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Feb 4, 2009

The Burchett Chronicles: new evidence from 1951!

A chapter that discusses all five documents to be found in the Prague archives of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia attesting to Burchett's membership of the CPA, by Peter Hruby.


Below is a chapter on Wilfred Burchett taken from Peter Hruby’s forthcoming book entitled Dangerous Dreamers: The Australian Anti-Democratic Left and Czechoslovak Agents. It describes all five documents to be found in the Prague archives of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia attesting to Burchett’s membership of the CPA. According to Hruby, Czech secret services were much involved in the Soviet attempt to make out of Australia another of its satellites.


Credibility is one of the major assets of a successful journalist; if he is not trusted, he will not be read. During the Cold War, for decades, Wilfred Burchett was the most widely read and influential Australian reporter and writer on international affairs. It was facilitated by his claim that although he sometimes sympathised with Communist causes, he did not belong to any Communist party. He repeatedly denied that he was a member of the Communist Party of Australia (CPA). He lied even under oath to the New South Wales Supreme Court in 1974 when he categorically denied he had ever been a member of the CPA. Many people believed him; those who did not had no proof of his deception.

Prague Documents

Research in October 1996 in the State Central Archive of the Czech Republic, then on Karmelitská ulice (a street) in Prague, put an end to the late Burchett’s credibility and to his defenders’ claims that he was an honorable man and victim of Cold War fabrications.

In the archive that houses documents from the history of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (CPCZ), I found five documentations of Burchett’s systematic lying. The oldest is from Decenber 27, 1950. Secretary H. Glaserová sent a “Note for Comrade Geminder.” Geminder was her boss, the head of the International Department of the Central Committee of the CPCZ, and allegedly the most important Soviet agent in Prague. Comrade Glaserová reported on the visit of Comrade Jack Hughes, Chairman of the Control Commission of the CPA:

Comrade Hughes talked about the case of the Australian journalist, Comrade Burchett, who after the war worked as a journalist in some countries of people’s democracy; also for a short time in Czechoslovakia. Recently, he was expelled and returned to Australia. The Australian Party is content with his work and is certain he is a good comrade. The Party would be glad if his name was cleared, as well as his wife’s whose nationality is of another people’s democracy, maybe Bulgaria.1

The second document is even more important since it was written and signed by G. W. Burchett himself on July 13, 1951 in room 314 in the Peking Hotel in China.

It was addressed to Ernie Thornton, former general secretary of the Federated Ironworkers Association and prominent member of the CPA, who was on his way from China to Czechoslovakia. In a very long letter, Burchett pleaded his innocence as a member of the CPA. He blamed two other comrades for his expulsion from Prague: Comrade Jakš, a former chief of Telepress who supposedly owed him some money for work done, and Dr. Popper of the Press Department of the Ministry of Information; they denounced him as a British and American agent respectively. As a result, his wife, whom he married in Sofia, was “suspended from the Bulgarian Communist Party.” In his letter, Burchett also claimed that “a number of Telepress agents protected by Jakš were later proved to be Titoists and Trotskyites.”

The early fifties were very dangerous times for members of Communist parties in Central and Eastern Europe. Stalin was purging his own and his satellite empire of alleged foreign spies. The era typified Lenin’s slogan “Kto Kogo” (Who Whom — who kills whom first). Those who wanted to survive kept denouncing their colleagues before their colleagues could denounce them.

Burchett seemed to be a good target because of his contacts with the British and American officials that he was working against, mainly in Berlin. In his defence, Burchett wrote, “Dear Comrade Thornton: I have never been expelled nor even disciplined by the CPA.” He then stressed:

I was not, nor could have been, expelled by the Russians from Berlin … I had the closest relations with Soviet colleagues in the Sovinform Buro. It was the latter who arranged the publication of my book Sonnenaufgang über Asien in the Soviet Sector of Berlin, after the time I was supposed to have been expelled.

Burchett supported his good credentials with Russian, Hungarian, and Bulgarian regimes by enumerating his long stays in Berlin, Budapest, and Bulgaria. “Only in Prague … did these most harmful rumours originate.” He then showed that cunning agents can also be extremely naive. He made an almost suicidal proposition: “I can be dealt with, extradited to Prague and charged.” Later we will look at parts of his autobiography which demonstrate what kind of harm could have been done to him in Prague which was then in the maelstrom of a vicious with-hunt of communists by Soviet executioners.

The letter to Thornton ended in a touching, comradely note:

My wife has been a loyal worker in the Bulgarian C.P. or in the illegal Youth League since the age of 16. Needless to say our only wish on getting married was to serve the party together by combining our talents and using them wherever they were needed. With comradely greetings, W.G. Burchett.2

The last paragraph of the letter shows how well its author absorbed the Stalinist attitudes of the times: Soviet and people’s democracies’ textbooks, newspapers, and journals were full of stories about girls falling in love with tractor drivers just because they managed to surpass the norm for deep plowing, and men being enraptured by milkmaids who doubled the amount of milk from their collectively owned cows. Eros was acceptable only in the service to the party. Dating was sanctioned only if it was to attend party meetings.

Ernie Thornton delivered Burchett’s letter as he was asked. We are able to read it thanks to its preservation in the State Central Archive in Prague. As a good comrade, Thornton did even more. On August 6, 1951, from the Czech hotel Paříž (Paris) in Prague, he forwarded to the International Department of the CPCZ a “confirmation” of Burchett´s good standing in the party: “It might interest Comrade Geminder because some time ago I talked with him about it.” He requested that a copy of the reference be sent to the Central Committee of the CP of Bulgaria, Sofia. It was sent on August 20, 1951, written in Russian.3

Finally, the fifth document should be reproduced in full:

The Communist Party of Australia Central Committee, 40 Market Street,

Dear Comrade,

We obtained a request to confirm the status of comrade Wilfred Burchett.

The Party does not issue recommendations except in extraordinary circumstances and does not possess any form of recommendation nor a seal that could be used to documents of that kind. In the case in question, Comrade Burchett has the trust of the Australian Party. His work is considered to be satisfactory and we have no reason to doubt his loyalty. The situation of his wife is known to us and we would be grateful for any help that would be offered to him . Since the entry into the Party, he has been its member without interruption.

R. Dixon, Chairman L.L. Sharkey
Secretary General.4

Wilfred Burchett was not a pathological liar, but a Leninist-Stalinist operative who as such was convinced that in the war against bourgeois capitalism, in order to achieve the hoped-for Communist future, he had the right, even the duty to deceive the enemy. In Burchett’s mind, there was no doubt that for achieving the ideal result, he had to use less than ideal methods, because the bourgeois enemy also lied.

Nevertheless, his books are always less than truthful, even when the bourgeois enemy is hard to see. For instance, in his autobiography published in 1981, he alleged that he had learned about the suspicion of his being a British intelligence agent “only ten years later,” even though he obviously defended himself against such an accusation in 1951.5 Therefore, it is difficult to believe his statement in the same memoir that early in his adult life he filled an application to join the CPA, but “There was no follow up to my application.”6

From Australia to Berlin and Budapest

Burchett became a Communist fighter for the usual reasons: he grew up during the depression and shared the assumption that the class war and its injustices, the crises of capitalism, international wars, and colonialism could only be abolished by revolution and the establishment of communism. His view of the world was Manichean; he hated the enemy, and he believed, or sometimes pretended to believe, that everything was great on his side of the barricades. The fact that for thirty years he was well paid and provided for by Communist regimes was probably also a factor.

Burchett’s books are painful to read. They are loathsome, full of propaganda clichés that are all too familiar to someone who for long years had to read Soviet prose whose tactics and techniques Burchett adopted one hundred percent. Although he obviously kept distorting the truth, it is surprising how many people believed his slanted reportage. One finds believable what one wants to believe.

He himself had to admit that he often falsified the truth with the excuse that at the time he believed it. After articles and books about his daring and adventurous trips to New Caledonia, China, Burma, and the Pacific during World War II, he established his popularity with the anti-American Left when in 1945 he managed to get to Hiroshima soon after the atomic bomb devastated the city. Allegedly against American wishes, he reported on the damage done to people by the radiation.

However, according to Pat Burgess, this fame was unearned, since the report was actually written by Henry Keys who used “a mass of information from the Domei files and had interviewed a lot of people including some eye witnesses.” Out of some two or three thousand words that Burchett wrote on the subject, the press agency released only two hundred, and even those were not used. Some Americans who came back from Hiroshima were surprised that Burchett had not asked them to take back his report which they would have gladly done. Keye sent the copy under the Burchett byline to the Express. “When Wilfred got back he said, ‘Oh no! Don´t tell me!'”7

From 1946 to 1949, Burchett continued to send his reports to the British press from Berlin. According to his book Cold War in Germany, the Americans were then planning a Third World War and were provoking the Cold War against the peaceful Soviet Union that was interested only in safeguarding its own security. The creation of the Soviet satellite empire and brutal suppression of democracy and freedom in Central Europe was therefore good. He even blamed the Western allies for slow denazification in Germany and the Swiss for hoarding Nazi gold. He weakened his case with hateful exaggerations.

In his “Report of the Committee of the Judiciary, United States Senate” of the sixth and tenth of November, 1969, Soviet defector and former NKVD-KGB operative Yuri Krotkov testified that he cooperated with Burchett in Berlin from 1947 to 1949. The Australian journalist had access to Soviet funds and worked as a typical Soviet propagandist.

According to Burchett, “The Western Powers acted as did Hitler and Mussolini, using the same language as Goebbels.” 8 East Germany remained occupied by Soviet armed forces until 1989; in spite of this fact, Burchett claimed that “the republic was given real powers immediately after it was founded, in contrast to the illusory powers vested in the Bonn regime … the republic started life politically and economically independent.”9

Soviet soldiers in Central and Eastern Europe committed many violent crimes. Historian John Lewis Gaddiss emphasized “the mass rape of some two million German women by Soviet soldiers as the war ended.”10 They were feared not only in Germany but also in countries supposedly liberated by them, such as Czechoslovakia. They raped women and used trucks for stealing all that could be removed from private, including workers’, homes. Burchett found a way to exculpate them: “Many crimes of violence were being committed by criminals in Soviet uniforms.”11

According to Burchett, there was a basic difference between puppets installed in East Germany by Soviet authorities and democratically elected West German politicians:

Prime Minister Grotewohl is a clear-thinking, highly intelligent man who has won the confidence of the workers, farmers and lower middle-class in the Soviet Zone, and his influence extends far into the Western Zone as well. His speeches are models of clarity, and like those of Pieck, devoid of any trace of demagogy. His quiet demeanor is in sharp contrast to the antics of the West German politicians, especially the Social Democrat leaders, who have copied emotional ranting and shouting of the Nazis.12

Burchett’s readers were not told about East German or Hungarian elections in which the communists were so badly beaten that no free elections were ever allowed again. On the last page of his book Cold War in Germany, published in 1950, Burchett wrote prophetically:

History will one day pass its verdict on who best served the interests of world peace and human happiness, the Allies who built in the West or the Soviet Union who built in the East.13

The prophesy was as wrong as can be. East German workers attempted a revolution in 1953; millions of East Germans fled to the West before the Berlin Wall was erected, to be finally destroyed by rebelling East Germans in 1989.

Burchett’s Cold War in Germany became popular in Australia. The year of its publication, a second printing was issued. To achieve even wider distribution, World Unity Publications began a series of pamphlets based on the book by editing 64 out of its 258 pages as Warmongers Unmasked.

Even more disgraceful than canvassed false propaganda from Berlin was Burchett’s reporting from his next place of residence, Budapest. He was completely fooled by Stalinist show trials in Hungary and Bulgaria. In his book Peoples’ Democracies, issued in 1951,14 he reproduced pages of the official Hungarian proceedings of Cardinal Mindszenty and praised the organizers of the infamous show trial: “There is a quality of brilliance and imagination (sic!) in the leadership in Hungary today.”15

The imaginary plot of one of the top Hungarian communists, Laszlo Rajk, invented and staged by secret services, was described by Burchett as carefully prepared conspiracy by Yugoslav and former fascist Horthy officers. Burchett embroidered Soviet secret police fabrications into his account: “Rajk and his gang were disclosed as miserable bloodthirsty adventurers.”16 Burchett thus helped to prepare the public for the intended Soviet invasion into Yugoslavia. The Hungarian General Kiraly later disclosed that he was in charge of Hungarian troops that were ready to put down Tito’s insubordination to Stalin in Yugoslavia. “What stopped the attack was America´s unexpectedly strong stand in Korea.”17

Similarly, the judicial murder of the Bulgarian Communist leader Traicho Kostov inspired Burchett to colorful reporting on “a Yugoslav plan for Bulgaria every whit as diabolical and bloodthirsty as that for Hungary.” Kostov “was a Bulgarian Trotsky.” 18 It is worth noting that Burchett fully adopted the Stalinist vocabulary and sloganeering that was obligatory for all Central and East European Communist scribblers. He was one of them.

In a chapter of his book Peoples’ Democracies, entitled “Liberty in Eastern Europe,” he revealed the vicious side of the revolutionary “idealists” when he compared Stalinist show trials with events after the French Revolution in 1789:

The French revolutionaries certainly had no intention to grant “liberty, eguality and fraternity” to the Royalists. They quite properly chopped their heads off.19

He followed the official Stalinist line that liberty in people’s democracies existed for ninety percent of the population and only “money-changers,” bankers, and kulaks had their liberty curtailed. In fact, liberty did not exist at all; nobody could enjoy it; even the bosses could not feel safe. Burchett extolled the liberty of “hundreds of thousands of youths” since “each of these youths can look forward to a full and creative life.” 20 That was written only five years before the Hungarian revolution, started by young people. Thousands of them disappeared in Siberian concentration camps. Tens of thousands ran away from their country into exile. Many of them emigrated to Australia.

In his autobiography, At the Barricades (1981), Burchett admitted that he was completely wrong:

In Belgrade [1956] … I apologized for some of my own confused writings during the period immediately after Tito´s expulsion.21 He also made a reversal concerning Bulgarian show trials: [Traicho] Kostov had done what his old comrade Giorgi Dimitrov had done sixteen years earlier at the Reichstag Fire Trial. He had knocked the stuffing out of the prosecution [by publicly denying his guilt]. I was considerably shaken by the Kostov trial. 22

Burchett did not mention this at the time in his book devoted to these trials, of course. That means that he consciously lied at one time or the other. In 1981, he added a new twist to his false propagandising: “Stalin was a dupe of [Allen] Dulles” who supposedly plotted the whole thing!23 Burchett’s readers were asked to believe that Stalin’s murderous show trials of his own agents were not meticulously planned for years and executed by his own secret services, but by the CIA!

Similarly, in 1981, he still blamed the Americans for the spontaneous nationwide Hungarian revolution of 1956, because, as he wrote:

Hungarian fascists expected Americans in June 1951. That was the state of mind induced by Radio Free Europe which hammered away implicitly on the theme “get the fighting started — anywhere — and the Free World forces will be at your side.” 24

Burchett’s analysis is a lie. Radio Free Europe began broadcasting in May 1951 to Czechoslovakia only, and much later to Hungary and other Soviet satellites. I worked for Radio Free Europe as an editor and writer for thirteen years starting before it began broadcasting; it never encouraged East Europeans to start a revolution; its American supervisors were very strict and cautious about that, and its East European employees were responsible people who did not feel that from their relatively safe position they had any right to risk their compatriots’ lives.

Notwithstanding his last assertion of CIA provocation of the revolting Hungarian fascists, Burchett expressly admitted in 1981 that “Hungarian workers at the time had good reasons to be in a rebellious mood.” 25

Although Burchett was obviously spreading false propaganda in the fifties, many people in England and Australia believed him. Goff McDonald pointed to that trust when he wrote:

The main authority in such cases [the treachery of Tito] was the Australian journalist Wilfred Burchett, whose books such as Peoples´ Democracy — together with his pamphlets and articles — echoed the voice of Stalin…

The communist press, in Australia and elsewhere, repeated the words of Pravda and material from Wilfred Burchett which explained the trial [of Rajk] was further proof of the plans of the Yugoslav Fascist clique of Tito. 26

In spite of the fact that Burchett lied about events in Central and Eastern Europe, those who did not mind being deceived, or rather preferred to be told what would confirm their prejudices, went on trusting his judgment. And Burchett was able to go on fooling his readers about what was really happening and further spread biased propaganda.

Role Model

In his previous review of his life, Passport: An Autobiography (1969),27 Burchett was not yet ready to admit his “mistakes.” However, in both books he revealed that throughout his political life Egon Erwin Kisch (with his name often misspelled) served as his model. He led his readers to believe that Kisch was not a communist in spite of the well established fact that Kisch was not only a communist but also one of the most important Soviet agents of the Comintern.

Kisch was a Czechoslovak citizen and an operative who was prominent in Stalin’s propaganda campaign against “war and Fascism” that helped to attract many people to Communist causes. (An excellent source, explaining and tracing the seduction of the “Innocents” — as they called them — is Stephen Koch’s book Double Lives: Spies and Writers in the Secret Soviet War of Ideas Against the West.28)

In 1934, Kisch was invited to the all-Australian Congress Against War and Fascism in Melbourne. When he was not allowed by the authorities to disembark, he jumped the ship and broke his leg. In the continuing scandal in which the Government proved to be quite incapable to handle the situation, the CPA managed to stage large demonstrations for this “victim of the Australian Right.” Burchett took part and decided to become an international journalist (and Communist agent) like his role model Kisch, who was a master of pro-Soviet propaganda carefully masked as one serving noble ideals. Both duped many people not acquainted with modern totalitarian underhanded methods.29

In his first autobiography, Passport, Burchett wrote:

The whole Kisch incident had a profound effect on me in many ways. I was impressed by the quality of the man himself, his physical and moral courage, and also the way in which he used his pen to uncover injustice and fight for life’s good causes. Subconsciously, I accepted him as the model of a progressive journalist.30

It is often interesting to compare Burchett’s two autobiographical books. In his Passport, he recalls:

Years after the Sydney Domain meeting I met Ergon (sic) Irwin (sic) Kisch in his own beloved Prague, a few months after the liberation of Czechoslovakia from the Nazis. Because I was Australian, and he had fallen completely in love with Australia, he escorted me for days on end to show me Prague.31

The same visit to the Czech capital city plays a different role in Burchett´s second autobiography, published twelve years later:

I had driven through Czechoslovakia from Vienna to Prague on the beautiful spring Sunday of May 26, 1946, when voters were going to the polls in the first general elections since 1935.

Kisch’s time with him shrank from several days to a single day: “Just because I was an Australian, Kisch devoted the entire second day of my visit to escorting me around the marvels of his beloved Prague.”32 Although he wrote “There must have been lots of Soviet troops around,” in fact there were none. However, much more truthfully he wrote:

I was approached by a compatriot and fellow journalist, John Fischer … He insisted on dragging me off to a house party where I would meet some “interesting blokes.” First was my idol of ten years earlier, Egon Irwin (sic) Kisch, who had survived Spain and French concentration camps… With him were another well-known Czech writer, Andre Simon [alias Otto Katz], the future Foreign Minister Vladimir Clementis, and the brother of Rudolf Slansky, general secretary of the Czechoslovakian Communist Party … almost all those in that room were later executed as “spies” and “traitors.”33

As far as I know, that is the only time Burchett, the biased “specialist” on show trials in Central and Eastern Europe, wrote about the worst of them which ended with eleven top Communist leaders of the CPCZ being hanged. In his autobiography, he added:

Mutual friends later commented that it was as well that he [Kisch] died a natural dath rather than see — and probably share — the humiliation and destruction of some of his closest comrades.34

Burchett did not mention what must have been on his mind: he himself might have shared the months-long tortures and humiliations suffered by Kisch’s “closest friends” had the Soviet specialists in “scientific” torture (as they themselves proudly boasted) accepted his offer – quoted from his letter to Thornton above — to be extradited to Prague and put on trial in the years of judicial murders.

As an Australian, he might have escaped hanging, but as with the similarly committed Communist agents, brothers Herman and Noel Field, who were used in the Prague and Budapest trials as star witnesses, he would have experienced some prolonged distress. He clearly was considered by the organizers of the murderous circus and was proposed for such a role by comrades Jakš and Popper. Burchett played with fire.

Luckily for him, the script-writers of the show trials preferred the Fields because as Hungarian-American Jews they could better serve the dual purpose of Stalin’s campaign against the alleged American and Jewish “Zionist” conspiracy.

After his close call, Burchett went to Australia to lecture on the benefits that Communist regimes provided to citizens of Stalinised countries. In his excellent study of Burchett, “He Chose Stalin,” Rober Manne described Burchett’s four month tour, from September 1950 to February 1951:

Burchett assured his Australian audiences that conditions in the people’s democracies were “paradise” in comparison to those prevailing before the coming of communist rule… The peoples and governments of the Soviet block were peace-loving; to return from there to the west was “like entering into a mad-house.”35

During his Australian lecture tour, Burchett obviously did not reveal the whole ugly truth as he knew it to be, which he later admitted.

China and Korea

The next attraction for his Communist enthusiasm — and upkeep — Burchett found in China. He essentially became employed by the Chinese Communist Party to serve as its propagandist. He was enchanted by the results of the revolution as shown in his book, published in Melbourne in 1952, China´s Feet Unbound. By then he was already engaged in Korea as more than just a paid political propagandist.

He took part in the brainwashing of the English-speaking captives. His contribution to the Soviet campaign, blaming the Americans for spreading germs over Korea in order to destroy crops, was far reaching. By writing articles on the invented germ warfare and actively “persuading” American pilots to sign false confessions that he himself often wrote for them, Burchett descended into the depths of an agent-torturer.36

In Passport, Burchett claimed that “in exposing American experiments in germ warfare, I was doing my duty as a journalist and a responsible member of human society.”37 Compare this with the testimony of a member of the Czechoslovak Department for Active Measures, Ladislav Bittman, who revealed the truth in his 1985 book The KGB and Soviet Disinformation:

During the Korean War (1950-1953), the KGB conducted a worldwide disinformation campaign accusing the United States of using bacteriological warfare. With the help of Western journalists like Wilfred Burchett, the Soviets publicized the forged evidence in Communist as well as Western newspapers.38

From documents recently published from Soviet archives, it is well established that Stalin resisted North Korean requests for an attack on South Korea for an entire year before he finally agreed and took part with large combat units of his own.39 He even suggested a provocation from the south by sending North Korean troops across the border in order to be pursued back, exactly the same way Hitler had “responded” to the Polish “invasion” simulated by his own soldiers in Polish uniforms. Burchett always lied about the supposed South Korean attack on the North thus beginning the war. Even as late as March 25, 1974, in a Stockholm lecture, he claimed:

According to my own, still incomplete investigation, the war started in fact in August-September, 1949, and not in June, 1950. Repeated attacks were made along key sections of the 38th parallel throughout the summer of 1949, by Rhee’s forces, aiming at securing jump-off positions for a full-scale invasion of the North.40

Apparently Nikita Khrushchev was not so well informed as Burchett. At the July 1955 CPSU Plenum, he declared, turning to Molotov, “We started the Korean War” and repeated, “We started the war.”41

While working for the Chinese, Soviet, and North Korean communists, Burchett “told Reuters that in 1952 he was offered $100,000 by the CIA ‘to come to the other side and write a few articles.’ He said he declined the offer.” Again, the truth is the other way around. As Manne learned from ASIO archives, Burchett himself approached the American military command in Korea in the first week of September 1953 “and let it be known that, in return for being offered an amnesty from the Australian government, he would be willing to give useful information to American military intelligence.” The Australians refused to accept such an offer when asked by the Americans and considered putting him on trial.42

Four nations were neutral members of the repatriation commission in Korea. However, the neutrality of the Czechoslovak and Polish group was very doubtful, as the other two, the Swiss and the Swedes, soon discovered. The two people’s democratic representatives consulted each other before departure from Central Europe. They reached Keson in Korea in the second half of 1953.

According to documents found in the Czech Republic’s Foreign Ministry archive, the Czechoslovak delegation numbered 365, although the Ministry acknowledged that only 250 were requested. It was led by Colonel Vrba. Minutes of a meeting on the twenty-sixth of June, 1954, marked “Strictly Secret!” reveal that Chu En-lai addressed them. The Polish delegate Krzemiew declared, “Our job is to fulfill the instructions of the Chinese and Korean governments.” Li San-Cho said that “the speech of the Swiss delegate on the 23rd of June was unfavorable, equally the Swedish declaration; it would be difficult to reach any agreement with them.” A Czech delegate commented, “The Swedes and the Swiss, we know what they are: svolotch.” The Russian word used can be translated as “scoundrels.”43 But its meaning is worse.

For his services to North Korean communists, Burchett received a medal from Kill Il Sung, but he knew that in Australia he would have been put on trial. In 1955, in order to avoid flying to Hanoi through Singapore or Hong Kong where he could have been arrested, his “friend” (as he often claimed) Chu En-Lai transported Burchett in his own plane.44

The question of Burchett’s treachery or innocence provoked a long and heated debate in Australia. His harshest critic was the Australian Professor and refugee from Communist Czechoslovakia, Frank Knopfelmacher, who wrote:

The ancient Common Law definition of high treason — giving aid and comfort to Sovereign enemies; or Australia’s enemies…clearly applied to Burchett, and he ought to have been tried, sentenced and executed, if found guilty of the felony of high treason.45

The severest punishment the Australian authorities bestowed on Burchett was their refusal to grant him a new passport when his old one was lost. That made him a victim in the eyes of the international brigade of Anti-American and anti-capitalist stars such as Jane Fonda and Graham Greene.

Vietnam Between Moscow and Peking

After his Chinese employers, the Vietnamese communists took over Burchett’s upkeep between 1954 and 1957. They provided him with money, a house, a car, a cook, a secretary, and military bodyguards whenever he visited the front of the war to take over the whole of Vietnam.

However, Burchett wanted to move to Moscow. In 1956, he again contacted KGB agent Yuri Krotkov. Burchett told Krotkov that he was an illegal, underground member of the CPA and “asked for money from the Soviet Communist Party.”46 He was hired and in 1957 settled in Moscow with his family. He wrote in his autobiography:

Suddenly space was available in the posh Vissotni Dom (“skyscraper”) overlooking the Moscow river, half a mile downstream from the Kremlin… Stalin himself, it was said, had chosen the original list of occupants.47

Burchett stayed there with the highest Soviet elite in the luxury apartment for more than five years, writing for the London conservative Daily Express under a pseudonym.

During Burchett’s employment by the Soviet secret service, his shifting alliances became gradually more pronounced. In the developing conflict between the Soviet and Chinese Communist parties, he moved almost completely to Mao’s side (and with him most of the Australian Communist apparatchiks).

Several times during the early sixties he went to see the former states of Indochina and began to prefer Vietnam which had closer ties with Moscow than with Peking. Although he publicly supported Mao Tse-tung’s Cultural Revolution, he later admitted that he was nonplussed by it. In April 1967, he saw in Peking the violent infighting between various Communist groups denouncing each other. He was told, as he wrote, by the stauch supporter of revolutionary struggles — Anna Louise Strong:

“Mao has let the genie out of the bottle, and I’m not sure he’s going to be able to get it back in!”

She also told him that Chou En-lai, who was then “stamping out fires,” was more important than Mao.48

For years, in his press reports and books on the Vietnamese conflict, Burchett claimed that there was no coordination between the North Vietnamese Government and revolutionaries in the South. There would be no reunification. His autobiography confirms that he was systematically lying:

In truth, there was one single revolutionary strategy for the military, political, and diplomatic fronts of Vietnam and one united leadership of that strategy, but it was still secret.49

He was thus far receiving his stipend from Moscow as was witnessed in 1969 at the Pnomh Penh airport by his film-maker friend Edwin Morrisby and reported in Morrisby’s Memoir in 1985. Morrisby also revealed that the large amount of money in American Express Travellers’ checks was delivered to him by a North Vietnamese. Morrisby knew that Burchett was a KGB agent and that his wife worked for the Bulgarian branch of the KGB.50

Since his close connection with Asian Communist parties was well known, he was often asked for inside information by journalists in Korea and later even by Averell Harriman at the Paris peace talks and in Washington, D.C. by Henry Kissinger, as he proudly reported in his autobiography.51 They knew that he could speak for the communists.

Burchett’s work for the Vietnamese Communist Party was probably the most sincere and closest to his heart as well as most successful at obtaining results. As usual, he exaggerated, pretended, lied, but the “American capitalists and militarists” were obviously involved in a controversial war. Viet Minh fighter Hinh Truong testified to Burchett”s importance to the cause: “Mr Burchett was a Communist, an international Communist soldier.”52 Burchett´s friend Morrisby wrote:

Wilfred proudly told me that the Vietnamese High command did not think that the war could be won on the ground and had to be won at the public relations level.53

Santamaria concluded his chapter devoted to him: “Burchett was a paid Soviet agent, who operated as a ‘combattant’ in support of forces fighting Australian soldiers in the field.”54

Imitating Kisch

In 1970, Burchett, following the example of his model Kisch, flew to Australia without a passport or visa in a private plane provided by the millionaire Gordon Barton.55 Once again, Australian authorities did not know how to handle him without making an even bigger martyr out of him. Burchett was able to entitle a chapter of his second memoir “Prodigal’s Return.”56 In spite of a long history of lying and working actively for enemies of Australia and world democracies, he was still very popular with Leftist and “liberal” people.

Kisch’s legend was still very much on Burchett‘s mind:

Telegrams started pouring in from trade unions, student organizations, personalities, some of them known to me, others not, pledging support and urging me to continue the Fight. My mind could not but go back to Egon Erwin Kisch and his fight thirty-six years earlier. But travel methods had changed. I could not jump out of a plane somewhere in Australia.57

Burchett felt great that he could imitate — minus the jumping — the other Soviet agent, but in his biography — as we will see — only forty pages separate this “triumph” from expressions of desperation from the movement whose cause he served for decades.

Chinese Miracles

Burchett managed to praise Mao Tse-tung’s disastrous experimentation with huge anthill human communes. His book China: The Quality of Life (1976) was based on his visit in the summer of 1973. According to Burchett, “Mao’s Gratest Leap,” as he called the first chapter, did not produce a famine costing millions of Chinese lives, as was later admitted by the Chinese Communist Party, but was an enormous success: “Within four months… China’s more than a billion farmers were reorganized without any interruption in production.”58

The communization was not ordered from above, not at all: “As the initiative for forming the communes came from the grassroots, there was no standard set of rules. Members made their own.”59 The Marxist spirit so moved peasants that — miracle of miracles — all made their own rules exactly the same way, as if ordered and enforced militarily from above: “A striking aspect was the general uniformity of the way things worked.”60 The credulity of intellectuals in the new Holy Spirit who wanted to be fooled is almost unbelievable. (I myself witnessed a colleague of mine in Perth extolling the virtues of the communes. He was believed by many. My objections were ignored.)

In the second chapter, “Fifty Thousand Police-less States,” Burchett admired the decentralization of the strictly centralized police dictatorship:

The communes have a certain degree of autonomy… They represent almost the ultimate of decentralization of state power – short of the actual withering away of the state – which is essential to Mao Tse-tung’s philosophy.61

In the slaughterhouse that China was becoming, almost everything was ideal:

Although there is a People’s Militia, there is no army, [only four or five million soldiers!] no police and no courts or gaols…62 Crime? … It’s practically non-existent.63

In this Marxist paradise, “wherever we looked the picture was the same — of people running their own lives … without interference from the outside and progressing steadily towards prosperity.”64 [All while millions of Chinese were dying of starvation!]

Here Burchett surely reaches the apogee of his deception.

Another disaster, the closing of all universities and colleges, depriving a whole generation of Chinese students of higher education, was celebrated by Burchett:

Since the Cultural Revolution, everyone in China from kindergarten onwards has studied Marxist theory at some level or another …65

The achievements of the Great Leap Forward were consolidated during the Cultural Revolution.66

Burchett was enthusiastic about the alleged privileges obtained by ethnic minorities, especially the Tibetans: “The national minority peoples have been helped in every imaginable way to … run their own affairs.”67 Why then did so many try to run away? Why were so many massacred?

It took years before the rest of the world was allowed to hear from Chinese communists themselves about Mao’s catastrophic policies and the incredible suffering imposed on the Chinese people, so several books devoted to Vietnam by the professional Communist enthusiast Burchett were avidly read and trusted. A copy of Grasshopers and Elephants: Why Viet Nam Fell that I saw in a university library was so heavily underlined by students on every page that I wondered how much damage such reckless readers could do in the guerrilla war for which many students in Australia were then being trained.

The Godot That Failed

Burchett’s career of highly compensated admiration for everything done by Communist regimes was coming to an end. His only reward was to live in a private hell, as he truthfully — finally telling the truth — admitted in his memoirs:

Regardless of rights or wrongs in the China-Vietnam-Kampuchea confrontation, the main part of “my” world, in terms of reporting and engagement, was falling about my ears… Now my Asian friends were at each other’s throats — each waving the banner of socialism and revolution – and I was again in the thick of it. It was a shattering blow to a vision of things acquired during the previous four decades, including my certainty as to the superior wisdom and morality of Asian revolutionaries.68

Burchett planned to write a book of praise for Pol Pot’s Red revolution, imitating Mao’s Cultural Revolution, when he himself joined the invasion of his Vietnamese friends into Kampuchea. He finally became disgusted by the butchery that was just a little faster and more brutal than usual. He wrote:

How to explain to my left-wing readers and supporters all over the world… that the foulest barbarities were being committed in the name of “socialism” and “revolution”? … How this oasis of peace has been transformed into a slave-labor concentration camp and slaughterhouse?69

Didn’t he ever see, or at least know of, concentration camps in all the Communist countries he ever lived in and celebrated?

Burchett’s left-wing friends must have been shocked indeed — if they believed him — reading his report on Pol Pot’s and Teng Sary’s massacres. These two Kampuchean dictators were, as he now wrote, “passionate advocates of the Great proletarian Cultural Revolution,” just as Burchett was. They just went a little too far. He felt their extremism justified his Vietnamese friends’ invasion into Kampuchea:

Who but madmen would have uprooted an entire people. … Who but homicidal maniacs could have massacred 40 percent — up to 3 million — of their compatriots and deliberately conditioned a whole generation of children to regard the most barbarous forms of torture and murder as a great joke?70

Two years after the publication of his memoirs, Burchett, a heavy drinker, died in Bulgaria of liver failure.

Attempts at Burchett’s Resurrection

The nostalgia of incorrigible and dangerous dreamers is so great in Australia that at the end of 2005 some of them tried to raise from the dead the journalist who was the most successful at preaching the gospel of their political messiahs. Wilfred Burchett’s son, George Burchett, together with his late father’s friend, Nick Shimmin, published in 2005 a luxurious 785 page edition of Memoirs of a Rebel Journalist: The Autobiography of Wilfred Burchett.71 The editors claim that it is an unabridged version of his Memoirs originally published in 1981. Nick Shimmin wrote that W. Burchett was “the greatest journalist Australia has ever produced, and one of the best foreign correspondents the world has ever seen.” Such unmerited praise for a vicious traitor to Australia naturally provoked a lively exchange of opinions.

Under the title “Comrade Burchett was a party hack,” Peter Kelly wrote in the main Australian newspaper:

Burchett was not a rebel journalist — he was a faithful, conformist communist who never went against the party line despite claiming to be independent…

During two wars in which Australian troops fought and were killed — Korea and Vietnam — Burchett worked on the other side and reported from behind the enemy’s lines with its support and agreement. In both of these wars he was paid by those enemies, China and North Vietnam respectively.72

Kelly then reminded his readers of a story published by Pat Burgess who described the recollections of captured UN soldier Derek Kinne, veteran of the Korean war, of his captivity:

We´d been in the Chongsam South camp, and were told Wilfred Burchett was going to give us a lecture in the football field. We all marched up, the British in front and the Americans behind. There were about 600 Brits and 800 Americans. A lot of the British carried little nooses and about 60 called out when he started his lecture, ‘You’ll hang, you bastard’. And others took up the chorus and were hundreds singing out, ‘You’ll hang, you bastard’…. Burchett said the peace talks had broken down and we were just the lackeys of the Wall Street warmongers.

When Burchett was about to leave, Kinne asked Burchett if he was biased. He told him that “the POWs are dying like flies. The first day I was in this camp 39 men went to Boot Hill.” Because he was “hostile” to Burchett, he was later beaten and tortured.73

Reviewing the new edition of Wilfred Burchett’s Memoirs, Brigadier General Greville wrote:

During the Korean War, Burchett worked directly for the Chinese Army, which clothed, fed and housed him, in addition to paying him. Throughout this period he was under the control of a Chinese press officer, Shen Chen-tu, who edited every item Burchett wrote and instructed him on what to reveal to Western journalists during the Truce negotiations and what information he should try to
exact from them. Working alongside were two other journalists, Tibor Meray from Hungary and Lucien Prachi from Poland.74

Since in his article Peter Kelly also repeated my own discovery in 1996 in the Prague archives of five documents testifying to Wilfred Burchett’s admission that he was a secret member of the Communist Party of Australia, but the admirers of the treasonable journalist claimed that they were fabrications by the Czechoslovak secret service, I had to supply my testimony that I consider them to be genuine. My letter was published in The Weekend Australian.75

Such a nostalgia, however, is not limited to family members and close friends of the lying reporter Burchett. A thesis accepted in 2007 and rewarded by a medal, unfortunately, proves that at least part of The University of Sydney is still suffering from the contagious malady of Marxism-Leninism-Stalinism-Maoism.

Jamie Miller entitled his thesis “Without Raising Problems of Proof or Refutation”: Wilfred Burchett and Australian Anti-communism.

He succeeds in his detailed documentation of the problem the Australian Government was facing when it would have liked, repeatedly, to put Burchett on trial for treason: “The Government had promoted the image of the treacherous Burchett, while simultaneously refusing to publicly substantiate any charges.”76 The Government faced legal difficulties, as Miller himself admits.77 Also it was extremely difficult to prove Burchett’s treason due to Communist secret services’ well hidden agenda. It was hard to find solid proofs that would not expose those who managed to infiltrate them. Miller is therefore able to criticise at length the Government’s refusal to renew Burchett’s passport. In support of his arguments Miller very often quotes Burchett himself.

However, Miller in his thesis attempts to do much more. He tries to condemn everybody who dared to point out Burchett’s treasonable activities and his systematic lying. He defends him as a ‘victim’ of an anti-Communist ‘obsession’.78 Although he had access not only to Burchett’s books [“some thirty-five books translated into myriad {!} languages”79] and autobiographies [he never quotes from them their author’s admissions of lying], as well as to books and articles criticizing his services to his Communist employees, but also to voluminous reports in Australian archives, including ASIO’s, he uses all this material for the almost exclusive purpose of defending Burchett as a victim of the Cold War.

In order to achieve that he invents a “pervasive and unquestionned ideology” of “anti-communism … adhered to zealously” …”founded on suspect premises” … by the “Establishment political and ideological circles in Australia” … “his ideological anemies”.80 Contrasting with it was allegedly Burchett’s “unquestionably a unique professional ethos”!81

While authors critical of Burchett’s systematic lies and treasonable activities were decent and honest people who could not stand Communist regimes that were murdering millions of their own people, Miller is able to see in them only “red-baiters”, “a cabal of anti-communist intellectuals’, their “hysteria and intellectual dishonesty”, “fused with a smear campaign”.82 According to Miller, Burchett’s “ideological enemies” acted as a “lynch mob”.83 He writes about “the institutionalisation of anti-communism”, “a personal fixation masqueraded as detailed knowledge”, “extraneous slurs” concerning his love of liquor, “partisan scholarship at its worst” by the “vicious anti-communism” … “distinctively Australian”.84

Testimony of an Eye-wittness in Korea

The Hungarian writer Timor Méray, who spent fourteen months in Korea during the armistice talks in 1951-53 together with Burchett in Kaesong and Panmunjom, wrote an important book on his experiences.85 He was sent there by the Communist newspaper Szabad Nép, where he worked as cultural editor. First, he liked Burchett and like him kept sending reports completely in agreement with Chinese and Korean propaganda. However, after the Soviet suppression of the Hungarian revolution in 1956, he fled and settled in Paris where he tried to come to terms with his foolish youthful beliefs in communism. Among other publications, this is his attempt to understand Burchett, but at the same time, after meticulous research, to rebuff him as a systematic liar.

He writes: “For me two things were never in doubt. First of all, I always knew that Burchett was a communist. He told me so without delay, right after we first met. He added that ‘this was a secret as far as non-communists were concerned and the outside world should know him as an independent.’”86 Another things was clear to Méray: “Now to the second point… Burchett – just like Winnington – was a man ‘attached to the Chinese’”87Alan Winnington represented the British Communist Party; both of them were used by the Chinese for spreading their propaganda to Western journalists, but Burchett was trusted much more for his supposed independence:

The most regularly occurring scene taking place on the Panmunjom road was Burchett and Winnington, together or separately, in the centre of a circle of eight or ten American or Western pressmen, carrying on lively discussions, providing them with information, talking over controversial issues… He found many old friends among the American pressmen… This, of course, increased his trustworthiness.88

Burchett was also screening Western journalists for the Chinese, supplying them with their personal data, always valued by secret services, informing them about positions of the other side. He was also used for testing new proposals that the Chinese intended to submit.89 Burchett was not an independent non-Communist journalist. Méray testifies:

He told me that he and Winnington were employed by the Chinese state. They receive their pay not from Ce Soir and the Daily Worker but from the Chinese… He told me that he and Winnington worked as “propagamda advisers” to the Chinese delegation at Keasong… The Chinese described Burchett and Winnington as parts of their army…Burchett and Winnington had their lodgings and full board.

For more than two years they had no need to draw their actual pay. How much money awaited them in Peking, after the Korean War ended, as their undrawn salaries, only the Chinese government could tell.90

Burchett’ s reports on the Korean War and on the armistice talks had benefitted only from his English language, style and trustworthiness: “Every single report by Burchett on the armistice talks were instigated by Shen Chen-tu and he was also Burchett’s censor… Shen was appointed by the Chinese goverment.”91

On Burchett’s crucial participation in the false Korean and Chinese accusations of American bacteriological warfare, Méray has this to say:

When he visited the camps he went there for no other reason but to serve the germ warfare campaign…It was the Chinese who sent Burchett to the camps…

Burchett toured the camps between April and June of 1952 and it was immediately after his visits that the confessions made by the American pilots were published.92

When a war correspondent and his old friend, Marguerite Higgins, met him in Panmunjom and called to his attention to “mass executions currently conducted by the Chinese communists,… Burchett replied with some contempt: ‘Well, Marguerite, you seem to have forgotten an elementary fact: that the purpose of terror is to terrorise.’”93

On his reporting on Cardinal Mindszenty’s trial Méray after careful analysis comes to this conclusion: “Burchett knew very well that he was not telling the truth,”94

Essentially, everything Burchett had reported from the communist countries in Eastern Europe to the leading British papers was a lie, from the Mindszenty trial and the Rajk trial to the Kostov trial.95

Méray is appalled by Burchett’s eulogies of the Chief Public Prosecutor during the Stalinist show trials, Andrei Vyshinsky, and of all “the most hard-handed dictators of the second half of the twentieth centuray,” Kim Il Sung, Khrushchev, Mao Tse-tung, Castro and, at the beginning, even of Pol Pot: “His concern became to serve his bosses as well as he could, and to sing their praises, in order to earn his keep. There is no other journalist, not even in the Eastern camp, who can match Burchett being a servant of the ‘cult of the personality’ on such a wide scale… He remained constantly in the service of any one of the various communist governments and parties.”96

“Cut to size by the force of history”

That’s the way a previous communist, Mark Aarons, the son of the last leader of the CPA, Laurie Aarons, entitled his review of Méray’s book. His subtitle expresses how at least some of the communists and ex-communists now, with the mounting evidence of his lying, view Burchett: “The truth is undeniable: much of Wilfred Burchett’s journalism is explicable only as unalloyed communist propaganda.” I will further quote only the first sentence of his his substantial review, since it mentions the vital discussion that the book once more provoked: “Wilfred Burchett died 25 years ago this September but the fierce debate about his life’s work continues unabated.”97

James Jeffrey in the Weekend Australian’s review under the title “Red between the lines” especially stressed Burchett’s “icy ruthlessness” and that he “as an energetic servant of totalitarian regimes … betrayed himself and his own ideals.”98

Bob Gould, praising Mark Aarons’ review, is still defended Burchett: “During the Vietnam antiwar agitation, as an ostensibly independent journalist, Burchett captured the imagination of antiwar activists throughout the world.” Gould for seven years was then himself “fairly prominent in Sydney, against the imperialist war,” and he adds: “We were correct.” Now he is willing to express his “scepticism about Burchett, or more properly my sadness about him.” He sees “Burchett’s political crime against the socialist project in the 20th century… that when the facts became clear he didn’t draw up an objective balance sheet of Stalinism.” Gould is still “deeply committed to rebuilding the socialist project.”99

The most substantial and judicious review from several others was published by Robert Manne under the title “Agent of Influence: Reassessing Wilfred Burchett.”100 He writes: “At present two Australians, Ross Fitzgerald and Simon Nasht, are reported to be making films on Burchett.” Then he lists some of “leading left-wing Australian academics… and journalists” who are still supporting Burchett, “despite everything they know about the human catastrophe of communism, … despite the pyramids of corpses.” He talks about the “post-Cold War intellectual inertia, an unwillingness to reexamine judgements made during the Cold War.”101 Toward the end of his summary Manne comes to this conclusion: “In the end, Wilfred Burchett, despite his very considerable talent and his genuine instinct for human equality, based his life on a false faith … All his books written after 1945 were spoiled by grotesque political misjudgement and propagandistic intent.”102


Burchett was not just a traitor to his countrymen. As a very influential writer, he used his pen to fight for Communist causes and regimes. He helped to mislead many people around the world about the fraudulent and murderous movement. How was it possible that so many people insisted on believing him? Unfortunately, people are gullible. Once they decide to believe in some political [or religious] ideology, it is difficult, if not impossible, to persuade them of the truth. It is possible to lie and misrepresent and still be trusted, as Burchett and others proved again and again. Reason is a rarely used quality. Not only children love fairy tales. Many people prefer believing patent nonsense, hoping for a savior, be it an individual or a movement. Lying professionally can be a good career.

In a way, Burchett’s career was successful. For a country boy who left school at fourteen, he did incredibly well. He learned several languages, drank a lot of liquor, met many important people and considered some of them — Chu En-lai, Ho Chi Minh, Fidel Castro — as his friends; he published many books that were influential, as well as innumerable reports for both Communist and non-Communist newspapers; he was well paid and provided for by a succession of Communist regimes and was highly valued for services rendered to their propaganda machine. However, how worthy of admiration was the cause for which he lied so often, and for whose hoped-for victory did the regimes he glorified murder so many millions of their own people? He was a systematic liar for an unworthy program. For the cause of human reason it is humiliating that even such liars and traitors as Burchett can be celebrated with admiration years after their death, in spite of the fact that the ugly truth has been well established and documented.

1 State Central Archive (SCA), Fond 100/3, file 25, item 91; I/6-66.

2 Ibid., I/6-8651.

3 Ibid., I/6-8651.

4 Ibid.

5 W|ilfred Burchett, At the Barricades (Macmillan, Australia, 1981), p. 153.

6 Ibid., pp. 47-48.

7 Pat Burgess, WARCO: Australian Reporters at War (Hawthorn, Vic.: William Heinemann Australia, 1986), pp. 182-83.

8 W|ilfred Burchett, Cold War in Germany (Melbourne: World Unity Publications, 1950), p. 7.

9 Ibid., p. 257.

10 See Neal Ascherson´s review of Gaddis´ We Now Know: Rethinking Cold War History (Oxford, 1997), entitled “Khruschev´s Secret,” London Review of Books, October 16, 1997, p. 26.

11 Burchett, Cold War in Germany, p. 109.

12 Ibid., p. 254.

13 Ibid., p. 258.

14 Burchett, Peoples´ Democracies (Melbourne: World Unity Publications, 1951).

15 Ibid., p. 149.

16 Ibid., p. 253.

17 Richard Krygier, “Yalta and Its Aftermath,” Quadrant, September 1985, p. 31.

18 People’s Democracies, op. cit., p. 254.

19 Ibid., p. 278.

20 Ibid., p. 281.

21 At the Barricades, op. cit., p. 191.

22 Ibid., p. 146.

23 Ibid., p. 147.

24 Ibid.

25 Ibid., p. 192.

26 Geoff McDonald, Australia at Stake (North Melbourne: Peelprint, 1977), pp. 14 and 39.

27 Wilfred Burchett, Passport: AnAutobiography (Melbourne: Nelson, 1969).

28 New York: Free Press, 1994, pp. 75-76.

29 For Kisch‘s Melbourne adventure see Egon Erwin Kisch, Landung in Australien (Berlin, 1973); Robin Golan, Communism and the Australian Labour Mo vement 1920-1955 (Canberra: Australian National University Press,1975), pp.44-48; and Josef Polacek, “Zu Egon Erwin Kischs Sprung nach Australien,” Exil: Forschung, Erkenntnisse, Ergebnisse (Frankfurt, Vol. VII, 1987, No. 2), pp. 17-33; also Julian Smith, On the Pacific Front: The Adventures of Egon Kisch in Australia (Sydney, 1936). Australian documentation, the basis of Polacek’s study written in German, is available in the State Central Archive in Prague. It was sent there in April 1962 by the Czechoslovak Consul in Sydney, Jaroslav Kafka. A. Keasing, the director of the publishing house Current Books which distributed books and journals sent in by Communist states, gave Kafka the complete archive, including the judicial protocol, worried that it could be seized by his own country’s authorities. Proofs were found in the archive of the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Prague. The file also contains two interviews with Kisch in Fremantle and Melbourne as well as clippings from the Australian press. Polacek’s study concludes with them in English. According to Arthur Koestler, “in his attitude to politics, Kisch was a complete cynic. He always avoided getting involved in argument with the stock phrase ‘I don’t think; Stalin thinks for me’ delivered with a straight face… Hidden behind the mask of the humorous cynic was a tired, disenchanted man, who had no illusions about the Party, but even fewer about the world outside the Party.” The Invisible Writing (New York: Stein and Day, 1984), p. 284.

30 Passport, op. cit., p. 83.

31 Ibid., pp. 83-84.

32 At the Barricades, op. cit., p. 133.

33 Ibid.

34 Ibid., p. 134.

35 The Shadow of 1917: Cold war Conflict in Australia (Melbourne: Text, 1991), p. 38.

36 For details see Manne’s book Cold War…, p. 39-66. Peter Kelly, in his unpublished study, “Burchett – Last Time,” reveals how Burchett perjured himself at least three times in the New South Wales Supreme Court in 1974 and how he himself helped to search for witnesses of Burchett’s brainwashing and participation in tortures in Korean prisoners’ Communist camps for the trial of Burchett in New South Wales.

37 Burchett, Passport, op. cit., p. 285.

38 Washington, DC: Petgamon-Brassey´s, 1985 p. 38. see also Laurence Jolidon, “Soviet Interrogation of U.S. POWs in the Korean War,” Washinton, D.C.: Cold War International History Project BULLETIN, Nos. 6-7, Winter 1995/1996, pp. 123-25.

39 Ibidem, pp. 4-122.

40 Pyongyang: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1974, p. 11.

41 Quoted in Cold War International History Project Bulletin, Issue 10, March 1998, p. 6.

42 The Shadow of 1917, op. Cit., pp. 6-66.

43 CzMFA Archive, No 424-801/55.

44 Manne, op. cit., pp. 64-65; and Burchett, At the Barricades, op. cit., p. 281.

45 “Wilfred Burchett´s Treason,” Quadrant, Vol. XXIX, No. 215(9), September 1985, p. 32.

46 Manne, op. cit., p. 68; and Santamaria, Australia at the Crossroads: Reflections of an Outsider (Melbourne University Press, 1987), p. 159.

47 At the barricades, op. cit., p. 197.

48 Ibid., pp. 241-42.

49 Ibid., p. 242.

50 “Wilfred Burchett of the KGB?,” Quadrant, October 1985, pp. 28-32.

51 At the Barricades, op. cit., pp. 255 and 278.

52 Santamaria, op. cit., pp. 166-67.

53 Morrisby, op. cit., p. 29.

54 Santamaria, op. cit., p. 169.

55 David McKnight, Australia´s Spies and Their Secrets (Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 1994), p. 263.

56 At the Barricades, op. cit., pp. 259-71.

57 Ibid., p. 264.

58 Penguin Books, 1976, p. 16.

59 Ibid., p. 23.

60 Ibid., p. 29.

61 Ibid., p. 33.

62 Ibid., p. 34.

63 Ibid., p. 47.

64 Ibid.

65 Ibid., p. 99.

66 Ibid., p. 172.

67 Ibid., p. 302.

68 At the Barricades, op. cit., p. 12.

69 Ibid.

70 Ibid., p. 307.

71 Sydney: University of New South Wales Press, 2005.

72 The Weekend Australian, January 7, 2006.

73 Ibidem.

74 Gold Coast Bulletin.

75 The Weekend Australian, February 11, 2006.

76 Jamie Miller, ‘Without Raising Problems of Proof or Refutation’: Wilfred Burchett and Australian Anti-communism, Thesis, The University of Sydney, 2007, p. 42. I am quoting from an e-mail attachment of the thesis sent to me from Australia. The copy looks as if the pages could correspond to the actual thesis format and pages.

77 Ibid., p.2.

78 Ibid., pp. 15 and 49.

79 Ibid., p.9.

80 Ibid., pp. 12, 17 and 47. Italics by Méray.

81 Ibid., p. 14. Italics by Méray.

82 Ibid., pp. 12, 77, 73 and 23.

83 Ibid., p. 50.

84 Ibis., pp. 60, 61, 65 and 76.

85 Tibor Méray, On Burchett [Kallista, Vic., Australia: Callistemon, 2008].

86 Ibid., p. 89.

87 Ibid., p. 90.

88 Ibid., pp. 45-46.

89 Ibid., pp. 46-48.

90 Ibid., p. 93 and 97. Burchett’s emphasis.

91 Ibid., pp. 99-100.

92 Ibid., p. 81. Italics in the original.

93 Ibid., p. 54.

94 Ibid., p. 145.

95 Ibid., p. 159.

96 Ibid., 231 and 234. James Jeffrey interviewed the author after the publication of his book. Tibor Méray said that he discovered “the icy ruthlessness in him…. In Hungary he knew very well indeed the best hotels, restaurants, bars, entertainment places, wines and brandies… He also knew one or two, perhaps three, middle-ranking functionaries of the totalitarian regime. But he had not the faintest idea about the country or the people.” Weekend Australian, March 22-23 2008.

97 The Australian Literary Review, June 4, 2008, pp. 4 and 12.

98 March 22-23, 2008.

99 Ozleft: An independent voice on the left, June 4, 2008.

100 The Monthly, June 2008, No. 35, The Monthly Essays, pp. 1-12.

101 Ibid., p. 1.

102 Ibid., pp. 11-12.


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