6 – Harry Hopkins

well_chuffed, Going Postal
Franklin D. Roosevelt & Harry Hopkins (1938)

When FDR was Governor of New York State he needed some one to run his Welfare Program. That person was Harry and from that point they were friends and colleagues for the rest of their lives. When he was elected President FDR took Harry along with him to Washington. The New Deal would need people like Harry to run it.

There has been heated discussion as to whether Harry was a Soviet agent or not. His Venona codename was “19” though this is not in itself proof that he was an agent. The most damning evidence against him, apart from his pro-Soviet bias, was that he met face to face with Iskhak Akhmerov who was the illegal (that means without diplomatic cover) NKVD Resident in New York. Illegals ran enormous risks of discovery and only ever met agents. Akhmerov, having dropped his wife, ended up marrying Helen Lowry, niece of CPUSA leader Earl Browder.

In 1943 Chemator Inc. received an order from the Soviet Government for Uranium Oxide, Uranium Nitrate and the metal itself as part of Lend-Lease. The oxide and nitrate orders were approved. Soon the Soviets were ordering Uranium by the ton but Chemator was unable to obtain it. General Grove , in charge of the Manhattan Project, was worried about Soviet spying but much pressure was applied to send them this material by the Lend-Lease people. Lend-Lease was run by Harry Hopkins. There had already been a case where a Major in Montana had testified that Hopkins had told him on the phone to expedite some shipments.

Hopkins started as an expert on Welfare but expanded his horizons to include Foreign Policy and became FDR’s major advisor. Harry ended up sleeping in a bedroom in the White House. With his massive influence on FDR, Hopkins was not a very popular figure. In the early 60s Oleg Gordievsky, a later defector, attended a lecture given by Akhmerov where Hopkins was described as the most important of all Soviet wartime agents in the USA. Some say Hopkins was a kind of unofficial channel to Stalin but if that was the case, he would not have had contact with an illegal Resident. In May 1943 Akhmerov sent a Venona message to Moscow from agent “19” which reported on discussions between Roosevelt and Churchill in Washington.

in 1942 Hopkins recommended his friend, Colonel Faymonville, to be the Moscow representative for Lend-Lease. Faymonville’s pro-Soviet opinions were well known and the Army objected. Hopkins reply was that they should get his papers ready because he was going over. Faymonville was susceptible to young men and soon fell victim to an NKVD honey trap whereby the already pro-Soviet Colonel ended up completely under their control.

Whittaker Chambers testified in 1948 that the secret Communist apparatus in the US Government was led by a group of seven men, each leading a separate cell. One of those leaders was Lee Pressman who was in the Department of Agriculture in late 1933. One of the members of Pressman’s group was Harry Hopkins. These cells were used by the Communists to evaluate members to see if they would be suitable as agents. In 1935 Hopkins hired Pressman as general counsel to the Federal Employment Relief Administration.

In September 1944 the Red Army was approaching Warsaw. Stalin had his eyes on Poland and wanted no resistance when he took it over. An uprising was organised in Warsaw in the hope that it would be relieved by the Red Army’s advance. The Red Army stopped long enough for the resistance fighters to be slaughtered by the Germans. The Polish Government in exile pleaded for the Allies to airlift
supplies to the fighters, as had been the original plan. They asked Stalin for permission to land on Soviet occupied territory. Stalin replied that he was not going to help a handful of power-seeking criminals to succeed. Some of the American military opposed risking their planes to do this and they met with Hopkins who needed no convincing. He even told them that he would hold back any cables from Churchill that asked FDR to give help.

After FDR passed away, Hopkins still worked for Truman and went to Moscow in May 1945 to meet Stalin. One of the things discussed was the fate of Poland. Under instructions to push for democracy Hopkins told Stalin the the US wanted a solution that saw a Poland friendly to the Soviet Union. This was exactly what Stalin wanted to hear and took it as the green light to create Soviet satellites in Eastern Europe.

Given the evidence presented here, it seems Harry Hopkins was indeed working for the Soviet Union. He didn’t get blueprints for weapons and send them to Moscow but he did use his position to promote and protect other Soviet agents and fellow travellers and most importantly, to influence policy. Stalin got just about everything he wanted out of WW2 and Hopkins was one of many who helped him achieve his aims. In any discussion the American position was that Stalin should get whatever he desired in return for absolutely nothing. The Americans were worried in case Stalin made a separate peace with Hitler, something Stalin was terrified of in the other direction. Stalin was a better poker player.

© well_chuffed 2019

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