By: Trevor Loudon
Former Oregon Senator Mark O. Hatfield, died in Portland last week, aged 89. He served in the US Senate from 1966, until his retirement in 1997.
Though nominally a Republican, the Senator was so far left and so committed to non-confrontation in the face of America’s enemies, the Soviet Embassy in Washington DC marked him out for special attention.
On July 28, 1970, the F.B.I. issued a top secret memo entitled CONTACTS BETWEEN REPRESENTATIVES OF THE SOVIET, UNION AND MEMBERS OR STAFF PERSONNEL OF THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS INTERNAL SECURITY – RUSSIA.
The memo stated:
A review of information we have developed through our coverage of Soviet officials and establishments in Washington, D. C., has disclosed a continuing interest by representatives of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) to maintain contacts with and cultivate members or staff personnel of the U.S. Congress. There appears below a compilation of such contacts which have come to our attention from January 1, 1967, to date…
Based on a review of the information disclosed through our coverage, it appears that soviet officials are making more contacts with the following Congressmen or members of their staff than with other U. S. Legislators:
- Senator Edward W. Brooke of Massachusetts
- Senator Allen J. Ellender of Louisiana
- Senator J.W. Fulbright of Arkansas
- Senator Mark O. Hatfield of Oregon
- Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts
- Senator Michael J. Mansfield of Montana
- Senator Eugene J. McCarthy of Minnesota
- Senator George S. McGovern of South Dakota
- Senator Walter F. Mondale of Minnesota
- Senator Edmund S. Muskie of Maine
- Representative James G. Fulton of Pennsylvania
- Representative Robert L. Leggett of California
- Representative Donald W. Riegle, Jr., of Michigan
Most of those listed above, with the exception of leftist Republican Edward Brooke, were well known leftist Democrats. Almost all were vocal opponents of the Vietnam war and as such were clearly of interest to the Soviet Union.
Why was Mark Hatfield one of the few Republicans singled out for Soviet attention?
Hatfield too was an extreme “liberal” and a vocal opponent of America’s wars against communism.
In 1966, while still governor of Oregon, when the National Governors Association passed a resolution reaffirming its support for the war in Vietnam, Hatfield cast the only dissenting vote.
In 1970, Hatfield partnered with another Soviet target, Democratic Senator George McGovern of South Dakota to propose legislation that would have set a deadline for the end of U.S. military operations in Vietnam. Strongly opposed by President Richard Nixon, the so-called McGovern-Hatfield amendment was defeated, 55 to 39.
In 1979, the Communist Party USA controlled U.S. Peace Council organized a National Conference on Nicaragua, along with several other radical groups, to discuss a strategy to ensure that the Marxist-Leninist Sandinistas took control.
Three Congressmen and two Senators lent support to this Conference: far leftists Ron Dellums, Tom Harkin and Walter Fauntroy in the House and Mark Hatfield and fellow Soviet target Edward Kennedy in the Senate.
Mark Hatfield continued his anti-anti-communism well into the Reagan era.
As chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee for the first six years of Ronald Reagan’s presidency, he succeeded in diverting $100 billion from Reagan’s military buildup to social programs. He joined Democrats in mocking Reagan’s plans for the space-based missile-defense system known as Star Wars.
He derided as “sheer madness” Reagan’s request to resume production of nerve gas for chemical warfare. In 1982 he joined with Democrat Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts to propose an immediate nuclear-weapons freeze in the U.S. He opposed development of the mobile, multiple-warhead nuclear MX missile, which he deemed “a monument to madness.” In 1986, he criticized as an “immoral act” the U.S. bombing raid on Libya.
He and Charles Grassley of Iowa were the only two Republicans to oppose the 1991 Senate resolution authorizing military action to evict Iraqi forces from Kuwait.
“I’m often pegged as a pacifist. In fact, I am not,” Hatfield wrote in a 2001 memoir. “I’m not totally opposed to military force (for example World War II), yet I believe force should not be used until all other options have been exhausted. And most critically, we ought to address the causes of war — poverty, lack of education, health, racism, militarism, or conflict over raw materials (such as oil) — and work to prevent war in the first place.”
Mark Hatfield’s pacifism was indeed selective. Fighting fascism was acceptable. Fighting communism was not.
Like current U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, Hatfield was also affiliated with the Washington DC based Institute for Policy Studies – an organization so close to the Soviets, it was described in 1978 by Brian Crozier, director of the London-based Institute for the Study of Conflict, as the “perfect intellectual front for Soviet activities which would be resisted if they were to originate openly from the KGB.”
Mark Hatfield endorsed IPS’s 20th anniversary April 5, 1983, 20th reception at the National Building Museum in Washington DC.
The Washington School, founded by the Institute for Policy Studies in 1978, was an important means of influencing Congress and the Democratic Party. Courses on defense, foreign affairs and domestic policies were taught there by IPS officers and staffers and other American or foreign radical “experts.” A large number of members of Congress and staffers attended these schools. Several legislators also taught there including Mark Hatfield and far leftists such as Tom Harkin, John Conyers, Ron Dellums and James Abourezk.
Mark Hatfield was also well funded and endorsed by the US’ largest “peace” Political Action Committee, the Council for a Livable World.
Founded in 1962 by long-time socialist activist, atom bomb scientist and reported Soviet agent, Leo Szilard, Council for a Livable World is a non-profit advocacy organization that seeks to “reduce the danger of nuclear weapons and increase national security,” primarily through supporting “progressive,” congressional candidates who support their policies.
Council for a Livable World has supported literally hundreds of leftist Democrats from Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Barbara Boxer, Sherrod Brown, Nancy Pelosi, Dennis Kucinich, Barney Frank, Tammy Baldwin and Jan Schakowsky.
While claiming to be bipartisan, Council for a Livable World, has besides Hatfield, only funded a handful of Republicans in its 40 year existence – Indiana Senator and START Treaty zealot Richard Lugar being the only current example.
Some obituary writers have described Mark Hatfield as a principled man.
He may well have been, but it wasn’t on the side of freedom.