Rover, Asiaticus, and BDPT
When Lattimore was indicted, Johns Hopkins put him on leave with pay. He continued to have use of his office and secretary but taught no classes. He appreciated the fact that he had not been fired; many teachers at other institutions were. Several of Hopkins's conservative trustees, however, wanted to be rid of him. At least two trustees resigned, allegedly because Lattimore was kept on. Detlev Bronk, then president of Johns Hopkins, was said to be "driven to despair by trustee pressure to fire Lattimore."
One of the ways in which President Bronk eased trustee unhappiness about their notorious heretic was by abolishing the Walter Hines Page School, and hence the position of director that Lattimore held. Bronk announced this action April 16, 1953, attributing it to "a broad reorganization plan."
Memories of Hopkins personnel as to attitudes toward Lattimore vary widely. Bowman, who brought Lattimore to Hopkins in the first place and promoted his work for the Council of Foreign Relations, lived to see Lattimore attacked by McCarthy. FBI interviews of Bowman, if they are among the documents released under the Freedom of Information Act, are so heavily censored as to be unidentifiable. But an evaluation of what Bowman told the FBI appears in Hummer's memorandum of June 17, 1952:
One of the most honest and fair appraisals of Lattimore was given by his friend, the late president of John Hopkins, Isaiah Bowman, who told the Bureau that he believed Lattimore was not a Communist. Bowman has had since 1938, he stated, many conversations with Lattimore. He described Lattimore as one who "likes to play in the shadows" and has no sense about the company he keeps; that Lattimore has spoken to
some groups of a "questionable nature of a Communist tinge"; that Lattimore has no objection to people seeing him under compromising circumstances; that he is the type who would have no hesitancy in openly contacting a known Communist. Bowman was well acquainted that Lattimore has been branded a Communist on occasion and he can well understand why.
To Hummer's credit, he adds Lattimore's rebuttal to such charges of keeping "questionable" company at times: "For many years I have made every effort to keep in touch with as many people as possible who are informed about the Far East, and I have obtained as much information as I could, whether they were Communists, anti-Communists, liberals, conservatives, businessmen, politicians, Army officers or scholars."
According to some sources, Bowman supported Lattimore until his death in 1950; others claim that Bowman became disillusioned and no longer trusted Lattimore. Neil Smith, who has studied the Bowman papers extensively, and David Harvey, who taught at Hopkins for nineteen years, think Bowman had turned against Lattimore by 1948, when Bronk took over the presidency. Former Dean Wilson Shaffer told me that he had seen a several-inch-thick file on Lattimore in the possession of then-Provost Stewart Macaulay. This file cannot now be found. Since Macaulay was a prime FBI contact on the Hopkins campus, his file might clear up the question.
Most of the Hopkins faculty strongly supported Lattimore. The most striking effort on Lattimore's behalf was that of philosopher George Boas. Boas was particularly concerned with the sniping of SISS and various columnists at Lattimore's lack of a Ph.D., even of a college degree of any kind, and the fact that unlike most professors, Lattimore wrote for public consumption. Boas therefore compiled a list of the leading Asian scholars in this country, and some in Europe, and wrote them asking for their opinions of Lattimore's scholarship. Boas omitted, of course, the six professors who testified against Lattimore to SISS.
Thirty-seven of these prominent academicians responded, and Boas and Harvey Wheeler, also a Hopkins professor, published the letters in February 1953 in a pamphlet titled Lattimore the Scholar . Some of those who responded stated that they disagreed with Lattimore's political positions and foreign policy advice, but all of them found his scholarship worthy, and many regarded him as the world's preeminent student of Central Asia. To the ideologically committed, Boas's booklet was a provocation. To the Justice Department, it was a clue to probable defense witnesses. Olney wrote Hoover February 23 asking the bureau to furnish a copy of
the pamphlet. Every single one of the scholars represented was investigated by the bureau, including the Englishmen Arnold Toynbee and I. A. Richards, the Belgian priests A. Mostaert and Louis M. J. Schram, the Dutch scholar J. J. L. Duyvendak, and several Germans.
Boas had another project: a defense fund. In January 1953, with the encouragement of "several members of the faculty," he sent out one thousand letters to Hopkins professors asking them to contribute to Lattimore's defense. According to the Baltimore Evening Sun , Boas's goal was $40,000. The local solicitation did not reach this goal, so Boas expanded his mailings to Asian specialists, geographers, and others on campuses elsewhere. Eventually, eighteen hundred people contributed $38,000.
Provost Macaulay told the Evening Sun reporter that the university took no position on the Lattimore defense fund, but they may not have been completely candid. Gwinn Owens of the Sun Papers stated that during this period he worked for the Hopkins Fund, which sought private contributions to the university and its hospital. Owens supported Lattimore and contributed to his defense. J. Douglas Coleman, director of the Hopkins Fund, told Owens, "It's alright for you to give money to the Lattimore defense, but I won't get involved. That guy's ruined too many breakfasts for me."
Creation of the Lattimore defense fund opened new avenues of investigation for the FBI. Their check on his net worth had long since been dropped; his assets were consistent with his legitimate earnings and normal expenditures. But this new fund! The Justice Department prosecutors were sure that the Communist party would show its hand here. So the bureau began a new search, this time for the subversive connections of Boas, the three advisors to the fund, the treasurer, and all the contributors they could locate. Before it was over, the accumulation of paperwork was so massive the bureau was forced to set up a new title for the investigation, "Owen Lattimore Defense Fund—IS-C," and a new file number, 100-400471.
It is not likely that the bureau managed to investigate all eighteen hundred contributors, but all of those who wrote letters for Lattimore the Scholar were on a priority list and thoroughly checked. This activity was under very tight secrecy because of the "risk of this type of inquiry becoming known to the defense and being used by them at trial, or in the press, or both, to the embarrassment of both the Department and the Bureau."
On August 20, 1953, the Baltimore office summarized what it had learned about the Lattimore defense fund. The cover letter noted, "This report . . . contains no instances of Communist Party or Communist Party front
group support, other than oral expression of approval. The report identifies _______ supporters to be, for the most part, educators, students, and other persons of left-wing liberal or individualistic attitudes." In December a bureau informant at the Johns Hopkins branch of the First National Bank of Baltimore noted that deposits in the fund account "have dwindled down to an occasional check now and then." One of the occasional checks was from Eleanor Roosevelt: $100. No incriminating contributions were ever found, and the late George Boas never knew how much trouble and expense he caused the United States government.
While Boas and other senior Hopkins faculty survived their support of Lattimore without appreciable damage, some nontenured supporters were not so fortunate. John DeFrancis, later a respected sinologue at the University of Hawaii, was an assistant professor in the Page School. When it was abolished, he was out of a job and for ten years was unable to teach his specialty. He found employment teaching low-level mathematics in a private school until the stigma of association with Lattimore subsided.
DeFrancis worked on the Lattimore defense, checking out among other things the background of Lattimore's attackers. He discovered that Freda Utley was, unlike Lattimore, one of the people who had written that the Chinese Communists were mere agrarian reformers. Lattimore was able to use this information with considerable effect. De Francis also took over some of Lattimore's lectures during the SISS hearings before Lattimore went on leave: "I remember giving one lecture in which I enumerated the reasons for the collapse of the Kuomintang in China and the victory of the Communists; this was pretty much an historical essay. In each case I would remark sarcastically 'And this factor was more important than the role of Owen Lattimore.' A student came up to me afterward and said to me with a kind of fear and trembling, 'Do you realize that the FBI may have been there?' I said 'Goddamit, I was talking to the FBI.'"
While most Hopkins faculty strongly supported Lattimore, George Carter continued to oppose him privately. The biblical archaeologist William Albright (and his wife) and Carl B. Swisher attacked Lattimore publicly. Swisher was a political scientist of strongly anti-Soviet opinions. He warned his graduate students that if they had signed a list on the department bulletin board to help with the Lattimore defense, they should take a razor blade and cut out their signatures. Crossing it off was not enough.
George McT. Kahin, a prominent authority on Southeast Asia, was a graduate student in political science at Johns Hopkins when the Lattimore case broke, but he refused to be intimidated by Swisher and worked extensively for the Lattimore defense. In 1951 Kahin applied for a job at
Cornell. When the Cornell political science department asked for letters of recommendation from Kahin's professors, Swisher refused to write. Cornell telephoned him, and he talked vaguely about Kahin being "irresponsible." The Cornell caller pressed Swisher to be specific. What exactly had Kahin done? Swisher would not talk about Lattimore; he finally said, "Well, he worked with the American Friends Service Committee in helping the Nisei who were interned at the beginning of the war." This revelation, says Kahin, "turned the whole thing around." Kahin got the job and found Cornell very supportive.
However one judges Johns Hopkins's treatment of Lattimore, the American academic world avoided him like the plague. As already noted, his speaking invitations all but disappeared with one notable exception: John King Fairbank invited him to Harvard every year. This was not because of any exceptional commitment to academic freedom on Harvard's part; it was due solely to Fairbank's personal commitment. As Ellen Schrecker notes in No Ivory Tower , there was vigorous opposition to Lattimore at Harvard. The dean of students tried very hard to ban Lattimore on the grounds that his appearance would "bring added unfavorable publicity to the college." Fairbank stood his ground; Lattimore appeared at Harvard each year.
Paul Lazarsfeld and Wagner Thielens, in a 1955 study of 2,451 college social science teachers, used attitudes toward a hypothetical Lattimore lecture on their campuses as a touchstone revealing the degree to which McCarthyism prevailed in academia. Eighty percent of their respondents would approve of Lattimore lecturing, but only 40 percent said they would protest vigorously if the president banned such a lecture. Schrecker is no doubt right: "The 1950's was the period when the nation's colleges and universities were becoming increasingly dependent upon and responsive toward the federal government. The academic community's collaboration with McCarthyism was part of that process. It was, in many respects, just another step in the integration of American higher education with the Cold War political system."
If there was bitterness and consternation in the Justice Department over Judge s ruling, some FBI offices felt differently. At headquarters, Branigan asked Belmont to find out if the bureau could now forget about the "many leads outstanding on each of the counts dismissed. . . . These leads are widespread involving a number of offices as well as Bureau representatives in England, Germany, France, and Mexico." SAC Board-man in New York cabled headquarters almost gleefully, listing the "pend-
ing leads in NYO [that] will not be covered unless further request is received from Bureau or Baltimore."
Relief for the bureau was short-lived. On May 6 three bureau representatives went to Rover's office for a conference. Rover announced that "he intended to appeal Youngdahl's derision and . . . desired that the Bureau continue its investigation on the four counts which were dismissed and 'keep moving as if nothing had happened.'" Headquarters passed the word to all field offices.
Rover filed his notice of intent to appeal on May 14, 1953. As the New York Times noted,
Mr. Rover said this action had been authorized by Herbert Brownell, Jr., the Attorney General. Today's steps opened up the possibility the Supreme Court might rule on the validity of the indictment before Mr. Lattimore ever was brought to trial on the charges contained in the true bill. A further possibility was that Mr. Lattimore might escape trial entirely if higher court rulings favored him.
Mr. Rover said that if the Appeals Court sustained the rulings of Judge Youngdahl he would recommend to the Attorney General that the case be taken to the Supreme Court. It was considered likely a similar procedure would be followed by attorneys for Mr. Lattimore if Judge Youngdahl was overruled.
The legal maneuvering, and the delays it occasioned, began to wear on Lattimore. After Rover filed his notice of appeal, Lattimore wrote a memo headed "Some questions for AF&P." Whether he gave this memo to Fortas is not dear; Bill Rogers does not remember it. The copy in Lattimore's papers expresses the agony of his situation.
Are there any advantages to the case in further delays? What are they? Winning the case must of course be the first consideration. However if there are no advantages, or uncertain ones, there are disadvantages to us which are great enough so that we would like to raise the question as to whether any moves could be made to lessen delays. For instance—Appeal notice not yet filed—why? Shouldn't we ask why & when instead of meekly waiting?
Since we must start now to prepare for the trial, could we not press for the bill of particulars on the remaining counts at an early date on the grounds that it is still necessary to our preparation?
It seems to me there are two disadvantages in further delays, one of which directly affects the case. The other affects my career, reputation and productivity.
1. Since McCarthyism seems to be making more gains than losses, it will become more and more difficult for judges and juries to make
unprejudiced or courageous derisions. Should we not try to press the advantage of the Youngdahl decision as early as possible? The more time the government has the more forces they can marshal. Time is on their side because their resources are far greater than ours. Or are we still waiting for a miracle?
2. Until a decision is reached my life as a teacher, a writer, a lecturer, and in many instances as a friend, is at a standstill, and my seriously damaged reputation can not only not be repaired but will continue to deteriorate as the Flynns, Lawrences, Lewises etc. continue to blacken my name and the picture of me as a subversive character hardens in the public mind, and there is nothing I can do to change it. I have already lost three of what should be the best and most productive years of my life—Until I am acquitted I cannot begin to rebuild what has been destroyed. Examples: University treating as if guilty. Washington lawyers studying Flynn—Reports from all over of people reading Flynn. No answers available or possible until after court decision.
The reference was to John T. Flynn's condensation of the SISS hearings, The Lattimore Story , discussed in chapter 25. Lattimore was right; the only counter to Flynn would be a verdict of not guilty by a jury of his peers.
Ironically, as Lattimore despaired at the interminable delays in taking his case to a jury, legal circles in Washington were predicting that it was Rover who was in real trouble. The New York Times of May 17 said that government attorneys were unhappy that the indictment had been drawn so loosely and that unless a higher court reversed Youngdahl, Rover might be reluctant to go to trial "on what was left of an indictment apparently not too highly esteemed from a legal standpoint when it was whole."
Rover and the prosecution team now intensified their efforts. They had "help" from the usual sources: Don Surine and the McCarran staff. Surine was plugging the Chinese Nationalists again, but Wacks and the bureau rejected this avenue as of "no pertinence." Then Surine volunteered the unhelpful report that Dorothy Borg of New York City appeared to be a friend of Lattimore's. She had come to Washington and sat in on every one of his hearings. Surine even knew the hotel where she stayed.
Ben Mandel offered Hummer a new lead, which Hummer passed on to the bureau: Ruth Shipley of the Passport Office had information about Lattimore but had never been asked for it. Belmont commented that the FBI had checked out this information at the time of the Jarvinen affair, but perhaps they had not actually interviewed Shipley. They now did so;
she had nothing new. Her batting average was not so high anyway; she had offered some of the wildest rumors during the Jarvinen fiasco.
On June 19, 1953, after unsuccessful last-minute appeals, the Rosen-bergs were executed. None rejoiced over this more than McCarthy and Surine, who were out to get all the traitors, including Lattimore. Surine was working on a bill for McCarthy to introduce that would cover Lattimore's major crime, "policy treason." As Lou Nichols reported this new offense, "By this Surine means an instance where through manipulation of top-level policy which could deliver a whole country or group of nations as contrasted against an individual act of espionage or sabotage."
Hundreds of leads were followed through during this period. Each new one seemed to the bureau more useless than the last. In desperation Rover resurrected Budenz. Budenz had never "furnished his opinion as to the probable role Lattimore played as a Communist propagandist, nor has he stated the Communist aims, policies and strategies pursued in the Far East during the period 1933 through 1949." Would the bureau please go back to Budenz and ask him to address this matter? So on June 24 FBI agents once again descended on Budenz in Crestwood, New York. The transcript is peculiarly stilted and formal. "Mr. Budenz: Inquiry is requested on my opinion of Owen Lattimore as a Soviet propagandist, concerning specifically his relations with top Soviet or Communist authorities in relation to such propaganda. . . . my opinion is that at all times from at least the year 1937, Owen Lattimore was under directives from Communist authorities as to what the line of the Communist International apparatus was, in regard to the Far East, and was commissioned to follow out those directives as a concealed Communist, with due regard to his position."
There follows, outlined as if in a lecture, a twenty-two-page digest of what Budenz had told SISS two years earlier, supported this time with references to Communist publications showing that Stalin was very clever to have kept out of war with Japan for so long, that the Soviet line on Chiang changed several times, that the Communists were against retention of the emperor in Japan, that Mao was totally subservient to Stalin, and so forth. Budenz did have a new and different timetable for the change in Party line on Chiang, and he asserted now that Lattimore had spent four months in Yenan in 1937. Otherwise it was vintage Budenz, warmed over.
Rover needed help. Hummer, Davitt, Anastos, and George J. Donegan were experienced attorneys assigned full-time to the Lattimore case, but apparently the Youngdahl setback induced Justice to seek another presti-
gious appointment. Rover suggested John W. Jackson, a former U.S. attorney. Rover got Robert Morris, Senator Harry F. Byrd, and Fulton Lewis, Jr., to support Jackson. Rover knew where the power lay; Morris's task was to get McCarran's approval. He did, and Jackson was made assistant U.S. attorney and appeared on government briefs from July 1953 on.
The pressures on Rover and his team are revealed by the lengths they went to in attempting to secure testimony against Lattimore. On July 30 Rover sent Hummer to Belmont requesting that the bureau contact a potential witness who was not being "fully cooperative." The man had been born abroad and was a naturalized citizen. Rover wanted the FBI to threaten to report him to the Immigration and Naturalization Service, recommending cancellation of his citizenship unless he cooperated on Lattimore. Belmont told Hummer the bureau would not agree to any pressure of this kind; it would backfire. Hoover agreed.
The government did not file its brief appealing the Youngdahl decision until August 24, 1953. The story was the second lead in the New York Times the next day. Rover asked that Youngdahl be reversed on all four of the counts dismissed and attacked Youngdahl's reasoning on each of them.
The vital first count, Rover held, could not be thrown out on First Amendment grounds. SISS had not inquired into Lattimore's beliefs; rather, Lattimore had volunteered his beliefs, and the First Amendment "does not protect the speech which willfully, falsely, and fraudulently expresses such a belief." Further, the indictment could not be dismissed before trial for vagueness: "in a perjury prosecution, prior to trial, vagueness or in-definiteness as to the meaning of words cannot be an issue. Determination of their meaning to the defendant awaits the trial. . . . The state of a man's mind is as much a fact as the state of his digestion." Questions of materiality, likewise, "must await determination at the trial and are not now before the Court." Youngdahl's discussion of the background of Lattimore's testimony to SISS could "have no bearing upon the legal sufficiency of the indictment."
The only significant press comment on Rover's brief was restatement of the consensus in legal circles that the case would go to the Supreme Court.
Government prosecutors were pleased with the brief. Hummer told FBI Supervisor J. F. Wacks that it "had been furnished a number of prominent attorneys in the District and elsewhere for review and that each of these attorneys had indicated that it contained very good arguments and
was a well organized and documented treatise. Hummer stated that the general opinion of these attorneys was that it was 'a cinch' that the lower court would be reversed."
Four days after this optimistic report Wacks got another request from the prosecution, this time from Donegan. The Justice Department "understood" that General Willoughby had a great deal of information in his Tokyo files. Had the bureau checked them? Wacks had his programmed response down pat. "I advised Donegan that we have neither the time or the money to conduct a search of our files to ascertain the answer to his query and I suggested to him that he cause a search to be made of the reports we have furnished the Department in instant case in order to determine whether General Willoughby's files were reviewed by us." Hoover's inevitable comment: "Right. We are not going to do their plowing." Throughout the remaining twenty-four months Lattimore was under indictment, prosecution requests to the FBI for documents and other services met rejection and ever-more-acerbic comments from Hoover. "Let him get it himself. We are not messenger boys, certainly not for him" was typical.
Prosecution response to FBI recalcitrance was to channel requests through higher-ranking Justice Department officials, hoping that Hoover would be more receptive to them. This ploy did not work. William Foley, one of Olney's subordinates in the Criminal Division, handled one such request. A "third party" (probably an SISS staffer or Surine) had told the department that a Captain Ernest J. Lissner of the army had served in the Far East Command Counter-Intelligence Corps and had written a report that "was most derogatory concerning Lattimore." When Rover tried to get the Lissner report from Army, they denied having it. Rover thought Army had originally "buried" the report, as Lattimore was then "in the good graces of the White House." Army would not now release it since they had buried it when originally written. Foley wondered if perhaps the FBI could pry it loose.
Foley brought his request to Inspector Carl Hennrich, who was not sympathetic, lecturing Foley about jurisdictional matters and correct procedures. If the Rover team wanted FBI investigation in this matter, they should put it in writing. Foley, sufficiently chastised, agreed. Hennrich reported this encounter to Belmont, with this recommendation: "When a request is made by the Department in connection with the Lissner report, we will carefully consider the request in the light of available information and, in the absence of indication of some shenanigans, I think we should make the investigation." When this memo came to Hoover's attention,
he responded, "Watch it carefully. I am not as trusting as you fellows are." The request did come through in writing. The bureau followed the Lissner trail, and it led to yet another fiasco. Lissner had been fired by MacArthur for blackmailing various persons and for other irregularities. He had been reassigned as an assistant PX officer at Fort Meade, then shifted around several times. The bureau finally traced Lissner to an artillery unit in Germany. He told them he had never investigated Lattimore and had no information about him.
On October 1, 1953, AFP filed its brief with the court of appeals, answering Rover's brief of August 24. This response was also headline news. The defense brief was explosive, describing the Lattimore prosecution as "unique in the history of perjury. It brings into this court a meaningless and trivial residue of a once-sensational espionage charge culled from the transcript of the longest Congressional interrogation of one man ever conducted." Ironically, the best summary of the defense brief is the one prepared in the bureau by Wacks. There is room here only for Wacks's discussion of the Sixth Amendment aspects of count one.
The lower court was correct in holding that Count I violates the Sixth Amendment, which insures an accused the right to be informed of the nature and the cause of the accusation against him.
The brief sets out that Lattimore testified, "I am not and never have been a Communist, a Soviet agent, a sympathizer or any other kind of promoter of Communism or Communist interests . . ." The Government did not pick from this statement those parts which would be capable of proof and from which Lattimore could anticipate what the Government would attempt to prove. Rather, the indictment charges Lattimore with perjury based on the words "sympathizer" and "Communist interests," which have different meanings at different times and defy analysis in addition to being vague and all embracing. This count offers the Government a target m shoot at, covering any writing, act, opinion or association of Lattimore during the past twenty years and any letter, conversation or episode of whatever period may be introduced in evidence for the jury's evaluation in the light of today's understandings. To prepare any sort of defense, Lattimore must examine all the policies which he has advocated, must interview all his associates and must present his entire life in review. Such a case would be interminable and he would not know where to begin or end. This charge does not deal with facts at all, but with personal evaluations, surmises, conjectures, opinions and speculations, the nature of which Lattimore could not know before he goes to trial.
Wacks presented similarly incisive summaries of the First Amendment issue, the question of materiality, and the minor counts. He did not comment on the cogency of defense arguments.
Rover and the prosecution took no comfort from the defense brief. Presumably they still expected the court of appeals to overturn Youngdahl, as they continued to pursue evidence that would be needed at trial for the first count. They were taking seriously the charges coming from Tai Li via Commander Miles (see chapter 16), but realized that Miles's history of mental problems would make him a shaky witness, as would the fact that he had only hearsay to offer. And with the government's massive investment in the Lattimore case, now amounting to more than twenty thousand pages of FBI reports alone and twenty-two hundred interviews, they could not afford to fail. The force of their anxiety compelled them to canvas the world for a magisterial witness. They came up with: Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek!
On October 29, 1953, Jackson and Donegan called on Hennrich, who reported to Belmont:
These gentlemen said they considered it desirable to make overtures to determine whether Chiang Kai-shek would be available for use as a witness in the Lattimore case, either through personal testimony or through a deposition. Jackson and Donegan stated that they wanted to discuss these matters with me prior to sending an official request to the Bureau to conduct investigation in this matter, since they thought the Bureau might have specific suggestions in the matter. They also suggested that they had been considering the question as to whether a Bureau agent could go to China and conduct further inquiries, inasmuch as they had confidence the Bureau would be able to develop more information than CIA or G-2 or State Department investigators would be able to develop.
Hoover disposed of the last suggestion summarily: "NO."
Hennrich's memo reported in detail the lecture he then gave Jackson and Donegan. The prosecution team had to straighten itself out and put requests for investigations in writing before Justice started its own investigation, rather than running to the bureau for help after they had mud-died the waters. "I pointed out that if they had been conducting investigations, we will find out during our investigation, and they will then be in the position of not acting in good faith if they fail to tell us now." As to Chiang Kai-shek, they should take it up with the State Department. There is no record that Rover followed through. The idea of soliciting
testimony from a head of state nine thousand miles away was so harebrained that Olney or Brownell undoubtedly killed it.
President Dwight Eisenhower, largely unaware of the turbulence in his Justice Department and completely ignorant of the Lattimore prosecution, nonetheless sensed that the internal security field was contaminated by overreliance on professional former Communists to ferret out subversives. On November 4, 1953, Ike wrote Attorney General Brownell about his concerns: "We must search out some positive way to put ourselves on the side of individual right and liberty as well as on the side of fighting Communism to the death. We might decide that this is a matter on which I or someone else should make a speech. We might decide that we needed to bring in two or three outstanding individuals of the caliber of Learned Hand to help us devise a policy or 'formula.' "
One paragraph of Eisenhower's memo inadvertently scored a direct hit on the Lattimore prosecution and on the prime former Communist witness, Budenz: "The Communists are a class set apart by themselves. Indeed, I think they are such liars and cheats that even when they apparently recant and later testify against someone else for his Communist convictions, my first reaction is to believe that the accused person must be a patriot or he wouldn't have incurred the enmity of such people. So even when these 'reformed' Communists have proved useful in helping us track down some of their old associates, I certainly look for corroborating evidence before I feel too easy in my mind about it."
Brownell got the message. He may not have agreed with Eisenhower's rationale, but he discovered that the government was maintaining a list of security informants and paying them regularly. In February 1954 he quietly put a stop to this operation. Herbert Philbrick, Mary Markward, Elizabeth Bentley, Louis Budenz, and seven others were dropped from the list of security informants. Brownell, in his 1971 Columbia University oral history, says it happened this way:
Brownell: I found developing out of the war years there had been built up a list of, say, half a dozen or so informants in the area of subversive activity who are actually on the payroll of the Justice Department, and were paid almost on a salary basis under a system which gave them a regular income, and they testified in one case after another. As soon as I discovered this, I stopped that system, and we either dispensed with their services entirely, or saw to it that in any future cases they would only be paid
what a regular witness would be paid for their attendance at court, in this way avoiding any danger of having a stable of witnesses who were more or less beholden to the government and might have their testimony tainted by the fact that their income came from this source. . . .
Interviewer: Did you actually find documentation that their evidence was tainted, or was there fear that it might be?
Brownell: We dropped several prosecutions for fear that it might have been.
The spectacular Matusow recantation may have influenced Brownell. Even the FBI had been taken in by Matusow, and Olney, in his oral history, tells how Justice discovered the FBI sanitizing its files: "Tommy Tompkins . . . went up to the files to get the original FBI reports in which Matusow's story was given. There it appeared that Matusow was described as an informant of 'known reliability.' He also found an FBI agent there taking the file out, in the process of removing the first page and substituting another page, in which Harvey Matusow was described as an informant of 'unknown reliability.' "
The list of possible witnesses against Lattimore was further depleted. On March 5, 1954, the bureau learned that Elizabeth Boody Schumpeter, the Japanophile who had been one of Lattimore's most persistent accusers, had died the previous year.
Unaware of the rumblings in the White House and the demotion of so many ex-Communist witnesses, but beginning to worry about what would happen in the court of appeals, Rover filed another brief with the court on November 12, 1953, answering the defense brief of October 1. The defense contentions were "nonsense." The sole issue was "Did the accused willfully falsify his oath by testifying to the truth of a matter which he did not believe to be true?" Hummer reported that the date set for oral argument on the appeal, November 17, had been indefinitely postponed and that instead of the usual bank of three judges the entire court would sit on the Lattimore case.
By now suspicion of Lattimore had metastasized throughout the body politic. On November 13, 1953, Robert C. Jewel, school board member in Shaftsbury, Vermont, announced that Our Neighbors in the Pacific had been removed from the school library shelves because it had been written by "the Owen Lattimore gang." He did not identify the authors.
Nineteen fifty-three ended with a veritable blizzard of investigation requests to the bureau from Warren Olney. The prosecution was running
scared. FBI responses to most of these requests do not survive, but on December 4 Hennrich commented on one potential witness in Europe who wanted to be paid. Jackson asked if the bureau knew anything about this person. Hennrich noted that the man "does not profess to have information but merely to be able to get information. I pointed out to Jackson that Europe is full of individuals who are looking for ,American dollars in exchange for so-called intelligence services. I told Jackson that if he cared to submit a memorandum relative to this matter, the Bureau would look it over."
On December 31 the court of appeals set oral argument in the Lattimore case for January 25, 1954.
The massive government resources thrown into prosecuting Lattimore were not all devoted to establishing the legal sufficiency of the vital count one or to gathering evidence to prove that count in a trial. There were still five minor counts that Rover needed to prove. The Justice Department and the FBI had active investigations under way in all of them. The effort and time devoted to these trivial matters is mind-boggling.
Take the search for Asiaticus. Count three charged that Lattimore falsely denied that he knew Asiaticus was a Communist. This claim was based on Lattimore's testimony to SISS in executive session July 13, 1951, and in public session February 29, 1952.
Morris: And yet, Mr. Lattimore, you were able to recommend him [Asiaticus] as a qualified performer for the Institute of Pacific Relations.
Lattimore: I didn't recommend him. He wrote in some material for me which I thought was a good article on the subject and I published it. One of the articles was on railway loans in China at the turn of the century, the late 1890's and the early 1900's. It concerned some of the British Railway loans of that period. I sent the article, as I always did in such cases, to the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London, and they disagreed with some of his interpretations but not with his statements of facts.
Morris: You knew at the time he was at least a Marxist, didn't you ?
Lattimore: I didn't know whether he was a Marxist or not. I thought he was a left-winger. . . .
Morris: And it is your testimony that you did not know he was a Communist?
Lattimore: I didn't know he was a Communist. I would have said, speaking as of the late 1930's, that I would have thought he was possibly a Socialist, but not a Communist.
After this executive session testimony had been reviewed in the public hearing, Morris had some more questions. Did Lattmore want to stick with his statement that he did not know Asiaticus was a Communist? He did.
Some twenty-five hundred pages of the FBI file record the four-year search for Asiaticus. The investigation went literally to the ends of the earth. It soon took on a life of its own. By the time it was over, the investigators were no longer even expecting to find evidence that Lattimore knew Asiaticus to be a Communist; they were just doggedly following a trail to which they had been assigned. At the end of this trail they could at best talk to someone who, fifteen or more years earlier, had actually met Asiaticus. In the end the bureau accumulated enough information to write a biography of Asiaticus up to 1944, when he disappeared. After that rumor took over, and he was variously reported to be dead or to be living in disguise in the United States, or in Montevideo, or in Europe.
One false lead threw the bureau off the scent for a while. A muddled informant in San Francisco claimed that Asiaticus was really Lattimore, who used that pen name "to write his most aggressive articles." When this suggestion was disproved, the bureau discovered that the real Asiaticus was born Moses Wolf Grzyb (pronounced "ship") on June 13, 1897, in Krakow, Poland. He led a fascinating life. He used at least two aliases in addition to Asiaticus: M. G. Shippe (the name under which Lattimore corresponded with him) and Hans Mueller or Moeller. His early years as a student in Krakow left no traces, but his employment with various German periodicals in the 1920s did. Every known survivor of those periodicals was tracked down. Asiaticus had several tours in China as Comintern representative, journalist, bar owner, and Du Pont foreman; survivors of those enterprises were located. Du Pont records were found in Wilmington, Delaware; others had to be located on three other continents. Grzyb's sister and brother, after many false starts and wild goose chases from Israel to Germany, were interviewed; they had last heard from him in 1939. His second wife, Trudy Rosenberg, was traced from Shanghai to New York to Israel to Italy to Germany, but when U.S. army agents found her in March 1953, she would tell them nothing about her husband. His first wife's brother was located in South Africa. Informants in
Taipei, Hong Kong, Melbourne, Sydney, Seattle, Baltimore, St. Louis, Boston, San Francisco, New York, Tokyo, Manila, Geneva, Paris, Heidelberg, Bonn, Tel Aviv, Berlin, Johannesburg, Montevideo, and no doubt a dozen other places claimed to know something about him, and all of it is reported in the bureau's voluminous files. The report of the U.S. consul in Montevideo is still classified for "national security" reasons.
One informant told the Baltimore FBI office that Rudolph Slansky, vice premier of Czechoslovakia until he was "terminated with extreme prejudice" by that Stalinist government in November 1952, was actually Asiaticus. Pictures of Slansky were therefore shown to Wittfogel and two other persons who had seen Asiaticus. Wrong suspect. Woodrow W. Kelly, resident regional security officer in the U.S. embassy at Tel Aviv, spent December 1953 through April 1954 chasing around Europe and the Middle East to locate Asiaticus's relatives. At the end of it Kelly was an accomplished (if unwilling) genealogist and a fine storyteller.
An amazing amount of information was thus gathered, but the FBI could reach no conclusions about Asiaticus's current whereabouts, dead or alive. Three informants claimed he was arrested in Shanghai in 1944 and never seen again.
Asiaticus was in fact dead, and an accurate report was in FBI files. It came from John S. Service, reporting under date of October 4, 1944, from Yenan, and it was among the papers found in the Amerasia offices in 1945. Service recorded a statement by Chu Teh to journalist Maurice Votaw that Asiaticus had been killed by the Japanese while he was traveling with the Communist New Fourth Army in 1941. His demise was confirmed by Janice and Stephen MacKinnon in 1980 when they interviewed Trudy Rosenberg, by then back in China.
None of the far-flung Asiaticus informants (except Wittfogel) claimed to believe that Lattimore knew Asiaticus at all, much less as a Communist. Indeed, the informants abroad had never heard of Lattimore. The search for Asiaticus was a boondoggle to defy the imagination.
The search for evidence from Chinese Nationalist police files was equally quixotic. This was the source Surine had cultivated through informant T-7, the source touted and then canceled by Navy Commander Miles, the source the FBI tapped via Far East Command's Lieutenant Malim. FBI knew the Taipei files were bankrupt; Rover's prosecution team persisted in its hallucinations.
Several times during 1953 Rover suggested that a bureau agent go to Taiwan. Each time the bureau said no, emphasizing that all government agencies operating in Taiwan had already made what scrappy information
they could get available to the bureau. The prosecution was persistent. On September 18, 1953, Hummer telephoned Wacks to report that Chiang Kai-shek's son (presumably Chiang Ching-kuo) was coming to the United States; there would be cocktail parties at which the attorney general could ask Chiang's son "to induce his father to furnish the 'real' information concerning Lattimore in his files." To prepare for this, would Wacks please review FBI records to see if Chiang had ever been interviewed? Wacks agreed to review the files. Hoover's response to this report: "This should not have been done. They have copies of our reports & can plow through them themselves. We are doing entirely too much 'wet-nursing' of Hummer et al."
By January 1954 the prosecution had given up its proposal to get Chiang as a witness, but it was still pushing to send a bureau agent to Taipei. On January 7 Branigan was on the receiving end. The precise request is classified, but Branigan reported that he had assured Rover the bureau would let the prosecution know if anyone found something new about Lattimore in Taipei. Branigan also let out his frustration and his skepticism about what they were getting from Taipei: "In the past, it has been noted that the Chinese Nationalist Government officials have not been wholly cooperative with respect to instant case and the only pertinent information from this source has consisted of undocumented, hearsay data contained in memoranda which, from their contents, are undoubtedly of recent vintage. These documents, all of which are similar in certain respects, contain biographical data on Lattimore and unsubstantiated allegations which have been brought against Lattimore, including those of Senator McCarthy and Louis Budenz and others. These documents fail to reflect independent investigation by the Chinese."
But Branigan's doubts were not passed on to Rover. On February 11 Jackson and Donegan called on Hennrich: same agenda. As of 1981 the FBI was still withholding what transpired in this conference; only Hoover's comment at the end of Hennrich's report was released: "I agree with positions taken in this memo. We are not going to send anyone out of the country; we are not going to do any research work & we are not going to directly contact any foreign diplomatic representatives."
Whatever Hennrich told Jackson and Donegan, the Justice Department did not accept it. Two days later Olney wrote Hoover, again pushing for the bureau to interview a Nationalist diplomat. Hoover again turned it down: "It seems to me since the Dept. has initiated this angle it should carry it out—not the FBI." Mild, but the tension was building.
Branigan got much of this pressure. He complained in a three-page
letter to Belmont on March 23, 1954. Rover wanted the bureau to "furnish summaries of information" that might stimulate the Chinese Nationalists to provide more. This request, Branigan thought, was ridiculous. "The Criminal Division's attorneys are now preparing for trial. They know better than We what the weaknesses in the case from a prosecution standpoint are."
Rover did know the weaknesses of his case, but he continued to believe that the Chinese could rescue him if pressed sufficiently. This belief led him to a curious maneuver. FBI documents about this operation are heavily censored, but sometime in March Rover communicated to John W. Ford, State Department regional security supervisor, Far East, requesting that Ford obtain from the Chinese Nationalist government a formal statement that all information it had about Lattimore had been given to the United States government. On the face of it this request was ridiculous, but Ford was a diplomat. The uncensored part of his reply says only that "past experience has shown the Nationalist Government to be reluctant to give information, especially where such data concerned American citizens. It was felt that an actual formal statement from the Nationalist Government to the effect that the United States Government had been furnished all information in its files would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to obtain." Presumably no such request was made.
But the pressure continued, and Taipei released one more document. "Informations on the Activities of Owen Lattimore and His Associates in Rendering Assistance to the Chinese Communist Party in Its Attempt to Overthrow the Nationalist Government" was turned over to the U.S. embassy May 17, 1954. Its primary subjects were Lattimore, Service, Vincent, and Davies. This forty-page document purported to contain three surveillance reports on the activities of these individuals. It was obviously written after the Tydings and McCarran hearings, but it contained more factual inaccuracies than previous documents from Taipei. Hoover received "Informations" June 21,1954, a month after the embassy in Taipei got it. He passed a copy to Olney July 6, noting that it was similar to earlier documents from Taipei.
This was not the end of prosecution attempts to squeeze more out of the Nationalists. In August 1954, when an unnamed high Nationalist official visited Washington on financial business, Davitt and Donegan quietly interviewed him. The bureau did not even know such an interview took place until December 2, when Assistant Attorney General William F. Tompkins (who replaced Olney) wrote the FBI to report on this interview. Tompkins wanted the bureau to follow up suggestions from the
Nationalist official, including an interview with Hollington Tong, by then Nationalist ambassador in Tokyo.
Belmont inherited this problem. Most of his response is still denied, but his first recommendation got by the FBI censors: "It is recommended that we accede to the request of AAG Tompkins despite the fact that it took four months to advise us ——— interview and to request investigation. . . . if we now tell the Department to cover these leads itself and the case is lost, the Department would undoubtedly try to place the blame. on us."
When this story got to Hoover, he exploded. Two paragraphs of his letter of December 25 to the attorney general are denied, but one can get the general idea from what is released.
I am calling this request to your attention because there are fundamental principles involved. Certainly if the Federal Bureau of Investigation is to be responsible for investigations, we must insist that our representatives conduct interviews where there appear to be available facts which would reflect upon investigations within our jurisdiction. Just as certainly it is unfair for the Department to hold facts for four months requiring investigative attention and then request investigation shortly before trial is scheduled to begin.
I must protest vigorously the inconsiderate manner in which this matter has at this late date been referred to us for handling.
There is no record of what the bureau learned from Hollington Tong or from any of the other fourteen interviews requested.
The bureau was forced into other "fishing expeditions" by a jittery prosecution team. One of them required hundreds of hours of agent time to search the chaotic Army Intelligence records at Fort Holabird in Baltimore for any mention of Lattimore in files covering thirty-four persons who had been in Asia and might have known him. Nothing came of this search.
On January 25, 1954, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit sat for three hours to hear oral arguments in the Lattimore case. All nine judges were present. Rover said that he was "ask[ing] for a full court hearing because of what he called the crippling effect of Judge Youngdahl's ruling, if allowed to stand, on the right of Congress to conduct investigations."
Most of the argument centered on the first count. Nothing new was presented. The arguments were all in the printed briefs. The judges seemed
to assume that count one was nebulous, and they asked lawyers for both sides to discuss whether a bill of particulars would cure this defect. Rover said it wasn't nebulous at all; O'Mahoney said it was "basically vague and indefinite" and could not be cured. AFP and the Lattimore lawyers were cautiously optimistic; nobody expected an early decision.
From Eleanor Lattimore's letter to the Barretts three days after the hearing, we know that the Lattimores did not share AFP's optimism. It was still unreal to her, "having to sit and listen to Owen being discussed and described by a serious representative of his government as if he were a criminal and a traitor." And when the case was "announced as United States of America versus Owen Lattimore it sounds like such an uneven contest to start with, especially when they describe Owen as 'Criminal No. 1879-52.' " As she saw it, the stress of the hearing gave her a bad cold, and "Owen woke up with a bad sacro-iliac, one of the worst he's ever had." Their doctor was convinced these illnesses were both largely psychosomatic. But this hearing was over, and she wrote, "We can now settle down to forgetting that the USA is against Owen Lattimore and doing some nice things like painting the house and digging the garden and chopping firewood."
A week after the court of appeals hearing, one of the landmark events of the McCarthy era took place at the Department of Defense. John G. Adams, army counsellor, assigned by Secretary of the Army Robert Stevens as liaison m Senator McCarthy, had to decide whether to honor McCarthy's demand that the famous left-wing dentist, Irving Peress, be kept in the service. Peress had been hounded by McCarthy and wanted to be discharged—right away. Secretary Stevens was out of the country. Adams decided that the only reason to hold Peress was to appease McCarthy, since Peress was eligible for immediate discharge. Sick of appeasing McCarthy, Adams let the Peress discharge go through. McCarthy and Cohn declared war on the army, and Eisenhower was finally forced in his limp-handed way to back up the army. The televised Army-McCarthy hearings showed McCarthy to the electorate in all his nastiness, and by the end of 1954 the "Wisconsin Whimperer" (Lattimore's phrase) had been censured and shunned by the Senate. Lattimore had the last laugh.
In spring 1954 the Lattimores were able to get away from Baltimore and its fanatics. They took several weeks to go north, first to visit the Stefanssons. Eleanor Lattimore described this visit in glowing terms. Then came Lattimore's annual Harvard lecture. There was fear of trouble by the Harvard authorities, largely because of threats by the local American Legion, so the area was swarming with police. But there was no trouble,
and about a thousand people (Eleanor's estimate) packed the hall. Fair-bank as usual entertained the Lattimores, and they dined with Zechariah Chafee, Ralph Barton Perry, Bernard De Voto, and other Cambridge friends. The next stop was New York, staying with Joe and Betty Barnes, dining with Santha Rama Rau, Dorothy Borg, and A. J. Liebling. U.S. versus Lattimore receded, for a while, into the background.
Months dragged by, and no word came from the court of appeals. There were occasional words from McCarran. Speaking to the New Hampshire Catholic War Veterans in Manchester May 1, 1954, McCarran said the Communist party was more dangerous than ever. It had decentralized and gone underground. "This decentralization has already tripled the number of Communist Party clubs," he said. And the Party had "selected the secret leaders for its underground apparatus. It has established and is operating a far reaching and vigorous 'loyalty' program of its own." The New York Times account does not say whether he mentioned Lattimore as one of the leaders of the new Communist apparatus.
On May 11 Hummer finally had word on how the court of appeals would rule. It was a rumor, he admitted to Wacks, but the vote would be 7-2 in favor of the prosecution. This time Hummer was wrong. On July 8, 1954, the appeals court issued its opinion. By a vote of 8-1 the court upheld Youngdahl in striking the vital first count and the trivial seventh count. The court overruled Youngdahl on counts three and four, but on a 5-4 vote. A vigorous minority opinion on counts three and four made Youngdahl look good. It had taken six months, but the forty-four-page decision was worth it to the Lattimore camp.
The court based rejection of count one primarily on the vagueness argument: "The word 'sympathizer' is not of sufficiently certain meaning to sustain a charge of perjury. . . . There is no definition of the term 'sympathizer' or any concrete specification of its content either in the indictment or in the statute." Judge E. Barrett Prettyman, who wrote the opinion on count one, cited the dictionary; there were at least five distinguishable meanings. And the vagueness of the count "cannot be cured by a bill of particulars."
Count seven, about the Yenan trip, was dismissed on a technicality. Robert Morris, in questioning Lattimore during the SISS hearings, had been inept. Morris asked in one place about prearrangements with "Communist authorities" and in another about "the Communist Party." The court held that these were two different things, and Lattimore had acknowledged writing the Communist authorities in Yenan.
The majority opinion on the first count did not accept the First Amend-
ment arguments of Lattimore's lawyers; that count was invalidated on the basis of vagueness. On the two counts reversing Youngdahl, Judges Henry W. Edgerton, Bennett Champ Clark, David L. Bazelon, and Wilbur K. Miller filed a powerful dissent. "Few terms are vaguer than 'Communist.' It may mean a member of the Communist Party, or a sympathizer and promoter of Communism and Communist interests, or a believer in dialectical materialism, or a radical, or an opponent of inherited wealth, or many other things." They felt that this vagueness alone should invalidate counts three and four.
But the dissenters' most interesting analysis dealt with materiality. Both counts (that Lattimore lied when he said he did not know that Chi Cha'o-ting and Asiaticus were Communists) were irrelevant to the mission of the committee before which Lattimore testified.
Counts III and IV relate to the period between 1934 and 1941. But the Committee was authorized, at the end of 1950, to investigate current matters. . . . The Resolution expresses no interest in persons who were, or may have been , Communist-dominated years ago, when Hitler, not Russia, was threatening the world and many people were Communist sympathizers who are now anti-Communists. The Committee is to study what goes on in the 1950's, not what went on in the 1930's. It is to be a watchman, not a historian. If the Resolution left this point in doubt, legislative history would remove the doubt. . . . If these counts go to trial, and if the government offers to prove that Lattimore did publish "subversive" articles and also that their authors were Communists, it will remain immaterial whether or not Lattimore knew they were Communists. (Italics in original)
There follows a lengthy indictment of SISS for overstepping its bounds. The dissenters did accept the First Amendment argument. They could not "avoid the conclusion that a congressional inquiry into what an editor knew, between 1934 and 1941, about the views of the authors whose work he published, would abridge the freedom of the press guaranteed by the First Amendment. . . . The court overlooks the fact that what is not pertinent cannot be material and the Rumely rule that pertinence cannot be decided without regard to constitutional limits on congressional power." Here was a notable rebuke to McCarran, SISS, the Department of Justice, and the whole McCarthy saturnalia. This time it was a minority opinion, but in the end Edgerton and his fellow dissenters triumphed.
The press appreciated what had happened: the Times headline the next day read "Lattimore Upheld on Battle to Kill Key Count in Case." Rover knew he had been slapped down; he "acknowledged that he considered
the first count the core of the case. Mr. Rover said he 'could go to trial' with what was left of the indictment, but made it clear that he would have been much happier if the first count had been reinstated."
Lattimore said the decision was "dearly a major victory," and O'Mahoney claimed that the 8-1 vote of the court on the major count "has destroyed any substantial case" against Lattimore. A New York Times editorial on July 11 agreed.
Rover was now at a crossroads. After a long and successful career, he had taken on a landmark prosecution that he expected to solidify his reputation. Seventeen months into that prosecution, things were beginning to fall apart. The whole anti-Communist crusade was losing its luster. McCarthy had been made a fool of by Joseph Welch and on July 20, as a result of the Army-McCarthy hearings, had to fire Roy Cohn and Don Surine. And the court of appeals—how could they have found for the heretic Lattimore?
Hummer relayed the deliberations of the prosecution team to the bureau. Rover's first plan was to take the case to the Supreme Court. Chief Judge Harold Stephens of the court of appeals, the lone dissenter in the 8-1 decision to dismiss count one, advised Rover to appeal to the Supreme Court. But FBI coolness to the prosecution, and doubts as to whether Solicitor General Simon Sobeloff would agree to appeal the case, caused Rover to change his mind.
FBI reluctance to push the prosecution was apparent when Rover sent Jackson to the bureau to talk informally to an unidentified supervisor. Jackson raised several topics, then got to the bottom line: "Jackson then asked if a Bureau agent would be permitted to serve in court to identify the public source material used in preparation of the Bureau memorandum sent to the Department" and also if someone "would read, review, and analyze the Department's final written brief in the Lattimore case." The supervisor Jackson talked to said he could not handle that matter; it would have to go upstairs. Upstairs, in the person of Director Hoover, was as usual blunt. His terminal comment: "Absolutely no."
Rover wrote Sobeloff July 16, 1954. Rover then believed that an appeal to the Supreme Court would take so long that the prosecution would lose momentum, and the best course would be to seek a new indictment "framed to meet the objections of the Court to the language in count one." This new indictment would then be consolidated with the still-standing minor counts of the first indictment. There would be two general counts in the
new indictment, with the terms clearly defined, eliminating the vagueness problem. Sobeloff approved this recommendation.
Victims of the inquisition often felt they were facing an all-powerful, highly coordinated behemoth that could bludgeon its way to triumph over truth and justice. This was not always the situation. In the Hiss and Rosenberg cases the FBI, the Justice Department, the courts, and sometimes the White House worked together effectively. In the Lattimore case the FBI and Justice had serious fights, which, along with doubts in the bureau about Lattimore's alleged guilt, contributed to the failure of the prosecution.
After deciding to seek a second indictment, Rover made another tactical error: he wanted to reinterview twenty-one key witnesses. He sent Jackson to see Branigan at 6:45 P.M. on July 22, requesting that the bureau (1) furnish the current addresses of the witnesses and (2) "contact these witnesses tonight and request that replies be received by tomorrow, July 23." Branigan hit the roof. The bureau would not be hustled in this fashion. Justice could get the addresses itself. Jackson then retreated and told Branigan that "he did not mean to impress a deadline for action but desired only that the Bureau give the matter its usual prompt attention." Hoover's comment: "We should not be stampeded in this."
Incredibly, after this display of arrogance the prosecution came back July 23 to ask that a bureau agent accompany the departmental attorney on each interview and that the various bureau offices outside Washington provide transportation for traveling department attorneys. Now Branigan dropped his formal language. These requests were "completely out of line." Hoover agreed: "We are not going to start acting as chauffeurs, valets, witnesses, nor aides-de-camp for Dept attorneys." But this wasn't the end. Department attorneys Donegan and Davitt, on a western interview tour, tried to get the Los Angeles FBI office to drive them to San Diego. Hoover was apoplectic.
Donegan and Davitt made their trip to San Diego on their own. The potential witness they went to see was Clay Osborne, who had begun his vendetta against Lattimore when he worked for OWI in 1943. Osborne was by this time in a state mental institution; he had periods of rationality followed by total incoherence. Donegan reported that he had "no doubt whatsoever that Clay Osborne would not make a satisfactory witness."
By August 11, 1954, the prosecution team had prepared a fifty-two-page memorandum for Rover, giving the pros and cons of seeking a new indictment. Rover studied this memorandum and on August 19 made his
announcement: he would seek from the grand jury then sitting in the District of Columbia an indictment based on matters not covered in the original indictment, using new evidence and new witnesses. The only clue he gave the press was that the new material dealt with Lattimore's "promotion of Communist interests." Lattimore did not comment publicly, but AFP, joined by O'Mahoney, issued a statement. "The United States Attorney has announced that he will not appeal the 'key' count of the Lattimore indictment which has been condemned by two courts on grounds which are fundamental to our liberties. Instead he will seek a new indictment containing the same charge in slightly different words. If Mr. Rover believes that the issue should be litigated, it seems to us a pity and an unjust hardship to the defendant that he has decided to adopt this strategy rather than to submit the fundamental question to the Supreme Court of the United States."
The defense team was puzzled and downhearted. What new evidence, what new witnesses, could Rover possibly have that would lead him to seek another indictment on the vague grounds of "promoting Communist interests?" They were on a treadmill. After a successful two-year struggle to get one vague count thrown out, they were now confronted with the same thing all over again.
But it was not really the same thing over again; it was worse. The Lattimores and their lawyers had been constantly under stress for fifty-four months. The funds raised by George Boas had been exhausted. The government with its infinite resources had added new prosecutors, activated the immense power of the Hearst, Scripps Howard, and McCormick press, floated rumors about surprise witnesses, and carefully concealed the bankruptcy of its hunt for credible evidence. Lattimore wrote Fortas August 21, 1954, two days after Rover's announcement; the letter does not survive, but Fortas's answer tells us how things stood.
Fortas's response is dated August 25. So sensitive was the matter that he said he wanted "to write a few things to you which would be too difficult to say personally." Fortas acknowledged that the lawyers had concealed from Lattimore, who had been in their office at the time of Rover's announcement, their great distress. This was part of a lawyer's habitual "spare the client" reaction to bad news. But Lattimore's letter now made Fortas's anguish no longer concealable: "Your letter indicates that you have now reached what may be the point of unbearable stress." So Fortas had to level with Lattimore.
One thing he revealed was that he and Thurman Arnold were in disagreement: "Thurman, being of an optimistic turn of mind and being full
of good red blood, strongly asserts that the case against you cannot prevail. I think that the outcome is entirely unpredictable and that it depends to a substantial extent upon the state of the world and of the nation at the time the case goes to the jury." Then to the crux of Lattimore's letter: "As to the immediate problem with which you are wrestling—whether to go before the grand jury or to hold a press conference after the indictment—I believe you are aware of the problems involved. Ultimately, the decision will have to be yours after you have had another exposure to the legal view. Please regard this as a personal communication from me to you. Thurman is out of town and has not seen this letter."
Thus descended on Lattimore and his wife one more dark night of the soul, a rending decision whether to go by the traditional legal procedures or to venture into the volatile realm of public counterattack. Should they attempt to convince the keepers of public opinion that no matter how many hundreds of charges had been thrown at Lattimore, they were all frauds? By the time I came to question him, Lattimore no longer recalled the soul-searching that accompanied this decision, and no documents preserve it. In any case, the legal route won out. They would go by the book.
By September 19 Lattimore had recovered his composure sufficiently to write his sister-in-law with remarkable sanguinity. They had had a wonderful New England holiday, his gardening was therapeutic, his grandson Michael was so beautiful it was dangerous to take him out on the street, and there was a new granddaughter, Maria, who would probably be a trapeze artist as well as an intellectual. The grand jury had subpoenaed fifty new letters from the IPR files, and their line of attack was evident: "The IPR will be pictured afresh as a nest of pro-Russian intrigue, and I as chief cuckoo in the nest. Even things like favoring US recognition in 1933 will be interpreted as 'pro-Russian,' to get me indicted as having been a 'promoter' of Communist causes, but leaving out, this time, the word 'sympathizer.' Thurman Arnold gets so mad when trying to discuss it that he can't talk, only huff and puff. . . . Ever'n ever so much love; and, paraphrasing McCarran: Don't think! Write!"
What Lattimore and his lawyers did not know was that Rover was misstating his intentions just enough to throw the defense off the track. What he intended to seek was a two-count indictment, the first count being that Lattimore lied when he said he had never been a follower of the Communist line; when this falsehood was established by citing Lattimore's voluminous writings, Rover would use the same evidence to get a second count showing that Lattimore had thereby promoted Communist inter-
ests. There would be two major counts now, instead of one, and "follower of the Communist line" was sufficiently precise to avoid dismissal on Sixth Amendment grounds.
Rover had a secret weapon. It was an impressive 515-page "analysis" of Lattimore's writings done by "outside experts" which showed that "in approximately 97% of the cases, Lattimore agreed with the Communist line." To a grand jury, this analysis must have had the weight of Moses' tablets when he came down from Mount Sinai. Of course, the jurors couldn't read it all. Even if they had read it, in the absence of knowing the pathology of the compilers, the selectivity of the passages cited, the omissions of vast chunks of contradictory material, and the paranoid fantasies on which it was based, they would not have known how misleading it was.
Analyses of Lattimore's writings to show that he followed the Communist line had begun with Kohlberg's attack on the IPR. Freda Utley presented a similar analysis to the Tydings committee and in her 1951 book The China Story . Richard L. Walker filled a special section of the New Leader (March 31, 1952) with an anti-Lattimore article that included analysis of Lattimore's Pacific Affairs editing. The FBI had its Central Research Desk make a comparison of Lattimore's writings with the Party line. The Department of State did the same thing in 1951. McCarran's staff was constantly working up such comparisons; a June 1952 document headed "Parallel with Communist Line" was produced by Mandel, Morris, and "Burnham" (probably James Burnham). In addition to these known analysts, six unidentified individuals volunteered their studies of Lattimore's writings to McCarthy, McCarran, or the FBI.
Hummer had no impressive comparison of Lattimore's writings with the Communist line in December 1952, but soon thereafter the prosecution set about getting one. On January 30, 1953, Rover wrote Hoover, noting that an article by Harold Lasswell showing how the new technique of "content analysis" could "prove a person's writings may follow a given propaganda line" had appeared in a back issue of Public Opinion Quarterly . Would the bureau get him a copy? The bureau complied.
Then Rover visited Belmont February 24. Would the bureau agent who had analyzed Lattimore's writings in 1950 be available to testify at trial? Belmont did not think so. Whoever testified should have been a Communist so he could have personal knowledge of the Party line. No bureau agent could do this; no agent would be allowed to testify in any case. Hoover agreed. Rover set about getting his own experts.
But he needed a library of Lattimore's writings for the experts to work with. On April 10 he dumped in the bureau's lap a request for two copies
of everything Lattimore had ever written or spoken: books, magazine articles, public statements, book reviews, newspaper articles, OWI directives. At first the bureau attempted to comply with this request, but as hitherto unknown Lattimore articles began to surface, the bureau grew tired of tracking them down. Justice Department attorneys were told to go to the Library of Congress. By June the bureau had provided 322 articles and 5 books; Rover got the rest of the books from the Library of Congress. Rover's major problem now was finding the right persons to analyze them. All candidates for this task were screened by the bureau.
By July 2 the apparatus was all in place. Rover had found an institutional base for the project: American University's Bureau of Social Science Research, Robert T. Bower, Director. Staff members working on the Lattimore project were Harold Mendelson, Ivor Wayne, and Stanley K. Bigman. Listed as consultants were William J. Morgan of the president's Psychological Strategy Board, Charles A. H. Thomson of the Brookings Institution, and W. Phillips Davison and Alexander George of Rand Corporation. Or so attorney Donegan told Belmont.
In 1985 none of the American University people could be located. Fortunately, Alexander George, Phillips Davison, and Charles Thomson, the "consultants" on the project, responded to my inquiries. Alexander George's response was typical: "I am happy to have an opportunity to clarify the record as regards the [FBI] statement that I was a consultant to the Department of Justice in the Lattimore case. I and several other specialists in content analysis were asked to attend a meeting to discuss whether this technique could be used to prepare evidence against Lattimore. Ralph K. White, also present at the meeting, and I both emphatically stated that in our judgment the technique of content analysis was not capable of providing valid evidence for this kind of purpose. I was not asked to participate in such a project."
Rover was not put off by the adverse judgment of the consultants. Bower said they could do it, so a contract was drawn up with American University for a "sample analysis" at a cost of eight thousand dollars. Hummer and Donegan related to Belmont how this analysis was working. Belmont thought:
The method of analysis appears w be quite complicated; however, briefly, it is to be entirely objective and based on the treatment afforded subject matter by Lattimore as to whether it follows the Communist Party line or is more favorable to Russian interests than the interests of the United States. This is to be accomplished by utilizing the yardstick of some 400 key words and phrases; for example, Stalin, China, reactionary, impe-
rialist, opportunist, etc. For example, take the word "Stalin"; a list would be made up of the number of times this word appeared in Lattimore's writings and would be broken down as to whether Stalin was mentioned favorably or unfavorably. By this factual analysis, on a percentage basis, it is expected that these researchers can testify that Lattimore's writings were pro-Communist and that he favored or promoted Communist or Russian interests.
The American University team set about its task. Apparently the university library was not adequate for their research; they were constantly plying Rover with requests for needed materials, which Olney passed on to the FBI: background data on the Overseas News Agency, a copy of the theses of the Sixth World Congress of the Communist party, China's New Democracy by Mao Tse-tung, the China White Paper , George Sokolsky's Tinder Box of Asia , and so on.
Sometime in October 1953 the American University team finished a sixty-page report, which "concluded that the content analysis techniques used by them at this time cannot prove the proposition that Lattimore was a promoter and sympathizer of Communist interests." But they thought it was entirely possible that Lattimore's views could be compared with the Communist party line by some other means. Rover was back to square one. In November he started all over. This time he had a new list of expert prospects, all to be screened by the bureau: Herbert Feis, W. Yandell Elliott, Stefan Possony, Cyrus H. Peake, and Nelson T. Johnson. H. G. Creel and Wilmoor Kendall were later added to the list, but none of these people was selected. Perhaps they weren't expensive enough; Olney told Hummer "that no economy should be used on this search or any other aspect of instant case."
Sometime in January 1954 Rover got his new team together. It was announced to the bureau February 4: Joseph Ballantine, David Dallin, Nicholas Poppe, and Timothy Taracouzio (henceforth designated by the initials of their last names, BDPT). This group replicated the ideology of McCarran and his SISS. Three of them were known enemies of Lattimore. Rover chose well for the purpose of getting an analysis to overwhelm a grand jury; but were this team to be subject to skillful cross-examination in a public trial, their biases would hurt Rover's cause.
Joseph Ballantine had been chief of the Far Eastern division of the State Department in 1945—one of the Japanophiles Lattimore told Truman should be replaced. Ballantine thought Lattimore had been "very anxious to get us into a war with Japan" in 1941. After the war he objected to Lattimore's position on the emperor. At the October 1949 roundtable confer-
ence on China, Ballantine sided with Stassen and the group opposed to dealing with Peking. In his oral history for Columbia University, Ballantine said that "Solution in Asia goes 100 percent along the line of the Communist solution in Asia."
David Dallin was a Russian national who had fled the Soviet Union in 1922. He came to New York in 1940 and made a name as a student of Soviet foreign policy. Naturally he read Lattimore, who was insufficiently anti-Communist for his tastes. In Dallin's 1948 book, Soviet Russia and the Far East , he claimed that Lattimore was following the Soviet line in advocating a coalition government in China; chastised Lattimore for claiming that the Chinese Communists had democratic features; and in general said that Solution in Asia swallowed the Communist line. In a 1950 New Leader article he strengthened these views. Lattimore, in saying that the Soviet Union did not control China, "could not be serving the Kremlin more effectively were he on Stalin's payroll." A year later, also in the New Leader , Dallin took up Budenz's crusade. Wallace, Lattimore, and Vincent had worked to carry out a Kremlin objective when they recommended Wedemeyer (which, of course, Lattimore had nothing to do with). Wallace said Dallin's article "indicates a mind so diseased" that he would not answer it; Alsop said that "it seemed to me such trumped up and psychotic nonsense" that he canceled his New Leader subscription.
Nicholas Poppe (see chapter 22) had lost none of his hostility to Lattimore when Rover asked him to take part in the BDPT analysis in 1954. Poppe remained convinced that Lattimore followed the Party line on Mongolia. Poppe does not mention his work on BDPT in his autobiography.
Timothy Taracouzio was the only BDPT participant with no public record of hostility to Lattimore. He was also a Russian refugee, having come to the United States in 1923. He studied at the University of Southern California, took a Ph.D. at Harvard (1928), and was in charge of the Slavic department of Harvard's Law Library from 1928 to 1942. During World War II he served in the army; after the war he taught at the National War College for a year, then the Naval Intelligence School for a few months. There is a big gap in his Who's Who biography between 1947 and 1956.
Taracouzio wrote three books, two of which do not help us understand why he was enlisted to impale Lattimore. His third book, War and Peace in Soviet Diplomacy , published by Macmillan in 1940, is enlightening. As Rupert Emerson notes in the American Political Science Review , Taracouzio "sets out with a basic hostility both to Marxist ideology and to
Russian practice ," hence leaving no room for defense of Soviet policy anywhere. Taracouzio ignores the exclusion of Russia from the Munich conferences; Lattimore's view of Munich, that the Western powers treated the Soviets contemptibly, was anathema to Taracouzio. Taracouzio would also have despised Lattimore's 1950 geopolitics. Lattimore held that by tough negotiations the United States could reach a settlement with the Soviet Union in Asia; Taracouzio thought that the Kremlin would not deviate from its fundamental desire to conquer the world and that negotiations were useless.
Quite a crew, BDPT. Asking them to evaluate Lattimore's work was like asking Luther, Calvin, Knox, and Wesley to evaluate papal encyclicals.
BDPT had research needs too. Requests to the bureau for research materials tripled. Jackson made some monumental demands, usually channeled through the new Assistant Attorney General for Internal Security, William F. Tompkins. On September 3 Tompkins wanted specific information about 237 Lattimore publications: "With respect to each book, periodical, or document, the name and address of the witness or witnesses who can testify to (1) the amount of circulation of the first edition and all subsequent editions, if any; (2) its printing and circulation in foreign languages; and (3) the names of all countries in which the writings were circulated and the amount of circulation therein." Unfortunately, our lexicon of J. Edgar Hoover's expletives is the poorer due to absence of his reaction to this request.
On Monday, September 3, 1954, Rover, Jackson, Donegan, and Hummer went before the grand jury. They had the 515-page BDPT comparison of Lattimore's writings with the Party line; more than five hundred other exhibits including, so Hummer claimed, all of Lattimore's publications; and various witnesses. We do not know about the witnesses, but the stacks of documents had to be overwhelming.
The BDPT analysis of Lattimore's writings was not released by the FBI or the Department of Justice. There is, however, a copy in Ballantine's papers at the Hoover Institution at Stanford. This document is mimeographed; presumably it was the version displayed before the grand jury. Marginalia indicate that BDPT clearly had some internal disagreements. Poppe wrote the lengthy section on Mongolia; Dallin scribbled caustic comments all over this section. Ballantine wrote on Japan, Dallin on China; Taracouzio's contribution is not clear.
The BDPT analysis is organized by topics: Chiang Kai-shek, China,
Indonesia, Indochina, Japan, Korea, Lattimore and communism in general, Mongolia, Sinkiang, Soviet foreign policy, Soviet Union. There are 555 separate citations to Lattimore's writings, with some passages cited twice or three times. These passages come from
Overseas New Agency
Situation in Asia
Solution in Asia
Inner Asian Frontiers of China , Lattimore's most important and best-known work, is cited only five times. Out of perhaps four million words in Lattimore's collected works, BDPT analyzed some seventy-five thousand. How were they chosen? The selection was not on the basis of random numbers, or by taking every tenth paragraph, or any other rigorous principle. Careful reading of BDPT makes the conclusion inescapable that they selected passages that contradicted the right-wing wisdom of 1954: that Lattimore, as mastermind of the China hands, lost China; that Moscow brought Mao to power; that the People's Republic of China was subservient to the Kremlin; that the Korean invasion was Stalin's first step toward world conquest; that the United States should never recognize the PRC; and so on. It was easy to build up a pro-Communist score this way. For each citation to Lattimore's writings in BDPT, there is a classification: either agreement with or contradiction to the Communist position. About half of the pages have a column for the evaluator to indicate whether the passage cited agrees or disagrees with the official U.S. position. Usually the author finds a contradiction to the U.S. position, but even where he doesn't, if the U.S. position agrees with the Soviet position, he chalks up a score against Lattimore. On about half of the items related to Chiang Kai-shek, whom the Russians supported until 1946 and Lattimore until 1947, Lattimore could be classified as in agreement with both the Soviet position and the U.S. position. This gives him no credit. It was a no-win situation. If Lattimore said the world was round, BDPT would check Soviet doctrine. If the Soviets also said the world was round, BDPT would score one against Lattimore.
Most of the evaluations show Lattimore taking a heretical position—for instance, his belief that Soviet minority policies in the Sino-Soviet
border areas were enlightened, so that the Soviets had a certain "power of attraction" for minorities on the Chinese side. Lattimore's position on this point is cited in ten or more places—hence ten scores against him. BDPT justify this approach by arguing that there had been minority unrest in the Ukraine; hence, Lattimore could not be correct about the Sino-Soviet border areas; hence, Lattimore was following the Communist line.
BDPT analysis of the five citations from Inner Asian Frontiers is especially interesting. In any scientific sample of his writings this book would have been cited far more than a mere five times. The first of the five citations does not appear on the page of Frontiers BDPT claim, nor does it appear anywhere else in Lattimore's book. In citation two, Lattimore says that most of the Inner Mongolian lamas were parasites, living off the profits of trade and agriculture that they controlled. This was true, but the Soviets believed it also. Score another agreement between Lattimore and the Communists. The third citation is lengthy and complicated; any analysis would necessitate a major historical inquiry. Since Lattimore says Soviet policy in Outer Mongolia (MPR) was nonexploitive and aided the Mongols against the Japanese encroachment, BDPT score it against Lattimore.
In citation four, Lattimore says the Khalka Mongols have "the most popular and representative government they have ever had, and a rising standard of living" under the MPR. There is much reason to believe this evaluation was correct, but Poppe didn't believe it. Score another point against Lattimore. In citation five, Lattimore describes a Soviet-Chinese negotiation of 1929. BDPT says his description is overly kind to the Soviet Union. Perhaps they were right. But these five instances (or four, if item one is a false citation), taken out of a treatise of 585 pages, do not prove anything except that the compilers were out to get Lattimore .
I cannot claim to have checked out every one of BDPT's 555 citations. Since Solution in Asia was the paradigm instance of Lattimorean fellow-traveling, according to Ballantine and Dallin as well as Eastman and Powell in their Reader's Digest article, I checked the seventy-one references to it carefully. In only three cases do BDPT find Lattimore in opposition to the Communist line. The other sixty-eight citations are in agreement with the Communists. In about ten cases the analyst throws in the additional comment "Propaganda."
However, there are certain anomalies in the BDPT analysis of Solution . Nineteen items repeat earlier citations under a new category; hence, only fifty-two different citations are actually used. The box score does not show this duplication. One item is classified as "Agreement with Communist
position—propaganda" on page 180 of BDPT but on page 292 is classed as "Contradiction to Communist position." One of these has to be wrong.
Most of the analysis simply demonstrates that BDPT lived in a different historical environment from Lattimore. Did, as Lattimore claims, Chiang use the threat of the Chinese Communists to get aid from the United States? Of course. This is not Party-lining. Lattimore claimed Chiang was still in control of China in 1944 and that the Communists were not strong enough to nominate a candidate of their own for president. This is Party-lining? Lattimore said Marxist thought was "competitive" with capitalist thought in Asia. Was this not true? Lattimore pointed out the interaction of domestic and foreign policy—linkage, in current parlance—and so did Lenin. Does this warrant charging Lattimore with following the Party line? Nationalism, Lattimore said in 1944, is the most potent force in Indonesia; colonialism is dead. Stalin said this, too. Who is following whom? This tortured analysis of Solution emanated from bias and ideology. O'Mahoney, Fortas, Arnold, or Rogers would have made mincemeat of it.
The most compelling evidence of bias in BDPT's analysis of Solution is its total disregard of Lattimore's prescriptions for the economic and political health of Asia. No single passage in which he argues for capitalistic free enterprise is cited by these analysts. What BDPT cite is slanted; what they ignore is vital. Lattimore notes the desirability "of encouraging the development of independent local capital and industry in colonial territories." He praises Chiang, saying the "power of decisive action lies with the Chinese, and within China with the Kuomintang." He notes that Americans were welcomed back to the Philippines, proving that U.S. policies there had been enlightened. He says, "We need political stability and economic prosperity in China so that we can invest our capital there safely." He argues that "we should do our utmost to revive production in China, emphasizing the value of the profit motive, and therefore of private enterprise." And in the overall Asian scene, we need "a general policy of expanding investments and markets."
But on August 18, 1954, Jackson could tell Branigan that "in approximately 97% of the cases, Lattimore agreed with the Communist line."
The BDPT analysis is a scandal, and its use by the Eisenhower Department of Justice to wring a two-count indictment out of an uncomprehending District of Columbia grand jury was contemptible.