The Magazine


Nov 13, 1995, Vol. 1, No. 09 • By HARVEY KLEHR and JOHN EARL HAYNES
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

Earl Browder, the chief of the Communist party, discussed Elizabeth Bentley's espionage role with Moscow. Bernard Shuster, an official of the party's New York organization, assisted Julius Rosenberg in his espionage and was asked to vet several persons that the NKVD regarded as potential agents for penetrating the U.S. atomic bomb project. One message, sent from Moscow headquarters to regional NKVD offices, instructed Soviet intelligence officers to be more careful about contacts with the American party.

Venona is so clear on the organic relationship between Soviet intelligence and the CPUSA that even Walter and Miriam Schneir, who have devoted much of their lives to defending the Rosenbergs, have given up on this point. In an article in the Nation, the Schneirs admit that the Venona messages " implicate the American Communist Party in recruitment of party members for espionage."

That may be a turning point in the discussion of these matters. For once the link between the American Communist party and Soviet intelligence is accepted; once the extent of the American party's role in Soviet espionage is admitted; then the left can no longer make the case that the anti-Communists were engaged in a witch-hunt.

Time for the revisionists to revise their own histories of the Cold War.