Gareth Jones

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Was Gareth Jones's surname behind George Orwell’s naming of ‘Farmer Jones' in Animal Farm?.

This is a 'work-in-progress' hypothesis by Nigel Colley, initially started in February 2004 (with several further revisions as and when new information was discovered; the last being in May 2010).

Through my on-going research into the mysterious murder of Gareth Jones in 1935 (two years after being the first-named journalist to internationally exposing Soviet Ukrainian famine-genocide), I became reacquainted with Orwell's own chapter on the famine in Animal Farm. In discovering the historical accuracy of his allegory, I decided to write my own line-by-line appraisal of his account and was most impressed by his in-depth knowledge of this Bolshevik atrocity. [Please click here for sight of my famine appraisal of Orwell and for readers who are unaware of Gareth's life, a précis can be seen here.]

Then, upon my discovery that Orwell had in his single word of 'coccidiosis', describing the explanation for his (Ukrainian) hens mortality due to disease, I was convinced that he was specifically alluding to Stalinist apologist, Walter Duranty's unforgivable New York Times 1933; "Russians Hungry, But Not Starving" article, in which he specifically denigrated Gareth Jones, but also stated that any peasant deaths were actually due to diseases from malnutrition. This was when I first became aware that Orwell could not have been able to have written his 'famine' section of his novel, without specific knowledge of Gareth Jones. I then actually found Gareth being alluded to as a 'human being'! Orwell wrote: "Starvation seemed to stare them in the face.  It was vitally necessary to conceal this fact from the outside world. Emboldened by the collapse of the windmill, the human beings were inventing fresh lies about Animal Farm. Once again it was being put about that all the animals were dying of famine and disease..."

At this point, I  entertained the thought that 'Farmer Jones' merely had the same name as my relation, but decided to investigate the concept that a link may have existed, initially by contacting for an informed opinion.  Armed with a positive reply to this notion, I subsequently became an avid aficionado of Orwell, whilst developing the arguments below.

It wasn't however until I was able to give a more than plausible answer to the obvious question by Orwell scholars, as to why Gareth's name had never previously been found in Orwell's legacy, did I become convinced that my hypothesis was probably true. My answer relates to Malcolm Muggeridge's own extraordinary 'airbrushing' of Gareth Jones role in exposing the famine, a journalistic scoop which he  considered he was denied at the time, coupled with Muggeridge's intended first biography of Orwell, when he would have had full access to all of Orwell's papers.... This answer you will discover is truly an Orwellian 'Newspeak' concept in itself and I would kindly request learned readers either to disprove its validity or preferably elucidate upon it. I don't profess that every one of my arguments is correct, but I kindly ask the reader to consider this document in its entirety, rather than dismiss it through the failings of one of its parts... Nevertheless. even if you are not totally convinced by my hypothesis below that Gareth Jones was the reason as to why Orwell decided to call his allegorical farmer, Mr Jones, then I am absolutely convinced you would agree that Gareth Jones was certainly a major influence upon Orwell in his writing of his chapter about the Ukrainian famine - But if you have doubts over my tenet, then I would hope you would at least contemplate the reason as to why Gareth's Jones' name has never surfaced before in any Orwellian studies...

Finally, may I thank you in advance for consideration of this document and I look forward to any constructive feedback,Kind regards, Nigel Linsan Colley

April 2007

1)  At the outset of this hypothesis, there is certainly no question that 'Farmer Jones’ in Animal Farm actually alludes to Tsar Nicholas., but I academically asked why Orwell's English farmer was called 'Mr Jones', an albeit common, but Welsh surnmane? Following an email I sent to Jackie Jura of, she thought it quite possible that Orwell had Gareth in mind, in his specific choice of surname, Mr Jones, the farmer (Click here for a link on her own website to our initial email correspondence on the subject):

In a 2004 email to myself, she wrote:

“In the most recent biography - INSIDE GEORGE ORWELL, by Gordon Bowker, he mentions on page 385 that one of the influences on Orwell in the writing of 1984 were the writings of Eugene Lyons...  I think that more or less clinches that Orwell was aware of Gareth Jones and what had been done to him.” [I.E. – the ‘damning Jones as a liar’ episode]".  

In an earlier email dated 15th January 2004, Ms Jura wrote:

“ struck me that Orwell HAD mentioned Gareth Jones after all in the character of Farmer Jones in Animal Farm!!  Just like how the Communists had killed the Tsar and all his family, so too had the Communists just as ruthlessly and cruelly killed Gareth Jones. And so Orwell gave the Tsar character the name of Jones.” 

2) Orwell, clearly well-read on the subject of the famine, though having never visited the USSR, must have known of Gareth’s role in exposing of the famine possibly through; Gareth’s own extensive series of April 1933 articles for the Daily Express / Evening Standard & Cardiff Western Mail, his published May 8th 1933 letter to the editor of the Manchester Guardian. (Click here for transcript), but certainly from  Eugene Lyons’ book “Assignment in Utopia”,

In Orwell's '1984', he used a slogan from Lyons' book of '2+2=5' which was a reference to the 5-year-plan - meaning that the five-year plan could be achieved through graft and sheer enthusiasm in just four years. Orwell reviewed Lyons' 1937 book for the New English Weekly on 9th June 1938 in an article entitled; 'Impenetrable Mystery' - Having read Lyons, Orwell would have discovered in the famine chapter, entitled; 'The Press Corps Conceals a Famine', that Gareth Jones two years after exposing the famine was murdered by Chinese military bandits:

"The first reliable report of the Russian famine was given to the world by an English journalist, a certain Gareth Jones, at one time secretary to Lloyd George. Jones had a conscientious streak in his make-up which took him on a secret journey into the Ukraine and a brief walking tour through its countryside. That same streak was to take him a few years later into the interior of China during political disturbances, and was to cost him his life at the hands of Chinese military bandits. An earnest and meticulous little man, Gareth Jones was the sort who carries a note-book and unashamedly records your words as you talk. Patiently he went from one correspondent to the next, asking questions and writing down the answers."

As an aside, Tim Garton Ash in his article; "Orwell in 1998" wrote that; "Orwell was an inveterate note-taker and list-maker," so the above description of Gareth would probably not have gone un-noticed by Orwell.

[For full transcript of  this chapter XV; 'The Press Corps Conceals a Famine' from Lyons' 1937 book; 'Assignment in Utopia" - then please Click Here.]

3) Now consider that Orwell, whilst reading Lyons' famine chapter, that he could not have missed Lyons'  first two opening paragraphs, which clearly cites The New York Times' famine denial, newspaper article (but note that he does not actually mention Walter Duranty's name as the author - this from my research was possibly because):

“THERE is no actual starvation or deaths from starvation but there is widespread mortality from diseases due to malnutrition.”

This amazing sophistry, culled from a New York Times Moscow dispatch on March 30, 1933 [published 31/3/33] has become among foreign reporters the classic example of journalistic understatement. It characterizes sufficiently the whole shabby episode of our failure to report honestly the gruesome Russian famine of 1932-33.

Lyons goes on to state:

Throwing down Jones was as unpleasant a chore as fell to any of us in years of juggling facts to please dictatorial regimes—but throw him down we did, unanimously and in almost identical formulas of equivocation. Poor Gareth Jones must have been the most surprised human being alive when the facts he so painstakingly garnered from our mouths were snowed under by our denials.    

The scene in which the American press corps combined to repudiate Jones is fresh in my mind. It was in the evening and Comrade Umansky, the soul of graciousness, consented to meet us in the hotel room of a correspondent. He knew that he had a stra­tegic advantage over us because of the Metro-Vickers story. He could afford to be gracious. Forced by competitive journalism to jockey for the inside track with officials, it would have been pro­fessional suicide to make an issue of the famine at this particular time. There was much bargaining in a spirit of gentlemanly give-and-take, under the effulgence of Umansky’s gilded smile, before a formula of denial was worked out.

We admitted enough to soothe our consciences, but in round­about phrases that damned Jones as a liar. The filthy business having been disposed of, someone ordered vodka and zakuski, Umansky joined the celebration, and the party did not break up until the early morning hours. The head censor was in a mellower mood than I had ever seen him before or since. He had done a big bit for Bolshevik firmness that night.


 Orwell's 1949 "Crypto-Communist" list (Click Here for external link) contains the name of Walter Duranty, who was the Moscow correspondent of The New York Times until 1934 and then he only wrote sparsely on the Soviet issues for them after this time, except for when he was 'rolled out' for special occasions like to cover the Moscow Show Trials. One can assume Orwell was well aware of Duranty's pro-Soviet propaganda, which logically means he would certainly have been aware of his March 1933 personal denigration of Gareth. Of the selected names he put on his list, rhetorically why was Duranty,, whom he had never met, included? Unless the European-based Orwell sought out copies of Duranty's American newspaper, then it is more likely he would have been conversant with his work through Duranty's own books or more specifically books about Duranty, such as Lyons detailing his pro-Bolshevik reporting...  


Therefore, for Orwell to have included Duranty in his Crypto-Communist list of eleven years after reviewing Lyons' book, would suggest that he was also well aware of Duranty's denial of Gareth's famine exposure, especially from a timeline point of view, as Orwell's states in his 1947 Preface to the Ukrainian Edition of Animal Farm:  "Thus the main outlines of the [AF] story were in my mind over a period of six years before it was actually written [in 1943]", which would have coincided with his reading of Lyon's book.


4) Indeed, Orwell's 1938 "New English Weekly" review of Lyons contains a clear and early form of the allegory later used in Animal Farm. Here, he postulates that the allegations against Trotsky in the 1938 Moscow Show Trials are ludicrous, by transposing Trotsky's name for Churchill. He fantasises:

"... Mr Winston Churchill, now in exile in Portugal, is plotting to overthrow the British Empire and establish Communism in England. By the use of unlimited Russian money he has succeeded in building up a huge Churchillite organisation which includes members of Parliament, factory managers, Roman Catholic bishops and practically the whole of the Primrose League. Almost every day some dastardly act of sabotage is laid bare - sometimes a plot to blow up the House of Lords, sometimes and outbreak of foot and mouth disease in the Royal racing-stables. Eighty per cent of the Beefeaters at the Tower are discovered to be agents of the Communist International. A high level official at the Post Office admits brazenly to having embezzled postal orders to the tune of 5,000,000 pounds, and also to having committed lese majeste by drawing moustaches on postage stamps. Lord Nuffield, after a 7-hour interrogation by Mr Norman Birkett, confesses that ever since 1920 he has been fomenting strikes in his own factories. Casual half-inch paras in every issue of the newspapers announce that fifty more Churchillite sheep-stealers have been shot in Westmoreland. And meanwhile the Churchillites never cease from proclaiming that it is they who are the real defenders of Capitalism and that it is the government that is no more than a set of Bolsheviks in disguise.

Anyone who has followed the Russian trials know that this is scarcely a parody. "

Orwell then goes on to make his first literary reference to the Ukrainian famine;

"The years that Mr Lyons spent in Russia were years of appalling hardship, culminating in the Ukraine famine of 1933, which a number estimated at not less than three million people starved to death."

And, if one accepts that Lyons' famine chapter (which relates Gareth's off-linits trek through Ukraine at the height of the famine) made a lasting impression upon Orwell; was he perhaps alluding to Gareth, who overcame both the difficulty of visiting the USSR as well as making independent observations, when Orwell wrote in this review;

"It is difficult to go to Russia, once there it is impossible to make adequate investigations..."

[To read the full, 1938 New English Weekly review of Lyons' Assignment in Utopia by Orwell, which quite probably includes Orwell's first ever literary reference to the Ukrainian famine, then please CLICK HERE. In this review by Orwell, even though he makes it contemporary for his readers (and no doubt following his experiences of the Spanish Civil War) by his concerns about the then Moscow Show Trials. However, the only two subjects Orwell cites from Lyons' book are Lyons' meeting with Stalin and, not unsuprisingly, the 1933 Ukrainian famine. To put this into perspective, Lyons' famine chapter represents merely 10 pages of Lyons' 550-page book. And, as I have written elsewhere on this page, one should remember that undoubtedly the focus of Lyons famine chapter is his (dubious/with literary license) 'vodka and zakuski' episode, in which he claims that Duranty immediately penned his infamous New York Times denigration of Gareth. Furthermore, Lyons' book is instrumental in Orwell's ]

        Author, Peter Davison suggests that Animal Farm; "originated from the incident that suggested its genre: the little boy driving a huge cart-horse, which could easily overwhelm the child had realised its own strength" (The Lost Orwell, Davison, 1996,  p.125), but I suggest that this 'cart-horse' episode may well have occurred around the time of Orwell's use of Soviet 'parody' in his above Lyons’ review. Therefore, if Davison is correct, then from the outset of writing Animal Farm, Gareth's Jones' name would have been at the fore, through Orwell's knowledge of Lyons' book? Surely, it is quite conceivable that if the story was being formulated around this period, that a relevant Mr (Gareth) Jones could have been a 'work-in-progress' character name which could have subsequently become merged with Tsar Nicolas' character for literary reasons?

7) To my mind, what clinches Orwell’s ‘Mr. Jones’ being named after Gareth Jones is that Orwell would have at some stage seen the unusually high number of times the word, "Mr. Jones" was used within Duranty’s New York Times hastily written "Russians Hungry, But Not Starving" article  :

1. "Its Author is Gareth Jones..."

2. "Mr. Jones is a man of a keen and active mind,"

3. "...but the writer thought Mr. Jones's judgment was somewhat hasty"

4. "But to return to Mr. Jones."

5. "Since I talked to Mr. Jones..."


Then, Gareth’s stinging, published reply to the New York Times’ Editor of the 13th May 1933, was simply entitled: "MR JONES REPLIES (Click here for transcript)

        Furthermore, it is a complete misnomer that Orwell ever wrote the phrase ‘Farmer Jones’ at all in his book; his farmer is only ever referred to as; “Mr. Jones”.

8) If the above link with Duranty's 'Mr Jones' is not sufficiently convincing, then consider that Orwell actually portrayed Gareth and Muggeridge in the following paragraph from Animal Farm as the specific "human beings [who] were inventing fresh lies...[that] the animals were dying of famine and disease":

Starvation seemed to stare them in the face. It was vitally necessary to conceal this fact from the outside world. Emboldened by the collapse of the windmill, the human beings were inventing fresh lies about Animal Farm. Once again it was being put about that all the animals were dying of famine and disease, and that they were continually fighting among themselves and had resorted to cannibalism and infanticide. Napoleon was well aware of the bad results that might follow if the real facts of the food situation were known, and he decided to make use of Mr Whymper to spread a contrary impression. 

Orwell possibly portrayed Duranty here as in part the 'go-between', Mr Whymper "to spread a contrary impression" (the other parts being either former French prime minister Edouard Herriot  who was given extra special 'red carpet' treatment in September 1933 (Orwell would likely have read this in Ewald Ammende's 1936 ;'Human Life in Russia' published by Allen & Unwin) or alternatively from Lyons separate chapter on Bernard Shaw's 1931 trip to Moscow, where he was happy to be led around by the nose. Lyons' account was also included in Muggeridge's; The Thirties, which Orwell reviewed in 1940).

Then again from Chapter VII of Animal Farm:

"Nine hens had died in the meantime. Their bodies were buried in the orchard, and it was given out that they had died of coccidiosis. Whymper heard nothing of this affair, and the eggs were duly delivered, a grocer's van driving up to the farm once a week to take them away. "

The first sentence probably relates to an estimate by Orwell of nine million Ukrainian deaths. However, and more importantly, in the next sentence:  "it was given out that they had died of coccidiosis" - and absolutely without doubt, this directly refers to Duranty's famine denial article where he wrote;  "There is no actual starvation or deaths from starvation, but there is widespread mortality from diseases due to malnutrition."

Then, Mr. Whymper turns up in the next sentence to do business as usual -  which I suggest is when Duranty at the time was perceived by anti-Soviets, through his famine denial article as being influential in helping smooth the path of formal recognition of the USSR, for the newly appointed President F D Roosevelt (& in this part of the chapter alone, I suggest FDR is alluded to as Mr. FreDeRick, though elsewhere I would agree Frederick alluded to Hitler). It was widely believed at the time, that Duranty's denial of the famine was intended to remove a potentially embarrassing  obstacle to the formal recognition of the USSR but from released US State Department records, this does not appear to be the case - all they were primarily interested in was settlement of pre-October 1917 debts. Nevertheless, the culmination of this perceived influence of Duranty was celebrated in the Oval Office of the White House in November 1933, when both Foreign Commissar Litvinov and Duranty were widely lauded in the press with praise for their efforts in bringing about formal recognition. [In the years before American diplomatic recognition, Duranty was widely known by wags as; "The Unofficial American Ambassador to Moscow," in recognition that many American visitors of note, sought out an audience with the 'great man' on their arrival in Moscow!]

9) In this same infamous "Russians Hungry, But Not Starving" article, Duranty is often remembered for his much used quote: "But---to put it brutally---you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs, and the Bolshevist leaders are just as indifferent to the casualties that may be involved in their drive toward socializaton..."- In Animal Farm this Duranty phrase is referred to by; "lay their eggs, which smashed to pieces"  (and further note the mention of Jones in the phrase - "expulsion of Jones" - FYI - In a telegram to the London Soviet Embassy from Litvinov, Gareth was personally banned from ever returning to the Soviet Union)  and Napoleon's swift reaction:

"When the hens heard this, they raised a terrible outcry. They had been warned earlier that this sacrifice might be necessary, but had not believed that it would really happen. They were just getting their clutches ready for the spring sitting, and they protested that to take the eggs away now was murder. For the first time since the expulsion of Jones, there was something resembling a rebellion. Led by three young Black Minorca pullets, the hens made a determined effort to thwart Napoleon's wishes. Their method was to fly up to the rafters and there lay their eggs, which smashed to pieces on the floor. Napoleon acted swiftly and ruthlessly. He ordered the hens’ rations to be stopped, and decreed that any animal giving so much as a grain of corn to a hen should be punished by death."

        10) In itself, this is not proof of a direct relationship but perhaps also consider the first two words of Orwell's book: "MR JONES of the Manor Farm, had locked the hen-houses for the night, but was too drunk to remember to shut the pop-holes." Well, on a welsh farm, Mr. Jones would have been an appropriately common name for a farmer, but on Manor Farm, a typical English farm, however, where Animal Farm is supposedly set, then Mr. Smith would have been far more appropriate, or otherwise a name directly alluding to Tsar Nicholas, such as Farmer Nick  or Nicolson would have been much more apt.  

        Garton Ash refers to Orwell's pernickety attention to historical detail in his "Orwell in 1998" article:

"Now look what happens in Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four. The impact of these books comes precisely from the fact that they are so closely based on real events, details, and trends over the three decades after 1917. Just how closely is shown by a letter to his publisher asking that, in the scene when the humans blow up the windmill in Animal Farm, the line, All the animals including Napoleon flung themselves on their faces, should be changed to all the animals except Napoleon, because the alteration would be fair to J. S. [Stalin], as he did stay in Moscow during the German advance."

        Therefore, I suggest it surely was not an accident that Orwell simply chose a Welsh surname?

10) Could Orwell have referred to Gareth elsewhere in his work? In Orwell's 1945 essay “The Prevention of Literature” (CLICK HERE for transc) when speaking on Political Press journalism, Orwell might well have possibly being thinking of Gareth when he wrote (Click here for whole essay):

 “A heretic-political, moral, religious, or aesthetic-was one who refused to outrage his own conscience. His outlook was summed up in the words of the Revivalist hymn:

Dare to be a Daniel

Dare to stand alone

Dare to have a purpose firm

Dare to make it known 

To bring this hymn up-to-date one would have to add a 'Don't' at the beginning of each line. For it is the peculiarity of our age that the rebels against the existing order, at any rate the most numerous and characteristic of them, are also rebelling against the idea of individual integrity. 'Daring to stand alone' is ideologically criminal as well as practically dangerous…” 

Or later in Orwell's 1945 'Freedom of the Press' essay (for a transcipt CLCK HERE): 

"…Freedom of the intellect means the freedom to report what one has seen, heard, and felt, and not to be obliged to fabricate imaginary facts and feelings."  

Also, in the same essay, there is in my opinion, an oblique reference, in part, to Walter Duranty:  

"The fog of lies and misinformation that surrounds such subjects as the Ukraine famine, the Spanish civil war, Russian policy in Poland, and so forth, is not due entirely to conscious dishonesty, but any writer or journalist who is fully sympathetic for the U.S.S.R. - sympathetic, that is, in the way the Russians themselves would want him to be - does have to acquiesce in deliberate falsification on important issues." 

Orwell clearly knew of a press cover-up about the famine as in his 1945, Proposed Preface to Animal Farm he wrote:

…it was considered equally proper to publicise famines when they happened in India and to conceal them when they happened in the Ukraine. And if this was true before the war, the intellectual atmosphere is certainly no better now.”

And, where did Orwell first learn of Duarnty's role in the supression of news about the Ukrainian famine? See section four above; as without doubt, from Lyons' famine chapter in Assignment in Eutopia entitled; 'The Press Corps Conceals a Famine"!

11) Let us now turn to what Orwell wrote about "Jones" elsewhere....

In an essay by Orwell in 1947 called "Why I Write" (full text can be found here), Orwell relates to a poem he wrote (around the time of Gareth's murder) at the end of 1935:

"First I spent five years in an unsuitable profession (the Indian Imperial Police, in Burma), and then I underwent poverty and the sense of failure. This increased my natural hatred of authority and made me for the first time fully aware of the existence of the working classes, and the job in Burma had given me some understanding of the nature of imperialism: but these experiences were not enough to give me an accurate political orientation. Then came Hitler, the Spanish Civil War, etc. By the end of 1935 I had still failed to reach a firm decision. I remember a little poem that I wrote at that date, expressing my dilemma:

A happy vicar I might have been
Two hundred years ago
To preach upon eternal doom
And watch my walnuts grow;

But born, alas, in an evil time,
I missed that pleasant haven,
For the hair has grown on my upper lip
And the clergy are all clean-shaven.

And later still the times were good,
We were so easy to please,
We rocked our troubled thoughts to sleep
On the bosoms of the trees.

All ignorant we dared to own
The joys we now dissemble;
The greenfinch on the apple bough
Could make my enemies tremble.

But girl's bellies and apricots,
Roach in a shaded stream,
Horses, ducks in flight at dawn,
All these are a dream.

It is forbidden to dream again;
We maim our joys or hide them:
Horses are made of chromium steel
And little fat men shall ride them.

I am the worm who never turned,
The eunuch without a harem;
Between the priest and the commissar
I walk like Eugene Aram;

And the commissar is telling my fortune
While the radio plays,
But the priest has promised an Austin Seven,
For Duggie always pays.

I dreamt I dwelt in marble halls,
And woke to find it true;
I wasn't born for an age like this;
Was Smith? Was Jones? Were you?

Now relating to the poem above, and remember it was written at 'the end of 1935',  just after Gareth had been kidnapped and murdered in China by bandits, which made worldwide news for two weeks in August of that year. (FYI there are at least half a dozen reports of this incident in The New York Times alone in August and September, 1935, not to mention front page news for over two weeks in the British Press).

[Coincidentally, Gareth & Orwell shared the same London literary agent, Leonard Moore of Christy and Moore. Orwell used him for all his books from the spring of 1932 onwards. In 1934, Moore suggested to Gareth he wrote a book on 'Japan's policy in the Pacific and the attitude of the population', which Gareth intended to write on his way across America on his way home to Britain at the end of 1935.]

Therefore, Orwell, unlike the British Foreign Office, may well have considered the possibility of Gareth's murder being related to his 1933 Soviet famine exposure (and possibly even Gareth's three very vitriolic 1935 articles for Randolph Hearst, which resurfaced the issue by repeating his famine observations of 1933 - though whether Orwell read them is another matter), and thus Gareth's murder was thereby seen by Orwell to be connected with the Soviets, especially as Gareth's expose was such a major embarrassment to the Stalin regime evinced by his personal ban by Litvinov, whom Gareth had been afforded a private interview on behalf of Lloyd George, just days before he exposed the famine?

In the poem above, there is a direct reference to the (Soviet) 'Commissars', so one can't but help wonder if Orwell didn't have Gareth in mind, as he states that this is the time when he forever more wrote from a political prospective.

One might also consider that the above poem refers to one Eugene Aram - who was an 18th century school teacher who was innocently framed for a murder which he did not commit - For further information see:  and 

However, I accept that this is possibly the weakest evidence as it mentions Smith and Jones in the same line, but have included it for academic consideration.

Nevertheless, one should also consider why does Orwell always refer to a murdered  'Jones' in his later writings of both Animal Farm and 1984 ? There is indeed a Jones who is executed in '1984' ! The above poem easily could allude to Gareth, as by his audacity to expose the famine would have been at the time seen as very anti-authoritarian from a Press Baron / Appeasement viewpoint. (NB there are over 500 pages of one-time 'classified' pages in the British Foreign Office Records, at Kew Gardens Public Records Office in London - which show they literally bent over backwards in order to prevent Lloyd George from embarrassing His Majesty's Government's relations with the Japanese - and unbelievably there is not one cross-reference or oblique mention in Gareth's 'murder' files  to his 1933 famine expose! Though, Lloyd George did receive a strange and anonymous letter pointing the blame firmly towards the Nazis - which is now accepted as a known used tactic of the then  NKVD to divert attention from themselves).

12) In March 1933, Malcolm Muggeridge was a freelance journalist in Moscow for the Manchester Guardian. In the week before Gareth exposed the Soviet famine, Muggeridge actually had three unsigned articles of his own reporting the famine. Unfortunately for him personally, they went almost entirely unnoticed, but primarily because of the credence of Gareth's position with Lloyd George (as association with Lloyd George's name gave much greater credence to Gareth's allegations of faime), Gareth's own exposé made worldwide news. In hindsight, there is now little doubt that this irked Muggeridge, who was evidently extremely jealous that his own unsigned scoop at the time went entirely overlooked. Muggeridge clearly made amends after Gareth's murder and through the fog of time was conveniently able to 'airbrush' Gareth's role almost completely out of the story. In précis, Muggeridge never mentioned Gareth's name in any publicly spoken or written word and even had the audacity through his own brand of sophistry to allow others to wrongly believe that it was he who single-handedly exposed the famine; for example, in his 1972 Green Stick autobiography he wrote on page 258:

As it happened, no other foreign journalist had been into the famine areas in the USSR except under official auspices and supervision, so my account was by way of being exclusive. This brought me no kudos, and many accusations of being a liar, in The Guardian correspondence columns and elsewhere.

On 12th June 2003, Martin Sieff, Senior News Analyst of United Press International - coincidentally Lyons' own press agency - eloquently wrote of this issue (Click here for Sieff's full article)

Jones was long mourned by his family and close friends but otherwise he was forgotten. Indeed, Malcolm Muggeridge, the other British journalist who had done the most to expose the famine, gave him no acknowledgement, even though Jones had generously praised Muggeridge's three unsigned articles in his own New York Times response to Duranty.

Indeed, Pye, Muggeridge's "truth-sayer" character in his novel "Winter in Moscow", published in 1934, is depicted in many respects as the mirror opposite of Jones. He is old where Jones was young, cynical where Jones was idealistic and a hard drinker and chain smoker where Jones was a teetotaler. It is as if Muggeridge, a cynic, smoker and chronic drinker himself, was driven to expurgate the very image of Jones, even though he had written him a letter of support during the controversy.

And even when Muggeridge wrote his phenomenally successful memoirs "Chronicles of Wasted Time" 40 years later, with his coverage of the famine as its highlight, he airbrushed Jones out of existence and gave him no credit at all. Muggeridge even misrepresented Duranty's notorious March 31 article as if it had been written to rebut his three previous Manchester Guardian articles when Duranty never referred to them once, and made clear it was Jones' article he was seeking to refute.

  One might just notice that in Winter in Moscow, Muggeridge portrayed Gareth as a 'hard drinker' which is exactly the same as Orwell portrayed his own Mr Jones the farmer!  So did Orwell pick up upon this abstinence anomaly, as anyone who knew of Gareth would have readily remarked upon his devout Welsh non-conformism, which included his signing of the teetotaling 'pledge'?

[As background - Before his first visit to the 'Workers Paradise', Gareth as a Liberal, was open-minded as to its success in relation to the world economic Depression. On his first two unescorted trips to Ukraine in 1930  and 1931 Gareth  reported his observations of the onset of deteriorating famine conditions, brought about by the 5-Year Plan in unsigned articles in the London Times. Following his scholarship to Trinity College, Cambridge, where he achieved a first-class degree with distinction (as well as being awarded College Prizeman in each of his three years at Trinity between 1926 & 29) in Russian & German language and literature, and with tutelage by the then Soviet expert, Sir Bernard Pares, he was perhaps, through his influential contacts afforded by his position as Foreign Affairs Advisor for Lloyd George, ranging from Foreign Commissar Litvinov, Finance Commissar Grinko, Lenin's widow, Pravda editor, Karl Radek, London Soviet Ambassador Mirsky and many others, the Western world's leading academic analyst of Soviet affairs in the early Thirties... In 1931, at the height of the Depression, he was head-hunted by New York's Ivy Lee Associates, arguably the world's first PR agency, to head their Soviet section. Whilst there, he was asked to escort a young Jack Heinz II of Ketchup fame to the Soviet Union, where they 'slept on bug-infested floors' in Ukraine. The result of which was that Gareth's diaries were the basis of Heinz's anonymously written book (though Gareth personally signs his name in the foreword), entitled; 'Experiences in Russia -1931 - A Diary", which in its half-dozen uses of the word 'starve'. This was arguably the first publication to document the famine-genocide. (Click here for a full transcript of the book.) Given that Orwell was so well informed about the famine, I wonder, did he get to read this privately published book in his research of Animal Farm, and thus saw Gareth's name yet again? [Though this book was published in Pittsburgh, PA; Heinz at the time was a student at Cambridge University, so I presume copies would have been available in the UK for Orwell to have consulted, but to be honest, I don't know. However, I do know the the British Foreign Office had sight of it as it is referred to at the PRO at Kew.]

Now moving my argument on, a few years after Orwell's death, Muggeridge was commissioned by his then 'intimate' friend, Mrs Sonia Orwell to write the first 'Official' biography of Orwell - Muggeridge's own biographer, Richard Ingrams, wrote about the 'stock response'  Muggeridge gave for resigning his job as editor of Punch magazine in 1957 was because; "he wanted more time to write - particularly the biography of Orwell he had undertaken, but was subsequently to abandon, saying that he had found out too much about Orwell that he would rather not have known". 

Though it would now be almost impossible to prove, Muggeridge would have certainly have had full access to all of Orwell's papers, so is it beyond the realms of possibility that he took it upon himself to covertly remove any mention of Gareth's name, akin to Orwell's own 1984 concept of 'Newspeak'? In 1960, Sonia Orwell donated Orwell's papers to the University College of London for his archives ( When well-respected Orwell biographer, David Taylor, was approached over the concept of Gareth's name being behind Mr Jones the farmer (and without sight of the arguments on this page) he wrote in an email dated 12th February 2004; "I must admit that I'd never heard of Gareth Jones! I suppose it's plausible enough, although there's no mention of him in the index to GO's collected (twenty volume) works."

Curiously, none of the books, which Orwell would most probably have consulted regarding the Ukrainian famine were present in his personal library after his death in 1950.  [For a hyperlink to a list of his known library  please see HERE - though the date of initial compilation is not revealed] - Predominantly, Lyons' Assignment in Utopia is missing, but also Muggeridge's Winter in Moscow and W. H. Chamberlin's Russia's Iron Age, nor were any of Duranty's own books - though one should also remember that Duranty was personally cited in Orwell's Crypto-communist list (Click HERE for a link to the list). The only book which is listed in Orwell's library (which oddly has only the briefest of references to "serious food shortages" in the USSR in 1931 and not the word 'famine', nor relating to the years 1932-33), was written by Muggeridge, himself, published in 1940, entitled The Thirties.

 [N.B.- each of Muggeridge's main biographers suggest different dates for when he was supposed to have been commissioned by Sonia Orwell to write the first  biography, namely - Ingrams (page 180), after Muggeridge left the editorship of Punch (in 1957); Ian Hunter, (page 179) almost straight after Orwell died in 1950 and Gregory Wolfe (page 255), who dates the episode as the early 1960s. Was this confusion yet another imaginative episode in Muggeridge's life? As Wolfe wrote of Muggeridge's autobiographies; "Even one of his most sympathetic friends, the journalist Christopher Booker, felt disappointed by Malcolm's memoirs. With their "protestations of humility, confessions of weakness, eagerness for the joyful release of death and all", these memoirs began to read "just a little too much like a carefully prepared cover story"]

Admittedly, it is conceivable, though perhaps unlikely, that the V2 rocket which dropped on Orwell's home towards the Second World War may have destroyed any references to Gareth, however through my research of Muggeridge in relation to this subject, and I have on several occasions  discovered Muggeridge to possess an inveterate fantasy imagination, in which he clearly felt no remorse for changing the facts to suit his own needs . For instance, I do not deny that Muggeridge championed the cause of the oppressed in the Communist countries of post-war Eastern Europe, nor especially raising awareness of the Ukrainian famine-genocide, but it now seems unlikely that he never actually  visited Kiev in 1933 during the height of the famine; but just reported what he (and every correspondent in Moscow) knew to be true, but unlike Gareth was unable to verify firsthand (For a transcription of an 'embryonic' speech I delivered in 2005 at Donetsk University on this subject - which does not contain several further 'clinching' pieces of circumstantial evidence, that I have subsequently discovered, then please Click Here - For the new evidence, then  please contact me directly).

As another tangential aside, I wonder if Gareth was possibly also alluded to in 1984 as the 'too clever by half' employee of Newspeak, Syme; "But Syme was not only dead, he was abolished, an unperson. Any identifiable reference to him would have been mortally dangerous".  Did Orwell recognise that by Gareth's murder, he was effectively silenced as well as foresaw his memory being deliberately forgotten? Malcolm Muggeridge on the other hand could be seen as Syme's Newspeak colleague, Parsons (c.f. St Mugg). As Muggeridge's war time boss Kim Philby said, in his last interview to his biographer Philip Knightley in 1987, talking about Muggeridge; "Send my regards to the old rascal, I always knew he would end up in the Catholic Church"!

13) If Orwellian scholars want a further conspiracy, they should look no further than the reporters of the London News Chronicle, which was a healthy 'breeding ground' for NKVD agents, including ('born again' ex-Communist) Arthur Koestler, David Crook and Gunther Stein.

According to Gordon Bowker's Orwell biography, Crook was known personally to the Blairs (Orwell & his wife, Eileen Blair) during the Spanish Civil War and "played a part in the kidnapping of Andrés Nin, the POUM leader, and the abduction of the socialist Kurt Landau" and Crook was a character "straight from the INGSOC world of spying, intrigue, dissemblance and cold elimination."

Bowker states: "Andrés Nin, the POUM leader, was said to have been shot and his body dumped in the street. Kurt Landau, the Austrian socialist, was in hiding. (Crook claimed that he and O’Donnell helped identify Nin at the time of his arrest and that later he fingered Landau. Nin was in fact taken away and shot just outside Barcelona; Landau would be smuggled to Moscow on a Russian ship, and murdered there.)" Finally, in relation to a hotel raid where Orwell was staying: "Crook later claimed to have known about the raid in advance and tipped off the Blairs."

As an aside, Orwellian academic, Timothy Garton Ash in his article; 'Orwell in 1998' wrote about how this Spanish episode was the catalyst for all of Orwell's 1984 'News-speak' ideas on airbrushing of history, which was exactly what Gareth's memory experienced straight after his murder (namely, how Marxist publisher, Claud Cockburn, deflected any Stalinist blame for Gareth's murder by Chinese bandits - even though from recently released records from the PRO at Kew, that Gareth was kidnapped from an NKVD-owned car (See HERE for more information), after a kind invitation from Dr Herbert Mueller, a German journalist  who just happened to have a 34-year, MI6 dossier, detailing his Communist allegiances (See HERE for for more information):

This direct experience of communist terror, betrayal, and lies is a key to understanding all his subsequent work. Of the Russian agent in Barcelona charged with defaming the POUM as Trotskyist Francoist traitors he writes, in Homage to Catalonia, "It was the first time that I had seen a person whose profession was telling lies - unless one counts journalists." The tail sting is typical black humor, but also reflects a further, bitter discovery. On returning to England he found that virtually the whole left-wing press was suppressing or falsifying the facts about the Barcelona events. This was the second part of his Spanish experience, and it shocked him even more because it was happening in his own country. Here begins his fascination with what he describes in Nineteen Eighty-Four as a basic principle of Oceania's ruling ideology: "the mutability of the past". Falsification, airbrushing, rewriting history: in short, the memory hole."

Gareth on the other hand was a guest of Gunther Stein in Tokyo in 1935, who arrived just prior to Gareth. Richard Sorge, arguably the most famous 1930s Soviet spy used Stein's apartment for secret radio broadcasts to Moscow. CLICK HERE for full evidence of the probable NKVD involvement in Gareth's murder. Sorge was not allowed by Moscow to have Stein officially recognised as a member of his spy ring, as he was presumably on another mission for the NKVD. Like Crook's involvement with kidnapping, was Stein's mission involved with Gareth's eventual kidnapping and murder - and did Crook mention this to Orwell, though extremely unlikely, but it is a strange coincidence?

Evidence recently revealed by the Public Records Office at Kew Gardens show that not only that the vehicle that Gareth was kidnapped from in Inner Mongolia, belonged to Wostwag, a now-known  trading front of the NKVD. This vehicle was provided free of charge and Gareth was invited on his 'Final Journey' by a German journalist, Dr Herbert Mueller. Mueller was released unharmed after two days in captivity, but PRO records  released in 2002 show that that they had a secret dossier on him from 1917 until 1952, and that he was a; known Communist, agent of the Third International in China, at one time lived at the Soviet Consulate in Hankow, ran a Soviet courier company in China and used several aliases. Therefore there is little doubt that Gareth was kidnapped and murdered at the behest of the Soviet hierarchy in Moscow...

Gareth and Orwell both suspected or knew that they were on the NKVD black-list, the only difference was Gareth paid the ultimate price...

If you have read this far, then you will gather that the above are hypotheses, but even if you do not believe all of them to be true, yourself, can you still argue against Gareth Jones not being behind the naming of Mr. Jones, the Farmer in Animal Farm?

I would be very happy to discuss this matter further with anyone who has a valid opinion of any sort - My email address is Orwell 'at'

Nigel Linsan Colley

10th March 2004 (revised July 2004, February 2006, April 2007 & May 2010).

Also see Nigel's Colley's appraisal of Orwell's symbolism of the Holodomor in Animal Farm - Click HERE

With thanks to Jackie Jura of the Orwell Today website for her initial  Orwellian advice in helping to attempt confirmation of my long-held belief of a probable link between Gareth and Orwell's 'Mr Jones' in Animal Farm. CLICK HERE to view our 2003 correspondence on this subject at her website. 


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