Military Review

Scout Alexey and Manhattan Project

Scout Alexey and Manhattan ProjectOn April 10, 1945, shortly before the death of US President F. Roosevelt, the Minister of War handed him a secret note that said: “In four months we will probably complete work on weapons, worse than that did not know mankind. " The White House owner didn’t need to explain what kind of weapon he was talking about: it was he who stood at the origins of the atomic bomb in the United States. Two days later, Roosevelt died. The vice president Harry Harman, who was not privy to the secrets of the Manhattan Project (a codename for the Americans to create atomic weapons), was sworn in as the new president of the country, and the United States Secretary of Defense had to bring him up to date. What was not known to Truman about the Manhattan Project was in the subtleties that the modest young trainee of the Soviet consulate general in New York Anatoly Yakovlev knew. Anatoly Antonovich Yatskov, an employee of the Soviet foreign intelligence service, worked under this name in the United States during the war years.


Anatoly Antonovich Yatskov was born on May 31 of 1913 in the Bessarabian city of Akkerman, now called Belgorod-Dniester. A year later, his parents moved in search of a better share to Central Russia, in the Tambov province. Here, in Bolshaya Gribanovka, Anatoly graduated from high school, worked at a local sugar factory, then moved to Moscow. In the capital, he got a job as an unskilled laborer, lived in barracks on the Lower Boilers, built a garage on Khamovnicheskiy parade ground, fittered in a workshop and studied.

In 1937, Anatoly Yatskov graduated from the Moscow Polygraphic Institute and began working as an industrial engineer at the Dunaev Metropolitan Cartographic Factory. At the same time actively engaged in parachuting.

In the 1938 year, due to mass repression, which resulted in the destruction of two-thirds of the foreign intelligence officers, the question of its replenishment by young cadres was on the agenda. At the end of 1938, A. Yatskov, on the recommendation of the Central Committee of the CPSU (B.), Is sent to the state security agencies. 5 June 1939, he is enrolled to study in the French group of the School of Special Purpose (SHON) of the NKVD of the USSR and begins to prepare for intelligence work in France. In 1940, Yatskov finishes SEAN.

However, by that time, life had made adjustments to the plans of the foreign intelligence leadership. In June 1940, France capitulated to Nazi Germany, and German troops occupied two thirds of its territory. The Soviet overseas office, under the cover of which Anatoly was to act, was closed. The question of Yatskov's business trip to France was dropped. When, in connection with the end of SHON, before 26-year-old Anatoly Yatskov, there was a question about his further operational fate, the personnel department management informed him that he was going to work in the 5 (Anglo-American) department of foreign intelligence. In the future, he had to work in the United States.

“But I don’t know English,” Anatoly told the personnel officers. - I have French. If possible, send me to France, not to America.

“The Germans are in France,” said the head of the personnel department. - You can go there only as an illegal. You are not prepared for this. Travel to the States under the name of Yakovlev. Your operational pseudonym is “Alexey”. So, we give you three months to learn English. If you don’t have time to study it here, you’ll learn it in America.


The remaining months before leaving for New York, Anatoly Yatskov spent at least minimally mastering the spoken practice of the English language, learning how to build simple phrases like “who you are and what your name is”, to be able to explain in a shop, on the street, while talking to a policeman .

In New York, Alexey was identified as an intern at the Consulate General of the USSR. The beginning intelligence officer received visitors, mostly American citizens, who were going to visit their relatives in the USSR or were serving there for business.

Later, referring to the period of his work in the United States, Anatoly Antonovich told:
“Since 1941, I have been in the United States, where I worked in the USSR Consulate General in New York. I spent almost six years there. My work as secretary to the consulate general was a cover for my main job in residency. I was an ordinary employee, I received visitors, gave out certificates, was engaged in searching for people who went missing during the war, but at the same time carried out the tasks that were assigned to me along the line of intelligence. For the outside world, I looked like an ordinary consular officer, which was very important for intelligence, otherwise the local special services would quickly figure me out. ”

Certainly, working without an interpreter, the young intern experienced certain difficulties at first. The resident of the NKVD in New York, Pavel Pastelnyak, demanded that the novice intelligence officer first learn the spoken language. During one of the introductory discussions, he stressed:

- Work on the language. Without English, you cannot recruit Americans. To help you in the fastest mastering the language, learning special terminology, without which there is no intelligence officer, will be Semen Markovich Semenov. He has already agreed to take over the functions of your mentor. Consider yourself lucky. This is the most experienced and efficient employee of our station.

Scout "Twain" (operational pseudonym Semenova) was really an experienced operative. He graduated from the Massachusetts Technological Institute, receiving a bachelor's degree. He worked in New York and was one of the most efficient employees of the residency. A born intelligence officer, he knew how to establish contacts with people, gradually drawing them into cooperation with Soviet intelligence. Later, Twain relayed to Alexei a number of sources of great intelligence interest.

Gradually, the "Alexey" things went smoothly. Under the leadership of "Twain", he developed an operation to enter the objects of recruitment penetration of interest to intelligence. However, the first pancake came out lumpy: recruitment did not take place. Then he met a man who had contacts with nuclear physicists. The American sympathized with the Soviet Union, was an implacable opponent of Nazism, and gradually agreed to help the USSR in the fight against the Nazi threat. This contact was of great interest to the Center.

In 1942, the Center authorized the recruitment by Alexei of an American who was a specialist in radio electronics. The recruitment was successful, and the source was assigned the operational pseudonym “Block”, named after the Soviet poet Alexander Blok, whose poetry he loved. The “block” turned out to be very productive. He received important information for the USSR on new radio devices used in aviation and air defense. She invariably received high praise from Soviet technical experts. In the future, “Block” handed over to “Alexei” ready-made samples of aircraft devices. The total cost of electronic devices transferred to them for the USSR for the year amounted to 150 thousand dollars. Today, this amount can be safely increased by about 20 times.

Soon the agent Volunteers was transferred to the operator. She was led by Morris Cohen (“Louis”), recruited back in 1938 in Spain. However, Alexey failed to work with him during the war years: in the middle of 1942, Morris was drafted into the American army and sent to the European theater of operations.

The leadership of the Volunteers group was taken over by Louis’s wife, Leontina Cohen (the operational pseudonym Lesley).

She was a courageous and resolute woman. So, participating with Aleksey in one of the intelligence operations, Leslie, after the plan was approved at the Center, independently implemented it with the help of one of the residency sources. The agent, on her assignment, carried out the trunk of the experimental aviation machine gun from the factory where he worked, and then Leslie was able to transport it to the Soviet Consulate General in New York ... in a double bass case. The operation, which surprised even experienced scouts, went off without a hitch.

In the 1943 year, Aleksey, who already had important sources of information in touch, was assigned the diplomatic rank of 3-th Secretary of the USSR Consulate General in New York.

At the end of 1943, a valuable source of Soviet intelligence — a prominent physicist Klaus Fuchs — arrived in the United States as part of a group of British physicists sent there to work on the Manhattan Project. The center did not allow the residency to maintain contact with the scientist directly, so as not to decipher it in front of local special services. To keep in touch with Klaus Fuchs, a special courier, a biochemist scientist Harry Gold, was selected. Twain, who was in charge of Gold, in connection with the final departure from the United States passed him on to Alexey.


Klaus Fuchs was born December 29 1911 in the small town of Rüsselsheim in the principality of Hesse-Darmstadt (Germany) in the family of one of the famous leaders of the Quaker Protestant movement, theology professor Emil Fuchs. Klaus's outstanding abilities in the field of mathematics and physics appeared in high school, which he graduated with a medal. In 1930 – 1932 he studied at Leipzig and then at the University of Kiel. In 1932, he joined the KPD and became the head of its university cell. With the advent of Hitler to power, Fuchs moved to an illegal position, and then went into exile: first to Paris, and then to London.

At the request of the English Quakers, Fuchs was granted a residence permit by the well-known British industrialist Gann, who persuaded physicist Mott, who taught at Bristol University, to take a young and promising scientist as a graduate student in his laboratory. In December 1936, Klaus defended his doctoral thesis. He was only 25 years old.

From 1937 to 1939, Klaus Fuchs worked in the laboratory of Professor Max Born in Edinburgh, where he was engaged in research in the field of theoretical physics.

In connection with the decision taken at the end of 1940 by the British government to begin construction of the uranium-235 production plant, Fuchs, on the recommendation of Born and Mott, was hired by the laboratory of Professor Peierps, who led atomic bomb research at the University of Birmingham. Here, Fuchs managed to solve several cardinal mathematical problems necessary to clarify the basic parameters of these weapons.

Soon, Klaus Fuchs was accepted into British citizenship and admitted to secret work on Enormous (this code name received in the operational correspondence of Soviet intelligence a project to create atomic weapons in the United States and England).

Having established contact with a Soviet military intelligence officer on his own initiative, Klaus Fuchs provided information about secret work in England to create atomic weapons. He expressed readiness to continue to transmit such information to the Soviet Union. With Fuchs, a covert communication was established by the Soviet military intelligence, and in 1943, it was handed over to the residency of the foreign intelligence of the NKGB. By that time, the State Defense Committee had decided that military intelligence should concentrate all its efforts on obtaining the military-political plans of Hitler Germany and not divert its strength and funds to scientific and technical issues, which became solely the prerogative of scientific and technical intelligence agencies of the state. security.

After signing a secret agreement between Britain and the United States on the joint development of atomic weapons in Quebec in August 1943, Klaus Fuchs, known for his theoretical work in the field of atomic energy, was included in the group of British scientists who were to fly to Los Alamos to work together with American colleagues in the framework of the Manhattan Project. Fuchs arrived in the US in December 1943 of the year.


From Klaus Fuchs, Soviet intelligence received the most valuable information on the Manhattan Project. In particular, he said that the main US nuclear facilities are located in Oakridge, where a uranium-235 plant is being built, Henford producing plutonium, Clinton and Chicago. But the most important object was the American Center for Nuclear Research in Los Alamos, where 45 thousands of civilians and military personnel worked. The creation of the first atomic bomb involved 12 Nobel laureates in physics from the US and European countries.

The head of the nuclear project, General Groves, created a special secrecy regime around the facility in Los Alamos. However, the New York residency managed to overcome these obstacles, despite the tough opposition of the American special services. This was facilitated by the fact that several American scientists, concerned about the threat posed by the new deadly weapon, sent a letter to US President F. Roosevelt, in which they invited him to share nuclear secrets with the USSR. The answer was, of course, negative.

One of the sources of the New York residency for the Manhattan Project later motivated its agreement to share US nuclear secrets with Soviet intelligence:
“There is no country other than the Soviet Union that could be trusted with such a terrible thing. But since we cannot take it away from other countries, let the USSR know about its existence, let it be aware of progress, experience and construction. Then the Soviet Union will not be in the position of a country that can be blackmailed. "

Of course, Klaus Fuchs was not the only source of Soviet foreign atomic intelligence. There were several of them. At the end of the 1980s, Anatoly Antonovich noted in one of his interviews: “Among these scientists were people who sympathized with the Soviet Union, who single-handedly carried out an unequal struggle against fascist Germany. They were not communists, but did not want our country to remain unarmed in the face of the most powerful imperialist world in the world and advocated for a balance in armaments between the USSR and the USA.

Interestingly, the New York station also had unknown volunteers. So, in the summer of 1944, an unknown person handed over a package to the Soviet Consulate General in New York. When the package was opened, it turned out that it contained top secret materials on the Manhattan Project. However, the residency failed to establish the name of the visitor. The center, having received these materials, rated them as “exceptionally interesting” and at the same time reprimanded the resident for not taking measures to establish contact with the visitor.

During the visits of Klaus Fuchs to the USA, “Alexey” participated in responsible operations for organizing communications with him and receiving highly sensitive information in the field of developing nuclear weapons from a source.

Klaus Fuchs received valuable information on the nuclear issue, including calculations and drawings related to the construction of the atomic bomb, data on the construction of factories for obtaining weapons-grade uranium and plutonium, as well as information on the direct course of the creation of the bomb.

Evaluating the materials received from Klaus Fuchs, the Soviet scientist Igor Kurchatov 7 March 1943 sent L. Beria, who oversaw the Soviet atomic project, a letter that read:
“The review of materials I made showed that obtaining them is of tremendous, invaluable importance for our state and science ... The material made it possible to get very important guidelines for our scientific research, bypassing many very labor-intensive phases of problem development, and learning about new scientific and technical ways to resolve it.

Thus, these materials are of great interest. In them, along with the methods and schemes developed by us, the possibilities that we have not yet considered are indicated. ”

In 1944, Alexey managed to recruit a young scientist from the Perseus University of Chicago metallurgical laboratory, who was invited to work at the Los Alamos laboratory. Initially, it was planned that the agent “Star”, a friend of “Perseus” at the university, would become his contact. However, it was soon recognized as inexpedient, so as not to decipher the two valuable sources before each other. Keeping in touch with the scientist was entrusted to the tireless Leslie, since such meetings could look quite natural and not attract attention. And she brilliantly handled this assignment. Here, in our opinion, it is appropriate to note that in the second half of the 1990-s, the members of the Volunteers agent group Leontin and her husband Morris Cohen were posthumously awarded the high titles of Hero of the Russian Federation.

Thanks to the efforts of “Alexey” and his comrades, the Soviet Union managed to overcome the nuclear monopoly of the United States, which planned to use these weapons in the war against our country. Information from Soviet intelligence allowed not only to speed up work on its own nuclear weapons, but also to save considerable funds. The atomic bomb was created by Soviet scientists, engineers, workers. The role of intelligence was much more modest. She drew the attention of the Soviet leadership to this problem and obtained information that allowed our country to create a nuclear shield as soon as possible.

The foreign intelligence service of the Soviet state security agencies worked on this issue in a rather secretive manner. For a long time, American and British intelligence services were convinced that the Soviet side did not know anything about the Manhattan Project. It is characteristic that when, at the Potsdam Conference in July 1945, the new US President G. Truman, with the consent of the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, told Stalin that a fundamentally new weapon of enormous destructive power had recently been successfully tested in the US, the Soviet leader reacted to it is calm and restrained. The American president even had the impression that Stalin did not understand what was being said at all. And Churchill later wrote in his memoirs: "Stalin had no idea how important what was said to him."

However, Stalin, as later testified by people from his closest circle, understood perfectly. From intelligence he already knew about the upcoming test in the US atomic bomb. Returning from the meeting, he told Foreign Minister Molotov about the conversation with Truman. “The price is being filled,” the minister commented on Truman’s report. At the same time, Stalin phoned Kurchatov through the direct wire and instructed to speed up work on creating his own atomic weapon. The first Soviet atomic bomb was tested at the test site in 1949. The US nuclear monopoly was ended. Only after that the American and British leaders realized that Stalin had fingered them and began to look for a channel of information leakage concerning American atomic secrets.

At the end of 1945 of the year, “Aleksey” was appointed the acting resident foreign intelligence officer, and at the beginning of 1946, he was assigned the diplomatic rank of vice consul. In the autumn of the same year, the Center decided to transfer “Alexey” to France, where he left New York at the end of December. In January, 1947, Aleksey began work in the Parisian residency under the cover of the second secretary of the USSR Embassy. He was assigned the task of creating an agent apparatus for scientific and technical intelligence. First of all, the Center was interested in introducing Soviet agents in the Acropolis - French nuclear facilities. This task was "Alexey" also solved.


In the spring of 1949, Anatoly Antonovich Yatskov returned to Moscow after a nine-year stay abroad. After successfully testing the first Soviet atomic bomb, he was awarded the Order of the Red Banner and appointed deputy chief of one of the departments of scientific and technical intelligence.

In 1955, Iraq broke off diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union, accusing it of interfering in internal affairs and supporting the Communist Party, which allegedly was preparing a military coup. There was not a single Soviet representative in the country. The center needed reliable information about the situation in Iraq. It was decided to send Yatskov to Iraq under the guise of a Canadian businessman. The scout successfully coped with his task, informing the Center about the development of the internal situation in this country.

In subsequent years, Anatoly Antonovich held senior positions in scientific and technical intelligence, went on long-term missions for operational work in the countries of Western and Eastern Europe. Then he was engaged in teaching activities: he headed the department at the Yu.V. KGB USSR Red Banner Institute. Andropov.

In all areas of work A.A. Yatskov successfully coped with the tasks assigned to him, proved himself an experienced leader, a sensitive educator. He was always distinguished by a comprehensive knowledge of the case, integrity, personal modesty and responsiveness.

In 1985, Colonel Yatskov retired. Being on well-deserved rest, he continued to maintain close ties with the team, often met with young intelligence officers. His articles, memoirs, and reviews often appeared in the press.

Speaking to foreign journalists in the middle of 1991, Anatoly Antonovich emphasized:
“Soviet intelligence officers do not claim a decisive role in the development of atomic weapons in the USSR; they would have been created without them anyway, only in longer periods. The materials received on this account from intelligence are a manual for the creation of weapons, which means nothing without the scientists themselves. We should all bow low to Academician Kurchatov and his comrades who created atomic weapons in conditions much more complex than those in which American scientists worked. And add - in a shorter time. The scientific qualification of our scientists was no lower than that of American ones, although they were helped by the best physicists from many countries of the world. As for the role of intelligence, it attracted the attention of the Soviet leadership to this problem, and its information helped speed up the creation of an atomic shield for the Motherland and avoid deadlocks. ”

For merits in intelligence work and a great contribution to the security of our country, Yatskov was awarded the Orders of the October Revolution, the Red Banner, the Red Banner of Labor, World War 2, two Orders of the Red Star, many medals, and also badges “Honorary Officer state security "and" For service in intelligence ".

26 March, 1993, Anatoly Antonovich passed away. He was buried at the Vagankovskoye cemetery in Moscow.

By the Decree of the President of Russia on 15 June 1996, Anatoly Antonovich Yatskov was posthumously awarded the title Hero of the Russian Federation.
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  1. kobussubok
    kobussubok 6 July 2013 09: 22
    Glory to our scouts and eternal memory to those who are no longer! I hope that they have always worked and are working with full dedication!
  2. Nuar
    Nuar 6 July 2013 09: 43
    “There is no country other than the Soviet Union that could be entrusted with such a terrible thing. But since we cannot take it away from other countries, let the USSR know about its existence, let it be in the know about progress, experience and construction. Then the Soviet Union will not be in the position of a country, which can be blackmailed».
    hmm ... interestingly, but now there are still scientists who, in addition to specialized knowledge, are also able to think soberly and remember what "morality" is?
  3. il grand casino
    il grand casino 6 July 2013 12: 27
    And why were many of our intelligence officers working at the time "on the Manhattan project" assigned the title of hero only after the collapse of the USSR? The same Coens, Adams and Koval come to mind. Everyone seems to have received the title of Hero already in the Russian Federation.
  4. omsbon
    omsbon 6 July 2013 12: 52
    G. Truman, with the consent of British Prime Minister W. Churchill, told Stalin that recently a fundamentally new weapon of tremendous destructive power had been successfully tested in the United States, the Soviet leader reacted calmly and restrainedly. The American president even got the impression that Stalin did not understand what was at stake.

    Here is a sample of the country's leader. It is terrible to think what would happen if such news was reported to Gorbachev or Medvedev, at least a public defecation!
  5. Muxauk
    Muxauk 6 July 2013 17: 24
    Quote: omsbon

    At the end of 1945, Aleksey was appointed acting resident of foreign intelligence, and at the beginning of 1946 he was assigned the diplomatic rank of vice consul. In the fall of the same year, the Center decided to transfer Alexei to France, where he left New York at the end of December. In January 1947, Alexei began work in a Paris residency under the guise of the second secretary of the USSR embassy. Pe

    ear, would return Stalin, still 20 years old. It would have been hard, but everyone would have made up.
    I don’t understand their conspiracy, it’s too hard a matter, but what they did when the war was going on is worthy of great respect.
    I hope our intelligence is not inferior now
  6. pensioner
    pensioner 6 July 2013 18: 00
    Yeah ... This is what kind of endurance and courage one must have in order to be in an absolutely hostile environment to do SUCH business! AND SO do it! And about who of the physicists was "Perseus" ... I have strong suspicions that it was Einstein! Recently, 2 interesting facts have become known.
    1. Upon arrival in America, Einstein worked for some time in the company with Leo Theremin.
    2. Einstein was in love with a Russian woman related to Soviet intelligence. When parting, he even gave her his watch. About it recently on the Star transmission was. Unfortunately, I forgot my surname ...
    The details of this case, of course, will not be revealed soon. If they reveal at all. And the scientists who helped us, of course, were great! And they didn’t take a dime! Chubais, probably, when he reads about it grinds his teeth. The possibilities were what they were!
  7. sokrat-71
    sokrat-71 6 July 2013 19: 15
    Quote: il grand casino
    And why were many of our intelligence officers working at the time "on the Manhattan project" assigned the title of hero only after the collapse of the USSR? The same Coens, Adams and Koval come to mind. Everyone seems to have received the title of Hero already in the Russian Federation.

    Just for this it would be necessary to recognize the merits of the head of intelligence - Beria L.P., and he was demonized in the USSR.
  8. mihailow56
    mihailow56 6 July 2013 19: 21
  9. velikoros-xnumx
    velikoros-xnumx 6 July 2013 20: 16
    I would like to believe that even today our country has such people in their work. I don’t want to say anything bad, but Anya Chapman, as a man, evokes in me not a sense of respect, but feelings of a slightly different plan wassat
  10. fzr1000
    fzr1000 6 July 2013 22: 12
    It’s good that I didn’t live to the present time.
  11. ded10041948
    ded10041948 6 July 2013 22: 34
    In less than twenty years, some more top-secret material will be published! Well, why can’t you talk about such people during your lifetime? After all, they deserve it for their devotion to the Motherland!
    1. kush62
      kush62 8 July 2013 03: 32
      Dear grandfather, the scout probably still had connections and can be calculated. Therefore, it is impossible.