Comrade Kon Recruits Oscar Skelton

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Louis Kon, while a student in his native Russia, had participated in the abortive 1905 uprising led by Leon Trotsky. His father owned one of the largest textile factories in Czarist Russia but Louis (like most of the other future Bolshevik leaders) became infected with the Marxist virus and a cell member of the underground social democratic revolutionaries which became the shortlived “Petersburg Soviet.”

Louis Kon escaped from prison in Russia and finally made his way to New York and then to Montreal around 1916. He managed to be hired as a translator, and later as an engineer for the old Montreal Light, Heat & Power Company when he returned from the ill-fated Vladivostok expedition in 1919.

He then took over the Soviet AMTORG trading office in Montreal and set up the Maxim Gorky clubs across Canada with the help of Bella Gauld, Annie Buller and other Communists active in the Labour College in Montreal. It was during a meeting of young students at Queen’s University in Kingston that Louis Kon was able to recruit Oscar D. Skelton and to successfully infiltrate him into the federal civil service, where Skelton later launched the External Affairs Department.

When the NKVD (known as “The Neighbours” in Soviet spy lingo — now the KGB) under Comrade Norman Freed succeeded in setting up a network of translators-interpreters from Halifax to Vancouver, the first step had been taken to start a massive penetration of the federal & provincial civil services, the law courts and the universities. Some of the older translators-interpreters were too well known as Bolshevik sympathizers to be able to participate in this “colonizing” of the federal civil service. They included Louis Kon, Albert Saint-Martin and David Horwetz. The latter was the official interpreter (Russian) for the City of Halifax, and it was in Horwetz’s Market Street home that Mrs. Leon Trotsky

(Natalia Sedova) and her children lived during Trotsky’s incarceration at the Amherst internment camp in April 1917.*

The NVKD-Comintern, in close co-operation with the “Anglo-American Secretariat,” had been carefully recruiting young Canadian university students in the British & Canadian universities. Undoubtedly one of their best recruits was O. D. Skelton who later became known as the revered “father of the Canadian civil service.”

In his best-seller, The Canadian Establishment, Peter C. Newman gives only a superficial thumbnail sketch of comrade Oscar Skelton: “During the next 16 years, Skelton founded and built up Canada’s External Affairs department and as MacKenzie King’s closest adviser became the most important civil servant in Ottawa.” In his Appendix I dealing with Ottawa’s Mandarins, there is only a mere mention of Skelton’s belonging to the Rideau Club and having taught at Queen’s University, and no mention of his membership in the Canadian-Soviet Friendship Society & how he also enticed MacKenzie King to join!

Skelton was careful to groom only pro-Soviet civil servants in the External Affairs Department. Most of them were being briefed by the Canadian Institute of International Affairs (CIIA), the Canadian branch of the notorious pro-Soviet Institute of Pacific Relations. Many of them (including Lester B. Pearson) saw service in Washington & London where their counterparts were also members of Soviet espionage rings.

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* For more revealing details, read Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution by Dr. Antony Sutton, listed at the back of this booklet.

Who Was Comrade Louis Kon?

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Featherbed concluded the Federal civil service was riddled by Soviet-sympathizing ‘agents of influence,’ including four deputy ministers.

—Bob Reguly (Toronto Sun, Mar. 31, 1981)

The AMTORG “Trade Mission” in Montreal was run by an old Bolshevik by the name of Louis Kon.

In the late ’20s and ’30s, the Comintern (Communist International) sent hundreds of Red intellectuals, mostly from French-speaking countries like France, Belgium and Switzerland, to help in a massive infiltration project aimed at the civil service of Quebec and Ottawa.

Because of his previous experience as a translator-interpreter for the Canadian expeditionary force in Siberia in 1919, Louis Kon had been able to set up a network of Russian language translators-interpreters from Halifax to Vancouver, mainly in the large centres but also scattered in rural areas among the left-wing elements of the Doukhobors led by Moscow agents like the Verigins. The backbone of this Russian-speaking group was the Communist Party front, the Federation of Russian Canadians (FRC). The Russian language publication, Vestnik, was the official organ of the FRC.

Comintern Penetrates Federal Civil Service

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“Perhaps the most ominous Featherbed File finding from a security standpoint was the conclusion that O. D. Skelton, the revered ‘father of the civil service.’ was a Comintern agent recruited in 1923.”

—Bob Reguly, in Toronto Sun article, “Do
Soviets Run Civil Service?” (Mar. 31, 1981)

The almost incredible story of Soviet penetration into the Canadian civil service has never been written, with the exception of the Gouzenko exposé of the ’40s which uncovered one branch of Soviet spying: the GRU military intelligence network masterminded by Col. Zabotin. However, the Royal Commission Report dealing with Soviet espionage in the ’40s revealed that other Soviet spies active in the External Affairs Department had either fled the country (Jean-Louis Gagnon fled to Brazil, with the cooperation of Mitchell Sharp, then a director of Brazilian Traction Corporation) or could not be positively identified because only their code names were known.

The American government had permitted the Soviets to open a “trade” office in New York under the name of “Amtorg Corporation,” and in 1924 Canada followed suit and the Amtorg Trade building in Montreal soon became a transmission belt for

Comintern agents. In his informative book The Communist Party in Canada, Ivan Avakumovic, a History Professor at the U.B.C. and author of several other books on Communism, refers to this period:

The Communist International, besides issuing general guidelines, expressed its views on specific Canadian problems through the Anglo-American Secretariat, one of the organizational subdivisions of the Comintern. It was composed largely of American and British Communists working in Moscow, who followed events in Canada, read the minutes of leading CPC bodies and reports submitted by Canadian Communists on various topics. Periodically, Comintern officials discussed the affairs and problems of the Canadian Communist movement with delegates from the CPC. On the basis of these discussions and analyses, statements and advice in the form of directives, resolutions, telegrams, “Open Letters” and articles in the Comintern press reached the CPC. Material that could not be entrusted to the mails was sometimes delivered by the special courier service of the Comintern either directly from Europe or via the Communist Party of the U.S.A. Occasionally, in the years 1924-1927, the Comintern would use the facilities of the Soviet Trade Mission in Montreal.

 

The Comintern-KGB Soviet Nexus

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Some background information is necessary in order to understand the link-up between the Comintern (Communist International) and the KGB Soviet secret police in the context of Soviet penetration of the Federal civil service.

Let us go to the outstanding authority on the Comintern, Victor Serge, who broke with Stalin in 1936 after having been an outstanding member of the Executive Committee of the Comintern. In the February, 1947 issue of the magazine Plain Talk, in an article entitled Inside the Comintern, Serge gave this first-hand description of the Comintern:

The central bureaus of the Comintern in Moscow, located in a vast building opposite the Kremlin, guarded by the GPU, became a sort of worldwide intelligence center such as exists in no other country in the world. The central apparatus of the Comintern was subdivided into regional bureaus for the Latin countries, Central Europe, Scandinavia, the Middle East, the Far East, North America, Latin America, etc. These subdivisions varied with the needs of the moment. Each of these bureaus is, in turn, subdivided by countries. Economists, sociologists, political analysts examine with microscopic care the literature, press, secret intelligence, and other pertinent information stemming from the country of their specialization. They study the political configuration of these countries, and on the basis of their forecasts, the activities of Soviet agents throughout the world are outlined. This digested information and the elaborate plans worked out are finally submitted to the Politburo, passing through the hands of the party secretariat.

The ten years since the bloody purges of 1936-37 liquidated the Comintern’s former staffs have witnessed the formation of a new highly qualified personnel in this organization. A colossal set of archives has been accumulated and kept strictly up to date. No government anywhere has at its disposal as complete and documented an archive on its own country! Filed with the Comintern are the dossiers of sympathizers, active Communists, agents, subagents, anti-Communists, intellectuals, politicians, businessmen — all the material showing their usefulness to the Soviet Union, their corruptibility, their value in the struggle against the world. Two years after the “dissolution” of the Comintern, dossiers of the heads of the Canadian Communist party, removed by Igor Gouzenko from the files of the Soviet Embassy in Ottawa, included notations such as “Sam Carr, alias Frank, member of the Labor Progressive Party, see detailed biography at the Center, Comintern.”

There has never been any question of “dissolving” or “liquidating” this remarkable inner organization. It has become an integral part of the Soviet state mechanism. And it would be stupid to doubt that these Comintern bureaus continue to gather their intelligence data, to stuff their dossiers, to supply their agents. If the Politburo were to decide to “reconstitute” the Comintern, under its old name or a fancy new one, officially or unofficially, it could do so with the scrawl of a pen — complete to the last dossier and the last pay voucher.

The Sam Carr referred to was the National Secretary of the Communist Party in Canada in the ’40s who was one of the masterminds of the Soviet spy network in the federal civil service. The Communist Party, after being banned in W.W. II, changed its name to the Labour Progressive Party, but with the same leadership as before.

It is not the purpose of this booklet to attempt to give the whole background of the Soviet KGB secret police. The informative book, KGB [The Secret Work of Soviet Secret Agents] is undoubtedly the most authoritative account of the KGB and is available from Canadian Intelligence Publications (CIP), although pressure from Ottawa has prevented Bantam Book (Canada) from publishing a Canadian edition for very obvious reasons which any careful reader can ascertain.

We must point out that although Soviet espionage generally operates on a parallel but separate level, the Canadian Royal Commission Report on Soviet espionage (generally referred to as the Gouzenko Report because of the involvement initially of Igor Gouzenko, a cypher clerk at the Soviet Embassy who defected and brought with him substantial proof of the existence of a Soviet military intelligence network operating within the Canadian government) did mention that several Soviet spy rings were operating in Canada, including the NKVD (now the KGB), and that the “Centre” (Comintern) had provided dossiers on some of the participants, including Sam Carr and Fred Rose, M.P. for Montreal-Cartier Constituency.

From the accumulation of material “leaked” to various individuals, plus the revelations in Chapman Picher’s book, Their Trade is Treachery, we are now in a better position to link the Comintern-KGB “connection” inasfar as the penetration of the civil service in general and the External Affairs Department in particular are concerned.

Readers of the Canadian Intelligence Service [CIS] for over 30 years and more recent On Target readers, of course, will find nothing startling in this booklet, except the Oscar Skelton “affair.” Had we published all of the CIS material dealing with treason and subversion in Ottawa, a more lengthy book would have been necessary. It is to the credit of the CIS publisher and editor, Ron Gostick, that such explosive material was printed and circulated, albeit to a smaller readership than the CIS has today. In 1982, belatedly, the CIS articles (especially dealing with the Herbert Norman and Jean-Louis Gagnon cases) are now becoming increasingly vindicated.

Canada’s Watergate – Inside The Featherbed File: Treason in Canada

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The prevalence of homosexuals in government enabled the Soviet Union’s KGB spy network to score its greatest post-war successes in Ottawa.

—Columnist Bob Reguly, Toronto Sun, March 30, 1981

The publication of Chapman Pincher’s book, Their Trade is Treachery, dealing with the penetration of the Free World’s secret defences by the Soviet KGB secret police, has created concern throughout the Free World. This book was also responsible for the startling revelation that John Watkins, Canada’s ambassador to Moscow for 1954-56, and his successor, David Johnson, were both blackmailed by the KGB through set-up pictures of homosexual encounters.

The RCMP Security Service has likewise disclosed that a third ambassador, his name unrevealed, had also been blackmailed in similar circumstances by the KGB.

Further revelations by investigative reporter Bob Reguly in the Toronto Sun in the spring of 1981, quoted a former top-level RCMP officer to the effect that the Watkins “affair” had unleashed a large-scale clean-out of homosexuals in government as security risks, with the hunt focusing on the External Affairs Department in Ottawa. RCMP sources indicated that they had identified 3,000 homosexuals in middle and senior positions in the civil service and wanted them all weeded out, but didn’t succeed.

Many Canadians were somewhat puzzled in 1967, when the then Justice Minister, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, spawned his Criminal Code amendments which included legalizing homosexuality. Bob Reguly and others have claimed that when he became Prime Minister, Trudeau was instrumental in easing up the security restrictions on homosexuals, especially in External Affairs. It was around this time that the first inkling of a “Featherbed File” became known, and for the next 13 years all attempts by the Opposition MPs and the mass media to have the “Featherbed File” made public was thwarted by the Trudeau regime.

However the on-going security investigation pursuant to the “Gouzenko revelations ” of 1945-46 (which led to the arrest of fifteen top civil servants involved in Soviet espionage) brought out other aspects which have been carefully concealed by successive federal governments over a 60-year period.

Introduction by By Ron Gostick

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First, a few words about the author, Mr. Patrick Walsh.

Few, if any, can match the first-hand experience of Mr. Walsh on so many fronts battling the Communist conspiracy. His wide experience as a trade union organizer, soldier, undercover agent for the RCMP, lecturer, writer, and researcher on Communism, Marxism, and related subjects, has made him one of the free world’s leading authorities in his field and extremely well qualified to write this little work on Red infiltration and subversion in Ottawa.

In 1953, after his service with the RCMP, Mr. Walsh was a voluntary witness before the USA House Un-American Activities Committee, and received its thanks for the valuable evidence he presented, particularly on the top Communist agent, Alger Hiss.

Patrick Walsh is now an Executive Board Member of the World Anti-Communist League, and research director of the Canadian League of Rights.

Mr. Walsh, in this booklet, does not pretend to deal with more than a few highlights of a long catalogue of Communist infiltration and subversion within the Federal Government. He goes right back to the recruitment of Oscar D. Skelton by Comrade Louis Kon in 1923, and shows how Skelton — the ‘father’ of External Affairs — used his key position to recruit young Marxists and ‘colonize’ the Federal civil service in general, and External Affairs in particular, with Marxists and Red ‘sleepers’ who could be activated in the future.

Perhaps even more incredible than the success in recruiting to the Communist cause of young academics of well-to-do background at our universities, was the support and cover-up these subversives received in their betrayal of Canada from some civil servants in top positions, from Cabinet Ministers, and even from Prime Ministers. As Whittaker Chambers, in his classic, Witness, so eloquently puts it:

Security shatters, not because there are no more locks, but because the men naturally trusted with the keys and combinations are themselves the conspirators.

It should be noted — indeed, emphasized — that while Mr. Walsh exposes a number of individuals within the public service who turned out to be Red agents and subversives, this in no way reflects upon the character and integrity of the tens of thousands of loyal and dedicated men and women working in the Federal civil service. We must always remember that the betrayer is the exception, not the rule; and we should thank God for that great majority of public servants whose only loyalty and commitment are to our country and our people.

As publisher of The Canadian Intelligence Service and other reports for over thirty years, most of the facts presented by Mr. Walsh are familiar to me. But the marshalling of this material in chronological order and its concise presentation in booklet form, should make much easier the introduction of these essential facts and documentation to others.

Therefore, in writing this little work, Mr. Walsh has rendered a significant service to the cause of freedom in Canada. And because he is one of this country’s true patriots, this service in itself will be his reward.

February 20, 1982 Ron Gostick [National Director]
The Canadian League of Rights