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The Living Legend
Book 3 - The Secret War


was urging the defeat of the revolutionary Red army and the Allies had expeditionary forces in Russia. Among the Canadian force was a volunteer cavalry unit of Royal Northwest Mounted Police.

The pressure of the labor movement in all Allied countries overrode Churchill that same year and Canada's force was sent home. The RNWMP had done no more than make a few patrols out of Vladivostok. They were gratified, nevertheless, to see a crowd on the Vancouver wharf carrying banners that said: welcome home returning heroes.

As they stepped down the gangplank a man tossed a brick, the signal for a barrage of stones. The crowd, the Mounties learned later, were longshoremen. They had read in the newspapers that the RNWMP had been sent home to suppress strikes in western Canada. The welcome signs, it turned out, were for the Seaforth Highlanders, who had just come back from France.

The episode was a portent of things to come. Labor unions in the West were hotbeds of discontent. A depression was shaping up, magnifying legitimate grievances. Soldiers were coming home to swell the ranks of the unemployed. The Rus-sion Revolution, now a success, was held up as a shining example by radicals everywhere. In every labor hall from Vancouver to Winnipeg, left-wingers flung fiery words of revolution into an inflammatory situation.

At a Calgary convention early in 1919, rebels from the Trades and Labor Council launched the One Big Union. Their intention was to take over the craft unions (carpenters', machinists', and so forth) and to raise upon their defunct bodies one single colossus. Then, by means of a general strike, they could gain control of the country and set up a "Proletarian Dictatorship" patterned after Russia.

The Royal Northwest Mounted Police was a federal force, responsible for the peace of the prairies and the Northwest. (Next year, as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, they would serve all Canada.) To find out if the One Big Union plotted violence they planted undercover men in almost every local.

Corporal (later Assistant Commissioner) Frank Zaneth was a typist for a leader of the 1919 general strike in Winnipeg. An organizer from the Industrial Workers of the World, a revolutionary U.S. union, visited strike headquarters to check on progress. "What's wrong with your Canadian intelligence?" he asked. "Don't they ever bother you?"

"No," said Zaneth's boss, "they're half asleep."

The great strike effort in Winnipeg failed in June 1919, and Zaneth's testimony helped convict seven leaders of sedition. An OBU leader then went to Moscow to try to get support from the newly formed Communist International. His failure was to doom the OBU to insignificance and its place on labor's far-left flank was seized by a group with more taste and talent for conspiracy.

In 1921, in a barn near Guelph, Ontario, a meeting of left-wing socialists, including OBU leaders, was arranged by a Latvian using the name of Charles Scott. Scott was one of the three men who composed the Pan American Bureau, voice of the Communist International in North America. That night, with three thousand dollars he had brought for the purpose, he founded the Canadian Communist Party.

It was the great misfortune of the party that two years earlier John Leopold had joined the Mounted Police. Leopold was an Austrian emigrant, a homesteader from Peace River who spoke four languages. No Mountie ever looked less the romantic figure of fiction than this swarthy hooknosed man with the melancholy brown eyes. He was so short he would not have been accepted in the force if he had not been volunteering for Siberian service with the RNWMP cavalry unit. Just before he was to sail, his inspector called him in and told him he had been picked because of his background to carry out an undercover mission. He was to penetrate the OBU in Regina.

Constable Leopold vanished from the police barracks. He reappeared as Jack Esselwein, a house painter, a man with a little income from a Peace River farm, an occasional lucky dabbler in grain futures. He joined the Painters' Union. He seemed an ardent, eloquent, willing socialist. Soon he was prominent in the OBU.

Shortly after the Communist party was formed, Jack Esselwein, in Regina, received a letter.

Dear Comrade:

The urgent need in Canada for a militant Worker's party which would unite the working masses ... so as to lead towards the overthrow of the capitalist system, and the establishment of the workers republic has long been apparent . . .

You, Comrade, as an active worker in the class struggle, have, we are certain, felt this need. You have wished that such a party be established ... so that you could throw all your energies into the work. Now, such a party is actually here in Canada. . . .

The letter was signed M. (Mike) Popovich on behalf of the Provisional Organization Committee. It went on to say that "Comrade Jack Macdonald, one of the best speakers in the east" would be coming West to organize the party. Would Esselwein hire a hall, arrange and advertise the meetings?

It was a priceless opportunity. The Mountie became the party's first secretary in Regina. He chaired meetings, recruited members, sold pamphlets. He was campaign manager for a Regina alderman who became the first Communist elected to office in North America. For a time the worst time Leopold acted as bodyguard for the Moscow agent, Charles Scott. They shared the same bed, the policeman constantly fearful of talking in his sleep.

Soon he reported to his RCMP superiors that the party was really two groups, A and Z. A group was the Workers' Party. It was the legal front; it did the recruiting. Z group contained the leaders. It did the plotting, mainly plans to infiltrate unions and widen their membership.

Leopold was a Z. The inner circle held no secrets from him. He corresponded with national secretary Jack Macdonald and drank with him or Tim Buck, another Communist bigwig, whenever they came to town. Twice a week, through an undercover contact, he would send the RCMP his notes, party pamphlets and copies of personal correspondence. Jack Esselwein became a well-known radical, a marked man with the western police. Only four or five RCMP officers the direct chain of command from Leopold's Regina inspector to the commissioner in Ottawa knew Esselwein's real identity. His non-Communist friends forsook him. His bewildered fiancee, a Saskatchewan schoolteacher, tried to persuade him to quit Communism. Leopold could not tell her who he was and eventually she married another man. (Leopold never married.)

With party members and leaders he was popular. He gave his money generously. Once a month a messenger brought him his Mounted Police pay in cash. If party funds were tight he would pay his own way to eastern conventions. At dawn, hours after the other delegates had gone to bed, Leopold would sit up scribbling his notes. In Ottawa, a great mass of material was collecting in the secret files marked "Agent 30."

For eight years Leopold led this amazing double life. In 1924 the Workers' Party boldly merged with Z group as the Communist Party of Canada. In the spring of 1926 Leopold went to Winnipeg, then moved on to Toronto. He held no official position but he was a trusted confidant of all party leaders. Once he was arrested for taking part in a demonstration in front of the U.S. Embassy.

His exposure came by chance and well offstage. In the autumn of 1927 a Communist organizer, Malcolm Bruce, formerly of Regina, was working in California. At a party one night he got into a conversation on spies with another ex-Regina resident. This man mentioned a Mountie who vanished one day from barracks and later turned up as Jack Esselwein.

"Where did you hear that story?" Bruce exclaimed incredulously. "Why, Jack Esselwein's one of my best friends. He painted my house. He's been in the party longer than I have."

The story had come from an ex-Mountie now living in California, a suitor of the informant's daughter. The ex-Mountie confirmed it when Bruce talked to him. Badly upset, Bruce wrote to party leader Jack Macdonald in Toronto. As Macdonald later recalled the letter, Bruce stated the facts, then added: "Jack has been like a brother to me. I have never had the least cause to suspect his sincerity. But an investigation should be made either to clear Esselwein of suspicion or to clear the party of Esselwein."

Macdonald, a shrewd black-browed Scot, also doubted the story. But Leopold, from then on, was under observation. For six months nothing confirmed their suspicions. Leopold continued to attend meetings, to drop into headquarters and help wrap bundles of the Communist weekly, The Worker.

Then came his second piece of bad luck. An immigrant from Austria we will call him Karl, though that is not his name visited Leopold in Toronto. Karl was neither a Communist nor an old friend, merely a mechanic who had worked on Leopold's car for a brief time in Regina. He was in Toronto to try to sell an invention; he had no money, and he gave Leopold a hard-luck story. Leopold offered to let him share his apartment for a few days.

Only Karl and Leopold know what happened. It is possible that Karl had suspected Leopold in Regina. It is certain he searched Leopold's apartment during his stay, which stretched into weeks. In any case, in May 1928, Leopold asked him to leave. Karl countered with a veiled threat of blackmail and Leopold departed for a union convention with the matter still unsettled.

Macdonald and several comrades had gone to the station to see him off. They noticed that he was troubled and preoccupied. Karl ran up as they came out of the station. "Has Jack left?" he asked excitedly.

"He's gone," Macdonald said. "What's wrong? You both seem upset."

Karl evaded the question. Next day he approached Macdonald and nervously asked to see him alone.

They talked in Leopold's apartment. Karl said he had a secret worth thousands of dollars to Russia. No, it was not an invention, it was information. He was very mysterious.

Finally Macdonald said, bluffing: "You can't sell me anything. I already know. Jack Esselwein is a government agent."

Karl's expression showed that he had guessed right. "I've known for a long time," said Macdonald, "but we can't get anything on him."

'Then I help you," Karl said. He opened Leopold's trunk and showed Macdonald several papers: reports on the Communist party, the deed of a Peace River farm in the name of John Leopold, a bank draft receipt for 3000 crowns sent to Mrs. M. Leopold, his mother, in Europe, and a letter of introduction from a prominent Regina citizen to R. B. Bennett, Conservative leader in Ottawa, saying that "Jack Esselwein" was doing work of which any patriot should be proud.

Macdonald called a meeting of the party's political bureau. A few days later, by letter, Leopold was expelled. As Communists wrapped the following week's Worker they joked that Jack should be there to wrap the issue carrying his picture. Communist papers all over North America warned workers to watch for this "government stoolpigeon," to let his picture "sink deeply into your minds . . . and if you ever run into this bird . . . treat him accordingly."

Leopold's revelations made Communist aims and methods clear from the outset to both the Canadian and U. S. governments. His personal knowledge of party leaders gave the RCMP a tactical advantage in the long cold war that was entering a critical phase. Whenever it was necessary to arrest or identify Communists, his mass of evidence made it possible.

But this came later. In 1928 Leopard received many threatening letters and Commissioner Cortlandt Starnes thought it wise to send him north to Fort Simpson. The following year Jack Macdonald, in turn, was expelled from the party for disagreeing with Moscow-made policy. Tim Buck, who had trained in Moscow, took his place. Depression struck, and the Communists' great chance came. They organized strikes, kindling violence where they could, creating bitterness, a proper state of mind for revolution.

The bloody riot they sparked at Stratford, Ontario, in July 1931 snapped the patience of Ontario's Attorney General William Price. On August 11 he ordered a raid on Tim Buck's house and headquarters. Nine leaders were charged with seditious conspiracy and Leopold was recalled from the north.

In Leopold's strange career there is no more dramatic moment then his entrance into the courtroom in Toronto. The silence was broken only by the tinkling of his spurs as he took his place as the Crown's chief witness. In the red serge dress uniform of an RCMP sergeant he sat for three days facing the men who had been his closest friends.

The defense tried to show that the grievances which led to strikes arose from the capitalist system, that the Communists did not create them. "We [only] seek to organize the workers to resist grievances," Tim Buck testified. Violence, if it came, would come from capitalist resistance.

Leopold identified documents linking the party in Canada to Moscow's International. He identified letters sent by the International that clearly defined its aims:

This conquest does not mean peacefully capturing the ready-made bourgeois state machinery by means of a parliamentary majority ... [it means] the violent overthrow of bourgeois power, the destruction of the Capitalist State apparatus, bourgeois armies, police, and judiciary, parliaments, etc.

Leopold also threw light on Communist methods. One party pamphlet plainly spelled out the use of codes, ciphers, secret inks, couriers ("the party must make use of the connections which they have with post and telegraph and railway servants") and defense corps trained in street fighting. "Our comrades," the pamphlet's author complained, "don't know how to throw stones. It is not enough to pick up a stone and throw it, it is important that the stone should hit its target, and not merely hit its target but that some effect should be seen from the blow." Communists, the pamphlet suggested, should practice stone throwing after work.

The jury, mostly working men, took only two hours to find all eight Communists guilty of what the judge called "a species of treason." They went to Portsmouth Penitentiary for two to five years. But the party was never legally outlawed. The very next month, August 1931, four organizers from the Workers' Unity League, all card-holding Communists, were stirring up trouble among striking miners in the open-pit coal mines at Estevan, Saskatchewan.

The Estevan town council had banned any strike demonstrations. An undercover agent tipped off the RCMP that the strikers planned to parade in defiance of the edict. A parade would give the Communists a chance to rouse mob action. The Regina division dispatched one squad of thirty men to the mines and one of twelve to the town some miles away.

The Communists outgeneraled them. The larger squad arrived at the mines as the strikers were entering town in a mile-long motorcade of cars and trucks. The strikers were in holiday mood, waving at the women who came to the doors to watch them pass. But, for a peaceful "parade/' they were strangely equipped: ax handles, crowbars, bricks, stones, flails of electric cable strung with barbed wire and weighted with lead babbitts.

The twelve Mounties and two town police blocked the main street in a thin line. The leading truck, a red flag waving from it, darted down a side street to come in from behind. A guffaw went up from the strikers and their families, who had dismounted.

Suddenly a second truck speeded up and crashed the police line. Men jumped out and came running back, led by an organizer, Martin Day. "Come on, boys!" Day shouted. "Into them!"

Estevan's police chief, Alex McCutcheon, stood his ground. "Get out of town before you start trouble," he said.

Day hit him with a piece of wood. A Mountie grabbed Day. The fight was on.

The jeering mob of some five hundred strikers forced the fourteen policemen back along the wide flat main street. Occasionally the crowd would press in and surround one policeman till the others, flailing out with their batons, rescued him. With their guns still holstered the Mounties fell back to the town hall.

Here they formed a semicircle, trying with their batons to hold the mob at bay. Slowly they were forced back against the town hall wall. One Mountie's arm was shattered by a blow from a flail. A flying brick fractured another's skull. As he fell the strikers pulled him out of the line and began to kick him. The nearest Mounties dragged him back. There were only eight Mounties still standing, tunics in tatters. Flying missiles filled the air and the mob was closing in.

Staff Sergeant Walter Mortimer, his left arm dangling uselessly from a blow by a giant iron washer, looked down his line of bleeding men and told them to draw their guns. "Go back!" he yelled at the mob. "Don't be fools." A woman laughed hysterically. "Shoot me!" she cried, throwing up her hands. A striker pulled a revolver from his pocket and fired at the Mounties.

"Fire over their heads!" Mortimer shouted. Ten shots, all high, were fired. The strikers fell back at once. No one was hit.

In the meantime the Estevan fire truck had pulled up. Firemen began unreeling their hose to turn it on the crowd. A group of strikers rushed the truck; one jumped on the driver's seat. A revolver cracked and he toppled over dead. Several more shots were fired. The provincial enquiry that followed did not determine who had fired them.

When the second RCMP squad arrived it was over. At the sight of the .303 rifles the mob that remained melted away. The fighting had lasted forty-five minutes. Twelve people were in hospital, including two bystanders a music teacher and a visitor from England both wounded by stray bullets. The music teacher swore a striker had shot him. Two miners were dead and another was to die later in hospital. The responsibility for their deaths could not be fixed.

An editorial in the St. Catherines Standard declared: "The strikers gained nothing by their attempted parade except two funerals not a very fruitful day's work for the agitators." The editorial was only half right. The strikers had gained nothing but the Communists had three martyrs. Every year thereafter they commemorated the "murders" by parading from the mines to Estevan. They made skillful use of the tragedy in their long-term campaign to undermine public confidence in the Mounties. As far west as Vancouver they organized the workers and unemployed in protest meetings against "the brutal and unwarranted attack by Royal Mounted Police on a peaceful miners' motor car parade."

For the next few years the most fertile field for Communist activity was the relief camps set up by Prime Minister R. B. Bennett. One of the sharpest skirmishes took place in the Saskatoon camp, a huge converted grandstand outside the city. During April 1933 there was sporadic trouble. Camp officials were terrorized. Downtown store windows were smashed. Two city policemen were beaten up. Near the end of the month the Saskatchewan government called in the Mounties.

The RCMP had been expecting the call; they had undercover men in the camp keeping tabs on their old adversaries, the Red agitators. For several weeks a troop of thirty-two men had been drilling their mounts in combat tactics on the prairies.

The Mounties stood guard in shifts in front of the main camp building, where the government stores were kept. Every day an agitator would gather a crowd round the Mountie. "Who's getting rich on your sweat?" he would yell. "Who's getting rich while your families can't get enough to eat? Prime Minister Bennett Iron Heel Bennett! And who's protecting Bennett and his crowd?" The agitator would lean forward until his face and the Mountie's were no more than six inches apart. "This yellow-striped bastard!"

The Mountie would turn away stiffly as if he hadn't heard. But afterward one constable said, "I had to steel myself. We were under strict orders to take it. But I tell you, it makes your guts turn over."

On the seventh of May, Inspector Lome Sampson planned to move fifty men, including the agitators, from the overcrowded Saskatoon camp to a camp near Regina. His undercover men warned him the move would be resisted; the Communists had men collecting stones, bricks and broken cement. Sampson and G. M. Donald, Saskatoon police chief, decided to use surprise; they would pick up the fifty men at noon next day in the dining hall. In case of trouble, Mounties on horseback would cover the men on foot.

In the stables that morning Sampson inspected his men. "Remove steel helmets," he said tersely. "Replace with Stetsons. I don't wish to leave any impression of militarism with the public." He inspected their sidearms. "Now take the ammunition out of your guns and put it in your left breast pocket. If your life's in danger use your gun if you can load it in time."

The troop rode through the camp's main gate to the end of the camp grounds, then wheeled. They could see a crowd in front of the dining hall. Policemen came out with the men they were trying to move. Suddenly they were swallowed up by the crowd.

Inspector Sampson raised his hand and his troop galloped down the field. A hail of missiles met them. Sampson's horse was struck on the head. Half blind with blood, the horse reared up, throwing Sampson backwards. One foot caught in a stirrup. The horse bolted. Sampson's body went bumping along behind. Two of his troop raced after him but before they could catch the horse, Sampson's head hit a telephone pole. He died on the way to the hospital.

The Mounties on horseback scattered the crowd but the fighting continued, guerrilla-style, all over the buildings and grounds until 11:30 that night. Though dozens of men were injured the Mounties had suffered the only fatality.

All through 1934 the Communists spread leaflets through the relief camps. By next spring RCMP undercover agents were reporting what Defense Minister Grote

Stirling publicly called "a widespread and well-organized plot [to] . . . attempt destruction of camps throughout Canada."

Two months later nine hundred men including RCMP secret agents marched out of a camp in British Columbia. They briefly occupied the Vancouver post office, then headed east for Ottawa by commandeering freight trains. They stopped at Kamloops, Calgary, Medicine Hat, Swift Current and Moose Jaw. Other relief camps emptied to join them. The railways were afraid to resist and most citizens were sympathetic.

At Regina's exhibition grounds, meals and shelter awaited the marchers. The Saskatchewan government wanted to pass them through the province quickly. Nor did the federal government wish to antagonize them. But the RCMP commissioner, Major General James MacBrien, former chief of Canada's general staff, warned his minister that the Communists were raising an army of camp-workers, unemployed, and small-time criminals to reinforce the marchers at Winnipeg. The same pattern was planned for eastern cities. This, MacBrien stated, was the prelude to revolution.

Two cabinet ministers came to Regina to reason with Arthur "Slim" Evans, the tall, gaunt, dour but persuasive ex-miner who led the march. Evans would not agree to billet his men in temporary camps till a government commission examined relief camp conditions. He and seven other leaders were taken by Pullman to Ottawa to discuss terms with Prime Minister Bennett.

The last thing Evans wanted was a peaceful settlement.

Repeatedly he called Bennett a liar. The millionaire Prime Minister, losing his temper, reminded Evans that he was a "jailbird," convicted of embezzling union funds at Drum-heller. Retorted Evans: "You aren't fit to be Prime Minister of a Hottentot village." In a foregone conclusion Bennett ordered Commissioner MacBrien to stop the march at Regina.

Evans, back in Regina, swore he was going on to Ottawa in spite of all "Bennett's bloody Cossacks" (the Mounties). His force had now swelled to two thousand men, divided into divisions of about five hundred each. The divisions were broken into companies of twenty-five, each with a leader. They marched in fours like an army. The Communists officials of a front group called the Relief Camp Workers' Union had complete control.

Evan's next move was to order a mass Dominion Day meeting in Regina's Market Square. Undercover reports to the RCMP told of piles of stones being cached in alleys. Elevator operators were taking bricks to the roofs of buildings bordering the square. The camp workers were arming themselves with clubs, knives and flails, a few guns.

Saskatchewan's top-ranking Mountie, Assistant Commissioner S. T. Wood, asked the camp leaders to call off the meeting. Evans was adamant. Wood and the city police decided to seize all the leaders on the day before the meeting. But Evans and his lieutenants, wise strategists of intrigue, had disappeared from their usual haunts and remained hidden till the meeting.

Wood, hastily switching plans, sent plainclothes Mounties and city detectives to mingle with the crowd in the square.

Nearly a thousand people clustered around a raised platform on which stood Evans and several other leaders. The evening was warm and the sun had not yet gone down. A speaker began to talk. At 8:17 a police whistle shrilled. Eighteen detectives pushed toward the men on the platform. Vans drove up and unloaded seventy-five Mounties in uniform. They walked toward the crowd to protect the detectives.

Immediately, from the roofs and windows above, from all sides, iron, cement, bricks and stones rained upon the police. Lengths of pipe appeared from under coats. A truck drove up, unloaded more missiles and moved off. From the direction of the railway tracks another body of rioters moved in and attacked with clubs.

The uniformed men cleared a path through the crowd and the plainclothes squad shoved their prisoners into the vans. Driving to the RCMP's downtown station, five blocks away, they passed three troops of RCMP horsemen moving up. A plainclothes man leaned out of a van and shouted, "Hurry up!"

Little pockets of rioting were breaking out along a mile of streets. The rioters overturned cars, used them for barricades; some of the Mounted Police had to jump their horses over them. Women with razor blades on long sticks slashed at the horses. The riders' boots were cut to ribbons. One animal's eye hung from its socket. The Mounties threw gas bombs; some new recruits threw theirs too soon and rioters scooped them up and threw them back.

The first mounted troop to reach the square turned the tide of battle. More leaders were arrested and driven away.

From a roof a radio commentator, describing the scene below, was bringing thousands of curious citizens into the streets and now the strikers could heave their bricks and duck back into the crowd. Two Mounted Policemen were shot.

A little after nine o'clock a mob, wielding fence posts, assaulted a group of city policemen in Market Square. Charles Millar, a detective with a silver plate in his head, was clubbed and died instantly. The other city policemen fired at the mob and wounded several.

By 11:30 the streets had been cleared. The rioters had been herded back to the exhibition grounds. Eighty men were in custody. Later, twenty-four were tried on charges that ranged from rioting to wounding, and nine were convicted.

In the Ukrainian Labor News the following week the headlines read: police in regina have staged a bloody battle. "Bennett's bloody butchers!" cried another Communist paper. In all Red accounts, the RCMP fired first.

An inflamed public opinion forced the provincial government to set up a royal commission. After hearing 359 witnesses it placed the blame squarely on the Communists. It found that only one Mountie, a sergeant, had fired a shot over the heads of a mob that had stormed the RCMP station in a futile attempt to release the prisoners. The others had not even carried ammunition although Wood had had reports that some rioters were armed. But the muted report of a royal commission long after the event could scarcely offset the propaganda victory scored by the Reds.

That year, 1935, after long and violent opposition to all other left-wing groups, the Communist party made common cause with all liberals against Fascism. This was Moscow's so-called "united front." It gave the Reds a lasting influence in many noncommunist groups and, in 1940, when Canada outlawed the party, it was easy to convince many loyal liberals that the RCMP were Red baiters. Later, the Communists claimed that the RCMP had been "hounding" them and paying little attention to fascists.

This was true, in a sense. The Mounties had undercover agents in every subversive party but the Reds were by far the more efficient enemy. On the first day of World War II RCMP agents broke the German-financed Canadian fascist group Deutsche Arbeits Front, interning four hundred Nazis. The German fifth column was so completely demoralized that not one case of sabotage was traced to a Nazi agent. But the Communists, from the day Russia and Germany signed their pact, constantly and effectively sabotaged the war effort mentally with such published statements as this:

It is a lie that this war is a war against Fascism! It is a lie that the defeat of Germany by Britain and the Dominion will benefit the people! it is a cheap lie that we are

fighting for "democracy"! withdraw canada from the imperialist war!

More than one hundred Communists were interned at Hull, Quebec. The leaders went underground so far they were of littie practical use to the party. When Russia entered the war they emerged with their line abruptly changed ("As Canadians, it is our duty to support the battle of democracy against Fascism"). As a sign of sincerity Russia pretended to disband the International. The Communist Party of Canada changed its name to the Labour-Progressive Party. Under the surface, however, activity intensified and in 1945 the cover of secrecy was lifted for a clear look at the apparatus beneath.

In the evening of September 5 in the capital city of Ottawa, cipher clerk Igor Gouzenko pinned some documents under his shirt and walked out of the steel-shuttered Russian Embassy. He was disillusioned with Russia after two years in Canada and he knew that his chief, Colonel Nicolai Zabotin, suspected his feelings. Like the porters and the chauffeur, Gouzenko was also a Red Army officer, trained in intelligence work. He had carefully selected the documents to prove that the embassy's rear wing was the center of a huge spy ring.

Gouzenko went first to the Ottawa Journal. The bewildered night editor looked at his papers, handwritten in Russian. "The proper place for you to go is the RCMP," he said. With the year's hottest news story under his shirt Gouzenko left the newsroom and walked home to the apartment where he lived with his wife and child. He believed he had only a few more hours before the papers were missed.

Next morning Gouzenko called at the Justice Building. His English was not very good. He was misdirected to the Identification Branch, where Inspector Henry Butchers, also misunderstanding, shuttled him to Crown Attorney Raoul Mercier. Mercier's secretary called Norman Robertson, head of External Affairs. "Keep him waiting," Robertson said, and phoned the Prime Minister.

Mackenzie King was just hanging up his coat in the House of Commons, where the fall session was awaiting him to begin. His reaction was to send Gouzenko back to the embassy. He didn't know if the documents were genuine. It would not have been the first time that an agent provocateur had forged papers to create an international incident. As King told Parliament later with unconscious irony: "I do not think the government of Canada can take any action which would cause the Soviet Government to believe that we are prying into their affairs."

Discouraged and desperate, Gouzenko again returned home. He expected an attempt on his life that night. He told his story to a neighbor, who took the family into her apartment. Another neighbor called the city police. The police said they would stand guard outside. "Flick your bathroom light if you need us," they said.

No one knew that the RCMP had been shadowing Gouzenko since midafternoon. Inspector Butchers, by chance, had lunched that day with John Leopold, now an inspector in the Special (counterespionage) Branch. Butchers had mentioned the strange visitor who had called on him that morning and Leopold had detailed two plainclothes men to watch Gouzenko.

At 11:30 that night, with the Mounties still watching outside the building, the city police saw a light go on and off. They ran upstairs. Four Russian Embassy members, all Red Army officers, were searching Gouzenko's closets. Peremptorily, they told the police to leave.

"That door doesn't look like you opened it with a key," a policeman said. "We'll stick around until our inspector arrives." Angrily the Reds stamped out.

The incident lent weight to Gouzenko's story. The RCMP took over September 8. Gouzenko and his family were taken to headquarters.

Only four original cablegrams, which Gouzenko was supposed to have burned, could be checked immediately. They were enough. They showed that the Russians had details of matters that only Britain and Canada should have known.

The Mounties, under Superintendent Charles Rivett-Carnac, a one-time elephant driver in India who rose to be deputy commissioner, began to piece together the multitude of fragmentary clues contained in the documents. Some were copies of secret Canadian Government papers, re-copied by Gouzenko in Russian longhand. The originals could not be drawn from file without putting the spies on guard. Others, Gouzenko said, had been written by Colonel Zabotin and Lieutenant Colonel Rogov, his assistant. RCMP experts later identified their handwriting from the guest book of a hunting lodge the diplomats had visited.

By September 17 an RCMP officer was able to brief Prime Minister King. It seemed likely, King was told, that a top-ranking scientist had given the Soviets all details of Canada's atomic energy program. The man was known only by his cover name of Alek but the evidence indicated he might be English. In fact, "Alek" was Dr. Allan Nunn May, the distinguished British nuclear physicist.

The Mountie read a cable, No. 241:

To the Director [head of Russian intelligence in Moscow]: Facts given by Alek . . . The output of uranium 235 amounts to 400 grams daily at the magnetic separation plant at Clinton. The output of "49" is likely two times greater, some graphite units are planned for 250 grams each day. . . . Alek handed over to us a platinum with 162 micrograms of uranium 233 in the form of oxide in a thin lamina.

Grant [Colonel Zabotin]

The Prime Minister was stunned. He flew to London to talk with Prime Minister Attlee and Scotland Yard. Attlee flew with him to Washington where they talked with President Truman. And in Ottawa, Superintendent Rivett-Carnac and his men worked against time and in absolute secrecy to find out the extent of the damage, who the spies were and how they worked.

By February, King felt he could wait no longer. He appointed a royal commission headed by two Supreme Court judges to examine the evidence. On February 13 they recommended that the twelve people so far identified be arrested the following day.

In perhaps the most attentive session of Canada's Parliament the Prime Minister told MPs and reporters what he had done. It made sensational headlines around the world. But in Canada, some papers directed nearly as much indignation at the government and the Mounties for holding the prisoners incommunicado as at the prisoners and Russia for spying.

The RCMP and the government were worried. They had taken a drastic action. It would take a conviction to justify it. They had to get a confession or, as one Mountie put it, "we'd be the goats."

Two experienced interrogators, Inspectors Clifford Harvi-son and Melville Anthony, were flown to Ottawa to question the prisoners. Soon after he arrived Anthony drove out to Rockcliffe Barracks. It was a Sunday. He wasn't ready to start his questioning yet but he wanted to look his people over.

His half of the prisoners included Mrs. Emma Woikin, a Saskatchewan-born Doukhobor. Anthony knew the district she came from. He had her brought into the office he was to use for his interviews and they talked of her home and people.

Then, following his instinct, Anthony said: "Mrs. Woikin, I'm going to tell you some things I know about what you've been doing. You're a cipher clerk in External Affairs. You speak Russian. You like Russia. You wanted to help Russia. You told Major Sokolov in the Russian Embassy that you would like to go to Russia to work. He said you could help Russia more where you are. In your job you type out top-secret telegrams. You memorized and copied these telegrams, then you went to a dentist here in Ottawa and hid your copies in his washroom. A few minutes later, Colonel Zabotin's driver, Gourshkov, who also happens to be a Red Army captain, would visit that dentist and go to the washroom."

Anthony leaned forward. "Now, Mrs. Woikin, I know your people. I know they're not liars. I want you to think over what I've told you. I'll come and see you tomorrow. By then you may want to tell me the truth yourself."

Mrs. Woikin was silent a moment, then she raised her head. "Why do I have to wait till tomorrow?"

"I want you to realize what you're doing. This is a very serious business."

"I know. I want to tell the truth now."

"All right," Anthony said, "if that's what you want to do. I'll call a stenographer."

The case had broken. They had their confession. The Mounties were off the hook. (Of the ten Canadians later convicted and sent to jail, Mrs. Woikin's sentence was one of the shortest: three years.)

The espionage web that unraveled over the next four months was one of the most successful ever revealed. Colonel Zabotin worked through the Communist Party of Canada. Sam Carr, the party's national organizer, and Quebec organizer and Member of Parliament Fred Rose, would suggest potential agents to Zabotin. (Rose was also a link with U.S. and British rings.)

This was a military spy ring. Known as "the Net," it had given Russia every detail of antisubmarine devices; radar experiments; the Canadian-developed V-T fuse that knocked out the Japanese Air Force, a radio device set in the nose of a shell to explode on near-contact; the atomic energy program and many lesser developments. And "the Net" was only one of five Communist spy systems. "The Neighbors," cover name for the NKVD, the secret political police that spied on Canadian party members, was older and larger than Zabotin's military ring. The commercial system sent in reports on strategic industries. A political ring transmitted orders on policy. A naval intelligence ring was being formed. None of these last four organizations were broken.

The spy trials exposed the face of Communism. The Mounties had struck their most successful blow at their old archenemy. In a few years party membership shrunk from twelve to seven thousand. The only Communist gains were a few more propaganda licks. In reputable newspapers Communists described the dawn arrests as "a violation of civil liberties reminiscent of Fascist dictatorship" and the questioning as "third-degree methods."

Over the years, the Communists, in their smear campaigns, have tried to make people think that the Mounties hate them pathologically, persecute them, hound left-wingers out of innocuous jobs and oppress the labor movement. The Mounties cannot answer publicly. There is little they can say about the work of the Special Branch. But in private conversation they point to a few facts.

There are more than sixty thousand fellow travelers in Canada, judging by Communist votes in the 1953 elections. There are more than six thousand party members of which three thousand are active. The Mounties have 5376 men for every kind of police work. The number in the Special Branch is secret, but common sense indicates that it can be only a few hundred. "These men have plenty to do without 'hounding' harmless radicals," says a former Special Branch officer, Superintendent Robert MacNeil. "If they're really dangerous, we don't want to tip them off that they're being watched. If they're not dangerous, why sour them against the government, maybe turn them into active Communists?"

It is a new kind of civil war and the Mounties are on the defensive. They can only watch the party haunts, shadow the most active members. They can only build up a counterespionage network undercover agents and strategically placed citizens to ferret out the really dangerous Communists: the secret members, unlisted by the party, known only to their cell, outwardly respectable. They have almost certainly infiltrated important defense industries as potential saboteurs or spies. But if the underground struggle comes into the open again, the Mounties are ready. A secret or-der-in-council has been prepared. It needs only the signature of the Minister of Justice to allow the RCMP to arrest every known Communist.

Unseen, only half realized, the secret war continues between these curiously similar antagonists, each a rigidly disciplined hierarchy, each demanding so much from its members, each sustained by belief in an ideal called justice. The Communist ideal is a state where no man is exploited, where every man has his duty. Their goal is a crimeless Utopia and they justify crime for this end. For the Mounties, justice is less concrete. No Mountie explains it well; it can best be seen in their work, in the day-by-day job of combatting crime.


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