Tuesday, September 8, 2015
STALIN’S SECRET AGENTS: THE SUBVERSION OF
ROOSEVELT’S GOVERNMENT (New York, etc.: Threshold Editions, 2014)
By M. STANTON EVANS AND HERBERT ROMERSTEIN
Rev. by Hugh Murray
The book is readable and provocative. When considering the results of WWII, the authors found the real victor among the Allies was not the US, Britain, France, or China, but the Soviet Union. And the reason for this Communist victory was not merely their performance in battle on the ground, but the influence of their secret agents in Western governments promoting the interests of the Soviets, especially during war-time summits at Quebec, Teheran, and Yalta. Moreover, Communist infiltration of the British spy organization and the US Office of Strategic Services (predecessor to the CIA) resulted in the betrayal of anti-Nazi (but non- and anti-Communist) leaders in Poland and Yugoslavia.
The authors note that during the war the pro-Communists demanded that US and Britain open a 2nd front in Europe to relieve some of the burden faced by Stalin in the war against the Axis. However, until 1945 the Left never urged a 2nd front against Japan from Soviet Siberia (not until war’s near end). Indeed, the authors maintain that some of the American Lend Lease material sent by the US to the Soviets was traded during the war to Japan, America’s lethal foe in the Pacific.(59-60) The authors explore how some policies, pressed by the Left, like the demand for unconditional surrender of the Axis powers, may have made the Germans fight more determinedly rather than surrender to the Western allies after their landings at Normandy. By intensifying the fighting in Western Europe, the Soviets could then conquer more in Eastern Europe. And when unconditional surrender was asked of Japan, again these terms played into Stalin’s hands. Stalin knew the Japanese wanted to surrender because in summer 1945 they asked for his help in negotiating terms with the US. Despite the view of various American military leaders that the US could defeat the Japanese without Soviet help, a deal was made at Yalta, so that if Stalin would enter the Pacific war withinin 3 months after the conclusion of the war in Europe, 8 May 1945, then he would be rewarded with prizes of victory. To encourage Stalin, massive material was sent to him so he could mount a major offensive against Nippon. Many Americans assumed that invasion of the Japanese home islands would be extremely costly in the lives of both natives and Americans. The American A-bomb had not yet been fully tested. So there were reasonable arguments to promise Stalin something if he would enter the war against Japan. In August 1945 the American bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the Soviets entered the war against Japan. Japan quickly surrendered.
As a consequence of entering the war against Japan for a total of 5 days, the Soviets received south Sakhalin and the Kurile island chain. They were also allowed to occupy the northern half of the Korean peninsula, occupy rail and other facilities in Manchukuo, and confiscate Japanese weapons and industries in those areas. Evans and Romerstein write: “It was an amazing coup that put not only China but other nations of Asia at risk of Communist domination – among the most stunning diplomatic triumphs ever recorded by one major power against another.”(201) Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin made the decision at Yalta. The leader of the Chinese government, Chiang Kai-shek was not even present as the other powers moved Manchukuo from the Japanese to the Soviet sphere. Worse, a conservative American intelligence agent who opposed Soviet intervention, Col. Ivan Yeeaton, had predicted what might happen if the Soviets entered the Pacific War. His report warned that giving so much to the Soviets in Asia would make Chiang Kai-shek’s position so vulnerable that China might become the Poland of Asia to be overrun by Communists.(205) The Yeaton Report, if read, had no effect on American policy. Indeed, American OSS operatives attempted to assassinate Chiang Kai-shek to make way for the “democratic,” peasant leader Mao Tse Tung.(152-54)
Evans and Romerstein (hearafter, E & R) show how the pro-Soviet crowd in the Roosevelt and Truman Administrations went along with lies propounded by the Communists: 1) that the thousands of Polish officers and intellectuals murdered at Katyn Forest had been slain by the Nazis (although many familiar with the massacre knew that it had been executed by the Soviets); 2) in forcing all Soviets who had fled Stalin’s rule back to the USSR, the US pretended this was no violation of human rights; and 3) in requiring use of forced German labor as reparations to the USSR, the US again pretended such slave labor was no violation of human rights. (Unmentioned in this book but related is the failure to get back American POWs captured by the Axis and then “liberated” by the Soviets. Diana West makes the point that the US did not push for return of such Americans from the Soviet sphere.) Bottom line – E and R have made a powerful case for the extensive Communist penetration of the US Administration of Franklin Roosevelt – a penetration that not merely fed secret documents to Stalin’s regime, but equally if not more important, by diverting American policy from action to promote American interests into those which would instead aid and expand world-wide Communism.
Pres. Harry Truman famously had in his office a desk plaque inscribed, “The buck stops here.” There seems an ambivalence by E & R as to where the buck stopped under Roosevelt. For example, before the all important Yalta Conference of 1945, Pres. Roosevelt asked specifically that one of the attendees be Alger Hiss. At Yalta, when Averill Harriman objected to some protocols written by the Soviets which declared that “Moscow’s claims ‘shall unquestionably be fulfilled’”, Roosevelt dismissed Harriman’s concern for we should not “haggle over words.”(208) When earlier Secretary of War Henry Stimson complained to Roosevelt about his approval of the harsh Morgenthau Plan for post-war Germany agreed to at the conference in Quebec, Stimson found “the President ‘was frankly staggered by this and said he had no idea how he could have initialed this.’”(183) And there are other examples where after Yalta Sec. of State Stettinius reported, “FDR was definite that we didn’t want to approve German labor for reparations.”(191) But, it was in the Yalta agreement. There are several possibilities: 1) Roosevelt was very ill and allowed Communist agents to make the decisions and was unaware of what they were doing in his name; or 2) Roosevelt knew well what he was doing and chose his advisors because they would do his bidding. Furthermore, FDR was a politician – the only one elected by the American people 4 times to the Presidency.
Look at this from the other side for a moment. In his 3 volume history of the 1948 Progressive Party, C. D. MacDougall necessarily spent some pages on earlier campaigns. MacDougall was an activist for the Wallace Progressive Party, and his bias is clear in his work. (Gideon’s Army, 1965, New York) Henry Wallace had been a mid-western Republican but was made Sec. of Agriculture in Roosevelt’s Cabinet in 1933. Roosevelt had been elected with John N. Garner of Texas, a conservative Texan, as his vice president. In 1937 Garner openly broke with FDR when the Texan opposed FDR’s proposal to “pack” the US Supreme Court by appointing additional members. Garner had little influence on the Administration and gave a job description of his post that the vice presidency was not worth a bucket of piss. In 1940, when Roosevelt decided to run for an unprecedented 3rd term as President, Garner ran against him for the nomination but lost badly. Roosevelt replaced Garner on the ticket with Henry Wallace of Iowa. Though some party regulars were unhappy with Wallace on the ticket, Roosevelt asserted he would not run without him. The Democrats easily defeated the GOP ticket of Wilkie and McNary. Even in 1940 Wallace was deemed too far left by many traditional Democrats, but their suspicions of him increased once he held higher office. “Vice President Henry Wallace [became] arguably the most prominent pro-Soviet political figure of the time,.”(113) even visiting a Soviet gulag camp during the war and praising it as a reeducation center.
By 1944 some believed Roosevelt’s health was in decline, and Democratic Party leaders were determined to dump Wallace from the ticket and replace him with a more reliable, regular politician. But much depended on Roosevelt, who would be running for a 4th term. I do not recall the details, but it was clear that while the President was reassuring Wallace of his support, Roosevelt was also encouraging the opponents of Wallace to get in the race. Roosevelt lied. He was duplicitous. He did not demand the convention renominate Wallace (or others he urged to run). Simply put, Roosevelt was a politician, telling different people different things. Wallace was dumped and replace by Missouri Senator Harry Truman.
Reading this volume, I find a tendency to excuse Roosevelt for much of what was done at Quebec, Teheran, and Yalta in explaining the expansion of the Soviet sphere throughout the world. Some imply FDR was too sick, and their proof includes some jokes. When Stalin proposed killing 50,000 Germans, Churchill objected, but FDR urged compromise, shooting only 49,500. FDR also suggested giving the king of Saudi Arabia all of America’s Jews (aware of the Saudi’s attitudes toward them). Clearly, such comments do not reveal sickness, but a sense of humor prevalent before the puritan era of political correctness, when people were allowed to laugh at a much wider range of humor. Similarly, the authors write that when conservatives objected to major leftwing policies, like the US acceptance of the Morgenthau Plan – Roosevelt tells Stimson he does not see how he could have initialed it for approval.(183) But he did, and according to the authors, though there was verbal backtracking by the Administration, in reality the Morgenthau was the basis for American post-war policy in Germany into 1947.(147) When pressed, Roosevelt, without haggling over words, was continually endorsing pro-Soviet policies, nor did he require Soviet agents to conclude his pro-Soviet deals.
There is little doubt that E & R prove again that there was large-scale Soviet penetration of the US Government under Roosevelt. But was FDR a conservative surrounded by traitors who distorted his instructions for the benefit of Stalin? Or might these policies have been implemented EVEN IF there was not a single Soviet agent in the US Government? Were these not Roosevelt’s policies?
How could the US cede so much to the Soviets? “The most obvious and most powerful influence of this [pro-Soviet] nature was the President himself,”(112) write E & R. They add that Mrs. Roosevelt was a progressive involved in left-wing cases.(112) Moreover, beginning in the late 1930s, in the State Dept. those who were known as anti-Soviet began to lose influence, sometimes demoted, sometimes exiled to posts in South America or other distant, and less important assignments. Some blamed these purges on Mrs. Roosevelt and Presidential advisor Harry Hopkins. Just before Yalta when Roosevelt asked specifically for Alger Hiss to attend the important conference, rather than his more experienced but conservative superior at State, this request may not indicate “conspiracy,” but simply Roosevelt selecting people who agree with him to go with him – though in this case Hiss happened to be a Soviet agent. But if Hiss had not been available, perhaps another, non-agent, would have been drafted by the President to devise the same pro-Soviet policies. I agree with E & R that Soviet penetration of the US Govt. was probably much greater then already revealed. The authors note that only 3,000 Venona decrypts have been decoded out of hundreds of thousands, so the possibility of their having been many more Soviet spies and agents then we know is most likely.(252-53)
Although the authors devoted little space to the Communist Party, USA, it is worth considering their opinion. “As the record clearly shows, communists and fellow travelers on official rosters in case after case were agents of the Soviet Union,…striving to promote the casue of dictator Stalin. This is of course contrary to the notion that American Reds were simply idealistic do-gooders, perhaps a bit misguided but devoted to peace and social justice, and thus shouldn’t have been ousted from government jobs because of their opinions.”(4) The authors summarize their view: “The CPs more important Cold War role [was] as 5th columnist agent of a hostile foreign power.”(89) In their assessment, the CPUSA created various front groups to reach a larger section of Americans. With those front organizations a conveyer belt was established so that from the fronts, some will join the CP, and from the CP, some (if not all) will pledge primary allegiance to the working class leadership emanating from Moscow, and some of these will become spies or 5th column agents of influence. Admittedly, from Moscow’s perspective, this may have been the primary function of the front groups and of the CPUSA itself. And Moscow subsidized the American party for decades, as we now know. The USSR created and financed the CPUSA and some of its front groups for the good of the USSR.
But does the child always serve the interest of the parent? In 1931 several young Blacks were accused of raping 2 white women aboard a freight train in Alabama. They were quickly found guilty, and 8 of the 9 sentenced to death. Enter the International Labor Defense, a Communist front. Using a combination of hiring top-notch attorneys for inside the court, plus mass agitation outside the courtroom, the ILD made the Scottsboro case into the most famous rape case of the 20th century. ILD attorneys appealed the case to the US Supreme Court twice, and won significant rulings concerning the right to adequate defense lawyers and exposing the exclusion of Blacks from jury rolls. A CP-front group changed American Constitutional history in the 1930s. And for the better!
Decades later, the FBI was taping the phone calls of a man deemed a secret member of the CP and a major financial officer of that organization. Listening in, the FBI overheard Stanley Levison talking with and advising a Black minister in the South regarding civil rights tactics. And so the FBI wanted to also have a tap on the phone of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., which Atty. Gen. Robert Kennedy then approved. The point is that King was receiving some advice from Levison and other Communists, and it is probable that some of King’s writings were ghosted by Levison. Once again, one may argue that the American CP had influence on the larger American society, and for the better.
In 1948 Henry Wallace ran for President on the Progressive Party ticket, against Democrat Truman, Republican Dewey, and States’ Rights (Dixiecrat) Thurmond. Truman and many others accused the PP of being dominated by the CP, and Lillian Hellman in one of her memoirs recalls being asked by investigators if she was or had ever been a member of the CP or the PP. The Progressive Party was considered by many to be a CP front group. Yet, the Henry Wallace, PP campaign tour of the South in 1948, with the support of the National Negro Congress, the Civil Rights Congress, the Southern Conference on Human Welfare and the Southern Negro Youth Congress WAS the civil rights movement of that era. Not only did Wallace refuse to speak to segregated audiences, but he roused enthusiasm for integration. He also roused the hatred of the segregationists and had dozens of rotten tomatoes and eggs hurled at him. His VP candidate, Sen. Glen Taylor of Idaho, was arrested in Birmingham for entering the Negro entrance of a building for a rally of the SNYC, which was pronounced snick. The arresting officer in charge was Bull Connor. If you look at the PP campaign in the South of 1948, you will suddenly be aware that many of the names will resurface with the later civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s. Rosa Parks attended radical Highlander Folk School in Tennessee for training in how to oppose segregation before she was arrested on the bus in Montgomery. Highlander sometimes had Communists participants, and one sat beside Rev. King when he attended. Bottom line, the Communists and Progressives were some of the most dedicated to civil rights in the South. They get no credit for it, because when the movement reawoke, it was judged necessary to hide the connections between the old left and the new. But sometimes, one could note the connection. The Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee that was so involved in the Southern sit-ins of the early was also known as “snick,” the same as the front-group, the Southern Negro Youth Congress. In promoting civil rights, once again I would contend the CP and its fronts helped America.
I do not contend that all the tactics of the CPUSA and its front groups and its attempts to penetrate various organizations were always successful, or that they were always good for those groups or America. Indeed, years ago wrote an article critical of the CP tactics in the American Irish movement. Communists provided crucial organizers in organizing the Congress of Industrial Organizations (the CIO once had millions of members), struggled for equal rights for various ethnic groups, and probably changed America more than mose of us know or would like to admit.
What the Communists brought to a movement was knowledge of how to organize. They had members trained in how to write and set up a movement flyer or newspaper, and they had contacts with the wider media. They knew how to run meetings, etc. And most importantly, many of them were brave. Some of the bravest people I have known have been Communists. But bravery and experience was subsidized by and entangle with and ultimately subordinate to the demands of a foreign government. I certainly am not saying that every member of a front group was a Stalinist agent. I am not saying that about every member of the CP. But I recall the memoir of North Carolina CP leader Junius Scales, who acknowledged that he had never been asked to spy by the party, but he was unsure how he would have answered if asked.(See my review of Cause at Heart, in Labor History, Winter 1989).
So to the E & R linear formula: from front group into the CP and into an agent, I respond that it was more complex; moreover, some of the accomplishments of the fronts and even of the CP were good for America overall. Of course, in the end there are virtues beyond bravery and knowing how to organize. Communist parties world-wide were responsible for the deaths of about 100 million, and even in the US, according to E & R, one comrade lost influence when he failed to kill Elizabeth Bentley, who would go on to expose many of the agents discussed in this book. When handsome actor Ronald Reagan came in conflict with the Communists in his union, one threatened to ruin his career by tossing acid on his face. And Whittaker Chambers decided to expose Communist agents in part because he believed the Party responsible for murdering an American comrade during the Soviet purges of the 1930s.
Finally, a most important point re history – what is kept in government files? E & R observe how in the early stages some reports are classified top secret, and thus unavailable to the public (and often to Congress as well). Over time, some elements are then redacted. Then, the report may disappear altogether. Sometimes, files were ordered to be destroyed, as in WWII when the Roosevelt Administration defied the laws excluding Communists from government positions. Communists were hired, sometimes when other agencies were absorbed into larger ones, as when the OSS was merged with the State Dept. and no security checks were made. Thus, members of the OSS, heavily penetrated by Communists, were suddenly working for the American State Dept. The Roosevelt Administration also ordered the destruction of security files on Communists and alleged spies – so many security files which would show the depth of Communist infiltration disappeared on government orders. The justification, the aims of the US and the Communists were identical in the midst of WWII. In a previous work Evans notes how occasionally those suspected of treason were allowed into classified areas, and they apparently removed damaging material from their own files. Also, in Evans’, Blacklisted by History (New York, 2007), he demonstrates that Presidents Truman and Eisenhower used the notion of Executive Privilege to block Congressional investigators from acquiring files which might prove their cases against alleged Soviet agents. (Evans also contrasted the media reaction which praised Ike for protecting the power of the Executive (thereby shielding accused foreign agents), with how the media denounced Nixon for invoking Executive Privilege to cover the crimes of Watergate.
In this book, E & R show that the Truman Justice Dept engaged in a “fix” in the Grand Jury that resulted in John S. Service walking away free despite stealing State Dept. papers. Service had also used his position in China to boost the “democratic” Mao insurgents against the “corrupt” forces of Chiang Kai-shek. In the end, American aid to Chiang was curtailed. The Truman Justice Dept. also sabotaged another Grand Jury case involving the accusations of a spy network by Elizabeth Bentley. Worse, Truman’s Justice Dept. preferred to ignore Soviet agent Alger Hiss, while attempting to indict his accuser, the whistleblower Whittaker Chambers, for perjury. And the authors give an example of what can happen to files that the Soviets found offensive. An American POW was in Poland when the Germans discovered the Katyn grave site, in which thousands of Polish officers had been killed by the Soviets. “…on his return to the US [he] filed a report to this effect with his superiors in the Army. This report…would be concealed from view, labeled ‘top secret,’ then disappear entirely.”(172)
Disappearing files and files that may still be classified so neither public nor Congress may examine them – interesting. Earlier this year WGN Chicago/America televised a series, “Manhattan,” about the project to build the Atomic bomb in the American Southwest. One of the heroes of the series is J. Robert Oppenheimer. His wife was a member of the CP. So was his brother. Now we know he himself was a secret member of the CP. Might this membership have urged him to share secrets with our Soviet ally?(253-54) Is there more on Oppenheimer in secret files? Remember, in 2012 Russian leader Putin praised all the Western atomic scientists who shared their secrets with the Soviets. He bragged that they had received suitcases full of atomic secrets. Were Fuchs and Hall and the Rosenbergs the only culprits?
Back to secret files that are closed and may eventually disappear. I have mentioned the contact of Martin Luther King with various American Communists, some of whom advised him. Why are 900 pages of FBI files on King closed until 2027? Is it merely because of his sexual escapades? Or because of his relations with Communists? When the files are finally opened, will they be empty? Or watered down?
Missing from the files? What about the brain of Pres. John Kennedy? Those who support the official version that Oswald did it alone, assert that Atty. Gen Robert Kennedy wanted the brain buried with his brother’s body. Perhaps. Or, the brain may have provided evidence that contradicted the official theory of the Warren Commission. One researcher for a later Congressional probe of the assassination alleged that he had seen a film showing a training camp north of New Orleans in summer 1963. The men were anti-Castro militants preparing for a renewed military assault on Cuba. Among these anti-Castroites was Lee Oswald. Then, Congress shook up the leadership of the investigating committee followed by firings of some investigators. Before he quit, he noted that that film had disappeared from the files.
And under Pres. Obama, the “most transparent Administration in American history,” we are not allowed to inspect the grades or read the papers he wrote for classes at the universities he attended. Governments cover up, especially when they fear releasing the information will harm them.
What E & R ferret out is that Communist penetration of the Roosevelt Administration was extensive. Though spying was part of it, perhaps more important was the advice by government officials that somehow always coincided with the Soviet line; and to the benefit of the Soviets and not necessarily to the benefit of the US or it other allies. To make my point:
1) From the American policy view, by 1941 there may well have been a good argument that Japan was totally imperialistic – Korea, Manchukuo, much of coastal China, and then Vietnam. That it was finally time to take a stand, to cut off oil, and prepare for war (Roosevelt was already engaged in acts of war against Germany in the Atlantic, but it was undeclared).
2) There were sound arguments for Lend Lease priorities to the Soviet Union, which was then baring the brunt of the Axis invasion.
3) Our demand for an unconditional surrender by the Axis powers demonstrated to our Soviet ally that we would not make a separate deal that might mean peace in the West, but continued war against Stalin.
4) Based on intelligence (from secret Communist agents), Gen. Mihailovich in Yugoslavia and later Chiang Kai-shek in China were condemned as collaborators with the Axis enemies. This misinformation urged Western countries to support Tito in Yugoslavia and Mao in China instead.
5) Germany was responsible for the war and therefore its industrial might must be destroyed after war’s end.
6) Germany was responsible for the war and therefore its young men may be drafted to serve in other nations (chiefly the USSR) as a form of reparations. (in effect, this would be slave labor.)
7) Those who fled the USSR must be returned, no matter their personal wishes. They chose to live in fascist countries, abandoning the wonders of the Soviet homeland.
There were reasonable arguments for all these pro-Soviet policies. However, when the US Govt. adopted the pro-Soviet line on all of these issues, and many more, one must ask, what was going on?
The contention of E & R that the Communists, with their great influence, used it to turn American policy into pro-Soviet agreements.
FDR was not a Communist. Had he been one, he would have stood by Henry Wallace and demanded that Wallace remain on the Democratic ticket as VP at the 1944 party convention as he had done in 1940. But FDR did not make such a demand in 1944. Had he done so, in all likelihood, Wallace would then have won the nomination (he almost won it anyway), and become President Wallace in April 1945 upon the death of FDR.
Roosevelt may not have been a Communist, but clearly HE supported the Soviet foreign policy positions in case after case. One can blame Harry Hopkins, Alger Hiss, John Sergeant, and the numerous Soviet agents and Communist sympathizers in government. One can even blame Mrs. Roosevelt for purging and exiling conservative voices in the State Dept. But in the end, the buck stopped at the desk of FDR. He appointed the leaders of his Administration. He is responsible for agreements at Quebec, Tehran, and Yalta. He is (with Stalin and others) responsible for Communist rule in Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Albania, Yugoslavia, and East Germany. And though the question was asked later, “Who lost China?” it seems Roosevelt’s policies explain much of the change in Asia after WWII. In 1950 Republicans asked the question, “Who lost China?” In 2020 will Republicans be asking, “Who lost America?”
Sunday, September 6, 2015
Hugh Murray 8 hours ago 0 12
The more the borders are open, the more immigrants will come. If Europe wants to stop the invasion, it should sink the boats so they never reach European shores. Word would quickly get out - Europe is for the Europeans. Let the Muslim "refugees" go to nearby Muslim nations instead. But the "refugees" do not want that, they want the welfare riches of socialist Europe. AND the nearby Muslim nations do not want the Muslim refugees, out of fear of terrorists among them (so Europe can get the terrorists, too). To save Europe, to stop the invasion, Europeans must defy the hate-Europe crowd which includes the UN, EU bureaucrats, and the Papacy.
America faces a similar fate. The Pope, a Catholic, urges the US, a traditional Protestant secular nation, to accept millions of Catholic invaders. They come here not to assimilate to American values, but demand we learn Spanish, etc. The question is why do these millions of Catholic invaders leave their Catholic homelands? Why are the Catholic homelands so poor by comparison to the US? So crime ridden? So corrupt? Why did Catholic societies fail to produce the riches found in the more Protestant lands?
Ignore the Pope when he comes preaching pro-invasion sermons to the US. Ask why Catholic nations have so failed to produce wealth? If Catholic nations could do that, then they need not invade North America.
Earlier today I had posted this comment on one of the stories about the immigration crisis. My solution sounds cruel, but it will save lives. Once people learn they cannot take the boats across the Med. Sea to Northern European welfare, they will either stay home, or move to nations closer to their own, both geographically and culturally. And under the present system, Europe is importing a sharia future, with forthcoming terrorism.