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Re: Theory of Fielding

From: HB Laes
Date: 22 Aug 1999


Dear Mr. Fodor:

The literature is consistent that beginning in 1942 or earlier Stalin delegated broad and complete authority over atomic espionage matters to Lavrenti Beria. He was after all Chief of the NKVD. Reading the Atomic Spies chapter one notes Sudoplatov's consistent testimony that his atomic espionage tasking came directly from Beria. With this backdrop, we look at Sergei Leskov's Unreliable Witness article from which you excerpt. Lavrenti Beria comes up only once - at the end of the article, and only in reference to his archives. Amazingly, Mr. Leskov is comfortable with the Foreign Intelligence Service's declarations that (1) they don't possess Beria's archives, (2) wherever the records are, they are "impossible to access," and (3) nonetheless, they "contain no operational documents that would shed light on [Sudoplatov's allegations]." Translation: Nobody here has ever examined the Beria motherload but trust us, there is nothing there.

Leskov says that FIS officials denied the alledged espionage of Pontecorvo. Seems one contemporary FIS official Leskov didn't consult was Vladimir Chikov. Chikov corroborated Sudoplatov on Pontecorvo in his 1995 book (How Stalin…). Despite the facts, however, Leskov's position is: No sweatski, the officials were not as "indignant" about Pontecorvo as they were about Oppenheimer, Fermi, and Szilard; you can take it to the bank regards the senior physicists. An apropos Alice in Wonderland quip springs to mind, but we won't go there. Suffice it to say that with the advent of the Venona release and subsequent books like Bombshell, Mr. Leskov would have to alter or delete several of his specifics were he to write Unreliable Witness today.

Mr. Fodor, can we bury the hatchet on poor Pavel until Beria's files are produced?

Respectfully, Laes

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