Knut Royce had a little fun with another story that was published along with the headline story on November 8, 1987. Royce had my discharge papers and a document that gave all the information obtained by the FBI for a security check during the Polaris times. He also appears to have contacted someone that had my wife's immigration file that located a mole on her cheek. He told me later that he did not want that part of the story to be printed but his editors overruled him.
A HILLBILLY ENTREPRENEUR: "JUST A GOOD SALESMAN"
By Knut Royce and Earl Lane
Newsday Washington Bureau
November 9, 1987
New York - James Farol Metcalf, the American entrepreneur who sold the Soviets equipment that could help them improve the accuracy of their nuclear warheads, sat at the foot of his hotel bed, smiled and said, "I'm a good salesman."
The irony was unintended. The message was pride.
In 10 hours of interviews over the past three weeks, including a four hour session in his room at a mid-town Sheraton here, Metcalf argued that he had done nothing wrong, that if anyone should be faulted for the sale, it is the governments of the United States and Great Britain.
He referred frequently to his humble beginnings, as if to underscore the irony in the turmoil he caused by engineering the sale of the equipment through the bureaucracies of three nations.
"I'm just a plain old hillbilly," he said. "You remember Mr. Biden? One of them people that ran for president and overrated his abilities. Well, I stopped doing that 10 years ago and jest became Jimmy.
"I went to a Baptist college [Mars Hill, N.C.] one year to learn how to trust God.. Then I went to a mountain college to become a schoolteacher and I finished almost three months of that. But I flunked. I flunked the English language cause us hillbillies never learned to understand the nuances of that language. It's the truth. I ain't ashamed of it no more."
After leaving Mars Hill Junior College and flunking out of the mountain school (Western Carolina Teachers College at Cullowhee, N.C.) he enlisted in the Army in 1951, served in Korea and received an honorable discharge.
He then held several sales and technical jobs at a number of U.S. companies specializing in metallurgy. In 1965 he started his own business and eventually merged it into Inductotherm Industries. Inductotherm is the parent of Consarc Corp. and the Scottish subsidiary that sold the machines to the Soviets, Consarc Engineering.
Some U.S. intelligence officials say they believe there is more to Metcalf's biography. They have tracked his long business ties with the Soviet Union and his 1979 marriage to a Soviet woman, Vera. They say she may be KGB. The government file contains such information as the location of moles on her body.
Metcalf laughed it off. The Soviets, he said, believe she's CIA. He called her a "Red lady."
He also spared no criticism for the Soviet Union, especially its debilitating bureaucracy and pervasive corruption. "It's worse than our government will ever be," he said.
But he also described it as a marketplace of vast potential and said that he had forged valuable connections with that bureaucracy in the more then 10 years of selling industrial furnaces there. The past was good but the future could be better.
As it turned out, Metcalf said, the Consarc sale did not live up to the "expectations of high profit." But the fact that it turned any profit at all is largely attributable to Metcalf's resourcefulness. Where other businessmen lick their wounds after a reversal, he prides himself on turning setbacks into profit.
He had hoped, for instance, that the Commerce Department, after embargoing in 1985 the equipment he already had sold to the Soviets, would bar him from returning there to make the machines work. A denial would have allowed his company, Consarc Engineering, to close its contract without incurring Soviet legal action for breaking it.
Instead, the Commerce Department said he could go ahead and work on the machinery.
The setback was only fleeting. Metcalf quickly saw opportunity. "Bingo! Now I'm legal," he declared and then described how he rushed back to Russia and, through another company he had formed, entered into a new contract with the Soviets for the same work Consarc would have performed.When the new, machinery didn't work quite right, he would convince the Soviet buyer to accept changes to the specifications, or promise him new gadgets.
He referred to these changes as "Jimmy-isms."
Metcalf said that a number of those "Jimmyisms" were spun from whole cloth, especially in late 1984. That's when banks were clamoring for payment, he feared the imminent embargo and the Soviets were fuming because of problems in the isostatic presses.
"I'm beginning to promise a lot of things," Metcalf said of that frantic period. He said that among the promised commodities were exotic add-ons to the machines, the technology to process carbon insulation and an alarm system for the automobile of one of the Soviet plant's officials.
None of that was delivered, he said. The promises were a ruse to prod the Soviets into signing off on the final shipments before Britain embargoed the machines and his company defaulted on its $11 million contract.
The ruse worked.
He bedazzled even the Soviet buyer, Nikolai Ivanov of Machinoimport.
"Jimmy, you don't have the moral right to do what you do," he said Ivanov told him, referring to his wheeler dealer business style. "You subvert Lenin." At another point, Metcalf said, Ivanov remarked, "Jimmy, 23 years I've been working in this position and never did I have to put up with something like you."
Metcalf admits to just one fleeting moment of fear that the sale could affect national security. At the end of 1984, when most of the equipment had already been shipped, he called a friend who is an engineer involved in the making of carbon-carbon nose tips for the United States.
He said the friend told him, "'Jimmy, you're doing something wrong.'
"That bothered me a little bit," he said. "This guy has military contracts, and he says you're doing something wrong, shouldn't be doing it. That bothered me."
The engineer, who asked to remain anonymous, confirmed that account.
But Metcalf's concern was momentary. Soon after, he rushed the final shipment through ahead of the embargo he was expecting.
He said he knows the equipment can be used to process the high-grade carbon-carbon that has strategic military importance. But he claims he doesn't know if the Soviets have either the desire or the technical know-how to use the machines for military purposes.
For Metcalf, the question is academic.
"I do not, did not want, and will never know all the uses" for the equipment sold to the Soviets.
Metcalf earlier this year retired as director of Consarc in Scotland and New Jersey. He now consults for Consarc 100 days a year.
He said he hopes to continue selling, especially in the Soviet Union.
"I only sell to the people that want to buy from me," he said. "Life's too short. If you don't want to buy my product, then I show my knees. You get to see the rest of my legs if you marry me... I'm a peddler and proud of it."