Harry Dexter White

Harry Dexter White was a spy. Thanks, Captain Obvious. Let’s examine some excerpts from the article.

Over the course of 11 years, beginning in the mid-1930s, White acted as a Soviet mole, giving the Soviets secret information and advice on how to negotiate with the Roosevelt administration and advocating for them during internal policy debates.

Note that this begins pre-war and pre-peace conferences.

The truth about White’s actions has been clear for at least 15 years now, yet historians remain deeply divided over his intentions and his legacy, puzzled by the chasm between White’s public views on political economy, which were mainstream progressive and Keynesian, and his clandestine behavior on behalf of the Soviets.

LMFAO. It’s super puzzling.

He urges the United States to draw the Soviets into a tight military alliance in order to deter renewed German and Japanese aggression

This is a defensible policy pre-war. It’s a fscking retarded policy after Germany and Japan have unconditionally surrendered.

During World War II, a surprising number of U.S. officials provided covert assistance to the Soviets without considering themselves disloyal to the United States. “They were,” in the reckoning of one famous confessed spy, Elizabeth Bentley, “a bunch of misguided idealists. They were doing it for something they believed was right… . They felt very strongly that we were allies with Russia, that Russia was bearing the brunt of the war, that she [Russia] must have every assistance, because the people from within the Government … were not giving her things that we should give her … [things] that we were giving to Britain and not to her. And they felt … it was their duty, actually, to get this stuff to Russia.”

If only someone had said something. (Citing Bentley warms my heart).

Truman nominated White to be the first American executive director of the IMF on January 23, 1946, intending to nominate him for the top job of managing director shortly thereafter. Truman did not know that White had by that time been under FBI surveillance for two months, suspected of being a Soviet spy. Two weeks later, the FBI director, J. Edgar Hoover, sent a report to the president describing White as “a valuable adjunct to an underground Soviet espionage organization” and accusing him of placing Soviet intelligence assets inside the U.S. government. Hoover warned that if White’s activities became public, it could endanger the IMF. But the Senate Committee on Banking and Currency, unaware of the allegations, had approved White’s nomination to become the fund’s U.S. executive director on February 5, the day after Hoover’s report was delivered.

In light of Hoover’s report, Secretary of State James Byrnes wanted Truman to withdraw the nomination; Treasury Secretary Frederick Vinson wanted White out of government altogether. Truman did not trust Hoover but realized that he had a potential scandal on his hands. He decided to stick with White as an IMF executive director, a huge step down from managing director. But nominating another American to a post above White’s would have raised eyebrows, since the White House would have had to explain why the fund’s chief architect had been passed over.

There’s some Presidential leadership right there.

A 35-year-old freshman Republican congressman named Richard Nixon, hoping to set White up for a perjury charge, prodded him to state categorically that he had never met Chambers. But White would not take the bait, replying only that he did not “recollect” having met Chambers. . . .

The next day, Nixon revealed on the floor of the House that he had in his possession “copies of eight pages of documents in the handwriting of Mr. White which Mr. Chambers turned over to the Justice Department.” The original documents composed a four-page, double-sided memorandum, written in White’s hand on yellow-lined paper, with material dated from January 10 to February 15, 1938, that had been part of Chambers’ life preserver. Handwriting analysis by the FBI and what was then the Veterans Administration confirmed White’s authorship.

I feel for Nixon. That’s the sort of thing that would make somebody paranoid.

I’ve reviewed 10-15 books on this issue from this era. There’s nothing in this article that is new. Let me repeat, there’s nothing in this article (other than decoded Venona information) that people didn’t know at the time. Of course, only crazy people believed it. There’s a lesson in that somewhere.


21 Responses to Harry Dexter White

  1. Hubbard says:

    Hm, my computer froze, so I apologize if this comment comes through twice. I’ve read Whittaker Chambers’s Witness, and I liked it. What are some other good books about that era?

    • Handle says:

      There’s actually a ton of them out there. I think Blacklisted by History is a good place to start. Here’s a Headline you’ll never see “McCarthy Completely Vindicated – Was Right About Almost Everything, Memorial to Great, Unjustly Vilified Patriot To Be Built on National Mall (Right next to Lee’s Statue), Apology on Behalf of Pretty Much the Entire American Elite to be Posthumously Delivered to Surviving Heirs.”

      I’ll warn you though, once you start down this path you’ll start to get a feel for how incredibly deep this rabbit hole goes.

    • Foseti says:

      On just the spying issue, I’d also recommend the Bentley book I linked to and “My Five Cambridge Friends”

      The Americanist Library is a good way to dig deeper – especially with respect to the post-WWII peace agreements.

    • loic says:

      Another good book, (which I just finished reading) also by Stanton Evans, is “Stalin’s Secret Agents: The Subversion of Roosevelt’s Government.” This has only recently been published (Nov 13, 2012).

      • Josh says:

        Poor fellow died of “alcoholism” at the bethesda naval hospital where James forestall died while being treated for his “crazy paranoia”.

        Harry dexter white died of a “heart attack” I think the day before he was going to testify before the huac or some similar committee.

        Along with Huey long, I’d say these are your most obvious authorized new deal assassinations within the u.s.

        You guys ever google project artichoke?

  2. asdf says:

    Poor McCarthy

  3. Handle says:

    We forgot to wish USG-IV a happy 80th birthday on Monday. “The only thing we have to fear …” Not really!

    Anyway, so far the lesson goes, I think it’s mostly that, decades after everyone involved has died, the Soviet Union collapsed, the Chinese abandoned doctrinaire Communism in all but name, and the dream lives on in a different form that doesn’t particularly feel warmly towards old dead white men, the new inheritor residents of The Cathedral no longer feel any particular motivation to run interference for the legacy of these guys because it no longer matters (so no one cares or will be punished for straying off the reservation.) Even the first generation of pro-Stalin lying historians has died off, and no writer feels it’s important to pretend that he wasn’t a horrible tyrant anymore.

    You have to be a modern arch-saint like Lincoln or Gandhi or King to be immune from mainstream honest reevalutation. But if you ever said or did anything that puts you on the wrong side of the current idenitiy-social-justice diversity pathological obsession, well, all bets are off.

    • Baduin says:

      You are mistaken.

      The facts are not hidden anymore, because facts do not matter. Modern propaganda does not use facts.

      Stalin is evil and has been evil since 1950s. On the other hand, McCarthy was a paranoid witch hunter and remains one. He is an example of an American Nazi, something like a failed Hitler.

      The rule was and remains: Communists are good, but mistaken people, who were seduced into the slightly wrong direction by the schemer Stalin. Anticommunists are Enemy and must be destroyed.

      Here is an anonymous commenter from Sailer:


      “No matter how much you suffered(really suffered), even the slightest micro-aggression on twitter against Jewish sensitivities gets you nixed.

      McCarthy was never this nuts.”



      by DanielLarison

      May 30, 2008
      Multiple Pages

      “It is odd, to say the least, to read a colleague of mine at this site complaining of someone else’s idiosyncratic positions, as if we prized conformity and predictability here, or attacking his skepticism of mass hysteria directed towards a supposedly pervasive foreign enemy. It is especially strange to find such derision of anti-anticommunism in Richard’s post, since I very much doubt that that most of us would have taken a very different line on popular anticommunism at its origins than we have taken on the sort of crude jingoism that dresses itself up in appeals to combating jihadism. The similarities between the popular anticommunist response and the overreaching anti-jihadist response are noticeable, and I have noted them before. Before anyone gets too carried away in anti-anti-anticommunist fervor, I suggest we consider the very real problems that mass anticommunism has posed for the conservative movement over its history.

      Anticommunism served as the common ground, the chief organizing principle of diverse groups on the right, which compelled traditional conservatives into a dubious alliance with the cheerleaders of corporate capitalism not necessarily that much less antithetical to the stability and integrity of their communities and their way of life, drove the right to embrace a series of questionable foreign wars, deployments and foreign commitments that continue to burden our country with their costs and to reconcile itself to an expansive security state whose unchecked power makes invocations of constitutional constraints quaint and amusing and, of course, opened the door to the neoconservatives who gained entry and found common cause mostly thanks to their even more intense anticommunism that was the fruit of old quarrels from the left. At the end of the Cold War, some anticommunists who had embraced a relatively more hawkish line in the Cold War now saw the conflict as over and all of the things just mentioned as no longer necessary, yet it is almost unavoidable that “emergency” and “temporary” powers that they are never temporary and will continue long after the emergency has ended (especially when the “emergency” lasts for five decades). The anti-anticommunists protested against the ideology that justified all of this, while most conservatives insisted on the necessity of all these things. In retrospect and on balance, who looks to have been more in the right? (…)

      Here is George Kennan, not exactly an appeaser in dealing with the Soviets, on the problem with a certain kind of anticommunism:

      They [anti-communists] distort and exaggerate the dimensions of the problem with which they profess to deal. They confuse internal and external aspects of the communist threat. They insist on portraying as contemporary things that had their actuality years ago. They insist on ascribing to the workings of domestic communism evils and frustrations which, in so far as they were not part of the normal and unavoidable burden of complexity in our life, were the product of our behaviour generally as a nation, and should today be the subject of humble and contrite soul-searching on the part of all of us, in a spirit of brotherhood and community, rather than of frantic and bitter recrimination. And having thus incorrectly stated the problem, it is no wonder that these people consistently find the wrong answers.”

      • Baduin says:

        And here is a condemnation of McCarthy as a ready-made school work:


        The 1950’s Red Scare by Loovie (…)

        On December 2nd, 1954, the Senate voted to censure Senator McCarthy. This was the end of Senator Joseph McCarthy and the Red Scare. He died on May 2, 1957 from acute hepatitis after having cirrhosis as a result from over-drinking. The Red Scare left many people without jobs, kids who weren’t allowed to play with other kids because of their parents, and citizens left shocked after being investigated and persecuted by their own government (McCarthyism). The only thing we can learn from this dark period of history is to not make the same mistakes as the “men we are descended from” (Edward Murrow). The junior senator from Wisconsin caused the very event that our founding fathers set out to prevent. People like Edward Murrow had to stand up for their beliefs against their own country. “Our history will be what we make it” (Good Night, and Good Luck). In order to determine our future, we must study the past. Many people will tell you why history is studied in school is for this exact reason. What we can learn from this segment of our own dark history is that over-zeal in our country can cause instability and unreason in the process of doing what we feel in our hearts is right.

        Works Cited

        1. “Edward Murrow.” Spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk. Spartacus Educational. 4/22/10


        2. Good Night, and Good Luck. Dir. George Clooney. Warner Independent Pictures, 2005.

        3. “Joe McCarthy: Biography.” Spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk. Spartacus Educational. 4/22/10


        4. “McCarthyism.” Mtholyoke.edu. 4/22/10

      • It is especially strange to find such derision of anti-anticommunism in Richard’s post.

        I object to such anti-anti-anti-anti-communism. I may have to write a response in favour of anti-anti-anti-anti-anti-communism.

  4. Thrasymachus says:

    So, Foseti- after what you’ve learned, how do you feel about it?

  5. SOBL1 says:

    It is as if the media has agreed to never let the mask slip that progressive is the American English word for communist. From words, follow thoughts. This permeates the left’s thinking that they can call a woman a man, and that makes her a man. They can obfuscate all they want.

    Nixon’s quotes are a gold mine, and as more Oval Office tapes get released, you see how smart he was. Nixon was right to be paranoid and his own FBI ended up taking him down because he dared to appoint an outsider to clean up the FBI rather than promote the no. 2 inside man.

  6. Retired Guy says:

    Well done. Good subject for historical review. Some good books follow:

    Stalin’s Secret Agents, The subversion of Roosevelt’s Government, Evans and Romerstein, Threshold Editions, 2012, 290 pgs.

    Alger Hiss, Why He Chose Treason, Shelton, Threshold Editions, 2012, 330pgs.

    The CI Desk, FBI and CIA CI As Seen From My cubicle, Christopher Lynch, , dog Ear, 2009. Good insight to FBI politics and etc.

    Capturing Jonathan Pollard, Ronald Olive, Naval Institute Press, 2006
    Good book. FBI and lots of others all foul up..

    The rise and Fall of the KGB in America, Harvey Khlear and Vassilev
    All Dept of State cable traffic in the 30s to USSR! etc.

    A Shadow of Red, Communism and the Blacklist in Radio and Television, David Everitt, Ivan Dee, 2007

    How The Far East Was Lost, Kubek, Regenery, 1963

    Blacklisted by History, The Untold Story of Senator Joe McCarthy and his Fight Against America’s Enemies, M. Stanton Evans, Crown, 2007. See book review http://themainadversary.blogspot.com/2007/12/washington-decoded.html
    Rather balanced and interesting.

    Spy Wars, Moles, Mysteries, and Deadly Games,
    Tennent H. Bagley, Caravan Books, 2007/Yale Univ.

    Radical Roadmaps: Uncovering the Web of Connections Among Far-left Groups in America (Hardcover), Jim Hansen , WND Books, 2006

    The Lives of Agnes Smedley, Ruth Price, Oxford University Press, 2005

    The World was Going Our Way, the KGB and the Battle for the Third World, Christopher
    and Vasili Mitrokhin, Basic Books, 2005Mitroken

    Double Lives, Spies and Writers in the Secret Soviet War of Ideas Against the West, Stephen
    Koch, The Free Press, 1994

    Mortal Crimes-The Greatest Theft in History: Soviet Penetration of the Manhattan Project,
    Nigel West, Enigma Books, 2004

    The Fifty Year Wound, The True Price of America’s Cold War Victory, Derek Leebaert,
    Little Brown and Co., 2002

    In Denial, Historians, Communism and Espionage, John Earl Haynes, Harvey Klehr, Encounter Books, 2003.

    The Main enemy, the Inside Story of the CIA’s Final Showdown with the KGB. Milt Beardon and James Risen, Random House 2003

    The Venona Secrets, Exposing Soviet Espionage and America’s Traitors, Herb Romerstein
    and Herb Brendel

  7. VXXC says:

    In every case,” he argues, “the change will be in the direction of increased [government] control over industry, and increased restrictions on the operations of competition and free enterprise.”

  8. RS says:

    Artichoke is interesting, as are the alleged dramatis personae of the alleged smokescreen giving up MKULTRA as a gambit.

    I don’t see why Evans would have died of ‘something’ when he was almost 80 years old. A little late, no? Whereas this problem does not apply, not to beat a dead horse, to the idea that it has ‘seemed difficult’ for 200 Yrs Together to appear in English.

    Given the apparent strength of the case for widespread comity with the old/hard left, is interesting to note just how much of COINTELPRO was allegedly directed against the new/femme left.

    Especially when a major nucleus of the new left was opposition to proxy wars against the old left (‘Nam).

  9. […] An excellent introduction to reactionary thought from a non-reactionary. Related: McCarthy was right. […]

  10. […] economist who most lives up to the high standards of cosmopolitan morality established by economist Harry Dexter White (1892-1948).” (I couldn’t resist changing the […]

  11. […] Trumbo, one of the highest-paid screenwriters in Hollywood, were card-carrying Communists—and Harry Dexter White and Alger Hiss, two of FDR’s top advisors, were Soviet spies. FDR himself doesn’t look […]

  12. […] An old one from Foseti as a reminder: Harry Dexter White. […]

  13. […] An old one from Foseti as a reminder: Harry Dexter White. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: