Venona Release EDR The Index-Journal, Greenwood, S.C. 16 Oct 1995
Soviets wanted WASHINGTON (AP) Trade Lash doesn't recall Russians ever trying to use her to influence Eleanor Roosevelt. And she wonders wonders why they referred to her as Gertrude, a name she didn't use. "They were very interested, of course, in my husband-to-be, husband-to-be, husband-to-be, husband-to-be, husband-to-be, Joseph Lash," she said Friday. "I didn't particularly interest anybody." anybody." But the top Soviet KGB agent in New York, Vassily Zubilin, told his bosses in Moscow in 1943 that the woman he knew as Gertrude Pratt was a "great friend" of the president's president's wife. The cable was one of scores of documents declassified and made public by the National Security Agency. Eleanor Roosevelt as a spy To this dav. large segments of in dividual documents defy decoders. The 1943 cable began, "For processing processing Captain's wife we (section undecipherable) her great friend Gertrude Pratt, wife of the well-known well-known well-known wealthy Elliot Pratt." "Captain" was Soviet code for Franklin D. Roosevelt. "Processing" meant recruiting, according according to NSA spokesman Ed Rockstein. Mrs. Lash was a good choice if the Soviets were looking for someone someone close to Mrs. Roosevelt. She often stayed at the White House and eventually divorced Pratt and married married Lash, an Eleanor Roosevelt confidant who lived in the family quarters. "I don't know what this might mean," Mrs. Lash said in a telephone telephone interview from her home ui New York. "The only connection I ever had with the Soviet Union was that I was in charge of an international international student meeting." She also said that "no one ever referred to me as Gertrude. I was Trade." Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of "No Ordinary Tune," a Pulitzer Prize-winning Prize-winning Prize-winning study of the Roosevelts during World War II, said she never knew Mrs. Lash's real first name was Gertrude. She said she only knew her as Trade. Mrs. Lash recalled the student meeting was in 1941 or 1942 in Washington and "we managed to get some young Russians to the assembly." assembly."