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Chapter Thirty After Leeds
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Chapter Thirty
After Leeds

As the plane carrying the Lattimores landed at John F. Kennedy Airport on March 21, 1970, Eleanor suffered a massive, fatal pulmonary embolism. Owen described it as "a crowning mercy. She never knew what happened. No pain, no fear, no premonition. But that was the end of what one of her friends called 'a honeymoon of forty-four years.'"[1] Eleanor was seventy-five, five years older than her husband.

Eleanor had not exactly been in the background during her husband's years of prominence; she was more a partner than an assistant. In those thousands of routine tasks on which any enterprise depends, she was the stalwart: arranging, organizing, encouraging, substituting if need be. She shared the limelight and dominated the shadows. Owen was adrift without her.

Without exception, Owen's friends were also Eleanor's friends, and the ties between the Lattimores and the many people they knew and loved were nurtured primarily by Eleanor. She was by all accounts an extraordinary personality, with a warmth that offset her husband's sometimes abrasive manner. Evelyn Stefansson Nef organized and published a beautiful memorial booklet for Eleanor, with Brian Hook's London Times obituary and tributes by Etienne Balazs, George Boas, Pearl Buck, Bill Rogers, and others.

Lattimore was taken in by Bill and Suki Rogers at their Southdown home in Great Falls, Virginia, in the first days of his bereavement. The Lattimore house at Southdown, planned by Eleanor, was not yet ready for occupancy. Owen could not have moved in so soon in any case; it was really her house. After short stays with the Rogers and a visit with his son David he returned to Leeds for the closing days of the school year.


Lattimore had traded barbs with the fiercest of Senate inquisitors and faced down malevolent Asian camel drivers in the middle of the Gobi, but the loss of his wife was almost more than he could bear. A letter to Evelyn Nef from Leeds May 15, 1970, displays the depth of his anguish and the slowness of his recovery.

Your letter was very sweet and much needed, coming at a time when I was badly demoralized—as you foresaw. Things are not so bad now. I've been away from home a couple of times and back again. I don't know what primitive psychology it is that makes each coming back diminish the hauntedness a bit. But I still break down—I did in Cambridge a couple of days ago—when I meet for the first time people of whom Eleanor was especially fond.

I think I told you of my idea of a possible long stay in Mongolia, but wondered if the Mongols would agree. I needn't have worried. By the time I got back to England there was a message waiting for me—come to Mongolia, we'll make you Dean of all our Far Eastern studies. You can do as much or as little work as you like, but we'll look after you for always. Of course I couldn't do quite that—it would be a kind of running away—but I was so touched that I cried and cried.[2]

On June 24 students and faculty of the Leeds Center for Chinese and Mongolian Studies gave Lattimore a farewell dinner, with the Mongolian Ambassador to the Court of St. James in attendance. It was a subdued occasion. Every person present had been Eleanor's guest.

Equally painful was the prospect of returning to Asia without Eleanor. Lattimore was due to go back the summer of 1970 to attend a congress of Mongolists in Ulan Bator and to visit, for the first time as a scholar, the libraries and archaeological sites in the Soviet areas bordering on China and Mongolia. He had visited some of these with Wallace but had had no opportunity to do research. The Soviet initiative for this invitation came from Okladnikov. All the scholarly riches of Central Asia were opening up for Lattimore, and he would be exploring them alone. On March 27, 1970, he wrote a sad note to Okladnikov, telling of Eleanor's death and recalling times when they had all been together at scholarly meetings: "it warmed my heart to see how, when you met [Eleanor], each appreciated the other so quickly and so rightly. . . . So that is the end of a marriage of 44 years that was perfect from beginning to end—thanks to her. What more can I say? I turn to you, and the comradeship of those who . . ." Here the CIA photocopy machine malfunctioned, and the conclusion of the letter to Okladnikov is not readable.[3]


Edgar Snow, living in Switzerland, was unaware of Eleanor's death when he addressed a letter to both Owen and Eleanor May 20. Snow had heard of Joe Barnes's death and wrote, "I know what a loss it has been to you both." But most of Snow's letter was comment springing from Lattimore's introduction to the 1970 reprinting of Jack Belden's China Shakes the World .[4] Lattimore had written this brief introduction in January 1970 at Leeds; he admired Belden's book and put it in context by comparing it with two other classic descriptions of the rise of the Chinese Communists: Snow's Red Star over China and William Hintoh's Fanshen .

In his introduction to Belden's book, Lattimore comments, "I remember talking to a Communist about Snow, years ago, at a time when adherents of Chiang Kai-shek were denouncing him [Snow] as nothing but a mouthpiece for Communist propaganda. The Communist shook his head. No, he said, they respected Snow as a completely honest man. His reporting of facts could be relied on. But his interpretations did not entitle him to rank as a 'spokesman,' because he did not really understand Marxism."[5] Lattimore then notes that Belden's book was even more important in 1970 than it had been in 1949 when it was first published: "Page after page is a reminder that the stupid, obvious, unnecessary mistakes made by the American political and military establishments in China have been made over again, and are still being made, in Vietnam." The United States had in the late 1940s, and still had, a "bewitched belief that the incantation of words like 'freedom' and 'democracy' (accompanied by the spending of lots of money) could somehow conjure up an Ohio-like or New England-like regime capable of reversing a revolution already in being." America was still a "society blinded by imperialistic preconceptions."[6]

Snow, in his letter to Lattimore, agreed.

I noticed that you quote some Chinese as saying that Snow is an honest man but doesn't understand Marxism. That I could never have been a Chinese Communist "spokesman" ought not to have done me any harm in the councils of our great ones at home—but few of them ever heard that. (Besides, it was OL speaking.) In fact I have (though not very recently) spent a vast amount of time reading Marx and Engels and, even more, their various disciples, from orthodox to revisionist. After living in Russia several years (and away from realities in Washington) my early tendency to subscribe to the "exceptionalism" notion about the U.S. was strongly reinforced. It was not even entirely shattered by McCarthyism; I thought the inner structure was still sound and that the good in the American democratic process was still viable and would


prevail to overcome a banal fulfillment of the role of imperialism. It was not until Kennedy fell in step with the Pentagon and CIA and deceived himself and us in Vietnam that I saw the "exceptionalism" truly was and had to have been a mirage, a subjective thing with me—which was understandable because I, like you, had been taken in by the Establishment, tolerated for a while as an "exception" myself, a kind of house nigger. Yes, Virginia, there is an American imperialism—the most vicious and dangerous kind yet seen, and all the more so because people, thinking themselves free, could not imagine carrying anything but freedom elsewhere.[7]

Lattimore noted on Snow's letter "Answered 19 June 70." His answer does not survive. It would have been interesting. He did not agree with Snow that American imperialism was the "most vicious kind": he thought the Fascists worse.

Closing up the Leeds house was more than Lattimore could handle alone. He prevailed on Charlotte Riznik, with whom he and Eleanor had been friends ever since Riznik had been his office manager at OWl in San Francisco, to help him dismantle and ship his possessions. Riznik arrived at Leeds in early June, and by June 14 Lattimore could report to the Nefs that Charlotte had taken over and things were beginning to work: "I have been crippled by hesitation, inability to make decisions. She sorts things out up to a certain point, then comes to me and says 'I want a decision.' Good for my morale, because it gives me the illusion of being the boss, while gently disguising the fact that I am being managed, which of course is what I still can't do without."[8] He was so pleased with Riznik's help that he offered her a job as "manager secretary," but she would promise no more than helping him get settled in Virginia.

Charlotte Riznik must indeed have been good for his morale. When he wrote Academician Y. V. Peive, chief scientific secretary of the Soviet Academy of Sciences, on June 26, 1970, suggesting dates for his trip to Soviet Central Asia, he was brimming with confidence about his future scholarly endeavors. He outlined on two single-spaced pages the historical-ethnographic studies he intended to accomplish for the next ten yeas—emphasizing that while he hoped his knowledge would be of use to Russian and Mongolian colleagues, "I have much more to learn . . . than I can teach." Peive must have been impressed. The travel schedule came off exactly as Lattimore suggested. And when he wrote the Nefs July 1, he was manic; that coming winter, he would be "finishing up 'China in History' and planning long-term research on Mongolia." He was looking forward to the winter of 1970-71 in the Southdown house; "I've suffered


a shattering defeat, but the retreat is ending and an advance into new terrain is in sight. Thank God for friends."[9]

On July 16 he and Riznik flew to the United States, she to California to work in a political campaign until Lattimore was back from his summer in Asia, he to Washington, where he stayed with the Rogers, inspected progress on his almost-completed house, and made arrangements for unpacking his furniture when it arrived from Leeds. After a few days in New York with Gerard and Eleanor Piel and a visit to David in Providence, he was off to the Soviet Union. He arrived in Moscow August 17, 1970.

During his 1970 Asian trip Lattimore took pains to report more fully than he ever had to friends in the United States. These reports, or diary-letters, went to Bill Rogers at Arnold and Porter (Fortas had dropped out of the firm when he went to the Supreme Court), who photocopied them for a half-dozen relatives and friends. On this trip he had no companion, which no doubt impelled him to more comprehensive letter writing.

He wrote Rogers from Ulan Bator on August 22, reporting events on the plane from Moscow.

Yesterday I was badly shaken. I met some Mongols. All strangers, but as soon as they got my name they said, with a mixture of grave courtesy and personal tenderness, how sorry they were about Eleanor. . . .The Mongols always gave my work a kind of professional respect, but were very impatient of my political misguidedness, wrongheadedness, even stupidity. I think for years they really did think I was some kind of imperialist ideologue. Then, in 1960, we met their delegation to the Orientalist Congress, were invited to Mongolia for six weeks in 1961, and did a long trip into the Aru Khangai. In 1964 I came to Mongolia with David, and they saw what kind of son she and I had brought up. In the Leeds years, all the Mongols who came to England met her. Finally there was last year, and you've seen the account of that. The truth is that the Mongols decided that if I'd been happily married for so many years to a woman like Eleanor, I just couldn't be a wrong ' un. I might be politically askew (but not maliciously) and in any showdown involving human decency I could be trusted to come down on the right side.[10]

However much he missed Eleanor, and possibly because of it, Lattimore plunged wholeheartedly into his duties for the congress. There were papers to be translated into the official languages (Mongol, Russian, English, French), his own remarks to polish, a book on English for Mongol schools to be edited, courtesy calls on various Academy figures he knew. On August 24, when he was leaving his hotel, several American tourists accosted


him. He reported to Rogers sarcastically that such incidents had happened before and that the tourists asked him to talk to their group "and explain to them what country they've been in." Most tourists, he found, had read nothing about Mongolia before coming and at most had heard of Genghis Khan and the Gobi Desert. Then they fell in love with the country and were "pathetically delighted to have bits of things explained." Big-game hunters from Texas were especially prone to captivation by their Mongol guides: the hunters were "marvellously confused between their truly Texan detestation of communism" and the fact that their guides "more than qualified by Texas he-man standards."[11]

Lattimore and Urgunge Onon spent August 26, 1970, with Shirendyb, president of the Mongolian Academy of Sciences. They drove out to Shirendyb's country place in the valley "where the Wallace safari was quartered in 1944." Lattimore was fascinated by the Shirendyb entourage, especially by a former Buddhist monk, well read in the Tibetan scriptures, who had been a chauffeur to Shirendyb and was now retired on pension. The ex-monk loved to cook, and Shirendyb kept him around for that purpose. After an elaborate lunch the party played dominoes; Lattimore wrote, "The ex-monk kibitzed over my shoulder, so I came out on the winning side. Note: must remember to tell my clerical friends about the pleasures of being a pensioned ex-monk in an atheist country."[12]

Shirendyb asked Lattimore about the history of a telescope given the Mongols by Peggy Braymer of the Questar Corporation at Lattimore's suggestion. Lattimore had wanted to "do something really different" for the Mongols to repay their hospitality. He saw an ad in Scientific American for a Questar telescope and asked Gerard Piel if it were a first-class job and if he might get a discount for a gift to the Mongols· Piel said it was indeed a terrific and expensive instrument, but no discounts were available. However, Piel knew the Braymers, and at his suggestion they gave a Questar to the Mongols. It was a tremendous hit and was used by the Mongols to establish accurately their far-flung borders by stellar observation and measurement. Peggy Braymer's letter of gift noted that Lattimore had worked for "better understanding" between the United States and the MPR. Lattimore wrote Rogers that this letter meant a great deal to the Mongols: "For them, 'peace and friendship' is not the malarky of international humbug. It's what they're hooked on. It means survival. . . . Driving home [from Shirendyb's] Urgunge said, 'There's one woman [Braymer] who's going to have no difficulty if she ever wants to visit Mongolia. And my bet is, she's going to get a hunk of dinosaur bone.'"


Dinosaur bone was the supreme present for someone hung with medals and vacuous honors.[13]

The night of September 14, 1970, brought a welcome surprise to Lattimore. As he described it in a letter to Rogers:

After dinner I had gone to my room when, as I was reading, not being quite ready for bed, someone came in and asked me to come up to the top floor—and there was a surprise supper party, to honour my seventieth year. At least 30 people. It was overwhelming. Speeches and toasts in Mongol, Russian, German, French, Japanese. . . . Practically everybody referred to the McCarthy business, including the top Russian (I was sitting between him and Shirendyb, who was presiding), who said that in the Soviet Union, despite differences of politics, I am honoured for my defence of the human values and dignity of scholarship. After that, do I put two exclamation points, or three? But isn't it the irony of ironies that McCarthy should have opened the way for me to a whole new, international life of intellectual interest and activity! . . . When we were dispersing, old Damdinsuren said: "We have a lot of learned foreign friends here tonight, but among them all it is you who are a Mongol."[14]

The rest of September, Lattimore worked at translating and editing the papers of the Congress of Mongolists and inspecting the new industrial city of Darkhan. He found Darkhan far more impressive than Dalstroi, and of course no one was hiding slave labor camps· After a round of farewell parties he was escorted on October 1 to Irkutsk and the beginning of his tour of Siberian archives and libraries·

It seems hardly possible that this tour could have been more profitable professionally than his deep immersion in Mongolia, yet his glowing descriptions of manuscripts and libraries almost warrant that conclusion. One conclusion is clearly warranted: had the historical and archaeological treasures of Central Asia been available to him in his early career, rather than in his seventieth year, his scholarly output would have been immensely increased. Age and the demoralization of losing Eleanor denied him opportunity to reflect on, analyze, and incorporate in his published work the riches that came to him in the 1970s.

His stay in Irkutsk was brief, two days for the library and museum· Ulan-Ude was next; it was the center of Buryat studies, and Lattimore stayed there a full week. The Buryats were at first stiff and formal, but he reported on October 9:


Things are livening up. It works the same way, over and over again. The locals are apt to begin by thinking that you've been wished off on them by some distant higher-up. They're polite and considerate, but they stand off a bit. Then, as they find you are not joy-riding but working really hard, and trying to learn, they warm up. Today there was an invitation—from the children themselves, not the teachers—to come to the intensive-English school and talk to the 10th and 9th year classes about American schools and education generally. . . . I was simple, but I tried to be honest. I talked about the differences between private and public schools, and between tax-supported schools in "good" residential districts where parents demand good teaching, and in slum districts and above all black districts. I explained why, in a country dominated by a bourgeois establishment, technological training is sound and scientific research and teaching are excellent, but in history, sociology, politics, economics you can get away with all kinds of slop, and in literature and poetry "individualism" justifies anything. . . . I'm telling you all this because of the payoff. It came back to me, over the grapevine, that one of the teachers had said, "We used to have two classics in Buryatia, but now we have three—Marx, Lenin, Lattimore.". . . Later in the afternoon I was pulled out of the library, and there was a deputation of kids with some nice little gifts.[15]

From Ulan-Ude, Lattimore went to Novosibirsk. This visit brought back vivid memories:

This is the city where Eleanor left the Trans-Siberian in 1927 to take the then uncompleted Turk-Sib to Semipalatinsk, and on by sled to her Turkestan Reunion with me in Chuguchak. . . . I thought sadly, as I have thought so many times since her death, that I never did justice (and she never claimed credit for herself) to Eleanor's ingenuity and persistence, and above all incredible courage in making that journey. It was February, the cruellest month of winter, she didn't know more than a couple of words of Russian, and she had to struggle to get herself and more baggage than she could personally carry through a Siberia still wrecked by the revolution and civil war.[16]

Novosibirsk was the home of Okladnikov, the master historian-archaeologist who had arranged Lattimore's trip. The scholarly riches there were greater than at any other stop. Lattimore found that librarians, archivists, even minor bureaucrats were willing, when they learned of his interests, to offer him out-of-print books to take back with him. For this largesse, he explained to Rogers, he would have to spend a small fortune buying books to send his Russian hosts after he got home—but it was worth it.


Lattimore wrote some thirty pages on his stay in Novosibirsk; his main theme was amazement. "This town is incredible. There are 5 million books in the library. And the Siberian Section, Academy of Sciences . . . they get all they want, for the most recondite researches" (ellipsis in original). Again Lattimore was struck with Soviet tolerance here of "Old Believers," most of them living in remote valleys and earning their living by sable hunting. They also "kept up the ancient tradition of illuminating MSS in the Byzantine and Old Slavonic styles, and the atheistic government, instead of persecuting them, subsidizes them."[17]

Okladnikov arranged a side trip for Lattimore to archives in Biisk and Kyzyl. These were places he had known about only by name; he found them more than worth his time. On Biisk he remarked:

The people are terribly nice, and I am going to like them. . . . They are so full of interest—and it isn't drawing-room, curiosity interest. They were all professionals, and they wouldn't give up until they were able to "place" me professionally. Why had I come? What interest of mine could they help me with? . . . Why so short a visit? Could I learn enough? So I said, "You know your own Okladnikov. Other archeologists go over an area and say, No Paleolithic here. Then Okladnikov comes to the same area, walks straight to a point, says 'Dig here'—and there's a big Paleolithic find." They all laughed—everybody knows the Okladnikov stories.

Lattimore then explained his interest in nomadic peoples, Central Asian history, migrations, the relations of minorities to empires, geography, and so forth, to his audience:

As professionals, they were quite satisfied, but as individuals, they were more curious than ever. Where had I travelled? In what years? Under what conditions? The questions got more and more personal—right down to Chiang Kai-shek and Mao Tze-tung and Senator McCarthy and all. By the end, it was an unbelievable transvaluation of values . . . by the end of the evening these nice people had hypnotised themselves into thinking of me as a "romantic bourgeois." This is possible because in the Soviet Union today—and I say that instead of "Russia" because so many millions of peoples other than Russians make the Soviet Union what it is—only ancient characters like me can remember what the world was like before 1917.[18]

The Biisk archaeologists took Lattimore on a long drive. The Altai Mountains into which they drove were much like the Heavenly Mountains of Lattimore's early travels. They showed him a Paleolithic site sim-


ilar to that of Peking Man, though they had found no comparable skull or bones. The final three days of his stay in Biisk were hectic and went unrecorded. He never got around to writing about them.

His next stop was Kyzyl in the Tuvinian republic. Lattimore, who at age seventy had seen most of the world and tasted of the richness of its cultures, here in the land of the Reindeer People found his Shangri-la.

Tuva has been the best yet. Of all the Soviet countries I have been in, it is the one that can be quite simply described as ravishing. It is bigger than Switzerland, Holland, Belgium, Denmark combined, and they have a map to prove it. They are the Centre of Asia, and they have a monument, and obelisk, to prove that, too. They are enclosed by snow-capped mountains, but the internal valleys of the streams that are the headwaters of the lordly Yenesei are comparatively windless, and the winter is of a cheerful coldness. . . . They speak an ancient Turkish— very pure, few loan words. And the people are as ravishing as their country. They have a Gallic gaiety and lightness, combined with precision—and rather Gascon at that. Perhaps in the Soviet Union some of the small tribes of the Caucasus can match them for dash and elegance. They are mostly of middle height, and I never saw a fat one, man or woman. . . . I fell for them, hard (Mongols, look out—I may never come home), and thank goodness they took me to their hearts. The Director of the Pedagogical Institute and the Director of the Institute of History, Language, and Literature (he speaks good Mongol, though a bit literary) the two highest academic posts in the country, came each morning for breakfast and were with me until after dinner. . . .

We drove out southward toward the Tannu-tuva, the range dividing Tuva from Mongolia. Came to a place called Tuvakobalt, where there is a big cobalt mining and refining enterprise. Top engineer-manager a Russian (Ukrainian), but most of the technical posts were held by Tuvinians. This is the way the Russians work, with every minority nationality, they do not try to preserve "living museums" (Navahoes), but to develop "cadres" of mathematicians, physicists, chemists, engineers. At the same time, they encourage (not merely preserve) the local language and cultural traditions. Thus you get the local electronics-automation expert whose hobby is the poetic legends of his own people.[19]

The remainder of his stay in Kyzyl is described in similarly glowing language. He didn't understand a thing about the cobalt works but knew he had to act impressed. When they asked him the usual Soviet questions, "Any criticisms? Any questions?" he responded, "What do you do about industrial waste?" They described an elaborate process of burying it in deep pits in a deposit of impermeable clay. When he left the cobalt works,


"They gave me a nicely-mounted set of test tubes of their product, in successive stages. I said, 'You'd better be careful. The American Customs might take this off me and turn it over to the CIA, and then I might be in for some questioning.' They all know 'CIA,' and they laughed, but I noticed that the test tubes never turned up in my luggage."[20]

He spent only four days in Tuva, but it made the most lasting impression of his whole trip. The only article about the trip that he wrote for publication afterwards was an encomium of Tuva sent to the London Times on November 23, 1970.

Lattimore went back to Novosibirsk October 25 for a last few days with Okladnikov. He described these days as frenzied, with much time spent sorting books to take with him from books to be mailed and making lists of books to be bought in the West and sent to his Siberian hosts. Farewell parties occupied the rest of his time, with the "real farewell party" the afternoon of October 29: "Warm speeches. Everybody embraced everybody—big Russian bear-hugs. Okladnikov has really done all this for me out of the overflowing kindness of his Siberian heart. An unforgettable man."[21]

On October 30 Lattimore was back in Moscow for a brief stop en route to Prague, Leeds, and home. There were the usual bureaucratic foul-ups. Given the friendliness of the academicians, it was hard for him to believe that Okladnikov and the Tuvians were part of the same country as the Moscow functionaries.

On November 20, 1970, Lattimore took possession of the house in Great Falls, Virginia, that he and Eleanor had expected to call home for the rest of their lives. This was probably more painful than anything he had ever experienced. His travels since her death in March postponed confronting the full domestic consequences of her absence. The warmth of his reception in Mongolia and Siberia had been therapeutic, but now he had to start up a household de novo, every decision reminding him of how much he had depended on her. Charlotte Riznik was there and as helpful as she had been in Leeds. Setting up a household, however, was more difficult than dismantling one. Riznik took over housekeeping; Lattimore was now absolutely dependent on her.

Books, manuscripts, correspondence, and other scholarly pursuits were another matter. He had a massive accumulation of scholarly materials, some from Leeds, more from his recent trip, with an avalanche of books yet to come: these were an insuperable challenge. Eleanor's control of the flow of paper, based on a lifetime of sharing Lattimore's professional ac-


tivities, could not be duplicated by anyone new. Now the paper was out of control, flooding the room Lattimore used for a study and several other rooms besides, boxed and unboxed, stacked, spread on tables, scattered almost without pattern. The unending requests to critique manuscripts, write articles, furnish recommendations, advise about academic programs—this avalanche of mail, which Eleanor had controlled and Owen had then turned over to secretaries, now got quite beyond him. In his despair he began drinking heavily. Despite the problems he did complete three articles that winter: one for a book edited by Toynbee, another for a book edited by Denis Sinor of Indiana University, and the "Mongols" entry for Encyclopaedia Brittanica . Gerry Piel's request for an article for Scientific American on ancient caravans had to be put off.[22] And no work got done on "China in History" or the major Mongolian project.

Some relief came on January 25, 1971, when Fujiko Isono came to Great Falls. Fujiko had been a student of Lattimore at Leeds. She and her husband, Seiichi Isono, had been dissenters from Japan's aggressive policies in the 1930s and spent the war years studying in the Mongol areas of North China. Fujiko had been inspired to endure the hardships this entailed by reading Eleanor's Turkestan Reunion . When she read that the Lattimores were in England, she wrote and then visited them. During 1968-69 the Isonos both studied at Leeds.

Now she came to Great Falls to be of assistance to her former professor, bringing an offer from Japan's Asian Affairs Research Council and the Mainichi Newspapers (who would provide financing) to come to Tokyo the summer of 1971 to lecture. Lattimore accepted. Fujiko's knowledge of Lattimore's professional interests helped him deal with the mountain of paperwork, but Fujiko and Charlotte Riznik did not take to each other, and tension in the household did not improve Lattimore's morale.

In February 1971 Lattimore heard from Edgar Snow, just returned from China to his home in Switzerland. Snow again had interesting news. "Responsible persons" in Peking were asking whether Lattimore would accept an invitation to visit China. Snow told them he was sure Lattimore would want to come. But this was a period of poisonous relations between the Chinese and the Soviet Union; would Lattimore's ties with Ulan Bator and various Russian scholars make a visit to China awkward? The Chinese assured Snow that Lattimore's Soviet connections would be no obstacle. These things worked slowly, and Lattimore did not expect an invitation in time for a 1971 trip.[23]

Lattimore stayed in Great Falls until May 1971, leaning heavily on Bill and Suki Rogers for friendship and moral support. He made little progres


on his backlog of paperwork but did manage to arrange visits to Mongolia and to friends in Bulgaria, East Berlin, and Denmark after his coming appearance in Japan. By May, when he left for Leeds en route to Tokyo, he was beginning to wonder if he could survive in a house where every feature bore Eleanor's imprint and every day's passage highlighted the need for her talents.

Lattimore had by now put behind him the trauma of the inquisition. His career since leaving Johns Hopkins had been so all-absorbing that there was no occasion to dwell on the ugly past. He was therefore startled when he went through the mail awaiting him at Leeds and found this letter:

8 Chemin des Roches
Fribourg, Switzerland
30 April 1971

Professor Owen Lattimore
University of Leeds


This is written by a Russian witness against you during the Senate investigations in 1952 (Igor Bogolepov).

I have written a manuscript dealing with memoirs about American and Western in general politics of the cold war against my country, the Soviet Union. In these memoirs I explain the background of my testimony. I believe I have finally to tell the truth: I have very little time left to live and must hurry as much as I can. All my previous efforts to find a publisher either in America or England or elsewhere were in vain; the material is very hot in other aspects, too.

Would you be interested in assisting me to tell the truth? But you must take into consideration that my writings are very critical of the US government and American way of life in general. I had been and still am a patriot of my Soviet country; as Machiavelli told, one can serve his country con gloria e con ignomia. You may understand that I cannot say more until I learn about your attitude.

The manuscript is in Russian.

Very truly yours

I. Nyman[24]

Bogolepov! The surprise witness so valued by SISS that he got more space in the committee's final report than any other did. The double de-


rector from the Russians to the Nazis to the Americans. The witness who said Soviet propagandists flooded IPR publications with their writings. The witness who quoted Litvinov as saying Lattimore was the most appropriate agent for "mobilizing public sentiment" in the West.

Lattimore was astounded. Could Nyman/Bogolepov actually be defecting again, back to the Russians? Why would he contact Lattimore? Why assume Lattimore could find him a publisher if his own efforts had failed? Was this a setup engineered by the CIA, or James O. Eastland, or Robert Morris, or someone else attempting to implicate Lattimore in some treasonous activity? Or was Nyman simply a very disturbed, possibly pathological character?

There was no time to stew about it. Lattimore was due to leave for Japan. Only one safe course came to mind: send the letter to Bill Rogers, who would know how to deal with it. Rogers did; he wrote Nyman June 4, 1971, saying that Lattimore was in Asia, but Nyman could send the manuscript to Arnold and Porter, where Rogers would hold it for Lattimore's return.[25] The manuscript did not come, but this was not the end of Nyman.

Lattimore arrived in Tokyo June 4, 1971. He was whisked through customs; the customs man had read some of his writings and wished him a happy visit.

Explanation of this recondite literacy of a Customs inspector, surely unmatched anywhere else in the world: At the end of the war "The Making of Modern China," which Eleanor and I had written during the war, was quickly translated into Japanese. It is a very one-syllable-word, primer-like book, as indicated by the fact that it was also reprinted in a huge paperback edition for the use of U.S. troops. Anyhow, lots of Japanese have told me that it gave them their first glimpse of a China different from the official Japanese views of the 1930's. As the MacArthur occupation evolved into the Cold War years, another generation of Japanese came to fall back on it as a non-Cold War American depiction of China.[26]

He later learned that The Making of Modern China was in its thirty-second Japanese printing.

Lattimore had not been in Japan since 1945. To his delight he discovered that Saburo Matsukata, one of the prewar Japanese IPR stalwarts, was still alive and anxious to see him. They visited for several hours. And at a luncheon of "big brass" from Mainichi and the Japanese Research Council, he was amazed to hear some of those present claim that they had read his book and agreed with much of it even in the 1930s. "I seem to


have had, at the time, an influence that I never knew about, on Japanese who, while working within the Japanese military-industrial-academic-imperialistic complex, were sceptical about its aims, its conduct, and its eventual outcome. Of course it was an ineffectual influence. What it all amounted to was that it helped a few people to say 'I told you so' when the party was over and the broken glass and crockery were being swept up."[27]

Lattimore discovered a strong interest among Japanese scholars and businessmen in Mongolia, some of this interest apparently coming from his writings. "I sensed that with every one of them it began with a romantic interest which then developed into political partisanship, though all of them had been in either the political or military service of Japanese imperialism. It is strange that the Japanese have a particular and not dissimilar sentimentality about the Mongols, who under Khubilai [Khan] tried and failed to conquer them, and the Americans, who did conquer them. Whatever (as the Irish say), it seems it was the Japanese I subverted with my nefarious doctrines, not the Americans. Tut-tut."[28]

On June 7, 1971, Lattimore gave his major lecture, sponsored by the Research Council and Mainichi. He used a contemporary theme: the United States, in the person of Richard Nixon, was finally dealing with the People's Republic of China. The shift in policy was greater than met the eye; in previous years Nixon had made much of American determination to negotiate only from a position of strength. And what was Nixon doing now? Not only dealing with the People's Republic of China, but dealing with it precisely because America's position in Vietnam was weak. "Today, whatever the way the Americans might take to cover up their defeat, one thing is no longer possible—the escalation of the war. Public opinion in America would not stand for it."[29] The Mainichi Daily News gave Lattimore's speech page-one treatment.

Lattimore's letters to Bill Rogers detail dozens of fascinating discoveries about Japanese intellectual and political currents. Not all of those he met were liberals disenchanted with Japan's previous expansionist policies; some still defended them as superior to the imperialist policies of Western governments. The bureaucrats of the foreign office were "smooth and condescending," content m be "wallowing in Washington's wake." They were as gullible as their American counterparts, ready to swallow the Hong Kong monitoring of Chinese press and radio, which was being done by refugees wanting m "get the hell out of Hongkong" and willing to select and translate the mainland press to please the prejudices of their American employers.[30]


Mainichi staged an eight-day tour of the islands for Lattimore; it was a tourist's delight. He rode the bullet trains to Kyoto, Osaka, and Nagoya, saw the temples and monuments Fujiko recommended, and traded opinions about the world with civic leaders all over Japan. Mainichi seemed to think they got their money's worth; they asked him to report for them from China in 1972 if he made it there.

Fujiko was also delighted with Lattimore's visit. She and her husband, Seiichi Isono, conferred about her future career and decided that she should join Lattimore in Leeds or Virginia on a semipermanent basis to work with him on several specific projects and to assume his mantle when, as he put it, total senility set in. She was then fifty-three, with at least a decade of vigorous scholarship before her. Their first joint task: translating and annotating the memoirs of the Dilowa, which they would start the spring of 1972 when she finished a course she was giving at Tokyo University.[31]

Lattimore enjoyed his VIP treatment in Japan and appreciated the Japanese intelligentsia with whom he mingled. But in his letters home he expressed less empathy for the affluent Japanese than he had earlier shown for the Mongols and Tuvinians. The ethos of the Central Asian caravan never really left him. He sailed from Yokohama June 16, 1971, for the Soviet Union and Mongolia.

Nakhodka, the Soviet port city for ships from Japan, plunged him again into the bloody-mindedness of Soviet officialdom. The two-page description of his encounter with Soviet customs at Nakhodka is hilarious. He was breaking all the rules: he had a tape recorder; he forgot to declare a broken camera in his luggage; he had a copy of a bitterly anti-Soviet article in Russian that he was carrying to Ulan Bator at the request of a Mongol scholar; and on examining his clothing, the custom officers found a pair of new trousers with stiffening in the waistband. Very suspicious. They were about to slit the waistband open, but Lattimore protested: "I was lucky my Russian was good enough to explain everything." Customs confiscated the anti-Soviet article but let him pass with the rest of his impedimenta in time to make his train to Khabarovsk.[32]

He was traveling with Urgunge Onon and family. Since the group constituted a "party" by Intourist standards, they got a first-class guide in Khabarovsk. To no avail. There was no significant intellectual life, no friendly scholarly community, no first-rate museum here; Lattimore described it as "a pleasant provincial city, but that's about all." The rest of his journey through Siberia to Mongolia was touristy, comfortable, but somewhat strained. Lattimore and the Onons had no Mongolian visas,


not even a written invitation. Intourist was afraid they'd be stuck with these five careless travelers indefinitely. At the border stop the Intourist people "gaped when we telephoned, and the Mongolian consul, instead of telling us to come to the consulate, insisted on coming round to the hotel himself, with the visas all made out."[33]

Despite extensive preparations going on to celebrate the MPR's fiftieth anniversary, Lattimore and his party were met at the Ulan Bator station by a delegation of his friends. One can sense the emotion as Lattimore greeted Dalai, who reported that a beautiful picture of Eleanor now hung in a "place of honour" with his family portraits; as he met again "the pretty waitress who cried last year when she learned of Eleanor's death" (she almost cried again); and as he ran into old friends in the street, including the lama who had known the Dilowa.[34] It was old home week.

By now Lattimore had developed his diary-letters into an art form. The one of July 1, 1971, as usual to Bill Rogers, was exemplary, describing in fascinating detail his four-day stay in the Ulan Bator hospital.

Lattimore had a mild blood-pressure problem. When he called on Shirendyb, president of the Academy, for a "long, very pleasant and very profitable conversation" soon after his arrival in Ulan Bator, the subject of Lattimore's health came up. He mentioned the blood pressure. Shirendyb, not only concerned as a friend but also anxious to procure maximum editing and translating services while Lattimore was in Mongolia, suggested that he check into the hospital for rest and observation. "I thought, why not? What a marvellous opportunity to get an idea of Mongolian medicine and hospitals!"

Registration was simple and quick. He was in a semiprivate (two-bed) room with bath and washbasin, but the toilet was down the hall. Sanitation was superb. The heart specialist who examined him was "a hell of a nice guy." Before long Lattimore had learned most of the doctor's life history. Nurses were efficient and colorful. Nobody pulled rank in the hospital, neither doctors nor administrators nor the higher grades of nurses. The elderly cleaning lady noticed Lattimore's pouch of pipe tobacco and confessed that she too smoked a pipe; he offered her a fill if she brought her pipe the next day. Later that night she came back with a cigarette paper and asked if she could have enough tobacco to roll a cigarette. As she smoked, they "talked about what a pity it is that you can't get the old trade tobacco from China anymore." Lattimore had entered with a systolic blood-pressure reading of 175; by the time he left, it was 140. He was pronounced sound.[35]

Lattimore always called on the British ambassador when in Mongolia.


In 1971 John Colvin was the new envoy. Lattimore's judgment: "He is the kind of High Tory I can like and respect." Colvin had previously served in North Vietnam and observed that when he was there, the Russians were always baffled because the Vietnamese wouldn't do things the Russian way. This description, wrote Lattimore to Bill Rogers, "touches on one of the great similarities between Russians and Americans. Both are so convinced of their own righteousness that they can only see the fact, never the 'why,' when disagreed with. This is bad for the conduct of foreign policy, for both nations, but the Russians have been winning, on balance, since there are more peoples wanting to pull down their rotten governments than there are who want to stand by while we prop them up."[36]

Lattimore's stature with the Mongols, always high since he first visited there, reached a new level in 1971, partly because of the devotion and praise of Urgunge Onon: "He goes around propagandizing me like a PRO." Lattimore was flattered, but in his letter of July 8 he revealed that the pedestal on which he was placed had its disadvantages. He was depressed, despite the adulation. "I have been thinking that this winter it will be 40 years since I started to learn Mongol (45 years since the long journey through [Inner] Mongolia to Sinkiang, at a time when I spoke only Chinese). And what have I got to show for it? A damn sight less than ought to have been possible. I don't speak anything like perfect Mongol, in spite of what people say, and my knowledge of history, tribes, traditions, manners, customs, is all bits and patches, never properly coordinated into a rounded whole. The chief thing is that I was able to begin in Mongolia in the very years when the old order was falling apart, and new forces, emotions, instinctive strivings beginning to emerge. To put this all in order, I've got to train Fujiko as my successor. Urgunge too."[37]

Depression, however, could not last in the excitement and ceremony of the Fiftieth anniversary celebration. Shirendyb gave a glorious picnic in a valley several miles from Ulan Bator. Lattimore said of the setting, "The scene was lovely beyond any words of mine." At the picnic, and at later parties in the city, he heard ancient tribal songs of haunting beauty. The formal celebrations on July 12 were boring, "listening for hours to speeches in different languages saying the same thing," but a parade of veterans of the 1921 revolution fascinated him. "My God, what warriors they look, even in old age (few are under 70)! A fierce crowd they must have been in their fighting years. . . Except for the rifles, the cavalry of Chingis Khan."[38]

There was no Chinese delegation in the reviewing stand and more Rus-


sians than Lattimore had ever seen in Mongolia before. Kosygin had the position of greatest eminence and at the big official reception in the evening had "tough" things to say pointed at the Chinese.

A hiatus in Mongol festivities drew some typical Lattimorean sarcasm: "14 July. Bastille Day reception at the French Embassy. Someone less likely to have stormed the Bastille than the French Ambassador I defy anybody to imagine. But then, can any of you recall having met an American Ambassador, to any country, who looked as if he could have served at Valley Forge? Well, one exception: Averell Harriman."[39]

Several days later Lattimore had lunch "with a chap who was in the Party Institute of History, and in that capacity had written a devastating criticism of my Nomads and Commissars. [This] year, by an intermediary, he asked if I would let him come to see me. I said, of course. When he turned up, he said: That review I wrote. Of course, we have to keep the orthodoxy orthodox. But personally, I think you're a very good guy, with a lot of bright ideas. I said, Naturally, we have to keep the record straight. I'm not a Marxist, and never likely to become one. No hard feelings. Since then, we have been very good friends."[40]

Lattimore heard with wonderment the news that Nixon was going to Peking. His first comment on this phenomenon was in a letter of July 22, 1971. He had dined at the French embassy, with three other ambassadors and wives also present.

As the only non-diplomat, I thought I would be the naughty boy, so I raised the topic of Nixon going on bombing and burning and gassing the hell out of the Indo-Chinese, and Mao saying, "Never mind that, but do drop in for breakfast some day." Got no rise out of this (though all the diplomats here are passionate fishermen), but it did become clear that Nixon-Mao would be talking, in the opinion of everybody but me, principally about Taiwan. I was utterly surprised. I may be 100 degrees disoriented, from having been out of America for a while, but I pontificated to the obviously disbelieving diplomats as follows:

In America, Taiwan is a dead issue. People are bored—not fed up and outraged, as over Indochina. Just bored. There is no "military-industrial complex" committed to Taiwan anymore. . .. under the new deal (not New Deal!) with Japan, the cynical ditching of Taiwan is immaterial. Japan-Okinawa is a much more solid base, because the object now—and there is no material difference between the Rostow and Kissinger versions of amateur Machiavellianism—is no longer the roll-back of China, but setting China and Russia against each other, and for that Japan is better (so these poor dopes think). . .. No, in my opinion the emotional issue in America will no longer be Taiwan, but Indochina.[41]


Lattimore cherished his role as a heretic, which extended even to his contacts with Soviet historians. One of them, Gol'man, had published an analysis of American writing on Mongolia. Lattimore thought Gol'man had been fair except on one dimension. Gol'man made much of the attempts of one "Duke" Larson, an adventurer who had tried to persuade American firms to invest in Mongolia during the pre-Soviet years, with, of course, due dividends for Larson himself. Gol'man called Larson "odious" and treated him as a paradigm capitalist exploiter.

When Gol'man comes in again I'm going to give it to him hot and strong. I'm going to say, "You accuse me of defending Larson. I wasn't defending him. I was trying to accuse you Russian Marxists, in a mild, polite way. You didn't get the point, so now just sit still while I attack you in a rough, Bolshevik way. You Russian Marxists are falling down on the job. You make a political accusation: The American imperalistcapitalists wanted to dominate the Mongolian market—and you produce one figure, old Franz Larson, who was ridiculous, rather than sinister. That's not good enough. There were American interests—and British, and other. A description of their operations and affiliations, plus a clear Marxist economic analysis, would be a valuable contribution to economic history and would interest a lot of people, me included. But you never deliver. Now why don't you get busy?"

Gol'man came in. I was in my bath, reading his book, and as an author he had to acknowledge that that was a compliment, I climbed out, wrapped a towel around myself, and went at it, hammer and tongs, with my criticisms. We had a fine time, and are better friends than ever. I told him about "capitalist-imperialist" business in Mongolia in the 1920's, drawing on personal experience, reminiscences, and remembered hearsay—the gossip of the trade in my time. He was fascinated. He knows about these things only from Marxist theory, and had never met anybody who had actually been engaged in such nefarious doings.[42]

Lattimore's seventy-first birthday, on July 29, seemed to affect him more than his last. He described it as "weird and solitary," even though he had lunch with two of his best Mongol friends and took great interest in the family of Bira, a noted Tibetanist whose wife was originally a physician but became a scholar of Turkish after her children were born. Lattimore was always fascinated by the career choices, and changes, of people in a Communist system. Bira's son, a child prodigy painter, also captivated him. The rest of his birthday was hardly solitary; half a dozen friends called on him to offer many happy returns.

Nonetheless, he did not sleep that night. "It's a sorry business, turning


71, mourning the past and not quite daring to believe that the future can be as bright as its present promise· The Buddhists are right on one thing: it's a terrible fate to be a human being." Yet his fate was not terrible. He was as interested as ever in the peoples and cultures of Central Asia and was contemplating accepting Mongol offers to spend a year in some scenic valley, watching the full cycle of the herding year, recording the life experiences, the songs and legends, the reactions to communism of these formerly nomadic tribes. He confided to Bill Rogers, "It is so tempting·. . . [But it] would never end. My real problem is that I already have so much that may never get on paper, but I have this hunger for more and more knowledge."[43]

He concluded that tempting as a long stay in Mongolia was, he had to first put in at least a year of "book and typewriter work." He would help Urgunge do his Mongolian Heroes of the Twentieth Century ; do a new edition of his own Nomads and Commissars ; complete several promised articles; work with Fujiko on the Dilowa memoirs; "go through untold quantities of my unfinished work, and see what I complete, what I turn over to Fujiko, and what we work on together. She's going to have plenty to do when I'm gone. . .. And there's always that China in History . And, oh God, my memoirs· Gives me writer's cramp to think of it all."[44]

He got his mind off of it all July 31 when he and Dalai left Ulan Bator for his annual "field trip," this time two full weeks in Hövsgöl Province at the headwaters of the Selenge River. Here Lattimore was back again with herdsmen and hunters, Mongols (and Kazakhs and Reindeer People and other still-distinct tribes) whom he had learned to love and trust forty-five years earlier on the desert road to Turkestan.

Dalai was a master tour arranger. Lattimore observed that when Dalai introduced him to ordinary Mongols, his line was "This old chap is 71. Solid old bastard, isn't he?" But when Dalai went to the authorities in charge of housing, transportation, and the like, his line was "I've got a very frail old chap here. Very distinguished, of course, but very frail. Anything you can do to help me out? Wouldn't like to have anything happen to him while he's in my charge and in your territory."[45] So they got the best of everything. The hotel in Hövsgö1 was better than the one in Ulan Bator, as was the food. Lattimore had a ball.

Thirty-nine pages of his diary-letter of July 31, 1971, describe the weeks in Hövsgöl. Seventy-one years to the contrary, living with these friendly, happy, curious people restored his morale, blotted out the pain of Eleanor's death, and eased the worry of coping with his massive scholarly projects when he returned to the West. At each settlement he and Dalai vis-


ited, after they learned the lore of the villagers, heard the ancient songs, visited the schools, herds, and cottage industries, they responded to questions: Dalai reciting his experiences as a Mongol diplomat in China, Lattimore describing how he happened to be there and what he was up to. It was a different apologia from the one he presented to Soviet scholars. At their first village,

about 80 people gathered in a triple ring on the greensward, and I stood in the middle and began: I have travelled a strange road through life to be among you here today, and went right on. There were no intellectuals there except the teacher, so I used very simple language. I told them about that first long Gobi journey when I didn't know any Mongol, about how I first started to learn Mongol and became interested in the politics of Inner Mongolia. I didn't disguise the fact that my friends of those days were regarded as shady and presumptively dangerous characters in Outer Mongolia, but that didn't matter. Their attitude would be: That's the way things were in those times, and that's where he was. And anyhow, he was interested in us Mongols. . .. I went on to tell about being in Ulan Bator in 1944 with Wallace—that always fascinates them, and then about my repeated visits here since 1961, with Eleanor, with David, and by myself, and wound up with due (and genuine) admiration of the progress I have seen in these 10 years. The young people were listening intently, a lot of the older people were wiping their eyes. The sentimentality of the Mongols is winningly simple. When they can tell that you really like them, everything they have is yours.[46]

It would be hard to overstate the therapeutic effect of Lattimore's 1971 stay in Mongolia. When he left for Hungary August 19, his health was good and his spirits high. The rest of 1971 was all downhill.

After the Orientalists' Congress in Hungary, Lattimore spent a week each in Bulgaria and East Berlin and two weeks in Copenhagen; on September 28 he was back in Leeds, teaching the fall term despite his retirement. Among the letters waiting for him was a package from Evelyn Nef with copies of the memorial brochure for Eleanor. It pleased him immensely but brought on renewed anguish.

In early November he flew to the United States, hoping that another try at establishing residence in Virginia would work. It was a vain hope. Despite the help of the Rogers and Evelyn Nef, he could not bring himself to stay in the house that Eleanor planned. Nor could he manage the household routine. His drinking increased, and he wandered between Virginia, New York, and Providence, visiting the Piels, David, and other friends.

By 1971, twenty years had passed since McCarran and his Senate In-


ternal Security Subcommittee set out to pillory Lattimore. A few institutions (besides Harvard) were now overcoming their skittishness about asking the great heretic to lecture. Johns Hopkins was not one of them, but another Baltimore institution, Goucher College, brought him in for a lecture December 9.

At Goucher he was still derogating the conventional wisdom. All the talk of China "coming out of its isolation," he said, was nonsense. "China has diplomatic relations with all kinds of countries. In my opinion they have not been nearly as isolated as Washington." He also dismissed widespread speculation about a full-scale war between the Soviet Union and China. Of course there was great hostility, but the common bond of dedication to Marxist theory made war unlikely. "I think we should understand this, instead of simply sensationalizing frontier clashes."[47]

Lattimore's visit to Goucher produced a long story in the Baltimore Sun .[48] Interestingly, the headline was not about his views on world affairs but about his plans to visit China once again. New York Times columnist James Reston had been in Peking in August; Chou En-lai told Reston then that Lattimore would be welcome in the People's Republic. Lattimore told the Sun reporter that he would probably seek a visa for summer 1972.

Lattimore made his last appearance at the Council on Foreign Relations January 11, 1972. Gerard Piel was there: "His message was to assure his hearers that they were as wrong now about the possibility of successfully playing the China card against the U.S.S.R. as they had been when they fused both powers in a monolithic communist conspiratorial dictatorship. The border questions that divided them and their competition for the territory and loyalty of the frontier peoples, he said, were far outweighed by their shared antipathy to the hegemony of Western capitalism and their fear of the U.S.A." Piel says Lattimore's message was as unwelcome as ever.[49]

By the end of January 1972 Lattimore had come to doubt the viability of establishing his main residence in the United States. With considerable relief he returned to Leeds in early February to spend six weeks on duties he still had as professor emeritus. His report to Bill Rogers on February 22 did not deal with the Leeds routine, however. It was all about his delicate negotiations with the Chinese. Two secretaries of the Chinese chargé d'affaires in London visited Leeds, nominally as guests of the local Society for Anglo-Chinese Understanding. They were presumably interested in the science and Chinese studies departments. Lattimore soon discovered they were more interested in finding out what he would expect were he now to visit the PRC.

He had several objectives: seeing Manchuria, Inner Mongolia, Sin-


kiang, and Tibet and visiting old friends. And since he was "an old man, no longer able to totter about alone," he needed Fujiko along as a research associate-secretary. The Chinese thought that would be fine. Could Lattimore bring Fujiko along to the consulate in London soon? Yes, she would be in England February 14. He would bring her down to London the twenty-first.

So we went down. At King's Cross, no need for a taxi. At the ticket barrier, a secretary was waiting for us. Outside, an Embassy—excuse me, a Chargé d'Affaires—car. We're in, I said in Fujiko's ear; we're in. A superb lunch, at exactly the right spaced-out interval between "home cooking" and "fancy feast." Conversation easy, affable. You'd never think the humourless Cultural Revolution had ever occurred. They knew Nixon wanted Pandas, but what on earth were the musk oxen? I explained. If you can do that in Chinese, you needn't worry about future conversational traps. Yes, but why, they wanted to know. Well, you wouldn't expect the President of a capitalistic nation not to try a bit of dealing on the side, would you? I asked. This was well received.

Mind you, all this time—it's been going on for nearly two years now—I've never had a written or other direct invitation from China. (And I've never asked for a visa.) Everything has been relayed indirectly, through Ed Snow, a Reston news story, etc. At this lunch, the Chargé said openly, for the first time, that both the Chairman (Mao) and the Premier (Chou En-lai) had expressed a personal interest in my coming.[50]

So the China trip was set. As anticipated, the Mainichi newspapers and Japan Television wanted Lattimore to report for them; Fujiko was to make these arrangements when, at the end of March, she returned to Japan and Lattimore to the United States.

Before Lattimore returned to the United States, an incident occurred that brought out his lingering sensitivity about the inquisition. Henry Steele Commager wrote a letter to the New York Times , carried by that paper March 6, 1972, under the heading "To Right a Wrong." Commager noted that the Truman and Eisenhower administrations had "destroyed the careers of two distinguished scholars and public servants, Dr. Robert Oppenheimer and Prof. Owen Lattimore." Presidents Kennedy and Johnson had made apologies and restitution to Oppenheimer. Wasn't it time for Nixon, who had finally seen the merit of the formerly heretical policies advocated by Lattimore, to do the same for him?

Lattimore's answer was carried March 23: "Owen Lattimore Asks: 'To Right What Wrong?' "Lattimore acknowledged Commager's friendly in-


tent and his long service to the cause of academic freedom. But Commager had accepted too quickly the myth that Lattimore had been done in by the inquisition.

It is misleading to say that I "never recovered from the effects of official harassment and eventually removed to England, where (I) could carry on (my) China studies without interference." During the years in which I was under indictment my university in America did not suspend me, but put me on leave with full pay. It is true that in America, the articles and paid lectures on which I had always relied for supplementary income became few and far between.

On the other hand, my career internationally was definitely enhanced. I lectured for two half-years at the Sorbonne. I gave a course of lectures at the University of Copenhagen and lectured widely in England, Scotland, and Wales. My wife and I were invited to Mongolia, and this led to a revival of the Mongolian part of my career. The outrageous Department of Justice indictment became an international passport.

Finally, the invitation to come to the University of Leeds was anything but an offer of asylum to "carry on China studies without interference." It gave me seven years—the happiest and most productive of my academic career—in which to found a completely new Department of Chinese Studies, putting into operation my own ideas and unencumbered by the traditions and uncompleted programs that might have been problems if I had simply taken over a long-established department.[51]

Lattimore then described the successes of his Leeds program, ending with a jab at Nixon. "My record from the McCarthy era to the present day does not need to be prettied up. President Nixon's record of the same period could do with, and is getting, a lavish application of the cosmetic art." There was truth in this.

Four days after his letter was carried in the Times , Lattimore was back in New York for the Twenty-fourth Annual Meeting of the Association for Asian Studies. When the CIA finally condescended to disgorge a minor part of its holdings on Lattimore, it produced a heavily censored report by its China Political and Military Branch on this convention. In the one page released of an eight-page report, the CIA agent said kind things about Lattimore, approved his election as first president of the newly formed Mongolia Society, and even praised a Soviet-produced movie shown at the convention touting the achievements of the MPR since the revolution.[52]

On April 27, 1972, the most prominent witness against Lattimore, Louis


Budenz, quietly departed this earth. His last years were marred by ill health and the increasingly shrill warnings he issued of the imminent triumph of the Soviet Union over the now-impotent United States. Budenz's last book, The Bolshevik Invasion of the West , is embarrassingly fanatical. It was published by the notorious Bookmailer and largely ignored. Margaret Budenz complained, "It never earned a cent of royalties."[53] The Associated Press obituary noted that Budenz's major contributions to the American inquisition had been his accusations against Lattimore and Gerhart Eisler. The story concluded, "In most instances, his accusations were denied and never actually proven in court."[54]

On June 14, 1972, twenty years and three months after SISS released him from its grasp, Lattimore again appeared before a committee of Congress. This time the auspices were friendly: he was appearing before Senators Proxmire, Fulbright, and Javits and Representative Boggs of the Joint Economic Committee. The JEC was holding hearings on economic developments in mainland China. Calling Lattimore as a witness was anomalous; he did not pretend to be an economist, he had not been in China for twenty-seven years, and he could be expected to come up with some abrasive remarks. But there he was, and the senators, even the Republican Javits, treated him with deference.

Proxmire apologized for the "indignities you suffered in the early 1950's" and implied that Lattimore had been "hounded" out of the country. Lattimore responded with the same lecture he had given Commager: he was not hounded out of the country: he went to a better job. Proxmire accepted the correction.

There was little talk of economics. Inevitably the conversation turned to geopolitics. What were the Chinese up to? The Russians? Was China a threat to the United States? Lattimore unburdened himself of his firm opposition to the Vietnam War but made it clear that he was still not promoting communism. "Any country has a sovereign right to do everything it can to limit or restrict the spread of Communism. That is not the real question. The real question is if you adopt methods intended to stop the spread of Communism and find those measures are creating Communists faster than you can kill them, then the sensible thing is to change the policy."[55]

The committee seemed to accept that statement. They asked reasonable questions and got the full exposition of Lattimore's foreign policy views. These views were largely incompatible with the conventional wisdom, but this Congress was not on a heresy hunt.


Lattimore moved restlessly from place to place during the spring and summer of 1972. He could not stay in the United States. The Southdown house, without a compatible housekeeper, was impossible. Perhaps Fujiko could have made it work, but she was unwilling to reside steadily in the United States. Lattimore was still drinking heavily. David wanted him to enter a prominent Boston center for treatment of alcoholism and took him to see it, but he reacted negatively and did not check in. He decided he could go on the wagon by himself.[56]

The trip to China was lining up nicely. Fujiko arranged an assignment from Japan Television to film Lattimore's return to China; this project was in addition to reporting for the Mainichi Newspapers. Chinese visas were in order. By the end of July Lattimore had given up on the house in Virginia and decided to rent it out. He would move to Paris. Fujiko could get an apartment near him and would not be tied down as she would have been in Virginia. Lattimore's French was still fluent. The intellectual life in Paris was superior to that of Washington. Paris was also closer to England and Scandinavia. By late August Lattimore was in Paris and had contracted to purchase an apartment there. That done, he and Fujiko were off to China.

On August 29, 1972, twenty-seven years after he was last in China on the Pauley mission, Lattimore returned to Peking. This time it was with VIP status. The New China News Agency reported a dinner given in his honor by the vice president of the Institute of Foreign Affairs.[57] Since neither he nor Fujiko was capable of operating the camera provided by Japan Television, Lattimore asked the Chinese to allow his grandson Michael to accompany them as cameraman. This request was granted; Lattimore sent for Michael to come in a hurry, and he arrived just in time for their trip to Sinkiang.

Despite the ceremony and the nostalgia, Lattimore's reports from China are remarkably low-keyed. In Peking he saw the latest in archeological holdings and was taken on routine tours of factories, schools, and communes. He wrote Bill Rogers, "I don't mind; it helps me to get the feel and mood of people." He met Rewi Alley and George Hatem, both prominent Westerners who had stayed in China after the Communists took over in 1949, and through Hatem he got to see contemporary Chinese medicine close up. This subject he found fascinating. Doctors visiting Peking were, according to Lattimore, "the most unabashedly admiring visitors, and there are a lot of them." Chinese health was indeed vastly improved. One contrast with the old days elicited a bit of excitement from


Lattimore: "the healthy, active, clean children—not one of the majority we used to see with distended bellies, runny noses, inflamed eyes, scabby heads."[58]

The China of 1972 was still not free of the Cultural Revolution. Chou En-lai was ascendant, with Mao's backing, and had managed the Nixon visit of February 1972.[59] But China's quarrel with Russia was at fever heat, and not even Chou's friendship with Lattimore could entirely cancel out the taint of Lattimore's collaboration with Soviet scholars nor the fact that he had been "adopted" by the Mongolian People's Republic.

Furthermore, Lattimore kept asking embarrassing questions, as his grandson Michael remembers: "During the 1972 trip he often inquired, especially during the weeks in Peking, after individuals, mainly Chinese and mainly intellectuals only to be told 'Oh they're doing work in the countryside.' Thus, although I was completely unaware of it myself at the time, he was acutely aware of the ongoing Cultural Revolution, even though the Chinese tried hard to give the impression that the 'revolution' was essentially over. It's to his credit that he was not only not taken in but also not in the least bit hesitant to annoy our hosts with his inquisitiveness."[60] And despite Lattimore's only slightly rusty Chinese, two full-time interpreters were assigned to his party, in addition to the usual politically unsophisticated tour guides.

One consequence of Lattimore's independent ways was that Mao refused to see him. (Chou was very friendly, as will be noted later, but the Great Helmsman remained aloof.) A second consequence was that Lattimore's itinerary was more restricted than he had expected. Michael believes that the restricted itinerary developed out of Lattimore's refusal to

be had or used. This is genuine. I'm sure we paid for this as we were not only denied Tibet, but also Kashgar, where Owen had been before, and where Joris Ivens was allowed to go while we were only treated to Urumchi and Turfan. Ivens was engaged in making his epic on the emergence of "socialist man" in China. I met him and had several conversations with him and his sound person . . . I was very impressed with them both. However on further reflection I have to hand it to my Grandfather for standing by his principles, especially since he'll never get the credit for doing so he really deserves. After all we could have come out of China with a vastly more salable product in terms of film, photos, and articles had he played the game and had we been able to go to those places.[61]


But they did get to Sinkiang; Reuters noted Lattimore's departure from Peking on September 10, and the Washington Post picked up the story. In Urumchi, Kalja, Aksu, and Turfan they were seeing country that Owen and Eleanor had traveled through forty-five years earlier. It was almost unrecognizable. Stone River, a hundred miles west of Urumchi, had been just a marsh when Owen and Eleanor had been there. Now it was restored to its pre-1920s state, with "God knows how many thousand people; a rich agriculture, large herds of animals—and the factories are humming," as Lattimore wrote Bill Rogers. Urumchi, too, had been built up enormously, with Han laborers and management brought in to staff the factories. After two weeks in Sinkiang and Inner Mongolia, Lattimore observed, "Some things make me feel like a dinosaur returning to his ancient mud-bath and finding it's been taken over by a porcelain works." The major exception was Turfan. There the Uighurs were still dominant, the underground irrigation channels functioning as they had for generations, the vines and lattices shading the streets. Lattimore, Michael, and Fujiko feasted under the grape arbors in the nearby valley just as Lattimore and Eleanor had done on their honeymoon. Michael, a budding musician, was captivated by Uighur folk songs.[62]

On October 5 they were back in Peking. Now there was "a pilgrimage to a shrine: the hospital where David was born; the labour room where he was delivered, after 27 hours of agony for Eleanor."[63] To Lattimore's amazement, Dr. Katie Lim, the obstetrician who had attended Eleanor, was still at the hospital. She had survived Japanese occupation, war, Nationalist recovery, and Communist takeover. Now, at seventy years, she was a respected member of the People's Consultative Council and about to visit the United States with a medical group organized by Dr. E. Gray Dimond of the University of Missouri at Kansas City. Dr. Lim was delighted to meet Michael and to have word of the American child (David) she had delivered so many years earlier.

Also during this stay in Peking, Lattimore was taken to visit a "Committee of Housewives" who ran several cottage industries. This group supervised a lock factory, a knitted-wear workshop, and similar operations.

Of course, everybody was prepared for us, but still—instant rapport. Like an old lady from Shantung, 70, who had been a famine refugee in Manchuria. Story of hardship, still-born child, etc. When she heard Eleanor and I had been in Manchuria in those days, and knew something of the conditions, no stopping her. Fujiko and I have been getting


a little, let's say satiated, with all the paeans about the Chairman, but when old women like this express their liberation, their happiness after toil and hardship, their secure old age in a clean two-room apartment with clean bedding and "look, a closet all my own," in terms of what the Chairman did for them, we just about break down and cry. It's so different from the incantations of the intellectuals.[64]

But the high point of their Peking stay was dinner with Chou. This event was not announced in advance. Late one afternoon Lattimore, who was writing in his hotel room, was suddenly told to get ready to dine with the premier. The atmosphere was friendly, and Chou greeted Lattimore and his party effusively; nonetheless, secretaries were present to take down every word. Chou spoke only through an interpreter, who had been a classmate of David Lattimore at Harvard. Of course Chou understood every word of English, but his official position had to be formal, and Lattimore did not break protocol except late in the evening, when he slipped occasionally into Chinese.

One of Chou's first comments was to the effect that "your grandson is very feminine looking [Michael had long hair] and if I didn't know otherwise I might think he was a woman." Michael recalls, "I don't think Owen knew quite how to reply to this, and he knew what had been said well before I did, but I jumped right in and gave my prepared answer, since I had been reading up on Chou, which was that long hair for us American youth was a political statement just as it had been a political statement for Chou at one time to cut off his long pig tail. Chou really appreciated this, whether for its cheekiness or because it showed him I knew a little bit more about him than he thought. Anyway he laughed, and after that we got along famously."[65]

The serious conversation was dominated by Chou's long list of grievances against the Russians. Chou listed all the agreements with Russia, going back to the czars, that the Chinese had lived up to but the Russians. had not. Lattimore did not want to hear this diatribe but he listened sympathetically. There were lighter moments in the conversation. The diners were liberally supplied with mao-t'ai, and Michael asked Chou about the report that on the Long March the Communists had burned down all the distilleries. "'Yes,' Chou replied, 'it is true that I ordered the distilleries dosed down' (he wouldn't admit to actually burning them) 'but first we confiscated all the liquor.' He then went on to recount that the Red Army had been required to cross a river, so he had himself ensconced up on a cliff where he could watch the crossing, a process which took about eight hours. While this was going on, according to Chou he was enjoying some


of the confiscated product, 'but we weren't drinking it out of those puny little glasses like you're doing because all we had there were big tin cups.' This is a tall tale if I've ever heard one."[66]

Pictures were taken at the dinner with Chou and appeared with an account of the event on the front pages of Peking newspapers.

After two weeks in Peking, Lattimore and his party toured Manchuria, Nanking, and Shanghai. Lattimore wrote little about these travels. All the Chinese officials with whom he talked expounded vigorously their grievances against the Soviet Union. In Dairen, Lattimore was taken down in the deep air-raid shelters; had there been no other convincing evidence that Chinese fear of the Russians was profound, these shelters would have established it. By the end of October, Lattimore was ready to leave China. He canceled visits to Hangchow and other places; he and Fujiko entrained for Mongolia October 27. Michael went to Tokyo with his film.

Lattimore's unease in China shows clearly in a letter to Bill Rogers: "When we were at last across the frontier and trundling along toward Ulan Bator, Fujiko and I looked at each other and it was a 'now we're home' look. I just don't know how to say it, but there's always that shade of difference between Chinese and Mongols. Everywhere in China people were wonderful to us, and it was genuine, not put on. But always, somehow, however faint, that touch of condescension—'how tolerant we are, we Chinese, to treat you as people, and not rub it in that you're barbarians.' The Russians have their own form of that, too. But with the Mongols, you're not being 'admitted'—you're there."[67]

Two weeks in Ulan Bator were predictably glorious. There was "a marvellous dinner with Shirendyb," much book buying and seeing old friends, and a new collection of folk songs taped by a former professor who had been exiled by the Party but was now rehabilitated. Lattimore's letters as usual described the state of the agricultural econonmy and how the Mongols were preparing to compensate for a bad hay crop that year by utilizing old herdsman lore—whereas the Chinese were "relying on the Thought of Chairman Mao."[68]

Lattimore wanted to introduce Fujiko to Okladnikov after their Mongolian stay. Unfortunately, Okladnikov was in Moscow and going after that to Hungary; his itinerary meant an unplanned trip to Moscow for Lattimore and Fujiko. Lattimore's report on their Moscow stay was ambivalent. The good news was that he could have a give-and-take, seminar-type discussion in Russia. Such discussion had not been possible in China. Counterbalancing this, Muscovite food and manners were atrocious. Seeing Okladnikov was worthwhile, but they were glad to leave for Tokyo. "Food


and manners much better on the Aeroflot flight to Japan. International competition. Something to be said for it."[69]

In Tokyo on November 19, Lattimore began work on his stories for Mainichi. Mainichi decided to publish his commentaries in a special New Year's supplement and asked him to write a half-page introduction to "hook people's interest" and "show them I'd been around for a while."

So I began: "Freshly severed human heads were nailed to the telephone poles of Peking." That ought to hook them, I thought. Then, to show I've been around for a while, I went on: "That is one of my childhood memories, from Peking in the winter of 1911-12."

I proudly brought it in. Fujiko ascended to the ceiling in a puff of steam. You can't do that! Not in Japan, in a New Year's Special Issue! People would think it a bad omen, and simply throw the whole paper away! So . . . whole thing to do again. (Ellipsis in original.)[70]

There was much entertainment by Mainichi and Japan Television, interminable and unsatisfactory editing of Michael's film, renewed discussions with Fujiko's intellectual friends. On December 11, 1972, Lattimore boarded a plane for Washington, to pack his belongings once again.


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