central in tell igence agency Washington, d. c. office of the director
Tho Honorable J. Edgar Hoover
Director, Federal Bureau of
Department of Justice
Washington, D. c.
Subject: JOSEPH ALSOP
Dear Ur. Hoover:
Referring further to my letter to yound its enclosure in the abovenclose herewithphotographic copyemorandum prepared by subject'
Moscow on or about The originalhas just been received
> The contents of this memorandum are being made
he State Departmentigh level.
Information received indicates that the developments mentioned in this memorandum occurred during the week of. The "incident" apparently occurred on Monday, the trip to Leningrad took place on, and subject left Moscow for Paris via Prague on
In case there are any natters which you wouldj cover in the contemplated interrogation.
will ments in this ca me any dissenina
keep you informed of any significant develop-seequest that you kindlyt ne any dissemination of this information outside of the Bureau, or other action which might bear upon the counter intelligence aspect of this case while subject remains abroad.
(S) Allen W. Dulles
Allen W. Dunes Director
gave this. yesterday
& he returned it to me this morning,
This is the history of an act of uery great folly, unpleasant in itself but not without interest for the light its casta upon our adversaries in the struggle for the world.
It must beginersonalhave been an incurable homosexualought medical advice,Adolf Uayer at Johns Hop/tins, but theconsulted only confirmed my own diagnosis. Itcurious thing, but ttact, that theof homosexuals loho have honestly facedof their predicament, somehow end byto it, shocking though this may seem, say,ave said, o no harm toI am no trouble tohould not be toomyself," ave always been deeplyby one aspect of mytheof the truth from my family and friends. now arisen which make further concealmentwhile those circumstances are disturbing andthe last degree, there isertain innerbeing forced to tell the whole truth at last.
I am forced to tell the truthave bsen most successfully framed byudge to be the foreign espionage branch of the Soviet secret police, .How it happened is, in essence, rather simple.
in the course of my visit to thisave been exposed tc enough homosexual invitations to suggest, as one looksather continuous attempt to entrap. One of these occurred shortly gfter ny return from Siberia,as walking home late, one evening from the Jetropole to the actional Hotel;oung soldier walking in the opposite direction abruptly stopped and stared in ar. unmistakably meaningful manner. There was stillew nights later,ined at vhe Sovieiakaya Hotel with the Bernard Cutlersretended editor of the "Literaryur Pulsion host, trange coin-
otdance, hadable nextroup of quite obviousof them even had plucked eyebrows and dyed hatr, and aa the avantng wore on, tha usual Russi post-vodka embraces merged into something considerably more startling. ad to go to the men's room, the fallow with plucked eyebrows at once followed me androposition. nown thennowhould of course have been warnedj since thia kind of flamboyant display of homosexuality oould only occur tn the Soviet Onion with the assurance of police protection.
m. inally,ew nightsas tnvtivii-Uuit-jSKflrifly by the Sd Stevenainner they were giving for Chester Bowles. We had hardly taken our ftrat vodkasupposed reporter for "Tossn acquaintance of Stevens', oame up to us and asked our whole party to join his table. Be was accompaniedounger friend, an
a common language tnnow suppose that he was
chosen for this purpose, atnoe comfortable talkwe fell immediately into converaatton.
The topic of the talk, which waa both interesting and agreeable, was the state of the arts tn the Soviet Union. rofessed teacher of literaturechool tn Leningrad, he at first defended "soctaltat realism" wtth great energy. Then, blaming the atngle vodka he had drunk, he abruptly awttched aides, proclaiming that Anna Akhmatova and Pasternak were the only living Russian poeta worth reading, attacking the Communist party's dead hand on the arts, and in general talkingary open and incautious way. ust, he aaid, talk to some of the Leningradnd weate* meet there.
X had already made reservations through Intourist to
go to Leningrad,ow believe that the original
plan wis to stage the frame-up there, merely establishing
the first contact in Moscow. As will be seen, the
course of events suggests that the newas
soon to make were unprepared for the rapidity of
At any rate, as the evening wore on, the talk about ltt_rature nergedeiled confession by Boris Ntkolaievtch, as he called himself, that heomosexual! andid not appear, shocked, this in turn merged into an invitation. Asaid ittle later and went to his room.n the Grand Hotel where we had been dining. Nothing outwardly suspicious occurred during the hour we passed there, andeft, he invited me to come back. the next day, when he would, he said, have finished his business in Moscow, "to say goodbye before his return to Leningrad". an hardly credit my own idiocy. But my time in Russia had been so interesting, the Russianseople had seemed to me so friendly and so vital, the presence of the police had been so little apparent,ad just about forgotten thisolice state. ept the appointment. Monday, and of course, at the appropriate moment, the door burst openilitia officer, the English speaking vice director of _hs hotel and another unidentified nan entered the room.
Beyond asking my name,hought tt foolish to try to conceal, they hardly bothered with me. efused to sign the "act" drawn up by the militia officer, on the groundould not read it, they did not even press me to do so. Shortly after they entered theelephone call had been put in. And the "act" was hardly signed by theen therenock at the door and two men entered. These -dismissed all the others, and asked me to stay .beftAVtd-.
The senior, who was plainly in command,an in his late forties or early fifties, moderately corpulent, of middle height.
ost stridingskin oltue-broton, the
nose rather hooked, the eyes, deep-set in the rather plump cheeks, flashing sharply through the steel rimmed spectacles unless he was constdering his next move, when he would half close his eyes and drum on the table. Heuskrat chapka and smoked the imitation-Turkish Russian cigarettes almost continuously. The junior must have been tn his early thirties, was perhaps, fattish, blondish,ong noseoose-looking,Except that hi3 suit was rather lighter blue than most Russians wear,there was nothing else to distinguish htm.
They got down to business without any delay,ad of courseerious crime under the Russian code, that they did not want to make any
trouble for me all thethe younger one
ostentatiously telephoned the hotel director to command,
as he explained, ust
helpittle if they were going to help me. The police had done their work well, added the senior one, all but licking his lips and fingering the scarlet dossier which the militia officer had turned over to him. St contained theome other papers and several small packets. From one of these hehotograph to show me the efficiency of the police. As it happened,
this photographingularly brilliant
it portrayed had notut this seemed to me fairly irrelevant in the circumstancesid not argue about it.
Not knowing what course toimply told my new friend at this first meeting what was in
fact thetn myad had to
decide many years earlierould doound_ myself exposed to blackmail,ad long agoould much prefer any other course, however unpleasant, to paying blackmail, andight kill myself or end my writing career, butould never allow myself to be blackmailed in any way. The older man, who led the conversation, merely laughed comfortably, repeated that he wanted to help me, and suggested that we move to pleasanter surroundings.
my problem. id not aare where we discussed tt, heost curious political discussion, about Soviet-American relations, in which, inas ashed to explain my viewpoint at great length. In this discussion, the older man showed himself coolly unprejudiced, indeed apparently quite unaffected by the local propaganda, while the younger, who, served as interpreter, either genuinely was or pretended to be shocked by my laok ofhe talk went on in this manner for nearly three hours, betng interrupted from time to time by their assurances that "they only wanted to help me." At length,aidas dining at the Embassy in an hour's time,ould beturn up, andad better telephone if they wished to continue our conversation. They repliedas quite free to go, but that we three must meet again soon "to try toay out ofyour problem". ate was made to dine ataga Restaurant the next evening, and so we parted.
I had made up myI now see, very
that it was my duty to involve no one else in the consequences of my folly. Uy first
It sounds melodramatic, but it really was my Intention
was to go through with dinner, return to my hotel, write out an account of the whole business, slip it under the door of the newspapermen living at the National Hotel, and then commit suicide. Throughonsidered this and other alternatives. inally concluded,ent to bed, that suicideowardly alternative, at least at that moment, andught to play the gameit further, to see where it would lead. dopted the tentative plan, therefore, of pretending to be recruited by my two new friends, in order to get out of the country, and then,eached Paris,lean, public breast of the whole business, telling the story in detail to ihe whole world firstarning and second as proofould not be blackmailed any longer. aveave always been troubTed by the concealment that homosexuals must practice, vncF^.h'e fact' that theeant to adopt would surely mean the end of my present career hardly weighed in the balance against the prospect
of telling the honest truth and so ridding myself of the incubus of my folly. rite thesehall still do so,ave now promised to take Ambassador 3ohlen's advice on this point.
Having .taken theseresented myself at the Praga the next evening. uxurious and enormous dinner had been preparedrivate room. reatly disconcerted my two new friends by refusing anything to drink, on the groundadtomach upset during the previous night, andad Hyer owing to hepatitts, had been forced to go on theek. They pressed vodka on me again and again, but without success. The whole first part of dinner was taken up wtth another interminable political conversation of the sort that had already taken place. Oneemember, was Secretary of the Treasury Humphrey's desire to cut the milttary budget. They appeared to be singularly well Informed about American politics and personalities, but they asked no questions going beyond the sort of thing printed daily tn the newspapers. ad made up my mtnd to say nothtng about "my problem" until they brought It up. They hadhink,ould bring it up, but at length, as it was getting on forhe seniorever gave me any name to call htmthat It was sttll necessary to decide what to do about "myhat the police were still holding the "other man" and wished to try himj and that he would have to be able to offer some quid pro quo to the police tn order to keep my name out of the case. He thenetter, which he said came from some nan toad made overtures "tn broken Russian"estaurant tn Kemerovo. eplied that this was clearly nonsense,id not know enough broken Russian to order my breakfast, butould not see how that altered matters. He then said that "it did not matterrote, that in fact you and your brothe> do not write nearly so badly about the Soviet Unt-on ^other people, and tn any case you oust carry on yourut thai he would like to be able to talk to me from tine to time In "order to get advice that would assist the cause
of peace". koio ofarried outpretending to agree to hia proposal inwas some further discussion (in the course ofasked me hoa muchade from writing) and hethat we meet again "one last time, so that Iyou some final questions" in Leningrad on Friday, could hardly helphe "onlyhelpnd that he would like to prove thisthe closed doors of the special collectionsHermitage, before we dined together and got down
I had then to make my final decision as toto follow thereafter. as still foolishlynot to burden Ambassador Bohlem with themy folly; but tt was increasingly clear to me thatnot meet these men again without safeguardingsome manner or other. On the one hand, if Iwas clearlyanted my family and friendswhat had happened, and to know above all that Ihad any intention of yielding to these men'sthe other hand, if worst cane tolsobe able to say to them that all the facts wereto the American authorities, and that theyconsider the consequences to themselves ifto extreme measures. aw nowshould have seen at the veryhavingto do toith these men placed mealseput it very mildly, ook measures inwould automatically render me entirely uselesspurposes. In the end, doptedofull account of everything that happened, and passing itriendhought ealed envelope,equest thatthe envelope to the American embassy if thereslightestad got lost or was inthe instruction that he was to read thethe envelope in two weeks time. By then, as Xthe document in theoped to haveand made by clean breast to the world.
iocument in hisoTMer theset forth tn the preceding paragraph. If Ichanced to'run acrosshould havefinal call on Ambassador Bohlem and confided thehim. id not, merely telephoning to saytaking ths ntght train to Leningrad. The nextLentngrad was reasonably nightmarish. ad hopedmy mind off what lay ahead by forgettingfig*but the pictures at the Hermitage; but theclosed, and after three hours sightseetng withfemale Interpreter guide, Zenatda Alexandrahad nothing left to do. assedake column which would, Imy new friends from questioning me toowho had told me what concerning the currentagainst dissident students and intellectuals. statedad been unable to confirmof the campaign, and mainly knew offrom the government press.) ppearedelegram from theersonal message of great urgencythe Embassy, that the Ambassador had seenleaving for the US, and that theI must return to Uosoow to receive thisthereupon telephoned the Uinister, sayingupposed the message had to do withpoor health, andould returnad of course divined that the friendI had confided the sealed envelope, insteadmy instructions, had brought thethe business. Anil cannot describe theof relief that came over me,elt that nowno longer carrying the burden
After telephoning Ur.t ct once to the Intourist ticket bureau, and after an agonising delay causedusylace on. plane to ffoscow. hen packed, ent downstairs, to order my bags broughtaught sight
of the two recruiting agents in the Astoria Hotel lobby. Andresented myself at theervice Bureau, the girl there who was handling my affairs said there hadistake, and that my ttcket on the plane had been issued when there was no space for me. eturned to my room to telephone Mr. Davis again; therenockj and the younger of the two recruiting agents appeared. howed htn the telegram from the Minister,eared very bad family news, and explainedust return at Mflt to Uoscow. harpdded that "someone had done something to cancel my air ticket." aid furtherated to inconvenience them, would have to go book to Moscow by train if no plane was available, and would meet them there for as long as they chose.hort delay, when he left the room to confer with his ohtef, he returned to say that my atr ticket would be all right afterhad looked tnto the matter to help me. So with many assurances of looktng forwardong talk veryarted from then and took the Moscow plane. The rest of the story is known to the American Minister, whose kindness and wise advice have placed me in his debt to an extent that can never be repaid.
Handwritten notation: Original signed by
the subjeot of the cover memorandum.Original document.