Dinner party at the Fields in Alexander Vassiliev’s Notes: Two Looks from the 1990s

A Look at the “Dinner party at the Fields” in Alexander Vassiliev’s Yellow Notebook #2 and in his 1996 Draft Manuscript, “The Sources in Washington”  

One of the recurrent themes in the heated debates which followed the publication in spring 2009 of  Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America, by John Earl Haynes, Harvey Klehr and Alexander Vassiliev, has been that, with the surfacing of Alexander Vassiliev’s notes on selected KGB files, the landmark Hiss Case is finally closed. This conclusion – and, in fact, the first chapter in the book – rests upon an assertion that Vassiliev’s notes provided “new details about Hiss’s relationship with Soviet intelligence.” 1

The earliest dated episode in Vassiliev’s corpus of evidence appears in Vassiliev’s notes on a few spring 1936 reports and communiqués from the file of Laurence Duggan, a State Department official and a long-time Soviet target and reluctant source. The notes on Duggan’s file now appear in Vassiliev’s Yellow Notebook #2. In 1999, summaries or verbatim citations of the same documents also appeared in The Haunted Wood 2, the first book based on Vassiliev’s notes.

How could this duplication occur, if Allen Weinstein, Vasiliev’s first American co-author, only had access to “sanitized summaries of major topics and themes” that Vassiliev had prepared for him in 1995 and1996? 3 Yet this limited access is all Weinsten had, according to Vassiliev’s second American co-authors, John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr.

The answer to this puzzle lies in one of the so-called “sanitized summaries” — Vassiliev’s dense, 240-page Russian manuscript, entitled The Sources in Washington (“Istochniki v Vashingtone”). According to an attached note, the manuscript was submitted to Allen Weinstein for translation in late 1996. 4 This manuscript was among draft chapters by Vassiliev that he had not submitted to the SVR declassification commission .

Let us see how “sanitized” Vassiliev’s 1996 account actually was – and whether his notes on the same documents add any important new details.

We should also see if Haynes and Klehr’s assertion, in their Provenance file posted on the Woodrow Wilson Center website, holds up – namely, that in Vassiliev’s “summaries” for Allen Weinstein, “with some exceptions, real names and identifying information about sources could not be disclosed, only their cover names, and certain matters could not be discussed at all.” Does this accord with Vassiliev’s 1996 account?

Vassiliev’s notes are reproduced here in the 2007 translation posted on the Woodrow Wilson Center website – and in the excerpts from Vassiliev’s draft manuscript that I translated from the Russian in the summer of 2007. Let’s compare the two.

Alexander Vassiliev, Yellow Notebook #2, pp. 4-7, translation of original notes from KGB archival files by Alexander Vassiliev (1993-1996). 5 Translated by Philip Redko, reviewed and edited by Alexander Vassiliev and John Earl Haynes (2007). Citing Archival # 36857 v. 1 “Prince” Laurence

Alexander Vassiliev, draft manuscript, The Sources in Washington, pp. 14-19, citing Archival No. 36857, vol.1; Laurence Duggan file. (Original in Russian, translation by Svetlana Chervonnaya, 2007.)

The same episode appears in The Haunted Wood (1999), pp. 5-8.

<The Sources in Washington manuscript> p. 14

The sympathies of Washington intellectuals towards the Soviet Union, CPUSA strength [in mid-1930s – S.Ch.], undoubtedly created favorable opportunities for the work of the NKVD and military intelligence. However, there was a reverse side of the coin: the sources of different residencies and “non-disclosed” [“neglasnye” – an opposite of “glasnyi,” which reminds one of l Gorbachov’s “Glasnost”] Communists who were providing information for the leadership of the CPUSA [and were] active in the same operational field, often came in contact not only in their official capacity, but also in intelligence work, which resulted in mutual disclosure [“rasshifrovka,” verbatim for decryption].

p. 4

p.23  Note from “Redhead” (appended to a letter dated 26.4.36).

“Our friend Ernst, the day before he left for Europe, related to me the following incident, of which he himself will give a detailed account to our friends overseas.

Roughly a week before his departure from Washington, he was approached by Alger Hiss. A. informed him that he is a Communist, that he has ties to an organization working for the Sov. Union; and that he is aware that Ernst has ties as well; however, he fears that they are not robust enough and that his knowledge is probably being misused. Then he bluntly proposed that Ernst give an account of the London conference. Because they are, as E. puts it, close friends, he did not refuse to discuss this topic with him, but he told Alger that he had already delivered a report on that conference. When A., whom, as you probably recall, I met through E., insisted that he would like to receive that report himself regardless, E. said that he would have to contact his “connections” and ask their advice. Within a day, having “thought it over,”

A. said that he would not insist on receiving the report himself, but that he will have to ask E. to speak with Larry and Helen about him and to tell them who he is and give him (A.) access to them. Once more, E. said that he had already established a connection with Larry and Helen, but A. insisted that E. would have to speak with them regardless, which E. did. He spoke with Larry about A., and of course about himself as well, telling him “in what situation they found themselves,” “that their main task at present is the defense of the Sov. Union,” etc., etc., and “that each of them has to use his advantageous position in order to provide assistance in this matter.” Larry seemed upset and frightened and said that he had not gone so far yet, that some time would pass before he would be able to take such an irrevocable step, and that he is still hoping to do some work of a conventional sort, reorganizing his department and trying to achieve some kind of results in this regard, etc. Obviously, judging by what E. said, he gave no promises and did not prod A. to take action of any kind; instead, he politely backed down. A. also asked E. a whole series of oth. quest-s, e.g., who would be his successor,12 what kind of a person he is, and whether E. would want to establish his connection with him. He also asked him to help him in getting into the State Department, which E. apparently did.

When I pointed out to E. what a terrible lack of discipline he had shown and what a danger he had created for the value of his use and for the whole enterprise by linking three people with each other, he acted as if he did not understand. He believed that “because A. had been the first to show his cards, he did not have a reason to keep everything secret, moreover, because A. had said that he “is doing this for ‘us’ and because he is living in Washington and therefore cannot meet with Larry more often than I myself can, and finally, because I intend to leave the country for a while, he thought the best thing would be to establish contact between them.”

pp. 14-16

In April 1936, “Redhead” wrote the following memo: “Our friend “Ernest” reported to me on the day prior to his departure for Europe the following story, about which he himself would  report to our friends while abroad.

Approximately a week before his departure from Washington, Alger Hiss [1] had approached him. Alger told him that he was a Communist, that he was connected with an organization working for the Soviet Union, and that he knew that “Ernest” also had connections, although he feared that they were not solid enough, [and] that his knowledge was being used inappropriately. Then he straightforwardly suggested that “Ernest” provide a report on the London conference. According to “Ernest,” since they were close friends he did not refuse to talk to him about this topic, but told Alger that he had already made a report on the conference. When Alger, whom, as you may perhaps remember, I met through “Ernest,” insisted that he would still like to receive this report, “Ernest” stated that he would have to contact his “connections” and ask for their advice.

In a day, having thought it over, Alger said that he would not insist upon the receipt of this report, but that he would have to ask “Ernest” to talk to Larry and Helen about him, to tell them who he was and to give him (Alger) access to them. “Ernest” again said that he had already established contact with Larry and Helen, but Alger insisted that, this notwithstanding, “Ernest” should talk to them again, which “Ernest” did. He talked to Larry about Alger and, of course, about himself, having told him “in what situation they found themselves” and “that the major task at present was the defense of the Soviet Union,” etc., [and] that each of them should use his favorable situation for the purpose of providing assistance in this respect.” Larry seemed distraught, frightened, and said that he had not gone that far, that it would take some time before he would be able to take this final step, that he still hoped to do certain work in the normal way, to reorganize his department, to try to achieve some results in this respect, etc. It is obvious, according to “Ernest”’s own account, that he has not made any promises, had not encouraged Alger [to take] any action, but, more likely, has politely stepped back. Alger also asked “Ernest” a whole series of other questions, for instance, who would be his successor, [and] whether “Ernest” would like to establish contact with him. He also asked him to help him get into the Department of State, which “Ernest” obviously has done.

When I pointed out to “Ernest” what a terrible breach of discipline he had committed, how he had jeopardized the advisability of his [own] use and all [our] work by connecting these three people, he seemed not to understand anything. He assumed that “since Alger was the first to show his cards, he had no reason to keep it all  secret;” besides, since Alger said that “he was doing this for ‘us,’ and since he lived in Washington and for this reason could not meet Larry more often than I myself [could], and, finally, since I was going to leave the country for some time, he thought that it would be best  to establish contact between them.” (Ibid., p. 23).

pp. 4-5

p.21 Letter from “Nord” dated 26.4.36

A. Hiss – “Jurist,” Ernst = “17” (a prominent attorney in Washington)

p. 22 “The outcome is that ‘17’ and Hiss have, in effect, been completely deprived of their cover before ‘19.’ Evidently, ‘19’ also clearly understands the identity of ‘Redhead.’ And more than a couple of months ago, Redhead and Hiss also got exposed to each other.

Helen Boyd – ‘19’s’ wife, having been present at almost all of these meetings and discussions, is undoubtedly clued in as well, and now knows as much as ‘19’ himself…

I think that in light of this incident, we should not accelerate the cultivation of ‘19’ and his wife. It seems that apart from us, the persistent Hiss will continue his initiative in that direction.

19’s wife will be arriving in NY any day now. Redhead will meet her here for a purely friendly meeting. Upon 17’s departure from Washington, Helen expressed a great desire to see Redhead again. It is possible that Helen will tell Redhead about her husband’s frame of mind.”

p. 16

Informing Moscow about this unpleasant story on April 26 1936, Bazarov wrote: “The result was that ‘17’ and Hiss have, in fact, been openly deciphered [“rasshifrovany] before ‘19’. ‘19’ probably clearly understands ‘Redhead’’s nature. And ‘Redhead’ and Hiss have deciphered  themselves [revealed their true nature – S.Ch.]to each other more than two months ago.

“Helen Boyd – the wife of ‘19’, who was present at almost all these meetings and conversations, is undoubtedly also aware of all this business and now knows as much as ‘19th’ himself…

“I think that after this incident we should not force the cultivation of ‘19’ and his wife. It is possible that besides us, the persistent Hiss will continue his initiative in that direction.

The wife of ‘“19th’ is coming to New York one of these days. ‘Redhead’ will meet her here in a purely friendly way. On the departure of ‘ “17th’ from Washington, Helen expressed a great desire to see ‘Redhead’ again. It is possible that Helen will tell ‘Redhead’ about her husband’s mood.” (Ibid., p. 22)

p. 5

p.24 C – to NY 3.5.36

“We fail to see for what reason Redhead met with ‘Jurist.’ As we understand it, this took place after our directive stipulating that ‘Jurist’ is the neighbors’ man and that it is necessary to stay away from him. Experiments of this sort could have undesirable consequences.

We strongly urge you to arrange it so that none of your people undertakes anything without your consent. This applies in particular to Redhead, bearing in mind her shortcomings, as manifested in her ‘impetuousness.’

Now for the question – how to get out of this mess. 17 departed, this isolates him to a certain extent, and Jurist will gradually forget about him.

Now with regard to how to save 19 and his wife. 19 could be of interest, considering his position in the ‘Surrogate’; his wife as well, considering her connections. To refuse to cultivate them means going down the path of least resistance. Therefore it is essential that we skillfully smooth over the emerging situation and steer both of them away from Jurist.

As a last resort, 19 could say that ‘he is helping the local fellowcountrymen and that the latter suggested to him that he not get involved with anyone else.’

We are to blame for the fact that 17, being already our agent, was left in the hands of Redhead, who is ill-suited to handle either an agent or even herself.”

(Notation on the margin: «Surrogate» –Department of State)

pp. 16-17

Naturally, the Center did not like the whole story, however, it thought that the cultivation of  “19th” should be continued. On May 3, 1936, the Center wrote:

“We do not understand the motives behind ‘Redhead’’s meeting with ‘Jurist’. As we understand, this took place after our instructions that ‘Jurist’ was the neighbors’ man, and that he should be kept at a distance. Such experiments may produce unfavorable results.

We strongly suggest that you establish a procedure whereby none of your people will take any steps without your knowledge. This is especially true in the case of ‘Redhead,’ in view of her drawbacks, which are evident in her impulsiveness [outbursts].

The question now is how to get out of this tangled web. ‘17 ’ has left, and this isolates him to some extent, and ‘Jurist’ will gradually forget about him.

“Now, on how to save ‘19’ and his wife. ‘19 ’ may be of interest, considering his position at the ‘Surrogate,’ (15);  his wife as  well, considering her connections. To refuse to cultivate them is taking the path of least resistance. Hence, we think it is necessary to cleverly smooth the resulting situation and steer them both away from ‘Jurist.’

“As a last resort, ‘19’ might say that he ‘was assisting the local compatriots, and that the latter have suggested that he not contact anyone else.’

“It is our fault that ‘17,’ who had already been our agent, was left in the custody of ‘Redhead,’ who is unable to educate not only an agent, but [even] herself.” (Ibid., p. 24.)

Vassiliev’s footnote (15) is illegible. “Surrogate” was an earlier name for the Department of State. [In the 1940s, it was called “Bank.”]

pp. 5-6

p.25 Letter from Jung dated 18.5.36

““Redhead” met “Jurist” on only one occasion during the entire time of her stay in this country, in the winter. She went to this meeting at the behest of Cde. Nord. After you informed us that he (i.e., “Jurist”) has ties with the neighbors, we did not meet with him…

After meeting with “Redhead” and speaking with her in our 17’s apartment, “J.” no doubt informed his superiors about the meeting. By random coincidence, an operative at our fraternal organization, who is connected to “Jurist,” knew “Redhead” well since the time that the latter was connected with the fraternal line. When it proved absolutely necessary, we occasionally went through “Redhead” to solicit help from this fraternal operative, who is known to us as “Peter.” This “Peter” is the same fraternal operative whom I described to you orally when I was home. When the need arises for us in cases involving only certificates of naturalization, we resort to this “Peter” for help.

This same Peter, during one of his rare meetings with “Redhead,” said the following: “In Wash-n you stumbled across my buddy (meaning “Jurist”), you had better keep your hands off him, etc…” And apparently Peter, when suggesting in turn to “Jurist” that he not develop ties with Redhead, handled it rather ineptly, i.e., in such a way that Jurist more or less understood “Redhead’s” identity.

p. 17

The circumstances of the meeting between “Redhead” and “Jurist” were ascertained by Iskhak Akhmerov in his letter from 18 May, 1936: “‘Redhead’ had met ‘Jurist’ only once during the entire time of her stay in this country, and this took place in winter. She went to that meeting with c.[omrade] Nord’s knowledge. After you had informed us that [‘Jurist’] has a contact [“svyaz’] with the neighbors, we did not see him, that is ‘Jurist’…. After his meeting with ‘Redhead’ in the apartment of our ‘17th’ and a conversation with her, ‘Jurist’ no doubt informed his superiors about this meeting. By coincidence, a worker from a fraternal organization, who is connected with ‘Jurist,’ had known ‘Redhead’ well since the time when the latter was connected with the fraternal line. We sometimes, in case of urgent need, turn to this fraternal worker [bratskij rabotnik], who is known to us as ‘Peter,’ for  assistance, approaching him through ‘Redhead.’ This ‘Peter’ is that very fraternal worker about whom I reported to you orally back at home. In case of need we resort to the assistance of this ‘Peter,’ solely in cases concerning certificates of naturalization.

“This is the same ‘Peter’ who, during one of his rare meetings with ‘Redhead,’ told her: ‘If in Washington you have come across my guy (meaning ‘Jurist’), you had better not lay your hand on him, etc….’ Probably ‘Peter,’ when urging ‘Jurist,’ in his turn, not to develop contact with ‘Redhead,’, did it in a clumsy way, so that ‘Jurist’ more or less understood the nature of  ‘Redhead.’” (Ibid., p. 25).

p. 6

p.27 Jung – C 18.05.36

“In connection with your directive to proceed with the cultivating of 19 and his wife, we for the time being have delayed Redhead’s departure to her husband’s house.13 19’s wife and Redhead had a meeting on 16 May of this year. The meeting did not move beyond more or less friendly discussions about general topics. She invited Redhead to Washington at the end of the week. In about a week, Redhead will visit them for a few days in order to move theiracquaintance to a more concrete level.”

p. 17

At that time, Hede Gumpertz was already about to return to Europe to her husband, but Bazarov had kept her in America in connection with the Center’s instructions to continue the cultivation of “19th.” On May 16, she met with Helen Boyd, but the conversation did not go beyond general topics. Nonetheless, Helen again invited “Redhead” to visit them in Washington, and in a couple of weeks Hede Gumperz accepted the invitation, “with the purpose of promoting this acquaintance into something more concrete.” (Ibid., p. 27).

pp. 6-7

p.30 Report by “Nord” regarding the trip to “19”.

“After a discussion about different matters regarding the countries in his department (the same matters that were given to Redhead to demonstrate to 19 an interest in matters pertaining to his sphere of work), 19 reported that around a week before this visit he had been approached by a certain Fred Field (from the Foreign Policy Association), who had been a schoolmate of his, asking him to provide him regularly with information both polit. and other.

(A short note about Fred Field, compiled by Redhead, was sent to you in the past. He is a very wealthy man who follows polit. matters. Apparently, he belongs to the “Washington group of leftists”).

Prior to his visit, “Jurist” called 19 and asked him to receive Field and speak with him. (Jurist knows “19” through the capital’s circle of supporters of “New Deal” policies.) 19 informed Redhead that he had not given Field any sort of reply and was putting it aside until her arrival (of which 19 was informed ahead of time)…

19 then reported that he would favor not having a connection with Field, not because it would be more secure, but because he, by being linked directly with us (he identified our country by name), can be of greater value. 19 further reported that overall his line of action is completely clear to him and that the only thing that induces him to stay in a job he despises in the department, having to wear a dinner jacket for 2 weeks at a time when attending a reception every evening (with nearly 20 countries in his division), is the notion of being useful to our cause. He reported that he is not quite firm in the saddle yet and does not yet have access to everything. Many envy his extraordinary career, a career highly unusual for one of his age (he is 32-33), but after several months he will consolidate his position.

It is true that he is widely known as a liberal and a typical New Dealer and that his family is known for its liberalism. But this is not a problem. To be on the safe side, he asked that we meet with him once a month and would very much like our man to make shorthand notes of the meetings. He is unable to give us documents for now, but later, apparently, he will manage it. In addition to English, he knows Spanish. He asked that his wife not be told about his work, and demonstrated an understanding of the techniques of liaison…

For the liaison with 19, I am assigning “Granite,” who knows the lingo but has no experience of any sort. If he can find the right tone – we will preserve the connection. If he cannot – I will try to back away gracefully until such time that we are able to assign 19 to a different operative.

Jung is busy with “13” and must always be prepared to replace me in Wash-ton on all my lines, in close conjunction with “10”.

p.31 Report dated 13.7.36

““Redhead” left for Paris and no longer works in Nord’s division.”

pp. 17-18

Bazarov reported [the following] to Moscow on  “Redhead”’s trip to the Duggans’: “After conversation about various matters regarding the countries in his department (pursuant to the [list of] questions given to ‘Redhead’ to demonstrate  to ‘19’ an interest in his field of activity), ‘19’ said that approximately a week before this visit, he had been approached by one Fred Field (from the Foreign Policy Association), who had been a school friend and who asked him to provide information of both a political and other nature on a regular basis.

“(Concerning Fr. Field we sent you a brief memo in the past, compiled by ‘Redhead.’ This is a very rich man, involved in political issues. Probably, he belongs to the ‘Washington group of leftists.’)

“Prior to his visit, ‘Jurist’ telephoned ‘19’ and asked the latter to receive Field and to talk to him. (‘Jurist’ knows ‘19’ from a circle [study group] of defenders of New Deal policies in the capital.) ‘19’ told ‘Redhead’ that he had not given any reply to Field and was postponing [that] until her arrival (about which ‘19th’ had been informed beforehand)…

“ ‘19’ further said that his preference is not to be in contact with Field,  not because it would be more secure, but because, if directly in contact with us (he named our country by name), he might be more useful. ‘19’ went on to report that in general his line [of action] is crystal clear to him, that the only thought that keeps him in his job at the Department, of which he is sick and tired, when for 2 weeks running he does not take off a tuxedo, attending receptions daily (he has almost 20 countries in his department) — is the thought of being of use to our cause. He said that he was not quite steady in the saddle yet and that he did not yet have access to everything. Many envy his extraordinary career, so unusual at his age (he is 32-33 years old), but in a few months he will establish himself in his position.

“True, he is widely known as a liberal, as a typical New Dealer, and his family is known for its liberalism. However, this is not a problem. For  purposes of security, he asked that we meet with him once a month, and he would very much like our man to be able to take shorthand notes. At this point he cannot give us documents yet, but he might manage to do that later. “Besides English, he knows Spanish. “He asked us not to tell his wife anything about his work, and showed an understanding of communication techniques. …

“I am detailing ‘Granite’as a contact with ‘19,’ who knows the language but has no experience. If he manages to find the right tone, we’ll maintain this contact. If not – I’ll try to carefully retreat until [there is a chance] to transfer ‘19’ to another worker.” (Ibid., p. 30).

The pseudonym “Granite” belonged to a beginner “illegal” named Norman Borodin, who had lived in the US as George Ryan. Being very busy, the more experienced Iskhak Akhmerov could not take on Laurence Duggan as a contact, and Heda Gumpertz left for Paris in summer 1936. (Ibid., p. 31).

p. 34

p.258 Report by “Granite” (Norman Borodin) dated 8.03.48

“The story of agent 19’s recruitment is as follows: Around the end of 1935 or the beginning of 1936 (I can’t remember the exact date), agent “Redhead” gave us a lead on her acquaintance, ‘19’, telling us that he was sympathetic toward the Soviet Union and the American Comparty. She agreed with him that the Communist George Ryan (George Ryan) would come to Washington from NY to discuss, or rather, receive information about the situation in the State Dep., where he was working at the time as Chief of the Latin American Division. After some hesitation, 19 agreed to meet once. I left for Washington soon after, along with the station chief, ‘Nord’.

p. 19

By all appearances, G. [sic in Russian – S.Ch.] Gumpertz, reporting to Bazarov on her conversation with Duggan, or Bazarov, informing Moscow about it, had overestimated Laurence’s readiness to cooperate with Soviet intelligence. Norman Borodin learned this first hand, for in his reference dated March 8, 1948, he would describe his first meetings with “19th” in the following way: “The story of the recruitment of agent ‘19’ is the following: approximately in late 1935 or early 1936 (I do not remember the exact date), agent ‘Redhead’ gave us a talent- spotting of her acquaintance – ‘19’ — telling us that he feels sympathy for the Soviet Union and the American CP. She arranged with him that Communist George Ryan would come to him from New York to talk, or, more precisely, to consult on the situation at the Department of State, where  he worked at that time as head of the Latin-American department.

pp 9-10

p.49 “Nord” – C 28.11.36

[Sent the SD directory published in November ’36.] “It lists officials up to and including “officers.” This is why 12 is  not in it. You will find 11 at the start of the directory, along with 19 and a great many of our “correspondents”… You will not find the neighbors’ “Jurist” in the photograph directory because he has worked there only since September. “19” reported that J. is the one who has everything important from every division on his desk, and must be one of the best-informed people at the Surrogate.”

p.51    Letter from “Nord” dated 29.11.36

“19” conscientiously gives what he can. However, as of now this does not amount to very much and indeed is very, very little. … In a past mailing (through Carmen), we sent you a long list of talent spottings given to us by “19”. In today’s mail we are sending the first supplement to it. It seems to me that some of these talent spottings could lead to valuable people. However, we need a suitable recruiting agent. We don’t have one. There was “Jurist” (they didn’t have him), but the neighbors snatched him up, as you informed us. (Indeed, if we had J-st, no one else would really be needed). …

p. 24

In late November, Bazarov sent to the Center the newly printed State Department Directory with his [Bazarov’s] note, “It lists employees up to and including ‘officers.’ For this reason, you won’t find ‘12th there. You will find ‘11th’ in the beginning of the Directory, as well as ‘19th’ and many of our correspondents.” (Ibid., p. 49)

Bazarov went on to write, “ ‘19’ is honestly providing what he can. However, thus far, it is very little, in fact, very, very little. … In the last mail (via ‘Carmen’), we sent you a long list of orientations [“ustanovki”, that is, talent spottings] – data from ‘19.’ With this mail, we are sending you an addition to it. It seems to me, that some of these spottings [“navodok”] might lead to valuable people. However, we need a suitable recruiter. And we do not have one. There used to be ‘Jurist’ – suitable, but the neighbors snatched him, as you reported. (With ‘Jurist’ on board, there would be no particular need for any others.) …  (Ibid., p. 51.)

I have no explanation for the absence in Vassiliev’s non-sanitized draft manuscript of the report that  “the neighbors’s ‘Jurist’” is missing from the [State Department’s] photograph directory. In Vassiliev’s draft, the wording “Bazarov went on to write,” follows immediately after his archival citation – without any parenthesis that would have indicated a textual omission.

Would Vassiliev have omitted such damning evidence from his draft, which was not supposed to go through any declassification commission? This seems particularly strange in view of Vassiliev’s admission, in his introduction to Spies, that during his first meeting with Allen Weinstein in the fall of 1993, Weinstein gave him Perjury, his 1978 book on the Hiss-Chambers case, and asked him “to be on the lookout for Alger Hiss and Whittaker Chambers in the files.” Which Vassiliev “promised to do.”

A quick answer may be that Vassiliev had already begun writing his manuscript in London, without access to his “source” notes, [which he later claimed were still in Russia.] But if that was the case, how did he manage to cite his notes on the documents almost verbatim, with practically no omissions?

[1] Vassiliev’s footnote (12) – illegible

  1. Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America, by John Earl Haynes, Harvey Klehr and Alexander Vassiliev, Yale University Press, 2009, p. 1.
  2. The Haunted Wood: Soviet Espionage in America – The Stalin Era, by Allen Weinstein and Alexander Vassiliev. New York: Random House, 1999, pp. 5-8, 10.
  3. “Alexander Vassiliev’s Notebooks: Provenance and Documentation of Soviet Intelligence Activities in the United States,” http://www.wilsoncenter.org/topics/docs/VassilievNotebooks_Web_intro_Final1.pdf
  4. The manuscript was discovered by Jeff Kisseloff in May 2007 at the Archive of the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace at Stanford University.
  5. In fact, Vassiliev’s Russian draft manuscript was translated by Julia Astashkina around Dec. 1996 or Jan. 1997, a fact that is  clear from her fax of Jan. 2, 1997 to Allen Weinstein, in the Weinstein Papers, Hoover Archive.