Last modified on June 6, 2020, at 22:39

Harold Ware

Harold Ware, known as 'Hal Ware,' was an official of the United States government, a Communist[1] (son of "Mother" Bloor, a founder of the American Communist Party),[2] and the organizer of a secret cell of the Communist underground within the federal government,[3] the most famous member of which was Alger Hiss.

Ware spent much of his life in the Soviet Union, where he was instrumental in the organization of collective farms.[4] In the early 1920s Ware met Jessica Smith, editor of Soviet Russia Today, in Moscow. Back in New York they were married by perennial Socialist Party presidential candidate Norman Thomas. Ware and Smith tried to establish a “model” collective farm in the Ural mountains using American tractors. They reportedly "tricked" Soviet peasants into collective farms.[5] "As the Soviet archives reveal, the experiment was a dystopian nightmare. Ware and Smith lured a group of unenthusiastic peasants into their grasp and proceeded to abuse them in a brutal fashion."[6] For this Ware received a commendation from Lenin,[7] praise repeated by Stalin.[8]

In Moscow, Ware attended the Lenin School, an institute for the study of sabotoge, revolutionary organization, and espionage. Following the election of Franklin Roosevelt, Ware returned to the U.S., where he founded the Communist-front[9] Farm Research Incorporated, which published Facts for Farmers, a communist publication intended to influence decision makers in the Agricultural Department.[10] Ware became an official of the federal government, serving as a consultant to the Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA). This New Deal[11] agency was the brainchild of FDR's Secretary of Agriculture (and future Vice President), so-called "farm dictator" Henry Wallace, who was reportedly "most impressed" with Soviet collective farming. Wallace would run for President in 1948 on the Communist-inspired[12] Progressive Party ticket, saying that if he were to become President, he would appoint Soviet agent[13] Laurence Duggan Secretary of State;[14] had FDR died 82 days earlier, Wallace would indeed have become President. He finally recanted his support for the Soviet Union in 1952.[15]

Mother of seven children without food, California, ca. February 1936. Farm Security Administration Collection, Library of Congress
At the peak of Stalin's Terror Famine (during which the Soviets killed some 14 million[16] people through collectivization of agriculture),[17] the AAA curtailed U.S. farm production[18] in order to drive up food prices[19] in the depths of the Great Depression. According to ex-Marxist[20] economist Thomas Sowell:
During the Great Depression of the 1930s, agricultural price support programs led to vast amounts of food being deliberately destroyed at a time when malnutrition was a serious problem in the United States.... For example, the federal government bought 6 million hogs in 1933 alone and destroyed them. Huge amounts of farm produce were plowed under, in order to keep it off the market and maintain prices at the officially fixed level, and vast amounts of milk were poured down the sewers for the same reason. Meanwhile, many American children were suffering from diseases caused by malnutrition.[21]

As Gene Smiley, emeritus professor of economics at Marquette University, writes in The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics: "Reduced production, of course, is what happens in depressions, and it never made sense to try to get the country out of depression by reducing production further. In its zeal, the administration apparently did not consider the elementary impossibility of raising all real wage rates and all real prices."[22] One study found that such New Deal policies prolonged the Great Depression by about seven years.[23]

Beginning within AAA, Ware organized a secret cell of the Communist Party underground "apparatus" (covert arm) known as the Ware group.[24] Into this cell, Ware recruited Alger Hiss.[25] Other members of this cell included Hiss's Harvard friends Henry Collins and Lee Pressman (who would join the Communist Party about this time),[26] as well as Witt (who would be identified as a fellow Communist by Pressman),[27] secret Communist[28] John Abt[29] and Soviet spy[30] Charles Kramer. Abt would become chief counsel for the Communist Party.[31] In 1950–53, he would unsuccessfully defend the Communist Party before the Subversive Activities Control Board, which found that the party was required by law to register as an agent of a foreign power;[32] Abt would later argue unsuccessfully before the Supreme Court for the repeal of the McCarran Act.[33] Arrested for the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963, self-proclaimed "Marxist"[34] Lee Harvey Oswald would request Abt as his attorney.[35] Abt would later admit having been a member of the Ware group,[36] as would Communist writer Hope Hale Davis, who would write that its meetings involved discussions of how to "achieve promotion—a primary goal," or whether to "try to influence policy," as well as "secret directives—for purloining official documents," etc.;[37]

In 1934 the Ware group had about 75 members and was divided into about eight cells. The members had first been recruited into Marxist study groups and then into the CPUSA. Each of these agents not only provided classified documents to Soviet intelligence, but was involved in political influence operations as well. The Ware group initially consisted of young lawyers and economists hired by the Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA), a New Deal agency that reported to the secretary of agriculture but was independent of the Department of Agriculture bureaucracy. Alger Hiss, Lee Pressman, John Abt, Charles Kramer, Nathan Witt, Henry Collins, George Silverman, Marion Bachrach, John Herrmann, Nathaniel Weyl, Donald Hiss and Victor Perlo were all members. Harry Dexter White, who later became Director of the Division of Monetary Research in the United States Department of the Treasury, was also affiliated with the group. The Ware group was the CPUSA's covert arm.

Ware died in an automobile accident in 1935. John Abt married Jessica Smith, Ware's widow, after his death.

See also


  1. John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr, Early Cold War Spies: The Espionage Trials That Shaped American Politics (Cambridge University Press, 2006), ISBN 0521857384, p. 94; Kai Bird and Svetlana Chervonnaya, "The Mystery of Ales," The American Scholar, Summer 2007
  2. Biographical Note, Ella Reeve Bloor Papers, 1890-197, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College (Five College Archives and Manuscript Collections)
  3. Committee on Un-American Activities, House of Representatives, United States Congress, Hearings Regarding Communism in the United States Government—Part 2, (Washington: United States Government Printing Office, 1950), p. 2850 (PDF p. 16)
  4. James C. Scott, Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition have Failed (Yale University Press, 1998) ISBN 0300078153, pp. 200-201.
  5. Deborah Kay Fitzgerald, Every Farm a Factory: The Industrial Ideal in American Agriculture [New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003] ISBN 0300088132, p. 161
  6. Stephen Schwartz, "Lenin's Loudspeaker," New York Sun, February 11, 2004
  7. V.I. Lenin, To the Society of Friends of Soviet Russia, Pravda, No. 240 (October 24, 1922), reprinted in Lenin, Collected Works (Tr: David Skvirsky and George Hanna), 2nd English Ed., (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1965) Vol. 33, p. 380
  8. J.V. Stalin, Works, Vol. 11: 1928-March 1929 [Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1954], pp. 195-196
  9. John Earl Haynes, Adolf Berle’s Notes on his Meeting with Whittaker Chambers,
  10. Sam Tanenhaus, Whittaker Chambers: A Biography (New York: Random House, 1997) ISBN 0-375-75145-9, pp. 92-93
  11. Roosevelt and his supporters saw the New Deal in revolutionary and dictatorial terms: First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt “lamented that the nation lacked a benevolent dictator to force through reforms." Soviet intelligence source (1289 KGB New York to Moscow, 9 September 1944, Venona, Central Security Service [National Security Agency/Central Intelligence Agency/Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive]) Walter Lippmann told Roosevelt, "The situation is critical, Franklin. You may have no alternative but to assume dictatorial powers"; in his influential column, Lippmann added that the use of "'dictatorial powers,' if that is the name for it—is essential.'" The New York Herald Tribune approved FDR's inauguration with the headline "FOR DICTATORSHIP IF NECESSARY." In response to a hit Hollywood movie featuring as hero a President who “dissolves Congress, creates an army of the unemployed, and lines up his enemies before a firing squad,” FDR wrote "I think it is an intensely interesting picture and should do much to help." (Jonathan Alter, The Defining Moment: FDR's Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope [New York: Simon and Schuster, 2007] ISBN 0743246012, p. 185)
  12. The Progressive Party was in fact a creation of the Communist Party, growing out of CPUSA General Secretary Eugene Dennis' February 12, 1946 order "to establish in time for the 1948 elections a national third party." Eugene Dennis, What America Faces (New York: New Century Publishers, 1946), pp. 37-38. Cf. Arthur Meier Schlesinger, The vital center: the politics of freedom (Transaction Publishers, 1997) ISBN 1560009896, p. 115; Arthur Meier Schlesinger, A Life in the Twentieth Century: Innocent Beginnings, 1917-1950 (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2000) ISBN 0618219250, pp. 455-456; Karl M. Schmidt, Henry A. Wallace: Quixotic Crusade 1948 (Syracuse University Press, 1960), p. 265 (PDF p. 291). In 1955, the Jenner subcommittee cited the Progressive Party on its list of subversive organizations, identified as a Communist front.
  13. 1613 KGB New York to Moscow, 19 November 1944, Venona, Central Security Service (National Security Agency/Central Intelligence Agency/Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive)
  14. Ethan Bronner, "Witching Hour; Rethinking McCarthyism, if Not McCarthy," New York Times, October 18, 1998
  15. Henry Agard Wallace, “Where I Was Wrong,” This Week, September 2, 1952
  16. Robert Conquest, The Harvest of Sorrow: Soviet Collectivization and the Terror-Famine (Oxford University Press, 1987) ISBN 0195051807, p. 306
  17. Peter Finn, "Aftermath of a Soviet Famine," Washington Post, April 27, 2008
  18. Agricultural Adjustment Administration, Encyclopedia Britannica
  19. James D. Hamilton, The New Deal and the Great Depression,, January 10, 2007
  20. Ray Sawhill, "Black and right,", November 10, 1999
  21. Thomas Sowell, Basic Economics [New York: Basic Books, 2007] 3rd Ed., ISBN 0465002609, p. 56
  22. [1]
  23. Meg Sullivan, FDR's policies prolonged Depression by 7 years, UCLA economists calculate, UCLA Newsroom, August 10, 2004. Cf. Harold L. Cole and Lee E. Ohanian, "New Deal Policies and the Persistence of the Great Depression: A General Equilibrium Analysis," The Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 112, No. 4 (August 2004), pp. 779-816; Harold L. Cole and Lee E. Ohanian, [2]New Deal Policies and the Persistence of the Great Depression: A General Equilibrium Analysis (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Research Department Staff Report XXX), February 2003
  24. Harvey Klehr, John Earl Haynes and Fridrikh Igorevich Firsov, The Secret World of American Communism (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996) ISBN 0300068557, p. 96
  25. G. Edward White, Alger Hiss's Looking-glass Wars: The Covert Life of a Soviet Spy (Oxford University Press, 2004) ISBN 0195182553, p. 30
  26. Committee on Un-American Activities, House of Representatives, United States Congress, Hearings Regarding Communism in the United States Government—Part 2, (Washington: United States Government Printing Office, 1950), p. 2850 (PDF p. 16)
  27. Whittaker Chambers, Witness (Washington: Regnery, 1952) ISBN 0895267896, p. 612
  28. Joan Cook, "John J. Abt, Lawyer, Dies at 87," August 13, 1991
  29. Committee on Un-American Activities, House of Representatives, United States Congress, Hearings Regarding Communist Espionage in the United States Government (Washington: United States Government Printing Office, 1948), p. 643 (PDF 153)
  30. John Earl Haynes, Harvey Klehr and Alexander Vassiliev, Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009) ISBN 0300123906, 279-282
  31. Joan Cook, "John J. Abt, Lawyer, Dies at 87," August 13, 1991
  32. 83d Cong., 1st sess., Document No. 41, Subversive Activities Control Board, Herbert Brownell, Jr. Attorney General of the United States, Petitioner vs. Communist Party of the United States of America, Respondent: Report of the Board, April 23, 1953 [Washington: United States Government Printing Office: 1953], pp. 1, 132 [PDF pp. 9, 140]
  33. Joan Cook, "John J. Abt, Lawyer, Dies at 87," August 13, 1991
  34. Warren Commission Hearings, CE 2240, FBI transcript: Lee Oswald to the Socialist Party of America Vol. XXV, p. 140, October 3, 1956
  35. Testimony of Harry D. Holmes, Warren Commission Hearings, Vol. VII, pp. 299-300. Cf. Testimony of H. Louis Nichols, Warren Commission Hearings, Vol. VII, pp. 328-329; Testimony of John J. Abt, Warren Commission Hearings, Vol. XX, p. 116; Report of Capt. J.W. Fritz, Dallas Police Department, p. 8, Report of the President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy, p. 606
  36. John J. Abt with Michael Myerson, Advocate and Activist: Memoirs of an American Communist Lawyer (University of Illinois Press, 1993) ISBN 0252020308, pp. 40-41.
  37. Gilbert J. Gall, Pursuing Justice: Lee Pressman, the New Deal, and the CIO (Albany, N.Y: SUNY Press, 1999), ISBN 079144103, p. 41. According to Davis, the Ware group “was used, to my knowledge, for stealing documents from government agencies.” Her husband, she said, regularly supplied “a party contact confidential information from his job.” Davis added, “Everyone in Hal Ware's group had accepted the directive to get whatever we could for the party to use in any way it saw fit.” Eric Jacobs et al., "Arguments (New and Old) About the Hiss Case," Encounter, vol. 52 (March 1979), p. 87


  • Earl Latham, The Communist Controversy in Washington: From the New Deal to McCarthy (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1966), 101–123.
  • Joseph Lash, Dealers and Dreamers (New York: Doubleday, 1988), 218.
  • Nathaniel Weyl, Treason: The Story of Disloyalty and Betrayal in American History (Washington, D.C.: Public Affairs Press, 1950).
  • Nathaniel Weyl, The Battle Against Disloyalty (New York: Crowell, 1951).
  • John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr, Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999)
  • Cold War Intelligence
  • Whittaker Chambers testimony before HUAC 3 August 1948