The American prisoner with the French name was barely conscious as his battered body hit the concrete floor of his 5' x 8' wooden cage. Every muscle, bone, and pore throbbed and screamed with pain. It would be some time before he would recuperate sufficiently to roll over and whisper to one of the six cellmates of various nationalities sharing the cramped cage with him. Having thrown him in the cell, the brutal guards grabbed one of his unfortunate cellmates to replace him in the torture chamber.
The prisoners were in their second week of torture sessions, and the officers of the Kampetai, Japan’s equivalent of the Gestapo, were experts at their cruel business. Part of their torture was psychological: One never knew what to expect, but whatever came it was certain to be excruciatingly painful. Sometimes they used the rack. Or they simply beat the prisoners with their hands, fists, clubs, bamboo rods, or metal-tipped sticks. There was also the Kampetai version of water torture: A cloth was placed over the mouth and nostrils and water gradually poured on it until the saturated cloth created the sensation of drowning. The nearly suffocated victim was then revived and the process started all over again.
After 13 days of torture, the American lay on the floor sobbing, fearing that the next session would break him. “How much longer can this go on?” he asked himself in desperation. “I can’t take any more. I can’t hold out.” As he was sinking into despair a rough but soothing voice startled him. It was John Cook, head of the British spy ring in Shanghai. He had received some especially brutal treatment and soon would die of his internal injuries. In great pain, the old Englishman crawled across the floor and reached out to the young American, his comrade in suffering. “Hey, lad, do you happen to know what day it is?” he asked. “As near as I can tell, John, it’s the 18th of April,” the American replied. “You know, lad,” Cook responded, “20 years ago today I was in a cell in Russia for the same thing.” But Cook would not make it out of this cell.
The American prisoner with the French name did not break; miraculously, he held on — through 18 days of torture and nearly three years of harsh prison conditions. Many were anxiously hoping and praying that he would not talk. Many lives hung in the balance. Indeed, it is not an exaggeration to say that Asia and the Pacific theater of World War II may have hung in the balance. The American prisoner with the French name was Hilaire du Berrier. The year was 1943. The place was Japanese-occupied Shanghai, China. Du Berrier was the key member (and the only American member) of a French-Chinese intelligence network responsible for many coups against the Japanese. Du Berrier’s spy cells provided much of the intelligence allowing General Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist Chinese forces to keep one-and-a-half million Japanese troops tied up in China, instead of killing American soldiers and sailors throughout the Pacific.
Colonel Marcel Mingant was the famed military hero and leader of the ultra-secret French espionage apparatus known as “Reseau Mingant.” Aside from du Berrier himself, Mingant was perhaps the one most concerned for the American’s fate. Mingant’s concern was undoubtedly heightened because he and du Berrier had become close friends, as well as colleagues. Beyond that, however, was the colonel’s understanding that his own life and the life of every member of his network would be worthless if du Berrier spoke their names.
“In spite of grave suffering; and the torture to which he was submitted,” Colonel Mingant later wrote, “Mr. du Berrier never pronounced a name.” “He suffered a veritable martyrdom in the Japanese prison without ever revealing the organization for which he had worked so hard, willingly,” said Mingant, and “by his courage, his intelligence, and his disregard for danger, he saved many.” Among those whom Mingant credits du Berrier with indirectly saving were American aviators who had crash-landed or bailed out over China and Indo-China. It was often a neck-and-neck race to rescue them before the Japanese captured them. Mingant received the American Freedom Medal for rescuing American flyers and attested that he thought it “scandalous” that the U.S. government not only failed to recognize du Berrier’s heroic efforts, but antagonists within the U.S. State Department actually penalized him. Colonel Mingant and other French military heroes continued fighting for years to gain recognition for du Berrier. In 1999, their long efforts finally bore modest fruit; the French government recognized some of du Berrier’s achievements and awarded him a small pension.
On October 12 of this year, Hilaire du Berrier passed into eternity, less than three weeks before his 96th birthday. He died where he had lived for much of the past five decades, in the lovely principality of Monaco, where the Maritime Alps march down to the Mediterranean Sea. He had been active right up to the end, writing his exceptional intelligence newsletter, HduB Reports, and preparing his memoirs, a chronicle of one of the most fascinating and adventurous lives of the 20th century. Unfortunately, he did not live to see that autobiographical task through to publication, but he has entrusted the final chapters to a close friend, renowned author and historian Otto Scott.
I visited Hilaire du Berrier in Monaco for several days in June. He was very weak and frail but still mentally sharp, still reading and clipping several newspapers a day in French and English, still very much on top of world events. He was sad that his failing health was not going to allow him to return to the United States in August for the centennial celebration of his hometown, Flasher, North Dakota, where he was to be the guest of honor. His parents founded Flasher 100 years ago and Hilaire was the first white child born there amongst the Sioux Indians. On his desk he kept a small box containing a pair of baby Indian moccasins of deer skin sewn by Mrs. Wind-did-Blow. She had decorated the moccasins with beads in a motif indicating that the new baby brave born to the du Berriers would be a great warrior.
“As I sat in my cage in Shanghai looking down at my swollen feet inside my boots, I couldn’t help but think of those moccasins, Mrs. Wind-did-Blow, and the path across continents and countries my feet had trod,” du Berrier reminisced. By the time he had landed in the Shanghai “guest house” of the Kampetai, Hilaire du Berrier’s life had already been packed with the stuff of legends. But there was still much more to come. The 20th century was the bloodiest century of human history and du Berrier was a close-up eyewitness to (and frequently a hands-on participant in) many of its wars, revolutions, intrigues, and upheavals. As in Shanghai, he would often risk his life playing key roles in the shadows that would go unrecognized and unrewarded. He became friends with crowned heads of Asia, Europe, and Africa. He walked with kings, emperors, princes, sultans, warlords, presidents, prime ministers, generals, soldiers, authors, artists, adventurers, journalists, spies, and peasants. His was truly a remarkable life.
Background to Greatness
The story of “HduB,” as Hilaire was known to many of his friends, began in the blizzard-whipped hills of the Dakotas, where his parents had established a trading post for trappers, Indians, and ranchers near the banks of Louse Creek. The settlement was named Flasher after HduB’s aunt, Mabel Flasher. Indian veterans of the Battle of the Little Big Horn still walked the plains when Hilaire was born on November 1, 1906. One of those braves, old Lame-Walking-Cow, regularly came to the du Berrier door for coffee when Hilaire was a boy. From Lame-Walking-Cow, Albert Wind-did-Blow, and other braves and Indian children, HduB gained a working knowledge of the Sioux tongue, the start of his love of languages. He would later become fluent in French, Mandarin Chinese, Vietnamese, and Arabic, and capable, to varying degrees, in Latin, Spanish, German, Russian, Italian, Cambodian, Laotian, Korean, Japanese, Cantonese, Ethiopian, Turkish, and Monegasque. His international travels and his sojourns in polyglot cosmopolitan centers — Paris, Brussels, Monaco, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Saigon, New York City — provided splendid opportunities to practice conversationally the languages he was studying. Both because of his gregarious nature and his desire to practice his linguistic skills, he never wasted an opportunity to engage in conversation in a foreign tongue. Over the years I have many times observed, in admiration and bemused wonderment, as he has engaged a cavalcade of travelers, workers, and dignitaries — in hotels, cafes, train stations, airports, supermarkets, on the street — in a dizzying array of languages.
Far from being self-satisfied at his enviable linguistic accomplishments, he rebuked himself for failing to apply himself to his Greek studies while in school. “I’ve studied all the Greek classics, but mostly in English or French,” he remarked to me a few months before he died. “I’ve always regretted that I didn’t take it seriously enough. Homer, Aeschylus, Herodotus should be read in the native Greek. But when you’re young there are always other things that seem more important.”
Other things like aviation. In the fall of 1912, the du Berrier family drove to Mandan, North Dakota, in their J.I. Case automobile to see a heroic-looking man called Lucky Bob and his flying machine perform at the Morton County Fair. After Lucky Bob made two passes over the fairground and came in for a landing, Hilaire’s mother took him down the grandstand steps to where the plane was parked so the awestruck youngster could sign the lower wing with a pencil. His destiny was set. He knew he was meant to be one of those daring young men in their flying machines. His teen years were spent at the Pillsbury Military Academy in Minnesota, where he was expelled one month before graduation. His heart and mind were not in the classroom but in the clouds; he was going to be an aviator, somehow. But how? His father had died and his mother would not hear of suicidal notions like becoming a pilot. Du Berrier inherited some of his mother’s artistic abilities (she was a painter), and to get near planes, he convinced his mother that he wanted to attend art school in Chicago. While a near-starving art student, doing part-time art work for ad agencies and department stores, du Berrier invented an opportunity to get a foot in the door at the Heath School of Aviation. Ed Heath’s airplane factory on Chicago’s north side was one of America’s first aircraft manufacturers and that was where Hilaire wanted to be.
From Daredevil to Patriot
Thus began three years of barnstorming, during which du Berrier found himself risking his life many times as a wing stuntman and parachutist before learning to pilot. He was trained by the legendary aviation stuntman, Dick Powell. “The aviation world that Dick Powell opened to me in June 1927 was a glamorous one that lasted from Lindbergh’s flight across the Atlantic to the Wall Street crash and the Great Depression. All America was on a ‘heroic aviator’ jag after Lindbergh took Paris by storm and married the ambassador’s daughter,” du Berrier wrote in an early manuscript of his memoirs.
To sell tickets to their “flying circus,” du Berrier and his partner would fly over a business district with Hilaire hanging by his feet from a rope ladder. “Dick Powell showed me how to turn my feet outward, with the bottom loop of rope behind the heels of my boots,” du Berrier wrote. “There was a second of hesitation the first time I took my hands off the ladder and lowered my body until there was nothing between my eyes and the ground below. The safety rope hooked to my belt would probably have been worthless if I lost my toe-hold. It was there so I could pull myself upright when it was time to get hold of the ladder and climb back to the wing. As far as I know, Dick, who was a lovable madman when sober but a terrifying acquaintance for captive passengers on a joyride when he was drinking, was the only other stuntman besides myself who went that far.”
As if these stunts were not sufficient, there was also the hazard of thrill seekers or competitors who would add to the peril by burning cigarette holes in the parachute or otherwise sabotaging operations. One of du Berrier’s closest calls came on July 17, 1928 over Freeport, Illinois, when the rope ladder broke on one side, seconds after he had regained a hand-grip to climb up it. Someone had put acid on it just below the wing. The evidence pointed toward a jealous competitor, whom the authorities charged with attempted murder. That narrow miss with death, and other close misses trying to steer a parachute between Ferris wheels and other carnival hazards, began to take the glamour out of the stunt flying business. Economic realities set in as well. Barnstorming was never financially rewarding, but as the Depression set in it became even more difficult to keep operations afloat.
In 1931, du Berrier sailed for Paris, where his uncle, a former congressman, was then appointed commissioner to the United States’ participation in the French Colonial Exposition. It was the beginning of a life of adventure that was to take him into the trouble spots of the world and prevent his return to America for 16 years. It was the period of the bohemian “lost generation” in Paris: Hemingway, Henry Miller, Anais Nin, Theda Bara, Louise Bryant — the literary set, film stars, avant garde artists, heirs and heiresses of great American fortunes, and titled nobility from throughout the world. But it was the World War I flying aces of the Lafayette Escadrille who captivated young du Berrier. His heroes were pilots such as Granville Pollock, Jimmy Bach, and Colonel Clifford Harmon, founder of the International League of Aviators — and above all, “Sweeny of the Legion,” the larger-than-life Charles Sweeny, first American colonel of the French Foreign Legion. With his infectious enthusiasm for aviation and his scrapbook of barnstorming exploits for credentials, du Berrier was accepted by this exclusive group of comrades as their youngest member.
They were not ordinary mercenaries, said du Berrier. There had to be an ideal involved. Theirs was a closed brotherhood, men who had been through wars together and held that theirs was the only honorable profession for a gentleman. “The standards of conduct and dress in Sweeny’s set were rigid,” HduB writes in his memoirs. “They were members of the personally responsible class of Gentlemen and had never abrogated the law of honor which holds that a member must be ever willing to risk his life for an abstraction. Being clean-shaven and dressed as though for inspection was a matter of discipline. If they were alive, they would say that the British Empire started going down when its officers quit dressing for dinner in the middle of the desert.”
When it became obvious that Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini intended to invade Ethiopia, du Berrier bought a ticket to Addis Ababa to offer his services, as well as the services of other flyers, to Emperor Haile Selassie. But the emperor was unable to purchase the needed planes before the Italians started the brutal slaughter, unleashing tanks and poison gas against the badly outgunned Ethiopians. Du Berrier was captured and returned to Addis Ababa on May 5, 1936 in the second automobile in the Italian advance guard’s column. In the ensuing confusion, he managed to slip his captors, catch the train to Djibouti, and return to Europe just as the Spanish Civil War was beginning.
Du Berrier’s course was already set; he had already declared himself to be King Alphonso’s man years before. “Walking down the rue de Rivoli in Paris one afternoon in 1931,” he told me, “I passed a tall gentleman and our eyes met. It was his majesty Alphonso XIII of Spain, who was living with his family in the Hotel Meurice. Instinctively, I shifted my cane and lifted my hat. He lifted his, and he had a loyal follower forever after.”
Du Berrier vividly recalled when a delegation came from Madrid to ask the king to abdicate. The scene, du Berrier recounted, “had always been etched in my mind. Drawing himself up to his full height, [King Alphonso] replied: ‘You ask me to abdicate but abdicate I cannot, for I am not only the King of Spain, I am the King of all the Spaniards, and I have not only my own reign but those of my house who have gone before me, for which I must someday give a rigorous accounting.’”
Du Berrier continued: “On April 14, 1931, His Catholic Majesty, Alphonso XIII, King of Spain, stopped on a hill outside of Madrid and got out of his car for a last look at the city he loved. In the countryside, monarchists had won the municipal elections, but in the cities Stalin’s Comintern agents had helped the Communists gain a strong foothold. The King knew if he stayed it would mean civil war; he thought he might spare his country that agony by leaving. The war he tried to avoid came anyway.”
Hilaire saw in King Alphonso the honor, chivalry, and sense of noblesse oblige he had always admired and sought to emulate since reading Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur and Sir Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe as a boy. Modern politicians could not stand in the shadows of these heroic men. So the son of fifth generation Huguenots set out to offer his services to the forces of a Catholic king fighting against the international forces of Communism. Years later Hilaire would similarly offer his services to the Buddhist king of Vietnam, Emperor Bao Dai, the “Son of Heaven,” fighting an equally desperate war against the same forces of militant atheism.
But General Francisco Franco, who commanded the anti-Communist forces in Spain, had been forced to go to the Italian air force for help and Hilaire was on their blacklist because of his recent attempt to help Haile Selassie in Ethiopia. Franco could not take the American aviator. Du Berrier hatched a new idea: He would volunteer to fly for the Communists and gather information that would help King Alphonso and expose Russia’s hand in the war. The plan worked for a short time — until U.S. Communists denounced him as an anti-Communist. Du Berrier was sentenced to the firing squad. Literally, at the last moment, a written reprieve was brought to the prison sparing his life. The reprieve was signed by Alberto Bayo, the Communist general who would later train Fidel Castro and Che Guevara. General Bayo’s action had nothing to do with mercy; it was simply a pragmatic decision. Executing an American, he reasoned, might turn U.S. opinion against the Communists and offend Eleanor Roosevelt, who was providing the Communist side much helpful propaganda. The rest of the prisoners sharing the bench with du Berrier that day were not so fortunate. All were shot.
Returning to France, du Berrier wrote a series of articles for the Hearst newspapers in America and the French agency Opera-Mundi exposing the Soviet direction of the Spanish civil war. Then, at the suggestion of Colonel Sweeny, he set sail for the Orient in April 1937. “There is going to be a show out there,” said Sweeny. “You go and see if you can get us all in.” By a “show,” Sweeny meant a war. And by “all of us” he meant their group of gentlemen warriors biding time in the Paris cafes and bars.
The month-long ocean journey to China proved fortuitous in many ways. Aboard the M.S. Aramas with du Berrier were Admiral le Bigot and his staff, on their way to assume command of the French Far East fleet. There were also replacements for the military command in Indochina and the French concession in Shanghai. By the time they tied up in Shanghai three weeks later, du Berrier had established ties of friendship that would stretch around the world and across the decades. After a brief stay in Saigon (which he would come to know well, years later) it was on to Shanghai, then, perhaps, the most spy-infested city on Earth.
Competing factions, foreign and domestic, had divided China for many years. Brutal warlords controlled various provinces in continually shifting alliances. Japan occupied much of China. In the commercial port of Shanghai, the Japanese allowed a large colony of Europeans and Americans. Each foreign nation there also had its intelligence operatives. Hilaire du Berrier’s linguistic facility, flying ability, temperament, and contacts made him a natural for American intelligence. However, an envious U.S. officer wrote up negative reports that squelched any hope in that direction. Chiang Kai-shek’s intelligence network sought him out, and he soon had set up a radio communications network providing much-needed daily intelligence reports on Japanese activities.
Colonel Mingant also recognized the American’s potential, describing him thusly: “Intelligent, amiable and extremely likable by all, he succeeded magnificently in introducing himself in all the circles of Shanghai where intelligence matters were handled.... I regard my friend, du Berrier, as the person who would have been best able to succeed in intelligence. He was totally disinterested in money. He would have liked to work for his country but never encountered men in its service who were intelligent enough to understand him.”
After attacking Pearl Harbor, the Japanese tightened their occupation of Shanghai and the dangerous game of the foxes became even more dangerous. Eleven months later, du Berrier was arrested just before dawn in his Shanghai apartment, on November 5, 1942. Alerted that he was under suspicion, he and Mingant had managed to spirit the radio transmitter, explosives, and incriminating papers out of the apartment and across the rooftops to Mingant’s car a few days before the Kampetai arrived. But du Berrier was unable to leave the city.
Following their period of torture sessions at the marine barracks in Shanghai, du Berrier and some 350 other international POWs were taken to Feng Tai railway station outside of Peking where they served as human shields to protect Japanese munitions and supplies against Allied bombers. On August 17, 1945, following Japan’s surrender, an American OSS parachute team landed at Feng Tai to take control of the camp. After a tense standoff with the camp commander, the prisoners were liberated. Thanks to Hilaire du Berrier, four of Colonel Doolittle’s pilots, whom the Japanese were hiding because they were in such terrible condition, were also discovered and released. (That story is told in Four Came Home, by Colonel Carroll V. Glines, re-released in 1996.)
Recognizing the Ruse
Having endured torture and years of malnutrition and abuse, Hilaire du Berrier was weak and ill. To make matters worse, not only did his government not recognize his heroic contributions in fighting the Japanese, it now dunned him for prison rations! Louis Thompson, head of the finance office of the U.S. State Department, refused to renew du Berrier’s passport until he paid the Department $512 for food furnished to him by the Swiss embassy while he was a POW. But how was he to earn any money without a passport to travel? Adding to his dire predicament was his growing realization that pro-Communist forces in the U.S. government and the U.S. media were intent on delivering China and all of Asia to Soviet-backed revolutionaries. When du Berrier returned to Shanghai, he found Russian informer Serge Balinovsky working for U.S. General Albert C. Wedemeyer’s intelligence chief. Balinovsky was the same thug who had sent du Berrier to the torture chamber and John Cook to his death. Throughout the Far East du Berrier found that thousands of Japanese collaborators and Communist sympathizers and agents had quickly infiltrated into positions of influence in post-war regimes.
Naively, he sought employment with the Institute for Pacific Relations (IPR), regarded as the premier Western think tank on Asian studies. He had much to offer in areas of their usual concern. As just one example, he was one of the very few westerners who had extensively studied the “Hui Hui,” China’s principal Muslim population. Du Berrier was probably the only non-Muslim westerner who had publicly read the Koran in China’s largest mosque, in Peking. He had committed much of the Koran to memory, in Arabic, and decades later could still recite many verses verbatim. Du Berrier was also one of a handful of Americans who knew most of the leaders of the competing factions in China, from Chiang Kai-shek to the various warlords, to the Communists. But the IPR was not interested in his unquestioned expertise. The reason became obvious a few years later when the prestigious think tank, closely tied to the State Department, was shown to be a notorious nest of Soviet spies. An extensive congressional investigation by the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee in 1952 said: “The IPR has been considered by the American Communist Party and by Soviet officials as an instrument of Communist policy, propaganda and military intelligence.” And so it was. Tragically, for the people of Asia, much of the American press merely served as fellow instruments in the same pro-Communist orchestra, as du Berrier found out when he went to work for Newsweek in Vietnam.
The head of Newsweek’s Far East desk, Harold R. Isaacs, avidly supported Communist leader Ho chi Minh, who was backed by both Soviet Russia and Red China. HduB invariably favored the anti-Communists in Indochina, so a clash was inevitable. Du Berrier lost. It was the same at the other major media outlets, where the editorial leadership, if not openly for Ho chi Minh, was at least virulently anti-French and anti-anti-Communist. “Even when pretending to be anti-Communist for their American audiences,” du Berrier later said, “the U.S. press could be counted on always to support the least reliable, most corrupt, and most socialist ‘anti-Communist’ factions in Vietnam, with the predictable result that the political situation was pushed continually leftward, always in a direction ultimately more favorable to the Communists.” The American public was inundated with disinformation and propaganda, and treated to the frequent spectacle of phony debate, he noted, “in which liberal-left officials and academics posing as ‘hawks’ debate pull-out and surrender proponents labeled ‘doves.’”
Unlike most of the U.S. press corps in Vietnam, who, except for occasional helicopter forays to the field, sat glued to bar stools in Saigon, du Berrier covered Indochina from top to bottom — literally. In addition to being able to speak Vietnamese, French, and Chinese, he quickly picked up additional tongues and dialects. His linguistic abilities were not his only advantage over other correspondents, however. He also knew how to relate to people from all walks of life, from cabbies and rickshaw men to soldiers, shopkeepers, industrialists, and statesmen. He understood and respected local customs, protocol, and courtesies and thus won entry to circles normally closed to westerners. He became close friends with Vietnam’s emperor Bao Dai, a friendship that grew deeper years later when the “Son of Heaven” was forced into exile in France, as had Alphonso XIII decades before.
In 1955, du Berrier attended the Big Four conference in Geneva, as an advisor to the Vietnamese government. Although qualified by ability and experience to be the “dean” of Far East reporters, he suffered the fate of other anti-Communist writers of the period: He was vilified and marginalized.
Linking Arms With Freedom Fighters
In August 1957, Hilaire du Berrier launched his own monthly intelligence newsletter, HduB Reports. His experience had given him unparalleled sources throughout the world. His friends from his years in Europe, China, and Indochina would become generals and admirals and rise to head intelligence and military services or become ambassadors and members of parliament. Shortly after, in February 1958, he began writing for American Opinion magazine and, later, its sister publication, The Review of the News, both forerunners to The New American. He was a contributing editor to this magazine from its inception.
Hilaire du Berrier became close friends with kindred spirit Robert Welch, founder of the John Birch Society, which du Berrier later joined. Du Berrier introduced Welch, himself an accomplished linguist and world traveler, to many foreign leaders. In 1965, the Birch Society’s book publishing house, Western Islands, published du Berrier’s Background to Betrayal: The Tragedy of Vietnam. It remains the most authoritative source in English on the crucial history of Indochina up to that point and is indispensable reading for an understanding of the tragic consequences of our government’s treacherous policies in Vietnam.
Hilaire du Berrier’s book and articles on Vietnam have stood the test of time, while the “experts” who opposed him have been vanquished by the truth of history. HduB lived to see some vindication on that score. In 1995, former Defense Secretary Robert Strange McNamara, who had done so much to handcuff the U.S. and South Vietnamese military and guarantee a Communist victory, published his book, In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam. Although filled with distortions, falsehoods, and self-serving breast beating, McNamara’s “confession” did confirm much of what du Berrier had said decades before. Particularly interesting were McNamara’s pleas on the basis of his own ignorance.
“I had never visited Indochina, nor did I understand its history, language, culture, or values,” McNamara said. “The same must be said, to varying degrees, about President Kennedy, Secretary of State Dean Rusk, national security adviser McGeorge Bundy, military adviser Maxwell Taylor, and many others. When it came to Vietnam we found ourselves setting policy for a region that was terra incognita.” This was an amazing confession, but only partially true. As du Berrier’s research and reporting repeatedly proved, many of the disastrous policies and decisions could not be chalked up to pure ignorance; many of the most damning ones resulted from conscious subversion and treason.
Hilaire du Berrier tirelessly exposed this same subversion and treason at work in other theaters of the world as well. In some of his first articles for American Opinion he wrote extensively about the Communist offensive in Africa and the Middle East. He provided an especially detailed focus on Algeria, where the modern “Islamic” terrorist phenomenon was being scientifically developed. Following the “anti-colonialism” strategy used with Ho chi Minh in Vietnam, the Soviets and their friends in Washington, D.C., demanded that the French turn over Algeria to Moscow-backed terrorists. The push for “anti-colonialism” was really an effort to set up new Soviet colonies. Du Berrier showed that the Algerians overwhelmingly rejected “independence” under the Soviet-backed FLN terrorists and opted for retaining their status as French citizens. He showed also that much of the campaign for this “independence” movement was being led by Communist labor leaders Jay Lovestone and Irving Brown, working through the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) and the UN’s International Labor Organization (ILO). His 1962 book, Labor’s International Network, and his articles in American Opinion and HduB Reports, exposed how radical left-wing labor bosses were using union dues to finance socialist revolts and Communist terrorism abroad. This stirred the anger of patriotic rank-and-file union members against their radical leadership and gave impetus for congressional investigations and the move to cut support for the ILO.
During this period, French President Charles De Gaulle was cooperating in the Washington-Moscow plan to turn Algeria into a new Soviet satellite. He was also turning France into a dictatorship, jailing or ruthlessly eliminating his opposition. His chief opponents were General Raoul Salan, one of France’s greatest and most beloved military heroes, and Jacques Soustelle, formerly De Gaulle’s own minister of intelligence. Both were close friends of du Berrier, and both were targeted for assassination by De Gaulle’s hit squads, the dreaded barbouzes or “false beards.” Soustelle was saved from a bullet — or worse — at one point, when du Berrier learned of the plot and hid Soustelle in his own apartment, then spirited him out of Paris. General Salan also was warned on several occasions by Hilaire’s network. Yves Gignac, General Salan’s aide who now serves as president of the Friends of Raoul Salan, said of HduB:
Hilaire du Berrier was a man of exceptional courage.... Having understood early on the danger that the Soviet regime represented for all civilization, he was anti-Communist and never ceased during all his life to combat the underhanded maneuverings of Moscow.... But above his physical courage he had what is much more rare: “civic courage.” He never hesitated to proclaim what he had discovered of the multiple facets of the truth, without ever taking into account the consequences.
Du Berrier’s reports in the 1970s and '80s on worldwide Soviet penetration of Islam have an especially important bearing on world events today. His reports on one Ahmed Kamal, for instance, should be read by all seeking to understand the current wave of global terrorism. Ahmed Kamal, leader of Jamiat Al-Islam, an important wheel in the global terror network, was born in Denver as Cimarron Hathaway. In a 1979 HduB Report, du Berrier provided details of Hathaway/Kamal’s travels in Russia and China, his marriage to a Soviet, and his connections to the ILO, U.S. labor leaders, and Communist terrorist organizations.
Hilaire du Berrier followed closely not only the activities of Communists, the Socialist International, and terrorist organizations, but also the plans and actions of the one-world international elites, as exemplified by the Royal Institute for International Affairs, the Bilderbergers, the Atlantic Council, and the Council on Foreign Relations. Perhaps one of his greatest contributions in the way of original research concerns the history of the Common Market, now known as the European Union. Almost alone, he recognized from the start that this effort was a scheme to gradually fasten a socialist superstate on the nations of Europe, under the guise of facilitating the exchange of goods and services across borders.
The noted French author, journalist, and intelligence specialist Pierre de Villemarest is one of the prominent Europeans who have paid tribute to du Berrier’s influence and contributions. “There are not enough words to express my sorrow on learning that Hilaire du Berrier has passed beyond this life,” de Villemarest told me, after learning of Hilaire’s death. Mr. de Villemarest, a member of the French Resistance in World War II who later served in French intelligence, is recognized worldwide as a top expert on espionage, subversion, and terrorism. He was a journalist for many years for major European periodicals and for the past three decades has directed the highly regarded Centre European d’Information. “I am not the only French journalist to admit that when we met some 40 years ago my first talks with him so enriched my knowledge and understanding of American politics that I had to revise totally my former analysis,” he said. “I learned so much from him. He gave me some essential keys and so many facts that, from then on, I had always to keep in mind before writing for the newspaper or my own confidential newsletter. I owe to Hilaire an early understanding of the activists and architects of Euro-Atlanticism and how they were (and are) working against the U.S.A., as against the European states, for the destruction of our civilizations and the creation of their so-called New World Order. He was among the first to research and put these pieces together so long ago and to expose the dark plans behind the Common Market, which is now known as the European Union. So, I say then, ‘Goodbye, Hilaire. You will stay in our hearts forever, hoping that your American friends will bravely continue their fight, which was your fight, for a free America and a free world.’”
Over the better part of a century, Hilaire du Berrier fought many crucial battles and supported many of freedom’s greatest champions. He broke numerous important stories, exposed countless dangerous frauds and lies, and brought the truth concerning critical current events in the global struggle for freedom to generations of Americans. We at The New American are proud to have been associated with him in this epic and noble crusade. His knowledge, wisdom, and cheerful companionship are already sorely missed. But his courage and heroic devotion to truth and civic virtue will continue to inspire us to follow the same path of honor and dedication.
Mr. du Berrier was married to Rosa Kadoori of Shanghai. They are survived by their daughter Jeanette du Berrier Cholewa.
This article was originally published in the November 18, 2002 issue of The New American.