Lattimore Story - John T. Flynn

11. Lattimore and Pacific Affairs

Now for a closer look at Lattimore himself. Lattimore was born in the United States but educated in England, and he has spent most of his life as a journalist and writer in the Far East. He has headed a school of international relations at Johns Hopkins University and has been connected for many years with the Institute of Pacific Relations. He was for a number of years editor of Pacific Affairs, has served continuously as a member of the executive committee and was for four years a member of the editorial board of Amerasia. He cannot qualify as a well-meaning do-gooder who was deceived by the sly Communist conspirators. He was certainly one man in the IPR who knew precisely what he was doing. After the onset of the war, he worked closely with the State Department and other agencies of the government interested in the Far East. But always he was busy translating his views about the Far East into official government policy. He was denounced by Senator McCarthy as a Communist agent, after which the Senator revised his statement, saying he worked for Communist causes here and in Asia. There is now not the slightest doubt about that.

After all, what is a Communist? A member of the Party is clearly a Communist. But there are Communists who are not members of the Party. People like Whittaker Chambers, Elizabeth Bentley and others were members of espionage cells. But such people were not permitted to be Party members. They were always able to deny truthfully they were members of the Communist Party. There are also many who believe in the principles of communism but who were never members of the Communist Party or of espionage outfits. So that when one declares indignantly he is not a member of the Communist Party or of a Communist apparatus, he may be telling the truth, although he is a Communist in the sense that he believes in the Communist philosophy.

Then, of course, there is that penumbra of fuzzy-minded persons who are not actually Communists, who really do not know what communism is, but are captivated by the gaudy promises of the good life or fascinated by the exciting drama of revolution. In the case of any individual it is not always easy to put him into his proper compartment. All indulged in praise of the same heroes and denunciation of the same enemies, so that it is not always a simple matter to put the right label on any given individual—whether he be a Party member, an espionage agent, an ideological ally or just a plain fuzzy-minded dupe. All are equally dangerous.

As for Lattimore, one thing is now certain, and that is, whenever Far Eastern affairs have called for critical decisions, the shadow of Lattimore has fallen across some agency of opinion and decision on the side of the Asiatic Communist objectives. He has been the subject of two investigations—the Tydings Committee investigation, which exonerated him, and the McCarran Committee investigation, which unanimously denounced him as a liar.

Which was the dominant figure in this costly partnership of Carter and Lattimore is a matter of conjecture. Carter—large, venerable, suave—is clearly the better front man. Lattimore is the more devious, fertile in contriving stratagems. Carter is the imposing visible leader; Lattimore the cagey schemer, pursuing his schemes with infinite persistence. The Senate committee pointed out that he seemed to have a special fondness for the word "cagey."

In 1938, the Rockefeller Foundation made a grant to the IPR of $90,000 for a Far East study project. Carter named on the group three Communists—Chen Hanseng, Ch'ao-ting Chi and a third—a German—named Hans Muller but known as Asiaticus. Han-seng and Ch'ao-ting Chi are now in Red China. Chi was a former associate of Lattimore at the Walter Hines Page School in Baltimore. The study for which these three were named by Carter was supposed to be an impartial inquiry under the auspices of the Institute of Pacific Relations. Lattimore wrote to Carter:

"I think you were pretty cagey to turn over so much of the China section to Asiaticus, Han-seng and Chi. They will bring out the essential radical aspects, but can be depended on to do so with the right touch" (italics added).

Lattimore meant they would bring out the Red angle, but would do it slyly and effectively, without revealing the Red tinge. And he was expressing his admiration of Carter for Carter's "cageyness." Carter was forced to admit on the witness stand that Lattimore was asking him to stress the Communist line. In this same letter, Lattimore used an even more striking sentence. He suggested to Carter that "the good scoring position differed with different countries" and added, "My hunch is that it would pay to keep behind the official Chinese Communist position." Little did Lattimore dream that Carter's old barn would open its wooden jaws and emit these damning letters. Lattimore wrote further that he wanted the British Liberals scored—why is not made clear—

"But as for the USSR—back up their international policy in general, but without using their slogans, and above all without giving them or anyone else the impression of subservience" (pp. 39-41; italics added).

Despite his accustomed cageyness, Lattimore could be somewhat headlong at times. The naturally cagey Carter had to curb him. In 1939, Lattimore wrote a correspondent in Australia:

"I am making a general practice of submitting everything I write to Carter, so that he can reprove me whenever I say anything unbecoming a propagandist and a gentleman."

Propagandist for what? In 1936, Carter, Harriet Moore and Lattimore visited Moscow. Voitinsky, a member of the Comintern and of the Russian Council of IPR, told Lattimore that he thought Pacific Affairs should have a more definite line. A minute of this meeting shows that Lattimore said "he would like to meet the Soviet suggestion as far as possible as to having a more definite fine expressed in P.A." (p. 3173). A year later, Lattimore wrote an article while traveling, and some alterations got into the printed text which he apparently thought did not conform with the "line" and might not sit well with Moscow. He wrote to Motylev, head of the Soviet IPR and an official of the Russian government:

"If I am to convert Pacific Affairs from a loose and unorganized collection of articles into a journal which has a recognizable position and general point of view I must really rely very considerably on you. If I could have from you an article in each number and if these articles were planned to succeed each other in such a manner as to create a recognizable line of thought it would be much easier to get other contributors to converge on this line" (p. 3241; italics added).

This single paragraph is absolutely definitive in its revelation. Lattimore wants Pacific Affairs to have a recognizable position and point of view. What is to be this position? He tells Motylev in Moscow he "must rely very considerably on you" to define that line. How is this to be done? Each month he wants an article from the Russians in Moscow, and these ought to be planned so as to create "a recognizable line of thought." Then it will be easier to get contributors "to converge on this line."

Here is a complete confession that Lattimore was not merely willing to get, but actually begged Moscow to provide him each month with, the line Pacific Affairs ought to follow. He wanted Moscow to provide the central theme of each number in an article around which all other articles would be grouped, and which all other contributors would be expected to see and on which their own line of thought would converge.

Lattimore told the McCarran Committee that he did print pieces by anti-Soviet writers. After a recess he was able to recollect three examples—'William Henry Chamberlin, L. E. Hubbard and Harold Isaacs. These were unfortunate examples. They drew attention to the fact that Motylev had complained that the Chamberlin piece—a review of Stalin's book—"did not show proper respect for Stalin's person." Lattimore apologized, saying he did not realize Chamberlin's position, and he promptly canceled another piece he had ordered by Chamberlin. As for Isaacs, Lattimore had to admit that he was not anti-Communist—he was a Trotskyite. Fred Field insisted there should be a reply to the Isaacs article, and he suggested that Lattimore reprint a piece from China Today written by an active Communist named Hansu Chan, who was also a member of the IPR. Lattimore published excerpts from it as an answer to the Isaacs article. As for the Hubbard article, Lattimore actually sent it to Moscow for approval. Moscow was slow with its reply, so Lattimore published it. But he wrote an explanation to Motylev that he just had to publish some such articles, otherwise the IPR will be called "an organ of Soviet propaganda." Then he added this incredibly revealing sentence:

"Whenever we find it impossible to prevent publication of such an article we must make sure that in the same number there shall appear an article which deals with the true value of the same situation."

And he ends by admitting that Pacific Affairs ought to find more suitable subjects for publication than anti-Soviet articles. The Hubbard article had been printed, but with footnotes explaining away the more objectionable statements, while a reply was printed in the same issue and Harriet Moore was asked by the IPR to write with Andrew Gradjanzev "the most penetrating and masterly rejoinder that can be produced" (pp. 3435-3454).

In 1938, the Soviet brought out a World Atlas, hailed as an important contribution to Communist propaganda. Documents found in the IPR files indicated that its aim was to give a "Marxist-Leninist cartographical picture of the world"—to present the contrast between the capitalist and the Communist world. It was compiled under the direction of Motylev, director of the Communist Academy and head of the Institute of Economics in Moscow. For some reason there was tremendous excitement about this Atlas. A memo in the IPR files signed by Carter read:

"This is a big day in the life of the IPR for the first volume of Dr. Motylev's great Soviet World Atlas has arrived . . . Two precious copies have come, one addressed to Holland and one to me" (p. 2705).

Lattimore reviewed it in Pacific Affairs. He wrote:

"The historical message in short of which special mention is made in the introduction, is extended to demonstrate the superiority of socialism as practiced in the Soviet Union with the deliberate purpose of arriving at a future communism over the capitalism of the rest of the world. The method, it must be conceded, is formidable. It is not vulgar propaganda, but scientific argument on a plane that commands full intellectual respect" (p. 2703; italics added).

The year 1945 was the critical one for Soviet plans in the Far East. It was clear that Germany was approaching defeat, and when this occurred the full weight of American naval and military power would be brought to bear upon the Pacific and the days of Japanese resistance would be numbered. The moment was approaching when the victors would have to agree upon the terms of surrender and on the disposition of the fruits of victory. Before this, Stalin had a commitment from Roosevelt to arm with American munitions a huge force of Russian soldiers in time to participate in the final subjugation of Japan. The invasion by Russia of Manchuria and Northern Korea was agreed on, as we have seen. The great provinces of Northern China—Manchuria, inkiang and Outer Mongoha—were within Russia's grasp. The first stage of the delivery of China to the Communists was at hand—namely, the drive to force Chiang Kai-shek to unite with the Chinese Communists.

As for Japan, Stalin hoped to persuade the American government to impose upon Japan a Carthaginian peace, to liquidate the Emperor and reduce Japan to the condition of an agrarian economy which would enfeeble her population and make her an easy victim for the Communist world.