Hammer Was Communists’ Courier, Newspaper Says

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

A weekly newspaper, citing what it says are secret documents from Communist Party archives, said the late American industrialist Armand Hammer was a courier for the Communists in the 1920s.

The latest edition of the Russian-English newspaper We/Myi said two documents disclose that after Hammer signed an agreement for processing asbestos deposits in the Ural Mountains city of Alapayevsk, he carried home $34,000 to help organize the Communist Party of the United States.

Hammer later was chairman of Los Angeles-based Occidental Petroleum Corp. A spokesman for Occidental said the company has no comment on the report. Jim Evans, a spokesman for the Armand Hammer Foundation in Dallas, also declined to comment. Hammer’s grandson, Michael Hammer, who heads the foundation, could not be immediately reached.


“If (Armand Hammer) were alive to talk about it, it would be a hell of a story,” said an Occidental official, who requested anonymity.

Armand Hammer never was a member of the Communist Party. His Russian-born father, Julius, was a founder of the American Communist Party.

Armand Hammer died in 1990 at the age of 92. He was a pioneer in investing in the Soviet Union, and later became a crusader for world peace. He remained well-connected to the Kremlin throughout his life, but he refused to do business with dictator Josef Stalin.