October 22-23, 1958 | Morris Childs

 Morris Childs speaking at a Communist Party rally.

For two days, FBI Intelligence Chief Al Belmont attended what he refers to as the Internal Security—Espionage Conference, in Washington, DC. It was during this conference that Chief Belmont and his agents seized upon the idea of positioning a FBI informant as courier between the Communist Party-USA (CPUSA) and the Soviet Union. Belmont’s glee at accomplishing this task almost cracks through his professional demeanor in a memo to FBI Assistant Director L. V. Boardman: Our efforts in this regard have progressed to the situation today whereby CG 5824-S has been designated by Eugene Dennis [head of the CPUSA] to operate as this courier. The Soviets have relayed word back through Canadian communist officials that CG 5824-S is perfectly acceptable to them as the CPUSA courier.* CG 5824-S was Morris Childs. Childs was born in Russia in 1904, grew up in Chicago, and was an important member of the CPUSA in the 1930s and 40s. Personal health issues, the bitter internal politics in the Party, and his growing knowledge of Stalinist purges in the Soviet Union, contributed to Childs’s disenchantment with the CPUSA. In 1958, Childs made his first trip as courier to the Soviet Union, and from there, to China. From 1958 to 1977, Childs met with Nikita Khruschev, Mao Zedong, and Anibal Escalanta (a close advisor of Fidel Castro). The information he provided to the FBI helped change the world.


*The personal papers of Morris Childs are part of the J. Edgar Hoover Collection at the National Law Enforcement Museum, generously donated by the J. Edgar Hoover Foundation. All 6,941 pages of the FBI’s Operation Solo files are also available online. http://vault.fbi.gov/solo/.