September 22, 2013 - As influential contributors to national policy, intelligence
professionals inevitably face strong political and bureaucratic
pressures to shape their assessments to fit official or factional
policy. In the modern era, such pressures have contributed to costly,
even disastrous, escalations of the Vietnam War, the arms race, and,
most notoriously, Washington’s conflict with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.2 Intelligence on the international narcotics menace has been
particularly subject to such pressures ever since U.S. leaders vowed to
wage “war” on the illicit drug trade more than a half century ago.3 In recent years, influential interest groups and policy makers have
leveled epithets like “narco-terrorism” and “narco-communism” against
targets such as Cuba, Nicaragua, Iran, Panama, Syria, the Taliban, and
Venezuela to justify harsh policies ranging from economic sanctions to
armed invasion, while ignoring or downplaying evidence implicating U.S.
allies (the Nicaraguan Contras, the Afghan mujaheddin and Karzai
administration, the Colombian military, and so forth).4 Given
the stakes, critical scrutiny of such claims, and rigorous attention to
de-politicizing intelligence on international narcotics matters, may be
as vital to preventing foreign policy disasters as is ensuring sound
intelligence on more traditional matters of national security. To shed historical light on the dangers of turning international drug
enforcement into a political weapon, this paper re-examines a classic
case of alleged manipulation of narcotics intelligence: the vilification
of Communist China by U.S. Commissioner of Narcotics Harry J. Anslinger
at the height of the Cold War. His inflammatory rhetoric denouncing the
People’s Republic of China (PRC) as an evil purveyor of narcotics went
largely unchallenged in the Western media during the 1950s and early
1960s, when Anslinger acted as America’s leading drug enforcement
official and its official representative to the United Nations
Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND). As we shall see, his charges
strongly reinforced Washington’s case for diplomatic isolation of China,
including its exclusion from the United Nations. In 1971, as relations between Washington and Beijing began to thaw,
the official U.S. line on China’s responsibility for drug trafficking
abruptly reversed. At about the same time, a young scholar named Alfred
McCoy published an authoritative volume on the modern history of the
international heroin trade, contesting Anslinger’s claims and pinning
blame for much of the traffic on U.S. military allies in Southeast Asia.5Since then a number of historians have endorsed McCoy’s conclusions
and characterized Anslinger’s conduct as the work of a master bureaucrat
(or ideologue) bent on augmenting his agency’s prestige and power by
inflating Cold War stereotypes of the PRC.6 This paper reexamines and extends their work by asking the question
made famous by Tennessee Sen. Howard Baker during the Watergate
hearings: What did he know, and when did he know it? As Kevin F. Ryan
has observed, “it is unclear how much the FBN actually knew about
[China’s involvement in] the international narcotics trade (and how much
was simply convenient rhetoric).”7 McCoy and most
subsequent historians have relied on ex post rejections of Anslinger’s
claims by U.S. and foreign law enforcement officials in the aftermath of
the opening to China. But can we be sure Anslinger had no evidence to
support his charges? If so, did Anslinger simply invent his claims, or
did other interested parties feed him misleading or false information?
And, equally important, what did Anslinger know but choose to ignore
about drug trafficking by American allies, including those covertly
backed by the Central Intelligence Agency? New evidence, including recently declassified files of the Federal
Bureau of Narcotics and Central Intelligence Agency, along with
overlooked public materials from that period, sheds important new light
on the state of Anslinger’s knowledge and probable motives. The records, unavailable to or unused by previous historians, provide
strong new confirmation of Anslinger’s manipulation of intelligence to
serve both his agency’s bureaucratic interests and a militantly
anti-Communist foreign policy agenda at the expense of genuine narcotics
enforcement. They leave open the possibility that Chinese traffickers continued to
smuggle opiates out of the mainland into the 1950s, but do not
challenge what is widely accepted today about the communist government’s
attempt to suppress cultivation and trafficking.
Harry Anslinger’s Cold War
Anslinger’s impact on federal drug enforcement was nearly the equal of
J. Edgar Hoover’s record at the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He ran
the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN), an agency of the Treasury
Department, from its founding in 1930 to 1962, through two Republican
and three Democratic administrations. His authoritative public
campaigning led to a series of landmark drug laws, including the
Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, the Boggs Act of 1951, and the Narcotics
Control Act of 1956, all notable for their tough legal penalties and the
sweeping powers they granted to law enforcement.8 Early in his career, Anslinger showed signs of the obsessions and
dramatic tactics that would characterize his Cold War record, including
strong anti-communism and a preference for implicating colorful
scapegoats as a means of rallying public support.9 His
masterful use of frightening imagery to stampede public opinion was on
full display during his successful crusade to bring the sale of
marijuana under federal control in the mid-1930s.10 Anslinger aroused public fears and focused congressional attention on
the narcotics problem by characterizing it as the work of a few evil
masterminds - a story line adopted years later by the Drug Enforcement
Administration in its depiction of Colombian and Mexican “kingpins” as
leaders of all-powerful cocaine “cartels.” Starting in the late 1940s,
for example, Anslinger accused deported Italian-American gangster
Charles “Lucky” Luciano and his Mafia allies of controlling the world
heroin market - a claim largely discredited by recent scholarship. As
Kathryn Meyer and Terry Parssinen conclude, “The Federal Bureau of
Narcotics needed monstrous villains for public consumption, and Luciano,
the archetypal mafioso, filled that role.”11 Luciano remained Anslinger’s bête noir through 1951 and into early 1952.12
Communist China was then only one of his many secondary concerns. In a
meeting of the UN’s Commission on Narcotic Drugs in May 1951, Anslinger
cited Turkey as the largest source of heroin seized in the United
States, followed by Italy and Greece. With regard to China, he merely
noted with “considerable concern” that heroin was flowing from the
northern port of Tientsin to Japan. In the nagging style he used with
many countries, Anslinger stated without drama, “This traffic should be
suppressed by the Communist authorities.” It fell to the Nationalist
Chinese delegate to warn ominously that the PRC had stockpiled 370 tons
of narcotics - an assertion denounced as groundless by the Soviet
representative.13 However, with the rise of McCarthyism and signs of Republican
momentum heading into the 1952 elections, the Communist menace became
Anslinger’s enemy number one.14 At the next CND meeting in
May 1952, he unleashed a full broadside against Communist China. Seeking
maximum publicity, he leaked details to the media more than a week
ahead of time. According to American’s narcotics czar, Communist China
was “going into the narcotics traffic on a large and carefully planned
scale,” both to fill its treasury and to undermine United Nations troops
in Korea. He fingered the regime’s Finance Minister, one Po I Po (Bo
Yibo), who allegedly supervised vast poppy fields, numerous heroin
refineries, and the training of 4,000 agents to sell the narcotics
overseas, aided by Japanese and North Korea communists.15
(Conveniently linking the FBN’s two leading villains, one nationally
syndicated columnist referred to this alleged Chinese kingpin as “an
Oriental Lucky Luciano.”)16 In his official report to the Commission a few days later, Anslinger
claimed that Communist China was producing more than 4,000 tons of opium
a year - or more than eight times the legal world production. Ticking off
seizure statistics and arrest reports furnished by the Supreme
Commander for the Allied Powers (SCAP), he maintained that all heroin
seized in Japan in 1951 came from Communist China, either through Hong
Kong or North Korea. Anslinger said arrested traffickers had confessed
that “profits from the smuggling were used to finance the activities of
the Communist Party and to obtain strategic raw materials.” Protests by
the Soviet representative to the CND - who hurled charges of his own about
bacteriological warfare in Korea and the rape of Japanese women by U.S.
soldiers - persuaded few observers in the West. Neither did China’s
outraged description of Anslinger’s statement as “a fabrication from
start to finish.”17 Anslinger would repeat and amplify these charges year after year, attracting widespread coverage in the international media.18
In November 1953, testifying before a Senate Judiciary Committee
subcommittee on juvenile delinquency, he accused the PRC of causing a
rise in juvenile addiction on the West Coast by “flooding the illicit
market” with heroin “for financial gain.”19 The next year,
speaking before the CND in the face of protests from Soviet and Polish
delegates, he charged that the PRC had tripled the land area devoted to
poppy cultivation to “demoralize the people of the free world.”20
In 1955, he testified before both the Senate Internal Security
Subcommittee and the Senate Subcommittee on Improvements in the Federal
Criminal Code - which was sponsoring tougher new drug laws - on Communist
China’s nefarious dope trade to “finance political activities and spread
addiction among free peoples.”21 As late as 1961, near the
end of his reign as narcotics commissioner, Anslinger warned memorably
of “Red China’s long range dope-and-dialectic assault on America and its
leaders.”22 Far from questioning such rhetoric, most respectable opinion leaders
in the United States considered his claims authoritative. The New York
Times endorsed Anslinger’s charges at least twice in its editorials.23
Even critics of Anslinger’s domestic hardline policies toward drug
offenders found it opportune to accept his findings about China at face
value.24 Indeed, throughout the 1950s, only one significant American critic
took public issue with Anslinger’s harangues: John O’Kearney, who worked
on the foreign desk of the New York Daily News. Writing in The Nation
magazine, O’Kearney complained that Anslinger’s charges were “not borne
out by the preponderance of evidence in the opium ports of the East
where evidence is obtained” and helped “to keep the American public in a
state of hypnotized conviction that the Peking government is too
barbarous to be permitted to assume China’s seat in the United Nations.”
Though he acknowledged that “Red China cannot be absolved of having a
part in the business,” O’Kearney wrote that local narcotics officials in
Hong Kong and Singapore “have stated in interviews that Anslinger’s
charges against Red China are ‘political exaggerations.’
[Officials] in the Narcotics Information Bureau in Singapore say that
their most reliable intelligence is that Red China is ploughing up the
opium fields of Yunnan Province to plant cotton.” O’Kearney boldly
maintained that “the opium traffic has become a useful weapon in the
hands of the anti-Communist propaganda warriors of the cold war.”25 From recently opened records of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, we
now have explicit evidence of this propaganda war. In his 1952 report to
the CND on the world narcotic traffic, Anslinger or an aide
systematically edited out references to major opium suppliers in Asia
other than China.26 In 1953, Anslinger’s assistant wrote to
the FBN’s San Francisco district supervisor with a clear directive: “The
Commissioner called and told me that in the Chinese conspiracy case you
should be sure to include one defendant in Communist China. Please
be sure this is done, as it will be worth a great deal to the
Commissioner in the United Nations.”27 Before issuing another
blast against the PRC in the UN, Anslinger sought clearance from the
State Department, which advised that it “would coincide advantageously
with our psychological attacks on Communist China.”28
Publicly, however, a top U.S. delegate to the United Nations said in
defense of Anslinger, “I cannot state earnestly enough in this
discussion that we are not concerned with politics,” before charging the
Soviets with “actively” defending “the illicit traffic in drugs, that
terrible curse upon mankind,” by standing up for China.29 As late as 1970, the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (BNDD),
successor to the FBN, still officially maintained that “opium is
cultivated in vast quantities in the Yunnan Province of China.” But
within a year, with the advent of “Ping-Pong diplomacy” and the Nixon
administration’s startling opening to China, Washington brazenly
reversed its longstanding position.30 A background memo from
the Nixon White House in early 1972 declared, “There is no evidence that
the PRC has either engaged in or sanctioned the illicit export of opium
or its derivatives to the Free World, nor are there any indications of
PRC control over the opium trade of Southeast Asia and adjacent
markets.” It blamed “a persistent propaganda campaign” waged since the
early 1950s by the pro-Taiwan lobby to mislead the American public as to
the PRC’s guilt.31 Reflecting that new political line in their justly acclaimed 1972
treatise, The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia, Alfred McCoy and two
colleagues addressed the issue briefly and confirmed that Anslinger’s
campaign against the PRC had been a sham. They offered three kinds of
evidence: (1) ex post claims by BNDD officials who now defended China’s
record after 1949; (2) observations by travelers to Southeast Asia in the
1960s who confirmed that China was not then a significant exporter of
opium; and (3) the assertion by one Hong Kong customs official that the
British colony had “never had a single seizure from China since 1949.”32 Subsequent historians have largely accepted this argument, but in
retrospect it was far from definitive. The BNDD’s claims were suspect
because of their blatantly political timing. The 1960s-era testimony was
largely irrelevant to the period of Anslinger’s tenure in office. And
the Hong Kong official’s denial, which was too absolute to be taken
seriously, smacked of pandering to the colony’s powerful neighbor.33 Die-hard anti-communists furiously disputed the new official verdict.
They accused the Nixon administration of “a conscious effort to cover
up Red China’s nefarious part in the international illicit drug
traffic.”34 The hardline conservative Rep. John Ashbrook,
R.-Ohio, raised an especially troubling question: “Does the ‘persistent
propaganda campaign’ of the early 1950s include the overwhelming factual
statements of the U.S. Commissioner of the Bureau of Narcotics and our
narcotics representative to the United Nations, Mr. Anslinger?”35 Years later, attempting to answer that question, historian William O.
Walker III delved deeply into U.S. archival records that were
unavailable to McCoy and concluded that Anslinger was probably
exaggerating. But without access to still-closed FBN files Walker
reached no final verdict, asserting that “available documentation does
not permit final judgment about Beijing’s responsibility for the Asian
opium and narcotics trade in the early 1950s.”36
Anslinger’s Questionable Sources: the SCAP Connection
In reassessing the credibility of Anslinger’s claims, one of the most
striking facts to note is that Anslinger had no full-time agents
stationed in the Far East until 1962.37 (The U.S. Customs service had jurisdiction over narcotics investigations in the region, with offices in Hong Kong and Japan.)38
He thus depended heavily on agents of friendly governments - and
particularly on partisan intelligence sources connected with U.S.
occupation forces in Japan (SCAP) and Nationalist China. Anslinger acknowledged that SCAP intelligence provided among “the
first reports we received about the Communist narcotic smuggling in the
Far East.”39 He made a SCAP account of heroin trafficking in
Japan the centerpiece of his first all-out assault against Communist
China before the CND in May 1952.40 The report declared that
“Investigations, arrests, and seizures in Japan during 1951 proved
conclusively that communists are smuggling heroin from China to Japan,
and are using the proceeds from the sale thereof to finance party
activities and to obtain strategic materials for China.” In support of
that strong claim, it cited two seizures of heroin smuggled by North
Korean communists in 1950, including one delivery to the chief of the
Communist party in Kyushu. It also cited one seizure of heroin that
carried the seals of a pharmaceutical laboratory in northern China. But
more than a half dozen other cases cited in the document simply involved
heroin smuggled into Japan from Hong Kong - typically by Chinese from
Taiwan (“Formosans”). Evidently, for Anslinger, heroin carried from
British-controlled Hong Kong by smugglers from Nationalist-controlled
Taiwan was proof of a Communist conspiracy. The chief of SCAP’s narcotic control brigade, Wayland Speer, had more
titillating intelligence for Anslinger, which the FBN chief drew on for
his remarks to the United Nations. Referring to a seizure of heroin on a
Norwegian ship docked in Japan, Speer wrote, “According to information received, the above narcotics
were smuggled into Japan by Chinese Communists to obtain funds for
Communist activities and to lower the fighting strength of colored
soldiers in Japan and Korea by narcotic smuggling. It is also reported that Chinese Communists are planting opium
poppies on a large scale in Jehol and manufacturing heroin in Tientsin.
The heroin is allegedly collected by the Central Financial and Economic
Committee in Peking. This committee is supposed to be assigned the duty
of smuggling the heroin into foreign countries. It was also reported that approximately 4,000 Chinese Communists are
supposed to be preparing to smuggle into Japan and that funds obtained
from sale of the above heroin are to be used to finance their
activities. The source of the above information is reliable.” 41 But neither SCAP intelligence nor its sources could ever be considered “reliable,” except politically.42
Within a year of Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s triumphant occupation of
Japan, he consolidated all intelligence operations in his theater in the
hands of Maj. Gen. Charles Willoughby, who acted as the intelligence
czar until MacArthur’s dismissal in April 1951.43 Willoughby
admired the Spanish fascist leader Generalissimo Francisco Franco and
was decorated in the 1930s by the government of Italian fascist leader
Benito Mussolini.44 Historian Bruce Cumings notes that the
general disparaged Dwight Eisenhower as a tool of the “Roosevelt-Truman
mechanism.” Willoughby was also an “eager supporter” of the China Lobby,
“supplying them with his conspiratorial fantasies about various
itinerant leftists” based on information drawn from Nationalist Chinese
and Japanese imperial intelligence files.45 Willoughby enthusiastically supported the rightward shift in the
American occupation of Japan that began in 1948, as Cold War ideology
began to trump New Deal idealism. He paid Japanese veterans of germ
warfare experiments in China to hand over their secrets, recruited
Japanese police to spy on American officials whose political sympathies
he questioned, and lobbied for the official reinstatement of unrepentant
Japanese military commanders and politicians who had been purged by the
Occupation.46 In addition, notes Michael Petersen, Willoughby was fond of hiring Japanese agents with “criminal or suspected criminal pasts.”47In December 1947, Willoughby’s G-2 organization set up a top-secret
Counter-Intelligence Corps unit led by the shadowy Lt. Col. James
Cannon, which ran spy missions into North Korea and the Soviet Union
that apparently provided cover for criminal smuggling by Japanese
operatives.48Cannon’s outfit, which was reputedly implicated
in drug trafficking, also enlisted Japan’s biggest Korean crime boss
and methamphetamine dealer to break up street demonstrations and labor
strikes.49 In 1954 one of Anslinger’s top lieutenants
reported from Tokyo, “The Communists are really going all out to give
publicity on the line that Americans are responsible for the traffic in
Japan. They are particularly using as an example the Colonel Cannon (of
CIC) episode during the occupation.” Anslinger’s man was grateful that a
U.S.-sponsored publication attacking Red China’s “dirty opium business”
was coming “at a very appropriate time” to offset the revelations about
Cannon.50It was also under Willoughby’s watch that SCAP arranged the release
of Class A war crimes suspect Kodama Yoshio from Sugamo Prison in
December 1948. Kodama, an ultranationalist who served the Japanese Navy
during World War II by selling heroin in return for Chinese strategic
materials, soon began his rehabilitation by helping Cannon and the
Counter-Intelligence Corps stage attacks on leftist groups. Kodama also
took part in a 1949 plot to smuggle Imperial Army veterans into Taiwan
to defend Chiang’s redoubt. The effort was derailed when Japanese police
seized a KMT drug shipment that was helping to finance such rightist
adventures.51For Kodama, that was only a temporary setback.
“Through his ties to the right, the underworld, and American
intelligence,” write David Kaplan and Alec Dubro, “Kodama would become
one of the most powerful men in postwar Japan - and the mastermind behind
the yakuza’s rise to political power.”52 Given its political mission, and proven willingness to slander
ideological enemies, SCAP intelligence was entirely capable of feeding
Anslinger highly slanted reports on the source of drugs in Japan and
Korea. Although SCAP and Anslinger pointed to Red China as the cause of
rising heroin addiction in Japan, that problem may more accurately be
traced to the fact that, in the words of one Japanese historian, “after
the war, Japan’s civilian and former military drug lords managed to
conceal large stores of narcotics and later made fortunes from their
covert sale.”53Richard Friman reports further that heroin
addiction in postwar Japan “paled in comparison to the country’s
stimulant addiction problems,” which began with the diversion of
methamphetamine supplies “from American servicemen as well as Korean and
Chinese middlemen contracted by SCAP to disburse pharmaceutical
supplies.” Later the meth trade was directed by the same Korean gang
members employed by SCAP as street enforcers.54
Anslinger and the China Lobby
Many of Anslinger’s detailed allegations about large opium-growing
regions in China, heroin laboratories in Chinese cities, and smuggling
directives by Chinese government agencies originated from Nationalist
China, whose representative to the CND issued grandiose allegations
against the mainland’s new Communist masters.55 In 1951
Nationalist China provided the CND laboratory with its only
“authenticated” samples of opium from the mainland. These samples were
in turn used to implicate the PRC whenever the lab found a chemical
match with opium seized by a member nation, including the United States.
This stunning conflict of interest - perhaps fraud is not too strong a
word - was uncovered only in 1963 following an inquiry by the Polish
representative to the CND.56 Anslinger’s uncritical reliance on intelligence from Nationalist
China was all the more irresponsible because he knew all about that
regime’s own sordid history of profiting from the drug trade. Throughout
much of the 1930s, a senior Treasury agent based in China sent
Anslinger voluminous, detailed reports implicating senior government
officials in opium trafficking. Indeed, Chiang Kai-shek rise to
power was smoothed by the muscle and financial support of China’s most
infamous criminal syndicate, the Green Gang.57 In the 1950s, Anslinger collaborated closely with the “China Lobby,” a
network of Nationalist Chinese officials and American supporters who
sought to maintain high levels of aid to Taiwan while denying diplomatic
recognition to the PRC. The Republic of China’s ambassador
congratulated Anslinger on his “unusual courage in openly denouncing
(the) inhuman practices perpetrated by the Communist regime on the
mainland of China.”58 On August 1, 1955, just as diplomatic
talks opened between the United States and PRC in Geneva, the China
Lobby’s chief institutional vehicle, the Committee of One Million
Against the Admission of Red China to the United Nations, ran
advertisements in the Washington Post and Times-Herald headlined,
“Dope - Communist China’s Role in the International Drug Traffic.” The ad
asserted that “mainland China is the uncontrolled reservoir supplying
the worldwide illicit narcotic traffic” and cited “Commissioner
Anslinger’s documented testimony as further proof of Communist China’s
inadmissibility to the United Nations.”59 In 1961, footage of
Anslinger’s congressional testimony appeared in a documentary film
produced by the Committee of One Million, called “Red China - Outlaw.”60Anslinger helped the China Lobby in another key respect - by
delegitimizing serious charges that some of its own personnel were
tainted by the illegal drug trade. In 1960, Anslinger helped the Taiwan
regime suppress publication of the first scholarly study of the China
Lobby, because it contained the sensational claim: “There is considerable evidence that a number of
[Nationalist] Chinese officials engaged in the illegal smuggling of
narcotics into the United States with the full knowledge and connivance
of the Nationalist Chinese Government. The evidence indicates that
several prominent Americans have participated in and profited from these
transactions. It indicates further that the narcotics business has been
an important factor in the activities and permutations of the China
Lobby.“ 61 The Committee of One Million’s chief publicist managed to obtain an
advance copy and put it in Anslinger’s hands. In a letter to the
Republic of China’s ambassador to the United States, Anslinger termed
the allegations “fantastic” and said in a strong but carefully hedged
denial, “there is no scintilla of evidence that any Chinese officials
have engaged in illegal smuggling of narcotics into the United States
with the full knowledge and connivance of the Chinese Nationalist
Government.” Under pressure from representatives of the Taiwan regime,
the publisher (Macmillan) withdrew the book, leaving only a few advance
copies in the hands of reviewers and libraries. The book was effectively
suppressed until Harper & Row reissued it in 1974, with only slight
modifications to the explosive introduction.62 Anslinger gave the Nationalists a pass in other ways as well. As
Peter Dale Scott first noted, in the mid-1950s Anslinger implicated a
Bangkok-based official of the Bank of Canton - which readers would
naturally assume was a PRC institution - in a major heroin smuggling
operation.63 The bank was actually based in Hong Kong and San
Francisco and founded by the prominent Soong family, into which Chiang
Kai-shek married.64Chiang’s finance minister T. V. Soong had
been a supporter of opium revenues for the Nationalist Regime in the
1930s, and would later become an important financial backer of the China
Lobby.65 Among the Bank of Canton’s most prominent customers were the “benevolent associations” of San Francisco’s Chinatown.66
Thus it is of more than passing interest that one such association, the
Hip Sing Tong, was implicated in a huge West Coast heroin bust in 1959.
Anslinger said the narcotics “originated in the Province of Szechwan,
Communist China” and the FBN’s West Coast supervisor, George White,
claimed “documentary evidence” produced in the case finally verified
“what had long been suspected - that Chinese Communists are smuggling dope
into the United States.” Some of the drugs may have come from China,
but Anslinger offered no evidence of Communist complicity. In fact, the
alleged ringleader was president of the Hip Sing Tong in San Francisco,
traditionally an organization closely associated with the ruling
Kuomintang party of Nationalist China. His main alleged co-conspirator
had previously been president of the same tong and was a former official
of the Chinese Anti-Communist League, who avoided arrest in Hong Kong
when the American consul there took his passport and sent him back to
Taiwan.67 Anslinger did the China Lobby an even bigger service by allegedly
protecting from criminal prosecution one of the chief architects of
America’s anti-communist crusade, Wisconsin Sen. Joseph McCarthy.
McCarthy was not only a scourge of “Communists and queers” in the
Roosevelt and Truman administration who “sold 400,000,000 Asiatic people
into atheistic slavery,”68 he was also a drunk and, by some
accounts, a hopeless morphine addict. In 1961, Anslinger allegedly
referred to Senator McCarthy - without naming him - when he divulged
shocking revelations about the former head of “one of the powerful
committees of Congress” whose “decisions and statements helped to shape
and direct the destiny of the United States and the free world.”
Anslinger said that when he learned of this legislator’s drug addiction,
“It was a delicate moment in world affairs. The situation presented by
the morphine-addicted lawmaker presented a precarious problem. There was
imminent danger that the facts would become known and there was no
doubt that they would be used to the fullest in the propaganda machines
of our enemies. Such a scandal could do incalculable harm to the United
States and the free world.” So the nation’s top drug cop saw to it that
this powerful politician obtained all the drugs he needed from a
pharmacy near the White House - at Bureau expense. ”On the day that he
died I thanked God for relieving me of my burden,” Anslinger recalled.69
The FBI, Customs and CIA v. Anslinger
Most Americans were in no position to question Anslinger’s assertions
about China. Out of public view, however, many official experts in the
U.S. and allied governments rejected his claims - including some in his
own bureau. The British Foreign Office, for example, dismissed his sources, which
included Nationalist Chinese press accounts and claims by arrested
traffickers in Japan, as “very dubious.” British Home Office official
John Henry Walker privately derided Anslinger’s “annual onslaughts on
Red China” as largely unsubstantiated and speculated that Anslinger
sought to grab headlines because he was “under pressure in Washington
and having to fight to keep his job.”70 At home, an FBI internal security investigation in San Francisco
found no basis for Anslinger’s claims that Red China’s dope shipments to
the West Coast city were escalating in order to raise “desperately
needed United States currency.” The FBN’s district supervisor for San
Francisco told an FBI agent there was “no evidence” that any drug
profits “have been directed to subversive or intelligence uses in the
United States in behalf of the Chinese Communist Government.” Also, “so
far as is apparent to date, the Chinese Communist Government realizes no
use of money obtained in the United States by resale of these
narcotics.” The supervising Customs agent in San Francisco confirmed
there was no evidence of any link between drug smuggling and subversion.
And four FBI informants, “who are all of known reliability and of
Chinese extraction have been unable to furnish information
indicating that the Chinese Communist Government is using profits from
the sale of narcotics in the United States to promote subversive or
intelligence activities.” In a smug display of bureaucratic
one-upmanship, J. Edgar Hoover sent the report to Anslinger, saying
only, “it may be of interest to you.”71 The FBN faced even more bureaucratic resistance from its rival in the drug enforcement field, the Customs Bureau.72
With its offices in Japan and Hong Kong, Customs enjoyed on-the-scene
intelligence that the FBN sorely lacked. And it wasn’t buying
Anslinger’s story. In 1954, the Customs representative in Tokyo reported
that Japanese officials had no hard evidence of narcotics coming from
China, merely an assumption based on “persistent undocumented charges.”
He traced claims by a leading Japanese anti-subversion official about
Red Chinese dope peddling to a disreputable Nationalist Chinese press
service in Hong Kong. In contrast, Wayland Speer - who by then had left
SCAP to join Anslinger - promised to draft a congratulatory letter to the
Japanese official “for releasing this charge against Red China.”73 The Customs representative in Hong Kong was equally skeptical of
Chinese involvement in the drug trade, noting in one report that “The
various U.S. Government agencies represented at Hong Kong have been
plagued with information reported by professional informants and
fabricators who have been extremely skillful in their efforts to deceive
the authorities.” Later he developed a senior source in the Nationalist
Chinese intelligence service in Hong Kong and Macau who admitted that
many of the drug charges published in pro-Nationalist newspapers were
“based on fabrication.” In another report he stated, “We have seen no
actual evidence of either heroin being manufactured in China or of
heroin being smuggled into Hong Kong directly from China,” although he
appeared to acknowledge some evidence of opium smuggling from China.74 Two years later, Customs Commissioner Ralph Kelly bluntly challenged Anslinger, writing his counterpart: “From my own observation and my many discussions with the
enforcement officers in the Far East. I see nothing to support your
statement that ‘narcotics reaching Bangkok, Hong Kong, Japan and other
areas in the Far East and the United States are largely of Communist
origin.’ The information I received from informed people in that
part of the world is that approximately 500 tons of opium annually
originates in the Burma-Laos-Yunnan area and flows to the outside world
through the ports of Bangkok and Rangoon. I found no indication to
support the theory that Red China is flooding the world with opium.” 75 Anslinger responded to internal critics by noting that one of his
senior agents (the dubious Wayland Speer), who had toured the Far East
in 1954 specifically looking for evidence to use against the PRC, “was
convinced that most of the stuff came from China.” The FBN chief
breezily dismissed British concerns, declaring that “for political
reasons, they do not wish to single out China as such.”76 But Anslinger’s credibility suffered a severe blow in 1956 when the
CIA’s intelligence directorate produced an exhaustive “Examination of
the “Charges of Chinese Communist Involvement in the Illicit Opium
Trade.”77 “There is no reliable evidence to indicate that the government of
Communist China either officially permits or actively engages in the
illicit export of opium or its derivatives to the Free World,” the study
declared unequivocally. “There is also no reliable evidence of Chinese
Communist control over the lucrative opium trade of Southeast Asia and
adjacent markets.” The study reached that strong conclusion while freely acknowledging
the possibility that some drugs did originate within the PRC: “It is reasonable to assume that among the Chinese
involved in the trade a number are Communists or Communist sympathizers.
Chinese Communist intelligence and political agents may also engage in
individual - and perhaps even in group - efforts in the lucrative opium
trade in order to obtain funds to finance Communist activities. It is
reported that Communist groups peripheral to Communist China engage in
the trade, and their activity may furnish indications of the possible
ways in which the Chinese Communists may be involved. It is also
reported that a local Japanese Communist Party group sold opium
derivatives in the early 1950s to finance Party activities. However,
Communist China’s official participation in a systematic way in such
activities as these, although probable, does not appear to be
appreciable.” Small amounts of raw opium produced by minority tribes in China’s
southern Yunnan province continued to leak out over the border, it
stated, but “the principal opium-growing areas in the Far East are in
Burma and Laos.” The governments of Burma, Thailand, and Laos “either
explicitly or tacitly permit the production of opium by the minority
tribes,” it explained. Taking advantage of abundant local opium, drug
lords operated major heroin refineries in Thailand near the border with
Burma, as well as in Hong Kong and Macao, the report noted. Most important, “Trade and refinery processing appear to be in the
hands of non-Communists, and Communist China does not appear to have any
effective control over individuals engaged in these activities.”
Indeed, “Communist China has apparently waged an intensive campaign
against opium production, trade, and addiction.” Looking at the big picture, the CIA analysts concluded that most of
the heroin reaching the United States came from Lebanon or Mexico, not
the Far East at all. With but one exception, they observed, “seizure
reports indicate that the world illicit markets are supplied with
contraband opium and derivatives produced in Free World countries, and
intelligence reports indicate that the world opium trade is in the hands
of non-Communists.” The CIA reaffirmed this perspective in an October 1970 assessment of
“The World Opium Situation,” prepared before the U.S. political shift
toward Communist China. It rated as the single most important “upheaval”
in the world opiate market after World War II the “shutdown of China’s
vast illicit market with the change of governments there in 1949.” The
report explained that seizures of Chinese opium “began to decline as the
new government extended its political control” after 1949, and deduced
that “production in Burma, Laos and Thailand, which had long been
servicing the same markets, probably began to increase as an offset to
declining Chinese output.”78 These two CIA reports were refreshing examples of careful
intelligence analyses unencumbered by the prevailing ideology or
political dictates of the era. Unfortunately, their authors were given
license to reach independent conclusions only because their classified
findings were withheld from the public and thus posed no risk to
political orthodoxy. Government leaders in Washington meanwhile condoned
repeated public lies or exaggerations about the Communist drug menace.
What the FBN Knew about the CIA and the Golden Triangle Drug Trade
It is notable that the single biggest redaction from the 1956 CIA study,
when it was quietly declassified several decades later, concerns
Thailand. For it was the CIA’s assets in Thailand who bore more
responsibility than any other group in the “Golden Triangle” for the
resurgence of the opium trade after the Communist victory in China in
1949. It is thus critical to explore what Anslinger must have known but
chose not to disclose about the CIA’s drug-trafficking allies in the
region. Several excellent studies of the Golden Triangle in the 1950s provide
rich background - without necessarily answering the question of what
Anslinger knew.79 In brief, by January 1950, the People’s
Liberation Army had driven thousands of Chinese Nationalist soldiers
from the Eighth and Twenty-Sixth armies out of Yunnan province into
Burma and French Indochina. In northeast Burma, more than 10,000 men
under the command of General Li Mi found sanctuary in the wild hill
country settled by minority peoples, many of whom cultivated opium as a
traditional cash crop. Having themselves profited from opium for many
years in Yunnan, the KMT forces - named for the Kuomintang party that
ruled Nationalist China - began trafficking once again from Burma, both to
make ends meet and to finance their schemes to reconquer China. Washington’s interest in using Li Mi’s forces to contain the Chinese
Communists soared after the start of the Korean War. By direction from
President Truman in December 1950, the CIA secretly began supplying the
KMT by air and with ground caravans through Thailand.80
Security was provided by the CIA-backed Thai national police, who in
turn were eager to market the KMT’s opium to the legal Thai national
opium monopoly and to international traffickers. After several hapless forays by the KMT into southern China in 1951
and early 1952, Washington gave up serious hope of using them to roll
back Communism in China. Meanwhile, as the CIA’s “covert” mission became
widely known, U.S. relations with Burma worsened and Washington grew
alarmed at the possibility of a retaliatory invasion by Communist China.81
The United States tried in vain to persuade the KMT forces to decamp
for Taiwan, but the Chinese insisted on staying put - and in the words of
one U.S. ambassador, “continuing nefarious operations in Burma and
Thailand including opium smuggling racket.”82Tabling
preparations for war, they focused instead on building a drug empire
that helped boost the region’s opium exports from an estimated 40 tons
before World War II to more than three hundred tons by 1962. Washington’s role in this trade was much more than incidental.83 As U.S. officials understood early on,84the Thai national police, under the ruthless and brutal General Phao
Sriyanon, “had become the largest opium-trafficking syndicate in
Thailand,” in McCoy’s words. He adds: “CIA support for Phao and the KMT seems to have sparked a ‘takeoff’ in the Burma-Thailand opium trade during the 1950s:
modern aircraft replaced mules, naval vessels replaced sampans, and
well-trained military organizations expropriated the traffic from bands
of illiterate mountain traders. Never before had [Burma’s] Shan States encountered smugglers with the
discipline, technology, and ruthlessness of the KMT. Under General
Phao’s leadership Thailand had changed from an opium-consuming nation to
the world’s most important opium distribution center. The Golden
Triangle’s opium production approached its present scale.“ 85 The Golden Triangle would remain the world’s largest exporter of
opiates until supplanted in the 1980s by a new set of CIA allies in
South Asia, the Afghan mujaheddin and Pakistani military intelligence.86 All of this was top secret - so much so that the very existence of the
operation to support the KMT guerrillas was kept from the CIA’s deputy
director for intelligence, most or all top State Department officials,
and the U.S. ambassadors to Burma and Thailand.87 The CIA
went to especially great lengths to hush up the drug-related murder of
one agent and widespread opium trafficking under its auspices.88 So is it fair in retrospect to hold Anslinger responsible for ignoring or underplaying the U.S.-Thailand drug connection? Washington’s lies fooled no one on the scene and could not have
fooled Anslinger. A review of the often-overlooked public record shows
that Anslinger must have known more than to sound the alarm about the
emergence of the KMT and its U.S.-supported Thai allies as one of the
world’s largest narcotics-trafficking syndicates. Ignorance was simply
not a credible excuse. As early as May 1950, the New York Times reported on the presence in
Northeast Burma of “an aggregation of refugee Nationalist troops” who
“operate pretty much as a law unto themselves” and “have been engaging
extensively in opium dealing.” The story noted that the United States
planned to open a consulate “at the little northern Thailand city of
Chiangmai to watch American interests in an area of increasing
importance in Southeast Asia,” a tip that U.S. authorities were in touch
with the KMT.89 Less than two years later, the respected London Observer accused
“certain Americans” of joining Thai officials and KMT officers in
“making large profits” from the “guns for opium trade.” The story
pointed to the large quantities of American-made weapons and ammunition
flown to General Li Mi “from a certain trading company in Bangkok in
which Americans have an interest.” (As we will see, that was a reference
to the CIA’s Sea Supply Company.) Amazingly, the American embassy in
Bangkok confirmed the allegation. “It cannot be denied that we are in
the opium trade,” one U.S. diplomat told the reporter.90 In
case Anslinger missed the story, the Washington Post made it the subject
of an editorial: “It is somewhat startling to read the allegation that
in supporting the Chinese Nationalist effort in northeastern Burma to
harass the Chinese Communists, Americans have gone into the opium
business!”91 A few months later, after further damning press accounts, the U.S.
ambassador to Burma acknowledged in a dispatch to Washington the
existence of “apparently strong” and widely available evidence “that the
United States was directly involved in aiding these [KMT] troops in the
Burma border.” He added that the burgeoning drug trade was becoming a
public embarrassment as well: “Movement of opium into Thailand, and of supplies north
from Thailand has proceeded with apparent tacit approval of the Thai
authorities, probably also with their connivance and to their profit.
Involvement of Thai authorities and the activities of officials of the
Chinese Embassy in Bangkok on behalf of the KMT troops in Burma are
common gossip in Bangkok.” 92 An Associated Press reporter who toured the Shan States of Burma in
early 1953 cited widespread charges that “the Nationalist guerrillas
trade narcotic poppy gum for guns and money.” Despite official U.S.
denials of support, he added, “new American weapons have been found on
slain or captured Chinese irregulars.”93 The New York Herald
Tribune dismissed Washington’s denials more bluntly, reporting that “up
to a year ago Bangkok was full of cloak and dagger operatives and some
American citizens unquestionably shuttled back and forth on mysterious
missions between Bangkok and Li Mi’s airstrip [near] Kengtung.” 94 The Burmese government, which fought unsuccessfully to dislodge the
KMT army, repeatedly condemned foreign support for dope smugglers in its
midst. In the spring of 1953, Rangoon filed a formal protest against
Nationalist China in the United Nations, accusing it of backing KMT
forces who were “looting, pillaging, raping and murdering” with abandon.
The General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to demand General Li Mi’s
exit from Burma. Interviewed by Time magazine, the general admitted that
his forces levied opium taxes on the hill farmers of Burma and were in
no hurry to follow U.N. dictates. “Rather than evacuate..we could still
turn to smuggling or even become bandits and plunder to stay alive,” he
warned.95 Li Mi was true to his word; KMT forces made only a partial evacuation of Burma.96 Meanwhile, the Americans were publicly implicated once again in these
machinations. The New York Times reported in 1953 that a U.S. company
with offices in Bangkok and Manila, the Southeast Asia [Supplies]
Company, was accused by Burma’s intelligence service of air-dropping
arms and uniforms to the KMT guerrillas in exchange for gold, tungsten
ore, and opium.97It didn’t take a genius to figure that the
company was a CIA front. And as almost any informed person in Bangkok
knew, the company known informally as Sea Supply also provided American
arms and training to General Phao’s corrupt national police.98 Thanks to the U.S.-funded expansion of his paramilitary forces,
General Phao was first among equals in Thailand’s military government.
But he made the mistake in 1955 of boasting that he had recently paid
nearly $1,500,000 in reward money to unnamed informers and police for
seizing 20 tons of opium from Chinese Nationalist guerrillas near the
Burmese border.99 Amid widespread public speculation that
Phao had simply pocketed the money himself - and growing concern by
military rivals that he was amassing a rich political war chest - Phao was
relieved of his post as deputy finance minister while traveling to the
United States to seek more U.S. aid.100 Anslinger could hardly deny the obvious any more. The narcotics
commissioner now acknowledged publicly that, “More opium moves to and
around Chiengrai in northern Thailand than any other place in the world
in illicit traffic.” But he still blamed Red China, choosing not to draw
attention to the pro-American parties responsible for bringing the
drugs to the world market.101“By an accident of history,”
wrote one journalist friendly with Anslinger who nonetheless appreciated
the irony, “the middlemen between Yunnan and Thailand are anticommunist
Chinese. They grow opium and add it to the supplies they get from
China and neighboring tribal villages of Laos and Burma.”102 While Anslinger still held communists responsible for the world’s
drug problem, Thai newspapers backed by Phao’s rival, Field Marshal
Sarit Thanarat, accused the Americans and their Cold War policies.
Indeed, they named the CIA front Sea Supply and charged it with “direct
involvement in the opium business” through its training and supply of
Phao’s corrupt national police. One well-informed paper “attacked [Sea
Supply] for allegedly bringing in sixty-nine cases of gold to buy Phao’s
opium as a means of keeping the regime in power.”103 Anslinger had no local agents to feed him inside information about
all this, but recently opened FBN records show that he was well informed
about the involvement of clandestine U.S. agents and American allies in
the Far East drug trade. The narcotics commissioner dispatched one of his senior agents,
Wayland Speer on a 1954 mission to the Far East to gather evidence of
Communist China’s involvement in the drug business.104 Speer
sent home some hot rhetorical missives - which Anslinger repeated before
the U.N. commission - about “fanatical communist narcotic sellers” who
maintained discipline by “cutting off the ears of those giving
information to narcotic agents.”105 Tellingly, however, he uncovered no hard information of Chinese government culpability. On a swing through Bangkok, for example, Speer’s reports - all titled
“Red China Traffic in Narcotics - Thailand,” implicated two senior
officers in the Nationalist Chinese secret police, top Thai government
leaders and military officers, American servicemen, and agents for a
CIA-controlled airline, but only one smuggler who claimed to obtain his
opium from Yunnan Province in southern China.106 Speer’s first informant in Thailand was the top pilot for Civil Air
Transport (CAT), a cargo airline nominally owned by Nationalist Chinese
interests but also operated (perhaps unknown to Speer) by the CIA. The
pilot, who flew missions for the Thai police, provided details of
attempts by one of his Taiwanese co-pilots and other Nationalist Chinese
to enlist him to fly 12 tons of opium out of Burma and 50 pounds of
heroin from Bangkok. He also reeled off examples of other dope-smuggling
plots involving Thai police officials, Thai Air Force officers, and a
U.S. master sergeant. CAT planes in Thailand were generally clean, he
said, because the Thai Air Force took steps to prevent competition with
its own opium flights.107 (That said, the FBN had numerous reports implicating CAT personnel in smuggling.)108 Speer quickly learned that dishonest officials were the rule, not the
exception in Thailand. Jim Thompson, the famous OSS officer and owner
of Thai Silk Company, called his adopted country “the most corrupt place
on earth” and said “everyone is in the opium traffic from the top to
the bottom,” starting with the police.109 Another informant
told Speer that the Army held literally tons of opium and morphine at
its barracks in Bangkok. The FBN agent concluded, “It seems the army is
also the police who seize opium from themselves - or the ones they have
sold it to - and then re-sell it to the government and get a reward for
doing so. I think we are right at the roots of the trouble in this and
other parts of the world.”110 Speer then learned from the U.S. embassy’s security officer that the
“top KMT agent” in Bangkok “finances all of her intelligence operations
with opium.” Her tentacles reached into the highest government circles,
through her sister’s marriage to a Thai police colonel and top aide to
General Phao, “who is called Mr. Opium.” The embassy security officer’s story got more complicated with the
involvement of an American businessman and former OSS officer living in
Bangkok named Willis Bird. Bird was friendly with Ambassador William
Donovan (founder of the OSS) and brother-in-law to a Thai Air Force
officer who served as intelligence liaison to General Phao. Bird, said
to be acting “on behalf of General Phao,” allegedly got Thai authorities
to drop plans to prosecute the drug-smuggling KMT intelligence agent.
Speer noted as an aside, “everyone suspects Bird is in opium,” in part
because Bird had the contract to fly KMT irregulars out of Burma aboard
CAT aircraft. (More than that, Bird was the Bangkok agent for the CIA’s
Sea Supply operation.) Speer concluded his long memo to Anslinger with a rueful observation:
“what a mess there is when enforcement agencies engage in the narcotic
traffic. The Americans are contaminated, whether rightfully or
wrongfully, when working with them even in the minds of other
Americans.”111 A few days later, Speer struck up a conversation with Bird at a swank
Bangkok nightclub frequented by foreigners and managed by an Austrian
expatriate with a narcotics record. (Bird said he didn’t own the
establishment but only “signed the checks” there.) Bird told the agent
he was eager to help the FBN by furnishing information on international
narcotic smuggling, though he admitted that there were limits on what he
could disclose since “he must get along with the authorities locally.”
No wonder - besides his strong ties to General Phao, he had seven Thai
brothers-in-law, “all of whom are close to the Thai government.” Bird
also confided that he took a cut of up to 10 percent on all business
done by CAT, which was “chartered to the police” and also to the KMT.112
In short, the FBN could reasonably conclude that Bird was the supply
agent for the two biggest dope-trafficking forces in the region. Another FBN source, reporting later on extensive opium trafficking by
KMT forces in the Golden Triangle, noted that Bird “was widely alleged
to have amassed a fortune in smuggling consumer goods to China via US
military planes” during World War II and then went on to be employed out
of Bangkok by either Chiang Kai-shek or Washington “to surreptitiously
supply the Chinese groups against the wishes of the Burmese.” He added,
“Nationals of both countries may be inclined, therefore, to take this as
evidence that the US is willing to take a less-than-moralistic view of
such matters as narcotics traffic, when it has other interests at
stake.”113 With all this information at hand, Anslinger could hardly have
doubted the existence of high-level covert U.S. connections to the
Thai-Burma drug trade. He would also learn from Speer in 1955 that the
“biggest seizure of narcotics made from an airplane in Hong Kong since
World War II” implicated not a Red Chinese dope ring but a U.S. Air
Force sergeant stationed in Bangkok as a member of the U.S. Military
Assistance Advisory Group.114 Thai Field Marshal Sarit Thanarat finally deposed Phao in 1957 in one
of Thailand’s many military coups, but nothing really changed.
Privately, Anslinger told a colleague in the United Nations, “I am
afraid that the racket is so well ingrained that it will take more than a
change in personnel to destroy the roots.”115 Indeed, the
U.S. ambassador would concede two years later that Sarit “and the
military group are now more dependent than ever on the profits from
opium exports.” Citing estimates that “over 300 tons of opium pass
through the KMT area in Burma each year,” he added, “If the KMT problem
could be liquidated there is no doubt that it would do much to reduce
the opium problem. However, there seems to be no hope of this.”116 The ambassador recommended bringing to Thailand one of the FBN’s most
celebrated former supervisors, Garland Williams, who was stationed at
the time with the U.S. mission in Iran. 117 Williams
undertook the proposed study mission, and prepared an extensive report
on the narcotics situation in South Asia and the Far East. His report,
provided to the FBN, provides further insight into what Anslinger knew,
and when. Although Williams condemned corrupt officials of the region, he above
all indicted the CIA’s covert operations unit, which he referenced
obliquely through its police advisory mission: “During the past several years the Chinese guerrillas
(KMT) in the Shan states have assumed almost exclusive responsibility
for moving opium shipments out of the area. This is done by animal
caravans and vehicles on the ground and, reportedly, by foreign
airplanes which bring supplies and take out drugs for barter or sale
abroad. It is said that more than 10,000 foreign Chinese illegally
residing in the Shan states are engaged in or supported by the illicit
traffic in opium. It is obvious that the drugs handled by these KMT
irregulars are not sold locally, and that this commodity is the
principal export and source of foreign monetary credits of this
guerrilla movement. It follows that this unique situation must be a
large source of the narcotics used throughout the world, and other
nations suffering from the secret drug traffic surely have an interest
in coming to the aid of Burma in this instance. It is high time
this large-scale opium trafficking organization was destroyed. The
Government of Burma can easily do this if given the support of the
United States and Nationalist China, and this should be forthcoming. It is the writer’s opinion that the port of Bangkok is the most
important single source of illicit opium in the world today. It is also
the locale for the least amount of corrective effort by responsible
American agencies. Corruption in public office arising from the large scale traffic in
narcotics is notorious, and it must be admitted that this official
attitude is a positive impediment to the development of public
confidence in government affairs. Unfortunately, the writer was
unable to discuss narcotic matters with the Thai Government leaders
because American officials forbade such contacts. It was explained that
many Thai officials, some of great prominence in both civil and military
echelons of the government, are involved in the drug traffic, and it
might endanger American interests if narcotics were mentioned to them. The Chief Police Adviser stated that his knowledge of the narcotic
situation was scanty, and based on rumor. He stated that he had never
mentioned the subject to the Chief of Police or to any other Thai
official and could not, therefore, be sure of their ideas on the
subject. He said that avoidance of the subject of narcotics when talking
to Thai police officials was a policy followed by himself and his
subordinates; and he refused to permit the writer to interview any
police.“ 118 Anslinger got the message, saying privately that among Thai officials
corruption “comes out of [their] ears.” But, as a loyal soldier in the
U.S. national security establishment, Anslinger said nothing publicly
about all of these sordid facts. No doubt he agreed with one U.S.
diplomat in Bangkok who, while decrying the pervasive corruption caused
by “fabulous profits” from narcotics, warned that “frontal attacks on
[the traffic] by the United States is likely to implicate
officials of the very government which the United States is supporting.”119 Or as another jaded American diplomat put it in 1958, “With the involvement of the [KMT] irregulars on the
border areas of Burma and Laos and much of the wealth of principal
figures from Field Marshall Sarit down the line based on the sale of
opium, tampering by the outside world with this commodity, evil as it
may be, would prove politically undesirable. It would result in at
minimum lip service and at maximum an adoption of an anti-Western
posture and strengthening of ties to the East which is not bothered by a
moral standard.” 120
Anslinger’s sweeping rhetoric against “Red China” today strikes most
historians - rightly so - as an anachronistic product of the McCarthy era.
But the long litany of arrests, interrogation reports and statistics
that Anslinger cited to back up his claims sounded authoritative and
proved persuasive to Westerners all through the 1950s and into the
1960s. Since then, most scholars have concluded that the Communist
leadership of China, driven by ideology and national shame to stamp out
narcotics addiction, led a thorough and sometimes ruthless campaign to
suppress poppy cultivation and opium production.121 Still,
simplistic assertions about the success of this anti-drug crusade are no
more justified by the evidence than were Anslinger’s diatribes. As Zhou
Yongming notes in his authoritative account, “In fact, inconsistency and inefficiency were common
during the first phase of the anti-drug campaign..in reality, the
Communists simply lacked the resources necessary to carry out this
project completely and were too preoccupied with various other tasks
they were facing - among which the most important were to revive the
economy devastated by the civil war, to rebuild social order at home,
and to fight the Americans in Korea.” 122 As a result of the initial campaign’s serious limitations - and in part
in response to Anslinger’s stinging charges before the United
Nations - the Communist Party launched a second, secret anti-drug crusade
in the summer of 1952, including mass rallies and criminal trials
focusing on stamping out widespread corruption.123 Although
the campaign enjoyed remarkable success, Zhou concedes that it was
“postponed” in several minority and remote border areas - including parts
of Yunnan province in the Golden Triangle.124 Bottom line:
some drug seizures in Hong Kong, Japan and the United States during the
1950s likely did originate in China, just as the FBN claimed. More tentatively, we should acknowledge the possibility that some
Chinese officials attempted to unload surplus opium stores abroad
through illicit channels, after failing to sell them overseas to
legitimate pharmaceutical buyers.125 Indeed, if China’s
secret service was anything like its unscrupulous counterparts in other
countries, it may well have seen the sale of narcotics as an acceptable
means to worthy ends.126 Some still controversial evidence
suggests that the Communists earned hard currency and paid for vital
supplies during the lean years of anti-Japanese resistance in Yenan in
part through opium sales, so it is hardly unthinkable that some
officials advocated the same practice after 1949.127 Anslinger, however, went far beyond these limited claims to condemn
the Beijing regime as a uniquely grand and evil purveyor of narcotics.
Such strong charges demanded equally strong evidence. Anslinger never
provided it and almost certainly never had it. With the opening of FBN
records, we now know that its Communist China files hold no credible
reports implicating the Maoist regime in drug smuggling. Furthermore,
other U.S. and British officials privately called Anslinger on the
matter at the time, savaging the credibility of his sources. The CIA’s
definitive study of the question in 1956 demonstrates that Anslinger
pushed his incendiary charges at the United Nations and in the media
despite clear intelligence to the contrary. At the same time, Anslinger
ignored or downplayed readily available public and private evidence that
America’s allies - and its own officials - were contributing far more than
Communist China to the growth of the Far East drug trade and the
expansion of the world heroin market. Clearly, the FBN chief chose to put anti-communism, national
security, and bureaucratic self-interest ahead of his agency’s declared
mission. These disparate values meshed seamlessly. By serving up a
steady supply of lurid claims to feed the propaganda mills of
professional Cold Warriors and China Lobbyists, Anslinger bought
protection against budget cuts, premature retirement, loss of authority
to rival agencies, and any weakening of the nation’s drug laws. Today
one must agree with the British Home Office official who concluded
disparagingly in 1954 that Anslinger had “strong motives for emphasizing
the responsibilities of other countries for illicit traffic in the
United States and for attributing this traffic to Communist sources.”129
Anslinger’s deplorable record should remind us today of the need for
critical scrutiny of claims related to drug trafficking to avoid letting
our own era’s propaganda warriors generate fear and revulsion to
escalate international conflicts.
 On the Gulf of Tonkin incidents, see Robert J. Hanyon,
“Skunks, Bogies, Silent Hounds and the Flying Fish: The Gulf of Tonkin
Mystery, 2-4 August 1964,” Cryptologic Quarterly, no date. On Team B and other examples of
politicized intelligence around strategic arms, see Joshua Rovner, Fixing the Facts: National Security and the Politics of Intelligence (Ithaca:
Cornell University Press, 2011). On Iraq, see the short but insightful
exchange by Fulton Armstrong and Thomas Powers, “The CIA and WMDs: The
Damning Evidence,” The New York Review of Books, August 19, 2010, and Paul Pillar, Intelligence and U.S. Foreign Policy: Iraq, 9/11, and Misguided Reform
(New York: Columbia University Press, 2011). Among other studies of the
politicization of intelligence, see Robert Gates, “Guarding against
Politicization,” Studies in Intelligence: Journal of the American Intelligence Professional 36 (Spring 1992), 5-13; Harry Howe Ransom, “The Politicization of Intelligence,” in Stephen J. Cimbala, ed., Intelligence and Intelligence Policy in a Democratic Society (Dobbs Ferry, NY: Transnational Publishers, 1987), 25-46; Mel Goodman, Failure of Intelligence: The Decline and the Fall of the CIA (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2008); Richard K. Betts, Enemies of Intelligence (New York: Columbia University Press, 2007); Uri Bar-Joseph and Jack S. Levy, “Conscious Action and Intelligence Failure,” Political Science Quarterly 124:3 (2009), 461-488; and “Revisiting Intelligence and Policy: Problems with Politicization and Receptivity,” a special issue of Intelligence and National Security, 28 (February 2013).
 In 1954 President Eisenhower launched what The New York Times called
“a new war on narcotic addiction at the local, national, and
international level.” See “President Launches Drive on Narcotics,” New York Times,
November 28, 1954. Nearly two decades later, his former vice president,
Richard Nixon, said “This administration has declared an all-out
global war on the drug menace.” (“Nixon Plans to Unify Drug Enforcement
Agencies,” New York Times, March 29, 1973.)
 Peter Dale Scott and Jonathan Marshall, Cocaine Politics: Drugs, Armies, and the CIA in Central America (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998); Jonathan Marshall, Drug Wars: Corruption, Counterinsurgency, and Covert Operations in the Third World (Forestville, Calif.: Cohan and Cohen, 1991); Jonathan Marshall, The Lebanese Connection: Corruption, Civil War, and the International Drug Traffic (Stanford:
Stanford University Press, 2012). Washington’s shifting stance on
Panama in the 1980s and 1990s—alternately suppressing evidence of drug
crimes and then using inflated claims to justify a military invasion—was
a particularly striking example of the power of politicized drug
claims. Jonathan Marshall, “Unjust Cause: Drug Trafficking and Money
Laundering in Post-Noriega Panama,” unpublished manuscript.
 Alfred McCoy, with Catherine Read and Leonard Adams II, The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia (New York: Harper & Row, 1972).
 Douglas Clark Kinder, “Bureaucratic Cold Warrior: Harry J. Anslinger and Illicit Narcotics Traffic,” Pacific Historical Review
169 (1981), 169-191; cf. Douglas Clark Kinder and William O. Walker
III, “Stable Force in a Storm: Harry J. Anslinger and United States
Narcotic Foreign Policy, 1930-1962,” The Journal of American History
72 (March 1986), 908-927. See also works cited in this paper by Douglas
Valentine, David Bewley-Taylor, Kevin Ryan, Kathleen Frydl, Kathryn
Meyer and Terry Parssinen, among others.
 Kevin F. Ryan, “Toward an Explanation of the Persistence
of Failed Policy: Binding Drug Policy to Foreign Policy, 1930-1962,” in
Drug War, American Style: The Internationalization of Failed Policy and Its Alternatives, eds. Jurg Gerber and Eric L. Jensen (New York: Garland Publishing, 2001), 35.
 John C. McWilliams, The Protectors: Harry J. Anslinger and the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 1930-1962 (Newark: University of Delaware press, 1990), 13-17.
 According to Douglas Kinder, “Anslinger led an
investigation of the Bolshevik movement in cooperation with the British
Intelligence Service and … submitted one of the first reports about
Soviet Russia’s world revolutionary plans. “Bureaucratic Cold Warrior,”
 See for example Anslinger’s article, “Marijuana: Assassin of Youth,” The American Magazine, 124 (July 1937).
 Kathryn Meyer and Terry Parssinen, Webs of Smoke: Smugglers, Warlords, Spies, and the History of the International Drug Trade (London: Rowman & Littlefield, 1998), 285; see also Kinder, “Bureaucratic Cold Warrior,” 179-81; Jill Jonnes, Hip-Cats, Narcs, and Pipe Dreams: A History of America’s Romance With Illegal Drugs (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999), 160-161; Eric Schneider, Smack: Heroin and the American City (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008), 7.
 “Luciano Rules U.S. Narcotics from Sicily, Senators Hear,” New York Times, June 28, 1951; “Italy Called Heroin Center, Luciano, Mafia Shippers,” New York Times, September 1, 1951; “Luciano is Linked to Heroin Arrests,” New York Times, March 9, 1952.
 “U.S. Finds Heroin Big Narcotic Snag,” New York Times, May 2, 1951.
 As early as the summer of 1951, as the Federal Bureau
of Narcotics faced budget cuts, Deputy Narcotics Commissioner G. W.
Cunningham made the case for more funding and more agents by warning
that the PRC had accumulated 500 tons of opium for sale abroad, “more
than enough to supply the whole world for a year.” See “New Tactics
Urged in Narcotic Battle,” New York Times, June 19, 1951; “House Told Red China Tried to Trade Opium,” New York Times, August 17, 1951.
 “Big Narcotics Ring Traced to Peiping,” New York Times, April 27, 1952; cf. “Red China Accused of ‘Dope Warfare,’” Miami News, April 26, 1952.
 Victor Riesel, “Soviet Opium Trust Financed North Korean War Through Sales of Dope Across World,” Tri City Herald, May 22, 1952.
 See UN Economic and Social Council, Commission on
Narcotic Drugs, “Summary Record of the Hundred and Eighty-Second
Meeting,” mimeograph, May 5, 1952, E/CN.7/SR.182 July 10, 1952;
People’s Republic of China, “Foreign Ministry Issues Statement on
Narcotics Slander Made by U.S. Representative at the UN Commission,”
July 2, 1954, in “U.N. Documents Relating to Communist China” file, box
153, Record Group 170, Records of the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous
Drugs, National Archives (hereafter “BNDD records”). Excerpts from
Anslinger’s statement to the CND can be found in H. J. Anslinger and
William F. Tompkins, The Traffic in Narcotics (New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1953), 70-75; “Traffic in Narcotics is Flourishing,” New York Times, May 11, 1952; “Narcotic Charge Scored,” New York Times,
May 20, 1952. Anslinger continued to reap publicity by publishing a
nationally syndicated column in place of vacationing Victor Riesel,
“Probe Shows How Commies Handle Opium,” Tri City Herald, July 29, 1952.
 As examples from Australia, see “Store of Opium in China,” The West Australian (Perth), March 29, 1951; “Red China Drug Source for U.S.,” The Advertiser (Adelaide), June 20, 1951; “Reds Using Drug Warfare, is U.N. Charge,” The Argus (Melbourne), April 28, 1952; “Dope Running by Communists,” Sydney Morning Herald, May 7, 1952; “Big Seizure of Heroin,” The West Australian, April 7, 1954; “Narcotics are Policy Weapon for Red China,” The West Australian, May 6, 1954.
 “Reds Push Drug Trade,” Reading Eagle [Pa.], November 23, 1953; “Coast Heroin Flow Laid to Red China,” New York Times, November 24, 1953; cf. George Sokolsky, “Red China’s Dope Traffic Perils American Youth,” Milwaukee Sentinel, October 4, 1954.
 “U.S. Charges China Spurs Drug Habit,” New York Times, May 5, 1954.
 U. S. Senate, Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee
to Investigate the Administration of the Internal Security Act and Other
Internal Security Laws, hearings, Communist China and Illicit Narcotics Traffic,
84/1, (Washington, U. S. Government Printing Office, 1955), 3-14; U.S.
Senate, Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Improvements in the
Federal Criminal Code: Illicit Narcotics Traffic, 84/1 (Washington, U. S. Government Printing Office, 1955-56), 275-278; “Investigations: Dope from Red China,” Time, March 21, 1955.
 Harry J. Anslinger with Will Oursler, The Murderers: The Shocking Story of the Narcotic Gangs
(New York: Farrar, Straus and Cudahy, 1961), 228. He also began
asserting the existence of “a definite tie-in between Red China and
Cuban dope operations,” as he added Fidel Castro to his list of
subversive drug kingpins. See “Cuba is Accused of Cocaine Plot,” New York Times, April 14, 1962.
 “Two Communist Rackets,” New York Times, May 3, 1952; “Peiping’s Narcotics Trade,” New York Times, May 15, 1954.
 See, for example, Donald J. Cantor, “The Criminal Law and the Narcotics Problem,” Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, 51
(January-February 1961), 512-527. Cantor, a Hanford attorney, called
for “some form of legal dispensation of opiates to addicts” in part
because law enforcement was incapable of staunching the flow of drugs
from Communist China (527).
 John O’Kearney, “Opium Trade: Is China Responsible?” The Nation, October 15, 1955, 320-322. Senior FBN officer Charles Siragusa sent Anslinger a photocopy of the article, saying of The Nation,
“This is a pro-Communist publication, isn’t it?” More substantively, he
reported that contrary to O’Kearney, the head of Customs in Singapore
“told me that almost all of the opium trafficked in his area originates
in Red China.” See Siragusa to Anslinger, November 4, 1955, in
“Communist China, 1955-1958” file, box 153, BNDD papers.
 See “Review of the Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs
Throughout the World As Reported Between April 1, 1951 and March 31,
1952,” submitted by Mr. H. J. Anslinger to the CND, April 15, 1952. The
draft text, in “Communist China, 1952-1954” file, box 153, BNDD papers,
was edited to eliminate mention of opium originating in the Shan States
of Burma, Thailand, and Iran, leaving only Communist China as the source
of Far Eastern seizures.
 Memorandum from B. T. Mitchel, Assistant to the
Commissioner of Narcotics, to District Supervisor Gentry, San Francisco,
May 20, 1953 , in “Wayland L. Speer Foreign Assignment” file, 0660-A-3
Correspondence, box 165, BNDD records.
 Memorandum to Anslinger from Walter P. McConaughy,
director of the Office of Chinese Affairs, Department of State,
forwarded December 16, 1953, in “Wayland L. Speer Foreign Assignment”
file, 0660-A-3 Correspondence, box 165, BNDD records.
 U.S. Mission to the United Nations press release 1481,
May 27, 1952, quoting remarks of Walter Kotschnig, deputy U.S.
representative on the Economic and Social Council, in “Communist China,
1952-1954” file, box 153, BNDD papers.
 Marshall, Drug Wars, 30-31.
 Nixon White House background memo, “Alleged Involvement
of the People’s Republic of China in Illicit Drug Traffic,” February
15, 1972, reprinted in Congressional Record—House, March 29, 1972, 10881.
 McCoy et al., The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia, 145-148.
 Popular journalist and historian George McCormick,
writing under the pseudonym Richard Deacon, dismissed such denials by
British authorities in Hong Kong as the product of police corruption,
“complacency” and “a desire to co-exist with the Communists at all
costs.” Following a cleanup of the colony’s police force in 1973, he
maintained, drug seizures “proved conclusively that the goods came from
the mainland.” Richard Deacon, The Chinese Secret Service (New York: Ballantine Books, 1974), 446, 448. This largely unreferenced work is of uncertain reliability.
 Comments of Rep. John Ashbrook, R-OH, in Congressional Record-House, March 29, 1972, 10878. See also Allan C. Brownfeld, The Peking Connection: Communist China and the Narcotics Trade (Washington, D.C.: The Committee for a Free China, 1972), reprinted in The Congressional Record-House, August 17, 1972, 28934-28940; Joseph D. Douglass, Red Cocaine: The Drugging of America and the West (London: Edward Harle Ltd., 2001), 11-14; J. H. Turnbull, Chinese Opium Narcotics: A Threat to the Survival of the West (Richmond, U.K.: Foreign Affairs Publishing Company, 1972); John Chamberlain, “Coverup of China’s Drug Traffic Won’t Aid U.S.,” Evening Independent [St. Petersburg], July 18, 1972.
 Congressional Record—House, March 29, 1972, 10881.
 William O. Walker III, Opium and Foreign Policy: The Anglo-American Search for Order in Asia, 1912-1954 (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1991), 197.
 Sal Vizzini, Vizzini (New York: Pinnacle Books, 1972), 221.
 Matthew Pembleton, “District 17: The First Foreign
Engagement in the War on Drugs?” Unpublished paper presented to the
American Historical Association, New Orleans, January 4, 2013.
 Anslinger and Oursler, The Murderers, 228; cf. McWilliams, The Protectors, 151.
 Anslinger memorandum to Chairman of CND, “The Source
and Extent of Heroin Traffic in Japan,” April 15, 1952 in “Communist
China 1952-1954” file, box 153, BNDD papers; cf. Anslinger and Tompkins,
The Traffic in Narcotics, 70.
 Wayland Speer, Chief, Narcotic Control Brigade, GHQ SCAP, memo to Anslinger, April 18, 1952, in “Communist China, 1952-1954” file, box 153, BNDD records.
 For hints of manipulation of SCAP intelligence on narcotics, see Walker, Opium and Foreign Policy, 168.
 For an official description of SCAP anti-subversive operations under Willoughby, see MacArthur in Japan: The Occupation: Military Phase, v. 1 supplement (Center for Military History, 1994), 254-258. Army G-2 in the Far East Command remained insular and “high-handed” at least into 1952; see Curtis Peebles, Twilight Warriors: Covert Air Operations Against the USSR (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2005), 77, 79-80.
 Frank Kluckhohn, “Heidelberg to Madrid—The Story of General Willoughby,” The Reporter, August 19, 1952.
 Bruce Cumings, The Origins of the Korean War: The Roaring of the Cataract, 1947-1950 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990), 104-115, 123-129.
 “U.S. Paid Unit 731 Members for Data,” Japan Times, August 15, 2005; Takemae Eiji, The Allied Occupation of Japan (New York: The Continuum International Publishing Group, 2002), 162-164; Stephen Mercado, The Shadow Warriors of Nakano
(Washington, D.C.: Brassey’s, 2002), 207-208, 210-211, 219-20; Michael
Petersen, “The Intelligence That Wasn’t: CIA Name Files, the U.S. Army,
and Intelligence Gathering in Occupied Japan,” in Researching Japanese War Crimes Records: Introductory Essays
(Washington: National Archives and Records Administration, Nazi War
Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records Interagency Working
Group, 2006), 197-229.
 Petersen, “The Intelligence That Wasn’t,” 197.
 Takemae, The Allied Occupation of Japan, 165; Mercado, The Shadow Warriors of Nakano, 225-26; Petersen, “The Intelligence That Wasn’t,” 203-204.
 Jonathan Marshall, “Opium, Tungsten, and the Politics of National Security,” 453-54 (Cannon and drugs); Robert Whiting, Tokyo Underworld: The Fast Times and Hard Life of an American Gangster in Japan (New York: Pantheon, 1999), 47-48 (Hisayuki Machii and Cannon); H. Richard Friman, “The Impact of the Occupation on Crime,” Democracy in Occupied Japan: the U.S. Occupation and Japanese Politics and Society, eds. Mark E. Caprio and Yoneyuki Sugita (New York: Routledge, 2007), 103 (Machii and methamphetamines).
 Wayland Speer memo to Anslinger, June 7, 1954, in
“Wayland L. Speer Foreign Assignment” file, 0660-A-3 Correspondence, box
165, BNDD records. The publication was Richard L. G. Deverall, Red China’s Dirty Drug War: the Story of the Opium, Heroin, Morphine and Philopon Traffic (Tokyo:
1954). Deverall was Representative-in-Asia of the American Federation
of Labor’s CIA-funded Free Trade Union Committee. See Valentine, Strength of the Wolf, 151.
 Marshall, “Opium, Tungsten,” 453-454. On the KMT’s
efforts to recruit Japanese military officers, with SCAP’s secret
blessing, see Cumings, The Origins of the Korean War, 524-25.
 David Kaplan and Alec Dubro, Yakuza: Japan’s Criminal Underworld (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003), 50-51.
 Takemae Eiji, quoted in Friman, “The Impact of the
Occupation on Crime,” 93. Future prime minister Kishi Nobusuke, who
became one of Washington’s favorites after being released from prison
along with Kodama in 1948, allegedly became “singularly influential—and
likely very rich” in part owing to his “connections to the opium trade”
while serving with the Japanese military administration in Manchuria.
Richard J. Smith, Machiavelli’s Children: Leaders and Their Legacies in Italy and Japan (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2003), 227.
 Friman, “The Impact of the Occupation on Crime,” 98, 103.
 David R. Bewley-Taylor, United States and International Drug Control, 1909-1997 (London: Continuum
International Publishing Group, 2001), 111-112. In a letter to a senior
official in the Taiwan government, Anslinger sent thanks “for the
excellent material you sent me regarding the illicit narcotic traffic
from Communist China which will be of great value when the subject is
again discussed at the next Commission meeting.” See Anslinger to
Yong-ling Yao, Senior Special Assistant, Ministry of Interior, Republic
of China, November 18, 1955, in “Communist China, 1955-1958” file, box
153, BNDD papers. He uncritically accepted claims from Free China and Asia,
published by the Asian Peoples’ Anti-Communist League in Taipei, to the
effect that rioters in Japan against President Eisenhower were paid by
profits from “Red China’s sale of dope—heroin mostly—smuggled into
Japan.” See Harry Anslinger, “The Red Chinese Dope Traffic,” Military Police Journal, February-March 1961, 6.
 Kettil Bruun, Lynn Pan and Ingemar Rexed, The Gentlemen’s Club: International Control of Drugs and Alcohol (Chicago: University of Chicago Press 1975), ch. 15.
 Jonathan Marshall, “Opium and the Politics of Gangsterism in Nationalist China, 1927-1945,” Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars, 8 (Fall 1976). See also Edward R. Slack, Opium, State and Society: China’s Narco-Economy and the Guomintang, 1924-1937 (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2001); Brian G. Martin, The Shanghai Green Gang: Politics and Organized Crime, 1919-1937 ((Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996); Walker, Opium and Foreign Policy; and Jonathan Marshall, “Opium, Tungsten, and the Search for National Security, 1940-52,” Journal of Policy History,
3 (Fall 1991), 445-450. In 1929, China’s Minister in Washington, and a
top consular official in San Francisco, were both indicted on heroin
smuggling charges, but were allowed to return home rather than face
trial. See “Drug Shipment Worth Million Seized by U.S.” Washington Post, July 9, 1929; “Consul, Wife Held in Opium Smuggling,” Washington Post, July 13, 1929; Douglas Valentine, The Strength of the Wolf: The Secret History of America’s War on Drugs (New York: Verso, 2004), 14.
 Wellington Koo to Anslinger, June 3, 1953, in “Communist China, 1952-1954,” file, box 153, BNDD papers.
 Marvin Liebman, secretary of the Committee of One
Million, to Anslinger, June 10, 1955, in “Communist China, 1955-1958”
file, box 153, BNDD papers; “Peiping Narcotics Cited as UN Bar,” New York Times, August 1, 1955; Stanley D. Bachrack, The Committee of One Million: ‘China Lobby’ Politics, 1953-1971 (New York: Columbia University, 1976), 122.
 The film is available at http://vimeo.com/18895068 (assessed August 11, 2013).
 Ross Koen, The China Lobby in American Politics (New York: Macmillan, 1960), ix.
 Bachrack, The Committee of One Million, 167-169; Joseph Keeley, The China Lobby Man: The Story of Alfred Kohlberg (New Rochelle, NY: Arlington House, 1989); “Publisher to Alter ‘China Lobby’ Book,” New York Times, April 6, 1960. In the new edition, author Ross Koen modified the introduction to read that “some Chinese” had engaged in smuggling with the full knowledge and connivance of “members of the Chinese Nationalist Government,” and that the criminal business had been an important factor in “some activities and permutations” of the China Lobby (emphasis added). Ross Koen, The China Lobby in American Politics (New York: Harper & Row, 1974), xxi.
 Peter Dale Scott, “Opium and Empire: McCoy on Heroin in Southeast Asia,” Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars, 5 (September 1973), 53; Peter Dale Scott, “Transnationalized Repression: Parafascism and the U.S.,” Lobster, no. 12. For Anslinger’s claim, see Illicit Narcotics Traffic, 276.
 Ernest O. Hauser, “China’s Soong,” Life, March 24, 1941, 96; “Soong Family,” Biographical Dictionary of Republican China, v. 3, ed. Howard L. Boorman (New York: Columbia University Press, 1970), 140.
 Marshall, “Opium and the Politics of Gangsterism in Nationalist China” (Soong and opium); Sterling Seagrave, The Soong Dynasty (New York: Harper and Row, 1985), 444, 453; Cumings, The Origins of the Korean War, 109 (China Lobby).
 “Bank of Canton Deal to be Worth $169 Million,” San Francisco Chronicle, August 29, 2002.
 Harry Anslinger, “The Red Chinese Dope Traffic,” Military Police Journal, February-March 1961, 2-6; “Café Trash Uncovers Evidence,” Oregon Journal, January 15, 1959; Scott, “Transnationalized Repression.” The case involved 270 pounds of heroin.
 Quoted in Cumings, The Origins of the Korean War, 109.
 Anslinger and Oursler, The Murderers, 181-182. On McCarthy, see Maxine Cheshire, “Drugs and Washington, D.C.,” Ladies Home Journal, 95 (December, 1978), 180-82; McWilliams, The Protectors, 99. For a skeptical report, see “Doubts Arise over Story of McCarthy Drug Use,” Philadelphia Inquirer,
April 3, 1989. To my knowledge, critics have not offered any more
plausible candidate than McCarthy to fit Anslinger’s description.
 Bewley-Taylor, United States and International Drug Control, 1909-1997, 112. British authorities were no doubt furious about criticism from pro-Anslinger outlets like the Saturday Evening Post,
which ran an editorial in the November 8, 1954 issue titled, “Mr.
Attlee’s Friends, the Chinese Commies, are the World’s Leading Dope
 FBI report by Agent Douglas G. Allen, San Francisco,
January 26, 1954, re “Chinese Communist Activities in Narcotic
Smuggling,” in “Communist China, 1952-1954” file, box 153, BNDD papers.
Anslinger’s remarks were quoted in San Francisco Chronicle,
October 20, 1953. In a later report, the FBN district supervisor noted,
“During the course of investigations made in this district within the
past four years we have not established a single instance of the
transmittal of funds by violators in the United States directly to
persona in Communist dominated areas (Communist China, Communist North
Korea and their nationals).” See District Supervisor Ernest Gentry to B.
T. Mitchell, Assistant to the Commissioner of Narcotics, June 24, 1954,
re “Communist Chinese Narcotics Trade,” in “Communist China, 1952-1954”
file, box 153, BNDD files.
 FBN agent John Cusack referred bitterly to Customs
agents in the Far East who “have fought me all along the way in an
attempt to protect the great deception their service has sponsored these
many years” with regard to “our position on the CHICOM narcotic trade.”
See Cusack to Anslinger, October 28, 1961, in “Communist China,
1959-1961” file, box 153, BNDD records. Cusack was equally disappointed
by the failure of Thai and United Nations experts to acknowledge Red
China’s involvement. See Cusack to Anslinger, February 23, 1962, in
“Thailand, 1957-1963” file, box 163, BNDD records; cf. Cusack to Bureau
of Narcotics Commissioner Henry Giordano, May 5, 1965, in “Thailand,
1964-65” file, ibid. Wayland Speer also expressed his
frustration to Anslinger over the “continuous protests of our
representatives in the Far East at the present time against pointing a
finger at Red China as the source of narcotics.” See Speer to Anslinger,
November 8, 1957, in “Thailand, 1957-63” file, ibid.
 Kent W. Lewis, Treasury Representative, Tokyo, to
Commissioner of Customs, November 29, 1954; Speer to Anslinger, January
10, 1954 [1955?], re “Red China and Sales of Illicit Narcotic—Kyodo News
Report,” in Communist China, 1952-1954” file, box 153, BNDD papers.
 Walter O’Brien, Treasury Representative, Hong Kong, to
C. A. Emerick, Deputy Commissioner, Division of Investigations, Bureau
of Customs, September 28, 1954; O’Brien to Emerick, May 9, 1955; O’Brien
to Commissioner of Customs, May 16, 1955, in “Communist China,
1955-1958” file, box 153, BNDD records.
 Kelly to Anslinger, June 17, 1958, quoted in Kathleen Frydl, The Drug Wars in America, 1940-1973
(Cambridge University Press, 2013), 85. See also Kelly to A. Gilmore
Flues, assistant secretary of Treasury, September 22, 1960, complaining
of Anslinger’s acceptance of claims “without fact,” in “Communist China,
1959-1961,” file, box 153, BNDD records.
 Anslinger to A. Gilmore Flues, assistant secretary of Treasury, May 8, 1958, quoted in Frydl, The Drug Wars in America,85.
 Central Intelligence Agency, Office of Research and
Reports, “An Examination of the Charges of Chinese Communist Involvement
in the Illicit Opium Trade,” CIA/RR IM-438, 9 November 1956. Released
Nov. 2003 (with redactions) under Freedom of Information Act..
 CIA report, “The World Opium Situation,”
CIA-RDP73B00296R000300060031-9, October 1970, released under Freedom of
Information Act, August 30, 2001.
 In addition to McCoy, see Gibson and Chen, The Secret Army; Bertil Lintner, Burma in Revolt: Opium and Insurgency Since 1948 (Chiang Mai: Silkwood Books, 1999); Robert Taylor, Foreign and Domestic Consequences of the Kuomintang Intervention in Burma (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Southeast Asia Program, 1973); Walker, Opium and Foreign Policy, 189-217; Victor S. Kaufman, “Trouble in the Golden Triangle: The United States, Taiwan and the 93rd Nationalist Division,” China Quarterly, no. 166 (June 2001), 440-456; and Peter Dale Scott, The American War Machine, Deep Politics, the CIA Global Drug Connection, and the Road to Afghanistan (London: Rowman & Littlefield, 2010), 63-108.
 The U.S. agency that initiated covert contacts with the
KMT was the Office of Policy Coordination (OPC), nominally part of the
CIA, but more responsive in practice to the Departments of State and
Defense. OPC came under tighter CIA control after Walter Bedell Smith
became CIA director (October 1950), and especially after he appointed
Allen Dulles deputy director for plans in August 1951. Scott, American War Machine, 75-76; Peebles, Twilight Warriors, 21, 47.
 U.S. ambassadors in the region, embarrassed by
Washington’s continued denials of the obvious, pleaded for a change of
policy. In the words of David Key, ambassador to Burma, “this adventure
has cost us heavily in terms of Burmese good will and trust.
Participation by Americans in these KMT operations well known to GOB
[Government of Burma] and constitutes serious impediment to our
relations with them … Denial of official US connection with these
operations meaningless to GOB in face of reports they constantly
receiving from their officials in border areas that KMT troops are
accompanied by Americans and receiving steady supply American equipment,
some of which dropped from American planes, and of reports from their
British Embassy of American support activities going on in Siam, which
is an open secret there… . This situation is prejudicing everything
which we are striving to accomplish here and threatens all of our future
prospects… . For this reason I feel strongly that the time has come
to call a halt to any further American participation in these
operations …” Ambassador Key to Secretary of State, August 15, 1951,
in U.S. Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1951, Asia and the Pacific, VI, 28 (hereafter FRUS).
Key resigned a year later in protest. By early 1953, however, his views
had been largely enshrined in National Intelligence Estimate 74,
“Probable Developments in Burma Through 1953,” FRUS, 1952-1954. East Asia and the Pacific XII, 54.
 Ambassador William Sebald (Burma) to Department of State, November 23, 1953, FRUS, 1952-1954. East Asia and the Pacific XII, 173.
 Support for the corrupt Thai police was endorsed at the
highest levels of the Eisenhower administration by the Psychological
Strategy Board and by the State Department, despite the military
regime’s undemocratic and corrupt record. See Psychological Strategy
Board, PSB D-23, “U.S. Psychological Strategy Based on Thailand,”
September 14, 1953, FRUS, 1952-1954. East Asia and the Pacific, XII,
688-690, and Memorandum by the Regional Director for Far East, Foreign
Operations Administration (Moyer) to the Director of the Foreign
Operations Administration (Stassen), December 1, 1954, re “Additional
Assistance to Thailand,” ibid., 739-48.
 The American Vice Consul in Thailand, John Farrior,
wrote in a report on “Smuggling in Northern Thailand and Chinese
nationalist Troops in Burma,” July 30, 1951: “It is the conclusion of
the embassy that there is a close connection between the opium smuggling
business and the supply of Chinese Nationalist troops in Burma. The
business is carried on with the active assistance of Phao as a means of
enriching the coffers of the Thai National Police but also as part of
official Thai government policy.” In Thailand folder, box 26, Records of
the Office of Economic and Social Affairs Related to Narcotics,
Department of State, Record Group 59, National Archives.
 McCoy, The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia, 144-145.
 Alfred McCoy, The Politics of Heroin (Brooklyn: Lawrence Hill Books, 1991), 445-460.
 David Wise and Thomas Ross, The Invisible Government (New York: Random House, 1964), 131.
 “CIA-funded corruption and competition rose to a crisis
in the Bangkok station early in 1952, when [CIA Director Walter Bedell]
Smith had to send top officials” from the CIA’s two clandestine
branches “out to untangle a mess of opium trading under the cover of
efforts to topple the Chinese communists.” Peter Grose, Gentleman Spy: The Life of Allen Dulles
(Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1994), 324. On CIA complicity in running KMT
opium to market in Bangkok, and on the apparently related murder of CIA
contract pilot Jack Killam, see William R. Corson, The Armies of Ignorance: The Rise of the American Intelligence Empire
(New York: The Dial Press, 1977), 322-23. The CIA’s Bill Lair, who
trained and supervised a guerrilla warfare unit of the Thai police
called PARU, recalled that the first operation he mounted was against a
KMT opium caravan near Chiang Mai, resulting in the seizure of 40 tons
of opium. The police handed the opium over to the government for a large
reward, mostly for the personal profit of Thai officers. See Texas Tech
University, Vietnam Oral History Project, interview with Bill Lair,
December 12, 2001; Scott, American War Machine, 94.The opium was typically not destroyed, but resold either through the legal opium monopoly, or to international smugglers.
 “New Thai Consulate to be Opened by U.S.,” New York Times, May 23, 1950.
 “Li Mi’s Army in ‘Guns for Opium’ Trade,” The Observer, March 2, 1952.
 “Adventurism in Burma,” Washington Post, March 15, 1952. The New York Times confirmed elements of the Observer
story a few days later, but sidestepped the explosive allegation of
direct American criminal complicity. “Chinese Nationalist troops who
have taken refuge in northeastern Burma are being supplied regularly
through an opium-for-guns smuggling arrangement in Thailand,” it stated.
The trade was coordinated by a Nationalist Chinese colonel in
Chiangmai, Thailand who forwarded opium south to “Bangkok and onward.”
The State Department, however, still denied reports that the United
States was assisting the KMT “in any way.” See “Chinese in Burma in
Opium-Gun Deal,” New York Times, March 9, 1952; also See also “Burma Chinese Trade Opium for Supplies,” Washington Post, March 9, 1952. For a first-hand account of KMT opium caravans, see Karl Reichel, “I Saw the Dope Runners’ Stronghold,” Saturday Evening Post, March 29, 1952, 40-41+.
 Ambassador Sebald (Burma) to Department of State, September 3, 1952, FRUS, 1952-1954. East Asia and the Pacific XII, 29-30.
 “The Opium Army in Burma,” Lewiston Evening Journal, March 28, 1953. See also John F. Cady, “The Situation in Burma,” Far Eastern Survey, 22 (April 22, 1953), pp. 49-54.
 New York Herald Tribune, March 22, 1953, quoted in Lintner, Burma in Revolt, 131.
 “Embarrassing Army,” Time, April 13, 1953; “Last Ditch Army,” Time, May 18, 1953.
 Joseph Alsop, “Nationalist Force Hated to Leave Burma,” Lewiston Morning Tribune, December 1, 1953; Charles S. Brant, “They Won’t Go Home: Chiang’s Guerrillas in Burma,” The Nation, September 25, 1954, 257-259; “Burma Warns UN on Chinese Issue,” New York Times, October 12, 1954; Hugh Tinker, “Burma’s Northeast Borderland Problems,” Pacific Affairs, 29 (Dec. 1956), 324-346.
 “Burma Says Invaders Buy American Arms,” New York Times, August 12, 1953. See also, a year later, “Chinese in Burma Hurt U.S. Prestige,” New York Times, October 22, 1954.
 The company’s full name was Overseas Southeast Asia
Supply Company, or Sea Supply for short. The U.S. ambassador to Burma,
William Sebald, was kept in the dark about all these covert operations,
but “discovered through personal investigation on the scene that the
CIA’s involvement was an open secret in sophisticated circles in
Bangkok, Thailand. There, he learned, the CIA planned and directed the
[KMT] operation under the guise of running Sea Supply, a trading company
with the cable address ‘Hatchet’” (Wise and Ross, The Invisible Government, 131). On Sea Supply, see Lintner, Burma in Revolt, 129-30, 141-42, 145-46, 191; Daniel Fineman, A Special Relationship: The United States and Military Government in Thailand, 1947-1958 (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1997), 134-35, 140-41; Joshua Kurlantzick, The Ideal Man: The Tragedy of Jim Thompson and the American Way of War (Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons, 2011), 106-110; Peebles, Twilight Warriors, 89-90.
 “Thai Opium Informers Paid,” New York Times,
September 22, 1955. O’Kearney, “Opium Trade: Is China Responsible?”
described Phao a month later as “the most notorious name in narcotics.” A
British reporter wrote, “There is now no doubt that the so-called opium
smuggling is not smuggling at all but a large-scale trading concern
organized by the police with the aid of Bangkok financiers. These men
and the police share the rewards paid by the Government and also the
profit from the sale of the opium …” (“Siamese Attack on the Opium
Trade,” Manchester Guardian, September 3, 1955).
 “Pibul Tightens Grip on Thailand,” New York Times, August 7, 1955; Darrell Berrigan, “They Smuggle Opium by the Ton,” Saturday Evening Post, May 5, 1956, 156.
 Senate Judiciary Committee, hearings, Illicit Narcotics Traffic,
276. Anslinger added, “Opium is brought from Yunnan Province to the
border of Thailand by horse and mule train. From 200 to 400 tons of raw
opium are moved annually to and through Thailand from Mainland China…
. . The opium reaches Bangkok by boat, truck, rail, and plane, and 3 to
4 tons can be delivered at any time to a point outside the harbor at
Bangkok in the open sea.” For similar testimony, see Communist China and Illicit Narcotics Traffic, op. cit., 8, 16.
 Berrigan, “They Smuggle Opium by the Ton,” 158.
 Denis Warner, The Last Confucian (New York: Macmillan Co., 1963), 237; cf. Fineman, A Special Relationship, 240.
 Speer, a die-hard believer in Red China’s guilt,
lobbied for the assignment. See Wayland L. Speer memo to Anslinger,
“International Narcotic Traffic in the Far East,” September 23, 1953, in
“Wayland L. Speer’s Foreign Assignment” file, box 165, BNDD records.
 Quote is from Speer’s memo to the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, January 27, 1954, ibid. Anslinger repeated the allegation in his statement to the CND’s 9th
session in 1954, contained in “U.N. Documents Relating to Communist
China file,” box 153, BNDD records. Anslinger also provided the same
quote as “confidential information” to Rep. Gordon Canfield, R.-N.J., in
a letter of February 11, 1954, in “Communist China, 1952-1954” file,
box 153, BNDD records.
 See Wayland Speer memos to Anslinger in “Thailand,
1949-1956” file, box 163, BNDD records, especially dated July 16 and 20,
1954. The only credible evidence of a Communist Chinese connection came
in a July 18, 1954 memo, in which Speer reported that an ethnic Chinese
smuggler named L. Y. Goh “for the past few years has bought opium in
Yunnan, smuggled it into Thailand, transported it into Bangkok in one,
two or three-ton lots and sold it to the Thailand Excise Department.” In
a July 20 memo, Speer reported flying over part of Northern Thailand:
“From the areas I saw yesterday I must conclude that the amounts of
opium grown by hill tribes must be small. The real traffic must come out
of Red China.” So much for his evidence.
 Wayland Speer to Anslinger, July 16, 1954 – re “Red
China Traffic in Narcotics—Thailand” in “Thailand, 1949-56 file,” box
163, BNDD papers. The same memo offers information on various other
alleged smugglers, including corrupt CAT officials, members of the
Taiwan secret police, and a former head of Thai Airways, then serving as
ambassador to France. On CAT pilot Robert Brongersma and KMT opium
smuggling, see also Gibson and Chen, The Secret Army, 62.
Whether as an honest pilot or a smuggler, he certainly made good money,
as evidenced by the flashy, $3,800 diamond he showed off to Speer. See
Speer to Anslinger, July 24, 1954, in “Wayland L. Speer’s Foreign
Assignment” file, box 165, BNDD records.
 Besides those mentioned in Speer’s July 16, 1954 memo,
the most notable CAT suspect—who came under FBN investigation in
Taiwan–was the pilot Moon Chen, right-hand man to CAT’s founder,
General Claire Chennault. See Speer to Anslinger, July 24, 1954, in
“Wayland L. Speer’s Foreign Assignment” file, box 165, BNDD records.
(For a photo of Chen next to CAT co-founder William Pawley, see http://www.cnac.org/moonchen01.htm,
accessed December 20, 2012.) For another report on smuggling by a CAT
pilot, see “Vietnam - Dope Smuggling Mission Contract Plane,” October
18, 1956, in box 164, BNDD records.
 Speer to Anslinger, July 17, 1954, in “Thailand, 1949-56 file,” box 163, BNDD papers.
 Speer to Anslinger, July 18, 1954, ibid.
 Speer to Anslinger, July 20, 1954, ibid. A report from the U.S. embassy—which made its way to the FBN—said Bird was “suspected of being the largest opium dealer in Thailand” (emphasis added). See Eric Youngquist, vice consul, Bangkok, to Department of State, April 5, 1955, ibid.
However, one of Speer’s sources said that widespread rumors implicating
Bird in the drug traffic sprang from his relationship with Gen. Phao,
not from any specific facts. See Speer to Anslinger, July 21, 1954, ibid. For fine portraits of Bird, including details of his close relationship with the CIA station, see Fineman, A Special Relationship, 133-134; and Kurlantzkik, The Ideal Man, 94-95, and passim. For a photo of Bird and his wife, see “For Westerners, the Good Life,” Life, December 31, 1951, 37.
 Speer to Anslinger, July 24, 1954, in “Wayland L. Speer’s Foreign Assignment” file, box 165, BNDD records.
 Dr. James Hamilton letter to George White, FBN
District Supervisor, San Francisco, May 5, 1957, in “Thailand, 1957-63”
file,” box 163, BNDD papers. Hamilton interviewed approximately 25
informants during an extensive trip to Thailand and Burma. He was a Bay
Area psychiatrist who worked with White on two secret CIA programs,
MKULTRA and MKSEARCH, which investigated “mind control” techniques using
drugs. See John Marks, The Search for the Manchurian Candidate (New York: Time Books, 1979), 72, 149.
 On the case of Air Force Sergeant Melvin B. Douglas,
who was arrested at Kai Tak Airport in Hong Kong with 40 pounds of opium
and morphine, see Speer to Anslinger, February 23, 1955 and March 10,
1955, in “Wayland L. Speer’s Foreign Assignment” file, box 165, BNDD
 Anslinger to G. E. Yates, Director, Division of
Narcotic Drugs, European Office of the United Nations, October 2, 1957,
in “Thailand, 1957-63” file, box 163, BNDD papers.
 Ambassador Johnson in Thailand to the Director of the Office of Southeast Asian Affairs (Kocher), June 19, 1959, FRUS 1958-1960, XV, South and Southeast Asia,
1079-1080. A month earlier, Burmese troops reported capturing three
major drug refineries set up by KMT forces near the Thai border. See “3 Dope Factories Seized in Burma,” Meriden Record (Pa.), May 20, 1959.
 On Williams’ background, see McWilliams, The Protectors, 160-62.
 Garland Williams, “Narcotic Situation in South Asia
and the Far East,” August 4, 1959, in Special file—Garland Williams trip
to Middle East (1959) Iran” file, box 158, BNDD records.
 Eric Youngquist, vice consul, Bangkok, to Department
of State, April 5, 1955, in “Thailand, 1949-56 file,” box 163, BNDD
 Consul William B. Hussey, quoted in Jerry Kuzmarov, The Myth of the Addicted Army: Vietnam and the Modern War on Drugs (University of Massachusetts Press, 2009), 87-88.
 See, for example, Meyer and Parssinen, Webs of Smoke, 272-275; Hans Derks, History of the Opium Problem: The Assault on the East, ca. 1600-1950 (Leiden: Brill, 2012),700-701.
 Zhou Yongming, Anti-Drug Crusades in Twentieth Century China (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1999), 96.
 Ibid., 98-111.
 Ibid., 113-114. Years later, when the
authority of China’s central government was not in question, drugs
reemerged as a major national problem. Alan Dupont, “Transnational
Crime, Drugs, and Security in East Asia,” Asian Survey, 39 (May-June 1999), 445-446.
 Walker, Opium and Foreign Policy, 197.
 Deacon, The Chinese Secret Service, 440-453.
Although the reliability of his sources is unknown, Deacon (George
McCormick) claimed to have compiled 37 reports from 26 individuals and
to have interviewed more than fifty people—“Chinese, Taiwanese,
Communist defectors, police officers, secret agents, drug squad officers
and non-Communist Intelligence officers”—who confirmed the involvement
of Communist China and its intelligence service in the international
narcotics trade (447).
 Jung Chang and Jon Halliday, Mao: The Unknown Story (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005), 276-280; Derks, History of the Opium Problem, 704-707; Zhou, Anti-Drug Crusades, 176n18.
 Quoted in Walker, Opium and Foreign Policy, 214-15.
 The quote is from the “Downing Street memo” of July 23, 2002, published in Sunday Times, May 1, 2005.
[Globalresearch; Asia-Pacific Journal]