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Re: Theory of Fielding

From: I. Fodor
Date: 16 Aug 1999


Mr Laes,

Sudoplatov has been an intelligence professional but for this reason he was also a master of intrigues, deception and disinformation. Interestingly, you find him trustworthy because he was a spy master, I distrust him for the same reason.

Did you know that Vladislav Zubok, whom you see so critically, also wrote a book (with Constantine Ple- shakov) called "Inside the Kremlin's Cold War: From Stalin to Khrushchev" ?

Yes, I have the paperback edition of 1995. The ques- tion is whether Sudoplatov wrote the way he did, be- cause he wanted purposely mislead - or simply because he didn't know any better (he wasn't informed). He seems to me to have suffered from the same para- noia and chronical distrust of their own scientists (because both of them didn't understand it ?) and my impression is he also suffered from (self-)conceit and "illusions of grandeur" to have had power as a high-ranking 'apatchik' and as a secret serviceman. Both he and Beria ignored the fact that the Russian scientists were in a position to build the bomb on their own. It was only a question of time and resour- ces available. Through espionage they saved time of trial and error approach.

My comments to Sudoplatov's Appendix 7:

Interestingly, Margaret Gowing described rather accu- rately Bohr's role in the Manhattan Project (and thus confirmed that he was no reactor expert). As far as Jack Sarfatti is concerned, his assessment of Bohr's answers to Terletsky's questions is a matter of opinion. I found Bohr's answers rather vague and unspecific. As far as I can tell, even the information which Sar- fatti described as "privileged", from my personal point of view wouldn't have very likely "significantly speeded up the Soviet bomb program." To me Sudoplatov tries to justify himself and at the same time to prove how good he was. To me there is always enough room for interpretations. And it seems to me that NKVD distrusted the German (and own) scientists and wanted to confirm that they were not "cheating". What neither Terletzky nor Sudoplatov seem to have known was that (Gustav) Hertz who was mentioned in the interview, was one of the German scientists whom Zavinyagin brought to the Soviet Union to work on the bomb project. The other fact which neither of them seemed to have known was that another German (Austrian) engineer who was brought to work on the project, Gernot Zippe, de- veloped ultracentrifuges for the Russians for isotope separation/enrichment. Not even the Americans managed to construct them du- ring the war and concentrated therefore on other me- thods. (see, for example, "In the beginning was ura- nium", New Scientist, 24/10/92, p. 30) Zippe came to the U.S. in 1958 and reconstructed his design from memory (as he wasn't allowed to take any notes out of the USSR). As the article in New Scien. writes: "The centrifuge enriched uranium while using only about 10% as much electricity as the established gaseous diffision process."

Comments to Appendix 8:

I can't tell whether Bohr divulged a secret or not by commenting on the drawings in the Smyth Report. I can only say that the German scientists working in the USSR were using the Russian translation of this report as a workbook in their daily work and were familiar with all the details. There is one very much time-critical fact in the sen- tence: "Department S,....., had direct close coopera- tion with Academicians Kurchatov, Kapitza, Kikoin, Alikhanov and Ioffe and contributed substantial ma- terial to speed up the solution of the atomic problem in the USSR." That was true only for the period of 1945-46, just when Sudoplatov was in charge of this dept. Namely as R. Rhodes writes in "Dark Sun": "... Kapitza in August 1946 was stripped of his scientific positions,....and placed under house arrest, where he languished for the next eight years."(!!)

To sum it all up, all in all, it was the American ge- nerosity and (and a little naivety ?) which let the Russians uncontrolled inside the U.S. within the "Lend-Lease" program as R. Rhodes quoted Major Gene- ral Follette Bradley in "Dark Sun": "....I also per- sonally know that scores of Russians were permitted to enter American territory in 1942 without visa. I believe that over the war years this number was aug- mented at least by hundreds." Rhodes also quoted the Russian defector Igor Gouzenko: "There were thousands, yes thousands, of agents in the United States." And it was the foreign physicists working in the U.S. who, on one hand helped to build the bomb so quickly and on the other, disclosed some of its secrets (to the ominous allies ?)


I. Fodor

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