JOURNALIST GARETH JONES - UNSUNG HERO OF UKRAINE
By Roman Revkniv Ukrainian Archives & News
May 11 2003
Richard Vaughan Jones 1905 -1935
higher you fly the harder you fall' is a term that fate will mockingly
whisper in the ears of the intelligent and forward thinking. Every so
often fate is right. Gareth Jones was a Welsh journalist and his sense
of adventure left no room for cowardice. But his life was cut short.
Far from home and travelling along life's journey to the Orient
Gareth's spirit of youthful exuberance crossed paths with the hands of
merciless Chinese bandits. A promising British writing talent was
brutally and regrettably laid to rest in a prematurely prepared grave.
Colley, Gareth's great nephew and editor of Gareth
Jones' Website explained to UAnews "He was very forward with
those that he met, and he used his relationship as Foreign Affairs
Advisor to Lloyd George to open doors to meetings with some of the
twentieth Century's biggest names, ranging from Mussolini to architect
Frank Lloyd Wright. Jones was the first foreign journalist to fly with
Hitler after he was made Chancellor in February 1933; just four days
before the burning-down of the Reichstag. Jones wrote definitive
articles in the early thirties on the rise of Nazism, even predicting
an eventual outbreak of war with Poland over the Danzig Corridor.
it was only one month after that meeting with Adolf Hitler, that
Gareth Jones would expose the reality of genocide in Ukraine. On his
travels to Kharkiv he manifested both his sense of adventure and his
determined quest for the truth.
wheels of Stalin's death machine had moved into gear. Any hint of a
resurgence of Ukrainian nationalism was being methodically quashed.
Private small holders were having their food and lands stolen in the
collectivisation process, and although collectivisation was the term
understood to mean 'to communally produce, collect and redistribute
food' Stalin was busy producing and collecting his Ukrainian quota of
human corpses that had died through his enforced starvation.
was restricted in Ukraine and strictly controlled by Stalin and his
secret police - the OGPU (NKVD). Gareth Jones sensed that something
was disastrously wrong, and eventually witnessed the truth of Stalin's
dealings with Ukraine's peasantry. He travelled to Kharkiv and saw
what really happened, but he did so without the neccessary travel
permits. In the villages outside of Kharkiv he saw the effects of the
famine gradually moving towards the most painful days. At it's peak
Stalin's murder campaign by famine was to claim 25 000 victims a day.
Nigel Colley confirmed: "Gareth 'got away' with flaunting the
Soviet Secret Police ban on private travel within Ukraine in March
1933. Gareth Jones was extremely lucky that in one instance two of
their local officials chose merely to personally escort him out of
their area by train, simply because of the lack of any directive of
what to do with a westerner, who shouldn’t have been there in the
the process of his observations Gareth took hand-written notes and
recorded the testaments of starving Ukrainian villagers. One
perfectly preserved hand-written document is on display at the
Gareth Jones website.
due to Jones’ newspaper articles on the famine, which embarrassed
Stalin's regime, Soviet Foreign Commissar Litvinov (whom Jones had
just recently interviewed in Moscow) in a personal letter to Lloyd
George, banned Jones from ever returning to the U.S.S.R.
Jones was now forced to look for new investigative horizons on the
world political stage. Having decided to turn his attentions to the
Orient, his direct, but somewhat naively Imperial approach, in a later
interview in Tokyo, in 1935, with the Japanese War Minister, General
Hayashi Senjuro, where he asked: ‘Some Chinese fear that Japan will
attack North China. Has this fear any basis?’ did not do his
survival chances much good, when Jones happened to stumble across
covert Japanese territorial expansion of Northern China, some four
Colley added "Jones’ Soviet past may well have followed him, as
he stayed in Tokyo with journalist, Günther Stein, Richard Sorge's (a
major Soviet spy) radio operator - who would have readily informed the
Japanese of his previous damaging expose in the Soviet Union, and in
doing so, ultimately signed Gareth Jones’ death warrant."
result of Gareth Jones’ premature death, Malcolm Muggeridge was in
later years able to accept more of the journalistic glory surrounding
Ukraine's horrific holocaust, but historically, at the time, Gareth,
appeared to take the hardest and dirtiest of Walter Duranty's flak. See:
Russians Hungry, but not Starving where Duranty clearly
undermined Jones in The New York Times: "Since I talked to Mr.
Jones I have made exhaustive inquiries about this alleged famine
situation. I have inquired in Soviet commissariats and in foreign
embassies with their network of consuls, and I have tabulated
information from Britons working as specialists and from my personal
connections, Russian and foreign....All of this seems to me to be more
trustworthy information than I could get by a brief trip through any
open reply to The New York Times, Jones stingingly stood by his
accusations in his rebuttal of Duranty: ‘May I in conclusion
congratulate the Soviet Foreign Office on its skill in concealing the
true situation in the U.S.S.R.? Moscow is not Russia, and the sight
of well fed people there tends to hide the real Russia.’ [See full
transcript at http://www.garethjones.org/soviet_articles/jones_replies.htm
Colley, concluded: "it is our hope that one day Gareth may be
remembered as a 'hero' of Ukraine, for his courage to publicly take on
the might of Stalin's regime; which may well have eventually cost him
the eyes of many Ukrainians Gareth Jones has already earned himself
the status of nothing less than a Cult Hero. A Welshman in Ukraine is
one matter: a Welshman taking the fight for Ukrainian social justice
to Stalin and the rest of his world's gullible is already far greater
than many Ukrainians were prepared do for their own nation at that
time. Gareth Jones was a clean and honourable journalist, but he soon
became surrounded by a developing world of modern, professional and
most definitely dishonourable spies.
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