The truth about White’s actions has been clear for at least 15 years now, yet historians remain deeply divided over his intentions and his legacy, puzzled by the chasm between White’s public views on political economy, which were mainstream progressive and Keynesian, and his clandestine behavior on behalf of the Soviets. Until recently, the White case has resembled a murder mystery with witnesses and a weapon but no clear motive.
Now we have one. The closest thing to a missing link between the official White and the secret White is an unpublished handwritten essay on yellow-lined notepaper that I found buried in a large folder of miscellaneous scribblings in White’s archives at Princeton University. Apparently missed by his previous chroniclers, it provides a fascinating window onto the aspirations and mindset of this intellectually ambitious overachiever at the height of his power, in 1944.
Some intriguing background to the Bretton Woods international finance agreements and Soviet secret agent White who bullied Keynes and was able to push his schemes into law.