Laurence Duggan was head of the South American desk at the United States Department of State during World War II, and later head of the Division of American Republics Affairs. He was also a Soviet agent.
Duggan was a Harvard friend of Alger Hiss and Noel Field. He was identified as a Soviet agent by Comintern courier Whittaker Chambers, OGPU recruiter Hede Massing, Venona decrypts and Soviet archives.
Duggan provided the NKVD (Soviet intelligence) with confidential diplomatic cables, including from American Ambassador William Bullitt. 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."
|“||For now the danger of 19 [Duggan] being exposed through Raymond's [Poretsky's] line is significantly diminished.||”|
Poretsky was killed by OGPU agent Roland Abbiat, who would later go under cover as Vladimir Pravdin, New York bureau chief of the Soviet government news agency TASS, in which capacity he would become a contact of Walter Lippmann and I.F. Stone, and be suggested as the contact for GRU agent "Ales" at the founding conference of the UN. He later served with the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA).
In 1947, Massing told the FBI that she had recruited Duggan 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, as did Frederick Field.
Five days after Duggan implicated Henry Collins and Frederick Vanderbilt Field to the FBI, Hiss was indicted by a grand jury and the NKVD again approached Duggan; five days later, Duggan would jump or be thrown from his New York office window to his death, leading his friend (and father's protégé) Edward R. Murrow to broadcast a scathing denunciation of Red-hunters in the U.S. government for hounding an allegedly innocent man to his grave. Following Duggan's death, Archibald MacLeish dedicated a poem to the late Soviet agent, denouncing "informers" (apparently Hede Massing and Whittaker Chambers, each of whom had identified Duggan) for their "slanders" and "lies."
Laurence Duggan is referenced in the following Venona project decryptions:
- 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
- 1613 KGB New York to Moscow, 18 November 1944
- 1636 KGB New York to Moscow, 21 November 1944
- Rorin M. Platt, "Red Scare or Red Menace?" American Diplomacy, Vol. 4, No. 2 (Summer 1999)
- John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr, Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999), ISBN 0300077718, pp. 227-228; John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr, Early Cold War Spies: The Espionage Trials That Shaped American Politics (Cambridge University Press, 2006), ISBN 0521857384, p. 110
- Adolf Berle’s Notes on his Meeting with Whittaker Chambers (John Earl Haynes, Historical Writings)
- John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr, Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999), ISBN 0300077718, pp. 202-203
- Alexander Vassiliev, Yellow Notebook No. 2, Orig., p.1 et seq. ; Trans., p. 1 et seq.
- Stephen Schwartz, Intellectuals and Assassins: Annals of Stalin's Killerati," The New York Times, January 24, 1988
- Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin, The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB (New York: Basic Books, 2000), ISBN 0-465-00310-9, p. 105
- John Earl Haynes, Vassiliev Notebooks Concordance: Cover Names, Real Names, Abbreviations, Acronyms, Organizational Titles, Tradecraft Terminology, 2008, p. 129
- John Earl Haynes, Harvey Klehr and Alexander Vassiliev, Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009), ISBN 0300123906, p. 232
- Walter Krivitsky, In Stalin's Secret Service: An Exposé of Russia’s Secret Policies by the Former Chief of the Soviet Intelligence in Western Europe (Harper & Brothers, 1939), pp. 261-263 (PDF pp. 285-287); Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin, The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB (New York: Basic Books, 2000), ISBN 0-465-00310-9, pp. 47, 78-79
- Harvey Klehr, "Devils in America," The New Republic, February 12, 2004
- 1289 KGB New York to Moscow, 9 September 1944
- 1506 KGB New York to Moscow, 23 October 1944
- John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr, “Ales” is Still Hiss: The Wilder Foote Red Herring (2007 Symposium on Cryptologic History, The Center for Cryptologic History), October 19, 2007
- Ethan Bronner, "Witching Hour: Rethinking McCarthyism, if Not McCarthy," The New York Times, October 18, 1998
- Glenn Garvin, "Fools for Communism," Reason, April 2004
- John Earl Haynes, Harvey Klehr and Alexander Vassiliev, Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009), ISBN 0300123906, pp. 202, 244
- Christopher D. O'Sullivan, "8. Resignation," Sumner Welles, Postwar Planning, and the Quest for a New World Order, 1937-1943 (Columbia University Press, 2007) ISBN 0231142587
- Thomas Powers, "The Plot Thickens," The New York Review of Books, Vol. 47, No. 8 (May 11, 2000)
- "Investigations: The Man in the Window," Time, January 3, 1949
- Archibald MacLeish, "The Black Day," Collected Poems, 1917-1982 [Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1985] ISBN 0395395690, p. 403