John Manning replies to Richard Fidler

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Tue Jun 5 06:48:27 MDT 2001

Richard Fidler asked these questions:

John Manning's account is fascinating. It certainly made me want to read
"Operation Solo". But it also left me with a few questions:

1. Is Manning suggesting that the CPUSA supported the Kremlin in the
Soviet-Chinese dispute simply or mainly because it was getting a million
dollars a year from the USSR? The Sino-Soviet dispute was over real issues
of revolutionary strategy, the Chinese making many correct criticisms of
the Soviets' policy of peaceful coexistence. Surely the CPUSA's position
was the product of its own ideological inclinations. That is why the
membership supported the leadership's hostility to China. They didn't need
to be bribed to take that stance, let alone to know the money was coming in
(which they didn't).

2. Although Manning suggests that the FBI influenced the CPUSA to support
the Kremlin against Beijing, he provides no evidence of such influence
(although no doubt Washington favoured Khruschev's line over Mao's). So
what is the source for his statement that "the FBI...were thus able to
bribe the CPUSA, with Soviet funds, for the entire 25 years... and were so
able to steer policy during the entire period of development of the
Soviet-China split to get the most disruptive results internationally"?

3. Most interesting is Manning's reference to the Japanese CP's role in
attempting to reconcile the differences between Moscow and Beijing. This
was new to me at least. How does one get hold of the JCP's "International
Issues"? And what exactly did the JCP propose as some way to "preserve the
unity of the world movement"? Didn't the Sino-Soviet dispute have its roots
in Moscow's application of the "socialism in one country" approach, i.e. a
nationalist strategy for "building socialism" (which necessarily excluded
real socialist collaboration through joint planning, etc.), as well as the
greater pressure from imperialism faced by Beijing in the 1950s (U.S.
hostility, Korean war, etc.)?


John Manning replied:


Please get this to whoever received my message to you.

I did not intend to suggest that the CPUSA in any way tried to interfere in
Soviet policy. The Party was unquestionably with the Soviet Union and
Childs would have reflected that position. The FBI was after information.
It was the information Childs brought that enabled Washington to work to
promote the split. The FBI states at one point, (Solo, p.193), that Childs
got Hall to remove from a letter CRITICISMS of Soviet inaction toward
Vietnam, (which may very well not be true). They certainly wanted the CPUSA
to stay bosom friends with the Soviet union. It was the Soviet Union and
world control they were after. The CPUSA was just means to that end..

We in the CPUSA as a whole were honestly devoted to advancing the working
class and honestly believed that the Soviet Union would bring socialism,
which was the view promoted by the USSR on a world basis.

Point 2 of Richard Fidler's inquiry is clearly sloppy writing and maybe
some emotion on my part..I feel it's an outrage.

The FBI was able to furnish the Soviet funds to the Party. The flow of
funds guananteed Child's presence in the CC, and his regular visits to the
CPSU. This made possible, for 25 years the FBI's continual knowledge of
what the situation was during the whole period, and to maneuver
accordingly, the outstanding use of which was in judging what they could do
in mining Haiphong and Nixon's Russia-China policy.

So. Nobody knew they were being bribed. Hall accepted the money, and either
he or Childs asked for it first. But it was the FBI who decided he should
have it and it kept Childs vouched for by the CPUSA and as the FBI's man in
the Kremlin for 25 years.

What happened was a result of the top-control system promoted by the Soviet
Union and lack of proper democratic check on the leadership. It did great
damage, should be fully exposed and understood, and should never happen again.

But I think we must accept responsibility for the certifying of an FBI spy
as a responsible spokesman for the Party to the CPSU and so permitting the
FBI and the war planners to work on the split.

Certainly no honest member of the CPUSA desired to harm the
socialist/communist movement, least of all Chairman Hall and least of all
harm the Soviet Union. It was a mistake and a violation of principle to
accept the money and it led to a distortion of policy and made the spy's
position impregnable, supported by the highly respected chairman.

In retrospect it is clear that the free and easy in and out travel to the
Soviet Union with such sums of money should have been most carefully
checked. The lack of democratic control, the whole being secret from the
membership, even the leading members, was what made the spy's career
possible. - My feeling is that opening up the whole sorry mess would let
the spooks out and let us all come together on a friendly basis. Mistakes
are to learn by, not to sweep under the rug.

As for the Japanese struggle against the split, it is all through the 18
International issues volumes which are available at 1545 yen per copy,
(bertween $12 and $13 at current exchange rates), from Japan Press Service,
24-6 Sendagaya 4-chome, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, 151-0051, Japan, who fill orders
very quickly. Discussion of the split begins with the first letter in
Volume 1, 1963-1964.

I came to it from reading the polemics in the volumes around Nixon's China
policy and cross- checked quickly to my copy of "Operation Solo", which
makes clear (at least the FBI's contention) that Nixon's Russia-China
policy was made possible by information supplied by the"FBI's man in the
Kremlin", as the book's cover puts it.

The significant part of the first letter in Volume 1, pages 3&4, "To the
Central Committee of the CPSU", dated March 6, 1963, is:
         "(2) As is stated in the letter sent on February 27 by the Central
Committee of our party to the Central Committee of the CPSU, our party
holds that in restoring and strengthening the unity of the international
Communist movement, the most important question is to settle the
differences and disunity between the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
and the Communist Party of China.

        "We sincerely hope that the delegation of the Communist Party of the
Soviet Union and the delegation of the Communist Party of China will hold
talks as soon as possible, and make fundamental achievements in their talks
on settling the disputes in a comradely way in accordance with the
principles of the Moscow Declaration and the Moscow Statement......"

The letter concludes:

        "Moreover, we have received your letter in which you expressed the wish to
invite the activists of our party to the Soviet Union for a visit and rest.
Thank you for your solicitous care. On this question we shall also inform
you of our specific plans after the local elections.
        With comradely greetings, Central Committee Japanese Communist Party"

This is followed by two other letters dealing with the refusal of the JCP
to endorse the Soviet-US Partial Nuclearr Test Ban Treaty on the grounds
that it would lead to an arms race. They insist on holding to the original
demand of total abolition of nuclear weapons. Following these, on p.12, is
a major article, "J.F. Kennedy and American Imperialism", which starts with
opposing the "beautifying" of Kennedy by elements of the Left, and takes up
all U.S. imperialist policy in detail. It is worth publishing today in the
present reevaluation of where we have come from. The volumes are compact
and very informative.

John Manning

Louis Proyect
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