Category: History

Why the Communists are Winning as of 1976...
by William D. Pawley & Richard R. Tryon

The Pawley education in diplomatic intrigue continues. The role of his work in Brazil is shown in many ways to have impaired but not stopped the communist movement.

Chapter Six



When we arrived at the Rio Airport, we were welcomed by the protocol officer of the Brazilian government and by about fifty members of the U.S. Embassy staff. I soon discovered that my duties would require me, and on the social side would require Edna, to run a much bigger Embassy than was the case in Peru. My staff of about 800 civilian officials and employees, and a military mission of about the same size, resembled a major command headquarters in the armed services. All of these people were under the ambassador’s jurisdiction.
We were taken directly to the Embassy, a large and handsome structure. Once inside, we could hardly believe our eyes. The floors had no carpet; the walls were bare of paintings; the ceilings lacked chandeliers. Within a few weeks, the Embassy looked much more attractive, thanks to the personal belongings Edna and I had shipped down from the States, and chandeliers which we purchased locally.
Within 48 hours of our arrival, the first of a seemingly endless stream of important visitors arrived, and a former President at that: Herbert Hoover. Our semi-furnished Embassy did not stand in the way of a friendly exchange of letters afterward. On June 28, 1946, Hoover wrote to apologize for putting us through an ordeal before we’d had a chance to catch our breath. I replied, truthfully: “On the contrary, your visit was no trial at all, but afforded us an opportunity to be very quiet and to enjoy the company of your party.”
My discussions with Mr. Hoover centered on Spruille Braden’s anti-Peronist policies in adjacent Argentina. He agreed that those policies were not in the best interests of the United States, and the Ambassador Messersmith’s efforts to reach an entente with Peron deserved strong support. I learned later that Hoover had followed up by getting the message to influential columnists, and to one of his greatest admirers, President Truman.
Soon after my arrival, I was officially advised of the date for the presentation of my credentials to the President of Brazil, prior to which, technically, I was not yet the U.S. Ambassador. The Brazilians always made an impressive ceremony out of a new Ambassador’s installation. The protocol officer arrived in the morning to escort me and my senior staff members to the Palace. Proceeding in three government limousines behind a motorcycle escort, we arrived to find some 100 mounted cavalry troops in dress uniform, with plumed hats and ceremonial swords. All hands stood at attention while a military band rendered the Brazilian and American national anthems.
The protocol officer then escorted us to the presidential reception room, where I was introduced to President Dutra. After a handshake, I proffered the envelope containing my credentials to Dutra, who passed it on to his Minister of Foreign Affairs. Next, I introduced my political, economic, military, naval and air counselors to my host.
As was customary, Dutra now invited me to join him on the sofa, the seat of honor in Latin America, and we exchanged formalities, while my staff stood in the background. My ambassadorship was now in force.
Upon our return to the Embassy, I broke my first precedent, spontaneously, by inviting the protocol officer, the motorcycle escort and the chauffeurs to join me inside the Embassy for a glass of champagne. The gesture met with instant approval from both its beneficiaries and the metropolitan press.


To an outsider, the life of an Ambassador may seem to be very easy. The truth is, that with hard hours of real work sandwiched in between social obligations, each day seems too short to meet the demands of an ambassadorship to so huge and important a country. In the most strenuous of my years as a businessman, I never worked so hard. Fortunately for me, I had the assistance of an outstanding and dedicated staff, who were, for the most part, excellent representatives of our country. I regret to say, however, that there was one exception. The Press Attache at our embassy was William A. Wieland, and after I had been in Rio for a few months, I came to be more and more of the opinion that Wieland was not carrying out his duties in a way which I felt to be appropriate and in the best interests of the United States. After trying to secure corrective measures and failing, I asked for his transfer. In a letter dated December 20, 1946, Harold S. Tewell of the Department of State notified me that the Foreign Service Broad had approved Wieland’s transfer to our embassy at Bogota.
President Hoover’s early visit was a harbinger of things to come. Because of Brazil’s wartime contribution to Allied victory and the tradition of Brazilian-American friendship, a long parade of U.S. dignitaries and friends came to visit us during the years we spent in Brazil. These included President Truman, Mrs. Truman, daughter Margaret, and a large staff. They stayed with us for four days and at Government Guest House for three days.
Ike and Mamie Eisenhower, and a large party, spent a week with us. And among others of our guests were Secretary of the Treasury John Snyder, Admiral William “Bull” Halsey, Averill Harriman, Henry R. “Harry” Luce of Time, Inc., and General Crittenberger of the Caribbean Defense Command. After each had been welcomed by President Dutra, these VIP’s under the demands of protocol, would then be entertained by us at a formal reception or dinner, to which Dutra and the top officials of his government were also invited.
Along with these distractions, I had to cope with a prodigious volume of governmental business which necessitated several meetings per month with the Foreign Minister, among others, often for time-consuming, in-depth examinations of detailed and complex issues. Where the importance of an issue, or my instructions from Washington so dictated, I conferred with President Dutra as well.
One of the calls, however, to which I looked forward with interest, was that on the Russian Ambassador. I wished to put a blunt question to him. So, skipping the usual banalities, I asked him:
“Mr. Ambassador, why is your country pursuing such hostile and aggressive policies toward my country? We gave you billions of dollars worth of war material to resist the Nazis, and fought against them by your side. We have demonstrated conclusively that we have no territorial or imperialistic designs on any other nation. If we were able to cooperate so effectively in wartime, why not now in peacetime?”
While my words were being interpreted by his daughter, I waited hopefully to see if I had penetrated through his ideological complacency to the man himself, on a personal basis. His evasive and sterile reply was this:
“Each country has its own national interests and pursues them.”
In addition to other duties, I paid formal calls on all Brazilian cabinet members. I attended all national holiday receptions given by other countries; failure to do so would have been considered a calculated insult. Several times a month, Edna and I entertained at formal dinner parties. Weekly, I held press conferences, in which I tried to refute anti-American stories based on misinformation or malice, and to present the American case as fully and factually as I could.


While conferring in Washington on Brazilian matters, I was given an alarming document, at the suggestion of Senator Arthur Vandenberg. It had been prepared for G-2 by an undercover agent of Military Intelligence.
In brief summary, the G-2 report revealed the machinations of reported Communists and of radicals in the GIO, committed to the advancement of Spruille Braden successively to the posts of Ambassador to Argentina and Assistant Secretary of State for Latin American affairs. The individuals engaged in this operation evidently wielded great influence over Braden and were accurately informed in advance on virtually every major policy decision on Latin America by the United States Government. They had succeeded in bringing Argentine Communist leaders into the United States, thence to a Soviet-controlled labor congress in Paris during wartime, when priorities for overseas air travel were at a premium. They had successfully blocked every effort of the War Department to cooperate with Argentina on hemispheric defense.
I took this G-2 report to General Eisenhower, who was then Chief of Staff. Ike called in Lt. Gen. Stephen J. Chamberlain, head of Military Intelligence, and asked him whether he had seen the document. Chamberlain said that he had received it only the day before and that he was checking out important items which needed verification, before showing it to Ike. After instructing Chamberlain to bring a copy of the G-2 report, and its author, to this office the following morning, Ike asked me what I intended to do next. I told him that I thought this was a matter for Attorney General Tom Clark.
I then took the startling document to Clark, who brought FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover into the discussion. The three of us went over the paper, discussing it point by point for about three-quarters of an hour. Hoover then asked and received my permission to keep the document overnight in order to examine it at his leisure.
Next morning, I received a phone call from Matt Connelly, the President’s appointments secretary, stating that the President wanted to see me at once.
Entering Mr. Truman’s office, I ran into Tom Clark coming out. He returned the document I had left with Hoover, adding that he had not shown it to the President but had filled him in on its contents. The latter was upset when he greeted me.
“Bill, why in hell didn’t you bring a document of this importance directly to me, instead of to Ike or anyone else?”
I explained that Ike had come to mind first because he was mentioned several times, and because the report concerned his and my efforts to mend our broken fences in Argentina through General von der Becke.
“You should have brought it straight to me!” Truman said.
No doubt Truman’s political tentacles had immediately sensed the serious consequences, with his reelection campaign in the offing, and in which he was counting on CIO support, should the CIO’s machinations on behalf of Braden come to light. The Henry A. Wallace third party movement in favor of all-out appeasement of Soviet Russia was looming on the horizon. Predictably, it would compete with the Democratic Party for the votes of organized labor.
About ten days later, Truman informed me of his decision to get rid of both Braden and Messersmith.
“Mr. President,” I remonstrated, “I just don’t believe that you should fire Messersmith. He’s one of the most respected and capable diplomats we have.”
Pointing to a batch of unopened letters, some typed and others in longhand on his desk, Truman answered:
“Messersmith must think I can spend full time on his problems. He writes long, repetitious personal letters. I’m going to replace him immediately.”
“On the other hand,” I argued, “he’s done an outstanding job in Argentina.”
When Truman wouldn’t budge, it dawned on me that he must have already conferred with CIO leaders and agreed to swap Braden’s resignation for Messersmith’s head, since the latter was anathema to the CIO bosses.
Dean Acheson’s statement in his memoirs that Braden and Messersmith were fired because of an incident involving the quarantine of cattle destined for Mexico is incorrect. There were such difficulties, but they had no bearing on the removals.
When a telegram was dispatched to Messersmith “accepting” his resignation, he replied at once that there must be some mistake, as he had not resigned. He was then informed that he had been retired and should leave Argentina at his earliest convenience.
These developments prompted a former Secretary of State, Sumner Welles, to speak strongly in his syndicated column in the New York Herald-Tribune, February 12, 1946. He wrote:
“Those members of the Foreign Relations and Foreign Affairs Committees who see the imperative need for the prompt restoration of hemispheric unity; and for the conclusion without delay of the hemispheric treaty of defense - which still is blocked because of the recent policies of the State Department - would perform a national service if they investigated every aspect of this situation in order to ascertain with entire precision who the individuals and influences may be that are responsible for a campaign which jeopardized the highest interests of this country and of all the Americas.”


Some time after I received the G-2 report, I was in New York conferring with my brother, who had taken charge of my business affairs after I became an ambassador. To my surprise, my secretary informed me that there was a man on the phone by the name of Michanowsky who desired an appointment. The name rang an immediate bell, for it was this man who had been most prominently mentioned in the G-2 report as the link between the CIO and Spruille Braden, and as a presumed Communist agent. Of this, of course, I gave him no hint, speaking to him as a stranger, when I agreed to see him if he could come right over, since I was about to leave for Washington.
My curiosity was at a peak when Michanowsky presented himself. A striking-looking young man, husky, and filled with an air of self-importance, he came right to the point.
“Mr. Ambassador, I represent the CIO Political Action Committee and the Latin American Division,” he said breezily. “We like the cut of your jib. I’d like to know if we can work out some arrangements whereby you would be willing to cooperate with us.”
“Just what have you got in mind, Mr. Michanowsky, that I could possibly do to be useful to you?” I asked.
“The thing is, we are trying to keep abreast of all the labor problems in Latin America, and that includes Communist problems as they develop,” he said. “We have to know all about these matters. That’s where you come in. We could assist you, if you could see your way to assisting us, in your capacity as ambassador to Brazil. It’s as simple as that.”
“It’s not so simple,” I said, “that I can understand in what way you can assist me.”
My temperature was rising rapidly, and I was glad that I had taken the precaution of stationing some athletic members of my office staff in the adjoining room alerted to intervene should violence erupt. The latter now confidently made his pitch.
“How would you like to become Assistant Secretary of State?” he said. “Or better still, we might be able to swing Under Secretary of State. Well, what do you say?”
“It is my understanding,” I answered, restraining myself with an effort, “that the President of the United States and the Secretary of State are in the habit of making those appointments.”
“Are you forgetting, Sir, that we have six million votes? That’s quite a bit of political muscle in this country,” he responded.
I couldn’t hold myself in any longer.
“All right, Mr. Michanowsky, you’ve asked for it,” I said, my voice trembling with anger. “And you’re going to get it!”
“Now just one minute -” he began, but I cut him off.
“I’m going to tell the President and J. Edgar Hoover about this conversation. And furthermore, if you’ve got half the brains you’re supposed to have, you’ll get the hell out of this country on the next airplane to save yourself great embarrassment!”
The speed of Michanowsky’s departure suggested that he had decided to take my advice on the spot.
Three days later, I received a call from J, Edgar Hoover, to whom, along with the President, I had duly reported the outrageous interview, informing me that Michanowsky had indeed flown the coop to Mexico, for a long vacation with his Communist friend, Lombardo Toledano.
Further, and more disturbing, disclosures were to come, casting doubt on the good judgment of Braden and of Dean Acheson, beginning with the strange case of one Gustav Duran, a trusted aide of Braden’s. Let Duran’s persuasive gifts stand as a horrible example of the ease with which subversive characters can dupe even the best of us.
Born in Barcelona, a professional musician and composer, Duran enlisted in the Spanish Republican Army and became a combat commander on the Loyalist side in the Civil War of the late 1930’s. The noted author, Ernest Hemingway, as a war correspondent in Spain, became one of Duran’s ardent admirers. Following the Loyalist defeat, Duran escaped to the United States and was brought to the attention of Braden by Hemingway, in Cuba. Braden was our ambassador to Havana at that time. Encouraged by Braden, Hemingway had organized a cloak and dagger operation to ferret out pro-Axis activity among Cuba’s 300,000 Spaniards. Hemingway told Braden:
“Look, I don’t know this situation well enough to do a completely satisfactory job. There is just one man who would be perfect. This is Gustavo Duran. I have written about him in my book For Whom the Bell Tolls, in which I described him as a military genius.”2
Braden bought the idea and Duran was summoned. Arriving in Havana with his young American wife, he soon made clear his opinion of Hemingway’s spy-chasing operation as “idiotic,” thus earning the enmity, and a barrage of insults, from the affronted novelist. A naturalized American citizen, Duran became the confidant and right-hand man of Ambassador Braden and in 1942 went to work for him in the American Embassy in Havana.
Disquieting reports concerning this cultivated, charming and intelligent “military genius” soon commenced to seep through official channels to the point where Braden found it necessary to vouch for his protege.
“From my personal knowledge,” he stated, “Mr. Duran is not a Communist, but a liberal of the highest type.”
In fairness, it should be borne in mind that World War II was reaching its climax, and the criticism of our Soviet ally was exceedingly unpopular with the Roosevelt Administration. Like Tom Sawyer, Stalin was letting American friends “whitewash Aunty Polly’s fence.” Nevertheless, Edward J. Ruff, assistant U.S. military attache in the nearby Dominican Republic, had the guts to brush aside Braden’s assurances. On December 30, 1943, Ruff filed an intelligence report in which he stated that the records showed conclusively that Duran was a member of the Spanish Communist Party. Ruff concluded:
“I, myself, am convinced that Duran is a Communist and consider Ambassador Braden’s statement that he is a “liberal of the highest type” to be a euphemism.”
Senator Kenneth S. Wherry of Nebraska was particularly concerned about the presence of Gustavo Duran in a trusted position in the State Department. On April 18, 1946, this powerful member of the Senate Appropriations Committee asked Secretary of State James Byrnes to investigate a list of officials, Duran among them.
“It was my purpose then and is now to withhold appropriations that finance the salaries and activities of anyone in the State Department whose allegiance apparently is to some other country rather than to the United States,” he wrote Byrnes.
My own deep concern about the elimination of this particular termite from the woodwork derived from sources which I considered unimpeachable that Duran had been organizing Cuban Communist Party groups from the American Embassy in Havana. It was clear to me that his Communist affiliations applied to the present as well as to the past.
On August 2, 1946, Senator Wherry wrote to Byrnes that he now knew that there was “an extensive military intelligence report on this man, Gustavo Durán, and I am reliably informed that several copies of this report have been delivered to the State Department. I am now making this formal request upon you in my official capacity as a United States Senator and as a member of the Subcommittee on State Department Appropriations, that on the basis of this report you immediately discharge Gustavo Durán.”
On September 14th, Assistant Secretary of State Donald Russell replied that the Security Committee had investigated and cleared Durán, and that he, Russell, concurred. Knowing and admiring Russell, I was saddened to see yet another instance of a good man being duped.
The upshot? Durán was “allowed to resign” without prejudice, only to land immediately on his feet with a job in the United Nations. The job was ideal for the admission of more Communist agents in the United States: Membership in the committee concerned with Displaced Persons victimized by World War II.


The security mess in the State Department continued to exude malodorous vapors. After three decades, the names of many of those involved in subversive activities have grown dim. My purpose here is to warn that in this 200th anniversary year of 1976, no false accommodation, no illusion of “détente,” be permitted to weaken our national strength, whether military, industrial, or social.
A shining example of what happened in the 1940’s, and what could happen again if the forces of subversion are given any change at all, is in place here. In October, 1945, Secretary of State Byrnes appointed J. Anthony Panuch, a vigorous and capable attorney who was concerned about Communist infiltration of the State Department, to reorganize the department. Panuch discovered that Carl A. Marzani, holding a sensitive position in the department, was a secret Communist agent. He preferred charges against Marzani, and had him indicted for fraud against the government. The man was tried, convicted, and sent to prison. Marzani later went into the business of publishing materials specializing in pornographic and subversive literature.
As soon as Dean Acheson was appointed Under Secretary of State he had Panuch fired. Describing the firing as “a reform long overdue,” Acheson related the circumstances of this coup with unconcealed glee. He recalled that he could have gone into the Panuch matter, if necessary, but that he “had the impression that he (Marshall) wanted me to run the Department.” Marshall was persuaded by Acheson to sign a letter accepting Panuch’s resignation and the vigilant security-conscious attorney was thus kicked out.
“A new day had dawned,” Acheson commented, in his book Present at the Creation (page 214).
In the opinion of the Senate Appropriations Committee, the “new day” was one in which the security of the United States was being systematically eroded. On June 10, 1947, that powerful committee wrote a blistering letter to Secretary of State Marshall, which declared:
“It becomes necessary due to the gravity of the situation to call your attention to a condition that developed and still flourishes in the State Department under the Administration of Dean Acheson. It is evident that there is a deliberate, calculated program being carried out not only to protect Communist personnel in high places, but to reduce security and intelligence protection to a nullity.
“Regarding the much publicized MARZANI case, the evidence brought out at his trial was well known to State Department officers, who ignored it and refused to act for a full year. MARZANI and several other department officials, with full knowledge of the State Department, and with government time and money, promoted a scheme call PRESENTATIONS, INC., which contracted with a Communist dominated organization to disseminate propaganda.
“Security objections to these and even more dangerous developments were rebuffed by high administrative officials; and there followed the substitution of unqualified men for those competent, highly respected personnel who theretofore held the intelligence and security assignments in the department. The new chief of controls is a man utterly devoid of experience and background for the job, who is and at the time of his appointment was known to those who appointed him to be, a cousin and close associate of a suspected Soviet espionage agent. The next development was the refusal of the FBI, G-2, ONI and other Federal investigative agencies to continue the wholehearted cooperation they had for years extended to the State Department.
“On file in the department is a copy of a preliminary report of the FBI on Soviet espionage activities in the United States, which involves a large number of State Department employees, some in high official positions. This report has been challenged and ignored by those charged with the responsibility of administering the Department with the apparent tacit approval of Mr. Acheson. Should this case break through before the State Department acts, it will be a national disgrace . . . “
The letter of Senator Wherry in behalf of the committee of which he was chairman went on to castigate the subversive elements in the State Department and to threaten to cut off appropriations unless some reform was made to reduce the power of the officials working hand in glove with the communists.
However, in the election of 1948 Senator Wherry’s party (Republican) lost its majority in both the Senate and the House. Dean Acheson was moved up to Secretary of State, and his “new day” stepped up its appointed rounds of intrigue.

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