Venona: FBI Documents of Historic Interest/Belmont Memorandum 1952-06-23

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3646746Venona: FBI Documents of Historic Interest — Belmont Memorandum to Ladd: June 23, 1952Alan Harnden Belmont



TO: D. M. LaddDATE: June 23, 1952

FROM: A. H. Belmont



CIA has suggested a discussion of two categories of   cases. (1) Cases involving MGB penetration of OSS and (2) Case where CIA has a definite responsibility and interest. The penetration of OSS, by the MGB will involve cases where we have   information which involves individuals who were also named by Elizabeth Bentley. Relative to cases where CIA has a definite responsibility, there is being outlined herein certain cases where some advantage may accrue to us from a discussion with CIA, in that we will request the coverage of leads abroad. As a general propostition is is believed the we limit our discussion with CIA and should be restrictive in the cases discussed.


It is to be recalled that General Walter Bedell Smith of CIA finally succeeded in getting from General Canine of the Armed Forces Security Agency an agreement to have CIA have limited access to the material we call   which relates primarily to the activities of the MGB in the United States and relates to a limited degree to MGB activities in other countries.

Subsequent to the agreement between General Smith and General Canine we learned through our liaison with the Armed Forces Security Agency that William Harvey and Jason Paige of CIA were being given some material by AFSA, but AFSA had taken the position that identifications made were the result of the Bureau's work and were consequently, a matter between the Bureau and CIA.


Mr. Harvey in his conference (illegible text) on June 18, 1952 stated he had reviewed certain of the material at the Armed Forces Security Agency. He said he recognized full well that the FBI had the prime interest in this material by reason of the fact that it was primarily domestic in nature. He stated, however, that a considerable amount of it dealt with fromer employees of OSS and inasmuch as CIA has a large number of former OSS employees on their staff, that they felt that they have a definite interest in this material. Mr. Harvey also said that he thought CIA might be of assistance to the Bureau in running out leads abroad which have developed from the Bureau's work on this material. He indicated that only two persons in CIA at the present time had access to the material and these were himself and his deputy Jason Paige.

You pointed out to Mr. Harvey that his Agency was always anxious to establish a liaison whenever CIA felt that there was something that they could drain from another agency but that they were not always prone to reciprocate and that you would consider the matter further after checking into the cases involved in this traffic.

It is felt that any discussion with CIA should be restrictive and limited to the two categories of cases suggested by Harvey. details concerning which are being set forth hereinafter/


The bulk of the cases stemming from   regarding the generation of OSS deal with the same group of individuals who were named by Elizabeth Bentley in November, 1945. A summary of the cases stemming from Elizabeth Bentley's disclosures dated February 21, 1946, was made available to Admiral Souers, then of the central Intelligence Group, on April 2, 1946. This included the data from Bentley regarding the penetration of OSS. In the following cases on Halperin, Lee, and Wheeler no discussion with CIA wou;d appear necessary as we have disseminated to them. IT may be that they will want to raise these cases from the standpoint of OSS documents abstracted and whether they can assist in locating such documents.

Maurice Halperin

Maurice Halperin was an OSS employee who was named by Elizabeth Bentley as engaged in Soviet espionage. He appears to be identical with the MGB agent identified in the   information under the cover now of Hare. According to Bentley, Halperin furnished bulletins and reports prepared by OSS to her as well as State Department cables, to which he evidently had access. We are currently doing some work with CIA in connection with these documents, based on what Bentley told us and on the basis of   information. We are trying to find certain documents which Bentley can identify as coming from Halperin.

Duncan Chaplin Lee

Lee was employed by OSS from 1942 to 1946. Is identified in the   information as a Soviet agent who was designated under the cover name of Koch. Among the data furnished by him, according to   was (1) a list of OSS employees suspected of being Communist or Communist sympathizers. (2) Information concerning an OSS report on the trip to Russia made by the Polish-American Catholic father Orlemanski, and (3) Information concerning OSS operations in China and Japan. Elizabeth Bentley had also furnished information alleging that Lee gave her information from OSS files.

Donald Niven Wheeler

Wheeler was employed by OSS from 1941 to 1946. Bentley named him as having been a Soviet agent who furnished her information obtained from OSS files. The   information reflects his cover name was Isra. We have previously requested investigation of CIA in the Wheeler case, which actually stems from the   information, but we did not, of course advise CIA what the basis of our information was. CIA is aware of the Bentley allegations.


We have also conducted some investigation to identify a Soviet agent designated under the cover name of Muse. We have very little data from   on him, except that he reported to the MGB on OSS matters and personnel on two occasions. He is also mentioned in connection with members of the Victor Perlo group as described by Elizabeth Bentley. There is a possibility that Muse may be Helen Tenney, a former OSS employee from whom Bentley received OSS reports and memoranda. CIA is aware of the allegations concerning Tenney from Bentley.


This is an unidentified individual who may or may not be a Soviet agent on the basis of the   information. The only available data is that in April, 1944, he had turned over to Ivan Subasic, an important Yugoslavian leader and an MGB agent, a telegram. At the end of June, 1944, it was reported he was to travel to London with General Donovan, then head of OSS The may be a case where the MGB had designated an individual by a cover name for security reasons while he was not in reality an actual agent of the MGB. It might be noted that William Donovan, the head of OSS, was himself designated under the cover name of "Radio Announcer." It is possible that CIA can assist in clearing this matter up.


The following are cases where the individual we are investigating is abroad or would otherwise be of definite interest and responsibility to CIA.

Alexander Belenky

Belenky, Russian born, came to the U. S. in 1941. According to the   information in 1944 Belenky was supplying information to the MGB in New York City. It is known that during the same period, our investigation of Alexander Fomine reflected that he was in contact with Belenky.

From 1946 to 1951, Belenky made several trips to Europe, reportedly on business. As a result of information furnished by us to the Immigration and Naturalization Service, that Service held hearings when Belenky attempted to re-enter the U. S. and consequently, he voluntarily departed from the U. S. for France, on February 8, 1952. He is in very ill health. We have previously given to CIA all pertinent data with the exception of   information.

Charles A. Davila

Charles A. Davila, former Rumanian Ambassador to the U. S. from 1929 to 1939, has been employed by the National Committee for a Free Europe since 1950 on the Rumanian Research Desk in New York City. As you know, CIA has a direct interest in the operation of the National Committee for a Free Europe.

  has advised that Davila was known under the cover name of Docker and that on October 9, 1944, he was definitely recruited by the MGB and that more than mere political collaboration was expected both at that time and in the future. According to the source, Davila understood the nature of the work expected of him.

Whn Davila applied for employment with the National Committee for a Free Europe in 1950, CIA went through a name check on him. By letter date August 22, 1950, CIA was advised of the pro-Russian activities and statements of Davila in the 1940's. They were not advised of   information at that time.

A report showing recent activity of Davila was disseminated to CIA in May of this year. This report showed the results of an interview with Dovila.

Carlos Robles Galdames

According to   in 1944, an individual designated under the cover name of Greg was in the U. S. and was planning to return to South America. He was a Soviet espionage agent. We identified this individual as Galdames, and found that he had made a trip in November, 1943, from Chile to the U. S. for study in the pharmaceutical field. In June, 1944, he returned to Chile to form a drug company. Our most recent information indicates he is presently in Santiago, Chile. We have not previously given CIA any information in this case, as our only source of information is the   information. We did make a name check of CIA and found that they had no data on Galdames.

Boleslaw K. Gebert

Gebert was identified by us as identical with an individual described by   under the cover name of Ataman, who was apparently used by the MGB in connection with Polish political activities in the U. S. in 1944. Gebert was in the U. S. as a Polish alien from 1912 to 1947, and was an important Communist in the Polish field. He returned to Poland in 1947 and investigative reports have been disseminated to CIA. These report, of course, did not include the   data.

Joseph Katz

Katz has been identified as a Soviet agent by Elizabeth Bentley, Harry Gold and others. He is also identified as such by material from  , and the latter source has supplied considerable information relative to his activities in the U. S. CIA is already cognizant of his identity as a Soviet agent. Katz has been out of the U. S. since 1948; from the latter date until about mid-1951 he was principally in France; since then he is believed to have been in Israel. CIA has conducted investigation of Katz in France, and has been asked to conduct investigation in Israel. Due to his importance as a Soviet agent, as he is outside the U. S. and as CIA knows of him, it is felt likely that they will inquire concerning the possibility of his being mentioned in the traffic. Further, as he is now in the jurisdiction of CIA if is felt we should inform them of the fact he is mentioned in the traffic.

Stephen Laird

Stephen Laird, Columbia Broadcasting System correspondent, has been riding in Vic Vaud Switzerland since December, 1949.

Laird is identical with Yun in the   information. According to   Laird was considered to be a politically well developed person by the MGB in 1944, and was being utilized as an agent.

This case was referred to CIA for investigation the fall of 1950. CIA has been followed periodically since that date but has produced practically no information concerning the activities and associations of Laird.

Oscar R. Lange

Oscar Lange has been identified with an individual designated under the cover name of Friend by the MgB, according to   in 1944. He was being used by the MGB in connection with their interest in Polish political activities in the U. S. You may recall that he entered the U. S. in 1937, became a naturalized citizen in 1943, and renounced this citizenship in order to become Polish Ambassador to the U. S. He was removed from this position in 1946 and subsequently returned to Poland in 1947. He is, of course, well known to CIA.

Donald D. MacLean

You will recall that Donald D. MacLean is one of the two missing British diplomats who disappeared in May, 1951. The other individual was Guy Burgess. The two men disappeared just prior to the time that MacLean would have been identified as a Soviet agent on the basis of the   information. There is some indication that Harold Adrian Philby, former MI6 representative in the U. S., may have tipped off the two men concerning the investigation. CIA has been considerably alarmed over this case because of the close relationship which existed between their office and Philby. We previously had a discussion with Harvey concerning this investigation. They are aware of the   data which was given to General Smith pf CIA at the request of the British.

Nicholas W. Orloff

There is information from   which reflects that Orloff, who was designated by the MGB under the cover name of Osipoff, was in 1944 contemplating securing a job with the State Department or OSS. In therefore is considered likely that CIA will inquire as to his identity. Actually, he did not get the job with OSS because of data we had furnished OSS showing his work in Germany at an earlier period for the Germans. Orloft is presently attached to the United Nations. He is a White Russian, married to a U. S. citizen and is openly pro-Soviet at the present time. We have not disseminated information to CIA previously on this case.


  Russian born, came to the U. S. from Iran in 1944. We knew from   that he had an assignment when he came in the U. S.   lef the U. S. for Iran in August, 1949, but is expected to return to the U. S. We have previously disseminated to CIA information concerning this case except the basic allegations from  .

Alfred E. Sarant

There is available information from   which reflects that Sarant was a member of the Rosenberg espionage network. Sarant fled from the United States in August, 1950. His present whereabouts is not known. We previously disseminated all pertinent data concerning Sarant to CIA, and the only additional fact we can add is that there is information concerning him in the   information.

Ricardo M. L. Setaro

Setaro, an Argentinian, entered the U. S. in 1942, to study journalism. He had previously operated a news agency in Buenos Aires, which was clandestinely distributing Tass News Agency dispatches. On the basis of the   information we know that he was an MGB agent in 1944, while acting as Assistant Editor in the Latin American Division of the Columbia Broadcasting System. After leaving CBS hew was employed for a short period by Artkino Pictures, Inc., a distributing agent for Soviet films. In 1947 he returned to Argentina where he was last reported to be the Editor of a Communist newspaper. We have disseminated information concerning Setaro omitting, of course, the   information.

Vasaili T. Soukhomline

Soukhomline, Russian born, spent the war years in New York City where he was generally known as being pro-Soviet and as possibly a Soviet agent. He has been identified with fair certainty as an MGB agent designated under the cover name of Mare, according to  . It is also to be noted that Dr. Klaus Fuchs was told at one time that he could contact Soukhomline in Paris order to make arrangements to talk to someone with a technical knowledge concerning atomic energy. Soukhomline had left the U. S. in 1945 and had gone to France. He was expelled from that country in 1951 for his Communist activities. He is reportedly now in Prague where he edits the French bulletin of Telepress. CIA has conducted some investigation of Soukhomline at our request, but we have not, of course, furnished them the   data.

Soviet Officials:

There has not been included herein write-ups on Soviet officials, it being felt that if we get into this field of discussion with CIA they will want to know what agents these Soviet officials operated in the U. S. This would open up the whole field of the   cases to CIA. Actually, on a considerable number of the Soviet officials who have been Identified we have given CIA data in connection with our other investigative efforts in connection with these officials. Most of the officials we have identified left the U. S. in the 1944–1945 period.


Bearing in mind that CIA now has limited access to the   information and has approached the Bureau to discuss certain cases with Mr. Harvey and Mr. Paige of CIA, some discussion would appear to be in order. It is felt, however, that we should strictly limit our discussions of these cases and take under advisement any other requests CIA may make.

It also recommended that with respect to the cases mentored herein where we have leads which could be covered abroad that we press CIA on whether they can and will cover such leads on a_preferred basis, bearing in mind the importance of these cases. It is felt we should toke the position that we want to see_any discussions with CIA regarding these cases result in some benefit to the Bureau and not just to serve as a one-way street for CIA.

I agree but frankly I am not optimistic about any benefits accruing to the FBI from it. (illegible text) gives a lot of wordage but few results of collaboration.


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).

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