Churchill and Stalin would come with their own foreign ministers, and you would think the American Secretary of State would be coming. No. It was Hopkins until Yalta. It was always Hopkins. And at Yalta, it was a man named Stettinius, one of our lesser-known Secretaries of State, who was very much considered a Hopkins selection and kind of a puppet.
So this was how powerful this man was. He’s a controversial figure. There is, in the intelligence historian community an ongoing debate over whether he was a conscious agent of Stalin’s or not. I tried to pull together what I think is about the fullest dossier on Hopkins that I’ve seen anywhere.
I convinced myself, anyway, that he was, indeed a conscious agent. But this is — this is a point I hope becomes a matter of debate. It’s a very important point. Because if Franklin Roosevelt’s top aide was an asset of some kind for Stalin, I think we have to re-examine everything about the Roosevelt administration, and again, start thinking of it — was this an extension of Soviet policy?
The White House was riddled; the State Department was riddled; the OSS was riddled. I mean, we’re looking at what I decided at a certain point in my research, was actually something best to think of as a de facto occupation, certainly a strategic occupation of the halls of power by the Kremlin.
MR. DRISCOLL: And compared to Harry Hopkins, there’s a much more obscure politician who appears about halfway through American Betrayal. Who was Martin Dies?
MS. WEST: Martin Dies. He is one of the heroes of the book. As dark a tale as it is, there are those I think of as the truth tellers, or the truth seekers, either the great witnesses who come out of the Gulag or out of a cell, or just are good observers, and then the investigators in Congress or journalism.
Martin Dies was a Democratic representative from Texas who in 1938, opened up the House Un-American Activities Committee. And what he was interested in doing was investigating, essentially, totalitarianism of all stripes, whether it was fascism, Nazism, Japanese spying, or Communism.
And fascinatingly enough, when he opened shop, he was actually quite good friends with Roosevelt at this time, Roosevelt tried to dissuade him from investigating Communism in this country.
And indeed, this became a bone of contention that actually broke up their friendship. And later on, Roosevelt would essentially destroy his career when Dies set up to run for the Senate later one.
But Dies was able to uncover an awful lot of what was going on in terms of Communist subversion and fascist subversion as well in the run up to World War II. When we became allies with Stalin, of course, that stopped. But it was interesting to me — I first read about him in Stanton Evans’ book Blacklisted by History, which is a marvelous book, a revisionist’s look, if you will, at the life and times of Joe McCarthy — Senator Joe McCarthy.
And I was fascinated to read Stanton Evans say everything that was ever said about Joseph McCarthy, which would be in the ’50s, was first said about Martin Dies. And indeed, he was smeared as a Red baiter, a — you know, a fantasizer, a fraud, what have you — all of this by the left, seeking to shut down his investigations of the Communist penetration that was rife. I mean, it was happening regardless of how — we still look back on the era as, you know, in terms of witch hunts, which of course suggest fantasy. They were real. They were here. We’ve got hundreds of them identified by now.