Solomon Adler

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Sol Adler with Mao Zedong


Sclomer (Solomon) Adler was identified as assisting Soviet espionage by Elizabeth Bentley, deciphered KGB cables (Venona), and KGB documents cited in Weinstein and Vassiliev’s The Haunted Wood.[1]

Spy

Solomon Adler, was chief intelligence agent for the U.S. Treasury Department in China during WWII. In the 1950s, Elizabeth Bentley, a courier of a Soviet apparatus in Washington, identified Adler as a member of Soviet intelligence. Adler at the time denied Bentley’s accusation.[2].

In Chen Lin’s memoirs, as well as in some other recent Chinese documents, Adler resurfaced in Beijing as a bona fide communist intelligence official.[3].

According to these sources, Adler moved to Beijing permanently in the late 1950s and worked in various capacities in CCP intelligence. He has been identified in Chinese documents as an “Advisor” to the External Liaison Department of the Central Committee of the CCP, the department that handles such well-known figures as Larry Wu-tai Ching of the CIA, who was arrested by the FBI in 1983 for espionage, and committed suicide in jail in 1986.[4]

Adler in China

According to a speech "Sol Adler, a soulful friend" in commemoration of Solomon Adler made by Professor Chen Lin of the Beijing Foreign Studies University, at a meeting jointly held September 5, 2009 by the China Society for People's Friendship Studies (PFS) and the university in Beijing to celebrate the occasion for Adler and two other "old friends of China", Jack Service and Frank Coe.[5]

Sol Adler was an old friend of the Chinese people and to our senior Party and government leaders, including Chairman Mao Zedong, Premier Zhou Enlai and many others. Ever since WWII, when he was working in the US embassy to China in Chongqing, he was sympathetic with the Chinese people's fight for national independence and democracy. He worked selflessly and conscientiously for and made great contributions to the cause of the Chinese people for liberation and socialist construction and for their endeavor to cement friendship between the Chinese people and peoples of the world.

Chen Lin went on to say;

Sol Adler was born on Aug 6, 1909, in England. When he was young he pursued truth and social progress. He came to work in China during the Chinese people's War of Resistance Against the Japanese Invasion. He witnessed the heroic struggles of the Chinese people and also the corruption of KMT's government, and was against its policy of suppressing the Communist-led forces. He showed great concern for and deep sympathy with the cause of the Chinese people's struggle for independence and democracy under the leadership of the Communist Party of China.
Sol Adler, as well as two other friends of China, Jack Service and Frank Coe, confronted the Joseph McCarthy persecution. So Sol left the US to stay in the UK. During this period, he visited China many times and in various ways introduced New China to the outside world. His book The Chinese Economy in 1957 won worldwide acclaim. In 1962, when the Chinese people were facing great difficulties at home and abroad, Sol Adler resolutely decided to come and settle in China.

He said, "I have come to settle in China for three reasons: First, I have all along had great trust and confidence in the Chinese people and their leaders; second, I have all along had unshakable faith in the cause of socialism; and third, I hope to stay in China for as long as possible and work for world peace and the friendship between the Chinese people and the peoples of the world. I want to devote my whole life to the cause of socialism."

Chen Lin went on to discuss Adler's close relationship to the Chinese leadership;

Albert Epstein, Sol Adler, Mao Zedong, Frank Coe in Wuhan, Hubei province, 1965
CCP Chairman Mao Zedong with Israel Epstein (first left), Anna Louise Strong (third left), Frank Coe (second right), and Solomon Adler (first right)
During the 1960s and 1970s, both Mao and Zhou showed personal concern for Sol's life and work in China. Many times Party and government leaders met with him and discussed matters of domestic and international importance with him and consulted his ideas and suggestions. In the early 1980s Sol was invited to serve as adviser to China's State Council Development & Research Center, the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation, and the World Economic & Political Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Though he was not in very good health, he made conscientious efforts to carry on investigations and research into China's economic situation and world affairs and put forward valuable suggestions to the Party and the government.
Since China's opening-up to the outside world, Sol showed great enthusiasm and delight for the progress and achievements in the country's socialist construction. At the same time he felt pained about the many distressing matters, particularly the corruption of some government officials and the widening gap between the rich and the people of lower income. Many times, even during his days in hospital, he talked about such things to friends and government officials who went to visit him at his bedside.

One of Sol's many contributions to China and the Chinese people was his work on the English translation of our Party and government documents, including The Selected Works of Mao Zedong. With his deep political understanding, fine language accomplishment, strong sense of responsibility and rigorous academic approach, he made a great contribution to the translation work for this country.

Chen Lin on Adler and the Chinese "Cultural Revolution"

Sol always felt that as a foreigner he should not involve himself too personally in China's internal affairs. However, during the days of the Cultural Revolution, Sol and his wife Pat made full use of their special position to protect a number of children of their old friends, including children of leading Party and government officials who were persecuted by the Gang of Four.
One incident more than 30 years ago remains fresh in my mind even to this day. It was in 1976 when Beijing's people poured into the streets to celebrate the downfall of the Gang of Four and the conclusion of the Cultural Revolution. As Pat was then teaching at Beiwai, that is, Beijing Foreign Studies University, Sol decided to join Beiwai's procession in the parade. That morning my wife and I went to their place to walk with them to Wangfujing to join the others. Both Sol and Pat were in the highest of spirits. Sol put on his favorite hat adorned with a few colored feathers. Sol took his bamboo walking stick and marched with us not far behind the banner of our school. That day he laughed and talked and shouted slogans in his not so perfect Chinese with all the others in the ranks and cracked jokes that were typical of him. He was immersed in the happiness of the whole Chinese people.

Chen Lin on a "great revolutionary";

During the many years Sol and I were friends, one of the greatest "treats" on my part was to hear him talk about past events. These events, ever since the Chongqing days in the 1940s, have always been interwoven with the cause of the struggles of the Chinese people. He talked about how Kong Xiangxi, Chiang Kai-shek's finance minister and cousin-in-law, invited him to dinner and tried to make him drunk with Maotai in order to coax some secrets out of him, and how he enjoyed Kong's Maotai and yet stayed sober. He talked about his contacts with our Party leaders, Mao and Zhou and others.
Many times I suggested that he should sit down and write his memoirs. But his answer was always clear and definite: "No, I will not." He said. "It is true that I remember many things of the past, and many of them are not known to others. However, when one reminisces about the past, particularly about things that are closely connected with the cause of the Chinese revolution and some of its important leaders, one cannot but pass judgment; for reminiscences themselves would be a kind of judgment. Yet, it is for the Chinese people and later historians to pass judgments on so great a cause of the Chinese people, not an insignificant person and foreigner like me."
Now that Sol has not been with us for 15 years, I can only say with great regret that many valuable historical records of the cause of the Chinese revolution are forever buried with Sol, not at all an insignificant person and foreigner, but a great revolutionary and a true friend of the Chinese people.
Dear Sol, we shall always remember you.
Sol Adler, a soulful friend

Adler the Soviet spy

Solomon Adler, chief intelligence agent for the U.S. Treasury Department in China during WWII, was also prominent on McCarthy’s communist list. In the 1950s, Elizabeth Bentley, a courier of a Soviet apparatus in Washington, further identified Adler as a member of Soviet intelligence[6].

Chinese intelligence

COLD WAR INTERNATIONAL HISTORY PROJECT BULLETIN 275

After moving to China in 1962, Adler worked in various capacities in CCP intelligence. Before his death in 1994, he was an “Advisor” to the External Liaison Department of the Central Committee of the CCP, the department that handles such well-known figures as Larry Wu-tai Ching of the CIA, who was arrested by the FBI in 1983 for espionage, and committed suicide in jail in 1986.[7].

References

  1. http://www.johnearlhaynes.org/page100.html
  2. [Text of testimony by Bentley, in Toledano, Spies, Dupes, and Diplomats, 132-133]
  3. [See Adler’s photo in Chen’s memoirs, and Selected Shanghai Culture and History Materials [Shanghai wenshi ziliao xuanji] 43 (April 1983), Shanghai People’s Press]
  4. COLD WAR INTERNATIONAL HISTORY PROJECT BULLETIN. CHEN HANSHENG’S MEMOIRS AND CHINESE COMMUNISTESPIONAGE by Maochen Yu page 275
  5. China Daily, Sol Adler, a soulful friend (China Daily) Updated: 2009-09-05 07:39
  6. Text of testimony by Bentley, in Toledano, Spies, Dupes, and Diplomats, 132-133
  7. http://www.wilsoncenter.org/topics/pubs/ACF1AE.pdf