Foreign meddling in Australia’s affairs


In response to the on-going racist and anti-socialist line in Australia concerning foreign interference in its democratic processes and the legislation to be introduced to supposedly guard against it (‘Blocking foreign meddling in our affairs’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 13.06.18), I will begin serialising an article which appeared in the Tribune, the organ of the Communist Party of Australia on May 11, 1977.

Although the article is historical – it in turn is a republication from 1961 – as WikiLeaks and elsewhere have shown, its relevance both with regard to interference by people representing the interests of the US capitalist class and to the complicity and servility of Australians who have co-operated with them is not. 

‘The CIA and Australian trade unions’, Tribune, May 11, 1977

New evidence confirms massive interference by the US Central Intelligence Agency in Australian political life. The CIA has paid special attention to the trade unions.

In 1961 Tribune obtained a confidential report compiled by a Mr Harry Goldberg on his 1960 visit to Australia. He represented the AFL-CIO, the major US trade union centre, equivalent to the ACTU. The AFL-CIO is very active in international labour relations, which is closely co-ordinated with the State Department and the CIA. The CIA finances most of its international activity.

We do not vouch for the truth of Goldberg’s report. But we do vouch that the document is genuine.

We produced Goldberg’s report as an Underground Tribune in 1961. We now reprint it because we believe it shows the long standing nature of US interference in Australia, which has been stepped up since 1960.

All the US Labor Attaches to Australia since the war have been CIA agents. They began with Mr Werner who attended the 1949 ACTU Congress uninvited and unannounced, until challenged by the left.

Bob Walkinshaw, US Labor Attache, cultivated Bob Hawke and other trade union leaders. Eril Lindahl often entertained the ACTU executive at a house in Kew, Melbourne. Pat Clancy, a Socialist Party member of the executive, was always excluded. 

Edward J McHale, Labor and Political Officer of the US State Department in Melbourne was assigned to the US Embassy in November 1973. He served in the same capacity in Johannesburg during 1971-73. He is now Labor Adviser of the US Information Agency in Washington. From 1951-61 he was Assistant Director of the Free Europe Committee, whose directors included Allen Dulles, former CIA Director.

Another US Labor Attache, Gene Martinson, is referred to in Goldberg’s document. The present Attache is Arthur W Pursell. He replaced McHale in his former position in South Africa before taking up his Australian positing. 

Goldberg was a protege of Jay Lovestone, the Foreign Affairs chief of the AFL-CIO, who has been positively identified as a CIA agent. Ex-agent Philip Agee in CIA Diary, described Lovestone as “a principal CIA agent for international labour operations.”

Lovestone sent Goldberg to Asia in 1946. He acted as the “bag man” for CIA money and interfered in the Philippine and Indonesian labour movements.

The CIA infiltration of Australian trade unions complemented its activities in other areas.

Humphrey McQueen (Nation Review May 11) reveals the role of the Sydney book importer Richard Krygier who Goldberg mentions as a co-operator. Krygier formed the Australian Association for Cultural Freedom. This was the Australian branch of the Paris-based and CIA-financed Congress for Cultural Freedom. A lot of finance was channelled through the AACF.

McQueen reports that Krygier gave John Ducker a letter of introduction to the West German Consul, Dr Bruno Richter, when Ducker wanted to visit West Germany on his way home from the US.

The Goldberg document serves as a background to CIA activities in Australian unions and its links with extreme rightwing forces in imposing US State Department policies on the Australian people.



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