The Mythology Surrounding His FBI Career … rev. 03/27/21

NOTE:  For anyone who would like a PDF copy of this Report -- contact me directly at:  ernie1241@aol.com OR you can obtain the newly revised edition of this Report as a PDF on my Internet Archive webpage at:  https://archive.org/details/skousen-w.-cleon 

I was the first person to request and receive Cleon Skousen’s FBI personnel file (FBI-HQ 67-69602) and a subsequent file regarding his post-FBI activities. (FBI-HQ 94-47468).  

In March 2007, I then wrote an initial Report regarding what his personnel file revealed. 

In 2009, I shared information with an investigative reporter (Alexander Zaitchik) and he published an article regarding Glenn Beck and Cleon Skousen on the salon.com website:  https://www.salon.com/2009/09/16/beck_skousen/  

In 2010, Alex published a book entitled “Common Nonsense: Glenn Beck and the Triumph of Ignorance” which contained my information re: Cleon Skousen and a link to my online Skousen Report.

This newly revised edition includes additional information to address some of the numerous falsehoods regarding Skousen’s FBI career---many of which are posted on social media sites (like Twitter) by his admirers.

Even Mr. Skousen’s obituary notice published in the Salt Lake City Deseret News in January 2006 falsely claimed that: “Skousen served 16 years in J. Edgar Hoover's FBI as a Special Agent, an assistant to Mr. Hoover.”


In reality, Skousen served as an FBI Special Agent for only 11 years, 10 months.  He became an Agent on June 11, 1940 and he retired from the FBI on October 5, 1951.

After the first edition of my Report was published online, one of Mr. Skousen’s sons (Paul Skousen) took exception to what I wrote.  He severely criticized me but he never refuted anything I presented. I then revised my Report in December 2011 to address, in detail, Paul’s objections to what he described as “character assassination” and “ad hominem attacks” against his dad.  If you prefer to move immediately to that section, use “control/f” to produce a search field and enter number “001” to move directly to it.

I address four issues raised by Paul:

1.  Why Paul Skousen’s description of my report as a “smear jobis an issue.

2. Why describing Cleon Skousen as “one of two people authorized to speak for the FBI in behalf of Hoover on police work and communism is an issue

3.  Why describing Cleon Skousen’s “friendship with [J. Edgar] Hoover” is an issue

4.  Why describing Cleon Skousen as an “Administrative Assistant to Hoover is an issue

More generally, I will spell out, in greater detail, the reasons why it is clear that Cleon Skousen never developed any expertise regarding communism or internal security matters during his employment with the FBI.


Back in March 2007, I wrote a preliminary article concerning former FBI Special Agent W. Cleon Skousen after I had received the first 400 pages of his personnel file from the FBI.  I have now received the remainder of Skousen’s personnel file [FBI HQ file 67-69602] along with a separate file consisting of public source material and correspondence received by the Bureau concerning Skousen’s activities [HQ 94-47468].  Altogether, these files total 1928 pages.

I will be quoting extensively from documents in his personnel file pertaining to his career, but first some general biographical information which appears on two of his employment applications.  [The following details are from HQ 67-69602, #65; 5/29/40 Skousen Application For Appointment as Special Agent, and HQ 67-69602, #1; 7/22/35 Skousen Application for Appointment as Typist or Messenger.]  For additional biographical information, see:


Willard Cleon Skousen was born in Raymond, Alberta, Canada on January 20, 1913.  His mother and father (Roy and Rita Bentley Skousen) were born in the United States.  Cleon lived in the United States starting in 1923.  He had 7 brothers and sisters and after marrying his wife, Jewel Pitcher in August 1936, they had 8 children.  [Incidentally, one of his brothers, Leroy B. Skousen, was also an FBI Agent from 1941-1954.]

Educational Background:

From 1919 to 1925 he attended elementary schools in Canada and in Torrance, California.  From 1925 to 1926 he attended Sturgess Junior High School in San Bernardino CA and, subsequently, he attended Juarez Stake Academy in Chihuahua, Mexico from 1926 to 1928.  For his junior and senior years, he attended San Bernardino High School in San Bernardino CA from 9/17/28 to 6/22/30 and he graduated in 1930. From 1933 to 1935, Cleon attended San Bernardino Junior College and he received his Associate of Arts degree. He then attended George Washington University in Washington DC from 1935 to 1940, majoring in political science, with a minor in history, and he received his law degree in June 1940.

Employment History – Prior to the FBI

Skousen entered on his employment application that he worked for 2 years (1930-1932) as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Days Saints (Mormon) in England (18 months) and Ireland (6 months).  At 17 years of age, he was appointed District Secretary, LDS, at Sheffield, British Isles, and he also was sent to Northern Ireland as President of Ulster District.

Starting in October of 1932, he worked for his father's road construction business, the Skousen Brothers Construction Company, as a lineman, and later as a steamshovel and truck foreman as well as project timekeeper in Cottonwood AZ.  There is some discrepancy about the time period of this employment in his FBI files.  On his employment application Skousen indicated that this work was for a period of 3 years but other documents indicate that this employment was only from October 1932 to September 1933.  His employment application also indicates that he worked for 3 years as a teletype operator and 2 years as a switchboard operator.

From 07/02/35 to 10/23/1935, Skousen was employed as a temporary Assistant Clerk in the Rental and Benefit Audit Section of the Agricultural Adjustment Administration in Washington DC.

FBI Employment

He entered on duty October 24, 1935 as a messenger.  At the beginning of December of that year he became a Clerk.  In August 1937 he became Night Supervisor in the Communications Section and on February 16, 1939 he became Chief of the Communications Section. 

During this entire period, his annual efficiency ratings were “excellent”.  His salary during this time started at $1260 annually and progressed to $2100 by July 1939.

Cleon became a FBI Special Agent on June 17, 1940 at an annual salary of $3200. His Special Agent training began June 17th and was completed August 3, 1940 at which time he was assigned to the FBI’s Omaha field office.  After a short period in Omaha, he was assigned as shown below.  By the time of his retirement from the FBI in October 1951 he was earning $7600 annually.  His last performance rating was “satisfactory”.

12/15/40 = Kansas City field office

04/04/41 = Administrative Division, FBI HQ

06/25/41 = Records and Communications Division, FBI HQ

06/05/45 = Los Angeles field office

10/05/51 = retired

As details below will demonstrate, during his FBI career Skousen had very modest investigative experience. His FBI assignments were primarily administrative in nature I will be quoting extensively below from a 14-page summary of his performance evaluations which cover his assignments from 1940 thru retirement.

Even more significantly, he had no special exposure to investigations concerning communism in the United States.

Skousen’s Post-FBI Employment and Activities

After retiring from the Bureau in October 1951, Skousen became an Executive Assistant to the President of Brigham Young University in Salt Lake City.  During this time (10/51 – 06/56) he served as Director of Public Services and as an Assistant Professor of Speech.

In June 1956, he became Chief of Police in Salt Lake City, but he was fired by Mayor J. Bracken Lee in March 1960.  Mayor Lee shared Cleon’s political philosophy.  They both were ultra-conservative and they both endorsed the John Birch Society. [J. Bracken Lee also served 6 two-year terms as Mayor of Price, Utah and then 8 years as Governor of Utah.]

Mayor Lee’s firing of Skousen caused a major shock within conservative political circles – both in Utah and nationally. [For a detailed discussion of the Lee-Skousen feud, see “Political Feud in Salt Lake City: J. Bracken Lee and the Firing of W. Cleon Skousen”, by Dennis L. Lythgoe, Utah Historical Quarterly, Fall 1974, or see Lythgoe’s subsequent book, Let 'Em Holler: A Political Biography of J. Bracken Lee - Salt Lake City: Utah State Historical Society, 1982.]

In August 1960, Mayor Lee wrote a letter to Mrs. Elizabeth Laine of Arcadia, CA in which he made the following comments:

To further explain my position, let me say this, that while Mr. Skousen has written a book and talks against Communism, actually he conducted his office as Chief of Police in exactly the same manner in which the Communists operate their government.  The man is also a master of half-truths.  In at least three instances I have proved him to be a liar before the City Commissioners and the newspaper reporters.  To me, he is a very dangerous man because he preaches one thing, practices another, does not tell the truth, and cannot be relied upon.  He also was one of the greatest spenders of public funds of anyone who ever served in any capacity in Salt Lake City government.  [HQ 67-69602, #286; 8/8/60 letter from J. Bracken Lee to Mrs. Elizabeth Laine, Arcadia CA]

When the Educational News Service of Fullerton, CA ran a favorable article about Skousen in its March 31, 1960 issue, Mayor Lee sent them a blistering 3-page response (with copies to 13 other individuals who served on the Board of Directors of the News Service).  Among the accusations made by Lee are the following comments concerning Skousen’s 1958 book, The Naked Communist:

“Your article further states that my charge that Mr. Skousen had been using City Police secretarial assistance in the writing of this book was without foundation.  The records will show to the satisfaction of anyone that he did use City Policemen and secretaries both to compile, typewrite, and assemble his notes on this book.  While I certainly do not object to the writing of a book in opposition to Communism, I do not think it is right that City funds and personnel be used to write a book which resulted in personal gain to that writer.”   [HQ 67-69602, #290; 8/16/60 letter by J. Bracken Lee to Mr. Edward T. Price, President, Education Information Inc of Fullerton CA.]

After termination as Police Chief, Skousen then ran for the Republican nomination for Governor of Utah and his campaign literature included the phrase, Served his country in the FBI 16 years, 4 of them as Administrative Assistant to J. Edgar Hoover during World War II, a top assignment.” [HQ 67-69602, #287; Bureau file copy notation on outgoing 1/12/61 letter to Mrs. Norman Hartnett, Bakersfield CA mentions his campaign literature.] 

J. Edgar Hoover received numerous inquiries about Skousen’s description of himself. His replies declared that: For your information, Mr. Skousen did not have the title ‘Administrative Assistant’ while in the FBI and In response to your inquiry, I wish to advise that there is no such position in the FBI entitled Administrative Assistant to the Director. [See for example, Hoover’s 4/19/61 reply to Rev. Harry C. Carlson of La Habra CA which is HQ file 94-47468, serial #28 and his 11/1/61 reply to David A. Moynan Jr., Chairman of Operation Americanism, Jefferson Parish Junior Chamber of Commerce, which is HQ file 94-47468, serial #37 and his April 10, 1962 reply to inquiry by Mrs. A.M. Donaldson of Cardiff CA which is HQ file 94-47468, serial #46.]

Utah Republican Congressman Henry A. Nixon contacted the Bureau about Skousen’s description of himself and Nixon’s administrative assistant (Mark Cannon) received a telephone call from a senior Bureau official (Robert E. Wick) who pointed out that:

“Wick impressed upon Cannon the fact that the FBI has no control over former Agents; they are not connected with the FBI; and it would appear here that frankly Mr. Skousen is attempting to trade on his former Bureau connection.  Wick told him that again very frankly Mr. Hoover and the entire FBI does not appreciate this sort of thing and it is simply unfair to inject the FBI into a political matter of this nature.…  [HQ 94-47468, serial number illegible; 7/28/60 memo from C.D. DeLoach to Mr. Mohr re “Administrative Assistant”]

The John Birch Society inflated Skousen’s credentials even further. The January 1968 issue of the John Birch Society Bulletin, page 1, described Skousen as for many years a top aide to J. Edgar Hoover”.

During my debates with JBS members and sympathizers, some have even claimed that Skousen was “third in command” inside the FBI or that he was an “Assistant Director” – both of which are falsehoods.

Nor is there one particle of evidence in his FBI records to suggest that he was a “top aide” to Hoover. He had a supervisory position within the Communications Section but he had no direct contact with Hoover.  The names of Bureau employees who actually were top aides” to Hoover, appeared on Bureau route slips and they also were stamped on internal memos and correspondence so that important material could be routed to them for review and comment.  Skousen’s name does NOT appear on either the route slips or the stamped list of names.

In August 1968, the Bureau received an inquiry concerning the description of Skousen which appeared in the aforementioned JBS Bulletin A Bureau memo discussing the matter declares: “He has been making numerous speeches around the country in which he describes himself as a former ‘top aide’ to the Director.  He did not hold such a position and it is felt we should set the record straight to those inquiring that he was not a ‘top aide “  [HQ 94-47468, #88; 8/22/68 memo from G.E. Malmfeldt to Mr. Bishop, captioned Former Special Agent Now Representing Himself As Former ‘Top Aide’ to the Director.]

See this memo here:

Subsequent to his campaign for the Republican nomination for Utah Governor, Skousen became the Editorial Director of the police journal “Law and Order”, and he also associated himself with Fred Schwarz’s Christian Anti-Communism Crusade (CACC) as a frequent speaker at “anti-communism schools” around the country.

The Bureau was not impressed by Schwarz or his anti-communism “schools”. The Bureau’s Chief Inspector (their expert on communist matters), made the following observations about Schwarz:

As we know, Dr. Schwarz is an opportunist and we are not having anything to do with him and his activities. It might be added that such people as Dr. Schwarz are largely responsible for misinforming people and stirring them up emotionally to the point that when FBI lecturers present the truth, it becomes very difficult for the misinformed to accept it. In my opinion, Schwarz and others like him can only do the country and the anticommunist work of the Bureau harm.”  [HQ 62-69602, #297; 3/13/61 memo from FBI Chief Inspector W.C. Sullivan to A.H. Belmont]. The Bureau frequently described Schwarz with the epithet “professional anticommunist – and they also included Billy James Hargis (Christian Crusade), former FBI Special Agent Dan Smoot and Edgar C. Bundy (Church League of America) in this category. 

In October 1961 Skousen participated as a speaker in an “anti-communism school” in New Orleans under the auspices of the Christian Anti-Communism Crusade.  Ed Palmer, a local television station (WDSU-TV) commentator contacted the Bureau concerning a number of startling and unbelievable charges made by Skousen during his speech.  One of Skousen’s assertions was that Harry Hopkins in 1943 had turned over to the Russians 50 suitcases of information concerning the Manhattan Project.” Palmer asked for confirmation that Skousen actually had been an FBI Special Agent.  A Bureau memo discussing this controversy states Apparently Skousen, Schwarz, et al are becoming more and more irresponsible and have apparently succumbed to the philosophy that the ends justify the means.”  [HQ file 94-47468, no serial #; 10/26/61 memo from C.D. DeLoach to Mr. Mohr regarding W. Cleon Skousen Statements on Communism, New Orleans Louisiana 10-24-61.]

The Bureau received another inquiry concerning Skousen’s assertions regarding Harry Hopkins. An official of the Jefferson Parish (LA) Chamber of Commerce asked Hoover Is The Naked Communist based entirely on fact?  Is the information concerning Harry Hopkins true, especially the part that he obtained and gave to the Russian Communists Top Secret information on the Atomic Bomb and almost half of our supply of refined uranium?” 

The file copy of Hoover’s reply contains the following notation: “It is noted that on page 167 of his book…Skousen states that Harry Hopkins, former aide to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, supplied Russia with a large quantity of uranium during the early 1940’s. Bufiles contain no information to support this charge or to indicate that Hopkins was engaged in subversive activity.” [HQ 94-47468, #37; 11/1/61 Hoover reply to David A. Moynan Jr., Chairman, Operation Americanism of Jefferson Parish Junior Chamber of Commerce, Metairie LA.]

In January 1962, an official of the Florida State Department of Education contacted the Bureau about Skousen’s 1958 book, The Naked Communist This official expressed misgivings about use of Skousen’s book in Florida schools and he said he would prefer a textbook written by J. Edgar Hoover.  A Bureau memo discussing this matter closes with the following comment:  It is noted that during the past year or so, Skousen has affiliated himself with the extreme right-wing ‘professional anti-communists’ such as Fred Schwarz, who are promoting their own anticommunism for obvious financial purposes.” [HQ 67-69602, no serial #; 1/16/62 memo from W.C. Sullivan to A.H. Belmont regarding inquiry by Fred W. Turner, State of Florida Department of Education.]

Skousen was described by Schwarz’s CACC as a “faculty member”.  One such school was named “Project Alert” and it featured Skousen speeches from October thru December 1961 in Wisconsin. The promotional brochure for the school described “faculty member” Skousen as follows:

Skousen entered the FBI in 1935 and served in various parts of the U.S. for a period of 16 years. During World War II he served as an administrative supervisor under J. Edgar Hoover in Washington D.C…Mr. Skousen was recently appointed the Field Director for the American Security Council.  The most outstanding speaker to graduate from the FBI, he averages 350 speeches a year.”

Not surprisingly, the FBI received hundreds of inquiries concerning Skousen’s background and, in particular, his claims to expertise regarding communism. 

By October 1961, the Bureau received so many inquiries that Associate Director Clyde Tolson (the #2 official in the Bureau hierarchy) asked subordinates to check Skousen’s personnel file in an effort to determine what contact he may have had with the subject of communism in connection with his assignments while working for the FBI.”

The resulting 3-page summary memo contained the following observations:

Skousen entered on duty 10-24-35 in a clerical position and as an Agent on 6-17-40.  He resigned while assigned to the Los Angeles Office on 10-5-51…When he first came to the Bureau as a clerical employee in 1935, he was a messenger.  On 8-1-37 he became a night supervisor in the Communications Section and on 2-16-39 he became chief of the Communications Section, his work for the most part being connected with the Teletype Unit.“

“He entered Agents’ Training School on 6-17-40.  There is no definite indication in his personnel file that he had any contact with the subject of communism other than the fact that in his first office, which was Omaha, an efficiency report indicated that he handled all types of cases except bank robbery and antitrust. He was assigned to the Omaha Office from August 1940, to December 1940, when he transferred to the Kansas City Office.” 

“On 4-4-41, he reported to the Chief Clerk’s Office here at the Bureau and was transferred to the Records and Communications Division on 6-25-41. On 6-5-45 he was transferred to the Los Angeles Office. Efficiency reports indicate that he was primarily concerned with criminal, selective service, and applicant work in his field office assignments.  During the period he was in the Los Angeles Office, in addition to some criminal work, he was primarily assigned to police training schools and spoke on the subjects of juvenile delinquency, police administration and public relations.  Files indicate that he was a notable speaker and was used extensively on speeches beginning in his first office of assignment as an Agent.  In the early 1940s Skousen spoke several times on the subjects of sabotage, national defense and subversive groups; however, due to the fact that this was the period leading up to and beginning World War II, the subversive groups to which he had referred were undoubtedly German or Axis powers.”

“During his tenure at the Seat of Government [Washington DC] as an Agent, he was a supervisor in the Chief Clerk’s Office in the Communications Section and later was assigned to what is now known as the Crime Research Section.  A review of articles and statements on which Agents of the Crime Research Section conducted research at that time has been checked and there is nothing to indicate that he did any research on the subject of communism; however, he did research for several articles on sabotage.” …

“A brief check of abstracts under Skousen’s name revealed that between 1941 and 1946 he handled a limited number of investigations or wrote reports or memoranda on internal security and espionage classifications, and from 1947 until he resigned there were no abstracts under his name for either the internal security or espionage classifications.  Inasmuch as there was no mention in his personnel file of his having anything to do with communist matters, the fact that abstracts indicate he did some internal security and espionage work back in the early 1940s is undoubtedly insignificant, but rather every indication is that he was primarily associated with criminal work.”  [HQ 67-69602, #214; 10/12/61 memo from M.A. Jones to Mr. DeLoach].

IMPORTANT NOTE: I have obtained the personnel files of many former FBI Special Agents---including several whose service was during the same time period as Skousen’s.  Typically, when an Agent had specific experience with “communist matters”, or the Agent was considered to have developed any expertise in that area, their annual efficiency reports routinely mentioned such accomplishments during the discussion of their overall performance rating.  Significantly, Skousen’s performance evaluations DO NOT mention such experience or expertise --- as will be seen below.

In March 1960 Skousen was added to the FBI’s “Special Correspondents List” [SCL]. Persons considered friendly toward Bureau interests were added to the SCL and they were sent FBI publications such as the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, or FBI Uniform Crime Reports, or general data to present the Bureau point of view.  Often, correspondence and inquiries from persons on the SCL received expedited attention.

Skousen was added to the SCL because of his previous position as Police Chief in Salt Lake City, as well as him becoming editor of a national law enforcement journal, plus his work as a field representative of the American Security Council (ASC) in Chicago.

Several senior officials of the ASC were former FBI employees, including former Inspector Lee Pennington. Pennington also served on the Americanism Commission of the American Legion.  (See below for additional information regarding Skousen and ASC).

However, in September 1961 as the Bureau grew more concerned about “right-wing extremists” around the country, FBI Associate Director Clyde Tolson inquired if Cleon Skousen, or former Special Agent Dan Smoot, or Fred Schwarz (Christian Anti-Communism Crusade) were on any Bureau mailing lists. 

The answer for Smoot and Schwarz was “no”, but when Tolson learned that Skousen was on the Bureau’s SCL, he instructed that he be removed immediately.  J. Edgar Hoover handwrote “Right” on the bottom of the memo discussing the matter.  [HQ 94-47468, no serial number; 9/8/61 memo from C.D. DeLoach to Mr. Tolson.]

In April 1962, former FBI Inspector Lee Pennington called the Bureau and spoke to Special Agent Joseph Sizoo.  The Bureau memo on this call reports:

“Former Inspector Lee Pennington who is now associated with the American Security Council called Monday in connection with another matter and advised that Skousen had been dropped by the ASC. He had previously represented them in connection with certain speaking commitments, but Pennington said ASC people thought he had ‘gone off the deep end’ and his services had been discontinued.” [HQ 67-69602, #329; 4/11/62 memo from J.A. Sizoo to W.C. Sullivan.]

Retired Admiral Chester Ward was a member of the National Strategy Committee of the American Security Council and his concerns about Skousen were transmitted to the Bureau in January 1963, after Norman H. McCabe (a former FBI Special-Agent-In-Charge), contacted the Bureau. 

McCabe brought the attention of the Bureau to Skousen’s proposed participation in a course on communism being sponsored by the ASC. The course was to consist of 65 one-half-hour TV programs featuring Skousen and other alleged authorities on communism. 

The Judge Advocate General of the U.S. Navy (Rear Admiral William C. Mott) contacted FBI Chief Inspector William Sullivan to report his concerns about Skousen’s participation.  Sullivan then observed:

Mott stated that he recently had talked with Admiral Chester Ward, the retired former Judge Advocate General, who told him that he, Ward, had been contacted by Skousen to see if he would be a participating member in the program.  Ward told Mott that Skousen impressed him as an ‘unprincipled racketeer in anticommunism’ who is ‘money mad’ and who is doing anything and everything to exploit the subject.  Ward told Mott that he intended to have absolutely nothing to do with Skousen in this or any other of his money-making ventures in this field since he feels that Skousen is totally unqualified and is interested solely in furthering his own personal ends.”

“As you know, we frequently receive inquiries from the public regarding Skousen’s qualifications to speak with authority on the subject of communism.  In view of his obvious efforts to capitalize on his former Bureau association, I feel that it would be well for us to take positive measures to clarify the Bureau’s position in regard to Skousen whenever we receive public inquiries concerning him. I feel, for example, that in addition to stating that his views are his own, that we should also add in correspondence concerning him that he was not regarded as any authority on communism while employed with the FBI. That is certainly a true statement and it might serve in some measure to prevent Skousen from using the FBI’s name for his own personal gain.” [HQ 67-69602, #338; 1/2/63 memo from W.C. Sullivan to A.H. Belmont.] 

See this two-page memo here:

Interesting footnote: the writings of both Admiral Chester Ward and Cleon Skousen were recommended and sold by the John Birch Society. Skousen spoke under the auspices of the JBS Speakers Bureau and he authored a 1963 pamphlet entitled, “The Communist Attack On The John Birch Society” which may be seen here:

https://www.ourrepubliconline.com/Article/27    [See discussion of this article at end of this report.]

Sometimes, other former FBI Special Agents contacted the Bureau to report adverse evaluations of Skousen’s appearances around the country.  For example, in April 1962, former FBI Special Agent Robert Dellwo sent a letter to FBI Chief Inspector W.C. Sullivan.  As Sullivan reports:

“Reference is made to the enclosed letter to me from the above-captioned person, a former FBI Agent who remains a very intelligent and staunch supporter of the Bureau.  In this letter, he asks if I could lecture on communism to a gathering of some 7500 people whom he thinks it is possible to organize in Spokane, Washington…Further, it is to be noted that this event would be held as a counter to a similar affair held just recently in Spokane where the principal speakers were extreme right-wingers such as Cleon Skousen.” …

“I think it is of interest to the Bureau to note what Mr. Dellwo has to say about Skousen: 

‘Skousen generally keeping the people scared and then at the end of his talk enunciated what he termed an extremely simple solution to the whole problem…His general approach was that on the left was totalitarianism. On the right was anarchy.  Along side totalitarianism was international communism, next to it was fascism, next to it were the socialists, then the social democrats, and in the middle were wings one and two of the conservatives and liberals of the United States.’ [HQ 94-47468, #52; 4/24/62 memo from W.C. Sullivan to A.H. Belmont].

Skousen’s speeches around the country were often heard by many thousands of persons who attended Fred Schwarz’s “anti communism schools”. His comments were often so inflammatory that J. Edgar Hoover received numerous letters asking for details concerning Skousen’s FBI employment. 

One of the standard Hoover replies was sent to Sister Mary Shaun of Notre Dame Convent.  Hoover stated:

“I welcome the opportunity to make it perfectly clear that former Special Agents of the FBI are not necessarily experts on communism.  Some of them have sought to capitalize on their former employment with this Bureau for the purpose of establishing themselves as such authorities.  I am firmly convinced there are too many self-styled experts on communism, without valid credentials and without any access whatsoever to classified, factual data, who are engaging in rumor mongering and hurling false and wholly unsubstantiated allegations against people whose views differ from their own. This makes more difficult the task of the professional investigator.”

“Mr. W. Cleon Skousen entered on duty with the FBI as a clerk on October 24, 1935, in which capacity he served until June 17, 1940, when he became a Special Agent.  He voluntarily resigned the latter position on October 5, 1951.  Mr. Skousen is no longer associated with the FBI and his opinions are strictly his own and do not represent this Bureau in any way.”  [HQ 94-47468, #49; 4/17/62 J. Edgar Hoover reply to Sister Mary Shaun, Notre Dame Convent, Trenton, NJ.]

In 1962, Skousen responded to a 15-page review of his book, The Naked Communist, which was prepared by Dr. Richard Poll, a Political Science professor at Brigham Young University, Provo UT. 

In answer to a question concerning when he performed the research for his book, Skousen replied that “most of my research on the theory and early history of Communism was done while I was in the FBI from 1935 to 1951.” [W. Cleon Skousen, My Reply To Dr. Richard D. Poll and His Critique of The Naked Communist, Ensign Publishing Co., Salt Lake City, page 2].

There are several problems with this Skousen answer. 

First, from October 1935 to June 1940, Skousen was not yet a Special Agent.  He was busy with training classes and he served in administrative capacities such as writing training manuals, conducting applicant interviews, conducting tours, supervising Mail Room and Communication Section employees, etc. 

Second, as seen in the summary for Associate Director Tolson, when the Bureau checked, it could find no records to indicate that he did any research on communism.  

Third, when the Bureau checked its records, it found that between 1941 and 1946 Skousen had limited exposure to internal security matters and from 1947 until his retirement in 1951 there were no abstracts under his name for internal security or espionage classifications. 

Last, none of his performance evaluations state that he did any research into communism or that he participated in investigations pertaining to communist matters

The November 3, 2006 issue of the Birch Society magazine, The New American, contains an article about Skousen by Warren Mass entitled “He Definitely Made A Difference”. 

That article includes this outrageous falsehood:

Given that during his tenure as an FBI Agent Skousen was closely associated with J. Edgar Hoover [Skousen was one of two FBI agents authorized to speak about communism if Hoover could not address the topic himself], it is not surprising that Skousen became knowledgeable about the subversive communist threat, knowledge that led him to publish The Naked Communist in 1958.”

As the data above (and below) reveals:

I.            Skousen was never “closely associated with J. Edgar Hoover”.

II.         Skousen was NOT one of two FBI agents authorized to speak about communism”.  On sensitive subjects such as communism or internal security matters, the Bureau almost always authorized as a speaker either the FBI Chief Inspector (their expert on communist matters)  OR somebody who worked within their Domestic Intelligence Division (DID) – usually a Supervisor or Section Chief.  Skousen never worked in DID and he never had significant exposure to data concerning communist matters --- as his performance review comments below demonstrate.  His expertise was primarily administrative (which is why you will see so many references below to his participation in FBI Field Office inspections). 

III.      And, as the summary prepared for Associate Director Tolson (quoted above) points out, the Bureau’s records do not reveal that Skousen performed any research on communism and “from 1947 until he resigned there were no abstracts under his name for either the internal security or espionage classifications.

A July 1961 memo from the FBI’s Chief Inspector, W.C. Sullivan, to A.H. Belmont discusses a report in a San Antonio TX newspaper which mentioned that Skousen was planning to write a textbook on communism.  Sullivan confirms yet again that Skousen developed no particular expertise regarding communist matters while in the Bureau:

As we know, Skousen, when he was in the FBI, did not concentrate in the field of communism. However, he has been giving lectures on the subject around the country, and during the past year has affiliated himself with the extreme right-wing groups under the leadership of Frederick Schwartz [sic] of Texas.  The above, to me, is another example of why a sound, scholarly textbook on communism by the Director is urgently and badly needed.  [HQ 67-69602, #311; 7/29/61 memo from Sullivan to Belmont.]

In September 1964, the John Birch Society magazine, American Opinion, published a summary about J. Edgar Hoover’s career which was written by Skousen and the magazine’s front cover featured a painting of Hoover by Daniel Michael Canavan.  Senior FBI officials debated whether or not to acknowledge Skousen’s favorable article about Hoover. The Bureau memo on the matter observes:

“The activities of Skousen are well known to the Bureau…In recent years he has been aligned closely with the extreme right-wing such as the John Birch Society and has been characterized as an ‘unprincipled racketeer in anticommunism’ who is ‘money mad’ and who is doing everything and anything to exploit the subject of anticommunism.  Bureau files reveal Skousen has always been a strong supporter of the Bureau and the Director; however, he has not hesitated to trade on his former association with the Bureau in order to achieve stature as a writer and lecturer on anticommunism.  In view of this, it is not felt we should acknowledge his favorable comments about Mr. Hoover.  Bufiles reflect that in 1951 the Bureau conducted a Departmental applicant investigation on a Daniel Michael Canavan of New York City.  This investigation revealed that Canavan had been discharged from the Army in 1946 because of ‘schizophrenic reaction, paranoid type’.  A later name check form on Canavan reflected that he was self-employed as a commercial artist.”  HQ 62-104401, #2280; 10/8/64 memo from M.A. Jones to Mr. DeLoach.] 


At this point I will quote extensively from a detailed 14-page summary of Skousen’s performance reports which was prepared in 1961.  As will be seen below, there are repeated references to his assignments being primarily administrative.  And when commendations are discussed, it usually pertains to matters concerning Skousen’s research, speeches, and activities concerning juvenile delinquency and police school instruction.

The references below to “SAC” refer to the Special-Agent-in-Charge who wrote Skousen’s performance evaluations:

OMAHA FIELD OFFICE (August to December 1940)

“SAC Stein reported he [Skousen] was very promising material, was mature beyond his years and exercised very good judgment, was well acquainted with Bureau policy and was above average in intelligence, industry and comprehension of the Bureau’s work, had handled all types of cases in that office except bankruptcy and antitrust with very good results…had made numerous speeches and several persons had informed he made a very good talk and was a fine representative of the Bureau, it was believed he possessed both administrative and executive ability…”

KANSAS CITY FIELD OFFICE (December 1940 to April 1941)

SAC Brantley reported he had a rather comprehensive knowledge of the duties of a Special Agent for one so new in the service…the U.S. Attorney had commented favorably upon his work, got along well with peace officers and his work among confidential informants had been satisfactory as well as his participation in the American Legion program.”


On 4-4-41 he was transferred to the Seat of Government where he was assigned to the Chief Clerk’s Office as a supervisor.  By memorandum dated 4-14-41, Mr. Clegg said from interviewing re-trainees he had learned that this Agent had done some remarkably fine work as an instructor and that repeated statements had been made concerning his recent delivery of lectures before police groups…Mr. Glavin reported this Agent had been assigned to the duties of interviewing clerical applicants and the manner in which he had been performing his duties was particularly pleasing, his memoranda had been very concise and yet complete…in connection with his interview, had briefed a number of files during his assignment and he had handled miscellaneous Congressional inquiries.

FBI HQ – COMMUNICATIONS SECTION (June 1941 – August 1944)

On 6-25-41 he was placed in charge of the Communications Section.  Mr. Nichols reported he had done excellent work in the training of new Messengers and new employees, had imagination, could think problems through, followed details thoroughly…his work had been very satisfactory…By letter dated 10-14-41, the Director advised he was pleased to note the fine compliment which had been paid to this Agent as a Bureau representative when he addressed the Missouri Press Association. By memorandum dated 11-28-41 Mr. Nichols expressed his dissatisfaction with the manner in which this Agent handled a telephone call with Howard Hiatt.  As a result of the mishandling of two radiograms, this Agent was censured by letter dated 1-30-42 for not properly instructing all employees in the Communication Section.  On the 1942 annual efficiency rating he was rated as excellent by Mr. Nichols…In January 1943, Mr. Nichols reported this Agent had developed considerably during the past year, definitely had administrative ability, handled personnel very well and the morale in his section was among the highest in the Bureau…On 6-7-43 he was designated Personnel Assistant of the Communications and Records Division.  In a memorandum to the Director dated 9-2-43, Mr. Laughlin said this Agent was made available to the Staff of the House Appropriations Committee to conduct a survey and inquiry into the central switchboard and teletype facilities operated by the Central Administrative Services of the Office for Emergency Management for the use of the various war agencies…On 1-11-44, Mr. Hicks said based on observations made by representatives of the Training Division during the past year, this Agent was considered a better than average lecturer…By letter dated 3-31-44, this Agent was advised the failure of one of the employees of the Mail Review and Dispatch Unit to carry out specific instructions in connection with the mailing of a letter which was to receive special handling in the Washington Field Office reflected upon the administration of his office.  On the 1944 annual efficiency rating, he was rated excellent by Mr. Nichols.  Beginning March 27, 1944 this Agent was assigned to the Washington Field Office for a period of two weeks.  SAC Hottel reported that during the first week he was assigned to general investigations…During the second week he was engaged in security matter investigations, spending one day of the week in the operation of a technical surveillance.  On 6-22-44, SAC Abbaticchio commended the talk that Agent Skousen gave at the Rotary Club, Birmingham AL on 6-21-44.  On 8-1-44 he was assigned to Crime Records Section.

FBI HQ – CRIME RECORDS SECTION (August 1944 to June 1945)

“On 10-19-44 Mr. Nichols rated him excellent…Since his assignment in Crime Records he had general supervision over the preparation of ‘FBI This Week’ and ‘The Investigator’ and had done a very good job on each.  At the present time he was being quite successful in improving each publication and in creating additional interest in the magazines on the part of Bureau personnel.  He had handled several assignments involving original writing and had done a uniformly good job on each.  He had also handled a number of very special tours in a very creditable manner.  He had likewise filled several speaking engagements and the response from each had been uniformly good…By letter dated 3-3-45 he was commended for the fine comments received concerning his recent address at a Parent Teachers Association meeting. On 3-31-45 Mr. Nichols rated him excellent and said he had an excellent appearance, a winning personality, and an abundance of enthusiasm.  He had had general supervision over The Investigator and FBI This Week since his assignment in the section and had done an outstanding job on each…He had developed two of the girls of the section to the point where they could handle much of the work on these two publications.  He was one of the best speakers in the Bureau and had given a number of speeches in Washington and vicinity during the past year…In addition he had taken quite a number of special visitors through the Bureau on tours and his work in this regard was outstanding…On 5-24-45 Mr. H.H. Clegg advised that Skousen was afforded training as an Inspector’s assistant on 5-21 and 22, 1945 and it was believed he was qualified to assist in the course of field office inspections…On 6-5-45 he was transferred to the Los Angeles Office due to his ill health and his headquarters was also at San Bernardino.”

LOS ANGELES FIELD OFFICE (June 1945 – thru retirement 10/5/51)

On 8-13-45 SAC Hood rated him excellent and said since arriving in the Los Angeles Office he had been assigned to Selective Service investigation and recently was assigned to a special squad investigating black market activities…On 11-28-45, Mr. Gurnea advised the Bureau that Agent Skousen assisted him during the inspection of the Portland office…He had an excellent knowledge of the Bureau’s rules and regulations and required a minimum amount of supervision after his assignments were made…In January 1946 he was recommended for possible development as an SAC…On 3-31-46 SAC Hood rated him excellent and said he made a splendid personal appearance…He organized his work well, proceeded on his own responsibility and by application of initiative and good judgment was successful in bringing cases to a logical conclusion…He had been assigned to Selective Service matters where he had performed an average volume of work.  He had also worked on Black Market activities in the field office and did a commendable job.  He had made numerous speeches during his assignment here for which he had received letters of commendation…It was believed he definitely possessed supervisory or administrative ability…On 4-3-46 his SAC was advised that Skousen recently completed a specialized course in juvenile control at the Seat of Government and was now qualified as an instructor in Juvenile control.  He was also qualified as a general police instructor. On 5-23-46 the SAC of the Portland Office advised that Skousen handled the subjects of ‘Public Relations’ and ‘Juvenile Delinquency’ at the statewide school of Police Administration held in Portland March 6th to 9th…By letter dated 8-28-46 he was commended for the excellent manner in which he conducted an interview with Mr. John M. Zook, Los Angeles County Probation officer…On 3-31-47 SAC Hood rated him excellent…He was an outstanding representative of the Bureau before law enforcement officers…His SAC had occasion to commend him on numerous occasions for speeches made before local groups…He had a good knowledge of the techniques involved in physical and technical surveillances…It is to be noted during an inspection of the Los Angeles Office in February 1947, Inspector Gurnea advised he was attached to the general criminal squad.  In addition, he assisted in police school work…In April 1947 Mr. O.C. Smith, Chief of Police of Whittier CA commended this Agent and others for the training the officers of his department received in gunnery and various phases of police investigation from these Agents…On 1-29-48 Mr. Gurnea advised Agent Skousen assisted him during the inspection of the Phoenix office and he was particularly familiar with office administrative devices when compared with other Agents…On 3-31-48 SAC Hood rated him excellent…He was assigned to the general criminal investigative squad and had the responsibility of writing the Crime Survey and also Interesting Case Write-Ups.  During this period the majority of his time had been used as a police instructor.  He also was used as an Inspector’s Aide and gave numerous Bureau speeches…He was outstanding in research matters, he spent considerable time doing research on police administration and supervision, juvenile matters, crime conditions and allied matters…On 12-21-48 Inspector Gurnea advised that Agent Skousen assisted him during the Butte and Salt Lake City inspections.”

All the subsequent remarks repeat the same type observations as reported above.  The comments praise all the work Skousen did with respect to writing manuscripts pertaining to juvenile delinquency and his participation at police school training classes.  In May 1950, for example “It is to be noted on 5-3-50 the SAC of the San Diego Office stated that Agent Skousen was primarily responsible for the organization and handling of a Juvenile Crime Control School at San Diego California, April 25-27th…On 7-11-50…he had been most outstanding as a police instructor during the past year in the office, having devoted considerable personal time to the preparation of material for his lectures…On 9-15-51, SAC Hood rated him satisfactory and stated he had served exclusively in handling police schools, making speeches, and instructing moot court procedure.”

The last entry on this summary concerns his speeches after leaving the FBI:

“Memorandum to Mr. Belmont dated 3-1-61, reflected that Mr. Skousen had spoken on Communism and his recent speeches in this field were beginning to border on the verge of rabble rousing.”  [HQ 62-69602, #334; 5/23/61 summary memo by C.R. Davidson to Mr. Callahan, captioned “W. Cleon Skousen – Former Special Agent”.]


By W. Cleon Skousen

During his FBI career, Mr. Skousen’s performance evaluations frequently praised his excellent research skills, attention to detail and mastery of the subject matters he had occasion to write about. 

Given that background, it is difficult to explain the factual errors and analytic shallowness revealed in his pamphlet entitled The Communist Attack on the John Birch Society [Ensign Publishing Company, Salt Lake City, 1963, 12pp].  It almost appears as though he just contacted the Public Relations department of the Birch Society and asked them for copies of their press releases which he then reprinted as though he had done independent research on this subject matter.

What follows is a brief analysis of some of Skousen’s key points.  First I will present Skousen’s comment (as a numbered item) and then appropriate commentary.

Page 1:

(1) The strange thing about the John Birch Society is that practically nobody paid any attention to it until the Communist Party officially ordered its annihilation.”

According to JBS founder Robert Welch, he deliberately avoided publicity in the Society’s formative period.  Membership was by invitation only.  The Communist Party never “officially ordered its annihilation.”  More details about this matter below.

(2)  I first heard of the JBS in 1958.  Several prominent businessmen in Los Angeles told me they were organizing a study group program to see if they could work more closely with the members of Congress through both political parties.”

The founding meeting of the JBS was held on December 8-9, 1958 in Indianapolis.  The first chapters of the JBS were not organized until late in February 1959 and they weren’t in Los Angeles, they were in the Boston area, so it would appear Skousen has not recollected his dates correctly.

Page 2

(3) It was not difficult to find out about the John Birch Society.”

As mentioned above, it was deliberate policy by Robert Welch to avoid publicity and membership was by invitation only.  

In a 1959 pamphlet entitled "To A Good American", Welch commented:

"You have probably heard nothing about the Society, because we avoid publicity as well as we can."

Even as late as April 1960, Robert Welch told the JBS National Council that:

Despite our wish to avoid publicity all we can, there have been items or brief articles about the JBS breaking out in the press recently in various papers all over the country and elsewhere.  So far all that we have seen have been favorable….But we know that as soon as the major media of communications in America learn enough about us and our activities, their treatment of the JBS will – in all but a very few cases anyway – be anything but favorable.  So, for this and many other reasons, we should like to have the help of our Council members in keeping general publicity about us to a minimum.”  [“A Confidential Report to Members of the Council of the John Birch Society”, undated but identified as reflecting the minutes of the meeting held Saturday, April 2, 1960 at the Harvard Club of New York, page 4.]

Welch then told his Council about an attack upon him and the Society which was launched not by any “Communist” – but, instead, by Elizabeth Dilling in her monthly newsletter, The Dilling Bulletin of October 1959 – which he also had discussed in an editorial which he wrote for the December 1959 issue of the JBS magazine American Opinion. In that editorial, Welch described the “monthly bulletin of one of the best-known ‘extremists’ on the anti-Communist side of the current ideological wars.  That bulletin took your editor to pieces, mercilessly, on the grounds that his Committee Against Summit Entanglements consisted of ‘nothing but Jews and Jew-kissers.” [Ibid, page 5]

Page 3

(4)  The first trickle of open publicity came from an article by Jack Mabley with the Chicago American.  He wrote a column on July 26, 1960 in which he attacked Robert Welch and the John Birch movement.  However, I did not see any further public criticism of the group until the Communist Party ordered the annihilation of the John Birchers six months later.” 

The articles by Chicago newspaperman, Jack Mabley, were not the "first" publicity on the JBS, nor were Mabley’s articles published in the “Chicago American” as Skousen claimed.

But Mabley's articles were front page news reports in Chicago’s third largest circulation newspaper {Chicago Daily News – commencing July 25th 1960 – not the 26th as Skousen claimed) and they were published at the exact time that the GOP National Convention convened in Chicago to select their 1960 Presidential nominee.  It was, to put it mildly, sensational news which ignited a firestorm within GOP circles.

Nor were Mabley’s articles an “attack” upon either Welch or the JBS as Skousen claims. 

It was an accurate report, with direct quotations of what Welch wrote, from his then-unpublished “private letter” manuscript, entitled The Politician, concerning President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Here are two excerpts from Welch’s book-length “private letter” which produced the firestorm.

Page 266: "For the sake of honesty, however, I want to confess here my own conviction that Eisenhower's motivation is more ideological than opportunistic. Or, to put it bluntly, I personally think that he has been sympathetic to ultimate Communist aims, realistically willing to use Communist means to help them achieve their goals, knowingly accepting and abiding by Communist orders, and consciously serving the Communist conspiracy, for all of his adult life."   

Page 267: "And it seems to me that the explanation of sheer political opportunism, to account for Eisenhower's Communist-aiding career, stems merely from a deep-rooted aversion of any American to recognizing the horrible truth. Most of the doubters, who go all the way with me except to the final logical conclusion, appear to have no trouble whatever in suspecting that Milton Eisenhower is an outright Communist. Yet they draw back from attaching the same suspicion to his brother, for no other real reason than that one is a professor and the other a president. While I too think that Milton Eisenhower is a Communist, and has been for thirty years, this opinion is based largely on general circumstances of his conduct. But my firm belief that Dwight Eisenhower is a dedicated, conscious agent of the Communist conspiracy is based on an accumulation of detailed evidence so extensive and so palpable that it seems to me to put this conviction beyond any reasonable doubt."

Even Welch (and his friends) were acutely aware of the damage that his comments about Eisenhower would have if publicly known.  For example, in a letter to J.W. Clise of Seattle, Welch wrote:

“Our rather extreme precautions with regard to this document are not due to any worry on my part as to what might happen to myself…But many of my best informed friends feel that having the manuscript get into the wrong hands at the present time might do far more damage than good to the whole anti-Communist cause; whereas, by distributing it very carefully and quietly to quite a limited number of strongly patriotic leaders, so that the information in this document becomes a background to their own thinking on which their own actions are determined it can do considerable good.”  [2/25/59 letter to J.W. Clise, Seattle WA].

Jack Mabley acquired his copy of the unpublished Welch manuscript from a functionary of Fred Schwarz (Christian Anti Communism Crusade).  Welch was furious with Schwarz for his role in releasing the manuscript.  In a blistering 9-page letter to Schwarz, Welch made the comments quoted below. 

At the beginning of his letter, Welch falsifies Cleon Skousen’s premise about the origins of critical commentaries about the JBS.  He reports several instances where anti-Communists bad-mouthed and “knifed” both Welch and the JBS. 

Welch then pointed out that he and the JBS had given specific instructions to our men in the field…to praise and support Fred Schwarz’s activities at every turn” and “I believe that this policy and these instructions have been universally observed.”

"During the last few months, however, we now know that you personally have repeatedly been making extremely derogatory remarks about myself and The John Birch Society, to various groups and audiences; and that you have been reading from my private manuscript, called The Politician to support your disparaging remarks. We know that you have privately said things about me and the Society, to important conservative leaders, which -- in some cases anyway --- has caused those leaders to discontinue strong support which was already being given us by their organizations.

"But most important of all it was one of your men in Chicago, a close associate of yours and a life member of your organization, who deliberately set off the publicity about The Politician which has caused such furore in several Midwestern papers and at some other points in the country. This man had 'dropped in' on the meetings of some of our chapters in Greater Chicago--even though doing so required a two-hour trip, both ways, to and from his home --- for the ostensible reason that he was going to join whatever chapter was the most convenient for himself...Then, after our films had been shown, and at the psychological time to do the most possible damage, this man got up and read at length from The Politician, exhibited the copy he had with him, and otherwise tosses as harmful a bombshell as he possibly could into the proceedings. Apparently, Jack Mabley, the Chicago Daily News columnist, was in that audience by previous arrangement. At any rate, there is little doubt that the copy of The Politician which your man displayed at that meeting was turned over to Mabley as the basis of the vicious part of his two articles – and then sent by Mabley to Alexander Dobish of the Milwaukee Journal for the articles that followed..."[Welch letter dated 9/6/60, to Dr. Fred Schwarz, Christian Anti-Communism Crusade, pages 3-4, copy in my possession.]

Welch then spends considerable space discussing what could be the reasons behind what he considered Schwarz’s betrayal.  Welch reveals the degree to which the unfavorable publicity hurt him:

Disagreement is one thing, outside of the Communist world itself, or in relation to the Communists, [but] vindictive destructiveness towards those with whom we disagree – especially if they have the same ultimate purposes as ourselves – is quite another.”  [Ibid, page 8]

Let’s recap the time-line which Skousen asks us to believe.

July 1960 – the first negative “attack” by Jack Mabley – then –

December 1960 – the subsequent “further public criticism” commenced as a consequence of CPUSA “orders”

However, no less an authority than Robert Welch himself falsifies this time-line.  In a November 16, 1960 memo to his National Council, he announced that one item on the agenda for the next Council meeting would be:

A brief report of the various smears of, and attacks on, the Society during the past few months.” [11/16/60 memo captioned “To All Members of the Council”, page 1 -- bold type is my emphasis.]

Two months BEFORE even this 11/60 memo, Welch sent a memo to his Council which refers to what he discussed during a September 10, 1960 meeting of the Council at JBS headquarters in Belmont MA. Referring to that meeting, Welch wrote:

“Later in the morning I also read to those present the nine-page letter we had written to Dr. Fred Schwarz, which is self-explanatory, and which will give you information concerning the origin of the recent unfavorable newspaper publicity about us, which will undoubtedly surprise many members of the Council.”  [9/14/60 Welch memo, “To All Members of the Council”, page 1.]

Thus, in summary, as can be seen, the initial criticisms of both Welch and the Birch Society originated not from “Communists” but from persons and organizations on his side of the political spectrum---particularly as a result of newspaper publicity about the content of Welch’s “private letter”, The Politician


There were numerous controversies around the country in which JBS members were the primary actors – and those controversies also triggered critical articles in local media about the JBS and its ideas.  For example, in Amarillo TX there was a huge controversy over comments made by the JBS Coordinator, retired Air Force Brig. Gen. William L. Lee, against the National Council of Churches of Christ. 

But perhaps most significant was Birch Society involvement in promoting the showing of the filmstrip, “Communism on the Map” (hereafter COTM). 

COTM was a one hour filmstrip produced by National Education Program (at Harding College of Searcy Arkansas). The narrative was written by NEP Executive Director Glenn A. Green.  Green was a JBS member.  He contacted Robert Welch in November 1959 to offer his services as a Volunteer Coordinator for the JBS in the state of Arkansas.  [12/28/59 Welch letter to Thomas J. Anderson, Nashville TN – includes Welch comments about Glenn Green.]

Robert Welch recommended showing COTM in the November 1960 JBS Bulletin (page 9) and he claimed that the smear campaign against us was designed in part “to put a stop to, or handicap, our own very extensive showings of Operation Abolition and COTM…”  [JBS Bulletin, September 1961, p 16.]

Welch took credit for numerous showings of COTM around the country. For example, in the August 1961JBS Bulletin, page 16, Welch wrote:

In one of our Bulletins earlier this year…we mentioned the huge part our members had played in showing the filmstrip, COTM, all over the country. We said then, and believe now, that our members had been responsible for more presentations of COTM, and also of the film Operation Abolition, than all other groups and individuals put together.”


In view of Welch’s attempt to link what he considered “the smear campaign” against the JBS to the JBS “extensive showings” of COTM, this would be an opportune moment to reveal the FBI evaluation of the filmstrip.

In recent months we have received a number of inquiries concerning a lecture and film strip entitled Communism on the Map….This lecture and film strip was reviewed on December 22, 1960 by Section Chief G.H. Scatterday and Special Agents C.D. Brennan, (name deleted), V.E. Ruehl, and (names deleted). The lecture and film strip was prepared by the National Education Program, Searcy Arkansas of which George S. Benson is on the Bureau’s special correspondents list and we have no derogatory information concerning him or his organization.” 

“The film stressed the rise of international communism from its beginning in Russia to its current alleged encirclement of the United States. It covered Soviet infiltration and control of various European, African and Asian countries and indicated substantial Soviet infiltration into South America, Latin America, and Canada, which is gradually encircling the United States. The principal theme of the lecture is based upon an alleged statement by Lenin, ‘First we will take Eastern Europe. Next, the masses of Asia. Then we shall encircle the last bastion of capitalism, the United States of America. We shall not have to attack. It will fall like an overripe fruit into our hands.’ 

In this connection, it should be noted that this alleged statement has previously come to the Bureau’s attention and extensive research by the Central Research Section has failed to establish that this or a similar statement was ever attributed to Lenin.”

“Through such statements and the use of pictures, newspaper headlines and maps, the lecture and film strip frequently deal in half truths, distortion of truth and innuendos to establish its point, that international communism is encircling America. Through references to activities in the 1940’s, it infers that the United States Government is heavily infiltrated by communists at the present time. These references refer to the days of Coplon, Hiss, and others; however, through the distorted presentation of this material, the average person may believe there are currently many communists in Government service. Although the FBI is not mentioned by name, the lecture and film strip could well be interpreted as indirectly implying that the FBI has been most derelict in its duties in not eliminating spies and communists from Government service.”

“It was the consensus of opinion of the Agents reviewing the lecture and film strip that it is not the type of material which should be used or endorsed by the FBI.”

The “Recommendations” section of memo includes following notation: “Suggest we tell Williams for the Admiral’s information, that we agree with Admiral Smedberg that the film is biased.” Hoover wrote OK” and he initialed the suggestion – which was “handled 1/3/61”. [HQ 62-33413, #4287; 12/23/60 review memo by F.J. Baumgardner to A.H. Belmont after they obtained a copy of COTM from the U.S. Navy.]

Given this evaluation by the FBI, it should be self-evident that JBS promotion of, and participation in, showing such a film “extensively” around the country could (and did) produce very critical comments about the type of “anti-communism” which the JBS offered – and this had nothing whatsoever to do with any “Communist” “smear campaign” against the JBS.

With respect to Skousen’s claim that he “did not see any further public criticism” of the JBS “until the Communist Party ordered the annihilation of the JBS six months later”, (which translates to end of December 1960) see the list of newspaper articles below.

According to Skousen, 

“On February 25, 1961, the official Communist newspaper on the West Coast called the Daily People's World, fired the opening broadside. The article was entitled, ‘Enter (from Stage Right) THE JOHN BIRCH SOCIETY.’ The article depicted the John Birchers as a secret, Fascist society and said that it was setting up ‘cells’ all across the country.”  

The reality is starkly different from what Skousen (and the Birch Society) ask us to believe.  

There were literally many DOZENS of articles about the JBS published long before the "People's World" article in February 1961.  

Many of those articles were favorable reports about speeches made by JBS members or JBS sympathizers.  Others were columns written by JBS members and endorsers such as Tom Anderson and George S. Benson.  

Most of the critical articles re: the JBS were triggered either by local controversies or by absurdities published by the JBS.   Often that criticism originated with prominent conservative authors and columnists such as Eugene Lyons and George Sokolsky.

The first truly national publicity was the result of articles published in July 1960 by Chicago Daily News reporter Jack Mabley.  Mabley had attended a JBS recruitment meeting in Arlington Heights, Illinois where a member of the audience who was connected to Fred Schwarz's Christian Anti-Communism Crusade brought up Robert Welch's unpublished manuscript (aka "private letter") entitled "The Politician".  Mabley then wrote articles about the content of The Politician which were published at the exact time when the National GOP Convention was in Chicago to nominate its Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates.  Mabley's articles were sensational news and they triggered articles published in other midwestern newspapers.

The Birch Society (and its dupes) don't want anybody to know about this history because it totally demolishes the fiction which the JBS has been circulating for 5 decades.

Below are listed just SOME of the newspaper and magazine articles published long before the February 1961 report in the "People's World":

Date................................................Publication or Source

01/09/59…………………Lowell MA Sun, p10 “Sportsman Club to Hold Supper” re Mary M White speech re JBS

04/11/59…………….…..National Review article “Folklore of the Right” (Eugene Lyons on JBS claims re Boris Pasternak)

10/59……………………The Dilling Bulletin (Elizabeth Dilling newsletter)

10/17/59………………..Wichita Falls TX Times, p2 (re JBS Coordinator Medford Evans speech)

11/07/59………………..Appleton WI Post-Crescent, pB-12 re Mrs. Cola Parker OBIT (wife of JBS member)

01/17/60………………..Monroe LA News-Star, p3-D – JBS to organize Monroe chapter

01/23/60………………..Santa Barbara (CA) News-Press (re: local controversy in Santa Barbara)

01/24/60………………..Santa Barbara (CA) News-Press

02/15/60………………..Monroe LA News Star (Medford Evans organizing JBS chapter)

03/16/60………………..Massillon OH Evening Independent, p13 (George S. Benson column re JBS)

03/16/60………………..Kingsville TX Record, p24 (Benson column re JBS)

03/16/60………………..Cuero TX Record, p6 – (Benson column re JBS)

03/18/60………………..Beckley WV Post Herald, p4 (Benson column re JBS)

03/24/60………………..San Marino CA Tribune, p8 (Benson column re JBS)

03/26/60………………..Terre Haute IN Star, p6 (re Adolph Menjou pro-JBS speech)

03/29/60………………..Jennings LA Daily News, p1 (Medford Evans speech)

03/31/60………………..Monroe LA News-Star, p7-C (JBS Sets Meet Tonight-re Medford Evans)\

04/05/60………………..Jennings LA Daily News, p4 (Editorial re Medford Evans speech)

04/15/60………………..Phoenix AZ Republic

04/19/60………………..Beckley WV Raleigh Register, p4

4/19/60………………….Raleigh WV Register, p4 (Tom Anderson column re JBS)

04/28/60………………..Lake Charles LA American Press, p10 (re Medford Evans speech)

05/17/60………………..Christian Economics

7/25-26/60.....................Chicago IL Daily News

[Note:  The GOP National Convention convened in Chicago at the time Jack Mabley's scorching series of articles appeared.  Obviously, these GOP "movers and shakers" plus media from around the world did not require a Communist newspaper article 7 months later to recognize the impact of Robert Welch's weird statements and especially his venomous attack upon President Dwight Eisenhower.  An employee of Fred Schwarz's Christian Anti-Communism Crusade gave Mabley a copy of Welch's so-called "private letter", entitled The Politician. Mabley's articles quoted some of those Welch comments verbatim which immediately produced outrage both within the GOP and nationally.  Many of the subsequent editorials listed below were based exclusively upon Welch's comments regarding Eisenhower being a Communist traitor and/or about LOCAL controversies involving JBS members---such as in Santa Barbara CA, Amarillo TX, and Nashville TN]

07/30/60............................Racine WI Journal-Times, p6 and 18

07/31/60............................Milwaukee WI Journal

07/31/60…………………..The Clarion (Glenview IL; Father John J. Dussman)

08/01/60…………………..Chicago Sun-Times, p15

08/01/60…………………..Oshkosh WI Daily Northwestern, p19 (re Cola Parker and JBS)

08/01/60............................Appleton WI Post-Crescent, p15

08/02/60…………………..Janesville WI Daily Gazette, p6 (Editorial re JBS)

08/03/60…………………..Milwaukee WI Journal

08/04/60…………………...Appleton WI Post-Crescent, pD-1

08/04/60............................Appleton WI Post-Crescent, p8 and 37

08/06/60………….………..Madison WI State Journal, p3

08/07/60............................Amarillo TX News-Globe, p26 (editorial re JBS)

[Note:  News-Globe coverage of local controversies involving Birchers was responsible for correspondence received by the FBI inquiring about the JBS.  Also, some of the first FBI memos between top FBI officials concerning the JBS referred to letters received from Texas residents who were concerned about inflammatory comments made by Birchers.]

08/10/60……………………Appleton WI Post-Crescent, p12

08/11/60……….…………..Vilas County WI News-Review

08/12/60……….…………..Madison WI Capital Times, p2 (column by William T. Evjue)

08/14/60...........................Amarillo TX News-Globe

08/15/60…………………..Amarillo TX Globe-Times, p27

08/16/60…………………..Amarillo TX Globe-Times, p4 (re JBS film showing)

08/18/60…………………...Vilas  County WI News-Review

08/26/60............................Appleton WI Post-Crescent, p20 and D4

08/26/60…………………...Madison WI Capital Times, p32

08/28-30/60.......................Boston MA Herald series of articles by Stanley Eames

08/30/60............................Chicago IL Daily News

08/31/60……………………Burlington NC Daily Times, pB-1 (re Doug Heinsohn)

09/60…………………….…San Francisco Progress

09/60..................................NAM resolution

“NAM believes completely in the loyalty and integrity of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and further believes he courageously and forthrightly has guided the foreign and domestic policies of the United States in the direction in which in his judgment the best interests of this country lie.  NAM as an organization does not and will not knowingly be associated with any individual or be a party to any organization that questions the loyalty or integrity of President Eisenhower or attempts to degrade the fundamental respect due him and his high office.” 

09/05/60……………Ruston LA Daily Leader, p1 (re Medford Evans speech)

09/12/60……………Appleton WI Post-Crescent

09/13/60................. Chicago IL Daily News

09/15/60……………Oshkosh WI Northwestern, p8

09/25/60……………Milwaukee WI Journal

09/29/60..................San Marino CA Tribune, p1 (Robert Welch speech)

09/30/60..................The Tidings (Boston MA Catholic publication)

10/60…………....….The Dilling Bulletin (published by Elizabeth Dilling)

10/60………..……...National Review magazine

10/24/60…………….Madison WI Capital Times, p33 (re: H.S. Tuttle)

11/60……….……….Women’s Voice (published by Lyrl Clark Van Hyning)

11/15/60..................The Sunflower (Univ of Wichita KS paper)

11/28/60...................Stamford CT Advocate column by W.D. Workman

12/08/60…………….San Marino CA Tribune, p1 (re film shown by JBS)

12/16/60...................Phoenix AZ Republic, p11 (editorial re JBS)

01/05/61….………...San Marino CA Tribune, p1 (Robert Morris-JBS speech)

01/11/61….…………Pampa TX Daily News, p1 (re showing film by JBS)

01/12/61……………Cody WY Enterprise

01/12/61……………San Marino CA Tribune, p1 (JBS film shown to students)

01/13/61……………Los Angeles CA Times

01/14/61……………Galveston TX Daily News

01/14/61……………Terre Haute IN Star, p10

01/14/61…………….Mt. Pleasant IA News, p1 (George Sokolsky column re Warren)

01/14/61……….……Los Angeles CA Evening Herald and Express

01/19/61……….……San Marino CA Tribune, p1 (re Robert Morris JBS speech)

01/22/61.................. St. Louis MO Post-Dispatch

01/22-23/61.............. Santa Barbara CA News-Press

01/26/61………....…..San Marino CA Tribune, p1 (re film shown by JBS)

01/30/61….…….……Chicago IL Daily News

01/31/61….….………Oakland CA Tribune, p13 (Jack Mabley column)

01/31/61………………Butte MT Standard, p3 (re JBS meeting and speech)

02/01/61………………Lincoln NE Evening Journal, p6 (Jack Mabley column)

02/10/61.....................Pasadena CA Independent, p3 [Bill Sumner: Introducing The John Birch Group.”)

02/10/61…..................Pasadena CA Star News, p9 [Bill Sumner column]

02/10/61………………Macon GA News, p1

02/12/61………………Dallas TX Morning News

02/13/61......................Pasadena CA Independent, p13  [Bill Sumner: Ike A Red, John Birch Leader Says”.]

02/15/61………………Santa Barbara (CA) News-Press

02/16/61………………Montrose CA Ledger

02/19/61………………Louisville KY Courier-Journal

02/21/61……………….Pasadena CA Star-News, p23

02/21/61..,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Pasadena CA Independent, p13 [Bill Sumner: More on Birch Society].

02/22/61..,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Pasadena CA Independent, p23 [Letter to editor from Granville Knight]

2/28/61………………...Nashville TN Tennessean editorial referring to JBS activities during “past several weeks” and how JBS members were “spreading distrust and fear

WELCH COMMENT:  Opening paragraph of September 1960 JBS Bulletin:

“For the past five weeks – it seems like five months – the John Birch Society has lived through one massive smear campaign on a national scale, and several regional attacks with varying degrees of plausibility, reach, and impact.” 

Welch sent a memo to his National Council which refers to what he discussed during a September 10, 1960 meeting of the Council at JBS headquarters in Belmont MA. Referring to that meeting, Welch wrote:

“Later in the morning I also read to those present the nine-page letter we had written to Dr. Fred Schwarz, which is self-explanatory, and which will give you information concerning the origin of the recent unfavorable newspaper publicity about us, which will undoubtedly surprise many members of the Council.”  [9/14/60 Welch memo, “To All Members of the Council”, page 1.]

WELCH COMMENT:  In a 11/16/60 memo to JBS National Council members, Welch reported that one item on the agenda for the next National Council meeting scheduled for 12/10/60 in New York City would be "A brief report of the various smears of, and attacks on, the Society during the past few months." 

On 2/9/61 Welch sent a letter to Verne Kaub.  On page 4, Welch refers to articles published in the Santa Barbara CA News Press: 

“The Santa Barbara paper…came out with the most vicious smears against us yet published anywhere in the country, running it in two installments, quoting from the Milwaukee Journal and the Mabley column in the Chicago Daily News and all of the other papers which had attacked us, and themselves attacking all of the local known leaders of the Society and well as the Society itself nationally.”

So—almost 3 weeks BEFORE the “mother article” appeared in People’s World – Welch was complaining to Kaub about the Santa Barbara New Press articles AND “vicious smears” from “all of the other papers which had attacked us

OBVIOUSLY, Welch and JBS officials were totally aware of very hostile media articles and editorials LONG BEFORE anything appeared in People's World!

Pages 4-5: 

(5)    Skousen cites testimony by Edward Hunter before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee in July 1961 in support of his [Skousen’s] assertion that “Moscow Orders An Attack on All Anti-Communists”.  The Moscow “manifesto” supposedly was produced in December 1960 as a result of a “conference of 81 Communist parties of the world.”  Then Skousen states that: 

“A short time later the opening blast against all anti-Communists in the United States was initiated by a concentrated attack on the John Birch Society.  Because the Birch Society was practically unknown to the general American public, I wondered how the Communist Party would launch its campaign.  I had no idea that the legitimate American press would fall for the line which the Communists were about to broadcast.  On February 25, 1961, the official Communist newspaper on the west coast called the Daily People’s World, fired the opening broadside.  The article was entitled ‘ENTER (from Stage Right) THE JOHN BIRCH SOCIETY.” 

As demonstrated by my listing of newspaper articles above, this is entirely fantasy by Skousen.  As even Robert Welch acknowledged to his National Council members in November 1960, there had already been “various smears of, and attacks on, the Society during the past few months.” [my emphasis]. 

And the first paragraph of the September 1960 JBS Bulletin opened with the following lament by Robert Welch: 

“For the past five weeks – it seems like five months – the John Birch Society has lived through one massive smear campaign on a national scale, and several regional attacks with varying degrees of plausibility, reach, and impact.”

Furthermore, as the JBS grew and its members started acting upon the recommended activities in JBS Bulletins (prior to the February 1961 article in People’s World), they provoked heated controversies in communities around the nation. 

The controversies included the aforementioned showings of COTM, the effort by the JBS to impeach Chief Justice Earl Warren of the U.S. Supreme Court, JBS-initiated attacks on the patriotism of prominent authors such as Harry A. Overstreet (and claims that his 1958 book, What We Must Know About Communism was pro-Communist), attacks on the League of Women Voters, attacks on the National Council of Churches of Christ and sensational charges about purported “Communist infiltration” of our clergy and religious institutions, the outrage over comments made by Robert Welch in his “private letter”, The Politician, an anti-UNICEF campaign, attacks on the ACLU and anyone working for elimination of the House Committee on Un-American Activities, attacks on the Great Decisions discussion group program, JBS infiltration of PTA’s, anti-fluoridation activities, and many many more local controversies too numerous to list.

The FBI prepared a summary report on the JBS in April 1961 and a section of the report was captioned "The Present Controversy".  The summary does not mention "Communist" direction of any "smear" campaign against the JBS.

Instead, the Bureau presented a different interpretation about the reasons for the controversy  regarding the JBS:

"The JBS is probably one of the most controversial organizations in the country today.  This controversy stems mainly from the allegations made by Welch and the Society alluding to President Eisenhower being procommunist; the allegations that there are communists in other high Government positions; and calling for the impeachment of Chief Justice Warren.  This controversy has led to many attacks on Welch and the Society through the newspapers and in some congressional circles."  [FBI HQ file 62-104401, #1746; 8/29/62 J. Edgar Hoover memo to Deputy Attorney General]

The Testimony by Edward Hunter

During his testimony Hunter told the Subcommittee that the growth of a grass-roots anticommunist movement across the United States resulted in a Moscow-initiated campaign to squelch the movement. The new communist campaign was set in motion and “openly initiated under orders issued to the Communist forces of the world, especially to those in the United States, through the Red manifesto of December 5, 1960.”  [Hunter testimony before Senate Subcommittee To Investigate The Administration of the Internal Security Act And Other Internal Security Laws:  The New Drive Against The Anti-Communist Program”, 7/11/61, page 3]

The FBI’s evaluation of Hunter’s observations was as follows:

“This tactic by the Party – an anti-anti-communist movement – is not new.  It has been part of communist strategy for years and will continue to be used as a weapon by Communist Parties throughout the world as long as individuals and groups remain free to expose the sinister aims of communism.  We are not aware of any specific instructions sent out by Moscow to the CPUSA for the Party to engage in an ‘anti-anticommunist’ campaign.  Hunter apparently does not have such information but relies on the published Moscow Manifesto for his conclusions.” [HQ 118-4047, #28 which is 8/30/61 memo from F.J. Baumgardner to W.C. Sullivan.]

On January 20 thru January 22, 1961, the National Committee of the Communist Party USA met at Adelphi Hall, 74 5th Avenue, in New York City.  The Chairman of this meeting was Claude Lightfoot.


The featured speaker on the first day of this meeting was Gus Hall, the General Secretary of the Communist Party.  Hall presented a lengthy report concerning the Conference of the 81 Communist Parties which was held in Moscow from November 10 thru December 1, 1960.  He also discussed the subsequent statement which those Parties adopted that was published December 6, 1960. 


A link to the 81 Party statement may be seen here:



The FBI’s most important mole inside the Communist Party USA (Morris Childs) was present at this January meeting of the CPUSA National Committee.   The New York field office of the FBI prepared a very detailed 23-page memo summarizing what transpired at the National Committee meeting.  A copy of that memo is in the FBI-Chicago file on Morris Childs as well as the New York field file captioned “CPUSA—Organization”.


A considerable portion of Gus Hall’s remarks were devoted to discussing the American economy and the reasons, (from the CPUSA perspective), for the growing unemployment and weak economies in the “capitalist world” generally – and how the Communist Party could exploit the situation to build its support. 


Quoting from Gus Hall’s remarks:


The Wall Street trusts rob not only the American people but those in other countries as well.  Their global plunder and kleptomania have brought the wrath of the world’s peoples down on our heads.  The prestige of the USA as a nation is today at its lowest ebb…Our task is to reveal that today United States big business is the chief threat of bringing about war…The central task of our Party is to be a Party of struggle, of mass struggle, of united front action on the widest possible basis. That is the heart of our vanguard role today.”  [FBI-Chicago file 134-46, #2215, SAC New York City memo to SAC Baltimore, 2/7/61 summary on CPUSA National Committee meeting, page 3]


Gus Hall then went on to discuss the “factors working against us” which he summarized as:


  1. The CPUSA was a small Party
  2. We do not enjoy full legal status. Our members cannot openly work in industry, in professions or in government. Our members cannot openly be members of unions or members of mass organizations.”
  3. “Our country has gone through twenty years of relatively high unemployment…Most of the trade unions and people’s organizations are under conservative and even reactionary leadership”
  4. there is no independent political party of labor
  5. there is as yet no mass socialist consciousness in the USA.”

Hall then discussed the importance of united front activities, i.e. “building mass ties and united front work, in labor and peoples organizations and in worker neighborhoods” and “we must develop, train, and draw in younger forces” and build the Communist press. [Ibid, pages 4-5]


All of the subsequent speakers on the first day of this National Committee meeting [James E. Jackson, Homer Bates Chase, Jack Stachel, Jim Tormey, Manny Blum, Geraldine Lightfoot, and William Patterson] agreed with the report made by Gus Hall as did the second day speakers [Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, James West, Miriam Friedlander, Si Gerson, Burt Nelson, Louis Weinstock, Al Richmond among others.]


Elizabeth Gurley Flynn devoted most of her remarks to a discussion of the rift between the Communist Party of the Soviet Union versus the Communist Party of China.  [Ibid, pages 6-7]


The third day of the National Committee meeting was devoted to discussing internal Party disputes, how to increase Party membership, the work of the Party's Negro Commission, and a new textbook, Foundations of Leninism.


Irving Potash of New York stated that “first and foremost, the CPUSA must see that the problems of the Trade Union Movement are on the agenda of every club in the Party.  He said that every club whether industrial or community must figure out how the CP can influence the successful outcome of a strike.”  [Ibid, page 18]

It is clear from Gus Hall’s comments during the CPUSA National Committee meeting as well as from the comments made by other National Committee members who spoke at that meeting that, contrary to the assertions made by Edward Hunter, Cleon Skousen, and the Birch Society, there were no “instructions” or “orders” emanating from the 81 Party meeting in Moscow concerning the destruction of the Birch Society and similar groups nor any specific new directives regarding an “anti-anti-Communist movement”.
Page 6:

Skousen discusses some of the statements made in a Time magazine article about the JBS which he thinks reveals their acceptance of Communist-initiated propaganda about the JBS.  For example, the Time article reported that the Society intended to set up “Communist-style front organizations that do not use the John Birch name”  which Skousen objected to with the following observations:

(6) “Why the non-specific charge that the Birchers promote ‘Communist-style front organizations’?  What front organizations?  I had heard of none.”

At the beginning of my analysis, I referred to Skousen’s “analytic shallowness”.  This is an excellent example.  In the JBS Blue Book, which is the transcript of Welch’s remarks to the founding meeting of the JBS in December 1958, Welch explicitly mentions in the chapter “And So Let’s Act” that:

“We would organize fronts – little fronts, big fronts, temporary fronts, permanent fronts, all kinds of fronts…The most effective fronts, on either side, are ad hoc committees, aimed to accomplish, or at least publicize, one particular purpose.”  [JBS Blue Book, page 86].

The very first document produced as a result of the 2-day founding meeting of the JBS in Indianapolis declared in its second paragraph:

"Our first specific undertaking is formation of the 'front' a Committee To Protest The Firing Of Medford Evans.  This is being handled by, and most of the work done by, Dr. Revilo P. Oliver." [underlining in original document entitled "Confidential Report No. 1", dated December 19, 1958.]   Page 2 of the document states: "We have two other 'fronts' which we have already taken steps to get started."

In 1959, the JBS operated its front group, “Committee Against Summit Entanglements” aka CASE, to protest the proposed visit of Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev to the U.S. 

And in December 1959, Welch announced:

“We are in the process of setting up another one of our comparatively small fronts…It is called College Graduates Against Educating Traitors At Government Expense.” [JBS Bulletin, December 1959, page 9]

The JBS also initiated the Movement to Impeach Earl Warren (aka Committee to Impeach Earl Warren) and, in later years, a slew of other front groups such as:  Support Your Local Police, Truth About Civil Turmoil (TACT), To Restore American Independence Now (TRAIN), Movement to Restore Decency (MOTOREDE) – to name just a few.

It strains credulity that Skousen was not aware, in 1963, of this JBS interest, from its inception, in creation and use of front organizations. 

Furthermore, during the 1960’s the JBS operated one of the largest Speakers Bureaus in our nation. Literally dozens of individuals were available to speak on topics which presented the JBS point of view. The sponsoring local group was often a JBS-front (such as Truth About Civil Turmoil or Support Your Local Police) but the publicity releases on the speakers rarely mentioned any connection to the JBS and newspaper articles which reported the speeches often did not mention the link either.

As I think I have demonstrated by what is presented above, Cleon Skousen functioned as a shill for the JBS – and he performed no independent research before writing his “Communist Attack…” pamphlet.

An interesting discussion by Kevin Cole of the liberties Skousen took with respect to Carroll Quigley’s 1966 book, Tragedy and Hope which resulted in Skousen’s book, “The Naked Capitalist” is available at the link below.


For a review of Skousen's 1981 book, The Five Thousand Year Leap: Twenty-Eight Great Ideas That Are Changing The World -- see:  5000 YEAR LEAP 

For additional information concerning the FBI's evaluation of Robert Welch, the Birch Society, and the assertions they made, see my 157-page report  FBI FILES ON BIRCH SOCIETY  


by W. Cleon Skousen

Law and Order magazine, March 1971

In March 1971, J. Edgar Hoover saw a copy of Skousen’s article in Law and Order magazine and he asked staff in the FBI’s Crime Research Section:  “Can we authenticate statements made in this article?”  

The resulting 4/19/71 memo in reply to Hoover’s inquiry is 11-pages and is FBI HQ file 94-47468, serial #98.  I copy major excerpts from the review memo below. 

See "Synopsis" portion of FBI memo here:


NOTE See text of my 5 footnotes [red numbers inserted into text] at bottom of this report which provide additional pertinent data.

Page 1: 


Purpose of memorandum is to answer Director’s inquiry regarding article captioned as above in March 1971 issue of Law and Order magazine…We are circumspect with Skousen because of his efforts to capitalize on Bureau career to benefit his anticommunist activities.  Article claims ‘dynastic rich’(inheritors of wealth) subsidizing ‘force of violent revolution’ to help rich take over country for ‘good’ of humanity.  Skousen’s claim that Karl Marx turned to ‘democratic socialism’ as means to seize power not substantiated.  Marx never renounced violence of class struggle or proletarian revolution.  Skousen claim that wealthy class financed Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 not supported by research and his charge that Jacob Schiff of Kuhn, Loeb and Company gave $20 million for ‘final triumph of Bolshevism’ not validated.  Skousen’s allegations that tax exempt foundations have given money to civil rights groups and functionaries, including several militant black nationalists are generally valid but include inaccuracies.  Several grants verified, as listed by Skousen, from Ford Foundation to organizations he alleges carry out ‘policies and propaganda favoring a globalist strategy.’  Skousen’s reference to ‘left-wing collectivists’ seeking Federal constitutional convention is unsubstantiated.  Only such effort known was made by late Senator Everett Dirksen who wanted amendment negating U.S. Supreme Court 1964‘one man, one vote’ ruling which calls for equal population in voting districts.”

Page 2: 

“Thrust of Skousen’s article is that a certain segment of the wealthy people in this country—the so-called ‘dynastic rich’, those who have inherited great wealth—are subsidizing ‘forces of violent revolution’.  The purpose of this subsidy, according to Skousen, is to help the ‘dynastic rich’ in their efforts to take over and control the United States for what the rich believe in ‘good’ for humanity.  They are realizing success at this game, Skousen believes, because ‘the people’ have become tired ‘of working out their destiny’ and are willing to ‘sacrifice their independence for the luxury of having others take care of them.’  The attempt of the ‘dynastic rich’ to control others runs counter to the American Revolution, which Skousen asserts created an independent nation and spread political power, financial power, and religious self-determination among the people.”

Page 3:

“Skousen is accurate in claiming that several writers, including historian Dr. Carroll Quigley of Georgetown University, have produced studies purporting to document a network of wealthy persons which wields considerable influence in business and financial circles, government, and the mass communications media.”

Skousen Unsupported

Skousen asserts that when Karl Marx’s ‘dream’ of violent revolution was largely rejected after 1848, Marx turned to support of ‘democratic socialism’ as a means of taking political and economic power. Research, however, fails to show that Marx ever renounced the violence of the class struggle and the proletarian revolution.  Skousen also claims that Marx considered reformist tactics the best method to take over the United States and England.  But he fails to specify a source in Marx’s writings, and research fails to verify Skousen’s statement.  Furthermore, Marx was highly critical of ‘reformist’ tactics, such as seeking improvements through legislation and strongly held that society could only be improved by violent destruction of the capitalist state.”

Claims Regarding Financing The Russian Revolution

One especially dubious claim by Skousen is that scholars are beginning to discover that, wherever Communist revolutions have succeeded, it has been due to financial aid by some of the wealthiest people in the world.  As evidence for this claim, Skousen maintains that several ‘dynastic banking families’ financed the Communist revolution in Russia.

According to Skousen, Leon Trotsky, in his biography, refers to some of the ‘loans’ coming from British financiers as far back as 1907.  Trotsky’s book, ‘My Life’ (page 202) mentions only one such loan, that of 3,000 pounds by an ‘English liberal’ to help cover some expenses of the 1907 Bolshevik Party Congress in London. Trotsky states that years later the Soviet Government paid back the loan for which all Congress delegates had been cosigners.”

Page 4:

“British Subsidies”

“By 1917, Skousen asserts, the major subsidies for ‘the revolution’ were being arranged by Sir George Buchanan, then British Ambassador to Russia and Lord Alfred Milner [1]  who was in Russia as a special representative.  One source suggested by Skousen refers merely to ‘private interviews’ not further identified, as documentation for the above claim. A second source, citing hearsay, refers only to British aid to the March 1917 revolution that overthrew Czar Nicholas II but not to any aid of the Bolshevik Revolution of November 1917.”

“Jacob Schiff”

“Skousen charges that Jacob Schiff (1847-1920) of the New York investment banking firm, Kuhn, Loeb and Company, furnished the Communist leaders around $20 million for the ‘final triumph of Bolshevism’ in Russia.  This figure is reportedly cited in the February 3, 1949 edition of the now defunct ‘New York Journal American’ by Jacob Schiff’s grandson.  According to his biographer, C.A. Adler, Jacob Schiff in his letters and speeches blamed the Russian Imperial government of Czar Nicholas II for anti-Jewish policies and practices and personally gave about $500,000 for relief of Jews in Russia prior to 1917. Schiff later was reportedly sympathetic to the Provisional Government, providing one million rubles for its ‘liberty loan’ in April 1917, but was strongly opposed to the Communists in Russia.  Review of microfilm records of the February 3, 1949 New York Journal American failed to locate any article about Jacob Schiff and possible financing of the Bolsheviks as Skousen alleges. [2]  No evidence was found to substantiate Skousen’s claim that between 1918 and 1922, Levin paid back 600 million rubles to Kuhn, Loeb and Company.  It is noted that notorious anti-FBI critic, Dorothy Schiff of the New York Post, is a granddaughter of Jacob Schiff.”

Page 5:

“Hearings Regarding Schiff, 1918

Allegations that Jacob Schiff and other Jewish investment bankers helped to finance the Communist revolution in Russia have appeared in the past.  In 1959, at the Director’s instructions, such an allegation against Jacob Schiff was checked out in a review of the hearings conducted in December 1918 by a Subcommittee of the Committee of the Judiciary, United States Senate.  Entitled ‘Brewing and Liquor Interests and German Propaganda’ the hearings also covered Russian and Bolshevik activities in this country and Europe prior to that time.  The hearings absolved Kuhn, Loeb and Company of alleged pro-German sympathies and failed to bring out any information indicating that Jacob Schiff helped to finance the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia. [3]  [FBI HQ file 100-407194-6].

Skousen’s claim that other international bankers were involved in financing the Communist takeover apparently comes from a book, ‘Czarism and Revolution’ by Arsene de Goulevitch, a former Czarist Army officer who fled Russia after the Bolshevik Revolution. [4] Goulevitch in turn attributes the information to a document published in Rostov, Russia, in 1919 which reportedly attributed the information to the archives of a high French Government office (not identified).

From the same sources Skousen notes that Trotsky later (after 1917) married the daughter of one wealthy contributing banker named Jivotovsky.  Trotsky’s book, My Life, and all available biographies on Trotsky contain no references to the name Jivotovsky and indicate that Trotsky’s second marriage, about 1904, lasted until his assassination in 1940 in Mexico City.

Current Events

Skousen points out that the ‘secret network’ of British wealth combined with the ‘dynastic rich’ of the United States as far back as World War I to form the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and the Institute of Pacific Relations (IPR).  The purpose of these groups, according to Skousen, has been to guide U.S. foreign policy toward the establishment of a world-wide collectivist society’. "

Page 6: 

“He also alleges that Congressional investigations have shown CFR and IPR responsible for establishing policies that led to the loss of China to the communists, to the ‘mismanagement’ of the Korean War, and to the so-called ‘no-win’ approach to the conflict in Vietnam…

Skousen claims that through tax-exempt foundations the ‘dynastic rich’ align their forces with the violent revolutionary left to create such havoc that Americans will call on the Government in Washington DC to take over.  In connection with this approach, Skousen referred properly to testimony of ‘Jerry Kirk’  in Congressional hearings.  This individual is [about 6 words excised] who was a Bureau informant from 1966-1969 and furnished information on the Communist Party and Students For A Democratic Society in Chicago.  Kirk is now speaking throughout the country on communist and other extremist activities.” [5]

[1] This assertion concerning Lord Alfred Milner was also included in Gary Allen’s 1971 book, None Dare Call It Conspiracy In fact, the remarkable textual similarities between the narratives by Skousen and Allen in their article and book respectively make it appear that one of them copied from the other.  On page 75 of his book, Gary Allen inserts this text underneath a picture of Lord Alfred Milner  “Lord Alfred Milner, wealthy Englishman and front man for the Rothschilds, served as paymaster for the international bankers in Petrograd during the Bolshevik Revolution.  

This claim regarding Milner was addressed by Dr. Carroll Quigley when he objected to what he considered the intellectual dishonesty of both Gary Allen and W. Cleon Skousen.  "For example, they constantly misquote me to this effect: that Lord Milner (the dominant trustee of the Cecil Rhodes Trust and a heavy in the Round Table Group) helped finance the Bolsheviks. I have been through the greater part of Milner's private papers and have found no evidence to support that.”[Quigley interview quoted in Rudy Maxa: The Professor Who Knew Too Much, Washington Post, 3/23/75, p26] 


Allen’s statements about Milner are almost all wrong.  He was not a rich man at all, but grew up a poor boy who won a scholarship to Oxford and became a government administrator in public finance and eventually chief of the Rhodes trustees.  He never was a millionaire.  His income in 1907, when he was 53 years old, was about 2,600 pound sterling (according to his diary for 1st January 1908).  It is nonsense to say, as Allen does, that he wanted a revolution in Russia in 1917 and gave 21 million rubles to finance it (p 72).  He was in Russia as a member of the British War Cabinet, from 25 January to 21 February, trying to strengthen the Russian war effort against the Germans in order to relieve the German pressure along the Western front…I have been through the greater part of Milner’s private papers and have found no evidence to support Allen’s statements about his connections with the revolution in Russia. Allen is also totally wrong about Milner’s political ideals.  He was not at all a One-World supporter but an extreme British nationalist who believed that Great Britain and the United States, acting together, could hold off the world.  He was not linked in any way with the Rothschilds, as Allen says, but was a banker as a director of the London Joint Stock Bank. Allen’s book is full of factual errors such as these, and is flatly wrong in his statements that my book supports his version of history.  For example, he insists that international bankers were a single bloc, were all powerful, and remain so today.  I, on the contrary, stated in my book that they were much divided, often fought among themselves, had great influence but not control of political life, and were sharply reduced in power about 1931-1940 when they became less influential than monopolized industry.”  [Quigley statement to Institute For American Democracy, Inc. (Washington DC) reprinted in IAD memo dated 3/72 captioned “None Dare Call It Conspiracy by Gary Allen” – page 3]

[2] The reason why the FBI could not “locate any article about Jacob Schiff” in the New York newspaper which Skousen cited (Gary Allen cites the exact same paper and the same alleged quotation on page 69 of his book) is because the “quote does not appear in a news article. Instead, it appears in the newspaper’s society gossip column captioned “Smart Set” which was written by Oleg Cassini who wrote under the pseudonym “Cholly Knickerbocker”.  This is the quality of evidence which Gary Allen and Cleon Skousen think is compelling for their assertions!

[3] Oddly, both Cleon Skousen and Gary Allen cite Dr. Antony Sutton, former Research Fellow with the Hoover Institute at Stanford University, as an authoritative historian without, apparently, being aware of his primary source research concerning Jacob Schiff.   Significantly, Dr. Sutton concluded from his review of State Department cables that Jacob Schiff OPPOSED the Bolsheviks.  See Appendix II of Dr. Sutton’s 1974 book, Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution, which Dr. Sutton aptly captions: “The Jewish-Conspiracy Theory of the Bolshevik Revolution”:

Appendix II


"It is significant that documents in the State Department files confirm that the investment banker Jacob Schiff, often cited as a source of funds for the Bolshevik Revolution, was in fact against support of the Bolshevik regime This position, as we shall see, was in direct contrast to the Morgan-Rockefeller promotion of the Bolsheviks."

"The persistence with which the Jewish-conspiracy myth has been pushed suggests that it may well be a deliberate device to divert attention from the real issues and the real causes. The evidence provided in this book suggests that the New York bankers who were also Jewish had relatively minor roles in supporting the Bolsheviks, while the New York bankers who were also Gentiles (Morgan, Rockefeller, Thompson) had major roles. What better way to divert attention from the real operators than by the medieval bogeyman of anti-Semitism?"

The FBI frequently received inquiries about the alleged role of Jacob Schiff and his firm, Kuhn, Loeb and Company, in “financing the Bolshevik Revolution. Various accusations regarding Schiff’s financial support are omnipresent in extreme right and anti-semitic literature and they cite different dollar amounts. Consequently, I think it would be useful to copy below one entire FBI internal memo on this matter which was written by Milton A. Jones, the head of the Bureau’s Crime Records Section – which was the Bureau’s research unit.

“The Director has instructed that we should check further into an allegation made by the captioned individual [J. Andrew Moriarty] to the effect that Jacob Schiff of Kuhn, Loeb and Company of New York furnished $5 million to Trotsky to finance the Russian Red Revolution in 1917.  Moriarty related that this fact was brought out in a committee hearing of the late Senator Overman in its investigation of communism in 1918 or 1919.”

“We have reviewed the hearings of the Subcommittee of the Committee on the Judiciary of the United States Senate for the 65th Congress held in December 1918, entitled Brewing and Liquor Interests and German Propaganda.  These hearings were not limited to the subject matter indicated by their titles but also delved into Russian and Bolshevik activities in this country and in Europe. These hearings do bear out Moriarty’s statement that Trotsky was at one time affiliated with a newspaper in New York until 1917 when he returned to Russia.  He also stated that Trotsky was interned in Halifax for a short period of time en route to Russia and this fact is also brought out in the testimony.”

“Kuhn, Loeb, and Company, Jacob Schiff, and Mortimer Schiff are frequently mentioned in these hearings in the testimony of Alfred L. Becker who at that time was Deputy Attorney General of the State of New York and [he] had made investigations of German propaganda activities in this country at the direction of the Governor of that state.  Becker produced documents which proved that Kuhn, Loeb and Company was one of the investment companies in the United States used by the Germans as a depository for their funds in 1914 and 1915, which funds were channeled into publicity fields carrying German propaganda.  It should be noted that Kuhn, Loeb and Company was only one of many well-known investment and banking organizations which served the Germans in this manner during the period immediately preceding our entry into the armed conflict.  There was some suspicion that Kuhn, Loeb and Company and the other investment companies were pro-German as a result of their activities in this regard.”

“The hearings did not bring out any information indicating that Jacob Schiff or Mortimer Schiff financed activities of the Russian Red Revolution.  On the contrary, documented evidence was presented to prove that Jacob Schiff was definitely unsympathetic toward Russia.  This fact was brought out when Anglo-French bonds were issued in this country to assist the Allied war cause and Jacob Schiff refused to purchase any of the bonds as he stated that Russia has persecuted the Jews in that country.  Evidence was presented that Otto H. Kahn [a Kuhn Loeb partner] personally subscribed to $5 million worth of the Anglo-French bonds and Mortimer Schiff subscribed to $1 million but the firm of Kuhn, Loeb and Company did not purchase any.” 

“These hearings completely absolved Kuhn, Loeb and Company from alleged pro-German sympathies and pointed out the firm’s activities which had materially assisted the Allies in World War I.”  [FBI HQ file 100-407194, #6; 10/28/59 memo from M.A. Jones to Mr. DeLoach]

An earlier memo by M.A. Jones concerning the accusations made by G. Andrews Moriarty declares:

“We have received information from many different sources to the effect that Schiff did send money to Russia but there is no substantial evidence to support such a statement.  Most of the sources alleging this fact are in publications which we know to be anti-semitic and none of them seriously attempt to determine the facts by independent investigation…It should be noted that Moriarty has been described as being violently anti-semitic..” [FBI HQ file 100-407194, #8; 10/23/59 M.A. Jones to Mr. DeLoach]

[4] Significantly, both Gary Allen and Cleon Skousen both cite this 1931 book for their statements regarding financing of the Bolshevik Revolution.  Gary Allen states on page 69: “One of the best sources of information on the financing of the Bolshevik Revolution is Czarism and the Revolution by an important White Russian General named Arsene de Goulevich who was founder in France on the Union of Oppressed Peoples.”  Gary does not explain how he determined that DeGoulevich was “one of the best sources of information” on this matter.  In Skousen’s article he also recommends this book (page 11). 

The original edition of the DeGoulevich book was published in Paris in 1931.  The only English-language edition was published in 1962 by Omni Publications of Hawthorne CA which now operates as Omni Christian Book Club.  Readers may be asking themselves why it would take 31 years for a book to be published in English?  The answer is apparent when reviewing the type of books which Omni Publications sold.  Omni was a one-man book-selling operation by Thomas Serpico that featured radical traditionalist Catholic materials including numerous rabidly anti-semitic conspiratorial writings which refer to malevolent Jewish bankers and their allies. 

In the preface to his book, DeGoulevich defends Czarist Russia by pointing out that “she was faced by the Polish and Jewish problems”.  Among the authorities he cites in his book are Boris Brasol and General Alexander Nechvolodov.  

(1) Brasol served as a Prosecuting Attorney in the city of St. Petersburg Russia. In August 1916 he was sent to the U.S. to work as a lawyer for the Anglo-Russian Purchasing Committee.  After the Bolshevik Revolution, Brasol stayed in the U.S. as an emigrant and he was naturalized in April 1926.  In a 1921 letter to Maj. Gen. Count Sherep-Spiridovich, Brasol wrote: “Within the last year I have written three books, two of which have done the Jews more injury than would have been done to them by ten pogroms.”  

Brasol produced the first English translation of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion which he brought to the attention of Henry Ford’s Dearborn MI Independent newspaper and which they used in their series of anti-semitic articles under the title The International Jew which were subsequently published in book form.  See "Preface" of each section here:

INTERNATIONAL JEW -- Dearborn MI Independent

Brasol also arranged for the publication of several anti-semitic books including, The Protocols and World Revolution and The World at the Crossroads. In the 1930’s, Brasol collaborated with pro-nazi White Russians who sought restoration of the Czarist regime. A 1942 New York City FBI field office memo contains a report by a Brasol acquaintance who had a 2-hour conversation with Brasol in October 1941.  This informant told the FBI:  “Mr. Brasol told me bluntly that he has not changed his previous ideas and that only the Jews are responsible for the Bolshevism and Communism in Russia and that to liberate Russia from the yoke of the Jews, all Russians must wish the defeat of Russia at the hands of the German. ‘I prefer Hitler to Stalin’ Brasol told me, ‘no matter what happens afterward’.  [FBI HQ file 100-22487, #18 --  2/19/42 NYC field report, pg 9-10.]  

(2) Gen. Nechvolodov is another pro-Czar Russian expatriate who fled to France after the Bolshevik Revolution.  In 1924 he published L’Empereur Nicholas II et les Juifs (The Emperor Nicholas II and the Jews) which incorporated the complete text of the Protocols of the Elders Zion with approving commentaries.

[5] Gerald Wayne Kirk was an FBI informant who subsequently became a paid speaker for the John Birch Society. Kirk’s standard JBS-sponsored speech was entitled “Inside the Spider’s Web” in which he claimed substantial penetration of New Left organizations such as Students For A Democratic Society (SDS) by the Communist Party USA.  However, the FBI’s derogatory evaluation of Kirk matched the FBI’s negative evaluations of both Cleon Skousen’s and Gary Allen’s writings.  

According to one FBI HQ memo: “Kirk is now drawing on this limited knowledge to promote himself as an authority during his speaking engagements.  Contacts with knowledgeable sources and confidential informants have failed to substantiate claims by the Communist Party of substantial influence within the New Left movement and specifically SDS.”  [HQ file 134-14771, serial #68]


One of the most common messages posted on Twitter refers to “45 Communist Goals” which Cleon Skousen published in his 1958 book, The Naked Communist.  Here is one typical example:


From his best-selling book “The Naked Communist” former FBI Special Agent W. Cleon Skousen revealed the 45 communist goals to overthrow America, not by foreign invasion, but via internal stealth, infiltration and deception.

The extreme right accepts as an article of faith that Skousen had special unique insights because of the alleged expertise he developed while serving in the FBI.  However, the reality is that Skousen INVENTED the “45 Communist Goals” which is why he does not even explain where he supposedly found the “goals”.  Furthermore, FBI investigative files on the Communist Party USA do NOT reveal that such goals were discussed in closed, secret meetings of the National Executive Committee of the Party nor were such goals discussed in other meetings of Party officials or by FBI informants inside the Party.  [The FBI had over 400 informants inside the Communist Party---including in very senior positions.]

In January 1963, Congressman Albert S. Herlong Jr. of Florida entered the alleged goals into the Congressional Record.  They may be seen here:  https://cultureshield.com/PDF/45_Goals.pdf

Many of the alleged “goals” are just generalizations about domestic policy disputes within the United States.  Goal #34 and #35 for example are:

34. Eliminate the House Committee on Un-American Activities.

35. Discredit and eventually dismantle the FBI.

With respect to #34, numerous entirely patriotic and principled anti-Communist Americans believed that the House Committee on Un-American Activities was not a useful tool – especially when some of its Chairmen were bigoted southern Democratic segregationists who opposed any efforts at integration and they considered such activities as part of a “Communist plot”.

With respect to goal #35 – the person who has done most to discredit and dismantle the FBI has been Donald Trump.  Does that make him pro-Communist?

In chapter 12 of his 1958 book, The Naked Communist, (pages 253-254) Skousen claims that there was a “Communist Timetable of Conquest”.  Skousen then declares

“To head off an enemy it is first necessary to know where the enemy wants to go. The Communists have made no secret about this. Their plan first of all is to take Asia, then Africa, next Europe and finally America. Although this plan of conquest has been in Communist literature for several decades, it was vigorously restated in 1953 when Red leaders decided to set up a timetable of conquest for the entire world and then take it continent by continent.”

There are two major problems with this Skousen analysis---discussed below


This absurdity was taken verbatim from Robert Welch’s speech in December 1958 in Indianapolis, Indiana when he suggested formation of the John Birch Society.  As Welch explained it:

“Lenin died in 1924. But before he died, he had laid down for his followers the strategy for this conquest. It was, we should readily admit, brilliant, farseeing, realistic, and majestically simple. It has been paraphrased and summarized as follows. "First, we will take Eastern Europe. Next, the masses of Asia. Then we shall encircle that last bastion of capitalism, the United States of America. We shall not have to attack; it will fall like overripe fruit into our hands.”

Oddly, Welch puts quotation marks around a “paraphrase and summary” which he attributes to Lenin – as if he was quoting something Lenin wrote or said.  However, at no point does Welch, Skousen (or anybody else who uses this Lenin “quote”) identify where they found it----because it does not exist.  The Curator of the Slavic Room at the Library of Congress was asked if he could find anything in Lenin’s “Complete Works” about this “strategy” and he could not.

Sometimes, the date 1924 is given for the “overripe fruit” comment but since Lenin died in January 1924 after a long illness (including several strokes) it is doubtful that he said much of anything along these lines – especially while on his deathbed.

Former Communist turned conservative anti-Communist Louis F. Budenz was asked about this alleged Lenin statement and he characterized it as one of the “many questionable quotations from Lenin and Stalin that are floating around in ill-informed anti-Communist circles.”


In the March 1960 issue of the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, J. Edgar Hoover stated:

“The communist plan is to conquer the United States, if not today, then tomorrow; if not tomorrow, then the next day, next month, next year--there is no timetable, no "Five-Year Plan. " This is evident in the machinations of the Communist Party, USA, as shown by the analysis of its 17th National Convention published in this Bulletin”.

This begs the obvious question:  IF, as Skousen and his admirers claim, Cleon Skousen achieved some special expertise regarding communist strategy and beliefs during his FBI service, why does Skousen make assertions which were explicitly refuted by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover AND by information appearing in FBI investigative files?  See more info below.


This revised edition of my Skousen report replies to critical comments about my Report which have been made online by Paul Skousen, one of Cleon’s sons.  

In his rebuttals, Paul has addressed what he describes as “character assassination” and “ad hominem attacks” regarding his father.  

I copy below one such message by Paul.  This appeared on the “bycommonconsent” website:


I will address four issues raised by Paul:

1.  Why Paul Skousen’s description of my report as a “smear job” is an issue.

2.  Why describing Cleon Skousen as “one of two people authorized to speak for the FBI in behalf of Hoover on police work and communism” is an issue

3.  Why describing Cleon Skousen’s “friendship with [J. Edgar] Hoover” is an issue

4.  Why describing Cleon Skousen as an “Administrative Assistant” to Hoover is an issue


W. Cleon Skousen is my father and none of us appreciate the ad hominem attacks. Those kinds of comments reflect more on the writers than Skousen, I am very sorry you are not good students of the subject matter or the people you want to demean, it says a lot about the kind of individual you are.

As to the distorted telling of his record: During WII, Skousen was communications chief at the FBI in D.C. This was shift work, multiple teams around the clock with multiple chiefs (one for each shift). When Pearl Harbor hit Skousen took dictation from Hoover at the teletype to notify all FBI offices to take action. Hoover knew him by name. Hoover was no cross-dresser, that’s a lie that the ignorant keep spreading.

Skousen’s friendship with Hoover can be seen in personal letters in Skousen’s journals. Hoover called those who worked closely for him during WWII his “administrative assistants” even though there was no formal position with that title. That reference is what followed Skousen all the years afterwards. A fellow named Ernie Lazar obtained Skousen’s FBI files, the same files I have, and attempts to discredit Skousen. Problem is, those files don’t include other files and communications included in Skousen’s personal journals. Skousen was one of two people authorized to speak for the FBI in behalf of Hoover on police work and communism. Ernie tries to squeeze around that by showing there is little record to prove anything but police work (to discredit Skousen’s research on communism). Well, that’s because Ernie doesn’t have all the record, and so begins the smear job that some of the responders here have embraced. Skousen spoke on communism for Mr. Hoover, speech drafts are in his journals. Hoover had all of them studying communism on their own time, that was not part of their official duties (therefore not showing up in the formal records, as is the case with all jobs everywhere), but being an Agent or staffer was more than an 8-hour job. Hoover held the bar very high for all of them.

Personally, I worked as an analyst for the CIA, and their Historical Intelligence Collection in the main library at Langley includes 3 copies of Skousen’s “The Naked Communist,” two in English, one in Spanish. I brought dad in one day to introduce him when he was in D.C., and a few of the old timers greeted him and told him how that book (Nkd. Comm.) was their “bible” regarding Communism because at the time nobody had any explanation of who or what this enemy was. Skousen’s book was the first to come out and was a national best seller. The FBI’s own internal intelligence department described the book in favorable terms. 

That book is criticized for several reasons, all of them debunked decades ago, but just now the old lies are finding a new audience among those who don’t scratch much deeper than blogs to form their opinions.


Skousen’s association with Pres. McKay, Pres. Benson, Pres. Monson and others, remained close, warm and cordial. I was there for some of the discussions, others in the family for others. None of that is meant to grant any special authority to Skousen’s works or writings, but there was no other messenger who could deliver what he was teaching as did he, and he was repeatedly encouraged to do his best and not get discouraged by your types, at whatever level the attacks came. Obviously he failed to deliver for some of the posters at this site.

Was he perfect?  Of course not. But he had more facts, study, scholarship, research, reading and published production than do his nay-sayers. If you could see his library of 7,000+ books, you’d see each extensively underlined with marginal notations—typical of many good researchers. Today, that collection is down to about 3,000, but still an amazing exploration into a man’s labors to get to the bottom of so many issues. 

If you don’t agree with him, put your reasoning in your next book and then posters of your own ilk can nit-pick it all apart and show how dismally blind you were to this obvious fact, or that very clear conclusion. Blogs can’t do any subject justice. It takes a multi-faceted study across numerous categories to get some events correctly reported. That’s all that Skousen tried to do, report on what he found. 

So for the dishonest attacks you like to level about a man whose messages carry a much warmer and brighter spirit than do your comments to the contrary, I can only assume you must be “despicable,” “crazy,” “a fraud,” “kind of sad …” because that’s all I know about you. Is that being intellectually honest? 

Of course you wouldn’t know that you would never find a kinder friend at any level of life, and he would never call you the dismissive names you call him now. He’s dealt with “your types” all his life and he was better at it than me—he just ignored them. But he never rejected people who really wanted to know, who took issue with what he taught. He always put out his hand in fellowship to defuse their hate and find the root of misunderstanding.

When somebody brought something new to his attention that he missed or got wrong, he was all ears, very appreciative, and anxious to explore it himself, and stand corrected. In that spirit of mutually helping one another to discover more insight, I invite you to abandon your self-importance and take another look at how he captured the messages and history as best he could. If you think he got it wrong, spell it out so we can all benefit. 

One of the reasons his detractors worked so hard to assassinate his character is because he was usually better read than them in their own areas of expertise. They couldn’t bluff. He could talk eye to eye with them. An important difference was, he wasn’t disrespectful of another’s efforts to explore an issue nor was he trying to defend his territory, he was just trying to get to the truth. And to that end he spent his whole adult life in study. How have you been spending yours? –Paul




In his message, Paul asks a rhetorical question about his father:

“Was he perfect?  Of course not. But he had more facts, study, scholarship, research, reading and published production than do his nay-sayers.”

Perhaps Paul will disagree with my definition but I consider a “smear job” to be a personal ad hominem attack which is not based upon factual evidence and/or which does not address whatever matters are under scrutiny.  

Paul does not provide us with any examples of what he acknowledges to be legitimate examples of his father’s imperfections, i.e. mistakes made by Cleon Skousen in his writings or speeches.  Instead, apparently, Paul wants us to believe that ANY criticisms of, or skepticism about, his father are unwarranted and unacceptable – despite Paul’s vague abstract acceptance of the idea that his dad was imperfect. 

By definition, “independent research” means that you engage your critical faculties when checking the historical record in order to determine what is accurate, truthful, and factual.  

Paul Skousen claims to have worked at the CIA as an analyst. It seems especially odd, therefore, that Paul needs to be reminded about the nature and purpose of independent research – particularly when one has acquired materially significant documents, released for the first time, which shed light upon the career of an FBI Agent whose subsequent writings and speeches about communism were said to have been uniquely informed by his exposure to that subject matter while serving as an FBI Agent! 

Independent research does not mean relying exclusively upon the recollections, anecdotes, or explanations of the person whom you are researching.  One certainly can review that evidence---as will be done below---but it cannot be the exclusive focus of independent research.


So---let’s start examining the historical record.


On this webpage, http://www.latterdayconservative.com/articles/w-cleon-skousen-is-asked-to-write-the-naked-communist/ Cleon Skousen states that: 

“Shortly after we moved to Utah in 1952 and joined the faculty of Brigham Young University, I was asked to give talks on the threat of Communism as I encountered it in the FBI. There were two of us who specialized in this subject and we were the only ones allowed to speak on Communism in case Mr. Hoover could not take the talks himself.”

An independent researcher would immediately want to know: 

(1)    Specifically, what communist matters did Cleon “encounter” while he was in the FBI? 

(2)    Is there any verifiable factual evidence to establish the accuracy of Cleon Skousen’s claim that he was one of only two people “who specialized in this subject” (i.e. communism)? 

(3)    What is the identity of that second person who “specialized” on communism?




In order to determine the significance and relevance of the previous comment by Cleon Skousen, one would first have to determine precisely what “encounter” Skousen had with communist-related matters during his FBI service? 

Then, one would still have to analyze the text of whatever Skousen wrote/said about communism to determine whether or not it contained materially important errors of fact, analysis, or judgment. 

If you perform this type of independent research into Skousen’s FBI career, you will quickly discover that virtually all of his career was spent performing administrative, training, and public relations assignments – not working on investigative matters 

Furthermore, Cleon Skousen was never recommended by his supervisors for promotion to, nor was he ever assigned to work in, the FBI Division (Division 5) which contained the Bureau’s actual experts on communist-related matters (and internal security generally).  During the 1940’s, Division 5 was known as the National Defense Division, or Security Division or Security-Investigative Division. It later became known as the Domestic Intelligence Division. 

By contrast, Skousen worked primarily in Divisions 3 and 4.  Division 3 was the Administrative Division and Division 4 was the Records and Communications Division. 

Let’s briefly recap Cleon’s FBI career: 

10/24/35 = he entered on duty as a messenger

12/35 = he became a Clerk

8/37 = he became Night Supervisor in the Communications Section

2/16/39 = he became Chief of the Communications Section 

6/17/40 = he became an FBI Special Agent 

8/3/40 = his initial New Agent training was completed

8/40 – 12/40 = he was assigned to the Omaha NE field office

12/40 – 4/41 = he was assigned to the Kansas City MO field office


4/4/41 – 6/25/41 = he transferred to Chief Clerk’s Office in Washington DC during which time he interviewed clerical employee applicants, handled Congressional inquiries, and worked on other non-investigative assignments 

6/25/41 – 8/1/44 = he worked in the Communications Section where he worked as a Personnel Assistant; he trained new messengers, he conducted a survey for a congressional committee, and he supervised the Mail Review and Dispatch Unit.  In March 1944, he worked in the Washington field office for 2 weeks; during the second week he worked on a security-related case by participating in a “technical surveillance”; he also gave public relations speeches to civic organizations.  

8/44 – 6/45 = he was assigned to the Crime Records Section; he supervised the preparation of two internal FBI employee magazines; he conducted tours of FBI facilities, and he again made general public relations speeches about FBI responsibilities to groups like PTA’s; he received Inspector’s Aide training 

6/45 until retirement on 10/5/51= he transferred to the Los Angeles field office. 

At no time during his time in Los Angeles do Cleon's annual performance reports indicate that he worked on internal-security related matters or on communist cases. Instead, there are constant, repeated references to his work on selective service matters, black market activities, juvenile control matters including training local police, “the general criminal squad”, plus participating in inspections of various FBI field offices, and being a “police instructor”, plus “considerable time doing research on police administration and supervision”, and general public relations speeches before local groups. 

Let’s now summarize: 

  1. Cleon Skousen’s FBI career was almost exactly 16 years [192 months from 10/24/35 à 10/5/51] 
  1. For the initial 55 months of his service (29%) he worked in a clerical or administrative position in Division 3 or Division 4. 
  1. He then spent a total of 84 months (44% of his career) working at field offices – most of which (68 months or 35% of his career) working in just one field office – Los Angeles 
  1. However, despite this lengthy period working in just one field office – comprising 35% of his entire FBI career -- unlike many of his peers who worked at the Los Angeles field office at the same time as Cleon Skousen, his performance reports do not mention even once that he specialized in communist or internal security cases or that he worked on the Los Angeles field “communist squad” OR that he ever was recommended for promotion to a position in Washington DC that would bring him into daily contact with internal security matters. 

By contrast, let’s consider Special Agent George H. Scatterday who also worked in the Los Angeles field office during some of the years when Cleon Skousen was there.   

Scatterday became an FBI Special Agent in June 1942 (two years after Cleon Skousen). He worked in the Los Angeles field office for 52 months (vs 68 months for Cleon Skousen) from January 1943 to June 1947. 

Scatterday’s performance evaluations (excerpts below) were written by Richard B. Hood – the same Special Agent in Charge who wrote Cleon Skousen’s. However, notice the substantive differences: 

4/1/43 à 3/31/44 = Annual performance report by SAC R.B. Hood states: “With the exception of three months on a technical surveillance, his work during the period of this report has been exclusively National Defense work involving the Communist Party…In addition, he has done some very good work in connection with the American Youth For Democracy movement which is the former Young Communist League.”

7/43 = Assigned to Los Angeles Communist Squad

4/1/44 à 3/31/45 = Annual performance report by SAC R.B. Hood states: “Scatterday has been engaged exclusively in the investigation of individuals and organizations connected with the Communist Party. He is responsible for investigating the activities of two of the largest Communist Political Association clubs as well as the large Communist Party front group, American Youth For Democracy…He is better than average in the development of confidential sources and is handling one paid Negro informant who is actually a member of the Communist Political Association.”

4/1/46 à 3/31/47 = Annual performance report by SAC R.B. Hood states: “Scatterday has continued over the past year to be assigned to the Communist Squad of this office. He handles a large volume of work and makes every effort to dictate and bring his cases to such logical conclusion as is called for by his investigative results…He continues to handle and properly supervise the work of several confidential informants within the Communist Party itself…Scatterday has served at regular intervals as relief supervisor on the Communist desk where he has gained considerable supervisory experience…He is being rated as Excellent.” 

In July 1946, SAC Hood sent a memo to Director Hoover concerning Scatterday which includes this comment: 

“For some time agent Scatterday has been one of the key men on the Communist squad in this office and a large share of the achievements and progress made by the squad in keeping abreast of Communist activities in this field division can be attributed to his efforts.  He has taken part along with fellow agents in a number of projects of a confidential nature which resulted in obtaining first-hand information regarding the Communist Party’s membership strength in this area…” 

By contrast, Cleon Skousen’s Los Angeles field performance reports… 

(a)    Do not reflect that he ever worked on communist cases or “national defense” cases

(b)    Do not reflect that he ever developed confidential sources or informants within the CPUSA

(c)     Do not reflect that he ever obtained “first hand information” concerning anything pertaining to the Communist Party in the Los Angeles field division.

(d)   Do not reflect that he ever worked as a relief supervisor on the communist squad or as a supervisor for any communist-related or internal-security-related position

(e)    Do not reflect that he ever was recommended by his SAC for consideration of promotion to any position in Division 5 at FBI HQ in Washington DC – as was the case with Agent Scatterday in July 1946 and again in June 1947.  Scatterday transferred to HQ and his first performance report written by Assistant Director D. Milton Ladd stated: 

8/1/48 = “Mr. Scatterday has been assigned to the Internal Security Section since August 8, 1947.  Initially he performed duties in the Memoranda Unit of that Section and he is presently assigned to the desk responsible for the supervision of investigations of domestic Communist front organizations, as well as investigations relating to organizations which have recently been established for the purpose of interesting themselves in atomic energy matters.” 

In addition, like every other FBI field office, Los Angeles was the subject of an annual Inspection conducted by employees of the Training and Inspection Division in Washington DC.  The November 1944 and February 1947 inspection reports on Los Angeles specifically mention Scatterday’s accomplishments as a member of the “communist squad of that office – including his development of “valuable paid confidential informants” and his work as “relief Supervisor on the Communist Desk”.  There are no references whatsoever in the inspection reports to any expertise by Cleon Skousen in communist-related matters. 

What I have just described with respect to Agent Scatterday is typical of how Special Agents in field offices who evidenced special skill or interest with respect to internal security matters were routinely recommended by their SAC’s for rapid transfer to Washington DC to work in the Security Division – particularly during the years just after World War II when the Bureau focused considerable new attention upon the CPUSA. 

Consequently, unless Paul Skousen has some new factual evidence which is:

  • not contained in Cleon Skousen’s personnel file and
  • not shown in the annual Los Angeles field inspection reports and
  • not contained in memos written by the Special-Agent-in-Charge during Cleon’s service in Los Angeles

      then we can fairly conclude that Paul’s “smear attack” accusation is Paul's regrettable lapse into ad hominem argument with respect to this first matter.     

      See further comments regarding Skousen “expertise” on communism in the next section.




The response to Paul Skousen’s assertion (also made by his father) that there were only “two” persons authorized to speak about communism when Director J. Edgar Hoover was not available to speak --- can easily be proven utterly false. 

First, let’s begin with the statements made by the only living FBI Assistant Director (Cartha D. DeLoach) who worked with Hoover during the period in question. 

Mr. DeLoach has categorically denied what Paul Skousen and Cleon Skousen have asserted: 

“There were no orders for only two men to speak on the subject of communism.” 


“It was necessary to obtain Bureau approval to speak on communism. No one had ‘blanket approval’. Certainly not field Agents or Bureau Supervisors…There were no specific designations as to whom could give such talks while in Bureau.” 

Here, again, independent research is critical for making an informed judgment regarding what both Paul and his father claimed.  Unfortunately, Paul has chosen to repeat falsehoods about his father which have circulated in extreme right circles for decades. 

If Paul Skousen obtained the personnel files of numerous FBI Special Agents (as I have done), he would immediately discover that many FBI Special Agents were authorized to, and did speak about, communism or internal security matters generally – although always (as Assistant Director DeLoach confirms in his message) with case-by-case approval.  Even Assistant Directors submitted drafts of their proposed remarks to Hoover for his approval. 

When I have asked other people who make this absurd claim to tell me the name of the alleged “second” authorized speaker on communism, the only name they have proposed is Special Agent Dan Smoot which is preposterous if you review Smoot’s personnel file. 

Many Special Agent personnel files which I have obtained reveal the names of Agents who were authorized to speak on communism and/or internal security matters during the 1940′s. 

For example:

* Milton A. Jones (Chief, Research Section, Crime Records Section)

* Joseph F. Condon (Supervisor, Central Research Section)

* James F. Bland (Chief of the Subversive Control Section, formerly Assistant Supervisor, New York field office, handling Communist and loyalty investigations)

* Alan Belmont (Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Office who later became Assistant Director in Charge of the Domestic Intelligence Division)

* Charles D. Brennan (who was a Supervisor within the Central Research Section–the FBI unit which researched and wrote numerous monographs about the CPUSA)

* Fred J. Baumgardner (Supervisor, Sabotage Section of Security Division, who later became Section Chief of the Internal Security Section within the Domestic Intelligence Division) and

* William C. Sullivan (who later became Chief Inspector and Assistant Director in charge of the Domestic Intelligence Division) 

Notice the common denominators in all these examples, i.e.

(1) these Agents worked in the Security Division later known as Domestic Intelligence Division and/or

(2) they worked in the FBI unit which did research on, and prepared monographs about, the communist movement. Cleon Skousen did not work in the Security or Domestic Intelligence Division and there is no record that he ever researched or wrote a monograph on any topic pertaining to the communist movement. 

Incidentally, Skousen did not give speeches about communism to groups which required security clearances to attend or where classified security information was shared. His speeches were general public relations speeches about FBI responsibilities.  They were given to groups like PTA’s, Rotary Clubs, or other civic organizations. 

By contrast, other agents (from the National Defense/Security Division) were assigned to speak to such groups as: 

* U.S. Army Intelligence School – Senior Foreign Officer Intelligence staff
* Department of State, Office of Security
* National Counterintelligence Corps Association
* Naval War College
* Air Command Staff College

Actual Bureau experts in security-related matters often gave very detailed speeches before groups whose participants required security clearances to attend. 

Here are some of the speech titles given by FBI Special Agents at such events.  Perhaps Paul Skousen can give us examples of comparable speeches by his father? 

Communist Philosophy and Objectives” — to Military Assistance Institute
Subversive Activities” — to U.S. Army Intelligence School
Current Tactics and Objectives of the CPUSA” — to CIA officers
Communism, Intelligence, Espionage in the U.S.” — to Ft. Benning GA Seminar on American Strategy
Communism in the United States” — to U.S. Military Academy, West Point
Communism” — to Internal Security Quarterly Conference — Albuquerque NM


The point at issue here is whether or not Cleon Skousen was assigned to work on internal-security-related cases while he served in the FBI. In other words, did he have extensive exposure to such cases and did he have access to the classified information which would support the claims of his admirers that he developed some sort of expertise on communist-related matters while he served in the FBI? 

Skousen’s FBI personnel file is quite clear about these matters. The answer is NO! 

As the FBI’s Chief Inspector (their expert about communist matters) wrote in one memo:

“As we know, Skousen, when he was in the FBI, did not concentrate in the field of communism.” [HQ 67-69602, #311; 7/29/61 memo from Sullivan to Belmont.]

At one point, the Associate Director of the FBI (Clyde Tolson) — who was the #2 official of the FBI, asked his subordinates to prepare a summary memo regarding Skousen’s assignments during his FBI career. That memo also makes it clear that Cleon never developed any expertise about communist matters. The memo prepared for Tolson declares that:

“There is no definite indication in his personnel file that he had any contact with the subject of communism other than the fact that in his first office, which was Omaha, an efficiency report indicated that he handled all types of cases except bank robbery and antitrust. He was assigned to the Omaha Office from August 1940, to December 1940, when he transferred to the Kansas City Office….In the early 1940s Skousen spoke several times on the subjects of sabotage, national defense and subversive groups; however, due to the fact that this was the period leading up to and beginning World War II, the subversive groups to which he had referred were undoubtedly German or Axis powers.”

“During his tenure at the Seat of Government [Washington DC] as an Agent, he was a supervisor in the Chief Clerk’s Office in the Communications Section and later was assigned to what is now known as the Crime Research Section.  A review of articles and statements on which Agents of the Crime Research Section conducted research at that time has been checked and there is nothing to indicate that he did any research on the subject of communism; however, he did research for several articles on sabotage.” …

“A brief check of abstracts under Skousen’s name revealed that between 1941 and 1946 he handled a limited number of investigations or wrote reports or memoranda on internal security and espionage classifications, and from 1947 until he resigned there were no abstracts under his name for either the internal security or espionage classifications.  Inasmuch as there was no mention in his personnel file of his having anything to do with communist matters, the fact that abstracts indicate he did some internal security and espionage work back in the early 1940s is undoubtedly insignificant, but rather every indication is that he was primarily associated with criminal work.”  [HQ 67-69602, #214; 10/12/61 memo from M.A. Jones to Mr. DeLoach].

The very short period Skousen was in Omaha (4 months just after completing his new agent training) makes it very unlikely that he was assigned any internal security cases. In the early 1940’s, new agents at their first field office, typically were assigned to work on selective service cases, applicant investigations, and less-complex investigative matters. In any event, one should consider the fact that the FBI’s Omaha field office had virtually no communist presence in its territory. There were only about 30 CPUSA members in the entire state of Nebraska and none of them were considered “key figures” within the communist movement! 

Furthermore, Bureau Agents who actually were experts on communist-related matters or whose assignments were primarily investigative in nature were not normally assigned to routinely work on field office inspections.  Significantly, Skousen did so on many occasions. 

Paul Skousen is also VERY mistaken when he writes that Hoover had “all of them studying Communism…” (referring to FBI Special Agents). 

Assistant Director DeLoach when asked about this, responded: 

To my knowledge, there were never any orders for us to ‘study communism’ although we had lectures, in-service classes, and initial Academy training.” 

In fact, no less an authority than J. Edgar Hoover responded to one inquiry about Cleon Skousen by stating that: 

“I welcome the opportunity to make it perfectly clear that former Special Agents of the FBI are not necessarily experts on communism. Some of them have sought to capitalize on their former employment with this Bureau for the purpose of establishing themselves as such authorities. I am firmly convinced there are too many self-styled experts on communism, without valid credentials and without any access whatsoever to classified, factual data, who are engaging in rumor mongering and hurling false and wholly unsubstantiated allegations against people whose views differ from their own. This makes more difficult the task of the professional investigator.” 

“Mr. W. Cleon Skousen entered on duty with the FBI as a clerk on October 24, 1935, in which capacity he served until June 17, 1940, when he became a Special Agent. He voluntarily resigned the latter position on October 5, 1951. Mr. Skousen is no longer associated with the FBI and his opinions are strictly his own and do not represent this Bureau in any way.” [HQ 94-47468, #49; 4/17/62 J. Edgar Hoover reply to Sister Mary Shaun, Notre Dame Convent, Trenton, NJ.]


In the course of my research, I have obtained dozens of FBI Special Agent personnel files.  Many Special Agents never were assigned to work on communist-related matters. 

Lastly, there is a context which is very important to remember when discussing Skousen’s post-FBI endeavors. 

Senior FBI officials (including Assistant Directors and Supervisors and Section Chiefs in the security-related units of the Bureau) routinely described Skousen (after his retirement) as associating himself with “extreme right groups and viewpoints. In many cases, the Bureau described these individuals/groups as “professional anti-communists”. For example, the Bureau comment about Dr. Fred Schwarz/Christian Anti-Communism Crusade is shown below.  Skousen was a frequent "faculty member"/speaker for Schwarz's anti-communism "schools": 

“As we know, Dr. Schwarz is an opportunist and we are not having anything to do with him and his activities. It might be added that such people as Dr. Schwarz are largely responsible for misinforming people and stirring them up emotionally to the point that when FBI lecturers present the truth, it becomes very difficult for the misinformed to accept it. In my opinion, Schwarz and others like him can only do the country and the anticommunist work of the Bureau harm.”  [HQ 62-69602, #297; 3/13/61 memo from FBI Chief Inspector W.C. Sullivan to A.H. Belmont]. 

As we know, Skousen frequently spoke at Christian Anti-Communism Crusade events and he endorsed the John Birch Society. Paul Skousen claims that his dad had some sort of disagreement with the JBS — but there is no public record to document any such disagreement. Instead, there is the FACT that Skousen was a paid speaker under the auspices of the Birch Society’s American Opinion Speakers Bureau! 

We have to ask ourselves this obvious question: 

If, as Paul Skousen and admirers of his father claim, Cleon Skousen developed some special understanding about internal-security related matters (particularly communism) while he was employed by the FBI — how does one explain that Skousen associated himself with organizations and beliefs which the FBI categorically rejected as false, or gross distortions, and harmful to the anti-communist cause? 

Furthermore, if as admirers of Cleon Skousen contend, he had such profound knowledge about the communist movement and, as Paul Skousen writes about his father, “…he had more facts, study, scholarship, research, reading and published production than do his nay-sayers” – one wonders how does one explain the profound errors in Cleon’s writings – which I have addressed in my original report – one example of which I again repeat below? 


Essentially, this article repeats the observations made by Cleon in his book, “The Naked Capitalist.” 

I copy below the “Synopsis” section from the FBI memo which was written in response to J. Edgar Hoover’s request for an analysis of what Skousen wrote. 

If, as Paul contends, his father developed such compelling expertise about communism-related matters while working at the FBI — one wonders why (as this “Synopsis” reveals) Skousen couldn’t get basic factual material correct??



Purpose of memorandum is to answer Director’s inquiry regarding article captioned as above in March 1971 issue of Law and Order magazine…We are circumspect with Skousen because of his efforts to capitalize on Bureau career to benefit his anticommunist activities. Article claims ‘dynastic rich’ (inheritors of wealth) subsidizing ‘force of violent revolution’ to help rich take over country for ‘good’ of humanity.

Skousen’s claim that Karl Marx turned to ‘democratic socialism’ as means to seize power not substantiated. Marx never renounced violence of class struggle or proletarian revolution. 

Skousen claim that wealthy class financed Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 not supported by research and his charge that Jacob Schiff of Kuhn, Loeb and Company gave $20 million for ‘final triumph of Bolshevism’ not validated. 

Skousen’s allegations that tax exempt foundations have given money to civil rights groups and functionaries, including several militant black nationalists are generally valid but include inaccuracies. Several grants verified, as listed by Skousen, from Ford Foundation to organizations he alleges carry out ‘policies and propaganda favoring a globalist strategy.’ 

Skousen’s reference to ‘left-wing collectivists’ seeking Federal constitutional convention is unsubstantiated. Only such effort known was made by late Senator Everett Dirksen who wanted amendment negating U.S. Supreme Court 1964‘one man, one vote’ ruling which calls for equal population in voting districts.”


In October 1961 Skousen participated as a speaker in an “anti-communism school” in New Orleans under the auspices of the Christian Anti-Communism Crusade. Ed Palmer, a local television station (WDSU-TV) commentator contacted the Bureau concerning “a number of startling and unbelievable charges” made by Skousen during his speech.  

One of Skousen’s assertions was that “Harry Hopkins in 1943 had turned over to the Russians 50 suitcases of information concerning the Manhattan Project.”  

Palmer asked for confirmation that Skousen actually had been an FBI Special Agent. A Bureau memo discussing this controversy states:  

Apparently Skousen, Schwarz, et al are becoming more and more irresponsible and have apparently succumbed to the philosophy that the ends justify the means.” [HQ file 94-47468, no serial #; 10/26/61 memo from C.D. DeLoach to Mr. Mohr regarding W. Cleon Skousen Statements on Communism, New Orleans Louisiana 10-24-61.]  

The Bureau received another inquiry concerning Skousen’s assertions regarding Harry Hopkins. An official of the Jefferson Parish (LA) Chamber of Commerce asked Hoover “Is The Naked Communist based entirely on fact? Is the information concerning Harry Hopkins true, especially the part that he obtained and gave to the Russian Communists Top Secret information on the Atomic Bomb and almost half of our supply of refined uranium?” 

The file copy of Hoover’s reply contains the following notation: 

It is noted that on page 167 of his book…Skousen states that Harry Hopkins, former aide to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, supplied Russia with a large quantity of uranium during the early 1940’s. Bufiles contain no information to support this charge or to indicate that Hopkins was engaged in subversive activity.” [HQ 94-47468, #37; 11/1/61 Hoover reply to David A. Moynan Jr., Chairman, Operation Americanism of Jefferson Parish Junior Chamber of Commerce, Metairie LA.] 

Furthermore, Cleon Skousen’s 1963 pro-Birch Society article “The Communist Attack on the John Birch Society” is riddled with factual errors and falsehoods.  See details in previous pages of this Report.




With respect to Paul Skousen's comment that his dad's relationship with J. Edgar Hoover should be characterized as a "friendship" that "can be seen in personal letters in Skousen’s journals." 

The best way to address this assertion is in Q&A format -- which follows: 

1.  DURING Cleon Skousen's FBI employment, what was Hoover's evaluation of Cleon Skousen? 

A:  Probably positive since all of Skousen's performance reports rated him quite favorably and several of his supervisors recommended Skousen for advancement. 

2.  AFTER Skousen retired from the FBI, what was Hoover's evaluation of Cleon Skousen? 

A:  Once Skousen associated himself with what both Hoover and the Bureau considered "extreme right” and "professional anti-communist" individuals and organizations – the "friendship" with Skousen evaporated. 

3.  How we do know that Hoover and senior FBI officials dramatically cooled toward Skousen? 

A:  Because: 

(1)  During Hoover's Warren Commission testimony he was asked to comment upon an article published by the John Birch Society.  Skousen had endorsed the Birch Society. Hoover chose to ignore the specific question he was asked and, instead, he used the opportunity to express his displeasure with the persons/organizations that disseminated the type of assertions associated with the Birch Society. 

Specifically, Hoover stated: 

"I have read that piece. My comment on it is this in general: I think the extreme right is just as much a danger to the freedom of this country as the extreme left. There are groups, organizations, and individuals on the extreme right who make these very violent statements, allegations that General Eisenhower was a Communist, disparaging references to the Chief Justice and at the other end of the spectrum you have these leftists who make wild statements charging almost anybody with being a Fascist or belonging to some of these so-called extreme right societies." 

"Now, I have felt, and I have said publicly in speeches, that they are just as much a danger, at either end of the spectrum. They don't deal with facts. Anybody who will allege that General Eisenhower was a Communist agent, has something wrong with him. A lot of people read such allegations because I get some of the weirdest letters wanting to know whether we have inquired to find out whether that is true. I have known General Eisenhower quite well myself and I have found him to be a sound, level-headed man."  [Warren Commission testimony, Volume 5, page 101] 

(2)  One FBI internal memo contains a handwritten comment by Hoover concerning a controversy in Florida between Cong. Claude Pepper and Birch Society members.   Hoover's comment was: 

"I would no more give a boost to Pepper than I would to the Birchites. They are two extremes and equally bad."  [HQ 62-104401, no serial #, April 27, 1962, D.C. Morrell to C.D. DeLoach]. 

(3)  During a November 1964 press conference, Hoover did something quite unusual for him. He expressed his unvarnished opinion about a specific person -- namely, JBS founder/leader Robert Welch.   

Hoover declared: 

"Personally, I have little respect for the head of the John Birch Society since he linked the names of former President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the late John Foster Dulles, and former CIA Director Allen Dulles with communism."  

(4)  So what was Cleon Skousen's interpretation of the John Birch Society? 

A:  Skousen regurgitated JBS press releases about itself. For example: 

"In the case of the John Birch Society, those who editorialized or otherwise propagandized against 'the terrible Birchers' usually did so without realizing they were promoting the official Communist Party line. And, as usual, this line turned out to be a careful calculated deception designed to confuse the American people."  [Skousen 1963 pamphlet, "The Communist Attack on the John Birch Society"] 

Presumably, therefore, Skousen thought J. Edgar Hoover and senior FBI officials were "promoting the official Communist Party line".  

Incidentally, this comment by Skousen reveals that he violated a fundamental precept which was constantly re-iterated by J. Edgar Hoover and senior Bureau officials who gave speeches about the communist movement.  

Two examples of comments by J. Edgar Hoover: 

“In connection with this, I have commented generally regarding the need for opposing communism rationally and intelligently.  Our efforts to deal effectively with this subversive menace are not enhanced by those of the extreme right who tend to affix the communist label without intelligent analysis, or by those of the extreme left who endeavor to minimize the real danger of communism. “


“Our fight against communism must be a sane, rational understanding of the facts.  Emotional outbursts, extravagant name-calling, gross exaggerations hinder our efforts.  We must remember that many noncommunists may legitimately on their own oppose the same laws or take positions on issues of the day which are also held by the communists.  Their opinions—though temporarily coinciding with the Party line—do not make them communists.  Not at all.  We must be very careful with our facts and not brand as a communist any individual whose opinion may be different from our own.  Freedom of dissent is a great heritage of America which we must treasure." 

"Today, far too many self-styled experts on communism are plying the highways of America giving erroneous and distorted information. This causes hysteria, false alarms, misplaced apprehension by many of our citizens.  We need enlightenment about communism---but this information must be factual, accurate and not tailored to echo personal idiosyncrasies.”


And another comment by a former Chief of the Domestic Intelligence Division’s Internal Security Unit: 

“Communism feeds on social ferment.  As is evident, the CPUSA, on both a national and local level, is continually exploiting social, economic and political grievances for its own tactical and strategic purposes. For this reason, the position taken by the Party frequently coincides with many noncommunist views on particular issues.  

We must be careful, then, not to indiscriminately label as communists those whose opinions on a particular question may, on occasion, parallel the official Party position.  We must also guard against the tendency to characterize as communists those who merely disagree with us or who advocate unorthodox or unpopular beliefs. 

Whenever anyone is erroneously branded a Communist, the cause of democracy suffers.  First, such an accusation constitutes an injustice to the individual, and when justice is denied to any one of the residents of this country, it is denied to all of them.  Secondly, false rumors help the communist cause by diffusing the strength of the anti-communist forces. 

Just as this is no time for inaction, so too it is no time for wild and irresponsible action.  The responsibilities of citizens are to be certain of their facts and to report these facts to the proper authorities.”


(5)  What did the FBI do once it discovered that Skousen associated himself with an organization which Hoover characterized as a "right-wing extremist" group, and which Hoover declared "represented just as much a danger to the freedom of this country as the extreme left" ?? 

A:  After Associate Director Tolson discovered that Skousen was on the Bureau's "Special Correspondents List" he directed that Skousen be removed from it.   

J. Edgar Hoover handwrote “Right” on the bottom of the memo discussing the matter.  [HQ 94-47468, no serial number; 9/8/61 memo from C.D. DeLoach to Mr. Tolson.] 

So much for the "friendship" between Hoover and Skousen.

Assistant Director DeLoach also has made a pertinent observation about this matter: 

“I have never heard of Skousen being a ‘personal friend’ of Mr. Hoover’s.  He may have known him formally as an Agent, as did hundreds, but not as a personal friend.” 

To be sure, Director Hoover usually sent cordial replies to former Agents who wrote to him.  But it is the Bureau notations on its file copies of those replies which reveals the actual attitude of Hoover and senior FBI officials regarding Skousen and those comments were universally derogatory after Skousen associated himself with “extreme right” views and the organizations promoting those viewpoints.




Paul Skousen is partially correct about this matter, but he totally misses the point and, instead, creates a straw-man argument. 

It is true that for a short period during World War II years, FBI Supervisors who gave public relations speeches were sometimes described in Bureau press releases as an “administrative aide” or “administrative assistant” to Hoover. 

The key point which Paul Skousen understandably chooses to ignore is that the subsequent controversy over this matter affected only two former FBI Special Agents – i.e. Dan Smoot and Cleon Skousen.  And the only reason that it became an issue is because of how both of them sought to capitalize upon their FBI employment to inflate their resume and suggest that they had special knowledge (acquired while inside the FBI) about communist-related matters. 

The following FBI memo excerpt appears in the personnel file of former FBI Special Agent Dan Smoot and it explains the situation concerning use of the description “Administrative Assistant”.

"Former Special Agent Howard D. Smoot: Use of Title Administrative Assistant"

"Purpose: To report results of a review of the personnel file of captioned individual and references in Bureau files to determine if former SA Howard D. Smoot, better known as Dan Smoot, was ever referred to in Bureau correspondence or biographical sketches as an Administrative Assistant to the Director.”  …

"Review of Bureau files: The specific matter concerning the use of the title 'Administrative Assistant' by Smoot was the subject of a memorandum dated 9-13-61 from Mr. Callahan to Mr. Mohr (original attached). It points out that the Bureau has never had an official position classification for Special Agents of either 'Administrative Assistant' or 'Administrative Assistant to the Director'. There were times in the late 1930's when Agent Supervisors at the Seat of Government were referred to as Administrative Assistants in outgoing correspondence in connection with speeches. A SAC Letter dated 7-9-47 advised that there was no such title for Agents as 'Administrative Assistant to the Director' or 'Administrative Assistant' and that such a title should never be used in referring to representatives of the Bureau." …

"Recommendation:  For information. I recommend we continue the same policy as set forth above. It appears obvious that Smoot is attempting to use his prior service with the FBI as much as possible. He is a professional 'anticommunist' who is strictly out for money."  [HQ 62-102576, #125; 11/8/62 memo from D.C. Morrell to Mr. DeLoach; my emphasis in red type.]

The salient point here is that FBI Special Agents were told in 1947 that they should not continue to use a descriptive title which was only used briefly during World War II years.  

However, both Dan Smoot and Cleon Skousen continued to use that description in the 1950’s and 1960’s because it served their purpose of creating a false impression that they had a special connection to the Director of the FBI – and it even suggested that they had some sort of ongoing working relationship with Hoover while they served in the FBI, when the reality is that neither Smoot or Skousen was ever assigned to work in Hoover’s office and neither of them developed any particular expertise about communism while serving in the Bureau (although, unlike Skousen, Smoot did spend time working on the communist squad in the Cleveland field office.)