Lattimore Story - John T. Flynn

10. A Gallery if Communist Front Groups

We have already noted the character of Frederick V. Field, the Communist described by Dr. Jessup as the man "who gave leadership to the American Council." We must now turn to two other men who, with Field, made up the brains and energy of the IPR. These were Dr. Edward C. Carter and Owen Lattimore. There is plenty of evidence to show that Carter was much under the influence of Lattimore. Lattimore was the master intriguer—Carter the impressive manager. And the shadows of these two men are found over many of the enterprises of the pro-Red groups in America.

There was a batch of other organizations especially devoted to the interests of Russia and the Russian people. One of these was Russian War Relief, Inc. The pro-Communist Harriet L. Moore, who had served as an interim secretary of the American Council of the IPR, was secretary of Russian War Relief. The International Workers Order was also a Communist front. It held a mass meeting in Carnegie Hall in July 1944, and among the speakers were Earl Browder and Dr. Edward C. Carter.

The American-Russian Institute was another such pro-Communist front. On this board were the IPR staff members Maxwell S. Stewart and Harriet L. Moore—and Dr. Edward C. Carter. His wife was a sponsor of the National Council of American-Soviet Friendship, headed by the well-known Communist apologist Corliss Lamont (also an IPR member) as chairman, and Arthur Upham Pope, another Communist apologist, as vice-chairman. There was another unit organized by the American League for Peace and Democracy—a notorious Communist front—called the China Aid Council. Mrs. Edward C. Carter was its chairman. Dr. Carter was a contributor to the magazine Soviet Russia Today and wrote in that journal a defense of the infamous Communist purge trials of the 'thirties.

When confronted by critics of the IPR, Dr. Carter always referred to the eminent conservatives like Dr. Ray Lyman Wilbur and others who adorned its board. But these men did not operate the Institute nor write its propaganda. They were just the fringe on top. If this country needs anything, it is some sort of ideological Bradstreet to which corporation executives and bank presidents and college presidents can go for reports on the precise character of the councils, leagues, institutes and foundations to which they are asked to lend the weight of their names and the support of their checkbooks.

Carter understood thoroughly what he was doing. He was asked by the McCarran Committee: "Did you not know that Field was a Communist?" He replied: "My testimony is that he was aiding the Communist cause." He admitted Field was someone to be watched. Yet this did not prevent him from hailing Field for "leadership" of the American Council of the IPR or for begging Field to return as secretary of the American Council after he had organized the American Peace Mobilization. He knew Field was on the editorial board of the Communist New Masses and a columnist for the Daily Worker. And he finally admitted he knew Field was "behaving like a Communist" and that "he was playing the Communist line" (pp. 9-11).

Americans now are shocked at the evidence of so many Communists in our government during the war. The method of penetration is easily understood when we behold the eminent Dr. Carter, backed by a host of respectable sponsors, seeking to install Communist Field in, of all places, the Intelligence Service of the Air Corps during the war. He wrote Field: "I want your unusual gifts utilized to the fullest extent during the emergency." What gifts? At first, Carter grudgingly admitted to the Senate investigators that he had merely written a letter for Field. When confronted with the facts, he conceded he had gone further, even after he had been informed there were serious objections to Field's admission to such a place (pp. 33-35). Field testified that he had been endorsed for this post by Carter and Lattimore (pp. 107-109).

In 1938, Mr. Brooke Claxton asked Carter to suggest speakers for a meeting in Canada at the Canadian Club. Carter suggested Earl Browder, Communist Party head. He wrote:

"Browder would give you an exceedingly interesting, pleasantly provocative, but a really important statement on the Roosevelt administration either from the point of view of its internal or its foreign policy. He is really very well informed, and, contrary to public view, is one hundred percent American." (p. 175; italics added).

In 1937, Carter visited Moscow. He wrote Mr. Holland, now head of the Institute:

"The Soviet Council this year took care of all my expenses from the time I arrived in Vladivostok until I reached Moscow." And he added that the "Soviet IPR is prepared to supplement its contribution to the Pacific Council [of the IPR] by helping to meet the ruble needs of staff members like Miss Moore and Lattimore when they travel . . . in the USSR" (p. 3483; italics added).

Carter's eagerness to defend the Soviet Union is revealed in an incident in 1940, after Russia had made its savage assault on little Finland. Stalin and Hitler were then pals. Stalin was being scourged in this country for his shocking assault on a small nation which enjoyed a special respect by the American people. On April 26, 1940, Carter wrote Lattimore:

"Where in English or French or Russian has there appeared the most convincing statement as to the USSR's justification for the Finnish campaign?" (P. 3423.)

Lattimore passed the letter on to Fred Field, who sent a memorandum on good sources, and he especially recommended a 130-page booklet issued by Soviet Russia Today (p. 3425). Lattimore wrote Carter he thought the Soviet made a blunder, but he added that it was no worse than what the French and British had done in letting down first Spain and then Czechoslovakia, and that:

"The Russians stood by collective security and the honoring of treaties until these principles had been violated by some of the great powers . . . if justification be pleaded, the Russians can point out that they did not lead off in the scramble of aggression, and can claim that there is a difference between the first to start an aggression and committing what might be called an act of 'self-protective aggression' after the general scramble had begun" (p. 3431).

What could be more eloquent in convicting these men than this effort to find a defense of Russia for her rape of Finland?

And this brings us fairly around to Lattimore, Dr. Carter's shrewd and industrious collaborator in all these costly operations. In 1945, Max Eastman, with J. B. Powell, wrote an article in the Readers Digest in defense of Chiang Kai-shek. Powell was a peculiarly appealing figure who died a heroic death after his treatment at the hands of the Japanese.

The Eastman-Powell defense of Chiang did not please the ever-alert Lattimore. He wrote a letter replying to this Digest article. But he suggested that Dr. Carter get the late Thomas W. Lamont, of the House of Morgan, to sign the letter and send it to the New York Times. Here was a pro-Communist project managed by Lattimore which was to be served up under the highly influential name of a Morgan partner and printed in the Times. Carter called on Lamont's son, Corliss—a long-time pro-Communist—and asked him to persuade his father to comply. The younger Lamont suggested that Carter approach the elder Lamont directly, which he did. But the elder Lamont refused the bait. He wrote Carter that he had examined the piece in the Digest and that in effect Carter was asking him to urge the President to approve a plan to make arms available to the Chinese Communists in China. Lamont took Carter severely to task. He wrote that:

"Chiang Kai-shek is justified in feeling that the meagre supplies furnished for China should be for his army and not for the other boys. In your memorandum you point out that Russia has been scrupulous to send supplies to Chiang Kai-shek only. If that is true why is not that an additional reason for us to do the same?" (pp. 169-170).

Of course, at that moment Russia was sending no supplies to Chiang. Carter and Lattimore were deliberately trying to deceive Lamont.

In 1947, Israel Epstein wrote a book called Unfinished Revolution in China. Epstein was a Communist. The book was published by Little, Brown and Company, whose editor at that time was a Party member. It argued for precisely the kind of settlement as that by which China was eventually abandoned. Carter read it and was delighted. He wrote the publishers:

"It is of the utmost importance that he get it read . . . by Secretary of State Marshall, Senators Vandenberg and Morse, John Foster Dulles and John Carter Vincent [head of the Far Eastern Division of the State Department]." He added: "Lattimore was asked by the New York Times to review the book. I hope other publishers will make as wise a choice" (p. 452).

Here is the IPR at work. One of its men, Epstein, a Communist, writes a book defending the Chinese Reds, published by an old and well-known American publishing house with a Communist editor. The head of the IPR writes the publishers to send copies to senators concerned with the issue. The Times asks Owen Lattimore, of the IPR, to review it, which he did. He wrote that Epstein, the author, "establishes himself in the distinguished company of Edgar Snow and Theodore White" (N. Y. Times, June 22, 1947)—a well-marked pair of pro-Communist apologists. The New York Herald Tribune, the Daily Worker and the New Masses agreed heartily with Lattimore's review in the Times.