Maksim Martynov, a member of the Soviet delegation to the United Nations, is identified as a spy in the 1950s.
In the summer of 1954, a Soviet Air Force officer invited a United States Colonel—whom he knew through official contacts— to lunch with him at his quarters in East Berlin.
The Soviet, who knew the American planned to retire from the Army, indicated that he wanted to have a private conversation with him. On the designated date, in August, the two men met by prearrangement in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in East Berlin. It was raining slightly. The Colonel entered the Soviet's car, which was standing on a side street. The two then drove off to the Soviet's quarters. The United States officer told the Soviet that he had instructed his driver to return to the spot in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in an hour and a quarter. The Soviet replied that would not be long enough, but the American assured him that his driver would wait.
The house to which the Soviet brought the Colonel was unoccupied. The two men sat down for lunch. There was a knock at the front door. A newcomer, dressed in civilian clothes, was introduced to the Colonel. He acknowledged the introduction by saying, "Hello, Colonel, how are you?" in American English. This Soviet civilian stated he had been in New York during the war and inferred that he had worked at Amtorg. He appeared to be about 38 years of age, weighed about 175 pounds, and was 5 feet 10 inches in height. Though the Soviet civilian claimed he would not drink, he accepted a glass of wine and ended up by drinking the entire bottle.
After eating, the American indicated that he must leave, but the Soviet officer insisted that he stay for a cup of coffee. The Soviet officer then left the room for the coffee and was gone about 30 minutes. During his absence, the Soviet civilian asked about inconsequential things and then asked the Colonel if he planned to live in Leavenworth, Kansas (the location of Army Command and General Staff School), upon his return to the United States. The Colonel indicated that he did. (The Colonel had not mentioned his place of retirement to the Soviet civilian, though he had previously mentioned it to another Soviet officer at another meeting.)
The Soviet civilian then asked, "Colonel, if I come to the States, could I come and see you there?" The Colonel's reply was, "Why, certainly." The Soviet then remarked that he was a man with a wife and child and wanted security for them. He asked the Colonel if he would help him if he (the Soviet) came to the States. Again the Colonel replied that he would. The Soviet then made a chart of downtown Manhattan. He marked the northeast corner of 86th Street and Madison Avenue with a dot. The Soviet then asked if the Colonel could come to New York, and the Colonel replied that he might do so in the fall. The Soviet then indicated that if the Colonel would come to the northeast corner of 86th and Madison, he would meet him there at 4 p.m. on any of the following alternate dates: October 15, 25; or November 5, 15, or 25; January 1; February 1; March 1.
The Soviet then indicated that though he himself would probably not meet the American in New York, someone would do so and would make the following statement, "Seems to me that I have met you at Spechstrasse, Colonel. What is the number of your house there?" The Soviet continued, "You should reply: ‘Oh, yes, I have lived there at Spechstrasse 19.'"
The Soviet then asked if the Colonel could bring some books, pamphlets and maps from the school in Leavenworth with him. The Colonel replied that since he would be retired, he would have nothing to do with the Leavenworth school. The Soviet suggested that he could perhaps get some material anyhow. The American Colonel stated he "would have to think it over." The Soviet asked the Colonel if he needed any money, and he replied in the negative.
At about this time, the Soviet officer returned and again excused himself to brew some coffee. The Colonel then made a copy of the sketch of the Manhattan area which the Soviet civilian had done, since the Soviet refused to give him the original sketch. After coffee the Army Colonel announced that he had to leave since it was getting late. The Soviet asked him if he could return again in a couple of days, but the Colonel replied he would be very busy packing and would be unable to make another appointment. With that, the Colonel left the house and returned to where his driver was waiting for him.
The American Army officer immediately reported this meeting to appropriate authorities and indicated his willingness to cooperate in any way with the proper intelligence agencies in connection with any future meetings with the Soviet.
Shortly thereafter, the American Colonel returned to the United States; and the full details of the approach made to him by the Soviets were made available to the FBI. On October 15, 1954—the first meeting date set by the Soviet civilian—FBI agents took inconspicuous positions near the intersection of 86th Street and Madison Avenue in New York. At the same approximate time as the Colonel's appointment, these agents observed Soviet officers attached to the Soviet representation at the United Nations. They obviously were looking it over for the contemplated rendezvous and seemed to be expecting another party to appear.
The FBI made arrangements to effect a meeting on the next scheduled date of October 25, 1954. Plans were made for a special agent of the FBI to act as a substitute for the Army Colonel at the meet. Accordingly, a Bureau agent who came closest to resembling the Colonel was selected for the assignment. (The FBI agent was 5 feet 11 inches tall, weighed about 178 pounds and had brown hair with a receding hairline, hazel eyes, a ruddy complexion, and a rather full face with a round chin. The Colonel was 5 feet 10 inches tall, weighed about 180 pounds and had brown hair with a receding hairline, brown eyes, a ruddy complexion, and a rather full face with a round chin. The Colonel wore a mustache, and there was 10 years' difference in their ages.)
The agent was made up by a New York professional make-up artist. The make-up work was done on the basis of a photograph of the Army Colonel, as well as a detailed description of him. The make-up included a false mustache made of crepe hair which was held in place by spirit gum. (This type mustache is extremely difficult to make inasmuch as it must be put on hair by hair to appear natural.) The agent's hair was also touched up to make it appear to be considerably graying. After the application of make-up, a strong resemblance between the agent and the Colonel could be seen, particularly in the mustache, mouth, nose, eyebrows, chin, and shadows under the eyes.
Since the Army Colonel was known to have worn loose-fitting tweed-type clothing, the agent taking his place wore a tweed sport coat which was loose-fitting.
The agent also had to familiarize himself to a considerable extent with the background of the Colonel, his family background, the family's activities and whereabouts, the Colonel's previous assignment in Germany and any other details which might be necessary to further convince the Soviets that the agent was the actual Colonel. Appropriate identification data was also furnished the agent in the event the Soviet might request it.
On October 25, 1954, the special agent posing as the Army Colonel arrived at the intersection at approximately 4:05 p.m. Two Soviet nationals (identified as members of the Soviet delegation to the United Nations) were observed in the area closely scrutinizing the agent posing as the Colonel; however, they made no attempt to contact him. Again on November 5, 1954, the special agent was present at the meeting place; however, no Soviets were seen in the area.
On November 15, at approximately 4:05 p.m., the special agent disguised as the Colonel arrived at the designated intersection by taxicab. He noticed a man standing on the corner who was obviously watching him. The stranger appeared to be about 5 feet 10 inches in height; weight about 190; husky build; about 35 to 40 years of age. He wore a dark blue overcoat, blue suit and dark gray hat. For five minutes the stranger studied the agent intensely, then walked up to him and mumbled something. The "Colonel" didn't hear him and queried: "Pardon me?" The Soviet national then gave the prearranged code phrase: "Seems to me that I have met you at Spechstrasse. Colonel, what is the number of your house there?" The agent replied: "Oh, yes, I have lived there at Spechstrasse 19."
The Soviet national then introduced himself as "Schultz" and suggested that they go for a ride. ("Schultz" was immediately recognized by FBI agents who had concealed themselves in the area as Maksim Martynov, attached to the Soviet delegation of the United Nations.) The substitute Colonel declined and suggested instead that they take a walk to Central Park. The Soviet agreed to this proposal.
As they walked along, the "Colonel" inquired as to whether he could meet the Russian whom he had been introduced in East Berlin. "Schultz" indicated that he would not, but that he (Schultz) was a friend of his carrying out the mission for him. The "Colonel" then showed the Soviet an identification card, which he examined.
Upon arrival in Central Park, the two began looking for a park bench on which to sit. Unable to find one, they crossed the bridle path and walked along the reservoir. "Schultz" then posed questions concerning Fort Leavenworth, and the substitute Colonel furnished him innocuous answers and nonclassified data. The Soviet then indicated that he would need specific information about the Army post and asked the "Colonel": "Are you willing to help me?" The "Colonel" replied that it would be a difficult job to obtain necessary data, but that it might be possible.
The Soviet national then commented about the "Colonel's" heavy expenses in having to come to New York to make the "meet." He reached into his overcoat pocket, pulled out a roll of paper and handed it to the "Colonel." Without looking at it, the agent quickly placed the roll in his pocket. It turned out to be 25 ten-dollar bills.
"Schultz" stated that he would like to see the "Colonel" again and set the next meeting for January 15, 1955, at 4 p.m. at 86th and Madison Avenue. He added that if he (Schultz) did not contact him on that date, the Colonel should appear on the first Saturday of each succeeding month for four months at another address indicated on a paper he handed to him. The paper proved to be a cash register receipt from a Fifth Avenue book store.
The United Nations building in New York City in 1950. Library of Congress photograph.
"Schultz" noted that if he himself did not appear, another Soviet would take his place. Accordingly, he gave the following instructions so that the "Colonel" would be easily recognized: he was to carry a red and blue pencil, sharpened at both ends in his left hand and a street guide of Manhattan and the Bronx in his right coat pocket. The "Colonel" was to enter the designated book store and browse around in the scientific and medical section of the store. If another person, other than "Schultz," would appear, he would greet the "Colonel" with the words: "Are you interested in theory?" The "Colonel's" reply was to be: "I am interested in elementary theory." With that, the two men separated after spending about 35 minutes together.
At about 4:01 p.m. on January 15, 1955, the substitute Colonel drove up in a taxicab to the corner of 86th Street and Madison Avenue. When he alighted from the cab, he noticed "Schultz" standing on the corner and walked over to him. "Schultz" gave a smile of recognition, and the two shook hands. The Soviet then said, "Let's take a walk."
The "Colonel" suggested that they go to Central Park. The Soviet refused and insisted on walking up Madison Avenue. The two then agreed to go to a nearby hotel bar, with "Schultz" indicating that he would buy the "Colonel" a dinner. As they walked toward the hotel, the "Colonel" told the Soviet that he had been successful in getting the information he desired and that some of the data was in the briefcase he (the "Colonel") was carrying.
On entering the bar, the substitute Colonel selected a vacant table located in a corner of the dimly lit bar. The two sat down and the "Colonel" placed the briefcase on the seat beside him. They then ordered a drink. "Schultz" leaned over and cautioned his companion to speak in a low voice. The "Colonel" then noted that he had everything the Soviet wanted him to get and asked if "Schultz" had any paper on which to make notes. When the Soviet replied, "No," the "Colonel" stated: "You will just have to remember what I have to say to you."
The "Colonel" further noted that he could also give him some data contained in the briefcase; and as the "Colonel" talked, the Soviet looked around the bar. Then the Soviet whispered, "I don't like this place." The Soviet appeared to be extremely eager to leave the bar and get possession of the briefcase.
At this point, the substitute Colonel placed the briefcase on the table in front of him. This was the signal for special agents who were observing the meeting to approach the two men.
When these "intruders" identified themselves as FBI agents, "Schultz" appeared to be visibly shaken. His face paled considerably, while he protested that he was just having a drink. Upon request, "Schultz" displayed credentials identifying him as Maksim Martynov, a member of the Soviet delegation to the United Nations. As such, he had diplomatic immunity. FBI agents then confronted him with the knowledge of his act of espionage.
Martynov regained his composure and refused to talk further with the agents. He snapped his fingers for the waiter's attention and upon the waiter's arrival handed him two bills in payment for the drinks. Martynov didn't bother to wait for his change—50 cents—but immediately picked up his hat and left the lounge at 4:13 p.m. He was subsequently identified as proceeding by bus directly to the Soviet United Nations delegation headquarters.
On February 21, 1955, the Department of State declared Martynov persona non grata in connection with his espionage activity, and he departed the United States on February 26, 1955.
Maksim Grigorlevich Martynov was born February 17, 1915 in Leningradskaya Oblast, USSR.
He entered the United States on November 12, 1951 as a member of the Soviet delegation to the United Nations. He made several visits to Russia and last re-entered the United States on November 3, 1954 carrying a Soviet diplomatic passport.
He held the rank of colonel in the Soviet military establishment.