THE GRAND ALLIANCE
For most of the inter-war years the United States had ranked some way behind Britain as a target for INO operations. Even in the mid-1930s the main Soviet espionage networks in the United States were run by the Fourth Department (Military Intelligence, later renamed the GRU) rather than by the NKVD. Fourth Department agents included a series of young, idealistic high-flyers within the federal government, among them: Alger Hiss and Julian Wadleigh, both of whom entered the State Department in 1936; Harry Dexter White of the Treasury Department; and George Silverman, a government statistician who probably recruited White.1 Like the Cambridge Five, the Washington moles saw themselves as secret warriors in the struggle against fascism. Wadleigh wrote later:
When the Communist International represented the only world force effectively resisting Nazi Germany, I had offered my services to the Soviet underground in Washington as one small contribution to help stem the fascist tide.2
The main NKVD operations in the United States during the mid-1930s were run by an illegal residency established in 1934 under the former Berlin resident, Boris Bazarov (codenamed NORD), with Iskhak Abdulovich Akhmerov (YUNG), a Soviet Tartar, as his deputy.3 Bazarov was remembered with affection by Hede Massing, an Austrian agent in his residency, as the warmest personality she had encountered in the NKVD. On the anniversary of the October Revolution in 1935 he sent her fifty long-stemmed red roses with a note which read:
Our lives are unnatural, but we must endure it for [the sake of] humanity. Though we cannot always express it, our little group is bound by love and consideration for one another. I think of you with great warmth.
Though Akhmerov, by contrast, struck Massing as a "Muscovite automaton," he was less robotic than he appeared.4 Unknown to Massing, Akhmerov was engaged in a passionate love affair with his assistant, Helen Lowry, the cousin of the American Communist Party leader, Earl Browder, and--unusually--gained permission from the Centre to marry her.5