FBI Office Memorandum Regarding Norman Files
[FBI] Office Memorandum • UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT
DATE: August 23, 1951
TO: Mr. D. M. Ladd [Assistant Director, FBI]
FROM: L. L. Laughlin [FBI Agent]
SUBJECT: EGERTON HERBERT NORMAN
To furnish pertinent data in Bureau files concerning Norman, pursuant to a request of Mr. Nichols.
In a public hearing before the McCarran Committee on August 7, 1951, Karl August Wittfogel, Professor of Chinese History at the University of Washington, and an admitted member of the Communist Party in Germany from 1920 to 1933, testified that sometime subsequent to the summer of 1938, a group of students met in the home of Moses Finkelstein (place not stated), a graduate student from Columbia University, and formed a study group. According to Wittfogel’s testimony, among the students who attended those study groups was Herbert Norman, who was studying in the Japanese Department at Columbia University. Wittfogel testified it was “obvious” that this was a Communist study group and that it was, therefore, “obvious” that Norman was a Communist.
In the August 17, 1951 edition of the “Washington Post” newspaper, an article appeared on page 10 entitled “Barnes Listed as Red, Chambers Was Told.” This article stated that Lester B. Pearson, External Affairs Minister of Canada, had sent the State Department a protest expressing Canada’s “annoyance and surprise” at Norman’s name being brought into testimony before the McCarran Committee. According to the article, Pearson stated that Norman is a “highly respected and trusted senior official” in whom Canada has “complete confidence” and that he had been cleared by a double security check.
It should be noted here that no information was found in Bureau files indicating that Norman had ever attended Columbia University. Further, Bureau files reveal that he received his A.M. degree in 1937 and a Ph.D. degree in 1940 at Harvard University.
SUMMARY OF INFORMATION IN BUREAU FILES
No information appears in Bureau files which would substantiate Wittfogel’s allegation that Norman was a Communist.
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The Shigeto Tsuru Affair
During the time that Norman was attending Harvard University, he met Shigeto Tsuru, a Japanese, and learned that Tsuru had an extensive library of Japanese history and related subjects. Tsuru was born March 6, 1912 at Tokyo, Japan, and was educated in Japan and the United States, receiving a Master’s Degree from Harvard University in 1936 and a Ph.D. degree in 1940. Thereafter, he worked as a Research Assistant in the field of international relations at the Graduate School of Economics at Harvard University. Tsuru was repatriated with his wife on the SS “Gripsholm” from New York City on June 18, 1942. Subsequent to his return to Japan in June, 1942, numerous books and papers belonging to him were left in his apartment at Cambridge, Massachusetts, in custody of a janitor. These books and other material included writings in five languages, including Japanese, Russian, German, French and English. A large quantity of this material was Communist literature and propaganda.
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The material left by Tsuru which was mentioned above, was examined by Bureau Agents on November 8, 1942. The day following the examination, Egerton Herbert Norman contacted the Bureau Agents and attempted to secure from them the property of Tsuru. Norman identified himself at that time as the Third Secretary of External Affairs, Ottawa, Canada. In attempting to secure the property of Tsuru, he produced a calling card of Tsuru’s as evidence of his authority to take possession of the property.
Norman first claimed to be on an official mission for the Canadian government to obtain the property of Tsuru for the use of the Canadian government in a special investigation. Subsequently, Norman amended his statement and indicated that he had a personal interest in Tsuru’s possessions and was not actually on a special mission for the Canadian government to secure the material.
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A review of Bureau files discloses that the documents found in Tsuru’s apartment were sent to the Bureau, where it was determined that they were of no particular value from a security viewpoint. They were subsequently returned to the Boston Office and some were destroyed, some returned to the custodian of the apartment house where Tsuru had resided, and some were sent to the Alien Property Custodian Warehouse in New York City. There is no information in Bureau files indicating that either Tsuru or Norman ever received the documents.
The name “Herbert Norman” (no address or telephone number) appeared in a telephone book located in the apartment of Philip Jacob Jaffe in New York in 1945. Jaffe was fined $2,500 on June 6, 1945, on his plea of guilty to the charge of conspiring to remove Government records and files. (100-267360-382)
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None. For your information.