RCMP First Report on Norman

October 17, 1950


TO: [name deleted under Access to Information Act]

[three lines deleted under Access Act]

2. NORMAN is a senior official of the Department of External Affairs and has been serving as Head of the Canadian Mission in Tokyo since August, 1946. Some brief biographical data follows:

“Born September 1, 1909. Canadian Academy, Kobe, Japan; Albert College, Belleville, Ont.; Victoria College, University of Toronto, 1929-33 (Classics) B.A.; Trinity College, Cambridge, 1933-35 (History) B.A.; awarded three year Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship; Harvard Yenching Institute, Harvard University, 1936-38 (Japanese Language and History) M.A., Ph.D.; research on Japanese History, Institute of Pacific Relations, New York 1938-39. Joined External Affairs as Language Officer, Canadian Legation, Tokyo, July 1939; interned in Japan, December 1941-July 1942; returned to Ottawa and engaged in Far Eastern work, April 1943; Head of Canadian Delegation to Manila on repatriation of Civilian internees, February 1946; attended Far Eastern Commission, Washington, March 1946; Preparatory Commission, Washington, April-June 1946; posted to Tokyo as Head of Canadian Liaison Mission, August 1946; attended the Commonwealth Conference to Discuss Japanese Peace Settlement, Canberra, August-September 1947. Author of ‘Japan’s Emergence as a Modern State’. Married.”

3. Quoted herewith is a copy of a letter written by Brigadier General E.R. THORPE in 1946 to the then Prime Minister and Secretary of State for External Affairs:

“From the surrender of Japan to the present date, Dr. E. Herbert Norman of your Department of External Affairs has been serving as a member of the Civil Intelligence Section, this headquarters, of which I have been the officer in charge.

“I should like to express to you my personal appreciation of Dr. Norman’s services. His profound knowledge of Japan, his brilliant intellectual attainments and his willingness to give of his utmost to our work has made his contribution to the success of the occupation one of great value.

“During his tour of duty with us, Dr. Norman has won the respect and admiration of all who have been associated with him. It will be difficult, indeed, to fill the vacancy left by his departure.

“I am greatly indebted to you for your generosity in permitting him to be with us during these past critical months and offer my sincere thanks.”

4. In connection with the Senate Committee’s enquiry into Senator McCARTHY’s charges, it has been learned that Brigadier General Elliot R. THORPE, who was Chief of Intelligence for General MacARTHUR from 1942 to 1946, appeared as a witness for Owen LATTIMORE [in March 1950] before the Senate Sub-Committee investigating charges made against the State Department by Senator McCARTHY. After testifying to his personal confidence in LATTIMORE, THORPE was questioned by Senator HICKENLOOPER. One of the questions HICKENLOOPER asked him was whether he had ever been associated “with a man named E. Herbert NORMAN” in the preparation of an intelligence report dealing with Asia. After failing at first to recall Mr. NORMAN, General THORPE recalled that he and NORMAN “worked together in counter intelligence until Mr. NORMAN was appointed Canadian Representative on the Far Eastern Commission.” HICKENLOOPER asked THORPE whether he remembered the report on Asian Affairs prepared for a General WILLOUGHBY. The General replied, “Not to my knowledge. I am sure it was not while I was there.” Following adjournment, Senator HICKENLOOPER was asked by newspapermen the significance of his reference to NORMAN. He refused to comment. Abe FORTAS, counsel for LATTIMORE, suggested to newspapermen that Senator HICKENLOOPER’s line of questioning about NORMAN had indicated a desire to establish a link with the Canadian espionage enquiry.

5. A check of records reveals the following:

  1. One, [name deleted under Access Act] is a suspected Soviet Agent and is believed to hold high office as a secret member of the L.P.P. His actual status has not yet been determined. He was however, [two lines deleted under Access Act] at a time when the Communist control of this organization was public knowledge. In May, 1948, the desk pad belonging to [line deleted under Access Act]. This pad contained the names, addresses and telephone numbers of many person recorded in our subversive records. Amongst these various entries are two which read:

    “Herb NORMAN - 73481”
    This number was crossed through and below it appears:
    “Herby NORMAN - 6129”.

  2. In February, 1940, a secret agent in Toronto reported that one, Professor Herbert NORMAN, who at that time was attending Harvard University and was connected with McMaster University in Hamilton, was a member of the Communist Party of Canada. This source stated that it was NORMAN’s intention to return to Canada in the hope of gaining admission to the faculty at the University of Toronto or Queen’s University. Some enquiries were carried out at that time and it was learned that there was no record of any Herbert NORMAN having been a member of the faculty at McMaster University nor were any former members of the staff at McMaster known to be at Harvard a that time. There is no positive identification of this Professor Herbert NORMAN with the subject of this report, nor is it known that subject was ever a teacher at a university.
  3. GOUZENKO, in his testimony before the Royal Commission, stated that in 1944 Moscow asked Colonel ZABOTIN if he knew a person by the name of NORMAN. ZABOTIN replied that he did not. Later in an issue of “Vestnik”, a photograph of [name deleted] was published. Lt. Col. MOTINOF asked ZABOTIN whether or not [deleted under] was the person about who Moscow had enquired. ZABOTIN instructed MOTINOF to see PAVLOV (NKVD) and asked if [deleted] were one of his men. PAVLOV replied, “he is ours, don’t touch him”. This information was sent to Moscow and no further word was received. To examine this information — Moscow askes if a person by the name of NORMAN is known to ZABOTIN. It is possible that G.R.U (Army Intelligence) received this name from another Ministry such as the M.G.B. or the M.V.D. Possibly the name was quoted as the source of information emanating from Canada which was of interest to G.R.U. The latter, seeking an independent check on the source, would ask their Canadian representative, ZABOTIN, if NORMAN was known to him. It seems unlikely that they would offer a Christian name of a person previously unknown to them for checking. Both [deleted under Access Act] already were known. Again, ZABOTIN and MOTINOF did not ask if PAVLOV knew a person by the name of NORMAN but the discussion apparently centred around [name deleted]. There is no connection between [name deleted] and NORMAN other than the assumption on the part of ZABOTIN. It will be noted that Moscow did not confirm this assumption. It would appear that NORMAN is the surname of a person in whom the Russian Intelligence Service had an interest. It is, however, impossible to make a definite identification.

6. Concurrent with the examination of our record, an investigation has been carried out in Toronto, Hamilton and Ottawa, the results of which are embodied hereunder.

  1. The “275 Field Street, Ottawa”, listed in HALPERIN’s notebook, is “275 Friel Street”, Ottawa. It has been established that from 1943 to 1946 an apartment at this address was occupied by E. Herbert NORMAN.
  2. The address “108 Charles Street, W., Toronto” (HALPERIN’s notebook) was occupied between 1940 and 1949 by the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.
  3. The telephone number “6129” listed against NORMAN’s name in [name deleted under Access Act] desk pad is that of the Far Eastern Division of the Department of External Affairs.
  4. The address “280 Ottawa Street, Hamilton”, listed in HALPERIN’s notebook, is that of NORMAN’s father-in-law, Harry CLARK. Mr. CLARK, an elderly gentleman over 70, presently occupies a small apartment at this address. [line deleted] CLARK and it is learned that most of his time is devoted to attending football and hockey games and other sporting contests.
  5. A check of the Department of Vital Statistics, Toronto, indicates that one of the witnesses at the marriage of NORMAN to Laura Irene CLARK on the 31st of August, 1935, was one, C.P.H. HOLMES. This man is identified as Charles P.H. HOLMES. He was born in Japan in 1910. [six paragraphs deleted]


7. It has been learned that NORMAN has always been of the scholarly type, with a knowledge of history, economics and related subjects. In particular he enjoys an international reputation as a leading scholar in Japanese history. As indicated in paragraph 2 he has attended various universities, and was for a time an employee of the Institute of Pacific Relations.

8. The Department of External Affairs have been made aware of the information embodied in this report. We are informed that his posting from Tokyo to Ottawa had been decided upon some time ago and that he was due to sail in November. In view of these developments, however, he is being recalled immediately.

(R.A.S. MacNeil), Insp.,
for Officer i/c Special Branch.

Source: Library and Archives Canada, Security Intelligence Service, Access to Information Request, 117-89-109, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, RCMP First Report on Norman, October 17, 1950

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