Key to the case against Hiss were papers that Chambers had squirreled away in early 1938 as a “life preserver” in preparation for his defection from the Soviet underground. The next day, Nixon revealed on the floor of the House that he had in his possession “copies of eight pages of documents in the handwriting of Mr. White which Mr. Chambers turned over to the Justice Department.” The original documents composed a four-page, double-sided memorandum, written in White’s hand on yellow-lined paper, with material dated from January 10 to February 15, 1938, that had been part of Chambers’ life preserver. Handwriting analysis by the FBI and what was then the Veterans Administration confirmed White’s authorship.

The memo is a mixture of concise information and commentary on Treasury and State Department positions related to foreign policy and military matters. It covers European economic and political developments, including details of private discussions between the U.S. ambassador to France and French political leaders over their intentions toward the Soviet Union and Germany. The memo also outlines possible U.S. actions against Japan, such as a trade embargo or an asset freeze, and describes Japan’s military protection of its oil storage facilities. White also revealed personal directives from the president to the treasury secretary, making clear that he was recording confidential information: at one point, the memo states explicitly that the Treasury Department’s economic warfare plan for Japan, called for by the president, “remains unknown outside of Treasury.”



That proved to be nonsense, of course. But White was right about the IMF. Truman’s State Department effectively mothballed the fund, dismissing the assumptions that had underwritten White’s earlier belief in it: that Soviet cooperation would continue into the postwar period; that Germany’s economic collapse could be safely, and indeed profitably, managed; that the British Empire could be peaceably dismantled; and that short-term IMF credits would be sufficient to reestablish global trade.

Dismantling doesn’t sound like a very nice thing to do to one’s allies.

3 responses to “1938

  1. fnn June 26, 2014 at 6:03 pm

    So FDR had an “economic warfare plan” against Japan as early as 1938. America has been The Great Satan for a long time.

    • nydwracu June 26, 2014 at 6:51 pm

      He also sent Davies to Moscow to find out which side of the coming war the USSR would be on. 1936 to 1938. That’s what Mission to Moscow was based on.

      Isn’t that interesting?

      We know what Davies thought about Stalin, and we know that at least one of his critics in USG thought he was a careerist, and just telling people what they wanted to hear — and we know that FDR personally approved both the Mission to Moscow film and the Katyn coverup.

      We also know that, near the end of Davies’ time in Moscow, FDR mentioned to White an economic warfare plan against Japan, which had signed the Anti-Comintern Pact with Germany a few years before.

      We also know that America worked to undermine the British Empire — though this policy continued even after FDR’s death, with the Suez Crisis. Reagan even thought about continuing the policy of support for decolonization against Thatcher in the Falkland Wars, though he obviously didn’t.

      Now, I can’t say yet whether or not FDR’s pro-Stalinism (which, at this point, is very well-established) led him to maneuver the States into war against the Axis — just as I can’t say whether Forrestal was murdered or, if he was, who murdered him, and just as I can’t explain the circumstances surrounding Huey Long’s assassination or the Reddening of China — but something was going on, and it sure sounds like he maneuvered the States into war with Japan for some reason.

  2. Pingback: 1938 | Reaction Times

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