Nuclear weapons have alternately been blamed for making the world less safe and making it more safe. As a grad school major in national security, I am personally of the opinion that nuclear weapons have kept the great powers from fighting a third and even fourth world war, since those who have them know they cannot “win” an all-out war without sustaining unacceptable damage themselves.
Indeed, good or bad, nuclear weapons became a cornerstone of national security policy during the Cold War, waged between the democratic governments of the West, led by the United States, against the communist and authoritarian governments of the East, led by the former Soviet Union. But did they have to be? What if someone in our own government helped our Cold War rival develop them?
According to a new book by columnist and author Diane West, there is evidence suggesting that the administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt may have provided Premier Joseph Stalin’s Soviet regime with the base materials necessary for the U.S.S.R. to develop its own nuclear arsenal.
The book, American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation’s Character, “lights up the massive, Moscow-directed penetration of America’s most hallowed halls of power, revealing not just the familiar struggle between Communism and the Free World, but the hidden war between those wishing to conceal the truth and those trying to expose the increasingly official web of lies,” according to a review at Amazon.
Uranium shipments to the Soviets
It’s difficult to imagine someone more important in U.S. history than Harry Hopkins, but Americans don’t learn much more than his name, if that, in school.
This means we aren’t taught that Hopkins, FDR’s top wartime advisor, ran what became known as “Roosevelt’s own personal Foreign Office” from the Lincoln Bedroom, where Hopkins lived for three-and-half-years. We aren’t taught that this former social worker in key ways controlled U.S. foreign policy by controlling the distribution of U.S. military materiel to countries at war through his supervision of the massive Lend Lease program. We aren’t taught he attended the famous wartime conferences as de facto “foreign minister.” We certainly aren’t taught that Lend Lease, perhaps even Hopkins himself, pushed uranium and other A-bomb essentials through to Stalin.
West says these uranium shipments – which have been eliminated from our historical memories but which were documented by Congress in 1950 – occurred at a time when it was believed that the Manhattan Project, our own effort to develop atomic weapons, was the nation’s best-kept secret. Why would Lend Lease, which was being run by Hopkins, make such materials available to the U.S.S.R.?
It could be, perhaps, because Hopkins may have been a Soviet agent – and “the most important of all Soviet wartime agents,” estimates Iskhak Akhmerov, famed for running a cadre of top spies for Moscow, including Alger Hiss.
“Oleg Gordievsky, a former KGB colonel and trusted defector, reported in his 1990 book, KGB, co-authored with Christopher Andrew, that he heard Akhmerov single out Hopkins as the Soviets’ No. 1 agent in a lecture to KGB officers in the 1960s,” West wrote.
She notes that in 1957, George Marshall – who served alongside Hopkins as FDR’s Army Chief of Staff and whose “Marshall Plan” provided massive American aid to a devastated Europe after World War II – said something curious to his official biographer: “Hopkins’s job with the president was to represent the Russian interests. My job was to represent the American interests.”
Propagandist – or Soviet spy?
She also writes that Hopkins was, at one point, quoted in the New Yorker magazine as saying, “I had the Russian story for the president… The political implications of extending Lend Lease to Russia.” By the way, West notes, the Soviet Union at the time was led by a dictator who had, by the time war broke out, killed more people than Hitler ever would – a sad fact about which Hopkins went on to say “never bothered me.”
So, was Hopkins just an articulate propagandist for as much aid as possible to Moscow, or really its “most important Soviet agent?” West believes it is the latter, and uses this example, among many others:
In May 1943, Hopkins received a confidential letter from FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover addressed to both Hopkins and the president. The letter revealed Soviet plans to infiltrate “industries engaged in secret war production for the United States Government so that information could be obtained for transmittal to the Soviet Union.” This information came from a wiretapped conversation between a Soviet Comintern agent — masquerading, Hoover explained, as a top diplomat at the Soviet embassy — and a known American Communist underground operative. Later, the FBI would realize this tapped conversation was its first inkling of the massive Soviet atomic espionage ring.
So, what did Hopkins decide to do with this important, yet highly sensitive, information? West believes he shared it with Soviet officials in Moscow.
There’s more: read it here.