CIA agent, Harry Goldberg, looks at Australia in 1960
E. Melbourne (ctd.)
4. MacNolte and Tripovich
Respectively President and General-Secretary of the Victorian Labor Party.
Two real vermin, whom I had been warned against, but I went to see them so that nobody could say I neglected to see anybody. MacNolte rules the roost, Tripovich is merely a messenger boy. MacNolte is a bitter sectarian (anti-Catholic) who foams at the mouth literally if you mention DLP, is that peculiar valuable type for the commies who, while claiming to be anti-communist, always carries the ball for them, is always seconding their motions, etc.
He greeted me at the very beginning with the copy of the Free Trade Union News carrying Joe Riordan’s article on the commie influence in the trade unions. “Lies, pure exaggeration and lies, and the AFL-CIO prints it”. I told him we didn’t think so, that we print no lies, and gave the story of what happened to me at the meeting as proof, and pressed him hard on the matter. “That was only a bit of noise; there are very few communists and they just make some noise, that’s all”.
“Well,” I answered, “You allow them to make the noise, and not only do nothing about it but support them in the issues that were raised. People like you are responsible for their influence”.
Then Tripovich put in his revealing two cents, “Do you expect us to be against the communists because they’re communists? I don’t care what their political ideology is, if they are good trade unionists. And Brown (that’s the guy who yelled “Murderer” at me, whose name I had mentioned and what did they think about it – H) is one of the best trade unionists I know. Even works on Saturday and Sunday, helping workers visiting their wives in hospitals, etc. etc.”
And remember, this is the leader of the Labor Party, the political wing, not the ACTU.
Then he gave me the final crushing proof of how they’re anti-communists. He gave me the Constitution of the Labor Party and pointed to the article which said no member of the Communist Party can be a member of the Labor Party, etc, etc.
I looked at it, then at him, said good-bye, and walked out. I’d had it.
Went to the bully-boy to see what makes him tick. This guy has power; he’s on the Civil Service list, so he keeps on while Ministers of Labor come and go. (I met the Minister of Labor McMahon, also. Absolutely nothing; a nincompoop). He handles all the cases and makes the decisions. And given the Arbitration System in Australia he has a lot to do and settle.
Don’t underestimate his intelligence. He’s keen. He regards himself as a “fixer”, as a “smoother-over.” It’s his reputation for fixing that concerns him and that’s why he wants no “trouble”, and wants his reputation to be assured with all concerned, commies included. Principles of course, like with most of these Australians, do not enter into it.
Right at the beginning, I threw the blowup at the hall at him. He deprecated it of course (some of them did; in private), and then went into a lengthy, intellectual explanation of why the movement is backward, non-intellectually developed, and why therefore the commies were strong. Coming from anybody else it would have made sense, because the guy is no slouch. But coming from the guy who got Healey off the hot seat its hypocritical nature was evident.
Of course, I threw that right at him after remarking that his explanation was interesting and asked why analyses did not influence actions in his case since he also sounded anti-communist. Oh, he was a government representative and he had to adjudicate impartially, and all that. That’s, of course, the answer I expected. I paid my respects to that answer, and then left it at that. No use any further discussion.
A very smooth, slick operator, one bent essentially on maintaining his own little empire intact, therefore he will swim with the current. If the prevailing line is complacency re-commies he will go along. If the tide turns he’ll turn also, because Bland is for Bland and nothing else.
6. The Emigres
a. As I said before they are all, each in his own way, doing good work. I met with all of them. Frank Knopfelmacher and Stargardt of the Cultural Freedom crowd, co-workers of Krygier – both University professors and fighting commie influence there which is great.
They’re trying to put out a magazine and naturally asked for aid from us whom they regard as the source of all virtue (including money). I didn’t promise them anything, of course, said only I would take it up. But they’re very good types. One’s a Czech and the other German.
b. Then our friend, Oscar Rozenbess, who’s conduction a fight all on his own around his News and Views. He makes his living driving a taxi, and is a vice-president of the Taxi Union and its representative to the Trades Council where he conducts a fight versus the bureaucracy no matter the odds. He’s energetic, dedicated and courageous. Hes only lacks tactical sensitivity.
He was so glad of our coming that he couldn’t resist presenting himself as sort of our agent which was not good, and for which I bawled him out. But he’s doing very good work. He made a number of requests chiefly for literature which we’ll be able to handle.
c. Bono Wiener
A real character. Background Polish Bund. Through both the Nazi and Soviet concentration camps. Hates them like poison. Is courageous and a fighter. Has two blind spots though:
1) he’s anti-Catholic and so is prejudiced re- the DLP (you know – versus the Catholic Church and versus the Commies) and, 2) he’s for the admission of Communist China to the UN. I hammered away hard at these two things with him and think I made a dent on him. We will keep in touch.
Who’s Who (from Tribune article)
Oscar Rozenbess: Former secretary of the Melbourne Taxi Drivers Association. Former Labor Minister Cameron was probably referring to Rozenbess when he told parliament last Thursday about “a CIA operative who covered by working as a taxi driver”.
Richard Krygier: Sydney book importer who founded the CIA funded Australian Association for Cultural Freedom which published Quadrant. Named in parliament as a CIA agent by Cameron.
Laurie: Mr L Short, national secretary of the Federated Ironworkers Association (FIA). Former Trotskyist now on the ALP’s extreme right.
Harry Hurrell: FIA national president, regarded as the real power in the union until recently.
Joe Riordan: Former secretary of the NSW Clerks Union, a rightwinger who later fell out with Maynes. Elected ALP member for Phillip he became a minister in Whitlam’s cabinet but lost his seat in 1975.
Fred Campbell: Former NSW secretary of the Electrical Trades Union (ETU).
Harry Jensen: ETU official who became Lord Mayor of Sydney. Now Minster for Local Government in the Wran ministry.
Dr Evatt: Federal Labor leader after Chifley. Former High Court judge and brilliant lawyer, Evatt appeared before the Petrov Commission accusing Menzies and ASIO of securing Petrov’s defection as an anti-Labor stunt. This led to the 1955 ALP split.
Arthur Calwell: ALP leader after Evatt retired. A rightwing Catholic, he moved to a centre position and finally opposed the Vietnam war.
Bland: Sir Henry Bland, top public service bureaucrat (Holt’s secretary of Labor and National Service, then Defence Department secretary). Briefly chairman of the ABC under Fraser.
B.A.Santamaria: Director of the National Civic Council (NCC) and power behind the now almost defunct Democratic Labor Party (DLP).
Sir Wilfred Kent Hughes: Attorney-General and Minister for the Navy in the Menzies government.
Jim Kenny: Former rightwing secretary, NSW Labor Council.
Jack Maynes: Federal president, Federated Clerks Union, NCC supporter and DLP member.
Littleton: Probably Little, Victorian THC president.
Vic Stout: Secretary of the Victorian Trades Hall Council for many years who finally opposed the NCC.
Bill Evans: Federal secretary of the Federated Enginedrivers (FEDFA), ACTU and THC vice-president.
Albert Monk: ACTU president for many years and a “centre-right” force in the ALP.
Frank Knopfelmacher: A Sudeten German from Czechoslovakia, a notorious anti-communist academic.