INVESTIGATIONS: The Strange Case of Amerasia

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The Fish in the Net. The case was assigned to the FBI. For almost three months FBI agents kept Jaffe and his office under surveillance. Other agents tailed Jaffe on frequent trips to Washington where he met assorted small-bore Government officials. By late May, James Mclnerney, first assistant to Tom Clark, who was in charge of criminal prosecution for the Justice Department, was ready to collar the crowd, start prosecutions for espionage.

There was a brief delay. Some Administration officials were worried over the effect the case might have on the San Francisco founding Conference of the United Nations. But President Truman himself ordered the case followed up. The FBI net was drawn.

Philip Jaffe was arrested in his office. He turned out to be a large, square-faced grey-maned man, born 48 years before in Russia, who had made a prosperous business income out of printing greeting cards. A friend of Earl Browder, he had been a faithful follower of the Communist line for some years. His Amerasia had been a vehicle for various writers on the Far East. From 1937 to 1941, Owen Lattimore had been a member of its editorial board.

The other fish in the FBI's 1945 haul were:

Kate Louise Mitchell, 36, graduate of Bryn Mawr, an ardent Communist party-liner and Jaffe's co-editor; Emmanuel Sigurd Larsen, 47, State Department expert on Far East affairs who had spent most of his adult life in Asia; Navy Reserve Lieut. Andrew Roth, 26, before the war Jaffe's assistant, who, despite a report pointing at him as a fellow traveler, was working in the Office of Naval Intelligence;

John Stewart Service, 35, State Department careerman and sometime U.S. observer at the Red headquarters of Mao Tse-tung; Mark Gayn, 36, journalist (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Newsweek, TIME), who was then free-lancing for Collier's and the Saturday Evening Post.

Another Hiss Case? FBI reports indicated that the State Department's Larsen had passed documents to Jaffe, and that on at least one occasion the Navy's Roth had met Jaffe and shown him some papers. Roth later said that he was showing Jaffe a chapter of a book he was writing on Asia. FBI agents reported that the State Department's Service, who had just been recalled from China, had met Jaffe in Washington and shown him a report he had prepared for his superiors. Journalist Gayn had in his possession documents which were duplicates of some of those found in Jaffe's office.

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