Ex-Red Courier Says He Originated Charges Against Norman in 1940

[ Herbert Norman ]

Herbert Norman, Unknown, University of British Columbia Library, Rare Books and Special Collections, BC2124-014, Norman, the "compleat civil servant," about 1953

Friday, April 19, 1957, A11

By Warren Unna
Staff Reporter

A former Canadian Communist courier who said he also was an undercover agent for the Canadian Royal Mounted Police came forward yesterday as the man who pinned Canada’s late Ambassador to Egypt, E. Herbert Norman.

He is Pat Walsh, 42, of Quebec City, currently a security screener on a Province of Quebec tunnel project at Labrievelle and general secretary of the Pan-Canadian Anti-Communist League.

In a telephone interview, Walsh said it was he who told the Mounties in 1940 that Norman was a Communist and it was he who a week ago gave a “recapitulation” of his findings to Robert Morris, counsel for the United States Senate Internal Security Subcommittee.

Said Walsh: “I met Norman personally in Toronto in the ‘thirties when I was with the Canadian League Against War and Fascism and he was secretary of the Canadian Friends of the Chinese People, a Commie front.

“He was introduced to me as ‘Comrad Norman.’ A chap by the name of A. A. McLeod who later become a Communist Member of the Ontario legislature and editor of the Communist Canadian Tribune told me he had sponsored Norman as secretary. In my 20 years experience with Communist organizations, I have never known anybody to sponsor a secretary unless he was a member of the Communist Party or a fellow traveler who didn’t have a card for a very good reason,” Walsh declared.

He also said he had seen Norman’s name “listed 22 times as a contributor to Amerasia,” a defunct leftwing magazine.

Walsh also accused Canadian External Affairs Minster Lester B. Pearson of personally “interceding” to cleanse Norman’s security record in 1950: “We were at war in Korea and naturally it would have been quite embarrassing for the government, which was fighting Communists on the battlefield, to admit having them within their own diplomatic ranks.”

Walsh told a House Un-American Activities Subcommittee hearing in 1953 that he had been a Communist courier (during his undercover period) rather than an actual party member.

In that same year Walsh publicly announced that he had quit being a “fellow traveler” because of the Red campaign to save condemned atom spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg.

Walsh said he is in frequent correspondence with “my good friend Bob Morris” and with Benjamin Mandel, another Subcommittee employe. “Anything that I find that may be of interest, I send on,” he said.

He made it clear, however, that he did not supply the Subcommittee with its original information about Norman. He said that information came to them via the Mounties and United States Army Intelligence.

When queried, Morris declared: “I’m making no comment on the whole Norman case.”

Ambassador Norman, 48, jumped to his death in Cairo April 4, three weeks after the Subcommittee published statements by Morris indicating Norman had been a Communist.

Canada originally blamed the Subcommittee for triggering Norman’s suicide. More recently, Canadians have been criticizing their own officials for not going into more detail on Norman’s background.

Yesterday, Pearson, Canada’s equivalent of Secretary of State, indicated the original charge that Norman was a one-time Communist was contained in information forwarded by the Mounties to the FBI in October, 1950. He said the charge was discredited and Norman’s record cleansed in a second Mountie inquiry two months later.

Last week, Pearson had declared the Subcommittee’s Communist charges against Norman had come from “other than Canadian sources.”

Pearson said Norman had some “associations with Communists during his university days,” prior to his Government service, and “ideological beliefs which were close to some brand of Communism.” But Pearson said Norman had “regretted” and “voluntarily abandoned” these associations.

Pearson said the charges against Norman were made to the Mounties by an “undercover agent” in February, 1940, and forwarded to “appropriate agencies” in 1950.

“How this report became public I can only guess,” Pearson declared. (...)

Source: Warren Unna, "Ex-Red Courier Says He Originated Charges Against Norman In 1940," The Washington Post and Times Herald, April 19, 1957

Return to parent page