The FBI and James Carey
Many Catholics in the labor movement, or associated closely with it, received help from the FBI in their battle against communists. Some were approached by the FBI, while others went to it for information. James B. Carey, Catholic secretary-treasurer of the CIO, falls in the latter category. Once he had convinced J. Edgar Hoover and his lieutenants that he would be useful to them, they began assisting him. The cooperation lasted from 1944 to 1953, but 1949 and 1950 were the most significant years, for it was then that the battle against the communist leadership of the United Electrical and Machine Workers of America (UE) reached a critical stage. After the anti-communists, many of whom were Catholic, failed to defeat their opponents at the UE convention, Philip Murray, Catholic president of the CIO, chartered a new union, the International Union of Electrical Workers (IUE), and set in motion a full-scale assault on the UE. During that battle, the information that the FBI had gathered, often through illegal means, proved useful since many communists in the UE had hidden their political affiliation.
As you read these documents, reflect on the following questions:
1. Why did FBI officials mistrust Carey?
2. What kind of help did Carey get?