Frederick Vanderbilt Field

Frederick Vanderbilt Field

Frederick Vanderbilt Field (April 13, 1905 – February 1, 2000) was a great-great-grandson of railroad tycoon Cornelius "Commodore" Vanderbilt who became a specialist on Asia, worked for the Institute of Pacific Relations, and supported so many openly Communist organizations that he was accused of being a member of the Communist Party. Field denied that he had been a member as such, but "I suppose I was what the Party called a 'member at large.'" [Field "From Right to Left" p. 169.]

Institute of Pacific Relations

After education at Harvard University and a year at the London School of Economics [Robert Sherrill, “ [ A Life Devoted to a Lost Cause] ,” "The New York Times", October 16, 1983] where he came under the influence of Fabian socialist Harold Laski, Field joined the Socialist Party of America of Norman Thomas in 1928.cite news |first= |last= |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=Life of an Angel |url=,9171,811650,00.html |quote=Frederick Vanderbilt Field was news the day he was born, Apr. 15, 1905. He was a great-great grandson of Railroad Builder Cornelius Vanderbilt, marked by destiny and carefully drawn wills to be a man of wealth and solid respectability. |publisher=Time (magazine) |date=January 9, 1950 |accessdate=2008-05-11 ] After returning from England, Field joined the Institute of Pacific Relations (IPR) as assistant to Edward Carter. In his role at IPR, Field "took no pay; he was, in fact, one of the institute's most generous contributors." He published several reference works on the Asian economy and organized conferences and publications.

As he grew older, his politics became more radical. He described the IPR as "a bourgeois research-educational organization" funded by the Rockefeller and Carnegie foundations and some of the biggest corporations in the U.S., which he claimed subsidized his publication of proposals "as anticapitalistic as the articles he wrote in later decades for "The New Masses" and "The Daily Worker"." [" [ Ibid.] "] He wrote a memo cautioning Owen Lattimore, editor of the IPR quarterly "Pacific Affairs", with regard to a certain article, "the analysis is a straight Marxist one and... should not be altered." [" [,9171,822192-1,00.html Absent-Minded Professor?] " "Time", March 10, 1952] He donated money and time to Communist causes in the 1930s, 40's and 50's, and during the war generously donated money to organizations close to the Soviets. [Bird and Chervonnaya, " [ Op. cit.] "]

Since the IPR was in theory apolitical, he collaborated with his friend Philip Jaffe to set up the journal "Amerasia" in 1937 as a vehicle for criticism of Japanese attacks in China. [Rudolf V. A. Janssens, "What Future for Japan?": U.S. Wartime Planning for the Postwar Era, 1942-1945", p. 78.] In 1941 he left his position at the IPR, but served as a Trustee until 1947. [Subcommittee to Investigate the Administration of the Internal Security Act and Other Security Laws, Senate Committee on the Judiciary, "Interlocking Subversion in Government Departments", (Washington: U S Government Printing Office, 1954), pp. 8-10] Field attended the 1945 United Nations founding conference in San Francisco as an IPR representative, and also as a writer for the "Daily Worker." [ [ FBI Report: Southern California Division, American Council, Institute of Pacific Relations, June 13, 1947, p. 3] (FBI file: Institute of Pacific Relations, Section 3, PDF p. 4)]

American Peace Mobilization

In 1940 Field became executive secretary of the American Peace Mobilization (APM), a position for which he had been recruited by Earl Browder himself. “Some time before the APM was formally organized,” wrote Field, “Earl Browder asked me if I would accept the executive secretaryship if it were offered me.” [Frederick Vanderbilt Field, "Op. cit."] At APM, Field emerged as a committed pacifist, demanding that the United States stay out of the war in Europe — at least while the Hitler-Stalin pact lasted. [ [,9171,790078,00.html “Picketers Picketed,” "Time", June 2, 1941] ] But on June 20, 1941, Field suddenly called off the organization's “peace picketing” of the White House, [“White House Pickets Stop At 1,029 Hours,” "Washington Post", June 22, 1941] reversing himself to demand immediate U.S. war on Germany. [ [,9171,849366,00.html "Purely for Peace," "Time", July 14, 1941] ] The following day, Germany invaded the Soviet Union.

According to the McCarran Committee's "IPR Report", Lattimore, along with President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Administrative Assistant Lauchlin Currie (identified in the Venona decrypts as the Soviets' White House source code-named "Page") [Robert J. Hanyok, [ "Eavesdropping on Hell: Historical Guide to Western Communications Intelligence and the Holocaust", 1939-1945] (Washington, DC: Center for Cryptologic History, National Security Agency, 2005, 2nd Ed.), p. 119 (PDF page 124)] , tried in 1942 to get Field a commission in military intelligence, [M. Stanton Evans, " [ McCarthyism: Waging the Cold War in America] ," "Human Events", May 30, 1997] but, unlike Duncan Lee (Venona code name "Koch"), Maurice Halperin ("Hare"), Julius Joseph ("Cautious") [Lee, Halperin and Joseph are identified in Venona decrypt [ KGB New York to Moscow, 8 June 1943, p. 1] ] , Carl Marzani, Franz Leopold Neumann ("Ruff") [" [ Alexander Vassiliev’s Own Translation of his Notes on Anatoly Gorsky’s December 1948 Memo on Compromised American Sources and Networks] ," October 2005] , Helen Tenney ("Muse"), and Donald Wheeler ("Izra") — all of whom got into the OSS — Field was rejected as a security risk.

In 1944, dissident IPR member Alfred Kohlberg submitted to IPR Secretary General Edward C. Carter an 88-page analysis alleging that the institute had been infiltrated by pro-Communist elements. Among other things, Kohlberg alleged that Field was a member of the National Committee of the Communist Party. [FBI Report: Institute of Pacific Relations, Internal Security–C, July 22, 1949, p. 9 ( [ IPR file, Section 4] , PDF p. 11)]

In 1945, former Soviet spy Elizabeth Bentley told FBI investigators that she had attended a conference in Field's home earlier that year. [FBI Report: [ Underground Soviet Espionage Organization (NKVD) in Agencies of the United States Government] , October 21, 1946 (Silvermaster file, Vol. 82), p. 221] Also present, she alleged, were Browder, John Hazard Reynolds, head of the United States Service and Shipping Corporation (a Comintern front organization for Soviet espionage activities) [Lauren Kessler, "Clever Girl: Elizabeth Bentley, the Spy Who Ushered in the McCarthy Era" (New York: HarperCollins, 2003) ISBN 0060959738, p. 77] and "Ray" Elson (Identified in the "Gorsky memo" under the cover name "Irma") [Alexander Vassiliev, " [ Op. cit.] "]

On April 22, 1948, Louis Budenz, former managing editor of the "Daily Worker", advised FBI investigators, "Field is a Communist Party member." [FBI Report: Institute of Pacific Relations, Internal Security–C, p.5 ( [ FBI file: Institute of Pacific Relations, Section 4] , PDF p. 7)] In 1949, Field identified himself in "Pacific Affairs" as an "American Communist." [Edward M. Collins, " [,M1 Myth, Manifesto, Meltdown: Communist Strategy, 1848-1991" (Westport, Connecticut: Praeger/Greenwood, 1998) ISBN 0275959384, p. 55] ]

Tydings Committee

In 1950, Budenz testified before the Tydings Committee to personal knowledge that Field was a Soviet espionage agent. [" [,9171,812297,00.html Of Cells & Onionskins] ," "Time", May 1, 1950] Questioned about this, Field refused to answer on grounds of potential self-incrimination. [" [,9171,812381,00.html In the Dark] ," "Time" May 8, 1950] The following year, former Soviet spy Whittaker Chambers testified before the McCarran Committee that NKVD "handler" J. Peters told him in 1937 that Field was a member of the Communist underground. [Romerstein and Breindel, " [,M1 Op. cit.] ", p. 433] Herbert Romerstein, former head of the office to Counter Soviet Disinformation at the United States Information Agency, and the late Eric Breindel placed Field in the GRU "apparat", alleging that he "was an agent of Soviet miliary intelligence." [" [,M1 Ibid.] ", p. 57] Bird and Chervonnaya disagree: "Documents show that he was in contact with various Soviet representatives in the United States beginning in early 1935. Some of these interactions may be described as 'active measures' on behalf of the Soviet Union. Still, what we know does not prove that Field was a full-blown Soviet agent. [Bird and Chervonnaya, " [ Op. cit.] "]

As secretary of the CRC bail fund, Field refused to reveal who had put up bond for eight Communist Party officials who had jumped bail and disappeared after being convicted by the Truman administration Department of Justice for violations of the Smith Act. Convicted of contempt of court, he served two months of a 90-day sentence in federal prison at Ashland, Kentucky in 1951. [" [,9171,822192-1,00.html Absent-Minded Professor?] " "Op. cit."] He was at the time "a registered foreign agent, as a lobbyist for Communist China."


He died on February 1, 2000 at the Walker Methodist Health Center in Minneapolis.cite news |first= |last= |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=Frederick Vanderbilt Field, Wealthy Leftist, Dies at 94 |url=,%20E |quote=Frederick Vanderbilt Field, who supported Communist causes in the 1930's, 40's and 50's and was once described as "the Reds' pet blueblood," died Feb. 1 at the Walker Methodist Health Center in Minneapolis. |publisher=New York Times |date=February 7, 2000 |accessdate=2008-05-11 ]

FBI allegations

* Founder and Editorial Board Chairman of "Amerasia", whose editor, Philip Jaffe, pleaded guilty to "conspiracy to embezzle, steal and purloin" government property after Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and FBI investigators found hundreds of government documents — many labeled "secret," "top secret," or "confidential" — in the magazine's offices. [Harvey Klehr and Ronald Radosh, "The Amerasia Spy Case: Prelude to McCarthyism" (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1996) ISBN 0-8078-2245-0, p. 131]
* Guest editor of (and weekly columnist in) the "Daily Worker", the official newspaper of the Communist Party
* Assistant editor of "New Masses", identified by one scholar as the "semi-official spokesman of Communist letters" [James Burkhart Gilbert, " [,M1 Writers and Partisans: A History of Literary Radicalism in America] " (New York: Columbia University Press, 1992) ISBN 0231082541, p. 106]
* Executive Vice-President of the Council for Pan American Democracy, which John Dewey's Committee for Cultural Freedom alleged in 1940 was under "outright communist control" [Eugene Lyons, "The Red Decade: The Stalinist Penetration of America" (Indianapolis: The Bobbs Merill Company, 1941), p. 376]
* Provisional secretary of the Board of Directors for the Jefferson School for Social Science, which was, according to Harry Magdoff's magazine, "sponsored by the Communist Party" [John J. Simon, " [ Notes from the Editors] ," "Monthly Review", Volume 51, Number 5 (October 1999)]
* Executive secretary of American Peace Mobilization (APM), designated a Communist front group by United States Attorney General Tom C. Clark on the Attorney General's List of Subversive Organizations for 1948, as directed by President Harry S. Truman’s Executive Order 9835, and which, according to Field himself, "came into existence through Communist Party initiative." [Frederick Vanderbilt Field, "From Right to Left: An Autobiography" (Westport, Conn.: L. Hill, 1983) ISBN 978-1859845271, p.186]
* Co-Chairman of the Citizens Nonpartisan Committee for the Election of Ben Davis, Jr., Communist Party candidate for New York City Council
* Secretary of the Research Committee of the Institute for Pacific Relations (IPR)
* Executive secretary of the American Council of the IPR.
* Field also served as secretary of the bail fund of the Civil Rights Congress, another organization designated a Communist front by the attorney general.According to Georgetown University Professor Carroll Quigley, Field was also an officer of what Quigley alleged was a "Communist-front organization, the Trade Union Services, Incorporated, of New York City." [Carroll Quigley, "Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time" (New York: Macmillan Company, 1966) ISBN 0-945001-10-X, p. 944]


A prominent figure in the Silvermaster files detailing widespread communist and Soviet efforts to penetrate and illegally influence the US government.

His mother, Lila Vanderbilt Sloane Field, was a great-granddaughter of Cornelius Vanderbilt.

Field "slavishly followed the party line." Soviet dictator Josef "Stalin was infallible," he wrote. " [A] ll my Communist surroundings told me so. So was [American Communist Party Secretary Earl] Browder, although on a lower level of sanctity, and so were the other CP [Communist Party] leaders." [Herbert Romerstein and Eric Breindel, " [,M1 The Venona Secrets] " (Washington: Regnery Publishing, 2001) ISBN 0895262258, p. 57] At a time when other erstwhile loyal friends of the Soviet Union were becoming disillusioned by Stalin's Great Purge, Field defended the bloody Moscow show trials, saying, "because Comrade Stalin says so, we have to believe the trials are just." [Robert Sherrill, " [ Op. cit.] "]

Further reading

* Frederick Vanderbilt Field, "From Right to Left: An Autobiography" (Westport, Conn.: L. Hill, 1983). vii, 321p.
*FBI Silvermaster File
*Whittaker Chambers, "Witness" (New York: Random House, 1952), 382;
*Scheidt to Director, 31 January 1947, [ FBI Silvermaster file] (FBI file 65-56402), serial 1976
* [ FBI Silvermaster file] (PDF format pg. 67) pg. 335 in original
* [ FBI Silvermaster file] (PDF format pgs. 58, 60) pgs. 457, 459 in original
*Alexander Vassiliev, "Untitled Notes on Anatoly Gorsky’s December 1948 Memo on the Failed American Networks" (2003)


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