None of the incidents or dialogue in The Great Conspiracy has been invented by the authors. The material has been drawn from various documentary sources which are indicated in the text or listed in the Bibliographical Notes.
1. Anti-Bolshevism on Broadway
A Welcoming delegation of White Russians was at the dock to greet the Nieuw Amsterdam, the ship which brought Captain Sidney Reilly and his wife to America in the fall of 1924. There were flowers, champagne, and ardent speeches hailing the "hero of the anti-Bolshevik crusade."
Reilly was soon at home in the United States. An American financial loan to Soviet Russia was being widely discussed. A number of prominent American businessmen were for it; and the Soviet Government, eager to win America's friendship, and desperately in need of capital and machinery to reorganize its wrecked economy, was willing to make concessions to get it.
"The prospects were bright of the Soviet being able to float its loan," Mrs. Reilly later recorded. "Sidney was determined that it should not. A great part of his work in America was to be aimed at frustrating that loan."
Reilly immediately flung himself into the struggle against the proposed loan. He opened a private office on lower Broadway which rapidly became the headquarters of the anti-Soviet and White Russian conspirators in the United States. Vast quantities of anti-Soviet propaganda were soon emanating from Reilly's office and being mailed throughout the United States to influential editors, columnists, educators, politicians and businessmen. Reilly undertook a cross-country lecture tour to inform the public of the "menace of Bolshevism and its threat to civilization and world trade." He held a number of "confidential talks" with small, select groups of Wall Street men and wealthy industrialists in a number of American cities.
"Both by public lectures and by articles in the press," wrote Mrs. Reilly, "Sidney fought against the Bolshevik loan. And it is needless to state how by revelation after revelation, by discovery after discovery he won a complete victory, and the Soviet loan never materialized."(1)
Sabotaging the loan to Russia was not Reilly's chief anti-Soviet activity in the United States. His main undertaking was to create on American soil a branch of the International Anti-Bolshevik League, which would lend powerful support to the diverse antiSoviet conspiracies which he was promoting in Europe and Russia. Branches of Reilly's League were already operating in Berlin, London, Paris and Rome, as well as throughout the cordon sanitaire Baltic and Balkan States. In the Far East a branch of the League, financed by Japan, had been set up in Harbin, Manchuria, under the leadership of the notorious Cossack terrorist, Atarnan Semyonov. In the United States no organized apparatus of such a nature existed. There was, however, excellent material from which to create one. . . .
Reilly's White Russian friends had soon introduced him to their most influential and wealthy American contacts, who might be willing to contribute large sums to help finance his anti-Soviet movement.
"As regards money, the market for this kind of undertaking is here and only here," Reilly wrote that year in a confidential letter to one of his agents in Europe, "but to obtain money one must come here with a very definite and very plausible scheme, and with very substantial proof that the minority interest is able within a reasonable time to undertake and to carry out a reorganization of the business."
The "minority interest" to which Reilly referred in his code language was the anti-Soviet movement in Russia. The "reorganization of the business" meant the overthrow of the Soviet Government. Reilly added: -
With such premises, it would be possible to approach here in the first instance the largest automobile manufacturer, who could be interested in the patents provided proof (not merely talk) was given him that the patents will work. Once his interest is gained the question of money can be considered solved.
According to Mrs. Reilly's memoirs, her husband was speaking of Henry Ford.
2. Agent B1
The leader of the anti-Soviet White émigré movement in the United States was a former Czarist officer, Lieutenant Boris Brasol, an ex-agent of the Ochrana who had once served as the Prosecuting Attorney for the St. Petersburg Supreme Court. He had come to the United States in 1916 as the Russian representative to the Inter-Allied Conference in New York City, and he had afterwards remained in America as a special Czarist agent.
A small, pallid, nervous, effeminate man, with a slanting forehead, prominent nose, and dark brooding eyes, Brasol was famed as a violent and prolific anti-Semitic propagandist. In 1913, he had played a leading role in the notorious Beilis case, in which the Czarist secret police had attempted to prove that Jews practised ritual murder and had killed a young Christian boy in Kiev for his blood.(2)
Following the Revolution, Brasol had formed the first White Russian conspiratorial organization in the United States. It was called the Union of Czarist Army and Navy officers and was composed largely of former members of the Black Hundreds who had emigrated to America. In 1918, Brasol's group was in close touch with the State Department and supplied it with much of the spurious data and misinformation on which the State Department based its opinion of the authenticity of the fraudulent "Sisson Documents." (3) Claiming to be an expert on Russian affairs, Brasol managed to secure a position with the United States Secret Service. As U. S. agent "B1," one of Brasol's first acts was to have Natalie De Bogory, the daughter of a former Czarist general, make an English translation of The Protocols of the Wise Men of Zion, the infamous anti-Semitic forgery which had been used in Imperial Russia by the Czarist secret police to provoke widespread pogroms against the Jews, and which the Czarist émigré, Alfred Rosenberg, was currently circulating in Munich. Brasol introduced the translated Protocols into the U. S. Secret Service files as an authentic document which would "explain the Russian Revolution."
To rally support for the White Russians and convince Americans that the Bolshevik Revolution was part of an "international Jewish conspiracy," Brasol began circulating the Protocols of Zion throughout the United States. He supplemented the Czarist forgeries with anti-Semitic writings of his own. Early in 1921, a book by Brasol, entitled The World at the Crossroads, was published in Boston. The book asserted that the Russian Revolution had been instigated, financed and led by Jews. The overthrow of the Czar and subsequent international developments, wrote Brasol, were part of a "sinister movement in which the Jews of the world and Mr. Wilson have become partners."
By July 1, 1921, Brasol was able to boast in a letter written to another White émigré in the United States, Major General Count V. Cherep-Spirodovich: -
Within the last year I have written three books which have done more harm to the Jews than ten pogroms would have done them.
Cherep-Spirodovich was an outstanding anti-Semitic propagandist in his own right. Moreover, he was receiving financial support from a famous American industrialist. The name of the industrialist was Henry Ford.
Boris Brasol also was in close touch with Ford Motor Company agents, and copies of the Protocols were submitted to the auto magnate. . . (4)
3. Black Hundreds at Detroit
A strange and sinister alliance had taken place in the United States between the feudal-minded Czarist émigrés and the famous American industrialist who had developed the most modern methods of production in the world. . . .
The end of the war found Henry Ford a bitter and disillusioned man. The quixotic project of the Peace Ship, which Ford had sent to Europe during the war, had turned out to be an absurd fiasco; and the automobile manufacturer had been widely ridiculed as a result. He was, moreover, deeply resentful of the fact that he had experienced considerable difficulty in securing a loan from Wall Street for the contemplated expansion of his business. As uneducated as he was technically talented, Ford lent a ready ear to the White Russians when they came to him and told him that the Jews were really to blame for his problems. In proof of their contention, they produced The Protocols of the Wise Men of Zion. After carefully examining the Protocols, Ford reached the conclusion that they offered the explanation for all his troubles. He decided to give the anti-Semitic forgeries nation-wide circulation by reprinting them in his newspaper, the Dearborn Independent.
One result was that anti-Semitic Russian aristocrats, White Guard terrorists, Black Hundred pogromists and former agents of the Czarist Secret Police, who had emigrated to the United States after the Revolution, put in an appearance at the Ford Motor Plant in Detroit. They convinced Henry Ford that the United States Government itself was menaced by a revolutionary "Jewish plot" and that liberal American groups and individuals were really, "Jewish fronts." Under their expert supervision and nourished and given respectability by Ford's position and wealth, a huge, complex and secret organization was formed to spy upon liberal Americans, to promote reactionary and anti-Soviet protects, to collect anti-Semitic gossip and to spread Jew-baiting propaganda in the United States.
The headquarters of this organization were at the Ford Motor Company. Its members had special code numbers. Ford's private secretary, F. G. Liebold, was 121X. W. J. Cameron, the editor of the Dearborn Independent, was 122X. Natalie De Bogory, who as Boris Brasol's assistant had translated the Protocols into English, was 29H.
Ford's organization penetrated every phase of American life. Its agents were active on leading newspapers, in famous universities, in well-known corporations, and even in agencies of the United States Government. Dr. Harris Houghton, a former member of the United States Military Intelligence, headed the so-called Ford Detective Service, a special division of the conspiratorial apparatus. Dr. Houghton's code number was 103A. The chief function of the Detective Service was to secure confidential data on prominent American liberals for anti-Soviet and anti-Semitic propaganda purposes. Among those investigated and blacklisted by the Detective Service were Woodrow Wilson, Colonel Raymond Robins, Reverend John Haynes Holmes, Helen Keller, Justices Hughes and Brandeis. According to the secret reports of the Detective Service these individuals and scores more like them were being used in the "Jewish plot" to subvert the American Government.
The findings of the Detective Service were publicized in Ford's Dearborn independent, which at the same time was serializing the Protocols of Zion. Here is a typical comment regarding Woodrow Wilson: -
Mr. Wilson, while President, was as very close to the Jews. His administration, as everyone knows, was predominantly Jewish. As a Presbyterian elder, Mr. Wilson had occasional lapses into the Christian mode of thought during his public utterances, and was always checked up tight by his Jewish censors.
A story on William Howard Taft in the Dearborn Independent concluded with this paragraph: -
That is the story of William Howard Taft's efforts to withstand the Jews, and how they broke him. It is probably worth knowing in view of the fact that he has become one of those "Gentile fronts" which the Jews use for their own defense.
Special agents of Ford's organization were dispatched overseas and traveled thousands of miles to collect new slanders and forgeries against the Jews. One of these agents, a White Russian named Rodionoff, sailed for Japan to obtain special antiSemitic propaganda material from the White Russian colony there. Before departing from the United States, Rodionoff wired Charles W. Smith, a leading member of the Ford organization: -
My conditions are following: During six months I will furnish you exclusively with material agreed upon. You to advance monthly fifteen hundred American dollars payable in Yokohama specie bank. You to pay for material already furnished.
Describing the situation which had developed at the Ford Motor Company, Norman Hapgood, a famous American newspaperman, later Minister to Denmark, wrote: -
In the atmosphere in which Ford's detectives worked, there was talk of actual pogroms to come to this country. Indeed, within Ford's circle, there grew up the exact symptoms that existed in Russia in the days of the Black Hundreds. . . . Politically, it meant that history was repeating itself. As Brasol was the chief in this country of the expatriate Russians trying to put the Romanovs back on the throne, it meant that Ford's persecution had, with the logic of events, joined with the crusade, centuries old, that the despots of Europe had stirred up repeatedly, in order to inflame, for their own purpose, the ignorant religious passions of the dark masses.
Like Henri Deterding in England and Fritz Thyssen in Germany, the American automobile king, Henry Ford, had identified himself with world anti-Bolshevism and with the rapidly developing phenomenon of fascism. According to the February 8, 1923, edition of the New York Times, Vice-President Auer of the Bavarian Diet publicly stated: -
The Bavarian Diet has long had information that the Hitler movement was partly financed by an American anti-Semitic chief, who is Henry Ford. Mr. Ford's interest in the Bavarian anti-Jewish movement began a year ago when one of Mr. Ford's agents came in contact with Dietrich Eichart, the notorious Pan-German. . . . The agent returned to America and immediately Mr. Ford's money began coming to Munich.
Herr Hitler openly boasts of Mr. Ford's support and praises Mr. Ford not as a great individualist but as a great anti-Semite.
In the small, unimpressive office on Cornelius Street in Munich which was Adolf Hitler's headquarters, a single framed photograph hung on the wall. The picture was of Henry Ford.
4.The Last of Sidney Reilly
Soon after his arrival in the United States, Sidney Reilly had begun working in intimate collaboration with agents of Ford's anti-Semitic and anti-Soviet apparatus. With their assistance he compiled "a complete list of those who were secretly working for the Bolshevik cause in America." (5)
Through Reilly's efforts, contact was established between the anti-Semitic and anti-democratic movement in the United States and the branches of the International Anti-Bolshevik League in Europe and Asia. As early as the spring of 1925, the basic framework for an international fascist propaganda and espionage center operating under the mask of "anti-Bolshevism" had thus been created. . . .
Meanwhile, Reilly maintained close touch with his agents in Europe. Mail reached him regularly from Reval, Helsinki, Rome, Berlin and other centers of anti-Soviet intrigue. Much of this mail, addressed to Reilly at his Broadway office, was written in cipher or in invisible ink on the back of innocuous-seeming business letters.
The communications contained detailed reports on every new development in the European anti-Soviet movement. The every debacle had temporarily demoralized wide sections of the movement. The Green Guards had broken up into disconnected small bands of professional terrorists and bandits. Jealousies and mutual suspicions were contributing their share to disorganizing the other anti-Soviet groups. It seemed that the great Counterrevolution would have to be postponed for some time.
"Sidney rightly saw," records Mrs. Reilly, "that the counterrevolution must start in Russia, and that all his work from the outside would only result in creating a passive foreign hostility to the Soviet. He was approached several times on behalf of organizations in Moscow, as he had been approached by Drebkov in London, but he proceeded warily. . . ."
Early that spring, Reilly received a letter postmarked Reval, Estonia, which greatly excited him. The letter, written in code, came from an old friend, Commander E., who had served with Reilly in the British Intelligence Service during the World War, and who was now attached to the British Consular Service in one of the Baltic countries. The letter, which was dated January 24, 1925, began: -
There may call on you in Paris from me two persons named Krashnoshtanov, a man and wife. They will say they have a communication from California and hand you a note consisting of a verse from Omar Khayam [sic] which you will remember. If you wish to go further into their business you must ask them to remain. If the business is of no interest you will say ""Thank you very much, Good Day."
In the code used by Commnder E. and Reilly, "Krashnoshtanov" meant an anti-Soviet agent named Shultz and his wife; "California" meant the Soviet Union; and the "verse from Omar Khayam" meant a special message in secret code. Commander E.'s letter continued: -
Now as to their business. They are representatives of a concern which will in all probability have a big influence in the future on the European and American markets. They do not anticipate that their business will fully develop for two years, but circumstances may arise which will give them the desired impetus in the near future. It is a very big business and one which it does not do to talk about. . . .
Commander E. went on to say that "a German group" was very much interested in participating in the "deal," and that a "French group" and an "English group" were becoming actively involved.
Referring once more to the "concern," which he indicated was operating in Russia, Commander E. wrote: -
They refuse at present to disclose to anyone the name of the man at the back of this enterprise. I can tell you this much - that some of the chief persons are members of the opposition groups. You can therefore fully understand the necessity for secrecy. . . . I am introducing this scheme to you thinking it might perhaps replace the other big scheme you were working on but which fell through in such a disastrous manner.
Sidney Reilly and his wife left New York on August 6, 1925. They arrived in Paris the following month, and Reilly immediately proceeded to contact the Shultzes about whom Commander E. had written. They outlined the situation inside Russia, where, since Lenin's death, the opposition movement associated with Leon Trotsky had been organized into an extensive underground apparatus which aimed at overthrowing the Stalin regime.
Reilly was soon convinced of the major importance of the new developments. He was eager to make personal contact as soon as possible with the leaders of the anti-Stalin faction in Russia. Messages were exchanged through secret agents. It was finally arranged that Reilly should meet an important representative of the movement on the Soviet frontier. Reilly left for Helsinki to see the Chief of Staff of the Finnish Army, one of his close personal friends and a member of his Anti-Bolshevik League, who was to make the necessary arrangements to get Reilly across the Soviet border.
Shortly afterwards, Reilly wrote to his wife, who had remained in Paris, "There is really something entirely new, powerful and worthwhile going on in Russia."
A week later, on September 25, 1925, Reillv dispatched a hastynote to his wife from Viborg, Finland, saying: -
It is absolutely necessary that I should go for three days to Petrograd and Moscow. I am leaving tonight and will be back here on Tuesday morning. I want you to know that I would not have undertaken this trip unless it was absolutely essential, and if I was not convinced that there is practically no risk attached to it. I am writing this letter only for the most improbable case of a mishap befalling me. Should this happen, then you must not take any steps; they will help little but may finally lead to giving the alarm to the Bolshies and to disclosing my identity. If any chance I should be arrested in Russia, it could only be on some minor insignificant charge and my new friends are powerful enough to obtain my liberation.
That was the last letter to be written by Captain Sidney Reilly of the British Secret Intelligence Service. . . .
After several weeks elapsed, and Mrs. Rcilly still had no word from her husband, she got in touch with Marie Shultz, Reilly's confederate in Paris. Mrs. Reilly later recorded the interview in her memoirs.
"When your husband arrived here," Mrs. Shultz told Mrs. Reilly, "I explained to him the exact state of affairs as far as our organization was concerned. On our side we have some of the principal Bolshevik officials in Moscow, who are anxious to bring the present regime to an end, if only their safety can be guaranteed."
Captain Reilly, continued Mrs. Shultz, had been inclined to be skeptical at first. He said that foreign aid for a new venture against Soviet Russia could be enlisted only if the conspiratorial group inside the country had some real strength.
"I assured him," said Mrs. Shultz, "that our organization in Russia was powerful, influential and well-knit."
Mrs. Shultz went on to relate how a meeting between Reilly and representatives of the Russian conspiratorial apparatus had been arranged to take place at Viborg, Finland. "Captain Reilly was much impressed by them," said Mrs. Shultz, "particularly by their leader, a very highly placed Bolshevik official, who beneath the cover of his of officer is one of the most ardent enemies of the present regime."
The following day, accompanied by Finnish patrol guards who had been especially assigned to the task, Reilly and the Russian conspirators set out for the frontier. "For my part," Mrs. Shultz related, "I went as far as the frontier to wish them Godspeed." They remained at a Finnish blockhouse beside a river until nightfall. "For a long time we waited while the Finns listened anxiously for the Red patrol, but everything was quiet. At last one of the Finns lowered himself cautiously into the water and half swam, half waded across. Your husband followed. . . :'
That was the last Mrs. Shultz saw of Captain Reilly.
When Mrs. Shultz had concluded her story, she handed Mrs. Reilly a clipping from the Russian newspaper, Izvestia. It read: -
The night of September 28-29, four contrabandists tried to pass the Finnish frontier with the result that two were killed, one, a Finnish soldier, taken prisoner and the fourth so badly wounded that he died. . . .
The facts, as they later came out were these; Reilly had successfully crossed the Soviet border and interviewed certain members of the Russian anti-Stalin opposition. He was on his way back and was nearing the Finnish border when he and his body guards were suddenly accosted by a unit of the Soviet Border Guards. Reilly and the others tried to escape. The Border Guards opened fire. A bullet hit Reilly in the forehead, killing him instantly.
Not until several days later did the Soviet authorities identify the "contrabandist" they had killed. When they had done so, they formally announced the death of Captain Sidney George Reilly of the British Secret Intelligence Service.
The London Times carried a two-line obituary: "Sidney George Reilly killed September 28 by G.P.U. troops at the village of Allekul, Russia."
(1) Sidney Reilly could not claim complete credit for the victory over Soviet Russia. There were others in the United States who were no less eager and fought no less energetically to prevent the loan. Among them was Herbert Hoover, then Secretary of Commerce, whose animosity against the Bolsheviks was unabating. "The question of trade with Russia," Hoover informed Maxim Litvinov on March 31, 1921, "is far more a political one than an economic one so long as Russia is under the control of the Bolsheviki."
(2) "I was the second greatest preliminary investigator in Russia," Brasol told a journalist who interviewed him after he had arrived in the United States. "I studied detections of crime all over Europe, under orders from the government. In Switzerland, Germany, France and England I had made myself expert in criminal detection."
The American newspaperman asked Brasol if he believed that Jews commit ritual murder.
"Why shouldn't I?" answered Brasol.
Later the American journalist described his own feelings during the interview. "I shuddered," he said, "as I sat face to face with this Russian Black Hundred disciple and heard him, in this twentieth century, tell coldly of the medieval cruelty of the Czar's henchmen."
(3) The so-called Sisson Documents, allegedly proving that Lenin and other Soviet leaders were in the pay of the German High Command, were published and distributed in the United States by the State Department after the Bolshevik Revolution. The documents, originally offered for sale by White Russians, had been rejected by the British Secret Service as crude forgeries. Edgar Sisson, a State Department official, purchased the documents and brought them to Washington, D. C. Subsequently the fraudulency of the documents was conclusively established.
(4) For details on Brasol's subsequent and current activities in the United States, see page 344.
(5) This list, which included the names of every prominent American who had said anything favorable about Soviet Russia, was to serve as a useful model for American fascists and Nazi agents in future years. The anti-Semitic propagandist, Elizabeth Dilling, later drew heavily upon this and similar lists in compiling her notorious Red Network. George Sylvester Viereck, Colonel Emerson, Oscar Pfäus and other Nazi agents or fifth columnists in the United States made similar use of this data in their propaganda work.