Matusow, Bogolepov, the CIA, and Other Liars
On March 13, 1952, during a break in the Lattimore series, SISS listened to another of the unstable personalities attracted to the informing business: Harvey Matusow. Matusow had joined the Communist party in 1947 but became disillusioned by 1950 and signed up as an FBI undercover agent. His actions were not discreet; the comrades began to suspect him and expelled him in 1951. His expulsion made him available to the government for public testimony. As he later explained his witnessing career, he invented whatever was needed to make the headlines. He testified before HUAC, worked for the Ohio Un-American Activities Committee, gave evidence to the Subversive Activities Control Board, and testified against various teachers and labor leaders.
These appearances whetted Matusow's appetite for the big time. He wanted to testify in the IPR hearings. He was already in the "major leagues," but the IPR and Lattimore was the world series. As he later wrote,
When testifying on youth activities before [another] McCarran committee, I had said, with seeming casualness, "While I was working in a Communist bookstore in New York, I sold Lattimore's book, Solution in Asia ." I added that it was used as official Communist dogma on the subject.
This immediately aroused Morris' interest and he asked me to testify. . . .
On Thursday, March 13, 1952, the hearing room was full. No one but the committee members knew who the witness was slated to be. Senator Eastland of Mississippi was acting as chairman.
I didn't come right out and attack Owen Lattimore. I first had to
establish myself as an expert on Communist activities relating to the Far East. I referred to the Committee for a Democratic Far Eastern Policy and its selling publications which were printed in China. I rattled off a list of authors who had written on the subject of China. My bait was taken.
I painted a picture of the operation of a "Communist bookshop network," stating that there were such shops in every major city in the country. I deliberately dropped big names, and I implicated Henry Wallace by saying I had seen and sold a pamphlet of his that was printed by the Institute of Pacific Relations . . . .
This was all part of the broad picture of "subversion" with which I attempted to surround Lattimore. . . .
I climaxed my testimony with the dramatic assertion that Owen Lattimore's books were used as the official Communist Party guides on Asia. Once again, I told a complete falsehood.
The results of my testimony were most gratifying to me when I saw the newspaper headlines:
"Matusow Says He Believes Lattimore Red," "Lattimore Book Had Official Red OK, Witness Says," "Lattimore Book Had Party Line," "Charge Lattimore Book Is Red," etc.
I made front pages across the United States, thanks to Owen Lattimore. . . . I had reached the top rung of the ladder.
This 1952 testimony was swallowed whole by SISS; Senator Eastland received it eagerly. Even the FBI was taken in by Matusow, who was described as an informant of "known reliability."
After the Lattimore testimony was finished on March 21, 1952, the hearings lost their luster. Headlines were fewer. Though IPR hearings went on until June 20, never again did a witness attract six of the seven committee members; most were attended by a single senator.
William C. Bullitt, who appeared April 8, brought out only three committee members. Bullitt was a heavyweight, and it is surprising that his testimony was not more highly regarded. He had been the first American ambassador to the Soviet Union (1933-36) and then ambassador to France (1936-41). In 1947 Henry Luce sent Bullitt to China; his "Report to the American People on China" in Life , October 13, 1947, is regarded by many as the most influential single broadside supporting Chiang. By 1952 Bullitt was a power in the China lobby.
Bullitt had met Lattimore in Moscow in 1936; Carter arranged for Lattimore to confer with the ambassador. The recollections of the two men about this conference diverge strikingly. Bullitt told SISS that Lattimore
had claimed the Mongolian People's Republic was fully independent, that there was no Soviet control whatsoever, and that the United States should recognize the MPR.
Lattimore's version is quite different. He did want to recognize the MPR, not because it was totally independent, but because recognition would increase its independence. Furthermore, Lattimore wanted to give the proper Soviet authority a piece of his mind about Te Wang. As he told me in 1987, "Soviet officials had been bitterly attacking Te Wang, the non-Communist Inner Mongolian leader. They accused Te Wang of being pro-Japanese. I told Bullitt that Te Wang was a true Mongol nationalist and represented a better chance for the future of Inner Mongolia than the Soviet-supported puppets. Bullitt then suggested I tell that to the Vice-Commissar for Far Eastern Affairs."
Both men agreed that they did have a session with the vice-commissar. Bullitt does not say what happened at that session; Lattimore said only that the commissar listened. SISS never heard Lattimore's response to Bullitt's version. The Bullitt charge, however, is presented twice in the SISS final report.
There were other minor anti-Lattimore witnesses. One of them was David Nelson Rowe, a sinologue at Yale who appeared before Senator Watkins March 27. Rowe had resigned from the IPR board in 1950; his major disagreement with IPR leaders was the position they took against colonialism. He appears to have been one of the few Americans who thought the Europeans wrought well in Asia and should hang onto their colonies.
Rowe also supported Kuomintang authoritarianism. Perhaps his most revealing statement was about a discussion he had after the war with John Paton Davies. Davies thought that the Nationalist government was incompetent and unstable and hence the United States should not support it anymore. Row told Davies, "Well, when old Chiang Kai-shek wants to restore a bit of order by shooting a few people, you people get revolted by the idea, but in some cases there is nothing else you can do." Davies did not like this idea, according to Rowe.
Even more unusual, Rowe deprecated Chinese nationalism. The Chinese would not mind being satellites of the Russians. Their attitude, according to Rowe, would be "We don't care whether the Western world thinks Russia is dominating us. That word doesn't express it at all. This is a workable, happy, satisfactory marriage for mutual adjustment, mutual interest; that is all it is. Let us put it this way: The Chinese in their relationship of ideological subordination to the Russians feel privileged, they feel privileged."
Could there be a greater contrast with Lattimore's beliefs? When Morris asked Rowe about his conclusions as to Lattimore's politics, Rowe was ready: "My subjective opinion, for what it is worth, in the light of my 20 years of study in the far eastern field, is that as of today among far eastern specialists in the United States Lattimore is probably the principal agent of Stalinism. Now, I use this word 'Stalinism' by design."
Rowe hit the jackpot.
The Baltimore FBI office was also impressed. Agent Alden read a headline in the Baltimore News Post March 27: "Rowe Sees Lattimore Agent of Stalinism." Alden cabled headquarters suggesting that Rowe should be interviewed if he had not been already. Hoover's letter to Baltimore a week later said that Rowe's testimony "had little probative value." There was no FBI interview. But Rowe had joined the pantheon of right-thinkers whose testimony was enshrined in the SISS final report: he gets fifteen listings in the index.
After Rowe, SISS was in the doldrums for a while. Fred Field appeared, took the Fifth, and enlightened no one. T. A. Bisson, a prominent IPR writer, testified and did not take the Fifth. He had much to say and gave a good account of himself. Only Ferguson was present; there was little probing of the witness, and nothing came of it. Then the committee called Eleanor Lattimore and Catesby Jones, a student of Lattimore's who had helped put together Lattimore's explosive opening statement. Only Senator Watkins was present. He wanted to know every movement Lattimore, his wife, Catesby Jones, Lattimore's attorneys, Lattimore's secretaries, Lattimore's other students, and any other participants on Lattimore's side had made during the twelve days of Lattimore's testimony. Mrs. Lattimore answered all the questions she could and was dismissed. Nothing came of this questioning either. Edward C. Carter was brought back before the committee; that session also was unproductive. SISS was only marking time.
Enter Ivar Nyman, his real name, alias Igor Bogolepov, the name he used while working with SISS and the CIA.
Nyman was a double defector. Born in Siberia in 1904, he graduated from the University of Leningrad in 1923 and joined the Soviet foreign office. He was drafted into the army; worked for the general staff; participated in the Geneva Conference on Disarmament in 1927-28; returned to the foreign office; had a tour of duty with Soviet forces in Spain in 1937; and was arrested as a Trotskyite and imprisoned in Moscow, then rehabilitated in 1938. He was then, so he said, assigned to work with Foreign Commissar Maxim Litvinov as a counselor. In 1939 Litvinov was
replaced by V. M. Molotov, and Nyman was assigned to head Soviet broadcast operations in the Baltics. When Hitler attacked Russia in June 1941, Nyman retreated with the Soviet army to Leningrad. In the fall of 1941 General Andre Vlassov got in touch with him. Vlassov, a disillusioned Soviet officer, defected to the Germans and tried to organize a "liberation army" of captured and defected Russians to fight with Germany; his aim was to establish a non-Communist regime in Russia. Vlassov solicited Nyman's help, and they defected together.
Nyman had a hard time of it. The Gestapo at first imprisoned him. Interrogation established that he was neither a Jew nor a commissar, so he was released by the Gestapo and turned over to the Wehrmacht. Since he had had journalistic experience, he was for a year "leading a powerful transmitter for the German Government on the outskirts of Berlin, carrying out the anti-Communist propaganda." Nyman had intended to join Vlassov's army of liberation, but he became disillusioned with the Germans, and when his radio operation was shut down in 1944, he "retired to a German farm in Bavaria, working as a manual worker and waiting until the American troops came and the war was over, which was in April, 1945."
Nyman and other Russian refugees greeted American troops warmly, he said, but as it became dear that most Russians in Allied zones were going to be sent back to the tender embraces of Stalin, he went into hiding. By then he desperately wanted to come to the United States. By 1947 the cold war was on and the U.S. Army was recruiting Soviet refugees; Nyman got a job with the Army Intelligence School at Regensburg. He was regarded as a significant source of information about his homeland. Both the CIA and the FBI debriefed him extensively. An FBI document says, "Nyman was interviewed on two occasions in 1950 relative to Owen Lattimore and the IPR. He made no concrete allegations against Lattimore but did mention that he had been told by a Soviet official, name unknown, that Lattimore was the most suitable man in the U.S. to promote pro-Soviet propaganda relative to Mongolia. Concerning the IPR Nyman could offer no information of an evidentiary value."
How SISS learned about Nyman is obscure, but in the summer of 1951 Senator Willis Smith went to Paris for an executive hearing with him. Nyman was quick on the uptake. Whereas in 1950 he knew nothing about the IPR and very little about Lattimore, by the time Smith talked to him he knew a lot. Smith recommended that he be brought to the United States for public testimony.
McCarran agreed. He prevailed on Major General Bolling, Army G-2,
to bring Nyman stateside. As V. P. Keay wrote Belmont on June 15, 1951, "He [Bolling] stated that he had been telephonically contacted by Senator McCarran, at which time the Senator indicated to General Bolling that he would like to have the Army arrange to have one I. Nyman brought back to the United States from Germany. . . . He stated that Senator McCarran has apparently perfected arrangements whereby Nyman will not need a visa. He will be flown to Westover Field, Massachusetts, and then secretly brought to Washington, where the McCarran Committee has made arrangements to have Nyman and his wife quartered at a hotel." It was a cloak-and-dagger operation to match the seizure of the IPR files.
But something went wrong. Nyman was not delivered to Washington until April 3, 1952, a full ten months after McCarran apparently had everything arranged. Meanwhile, SISS staff had worked with Nyman in Germany, and his "information" about Lattimore had grown exponentially. When he testified on April 7-8, 1952, his discussion of the subjects SISS wanted to hear about filled thirty-nine printed pages.
Nyman (now called Bogolepov) was obviously a prime witness; five senators attended his first hearing. And while everything he had to tell about Lattimore was hearsay, he at least claimed to have seen Lattimore—in 1936 when Lattimore and Carter visited Soviet offices in Moscow. It was then, Bogolepov said, that he heard Soviet officials, in the presence of Lattimore and other foreigners, discuss the supersecret Soviet "route through Mongolia to Manchuria." Such a route may or may not have existed, but Bogolepov proclaimed his shock at hearing it discussed in the presence of foreigners. When Lattimore and his party left the office, Bogolepov quizzed Kara-Murza, chief Soviet Mongolian specialist, as to who they were: Comintern or not? Kara-Murza replied, "No, they are not Comintern, not Comintern people, not quite Comintern people, but that is quite all right with him." This alleged conversation transpired in 1936; Bogolepov was recreating it in 1952.
Bogolepov said that just before he left for his Spanish assignment, he was reporting on the prospects for getting the Mongolian People's Republic into the League of Nations. At a meeting of the Board of Commissars of the Foreign Office, Litvinov said that "the situation is still not ripe. We have to prepare the terrain." Morris picked up this nuance:
Mr. Morris: Prepare the terrain?
Mr. Bogolepov: Yes; prepare the terrain for the action.
Sen. Eastland: You mean you had to prepare public sentiment.
Mr. Bogolepov : That is right. That is what I would like to say. "It is necessary," said Litvinov, "to mobilize the writers and journalists and other people, to describe for the Western World the progress which is achieved in Mongolian Popular Republic, to say how life is progressing," and so on and so on. This was the first decision which was taken after my report. The second part of decision, the second point, was considering who will make this in different countries, whom we have to charge with this—how do you say, sir?
Sen. Eastland: You mean the man who will be placed in charge of mobilizing public sentiment in the west?
Mr. Bogolepov: That is right, whom we have to ask to do the job.
Sen. Eastland: Who was that man who was decided upon?
Mr. Bogolepov: Litvinov asked the officer of Mongolian desk of the Foreign Office, who was present—
Mr. Morris: What was his name?
Mr. Bogolepov: Parnoch, P-a-r-n-o-c-h—whom he would recommend, and before Parnoch could give his answer he asked "Lattimore, perhaps?"
Sen. Eastland: Litvinov said "Lattimore?
Mr. Bogolepov: "Lattimore, perhaps?" yes. And Parnoch answered, "Yes, we will try to do that."
After this incident Bogolepov left Moscow for Spain and did not know whether Lattimore had actually been charged with this mission.
But he told SISS a lot more about the IPR. He painted a picture of Soviet eagerness to place articles in Western journals that was totally unbelievable. Soviet IPR writers were to send their own manuscripts to American colleagues, making IPR journals "media for infi1tration of ideas favorable for Soviet foreign policy in the Far East." Lattimore found this testimony risible. The one thing he had tried hardest to do, as editor of Pacific Affairs , was to pry articles out of Soviet writers.
Bogolepov mid the senators about Western writers who published books taken wholly from Soviet propaganda handouts. Among such writers were, he said, Sidney and Beatrice Webb, British socialists, and John Hazard, the Soviet expert who accompanied Vice President Wallace. This revelation whetted SISS appetites. Weren't there others? Yes, said Bogolepov, but he had to be careful. Senator Ferguson then asked, "You are not rich enough to defend yourself in a libel suit?" Bogolepov agreed that was it. Then Ferguson pointed out that in testifying before a congressional com-
mittee he could not be sued for libel. That brought forth more examples: Frederick Schuman, former ambassador Joseph Davies, Michael Sayers, and Albert Kahn had all cribbed Soviet propaganda and put it out as their own.
One of Bogolepov's claims has been contradicted by a CIA agent who knew him at Regensburg. Bogolepov told SISS that until 1939 members of the Russian bourgeois class were not permitted to be Party members. Since his father was bourgeois, he could not join the Party. Peer de Silva, a twenty-seven-year veteran of the CIA, writes of Bogolepov in Sub Rosa: The CIA and the Uses of Intelligence: "I did know that he had come from Leningrad and that his family had been high in the Party structure in the prewar years. They had had privileges granted by the Soviet bureaucracy to their senior officials—an apartment in Leningrad, a telephone, a car, and they were able to buy food and clothing at the well-stocked Communist Party stores." By 1952 Bogolepov wanted to distance himself from the Party; thus, he told SISS a new and different story.
Despite the high hopes of SISS for major impact from Bogolepov's testimony, it rated only page sixteen of the Times , and even Willard Edwards could not get it on page one of the red-baiting Chicago Tribune . After SISS, Bogolepov stayed in the United States for a while, speaking at the Harmonic Club of New York on December 6,1952, and testifying, along with Alfred Kohlberg, before the House of Representatives Select Committee to Investigate Tax-Exempt Foundations on December 17. Both these appearances were chronicled by the Times . Then Bogolepov disappeared.
One of the most fantastic episodes of the Lattimore saga took place in Washington State during the dosing months of the IPR hearings. On May 17, 1952, Harry A. Jarvinen, a Seattle travel agent who regularly reported the comings and goings of Seattleites to the CIA, attended a dinner party with CIA agent Wayne Richardson. Jarvinen, an immigrant from Finland, had had trouble with various government agencies and was anxious to ingratiate himself with his CIA friends. After a few drinks Jarvinen conjured up a scenario in which, aping the 1949 flight from the United States of Comintern agent Gerhard Eisler, Owen Lattimore was planning to flee to the Soviet Union. Jarvinen told Richardson that Lattimore had bought a ticket on Air France to fly to Paris on June 21, then on to political asylum in the Soviet Union.
Richardson relayed this startling information to his CIA superiors in Washington, D.C. CIA headquarters seems not to have been particularly intelligent at the time. Without doing any checking whatsoever, the CIA
sent a cable to the State Department on May 26: "OWEN LATTIMORE WILL LEAVE ON A TRIP TO THE USSR VIA AIR FRANCE JUNE TWENTY-ONE, NINETEEN FIFTY-TWO, ARRIVING PARIS JUNE TWENTY-TWO, NINETEEN FIFTY-TWO. DATE OF TRAVEL TO KIEV AND MOSCOW VIA AEROFLOT ARE OPEN. HIS TICKETS HAVE BEEN PAID FOR AND HAVE BEEN FORWARDED TO HIM "
One can imagine the turmoil in the State Department. If Lattimore departed secretly for the Soviet Union, the escape would set off a roar of anger from McCarthy and McCarran. The administration would be unable to defend itself from such embarrassment. Few public officials seemed to notice that Lattimore had been convicted of no crime, was not under indictment, and had the full rights of any American citizen.
State acted on this cable by requesting the Customs Bureau to place a stop order at all ports of exit, detaining Lattimore should he attempt to leave the country.
The CIA also sent a message about Jarvinen's hot tip to the FBI. On May 29 the bureau swung into action as Belmont prepared a message for Hoover's signature instructing all appropriate offices to investigate details of Lattimore's trip. Despite the fact that this request went out over the Memorial Day weekend, within twenty-four hours the FBI knew (1) that Lattimore did not have an Air France reservation to Paris on June 21 or any other date; (2) that he did not have a valid passport; (3) that the CIA claim (relayed to FBI by telephone) that he was to depart from LaGuardia was false, since Air France did not fly from LaGuardia.
Bureau knowledge that the Jarvinen tip was almost certainly a hoax was not immediately transmitted to State and the CIA. In Seattle, Jarvinen got cold feet and told his CIA friend on June 6 that Lattimore had canceled his trip. But the CIA did not pass this information along to State either; the bureaucratic machinery ground on, and Customs issued its stop order five days after the FBI and the CIA knew there was no trip planned. On June 12 the CIA furnished the bureau with Jarvinen's name as the original source. Hoover ordered an immediate interview with the Seattle agent. Jarvinen affirmed his original claim and insisted Lattimore had canceled.
While the CIA and the FBI sat on their knowledge that Lattimore had no trip scheduled, the press learned of the travel ban on Lattimore. The person named was too prominent, the action taken against him too unusual, for the bureaucrats in Customs to maintain secrecy. Rumors began to circulate in Washington and Baltimore. The Baltimore Sun and the Scripps Howard chain began pestering State about Lattimore, and other newspapers joined in. Finally, at 5:10 P.M. on June 20, the State Depart-
ment press officer, Michael J. McDermott, went before reporters with a formal statement. Major dailies across the country headlined McDermott's announcement in their next editions. Paul Ward's story in the Baltimore Sun was the most comprehensive. It began: "Governmental action to confine Owen Lattimore to the United States has been taken on receipt of information from an 'official agency' to the effect that the Johns Hopkins professor planned an 'illegal' sortie behind the Iron Curtain, the State Department disclosed late today. The action—first of its kind taken against any American citizen—was initiated June 3 and without querying Lattimore as to his intentions, according to a department spokesman. He added that it would be fair to call the action 'a precaution against his skipping the country.' "
The reason McDermott gave for preventing Lattimore's departure was that Lattimore did not have a valid passport for travel behind the Iron Curtain. This point, as Ward noted, "raised more questions than it answered." The skeptical journalists did not believe a stop order would be placed against an unknown person who might attempt to leave for forbidden lands without a validated passport. McDermott's press conference illuminates the interagency battles that got under way. Several reporters questioned him about how the State Department knew Lattimore planned to go to Russia. Would State stop him if the information wasn't solid and bordered on the fantastic?
A . The State Department does not take action on fantasies or inanities. We had information from an official agency, and it had to be given credence.
Q . Would the booking of passage be considered evidence?
A . Yes.
Q . Did Lattimore book passage?
A . I haven't said so.
Q . You haven't answered the question.
A . I won't.
Q . Was the agency that made the allegation the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency)?
A . I don't hear you.
One person who heard, and commented predictably, was McCarthy. As the New York Times reported on June 26, he claimed that "the State Department will use every bit of power at its disposal to get Lattimore out
of the country within the next two or three months." His truth had to be hidden, conspiratorial, and manipulated by the Kremlin.
Unbelievably, no one had asked Lattimore about his plans until after the State Department briefing on June 20. The next day Attorney General McGranery instructed the FBI to interview Lattimore. Baltimore agents found him the same day; he had no trip planned and had not bought or reserved tickets to Paris, Moscow, or anywhere else. On the same day Seattle FBI agents called on Jarvinen again. This time he came clean: the story was a complete hoax, made up to enhance his prestige as an informant to the CIA. Now "he was considerably upset and chagrined at the amount of trouble, effort, and money expended on the basis of his original falsehood." Thus, on June 21, the same day that the Lattimore escape story gained universal exposure, the FBI learned that it had always been a hoax.
The truth in this case struggled to get established in the nation's media. Powerful biases were at work, especially in the right-wing, pro-Chiang papers. Since they had defined Lattimore as the bad guy, he probably was up to something nefarious. And of course he was a heretic, whether or not McCarthy was right about his being a spymaster.
Hearst dispatches on June 22 probably had the highest error rate in their coverage of the Lattimore-Jarvinen affair. David Sentner's story in the (Hearst) Seattle Post-Intelligencer of that date stated that Lattimore's itinerary included England, where he would lecture to the Royal Geographic Society; that the stop order was tied in with SISS; that Lattimore had booked steamship passage from New York; and that the initial tip came to the State Department from the FBI. It would be hard to be more wrong.
The McCarthy-McCarran forces in the Senate were also active in putting out false information. McCarran let it be known that his committee would discuss Lattimore's trip and possibly reopen its IPR investigation. Jay Sourwine shared the SISS stock of rumors with Lou Nichols at the FBI: the tickets had indeed been issued for Lattimore's trip; they had been issued by the World-Wide Travel Service; they were ordered by Seattle attorney Ben Kizer; they were picked up by Kizer's son-in-law. Nichols told Sourwine not to "get out on a limb"; Sourwine was grateful for the tip.
With several agencies acutely embarrassed, the bureaucratic game of eluding blame began. The FBI was the easiest agency to defend. Even though some Hearst papers attributed the Lattimore escape story to the bureau, too many officials knew the truth for this version to take hold.
The CIA had more trouble. At first they defended themselves in whimsical fashion. Reporter Ed Guthman of the Seattle Daily Times attended a "not for attribution" session with a high official of the agency. The CIA spokesman stressed that his agency was prevented by. law from having an internal security function within the borders of the United States but could solicit information: "'We have been in the habit of going to this informant in Seattle and picking up a basket of oranges (collection of information). In this basket of oranges, there apparently was an apple (the tip on Lattimore). We don't know if it was wormy, since we only deal in oranges. So we picked up the apple and handed it to the F. B. I, which deals in apples. We also gave it to the State Department, because it, too, seemed to be concerned with this apple.' The 'apple,' the C.I.A. spokesman asserted, was handed on exactly as it came in, without comment or evaluation. "
This was a lie. The form of the CIA message was not that of a "raw and unevaluated" tip, as the agency claimed. If the claim's accuracy was unevaluated, the CIA would have used cautious phrasing such as "We were told that Owen Lattimore . . ." or "A usu. ally reliable source asserts that . . ." Receiving such a message, the State Department would have been on guard.
But the CIA did nothing of the kind. "Owen Lattimore will leave on a trip," the message read. The recipient, State, was predictably outraged in the days after the story broke to be taking the brunt of criticism. This outrage was clearly expressed in a story in the New York Times headlined "Tip on Lattimore Called Unqualified": "A high State Department official said today that the Central Intelligence Agency had represented a false report that Prof. Owen Lattimore had planned to visit Moscow as a confirmed fact. He denied that the agency had relayed the tip with a warning that it was 'raw and unevaluated data,' as C.I.A. officials had asserted privately."
There is no question about who was right here. The CIA passed the story to Edward R. Murrow with the same cocksureness: "Everything was fourteen-carat, Lattimore was going to skip, they had it from a reliable source."
The rest of the story was also a comedy of errors. Jarvinen was indicted for giving false information to a government agency, but when he came to trial on September 18, 1952, CIA Director Walter Bedell Smith forbade the Seattle agents to testify. The FBI agents, to whom Jarvinen had also lied, testified willingly, but the defense attorney made Jarvinen into such a hero that FBI testimony was disregarded by the jury. Jarvinen's "spec-
ulations" about the subversive Lattimore were "fired by his long hatred of Communism incurred in his native Finland." Jarvinen's wife and mother wept openly while testifying to his true-blue Americanism. The jury deliberated seven hours and found him not guilty.
This was a miscarriage of justice: FBI files show not only that Jarvinen was guilty but that he had come m the United States illegally, had been under a deportation order for several months, and even after entering legally had been in trouble with one U.S. agency or another for years. And the anticommunism pose was dubious. On March 7, 1942, when he was ordered deported by the Hartford, Connecticut, office of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, he asked to be sent to Finland or Russia.
Cold war hysteria caused many malfunctions of the American judicial system, most of them unjust penalties imposed on innocent people. But there were cases in which guilty parties, pandering to the climate of the times, went free. Jarvinen was such a case.
SISS wound up its public hearings on May 29, 1952, with a bevy of six top-drawer witnesses: General Claire Chennault, Elizabeth Bentley, Whittaker Chambers, Admiral Roscoe Hillenkoetter, Herbert Philbrick, and Hede Massing. Despite the stars, they got little press. It was a mutual admiration society meeting. Four senators were present, but not McCarran. Morris led the questioning.
All six witnesses agreed that Stilwell was a bad man; that Marshall's restrictions on supplies to Chiang's forces, and similar actions, caused the fall of the Nationalist government; that the People's Republic of China was a Soviet satellite; that Service, Davies, and other China hands were insubordinate and subversive; that there were still, in 1952, Soviet agents in the U.S. government; that Lattimore's luncheon with Oumansky was damning, whenever it occurred; that it was very difficult for a Communist to break with the Party; that Frederick Field could not have acted as a loyal American; that it was difficult to get documentary evidence that a person has been a Soviet spy; that General Berzin knew for a fact that Lattimore was a Soviet agent; that hearsay evidence of Communist activity was probative; that Communists could not be objective; that witnesses who took the Fifth Amendment were still Communists; and similar cosmic revelations.
One might say the hearings closed with a whimper.
The bang came when, on July 2, 1952, SISS released its 226-page report.
The hearings had been biased; the report was venomous. The report was as unrepresentative of the hearings as the hearings were unrepresentative of the facts about Lattimore and the IPR. The report was skewed in its portrayal of what the subcommittee had done, highly selective in its review of the "evidence," totally reflective of McCarran's paranoid view of the internal Communist menace. But it was cleverly written. The crudities, bullying, and partiality to ex-Communists displayed in the hearings by the seven SISS members and the Morris-Mandel-Sourwine trio disappear in the report. The report is nothing but a brief for the condemnation of IPR and the prosecution of Lattimore and Davies.
One of the many falsehoods about SISS enshrined in our tribal history is that its IPR report was approved by the entire Senate Judiciary Committee. William F. Buckley, Jr., is the foremost disseminator of this myth. We do not know the precise vote when the report was considered in full committee; however, the minutes of the meeting of Tuesday, July 1, 1952, show that none of the three liberals on the committee voted to approve it. Estes Kefauver was absent, and Harley Kilgore and Warren Magnuson each asked "that it be made a matter of record that he refrained from voting on approval of the report."
For a document that was to have such extensive repercussions in the political world, the Senate itself treated its release with remarkable casualness. When McCarran presented it on the Senate floor, he was the only Democrat in the chamber. Ferguson suggested that the presiding officer, Senator Harry Cain, issue a quorum call so that if anyone thought there was "anything wrong with the report" they could ask questions. McCarran shot down this request: he knew press coverage and China lobby promotion would determine the ultimate impact of the report. Since the normal press run of congressional reports at that time was only fifteen hundred, McCarran got approval for an extra five thousand—and there may have been a reprinting.
SISS came to thirty-two somewhat overlapping conclusions, the more notable being:
The IPR has been considered by the American Communist Party and by Soviet officials as an instrument of Communist policy, propaganda and military intelligence.
The IPR disseminated and sought to popularize false information including information originating from Soviet and Communist sources.
Members of the small core of officials and staff members who controlled IPR were either Communist or pro-Communist.
The effective leadership of the IPR often sought to deceive IPR contributors and supporters as to the true character and activities of the organization.
Owen Lattimore was, from some time beginning in the 1930's, a conscious articulate instrument of the Soviet conspiracy.
After the establishment of the Soviet Council of IPR, leaders of the American IPR sought and maintained working relationships with Soviet diplomats and officials.
John Paton Davies, Jr., testified falsely before the subcommittee in denying that he recommended the Central Intelligence Agency employ, utilize, and rely upon certain individuals having Communist associations and connections.
Owen Lattimore and John Carter Vincent were influential in bringing about a change in United States Policy in 1945 favorable to the Chinese Communists.
And there were two recommendations for "departmental activity": (1) "that the Department of Justice submit to a grand jury the question of whether perjury has been committed before the subcommittee by Owen Lattimore"; and (2) "that the Department of Justice submit to a grand jury the question of whether perjury has been committed before the subcommittee by John P. Davies, Jr."
Television had not yet carried the flavor of a congressional inquiry into the nation's living rooms. Two years later, when the Army-McCarthy hearings exposed the Wisconsin senator's bullying to a wide audience, the public was appalled. The IPR hearings probably would have had the same outcome—but there was no television. Journalists who packaged the SISS report for their readers had not waded through the 5,712 pages of hearings and exhibits. McCarran planned it well. The public got his story, and almost nothing but.
The New York Times began a story on the front page, carrying over to page four; at the end the Times gave brief rebuttals by Lattimore, Davies, and William Holland of the IPR. The Baltimore Evening Sun gave the story a scarehead, with the Davies and Lattimore rebuttals featured early in the story. This was uncommon. Mostly, the nation's papers presented pure McCarran. Time and Newsweek took the report at face value.
Face value in this case was totally misleading. The report carries no reply to complaints of IPR officers that they had been denied, for the first nine months of the hearings, access to their own files. There was no ac-
knowledgment of failure to test the credibility of the former Communists and pro-Chiang professors. Unbelievably, the report claims that SISS made "the closest scrutiny of the qualifications of Messrs. Barmine and Bogolepov"; it did nothing of the sort. Joseph Alsop and his vigorous attack on Louis Budenz are never mentioned. Dennis Chavez's derogation of Budenz's credibility is not even hinted at, much less answered. The dozen or so "concealed Communists" named by Budenz who sent the subcommittee sworn statements calling Budenz a liar are not mentioned. A mere two pages discuss the crucial Kunming cable, totally distorting it. The testimony of all anti-Lattimore witnesses is emphasized; the testimony of the few pro-Lattimore witnesses, when acknowledged at all, is belittled.
There is one clear indication that SISS did not want to rest its case to any great extent on the testimony of Budenz, its most prestigious witness. Of the 24 anti-IPR witnesses, the one who gets most space in the report is Nyman/Bogolepov, cited on 47 pages. Budenz comes in fourth, with 21 citations, behind Barmine (25) and Poppe (22). Stassen, for all his bluster and many appearances, rates a mere two citations.
The report does not respond to IPR Secretary Holland's complaint that several boxes of IPR publications he sent the subcommittee in March 1951 were sitting unopened on the floor outside Sourwine's office on October 10. There was, said Holland, "no evidence in the subcommittee's record to indicate that the Institute's publications have been analyzed." Not one of the prominent business and academic figures who controlled the IPR and who were alleged to have been "hoodwinked" by a subversive IPR staff were called to testify, despite Holland's repeated calls for them to be questioned. Ray Lyman Wilbur, a cabinet member under Herbert Hoover and then president of Stanford; William R. Herod, president of International General Electric; Philo Parker, president of Standard Vacuum Oil Company; Robert Gordon Sproul, president of the University of California—all were active trustees, but none was called. Not a single colleague of Lattimore at Johns Hopkins was called. No liberal or centrist Asian scholar was called except Fairbank, but there were six ultrarightists.
Budenz, Bentley, and Chambers were called, but not the ex-Communists Bella Dodd or Earl Browder. SISS ignored the many former Communists the FBI had interviewed about Lattimore who said they knew of no Communist activity or connections on his part; as late as 1982 the names of these informants were still denied. McCarran did get an FBI report that he requested on the Dilowa. It showed in the strongest language that the Dilowa was an enemy of the Communists and that Lattimore's sponsorship of the Dilowa was profoundly anti-Communist. This
information never appeared in the report. Lacking most of the SISS files, we cannot know how much similar evidence McCarran suppressed.
Harry Truman was not fooled. On July 5, 1952, alter digesting the news about the SISS report, he wrote Attorney General McGranery:
Attached is a copy of an editorial from the Washington Post on the report of the McCarran Committee. It seems to me that this editorial has the right approach to the matter.
I do not want to prevent anyone from being prosecuted who deserves it; but from what I know of this case, I am of the opinion that Davies and Lattimore were shamefully persecuted by this committee, and that if anyone ought to be indicted as a result of these proceedings they are not the ones. If you find anything in the record that seems to indicate that the case should be laid before a grand jury, I wish you would let me know before that is done.
Though Truman wasn't fooled, many journalists and academicians were. Perhaps the most influential work coming from a scholarly press was a cold war tract by H. Bradford Westerfield, Foreign Policy and Party Politics , published by Yale University Press in 1955. Westerfield accepts many of the China myths: there was "much validity" in Hurley's charges against the China hands, and John Carter Vincent was very slow in reaching the conclusion that "the Chinese Communists were accepting guidance from Moscow." Most damning, SISS had told the truth:
No brief summary here can do justice to the massive weight of evidence accumulated by the McCarran Committee during its long investigation in 1951 and 1952. By the standards reasonably applicable to congressional probes, this one was conscientious and productive. Its 5,000 pages of testimony, with extensive and orderly documentation, deserve more respectful attention than they have received from most liberal critics, many of whom have not even bothered to read the committee's 200-page report. Unfortunately, there is room here only to state a personal conclusion: that a Communist solution for Asia was favored by a large enough proportion of the active participants in the American IPR to affect substantially the content of its publications and the character of its public relations work and contacts with government.
Alan D. Harper, in The Politics of Loyalty , is more moderate but still finds that SISS "was able to discover evidence of a Communist cell within the Institute." He attributes the China hands' "tolerance of the Yenan group" to their "mistaken assumption that these were not real Commu-
nists," although not a single foreign service officer under attack ever took that position. As to Lattimore: "The subcommittee, working at its job as McCarthy never did, established a serious question about Dr. Lattimore." SISS did work at its job; but what was the serious question it established about Lattimore? Harper does not tell us.
Among nonacademic intellectuals, the pro-McCarran opinion is much more pronounced. Perhaps the shoddiest polemic in the whole war over the "loss" of China is Irving Kristol's article on Lattimore in Twentieth Century magazine. It out-McCarrans McCarran. For Kristol, Lattimore was the quintessential Stalinoid apologist, and the IPR hearings caught him directly in the cross hairs.
James Rorty and Moshe Decter, writing under the auspices of the American Committee for Cultural Freedom, denigrate McCarthy but accept almost the whole corpus of McCarranism. SISS had an "overwhelming weight of evidence." And there are others. The public got McCarran's story.
As late as 1980 the McCarran picture of the IPR found its way into the best-selling novel The Spike , in which Arnaud de Borchgrave and Robert Moss set out their scenario for the Soviet Union to take over the world. They were a bit off in their target date: the Soviet conquest was to be accomplished by 1985. And the conquest was to be achieved not by force of arms but by disinformation, the peddling of disguised KGB propaganda, just as in McCarran's scenario the IPR had paved the way for Stalin's takeover in China.The Spike is grounded on the historical comparison to IPR. Thousands of readers who otherwise never heard of the IPR have read McCarran's version as set forth in The Spike .
The right-wing literature supporting McCarran ranges from the extremes of Robert Welch and the John Birch Society to the more moderate National Review and the book on McCarthy by William F. Buckley, Jr., and Brent Bozell. None of it is probative. Buckley particularly is a font of misinformation. He dissociates McCarthy from SISS, whereas FBI files show that McCarthy worked constantly with SISS; indeed, McCarthy attended more SISS hearings (eighteen) than did any other nonmember. Buckley also attempts to paint SISS as ideologically balanced, claiming that liberals Kilgore, Magnuson, and Kefauver "voted unanimously" for the IPR report. As we have seen, this claim is false.
So McCarran triumphed: in the Senate, in the press, in academia. The next step was to be in court.