WALL STREET AND THE BOLSHEVIK REVOLUTION
Antony C. Sutton
TABLE OF CONTENTS
The Actors on the Revolutionary Stage
Trotsky Leaves New York to Complete the Revolution
Woodrow Wilson and a Passport for Trotsky
Canadian Government Documents on Trotsky’s Release
Canadian Military Intelligence Views Trotsky
Trotsky’s Intentions and Objectives
Lenin and German Assistance for the Bolshevik Revolution
The Sisson Documents
The Tug-of-War in Washington
Wall Street and the World Revolution
American Bankers and Tsarist Loans
Olof Aschberg in New York, 1916
Olof Aschberg in the Bolshevik Revolution
Nya Banken and Guaranty Trust Join Ruskombank
Guaranty Trust and German Espionage in the United States, 1914-1917
The Guaranty Trust-Minotto-Caillaux Threads
The American Red Cross Mission in Russia — 1917
American Red Cross Mission to Russia — 1917
American Red Cross Mission to Rumania
Thompson in Kerensky’s Russia
Thompson Gives the Bolsheviks $1 Million
Socialist Mining Promoter Raymond Robins
The International Red Cross and Revolution
Consolidation and Export of the Revolution
A Consultation with Lloyd George
Thompson’s Intentions and Objectives
Thompson Returns to the United States
The Unofficial Ambassadors: Robins, Lockhart, and Sadoul
Exporting the Revolution: Jacob H. Rubin
Exporting the Revolution: Robert Minor
The Bolsheviks Return to New York
A Raid on the Soviet Bureau in New York
Corporate Allies for the Soviet Bureau
European Bankers Aid the Bolsheviks
120 Broadway, New York City
American International Corporation
The Influence of American International on the Revolution
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York
American-Russian Industrial Syndicate Inc.
John Reed: Establishment Revolutionary
John Reed and the Metropolitan Magazine
Guaranty Trust Goes to Russia
Wall Street Comes to the Aid of Professor Lomonossoff
The Stage Is Set for Commercial Exploitation of Russia
Germany and the United States Struggle for Russian Business
Soviet Gold and American Banks
Max May of Guaranty Trust Becomes Director of Ruskombank
J.P. Morgan Gives a Little Help to the Other Side
United Americans Formed to Fight Communism
United Americans Reveals “Startling Disclosures” on Reds
Conclusions Concerning United Americans
Morgan and Rockefeller Aid Kolchak
The Alliance of Bankers and Revolution
The Evidence Presented: A Synopsis
The Explanation for the Unholy Alliance
The Marburg Plan
Directors of Major Banks,
Firms, and Institutions Mentioned
in This Book (as in 1917-1918)
The Jewish-Conspiracy Theory of the
Selected Documents from Government
Files of the United States and Great Britain
those unknown Russian libertarians, also
known as Greens, who in 1919 fought both
the Reds and the Whites in their attempt to
gain a free and voluntary Russia
This work was created with the permission of Antony
All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be
reproduced without written permission from the author,
except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in
connection with a review.
HTML version created in the United States of America
by Studies in Reformed Theology
Since the early 1920s, numerous pamphlets and articles, even a few books, have sought to
forge a link between “international bankers” and “Bolshevik revolutionaries.” Rarely have
these attempts been supported by hard evidence, and never have such attempts been argued
within the framework of a scientific methodology. Indeed, some of the “evidence” used in these
efforts has been fraudulent, some has been irrelevant, much cannot be checked. Examination of
the topic by academic writers has been studiously avoided; probably because the hypothesis
offends the neat dichotomy of capitalists versus Communists (and everyone knows, of course,
that these are bitter enemies). Moreover, because a great deal that has been written borders on
the absurd, a sound academic reputation could easily be wrecked on the shoals of ridicule.
Reason enough to avoid the topic.
Fortunately, the State Department Decimal File, particularly the 861.00 section, contains
extensive documentation on the hypothesized link. When the evidence in these official papers
is merged with nonofficial evidence from biographies, personal papers, and conventional
histories, a truly fascinating story emerges.
We find there was a link between some New York international bankers and many
revolutionaries, including Bolsheviks. These banking gentlemen — who are here identified —
had a financial stake in, and were rooting for, the success of the Bolshevik Revolution.
Who, why — and for how much — is the story in this book.
Antony C. Sutton
THE ACTORS ON THE REVOLUTIONARY STAGE
Dear Mr. President:
I am in sympathy with the Soviet form of government as that best suited
for the Russian people…
Letter to President Woodrow Wilson (October 17, 1918) from William
Lawrence Saunders, chairman, Ingersoll-Rand Corp.; director, American
International Corp.; and deputy chairman, Federal Reserve Bank of New York
The frontispiece in this book was drawn by cartoonist Robert Minor in 1911 for the St. Louis
Post-Dispatch. Minor was a talented artist and writer who doubled as a Bolshevik
revolutionary, got himself arrested in Russia in 1915 for alleged subversion, and was later bank-
rolled by prominent Wall Street financiers. Minor’s cartoon portrays a bearded, beaming Karl
Marx standing in Wall Street with Socialism tucked under his arm and accepting the
congratulations of financial luminaries J.P. Morgan, Morgan partner George W. Perkins, a
smug John D. Rockefeller, John D. Ryan of National City Bank, and Teddy Roosevelt —
prominently identified by his famous teeth — in the background. Wall Street is decorated by
Red flags. The cheering crowd and the airborne hats suggest that Karl Marx must have been a
fairly popular sort of fellow in the New York financial district.
Was Robert Minor dreaming? On the contrary, we shall see that Minor was on firm ground in
depicting an enthusiastic alliance of Wall Street and Marxist socialism. The characters in
Minor’s cartoon — Karl Marx (symbolizing the future revolutionaries Lenin and Trotsky), J. P.
Morgan, John D. Rockefeller — and indeed Robert Minor himself, are also prominent characters
in this book.
The contradictions suggested by Minor’s cartoon have been brushed under the rug of history
because they do not fit the accepted conceptual spectrum of political left and political right.
Bolsheviks are at the left end of the political spectrum and Wall Street financiers are at the
right end; therefore, we implicitly reason, the two groups have nothing in common and any
alliance between the two is absurd. Factors contrary to this neat conceptual arrangement are
usually rejected as bizarre observations or unfortunate errors. Modern history possesses such a
built-in duality and certainly if too many uncomfortable facts have been rejected and brushed
under the rug, it is an inaccurate history.
On the other hand, it may be observed that both the extreme right and the extreme left of the
conventional political spectrum are absolutely collectivist. The national socialist (for example,
the fascist) and the international socialist (for example, the Communist) both recommend
totalitarian politico-economic systems based on naked, unfettered political power and
individual coercion. Both systems require monopoly control of society. While monopoly
control of industries was once the objective of J. P. Morgan and J. D. Rockefeller, by the late
nineteenth century the inner sanctums of Wall Street understood that the most efficient way to
gain an unchallenged monopoly was to “go political” and make society go to work for the
monopolists — under the name of the public good and the public interest. This strategy was
detailed in 1906 by Frederick C. Howe in his Confessions of a Monopolist.1 Howe, by the way,
is also a figure in the story of the Bolshevik Revolution.
Therefore, an alternative conceptual packaging of political ideas and politico-economic
systems would be that of ranking the degree of individual freedom versus the degree of
centralized political control. Under such an ordering the corporate welfare state and socialism
are at the same end of the spectrum. Hence we see that attempts at monopoly control of society
can have different labels while owning common features.
Consequently, one barrier to mature understanding of recent history is the notion that all
capitalists are the bitter and unswerving enemies of all Marxists and socialists. This erroneous
idea originated with Karl Marx and was undoubtedly useful to his purposes. In fact, the idea is
nonsense. There has been a continuing, albeit concealed, alliance between international
political capitalists and international revolutionary socialists — to their mutual benefit. This
alliance has gone unobserved largely because historians — with a few notable exceptions — have
an unconscious Marxian bias and are thus locked into the impossibility of any such alliance
existing. The open-minded reader should bear two clues in mind: monopoly capitalists are the
bitter enemies of laissez-faire entrepreneurs; and, given the weaknesses of socialist central
planning, the totalitarian socialist state is a perfect captive market for monopoly capitalists, if
an alliance can be made with the socialist powerbrokers. Suppose — and it is only hypothesis at
this point — that American monopoly capitalists were able to reduce a planned socialist Russia
to the status of a captive technical colony? Would not this be the logical twentieth-century
internationalist extension of the Morgan railroad monopolies and the Rockefeller petroleum
trust of the late nineteenth century?
Apart from Gabriel Kolko, Murray Rothbard, and the revisionists, historians have not been
alert for such a combination of events. Historical reporting, with rare exceptions, has been
forced into a dichotomy of capitalists versus socialists. George Kennan’s monumental and
readable study of the Russian Revolution consistently maintains this fiction of a Wall Street-
Bolshevik dichotomy.2 Russia Leaves the War has a single incidental reference to the J.P.
Morgan firm and no reference at all to Guaranty Trust Company. Yet both organizations are
prominently mentioned in the State Department files, to which frequent reference is made in
this book, and both are part of the core of the evidence presented here. Neither self-admitted
“Bolshevik banker” Olof Aschberg nor Nya Banken in Stockholm is mentioned in Kennan yet
both were central to Bolshevik funding. Moreover, in minor yet crucial circumstances, at least
crucial for our argument, Kennan is factually in error. For example, Kennan cites Federal
Reserve Bank director William Boyce Thompson as leaving Russia on November 27, 1917.
This departure date would make it physically impossible for Thompson to be in Petrograd on
December 2, 1917, to transmit a cable request for $1 million to Morgan in New York.
Thompson in fact left Petrograd on December 4, 1918, two days after sending the cable to New
York. Then again, Kennan states that on November 30, 1917, Trotsky delivered a speech
before the Petrograd Soviet in which he observed, “Today I had here in the Smolny Institute
two Americans closely connected with American Capitalist elements “According to Kennan, it
“is difficult to imagine” who these two Americans “could have been, if not Robins and
Gumberg.” But in [act Alexander Gumberg was Russian, not American. Further, as Thompson
was still in Russia on November 30, 1917, then the two Americans who visited Trotsky were
more than likely Raymond Robins, a mining promoter turned do-gooder, and Thompson, of the
Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
The Bolshevization of Wall Street was known among well informed circles as early as 1919.
The financial journalist Barron recorded a conversation with oil magnate E. H. Doheny in 1919
and specifically named three prominent financiers, William Boyce Thompson, Thomas Lamont
and Charles R. Crane:
Aboard S.S. Aquitania, Friday Evening, February 1, 1919.
Spent the evening with the Dohenys in their suite. Mr. Doheny said: If you
believe in democracy you cannot believe in Socialism. Socialism is the poison
that destroys democracy. Democracy means opportunity for all. Socialism
holds out the hope that a man can quit work and be better off. Bolshevism is
the true fruit of socialism and if you will read the interesting testimony before
the Senate Committee about the middle of January that showed up all these
pacifists and peace-makers as German sympathizers, Socialists, and
Bolsheviks, you will see that a majority of the college professors in the United
States are teaching socialism and Bolshevism and that fifty-two college
professors were on so-called peace committees in 1914. President Eliot of
Harvard is teaching Bolshevism. The worst Bolshevists in the United States
are not only college professors, of whom President Wilson is one, but
capitalists and the wives of capitalists and neither seem to know what they are
talking about. William Boyce Thompson is teaching Bolshevism and he may
yet convert Lamont of J.P. Morgan & Company. Vanderlip is a Bolshevist, so
is Charles R. Crane. Many women are joining the movement and neither they,
nor their husbands, know what it is, or what it leads to. Henry Ford is another
and so are most of those one hundred historians Wilson took abroad with him
in the foolish idea that history can teach youth proper demarcations of races,
peoples, and nations geographically.3
In brief, this is a story of the Bolshevik Revolution and its aftermath, but a story that departs
from the usual conceptual straitjacket approach of capitalists versus Communists. Our story
postulates a partnership between international monopoly capitalism and international
revolutionary socialism for their mutual benefit. The final human cost of this alliance has fallen
upon the shoulders of the individual Russian and the individual American. Entrepreneurship
has been brought into disrepute and the world has been propelled toward inefficient socialist
planning as a result of these monopoly maneuverings in the world of politics and revolution.
This is also a story reflecting the betrayal of the Russian Revolution. The tsars and their corrupt
political system were ejected only to be replaced by the new powerbrokers of another corrupt
political system. Where the United States could have exerted its dominant influence to bring
about a free Russia it truckled to the ambitions of a few Wall Street financiers who, for their
own purposes, could accept a centralized tsarist Russia or a centralized Marxist Russia but not
a decentralized free Russia. And the reasons for these assertions will unfold as we develop the
underlying and, so far, untold history of the Russian Revolution and its aftermath.4
“These are the rules of big business. They have superseded the teachings of
our parents and are reducible to a simple maxim: Get a monopoly; let Society
work for you: and remember that the best of all business is politics, for a
legislative grant, franchise, subsidy or tax exemption is worth more than a
Kimberly or Comstock lode, since it does not require any labor, either mental
or physical, lot its exploitation” (Chicago: Public Publishing, 1906), p. 157.
2George F. Kennan, Russia Leaves the War (New York: Atheneum, 1967);
and Decision to Intervene.. Soviet-American Relations, 1917-1920 (Princeton,
N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1958).
3Arthur Pound and Samuel Taylor Moore, They Told Barron (New York:
Harper & Brothers, 1930), pp. 13-14.
4There is a parallel, and also unknown, history with respect to the
Makhanovite movement that fought both the “Whites” and the “Reds” in the
Civil War of 1919-20 (see Voline, The Unknown Revolution [New York:
Libertarian Book Club, 1953]). There was also the “Green” movement, which
fought both Whites and Reds. The author has never seen even one isolated
mention of the Greens in any history of the Bolshevik Revolution. Yet the
Green Army was at least 700,000 strong!
TROTSKY LEAVES NEW YORK TO COMPLETE THE REVOLUTION
You will have a revolution, a terrible revolution. What course it takes will
depend much on what Mr. Rockefeller tells Mr. Hague to do. Mr. Rockefeller
is a symbol of the American ruling class and Mr. Hague is a symbol of its
Leon Trotsky, in New York Times, December 13, 1938. (Hague was a New
In 1916, the year preceding the Russian Revolution, internationalist Leon Trotsky was expelled
from France, officially because of his participation in the Zimmerwald conference but also no
doubt because of inflammatory articles written for Nashe Slovo, a Russian-language newspaper
printed in Paris. In September 1916 Trotsky was politely escorted across the Spanish border by
French police. A few days later Madrid police arrested the internationalist and lodged him in a
“first-class cell” at a charge of one-and-one-haft pesetas per day. Subsequently Trotsky was
taken to Cadiz, then to Barcelona finally to be placed on board the Spanish Transatlantic
Company steamer Monserrat. Trotsky and family crossed the Atlantic Ocean and landed in
New York on January 13, 1917.
Other Trotskyites also made their way westward across the Atlantic. Indeed, one Trotskyite
group acquired sufficient immediate influence in Mexico to write the Constitution of Querétaro
for the revolutionary 1917 Carranza government, giving Mexico the dubious distinction of
being the first government in the world to adopt a Soviet-type constitution.
How did Trotsky, who knew only German and Russian, survive in capitalist America?
According to his autobiography, My Life, “My only profession in New York was that of a
revolutionary socialist.” In other words, Trotsky wrote occasional articles for Novy Mir, the
New York Russian socialist journal. Yet we know that the Trotsky family apartment in New
York had a refrigerator and a telephone, and, according to Trotsky, that the family occasionally
traveled in a chauffeured limousine. This mode of living puzzled the two young Trotsky boys.
When they went into a tearoom, the boys would anxiously demand of their mother, “Why
doesn’t the chauffeur come in?”1 The stylish living standard is also at odds with Trotsky’s
reported income. The only funds that Trotsky admits receiving in 1916 and 1917 are $310, and,
said Trotsky, “I distributed the $310 among five emigrants who were returning to Russia.” Yet
Trotsky had paid for a first-class cell in Spain, the Trotsky family had traveled across Europe to
the United States, they had acquired an excellent apartment in New York — paying rent three
months in advance — and they had use of a chauffeured limousine. All this on the earnings of an
impoverished revolutionary for a few articles for the low-circulation Russian-language
newspaper Nashe Slovo in Paris and Novy Mir in New York!
Joseph Nedava estimates Trotsky’s 1917 income at $12.00 per week, “supplemented by some
lecture fees.”2 Trotsky was in New York in 1917 for three months, from January to March, so
that makes $144.00 in income from Novy Mir and, say, another $100.00 in lecture fees, for a
total of $244.00. Of this $244.00 Trotsky was able to give away $310.00 to his friends, pay for
the New York apartment, provide for his family — and find the $10,000 that was taken from
him in April 1917 by Canadian authorities in Halifax. Trotsky claims that those who said he
had other sources of income are “slanderers” spreading “stupid calumnies” and “lies,” but
unless Trotsky was playing the horses at the Jamaica racetrack, it can’t be done. Obviously
Trotsky had an unreported source of income.
What was that source? In The Road to Safety, author Arthur Willert says Trotsky earned a
living by working as an electrician for Fox Film Studios. Other writers have cited other
occupations, but there is no evidence that Trotsky occupied himself for remuneration otherwise
than by writing and speaking.
Most investigation has centered on the verifiable fact that when Trotsky left New York in 1917
for Petrograd, to organize the Bolshevik phase of the revolution, he left with $10,000. In 1919
the U.S. Senate Overman Committee investigated Bolshevik propaganda and German money in
the United States and incidentally touched on the source of Trotsky’s $10,000. Examination of
Colonel Hurban, Washington attaché to the Czech legation, by the Overman Committee
yielded the following:
COL. HURBAN: Trotsky, perhaps, took money from Germany, but Trotsky
will deny it. Lenin would not deny it. Miliukov proved that he got $10,000
from some Germans while he was in America. Miliukov had the proof, but he
denied it. Trotsky did, although Miliukov had the proof.
SENATOR OVERMAN: It was charged that Trotsky got $10,000 here.
COL. HURBAN: I do not remember how much it was, but I know it was a
question between him and Miliukov.
SENATOR OVERMAN: Miliukov proved it, did he?
COL. HURBAN: Yes, sir.
SENATOR OVERMAN: Do you know where he got it from?
COL. HURBAN: I remember it was $10,000; but it is no matter. I will speak
about their propaganda. The German Government knew Russia better than
anybody, and they knew that with the help of those people they could destroy
the Russian army.
(At 5:45 o’clock p.m. the subcommittee adjourned until tomorrow,
Wednesday, February 19, at 10:30 o’clock a.m.)3
It is quite remarkable that the committee adjourned abruptly before the source of Trotsky’s
funds could be placed into the Senate record. When questioning resumed the next day, Trotsky
and his $10,000 were no longer of interest to the Overman Committee. We shall later develop
evidence concerning the financing of German and revolutionary activities in the United States
by New York financial houses; the origins of Trotsky’s $10,000 will then come into focus.
An amount of $10,000 of German origin is also mentioned in the official British telegram to
Canadian naval authorities in Halifax, who requested that Trotsky and party en route to the
revolution be taken off the S.S. Kristianiafjord (see page 28). We also learn from a British
Directorate of Intelligence report4 that Gregory Weinstein, who in 1919 was to become a
prominent member of the Soviet Bureau in New York, collected funds for Trotsky in New
York. These funds originated in Germany and were channeled through the Volks-zeitung, a
German daily newspaper in New York and subsidized by the German government.
While Trotsky’s funds are officially reported as German, Trotsky was actively engaged in
American politics immediately prior to leaving New York for Russia and the revolution. On
March 5, 1917, American newspapers headlined the increasing possibility of war with
Germany; the same evening Trotsky proposed a resolution at the meeting of the New York
County Socialist Party “pledging Socialists to encourage strikes and resist recruiting in the
event of war with Germany.”5 Leon Trotsky was called by the New York Times “an exiled
Russian revolutionist.” Louis C. Fraina, who cosponsored the Trotsky resolution, later — under
an alias — wrote an uncritical book on the Morgan financial empire entitled House of Morgan.6
The Trotsky-Fraina proposal was opposed by the Morris Hillquit faction, and the Socialist
Party subsequently voted opposition to the resolution.7
More than a week later, on March 16, at the time of the deposition of the tsar, Leon Trotsky
was interviewed in the offices of Novy Mir.. The interview contained a prophetic statement on
the Russian revolution:
“… the committee which has taken the place of the deposed Ministry in Russia
did not represent the interests or the aims of the revolutionists, that it would
probably be shortlived and step down in favor of men who would be more sure
to carry forward the democratization of Russia.”8
The “men who would be more sure to carry forward the democratization of Russia,” that is, the
Mensheviks and the Bolsheviks, were then in exile abroad and needed first to return to Russia.
The temporary “committee” was therefore dubbed the Provisional Government, a title, it should
be noted, that was used from the start of the revolution in March and not applied ex post facto
WOODROW WILSON AND A PASSPORT FOR TROTSKY
President Woodrow Wilson was the fairy godmother who provided Trotsky with a passport to
return to Russia to “carry forward” the revolution. This American passport was accompanied
by a Russian entry permit and a British transit visa. Jennings C. Wise, in Woodrow Wilson:
Disciple of Revolution, makes the pertinent comment, “Historians must never forget that
Woodrow Wilson, despite the efforts of the British police, made it possible for Leon Trotsky to
enter Russia with an American passport.”
President Wilson facilitated Trotsky’s passage to Russia at the same time careful State
Department bureaucrats, concerned about such revolutionaries entering Russia, were
unilaterally attempting to tighten up passport procedures. The Stockholm legation cabled the
State Department on June 13, 1917, just after Trotsky crossed the Finnish-Russian border,
“Legation confidentially informed Russian, English and French passport offices at Russian
frontier, Tornea, considerably worried by passage of suspicious persons bearing American
To this cable the State Department replied, on the same day, “Department is exercising special
care in issuance of passports for Russia”; the department also authorized expenditures by the
legation to establish a passport-control office in Stockholm and to hire an “absolutely
dependable American citizen” for employment on control work.10 But the bird had flown the
coop. Menshevik Trotsky with Lenin’s Bolsheviks were already in Russia preparing to “carry
forward” the revolution. The passport net erected caught only more legitimate birds. For
example, on June 26, 1917, Herman Bernstein, a reputable New York newspaperman on his
way to Petrograd to represent the New York Herald, was held at the border and refused entry to
Russia. Somewhat tardily, in mid-August 1917 the Russian embassy in Washington requested
the State Department (and State agreed) to “prevent the entry into Russia of criminals and
anarchists… numbers of whom have already gone to Russia.”11
Consequently, by virtue of preferential treatment for Trotsky, when the S.S. Kristianiafjord left
New York on March 26, 1917, Trotsky was aboard and holding a U.S. passport — and in
company with other Trotskyire revolutionaries, Wall Street financiers, American Communists,
and other interesting persons, few of whom had embarked for legitimate business. This mixed
bag of passengers has been described by Lincoln Steffens, the American Communist:
The passenger list was long and mysterious. Trotsky was in the steerage with a
group of revolutionaries; there was a Japanese revolutionist in my cabin. There
were a lot of Dutch hurrying home from Java, the only innocent people
aboard. The rest were war messengers, two from Wall Street to Germany….12
Notably, Lincoln Steffens was on board en route to Russia at the specific invitation of Charles
Richard Crane, a backer and a former chairman of the Democratic Party’s finance committee.
Charles Crane, vice president of the Crane Company, had organized the Westinghouse
Company in Russia, was a member of the Root mission to Russia, and had made no fewer than
twenty-three visits to Russia between 1890 and 1930. Richard Crane, his son, was confidential
assistant to then Secretary of State Robert Lansing. According to the former ambassador to
Germany William Dodd, Crane “did much to bring on the Kerensky revolution which gave way
to Communism.”13 And so Steffens’ comments in his diary about conversations aboard the S.S.
Kristianiafjord are highly pertinent:” . . . all agree that the revolution is in its first phase only,
that it must grow. Crane and Russian radicals on the ship think we shall be in Petrograd for the
Crane returned to the United States when the Bolshevik Revolution (that is, “the re-revolution”)
had been completed and, although a private citizen, was given firsthand reports of the progress
of the Bolshevik Revolution as cables were received at the State Department. For example, one
memorandum, dated December 11, 1917, is entitled “Copy of report on Maximalist uprising for
Mr Crane.” It originated with Maddin Summers, U.S. consul general in Moscow, and the
covering letter from Summers reads in part:
I have the honor to enclose herewith a copy of same [above report] with the
request that it be sent for the confidential information of Mr. Charles R. Crane.
It is assumed that the Department will have no objection to Mr. Crane seeing
the report ….15
In brief, the unlikely and puzzling picture that emerges is that Charles Crane, a friend and
backer of Woodrow Wilson and a prominent financier and politician, had a known role in the
“first” revolution and traveled to Russia in mid-1917 in company with the American
Communist Lincoln Steffens, who was in touch with both Woodrow Wilson and Trotsky. The
latter in turn was carrying a passport issued at the orders of Wilson and $10,000 from supposed
German sources. On his return to the U.S. after the “re-revolution,” Crane was granted access
to official documents concerning consolidation of the Bolshevik regime: This is a pattern of
interlocking — if puzzling — events that warrants further investigation and suggests, though
without at this point providing evidence, some link between the financier Crane and the
CANADIAN GOVERNMENT DOCUMENTS ON TROTSKY’S RELEASE16
Documents on Trotsky’s brief stay in Canadian custody are now de-classified and available
from the Canadian government archives. According to these archives, Trotsky was removed by
Canadian and British naval personnel from the S.S. Kristianiafjord at Halifax, Nova Scotia, on
April 3, 1917, listed as a German prisoner of war, and interned at the Amherst, Nova Scotia,
internment station for German prisoners. Mrs. Trotsky, the two Trotsky boys, and five other
men described as “Russian Socialists” were also taken off and interned. Their names are
recorded by the Canadian files as: Nickita Muchin, Leiba Fisheleff, Konstantin Romanchanco,
Gregor Teheodnovski, Gerchon Melintchansky and Leon Bronstein Trotsky (all spellings from
original Canadian documents).
Canadian Army form LB-l, under serial number 1098 (including thumb prints), was completed
for Trotsky, with a description as follows: “37 years old, a political exile, occupation journalist,
born in Gromskty, Chuson, Russia, Russian citizen.” The form was signed by Leon Trotsky
and his full name given as Leon Bromstein (sic) Trotsky.
The Trotsky party was removed from the S.S. Kristianiafjord under official instructions
received by cablegram of March 29, 1917, London, presumably originating in the Admiralty
with the naval control officer, Halifax. The cablegram reported that the Trotsky party was on
the “Christianiafjord” (sic) and should be “taken off and retained pending instructions.” The
reason given to the naval control officer at Halifax was that “these are Russian Socialists
leaving for purposes of starting revolution against present Russian government for which
Trotsky is reported to have 10,000 dollars subscribed by Socialists and Germans.”
On April 1, 1917, the naval control officer, Captain O. M. Makins, sent a confidential
memorandum to the general officer commanding at Halifax, to the effect that he had “examined
all Russian passengers” aboard the S.S. Kristianiafjord and found six men in the second-class
section: “They are all avowed Socialists, and though professing a desire to help the new
Russian Govt., might well be in league with German Socialists in America, and quite likely to
be a great hindrance to the Govt. in Russia just at present.” Captain Makins added that he was
going to remove the group, as well as Trotsky’s wife and two sons, in order to intern them at
Halifax. A copy of this report was forwarded from Halifax to the chief of the General Staff in
Ottawa on April 2, 1917.
The next document in the Canadian files is dated April 7, from the chief of the General Staff,
Ottawa, to the director of internment operations, and acknowledges a previous letter (not in the
files) about the internment of Russian socialists at Amherst, Nova Scotia: “. . . in this
connection, have to inform you of the receipt of a long telegram yesterday from the Russian
Consul General, MONTREAL, protesting against the arrest of these men as they were in
possession of passports issued by the Russian Consul General, NEW YORK, U.S.A.”
The reply to this Montreal telegram was to the effect that the men were interned “on suspicion
of being German,” and would be released only upon definite proof of their nationality and
loyalty to the Allies. No telegrams from the Russian consul general in New York are in the
Canadian files, and it is known that this office was reluctant to issue Russian passports to
Russian political exiles. However, there is a telegram in the files from a New York attorney, N.
Aleinikoff, to R. M. Coulter, then deputy postmaster general of Canada. The postmaster
general’s office in Canada had no connection with either internment of prisoners of war or
military activities. Accordingly, this telegram was in the nature of a personal, nonofficial
intervention. It reads:
DR. R. M. COULTER, Postmaster Genl. OTTAWA Russian political exiles
returning to Russia detained Halifax interned Amherst camp. Kindly
investigate and advise cause of the detention and names of all detained. Trust
as champion of freedom you will intercede on their behalf. Please wire collect.
On April 11, Coulter wired Aleinikoff, “Telegram received. Writing you this afternoon. You
should receive it tomorrow evening. R. M. Coulter.” This telegram was sent by the Canadian
Pacific Railway Telegraph but charged to the Canadian Post Office Department. Normally a
private business telegram would be charged to the recipient and this was not official business.
The follow-up Coulter letter to Aleinikoff is interesting because, after confirming that the
Trotsky party was held at Amherst, it states that they were suspected of propaganda against the
present Russian government and “are supposed to be agents of Germany.” Coulter then adds,” .
. . they are not what they represent themselves to be”; the Trotsky group is “…not detained by
Canada, but by the Imperial authorities.” After assuring Aleinikoff that the detainees would be
made comfortable, Coulter adds that any information “in their favour” would be transmitted to
the military authorities. The general impression of the letter is that while Coulter is sympathetic
and fully aware of Trotsky’s pro-German links, he is unwilling to get involved. On April 11
Arthur Wolf of 134 East Broadway, New York, sent a telegram to Coulter. Though sent from
New York, this telegram, after being acknowledged, was also charged to the Canadian Post
Coulter’s reactions, however, reflect more than the detached sympathy evident in his letter to
Aleinikoff. They must be considered in the light of the fact that these letters in behalf of
Trotsky came from two American residents of New York City and involved a Canadian or
Imperial military matter of international importance. Further, Coulter, as deputy postmaster
general, was a Canadian government official of some standing. Ponder, for a moment, what
would happen to someone who similarly intervened in United States affairs! In the Trotsky
affair we have two American residents corresponding with a Canadian deputy postmaster
general in order to intervene in behalf of an interned Russian revolutionary.
Coulter’s subsequent action also suggests something more than casual intervention. After
Coulter acknowledged the Aleinikoff and Wolf telegrams, he wrote to Major General
Willoughby Gwatkin of the Department of Militia and Defense in Ottawa — a man of
significant influence in the Canadian military — and attached copies of the Aleinikoff and Wolf
These men have been hostile to Russia because of the way the Jews have been
treated, and are now strongly in favor of the present Administration, so far as I
know. Both are responsible men. Both are reputable men, and I am sending
their telegrams to you for what they may be worth, and so that you may
represent them to the English authorities if you deem it wise.
Obviously Coulter knows — or intimates that he knows — a great deal about Aleinikoff and
Wolf. His letter was in effect a character reference, and aimed at the root of the internment
problem — London. Gwatkin was well known in London, and in fact was on loan to Canada
from the War Office in London.17
Aleinikoff then sent a letter to Coulter to thank him
most heartily for the interest you have taken in the fate of the Russian Political
Exiles …. You know me, esteemed Dr. Coulter, and you also know my
devotion to the cause of Russian freedom …. Happily I know Mr. Trotsky, Mr.
Melnichahnsky, and Mr. Chudnowsky . . . intimately.
It might be noted as an aside that if Aleinikoff knew Trotsky “intimately,” then he would also
probably be aware that Trotsky had declared his intention to return to Russia to overthrow the
Provisional Government and institute the “re-revolution.” On receipt of Aleinikoff’s letter,
Coulter immediately (April 16) forwarded it to Major General Gwatkin, adding that he became
acquainted with Aleinikoff “in connection with Departmental action on United States papers in
the Russian language” and that Aleinikoff was working “on the same lines as Mr. Wolf . . . who
was an escaped prisoner from Siberia.”
Previously, on April 14, Gwatkin sent a memorandum to his naval counterpart on the Canadian
Military Interdepartmental Committee repeating that the internees were Russian socialists with
“10,000 dollars subscribed by socialists and Germans.” The concluding paragraph stated: “On
the other hand there are those who declare that an act of high-handed injustice has been done.”
Then on April 16, Vice Admiral C. E. Kingsmill, director of the Naval Service, took Gwatkin’s
intervention at face value. In a letter to Captain Makins, the naval control officer at Halifax, he
stated, “The Militia authorities request that a decision as to their (that is, the six Russians)
disposal may be hastened.” A copy of this instruction was relayed to Gwatkin who in turn
informed Deputy Postmaster General Coulter. Three days later Gwatkin applied pressure. In a
memorandum of April 20 to the naval secretary, he wrote, “Can you say, please, whether or not
the Naval Control Office has given a decision?”
On the same day (April 20) Captain Makins wrote Admiral Kingsmill explaining his reasons
for removing Trotsky; he refused to be pressured into making a decision, stating, “I will cable
to the Admiralty informing them that the Militia authorities are requesting an early decision as
to their disposal.” However, the next day, April 21, Gwatkin wrote Coulter: “Our friends the
Russian socialists are to be released; and arrangements are being made for their passage to
Europe.” The order to Makins for Trotsky’s release originated in the Admiralty, London.
Coulter acknowledged the information, “which will please our New York correspondents
While we can, on the one hand, conclude that Coulter and Gwatkin were intensely interested in
the release of Trotsky, we do not, on the other hand, know why. There was little in the career of
either Deputy Postmaster General Coulter or Major General Gwatkin that would explain an
urge to release the Menshevik Leon Trotsky.
Dr. Robert Miller Coulter was a medical doctor of Scottish and Irish parents, a liberal, a
Freemason, and an Odd Fellow. He was appointed deputy postmaster general of Canada in
1897. His sole claim to fame derived from being a delegate to the Universal Postal Union
Convention in 1906 and a delegate to New Zealand and Australia in 1908 for the “All Red”
project. All Red had nothing to do with Red revolutionaries; it was only a plan for all-red or all-
British fast steamships between Great Britain, Canada, and Australia.
Major General Willoughby Gwatkin stemmed from a long British military tradition
(Cambridge and then Staff College). A specialist in mobilization, he served in Canada from
1905 to 1918. Given only the documents in the Canadian files, we can but conclude that their
intervention in behalf of Trotsky is a mystery.
CANADIAN MILITARY INTELLIGENCE VIEWS TROTSKY
We can approach the Trotsky release case from another angle: Canadian intelligence.
Lieutenant Colonel John Bayne MacLean, a prominent Canadian publisher and businessman,
founder and president of MacLean Publishing Company, Toronto, operated
numerous Canadian trade journals, including the Financial Post. MacLean also had a long-time
association with Canadian Army Intelligence.18
In 1918 Colonel MacLean wrote for his own MacLean’s magazine an article entitled “Why Did
We Let Trotsky Go? How Canada Lost an Opportunity to Shorten the War.”19 The article
contained detailed and unusual information about Leon Trotsky, although the last half of the
piece wanders off into space remarking about barely related matters. We have two clues to the
authenticity of the information. First, Colonel MacLean was a man of integrity with excellent
connections in Canadian government intelligence. Second, government records since released
by Canada, Great Britain, and the United States confirm MacLean’s statement to a significant
degree. Some MacLean statements remain to be confirmed, but information available in the
early 1970s is not necessarily inconsistent with Colonel MacLean’s article.
MacLean’s opening argument is that “some Canadian politicians or officials were chiefly
responsible for the prolongation of the war [World War I], for the great loss of life, the wounds
and sufferings of the winter of 1917 and the great drives of 1918.”
Further, states MacLean, these persons were (in 1919)doing everything possible to prevent
Parliament and the Canadian people from getting the related facts. Official reports, including
those of Sir Douglas Haig, demonstrate that but for the Russian break in 1917 the war would
have been over a year earlier, and that “the man chiefly responsible for the defection of Russia
was Trotsky… acting under German instructions.”
Who was Trotsky? According to MacLean, Trotsky was not Russian, but German. Odd as this
assertion may appear it does coincide with other scraps of intelligence information: to wit, that
Trotsky spoke better German than Russian, and that he was the Russian executive of the
German “Black Bond.” According to MacLean, Trotsky in August 1914 had been
“ostentatiously” expelled from Berlin;20 he finally arrived in the United States where he
organized Russian revolutionaries, as well as revolutionaries in Western Canada, who “were
largely Germans and Austrians traveling as Russians.” MacLean continues:
Originally the British found through Russian associates that Kerensky,21 Lenin
and some lesser leaders were practically in German pay as early as 1915 and
they uncovered in 1916 the connections with Trotsky then living in New York.
From that time he was closely watched by… the Bomb Squad. In the early part
of 1916 a German official sailed for New York. British Intelligence officials
accompanied him. He was held up at Halifax; but on their instruction he was
passed on with profuse apologies for the necessary delay. After much
manoeuvering he arrived in a dirty little newspaper office in the slums and
there found Trotsky, to whom he bore important instructions. From June 1916,
until they passed him on [to] the British, the N.Y. Bomb Squad never lost
touch with Trotsky. They discovered that his real name was Braunstein and
that he was a German, not a Russian.22
Such German activity in neutral countries is confirmed in a State Department report (316-9-764-
9) describing organization of Russian refugees for revolutionary purposes.
Continuing, MacLean states that Trotsky and four associates sailed on the “S.S. Christiania”
(sic), and on April 3 reported to “Captain Making” (sic) and were taken off the ship at Halifax
under the direction of Lieutenant Jones. (Actually a party of nine, including six men, were
taken off the S.S. Kristianiafjord. The name of the naval control officer at Halifax was Captain
O. M. Makins, R.N. The name of the officer who removed the Trotsky party from the ship is
not in the Canadian government documents; Trotsky said it was “Machen.”) Again, according
to MacLean, Trotsky’s money came “from German sources in New York.” Also:
generally the explanation given is that the release was done at the request of
Kerensky but months before this British officers and one Canadian serving in
Russia, who could speak the Russian language, reported to London and
Washington that Kerensky was in German service.23
Trotsky was released “at the request of the British Embassy at Washington . . . [which] acted
on the request of the U.S. State Department, who were acting for someone else.” Canadian
officials “were instructed to inform the press that Trotsky was an American citizen travelling
on an American passport; that his release was specially demanded by the Washington State
Department.” Moreover, writes MacLean, in Ottawa “Trotsky had, and continues to have,
strong underground influence. There his power was so great that orders were issued that he
must be given every consideration.”
The theme of MacLean’s reporting is, quite evidently, that Trotsky had intimate relations with,
and probably worked for, the German General Staff. While such relations have been
established regarding Lenin — to the extent that Lenin was subsidized and his return to Russia
facilitated by the Germans — it appears certain that Trotsky was similarly aided. The $10,000
Trotsky fund in New York was from German sources, and a recently declassified document in
the U.S. State Department files reads as follows:
March 9, 1918 to: American Consul, Vladivostok from Polk, Acting Secretary
of State, Washington D.C.
For your confidential information and prompt attention: Following is
substance of message of January twelfth from Von Schanz of German Imperial
Bank to Trotsky, quote Consent imperial bank to appropriation from credit
general staff of five million roubles for sending assistant chief naval
commissioner Kudrisheff to Far East.
This message suggests some liaison between Trotsky and the Germans in January 1918, a time
when Trotsky was proposing an alliance with the West. The State Department does not give the
provenance of the telegram, only that it originated with the War College Staff. The State
Department did treat the message as authentic and acted on the basis of assumed authenticity. It
is consistent with the general theme of Colonel MacLean’s article.
TROTSKY’S INTENTIONS AND OBJECTIVES
Consequently, we can derive the following sequence of events: Trotsky traveled from New
York to Petrograd on a passport supplied by the intervention of Woodrow Wilson, and with the
declared intention to “carry forward” the revolution. The British government was the
immediate source of Trotsky’s release from Canadian custody in April 1917, but there may well
have been “pressures.” Lincoln Steffens, an American Communist, acted as a link between
Wilson and Charles R. Crane and between Crane and Trotsky. Further, while Crane had no
official position, his son Richard was confidential assistant to Secretary of State Robert
Lansing, and Crane senior was provided with prompt and detailed reports on the progress of the
Bolshevik Revolution. Moreover, Ambassador William Dodd (U.S. ambassador to Germany in
the Hitler era) said that Crane had an active role in the Kerensky phase of the revolution; the
Steffens letters confirm that Crane saw the Kerensky phase as only one step in a continuing
The interesting point, however, is not so much the communication among dissimilar persons
like Crane, Steffens, Trotsky, and Woodrow Wilson as the existence of at least a measure of
agreement on the procedure to be followed — that is, the Provisional Government was seen as
“provisional,” and the “re-revolution” was to follow.
On the other side of the coin, interpretation of Trotsky’s intentions should be cautious: he was
adept at double games. Official documentation clearly demonstrates contradictory actions. For
example, the Division of Far Eastern Affairs in the U.S. State Department received on March
23, 1918, two reports stemming from Trotsky; one is inconsistent with the other. One report,
dated March 20 and from Moscow, originated in the Russian newspaper Russkoe Slovo. The
report cited an interview with Trotsky in which he stated that any alliance with the United
States was impossible:
The Russia of the Soviet cannot align itself… with capitalistic America for this
would be a betrayal It is possible that Americans seek such an rapprochement
with us, driven by its antagonism towards Japan, but in any case there can be
no question of an alliance by us of any nature with a bourgeoisie nation.24
The other report, also originating in Moscow, is a message dated March 17, 1918, three days
earlier, and from Ambassador Francis: “Trotsky requests five American officers as inspectors
of army being organized for defense also requests railroad operating men and equipment.”25
This request to the U.S. is of course inconsistent with rejection of an “alliance.”
Before we leave Trotsky some mention should be made of the Stalinist show trials of the 1930s
and, in particular, the 1938 accusations and trial of the “Anti-Soviet bloc of rightists and
Trotskyites.” These forced parodies of the judicial process, almost unanimously rejected in the
West, may throw light on Trotsky’s intentions.
The crux of the Stalinist accusation was that Trotskyites were paid agents of international
capitalism. K. G. Rakovsky, one of the 1938 defendants, said, or was induced to say, “We were
the vanguard of foreign aggression, of international fascism, and not only in the USSR but also
in Spain, China, throughout the world.” The summation of the “court” contains the statement,
“There is not a single man in the world who brought so much sorrow and misfortune to people
as Trotsky. He is the vilest agent of fascism …. “26
Now while this may be no more than verbal insults routinely traded among the international
Communists of the 1930s and 40s, it is also notable that the threads behind the self-accusation
are consistent with the evidence in this chapter. And further, as we shall see later, Trotsky was
able to generate support among international capitalists, who, incidentally, were also supporters
of Mussolini and Hitler.27
So long as we see all international revolutionaries and all international capitalists as implacable
enemies of one another, then we miss a crucial point — that there has indeed been some
operational cooperation between international capitalists, including fascists. And there is no a
priori reason why we should reject Trotsky as a part of this alliance.
This tentative, limited reassessment will be brought into sharp focus when we review the story
o£ Michael Gruzenberg, the chief Bolshevik agent in Scandinavia who under the alias of
Alexander Gumberg was also a confidential adviser to the Chase National Bank in New York
and later to Floyd Odium of Atlas Corporation. This dual role was known to and accepted by
both the Soviets and his American employers. The Gruzenberg story is a case history of
international revolution allied with international capitalism.
Colonel MacLean’s observations that Trotsky had “strong underground influence” and that his
“power was so great that orders were issued that he must be given every consideration” are not
at all inconsistent with the Coulter-Gwatkin intervention in Trotsky’s behalf; or, for that matter,
with those later occurrences, the Stalinist accusations in the Trotskyite show trials of the 1930s.
Nor are they inconsistent with the Gruzenberg case. On the other hand, the only known direct
link between Trotsky and international banking is through his cousin Abram Givatovzo, who
was a private banker in Kiev before the Russian Revolution and in Stockholm after the
revolution. While Givatovzo professed antibolshevism, he was in fact acting in behalf of the
Soviets in 1918 in currency transactions.28
Is it possible an international web (:an be spun from these events? First there’s Trotsky, a
Russian internationalist revolutionary with German connections who sparks assistance from
two supposed supporters of Prince Lvov’s government in Russia (Aleinikoff and Wolf,
Russians resident in New York). These two ignite the action of a liberal Canadian deputy
postmaster general, who in turn intercedes with a prominent British Army major general on the
Canadian military staff. These are all verifiable links.
In brief, allegiances may not always be what they are called, or appear. We can, however,
surmise that Trotsky, Aleinikoff, Wolf, Coulter, and Gwatkin in acting for a common limited
objective also had some common higher goal than national allegiance or political label. To
emphasize, there is no absolute proof that this is so. It is, at the moment, only a logical
supposition from the facts. A loyalty higher than that forged by a common immediate goal need
have been no more than that of friendship, although that strains the imagination when we
ponder such a polyglot combination. It may also have been promoted by other motives. The
picture is yet incomplete.
Leon Trotsky, My Life (New York: Scribner’s, 1930), chap. 22.
Joseph Nedava, Trotsky and the Jews (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication
Society of America, 1972), p. 163.
United States, Senate, Brewing and Liquor Interests and German and
Bolshevik Propaganda (Subcommittee on the Judiciary), 65th Cong., 1919.
Special Report No. 5, The Russian Soviet Bureau in the United States, July
14, 1919, Scotland House, London S.W.I. Copy in U.S. State Dept. Decimal
New York Times, March 5, 1917.
Lewis Corey, House of Morgan: A Social Biography of the Masters of Money
(New York: G. W. Watt, 1930).
Morris Hillquit. (formerly Hillkowitz) had been defense attorney for Johann
Most, alter the assassination of President McKinley, and in 1917 was a leader
of the New York Socialist Party. In the 1920s Hillquit established himself in
the New York banking world by becoming a director of, and attorney for, the
International Union Bank. Under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Hillquit
helped draw up the NRA codes for the garment industry.
New York Times, March 16, 1917.
U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 316-85-1002.
Lincoln Steffens, Autobiography (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1931), p.
764. Steffens was the “go-between” for Crane and Woodrow Wilson.
William Edward Dodd, Ambassador Dodd’s Diary, 1933-1938 (New York:
Harcourt, Brace, 1941), pp. 42-43.
Lincoln Steffens, The Letters of Lincoln Steffens (New York: Harcourt,
Brace, 1941), p. 396.
U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 861.00/1026.
This section is based on Canadian government records.
Gwatkin’s memoramada in the Canadian government files are not signed,
but initialed with a cryptic mark or symbol. The mark has been identified as
Gwatkin’s because one Gwatkin letter (that o[ April 21) with that cryptic mark
H.J. Morgan, Canadian Men and Women of the Times, 1912, 2 vols.
(Toronto: W. Briggs, 1898-1912).
June 1919, pp. 66a-666. Toronto Public Library has a copy; the issue of
MacLean’s in which Colonel MacLean’s article appeared is not easy to find
and a frill summary is provided below.
See also Trotsky, My Life, p. 236.
See Appendix 3.
According to his own account, Trotsky did not arrive in the U.S. until
January 1917. Trotsky’s real name was Bronstein; he invented the name
“Trotsky.” “Bronstein” is German and “Trotsky” is Polish rather than Russian.
His first name is usually given as “Leon”; however, Trotsky’s first book, which
was published in Geneva, has the initial “N,” not “L.”
See Appendix 3; this document was obtained in 1971 from the British
Foreign Office but apparently was known to MacLean.
U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 861.00/1351.
U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 861.00/1341.
Report of Court Proceedings in the Case of the Anti-Soviet “Bloc of Rightists
and Trotskyites” Heard Before the Military Collegium of the Supreme Court of
the USSR (Moscow: People’s Commissariat of Justice of the USSR, 1938), p.
See p. 174. Thomas Lamont of the Morgans was an early supporter of
See p. 122.
LENIN AND GERMAN ASSISTANCE FOR THE BOLSHEVIK REVOLUTION
It was not until the Bolsheviks had received from us a steady flow of funds
through various channels and under varying labels that they were in a
position to be able to build up their main organ Pravda, to conduct
energetic propaganda and appreciably to extend the originally narrow
base of their party.
Von Kühlmann, minister of foreign affairs, to the kaiser, December 3, 1917
In April 1917 Lenin and a party of 32 Russian revolutionaries, mostly Bolsheviks, journeyed
by train from Switzerland across Germany through Sweden to Petrograd, Russia. They were on
their way to join Leon Trotsky to “complete the revolution.” Their trans-Germany transit was
approved, facilitated, and financed by the German General Staff. Lenin’s transit to Russia was
part of a plan approved by the German Supreme Command, apparently not immediately known
to the kaiser, to aid in the disintegration of the Russian army and so eliminate Russia from
World War I. The possibility that the Bolsheviks might be turned against Germany and Europe
did not occur to the German General Staff. Major General Hoffman has written, “We neither
knew nor foresaw the danger to humanity from the consequences of this journey of the
Bolsheviks to Russia.”1
At the highest level the German political officer who approved Lenin’s journey to Russia was
Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg, a descendant of the Frankfurt banking family
Bethmann, which achieved great prosperity in the nineteenth century. Bethmann-Hollweg was
appointed chancellor in 1909 and in November 1913 became the subject of the first vote of
censure ever passed by the German Reichstag on a chancellor. It was Bethmann-Hollweg who
in 1914 told the world that the German guarantee to Belgium was a mere “scrap of paper.” Yet
on other war matters — such as the use of unrestricted submarine warfare — Bethmann-Hollweg
was ambivalent; in January 1917 he told the kaiser, “I can give Your Majesty neither my assent
to the unrestricted submarine warfare nor my refusal.” By 1917 Bethmann-Hollweg had lost
the Reichstag’s support and resigned — but not before approving transit of Bolshevik
revolutionaries to Russia. The transit instructions from Bethmann-Hollweg went through the
state secretary Arthur Zimmermann — who was immediately under Bethmann-Hollweg and
who handled day-to-day operational details with the German ministers in both Bern and
Copenhagen — to the German minister to Bern in early April 1917. The kaiser himself was not
aware of the revolutionary movement until after Lenin had passed into Russia.
While Lenin himself did not know the precise source of the assistance, he certainly knew that
the German government was providing some funding. There were, however, intermediate links
between the German foreign ministry and Lenin, as the following shows:
LENIN’S TRANSFER TO RUSSIA IN APRIL 1917
Final decision BETHMANN-HOLLWEG
Intermediary I ARTHUR
Intermediary II BROCKDORFF-
(German Minister in
Intermediary III ALEXANDER ISRAEL
Intermediary IV JACOB FURSTENBERG
LENIN, in Switzerland
From Berlin Zimmermann and Bethmann-Hollweg communicated with the German minister in
Copenhagen, Brockdorff-Rantzau. In turn, Brockdorff-Rantzau was in touch with Alexander
Israel Helphand (more commonly known by his alias, Parvus), who was located in
Copenhagen.2 Parvus was the connection to Jacob Furstenberg, a Pole descended from a
wealthy family but better known by his alias, Ganetsky. And Jacob Furstenberg was the
immediate link to Lenin.
Although Chancellor Bethmann-Hollweg was the final authority for Lenin’s transfer, and
although Lenin was probably aware of the German origins of the assistance, Lenin cannot be
termed a German agent. The German Foreign Ministry assessed Lenin’s probable actions in
Russia as being consistent with their own objectives in the dissolution of the existing power
structure in Russia. Yet both parties also had hidden objectives: Germany wanted priority
access to the postwar markets in Russia, and Lenin intended to establish a Marxist dictatorship.
The idea of using Russian revolutionaries in this way can be traced back to 1915. On August 14
of that year, Brockdorff-Rantzau wrote the German state undersecretary about a conversation
with Helphand (Parvus), and made a strong recommendation to employ Helphand, “an
extraordinarily important man whose unusual powers I feel we must employ for duration of the
war …. “3 Included in the report was a warning: “It might perhaps be risky to want to use the
powers ranged behind Helphand, but it would certainly be an admission of our own weakness if
we were to refuse their services out of fear of not being able to direct them.”4
Brockdorff-Rantzau’s ideas of directing or controlling the revolutionaries parallel, as we shall
see, those of the Wall Street financiers. It was J.P. Morgan and the American International
Corporation that attempted to control both domestic and foreign revolutionaries in the United
States for their own purposes.
A subsequent document5 outlined the terms demanded by Lenin, of which the most interesting
was point number seven, which allowed “Russian troops to move into India”; this suggested
that Lenin intended to continue the tsarist expansionist program. Zeman also records the role of
Max Warburg in establishing a Russian publishing house and adverts to an agreement dated
August 12, 1916, in which the German industrialist Stinnes agreed to contribute two million
rubles for financing a publishing house in Russia.6
Consequently, on April 16, 1917, a trainload of thirty-two, including Lenin, his wife Nadezhda
Krupskaya, Grigori Zinoviev, Sokolnikov, and Karl Radek, left the Central Station in Bern en
route to Stockholm. When the party reached the Russian frontier only Fritz Plattan and Radek
were denied entrance into Russia. The remainder of the party was allowed to enter. Several
months later they were followed by almost 200 Mensheviks, including Martov and Axelrod.
It is worth noting that Trotsky, at that time in New York, also had funds traceable to German
sources. Further, Von Kuhlmann alludes to Lenin’s inability to broaden the base of his
Bolshevik party until the Germans supplied funds. Trotsky was a Menshevik who turned
Bolshevik only in 1917. This suggests that German funds were perhaps related to Trotsky’s
change of party label.
THE SISSON DOCUMENTS
In early 1918 Edgar Sisson, the Petrograd representative of the U.S. Committee on Public
Information, bought a batch of Russian documents purporting to prove that Trotsky, Lenin, and
the other Bolshevik revolutionaries were not only in the pay of, but also agents of, the German
These documents, later dubbed the “Sisson Documents,” were shipped to the United States in
great haste and secrecy. In Washington, D.C. they were submitted to the National Board for
Historical Service for authentication. Two prominent historians, J. Franklin Jameson and
Samuel N. Harper, testified to their genuineness. These historians divided the Sisson papers
into three groups. Regarding Group I, they concluded:
We have subjected them with great care to all the applicable tests to which
historical students are accustomed and . . . upon the basis of these
investigations, we have no hesitation in declaring that we see no reason to
doubt the genuineness or authenticity of these fifty-three documents.7
The historians were less confident about material in Group II. This group was not rejected as.
outright forgeries, but it was suggested that they were copies of original documents. Although
the historians made “no confident declaration” on Group III, they were not prepared to reject
the documents as outright forgeries.
The Sisson Documents were published by the Committee on Public Information, whose
chairman was George Creel, a former contributor to the pro-Bolshevik Masses. The American
press in general accepted the documents as authentic. The notable exception was the New York
Evening Post, at that time owned by Thomas W. Lamont, a partner in the Morgan firm. When
only a few installments had been published, the Post challenged the authenticity of all the
We now know that the Sisson Documents were almost all forgeries: only one or two of the
minor German circulars were genuine. Even casual examination of the German letterhead
suggests that the forgers were unusually careless forgers perhaps working for the gullible
American market. The German text was strewn with terms verging on the ridiculous: for
example, Bureau instead of the German word Büro; Central for the German Zentral; etc.
That the documents are forgeries is the conclusion of an exhaustive study by George Kennan9
and of studies made in the 1920s by the British government. Some documents were based on
authentic information and, as Kennan observes, those who forged them certainly had access to
some unusually good information. For example, Documents 1, 54, 61, and 67 mention that the
Nya Banken in Stockholm served as the conduit for Bolshevik funds from Germany. This
conduit has been confirmed in more reliable sources. Documents 54, 63, and 64 mention
Furstenberg as the banker-intermediary between the Germans and the Bolshevists;
Furstenberg’s name appears elsewhere in authentic documents. Sisson’s Document 54 mentions
Olof Aschberg, and Olof Aschberg by his own statements was the “Bolshevik Banker.”
Aschberg in 1917 was the director of Nya Banken. Other documents in the Sisson series list
names and institutions, such as the German Naptha-Industrial Bank, the Disconto Gesellschaft,
and Max Warburg, the Hamburg banker, but hard supportive evidence is more elusive. In
general, the Sisson Documents, while themselves outright forgeries, are nonetheless based
partly on generally authentic information.
One puzzling aspect in the light of the story in this book is that the documents came to Edgar
Sisson from Alexander Gumberg (alias Berg, real name Michael Gruzenberg), the Bolshevik
agent in Scandinavia and later a confidential assistant to Chase National Bank and Floyd
Odium of Atlas Corporation. The Bolshevists, on the other hand, stridently repudiated the
Sisson material. So did John Reed, the American representative on the executive of the Third
International and whose paycheck came from Metropolitan magazine, which was owned by
J.P. Morgan interests.10 So did Thomas Lamont, the Morgan partner who owned the New York
Evening Post. There are several possible explanations. Probably the connections between the
Morgan interests in New York and such agents as John Reed and Alexander Gumberg were
highly flexible. This could have been a Gumberg maneuver to discredit Sisson and Creel by
planting forged documents; or perhaps Gumberg was working in his own interest.
The Sisson Documents “prove” exclusive German involvement with the Bolsheviks. They also
have been used to “prove” a Jewish-Bolshevik conspiracy theory along the lines of that of the
Protocols of Zion. In 1918 the U.S. government wanted to unite American opinion behind an
unpopular war with Germany, and the Sisson Documents dramatically “proved” the exclusive
complicity of Germany with the Bolshevists. The documents also provided a smoke screen
against public knowledge of the events to be described in this book.
THE TUG-OF-WAR IN WASHINGTON11
A review of documents in the State Department Decimal File suggests that the State
Department and Ambassador Francis in Petrograd were quite well informed about the
intentions and progress of the Bolshevik movement. In the summer of 1917, for example, the
State Department wanted to stop the departure from the U.S. of “injurious persons” (that is,
returning Russian revolutionaries) but was unable to do so because they were using new
Russian and American passports. The preparations for the Bolshevik Revolution itself were
well known at least six weeks before it came about. One report in the State Department files
states, in regard to the Kerensky forces, that it was “doubtful whether government . . . [can]
suppress outbreak.” Disintegration of the Kerensky government was reported throughout
September and October as were Bolshevik preparations for a coup. The British government
warned British residents in Russia to leave at least six weeks before the Bolshevik phase of the
The first full report of the events of early November reached Washington on December 9,
1917. This report described the low-key nature of the revolution itself, mentioned that General
William V. Judson had made an unauthorized visit to Trotsky, and pointed out the presence of
Germans in Smolny — the Soviet headquarters.
On November 28, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson ordered no interference with the
Bolshevik Revolution. This instruction was apparently in response to a request by Ambassador
Francis for an Allied conference, to which Britain had already agreed. The State Department
argued that such a conference was impractical. There were discussions in Paris between the
Allies and Colonel Edward M. House, who reported these to Woodrow Wilson as “long and
frequent discussions on Russia.” Regarding such a conference, House stated that England was
“passively willing,” France “indifferently against,” and Italy “actively so.” Woodrow Wilson,
shortly thereafter, approved a cable authored by Secretary of State Robert Lansing, which
provided financial assistance for the Kaledin movement (December 12, 1917). There were also
rumors filtering into Washington that “monarchists working with the Bolsheviks and same
supported by various occurrences and circumstances”; that the Smolny government was
absolutely under control of the German General Staff; and rumors elsewhere that “many or
most of them [that is, Bolshevists] are from America.”
In December, General Judson again visited Trotsky; this was looked upon as a step towards
recognition by the U.S., although a report dated February 5, 1918, from Ambassador Francis to
Washington, recommended against recognition. A memorandum originating with Basil Miles
in Washington argued that “we should deal with all authorities in Russia including Bolsheviks.”
And on February 15, 1918, the State Department cabled Ambassador Francis in Petrograd,
stating that the “department desires you gradually to keep in somewhat closer and informal
touch with the Bolshevik authorities using such channels as will avoid any official
The next day Secretary of State Lansing conveyed the following to the French ambassador J. J.
Jusserand in Washington: “It is considered inadvisable to take any action which will antagonize
at this time any of the various elements of the people which now control the power in Russia ….
On February 20, Ambassador Francis cabled Washington to report the approaching end of the
Bolshevik government. Two weeks later, on March 7, 1918, Arthur Bullard reported to Colonel
House that German money was subsidizing the Bolsheviks and that this subsidy was more
substantial than previously thought. Arthur Bullard (of the U.S. Committee on Public
Information) argued: “we ought to be ready to help any honest national government. But men
or money or equipment sent to the present rulers of Russia will be used against Russians at
least as much as against Germans.”13
This was followed by another message from Bullard to Colonel House: “I strongly advise
against giving material help to the present Russian government. Sinister elements in Soviets
seem to be gaining control.”
But there were influential counterforces at work. As early as November 28, 1917, Colonel
House cabled President Woodrow Wilson from Paris that it was “exceedingly important” that
U.S. newspaper comments advocating that “Russia should be treated as an enemy” be
“suppressed.” Then next month William Franklin Sands, executive secretary of the Morgan-
controlled American International Corporation and a friend of the previously mentioned Basil
Miles, submitted a memorandum that described Lenin and Trotsky as appealing to the masses
and that urged the U.S. to recognize Russia. Even American socialist Walling complained to
the Department of State about the pro-Soviet attitude of George Creel (of the U.S. Committee
on Public Information), Herbert Swope, and William Boyce Thompson (of the Federal Reserve
Bank of New York).
On December 17, 1917, there appeared in a Moscow newspaper an attack on Red Cross colonel
Raymond Robins and Thompson, alleging a link between the Russian Revolution and
Why are they so interested in enlightenment? Why was the money given the
socialist revolutionaries and not to the constitutional democrats? One would
suppose the latter nearer and dearer to hearts of bankers.
The article goes on to argue that this was because American capital viewed Russia as a future
market and thus wanted to get a firm foothold. The money was given to the revolutionaries
the backward working men and peasants trust the social revolutionaries. At the
time when the money was passed the social revolutionaries were in power and
it was supposed they would remain in control in Russia for some time.
Another report, dated December 12, 1917, and relating to Raymond Robins, details
“negotiation with a group of American bankers of the American Red Cross Mission”; the
“negotiation” related to a payment of two million dollars. On January 22, 1918, Robert L
Owen, chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking and Currency and linked to Wall
Street interests, sent a letter to Woodrow Wilson recommending de facto recognition of Russia,
permission for a shipload of goods urgently needed in Russia, the appointment of
representatives to Russia to offset German influence, and the establishment of a career-service
group in Russia.
This approach was consistently aided by Raymond Robins in Russia. For example, on February
15, 1918, a cable from Robins in Petrograd to Davison in the Red Cross in Washington (and to
be forwarded to William Boyce Thompson) argued that support be given to the Bolshevik
authority for as long as possible, and that the new revolutionary Russia will turn to the United
States as it has “broken with the German imperialism.” According to Robins, the Bolsheviks
wanted United States assistance and cooperation together with railroad reorganization, because
“by generous assistance and technical advice in reorganizing commerce and industry America
may entirely exclude German commerce during balance of war.”
In brief, the tug-of-war in Washington reflected a struggle between, on one side, old-line
diplomats (such as Ambassador Francis) and lower-level departmental officials, and, on the
other, financiers like Robins, Thompson, and Sands with allies such as Lansing and Miles in
the State Department and Senator Owen in the Congress.
Max Hoffman, War Diaries and Other Papers (London: M. Secker, 1929),
Z. A. B. Zeman and W. B. Scharlau, The Merchant of Revolution.. The Life of
A1exander Israel Helphand (Parvus), 1867-1924 (New York: Oxford
University Press, 1965).
Z. A. B. Zeman, Germany and the Revolution in Russia, 1915-1918.
Documents from the Archives of the German Foreign Ministry (London:
Oxford University Press, 1958), p. ????5.
Ibid., p. 6, doc. 6, reporting a conversation with the Fstonian intermediary
Ibid., p. 92, n. 3.
U.S., Committee on Public Information, The German-Bolshevik Conspiracy,
War Information Series, no. 20, October 1918.
New York Evening Post, September 16-18, 21; October 4, 1918. It is also
interesting, but not conclusive of anything, that the Bolsheviks also stoutly
questioned the authenticity of the documents.
George F. Kennan, “The Sisson Documents,” Journal of Modern History 27-
28 (1955-56): 130-154.
John Reed, The Sisson Documents (New York: Liberator Publishing, n.d.).
This part is based on section 861.00 o[ the U.S. State Dept. Decimal File,
also available as National Archives rolls 10 and 11 of microcopy 316.
U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 861.00/1117a. The same message was
conveyed to the Italian ambassador.
See Arthur Bullard papers at Princeton University.
WALL STREET AND WORLD REVOLUTION
What you Radicals and we who hold opposing views differ about, is not so
much the end as the means, not so much what should be brought about as
how it should, and can, be brought about ….
Otto H. Kahn, director, American International Corp., and partner, Kuhn,
Loeb & Co., speaking to the League/or Industrial Democracy, New York,
December 30, 1924
Before World War I, the financial and business structure of the United States was dominated by
two conglomerates: Standard Oil, or the Rockefeller enterprise, and the Morgan complex of
industries — finance and transportation companies. Rockefeller and Morgan trust alliances
dominated not only Wall Street but, through interlocking directorships, almost the entire
economic fabric of the United States.l Rockefeller interests monopolized the petroleum and
allied industries, and controlled the copper trust, the smelters trust, and the gigantic tobacco
trust, in addition to having influence in some Morgan properties such as the U.S. Steel
Corporation as well as in hundreds of smaller industrial trusts, public service operations,
railroads, and banking institutions. National City Bank was the largest of the banks influenced
by Standard Oil-Rockefeller, but financial control extended to the United States Trust
Company and Hanover National Bank as well as to major life insurance companies — Equitable
Life and Mutual of New York.
The great Morgan enterprises were in steel, shipping, and the electrical industry; they included
General Electric, the rubber trust, and railroads. Like Rockefeller, Morgan controlled financial
corporations — the National Bank of Commerce and the Chase National Bank, New York Life
Insurance, and the Guaranty Trust Company. The names J.P. Morgan and Guaranty Trust
Company occur repeatedly throughout this book. In the early part of the twentieth century the
Guaranty Trust Company was dominated by the Harriman interests. When the elder Harriman
(Edward Henry) died in 1909, Morgan and associates bought into Guaranty Trust as well as
into Mutual Life and New York Life. In 1919 Morgan also bought control of Equitable Life,
and the Guaranty Trust Company absorbed an additional six lesser trust companies. Therefore,
at the end of World War I the Guaranty Trust and Bankers Trust were, respectively, the first
and second largest trust companies in the United States, both dominated by Morgan interests.2
American financiers associated with these groups were involved in financing revolution even
before 1917. Intervention by the Wall Street law firm of Sullivan & Cromwell into the Panama
Canal controversy is recorded in 1913 congressional hearings. The episode is summarized by
It is my contention that the representatives of this Government [United States]
made possible the revolution on the isthmus of Panama. That had it not been
for the interference of this Government a successful revolution could not
possibly have occurred, and I contend that this Government violated the treaty
of 1846. I will be able to produce evidence to show that the declaration of
independence which was promulgated in Panama on the 3rd day of November,
1903, was prepared right here in New York City and carried down there —
prepared in the office of Wilson (sic) Nelson Cromwell ….3
Congressman Rainey went on to state that only ten or twelve of the top Panamanian
revolutionists plus “the officers of the Panama Railroad & Steamship Co., who were under the
control of William Nelson Cromwell, of New York and the State Department officials in
Washington,” knew about the impending revolution.4 The purpose of the revolution was to
deprive Colombia, of which Panama was then a part, of $40 million and to acquire control of
the Panama Canal.
The best-documented example of Wall Street intervention in revolution is the operation of a
New York syndicate in the Chinese revolution of 1912, which was led by Sun Yat-sen.
Although the final gains of the syndicate remain unclear, the intention and role of the New
York financing group are fully documented down to amounts of money, information on
affiliated Chinese secret societies, and shipping lists of armaments to be purchased. The New
York bankers syndicate for the Sun Yat-sen revolution included Charles B. Hill, an attorney
with the law firm of Hunt, Hill & Betts. In 1912 the firm was located at 165 Broadway, New
York, but in 1917 it moved to 120 Broadway (see chapter eight for the significance of this
address). Charles B. Hill was director of several Westinghouse subsidiaries, including Bryant
Electric, Perkins Electric Switch, and Westinghouse Lamp — all affiliated with Westinghouse
Electric whose New York office was also located at 120 Broadway. Charles R. Crane,
organizer of Westinghouse subsidiaries in Russia, had a known role in the first and second
phases of the Bolshevik Revolution (see page 26).
The work of the 1910 Hill syndicate in China is recorded in the Laurence Boothe Papers at the
Hoover Institution.5 These papers contain over 110 related items, including letters of Sun Yat-
sen to and from his American backers. In return for financial support, Sun Yat-sen promised
the Hill syndicate railroad, banking, and commercial concessions in the new revolutionary
Another case of revolution supported by New York financial institutions concerned that of
Mexico in 1915-16. Von Rintelen, a German espionage agent in the United States,6 was
accused during his May 1917 trial in New York City of attempting to “embroil” the U.S. with
Mexico and Japan in order to divert ammunition then flowing to the Allies in Europe.7
Payment for the ammunition that was shipped from the United States to the Mexican
revolutionary Pancho Villa, was made through Guaranty Trust Company. Von Rintelen’s
adviser, Sommerfeld, paid $380,000 via Guaranty Trust and Mississippi Valley Trust Company
to the Western Cartridge Company of Alton, Illinois, for ammunition shipped to El Paso, for
forwarding to Villa. This was in mid-1915. On January 10, 1916, Villa murdered seventeen
American miners at Santa Isabel and on March 9, 1916, Villa raided Columbus, New Mexico,
and killed eighteen more Americans.
Wall Street involvement in these Mexican border raids was the subject of a letter (October 6,
1916) from Lincoln Steffens, an American Communist, to Colonel House, an aide’ to Woodrow
My dear Colonel House:
Just before I left New York last Monday, I was told convincingly that “Wall
Street” had completed arrangements for one more raid of Mexican bandits into
the United States: to be so timed and so atrocious that it would settle the
Once in power in Mexico, the Carranza government purchased additional arms in the United
States. The American Gun Company contracted to ship 5,000 Mausers and a shipment license
was issued by the War Trade Board for 15,000 guns and 15,000,000 rounds of ammunition.
The American ambassador to Mexico, Fletcher, “flatly refused to recommend or sanction the
shipment of any munitions, rifles, etc., to Carranza.”9 However, intervention by Secretary of
State Robert Lansing reduced the barrier to one of a temporary delay, and “in a short while . . .
[the American Gun Company] would be permitted to make the shipment and deliver.”10
The raids upon the U.S. by the Villa and the Carranza forces were reported in the New York
Times as the “Texas Revolution” (a kind of dry run for the Bolshevik Revolution) and were
undertaken jointly by Germans and Bolsheviks. The testimony of John A. Walls, district
attorney of Brownsville, Texas, before the 1919 Fall Committee yielded documentary evidence
of the link between Bolshevik interests in the United States, German activity, and the Carranza
forces in Mexico.11 Consequently, the Carranza government, the first in the world with a
Soviet-type constitution (which was written by Trotskyites), was a government with support on
Wall Street. The Carranza revolution probably could not have succeeded without American
munitions and Carranza would not have remained in power as long as he did without American
Similar intervention in the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution in Russia revolves around Swedish
banker and intermediary Olof Aschberg. Logically the story begins with prerevolutionary
tsarist loans by Wall Street bank syndicates.
AMERICAN BANKERS AND TSARIST LOANS
In August 1914 Europe went to war. Under international law neutral countries (and the United
States was neutral until April 1917) could not raise loans for belligerent countries. This was a
question of law as well as morality.
When the Morgan house floated war loans for Britain and France in 1915, J.P. Morgan argued
that these were not war loans at all but merely a means of facilitating international trade. Such a
distinction had indeed been elaborately made by President Wilson in October 1914; he
explained that the sale of bonds in the U.S. for foreign governments was in effect a loan of
savings to belligerent governments and did not finance a war. On the other hand, acceptance of
Treasury notes or other evidence of debt in payment for articles was only a means of
facilitating trade and not of financing a war effort.13
Documents in the State Department files demonstrate that the National City Bank, controlled
by Stillman and Rockefeller interests, and the Guaranty Trust, controlled by Morgan interests,
jointly raised substantial loans for the belligerent Russia before U.S. entry into the war, and that
these loans were raised alter the State Department pointed out to these firms that they were
contrary to international law. Further, negotiations for the loans were undertaken through
official U.S. government communications facilities under cover of the top-level “Green
Cipher” of the State Department. Below are extracts from State Department cables that will
make the case.
On May 94, 1916, Ambassador Francis in Petrograd sent the following cable to the State
Department in Washington for forwardin to Frank Arthur Vanderlip, then chairman of the
National City Bank in New York. The cable was sent in Green Cipher and was enciphered and
deciphered by U.S. State Department officers in Petrograd and Washington at the taxpayers’
expense (file 861.51/110).
563, May 94, 1 p.m.
For Vanderlip National City Bank New York. Five. Our previous opinions
credit strengthened. We endorse plan cabled as safe investment plus very
attractive speculation in roubles. In view of guarantee of exchange rate have
placed rate somewhat above present market. Owing unfavorable opinion
created by long delay have on own responsibility offered take twenty-five
million dollars. We think large portion of all should be retained by bank and
allied institutions. With clause respect customs bonds become practical lien on
more than one hundred and fifty million dollars per annum customs making
absolute security and secures market even if defect. We consider three [years?]
option on bonds very valuable and for that reason amount of rouble credit
should be enlarged by group or by distribution to close friends. American
International should take block and we would inform Government. Think
group should be formed at once to take and issue of bonds . . . should secure
full cooperation guaranty. Suggest you see Jack personally, use every
endeavor to get them really work otherwise cooperate guarantee form new
group. Opportunities here during the next ten years very great along state and
industrial financiering and if this transaction consummated doubtless should
be established. In answering bear in mind situation regarding cable.
FRANCIS, AMERICAN AMBASSADOR14
There are several points to note about the above cable to understand the story that follows.
First, note the reference to American International Corporation, a Morgan firm, and a name that
turns up again and again in this story. Second, “guarantee” refers to Guaranty Trust Company.
Third, “MacRoberts” was Samuel MacRoberts, a vice president and the executive manager of
National City Bank.
On May 24, 1916, Ambassador Francis cabled a message from Rolph Marsh of Guaranty Trust
in Petrograd to Guaranty Trust in New York, again in the special Green Cipher and again using
the facilities of the State Department. This cable reads as follows:
565, May 24, 6 p.m.
for Guaranty Trust Company New York:
Olof and self consider the new proposition takes care Olof and will help rather
than harm your prestige. Situation such co-operation necessary if big things
are to be accomplished here. Strongly urge your arranging with City to
consider and act jointly in all big propositions here. Decided advantages for
both and prevents playing one against other. City representatives here desire
(hand written) such co-operation. Proposition being considered eliminates our
credit in name also option but we both consider the rouble credit with the bond
option in propositions. Second paragraph offers wonderful profitable
opportunity, strongly urge your acceptance. Please cable me full authority to
act in connection with City. Consider our entertaining proposition satisfactory
situation for us and permits doing big things. Again strongly urge your taking
twenty-five million of rouble credit. No possibility loss and decided
speculative advantages. Again urge having Vice President upon the ground.
Effect here will be decidedly good. Resident Attorney does not carry same
prestige and weight. This goes through Embassy by code answer same way.
See cable on possibilities.
Entire Message in Green Cipher.
“Olof” in the cable was Olof Aschberg, Swedish banker and head of the Nya Banken in
Stockholm. Aschberg had been in New York in 1915 conferring with the Morgan firm on these
Russian loans. Now, in 1916, he was in Petrograd with Rolph Marsh of Guaranty Trust and
Samuel MacRoberts and Rich of National City Bank (“City” in cable) arranging loans for a
Morgan-Rockefeller consortium. The following year, Aschberg, as we shall see later, would be
known as the “Bolshevik Banker,” and his own memoirs reproduce evidence of his right to the
The State Department files also contain a series of cables between Ambassador Francis, Acting
Secretary Frank Polk, and Secretary of State Robert Lansing concerning the legality and
propriety of transmitting National City Bank and Guaranty Trust cables at public expense. On
May 25, 1916, Ambassador Francis cabled Washington as follows and referred to the two
569, May 25, one p.m.
My telegram 563 and 565 May twenty-fourth are sent for local representatives
of institutions addressed in the hope of consummating loan which would
largely increase international trade and greatly benefit [diplomatic relations?].
Prospect for success promising. Petrograd representatives consider terms
submitted very satisfactory but fear such representations to their institutions
would prevent consummation loan if Government here acquainted these
FRANCIS, AMERICAN AMBASSADOR.16
The basic reason cited by Francis for facilitating the cables is “the hope of consummating loan
which would largely increase international trade.” Transmission of commercial messages using
State Department facilities had been prohibited, and on June 1, 1916, Polk cabled Francis:
In view of Department’s regulation contained in its circular telegraphic
instruction of March fifteenth, (discontinuance of forwarding Commercial
messages)17 1915, please explain why messages in your 563, 565 and 575,
should be communicated.
Hereafter please follow closely Department’s instructions.
Then on June 8, 1916, Secretary of State Lansing expanded the prohibition and clearly stated
that the proposed loans were illegal:
860 Your 563, 565, May 24, g: 569 May 25.1 pm Before delivering messages
to Vanderlip and Guaranty Trust Company, I must inquire whether they refer
to Russian Government loans of any description. If they do, I regret that the
Department can not be a party to their transmission, as such action would
submit it to justifiable criticism because of participation by this Government in
loan transaction by a belligerent for the purpose of carrying on its hostile
operations. Such participation is contrary to the accepted rule of international
law that neutral Governments should not lend their assistance to the raising of
war loans by belligerents.
The last line of the Lansing cable as written, was not transmitted to Petrograd. The line read:
“Cannot arrangements be made to send these messages through Russian channels?”
How can we assess these cables and the parties involved?
Clearly the Morgan-Rockefeller interests were not interested in abiding by international law.
There is obvious intent in these cables to supply loans to belligerents. There was no hesitation
on the part of these firms to use State Department facilities for the negotiations. Further, in
spite of protests, the State Department allowed the messages to go through. Finally, and most
interesting for subsequent events, Olof Aschberg, the Swedish banker, was a prominent
participant and intermediary in the negotiations on behalf of Guaranty Trust. Let us therefore
take a closer look at Olof Aschberg.
OLOF ASCHBERG IN NEW YORK, 1916
Olof Aschberg, the “Bolshevik Banker” (or “Bankier der Weltrevolution,” as he has been called
in the German press), was owner of the Nya Banken, founded 1912 in Stockholm. His
codirectors included prominent members of Swedish cooperatives and Swedish socialists,
including G. W. Dahl, K. G. Rosling, and C. Gerhard Magnusson.18 In 1918 Nya Banken was
placed on the Allied black-list for its financial operations in behalf of Germany. In response to
the blacklisting, Nya Banken changed its name to Svensk Ekonomiebolaget. The bank
remained under the control of Aschberg, and was mainly owned by him. The bank’s London
agent was the British Bank of North Commerce, whose chairman was Earl Grey, former
associate of Cecil Rhodes. Others in Aschberg’s interesting circle of business associates
included Krassin, who was until the Bolshevik Revolution (when he changed color to emerge
as a leading Bolshevik) Russian manager of Siemens-Schukert in Petrograd; Carl Furstenberg,
minister of finance in the first Bolshevik government; and Max May, vice president in charge
of foreign operations for Guaranty Trust of New York. Olof Aschberg thought so highly of
Max May that a photograph of May is included in Aschberg’s book.19
In the summer of 1916 Olof Aschberg was in New York representing both Nya Banken and
Pierre Bark, the tsarist minister of finance. Aschberg’s prime business in New York, according
to the New York Times (August 4, 1916), was to negotiate a $50 million loan for Russia with an
American banking syndicate headed by Stillman’s National City Bank. This business was
concluded on June 5, 1916; the results were a Russian credit of $50 million in New York at a
bank charge of 7 1/2 percent per annum, and a corresponding 150-million-ruble credit for the
NCB syndicate in Russia. The New York syndicate then turned around and issued 6 1/2 percent
certificates in its own name in the U.S. market to the amount of $50 million. Thus, the NCB
syndicate made a profit on the $50 million loan to Russia, floated it on the American market for
another profit, and obtained a 150-million-ruble credit in Russia.
During his New York visit on behalf of the tsarist Russian government, Aschberg made some
prophetic comments concerning the future for America in Russia:
The opening for American capital and American initiative, with the awakening
brought by the war, will be country-wide when the struggle is over. There are
now many Americans in Petrograd, representatives of business firms, keeping
in touch with the situation, and as soon as the change comes a huge American
trade with Russia should spring up.20
OLOF ASCHBERG IN THE BOLSHEVIK REVOLUTION
While this tsarist loan operation was being floated in New York, Nya Banken and Olof
Aschberg were funneling funds from the German government to Russian revolutionaries, who
would eventually bring down the “Kerensky committee” and establish the Bolshevik regime.
The evidence for Olof Aschberg’s intimate connection with financing the Bolshevik Revolution
comes from several sources, some of greater value than others. The Nya Banken and Olof
Aschberg are prominently cited in the Sisson papers (see chapter three); however, George
Kennan has systematically analyzed these papers and shown them to be forged, although they
are probably based in part on authentic material. Other evidence originates with Colonel B. V.
Nikitine, in charge of counterintelligence in the Kerensky government, and consists of twenty-
nine telegrams transmitted from Stockholm to Petrograd, and vice versa, regarding financing of
the Bolsheviks. Three of these telegrams refer to banks — telegrams 10 and 11 refer to Nya
Banken, and telegram 14 refers to the Russo-Asiatic Bank in Petrograd. Telegram 10 reads as
Gisa Furstenberg Saltsjobaden. Funds very low cannot assist if really urgent
give 500 as last payment pencils huge loss original hopeless instruct Nya
Banken cable further 100 thousand Sumenson.
Telegram 11 reads:
Kozlovsky Sergievskaya 81. First letters received Nya Banken telegraphed
cable who Soloman offering local telegraphic agency refers to Bronck
Fürstenberg was the intermediary between Parvus (Alexander I. Helphand) and the German
government. About these transfers, Michael Futrell concludes:
It was discovered that during the last few months she [Evegeniya Sumenson]
had received nearly a million rubles from Furstenberg through the Nya Banken
in Stockholm, and that this money came from German sources.21
Telegram 14 of the Nikitine series reads: “Furstenberg Saltsjöbaden. Number 90 period hundred
thousand into Russo-Asiatic Sumenson.” The U.S. representative for Russo-Asiatic was
MacGregor Grant Company at 120 Broadway, New York City, and the bank was financed by
Guaranty Trust in the U.S. and Nya Banken in Sweden.
Another mention of the Nya Banken is in the material “The Charges Against the Bolsheviks,”
which was published in the Kerensky period. Particularly noteworthy in that material is a
document signed by Gregory Alexinsky, a former member of the Second State Duma, in
reference to monetary transfers to the Bolsheviks. The document, in part, reads as follows:
In accordance with the information just received these trusted persons in
Stockholm were: the Bolshevik Jacob Furstenberg, better known under the
name of “Hanecki” (Ganetskii), and Parvus (Dr. Helfand); in Petrograd: the
Bolshevik attorney, M. U. Kozlovsky, a woman relative of Hanecki —
Sumenson, engaged in speculation together with Hanecki, and others.
Kozlovsky is the chief receiver of German money, which is transferred from
Berlin through the “Disconto-Gesellschaft” to the Stockholm “Via Bank,” and
thence to the Siberian Bank in Petrograd, where his account at present has a
balance of over 2,000,000 rubles. The military censorship has unearthed an
uninterrupted exchange of telegrams of a political and financial nature
between the German agents and Bolshevik leaders [Stockholm-Petrograd].22
Further, there is in the State Dept. files a Green Cipher message from the U.S. embassy in
Christiania (named Oslo, 1925), Norway, dated February 21, 1918, that reads: “Am informed
that Bolshevik funds are deposited in Nya Banken, Stockholm, Legation Stockholm advised.
Finally, Michael Furtell, who interviewed Olof Aschberg just before his death, concludes that
Bolshevik funds were indeed transferred from Germany through Nya Banken and Jacob
Furstenberg in the guise of payment for goods shipped. According to Futrell, Aschberg
confirmed to him that Furstenberg had a commercial business with Nya Banken and that
Furstenberg had also sent funds to Petrograd. These statements are authenticated in Aschberg’s
memoirs (see page 70). In sum, Aschberg, through his Nya Banken, was undoubtedly a channel
for funds used in the Bolshevik Revolution, and Guaranty Trust was indirectly linked through
its association with Aschberg and its interest in MacGregor Grant Co., New York, agent of the
Russo-Asiatic Bank, another transfer vehicle.
NYA BANKEN AND GUARANTY TRUST JOIN RUSKOMBANK
Several years later, in the fall of 1922, the Soviets formed their first international bank. It was
based on a syndicate that involved the former Russian private bankers and some new
investment from German, Swedish, American, and British bankers. Known as the Ruskombank
(Foreign Commercial Bank or the Bank of Foreign Commerce), it was headed by Olof
Aschberg; its board consisted of tsarist private bankers, representatives of German, Swedish,
and American banks, and, of course, representatives of the Soviet Union. The U.S. Stockholm
legation reported to Washington on this question and noted, in a reference to Aschberg, that
“his reputation is poor. He was referred to in Document 54 of the Sisson documents and
Dispatch No. 138 of January 4, 1921 from a legation in Copenhagen.”24
The foreign banking consortium involved in the Ruskombank represented mainly British
capital. It included Russo-Asiatic Consolidated Limited, which was one of the largest private
creditors of Russia, and which was granted £3 million by the Soviets to compensate for damage
to its properties in the Soviet Union by nationalization. The British government itself had
already purchased substantial interests in the Russian private banks; according to a State
Department report, “The British Government is heavily invested in the consortium in
The consortium was granted extensive concessions in Russia and the bank had a share capital
of ten million gold rubles. A report in the Danish newspaper National Titende stated that
“possibilities have been created for cooperation with the Soviet government where this, by
political negotiations, would have been impossible.”26 In other words, as the newspaper goes
on to say, the politicians had failed to achieve cooperation with the Soviets, but “it may be
taken for granted that the capitalistic exploitation of Russia is beginning to assume more
In early October 1922 Olof Aschberg met in Berlin with Emil Wittenberg, director of the
Nationalbank fur Deutschland, and Scheinmann, head of the Russian State Bank. After
discussions concerning German involvement in the Ruskombank, the three bankers went to
Stockholm and there met with Max May, vice president of the Guaranty Trust Company. Max
May was then designated director of the Foreign Division of the Ruskombank, in addition to
Schlesinger, former head of the Moscow Merchant Bank; Kalaschkin, former head of the
Junker Bank; and Ternoffsky, former head of the Siberian Bank. The last bank had been partly
purchased by the British government in 1918. Professor Gustav Cassell of Sweden agreed to
act as adviser to Ruskombank. Cassell was quoted in a Swedish newspaper (Svenskadagbladet
of October 17, 1922) as follows:
That a bank has now been started in Russia to take care of purely banking
matters is a great step forward, and it seems to me that this bank was
established in order to do something to create a new economic life in Russia.
What Russia needs is a bank to create internal and external commerce. If there
is to be any business between Russia and other countries there must be a bank
to handle it. This step forward should be supported in every way by other
countries, and when I was asked my advice I stated that I was prepared to give
it. I am not in favor of a negative policy and believe that every opportunity
should be seized to help in a positive reconstruction. The great question is how
to bring the Russian exchange back to normal. It is a complicated question and
will necessitate thorough investigation. To solve this problem I am naturally
more than willing to take part in the work. To leave Russia to her own
resources and her own fate is folly.28
The former Siberian Bank building in Petrograd was used as the head office of the
Ruskombank, whose objectives were to raise short-term loans in foreign countries, to introduce
foreign capital into the Soviet Union, and generally to facilitate Russian overseas trade. It
opened on December 1, 1922, in Moscow and employed about 300 persons.
In Sweden Ruskombank was represented by the Svenska Ekonomibolaget of Stockholm, Olof
Aschberg’s Nya Banken under a new name, and in Germany by the Garantie und Creditbank
fur Den Osten of Berlin. In the United States the bank was represented by the Guaranty Trust
Company of New York. On opening the bank, Olof Aschberg commented:
The new bank will look after the purchasing of machinery and raw material
from England and the United States and it will give guarantees for the
completion of contracts. The question of purchases in Sweden has not yet
arisen, but it is hoped that such will be the case later on.29
On joining Ruskombank, Max May of Guaranty Trust made a similar statement:
The United States, being a rich country with well developed industries, does
not need to import anything from foreign countries, but… it is greatly
interested in exporting its products to other countries and considers Russia the
most suitable market for that purpose, taking into consideration the vast
requirements of Russia in all lines of its economic life.30
May stated that the Russian Commercial Bank was “very important” and that it would “largely
finance all lines of Russian industries.”
From the very beginning the operations of the Ruskombank were restricted by the Soviet
foreign-trade monopoly. The bank had difficulties in obtaining advances on Russian goods
deposited abroad. Because they were transmitted in the name of Soviet trade delegations, a
great deal of Ruskombank funds were locked up in deposits with the Russian State Bank.
Finally, in early 1924 the Russian Commercial Bank was fused with the Soviet foreign-trade
commissariat, and Olof Aschberg was dismissed from his position at the bank because, it was
claimed in Moscow, he had misused bank funds. His original connection with the bank was
because of his friendship with Maxim Litvinov. Through this association, so runs a State
Department report, Olof Aschberg had access to large sums of money for the purpose of
meeting payments on goods ordered by Soviets in Europe:
These sums apparently were placed in the Ekonomibolaget, a private banking
company, owned by Mr. Aschberg. It is now alledged [sic] that a large portion
of these funds were employed by Mr. Aschberg for making investments for his
personal account and that he is now endeavoring to maintain his position in the
bank through his possession of this money. According to my informant Mr.
Aschberg has not been the sole one to profit by his operations with the Soviet
funds, but has divided the gains with those who are responsible for his
appointment in the Russian Commerce Bank, among them being Litvinoff.31
Ruskombank then became Vneshtorg, by which it is known today.
We now have to retrace our steps and look at the activities of Aschberg’s New York associate,
Guaranty Trust Company, during World War I, to lay the foundation for examination of its role
in the revolutionary era in Russia.
GUARANTY TRUST AND GERMAN ESPIONAGE IN THE UNITED STATES, 1914-
During World War I Germany raised considerable funds in New York for espionage and covert
operations in North America and South America. It is important to record the flow of these
funds because it runs from the same firms — Guaranty Trust and American International
Corporation — that were involved in the Bolshevik Revolution and its aftermath. Not to mention
the fact (outlined in chapter three) that the German government also financed Lenin’s
A summary of the loans granted by American banks to German interests in World War I was
given to the 1919 Overman Committee of the United States Senate by U.S. Military
Intelligence. The summary was based on the deposition of Karl Heynen, who came to the
United States in April 1915 to assist Dr. Albert with the commercial and financial affairs of the
German government. Heynen’s official work was the transportation of goods from the United
States to Germany by way of Sweden, Switzerland, and Holland. In fact, he was up to his ears
in covert operations.
The major German loans raised in the United States between 1915 and 1918, according to
Heynen, were as follows: The first loan, of $400,000, was made about September 1914 by the
investment bankers Kuhn, Loeb & Co. Collateral of 25 million marks was deposited with Max
M. Warburg in Hamburg, the German affiliate of Kuhn, Loeb & Co. Captain George B. Lester
of U.S. Military Intelligence told the Senate that Heynen’s reply to the question “Why did you
go to Kuhn, Loeb & Co?” was, “Kuhn, Loeb & Co. we considered the natural bankers of the
German government and the Reichsbank.”
The second loan, of $1.3 million, did not come directly from the United States but was
negotiated by John Simon, an agent of the Suedeutsche Disconto-Gesellschaft, to secure funds
for making shipments to Germany.
The third loan was from the Chase National Bank (in the Morgan group) in the amount of three
million dollars. The fourth loan was from the Mechanics and Metals National Bank in the
amount of one million dollars. These loans financed German espionage activities in the United
States and Mexico. Some funds were traced to Sommerfeld, who was an adviser to Von
Rintelen (another German espionage agent) and who was later associated with Hjalmar Schacht
and Emil Wittenberg. Sommerfeld was to purchase ammunition for use in Mexico. He had an
account with the Guaranty Trust Company and from this payments were made to Western
Cartridge Co. of Alton, Illinois, for ammunition that was shipped to El Paso for use in Mexico
by Pancho Villa’s bandits. About $400,000 was expended on ammunition, Mexican
propaganda, and similar activities.
The then German ambassador Count Von Bernstorff has recounted his friendship with Adolph
von Pavenstedt, a senior partner of Amsinck & Co., which was controlled and in November
1917 owned by American International Corporation. American International figures
prominently in later chapters; its board of directors contained the key names on Wall Street:
Rockefeller, Kahn, Stillman, du Pont, Winthrop, etc. According to Von Bernstorff, Von
Pavenstedt was “intimately acquainted with all the members of the Embassy.”33 Von Bernstorff
himself regarded Von Pavenstedt as one of the most respected, “if not the most respected
imperial German in New York.”34 Indeed, Von Pavenstedt was “for many years a Chief pay
master of the German spy system in this country.”35 In other words, there is no question that
Armsinck & Co., controlled by American International Corporation, was intimately associated
with the funding of German wartime espionage in the United States. To clinch Von Bernstorff’s
last statement, there exists a photograph of a check in favor of Amsinck & Co., dated
December 8, 1917 — just four weeks after the start of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia —
signed Von Papen (another German espionage operator), and having a counterfoil bearing the
notation “travelling expenses on Von W [i.e., Von Wedell].” French Strothers,36 who published
the photograph, has stated that this check is evidence that Von Papen “became an accessory
after the fact to a crime against American laws”; it also makes Amsinck & Co. subject to a
Paul Bolo-Pasha, yet another German espionage agent, and a prominent French financier
formerly in the service of the Egyptian government, arrived in New York in March 1916 with a
letter of introduction to Von Pavenstedt. Through the latter, Bolo-Pasha met Hugo Schmidt,
director of the Deutsche Bank in Berlin and its representative in the United States. One of Bolo-
Pasha’s projects was to purchase foreign newspapers so as to slant their editorials in favor of
Germany. Funds for this program were arranged in Berlin in the form of credit with Guaranty
Trust Company, with the credit subsequently made available to Amsinck & Co. Adolph von
Pavenstedt, of Amsinck, in turn made the funds available to Bolo-Pasha.
In other words, both Guaranty Trust Company and Amsinck & Co., a subsidiary of American
International Corporation, were directly involved in the implementation of German espionage
and other activities in the United States. Some links can be established from these firms to each
of the major German operators in the U.S. — Dr. Albert, Karl Heynen, Von Rintelen, Von
Papan, Count Jacques Minotto (see below), and Paul Bolo-Pasha.
In 1919 the Senate Overman Committee also established that Guaranty Trust had an active role
in financing German World War I efforts in an “unneutral” manner. The testimony of the U.S.
intelligence officer Becker makes this clear:
In this mission Hugo Schmidt [of Deutsche Bank] was very largely assisted by
certain American banking institutions. It was while we were neutral, but they
acted to the detriment of the British interests, and I have considerable data on
the activity of the Guaranty Trust Co. in that respect, and would like to know
whether the committee wishes me to go into it.
SENATOR NELSON: That is a branch of the City Bank, is it not?
MR. BECKER: No.
SENATOR OVERMAN: If it was inimical to British interests it was
unneutral, and I think you had better let it come out.
SENATOR KING: Was it an ordinary banking transaction?
MR. BECKER: That would be a matter of opinion. It has to do with
camouflaging exchange so as to make it appear to be neutral exchange, when it
was really German exchange on London. As a result of those operations in
which the Guaranty Trust Co. mainly participated between August 1, 1914,
and the time America entered the war, the Deutsche Banke in its branches in
South America succeeded in negotiating £4,670,000 of London exchange in
SENATOR OVERMAN: I think that is competent.37
What is really important is not so much that financial assistance was given to Germany, which
was only illegal, as that directors of Guaranty Trust were financially assisting the Allies at the
same time. In other words, Guaranty Trust was financing both sides of The conflict. This raises
the question of morality.
THE GUARANTY TRUST-MINOTTO-CAILLAUX THREADS. 38
Count Jacques Minotto is a most unlikely but verifiable and persistent thread that links the
Bolshevik Revolution in Russia with German banks, German World War I espionage in the
United States, the Guaranty Trust Company in New York, the abortive French Bolshevik
revolution, and the related Caillaux-Malvy espionage trials in France.
Jacques Minotto was born February 17, 1891, in Berlin, the son of an Austrian father
descended from Italian nobility, and a German mother. Young Minotto was educated in Berlin
and then entered employment with the Deutsche Bank in Berlin in 1912. Almost immediately
Minotto was sent to the United States as assistant to Hugo Schmidt, deputy director of the
Deutsche Bank and its New York representative. After a year in New York, Minotto was sent
by the Deutsche Bank to London, where he circulated in prominent political and diplomatic
circles. At the outbreak of World War I, Minotto returned to the United States and immediately
met with the German ambassador Count Von Bernstorff, after which he entered the employ of
Guaranty Trust Company in New York. At Guaranty Trust, Minotto was under the direct orders
of Max May, director of its foreign department and an associate of Swedish banker Olof
Aschberg. Minotto was no minor bank official. The interrogatories of the Caillaux trials in
Paris in 1919 established that Minotto worked directly under Max May.39 On October 25,
1914, Guaranty Trust sent Jacques Minotto to South America to make a report on the political,
financial, and commercial situation. As he did in London, Washington, and New York, so
Minotto moved in the highest diplomatic and political circles here. One purpose of Minotto’s
mission in Latin America was to establish the mechanism by which Guaranty Trust could be
used as an intermediary for the previously mentioned German fund raising on the London
money market, which was then denied to Germany because of World War I. Minotto returned
to the United States, renewed his association with Count Von Bernstorff and Count Luxberg,
and subsequently, in 1916, attempted to obtain a position with U.S. Naval Intelligence. After
this he was arrested on charges of pro-German activities. When arrested Minotto was working
at the Chicago plant of his father-in-law Louis Swift, of Swift & Co., meatpackers. Swift put up
the security for the $50,000 bond required to free Minotto, who was represented by Henry
Veeder, the Swift & Co. attorney. Louis Swift was himself arrested for pro-German activities at
a later date. As an interesting and not unimportant coincidence, “Major” Harold H. Swift,
brother of Louis Swift, was a member of the William Boyce Thompson 1917 Red Cross
Mission to Petrograd — that is, one of the group of Wall Street lawyers and businessmen whose
intimate connections with the Russian Revolution are to be described later. Helen Swift
Neilson, sister of Louis and Harold Swift, was later connected with the pro-Communist
Abraham Lincoln Center “Unity.” This established a minor link between German banks,
American. banks, German espionage, and, as we shall see later, the Bolshevik Revolution.40
Joseph Caillaux was a famous (sometimes called notorious) French politician. He was also
associated with Count Minotto in the latter’s Latin America operations for Guaranty Trust, and
was later implicated in the famous French espionage cases of 1919, which had Bolshevik
connections. In 1911, Caillaux became minister of finance and later in the same year became
premier of France. John Louis Malvy became undersecretary of state in the Caillaux
government. Several years later Madame Caillaux murdered Gaston Calmette, editor of the
prominent Paris newspaper Figaro. The prosecution charged that Madame Caillaux murdered
Calmette to prevent publication of certain compromising documents. This affair resulted in the
departure of Caillaux and his wife from France. The couple went to Latin America and there
met with Count Minotto, the agent of the Guaranty Trust Company who was in Latin America
to establish intermediaries for German finance. Count Minotto was socially connected with the
Caillaux couple in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, Brazil, in Montevideo, Uruguay, and in
Buenos Aires, Argentina. In other words, Count Minotto was a constant companion of the
Caillaux couple while they were in Latin America.41 On returning to France, Caillaux and his
wife stayed at Biarritz as guests of Paul Bolo-Pasha, who was, as we have seen, also a German
espionage operator in the United States and France.42 Later, in July 1915, Count Minotto
arrived in France from Italy, met with the Caillaux couple; the same year the Caillaux couple
also visited Bolo-Pasha again in Biarritz. In other words, in 1915 and 1916 Caillaux established
a continuing social relationship with Count Minotto and Bolo-Pasha, both of whom were
German espionage agents in the United States.
Bolo-Pasha’s work in France was to gain influence for Germany in the Paris newspapers Le
Temps and Figaro. Bolo-Pasha then went to New York, arriving February 24, 1916. Here he
was to negotiate a loan of $2 million — and here he was associated with Von Pavenstedt, the
prominent German agent with Amsinck & Co.43 Severance Johnson, in The Enemy Within, has
connected Caillaux and Malvy to the 1918 abortive French Bolshevik revolution, and states
that if the revolution had succeeded, “Malvy would have been the Trotsky of France had
Caillaux been its Lenin.”44 Caillaux and Malvy formed a radical socialist party in France using
German funds and were brought to trial for these subversive efforts. The court interrogatories
in the 1919 French espionage trials introduce testimony concerning New York bankers and
their relationship with these German espionage operators. They also set forth the links between
Count Minotto and Caillaux, as well as the relationship of the Guaranty Trust Company to the
Deutsche Bank and the cooperation between Hugo Schmidt of Deutsche Bank and Max May of
Guaranty Trust Company. The French interrogatory (page 940) has the following extract from
the New York deposition of Count Minotto (page 10, and retranslated from the French):
QUESTION: Under whose orders were you at Guaranty Trust?
REPLY: Under the orders of Mr. Max May.
QUESTION: He was a Vice President?
ANSWER: He was Vice President and Director of the Foreign Department.
Later, in 1922, Max May became a director of the Soviet Ruskom-bank and represented the
interests of Guaranty Trust in that bank. The French interrogatory establishes that Count
Minotto, a German espionage agent, was in the employ of Guaranty Trust Company; that Max
May was his superior officer; and that Max May was also closely associated with Bolshevik
banker Olof Aschberg. In brief: Max May of Guaranty Trust was linked to illegal fund raising
and German espionage in the United States during World War I; he was linked indirectly to the
Bolshevik Revolution and directly to the establishment of Ruskombank, the first international
bank in the Soviet Union.
It is too early to attempt an explanation for this seemingly inconsistent, illegal, and sometimes
immoral international activity. In general, there are two plausible explanations: the first, a
relentless search for profits; the second — which agrees with the words of Otto Kahn of Kuhn,
Loeb & Co. and of American International Corporation in the epigraph to this chapter — the
realization of socialist aims, aims which “should, and can, be brought about” by nonsocialist
John Moody, The Truth about the Trusts (New York: Moody Publishing,
The J. P. Morgan Company was originally founded in London as George
Peabody and Co. in 1838. It was not incorporated until March 21, 1940. The
company ceased to exist in April 1954 when it merged with the Guaranty
Trust Company, then its most important commercial bank subsidiary, and is
today known as the Morgan Guarantee Trust Company of New York.
United States, House, Committee on Foreign Affairs, The Story of Panama,
Hearings on the Rainey Resolution, 1913. p. 53.
Ibid., p. 60.
Stanford, Calif. See also the Los Angeles Times, October 13, 1966.
Later codirector with Hjalmar Schacht (Hitler’s banker) and Emil Wittenberg,
of the Nationalbank für Deutschland.
United States, Senate, Committee on Foreign Relations, Investigation of
Mexican Affairs, 1920.
Lincoln Steffens, The Letters of Lincoln Steffens (New York: Harcourt,
Brace, 1941, I:386
U.S., Senate, Committee on Foreign Relations, Investigation of Mexican
Affairs, 1920, pts. 2, 18, p. 681.
New York Times, January 23, 1919.
U.S., Senate, Committee on Foreign Relations, op. cit., pp. 795-96.
U.S., Senate, Hearings Before the Special Committee Investigating the
Munitions Industry, 73-74th Cong., 1934-37, pt. 25, p. 7666.
U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 861.51/110 (316-116-682).
U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 861.51/112.
U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 861.51/111.
Handwritten in parentheses.
Olof Aschberg, En Vandrande Jude Frän Glasbruksgatan (Stockholm:
Albert Bonniers Förlag, n.d.), pp. 98-99, which is included in Memoarer
(Stockholm: Albert Bonniers Förlag, 1946). See also Gästboken (Stockholm:
Tidens Förlag, 1955) for further material on Aschberg.
Aschberg, p. 123.
New York Times, August 4, 1916.
Michael Futrell, Northern Underground (London: Faber and Faber, 1963), p.
See Robert Paul Browder and Alexander F. Kerensky, The Russian
Provisional government, 1917 (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Perss,
1961), 3: 1365. “Via Bank” is obviously Nya Banken.
U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 861.00/1130.
U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 861.516/129, August 28, 1922. A State Dept.
report from Stockholm, dated October 9, 1922 (861.516/137), states in regard
to Aschberg, “I met Mr. Aschberg some weeks ago and in the conversation
with him he substantially stated all that appeared in this report. He also asked
me to inquire whether he could visit the United States and gave as references
some of the prominent banks. In connection with this, however, I desire to call
the department’s attention to Document 54 of the Sisson Documents, and also
to many other dispatches which this legation wrote concerning this man during
the war, whose reputation and standing is not good. He is undoubtedly
working closely in connection with the Soviets, and during the entire war he
was in close cooperation with the Germans” (U.S. State Dept. Decimal File,
861.516/137, Stockholm, October 9, 1922. The report was signed by Ira N.
Ibid., 861.516/130, September 13, 1922.
Ibid., 861.516/140, Stockholm, October 23, 1922.
Ibid., 861.516/147, December 8, 1922.
Ibid., 861.516/144, November 18, 1922.
Ibid., 861.316/197, Stockholm, March 7, 1924.
This section is based on the Overman Committee hearings, U.S., Senate,
Brewing and Liquor Interests and German and Bolshevik Propaganda,
Hearings before the Subcommittee on the Judiciary, 65th Cong., 1919, 2:2154-
Count Von Bernstorff, My Three Years in America (New York: Scribner’s,
1920), p. 261.
French Strothers, Fighting Germany’s Spies (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday,
Page, 1918), p. 152.
U.S., Senate, Overman Committee, 2:2009.
This section is based on the following sources (as well as those cited
elsewhere): Jean Bardanne, Le Colonel Nicolai: espion de genie (Paris:
Editions Siboney, n.d.); Cours de Justice, Affaire Caillaux, Loustalot et
Comby: Procedure Generale Interrogatoires (Paris, 1919), pp. 349-50, 937-
46; Paul Vergnet, L’Affaire Caillaux (Paris 1918), especially the chapter titled
“Marx de Mannheim”; Henri Guernut, Emile Kahn, and Camille M.
Lemercier, Etudes documentaires sur L’Affaire Caillaux (Paris, n.d.), pp. 1012-
15; and George Adam, Treason and Tragedy: An Account of French War
Trials (London: Jonathan Cape, 1929).
See p. 70.
This Interrelationship is dealt with extensively in the three-volume Overman
Committee report of 1919. See bibliography.
See Rudolph Binion, Defeated Leaders (New York: Columbia University
George Adam, Treason and Tragedy: An Account of French War Trials
(London: Jonathan Cape, 1929).
The Enemy Within (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1920).
THE AMERICAN RED CROSS MISSION IN RUSSIA — 1917
Poor Mr. Billings believed he was in charge of a scientific mission for the relief of
Russia …. He was in reality nothing but a mask — the Red Cross complexion of the
mission was nothing but a mask.
Cornelius Kelleher, assistant to William Boyce Thompson (in George F. Kennan, Russia
Leaves the War)
The Wall Street project in Russia in 1917 used the Red Cross Mission as its operational vehicle. Both
Guaranty Trust and National City Bank had representatives in Russia at the time of the revolution.
Frederick M. Corse of the National City Bank branch in Petrograd was attached to the American Red
Cross Mission, of which a great deal will be said later. Guaranty Trust was represented by Henry Crosby
Emery. Emery was temporarily held by the Germans in 1918 and then moved on to represent Guaranty
Trust ‘in China.
Up to about 1915 the most influential person in the American Red Cross National Headquarters in
Washington, D.C. was Miss Mabel Boardman. An active and energetic promoter, Miss Boardman had
been the moving force behind the Red Cross enterprise, although its endowment came from wealthy and
prominent persons including J. P. Morgan, Mrs. E. H. Harriman, Cleveland H. Dodge, and Mrs. Russell
Sage. The 1910 fund-raising campaign for $2 million, for example, was successful only because it was
supported by these wealthy residents of New York City. In fact, most of the money came from New York
City. J.P. Morgan himself contributed $100,000 and seven other contributors in New York City amassed
$300,000. Only one person outside New York City contributed over $10,000 and that was William J.
Boardman, Miss Boardman’s father. Henry P. Davison was chairman of the 1910 New York Fund-
Raising Committee and later became chairman of the War Council of the American Red Cross. In other
words, in World War I the Red Cross depended heavily on Wall Street, and specifically on the Morgan
The Red Cross was unable to cope with the demands of World War I and in effect was taken over by
these New York bankers. According to John Foster Dulles, these businessmen “viewed the American Red
Cross as a virtual arm of government, they envisaged making an incalculable contribution to the winning
of the war.”1 In so doing they made a mockery of the Red Cross motto: “Neutrality and Humanity.”
In exchange for raising funds, Wall Street asked for the Red Cross War Council; and on the
recommendation of Cleveland H. Dodge, one of Woodrow Wilson’s financial backers, Henry P. Davison,
a partner in J.P. Morgan Company, became chairman. The list of administrators of the Red Cross then
began to take on the appearance of the New York Directory of Directors: John D. Ryan, president of
Anaconda Copper Company (see frontispiece); George W. Hill, president of the American Tobacco
Company; Grayson M.P. Murphy, vice president of the Guaranty Trust Company; and Ivy Lee, public
relations expert for the Rockefellers. Harry Hopkins, later to achieve fame under President Roosevelt,
became assistant to the general manager of the Red Cross in Washington, D.C.
The question of a Red Cross Mission to Russia came before the third meeting of this reconstructed War
Council, which was held in the Red Cross Building, Washington, D.C., on Friday, May 29, 1917, at 11:00
A.M. Chairman Davison was deputed to explore the idea with Alexander Legge of the International
Harvester Company. Subsequently International Harvester, which had considerable interests in Russia,
provided $200,000 to assist financing the Russian mission. At a later meeting it was made known that
William Boyce Thompson, director of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, had “offered to pay the
entire expense of the commission”; this offer was accepted in a telegram: “Your desire to pay expenses of
commission to Russia is very much appreciated and from our point of view very important.”2
The members of the mission received no pay. All expenses were paid by William Boyce Thompson and
the $200,000 from International Harvester was apparently used in Russia for political subsidies. We know
from the files of the U.S. embassy in Petrograd that the U.S. Red Cross gave 4,000 rubles to Prince Lvoff,
president of the Council of Ministers, for “relief of revolutionists” and 10,000 rubles in two payments to
Kerensky for “relief of political refugees.”
AMERICAN RED CROSS MISSION TO RUSSIA, 1917
In August 1917 the American Red Cross Mission to Russia had only a nominal relationship with the
American Red Cross, and must truly have been the most unusual Red Cross Mission in history. All
expenses, including those of the uniforms — the members were all colonels, majors, captains, or
lieutenants — were paid out of the pocket of William Boyce Thompson. One contemporary observer
dubbed the all-officer group an “Haytian Army”:
The American Red Cross delegation, about forty Colonels, Majors, Captains and
Lieutenants, arrived yesterday. It is headed by Colonel (Doctor) Billings of Chicago, and
includes Colonel William B. Thompson and many doctors and civilians, all with military
titles; we dubbed the outfit the “Haytian Army” because there were no privates. They
have come to fill no clearly defined mission, as far as I can find out, in fact Gov. Francis
told me some time ago that he had urged they not be allowed to come, as there were
already too many missions from the various allies in Russia. Apparently, this
Commission imagined there was urgent call for doctors and nurses in Russia; as a matter
of fact there is at present a surplus of medical talent and nurses, native and foreign in the
country and many haft-empty hospitals in the large cities.3
The mission actually comprised only twenty-four (not forty), having military rank from lieutenant colonel
down to lieutenant, and was supplemented by three orderlies, two motion-picture photographers, and two
interpreters, without rank. Only five (out of twenty-four) were doctors; in addition, there were two
medical researchers. The mission arrived by train in Petrograd via Siberia in August 1917. The five
doctors and orderlies stayed one month, returning to the United States on September 11. Dr. Frank
Billings, nominal head of the mission and professor of medicine at the University of Chicago, was
reported to be disgusted with the overtly political activities of the majority of the mission. The other
medical men were William S. Thayer, professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University; D. J.
McCarthy, Fellow of Phipps Institute for Study and Prevention of Tuberculosis, at Philadelphia; Henry C.
Sherman, professor of food chemistry at Columbia University; C. E. A. Winslow, professor of
bacteriology and hygiene at Yale Medical School; Wilbur E. Post, professor of medicine at Rush Medical
College; Dr. Malcolm Grow, of the Medical Officers Reserve Corps of the U.S. Army; and Orrin
Wightman, professor of clinical medicine, New York Polyclinic Hospital. George C. Whipple was listed
as professor of sanitary engineering at Harvard University but in fact was partner of the New York firm of
Hazen, Whipple & Fuller, engineering consultants. This is significant because Malcolm Pirnie — of whom
more later — was listed as an assistant sanitary engineer and employed as an engineer by Hazen, Whipple
The majority of the mission, as seen from the table, was made up of lawyers, financiers, and their
assistants, from the New York financial district. The mission was financed by William B. Thompson,
described in the official Red Cross circular as “Commissioner and Business Manager; Director United
States Federal Bank of New York.” Thompson brought along Cornelius Kelleher, described as an attache
to the mission but actually secretary to Thompson and with the same address — 14 Wall Street, New York
City. Publicity for the mission was handled by Henry S. Brown, of the same address. Thomas Day
Thacher was an attorney with Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett, a firm founded by his father, Thomas
Thacher, in 1884 and prominently involved in railroad reorganization and mergers. Thomas as junior first
worked for the family firm, became assistant U.S. attorney under Henry L. Stimson, and returned to the
family firm in 1909. The young Thacher was a close friend of Felix Frankfurter and later became assistant
to Raymond Robins, also on the Red Cross Mission. In 1925 he was appointed district judge under
President Coolidge, became solicitor general under Herbert Hoover, and was a director of the William
Boyce Thompson Institute.
THE 1917 AMERICAN RED CROSS MISSION TO RUSSIA
Members from Wall Street
financial community and their
Andrews (Liggett & Myers
Billings (doctor) Brooks (orderly)
Barr (Chase National Bank) Grow (doctor) Clark (orderly)
Brown (c/o William B.
McCarthy (medical research;
Cochran (McCann Co.) Post (doctor)
Kelleher (c/o William B.
Sherman (food chemistry) Travis (movies)
Nicholson (Swirl & Co.) Thayer (doctor) Wyckoff (movies)
Pirnie (Hazen, Whipple & Fuller)
Redfield (Stetson, Jennings &
Wightman (medicine) Hardy (justice)
Robins (mining promoter) Winslow (hygiene) Horn (transportation)
Swift (Swift & Co.)
Thacher (Simpson, Thacher &
Thompson (Federal Reserve Bank
Wardwell (Stetson, Jennings &
Whipple (Hazen, Whipple &
Corse (National City Bank)
Magnuson (recommended by
confidential agent of Colonel
Alan Wardwell, also a deputy commissioner and secretary to the chairman, was a lawyer with the law
firm of Stetson, Jennings & Russell of 15 Broad Street, New York City, and H. B. Redfield was law
secretary to Wardwell. Major Wardwell was the son of William Thomas Wardwell, long-time treasurer of
Standard Oil of New Jersey and Standard Oil of New York. The elder Wardwell was one of the signers of
the famous Standard Oil trust agreement, a member of the committee to organize Red Cross activities in
the Spanish American War, and a director of the Greenwich Savings Bank. His son Alan was a director
not only of Greenwich Savings, but also of Bank of New York and Trust Co. and the Georgian
Manganese Company (along with W. Averell Harriman, a director of Guaranty Trust). In 1917 Alan
Wardwell was affiliated with Stetson, Jennings 8c Russell and later joined Davis, Polk, Wardwell,
Gardner & Read (Frank L. Polk was acting secretary of state during the Bolshevik Revolution period).
The Senate Overman Committee noted that Wardwell was favorable to the Soviet regime although Poole,
the State Department official on the spot, noted that “Major Wardwell has of all Americans the widest
personal knowledge of the terror” (316-23-1449). In the 1920s Wardwell became active with the Russian-
American Chamber of Commerce in promoting Soviet trade objectives.
The treasurer of the mission was James W. Andrews, auditor of Liggett & Myers Tobacco Company of
St. Louis. Robert I. Barr, another member, was listed as a deputy commissioner; he was a vice president
of Chase Securities Company (120 Broadway) and of the Chase National Bank. Listed as being in charge
of advertising was William Cochran of 61 Broadway, New York City. Raymond Robins, a mining
promoter, was included as a deputy commissioner and described as “a social economist.” Finally, the
mission included two members of Swift & Company of Union Stockyards, Chicago. The Swifts have
been previously mentioned as being connected with German espionage in the United States during World
War I. Harold H. Swift, deputy commissioner, was assistant to the vice president of Swift & Company;
William G. Nicholson was also with Swift & Company, Union Stockyards.
Two persons were unofficially added to the mission after it arrived in Petrograd: Frederick M. Corse,
representative of the National City Bank in Petrograd; and Herbert A. Magnuson, who was “very highly
recommended by John W. Finch, the confidential agent in China of Colonel William B. Thompson.”4
The Pirnie papers, deposited at the Hoover Institution, contain primary material on the mission. Malcolm
Pirnie was an engineer employed by the firm of Hazen, Whipple & Fuller, consulting engineers, of 42
Street, New York City. Pirnie was a member of the mission, listed on a manifest as an assistant sanitary
engineer. George C. Whipple, a partner in the firm, was also included in the group. The Pirnie papers
include an original telegram from William B. Thompson, inviting assistant sanitary engineer Pirnie to
meet with him and Henry P. Davison, chairman of the Red Cross War Council and partner in the J.P.
Morgan firm, before leaving for Russia. The telegram reads as follows:
WESTERN UNION TELEGRAM New York, June 21, 1917
To Malcolm Pirnie
I should very much like to have you dine with me at the Metropolitan Club, Sixteenth
Street and Fifth Avenue New York City at eight o’clock tomorrow Friday evening to
meet Mr. H. P. Davison.
W. B. Thompson, 14 Wall Street
The files do not elucidate why Morgan partner Davison and Thompson, director of the Federal Reserve
Bank — two of the most prominent financial men in New York — wished to have dinner with an assistant
sanitary engineer about to leave for Russia. Neither do the files explain why Davison was subsequently
unable to meet Dr. Billings and the commission itself, nor why it was necessary to advise Pirnie of his
inability to do so. But we may surmise that the official cover of the mission — Red Cross activities — was
of significantly less interest than the Thompson-Pirnie activities, whatever they may have been. We do
know that Davison wrote to Dr. Billings on June 25, 1917:
Dear Doctor Billings:
It is a disappointment to me and to my associates on the War Council not have been able
to meet in a body the members of your Commission ….
A copy of this letter was also mailed to assistant sanitary engineer Pirnie with a personal letter from
Morgan banker Henry P. Davison, which read:
My dear Mr. Pirnie:
You will, I am sure, entirely understand the reason for the letter to Dr. Billings, copy of
which is enclosed, and accept it in the spirit in which it is sent ….
The purpose of Davison’s letter to Dr. Billings was to apologize to the commission and Billings for being
unable to meet with them. We may then be justified in supposing that some deeper arrangements were
made by Davison and Pirnie concerning the activities of the mission in Russia and that these
arrangements were known to Thompson. The probable nature of these activities will be described later.5
The American Red Cross Mission (or perhaps we should call it the Wall Street Mission to Russia) also
employed three Russian-English interpreters: Captain Ilovaisky, a Russian Bolshevik; Boris Reinstein, a
Russian-American, later secretary to Lenin, and the head of Karl Radek’s Bureau of International
Revolutionary Propaganda, which also employed John Reed and Albert Rhys Williams; and Alexander
Gumberg (alias Berg, real name Michael Gruzenberg), who was a brother of Zorin, a Bolshevik minister.
Gumberg was also the chief Bolshevik agent in Scandinavia. He later became a confidential assistant to
Floyd Odlum of Atlas Corporation in the United States as well as an adviser to Reeve Schley, a vice
president of the Chase Bank.
It should be asked in passing: How useful were the translations supplied by these interpreters? On
September 13, 1918, H. A. Doolittle, American vice consul at Stockholm, reported to the secretary of
state on a conversation with Captain Ilovaisky (who was a “close personal friend” of Colonel Robins of
the Red Cross Mission) concerning a meeting of the Murman Soviet and the Allies. The question of
inviting the Allies to land at Murman was under discussion at the Soviet, with Major Thacher of the Red
Cross Mission acting for the Allies. Ilovaisky interpreted Thacher’s views for the Soviet. “Ilovaisky spoke
at some length in Russian, supposedly translating for Thacher, but in reality for Trotsky …. “to the effect
that “the United States would never permit such a landing to occur and urging the speedy recognition of
the Soviets and their politics.”6 Apparently Thacher suspected he was being mistranslated and expressed
his indignation. However, “Ilovaisky immediately telegraphed the substance to Bolshevik headquarters
and through their press bureau had it appear in all the papers as emanating from the remarks of Major
Thacher and as the general opinion of all truly accredited American representatives.”7
Ilovaisky recounted to Maddin Summers, U.S. consul general in Moscow, several instances where he
(Ilovaisky) and Raymond Robins of the Red Cross Mission had manipulated the Bolshevik press,
especially “in regard to the recall of the Ambassador, Mr. Francis.” He admitted that they had not been
scrupulous, “but had acted according to their ideas of right, regardless of how they might have conflicted
with the politics of the accredited American representatives.”8
This then was the American Red Cross Mission to Russia in 1917.
AMERICAN RED CROSS MISSION TO RUMANIA
In 1917 the American Red Cross also sent a medical assistance mission to Rumania, then fighting the
Central Powers as an ally of Russia. A comparison of the American Red Cross Mission to Russia with
that sent to Rumania suggests that the Red Cross Mission based in Petrograd had very little official
connection with the Red Cross and even less connection with medical assistance. Whereas the Red Cross
Mission to Rumania valiantly upheld the Red Cross twin principles of “humanity” and “neutrality,” the
Red Cross Mission in Petrograd flagrantly abused both.
The American Red Cross Mission to Rumania left the United States in July 1917 and located itself at
Jassy. The mission consisted of thirty persons under Chairman Henry W. Anderson, a lawyer from
Virginia. Of the thirty, sixteen were either doctors or surgeons. By comparison, out of twenty-nine
individuals with the Red Cross Mission to Russia, only three were doctors, although another four
members were from universities and specialized in medically related fields. At the most, seven could be
classified as doctors with the mission to Russia compared with sixteen with the mission to Rumania.
There was about the same number of orderlies and nurses with both missions. The significant
comparison, however, is that the Rumanian mission had only two lawyers, one treasurer, and one
engineer. The Russian mission had fifteen lawyers and businessmen. None of the Rumanian mission
lawyers or doctors came from anywhere near the New York area but all, except one (an “observer” from
the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.), of the lawyers and businessmen with the Russian
mission came from that area. Which is to say that more than half the total of the Russian mission came
from the New York financial district. In other words, the relative composition of these missions confirms
that the mission to Rumania had a legitimate purpose — to practice medicine — while the Russian mission
had a non-medical and strictly political objective. From its personnel, it could be classified as a
commercial or financial mission, but from its actions it was a subversive political action group.
PERSONNEL WITH THE AMERICAN RED CROSS MISSIONS TO RUSSIA AND RUMANIA, 1917
AMERICAN RED CROSS
Personnel Russia Rumania
Medical (doctors and surgeons) 7 16
Orderlies, nurses 7 10
Lawyers and businessmen 15 4
TOTAL 29 30
American Red Cross, Washington, D.C.
U.S. Department of State, Petrograd embassy, Red Cross file, 1917.
The Red Cross Mission to Rumania remained at its post in Jassy for the remainder of 1917 and into 1918.
The medical staff of the American Red Cross Mission in Russia — the seven doctors — quit in disgust in
August 1917, protested the political activities of Colonel Thompson, and returned to the United States.
Consequently, in September 1917, when the Rumanian mission appealed to Petrograd for American
doctors and nurses to help out in the near crisis conditions in Jassy, there were no American doctors or
nurses in Russia available to go to Rumania.
Whereas the bulk of the mission in Russia occupied its time in internal political maneuvering, the mission
in Rumania threw itself into relief work as soon as it arrived. On September 17, 1917, a confidential cable
from Henry W. Anderson, chairman of the Rumania mission, to the American ambassador Francis in
Petrograd requested immediate and urgent help in the form of $5 million to meet an impending
catastrophe in Rumania. Then followed a series of letters, cables, and communications from Anderson to
Francis appealing, unsuccessfully, for help.
On September 28, 1917, Vopicka, American minister in Rumania, cabled Francis at length, for relay to
Washington, and repeated Anderson’s analysis of the Rumanian crisis and the danger of epidemics — and
worse — as winter closed in:
Considerable money and heroic measures required prevent far reaching disaster ….
Useless try handle situation without someone with authority and access to government . .
. With proper organization to look after transport receive and distribute supplies.
The hands of Vopicka and Anderson were tied as all Rumanian supplies and financial transactions were
handled by the Red Cross Mission in Petrograd — and Thompson and his staff of fifteen Wall Street
lawyers and businessmen apparently had matters of greater concern that Rumanian Red Cross affairs.
There is no indication in the Petrograd embassy files at the U.S. State Department that Thompson,
Robins, or Thacher concerned himself at any time in 1917 or 1918 with the urgent situation in Rumania.
Communications from Rumania went to Ambassador Francis or to one of his embassy staff, and
occasionally through the consulate in Moscow.
By October 1917 the Rumanian situation reached the crisis point. Vopicka cabled Davison in New York
(via Petrograd) on October 5:
Most urgent problem here …. Disastrous effect feared …. Could you possibly arrange
special shipment …. Must rush or too late.
Then on November 5 Anderson cabled the Petrograd embassy saying that delays in sending help had
already “cost several thousand lives.” On November 13 Anderson cabled Ambassador Francis concerning
Thompson’s lack of interest in Rumanian conditions:
Requested Thompson furnish details all shipments as received but have not obtained
same …. Also requested him keep me posted as to transport conditions but received very
Anderson then requested that Ambassador Francis intercede on his behalf in order to have funds for the
Rumanian Red Cross handled in a separate account in London, directly under Anderson and removed
from the control of Thompson’s mission.
THOMPSON IN KERENSKY’S RUSSIA
What then was the Red Cross Mission doing? Thompson certainly acquired a reputation for opulent living
in Petrograd, but apparently he undertook only two major projects in Kerensky’s Russia: support for an
American propaganda program and support for the Russian Liberty Loan. Soon after arriving in Russia
Thompson met with Madame Breshko-Breshkovskaya and David Soskice, Kerensky’s secretary, and
agreed to contribute $2 million to a committee of popular education so that it could “have its own press
and… engage a staff of lecturers, with cinematograph illustrations” (861.00/ 1032); this was for the
propaganda purpose of urging Russia to continue in the war against Germany. According to Soskice, “a
packet of 50,000 rubles” was given to Breshko-Breshkovskaya with the statement, “This is for you to
expend according to your best judgment.” A further 2,100,000 rubles was deposited into a current bank
account. A letter from J. P. Morgan to the State Department (861.51/190) confirms that Morgan cabled
425,000 rubles to Thompson at his request for the Russian Liberty Loan; J. P. also conveyed the interest
of the Morgan firm regarding “the wisdom of making an individual subscription through Mr. Thompson”
to the Russian Liberty Loan. These sums were transmitted through the National City Bank branch in
THOMPSON GIVES THE BOLSHEVIKS $1 MILLION
Of greater historical significance, however, was the assistance given to the Bolsheviks first by Thompson,
then, after December 4, 1917, by Raymond Robins.
Thompson’s contribution to the Bolshevik cause was recorded in the contemporary American press. The
Washington Post of February 2, 1918, carried the following paragraphs:
GIVES BOLSHEVIKI A MILLION
W. B. Thompson, Red Cross Donor, Believes Party Misrepresented. New York, Feb. 2
(1918). William B. Thompson, who was in Petrograd from July until November last, has
made a personal contribution of $1,000,000 to the Bolsheviki for the purpose of
spreading their doctrine in Germany and Austria.
Mr. Thompson had an opportunity to study Russian conditions as head of the American
Red Cross Mission, expenses of which also were largely defrayed by his personal
contributions. He believes that the Bolsheviki constitute the greatest power against Pro-
Germanism in Russia and that their propaganda has been undermining the militarist
regimes of the General Empires.
Mr. Thompson deprecates American criticism of the Bolsheviki. He believes they have
been misrepresented and has made the financial contribution to the cause in the belief
that it will be money well spent for the future of Russia as well as for the Allied cause.
Hermann Hagedorn’s biography The Magnate: William Boyce Thompson and His Time (1869-1930)
reproduces a photograph of a cablegram from J.P. Morgan in New York to W. B. Thompson, “Care
American Red Cross, Hotel Europe, Petrograd.” The cable is date-stamped, showing it was received at
Petrograd “8-Dek 1917″ (8 December 1917), and reads:
New York Y757/5 24W5 Nil — Your cable second received. We have paid National City
Bank one million dollars as instructed — Morgan.
The National City Bank branch in Petrograd had been exempted from the Bolshevik nationalization
decree — the only foreign or domestic Russian bank to have been so exempted. Hagedorn says that this
million dollars paid into Thompson’s NCB account was used for “political purposes.”
SOCIALIST MINING PROMOTER RAYMOND ROBINS9
William B. Thompson left Russia in early December 1917 to return home. He traveled via London,
where, in company with Thomas Lamont of the J.P. Morgan firm, he visited Prime Minister Lloyd
George, an episode we pick up in the next chapter. His deputy, Raymond Robins, was left in charge of the
Red Cross Mission to Russia. The general impression that Colonel Robins presented in the subsequent
months was not overlooked by the press. In the words of the Russian newspaper Russkoe Slovo, Robins
“on the one hand represents American labor and on the other hand American capital, which is
endeavoring through the Soviets to gain their Russian markets.”10
Raymond Robins started life as the manager of a Florida phosphate company commissary. From this base
he developed a kaolin deposit, then prospected Texas and the Indian territories in the late nineteenth
century. Moving north to Alaska, Robins made a fortune in the Klondike gold rush. Then, for no
observable reason, he switched to socialism and the reform movement. By 1912 he was an active member
of Roosevelt’s Progressive Party. He joined the 1917 American Red Cross Mission to Russia as a “social
There is considerable evidence, including Robins’ own statements, that his reformist social-good appeals
were little more than covers for the acquisition of further power and wealth, reminiscent of Frederick
Howe’s suggestions in Confessions of a Monopolist. For example, in February 1918 Arthur Bullard was in
Petrograd with the U.S. Committee on Public Information and engaged in writing a long memorandum
for Colonel Edward House. This memorandum was given to Robins by Bullard for comments and
criticism before transmission to House in Washington, D.C. Robins’ very unsocialistic and imperialistic
comments were to the effect that the manuscript was “uncommonly discriminating, far-seeing and well
done,” but that he had one or two reservations — in particular, that recognition of the Bolsheviks was long
overdue, that it should have been effected immediately, and that had the U.S. so recognized the
Bolsheviks, “I believe that we would now be in control of the surplus resources of Russia and have
control officers at all points on the frontier.”11
This desire to gain “control of the surplus resources of Russia” was also obvious to Russians. Does this
sound like a social reformer in the American Red Cross or a Wall Street mining promoter engaged in the
practical exercise of imperialism?
In any event, Robins made no bones about his support for the Bolshevists.12 Barely three weeks after the
Bolshevik phase of the Revolution started, Robins cabled Henry Davison at Red Cross headquarters:
“Please urge upon the President the necessity of our continued intercourse with the Bolshevik
Government.” Interestingly, this cable was in reply to a cable instructing Robins that the “President
desires the withholding of direct communications by representatives of the United States with the
Bolshevik Government.”13 Several State Department reports complained about the partisan nature of
Robins’ activities. For example, on March 27, 1919, Harris, the American consul at Vladivostok,
commented on a long conversation he had had with Robins and protested gross inaccuracies in the latter’s
reporting. Harris wrote, “Robins stated to me that no German and Austrian prisoners of war had joined
the Bolshevik army up to May 1918. Robbins knew this statement was absolutely false.” Harris then
proceeded to provide the details of evidence available to Robins.14
Limit of Area Controlled by Bolsheviks, January 1918
Harris concluded, “Robbins deliberately misstated facts concerning Russia at that time and he has been
doing it ever since.”
On returning to the United States in 1918, Robins continued his efforts in behalf of the Bolsheviks. When
the files of the Soviet Bureau were seized by the Lusk Committee, it was found that Robins had had
“considerable correspondence” with Ludwig Martens and other members of the bureau. One of the more
interesting documents seized was a letter from Santeri Nuorteva (alias Alexander Nyberg), the first Soviet
representative in the U.S., to “Comrade Cahan,” editor of the New York Daily Forward. The letter called
on the party faithful to prepare the way for Raymond Robins:
(To Daily) FORWARD July 6, 1918
Dear Comrade Cahan:
It is of the utmost importance that the Socialist press set up a clamor immediately that
Col. Raymond Robins, who has just returned from Russia at the head of the Red Cross
Mission, should be heard from in a public report to the American people. The armed
intervention danger has greatly increased. The reactionists are using the Czecho-Slovak
adventure to bring about invasion. Robins has all the facts about this and about the
situation in Russia generally. He takes our point of view.
I am enclosing copy of Call editorial which shows a general line of argument, also some
facts about Czecho-Slovaks.
PS&AU Santeri Nuorteva
THE INTERNATIONAL RED CROSS AND REVOLUTION
Unknown to its administrators, the Red Cross has been used from time to time as a vehicle or cover for
revolutionary activities. The use of Red Cross markings for unauthorized purposes is not uncommon.
When Tsar Nicholas was moved from Petrograd to Tobolsk allegedly for his safety (although this
direction was towards danger rather than safety), the train carried Japanese Red Cross placards. The State
Department files contain examples of revolutionary activity under cover of Red Cross activities. For
example, a Russian Red Cross official (Chelgajnov) was arrested in Holland in 1919 for revolutionary
acts (316-21-107). During the Hungarian Bolshevik revolution in 1918, led by Bela Kun, Russian
members of the Red Cross (or revolutionaries operating as members of the Russian Red Cross) were
found in Vienna and Budapest. In 1919 the U.S. ambassador in London cabled Washington startling
news; through the British government he had learned that “several Americans who had arrived in this
country in the uniform of the Red Cross and who stated that they were Bolsheviks . . . were proceeding
through France to Switzerland to spread Bolshevik propaganda.” The ambassador noted that about 400
American Red Cross people had arrived in London in November and December 1918; of that number one
quarter returned to the United States and “the remainder insisted on proceeding to France.” There was a
later report on January 15, 1918, to the effect that an editor of a labor newspaper in London had been
approached on three different occasions by three different American Red Cross officials who offered to
take commissions to Bolsheviks in Germany. The editor had suggested to the U.S. embassy that it watch
American Red Cross personnel. The U.S. State Department took these reports seriously and Polk cabled
for names, stating, “If true, I consider it of the greatest importance” (861.00/3602 and /3627).
To summarize: the picture we form of the 1917 American Red Cross Mission to Russia is remote from
one of neutral humanitarianism. The mission was in fact a mission of Wall Street financiers to influence
and pave the way for control, through either Kerensky or the Bolshevik revolutionaries, of the Russian
market and resources. No other explanation will explain the actions of the mission. However, neither
Thompson nor Robins was a Bolshevik. Nor was either even a consistent socialist. The writer is inclined
to the interpretation that the socialist appeals of each man were covers for more prosaic objectives. Each
man was intent upon the commercial; that is, each sought to use the political process in Russia for
personal financial ends. Whether the Russian people wanted the Bolsheviks was of no concern. Whether
the Bolshevik regime would act against the United States — as it consistently did later — was of no
concern. The single overwhelming objective was to gain political and economic influence with the new
regime, whatever its ideology. If William Boyce Thompson had acted alone, then his directorship of the
Federal Reserve Bank would be inconsequential. However, the fact that his mission was dominated by
representatives of Wall Street institutions raises a serious question — in effect, whether the mission was a
planned, premeditated operation by a Wall Street syndicate. This the reader will have to judge for
himself, as the rest of the story unfolds.
John Foster Dulles, American Red Cross (New York: Harper, 1950).
Minutes of the War Council of the American National Red Cross (Washington, D.C.,
Gibbs Diary, August 9, 1917. State Historical Society of Wisconsin.
Billings report to Henry P. Davison, October 22, 1917, American Red Cross Archives.
The Pirnie papers also enable us to fix exactly the dates that members of the mission left
Russia. In the case of William B. Thompson, this date is critical to the argument of this
book: Thompson left Petrograd for London on December 4, 1917. George F. Kennan
states Thompson left Petrograd on November 27, 1917 (Russia Leaves the War, p. 1140).
U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 861.00/3644.
Robins is the correct spelling. The name is consistently spelled “Robbins” in the Stale
U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 316-11-1265, March 19, 1918.
Bullard ms., U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 316-11-1265.
The New World Review (fall 1967, p. 40) comments on Robins, noting that he was “in
sympathy with the aims of the Revolution, although a capitalist ”
Petrograd embassy, Red Cross file.
U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 861.00/4168.
CONSOLIDATION AND EXPORT OF THE REVOLUTION
Marx’s great book Das Kapital is at once a monument of reasoning and a
storehouse of facts.
Lord Milner, member of the British War Cabinet, 1917, and director of the
London Joint Stock Bank
William Boyce Thompson is an unknown name in twentieth-century history, yet Thompson
played a crucial role in the Bolshevik Revolution.1 Indeed, if Thompson had not been in Russia
in 1917, subsequent history might have followed a quite different course. Without the financial
and, more important, the diplomatic and propaganda assistance given to Trotsky and Lenin by
Thompson, Robins, and their New York associates, the Bolsheviks may well have withered
away and Russia evolved into a socialist but constitutional society.
Who was William Boyce Thompson? Thompson was a promoter of mining stocks, one of the
best in a high-risk business. Before World War I he handled stock-market operations for the
Guggenheim copper interests. When the Guggenheims needed quick capital for a stock-market
struggle with John D. Rockefeller, it was Thompson who promoted Yukon Consolidated
Goldfields before an unsuspecting public to raise a $3.5 million war chest. Thompson was
manager of the Kennecott syndicate, another Guggenheim operation, valued at $200 million. It
was Guggenheim Exploration, on the other hand, that took up Thompson’s options on the rich
Nevada Consolidated Copper Company. About three quarters of the original Guggenheim
Exploration Company was controlled by the Guggenheim family, the Whitney family (who
owned Metropolitan magazine, which employed the Bolshevik John Reed), and John Ryan. In
1916 the Guggenheim interests reorganized into Guggenheim Brothers and brought in William
C. Potter, who was formerly with Guggenheim’s American Smelting and Refining Company
but who was in 1916 first’ vice president of Guaranty Trust.
Extraordinary skill in raising capital for risky mining promotions earned Thompson a personal
fortune and directorships in Inspiration Consolidated Copper Company, Nevada Consolidated
Copper Company, and Utah Copper Company — all major domestic copper producers. Copper
is, of course, a major material in the manufacture of munitions. Thompson was also director of
the Chicago Rock Island & Pacific Railroad, the Magma Arizona Railroad and the
Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. And of particular interest for this book, Thompson was
“one of the heaviest stockholders in the Chase National Bank.” It was Albert H. Wiggin,
president of the Chase Bank, who pushed Thompson for a post in the Federal Reserve System;
and in 1914 Thompson became the first full-term director of the Federal Reserve Bank of New
York — the most important bank in the Federal Reserve System.
By 1917, then, William Boyce Thompson was a financial operator of substantial means,
demonstrated ability, with a flair for promotion and implementation of capitalist projects, and
with ready access to the centers of political and financial power. This was the same man who
first supported Aleksandr Kerensky, and who then became an ardent supporter of the
Bolsheviks, bequeathing a surviving symbol of this support — a laudatory pamphlet in Russian,
“Pravda o Rossii i Bol’shevikakh.”2
Before leaving Russia in early December 1917 Thompson handed over the American Red
Cross Mission to his deputy Raymond Robins. Robins then organized Russian revolutionaries
to implement the Thompson plan for spreading Bolshevik propaganda in Europe (see Appendix
3). A French government document confirms this: “It appeared that Colonel Robins . . . was
able to send a subversive mission of Russian bolsheviks to Germany to start a revolution
there.”3 This mission led to the abortive German Spartacist revolt of 1918. The overall plan
also included schemes for dropping Bolshevik literature by airplane or for smuggling it across
Thompson made preparations in late 1917 to leave Petrograd and sell the Bolshevik Revolution
to governments in Europe and to the U.S. With this in mind, Thompson cabled Thomas W.
Lamont, a partner in the Morgan firm who was then in Paris with Colonel E. M. House.
Lamont recorded the receipt of this cablegram in his biography:
Just as the House Mission was completing its discussions in Paris in December
1917, I received an arresting cable from my old school and business friend,
William Boyce Thompson, who was then in Petrograd in charge of the
American Red Cross Mission there.4
Lamont journeyed to London and met with Thompson, who had left Petrograd on December 5,
traveled via Bergen, Norway, and arrived in London on December 10. The most important
achievement of Thompson and Lamont in London was to convince the British War Cabinet —
then decidedly anti-Bolshevik — that the Bolshevik regime had come to stay, and that British
policy should cease to be anti-Bolshevik, should accept the new realities, and should support
Lenin and Trotsky. Thompson and Lamont left London on December 18 and arrived in New
York on December 25, 1917. They attempted the same process of conversion in the United
A CONSULTATION WITH LLOYD GEORGE
The secret British War Cabinet papers are now available and record the argument used by
Thompson to sell the British government on a pro-Bolshevik policy. The prime minister of
Great Britain was David Lloyd George. Lloyd George’s private and political machinations
rivaled those of a Tammany Hall politician — yet in his lifetime and for decades after,
biographers were unable, or unwilling, to come to grips with them. In 1970 Donald
McCormick’s The Mask of Merlin lifted the veil of secrecy. McCormick shows that by 1917
David Lloyd George had bogged “too deeply in the mesh of international armaments intrigues
to be a free agent” and was beholden to Sir Basil Zaharoff, an international armaments dealer,
whose considerable fortune was made by selling arms to both sides in several wars.5 Zaharoff
wielded enormous behind-the-scenes power and, according to McCormick, was consulted on
war policies by the Allied leaders. On more than one occasion, reports McCormick, Woodrow
Wilson, Lloyd George, and Georges Clemenceau met in Zaharoff’s Paris home. McCormick
notes that “Allied statesmen and leaders were obliged to consult him before planning any great
attack.” British intelligence, according to McCormick, “discovered documents which
incriminated servants of the Crown as secret agents of Sir Basil Zaharoff with the knowledge of
Lloyd George.“6 In 1917 Zaharoff was linked to the Bolsheviks; he sought to divert munitions
away from anti-Bolsheviks and had already intervened in behalf of the Bolshevik regime in
both London and Paris.
In late 1917, then — at the time Lamont and Thompson arrived in London — Prime Minister
Lloyd George was indebted to powerful international armaments interests that were allied to
the Bolsheviks and providing assistance to extend Bolshevik power in Russia. The British
prime minister who met with William Thompson in 1917 was not then a free agent; Lord
Milner was the power behind the scenes and, as the epigraph to this chapter suggests, favorably
inclined towards socialism and Karl Marx.
The “secret” War Cabinet papers give the “Prime Minister’s account of a conversation with Mr.
Thompson, an American returned from Russia,”7 and the report made by the prime minister to
the War Cabinet after meeting with Thompson.8 The cabinet paper reads as follows:
The Prime Minister reported a conversation he had had with a Mr.
Thompson — an American traveller and a man of considerable means — who
had just returned from Russia, and who had given a somewhat different
impression of affairs in that country from what was generally believed. The
gist of his remarks was to the effect that the Revolution had come to stay; that
the Allies had not shown themselves sufficiently sympathetic with the
Revolution; and that MM. Trotzki and Lenin were not in German pay, the
latter being a fairly distinguished Professor. Mr. Thompson had added that he
considered the Allies should conduct in Russia an active propaganda, carried
out by some form of Allied Council composed o[ men especially selected [or
the purpose; further, that on the whole, he considered, having regard to the
character of the de facto Russian Government, the several Allied Governments
were not suitably represented in Petrograd. In Mr. Thompson’s opinion, it was
necessary for the Allies to realise that the Russian army and people were out of
the war, and that the Allies would have to choose between Russia as the
friendly or a hostile neutral.
The question was discussed as to whether the Allies ought not to change their
policy in regard to the de facto Russian Government, the Bolsheviks being
stated by Mr. Thompson to be and-German. In this connection Lord Robert
Cecil drew attention to the conditions of the armistice between the German
and Russian armies, which provided, inter alia, for trading between the two
countries, and for the establishment of a Purchasing Commission in Odessa,
the whole arrangement being obviously dictated by the Germans. Lord Robert
Cecil expressed the view that the Germans would endeavour to continue the
armistice until the Russian army had melted away.
Sir Edward Carson read a communication, signed by M. Trotzki, which had
been sent to him by a British subject, the manager of the Russian branch of the
Vauxhall Motor Company, who had just returned from Russia [Paper G.T. —
3040]. This report indicated that M. Trotzki’s policy was, ostensibly at any
rate, one of hostility to the organisation of civilised society rather than pro-
German. On the other hand, it was suggested that an assumed attitude of this
kind was by no means inconsistent with Trotzki’s being a German agent,
whose object was to ruin Russia in order that Germany might do what she
desired in that country.
After hearing Lloyd George’s report and supporting arguments, the War Cabinet decided to go
along with Thompson and the Bolsheviks. Milner had a former British consul in Russia —
Bruce Lockhart — ready and waiting in the wings. Lockhart was briefed and sent to Russia with
instructions to work informally with the Soviets.
The thoroughness of Thompson’s work in London and the pressure he was able to bring to bear
on the situation are suggested by subsequent reports coming into the hands of the War Cabinet,
from authentic sources. The reports provide a quite different view of Trotsky and the
Bolsheviks from that presented by Thompson, and yet they were ignored by the cabinet. In
April 1918 General Jan Smuts reported to the War Cabinet his talk with General Nieffel, the
head of the French Military Mission who had just returned from Russia:
Trotski (sic) . . . was a consummate scoundrel who may not be pro-German,
but is thoroughly pro-Trotski and pro-revolutionary and cannot in any way be
trusted. His influence is shown by the way he has come to dominate Lockhart,
Robins and the French representative. He [Nieffel] counsels great prudence in
dealing with Trotski, who he admits is the only really able man in Russia.9
Several months later Thomas D. Thacher, Wall Street lawyer and another member of the
American Red CrAss Mission to Russia, was in London. On April 13, 1918, Thacher wrote to
the American ambassador in London to the effect that he had received a request from H. P.
Davison, a Morgan partner, “to confer with Lord Northcliffe” concerning the situation in
Russia and then to go on to Paris “for other conferences.” Lord Northcliffe was ill and Thacher
left with yet another Morgan partner, Dwight W. Morrow, a memorandum to be submitted to
Northcliffe on his return to London.10 This memorandum not only made explicit suggestions
about Russian policy that supported Thompson’s position but even stated that “the fullest
assistance should be given to the Soviet government in its efforts to organize a volunteer
revolutionary army.” The four main proposals in this Thacher report are:
First of all . . . the Allies should discourage Japanese intervention in Siberia.
In the second place, the fullest assistance should be given to the Soviet
Government in its efforts to organize a volunteer revolutionary army.
Thirdly, the Allied Governments should give their moral support to the
Russian people in their efforts to work out their own political systems free
from the domination of any foreign power ….
Fourthly, until the time when open conflict shall result between the German
Government and the Soviet Government of Russia there will be opportunity
for peaceful commercial penetration by German agencies in Russia. So long as
there is no open break, it will probably be impossible to entirely prevent such
commerce. Steps should, therefore, be taken to impede, so far as possible, the
transport of grain and raw materials to Germany from Russia.11
THOMPSON’S INTENTIONS AND OBJECTIVES
Why would a prominent Wall Street financier, and director of the Federal Reserve Bank, want
to organize and assist Bolshevik revolutionaries? Why would not one but several Morgan
partners working in concert want to encourage the formation of a Soviet “volunteer
revolutionary army” — an army supposedly dedicated to the overthrow of Wall Street, including
Thompson, Thomas Lamont, Dwight Morrow, the Morgan firm, and all their associates?
Thompson at least was straightforward about his objectives in Russia: he wanted to keep
Russia at war with Germany (yet he argued before the British War Cabinet that Russia was out
of the war anyway) and to retain Russia as a market for postwar American enterprise. The
December 1917 Thompson memorandum to Lloyd George describes these aims.12 The
memorandum begins, “The Russian situation is lost and Russia lies entirely open to unopposed
German exploitation …. “and concludes, “I believe that intelligent and courageous work will
still prevent Germany from occupying the field to itself and thus exploiting Russia at the
expense of the Allies.” Consequently, it was German commercial and industrial exploitation of
Russia that Thompson feared (this is also reflected in the Thacher memorandum) and that
brought Thompson and his New York friends into an alliance with the Bolsheviks. Moreover,
this interpretation is reflected in a quasi-jocular statement made by Raymond Robins,
Thompson’s deputy, to Bruce Lockhart, the British agent:
You will hear it said that I am the representative of Wall Street; that I am the
servant of William B. Thompson to get Altai copper for him; that I have
already got 500,000 acres of the best timber land in Russia for myself; that I
have already copped off the Trans-Siberian Railway; that they have given me a
monopoly of the platinum of Russia; that this explains my working for the
soviet …. You will hear that talk. Now, I do not think it is true, Commissioner,
but let us assume it is true. Let us assume that I am here to capture Russia for
Wall Street and American business men. Let us assume that you are a British
wolf and I am an American wolf, and that when this war is over we are going
to eat each other up for the Russian market; let us do so in perfectly frank, man
fashion, but let us assume at the same time that we are fairly intelligent
wolves, and that we know that if we do not hunt together in this hour the
German wolf will eat us both up, and then let us go to work.13
With this in mind let us take a look at Thompson’s personal motivations. Thompson was a
financier, a promoter, and, although without previous interest in Russia, had personally
financed the Red Cross Mission to Russia and used the mission as a vehicle for political
maneuvering. From the total picture we can deduce that Thompson’s motives were primarily
financial and commercial. Specifically, Thompson was interested in the Russian market, and
how this market could be influenced, diverted; and captured for postwar exploitation by a Wall
Street syndicate, or syndicates. Certainly Thompson viewed Germany as an enemy, but less a
political enemy than an economic or a commercial enemy. German industry and German
banking were the real enemy. To outwit Germany, Thompson was willing to place seed money
on any political power vehicle that would achieve his objective. In other words, Thompson was
an American imperialist fighting against German imperialism, and this struggle was shrewdly
recognized and exploited by Lenin and Trotsky.
The evidence supports this apolitical approach. In early August 1917, William Boyce
Thompson lunched at the U.S. Petrograd embassy with Kerensky, Terestchenko, and the
American ambassador Francis. Over lunch Thompson showed his Russian guests a cable he
had just sent to the New York office of J.P. Morgan requesting transfer of 425,000 rubles to
cover a personal subscription to the new Russian Liberty Loan. Thompson also asked Morgan
to “inform my friends I recommend these bonds as the best war investment I know. Will be
glad to look after their purchasing here without compensation”; he then offered personally to
take up twenty percent of a New York syndicate buying five million rubles of the Russian loan.
Not unexpectedly, Kerensky and Terestchenko indicated “great gratification” at support from
Wall Street. And Ambassador Francis by cable promptly informed the State Department that
the Red Cross commission was “working harmoniously with me,” and that it would have an
“excellent effect.”14 Other writers have recounted how Thompson attempted to convince the
Russian peasants to support Kerensky by investing $1 million of his own money and U.S.
government funds on the same order of magnitude in propaganda activities. Subsequently, the
Committee on Civic Education in Free Russia, headed by the revolutionary “Grandmother”
Breshkovskaya, with David Soskice (Kerensky’s private secretary) as executive, established
newspapers, news bureaus, printing plants, and speakers bureaus to promote the appeal —
“Fight the kaiser and save the revolution.” It is noteworthy that the Thompson-funded
Kerensky campaign had the same appeal — “Keep Russia in the war” — as had his financial
support of the Bolsheviks. The common link between Thompson’s support of Kerensky and his
support of Trotsky and Lenin was — “continue the war against Germany” and keep Germany
out of Russia.
In brief, behind and below the military, diplomatic, and political aspects of World War I, there
was another battle raging, namely, a maneuvering for postwar world economic power by
international operators with significant muscle and influence. Thompson was not a Bolshevik;
he was not even pro-Bolshevik. Neither was he pro-Kerensky. Nor was he even pro-American.
The overriding motivation was the capturing of the postwar Russian market. This was a
commercial, not an ideological, objective. Ideology could sway revolutionary operators like
Kerensky, Trotsky, Lenin et al., but not financiers.
The Lloyd George memorandum demonstrates Thompson’s partiality for neither Kerensky nor
the Bolsheviks: “After the overthrow of the last Kerensky government we materially aided the
dissemination of the Bolshevik literature, distributing it through agents and by aeroplanes to the
Germany army.”15 This was written in mid-December 1917, only five weeks after the start of
the Bolshevik Revolution, and less than four months after Thompson expressed his support of
Kerensky over lunch in the American embassy.
THOMPSON RETURNS TO THE UNITED STATES
Thompson then returned and toured the United States with a public plea for recognition of the
Soviets. In a speech to the Rocky Mountain Club of New York in January 1918, Thompson
called for assistance for the emerging Bolshevik government and, appealing to an audience
composed largely of Westerners, evoked the spirit of the American pioneers:
These men would not have hesitated very long about extending recognition
and giving the fullest help and sympathy to the workingman’s government of
Russia, because in 1819 and the years following we had out there bolsheviki
governments . . . and mighty good governments too….16
It strains the imagination to compare the pioneer experience of our Western frontier to the
ruthless extermination of political opposition then under way in Russia. To Thompson,
promoting this was no doubt looked upon as akin to his promotion of mining stocks in days
gone by. As for those in Thompson’s audience, we know not what they thought; however, no
one raised a challenge. The speaker was a respected director of the Federal Reserve Bank of
New York, a self-made millionaire (and that counts for much). And after all, had he not just
returned from Russia? But all was not rosy. Thompson’s biographer Hermann Hagedorn has
written that Wall Street was “stunned” that his friends were “shocked” and “said he had lost his
head, had turned Bolshevist himself.”17
While Wall Street wondered whether he had indeed “turned Bolshevik,” Thompson found
sympathy among fellow directors on the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
Codirector W. L. Saunders, chairman of Ingersoll-Rand Corporation and a director of the FRB,
wrote President Wilson on October 17, 1918, stating that he was “in sympathy with the Soviet
form of Government”; at the same time he disclaimed any ulterior motive such as “preparing
now to get the trade of the world after the war.18
Most interesting of Thompson’s fellow directors was George Foster Peabody, deputy chairman
of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and a close friend of socialist Henry George.
Peabody had made a fortune in railroad manipulation, as Thompson had made his fortune in the
manipulation of copper stocks. Peabody then became active in behalf of government ownership
of railroads, and openly adopted socialization.19 How did Peabody reconcile his private-
enterprise success with promotion of government ownership? According to his biographer
Louis Ware, “His reasoning told him that it was important for this form of transport to be
operated as a public service rather than for the advantage of private interests.” This high-
sounding do-good reasoning hardly rings true. It would be more accurate to argue that given
the dominant political influence of Peabody and his fellow financiers in Washington, they
could by government control of railroads more easily avoid the rigors of competition. Through
political influence they could manipulate the police power of the state to achieve what they had
been unable, or what was too costly, to achieve under private enterprise. In other words, the
police power of the state was a means of maintaining a private monopoly. This was exactly as
Frederick C. Howe had proposed.20 The idea of a centrally planned socialist Russia must have
appealed to Peabody. Think of it — one gigantic state monopoly! And Thompson, his friend and
fellow director, had the inside track with the boys running the operation!21
THE UNOFFICIAL AMBASSADORS: ROBINS, LOCKHART, AND SADOUL
The Bolsheviks for their part correctly assessed a lack of sympathy among the Petrograd
representatives of the three major Western powers: the United States, Britain and France. The
United States was represented by Ambassador Francis, undisguisedly out of sympathy with the
revolution. Great Britain was represented by Sir James Buchanan, who had strong ties to the
tsarist monarchy and was suspected of having helped along the Kerensky phase of the
revolution. France was represented by Ambassador Paleologue, overtly anti-Bolshevik. In early
1918 three additional personages made their appearance; they became de facto representatives
of these Western countries and edged out the officially recognized representatives.
Raymond Robins took over the Red Cross Mission from W. B. Thompson in early December
1917 but concerned himself more with economic and political matters than obtaining relief and
assistance for poverty-stricken Russia. On December 26, 1917, Robins cabled Morgan partner
Henry Davison, temporarily the director general of the American Red Cross: “Please urge upon
the President the necessity of our continued intercourse with the Bolshevik Government.”22 On
January 23, 1918, Robins cabled Thompson, then in New York:
Soviet Government stronger today than ever before. Its authority and power
greatly consolidated by dissolution of Constituent Assembly …. Cannot urge
too strongly importance of prompt recognition of Bolshevik authority ….
Sisson approves this text and requests you to show this cable to Creel. Thacher
and Wardwell concur.23
Later in 1918, on his return to the United States, Robins submitted a report to Secretary of State
Robert Lansing containing this opening paragraph: “American economic cooperation with
Russia; Russia will welcome American assistance in economic reconstruction.”24
Robins’ persistent efforts in behalf of the Bolshevik cause gave him a certain prestige in the
Bolshevik camp, and perhaps even some political influence. The U.S. embassy in London
claimed in November 1918 that “Salkind owe[s] his appointment, as Bolshevik Ambassador to
Switzerland, to an American . . . no other than Mr. Raymond Robins.”25 About this time
reports began filtering into Washington that Robins was himself a Bolshevik; for example, the
following from Copenhagen, dated December 3, 1918:
Confidential. According to a statement made by Radek to George de
Patpourrie, late Austria Hungarian Consul General at Moscow, Colonel
Robbins [sic], formerly thief of the American Red Cross Mission to Russia, is
at present in Moscow negotiating with the Soviet Government and arts as the
intermediary between the Bolsheviki and their friends in the United States.
The impression seems to be in some quarters that Colonel Robbins is himself a
Bolsheviki while others maintain that he is not but that his activities in Russia
have been contrary to the interest of Associated Governments.26
Materials in the files of the Soviet Bureau in New York, and seized by the Lusk Committee in
1919, confirm that both Robins and his wife were closely associated with Bolshevik activities
in the United States and with the formation of the Soviet Bureau in New York.27
The British government established unofficial relations with the Bolshevik regime by sending
to Russia a young Russian-speaking agent, Bruce Lockhart. Lockhart was, in effect, Robins’
opposite number; but unlike Robins, Lockhart had direct channels to his Foreign Office.
Lockhart was not selected by the foreign secretary or the Foreign Office; both were dismayed
at the appointment. According to Richard Ullman, Lockhart was “selected for his mission by
Milner and Lloyd George themselves …. “Maxim Litvinov, acting as unofficial Soviet
representative in Great Britain, wrote for Lockhart a letter of introduction to Trotsky; in it he
called the British agent “a thoroughly honest man who understands our position and
sympathizes with us.28
We have already noted the pressures on Lloyd George to take a pro-Bolshevik position,
especially those from William B. Thompson, and those indirectly from Sir Basil Zaharoff and
Lord Milner. Milner was, as the epigraph to this chapter suggests, exceedingly prosocialist.
Edward Crankshaw has succinctly outlined Milner’s duality.
Some of the passages [in Milner] on industry and society . . . are passages
which any Socialist would be proud to have written. But they were not written
by a Socialist. They were written by “the man who made the Boer War.” Some
of the passages on Imperialism and the white man’s burden might have been
written by a Tory diehard. They were written by the student of Karl Marx.29
According to Lockhart, the socialist bank director Milner was a man who inspired in him “the
greatest affection and hero-worship.”30 Lockhart recounts how Milner personally sponsored his
Russian appointment, pushed it to cabinet level, and after his appointment talked “almost daily”
with Lockhart. While opening the way for recognition of the Bolsheviks, Milner also promoted
financial support for their opponents in South Russia and elsewhere, as did Morgan in New
York. This dual policy is consistent with the thesis that the modus operandi of the politicized
internationalists — such as Milner and Thompson — was to place state money on any
revolutionary or counterrevolutionary horse that looked a possible winner. The
internationalists, of course, claimed any subsequent benefits. The clue is perhaps in Bruce
Lockhart’s observation that Milner was a man who “believed in the highly organized state.”31
The French government appointed an even more openly Bolshevik sympathizer, Jacques
Sadoul, an old friend of Trotsky.32
In sum, the Allied governments neutralized their own diplomatic representatives in Petrograd
and replaced them with unofficial agents more or less sympathetic to the Bolshevists.
The reports of these unofficial ambassadors were in direct contrast to pleas for help addressed
to the West from inside Russia. Maxim Gorky protested the betrayal of revolutionary ideals by
the Lenin-Trotsky group, which had imposed the iron grip of a police state in Russia:
We Russians make up a people that has never yet worked in freedom, that has
never yet had a chance to develop all its powers and its talents. And when I
think that the revolution gives us the possibility of free work, of a many-sided
joy in creating, my heart is tilled with great hope and joy, even in these cursed
days that are besmirched with blood and alcohol.
There is where begins the line of my decided and irreconcilable separation
[tom the insane actions of the People’s Commissaries. I consider Maximalism
in ideas very useful for the boundless Russian soul; its task is to develop in
this soul great and bold needs, to call forth the so necessary fighting spirit and
activity, to promote initiative in this indolent soul and to give it shape and life
But the practical Maximalism of the Anarcho-Communists and visionaries
from the Smolny is ruinous for Russia and, above all, for the Russian working
class. The People’s Commissaries handle Russia like material for an
experiment. The Russian people is for them what the Horse is for learned
bacteriologists who inoculate the horse with typhus so that the anti-typhus
lymph may develop in its blood. Now the Commissaries are trying such a
predestined-to-failure experiment upon the Russian people without thinking
that the tormented, half-starved horse may die.
The reformers from the Smolny do not worry about Russia. They are cold-
bloodedly sacrificing Russia in the name of their dream of the worldwide and
European revolution. And just as long as I can, I shall impress this upon the
Russian proletarian: “Thou art being led to destruction} Thou art being used as
material for an inhuman experiment!”33
Also in contrast to the reports of the sympathetic unofficial ambassadors were the reports from
the old-line diplomatic representatives. Typical o[ many messages [lowing into Washington in
early 1918 — particularly after Woodrow Wilson’s expression of support for the Bolshevik
governments — was the following cable [tom the U.S. legation in Bern, Switzerland:
For Polk. President’s message to Consul Moscow not understood here and
people are asking why the President expresses support of Bolsheviki, in view
of rapine, murder and anarchy of these bands.34
Continued support by the Wilson administration for the Bolsheviks led to the resignation of De
Witt C. Poole, the capable American charge d’affaires in Archangel (Russia):
It is my duty to explain frankly to the department the perplexity into which I
have been thrown by the statement of Russian policy adopted by the Peace
Conference, January 22, on the motion of the President. The announcement
very happily recognizes the revolution and confirms again that entire absence
of sympathy for any form of counter revolution which has always been a key
note of American policy in Russia, but it contains not one [word] of
condemnation for the other enemy of the revolution — the Bolshevik
Thus even in the early days of 1918 the betrayal of the libertarian revolution had been noted by
such acute observers as Maxim Gorky and De Witt C. Poole. Poole’s resignation shook the
State Department, which requested the “utmost reticence regarding your desire to resign” and
stated that “it will be necessary to replace you in a natural and normal manner in order to
prevent grave and perhaps disastrous effect upon the morale of American troops in the
Archangel district which might lead to loss of American lives.”36
So not only did Allied governments neutralize their own government representatives but the
U.S. ignored pleas from within and without Russia to cease support of the Bolsheviks.
Influential support of the Soviets came heavily from the New York financial area (little
effective support emanated from domestic U.S. revolutionaries). In particular, it came from
American International Corporation, a Morgan-controlled firm.
EXPORTING THE REVOLUTION: JACOB H. RUBIN
We are now in a position to compare two cases — not by any means the only such cases — in
which American citizens Jacob Rubin and Robert Minor assisted in exporting the revolution to
Europe and other parts of Russia.
Jacob H. Rubin was a banker who, in his own words, “helped to form the Soviet Government
of Odessa.”37 Rubin was president, treasurer, and secretary of Rubin Brothers of 19 West 34
Street, New York City. In 1917 he was associated with the Union Bank of Milwaukee and the
Provident Loan Society of New York. The trustees of the Provident Loan Society included
persons mentioned elsewhere as having connection with the Bolshevik Revolution: P. A.
Rockefeller, Mortimer L. Schiff, and James Speyer.
By some process — only vaguely recounted in his book I Live to Tell38 — Rubin was in Odessa
in February 1920 and became the subject of a message from Admiral McCully to the State
Department (dated February 13, 1920, 861.00/6349). The message was to the effect that Jacob
H. Rubin of Union Bank, Milwaukee, was in Odessa and desired to remain with the
Bolshevists — “Rubin does not wish to leave, has offered his services to Bolsheviks and
apparently sympathizes with them.” Rubin later found his way back to the U.S. and gave
testimony before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs in 1921:
I had been with the American Red Cross people at Odessa. I was there when
the Red Army took possession of Odessa. At that time I was favorably inclined
toward the Soviet Government, because I was a socialist and had been a
member of that party for 20 years. I must admit that to a certain extent I helped
to form the Soviet Government of Odessa ….39
While adding that he had been arrested as a spy by the Denikin government of South Russia,
we learn little more about Rubin. We do, however, know a great deal more about Robert
Minor, who was caught in the act and released by a mechanism reminiscent of Trotsky’s release
from a Halifax prisoner-of-war camp.
EXPORTING THE REVOLUTION: ROBERT MINOR
Bolshevik propaganda work in Germany,40 financed and organized by William Boyce
Thompson and Raymond Robins, was implemented in the field by American citizens, under the
supervision of Trotsky’s People’s Commissariat for Foreign Affairs:
One of Trotsky’s earliest innovations in the Foreign Office had been to
institute a Press Bureau under Karl Radek and a Bureau of
International Revolutionary Propaganda under Boris Reinstein, among whose
assistants were John Reed and Albert Rhys Williams, and the full blast of
these power-houses was turned against the Germany army.
A German newspaper, Die Fackel (The Torch), was printed in editions of half
a million a day and sent by special train to Central Army Committees in
Minsk, Kiev, and other cities, which in turn distributed them to other points
along the front.41
Robert Minor was an operative in Reinstein’s propaganda bureau. Minor’s ancestors were
prominent in early American history. General Sam Houston, first president of the Republic of
Texas, was related to Minor’s mother, Routez Houston. Other relatives were Mildred
Washington, aunt of George Washington, and General John Minor, campaign manager for
Thomas Jefferson. Minor’s father was a Virginia lawyer who migrated to Texas. After hard
years with few clients, he became a San Antonio judge.
Robert Minor was a talented cartoonist and a socialist. He left Texas to come East. Some of his
contributions appeared in Masses, a pro-Bolshevik journal. In 1918 Minor was a cartoonist on
the staff of the Philadelphia Public Ledger. Minor left New York in March 1918 to report the
Bolshevik Revolution. While in Russia Minor joined Reinstein’s Bureau of International
Revolutionary Propaganda (see diagram), along with Philip Price, correspondent of the Daily
Herald and Manchester Guardian, and Jacques Sadoul, the unofficial French ambassador and
friend of Trotsky.
Excellent data on the activities of Price, Minor, and Sadoul have survived in the form of a
Scotland Yard (London) Secret Special Report, No. 4, entitled, “The Case of Philip Price and
Robert Minor,” as well as in reports in the files of the State Department, Washington, D.C.42
According to this Scotland Yard report, Philip Price was in Moscow in mid-1917, before the
Bolshevik Revolution, and admitted, “I am up to my neck in the Revolutionary movement.”
Between the revolution and about the fall of 1918, Price worked with Robert Minor in the
Commissariat for Foreign Affairs.
ORGANIZATION OF FOREIGN PROPAGANDA WORK IN 1918
PEOPLE’S COMMISSARIAT FOR FOREIGN
BUREAU OF INTERNATIONAL REVOLUTIONARY
Albert Rhys Williams
In November 1918 Minor and Price left Russia and went to Germany.43 Their propaganda
products were first used on the Russian Murman front; leaflets were dropped by Bolshevik
airplanes amongst British, French, and American troops — according to William Thompson’s
program.44 The decision to send Sadoul, Price, and Minor to Germany was made by the
Central Executive Committee of the Communist Party. In Germany their activities came to the
notice of British, French, and American intelligence. On February 15, 1919, Lieutenant J.
Habas of the U.S. Army was sent to Düsseldorf, then under control of a Spartacist revolutionary
group; he posed as a deserter from the American army and offered his services to the
Spartacists. Habas got to know Philip Price and Robert Minor and suggested that some
pamphlets be printed for distribution amongst American troops. The Scotland Yard report
relates that Price and Minor had already written several pamphlets for British and American
troops, that Price had translated some of Wilhelm Liebknecht’s works into English, and that
both were working on additional propaganda tracts. Habas reported that Minor and Price said
they had worked together in Siberia printing an English-language Bolshevik newspaper for
distribution by air among American and British troops.45
On June 8, 1919, Robert Minor was arrested in Paris by the French police and handed over to
the American military authorities in Coblenz. Simultaneously, German Spartacists were
arrested by the British military authorities in the Cologne area. Subsequently, the Spartacists
were convicted on charges of conspiracy to cause mutiny and sedition among Allied forces.
Price was arrested but, like Minor, speedily liberated. This hasty release was noted in the State
Robert Minor has now been released, for reasons that are not quite clear, since
the evidence against him appears to have been ample to secure conviction. The
release will have an unfortunate effect, for Minor is believed to have been
intimately connected with the IWW in America.46
The mechanism by which Robert Minor secured his release is recorded in the State Department
files. The first relevant document, dated June 12, 1919, is from the U.S. Paris embassy to the
secretary of state in Washington, D.C., and marked URGENT AND CONFIDENTIAL.47 The
French Foreign Office informed the embassy that on June 8, Robert Minor, “an American
correspondent,” had been arrested in Paris and turned over to the general headquarters of the
Third American Army in Coblenz. Papers found on Minor appear “to confirm the reports
furnished on his activities. It would therefore seem to be established that Minor has entered into
relations in Paris with the avowed partisans of Bolshevism.” The embassy regarded Minor as a
“particularly dangerous man.” Inquiries were being made of the American military authorities;
the embassy believed this to be a matter within the jurisdiction of the military alone, so that it
contemplated no action although instructions would be welcome.
On June 14, Judge R. B. Minor in San Antonio, Texas, telegraphed Frank L. Polk in the State
Press reports detention my son Robert Minor in Paris for unknown reasons.
Please do all possible to protect him I refer to Senators from Texas.
[sgd.] R. P. Minor, District Judge, San Antonio, Texas48
Polk telegraphed Judge Minor that neither the State Department nor the War Department had
information on the detention of Robert Minor, and that the case was now before the military
authorities at Coblenz. Late on June 13 the State Department received a “strictly confidential
urgent” message from Paris reporting a statement made by the Office of Military Intelligence
(Coblenz) in regard to the detention of Robert Minor: “Minor was arrested in Paris by French
authorities upon request of British Military Intelligence and immediately turned over to
American headquarters at Coblenz.”49 He was charged with writing and disseminating
Bolshevik revolutionary literature, which had been printed in Dusseldorf, amongst British and
American troops in the areas they occupied. The military authorities intended to examine the
charges against Minor, and if substantiated, to try him by court-martial. If the charges were not
substantiated, it was their intention to turn Minor over to the British authorities, “who
originally requested that the French hand him over to them.”50 Judge Minor in Texas
independently contacted Morris Sheppard, U.S. senator from Texas, and Sheppard contacted
Colonel House in Paris. On June 17, 1919, Colonel House sent the following to Senator
Both the American Ambassador and I are following Robert Minor’s case. Am
informed that he is detained by American Military authorities at Cologne on
serious charges, the exact nature of which it is difficult to discover.
Nevertheless, we will take every possible step to insure just consideration for
Both Senator Sheppard and Congressman Carlos Bee (14th District, Texas) made their interest
known to the State Department. On June 27, 1919, Congressman Bee requested facilities so
that Judge Minor could send his son $350 and a message. On July 3 Senator Sheppard wrote
Frank Polk, stating that he was “very much interested” in the Robert Minor case, and
wondering whether State could ascertain its status, and whether Minor was properly under the
jurisdiction of the military authorities. Then on July 8 the Paris embassy cabled Washington:
“Confidential. Minor released by American authorities . . . returning to the United States on the
first available boat.” This sudden release intrigued the State Department, and on August 3
Secretary of State Lansing cabled Paris: “Secret. Referring to previous, am very anxious to
obtain reasons for Minor’s release by Military authorities.”
Originally, U.S. Army authorities had wanted the British to try Robert Minor as “they feared
politics might intervene in the United States to prevent a conviction if the prisoner was tried by
American court-martial.” However, the British government argued that Minor was a United
States citizen, that the evidence showed he prepared propaganda against American troops in the
first instance, and that, consequently — so the British Chief of Staff suggested — Minor should
be tried before an American court. The British Chief of Staff did “consider it of the greatest
importance to obtain a conviction if possible.”52
Documents in the office of the Chief of Staff of the Third Army relate to the internal details of
Minor’s release.53 A telegram of June 23, 1919, from Major General Harbord, Chief of Staff of
the Third Army (later chairman of the Board of International General Electric, whose executive
center, coincidentally, was also at 120 Broadway), to the commanding general, Third Army,
stated that Commander in Chief John J. Pershing “directs that you suspend action in the case
against Minor pending further orders.” There is also a memorandum signed by Brigadier
General W. A. Bethel in the office of the judge advocate, dated June 28, 1919, marked “Secret
and Confidential,” and entitled “Robert Minor, Awaiting Trial by a Military Commission at
Headquarters, 3rd Army.” The memo reviews the legal case against Minor. Among the points
made by Bethel is that the British were obviously reluctant to handle the Minor case because
“they fear American opinion in the event of trial by them of an American for a war offense in
Europe,” even though tire offense with which Minor is charged is as serious “as a man can
commit.” This is a significant statement; Minor, Price, and Sadoul were implementing a
program designed by Federal Reserve Bank director Thompson, a fact confirmed by
Thompson’s own memorandum (see Appendix 3). Was not therefore Thompson (and Robins),
to some degree, subject to the same charges?
After interviewing Siegfried, the witness against Minor, and reviewing the evidence, Bethel
I thoroughly believe Minor to be guilty, but if I was sitting in court, I would
not put guilty on the evidence now available — the testimony of one man only
and that man acting in the character of a detective and informer.
Bethel goes on to state that it would be known within a week or ten days whether substantial
corroboration of Siegfried’s testimony was available. If available, “I think Minor should be
tried,” but “if corroboration cannot be had, I think it would be better to dismiss the case.”
This statement by Bethel was relayed in a different form by General Harbord in a telegram of
July 5 to General Malin Craig (Chief of Staff, Third Army, Coblenz):
With reference to the case against Minor, unless other witnesses than Siegfried
have been located by this time C in C directs the case be dropped and Minor
liberated. Please acknowledge and state action.
The reply from Craig to General Harbord (July 5) records that Minor was liberated in Paris and
adds, “This is in accordance with his own wishes and suits our purposes.” Craig also adds that
other witnesses had been obtained.
This exchange of telegrams suggests a degree of haste in dropping the charges against Robert
Minor, and haste suggests pressure. There was no significant attempt made to develop
evidence. Intervention by Colonel House and General Pershing at the highest levels in Paris
and the cablegram from Colonel House to Senator Morris Sheppard give weight to American
newspaper reports that both House and President Wilson were responsible for Minor’s hasty
release without trial.54
Minor returned to the United States and, like Thompson and Robins before him, toured the
U.S. promoting the wonders of Bolshevik Russia.
By way of summary, we find that Federal Reserve Bank director William Thompson was
active in promoting Bolshevik interests in several ways — production of a pamphlet in Russian,
financing Bolshevik operations, speeches, organizing (with Robins) a Bolshevik revolutionary
mission to Germany (and perhaps France), and with Morgan partner Lamont influencing Lloyd
George and the British War Cabinet to effect a change in British policy. Further, Raymond
Robins was cited by the French government for organizing Russian Bolsheviks for the German
revolution. We know that Robins was undisguisedly working for Soviet interests in Russia and
the United States. Finally, we find that Robert Minor, one of the revolutionary propagandists
used in Thompson’s program, was released under circumstances suggesting intervention from
the highest levels of the U.S. government.
Obviously, this is but a fraction of a much wider picture. These are hardly accidental or random
events. They constitute a coherent, continuing pattern over several years. They suggest
powerful influence at the summit levels of several governments.
For a biography see Hermann Hagedorn, The Magnate: William Boyce
Thompson and His Time (1869-1930) (New York: Reynal & Hitchcock, 1935).
Polkovnik’ Villiam’ Boic’ Thompson’, “Pravda o Rossii i Bol’shevikakh”
(New York: Russian-American Publication Society, 1918).
John Bradley, Allied Intervention in Russia (London: Weidenfeld and
Thomas W. Lamont, Across World Frontiers (New York: Harcourt, Brace,
1959), p. 85. See also pp. 94-97 for massive breastbeating over the failure of
President Wilson to act promptly to befriend the Soviet regime. Corliss
Lamont, his son, became a [font-line domestic leftist in the U.S.
Donald McCormick, The Mask of Merlin (London: MacDonald, 1963; New
York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1964), p. 208. Lloyd George’s personal life
would certainly leave him open to blackmail.
Ibid. McCormick’s italics.
British War Cabinet papers, no. 302, sec. 2 (Public Records Office, London).
The written memorandum that Thompson submitted to Lloyd George and that
became the basis for the War Cabinet statement is available from U.S. archival
sources and is printed in full in Appendix 3.
War Cabinet papers, 24/49/7197 (G.T. 4322) Secret, April 24, 1918.
Letter reproduced in full in Appendix 3. It should be noted that we have
identified Thomas Lamont, Dwight Morrow, and H. P. Davison as being
closely involved in developing policy towards the Bolsheviks. All were
partners in the J.P. Morgan firm. Thacher was with the law firm Simpson,
Thacher & Bartlett and was a close friend of Felix Frankfurter.
Complete memorandum is in U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 316-13-698.
See Appendix 3.
U.S., Senate, Bolshevik Propaganda, Hearings before a Subcommittee of the
Committee on the Judiciary, 65th Cong., t919, p. 802.
U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 861.51/184.
See Appendix 3.
Inserted by Senator Calder into the Congressional Record, January 31, 1918,
Hagedorn, op. tit., p. 263.
U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 861.00/3005.
Louis Ware, George Foster Peabody (Athens: University of Georgia Press,
If this argument seems too farfetched, the reader should see Gabriel Kolko,
Railroads and Regulation 1877-1916 (New York: W. W. Norton, 1965),
which describes how pressures for government control and formation of the
Interstate Commerce Commission came from the railroad owners, not from
farmers and users of railroad services.
C. K. Cumming and Waller W. Pettit, Russian-American Relations,
Documents and Papers (New York: Harcourt, Brace & Howe, 1920), doe. 44.
Ibid., doc. 54.
Ibid., doc. 92.
U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 861.00/3449. But see Kennan, Russia Leaves
the War, pp. 401-5.
Ibid., 861.00 3333.
See chapter seven.
Richard H. Ullman, Intervention and the War (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton
University Press, 1961), t). 61.
Edward Crankshaw, The Forsaken Idea: A Study o! Viscount Milner
(London: Longmans Green, 1952), p. 269.
Robert Hamilton Bruce Lockhart, British Agent (New York: Putnam’s,
1933), p. 119.
Ibid., p. 204.
See Jacques Sadoul, Notes sur la revolution bolchevique (Paris: Editions de
la sirene, 1919).
U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 861.00/1305, March 15, 1918.
U.S., House, Committee on Foreign Affairs, Conditions in Russia, 66th
Cong., 3d sess., 1921.
Jacob H. Rubin, 1 Live to Tell: The Russian Adventures o! an American
Socialist (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1934).
U.S., House, Committee on Foreign Affairs, op. cit.
See George G. Bruntz, Allied Propaganda and the Collapse o! the German
Empire in 1918 (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1938), pp. 144-
55; see also herein p. 82.
John W. Wheeler-Bennett, The Forgotten Peace (New York: William
There is a copy of this Scotland Yard report in U.S. Start’ Dept. Decimal
File, 316-23-1184 9.
Joseph North, Robert Minor: Artist and Crusader (New York: International
Samples of Minor’s propaganda tracts are still in the U.S. State Dept. files.
See p. 197-200 on Thompson.
See Appendix 3.
U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 316-23-1184.
Ibid., 861.00/4680 (316-22-0774).
Ibid., 861.00/4685 (/783).
U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 861.00/4688 (/788).
U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 861.00/4874.
Office of Chief of Staff, U.S. Army, National Archives, Washington, D.C.
U.S., Senate, Congressional Record, October 1919, pp. 6430, 6664-66, 7353-
54; and New York Times, October It, 1919. See also Sacramento Bee, July 17,
THE BOLSHEVIKS RETURN TO NEW YORK
Martens is very much in the limelight. There appears to be no doubt
about his connection with the Guarantee [sic] Trust Company, Though it
is surprising that so large and influential an enterprise should have
dealings with a Bolshevik concern.
Scotland Yard Intelligence Report, London,
Following on the initial successes of the revolution, the Soviets wasted little time in attempting
through former U.S. residents to establish diplomatic relations with and propaganda outlets in
the United States. In June 1918 the American consul in Harbin cabled Washington:
Albert R. Williams, bearer Department passport 52,913 May 15, 1917
proceeding United States to establish information bureau for Soviet
Government for which he has written authority. Shall I visa?2
Washington denied the visa and so Williams was unsuccessful in his attempt to establish an
information bureau here. Williams was followed by Alexander Nyberg (alias Santeri
Nuorteva), a former Finnish immigrant to the United States in January 1912, who became the
first operative Soviet representative in the United States. Nyberg was an activtive propagandist.
In fact, in 1919 be was, according to J. Edgar Hoover (in a letter to the U.S. Committee on
Foreign Affairs), “the forerunner of LCAK Martens anti with Gregory Weinstein the most
active individual of official Bolshevik propaganda in the United States.”3
Nyberg was none too successful as a diplomatic representative or, ultimately, as a
propagandist. The State Departmment files record an interview with Nyberg by the counselors’
office, dated January 29, 1919. Nyberg was accompanied by H. Kellogg, described as “an
American citizen, graduate of Harvard,” and, more surprisingly, by a Mr. McFarland, an
attorney for the Hearst organization. The State Department records show that Nyberg made
“many misstatements in regard to the attitude to the Bolshevik Government” and claimed that
Peters, the Lett terrorist police chief in Petrograd, was merely a “kind-hearted poet.” Nyberg
requested the department to cable Lenin, “on the theory that it might be helpful in bringing
about the conference proposed by the Allies at Paris.”4 The proposed message, a rambling
appeal to Lenin to gain international acceptance appearing at the Paris Conference, was not
A RAID ON THE SOVIET BUREAU IN NEW YORK
Alexander Nyberg (Nuorteva) was then let go and replaced by the Soviet Bureau, which was
established in early 1919 in the World Tower Building, 110 West 40 Street, New York City.
The bureau was headed by a German citizen, Ludwig C. A. K. Martens, who is usually billed
as the first ambassador of the Soviet Union in the United States, and who, up to that time, had
been vice president of Weinberg & Posner, an engineering firm located at 120 Broadway, New
York City. Why the “ambassador” and his offices were located in New York rather than in
Washington, D.C. was not explained; it does suggest that trade rather than diplomacy was its
primary objective. In any event, the bureau promptly issued a call lot Russian trade with the
United States. Industry had collapsed and Russia direly needed machinery, railway goods,
clothing, chemicals, drugs — indeed, everything utilized by a modern civilization. In exchange
the Soviets offered gold and raw materials. The Soviet Bureau then proceeded to arrange
contracts with American firms, ignoring the facts of the embargo and nonrecognition. At the
same time it was providing financial support for the emerging Communist Party U.S.A.6
On May 7, 1919, the State Department slapped down business intervention in behalf of the
bureau (noted elsewhere),7 and repudiated Ludwig Martens, the Soviet Bureau, and the
Bolshevik government o1 Russia. This official rebuttal did not deter the eager order-hunters in
American industry. When the Soviet Bureau offices were raided on June 12, 1919, by
representatives of the Lusk Committee of the state of New York, files of letters to and from
American businessmen, representing almost a thousand firms, were unearthed. The British
Home Office Directorate of Intelligence “Special Report No. 5 (Secret),” issued from Scotland
Yard, London, July 14, 1919, and written by Basil H. Thompson, was based on this seized
material; the report noted:
. . . Every effort was made from the first by Martens and his associates to
arouse the interest of American capitalists and there are grounds tot believing
that the Bureau has received financial support from some Russian export
firms, as well as from the Guarantee [sic] Trust Company, although this firm
has denied the allegation that it is financing Martens’ organisation.8
It was noted by Thompson that the monthly rent of the Soviet Bureau offices was $300 and the
office salaries came to about $4,000. Martens’ funds to pay these bills came partly from Soviet
couriers — such as John Reed and Michael Gruzenberg — who brought diamonds from Russia
for sale in the U.S., and partly from American business firms, including the Guaranty Trust
Company of New York. The British reports summarized the files seized by the Lusk
investigators from the bureau offices, and this summary is worth quoting in full:
(1) There was an intrigue afoot about the time the President first went to
France to get the Administration to use Nuorteva as an intermediary with the
Russian Soviet Government, with a view to bring about its recognition by
America. Endeavour was made to bring Colonel House into it, and there is a
long and interesting letter to Frederick C. Howe, on whose support and
sympathy Nuorteva appeared to rely. There are other records connecting Howe
with Martens and Nuorteva.
(2) There is a file of correspondence with Eugene Debs.
(3) A letter from Amos Pinchot to William Kent of the U.S. Tariff
Commission in an envelope addressed to Senator Lenroot, introduces Evans
Clark “now in the Bureau of the Russian Soviet Republic.” “He wants to talk
to you about the recognition of Kolchak and the raising of the blockade, etc.”
(4) A report to Felix Frankfurter, dated 27th May, 1919 speaks of the virulent
campaign vilifying the Russian Government.
(5) There is considerable correspondence between a Colonel and Mrs.
Raymond Robbins [sic] and Nuorteva, both in 1918 and 1919. In July 1918
Mrs. Robbins asked Nuorteva for articles for “Life and Labour,” the organ of
the National Women’s Trade League. In February and March, 1919, Nuorteva
tried, through Robbins, to get invited to give evidence before the Overman
Committee. He also wanted Robbins to denounce the Sisson documents.
(6) In a letter from the Jansen Cloth Products Company, New York, to
Nuorteva, dated March 30th, 1918, E. Werner Knudsen says that he
understands that Nuorteva intends to make arrangements for the export of food-
stuffs through Finland and he offers his services. We have a file on Knudsen,
who passed information to and from Germany by way of Mexico with regard
to British shipping.9
Ludwig Martens, the intelligence report continued, was in touch with all the leaders of “the
left” in the United States, including John Reed, Ludwig Lore, and Harry J. Boland, the Irish
rebel. A vigorous campaign against Aleksandr Kolchak in Siberia had been organized by
Martens. The report concludes:
[Martens’] organization is a powerful weapon for supporting the Bolshevik
cause in the United States and… he is in close touch with the promoters of
political unrest throughout the whole American continent.
The Scotland Yard list of personnel employed by the Soviet Bureau in New York coincides
quite closely with a similar list in the Lusk Committee files in Albany, New York, which are
today open for public inspection.10 There is one essential difference between the two lists: the
British analysis included the name “Julius Hammer” whereas Hammer was omitted from the
Lusk Committee report.11 The British report characterizes Julius Hammer as follows:
In Julius Hammer, Martens has a real Bolshevik and ardent Left Wing
adherent, who came not long ago from Russia. He was one of the organizers of
the Left Wing movement in New York, and speaks at meetings on the same
platform with such Left Wing leaders as Reed, Hourwich, Lore and Larkin.
There also exists other evidence of Hammer’s work in behalf of the Soviets. A letter from
National City Bank, New York, to the U.S. Treasury Department stated that documents
received by the bank from Martens were “witnessed by a Dr. Julius Hammer for the Acting
Director of the Financial Department” of the Soviet Bureau.12
The Hammer family has had close ties with Russia and the Soviet regime from 1917 to the
present. Armand Hammer is today able to acquire the most lucrative of Soviet contracts. Jacob,
grandfather of Armand Hammer, and Julius were born in Russia. Armand, Harry, and Victor,
sons of Julius, were born in the United States and are U.S. citizens. Victor was a well-known
artist; his son — also named Armand — and granddaughter are Soviet citizens and reside in the
Soviet Union. Armand Hammer is chairman of Occidental Petroleum Corporation and has a
son, Julian, who is director of advertising and publications for Occidental Petroleum.
Julius Hammer was a prominent member and financier of the left wing of the Socialist Party.
At its 1919 convention Hammer served with Bertram D. Wolfe and Benjamin Gitlow on the
steering committee that gave birth to the Communist Party of the U.S.
In 1920 Julius Hammer was given a sentence of three-and-one-half to fifteen years in Sing Sing
for criminal abortion. Lenin suggested — with justification — that Julius was “imprisoned on the
charge of practicing illegal abortions but in fact because of communism.”13 Other U.S.
Communist Party members were sentenced to jail for sedition or deported to the Soviet Union.
Soviet representatives in the United States made strenuous but unsuccessful efforts to have
Julius and his fellow party members released.
Another prominent member of the Soviet Bureau was the assistant secretary, Kenneth Durant, a
former aide to Colonel House. In 1920 Durant was identified as a Soviet courier. Appendix 3
reproduces a letter to Kenneth Durant that was seized by the U.S. Department of Justice in
1920 and that describes Durant’s close relationship with the Soviet hierarchy. It was inserted
into the record of a House committee’s hearings in 1920, with the following commentary:
MR. NEWTON: It is a mailer of interest to this committee to know what was
the nature of that letter, and I have a copy of the letter that I Want inserted in
the record in connection with the witness’ testimony. MR. Mason: That letter
has never been shown to the witness. He said that he never saw the letter, and
had asked to see it, and that the department had refused to show it to him. We
would not put any witness on the stand and ask him to testify to a letter
without seeing it.
MR. NEWTON: The witness testified that he has such a letter, and he testified
that they found it in his coat in the trunk, I believe. That letter was addressed
to a Mr. Kenneth Durant, and that letter had within it another envelope which
was likewise sealed. They were opened by the Government officials and a
photostatic copy made. The letter, I may say, is signed by a man by the name
of “Bill.” It refers specifically to soviet moneys on deposit in Christiania,
Norway, a portion of which they waist turned over here to officials of the
soviet government in this country.14
Kenneth Durant, who acted as Soviet courier in the transfer of funds, was treasurer lot the
Soviet Bureau and press secretary and publisher of Soviet Russia, the official organ of the
Soviet Bureau. Durant came from a well-to-do Philadelphia family. He spent most of his life in
the service of the Soviets, first in charge of publicity work at the Soviet Bureau then from 1923
to 1944 as manager of the Soviet Tass bureau in the United States. J. Edgar Hoover described
Durant as “at all times . . . particularly active in the interests of Martens and of the Soviet
Felix Frankfurter — later justice of the Supreme Courts — was also prominent in the Soviet
Bureau files. A letter from Frankfurter to Soviet agent Nuorteva is reproduced in Appendix 3
and suggests that Frankfurter had some influence with the bureau.
In brief, the Soviet Bureau could not have been established without influential assistance from
within the United States. Part of this assistance came from specific influential appointments to
the Soviet Bureau staff and part came from business firms outside the bureau, firms that were
reluctant to make their support publicly known.
CORPORATE ALLIES FOR THE SOVIET BUREAU
On February 1, 1920, the front page of the New York Times carried a boxed notation stating
that Martens was to be arrested and deported to Russia. At the same time Martens was being
sought as a witness to appear before a subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations
Committee investigating Soviet activity in the United States. After lying low for a few days
Martens appeared before the committee, claimed diplomatic privilege, and refused to give up
“official” papers in his possession. Then after a flurry of publicity, Martens “relented,” handed
over his papers, and admitted to revolutionary activities in the United States with the ultimate
aim of overthrowing the capitalist system.
Martens boasted to the news media and Congress that big corporations, the Chicago packers
among them, were aiding the Soviets:
Affording to Martens, instead of farthing on propaganda among the radicals
and the proletariat he has addressed most of his efforts to winning to the side
of Russia the big business and manufacturing interests of this country, the
packers, the United States Steel Corporation, the Standard Oil Company and
other big concerns engaged in international trade. Martens asserted that most
of the big business houses of the country were aiding him in his effort to get
the government to recognize the Soviet government.16
This claim was expanded by A. A. Heller, commercial attache at the Soviet Bureau:
“Among the people helping us to get recognition from the State Department
are the big Chit ago packers, Armour, Swift, Nelson Morris and Cudahy …..
Among the other firms are . . . the American Steel Export Company, the
Lehigh Machine Company, the Adrian Knitting Company, the International
Harvester Company, the Aluminum Goods Manufacturing Company, the
Aluminum Company of America, the American Car and Foundry Export
Company, M.C.D. Borden & Sons.”17
The New York Times followed up these claims and reported comments of the firms named. “I
have never heard of this man [Martens] before in my life,” declared G. F. Swift, Jr., in charge
of the export department of Swift & Co. “Most certainly I am sure that we have never had any
dealings with him of any kind.”18 The Times added that O. H. Swift, the only other member of
the firm that could be contacted, “also denied any knowledge whatever of Martens or his
bureau in New York.” The Swift statement was evasive at best. When the Lusk Committee
investigators seized the Soviet Bureau files, they found correspondence between the bureau and
almost all the firms named by Martens and Heller. The “list of firms that offered to do business
with Russian Soviet Bureau,” compiled from these files, included an entry (page 16), “Swift
and Company, Union Stock Yards, Chicago, Ill.” In other words, Swift had been in
communication with Martens despite its denial to the New York Times.
The New York Times contacted United States Steel and reported, “Judge Elbert H. Gary said
last night that there was no foundation for the statement with the Soviet representative here had
had any dealings with the United States Steel Corporation.” This is technically correct. The
United States Steel Corporation is not listed in the Soviet files, but the list does contain (page
16) an affiliate, “United States Steel Products Co., 30 Church Street, New York City.”
The Lusk Committee list records the following about other firms mentioned by Martens and
Heller: Standard Oil — not listed. Armour 8c Co., meatpackers — listed as “Armour Leather” and
“Armour & Co. Union Stock Yards, Chicago.” Morris Go., meatpackers, is listed on page 13.
Cudahy — listed on page 6. American Steel Export Co. — listed on page 2 as located at the
Woolworth Building; it had offered to trade with the USSR. Lehigh Machine Co. — not listed.
Adrian Knitting Co. — listed on page 1. International Harvester Co. — listed on page 11.
Aluminum Goods Manufacturing Co. — listed on page 1. Aluminum Company of America —
not listed. American Car and Foundry Export — the closest listing is “American Car Co. —
Philadelphia.” M.C.D. Borden 8c Sons — listed as located at 90 Worth Street, on page 4.
Then on Saturday, June 21, 1919, Santeri Nuorteva (Alexander Nyberg) confirmed in a press
interview the role of International Harvester:
Q: [by New York Times reporter]: What is your business?
A: Purchasing director tot Soviet Russia.
Q: What did you do to accomplish this?
A: Addressed myself to American manufacturers.
Q: Name them.
A: International Harvester Corporation is among them.
Q: Whom did you see?
A: Mr. Koenig.
Q: Did you go to see him?
Q: Give more names.
A: I went to see so many, about 500 people and I can’t remember all the
names. We have files in the office disclosing them.19
In brief, the claims by Heller and Martens relating to their widespread contacts among certain
U.S. firms20 were substantiated by the office files of the Soviet Bureau. On the other hand, for
their own good reasons, these firms appeared unwilling to confirm their activities.
EUROPEAN BANKERS AID THE BOLSHEVIKS
In addition to Guaranty Trust and the private banker Boissevain in New York, some European
bankers gave direct help to maintain and expand the Bolshevik hold on Russia. A 1918 State
Department report from our Stockholm embassy details these financial transfers. The
department commended its author, stating that his “reports on conditions in Russia, the spread
of Bolshevism in Europe, and financial questions . . . have proved most helpful to the
Department. Department is much gratified by your capable handling of the legation’s
business.”21 According to this report, one of these “Bolshevik bankers” acting in behalf of the
emerging Soviet regime was Dmitri Rubenstein, of the former Russo-French bank in Petrograd.
Rubenstein, an associate of the notorious Grigori Rasputin, had been jailed in prerevolutionary
Petrograd in connection with the sale of the Second Russian Life Insurance Company. The
American manager and director of the Second Russian Life Insurance Company was John
MacGregor Grant, who was located at 120 Broadway, New York City. Grant was also the New
York representative of Putiloff’s Banque Russo-Asiatique. In August 1918 Grant was (for
unknown reasons) listed on the Military Intelligence Bureau “suspect list.”22 This may have
occurred because Olof Aschberg in early 1918 reported opening a foreign credit in Petrograd
“with the John MacGregor Grant Co., export concern, which it [Aschberg] finances in Sweden
and which is financed in America by the Guarantee [sic] Trust Co.”23 After the revolution
Dmitri Rubenstein moved to Stockholm and became financial agent for the Bolsheviks. The
State Department noted that while Rubenstein was “not a Bolshevik, he has been unscrupulous
in moneT’ making, and it is suspected that he may be making the contemplated visit to America
in Bolshevik interest and for Bolshevik pay.24
Another Stockholm “Bolshevik banker” was Abram Givatovzo, brother-in-law of Trotsky and
Lev Kamenev. The State Department report asserted that while Givatovzo pretended to be
“very anti-Bolshevik,” he had in fact received “large sums” of moneT’ from the Bolsheviks by
courier for financing revolutionary operations. Givatovzo was part of a syndicate that included
Denisoff of the former Siberian bank, Kamenka of the Asoff Don Bank, and Davidoff of the
Bank of Foreign Commerce. This syndicate sold the assets of the former Siberian Bank to the
Yet another tsarist private banker, Gregory Lessine, handled Bolshevik business through the
firm of Dardel and Hagborg. Other “Bolshevik bankers” named in the report are stirrer and
Jakob Berline, who previously controlled, through his wife, the Petrograd Nelkens Bank. Isidor
Kon was used by these bankers as an agent.
The most interesting of these Europe-based bankers operating in behalf of the Bolsheviks was
Gregory Benenson, formerly chairman in Petrograd of the Russian and English Bank — a bank
which included on its board of directors Lord Balfour (secretary of state for foreign affairs in
England) and Sir I. M. H. Amory, as well as S. H. Cripps and H. Guedalla. Benenson traveled
to Petrograd after the revolution, then on to Stockholm. He came. said one State Department
official, “bringing to my knowledge ten million rubles with him as he offered them to me at a
high price for the use of our Embassy Archangel.” Benenson had an arrangement with the
Bolsheviks to exchange sixty million rubles for £1.5 million sterling.
In January 1919 the private bankers in Copenhagen that were associated with Bolshevik
institutions became alarmed by rumors that the Danish political police had marked the Soviet
legation and those persons in contact with the Bolsheviks for expulsion from Denmark. These
bankers and the legation hastily attempted to remove their funds from Danish banks — in
particular, seven million rubles from the Revisionsbanken.25 Also, confidential documents
were hidden in the offices of the Martin Larsen Insurance Company.
Consequently, we can identify a pattern of assistance by capitalist bankers for the Soviet
Union. Some of these were American bankers, some were tsarist bankers who were exiled and
living in Europe, and some were European bankers. Their common objective was profit, not
The questionable aspects of the work of these “Bolshevik bankers,” as they were called, arises
from the framework of contemporary events in Russia. In 1919 French, British, and American
troops were fighting Soviet troops in the Archangel region. In one clash in April 1919, for
example, American casualties were one officer, .five men killed, and nine missing.26 Indeed, at
one point in 1919 General Tasker H. Bliss, the U.S. commander in Archangel, affirmed the
British statement that “Allied troops in the Murmansk and Archangel districts were in danger
of extermination unless they were speedily reinforced.”27 Reinforcements were then on the
way under the command of Brigadier General W. P. Richardson.
In brief, while Guaranty Trust and first-rank American firms were assisting the formation of
the Soviet Bureau in New York, American troops were in conflict with Soviet troops in North
Russia. Moreover, these conflicts were daily reported in the New York Times, presumably read
by these bankers and businessmen. Further, as we shall see in chapter ten, the financial circles
that were supporting the Soviet Bureau in New York also formed in New York the “United
Americans” — a virulently anti-Communist organization predicting bloody revolution, mass
starvation, and panic in the streets of New York.
Copy in U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 316-22-656.
U.S., House, Committee on Foreign Affairs, Conditions in Russia, 66th
Cong., 3d sess., 1921, p. 78.
U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 316-19-1120.
See Benjamin Gitlow, [U.S., House, Un-American Propaganda Activities
(Washington, 1939), vols. 7-8, p. 4539.
See p. 119.
Copy in [U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 316-22-656. Confirmation of
Guaranty Trust involvement tomes in later intelligence reports.
On Frederick C. Howe see pp. 16, 177, for an early statement of the manner
in which financiers use society and its problems for their own ends; on Felix
Frankfurter, later Supreme Court justice, see Appendix 3 for an early
Frankfurter letter to Nuorteva; on Raymond Robins see p. 100.
The Lusk Committee list of personnel in the Soviet Bureau is printed in
Appendix 3. The list includes Kenneth Durant, aide to Colonel House; Dudley
Field Malone, appointed by President Wilson as collector of customs for the
Port of New York; and Morris Hillquit, the financial intermediary between
New York banker Eugene Boissevain on the one hand, and John Reed and
Soviet agent Michael Gruzenberg on the other.
Julius Hammer was the father of Armand Hammer, who today is chairman
of the Occidental Petroleum Corp. of Los Angeles.
See Appendix 3.
V. I. Lenin, Polnoe Sobranie Sochinenii, 5th ed. (Moscow, 1958), 53:267.
U.S., House, Committee. on Foreign Affairs, Conditions in Russia, 66th
Cong., 3d sess., 1921, p. 75. “Bill” was William Bobroff, Soviet agent.
Ibid., p. 78.
New York Times, November 17, 1919.
New York Times, June 21, 1919.
See p. 119.
U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 861.51/411, November 23, 1918.
U.S., Department of State, Foreign Relations o! the United States: 1918,
U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 861.00/4878, July,’ 21, 1919.
New York Times, April 5, 1919.
120 BROADWAY, NEW YORK CITY
William B. Thompson, who was in Petrograd from July until November
last, has made a personal contribution of $1,000,000 to the Bolsheviki for
the purpose of spreading their doctrine in Germany and Austria ….
Washington Post, February
While collecting material for this book a single location and address in the Wall Street area
came to the fore — 120 Broadway, New York City. Conceivably, this book could have been
written incorporating only persons, firms, and organizations located at 120 Broadway in the
year 1917. Although this research method would have been forced and unnatural, it would have
excluded only a relatively small segment of the story.
The original building at 120 Broadway was destroyed by fire before World War I.
Subsequently the site was sold to the Equitable Office Building Corporation, organized by
General T. Coleman du Pont, president of du Pont de Nemours Powder Company.1 A new
building was completed in 1915 and the Equitable Life Assurance Company moved back to its
old site.2 In passing we should note an interesting interlock in Equitable history. In 1916 the
cashier of the Berlin Equitable Life office was William Schacht, the father of Hjalmar Horace
Greeley Schacht — later to become Hitler’s banker, and financial genie. William Schacht was an
American citizen, worked thirty years for Equitable in Germany, and owned a Berlin house
known as “Equitable Villa.” Before joining Hitler, young Hjalmar Schacht served as a member
of the Workers and Soldiers Council (a soviet) of Zehlendoff; this he left in 1918 to join the
board of the Nationalbank fur Deutschland. His codirector at DONAT was Emil Wittenberg,
who, with Max May of Guaranty Trust Company of New York, was a director of the first
Soviet international bank, Ruskombank.
In any event, the building at 120 Broadway was in 1917 known as the Equitable Life Building.
A large building, although by no means the largest office building in New York City, it
occupies a one-block area at Broadway and Pine, and has thirty-four floors. The Bankers Club
was located on the thirty-fourth floor. The tenant list in 1917 in effect reflected American
involvement in the Bolshevik Revolution and its aftermath. For example, the headquarters of
the No. 2 District of the Federal Reserve System — the New York area — by far the most
important of the Federal Reserve districts, was located at 120 Broadway. The offices of several
individual directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and, most important, the
American International Corporation were also at 120 Broadway. By way of contrast, Ludwig
Martens, appointed by the Soviets as the first Bolshevik “ambassador” to the United States and
head of the Soviet Bureau, was in 1917 the vice president of Weinberg & Posner — and also had
offices at 120 Broadway.*
Is this concentration an accident? Does the geographical contiguity have any significance?
Before attempting to suggest an answer, we have to switch our frame of reference and abandon
the left-right spectrum of political analysis.
With an almost unanimous lack of perception the academic world has described and analyzed
international political relations in the context of an unrelenting conflict between capitalism and
communism, and rigid adherence to this Marxian formula has distorted modern history. Tossed
out from time to time are odd remarks to the effect that the polarity is indeed spurious, but
these are quickly dispatched to limbo. For example, Carroll Quigley, professor of international
relations at Georgetown University, made the following comment on the House of Morgan:
More than fifty years ago the Morgan firm decided to infiltrate the Left-wing
political movements in the United States. This was relatively easy to do, since
these groups were starved for funds and eager for a voice to reach the people.
Wall Street supplied both. The purpose was not to destroy, dominate or take
Professor Quigley’s comment, apparently based on confidential documentation, has all the
ingredients of an historical bombshell if it can be supported. We suggest that the Morgan firm
infiltrated not only the domestic left, as noted by Quigley, but also the foreign left — that is, the
Bolshevik movement and the Third International. Even further, through friends in the U.S.
State Department, Morgan and allied financial interests, particularly the Rockefeller family,
have exerted a powerful influence on U.S.-Russian relations from World War I to the present.
The evidence presented in this chapter will suggest that two of the operational vehicles for
infiltrating or influencing foreign revolutionary movements were located at 120 Broadway: the
first, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, heavily laced with Morgan appointees; the
second, the Morgan-controlled American International Corporation. Further, there was an
important interlock between the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the American
International Corporation — C. A. Stone, the president of American International, was also a
director of the Federal Reserve Bank.
The tentative hypothesis then is that this unusual concentration at a single address was a
reflection of purposeful actions by specific firms and persons and that these actions and events
cannot be analyzed within the usual spectrum of left-right political antagonism.
AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL CORPORATION
The American International Corporation (AIC) was organized in New York on November 22,
1915, by the J.P. Morgan interests, with major participation by Stillman’s National City Bank
and the Rockefeller interests. The general office of AIC was at 120 Broadway. The company’s
charter authorized it to engage in any kind of business, except banking and public utilities, in
any country in the world. The stated purpose of the corporation was to develop domestic and
foreign enterprises, to extend American activities abroad, and to promote the interests of
American and foreign bankers, business and engineering.
Frank A. Vanderlip has described in his memoirs how American International was formed and
the excitement created on Wall Street over its business potential.4 The original idea was
generated by a discussion between Stone & Webster — the international railroad contractors
who “were convinced there was not much more railroad building to be done in the United
States” — and Jim Perkins and Frank A. Vanderlip of National City Bank (NCB).5 The original
capital authorization was $50 million and the board of directors represented the leading lights
of the New York financial world. Vanderlip records that he wrote as follows to NCB president
Stillman, enthusing over the enormous potential for American International Corporation:
James A. Farrell and Albert Wiggin have been invited [to be on the board] but
had to consult their committees before accepting. I also have in mind asking
Henry Walters and Myron T. Herrick. Mr. Herrick is objected to by Mr.
Rockefeller quite strongly but Mr. Stone wants him and I feel strongly that he
would be particularly desirable in France. The whole thing has gone along
with a smoothness that has been gratifying and the reception of it has been
marked by an enthusiasm which has been surprising to me even though I was
so strongly convinced we were on the right track.
I saw James J. Hill today, for example. He said at first that he could not
possibly think of extending his responsibilities, but after I had finished telling
him what we expected to do, he said he would be glad to go on the board,
would take a large amount of stock and particularly wanted a substantial
interest in the City Bank and commissioned me to buy him the stock at the
I talked with Ogden Armour about the matter today for the first time. He sat in
perfect silence while I went through the story, and, without asking a single
question, he said he would go on the board and wanted $500,000 stock.
Mr. Coffin [of General Electric] is another man who is retiring from
everything, but has ‘become so enthusiastic over this that he was willing to go
on the board, and offers the most active cooperation.
I felt very good over getting Sabin. The Guaranty Trust is altogether the most
active competitor we have in the field and it is of great value to get them into
the fold in this way. They have been particularly enthusiastic at Kuhn, Loeb’s.
They want to take up to $2,500,000. There was really quite a little competition
to see who should get on the board, but as I had happened to talk with Kahn
and had invited him first, it was decided he should go on. He is perhaps the
most enthusiastic of any one. They want half a million stock for Sir Ernest
Castle** to whom they have cabled the plan and they have back from him
approval of it.
I explained the whole matter to the Board [of the City Bank] Tuesday and got
nothing but favorable comments.6
Everybody coveted the AIC stock. Joe Grace (of W. R. Grace & Co.) wanted $600,000 in
addition to his interest in National City Bank. Ambrose Monell wanted $500,000. George
Baker wanted $250,000. And “William Rockefeller tried, vainly, to get me to put him down for
$5,000,000 of the common.”7
By 1916 AIC investments overseas amounted to more than $23 million and in 1917 to more
than $27 million. The company established representation in London, Paris, Buenos Aires, and
Peking as well as in Petrograd, Russia. Less than two years after its formation AIC was
operating on a substantial scale in Australia, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Colombia, Brazil,
Chile, China, Japan, India, Ceylon, Italy, Switzerland, France, Spain, Cuba, Mexico, and other
countries in Central America.
American International owned several subsidiary companies outright, had substantial interests
in yet other companies, and operated still other firms in the United States and abroad. The
Allied Machinery Company of America was founded in February 1916 and the entire share
capital taken up by American International Corporation. The vice president of American
International Corporation was Frederick Holbrook, an engineer and formerly head of the
Holbrook Cabot & Rollins Corporation. In January 1917 the Grace Russian Company was
formed, the joint owners being W. R. Grace & Co. and the San Galli Trading Company of
Petrograd. American International Corporation had a substantial investment in the Grace
Russian Company and through Holbrook an interlocking directorship.
AIC also invested in United Fruit Company, which was involved in Central American
revolutions in the 1920s. The American International Shipbuilding Corporation was wholly
owned by AIC and signed substantial contracts for war vessels with the Emergency Fleet
Corporation: one contract called for fifty vessels, followed by another contract for forty
vessels, followed by yet another contract for sixty cargo vessels. American International
Shipbuilding was the largest single recipient of contracts awarded by the U.S. government
Emergency Fleet Corporation. Another company operated by AIC was G. Amsinck & Co., Inc.
of New York; control of the company was acquired in November 1917. Amsinck was the
source of financing for German espionage in the United States (see page 66). In November
1917 the American International Corporation formed and wholly owned the Symington Forge
Corporation, a major government contractor for shell forgings. Consequently, American
International Corporation had significant interest in war contracts within the United States and
overseas. It had, in a word, a vested interest in the continuance of World War I.
The directors of American International and some of their associations were (in 1917):
J. OGDEN ARMOUR Meatpacker, of Armour & Company, Chicago; director
of the National City Bank of New York; and mentioned by A. A. Heller in
connection with the Soviet Bureau (see p. 119).
GEORGE JOHNSON BALDWIN Of Stone & Webster, 120 Broadway.
During World War I Baldwin was chairman of the board of American
International Shipbuilding, senior vice president of American International
Corporation, director of G. Amsinck (Von Pavenstedt of Amsinck was a
German espionage paymaster in the U.S., see page 65), and a trustee of the
Carnegie Foundation, which financed the Marburg Plan for international
socialism to be controlled behind the scenes by world finance (see page 174-
C. A. COFFIN Chairman of General Electric (executive office: 120
Broadway), chairman of cooperation committee of the American Red Cross.
W. E. COREY (14 Wall Street) Director of American Bank Note Company,
Mechanics and Metals Bank, Midvale Steel and Ordnance, and International
Nickel Company; later director of National City Bank.
ROBERT DOLLAR San Francisco shipping magnate, who attempted in behalf
of the Soviets to import tsarist gold rubles into U.S. in 1920, in contravention
of U.S. regulations.
PIERRE S. DU PONT Of the du Pont family.
PHILIP A. S. FRANKLIN Director of National City Bank.
J.P. GRACE Director of National City Bank.
R. F. HERRICK Director, New York Life Insurance; former president of the
American Bankers Association; trustee of Carnegie Foundation.
OTTO H. KAHN Partner in Kuhn, Loeb. Kahn’s father came to America in
1948, “having taken part in the unsuccessful German revolution of that year.”
According to J. H. Thomas (British socialist, financed by the Soviets), “Otto
Kahn’s face is towards the light.”
H. W. PRITCHETT Trustee of Carnegie Foundation.
PERCY A. ROCKEFELLER Son of John D. Rockefeller; married to Isabel,
daughter of J. A. Stillman of National City Bank.
JOHN D. RYAN Director of copper-mining companies, National City Bank,
and Mechanics and Metals Bank. (See frontispiece to this book.)
W. L. SAUNDERS Director the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, 120
Broadway, and chairman of Ingersoll-Rand. According to the National
Cyclopaedia (26:81): “Throughout the war he was one of the President’s most
trusted advisers.” See page 15 for his views on the Soviets.
J. A. STILLMAN President of National City Bank, after his father (J.
Stillman, chairman of NCB) died in March 1918.
C. A. STONE Director (1920-22) of Federal Reserve Bank of New York, 120
Broadway; chairman of Stone & Webster, 120 Broadway; president (1916-23)
of American International Corporation, 120 Broadway.
T. N. VAIL President of National City Bank of Troy, New York
F. A. VANDERLIP President of National City Bank.
E. S. WEBSTER Of Stone & Webster, 120 Broadway.
A. H. WIGGIN Director of Federal Reserve Bank of New York in the early
BECKMAN WINTHROPE Director of National City Bank.
WILLIAM WOODWARD Director of Federal Reserve Bank of New York,
120 Broadway, and Hanover National Bank.
The interlock of the twenty-two directors of American International Corporation with other
institutions is significant. The National City Bank had no fewer than ten directors on the board
of AIC; Stillman of NCB was at that time an intermediary between the Rockefeller and Morgan
interests, and both the Morgan and the Rockefeller interests were represented directly on AIC.
Kuhn, Loeb and the du Ponts each had one director. Stone & Webster had three directors. No
fewer than four directors of AIC (Saunders, Stone, Wiggin, Woodward) either were directors of
or were later to join the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. We have noted in an earlier
chapter that William Boyce Thompson, who contributed funds and his considerable prestige to
the Bolshevik Revolution, was also a director of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York — the
directorate of the FRB of New York comprised only nine members.
THE INFLUENCE OF AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL ON THE REVOLUTION
Having identified the directors of AIC we now have to identify their revolutionary influence.
As the Bolshevik Revolution took hold in central Russia, Secretary of State Robert Lansing
requested the views of American International Corporation on the policy to be pursued towards
the Soviet regime. On January 16, 1918 — barely two months after the takeover in Petrograd
and Moscow, and before a fraction of Russia had come under Bolshevik control — William
Franklin Sands, executive secretary of American International Corporation, submitted the
requested memorandum on the Russian political situation to Secretary Lansing. Sands covering
letter, headed 120 Broadway, began:
To the Honourable January 16, 1918
Secretary of State
I have the honor to enclose herewith the memorandum which you requested
me to make for you on my view of the political situation in Russia.
I have separated it into three parts; an explanation of the historical causes of
the Revolution, told as briefly as possible; a suggestion as to policy and a
recital of the various branches of American activity at work now in Russia ….8
Although the Bolsheviks had only precarious control in Russia — and indeed were to come near
to losing even this in the spring of 1918 — Sands wrote that already (January 1918) the United
States had delayed too long in recognizing “Trotzky.” He added, “Whatever ground may have
been lost, should be regained now, even at the cost of a slight personal triumph for Trotzky.”9
Firms located at, or near,
American International Corp
National City Bank 55 Wall
Bankers Trust Co Bldg 14
New York Stock Exchange
13 Wall Street/12 Broad
Morgan Building corner
Wall & Broad
Federal Reserve Bank of NY
Equitable Building 120
Bankers Club 120 Broadway
Simpson, Thather & Bartlett
62 Cedar St
William Boyce Thompson
14 Wall Street
Hazen, Whipple & Fuller
42nd Street Building
Chase National Bank 57
McCann Co 61 Broadway
Stetson, Jennings & Russell
15 Broad Street
Weinberg & Posner 120
Soviet Bureau 110 West
John MacGregor Grant Co
Stone & Webster 120
General Electric Co 120
Morris Plan of NY 120
Sinclair Gulf Corp 120
Guaranty Securities 120
Guaranty Trust 140
Map of Wall Street Area Showing Office Locations
Sands then elaborates the manner in which the U.S. could make up for lost time, parallels the
Bolshevik Revolution to “our own revolution,” and concludes: “I have every reason to believe
that the Administration plans for Russia will receive all possible support from Congress, and
the hearty endorsement of public opinion in the United States.”
In brief, Sands, as executive secretary of a corporation whose directors were the most
prestigious on Wall Street, provided an emphatic endorsement of the Bolsheviks and the
Bolshevik Revolution, and within a matter of weeks after the revolution started. And as a
director of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Sands had just contributed $1 million to the
Bolsheviks — such endorsement of the Bolsheviks by banking interests is at least consistent.
Moreover, William Sands of American International was a man with truly uncommon
connections and influence in the State Department.
Sands’ career had alternated between the State Department and Wall Street, In the late
nineteenth and early twentieth century he held various U.S. diplomatic posts. In 1910 he left
the department to join the banking firm of James Speyer to negotiate an Ecuadorian loan, and
for the next two years represented the Central Aguirre Sugar Company in Puerto Rico. In 1916
he was in Russia on “Red Cross work” — actually a two-man “Special Mission” with Basil
Miles — and returned to join the American International Corporation in New York.10
In early 1918 Sands became the known and intended recipient of certain Russian “secret
treaties.” If the State Department files are to be believed, it appears that Sands was also a
courier, and that he had some prior access to official documents — prior, that is, to U.S.
government officials. On January 14, 1918, just two days before Sands wrote his memo on
policy towards the Bolsheviks, Secretary Lansing caused the following cable to be sent in
Green Cipher to the American legation in Stockholm: “Important official papers for Sands to
bring here were left at Legation. Have you forwarded them? Lansing.” The reply of January 16
from Morris in Stockholm reads: “Your 460 January 14, 5 pm. Said documents forwarded
Department in pouch number 34 on December 28th.” To these documents is attached another
memo, signed “BM” (Basil Miles, an associate of Sands): “Mr. Phillips. They failed to give
Sands 1st installment of secret treaties wh. [which] he brought from Petrograd to
Putting aside the question why a private citizen would be carrying Russian secret treaties and
the question of the content of such secret treaties (probably an early version of the so-called
Sisson Documents), we can at least deduce that the AIC executive secretary traveled from
Petrograd to Stockholm in late 1917 and must indeed have been a privileged and influential
citizen to have access to secret treaties.12
A few months later, on July 1, 1918, Sands wrote to Treasury Secretary McAdoo suggesting a
commission for “economic assistance to Russia.” He urged that since it would be difficult for a
government commission to “provide the machinery” for any such assistance, “it seems,
therefore, necessary to call in the financial, commercial and manufacturing interest of the
United States to provide such machinery under the control of the Chief Commissioner or
whatever official is selected by the President for this purpose.”13 In other words, Sands
obviously intended that any commercial exploitation of Bolshevik Russia was going to include
THE FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF NEW YORK
The certification of incorporation of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York was filed May 18,
1914. It provided for three Class A directors representing member banks in the district, three
Class B directors representing commerce, agriculture, and industry, and three Class C directors
representing the Federal Reserve Board. The original directors were elected in 1914; they
proceeded to generate an energetic program. In the first year of organization the Federal
Reserve Bank of New York held no fewer than 50 meetings.
From our viewpoint what is interesting is the association between, on the one hand, the
directors of the Federal Reserve Bank (in the New York district) and of American International
Corporation, and, on the other, the emerging Soviet Russia.
In 1917 the three Class A directors were Franklin D. Locke, William Woodward, and Robert
H. Treman. William Woodward was a director of American International Corporation (120
Broadway) and of the Rockefeller-controlled Hanover National Bank. Neither Locke nor
Treman enters our story. The three Class B directors in 1917 were William Boyce Thompson,
Henry R. Towne, and Leslie R. Palmer. We have already noted William B. Thompson’s
substantial cash contribution to the Bolshevik cause. Henry R. Towne was chairman of the
board of directors of the Morris Plan of New York, located at 120 Broadway; his seat was later
taken by Charles A. Stone of American International Corporation (120 Broadway) and of Stone
& Webster (120 Broadway). Leslie R. Palmer does not come into our story. The three Class C
directors were Pierre Jay, W. L. Saunders, and George Foster Peabody. Nothing is known
about Pierre Jay, except that his office was at 120 Broadway and he appeared to be significant
only as the owner of Brearley School, Ltd. William Lawrence Saunders was also a director of
American International Corporation; he openly avowed, as we have seen, pro-Bolshevik
sympathies, disclosing them in a letter to President Woodrow Wilson (see page 15). George
Foster Peabody was an active socialist (see page 99-100).
In brief, of the nine directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, four were physically
located at 120 Broadway and two were then connected with American International
Corporation. And at least four members of AIC’s board were at one time or another directors of
the FRB of New York. We could term all of this significant, but regard it not necessarily as a
AMERICAN-RUSSIAN INDUSTRIAL SYNDICATE INC.
William Franklin Sands’ proposal for an economic commission to Russia was not adopted.
Instead, a private vehicle was put together to exploit Russian markets and the earlier support
given the Bolsheviks. A group of industrialists from 120 Broadway formed the American-
Russian Industrial Syndicate Inc. to develop and foster these opportunities. The financial
backing for the new firm came from the Guggenheim Brothers, 120 Broadway, previously
associated with William Boyce Thompson (Guggenheim controlled American Smelting and
Refining, and the Kennecott and Utah copper companies); from Harry F. Sinclair, president of
Sinclair Gulf Corp., also 120 Broadway; and from James G. White of J. G. White Engineering
Corp. of 43 Exchange Place — the address of the American-Russian Industrial Syndicate.
In the fall of 1919 the U.S. embassy in London cabled Washington about Messrs. Lubovitch
and Rossi “representing American-Russian Industrial Syndicate Incorporated What is the
reputation and the attitude of the Department toward the syndicate and the individuals?”14
To this cable State Department officer Basil Miles, a former associate of Sands, replied:
. . . Gentlemen mentioned together with their corporation are of good standing
being backed financially by the White, Sinclair and Guggenheim interests for
the purpose of opening up business relations with Russia.15
So we may conclude that Wall Street interests had quite definite ideas of the manner in which
the new Russian market was to be exploited. The assistance and advice proffered in behalf of
the Bolsheviks by interested parties in Washington and elsewhere were not to remain
JOHN REED: ESTABLISHMENT REVOLUTIONARY
Quite apart from American International’s influence in the State Department is its intimate
relationship — which AIC itself called “control” — with a known Bolshevik: John Reed. Reed
was a prolific, widely read author of the World War I era who contributed to the Bolshevik-
oriented Masses.16 and to the Morgan-controlled journal Metropolitan. Reed’s book on the
Bolshevik Revolution, Ten Days That Shook the World, sports an introduction by Nikolai
Lenin, and became Reed’s best-known and most widely read literary effort. Today the book
reads like a superficial commentary on current events, is interspersed with Bolshevik
proclamations and decrees, and is permeated with that mystic fervor the Bolsheviks know will
arouse foreign sympathizers. After the revolution Reed became an American member of the
executive committee of the Third International. He died of typhus in Russia in 1920.
The crucial issue that presents itself here is not Reed’s known pro-Bolshevik tenor and
activities, but how Reed who had the entire confidence of Lenin (“Here is a book I should like
to see published in millions of copies and translated into all languages,” commented Lenin in
Ten Days), who was a member of the Third International, and who possessed a Military
Revolutionary Committee pass (No. 955, issued November 16, 1917) giving him entry into the
Smolny Institute (the revolutionary headquarters) at any time as the representative of the
“American Socialist press,” was also — despite these things — a puppet under the “control” of
the Morgan financial interests through the American International Corporation. Documentary
evidence exists for this seeming conflict (see below and Appendix 3).
Let’s fill in the background. Articles for the Metropolitan and the Masses gave John Reed a
wide audience for reporting the Mexican and the Russian Bolshevik revolutions. Reed’s
biographer Granville Hicks has suggested, in John Reed, that “he was . . . the spokesman of the
Bolsheviks in the United States.” On the other hand, Reed’s financial support from 1913 to
1918 came heavily from the Metropolitan — owned by Harry Payne Whitney, a director of the
Guaranty Trust, an institution cited in every chapter of this book — and also’ from the New
York private banker and merchant Eugene Boissevain, who channeled funds to Reed both
directly and through the pro-Bolshevik Masses. In other words, John Reed’s financial support
came from two supposedly competing elements in the political spectrum. These funds were for
writing and may be classified as: payments from Metropolitan from 1913 onwards for articles;
payments from Masses from 1913 onwards, which income at least in part originated with
Eugene Boissevain. A third category should be mentioned: Reed received some minor and
apparently unconnected payments from Red Cross commissioner Raymond Robins in
Petrograd. Presumably he also received smaller sums for articles written for other journals, and
book royalties; but no evidence has been found giving the amounts of such payments.
JOHN REED AND THE METROPOLITAN MAGAZINE
The Metropolitan supported contemporary establishment causes including, for example, war
preparedness. The magazine was owned by Harry Payne Whitney (1872-1930), who founded
the Navy League and was partner in the J.P. Morgan firm. In the late 1890s Whitney became a
director of American Smelting and Refining and of Guggenheim Exploration. Upon his father’s
death in 1908, he became a director of numerous other companies, including Guaranty Trust
Company. Reed began writing for Whitney’s Metropolitan in July 1913 and contributed a half-
dozen articles on the Mexican revolutions: “With Villa in Mexico,” “The Causes
Behind/Mexico’s Revolution,” “If We Enter Mexico,” “With Villa on the March,” etc. Reed’s
sympathies were with revolutionist Pancho Villa. You will recall the link (see page 65)
between Guaranty Trust and Villa’s ammunition supplies.
In any event, Metropolitan was Reed’s main source of income. In the words of biographer
Granville Hicks, “Money meant primarily work for the Metropolitan and incidentally articles
and stories for other paying magazines.” But employment by Metropolitan did not inhibit Reed
from writing articles critical of the Morgan and Rockefeller interests. One such piece, “At the
Throat of the Republic” (Masses, July 1916), traced the relationship between munitions
industries, the national security-preparedness lobby, the interlocking directorates of the Morgan-
Rockefeller interest, “and showed that they dominated both the preparedness societies and the
newly formed American International Corporation, organized for the exploitation of backward
In 1915 John Reed was arrested in Russia by tsarist authorities, and the Metropolitan
intervened with the State Department in Reed’s behalf. On June 21, 1915, H. J. Whigham wrote
Secretary of State Robert Lansing informing him that John Reed and Boardman Robinson (also
arrested and also a contributor to the Masses) were in Russia “with commission from the
Metropolitan magazine to write articles and to make illustrations in the Eastern field of the
War.” Whigham pointed out that neither had “any desire or authority from us to interfere with
the operations of any belligerent powers that be.” Whigham’s letter continues:
If Mr. Reed carried letters of introduction from Bucharest to people in Galicia
of an anti-Russian frame of mind I am sure that it was done innocently with
the simple intention of meeting as many people as possible ….
Whigham points out to Secretary Lansing that John Reed was known at the White House and
had given “some assistance” to the administration on Mexican affairs; he concludes: “We have
the highest regard for Reed’s great qualities as a writer and thinker and we are very anxious as
regards his safety.”18 The Whigham letter is not, let it be noted, from an establishment journal
in support of a Bolshevik writer; it is from an establishment journal in support of a Bolshevik
writer for the Masses and similar revolutionary sheets, a writer who was also the author of
trenchant attacks (“The Involuntary Ethics of Big Business: A Fable for Pessimists,” for
example) on the same Morgan interests that owned Metropolitan.
The evidence of finance by the private banker Boissevain is incontrovertible. On February 23,
1918, the American legation at Christiania, Norway, sent a cable to Washington in behalf of
John Reed for delivery to Socialist Party leader Morris Hillquit. The cable stated in part: “Tell
Boissevain must draw on him but carefully.” A cryptic note by Basil Miles in the State
Department files, dated April 3, 1918, states, “If Reed is coming home he might as well have
money. I understand alternatives are ejection by Norway or polite return. If this so latter seems
preferable.” This protective note is followed by a cable dated April 1, 1918, and again from the
American legation at Christiania: “John Reed urgently request Eugene Boissevain, 29 Williams
Street, New York, telegraph care legation $300.00.”19 This cable was relayed to Eugene
Boissevain by the State Department on April 3, 1918.
Reed apparently received his funds and arrived safely back in the United States. The next
document in the State Department files is a letter to William Franklin Sands from John Reed,
dated June 4, 1918, and written from Crotonon-Hudson, New York. In the letter Reed asserts
that he has drawn up a memorandum for the State Department, and appeals to Sands to use his
influence to get release of the boxes of papers brought back from Russia. Reed concludes,
“Forgive me for bothering you, but I don’t know where else to turn, and I can’t afford another
trip to Washington.” Subsequently, Frank Polk, acting secretary of state, received a letter from
Sands regarding the release of John Reed’s papers. Sands’ letter, dated June 5, 1918, from 120
Broadway, is here reproduced in full; it makes quite explicit statements about control of Reed:
120 BROADWAY NEW YORK
June fifth, 1918
My dear Mr. Polk:
I take the liberty of enclosing to you an appeal from John (“Jack”) Reed to
help him, if possible, to secure the release of the papers which he brought into
the country with him from Russia.
I had a conversation with Mr. Reed when he first arrived, in which he sketched
certain attempts by the Soviet Government to initiate constructive
development, and expressed the desire to place whatever observations he had
made or information he had obtained through his connection with Leon
Trotzky, at the disposal of our Government. I suggested that he write a
memorandum on this subject for you, and promised to telephone to
Washington to ask you to give him an interview for this purpose. He brought
home with him a mass of papers which were taken from him for examination,
and on this subject also he wished to speak to someone in authority, in order to
voluntarily offer an>, information they might contain to the Government, and
to ask for the release of those which he needed for his newspaper and
I do not believe that Mr. Reed is either a “Bolshevik” or a “dangerous
anarchist,” as I have heard him described. He is a sensational journalist,
without doubt, but that is all. He is not trying to embarrass our Government,
and for this reason refused the “protection” which I understand was offered to
him by Trotzky, when he returned to New York to face the indictment against
him in the “Masses” trial. He is liked by the Petrograd Bolsheviki, however,
and, therefore, anything which our police may do which looks like
“persecution” will be resented in Petrograd, which I believe to be undesirable
because unnecessary. He can be handled and controlled much better by other
means than through the police.
I have not seen the memorandum he gave to Mr. Bullitt — I wanted him to let
me see it first and perhaps to edit it, but he had not the opportunity to do so.
I hope that you will not consider me to be intrusive in this matter or meddling
with matters which do not concern me. I believe it to be wise not to offend the
Bolshevik leaders unless and until it may become necessary to do so — if it
should become necessary — and it is unwise to look on every one as a
suspicious or even dangerous character, who has had friendly relations with
the Bolsheviki in Russia. I think it better policy to attempt to use such people
for our own purposes in developing our policy toward Russia, if it is possible
to do so. The lecture which Reed was prevented by the police from delivering
in Philadelphia (he lost his head, came into conflict with the police and was
arrested) is the only lecture on Russia which I would have paid to hear, if I had
not already seen his notes on the subject. It covered a subject which we might
quite possibly find to be a point of contact with the Soviet Government, from
which to begin constructive work!
Can we not use him, instead of embittering him and making him an enemy?
He is not well balanced, but he is, unless I am very much mistaken, susceptible
to discreet guidance and might be quite useful.
William Franklin Sands
Frank Lyon Polk
Counselor for the Department of State
The significance of this document is the hard revelation of direct intervention by an officer
(executive secretary) of American International Corporation in behalf of a known Bolshevik.
Ponder a few of Sands’ statements about Reed: “He can be handled and controlled much better
by other means than through the police”; and, “Can we not use him, instead of embittering him
and making him an enemy? . . . he is, unless I am very much mistaken, susceptible to discreet
guidance and might be quite useful.” Quite obviously, the American International Corporation
viewed John Reed as an agent or a potential agent who could be, and probably had already
been, brought under its control. The fact that Sands was in a position to request editing a
memorandum by Reed (for Bullitt) suggests some degree of control had already been
Then note Sands’ potentially hostile attitude towards — and barely veiled intent to provoke — the
Bolsheviks: “I believe it to be wise not to offend the Bolshevik leaders unless and until it may
become necessary to do so — if it should become necessary . . .” (italics added).
This is an extraordinary letter in behalf of a Soviet agent from a private U.S. citizen whose
counsel the State Department had sought, and continued to seek.
A later memorandum, March 19, 1920, in the State files reported the arrest of John Reed by the
Finnish authorities at Abo, and Reed’s possession of English, American and German passports.
Reed, traveling under the alias of Casgormlich, carried diamonds, a large sum of money, Soviet
propaganda literature, and film. On April 21, 1920, the American legation at Helsingfors
cabled the State Department:
Am forwarding by the next pouch certified copies of letters from Emma
Goldman, Trotsky, Lenin and Sirola found in Reed’s possession. Foreign
Office has promised to furnish complete record of the Court proceedings.
Once again Sands intervened: “I knew Mr. Reed personally.”21 And, as in 1915, Metropolitan
magazine also came to Reed’s aid. H. J. Whigham wrote on April 15, 1920, to Bainbridge
Colby in the State Department: “Have heard John Reed in danger of being executed in Finland.
Hope the State Dept. can take immediate steps to see that he gets proper trial. Urgently request
prompt action.”22 This was in addition to an April 13, 1920 telegram from Harry Hopkins, who
was destined for fame under President Roosevelt:
Understand State Dept. has information Jack Reed arrested Finland, will be
executed. As one of his friends and yours and on his wife’s behalf urge you
take prompt action prevent execution and secure release. Feel sure can rely
your immediate and effective intervention.23
John Reed was subsequently released by the Finnish authorities.
This paradoxical account on intervention in behalf of a Soviet agent can have several
explanations. One hypothesis that fits other evidence concerning Wall Street and the Bolshevik
Revolution is that John Reed was in effect an agent of the Morgan interests — perhaps only half
aware of his double role — that his anticapitalist writing maintained the valuable myth that all
capitalists are in perpetual warfare with all socialist revolutionaries. Carroll Quigley, as we
have already noted, reported that the Morgan interests financially supported domestic
revolutionary organizations and anticapitalist writings.24 And we have presented in this chapter
irrefutable documentary evidence that the Morgan interests were also effecting control of a
Soviet agent, interceding on his behalf and, more important, generally intervening in behalf of
Soviet interests with the U.S. government. These activities centered at a single address: 120
Broadway, New York City.
By a quirk the papers of incorporation for the Equitable Office Building were
drawn up by Dwight W. Morrow, later a Morgan partner, but then a member
of the law firm of Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett. The Thacher firm contributed
two members to the 1917 American Red Cross Mission to Russia (see chapter
Carroll Quigley, Tragedy and Hope (New York: Macmillan, 1966), p. 938.
Quigley was writing in 1965, so this places the start of the infiltration at about
1915, a date consistent with the evidence here presented.
Frank A. Vanderlip, From Farm Boy to Financier (New York: A. Appleton-
Ibid., p. 267.
Ibid., pp. 268-69. It should be noted that several names mentioned by
Vanderlip turn up elsewhere in this book: Rockefeller, Armour, Guaranty
Trust, and (Otto) Kahn all had some connection more or less with the
Bolshevik Revolution and its aftermath.
Ibid., p. 269.
U.S. Stale Dept. Decimal File, 861.00/961.
Sands memorandum to Lansing, p. 9.
William Franklin Sands wrote several books, including Undiplomatic
Memoirs (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1930), a biography covering the years to
1904. Later he wrote Our .Jungle Diplomacy (Chapel Hill: University of North
Carolina Press, 1941), an unremarkable treatise on imperialism in Latin
America. The latter work is notable only for a minor point on page 102: the
willingness to blame a particularly unsavory imperialistic adventure on Adolf
Stahl, a New York banker, while pointing oust quite unnecessarily that Stahl
was of “German-Jewish origin.” In August 1918 he published an article,
“Salvaging Russia,” in Asia, to explain support of the Bolshevik regime.
All the above in U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 861.00/969.
The author cannot forbear comparing the treatment of academic researchers.
In 1973, for example, the writer was still denied access to some State
Department files dated 1919.
U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 861.51/333.
U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 861.516 84, September 2, 1919.
Other contributors to the Masses mentioned in this book were journalist
Robert Minor, chairman of the, U.S. Public Info, marion Committee; George
Creel; Carl Sandburg, poet-historian; and Boardman Robinson, an artist.
Granville Hicks, John Reed, 1887-1920 (New York: Macmillan, 1936), p.
U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 860d.1121 R 25/4.
Ibid., 360d.1121/R25/18. According to Granville Hicks in John Reed,
“Masses could not pay his [Reed’s] expenses. Finally, friends of the magazine,
notably Eugene Boissevain, raised the money” (p. 249).
U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 360. D. II21.R/20/221/2, /R25 (John Reed).
The letter was transferred by Mr. Polk to the State Department archives on
May 2, 1935. All italics added.
Ibid., 360d.1121 R 25/72.
This was addressed to Bainbridge Colby, ibid., 360d.1121 R 25/30. Another
letter, dated April 14, 1920, and addressed to the secretary of state from 100
Broadway, New York, was from W. Bourke Cochrane; it also pleaded for the
release of John Reed.
Quigley, op. cit.
*The John MacGregor Grant Co., agent for the Russo-Asiatic Bank (involved
in financing the Bolsheviks), was at 120 Broadway — and financed by
Guaranty Trust Company.
**Sir Ernest Cassel, prominent British financier.
GUARANTY TRUST GOES TO RUSSIA
Soviet Govemment desire Guarantee [sic] Trust Company to become
fiscal agent in United States for all Soviet operations and contemplates
American purchase Eestibank with a view to complete linking of Soviet
fortunes with American financial interests.
William H. Coombs, reporting to the U.S. embassy in London, June 1, 1920
(U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 861.51/752). (“Eestibank” was an Estonian
In 1918 the Soviets faced a bewildering array of internal and external problems. They occupied
a mere fraction of Russia. To subdue the remainder, they needed foreign arms, imported food,
outside financial support, diplomatic recognition, and — above all — foreign trade. To gain
diplomatic recognition and foreign trade, the Soviets first needed representation abroad, and
representation in turn required financing through gold or foreign currencies. As we have
already seen, the first step was to establish the Soviet Bureau in New York under Ludwig
Martens. At the same time, efforts were made to transfer funds to the United States and Europe
for purchases of needed goods. Then influence was exerted in the U.S. to gain recognition or to
obtain the export licenses needed to ship goods to Russia.
New York bankers and lawyers provided significant — in some cases, critical — assistance for
each of these tasks. When Professor George V. Lomonossoff, the Russian technical expert in
the Soviet Bureau, needed to transfer funds from the chief Soviet agent in Scandinavia, a
prominant Wall Street attorney came to his assistance — using official State Department
channels and the acting secretary of state as an intermediary. When gold had to be transferred
to the United States, it was American International Corporation, Kuhn, Loeb & Co., and
Guaranty Trust that requested the facilities and used their influence in Washington to smooth
the way. And when it came to recognition, we find American firms pleading .with Congress
and with the public to endorse the Soviet regime.
Lest the reader should deduce — too hastily — from these assertions that Wall Street was indeed
tinged with Red, or that Red flags were flying in the street (see frontispiece), we also in a later
chapter present evidence that the J.P. Morgan firm financed Admiral Kolchak in Siberia.
Aleksandr Kolchak was fighting the Bolsheviks, to install his own brand of authoritarian rule.
The firm also contributed to the anti-Communist United Americans organization.
WALL STREET COMES TO THE AID OF PROFESSOR LOMONOSSOFF
The case of Professor Lomonossoff is a detailed case history of Wall Street assistance to the
early Soviet regime. In late 1918 George V. Lomonossoff, member of the Soviet Bureau in
New York and later first Soviet commissar of railroads, found himself stranded in the United
States without funds. At this time Bolshevik funds were denied entry into the United States;
indeed, there was no official recognition of the regime at all. Lomonossoff was the subject of a
letter of October 24, 1918, from the U.S. Department of Justice to the Department of State.1
The letter referred to Lomonossoff’s Bolshevik attributes and pro-Bolshevik speeches. The
investigator concluded, “Prof. Lomonossoff is not a Bolshevik although his speeches constitute
unequivocal support for the Bolshevik cause.” Yet Lomonossoff was able to pull strings at the
highest levels of the administration to have $25,000 transferred from the Soviet Union through
a Soviet espionage agent in Scandinavia (who was himself later to become confidential
assistant to Reeve Schley, a vice president of Chase Bank). All this with the assistance of a
member of a prominent Wall Street firm of attorneys!2
The evidence is presented in detail because the details themselves point up the close
relationship between certain interests that up to now have been thought of as bitter enemies.
The first indication of Lornonossoff’s problem is a letter dated January 7, 1919, from Thomas
L. Chadbourne of Chadbourne, Babbitt 8e Wall of 14 Wall Street (same Address as William
Boyce Thompson’s) to Frank Polk, acting secretary of state. Note the friendly salutation and
casual reference to Michael Gruzenberg, alias Alexander Gumberg, chief Soviet agent in
Scandinavia and later Lomonossoff’s assistant:
Dear Frank: You were kind enough to say that if I could inform you of the
status of the $25,000 item of personal funds belonging to Mr. & Mrs.
Lomonossoff you would set in motion the machinery necessary to obtain it
here for them.
I have communicated with Mr. Lomonossoff with respect to it, and he tells me
that Mr. Michael Gruzenberg, who went to Russia for Mr. Lomonossoff prior
to the difficulties between Ambassador Bakhmeteff and Mr. Lomonossoff,
transmitted the information to him respecting this money through three
Russians who recently arrived from Sweden, and Mr. Lomonossoff believes
that the money is held at the Russian embassy in Stockholm, Milmskilnad
Gaten 37. If inquiry from the State Department should develop this to be not
the place where the money is on deposit, then the Russian embassy in
Stockholm can give the exact address of Mr. Gruzenberg, who can give the
proper information respecting it. Mr. Lomonossoff does not receive letters
from Mr. Gruzenberg, although he is informed that they have been written: nor
have any of his letters to Mr. Gruzenberg been delivered, he is also informed.
For this reason it is impossible to be more definite than I have been, but I hope
something can be done to relieve his and his wife’s embarrassment for lack of
funds, and it only needs a little help to secure this money which belongs to
them to aid them on this side of the water.
Thanking you in advance for anything you can do, I beg to remain, as ever,
Thomas L. Chadbourne.
In 1919, at the time this letter was written, Chadbourne was a dollar-a-year man in Washington,
counsel and director of the U.S. War Trade Board, and a director of the U.S. Russian Bureau
Inc., an official front company of the U.S. government. Previously, in 1915, Chadbourne
organized Midvale Steel and Ordnance to take advantage of war business. In 1916 he became
chairman of the Democratic Finance Committee and later a director of Wright Aeronautical
and o[ Mack Trucks.
The reason Lomonossoff was not receiving letters from Gruzenberg is that they were, in all
probability, being intercepted by one of several governments taking a keen interest in the
On January 11, 1919, Frank Polk cabled the American legation in Stockholm:
Department is in receipt of information that $25,000, personal funds of ….
Kindly inquire of the Russian Legation informally and personally if such funds
are held thus. Ascertain, if not, address of Mr. Michael Gruzenberg, reported
to be in possession of information on this subject. Department not concerned
officially, merely undertaking inquiries on behalf of a former Russian official
in this country.
Polk appears in this letter to be unaware of Lomonossoff’s Bolshevik connections, and refers to
him as “a former Russian official in this country.” Be that as it may, within three days Polk
received a reply from Morris at the U.S. Legation in Stockholm:
January 14, 3 p.m. 3492. Your January 12, 3 p.m., No. 1443.
Sum of $25,000 of former president of Russian commission of ways of
communication in United States not known to Russian legation; neither can
address of Mr. Michael Gruzenberg be obtained.
Apparently Frank Polk then wrote to Chadbourne (the letter is not included in the source) and
indicated that State could find neither Lomonossoff nor Michael Gruzenberg. Chadbourne
replied on January 21, 1919:
Dear Frank: Many thanks for your letter of January 17. I understand that there
are two Russian legations in Sweden, one being the soviet and the other the
Kerensky, and I presume your inquiry was directed to the soviet legation as
that was the address I gave you in my letter, namely, Milmskilnad Gaten 37,
Michael Gruzenberg’s address is, Holmenkollen Sanitarium, Christiania,
Norway, and I think the soviet legation could find out all about the funds
through Gruzenberg if they will communicate with him.
Thanking you for taking this trouble and assuring you of my deep
appreciation, I remain,
Thomas L. Chadbourne
We should note that a Wall Street lawyer had the address of Gruzenberg, chief Bolshevik agent
in Scandinavia, at a time when the acting secretary of state and the U.S. Stockholm legation
had no record of the address; nor could the legation track it down. Chadbourne also presumed
that the Soviets were the official government of Russia, although that government was not
recognized by the United States, and Chadbourne’s official government position on the War
Trade Board would require him to know that.
Frank Polk then cabled the American legation at Christiania, Norway, with the address of
Michael Gruzenberg. It is not known whether Polk knew he was passing on the address of an
espionage agent, but his message was as follows:
To American Legation, Christiania. January 25, 1919. It is reported that
Michael Gruzenberg is at Holmenkollen Sanitarium. Is it possible for you to
locate him and inquire if he has any knowledge respecting disposition of
$25,000 fund belonging to former president of Russian mission of ways of
communication in the United States, Professor Lomonossoff.
The U.S. representative (Schmedeman) at Christiania knew Gruzenberg well. Indeed, the name
had figured in reports from Schmedeman to Washington concerning Gruzenberg’s pro-Soviet
activities in Norway. Schmedeman replied:
January 29, 8 p.m. 1543. Important. Your January 25, telegram No. 650.
Before departing to-day for Russia, Michael Gruzenberg informed our naval
attache that when in Russia some few months ago he had received, at
Lomonossoff’s request, $25,000 from the Russian Railway Experimental
Institute, of which Prof. Lomonossoff was president. Gruzenberg claims that
to-day he cabled attorney for Lomonossoff in New York, Morris Hillquitt
[sic], that he, Gruzenberg, is in possession of the money, and before
forwarding it is awaiting further instructions from the United States,
requesting in the cablegram that Lomonossoff be furnished with living
expenses for himself and family by Hillquitt pending the receipt of the
As Minister Morris was traveling to Stockholm on the same train as
Gruzenberg, the latter stated that he would advise further with Morris in
reference to this subject.
The U.S. minister traveled with Gruzenberg to Stockholm where he received the following
cable from Polk:
It is reported by legation at Christiania that Michael Gruzenberg, has for Prof.
G. Lomonossoff, the . . . sum of $25,000, received from Russian Railway
Experimental Institute. If you can do so without being involved with
Bolshevik authorities, department will be glad for you to facilitate transfer of
this money to Prof. Lomonossoff in this country. Kindly reply.
This cable produced results, for on February 5, 1919, Frank Polk wrote to Chadbourne about a
“dangerous bolshevik agitator,” Gruzenberg:
My Dear Tom: I have a telegram from Christiania indicating that Michael
Gruzenberg has the $25,000 of Prof. Lomonossoff, and received it from the
Russian Railway Experimental Institute, and that he had cabled Morris
Hillquitt [sic], at New York, to furnish Prof. Lomonossoff money for living
expenses until the fund in question can be transmitted to him. As Gruzenberg
has just been deported from Norway as a dangerous bolshevik agitator, he may
have had difficulties in telegraphing from that country. I understand he has
now gone to Christiania, and while it is somewhat out of the department’s line
of action, I shall be glad, if you wish, to see if I can have Mr. Gruzenberg
remit the money to Prof. Lomonossoff from Stockholm, and am telegraphing
our minister there to find out if that can be done.
Very sincerely, yours,
Frank L. Polk
The telegram from Christiania referred to in Polk’s letter reads as follows:
February 3, 6 p.m., 3580. Important. Referring department’s january 12, No.
1443, $10,000 has now been deposited in Stockholm to my order to be
forwarded to Prof. Lomonossoff by Michael Gruzenberg, one of the former
representatives of the bolsheviks in Norway. I informed him before accepting
this money that I would communicate with you and inquire if it is your wish
that this money be forwarded to Lomonossoff. Therefore I request instructions
as to my course of action.
Subsequently Morris, in Stockholm, requested disposal instructions for a $10,000 draft
deposited in a Stockholm bank. His phrase “[this] has been my only connection with the affair”
suggests that Morris was aware that the Soviets could, and probably would, claim this as an
officially expedited monetary transfer, since this action implied approval by the U.S. of such
monetary transfers. Up to this time the Soviets had been required to smuggle money into the
Four p.m. February 12, 3610, Routine.
With reference to my February 3, 6 p.m., No. 3580, and your February 8, 7
p.m., No. 1501. It is not clear to me whether it is your wish for me to transfer
through you the $10,000 referred to Prof. Lomonossoff. Being advised by
Gruzenberg that he had deposited this money to the order of Lomonossoff in a
Stockholm bank and has advised the bank that this draft could be sent to
America through me, provided I so ordered, has been my only connection with
the affair. Kindly wire instructions.
Then follows a series of letters on the transfer of the $10,000 from A/B Nordisk Resebureau to
Thomas L. Chadbourne at 520 Park Avenue, New York City, through the medium of the State
Department. The first letter contains instructions from Polk, on the mechanics of the transfer;
the second, from Morris to Polk, contains $10,000; the third, from Morris to A/B Nordisk
Resebureau, requesting a draft; the fourth is a reply from the bank with a check; and the fifth is
Your February 12, 4 p.m., No. 3610.
Money may be transmitted direct to Thomas L. Chadbourne, 520 Park
Avenue, New York City,
* * * * *
Dispatch, No. 1600, March 6, 1919:
The Honorable the Secretary of State,
Sir: Referring to my telegram, No. 3610 of February 12, and to the
department’s reply, No. 1524 of February 19 in regard to the sum of $10,000
for Professor Lomonossoff, I have the honor herewith to inclose a copy of a
letter which I addressed on February 25 to A. B. Nordisk Resebureau, the
bankers with whom this money was deposited; a copy of the reply of A. B.
Nordisk Resebureau, dated February 26; and a copy of my letter to the A. B.
Nordisk Resebureau, dated February 27.
It will be seen from this correspondence that the bank was desirous of having
this money forwarded to Professor Lomonossoff. I explained to them,
however, as will be seen from my letter of February 27, that I had received
authorization to forward it directly to Mr. Thomas L. Chadbourne, 520 Park
Avenue, New York City. I also inclose herewith an envelope addressed to Mr.
Chadbourne, in which are inclosed a letter to him, together with a check on the
National City Bank of New York for $10,000.
I have the honor to be,
sir, Your obedient servant,
Ira N. Morris
* * * * *
A. B. Nordisk Reserbureau,
No. 4 Vestra Tradgardsgatan, Stockholm.
Gentlemen: Upon receipt of your letter of January 30, stating that you had
received $10,000 to be paid out to Prof. G. V. Lomonossoff, upon my request,
I immediately telegraphed to my Government asking whether they wished this
money forwarded to Prof. Lomonossoff. I am to-day in receipt of a reply
authorizing me to forward the money direct to Mr. Thomas L. Chadbourne,
payable to Prof. Lomonossoff. I shall be glad to forward it as instructed by my
I am, gentlemen,
Very truly, yours,
Ira N. Morris
* * * * *
Mr. I. N. Morris,
American Minister, Stockholm
Deal Sir: We beg to acknowledge the receipt of your favor of yesterday
regarding payment of dollars 10,000 — to Professor G. V. Lomonossoff, and
we hereby have the pleasure to inclose a check for said amount to the order of
Professor G. V. Lomonossoff, which we understand that you are kindly
forwarding to this gentleman. We shall be glad to have your receipt for same,
arid beg to remain,
A. B. Nordisk Reserbureau
* * * * *
A. B. Nordisk Resebureau.
Gentlemen: I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter of February 26,
inclosing a check for $10,000 payable to Professor G. V. Lomonossoff. As I
advised you in my letter of February 25, I have been authorized to forward this
check to Mr. Thomas L. Chadbourne, 520 Park Avenue, New York City, and I
shall forward it to this gentleman within the next few days, unless you indicate
a wish to the contrary.
Very truly, yours,
Ira N. Morris
Then follow an internal State Department memorandum and Chadbourne’s acknowledgment:
Mr. Phillips to Mr. Chadbourne, April 3, 1919.
Sir: Referring to previous correspondence regarding a remittance of ten
thousand dollars from A. B. Norsdisk Resebureau to Professor G. V.
Lomonossoff, which you requested to be transmitted through the American
Legation at Stockholm, the department informs you that it is in receipt of a
dispatch from the American minister at Stockholm dated March 6, 1919,
covering the enclosed letter addressed to you, together with a check for the
amount referred to, drawn to the order to Professor Lomonossoff.
I am, sir, your obedient servant
Acting Secretary of State.
Inclosure: Sealed letter addressed Mr. Thomas L. Chadbourne, inclosed with
1,600 from Sweden.
* * * * *
Reply of Mr. Chadbourne, April 5, 1919.
Sir: I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter of April 3, enclosing letter addressed to me,
containing check for $10,000 drawn to the order of Professor Lomonossoff, which check I have
I beg to remain, with great respect,
Very truly, yours,
Thomas L. Chadbourne
Subsequently the Stockholm legation enquired concerning Lomonossoff’s address in the U.S.
and was informed by the State Department that “as far as the department is aware Professor
George V. Lomonossoff can be reached in care of Mr. Thomas L. Chadbourne, 520 Park
Avenue, New York City.”
It is evident that the State Department, for the reason either of personal friendship between
Polk and Chadbourne or of political influence, felt it had to go along and act as bagman for a
Bolshevik agent — just ejected from Norway. But why would a prestigious establishment law
firm be so intimately interested in the health and welfare of a Bolshevik emissary? Perhaps a
contemporary State Department report gives the clue:
Martens, the Bolshevik representative, and Professor Lomonossoff are banking
on the fact that Bullitt and his party will make a favorable report to the
Mission and the President regarding conditions in Soviet Russia and that on
the basis of this report the Government of the United States will favor dealing
with the Soviet Government as, proposed by Martens. March 29, 1919.4
THE STAGE IS SET FOR COMMERCIAL EXPLOITATION OF RUSSIA
It was commercial exploitation of Russia that excited Wall Street, and Wall Street had lost no
time in preparing its program. On May 1, 1918 — an auspicious date for Red revolutionaries —
the American League to Aid and Cooperate with Russia was established, and its program
approved in a conference held in the Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. The officers
and executive committee of the league represented some superficially dissimilar factions. Its
president was Dr. Frank J. Goodnow, president of Johns Hopkins University. Vice presidents
were the ever active William Boyce Thompson, Oscar S. Straus, James Duncan, and Frederick
C. Howe, who wrote Confessions of a Monopolist, the rule book by which monopolists could
control society. The Treasurer was George P. Whalen, vice president of Vacuum Oil Company.
Congress was represented by Senator William Edgar Borah and Senator John Sharp Williams,
of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; Senator William N. Calder; and Senator Robert L.
Owen, chairman of the Banking and Currency Committee. House members were Henry R.
Cooper and Henry D. Flood, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. American
business was represented by Henry Ford; Charles A. Coffin, chairman of the board of General
Electric Company; and M. A. Oudin, then foreign manager of General Electric. George P.
Whalen represented Vacuum Oil Company, and Daniel Willard was president of the Baltimore
& Ohio Railroad. The more overtly revolutionary element was represented by Mrs. Raymond
Robins, whose name was later found to be prominent in the Soviet Bureau files and in the Lusk
Committee hearings; Henry L. Slobodin, described as a “prominent patriotic socialist”; and
Lincoln Steffens, a domestic Communist of note.
In other words, this was a hybrid executive committee; it represented domestic revolutionary
elements, the Congress of the United States, and financial interests prominently involved with
Approved by the executive committee was a program that emphasized the establishment of an
official Russian division in the U.S. government “directed by strong men.” This division would
enlist the aid of universities, scientific organizations, and other institutions to study the
“Russian question,” would coordinate and unite organizations within the United States “for the
safeguarding of Russia,” would arrange for a “special intelligence committee for the
investigation of the Russian matter,” and, generally, would itself study and investigate what
was deemed to be the “Russian question.” The executive committee then passed a resolution
supporting President Woodrow Wilson’s message to the Soviet congress in Moscow and the
league affirmed its own support for the new Soviet Russia.
A few weeks later, on May 20, 1918, Frank J. Goodnow and Herbert A. Carpenter,
representing the league, called upon Assistant Secretary of State William Phillips and
impressed upon him the necessity for establishing an “official Russian Division of the
Government to coordinate all Russian matters. They asked me [wrote Phillips] whether they
should take this matter up with the President.”5
Phillips reported this directly to the secretary of state and on the next day wrote Charles R.
Crane in New York City requesting his views on the American League to Aid and Cooperate
with Russia. Phillips besought Crane, “I really want your advice as to how we should treat the
league …. We do not want to stir up trouble by refusing to cooperate with them. On the other
hand it is a queer committee and I don’t quite ‘get it.'”6
In early June there arrived at the State Department a letter from William Franklin Sands of
American International Corporation for Secretary of State Robert Lansing. Sands proposed that
the United States appoint an administrator in Russia rather than a commission, and opined that
“the suggestion of an allied military force in Russia at the present moment seems to me to be a
very dangerous one.”7 Sands emphasized the possibility of trade with Russia and that this
possibility could be advanced “by a well chosen administrator enjoying the full confidence of
the government”; he indicated that “Mr. Hoover” might fit the role.8 The letter was passed to
Phillips by Basil Miles, a former associate of Sands, with the expression, “I think the Secretary
would find it worthwhile to look through.”
In early June the War Trade Board, subordinate to the State Department, passed a resolution,
and a committee of the board comprising Thomas L. Chadbourne (Professor Lomonossoff’s
contact), Clarence M. Woolley, and John Foster Dulles submitted a memorandum to the
Department of State, urging consideration of ways and means “to bring about closer and more
friendly commercial relations between the United States and Russia.” The board recommended
a mission to Russia and reopened the question whether this should result from an invitation
from the Soviet government.
Then on June 10, M. A. Oudin, foreign manager of General Electric Company, expressed his
views on Russia and clearly favored a “constructive plan for the economic assistance” of
Russia.9 In August 1918 Cyrus M. McCormick of International Harvester wrote to Basil Miles
at the State Department and praised the President’s program for Russia, which McCormick
thought would be “a golden opportunity.”10
Consequently, we find in mid-1918 a concerted effort by a segment of American business —
obviously prepared to open up trade — to take advantage of its own preferred position regarding
GERMANY AND THE UNITED STATES STRUGGLE FOR RUSSIAN BUSINESS
In 1918 such assistance to the embryonic Bolshevik regime was justified on the grounds of
defeating Germany and inhibiting German exploitation of Russia. This was the argument used
by W. B. Thompson and Raymond Robins in sending Bolshevik revolutionaries and
propaganda teams into Germany in 1918. The argument was also employed by Thompson in
1917 when conferring with Prime Minister Lloyd George about obtaining British support for
the emerging Bolshevik regime. In June 1918 Ambassador Francis and his staff returned from
Russia and urged President Wilson “to recognize and aid the Soviet government of Russia.”11
These reports made by the embassy staff to the State Department were leaked to the press and
widely printed. Above all, it was claimed that delay in recognizing the Soviet Union would aid
Germany “and helps the German plan to foster reaction and counter-revolution.”12 Exaggerated
statistics were cited to support the proposal — for example, that the Soviet government
represented ninety percent of the Russian people “and the other ten percent is the former
propertied and governing class …. Naturally they are displeased.”13 A former American official
was quoted as saying, “If we do nothing — that is, if we just let things drift — we help weaken
the Russian Soviet Government. And that plays Germany’s game.”14 So, it was recommended
that “a commission armed with credit and good business advice could help much.”
Meanwhile, inside Russia the economic situation had become critical and the inevitability of an
embrace with capitalism dawned on the Communist Party and its planners. Lenin crystallized
this awareness before the Tenth Congress of the Russian Communist Party:
Without the assistance of capital it will be impossible for us to retain
proletarian power in an incredibly ruined country in which the peasantry, also
ruined, constitutes the overwhelming majority — and, of course, for this
assistance capital will squeeze hundreds per cent out of us. This is what we
have to understand. Hence, either this type of economic relations or nothing
Then Leon Trotsky was quoted as saying, “What we need here is an organizer like Bernard M.
Soviet awareness of its impending economic doom suggests that American and German
business was attracted by the opportunity of exploiting the Russian market for needed goods;
the Germans, in fact, made an early start in 1918. The first deals made by the Soviet Bureau in
New York indicate that earlier American financial and moral support of the Bolsheviks was
paying off in the form of contracts.
The largest order in 1919-20 was contracted to Morris & Co., Chicago meatpackers, for fifty
million pounds of food products, valued at approximately $10 million. The Morris meatpacking
family was related to the Swift family. Helen Swift, later connected with the Abraham Lincoln
Center “Unity,” was married to Edward Morris (of the meatpacking firm) and was also the
brother of Harold H. Swift, a “major” in the 1917 Thompson Red Cross Mission to Russia.
Table: CONTRACTS MADE IN 1919 BY THE SOVIET BUREAU WITH U.S. FIRMS
Ludwig Martens was formerly vice president of Weinberg & Posner, located at 120 Broadway,
New York City, and this firm was given a $3 million order.
SOVIET GOLD AND AMERICAN BANKS
Gold was the only practical means by which the Soviet Union could pay for its foreign
purchases and the international bankers were quite willing to facilitate Soviet gold shipments.
Russian gold exports, primarily imperial gold coins, started in early 1920, to Norway and
Sweden. These were transshipped to Holland and Germany for other world destinations,
including the United States.
In August 1920, a shipment of Russian gold coins was received at the Den Norske
Handelsbank in Norway as a guarantee for payment of 3,000 tons of coal by Niels Juul and
Company in the U.S. in behalf of the Soviet government. These coins were transferred to the
Norges Bank for safekeeping. The coins were examined and weighed, were found to have been
minted before the outbreak of war in 1914, and were therefore genuine imperial Russian
Shortly after this initial episode, the Robert Dollar Company of San Francisco received gold
bars, valued at thirty-nine million Swedish kroner, in its Stockholm account; the gold “bore the
stamp of the old Czar Government of Russia.” The Dollar Company agent in Stockholm
applied to the American Express Company for facilities to ship the gold to the United States.
American Express refused to handle the shipment. Robert Dollar, it should be noted, was a
director of American International Company; thus AIC was linked to the first attempt at
shipping gold direct to America.18
Simultaneously it was reported that three ships had left Reval on the Baltic Sea with Soviet
gold destined for the U.S. The S.S. Gauthod loaded 216 boxes of gold under the supervision of
Professor Lomonossoff — now returning to the United States. The S.S. Carl Line loaded 216
boxes of gold under the supervision of three Russian agents. The S.S. Ruheleva was laden with
108 boxes of gold. Each box contained three poods of gold valued at sixty thousand gold rubles
each. This was followed by a shipment on the S.S. Wheeling Mold.
Kuhn, Loeb & Company, apparently acting in behalf of Guaranty Trust Company, then
inquired of the State Department concerning the official attitude towards the receipt of Soviet
gold. In a report the department expressed concern because if acceptance was refused, then “the
gold [would] probably come back on the hands of the War Department, causing thereby direct
governmental responsibility and increased embarrassment.”19 The report, written by Merle
Smith in conference with Kelley and Gilbert, argues that unless the possessor has definite
knowledge as to imperfect title, it would be impossible to refuse acceptance. It was anticipated
that the U.S. would be requested to melt the gold in the assay office, and it was thereupon
decided to telegraph Kuhn, Loeb & Company that no restrictions would be imposed on the
importation of Soviet gold into the United States.
The gold arrived at the New York Assay Office and was deposited not by Kuhn, Loeb &
Company — but by Guaranty Trust Company of New York City. Guaranty Trust then inquired
of the Federal Reserve Board, which in turn inquired of the U.S. Treasury, concerning
acceptance and payment. The superintendent of the New York Assay Office informed the
Treasury that the approximately seven million dollars of gold had no identifying marks and that
“the bars deposited have already been melted in United States mint bars.” The Treasury
suggested that the Federal Reserve Board determine whether Guaranty Trust Company had
acted “for its own account, or the account of another in presenting the gold,” and particularly
“whether or not any transfer of credit or exchange transaction has resulted from the importation
or deposit of the gold.”20
On November 10, 1920, A. Breton, a vice president of the Guaranty Trust, wrote to Assistant
Secretary Gilbert of the Treasury Department complaining that Guaranty had not received from
the assay office the usual immediate advance against deposits of “yellow metal left with them
for reduction.” The letter states that Guaranty Trust had received satisfactory assurances that
the bars were the product of melting French and Belgium coins, although it had purchased the
metal in Holland. The letter requested that the Treasury expedite payment for the gold. In reply
the Treasury argued that it “does not purchase gold tendered to the United States mint or assay
offices which is known or suspected to be of Soviet origin,” and in view of known Soviet sales
of gold in Holland, the gold submitted by Guaranty Trust Company was held to be a “doubtful
case, with suggestions of Soviet origin.” It suggested that the Guaranty Trust Company could
withdraw the gold from the assay office at any time it wished or could “present such further
evidence to the Treasury, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York or the Department of State as
may be necessary to clear the gold of any suspicion of Soviet origin.”21
There is no file record concerning final disposition of this case but presumably the Guaranty
Trust Company was paid for the shipment. Obviously this gold deposit was to implement the
mid-1920 fiscal agreement between Guaranty Trust and the Soviet government under which the
company became the Soviet agent in the United States (see epigraph to this chapter).
It was determined at a later date that Soviet gold was also being sent to the Swedish mint. The
Swedish mint “melts Russian gold, assays it and affixes the Swedish mint stamp at the request
of Swedish banks or other Swedish subjects owing the gold.”22 And at the same time Olof
Aschberg, head of Svenska Ekonomie A/B (the Soviet intermediary and affiliate of Guaranty
Trust), was offering “unlimited quantities of Russian gold” through Swedish banks.23
In brief, we can tie American International Corporation, the influential Professor Lomonossoff,
Guaranty Trust, and Olof Aschberg (whom we’ve previously identified) to the first attempts to
import Soviet gold into the United States.
MAX MAY OF GUARANTY TRUST BECOMES DIRECTOR OF RUSKOMBANK
Guaranty Trust’s interest in Soviet Russia was renewed in 1920 in the form of a letter from
Henry C. Emery, assistant manager of the Foreign Department of Guaranty Trust, to De Witt
C. Poole in the State Department. The letter was dated January 21, 1920, just a few weeks
before Allen Walker, the manager of the Foreign Department, became active in forming the
virulent anti-Soviet organization United Americans (see page 165). Emery posed numerous
questions about the legal basis of the Soviet government and banking in Russia and inquired
whether the Soviet government was the de facto government in Russia.24 “Revolt before 1922
planned by Reds,” claimed United Americans in 1920, but Guaranty Trust had started
negotiations with these same Reds and was acting as the Soviet agent in the U.S. in mid-1920.
In January 1922 Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover, interceded with the State Department
in behalf of a Guaranty Trust scheme to set up exchange relations with the “New State Bank at
Moscow.” This scheme, wrote Herbert Hoover, “would not be objectionable if a stipulation
were made that all monies coming into their possession should be used for the purchase of
civilian commodities in the United States”; and after asserting that such relations appeared to
be in line with general policy, Hoover added, “It might be advantageous to have these
transactions organized in such a manner that we know what the movement is instead of
disintegrated operations now current.”25 Of course, such “disintegrated operations” are
consistent with the operations of a free market, but this approach Herbert Hoover rejected in
favor of channeling the exchange through specified and controllable sources in New York.
Secretary of State Charles E. Hughes expressed dislike of the Hoover-Guaranty Trust scheme,
which he thought could be regarded as de facto recognition of the Soviets while the foreign
credits acquired might be used to the disadvantage of the United States.26 A noncommittal
reply was sent by State to Guaranty Trust. However, Guaranty went ahead (with Herbert
Hoover’s support),27 participated in formation of the first Soviet international bank, and Max
May of Guaranty Trust became head of the foreign department of the new Ruskombank.28
U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 861.00/3094.
This section is from U.S., Senate, Russian Propaganda, hearings before a
subcommittee of the Committee on Foreign Relations, 66th Cong., 2d sess.,
Morris Hillquit was the intermediary between New York banker Eugene
Boissevain and John Reed in Petrograd.
U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 861.00/4214a.
Ibid., M 316-18-1306.
V. 1. Lenin, Report to the Tenth Congress of the Russian Communist Party,
(Bolshevik), March 15, 1921.
William Reswick, I Dreamt Revolution (Chicago: Henry Regnery, 1952), p.
U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 861.51/815.
Ibid., 861.51,/837, October 4, 1920.
Ibid., 861.51/837, October 24, 1920.
Ibid., 861.51/853, November 11, 1920.
Ibid., 316-119, 1132.
Ibid., 316-119-785. This report has more data on transfers of Russian gold
through other countries and intermediaries. See also 316-119-846.
J.P. MORGAN GIVES A LITTLE HELP TO THE OTHER SIDE
I would not sit down to lunch with a Morgan — except possibly to learn
something of his motives and attitudes.
William E. Dodd, Ambassador Dodd’s Diary, 1933-1938
So far our story has revolved around a single major financial house — Guaranty Trust Company,
the largest trust company in the United States and controlled by the J.P. Morgan firm. Guaranty
Trust used Olof Aschberg, the Bolshevik banker, as its intermediary in Russia before and after
the revolution. Guaranty was a backer of Ludwig Martens and his Soviet Bureau, the first
Soviet representatives in the United States. And in mid-1920 Guaranty was the Soviet fiscal
agent in the U.S.; the first shipments of Soviet gold to the United States also traced back to
There is a startling reverse side to this pro-Bolshevik activity — Guaranty Trust was a founder
of United Americans, a virulent anti-Soviet organization which noisily threatened Red invasion
by 1922, claimed that $20 million of Soviet funds were on the way to fund Red revolution, and
forecast panic in the streets and mass starvation in New York City. This duplicity raises, of
course, serious questions about the intentions of Guaranty Trust and its directors. Dealing with
the Soviets, even backing them, can be explained by apolitical greed or simply profit motive.
On the other hand, spreading propaganda designed to create fear and panic while at the same
time encouraging the conditions that give rise to the fear and panic is a considerably more
serious problem. It suggests utter moral depravity. Let’s first look more closely at the anti-
Communist United Americans.
UNITED AMERICANS FORMED TO FIGHT COMMUNISM1
In 1920 the organization United Americans was founded. It was limited to citizens of the
United States and planned for five million members, “whose sole purpose would be to combat
the teachings of the socialists, communists, I.W.W., Russian organizations and radical farmers
In other words, United Americans was to fight all those institutions and groups believed to be
The officer’s of the preliminary organization established to build up United Americans were
Allen Walker of the Guaranty Trust Company; Daniel Willard, president of the Baltimore 8c
Ohio Railroad; H. H. Westinghouse, of Westinghouse Air Brake Company; and Otto H. Kahn,
of Kuhn, Loeb 8c Company and American International Corporation. These Wall Streeters
were backed up by assorted university presidents arid Newton W. Gilbert (former governor of
the Philippines). Obviously, United Americans was, at first glance, exactly the kind of
organization that establishment capitalists would be expected to finance and join. Its formation
should have brought no great surprise.
On the other hand, as we have already seen, these financiers were also deeply involved in
supporting the new Soviet regime in Russia — although this support was behind the scenes,
recorded only in government files, and not to be made public for 50 years. As part of United
Americans, Walker, Willard, Westinghouse, and Kahn were playing a double game. Otto H.
Kahn, a founder of the anti-Communist organization, was reported by the British socialist J. H.
Thomas as having his “face towards the light.” Kahn wrote the preface to Thomas’s book. In
1924 Otto Kahn addressed the League for Industrial Democracy and professed common
objectives with this activist socialist group (see page 49). The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad
(Willard’s employer) was active in the development of Russia during the 1920s. Westinghouse
in 1920, the year United Americans was founded, was operating a plant in Russia that had been
exempted from nationalization. And the role of Guaranty Trust has already been minutely
UNITED AMERICANS REVEALS “STARTLING DISCLOSURES” ON REDS
In March 1920 the New York Times headlined an extensive, detailed scare story about Red
invasion of the United States within two years, an invasion which was to be financed by $20
million of Soviet funds “obtained by the murder and robbery of the Russian nobility.”2
United Americans had, it was revealed, made a survey of “radical activities” in the United
States, and had done so in its role as an organization formed to “preserve the Constitution of
the United States with the representative form of government and the right of individual
possession which the Constitution provides.”
Further, the survey, it was proclaimed, had the backing of the executive board, “including Otto
H. Kahn, Allen Walker of the Guaranty Trust Company, Daniel Willard,” and others. The
survey asserted that
the radical leaders are confident of effecting a revolution within two years, that
the start is to be made in New York City with a general strike, that Red leaders
have predicted much bloodshed and that the Russian Soviet Government has
contributed $20,000,000 to the American radical movement.
The Soviet gold shipments to Guaranty Trust in mid-1920 (540 boxes of three poods each)
were worth roughly $15,000,000 (at $20 a troy ounce), and other gold shipments through
Robert Dollar and Olof Aschberg brought the total very close to $20 million. The information
about Soviet gold for the radical movement was called “thoroughly reliable” and was “being
turned over to the Government.” The Reds, it was asserted, planned to starve New York into
submission within four days:
Meanwhile the Reds count on a financial panic within the next few weeks to
help their cause along. A panic would cause distress among the workingmen
and thus render them more susceptible to revolution doctrine.
The United Americans’ report grossly overstated the number of radicals in the United States, at
first tossing around figures like two or five million and then settling for precisely 3,465,000
members in four radical organizations. The report concluded by emphasizing the possibility of
bloodshed and quoted “Skaczewski, President of the International Publishing Association,
otherwise the Communist Party, [who] boasted that.the time was coming soon when the
Communists would destroy utterly the present form of society.”
In brief, United Americans published a report without substantiating evidence, designed to
scare the man in the street into panic: The significant point of course is that this is the same
group that was responsible for protecting and subsidizing, indeed assisting, the Soviets so they
could undertake these same plans.
CONCLUSIONS CONCERNING UNITED AMERICANS
Is this a case of the right hand not knowing what the left hand was doing? Probably not. We are
talking about heads of companies, eminently successful companies at that. So United
Americans was probably a ruse to divert public — and official — attention from the subterranean
efforts being made to gain entry to the Russian market.
United Americans is the only documented example known to this writer of an organization
assisting the Soviet regime and also in the forefront of opposition to the Soviets. This is by no
means an inconsistent course of action, and further research should at least focus on the
(a) Are there other examples of double-dealing by influential groups generally
known as the establishment?
(b) Can these examples be extended into other areas? For example, is there
evidence that labor troubles have been instigated by these groups?
(c) What is the ultimate purpose of these pincer tactics? Can they be related to
the Marxian axiom: thesis versus antithesis yields synthesis? It is a puzzle why
the Marxist movement would attack capitalism head-on if its objective was a
Communist world and if it truly accepted the dialectic. If the objective is a
Communist world — that is, if communism is the desired synthesis — and
capitalism is the thesis, then something apart from capitalism or communism
has to be antithesis. Could therefore capitalism be the thesis and communism
the antithesis, with the objective of the revolutionary groups and their backers
being a synthesizing of these two systems into some world system yet
MORGAN AND ROCKEFELLER AID KOLCHAK
Concurrently with these efforts to aid the Soviet Bureau and United Americans, the J.P.
Morgan firm, which controlled Guaranty Trust, was providing financial assistance for one of
the Bolshevik’s primary opponents, Admiral Aleksandr Kolchak in Siberia. On June 23, 1919,
Congressman Mason introduced House Resolution 132 instructing the State Department “to
make inquiry as to all and singular as to the truth of . . . press reports” charging that Russian
bondholders had used their influence to bring about the “retention of American troops in
Russia” in order to ensure continued payment of interest on Russian bonds. According to a file
memorandum by Basil Miles, an associate of William F. Sands, Congressman Mason charged
that certain banks were attempting to secure recognition of Admiral Kolchak in Siberia to get
payment on former Russian bonds.
Then in August 1919 the secretary of state, Robert Lansing, received from the Rockefeller-
influenced National City Bank of New York a letter requesting official comment on a proposed
loan of $5 million to Admiral Kolchak; and from J.P. Morgan & Co. and other bankers another
letter requesting the views of the department concerning an additional proposed £10 million
sterling loan to Kolchak by a consortium of British and American bankers.3
Secretary Lansing informed the bankers that the U.S. had not recognized Kolchak and,
although prepared to render him assistance, “the Department did not feel it could assume the
responsibility of encouraging such negotiations but that, nevertheless, there seemed to be no
objection to the loan provided the bankers deemed it advisable to make it.”4
Subsequently, on September 30, Lansing informed the American consul general at Omsk that
the “loan has since gone through in regular course”5 Two fifths was taken up by British banks
and three fifths by American banks. Two thirds of the total was to be spent in Britain and the
United States and the remaining one third wherever the Kolchak Government wished. The loan
was secured by Russian gold (Kolchak’s) that was shipped to San Francisco. The timing of the
previously described Soviet exports of gold suggests that cooperation with the Soviets on gold
sales was determined on the heels of the Kolchak gold-loan agreement.
The Soviet gold sales and the Kolchak loan also suggest that Carroll Quigley’s statement that
Morgan interests infiltrated the domestic left applied also to overseas revolutionary and
counterrevolutionary movements. Summer 1919 was a time of Soviet military reverses in the
Crimea and the Ukraine and this black picture may have induced British and American bankers
to mend their fences with the anti-Bolshevik forces. The obvious rationale would be to have a
foot in all camps, and so be in a favorable position to negotiate for concessions and business
after the revolution or counterrevolution had succeeded and a new government stabilized. As
the outcome of any conflict cannot be seen at the start, the idea is to place sizable bets on all
the horses in the revolutionary race. Thus assistance was given on the one hand to the Soviets
and on the other to Kolchak — while the British government was supporting Denikin in the
Ukraine and the French government went to the aid of the Poles.
In autumn 1919 the Berlin newspaper Berliner Zeitung am Mittak (October 8 and 9) accused
the Morgan firm of financing the West Russian government and the Russian-German forces in
the Baltic fighting the Bolsheviks — both allied to Kolchak. The Morgan firm strenuously
denied the charge: “This firm has had no discussion, or meeting, with the West Russian
Government or with anyone pretending to represent it, at any time.”6 But if the financing
charge was inaccurate there is evidence of collaboration. Documents found by Latvian
government intelligence among the papers of Colonel Bermondt, commander of the Western
Volunteer Army, confirm “the relations claimed existing between Kolchak’s London Agent and
the German industrial ring which was back of Bermondt.”7
In other words, we know that J.P. Morgan, London, and New. York bankers financed Kolchak.
There is also evidence that connects Kolchak and his army with other anti-Bolshevik armies.
And there seems to be little question that German industrial and banking circles were financing
the all-Russian anti-Bolshevik army in the Baltic. Obviously bankers’ funds have no national
New York Times, June 21, 1919.
Ibid., March 28, 1920.
U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 861.51/649.
Ibid., 861.51/767 — a letter from J. P. Morgan to Department of State,
November 11, 1919. The financing itself was a hoax (see AP report in State
Department files following the Morgan letter).
Ibid., 861.51/6172 and /6361.
THE ALLIANCE OF BANKERS AND REVOLUTION
The name Rockefeller does not connote a revolutionary, and my life
situation has fostered a careful and cautious attitude that verges on
conservatism. I am not given to errant causes…
John D. Rockefeller III, The Second American Revolution (New York: Harper
& Row. 1973)
THE EVIDENCE PRESENTED: A SYNOPSIS
Evidence already published by George Katkov, Stefan Possony, and Michael Futrell has
established that the return to Russia of Lenin and his party of exiled Bolsheviks, followed a few
weeks later by a party of Mensheviks, was financed and organized by the German
government.1 The necessary funds were transferred in part through the Nya Banken in
Stockholm, owned by Olof Aschberg, and the dual German objectives were: (a) removal of
Russia from the war, and (b) control of the postwar Russian market.2
We have now gone beyond this evidence to establish a continuing working relationship
between Bolshevik banker Olof Aschberg and the Morgan-controlled Guaranty Trust Company
in New York before, during, and after the Russian Revolution. In tsarist times Aschberg was
the Morgan agent in Russia and negotiator for Russian loans in the United States; during 1917
Aschberg was financial intermediary for the revolutionaries; and after the revolution Aschberg
became head of Ruskombank, the first Soviet international bank, while Max May, a vice
president of the Morgan-controlled Guaranty Trust, became director and chief of the Ruskom-
bank foreign department. We have presented documentary evidence of a continuing working
relationship between the Guaranty Trust Company and the Bolsheviks. The directors of
Guaranty Trust in 1917 are listed in Appendix 1.
Moreover, there is evidence of transfers of funds from Wall Street bankers to international
revolutionary activities. For example, there is the statement (substantiated by a cablegram) by
William Boyce Thompson — a director of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, a large
stockholder in the Rockefeller-controlled Chase Bank, and a financial associate of the
Guggenheims and the Morgans — that he (Thompson) contributed $1 million to the Bolshevik
Revolution for propaganda purposes. Another example is John Reed, the American member of
the Third International executive committee who was financed and supported by Eugene
Boissevain, a private New York banker, and who was employed by Harry Payne Whitney’s
Metropolitan magazine. Whitney was at that time a director of Guaranty Trust. We also
established that Ludwig Martens, the first Soviet “ambassador” to the United States, was
(according to British Intelligence chief Sir Basil Thompson) backed by funds from Guaranty
Trust Company. In tracing Trotsky’s funding in the U.S. we arrived at German sources, yet to
be identified, in New York. And though we do not know the precise German sources of
Trotsky’s funds, we do know that Von Pavenstedt, the chief German espionage paymaster in
the U.S., was also senior partner of Amsinck & Co. Amsinck was owned by the ever-present
American International Corporation — also controlled by the J.P. Morgan firm.
Further, Wall Street firms including Guaranty Trust were involved with Carranza’s and Villa’s
wartime revolutionary activities in Mexico. We also identified documentary evidence
concerning. a Wall Street syndicate’s financing of the 1912 Sun Yat-sen revolution in China, a
revolution that is today hailed by the Chinese Communists as the precursor of Mao’s revolution
in China. Charles B. Hill, New York attorney negotiating with Sun Yat-sen in behalf of this
syndicate, was a director of three Westinghouse subsidiaries, and we have found that Charles
R. Crane of Westinghouse in Russia was involved in the Russian Revolution.
Quite apart from finance, we identified other, and possibly more significant, evidence of Wall
Street involvement in the Bolshevik cause. The American Red Cross Mission to Russia was a
private venture of William B. Thompson, who publicly proffered partisan support to the
Bolsheviks. British War Cabinet papers now available record that British policy was diverted
towards the Lenin-Trotsky regime by the personal intervention of Thompson with Lloyd
George in December 1917. We have reproduced statements by director Thompson and deputy
chairman William Lawrence Saunders, both of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York,
strongly favoring the Bolshevists. John Reed not only was financed from Wall Street, but had
consistent support for his activities, even to the extent of intervention with the State
Department from William Franklin Sands, executive secretary of American International
Corporation. In the sedition case of Robert Minor there are strong indications and some
circumstantial evidence that Colonel Edward House intervened to have Minor released. The
significance of the Minor case is that William B. Thompson’s program for Bolshevik revolution
in Germany was the very program Minor was implementing when arrested in Germany.
Some international agents, for example Alexander Gumberg, worked for Wall Street and the
Bolsheviks. In 1917 Gumberg was the representative of a U.S. firm in Petrograd, worked for
Thompson’s American Red Cross Mission, became chief Bolshevik agent in Scandinavia until
he was deported from Norway, then became confidential assistant to Reeve Schley of Chase
Bank in New York and later to Floyd Odium of Atlas Corporation.
This activity in behalf of the Bolsheviks originated in large part from a single address: 120
Broadway, New York City. The evidence for this observation is outlined but no conclusive
reason is given for the unusual concentration of activity at a single address, except to state that
it appears to be the foreign counterpart of Carroll Quigley’s claim that J.P. Morgan infiltrated
the domestic left. Morgan also infiltrated the international left.
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York was at 120 Broadway. The vehicle for this pro-
Bolshevik activity was American International Corporation — at 120 Broadway. AIC views on
the Bolshevik regime were requested by Secretary of State Robert Lansing only a few weeks
after the revolution began, and Sands, executive secretary of AIC, could barely restrain his
enthusiasm for the Bolshevik cause. Ludwig Martens, the Soviet’s first ambassador, had been
vice president of Weinberg & Posner, which was also located at 120-Broadway. Guaranty
Trust Company was next door at 140 Broadway but Guaranty Securities Co. was at 120
Broadway. In 1917 Hunt, Hill & Betts was at 120 Broadway, and Charles B. Hill of this firm
was the negotiator in the Sun Yat-sen dealings. John MacGregor Grant Co., which was
financed by Olof Aschberg in Sweden and Guaranty Trust in the United States, and which was
on the Military Intelligence black list, was at 120 Broadway. The Guggenheims and the
executive heart of General Electric (also interested in American International) were at 120
Broadway. We find it therefore hardly surprising that the Bankers Club was also at 120
Broadway, on the top floor (the thirty-fourth).
It is significant that support for the Bolsheviks did not cease with consolidation of the
revolution; therefore, this support cannot be wholly explained in terms of the war with
Germany. The American-Russian syndicate formed in 1918 to obtain concessions in Russia
was backed by the White, Guggenheim, and Sinclair interests. Directors of companies
controlled by these three financiers included Thomas W. Lamont (Guaranty Trust), William
Boyce Thompson (Federal Reserve Bank), and John Reed’s employer Harry Payne Whitney
(Guaranty Trust). This strongly suggests that the syndicate was formed to cash in on earlier
support for the Bolshevik cause in the revolutionary period. And then we found that Guaranty
Trust financially backed the Soviet Bureau in New York in 1919.
The first really concrete signal that previous political and financial support was paying off
came in 1923 when the Soviets formed their first international bank, Ruskombank. Morgan
associate Olof Aschberg became nominal head of this Soviet bank; Max May, a vice president
of Guaranty Trust, became a director of Ruskom-bank, and the Ruskombank promptly
appointed Guaranty Trust Company its U.S. agent.
THE EXPLANATION FOR THE UNHOLY ALLIANCE
What motive explains this coalition of capitalists and Bolsheviks?
Russia was then — and is today — the largest untapped market in the world. Moreover, Russia,
then and now, constituted the greatest potential competitive threat to American industrial and
financial supremacy. (A glance at a world map is sufficient to spotlight the geographical
difference between the vast land mass of Russia and the smaller United States.) Wall Street
must have cold shivers when it visualizes Russia as a second super American industrial giant.
But why allow Russia to become a competitor and a challenge to U.S. supremacy? In the late
nineteenth century, Morgan/Rockefeller, and Guggenheim had demonstrated their monopolistic
proclivities. In Railroads and Regulation 1877-1916 Gabriel Kolko has demonstrated how the
railroad owners, not the farmers, wanted state control of railroads in order to preserve their
monopoly and abolish competition. So the simplest explanation of our evidence is that a
syndicate of Wall Street financiers enlarged their monopoly ambitions and broadened horizons
on a global scale. The gigantic Russian market was to be converted into a captive market and a
technical colony to be exploited by a few high-powered American financiers and the
corporations under their control. What the Interstate Commerce Commission and the Federal
Trade Commission under the thumb of American industry could achieve for that industry at
home, a planned socialist government could achieve for it abroad — given suitable support and
inducements from Wall Street and Washington, D.C.
Finally, lest this explanation seem too radical, remember that it was Trotsky who appointed
tsarist generals to consolidate the Red Army; that it was Trotsky who appealed for American
officers to control revolutionary Russia and intervene in behalf of the Soviets; that it was
Trotsky who squashed first the libertarian element in the Russian Revolution and then the
workers and peasants; and that recorded history totally ignores the 700,000-man Green Army
composed of ex-Bolsheviks, angered at betrayal of the revolution, who fought the Whites and
the Reds. In other words, we are suggesting that the Bolshevik Revolution was an alliance of
statists: statist revolutionaries and statist financiers aligned against the genuine revolutionary
libertarian elements in Russia.3
‘The question now in the readers’ minds must be, were these bankers also secret Bolsheviks?
No, of course not. The financiers were without ideology. It would be a gross misinterpretation
to assume that assistance for the Bolshevists was ideologically motivated, in any narrow sense.
The financiers were power-motivated and therefore assisted any political vehicle that would
give them an entree to power: Trotsky, Lenin, the tsar, Kolchak, Denikin — all received aid,
more or less. All, that is, but those who wanted a truly free individualist society.
Neither was aid restricted to statist Bolsheviks and statist counter-Bolsheviks. John P. Diggins,
in Mussolini and Fascism: The View from America,4 has noted in regard to Thomas Lamont of
Guaranty Trust that
Of all American business leaders, the one who most vigorously patronized the cause of
Fascism was Thomas W. Lamont. Head of the powerful J.P. Morgan banking network, Lamont
served as something of a business consultant for the government of Fascist Italy.
Lamont secured a $100 million loan for Mussolini in 1926 at a particularly crucial time for the
Italian dictator. We might remember too that the director of Guaranty Trust was the father of
Corliss Lamont, a domestic Communist. This evenhanded approach to the twin totalitarian
systems, communism and fascism, was not confined to the Lamont family. For example, Otto
Kahn, director of American International Corporation and of Kuhn, Leob & Co., felt sure that
“American capital invested in Italy will find safety, encouragement, opportunity and reward.”5
This is the same Otto Kahn who lectured the socialist League of Industrial Democracy in 1924
that its objectives were his objectives.6 They differed only — according to Otto Kahn — over the
means of achieving these objectives.
Ivy Lee, Rockefeller’s public relations man, made similar pronouncements, and was
responsible for selling the Soviet regime to the gullible American public in the late 1920s. We
also have observed that Basil Miles, in charge of the Russian desk at the State Department and
a former associate of William Franklin Sands, was decidedly helpful to the businessmen
promoting Bolshevik causes; but in 1923 the same Miles authored a profascist article, “Italy’s
Black Shirts and Business.”7 “Success of the Fascists is an expression of Italy’s youth,” wrote
Miles while glorifying the fascist movement and applauding its esteem for American business.
THE MARBURG PLAN
The Marburg Plan, financed by Andrew Carnegie’s ample heritage, was produced in the early
years of the twentieth century. It suggests premeditation for this kind of superficial
schizophrenia, which in fact masks an integrated program of power acquisition: “What then if
Carnegie and his unlimited wealth, the international financiers and the Socialists could be
organized in a movement to compel the formation of a league to enforce peace.”8
The governments of the world, according to the Marburg Plan, were to be socialized while the
ultimate power would remain in the hands of the international financiers “to control its councils
and enforce peace [and so] provide a specific for all the political ills of mankind.”9
This idea was knit with other elements with similar objectives. Lord Milner in England
provides the transatlantic example of banking interests recognizing the virtues and possibilities
of Marxism. Milner was a banker, influential in British wartime policy, and pro-Marxist.10 In
New York the socialist “X” club was founded in 1903. It counted among its members not only
the Communist Lincoln Steffens, the socialist William English Walling, and the Communist
banker Morris Hillquit, but also John Dewey, James T. Shotwell, Charles Edward Russell, and
Rufus Weeks (vice president of New York Life Insurance Company). The annual meeting of
the Economic Club in the Astor Hotel, New York, witnessed socialist speakers. In 1908, when
A. Barton Hepburn, president of Chase National Bank, was president of the Economic Club,
the main speaker was the aforementioned Morris Hillquit, who “had abundant opportunity to
preach socialism to a gathering which represented wealth and financial interests.”11
From these unlikely seeds grew the modern internationalist movement, which included not
only the financiers Carnegie, Paul Warburg, Otto Kahn, Bernard Baruch, and Herbert Hoover,
but also the Carnegie Foundation and its progeny International Conciliation. The trustees of
Carnegie were, as we have seen, prominent on the board of American International
Corporation. In 1910 Carnegie donated $10 million to found the Carnegie Endowment for
International Peace, and among those on the board of trustees were Elihu Root (Root Mission
to Russia, 1917), Cleveland H. Dodge (a financial backer of President Wilson), George W.
Perkins (Morgan partner), G. J. Balch (AIC and Amsinck), R. F. Herrick (AIC), H. W. Pritchett
(AIC), and other Wall Street luminaries. Woodrow Wilson came under the powerful influence
of — and indeed was financially indebted to — this group of internationalists. As Jennings C.
Wise has written, “Historians must never forget that Woodrow Wilson… made it possible for
Leon Trotsky to enter Russia with an American passport.”12
But Leon Trotsky also declared himself an internationalist. We have remarked with some
interest his high-level internationalist connections, or at least friends, in Canada. Trotsky then
was not pro-Russian, or pro-Allied, or pro-German, as many have tried to make him out to be.
Trotsky was for world revolution, for world dictatorship; he was, in one word, an
internationalist.13 Bolshevists and bankers have then this significant common ground —
internationalism. Revolution and international finance are not at all inconsistent if the result of
revolution is to establish more centralized authority. International finance prefers to deal with
central governments. The last thing the banking community wants is laissez-faire economy and
decentralized power because these would disperse power.
This, therefore, is an explanation that fits the evidence. This handful of bankers and promoters
was not Bolshevik, or Communist, or socialist, or Democrat, or even American. Above all else
these men wanted markets, preferably captive international markets — and a monopoly of the
captive world market as the ultimate goal. They wanted markets that could be exploited
monopolistically without fear of competition from Russians, Germans, or anyone else —
including American businessmen outside the charmed circle. This closed group was apolitical
and amoral. In 1917, it had a single-minded objective — a captive market in Russia, all
presented under, and intellectually protected by, the shelter of a league to enforce the peace.
Wall Street did indeed achieve its goal. American firms controlled by this syndicate were later
to go on and build the Soviet Union, and today are well on their way to bringing the Soviet
military-industrial complex into the age of the computer.
Today the objective is still alive and well. John D. Rockefeller expounds it in his book The
Second American Revolution — which sports a five-pointed star on the title page.14 The book
contains a naked plea for humanism, that is, a plea that our first priority is to work for others. In
other words, a plea for collectivism. Humanism is collectivism. It is notable that the
Rockefellers, who have promoted this humanistic idea for a century, have not turned their
OWN property over to others.. Presumably it is implicit in their recommendation that we all
work for the Rockefellers. Rockefeller’s book promotes collectivism under the guises of
“cautious conservatism” and “the public good.” It is in effect a plea for the continuation of the
earlier Morgan-Rockefeller support of collectivist enterprises and mass subversion of
In brief, the public good has been, and is today, used as a device and an excuse for self-
aggrandizement by an elitist circle that pleads for world peace and human decency. But so long
as the reader looks at world history in terms of an inexorable Marxian conflict between
capitalism and communism, the objectives of such an alliance between international finance
and international revolution remain elusive. So will the ludicrousness of promotion of the
public good by plunderers. If these alliances still elude the reader, then he should ponder the
obvious fact that these same international interests and promoters are always willing to
determine what other people should do, but are signally unwilling to be first in line to give up
their own wealth and power. Their mouths are open, their pockets are closed.
This technique, used by the monopolists to gouge society, was set forth in the early twentieth
century by Frederick C. Howe in The Confessions of a Monopolist.15 First, says Howe, politics
is a necessary part of business. To control industries it is necessary to control Congress and the
regulators and thus make society go to work for you, the monopolist. So, according to Howe,
the two principles of a successful monopolist are, “First, let Society work for you; and second,
make a business of politics.”16 These, wrote Howe, are the basic “rules of big business.”
Is there any evidence that this magnificently sweeping objective was also known to Congress
and the academic world? Certainly the possibility was known and known publicly. For
example, witness the testimony of Albert Rhys Williams, an astute commentator on the
revolution, before the Senate Overman Committee:
. . . it is probably true that under the soviet government industrial life will perhaps be much
slower in development than under the usual capitalistic system. But why should a great
industrial country like America desire the creation and consequent competition of another great
industrial rival? Are not the interests of America in this regard in line with the slow tempo of
development which soviet Russia projects for herself?
Senator Wolcott: Then your argument is that it would be to the interest of America to have
MR. WILLIAMS: Not repressed ….
SENATOR WOLCOTT: You say. Why should America desire Russia to become an industrial
competitor with her?
MR. WILLIAMS: This is speaking from a capitalistic standpoint. The whole interest of
America is not, I think, to have another great industrial rival, like Germany, England, France,
and Italy, thrown on the market in competition. I think another government over there besides
the Soviet government would perhaps increase the tempo or rate of development of Russia, and
we would have another rival. Of course, this is arguing from a capitalistic standpoint.
SENATOR WOLCOTT: So you are presenting an argument here which you think might
appeal to the American people, your point being this, that if we recognize the Soviet
government of Russia as it is constituted we will be recognizing a government that can not
compete with us in industry for a great many years?
MR. WILLIAMS: That is a fact.
SENATOR WOLCOTT: That is an argument that under the Soviet government Russia is in no
position, for a great many years at least, to approach America industrially?
MR. WILLIAMS: Absolutely.17
And in that forthright statement by Albert Rhys Williams is the basic clue to the revisionist
interpretation of Russian history over the past half century.
Wall Street, or rather the Morgan-Rockefeller complex represented at 120 Broadway and 14
Wall Street, had something very close to Williams’ argument in mind. Wall Street went to bat
in Washington for the Bolsheviks. It succeeded. The Soviet totalitarian regime survived. In the
1930s foreign firms, mostly of the Morgan-Rockefeller group, built the five-year plans. They
have continued to build Russia, economically and militarily.18 On the other hand, Wall Street
presumably did not foresee the Korean War and the Vietnam War — in which 100,000
Americans and countless allies lost their lives to Soviet armaments built with this same
imported U.S. technology. What seemed a farsighted, and undoubtedly profitable, policy for a
Wall Street syndicate, became a nightmare for millions outside the elitist power circle and the
Michael Futrell, Northern Underground (London: Faber and Faber, 1963);
Stefan Possony, Lenin: The Compulsive Revolutionary (London: George Allen
& Unwin, 1966); and George Katkov, “German Foreign Office Documents on
Financial Support to the Bolsheviks in 1917,” International Affairs 32 (Royal
Institute of International Affairs, 1956).
Ibid., especially Katkov.
See also Voline (V.M. Eichenbaum), Nineteen-Seventeen: The Russian
Revolution Betrayed (New York: Libertarian Book Club, n.d.).
Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Prss, 1972.
5Ibid., p. 149.
See p. 49.
Nation’s Business, February 1923, pp. 22-23.
Jennings C. Wise, Woodrow Wilson: Disciple of Revolution (New York:
Paisley Press, 1938), p.45
See p. 89.
Morris Hillquit, Loose Leaves from a Busy Life (New York: Macmillan,
1934), p. 81.
Wise, op. cit., p. 647
Leon Trotsky, The Bolsheviki and World Peace (New York: Boni &
In May 1973 Chase Manhattan Bank (chairman, David Rockefeller) opened
it Moscow office at 1 Karl Marx Square, Moscow. The New York office is at
1 Chase Manhattan Plaza.
Chicago: Public Publishin, n.d.
U.S., Senate, Bolshevik Propaganda, hearings before a subcommittee of the
Committee on the Judiciary, 65th Cong., pp. 679-80. See also herein p. 107 for
the role of Williams in Radek’s Press Bureau.
See Antony C. Sutton, Western Technology and Soviet Economic
Development, 3 vols. (Stanford, Calif.: Hoover Institution, 1968, 1971, 1973);
see also National Suicide: Military Aid to the Soviet Union (New York:
Arlington House, 1973).
DIRECTORS OF MAJOR BANKS,
FIRMS, AND INSTITUTIONS
MENTIONED IN THIS BOOK
(AS IN 1917-1918)
AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL CORPORATION (120
J. Ogden Armour Percy A. Rockefeller
G. J. Baldwin John D. Ryan
C. A. Coffin W.L. Saunders
W. E. Corey J.A. Stillman
Robert Dollar C.A. Stone
Pierre S. du Pont T.N. Vail
Philip A. S. Franklin F.A. Vanderlip
J. P. Grace E.S. Webster
R. F. Herrick A.H. Wiggin
Otto H. Kahn Beckman Winthrop
H. W. Pritchett William Woodward
CHASE NATIONAL BANK
J. N. Hill Newcomb Carlton
A. B. Hepburn D.C. Jackling
S. H. Miller E.R. Tinker
C. M. Schwab A.H. Wiggin
H. Bendicott John J. Mitchell
Guy E. Tripp
EQUITABLE TRUST COMPANY (37-43 Wall Street)
Charles B. Alexander Henry E. Huntington
Albert B. Boardman Edward T. Jeffrey
Robert.C. Clowry Otto H. Kahn
Howard E. Cole Alvin W. Krech
Henry E. Cooper James W. Lane
Paul D. Cravath Hunter S. Marston
Franklin Wm. Cutcheon Charles G. Meyer
Bertram Cutler George Welwood Murray
Thomas de Witt Cuyler Henry H. Pierce
Frederick W. Fuller Winslow S. Pierce
Robert Goelet Lyman Rhoades
Carl R. Gray Walter C. Teagle
Charles Hayden Henry Rogers Winthrop
Bertram G. Work
FEDERAL ADVISORY COUNCIL (1916)
Daniel G. Wing, Boston, District No. 1
J. P. Morgan, New York, District No. 2
Levi L. Rue, Philadelphia, District No. 3
W. S. Rowe, Cincinnati, District No. 4
J. W. Norwood, Greenville, S.C., District No. 5
C. A. Lyerly, Chattanooga, District No. 6
J. B. Forgan, Chicago, Pres., District No. 7
Frank O. Watts, St. Louis, District No. 8
C. T. Jaffray, Minneapolis, District No. 9
E. F. Swinney, Kansas City, District No. 10
T. J. Record, Paris, District No. 11
Herbert Fleishhacker, San Francisco, District No. 12
FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF NEW YORK (120
William Woodward (1917)
Robert H. Treman (1918)
Franklin D. Locke (1919)
Charles A. Stone (1920)
Wm. B. Thompson (1918)
L. R. Palmer (1919)
Pierre Jay (1917)
George F. Peabody (1919)
William Lawrence Saunders
FEDERAL RESERVE BOARD
William G. M’Adoo Adolph C. Miller (1924)
Charles S. Hamlin ( 1916) Frederic A. Delano (1920)
Paul M. Warburg (1918) W.P.G. Harding (1922)
John Skelton Williams
GUARANTY TRUST COMPANY (140 Broadway)
Alexander J. Hemphill
Charles H. Allen Edgar L. Marston
A. C. Bedford Grayson M-P Murphy
Edward J. Berwind Charles A. Peabody
W. Murray Crane William C. Potter
T. de Witt Cuyler John S. Runnells
James B. Duke Thomas F. Ryan
Caleb C. Dula Charles H. Sabin
Robert W. Goelet John W. Spoor
Daniel Guggenheim Albert Straus
W. Averell Harriman Harry P. Whitney
Albert H. Harris Thomas E. Wilson
Walter D. Hines London Committee:
Augustus D. Julliard Arthur J. Fraser (Chairman)
Thomas W. Lamont Cecil F. Parr
William C. Lane Robert Callander
NATIONAL CITY BANK
P. A. S. Franklin P.A. Rockefeller
J.P. Grace James Stillman
G. H. Dodge W. Rockefeller
H. A. C. Taylor J. O. Armour
R. S. Lovett J.W. Sterling
F. A. Vanderlip J.A. Stillman
G. H. Miniken M.T. Pyne
E. P. Swenson E.D. Bapst
Frank Trumbull J.H. Post
Edgar Palmer W.C. Procter
NATIONALBANK FÜR DEUTSCHLAND
(As in 1914, Hjalmar Schacht joined board in 1918)
Emil Wittenberg Hans Winterfeldt
Hjalmar Schacht Th Marba
Martin Schiff Paul Koch
SINCLAIR CONSOLIDATED OIL CORPORATION (120
Harry F. Sinclair James N. Wallace
H. P. Whitney Edward H. Clark
Wm. E. Corey Daniel C. Jackling
Wm. B. Thompson Albert H. Wiggin
J. G. WHITE ENGINEERING CORPORATION
James Brown C.E. Bailey
Douglas Campbell J.G. White
G. C. Clark, Jr. Gano Dunn
Bayard Dominick, Jr. E.G. Williams
A. G. Hodenpyl A.S. Crane
T. W. Lamont H.A. Lardner
Marion McMillan G.H. Kinniat
J. H. Pardee A.F. Kountz
G. H. Walbridge R.B. Marchant
E. N. Chilson Henry Parsons
A. N. Connett
THE JEWISH-CONSPIRACY THEORY OF THE BOLSHEVIK REVOLUTION
There is an extensive literature in English, French, and German reflecting the argument that the
Bolshevik Revolution was the result of a “Jewish conspiracy”; more specifically, a conspiracy
by Jewish world bankers. Generally, world control is seen as the ultimate objective; the
Bolshevik Revolution was but one phase of a wider program that supposedly reflects an age-
old religious struggle between Christianity and the “forces of darkness.”
The argument and its variants can be found in the most surprising places and from quite
surprising persons. In February 1920 Winston Churchill wrote an article — rarely cited today —
for the London Illustrated Sunday Herald entitled “Zionism Versus Bolshevism.” In this’ article
Churchill concluded that it was “particularly important… that the National Jews in every
country who are loyal to the land of their adoption should come forward on every occasion . . .
and take a prominent part in every measure for combatting the Bolshevik conspiracy.”
Churchill draws a line between “national Jews” and what he calls “international Jews.” He
argues that the “international and for the most atheistical Jews” certainly had a “very great” role
in the creation of Bolshevism and bringing about the Russian Revolution. He asserts (contrary
to fact) that with the exception of Lenin, “the majority” of the leading figures in the revolution
were Jewish, and adds (also contrary to fact) that in many cases Jewish interests and Jewish
places of worship were excepted by the Bolsheviks from their policies of seizure. Churchill
calls the international Jews a “sinister confederacy” emergent from the persecuted populations
of countries where Jews have been persecuted on account of their race. Winston Churchill
traces this movement back to Spartacus-Weishaupt, throws his literary net around Trotsky,
Bela Kun, Rosa Luxemburg, and Emma Goldman, and charges: “This world-wide conspiracy
for the overthrow of civilisation and for the reconstitution of society on the basis of arrested
development, of envious malevolence, and impossible equality, has been steadily growing.”
Churchill then argues that this conspiratorial Spartacus-Weishaupt group has been the
mainspring of every subversive movement in the nineteenth century. While pointing out that
Zionism and Bolshevism are competing for the soul of the Jewish people, Churchill (in 1920)
was preoccupied with the role of the Jew in the Bolshevik Revolution and the existence of a
worldwide Jewish conspiracy.
Another well-known author in the 1920s, Henry Wickham Steed describes in the second
volume of his Through 30 Years 1892-1922 (p. 302) how he attempted to bring the Jewish-
conspiracy concept to the attention of Colonel Edward M. House and President Woodrow
Wilson. One day in March 1919 Wickham Steed called Colonel House and found him
disturbed over Steed’s recent criticism of U.S. recognition of the Bolsheviks. Steed pointed out
to House that Wilson would be discredited among the many peoples and nations of Europe and
“insisted that, unknown to him, the prime movers were Jacob Schiff, Warburg and other
international financiers, who wished above all to bolster up the Jewish Bolshevists in order to
secure a field for German and Jewish exploitation of Russia.”1 According to Steed, Colonel
House argued for the establishment of economic relations with the Soviet Union.
Probably the most superficially damning collection of documents on the Jewish conspiracy is
in the State Department Decimal File (861.00/5339). The central document is one entitled
“Bolshevism and Judaism,” dated November 13, 1918. The text is in the form of a report,
which states that the revolution in Russia was engineered “in February 1916″ and “it was found
that the following persons and firms were engaged in this destructive work”:
(1) Jacob Schiff Jew
(2) Kuhn, Loeb & Company Jewish Firm
Management: Jacob Schiff Jew
Felix Warburg Jew
Otto H. Kahn Jew
Mortimer L. Schiff Jew
Jerome J. Hanauer Jew
(3) Guggenheim Jew
(4) Max Breitung Jew
(5) Isaac Seligman Jew
The report goes on to assert that there can be no doubt that the Russian Revolution was started
and engineered by this group and that in April 1917
Jacob Schiff in fact made a public announcement and it was due to his
financial influence that the Russian revolution was successfully accomplished
and in the Spring 1917 Jacob Schitf started to finance Trotsky, a Jew, for the
purpose of accomplishing a social revolution in Russia.
The report contains other miscellaneous information about Max Warburg’s financing of
Trotsky, the role of the Rheinish-Westphalian syndicate and Olof Aschberg of the Nya Banken
(Stockholm) together with Jivotovsky. The anonymous author (actually employed by the U.S.
War Trade Board)2 states that the links between these organizations and their financing of the
Bolshevik Revolution show how “the link between Jewish multi-millionaires and Jewish
proletarians was forged.” The report goes on to list a large number of Bolsheviks who were
also Jews and then describes the actions of Paul Warburg, Judus Magnes, Kuhn, Loeb &
Company, and Speyer & Company.
The report ends with a barb at “International Jewry” and places the argument into the context of
a Christian-Jewish conflict backed up by quotations from the Protocols of Zion. Accompanying
this report is a series of cables between the State Department in Washington and the American
embassy in London concerning the steps to be taken with these documents:3
5399 Great Britain, TEL. 3253 i pm
October 16, 1919 In Confidential File
Secret for Winslow from Wright. Financial aid to Bolshevism & Bolshevik
Revolution in Russia from prominent Am. Jews: Jacob Schiff, Felix Warburg,
Otto Kahn, Mendell Schiff, Jerome Hanauer, Max Breitung & one of the
Guggenheims. Document re- in possession of Brit. police authorities from
French sources. Asks for any facts re-.
* * * * *
Oct. 17 Great Britain TEL. 6084, noon r c-h 5399 Very secret. Wright from
Winslow. Financial aid to Bolshevik revolution in Russia from prominent Am.
Jews. No proof re- but investigating. Asks to urge Brit. authorities to suspend
publication at least until receipt of document by Dept.
* * * * *
Nov. 28 Great Britain TEL. 6223 R 5 pro. 5399
FOR WRIGHT. Document re financial aid to Bolsheviki by prominent
American jews. Reports — identified as French translation of a statement
originally prepared in English by Russian citizen in Am. etc. Seem most
unwise to give — the distinction of publicity.
It was agreed to suppress this material and the files conclude, “I think we have the whole thing
in cold storage.”
Another document marked “Most Secret” is included with this batch of material. The
provenance of the document is unknown; it is perhaps FBI or military intelligence. It reviews a
translation of the Protocols of the Meetings of the Wise Men of Zion, and concludes:
In this connection a letter was sent to Mr. W. enclosing a memorandum from
us with regard to certain information from the American Military Attache to
the effect that the British authorities had letters intercepted from various
groups of international Jews setting out a scheme for world dominion. Copies
of this material will be very useful to us.
This information was apparently developed and a later British intelligence report makes the flat
SUMMARY: There is now definite evidence that Bolshevism is an
international movement controlled by Jews; communications are passing
between the leaders in America, France, Russia and England with a view to
However, none of the above statements can be supported with hard empirical evidence. The
most significant information is contained in the paragraph to the effect that the British
authorities possessed “letters intercepted from various groups of international Jews setting out a
scheme for world dominion.” If indeed such letters exist, then they would provide support (or
nonsupport) for a presently unsubstantiated hypothesis: to wit, that the Bolshevik Revolution
and other revolutions are the work of a worldwide Jewish conspiracy.
Moveover, when statements and assertions are not supported by hard evidence and where
attempts to unearth hard evidence lead in a circle back to the starting point — particularly when
everyone is quoting everyone else — then we must reject the story as spurious. There is no
concrete evidence that Jews were involved in the Bolshevik Revolution because they were
Jewish. There may indeed have been a higher proportion of Jews involved, but given tsarist
treatment of Jews, what else would we expect? There were probably many Englishmen or
persons of English origin in the American Revolution fighting the redcoats. So what? Does that
make the American Revolution an English conspiracy? Winston Churchill’s statement that Jews
had a “very great role” in the Bolshevik Revolution is supported only by distorted evidence.
The list of Jews involved in the Bolshevik Revolution must be weighed against lists of non-
Jews involved in the revolution. When this scientific procedure is adopted, the proportion of
foreign Jewish Bolsheviks involved falls to less than twenty percent of the total number of
revolutionaries — and these Jews were mostly deported, murdered, or sent to Siberia in the
following years. Modern Russia has in fact maintained tsarist anti-Semitism.
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.5 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
See Appendix 3 for Schiff’s actual role.
The anonymous author was a Russian employed by the U.S. War Trade
Board. One of the three directors of the U.S. War Trade Board at this time was
John Foster Dulles.
U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 861.00/5399.
Great Britain, Directorate of Intelligence, A Monthly Review of the Progress
of Revolutionary Movements Abroad, no. 9, July 16, 1913 (861.99/5067).
See Appendix 3.
SELECTED DOCUMENTS FROM
GOVERNMENT FILES OF THE
UNITED STATES AND GREAT BRITAIN
Note: Some documents comprise several papers that form a related group.
DOCUMENT NO. 1 Cable from Ambassador Francis in Petrograd to U.S. State Department and related letter
from Secretary of State Robert Lansing to President Woodrow Wilson (March 17, 1917)
DOCUMENT NO. 2 British Foreign Office document (October 1917) claiming Kerensky was in the pay of
the German government and aiding the Bolsheviks
DOCUMENT NO. 3 Jacob Schiff of Kuhn, Loeb & Company and his position on the Kerensky and Bolshevik
regimes (November 1918)
DOCUMENT NO. 4 Memorandum from William Boyce Thompson, director of the Federal Reserve Bank of
New York, to the British prime minister David Lloyd George (December 1917)
DOCUMENT NO. 5 Letter from Felix Frankfurter to Soviet agent Santeri Nuorteva (May 9, 1918)
DOCUMENT NO. 6 Personnel of the Soviet Bureau, New York, 1920; list from the New York State Lusk
DOCUMENT NO. 7 Letter from National City Bank to the U.S. Treasury referring to Ludwig Martens and
Dr. Julius Hammer (April 15, 1919)
DOCUMENT NO. 8 Letter from Soviet agent William (Bill) Bobroff to Kenneth Durant (August 3, 1920)
DOCUMENT NO. 9 Memo referring to a member of the J. P. Morgan firm and the British director of
propaganda Lord Northcliffe (April 13, 1918)
DOCUMENT NO. 10 State Department Memo (May 29, 1922) regarding General Electric Co.
DOCUMENT NO. 1
Cable from Ambassador Francis in Petrograd to the Department of State in Washington, D.C., dated March
14, 1917, and reporting the first stage of the Russian Revolution (861.00/273).
Dated March 14, 1917,
Recd. 15th, 2:30 a.m.
Secretary of State,
1287. Unable to send a cablegram since the eleventh. Revolutionists have absolute control in Petrograd and
are making strenuous efforts to preserve order, which successful except in rare instances. No cablegrams since
your 1251 of the ninth, received March eleventh. Provisional government organized under the authority of the
Douma which refused to obey the Emperor’s order of the adjournment. Rodzianko, president of the Douma,
issuing orders over his own signature. Ministry reported to have resigned. Ministers found are taken before the
Douma, also many Russian officers and other high officials. Most if not all regiments ordered to Petrograd
have joined the revolutionists after arrival. American colony safe. No knowledge of any injuries to American
On receipt of the preceding cable, Robert Lansing, Secretary of State, made its contents available to President
PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL
My Dear Mr. President:
I enclose to you a very important cablegram which has just come from Petrograd, and also a clipping from the
New York WORLD of this morning, in which a statement is made by Signor Scialoia, Minister without
portfolio in the Italian Cabinet, which is significant in view of Mr. Francis’ report. My own impression is that
the Allies know of this matter and I presume are favorable to the revolutionists since the Court party has been,
throughout the war, secretely pro-German.
The White House
The significant phrase in the Lansing-Wilson letter is “My own impression is that the Allies know of this
matter and I presume are favorable to the revolutionists since the Court party has been, throughout the war,
secretely pro-German.” It will be recalled (chapter two) that Ambassador Dodd claimed that Charles R. Crane,
of Westinghouse and of Crane Co. in New York and an adviser to President Wilson, was involved in this first
DOCUMENT NO. 2
Memorandum from Great Britain Foreign Office file FO 371/ 2999 (The War — Russia), October 23, 1917, file
Personal (and) Secret.
Disquieting rumors have reached us from more than one source that Kerensky is m German pay and that he
and his government are doing their utmost to weaken (and) disorganize Russia, so as to arrive at a situation
when no other course but a separate peace would be possible. Do you consider that there is any ground for
such insinuations, and that the government by refraining from any effective action are purposely allowing the
Bolshevist elements to grow stronger?
If it should be a question of bribery we might be able to compete successfully if it were known how and
through what agents it could be done, although it is not a pleasant thought.
Refers to information that Kerensky was in German pay.
DOCUMENT NO. 3
Consists of four parts:
(a) Cable from Ambassador Francis, April 27, 1917, in Petrograd to Washington, D.C., requesting
transmission of a message from prominent Russian Jewish bankers to prominent Jewish bankers in New York
and requesting their subscription to the Kerensky Liberty Loan (861.51/139).
(b) Reply from Louis Marshall (May 10, 1917) representing American Jews; he declined the invitation while
expressing support for the American Liberty Loan (861.51/143).
(c) Letter from Jacob Schiff of Kuhn, Loeb (November 25, 1918) to State Department (Mr. Polk) relaying a
message from Russian Jewish banker Kamenka calling for Allied help against the Bolsheviks (“because
Bolshevist government does not represent Russian People”).
(d) Cable from Kamenka relayed by Jacob Schiff.
(a) Secretary of State
Please deliver following to Jacob Schiff, Judge Brandies [sic], Professor Gottheil, Oscar Strauss [sic], Rabbi
Wise, Louis Marshall and Morgenthau:
“We Russian Jews always believed that liberation of Russia meant also our liberation. Being deeply devoted
to country we placed implicit trust temporary Government. We know the unlimited economic power of Russia
and her immense natural resources and the emancipation we obtained will enable us to participate
development country. We firmly believe that victorious finish of the war owing help our allies and United
States is near.
Temporary Government issuing now new public loan of freedom and we feel our national duty support loan
high vital for war and freedom. We are sure that Russia has an unshakeable power of public credit and will
easily bear a.11 necessary financial burden. We formed special committee of Russian Jews for supporting loan
consisting representatives financial, industrial trading circles and leading public men.
We inform you here of and request our brethern beyong [sic] the seas to support freedom of Russian which
became now case humanity and world’s civilization. We suggest you form there special committee and let us
know of steps you may take Jewish committee support success loan of freedom. Boris Kamenka, Chairman,
Baron Alexander Gunzburg, Henry Silosberg.”
* * * * *
(b) Dear Mr. Secretary:
After reporting to our associates the result of the interview which you kindly granted to Mr. Morgenthau, Mr.
Straus and myself, in regard to the advisability of calling for subscriptions to the Russian Freedom Loan as
requested in the cablegram of Baron Gunzburg and Messrs. Kamenka and Silosberg of Petrograd, which you
recently communicated to us, we have concluded to act strictly upon your advice. Several days ago we
promised our friends at Petrograd an early reply to their call for aid. We would therefore greatly appreciate the
forwarding of the following cablegram, provided its terms have your approval:
Don Azov Bank, Petrograd.
Our State Department which we have consulted regards any present attempt toward securing
public subscriptions here for any foreign loans inadvisable; the concentration of all efforts for
the success of American war loans being essential, thereby enabling our Government to
supply funds to its allies at lower interest rates than otherwise possible. Our energies to help
the Russian cause most effectively must therefore necessarily be directed to encouraging
subscriptions to American Liberty Loan. Schiff, Marshall, Straus, Morgenthau, Wise,
You are of course at liberty to make any changes in the phraseology of this suggested cablegram which you
may deem desirable and which will indicate that our failure to respond directly to the request that has come to
us is due to our anxiety to make our activities most efficient.
May I ask you to send me a copy of the cablegram as forwarded, with a memorandum of the cost so that the
Department may be promptly reimbursed.
I am, with great respect,
[sgd.] Louis Marshall
The Secretary of State
* * * * *
(c) Dear Mr. Polk:
Will you permit me to send you copy of a cablegram received this morning and which I think, for regularity’s
sake, should be brought to the notice of the Secretary of State or your good self, for such consideration as it
might be thought well to give this.
Mr. Kamenka, the sender of this cablegram, is one of the leading men in Russia and has, I am informed, been
financial advisor both of the Prince Lvoff government and of the Kerensky government. He is President of the
Banque de Commerce de l’Azov Don of Petrograd, one of the most important financial institutions of Russia,
but had, likely, to leave Russia with the advent of Lenin and his “comrades.”
Let me take this opportunity to send sincere greetings to you and Mrs. Polk and to express the hope that you
are now in perfect shape again, and that Mrs. Polk and the children are in good health.
[sgd.] Jacob H. Schiff
Hon. Frank L. Polk
Counsellor of the State Dept.
[Dated November 25, 1918]
* * * * *
The complete triumph of liberty and right furnishes me a new opportunity to repeat to you my profound
admiration for the noble American nation. Hope to see now quick progress on the part of the Allies to help
Russia in reestablishing order. Call your attention also to pressing necessity of replacing in Ukraine enemy
troops at the very moment of their retirement in order to avoid Bolshevist devastation. Friendly intervention of
Allies would be greeted everywhere with enthusiasm and looked upon as democratic action, because
Bolshevist government does not represent Russian people. Wrote you September 19th. Cordial greetings.
This is an important series because it refutes the story of a Jewish bank conspiracy behind the Bolshevik
Revolution. Clearly Jacob Schiff of Kuhn, Loeb was not interested in supporting the Kerensky Liberty Loan
and Schiff went to the trouble of drawing State Department attention to Kamenka’s pleas for Allied
intervention against the Bolsheviks. Obviously Schiff and fellow banker Kamenka, unlike J.P. Morgan and
John D. Rockefeller, were as unhappy about the Bolsheviks as they had been about the tsars.
DOCUMENT NO. 4
Memorandum from William Boyce Thompson (director of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York) to Lloyd
George (prime minister of Great Britain), December 1917.
The Russian situation is lost and Russia lies entirely open to unopposed German exploitation unless a radical
reversal of policy is at once undertaken by the Allies.
Because of their shortsighted diplomacy, the Allies since the Revolution have accomplished nothing
beneficial, and have done considerable harm to their own interests.
The Allied representatives in Petrograd have been lacking in sympathetic understanding of the desire of the
Russian people to attain democracy. Our representatives were first connected officially with the Czar’s regime.
Naturally they have been influenced by that environment.
Meanwhile, on the other hand, the Germans have conducted propaganda that has undoubtedly aided them
materially in destroying the Government, in wrecking the army and in destroying trade and industry. If this
continues unopposed it may result in the complete exploitation of the great country by Germany against the
I base my opinion upon a careful and intimate study of the situation both outside and inside official circles,
during my stay in Petrograd between August 7 and November 29, 1917.
“What can be done to improve the situation of the Allies in Russia”?
The diplomatic personnel, both British and American, should be changed to one democratic in spirit and
capable of sustaining democratic sympathy.
There should be erected a powerful, unofficial committee, with headquarters in Petrograd, to operate in the
background, so to speak, the influence of which in matters of policy should be recognized and accepted by the
DIPLOMATIC, CONSULAR and MILITARY officials of the Allies. Such committee should be so composed
in personnel as to make it possible to entrust to it wide discretionary powers. It would presumably undertake
work in various channels. The nature of which will become obvious as the task progress. es; it. would aim to
meet all new conditions as they might arise.
It is impossible now to define at all completely the scope of this new Allied committee. I can perhaps assist to
a better understanding of its possible usefulness and service by making a brief reference to the work which I
started and which is now in the hands of Raymond Robins, who is well and favorably known to Col. Buchan —
a work which in the future will undoubtedly have to be somewhat altered and added to in order to meet new
conditions. My work has been performed chiefly through a Russian “Committee on Civic Education” aided by
Madame Breshkovsky, the Grandmother of the Revolution. She was assisted by Dr. David Soskice, the private
secretary of the then Prime Minister Kerensky (now of London); Nicholas Basil Tchaikovsky, at one time
Chairman of the Peasants Co-operative Society, and by other substantial social revolutionaries constituting the
saving element of democracy as between the extreme “Right” of the official and property-owning class, and
the extreme “Left” embodying the most radical elements of the socialistic parties. The aim of this committee,
as stated in a cable message from Madame Breshkovsky to President Wilson, can be gathered from this
quotation: “A widespread education is necessary to make Russia an orderly democracy. We plan to bring this
education to the soldier in the camp, to the workman in the factory, to the peasant in the village.” Those aiding
in this work realized that for centuries the masses had been under the heel of Autocracy which had given them
not protection but oppression; that a democratic form of government in Russian could be maintained only BY
THE DEFEAT OF THE GERMAN ARMY; BY THE OVERTHROW OF GERMAN AUTOCRACY. Could
free Russia, unprepared for great governmental responsibilities, uneducated, untrained, be expected long to
survive with imperial Germany her next door neighbor? Certainly not. Democratic Russia would become
speedily the greatest war prize the world has even known.
The Committee designed to have an educational center in each regiment of the Russian army, in the form of
Soldiers’ Clubs. These clubs were organized as rapidly as possible, and lecturers were employed to address the
soldiers. The lecturers were in reality teachers, and it should be remembered that there is a percentage of 90
among the soldiers of Russia who can neither read nor write. At the time of the Bolshevik outbreak many of
these speakers were in the field making a fine impression and obtaining excellent results. There were 250 in
the city of Moscow alone. It was contemplated by the Committee to have at least 5000 of these lecturers. We
had under publication many newspapers of the “A B C” class, printing matter in the simplest style, and were
assisting about 100 more. These papers carried the appeal for patriotism, unity and co-ordination into the
homes of the workmen and the peasants.
After the overthrow of the last Kerensky government we materially aided the dissemination of the Bolshevik
literature, distributing it through agents and by aeroplanes to the German army. If the suggestion is
permissible, it might be well to consider whether it would not be desirable to have this same Bolshevik
literature sent into Germany and Austria across the West and Italian fronts.
The presence of a small number of Allied troops in Petrograd would certainly have done much to prevent the
overthrow of the Kerensky government in November. I should like to suggest for your consideration, if
present conditions continue, the concentration of all the British and French Government employes in
Petrograd, and if the necessity should arise it might be formed into a fairly effective force. It might be
advisable even to pay a small sum to a Russian force. There is also a large body of volunteers recruited in
Russia, many of them included in the Inteligentzia of “Center” class, and these have done splendid work in the
trenches. They might properly be aided.
If you ask for a further programme I should say that it is impossible to give it now. I believe that intelligent
and courageous work will still prevent Germany from occupying the field to itself and thus exploiting Russia
at the expense of the Allies. There will be many ways in which this service can be rendered which will
become obvious as the work progresses.
Following this memorandum the British war cabinet changed its policy to one of tepid pro-Bolshevism. Note
that Thompson admits to distribution of Bolshevik literature by his agents. The confusion over the date on
which Thompson left Russia (he states November 29th in this document) is cleared up by the Pirnie papers at
the Hoover Institution. There were several changes of travel plans and Thompson was still in Russia in early
December. The memorandum was probably written in Petrograd in late November.
DOCUMENT NO. 5
Letter dated May 9, 1918, from Felix Frankfurter (then special assistant to the secretary of war) to Santeri
Nuorteva (alias for Alexander Nyberg), a Bolshevik agent in the United States. Listed as Document No. 1544
in the Lusk Committee files, New York:
May 9, 1918
My dear Mr. Nhorteva [sic]:
Thank you very much for your letter of the 4th. I knew you would understand the purely friendly and wholly
unofficial character of our talk, and I appreciate the prompt steps you have taken to correct your Sirola* letter.
Be wholly assured that nothing has transpired which diminishes my interest in the questions which you
present. Quite the contrary. I am much interested in** the considerations you are advancing and for the point
of view you are urging. The issues*** at stake are the interests that mean much for the whole world. To meet
them adequately we need all the knowledge and wisdom we can possibly get****.
Santeri Nuorteva, Esq.
* Yrjo Sirola was a Bolshevik and commissar in Finland.
** Original text, “continually grateful to you for.”
*** Original text, “interests.”
**** Original text added “these days.”
This letter by Frankfurter was written to Nuorteva/Nyberg, a Bolshevik agent in the United States, at a time
when Frankfurter held an official position as special assistant to Secretary of War Baker in the War
Department. Apparently Nyberg was willing to change a letter to commissar “Sirola” according to
Frankfurter’s instructions. The Lusk Committee acquired the original Frankfurter draft including Frankfurter’s
changes and not the letter received by Nyberg.
THE SOVIET BUREAU IN 1920
Position Name Citizenship Born Former Employment
Representa tive of
Ludwig C.A.K. MARTENS German Russia V-P of Weinberg & Posner
Engineer ing (120 Broadway)
Office manager Gregory WEINSTEIN Russian Russia Journalist
Secretary Santeri NUORTEVA Finnish Russia Journalist
Assistant secretary Kenneth DURANT U.S. U.S. (1) U.S. Committee on Public
(2) Former aide to Colonel
Private secre tary to
Dorothy KEEN U.S. U.S. High school
Translator Mary MODELL Russian Russia School in Russia
File clerk Alexander COLEMAN U.S. U.S. High school
Telephone clerk Blanche ABUSHEVITZ Russian Russia High school
Office attendant Nestor KUNTZEVICH Russian Russia —
Military expert Lt. Col. Boris Tagueeff
Russian Russia Military critic on Daily
Director A. HELLER Russian U.S. International Oxy gen
Secretary Ella TUCH Russian U.S. U.S. firms
Clerk Rose HOLLAND U.S. U.S. Gary School League
Clerk Henrietta MEEROWICH Russian Russia Social worker
Clerk Rose BYERS Russian Russia School
Statistician Vladimir OLCHOVSKY Russian Russia Russian Army
Director Evans CLARK U.S. U.S. Princeton University
Clerk Nora G. SMITHMAN U.S. U.S. Ford Peace Expedition
Steno Etta FOX U.S. U.S. War Trade Board
— Wilfred R. HUMPHRIES U.K. — American Red Cross
Director Arthur ADAMS Russian U.S. —
Director William MALISSOFF Russian U.S. Columbia University
Director Leo A. HUEBSCH Russian U.S. Medical doctor
D. H. DUBROWSKY Russian U.S. Medical doctor
Director Morris HILLQUIT Lithuanian — —
Dudley Field MALONE
George Cordon BATTLE
Dept. of Economics & Statistics
Director Isaac A. HOURWICH Russian U.S. U.S. Bureau of Census
Eva JOFFE Russian U.S. National Child
Steno Elizabeth GOLDSTEIN Russian U.S. Student
Editorial Staff of Soviet Russia
Managing editor Jacob w. HARTMANN U.S. U.S. College of City
of New York
Steno Ray TROTSKY Russian Russia Student
Translator Theodnre BRESLAUER Russian Russia —
Clerk Vastly IVANOFF Russian Russia —
Clerk David OLDFIELD Russian Russia —
Translator J. BLANKSTEIN Russian Russia —
SOURCE: U.S., House, Conditions in Russia (Committee on Foreign Affairs), 66th Cong., 3rd sess.
(Washington, D.C., 1921).
See also British list in U.S. State Department Decimal File, 316-22-656, which also has the
name of Julius Hammer.
DOCUMENT NO. 7
Letter from National City Bank of New York to the U.S. Treasury, April 15, 1919, with regard to Ludwig
Martens and his associate Dr. Julius Hammer (316-118).
The National City Bank of New York
New York, April 15, 1919
Honorable Joel Rathbone,
Assistant Secretary of the Treasury
Dear Mr. Rathbone:
I beg to hand you herewith photographs of two documents which we have received this morning by registered
mail from a Mr. L. Martens who claims to be the representative in the United States of the Russian Socialist
Federal Soviet Republic, and witnessed by a Dr. Julius Hammer for the Acting Director of the Financial
You will see from these documents that there is a demand being made upon us for any and all funds on
deposit with us in the name of Mr. Boris Bakhmeteff, alleged Russian Ambassador in the United States, or in
the name of any individual, committee, or mission purporting to act in behalf of the Russian Government in
subordination to Mr. Bakhmeteff or directly.
We should be very glad to receive from you whatever advice or instructions you may care to give us in this
[sgd.] J. H. Carter,
The significance of this letter is related to the long-time association (1917-1974) of the Hammer family with
DOCUMENT NO. 8
Letter dated August 3, 1920, from Soviet courier “Bill” Bobroff to Kenneth Durant, former aide to Colonel
House. Taken from Bobroff by U.S. Department of Justice.
Department of Justice
Bureau of Investigation,
15 Park Row, New York City, N. Y.,
August 10, 1920
Director Bureau of Investigation
United States Department of Justice, Washington, D.C.
Dear Sir: Confirming telephone conversation with Mr. Ruch today, I am transmitting herewith original
documents taken from the effects of B. L. Bobroll, steamship Frederick VIII.
The letter addressed Mr. Kenneth Durant, signed by Bill, dated August 3, 1920, together with the translation
from “Pravda,” July 1, 1920, signed by Trotzki, and copies of cablegrams were found inside the blue envelope
addressed Mr. Kenneth Durant, 228 South Nineteenth Street, Philadelphia, Pa. This blue envelope was in turn
sealed inside the white envelope attached.
Most of the effects of Mr. Bobroff consisted of machinery catalogues, specifications, correspondence
regarding the shipment of various equipment, etc., to Russian ports. Mr. Bobroff was closely questioned by
Agent Davis and the customs authorities, and a detailed report of same will be sent to Washington.
Very truly yours,
G. F. Lamb,
LETTER TO KENNETH DURANT
Dear Kenneth: Thanks for your most welcome letter. I have felt very much cut off and hemmed in, a feeling
which has been sharply emphasized by recent experiences. I have felt distressed at inability to force a different
attitude toward the bureau and to somehow get funds to you. To cable $5,000 to you, as was done last week, is
but a sorry joke. I hope the proposal to sell gold in America, about which we have been cabling recently, will
soon be found practicable. Yesterday we cabled asking if you could sell 5,000,000 rubles at a minimum of 45
cents, present market rate being 51.44 cents. That would net at least $2,225,000. L’s present need is
$2,000,000 to pay Niels Juul & Co., in Christiania, for the first part of the coal shipment from America to
Vardoe, Murmansk, and Archangel. The first ship is nearing Vardoe and the second left New York about July
28. Altogether, Niels Juul & Co., or rather the Norges’ Bank, of Christiania, on their and our account, hold
$11,000,000 gold rubles of ours, which they themselves brought from Reval to Christiania, as security for our
coal order and the necessary tonnage, but the offers for purchase of this gold that they have so far been able to
get are very poor, the best being $575 per kilo, whereas the rate offered by the American Mint or Treasury
Department is now $644.42, and considering the large sum involved it would be a shame to let it go at too
heavy a loss. I hope that ere you get this you will have been able to effect the sale, at the same time thus
getting a quarter of a million dollars or more for the bureau. If we can’t in some way pay the $2,000,000 in
Christiania, that was due four days ago, within a very short time, Niels Juul & Co. will have the right to sell
our gold that they now hold at the best price then obtainable, which, as stated above, is quite low.
We don’t know yet how the Canadian negotiations are going on. We understand Nuorteva turned over the
strings to Shoen when N.’s arrest seemed imminent. We don’t at this writing know where Nuorteva is. Our
guess is that after his enforced return to England from Esbjerg, Denmark, Sir Basil Thomson had him shipped
aboard a steamer for Reval, but we have not yet heard from Reval that he has arrived there, and we certainly
would hear from Goukovski or from N. himself. Humphries saw Nuorteva at Esbjerg, and is himself in
difficulties with the Danish police because of it. All his connections are being probed for; his passport has
been taken away: he has been up twice for examination, and it looks as if he will be lucky if he escapes
deportation. It was two weeks ago that Nuorteva arrived at Esbjerg, 300 miles from here, but having no
Danish visé, the Danish authorities refused to permit him to land, and he was transferred to a steamer due to
sail at 8 o’clock the following morning. By depositing 200 kroner he was allowed shore leave for a couple of
hours. Wanting to get Copenhagen on long-distance wire and having practically no more money, he once
more pawned that gold watch of his for 25 kroner, therewith getting in touch with Humphries, who within half
an hour jumped aboard the night train, slept on the floor, and arrived at Esbjerg at 7:30. Humphries found
Nuorteva, got permission from the captain to go aboard, had 20 minutes with N., then had to go ashore and the
boat sailed. Humphries was then invited to the police office by two plain-clothes men, who had been
observing the proceedings. He was closely questioned, address taken, then released, and that night took train
back to Copenhagen. He sent telegrams to Ewer, of Daily Herald, Shoen, and to Kliskho, at 128 New Bond
Street, urging them to be sure and meet Nuorteva’s boat, so that N. couldn’t again be spirited away, but we
don’t know yet just what happened. The British Government vigorously denied that they had any intention of
sending him to Finland. Moscow has threatened reprisals if anything happens to him. Meantime, the
investigation of H. has begun. He was called upon at his hotel by the police, requested to go to headquarters
(but not arrested), and we understand that his case is now before the minister of justice. Whatever may be the
final outcome, Humphries comments upon the reasonable courtesy shown him, contrasting it with the ferocity
of the Red raids in America.
He found that at detective headquarters they knew of some of his outgoing letters and telegrams.
I was interested in your favorable comment upon the Krassin interview of Tobenken’s (you do not mention the
Litvinoff one), because I had to fight like a demon with L. to get the opportunities for Tobenken. Through T.
arrived with a letter from Nuorteva, as also did Arthur Ruhl, L. brusquely turned down in less than one minute
the application T. was making to go into Russia, would hardly take time to hear him, saying it was impossible
to allow two correspondents from the same paper to enter Russia. He gave a visé to Ruhl, largely because of a
promise made last summer to Ruhl by L. Ruhl then went off to Reval, there to await the permission that L. had
cabled asking Moscow to give. Tobenken, a nervous, almost a broken man because of his turn down, stayed
here. I realized the mistake that had been made by the snap judgment, and started in on the job of getting it
changed. Cutting a long story short, I got him to Reval with a letter to Goukovsky from L. In the meantime
Moscow refused Ruhl, notwithstanding L’s visé. L. was maddened at affront to his visé, and insisted that it be
honored. It was, and Ruhl prepared to leave. Suddenly word came from Moscow to Ruhl revoking the
permission and to Litvinoff, saying that information had reached Moscow that Ruhl was in service of State
Department. At time of writing, both Tobenken and Ruhl are in Reval, stuck.
I told L. this morning of the boat leaving tomorrow and of the courier B. available, asked him if he had
anything to write to Martens, offered to take it in shorthand for him, but no, he said he had nothing to write
about that I might perhaps send duplicates of our recent cables to Martens.
Kameneff passed by here on a British destroyer en route to London, and didn’t stop off here at all, and Krassin
went direct from Stockholm. Of the negotiations, allied and Polish, and of the general situation you know
about as much as we do here. L’s negotiations with the Italians have finally resulted in establishing of mutual
representation. Our representative, Vorovsky, has already gone to Italy and their representative, M. Gravina, is
en route to Russia. We have just sent two ship loads of Russian wheat to Italy from Odessa.
Give my regards to the people of your circle that I know. With all good wishes to you.
The batch of letters you sent — 5 Cranbourne Road, Charlton cum Hardy, Manchester, has not yet arrived.
L’s recommendation to Moscow, since M. asked to move to Canada, is that M. should be appointed there, and
that N., after having some weeks in Moscow acquainting himself first hand, should be appointed
representative to America.
L. is sharply critical of the bureau for giving too easily visés and recommendations. He was obviously
surprised and incensed when B. reached here with contracts secured in Moscow upon strength of letters given
to him by M. The later message from M. evidently didn’t reach Moscow. What L. plans to do about it I don’t
know. I would suggest that M. cable in cipher his recommendation to L. in this matter. L. would have nothing
to do with B. here. Awkward situation may be created.
L. instanced also the Rabinoff recommendation.
Two envelopes, Mr. Kenneth Durant, 228 South Nineteenth Street, Philadelphia, Pa., U.S.A.
SOURCE: U.S. State Department Decimal File, 316-119-458/64.
NOTE: IDENTIFICATION OF INDIVIDUALS
William (Bill) L.
Soviet courier and agent. Operated Bobroff
Foreign Trading and Engineering Company
of Milwaukee. Invented the voting system
used in the Wisconsin Legilature.
Kenneth DURANT Aide to Colonel House; see text.
SHOEN Employed by International Oxygen Co.,
owned by Heller, a prominent financier and
EWER Soviet agent, reporter for London Daily
KLISHKO Soviet agent in Scandinavia
NUORTEVA Also known as Alexander Nyberg, first
Soviet representative in United States; see
Sir Basil THOMPSON Chief of British Intelligence
“H” Wilfred Humphries, associated with Martens
and Litvinoff, member of Red Cross in
KRASSIN Bolshevik commissar of trade and labor,
former head of Siemens-Schukert in Russia.
This letter suggests close ties between Bobroff and Durant.
DOCUMENT NO. 9
Memorandum referring to a request from Davison (Morgan partner) to Thomas Thacher (Wall Street attorney
associated with the Morgans) and passed to Dwight Morrow (Morgan partner), April 13, 1918.
The Berkeley Hotel, London
April 13th, 1918.
Hon. Walter H. Page,
American Ambassador to England,
Several days ago I received a request from Mr. H. P. Davison, Chairman of the War Council of the American
Red Cross, to confer with Lord Northcliffe regarding the situation in Russia, and then to proceed to Paris for
other conferences. Owing to Lord Northcliffe’s illness I have not been able to confer with him, but am leaving
with Mr. Dwight W. Morrow, who is now staying at the Berkeley Hotel, a memorandum of the situation
which Mr. Morrow will submit to Lord Northcliffe on the latter’s return to London.
For your information and the information of the Department I enclose to you, herewith, a copy of the
[sgd.] Thomas D. Thacher.
Lord Northcliffe had just been appointed director of propaganda. This is interesting in the light of William B.
Thompson’s subsidizing of Bolshevik propaganda and his connection with the Morgan-Rockefeller interests.
DOCUMENT NO. 10
This document is a memorandum from D.C. Poole, Division of Russian Affairs in the Department of State, to
the secretary of state concerning a conversation with Mr. M. Oudin of General Electric.
May 29, 1922
Mr. Oudin, of the General Electric Company, informed me this morning that his company feels that the time is
possibly approaching to begin conversations with Krassin relative to a resumption of business in Russia. I told
him that it is the view of the Department that the course to be pursued in this matter by American firms is a
question of business judgment and that the Department would certainly interpose no obstacles to an American
firm resuming operations in Russia on any basis which the firm considered practicable.
He said that negotiations are now in progress between the General Electric Company and the Allgemeine
Elektrizitats Gesellschaft for a resumption of the working agreement which they had before the war. He
expects that the agreement to be made will include a provision for cooperation of Russia.
DCP D.C. Poole
This is an important document as it relates to the forthcoming resumption of relations with Russia by an
important American company. It illustrates that the initiative came from the company, not from the State
Department, and that no consideration was given to the effect of transfer of General Electric technology to a
self-declared enemy. This GE agreement was the first step down a road of major technical transfers that led
directly to the deaths of 100,000 Americans and countless allies.