Silvermaster, Nathan Gregory (1899-1964)

Nathan Silvermaster

Nathan Gregory Silvermaster

A U.S. government economist whom Soviet intelligence documents identify as a leader of a Communist Party “informational group” from 1941 to 1945.  From an initial four members in 1941, the group grew by 1945 into a social network of about two dozen people in Washington, D.C. and New York. Through Silvermaster’s contact with Jacob Golos, Soviet NKGB intelligence obtained information provided by the members of the Silvermaster group – most of whom were unaware that the Soviets were receiving the information. In 1944, following Golos’ death, NKGB intelligence operatives established direct contact with Silvermaster. In November of that year, the Soviets awarded the Order of the Red Star to Silvermaster.  1

In November 1945, the Silvermaster network was betrayed to the FBI by Elizabeth Bentley, who had formerly met with Silvermaster and some of his assets and acted as a courier. Following Bentley’s statement, signed on November 8, 1945, the FBI opened an investigation of the members of the Silvermaster group and their contacts. The investigation included mail coverage, technical (telephone), microphone and physical surveillance, “black bag” jobs to obtain private correspondence, diaries and other private assets, the use of informers, background investigations, etc. 2

  1. Silvermaster’s biography, dated July 1945, in Alexander Vassiliev’s manuscript, “The Sources in Washington,” pp. 171-188. In Allen Weinstein’s papers at the Hoover Archive.
  2. As reflected in the FBI Silvermaster File, No 65-56402.