Lattimore Story - John T. Flynn

8. IPR Propaganda: Books and Journals

The Institute of Pacific Relations operated on various levels. First, it published magazines, pamphlets and books carrying its propaganda line. It inserted its agents into various sensitive departments and agencies of government where policy could be influenced. And it organized and managed various propaganda operations to publicize and promote its objectives.

It published two journals. The organ of the Pacific Council—which was the central or parent council—was Pacific Affairs. It was edited for many years by Owen Lattimore. This was the sounding board which originated and proclaimed with great deftness at times the general policy of the IPR, which was the same as Russia's policy in Asia. The organ of the American Council was the Far Eastern Survey, which was edited by Lawrence Salisbury, whose extreme pro-Communist views cannot be doubted, as we shall see. Salisbury was a clever fellow. But Lattimore's career as a pro-Communist propagandist beggars belief. And when Lattimore left the editorship of Pacific Affairs for other IPR activities, he installed Michael Greenberg as his successor. Greenberg has been shown to have collaborated with a Soviet espionage ring here (Report, pp. 148149).

The American Council supported a school department providing pamphlets for spreading the IPR's special Far Eastern bias among teachers in the schools. This was headed by Marguerite Stewart, who served for more than a year as executive secretary. She was the wife of Maxwell S. Stewart, who headed another IPR department which published pamphlets on Far Eastern matters. Stewart denied he was ever a member of the Communist Party. That is unimportant. The question is—did he in these pamphlets promote the Communist line? The answer is that he did.

The two journals— Far Eastern Survey and Pacific Affairs— printed much material concerned with trade, economics and other matters not involving the Communist issue. But wherever this issue entered their pages, they were heavily loaded on the side of the Reds. Mr. William L. Holland, the present head of the IPR, undertook before the McCarran Committee to refute the charge of Communist bias in these journals (p. 1222). He told the committee that 47 writers well known for their active opposition to communism contributed articles to both publications. That is true. Mr. Richard L. Walker, assistant professor of History at Yale and a specialist in Far Eastern affairs, has made an examination (New Leader, March 31, 1952) of the material in Pacific Affairs and Far Eastern Survey which is very illuminating. Here is what he found.

First, let us look at Pacific Affairs from 1934 to 1941, while Owen Lattimore was editor. Mr. Walker found contributions by 13 of the anti-Communist writers and 18 from the pro-Communist writers. But the contributions of the anti-Communists filled 196 pages while those of the pro-Communists filled 729 pages. After Lattimore resigned and Michael Greenberg became editor—from 1941 to 1947-there were contributions from 14 anti-Communists and 14 pro-Communists. But the anti-Communists filled 146 pages while the pro-Communists filled 354 pages. It may be added that the writings of the anti-Communist authors did not to any great extent deal with the subject of communism.

In the Far Eastern Survey, organ of the American Council, the story was much the same. From 1934 to 1947, there were contributions from eight anti-Communists which filled 196 pages, while the contributions from 16 pro-Communists filled 354 pages. All the pamphlets were written by pro-Communists.

The most voluminous contributor to Pacific Affairs was its editor, Owen Lattimore, whose pro-Communist record we will examine soon, and who wrote almost as many pages as the 13 anti-Communists all put together. Second to him was Lawrence K. Rosinger, of the same ideological coloration. Besides this, Lattimore introduced a department called Comment and Opinion, where he was able to press his own peculiar views. Moreover, he reviewed books. Mr. Walker found that while Lattimore was editor he reviewed 21 books, thus adding to his share of the magazine's contents. I made a survey of the articles which appeared in Far Eastern Survey from 1944 to 1948. It advised its readers what books to examine on China. These consisted of the pro-Communist books of Lattimore, Edgar Snow, Guenther Stein, Harrison Forman and Rosinger. Lin Yutang's books are suggested, but with a warning against their anti-Communist bias. There were no warnings about bias in the pro-Communist books.

In issue after issue of Far Eastern Survey the whole Red Chinese line is urged. Lattimore praises the fine policy of Russia toward minority groups (August 23, 1944). Eleanor Lattimore, his wife, tells what a fine job Russia is doing in Sinkiang (April 11, 1945) and she defends Russia's role in Manchuria and Sinkiang (May 3, 1944). Guenther Stein, member of the famous Soviet spy ring of Richard Sorge in Tokyo, writes that China must have the reforms suggested by all save the Kuomintang (March 12, 1947). John K. Fairbank tells how efforts "to foster in China an illusory capitalist American way of life will delay the creation of China's new way of life"—that is, the collectivist system which is her only salvation (July 2, 1947).

These are just samples. Incessantly, the editor introduces his own editorial contributions. The Chinese Communists, Salisbury writes, are not real Communists —they "are primarily agrarian reformers intent on driving the Japanese out of China"—and "conditions in Communist China are better than in Kuomintang China" (November 15, 1944). He resents calling the Chinese Reds undemocratic.

The Council published books and sponsored others published by established firms. These books became widely accepted handbooks about China and the Far East. There were 22 books favorable to the Chinese Reds. Fourteen of these were written by members or staff writers of the Institute of Pacific Relations. The importance of these books cannot be underestimated.

Suddenly China and the little-understood polities of Asia became of vital interest to the American people. Statesmen, journalists, editorial writers had to understand the background of that Asia in which so much was happening. And it was necessarily to these books, written by people connected with this seemingly responsible Institute of Pacific Relations, that they turned. These books became a pool of poison which distorted all the available evidence on the struggle in Asia. This was particularly true when, for some reason difficult to explain, these poisonous books were reviewed by the New York Times and the New York Herald Tribune, as well as by other reputable review journals, and given glowing approval. At the same time only seven books favorable to the regime of the Chinese government appeared, and every one of these was blasted in these same review journals by these same IPR representatives, functioning as literary critics.

Here is a list of the 14 books published in these critical years and written by IPR members:

  • Unfinished Revolution in China by Israel Epstein
  • United States and China by John K. Fairbank
  • Report from Red China by Harrison Forman
  • Journey from the East by Mark Gayn
  • New Frontiers in Asia by Philip J. Jaffe
  • Solution in Asia by Owen Lattimore
  • Making of Modern China by Owen and Eleanor Lattimore
  • Situation in Asia by Owen Lattimore
  • Chinas Wartime Politics by Lawrence K. Rosinger
  • Chinas Crisis by Lawrence K. Rosinger
  • Battle Hymn of China by Agnes Smedley
  • Challenge of Red China by Guenther Stein
  • Chinese Conquer China by Anna Louise Strong
  • The Phoenix and the Dwarfs, a play by George E. Taylor

There is no space here to outline the contents of these books, save to say that in varying degrees they promoted the whole line of those who favored the objectives of Russia in Asia, explaining that the so-called Chinese Communists were not really Communists and that Chiang Kai-shek's regime was the instrument of the corrupt and venal interests of old China. Indeed, the most damning feature of these books, as well as of the authors of the books, was the manner in which the accounts changed as Russia's propaganda plans changed. For instance, when Russia was blasting Chiang as the tool of the reactionaries, the propaganda line here followed that lead. A time came when the Soviet altered its propaganda and began to advocate, not the liquidation of Chiang, but a policy called "Unity in China," under which they urged that Chiang should take the Chinese Reds, along with their army, into his government. At this point the propaganda shifted to praise of Chiang—they urged that all Chinese should unite against the common enemy, knowing well that you cannot unite with Communists. Now, some of these writers, in attempting to defend themselves, try to use their approval of Chiang to refute these criticisms. In America we have seen what a very small number of Reds in our government could do without an army. When that Russian line was adopted, the American IPR propagandists went along with it and abandoned it when it changed again.

It is merely necessary to add that, as fast as these books appeared—written by IPR members or associates —they were given immediate and high acclaim in leading journals in reviews written by other IPR staff members. When, for instance, IPR member Agnes Smedley wrote a book, IPR member Mark Gayn hailed it as an earthy, honest, powerful book by an honest woman. When IPR member Lawrence K. Rosinger wrote a book, it was reviewed glowingly by Agnes Smedley and this same Mark Gayn. And when IPR member Rosinger wrote another book, it was given a boost by IPR editor, writer and trustee Owen Lattimore, and when Lattimore turned out a book, it got a lively plug from IPR editor Maxwell Stewart as a reviewer, who also recommended highly in another review a very bad book by one of the worst of the Communist spies—IPR member Guenther Stein. Lattimore also gave this a generous boost for good measure. Thus the IPR members turned out this mass of pro-Communist books, and these books were in turn highly recommended to the public by other IPR members in literary journals.

The gravity of this enterprise in mind control cannot be overestimated. At this time, editors, editorial writers, publicists, teachers, political commentators were rushing to the new books for the facts about this Asiatic world into which we had been suddenly plunged. And it was to these books, as well as to articles in various top American magazines—many written by these same IPR staff writers and their companions—that American editors and writers turned for professional information about China and Asia generally.

The whole episode reveals the possibilities of propaganda and thought control of a high order. The operators were expert and organized and had mastered the strategy of inserting their poison into some central and unsuspected pool of information. The lies and half-truths in these books and in a few professional magazines began to color the news and the opinions in the American press and in pulpits, classrooms and political organizations all over the country. And the central agency which carried on this extraordinary experiment of mass poisoning was the Institute of Pacific Relations.

It is a startling fact that the United States Senate Sub-Committee on Internal Security was able to list 46 men and women associated with the IPR in one way or another as staff workers or writers or officers who were identified in testimony before the committee under oath as Communist Party members. They were (Report, pp. 148-149):

  1. Solomon Adler*
  2. James S. Allen
  3. Asiaticus
  4. Hilda Austem
  5. Kathleen Barnes
  6. Joseph F. Barnes*
  7. T. A. Bisson
  8. Evans F. Carlson
  9. Abraham Chapman
  10. Chen Han-seng
  11. Ch'ao-ting Chi (Hansu Chan)
  12. Harriet Levine Chi
  13. Frank V. Coe*
  14. Len DeCaux
  15. Israel Epstein*
  16. John K. Fairbank
  17. Frederick V. Field*
  18. Julian R. Friedman
  19. Talitha Gerlach
  20. Alger Hiss*
  21. Philip Jaffe
  22. Anthony Jenkinson
  23. Corliss Lamont
  24. Olga Lang
  25. Owen Lattimore*
  26. William M. Mandel
  27. Kate Mitchell
  28. E. Herbert Norman
  29. Harriet L. Moore
  30. Hozumi Ozaki*
  31. Mildred Price
  32. Lee Pressman*
  33. Lawrence K. Rosinger
  34. Andrew Roth
  35. Helen Schneider
  36. Agnes Smedley*
  37. Nym Wales
  38. Andrew Steiger
  39. Ilona R. Sues
  40. Maxwell S. Stewart
  41. Anna Louise Strong*
  42. Daniel Thomer
  43. Mary Van Kleeck
  44. Ella Winter
  45. Kumar Goshal
  46. John Carter Vincent

While nine of these (Austern, Joseph Barnes, Fairbank, Friedman, Lamont, Owen Lattimore, Mitchell, Stewart and Vincent) denied Communist Party connections, there is little doubt they were all apologists for the Communist cause in China. In addition, the following with IPR connections (as well as those starred* above) were named as having collaborated with agents of the Soviet intelligence apparatus: Lauchlin Currie, Laurence Duggan, Michael Greenberg, Fred Poland, Guenther Stein, Harry Dexter White, Victor A. Yakhontoff (Report, pp. 148-149).

The list includes IPR executive committee members, executive secretaries, editors of IPR journals and pamphlets and books, research workers and writers. Will any intelligent man, interested in the truth, in the presence of these facts refuse to recognize the power of such an organization for mischief in the critical years in which it functioned? Will he close his eyes to the significance of this collection of operators, who ran the show and directed its propaganda, and permit himself to be blinded by the list of eminent businessmen and educators whose names furnished the protective screen on the letterheads behind which these others worked?

Before we get down to details on Owen Lattimore, it is necessary that the reader have a clear picture of the powerful and ingenious apparatus with which he worked and of which he was one of the moving spirits and most influential operators. This brings us to an appraisal of some of the enterprises operated or sponsored by the IPR. Most revealing is the case of Amerasia, a magazine launched in 1937,