View Full Version : The Morgenthau Plan: "Germany is our Problem"

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2005, 05:31 AM
The ''Morgenthau-Plan''

From the Book "Germany is our Problem" by Henry Morgenthau

Harper & Brothers Publishers - New York and London First Edition 1945


From an editorial in The Washington Post, July 6, 1945:

"Secretary Morgenthau, in the 12 years of his service to the Roosevelt Administration, made contributions to his country far beyond the scope of his official duties. He was among the earliest and most earnest advocates of American preparedness for war. Long before Pearl Harbor he manifested an imaginative grasp of the need for drastic expansion of our armament production facilities. He significantly promoted that expansion through the vigorous assistance he gave to the British and French purchasing missions here. He daringly prodded the old National Defense Advisory Commission into enlarging our airplane output. It was his Treasury Department which impounded Axis assets in the United States — over the protests of the Department of State. The lend-lease law was conceived and written in his legal division—and he did much to promote its enactment.

"No nation has ever before entered into so gigantic a finance program as that undertaken by the Treasury Department for the financing of American participation in the present World War. . . . The war bond program gave millions of Americans, as Secretary Morgenthau desired that it should, a sense of direct participation in the national cause.

"Mr. Morgenthau took over the Treasury Department in a time of dramatic crisis with relatively little experience in financial affairs. He finally surrounded himself, after some early fumbling, with an unusually able staff — whose devotion to him has been a testimonial to his own qualities of leadership — and the country has come gradually to repose in him a high measure of respect and confidence.

"The United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference held at Bretton Woods represented, perhaps, the pinnacle of Mr. Morgenthau's governmental career. The agreements reached at that conference by the representatives of 44 nations were attributable in no small part to the patience, tact and resourcefulness he displayed as chairman. These agreements — a cornerstone of the hoped-for postwar economic cooperation — will serve as a monument to his public service.

"Mr. Morgenthau's conduct in public office will afford something of a model to his successor. He grew with the responsibilities thrust upon him. He brought to the discharge of these responsibilities an integrity that matched his conscientiousness and devotion. He will leave his post with the high regard of his countrymen."

A Word from US President F.D. Roosevelt:

As for Germany, that tragic nation which has sown the wind and is now reaping the whirlwind—we and our Allies are entirely agreed that we shall not bargain with the Nazi conspirators, or leave them a shred of control—open or secret—of the instruments of government. We shall not leave them a single element of military power—or of potential military power. But I should be false to the very foundations of my religious and political convictions, if I should ever relinquish the hope—and even the faith—that in all people, without exception, there lives some instinct for truth, some attraction toward justice, and some passion for peace—buried as they may be in the German case under a brutal regime. We bring no charge against the German race, as such, for we cannot believe that God has eternally condemned any race of humanity. For we know in our own land how many good men and women of German ancestry have proved loyal, freedom-loving, peace-loving citizens.

There is going to be stern punishment for all those in Germany directly responsible for this agony of mankind.

The German people are not going to be enslaved —because the United Nations do not traffic in human slavery. But it will be necessary for them to earn their way back into the fellowship of peace-loving and law-abiding nations. And, in their climb up that steep road, we shall certainly see to it that they are not encumbered by having to carry guns. They will be relieved of that burden—we hope, forever.

— President Roosevelt

This book owes much to discussions I have had on the subject with many authorities, both in and out of Government, and to analyses that have been made by a number of other experts in the field. To all of them I wish to express my gratitude and appreciation. Their help has been invaluable, but the interpretations and opinions expressed here are my responsibility, not theirs.

I have donated this book to the Elinor and Henry Morgenthau Jr. Foundation for Peace Inc., a non-profit membership corporation. The Foundation will use the proceeds of the publication and distribution of the book for the purpose of encouraging individuals and organizations aspiring for a world of freedom, peace and security and for the coordination and direction of the efforts of all peoples in their struggle for the attainment of such a world.

H. Morgenthau Jr.


IN SEPTEMBER, 1944, PRESIDENT FRANKLIN D. Roosevelt asked me to outline for him a program for the treatment of Germany after her defeat. He wished to take such a document to the Quebec Conference, which was to be held in a few days, and he knew that I had devoted a good deal of thought and study to the subject. As Secretary of the Treasury, I had been led into the whole problem by questions of reparations, currency and financial controls. I had seen that these could not be divorced from the broader aspects of what to do with Germany. The President, with whom I had been privileged to work on terms of intimacy and confidence for many years, knew of my interest and my research.

Only a few weeks before the President made his request, I had been in London, and the sight of that bombed city with its courageous people had deepened my convictions, as I think it must have deepened the convictions of anyone who saw London in wartime. It prompted the theme of a broadcast I made on the eve of my departure and in which I said:
»There can be no peace on earth—no security for any man, woman or child—if aggressor nations like Germany and Japan retain any power to strike at their neighbors. It is not enough for us to say, "We will disarm Germany and Japan and hope that they will learn to behave themselves as decent people." Hoping is not enough.

That was the spirit in which I drew up the plan which Mr. Roosevelt had requested. I know that was the spirit in which he received it. No part of that plan has ever been made public by me until now. This book is an elaboration of the program which I then submitted to the President for his use. It is essentially the same framework, but with additional research and documentation to supplement the much slimmer document which Mr. Roosevelt took to Quebec.

Since that conference, it is worth noting, the basic principles of the program have represented the official position of the United States Government. It is obvious that in the Potsdam Declaration signed by President. Truman, Prime Minister Attlee and Marshal Stalin, the three principal Allies were seeking to carry out the objectives of that policy. For purposes of comparison, the Declaration is printed in Appendix C of this volume.

The similarities will be apparent to any reader. So will the differences. Both ought to be considered solely from the standpoint of whether the common objective is furthered or not by any particular feature of the proposed settlement. However, my aim is not to argue with any specific details of the Potsdam Declaration, but to state for the country the philosophy which went into the formulation of American policy embodied in the Declaration.
In writing this book, I have been motivated entirely by the conviction that the purpose of our program for dealing with Germany should be peace. And that should be its only purpose. The peoples of the earth have a right to demand of their peacemakers that another generation of youth shall not have to be maimed and die in the defense of human freedom.

The hopes of mankind rest upon the peace which we are now beginning to build out of the wreckage of lives and cities and nations. It is an awesome but an inspiring task. It is for us, the living, to see to it that our dead shall not have died in vain. Because I am sure that all our hopes and yearnings for peace will fade and die unless we build upon a firm foundation, the foundation of an assured end to German aggression, I have undertaken to explain in this volume just what measures I advocate and why.

* * * * * * * *


Program to Prevent Germany from starting a World War III

1. Demilitarization of Germany.

It should be the aim of the Allied Forces to accomplish the complete demilitarization of Germany in the shortest possible period of time after surrender. This means completely disarm the German Army and people (including the removal or destruction of all war material), the total destruction of the whole German armament industry, and the removal or destruction of other key industries which are basic to military strength.

2. New Boundaries of Germany.

(a) Poland should get that part of East Prussia which doesn't go to the U.S.S.R. and the southern portion of Silesia. (See map in 12 Appendix.)

(b) France should get the Saar and the adjacent territories bounded by the Rhine and the Moselle Rivers.

(c) As indicated in 4 below an International Zone should be created containing the Ruhr and the surrounding industrial areas.

3. Partitioning of New Germany.

The remaining portion of Germany should be divided into two autonomous, independent states,
(1) a South German state comprising Bavaria, Wuerttemberg, Baden and some smaller areas and
(2) a North German state comprising a large part of the old state of Prussia, Saxony, Thuringia and several smaller states.

There shall be a custom union between the new South German state and Austria, which will be restored to her pre-1938 political borders.

4. The Ruhr Area. (The Ruhr, surrounding industrial areas, as shown on e map, including the Rhineland, the Keil Canal, and all German territory north of the Keil Canal.)

Here lies the heart of German industrial power. This area should not only be stripped of all presently existing industries but so weakened and controlled that it can not in the foreseeable future become an industrial area. The following steps will accomplish this:

(a) Within a short period, if possible not longer than 6 months after the cessation of hostilities, all industrial plants and equipment not destroyed by military action shall be completely dismantled and transported to Allied Nations as restitution. All equipment shall be removed from the mines and the mines closed.

(b) The area should be made an international zone to be governed by an international security organization to be established by the United Nations. In governing the area the international organization should be guided by policies designed to further the above stated objective.

5. Restitution and Reparation.

Reparations, in the form of future payments and deliveries, should not be demanded. Restitution and reparation shall be effected b-y the transfer of existing German resources and territories, e.g.,

(a) by restitution of property looted by the Germans in territories occupied by them;

(b) by transfer of German territory and German private rights in industrial property situated in such territory to invaded countries and the international organization under the program of partition;

(c) by the removal and distribution among devastated countries of industrial plants and equipment situated within the International Zone and the North and South German states delimited in the section on partition;

(d) by forced German labor outside Germany; and

(e) by confiscation of all German assets of any character

whatsoever outside of Germany.

6. Education and Propaganda.

(a) All schools and universities will be closed until an Allied Commission of Education has formulated an effective reorganization program. It is contemplated that it may require a considerable period of time before any institutions of higher education are reopened. Meanwhile the education of German students in foreign universities will not be prohibited. Elementary schools will be reopened as quickly as appropriate teachers and textbooks are available.

(b) All German radio stations and newspapers, magazines, weeklies, etc. shall be discontinued until adequate controls are established and an appropriate program formulated.

7. Political Decentralization.

The military administration in Germany in the Initial period should be carried out with a view toward the eventual partitioning of Germany. To facilitate partitioning and to assure its permanence the military authorities should be guided by the following principles:

(a) Dismiss all policy-making officials of the Reich government and deal primarily with local governments.

(b) Encourage the re-establishment of state governments in

each of the states (Lander) corresponding to 18 states into which Germany is presently divided and in addition make the Prussian provinces separate states.

(c) Upon the partitioning of Germany, the various state governments should be encouraged to organize a federal government for each of the newly partitioned areas. Such new governments should be in the form of a confederation of states, with emphasis on states" rights and a large degree of local autonomy.

8. Responsibility of Military for Local German Economy.

The sole purpose of the military in control of the German economy shall be to facilitate military operations and military occupation. The Allied Military Government shall not assume responsibility for such economic problems as price controls, rationing, unemployment, production, reconstruction, distribution, consumption, housing, or transportation, or take any measures designed to maintain or strengthen the German economy, except those which are essential to military operations. The responsibility for sustaining the German economy and people rests with the German people with such facilities as may be available under the circumstances.

9. Controls over Development of German Economy.

During a period of at least twenty years after surrender adequate controls, including controls over foreign trade and tight restrictions on capital imports, shall be maintained by the United Nations designed to prevent in the newly-established states the establishment or expansion of key industries basic to the German military potential and to control other key industries.

10. Agrarian program.

All large estates should be broken up and divided among the peasants and the system of primogeniture and entail should be abolished.

11. Punishment of War Crimes and Treatment of Special Groups.

A program for the punishment of certain war crimes and for the treatment of Nazi organizations and other special groups is contained in section 11.

12. Uniforms and Parades.

(a) No German shall be permitted to wear, after an appropriate period of time following the cessation of hostilities, any military uniform or any uniform of any quasi military organizations.

(b) No military parades shall be permitted anywhere In Germany and all military bands shall be disbanded.

13. Aircraft.

All aircraft (including gliders), whether military or commercial, will be confiscated for later disposition. No German shall be permitted to operate or to help operate any aircraft, including those owned by foreign interests.

14. United States Responsibility

Although the United States would have full military and civilian representation on whatever International commission or commissions may be established for the execution of the whole German program, the primary responsibility for the policing of Germany and for civil administration in Germany should be assumed by the military forces of Germany's continental neighbors. Specifically these should include Russian, French, Polish, Czech, Greek, Yugoslav, Norwegian, Dutch and Belgian soldiers.

Under this program United States troops could be withdrawn within a relatively short time.

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2005, 05:38 AM
David Irving's Introduction to the Morgenthau Plan

[In 1986 David Irving published in the German language a file of Allied documents on the origins and history of the Morgenthau Plan. This was his introduction to the documentation].

[THE SMALL PRINT: This is a copyright work. The manuscript is reproduced as part of the Focal Point Publications Website. While it can be downloaded for personal use, the manuscript may not be marketed or commercially traded. ©1986 David Irving.]

David Irving's facsimile record and commentary on the infamous American policy for Germany, Der Morgenthau Plan 1944/45: a Free Download in German

THIS VOLUME reproduces in full the 22-page Morgenthau Plan for the first time. [Not yet reproduced on this site. This is just the editor's Introduction].

It also prints a selection of key British and American documents relating to the plan, although the story is still incomplete: many parts of the British foreign office files relating to it are still closed to public inspection, an exception to the general thirty-year rule.

The Morgenthau Plan, more formally known as the Treasury Plan for the Treatment of Germany, was devised by Assistant Treasury Secretary Harry Dexter White and Secretary Henry R. Morgenthau Jr. in the summer of 1944. Morgenthau had just visited the battlefields of Normandy and spoken with General Dwight D Eisenhower, the Supreme Allied Commander, then arrived in Britain for talks with Mr Winston Churchill, the British prime minister and his advisers.

While important elements of the Plan, including the subtle re-education of the Germans by their own refugees and the dismantling of German heavy

industry to aid British exports, were indeed put into effect, in the directive 1067 which the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff finally issued to Eisenhower, the main parts of the Morgenthau Plan, including orders to liquidate entire classes of suspected Nazi war criminals upon simple identification, and to leave the German nation to 'stew in its own juice,' were not formally implemented.

The Morgenthau Plan would have led to the death by starvation and pestilence of ten million Germans in the first two years after the war, in addition to the one million who had been killed in the saturation bombing and the three million killed in the enforced expulsion from Germany's eastern territories.

The Plan, enthusiastically adopted by German-born Lord Cherwell (Professor Friedrich A. Lindemann, Churchill's close friend, economic, strategic and scientific adviser), was pushed through at the Quebec summit conference between Roosevelt and Churchill on September 15, 1944.

It was part of the price that Churchill and Cherwell were willing to pay for a broad package of American concessions over which Morgenthau had political control including further Lend-lease aid (Phase II) to the British Empire after the war; moreover Mr Churchill needed his support on military issues including joint British strategic control of the atomic bomb (the Hyde Park agreement which was signed on September 18, 1944) and Britain's participation in the war in the Pacific. We can only speculate about Harry Dexter White's purpose in canvassing a plan which would have ruined the largest country in Central Europe, the last bastion that would protect Western Europe from the Red Army in post-war years.

The memorandum endorsing the plan's objectives was initialled (Okayed) by F.D.R. and W.C. on September 15, 1944.

The Plan caused immediate controversy. Hearing that it had been initialled at Quebec, Henry L. Stimson, Secretary of War (Kriegsminister), made bitter comments about the Semites in his unpublished private diary. Anthony Eden, British foreign secretary (1940-1945).and later prime minister, dismissed Morgenthau's and Lord Cherwell's lobbying, in a hitherto unpublished document, as a piece of gratuitous impertinence: 'These ex-Germans,' wrote Eden, 'seem to wish to wash away their ancestry in a bath of hate. A.E. Nov 19.'

When details of the Morgenthau Plan leaked to the press in America, angry British politicians demanded to know if Churchill had indeed signed such a document.

In 1953, after the F.B.I. levelled Soviet spy charges against the plan's co-author, Herry Dexter White, Sir Winston Churchill sent to Lord Cherwell a letter behind which was all the anxiety and guilt of a great man who realizes he has been duped.

* * * * *

Much still remains to be revealed about the Morgenthau Plan. Dr Joseph Goebbels, Nazi propaganda minister, made enough capital from it to inflict tens of thousands of extra casualties on British and American troops in the battles that followed its publication, and in the autumn 1944 U.S. presidential election campaign Roosevelt's opponent Thomas Dewey lost no time in pointing this out. 'The publishing of this Plan,' claimed Dewey, 'was as good as ten fresh German divisions.'

Coming under increasing fire, Morgenthau wrote around his fellow ministers, appealing for support. Telephoning Henry Stimson on November 4, 1944, to 'urge him to do something,' he found the Kriegsminister too busy cooking the official records to cleanse Roosevelt of any implication in quite another scandal. 'He sounded more tired than ever. Said he was tired out from working the last two weeks on Pearl Harbor report to keep out anything that might hurt the Pres.'

Clever forgeries, prettying-up of official files after the event: this is why historians who rely only on printed volumes are likely to be misled. For this reason, it is important that my full dossier on the infamous Morgenthau Plan should be published in facsimile, to enable future generations of Germans to distinguish between the fantasies of Nazi propagan- dists and the total truth of 1944-1945. David Irving, London, June 1985


CHERWELL,(1886-1957)faddish, teetotal personal adviser to Churchill from 1940; Paymaster General 1943-45, 1951-53. Had a knack of putting complicated matters in terms intelligible to Winston. When Cherwell became Paymaster General on December 31, 1942 Oliver Harvey aptly summed him up: 'He is a somewhat sinister figure who under the guise of scientific adviser puts up a lot of reactionary stuff.' Henry Stimson, asked if he knew the Prof, acidly replied: 'I'm not sure whether that means the Professor or the Prophet. We in the War Department know him only as an old fool who loudly proclaimed that we could never cross the Channel and also that when the robots [V-weapons] came they could never do any damage!'

In Admiral Leahy's personal file on 'White, Harry D.' is a document entitled, 'Publicity in regard to Harry D. White, one time Assistant Secretary of the Treasury,' November 1953. According to this the Attorney General had announced that on February 20, 1946 the F.B.I. gave to White House officials including Leahy a report of White's association with Soviet agents.

Leahy noted, 'I have no recollection of having seen or heard of such a report at any time.' His only contact with White, in connection with Britain's request for Lend Lease, had been at a meeting on November 18, 1944.


In June and July 1944, Roosevelt and other leading Americans had begun dropping remarks about their plans for Germany and the Germans. On June 7, entertaining the Polish prime minister Mikolajczyk at the White House, Roosevelt had related with round eyes remarks made by Stalin about his plans to 'liquidate 50,000 German officers.' In fact when Churchill tried to persuade Stalin to adopt such a plan, to his annoyance Stalin insisted on fair and proper trials in every case.

General Dwight D. Eisenhower had similar views. He told British ambassador Lord Halifax on July 10, 1944, that he felt the enemy leaders should be 'shot while trying to escape.' Imprisonment was not enough for the 3,500 officers of the German general staff. Lieutenant-Commander Harry C. Butcher, Eisenhower's naval aide, noted in a secret diary: 'There was agreement that extermination could be left to nature if the Russians had a free hand.' Why just the Russians?, inquired Eisenhowerthey could temporarily assign zones in Germany to the smaller nations with old scores to settle.

Stimson felt that it would be wise to allow the British to occupy Northern Germany, because that was where much liquidation would be effected. 'I felt,' recorded the Republican Kriegsminister obliquely in his diary, 'that repercussions would be sure to arise which would mar the page of our history if we, whether rightly or wrongly, seemed to be responsible.' If the Americans occupied southern Germany, it would keep them away from Russia during the occupation period: 'Let her do the dirty work,' he suggested to the President, 'but don't father it.'

After a discussion with General George C Marshall on the punishment of Hitler, the Gestapo and the S.S., Stimson wrote in his diary, 'I found around me, particularly Morgenthau, a very bitter atmosphere of personal resentment against the entire German people without regard to individual guilt. of the Nazis.'


In July 1944 General George C. Marshall had informed Eisenhower that Henry R. Morgenthau Jr., Secretary of the Treasury, and a party of experts were planning a trip to investigate currency problems in France. Eisenhower replied that there was nothing to be learned in the little strip of land which his armies then controlled'which is divided about equally between fighting fronts and a solid line of depots, with two main lateral roads completely filled with double columns of motor transport.'

Privately he added that these VIP trips were a pain in the neck. There just was not the space for visitors: Bradley's only accommodation consisted of one trailer and a couple of Jeeps, while Montgomery 'usually simply refuses to see unwelcome visitors.' He could hardly have made himself plainer. But Morgenthau had Roosevelt's ear, so Eisenhower had no choice but to humor him.

On the transatlantic flight Morgenthau's chief assistant Harry Dexter White slipped to him a copy of the report by the Washington interdepartmental Foreign Economic Policy Committee on postwar policy toward Germany. It shocked Morgenthau. As drafted, it would leave Germany more powerful in five or ten years than she had been before the war. Colonel Bernard Bernstein, financial adviser (G-5) at Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Forces (SHAEF), took Eisenhower's special train to meet Morgenthau's party in Scotland.

Morgenthau's son was also there when Morgenthau stepped off the C-54 at Prestwick, Scotland, on August 6 -- Eisenhower's chief of staff Bedell Smith had secured a comfortable army appointment for him. (There was to be 'no mention whatsoever, at any time, about his son nor photographs including his son,' Morgenthau's aide had stipulated.

On the long train journey down to London, Bernstein expressed concern to White and Morgenthau about SHAEF's proposed handbook for American officers in the future military government of Germany: it was too soft, he said; little was being done to make Germany suffer. On the contrary, SHAEF's experts seemed to be preparing for Germany's smooth return to the family of nations. Army directives were being prepared to occupy, 'take over and control' Civil Affairs in Germany. Evidently, said Bernstein, the Allies were to assume responsibility for Germany's welfare, and 'even [sic] ensure that the Germans received medical care and treatment.'


They could not have picked a worse day for their visitHitler's counterattack against Patton and Bradley began during the night. They lunched on August 7 at Ike's Portsmouth command post. According to Morgenthau's version, General Eisenhower also strongly opposed any soft line on Germany: 'The whole German population is a synthetic paranoid,' he told the Treasury Secretary. 'And there is no reason for treating a paranoid gently. The best cure is to let the Germans stew in their own juice.'

Ike's female assistant Kay Summersby eavesdropped and wrote in her diary afterwards: 'Secretary Morgenthau and party for lunch. Quite concerned about post war policies in Germany and particularly anxious that we do not establish rates of exchange that might favour Germany.' (Morgenthau was proposing to inflict a punitive rate of exchange on Germany, which would bankrupt her for all time, rendering her unable to rise again and make another war.)

This prompted the Supreme Commander to enlarge on his own views about the enemy, which he himself later quoted as follows: 'The German people must not be allowed to escape a personal sense of guilt.. Germany's war-making power should be eliminated.. Certain groups should be specifically punished.. The German General Staff should be utterly eliminated. All records destroyed and individuals scattered and rendered powerless to operate as body.'

It was, claimed Morgenthau, Eisenhower who instilled in him the idea of a harsh treatment of the Germans. Eisenhower would later deny this, or plead loss of memory, but reporting this to his own staff on August 12, Morgenthau said: 'General Eisenhower had stated, and given the Secretary permission to repeat to others, that in his view we must take a tough line with Germany as we must see to it that Germany was never again in a position to unleash war upon the world.' He added, 'The Prime Minister had indicated his general concurrence with General Eisenhower's viewpoint.' And on August 19 he would tell President Roosevelt that Eisenhower 'is perfectly prepared to be tough with the Germans when he first goes in.' Morgenthau said that he had told the general, 'All the plans in G-5 are contrary to that view.'


On August 10, Churchill's diary showed a lunch appointment with Henry Morgenthau. Churchill had longer-term worries than the future of Germany. He had at last woken up to the long term cost of the war to the Empire. Britain's indebtedness would soon be $3,000m; her exports were less than one-third of their 1938 level; to maintain full employment she must increase exports fivefold. So she must start rebuilding her export trade now which Americans might not understand. But Britain must release labor to rebuild her export industries. So Lend-Lease must continue even after Hitler's defeat, though a reduction of about twenty-seven percent would appear reasonable to the British. (, discussion FDR/WSC, September 14, in Morgenthau diary and copy in General Hap H. Arnold diary; and. W. D. Taylor, memo on meeting of Sir John Anderson and Sir David Waley with Morgenthau, Harry Dexter White, August 11.)

Over lunch on August 10, they sized each other up. Churchill knew that Morgenthau was no friend of Britain. Morgenthau flattered Roosevelt a few days later that it was interesting 'how popular he [Roosevelt] was with the soldiers and how unpopular Churchill was.' He described one instance to Roosevelt: 'I told him [Roosevelt],' he wrote in his diary, 'about the difficulty of finding someone to take me through the shelters [in the East End of London] because both Churchill and Sir Robert Morris [?Home Secretary Mr Herbert Morrison] had been jeered when they went through them recently, and that finally they decided on Mrs Churchill and Lady Mountbatten.' Morgenthau amused Roosevelt's Cabinet a week later with a description of how the prime minister 'kept referring to his age during conversations.'

At the meeting between Churchill and Morgenthau the small-talk was as frigid as only an interview between a penniless debtor and his banker can be. 'Churchill,' described Morgenthau to Roosevelt, '.. started the conversation by saying that England was broke.. Churchill's attitude was that he was broke but not depressed about England's future.. He is going to tell Parliament about their financial condition at the right time after the Armistice, and that when he does that he is through.'

Churchill said that he had heard that Morgenthau was unfriendly towards Britain.

Morgenthau denied this, was brutally frank. Churchill must put his cards on the table. He must appoint a committee to consider financial questions, and then tell Parliament the facts.

When told of this, Churchill quailed at the idea. Roosevelt retorted, 'Oh, he is taking those tactics now. More recently his attitude was that he wanted to see England through the peace.'

Still, the revelation that Churchill had bankrupted Britain startled him. 'I had no idea,' he told Morgenthau. 'This is very interesting,' he sneered. 'I had no idea that England was broke. I will go over there and make a couple of talks and take over the British Empire.'

Morgenthau gave a similar version of their conversation to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. 'The Prime Minister stated,' he told Anderson on August 11, 'that he did not wish to bring this matter into the open while our combined war effort in Europe was at its height.' Churchill was prepared to speak to Parliament about the straitened financial outlook, but not just yet. Morgenthau's view was that, under the circumstances, Churchill ought to take it up directly with the President.

Reporting to Roosevelt a few days later Morgenthau said, 'In England you can see the thing much clearer. There are two kinds of people there: One like Eden who believes we must cooperate with Russia, and that we must trust Russia for the peace of the world,'at which point FDR said he belonged to the same school as Eden' -- and there is the other school which is illustrated by the remark of Mr Churchill who said, "What are we going to have between the white snows of Russia and the white cliffs of Dover?"'

Churchill was beginning to hint at the need for a strong postwar Germany, and Morgenthau did not like the sound of that at all. Roosevelt replied that he hoped to see Churchill soon, even though the Prime Minister was 'not his own master in some important matters, being overridden frequently by the Foreign Office.' (Memo Robert A. Lovett to Stimson, Aug 18, 1944: Stimson papers.)

One other topic was discussed at No.10 Downing Street. Morgenthau shortly told Zionist leaders that the Prime Minister had assured him that, as was well known, his sympathy was still for Zionism and Zionist aspirations: that 'it was simply a matter of timing as to when he would give the Jews their State in Palestine.'*


Turning his back on the unpleasant truth of Britain's bankruptcy, Mr Churchill had literally flowntaking off late on August 10 to tour British headquarters in the Mediterranean.

Remaining in England, on August 12 and 13 Morgenthau tried to analyse Churchill's political attitude with U.S. Ambassador John G. Winant and Anthony Eden. In England, he again said, he saw several groups: a pro-Soviet group around Eden, favoring harsh treatment of Germany, including dismemberment. A second, dangerous group favoured Germany's economic restoration as a bulwark against the Soviet Union; and a third group, mid-way, preferring a strong Europe as a whole, aligned with Britain. Morgenthau inquired where Churchill lay, and Edenhesitatinglyadmitted that Churchill was probably in that third group. Winant agreed: Churchill now had 'certain reservations' against the Soviet Union, but he could still be persuaded that it was desirable to continue the grisly Three Power agreement reached at Teheran on the future of Germany. Anyway, Winant was confident that Churchill would go along with Roosevelt in any program. Morgenthau expressed to Eden his personal concern that there were Allied officials aiming to restore Germany's economy as quickly as possible. Eden expressed surprise as it ran counter to the Teheran agreements. Stalin, he claimed, was determined to smash Germanyto dismember herso that she could never again disrupt Europe.

* U.S. Dept of State record of visit by Dr Nahum Goldmann, September 13, 1944: US embassy files, London, 710 Arab-Jewish relations.)

'Eden,' noted Harry Dexter White, 'said Roosevelt had agreed with Stalin, but Churchill was at first reluctant to accede. He (Churchill) was willing to make Austria independent and to take East Prussia away, but was doubtful about going beyond that.' Eden added that after talking it over with him Churchill decided to go along with Roosevelt and Stalin on this. Eden felt it important to pursue a tough policy on Germany, 'as nearly in accord with Russian policy toward Germany as possible,' if only to reassure Stalin of Britain's good intentions. It was an interesting statement, and Morgenthau asked him to repeat it. Eden obliged. 'He [Morgenthau] said [to Eden] that in his conversation with Churchill the question of the program to be followed upon occupation of Germany had come up and that he had gathered from the Prime Minister's comments that he was in agreement with the view expressed by Morgenthau, to the effect that during the early months Germany's economy ought to be let pretty much alone and permitted to seek its own level.'

This was the origin of what Morgenthau later called leaving the Germans to 'stew in their own juice.'

Morgenthau now talked with Anderson alone. Until now the Chancellor had lifted the veil on Britain's bankrupt future only slightly in Parliament, he admitted, in opening the talks with the U.S. Treasury officials on August 11: so his coming budget message about Britain's bleak post-war future was going to shock Parliament and people. 'Financially,' summarized one Treasury official, 'England has thrown everything into the war effort regardless of consequences. It is well known throughout the country that England has gone into the war on the basis of "unlimited liability"; the consequences of such financial action, however, have not been weighed nor understood by the country. He stated that England would emerge from the war with high international and national prestige, but in a deplorable financial position. The period of the war would have seen England's transition from a position of the world's largest creditor nation to the world's largest debtor nation.'

When Morgenthau visited him on August 15 Eden read out to him selected extracts of the Teheran conference between Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt. namely those extracts dealing with Germany. Roosevelt said that he wanted to discuss the partition of GermanyGermany could be divided into three or fifteen parts, he said. Roosevelt suggested they instruct the European Advisory Commission to report on the problem. Stalin agreed, and since they both evidently felt strongly on it, Churchill agreed.

However, as Ambassador John G Winant explained, the European Advisory Commission (EAC) had not taken up the question of partition, because the Russian representative had always stalled. Morgenthau pointed out that the Teheran directive to the EAC was evidently not known to the State Department. 'Eden said,' according to Harry Dexter White's memo, 'there are some groups in both the United States and in England who feared that Communism would grow in Germany if a tough policy were pursued by the Allies. This group believed that it was important to have a strong Germany as protection against possible aggression by Russia. He said it was a question whether there was a greater danger from a strong Germany or from a strong Russia. For his part, he believed there was greater danger from a strong Germany.'


Morgenthau had been shocked by the confusion he found in London as to the treatment of postwar Germany. He made no secret of this upon his return to Washington. When he visited Cordell Hull in Washington on August 18, the Secretary of State had to admit he had never been told what was in the minutes of Teheran. On August 19, Roosevelt confidently assured Morgenthau, 'Give me thirty minutes with Churchill and I can correct this.' He added, 'We have got to be tough with Germany and I mean the German people, not just the Nazis. You either have to castrate the German people or you have got to treat them in such a manner so they can't go on reproducing people who want to continue the way they have in the past.'

Morgenthau now outlined in response what later became his infamous Plan'In his opinion serious consideration should be given to the desirability and feasability of reducing Germany to an agrarian economy wherein Germany would be a land of small farms, without large-scale industrial enterprises.' . Morgenthau complained, 'Well, Mr President, nobody is considering the question along those lines in Europe. In England they want to build up Germany so that she can pay reparations.'

On August 21, the Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson dictated in his own diary (now in Yale University archives) a note that he had talked with Roosevelt's special adviser Harry L. Hopkins on the telephone: 'He wants me to talk with Morgenthau on the subject of Germany.' At noon on August 23, Stimson went to the White House to see the president: 'It is the first time I have seen him since June. I succeeded in getting through to him my views of the importance of having a decision on what we are going to do to Germany. I came back to the Department and Secretary Morgenthau came to lunch with me in my room. I had [John] McCloy in too. Morgenthau told me of how he had learned in London that the division of Germany had been agreed upon at Teheran between the three chiefs. Although the discovery of this thing has been a most tremendous surprise to all of us, I am not sure that the three chiefs regard it as a fait accompli and in this talk with Morgenthau it developed that the so-called decision was of a more informal character than I had understood from McCloy's first report to me of Morgenthau's news a day or two ago. In the afternoon I settled down and tried to dictate my ideas in regard to the postwar settlement with Germany.'

In this document, 'Brief for Conference with the President on August 25,' Stimson listed 'a number of urgent matters of American policy' including the zones of occupation, the partition of Germany, and in particular the 'policy vs. liquidation of Hitler and his gang". His wording was very explicit.

'Present instructions seem inadequate beyond imprison-ment. Our officers must have the protection of definite instructions if shooting required. If shooting required it must be immediate; not postwar.' He also asked the question, 'How far do U.S. officers go towards preventing lynching in advance of Law and Order?'

Meanwhile Morgenthau got at Roosevelt first. Lunching at the White House on August 23, he sketched out details of his plan for punishing and emasculating postwar Germany regardless of the effect which this running sore would have on the rest of Europe. He visited Roosevelt again early on August 25 and handed him a memorandum on the German problem.

Later that day, Stimson and Morgenthau both lunched with the president. The Kriegsminister took up the question of the British and American zones of Germany and urged Roosevelt to allow the British to occupy Northern Germany. 'I further urged the point,' he recorded in his diary, 'that by taking south-western Germany we were in a more congenial part of Germany and further away from the dirty work that the Russians might be doing with the Prussians in Eastern Germany. I was inclined to think that I had made an impression on him, but it was impossible to say. I either then or in my former meeting pressed on him the importance of not partitioning Germany other than the allotment of East Prussia to Russia or Poland, and Alsace Lorraine to France and a possible allotment to Silesia to Poland, namely trimming the outer edges of Germany. Other than those allotments I feared that a division of Germany and a policy which would prevent her from being industrialized would starve her excess population of 30 million people, giving again my description of how she had grown during the period between 1870 and 1914 by virtue of her industralization..'


Stimson, worried that Allied troops would shortly enter Germany without policy directives, suggested that Roosevelt appoint a Cabinet committee. The president accepted the point, and then they went together into Cabinet. Navy secretary Forrestal wrote a diary on this date.

So did the Secretary of Agriculture Claude Wickard.

Both were struck by Roosevelt's insistance that the Germans in future live off soup-kitchens as a punishment. Henry Stimson's diary is also explicit: 'At the very beginning of Cabinet he brought up this last point and said that he would appoint Secretaries Hull, Morgenthau and myself as the members of that committee..' Later Stimson joined Morgenthau at the airport. 'I had the opportunity of a satisfactory talk with him on matters on which we were inclined to disagree, namely the use of over-punitive measures on Germany principally economic. I have been trying to guard against that.'

In a subsequent 'Memorandum of Conversation with the President,' August 25, Stimson felt that he had made his point that the penalties should be against individuals and 'not by destruction of the economic structure of Germany which might have serious results in the future.' 'As to partition, the Secretary [Stimson] argued for a lopping off of sections rather than a general partition and thought the President was inclined to agree that Germany should be left as a self supporting state. The President showed some interest in radical treatment of the Gestapo.'

For the last days in August Stimson remained on his farm, maintaining scrambler telephone contact with McCloy in Washington. 'In particular,' wrote Stimson in his diary, 'I was working up and pressing for the point I had initiated, namely that we should intern the entire Gestapo and perhaps the S.S. leaders and then vigorously investigate and try them as the main instruments of Hitler's system of terrorism in Europe. By so doing I thought we would begin at the right end, namely the Hitler machine, and punish the people who were directly responsible for that, carrying the line of investigation and punishment as far as possible. I found around me, particularly Morgenthau, a very bitter atmosphere of personal resentment against the entire German people without regard to individual guilt and I am very much afraid that it will result in our taking mass vengeance on the part of our people in the shape of clumsy economic action.'


Harry Dexter White completed the first draft of the Plan on September 1. Almost immediately the British embassy learned what Morgenthau was up to.

On September 2, Morgenthau retired to his country home for the Labor Day weekend, an American public holiday. White sent the completed draft out to him there. President Roosevelt and his wife motored over from Hyde Park to take tea with Morgenthau under the trees of his estate at nearby Fishkill and Morgenthau showed the draft to him.

Roosevelt's thinking on Germany was rather simplistic: no aircraft, uniforms or marching. Morgenthau had said: 'That's very interesting, Mr President, but I don't think it goes nearly far enough.' He wanted the Ruhr dismantled and its machinery given to the needy neighbors; 'I realize this would put 18 or 20 million people out of work,' he conceded airily. But it ought to guarantee the prosperity of Britain and Belgium for twenty years. Able bodied Germans could be transported to Central Africa as slave labor on 'some big TVA project.' TVA was the Tennessee Valley Authority hydroelectric project which Roosevelt's new Deal had used to generate employment. He went off at a tangent: he was thinking of re-education of the Germans. 'You will have to create entirely new textbooks,' he said.

That Monday, September 4, Stimson flew back to Washington and had a conference with General Marshall that afternoon: 'Discussed with him my troubles in regard to the treatment of Germany and the method in which we should investigate and punish the Gestapo.. It was very interesting to find that army officers have a better respect for the law in those matters than civilians who talk about them and are anxious to go ahead and chop everybody's head off without trial of hearing.'

Invited to dine with Morgenthau that evening, Stimson found there McCloy and Harry White of the Treasury. 'We were all aware of the feeling that a sharp issue is sure to arise over the question of the treatment of Germany. Morgenthau is, not unnaturally, very bitter, and as he is not thoroughly trained in history or even economics it became very apparent that he would plunge out for a treatment of Germany which I feel sure would be unwise. But we talked the matter over with temperateness and goodwill during the evening and that was as much as could be hoped from the situation. We did succeed in settling with perfect agreement the question of the currency which should be issued in Germany namely that we should issue Allied military marks at a 10 cent value of the mark. Morgenthau had first struck for only 5 cents, wishing to use a low rate of the mark to punish Germany.'

The Cabinet Committee on Germany met for the first time on September 5 in Hull's office. Hull was cautious. 'We must not lay plans for partition of Germany,' he pointed out, 'until British and Russian views are known.' Stimson found himself in a minority. 'This proposal,' he said of Morgenthau's plan, 'will cause enormous evils. The Germans will be permanent paupers, and the hatreds and tensions that will develop will obscure the guilt of the Nazis, and poison the springs of future peace.' 'My plan,' retorted Morgenthau, unabashed, 'will stop the Germans from every trying to extend their domination by force again. Don't worry. The rest of Europe can survive without them!'

Stimson was unconvinced. 'This plan will breed war, not prevent it!'

'It's very singular,' he wrote to Marshall. 'I'm the man in charge of the Department which does the killing in this way, and yet I am the only one who seems to have any mercy for the other side.' Hull's ideas were no less extreme than Morgenthau's.

Stimson returned to his office and dictated this note for his diary:

'As soon as I got into the meeting it became very evident that Morgenthau had been rooting around behind the scenes and had greased the way for his own views by conference with the president and others. We did get through the question of the currency alright on the lines which we had decided upon last evening. Then Hull brought up a draft of agenda.. and as soon as we got into a discussion of these, I, to my tremendous surprise, found that Hull was as bitter as Morgenthau against the Germans and was ready to jump all the principles that he had been laboring for in regard to trade for the past twelve years. He and Morgenthau wished to wreck completely the immense Ruhr-Saar area of Germany into a second rate agricultural land regardless of all that that area meant.. Hopkins went with them so far as to wish to prevent the manufacture of steel.. which would pretty well sabotage everything else. I found myself a minority of one and I labored vigorously but entirely ineffectively against my colleagues. In all the four years that I have been here I have not had such a difficult and unpleasant meeting although of course there were no personalities. We all knew eachother too well for that. But we were irreconcilably divided. At the end it was decided that Hull would send in his memorandum to the President while we should each of us send a memorandum of views in respect to it.'

Hull had submitted a paper with the title, 'Suggested Recommendations on Treatment of Germany from the Cabinet Committee for the President.' In his reply dated September 5, Stimson utterly rejected it. 'I cannot treat as realistic the suggestion that such an area in the present economic condition of the world can be turned into a non-productive 'ghost territory' when it has become the center of one of the most industrialized continents in the world, populated by peoples of energy, vigor and progressiveness.' As for destroying the coalmines, etc, he added: 'I cannot conceive of turning such a gift of nature into a dustheap.'


The British ambassador Lord Halifax notified the Foreign Office on September 6, 1944, about all this, and asked the poignant question: 'Whom do we shoot or hang? The feeling is that we should not have great state trials, but proceed quickly and with despatch. The English idea, once preferred but then withdrawn, was to give the Army lists to liquidate on mere identification. What has happened to this idea? Besides individuals, what categories should be shot?'.

On the same day, September 6, Roosevelt called the Committee to a sudden conference at the White House.

Stimson wrote,

'After what had happened yester- day I.. expected to be steam-rollered by the whole bunch. But the meeting went off better than I had expected. The President.. then took up the question of German economy, looking at me and reverting to his proposition made at Cabinet a week or two ago that Germany could live happily and peacefully on soup from soup kitchens if she couldn't make money for herself. He said that our ancestors had lived successfully and happily in the absence of many luxuries that we would now deem necessities.. As he addressed his remarks to me, I took the chance and tried to drive in the fact that the one point that had been at issue in our yesterday's preparatory meeting of the Committee had been the proposition that the Ruhr and the Saar a plot of non-industrial agricultural land.. I said I was utterly opposed to the destruction of such a great gift of nature and that it should be used for the reconsturction of the world which sorely needed it now.. Morgenthau had submitted through Hull a memorandum giving his program towards Germany and it had reiterated what he had put forth verbally, namely a complete obliteration of the industrial powers of the Ruhr.. I pointed this out and said that this was what I was opposed to. The President apparently took my side on this but he mentioned the fact that Great Britain was going to be in sore straits after the war and he thought that the products of the Ruhr might be used to furnish raw material for British steel industry. I said that I had no objection certainly to assisting Britain every way that we could, but that this was very different from obliterating the Ruhr as had been proposed.. I wound up by using the analogy of Charles Lamb's dissertation on roast pig. I begged the President to remember that this was a most complicated economic question and all that I was urging upon him was that he should not burn down his house of the world for the purpose of getting a meal of roast pig. He apparently caught the point.'

On September 7, Stimson showed to General Marshall the memorandum he had written about Germany. '[Marshall] thoroughly approved the position I have taken of temperate treatment economically of the Saar-Ruhr area as being the only possible thing for us to do. I also showed them the memorandum which I received from Morgenthau demanding that the leaders of the Nazi party be shot without trial and on the basis of the general world appreciation of their guilt, and it met with the reception that I expectedabsolute rejection of the notion that we should not give these men a fair trial.. But at 11:45 I heard from McCloy that Morgenthau still sticks to his guns and has been to the president again and has demanded a re-hearing.'

Stimson began looking for allies too. 'Dinner with Mabel [Stimson] and [Felix] Frankfurter. Frankfurter was helpful as I knew he would be. Although a Jew like Morgenthau, he approached this subject with perfect detachment and great helpfulness. I went over the whole matter with him from the beginning with him, reading him Morgenthau's views on the subject of the Ruhr and also on the subject of the trial of the Nazis, at both of which he snorted with astonishment and disdain. He fully backed up my views and those of my fellows in the Army,.. these men the substance of a fair trial and that they cannot be railroaded to their death without trial.'

Now, by September 9, the full Morgenthau Plan was ready. At a meeting that day with FDR, Henry Stimson laid into it. 'Instead of having a two hour conference with the President,' wrote Stimson, 'as Secretary Morgenthau had asked for, our conference boiled down to about forty-five minutes and that was taken up mainly by the President's own discursive questions and remarks.. Morgenthau appeared with a new diatribe on the subject of the Nazis and an enlargement of his previous papers as to how to deal with them. Hull took no leading part as chairman but sat silent with very little to say. The President addressed most of his remarks to me and about the only things that I can remember were (1) that he asserted his predilection for feeding the Germans from soup kitchens instead of anything heavier, and (2) he wanted to be protected from the expected revolution in France. Those are the two obsessions that he has had on his mind on this whole subject as far as I could see.'

Morgenthau's record shows that Roosevelt said he wanted Germany partitioned into three parts. He flipped through the pages of Morgenthau's memorandum, and kept prodding Morgenthau: 'Where is the ban on uniforms and marching?' Morgenthau reassured him it was all there.

At one point FDR exclaimed, 'Furthermore I believe in an agricultural Germany,' he said. This conference behind him, Roosevelt, as Stimson later put it, 'pranced up to the meeting at Quebec,' leaving Hull and Stimson behind. On September 12 he cabled to Morgenthau, 'Please be in Quebec by Thursday September 14th noon.' In a looseleaf folder Morgenthau took his Plan up to Quebec with him.


Stimson was astonished to hear that Roosevelt had asked Morgenthau up to Quebec. 'While he has the papers we have written on the subject with him,' Stimson recorded on September 13, 'he has not invited any further discussion on the matter with us. Instead apparently today he has invited Morgenthau up, or Morgenthau has got himself invited. I cannot believe that he will follow Morgenthau's views. If he does, it will certainly be a disaster.' And on September 14, the Kriegsminister wrote, 'It is an outrageous thing. Here the President appoints a Committee with Hull as its Chairman for the purpose of advising him in regard to these questions in order that it may be done with full deliberation and, when he goes off to Quebec, he takes the man who really represents the minority and is so biassed by his Semitic grievances that he is really a very dangerous adviser to the President at this time. Hull.. is left behind.'


At Quebec both Churchill and Roosevelt were ill men. Churchill was kept going only with M&B sulphona- mide-type drugs. Roosevelt's great brain had already deteriorated so far that at one banquet in August he had proposed a toast to the same the Icelandic prime minister twice in twenty minutes.

Both were putty in the hands of evil men. Roosevelt camouflaged his withering brain with carefree bonhomie. On September 13, he would turn to his loathsome dog Falla and command, pointing at Morgenthau, 'say hello to your Uncle Henry.'

The two leaders reached Quebec early on September 11. In fact Roosevelt's train had pulled into the railroad station fifteen minutes before Churchill's train (10:15 AM), by design rather than accident, as he confessed to the Canadian prime minister with a candour that left Mackenzie King gasping in his diary, 'It seemed to me that the President was rather assuming that he was in his own country.' Roosevelt was much thinner in his body and face, had lost around thirty pounds in weight, his eyes were drawn, his haggard face had sunless pallor, and to his shocked host Mackenzie King he looked distinctly older and worn. The electioneering abuse on him as 'a senile old man' had etched deeply into him.* Churchill told Mackenzie King that it was wonderful what Canada was doing in the war, and he particularly praised the latest financial aid given by Canada to Britain, and that he recognized that Canada had had to cover up in a way in order to give what she had. (Mackenzie Kiary, Sept 11, 1944).

As he told Mackenzie King at the end of his stay, Britain would never forget how Canada had helped: 'Really,' he said, 'we are the one debtor nation that will come out of the war.' Now Britain had to expand her export trade and build up her industries. 'I understand that it has to be kept secret for the present,' Churchill said, referring to Canada's financial aid to Britain. They lunched in the Citadel and talked about the war's personalities, about de Gaulle and Chiang-Kai-shek; Churchill flattered F.D.R. that he was head of the strongest military power on earth, both in the air, at sea and on the land.

Churchill looked better, and was getting to grips with some Scotch as well as a couple of brandies. It was hard for even the Canadian hosts to find out about Churchill's and Roosevelt's intentions. Mackenzie King himself was tired and his eyes and body were aching with old age. After luncheon, Mrs Roosevelt wheeled the president over in his wheelchair to see the models Churchill had brought from England of the D-day invasion equipmenta gift for the Hyde Park library. As Roosevelt leaned forward to see them there were beads of perspiration on his forehead. Then he was wheeled away for an afternoon rest. Sir John Dill took Mackenzie King aside and told him he believed that Churchill 'enjoyed' this war. 'It is clear,' agreed Mackenzie King, 'that it is the very breath of life to him.'

On the following day, September 13, it began raining around noon. Morgenthau arrived at Quebec. The problem looming over the conference was of financing the war effort. Canada was now being asked to commit her forces for the South Pacific, but Mackenzie King saw immense political difficulties in further Imperial wars Canadians would never agree that their taxes should be spent fighting to protect India or recover Burma and Singapore. Roosevelt sneered to Morgenthau that he 'knew now' why the British wanted to join in the war in the Pacific. 'All they want is Singapore back.'

* Diaries of Mackenzie King, H.H. Arnold; Leahy, etc.

That evening, September 13, FDR and Churchill stayed at the dinner table at the Citadel. At 8 pm on September 13, Churchill dined with FDR, Morgenthau, Cherwell, and other members of their staff. Mackenzie King left at 9 pm and he found them still sitting there, talking at 11:30 pm. 'Churchill was immediately opposite the President,' Mackenzie King described in his diary, 'and both of them seemed to be speaking to the numbers assembled which included Morgenthau, Lord Cherwell, Lord Leathers, Lord Moran and two or three others. Morgenthau arrived this afternoon. Anthony Eden is to arrive in the morning.'

Morgenthau's papers show that they talked about Germany. Churchill irritably said, 'What are my Cabinet members doing discussing plans for Germany without first discussing them with me?' FDR explained that this was why Morgenthau had come up from Washington. Tomorrow Morgenthau would talk privately with Cherwell about it. Churchill challenged FDR: 'Why don't we discuss Germany now?' so Roosevelt asked Morgenthau to outline his plan. Remarkably, Churchill's first reaction was hostile.

When the Treasury Secretary embarked on the details of dismantling the Ruhr, Churchill was shocked and interrupted him. He was flatly opposedall that was necessary was to eliminate German arms production. Doing what Morgenthau proposed, Churchill waspishly told Roosevelt's Treasury Secretary, who was a Jew, would 'unnatural, un-Christian and unnecessary.' He doubted it would help even if all Germany's former steel markets went to Britain. 'I regard the Morgenthau Plan,' he said with heavy sarcasm, 'with as much enthusiasm as I would handcuffing myself to a dead German.' He was truculent, even offensive, rasping at one point to Roosevelt in particular, 'Is this what you asked me to come all the way over here to discuss?' And at another, to the American representatives in general: 'If you do not do something for Britain then the British simply will have to destroy gold and do business largely within the Empire.' The Prof glowered at his prime minister, but Admiral Leahy, the president's chief of staff, sided with Churchill. F.D.R. kept quiet.

That was his way. He had done his footwork behind the scenes. Once, the conversation switched to India and stayed there for an hour. Churchill was angry at FDR's refusal to understand the administration problems faced by the British in a subcontinent where the birth and death rates were high, and the people were careless of poverty and ignorant of disease. 'I'll give the United States half of India to admi- nister,' Churchill flung at F.D.R., 'and we will take the other half. And then we'll see who does better.'

Surprised at Churchill's hostility to the Plan, Lord Cherwell suspected that WSC had not wholly grasped what Morgenthau was driving at. In a private tête-à-tête the next morning (September 14) he apologized profusely for Winston's behaviour over dinner, promised Morgenthau that he would try to dress up the Plan in a way more attractive to the Prime Minister.

Churchill got the message, wrote later: 'We had much to ask from Mr Morgenthau.' When FDR and Churchill discussed policy toward Germany later that day Churchill now declared himself in favour of the Plan, as outlined to him by Lord Cherwell. Cherwell was instructed to draft a memorandum for signature and give it to Churchill.

At one point Mackenzie King asked how long the war was going to last. Churchill said he feared that it might drag on -- the Germans might hold out in the Alps or elsewhere. 'Hitler and his crowd know that their lives are at stake,' he said, 'so they will fight to the bitter end. This may mean that at some time we have to take the position that the war is really won, and that what is still going on anew is just mopping up groups here and there.' On the question of what to do with Germany, Churchill said that there would not be any attempt to control the country immediately by Allied forces. The Germans would have to police their own people. 'They are a race that loves that sort of thing,' he said. 'To be given any little authority, once they are beaten, and to wield it over others.' He envisaged something like centralized stations (FLAKTURME?) on towers around the different cities. If there was any difficulty from the Germans they could be threatened with a local bombardment. If the difficulty kept up they could be given a very effective bombardment from the skies. 'He did not contemplate continued active fighting,' recorded Mackenzie King after this discussion.

Churchill took a nap at the Citadel, dreaming deeply, and arrived late for dinner. 'I have been thousands of miles away,' he apologized. He sat opposite Roosevelt and Morgenthau. A few hours earlier Anthony Eden, summoned by Churchill from London, had arrived at Quebec. He sat to Roosevelt's left, worn out by the eighteen-hour flight in a Liberator bomber. Churchill was in good spirit, the Canadian premier was pleased to see how well he was looking, and surmised it was because of the scarcity of alcohol.

Out of earshot of Churchill and Eden, at 11:00 a.m. on September 15, Morgenthau invited Lord Cherwell and Harry Dexter White to his room, read the Prof's draft and disliked it. It represented 'two steps backwards,' he said. Since the last discussion, he said, Churchill had seemed to accept the Plan, and had himself spoken promisingly of turning Germany into an agricultural state as she had been in the last quarter of the 19th century. Morgenthau urged them to scrap this draft, and return to the two leaders for fresh instructions.

When Churchill met Roosevelt, in the presence of Henry Morgenthau and Harry Dexter White, an hour later at noon September 15, Britain's financial problems were clearly uppermost in his own mind, rather than the future of Germany. Roosevelt read through the draft Lend-Lease Agreement for Phase II, and approved it with a minor change.

But each time he seemed about to sign it, he kept interrupting with a fresh anecdote -- he was in one of his talky moods, as Morgenthau described them. Churchill was unable to contain himself. 'What do you want me to do,' he exclaimed nervously. 'Get on my hind legs and beg like Falla?'.

FDR enjoyed every moment of Churchill's -- Britain's -- humiliating plight. But eventually he signed: OK, FDR. Churchill added: WC, 15.9. (A copy of the document is also in the Forrestal papers; and cf Leahy diary, October 19, 1944.)

It was a load off Churchill's mind. He became quite emotional and Morgenthau saw tears in the old man's eyes. After the signing he thanked Roosevelt effusively, and said that it was something they were doing for both countries.


Still at this noon conference on September 15, 1944, and feeling in generous mood, Churchill turned to Lord Cherwell. 'Where are the minutes on this matter of the Ruhr?' he asked the Prof. The Prof and Morgenthau had agreed to say they did not have them -- because the American, on reading Cherwell's draft, had felt the text was too milk-and-water. ('I thought we could get Churchill to go much further,' he noted afterwards.)

Churchill was annoyed at this lapse. Roosevelt humorously observed that the document was not ready because Morgenthau had 'interspersed the previous discussion with too many dirty stories.'

'Well,' Churchill interrupted impatiently, 'I'll restate it.' He did so forcefully. Then he invited the Prof and Morgenthau to leave the room and dictate the memorandum anew.

When the two men walked back in, the new draft still did not suit Churchill's new temperament. 'No,' he said, 'that won't do at all.' Morgenthau's heart sank, but then he heard Churchill add, 'It's not drastic enough. Let me show you what I want.' He asked for his stenographer, then himself dictatedrather well, as Morgenthau thought.

'At a conference between the President and the Prime Minister upon the best measures to prevent renewed rearmament by Germany, it was felt that an essential feature was the future disposition of the Ruhr and the Saar.'

Among those listening was Eden. Eden was going white about the gills. He was hearing this for the first time.

'The ease,' continued Churchill, 'with which the metallurgical, chemical and electric industries..'

'In Germany,' interposed Roosevelt, because he had in mind the whole of Germany, and not just the Ruhr and Saar industries.

'The ease with which the metallurgical, chemical and electric industries in Germany can be converted from peace to war has already been impressed upon us by bitter experience. It must also be remembered that the Germans have devastated a large portion of the industries of Russia and of other neighbouring Allies, and it is only in accordance with justice that these injured countries should be entitled to remove the machinery they require in order to repair the losses they have suffered. The industries referred to in the Ruhr and in the Saar would therefore be necessarily put out of action and closed down. It was felt that the two districts should be put under somebody under the World Organization which would supervise the dismantling of these industries and make sure that they were not started up again by some subterfuge.

'This programme for eliminating the war-making industries in the Ruhr and in the Saar is looking forward to converting Germany into a country primarily agricultural and pastoral in its character.

'The Prime Minister and the President were in agreement upon this programme.'

Eden was horrified. He exclaimed to Churchill, 'You can't do this. After all, you and I publicly have said quite the opposite.'

A row broke out between the two men. It got quite nasty. But Churchill kept arguing that this was the only way to steal Germany's export market. 'How do you know what it is or where it is,' snapped Eden, and Churchill testily retorted: 'Well, we will get it wherever it is.' He took a pen and initialled the document. Roosevelt had already done the same. 'O.K. FDR' and 'WC, 15.9.'

Copies went to London immediately for the War Cabinet. There is no doubt about it. Typed on long green telegram sheets, it is to be found among Eden's private papers at Birmingham University, and Lord Cherwell's papers at Oxford university.

Copies were circulated to the ministries in Washington as well.* On September 15 Roosevelt sent it to Hull, prefaced by the explanation: 'After many long conversations with the Prime Minister and Lord Cherwell, the

general matter of post-war plans regarding industries has been worked out as per the following memoranda. This seems eminently satisfactory and I think you will approve the general idea of not rehabilitating the Ruhr, Saar, etc.'

Knowing that Eden would return to London before him, Churchill turned to his foreign secretary: 'Now I hope, Anthony,' he said, you're not going to do anything about this with the War Cabinet if you see a chance to present it. After all, the future of my people is at stake and when I have to choose between my people and the German people, I am going to choose my people.'

For the rest of the day Eden sulked and brooded. Morgenthau was delighted, particularly by the unexpected bonus that Churchill had himself dictated the infamous memorandum. He could hardly later disavow it. Afterwards Morgenthau lunched with Lord Cherwell. That afternoon -- it was still September 15, 1944 -- Roosevelt looked at the Combined Chiefs of Staff map of postwar Germany and found it 'terrible,' as he told Morgenthau. He took three colored pencils and sketched where he wanted the British and American armies to go in Germany. He waited until the PM was in a good humor and everything else settled, then showed the map to him. Churchill approved it.

Admiral Leahy was also pleased with it, explaining to Morgenthau that since the British were going to occupy the Ruhr and the Saar, they would have the odium of carrying the Morgenthau plan out. Henry Stimson, isolated on his estate by a hurricane that weekend, now learned of Morgenthau's triumph at Quebec. He wrote in his diary, 'On Saturday or Sunday [September 16-17] I learned from McCloy over the long distance telephone that the President has sent a decision flatly against us in regard to the treatment of Germany. Apparently he has gone over completely to the Morgenthau proposition and has gotten Churchill and Lord Cherwell with them. But the situation is a serious one and the cloud of it has hung over me pretty heavily over the weekend. It is a terrible thing to think that the total power of the United States and the United Kingdom in such a critical matter as this is in the hands of two men, both of whom are similar in their impulsiveness and their lack of systematic study.I have yet to meet a man who is not horrified with the "Carthaginian" attitude of the Treasury. It is Semitism gone wild for vengeance and, if it is ultimately carried out (I can't believe that it will be) it as sure as fate will lay the seeds for another war in the next generation. And yet these two men in a brief conference at Quebec with nobody to advise them except "yes-men," with no Cabinet officer with the President except Morgenthau, have taken this step and given directions for it to be carried out.'

* Copies of this are in, inter alia, (Dwight D Eisenhower Library, Eisenhower files, Box 152, Morgenthau Plan.; ibid., Box 76, Morgenthau; Henry Morgenthau's book, 'Germany is Our Problem,' New York, 1945; Cherwell papers; Foreign office, files, London; Forrestal diary, October 20 ("Morgenthau.. handed me a copy"); Morgenthau papers, diary, pp.1454-5, September 15, 1944.


At noon on the sixteenth, calling at the Citadel for a final joint meeting with Roosevelt and Churchill, airforce commander General Arnold thought that the President looked 'very badly.' 'He did not have the pep, power of concentration, could not make his usual wisecracks, seemed to be thinking of something else. Closed his eyes to rest more than usual.' (Arnold diary).

Roosevelt left that evening for his Hyde Park estate, joined there by Churchill early on the eighteenth. On September 18, Churchill and Roosevelt signed their secret agreement on the atomic bomb: 'It might perhaps, after mature consideration, be used against the Japanese;' and there was to be 'full collaboration between the United States and the British Government' in its postwar development and commerical exploitation. (Since neither Churchill's nor Roosevelt's successors knew of this secret agreement, it would remain unhonoured.)

After dinner on September 19 Churchill left for Staten Island by train and boarded the Queen Mary off New York the next morning for the return journey to England. Lord Cherwell, his eminence grise, remained in Washington. Roosevelt was still under Morgenthau's influence. On September 20, John McCloy told Stimson, who wrote it in his diary, that he had heard from Halifax and Sir Alec Cadogan that the president was 'very firm for shooting the Nazi leaders without trial.' After Quebec, the Washington campaign against the Morgenthau Plan stepped up. McCloy showed it to Forrestal, the Navy Secretary.

Both Stimson and Hull carried protests to the President against it. On September 20, Morgenthau proudly related to Secretaries Stimson and Hull how he had obtained the initials of Roosevelt and Churchill on his Declaration. Stimson and Hull both gained the impression that the president had not read what he had so easily initialled. On September 22 there was a discussion between Roosevelt, Bush, Leahy and Lord Cherwell. The last-named wrote a handwritten note. After discussion of the atomic bomb project ("Tube Alloys") the conversation passed to more general topics.

'P[resident] said that the British Empire, in its struggle against fascism, had got into terrible economic trouble. It was a U.S. interest to help Britain over that trouble and see that she became once more completely solvent and able to pay her way. In fact to put it bluntly the U.S. could not afford to see the British Empire go bankrupt. For this reason it was essential to increase Great Britain's exports. It had been decided at Q[uebec]though he did not know when this would be announced or whether it would simply be allowed to leak out later that in the interests of world security German war-making potential in the Ruhr and the Saar would be extinguished and those regions put under international control. In fact Germany should revert definitely to a more agricultural habit. This would leave a gap in the export markets which the U.K. might well fill to general advantage. It might be that some high minded people would disapprove, but he found it hard to be high minded vis-à-vis the Germans when he thought of all they had done.'
Almost overnight, Roosevelt changed his mind. What changed it for him, was probably the leakage of the Morgenthau Plan to the newspapers, published in great detail on September 23 by the Wall Street Journal. Roosevelt covered his tracks as best he could. Pulling out all the stops, Morgenthau sent a copy of the full-length Plan round to Lord Cherwell at his Washington hotel on September 26, asking him to show it to Churchill.

But the opposition was stiffening. To Stimson's surprise, on the 27th Roosevelt himself telephoned on the scrambler telephone. 'He.. was evidently under the influence of the impact of criticism which has followed his decision to follow Morgenthau's advice. The papers have taken it up violently and almost unanimously against Morgenthau and the President himself, and the impact has been such that he had already reached a conclusion that he had made a false step and was trying to work out of it. He told me that he didn't really intend to try to make Germany a purely agricultural country but said that his underlying motive was the very confidential one that England was broke; that something must be done to give her more business to pull out after the war, and he evidently hoped that by something like the Morgenthau Plan Britain might inherit Germany's Ruhr business.'

The five biggest American engineering unions issued a declaration on September 29 dismissing the Plan as economically unsound and warning that it 'contained the seeds of a new war.' Politically, the Morgenthau Plan was a disaster. Roosevelt was coming up to a new presidential election in a few weeks' time. On October 3, lunching with Stimson, he remarked: 'You know, Morgenthau pulled a boner. Don't let's be apart on that. I have no intention of turning Germany into an agrarian state.' Stimson thereupon produced a copy of the Declaration and read the appropriate lines from it. Roosevelt listened in horror. He had no idea how he could have agreed to such proposals. At a meeting the same day with Lord Cherwell, Harry Hopkins said to the Prof: 'Be careful with Cordell Hull. He is very annoyed at Henry Morgenthau's intervention in the plans for the treatment of Germany. He has no doubt at all that you supported Morgenthau because you were anxious to get the Lend-Lease negotiations through.'

In London, Eden angrily rebuked Churchill for having initialled the agreement. On September 29 a Labour Member of Parliament, Richard Stokes, challenged Eden to tell the truth about the Morgenthau Plan.

Lord Keynes, British economist, in Washington on Churchill's orders to ask for $6,757m to be allocated to Lend-Lease for Britain in 1945, wrote to London with the inside story of the leak to the newspapers. He thought the Plan might still be implemented. But Roosevelt had already turned his back on the document. Writing to the State Department on October 20, he made clear that he approved the Department's economic plans. Morgenthau continued to campaign for his Plan's acceptance. On October 20th., he lunched with Marineminister James Forrestal and revealed the plan to him.


Regardless of the Quebec document initialling the Morgenthau Plan, the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff had issued to General Eisenhower a wide interim directive on policy towards Germany, on September 17, 1944. The Supreme Commander was to ensure that the Germans realized they would never again be allowed to threaten world peace. 'Your occupation and administration,' the document read, 'will be just but firm and distant. You will strongly discourage fraternization between Allied troops and the German officials and population.' But then more directives were issued as appendices. A Political Directive issued on October 14 stressed the elimination of the German officer corps. 'General Staff officers not taken into custody as prisoners are to be arrested and held, pending receipt of further instructions as to their disposal.'

That sounded ominous. The appended Economic Directive circulated in October 1944 was very similar to Morgenthau's plan. 'You shall assume such control of existing German industrial, agricultural, utility, communication and transportation facilities, supplies and services as are necessary for the following purposes..' and then continued, 'except for the purposes specified above, you will take no steps looking toward the economic rehabilitation of Germany or designed to maintain or strengthen the German economy except to the extent necessary to accomplish the purposes set out above, the responsibility for such economic problems as price controls, rationing, unemployment, production, reconstruction, distribution, consumption, housing or transportation, will remain with the German people and the German authorities.'

The proposed Relief Directive was even more stark: 'You will invite the German authorities to maintain or re-establish such health services and facilities as may be available to them under the circumstances. In the event that disease and epidemics should threaten the safety of allied troops or endanger or impede military occupation, you shall take such steps as you deem necessary to protect the health of Allied troops and to eradicate the source of the problem.'

As the barrage began against him and his Plan, Morgenthau was bitterly critical of the British policy draft, and sent to England a 'Memorandum on the British Draft of Policy Directive on Germany,' dated November 1, 1944. He asked his crony Lord Cherwell to send it to Churchill, who did so, complaining that the British War Office had evidently prepared their very elaborate draft without any guiding principle, whereas the American draft appeared to have been prepared since, and in the light of, the discussions at Quebec. 'Broadly speaking our draft tells the troops to encourage and help the Germans to restore their industry unless this interferes with the war. The U.S. draft says that they should only be helped to restore the industry if this assists us in prosecuting the war.' Cherwell sent this summary to Churchill on November 5.

Churchill approved, sent a minute to Anthony Eden on November 6: 'I do not remember ever having seen the War Office draft and certainly Mr Morgenthau's criticisms of it seem very cogent. This matter requires immediate reconsideration first by you and then by the War Cabinet. WSC 6.11.1944.' Across one corner of Churchill's letter.

Anthony Eden wrote to his permanent secretary, Sir Alexander Cadogan, on November 7, 1944: 'I don't think I ever read any draft. At the same time I cannot see that this is any business of Mr Morgenthau's, still less Lord Cherwell's & should like to say so. Would you please go into the matter for me? A.E. Nov 7.'


Rejoicing at the chance, Eden's staff drafted a lengthy, rough-tongued reply to go jointly from the Foreign Office (Eden) and the War office (Sir James Grigg) and Mr Churchill. Eden approved the draft, writing in a handwritten memo: 'I have never read the documents and I hope that they deserve this stalwart defence. Anyhow it is well stated & Morgenthau's interference is a piece of gratuitous impertinence. These ex-Germans seem to wish to wash away their ancestry in a bath of hate. A.E. Nov 19.'

The British government retained its logical approach to the German occupation problem. On November 20 the War Cabinet circulated the E.I.P.S. re- draft of the economic and relief directives. Characteristic of the British attitude was the paragraph ordering Eisenhower, after closing down the munitions factories, to 'ensure that the other utilities are restored to full working order and that coalmines and are maintained in working condition and in full operation so far as transport will permit.'

Mr Roosevelt's metamorphosis was now complete. When the British Minister of State had lunch with President Roosevelt on December 22, 1944, Roosevelt told him he was quite sure 'that it was most unwise to attempt to come now to any long term decisions about Germany,' since it would be folly to commit themselves to plans which might be found to be inappropriate when they arrived. F.K. Roberts, head of the F.O.'s Central Europe department, minuted on his copy, 'This surely marks a considerable retreat on the part of the President from the Morgenthau Plan of forcible dismemberment.'

By January 1945 there still seemed little doubt in SHAEF's mind that entire classes of German captives were to be shot out of hand. SHAEF's views as formulated in a report of its Psychological Warfare Division were hotly discussed in Washington. There was little doubt why the new plan proposed to differentiate between the German people and the members of their government, High Command, and Nazi Party on the other. Marineminister Forrestal objected. 'The American people,' he wrote in his diary on Janury 16, 1945, 'would not support mass murder of Germans, their enslavement, or the industrial devastation of the country.'

Churchill continued to argue for liquidation of the enemy leaders.

At Yalta, Admiral Leahy noted in his diary on February 9, that 'The Prime Minister.. expressed an opinion that the 'Great War Criminals' should be executed without formal individual trials.' Again Stalin blocked this proposal, and Truman would later strongly adopt the same position, that a trial was vital.

'The British,' summarized Stimson in his diary one weekend (April 27-29) 'have to my utmost astonishment popped out for what they call political action which is merely a euphemistic name for lynchlaw, and they propose to execute these men without a trial.. Fortunately the Russians and the French are on our side.'

Morgenthau continued to peddle his plan around Washington. He visited Roosevelt on the day before the president died, and again badgered him to adopt the plan. On the day the war ended, May 8, 1945, Morgenthau would resume his vicious campaign for the starvation of central Europe, this time with Harry S. Truman. He telephoned Henry Stimson, lunching at home, and complained that the Coordinating Committee was not carrying out his 'scorched earth' policy as hard as he wanted, particularly as related to the destruction of all oil and gasoline and the plants for making them in Germany, and Directive 1067 that ordained this. Except for the purpose of facilitating the occupation, JCS.1067 defined, 'you [Eisenhower] will take no steps looking toward the economic rehabilitation of Germany nor designed to maintain or strengthen the German economy.'

The U.S. army was protesting this senseless order. But Morgenthau wanted his evil will performed. Stimson privately dictated next day, 'I foresee hideous results from his influence in the near future.' In a memorandum to Mr. Truman dated May 16, Stimson outlined the probable consequences of such pestilence and famine in central Europe'political revolution and Communistic infiltration.' And he added a warning against the emotional plans to punish every German by starvation: 'The eighty million Germans and Austrians in central Europe today necessarily swing the balance of that continent.'

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2005, 05:41 AM
Direktive JCS 1067

Die Direktive JCS 1067 an den Oberbefehlshaber der Besatzungstruppen der USA über die Ziele der Militärregierung in Deutschland vom 26. 4. 1945.

2. Die Grundlage der Militärregierung:
a) Die Rechte, die Machtbefugnisse und die Rechtsstellung der Militärregierung in Deutschland gründen sieh auf der bedingungslosen Übergabe oder der vollständigen Niederlage Deutschlands.

4. Grundlegende Ziele der Militärregierung in Deutschland:

a) Es muß den Deutschen klargemacht werden, daß Deutschlands rücksichtslose Kriegführung und der fanatische Widerstand der Nazis die deutsche Wirtschaft zerstört und Chaos und Leiden unvermeidlich gemacht haben und daß sie nicht der Verantwortung für das entgehen können, was sie selbst auf sich geladen haben.

b) Deutschland wird nicht besetzt zum Zwecke seiner Befreiung, sondern als ein besiegter Feindstaat. Ihr Ziel ist nicht die Unterdrückung, sondern die Besetzung Deutschlands, um gewisse wichtige alliierte Absichten zu verwirklichen. Bei der Durchführung der Besetzung und Verwaltung müssen Sie gerecht, aber fest und unnahbar sein. Die Verbrüderung mit deutschen Beamten und der Bevölkerung werden Sie streng unterbinden.

c) Das Hauptziel der Alliierten ist es. Deutschland daran zu hindern, je wieder eine Bedrohung des Weltfriedens zu werden. [. . -|

5. Wirtschaftskontrollen:

[, . , ] Sie [werden] sich von dem Grundsatz leiten lassen, daß der deutschen Wirtschaft in dem Maße Kontrollen auferlegt werden können, als erforderlich ist, [. . .] um Hungersnot oder Krankheiten und Unruhen, die eine Gefährdung dieser Streitkräfte darstellen würden, vorzubeugen. Sie werden bei der Durchführung des Reparationsprogramms oder anderweitig nichts unternehmen, was geeignet wäre, die grundlegenden Lebensbedingungen in Deutschland oder in Ihrer Zone auf einem höheren Stand zu halten als in irgendeinem benachbarten Mitgliedstaat der Vereinten Nationen.

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2005, 11:31 AM
Marschall Plan

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2005, 12:14 PM
The Morgenthau Plan and the Problem of Policy Perversion
Paper presented to the Ninth International Revisionist Conference.
Prof. Anthony Kubek
THE MORGENTHAU DIARIES consist of 900 volumes located at Roosevelt Library in Hyde Park, New York. As a consultant to the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee, I was assigned to examine all documents dealing with Germany, particularly ones related to the Morgenthau Plan for the destruction of Germany following the Second World War. The Subcommittee was interested in the role of Dr. Harry Dexter White, the main architect of the Plan.

Secretary of the U.S. Treasury Henry Morgenthau, Jr. served in President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Cabinet from January of 1934 to July of 1945. Before Morgenthau was appointed Secretary of the Treasury, he had lived near Roosevelt's home at Hyde Park, N.Y. for two decades and could be counted as one of his closest and most trusted friends. His appointment was clearly the culmination of twenty years of devotion to, and adoration of, his neighbor on the Hudson. According to his official biographer, Morgenthau's "first joy in life was to serve Roosevelt, whom he loved and trusted and admired."1

The Treasury Department under Secretary Morgenthau had many functions that went beyond anything in the Department's history. The Morgenthau Diaries reveal that the Treasury presumed time and time again to make foreign policy. In his Memoirs Secretary of State Cordell Hull described it in these terms:

Emotionally upset by Hitler's rise and his persecution of the Jews, Morgenthau often sought to induce the President to anticipate the State Department or act contrary to our better judgment We sometimes found him conducting negotiations with foreign governments which were the function of the State Department. His work in drawing up a catastrophic plan for the postwar treatment of Germany and inducing the President to accept it without consultation with the State Department, was an outstanding instance of this interference.2

Actually it was Dr. Harry Dexter White, Morgenthau's principal adviser on monetary matters and finally Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, who conducted most of the important business of the Department. The Diaries reveal that White's influence was enormous throughout the years of World War II. Shortly after Morgenthau became Secretary in 1934, White joined his staff as economic analyst on the recommendation of the noted economist, Prof. Jacob Viner of the University of Chicago. Then 42 years old, White was about to receive a doctorate in economics from Harvard University, where he previously had taught as an instructor. He moved up quickly in the Treasury Department, named in 1938 as Director of Monetary Research and in the summer of 1941 acquiring an additional title as "Assistant to the Secretary." Articulate, mustachioed, and nattily dressed, he was a conspicuous figure in the Treasury but remained unknown to the public until 1943, when newspaper articles identified him as the actual architect of Secretary Morgenthau's monetary proposals for the postwar period.

The Diaries reveal White's technique of dominating over general Treasury affairs by submitting his plans and ideas to the Secretary, who frequently carried them directly to the President It is very significant that Morgenthau had access to the President more readily than any other Cabinet member. He ranked beneath the Secretary of State in the Cabinet, but Hull complained that he often acted as though "clothed with authority" to project himself into the field of foreign affairs. Morgenthau, Hull felt, "did not stop with his work at the Treasury."3

Over the years White brought into the Treasury a number of economic specialists with whom he worked very closely. White and his colleagues were in a position, therefore, to exercise on American foreign policy influence which the diaries reveal to have been pi'ofound and unprecedented. They used their power in various ways to design and promote the so-called Morgenthau Plan for the postwar treatment of Germany. Their actions were not limited to the authority officially delegated to them: their power was inherent in their access to, and influence upon, Secretary Morgenthau and other officials, and in the opportunities they had to present or withhold information on which the policies of their superiors might be based. What makes this a unique chapter in American history is that Dr. White and several of his colleagues, the actual architects of vital national policies during those crucial years, were subsequently identified in Congressional hearings as participants in a network of Communist espionage in the very shadow of the Washington Monument. Two of them worked for the Chinese Communists.

Stated in its simplest terms, the objective of the Morgenthau Plan was to de-industrialize Germany and diminish its people to a pastoral existence once the war was won. If this could be accomplished, the militaristic Germans would never rise again to threaten the peace of the world. This was the justification for all the planning, but another motive lurked behind the obvious one. The hidden motive was unmasked in a syndicated column in the New York Herald Tribune in September 1946, more than a year after the collapse of the Germans. The real goal of the proposed condemnation of "all of Germany to a permanent diet of potatoes" was the communization of the defeated nation. "The best way for the German people to be driven into the arms of the Soviet Union," it was pointed out, "was for the United States to stand forth as the champion of indiscriminate and harsh misery in Germany."4

Anyone who studies the Morgenthau Diaries can hardly fail to be deeply impressed by the tremendous power which accumulated in the grasping hands of Dr. Harry Dexter White, who in 1953 was identified by Edgar Hoover as a Soviet agent. White assumed full responsibility for "all matters with which the Treasury Department has to deal having a bearing on foreign relations..."5 He and his colleagues had Secretary Morgenthau's complete approval in the formulation of a blueprint for the permanent elimination of Germany as a world power. The benefits which might accrue to the Soviet Union as a result of such Treasury planning were incalculable.

When members fo the Senate Internal Security sub committee asked Elizabeth Bentley, who was a courier between White and Soviet agents, whether she knew of a similar "Morgenthau Plan" for the Far East, she gave the following testimony:

Miss Bentley: No. The only Morgenthau Plan I knew anything about was the German one.

Senator Eastland: Did you know who drew that plan?

Miss Bentley: [It was] Due to Mr. White's influence, to push the devastation of Germany because that was what the Russians wanted.

Senator Ferguson: That was what the Communists wanted? Miss Bentley: Definitely, Moscow wanted them [German factories] completely razed because then they would be of no help to the allies.

Mr. Morris: You say that Harry Dexter White worked on that?

Miss Bentley: And on our instructions he pushed hard.6

When J. Edgar Hoover testified before the Subcommittee on November 17, 1953, he affirmed this testimony:

All information furnished by Miss Bentley, which was susceptible to check has proven to be correct. She had been subjected to the most searching of cross-examinations; her testimony has been evaluated by juries and reviews by the courts and has been found to be accurate.

Mr. Hoover continued:

Miss Bentley's account of White's activities was later corroborated by Whittaker Chambers; and the documents in White's own handwriting, concerning which there can be no dispute, lend credibility to the information previously reported on White.7

Morgenthau hit the ceiling when he got a copy of the Handbook for Military Government in Germany, which was designed for the guidance of every American and British official upon entering Germany. The Handbook offered a glimpse of a very different kind of occupation that Treasury officials were hoping for. Its tone was moderate and lenient throughout Germany was not only to be self-supporting but was to retain a relatively high standard of living. Morgenthau wasted no time in showing the Handbook to President Roosevelt, who immediately rejected its philosophy as too soft. Impressed by the critical memorandum White had prepared, the President killed the Handbook and sent a stinging memorandum to the Secretary of War, Henry L. Stimson, and a copy of which was sent to Hull. 'This so-called Handbook is pretty bad," Roosevelt began, and he instructed that "all copies" be withdrawn immediately because it gave him the impression that Germany was to be "restored just as much as The Netherlands or Belgium, and the people of Germany brought back as quickly as possible to their pre-war estate."8

Thus both Hull and Stimson were put on notice by the President that the State and War Departments must develop harsher attitudes towards Germany or be bypassed in the formulation of that policy. According to General Lucius Clay, suppression of the Handbook eventually had a "devastating effect on the morale of American officials responsible for disarming Germany."9

Meanwhile the State Department and the Joint Chiefs of Staff had earlier completed their own prospectus and directive for postwar Germany. In the State document there was to be no "large-scale and permanent impairment of all German industry."10 ICS 1067, as the military directive was numbered, was unmistakably akin in spirit to the "soft" State Department prosepctus. Moreover, it was in "harmony" with the Handbookóthat is to say, this draft not only tolerated but actually encouraged friendly relations between American soldiers and German civilians. From various inter departmental meetings with State and War, a new version of JCS 1067 finally emerged. It completely reversed the spirit of the original draft. It was largely the handiwork of Harry Dexter White. It is indeed remarkable how the Treasury intervened and eventually got the State and War Departments to alter their basic policy on postwar Germany.

In the realm of finance, of course, the Secretary of Treasury would naturally be involved in the postwar treatment of Germany. But Morgenthau delved deeply into matters altoghether unrelated to economics. The Germans needed psychiatry, Morgenthau told White. He said he was interested in "treating the mind rather than the body," and in planning "how to bring up the next generation of children." It might be wise to take the whole Nazi SS group out of Germany, he thought, and deport them to some other part of the world. "Just taking them bodily," he told White, and he "wouldn't be afraid to make the suggestion" even though it might be very "ruthless ... to accomplish the act."11

Regarding the punishment of Nazi leaders, White suggested that a list of "war criminals" be prepared and presented to American officers on the spot, who could properly identify the guilty and shoot them on sight. Morgenthau remarked jokingly that a good start could be made with Marshal Stalin's "list of 50,000"óa reference to Stalin's vodka toast to Roosevelt and Churchill at the Teheran Conference. 12

The disposition of the Ruhr Valley was one of the main topics discussed in one of the many Treasury meetings. For many years the coal fields of the Ruhr had been essential to the German economy. The British economist John Maynard Keynes had said after World War I that the Kaiser's empire was built "more truly on coal and iron than on blood and iron."13 Coal was the backbone of all German industry, vital to her electric power and to her chemical, synthetic oil, and steel industries.14 It was Morgenthau's persistent view, therefore, that the Ruhr should be "locked up and wiped out," and he was positive that the President was in "complete accord" on this point.

As the discussion proceeded, White shrewdly intimated that it might be better to place the Ruhr under international controls which would "produce reparations for twenty years." This was a straw proposal that Morgenthau promptly rejected. "Harry, you can't sell it to me at all," he said, "because it would be under control only a few years and the Germans will have another Anschluss!" The only program he would have any part of, Morgenthau declared, was "the complete shut-down of the Ruhr." When Harold Gaston, the Treasury public relations officer, interruped to ask whether this meant "driving the population out," Morgenthau replied: "I don't care what happens to the population... I would take every mine, every mill and factory and wreck it." "Of every kind?" inquired Gaston. "Steel, coal, everything. Just close it down," Morgenthau said. "You wouldn't close the mines, would you?" inquired Daniel Bell, one of the Secretary's assistants. "Sure," replied Morgenthau, and he reiterated that the only economic activity which should remain intact was agriculture ó and that could be placed under some type of international control. He was for destroying Germany's economic power first, he said, and then "we will worry about the population second."

Morgenthau seemed very confident that the President would not waver in his support of a punitive program for postwar Germany. Any effective plan, however, would have to be executed within the next six months, or otherwise the Allies might suddenly become ."soft." The best way to begin, Morgenthau advised, was to have American engineers go to every synthetic gas factory, and dynamite them or "open the water valves and flood them." Then let the "great humanitarians" simply sit "back and decide about the population afterwards." Eventually the Ruhr would resemble "some of the silver mines in Nevada," Morgenthau said. "You mean like Sherman's march to the sea?" asked Dan Bell. Morgenthau answered bluntly that he would make the Ruhr a "ghost area."15

Such was the character of Secretary Morgenthau's views on the treatment of Germany. Never in American history had there been proposed a more vindictive program for a defeated nation. With the Treasury exerting unprecendented influence in determining American policy toward Germany, the fallacies of logic, evasion of issues and deliberate disregard of essential economic relationships manifest in the above conversation were incorporated in the postwar plan as finally adopted. Furthermore, no paper of any importance dealing with the occupation of Germany could be released until approved by the Treasury. The State and War Departments became virtually subservient to the Treasury in this area, normally their responsibility.16

At a meeting in the President's office, Morgenthau and Stimson presented their opposite views. Stimson objected vigorously to the Treasury recommendation for the wrecking of the Ruhr. "I am unalterably opposed to such a program," he declared, holding it to be "wholly wrong" to deprive the people of Europe of the products that the Ruhr could produce. 17 The Treasury Plan, if adopted, would breed new wars, arouse sympathy for Germans in other countries, and destroy resources needed for the general reconstruction of ravaged Europe. He urged the President not to make a hasty decision, and to accept "for the time being" Hull's suggestion that the controversial economic issue be left for future discussion. 18

ree; At the Quebec summit conference between Roosevelt and Churchill in September 1944, Morgenthau was asked to explain his plan to the British. Churchill was horrified and "in ree; violent language" called the plan "cruel and un-Christian." But Morgenthau hammered on the idea that the destruction of the Ruhr would create new markets for Britain after the war. He also promised Churchill an American loan of $6.5 billion! Churchill "changed his mind" the next morning. 19

Although foreign affairs and military matters were discussed in depth at the Quebec Confrence, neither Hull nor Stimson were in attendance. The Treasury Department took precedence over State and War in negotiations regarding Germany.

The effects of Morgenthau's victory at Quebec were quickly felt in Washington. At a luncheon with Undersecretary of War Robert Patterson, Morgenthau brought up the Quebec agreement. Patterson said jokingly: "To degrade Europe by making Germany an agricultural country, isn't that offensive to you?" Morgenthau replied: "Not in the case of Germany."20

Hull felt strongly that Morgenthau should have been kept out of the field of general policy, and so did Stimson. When Stimson heard of the President's endorsement of the Treasury plan at Quebec, he quickly drafted another critical memorandum. "If I thought that the Treasury proposals would accomplish [our agreed objective, continued peace)," he wrote, "I would not persist in my objections. But I cannot believe that they will make for a lasting peace. In spirit and in emphasis they are punitive, not, in my judgment, corrective or constructive." He continued:

It is not within the realm of possibility that the whole nation of seventy million people, who have been outstanding for many years in the arts and the sciences and who through their efficiency and energy have attained one of the highest industrial levels in Europe, can by force be required to abandon all their previous methods of life, be reduced to a level with virtually complete control of industry and science left to other peoples ... Enforced poverty is even worse, for it destroys the spirit not only of the victim but debases the victor. It would be just such a crime as the Germans themselves hoped to perpetrate upon their victimsóit would be a crime against civilization iLself.21

Word of "Morgenthau's coup at Quebec" leaked to the press with two results. One was that Roosevelt, because of the adverse reaction, evidently concluded that his Treasury Secretary had made "a serious blunder." The other was to stiffen German resistance on the Western front. Until then there was a fair chance that the Germans might discontinue resistance to American and British forces while holding the Russians at bay in the East in order to avoid the frightful fate of a Soviet occupation. This could have shortened the war by months and could have averted the spawning of malignant communism in East Germany.

How the Treasury officials were able to integrate basic features of their plan into the military directive, originally prepared by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and known as JCS 1067, is fully disclosed in the Diaries. White saw to it that many elements of his thinking were embodied in ICS 1067. Previous directives for guidance of American troops upon entrance into Germany, which already had undergone six or more revisions of a stylistic nature, were now brought more in line with the punitive thinking of Morgenthau and White. A new directive, which called for a more complete de-nazification, was, with some modifications, the spirit and substance of the Treasury plan. In the two full years that ICS 1067 was the cornerstone of American policy, Germany was punished and substantially dismantled in accord with the basic tenets of the Morgenthau Plan. JCS 1067 forbade fraternization by American personnel with the Germans, ordered a very strict program of de-nazification extending both to public life and to business, prohibited American aid in any rebuilding of German industry, and emphasized agricultural rehabilitation only.

Subsequently, JCS 1067 became a severe handicap to American efforts in Germany. It constituted what may be called without exaggeration a heavy millstone around the neck of the American military government. It gave only limited authority to to the United States military government by specifically prohibiting military officials from taking any steps to rehabilitate the German economy except to maximize agricultural production.

Through various channels, White had gathered information concerning the kind of policy directives other departments had in preparation. This he was able to achieve through a system of "trading" which Morgenthau had initiated at his suggestion. As Elizabeth Bentley told the Internal Security Subcommittee, 'We were so successful getting information... largely because of Harry White's idea to persuade Morgenthau to exchange information." Treasury officials, for example, would send information to the Navy Department, and the Navy would reciprocate. There were, according to Miss Bentley, at least "seven or eight agencies" trading information with Morgenthau.22

At the Yalta Conference on February 4, 1945, the question of postwar treatment of Germany was the most important item on the agenda. The President's conduct suggests the powerful effect on his thinking of White's masterplan and Morgenthau's salesmanship. On the major points regarding Germany the President easily capitulated to the Soviets. Stalin and Roosevelt were in general accord that the defeated Germans should be stripped of their factories and left to take care of themselves. But Churchill wished to preserve enough of the existing economic structure of Germany to permit the defeated nation to recover to some degree.

In his book Beyond Containment, William H. Chamberlain assesses Yalta as a tragedy of appeasement:

Like Munich, Yalta must be set down as a dismal failure, practically as well as morally ... The Yalta Agreement represented, in two of its features, the endorsement by the United States of the principle of human slavery. One of these features was the recognition that German labor could be used as a source of reparations ... And the agreement that Soviet citizens who were found in the Eastern zones of occupation should be handed over to Soviet authorities amounted, for the many Soviet refugees who did not wish to return, to the enactment of a fugitive slave law.23

After President Roosevelt returned from Yalta, State Department officials grasped an opportunity to push through their own program for postwar Germany. On March 10, 1945, Secretary of State Edward Stettinius submitted for the President's consideration the draft of a new policy directive for the military occupation of Germany. The prime movers in this strategy were Leon Henderson, James C. Dunn, and James W. Riddleberger, the departmental expert on German affairs. They purposely did not consult with Treasury officials because they knew there would be major objections from them. The March 10 memorandum was a reasonable substitute for the rigorous JCS 1067, which was so pleasing to White and Morgenthau. It was based on the central concept that Germany was important to the economy recovery of Europe. It provided for joint allied control of defeated Germany, preservation of a large part of German industry, and a "minimum standard of living" for the German people. The memorandum had no provision for dismemberment, and Germany was to begin "paying her own way as soon.. as possible."24

When Morgenthau saw a copy of the State Department memorandum, he became so furious that he immediately telephoned Assistant Secretary of War John J. McCloy to voice his complaints. "It's damnable, an outrage!" he exclaimed. "Riddleberger and these fellows are just putting this thing across ... I'm not going to take it lying down." The State Department plan, if adopted, would have spelled complete defeat for Morgenthau and White. "It makes me so mad," Morgenthau raged, "I think the President should fire Jimmy Dunn and two or three other fellows." 25

Several days later, armed with a memorandum drafted by White, Coe, and Glasser, he hurried to the White House. He was disturbed to find Roosevelt's daughter, Anna, and her husband, Maj. John Boettinger, caring for the President, "whose health by that time was faltering to the point where mental lapses could be expected." Roosevelt apparently no longer thought that Morgenthau had "pulled a boner" with his destroy-Germany plan and when Boettinger commented "You don't want the Germans to starve," the President replied "Why not?" Morgenthau told White he was worried about Boettinger's attitude. The question one may ask is did the Soviets know what the American people did not knowóthat Roosevelt was close to death and liable to blackouts at any moment?

Morgenthau reported jubilantly, however, to his "team" that the President had accepted his plan as "a good tough document." He confided in his diary:

We have a good team, they just can't break the team... It is very encouraging that we had the President back us up... they tried to get him to change and they couldn'tóthe State Department crowd. Sooner or later, the President just has to clean his house. I mean the vicious crowd... They are Fascists at heart... 26

The State Department was sorely disappointed that the President had rejected their March lath memorandum. It was a severe defeat for Riddleberger, Dunn, and others who were advocating a reasonable program for Germamy. Morgenthau felt that the new JCS document should declare unmistakably that the State Department paper of March 10 was officially withdrawn. White asked McCloy and General Hilldring whether everyone in the War Department would understand that the new document "superseded" the March 10 memorandum. McCloy assured him that everyone would be ree; duly notified. White then asked whether it would be perfectly "clear" in the Army that the Treasury document "took precedence over and caused the revision of any document contrary to it." General Hilldring answered there would be no problem here.

A cardinal point of dispute between the Treasury and the Department of War resided in the question of the treatment of German war criminals. Stimson advised the President to have trials rather than the "shoot on sight" policy advocated by Morgenthau. Stimson believed the accused should have a right to be heard and be allowed to call witnesses to his defense.27 Another subject of controversy between the Treasury on the one side and the State and War on the other was the question of reparations. The Treasury believed that reprarations should be limited to whatever the Allies could wring out of defeated Germany at the end of the war. Morgenthau and White were dead set against the old concept of long-term reparations payments, because such annual tribute would necessitate the re-building of industry on a large scale in Germany. They wished to make the Germans "pastoral" and then throw upon them the full repsonsibility for taking care of themselves. The World War I application of "reparations" would result in nothing more or less that the revitalization of German industrial might. In their thinking this specter loomed large indeed.

White and his colleagues were careful not to jeopardize postwar relations with the Soviet Union. They frequently expressed their fears of Western encirclement of Russia. They thought that those individuals in the American government who wished to restore Germany were motivated by the idea that a strong Reich was necessary as a "bulwark against Russia." This attitude was certainly responsible for many of the current difficulties between Washington and Moscow. At one of the interdepartmental meetings a dispute developed over the question of compulsory German labor as restitution for war damages in Russia. Treasury officials were boldly advocating the creation of a large labor force with no external controls. This view was challenged by War, State and other departments as treating 2 or 3 million people as slave labor. Morgenthau reminded his opponents that the whole issue of compulsory labor had already been decided upon at Yalta. "We are simply carrying out the Yalta agreement," he exclaimed, and anyone who is going to protest "... is protesting against Yalta ..." It is significant that five months previously, President Roosevelt had sent a memorandum to Morgenthau to the effect that if "they [Russia] want German labor, there is no reason why they should not get it in certain circumstances and under certain conditions."28

White opined that if the Russians needed two million German laborers to reconstruct their devastated areas, he saw nothing wrong with it; it was "in the interest" of Russia and even Germany that the labor force come from the ranks of the Gestapo, the S.S., and the Nazi party membership. "That's not a punishment for crime," he stated, "that's merely a part of the reparations problem in the same way you want certain machines from Germany...29

As long as Morgenthau was Secretary of the Treasury, White performed adroitly in his strange Svengali role. But fundamental changes in the management of American foreign policy occurred after Harry Truman became President. While the President was still a Senator, he read in the newspapers about the Morgenthau Plan, and he didn't like it. Morgenthau wanted to come to Potsdam, threatening to resign if he was not made a member of the U.S. delegation. Truman promptly accepted his resignation.

What were the final results of the Morgenthau Plan? What actual effect did it have on Germany? "While the policy was never fully adopted," wrote W. Friedmann, "it had a considerable influence upon American policy in the later stages of the war and during the first phase of military government."30 Although President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill eventually recognized the folly of what they had approved at Quebec, Morgenthau, White, and the Treasury staff saw to it that the spirit and substance of their plan prevailed in official policy as it was finally mirrored in the punitive directive known as JCS 1067.

In a very definite way JCS 1067 determined the main lines of U.S. policy in Germany for fully two years after the surrender. Beginning in the fall of 1945, to be sure, a new drift in American policy was evident, and it eventually led to the formal repudiation of the directive in July of 1947. Until it was officially revoked, however, the lower administrative echelons had to enforce its harsh provisions. "The military government officers," writes Prof. Harold Zink, "were unable to see how Germany could be reorganized without a substantial amount of industrialization. They tried to fit the Morgenthan dictates into their economic plans, but they ended up more or less in a state of paralysis."31

As White had certainly anticipated, the economic condition of Germany was desperate between 1945 and 1948. The cities remained heaps of debris, and shelter was at a premium as a relentless stream of unskilled refugees poured into the Western zones, where the food ration of 1,500 calories per day was hardly sufficient to sustain life. As Stimson, Riddleberger, and others had predicted, the economic prostration of Germany now resulted in disruption of the continental trade that was essential to the prosperity of other European nations. As long as German industrial power was throttled, the economic recovery of Europe was delayedóand this, in time, led to serious political complications. To nurse Europe back to health, the Marshall Plan was devised in 1947. It repudiated, at long last, the philosophy of the White-Morgenthau program.

The currency reforms of June, 1948, changed the situation overnight. These long overdue measures removed the worst restraints, and thereupon West Germany began its phenomenal economic revival.

After all this has been said, an implicit question haunts the historian. It is this: if the Morgenthau Plan was indeed psychopathically anti-German, was it also consciously and purposefully pro-Russian? The Secretary of the ree; Treasury never denied that his plan was anti-German in both its philosophy and its projected effects, but no one in his department ever admitted that it was also pro-Russian in the same ways. In his book, And Call It Peace, Marshall Knappen suggested in 1947 that the Morgenthau Plan "corresponded closely to what might be presumed to be Russian wishes on the German question. It provided a measure of vengeance and left no strong state in the Russian orbit."32

In document after document the Diaries reveal Harry Dexter White's influence upon both the formative thinking and the final decisions of Secretary Morgenthau. Innocent of higher economics and the mysteries of international finance, the Secretary had always leaned heavily on his team of experts for all manner of general and specific recommendations.33 White was the field captain of that team; on the German question he called all the major plays from the start. As a result of White's advice, for example, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing was ordered in April, 1944 to deliver to the Soviet government a duplicate set of plates for the printing of the military occupation marks which were to be the legal currency of postwar Germany. The ultimate product of this fantastic decision was to greatly stimulate inflation throughout occupied Germany, and the burden of redeeming these Soviet-made marks finally fell upon American taxpayers to a grand total of more than a quarter of a billion dollars. 34 White followed this recommendation with another, in May of 1944, which again anticipated the emerging plan. This time he urged a postwar loan of 10 billion dollars to the Soviet Union.35

Remember that, in her testimony before the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee in 1952, the confessed Communist courier Elizabeth Bentley charged that White was the inside man who prepared the plan for Secretary Morgenthau, and "on our instruction he pushed hard." Also, J. Edgar Hoover of the FBI charged that White was an active agent of Soviet espionage, and despite the fact he had sent five reports to the White House warning the President of White's activities, Truman promoted him to a position at the United Nations. When the shocking story of White's service as a Soviet agent was first revealed by Attorney General Herbert Brownell in a Chicago speech, it created quite a stir of public charges and counter-charges by then retired Harry Truman.

The concentration of Communist sympathizers in the Treasury Department is now a matter of public record. White eventually became Assistant Secretary. Collaborating with him were Frank Coe, Harold Glasser, Irving Kaplan and Victor Perlo, all of whom were identified in sworn testimony as participants in the Communist conspiracy. When questioned by Congressional investigators, they consistently invoked the Fifth Amemdment. In his one appearance before the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1948, White emphatically denied participation in any conspiracy. A few days later he was found dead, the apparent victim of a heart attack (which is questioned by some investigators). Notes in his handwriting were later found among the "pumpkin papers" on Whittaker Chambers' farm.36 In a statement before the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee in 1953, Attorney General Brownell declared White guilty of "supplying information consisting of documents obtained by him in the course of duties as Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury, to Nathan Gregory Silvermaster..."37 Silvermaster passed these documents on to Miss Bentley after photographing them in his basement. When asked before two congressional committees to explain his activities, Silvermaster invoked the Fifth Amendment.

Never before in American history had an unelected bureaucracy of faceless, "fourth floor" officials exercised such arbitrary power over the future of nations as did Harry Dexter White and his associates in the Department of the Treasury under Henry Morgenthau, Jr. What they attempted to do in their curious twisting of American ideals, and how close they came to complete success, is demonstrated in the Morgenthau Diaries, which I had the privilege of examining and which were published by the Subcommittee of the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate in 1967.

John Morton Blum, Years of Urgency, 1938-41: From the Morgenthau Diaries (Boston: Houghton-Mifflin Co., 1965), p. 3.
The Memoirs of Cordell Hull (New York: Macmillan Co., 1948), VoL 1, pp. 207-208.
Ibid., 1, p. 207
Issue of September 5, 1946.
December 15, 1941, Interlocking Subversion in Government Departments, Final Report, July 30, 1953, p. 29.
Institute of Pacific Relations, pt 2, pp. 419-420.
Interlocking Subversion in Government Departments, pt. 16, p. 1145.
August 26, 1944, Book 766, pp. 166-170. Morgenthau Diaries, Hyde Park.
Lucius Clay, Decision in Germany (New York, Doubleday and Co.1950), p. 8.
Book 777, p. 70 et seq.
August 28, 1944, Book 767, p. 1.
September 4, 1944, Book 768, p. 104.
John Maynard Keynes, The Economic Consequences of the Peace (New York~ Harcourt Brace and Co. 1920), p. 81.
B.H. Klein, Germany's Economic Preparations for War (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1959), p. 123. 15. September 4, 1944, Book 768, p. 104.
November 21, 1944, Book 797, pp. 256-258.
September 9, 1944, Book 771, p. 50.
Ibid.; Henry L. Stimson and McGeorge Bundy, On Active Service in Peace and War (New York, Harper and Row, 1948), pp. 573-574.
October 18-19, 1944, Book 783, pp. 23-39.
September 27, 1944, Book 776, p. 33.
September 15, 1944, Book 772, pp. 4-9. (Italics mine.)
Institute of Pacific Relations, Hearings, pt. 2, p. 422.
(Chicago: Henry Regnery Co., 1953), pp. 36-46.
March 10, 1945, Book 827-1, pp. 1-2.
March 19, 1945, Book 828-2, p. 233; March 20, 1945, Book 830, p. 24.
March 23, 1945, Book 831-2, p. 205, et seq.
September 9, 1944, Book 771, p. 50 et seq.
December 9, 1944, Book 802, pp. 241-248.
May 18, 1945, Book 847, pp. 293-299.
W. Friedmann, The Allied Military Government of Germany (London: Stevens and Sons, Ltd., 1947), p. 20.
Harold Zink, American Military Government in Germany (New York: The Macmillan Co., 1947), pp. 187-189.
Marshall Knappen, And Call It Peace (University of Chicago Press, 1947), pp. 53-56.
The Secret Diary of Harold L. Ickes: The First Thousand Days (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1953), I. 331.
For this strange story in detail, see Transfer of Occupation Currency PlatesóEspionage Phase, Interim Report of the Committee on Government Operations, December 15, 1953 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1953).
May 16, 1944, Book 732, pp. 97-99.
Interlocking Subversion in Governmept Departments, pt. 16.
Ibid., pt. 16, pp. 1110-1141.

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2005, 01:06 PM
Henry Morgenthau, Jr., was nominated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to be the 52nd Secretary of the Treasury. He served from January 1, 1934 until July 22, 1945.

In 1913, he purchased a large farm in Dutchess County, New York and specialized and dairy and apple growing. During World War I, he worked with Herbert Hoover's U.S. Farm Administration on a plan to send tractors to France. From 1922 to 1933, he served as Publisher of "American Agriculturalist."

In 1929, his long-time friend and then Governor of New York, Franklin D. Roosevelt, appointed him Chairman of the New York State Agricultural Advisory Commission. In 1930, he was appointed State Commissioner of Conservation, and directed a million-acre reforestation program. He also was appointed to the Taconic State Park Commission. Upon Roosevelt's election to the Presidency, Morgenthau was appointed Chairman of the Federal Farm Board and Governor of the Farm Credit Administration in 1933. On November 17, 1933, he was appointed Acting and Under Secretary of the Treasury, when Secretary of the Treasury William H. Woodin's ill health forced his resignation after the first year of Roosevelt's "New Deal" Administration. Morgenthau served as Roosevelt's advisor, Cabinet member, and Secretary of the Treasury for 11 years, in peace and war. During his term, Morgenthau is credited with exercising a stabilizing effect on administation monetary policies. In that time, through taxation and loans he raised $450 billion for government programs and for war purposes. This was more than all of the previous 51 Secretaries.

From 1934 through December 7, 1941, Morgenthau defended the dollar against devaluation by other competitive nations. This was accomplished by intervening in the world financial markets through buying and selling foreign currencies, gold and dollars. Protecting the dollar against the depredations of Nazi Germany which was using blocked currencies to produce anarchy in the foreign exchange markets, Morgenthau succeeded until after the Munich Pact of 1938, when a stabilization agreement was reached. As a result, the United States dollar became the strongest currency in the world. In 1939, with Poland overtaken by Germany, Morgenthau established a procurement service in the Treasury Department to facilitate the purchase of American munitions by Britain and France, and he geared the American economy to meet the enormously expanded requirements that followed the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Morgenthau's major effort was financing the war effort, and he achieved remarkable success with his program for the sale of defense bonds (later known as war bonds). In 1942 alone, sale of these savings bonds amounted to a $1 billion distribution, which not only supported the war needs, but also prevented a serious inflationary threat by syphoning off excess funds.

In 1944, he proposed the Morgenthau plan, under which post-war Germany would be stripped of its industry and converted into an agricultural nation. At the Bretton Woods conference in 1944, Morgenthau assumed a leading role in establishing post-war economic policies and currency stabilization. That had been one of his prime goals since depression days.

In July 1945, three months after the death of President Roosevelt, Morgenthau resigned as Secretary, but remained in office until President Truman's return from the "Big Three" conference in Berlin. From 1947 until 1950, he was Chairman of the United Jewish Appeal, which raised $465 million during that time, and from 1951 to 1954, he served as Chairman of the Board of Governors of the American Financial and Development Corporation for Israel, which handled a $500 million bond issue for the new nation.

Mr. Morgenthau was born on May 11, 1891, in New York city. He was the son of Henry and Josephine (Sykes) Morgenthau. He attended private schools including Exeter Academy. He studied architecture and agriculture for two years at Cornell University. He married Elinor Fatman in 1916. They had three children. Two years after her death in 1949, he married Mrs. Marcelle Puthon Hirsch of New York. Henry Morgenthau, Jr., died on February 6, 1967, in Poughkeepsie, New York.

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2005, 01:27 PM
Did the Allies Starve Millions of Germans?

by James Bacque

As soon as the Second World War ended in 1945, Canada and the United States began shipping food to the hundreds of millions of people who were facing starvation as a result of the war. Unprecedented in world history, this massive program fulfilled the highest ideals for which the Western Allies had fought. Their generosity seemed to have no limit. They fed former enemies — Italy and Japan — as well as a new enemy, the Soviet Union.

Only Germany was left out.

It is well-known in the West that the Allies hanged Nazis for crimes — the murder of Jews, the brutal mass expulsions, the deadly forced-labour camps, the starvation of entire nations. What is not generally known is that these occupying Allied armies carved off 25 per cent of Germany's most fertile land and placed it under Russian and Polish control, forcibly expelling about 16 millions people into what remained. It has also been forgotten — or hidden — that the Allies forbade emigration and kept millions of prisoners in forced-labour camps. International charitable aid to Germany was banned for another year, then restricted for more than a year. When it was permitted, it came too late for millions of people.

In a plan devised by U.S. secretary of the treasury Henry C. Morgenthau Jr., the Allies "pastoralized" Germany. They slashed production of oil, tractors, steel and other products that had been essential to the war effort. They cut fertilizer production by 82 per cent. They undervalued German exports (which they controlled), depriving Germans of cash needed to buy food. And a large percentage of young male workers were kept in forced-labour camps for years. During the six months following the end of the war, Germany's industrial production fell by 75 per cent.

The loss of so much fertile land and the drop in fertilizer supplies caused agricultural production to fall by 65 per cent. Sixty million people began to starve in their huge prison.

The mass explusions from one part of Germany to another, approved at the Allied victory conference in Potsdam in July and August, 1945, were enforced "with the very maximum of brutality," wrote British writer and philantropist Victor Gollancz in his book, Our Threatened Values (1946). Canadian writer and TV producer Robert Allen, in an article titled "Letter From Berlin", in Reading magazine (February, 1946), described the scene in a Berlin railway station as refugees arrived in late 1945: "They were all exhausted and starved and miserable.... A child only half alive... A woman in the most terrible picture of despair I've seen... Even when you see it, it's impossible to believe....God, it was terrible."

In the West, the plan to dismantle German industrial capacity began at the British headquarters of General Dwight Eisenhower in August, 1944. Meeting with Mr. Morgenthau, Gen. Eisenhower prescribed a treatment for Germany that would be "good and hard," giving as his reason that "the whole German population is a synthetic paranoid."

Mr. Morgenthau took a written version of their discussion to U.S. president Franklin Roosevelt and British prime minister Winston Churchill when the two met in Quebec City in September, 1944. British foreign secretary Anthony Eden, U.S. secretary of Cordell Hull and the U.S. secretary for war Henry L. Stimson all protested vigorously against the Morgenthau Plan because a pastoralized Germany could not feed itself. Mr. Hull and Mr. Stimson told Roosevelt that about 20 million Germans would die if the plan were implemented.

Most historians say the Morgenthau Plan was abandoned after the protests, but Mr. Morgenthau himself said it was implemented.

In the New York Post for Nov. 24, 1947, he wrote, "The Morgenthau Plan for Germany [...] became part of the Potsdam Agreement, a solemn declaration of policy and undertaking for action... signed by the United States of America, Great Britain and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics."

I first happened on the outlines of this story while researching my 1989 book Other Losses, about the mass deaths of German prisoners of war in Allied camps. For 45 years, historians have never disputed a massive survey conducted over four years by the government of chancellor Konrad Adenauer, which stated that some 1.4 million German prisoners had died in captivity. What is still disputed by the two sides is how many died in each side's camps. Each has blamed the other for nearly all the deaths.

The fall of the Soviet empire in 1989 provided a spectacular test of the truth: If the KGB archives recorded how many Germans died in Soviet camps, the world would know how many died in the West.

In 1992, I went to the KGB archives in Moscow, where I was permitted to troll the long, gloomy aisles, free to read and photocopy anything I wanted. And there I found the reports from KGB Colonel I. Bulanov and others showing that 450,600 Germans had died in Soviet camps. Given the figure of 1.4 million deaths, this meant that close to one million had died in Western camps.

In addition, the KGB records show that the Soviets had also imprisoned hundreds of thousands of civilians, of whom many thousands died.

This was the shadow of a greater tragedy, the fate of German civilians.

The recent declassification of the Robert Murphy Papers at the Hoover Institute in Stanford, California, and the Robert Patterson manuscript papers in Washington focused the picture. Mr. Murphy had been chief U.S. diplomatic adviser in Germany, and Mr. Patterson the secretary for war after 1945.

Some of Mr. Murphy's papers show a catastrophic death rate in Germany, highlighted by a surprising comment by Mr. Murphy in discussing German demographics. He said in a State Department position paper in 1947 that the U.S. statistical projection of births, immigration and officially reported deaths showed that over the next three years the German population should be 71 million, but that "to be conservative and in view of the present high death rate in Germany, a figure of 69 million will be used." In other words, Mr. Murphy was basing high-level U.S. policy on the knowledge that the actual German death rate was approximately double the rate officially reported to Washington by the U.S. military governor.

In the National Archives in Ottawa, I found a document seized by Canadians in 1946, showing a death rate in the city of Brilon in north-central Germany almost triple the total reported by the Allies for their zones of Germany in 1945-46. The U.S. Army medical officer in Germany secretly reported that the actual death rate in the U.S. zone in May, 1946, was 21.4 per 1,000 per year, or 83 per cent higher than the military governor was reporting to Washington.

These documents in Ottawa, Moscow, Washington and Stanford, recently revealed or long neglected, show that the Allies not only destroyed most major German industry, they also reduced German food production to the point that Germans received less food for long periods during several years than the starving Dutch had received under German occupation.

"From 1945 to the middle of 1948, one saw the probable collapse, disintegration and destruction of a whole nation," These are not the words of a revisionist historian of the 1990s, but the sober judgment of a U.S. Navy medical officer on the scene. Captain Albert Behnke compared German and Dutch starvation: For months in parts of Germany, the ration set by the occupying Allies was 400 calories per day; in much of Germany it was often around 1,000, and officially for more than two years it was never more than 1,550. The Dutch always got more than 1,394.

And for his part in starving people in the Netherlands, Nazi commander Arthur Seyss-Inquart was hanged by the Allies.

A comparison of the German censuses of 1946 and 1950 show the effect of the food shortages. The 1950 census showed 5.7 million people fewer than there should have been according to the number of people recorded in the 1946 census, minus officially reported deaths, plus births and "immigrants" (people expelled from the east and returning prisoners) in the period from 1946 to 1950.

Mr. Murphy had, indeed, been conservative, partly because he underestimated the number of prisoners due to return to Germany from Russia. The total tally of unacknowledged deaths among the prisoners, refugees and non-expelled civilians comes to around nine million people between 1945 and 1950, far more than the number who died during the war itself. All of these deaths were surplus to those actually reported.

While Germans starved, the Canadian-U.S. relief program swung into action in other parts of the world. Former U.S. president Herbert Hoover, then chief food adviser to president Harry Truman, flew around the world assessing need and supply. He found big regions of food poverty, as there has always been and still are, but not insurmountable world food shortage. In fact, world food production in 1945, according to the U.S. government statistics, was 90 per cent of the average of the years from 1936 to 1938. By the end of 1946, it was virtually normal.

Mr. Hoover begged, borrowed and bought enough food from the few other surplus countries — Australia and Argentina — to feed nearly all the world's starving. He congratulated Canadians warmly for their co-operation in a CBC speech in Ottawa in 1946: "To Canada flows the gratitude of hundreds of millions of human beings who have been saved from starvation through the efforts of this great Commonwealth."

As Mr. Hoover pronounced victory over the greatest famine threat in world history, Germans were entering their worst year ever. In early 1946, reports of conditions in Germany led U.S. senators, among them Kenneth Wherry and William Langer, to protest against "this addlepated... brutal and vicious Morgenthau Plan."

Belatedly, Mr. Truman asked Mr. Hoover to intervene. Mr. Hoover spoke to all North Americans: "Millions of mothers are today watching their children wilt before their eyes." Infant mortality rates in some German cities were 20 per cent per year, catastrophically higher than the average in Germany before the war or in contemporary Europe.

Cases of tuberculosis among children in Kiel, in the British zone, increased by 70 per cent over the prewar period.

Mr. Hoover called for mercy to Germany.

"I can only appeal to your pity and your mercy...Will you not take to your table an invisible guest?"

Canadians and Americans set the table for the invisible guest.

According to prime minister Mackenzie King's chief foreign-affairs adviser, Norman Robertson, Canada was the only country that had kept its food commitments to help the starving. Only in Canada did rationing and price controls continue long after the war so that others could be fed.

This unique campaign saved 800 million lives, according to Mr. Hoover.

Some older Germans treasure the memory of the "Hoover Speise" (meal) that warmed their bodies at school in 1947. Many millions — including hundreds of thousands of Canadians born in Germany — also remember their homes in parts of Germany now under Polish or Russian rule. None dreams of reparations; all yearn for us to know their story.

Source: This article first appeared in the Toronto Globe & Mail, 20 September 1997.

Friday, February 4th, 2005, 12:56 AM
Prologue to R. Craig's book Treasonable Doubt - The Harry Dexter White Spy Case here - it should be noted that White was also a Jew


"I would not demean the memory of Harry Dexter White by saying he was not a Communist. If he was one, Communists have reason to be proud."-- I.F. Stone

Who was Harry Dexter White? A biographical overview:
Harry Dexter White was a high-ranking Treasury department official, a renowned economist, the co-founder of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, and an accused Soviet spy.

How was it possible for someone like White to have had sympathy for the Soviet Union? Did he subvert America’s foreign policy? Was he a spy? Answers to these questions do not come easy but are at the heart of R. Bruce Craig’s book, Treasonable Doubt.

Born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Russian immigrants, Harry Dexter White attended local schools. In college he studied economics and in 1930 earned a doctorate at Harvard University. After briefly teaching at Lawrence College in Appleton, Wisconsin, White left academia in 1934 to become a government servant. Like others of his generation, he came to Washington, D.C. shortly after the start of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, and, like his compatriots, he wanted to do his part to "make the world anew." White proved to be a brilliant economist. He quickly caught the eye of his superiors, especially Secretary Henry Morgenthau, who promoted him to head of the Division of Monetary Research. Ultimately, White became Morgenthau’s most trusted Assistant Secretary.

A devout Keynesian, White served with distinction as Morgenthau’s chief assistant on virtually all matters pertaining to foreign affairs, trade, and international finance. In this capacity, he was a staunch anti-fascist, and, to the dismay of some State Department officials, an unabashed proponent of strengthening the relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union though economic assistance.

In the 1950s, during the Congressional reign of terror known as "the McCarthy era," White was erroneously accused of subverting American policy. He stands accused of everything from precipitating the "loss of China" to authoring what has since been characterized as "the ‘draconian’ Morgenthau Plan for post-war Germany"—a plan critics said was "Soviet inspired" and designed to push Germany into the geopolitical sphere of the Soviet Union. Treasonable Doubt examines these and other allegations of policy subversion against White.

White’s most important accomplishments were in the realm of postwar planning. He was at the center of post-war planning effort to create the Bretton Woods System, a new monetary program designed to sustain post-war economic recovery and expand world trade. In July 1944, an agreement was reached by representatives of the international community on a economic plan of action to help insure world peace. Both White and Britain’s famed economist John Maynard Keynes played central roles in the formulation of the plan, but it was White who emerged as the dominant figure in the founding of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank (WB). These twin United Nations financial institutions remain his most enduring legacy.

Central to White’s post-war vision was a world where the United States and the Soviet Union cooperated closely. His association with Soviet diplomats and his friendships with people like Nathan Gregory Silvermaster (now known to be the ring-leader of a large Soviet backed information-gathering network of government employees) led FBI director J. Edgar Hoover to suspect White of being a spy too. Treasonable Doubt chronicles how White used overt and covert channels in what ultimately was a vain attempt to insure Soviet participation in the Bretton Woods Conference and to bring a reluctant Communist nation into the world economic community.

To that end, White also supported a $10 billion loan by the United States to aid the postwar reconstruction of the Soviet economy. He believed that such a loan, together with a loan to Britain, would promote economic vitality in war-torn Europe, address the acute dollar shortage in European nations, and help stimulate America’s domestic economy. In spite of all his efforts, in the end Stalin’s suspicions and the emergence of the Cold War insured the failure of White’s and other Rooseveltian internationalists’ vision of post-war American/Soviet cooperation.

After the Bretton Woods agreements were ratified by the U.S. Senate, White expected to become the head of the IMF. But he was denied the position he had richly earned because of rumors judiciously spread by the FBI to anti-Roosevelt/Truman administration conservative members of Congress. Nevertheless, because the allegations could not be proved, in early 1946 President Truman appointed White to become the first American executive director of the multi-national IMF board. There he played the formative role in getting the Fund up and running. Because of a growing rift between high-ranking Truman administration Treasury department officials, and also because of White’s failing health, he resigned in March 1947 and became, in his words, a "sort-of economic consultant."

In July 1948, a self-admitted Communist agent and FBI informant named Elizabeth Bentley publicly charged that White and others in the federal government had passed documents from federal agencies to the Soviets. Later she charged that White’s primary importance to the Communist underground was in the realm of policy subversion, charges that Treasonable Doubt establish to be without merit. Nevertheless, the general thrust of Bentley’s initial allegations against White was bolstered by the testimony of another former communist courier, Whittaker Chambers. Chambers, then a senior editor of Time magazine, believed White to be a long-time "fellow traveler" and that he and Alger Hiss—a State Department official who had played a central role in the creation of the United Nations—together were involved in the Communist conspiracy.

When they made their allegations, neither Bentley nor Chambers had any documentary evidence to prove that White had engaged in espionage. Days later, when White appeared before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), he forcefully and successfully rebutted the charges and he recited his "American creed" (see below). At the time of his appearance, White was suffering from a serious heart ailment, and the stress of his appearance before HUAC led to another, this time fatal, heart attack. White died at his summer home near Fitzwilliam, New Hampshire a few days later.

Following White’s death, HUAC dropped the White case and turned all its energies to investigating the Chambers’ allegations that Alger Hiss was a Communist. The White case was all but forgotten. J. Edgar Hoover, however, continued an investigation into the White case long after the former Treasury official’s death. White’s BUFILE (FBI Bureau investigatory file) continued to grow.

Only during the Hiss perjury investigation and in the years after White’s death did evidence emerge suggesting that White indeed was involved in espionage. The most suggestive evidence came to light in 1995 when the National Security Agency (NSA) released copies of the VENONA decrypts—intercepted Soviet transmissions cables from Moscow to "stations" throughout the world. The decrypts show that White met with a mysterious KGB agent, code-named KOL’TsOV whose identity is revealed in Treasonable Doubt. Craig argues that while the VENONA decrypts confirm White’s complicity with the Soviet underground, there is no evidence that White’s association with the Soviet underground affected White’s loyalty to the United States or the international institutions he helped found.

When he appeared before the House Un-American Activities Committee to deny the charges against him, White recited his "American creed," one of the most eloquent statements of liberal philosophy ever uttered. What exactly did White say?

When he faced the bright lights of newsreel cameras, White, a short, heavy-set man with wire-rimmed glasses, pulled out of his pocket a crumpled piece of paper. He looked down and fervently declared:

"I believe in freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of thought, freedom of the press, freedom of criticism, and freedom of movement. I believe in the goal of equality of opportunity, and the right of each individual to follow the calling of his or her own choice, and the right of every individual to have an opportunity to develop his or her capacity to the fullest. . . . I consider these principles sacred. I regard them as the basic fabric of our American way of life, and I believe in them as living realities, and not mere words on paper. This is my creed."

After delivering these words, to the consternation of members of the House Un-American Activities Committee, White received thunderous applause.

What is the relationship between the Harry Dexter White and the Alger Hiss cases?

In Craig’s interviews with Alger Hiss shortly before his death, Hiss stated that he believed that it was Harry Dexter White (and not he) who was the original target of J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI and the House Un-American Activities Committee. Hiss’s assessment is probably correct; of the two men, White was the higher-ranking official in the federal bureaucracy. In fact, White was the highest-ranking federal official that Bentley and Chambers alleged to have been involved in Soviet espionage.

Undoubtedly, had White not died of a heart attack in 1948, he would have been the target of HUAC’s investigation and, like Hiss, may well have found himself charged with "perjury." (In 1948, the perjury charge in the Hiss case was tantamount to espionage, because, under the law of the land in place at that time, the statute of limitations for espionage was ten years; Chambers’ allegations against Hiss and White had exceeded the allowable statute of limitations.)

While the Alger Hiss story has been the topic of literally dozens of books, articles, and television movies, until publication of Treasonable Doubt the case against Harry Dexter White had not been critically examined.

Was Harry Dexter White a spy?

The collective evidence presented in Treasonable Doubt leads Craig to conclude that Harry Dexter White was, in the words of Norman Robertson, Canada’s Undersecretary for External Affairs (roughly the equivalent of the American Secretary of State), involved in a "species of espionage."

White was not a pro-Soviet automaton, nor a slave to Communist Party discipline or ideology. He did not subvert policy, as alleged by Elizabeth Bentley. White undoubtedly did pass oral information, written summaries, and possibly even sensitive documents to Soviet underground contacts in his effort to achieve Soviet-American cooperation in the post-war era. White’s story suggests that he acted as he did because he was a dedicated economic internationalist whose hopes and aspirations for world peace transcended his loyalties to his family and country.

What is the significance of Treasonable Doubt to Cold War history and historiography?

Treasonable Doubt is a provocative tale of one man’s brush with espionage. By bringing to light the results of his deep and wide-ranging research into archival and secondary sources, Craig marshals an impressive array of evidence to tell White’s story. He provides a highly readable account of how one man was moved to put his loyalties to the test and his life on the line to advance his deeply held belief of how best to achieve world peace. Treasonable Doubt is perhaps the single most important book on Cold War espionage since Allen Weinstein’s Perjury: The Hiss-Chambers Case, the landmark study of the controversial Hiss/Chambers controversy.

For the scholarly audience, Treasonable Doubt goes beyond a mere assessment of the facts and evidence. In his concluding chapter, Craig challenges the works of partisan journalists and historians who, he claims, "fail to apply rigorous standards when assessing the evidence relating to accused subversives." Their works, says Craig, are "replete with errors of fact and obfuscation of interpretation," and, because they reject any notion of "contextualization of fact," they find smoke where there is no fire. Craig challenges historians of espionage to consider an "alternative standard of proof," one that brings together the standards of historical research and inquiry with the existing rules of civil and criminal procedure in order to more critically assess espionage cases.

What relevance does Harry Dexter White’s story have for Americans today?

Harry Dexter White lived in an era of titanic battles between ideologies and political possibilities, much the same as Americans do today. In White’s era, the American democratic ideals of freedom and democracy were pitted against the corrupt idealism of Soviet-style international Communism.

Harry Dexter White put his allegiances to the test. Treasonable Doubt explains how his political beliefs and worldly ambitions clashed with his sense of loyalty. He loved his family and treasured his friendships and his country. But by striving to forge a Soviet-American partnership—a goal he considered to be of transcendent importance—he put himself, his family, his friends, and his country at risk. Graham Greene, one-time British spy, author, and chronicler of the national consciousness during the Cold War era, once wrote: "Who among us has not committed treason to something or someone more important than a county." White’s story chronicles one man’s struggle to confront this question and challenges each of us to find our own answer to Greene’s question.

As a general reader, where can I go to learn more about Harry Dexter White, his accusers, the Alger Hiss case, and Cold war espionage?

Treasonable Doubt is neither a full-fledged biography in the traditional sense of the word nor a comprehensive assessment of Harry Dexter White’s philosophy or economic programs. Rather, it sketches White’s early years, war record, schooling, and rise to power and influence in the Treasury Department and the IMF from 1935 until his death. The focus of the book is on his policy work, which is assessed in light of the espionage allegations against him.

Readers who want to learn more about White may want to consult David Rees’s dated but still useful biography, Harry Dexter White: A Study in Paradox (Coward, McCann and Geoghegan;1973). Though hard to find, Nathan White’s Harry Dexter White, Loyal American (privately printed; 1956) is also worth reading.

The historical debate about Alger Hiss’s guilt remains polarized. The standard work concluding that Hiss was guilty of espionage is Allen Weinstein’s Perjury: The Hiss-Chambers Case (rev. 1997), while the informative New York University hosted webpage, "The Alger Hiss Story: Search for Truth" located at: <http://homepages.nyu.edu/~th15/home.html> presents the arguments from the perspective of Hiss’s defenders.

For placing Cold War espionage into the broader story of the Cold War, John Gaddis’s We Now Know: Rethinking Cold War History (Oxford University Press; 1997) is an excellent place to start. For hundreds of other related books and articles touching upon the White and Hiss cases and Cold War espionage in general, consult the twenty-one page bibliography found in Treasonable Doubt.

Friday, February 4th, 2005, 01:29 AM
During the course of the Second World War, there was a constant flow of radio messages from the world-wide net of active Soviet agents to Moscow, and a return flow from Moscow to their agents in the field.

A large number of these coded messages from the Soviet NKVD and the GRU espionage agencies were intercepted by the Americans and British and an analysis, in the United States, was commenced in 1943, but with scant results. The Russians, post-war U.S. intelligence have averred, used encryption methods, called One Time Pads that made it nearly impossible to decode the Soviet spy messages with anything nearing completeness.

The National Security Agency (NSA) has released thick files of decoded messages, noteworthy mainly by the incompleteness of their decoding. Most intercepts released show the headings of these messsages completely intact and a few readable paragraphs, or words, scattered throughout the text with such explanations as “120 groups unrecovered” followed by such harmless phrases as “...and it was also reported that....” bracketed with “40 groups unrecovered,” giving the impression that even fifty years later these messages still remain a cryptographic mystery, impossible of solution.

In many of these messages are references to American citizens identified as active Soviet agents or sources,. In almost all cases, the names of these Americans have been redacted, or censored, by the NSA and the officially stated reason given for this censorship is “to protect the privacy” of the persons involved. The question arises as to why one would wish to protect the privacy of identified Soviet intelligence sources and the answer to this question has to be sought outside the protected compounds of the NSA.

Messages to Moscow came from many geographical areas such as the United States, Canada, Australia, England, Switzerland and Mexico.

To obtain a full understanding of the contents of the spy messages, it is necessary to study the intercepts from other countries. For example, coded Soviet messages from Canberra in Australia were sent in a code that was quickly broken and read almost immediately.

However, there was not that much traffic from Australia compared with that from the United States. The traffic from Ottawa, Canada, on the other hand, was far more voluminous and often contained duplication of material sent from the United States. This same material radioed to Moscow was usually sent to Canada from the United States by Soviet diplomatic courier and radioed to Moscow again. This duplicate transmitting of important messages was due to the fact that short-wave transmissions often suffered from atmospheric interference with messages breaking up en route. For this reason, vital information was often duplicated to insure its full reception in Moscow.

Like the Australian messages, the ones from Canada could be, and were, deciphered without problems, but not in the United States. This codebreaking was accomplished in Germany by the radio intercept units of the Gestapo.

This agency had captured a number of Soviet agents, many of whom were of some importance and a significant number of whom were conversant with various secret Soviet codes.

The messages from the United States and England were code-named BRIDE, TRINE and finally, VENONA, by the U.S. while the German intercepts from Canada were called NACHTIGAL or nightingale, by the Germans, a bird that is famous for the sweetness of its song.

Many thousands of messages from Ottawa to Moscow central were pulled out of the air by the German intercept stations and duly decoded and translated into the German language. Many of these reports were relatively unimportant, dealing with personnel problems, rumors and demands for better equipment (Soviet radios were notoriously prone to failure). Other reports contained information on spies in both the United States and Canada which was of great importance to the German government.

When one compares the complete German NACHTIGAL messages with the officially “incomplete” VENONA material, the incompleteness of the U.S. decrypts becomes quickly understandable. The NACHTIGAL material contains exactly what the VENONA material does but its decoding is complete and one can see the names of the Americans, among them being many very high level members of the Roosevelt administration, some who had been involved at one point or another with Soviet intelligence agents and some who were paid Soviet agents.

Merely being identified in Soviet secret intelligence messages as a source does not mean that the individual listed was a paid agent or a volunteer spy. It does mean that each and every one of them was considered to be a source of information. It should also be noted that during the war, Russia was an ally of the United States and in a number of cases, individuals listed were instructed to cooperate with Soviet diplomats and officials.

That having been said, the VENONA intercepts were not diplomatic communications but intelligence ones and persons listed therein were considered to be intelligence rather than diplomatic sources. In sum, the subjects had been in contact with the NKVD rather than the Soviet diplomatic officials.

A review of the NACHTIGAL/VENONA files has produced a list of many names but the important ones are listed here:

John J. Abt Justice Department
Jacob Baker Assistant Administrator, FEA
Louis Bean Economic Advisor, Dept. of Agriculture
Adolf Berle, Jr. Assistant Secretary of State
Benjamin F. Berman U.S. Dept. of Commerce
William Bullitt Ambassador to France and Russia
Norman Burslar Justice Department
Frank Coe Treasury Department
Benjamin Cohen Executive Advisor to the President
Henry H. Collins Department of Agriculture
Laughlin Currie Presidential Assistant (paid Soviet agent)
Samuel Dickstein Congressman for New York, 12th District
Louis Domeratzky Division Chief, Department of Commerce
Lawrence Duggan State Department
M.S. Eisenhower Dir. of Information, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture
Herbert Feis State Department, Advisor on Economic Affairs
Edward Fitzgerald War Production Board
Abe Fortas General Counsel, FEA (later Supreme Court)
Jerome Frank Chairman, Securities and Exchange Commission
Col. William F. Freidmann War Dept. Cryptographic Division
Harold Glasser Treasury Department
Nathan Golden Chief, Motion Picture Div., Commerce Dept.
E.A. Goldenweiser Central Statistical Board, FEA
Lester Herzog N. Y. State Administrator, WPA
Alger Hiss Assistant Solicitor, Justice Dept (paid Soviet agent)
Donald Hiss State Department. (paid Soviet agent)
Harry Hopkins Presidential advisor (paid Soviet agent)
Harold Ickes Secretary of the Interior
Francis Jerkowitz Administrative Assistant, Secretary of Labor
Henrietta Klotz Assistant to the Secretary of the Treasury
Boris Kostelanetz Assistant U.S. Attorney
Charles Kramer Senate Subcommittee on War Mobilization
Joseph P. Lash Ex-communist Youth leader
Max Lerner Editor, “The Nation”
Vito Marcantonio Congressman, New York
Nathan Margold Solicitor, Dept. of the Interior
Frieda Miller Commissioner of Labor, New York State
Henry Morgenthau, Jr. Secretary of the Treasury
Harold Nathan Assistant Director, FBI
David K. Niles Presidential Assistant (paid Soviet agent)
Dr. Robert Oppenheimer Physicist, Manhattan Project
Francis Perkins Secretary of Labor
Victor Perlo Treasury Department
Harold L. Posner Assistant Director, FEA
Lee Pressman Department of Agriculture
Louis Resnik Director of Information, Social Security
Allan Rosenberg FEA
Dr. Alexander Sachs Chief, Research Div. NRA
David Saposs Chief Economist, NLRB
Nathan G. Silvermaster Director, Labor Div., FSA (paid Soviet agent)
Ambassador Steinhardt Ambassador to Russia
Michael Strauss Director of Information, FEA
Nathan Strauss Administrator, U.S. Housing Authority
William Taylor Treasury Department
Dr. Edward Teller Physicist, Manhattan Project
William Ullmann United States Army Air Corps
Jacob Viner Assistant Secretary of the Treasury
Anna Weinstock Commissioner, Department of Labor
Donald Wheeler OSS
Harry Dexter White Asst. Secretary of the Treasury (paid Soviet agent)
Nathan Witt Department of Agriculture
Joel David Wolfsohn Executive Secretary, FEA
Leo Wolman Amalgamated Clothing Workers

A VENONA document that discusses a meeting between U.S. Treasury Department’s Harry Dexter White, with a Soviet intelligence controller is filled with “unrecovered” material, whereas the NACHTIGAL material is complete.

It should be noted in reading through the released VENONA material, that reports to Moscow concerning material their U.S.-based agents had gleaned from the American press are translated in full without a single “unrecovered” word, whereas the messages that contain specific material on U.S. citizens as agents are so full of “unrecovered” passages as to be virtually meaningless.

In reading over the NSA-released VENONA material, one is struck by the fact that while the introductions and contents that do not compromise prominent Government officials have been decoded and made public, anything else that could compromise or expose prominent Government officials seems to have avoided the decoding process. If one assumes that the Soviet agent sent a coded message to his superiors in Moscow, it should be clearly evident that the entire message was in the same code throughout. A decoding of a portion of the message indicates that the entire message was decoded.

A comparison of VENONA and NACHTIGAL shows that in nearly every case where the NSA claims they were unable to decode a part of a Soviet message, the identical message intercepted and broken by the Germans shows very clearly that the missing portions of the official American public releases of VENONA, almost without fail, deal with treasonable activities on the part of U.S. citizens, many of whom were very highly placed members of the Roosevelt administration, up to and including the Vice President, the President’s chief advisors, cabinet officers and a host of minor but strategically placed New Deal bureaucrats.

The privacy of these people certainly has no standing in the court of public opinion and the insistent protection by government agencies of their former members is typical of the behavior of governments and is nothing more than institutional maintenance.

VENONA sources are considered to be Soviet intelligence sources whereas names appearing in Soviet diplomatic messages are considered official American sources.

While postwar articles and dissertations emanating from official sources go into great detail about the complexities of the VENONA material, in the final analysis, the official view is that only parts of messages can be deciphered and for this reason, the NSA has declined to further process any other VENONA documents. This is an indefensible position and U.S. authorities cannot take refuge in the myth that the short wave broadcasts were rendered unintelligible due to atmospheric static. The VENONA intercepts were made at the point of origin, not like the German NACHTIGAL, caught enroute from Canada to Moscow. The Germans, one notes, seem to have had no trouble making full intercepts thousands of miles away from their source.

Another entertaining myth, promulgated by both the NSA and the CIA is that since the Soviets sent all their messages by transatlantic cable direct to Moscow, it would not have been possible for the Germans to have made any kind of an interception. Since there was no such cable extant that ran from North America to Soviet Russia and it is well-established that VENONA came from radio intercepts, such statements appear to be another example of either institutional maintenance or appalling ignorance.

The case chosen for study here deals with Harry Dexter White, one-time Assistant Under Secretary of the U.S. Treasury and a close confidant of Henry L. Morgenthau, Jr., Roosevelt’s Hudson Valley neighbor and his Secretary of the Treasury.

A through reading of the Canadian intercepts, the NACHTIGAL file, shows that there were three major high level Roosevelt era officials who acted as important Soviet agents in Washington during the war. One was Alger Hiss, a high-ranking official in the U.S. Department of State, another was Harry Hopkins, Roosevelt’s closest personal advisor and the third was Harry Dexter White, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury.

Since this study concerns White, some biographical background on him is supplied for the benefit of the reader.

Harry Dexter White was born October 19, 1892, in Boston, Massachusetts of Lithuanian Jewish immigrants originally named Weiss. He served with the American infantry in France during World War I and after the war, White ran an A.E.F. orphanage for two years.. He left this job and enrolled in Stanford University, earning a BA in 1923 and an MA in 1925. White joined the faculty at Lawrence College in Appleton, Wisconsin, and later received a Ph.D. from Harvard in 1935. In 1934, Professor Jacob Viner of the University of Chicago and a Soviet source, brought White to the Treasury Department and in 1935, White was sent to England to study British financial markets.

White joined a Communist Party cell along with Alger and Donald Hiss in 1936.

He became an Assistant to the Secretary of the Treasury, was put in charge of the Treasury’s $2 billion stabilization fund and, in 1941, he began to work on plans for a world monetary system in conjunction with left-wing British economist, John Maynard Keyes.

In May of 1941, Soviet intelligence contacted White through an NKVD agent sent to Washington specifically for that purpose.

The Soviet Union was facing mounting military problems with the Japanese who had attacked their Far East borders twice in the late ‘30s. While they had a pact with Hitler that secured their western borders, the great areas of their eastern empire were difficult to defend and Moscow was well aware that influential elements of the dominant Japanese military were pressing for action against Russia.

Richard Sorge, a German journalist based in Tokyo and an important Soviet agent, had warned Moscow that in spite of friction between the Japanese and the United States, it was entirely possible that these countries might establish a rapprochement that could then make an attack on Russia by Japan a strong possibility.

The Soviet NKVD agent, Vitaly Pavlov, 25 years old, was instructed to approach White and attempt to secure his assistance in any way possible to attempt to influence U.S. policy with regards to Japan.

Late in May of 1941, Pavlov had a meeting with White in a public place in Washington and the Treasury Department official readily agreed to assist his employers in any way he could.

The NKVD agent gave White a list of suggestions that, if officially promulgated, could have a serious negative impact on Japanese-American relations.

One month later, Hitler attacked the Soviet Union and his armies crushed Russian resistance and moved towards Moscow. Now it was urgent for Stalin to keep Japan out of any possible conflict with the Soviet Union and, hopefully, to goad her into attacking the United States which would then officially bring the U.S. into the war as an active Soviet ally.

White subsequently prepared a paper on this subject and took it to Henry Morgenthau, Jr., the Secretary of the Treasury. Morgenthau, who was violently anti-German and pro-Soviet, agreed that a very strong line against Japan was necessary.

The only obstacle to their project was Secretary of State, Cordell Hull, who found Morgenthau’s blundering attempts at diplomacy extremely annoying. He initially rebuffed Morgenthau’s interference in his negotiations with Japan so Morgenthau ran to Roosevelt and convinced him to override Hull’s more moderate stance.

Hull was by no means sympathetic to Japan but his objections to Morgenthau’s involvement were based more on territoriality than anything else. Roosevelt kept Hull on as Secretary of State because the latter was a popular national figure but he conducted most of his diplomatic business with Sumner Wells, an Undersecretary of State and a personal friend.

This Soviet plan to force the issue between the United States and Japan in their favor was finally executed in late November of 1941 when Hull, acting on the wishes of the President, included conditions in his projected American-Japanese modus vivendi that both Roosevelt and Hull knew would be totally unacceptable to the Japanese and would probably result in war between the two countries.

Since the U.S. was reading the Japanese diplomatic and military codes during that period, it was only a short time before the negative impact of the Soviet line in Japan was known in Washington. With knowledge that Japan would now strike south against the U.S. and British, Stalin was then able to strip his Far East defenses and move these troops into the critical battle for Moscow.

Many scholars have said that the Japanese military was fully determined to attack the United States and that Soviet meddling in American policy would in no way have altered Japan’s plans.

It should be noted, however, that the CIC of the Japanese Navy, Admiral Yamamoto, had given specific instructions to Vice Admiral Nagumo, commander of the Pearl Harbor task force, that Nagumo was not to attack Hawaii until given specific orders to do so. The reason for this was stated to be that the Japanese were awaiting the outcome of their negotiations with the U.S.

Had Japan determined on war with America, no such conditions would have existed and the attack would have proceeded without let or hindrance.

When U.S. intelligence had learned that Hitler planned to attack Russia in June of 1941, they promptly warned the Russians of this fact. That Stalin refused to believe it is beside the point. He was fully aware that Japan would attack the United States and not only did not pass this information to Washington but in fact did all he could to instigate the attack.

Fierce arguments have raged for years about Roosevelt’s culpability in instigating a Japanese attack. With the release of more and more official documents in the intervening years, it has become painfully obvious that not only Roosevelt but his military leadership were completely aware that the Japanese had determined to attack the United States after the receipt by them of the November 26 modus vivendi.

The addition of the Soviet-created material in this diplomatic document turned it from a reasonable modus vivendi into a direct ultimatum to the Japanese government.

It matters not whether Roosevelt and his military leadership knew the exact time and place of the attack. What does matter is that none of the U.S. military commanders in the threatened Pacific theater were given any substantive warning by their superiors prior to the commencement of hostilities by Japan on December 7th, 1941.

The death and destruction at Pearl Harbor was only the curtain raiser for an even greater hecatomb and this starter’s gun for global conflict can certainly be credited to the account of Harry Dexter White and his paymasters in Moscow.

White was also a strong supporter of the Untermeyer economic boycott of pre-war Germany, and was the man who developed the so-called “Morgenthau Plan” during the latter stages of the war when the defeat of Germany was assured. The plan called for the destruction of all German industry and the reduction of the highly industrialized country to a rural economy. This plan had the hearty endorsement of Roosevelt, Morgentuau and General Eisenhower.

Fortunately, this plan would have proven so disruptive to the European and American economies that Roosevelt was finally forced to repudiate it, but not before word of it was leaked to the Germans, compelling them to fight to the very end.

When Germany was finally occupied, White, who had been in constant contact

with his Soviet controllers, saw to it that the printing plates for occupational currency were given to the Russians who used them to print up millions of dollars of worthless currency from which they reaped tremendous economic and political benefits.

After the war, White headed the International Monetary Fund until a heart condition forced him to retire in April of 1947. White’s activities as a Soviet spy had been uncovered earlier that year and he had to defend himself before Congressional investigating bodies. As was the usual practice for such individuals, White hotly denied the accusations and attacked his accusers, labeling them as fascists and anti-Semitic witch hunters. Finally, before White could be brought to justice, he died of a heart attack on August 16, 1948.

Recent releases of VENONA confirm the German NACHTIGAL records and prove, beyond any doubt, that Harry Dexter White was a paid Soviet agent throughout his rising career in the Roosevelt administration and that he was in close contact with a significant spy apparatus in the Washington bureaucracy.

Note: In this transcription, the Russian names for their agents and sources are translated into English and identified. The code name of the individual is supplied in brackets. This intercept was translated into German from the Russian and in a number of cases, individuals with Russian-assigned code names were more easily identified by postwar U.S. decoding experts than by wartime Germans. The numbering of the message comes from the German, not the American, decryption.

From: Ottawa

To: Moscow/ Pavel M. Fitin (VICTOR)

Note: General Fitin was in charge of Soviet Foreign Intelligence until 1944 when he was replaced by P.V. Fedotov


Date: August 4-5, 1944

KOLTSOV arrived in New York (TYRE) to interview Harry Dexter White (JURIST). Herewith a report of the interview held with White at his apartment by Koltzov on July 31.

“White indicates that he does not foresee any diminution of American-Soviet Lend Lease (DECREE) in the near future and has been pressing to increase the shipment of material which will be more valuable to us after the end of the war. There have been no decisions taken on his suggestions as yet, but White assures that he has the full support, as usual, from Henry Morgenthau (NABOB) on these important matters.

“White then states that he has acquired some information about the financing for the Atom Bomb project (ENORMOUS), but feels that too much interest on his part in this area is too risky and might expose him.

“White speaks about the economic policy in defeated Germany. In a conference between Roosevelt (CAPTAIN) and Morgenthau that reparations must be exacted from Germany down to the last penny and that at least 5 or 10 years must elapse before Germany can be permitted to join the family of nations again, and then only if she is cleansed of all fascist elements and her economy is subservient to those of Russia and the United States (COUNTRY). In the matter of control over a conquered Germany during the time they are paying us reparations there is at this moment no specific opinion, but there is some agreement that if Germany is obedient and prompt in her repayment of her reparations, she might have her payments reduced, but only if she is completely obedient to our wishes. If not, Roosevelt said she would be at once reoccupied and the results would indeed be terrible for Germany and the German people.

“The policy of trade between the United States and Germany will be effected through bilateral agreements with a short term, two or three years, to enable the Germans to be kept under tight control. These conditions will vary from time to time and will not be codified, exactly to keep the Germans apprehensive, hence obedient.

“White then speaks of financial dealings with us and indicates that he and Morgentuhau have spoken with Roosevelt about extending to us a credit of 10 million dollars and that this could be repaid by us with natural resources and other raw material at exchange rates favorable to us. Morgenthau has not been able to finalize this project because he has been unable to get Roosevelt aside for this agreement.

“Morgenthau and White wish to come to Moscow (SMYRNA) , but this has had to be put off until after the American elections for reasons of appearances. On August 5,

both of them are leaving for France and England where they will discuss Lend Lease with the British. The British are now enjoying better economic prospects due to a saving of money because of the presence of the American Army in Europe, and now Roosevelt is demanding that Britain begin to repay as much of her Lend Lease bill as she can.

“White will supply us with information on the forthcoming conference on oil which he will get from an aide to Roosevelt and also from Henry Wallace (PILOT).

“The actions of the Polish Liberation Committee are causing Roosevelt some concern here because of the importance of the Polish votes in America. Roosevelt, in agreement with Wallace and Morgenthau, has determined that the most outspoken anti-Russian elements in this committee be silenced. This matter will be addressed at the conference but White assures us that both Roosevelt and Churchill (PIG) will agree to the Lublin solution proposed by us.

“The position of Finland, because of her support of the Germans, has become negative here and Roosevelt has said that because of this, he has no problems with the restoration of the Russian-Finish 1940 frontiers.

“Roosevelt feels that regarding the Baltic nations, we have certainly taken them by force, but White assures us that the pre-war control of these vital areas by us will not be seriously challenged. He points out that there very few Balts in this country as compared with Poles, and Roosevelt does not have to pay much attention to their wishes.

“White is fairly certain that Roosevelt will win reelection here unless, somehow, there is a serious military reversal in Europe or Japan. Although White, Morgenthau and Roosevelt are very unhappy about the nomination of Truman instead of Wallace, they all feel that Truman will appeal to the conservatives in their party and that now, the trend is running against the radicals represented by Wallace.

“White then spoke of his continued work for us. He, of course, is prepared for any sacrifice on our behalf but although he does not think about his personal security, he notes that if he is somehow exposed, there would be a great scandal in the country which could lead to a strong movement against Roosevelt’s New Deal. In view of this, White wants to know if he should continue to work for us. He states that he has been told that the FBI has been watching him and does not know how safe he now is. White has no suitable meeting place or apartment we can use as a permanent meeting place. He states that all of his friends are party members and that we could meet at their homes on an agreed basis every few months. He also suggests that in the event of his having very vital information, we could also conduct a meeting while we drove in his automobile.

“White has determined our next meeting will be on the 17th and 18th of August and has set this up already for us. He will return to Washington (CARTHAGE) on August 17th.

“I will go to Washington on the 8th of August and leave again for Moscow on August 12th.”

Saturday, February 5th, 2005, 12:41 AM
Born in Baltimore, Maryland, he was educated at Baltimore City College high school and Johns Hopkins University. In 1929 he received his law degree from Harvard Law School, where he was a protégé of Felix Frankfurter, the future Supreme Court justice. Before joining a Boston law firm, he served for a year as clerk to Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.. In 1933, he entered government service, working in several areas as an attorney in President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal, including the Agricultural Adjustment Administration, the Nye Committee (which investigated wartime profiteering by military contractors during World War I), the Justice Department, and, beginning in 1936, in the State Department, where he served as assistant to Francis Sayre, a son-in-law of Woodrow Wilson, and assistant to Secretary of State Edward Stettinius, Jr. In 1944 he was a staff member at the Dumbarton Oaks Conference, which drafted plans for the organization that would become the United Nations. In 1945 he went with the president to the meeting of Roosevelt, Stalin, and Churchill in Yalta, where he worked on negotiating details of the proposed United Nations. Hiss opposed Stalin's request for 16 votes in the United Nations General Assembly. In a compromise, the final agreement gave two extra UNGA seats to the Soviet Union. At a founding meeting of the United Nations in San Francisco, Hiss served as the temporary U.N. secretary general. Hiss was afterwards named Director of the Office of Special Political Affairs. In 1946, he resigned to take up the post of President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Charges of espionage
The Alger Hiss case
In 1948 began the controversy over Whittaker Chambers's accusation that Alger Hiss had been a member of the Communist Party and a spy. Historians like James Thomas Gay, author of "The Alger Hiss Spy Case" (American History, May-June 1998), still regard the matter of Hiss's guilt as unresolved. But what is not in doubt is that Hiss's case was one of the most high-profile dramas of McCarthyism, and that publicity surrounding the case fed the early political career of Richard Nixon, helping him move from the House of Representatives to the Senate.

In the article just cited, Prof. Gay tries to summarize the larger significance of the Alger Hiss case: "'The case was the Rashomon drama of the Cold War,' said David Remnick in a profile of Hiss that he wrote for the Washington Post in 1986. 'One's interpretation of the evidence and characters involved became a litmus test of one's own politics, character, and loyalties. Sympathy with either Hiss or Chambers was more an article of faith than a determination of fact.' On the left was liberal New Dealism, represented by Hiss; on the right were conservative, anti-Roosevelt and Truman forces personified by Chambers. Depending on one's politics, the idea that someone like Alger Hiss could be a Communist was either chilling or absurd."

Hiss responds to allegations by Whittaker Chambers
After Time magazine managing editor Whittaker Chambers had identified him as being a Communist, Alger Hiss voluntarily appeared before HUAC . Chambers had previously denied that Hiss was a Communist. Some Committee members had misgivings at first about attacking Hiss, who had, against his lawyer friends' advice, volunteered to testify. But Congressman Richard Nixon, covertly being fed information by the Catholic Church's secretive Communist hunter, Father John Cronin, and using materials which he had been secretly and illegally receiving from the FBI, claimed to have sensed that Hiss was hiding something and pressed the Committee to act. Initially, Hiss denied having ever known Chambers, saying quite specifically "the name means nothing to me." After being asked to identify Chambers, whom he had not seen in at least a dozen years, from a photograph, Hiss indicated that his face "might look familiar." When he later confronted Chambers in a hotel room, with HUAC representatives present, Hiss identified him as a person he had known as "George Crosley", whom Hiss had allowed to live in his home when Chambers was destitute in the mid-1930s. Later, Hiss gave Chambers an old car, which Chambers claimed was for use in transporting documents.

After Chambers publicly reiterated his charge that Hiss was working for the Soviets on the radio program "Meet the Press," Hiss instituted a libel action against Chambers. Chambers, in response, presented the "Baltimore Documents", which were copies of a series of government documents that he claimed had been obtained from Hiss in the 1930s. Chambers claimed that the government documents had first been re-typed by Hiss's wife, Priscilla, and that these copies were then photographed and passed on to the spy network. Later Chambers produced microfilm evidence which was dramatically given to Nixon on Halloween, from a hollowed out pumpkin on his Maryland farm (the so-called “Pumpkin Papers.”). Some of the papers were dated later than the time when Hiss claimed to have ceased all contact with Chambers, AKA "Crosley". Chambers had previously denied that Hiss was a Communist or that Hiss engaged in espionage, and there was never any documentary, physical evidence that Hiss had ever been a member of any socialist or communist organization, although Priscilla Hiss had apparently joined a socialist, but not communist, party while she was in college.

Tried and convicted of perjury
Hiss was charged with two counts of perjury; the grand jury could not indict him for espionage, as the statute of limitations had run out. Hiss went to trial twice. The first trial started on May 31, 1949 but ended in a hung jury on July 7, 1949. At the trial, Chambers was forced to admit that he had consistently lied over a ten-year period when he denied that Hiss was ever a Communist or a spy, including testimony he gave under oath. Hiss was convicted the second time in a trial lasting from November 17, 1949 to January 21, 1950, after testimony from an FBI agent that only the Hiss typewriter could have been used to re-type the documents. Some of the Baltimore Documents were indeed classified, and four handwritten notes were apparently in Hiss's own handwriting. The verdict was upheld at the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court. Hiss was sentenced to five years on Jan. 25 and served 44 months before being released in November 1954.

Protestations of innocence
Disbarred, he became a salesman. But he continued for the rest of his life strenuously to protest his innocence, going so far as to file a petition of coram nobis, in which he presented his defense team's documented, putatively scientific evidence indicating that the typewriter used to convict him had been fabricated, that is, remanufactured, and that the so-called Baltimore Documents, papers which Chambers claimed that Hiss or his wife Priscilla had typed, were forgeries. At the time, few people suspected that remanufacturing of typewriters was possible, and an FBI agent testified at the Hiss trial that it was impossible. In fact, during WWII J. Edgar Hoover arranged for his own FBI agents to be trained at a British intelligence base called Camp X 100 miles east of Toronto, where one of the specialties was the remanufacture of typewriters and document forgery.

Years later John Dean, in his book Blind Ambition, asserted that he was informed that Nixon at one point in his Presidency told Charles Colson, "The typewriters are always the key. We built one in the Hiss case." Colson denied ever having such a conversation with Nixon, and it has never been found in Nixon's tapes, despite his having recorded nearly every conversation in the oval office while he was president. Hiss's request for a new trial was denied.

Revelations of judicial misconduct
As a result of a Freedom Of Information Act suit by Hiss, it was revealed in 1975 that: 1) an FBI agent knowingly committed perjury at the Hiss trial, testifying it was impossible to forge a document by typewriter, 2) the FBI knew that the typewriter introduced as evidence at the trial could not have been the Hiss typewriter, but withheld this information from Hiss, and 3) the FBI had an informer, Horace W. Schmahl, a private detective who was hired by the Hiss defense team, who reported on the Hiss defense strategy to the government. Other information which had been withheld from Hiss and his lawyers included the FBI's knowledge of Chambers' homosexuality and the intensive FBI surveillance of Hiss, which included phone taps and mail openings (none of which showed any indication that Hiss was a spy or a Communist.)

As for the "Pumpkin Papers," the five rolls of microfilm that Nixon had described as evidence of the "most serious series of treasonable activities . . . in the history of America," the FOIA releases showed one roll of microfilm was completely blank, and information on two rolls of microfilm were largely not only unclassified but were about topics such as life rafts and fire extinguishers, information which was easily obtainable at any time from the open shelves at the Bureau of Standards.

Hiss was readmitted to the bar in Massachusetts in 1975, without an admission of guilt, after the government's misconduct was revealed. The Supreme Court, which by this time contained several Nixon appointments, including Chief Justice Warren Burger, refused to nullify the Hiss perjury conviction.

Evidence from Soviet archives
Hiss claimed he was finally vindicated when in 1992 Russian General Dimitry Antonovich Volkogonov, acting on a request from John Lowenthal to help clear Hiss's name, stated that a search of Soviet archives revealed nothing. However, when questioned, Volkogonov subsequently revealed that he had spent only two days on his search, and had mainly relied on the word of KGB archivists. He stated "What I saw gave me no basis to claim a full clarification. . . . John Lowenthal pushed me to say things of which I was not fully convinced."

In 1996 the United States government released so-called Venona papers, decoded Russian intelligence intercepts dating from the mid-1940s. These documents mention a Soviet spy at the State Department, code-named "Ales", some of whose biographical details matched those of Hiss, while others, such as Ales being in the military, did not match. Soviet code names of that time, however, did not generally make such close correspondences to individuals' real names, relying instead on what appear to be randomly selected nomenclatures in most cases, names like "Vardo", "Maj", "Clever Girl", and "Albert." For example, one still-undiscovered spy at White Sands was code named "Perseus". Thus, whether Hiss was in fact a Communist or a spy for the Soviets remains unproven. Proponents on either side of the discussion will of course characterize the case differently, with liberals charging Hiss was victimized by a prosecutorial vendetta and that the charges against Hiss were actually an attempt to discredit the United Nations, and conservatives charging that the Hiss case proved that FDR hired traitors and spies for high ranking positions in his administration.

Monday, February 7th, 2005, 12:23 AM
Whittaker Chambers: A Biography By Sam Tanenhaus
Random House; 638 pages; $35
[review by Ann Douglas]

To my mind, Whittaker Chambers is the most formidable and fascinating of all the Cold Warriors. "Their panic is my peace," Chambers wrote, speaking through the persona of "The Devil" (a Communist with his eye on America) in a bizarre, compelling essay for Life magazine in 1948. Some thought Chambers was the devil. As an ex-Soviet spy and the man who kicked off the internal Cold War by naming a group of high government officials as fellow spies, he was certainly the instigator of a national panic. He remains the American right's best evidence that a first-rate intellect (and he was that) could see the world in the black-and-white terms the right has long favored. His torrential, lurid masterpiece Witness, a best seller in 1952 and still Ronald Reagan's favorite book in the 1980s, ranks as one of the great American autobiographies.
He was born Vivian Jay Chambers in 1901 to an unhappy, impoverished, middle-class family on Long Island. As a young man, the brilliant and tormented Chambers, a Columbia University dropout, consorted with married women, was caught stealing dozens of books from the New York Public Library, and bummed his way to New Orleans (he would later identify with Beat writers Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg). Vacillating between wildly opposed political views, he fervidly supported Calvin Coolidge in the early 1920s, only to join the Communist Party in 1925. He spent 13 years as a party member, serving under various aliases as a courier in a Soviet spy ring infiltrating the U.S. government. Horrified by Stalin's purges, increasingly convinced that the Communists were literally the party of Satan and that "man without mysticism is a monster," in 1938 he broke with the party. He soon announced himself a radical Christian and a right-wing Republican, becoming in the 1940s a top editor and writer at Time magazine. In 1948, in a case that played itself out on television (a first) and in the national headlines, he successfully brought explicit charges of perjury, and implicit charges of Soviet espionage, against Alger Hiss, who was head of the Carnegie Endowment.

Chambers, in other words, is one of the most controversial Americans of the last half-century, his life a story rife with histrionic tableaux, profound ideological warfare, and high-level scandal. Sam Tanenhaus, a free-lance journalist, has written the first serious biography of him. Yet Tanenhaus' book, while well-researched and lucid, hardly does justice to its subject. Tanenhaus submits Chambers to a genteel alchemy in which the wonderfully low is transmuted to the dismally high, and vitality is traded for status.

There is much that is tantalizingly unclear about the Chambers-Hiss case, mysteries I would have expected a biographer of Chambers to elucidate. We know little about Chambers' years of homosexual activity, which terminated, he assured the FBI, with his break from the party. I wanted to learn more about his marriage and his relations with his imperious mother Laha (with whom he continued to spend much of his time after his marriage); with his unhappy, aloof, bisexual father Jay; and with his alcoholic brother, Richard, who committed suicide in 1926 after begging Whittaker to join him.

We need to learn more about Hiss, too. What about his less-than-manly side? Chambers referred to a "mince" in his walk, and Richard Nixon, a staunch Chambers ally, always believed the two men had been lovers. Hiss' family background was as lurid as Chambers'. His mother was cold and controlling; his father and sister both committed suicide (in 1907 and 1929, respectively); his beloved brother died of alcoholism in 1926, just as Hiss was beginning his superbly calculated rise out of the family muck to suave and well-tailored eminence in Roosevelt's State Department.

For light on the psychological aspects of the Chambers-Hiss story, the best sources remain Allen Weinstein's authoritative Perjury: The Hiss-Chambers Case (1978) and Chambers himself, who, in Witness, is far more revealing about himself than Tanenhaus chooses to be. But I had also hoped that a biographer of Chambers would analyze the historical controversies over the Cold War to which Chambers' views are central. One can believe, as I do, Chambers' testimony against Hiss without accepting his interpretation of the Soviet-American confrontation. Tanenhaus, however, though he points to some of Chambers' blind spots and ideological excesses, does not doubt the Soviets' more or less total culpability for the long disaster we call the Cold War. In his telling, as in Chambers', Roosevelt, Truman, and American liberals in general "willfully" refused to mount a full-scale espionage operation against the Russians in the war years (when the two nations were allies). None of the important revisionist work by historians such as William Appleman Williams and others--work that poses a powerful challenge to such assumptions--is cited in Tanenhaus' footnotes or bibliography. If Chambers is to be believed, he and Hiss met in the early-mid-1930s. They became intimate friends as they collaborated in stealing government documents and transmitting them to their Soviet bosses. At their last meeting, as Chambers was preparing to flee the party, he begged Hiss to join him, but the supercool Hiss seemed to admire just what horrified Chambers in Soviet behavior--Stalin "played for keeps," as he put it--and his wife, Priscilla, termed Chambers' agonized apostasy "mental masturbation."

By all accounts, the two men did not meet again until 1948, when Chambers denounced Hiss, among others, to the FBI and the House Un-American Activities Committee. Most of those Chambers and others named initially took the Fifth Amendment before HUAC (though they confessed to the FBI shortly after). Some were murdered or committed suicide in mysterious circumstances early in the investigations. Henry Dexter White, once a top adviser to FDR and then head of the International Monetary Fund, succumbed to a heart attack in August 1948. Only Hiss, against the advice of his friends, chose to defy Chambers and HUAC, insisting that he had never even met Chambers, much less been a Communist or a Soviet spy.

From the start, Hiss, impeccably groomed and eerily calm ("It might be someone else who was on trial," one journalist marveled), relied on his patrician credentials. By now, he had admitted to knowing Chambers, but merely as one "George Crosley," a "deadbeat" he'd been kind to in passing a decade earlier. How could the testimony of a man like Chambers, Hiss asked with icy contempt, visibly unkempt, overweight, and "forbiddingly drab" (in Lionel Trilling's phrase), with no style and little personal status, a man who had lived, in Hiss' words, "in the sewers, plotting against his native land," possibly outweigh the simple facts of Hiss' career as Harvard graduate, trusted aide to FDR at Yalta, and one of the architects of the United Nations? It was a drama of politics and class, the "liberal" aristocracy of the New Deal pitted against the ill-bred ugly upstarts of right-wing reaction, a prelude and cue to the McCarthy era.

Most of all, it was a competition in truth-telling (or falsifying), a Cold War duel in credibility occurring amid a mounting pileup of classified information, exposés, and oxymoronic jargon that would eventually donate euphemistic doublespeak terms like "dual hegemony," "limited nuclear war," and the slogan "win the peace" to the American language. Chambers was eager to take a lie-detector test, on television (his lawyers dissuaded him). Hiss never volunteered to take one, but he pointed out to HUAC that it was "inconceivable" that he, a highly public figure, could have fooled for so long the journalists and statesmen who saw "my every facial expression," "heard the tones in which I spoke," and "knew my every act." It was, as Chambers saw it, a crisis of faith. Whom, and what, could you believe?

During the HUAC hearings, Congressman Edward Hébert commented, "Whichever one of you is lying is the greatest actor that America has ever produced." Or as one headline succinctly put it, "Who's the Psycho Now?" If a "psychopath," a term that enjoyed its greatest vogue in the Cold War years, is someone who meets no inner resistance in the act of uttering and maintaining what the world holds to be untruth, the honors must go to Hiss. The evidence that has accumulated over the years, mostly from Soviet archives, has overwhelmingly favored Chambers' version of the facts. Tellingly, Hiss thought the Mafia men he met in prison the "healthiest" people there, because they "had no sense of guilt." But Chambers had his own secrets and hidden motives--his pathological drive toward martyrdom, his homosexuality (the sin of sins in the Cold War era, routinely treated as a synonym for treason), and his undoubted obsession with Hiss. He, too, "began to play the part assigned to me," he writes in Witness.

[S]trangely, Tanenhaus chooses to withhold all information about Hiss until he gets to the 1948 Chambers-Hiss confrontation. He omits altogether the story of Chambers' friendship with Hiss, though he never doubts its authenticity. He identifies unavoidable references to Hiss only in footnotes, and finally presents their relationship in a brief flashback in the course of detailing the trials. By this awkward, deflationary reordering and compression, Tanenhaus clearly means to assert Chambers' importance independent of Hiss, to give him the dignity that comes with autonomy. But this is to desert, even betray, his subject. It was Chambers' peculiar fate, and choice, to live a life that was inseparable from another's. The two men have been joined forever in an intimacy deeper and more complex than that of blood or sex.

Chambers developed increasing reservations in his later years about the direction the American right was taking, distancing himself first from Joe McCarthy, then from Richard Nixon, and even from William Buckley Jr.'s National Review. But Chambers' importance lies, finally, not in his politics but in his romantic penchant for the extremes of the psychic and political undergrounds. With his susceptibility to ridicule and parody, his air of furtive portentousness, his apocalyptic Manichaean vision of purity overtaken by disease, his dazzling displays of the uncanny intuitive skills that sometimes accompany obsession, he was a pulp-fiction Dostoyevsky, an author he admired above all others.

Though he would have considered himself a champion of high art, melodrama was Chambers' medium. The roles he picked for himself were Dostoyevskian ones--the doppelgänger, playing unheeded guilty conscience to a modern Mephistopheles; the high-pitched prophet, trying to break what he saw as the "invincible ignorance" of a nation blinded to the "crisis of history" by its prosperity and misguided generous-mindedness. For Hegel, history was a slaughter bench; for Chambers, it had become an emergency room. He has not been adequately served by a biographer unwilling or unable to understand the nightmare of Cold War epistemology, the place where politics and pathology become indistinguishable.

You can read "Foreward in the Form of a Letter to my Children" from Whittaker Chambers' Witness, courtesy of the Augustine Club at Columbia University. In a Time piece, Charles Krauthammer reflects on Alger and O.J.--the two trials of the century. For a distinctly pro-Hiss perspective, try an editorial written by Victor Navasky for The Nation shortly after Hiss' death. For an anti-Hiss stance, try the American Spectator. For more on the post-Hiss events of Cold War America, the comprehensive Web site for The Literature & Culture of the American 1950s, a course at the University of Pennsylvania, includes a section on the House Un-American Activities Committee.

Ann Douglas is the author of Terrible Honesty: Mongrel Manhattan in the 1920s (1996). She is at work on a cultural history of the Cold War.

Monday, February 7th, 2005, 12:39 AM
Jay Vivian (Whittaker) Chambers (April 1, 1901-July 9, 1961) was an American writer, editor, political operative and informant. He was an icon of the Red Scare of the 1950s, best known for his accusation and testimony against Alger Hiss.

A controversial figure in history, Chambers is credited with or blamed for--depending on the point of view--touching off McCarthyism. Some even trace the fall of Communism in the late 1980s and early 1990s directly back to Chambers.

Contents [showhide]
1 Youth and Education

2 The American Communist Party

3 Post-Communist Life

4 The Trial of the Century

5 Post-trial Life

6 Sources

Youth and Education
Chambers was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and spent much of his youth in Brooklyn and Long Island, New York. He was described in childhood as a loner whose parents frequently separated. After graduating from high school in 1919, he worked for two years in a bank before enrolling in Columbia University in 1921, where he discovered communism. At Columbia University, his instructors recalled him as a talented writer who rarely went to class. He was expelled in 1922; some accounts attribute it to a blasphemous play he wrote and other attribute it to him simply not going to class.

The American Communist Party
In 1925, Chambers joined the American Communist Party and wrote and edited for communist periodicals, including The Daily Worker and The New Masses. He broke with the Communist party after he grew alienated by the Soviet labor camps and mass murders under Josef Stalin, leaving in 1938.

For a time, Chambers had worked as a spy. A collection of documents from that time that Chambers said he had saved in case he needed to protect himself from Communist retribution became known as the "pumpkin papers."

Post-Communist Life
After leaving the Communist party, Chambers' politics shifted right. In the late 1930s, Chambers joined the staff of Time Magazine, where he would eventually rise to the position of senior editor and earn a yearly salary of $30,000. While at Time, Chambers became known as a staunch anti-Communist, sometimes enraging his writers with the changes he made to their stories.

In late 1939, after the Soviet Union and Germany signed a non-aggression pact, Chambers approached assistant Secretary of State Adolf Berle and spent three hours detailing what he knew about Communist activity within the United States. In the wake of World War II, Chambers' story was mostly ignored.

During this period of his life, Chambers also translated Bambi from its original German into English.

In fact, Chambers translated Felix Salten's children's book, Bambi, in 1927, while he was also editing the Daily Worker, a Communist newspaper in New York City. As recounted on page 239 of Witness, Chambers did so because wages on the Daily Worker were "intermittent and so small". He was asked to do the translation by Clifton Fadiman of Simon and Schuster, and the translation became an instant success, thus making Chambers an established translator.

The Trial of the Century
After the war, Chambers' story caught the attention of a freshman Representative from California, Richard Nixon. On August 3, 1948, Chambers testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee and presented a list of what he said were members of an underground communist network working within the United States government in the 1930s and 1940s. One of the names on that list was that of a State Department official who had participated in the creation of the United Nations: Alger Hiss.

Chambers had skeptics. Hiss was well educated and had a long list of achievements to his name, and he vehemently denied the charges. Comparatively, Chambers was a drifter. Hiss had credibility; Chambers' story seemed fantastic, with little hard evidence. Hiss used this to his advantage, maligning Chambers in the press. Hiss even dug up stories--some true, some questionable--about Chambers's homosexual experiences, and used them to smear Chambers in public.

Hiss initially denied knowing Chambers, then later said he recognized Chambers as a man he had known as George Crosley. After Chambers accused Hiss of being a communist on the radio program "Meet the Press," Hiss filed a $75,000 libel suit. Then, in November 1948, Chambers led two HUAC investigators into a pumpkin patch in Maryland, where he brought out a hollowed-out pumpkin containing four rolls of microfilm. The contents of the microfilm became known as the "pumpkin papers." Nixon posed with a magnifying glass and these microfilms in a number of highly publicized photographs.

On May 31, 1949, amidst unprecedented hype, Alger Hiss's perjury trial began. Charges of espionage could not be brought, because the statute of limitations had run out. It was called the "Trial of the Century" at the time, and Chambers was the chief witness for the prosecution. Hiss continued to vigorously maintain his innocence. The trial ended in a hung jury on July 7. A second trial began November 17, 1949, and Hiss was found guilty of perjury on January 21, 1950 and sentenced to five years in prison. The perjury conviction was upheld by the Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court. He served 44 months and was released in November 1954.

In the end, Chambers had made a total of 14 appearances. His testimony cost him his position at Time, and at one point during the trial, Chambers attempted suicide, unsuccessfully.

Post-trial Life
While the Hiss trial propelled Nixon's political career, Chambers derived little benefit from it. His job at Time gone, Chambers drifted, eventually becoming a Quaker, and wrote his autobiography, Witness, published in 1952.

Before his death, Chambers served briefly as senior editor of William F. Buckley Jr.'s National Review.

Chambers died of a heart attack on July 9, 1961. A final book, titled Cold Friday, was published posthumously in 1964. It predicted, correctly, that the fall of communism would start in the satellite states surrounding the Soviet Union in Eastern Europe.

In 1984, Chambers was posthumously given the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Although Chambers' allegations largely remain unproven, information declassified in the 1990s in the United States and abroad corroborated at least some of his testimony. In particular, the Venona transcripts, released in 1996, detailed the activities of a spy code-named "Ales" mirrored Chambers' testimony against Hiss.

Monday, February 7th, 2005, 12:49 AM
April 1, 2001, marked one hundred years since the birth of Jay Vivian "Whittaker" Chambers, one of the most interesting Americans of the twentieth century. Chambers was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but spent most of his early youth in Brooklyn and Long Island, New York. He attended Union Avenue Grammar School and South Side High School, where he excelled at English and languages. After graduating high school in 1919, Chambers worked as a bank clerk and a laborer until enrolling in college at Columbia University in 1921. At Columbia, Chambers participated in the school’s literary activities, which included writing for the undergraduate magazine Varsity, and editing The Morningside, a literary journal. Mark Van Doren, the legendary English instructor, considered Chambers the best of his undergraduate students in the 1920s. But Chambers’ attendance record was poor, and prior to graduating he simply stopped going to class. As Sam Tanenhaus explains in Whittaker Chambers: A Biography, Chambers "had found a new intellectual passion, bolshevism."

Thus began Whittaker Chambers’ long, torturous journey: from Communist Party member and activist—to underground espionage agent—to hunted ex-comrade—to Time magazine writer and editor—to reluctant informer—to vilified government witness—to conservative, anticommunist icon. During that journey Chambers also found religion and developed an insight into the competing visions that fueled the titanic struggle between communism and the West.

On August 3, 1948, Chambers, testifying before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), identified several members of an underground communist network that had infiltrated the United States government in the 1930s and 1940s.

Chambers named Alger Hiss on that occasion. A former high level Department of State official who had advised President Roosevelt at the wartime Yalta Conference, Hiss was a key figure in the negotiations that led to the formation of the United Nations and was at the time president of the prestigious Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He had been a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes and counted among his acquaintances and supporters Supreme Court Justice Stanley Reed, John Foster Dulles, Francis Sayre, Judge Jerome Frank, and Edward Stettinius. Chambers subsequently charged that Hiss had been involved in passing classified documents to the Soviets. Hiss denied to the committee and to a grand jury that he had been a communist and that he had engaged in espionage on behalf of the Soviets. For those denials, Hiss was charged with perjury (the three-year statute of limitations of the day prevented espionage charges from being filed). In a dramatic moment, Chambers produced confidential State Department documents, including notes in Hiss’ handwriting, which Chambers had kept hidden in a hollowed-out pumpkin on his Maryland farm. These were documents that Hiss had provided to Chambers (who acted as a courier) for transfer to his Soviet handlers. Hiss was convicted of perjury and sentenced to five years in prison (he actually served forty-four months at the federal penitentiary in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania). Though Hiss partisans and many on the ideological Left for many years hotly disputed the jury’s verdict in the case, most interested people were finally persuaded that justice had been done by Allen Weinstein’s painstakingly researched book, Perjury, published in 1978.

After the trial, Chambers retreated to his Maryland farm to write Witness, his masterful autobiography and one of the more interesting books of the twentieth century. In it, he characterized communism as "the focus of the concentrated evil of our time" (words that President Ronald Reagan would repeat thirty years later); he defined the Cold War as a struggle between "two irreconcilable faiths," that is, faith in man and faith in God. Chambers described the utopian vision that forms the basis of communism and all other totalitarian movements:

The communist vision is the vision of man without God. It is the vision of man’s mind displacing God as the creative intelligence of the world. It is the vision of man’s liberated mind, by the sole force of its rational intelligence, redirecting man’s destiny and reorganizing man’s life and the world. It is the vision of man, once more the central figure of the Creation, not because God made man in His image, but because man’s mind makes him the most intelligent of the animals.

Chambers understood the communist vision; from 1925 to 1937 it was his vision. That vision was so strong that when he broke with communism he told his wife that they were joining the "losing side" in the great struggle of the twentieth century. Two years after his break with communism, Chambers attempted to warn the Roosevelt Administration about communist infiltration of the government (the same information that he revealed to HUAC in 1948). Assistant Secretary of State Adolf Berle ’ brought Chambers’ information directly to Roosevelt, but the president refused to believe it. FDR’s response to Chambers’ information typified his administration’s lax attitude about the threat of communist subversion.

We now understand that communist infiltration of the U. S. government during the 1930s and 1940s was real and damaging. The opening of some Soviet archives and the release of the Venona Project files (intercepted wartime and postwar messages between Moscow and communist agents in the United States) confirmed much of what Chambers, Elizabeth Bentley, and other ex-communists told HUAC and other congressional committees. Three recent books on the subject — The Haunted Wood, Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America, and The Venona Secrets — provide evidence that American communists successfully infiltrated the State Department, Treasury Department, Office of Strategic Services (OSS), Justice Department, Agricultural Department, Commerce Department, the Office of War Information, the War Production Board, the Board of Economic Warfare, the Civil Service Commission, the Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA), the army, the navy, Congress, the Manhattan Project, the United Nations, and the White House. The highest ranking Soviet agents included Harry Dexter White, the number two man at Treasury; Alger Hiss, a key State Department official; Duncan Lee, a chief assistant to OSS Director William Donovan; Congressman Samuel Dickstein; and Launchlin Currie, special assistant to FDR. The authors of The Venona Secrets go so far as to identify Harry Hopkins, one of FDR’s most trusted advisers, as a Soviet agent. If that is true, then the Soviet Union had in place an agent of influence who had the ear of President Roosevelt on every significant issue and policy.

When Chambers’ attempt to warn FDR’s administration about communist infiltration of the government failed, he used his position as a writer and editor at Time magazine to try to warn the American people that Stalin’s regime was every bit as dangerous to American interests as Nazi Germany. As Time’s foreign news editor in 1944-45, Chambers often rewrote articles that he believed were too slanted in favor of communist causes, much to the consternation of Time reporters. Some of Chambers’ best writings of that period are included in a collection of Chambers’ journalism edited by Terry Teachout entitled Ghosts on the Roof. The book’s title is taken from one of Chambers’ more brilliant and controversial Time essays that imagines a pro-Stalin dialogue among the ghosts of the slain Russian royal family and the Muse of History situated on the roof of the Livadia Palace at Yalta. Chambers has the ghost of Nicholas II praise Stalin’s diplomacy at Yalta by saying: "What statesmanship! What vision! What power! We have known nothing like it since my ancestor, Peter the Great, broke a window into Europe by overrunning the Baltic States in the 18th century. Stalin has made Russia great again!" This appeared in March 1945, when it was not fashionable to criticize America's Soviet allies.

After writing Witness, Chambers’ health slowly deteriorated. He began a correspondence with the young William F. Buckley, Jr., and briefly served as a senior editor of Buckley’s National Review in the late 1950s. Chambers also corresponded with Ralph de Toledano, who covered the Hiss Case for Newsweek and later wrote a book about the case titled Seeds of Treason. Buckley’s correspondence with Chambers was published in book form in 1969 as Odyssey of a Friend. The Chambers-Toledano letters were published in 1997 as Notes from the Underground.

In Chambers’ last published work, Cold Friday (which appeared in 1964, three years after his death), prophetically he envisioned that a "satellite revolution" in Eastern Europe would result in the transformation of the communist dictatorship. In 1984 President Ronald Reagan, who encouraged and assisted that "satellite revolution" which resulted in the collapse of the Soviet Empire, awarded Chambers (posthumously) the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The Medal’s citation reads:

At a critical moment in our Nation’s history, Whittaker Chambers stood alone against the brooding terrors of our age. Consummate intellectual, writer of moving majestic prose, and witness to the truth, he became the focus of a momentous controversy in American history that symbolized our century’s epic struggle between freedom and totalitarianism, a controversy in which the solitary figure of Whittaker Chambers personified the mystery of human redemption in the face of evil and suffering. As long as humanity speaks of virtue and dreams of freedom, the life and writings of Whittaker Chambers will ennoble and inspire. The words of Arthur Koestler are his epitaph: "The witness is gone; the testimony will stand."

Monday, February 7th, 2005, 01:14 AM
Kathryn S. Olmsted. Red Spy Queen: A Biography of Elizabeth Bentley. Chapel Hill and London: University of North Carolina Press, 2002. x + 268 pp. Illustrations, notes, bibliography, index. $27.50 (cloth), ISBN 0-8078-2739-8.
Reviewed by: Eileen Scully , Social Sciences Division, Bennington College.
Published by: H-Women (April, 2003)
Engendering Treachery
Red Spy Queen is a well-researched, coherent, and fast-paced biography of Elizabeth Bentley, an upper-middle-class New Englander who turned courier and spy-handler for the Soviet Union from the late 1930s to the end of World War II. Bentley's detailed, but ever more sensationalist confessions to the FBI, congressional committees, magazines, and newspapers, spanned from August of 1945 up through the 1950s, and "trigger[ed] an earthquake in American politics," manifested in the Alger Hiss case, Justice Department prosecutions of American Communist Party members, and the McCarthy hearings (p. ix). Earlier scholars and commentators largely ignored Bentley's role in the postwar anti-Communist loyalty probes, explains Olmstead, in part because of the difficulty of assessing the credibility of Bentley's uncorroborated and contradictory statements. As well, historians seemed to adopt contemporary perceptions of Bentley "as a pathetic or even laughable figure," and a naïve idealist used by others with superior intellects and greater purpose (p. x). However, newly available archival material from the former Soviet Union, including Bentley's own NKGB (predecessor to the KGB) autobiography, together with an array of declassified U.S. documents from the era, now make it possible to test Bentley's veracity in all the particulars, and thus to reassess her role in a critical moment of America's political and cultural history.[1] Olmsted brings to the task an extensive knowledge of espionage and official secrecy, demonstrated in her earlier work Challenging the Secret Government: The Post-Watergate Investigations of the CIA and FBI.

In what ways is gender a useful category of analysis for understanding the life of Elizabeth Bentley, historical incidents of espionage, and spy-hunting domestic loyalty campaigns? Gender comes into Olmsted's analysis through two distinct avenues: first, as a way to make sense of Bentley's own actions, life choices, and interactions with fellow travelers in her circle and with her Soviet handlers; second, as a lens through which to comprehend the array of contemporary public and private responses to Bentley's allegations. As to the first, Olmsted portrays Bentley as "a bundle of contradictions. She was an alcoholic daughter of a temperance crusader; a fan, at different times, of Mussolini, Stalin, the pope, and J. Edgar Hoover; a shrewd woman who outsmarted the NKGB and the FBI but who chose boyfriends who abused her. She was, as one FBI agent who knew her says, 'a highly intelligent woman with a very unfortunate life.' Above all, she was an intensely lonely woman searching for love and acceptance" (p. xi). As to the second, Olmsted argues that "Bentley's 'spy queen' image makes her more, rather than less, historically interesting. There was something about her that touched the fears and fantasies of postwar Americans. Her media image revealed Americans' concerns about gender relations after the upheaval of the war. Her story became interwoven with the cultural, as well as the political, history of the Cold War at home" (p. x).

Chapter 1, "The Sad and Lonely Girl," covers Bentley's life from her 1907 birth in Connecticut, through her education at Vassar College on a scholarship, the premature deaths of her parents before 1925, her postgraduate work at Columbia University, her graduate fellowship at the University of Florence, and her initial flirtation with American communism. As Bentley had a tendency to mislead and exaggerate, her biographer had the added burden of tracking down even the most basic details. Her father was a dry-goods merchant, her mother a local schoolteacher, both "old-family Republicans and Episcopalians who enjoyed respect from their fellow small-town New Englanders" (p. 2). Bentley later claimed that she had been seduced into anti-Americanism and communism by her undergraduate teachers, but Olmsted shows the dubiousness of this claim, demonstrating that it was Bentley's several trips to Europe, particularly Italy, that brought her under the sway first of fascism, then anti-fascism. Bentley was unusually tall (over 5'9") and classmates recall her as lonely, plain-faced, and a social misfit. During her time in Italy, she shed her New England, Republican upbringing, reportedly leading a promiscuous sex life, punctuated by heavy drinking bouts and a suicide attempt. It was in Italy, under the romantic mentorship of her faculty advisor, a leading anti-fascist, that Bentley "developed her lifelong taste for political extremism," and her lifelong compulsion for "breaking the rules and deceiving the authorities" (p. 7). Her habit of self-delusion and mendacity took root when she took credit for a master's thesis actually written by one of her advisor's other students.

Bentley's first exposure to American communists came in the mid-1930s, amid the Great Depression. Bentley's exaggerated and falsified stories of her anti-fascist activities in England gave her standing among New York political intellectuals, and she joined "the American League against War and Fascism, a Communist-front group designed to expand and unify Americans' opposition to fascism in Europe" (p. 9). When denied a loan to pursue a sociology degree from Columbia University, possibly because of faculty suspicions about her pilfered thesis, Bentley parlayed the incident into local celebrity, claiming that she was being punished for her anti-fascist stand. Olmsted shows persuasively that Bentley was driven not by ideas or even ideology, but rather by a longed-for sense of belonging; when first invited by a friend to join the CPUSA, she was reluctant, but yielded when other members responded to her recalcitrance with coldness and displeasure. As Olmsted explains, the CPUSA had not fully recovered from the red scare after World War I; by the mid-1930s, though, it was an above-ground, legal entity, urged by Moscow's Communist International (Comintern) to seek a popular front within America, uniting with liberals and leftists to oppose fascism in Europe. Well-bred, well-educated native Americans such as Bentley were particularly sought after. Although Bentley totally misunderstood and misconstrued efforts to recruit her by an underground American agent and a male Russian agent, she remained "too good a prospect for the Soviets to ignore. She had no foreign accent, no police record, and no family to hinder her in 'special' work" (p. 18). Bentley ultimately "activated herself" as an undercover agent; she obtained a position in the Italian Library of Information, Mussolini's propaganda bureau, then immediately hurried to CPUSA headquarters in New York City, where she hooked up with "Timmy," aka Jacob Raisin, aka Jacob Golos, a founding member of the CPUSA and its preeminent enforcer of Stalinist orthodoxy.

Chapter 2, "Vitally Important Work," tracks Bentley's early work for the CPUSA, at a time when she did not yet appreciate that the research, spycraft, and role as a mail drop for other agents served not only "Timmy" and the CPUSA, but also the Soviet Union. In part, as Olmsted shows, this confusion stemmed from the fact that the CPUSA and Golos himself had a certain autonomy from Moscow that lasted until the Nazi-Soviet Pact, when Moscow tried to take direct and full control of its American network. However, the more significant reasons came from Bentley's own self-delusion, and "indifference to ideology" (p. 28). Olmsted suggests that Bentley operated as a needy woman who acted from personal, not political or ideological motives. Soon she "fairly glowed with satisfaction and self-importance. A few years earlier, she had been an unemployed, unattached, virtually friendless young woman. Now she had a powerful, caring lover who was training her to play a critical role in the coming worldwide revolution. Though she supported Communist ideals, hers was a case of personal, rather than ideological, devotion to the Cause" (p. 27). The contrast is to Alger Hiss's accuser, Whittaker Chambers, who was also "a lonely soul searching for something he could not find in his family, religion, or education," but whose turn against the Soviets was inspired by a sense of betrayal over the Nazi-Soviet Pact, on top of the murder of his friends and contacts by Stalinist types (p. 29). Chambers met with Assistant Secretary of State Adolf Berle in 1941, and named eighteen current and former government employees as spies or fellow travelers, including Donald and Alger Hiss, then mid-level State Department officials. Without the corroboration that Bentley herself would supply in 1945, investigating Chambers's allegations remained a low priority for the FBI; still, the Justice Department did subpoena Golos, and used material found in his possession to go after CPUSA leader Earl Browder for passport fraud. This notoriety meant Golos could no longer use his business, World Tourists, for espionage, and needed not only a new front, but also a new assistant to operate as both courier and case officer.

Chapter 3, "Clever Girl," shows Bentley heading the new Soviet front company, U.S. Service and Shipping Corporation, and reconstructs Bentley's initial contact with individuals later targeted in her depositions and congressional testimony. ("Clever Girl" was a loose translation of Bentley's Soviet code name of umnitsa.) One particularly compelling example was Abe Brothman, a New York engineer engaged in industrial espionage, whose mention by Bentley to her FBI debriefers ultimately led that agency to focus on Julius Rosenberg. In 1941, Bentley was briefly under FBI surveillance because of her relationship with Jacob Golos. At the same time, she began a friendship with Mary Price, secretary to the well-known journalist Walter Lippmann; the two women combed his files for gossip on Anglo-American relations, and mention of future war plans. Bentley also hooked up with Bob Miller, who got a job with Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs. It was Germany's attack on its ally Russia in June 1941 that prompted Moscow to seek more direct control over the CPUSA and field agents in North America. Only at this point did Bentley fully apprehend that she was a "spy for Golos, the Communist Party, and the Soviets, all at the same time" (p. 43). By August of 1941, Bentley was supervising what came to be known as the "Silvermaster group," led by Nathan Gregory Silvermaster, a native Ukrainian and lifelong Bolshevik activist who was employed in the Resettlement Administration of the Agriculture Department. Other members included two advisors to Treasury Secretary Morgenthau, and two Pentagon contacts with access to military secrets.

Olmsted is evenhanded and careful in her discussion of Bentley's later accusations against especially prominent individuals, including Lauchlin Currie, one of FDR's economic affairs advisors; Harry Dexter White, primary architect of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank; and Maurice Halperin, a former University of Oklahoma political science professor who joined the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) as a Latin America specialist. Currie ultimately admitted telling the Soviets about American efforts to break Soviet codes (the Venona project); Harry Dexter White's biographer Bruce Craig concedes that White did pass along information and possibly sensitive documents, believing that he was not only helping his good friend Silvermaster, but also that he was contributing to Soviet-American cooperation. Maurice Halperin apparently handed over classified documents. OSS chief William Donovan's personal assistant, Duncan Lee, passed along verbal information about OSS spy hunting campaigns, alerting the Soviets about suspicions raised against Halperin. William Remington, employed in the War Production Board, transmitted data on U.S. aircraft testing and production. Bentley passed along to Soviet agents tidbits from this group including secret estimates of Germany's military strength, information about America's Lend-Lease program, and gossip from the White House and Cabinet meetings. While helpful, this information was not what the Soviets really sought. What they really wanted was information on the opening of a second front and details about America's internal anti-espionage efforts.

Olmsted argues persuasively that "these intelligent, privileged men and women" passed along secrets for diverse, though generally naïve and idealistic motives. Some, like Duncan and Remington, were "hardworking, well-meaning native sons" who believed that the U.S. government should be more open to its wartime ally, and who saw themselves as contributing to world peace (p. 53). Others, such as Silvermaster and Halperin, were true believers working for a Soviet America. The Great Depression, growing economic disparities, and deep-rooted racism convinced these individuals that "their judgment was better than that of their employers and their government. They believed that their superior intellect or empathy gave them the right to decide when to share top-secret information" (p. 55). Bentley herself "was much less of an idealist than her sources. She had only the vaguest grasp of Communist doctrine, which of course made it all the easier for her to abandon it later. For her, spying offered the chance to take risks and break the rules, all while earning a good income. Most important, her supervisor loved her and kept her bed warm at night" (p. 54).

Chapter 4, "A Serious and Dangerous Burden," focuses on Bentley's resistance to Soviet efforts to take direct control over their American networks, particularly after the death of Jacob Golos in November of 1943. Ignoring Moscow's orders, Bentley expanded her network, connecting with the "Perlo group," comprised of individuals in various parts of the U.S. government, including Capitol Hill and the War Production Board. CPUSA head Earl Browder eventually turned over the Silvermaster group to the Soviets in June 1944. Renewed heavy drinking intensified Bentley's anger and resentment at Moscow's effort to order her around: "The NKGB's power play infuriated a woman who did not like other people to tell her what to do--and who did not seem to fully understand her own relative weakness. She resolved to find a way to get even" (p. 69). Although her trip to the FBI was still a year away, Bentley "began a clever, manipulative, passive-aggressive campaign to hurt the people who had hurt her" (p. 69). While pretending compliance, she did what she could to derail Soviet efforts. "As the end of World War II and its grand alliance approached, one of the top Soviet agents in the United States was an unstable, alienated, mendacious American who drank too much and was doing all she could to sabotage her own agent network" (p. 72). Amid this self-destructive and vindictive campaign, Bentley connected with Anatoly Gorsky (Gromov), chief of NKGB operations in the United States, first secretary at the Soviet embassy, and erstwhile controller of the Cambridge Five in London. Through a mix of bribery and threats, Gromov successfully severed Bentley's ties to her network, pushed her out of her well-paying position at U.S. Service and Shipping Corporation, and encouraged her plans for a vacation at Old Lyme, Connecticut, where she began to map out her revenge. When Bentley recontacted Anatoly Gorsky, she made drunken threats to go to the U.S. government with her knowledge. When hearing of this, however, Moscow urged Gorsky to go easy on Bentley, assuming that she needed a shoulder to cry on.

Chapter 5, "Get Rid of Her," tracks Bentley's early, rather tentative, contacts with the FBI field office in Connecticut. Bentley did not reveal anything about her own activities, reporting only her fears that she was being followed by an FBI agent, who turned out to be a crank. Nothing much came of her initial visit, although FBI interest in her story was sparked by revelations around the same time by a Soviet embassy employee in Canada who handed over documents about Moscow's espionage network in North America. An old contact of Bentley's, Louis Budenz, went public after experiencing a Catholic conversion, and this intensified Bentley's fears that she would be found out. Even when the FBI invited her to visit their New York City office, her information was vague and without corroboration. What ultimately drove her to begin naming names and supplying verifiable details to the FBI was her fear that both the Soviets and the FBI were after her, a suspicion confirmed by Earl Browder, who had been pushed out of the CPUSA leadership for "right wing deviationism." The Soviets had subsequently withdrawn support for the U.S. Service and Shipping, pushing Bentley out of a lucrative job. So, on her third meeting with the FBI, and in successive conversations in the month following, she supplied full and accurate information; her facts tied in with other things that the FBI had heard from various sources. As one FBI agent later remembered: "We had files here, there and everywhere ... and she kind of sewed it all together" (p. 100). At this early stage, according to Olmsted, Bentley told the unvarnished truth, distinguishing between what she knew from her own activities and what she surmised indirectly. The FBI turned her in, hoping to implicate others. However, because J. Edgar Hoover told the British station chief in the United States about Bentley's revelations, the information reached Kim Philby, who passed it along to the Soviets, who in turn warned its agents in the United States and initiated a campaign to discredit or silence Bentley.

Chapter 6, "The Blond Spy Queen," covers official and public reaction to Bentley's revelations. This is especially rich territory for an exploration of gender as a useful category of analysis. Olmsted shows the partisan and institutional rivalries between a Republican-dominated Congress and the Truman White House, and between the FBI and Attorney General Tom Clark. Although Truman had preemptively established loyalty boards to screen federal employees, Hoover believed the White House and the Attorney General were not serious in their efforts, and that Clark would seek indictments based on information he knew to be insufficient and uncorroborated in an effort to embarrass the FBI. Thus, Hoover passed along Bentley's revelations to the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). At the same time, Bentley began to make demands on the FBI for money and vacations; as leaks about her identity began to appear in newspapers, she turned again to heavy drinking to relieve her fears about Soviet assassination efforts against her. In April of 1948, she contacted a reporter from the New York World-Telegram in "one of the most fateful choices of her life. She had decided to spy; she had decided to defect; and now she decided to tell the world about it. None of these decisions worked out well for her, but in many ways the last one was the most disastrous" (p. 123). A few months later, she made headlines, when reporter Nelson Frank announced: "Red Ring Bared by Blond Queen." For reasons of his own--hoping to satisfy bosses, who in turn wanted to see increased sales and give the Democrats a drubbing--Frank transformed the plain-faced, dark-haired Bentley into a "beautiful young blonde," who had helped steal top-secret plans of the B-29 bomber. This was the first step in the exaggeration process that turned Bentley's information from incomplete, uncorroborated, and sketchy to wild, sensationalist, red-baiting allegations with consequences for national politics. Bentley's true identity remained secret, until revealed by Frank when other newspapers began publishing official leaks.

Bentley appeared before the HUAC under subpoena. Although Congress had recessed for summer break, Truman unintentionally played into Republican hands by calling Congress into a special session to tackle inflation, and HUAC seized the moment to attack the White House as soft on national security and fully infiltrated by Communist agents. Presenting herself as a naïve idealist "propagandized by subversive teachers and seduced by an older ideologue," Bentley's testimony before HUAC marked the second stage of exaggeration and mendacity (p. 133). Eager to please her questioners, Bentley "agreed with most of what the committee members had to say. She obligingly concurred that American Communists were plotting to overthrow the U.S. government, that there was 'very little' difference between fascism and communism, that Russian farmers were 'slaves,' and that American Communists were 'suckers'" (p. 131). Particularly sensational was her allegation that the Soviets had been told ahead of time about plans for D-Day. Events accelerated when Whittaker Chambers came out of the cold and corroborated key points of Bentley's story. Olmsted makes clear that Bentley was not being manipulated by the FBI or any other outside force; indeed, the FBI grew increasingly wary of its unpredictable, unstable charge. Apart from Bentley's actions and self-representation, the "spin" about her as a "red spy queen" emerged from the "cultural anxiety about changes in women's roles in the 1940s" (p. 134). There was, Olmsted ably demonstrates, a "war between the stereotypes--'Red Spy Queen' versus 'Comrade Woman'--[which] exposed the fears of the men who relied on them" (p. 135). Drawing on the work of Elaine Tyler May, Susan Douglas, and Susan Hartmann, Olmsted recalls gender dynamics in the early Cold War era and explains how the coverage of Bentley drew from stock characters in film noir, early anti-Communist films, and detective fiction (p. 136).

Chapter 7, "False Witness," shows Bentley out on the hustings telling her tale, in part as a response to efforts by those she identified to discredit her as a neurotic or puppet of hidden forces, and in part because of her conversion to Catholicism by Monsignor Fulton J. Sheen. Bentley's new anti-communist, Catholic friends found teaching jobs for her, but her continued legal troubles, public notoriety, and private excesses combined to leave her unemployed and ever more unstable. Her accusations picked up impetus in 1949, when U.S. Army code breakers decrypting NKGB dispatches to Moscow (under the auspices of the Venona project) verified the leak of top-secret Manhattan Project details by British scientist Klaus Fuchs. In a chain reaction, Fuchs identified his American contact, and this brought investigators to recall Bentley's mention of Abe Brothman, who in turn identified Harry Gold, who named Los Alamos employee David Greenglass; the latter named Julius Rosenberg. Bentley played a starring role in the Rosenbergs' trial, and "supplied the missing link connecting the Communist Party with the Soviet Union" (p. 165). Being "unemployed, depressed, and broke," she hooked up with the Catholic foreman of the new grand jury investigating several of her charges, and he helped Bentley get a book contract. Her Out of Bondage, serialized by McCall's, demonstrates, writes Olmsted, that Bentley responded to her critics and detractors "quite sensibly, with a defense that was carefully crafted to absolve her from responsibility while enhancing her respectability. She decided to portray herself as a sort of Communist June Cleaver" (p. 166). Bentley "had formidable survival skills, and one of those skills was her ability to lie. She lied to others and to herself" (p. 168). Telling readers that "I Joined the Red Underground with the Man I Loved," Bentley "constructed a new image of herself: neither Mata Hari nor vengeful schoolmarm but rather a conventional housewife who had meekly obeyed her 'husband' [Golos]" (p. 166). Olmsted explains that Bentley's "distorted portrayal of her life was one more example of her practicality and her resilience. She was shrewd enough to change her life story in a way that suited the times and her own needs" (p. 167). Olmsted makes a convincing case that Bentley's book was ghost written by two men close to Bentley, the Catholic jury foreman mentioned earlier, and Thomas Sloane, an editor for Devin-Adair. This collaboration added a further layer of gendered cultural stereotypes: "Two men, in short, helped plan, write, and edit a book by a woman aimed at female readers. Their assumptions about gender roles, combined with Elizabeth's strained attempt to portray herself as a victim, created that phony smell noted by so many reviewers" (p. 169).

Chapter 8, "Somewhat Hysterical," and the epilogue, take Bentley through the 1950s to her death from alcohol-related causes in 1963, at age 55. Living in Connecticut, Bentley experienced a painful decade of financial straits, heavy drinking, and disastrous romantic liaisons. She alternately threatened and begged the FBI for funds, coming close to blackmailing the organization in exchange for her continued availability as a witness for Senate investigations of the State Department China hands, including Owen Lattimore. Bentley said what was expected of her: "that Soviet agents still infected the inner councils of the U.S. government, despite the failure of the FBI to find any" (p. 177). Olmsted shows how the FBI ended up in an untenable position: needing Bentley to supply ever more details and confirm older allegations, they had to respond to her financial demands and coddle her; though recognizing how unstable and mendacious Bentley was becoming, they could not repudiate her without discrediting the agency and re-opening closed cases. Bentley's Catholic patrons arranged for a teaching post at the College of the Sacred Heart in Louisiana, and then other similar schools when trouble found her yet again. Bentley's relative seclusion in academe ended when Senator Joe McCarthy mobilized the Government Operations Committee to ferret out remaining communists in the U.S. government and called upon Bentley to testify. Olmsted notes that this testimony included "the most preposterous lies of her career," confirming details of the scandal of the day, that Harry Dexter White had supplied printing plates to Moscow for counterfeiting occupancy currency in postwar Germany.

Bentley's lies "stemmed from her decision to earn a living as a professional ex-spy," spurred on in large part by her knowledge that male ex-spies, such as Whittaker Chambers, were prospering while she had to beg handouts from the FBI (p. 187). Much of the public doubt about her statements came from a former boyfriend, to whom she privately admitted that she had, on occasion, lied. She or her ghostwriters contributed stories of the pulp fiction variety as to how Bentley had been "cast in the Communist mold, blinded by its dogma, enslaved by its discipline" (p. 188). Her sensational and controversial "revelations" brought Bentley to television, forcing a wary Hoover to stand by her as a witness, through congressional hearings and libel trials initiated against her by those she had accused. Her government friends were able to call off the IRS, which was looking for back taxes on her book royalties. According to Olmsted, "In the relationship between Elizabeth and the FBI, it was always hard to determine who was using whom" (p. 201). Ultimately, Bentley pulled away from the FBI, a move agents attributed to the onset of menopause. Though she was called upon on occasion during the late 1950s, things quieted down and she continued to drink, bringing on the "virus" of which she so often complained. Her death in late 1963 brought obituaries that understated her role in events, depicted her as a "frumpy New Englander," and snidely suggested that she was neurotic and intellectually shallow (p. 203).

Readers will find Olmsted's feminist summing up of Bentley as "a strong woman who defied limits, laws, and traditions" thought provoking, but also somewhat "incongruous" with the weight of evidence presented, to quote a New York Times reviewer.[2] No doubt, biographers of undisputed heroines--such as civil rights leaders and suffragists--have an easier task than does Olmsted in this respect. Bentley was "the Linda Tripp of her time" according to a former boyfriend, an apt characterization that conveys the challenges and perils for biographers of either woman.[3] While treason against the United States is no bar to posthumous accolades, aiding and abetting a political witch hunt for personal aggrandizement, petty vengeance, and cheap celebrity give even historians pause. Olmsted seems to settle on Bentley as a "nonconformist" with strong "survival skills," who "smoked when the university forbade it; she drank when her father crusaded against drink. She ran a shipping company at a time when women had few opportunities in business. She enjoyed sex and had lots of it, even when her family and neighbors were scandalized by her behavior. She deceived and manipulated the NKGB, the most brutal and murderous secret police agency in the world, and lived to tell the tale. She had also outwitted the FBI" (p. 204).


[1]. Bentley's NKGB autobiography is still in closed KGB archives in Moscow, so Olmsted relied on Alexander Vassiliev's notes on the document. Olmsted, p. 206, n. 6. Olmsted's other noteworthy primary sources come from the Eisenhower Library, Women and Leadership Archives, now declassified FBI and National Security records, U.S. Attorney records, and archives in Florence and Rome.

[2]. Dorothy Gallagher, "The Witness," New York Times Book Review, November 3, 2002, p. 18.

[3]. Olmsted, quoted in Jeff Howitt, "Secret Agent Woman," Dateline UCDavis, 25 October 2002 (visited 22 March 2003).

Library of Congress Call Number: HX84.B384 O45 2002

Monday, February 7th, 2005, 10:04 AM
from www.crimelibrary.com/terrorists_spies/spies/cambridge/2.html?sect=23

The dark, windowless room in KGB Headquarters held nothing more than a chair, rows and rows of file cabinets, and a long table. If the room had had a window, in the near distance the walls of the Kremlin could have been seen, ablaze with lights. The newly appointed officer sat at the table while a filing clerk piled file upon file upon it. As he went through the dossiers, the KGB official was astonished. Here was the history of four agents who had penetrated the highest reaches of the British intelligence establishment. Everything that Churchill or Roosevelt or Truman had thought had been reported to the Soviets as soon as the three great statesmen had uttered these thoughts. The files were clearly marked: "Transmission to Control, to Beria, to Stalin." No bureaucracy was to impede the flow of information from these spies. They were too important, their information too reliable. The KGB man smiled. KGB men rarely smiled.

The four were not characters in a spy novel. The KGB official was not an invention of a writer of fiction. They were real. The spies were Burgess, Blunt, Maclean, and Philby.

There have been no more successful, more dramatically impressive spies than a group of Englishmen who all met at Trinity College, Cambridge University in the 1930s. To one degree or another, they were active for the Soviet Union for over thirty years. They were the most efficient espionage agents against American and British interests of any collection of spies in the Twentieth Century. One of them, Kim Philby, served the KGB for almost fifty years.

All four were eventually exposed but --- amazingly --- never caught. One, Burgess, was a flamboyant, alcoholic homosexual. The second, Blunt, was a discrete homosexual who rose to knighthood as the Royal Curator of Art. The third, Maclean, was a tense, insecure diplomat of ambiguous sexual persuasion. The fourth, Philby --- and perhaps the most intriguing of the group --- was a dedicated heterosexual who has been called, not inaccurately, the "Spy of the Century."

Great spies are more interesting in fact than in fiction, more fascinating in reality than in the legends that grow up around them. It is easy to forget that successful spies, by their treachery, are some of the most adept of killers. Their murder victims are faceless, usually never seen by the agents who send them, unwittingly, to their deaths.

"Today, of course, it is well known that Harold Adrian Russell Philby was a Soviet agent within MI-6, a traitor to his own country and a man who betrayed many of the most important secrets of the Western democracies to the Soviet Union. Now Kim Philby is a legend --- a demon or an antihero, depending on one's philosophical bent. Philby himself, or a thinly disguised fictional counterpart, stalks through many modern spy novels."

--- Robert J. Lamphere, FBI Special Agent, 1986

No novel by John LeCarre, Ian Fleming, or Graham Greene can capture the brilliance of this group of Englishmen. No James Bond film, with all of its gadgets and action, can capture the drama of the Cambridge spies.

The Cambridge Four:

Guy Francis de Moncy Burgess (1910-1963), BBC broadcaster, agent in MI6, secretary to Deputy Foreign Minister, Hector McNeil, British Foreign Office secretary, London, Washington

Anthony F. Blunt (1907-1983), tutor of French, art historian, art adviser to Queen Elizabeth, agent in MI5 during World War Two, "The Fourth Man"

Donald Maclean (1915-1983), Foreign Office secretary, Paris, Washington, Cairo, London

Harold Adrian Russell ("Kim") Philby (1912-1988), journalist, agent in MI6, "The Third Man"

The Intelligence Organizations:

MI5, the British Office of Counter Intelligence (the equivalent of some of the responsibilities of the American FBI)

MI6, the British Secret Intelligence Service, sometimes referred to as the SIS (the equivalent of the American CIA)

KGB, the Russian Secret Intelligence Service, (formerly the NKVD)

Other principal players:

John Cairncross, Foreign Office secretary, private secretary to Lord Hankey, Secretary for Security, sometimes referred to as "The Fifth Man"

Arnold Deutsch, KGB controller for the Cambridge Four and John Cairncross, 1933-1938

Robert J. Lamphere, FBI, Soviet section

Yuri Modin, KGB controller for the Cambridge Four and John Cairncross, 1947-1953

James Skardon, MI5, interrogator

Michael Straight, American State Department employee


Dangerously, the Cambridge Spies invigorate the imagination. As one reads about them, there is an irresistible temptation to cast actors to play their roles in an epic film. One might, for instance, try to capture the cold aloofness of Blunt with an actor of the stature of Paul Scofield. The nervous handsomeness of Maclean might be acted by Liam Niesen. The inscrutability of Philby, complete with stammer, might be played by Derek Jacobi.

The problem with portraying Burgess is that it is difficult to imagine a single actor who could embody all of his contradictory nature. The edgy charm of the handsome Hugh Grant, the seedy world-weariness of Jeremy Irons, and the outrageous cheek of Kenneth Branagh might begin to capture the essence of Burgess.

But such day-dreaming tends to glamorize these four very different, very questionable men. It is an exercise that unnecessarily exhalts them and, at the same time, trivializes their very serious crimes. But it is a temptation difficult to resist.

As early as the late 1920s, the NKVD's hierarchy had formed a plan for infiltrating Britain's intelligence establishment. Bright young college men, destined for careers in the Foreign Office or the intelligence agencies, were to be identified. If they were sufficiently Marxist or antifascist, they were carefully cultivated and evaluated. Pamphlet-distributing, young men who were openly members of the Communist Party were of no use to this plan, for they were either too easily identified by their open radicalism as security risks to Britain, or they were more likely working class youth who had little chance of eventually joining the British Establishment. It was, as it turned out, a brilliant strategy.

The Cambridge Spies were four such young men recruited into KGB service during their university years. Two of them, Blunt and Burgess, were members of the "Cambridge Apostles," a venerable secret society that, in the 1930s, was strongly Marxist. After a visit to Russia in 1933, it appears that Blunt, the oldest (born 1907), was recruited first, directly by the NKVD, and then, in turn, recruited others. He had ample opportunity to be a talent spotter, since he was, at the time, a tutor of French, a subject necessary for any young man contemplating a career in the Foreign Service. Also, as a leading member of the Apostles, he could watch for politically disillusioned younger members as they participated in the political discussions that made up the agenda of the secret society's meetings. He was not, however, the recruiter of Burgess, Maclean, and Philby, although he knew them well during their undergraduate years.


Blunt as royal art advisor, 1959

Anthony Blunt was tall, charming, arrogant, somewhat cold, and a dedicated Communist. He was the grandson of an Anglican bishop, and the son of an Anglican vicar. He was a discrete homosexual, and for a short time he and Burgess were lovers. During the war, Blunt served in MI5 --- the British equivalent of the FBI. After the war, he became director of the Courtauld Institute of Art, since he was a specialist in the history of art. Eventually, he became the Royal Family's art advisor, and was knighted in 1956. Alan Bennett's play, "A Question of Attribution," dramatically recreates the relationship between the Queen and Blunt.

He was stripped of his knighthood in 1979, shortly after Margaret Thatcher publicly declared him to have been a Russian spy. He died in 1983.


Burgess at Cambridge

Guy Burgess was a flamboyant homosexual, strikingly handsome, charming, unpredictable, disheveled, and an intense alcoholic. He was promiscuous and predatory, preferring sexual conquests to emotional commitments. Burgess was the son of a naval officer who failed in attempting to follow in his father's footsteps. He had none of the characteristics that one would expect in a secret agent. He had many powerful friends and admirers, which served him well in his pursuit of secrets useful to the Soviets. Harold Nicolson, diplomat and writer, describes Burgess a year before his defection in a letter to his wife:

I dined with Guy Burgess. Oh my dear, what a sad, sad thing this constant drinking is! Guy used to have one of the most rapid and acute minds I knew. Now his is just an imitation (and a pretty bad one) of what he once was. Not that he was actually drunk yesterday. He was just soaked and silly. I felt angry about it.

---Harold Nicolson, to his wife, Vita Sackville-West, January 25, 1950


Donald Maclean (Corbis)

Donald Maclean (1915-1983) was, like Blunt, tall and good-looking, but had none of Blunt's icy demeanor and unshakable nerves. His father had been a member of Parliament and Secretary of Education in the government of Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin. Maclean had had homosexual flings --- Burgess claimed to have seduced him at Cambridge --- but appeared to be a heterosexual. He was a prodigious worker and a seriously tense alcoholic. After a drunken episode in Cairo, Maclean was sent home to London to "recover" from his "nervous condition." After a few months of medical leave, he was given the prestigious position of Chief of the American Desk of the Foreign Office. Although the evidence against him in 1951 was slight, both Philby and Burgess knew that Maclean would crack and confess under MI5 interrogation.


'Kim' Philby (AP)

Harold Adrian Russell Philby, known as "Kim" after the character in Kipling's jungle story has been described as both debonair and unkempt, as both unfriendly and ingratiatingly smooth. He was in fact a chameleon who could be whatever the occasion demanded. Philby was so intelligent as a spy that he could detect the difference between "disinformation" meant to deceive the Russians, and secrets that were worth knowing. He had not only incredible instincts, but a certain panache.

He has said that he was recruited as a spy by Edith Tudor-Hart, a British Communist, and by NKVD (later KGB) operative Arnold Deutsch in 1934. In his autobiography, "My Silent War," --- a propaganda document written after he defected to Russia --- he said that he, in turn, recruited Burgess and Maclean. The difficulty with Philby's statements is that he cannot always be believed, and some authors have raised doubts about his recruitment and his recruiting. It is true, of course, that all of them knew each other well at Cambridge.

Philby's father was a well known authority on Arabia. St. John Philby was at various times a British spy, a diplomat, and an adviser to King Saud. He was eccentric, often critical of the British government, and something of a controlled madman. His son saw little of his father in his youth, greatly admired him, and was somewhat intimidated by him.

Philby's Russian postage stamp

Biographers of Philby have speculated that the result of this strong father was a life-long stammer that Kim could control, and sometimes use to his advantage in order to appear ingenuous.

Unlike Blunt and Burgess, Philby was a confirmed and hyperactive heterosexual, marrying four times, with a number of mistresses between marriages. With the exception of his fourth wife, a Russian citizen to whom he was introduced during his life in Russia, and his first wife, a committed Communist --- probably an agent --- his second and third wives had no idea of his profession. Both wives number two and three were seduced by Philby while married to others, and left their husbands to marry Philby.

Philby died in 1988, and was recognized before his death with the Order of Lenin, and after death with a postage stamp bearing his likeness and his dates of birth and death.

The patience of the NKVD, and later the KGB, was impressive. Like immature bottles of fine wine, Burgess, Blunt, Maclean, and Philby were set carefully aside to develop into superb vintages. After all, such valuable recruits could not be hurried along in their development as important Soviet agents. Deliberately, the Cambridge Spies were brought along slowly after their recruitment, so that their entry into the British intelligence services was accomplished without doubts ever arising about their loyalty to Britain.


(There were a number of other spies recruited at Cambridge besides these famous four. One of the most important of these others was John Cairncross, whose activities only tangentially interacted with Philby and the other three.)


The Cambridge Four were active spies for different lengths of time. Burgess and Maclean were most productive for about a dozen years, until their defection to Russia in 1951. Philby was at his most productive for about twice that, from about 1940 to 1963 when he too defected to Russia. After defecting, Philby, however, continued to work for the KGB --- almost until his death in 1988 --- as an adviser and instructor of agents, therefore having a career of almost half a century. Blunt had the longest active, undetected tenure as a spy, about thirty years, until his unmasking and confession, given under a grant of immunity, in 1964.



In the late 1930s, the four spies carried out small tasks that established both their reliability to the British and their usefulness to the Soviets. Also, there were those in the KGB who wanted them thoroughly tested, since the KGB was always in fear of having produced double agents.

Blunt quietly recruited, and enhanced his reputation as a highly respectable art historian. Maclean established his credentials as a bright young Foreign Service officer. Burgess and Philby went to some lengths to mask their true political allegiance by becoming pro-Nazi. All four, in effect, assumed the roles of maturing young men now disillusioned with Communism.

Philby, failing to gain entry into the Foreign Service, took a job as a reporter for the London Times, and was first assigned by the Soviets to assist the escape of Communists and anti-fascist Socialists from Austria. There, he met his first wife, Litzi Friedman, a Soviet agent. After his time in Vienna, he went to Spain and reported on the Spanish Civil War for the Times, sending dispatches that were the most favorable to General Franco's fascists of any that were coming out of that war. On one occasion a car carrying Philby and several other journalists were hit by artillery fire. Two were killed, and Philby was slightly wounded. For his courage under fire, Franco presented him with a medal, further establishing his false anti-Communist credentials.

When war came in 1939, Maclean and Philby (now in France) returned to England. None of the four's loyalty to the Soviet Union was affected by the Stalin-Hitler Pact of 1939, since they were clever enough to realize that Stalin's embrace of Nazi Germany was a temporary expedient. Blunt joined MI5, now allowing him to expand his services beyond recruiting and giving him opportunities to transmit secret documents to his KGB control.


But it was between 1940 and 1945 that the four did most of their first serious damage to Britain and the United States. Authorities differ as to which of the four was the most effective for the Russian cause.

Burgess and Blunt contributed to the Soviet cause with the transmission of secret Foreign Office and MIS documents that described Allied military strategy.

Donald Maclean, particularly during his tenure with the British Embassy in Washington, DC (1944-1948), was Stalin's main source of information about communications and policy development between Churchill and Roosevelt, and then Churchill and Truman. Although he did not transmit technical data on the atom bomb, he reported on its development and progress, particularly the amount of uranium available to the United States. He was the British representative on the American-British-Canadian council on the sharing of atomic secrets. This knowledge alone gave the Soviet scientists the ability to predict the number of bombs that could be built by the Americans. Coupled with the efforts of Alan May Nunn and Klaus Fuchs, who provided scientific information, Maclean's reports to his KGB controller helped the Soviets not only to build the atom bomb, but how to estimate their nuclear arsenal's relative strength against that of the United States.

Kim Philby carried out a variety of assignments. During World War Two, he informed the Russians of the breaking of the Nazi secret code, "Enigma," by his colleagues at the famous British decoding center at Bletchley Park. The shy, stammering Philby, with easy charm, had no difficulty in being accepted by his cryptanalyst colleagues. In his position in MI6, he was able to identify British agents who were inside Russia to the KGB. Not only did he have access as to who they were, but he was one of the instructors in espionage techniques for many of them.


Maclean was particularly important to Stalin in the years immediately after the war. His continual monitoring of secret messages between Truman and Churchill allowed Stalin to know how the Americans and the British proposed to occupy Germany and carve up the borders of Eastern European countries. Stalin was forearmed with this information not only at the Yalta Conference, but at the Potsdam and Tehran Conferences as well. In 1948, Maclean was transferred to the British Embassy in Cairo.

Philby in Washington

One of Philby's most insidious services was to manipulate the failure of Balkan partisans as they attempted to infiltrate behind the Iron Curtain. Philby assisted in the formulation of the plans, then warned the Soviets so that the partisans could be quickly dispatched upon their entry into the country. In effect, it was he who sent dozens of them to their deaths.

Two years later, Philby was posted to Washington, serving as liaison between MI6 and the CIA. He also interacted to some extent with the FBI. In his position as the Embassy Security expert, he had access to all FBI reports shared with the British. Along with Maclean, he was able to let Stalin know that America would not use atomic weapons in the Korean War, nor would MacArthur be allowed to carry the war beyond the Yalu River.

Through his CIA and FBI contacts, Philby learned of the FBI's breaking of the Soviet code (Venona) and the subsequent identification of a Soviet spy in the British Embassy (Maclean). Thus, he was able to send Burgess to England to warn Maclean of his impending unmasking. Since Burgess had been living in Philby's house in Washington, Burgess had to assist Maclean's defection without revealing that it was Philby who had sent him with the warning. If Burgess also defected, Philby would come under suspicion. As it turned out, Burgess fled to Russia with Maclean, and Philby never forgave Burgess.

Burgess, after a brief career as a BBC host of a program about Parliament --- wherein he was able to enlarge his acquaintance of important politicians --- was most useful to the Soviets in his position as secretary to the British Deputy Foreign Minister, Hector McNeil. As McNeil's secretary, Burgess was able to transmit top secret Foreign Office documents to the KGB on a regular basis, secreting them out a night to be photographed by his controller and returning them to McNeil's desk in the morning.

Blunt, in addition to his role as a recruiter of Soviet agents, acted as a go-between for information passed between Burgess and Philby and their Soviet controllers.

Undoubtedly, Maclean's information was significant in assisting Stalin in his strategy for the Cold War. Blunt and Burgess were important as purveyors of secrets.

But it was Philby, the "Master Spy," who was the most active, and, considering the risks he took, the most impressive. On several occasions over the years, Soviet defectors suggested that the Russians had a "mole," never identified but clearly Philby, in MI6. Philby was always able to blunt their accusations, often taking charge of their cases so that he could divert suspicion from himself. One defector, Volkov, prepared to identify Philby, waited for a sum of money to be paid to him before he would reveal his information, and Philby --- one of the individuals to be identified by Volkov ---was assigned to meet with him. Philby went to the Middle East to meet with Volkov, who somehow had mysteriously disappeared, so that Philby was unable to report what this Soviet defector had to say. Indeed, if it had not been for Burgess' defection with Maclean, Philby would never have come under suspicion, rising even higher in the hierarchy of MI6. Some authors have speculated that he might even have become the head of this Secret Intelligence Service. With the exception of Burgess' monumental mistake, Philby said, shortly before his death, that:

"I truly was incredibly lucky all my life. In the most difficult situation when I was sure this was it, the end, no way out, suddenly some stroke of luck would come my way. It was amazing how lucky I was ... a lucky life."

--- as told to Borovik, 1988

That may be true, but, as the famous football coach Vince Lombardi once said, "Luck is when preparation meets desire." Philby was always prepared, and certainly had the desire.

The story of the Burgess and Maclean defection, and the subsequent implication of Philby, is a fascinating one of code-breaking, detection, and discovery. In 1949, Robert Lamphere, FBI agent in charge of Russian espionage, along with cryptanalysts, discovered that between 1944 and 1946 a member of the British Embassy was sending messages to the KGB. The code name of this official was "Homer." By a process of elimination, a short list of three or four men were identified as possible Homers. One was Donald Maclean.

Shortly after Lamphere's investigation began, Philby was assigned to Washington, serving as Britain's CIA-FBI-NSA liaison. As such, he was privy to the decoding of the Russian material, and recognized that Maclean was very probably Homer. He confirmed this through his British KGB control. He was also aware that Lamphere and his colleagues had found that the encoded messages to the KGB had been sent from New York. Maclean had visited New York on a regular basis, ostensibly to visit his wife and children, who were living there with his in-laws.

The pressure on Philby now began to grow. If Maclean was unmasked as a Soviet agent, then, were he to confess, the trail might lead to the other Cambridge spies. Philby, now in a very important position in his ability to provide information to the Soviets, might be implicated, if for no other reason than his association with Maclean at Cambridge. Something had to be done.

It is astonishing that Burgess, more and more an unpredictable heavy drinker and indiscreet homosexual, was assigned to the British Embassy in Washington. Why MI6 thought that Burgess could function in the highly charged Cold War environment of Washington, DC is beyond comprehension. As he was ready to leave for his new post in America, Hector McNeil cautioned him to avoid three things : "the race thing,", contact with the radical element, and homosexual adventuring. "Oh," said the irrepressible Burgess, "you mean I shouldn't make a pass at Paul Robeson?" Only the tactless Burgess would have suggested the unlikely prospect of seducing America's best known black Communist.

Burgess was now staying in a basement apartment with Philby and his family in Washington, and was up to his usual outrageously drunken and predatory homosexual patterns of behavior. Philby thought that he could keep an eye on the unpredictable Burgess by having him live with him. Nonetheless, Burgess was irrepressible, even insulting the wife of a high CIA official at one of Philby's dinner parties. Concerned that Maclean would be positively identified, interrogated, and, in the process (because of his highly agitated nervous state) confess to MI5, Philby and Burgess concocted a scheme in which Burgess would return to London (where Maclean was now the Foreign Service officer in charge of American affairs). Burgess would then warn Maclean of the impending unmasking. But how could Burgess be sent home to London to warn Maclean without arousing suspicion?

One way was to have Burgess sent home in disgrace, so that his trip to London would be the result of the action of the British Embassy. Whether or not the plan to have Burgess recalled by behaving badly was deliberate, --- in his autobiography, Philby claims this --- Burgess managed to receive three speeding citations in a single day. He was driving with a companion from Washington, DC to South Carolina to attend a conference. Two of his speeding altercations resulted in a release after his declaring his diplomatic immunity, but the third resulted in an actual citation. He and his "hitchhiker" were detained by the police for several hours, and then released. This last event was communicated to the Governor of Virginia, who informed the State Department, who then informed the British Embassy. Burgess was told that he would have to return to London. If Philby and Burgess had planned his recall, this part of the plan worked beautifully.

Before Burgess left, Philby was explicit in his instructions to Burgess. He was not to defect with Maclean.

The Philby-Burgess plan was for Burgess to visit Maclean in his Foreign Office quarters, give him a note identifying a place where the two could meet --- it was assumed that Maclean, now under suspicion and denied sensitive documents, had a bugged office --- and Burgess would explain the situation. They met clandestinely to discuss Maclean's imminent exposure and necessary defection to Russia. Yuri Modin, the Cambridge spies' KGB controller, made arrangements for Maclean's defection. Maclean was in an extremely nervous state, and reluctant to leave alone. Modin was willing to serve as his guide, but KGB Central demanded that Burgess escort Maclean behind the Iron Curtain.

In the meantime, MI5 had insisted that Maclean be questioned. They had decided that he would be confronted with the FBI and MI5 evidence on Monday, May 28, 1951.

On Maclean's birthday, May 25th, the Friday before the Monday that he was to interrogated, Burgess and Maclean fled to the coast, boarded a ship to France, and disappeared. Had Blunt learned of the impending questioning of Maclean, and warned Burgess that the time had come? Blunt never admitted to that, and it is possible that Burgess and Maclean had selected Friday to flee whatever the current circumstances. Both Modin and Philby assumed that Burgess would deliver Maclean to a handler, and that he would return. For some reason, the Russians insisted that Burgess accompany Maclean the entire way. Perhaps Burgess was no longer useful to the KGB as a spy, but too valuable to fall into the hands of MI5.

Burgess in Moscow (Corbis)

After Burgess and Maclean were safely in Russia --- but only after several weeks --- the British government reluctantly admitted that the two men had been Soviet spies. The Soviets, however, refused to acknowledge their past services to the Russian cause, and reported that they were simply "ideological defectors," unhappy with their imperialist native country. Burgess spent twelve indolent years in the care of the KGB, never learning Russian, indulged with a modest apartment, complete with state-sanctioned live-in lover.

Even in exile, Burgess remained the quintessential Englishman. Alan Bennett, in his play "An Englishman Abroad" dramatized an actual meeting that Burgess had with an English actress who was on tour in Moscow, in which he asked her to provide him with a made-to-measure English suit. While he expressed a desire to return to England because life in Russia was so confining and dull, neither the Russians --- who wouldn't let him return --- nor the English --- who had no wish to reopen the embarrassment of a prominent MI6 and Foreign Officer's betrayal --- would support his repatriation.

Maclean in Moscow (Corbis)

Maclean, unlike the self-indulgent Burgess, integrated himself into the Soviet system, learning Russian, and eventually serving as a specialist on economic policy of the West.

In Washington, when Philby heard of Maclean's defection, he feigned surprise, although he was of course relieved. When he was informed that Burgess had fled as well, Philby's surprise was genuine. He had told Burgess that he (Philby) would be placed in jeopardy if he (Burgess) were to defect with Maclean, since the FBI and CIA were well aware that Burgess had been living with Philby and his family. From then on, Philby referred to Burgess as "that bloody man," and they never spoke again. When Philby arrived in Russia in 1963, Burgess was dying and wished to see Philby, but Philby would have nothing to do with him. Nevertheless, Philby was Burgess' principal heir.

From the point of the Burgess-Maclean defection, Philby became "The Third Man," the one who was suspected of having warned them to flee. Philby was sent back to London, accused of having been, at the least, indiscreet in his association with Burgess, and, at the most, having been himself a Soviet agent.


Now in London, Philby was questioned by MI5. He was able to withstand the grilling with his usual aplomb. Even James Skardon, the famed interrogator who had induced Klaus Fuchs the atom bomb spy to confess, was unable to shake him.

He was however forced to resign from MI6 and given a severance pay. He was now unemployed, with a wife and four children. Many in MI6, an organization that was fiercely competitive with MI5, refused to abandon Philby and they eventually hired him back.

Soon, Philby was in desperate financial straits. Modin arranged to deliver a large sum of money from the Russians. He was to deliver it through Blunt. When Blunt appeared for his late night meeting with Modin, Philby appeared from the shadows. It was the only time, up to that point, that Philby had met his controller. The money was made available to Philby, and his money worries were temporarily addressed.

Philby's press conference

Philby remained under a cloud. Then, in 1955, a member of Parliament asked the government if it was true that "Harold Philby" was the Third Man. After a time, Harold Macmillan, then the Foreign Secretary, cleared Philby of being the one who warned Maclean and Burgess, saying only that Philby had been dismissed from MI6 because of early Communist affiliations. Philby then held a press conference at his mother's apartment, and, without a stammer, announced that Macmillan's statement completely exonerated him.

It is ironic that, eight years later, Macmillan, then Prime Minister, would have his government brought down by a sex-scandal involving one of his cabinet, the infamous "Profumo Affair." It did not help that it was about the same time that Philby defected to Russia. Thus the man who had cleared Philby now had his government's credibility further diminished. He had not only a ministerial scandal to contend with, but also a major spy's defection.

Under the cover of his being a reporter for two English newspapers, MI6 contracted Philby to be their agent in the Middle East, based in Lebanon, where his father, St. John Philby, lived with his Arab wife and two children. For the next six years, Philby continued to provide information for MI6, but, more importantly, for the KGB. Russia had an intense interest in the Middle East, as it sought to expand its sphere of influence into the oil-producing regions.

Then, in 1963, after revelations from a Soviet who had defected to Australia, Philby was confronted by an MI6 colleague, an old friend, who had been sent to Beruit to question him. Philby confessed, but bought himself a few days in order to prepare for his return to London. It was then that he defected to Russia, some twelve years after Burgess and Maclean. There is some suspicion that the British, in order to avoid further embarrassment to an already weakened reputation of their intelligence establishment, actually warned Philby to flee.

After a period of debriefing by the KGB, Philby's third wife and his children from his second marriage joined him in Moscow. He was able to live comfortably under fairly controlled conditions, but eventually his wife and children returned to England. He carried on a brief affair with Mrs. Maclean --- Donald Maclean had become a Russian scholar of Western economics --- and after Mrs. Maclean contritely returned to her husband, and then to America (where she still lives), Philby married his fourth wife, a Russian citizen introduced to him by one of his KGB controllers. He spent the rest of his life in Russia as a KGB adviser, lecturer, and trainer of spies. Alan Bennett's play, "The Old Country," is about a British spy and his wife in exile in Russia, and has been interpreted as a dramatic representation of Philby's life as a defector, although Bennett says that the hero of his play could have been any British defector.

Modin is probably accurate in his evaluation of the enigmatic and elusive Kim Philby:

"He [Philby] never revealed his true self. Neither the British, nor the women he lived with, nor ourselves [the KGB] ever managed to pierce the armour of mystery that clad him. His great achievement in espionage was his life's work, and it fully occupied him until the day he died. But in the end I suspect that Philby made a mockery of everyone, particularly ourselves."

--- Yuri Modin, the KGB controller of the Cambridge Spies, 1994


Anthony Blunt had been suspected of being a member of the Burgess spy ring as early as 1951, but particularly after the defection of Philby. In 1964, Michael Straight, an American who had been at Cambridge with the Cambridge spies, confessed to the FBI and MI5 officer Arthur Martin that Blunt had recruited Straight while at Cambridge. Other than meeting with several mysterious figures who may or may not have been Soviet agents, Straight had not really been an active spy.

John Cairncross

The admission of the "Fifth Man," John Cairncross, that he had passed secret papers to the Soviets, and that he was an associate of Blunt, also fired Martin's determination to catch Blunt. However, the evidence against Blunt was not substantial, so Martin needed a signed confession from Blunt. Blunt gave no indication of being ready to crack, and MI5 did not want the Blunt case to become public. Sir Anthony Blunt, as we shall see, was a member of the Establishment, and, in a sense, a member of the Royal Household.

The only way to obtain a confession from Blunt, and to protect the reputation of MI5, was to offer Blunt immunity from prosecution, which had been done for Cairncross. (Cairncross is still alive, living in France.)

The Attorney General approved, providing that Blunt had not spied for the Soviets after the war. This was a meaningless provision, since Blunt had participated in the defection of Burgess and Maclean, and had undoubtedly maintained contact with Yuri Modin, his KGB controller, until at least 1953.

A meeting between Martin and Blunt was set up for April 23, 1964. Martin outlined the charges made by Straight, and, after informing Blunt that he had been authorized to give him immunity, Blunt said, "It is true." During the debriefings that followed, Blunt provided information about other spies that were either dead, or already known to MI5 and MI6.

Blunt was then interrogated by Peter Wright, the so-called "Spycatcher." The only information that Blunt gave Wright was about British Soviet agents who could not be prosecuted, such as Burgess --- now dead --- and others who were, to one degree or another, invulnerable. By 1972, Blunt had identified twenty-one such spies, none of whom provided new leads or information. He gave conflicting accounts of when and how he was recruited by the KGB. In general, he remained elusive and deceptive until he died.

Blunt faces the press, 1979

In 1973, Blunt retired from the Courtauld Institute, praised for his work there and his scholarly efforts as an art historian. Queen Elizabeth, who surely knew of his confession of 1964, had appointed him Advisor to the Queen's Pictures in 1956, a position he held until his public unmasking by Margaret Thatcher in 1979. He was stripped of his knighthood, and in the next year forced to resign his Cambridge University Trinity College fellowship and his fellowship in the British Academy. He held a most amazing press conference in November, 1979, once again giving almost no concrete information and different accounts of his life as a Russian spy.

He lived quietly and comfortably with his lover, John Gaskin, and died of a heart attack in 1983. Philby was buried with honors in Moscow, Burgess and Maclean were cremated and their ashes returned to England for burial. Blunt, the perfect English gentleman, never left England, and is buried there.

What are we to make of the Cambridge Spies? What is their impact?

Rufina Pukhova, widow of Philby (AP)

It appears that they were not mercenaries. With the exception of a single payment to Philby when he was financially distressed after resigning from MI6, and travel funds for Mrs. Maclean and Mrs. Philby to assist in their joining their husbands in Russia, the Cambridge Four were never paid for their services. The assumption is that they were idealists, rather than spies in for it for personal gain.

There is no question that Philby affected the course of World War II, in that he provided the Soviets with essential information about the intentions of the British and Americans on how they intended to proceed with the war against the Nazis. Further, he and Maclean affected Stalin's strategy for dealing with post-war matters, since the Russian dictator was fully informed of the alliances designed by Churchill and Truman to thwart the western progression of Communism into Europe. The two of them, Philby and Maclean, contributed to the Cold War tactics that allowed Stalin to know the intentions of the Western bloc. Burgess and Blunt made their contributions through less spectacular but nonetheless important ways, by conveying secret documents and recruiting.

How did they get away with it? The simple answer is that MI5, MI6, and the British Foreign Office were incapable of distrusting four men who "were their own kind." Past Marxist and Communist affiliations were ignored, first because Marxism was considered antifascist during the war, and, second, because all four belonged to the "old-boy network." Despite the brilliance of many of the officials in MI5 and MI6, those agencies' leaders were grossly incompetent in their own internal security policies.

It must be remembered that --- whatever their deficiencies of personality --- Blunt, Burgess, Maclean, and Philby were highly intelligent individuals. They were more than lucky. They were smart and determined.

J. Edgar Hoover, 1970 (AP)

A second, lasting influence of their espionage was the loss of confidence between the American and British intelligence communities. It was true that J. Edgar Hoover, even before knowledge of the efforts of the Cambridge Spies, had little trust of the British intelligence services. Still, the effects of Philby, et al, was to further diminish the trust between the CIA, the FBI (already in competition with its sister agency) and the British services, MI5 and MI6. The "special relationship" so important to Anglo-American foreign policy was severely damaged.

The loss of confidence in British intelligence organizations was exacerbated by the clear class distinctions that were evident in the Cambridge Spies case. The special privileges that the intellectual and social hierarchy, represented by Cambridge and Oxford graduates, were able to bring to the administration of government in England proved disastrous to both Britain and America. In truth, the American CIA was much the same, in that its recruits came from the Eastern Establishment, while the FBI, under Hoover, was much more Midwestern and egalitarian. Nonetheless, the view of the British as class-conscious snobs was reinforced by the outrageousness of the success of the Cambridge spies.

CIA Headquarters, Langley, Virginia (AP)

American views of the insidiousness of Philby and his colleagues are that their work for the Soviets were serious setbacks for the goals of America in the Cold War. Lamphere of the FBI held the Englishmen in contempt, and the CIA, under James Jesus Angleton, became paranoid after being duped by Philby and Maclean.

The Russians, of course, consider the Cambridge Spies, and Philby in particular, as ideological heroes who advanced the aims of Soviet Russia in an unsettled world that was allied against the goals of Marxism.

The British position is one that moves from annoyance that Philby caused their intelligence community such distress, to that of indifference, described in part by Alan Bennett in his preface to his plays. Bennett's comments are worth quoting in some detail, since they are typical of the views of many Britons:

"I find it hard to drum up any patriotic indignation over either Burgess or Blunt, or even Philby. No one has ever shown that Burgess did much harm, except to make fools of people in high places. Because he made jokes, scenes, and most of all, passes, the general consensus is that he was rather silly. Blunt was not silly and there have been attempts to show that his activities had more far-reaching consequences, but again he seems to be condemned as much out of pique, and because he fooled the Establishment as for anything that he did."

Philby, however, is not quite so easy to dismiss, as even Bennett admits:

"It is Philby who is always thought to be the most congenial figure. Clubbable, able to hold his liquor, a good man in a tight corner, he commends himself to his fellow journalists, who have given him a good press. But of all the Cambridge spies he is the only one of whom it can be proved without doubt that he handed over agents to torture and death."

As for Maclean, Bennet says:

"At the height of the Cold War Maclean's understanding of Western scruples is said to have had a moderating effect on Soviet policy and the message seems to be that the more we know about each other the less dangerous the world is likely to be."

Is Bennett's view a naive view? How serious is espionage? The argument that the world would be better off without secrets, and, therefore, there are no secrets worth keeping, is an interesting and controversial position.

We are left with a spectrum that runs from, on the one hand, disgust for traitorous actions to, on the other, admiration for idealists who were capable enough to get away with them. Disgust and admiration, of course, are in the eye of the beholder. It is clear that the fruits of intelligence are to provide an edge over one's adversary, even if that edge results in the deaths of one's enemy. A question that could be raised is: what is the moral difference between the work of the Cambridge Spies and the work of the CIA to bring off the overthrow or assassinations of foreign leaders?

A very recent book by Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Secrecy, deals with these issues from a number of enlightened perspectives. In his introduction to Moynihan's book, Richard Gid Powers makes the following observation:

"What secrecy grants in the short run --- public support for government policies --- in the long run it takes away, as official secrecy gives rise to fantasies that corrode belief in the possibilities of democratic government. All because of secrets locked away foolishly and in the end, it would seem, needlessly. Secrecy is a losing proposition. It is, as Senator Moynihan has told us, for losers."

--- Richard Gid Powers, in his introduction to Secrecy, by Daniel Patrick Moynihan, 1998

Whatever the conclusion, there will always be both disgust and grudging admiration for spies who are successful.

As with all good spy and espionage tales, our knowledge of the details and our understanding of the people and events evolve with each new book or article. A recent biography by Miranda Carter, Anthony Blunt: His Lives, reveals a much more complex individual than previous accounts suggest. It is a book that has the advantage of extensive interviews with many who knew Blunt, as well as the large number of documents (some of which are questionable) that have been released since the fall of the Soviet Union.

Kim Philby will forever remain inscrutable, unknowable and mysterious. He was a true spy. Guy Burgess is easily characterized as a narcissistic, strangely attractive and repulsive man. Donald Maclean was, in many ways, an insecure, unstable and ambiguous personality.

That leaves Anthony Blunt, who, after the enigmatic Kim Philby, is the most fascinating of the Cambridge Spies.

Blunt has been the least considered of the group, thought of mostly as a recruiter of young Cambridge graduates into the Soviet spy system, something of a background figure. Carter's biography dispels this over-simplification. Indeed, her subtitle "His Lives" warns the reader that one will be dealing with a complex personality.

While Blunt did indeed recruit for the KGB, he was certainly involved in transmitting secret documents to the Russians. He was actively engaged in espionage, and not a fringe member of the enterprise. However, Carter demonstrates that Blunt's work for the KGB was an on-again, off-again participation, sometimes going years between assignments, suggesting a man who was ambivalent about his role as a spy.

In addition to documenting Blunt's considerable involvement in spying, Carter's biography describes an extremely complex man. She is so convincing in her drawing of the character that the reader is torn between admiration and pity for Blunt. Here was a Cambridge graduate who taught himself art history (at the time, a neglected academic field) and became not only the director and guiding genius of the Courtauld Institute, but the Keeper of the Queen's Pictures. While some of his conclusions on certain artists were challenged (and continue to be questioned), the scope of his knowledge, the quantity of his research, and the depth of his scholarship placed him among the most respected art historians in Europe. His fame as a teacher and lecturer was, from evidence presented by Carter, deserved.

At the same time, Carter shows us a man who is lonely, determinedly gay in a society that was not congenial to homosexuality -- indeed, for most of Blunt's life, it was a crime in England. Despite his tall elegance and his place in elegant post-World War Two British society, he lived a double life, engaging in sex with young men, unable to find a partner who would return his affection, hiding behind his austere and cold public image. There is no question that Blunt and Burgess, particularly in the '30s, were sexual partners, but, as with most of the men Blunt was involved with, never genuine lovers.

Carter's brilliant book goes a long way in refuting the superficial myths of John Costello's Mask of Treachery, and provides the record with a very complex and strange member of the Cambridge Spies. It is tempting to arrange these four principal actors by their sexuality -- Philby decidedly heterosexual, Maclean ambivalent, Blunt unrequited, and Burgess predatory, but such a taxonomy would shed little light on why they did what they did. Carter does not try to explain Blunt's motives, and avoids the trap of facile psychoanalysis that biographers have undertaken with the other three Cambridge Spies. The closest we come to understanding Blunt is through a comment he made to a friend after his unmasking in 1979, when he was more or less isolated in disgrace:

"How did you live through all that? [Margaret Wittkower, an old friend, asked Blunt.] You had lunch with the Queen, you were the conservator of her paintings, you knew the whole royal family, you accepted invitations for weekends, you traveled with people of a class that you wanted to destroy. And on the other hand you were an art historian without any interference of your other life. How did you live through that?" Blunt lifted the glass of whisky in his hand, and said, "With this, and more work and more work."

---- Miranda Carter, Anthony Blunt: His Lives, page 491


The literature on the Cambridge spies falls roughly into four categories, each correlated with a significant historical event.

The first group of books was published as a result of the Burgess-Maclean defections in 1951. The second flurry of books followed Philby's defection in 1963. The third large number of works resulted from the official unmasking of Blunt in 1979. Finally, with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the 1990s have seen a number of books, some of which were based heavily on KGB files and the memoirs of former KGB agents.

Each subsequent group of books reexamined the evidence from the previous group or groups, so that there has been a constant review and reinterpretation of the lives and work of the four principals.

In many respects, the nationalities of the authors correlate with how Philby, et al, are treated. American authors tend to be unimpressed by the talents and accomplishments of the Cambridge spies, and are clearly not charmed by the elegance attributed to them. English writers are more inclined to treat the four spies more kindly. The English are particularly hard on the incompetence of MI5 and MI6, and consider the "old boy" class system of the British establishment as a significant component of the success of the spies.

Recent Russian authors (along with the Englishman Phillip Knightley, who interviewed Philby towards the end of his life) are admiring, extolling the intelligence, dedication, and charm of the Cambridge spies.

However extensive the literature on this case, Philby and Blunt remain inscrutable and unfathomable characters, while Burgess and Maclean seem weak and neurotic.

The Crime Library particularly recommends three recent works. Knightley's The Master Spy, Borovik's Philby Files: The Secret Life of Master Spy Kim Philby, and Modin's My Five Cambridge Friends all cover this bizarre story with the most complete information to date. With the exception of the speculative early works, almost everything written since 1980 has merit, and should not be ignored by the serious student of this case

Tuesday, February 8th, 2005, 04:05 AM
The Cold War's "Smoking Gun"

By Rorin M. Platt

Did the Cold War actually begin during the Second World War? Was the Roosevelt administration riddled with Communists, fellow travelers, and Soviet agents? Were the Rosenbergs and Alger Hiss Soviet spies or innocent victims of anti-Communist hysteria aimed at discrediting the New Deal? Was the American Communist party (CPUSA) a fifth column for Soviet intelligence? Was Communism a real threat to American security? Did Senator Joseph McCarthy fabricate a “Red Scare,” which produced the darkest chapter in America history?

Since the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union, scholars have been able to examine declassified documents from American and Communist archives, which have enabled us to answer these questions. The most closely guarded secret of the Cold War and most revealing of these sources, the Venona Project, was concealed within the bowels of the National Security Agency (NSA) until 1995. It is comprised of nearly three thousand decrypted telegraphic cables U.S.-based Soviet agents sent to Moscow during World War II.

In VENONA: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America, the two preeminent authorities on American Communism, John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr, provide the first comprehensive examination of these files, which constitute one of U.S. counterintelligence’s greatest achievements. Haynes, Twentieth Century Political Historian at the Library of Congress, and Klehr, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Politics and History at Emory University (author of The Heyday of American Communism), are co-authors of other works in Yale University’s “Annals of Communism” series: The Soviet World of American Communism and The Secret World of American Communism. They also co-authored The American Communist Movement.

Benefiting from Venona as well as material from the archives of the Comintern and the Soviet and American Communist parties, this detailed, thorough description of Soviet espionage in America demonstrates how the Venona transcripts became the “touch-stone” of U.S. counterintelligence. Using the decrypts, the FBI and CIA were able to corroborate testimony from defectors like Elizabeth Bentley and Whittaker Chambers. Indeed, Venona decryptions identified most of the Soviet agents the FBI and MI-5 (British counterintelligence) arrested between 1948 and the mid-1950s. Venona confirmed the guilt of the atomic spies, Klaus Fuchs, Theodore Hall, and Julius Rosenberg. Most importantly, the authors believe that Venona “provide(s) a solid factual basis for” “the widespread public consensus. . . that Soviet espionage was serious, that American Communists assisted the Soviets, and that several senior government officials had betrayed the United States.”

The Venona Project began in 1943, when code-breakers in the Signal Intelligence Service (later designated the NSA) began to analyze coded Russian cables to verify rumors of secret Nazi-Soviet peace talks. After World War II, the NSA expanded its operations and moved to Arlington Hall in northern Virginia, where its cryptanalysts began to document evidence that an extensive, “unrestrained” Soviet espionage campaign against the U.S. had originated during a war in which Washington and Moscow were allies.

Haynes and Klehr make a convincing case that the first “shot” of the Cold War was fired in 1942, when Stalin’s ideologically-motivated agents began to penetrate nearly every important agency of the U.S. government. A significant number of them occupied high-level positions in the White House, Congress, Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the Manhattan [atomic bomb] Project, and departments of State and Treasury. Exploiting the lax internal security of the Roosevelt administration, they were able to send Moscow a vast amount of diplomatic, military, scientific, and industrial secrets. National security was most severely damaged with the theft of America’s atomic secrets, which gave Stalin information on the atomic bomb’s design, assembly, and detonation. Consequently, he developed Russia’s nuclear arsenal much sooner and more cheaply than he otherwise would have.

The authors claim that Americans identified by the Venona transcripts to be Soviet agents were members of the Moscow-controlled CPUSA, an “auxiliary” of Soviet intelligence, whose active collaboration facilitated Stalin’s espionage offensive against the U.S. Fueled with an “ideological affinity for the Soviets,” these idealistic Marxist-Leninists betrayed what they considered a “morally illegitimate” American capitalist system. Few defected or renounced Communism, even after Stalin’s purges and 1939 pact with Hitler.

According to the Venona decryptions, Stalin’s agents included:

Lauchlin Currie, senior White House aide to FDR, who alerted the NKVD (Soviet intelligence) to FBI investigations of its top agents.
Martha Dodd, licentious daughter of the American ambassador to Berlin, whose passionate affair with the first secretary of the Russian embassy included passing confidential diplomatic correspondence to Moscow.
Alger Hiss, chief of the State Department’s Office of Special Political Affairs, who accompanied Roosevelt to Yalta in 1945 and chaired the founding conference of the UN. This senior assistant to the secretary of state gave Soviet military intelligence diplomatic cables concerning Axis threats to Soviet security.
Laurence Duggan, head of the State Department’s Division of American Republics and the secretary of state’s personal adviser for Latin America, who gave the NKVD Anglo-American plans for the invasion of Italy.
Michael Straight, a family friend and protege of President and Mrs. Roosevelt who was recruited into the NKVD by Soviet spy Anthony Blunt while attending Cambridge University.
Harry Dexter White, assistant secretary of the Treasury, U.S. director of the IMF, senior adviser to the American delegation at the founding conference of the UN, who facilitated employment for Soviet sources in his department.
Harold Glasser, vice-chairman of the War Production Board and assistant director of the Treasury’s Office of International Finance, who gave the NKVD a State Department analysis of Soviet war losses.
Gregory Silvermaster, a Treasury economist whose spy network provided Moscow with prodigious amounts of War Production Board data on arms, aircraft, and shipping production.
Victor Perlo, chief of the Aviation Section of the War Production Board whose spy ring supplied the Soviets with aircraft production figures and included a Senate staff director.
Judith Coplon, Justice Department analyst who alerted Moscow to FBI counterintelligence operations.
Duncan Lee, descendant of Robert E. Lee and senior aide to OSS chief William J. Donovan, who became the NKVD’s senior source in American intelligence; he divulged secret OSS operations in Europe and China.
William Weisband, NSA linguist who informed Moscow that the Venona Project had deciphered its messages.
While Haynes and Klehr acknowledge that there were “sensible [security] reasons” for keeping Venona secret (so secret that even President Truman lacked direct knowledge of it), they argue that “This decision denied the public the incontestable evidence afforded by the messages of the Soviet Union’s own spies.” Proof of Soviet espionage and “American Communist participation” based on the testimony of defectors was “inherently more ambiguous than the hard evidence of the Venona messages.” If Venona had been made public, they maintain, government investigations and prosecutions of Communist party members would have been more defensible. The guilt of the Rosenbergs would have been indisputable and the innocence of secretaries of state Dean Acheson and George C. Marshall would have been clearly established. Manhattan Project director J. Robert Oppenheimer’s Communist background and indifference to possible Soviet infiltration of Los Alamos (until 1943) would have been verified, but so would Moscow’s failure to recruit him as an agent.

Paradoxically, the success of the Venona secret has skewed our understanding of the Cold War. Haynes and Klehr are correct to note that those histories of the Stalinist era that belittle the Soviet threat have indeed “perpetuated many myths that have given Americans a warped view of the nation’s history.” Hopefully, these invaluable Venona files will help us see more clearly just how much of a threat Soviet espionage and Communist subversion posed to American security. The much-desired opening of all Russian intelligence archives dealing with this period would go far in doing just that

Tuesday, February 8th, 2005, 04:10 AM
Latest Episode Shows Why Left Refuses To Let Go Revisionist Critics Misrepresent McCarthy's Legacy By Patrick J. Buchanan

Why do they keep digging up the corpse of Joe McCarthy for a ritual flogging? The Wisconsin senator died in 1957. He never killed anyone. He never sent anyone to prison.

Harry Truman dropped atomic bombs on two defenseless cities of a prostrate nation and sent 2 million Russian prisoners back to Stalin to be murdered in Operation Keelhaul. Yet Truman remains a hero to those who despise McCarthy with an undying hatred.

Why? Even if what is alleged is true—that McCarthy bullied witnesses and accused men of disloyalty who only made mistakes—that still does not explain why the Left cannot let go of him.

The answer: As no other man, Tailgunner Joe stripped the old establishment of its reputation, credibility and moral authority in the eyes of the people.

McCarthy convinced Middle America that FDR and Truman had been duped by “Uncle Joe,” had tolerated treason, and had blundered and lost in five years all the fruits of the victory won by the blood and sacrifice of the Greatest Generation in World War II.

The establishment has never recovered from that beating.

In the latest document dump by the Senate, we learn—horror of horror!—that McCarthy questioned witnesses in private before selecting those he put on the stand. But so, too, did the Watergate committee of the sainted Sam Ervin. This is a common practice of senators who don’t want to be surprised before TV cameras.

The New York Times’ Sheryl Gay Stolberg writes that those few historians shown the latest documents claim they “do not support McCarthy’s theories that, in the 1950s, communist spies were operating in the highest levels of government.”

Perhaps not, Ms. Stolberg. But if so, that is only because, by the 1950s, the spies had been rooted out, though their collaborators remained. But they had been there, selling out their country.

Indeed, the espionage and treason, proven again by the Venona transcripts—the intercepted coded messages from Soviet agents to Moscow—were far more extensive than even McCarthy imagined. In the 1940s, the U.S. Government was honeycombed with traitors and spies. Even today, not all the names have been revealed. Call the roll:

Alger Hiss and Lawrence Duggan, two of the highest ranking diplomats at State, were communist traitors and spies. Hiss stood behind FDR at Yalta when Eastern Europe was signed away to Stalin and helped shape the United Nations for Harry Truman. Harry Dexter White, father of the International Monetary Fund and the “Morgenthau Plan” to smash all German industry after the war—a plan embraced, then disowned, by FDR—was a Soviet agent. Truman knew it by 1946 and covered it up. Lauchlin Currie was a Soviet spy on the White House staff. William Remington was the Soviet spy at Commerce. Judith Coplon headed up a spy ring at Justice with access to the FBI secrets and files she transferred to Soviet agents. The Rosenbergs were communist traitors who gave their Russian handlers secrets of the atom bomb. The brother of Robert Oppenheimer, father of the A-bomb, was a communist, as was his wife, who was a lifelong friend of Steve Nelson, a key figure in the Communist Party underground apparatus. On and on the list goes. For an unbiased account of McCarthy’s life, Arthur Herman’s Joseph McCarthy: Reexamining the Life and Legacy of America’s Most Hated Senator is indispensable.

McCarthy’s career as an anti-Communist began in February 1950 with his Wheeling speech and was effectively ended with his censure in December 1954. Why was Harry Truman chased out of Washington in 1952 with an approval rating of 23%? Why did Joe McCarthy enjoy a 50-29 favorable rating as late as January 1954?

Because McCarthy, almost alone, was exposing the treason and folly of those who had ceded half of Europe to Stalin and all of China to the murderous hordes of Mao Tse-tung. And with 200 American boys dying every week in Truman’s “no-win war” in Korea, Americans were demanding explanations.

The 1950s were good years. No one was terrified then, except the fools who had joined a Communist Party that turned out to be a lickspittle of the Comintern. Gallup polls of the era show not even 1% of Americans were concerned about “witch-hunting” or “anti-Communist hysteria” or “McCarthyism.” That is pure myth.

In 1954, when some snot at the 15th reunion of his class got up to toast Harvard College for never having produced an Alger Hiss or a Joe McCarthy, John F. Kennedy stood up and walked out, roaring, “How dare you couple the name of a great American patriot with that of a traitor.” Yes, indeed, that was when the Right was right.

Tuesday, February 8th, 2005, 04:15 AM

Venona: Soviet Espionage and the American
Response, 1939-1957


The muggy Washington summer of 1948 grew even hotter when news media reported that a "blonde spy queen" three years earlier had given federal investigators convincing evidence of widespread Soviet espionage in America during World War II. In a few days the world learned her name--Elizabeth Bentley--and heard her and another ex-Communist agent, Whittaker Chambers, repeat their charges before Congress. Republican congressmen and candidates cited the stories as further evidence of the Roosevelt and Truman administrations' softness toward Communism and neglect of national security. Outraged officials both in and out of government, as well as Democrats fearing a campaign issue that would sink President Truman's apparently foundering re-election chances, insisted that Bentley and Chambers were peddling hearsay and innuendo.

Almost lost in the furor was one isolated recollection of Bentley's that ultimately would provide a clue to the truth behind the charges and denials. Bentley, according to press reports, had told a federal grand jury that an aide to President Roosevelt had learned during the war that American intelligence was on the verge of breaking "the Russian secret code." The aide, said Bentley, had passed this nugget to his Soviet contact. (1) For almost 30 years this fragmentary anecdote remained virtually all that the public would hear about one of the Cold War's greatest intelligence coups.

Bentley's charges, and the debates they fueled, typified the American experience with intelligence and related "internal security" issues in the era of totalitarianism and total war. For roughly 60 years the Western democracies struggled to preserve civil liberties and due process while ascertaining the extent of clandestine penetrations by the intelligence services of fascist and Communist regimes. At midcentury the Soviet Union's main strength was "human" intelligence--the collection of information through agents with access to foreign secrets. Washington's forte was "signals" intelligence--the procurement and analysis of coded foreign messages. At the beginning of the Cold War strength met strength in a struggle that still reverberates 50 years later. The tale of this struggle is the Venona story.

The term "Venona" served as an arbitrary codeword stamped on a relatively small number of documents in order to limit access to a particular cryptanalytic breakthrough. This achievement enabled Western counterintelligence specialists to read portions of more than 2,900 Soviet diplomatic telegrams sent between 1940 and 1948. The encipherment of these telegrams shared a common flaw that left them vulnerable to cryptanalysis. It was that flawærather than any commonality of dates, origins, or subject matteræthat made the messages a unique and discrete body of documents. American and allied services spent almost four decades deciphering the original texts and then puzzling over their meanings. By the time this effort was formally closed in 1980, the codeword "Venona" meant, to a handful of witting US Intelligence Community officers, the entire program of crypt-analytic and exploitation activities based on the messages.

Espionage in America
The United States made a tempting espionage target for allies and adversaries alike in the 1940s. Berlin, Tokyo, and Moscow all wanted to discover Washington's strategic plans and the progress being made in American factories and laboratories. Axis spies fared poorly in North America, however, in part because allied civilian and military counterintelligence services rolled up Axis nets and agents early in the war. Soviet intelligence fared much better. Indeed, the tensions and crises in East-West relations in the 1940s and 1950s unfolded along patterns determined in no small part by the success of Soviet intelligence officers, and, belatedly, by the growing ability of Western services to counter Moscow's espionage campaign.

Several advantages helped Soviet intelligence succeed where the Axis services failed. First, Soviet intelligence services, in many respects, were stronger than their Axis counterparts, with better leadership and more resources. Second, operating conditions in America were easier for several reasons, the foremost being the fact that the Soviet Union was an ally and therefore was able to post large numbers of officials on American soil in various liaison capacities. Beyond this, many Americans regarded their Russian allies as comrades-in-arms who should be helped with material as well as rhetorical support. There were some instances of American citizens volunteering actual secrets to Soviets during the war, and Soviet officials in the United States sometimes enjoyed considerable hospitality and access. Finally, Soviet intelligence benefited directly and indirectly from the activities and infrastructure of the Communist Party of the United States (CPUSA).

Moscow collected secrets in the United States through overlapping organizations. The Communist International (better known as the Comintern) monitored the CPUSA and supervised the Party's clandestine apparatus. The CPUSA had reached the peak of its strength and limited influence in American life in the late 1930s, when the Great Depression and Stalin's opposition to Hitler and Mussolini convinced thousands of native-born Americans that capitalism was doomed and that the socialist experiment in Russia represented the world's only reliable bulwark against fascism. (2) Party leaders and some trusted members gathered political and industrial information, most of which probably made its way to Soviet intelligence services. (3) Although the CPUSA lost perhaps a third of its members after the Hitler-Stalin pact of August 1939 temporarily made the USSR a junior partner in Nazi aggression, a committed core remained in the ranks. (4) In addition, military intelligence (GRU) officers based in Soviet consular posts worked with the Comintern and with Party-controlled agents in US Government agencies and private industry. (5)

Another Soviet organization, the NKVD (later to become the KGB)-- Moscow's secret police and quasi-civilian intelligence service--had its own foreign intelligence arm. The service had long busied itself with internal repression and with foreign counterintelligence that helped guide covert action against émigré Russian political factions. In other types of foreign operations it had been overshadowed by the GRU, at least in the United States. (6) This relationship would be reversed during the war. (7)

The KGB and GRU ran parallel "legal" and "illegal" intelligence networks in the United States. One set of operations was run by intelligence officers working under legal (usually diplomatic) cover in the "residencies" located clandestinely in Soviet diplomatic missions, trade, and media organizations--for example, the Amtorg Trading Corporation, the Soviet Purchasing Commission, and the Tass news agency. (8) Other KGB and GRU networks, in contrast, had no apparent connections to Soviet establishments and were run by "illegals"--Soviet intelligence officers usually living under false identities. In addition, some GRU and KGB agents were themselves CPUSA officers whose clandestine activities were known, to a greater or lesser extent, to the CPUSA leadership and the Comintern. KGB officer Jacob Golos (covername SOUND), for instance, ran the Soviet-sponsored World Tourists corporation in New York and allegedly also served on the central control commission of the CPUSA. His lover, Elizabeth Bentley (covernames SMART GIRL and MYRNA), had moved from the open Party into underground work in the late 1930s. She helped Golos service various agents and run the World Tourists business.

Stalin wanted his intelligence officers in America to collect information in four main areas. He directed Pavel M. Fitin, the 34-year-old chief of the KGB's First Directorate, to seek American intelligence concerning Hitler's plans for the war in Russia; secret war aims of London and Washington, particularly with regard to planning for a second front in Europe; any indications that the Western allies might cut a separate peace with Hitler; and, finally, American scientific and technological progress, particularly in developing an atomic weapon. (9)

Soviet espionage operatives in the United States during World War II funneled information to Moscow through a handful of professional intelligence officers who sent reports to the Center and relayed orders and questions from the Center to agents in the field. Operations in America were led by experienced hands such as Vassili M. Zarubin (covername MAKSIM), who served as rezident in New York and later in Washington, and Iskhak A. Akhmerov (covernames MER and ALBERT), the senior illegal. Some Soviet case officers, however, were raw recruits recently brought into the services in order to fill out ranks depleted during Stalin's purges of the late 1930s.(10) For many of these officers, America was their first overseas post. Elizabeth Bentley described her initial meeting with "John" (Anatoli A. Yatskov, Venona covername ALEKSEI), who turned out to be

a thin, pale, blond, young man of about my height, who was dressed in badly fitting clothes of obviously European make. . . . He had that half-starved look so characteristic of new Soviet arrivals, his English was so meager I had difficulty in understanding him, and he displayed an astounding ignorance of American life.
"John," despite his unpromising debut, would play a key role in Soviet espionage against the atomic bomb.(11)

During the latter part of the war, the KGB gradually took over assets and networks originally established by the GRU and the Comintern (particularly after Stalin dissolved the latter body in May 1943).(12) A general re-division of labor among the Soviet services appears to have given political tasks to the KGB, while focusing the GRU more on military collection; both collected scientific and technical data. In addition, agents hitherto run in cooperation with the CPUSA were turned over to direct Soviet control. This streamlining effort faced daunting operational security challenges; Bentley and others who had worked with the Soviets had learned far more than they needed to about other agents and operations--and resented the change in direction.

A Slow Response
The US Government had grown concerned about reputed fascist and Communist subversion in the late 1930s. The war in Europe--and the Nazi-Soviet nonaggression pact of 1939--gave J. Edgar Hoover's Federal Bureau of Investigation an opportunity to move against individuals and organizations suspected of working with the Russians. Tipped by a State Department probe that had uncovered American and foreign Communists traveling on fraudulent American passports, FBI Special Agents in 1939 raided the facilities of several organizations linked to the CPUSA and found sufficient evidence to arrest General Secretary Earl Browder on charges of passport fraud.(13) In 1940, leads developed by British and Canadian investigators in the Woolwich Arsenal spy case pointed the Bureau toward the senior KGB officer in America, New York rezident Gaik Ovakimian (covername GENNADI), whom the FBI arrested in May 1941 for violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act.(14) Information on Soviet intelligence contacts and methods obtained by the Bureau in these early investigations would prove valuable during and after the war.

American authorities, nonetheless, did not act as decisively as they might have at the time. At least three defectors from Soviet intelligence were in the United States (Alexander Orlov, Walter Krivitsky, and Whittaker Chambers) and have given the Bureau relatively current information, had they been questioned in depth--and well protected--by federal officials.(15) In addition, the German invasion of the USSR in June 1941 virtually reversed American attitudes toward the Soviets. The State Department quickly reached an understanding with Moscow that allowed Ovakimian to leave the country. Similarly, President Roosevelt commuted Browder's sentence in May 1942 in the interest of inter-allied relations. The FBI remained watchful, but the raids and prosecutions ceased.

Any foreign intelligence service needs secure communications channels between its headquarters and its officers abroad. Although Soviet intelligence services had clandestine radio transmitters in diplomatic missions located in several American cities, these apparently were to be used only in emergencies.(16) In consequence, KGB and GRU stations cabled their important messages over commercial telegraph lines and sent bulky reports and documents--including most of the information acquired by agents--in diplomatic pouches. As a new European war loomed in 1939, the US Army had begun collecting enciphered Soviet telegrams, and soon thousands of cables were piling up in the offices of the Army's Signals Security Agency (SSA). A June 1942 agreement with the Navy and FBI gave the Army exclusive responsibility for analysis of foreign diplomatic and military ciphers, and the Army consequently had general responsibility for studying diplomatic traffic.

SSA analysts, based at Arlington Hall in Northern Virginia, soon began to explore whether the collected Soviet diplomatic messages might be readable. The Army and Navy had sporadically studied Soviet codes and ciphers over the preceding decade, but with little success.(17) Decrypted 1942 cables between the Japanese Army's general staff and its military attaches in Berlin and Helsinki showed that Finland's excellent cryptanalysts had made progress on some Soviet military ciphers, had determined the characteristics for sorting the still unsolvable diplomatic messages, and were sharing results with the Japanese.(18) This information was probably the immediate inspiration for SSA's examination of the Soviet telegrams. On 1 February 1943, SSA created a small program to examine the encrypted Soviet telegrams on orders from Col. Carter Clarke, Chief of the Special Branch of the Army's Military Intelligence Service (MID). Clarke seemed particularly concerned that Moscow and Berlin might negotiate a separate peace, and wanted to be able to warn his superiors of such a development.

Gene Grabeel, a Virginia schoolteacher who had recently arrived at Arlington Hall as part of its large civilian contingent, began the effort to read the Soviet diplomatic messages (and would continue working on the project for the next 36 years). She and others assigned to the project in 1943 spent months sorting stored and incoming telegrams by communications circuits. They gradually expanded their knowledge of the characteristics that separated the messages into the groups that the Finnish cryptanalysts had investigated. Five separate cryptographic systems became apparent. More than half the telegrams belonged to a system that analysts dubbed "Trade" because it carried the messages of the Amtorg Trading Corporation and the Soviet Purchasing Commission--most of which concerned the transfer of Lend Lease materiel to the USSR. The other four systems were used by the KGB, GRU, Naval GRU, and Foreign Ministry, but these users would not be fully identified until the mid-1940s.

Moscow had already learned from well-placed agents that both enemies and allies were trying to read its diplomatic cables. Finnish troops found scorched codebooks and cryptographic materials in the USSR's Petsamo consulate in June 1941, and before the end of that year a Soviet agent in Berlin reported that the Germans were trying to exploit a Russian codebook acquired from their Finnish allies.(19) These developments in themselves were not alarming to Moscow, because the security of messages enciphered by one-time pads lies in the cipher and not in the codes per se (see inset). In any event, the compromised KGB codebook was not replaced until late 1943.(20) Another important piece of information came from British intelligence officer and Soviet agent H.A.R. "Kim" Philby in 1944, when he told the KGB that British cryptanalysts had turned their attention to Soviet ciphers.(21)

Philby probably reported nothing at that time about American efforts against the Soviet messages. (US analysts did not begin to collaborate with their British counterparts on Soviet communications in general until about August 1945.) Nevertheless, senior KGB officials may have become worried when White House aide Lauchlin Currie apparently told Soviet contacts (possibly in spring 1944) that the Americans were about to break a Soviet code. Currie had access to signals intelligence at the White House and could have heard overoptimistic rumors that Arlington Hall would soon be reading Soviet messages. Currie's tip probably was too vague to have alarmed Soviet cryptographers, but it might have worried higher-ups in Moscow. Indeed, the only change observed in the characteristics of the Soviet messages around that time appeared to be a cosmetic correction implemented to please higher authority. On 1 May 1944, KGB code clerks began using a new message starting-point indicator for telegrams--a change that ironically would make work easier for Arlington Hall crypt-analysts.(22)



What Made Venona Possible?
The messages broken by the Venona program were both coded and enciphered. When a code is enciphered with a one-time pad, the cryptographer who designed the system expects the encipherment to provide absolute security--even if an adversary somehow obtains an underlying codebook or debriefs a defecting code clerk (such as Igor Gouzenko). A flaw in the encipherment, however, can leave such messages vulnerable to analysis even in the absence of a codebook. Such was the case for the Soviet diplomatic systems from which the Venona translations came. Arlington Hall's Venona breakthrough in 1943-46 was a purely analytic accomplishment, achieved without the benefit of either Soviet codebooks or plain-text copies of original messages. The 1944-46 messages--which yielded the early translations and the bulk of all translations--were recovered over a period of years by Arlington Hall cryptanalysts and decoded from a "codebook" that crypto- linguist Meredith Gardner reconstructed by using classic codebreaking techniques.

A Soviet code clerk preparing a message first reduced its text into numeric code groups drawn from a codebook (a kind of dictionary in which the words and common phrases correspond to four-digit numbers). After encoding the plain text with numeric code groups, the clerk would obscure the code groups by adding them, digit by digit, to a string of random digits. This second series of digits, called "additive" or "key," was known to both the sender and receiver because it was printed on the pages of a "one-time pad." One-time pads were periodically pouched to Soviet consular missions in sealed packets. The pad pages--with 60 five-digit additive groups per page--were used in order, always starting with the group in the upper lefthand corner (the pad-page number to be used was more or less concealed somewhere on the face of the message). Code clerks in different Soviet missions used up these packets at varying rates, depending on the volume of messages to be enciphered or deciphered.

The security of such an encipherment-decipherment system depends on both the randomness (that is, unpredictability) of the "key" on the one-time pad pages and the uniqueness of the one-time pad sets held by the sender and the receiver. Different Soviet organizations used their own codes, changing them every few years (probably more to improve vocabulary and convenience than to enhance security).

The flaw in the Soviet messages resulted from the manufacturers' duplication of one-time pad pages, rather than from a malfunctioning random-number generator or extensive re-use of pages by code clerks. For a few months in early 1942, a time of great strain on the Soviet regime, the KGB's cryptographic center in the Soviet Union for some unknown reason printed duplicate copies of the "key" on more than 35,000 pages of additive and then assembled and bound these in one-time pads. Arlington Hall's Lt. Richard Hallock analyzed Soviet "Trade" messages in autumn 1943, producing evidence of extensive use of duplicate key pages (often with different page numbers) assembled in separate one-time pad books. Thus, two sets of the ostensibly unique one-time pad-page sets were manufactured. Despite the opinion that a single duplication was insufficient for solution, Hallock and his colleagues continued to attack the Trade messages and made considerable progress in understanding the cryptographic basis of the diplomatic systems. From Hallock's original discovery, additional analysis yielded techniques for finding duplicate pages separated in time and among different users. The duplicate pages began showing up in messages in mid-1942 and were still occurring in one circuit as late as June 1948. Nevertheless, most of the duplicate pages were used between 1942 and 1944--years of rapid expansion of Soviet diplomatic communications.

We do not know how and when the Soviets discovered the flaw, but we believe Moscow learned of it through agents William W. Weisband and Kim Philby. By the time the Soviets saw the consequences of the manufacturing flaw in the late 1940s, however, most of the duplicate one-time pad pages had already been used. The set of potentially exploitable messages thus was bound by the production of the duplicate pages and the West's ability to spot duplicate uses. Finding duplicates, however, only made the messages potentially readable; indeed, some messages and passages remained unexploitable even after 37 years of effort.

Cecil James Phillips
National Security Agency



In November 1944 Arlington Hall analysts solved this new starting-point indicator problem and soon expanded their effort against the "Trade" messages to encompass a second, still unidentified Soviet system. This was the breakthrough that eventually made the cables readable. The method revealed hundreds of instances in which individual pages of additive digits from KGB one-time pads were duplicated by key used for Trade messages. Over a period of years, cryptanalysts were able to determine the one-time pad additive values for significant parts of hundreds of enciphered telegrams, leaving the coded texts vulnerable to crypto-linguist codebuilders trying to recover the meanings of the four-digit words and phrases.(23)

American authorities inferred during World War II that the Soviets were engaged in espionage, but as yet there was little coordination among the various counterintelligence organizations. A June 1939 Presidential directive gave the FBI responsibility for domestic counterintelligence with the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) and the War Department's Military Intelligence Division (better known as the G-2).(24) The three organizations comprised a body known as the Interdepartmental Intelligence Conference (IIC) and stood together to protect their monopoly on domestic counterintelligence work from other agencies, particularly the new Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and its activist chief, Maj. Gen. William J. Donovan. OSS eventually developed a capable counterintelligence apparatus of its own in Europe--the X-2 Branch--but it had no authority to operate on American soil.

In keeping with the limited extent of interagency cooperation, American counterintelligence organizations made uneven progress in integrating signals intelligence leads during the war. OSS and the FBI separately launched their own cryptologic intelligence operations, but these were short-lived.(25) (Neither OSS nor the FBI, incidentally, was shown the Army's "MAGIC" intercepts of wartime foreign diplomatic messages.) The X-2 Branch of OSS had been created to provide British intelligence services with a point of contact in OSS for sharing certain sensitive "ULTRA" reports derived from decrypted German military and intelligence communications.(26) Unfortunately for OSS, however, X-2 monitored the agents of Axis--not allie--services. It had little influence over security clearances for OSS personnel (some of whom indeed spied for the Soviets).(27)

Coordination was little better between the military's cryptologic services, which in any event had left domestic security largely to the FBI. The Army and Navy signals intelligence organizations barely cooperated with one another, jealously guarding their reports and their access to President Roosevelt. Outside of the Oval Office there was no collation and analysis of the totality of the intelligence information--let alone the counter- intelligence leads--collected by the US Government.

Hoover's FBI monitored the CPUSA during the war but did not always share its leads with other agencies. In April 1943, FBI agents began to collect solid information on current KGB activities and personnel. New York consular officer Vassili M. Zarubin (a KGB general operating under the alias Zubilin) called on senior CPUSA officer Steve Nelson in Berkeley, California. Unbeknownst to both, the FBI had been watching Nelson for weeks. Zarubin's conversation made it obvious to Bureau eavesdroppers that he was an important KGB officer (although they could not yet know that he was Gaik Ovakimian's replacement as senior KGB rezident in America).(28) The FBI watched Zarubin from that day until he left the United States in 1944 (although he occasionally gave his trailers the slip), and Bureau agents catalogued hundreds of contacts and leads developed by this operation.(29)

More leads dropped into the Bureau's mailbox in August 1943, in the form of an anonymous letter drafted on a Russian typewriter and mailed in Washington, DC. This extraordinary note--the author's identity still is uncertain--denounced Zarubin and 10 other KGB officers in North America, along with two of their assets.(30) Special Agents quickly concluded that the letter was genuine and largely accurate, although they gave little credence to its claim that the Soviets were passing secrets to Japan. The FBI subsequently increased surveillance of persons named in the letter and even doubled two agents recruited by one of them, KGB officer Andrei Shevchenko.(31) Nevertheless, the FBI did apparently not pass copies of the anonymous letter to other agencies until after World War II, nor did Special Agents try to recruit Soviet officers named by its author.

The Atomic Era
US Government agencies ran a wartime security system that was porous for Soviet agents and yet opaque for American counterintelligence agencies charged with protecting secrets. FBI Director Hoover allegedly knew nothing of the super-secret Manhattan Project before Steve Nelson inadvertently informed him in the spring of 1943. High-level political and strategic motivations in Washington also hampered US efforts against Soviet espionage. President Roosevelt wanted to strengthen a distrustful Stalin in his fight against Hitler, and his lieutenants had no desire to antagonize Moscow by suppressing the CPUSA or publicly probing rumors that members of the Party had infiltrated government agencies.(32) Hoover, for his part, kept a close eye on the CPUSA but did not, at least before 1945, try to convince the White House that Soviet officials in the United States were actively engaged in espionage. Donovan's OSS also encountered the administration's reluctance to antagonize Moscow when OSS officers bought unidentified Soviet cryptographic documents from emigre Finnish cryptanalysts in late 1944. Secretary of State Edward P. Stettinius insisted that the papers be given back to the Russians, and Donovan promptly obeyed a White House order to return them to the Soviet Embassy.(33)

The intrigues surrounding the development of the atomic bomb both symbolized and helped widen the growing breach between the Soviet Union and its Western allies in 1945. Washington and London jointly built the bomb but said nothing about their work to Moscow. Stalin's clandestine sources, however, obtained detailed political, military, and diplomatic reports on his allies' strategic planning and war aims.(34) He knew of the bomb project long before the new President Truman finally divulged it to him in July 1945. The KGB effort against the Manhattan Project (codenamed ENORMOUS) represented a shift in collection emphasis. Moscow hitherto had regarded the United States primarily as a source of information useful in the war against Germany; now America became in Russian eyes a rival and even a threat to the Soviet Union itself. Soviet agents penetrated the Manhattan Project at several points. At the Los Alamos facility alone, at least four agents reported through couriers such as Lona Cohen to the Soviet consulate in New York, where a KGB sub-residency under a young engineer named Leonid R. Kvasnikov (covername ANTON) coordinated operations and dispatched intelligence to Moscow.(35)

US perceptions of the Soviets began shifting after the war had been won. Two defections in autumn 1945 galvanized US counterintelligence. Igor Gouzenko, a GRU code clerk in the USSR's Ottawa Embassy, revealed to Canadian authorities that the Soviets had indeed penetrated the Manhattan Project and other agencies.(36) A few weeks later, Elizabeth Bentley gave the FBI details about spies in the State and Treasury Department, OSS, the Pentagon, and even the White House. Both Bentley's and Gouzenko's accounts dovetailed with the story that Time magazine editor and former GRU agent Whittaker Chambers had told FBI agents in 1942 and again, in detail, in May 1945.(37) By mid-November, the White House knew the outlines of the defectors' stories and had heard of their accusations against dozens of US Government employees, including high officials such as White House aide Lauchlin Currie, OSS executive assistant Duncan Lee, and Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Harry Dexter White.(38)

A Canadian Government White Paper on the Gouzenko affair in July 1946 confirmed the gist of press speculation about Soviet wartime espionage and gave the Western public its first official account of the extent of the problem. This confirmation of the essential truth behind the rumors diminished public tolerance for Communism at home and abroad. Truman became convinced of the need for a government-wide tightening of security, but he had no intention of condoning witch-hunts for allegedly disloyal Democratic officials or blanket accusations against federal workers and Roosevelt's New Deal. Little could be done, for the time being, against the individuals named by Gouzenko or Bentley--apart from corroborating their reports and limiting the suspects' access to sensitive information--until Western governments could gather evidence that would stand up in court.

Domestic politics, however, prompted the White House to act. Republicans campaigning in the 1946 Congressional elections accused Democrats of ignoring Communist infiltration and disloyalty; the charge helped the GOP regain control of Congress for the first time since 1931. Truman's response was motivated in part by his own political considerations. Hoping to deter free-ranging Congressional probes and harsh Republican-drafted loyalty legislation, he signed Executive Order 9835, which institutionalized the wartime loyalty regime. The executive order mandated loyalty boards in all federal agencies and defined employee disloyalty to include membership in groups judged subversive by the Attorney General.(39)

During this period, Bentley gave the FBI details that opened a hitherto unnoticed window on the networks run by "illegals"--Soviet citizens abroad under false identities who worked for the KGB or GRU in apparent isolation from official Soviet consular missions. Special Agents fanned out across the country to investigate Bentley's leads and to monitor persons whom she had named, and for about a year the FBI entertained hopes of "doubling" her against the KGB.(40)

The "Gregory" case--as the investigations prompted by Bentley were known inside the government--produced many leads but led to no espionage prosecutions. FBI agents could not use evidence gathered by wiretaps in court, and they were unable to catch suspected spies in the act of compromising official secrets.(41) Meanwhile, Soviet agents and intelligence officers almost certainly surmised the existence of a serious leak. They took precautions even before a federal grand jury, meeting in 1947, probed Bentley's allegations and called as witnesses dozens of individuals named in her testimony.

At roughly the same time, the renamed Army Security Agency (ASA--formerly the Signals Security Agency) developed evidence that would soon corroborate Bentley's testimony and the 1943 anonymous letter. After the war, the "Russian Section" at Arlington Hall expanded. Work on diplomatic messages benefited from additional technical personnel and new analysts--among them Samuel Chew, who had focused on Japan, and linguist Meredith Gardner, who had worked on both German and Japanese messages. Chew had considerable success at defining the underlying structure of the coded Russian texts. Gardner and his colleagues began analytically reconstructing the KGB codebooks. Late in 1946, Gardner broke the codebook's "spell table" for encoding English letters. With the solution of this spell table, ASA could read significant portions of messages that included English names and phrases. Gardner soon found himself reading a 1944 message listing prominent atomic scientists, including several with the Manhattan Project.(42)

Gardner henceforth made rapid progress, reading dozens of messages sent between Moscow and New York in 1944 and 1945. By May 1947 he had read one that implied the Soviets ran an asset with access to sensitive information from the War Department General Staff.(43) It became apparent to Gardner that he was reading KGB messages showing massive Soviet espionage in the United States.

Another problem soon arose--that of determining how and to whom to disseminate the extraordinary information Gardner was developing. ASA's reporting procedures did not seem appropriate because the decrypted messages could not even be paraphrased for Arlington Hall's regular intelligence customers without divulging their source. At this point, ASA knew nothing about the federal grand jury impaneled in Manhattan to probe the espionage and disloyalty charges leveled by Bentley and other defectors from Soviet intelligence, so no one in the US Government was aware that evidence against the Soviets was suddenly developing on two adjacent tracks. Gardner took matters into his own hands in the summer of 1947, drafting "Special Report #1," which went to a handful of senior ASA officials. One item in it about an unidentified Soviet asset would later prove fateful:

LIB?? (Lieb?) or possibly LIBERAL: was ANTENKO [later understood as ANTENNA] until 29 Sept. 1944. Occurs 6 times, 22 October--20 December 1944. Message of 27 November speaks of his wife ETHEL, 29 years old married (?) 5 years, ". . . . . . . husband's work and the role of METR(O) and NIL." [Spelling and punctuation in original](44)

Cooperation Expands
Deputy G-2 Carter Clarke read Special Report #1 and in late August or early September 1948 asked FBI liaison officer S. Wesley Reynolds for a list of KGB and GRU covernames. Clarke's hint that ASA had broken a KGB code piqued the interest of the Bureau, which at that time was questioning former Soviet agents living in the United States concerning the allegations of Bentley and others and information gathered from surveillance of Soviet officials during the war. The Bureau quickly sent ASA a list of some 200 names, and, although few of them appeared in the translated messages, the long cooperation later known as the Venona program had begun.(45) This cooperative spirit between cryptanalysts and investigators endures to the present day.

Full inter-agency cooperation, however, was still several years away. President Truman, unhappy about the mass of unanalyzed reports that the departments daily sent to the White House, had insisted in 1945 on greater coordination of intelligence information. His new Central Intelligence Group was intended to solve this problem, but it started out slowly. American intelligence agencies on the whole did not do a good job of presenting counterintelligence analyses to the President and his aides. FBI Director Hoover, for instance, frequently sent to the Truman White House allegations of Communist plotting and Soviet espionage. It is not clear how much of this information actually reached the President, however, or how seriously it was regarded by White House aides.

Despite the Truman administration's sustained but piecemeal restructuring of the Intelligence Community, the division of labor in counter- intelligence functions remained much as it had been set early in World War II. The new National Security Council preserved the FBI's and armed services' monopoly of domestic counterintelligence in NSC-17/4 and 17/6 in 1949.(46) The agencies outside this monopoly were expected to provide information but were not invited to join operations involving domestic security. The new Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the closest institutional successor to OSS and CIG and, consequently, the inheritor of OSS's dismal security reputation, saw little of the information Gardner and his colleagues were developing. CIA counterintelligence officers, however, now had wider access to signals intelligence than had their predecessors in X-2, and they briefly joined the Army and Navy in a Joint Counterintelligence Information Center (JCIC) to exploit current signals intelligence leads, using X-2's wartime employment of ULTRA as its model.(47) The JCIC received Special Report #1 at roughly the same time Colonel Clarke notified the FBI, but the Bureau never joined the JCIC or sought its assistance with the Soviet translations. When the JCIC inquired about additional Special Reports in early 1949, Clarke apparently instructed his subordinates not to provide anything. The early American effort to use the information from the Soviet messages thus remained understaffed and highly compartmented, and exploitation opportunities were almost certainly lost in consequence. For several years the major investigative burden remained with the FBI, which assigned the most important inter-agency liaison work to a single Special Agent, Robert Lamphere.

"I stood in the vestibule of the enemy's house, having entered by stealth," Lamphere recalled in his memoir of the investigations.(48) Lamphere began sharing liaison duty with Wesley Reynolds in the spring of 1948. That October he had a private meeting with Meredith Gardner and began full-time liaison on the project. It was Lamphere's tenacity that taught the FBI how to use the translations against Soviet espionage. Through him the Bureau received a steady flow of translations and re-translations, as well as Gardner's insights about the "tradecraft" of Soviet spying. Gardner and his colleagues, in return, received collateral evidence, identifications, and additional leads.(49) The process was essentially a slow comparison of evidence for and against various competing hypotheses, with the knowledge gained in many cases being greater than the sum of its parts.

By the time Lamphere began using the translated messages, the public controversy over "loyalty" and "red-baiting" had risen dramatically amid growing concern over US-Soviet tensions. New allegations that prominent American citizens had spied for the Soviets burst upon the public in July 1948, when Bentley spoke before the House Committee on Un-American Activities. Her testimony recounted, among other things, Lauchlin Currie's alleged distress over US efforts to read wartime Soviet telegrams (this seems to have been the first public clue to the existence of ASA's effort). A few days later Whittaker Chambers charged that Roosevelt administration figures Alger Hiss and Harry Dexter White were secret Communists. Heated denials by the accused and their supporters added to the drama and controversy as elections loomed that autumn. Republican Congressmen and activists hailed the testimony as the long-suppressed proof of Democratic inattention toward Communist subversion. Truman bitterly resented such charges and insisted that the Hiss affair in particular was a GOP "red herring."(50)

Truman's repeated denunciations of the charges against Hiss, White, and others--all of whom appear under covernames in decrypted messages translated before he left office in January 1953--suggest that Truman either was never briefed on the Venona program or did not grasp its significance. Although it seems odd that Truman might not have been told, no definitive evidence has emerged to show he was. In any event, Truman always insisted that Republicans had trumped up the loyalty issue and that wartime espionage had been insignificant and well contained by American authorities.(51)

In December 1948 the FBI identified a Soviet agent covernamed SIMA as Judith Coplon, a young Justice Department analyst recruited by the Soviets in 1944.(52) Coplon would become the first person arrested on the basis of a Venona lead. FBI agents detained her in March 1949 along with a KGB official under UN cover; her purse contained ostensibly sensitive documents (which the Bureau had routed through her office as bait). Director Hoover or (less likely) someone higher in the Truman administration forbade FBI officials testifying at her trial from introducing the translated messages as evidence. This protection of the cryptanalytic breakthrough forced prosecutors and government witnesses into elaborate cirumlocutions; Special Agent Lamphere, for example, testified that suspicion had fallen on Coplon because of information from a reliable "confidential informant" that was not a wiretap.(53) Although both of Coplon's convictions would be overturned on appeal, subsequent prosecutions developed in the same manner, with the too-sensitive codebreaking secrets obscured behind mounds of corroborating evidence.

The Coplon case set the pattern for an intense series of investigations and prosecutions that followed over the next two years. Meredith Gardner and his colleagues (working from May 1949 under the auspices of AFSA, the new Armed Forces Security Agency) supplied covernames and translations to the FBI; Lamphere and other Special Agents tracked down the leads:

February 1949. ASA observed that messages containing "Material G" were quoting British Foreign Office telegrams sent to the British Embassy in Washington during the war. Not until March 1951, however, did American and British cryptanalysts conclude that "G," "GOMMER," and "GOMER" (the Russian transliteration of HOMER) had to be the same agent who had provided the cables to the KGB. By the beginning of May 1951, the list of possible suspects had narrowed to one name: Donald Maclean of the Foreign Office. Maclean, with compatriot Guy Burgess, soon fled to the Soviet Union.

September 1949. The FBI determined that covernames REST and CHARLES, both denoting a scientist in the wartime Manhattan Project, referred to physicist Klaus Fuchs, author of a paper quoted in one message. British authorities interrogated Fuchs in late 1949. His information in turn led the FBI to courier Harry Gold, arrested in Philadelphia on 22 May.(54)

February 1950. Lamphere suspected that a Soviet agent covernamed CALIBRE had to be an enlisted man posted at the Manhattan Project facility at Los Alamos during the war. Subsequent AFSA analysis, and additional information from Harry Gold, led to David Greenglass, who confessed to the FBI on 15 June 1950 and also implicated his brother-in-law, Julius Rosenberg.

Spring 1950. Covername NICK had emerged in 1949 as one Amadeo Sabatini, who had fought in Spain together with KGB asset Morris Cohen. Sabatini apparently kept quiet about Cohen but did point the FBI toward a Jones Orin York (almost simultaneously identified as Venona covername NEEDLE). When questioned in April 1950, York alleged that a former case officer of his was an AFSA employee named William Weisband. AFSA suspended Weisband in May.

Late June 1950. The FBI discovered that information in the messages about an agent who collected technological and scientific secrets, codenamed LIBERAL and ANTENNA, matched the known facts about New York engineer Julius Rosenberg. Two messages also implicated his wife, Ethel. Rosenberg had been questioned on the basis of David Greenglass' information on 16 June and tailed ever since, but he was not arrested until a month later.(55)

Sometime in 1949-50. Gardner translated a 1944 message that described the recruitment of Harvard physics student Theodore Alvin Hall. Soon afterward, the Bureau determined that the covername YOUNGSTER [MLAD], found in other messages, matched Hall. Special Agents questioned Hall in 1951, but he was never prosecuted (probably because a case could not have been made without revealing AFSA's program).
Translated messages also corroborated various charges made by Elizabeth Bentley and Whittaker Chambers. By June 1950 the Bureau determined that the covername ALES, mentioned in one KGB message, referred to former State Department aide Alger Hiss, then serving a sentence for perjury.(56) Around the same time, Lamphere told Gardner that the covername JURIST meant Harry Dexter White, a former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, who had died suddenly a few days after denying Whittaker Chambers' August 1948 charge before the House Committee on Un-American Activities.(57) The translations also clarified another sensational spy case a few years later when the FBI identified the covername MARQUIS as Joseph Milton Bernstein, a GRU agent linked to the Institute of Pacific Relations and Amerasia magazine.(58)
Double Dilemma
The KGB had not been surprised by the wave of charges, arrests, and prosecutions. Intelligence officials in Moscow nonetheless faced much the same dilemma that confronted the FBI and AFSA. Both sides now had sources too important to risk. The Americans and their allies had to be careful in investigating certain suspects. The Soviets had to be equally wary in protecting their agents.

The Soviets apparently had monitored Arlington Hall's "Russian Section" since at least 1945, when William Weisband joined the unit (see inset). Weisband's earliest reports on the work on Soviet diplomatic systems were probably sketchy and might not have provided clear warning to Moscow about the exploitability of the KGB messages. By 1947, Weisband could have reported that KGB messages were being read, although by then virtually all of the exploitable messages had been transmitted and were in Arlington Hall's possession. Where Weisband had sketched the outlines of the cryptanalytic success, British liaison officer Kim Philby received actual translations and analyses on a regular basis after he arrived for duty in Washington in autumn 1949.(59)

Timely warnings from Philby helped the KGB protect some of its agents and operations. Various accounts indicate that in October 1949 Moscow began advising American agents who had dealt with Klaus Fuchs that they might have to flee the country through Mexico.(60) Some operatives, such as Morris and Lona Cohen and their case officer "Mark," avoided the net that was closing around other KGB agents. (The Cohens, as "Helen and Peter Kroger," would be convicted of espionage in the United Kingdom in 1961.)



Who Was William Weisband?
In 1950 one Jones Orin York (covername NEEDLE) told the FBI that he had passed secrets to the KGB since the mid-1930s. A worker in the aircraft industry on the west coast, York said that his KGB handler during 1941-42 had been one Bill Weisband, who had helped him buy a camera for photographing documents.(a)

York's allegation was disturbing news, implying that the KGB had a mole in the sensitive Armed Forces Security Agency (AFSA). Born in Egypt in 1908 of Russian parents, Weisband emigrated to America in the 1920s and became a US citizen in 1938. He joined the US Army Signals Security Agency in 1942 and performed signals intelligence and communications security duties in North Africa and Italy, where he made some important friends before returning to Arlington Hall and joining its "Russian Section." Although not a cryptanalyst, as a "linguist adviser" (he spoke fluent Russian) the gregarious and popular Weisband had access to all areas of Arlington Hall's Soviet work. Meredith Gardner recalled that Weisband had watched him extract the list of Western atomic scientists from the December 1944 KGB message mentioned earlier.

Weisband always denied involvement in espionage, and the US Government never prosecuted him for it. While suspended from AFSA on suspicion of disloyalty, he skipped a federal grand jury hearing on Communist Party activity. As a result, in November 1950 Weisband was convicted of contempt and sentenced to a year in prison. He died suddenly of natural causes in 1967.

The Venona messages do not hold a definite reference to William Weisband. Nevertheless, three messages mention a "ZVENO" (the Russian word for "link"). The earliest and clearest reference suggests procedures for the KGB's London residency to use in contacting ZVENO, who was awaiting a transfer to England. ZVENO, according to one message, had spent the last four weeks in an Italian- language course in Virginia and would leave for Britain by mid-July.(b) NSA records show that Weisband spent that June honing his skills in a language (probably Italian) at Arlington Hall, shipped out on 17 July, and arrived in London by 29 July.

(a) Information that York provided in a later FBI interview can be seen in the Washington Field Office's memorandum "William Wolf Weisband," 27 November 1953, Document 34.

(b) New York 981 to Moscow, 26 June 1943; this was not fully translated until 1979.



The long spate of prosecutions and loyalty hearings coincided with, and helped heighten, the atmosphere of suspicion and accusations now known as McCarthyism. Republicans in Congress were echoing widespread sentiment when they criticized the Truman administration for its failure to prevent Communism from conquering Eastern Europe and China. "Softness" on Communism abroad was portrayed by Republicans as the corollary of laxness at home. Suspicions that the Roosevelt and Truman administrations had neglected internal security fed charges of a Democratic-led coverup of the wartime Amerasia affair, as well as Eisenhower administration Attorney General Herbert Brownell's 1953 accusation that then President Truman had ignored FBI warnings about Harry Dexter White in 1946.(61) Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy and allies exploited this confusion and rancor, blaming Communists in the State Department for "losing" China and accusing federal workers of disloyalty on flimsy pretexts.

The tacit decision to keep the translated messages secret carried a political and social price for the country. Debates over the extent of Soviet espionage in the United States were polarized in the dearth of reliable information then in the public domain. Anti-Communists suspected that some spies--perhaps including a few who were known to the US Government--remained at large. Those who criticized the government's loyalty campaign as an overreaction, on the other hand, wondered if some defendants were being scapegoated; they seemed to sense that the public was not being told the whole truth about the investigations of such suspects as Julius Rosenberg and Judith Coplon. Given the dangerous international situation and what was known by the government at that time, however, continued secrecy was not illogical. With the Korean war raging and the prospect of war with the Soviet Union a real possibility, military and intelligence leaders almost certainly believed that any cryptologic edge that America gained over the Soviets was too valuable to concede--even if it was already known to Moscow.

Intensified political and legal pressure on the CPUSA coincided with shifts in Soviet intelligence tactics. Two pieces of legislation for a time gave the Justice Department broad powers against the Party. Between 1949 and 1957 the government, invoking the Alien Registration Act (better known as the Smith Act), won convictions of a dozen top CPUSA leaders for advocating the violent overthrow of the government.(62) The following year, Congress overrode Truman's veto and passed the Internal Security Act (often called the McCarran Act), which required Communist-affiliated organizations to register with the government and allowed emergency detention of potential spies and saboteurs.

These and other governmental actions sent the CPUSA partially underground in 1951. Party leaders took this step in an effort to protect essential cadres, but the move actually hastened the CPUSA's decline. In addition, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev's 1956 critique of Stalinism prompted demoralizing internal debates in the CPUSA and precipitated the departure of still more members.(63) Soviet intelligence officers apparently received orders to steer clear of the closely monitored CPUSA, and they urged assets to avoid open contacts with Communist causes. By 1953 the FBI had concluded that the CPUSA was no longer a serious espionage threat, although the Bureau still regarded it as a potential recruiting ground for spies.(64) Nonetheless, intensive surveillance of Soviet diplomats and nationals did not stop KGB and GRU officers, even those working under official cover, from meeting with assets, and from continuing to operate with some effectiveness in the United States.(65)

Venona in Later Years
Allied efforts to translate the wartime cables would continue for years to come (many translations would be first published in the 1960s and 1970s), but identifications of Soviet agents in America fell off in the 1950s. The CIA finally became an active partner in the Venona effort.(66) After senior manager Frank Rowlett transferred to the CIA in 1952, selected analysts in the Agency's Foreign Intelligence and Counterintelligence Staffs used the translations as a reference point to check the memories of KGB and GRU officers who had defected after the death of Stalin. Defectors once again became the US Intelligence Community's primary source of relatively current information on Soviet intelligence. American analysts sifted the defectors' accounts and compared them with information supplied by Venona and various liaison services to catalogue Soviet intelligence officers worldwide.(67) Venona thus became a touchstone for American counterintelligence

Spy stories again dominated the headlines during 1957. In January the FBI wound up an operation it had run for almost a decade, hauling in Soviet asset Jack Soble and his associates on the basis of reports from double-agent Boris Morros--whom the Bureau had initially spotted in the company of Vassili Zarubin in April 1943.(68) A timely defection in Paris soon led the FBI to an even bigger catch. In the spring of 1957 the KGB recalled from New York an unreliable illegal, Lt. Col. Reino Hayhanen, who feared punishment at home and sought sanctuary in the American Embassy in Paris. Hayhanen gave the FBI enough information to locate the Brooklyn studio of his superior, an artist whom he knew only as "Mark." Special Agents spotted the elusive Mark when he returned to his studio one last time and found stolen documents and espionage gear in the artist's hotel room. Arrested in June 1957, Mark gave his name as "Col. Rudolf Abel," refusing to cooperate further. He was really William Henry Fisher, a senior KGB officer born in England who had entered the United States in 1948. Abel's arrest marked the first time the government had caught a Soviet "illegal" working in America. Indeed, Abel may well have been Iskhak A. Akhmerov's successor as illegal rezident in the United States.(69)

The year 1957 ended with the FBI surveilling a pair of GRU illegals, Walter and Margarita Tairov, in New York. Although the Tairovs vanished and apparently fled the country in early 1958, the operation against GRU illegals was another first for American intelligence. The CIA had spotted one of the pair in Europe with help from its penetration of the GRU in East Germany, Lt. Col. Petr S. Popov. Timely liaison work enabled FBI Special Agents to amass scores of leads from surveillance of the duo.(70) Unfortunately, the couple almost certainly spotted the surveillance, and their flight and subsequent report were among the factors that soon led to Popov's arrest.

Venona had contributed to just one of these cases. Only a handful of American intelligence officials knew the truth behind the big spy cases of 1957: that US counterintelligence efforts against the Soviets, at least in the United States, had relied on volunteers since the Venona program peaked. This was not for want of trying. NSA had pored over the Soviet traffic and had kept its shrinking Venona team looking for additional leads. The FBI had penetrated the CPUSA and searched for illegals--but still did not catch Rudolf Abel for almost a decade. CIA divisions created clever but only marginally effective programs designed to establish coverage of Soviet installations abroad, to induce Soviet intelligence officers to defect (the REDCAP program), and to monitor the mail of Soviet illegals in America (HTLINGUAL). Despite all these efforts, the Intelligence Community's most important counterintelligence leads in the late 1950s came from volunteers--both walk-ins like Hayhanen and KGB Maj. Peter S. Deriabin, as well as agents-in-place like Popov and Polish intelligence officer Michal Goleniewski.(71) American counterintelligence was once again, as it had before Venona, left to rely on voluntary sources.

Venona, according to US policy at the time, could only be shared with a small, witting cadre of senior American intelligence officers. The tiny fraction of Soviet messages that were read convinced the CIA and FBI that Soviet espionage, at least in the 1940s, was aggressive, capable, and far-reaching--and that at least some wartime spies and agents of influence remained unidentified. Nothing that the West learned in subsequent years suggested that Soviet intelligence had grown any less capable or aggressive. Senior American intelligence officers also knew how poorly American intelligence had fared in its efforts to recruit agents to report on Soviet intelligence operations in the United States. Direct approaches to Soviet officers and illegals in the early Cold War usually failed, and by the 1960s American intelligence was relying on voluntary defectors such as Anatoli Golitsyn and Yuri Nosenko, and defectors-in-place such as Aleksi I. Kulak and Dmitri F. Polyakov, for relatively recent information about Soviet intelligence services. The leads they provided were often valuable but sometimes troubling for Western counterintelligence officers. Remembering how many clues to Soviet penetrations had accumulated in the files before Venona finally provided incontrovertible evidence of espionage against the West, molehunters in the CIA and FBI privately resolved to leave no defector's tip uninvestigated.

Only a short step led from this conclusion to a new concern among some, particularly in the CIA, that the Soviets might try to stage such defections to feed misinformation to American and Western intelligence services. While this possibility is now considered to have been remote, it could not be resolved beyond all doubt at the time. It was impossible to prove the negative and rule out the possible existence of Soviet misinformation operations designed to distract Western services from the most damaging penetrations in their midst. Even so, American counterintelligence services would spend much of the 1960s doing all they could to prove that negative, and to minimize the possibility of deception.

The extreme secrecy of the Venona information tended to ensure that any precautions would be viewed skeptically by some of the very intelligence personnel they were designed to protect. Only a handful of American intelligence officers had access to the Venona secret, and those who did not have such access had no way, in many cases, to judge the reliability of the evidence gathered against alleged Soviet agents in the 1940s. As a result, even seasoned intelligence professionals viewed the spy cases and internal security debates of the 1940s and early 1950s as McCarthyite hysteria. This attitude probably influenced some in the Intelligence Community as a whole to underestimate the Soviet espionage threat.

Elizabeth Bentley died in Connecticut in December 1963, long before the end of the Cold War she had helped to start. She never knew about the Venona secret, or about the way in which her testimony (among that of others) assisted the program. Before she died, she had been denounced as a traitor, a liar, and a criminal by everyone from her old comrades to a former President of the United States. The controversy over her testimony was only a skirmish in the national debate over the true extent of Soviet espionage, and over the federal government's attempts to balance competing requirements of civil liberties and internal security. The declassification of Venona augments and clarifies the evidence in the public domain, and consequently should move the debate from the politics and personalities of those who testified in public to the capabilities and actions of political leaders and intelligence officers--both American and Soviet--who worked in many cases behind the scenes.


(1) "Blonde Leader of Spy Ring Credited With Reds' Arrests," Washington Post, 22 July 1948.

(2) Maurice Isserman estimates CPUSA membership at between 50,000 and 75,000 in the years before the war; Which Side Were You On?: The American Communist Party During the Second World War (Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 1993), pp. 18-21.

(3) Harvey Klehr and John Earl Haynes, with Fridrikh Igorevich Firsov, The Secret World of American Communism (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1995), pp. 8-11, 71-73, 323-326.

(4) Translated messages disclose examples of the CPUSA's direct and indirect assistance to both the GRU and KGB. See Moscow 142 [circular], 12 September 1943, Translation 18 in this volume; New York 598-99 to Moscow, 2 May 1944, Translation 29; New York 1065 to Moscow, 28 July 1944, Translation 45; New York 12-13 to Moscow, 4 January 1945, Translation 80.

(5) GRU refers to the Chief Directorate for Intelligence of the Red Army's General Staff (the organization was upgraded to a Chief Directorate in 1943). For a GRU view of operating conditions in the United States, see Washington [Naval-GRU] 2505-12 to Moscow, 31 December 1942.

(6) KGB stands for the Committee for State Security. For the sake of clarity and convenience, the main foreign intelligence arm of the Soviet state is here called the KGB, its final name before the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union. The organization had been reorganized, reauthorized, and renamed several times. It was called the Cheka or VChK (1917-22), the GPU (1922-23), the OGPU (1923-34), the NKVD (1934-41, 1941-43), the NKGB (1941, 1943-46), the MGB (1946-47, 1952-53), the KI (1947-52), the MVD (1953-54), and the KGB (1954-91). The KI was subordinated to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 1949 to 1952. See Christopher Andrew and Oleg Gordievsky, KGB: The Inside Story (New York: HarperCollins, 1990), p. ix. See also the new "biographical reference" published by Russian Federation's Foreign Intelligence Service, Veternay vneshney razvedki Rossii [Veterans of Russian Foreign Intelligence], Moscow, 1995, pp. 3-4.

(7) One measure of the KGB's growing pre-eminence in the United States can be glimpsed in the message counts from the KGB and GRU residencies in New York. In 1940 the GRU New York residency sent three messages for every one sent by its KGB counterpart; in 1941 that ratio was reversed, and the KGB total remained higher from then on. An indication of the state of the US Government's knowledge of Soviet intelligence can be seen in Joseph A. Michela, Military Attaché Moscow Report 1903, "N.K.V.D. of the U.S.S.R.," 14 April 1941, Document 5.

(8) KGB use of Amtorg is discussed in Herbert Romerstein and Stanislav Levchenko, The KGB Against the "Main Enemy": How the Soviet Intelligence Service Operates against the United States (Lexington, MA: D.C. Heath, 1989), pp. 19-21, 176-177.

(9) Stalin's four requirements are either cited or paraphrased (the text and notes do not specify which) and subsequently became a general directive sent to several residencies. Vladimir M. Chikov claims Stalin issued these requirements in the presence of the newly appointed KGB senior rezident in the United States, Vassili M. Zarubin; this suggests that Stalin did so in autumn 1941. See "How the Soviet Intelligence Service `Split' the American Atom," Novoe Vremia [New Times; English ed.], 23 April 1991, p. 38.

(10) According to KGB defector Alexander Orlov, more than 3,000 KGB officers were shot in 1937 alone, even before the Yezhovchina reached its full fury. See The Secret History of Stalin's Crimes (New York: Random House, 1952), p. 216.

(11) Elizabeth Bentley, Out of Bondage (New York: Devin-Adair, 1951), pp. 101-102. See also Yatskov's biography in Veternay vneshney razvedki Rossii, pp. 169-171.

(12) See Moscow 142 (circular), 12 September 1943, Translation 18, for more on the dissolution of the Comintern and the transfer of its assets to the professional Soviet intelligence services.

(13) US Senate, Committee on the Judiciary [Subcommittee on Internal Security], "Scope of Soviet Activity in the United States," Part 23, 84th Congress, 2d Session, 1956, pp. 1207-1235.

(14) Ovakimian had been in the United States since 1933, operating under cover of the Amtorg Trading Corporation. US House of Representatives, Committee on Un-American Activities, "The Shameful Years: Thirty Years of Soviet Espionage in the United States," 82d Congress, 2d Session, 1951, pp. 15-17. See also US House of Representatives, Committee on Un-American Activities, "Communist Methods of Infiltration (EducationPart 2)," 83d Congress, 1st Session, 1953, pp. 198-199, 215. In 1937 a British Security Service agent penetrated KGB officer Arnold Deutsch's spy ring in the Woolwich Arsenal. Leads from the case pointed back to Canada and eventually led Canadian authorities to arrest one of Ovakimian's contacts; see Andrew and Gordievskiy, KGB, pp. 223-224.

(15) Walter Krivitsky gave some information of value to the Department of State; for a sample, see Loy W. Henderson, memorandum of conversation [with General Krivitsky], 15 March 1939, Document 1. See also Charles Runyon [Department of State], Memorandum for the File, "Walter Krivitsky," 10 June 1947, Document 18.

(16) Wartime transmissions by Soviet clandestine transmitters in the United Stateswith the exception of those to Latin Americawere usually test messages. It should be noted, however, that Comintern agents in the United States operated clandestine radios in the 1930s, and clandestine radio nets apparently were important for Soviet wartime intelligence operations in Latin America. A hint of the Comintern-CPUSA radio link can be seen in Klehr and Haynes, The Secret World of American Communism, pp. 205-208. Examples of Comintern messages to officials in the CPUSA are Moscow 117 of 21 March 1936 and Moscow 121 of 23 March 1936, Translation 1.

(17) See, for example, Stanford C. Hooper, Director of Naval Communications, to D. M. Crawford, Chief Signal Officer (US Army), "Communist Code and Cipher Material," 7 January 1932, National Archives and Records Administration, Record Group 457 (National Security Agency), "Historic Cryptographic Collection," box 138.

(18) Japanese Army General Staff message to military attaches in Berlin and Helsinki, Tokyo Circular 906, 6 October 1942, Document 7. SSA translated this message in early 1943.

(19) John Costello and Oleg Tsarev, Deadly Illusions (New York: Crown, 1993), p. 399.

(20) San Francisco 441 to Moscow, 31 October 1943, Translation 19, acknowledges the San Francisco consulate's receipt of the new "075-B" codebook and the scheduled destruction of the "Pobjeda" code, which was almost certainly the one found in Petsamo (and recovered by the US Army in Germany in April 1945).

(21) Genrikh Borovik and Phillip Knightley, The Philby Files: The Secret Life of Master Spy Kim Philby (Boston: Little, Brown, 1994), p. 235.

(22) The change is ordered in Moscow [no number] circular, 25 April 1944, Translation 26.

(23) Several cryptanalysts contributed to this breakthrough, including Genevieve Feinstein, Cecil Phillips, Frank Lewis, Frank Wanat, and Lucille Campbell.

(24) The reasoning and terms of Roosevelt's directive can be seen in Attorney General [Frank Murphy] to the President, 17 June 1939, Document 2; and Franklin D. Roosevelt to Secretary of State, et al., 26 June 1939, Document 3.

(25) Bradley F. Smith, The Ultra-Magic Deals and the Most Secret Special Relationship, 1940-46 (London: Airlife, 1993), pp. 69, 110-111.

(26) Timothy J. Naftali, "ARTIFICE: James Angleton and X-2 Operations in Italy," in George C. Chalou, ed., The Secrets War: The Office of Strategic Services in World War II (Washington: National Archives and Records Administration, 1992), pp. 222-223.

(27) X-2 was prohibited from collecting on Soviet intelligence. Evidence of Soviet penetrations in OSS can be seen in New York 887 to Moscow, 9 June 1943, Translation 11; New York 1325-6 to Moscow, 15 September 1944, Translation 56; and New York 1437 to Moscow, 10 October 1944, Translation 62. For more on penetrations of OSS, see Hayden B. Peake, "Soviet Espionage and the Office of Strategic Services," in Warren F. Kimball, ed., America Unbound: World War II and the Making of a Superpower (New York: St. Martin's, 1992).

(28) William Branigan, comment on Herbert Romerstein's "Soviet Intelligence in the United States," in Roy Godson, ed., Intelligence Requirements for the 1980s: Counterintelligence (Washington: National Strategy Information Center, 1980), p. 201. Branigan was the Special Agent who recorded the Nelson-Zarubin meeting.

(29) An indication of Bureau operations at the time can be seen in Hoover to Birch D. O'Neal, "Alto Case," 26 February 1944, Document 11.

(30) The anonymous letter is included as Document 10. For an analysis, see the CIA memorandum probably drafted by William K. Harvey, "COMRAP," 6 February 1948, Document 20. Information in Pavel Sudoplatov's controversial memoir suggests the author of the Anonymous Letter might have been Zarubin's assistant, a Lt. Col. Mironov, who was discharged from the KGB in 1944 on psychiatric grounds; see Sudoplatov, with Anatoli Sudoplatov, Jerrold L. and Leona P. Schecter, Special Tasks: Memoirs of an Unwanted WitnessA Soviet Spymaster (New York: Little, Brown, 1994), pp. 196-197.

(31) Special Agents monitored Shevchenko's penetration of the Bell Aircraft Corporation in the last year of the war, feeding him innocuous information and developing leads uncovered in the operation. US House of Representatives, Committee on Un-American Activities, "Soviet Espionage Activities in Connection With Jet Propulsion and Aircraft," 81st Congress, 1st Session, 1949, pp. 101-128.

(32) Assistant Secretary of State Adolf A. Berle's and the FBI's slow reaction to allegations by former GRU courier Whittaker Chambers is cited as evidence of Roosevelt administration inattention to Communist infiltration; see Allen Weinstein, Perjury: The Hiss-Chambers Case (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1978), pp. 329-331.

(33) OSS purchased Soviet code and cipher material (or Finnish information on them) from émigré Finnish army officers in late 1944. The Secretary of State's protest, dated 27 December 1944, is included as Document 12. Donovan might have copied the papers before returning them the following January but there is no record of Arlington Hall receiving them, and CIA and NSA archives have no surviving copies. See Bradley F. Smith, The Shadow Warriors: OSS and the Origins of the CIA (New York: Basic Books, 1983), pp. 353-54.

(34) KGB sources, for example, reported accurately on many aspects of Anglo-American planning; see New York 887 to Moscow, 9 June 1943, Translation 11; and New York 1271-4 to Moscow, 7 September 1944, Translation 53. Ironically, the quality of KGB and Communist Party sources was not matched by any particularly insightful KGB analysis of the Western political scene. In particular, KGB officers and CPUSA officials composed some rather confused reflections on the presidential race of 1944; see New York 598-599 to Moscow, 2 May 1944, Translation 28.

(35) The four assets apparently were Klaus Fuchs (covernames CHARLES and REST), David Greenglass (covernames BUMBLEBEE and CALIBRE), Theodore Alvin Hall (covername YOUNGSTER [MLAD]), and a source covernamed FOGEL and PERS; see New York 1749-50 to Moscow, 13 December 1944, Translation 76. PERS seems to have been arbitrarily or erroneously converted to "Perseus" (there is no covername Perseus in the Venona messages) in Russian memoirs as the Soviet and Russian intelligence services sought to describe a high-level source in the Manhattan Project. For more on Russian claims for Perseus, see Chikov, "How the Soviet intelligence service `split' the American atom," (Part 1), p. 38.

(36) Gouzenko's information helped Western cryptanalysts understand Soviet communications procedures but did not directly contribute to the Venona breakthrough. He brought out GRU messages that identified Soviet assets, but no codebooks or one-time pads.

(37) Weinstein, Perjury, pp. 340, 347. The FBI's handling of Chambers is recounted in D. M. Ladd to Hoover, "JAY DAVID WHITTAKER CHAMBERS," 29 December 1948, Document 23.

(38) Hoover sent news of the Gouzenko defection to the White House on 12 September and reported the Bentley allegations on 8 November. See Hoover to Matthew Connelly, 12 September 1945, Document 13; and Hoover to Brigadier General Harold Hawkins Vaughan, 8 November 1945, Document 15.

(39) Alonzo L. Hamby, Man of the People: A Life of Harry S. Truman (New York: Oxford, 1995), pp. 428-429. Harry S. Truman, Memoirs, Volume 2, Years of Trial and Hope (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1956), p. 280.

(40) Elizabeth Bentley, with Afterword by Hayden Peake, Out of Bondage: The Story of Elizabeth Bentley (New York: Ballantine, 1988 [1951]); see Peake's commentary, pp. 266-267. The Gregory case is summarized in Federal Bureau of Investigation, "Underground Soviet Espionage Organization [NKVD] in Agencies of the US Government,"21 October 1946, Document 17.

(41) David C. Martin, Wilderness of Mirrors (New York: Harper & Row, 1980), pp. 23-32. For the inadmissibility of wiretap evidence, see Robert J. Lamphere, The FBI-KGB War: A Special Agent's Story (New York: Random House, 1986), pp. 101-102. Daniel J. Leab has written a detailed account of the difficulty faced by the Justice Department in its 1946 prosecution of a Soviet officer accused of espionage, Lt. Nicolai G. Redin; "The Red Menace and Justice in the Pacific Northwest," Pacific Northwest Quarterly 87 (Spring 1996), pp. 83-88.

(42) New York 1699 to Moscow, 2 December 1944, Translation 74.

(43) New York 1751-1753 to Moscow, 13 December 1944, Translation 77. The actual agent (presumably William Ludwig Ullman, covername PILOT) was not indicated on the message.

(44) New York 1657 to Moscow, 27 November 1944, Translation 73. "Special Report #1" is included as Document 19.

(45) It speaks volumes about inter-allied signals intelligence cooperation that Arlington Hall's British liaison officers learned of the breakthrough even before the FBI was notified. Meredith Gardner kept his British counterpart abreast of developments, and from 1948 on there was complete and profitable US-UK cooperation on the problem. The control term "Venona" did not appear on the translated messages until 1961. In the beginning the information was usually called the "Gardner material," and a formal control term"Bride"was finally affixed in 1950. From the late 1950s to 1961 the control term was "Drug."

(46) NSC-17/4 is included under Sidney W. Souers, Memorandum for the President, 22 March 1949, Document 26.

(47) The JCIC worked under the cover of "OP32Y1," an office at the Naval Communications Annex on Nebraska Avenue in Washington. Its CIA contingent was detailed from the Office of Special Operations and included exFBI agent William K. Harvey. The Central Intelligence Group became the Central Intelligence Agency with the implementation of the National Security Act of 1947 in September of that year.

(48) Lamphere, The FBI-KGB War, p. 86.

(49) Two of Lamphere's blind memos to Gardner can be seen as "FLORA DON WOVSCHIN, with alias," 9 May 1949, Document 25; and "Anatoli Borisovich Gromov," 12 July 1949, Document 27.

(50) Hamby, Man of the People, p. 453. President Truman repeated his "red herring" remark late that year; see Truman to Attorney General Tom Clark, 16 December 1948, Document 22. Another glimpse of the White House attitude can be seen in George M. Elsey's note to Clark M. Clifford, 16 August 1948, Document 21.

(51) Mr. Truman wrote in his memoirs in 1956: "The country had reason to be proud of and have confidence in our security agencies. They had kept us almost totally free of sabotage and espionage during the war;" see Truman, Years of Trial and Hope, p. 291.

(52) New York 27 [to Moscow], 8 January 1945, Translation 82, notes Coplon's transfer to the Department of Justice headquarters in Washington. Lamphere claims the date of her transfer from New York to Washington clinched the identification; see The FBI-KGB War, pp. 97-98. See also the KGB's request for information on Coplon in Comintern files; Pavel Fitin to Georgi Dimitrov, 19 October 1944, reprinted in Klehr and Haynes, eds., The Secret World of American Communism, pp. 294-295.

(53) Lamphere, The FBI-KGB War, p. 115. For more on the administration's handling of the Coplon case, see Clark to Truman, "Proposed Deportation of Valentine A. Gubitchev," 16 March 1949, Document 24.

(54) See [Lamphere to Gardner], "EMIL JULIUS KLAUS FUCHS, aka; Karl Fuchs," 26 September 1949, Document 28; Lamphere, The FBI-KGB War, pp. 133-134. See also W. K. Benson to Chairman, Scientific Intelligence Committee [H. Marshall Chadwell], "Failure of the JAEIC To Receive Counter Espionage Information having Positive Intelligence Value," 9 February 1950, Document 29; Hoover to Souers, 24 May 1950, Document 30.

(55) See Lamphere's blind memo, "Study of Code Names in MGB Communications," 27 June 1950, Document 31; Hoover to Rear Admiral Robert L. Dennison, 18 July 1950, Document 32. See also Lamphere, The FBI-KGB War, pp. 178-186.

(56) Washington 1822 to Moscow, 30 March 1945, Translation 89.

(57) It remains unclear which messages led the FBI to the White identification, but some of the more important messages in which he appeared are New York 1119-1121 to Moscow, 4 August 1944, Translation 50; New York 1634 to Moscow, 20 November 1944, Translation 71; and New York 79 to Moscow, 18 January 1945, Translation 84.

(58) Venona sheds some light on the Amerasia affair; see New York 927-28 to Moscow, 16 June 1943, Translation 12; and New York 1103 to Moscow, 8 July 1943. See also Harvey Klehr and Ronald Radosh, The Amerasia Spy Case: Prelude to McCarthyism (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996), pp. 64-65.

(59) Philby's Washington posting has been discussed in many books; a concise account is in Borovik and Knightley, The Philby Files, p. 273. The late John Costello clarified the timeliness of Philby's warning somewhat in his notes on Guy Burgess' KGB file (Costello cited it as File 83792, Volume 4, pp. 76-183). The Burgess file indicated that Philby had learned by late September that British and American authorities believed CHARLES was Klaus Fuchs. Mr. Costello summarized some of his notes for Robert Louis Benson in 1995.

(60) Ronald Radosh and Joyce Milton, The Rosenberg File: A Search for Truth (New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1983), p. 74.

(61) Attorney General Brownell had President Eisenhower's approval for this November 1953 charge; both men almost certainly had seen translated messages about White (and probably about Hiss as well). Indeed, Eisenhower may have been briefed on the program by the G-2 while he was still Army Chief of Staff in 1947. One of the FBI warnings about White is included as Hoover to Vaughan, 1 February 1946, Document 16.

(62) The Supreme Court's decision in Yates v. US, handed down in June 1957, all but voided the Smith Act as a tool for prosecuting Party leaders.

(63) Joseph R. Starobin, American Communism in Crisis, 1943-1957 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1972), pp. 220-230.

(64) One FBI report of the period claimed that there was "no conclusive indication that the Communist Party, USA, is playing a role [in espionage] at this time;" see "Role of the Communist Party, USA, in Soviet Intelligence," February 1953, Dwight D. Eisenhower Library, White House Office Files, Office of the Advisor for National Security Affairs, box 16, p. 48.

(65) Oleg Kalugin has written a memoir of Soviet operations in the United States during this period; see Kalugin and Fen Montaigne, The First Directorate: My 32 Years in Intelligence and Espionage Against the West (New York: St. Martin's, 1994), pp. 1-4, 36. Some of the agents in the late 1950s and early 1960s proved devastating to American intelligence, particularly to the National Security Agency. A contemporary "exposé" can be under Hoover to Brigadier General A. J. Goodpaster, 23 May 1960, Document 35.

(66) CIA received its first Venona translations in 1953, after veteran signals intelligence officer Frank Rowlett transferred to the Agency (the aforementioned Special Reports seen by OSO personnel in 1948 were not translations per se). CIA's William Harvey was formally briefed on the program in August 1952. AFSA was reconstituted as the National Security Agency on 4 November 1952.

(67) CIA transferred the management of its portion of the Venona program to James Angleton's Counterintelligence Staff in 1965.

(68) Jack Soble was a Lithuanian whose given name was Sobolevicius; he and his brother had penetrated Leon Trotsky's entourage for the KGB in the 1920s; see Andrew and Gordievskiy, KGB, pp. 154-155. Hollywood producer Boris Morros was doubled by the FBI in 1947 and reported on the activities of Soble and members of his almost-moribund spy ring, while also passing low-level secrets and misinformation back to Moscow; see Boris Morros, My Ten Years as a Counter-Spy (London: Werner Laurie, 1959), pp. 191, 204-206. Morros is covername FROST in New York 18-19 to Moscow, 4 January 1945, Translation 80. Soble is covername ABRAM in New York 625 to Moscow, 5 May 1944, Translation 31.

(69) See Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, Veternay vneshney razvedki Rossii [Veterans of Russian Foreign Intelligence], pp. 158-159. Abel was exchanged for downed U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers in 1962.

(70) Martin, Wilderness of Mirrors, pp. 92-93.

(71) The ineffectiveness of the CIA's and FBI's mail opening operations is attested in US Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities (better known as the Church Committee), "Supplementary Detailed Staff Reports on Intelligence Activities and the Rights of Americans," Volume III, 94th Congress, 2d Session, 1974, pp. 576-578, 652.