Monday, November 10, 2014

Communists and Anti-Communists Meet Under Ground

In our last post, we moved from Palo Alto, California, where Ruth Hyde Paine's father grew up, and where her mother's family settled shortly before the two young people met and received baccalaureate degrees from Stanford in the mid-1920s. The reason for the abrupt departure of chronology was the need to discuss a memorandum dated 21 Dec.1955 that referred to acquaintances of  Ruth's father, William A. Hyde during the days he had been at Stanford:

Re: Orr, Paul & Violet
William A. Hyde was in Washington this last week-end, visiting his daughter and son-in-law, Sylvia and John Hoke, 763 Kennedy, N.E. The latter invited [REDACTED] and me over to meet him on Saturday night, 17 December, since we three were friends at Stanford. 
This 1955 memorandum from Stanford graduate and CIA Foreign Document specialist Talbot Bielefeldt to the the man in charge of researching the background of CIA employees and their contacts remained classified until, "sanitized" in 1998, it was deemed safe for public consumption. We wanted to explore the various divisions within the CIA and the background of the personnel before revealing what our own research shows about the persons being discussed.


(Read Part I, Part II, PART III, Part IV, Part V)
 

Part VI
LEE H. OSWALD AND RUTH HYDE PAINE:
The Big Picture
By Linda Minor


Preparing to Enter "the Real World"

Stanford as it was in 1923
The Stanford campus had been new and polished in 1923-26, when these young students graduated and set out to change the world. By 1955, while Senator Joseph McCarthy was cranking up his Red Scare tactics, Talbot was reporting to Bruce Solie, of the CIA's Security staff, about a recent meeting involving some of his closest friends from those college days.

As a major in political science, Talbot joined Alpha Pi Zeta, a fraternity for history, economics, and political science majors, and he was involved in a debating society, one of whose sponsors was Dr. Yamato Ichihashi, a Japanese-American professor who, though he lived almost all his life in the United States, would be interned for three years in "relocation centers" during WWII. The Japanese camps were set up at about the same time Talbot was a student at the Japanese Language School at Berkeley, before it was moved to Boulder. It was Dr. Ichihashi who had sponsored Talbot's summer in Japan in 1924; the tour was made available every year for Dr. Ichihashi's students. Buddy Tseuneo Iwata, for example, made the tour in 1938. He would be released from internment in 1942 in order to teach Japanese at the Japanese Language School in Boulder taught by Florence Walne until her untimely death in 1946.

Talbot's return from Yokoham in 1924 (click to enlarge).

Little did Talbot know when he graduated in 1925 that Stanford's most illustrious alumnus would be elected U.S. President three years later, though he must have known that Hoover, whose family owned a home just south of the campus, that he had been serving as Secretary of Commerce since 1921. In fact, Talbot graduated from Stanford the same year as Hoover's eldest son. In their sophomore year, both had been nominated to serve on behalf of their class for different offices.

The Cosmopolitan Club, which brought in noted speakers with an international point of view, had been created by Stanford's first president, David Starr Jordan, with the help of Dr. Ichihashi. The club was also sponsored and promoted on campus by Dr. Ray Lyman Wilbur, who was the university's president during the years Talbot and his friends were students. Wilbur had taken a leave of absence in 1917 to serve as Herbert Hoover’s second in command in the Wartime Food Administration, and would also depart for Washington in 1929 to serve as the newly elected President Hoover’s Secretary of the Interior. These connections undoubtedly led to the promise of important, if perhaps secret, government work for Talbot Bielefeldt and his colleagues.

Ruth's mom, 1924
Talbot may not have known W.A. Hyde, who was two years ahead of him in Stanford's chemistry department, but he knew Carol Hyde (class of 1924) from the Cosmopolitan Club. Carol, like her husband, was Phi Beta Kappa, the national honorary scholarship fraternity, but her primary interests were music-related. She joined the Schubert Club and the Music Club. Thus, it would have been Carol's motivating influence on daughter Ruth which involved her in folk singing and dancing, an activity in which she was engaged when she met Michael Paine in 1957.

The other two students mentioned in the subject line of Bielefeldt's 1955 memo may indicate whom Talbot  meant by "we three were at Stanford together," although, if that is the case, it is unclear why a name was redacted from the body of the memo (at top of this post). The redacted name of the person invited by John Hoke to his home could not have been either Paul Wright Orr or his wife, Violet May Balcomb Orr, who lived in California. To whom was he referring, and why was the subject of the memo seemingly so unrelated?

Paul Orr, as we observe from the bio clipped from the Stanford yearbook, served in the Cosmopolitan Club's cabinet with Talbot during their sophomore and junior years. Violet was treasurer of the club during their senior year when Talbot was also a cabinet member. Therefore, these three students were likely somewhat close throughout their last three years at the university. In addition, both Paul and Talbot were in the Sequoia Club together, the Sequoia being Stanford's quarterly literary magazine. The Orrs, like the Hydes, married in 1926, though Talbot remained single for ten years, later marrying a woman he met in New York.

The year was 1926 when all five students departed California. It was the jazz age, and all America was tuned into radio and Victrola recordings of Bye Bye Blackbird, a fitting melody for young men and women poised to enter the "real world."

William A. and Carol Hyde in New York

William Avery Hyde (W.A.), the oldest of the five, had not been a member of any clubs. In fact, W.A.'s  photo did not appear in the Quad yearbook at any time while he was a student, although his name was shown in the 1923 and 1924 yearbooks as a member of Phi Lambda Upsilon, the honorary chemistry fraternity, and also in 1924 as a Phi Beta Kappa honoree. I have not been able to find any photograph of either him or his father, who was a municipal leader in Palo Alto for many years, an admirer of the Progressive movement of Republican President Theodore Roosevelt.

It is likely through W.A.'s excellence in chemistry that he secured employment in New York City at the AT&T's Bell Laboratories shortly after his 1923 graduation, coupled with influence possibly from his well-known father or uncle, James McDonald Hyde, who had known Herbert Hoover's brother Tad Hoover for many years. W.A. and Carol Hyde set up housekeeping together in 1926 in New York as W.A. used his chemistry degree to get a job in the telephone industry in which A.T. & T. had a legal monopoly.

First public demonstration of "television" at Bell Labs
We can only wonder whether W.A. was present on-site when then Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover's live image was broadcast to Bell Labs in New York from Washington, D.C., the first public demonstration of how television would work. It was one of many promises of what the future of technology held in store for the world.

Hoover held the Commerce position in the Cabinets of both Republican Presidents Harding and Coolidge throughout the 1920's until his own election to the Presidency in 1928. From Hoover's Quaker upbringing, his education at Stanford and his mining career, he had acquired world view which today seems alien from our knowledge of what Republicans have become over the last 80 years or so. His philosophy was one of optimism and cooperation, believing:
...that the American economy would be healthier if business leaders worked together, and with government officials and experts from the social sciences, in a form of private-sector economic planning. This stance led him to support trade associations—industry-wide cooperative groups wherein information on prices, markets, and products could be exchanged among competitors—which Hoover saw as a middle way between competition and monopoly. He insisted, though, that participation in these associations remain voluntary and that the government merely promote and encourage, rather than require, their establishment.
40 Morningside at 118th, NY
The Hydes remained in New York through at least the birth of their youngest child, a second girl, whom they name Ruth Avery Hyde, who entered the world in 1932. Their home at that time was an apartment at 40 Morningside Avenue, adjacent to the Church of Notre Dame near the campus of Columbia Teachers College. The building faced out on a beautiful park, perfect for Carol to take the children for a stroll while William made a short commute to Bell Labs in downtown, but still on the West Side.

The 1930 census record, which shows their address, also indicates that the Hydes had a boarder living with them that year--none other than future CIA foreign document expert Talbot Bielefeldt, whom we met earlier!

Talbot Bielefeldt lived with William A. and Carol Hyde in New York, 1930 (click to enlarge).
How did they meet ... and where?
Talbot, who by then had a degree in political science and possibly a master's degree from Columbia, listed his occupation in 1930 as a bill clerk at a collection agency. He was also enumerated that year at his parents' home in Placentia, California, where they, too, listed him as a "collector at a collection agency (code 6792)". He continued to have a separate listing at his parents' citrus ranch address in the Placentia directory, though no occupation was shown until he was appointed the town's Postmaster by President Roosevelt in 1936. Where was Talbot during these years from 1930 to 1936 which led up to his appointment?

See Mike Wallace's 1957 interview of Browder.
Could he have been working under cover even then for counter intelligence, possibly in the guise of a clerk at the Retail Credit agency which reported back to FBI, as we shall later observe. Equally intriguing is the fact that he met his wife, Eugenie Pfeil, news editor for the weekly Bronxville Review, during the time that Earl W. Browder, general secretary of the Community Party USA, lived in Yonkers with his Russian-born wife, Raissa, about five miles from the Pfeils' home. Was Talbot part of a secret agency within the Hoover administration, years even before the Office of Strategic Services was created? Could he have had Communists like Browder under surveillance in Yonkers, and in the process met his future wife?

Paul W. Orr and Violet Balcomb Orr

Formerly classified files not released until the 1980's inform us that, as early as 1935 the FBI was aware that Violet Orr was working at San Francisco's 1026 Market Street office of he American League Against War and Fascism, a Communist group in which Elizabeth Turrill Bentley, "the Red Spy Queen," was a member as early as 1932. She was studied by Mary Ferrell, who added her to her timeline of Communist activities leading up to the assassination in 1963. Ferrell compared Bentley to Hede Massing, formerly the wife of Gerhart Eisler and the controller of Russian underground in Washington, D.C., which included Alger Hiss. Ferrell also added to her timeline a contact in San Francisco called Volkov, who may well have been the first husband of Elena Volkov aka Helen Silvermaster. We mention the fact that Elizabeth Bentley, in fact, died of a fast-growing cancer just ten days after President Kennedy was shot.

Ferrell also recounted in her chronology the fact that Alger Hiss, who had been Hede Massing in 1935, was married in 1929 to a woman named Priscilla Fansler, born in Evanston, Illinois in 1903. In 1930 this young couple was living and working in Washington, D.C. where he was licensed to practice law, and she obtained a job as a researcher for the government; they lived at 1251 30th Street, N.W., an upscale Georgetown address. A decade later they were in the same neighborhood at 3415 Volta Place. Ferrell's comments relative to Ruth Paine after Fansler's name are unclear.

The next mention of Bentley in Ferrell's timeline is in 1938, when she joined the Jacob Golos network he controlled under his corporation called World Tourists, Inc. in New York City. Not until 1941 did Bentley identify Irving Kaplan, by then working in Washington, D.C. for the War Production Board, as a member of her Communist cell within the Silvermaster group. Shortly after that label was placed on him, the FBI was conducting both "technical" and physical surveillance of Irving Kaplan and his wife, Dorothy Friedland Kapan, and, as a result, the FBI report mentioned the Kaplans' connection to Violet Orr, whom the FBI counter-intelligence branch considered "a prominent Communist." This information was part of the FBI's BUFILE 65-56402, tucked away in a report prepared by J. Edgar Hoover's assistant D. Milton "Mickie" Ladd, the son of deceased Senator Edwin Ladd of North Dakota. But the report was not compiled until 1946, when it was sent to officials in Truman's administration.

We can only speculate about who it was who opened an investigation of the office where Violet Orr worked ...in 1935, when she opened the letter addressed to Dorothy Friedland Kaplan. This branch of the League was also connected to Russian-born Helen (Vera Witte) Silvermaster, daughter of Sergei Yulyevitch Witte. Helen came to America in 1923 by way of China with her first husband. She lived in San Francisco and gave birth to a son, Anatole Boris Volkov, shortly before she began living with the notorious Soviet spy, Nathan Gregory Silvermaster.

The FBI investigation of Chambers' allegations may have been requested by FDR's Assistant Secretary of State Adolph Berle after he was introduced to Whittaker Chambers by Isaac Don Levine in September 1939, but that was four years after Violet was in San Francisco. According to the testimony Levine gave to the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1948, Chambers had left the Communist Party in 1937 and lived in hiding within the United States until the news of the Hitler-Stalin Pact in 1939 scared him to the point of taking action. Only then did he seek out Levine, a journalist, to whom he told his confidential story in the hope he could reveal what he knew to President Roosevelt about the infiltration of Communists within the U.S. Government. A few months later, Levine took him to the home of Assistant Secretary of State Adolph Berle at a home he rented from Secretary of War Henry Stimson, but after listening for several hours to Whittaker Chambers, Berle never contacted either of the two men again. Levine assumed the matter had died.

However, in Adolph Berle's testimony before HUAC, he related what he had done in response to the information he had been furnished by Chambers. He "caused the Department [of State] to establish very close relations with the Federal Bureau of Investigation," and he apparently instigation the organization of a division called the "Foreign Activities Correlation Division," which following the National Security Act of 1947 merged into another division within the State Department. He also helped to enact the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Berle left the State Department after a "showdown" with Dean Acheson in 1944.

Acheson, however, had resigned from FDR's Treasury department in protest when the administration remained the gold backing on the dollar. However, in 1940 Acheson was brought back into the administration within the State Department. It was in that role that haggling took place between him and Berle, who until that point was in charge of intelligence matters within the State Department. Berle claimed to have been ousted from his role in the State Department after telling FDR what he had been told by Whittaker Chambers, and said that the substitution by Acheson  "worried" him, telling HUAC he was also quite concerned about leaks of secret information from the State Department that he had noticed appearing in news columns, especially with regard to the Yalta Conference.

Admiral William D. Leahy with Joint Chiefs from military
The FBI Report was transmitted to Admiral William D. Leahy and Secretary of State James Byrnes, and Attorney General Tom Clark in 1946. That was, coincidentally, the same year Richard Nixon was elected to Congress ... in the same district where Talbot Bielefeldt had been Postmaster during the late 1930's. It may be recalled that Admiral Leahy (equivalent to what is now chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) was related to Tennent H. "Pete" Bagley on his mother's side, that Pete's father, in addition to being brother-in-law to Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels, rose to the rank of vice admiral before his retirement in 1947.

Violet at American League Against War and Fascism, 1935
Based on what Berle called the "very close relationship" he had promoted with the FBI after meeting Chambers in 1939, Special Agent R.C. Taylor in the San Francisco FBI office had Dorothy Friedland Kaplan (inset to the right), under surveillance when he made a report on June 29, 1941. However, I have been unable to discover why the Bureau would have opened the captioned case file, "Paul Wright Orr, with aliases, et al., Internal Security - C."

Taylor's report, no copy of which has surfaced, ostensibly contained documentation for the stated conclusions that:
  • Violet Balcomb Orr was an associate of Dorothy Friedland in March 1935 (both referred to as "professional grafters"); 
  • that Violet succeeded Dorothy as secretary of the American League Against War and Fascism (1026 Market Street in San Francisco) in April; and
  • in that capacity, Violet was in receipt of a letter sent by the head of the CPUSA Earl Browder from New York to Friedland at that San Francisco address. 
What is not clear from the report is who requested such surveillance in 1935. Could surveillance have been opened much earlier by someone on the staff of President Herbert Hoover, whose Labor Secretary William Doak had charged that protests against the President's policies were not only politically motivated but inspired by Communists, specifically by an organization called "Friends of the Soviet Union"? Hoover's Secretary of Labor Doak attempted to connect John J. Ballam, the organizer of that group to Earl Browder, chairman of the CPUSA as early as December 1931 (see news clipping at left). If so, it appears that J. Edgar Hoover continued to have his agents following up on these cases, even after FDR took office in 1933.

Background on the Orrs

Violet's father, Jean Bart Balcomb, according to the 1920 census, was a civil engineer and designer of a hydroelectric and irrigation project in Oregon before moving to Palo Alto, where he died in 1927. According to Violet's Oral History (digitized on 24 separate MP3 recordings), conducted under a 1976 oral history project by California Historical Society documenting lives of female labor activist/  radicals in California, Violet and Paul Orr moved to New York City in 1926 to work on their master's degrees at Columbia Teachers College, where Violet taught during 1927-28 term in the department of education-psychology.

At the conclusion of the spring of 1928 term, she mentions on the oral history tape discussions they had with some Columbia professors who had recently returned from the Soviet Union, who  encouraged the Orrs to go there. Violet discusses the time spent in Leningrad and Moscow, but unfortunately, there is no transcript.

Public Immigration records reveal that, upon their return from the Soviet Union via Naples, in 1930, they gave their destination address in the U.S. as 40 Morningside Avenue in New York City--the address of the same apartment building in which W.A. and Carol Hyde shared a unit with Talbot Bielefeldt during that same year (see census record above). It was at approximately the same time that Elizabeth Bentley returned from her first trip to Italy, boarding a ship in Southampton.

Could Bentley Have Connected with Our Stanford Grads?

The next year Bentley returned from Naples, and in 1934 from Trieste--on the last occasion giving her U.S. address in care of  "Dr. Turrill" in Kent, Connecticut. In 1946 she flew by Colonial Airlines from Montreal, giving her address as the Hotel St. George in Brooklyn. In 1947, Bentley made numerous trips to the Caribbean, returning from Puerto Rico in March, and again in August and November 1947 from Bermuda--all three times flying Pan Am into LaGuardia and giving the same hotel as her address.

It was during these years also that Sir William Stephenson, head of the British Security Coordinator (BSC) office was helping FDR's intelligence man, William J. Donovan, appointed Coordinator of Information in the summer of 1941, to construct America's first intelligence agency, the Office of Strategic Services. Could Bentley have, in fact, been working undercover for the government? Camp X was located near Montreal, and Stephenson also had his hideouts in Jamaica and Bermuda, as we have previously researched at this blog (search 'Stephenson' in search block at right, orange frame).

When we look at Miss Bentley's Vassar yearbooks, her name appeared in the class of 1930 with that of Jane Acheson, daughter of Secretary of State Dean Acheson. We can only wonder at this point whether the two young women were well acquainted, if at all.


Although several documents have leaked out, someone in the government is still hiding information about the following persons:
  1. William and Carol Hyde--parents of Ruth Avery Hyde Paine;
  2. Talbot Bielefeldt--a known foreign documents expert trained in 1941 by a Naval Reserve Intelligence unit absorbed into the Central Intelligence Agency in 1947;
  3. Paul and Violet Orr--their mutual friends who were considered to be prominent members of the Communist Party.
You may recall that Talbot's 1936 wedding announcement stated he, too, had taught in American schools in "the Orient, in China and Japan." We know about his short visit to Japan in 1924 before graduation. Yet we have found nothing to confirm independently any travel in China. Talbot Bielefeldt would have met his wife, Eugenie Pfeil while the former Stanford students were all in New York City. She was at Barnard, located next to Columbia (in the Morningside Heights neighborhood) at the same time the Californians were all there. Is it possible those missing years in the early 1930's he too was abroad? Had he possibly met Elizabeth Bentley while she was a graduate student at Columbia, living also in Morningside Heights?

The archives of the California Historical Society relates:
As a Communist Party activist, Violet Orr filled many positions in Northern and Southern California: as an organizational secretary in Oakland in the early 1930s; a candidate for the California State Assembly from Richmond (1934); a laundry worker and labor organizer in San Francisco (1935-1937); and an advertising and circulation manager of the People's World in San Francisco and Los Angeles (1937-1946). Throughout this period, she played an energetic role in California's radical print culture, not only as a manager of the People's World, but also as a founder of the San Francisco laundry workers' newspaper, the Shake Out; a contributor to the Western Worker; and a leafleteer among Richmond refinery workers. During the 1934 General Strike, the Orrs' Point Richmond home was ransacked by vigilantes. After World War II, Violet and Paul Orr worked as school teachers in Oregon, returning to California in 1951 after losing several jobs in the early years of the post-war Red Scare. They continued to feel the strain of rising anti-communist anxiety in Pasadena, where Paul was fired from his job at the California Institute of Technology for refusing to disavow his Communist Party membership. In Pasadena, Violet was active in the Methodist Church and in various peace movements. She and Paul co-authored a utopian novel, 1993, the World of Tomorrow, which was published by Pacific Progress Publishers in 1968.
At the time the People's World was launched, Time Magazine reported (1/17/1938, Vol. 31 Issue 3, p34):
Last week Harrison George, who spent 1918-23 in Leavenworth Prison for too violent pacifism, launched the San Francisco daily People's World on $33.000 raised by California Communists. After Chicago's Midwest Daily Record gets under way February 12, People's World will be the western link in a cross-country chain of Communist papers anchored to New York's Daily Worker. Almost bare of advertising, the first week's issues of People's World gave 20,000 readers a generous three cents' worth of bellicose headlines about "SHIPOWNERS PLOT LOCKOUT" and "Portrait of a Fink." Two of its six pages were crammed with fighting Left editorials. Said one: "If you want a reason for a new daily newspaper, all you have to do is to look at the ones you have. . . . The economic royalists have your daily information sewed up."

The following excerpt appeared science fiction writers' catalog after publication of the Orrs' 
1968 book.
The Orrs wrote and self-published this book, whose complete title was 1993: the world of tomorrow; timely look into the future. Printed in Altadena, Ca. in 1968--thirteen years after Paul Orr was called before the House Un-American Activities Committee and refused to answer any questions, it reflects how the Orrs saw what America would be like in thirty years.

Paul Orr takes the Fifth.
After refusing to testify in HUAC hearings in 1955, Paul Orr was fired from the job he held as supervisor in charge of the biology department stock room at Cal Tech. Violet was also  fired from her teaching job in McMinnville, Ore., in the early 1950s. Directories show that Paul and Violet continued to live in the Pasadena area, where he worked as a salesman for J.R. Watkins natural household products. Quite a step down, or up, depending on one's angle of perspective.

Why did he refuse to talk? Was he trying to protect the Hydes and Bielefeldt? Or, had the Orrs been working undercover for the Herbert Hoover administration against the Communist Party during and after their two-year sojourn to Soviet Russia in the late 1920's? Did they take oaths of secrecy that forbade them from talking about what they did? Were they still in touch with the Hydes and with Talbot and his wife up to and including the year 1955?

Research by A.J. Weberman 

Other researchers have written about the Hyde family connections to intelligence, but none of them have yet discovered the full story. For example, A.J. Weberman wrote:
The father of Ruth Paine, William Hyde, had contact with the CIA and the CIA's Office of Security had traces on him: "Files of the Office of Security reflect that Ruth Paine is the daughter of William Avery Hyde, OS C-157,435, (deleted)." William Avery Hyde [CIA SSD-157,435] was an anti-Communist who supported Socialist Party candidate Norman Thomas. Norman Thomas received millions of dollars in CIA subsidies because of his anti-Communist views.

William Avery Hyde related:
"Our introduction [to the Communists] came at the 1929 annual meeting of the Eastern Cooperative League. There were a number of Communist delegates to the convention. When they found out they did not have enough votes to control the meeting, they set out to obstruct it, and succeeding in preventing it from doing any business worth mentioning. Mother and I entered the meeting knowing very little about Communists, and left as their enemies, which we have been ever since 1948. From 1930 to 1942 I worked for, and with, various New York metropolitan area consumer cooperatives. They were subject to attempts at communist infiltration almost continuously. Both Mrs. Hyde and I took our part in trying to block this. From 1939 to 1941 I was the District Sales Manager of Greater New York for the Farm Bureau Insurance Companies of Ohio (now Nationwide). No one could get an agent's contract from the companies in my district except through me. 
Apparently the Comrades were anxious to infiltrate the outfit because a continuous stream applied for contracts. The fact that we had no specifically Communist type trouble from any agent I appointed leads me to think that my screening was successful. In our first few years in Columbus we met a few people we suspected of Communist leanings, but we have not been aware of such since the end to the Wallace campaign." [QJ: No footnote for source of this quote!]
 … The Security File of William Hyde contains a copy of a 1956 FBI investigative report (Security of Government Employees) on Sylvia Ludlow Hyde aka Mrs. John Hoke who is the sister of Ruth Paine….

From FBI McAvoy Report on Sylvia Hyde Hoke
According to Herbert Philbrick, the mother of Ruth Hyde Paine, a Unitarian Minister, Mrs. Carol E. Hyde, was a radical: "Ruth Paine's mother, Mrs. Carol E. Hyde, was active in the Woman's International League for Peace and Freedom, one of the very first fronts I came to know through the Cambridge Youth Council." (If this was correct, why did the CIA consider her husband for employment)? The FBI stated that Carol E. Hyde was insane, and had been institutionalized for mental illness. J. Lee Rankin of the Warren Commission was informed that these reports were Secret. The FBI also discovered that Carol E. Hyde had allegedly admitted to neighbors that she was a communist….
The sister of Ruth Paine, Sylvia Ludlow Hyde Hoke (born October 2, 1929), worked at the Labor Department from 1949 to 1953. She started working at the CIA in 1954. Her cover was Personnel Research Technician, Placement and Employee Relations Division, Director of Civilian Personnel, Headquarters, Department of the Air Force, Washington, D.C. Marina Oswald told this researcher in 1994: "Ruth Paine never mentioned her sister was in the CIA." The Sylvia Hyde Security File 348 201 was held by the Office of Security, Security Analysis Group. On June 15, 1955, this CIA Official Routing Slip from Bruce Solie was sent to (Deleted) whose initials were "wmw"- "Remarks: Please have file set up on Sylvia Hyde Hoke nee Hyde MS 8201."
 … On March 21, 1956, the Department of the Air Force issued Sylvia Hoke a Final Secret Clearance which remained in effect until May 31, 1957, six months after the investigation by OSI, at which time Sylvia Hyde resigned her cover employment with the U.S. Air Force to accompany her husband overseas to Germany. As of 1965 the above clearance was still in effect. Sylvia Hyde Hoke was granted a Top Secret Clearance from the Agency for International Development on April 17, 1956. On September 20, 1956, and on September 21, 1956, the CIA noted that Sylvia Hyde Hoke's name appeared in FBI Reports about her father, William A. Hyde….

"Hoke's mother-in-law is Helen Hoke Watts, who is a partner in a New York publishing firm with Dorothy Wilson, aka Dorothy Wilson Seligson, aka Mrs. Lou Seligson, who has been identified as a member of the Communist Party. Wilson is known to have been in contact with Isadore Gibby Needleman concerning financial payments received by her from Bernard Geis (1962 to 1963)." Gibby Needleman was an attorney who represented the Amtorg Trading Corporation, the registered Russian Trade Agency in the United States….

Ruth Paine's brother-in-law, John Lindsey Hoke, (born June 26, 1925, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania), worked for the American Automobile Association from 1951 to 1957. He accepted an appointment with the International Cooperation Administration (the predecessor of the Agency for International Development) on February 4, 1956, as a "audio visual consultant (regional) to be assigned to the U.S. Operations Mission (USOM), Panama City, Panama." John Lindsey Hoke told the Deputy Director of Communications of the International Cooperation Administration, Gale Griswold, that, "while assigned in Latin America he had been requested, and did, intelligence type work for the American Embassy." Gale Griswold did not know for whom John Lindsey Hoke worked, or what his job was. On June 24, 1957, John Lindsey Hoke was transferred to Paremaribo, Surinam, where he worked with the International Cooperation Administration's Office of Program Support, Communications Research Division. One of his family members could not adapt to the field and Hoke returned to Washington, D.C. where he worked with the Agency for International Development in the Office of Program Support, Communications Research Division. Ruth Paine stated, "You want to know why he left - his wife couldn't stand Surinam." A notation in Hoke's Naval Intelligence File was "Mrs. Van Sast, CIA, on September 25, 1962, called and wanted to know Hoke's TS clearance and basis." On June 30, 1963, Hoke terminated his employment with AID, no reason given….

Agency For International Development personnel and security records reflected that Congressman Porter Hardy, Chairman, Subcommittee on Government Operations, held hearings on John Lindsey Hoke on August 13, 1962, that produced evidence that Hoke seemed to be serving two masters, in connection with a solar-powered boat project between AID and Hoffman Electronics Corporation of California under circumstances which Congressman Hardy described as "collusion." Hoffman's president denied company profit on the contract. Hoffman "denied banality and explained false limousine fares covered purchases." A newspaper clipping, undated, Washington Daily News, stamped September 25, 1962, reflects results of a committee hearing, that caption read "Aid Official Has Wings Clipped." This article charged that Hoke was the promoter of a project to finance a solar powered boat for use in Surinam while at the same time he was planning to "make personal profit from the venture." On November 9, 1962, Assistant United States Attorney, Fredrick G. Smith declined prosecution in the case on the grounds that violation of Federal laws by Hoke were merely a technical nature. Hoke was embittered over the way this Congressional investigation was handled….
Ruth Paine visited the Hokes in August 1963. In August 1963 Ruth Paine was in Washington D.C. to attend a mass civil rights march. [WCE 1983 page 7] Ruth Paine described her trip in a letter to Marina: "Tomorrow we and the children will go to Baltimore, Maryland, where Michael's brother and wife live. We will spend one day there and then we will go back further to Washington, where we will stay with sister until Thursday. Then back to Paoli again, where we will wait for my father. He will be here with us for two days. I expect to be in Paoli until September 10, 1963, and then to go to Ohio and Indiana, where our relatives and friends live, and to arrive in New Orleans on the 20th..." [WCE 78 p253] When Hoke's Request for Liaison Approval was renewed on August 13, 1964, it was identical to the others except for a block stamp that read "On August 20, 1964, Subject's Security Officer advised that Subject was cleared for access to classified information up to and including Top Secret TERMINATED June 30, 1963. Return, no action."

… Ruth Paine claimed her first meeting with OSWALD happened purely by chance. Michael Paine said he met Everette Glover at the Unitarian Church. Everette Glover asked him if I wanted to meet a Marine who had defected, then redefected, from the Soviet Union. Michael Paine: "I thought, 'Oh boy, that sounds interesting.' It never struck me too odd that he should be allowed to come home. To be allowed back would be a feather in the cap of the United States. So I didn't have trouble. Without asking him, I assumed that was why he was so readily allowed back. I expected to find him politically interesting. And I didn't find him that way. He was very different from the kinds of people who had come to talk to my father. He didn't like complexities."

Michael Paine did not attend Everette Glover's party, but Ruth Paine did. In July 1993 Ruth Paine stated: "This whole thing is still very painful. Kennedy was the first President I ever voted for who won. I had no association with the Dallas White Russian community. I did not know DeMohrenschildt. The party was put on by Everette Glover. I sang English Madrigals with Everette. That was the only time I met DeMohrenschildt. A colorful fellow, though."

It was pointed out to Ruth Paine that the HSCA linked her father to George DeMohrenschildt. Ruth Paine: "Well it might be, you know, things happen."

Barbara LaMonica, Steve Jones and Carol Hewett

Article "The Paines," in the Fourth Decade, May 1996.


Violet's name was listed as a teacher in the San Francisco Workers' School, according to HUAC hearings in 1954. In testimony, one witness said she was a Communist.

Miscellaneous Notes

Below are a few tidbits of information which do not fit into the above narrative. They are included here only as unrelated footnotes which may be found of interest to some readers.

1. Only two weeks after the Kennedy assassination, December 5, 1963, Bruce Solie (of the Security Analysis Group, SAG) felt it necessary to inform the Chief in the Office of Security, Security Research Staff (OS/SRS) of Ruth Hyde Paine's travel during the preceding summer:



What was the "Bielefeldt case" investigated by CIA?

2. When I searched the term "Chief, Security Research Staff" in the Mary Ferrell database, it returned an interesting file from the same era in which the Orrs were traveling in the Soviet Union, one pertaining to an Austrian actress named Hedwig "Hede" Manning, the wife of Rutgers professor, Dr. Paul Wilhelm Massing, which was flagged with a cautionary note dated 12 February 1965, apparently by Morse Allen. Ms. Manning defected from the Soviet underground in East Germany to testify on behalf of the FBI in the Alger Hiss trial in 1949. She first came to the United States in 1926, but acted as a Soviet spy while here from 1929-1938, when she defected. She wrote a book published in 1951 entitled This Deception.

During the years Hede Manning was under surveillance, prior to creation of the CIA, reports were signed by Special Agent C. Donald Dudley of the FBI, who by 1960 was officially working for the CIA and living in Silver Spring, MD.




3.  In 1959, according to John Newman, Oswald and the CIA: The Documented Truth About the Unknown Relationship Between the U.S. Government and the Alleged Killer of JFK, Robert L. Bannerman was Deputy Director of Security, and Bruce Solie and Paul Gaynor worked on his staff (p. 57).

4.  The university’s first president, David Starr Jordan, a graduate of Cornell, had been recruited from Indiana University. He was a member of the American Peace Society and a supporter of the League of Nations, and he spoke often at Stanford’s Cosmopolitan Club. This organization first began in 1903 and spread to other campuses to bring together “in one brotherhood men from different countries, to learn the customs, viewpoints, and characteristics of other nationalities, to remove racial prejudices, and to establish international friendships.” It was akin to Andrew Carnegie’s endowment for international peace movement.

5.  Silvermaster was living in Oakland at the time of the 1930 census, giving his occupation as professor at a private school, after having taking his oath of citizenship in San Francisco in 1927. In 1946 "Dr. N. Gregory Silvermaster" was shown as an employee of the War Assets Administration (statistics and progress reports division) in Washington, D.C., whose head was Quartermaster General Edmund B. Gregory. The War Assets Administration itself fell under the umbrella in 1946 of the Office of  War Mobilization and Reconstruction, whose director of Contract Settlement was H. Chapman Rose. By 1962, Rose was Richard Nixon's tax attorney.
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Several years ago while working on a totally separate project, I came across the War Assets Administration and wrote the following:
Bob Prescott of Flying Tigers
In November, 1944 Robert Prescott had met with a group of Los Angeles businessmen in Acapulco, Mexico, including one of Edwin Pauley's fellow UC Berkeley regents, Samuel B. Mosher, who wanted to establish an air freight line along the U.S. and Mexican west coast, to be called Aero-Azteca. The investors included Signal Oil Company. They agreed to form a syndicate, with Mosher's group matching whatever Prescott could raise. Prescott found 14 Navy surplus cargo aircraft from the War Assets Administration and collected cash from friends from the American Volunteer Pilots unit (AVP, popularly known as the "Flying Tigers") who had flown with him in China. This group of American civilians who fought with Chiang Kai-Shek in China before the U.S. entered the war... had an important role in the setting up what William Casey would later call an "off-the-shelf" method of financing covert operations for the CIA and other black operations not disclosed to Congress.
What is not mentioned at the Flying Tiger history website linked above is that pilots were known to fly opium for the Kuomintang to put money in the coffers of the Nationalist Chinese Army. Documentation for this fact was given in my 2002 essay at footnote 11.

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