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From Major Jordan's Diaries


Clouds of Witnesses

     The first Fulton Lewis broadcast had scarcely ended, when a multitude of officers and servicemen, throughout the country, sprang to my support – at the risk, in a few cases, of postwar government jobs. Several participated in later broadcasts from the Lewis studio, others on local radio programs and newspaper interviews.

     A number were my former colleagues at Newark, Great Falls, and Fairbanks. The names of most of the others I had never heard before. Some disclosed incidents of questionable aid to Russia that lay outside my own experience.

     The WAC sergeant who worked in my office was one of the first persons to come forward. She was now Mrs. Gordon Bean of Meadville, Pa., but as Sergeant Georgianna Pilkington she had acted for a year as my chief military clerk at Great Falls.

     When my date book was produced, she recognized the volume as the identical one she had often seen while tidying my desk. In its pages, she said, I was always entering “copious notes about everything.” She said I kept it under lock and key in the top drawer, whenever I left the office.

     “Major Jordan told me frequently,” declared Mrs. Bean, that he was very much concerned about how much information was going through.” She observed that I was troubled by the importance as well as volume of these contraband shipments. When Colonel Kotikov was dissatisfied, she related, it was common knowledge that all he had to do was call Washington to get whatever he wanted. [1]

     It was also disclosed that traffic in black suitcases started before I ever dreamed of their existence. This was revealed by former Corporal Henry J. Cauthen of Company G, fourth Infantry Regiment, which was stationed at Nome, Alaska. He was employed in 1949 by an engineering firm in San Jose, Cal. In an interview he told of an experience at Nome one Sunday afternoon in late November or early December, 1942. That was one month before I arrived in Great Falls and three months before my first search of Russian suitcases.

     “Some friends and I were watching an A-20 take off for Russia,” said Cauthen. “About five miles from the base it crashed and burned. We skied over to see whether we could rescue any of the men. The plane was destroyed and four Russians were dead. On the ground were four suitcases. Two had been almost consumed, but the others were intact except that the light straps with which they were bound had split apart. All were black and very cheaply made.

     “We examined one of them. There were maps on top, and beneath was a stack of blueprints. The first chart had been made for the Air Corps by the American Army Engineers. It was in English, but there were markings in Russian showing all our positions and defenses in and around the Nome Airbase.

     “While we were looking at this map, some Russians came over in a skimobile. One officer was very disturbed to see that we had opened the suitcase, and demanded that I give it to him. I did so. He wrapped it up and carried it away. This was witnessed by several of our own Army Corps officers who were there at the time.” [2]

     Corroboration of the charge that uranium information went to the Soviet Union came unexpectedly from a senior GI student at Clemson College, S.C. He was Royall Edward Norton, 29 years old and married, with one son.

     Norton consulted the president of Clemson College, Dr. Robert E. Poole, who suggested that they ask counsel from former Justice James F. Byrnes, who was arriving next day to deliver an address. Byrnes advised Norton to send a full report to the Un-American Activities Committee. Thus it happened that Mr. Lewis made a special trip to Clemson, which is near Greenville, S.C.

     Norton enlisted in the Navy during October, 1941, and served till the close of the war, in the North and South Atlantic, the Caribbean, Africa, Sicily and Alaska. He suffered shipwreck aboard the USS Motole and injuries to his foot and back in an airplane crash. He was honorably discharged with the rank of Chief Petty Officer, four letters endorsing his candidacy for a commission, and a general service rating that was exceptionally high.

     A letter of commendation for his service with the Red Army Air Forces covered a tour at the Coast Guard Air Station, Elizabeth City, N.C., and the naval base on Kodiak Island, Alaska. At Elizabeth City planes were conditioned for delivery to Russia and Russian pilots were trained to fly them. At Kodiak they were reconditioned, stripped of surplus gear and cargo, inspected and reloaded. He gave Fulton Lewis the following account of one of his Alaskan experiences:

A PBM – a Catalina type without landing gear* - was being loaded for the take-off to Russia. I had finished checking the cargo against my inventory when I noticed three extra parachute bags that obviously were not filled with parachutes.

*This seaplane was requested by the Russians only for its Wasp engine, which they could not get from us any other way. Since they never used seaplanes, this PBM (and how many others?) was presumably discarded after being cannibalized.

“I started to inspect them, and in the first one found a wooden box about 18 inches long, less than a foot wide and maybe 8 or 10 inches deep. The top of the box was not fastened down or sealed in any way, and I lifted it up to see what was inside.
“The Soviet pilot, who was making a final check in the cockpit, saw what I was doing and put on a terrific scene. He tried to make me stop, yelling in English: ‘Personal gear – personal!’ I went on long enough to see what was in the box. It contained a solid stack of blueprints, all of about the same size and general appearance, as if they belonged to a set.
“I unfolded the one on top and examined it fairly carefully. I had had some little experience in reading blueprints. This was very unusual and different from anything I had ever seen. But I had studied enough chemistry in school to recognize it as a highly complicated pattern of atomic structure. Protons and neutrons were shown.
“In the lower right hand corner was a group of words, which were probably an identification of the blueprint. I cannot remember the terms, but I do recall the figure ’92.’ It meant nothing to me at the time, as I had never heard of atomic energy or atomic bombs. In the light of Major Jordan’s broadcast, this was undoubtedly a blueprint of the atomic structure of the 92nd element, uranium.” [3]

Norton also revealed that he entered a protest against Russian demands for a complete set of astronomical charts of all Alaska and the Aleutian island chain.

“I could not see why they had any need for such a thing,” stated he. “A simple course map would have been enough. The astronomical charts give them a tremendous amount of additional information, far beyond what was necessary. But the Russians were able to use enough influence, despite my objection, to get 15 complete sets.” [4]

     During the Fulton Lewis broadcast of Dec. 7, his researcher Russell Turner quoted Marcus McCann, a civilian member of the loading crew at Great Falls, as stating he was present when I opened a large brown-paper bundle on a plane being turned over to the Russians. In this package McCann saw railroad maps and plans of factories.

     Another of the freight-handling crew, Elmer Williams, was reported to have explained to Turner that two kinds of shipments went through Great Falls. One was sent openly and the other consisted of hundreds of “diplomatic” pouches, boxes, bags and suitcases, accompanied by armed guards who never left them, but slept with them in the warehouses.

     Crewmen weighed these secret shipments, Williams said, so that planes could be kept in balance when they were loaded, but had no idea of the contents. “Virtually anything could have gone through,” he asserted. Among open deliveries he remembered thousands of pounds of printed materials – books, technical publications, newspapers, plans and tools, such as wrenches and fine precision drills. [5]

     Colonel Frank C. Lynch of Pasadena related that he was an ordnance expert at the Aberdeen Proving Ground. It was one of his duties to accompany a Russian officer assigned there and make sure he learned nothing about super-secret weapons. They included an anti-aircraft cannon that aimed itself, so that all the gunners had to do was feed it with shells. In the summer of 1944 he was ordered to crate this miracle gun for shipment to Russia. He accompanied the weapon to Philadelphia, Colonel Lynch related, and saw it loaded on a freighter.

     Harvey Hart, port manager of Longview, Wash., declared that one of the last shipments to Russia included items labeled “301A Geiger tubes” and “401A registers,” purchased from the Cyclotron Specialties Company. Geiger counters are used for detecting radioactivity. These instruments left for Vladivostok on the steamship Surikov, said Hart.

     Lloyd Chestley of Presque-Isle, Main, volunteered that in 1944 he gave information about American radar to a Soviet General. Chestley was an Air Forces radar officer, with the rank of Captain, at a U.S. airbase near Gluntoe, Ireland. He stated that an American officer accompanied the General, who was armed with “authorization” to inspect secret equipment.

     Robert K. Califf of Lake Worth, Fla., who was weighs and balances officer at the Washington airport, with the rank of First Lieutenant, revealed that he was often prevented from inspecting Russian shipments. In his interview, as quoted, he stated:

I can say I was prevented many times from examining parcels and pouches which I should have inspected. I was prevented from examining these articles by higher authorities, on the grounds that they carried “diplomatic immunity.” [6]

     Private George F. Roberts, of Seattle, told reporters he was stationed during the war at an Army base near Edmonton, and that he was driven away from transports bound for Siberia by civilians wielding tommy guns and speaking a foreign language. He saw large boxes in the planes, but was prevented from inspecting their contents. Superiors ordered him, Roberts declared, to “stay off C-47s.”

     An offer to produce the manifesto for a cargo containing two helicopters and thirty large U.S. Army tanks, which left the Erie pier in Jersey City on the Russian freighter Chutokea for Siberia by way of the Panama Canal in 1948, was made by Herbert Cooney, a former Congressional investigator, of 1419 University Ave., Bronx. Apparently a ruse, he said, the tanks were earmarked for Turkey.

     Two intelligence officers, residents of Los Angeles, told newspapermen they had been questioned by FBI operators. Lt-Colonel Lewis J. Clarke, Jr. said that during four years at Fairbanks and Great Falls he made daily reports on Russian activities to G-2 in Washington. “I could only tell the FBI what any other officer could tell them,” reported Major Perry W. Parker, “namely, that the Russians in Montana and Alaska spent most of their time trying to worm out secret information from Americans.”

     One of the Navy’s specialists in small arms and special weapons, whose name was withheld because he was still in active service, related that he was placed in charge of a training program at Governor’s Island, N.Y. He was harassed by Russian officers who demanded information about weapons so new that they had not yet been tested or even built. When he refused, the Russians threatened to appeal to Washington and have him dismissed. He was haled before Navy superiors at 90 Church Street and reprimanded. His request for a transfer was granted.

     The War Department itself announced that during 1944 a dozen Russian officers were trained in radar operations at Fort Monmouth, N.J., Signal Corps Center. They were instructed in three types of radar – for aiming artillery, identifying aircraft and tracing low-flying bombs and planes.

     My former superior, Colonel Gardner, was interviewed by Fulton Lewis. In his Dec. 5 broadcast Mr. Lewis told me:

I talked with Colonel Gardner this afternoon and he told me he had the same experience in Newark that you had. Every time the Russians were displeased with the way things were going – which was frequently – they would get on the telephone to their Embassy in Washington and have the Embassy contact Mr. Hopkins. All the difficulties would be straightened out immediately. I asked Colonel Gardner how he knew it was Mr. Hopkins who did the job. He said it was common information. The Russians referred to it, and so did everyone else. It was general routine knowledge, he declared. [7]

     In a broadcast of his own, Colonel Gardner was kind enough to remark that “Major Jordan was one of my best and most trusted officers.” He continued:

     I know nothing first-hand about the shipment of atomic materials. I do know that, while I was in command at Great Falls and in charge of this operation, the Russians could and did move anything they wanted to without divulging what was in the consignment. [8]

     Before a microphone in Mansfield, Ohio a week later, Colonel Gardner declared:

“There is more beneath the surface than has yet come to light, and it is to be hoped that the investigating committee will forget partisan politics and go to the very bottom. We in America must know whether public servants in Washington are still giving our secrets away. If so, they should be eliminated. We have had enough of fellow-travelers and Americans who believe in foreign ideologies.” [9]

     He then quoted a letter from “one of the outstanding airmen of all time,” Roscoe Turner of Indianapolis.

Many thanks for your good letter of Dec. 6 and the attached statement of yours in support of our mutual friend, Racey Jordan.

I am needling the Legion on this support too because, after all, there may be an attempt to hush this thing up, as it is stepping on too many high places.

I also wrote Jordan and told him not to lose his nerve since he has done such a magnificent job of uncovering it. [10]

     Major John C. Starkle came forward in San Francisco for the Fulton Lewis broadcast of Dec. 9:

I recall an occasion late in 1943 when Major Jordan came into my office and raised quite a row because Russian aircraft had come in with equipment he thought the Russians shouldn’t have. He was in communication with his superiors. We discovered that none of us was familiar with the apparatus. It was a secret type of electronic equipment which was not authorized for the Russians and which we removed. It did not go to Russia.
I was in Great Falls for a year and a half. During 1943 Major Jordan and I were closely associated. His office was across the hangar from mine and we had lunch together nearly every day at the Officer’s Club. He was United Nations Representative for the 34th Sub-Depot, in which I was assistant maintenance officer for the Ferrying Section, with jurisdiction over repair, maintenance and utilization of UN aircraft.
Major Jordan mentioned Harry Hopkins’ name quite often… Concerning materials of which I had person knowledge, and so far as my observations went, everything Major Jordan has said checks out. [11]

     Lt.-Colonel Bernard C. Hahn of Washington, Pa., was on duty several months at Great Falls as personal representative of the Army Air Inspector, Brigadier General Jones. In a newspaper interview, Colonel Hahn said that he “helped Major Jordan break open some of those mysterious black suitcases the Russians were sending home.” He continued:

Through 1934-44 Great Falls was the take-off point for thousands of planes supplied to Russia through Lend-Lease. I noticed cheap, black composition suitcases that the Russians were putting aboard planes going to Siberia. It was not my job to inspect them. My principal duty was to watch for sabotage and defects in these planes.

Shortly after I arrived at Great Falls, Major Jordan became much concerned over the black suitcases. I told him he’d better take it up with the security officer at the base.

He did so, and one morning the security officer whose name I have forgotten [Col. O’Neil]; Colonel William Boaz, the technical officer at the field, Major Jordan, and I moved in and began examining suitcases. We found no Oak Ridge plans, documents or heavy water. But I do know they were sending to Moscow enough U.S. roadmaps and technical magazines to cover all the pantry shelves in Russia. [12]

     Colonel Kotikov, Hahn added, requested that a WAC Sergeant be assigned to watch over his wife. Mrs. Kotikov complained to Colonel Hahn, the letter stated, that her husband didn’t trust her “and has that woman follow me everywhere.” He reflected that Colonel Kotikov probably has as little privacy as his wife, and explained that “an enlisted man on Kotikov’s staff was at his heels day and night.” The reference, of course, to Sergeant Vinogradsky.

     The first person to whom I confided the story of my search of “diplomatic suitcases” was the security officer of the 34th Sub-Depot, at Gore Field, Lt.-Colonel George F. O’Neill. Without losing a moment’s time, Colonel O’Neill published a pledge to “support Major Jordan to the limit.” His interview was dispatched from Los Angeles, where he had taken a post, after retirement, with the Veterans Administration. He was quoted as follows:

There is one instance which offers conclusive proof of Major Jordan’s story. I have detailed this evidence to the FBI. For that reason I cannot speak about it at this time. I’m ready to tell the whole matter under oath.

All of us at the Great Falls airbase knew that Russia had the ear of the White House. That was common knowledge among the officers.

If the Russian mission didn’t like the way something was going, in no time at all they’d have the White House on the wire and then we’d be jumping.

As far as anything Major Jordan says, I knew him to be a square-shooter. I have absolute faith in his integrity.

Only people who were at the base could understand the difficult times we had there. It was men like Jordan who never slept that made an impossible job possible. [13]

     The former commandant of Gore Field, Col. D’Arce, declared in an interview that the Russians “could have sent the Capitol dome to Moscow without our knowing what was in the boxes.” Under prevailing instructions, he explained, it was not the duty of American officers to question the nature of shipments to Russia but to speed the cargo through as fast as possible. “I remember Major Jordan very well,” said Col. D’Arce. “He is not the type of man to make up a story out of whole cloth.”

     The Lewis broadcast of Dec. 6 presented quotations from an interview with Lt.-Colonel J. D. McFarland of Hamilton, Ohio, formerly an inspector for the Alaskan Wing of the Air Transport Command. “I believe,” he announced, “that I can substantiate everything Major Jordan says,” His statement was cited in part as follows:

I was in Great Falls every couple of weeks. Major Jordan repeatedly raised hell about uncontrolled deliveries going to Moscow.

The Russians wanted no restrictions from the U.S. Army. Every time the issue got hot, they would telephone Washington, and they always had their way. [14]

     According to the Cincinnati Inquirer, Colonel McFarland, who was in close touch with General Gaffney in Fairbanks, declared that I was transferred from Great Falls in 1944 as a consequence of my activities against uninspected shipments to Soviet Union. He had personally examined the diary, he said, in which I kept records of such consignments.

     As commander of the Great Falls Army airbase, Colonel Russell L. Meredith was in nominal command of the Soviet movement. By his own wish, I seldom bothered him with problems in that area. More than once he protested that it was my job to keep the Russians out of his hair.

     With good cause, I hold Colonel Meredith in respect and gratitude. Naturally he was indignant over a scandal alleged to have taken place in a post under his authority. It was only human that his impulse should have been to denounce some features as “preposterous.”

     An officer of roved equity, Colonel Meredith in respect and gratitude revised his opinion now that fuller information is at hand. In November, 1949, there had not been a single Lewis-Jordan broadcast and the Un-American Activities Committee had not heard a single witness in the case. I quote the ensuing dialogue between Fulton Lewis and Russell Turner during the Dec. 6 broadcast:

Turner: I interviewed the former commandant of the base, Colonel Russell Meredith, now retired; and seven civilians who had been members of the ground crew at the Lend-Lease depot – the individuals who actually handled the freight.

Lewis: Well, let’s handle the Colonel first. He is one of the people quoted as saying that Major Jordan’s story is “unbelievable.”

Turner: He told me the same thing. But he also said he found a notation in his own diary – that he could not understand how 10 tons a month of printed material passing through the Great Falls base was going to help the Russians win that particular war.

Lewis: So this statement in itself confirms the fact that tremendous quantities of printed matter were going through the Great Falls base?

Turner: More than that. He stated that he himself had personally protested against the quantity of stuff that was going through, but was told to lay off – that such policy matters were being decided by “top brass.” He said he didn’t recall any specific occasion on which names were mentioned, but that at the time, in his own mind, he presumed Hopkins and Wallace to have been the persons referred to.

Lewis: Did the Colonel have any other information to offer?

Turner: He said once again it was difficult to remember anything specific, but that generally speaking the material going through seemed to be everything the Russians could lay their hands on about American industries, locations, plans, mechanical designs and scientific data of all kinds – and that there was a mountain of it. [15]



Clouds of Witnesses

1. Interview with WAC Sgt. Bean, Fulton Lewis broadcast, Dec. 5, 1949.

2. Corp. Henry Cauthen, Fulton Lewis broadcast, Dec. 19, 1949.

3. Royall Edward Norton, Fulton Lewis broadcast, Dec. 14, 1949.

4. Ibid.

5. Interview with Great Falls crewmen, Fulton Lewis broadcast, Dec. 7, 1949

6. Interview with Robert Califf, Associated Press, Dec. 5, 1949.

7. Fulton Lewis broadcast, Dec. 5, 1949. Interview with Col. Gardner.

8. Ibid.

9. Ibid.

10. Letter of Roscoe Turner to Col. Gardner, Dec. 8, 1949.

11. Major Starkle, Fulton Lewis broadcast, Dec. 9, 1949.

12. Interview with Lt. Col. Hahn, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Dec. 14, 1949.

13. Interview with Lt. Col. O’Neill, Los Angeles Examiner, Dec. 5, 1949.

14. Interview with Lt. Col. McFarland, Cincinnati Inquirer, Dec. 7, 1949.

15. Fulton Lewis broadcast, Dec. 6, 1949.

Continue with Chapter 15

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