Gerry Healy



News Line 6 August 1977, Page 8

   The so-called “International Marxist Group” has kept up a cowardly silence during the past week over publication of the proof that their American godfather, Joseph Hansen of the Socialist Workers Party (USA) formed a secret and personal contact with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, (FBI) in September 1940.

   This week’s Socialist Challenge, edited by rent-a-quotation tapster Tariq Ali, contains not a single reference to Hansen’s proven liaison with the FBI. By its silence, the IMG renders itself as an organisation without principles and nothing whatsoever to do with the Trotskyist movement.

   The question must be asked why this endless collection of factions continues to exist, calling itself “Trotskyist” when clearly it is not. The damning evidence of the Hansen-FBI links were published by the International Committee of the Fourth International last Saturday under the title Will the Real Joseph Hansen Please Stand up (News Line, July 30, 1977)

   The statement demanded that the Socialist Workers Party (USA) suspend Hansen at once and investigate him.  No movement calling itself Trotskyist can possibly afford to have in its ranks a member, let alone a leader, who secretly formed a liaison with the political police of the capitalist class.

   His action is further condemned by the fact that it took place when the Trotskyist movement was facing monstrous persecution on two fronts: the Stalinist GPU had just murdered the founder of the Fourth International, and the American FBI was preparing its frame-up trials against the Socialist Workers Party to put its leadership behind bars for the duration of the Second World War.

   Incredibly, Hansen was not one of the 18 SWP leaders indicted by the Grand Jury of July 15, 1941, although he was more prominent than many of those who were. Proof of Hansen’s secret liaison with the FBI marks a new breakthrough in the International Committee’s two-year investigation into Security and the Fourth International, an inquiry covering all aspects of the assassination of Leon Trotsky in Mexico on August 20, 1940. In summary, the latest documentary evidence proves that –

1) Hansen went to the US Embassy in Mexico City on no less than five occasions in the six weeks from Trotsky’s death until he (Hansen) left for New York on September 25. Previously Hansen stated that he has only been there once. (Intercontinental Press, November 24, 1975)

2) His Embassy contact was Robert G. Mc Gregor, who was the FBI and State Department espionage officer.  Hansen previously stated that McGregor was an ‘aide’ (Ibid.)

3) During these hitherto undisclosed visits, Hansen gave the US Government and the FBI internal party documents – something that no Trotskyist could possibly have done.

4) Hansen asked US Consul George P. Shaw for an American government contact ‘located in New York to whom confidential information could by imparted with impunity’. (See US Embassy records, Mexico City, 1940. US National Archives). Previously Hansen said that charges he associated with the FBI were a ‘geyser of mud’. (Ibid)

  The US State Department contacted FBI director J. Edgar Hoover who arranged a liaison with Mr. B.E. Sackett, head of FBI operations in New York. On October 23, 1940, Hansen wrote to US Consul Shaw in Mexico City ‘respectfully’ thanking him for arranging the contact with the FBI (US National Archives papers, Mexico City 1940)

 The proof of the Hansen FBI link follows the discovery of earlier documentation that Hansen liaised with the head of the GPU operative in the United States for three months in 1938. No one in the Trotskyist movement knew that Hansen consorted with the head GPU operative in the United States for three months in 1938. No one in the Trotskyist movement knew that Hansen had consorted with the GPU until the International Committee uncovered the documents in the US National Archives in 1975 and published them.

  In May this year the International Committee located Sylvia Franklin, Nee Callen, party name Caldwell, who was the GPU agent planted in the SWP headquarters from 1938 to 1947. While acting as the late James P. Cannon’s personal secretary, she stole internal party documents, minutes, and correspondence and handed them over to the GPU.

   But to this day Hansen – and his wife Reba and SWP leader George Novack- claim that Franklin was ‘an exemplary comrade’. It was because Hansen and Novack shielded known GPU agents and suppressed their activities in the Trotskyist movement that the International Committee indicted both men as accomplices of the GPU on January 1, 1976.

   For more than two years the SWP and its revisionist anti-Trotskyist allies have refused to agree to an international commission of inquiry into our charges. On January 14, 1977, at Friends Meeting House in London, the IMG organised a jamboree of revisionists, renegades and anti-communists in praise of the Hansen-Novack conspiracy to suppress the GPU spy role of Franklin and others.

   Chairman of the ‘Platform of Shame’ was Ali who said: “What is the character of this meeting? It is, in essence, not a debate, it is not an inquisition, it is not an apology. It is a meeting of solidarity – a meeting of solidarity with those who have been made the victims of the most horrendous slanders we have seen in the Trotskyist movement for a long time,” (Intercontinental Press February 7, 1977)

   Seated alongside Ali warmly applauding were Professor Ernest Mandel of the misnamed “United Secretariat”, the arch-renegade Tim Wohlforth, the French OCI liquidationist Pierre Lambert, and Mrs. Hamilton, Mrs. Tamara Deutscher (representing the Hampstead liberals) and Harry Wicks representing himself.

   Called under the title of “Workers Democracy” the meeting was notable lacking in both – except for 12 participants from the Workers Revolutionary Party, British section of the International Committee of the Fourth International.

   Ali refused to allow Comrade Gerry Healy of the Workers Revolutionary Party Central Committee to address the meeting although Comrade Healy had been subjected to more than two hours of unremitting slander from the platform.

   The January 14 “night of shame” proved to be Ali’s last gasp. When the Workers Revolutionary Party wrote to the IMG on March 22, 1977, seeking a public debate on Security and the Fourth International, the Pentonville Road revisionist refused (April 7, 1977). The wretched position of Ali and the entire IMG leadership is now completely untenable.

   The International Committee has asked the real Joseph Hansen to stand up. We have put the question, “Accomplice of the GPU, accomplice of the FBI – or both?” The two are not mutually exclusive.  The truth could be that Hansen was a double agent. That is why an international Commission of Inquiry becomes imperative.

   The latest documents uncovered by the International Committee show that Hansen went out of his way to “respectfully” ingratiate himself with the American ruling class. [The letter from Hansen to his US state contact is reproduced on the News Line page 8]

   Ostensibly to trade information about the GPU plot to murder Trotsky, the record shows that his liaison yielded absolutely nothing in this direction.

   Since he kept this FBI contact a secret from his comrades in the SWP, his only motive for getting close to the FBI was to find out how their investigation into the GPU network in the United States was going. He could then have used anything he got to tip off his previously-established GPU contacts if they got into any danger.

   It is also conceivable that having become a private FBI informer, Hansen decided to go all the way with them. In this respect, it should be recalled that during the Second World War the soviet secret police and the FBI established working relations on several important fronts as part of the “war effort”.

  For instance, the FBI suppressed any investigation into the GPU murder of anarchist leader Carlo Tresca and Soviet defector Walter Krivitsky because they did not want to embarrass relations between Roosevelt and Stalin.

   These are some of the ugly questions about Hansen’s sinister political career which the IMG wants to suppress. There is no possible chance of their silence or slander diverting the International Committee of the Fourth International from its task. Hansen and his revisionist accomplices almost succeeded in turning the Fourth International into the plaything if imperialist and Stalinist agents.

   The International Committee demands action to investigate Hansen. If the real Joseph Hansen won’t stand up, then we pledge to establish who he is anyway. Tariq Ali and the dubious clique around him will not escape the implications of this investigation.