Duggan, Laurence Hayden (1905–1948)

Duggan (right) with Edward Stettinius

A U.S. State Department official from 1930 to 1944 who was later accused of being an agent of the Soviet NKVD foreign intelligence from the mid-1930s to the mid-1940s.

Duggan was born in New York in 1905 to Stephen P. Duggan, Sr., professor of political science at the College of the City of New York, who was one of the founders of the Institute of International Education (IIE) in 1919 and served as its first president. An American internationalist who said that he “was born interested in international affairs,” Stephen Duggan also served as director of the Council on Foreign Relations from 1921 to 1950 and described himself in an autobiography as “a professor at large.” 1 He was also a man of many causes, speaking out “against Fascism, and the Japanese military presence in China; for academic freedom, and opening to the Soviet Union; an active opponent of U.S. policy in the Caribbean and South America.” “A high-profile figure in peace movement circles,” the senior Duggan was also an early backer of Franklin Roosevelt and in New Deal days would often “round off a Washington trip with visits to the President and Secretary of State Cordell Hull.” 2

Laurence Duggan grew up in a home where, according to his younger brother, Stephen, “you couldn’t be brought up… without being reminded of social issues.” Stephen Duggan, Sr. – “a reformer, a passionate believer in human betterment, noblesse oblige, the duty of the educated to change the world” – was a major influence on his children. 3 Laurence studied at the Phillips Exeter Academy and then at Harvard University, from which he graduated in 1927. Soon after, he was sent by his father on a tour of Latin America to organize scholarly and professional exchange programs. Widely traveled and fluent in Spanish, Duggan grew into a stubborn critic of U.S. policy in Latin America, like his father – and developed a personal commitment to improve hemisphere relations. This was the background with which Duggan came to Washington, D.C. in 1930 to join the Division of American Republics Affairs of the U.S. Department of State, where he was one of the youngest career officers at that time. Here is how Duggan was recalled by Noel Field, his friend from the early 1930s:

Laurence Duggan, my best and almost only friend … was one of the many left oriented idealists who were giving shape to the “New Deal” policies in its early years. Almost every department was bubbling over with these “Bolsheviks”, as the staff called them. The State Department was the only agency that was free of them – except for two or three people with Duggan prominent among them. He began as a drafting officer in the Latin America division and later on became its head…. Partly under my influence, Duggan quickly developed to the left. … Nevertheless, as far as I know, Duggan had never made the final step….” 4

By “never [making] the final step,” Noel Field meant not joining the Communist Party. Duggan did reportedly vote for the Communist ticket in the 1932 elections and also took part in some left-wing activities together with his friend, Noel Field.

Beginning his State Department career as a drafting officer, Duggan advanced rapidly – to a large extent due to his talents (a contemporary report described him as “quietly brilliant” 5), but partly also due to the protection of Sumner Welles. Welles was President Roosevelt’s most trusted advisor on Latin America and became Under-Secretary of State in 1937. From 1937 to 1944, Duggan was the chief of the Division of American Republics Affairs, which oversaw diplomatic relations with Central and South America. He was credited with being one of the chief conduits of the “Good Neighbor” policy, which was developed in the 1930s by the Roosevelt administration to distance the United States from its earlier interventionist policies in Central and Southern America. 6 In the 1940s, Duggan advocated economic nationalism for the Latin American countries, which he saw as “the common denominator of the new aspirations for industrialization…” and the “policies designed to bring about a broader distribution of wealth and to raise the standard of living of the masses.” 7

In July 1944, Duggan resigned from the Department of State. According to one account, his resignation shocked his division staff – “he was their friend, leader, guide and memory.” 8 Duggan moved to the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA), where he became a deputy of the Assistant Secretary General. In 1946 (by some accounts, early 1947), Duggan became the president of his father’s brainchild, the Institute of International Education, where he committed himself to private cultural diplomacy. Duggan advocated international cultural and educational exchange as a form of cooperation between nations – to facilitate mutual understanding, which would overcome racial, national and religious barriers. He also supported the idea of allocating a number of stipends for students from the Soviet Union. 9

Then, on December 20, 1948, Duggan “fell, leaped or was pushed to his death” from the window of his sixteenth-floor office at 2 West 45th Street in New York. 10 According to a contemporary account, when Duggan’s “body was found around 7 p.m. he was wearing one overshoe. The other was later found in his office, along with his hat, coat, Christmas cards, letters referring to future engagements, and an airplane ticket to Washington for the next day.” On the basis of an examination of Duggan’s office, the New York police concluded that Duggan’s death was an accident caused by his struggle with an overshoe. 11 At the time, Duggan was writing an annual review of his Institute’s work, which was marked with references to “a sick world” and “a world of gloom.” 12 Sumner Welles, his former patron at the Department of State, publicly praised Duggan as “one of most brilliant, most devoted, and most patriotic public servants” whom he had ever known. 13

As we now know, Duggan’s tragic death was the culmination of the drama of his life. According to the notes on KGB foreign intelligence files taken from early 1994 to early 1995 by the former KGB intelligence officer and journalist, Alexander Vassiliev (during his research for what was to become a Russian-American collaborative book on the history of the Soviet espionage in America) Duggan was spotted in 1934 by the “legal” station of the OGPU foreign intelligence (INO) in Washington, D.C. Latin America was then a low priority for the Soviets; the interest in Duggan mostly originated with the idea that he could facilitate an approach to the officials of the European desk of the State Department, particularly its informational officer, Noel Field, who was Duggan’s friend. 14

A year passed, but the legal resident in Washington, Peter Gutzeit, was unable to make contact with Duggan. Not until late 1935 did the Soviets finally manage to contact Duggan – through an agent of their “illegal” station, “Redhead”, aka Hede Gumperz, who would later become known as Hede Massing. Several more months passed before the Soviet “illegals” finally attempted to recruit Duggan through their young operative, “Granite,” aka Norman Borodin.  Duggan turned out to be a reluctant target: it took “Granite” several more months before the Soviets could report to Moscow their hope that Duggan, by that time assigned his first cover name, “19th,” could be of help in checking the reliability of their long-term agent, “Leo.”

By all accounts, Duggan began in late 1936 sharing information with his contact, a native English speaker who lived in the United States under the name of George Ryan. According to Vassiliev’s notes, in July 1937, at the height of the Stalinist purges in the Red Army, Duggan had second thoughts and announced his break with the Soviets, explaining that he did not want to work for a country he did not understand. According to Vassiliev’s notes, the Soviets took great pains to solicit Duggan’s cooperation. After the recent promotion of his patron, Sumner Welles, to Under-Secretary of State, Duggan’s potential significance in the eyes of Moscow increased. He was no longer considered an auxiliary source, but the central target at the Department of State. 15

Here is exactly what I heard in 2002 from the retired KGB Lt.-General Vitaly Pavlov: “The interest in Duggan was due to the fact that he enjoyed trust and support of the Under-Secretary of State Welles.” General Pavlov knew the story first-hand, as the case officer who was responsible for operations in the United States from 1939 to mid-1942. He also heard it second-hand from Iskhak Akhmerov, the “illegal resident” in New York from 1937 to 1939. In early 1940, upon his return to Moscow from the United States, Akhmerov gave Pavlov a detailed account of his sources. 16 In view of Duggan’s increased potential usefulness to the Soviets, Akhmerov took over the meetings with Duggan — and managed, if not to overcome the latter’s “hesitations,” at least to control them. Like other Americans who came in contact with Akhmerov in the 1930s and from 1942 to 1945, Duggan did not know him as a Soviet, but as an American Communist who introduced himself as Alexander Hansen.

In December of 1937, Duggan again announced his decision to cease contact with Soviet intelligence, viewing the continued purges in the Soviet Union as a sign that something was fundamentally wrong with the Soviet system. To Akhmerov, the only way to convince Duggan to continue cooperating was to strengthen their personal relationship. Still, no efforts could change Duggan’s reluctance, and in early March 1938, he requested a break in his contact with Akhmerov. Duggan met Akhmerov again on June 1, 1938 – only to request another break for several months. According to Vassiliev’s notes, in September 1938 Duggan handed over to Akhmerov two State Department reports: a memorandum on “Italian fascist and German Nazi activity in the American Republics” and a memorandum on the economic competition between the United States and Germany in South America. To judge from Vassiliev’s notes, this input from Duggan was considered of major significance, and its translation was sent to Stalin, Molotov and Voroshilov.

Soon afterwards, Duggan made a break in his meetings with “Hansen” until late April 1939. At their next meeting, he asked to prolong the break between their meetings – referring to increased security measures at the Department of State and his lack of access to documents on European and Far Eastern affairs. The only information Duggan provided during that meeting was an oral reference on the newly appointed U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union, Laurence Steinhardt. Akhmerov would next meet Duggan on October 2, 1939 – only to hear the latter’s request to cease contact permanently. Akhmerov could do nothing but thank Duggan for his assistance in the past. According to the report Akhmerov sent to Moscow, they parted as “close friends.” But it is clear that the Soviet resident was unable to convince Duggan of the absence of a basis for his fears that he had been “turned in” “by some traitor in the chain.” In retrospect, Duggan’s contacts with Soviet intelligence in the 1930s look ambivalent, and his cooperation looks reluctant and continuously coerced, although in a friendly manner. 17

In early November 1940, the New York operatives learned from the New York Times about Duggan’s appointment as an assistant to Secretary of State Cordell Hull, and Moscow Center decided to try to resume contact with him. When approached on behalf of “Hansen,” Duggan arranged to meet the Moscow envoy at the very public Cosmos Club, which was across the street from the White House – only to reaffirm the break. However, the task of resuming contact with Duggan was high on Moscow Center’s agenda, particularly after the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941. According to General Pavlov, who had by then become the head of the division which oversaw operations in the Americas, with the Soviet Union fighting for its life against the Nazi attack, the Soviets felt it urgent to return Akhmerov to the United States – in order to resume contact with those assets from the late 1930s who had potential access to intelligence on Nazi Germany. With respect to Duggan, Moscow was particularly interested in obtaining information on Nazi economic activities in South America, including the deliveries of strategic supplies to Germany – “with a view toward organizing subversive operations on the communication lines by which the Nazis delivered strategic raw materials to Europe.” 18

According to Vassiliev’s notes, in late February 1942 Akhmerov managed to contact “19th”, who did not refuse to assist Soviet intelligence, but said that he had no means of helping out at the present time. Akhmerov solicited occasional meetings, which turned out to be very scarce in number, due to Duggan’s obvious reluctance. Despite his failure to involve Duggan in cooperation, Akhmerov continued to think highly of him. Here is one of his reports, which appears in Vassiliev’s notes:

He is a sincere and progressive American. He feels compassion to us, understanding our role in this war, but, simultaneously, he is a one hundred per cent American patriot. His mind has been formed by his long work in putting into life American influence on their [southern] neighbors. He is not a compatriot and not a paid probationer [“stazher”, a cover name for an agent – S. Ch.]; he quite obviously does not want to risk his position. …” 19

Still, Moscow persisted, and in late 1942 it instructed Akhmerov to exert moral pressure on Duggan. According to Vassiliev’s reading of Duggan’s file, Moscow did not resort to “rude psychological pressure, nor to threats of compromising [Duggan]: it only appealed to Duggan’s feelings and mood, which had once precipitated his cooperation with the Soviet intelligence: his hatred of the Nazis and his principal disagreement with pro-German feeling high officials in Washington, D.C.” According to Vassiliev, even that pressure was unacceptable to Akhmerov. Here is what the latter wrote in protest to Moscow in early 1943:

You know that he is neither a compatriot nor a paid probationer. He is a deeply honorable and progressive American. He used to assist and is assisting us out of his understanding that we are the advance guard of the progressive humanity. He has not taken a single kopeck from us. Our personal friendship has played a significant role in our relationship…

Any hint (however vague and diplomatic) that his ties to us have been firm and that, by agreeing to work for us he has assumed certain obligations, will let him understand which way the wind is blowing [i.e, what we are driving at. – S.Ch.].

Thus far, my only method of work with him has been [exerting] serious political and educational influence: … an expression of our sincere gratitude, influencing his consciousness in the direction of assisting us in a more active way, as well as developing our personal friendship. I hope that we will be able to win him in this manner.” 20

Despite all Akhmerov’s efforts, Duggan continued to avoid cooperation: according to Vassiliev’s notes, during his infrequent meetings with Akhmerov, Duggan sometimes provided oral information, which proved to be of no interest. [21. Ibid., p. 55.] His resignation from the State Department in July 1944 was a total surprise to the Soviets; soon after, the connection with him was lost and never resumed.

Vassiliev’s excerpted notes on the Laurence Duggan file shatter the consensus that developed following the release of the Venona documents – the Soviet World War II-period intelligence communiqués that were intercepted and partially decrypted in the course of the Venona operation. The Venona translators identified Duggan behind the cover names “Frank,” “Sherwood” and “Prince,” which appeared in nine partially decrypted cables from 1943 and 1944. Reading these fragmentary decryptions at face value, some historians have hastened to seal the case of Duggan’s continuous espionage in the 1940s. For example, here are historians John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr in their 1999 book, Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America:

Deciphered Venona cables provide ample evidence that Duggan continued cooperation with Soviet espionage into the 1940s. Nine cables from 1943 and 1944 show Duggan reporting to Soviet intelligence officers about Anglo-American plans for the invasion of Italy, consideration of invasion of Nazi-occupied Norway (a plan later cancelled), secret discussions regarding a common Anglo-American policy toward Middle Eastern oil resources. 21

Ten years later, in a new book, this time based on Vassiliev’s notes and entitled, Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America, Haynes and Klehr repeated this conclusion almost verbatim:

Duggan continued to provide the KGB with American diplomatic information, reporting on Anglo-American plans for the invasion of Italy, consideration of an invasion of Nazi-occupied Norway, U.S. diplomatic approaches to Argentina’s military government, and secret discussions regarding a common Anglo-American policy toward Middle-Eastern oil resources. But the volume was not as much as he had provided in the late 1930s and never as much as Moscow Center wanted. 22

Haynes and Klehr’s 2009 account was based entirely on their 1999 reading of the Venona decryptions – and was not affected at all by the absence of any factual corroboration in Vassiliev’s notes. In substantiation of the statement quoted above, they cited from “a retrospective report” by Vassily Zarubin, the NKGB resident in New York from January 1942 to August 1944, “on his tenure as New York station chief.” Here is how Haynes and Klehr’s citation from Zarubin’s profile of “19th” compares to the profile as it appears in Alexander Vassiliev’s original Russian notes:

SPIES: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America, p. 242 .Ref. to: Zarubin to Merkulov, “Memorandum (on the station’s work in the country),” September 30, 1944, Alexander Vassiliev, White Notebook #1, p. 13. Alexander Vassiliev, White Notebook #1, p. 13 (Cited from Vassiliev’s Russian original, translated by S. Chervonnaya.)
When he returned to Moscow in 1944, Vasily Zarubin, in a retrospective report on his tenure as New York station chief, judged that during the 1942-44 period Duggan “verbally provided a certain amount of occasionally interesting information, but not much, not complete enough and in most cases not on his own initiative, but by way of responses to questions that had been posed to him.” “In outward appearance, “19th” showed a good attitude to us. Verbally provided some information, [which was] sometimes of interest, but, scarce, 23 not complete enough and in most cases not on his own initiative, but by way of responses to questions posed to him. It is absolutely obvious that “19th”, frightened once in the past, does not want to become our agent.” [Emphasis added. – S.Ch.]

When we compare the cited selection in Spies to Vassiliev’s original Russian notes on Laurence Duggan’s file, three things catch one’s eye:

1) Haynes and Klehr have turned the period of Zarubin’s tenure in the United States, 1942-1944, into a period when Duggan was providing verbal information, which, first, does not appear in Vassiliev’s notes on Zarubin’s report to Merkulov, and, second, is not true according to Vassiliev’s notes on Duggan’s file, which did not record a single occasion of Duggan’s meetings with his Soviet contact, Akhmerov, after 1943.

2) The English translation of Zarubin’s profile of “19th” is not careful enough in rendering Zarubin’s description of Duggan’s input, which makes it look more significant than in Vassiliev’s Russian original notes on Zarubin’s account.

3) Most importantly, Haynes and Klehr left out the last sentence in Zarubin’s profile of “19th”: “It is absolutely obvious that “19th”, frightened once in the past, does not want to become our agent.” Given that Zarubin wrote his profile in September 1944, after he had returned to Moscow, and, notably, months after the connection with Duggan was broken, this omission all but closes the case on the nature of Duggan’s contacts with Soviet intelligence in the 1940s.

But the problems do not end here, for the face-value reading of the Venona evidence of Duggan’s espionage falls apart when you attempt to put the decryptions into historical context. Let’s look at this new evidence in greater detail.

The earliest among the Venona communiqués, which are often cited as “ample evidence” of Duggan’s World War II-period espionage, is a partial decryption of a cable sent from New York to Moscow on June 30, 1943. The New York “illegal” resident “Mayor” (this was then Akhmerov’s cover name) gave an account of the recent oral report he had received from “Frank,” who was identified by Venona translators as Duggan. “Frank” had informed him that “in the near future” the United States and Great Britain “will land strong forces in Italy and on her islands with the aim of seizing the whole of Italy.” Another broken fragment of the same cable mentioned some information about the probability “for military operations in Norway” the next winter. 24

To anyone familiar with World War II-period correspondence between President Franklin Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin, this decryption rings immediate bells – it reminds one of Roosevelt’s message to Stalin on June 2, 1943, known as “the message on recently approved decisions.” Drafted in late May on the president’s instructions by his chief of staff, General Marshall, reviewed by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and edited by Roosevelt himself, the message informed Stalin in considerable detail about the decisions taken at Roosevelt and Churchill’s conference with the Allied Combined Chiefs of Staff in Washington, D.C. from May 15 to May 25, 1943, which is widely known under its code name, TRIDENT. The conference’s most historical decision was an agreement to postpone the invasion of France for a year, with a target date of May 1, 1944. Instead, the allies agreed to invade Italy in the near future, to knock it out of the war. They also discussed plans to invade Norway in winter and operations to assist China, to keep it in war at all costs. 25

Stalin received Roosevelt’s detailed message on June 4 – many weeks before the much vaguer report obtained from “Frank” had a chance to reach him. Judging by the dates on intelligence messages from the 1930s in the Stalin Papers, the route for correspondence usually took from about a week to a month. By the time “Frank”’s communication arrived, the information would have been terribly out of date – and of no intelligence value. Stalin was deeply disappointed with the delay in launching the allied invasion of France – and expressed his feelings in his message to Roosevelt on June 11. 26 To ease Stalin’s frustration, Winston Churchill sent him a detailed message on June 19, including the news about the Allied plans in Italy. 27 By any stretch of the imagination, Duggan’s relaying to his infrequent contact, “Alexander Hansen,” what had for a month been the subject of messages exchanged between the leaders of the United States, Great Britain and the Soviet Union, would not qualify as evidence of espionage — that is, conveying to an agent of a foreign government secret, confidential or restricted information “with knowledge or intent to harm the United States or to aid a foreign government.” 28

Coming soon: more about the context of the June 30, 1943 Venona communiqué – as well as about Duggan’s earlier tip on the TRIDENT conference, which appears among the Venona documents.

Vassiliev’s excerpted notes on Laurence Duggan’s file do not add any weight to the nine Venona decryptions that are commonly associated with Duggan’s “Soviet espionage”– since they do not mention any meetings between Akhmerov and Duggan in the period between February 4, 1943 and July 10, 1944 that could serve as occasions for Duggan to pass information to Akhmerov. 29

Moreover, Vassiliev’s notes on Duggan’s so-called “work” file end in November 1938. Judging by Vassiliev’s notes, this file, which lists and discusses information and documents that Duggan shared with Soviet intelligence, has seven volumes. The first begins with a report on the materials obtained during the meeting on March 19, 1937, and the seventh ends in November, 1938. Vassiliev’s notes list four occasions when documents were obtained from Duggan, as well as a few oral reports. 30

Laurence Duggan was tentatively identified as the man behind the initial “F.” in a communiqué sent from New York to Moscow on May 24, 1944. The cable reported the gossip about Roosevelt’s fears of China’s withdrawal from the war – as well as the options for the nomination of a vice-president in the coming election and the deterioration of President Roosevelt’s health. 31 Duggan was “presumably” identified behind “Fr” in a mostly non-decrypted communiqué from June 28, 1944, which mentioned some non-decrypted information from a source who was identified as “Frank” with some degree of certainty, as well as some non-decrypted remarks of FR…’s. 32 The next communiqué, from July 22, 1944, in which Duggan was tentatively identified behind the name “Frank,” informed Moscow about “Frank”’s forthcoming resignation from the Department of State “for personal reasons.” 33 This cable does not appear in Vassiliev’s notes. Instead, we see his notes on another cable, sent from New York to Moscow two days earlier, on July 20, according to Vassiliev’s dating, informing Moscow that “19 had applied for a resignation from the Department of State…” In Vassiliev’s notes we see a notation on this communiqué by Gajk Ovakimyan, then the first deputy head of NKGB foreign intelligence: “It is strange that we are learning about it ex post factum.” 21.7.44. The disconnect between the Venona decryption and the story as it appears in Vassiliev’s notes becomes puzzling when we see Vassiliev’s notes on another communication about Duggan’s resignation – sent to Moscow 10 days before the message from July 20. 34

To add to the puzzle, in Venona decryptions of Soviet intelligence communiqués from 1943 and 1944 Duggan appears under different cover names than in Vassiliev’s notes on the same or similar reports. 35

Coming soon: more on the disconnect between the Venona decryptions and Vassiliev’s notes.

Vassiliev’s notes on the 1940s part of Duggan’s file do not add any evidentiary weight to the notion of Duggan’s continued “cooperation with Soviet espionage into the 1940s.” Moreover, they demonstrate his continuous avoidance of cooperation – right up to the moment when the contact with him was broken some time in 1943 or early 1944. Vassiliev provides circumstantial corroboration of Duggan’s non-cooperation – his notes on the obvious surprise of the Soviets at the news of Duggan’s resignation from the Department of State, which they learned about only from outside sources.

According to Vassiliev’s notes, the Soviets’ interest in Duggan was renewed in early 1948, after the appearance of Duggan’s article in the December 1947 issue of America magazine, where he supported the idea of allocating stipends for students from the Soviet Union. The Soviets saw Duggan’s position at the Institute of International Education as an opportunity to use student exchanges as a cover for intelligence operations. To check Duggan’s current political orientation and mood, the Soviets decided to establish official contact with him through one “Saushkin,” who was designated in Vassiliev’s notes as a representative of VOKS, the Soviet society for promoting cultural contacts. 36 According to the VOKS files, “Saushkin”’s true name was Sergei Romanovich Striganov; he was First Secretary at the Soviet Embassy in Washington, D.C. and an authorized VOKS representative. According to all available accounts, Striganov was not an intelligence officer but a “clear” diplomat, who might have been used by the Committee of Information’s (KI) intelligence station in Washington, D.C. for making and maintaining official contacts. (This function can be deduced from extracts from Striganov’s books (“diaries”) in the VOKS files. 37

According to Vassiliev’s notes, “Saushkin” visited Duggan at the latter’s office at the IIE on July 1, 1948. “He received me kindly, was attentive, told [me] in detail about the work of the Institute, showed its premises,” and then “gave me to understand that it was time to leave, and took me to the elevator,” Vassiliev noted from “Saushkin”’s report in the file. 38 Unfortunately, we cannot check this record for accuracy, since there is no record of that meeting among the excerpts from the books which Striganov was in the habit of sending to VOKS. On December 15, 1948, Striganov called Duggan by telephone, but Duggan was absent and the Russian asked the secretary to let her boss know about his call. 39

The Soviets could not have known at that time that the innocent call from the Soviet VOKS representative was most untimely. Early in December, Duggan’s name had cropped up at a secret hearing held by the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC). An anti-Communist journalist, Isaac Don Levine, made a damaging charge, saying that in 1939 he had heard ex-Communist Whittaker Chambers tell former Assistant Secretary of State Adolf Berle that Duggan was one of the six men from whom Communists had obtained secret documents. 40

On December 7 and 9, the FBI interviewed another defector from the Soviet cause, Hede Massing, who stated that “around 1935-1936,” she was “working on Laurence Duggan” to involve him in the “Communist intelligence work.” Duggan resisted her approaches, “but eventually agreed to see her superior Boris.” “Boris,” who was an “illegal” resident in New York named Boris Bazarov, “later told her that Duggan was difficult and suggested she might have to see him again.” Hede assured the agents that she “never did,” which, judging from Vassiliev’s notes on Duggan’s file, was not true. Neither was it true that “she broke with the Russians in 1938.” Still, the account she gave to the FBI of her visit to Duggan’s home in 1938 looks believable, when compared to the account of Duggan’s repeatedly breaking his contact with the Soviets that appears in Vassiliev’s notes:

She stated that she did not see him, but saw his wife and received a cool reception. She felt that Duggan must have told his wife about her and her activity and opposed it. The wife’s treatment of her indicated that Duggan had either kept out of the movement or had gotten out.”

Hede told the Bureau’s agents that she had previously “held back the above information concerning Duggan… because she was not sure he ever got into the work and if he did, she felt quite sure he was out by 1938.” In their memo on the interview, the agents suggested interviewing Duggan immediately – obviously to try to turn him into a witness at the grand jury hearings in the Hiss-Chambers case, which had just begun in New York. 41

On December 11, FBI agents interviewed Duggan at his suburban home. Nine days later, Laurence Duggan “fell or jumped” to his death from his sixteenth-floor office.

Having agreed to limited cooperation with Soviet intelligence in the mid-1930s, Duggan obviously believed that he would not inflict any damage to his native country, but, on the contrary, would help it counteract the Nazi and fascist danger by strengthening the Soviet Union. Faced with the Stalinist purges of 1937 and 1938, Duggan was appalled and refused to cooperate further with Soviet intelligence, a relationship which, in fact, he never resumed. He took to his grave the secret which he had shared only with a few Soviet intelligence operatives. But hasty reading of a few fragmentary Venona decrypts resulted in perpetuating the tragedy of Duggan’s story post mortem – many years after his untimely death.

  1. A Professor at Large, by Stephen Duggan, New York: The Macmillan Company, 1943.
  2. Murrow. His Life and Times, by A.M. Sperber, New York: Freudlich Books, 1986, pp. 45-46.
  3. Cit, Ibid., pp. 47, 45.
  4. Noel Field, Memo, “Professional Activities,” June 23, 1954, Document 34 (Noel Field: Berufliche Tätigkeit) in Der Fall Noel Field: Schlüesselfigur der Schauprozesse in Esteuropa, Gefängnisjahre 1949-1954. Herausgegeben von Bernd-Rainer Barth und Werner Schweizer, BASISDruck Verlag, Berlin, 2005, p. 301 (Translation from German, original in German.)
  5. Murrow. His Life and Times, Op. cit, p. 47.
  6. Cit., Nazis and Good Neighbors: The United States Campaign against the Germans of Latin America in World War II, by Max Paul Friedman, Cambridge University Press, UK, 2003, p. 77.
  7. Cit., Year 501: The Conquest Continues, by Noam Chomsky, South End Press: Cambridge, MA, 1993, p. 34.
  8. The First Resort of Kings: American Cultural Diplomacy in the Twentieth Century, by Richard T. Arndt, Potomac Books Inc.: Dulles, VA, 2005, p. 64.
  9. “Prince”’s article in the magazine America, No. 12, 1947, in Alexander Vassiliev, Yellow Notebook #2, p. 34. Alexander Vassiliev’s notebooks are posted on the website of the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Cold War International History Project, http://www.wilsoncenter.org/index.cfm?topic_id=1409&fuseaction=topics.documents&group_id=511603
  10. “The Case of Mr. Duggan,” The New York Times, December 23, 1948.
  11. Cit., The First Resort of Kings, Op. cit., pp. 64-65.
  12. “Review of Institute’s Year Was in Preparation When He Fell to Death,” The New York Times, January 5, 1949.
  13. Cit., Murrow: His Life and Times, Op. cit., pp. 317-318.
  14. Alexander Vassiliev, The Sources in Washington (a Russian manuscript Vassiliev submitted to his first American co-author, Allen Weinstein, in late 1996), p. 12. The manuscript was discovered in May 2007 by Jeff Kisseloff in the Allen Weinstein Papers, 1948-2000, Collection No, 2204C61 – The Hoover Institution Archives on War, Revolution and Peace, Stanford University.
  15. “Granite” on the meeting of July 2, 1937, Alexander Vassiliev, Yellow Notebook #2, pp. 14-17; Moscow Center to Jung, July 7 and 31, 1937, Ibid., p. 17.
  16. Interview with Lt.-General Vitaly Pavlov, May 16, 2002, Moscow.
  17. Alexander Vassiliev, The Sources in Washington, Op. cit., pp. 19-46.
  18. Interview with Lt.-General Vitaly Pavlov, Op. cit.
  19. Alexander Vassiliev, The Sources in Washington, Op. cit., p. 50.
  20. Ibid., pp. 50-53.
  21. Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America, by John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr, Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 1999, p. 203.
  22. Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America, by John Earl Haynes, Harvey Klehr and Alexander Vassiliev, Yale University Press, 2009, p. 242.
  23. Here, the proper translation of the Russian adverb “malo” is “scarce” or “scarcely”
  24. Venona, KGB New York to Moscow #1025, June 30, 1943.
  25. My Dear Mr. Stalin. The Complete Correspondence of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Joseph V. Stalin. Edited, with Commentary, by Susan Butler, Yale University Press, 2005, pp. 135-136. The Russian translation published in: Perepiska Predsedatelya Soveta Ministrov SSSR s prezidentami SShA i premier-ministrami Velikobritanii vo vremya Velikoi otechestvennoi voiny 1941-1945 gg. Tom vtoroi, Perepiska s F. Ruzvel’tom i G. Trumenom (avgust 1941 g. – dekabr’ 1945 g.), Moskva: Gosudarstvennoe izdatel’stvo politicheskoi literatury, 1958, s. 67. (The Correspondence of the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR with the Presidents of the USA and Prime-Ministers of Great Britain during the Great Patriotic War 1941-1945. Volume 2, The Correspondence with F. Roosevelt and H. Truman (August 1941 – December 1945), Moscow: Politizdat, 1958, p. 67.
  26. Stalin to Roosevelt, June 11, 1943, My Dear Mr. Stalin, Op. cit., pp. 138-139. The Russian original in Op. cit., p. 69-70.
  27. My Dear Mr. Stalin, Op. cit., p. 142; Churchill’s message is missing in the Russian 1958 edition, which has, instead, Stalin’s response to it dated June 24, 1943, Op. cit., pp. 73-75.
  28. E.P. Morgan to H.H. Clegg, January 14, 1947, The FBI FOIA Rosenberg File, Subject Silvermaster, File No 65-56402, Vol. 093, Serials 2000-2081, PDF pp. 166-170; E.A. Tamm to the FBI Director J.E. Hoover, January 23, 1947, Ibid., PDF pp. 20-21; E.A. Tamm to the FBI Director, February 21, 1947, Ibid., Vol. 098, Serials 2183 to 2210, PDF p. 38; A.S. Brent to C.E. Hennrich, Oct. 30, 1950, Ibid., Vol. 150, Serials 3835-3896, PDF p. 51.
  29. Alexander Vassiliev, Yellow Notebook #2, pp. 32-34.
  30. Alexander Vassiliev notes on “work file” No. 3587, volumes 1, 2, 7, Yellow Notebook #2, pp. 37-39.
  31. Venona, KGB New York to Moscow, #744, 746, May 24, 1944.
  32. Venona, KGB New York to Moscow #916, June 28, 1944.
  33. Venona, KGB New York to Moscow #1015, July 22, 1944.
  34. Maj to Center, July 20, 1944; Albert to Center, July 10, 1944, Alexander Vassiliev, Yellow Notebook #2, p. 33.
  35. As, for instance, in Venona, KGB New York to Moscow #1114, August 4, 1944 on “Frank”’s reported appointment as an Assistant Diplomatic Adviser to the UNRRA and in Vassiliev’s brief note on what is obviously the same report in his Yellow Notebook #2, p. 34, where Duggan appears under the cover name “19.” A similar disconnect appears in a decrypted cable from September 2, 1944, where Duggan was assigned a new cover name, “Prince,” [“Knyaz’”] – when in Vassiliev’s notes, Duggan appears under the pseudonym “Prince” in an earlier, July 10, 1944, report on Duggan’s resignation from the Department of State. Compare Venona, KGB New York to Moscow #1251, September 2, 1944 and Alexander Vassiliev, Yellow Notebook #2, p.33.
  36. Alexander Vassiliev, The Sources in Washington, Op. cit., p. 56-58.
  37. Fund 5283, description 14, file 518 (“Correspondence with VOKS representatives in the USA…”, April 2, 1948 –June, 26, 1948), Fund 5283, s.ch. (secret file keeping), description 22s, files 81 (“Correspondence with America, vol. 1, January 22 – April 6, 1948”); 82 (“Correspondence with America, vol. 2, March 8 – June 14, 1948); 83 (“Correspondence with America, vol. 3, January 17 – August 6, 1948); 84 (“Correspondence with America, vol. 4, January 17 – August 6, 1948), et al, GA RF, Moscow.
  38. Alexander Vassiliev, The Sources in Washington, Op. cit., p. 58.
  39. Ibid., p. 59.
  40. “Investigations: The Man in the Window,” Time, January 3, 1949.
  41. Memo on the interviews with Hede Massing on December 7 and 9, 1948, in the FBI Hede Massing FOIA file. Courtesy of Jeff Kisseloff, ref. to file NY 65-14920. The memo concluded: “The above is being brought to the attention of the Bureau in that they may wish to have DUGGAN interviewed at this time, since it is very possible that when ALGER HISS worked on NOEL FIELD to recruit him, he may also have worked on LAURENCE DUGGAN.”