"Science," the Greek word for knowledge, when appended to the word "political," creates what seems like an oxymoron. For who could claim to know politics? More complicated than any game, most people who play it become addicts and die without understanding what they were addicted to. The rest of us suffer under their malpractice as our "leaders." A truer case of the blind leading the blind could not be found. Plumb the depths of confusion here.


Postby admin » Wed Nov 04, 2015 5:19 am

Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution
by Antony C. Sutton
© Copyright 1981 Veritas Publishing Co. Pty. Ltd., P.O. Box 254, Morley, Western Australia.




TO: 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

Table of Contents

• Preface
• Chapter One: The Actors on the Revolutionary Stage
• Chapter Two: Trotsky Leaves New York to Complete the Revolution
o Woodrow Wilson and a Passport for Trotsky
o Canadian Government Documents on Trotsky's Release
o Canadian Military Intelligence Views Trotsky
o Trotsky's Intentions and Objectives
• Chapter Three: Lenin and German Assistance for the Bolshevik Revolution
o The Sisson Documents
o The Tug-of-War in Washington
• Chapter Four: Wall Street and the World Revolution
o American Bankers and Tsarist Loans
o Olof Aschberg in New York, 1916
o Olof Aschberg in the Bolshevik Revolution
o Nya Banken and Guaranty Trust Joint Ruskombank
o Guaranty Trust and German Espionage in the United States, 1914-1917
o The Guaranty Trust-Minotto-Caillaux Threads
• Chapter Five: The American Red Cross Mission in Russia -- 1917
o American Red Cross Mission to Russia -- 1917
o American Red Cross Mission to Rumania
o Thompson in Kerensky's Russia
o Thompson Gives the Bolsheviks $1 Million
o Socialist Mining Promoter Raymond Robins
o The International Red Cross and Revolution
• Chapter Six: Consolidation and Export of the Revolution
o A Consultation with Lloyd George
o Thompson's Intentions and Objectives
o Thompson Returns to the United States
o The Unofficial Ambassadors: Robins, Lockhart, and Sadoul
o Exporting the Revolution: Jacob H. Rubin
o Exporting the Revolution: Robert Minor
• Chapter Seven: The Bolsheviks Return to New York
o A Raid on the Soviet Bureau in New York
o Corporate Allies for the Soviet Bureau
o European Bankers Aid the Bolsheviks
• Chapter Eight: 120 Broadway, New York City
o American International Corporation
o The Influence of American International on the Revolution
o The Federal Reserve Bank of New York
o American-Russian Industrial Syndicate, Inc.
o John Reed: Establishing Revolutionary
o John Reed and the Metropolitan Magazine
• Chapter Nine: Guaranty Trust Goes to Russia
o Wall Street Comes to the Aid of Professor Lomonossoff
o The Stage is Set for Commercial Exploitation of Russia
o Germany and the United States Struggle for Russian Business
o Soviet Gold and American Banks
o Max May of Guaranty Trust Becomes Director of Ruskombank
• Chapter Ten: J.P. Morgan Gives a Little Help to the Other Side
o United Americans Formed to Fight Communism
o United Americans Reveals "Startling Disclosures" on Reds
o Conclusions Concerning United Americans
o Morgan and Rockefeller Aid Kolchak
• Chapter Eleven: The Alliance of Bankers and Revolution
o The Evidence Presented: A Synopsis
o The Explanation for the Unholy Alliance
o The Marburg Plan
• Appendix I: Directors of Major Banks, Firms, and Institutions Mentioned in this Book (As in 1917-1918)
• Appendix II: The Jewish-Conspiracy Theory of the Bolshevik Revolution
• Appendix III: Selected Documents from Government Files of the United States and Great Britain
• Selected Bibliography
• Index
Site Admin
Posts: 33221
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am


Postby admin » Wed Nov 04, 2015 5:19 am


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

March 1974
Site Admin
Posts: 33221
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am


Postby admin » Wed Nov 04, 2015 5:20 am


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

Cartoon by Robert Minor in St. Louis Post-Dispatch (1911). Karl Marx surrounded by an appreciative audience of Wall Street financiers: John D. Rockefeller, J. P. (Pontifex Maximus) Morgan, (Pontifex Maximus), John D. Ryan of National City Bank, and Morgan partner George W. Perkins. Immediately behind Karl Marx is Teddy Roosevelt, leader of the Progressive Party.

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 fact 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



1. "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.

2. George 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).

3. Arthur Pound and Samuel Taylor Moore, They Told Barron (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1930), pp. 13-14.

4. There 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!
Site Admin
Posts: 33221
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am


Postby admin » Wed Nov 04, 2015 5:25 am


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 political tools.

-- Leon Trotsky, in New York Times, December 13, 1938. (Hague was a New Jersey politician)

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-half 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 by historians.


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 passports."9

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 Trotskyite 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 re-revolution.14

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 revolutionary Trotsky.


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. NICHOLAS ALEINIKOFF

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 Office Department.

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 telegrams:

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 immensely."

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.


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 traveling 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.


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 revolution.

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 of 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 can 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.



1. Leon Trotsky, My Life (New York: Scribner's, 1930), chap. 22.

2. Joseph Nedava, Trotsky and the Jews (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1972), p. 163.

3. United States, Senate, Brewing and Liquor Interests and German and Bolshevik Propaganda (Subcommittee on the Judiciary), 65th Cong., 1919.

4. 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 File, 316-23-1145.

5. New York Times, March 5, 1917.

6. Lewis Corey, House of Morgan: A Social Biography of the Masters of Money (New York: G. W. Watt, 1930).

7. Morris Hillquit. (formerly Hillkowitz) had been defense attorney for Johann Most, after 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.

8. New York Times, March 16, 1917.

9. U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 316-85-1002.

10. Ibid.

11. Ibid., 861.111/315.

12. Lincoln Steffens, Autobiography (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1931), p. 764. Steffens was the "go-between" for Crane and Woodrow Wilson.

13. William Edward Dodd, Ambassador Dodd's Diary, 1933-1938 (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1941), pp. 42-43.

14. Lincoln Steffens, The Letters of Lincoln Steffens (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1941), p. 396.

15. U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 861.00/1026.

16. This section is based on Canadian government records.

17. Gwatkin's memoranda 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 of April 21) with that cryptic mark was acknowledged.

18. H.J. Morgan, Canadian Men and Women of the Times, 1912, 2 vols. (Toronto: W. Briggs, 1898-1912).

19. 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 full summary is provided below.

20. See also Trotsky, My Life, p. 236.

21. See Appendix 3.

22. 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."

23. See Appendix 3; this document was obtained in 1971 from the British Foreign Office but apparently was known to MacLean.

24. U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 861.00/1351.

25. U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 861.00/1341.

26. 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. 293.

27. See p. 174. Thomas Lamont of the Morgans was an early supporter of Mussolini.

28. See p. 122.
Site Admin
Posts: 33221
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am


Postby admin » Wed Nov 04, 2015 5:31 am


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:


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.


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 government.

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 documents.8

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.


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 revolution.

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 recognition."

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 .... "12

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 American bankers:

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 because:

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.



1. Max Hoffman, War Diaries and Other Papers (London: M. Secker, 1929), 2:177.

2. 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).

3. 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.

4. Ibid.

5. Ibid., p. 6, doc. 6, reporting a conversation with the Estonian intermediary Keskula.

6. Ibid., p. 92, n. 3.

7. U.S., Committee on Public Information, The German-Bolshevik Conspiracy, War Information Series, no. 20, October 1918.

8. 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.

9. George F. Kennan, "The Sisson Documents," Journal of Modern History 27-28 (1955-56): 130-154.

10. John Reed, The Sisson Documents (New York: Liberator Publishing, n.d.).

11. 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.

12 .U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 861.00/1117a. The same message was conveyed to the Italian ambassador.

13. See Arthur Bullard papers at Princeton University.
Site Admin
Posts: 33221
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am


Postby admin » Wed Nov 04, 2015 5:37 am


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 Congressman Rainey:

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 China.

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 Wilson:

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 election ....8

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 help.12

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.


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 after 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 24, 1916, Ambassador Francis in Petrograd sent the following cable to the State Department in Washington for forwarding 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 24, 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.

-- MacRoberts Rich.


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 title.

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 previous cables:

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 proposals.


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.

Acting. Polk

861.51/112 /110

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 cannot 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, 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 co-directors 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


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 follows:

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 Savelievich Avilov.

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. Schmedeman."23

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.


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 question."25

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 definite forms."27

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.


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 revolutionary activities.

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 similar charge.

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?


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 war time.

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.


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 Ruskombank 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 means.



1. John Moody, The Truth about the Trusts (New York: Moody Publishing, 1904).

2. 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.

3. United States, House, Committee on Foreign Affairs, The Story of Panama, Hearings on the Rainey Resolution, 1913. p. 53.

4. Ibid., p. 60.

5. Stanford, Calif. See also the Los Angeles Times, October 13, 1966.

6. Later codirector with Hjalmar Schacht (Hitler's banker) and Emil Wittenberg, of the Nationalbank für Deutschland.

7. United States, Senate, Committee on Foreign Relations, Investigation of Mexican Affairs, 1920.

8. Lincoln Steffens, The Letters of Lincoln Steffens (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1941, I:386

9. U.S., Senate, Committee on Foreign Relations, Investigation of Mexican Affairs, 1920, pts. 2, 18, p. 681.

10. Ibid.

11. New York Times, January 23, 1919.

12. U.S., Senate, Committee on Foreign Relations, op. cit., pp. 795-96.

13. U.S., Senate, Hearings Before the Special Committee Investigating the Munitions Industry, 73-74th Cong., 1934-37, pt. 25, p. 7666.

14. U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 861.51/110 (316-116-682).

15. U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 861.51/112.

16. U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 861.51/111.

17. Handwritten in parentheses.

18. 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.

19. Aschberg, p. 123.

20. New York Times, August 4, 1916.

21. Michael Futrell, Northern Underground (London: Faber and Faber, 1963), p. 162.

22. 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.

23. U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 861.00/1130.

24. 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. Morris).

25. Ibid., 861.516/130, September 13, 1922.

26. Ibid.

27. Ibid.

28. Ibid., 861.516/140, Stockholm, October 23, 1922.

29. Ibid., 861.516/147, December 8, 1922.

30. Ibid., 861.516/144, November 18, 1922.

31. Ibid., 861.316/197, Stockholm, March 7, 1924.

32. 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, 2:2154-74.

33. Count Von Bernstorff, My Three Years in America (New York: Scribner's, 1920), p. 261.

34. Ibid.

35. Ibid.

36. French Strothers, Fighting Germany's Spies (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, Page, 1918), p. 152.

37. U.S., Senate, Overman Committee, 2:2009.

38. 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).

39. See p. 70.

40. This Interrelationship is dealt with extensively in the three-volume Overman Committee report of 1919. See bibliography.

41. See Rudolph Binion, Defeated Leaders (New York: Columbia University Press, 1960).

42. George Adam, Treason and Tragedy: An Account of French War Trials (London: Jonathan Cape, 1929).

43. Ibid.

44. The Enemy Within (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1920).
Site Admin
Posts: 33221
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am


Postby admin » Wed Nov 04, 2015 5:41 am


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 firm.

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."


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 half-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 & Fuller.

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 Affiliations / Medical Doctors / Orderlies, Interpreters, etc.

Andrews (Liggett & Myers Tobacco) / Billings (doctor) / Brooks (orderly)
Barr (Chase National Bank) / Grow (doctor) / Clark / orderly)
Brown (c/o William B. Thompson) / McCarthy (medical research; doctor) / Rocchia (orderly)
Cochran (McCann Co. / Post (doctor) / --
Kelleher (c/o William B. Thompson) / Sherman (food chemistry) / Travis (movies)
Nicholson (Swirl & Co.) / Thayer (doctor) / Wyckoff (movies)
Pirnie (Hazen, Whipple & Fuller) / -- / --
Redfield (Stetson, Jennings & Russell) / Wightman (medicine) / Hardy (justice)
Robins (mining promoter) / Winslow (hygiene) / Horn (transportation)
Swift (Swift & Co.) / -- / --
Thacher (Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett) / -- / --
Thompson (Federal Reserve Bank of N.Y.) / -- / --
Wardwell (Stetson, Jennings & Russell) / -- / --
Whipple (Hazen, Whipple & Fuller) / -- / --
Corse (National City Bank) / -- / --
Magnusson (recommended by confidential agent of Colonel Thompson) / -- / --

Alan [Allen] 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 [Allen] 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 [Allen] Wardwell was affiliated with Stetson, Jennings & 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.


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.



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 than 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 little information.

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.


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 Petrograd.


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:


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."


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 economist."

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


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.



1. John Foster Dulles, American Red Cross (New York: Harper, 1950).

2. Minutes of the War Council of the American National Red Cross (Washington, D.C., May 1917)

3. Gibbs Diary, August 9, 1917. State Historical Society of Wisconsin.

4. Billings report to Henry P. Davison, October 22, 1917, American Red Cross Archives.

5. 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).

6. U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 861.00/3644.

7. Ibid.

8. Ibid.

9. Robins is the correct spelling. The name is consistently spelled "Robbins" in the State Department files.

10. U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 316-11-1265, March 19, 1918.

11. Bullard ms., U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 316-11-1265.

12. 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."

13. Petrograd embassy, Red Cross file.

14. U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 861.00/4168.
Site Admin
Posts: 33221
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am


Postby admin » Wed Nov 04, 2015 5:46 am


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 German lines.

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 States.


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.

Cover of Colonel Thompson's pamphlet issued by the Bolsheviks

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 of men especially selected for 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 anti-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 Cross 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


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 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 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 chief 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 filled 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 from 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 in general.

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 of many messages flowing into Washington in early 1918 — particularly after Woodrow Wilson's expression of support for the Bolshevik governments — was the following cable from 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 Government.35

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.


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.


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.





FIELD OPERATIVES: John Reed, Louis Bryant, Albert Rhys Williams, Robert Minor, Philip Price, Jacques Sadoul

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 Department:

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 Department:

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 Sheppard:

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 him.51

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 the 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 commented:

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.



1. For a biography see Hermann Hagedorn, The Magnate: William Boyce Thompson and His Time (1869-1930) (New York: Reynal & Hitchcock, 1935).

2. Polkovnik' Villiam' Boic' Thompson', "Pravda o Rossii i Bol'shevikakh" (New York: Russian-American Publication Society, 1918).

3 .John Bradley, Allied Intervention in Russia (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1968.)

4 .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 front-line domestic leftist in the U.S.

5. 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.

6. Ibid. McCormick's italics.

7 .British War Cabinet papers, no. 302, sec. 2 (Public Records Office, London).

8 .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.

9. War Cabinet papers, 24/49/7197 (G.T. 4322) Secret, April 24, 1918.

10. 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.

11. Complete memorandum is in U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 316-13-698.

12. See Appendix 3.

13. U.S., Senate, Bolshevik Propaganda, Hearings before a Subcommittee of the Committee on the Judiciary, 65th Cong., 1919, p. 802.

14. U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 861.51/184.

15. See Appendix 3.

16. Inserted by Senator Calder into the Congressional Record, January 31, 1918, p. 1409.

17. Hagedorn, op. tit., p. 263.

18. U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 861.00/3005.

19. Louis Ware, George Foster Peabody (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1951).

20. Seep. 16.

21. 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.

22 .C. K. Cumming and Waller W. Pettit, Russian-American Relations, Documents and Papers (New York: Harcourt, Brace & Howe, 1920), doe. 44.

23. Ibid., doc. 54.

24. Ibid., doc. 92.

25. U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 861.00/3449. But see Kennan, Russia Leaves the War, pp. 401-5.

26 .Ibid., 861.00 3333.

27. See chapter seven.

28. Richard H. Ullman, Intervention and the War (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1961), t). 61.

29. Edward Crankshaw, The Forsaken Idea: A Study of Viscount Milner (London: Longmans Green, 1952), p. 269.

30. Robert Hamilton Bruce Lockhart, British Agent (New York: Putnam's, 1933), p. 119.

31. Ibid., p. 204.

32. See Jacques Sadoul, Notes sur la revolution bolchevique (Paris: Editions de la sirene, 1919).

34. U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 861.00/1305, March 15, 1918.

35. Ibid., 861.00/3804.

36. Ibid.

37. U.S., House, Committee on Foreign Affairs, Conditions in Russia, 66th Cong., 3d sess., 1921.

38 .Jacob H. Rubin, I Live to Tell: The Russian Adventures of an American Socialist (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1934).

39. U.S., House, Committee on Foreign Affairs, op. cit.

40. See George G. Bruntz, Allied Propaganda and the Collapse of the German Empire in 1918 (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1938), pp. 144-55; see also herein p. 82.

41. John W. Wheeler-Bennett, The Forgotten Peace (New York: William Morrow, 1939).

42. There is a copy of this Scotland Yard report in U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 316-23-1184 9.

43. Joseph North, Robert Minor: Artist and Crusader (New York: International Publishers, 1956).

44. Samples of Minor's propaganda tracts are still in the U.S. State Dept. files. See p. 197-200 on Thompson.

45. See Appendix 3.

46. U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 316-23-1184.

47. Ibid., 861.00/4680 (316-22-0774).

48 .Ibid., 861.00/4685 (/783).

49. U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 861.00/4688 (/788).

50. Ibid.

51. Ibid., 316-33-0824.

52. U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 861.00/4874.

53. Office of Chief of Staff, U.S. Army, National Archives, Washington, D.C.

54. 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, 1919.
Site Admin
Posts: 33221
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am


Postby admin » Wed Nov 04, 2015 5:49 am


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, 19191

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 active 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 and 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 Department 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 sent.5


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 government."15

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.


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?

A: Yes.

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.


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 British government.

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 ideology.

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.



1. Copy in U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 316-22-656.

2. Ibid., 861.00/1970.

3. U.S., House, Committee on Foreign Affairs, Conditions in Russia, 66th Cong., 3d sess., 1921, p. 78.

4. U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 316-19-1120.

5. Ibid.

6. See Benjamin Gitlow, [U.S., House, Un-American Propaganda Activities (Washington, 1939), vols. 7-8, p. 4539.

7. See p. 119.

8. Copy in [U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 316-22-656. Confirmation of Guaranty Trust involvement tomes in later intelligence reports.

9. 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.

10. 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.

11. Julius Hammer was the father of Armand Hammer, who today is chairman of the Occidental Petroleum Corp. of Los Angeles.

12 .See Appendix 3.

13. V. I. Lenin, Polnoe Sobranie Sochinenii, 5th ed. (Moscow, 1958), 53:267.

14. U.S., House, Committee. on Foreign Affairs, Conditions in Russia, 66th Cong., 3d sess., 1921, p. 75. "Bill" was William Bobroff, Soviet agent.

15. Ibid., p. 78.

16. New York Times, November 17, 1919.

17. Ibid.

18. Ibid.

19. New York Times, June 21, 1919.

20. See p. 119.

21. U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 861.51/411, November 23, 1918.

22. Ibid., 316-125-1212.

23. U.S., Department of State, Foreign Relations o! the United States: 1918, Russia, 1:373.

24. U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 861.00/4878, July, 21, 1919.

25. Ibid., 316-21-115/21.

26. New York Times, April 5, 1919.

27. Ibid.
Site Admin
Posts: 33221
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am


Postby admin » Wed Nov 04, 2015 5:52 am


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 2, 1918

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 over...3

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.


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 market.

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 174-6).

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 1930s.

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.


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
Washington D.C.


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, 120 Broadway:

American International Corp 120 Broadway
National City Bank 55 Wall Street
Bankers Trust Co Bldg 14 Wall Street
New York Stock Exchange 13 Wall Street/12 Broad
Morgan Building corner Wall & Broad
Federal Reserve Bank of NY 120 Broadway
Equitable Building 120 Broadway
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 Broadway
McCann Co 61 Broadway
Stetson, Jennings & Russell 15 Broad Street
Guggenheim Exploration 120 Broadway
Weinberg & Posner 120 Broadway
Soviet Bureau 110 West 40th Street
John MacGregor Grant Co 120 Broadway
Stone & Webster 120 Broadway
General Electric Co 120 Broadway
Morris Plan of NY 120 Broadway
Sinclair Gulf Corp 120 Broadway
Guaranty Securities 120 Broadway
Guaranty Trust 140 Broadway

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 Stockholm."11

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 120 Broadway.


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 dominant interest.


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 unrewarded.


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.


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 countries."17

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:


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 magazine work.

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.

Sincerely yours,
William Franklin Sands

The Honourable
Frank Lyon Polk
Counselor for the Department of State
Washington, D.C.


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 established.

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.



1. 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 five).

3. 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.

4. Frank A. Vanderlip, From Farm Boy to Financier (New York: A. Appleton-Century, 1935).

5. Ibid., p. 267.

6. 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.

7. Ibid., p. 269.

8. U.S. Stale Dept. Decimal File, 861.00/961.

9. Sands memorandum to Lansing, p. 9.

10. 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.

11. All the above in U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 861.00/969.

12. 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.

13. U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 861.51/333.

14. U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 861.516 84, September 2, 1919.

15. Ibid.

16. 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.

17 .Granville Hicks, John Reed, 1887-1920 (New York: Macmillan, 1936), p. 215.

18. U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 860d.1121 R 25/4.

19. 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).

20. 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.

21. Ibid., 360d.1121 R 25/72.

22. Ibid.

23. 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.

24. 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.
Site Admin
Posts: 33221
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am


Return to Political Science

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Majestic-12 [Bot] and 2 guests