Cedric Belfrage

Cedric Belfrage

Cedric Belfrage, the son of a wealthy physician, was born in London on 8th November 1904. He lived in a house with 20 rooms and six servants. (1) He was sent to Cambridge University with a manservant and what he later called a "meager" allowance of two pounds a week. (2)

In 1924 he began writing film reviews for the Kinematograph Weekly in 1924. Three years later he moved to Hollywood and was employed as a film critic of the New York Sun. He also worked as a press agent for Sam Goldwyn. Belfrage became a socialist after becoming friends with the novelist, Upton Sinclair.

Belfrage explained that while at university he had no interest in politics. This changed while he was living in America. During the Great Depression he witnessed great inequality. Like many intelligent people at the time he became convinced that capitalism had failed. He said in an interview that he "could not stomach the inequalities" that he saw and he therefore became a socialist and an anti-fascist activist. As he admitted that this decision "started me on the road to ruin". (3)

Belfrage got a reputation for upsetting film studios. According to one source: "He became a press agent to a picture company at three pounds a week. He was fired. He went to New York and got a job as scenario reader with Universal Pictures. He was fired again. He then became a movie critic, which profession he kept up until 1930, when he had interviewed all the stars several times over and had been ejected from four major studios." (4)

In the early 1930s he became the film critic of The Daily Express. When he returned to Hollywood he took his friend, Eric Maschwitz, with him. (5) Maschwitz recalled in his autobiography, No Chip on My Shoulder (1957): "In Hollywood Cedric and I settled into a small apartment at the Roosevelt Hotel. As representative of a leading London newspaper he had the entree to all the studios, then very active in the first flush of the talking picture. He was kind enough to take me with him on his rounds and I found myself, as wide-eyed as any juvenile movie-fan, face to face with the gods and goddesses of the screen. I met most of them and remember few of them - except for Sylvia Sidney with her quick wit and almost Oriental beauty and Douglas Fairbanks Junior, who remains my friend to this day."

Belfrage introduced Maschwitz to Upton Sinclair: "An old friend of Cedric Belfrage's was Upton Sinclair, the novelist at that time still active in the Socialist cause. Sinclair lived then in a wooden house in Pasadena so entangled in jasmine that, when we called to visit him, the perfume was almost stifling. A frail, yet dynamic man in the mid-fifties he talked fascinatingly for hours, communicating at intervals with his wife, who was upstairs in bed with a chill, by means of a police-dog to whose collar he tied notes. When we were about to leave, he said: 'Well, I guess you boys would like a drink'; we accepted and were immediately regaled with two glasses of water! I took away with me an autographed copy of his latest novel The Flivver King which was an expose of the Henry Ford Empire." (6)

One of Belfrage's reviews in The Daily Express upset "the entire film industry in protest withdrew advertising from his paper. He quit dramatic reviewing for a time until the trouble blew over. He left on his round-the-world trip in January, 1934, and returned in December.... He then took up business at the old stand again." In April, 1936 he went on a visit to the Soviet Union with his wife, the journalist Molly Castle.

Belfrage became an active member of the Hollywood Anti-Nazi League (HANL) in 1936. Other members included Dorothy Parker, Alan Campbell, Walter Wanger, Dashiell Hammett, Donald Ogden Stewart, John Howard Lawson, Clifford Odets, John Bright, Dudley Nichols, Frederic March, Lewis Milestone, Oscar Hammerstein II, Ernst Lubitsch, Mervyn LeRoy, Gloria Stuart, Sylvia Sidney, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Chico Marx, Benny Goodman, Fred MacMurray and Eddie Cantor. Another member, Philip Dunne, later admitted "I joined the Anti-Nazi League because I wanted to help fight the most vicious subversion of human dignity in modern history". (7)

In 1937 Belfrage joined the American Communist Party, but withdrew his membership a few months later. He was too much a political maverick to accept the discipline of the party. For example, at one meeting, John Bright, asked Victor Jerome, the leading party member in Hollywood: "Comrade Jerome, what if a Party decision is made that you cannot go along with?" Jerome replied: "When the Party makes a decision, it becomes your opinion." (8)

Belfrage became active in the fight against fascism and developed a close relationship with Victor Gollancz and the Left Book Club. He wrote several books during this period on politics. This included Away From It All (1937), Promised Land (1937), Let My People Go (1937) and South of God (1938). Belfrage was passionate about what his son described as the "plight of humanity". Nicholas Belfrage later argued: "He fought all the time against oppression, privilege, injustice, all that. He never gave a damn about material things or money, which meant that it fell to my poor mother to support and look after the family with very little help." (9)

Ruth Dudley Edwards, the author of Victor Gollancz: A Biography (1987) has commented: "Belfrage, the author of the February 1938 choice (of the Left Book Club) Promised Land, an inner history of Hollywood - showing what happened to art under capitalism." Edwards quotes Belfrage as saying that at one packed meeting at the Empress Hall, which seated 11,000, he found the occasion "the atmosphere of a true religious revival". (10)

In June, 1940, Winston Churchill appointed William Stephenson as the head of the British Security Coordination (BSC). Stewart Menzies, head of MI6, sent a message to Gladwyn Jebb, of the Ministry of Economic Warfare: "I have appointed Mr W.S. Stephenson to take charge of my organisation in the USA and Mexico. As I have explained to you, he has a good contact with an official who sees the President daily. I believe this may prove of great value to the Foreign Office in the future outside and beyond the matters on which that official will give assistance to Stephenson. Stephenson leaves this week. Officially he will go as Principal Passport Control Officer for the USA. I feel that he should have contact with the Ambassador, and should like him to have a personal letter from Cadogan to the effect that it may at times be desirable for the Ambassador to have personal contact with Mr Stephenson." (11)

As William Boyd has pointed out: "The phrase (British Security Coordination) is bland, almost defiantly ordinary, depicting perhaps some sub-committee of a minor department in a lowly Whitehall ministry. In fact BSC, as it was generally known, represented one of the largest covert operations in British spying history... With the US alongside Britain, Hitler would be defeated - eventually. Without the US (Russia was neutral at the time), the future looked unbearably bleak... polls in the US still showed that 80% of Americans were against joining the war in Europe. Anglophobia was widespread and the US Congress was violently opposed to any form of intervention." (12)

An office was opened in the Rockefeller Centre in Manhattan with the agreement of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and J. Edgar Hoover of the FBI. Roosevelt's top security advisor, Adolph Berle, sent a message to Sumner Welles, the Under Secretary of State: "The head of the field service appears to be Mr. William S. Stephenson... in charge of providing protection for British ships, supplies etc. But in fact a full size secret police and intelligence service is rapidly evolving... with district officers at Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Charleston, New Orleans, Houston, San Francisco, Portland and probably Seattle.... I have in mind, of course, that should anything go wrong at any time, the State Department would be called upon to explain why it permitted violation of American laws and was compliant about an obvious breach of diplomatic obligation... Were this to occur and a Senate investigation should follow, we should be on very dubious ground if we have not taken appropriate steps." (13)

An important British agent, Charles Howard Ellis, was sent to New York City to work alongside William Stephenson as assistant-director. Together they recruited several businessmen, journalists, academics and writers into the BSC. This included Roald Dahl, H. Montgomery Hyde, Ian Fleming, Ivar Bryce, David Ogilvy, Isaiah Berlin, Eric Maschwitz, A. J. Ayer, Giles Playfair, Benn Levy, Noël Coward and Gilbert Highet.

Cedric Belfrage joined the BSC in December 1941. According to William Deaken, one of the senior figures in the organisation: "Belfrage was brought in as one of the propaganda people... he was a known communist." He was recruited by the BSC because if his contacts with American journalists. The strategy was to work with American journalists to persuade them to write articles that would advocate intervention in the Second World War.

Belfrage worked with organizations such as the Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies (CDAAA) that had been founded by William Allen White. He gave an interview to the Chicago Daily News where he argued: "Here is a life and death struggle for every principle we cherish in America: For freedom of speech, of religion, of the ballot and of every freedom that upholds the dignity of the human spirit... Here all the rights that common man has fought for during a thousand years are menaced... The time has come when we must throw into the scales the entire moral and economic weight of the United States on the side of the free peoples of Western Europe who are fighting the battle for a civilized way of life." (14)

According to William Boyd: "BSC's media reach was extensive: it included such eminent American columnists as Walter Winchell and Drew Pearson, and influenced coverage in newspapers such as the Herald Tribune, the New York Post and the Baltimore Sun. BSC effectively ran its own radio station, WRUL, and a press agency, the Overseas News Agency (ONA), feeding stories to the media as they required from foreign datelines to disguise their provenance. WRUL would broadcast a story from ONA and it thus became a US "source" suitable for further dissemination, even though it had arrived there via BSC agents. It would then be legitimately picked up by other radio stations and newspapers, and relayed to listeners and readers as fact. The story would spread exponentially and nobody suspected this was all emanating from three floors of the Rockefeller Centre. BSC took enormous pains to ensure its propaganda was circulated and consumed as bona fide news reporting. To this degree its operations were 100% successful: they were never rumbled." (15)

Roald Dahl was assigned to work with Drew Pearson, one of America's most influential journalist as the time. "Dahl described his main function with BSC as that of trying to 'oil the wheels' that often ground imperfectly between the British and American war efforts. Much of this involved dealing with journalists, something at which he was already skilled. His chief contact was the mustachioed political gossip columnist Drew Pearson, whose column, Washington Merry-Go-Round, was widely regarded as the most important of its kind in the United States." (16)

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941, much of the BSC's security and intelligence work could legitimately be taken over the FBI and other United States agencies. William Stephenson told Stewart Menzies, head of MI6, that the very existence of the BSC was now threatened. In January 1942, the McKellar Bill was before Congress, requiring the registration of all "foreign agents". Stephenson told Menzies this "might render work of this office in U.S.A. impossible as it is obviously inadmissible that all our records and other material should be made public". (17) After some vigorous lobbying by Stephenson and others, the McKellar Bill was amended so that agents of the Allied "United Nations" would be exempt from registration and need only report in private to their own embassy. (18)

BSC agents now worked very closely with the FBI. Belfrage was asked to infiltrate a Soviet network run by Jacob Golos. He was the most important Soviet agent in the United States. Golos had been recruited by Gaik Ovakimyan, the NKVD station chief in New York City. Secret Soviet intelligence cables from Golos as "our reliable man in the U.S." According to Allen Weinstein, the author of The Hunted Wood: Soviet Espionage in America (1999): "Through bribes, Golos developed a network of foreign consular officials and U.S. passport agency workers who supplied him not only with passports but also naturalization documents and birth certificates belonging to persons who had died or had permanently left the United States." (19)

The FBI became aware that Golos was running a travel agency, World Tourists in New York City, as a front for Soviet clandestine work. (20) His office was raided by officials of the Justice Department. Some of these documents showed that Earl Browder, the leader of the Communist Party of the United States, had travelled on a false passport. Browder was arrested and Golos told Elizabeth Bentley: "Earl is my friend. It is my carelessness that is going to send him to jail." Bentley later recalled that the incident took its toll on Golos: "His red hair was becoming grayer and sparser, his blue eyes seemed to have no more fire in them, his face became habitually white and taut." (21)

The FBI decided that he was worth more to them free than in prison. According to Bentley, United States officials agreed to drop the whole investigation, if Golos pleaded guilty. He told her that Moscow insisted that he went along with the deal. "I never thought that I would live to see the day when I would have to plead guilty in a bourgeois court." He complained that they had forced him to become a "sacrificial goat". On 15th March, 1940, Golos received a $500 fine and placed on four months probation. (22)

On 18th January, 1941, the FBI saw Golos exchange documents with Gaik Ovakimyan. The FBI also observed Golos meeting Elizabeth Bentley at the offices of the of the U.S. Service and Shipping Corporation. The agents wondered if she might be a Soviet spy as well and she was followed. On 23rd May, 1941, Ovakimyan was arrested and deported. (23)

He later explained to the FBI that under orders from BSC he had passed files to Russian contacts during the war in order to get material back in return. "My thought was to tell him certain things of a really trifling nature from the point of view of British and American interest, hoping in this way to get from him some more valuable information from the Communist side." (24)

The Soviets gave Belfrage the code-name, UCN/9. He was also known as "MOLLY". We know about this because of the declassifed Venona files. After the war a team led by Meredith Gardner was assigned to help decode a backlog of communications between Moscow and its foreign missions. By 1945, over 200,000 messages had been transcribed and now a team of cryptanalysts attempted to decrypt them. The project, named Venona (a word which appropriately, has no meaning), was based at Arlington Hall, Virginia. (25)

It was not until 1949 that Gardner made his big breakthrough. He was able to decipher enough of a Soviet message to identify it as the text of a 1945 telegram from Winston Churchill to Harry S. Truman. Checking the message against a complete copy of the telegram provided by the British Embassy, the cryptanalysts confirmed beyond doubt that during the war the Soviets had a spy who had access to secret communication between the president of the United States and the prime minister of Britain.

Meredith Gardner and his team were able to work out that more than 200 Americans had become Soviet agents during the Second World War. They had spies in the State Department and most leading government agencies, the Manhattan Project and the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). This included Elizabeth Bentley, Marion Bachrach, Joel Barr, Abraham Brothman, Earl Browder, Karl Hermann Brunck, Louis Budenz, Whittaker Chambers, Frank Coe, Henry Hill Collins, Judith Coplon, Lauchlin Currie, Hope Hale Davis, Samuel Dickstein, Martha Dodd, Laurence Duggan, Gerhart Eisler, Noel Field, Harold Glasser, Vivian Glassman, Jacob Golos, Theodore Hall, Alger Hiss, Donald Hiss, Joseph Katz, Charles Kramer, Duncan Chaplin Lee, Harvey Matusow, Hede Massing, Paul Massing, Boris Morros, William Perl, Victor Perlo, Joszef Peter, Lee Pressman, Mary Price, William Remington, Alfred Sarant, Abraham George Silverman, Helen Silvermaster, Nathan Silvermaster, Alfred Stern, William Ludwig Ullmann, Julian Wadleigh, Harold Ware, Nathaniel Weyl, Donald Niven Wheeler, Harry Dexter White, Nathan Witt and Mark Zborowski.

These agents were never prosecuted because the FBI and the CIA did not want the Soviets to know they had broken their code. However, the Soviets knew as early as 1949 because one of Gardner's assistants, William Weisband, was also a Soviet agent. To make sure that the FBI was unaware that they knew that the code was about to be broken, they continued to use it. The "operatives" were instructed "every week to compose summary reports or information on the basis of press and personal connections to be transferred to the Center by telegraph." As Allen Weinstein, the author of The Hunted Wood: Soviet Espionage in America (1999) has pointed out the "Soviet intelligence's once-flourishing American networks, in short, had been transformed almost overnight into a virtual clipping service." (26)

Ever since the Soviet Union had entered the war, Joseph Stalin had been demanding that the Allies open-up a second front in Europe. Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt argued that any attempt to land troops in Western Europe would result in heavy casualties. Stalin began to worry that the Allies wanted Adolf Hitler to destroy Soviet communism. It was important for Stalin to be convinced that a Second Front would eventually be achieved.

Cedric Belfrage was part of this project. In 1995-96 over 2,990 fully or partially decrypted Soviet intelligence cables from the Venona archives were declassified and released by the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency. This included cables that concerned Belfrage. One dated 19th May, 1943, from Vassili Zarubin stated that UCN/9, had informed them that there was a "growing movement" for "opening a second front in Europe". (27)

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This information about the desire for a Second Front had been obtained by BSC agent, David Ogilvy, who worked for the Audience Research Institute, that had been set-up by George H. Gallup and Hadley Cantril. According to the official BSC history, from later 1941 on Ogilvy was "able to ensure a constant flow of intelligence on public opinion in the United States, since he had access not only to the questionnaires sent out by Gallup and Cantril and to the recommendations offered by the latter to the White House," but also to "internal reports prepared by the Survey Division of the Office of War Information and by the Opinion Research Division of the U.S. Army". (28)

According to Robert J. Lamphere, a member of the Soviet Espionage unit of the FBI, who was involved in interviewing Elizabeth Bentley, reports that she claims that Belfrage passed to Golos a "Scotland Yard secret instruction manual on the training of British Intelligence agents". (29)

It is also clear that since joining the British Security Coordination (BSC) in December 1941, Belfrage had not told the Soviets of the existence of the organisation. In June, 1943, Pavel Klarin, the Soviet vice-counsul in New York City, and a senior NKVD officer, was requested to investigate the existence of this organization. On 21st June he replied: "The organization 'British Security Coordination' is not known to us. We have taken steps to find out what it is. We will report the result in the next few days." (30)

By this time Jacob Golos was having doubts about Belfrage. His assistant, Elizabeth Bentley, later told the FBI "Belfrage was an extremely odd character, and rather difficult to deal with. Although passionately devoted to the cause, he still considered himself a patriotic Britisher, and hence he would give us no information that showed up England's mistakes or tended to make her a laughing-stock." (31)

In September 1943, Golos broke off contact with Belfrage. The official reason was that Golos had shown some of the material provided by Belfrage to Earl Browder. He had used some of this information in an article that he had written for an article that appeared in a magazine controlled by the Communist Party of the United States. Terrified that the FBI might trace the source of the leak, the Soviets decided to have nothing more to do with Belfrage. (32) However, the real reason is that another Soviet agent, HAVRE (the true identity of this agent has never been discovered), had reported that Belfrage had failed to give Golos details about the BSC. This suggested to the Soviets he was working as a double agent. (33)

Belfrage also co-edited a left literary magazine, The Clipper, during the Second World War. In the magazine he promoted the work of Orson Welles. According to the authors of Radical Hollywood (2002), he selected Citizen Kane "as the supreme example of what radical innovators could do in Hollywood, the proof that showed the way forward." Belfrage argued that the movie was "as profoundly moving an experience as only this extraordinary and hitherto unexplored media of sound-cinema can afford." Belfrage suggested that progressive figures in Hollywood had been"hoping and trying for a chance like this.... but always the film salesman, speaking through the producer, has the last word." (34)

In 1944 Belfrage worked at the "Psychological Warfare Division" of Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF) in Paris under the direct control of General Dwight D. Eisenhower. Belfrage was involved in setting up a free and democratic press in West Germany. As Belfrage pointed out, at last "albeit kicking and screaming, democratic capitalism had joined with Soviet socialism to wipe from the earth the war virus in the most pestilent form - fascism." Belfrage welcomed the new power he had been given. "We were part inquisitors, part entrepreneurs but with privileges denied to a Beaverbrook or Hearst. Waving the conqueror's wand, we simply requisitioned real estate, materials, and equipment for use by the new "democratic" press we were required to create." In late 1945 General Eisenhower told him in a telegram that it was not considered right to employ someone who was "British" in what had become an "American zone" and he returned to the United States. (35)

On 11th October 1945, Louis Budenz, the editor of the Daily Worker, announced that he was leaving the Communist Party of the United States and had rejoined "the faith of my fathers" because Communism "aims to establish tyranny over the human spirit". He also said that he intended to expose the "Communist menace". (36) Budenz knew that Elizabeth Bentley was a spy and four days later she showed up at the FBI's New York office. Vsevolod Merkulov later wrote in a memo to Joseph Stalin that "Bentley's betrayal might have been caused by her fear of being unmasked by the renegade Budenz." (37) At this meeting she only gave the names of Jacob Golos and Earl Browder as spies.

Another meeting was held on the 7th November 1945. This time she the FBI a 107 page statement that named 80 people including Cedric Belfrage, Victor Perlo, Harry Dexter White, Nathan Silvermaster, Abraham George Silverman, Nathan Witt, Marion Bachrach, Julian Wadleigh, William Remington, Harold Glasser, Charles Kramer, Duncan Chaplin Lee, Joseph Katz, William Ludwig Ullmann, Henry Hill Collins, Frank Coe, Abraham Brothman, Mary Price and Lauchlin Currie as Soviet spies. The following day J. Edgar Hoover, sent a message to Harry S. Truman confirming that an espionage ring was operating in the United States government. (38) Some of these people, including White, Currie, Bachrach, Witt and Wadleigh, had been named by Whittaker Chambers in 1939. (39)

There is no doubt that the FBI was taking her information very seriously. As G. Edward White, has pointed out: "Among her networks were two in the Washington area: one centered in the War Production Board, the other in the Treasury Department. The networks included two of the most highly placed Soviet agents in the government, Harry Dexter White in Treasury and Laughlin Currie, an administrative assistant in the White House." (40) Amy W. Knight, the author of How the Cold War Began: The Ignor Gouzenko Affair and the Hunt for Soviet Spies (2005) has suggested that it had added significance because it followed the defection of Ignor Gouzenko. (41)

J. Edgar Hoover attempted to keep Bentley's defection a secret. The plan was for her to "burrow-back" into the Soviet underground in America in order to get evidence against dozens of spies. However, it was Hoover's decision to tell William Stephenson, the head of head of British Security Coordination about Bentley, that resulted in the Soviets becoming aware of her defection. Stephenson told Kim Philby and on 20th November, 1945, he informed NKVD of her betrayal. (42)

On 23rd November, 1945, Moscow sent a message to all station chiefs to "cease immediately their connection with all persons known to Bentley in our work and to warn the agents about Bentley's betrayal". The cable to Anatoly Gorsky told him to cease meeting with Donald Maclean, Victor Perlo, Charles Kramer and Lauchlin Currie. Another agent, Iskhak Akhmerov, was told not the meet with any sources connected to Bentley. (43)

It was not until April, 1947, that the FBI descended on the homes of the names provided by Bentley. Their properties were searched and they were interrogated by agents over several weeks. This included Cedric Belfrage. Unlike all the other people who were interviewed, Belfrage was willing to make a confession. However, he claimed that he had only passed information to the Soviet Union on behalf of British Security Coordination.

Belfrage confessed that in 1942 he met with Earl Browder, a leading figure in the Communist Party of the United States. He was then introduced to Jacob Golos. The following year he met with Victor Jerome, eight or nine times. Belfrage said that he met with Jerome "with a view to finding out what I could about Communists and Russian politics". Belfrage reported that in order to induce Jerome to provide him with information: "I supplied him with information about Scotland Yard surveillances and also with some documents relative to the Vichy Government in France, which were of a highly confidential nature with respect to their origin but which contained information of no value whatever."

Harvey Klehr and John Earl Haynes, the authors of Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America (2000) have argued: "Belfrage did not know it, but his statement about giving Jerome material on Scotland Yard surveillance matched closely with a Bentley statement that among the documents Belfrage had handed over was a British security service manual on procedures and techniques for the proper running of agents... The Venona cables also corroborate Bentley's story that Golos shared Belfrage's information with Browder." (44)

In 1948 Belfrage helped establish the National Guardian with James Aronson and John T. McManus. (45) The newspaper provided positive publicity for Vito Marcantonio and the American Labor Party (ALP). The newspaper also campaigned against the convictions of Julius Rosenberg and Ethel Rosenberg. One of its journalists, William A. Reuben, who wrote many of the articles on the case, later published The Atom Spy Hoax (1954) on the Rosenbergs.

Robert J. Lamphere later reported that Belfrage's campaign against the proposed execution of the Rosenberg's upset the FBI: "The important thing was that the Reuben articles provided the fodder for a concerted campaign to make the public believe not only that the Rosenbergs were framed but also the United States government was guilty of murdering innocent Jewish idealists. This campaign was ultimately of great benefit to the Soviet Union." (46)

On his return to the United States he was approached by the journalist, Joseph North, to rejoin the Communist Party of the United States. Belfrage rejected the idea as he had opposed the party's support of the Nazi-Soviet Pact and the way it had purged members for not supporting the policy of Joseph Stalin. Instead he joined the Progressive Party, led by Henry A. Wallace. He admitted that Wallace was "too capitalist for our heartiest cheers" but felt he could provide a "political home" for his socialist beliefs. (47)

On 6th May 1953 Belfrage was summoned to appear before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). According to Glenn Fowler, of The New York Times, the main reason for this was for his work in the "Psychological Warfare Division" in West Germany. Belfrage and James Aronson were accused of having approved "Communists to publish newspapers". (48)

His son, Nicholas Belfrage, later recalled: "One morning I heard on the radio that the band leader Artie Shaw and the journalist Cedric Belfrage were to appear that day before HUAC. I knew it was coming but I was terrified nonetheless, because at that time there was a general atmosphere of fear and I thought I stood a good chance of being beaten up at my Bronx school or at least ostracised by my friends. In the event none of my contemporaries ever mentioned it, though my teacher, one Bessie Coyne whose adoration for McCarthy was matched only by her loathing of Communists and Brits (I was deemed to be both) inquired of me before a packed and silent class: 'Who are you going to kill today, Belfrage?' I was 13 at the time." (49)

Belfrage refused to answer questions put to him by Harold H. Velde because "whatever answers I would give would be used to crucify me and other innocent persons". Another HUAC member, Bernard W. Kearney, told Belfrage: "I'm going to contact immigration authorities and find out why you are still in this country. I think you're the type to be deported immediately." (50)

Belfrage later argued that Joseph McCarthy and Roy Cohn were determined to bring an end to the National Guardian as it was one of his major critics. "McCarthy struck red gold: two subversive army officers who, after laboring to create a 'red press' in Germany, had returned to establish one at home - a paper now leading the fight for the Rosenbergs, at whose trial Cohn had been an assistant prosecutor." (51)

Later that month Belfrage was arrested and taken to Ellis Island, at that time, the immigration detention centre. On 10th June, 1953, he was freed by Federal District Judge Edward Weinfeld. In a statement issued by Weinfeld he argued: "If for the long period of seven years following... the immigration and other government officials did not consider Belfrage's presence and activities inimical to the nation's welfare and a threat to its security, it is difficult to understand how, overnight, because of his assertion of a constitutional privilege, he has become such a menace to the nation's safety that it is now necessary to jail him without bail." (52)

Cedric Belfrage was eventually deported on 15th August 1955. "America banished one of its most devoted sons last week in the person of Cedric Henning Belfrage, editor of the newspaper. With his wife, the Guardian editor sailed at noon, Monday, August 15, on the Holland-America liner Nieuw Amsterdam for his native England under a deportation order demanded 27 months ago by Senator Joseph McCarthy." (53) The following year Belfrage published The Frightened Giant: My Unfinished Affair with America (1956). (54)

In 1956 Belfrage visited Moscow and brought up the issue of political prisoners being executed without trial in the Soviet Union. He was told by a Soviet spokesman that this was "an internal matter". Belfrage wrote in the National Guardian that the executions were no different "from the Rosenberg executions in America - except that the Rosenberg's did get trials". (55)

Later that year Belfrage was horrified by the Soviet reaction to the Hungarian Uprising. "The Soviet-Hungarian convulsions of 1956 shook a different kind of faith in socialists around the world - faith not in the past but in the future." Belfrage was also dismayed by the way the events were reported in China. Imre Nagy and other leaders of the revolt were described as "imperialist henchmen, renegades, slanderers". Belfrage argued that: "If the socialist world leaders fail to recognize in such protests the voices of their true friends it will be perhaps the greatest tragedy of all. The voice is saying that socialists in the capitalist world have made sacrifices too for the cause, and will not stand silent while that cause is again dragged through a mire of terror where socialism reigns and torn to pieces where the fight remains to be won." (56)

In 1960 Cedric Belfrage travelled to Cuba where reported on the new government of Fidel Castro. (57) After spending some time in the region he published The Man at the Door with the Gun: Contemporary Developments in Latin America (1963) where he discussed the possibility of future revolutions in the region. Belfrage argued that Castro had "made some serious errors of judgment" but he "anchored himself in scores of millions of hearts beyond Cuba to Latin America's darkest confines" and made himself a top target of CIA's assassination programme. (58)

Belfrage was often away from home. His son, Nicholas Belfrage recalls: "From a son’s point of view he was someone to admire rather than love. He was always too busy saving the world to be a good father (although my sister Sally, who adored him, would disagree). He was a man led by principle. He had a lot of charm and a great sense of humour, which he always said was essential in life." (59)

Belfrage took a close interest in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. One of the first books claiming a conspiracy was written by Thomas Buchanan. When Who Killed Kennedy? was published in the United States in 1964, it was mainly ignored. However, Time Magazine reviewed it and made much of the fact that Buchanan was a former member of the American Communist Party. Belfrage, argued in the journal, Minority of One, that it was "irrelevant whether Buchanan was a former communist or a former Zen Buddhist". Belfrage went on to state that what was important was Buchanan's "common sense of the assassination and the American crisis it symbolizes". (60)

Belfrage's book about The American Inquisition, was about Joe McCarthy and McCarthyism was published in 1973. He is also the co-author with James Aronson of Something to Guard: The Stormy Life of the National Guardian 1948-1967 (1978). In 1988 the work won a citation from PEN, the international literary organization. (61) Robert Meeropol met Belfrage when he was living in exile and described him as "charasmatic, charming, intelligent and thoughtful, a fine, fine, human being." (62)

Cedric Belfrage died in Cuernavaca, Mexico, on 21st June, 1990.

Perhaps the most important point of Hollywood discussion had already been reached in the short-lived Clipper by another political oddball at least as curious as Bright: British-exile novelist, newspaper "personality" interviewer, and past film publicist Cedric Belfrage. He chose Citizen Kane as the supreme example of what radical innovators could do in Hollywood, the proof that showed the way forward. This was a more obviously left-wing choice than critics (except perhaps those on the Right) were able to admit for decades-not only because Kane's factual basis happened to be the Red-baiting William Randolph Hearst, of course, but because of Orson Welles himself.

That Welles of the Mercury Theatre days had been surrounded by future blacklisted writers like Howard Koch and that he so depended upon the Popular Front-ish John Houseman as his producer could have been no secret. The notorious 1938 War of the Worlds radio broadcast hoax caught savants of the Merc flat-footed: no one expected it to be taken seriously. The arrival of America's bad boy and mass-artistic genius in Hollywood has been made legend again and again. Right down to gofer William Alland, who drove Welles westward from New York and turned up as the narrator of Citizen Kane with back to the camera, Welles was surrounded by helpful, sometimes worshipful Communists.

Cedric H. Belfrage, an author, editor and translator who was deported from the United States to his native Britain in 1955 after refusing to tell Congressional investigators whether he had ever been a Communist, died yesterday at his home in Cuernavaca, Mexico. He was 85 years old.

His wife, Mary, said he had been in declining health since suffering a stroke nine years ago. But Mr. Belfrage continued writing, winning awards for translations of the Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano.

A self-proclaimed ''independent radical,'' Mr. Belfrage was the editor and co-owner, with James Aronson, of The National Guardian weekly newspaper when he was deported. He was its editor-in-exile until 1967 when both men resigned after a dispute over editorial policy with the weekly's staff, and turned their stock over to the staff.

Mr. Belfrage was born in London, the son of a well-to-do physician. Shortly after World War I, he was sent to Cambridge University with a manservant and what he later called a ''meager'' allowance of two pounds a week.

He persuaded his father to finance a trip to New York, and he later worked his way to Hollywood, where he found he could sell interviews with movie stars to British magazines.

He returned to London and became a film critic. In 1933, he took a round-the-world trip, which he chronicled in his first book, Away From It All: An Escapologist's Notebook.

He returned to Britain, but his view of British life and values remained negative, as he recorded in another autobiographical book, They All Hold Swords, in 1941.

After serving as a correspondent during World War II, he and Mr. Aronson worked in Germany for United States occupation authorities seeking to re-establish German newspapers. They were later accused of having approved Communists to publish newspapers, charges that were the main basis for their subpoenas from the House Committee on Un-American Activities and its counterpart in the Senate.

In 1948, Mr. Belfrage and Mr. Aronson began publishing The National Guardian in New York as an independent left-wing journal. Five years later, Mr. Belfrage refused to say at Congressional hearings whether he had ever been a Communist or had engaged in espionage against the United States, charges that had been made by a former Communist courier, Elizabeth Bentley.

In 1954 the Immigration and Nauturalization Service ordered him deported ''on grounds of Communist Party membership.'' After the order was upheld a year later on appeal, he sailed for England rather than remain in detention pending a Supreme Court appeal.

In 1973, he was permitted to visit the United States for a monthlong tour to promote his book The American Inquisition, published by Bobbs-Merrill. The book described what he called ''massive'' assaults on the Bill of Rights from 1945 to 1960.

In the early 1980's, he and Mr. Aronson had a rapprochement with The National Guardian, and he resumed writing book reviews and other commentary. He returned to this country almost annually after the 1973 book tour. Mr. Aronson died in 1988. From 1985 to 1988 Mr. Belfrage published a trilogy, Memory of Fire, translations of Mr. Galeano. In 1988 the work won a citation from PEN, the international literary organization, and last year it won an award from the Before Columbus Foundation at the American Booksellers Association convention. His translation of Mr. Galeano's Book of Embraces will be published by W. W. Norton next spring.

Mr. Belfrage is survived by his fifth wife, the former Mary Bernick, whom he married in 1960; two daughters, Sally, of London, and Anne Zribi of Paris; a son, Nicholas, of London, and five grandchildren.

Britain failed to prosecute a member of the intelligence services who passed secrets to Russia in World War Two out of fear of embarrassment, files in the National Archives have revealed.

MI5 also appeared to have failed to grasp the significance of former film critic Cedric Belfrage's activities.
The Briton worked for an arm of MI6 in New York after a career in Hollywood.

But his colleagues were unaware he had become increasingly left wing, probably after a trip to the Soviet Union.
In November 1945, Elizabeth Bentley approached the FBI and said she had been part of a Soviet spy ring operating in the US.

When the FBI approached those alleged to be involved, the only one to initially offer a partial confession was Cedric Belfrage...

By 1941 he was working for British Security Co-ordination (BSC) in New York, which co-operated with the FBI and where he had access to secret information.

During his time at BSC he was introduced by American communists to a top Russian spy called Jacob Golos.
The Russians codenamed Belfrage "Benjamin" and between 1941 and 1943 he passed on secret documents on subjects including British policy on Russia and the Middle East, reports on France and from British police.

The revelation that Belfrage had passed secrets worked its way back to MI6. An MI6 officer wrote back to MI5 regarding his employment saying "Belfrage's career since that date is well known to our New York office, by whom, in fact, he has been employed".

What is remarkable is the MI6 officer who wrote those lines was Kim Philby, himself a Soviet spy, and one of the Cambridge spy ring recruited by the Soviets while at university in the 1930s.

It seems almost inevitable that Philby would have told his Russian handlers of the revelations from the US including about Belfrage. This, in turn, may have allowed Belfrage to carefully plan his response.

He was detained in 1955 and sent back to Britain. The grounds for his deportation were not espionage but the fact that he had been a member of the American Communist Party in the 1930s under a false name.

All this attracted considerable attention in the UK press and Parliament - where some lauded him as a hero for standing up to the anti-communist fervour sweeping the US.

But his return to the UK left MI5 with a headache. They had seen the evidence he had been spying and there were some who wanted to prosecute him.

But Belfrage had offered a defence in his secret partial confession to the FBI.

He had admitted he had passed files to Russian contacts during the war but claimed this was on the orders of his superiors in British intelligence in order to get material back in return.

"My thought was to tell him certain things of a really trifling nature from the point of view of British and American interest, hoping in this way to get from him some more valuable information from the Communist side," Belfrage said, according to the files...

Prof Christopher Andrew, who has acted as official historian for MI5 and worked on secrets taken from the KGB archive, said: "Soviet intelligence in the middle of World War II actually ranked him ahead of Philby - only for a year or two, but nonetheless, it was an important year or two."

He says this was because partly because Philby was mistrusted as a double agent but also because of Belfrage's important position at the junction between Britain and the US.

"I think he was one of the most important spies the Soviet Union ever had," agrees Svetlana Lokhova, an expert on Russian intelligence, in part because the Soviet Union would have been desperate for intelligence on British and US policies at a key moment in the war.

She also points to decrypted Soviet communications mentioning Belfrage, the fact he was run directly by Jacob Golos, and that the Russians made repeated attempts to reconnect with him after Golos died, she said.

Ms Lokhova and Prof Andrew also say the fact that KGB has never revealed anything about Belfrage suggests his importance.

But concerns over embarrassment and the failure of MI6 to unearth evidence that could be used to prosecute him, meant he appears to have been a spy who got away.

A leading British theatre critic betrayed his country and passed secret documents to the Russians during the Second World War, newly-declassified MI5 files reveal.

Cedric Belfrage leaked sensitive documents to the Russians while working for the British security services in the US. The information was of such value that he became more highly-prized by Moscow than notorious Cambridge spy Kim Philby.

He handed over intelligence about espionage method along with highly confidential documents about Vichy France and detail of British policy in the Middle East and Russia, according to newly-declassified files.

Moscow were so pleased with him they held him as a key asset and held him in higher regard than Philby, a member of the notorious Cambridge Five spy ring, according to the MI5 official historian Professor Christopher Andrew.

When he was finally identified as part of a Soviet spy ring, he claimed the information was of a ‘trifling nature’ and maintained he was using the intelligence to try to get information from the Soviets.

MI5 seem largely to have agreed with this assessment and he has never been tried, though appeared before a Grand Jury from the Committee of Un-American Activities in the US.

Professor Andrew said Belfrage’s Soviet handler praised the intelligence he provided to Moscow as "extremely valuable".

He added: "For a year or so in the middle of the Second World War, Soviet intelligence even rated him ahead of Philby. Though Moscow has released some of Philby’s KGB file, however, it has revealed nothing about Belfrage."
Born in London in 1904, Belfrage studied at Cambridge University, where he developed a passion for film, but left without taking a degree.

He was exposed after the spy Elizabeth Bentley defected from the Communist Party to become an informant for the US in 1946.

Authorities learned he had been passing intelligence to the Soviets during the 1940s and was part of a spy network.
The newly-released files reveal he supplied Moscow with a report from Scotland Yard on methods of training intelligence agents as well as notes from "some prominent burglars in England’ on ‘surreptitiously opening safes, doors, locks, and other protective devices".

He also handed over intelligence on British policy in the Middle East and Russia, as well as information from high-ranking British officials in the US.

When questioned by the FBI in June 1947, he confessed to leaking secrets to the Soviets but he said that what he passed on was of a "really trifling nature", adding that it contained "information of no value whatever".

Cedric Belfrage, my father, has been accused of spying for the USSR in documentation dis-embargoed at midnight on 21st August 2015.

I have not been able to view this documentation so cannot comment directly. What I do know is that the Belfrage family - Cedric, Mollie, Sally (all deceased) and myself - transferred from Los Angeles in the middle of 1941 to New York city where Cedric had been recruited to work with British intelligence. He was a passionate anti-Nazi and had not yet qualified as an American citizen.

This was before either the USA or the USSR had entered the war. Britain had its back to the wall and without these alliances was facing almost certain defeat. The simple brief of British intelligence was to persuade America and Russia to join Britain against the common foe, and to do whatever necessary to achieve this end.

Years later, as has emerged in the documentation, the FBI questioned Cedric on his wartime activities and he maintained that the information he fed the Soviets was of a 'trifling nature' whose purpose was to get more substantial information from the Soviets.

At this time (1947) Cedric had already started planning work on his unapologetically left-wing weekly, The National Guardian. He never made any attempt to pretend he was not an avid left-winger whose goal in life was to bring justice and equality to humanity. He had been a declared member of the Communist party in the 1930s in Hollywood, but left the Party in disgust at its regimentation.

Was Cedric Belfrage a spy? As a recruited member of British intelligence, yes.

Was he a double agent? Possibly.

Did his work help to deliver humanity from the evil of Nazism? Almost certainly.

Perhaps he is owed more congratulation than vilification.

Many years after the war, as I recall, the Sunday Times printed on its front page a list of alleged Russian spies, some alive, some dead.

Cedric was listed among the dead. I phoned him at his Mexican home and said: "Pa, did you realise that you are a dead Russian spy?"

Silence. Finally: "Well, I do feel a bit dead at times, but I didn't know I was a Russian spy."

Cedric was urged by his daughter Sally to claim damages on the grounds of not being dead. He received a moderate settlement which he used to come and visit us in Europe.

(1) Cedric Belfrage, interviewed in 1977 for the Thames TV series Hollywood (1980).

(2) Glenn Fowler, The New York Times (22nd June, 1990)

(3) The Hollywood Spy ( 17th September, 2015)

(4) Harry Redcay Warfel, American Novelists of Today (1951) page 31

(5) Cedric Belfrage, Promised Land (1937) pages 158-9

(6) Eric Maschwitz, No Chip on My Shoulder (1957) page 151

(7) Philip Dunne, Take Two: A Life in Movies and Politics (1992) page 110

(8) John Bright, quoted in Tender Comrades (1997) page 151

(9) Nicholas Belfrage, email to John Simkin (29th August, 2015)

(10) Ruth Dudley Edwards, Victor Gollancz: A Biography (1987) page 294

(11) Stewart Menzies to Gladwyn Jebb (3rd June 1940)

(12) William Boyd, The Guardian (19th August, 2006)

(13) Adolph Berle, letter to Sumner Welles (31st March, 1941)

(14) William Allen White, Chicago Daily News (May, 1940)

(15) William Boyd, The Guardian (19th August, 2006)

(16) Donald Sturrock, Storyteller: The Life of Roald Dahl (2010) page 229

(17) William Stephenson, cable to Stewart Menzies (January 1942)

(18) Keith Jeffery, MI6: The History of the Secret Intelligence Service: 1909-1949 (2010) page 451

(19) Allen Weinstein, The Hunted Wood: Soviet Espionage in America (1999) page 85

(20) Harvey Klehr and John Earl Haynes, The Secret World of American Communism (1995) page 11

(21) The Washington Post (15th March, 1940)

(22) Kathryn S. Olmsted, Red Spy Queen (2002) page 46

(23) David Stout, The New York Times (18th August, 2002)

(24) Gordon Corera, Cedric Belfrage, the WW2 spy Britain was Embarrassed to Pursue (21st August 2015)

(25) Robert J. Lamphere, The FBI-KGB War (1986) page 82

(26) Allen Weinstein, The Hunted Wood: Soviet Espionage in America (1999) page 286

(27) Vassili Zarubin, cable to NKVD headquarters in Moscow (19th May, 1943)

(28) Jennet Conant, The Irregulars: Roald Dahl and the British Spy Ring in Wartime Washington (2008) page 200

(29) Robert J. Lamphere, The FBI-KGB War (1986) page 254

(30) Pavel Klarin, cable to NKVD headquarters in Moscow (21st June, 1943)

(31) Elizabeth Bentley, FBI interview (8th November, 1945)

(32) Nigel West, Venona: The Greatest Secret of the Cold War (2000) pages 109

(33) Vassili Zarubin, cable to NKVD headquarters in Moscow (22nd June, 1943)

(34) Paul Buhle and Dave Wagner, Radical Hollywood (2002) page 281

(35) Cedric Belfrage & James Aronson, Something to Guard (1978) page 4

(36) New York Times (11th October, 1945)

(37) Allen Weinstein, The Hunted Wood: Soviet Espionage in America (1999) page 105

(38) Edgar Hoover, memo to President Harry S. Truman (8th November 1945)

(39) Whittaker Chambers, Witness (1952) page 464

(40) G. Edward White, Alger Hiss's Looking-Glass Wars (2004) page 48

(41) Amy W. Knight, How the Cold War Began: The Ignor Gouzenko Affair and the Hunt for Soviet Spies (2005) 89-90

(42) Silvermaster FBI File 65-56402-8

(43) Allen Weinstein, The Hunted Wood: Soviet Espionage in America (1999) pages 105-106

(44) Harvey Klehr and John Earl Haynes, Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America (2000) pages 110-111

(45) Glenn Fowler, The New York Times (22nd June, 1990)

(46) Robert J. Lamphere, The FBI-KGB War (1986) page 254

(47) Cedric Belfrage & James Aronson, Something to Guard (1978) page 9

(48) Glenn Fowler, The New York Times (22nd June, 1990)

(49) Nicholas Belfrage, email to John Simkin (29th August, 2015)

(50) Bernard W. Kearney, comment at the House Un-American Activities Committee (6th May, 1953)

(51) Cedric Belfrage & James Aronson, Something to Guard (1978) page 180

(52) Edward Weinfeld, statement (10th June, 1953)

(53) John T. McManus, National Guardian (22nd August, 1955)

(54) Glenn Fowler, The New York Times (22nd June, 1990)

(55) Cedric Belfrage & James Aronson, Something to Guard (1978) page 230

(56) Cedric Belfrage & James Aronson, Something to Guard (1978) page 231

(57) Cedric Belfrage, National Guardian (12th December, 1960)

(58) Cedric Belfrage & James Aronson, Something to Guard (1978) page 264

(59) Nicholas Belfrage, email to John Simkin (29th August, 2015)

(60) Cedric Belfrage, Minority of One (October, 1964)

(61) Glenn Fowler, The New York Times (22nd June, 1990)

(62) The Hollywood Spy (17th September, 2015)

U.S. History - after 1945

In 1937, he joined the Communist Party in the United States (CPUSA). At that time, this was not merely an act expressing a political view, but rather it was supporting an organization which called for, in its printed materials, a “violent” revolution in America.

He shifted his career from journalism to espionage, as historian Stan Evans writes:

Although he lived continuously in the United States for a number of years, he did not become a U.S. citizen. Not only did he have classified data about national security, but he would also have influence on the implementation of national policy in postwar Europe.

The victorious Allies were anxious to promote freedom of the press, but expressing an ideology is not the same as working for a “violent” revolution. “It was this background that brought him to the notice of” people who were concerned about security risks in the U.S. government.

In Washington, congressional committee members were “looking into U.S. information programs in Europe and possible subversive influence in their operations.” Cedric Belfrage, and others, were using Allied and American organizations to plan for the violent overthrow of western democracies.

When Cedric Belfrage was questioned by

Because Belfrage had not obtained U.S. citizenship, his case trended naturally toward deportation. A trial, and any subsequently sentenced prison time, would have been fraught with diplomatic difficulties. Stan Evans writes that

As in many other cases of Soviet espionage, the famous Venona project shed light on the case of Cedric Belfrage. In this project, American intelligence agencies were able to intercept and decrypt messages sent between various secret Soviet operatives.

Cedric Belfrage, then, had a hand in, among other events, the postwar developments in Yugoslavia. He carries responsibility for the human misery and deaths caused by a 45-year communist domination of that region.

<i> Memory of Fire:</i> FACES & MASKS<i> by Eduardo Galeano translated by Cedric Belfrage (Pantheon: $18.95 267 pp.) </i>

In one scene from “Faces and Masks,” the second volume in his “Memory of Fire” trilogy, Eduardo Galeano describes the collapse of the Spanish empire:

“The messenger passes an order at the cockfights in Santiago, and another at a smart soiree, and at the same time picks up a report between two horse races in the suburbs. The messenger announces himself at a big house--three taps of the door knocker--and at the same time emerges in the mountains on the back of a mule, and gallops over prairies on horseback . . . The Spanish governor has put a price on the head of Manuel Rodriguez, the messenger, the guerrilla. But his head travels hidden beneath the monk’s hood, the muleteer’s sombrero, the street peddler’s basket, or the fine gentleman’s plush topper.”

In his native Uruguay, Galeano is known as an editorial cartoonist. Turning these skills to prose, he presents history in a sequence of vignettes. “The author proposes,” he writes, “to narrate the history of America, and above all the history of Latin America, reveal its multiple dimensions and penetrate its secrets.” “Genesis,” the trilogy’s first volume, dealt with the history of the New World through 1700. “Faces and Masks” covers the years from 1700 to 1900.

Some vignettes sketch in scenes others reprint historical documents. Alexander von Humboldt discusses curare with an Indian shaman. Simon Bolivar, defeated and despondent, can find only one government to aid him: the black republic of Haiti, “a nation of peasants, very poor but free.” Latin-American literature is born with the publication of El Periquillo Sarniento . Santa Ana marches into Texas with his chef, his jeweled sword, and a wagonload of his beloved fighting cocks. In Bolivia, Mariano Melgarejo stages history’s shortest coup d’etat by shooting President Manuel Belzu, to whom he has just surrendered. Levi’s jeans appear on the market Coca-Cola follows. Indians are driven from the Dakota ranges and the Patagonian grasslands. Brazilian rubber, Cuban sugar, Peruvian guano, Chilean nitrates, Argentine beef--Latin America’s goods flow out to Europe, while native industries are smothered by imports. In 1800, Spain and Portugal rule South America by 1900, the United States stands ready to take their place.

Over the course of the book, one comes to understand Galeano’s title. The masks represent those who squandered their continent’s resources and clamped down their rule upon its people. They also include intellectuals who denied their American heritage, slavishly copying European models. The faces are the nameless people who endured and built, and the patriots and pamphleteers who spoke for them.

Galeano lobs many potshots northward. The United States appears in these pages as a “young voracious country” that gobbles up its neighbors. No one likes criticism from an outsider, but Galeano is even-handed. If he caricatures Teddy Roosevelt, he honors Lincoln, Whitman and Mark Twain. More irksome are minor muddles of fact. (California’s Bear Flag, for example, is confused with the Lone Star banner of Texas). There are off-key phrases in the translation, too--anglicisms thrown in by the British-born translator, Cedric Belfrage.

“Faces and Masks” ends by foreshadowing this century’s revolutions. Karl Marx’s first grandchild is fathered by Cuban Paul Lafargue, “great-grandson of a Haitian mulatta and an Indian from Jamaica.” In 1895, as Jose Marti dies fighting to free Cuba, Augusto Cesar Sandino is born in Nicaragua. And, farther south, another epoch is dawning: the Argentines have discovered soccer.

Galeano clearly identifies with Marti, a poet who turned revolutionary. But he never lapses into propaganda his outrage is tempered by intelligence, an ineradicable sense of humor, and hope. He has taken the New World’s history and fashioned from it a compelling book.

A Telling Chronicle of the Americas : MEMORY OF FIRE : III. Century of the Wind <i> by Eduardo Galeano translated by Cedric Belfrage (Pantheon: $22.95, cloth $10.95, paper 301 pp.) </i>

“Century of the Wind” follows “Genesis” and “Faces and Masks” as the final volume in Eduardo Galeano’s chronicle of the Americas, “Memory of Fire.” In his trilogy, Galeano ranges geographically from Canada to Argentina and Chile and chronologically from the pre-Columbian period to the present. To be sure, Galeano focuses on Latin America, shifting his attention above the Rio Grande primarily to treat events that have had large consequences in Mexico and lands farther south. In any case, “Memory of Fire” has been a hugely ambitious project, embracing vast cultural heterogeneity and complexity. That Galeano has managed to render his history of the Americas at once accessible, coherent and fascinating is a considerable achievement.

In his preface to “Genesis,” which first appeared in Spanish in 1982, Galeano decries conventional histories of Latin America as “lifeless, hollow, dumb . . . drowned in dates,” little more than a “military parade of bigwigs in uniforms fresh from the dry-cleaners.” For Galeano, such works are not only insipid but false, depriving Latin Americans of the knowledge that might break the prevailing mood of resignation and hopelessness. As the title itself indicates, “Memory of Fire” seeks to evoke the combustible, often destructive energy of American history. In presenting his version of events, Galeano makes no pretense of objectivity. I am “unable to distance myself,” he writes. “I take sides.”

And so he does, initially with the aboriginal peoples of America and, later, with its oppressed masses, mostly Indian and black. He takes sides against the particular evils of the European conquest, North American capitalism and imperialism and the endless varieties of Latin American despotism. “Genesis” traces the legacy of the conquistadors’ racism and avarice to 1700, by which time the aboriginal cultures had been virtually demolished and the bonds of colonialism had slackened, leaving an America “torn to pieces.” In “Faces and Masks,” Galeano opens his survey of the 18th and 19th centuries with these lines from a Colombian poem:

nor just where I was bedded.

Don’t know where I’m from

nor where the hell I’m headed.

From his vantage point, Galeano sees the track of American history somewhat more clearly. Thomas Jefferson appears, to be followed by Toussaint L’Ouverture, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla and Simon Bolivar. Independence, however, is not freedom, and everywhere, from Washington to Buenos Aires, governments fall into the hands of the wealthy.

During the 19th Century, the United States easily surpasses other American nations in economic development. As an omen of things to come, Galeano recounts the intrigues of William Walker, a pious, self-styled Southern gentleman who descends on Nicaragua with an army of adventurers and a bank account furnished by North American businessmen. A year later in 1856, Walker proclaims himself president, restores slavery, declares English the official language and offers land to any white compatriots willing to resettle in Nicaragua.

As “Century of the Wind” opens, Galeano notes two episodes that provide keys to his understanding of modern Latin American history. The first begins in New York City in 1901 when Andrew Carnegie sells his steel interests to J. P. Morgan for $250 million. Galeano writes that “a fever of consumption” and “a vertigo of money” dominate the United States the country “belongs to the monopolies and the monopolies to a handful of men.” Meanwhile, the “other America” remains in economic chaos, the individual countries eagerly signing commercial treaties with the United States and European nations but none with their neighbors. “Latin America is an archipelago of idiot countries” laments Galeano, “organized for separation and trained to dislike each other.”

The second definite episode occurs in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, in 1902 as the town is being destroyed by lava and mud avalanches from a volcanic eruption. Choking in a rain of ashes, the town crier bravely reads a proclamation by the president assuring the local citizens that all is quiet in Guatemala, that the rumors of volcanic disturbance are merely the dirty tricks of the “enemies of order.”

“Century of the Wind” fairly runs over with these kinds of moments: tragic, sardonic, provocative and sharply insightful, often all at once. As Galeano depicts it, modern Latin American history resembles nothing so much as the old Latin American history. The same bloody patterns of oppression, exploitation and resistance persist the only major new factor is advanced technology, particularly in the forms of mass media with their unprecedented ability to shape public opinion.

Otherwise, the United States remains its meddlesome, destructive self, intruding in Panama, Cuba, Mexico, Chile and Nicaragua endlessly. Mired in corrupt political systems, Latin Americans continue to exhibit the distressing habit of exterminating precisely those individuals most likely to deliver them from oppression: Villarroel in Bolivia, Gaitan in Colombia, Allende in Chile, to name just a few. The days of jubilee seem as remote as ever in a region where a high government official announces that the most sacred things in the world are, in descending importance, property, public order and human life.

Against long odds, however, Galeano clings to optimism. His hopefulness is embodied in characters such as Miguel Marmol, a Salvadoran Indian who rises to become a leader in his country’s revolutionary movement. Marmol, whose life spans virtually all of the 20th Century, appears regularly throughout Galeano’s history, each time with greater wisdom, dedication and resilience. A clearly symbolic figure, Marmol cannot be killed by the forces of oppression he remains vigorous to the very end of Galeano’s chronicle, still conspiring.

As he did in the earlier volumes of his trilogy, Galeano renders “Century of the Wind” in a series of vignettes, usually of three or four paragraphs, which together constitute a historical mosaic. Galeano consulted nearly 500 histories, literary works, journalistic accounts and official documents during the preparation of this volume, and he has used his sources well. Arranged chronologically, the vignettes cover an extraordinary range of historical figures, events and cultural phenomena.

In “Century of the Wind,” the reader will encounter Thomas Edison and Pablo Neruda and learn how the appearance of Donald Duck has played a part in Latin American experience. Galeano’s early work as a political cartoonist in his native Uruguay evidences itself in his ironic and economical style of writing.

Many readers in this country will find Galeano’s obvious sympathies for socialist and Marxist causes offensive. Be that as it may, “Century of the Wind” remains a compelling work and represents a point of view widely held in Latin America. Given the results of the most recent Mexican presidential election, it behooves us to understand this point of view as clearly as possible. (See excerpt, Page 15.)

--> Belfrage, Cedric, 1904-1990

Cedric Belfrage, socialist, author, journalist, translator, and co-founder of the National Guardian, was born in London in 1904. His early career as a film critic began at Cambridge University, where he published his first article in Kinematograph Weekly (1924). In 1927 Belfrage went to Hollywood, where he was hired by the New York Sun and Film Weekly as a correspondent. Belfrage returned to London in 1930 as Sam Goldwyn's press agent. Lord Beaverbrook of the Sunday Express soon hired him and in 1932 sent him back to Hollywood as the paper's film correspondent. In 1936, Belfrage resigned from the Express and settled in Hollywood. At his point he became politically active, joining the Hollywood Anti-Nazi League, co-edited a left literary magazine, The Clipper, and began work on his second book, The Promised Land, a critical look at Hollywood. In 1937, Belfrage met Claude Williams, a radical Presbyterian preacher from Arkansas, and wrote a biography of Williams, published as Let My People Go in 1937. Belfrage joined the Communist Party in 1937, but withdrew his membership a few months later, and thereafter maintained a friendly but critical relationship. In 1941, Belfrage published an autobiography, They All Hold Swords. In 1944, he became a Press Control Officer in London for the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditional Forces (SHAEF) Psychological Warfare Division (PWD) and helped found the first anti-fascist newspapers in Germany after World War II, the Frankfurter Rundschau, along with Jim Aronson.

The fall of 1948 marked the birth of The National Guardian, a progressive newsweekly. The first issue featured an article by Henry Wallace, Progressive Party presidential candidate, and throughout its existence the paper supported independent left political initiatives. The Guardian's investigative reportage was critical to the development of the campaign to defend accused atomic spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. The Guardian reported on the Korean War (the paper opposed it), the indictment of reporter Anna Louise Strong (NG foreign correspondent) in the Soviet Union as a U.S. spy, and covered the growth of the Civil Rights movement and supported national liberation struggles around the world. Another cause taken up by the National Guardian was the defense of poltical prisoners such as Alger Hiss, Corliss Lamont, the Hollywood Ten, and Ann and Carl Braden, many of whom Belfrage knew personally. Due to such reportage Belfrage was summoned in 1953 to appear before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), and in 1955, he was deported back to his native England. There he became the editor-in-exile of the National Guardian, travelling widely, and wrote a book about his deportation experience, The Frightened Giant (1956). Belfrage travelled to Cuba in 1961 and in 1962 travelled throughout South America. In 1961 he wrote an historical novel, My Master Columbus. In 1963 Belfrage settled in Cuernavaca, Mexico with his fourth and last wife, Mary. There they ran a left-wing guest house and offered refuge to South American exiles. In 1967 Belfrage resigned from the National Guardian (which then shortened its name to the Guardian), as did Aronson. The new Guardian staff wanted the paper to become an ideological leader of the New Left. Neither Belfrage nor Aronson could endorse this move, as they had deliberately founded the Guardian on a non-sectarian basis. Belfrage's relations with the Guardian remained hostile for a time, though by the 1980's he was corresponding with the staff and writing book reviews and articles. Belfrage also made his debut as a Spanish/English translator with Eduardo Galeano's Guatemala Occupied Country. From about 1970 to 1973 Belfrage's main project was his book on the McCarthy era, The American Inquisition. In 1973, Belfrage returned to the U.S. for the first time since 1955, on a publicity tour for his new book. Belfrage continued to write extensively until his last years. He translated Eduardo's Galeano's trilogy on Latin America, Memory of Fire (Pantheon, 1985). He died in Mexico on June 21, 1990.

From the description of Papers, 1922-1990 (bulk 1945-1985). (New York University). WorldCat record id: 475901590

Cedric Belfrage, socialist, author, journalist, translator, and co-founder of the National Guardian, was born in London on November 8, 1904. He came from a conservative middle-class family and his father was a doctor. During his childhood and adolescence he attended public school, and at the age of twenty-one went to college at Cambridge University. His early career as a film critic began there, where he published his first article in Kinematograph Weekly on May 8, 1924.

In 1926 Belfrage travelled to New York where film criticism was a more profitable occupation. There he wrote for magazines and newspapers such as Picturegoer, Bioscope, The New York Herald Tribune, The Daily News, and Commercial Art. Belfrage's characteristic ironic humor is evident even in these early writings. In 1927 his career as a film critic propelled him further west, to Hollywood. He traveled by train and arrived with $23.00. He was hired by the New York Sun and Film Weekly (based in London) as a Hollywood correspondent. In 1928 he was married to Virginia Bradford, a Hollywood starlet, whom he divorced about two years later.

Belfrage returned to London in 1930 as Sam Goldwyn's press agent. Once there, Lord Beaverbrook of the Sunday Express (later Daily Express) soon hired him and in 1932 sent him back to Hollywood as the paper's correspondent. The Express sent him on another film criticism journey in 1934, this time around the world. This voyage provided Belfrage with the material for his first book, Away From It All (published in 1937 by Gollancz, Simon and Schuster, and Literary Guild, and in 1940 by Penguin). It was also during this voyage that Belfrage became politicized. Not only did he witness the poverty brought about by imperialism, but also "the advent of Hitlerism and the lack of alarm in the British ruling circles."(Guardian obituary, 7/4/90)

When Gollancz accepted Away From It All in 1936, Belfrage resigned from the Express to settle back in Hollywood, with his new wife Molly Castle, and their daughter Sally. At this point he became politically active for the first time, joining the Hollywood Anti-Nazi League and the Spanish Republican Committee, and co-editing a left literary magazine, The Clipper. He also collaborated with Theodor Dreiser on a book. Away From It All proved successful, and Belfrage soon began work on his second book, The Promised Land, dispelling various myths about Hollywood. In 1937, Belfrage met Claude Williams, a Presbyterian preacher from Arkansas, with whom he became fast friends and would have an on-going collaborative relationship. Williams was on a fund raising tour for his People's Institute of Applied Religion, a Christian Marxist organization in solidarity with southern sharecroppers and the Civil Rights movement. Belfrage wrote a biography of Williams that was published as Let My People Go in 1937 by Gollancz (and as South of God in 1938 by Left Book Club, and as A Faith To Free The People in 1942 by Modern Age, Dryden Press and Book Find Club).

Belfrage's political engagement, which seems at this time to have centered on the broad based anti-fascist effort, led him to join the Communist Party in 1937. The fact the he withdrew his membership a few months later, and that he had only just begun to read Marx and Lenin, suggests that he joined because of the C.P.'s visible, accessible and organized protest against fascism, rather than because of any allegiance to the C.P. itself. After this break, Belfrage would maintain a friendly but critical relationship with the Communist Party.

In 1941, the Belfrage family, now including two year old Nicholas, moved to New York where Cedric served with British Intelligence. Also in 1941, he had an autobiography published, They All Hold Swords (Modern Age). He continued his work with British Intelligence until 1943, and in 1944 became a Press Control Officer in London for the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditional Forces (SHAEF) Psychological Warfare Division (PWD). He was sent in this capacity to France and then to Germany where his mission was to de-Nazify the German press by helping found the first anti-fascist newspaper in Germany after World War II, the Frankfurt Rundschau. At this time Belfrage met Jim Aronson who was working on the same project. The two would go on to found the National Guardian (along with Jack McManus) and become life-long best friends.

Belfrage returned to the U.S. in 1945, where he settled with his family in Croton-on-Hudson, New York. He received a Guggenheim fellowship to write Seeds of Destruction, his chronicle of de-Nazifying the German press, but the Cold War made its publication impossible until 1954 (Cameron & Kahn). At this time, he also worked on his novel about the U.S. funeral industry, Abide With Me (Sloane Associates, N.Y., 1948, Secker & Warburg, London, 1948, translated in Germany and Czechoslovakia). In 1947 his third child, Anne, was born.

In the summer of 1948, Belfrage travelled to southeast Missouri to visit Claude Williams. He spent several months there and was introduced to Claude's friends, Owen Whitfield (Whit), a black sharecropper preacher, and Thad Snow, a white cotton planter and Whit's neighbor. From them Belfrage learned about the Sharecropper's Strike of 1939, which was organized by Whit and Thad. He began writing a book on this event and these two men, but never completed it (though he took it up again in 1982), due to another project that came up: founding a newspaper.

The fall of 1948 marks the birth of The National Guardian, a progressive newsweekly. Its purpose was, as Belfrage put it in his address to the 1980 Meiklejohn Institute Symposium on HUAC, "to oppose head-on both the witch-hunts and the Cold War of which they were the domestic auxiliary," but on a strictly non-partisan basis. The paper also aimed to unify the left, as Belfrage explained in a 1986 Guardian interview: "There's apparently something about Marxism which makes its devotees fight each other like cats and dogs. And this was an attempt to stop that." (published in the Fall 1988 40th Anniversary Journal) This goal of unity typifies Belfrage's political stand, which was critical but always aiming to strengthen ties among leftist groups rather than emphasize differences.

The National Guardian drew its readership largely from the Progressive Party. The first issue featured an article by progressive Henry Wallace, whom the National Guardian endorsed as a presidential candidate on the independent ballot that year. The paper also found support in the American Labor Party. Congressman Vito Marcantonio was especially enthusiastic about the paper. It reported on such issues and events as the trial and execution of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, charged with 'atomic espionage' for the Soviet Union, the Korean War (the paper opposed it), the indictment of reporter Anna Louise Strong (NG foreign correspondent) in the Soviet Union as a U.S. spy, the Trenton Six, the murder of Emmet Till, and the growth of the Civil Rights movement (it was the first American newspaper to have a Black History section). It supported national liberation struggles around the world: Africa in the 1950's, Southeast Asia in the 1960's and early 1970's, and Latin America in the 1980's. It also supported the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (in which Sally Belfrage was extremely active and about which she wrote her first book, Freedom Summer). The National Guardian was among the first papers to oppose the Vietnam War with on-scene reports from foreign correspondent Wilfred Burchett. Another cause taken up by the National Guardian was the defense of political prisoners such as Alger Hiss, Corliss Lamont, the Hollywood Ten, and Ann and Carl Braden, many of whom Belfrage knew personally and had an on-going correspondence with.

Due to such reportage the National Guardian was constantly harassed by the government, culminating in 1953 when Belfrage was summoned to appear before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) and Senator Joe McCarthy. Belfrage invoked the fifth amendment at his hearing in response to charges of being a Communist Party member. The next day he was arrested by immigration officials at his desk in the National Guardian office. Belfrage alone among the paper's staff was vulnerable to arrest due to his status as an alien he had never obtained U.S. citizenship. He was taken to Ellis Island where he spent one month in jail.

But Belfrage's troubles with the government were not over and he was again arrested in 1955. This time he spent three months at the West Street Federal Penitentiary before he was deported (along with his third wife, Jo) back to his native England. There he became the editor-in-exile of the National Guardian . As a reporter, he travelled to India, East and West Europe, Israel, Russia (just after Nikita Krushchev's 1956 attack on Stalin), China, where in 1957 Belfrage was "the only person. reporting for an American publication" (1986 Guardian interview), and Ghana, where he renewed his friendship with W.E.B. DuBois. He also helped organize a British committee to obtain a U.S. passport for African-American singer Paul Robeson. In addition to reporting, Belfrage wrote a book at this time about his deportation experience, The Frightened Giant (Secker & Warburg, London, 1956, Guardian Books, N.Y., 1957).

In 1961, Belfrage travelled to Cuba and in 1962 throughout South America. He used his experience in Cuba to write a historical novel, My Master Columbus (Secker & Warburg, 1961, Doubleday, N.Y., 1962) and his South American experiences were published in 1963 as The Man at the Door With The Gun (Monthly Review Press). In the same year, Belfrage settled in Cuernavaca, Mexico with his fourth and last wife, Mary. There they ran a left-wing guest house and offered refuge to South American exiles.

In 1967 Belfrage resigned from the National Guardian (which then shortened its name to the Guardian), as did Aronson. The new Guardian staff wanted the paper to become an ideological leader of the New Left. Neither Belfrage nor Aronson could endorse this move, as they had deliberately founded the Guardian on a non-sectarian basis and as a unifying force on the left. As Belfrage wrote in a letter dated April 11, 1966 to staff member Jack Smith, "What seems beyond a doubt is that our non-sectarian radicalism is the main basis of the support we receive, the main thing NG has that other Left publications don't have. I would describe the paper as an organ and defender of, and newspaper of record for, all groups and individuals who are fighting the political and social status quo. " Belfrage's relations with the Guardian remained hostile for a time, though by the 1980's he was corresponding with the staff and writing book reviews and articles.

While 1967 marks the end of one phase in Belfrage's career, it also marks the beginning of a new one. He made his debut as a Spanish/English translator with Eduardo Galeano's Guatemala Occupied Country (Monthly Review Press). He achieved great success in this field and was extremely talented. From about 1970 to 1973 Belfrage's main project was researching and writing his book on the McCarthy era, The American Inquisition (Bobbs Merrill, 1973, Siglo XXI, Mexico, Thunder' Mouth Press, 1989). In 1973, Belfrage returned to the U.S. for the first time since 1955 (after a lengthy campaign to obtain a visa) on a publicity tour for his new book. He lectured at universities and to left organizations throughout the country.

In 1981 Belfrage suffered a stroke which partially paralyzed his left hand. In spite of this handicap, he continued to write extensively until his last years. He translated Eduardo Galeano's trilogy on Latin America, Memory of Fire (Pantheon, 1985), for which he received much acclaim. He also began writing (but never finished) a memoir, and a book on his time in Hollywood, focusing on the social and cultural side rather than the political, and returned to his book on Thad and Whit. He also began biographies on the Mexican Revolutionary, Emiliano Zapata, and the Spanish priest Las Casas who befriended the natives at the time Spain conquered Mexico. Belfrage's sense of humor remained sharp during his last years as is evident in various short writings such as an Encyclopedia of Useless Information, and a novel about a nudist colony. In addition to writing, he was active with Mary in the aid of South American refugees, and together they continued to welcome friends and comrades to their home. He died in Mexico on June 21, 1990.

From the guide to the Cedric Belfrage Papers, Bulk, 1945-1985, 1922-1990, (Bulk 1945-1985), (Tamiment Library / Wagner Archives)

Cedric Belfrage - History

Guide to the Cedric Belfrage Papers TAM.143

Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
New York, NY, 10012
(212) 998-2630
[email protected]

Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive

Collection processed by Amy Meselson in 1993. Edited by Maggie Schreiner in February 2014 for compliance with DACS and Tamiment Required Elements for Archival Description and to reflect the incorporation of nonprint materials. Box 31 added in May 2014.

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on June 19, 2014
Finding aid is written in English. using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Edited to reflect updated administrative information , June 2014

Container List

Series V: Addendum, 1923-2003

Scope and Content Note

The Addendum contains correspondence of Cedric Belfrage, of his widow Mary Belfrage, a typescript of and unpublished autobiography by Cedrice, "Nine Lives of a Heretic," other writings by CB, including a typescript "The Jews and I," FOIA files obtained by Belfrage biographer Jennifer Palmer, correspondence and other materials relating to the Cuernavaca Belfrage home insofar as it served as a guest house for various leftists traveling abroad, and biographical information on Mary Belfrage.

Papers, 1922-1990 (bulk 1945-1985).

From 1934 to 1937 The U.S. House Committee on Un-American Activities began as the Special Committee on Un-American Activities and was also known as the McCormack-Dickstein Committee. The Dies Committee, was created on May 26, 1938, with the approval of House Resolution 282, which authorized the Speaker of the House to appoint a special committee of seven members to investigate un-American activities in the United States, domestic diffusion of propaganda, and all other questions relating thereto.

Robeson, Paul, 1898-1976

Born in Princeton, New Jersey, on April 9, 1898, Paul Robeson was a multitalented man whose artistic and political career spanned over four decades, from the 1920s to the 1960s. Known worldwide during the 1930s and 1940s, he fell from prominence in the 1960s because of the political controversy that surrounded him during the McCarthy era. Robeson was a talented dramatic actor whose performance of Othello in this country in 1943-44 once held the record for the .

Hollywood Anti-Nazi League.

Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963

W. E. B. Du Bois was an American sociologist, socialist, historian, civil rights activist, Pan-Africanist, author, writer and editor. Educated at Fisk University, he did graduate work at the University of Berlin and Harvard, where he was the first African American to earn a doctorate. Du Bois became a professor of history, sociology and economics at Atlanta University. Due to his contributions in the African-American community he was seen as a member of a Black elite that supported some aspects .

Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (U.S.)

SNCC was founded in 1960 at the close of the Raleigh Conference, held at Shaw University, Raleigh, NC. It was a meeting of Southern student sit-in leaders and northern student supporters. In May, 1960, the committee held its first meeting in Atlanta. SNCC was composed of representatives from 16 southern states and the District of Columbia. Its basic purpose was the coordination of activities within the civil rights movement. From the description of Collection, 1960-1961. (Swarthmore .

Middleton, Hannah.

Carlebach, Emil.

Belfrage, Sally, 1936-

Sally Mary Caroline Belfrage, independent leftist, world travelling journalist, and author of five books, was born in Hollywood, California, in 1936, and raised in New York City, where her father, Cedric Belfrage founded, in 1948, the independent weekly radical newspaper The National Guardian. She went to Bronx Science High School, and briefly attended Hunter College before moving to London in 1955 when her parents were deported under the provisions of the McCarran Act. In London, s.

Du Bois, Shirley Graham, 1896-1977

Shirley (Graham) Du Bois was a political activist, writer, playwright, and composer. She was born in 1896, the only daughter of five children of David A. and Etta (Bell) Graham. Her father, a minister of the African Methodist Episcopal church, was appointed president of Monrovia College, Liberia, in 1926. Du Bois had two sons, Robert (b. 1923) and David (b. 1925), from an early short-lived marriage. In 1931 she entered Oberlin College to study music. The following year, .

Seeger, Pete, 1919-

Folksinger and songwriter. From the description of Autograph card signed : [Beacon, N.Y.], [1965]. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270916063 .

Zilliacus, K. (Konni), 1894-1967

Dreiser, Theodore, 1871-1945

Theodore Dreiser was an American literary naturalist and author of two of the most significant works of early twentieth-century American fiction, SISTER CARRIE (1900) and AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY (1925). From the description of The mercy of God : manuscript, [1900-1945?] / by Theodore Dreiser. (Peking University Library). WorldCat record id: 63051908 Editor and author. From the description of Theodore Dreiser papers, 1910-1930. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 71009534 .

Burchett, Wilfred G., 1911-1983

Whitfield, Owen H., 1892-

McManus, Jack

Allied Forces. Supreme Headquarters. Psychological Warfare Division

Robinson, Joan, 1929-

Fromm, Erich, 1900-1980

Erich Fromm (1900-1980) was a psychoanalyst, author, educator, and social philosopher. He was born in Frankfurt, Germany and emigrated to the United States in 1934. In New York Fromm was associated (until 1939) with the International Institute for Social Research. Fromm authored numerous books including Escape from Freedom which won him acclaim as an author of great brilliance and originality. From the guide to the Erich Fromm papers, 1929-1949, 1932-1949, (The New York Public Librar.

Williams, Claude, 1886-

Braden, Carl, 1914-1975

Reformers, Journalists Carl Braden and his wife Anne, committed social activists, assisted Andrew Wade IV, a black electrician in Louisville, Ky. and his wife, in 1954 in buying a house in an all-white neighborhood of the community of Shively. The Bradens purchased the home and subsequently transferred it to the Wades. From the description of Carl and Anne Braden Papers, 1954-1964. (University of Kentucky Libraries). WorldCat record id: 12959963 .

Rosenberg, Julius, 1918-1953

Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were American citizens who were convicted of spying on behalf of the Soviet Union. The couple were accused of providing top-secret information about radar, sonar, jet propulsion engines, and valuable nuclear weapon designs at that time the United States was the only country in the world with nuclear weapons. Convicted of espionage in 1951, they were executed by the federal government of the United States in 1953 in the Sing Sing correctional facility in Ossining, New .

Snow, Thad, 1881-1954

Durr, Virginia Foster

Virginia Foster Durr (1903-1999) was a civil rights activist and a friend of Lyndon B. Johnson and Lady Bird Johnson. She was a relief worker during the Great Depression, worked as a lobbyist and campaign worker for Progressive Party candidate Henry Wallace in the 1940s, ran as a candidate for governor of Virginia in 1948, and worked as a civil rights activist in Montgomery, Alabama in the 1950s and 1960s. From the description of Durr, Virginia Foster, 1903-1999 (U.S. National Archiv.

Belfrage, Cedric, 1904-1990

Cedric Belfrage, socialist, author, journalist, translator, and co-founder of the National Guardian, was born in London in 1904. His early career as a film critic began at Cambridge University, where he published his first article in Kinematograph Weekly (1924). In 1927 Belfrage went to Hollywood, where he was hired by the New York Sun and Film Weekly as a correspondent. Belfrage returned to London in 1930 as Sam Goldwyn's press agent. Lord Beaverbrook of the Sunday Express soon hir.

Strong, Anna Louise, 1885-1970

Epithet: US author and socialist in Moscow British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000000351.0x0003de Anna Louise Strong was born in Nebraska and educated at Oberlin and the University of Chicago. Later moving to Seattle, she was the editor of the Seattle Union Record. She travelled extensively to Russia and China, and she wrote accounts of those journeys. In 1921 she travelled to famine-struck areas in Russia as part of .


MEMORY OF FIRE: I. GENESIS Part One of a Trilogy. By Eduardo Galeano. Translated by Cedric Belfrage. 293 pp. New York: Pantheon Books. $17.95.

LONG after Octavio Paz observed that the fragment is the form of our times, we know, with special reference to Latin America, that it is the content too. From its fractured map to its splintering factions and classes to its ruptured history, Latin America suggests identity drawn and quartered.

Eduardo Galeano, a Uruguayan writer and editor who recently returned to his homeland after more than a decade in exile, has seized this equivalence of form and content. His works invent genre by smashing categories and joining fragments to yield a ''voice of voices.''

Mr. Galeano's first book translated into English mingled Marxist polemic, autobiography, travel and testament in a violent, sometimes screeching indictment of Latin America's victimization, summed up in its title, ''Open Veins of Latin America.'' His subsequent '⟚ys and Nights of Love and War'' extended his view and was shattered into more than 100 sections. Even the Library of Congress muddles the contrary nature of ''Memory of Fire: I. Genesis,'' describing the book as ''History - Anecdotes, facetiae, satire, etc.'' (Mostly etc., of course.) ''Memory of Fire,'' the first part of a trilogy, is a sort of Bible, a recorded collation of the mythological and historical soul of the peoples of North, Central and South America, to be ignored or disbelieved at the reader's peril. (The Spanish subtitle, ''Los Nacimientos'' - ''The Beginnings'' - more accurately uses the plural.) Certainly, it is no mere mosaic, no fabrication of pre-existing parts to form a static design. The assemblage of more than 300 imaginatively re-created parts flashes a staccato montage - the violently jolting tradition of the New World from indigenous myths, in the book's first section, through the gold-sucking European conquest disguised as religious conversion and up to the death in 1700 of Spain's King Charles II, in the second part.

The pieces emerge from one or more of 227 sources listed at the back of the book, but except for portions in italics, indicating ''literal transcription,'' almost all have been retold, recast as drama, reconstructed in Mr. Galeano's inflamed diction, admirably captured by Cedric Belfrage's polyphonic translation. We have a pre-Columbian myth with a 'ɽive-bombing'' hummingbird, and a witty exchange between Sor Juana, the 17th-century Mexican poet, and a bishop (he wrote a letter admonishing her for writing poetry but signed the letter under a female pseudonym), now replayed as drama in drag we read a discussion of the death of Cervantes between Don Quixote and Sancho Panza.

The collisions and interweavings of this modern Genesis ransom ''the kidnapped memory of all America.'' Mr. Galeano produces a secular liberation mythology to revivify historic verities by turning them into day-to-day truths. In the 1670's, a play-writing mestizo priest composed a sacramental mystery about the prodigal son, in which the Devil is a Peruvian landlord, the wine is a native liquor and the calf is a pig. Check Mr. Galeano's source, the learned 'ɾl Teatro Hispanoamericano en la Epoca Colonial'' by Jose Juan Arrom. The message anachronistically liberates theology the identity of the priest futuristically liberates mythology.

More ''Inferno'' than Genesis, ''Memory of Fire'' is devastating, triumphant regeneration, sure to scorch the sensibility of English-language readers. It hopes to scandalize us into learning our sources - bibliographic and historic.

Ideally, an adequately translated anthology of Latin American literature and history would accompany ''Memory of Fire'' so we might better recognize the disconcerting interpretations offered in Mr. Galeano's book. Still lacking that, we can return to the historian William H. Prescott, to Gabriel Garcia Marquez, never to be the same after this bold discovery that seems to precede them. Meanwhile, we await the next two volumes, which will conduct Mr. Galeano's ''Memory'' into our own era, where we all share the search for lost yet inescapably present times.

A Fresh View of Cold-War America

Teaching in the universities about the so-called McCarthy era has become an area most susceptible to politically correct and one-sided views of what the period was all about. One historian who strenuously objects to the accepted left-wing interpretation that prevails in the academy is Jennifer Delton, Chairman of the Department of History at Skidmore College.

In the March issue of The Journal of the Historical Society Delton writes:

This conventional narrative of the left has been told over and over for so many years that it has all but become the established truth to most Americans. It was exemplified in a best-selling book of the late 1970’s, David Caute’s The Great Fear, and from the most quoted one from the recent past, Ellen Schrecker’s Many Are the Crimes: McCarthyism in America. My favorite title is one written by the late Cedric Belfrage, The American Inquisition 1945-1960: A Profile of the “McCarthy Era.” In his book, Belfrage told the story of how he, an independent journalist who founded the fellow-traveling weekly The National Guardian, was hounded by the authorities and finally deported home to Britain. American concerns about Soviet espionage, he argued, were simply paranoia.

The problem with Belfrage’s account was that once the Venona files began to be released in 1995—the once top secret Soviet decrypts of communications between Moscow Center and its US agents—they revealed that Belfrage was a paid KGB operative, just as the anti-Communist liberal Sidney Hook had openly charged decades ago, and as turned KGB spy Elizabeth Bentley had privately informed the FBI in 1945. The Venona cables revealed that Belfrage had given the KGB an OSS report received by British intelligence concerning the anti-Communist Yugoslav resistance in the 1940’s as well as documents about the British government’s position during the war on opening a second front in Europe. It showed that Belfrage had offered the Soviets to establish secret contact with them if he was stationed in London.

Facts like these did not bother or budge the academic establishment. Most famously, Ellen Schrecker wrote in her book that although it is now clear many Communists in America had spied for the Soviets, they did not do any real harm to the country, and also most importantly, their motives were decent. She wrote, “As Communists, these people did not subscribe to traditional forms of patriotism they were internationalists whose political allegiances transcended national boundaries. They thought they were ‘building…a better world for the masses,’ not betraying their country.”

Schrecker’s views were endorsed by former Nation publisher and editor Victor Navasky, who regularly in different articles argues that the Venona decrypts are either gossip or forgeries, irrelevant, or do not change his favored narrative that in the United States—only McCarthyism was a threat. As Navasky wrote, Venona was simply an attempt “to enlarge post-cold war intelligence gathering capability at the expense of civil liberty.” If spying indeed took place, it was “a lot of exchanges of information among people of good will, many of whom were Marxists, some of whom were Communists… and most of whom were patriots.” As for those who argue against his view, they were trying to “argue that, in effect, McCarthy and Co. were right all along.”

The lens through which McCarthyism has been seen, therefore, is one seen exclusively through the left-wing prism, which regards defense of one’s own democratic nation against a foreign foe as evil, and sees only testimony against America’s enemies as McCarthyite. What is therefore necessary is to look anew at the McCarthy era, not in the terms set by its Communist opponents, but from the perspective of examining dispassionately the nature of the entire epoch. Those who have chosen to do this, however, have been met with great opposition. A few years ago, the editors of The New York Times claimed that a new group of scholars “would like to rewrite the historical verdict on Senator McCarthy and McCarthyism.” Fearing such a development, the newspaper warned that it had to be acknowledged that it was McCarthyism more than Soviet espionage or Communist infiltration that was “a lethal threat to American democracy.”

If one disagreed with that assessment, the Times’ editors implied that such scholars were themselves closet McCarthyites. This became a common tactic. Most recently, John Earl Haynes, Harvey Klehr and Alexander Vassiliev published their definitive volume on the KGB in America, Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB In America. They made it quite clear in their book that McCarthy’s “charges were… wildly off the mark. Very few of the people he accused appeared in KGB documents (or the Venona decryptions), and by the time he made his charges, almost all Soviet agents had been forced out of the government and Soviet intelligence networks were largely defunct.” That disavowal did not help them. In the major review of their book that appeared in TLS , Amy Knight refers in passing to “the McCarthyite style of Haynes and Klehr.” Evidently, any argument that American Communists who spied for the Soviets did some real damage and were not victims of repression, is enough to brand the authors as “McCarthyite.”

If they accepted the failure of their old narrative that Delton summarizes so well, it would interfere with their cherished and still held view that all anti-Communism, as Schrecker wrote, “was misguided or worse,” that the anti-Communist or Cold War liberals were just as bad as the McCarthyites of the Right, and in fact served them intelligence agents who identified Reds, and who “tapped into something dark and nasty in the human soul.” If any harm took place “from Soviet-sponsored spies,” she wrote, it was “dwarfed by McCarthy’s wave of terror.”

That is precisely why the new article by Jennifer Delton is of such importance. For the first time, a young historian at a major liberal arts institution has dared to challenge the consensus view, and to declare that it is time for mainstream historians to acknowledge that their old framework of studying the “McCarthy era” was both misleading and incorrect. As she says near the beginning of her article, “New evidence confirming the widespread existence of Soviet agents in the U.S. government makes the Truman administration’s attempts to purge Communists from government agencies seem rational and appropriate—even too modest, given what we now know.” (my emphasis)

That remark alone is quite different from the conventional analysis offered by historians of the period: that it should not be called the McCarthy Era, but the Truman era of repression, since it was Truman who paved the way for McCarthy’s rise to power, by acting as if there was an actual Communist threat. Moreover, Delton continues to argue that even if the Communists were not among those who became actual KGB agents, whether in unions or political groups or in Hollywood, “there were still good reasons for liberals to expel Communists.” Rather than accept the framework of the Popular Front so beloved by the Left and by left-wing historians, who continue to think workers and Americans could not make real progress unless liberals and Communists cooperated in the post-war era, Delton notes that the Communists “were divisive and disruptive,” could cripple the groups they entered, and harm their very ability to attain their desired ends.

What Delton argues is that expulsion of the Communists actually enabled liberals to prosper politically and to have a political effect. She does not endorse all that went on, particularly the much documented violations of basic civil liberties. Rather, she writes “to challenge the entrenched and misleading characterization of post-World War II anti-Communism as hysterical and conservative.” To do so, she writes, is to “ignore the real threat Communism represented…to the ascendant liberal political agenda.”

Second, Delton takes on another mainstream argument of the left, displayed in a quote from historian Robert Griffith, who wrote “the left was in virtual eclipse and the distinction between liberals and conservatives became one of method and technique, not fundamental principle.” To the contrary, Delton argues that the Left historians have distorted the period, by confusing their own failure to chart a radical path with one that actually triumphed, that of postwar liberalism. Liberal anti-Communism was not, she argues, a “self-protective, even cowardly response to the conservative version” of anti-Communism, but a necessary position for attaining liberal goals- that were quite different from the pro-Soviet agenda favored by the radicals.

Delton writes: “Liberals could only benefit from the disappearance of Communists, who disrupted their organizations, challenged their ideas, alienated potential allies, and invited conservative repression.” This, precisely, is what a liberal leader of the Hollywood trade unions, Ronald Reagan, understood so well. Reagan came out of his stint in the armed services joining a fellow-travelers group, and quickly saw what the secret Communists had in mind for the union movement. Breaking ranks with them, he was among the first to challenge their hold in the actors and writers colony in Hollywood, which then had a strong activist Communist base. When he later testified before the House Committee on Un-American Activities during the Hollywood investigation by the committee, Reagan stressed that he did not believe the Communists should be politically suppressed, because he understood the need for free speech. What he did oppose was their machinations that led to control of the various Hollywood guilds, and the tactics they used to keep control and to push out anti-Communists.

What Delton knew is what Reagan claimed at the time that the Communists alienated those with whom they worked, made enemies easily, a development that “was due in large part to their participation in an international movement that was directed from Moscow.” Just because Reagan said it then, or J. Edgar Hoover argued it too, does not mean that it was not in fact the absolute truth. The Communists worked, as Delton puts it, “to infiltrate and take over [liberal] organizations,” so that they could then pass “resolutions upholding the party line positions.” To put it more bluntly, in a phrase I’m certain Delton might shy away from, “The Red-baiters were right!”

Delton has written a lengthy and essential article that is a breakthrough in academia, especially in the history profession. She goes on to discuss the impact of the 1948 campaign of Henry Wallace for President, reveals the self-defeating tactics of the Communists that would have hurt their supposed union allies had they been adopted the necessary fight of the liberals against “Soviet totalitarianism” which she correctly notes “subverted liberal ideals and aims” and concludes that while the Communists were once only bothersome, by the dawn of Cold War they had become “poisonous.”

Delton also praises the institution by the Truman administration in 1947 of the Loyalty-Security Program, which has become the number one example offered by leftist academics of Truman’s supposed “McCarthyism.” The Boards that were established kept from employment in the federal government any person who was a member of the Communist Party or its various front groups. When most academics teach about this, they damn them as a purge of citizens for their constitutionally protected civil liberties, “on the injustices that occurred” to people who lost their jobs or who were forced to resign, and as a major example of “unwarranted repression.” Delton, to the contrary, says that one has to evaluate the program in light of what we now know to be true—-“the existence of an underground arm of the CPUSA that had cooperated with Soviet intelligence agencies.”

In other words, the Boards and the program Truman instituted were vital and necessary, even though in some cases- as with any program- abuses took place and some may have lost their jobs for scant reason. Her point that recent evidence- especially that established by Harvey Klehr and John Earl Haynes, has proved that “the Communist Party USA was involved in recruiting spies.” This means that the conclusion reached by David Caute in his best-seller, that “there is no documentation of a direct connection between the American Communist Party and espionage during the entire postwar period” has to be thoroughly discarded. It should come as no surprise, however, that to many students being taught the era in their classes, the old discredited view is still being taught.

There are of course, problems that arise from Delton’s analysis. What, for example, was the real contribution of conservative anti-Communists in the period? Did they all follow the foolish path of Joe McCarthy? We know that this is not true, and that Whitaker Chambers, for one, warned William F. Buckley Jr. in a well known letter that the conservative movement would be ill-advised to support and welcome the antics of the junior Senator from Wisconsin. Moreover, if liberalism gained in America as a result of the liberal success in purging the Communists from unions and the civil rights movement, does that mean that conservative programs might have stemmed the tide of liberalism in the post-war era had the Communists maintained the policy of a Popular Front?

Delton also raises the question of whether or not government programs against the Communists went far enough? After all, as she writes, the Communist Party may have been politically weak, but it still managed to infiltrate the highest ranks of government without being detected, and many who were actually spies, like the major atomic spy Ted Hall, were not arrested and indicted, and were able to remain free, even though the FBI knew of his and others’ probable guilt from the secret Venona decrypts. Delton stresses that most historians “overemphasize the betrayal of democratic principles [in fighting the Communists] rather than helping students understand the need for and rationality of the government’s repression of the Communist Party.” This means, in effect, that left-wing historians in the academy teach in essence what the Communist position was in America of the 1950’s—-which is that they were no threat, and that those who claimed they had to be suppressed were “fascist” Red-baiters who sought to make America a proto-fascist state.

Thus in her revised introduction to the paperback edition of her book, Ellen Schrecker actually writes that even if Hiss was guilty—a judgment she now accepts -the really bad thing was that his guilt “gave credibility to the issue of Communists-in-government,” as if there was no reason for that having credibility. As Delton firmly acknowledges, “the Republicans were right.” Hiss was guilty the blame for the fiasco lies with those who defended him, and if the Republicans exploited the foibles of liberals, she points out that “any party would have done the same.” To attack Hiss’ apologists, in other words, was hardly something that should have shocked anyone.

After a lengthy discussion of the union movement and Communism in Hollywood, Delton ends with these words: It is required “that we reevaluate our understanding of Cold War-era anti-Communism.” As for the attitude of conservatives, she argues that it should be acknowledged that their anti-Communism was not born “out of fear or anxiety, but rather conviction about the wrongness of Communism based on principle and experience.” Even conservative anti-Communists, then, were not all demagogues like Joe McCarthy. As she puts it. The achievements of liberal anticommunism need to “be recognized and perhaps even celebrated, not hidden, regretted, or equated with McCarthyism.”

Her important article, then, is hopefully a bellwether for what hopefully may be a strong new wave of young scholars—honest liberal historians as well as conservative historians—who will begin to teach the truth about the anti-Communist period that took place in the early Cold War era. One must note, however, that her article appears in the journal of The Historical Society, a relatively young group created a decade or so back by Eugene D. Genovese, its founder, as an antidote to the staid and left-wing major historical societies.

I wonder what would have happened if Delton had submitted this paper to The Journal of American History, the publication of the Organization of American Historians, the main professional group that represents historians of the United States. That organization, and its journal, leans heavily towards what is politically correct—manuscripts loyal to the race, class and gender paradigm—and toward accepted leftist positions on issues like American anti-Communism. It would have been a major shift for them to have published anything comparable to Delton’s manuscript. After all, this is the organization that ran uncritical and laudatory accolades to the late Communist Party historian Herbert Aptheker after his death, without publishing serious criticisms of his very biased and obsolete Stalinist methodology and assumptions.

At any rate, Delton deserves a major award for daring to break through the academic wall of blue that exists when the issue of postwar communism comes up in the classroom. I hope she is ready for the many nasty e-mails I suspect she will shortly receive.

  • Leading British theatre critic Cedric Belfrage leaked sensitive documents
  • He passed secret documents to the Russians during the Second World War
  • Moscow so pleased with him they held him as a key asset, historian claims
  • Handed over intelligence about espionage method, confidential documents about Vichy France and detail of British policy in Middle East and Russia

Published: 00:24 BST, 21 August 2015 | Updated: 01:31 BST, 21 August 2015

Leading theatre critic Cedric Belfrage (pictured) leaked sensitive and secret documents to the Russians while working for the British security services in the US, newly-declassified MI5 files show

A leading British theatre critic betrayed his country and passed secret documents to the Russians during the Second World War, newly-declassified MI5 files reveal.

Cedric Belfrage leaked sensitive documents to the Russians while working for the British security services in the US. The information was of such value that he became more highly-prized by Moscow than notorious Cambridge spy Kim Philby.

He handed over intelligence about espionage method along with highly confidential documents about Vichy France and detail of British policy in the Middle East and Russia, according to newly-declassified files.

Moscow were so pleased with him they held him as a key asset and held him in higher regard than Philby, a member of the notorious Cambridge Five spy ring, according to the MI5 official historian Professor Christopher Andrew.

When he was finally identified as part of a Soviet spy ring, he claimed the information was of a ‘trifling nature’ and maintained he was using the intelligence to try to get information from the Soviets.

MI5 seem largely to have agreed with this assessment and he has never been tried, though appeared before a Grand Jury from the Committee of Un-American Activities in the US.

Professor Andrew said Belfrage’s Soviet handler praised the intelligence he provided to Moscow as ‘extremely valuable’.

He added: ‘For a year or so in the middle of the Second World War, Soviet intelligence even rated him ahead of Philby. Though Moscow has released some of Philby’s KGB file, however, it has revealed nothing about Belfrage.’

Born in London in 1904, Belfrage studied at Cambridge University, where he developed a passion for film, but left without taking a degree.

Watch the video: Cedric Belfrage The film critic turned WW2 spy (December 2021).

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