In 2007, American journalist, Medford Stanton Evans, re-ignited the continuing debate among historians over charges made by U.S. Senator Joseph R. McCarthy with respect to "subversives" or "Communists" working in the U.S. State Department during the 1940's or 1950's .
Evans’ book, Blacklisted By History: The Untold Story of Senator Joe McCarthy and His Fight Against America’s Enemies [New York: Three Rivers Press, 2007, 663pp] produces 2,410,000 references from a Yahoo search of Evans’ name and the book title.
Many of the references refer to Evans’ book as a “masterpiece of truth about Joe McCarthy” and readers recommend it because “everything you have been told about Joe McCarthy is a lie”.
Clearly, M. Stanton Evans' book deserves very serious attention and careful consideration. He has spent many years and considerable effort acquiring and reviewing hard-to-find primary source documents.
Particularly significant are examples provided by Evans in his Prologue about the stubborn refusal of elite newspapers and highly respected journalists and historians to correct materially important errors in their reports about McCarthy-related matters.
To his credit, Evans has no problem acknowledging that the complete story about the "McCarthy period" in our history is still murky, and it is open to conflicting interpretations of available data by entirely honorable and principled analysts, so it certainly deserves considerable further fact-based research.
With that in mind, I offer the preliminary observations below. Also see the FBI file on McCarthy's assertions which I have posted online on Internet Archive here:
(1) Evans effusively praises J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI under his direction.
On page 6 of his book, Evans observes that FBI files...
"are a treasure house of information on Communist penetration of American life and institutions, suspects tracked down by the Bureau, countermeasures taken, and related topics. To its credit, the FBI was watching these matters pretty closely while others allegedly standing guard were dozing, or in the throes of deep denial. The material in Bureau files is both revealing and extensive."
The FBI Division responsible for discovering the "treasure house" of data which Evans relies upon extensively in his book was the Domestic Intelligence Division (formerly known as Security Division or National Defense Division).
FBI Special Agent William C. Sullivan was arguably the Bureau’s most knowledgeable employee about the communist movement in the United States. Some background information about Sullivan is appropriate because of statements he made in his 1979 memoir which pertain to the accusations made by Sen. Joe McCarthy as well as to M. Stanton Evans’ hagiographic narrative about McCarthy.
Sullivan became an FBI Special Agent in August 1941. In June 1944 Sullivan became a Supervisor in the Bureau’s Domestic Intelligence Division (formerly known as Security Division or National Defense Division).
In 1948, Sullivan was described in his annual performance report as "the sole Supervisor assigned to Central Research Desk” where he provided "concrete assistance to the Supervisors here at the Seat of Government and the Agents in the field concerned with the conduct of investigations relating to the Communist movement." [FBI HQ file 67-205182, #150; 4/7/48]
By the early 1950’s, Sullivan was being described in internal memos as the Bureau’s “principal expert” with respect to the Communist Party USA (CPUSA). In his 1951 performance report Sullivan was described as "the top-notch man in the field of Communist Research not only in the Bureau, but also in the entire United States.” [FBI HQ file 67-205182, serial #275]. During this time, Sullivan researched and wrote many of the FBI monographs on the communist movement used for training purposes inside the Bureau.
Because of his expertise, Sullivan frequently gave “Top Secret” lectures to audiences who were required to have security clearances to attend – such as, for example, Sullivan's annual speech entitled “Communism in the United States” at West Point Military Academy.
In June 1960, Sullivan became the Bureau’s Chief Inspector but a year later he was promoted to Assistant Director, Domestic Intelligence Division. With that background in mind:
On February 9, 1950, Senator McCarthy made a Lincoln’s Day speech to the Republican Women’s Club in Wheeling, WV in which he declared:
"While I cannot take the time to name all of the men in the State Department who have been named as members of the Communist Party and members of a spy ring, I have here in my hand a list of 205 that were known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party and who, nevertheless, are still working and shaping the policy in the State Department."
McCarthy subsequently revised the number to 57 in a telegram he sent to President Truman on February 11, 1950 as well as in remarks he submitted in the Congressional Record on February 20th. http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/mccarthy/telegram.htm
By contrast, after retiring from the FBI, Assistant Director Sullivan wrote in his 1979 memoir The Bureau: My Thirty Years in Hoover's FBI (see pages 45 and 267):
"We didn't have enough evidence to show there was a single Communist in the State Department, let alone fifty-seven cases."
"During the Eisenhower years the FBI kept Joe McCarthy in business. Senator McCarthy stated publicly that there were Communists working for the State Department. We gave McCarthy all we had, but all we had were fragments, nothing could prove his allegations. For a while, though, the allegations were enough to keep McCarthy in the headlines."
Another senior FBI employee, Robert J. Lamphere, supervised the investigations of some of the biggest espionage cases of the cold war, including those of the Rosenbergs, Klaus Fuchs and Kim Philby plus he was intimately involved, in conjunction with Meredith Knox Gardner of the Army Security Agency, in using deciphered Soviet cables to build espionage cases.
Lamphere wrote on pages 136-137 of his 1968 book "The FBI-KGB War: A Special Agent's Story" that:
"Senator McCarthy's crusade which was to last for the next several years, was always anathema to me. McCarthy’s approach and tactics hurt the anti-Communist cause and turned many liberals against legitimate efforts to curtail Communist activities in the United States, particularly in regard to government employment of known Communists…McCarthy's star chamber proceedings, his lies and overstatements hurt our counterintelligence efforts."
On 1/14/54 Whittaker Chambers wrote a letter about McCarthy to conservative book publisher Henry Regnery. Chambers observed that....
"All of us, to one degree or another, have slowly come to question his judgment and to fear acutely that his flair for the sensational, his inaccuracies and distortions, his tendency to sacrifice the greater objective for the momentary effect, will lead him and us into trouble. In fact, it is no exaggeration to say that we live in terror that Senator McCarthy will one day make some irreparable blunder which will play directly into the hands of our common enemy and discredit the whole anti-Communist effort for a long while to come."
FBI SECURITY INDEX
The FBI Security Index file indicates that McCarthy’s numbers (whichever one you prefer to use) were total hallucinations.
According to the Bureau:
“The Security Index includes the names of persons who are considered dangerous or potentially dangerous to the internal security of the United States and, as such, should be given consideration for apprehension and detention in the event of an emergency. The dangerousness of each person whose name is included in the Security Index has been determined as the result of Bureau investigation.” [FBI HQ file 100-358086, #500; 1/11/51]
The Security Index included known or suspected Communist Party members, Communist sympathizers, leaders in Communist front organizations, and assorted radicals who were considered potentially or actually dangerous during time of national emergency.
Furthermore, a “Special Section” of the Security Index captured statistical data on 4 specific categories of Security Index names: (1) Foreign Government employees, (2) United Nations employees, (3) Atomic Energy Program employees and (4) United States Government Employees.
According to one FBI memo:
“United States Government employees considered dangerous or potentially dangerous to the internal security are maintained in the Special Section even though their cases are still pending under the Loyalty Program or the case has been determined in their favor by the Loyalty Board.” [HQ 100-358086, #500, 1/11/51, page 6].
With that background in mind:
The Bureau’s Security Index statistical report of February 15, 1950 is broken down by field office. The FBI’s Washington DC field office lists a total of 43 individuals in its "Detention of Communists" [DC] column (all categories combined). [HQ 100-358086, #134; 2/15/50 statistical report]
A subsequent serial indicates that there were only 4 individuals on the Security Index for Washington field who worked in some capacity in the U.S. Government. The total number of Federal Government employees nationwide on the Security Index was 64. [HQ 100-358086, #227 dated 10/25/51]
Obviously, given the statistical information above from the FBI Security Index file, Sen. McCarthy's assertion regarding 57 or 205 Communists working in just the State Department alone was a total fabrication!
The entire controversy over “Communists” or “security risks” employed by the State Department was resurrected in June 1950 when McCarthy made a speech before the Senate in which he declared that the FBI had a “chart” which it prepared in 1946 or 1947 which contained 124 names of security risks employed by the Department.
In reality, the information being cited by McCarthy originated in a report prepared by a State Department employee, Samuel Klaus. The details about this matter get rather confusing but copied below is an FBI memo of 9/29/51 which summarizes the matter. The memo was written by D. Milton Ladd, the Assistant Director in charge of the Bureau’s Domestic Intelligence Division (formerly known as Security Division) in reply to a request from Director J. Edgar Hoover:
(2) VENONA DOCUMENTS / KGB MATERIAL
One of our nation’s foremost scholars about the McCarthy period (Dr. John Earl Haynes) has written several articles which compare McCarthy’s assertions to newly available data including, for example, the Venona papers and material in KGB archives.
On his "Acknowledgements" page, M. Stanton Evans cites Dr. Haynes and Harvey Klehr as among the "cold war experts and historians of intelligence issues from whom I derived significant data." Significantly, the data from Dr. Haynes’ research does not support McCarthy's conclusions.
See Dr. Haynes articles:
(a) Senator Joseph McCarthy’s Lists and Venona
(b) Exchange with Arthur Herman re: Venona
In an October 13, 2011 email to me, Dr. Haynes made these observations:
"Klehr and I have repeatedly made clear that neither Venona, Moscow archival material, nor Vassiliev's notebooks provide any meaningful vindication for McCarthy.
First, that there had been significant Soviet espionage and Communist infiltration of key government agencies was not a view originating with McCarthy. That point had been publicly and vigorously advanced years before McCarthy arrived on the scene by, among others, Elizabeth Bentley, Whittaker Chambers, and Louis Budenz. The evidence that has emerged since the early 1990s certainly corroborates and vindicates their charges and the particulars of their testimony.
Second, Joseph McCarthy, however, went beyond them by claiming that the espionage and infiltration occurred with the knowledge and assistance of key Truman administration officials, namely Secretary of Defense and State George Marshall and Secretary of State Dean Acheson, both part of McCarthy's "a conspiracy so immense". There is no support in the new evidence for what was new in McCarthy's charges or for the particular persons he named such as Acheson and Marshall. When McCarthy was right, he was not original and was only repeating charges made years earlier by others. When he was original, he was wrong.
For my view of McCarthy, see:
(3) J.B. MATTHEWS
On page 59 of his book, M. Stanton Evans describes J.B. Matthews as a "famed anti-Red researcher" who "became the world's foremost authority on [Communist] front groups."
On page 60, Evans refers to "Matthews’ magnum opus...compiled in 1944, called 'Appendix IX' " published by the Dies Committee later known as House Committee on Un-American Activities. It consisted of 2000 pages of "minute details" on 500 organizations and more than 22,000 people which, according to Evans, was "cited often by McCarthy".
By contrast, the 10/1/52 issue of the American Legion’s Americanism Commission’s newsletter, (Firing Line) contains a cautionary note about Appendix IX which should be kept in mind:
“Cautionary note. In 1944, the Special House Committee on Un-American Activities under Chairman Martin Dies compiled what was then an extremely valuable compendium of all information available on Communist Party fronts, together with an Index of individuals mentioned by name in connections with such front. This was Appendix IX to Vol. 17. Only 1000 copies were printed and released…However, with the passage of years, Appendix IX became increasingly less valuable as people dropped out of fronts and in some cases even became anti-Communists while literally thousands of newcomers swarmed into Communist fronts after the war whose names, of course, do not appear in Appendix IX. Many leading and dangerous crypto-Communists are not in this Index—under C.P. orders and strict conspirative practice they stayed away from all C.P. fronts. Hence the number of citations against a given name in Appendix IX means very little except as used in conjunction with other and later information. Appendix IX was compiled for government experts and others who know how to use it. Like TNT it is not recommended for beginners or amateurs.”
NOTE: The FBI observed in one memo about Appendix IX that:
“This volume has no status as an official document of the House Committee on Un-American Activities and is not to be referred to in memoranda for documentation."
Significantly, FBI memos which mention J.B. Matthews usually refer to him in very derogatory terms.
For example, in July 1953, an article by Matthews entitled "Reds In Our Churches" was published in American Mercury magazine. Matthews contended that there had been substantial communist infiltration of our clergy and religious institutions.
In his article, Matthews declared that 7000 clergymen “during the last 17 years”, had been involved with communism as fellow-travelers, unwitting dupes, party-line adherents, and outright Party members and espionage agents.
The FBI’s evaluation of the Matthews article was:
“In arrangement, handling of names, selection of facts, and in its implications, the article is not at all fair to the Protestant clergy of this country” and it characterized Matthew’s charges as “more in the nature of sensational journalism than serious reporting of the facts.” [HQ 100-5821, #22, 7/29/53].
Incidentally, in a 3/22/58 speech at Bible Presbyterian Church in New Jersey entitled “Communism In Our Churches”, Matthews stated that the number of Catholic priests who were affiliated with Communist fronts was “negligible” (48) and “the large majority of these have had only one affiliation.” He also affirmed his original statement from the 7/53 American Mercury article about 7000 clergymen but he observed in this speech that most were “unwitting dupes” – an observation absent from his 1953 article.
ANOTHER MATTHEWS CONTROVERSY
In late 1950 a huge controversy erupted over President Truman’s nomination of Anna M. Rosenberg to become Assistant Secretary of Defense. Extreme rightists claimed that she had been (or still was) a Communist Party member.
By letter dated 11/27/50, Matthews sent a letter to C. Russell Turner (the assistant to radio commentator and conservative columnist Fulton Lewis Jr.) in which Matthews claimed that he had compiled documentation regarding Anna Rosenberg which “established beyond any possibility of dispute that there had been only one (only one underlined in original) Anna Rosenberg sufficiently well known in public life” who was the “Communist” nominated by Truman.
Matthews then assured Turner that “there is not the slightest doubt” that Truman’s nominee was the person whom Matthews’ “documentation” proved was affiliated with Communist organizations.
Subsequently, the FBI and the Senate Armed Services Committee determined that the Anna Rosenberg identified by Matthews was NOT the Anna Rosenberg thought to be associated with Communist groups. After extensive investigation, the FBI concluded:
“A special inquiry was initiated by the FBI concerning Anna M. Rosenberg in December 1950 after she was named Assistant Secretary of Defense. This inquiry was based on allegations received by the Senate Armed Services Committee to the effect that Mrs. Rosenberg had been a member of the John Reed Club and the Communist Party in New York City in 1934. Our investigation disproved the allegations and identified another individual having the same name as having been a member of the above organizations at that time.” [FBI HQ file 77-27729, #18; 12/27/63 HQ summary memo on Rosenberg.]
In subsequent years, Matthews became an Associate Editor for the John Birch Society’s magazine, American Opinion. He also served on its Editorial Advisory Committee. The FBI concluded that the JBS was “extremist”, “irrational”, and “irresponsible” because of false and inflammatory assertions made by its founder and leader, Robert Welch concerning Communist influence in, or infiltration of, American institutions. Significantly, Welch credited J.B.Matthews with being one of his primary sources of information!
MY RESEARCH: https://sites.google.com/site/ernie124102/home
More info: firstname.lastname@example.org