Lattimore Story - John T. Flynn

16. Lattimore's Communist Associates

As we view Lattimore in the framework of the IPR, the case against him becomes overwhelming. Consider these facts: Three of the executive secretaries of the American Council of the IPR over a period of 13 critical years have been identified as Communists—Barnes, Field and Harriet Moore. And one other secretary resigned because he became suspicious of the staff. The two official journals of the IPR—Pacific Affairs and Far Eastern Survey—were vigilant promoters of Communist objectives in China. Lattimore was editor of Pacific Affairs and was succeeded by Michael Greenberg, a Communist agent who later became an assistant to a Presidential secretary.

I have already given a list of 46 persons identified with the work of the IPR, all of whom were either Communist Party members or actively engaged in defending the Communist aims in China. However, the McCarran Committee has made a voluminous study of the IPR and has compiled a list of 90 men and women with Communist affiliations who have functioned in connection with the activities of the Institute of Pacific Relations. Of these, 46 have been identified by witnesses under oath as Communists. Fourteen of these persons, given an opportunity to testify in their own behalf, have refused under oath to deny they were Communists. Six of the fist are dead, but they are persons about whose Red connections there can be no question. Nineteen on the list are out of the country and hence could not be questioned, but all of them are persons whose Communist affiliations have been notorious. A full list of all these persons, with the data indicating their Communist affiliations, will be found beginning on page 144 of the elaborate Report on the IPR issued by the Sub-Committee on Internal Security of the Senate Judiciary Committee (July 2, 1952).

I have traced in the testimony on which the above report is based the connections of these IPR staff members, writers and associates and their activities within our government. Twelve of them were employed in the State Department—eleven in responsible positions and some of them in high administrative posts. Thirty-four of them were in government positions during the war—mostly in responsible policy-making posts. One was head of the Far Eastern Division of the State Department, which shaped American policy in the Far East. Another was head of the Information Service of the State Department. Another was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury (and a Communist agent). Another—Hiss—who was in one of the very highest positions in the State Department, is now in jail. Still another headed the Latin Division of the State Department and after being accused of being a Communist committed suicide.

Owen Lattimore was head of the Pacific Division of the OWI (Office of War Information) and served as a consultant of the State Department. It was this group of men and women who wrote most of the books, and reviewed them, which the American public read during those critical years.

As for Lattimore himself, there is no doubt that he and Carter were the dominating figures in this galaxy of meddlers. Whether any individual member of the IPR was a Communist Party member is not essential to this inquiry. The main thesis is that Carter and Lattimore and their associates in the IPR carried on relentlessly, before, during and after the war years, a drive to promote the strategic plans of Russia in Asia—the liquidation of Chiang Kai-shek, the installation of the Communists in power in China, the bringing of Russia into the war in the East, the enfeeblement of Japan by reducing her to the state of an agrarian economy, the promotion of revolution there by uprooting her whole cultural and social system, and the delivery of Korea into the hands of the Reds. Would not any reasonable person, without any other evidence, observing these operations, conclude that these people were working in the interest of the Soviet and the Chinese Communists? Would it not be a reasonable assumption that they were either Communists or supporters of the Communist regimes in Asia? All the evidence which has been patiently reviewed in these pages leaves no room for doubt on these points. However, this record is not wanting in direct testimony on the Communist relationships of Owen Lattimore.

One witness, former Soviet General Alexander Barmine, who had renounced communism and fled from Russia, testified that in 1933 the Soviet was scheming to get possession of Sinkiang, then a part of China. Barmine was then in the Soviet Military Intelligence and he was ordered to open an office in China which would operate as an automobile importing and exporting agency. This was actually a cover for an enterprise for shipping arms and ammunition into Sinkiang. Barmine asked about the personnel available for this. General Berzin, his superior, mentioned several men he might detail. Two of them were Americans—Joseph Barnes, former IPR secretary, and Owen Lattimore. He referred to them as "our men" (pp. 198-201). Later he decided they could not be spared.

Barmine, when he testified, had become an American citizen after serving in our armed forces and as chief of the Russian unit in the State Department's 'Voice of America'. He testified further that General Krivitsky, his chief in Russia, had told him and other high intelligence officers in Moscow that the IPR was a Soviet "cover shop" (p. 208). Taken against the background of Lattimore's behavior in this country, this testimony becomes highly important and credible.

Another witness, Louis Budenz, former Communist, testified under oath: "He [Lattimore] was specifically mentioned as a member of the Communist cell under instructions. There was no loose mention of his name". Budenz swore that Lattimore's "position from the viewpoint of the Communist Party was a very important one" (pp. 521-522). Jack Stachel, one of the most important American Communists, in constant touch with Moscow, had informed Budenz that Lattimore was a Communist. Budenz was given orders to treat Lattimore in the Daily Worker as one under Communist discipline, and he explained that Communists under discipline are ordered not to have any evidence of membership about them, except in special cases where the Politburo ordered otherwise (p. 554). Budenz testified that Earl Browder, then Communist chief, said Lattimore was performing a great service by bringing Communist writers into Pacific Affairs (p. 550).

Budenz testified that as the war neared its end, the Party line was to work for a hard peace in Japan, aimed chiefly at the Zaibatsu (industrialists). In the midst of this drive, Lattimore gave an interview to the United Press attacking the Zaibatsu. This was reprinted in the Daily Worker and was considered so important that extra copies were run off and given widest circulation among labor unions, youth groups, etc. (p. 556). This was at the very time when Lattimore took the bold step of seeking a personal interview with the President to press this same point.

Dr. William M. McGovern, professor of Political Science at Northwestern University, was a specialist for years in China and Japan. He testified that he knew Lattimore and met him a number of times in Peking. He "saw a good deal of him" and discussed Chinese affairs with him ten or fifteen times. Lattimore, he said, "showed his warm admiration for the Chinese Communists—[said] they were the future of China and represented the real people." Then Lattimore said they were not Communists. Dr. McGovern, who is an expert on this subject, testified that he had read extensively Lattimore's writings and that he was convinced Lattimore was what he called "a popular-front man," either using or being used by the Communists, and that he definitely followed the Stalinist line (p. 1011).

Professor Kenneth Colegrove, also of Northwestern University and a specialist in Far Eastern affairs, testified that he had been a member of the Amerasia board when it started, but left because it seemed to be promoting the Communist line despite some objective articles. Later he learned that Lattimore during the war was head of the Pacific Division of the Office of War Information (OWI), after which Lattimore offered Colegrove charge of the Japanese Desk. Colegrove refused. The question of China came up, and when Dr. Colegrove spoke of the Chinese Communists, Lattimore angrily asserted that the Chinese Communists under Mao Tse-tung were not Communists but agrarian reformers, real democrats, and had no connection with Russia (pp. 912-913). Yet, under oath before the Tydings Committee, Lattimore declared he had never said that the Chinese Communists were merely agrarian reformers (Tydings Hearings, p. 445).

Still another expert in Asiatic and Communist affairs testified against Lattimore. Dr. Karl Wittfogel, now a professor at Columbia University, became a Communist in Europe but renounced the Party in 1932. He talked with Lattimore in China in 1944 and discussed Korea with him. Lattimore told him:

"For Korea the best solution would be . . . for the Soviet Union to take over the country. He urged also the liquidation of the Mikado in Japan."

In 1947, Wittfogel wrote Lattimore, making reference to this suggestion of his that Korea be taken over by Russia. Lattimore replied:

"I cannot imagine how you could have got the idea that I believe that Korea might be advantageously taken over by Soviet Russia . . .. As for the removal of the Mikado I have never argued that America might remove him; my position has always been that America should not be committed to the support of the Mikado, particularly if there should arise a Japanese demand for his removal."

To this, Wittfogel replied:

"It is your word against mine. As to the Mikado you are on record in 'Solution in Asia'" (where Lattimore clearly supported the proposal). Wittfogel testified: "He denied what he had said before two witnesses and what he said in his book. I felt this was a brazen attitude and a complete lack of responsibility. I decided never to touch that man again."

Wittfogel saw him shortly after this at Princeton. Lattimore said to him: "You are probably pleased that you caught me with that one about the Mikado." Wittfogel replied: "I was ashamed rather than delighted" (pp. 328-341).

Lattimore was one of the first outside journalists to be admitted to Yenan, the Chinese Red capital. He went there with Philip Jaffe and T. A. Bisson, both IPR members and both identified as Communists. They were joined by Agnes Smedley, a Communist agent who, when she died, left her estate to Chu Teh, the Red Army commander, and was given a state funeral by the Communist rulers of China. At the end of that visit Jaffe wrote in the New Masses; "Our visit to Yenan was climaxed by a huge meeting addressed by Chu Teh, Bisson, Lattimore and myself" (p. 657). Later Agnes Smedley wrote Jaffe:

"I want to tell you, you left behind remarkable friends. I did not recognize the effect of the meeting until two or three days had passed. Then it began to roll in . . .. The meeting and your speech in particular had a colossal effect on all people" (p. 658).

Despite this, Lattimore swore before the Tydings Committee that he did not associate with Communists, and went so far as to say he did not know that such notorious Reds as Frederick V. Field and Philip Jaffe were Communists. Yet in his book "Ordeal by Slander" (p. 114) he writes of Field: "He strikes me as an individualist who has gone over so far to the left there is nobody else there except the Communists." The truth is that Lattimore had a peculiar affinity for Communists and found a powerful attraction in their society. He was associated with scores of Communists in the IPR and other organizations. Indeed, these Soviet intimacies went quite far.

In June 1941, Soviet Russia was still Germany's partner in the assault on Eastern Europe—that criminal alliance under which Stalin and Hitler invaded Poland and the Baltic States and thus launched World War II. The name of Stalin was loathed in America—not merely hated as Hitler's was, but despised as the tool of Hitler. This vicious alliance was terminated not by Stalin but by Hitler, when he invaded Russia in late June 1941. Before this break between the two arch criminals of Europe, Lattimore had just been named by President Roosevelt as a special adviser to Chiang Kai-shek and was about to depart on that mission to China, where he would be in a powerful position to suggest and urge upon Chiang Russia's pet schemes.

The fact that Lattimore would be going to China as an American adviser to Chiang was information of the first importance to Russia. Even before there was any public announcement of the appointment, Lattimore lost no time in delivering that information to Stalin. On June 18, 1941, shortly before Hitler turned on Russia, Lattimore and Dr. Carter went into a secret meeting in Washington with the Russian Ambassador Oumansky. When confronted with this fact at the Senate hearing, he replied—under oath—that this was after the dissolution of the Hitler-Stalin Pact—a falsehood which the Committee records promptly disproved (pp. 3262-3267). As the editor of Pacific Affairs he had printed the effusions of innumerable Communist writers, in connection with which he had exhibited his subservience to Moscow. His personal friendships and relationships among Communists were extensive.

In 1949, he bought a half interest in a home in Bethel, Vermont. His partner in the purchase was Vilhjalmur Stefansson, a member of numerous notorious Communist-front organizations. The property nestled in a rustic neighborhood which was in fact a Communist colony. His neighbors were such well-known Red agents as John Abt, Nathan Witt, Lee Pressman, Marion Bachrach and others. When he sold his half interest it was to Ordway Southard, who ran for Governor of Alabama on the Communist ticket while his wife ran for the State Senate on the same ticket. Lattimore denied that he knew Southard. Nevertheless he sold his half interest without any down payment—generous terms for a stranger. He actually told the McCarran Committee that he did not sell it, that he had empowered Stefansson to sell it for him, implying that he did not know who bought it. However, when confronted with the deed signed by him personally, he had to admit his signature (pp. 3560-3565).

Lattimore became head of the Pacific Division of OWI during the war. Joseph Barnes was made head of the New York Division. Lattimore wrote Barnes, telling him to get rid of all Chinese in the bureau save Dr. Kung C. Chi and Mr. Chew Hong. The secret loyalty files showed that these two were considered Communists by the Loyalty Board. Chew Hong was tagged as a member of the Communist Party and hence ineligible for government service. Chi was put down as at least a fellow traveler. Lattimore insisted that Chew Hong's Communist rating be changed. He also instructed Barnes to recruit a new force from the New China Daily News. The Loyalty files showed that the New China Daily News "is a publication for and by the Chinese Communists and is described by some as the Chinese equivalent of the Daily Worker."

The New China Daily News wrote editorials urging Chinese in America to send money to Mao Tse-tung, the Red leader. The president and former editor of the paper have been indicted for running a Communist racket, "embracing murder, extortion, torture and in general, commerce in human misery . . . a racket which is designed to further the aid of the Chinese Communist government" (N. Y. Times, April 29, 1952),