddenly Leamas cries out, “you bastards! Leave her alone!” and is hit by a guard. Liz is terrified. The President says Leamas will be escorted out of the courtroom if he talks out of turn. The President continues to lecture Liz, telling her that she must be very honest to “help the cause of Socialism.” Liz asks if Leamas is the one on trial, but the President will not tell her, saying that her ignorance guarantees that she will answer truthfully.
In the same way that Fiedler contended that Leamas’s ignorance of Mundt’s actual role in spying for the Circus guaranteed the authenticity of his testimony, the President now refuses to give Liz any context into what case is being tried. At the same time, the President appeals to Liz’s loyalty to Communism, which calls for putting the needs of the collective over personal loyalties, like Liz’s to Leamas.
Karden begins to question Liz. He asks her if she and Leamas were lovers, and if she has had many lovers. Leamas yells in outrage at this insinuation, but Liz turns and tells him not to yell, or he will be taken away. Karden asks if Leamas knew Liz was a Communist, and she says that Leamas laughed when she told him, and seemed to be above it. Liz feels deeply unsure how to answer the questions because she does not know what the trial is about, and she fears doing anything to hurt Leamas.
Leamas has no way of protecting Liz in this context, and Liz does not know how to answer the questions in order to protect Leamas. She wants to believe that the Communists are good, but she can see that Leamas is being held and threatened by them. Karden’s attempts to demean Liz with the suggestion that she is promiscuous also do not fit in with her expectations for Communist behavior.
Karden continues, asking Liz why she thinks Leamas hit Ford the grocer. Liz says she doesn’t know. Karden asks if she thinks Leamas planned to hit Ford, and Liz says no—but too quickly. Karden smiles at her condescendingly. He asks when she last saw Leamas, and she says she last saw him the night before he fought with Ford and that she had been cooking for Leamas while he was ill.
Liz guesses that she ought to hide her suspicion that Leamas had planned to hit Ford, but in her panicked state, she does this clumsily and reveals what she really thinks. Seeing that Karden saw through her lie, she gives more information than Karden has asked for, revealing that she was taking care of Leamas.
Karden asks Liz if she had enough money to take care of Leamas, and Liz says that Leamas gave her money. Karden seems interested in this, so Liz tries to change her story, saying that Leamas had very little money, so little that after he was gone a friend came and paid off his bills. Karden asks Liz if she ever met the friend who had paid the bills. She says no, and that Leamas had never mentioned a friend. There is a terrible silence in the courtroom. Karden begins asking Liz questions about her wages and rent. He asks if she has paid her rent lately, and she says she has not. Beginning to cry, she explains that a charity sent her a lease worth a thousand pounds. Karden asks if she thought that it came from Leamas or his friends, and she nods through her tears. She says she also heard that Ford the grocer was paid a large sum after the trial.
Karden continues to use Liz’s ignorance of the substance of the trial to draw incriminating facts out of her. He is proving through Liz’s testimony that not only did Leamas have money when he was pretending to be broke, but he also had powerful friends looking after him. These friends have the resources to even look after Liz as well. For anyone versed in Communist ideology like the members of the Tribunal, the gift of an apartment to Liz suggests the wastefulness, corruption, and wealth of a Capitalist government service like the Circus, which spends taxpayer money on keeping its spies’ lovers comfortable.
Karden next asks if anyone got in touch with Liz after Leamas went to prison. Liz lies and says no, but then admits she did have visitors when Karden says her neighbors saw two men visit her. He asks if these men were casual lovers like Leamas. Sobbing, Liz says they were friends of Leamas’s. A man named George Smiley left his card. Addressing the court, Karden says that Smiley went to Liz to check if Leamas had told her too much, and then says that Leamas made the same mistake Riemeck did by confiding in a woman.
Liz is caught in another lie, and now gives the final piece of evidence that contradicts Leamas’s testimony: she was visited by George Smiley. In a remark that seems calculated to hurt Leamas (and bring things full circle in the novel’s narrative), Karden says that Leamas let his love of a woman and desire to connect with her cloud his judgment as a spy.
Karden continues questioning Liz. He asks why she never visited Leamas in prison, asking if she had found another lover. She says that Leamas had made her promise not to follow him. Karden says that this shows that Leamas expected to go to prison and asks if Leamas broke up with her the night before he hit Ford. Liz says he had said there was something he needed to do and he would come back, but that she would be looked after. Karden asks if this was why she was not surprised when she received the lease. Sobbing, Liz asks why they are questioning her, if they already know everything. Karden concludes his testimony, saying that Liz’s testimony has proved that Leamas was part of a plot against Mundt.
Liz thought that the apartment lease was a sign of Leamas’s continued concern about her wellbeing, but it was actually given to her to guarantee that she would undermine Leamas with her testimony during the Tribunal and get Mundt acquitted. Liz knows that she is somehow hurting Leamas despite her good intentions, but does not understand what she could do differently to protect him. She has been manipulated by both the Circus and the Communist Tribunal (as has Leamas himself).
Leamas thinks that London must have been insane to compromise his mission in this way. He had even told them to leave Liz alone. He wonders if it was Smiley’s conscience that prompted him to take care of everyone. Now the only thing left for him to do, he thinks, is try to save Liz and Fiedler. He wonders how Karden knows so much. He is sure that he was not followed to Smiley’s house after the lunch with Ashe, and the story about his having stolen money from the Circus, which Mundt had mentioned while interrogating him, had only been meant to be spread around within the organization. Leamas stands up and walks to the front of the courtroom.
Leamas is astounded that the Circus went against the agreed-upon plan in this way, creating evidence that he was still working for them and drawing Liz into that plan. He cannot understand how Karden and Mundt know certain things about his activities in London, but he is too emotionally drained to understand that the Circus’s true betrayal was to send him on a mission he believed had one purpose, but really had the opposite purpose.