John R. Houk
© August 20, 2014
This will be the last part relating to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Administration. Parts One and Two focused on the credibility of the sources that show FDR was not quite the American hero that Democrats and Progressives would have you believe. I think I covered the New Deal as much as I want to in the post “Nefarious Presidential Actions – Calvin Coolidge to FDR”. This post will focus on Soviet Marxist infiltration of FDR’s Administration.
To give you an idea of how serious Soviet infiltration check out this 1995 article from the Baltimore Sun:
An aggressive Soviet spy network penetrated a key strategy meeting between President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill during World War II and tried to recruit friends of first lady Eleanor Roosevelt, according to decoded Soviet messages released yesterday by the National Security Agency.
NSA declassified 250 messages sent between Moscow and the Soviet spy headquarters in New York in 1942 and 1943.
They confirm that a number of wartime American intelligence agents were secretly working for the Kremlin.
The messages from the so-called “Venona” project document the tireless efforts of Soviet leader Josef Stalin to recruit agents across the United States and Mexico.
The cables also give a glimpse of Soviet secret police chief Lavrenti P. Beria’s recruitment, payment and management of his global network of spies, including a warning sent to Soviet agents around the world against “talkativeness.”
A message dated May 29, 1943, to Moscow from the NKVD unit in New York, whose agents worked under the cover of the Soviet consulate, trade mission and TASS news agency, includes a report from a high-level American agent code-named simply “19.”
“19 reports that KAPITAN [the code name for President Roosevelt] and KABAN [or Wild Boar, the code name for Churchill] during conversations in the COUNTRY invited 19 to join them," says the cable.
But from the timing, NSA historians concluded that the still-unidentified "19" was a high-level agent who had penetrated Roosevelt's inner circle and attended at least part of the two-week conference in Washington and Williamsburg, Va., code-named Trident, a major strategy meeting.
The 250 messages are the second of a series of planned releases of the cables intercepted between 1942 and 1946 and decoded and analyzed over many years under the American code name Venona.
The release of the first 49 Venona messages in July drew national attention in part because they provided strong evidence that Ethel and Julius Rosenberg were indeed Soviet spies.
… (Soviets penetrated Roosevelt summit Declassified files show American spied on Churchill meeting; By SCOTT SHANE AND TOM BOWMAN; Baltimore Sun; 10/13/1995)
The idea of Soviet infiltration is not a novel idea of Right Wing nut jobs as a Leftist might try to deceive you. We are talking the beginning of public revelations occurring in this article in 1995. Thanks to the largesse of Russia not long ago and a bit unwittingly releasing their version of the Venona Papers to the public even more insidiousness has been revealed about FDR’s Administration. Alexander Vassiliev and his Notebooks [Note on Reliability] of briefly declassified KGB documents by post-Soviet Russia verifies and even updates the revelations of the Venona Project.
The biggest fish of Soviet infiltration seems to be the code name Agent 19. The identity of Agent 19 among Conservatives exposing Soviet infiltration has turned out to be quite heated. The identity debate about Agent 19 is Harry Hopkins vs. Laurence Duggan.
I have always leaned to M. Stanton Evans as a primary source on this issue and he insists Roosevelt aide and confidante Harry Hopkins is Agent 19. Those who lean to this outlook:
Those who lean to the outlook that Laurence Duggan was Agent 19:
Radosh caricatures West’s arguments, misrepresents her conclusions, and ignores some of the book’s major themes and the contents of a number of chapters. He exaggerates the centrality of certain claims, in order to attack them. However, he was provoked.
The problems with the book, though, have less to do with West’s treatment of the Soviet penetration of the U.S. government or its impact on “our nation’s character,” the subtitle her critics ignore, as much as with its consequences for the prosecution of World War II. Her unfamiliarity with military history leads her to overemphasize the role of Communist agents in influencing strategic decisions. She also ignores the wider context of some decisions, rides her counterfactuals too hard, and engages in some rhetorical overkill.
Both Radosh and West tend to see things in black and white. For West, Stalin’s agents were responsible for Soviet control of half of Europe for nearly 45 years. For Radosh, they had nothing to do with it. The truth, unsurprisingly, is somewhere in between.
The first thing any historian is bound to notice about American Betrayal is that it doesn’t have a “scholarly apparatus” -- acknowledgements and a bibliography -- which indicate the archives and other primary sources the author consulted, and also help identify sources in endnotes. (N.B., A bibliography has been prepared recently by a supporter of West.)
Historians are taught to check these first, before they peek at the conclusion, to see what new evidence the writer is drawing on and to whom he or she is indebted.
West does not rely entirely on secondary sources; she’s looked at volumes of FRUS [Foreign Relations of the United States] and at other government documents online, at the New York Times and other papers and magazines.
And she’s done a prodigious amount of reading, not only the post-Venona books on Soviet subversion and some diplomatic, political, and cultural history, but what would also be considered primary sources: the cornucopia of books and articles published in the ‘30s, ‘40s and early ‘50s by defectors, former communists, those investigating them, disillusioned government officials and army officers, and others with first-hand experience of the USSR and the CPUSA. This is a literature known to specialists, of course, but otherwise (except for Chambers’ Witness) forgotten today.
Unfortunately, the vivid writing sometimes creates problems. Radosh targets, correctly, the phrase “de facto occupation,” West’s characterization of Soviet penetration of the government. Nothing is repeated just once in American Betrayal. I lost count of the number of times West uses the phrase. After awhile, she drops the “de facto” fig leaf.
This is bound to irritate any historian of the Cold War.
Readers would have little sense from Radosh’s review that American Betrayal is about the cover-up, broadly defined, as much as it is about the activities of Communists and fellow travellers.
This had two phases. The first began in 1933, with the diplomatic recognition of the Soviet Union in the midst of what was truly one of the crimes of the century, the war on Ukrainian and Russian peasants, the forced collectivization launched at the end of 1929. The U.S. government was obliged to lie, to pass along Soviet disinformation. It’s revealing that FDR, at Stalin’s behest, shut down the anti-Communist Eastern European section of the State Department, assigning its members to other posts and dispersing its excellent library.
The second, post-war phase persists down to the present, West argues. While today only a few unregenerate English professors deny Soviet crimes, the Leftist consensus prevails: those who investigated the CPUSA’s subversive activities were Red-baiters and witch-hunters; Party members were harmless idealists, persecuted for their high principles. Che still adorns t-shirts; Warhol’s Mao hangs in living rooms. And the film industry continues its blackout of Communist crimes. For Hollywood, there are no Soviet villains.
… Diana West is writing about a double betrayal, and the second betrayal is ultimately more important. West argues that it has corrupted the country and rendered it defenseless.
… She is “connecting the dots” in a way that blinkered historians have failed to do.
The dots lead in three directions:
· The extent of subversion of the U.S. government;
· The consequences for foreign policy and military strategy;
· The implications for the response to Islam in the West today;
Each deserves a close look.
Was HLH also a Soviet agent?
In an essay published in 1998, Air Force historian Eduard Mark theorized, by the process of elimination, that he was “Agent 19” mentioned in Venona 812. Andrew and Mitrokhin called the article “a detailed, meticulous, and persuasive study,” but the Vassiliev papers revealed that this individual was in fact Lawrence Duggan, a State Department official. The identity of 19 was disclosed in 2009, in Haynes, Klehr, and Vassiliev’s Spies.
Instead of merely calling West’s attention to this (the conclusion had also been ignored in books by Romerstein and Breindel and by Evans and Romerstein), Radosh attacked West for not knowing about an alleged retraction Mark had made at a 2009 conference shortly before his death. The details of this retraction morphed alarmingly. In any case, it was not recorded and Mark put nothing in writing. The pursuit of this red herring involved lengthy email exchanges and angry recriminations.
West’s other source for identifying Hopkins as an agent was the recollection of defector Oleg Gordievsky of a lecture by Iskhak Akhmerov, “illegal” NKVD spy chief during the war. …
Radosh’s criticism is worth noting for what it reveals about his lingering affection for FDR.
Gordievsky, Andrew writes, eventually decided that Hopkins was “an unconscious agent.” This is not a helpful label. Whether he was receiving instructions or simply anticipating Stalin’s wishes, he was conscious of what he was doing. The authors’ conclusion suggests that they believe Akhmerov to have been exaggerating, but they offer no evidence to support this assumption. The identification of HLH as a Soviet agent is not something anyone would have forgotten in 40 years, or 60, or 80.
Unfortunately, West’s rhetorical excesses again act as a red flag. Repeatedly, Lend-Lease is labeled “a rogue operation.” Readers of American Betrayal would have no clue that, as the name suggests, the program was originally intended to help Britain …
Lipkes has a Part Two to the Radosh/West pertaining to the pluses and minuses of their venomous tête-à-tête between each entitled, “Diana and Ron: The Second Front”. This Lipkes Part Two is less about Soviet infiltration in the U.S. government and more about FDR Administration decisions that were bad for the Free World and beneficial for the spread of Soviet Communism.
I tend to like the idea that Harry Hopkins was an agent working on behalf of the USSR largely because of his involvement in developing the Socialist elements of the New Deal. You couple the New Deal Socialism with Hopkins’ obvious love for everything Soviet Union makes him a major contributor to the earlier successes of Soviet aggression in Post-WWII Europe and Third World client States. Even if Hopkins was not the elusive Agent 19 of the Venona Papers, his actions indicate treasonous decisions that aided and abetted an enemy that had the goal of ending American Liberty to procreate global Marxist-Leninist-Stalinism. A situation of the USSR being a more overt enemy after WWII.
Vice President Henry Wallace
Another big dog after Harry Hopkins was Vice President Henry Wallace except other than fraternization there is a less provable link as a Soviet agent than Hopkins.
… J. Edgar Hoover warned Roosevelt that Wallace was friendly with Communists in Hollywood and had inappropriate connections with overseas Communists, including in the Soviet Union. Roosevelt didn’t believe all of it but did not need such controversy. In his usual sadistic manner, Roosevelt gave Wallace all the hints he felt were called for that he wasn’t his or the party’s choice, and selected Missouri senator Harry S. Truman in his place. … (The Real Henry Wallace; By Conrad Black; National Review Online; 1/17/13 4:00 AM)
Asked to what extent the Communist underground network influenced American policy, Klehr responds with one of history's great "what if's." In this case, it's what if Henry Wallace had become president of the United States, which he would have had FDR died a year earlier. Wallace served as vice president during FDR's third term and later ran for president on the Progressive ticket in 1948 with Communist Party support.
. . . . Klehr notes that Wallace once mentioned that if he'd been president he would have made Laurence Duggan, a State Department specialist on Latin America, his secretary of state and, for his treasury secretary, Wallace said he would have chosen Harry Dexter White, a highly placed treasury official influential in deciding post-World War II American economic policy.
. . . . Both Duggan and White were communists whose politics long were suspected or known but about whose party activities more is being learned, says Klehr. Duggan and White's elevation to a Wallace Cabinet never happened, of course. But that their names were bandied by a former U.S. vice president as possibilities for top posts underlines their closeness to power and the role secret Communists had come to play in Washington affairs.
… (We Told You So - Secret Venona Intercepts; By Stephen Goode; Free Republic – Originally Insight on the News; 7/6/02 11:31:56 AM – Originally Vol. 13, No. 37 -- Oct. 6-13, 1997)
Harry Dexter White
… Today, however, a great deal more is known than was known in previous years about the secret maneuverings and treasonous activities at the top levels of the Roosevelt administration that caused the Japanese attack on our naval forces at Pearl. Documents released from the decoded Venona Files, from the Soviet KGB archives, from our own National Archives, and memoirs of Soviet officials now confirm what noted anti-communist writers, Congressional investigations, Communist Party defectors, and FBI documents had stated for decades: Harry Dexter White (shown), assistant secretary of the treasury in the administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was a top Soviet spy and agent of influence who not only caused incalculable harm to the United States, but also materially assisted Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin’s spreading of terror and tyranny throughout the entire world.
Harry Dexter White, a top advisor to Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau, Jr. and President Franklin Roosevelt, is remembered chiefly as the architect of the Bretton Woods Conference [Outside Heritage Foundation Link] that created the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank, but he also played a key role in bringing about the “Day of Infamy,” by doing everything within his power to scuttle the peace efforts of the forces within the Japanese government that were striving to avoid war with the United States. White authored an ultimatum adopted as official policy by FDR that upped the ante of belligerent acts Roosevelt was directing at Japan.
… It was also aimed at guaranteeing the rise to power of Japan’s political forces that were beating the drums for war. This is precisely — and predictably — what happened. However, White did not undertake this move on his own initiative, it is important to note, but as a directive of the NKVD (an earlier name for the Soviet KGB). His Kremlin bosses were most anxious for assurance that Japan would not attack the Soviet Union; they thus expended great efforts through their spy and propaganda networks in Japan, Europe, and the United States to ensure that Japan would strike America, rather than the U.S.S.R.
Meanwhile, I can prove that Murrow's good friend Lawrence Duggan was a Soviet spy responsible for having innocent people murdered. The brilliant and perceptive journalist Murrow was not only unaware of the hundreds of Soviet spies running loose in the U.S. government, he was also unaware that his own dear friend Duggan was a Soviet spy -- his friend on whose behalf corpses littered the Swiss landscape.
Contrary to the image of the Black Night of Fascism (BNOF) under McCarthy leading to mass suicide with bodies constantly falling on the heads of pedestrians in Manhattan, Duggan was the only suicide. After being questioned by the FBI, Duggan leapt from a window. Of course, given the people he was doing business with, he may have been pushed.
After Duggan's death, Murrow, along with the rest of the howling establishment, angrily denounced the idea that Duggan could possibly have been disloyal to America.
Well, now we know the truth. Decrypted Soviet cables and mountains of documents from Soviet archives prove beyond doubt that Lawrence Duggan was one of Stalin's most important spies. "McCarthyism" didn't kill him; his guilt did.
During the height of the Soviet purges in the mid-'30s, as millions of innocents were being tortured, exiled and killed on Stalin's orders, Murrow's good pal Duggan was using his position at the State Department to pass important documents to the Soviets. The documents were so sensitive, Duggan had to return the originals to the State Department before the end of the day. Some were so important, they were sent directly to Stalin and Molotov.
… (Are You Now or Have You Ever Been a Second-Rate Filmmaker? By Ann Coulter; Real Clear Politics; 11/17/05)
Currie, an administrative assistant to FDR, was instrumental in the U.S.-government wide communist plot to turn China Red.
But that’s not all he did. From U.S. and Soviet archival sources that began opening in 1995, we have learned that Currie passed secret documents and intelligence to Soviet spymasters.
Currie also used his stature as a White House aide to stop investigations into the activities of other American traitors operating inside government.
How does stimulus spending sound now on discovering that this bona fide Soviet agent was its leading proponent? In “Roosevelt, the Great Depression and the Economics of Recovery,” Elliott Rosen, professor emeritus of history at Rutgers, writes:
“The initial rationale for public expenditure as a stimulus to the economy was provided by Currie, who won a wide and influential audience in the Roosevelt administration.”
As assistant research director for the Federal Reserve, his position before moving to the White House, “Currie provided an economic rationale” for deficit spending. “Wartime aside,” Rosen writes, “no precedent existed for budget unbalance.”
Not surprisingly, another Currie project was to push for the “abandonment of the concept of annual budget balance.”
So that’s where balanced budgets went, and stimulus spending came from. Think of it: One agent of communist influence in high places and the U.S. economy was revolutionized.
If only Americans could learn to recognize a Bolshevik plot when they see one.
… (Federal Stimulus Spending the Brainchild of a Soviet Spy; posted by Lonely Conservative; The Lonely Conservative; 10/9/11)
It has been 50 years since Alger Hiss was convicted of perjury for denying that he had been a Soviet spy, but his case continues to fascinate and stir controversy. … enough material has been found in other files--in Moscow, Eastern Europe, and Washington--to enable historians to write several new works that leave almost no room for doubt about Hiss's guilt. …
On the surface, Hiss was an unlikely Communist. Born in 1904, he graduated from Johns Hopkins and Harvard Law School and served as a clerk to Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes. Hiss then practiced law in Boston and New York but returned to Washington following the election of Franklin Roosevelt to work in the New Deal. Hiss held a variety of positions and finally settled at the State Department in 1936 as an aide to Assistant Secretary of State Francis B. Sayre, who was former President Woodrow Wilson's son-in-law.
Hiss rose steadily at State. During the war, he was heavily involved in postwar planning and laying the foundations for the UN. In early 1945, he was part of the State Department contingent that traveled to Yalta with President Roosevelt, and that spring he served as Secretary General of the UN organizing conference in San Francisco. Soon after, however, on the basis of Chambers's and Bentley's information, the FBI and State Department security began investigating Hiss; although he was not proven to be a Communist or a spy, enough concerns were raised that Hiss was forced to resign from State in December 1946. Hiss's public reputation remained strong, however, and, with the help of John Foster Dulles, he was appointed head of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, beginning 1 February 1947.
Hiss flatly denied Chambers's HUAC charges. The Committee--spurred by a freshman Representative from California, Richard M. Nixon--frantically checked the two stories. On 17 August 1948, Nixon brought Hiss and Chambers together, and Hiss admitted knowing Chambers slightly during the 1930s, but under the name George Crosley. Hiss still denied ever being a Communist, and challenged Chambers to repeat the charges in public, without the immunity afforded by testimony. Chambers did so on the radio show Meet the Press , on 27 September; Hiss filed a slander suit.
The Pumpkin Papers
A dramatic sequence of events followed. On 4 November 1948, as he gave a deposition for the suit, Chambers changed his story and claimed that Hiss not only had been a Communist but also a Soviet spy. For the first time, Chambers produced physical evidence to back up his charge. Before deserting the Soviet cause, he had hidden microfilms, typewritten copies of State Department documents, and notes in Hiss's handwriting that summarized other State documents in an unused dumbwaiter in his wife's nephew's apartment in Brooklyn. On 14 November, Chambers retrieved the package, and two days later he handed the papers to his attorneys (he held onto the microfilms until December, hiding them in a pumpkin at his farm in Maryland; ever since, the entire collection has been known as the Pumpkin Papers). The papers, notes, and microfilms dated from December 1937 through February 1938; Chambers claimed that they were samples of the materials Hiss had provided for passage to the Soviets and that Hiss's wife, Priscilla, had been the typist.
The papers and microfilms soon were authenticated, and Hiss was indicted for perjury--the statute of limitations for espionage during the 1930s having long expired--on 15 December. The formal charge, based on the Pumpkin Papers, was that he had lied when he told the grand jury that he neither seen Chambers nor passed documents to him in February and March 1938.
· Also in 1992, a Hungarian historian, Maria Schmidt, found the original transcripts of Noel Field's interrogation by the Hungarian secret police in 1954. Schmidt confirmed Karel Kaplan's original description of Field's statements, which corroborated Massing's testimony by describing how Hiss had tried to recruit him for his own spy ring.
· In October 1996, the CIA and NSA released the Venona files, copies of decrypted Soviet intelligence cables from the 1930s and 1940s. The most famous of the cables, dated 30 March 1945, describes ALES, the covername for an American agent who had been working for Soviet military intelligence since 1935, attended the Yalta conference, and then gone on to Moscow where Soviet Foreign Minister Vyshinsky thanked him for his work. Of the Americans at Yalta who then went to Moscow with Secretary of State Stettinius, only Hiss fits this profile.
· In return for payments from Random House, Allen Weinstein and Alexander Vassiliev, a former KGB officer turned journalist, were granted access to Stalin-era files from the KGB and its predecessors during 1994-96. Among the files they found documents confirming Hede Massing's account of Hiss's attempt to recruit Noel Field and several references to ALES, including one that described him as a "strong, determined man with a firm and resolute character, who is aware that he is a Communist with all the consequences of illegal status."
… (The Alger Hiss Case –
UNCLASSIFIED; CIA.gov; 5/8/07 08:59 AM Last Updated 9/3/11 02:57 PM)
One such writer was Whittaker Chambers, whose autobiography Witness, published in 1952, details his life as an agent in the Fourth Section of Soviet Military Intelligence from 1932 to 1938, where he coordinated espionage activities with high-ranking United States government officials. Witness also movingly explains Chambers' departure from Communism and his conversion to Christianity. From his conversion, Chambers grasped that revolutionary ideology lied about the nature of man and the source of his being. The sources of Chambers' ascent and the witness he made are worth recalling in our own period of late-modern anomie.
Chambers' conversion inspired him to atone for his past betrayal of his country. He divulged to the federal government information about the Soviet espionage cell he had organized during the 1930s in Washington, its membership, and his complicity in its operation. Of those officials in Chambers' Soviet-allied cell, Alger Hiss, Director of the Office of Special Political Affairs in the Department of State and Chambers' close friend, would prove to be the most consequential. Hiss formally denied any involvement in Communist activities and insisted that he had never even met "that man named Whittaker Chambers." The truth was that Hiss and Chambers had been close friends in their subversive activities, and even their wives and children had frequently socialized together.
Alger Hiss had regularly passed State Department documents to Chambers during the 1930s; in turn, Chambers carried them to various handlers, who then sent them to Soviet authorities. … READ ENTIRETY (Two Faiths: The Witness of Whittaker Chambers; By Richard M. Reinsch; Acton Institute; Volume 22, Number 1 - Winter 2012)
Julius and Ethel Rosenberg
Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed 55 years ago, on June 19, 1953. But last week, they were back in the headlines when Morton Sobell, the co-defendant in their famous espionage trial, finally admitted that he and his friend, Julius, had both been Soviet agents.
… The Rosenbergs were Soviet spies, and not minor ones either. Not only did they try their best to give the Soviets top atomic secrets from the Manhattan Project, they succeeded in handing over top military data on sonar and on radar that was used by the Russians to shoot down American planes in the Korean and Vietnam wars. That's long been known, and Sobell confirmed it again last week.
… READ ENTIRETY (Case closed: The Rosenbergs were Soviet spies; By RONALD RADOSH; LA Times; 9/17/08)
Here is a history of Rosenberg family history from the FBI: “The Atom Spy Case”.
The list is huge of Soviet agents and Soviet sympathizers used by the Soviets to undermine the government of the USA. Here is a list of names I was going to tackle but time and space precludes that idea:
Allan Nunn May
J. Robert Oppenheimer
Stone and Oppenheimer’s involvement with the old USSR is still a bit controversial; however in Stone’s case McCarthy-hating Leftists are still quite incredulous of a Soviet spy connection. Google all the names but below a couple of links related to Stone and Oppenheimer.
Then there is the Venona list derived from the deciphering of Soviet codes. You can see that list of Soviet agents at Conservapedia: List of Americans in the Venona papers.