Nathan Gregory Silvermaster (27 November 1898–1964) was born in Russia, attended school in China, received a B.A. from the University of Washington in Seattle and a Ph.D. from the University of California. He became a naturalized American citizen in 1927.
KGB in the USG
Silvermaster headed up a very large KGB operation inside the United States Government (USG) during World War II. Elizabeth Bentley idenitifed Silvermaster as a long-time courier for Soviet intelligence. While nominally remaining on the employment rolls of the Farm Security Administration, Silvermaster arranged in 1942 to be detailed to the Board of Economic Warfare. The transfer, however, triggered objections from military counter-intelligence who suspected he was a hidden Communist and regarded him as a security risk. On 16 July, the U.S. Civil Service Commission recommended "Cancel eligibilities...and bar him for the duration of the National Emergencey."
Silvermaster denied any Communist links and appealed to Under Secretary of War Robert Patterson to overrule the security officials. Harry Dexter White contacted Patterson and told him that suspicions about Silvermaster were baseless. Lauchlin Currie, a presidential aide personally phoned Patterson and urged a reconsideration of Silvermaster’s case. Silvermaster subsequently received two promotions and pay raises.
At the War Production Board Silvermaster was able to provide the Soviet Union with a large amount of data on arms, aircraft, and shipping production. In June 1943, Silvermaster sent a War Production Board report on arms production in the United States, including bombers, pursuit planes, tanks, propelled guns, howitzers, radar and submarines, sub chasers, and the like, to Soviet intelligence. Then in December 1944, the New York KGB office cabled another Silvermaster report stating: “(Silvermaster) has sent us a 50-page Top Secret War Production Board report . . . on arms production in the U.S.”
Silvermaster is also associated with Harry Dexter White at the Bretton Woods conference, and his testimony before the US Senate Internal Security Subcommittee covers “175 pages of interrogation and exhibits” regarding his espionage activities in the US. His code name in Soviet intelligence and in the Venona files is "Pal", "Pel" and "Pol" (i.e. Paul).
- August 1935 to November 1938 Farm Security Administration
- November 1938 to July 1940 Maritime Labor Board
- July 1940 to December 1944 U.S. Department of Agriculture
- 1942 to 1945 U.S. Department of Treasury
- mid 1945 Reconstruction Finance Corporation (became the War Assets Corporation)
- March 1946 resigned from government
The Silvermaster ring operated primarily in the Department of the Treasury but also had contacts in the Army Air Force and in the White House. Sixty-one of the Venona cables concern the activities of the Silvermaster spy ring.
- Nathan Gregory Silvermaster, Chief Planning Technician, Procurement Division, United States Department of the Treasury; Chief Economist, War Assets Administration; Director of the Labor Division, Farm Security Administration; Board of Economic Warfare; Reconstruction Finance Corporation Department of Commerce
- Helen Silvermaster (wife)
- Schlomer Adler, United States Department of the Treasury
- Norman Chandler Bursler, United States Department of Justice Anti-Trust Division
- Frank Coe, Assistant Director, Division of Monetary Research, Treasury Department; Special Assistant to the United States Ambassador in London; Assistant to the Executive Director, Board of Economic Warfare; Assistant Administrator, Foreign Economic Administration
- Lauchlin Currie, Administrative Assistant to President Roosevelt; Deputy Administrator of Foreign Economic Administration; Special Representative to China
- Bela Gold, Assistant Head of Program Surveys, Bureau of Agricultural Economics, United States Department of Agriculture; Senate Subcommittee on War Mobilization; Office of Economic Programs in Foreign Economic Administration
- Sonia Steinman Gold, Division of Monetary Research U.S. Treasury Department; U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on Interstate Migration; U.S. Bureau of Employment Security
- Irving Kaplan, Foreign Funds Control and Division of Monetary Research, United States Department of the Treasury Foreign Economic Administration; chief advisor to the Military Government of Germany
- George Silverman, civilian Chief Production Specialist, Material Division, Army Air Force Air Staff, War Department, Pentagon
- William Henry Taylor, Assistant Director of the Middle East Division of Monetary Research, United States Department of Treasury
- William Ullman, delegate to United Nations Charter meeting and Bretton Woods conference; Division of Monetary Research, Department of Treasury; Material and Services Division, Air Corps Headquarters, Pentagon
- Anatole Volkov
- Harry Dexter White, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury; Head of the International Monetary Fund
- Christopher M. Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin, The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB (New York: Basic Books, 1999).
- 746, 747, 748 Venona New York KGB to Moscow 25 May 1942 Data on construction and distribution of U.S. military aircraft.
- 1061, 0162, 1063 Venona New York KGB to Moscow 3 July 1943 p.1 p.2 Numerical strength of the United States Army Air Forces.