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Harry Dexter White

Harry Dexter White
Harry Dexter White (left) with John Maynard Keynes at the Bretton Woods Conference
Born (1892-10-09)October 9, 1892
Boston, Massachusetts
Died August 16, 1948(1948-08-16) (aged 55)
Fitzwilliam, New Hampshire
Ethnicity Jewish
Education Columbia University
Stanford University
Harvard University
Occupation Economist
Employer Lawrence University
U.S. Treasury department
International Monetary Fund
Known for Bretton Woods agreement
First U.S. Director of IMF (1946-47)
Spouse(s) Anne Terry White
Children Joan White Pinkham, Ruth White Levitan
Parent(s) Joseph Weit
Sarah Magilewski

Harry Dexter White (October 9, 1892 – August 16, 1948) was an American economist and senior Allies of World War II while at the same time he passed numerous secrets to the Soviet Union.[1] He was the senior American official at the 1944 Bretton Woods conference, that established the postwar economic order. He dominated the conference and imposed his vision of post-war financial institutions over the objections of John Maynard Keynes, the British representative. At Bretton Woods, White was a major architect of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

White was accused in 1948 of spying for the Soviet Union, which he adamantly denied, but which was later confirmed by the release of declassified FBI documents related to the interception and decoding of Soviet communications, known as the Venona Project.[2]


  • Early life 1
  • Treasury Department 2
    • Japan policy 2.1
    • Morgenthau Plan 2.2
    • Bretton Woods conference 2.3
  • Accusations of espionage 3
    • Chambers accusations 1939, 1945 3.1
    • Bentley accusations 1945, 1948, 1953 3.2
    • Chambers accusations 1948 3.3
  • Death 4
    • Accusations by Jenner and McCarthy 1953 4.1
  • Venona project 5
  • Assessment of Soviet involvement 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • Further reading 9
    • Primary sources 9.1
  • External links 10

Early life

Harry Dexter White was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the seventh and youngest child of Jewish Lithuanian immigrants, Joseph Weit and Sarah Magilewski, who had settled in America in 1885.[3] In 1917 he enlisted in the U.S. Army, and was commissioned as lieutenant and served in France in a non-combat capacity in World War I. He did not begin his university studies until age 30, first at Columbia University, then at Stanford, where he earned a first degree in economics. After completing a Ph.D. in economics at Harvard University at 38 years of age, White taught four years at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin. Harvard University Press published his Ph.D. thesis in 1933, as The French International Accounts, 1880–1913. His PhD dissertation won the David A. Wells Prize granted annually by the Department of Economics, Harvard University.

Treasury Department

In 1934,

  • "The Archival Evidence on Harry Dexter White", a summary of references to Harry White found in the Venona decryptions
  • John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr, "Washing White: The Nation Persists in Espionage Denial", Washington Decoded, 11 August 2013
  • A film clip "Longines Chronoscope with Homer Ferguson" is available for free download at the Internet Archive
  • Boughton, James M (September 1998), "Harry Dexter White and the International Monetary Fund",  
  • Wikisource:FBI Memorandum identifying Harry Dexter White as agent Jurist
  • Boughton, James M. (2001), The Case Against Harry Dexter White: Still Not Proven (PDF),  

External links


Primary sources

  • Craig, Bruce (2004). Treasonable Doubt: The Harry Dexter White Spy Case. University Press of Kansas. pp. 17, 245.  
  • Steil, Benn. "Red White," Foreign Affairs (Mar/Apr2013) 92#2, online
  • Weinstein, Allen (1978).  

Further reading

  1. ^  
  2. ^ FBI Memorandum identifying Harry Dexter White as agent Jurist, 1950-10-16, retrieved 2006-10-03 
  3. ^ a b Craig, Bruce (2004). Treasonable Doubt: The Harry Dexter White Spy Case. University Press of Kansas. pp. 17, 245.  
  4. ^ John Blum, The Morgenthau diaries: years of Urgency: 1938-1941 (1965) p 442
  5. ^ Tanenhaus (2011). Whittaker Chambers: A Biography. p. 153. 
  6. ^ William Langer and Everett Gleason, The Undeclared War (1953) pp 875-901.
  7. ^ Blum, The Morgenthau diaries: years of Urgency: 1938-1941 (1965) pp 384-86
  8. ^ John Koster, Operation Snow: How a Soviet Mole in FDR's White House Triggered Pearl Harbor (Regnery Publishing 2012), esp Ch. 5, "The May Memorandum."
  9. ^ Steil, Benn (2013), The Battle of Bretton Woods: John Maynard Keynes, Harry Dexter White, and the Making of a New World Order, Princeton University Press, p. 55-56
  10. ^ Eric Rauchway. "Whitewashing History" Finance and Development 50, no. 1 (March 2013) 53–54 online
  11. ^  
  12. ^ a b "One Man's Greed",  
  13. ^ Dietrich, John (2002), The Morgenthau Plan: Soviet Influence on American Postwar Policy, New York: Algora Publishing, p. 17,  
  14. ^ Schecter, Jerrold; Leona Schecter (2002), Sacred Secrets: How Soviet Intelligence Operations Changed American History, Washington, DC: Brassey's,  
  15. ^ Frederick H. Gareau "Morgenthau's Plan for Industrial Disarmament in Germany" The Western Political Quarterly, Vol. 14, No. 2 (Jun., 1961)
  16. ^ Donald Markwell, John Maynard Keynes and International Relations: Economic Paths to War and Peace, Oxford University Press, 2006
  17. ^ "Review of Robert Skidelsky, John Maynard Keynes: Fighting for Britain 1937–1946". Brad Delong, Berkeley university. Retrieved 14 June 2009. 
  18. ^ White, Harry Dexter (1945-11-30). "Untitled paper advocating "continued Peace and friendly relations with Russia"". Princeton University collection. 
  19. ^ Isaac Don Levine's Notes of the Meeting
  20. ^ John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr, Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999), p.90-91
  21. ^ Robert Skidelsky, John Maynard Keynes:Fighting for Britain, 1937-1946, Macmillan, London 2000 p.256
  22. ^ Weinstein, Allen (1978).  
  23. ^ FBI file: Underground Soviet Espionage Organization (NKVD) in Agencies of the United States Government, October 21, 1946, p. 78-79 (PDF pp. 86-87)
  24. ^ Hoover to Vaughan, November 8, 1945, FBI Silvermaster file, Vol. 16, PDF pp. 98, 99, 100. Cf. Robert Louis Benson and Michael Warner, eds., Venona: Soviet Espionage and the American Response, 1939-1957 (Washington, D.C.: National Security Agency/Central Intelligence Agency, 1996), Document 15, pp. 69, 70, 71
  25. ^ [2], p. 47 (PDF p. 45)
  26. ^
  27. ^ FBI memo: Harry Dexter White, PDF p. 54
  28. ^ Harry Dexter White, PDF pp. 24-52
  29. ^ Robert Skidelsky, John Maynard Keynes: Fighting for Britain, 1937-1946, Macmillan, London 2000 p. 257
  30. ^ Robert G. Whalen (December 12, 1948). "Hiss and Chambers: Strange Story of Two Men". The New York Times. 
  31. ^ "Elizabeth Bentley Deposition, FBI Silvermaster file" (PDF), FBI's FOIA Website, 1948-07-31, archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-03-06, retrieved 2006-10-03 
  32. ^ a b James C. Van Hook, "Treasonable Doubt: The Harry Dexter White Spy Case," Studies in Intelligence," Vol. 49, No. 1, 2005
  33. ^ a b  
  34. ^ Henry Morgenthau, The Morgenthau Diaries, Book 732, pp. 97-99.
  35. ^ Bentley 1951, p. 141
  36. ^ Testimony of Elizabeth Bentley, S. Prt. 107-84 - Executive Sessions of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the Committee on Government Operations (McCarthy Hearings 1953-54), Vol. 4, p. 3427
  37. ^ Olmsted 2002, p. 186
  38. ^ Michael Warner, Red Spy Queen: A Biography of Elizabeth Bentley, Studies in Intelligence, Vol. 47, No. 2, 2003
  39. ^ John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr, Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999), p.96
  40. ^ Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin, The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB (London: Basic Books, 1999) ISBN 978-0-465-00310-5, p. 129
  41. ^ (Olmstead 2002, p. 45)
  42. ^ Schecter, Jerrold L. (2003), Sacred Secrets: How Soviet Intelligence Operations Changed American History, Potomac Books, p. 122,  
  43. ^ Testimony of Whittaker Chambers before the House Committee on Un-American Activities, 1948-08-03, retrieved 2006-10-03 
  44. ^ FBI Memorandum identifying Harry Dexter White as agent Jurist
  45. ^  
  46. ^ a b Chambers, David (21 May 2012). "The Baffling Harry White". History News Network (HNN). Retrieved 21 June 2012. 
  47. ^ "Categorical Denial",  
  48. ^ Victor Nevasky, Letters From Readers: "Harry Dexter White," Commentary, April 1988, p. 10 (Cf. David Rees, Harry Dexter White: A Study in Paradox (Coward, McCann & Geoghegan, 1973), ISBN 978-0-698-10524-9)
  49. ^ Harry Dexter White, Accused In Spy Inquiry, Dies at 56,  
  50. ^ Willard Edwards, "Hiss spy paper linked to late treasury aid," Chicago Daily Tribune, 29 November 1949, pp. 1-2
  51. ^ "Records of the Morgenthau Diary Study, 1953-65", Guide to the Records of the U.S. Senate at the National Archives (Record Group 46) (The Center for Legislative Archives), retrieved 2006-10-03 
  52. ^ "The White Case Record",  
  53. ^  
  54. ^ Robert Louis Benson and Michael Warner, eds., VENONA: Soviet Espionage and the American Response, 1939-1957 (Washington, D.C.: National Security Agency/Central Intelligence Agency, 1996), xxiv.
  55. ^ 1251 KGB New York to Moscow, 2 September 1944, p. 2
  56. ^ 83 KGB New York to Moscow, 18 January 1945, p.1
  57. ^ 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)
  58. ^ FBI Memorandum identifying Harry Dexter White as agent Jurist, 1950-10-16, retrieved 2006-10-03 
  59. ^ Andrew, Christoper;  
  60. ^ Robert Skidelsky, John Maynard Keynes:Fighting for Britain, 1937-1946, Macmillan, London 2000 p.261
  61. ^ a b  
  62. ^ """FBI Documents of Historic Interest re Venona That Are Referenced in Daniel Moynihan's Book "Secrecy (PDF), FBI's FOIA Website: 17, retrieved 2006-10-03 
  63. ^ "Appendix A; SECRECY; A Brief Account of the American Experience" (pdf), Report Of The Commission On Protecting And Reducing Government Secrecy (United States Government Printing Office), 1997: A–37, retrieved 2006-10-03 
  64. ^  
  65. ^ Robert Skidelsky, John Maynard Keynes:Fighting for Britain, 1937-1946, Macmillan, London 2000 p.265
  66. ^  
  67. ^ Craig, Bruce (12 April 2012). "Setting the Record Straight: Harry Dexter White and Soviet Espionage".  
  68. ^ Steil, Benn (2013). The Battle of Bretton Woods: John Maynard Keynes, Harry Dexter White, and the Making of a New World Order. Princeton University Press. pp. 4, 23.  
  69. ^ Pinkham, Joan White; Ruth Levitan (11 November 1990). "'"In McCarthy Era, TV Networks Cowered; 'The White Case. New York Times. Retrieved 25 February 2013. 
  70. ^ Pinkham, Joan White (22 November 1998). "Defending Their Father". New York Times. Retrieved 25 February 2013. 
  71. ^ Pinkham, Joan White (22 April 2012). "A Case From the Cold War". New York Times. Retrieved 25 February 2013. 


See also

White's daughters still strongly maintain his innocence.[69][70][71]

White almost certainly, and over many years, gave confidential and classified U.S. government information–in original, transcribed, and oral form–to individuals whom he knew would ultimately transmit it to the Soviet government... Yet the economics White advocated were hardly Marxist. They were by this time what would be described as thoroughly Keynesian... As for White’s domestic politics, these were mainstream New Deal progressive, and there is no evidence that he admired communism as a political ideology. It is this chasm between what is known publicly of White’s economic and political views, on the one hand, and his clandestine behavior on behalf of the Soviets, on the other, that accounts for the plethora of unpersuasive profiles of the man that have emerged.[68]

In 2013, Benn Steil wrote:

In 2012, Bruce Craig wrote, "Taken individually, one could argue that some of the documents indicate that White may have not always have been aware that his information was being passed on to Moscow, but taken collectively, [Andrew] Vassiliev’s documentation leaves little wiggle room for White’s defenders to continue to assert that he was not involved in an activity that, at least by present day legal standards, constitute espionage."[67] David Chambers wrote, "Perhaps White had ends of his own, too... Perhaps he used his position to foster the Soviet Union — then a new, budding American ally, recognized only in 1933 — beyond New Deal policy."[46]

In 2004, Stephen Schlesinger wrote,"Among historians, the verdict about White is still unresolved, but many incline toward the view that he wanted to help the Russians but did not regard the actions he took as constituting espionage."[66]

A combination of naivety, superficiality and supreme confidence in his own judgment -together with his background - explains the course of action White took. There is no question of treachery, in the accepted sense of betraying one's country's secrets to an enemy. But there can be no doubt that, in passing classified information to the Soviets, White knew he was betraying his trust, even if he did not thereby think he was betraying his country.[65]

In 2000, Robert Skidelsky, in reviewing the evidence, concludes that:

Assessment of Soviet involvement

According to Soviet archives, White's other KGB code names were "Richard", and "Reed". In order to protect their source, Soviet intelligence repeatedly changed White's code name.

Further evidence of White's complicity as a Soviet agent was gleaned from Soviet archives and KGB operative Alexander Vassiliev. In a book by Allen Weinstein and Alexander Vassiliev, The Haunted Wood: Soviet Espionage in America — the Stalin Era, Vassiliev, a former Soviet journalist and KGB operative, reviewed Soviet archives dealing with White's actions on behalf of the Soviet Union. White assisted Harold Glasser, a Treasury executive and NKVD spy, "in obtaining posts and promotions at Treasury while aware of his Communist ties". Because of White's backing, Glasser survived an FBI background check. In December 1941 the Secret Service forwarded a report to Harry White indicating that it had evidence Glasser was involved in Communist activities. White never acted on the report. Glasser continued to serve in the Treasury Department, and soon began recruiting other agents and preparing briefing reports on Treasury personnel and other potential espionage agents for the NKVD. After America became involved in World War II, Glasser received appointments to several higher-level positions in the government on White's approval.[64]

The complicity of Alger Hiss of the State Department seems settled. As does that of Harry Dexter White of the Treasury Department.[63]

In 1997, the bipartisan Moynihan Commission on Government Secrecy, chaired by Democratic Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, stated in its findings,

Other Venona decrypts revealed further damaging evidence against White, including White's suggestions on how to meet and pass information on to his Soviet handler. Venona Document #71 contains decryptions of White's discussions on being paid for his work for the Soviet Union.[61][62]

Another example of White acting as an agent of influence for the Soviet Union was his obstruction of a proposed $200 million loan to Nationalist China in 1943, which he had been officially instructed to execute,[60] at a time when inflation was spiraling out of control.[61]

This codename was confirmed by the notes of KGB archivist Vasili Nikitich Mitrokhin in his country volume 6, chapter 3, part1, where six key Soviet agents are named. Harry Dexter White is listed as being first "KASSIR" and later "JURIST".[59]

You have previously been advised of information obtained from [Venona] regarding Jurist, who was active during 1944. According to the previous information received from [Venona] regarding Jurist, during April, 1944, he had reported on conversations between the then Secretary of State Hull and Vice President Wallace. He also reported on Wallace's proposed trip to China. On August 5, 1944, he reported to the Soviets that he was confident of President Roosevelt's victory in the coming elections unless there was a huge military failure. He also reported that Truman's nomination as Vice President was calculated to secure the vote of the conservative wing of the Democratic Party. It was also reported that Jurist was willing for any self-sacrifice in behalf of the KGB but was afraid that his activities, if exposed, might lead to a political scandal and have an effect on the elections.

Years later, the Justice Department publicly disclosed the existence of the Venona project which deciphered Soviet cable traffic naming White as "Jurist", a Soviet intelligence source. As reported in the FBI Memorandum on White:

NSA cryptographers identified Harry Dexter White as the source denoted in the Venona decrypts at various times under the code names "Lawyer",[55] "Richard",[56] and "Jurist".[57] Two years after his death, in a memorandum dated 15 October 1950, White was positively identified by the FBI, through evidence gathered by the Venona project, as a Soviet source, code named "Jurist".[58]

Venona project

Although he does not dispute that the FBI sent these and other warnings to Truman, Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan wrote in his introduction to the 1997 Moynihan Commission report on government secrecy that Truman was never informed of Venona.[53] In support of this, he cited a statement from the official NSA/CIA history of Venona that "no definitive evidence has emerged to show" that Truman was informed of Venona.[54]

In 1953, Senator Joseph McCarthy and Eisenhower administration Attorney General Herbert Brownell, Jr. revealed that the FBI had warned the Truman administration about White before the President appointed him to the IMF. Brownell made public the FBI's November 8, 1945 letter to the White House warning about White and others, and revealed that the White House had received the FBI report on "Soviet Espionage in the United States," including the White case, six weeks before Truman nominated White to the IMF.[52]

The committee also heard testimony by Henry Morgenthau's speechwriter, Jonathan Mitchell, that White had tried to persuade him that the Soviets had developed a system that would supplant capitalism and Christianity.

The concentration of Communist sympathizers in the Treasury Department, and particularly the Division of Monetary Research, is now a matter of record. White was the first director of that division; those who succeeded him in the directorship were Frank Coe and Harold Glasser. Also attached to the Division of Monetary Research were William Ludwig Ullman, Irving Kaplan, and Victor Perlo. White, Coe, Glasser, Kaplan, and Perlo were all identified as participants in the Communist conspiracy ...

The report stated, [51] Senator

Accusations by Jenner and McCarthy 1953

On August 13, 1948, White testified before HUAC and denied being a communist. After he finished testifying he had a heart attack. He left Washington for a rest on his Fitzwilliam, New Hampshire farm. He had just arrived when he had another heart attack.[47] Two days later, on August 16, 1948, he died, age 55.[48][49] An overdose of digitalis was reported as the cause of death.[50]


Whittaker Chambers, an admitted former Soviet espionage agent, subsequently testified on August 3 to his association with White in the Communist underground secret apparatus up to 1938.[43] Chambers produced documents he had saved from his days as a courier for the Soviets' American spy-ring. Among these was a handwritten memorandum that he testified White had given him. The Treasury Department identified this document as containing highly confidential material from the State Department, while the FBI Laboratory established that it was written in White's handwriting.[44] Chambers stated, however, that White was the least productive of his contacts. [45] Chambers said of White, "His motives always baffled me", a point underscored by Chambers' grandson.[46]

Chambers accusations 1948

But Bentley's testimony would later be corroborated in dramatic fashion by a memorandum found in Soviet archives after half a century. In it, Gaik Ovakimian, head of the American desk of the NKVD (for which Bentley worked),[38] cites a report from New York (where Bentley was based)[39] from April 14, 1944 (when Bentley was running the Silvermaster group)[40][41] reporting that, "following our instructions" via Silvermaster, White had obtained "the positive decision of the Treasury Department to provide the Soviet side with the plates for engraving German occupation marks".[42]

This is the only case in which Bentley biographer Kathryn Olmstead concluded that Bentley was lying about her role,[33] citing historian Bruce Craig's conclusion that "the whole 'scheme' was a complete fabrication".[37]

Bentley wrote in her 1951 autobiography that she had been "able through Harry Dexter White to arrange that the United States Treasury Department turn the actual printing plates over to the Russians".[35] Bentley had not previously mentioned this to the FBI or to any of the committees, grand juries or prosecutors before whom she had testified earlier, and there was no evidence at the time that Bentley had any role in this transfer. Some questioned Harry Dexter White's role in it.[3] In her 1953 testimony before Joseph McCarthy's Senate subcommittee, she elaborated, testifying that she was following instructions from NKVD New York rezident Iskhak Abdulovich Akhmerov (who operated under the cover name "Bill") to pass word through Ludwig Ullmann and Nathan Gregory Silvermaster for White to "put the pressure on for the delivery of the plates to Russia".[36]

On July 31, 1948 Bentley told the House Committee on Un-American Activities that White had been involved in espionage activities on behalf of Soviet Union during World War II,[31] and had passed sensitive Treasury documents to Soviet agents. Bentley said White's colleagues passed information to her from him. In her 1953 testimony Bentley said that White was responsible for passing Treasury plates for printing Allied military marks in occupied Germany to the Soviets, who thereupon printed currency with abandon,[32] sparking a black market and serious inflation throughout the occupied country,[33] costing the U.S. a quarter of a billion dollars.[34] However the alternative explanation is that Treasury officials feared that denying Soviet use of the plates in their occupation sector would endanger postwar cooperation.[32]

Six years later, Truman would testify that White had been "separated from the Government service promptly" upon receipt of this information—first from the Treasury, and then from the IMF.[29] In fact, White was still at the IMF on June 19, 1947—more than two years after the FBI had alerted the White House about him—when he abruptly resigned (vacating his office the same day), after Attorney General Tom Clark ordered a Federal grand jury investigation of the Bentley charges.[30]

The FBI summarized the Bentley information and in its follow-up investigation on the suspects she named, again including White,[25] in a report entitled 'Soviet Espionage in the United States',[26] which was sent to the White House, the Attorney General and the State Department on December 4, 1945.[27] Six weeks later, on January 23, 1946, Truman nominated White as U.S. Director of the International Monetary Fund. The FBI responded with a 28-page memo specifically on White and his contacts, received by the White House on February 4, 1946.[28] White's nomination was approved by the Senate, acting in ignorance of the allegations against White, on February 6, 1946.

The next day, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover sent a hand-delivered letter to Truman's Military Aide, Gen. Harry Vaughan, at the White House, reporting information that "a number of persons employed by the government of the United States have been furnishing data and information to persons outside the Federal Government, who are in turn transmitting this information to espionage agents of the Soviet government." The letter listed a dozen Bentley suspects, the second of whom was Harry Dexter White.[24]

On November 7, 1945, defecting Soviet espionage courier Elizabeth Bentley told investigators of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that in late 1942 or early 1943 she learned from Soviet spies Nathan Gregory Silvermaster and Ludwig Ullmann that one source of the government documents they were photographing and passing on to her and NKVD spymaster Jacob Golos was Harry Dexter White.[23]

Bentley accusations 1945, 1948, 1953

On March 20, 1945, State Department security officer Raymond Murphy interviewed Chambers. His notes record that Chambers identified White as "a member at large but rather timid", who had brought various members of the American communist underground into the Treasury.[22]

On September 2, 1939, Assistant Secretary of State and Roosevelt's adviser on internal security Adolf Berle had a meeting, arranged by journalist Isaac Don Levine, with defecting Soviet agent Whittaker Chambers. In his notes of that meeting, written later that night, Levine listed a series of names, including a "Mr. White".[19] Berle's notes of the meeting contain no mention of White.[20] Berle drafted a 4-page memorandum on the information which he then passed to the President, who dismissed the idea of espionage rings in his administration as 'absurd'. The director of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover, as late as 1942,[21] also dismissed Chambers' revelations as 'history, hypothesis, or deduction.'

Chambers accusations 1939, 1945

Accusations of espionage

On June 19, 1947, White abruptly resigned from the International Monetary Fund, vacating his office the same day.

After the war, White was closely involved with setting up what were called the Bretton Woods institutions—the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. These institutions were intended to prevent some of the economic problems that had occurred after World War I. As late as November 1945, White continued to argue for improved relations with the Soviet Union.[18] White later became a director and U.S. representative of the IMF.

White was the senior American official at the 1944 Bretton Woods conference, and reportedly dominated the conference and imposed his vision over the objections of John Maynard Keynes, the British representative.[12][16] According to economic historian Brad Delong, Keynes was later proved correct by events, on almost every point where the Americans overruled him.[17]

Bretton Woods conference

[15] According to Henry Morgenthau's son, White was the principal architect behind the

Morgenthau Plan

White was a dedicated internationalist, and his energies were directed at continuing the Grand Alliance with the USSR and maintaining peace through trade. He believed that powerful, multilateral institutions could avoid the mistakes of the Treaty of Versailles and prevent another worldwide depression. As head of the independently-funded Office of Monetary Research, White was able to hire staff without the normal civil service regulations or background enquiries. He probably was unaware that several of his hires were spies for the USSR.[12]

After the U.S. entered the war in December 1941, Secretary Morgenthau appointed White to act as liaison between the Treasury and the State Department on all matters bearing on foreign relations. He was also made responsible for the Exchange Stabilization Fund. White eventually came to be in charge of wartime international matters for the Treasury, with access to extensive confidential information about the economic situation of the USA and its wartime allies. He passed numerous secret documents to men he knew were Soviet spies.[11]

In November 1941, White sent a memorandum to Morgenthau that was widely circulated and influenced State Department planning. White called for a comprehensive peaceful solution of rapidly escalating tensions between the United States and Japan, calling for major concessions on both sides. Langer and Gleason report that White's proposals were totally rewritten by the State Department and that the American key demand had been formulated long before White. It was an insistence on Japanese withdrawal from China, which Japan totally refused to consider.[6] The complex negotiations at the top ranks of the US government, and its key allies of Britain and China, took place in late November 1941 with no further input from White or Morgenthau. White’s proposals were never presented to Japan.[7] Revisionist historians have argued, however, that White manipulated Morgenthau and Roosevelt to provoke war with Japan in order to protect Stalin's Far Eastern front.[8][9] Historian Eric Rauchway rejects that argument, claiming it is supported by forged documents.[10]

Japan policy

White, who alternated moods of abrasive hauteur with others of craven fear and was much happier handing over grandiose memorandums on monetary policy...than in furnishing the mundane reports of high-level Treasury discussions preferred by Bykov [a GRU agent] and his Moscow superiors."[5]

says he spied for them: Sam Tanenhaus White admired the Soviet Union. Historian [4]

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