Peter Rhodes

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This article is part of the
Venona
series.

CPUSA
Office of War Information
Golos network

Peter Christopher Rhodes was an American journalist born in Manila. FBI files note a discrepancy between his date of birth and that given to the Selective Service Commission. Rhodes early background information is among extensive redactions in his FBI file.

Rhodes parents were divorced in 1914 and remarried in 1915. Christof Beutinger, Rhodes father, was shot and killed in his home in 1916, and Rhodes mother, who worked in British intelligence, was tried in his death. Rhodes mother maintained it was self-defense, and was acquitted. She later changed her name back to "Rhodes," her maiden name.

Peter Rhodes received a B.A. from Columbia University in 1933 and a M.A. in 1934. He received a graduate fellowship to Oxford, England, and studied there until 1936.

In 1936 Rhodes was employed by the New York Herald Tribune in Paris. In 1937 Rhodes worked for United Press as a war correspondent in London, working in Paris, Moscow, and Sweden in succeeding months.

In 1940, as the Norwegian Campaign unfolded, Rhodes escaped via Sweden to Russia where he spent some time before returning to the United States. He then was assigned to London and remained during the London blitz.

Rhodes returned to the New York and began employment with the federal government in the Foreign Broadcasting Monitoring Service [1] of the Federal Communications Commission at a good salary. In February the FBI, while surveiling Jacob Golos, head of the secret apparatus of the CPUSA followed Golos to Rhodes' apartment in New York. Golos attached much significance to Rhodes' work.

Rhodes became chief of the Atlantic News service of the Office of War Information (OWI) and was in Eygpt in June of 1943, Sicily in September 1943 and London in November of 1943. In 1945 Rhodes' position was described as Assistant Outpost Manager, Area 1, Branch Overseas, Branch Outpost with the Office of War Information. His duties entailed recruiting and training personnel for United States Army psychological warfare operations in Europe and in liberated areas.

Soviet intelligence officers in New York considered Rhodes an important contact but by early 1945 lost track of his whereabouts. Joseph Katz repeatedly pressed Elizabeth Bentley to track down Rhodes through his Belgian wife residing in New York City.

The Dies Committee discovered Rhodes may have been involved in election fraud after his signature appeared on Communist Party petitions for the U.S. presidential election, 1940, and earlier New York city and state elections, listed addresses at which he had never lived.

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