Soviet Espionage: FBI File on Lester (Mike) Pearson

 photo Elizabeth_Bentley150xglare.png
Elizabeth Bentley
Former GRU (Russian Military Intelligence) spymaster.

 

E X T R A C T

(Actual FBI file extract is embedded below.)

FBI Memo About Lester Pearson

September 8, 1951

Mr. A. H. Belmont

Mr. C. E. Hennrich

LESTER B. PEARSON,
Michael Pearson:
ELIZABETH BENTLEY — INFORMANT
ESPIONAGE — R.

PURPOSE:

To recommend that the answers to the State Department’s questions concerning the information made available by Elizabeth Bentley on Lester Pearson, highly placed Canadian government official, by [be] forwarded to the State Department. To recommend that additional information made available by Bentley regarding Lester Pearson be forwarded to the Department of Justice and to Inspector Bayfield of the RCMP.

BACKGROUND:

Elizabeth Bentley was interviewed by agents of the New York Office on August 17, 1951, at which time she related that she recently had been a witness before the McCarran Committee and had answered questions placed by the Committee concerning Lester Pearson. On interview Bentley provided as much as she could recall of the testimony that she gave on August 14, 1951 to the McCarran Committee. In effect she stated that in 1943 and 1944 Pearson, then an official of the Canadian Embassy in Washington, made information available to Bentley through an intermediary. Pearson allegedly gave information of a political nature.

The intermediary was not identified in the communications sent to the Department of State, the Department of Justice, or Inspector Bayfield under date of August 27, 1951. Elizabeth Bentley identified the intermediary as Hazen Size, member of the Canadian Film Board in Washington, D. C.

By teletype dated September 5, 1951, New York advised that on reinterview on that date Bentley was unable to state in what manner Size obtained the information concerning top level British policy and political matters from Pearson. She did not know whether Pearson provided such information voluntarily to Size knowing that it was going to be given to an unauthorized party. Bentley restated that Pearson and Size were very friendly in Canada and were connected with left wing circles in that country. She advised that she was only guessing but that she was of the opinion that Pearson either knew that the information made available by him was being given to an unauthorized person or that he simply was stupid.

[Approximately 18 lines deleted under United States Freedom of Information Act.]

OBSERVATIONS:

Answers to the above questions obtained during the interviews of Bentley are set out as follows:

1. Bentley identified the intermediary who passed information from Pearson to her as Hazen Size, member of the Canadian Film Board in Washington, D. C. Bentley on interview on September 5, 1951, told New York agents that she was only guessing but that she was of the opinion that Pearson either knew that the information made available by him was being given to an unauthorized person or that he was simply stupid.

2. By confidential memorandum dated August 27, 1951, Inspector Bayfield of the RCMP was advised of the identical information provided to the Department of State and the Department of Justice under letters of that date.

3. Bentley provided the information attributed to her to agents of the New York Office on August 17, 1951, and on September 5, 1951.

RECOMMENDATION:

It is recommended that this information requested by the State Department through Liaison be forwarded to them together with the information provided by Bentley on reinterview. In view of the additional information provided by Bentley on reinterview it is recommended that this information be forwarded to the Department of Justice and to Inspector Bayfield.

ACTION:

For your approval are attached letters to the Department of State, the Department of Justice and a memorandum for Inspector Bayfield.

DIRECTOR’S NOTATION: “OK. H.”

Source: Unknown, FBI Memo About Lester Pearson, The Education and Research Institute, Silvermaster File Online, http://education-research.org/PDFs/Silvermaster151.pdf, (September 8, 1951)

A free PDF copy of Pearson’s FBI spy file may be downloaded here:

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