Laurence Duggan

Laurence Duggan

Laurence Duggan (1905–December 20, 1948), was head of the South American desk at the United States Department of State during World War II. In 1948, Duggan fell to his death from the window of his office in New York, ten days after being questioned by the Federal Bureau of Investigation about whether he had had contacts with Soviet intelligence. For many years he was widely thought to be an innocent and loyal public servant who was driven to suicide by unfounded McCarthy era accusations. In the 1990s, evidence from decrypted Soviet telegrams was revealed which indicated he had engaged in espionage for the Soviet Union.


Duggan studied at the Phillips Exeter Academy and Harvard University, graduating in 1927. He worked for 14 years at the State Department—nine of those as head of the Latin American Division, and four of those as adviser on political relations. Starting in 1946, he was president of the Institute of International Education, which provided for a flow of exchange students between the United States and other countries. [,9171,799590-1,00.html "The Man in the Window"] , "Time, January 3, 1949.]

Duggan was recruited by journalist Hede Massing as a Soviet spy in the mid 1930s. Duggan told the FBI that Henry Collins of the Ware group had also tried to recruit him. Duggan was a close friend of Noel Field of the State Department. The GRU had also tried to recruit him through Frederick Field.cite book
last = Haynes
first = John Earl
coauthors = Klehr, Harvey
year = 2000
title = Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America
publisher = Yale University Press
pages = pp. 201 - 204
id = ISBN 0-300-08462-5
[ More info] ]

Duggan provided Soviet intelligence with confidential diplomatic cables, including from American Ambassador William Bullitt. He was a source for the Soviets until he resigned from the State Department in 1944. He later served with the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA).

According to Boris Bazarov, Duggan told his Soviet handlers: "The only thing which kept him at his hateful job in the State Department where he did not get out of his tuxedo for two weeks, every night attending a reception, was the idea of being useful for our cause."Fact|date=November 2007

On (December 15, 1948), Duggan fell to his death from his office at the Institute of International Education, located on the 16th floor of a building in midtown Manhattan. A few days later, the New York Police Department made public the result of its investigation, which concluded: "Mr. Duggan either accidentally fell or jumped." He left a wife, Helen Boyd Duggan, and four children.


The Venona project succeeded in decrypting some Soviet intelligence telegrams that had been intercepted in the mid 1940s. The code name used for Laurence Duggan in the decrypted transcripts is "Frank". He is referenced in the following Venona decryptions, which provided information to the Soviets about Anglo-American plans for invading Italy during World War II:

*1025, 1035–1936, KGB New York to Moscow, 30 June 1943
*380 KGB New York to Moscow, 20 March 1944
*744, 746 KGB New York to Moscow, 24 May 1944
*916 KGB New York to Moscow, 17 June 1944
*1015 KGB New York to Moscow, to Victor [Fitin] , 22 July 1944
*1114 KGB New York to Moscow, 4 August 1944
*1251 KGB New York to Moscow, 2 September 1944 [ [ National Security Agency Venona transcript, 2 September 1944] ]
*1613 KGB New York to Moscow, 18 November 1944
*1636 KGB New York to Moscow, 21 November 1944


ee also

* "Lawrence Duggan 1905-1948. In Memoriam", Stamford, CT Overbrook Press (1949)

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