Dr. Svetlana A. Chervonnaya
considerations on the document's origin:
text discussed here was discovered by Dr. David Lowenthal
among the papers of his late brother, John Lowenthal.
It consisted of several pages of handwritten notes in
Russian that in 2002 Alexander Vassiliev, the Russian
co-author with Allen Weinstein of "The Haunted Wood" (1999),
produced in London in the course of his libel case, Vassiliev
v. Frank Cass & Co., Ltd. (Jury Bundle, pp.
303, 304 and 305). Vassiliev's notes, which are titled "A.
Gorsky's report – to Savchenko S.R. 23 December,
49," have two parts: the shorter part presents excerpted
extracts from Anatoly Gorsky's overall report to Lieutenant
General Sergei Savchenko (sourced to
SVR file 43173, vol. 2v, pp. 46-48); the longer part
is Gorsky's "Failures
in the USA (1938-48)" list (as sourced to SVR file 43173, vol. 2v, pp. 49-55).
a better understanding of the full document's origin,
and by "full document" I mean both Gorsky's
list and the excerpted report that precedes it, it is
necessary to note that at the center of the libel case
was Vassiliev's assertion that he had seen the name of
Alger Hiss written in clear in files of the Russian Foreign
Intelligence Service (SVR) that had been made available
to him in 1994 for a book undertaken as part of a joint Russian-American publishing project. (Later, after the original American publishers had withdrawn from the project, Vassiliev’s research would become the basis for a book named The Haunted Wood, which he co-authored with Allen Weinstein.) These notes were produced in
court as part of Vassiliev's effort to substantiate his
claim about Hiss.
to the story Alexander Vassiliev told in London in early 2002, when leaving Russia for good in 1996, he could not take with him his notes of the SVR archival documents, which he had originally made in his handwriting in notebooks. Therefore, he typed his notes into his computer and then on floppy disks, which he smuggled out of the country in May 1996. On April 16, 2002, he said during his pretrial hearings, that as of that date, he did not have his notebooks with him in London: they were still in Moscow. This suggested that the Russian
handwritten notes which Vassiliev produced in London in early February 2002, might
be his secondhand handwritten copies made in London from his electronic files. Writing to Dr. John Earl Haynes in 2005, Vassiliev
would explain that the handwritten notebooks were prepared when examining the material at the SVR press bureau. What he later smuggled on the disks “were extracts and summaries for use by Allen Weinstein that he made on a computer at his residence based on the material in the notebooks.” Since Weinstein could not read Russian, Vassiliev prepared “the material on the disks first in Russian and also translating into English for Weinstein's use.” [John Earl Haynes to Svetlana Chervonnaya, November 1, 2005.]
Vassiliev also told Haynes that his notebooks were smuggled for him from Moscow "by the time of the London trial." [John Earl Haynes to Svetlana Chervonnaya, October 29, 2005]. This account seems to support a tentative conclusion that in the case Vassiliev's notes of the Gorsky List he produced in London in early 2002, we may be dealing not with a second-hand but, in fact, with a third-hand
images of Jury Bundle pages 303, 304, and 305 display
Alexander Vassiliev's notes of pp. 46-54 of the SVR Archive's
file 43173, vol. 2v. According to the late SVR Major General
Julius Kobyakov's Web postings, this looks like a "general
correspondence file," that is, a file with rather
wide circulation within the service, and thus not containing
the most sensitive information, such as the simultaneous
identification of the service's assets by both their
code names and their real names. According to independent
oral accounts by several veterans of the service in conversation
with the author, such highly sensitive information is
likely to be found only in the service's most secret
even the less revealing archive made available to Vassiliev
is completely sealed off from public access, the footnoted
references to it in "The Haunted Wood" give
some indication of its internal structure. On the surface,
its organization would seem to resemble files housed
in the archive of the Russian Foreign Ministry (AVP
RF), another "departmental" Russian archive
where public access is limited to scholars working
in particular fields.
Gen. Sergei Savchenko
the AVP RF, each archival collection is subdivided into
thematic file folders (in Russian, "papka"),
with each folder having a certain number of files (in
Russian, "djelo") under various titles. For
example, within a particular "American" folder,
be separate files for correspondence between the Soviet
Embassy in Washington and the Soviet Foreign Ministry
in Moscow; between the New York Consulate General and
the Soviet Foreign Ministry; between the U.S. Embassy
in Moscow and the Soviet Foreign Ministry, etc. In
each file folder, documents and correspondence are
arranged in a strictly ascending chronological order,
so that an April 1, 1945 letter always precedes an
April 2, 1945 letter. Following this logic, SVR file
43173 (if similar to an AVP RF file folder) should
have several volumes (each with its own specific
title), and documents within each volume would be
arranged in a strictly ascending chronological order.
a better understanding of the background to Alexander
Vassiliev's notes, let us now briefly turn to Allen Weinstein
and Alexander Vassiliev's "The Haunted Wood" (hereinafter
pages 296-7, THW presents some extracts from Gorsky's
December 23, 1949 Report to Savchenko. According to a
footnote, these particular excerpts from this document
can be found in SVR file 43173, vol. 2v, pp. 46-47.1
quotes on page 296 are immediately preceded by an account
of a December 25, 1948 cable to Moscow from the then
Committee of Information's chief resident in the United
States and Ambassador Alexander Semenovich Paniushkin.
Writing in the
aftermath of Laurence Duggan's
suicide, it warns against both any further attempts at
contacting former sources and any new "talent-spotting." The
footnote to this quote refers the reader to a different
passage within the same file: 43173, vol. 4, pp. 47-48.
THW then says that Moscow rejected "Panyushkin's
views," and sent the Washington station an instruction "to
continue working with them [old agents]...." The
footnote for this quote cites file 43173, vol. 2v, pp.
33 and 43. These two footnotes let us assume that vol.
2v contains Moscow-originating documents on the U.S.
line (outgoing), while vol. 4 contains incoming documents
received from United States outposts (or, probably
more precisely, from the Washington, D.C. station).
some obscure reason, Allen Weinstein then jumps over
three file pages to p. 46 of file 43173, vol. 2v, and
quotes from the three opening paragraphs of Gorsky's
December 23, 1949 report to Savchenko as a proof of "the
bleak prospects described by Panyushkin .... confirmed
the following year [i.e. 1949] by yet another analysis
of Soviet intelligence's prospects in the United States
filed in Moscow by the knowledgeable Anatoly Gorsky."
the wealth of information in Gorsky's list of "Failures," which
immediately follows his report to Savchenko (and is found
on pages 49-55 of the same file with its title on the
bottom of page 48, immediately following the report itself),
Allen Weinstein next fast forwards 250-plus file pages
to discuss a certain "Fyodor"'s rejection of
Gorsky's complaints about his "laziness and inability." (THW,
p. 297, footnote 52, which cites file 43173, v. 2v, pp.
309-310.) As it has turned out, the cited document described a plan of measures for the first [USA] Department of the First Directorate of the KI (MGB foreign intelligence) to improve its intelligence work in the USA.)
then quickly rewinds its account of file 43173, vol.
2v back to pp. 71-87 of the file, in order to give an
account of a mid-March 1950 memo from Lieutenant General
Sergei Romanovich Savchenko, who had been head of the
MGB intelligence branch of KI (Committee of Intelligence)
since September 19, 1949 (THW, p. 298, footnote 53, citing
file 43173, vol. 2v, pp. 71-87.). As cited in THW, General Savchenko's
memo discusses blows to Soviet intelligence operations
that had been inflicted by the betrayals of five "group-leading" agents.2 Specifically,
General Savchenko details the failures of five "agent
groups," including Bentley's ("who gave away
more than 40 most valuable agents") and an additional "four
agent groups" that failed because of the defections
of MGB and GRU "traitors": "'Berg'
[Alexander Koral], 'Buben' [Louis Budenz], 'Karl'
[Whittaker Chambers], and 'Redhead' [Hedda Gumperz]." (Since internal memos of the Soviet intelligence officials would never
have used real names but only code names often handwritten
into the typed text,3 all
the real names in square brackets are an addition by
December 1949 Report lists the same five groups as Savchenko's
March 1950 memo:
- [Bentley's] 43
persons, including 7 Soviet operatives - hence 36 assets;
21 persons, including 1 Soviet operative - 20
6 persons, including 1 Soviet operative - 5
6 persons, including 1 Soviet operative - 5
16 persons, including 5 Soviet operatives - 11
Gorsky's reckoning, a total of 36 agents
had been betrayed by Bentley, and an additional 41 agents
had been compromised by four other "traitors." Compare
this with General Savchenko's assertion that "more
than 40" agents had been rendered ineffective
by Elizabeth Bentley's defection, and "more
than 30 valuable agents in four other groups" had
been compromised by other defections. This discrepancy
suggests that General Savchenko might have had another "Failures" list
to draw on (or several other lists, if we take into consideration
the possibility he might also have queried the "neighbor" service)
- lists that proved to be more accurate than the one
he had received several months earlier from Anatoly Gorsky.
this context in mind, Anatoly Gorsky's December 23, 1949
Report to Savchenko and its accompanying "Failures
in the USA" list are most probably some of the
background materials assembled that a couple of months
later resulted in Director Savchenko's mid-March 1950
memo. Since General Savchenko became the Director of
the MGB branch of KI only on September 19, 1949, any
request by him for the type of background materials Gorksy
put together could only have originated after that date.
Queried by higher authorities about the public disclosures
in the United States of Soviet intelligence failures,
the new Director would, according to standard procedures,
request from his subordinates all necessary background
is my understanding that such a request would not be
limited just to assigning Anatoly Gorsky to the task,
since Gorsky's operational background in the U.S. was
limited to the relatively short window of September 1944
to early December 1945. There should also at least have
been an archival query - with archival references following
the report of the former station chief in Washington,
D.C. Considering the scale of the failures involved -
and their public disclosure in the United States - other
operatives on the American line might also have been
requested to write their own reports.4 Since
SVR file 43173 was a "general correspondence
file," materials contributed by other operatives
or contained in an archival report might well have landed
in more sensitive files than those opened to Vassiliev.
The problem of dating
background suggests that Anatoly Gorsky's "Failures
in the U.S. (1938-48)" list (file 43173, vol. 2v,
pp. 48-55) was an integral part of, or an immediate follow-up
to, his December 23, 1949 "Report to S.R. Savchenko" (file
43173, vol. 2v, pp. 46-48) - and was, therefore, placed
after the December 23, 1949 report in the file, according
to the standard practice of chronologically ascending
view of all the above considerations, the "Dec.
48" date written after the "Failures" list
in Alexander Vassiliev's notes looks like a mistake -
made either by Vassiliev or, more probably, by Gorsky
himself. Moreover, even setting aside the background
considerations just discussed, there are wordings and
information within the "Failures" list text
that make a "Dec. 48" dating improbable.
For instance, any reader of the document should be particularly
alert to the fact that Laurence Duggan, mentioned in
the "Failures" list as a "Suicide," jumped
or fell to his death on December 20, 1948 - leaving only
a very slim chance for this fact to have been included
in a list actually prepared during "Dec. 48."
Notes on code names used in Gorsky's list, "Failures
in the United States (1939-48)"
Group" as it appears in Vassiliev's notes
is the most controversial among the five groups on
at first glance, it is striking for its heterogeneity.
Out of the 21 cover names included in the group, 10 cryptonyms
are represented by three-digit numbers, and 11 by names. Among
the latter, the first four are not written with enclosing
quotation marks (or inverted commas), while the rest
(Nos. 9-10 and 17-21) are.
this non-numbered group, six (Nos. 1-3 and 17-19) are
non-Russian, Christian names, four (Nos. 9, 10, 20, and
21) are Russian nouns, and one (No. 4) is an English
adjective used as a nickname and designating a youthful
age. The latter cryptonym strikes the alert reader as
an alien presence in the context of the other non-Christian
name cryptonyms within this group, all of which consist
of nouns spelled in Russian: "Shtorm" ["Storm"], "Vig" ["Whig"], "Eleron" ["Aileron"], "Rubl'" ["Ruble"].
To be consistent with this pattern, the cryptonym "Junior" should
be spelled in Russian - either as "Mladshii" or
its abbreviation "Mlad."
According to available information, the
three-digit numbered cryptonyms look like original code names used by the Soviet military intelligence in 1930s. If this is really the case, we are dealing with some fragment of an early GRU group; however, with an authentic code name of its group leader ["grupovod"] missing, since "Karl" definitely fells out of this group of cryptonyms.
Vassiliev's selections from his notes on Gorsky's December
23, 1949 report to General Savchenko and the follow-up "Failures
in the U.S." list do not suggest any reasons for
including "Karl"'s allegedly Razvedupr (that
is, the Fourth Directorate of the General Staff of the
Red Army, an earlier name for the GRU) group into a list
of failures by what was then the MGB (and had previously
been OGPU - NKVD - NKGB). In the opinion of Dr. John
Earl Haynes, the reason for including a military group
within an MGB report was that Gorsky wrote his report
during the implementation of a short-lived Soviet foreign
intelligence "umbrella" structure - the Committee
of Information of the Counsel of Ministers of the USSR
(hereinafter KI). KI was organized following a high-level
May 30, 1947 decision to bring both branches of intelligence
under the direct control of Stalin's top leadership.
KI was headed by Vyacheslav Molotov, then the Deputy
Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR. Molotov
had three deputies – one for MGB intelligence,
one for military intelligence, and a third for the Foreign
Ministry's information gathering. Another novelty was
assigning so-called "chief residents" to each
of the major "target countries," with the manifest
goal of ensuring tighter control of the country's leadership
over field operations - and direct reporting to the country's
top leadership. In the United States, the "chief
resident" would be Ambassador Alexander Paniushkin
- who had his own direct links to the Central Party Committee.
KI integration of information, however, was meant only
to affect the very top echelon, and it was not intended
to encroach on the two services' rigid compartmentalization
at the level of their information-gathering, information-storing,
and information-sharing activities.
even this integration at the top turned out to be short-lived.
By the end of 1948, the withdrawal of KI's military intelligence
branch from the system (a withdrawal which had begun
in the summer of 1948) was already almost fully complete.
are several more items on the "'Karl''s Group" list
to alert a discerning reader:
first is the use of "Karl" as a cryptonym,
when, according to Whittaker Chambers' own story, this
was the name he used in 1934 - 1937 as his Communist
Party underground cover name. Such cover names should
be differentiated from code names used in operational
correspondence, because the bearers of code names for
the most part would have no way of knowing what code
names had been assigned to them.
is the improbable first name - "Barna" - given
to Boris Yakovlevich Bukov who was reportedly the Soviet Razvedupr operative in the United States
in 1936 - 1939. Assuming Gorsky
in Moscow had access to military intelligence files, he would have
been able to write a correct first name and might have had a chance to learn Bukov's true name, Altman,
as recently indicated in Russia [Bukov (Al'tman), Boris
Yakovlevich biography in: V.M. Lurie
and V.Ya. Kochick. "GRU: Deeds and People." Moscow: Olma Press, 2003, p. 356.] Gorsky's characterization
of Bukov as "our former operative" ["nash
byvsh[ii] kadr[ovyi] sotr[udni]k"] suggests that
Gorsky might, in fact, have been unaware that Bukov belonged
to the "neighbors."
use of the cover name "Leonard" gives no indication
whether it was an original name used in operational correspondence
by the military intelligence line back in the 1930s (highly
improbable, to my mind), or a cover name used in the MGB late 1940s
own operational correspondence around the investigations of Soviet espionage, which began in the USA in the summer of 1948. One thing, however, is certain: if
Alger Hiss had indeed been the agent "Ales" described
in Venona decrypted cable No. 1822, the author of that
cable, "Vadim," also known as Anatoly Gorsky
(the author of "Gorsky's Report"), would have
definitely put his new boss, General Savchenko, on high
strange irregularity is Gorsky's use of
the Communist Party cover name "David Carpenter" for
No. 13 on his "'Karl''s group" list in
place of the real name of the man behind it – David
Zimmerman, a mid-level Communist Party functionary in Maryland
in the 1930s. According to Whittaker Chambers, a certain "David
Carpenter" had supervised an underground party group
in Washington, D.C. and had introduced Chambers to Wadleigh,
Reno, and Pigman (Nos. 5, 6, and 8 on the list). As in
several other instances, Gorsky lists "Carpenter's" occupation – "newspaper
employee" – as of the late 1940s, when Zimmerman joined the editorial
staff of the Communist "Daily Worker." (From
1946 to 1948 or 1949, he had been a member of the Control Commision of the Communist
is the presence of Noel Field's name among allegedly "military" intelligence
assets under his reported OGPU [predecessor to NKVD -
NKGB - KGB] intelligence code name in 1935 - 1936.
more troubling is the presence on the alleged 1930s "military" list
of three code names - "Richard," "Eleron," and "Rubl'" -
that appear in Venona 1944-1945 decrypted NKGB cable
traffic (coinciding with the time of Gorsky's own U.S.
posting), which simply could not have served as code names
used by another branch of Soviet intelligence in the
period preceding World War II.
but not least troubling, is the titling of this group
as "'Karl''s Group." According to Chambers'
own account, his role had been that of a courier. In
the known history of both branches of Soviet intelligence,
I am unaware of any group named after its courier. Although
very little information is publicly available on the
workings and structure of pre-World War II Soviet military
intelligence networks in the United States, the scarce
hints that are available indicate a different set-up
from the one suggested by Chambers. For instance, Petr
Ivanovich Ivashutin, the long-time post-war GRU director,
who served from 1963-1987, in an article written after
his retirement discussing the situation in his service
in the aftermath of the late-1930s purges,5 named
three U.S.-based groups - specifically, "the groups
of Adams, Bukov, 'Mulat'" - that survived the purges
and "were able to provide the Center with important
information." The knowledgeable General Ivashutin
identified the first two groups by the names of their
Soviet illegal operatives - Arthur Alexandrovich Adams
and Boris Yakovlevich Bukov - and identified the third
group by the code name "Mulat" ["Mulatto"]. This code name belonged to "illegal" operative, Zalman Vulfovich Litvin,
whose real name had not yet been publicly disclosed at
the time Ivashutin wrote his article (1990). Moreover,
Director Ivashutin indicates that, Chambers'
story notwithstanding, Bukov continued his operations
well into 1939 - until his recall to the Soviet Union. More puzzling, that, according to other sources, a Soviet military resident to be recalled in the aftermath of Chambers’s defection in early 1938, was Arthur Adams, and not Boris Bukov.
Group" ["Grupa Ryzhei"]:
controversial aspects of Gorsky's presentation of this
pre-World War II group of agents may stem from the fact
that Gorsky himself was shifted from the British line
to the American line only in mid-1944, arriving in Washington,
D.C. sometime around September 12, 1944.
thus might not have been aware of details of the group's
composition through personal contact and experience.
Sitting in Moscow in 1949, however, with his service's
archives at hand, he should have done a better job.
notable is the absence from this list of most of the "'Redhead''s
Group"'s Soviet operatives: specifically, Boris
Bazarov, the "illegal" resident in the U.S.
in 1935-1937, who perished during the purges of 1938;
Itshak Akhmerov, Bazarov's deputy and later his successor
as "illegal" resident in 1938-1939; and the younger operatives,
Mikhail Borodin and Samsonov. On the other hand, Elizaveta
Zarubina, whose name appears on the list, might have
had a rather brief experience with Hede Massing in the
1930s and probably in 1942-1944. Then an "illegal" operative on the German
line, Zarubina in 1937 spent several months with her
husband, Vassily Zaroubine, on an "illegal" mission
in the U.S. The Zaroubines arrived for their second -
and "legal" - U.S. mission in December 1941,
when Hede and Paul Massing, according to their own account, had withdrawn from active
work for Soviet intelligence. With his service's "American
line" archives at hand, Gorsky should have known
better - and specifically should have been aware that
following Ignatii Reiss's assassination in September
1937, the Massings in fact refused to continue working
further for Soviet intelligence, and maintained a very
low profile after their 1938 return from a visit to the
is also strange not to see Noel Field's name on this
list, and to note the omission of a couple of other names
that had recently been publicly identified as assets
of "'Redhead's Group."
Although "'Buben''s Group," the
third group in the "Failures" list, seems less
controversial, it is not completely problem-free, either.
Most notable is Gorsky's ignorance of the fate of the
long-time OGPU U.S. "illegal," Harry Rabinovich,
who perished during the purges of 1938, and so could
not possibly "reside in the USSR" at the time
that Gorsky was writing his report. Another problem is
the odd use of the word "svyazist" (communication
worker, operator) instead of the terms commonly used
in intelligence cable traffic: "radist" (radio
operator) or "svyaznik" (courier, contact man or cut-out).
Anatoly Gorsky seems most knowledgeable when describing the
last two groups on his list - and both of these
groups were in operation during his own time as resident
in Washington, D.C. Even here, however, quite a number
of details that I discuss in my footnotes to the text
of the "Failures in the U.S." list indicate
that he most probably relied upon his memory or on more
recent reports from the United States when compiling
his report to General Savchenko, rather than on the more
detailed archival information that would have been readily
available to him.
The origins of "'Karl''s
group": a theory
all its inconsistencies, the origins of the information
recorded in "Karl''s
group" deserve more careful scrutiny. From the way
it was presented in Gorsky's List, it's clear
that not all of Anatoly Gorsky's information was based on
primary sources, as has been suggested by some
American reviewers. But neither was the list simply pasted
together from contemporary American newspaper accounts
and reports available to Moscow operatives in the end of
the 1940s. Although all but three names on the list (Harry Azizov,
Peter MacLean, and Harry Rosenthal), as well as some of
the cover names used, had figured in Whittaker Chambers' public
testimony, this would fail to take into account not only
these three names but also the three-digit numbered code names or the
considerable confusion in Gorsky's presentation.
is this list a final corroboration of Whittaker Chambers' story,
as has been recently alleged, or is it some mysterious
and previously unknown variant of Chambers' story
itself? Or is it a glimpse, however garbled, into some real-life operational circumstances from 1930s? The answer is a complicated one.
find a key to this puzzle, I went back to a 2003 interview
I did in Moscow with a long-time veteran of the GRU.
He mentioned a briefing he was given early in the 1950s,
prior to his own U.S. mission, where he was instructed: "to
avoid any contacts with any individuals anyhow connected
with the failures of 1940s." This warning was given
to him by Lev Tolokonnikov, then one of the GRU heads,
who "in his own time in the United States was following
the 1940s failures cases." Tolokonnikov was gathering
this information and reporting his findings to his superiors.
to Tolokonnikov's only published brief bio
[in Lurie and Kochick, Op. Cit., p. 474], from 1949 to 1950 he was the First Secretary at the Soviet Embassy
in Washington, D.C., and as such a direct subordinate to
Ambassador Alexander Paniushkin. According to Alexander Paniushkin's
official SVR bio, his chief assignment as KI chief resident
in the U.S. from 1947 to 1952 was "to minimize the
damage to Soviet intelligence operations inflicted by defections
of mid-1940s" and "to avoid any breakup of Soviet-American
diplomatic relations" [www.svr.gov/history/personalities].
According to an early 2000s on-line interview with Lev Tolokonnikov's
son, from 1949 to 1950 his father was the resident of strategic
military intelligence in the United States. Hence, by implication,
Tolokonnikov's direct responsibility would be "minimizing
the damage" of Igor Gouzenko's defection in Canada
in September 1945. This suggests the reasonable probability
that Gorsky had sourced his "'Karl''s
group" information directly from Tolokonnikov via Paniushkin.
the KI period, this was the line of command: On general
policy questions, Paniushkin reported to the KI head
(until February 1949 to V.M. Molotov; then for a few
months to A.Ya. Vyshinsky; and after mid-September 1949
to V.A. Zorin.) On intelligence operational matters, he reported first to P.V.
Fedotov, the MGB intelligence representative at KI, and
after mid-September 1949 to S.R. Savchenko, KI's
first deputy chairman on foreign intelligence ["The
Essays on the History of Russian Foreign Intelligence," vol.5.
Moscow, 2003, p. 8]. By implication, military intelligence
operational matters would be reported by the military intelligence
resident to, originally, F.F. Kuznetsov, Department of Defense
representative at KI, and, beginning February 1949, directly to
GRU director M.V. Zakharov [Lurie and Kochik, Op. Cit., p.
after September 1949, Gorsky, in his capacity as Moscow
foreign intelligence operative on the U.S. line, would
have had access to Paniushkin via his (Gorsky's)
new director, General Savchenko. As both chief KI resident
and an Ambassador, Paniushkin could, in turn, query his
subordinate Tolokonnikov – and
report back to Moscow on his operational line of communication.
find documentary confirmation of my theory, I turned
to the 1948-1949 files of VOKS [the Russian abbreviation
for All-Union Society for Cultural Contacts] collection at
the State Archive of the Russian Federation [GARF]. In the
1930s and 1940s, many intelligence residents on both lines
doubled as VOKS-authorized representatives in the United
States. In his own time in Washington, D.C., Gorsky had himself
acted as a VOKS-authorized representative. VOKS 1941 - 1945
files also show considerable input from Tolokonnikov's
predecessor as GRU chief resident – Pavel "Mikhailov" [Venona's "Molier"].
After "Mikhailov" had to leave the United States
as persona non grata (in late December 1945, in
the aftermath of Igor Gouzenko's defection), VOKS affairs
had become the domain of "Mikhailov"'s
former subordinate on both the intelligence and the consular
line, one P.I. Fedosimov. Hence, I reasoned that at some
point I would see Lev Tolokonnikov's name in the VOKS
my archival search soon produced an August 10, 1948 letter
by Yakov Lomakin, the Soviet New York Consul General,
Boris Boldyrev [VOKS files at GARF, fund 5283, description
14, file 531, p. 46].
reported that "due to comrade Fedosimov P.I. departure to the
Soviet Union, at present Vice-Consul comrade Tolokonnikov
L.S. is in charge of VOKS affairs." Lomakin sent
a copy of this letter to Ambassador Paniushkin in Washington,
We now know that Tolokonnikov first arrived in New York
to step into "Mikhailov"'s shoes
not only as GRU resident but also as New York Vice Consul
and VOKS hand. Moreover, he had strategically arrived in
time for HUAC's New York hearings – to track
the situation first hand!
less than two weeks after Lomakin's letter to VOKS, the New
York Soviet Consulate General would be closed in the heat of a diplomatic scandal.
Still, the Consular staff would not be sent home packing immediately: a New
York report to VOKS dated September 27, 1948 shows them busy sorting their
archives [GARF, 5283-14-529, p. 14]. Unlike most other New York Consulate officials,
Tolokonnikov would pack his belongings only to relocate to the Soviet Embassy
in Washington, D.C. at some later point in the fall of 1948 – promoted
to the First Secretary [GARF, 5283-14-534, p. 79; AVP RF, 0129-32b-336-1, p.
As seen in VOKS
1949 files, once in Washington Tolokonnikov would be spared the time-consuming
job of VOKS representative (the job Gorsky had himself had to toil at while
First Secretary in Washington, D.C.) – leaving Tolokonnikov
more time to track the failures of his service's old networks through
all accessible sources, including confidential ones. Incidentally, in his cover
role as First Secretary, Tolokonnikov might also be in charge of the Embassy's
daily press clipping service that, according to VOKS and NKID [People's
Commissariat of Foreign Affairs] files, used to be Gorsky's domain during his
own time in Washington, D.C. And it goes without saying that prior to his departure
for the United States as his service's resident, Tolokonnikov would definitely
receive a proper "orientation" (meaning a thorough briefing) from
his service's top American hands.
Alas for Gorsky,
however knowledgeable Lev Tolokonnikov may have been, with all we know about
the relationship of the two Soviet sister services, he would not be expected
to be enthusiastically sharing his secrets with the "neighbors" (as
the services used to call each other). Hence, in response to Ambassador Paniushkin's
query, he might have reported some mixture of names and information that could
have been tracked back to Whittaker Chambers' story, together with some
odd and not-so-odd additions.
This is still
a theory that should take quite a bit of further research - or a dramatic archival find - to substantiate or refute. The Russian archival collections
that might hold or hide an answer to the "'Karl''s
group" puzzle are closed to any researchers outside the service, and may remain so for many
years. Meanwhile, short of a major breakthrough, many questions raised by the Gorsky List, will remain open.
Among them, are such striking inconsistences in the "'Karl''s group" list, as the confusion
of Communist Party cover names with real names ("David Carpenter," "J.
Peters"); the presence of OGPU source - Noel Field - on an ostensibly GRU
list, and under his reported OGPU code name; the mix up of code and
cover names, as well as
other inconsistencies that are discussed above and in the footnotes to "Anatoly
Gorsky's Report to Savchenko S.R."
All extracts from SVR File 43173 cited in "The Haunted
Wood" have not been publicly
released by the SVR.
most tangible blow to our work was inflicted by the defection
of our former group-leading agent [Elizabeth Bentley]
in November 1945, who gave away more than 40 most valuable
agents to American authorities…. The majority
of agents betrayed by [Bentley] worked at key posts in
leading state institutions: the State Department, organs
of American intelligence, the Treasury Department, etc. ….
[Bentley's] treachery, at the same period of time - i.e.,
since the end of 1945 - there were failures of four agent
groups (working independently from the agent network
headed by [Bentley]) that followed [according to] testimony
given to Federal Bureau of Investigation by former agents
of the MGB, and the GRU - traitors "Berg" [Alexander
Koral], "Buben" [Louis Budenz], "Karl" [Whittaker
Chambers], and "Redhead" [Hedda Gumperz]. There
were more than 30 valuable agents in these four groups,
including former officials of the State Department, Treasury
Department, Interior Department, etc.
last link in this chain of failures was the arrest of
[Valentin] Gubitchev and [Judith]
Coplon, which took place on March 4, 1949, and their
trial, which ended in March 1950. Thus, as a result of
all these failures, we lost an agent network that had
been in operation for many years and was a source of
valuable political and economic information for us."
Judging by the available images of several declassified
reports from 1945 - 1957 period, including some signed
by Lt. Gen. Sergei Savchenko (including reports from
the file of "Arach"/"Mark"/William
Fisher also known as Rudolph Abel; and the "Enormoz"/atomic
espionage files, all of which contain both typed
text and inserted hand-written code names).
According to Alexander Feklissov (in interviews conducted
by the author in 1995 and early 1996), at the time of
an investigation into the failure of Julius Rosenberg's
network, General Savchenko requested detailed reports
from all the case officers and Moscow operatives involved.
Petr Ivashutin. "Reported Precisely,"
Soldiers of an Unseen Front." Moscow, 1994, pp.
to see "Gorsky's List."
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