Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with Hans N. Tuch
Yet, Ed Murrow felt that a change of direction was in order and needed to be taken. So he worked out a system whereby Terry Catherman, who had succeeded me in Moscow, when he came back in 1964, took over the Russian division of the Voice of America. But what could be done with Alexander Barmine?
So an arrangement was devised whereby Alex Barmine was “promoted” to be my special assistant. I was the area director and he was to be my Soviet advisor in the area. We brought him uptown and he was treated courteously; he was given a nice office right next to my office and from time to time Ed Murrow greeted him and talked to him briefly and made Alex Barmine feel good. He did not feel that he had been demoted. I remember on one occasion when I was invited to the Soviet Embassy for a reception, I said to Alex, “You've got to come along with me. You're the Soviet expert in this and you come along with me, and I'll see to it that you get an invitation.” They indeed sent him an invitation. He was at first very reluctant to go into the Soviet Embassy, but finally agreed.
We went to the Soviet Embassy and, lo and behold, he became the center of attraction to all the military types, Soviet military types at the Soviet Embassy who had remembered this famous General Barmine of the 1930s. He enjoyed it. Then, on the way out he told me the story about his defection from his embassy, the Soviet Embassy in Athens, when he walked out knowing that if he had not walked out of that embassy at the moment he did, he would have been arrested and possibly shot.
Q: You said Barmine had been with the Voice since the late '40s, actually, he had started even earlier than that. Perhaps as early as the mid-'40s, I don't know just what year he defected, but I know he started with the Voice when they were still in New York.
TUCH: Yes, indeed, because he defected in 1938, I remember that. This was during the purge. He was a prot�g� of Marshal Tukhashevskii, who was one of the marshals who was purged, and when he heard that Marshal Tukhashevskii had been arrested, he realized his time had come and defected to Paris.
He came to the United States, I think, very soon there after. The Voice did not start until 1942 and it was located in New York. I'm not sure exactly when we started broadcasting in Russian to the Soviet Union. I think it was probably 1948, '49, but the date of that we can check with Cliff Groce.
Q: It's not significant, anyway.
F. Cuban Missile Crisis: Tuch In USSR Accompanying New York City Ballet