|Born||1900 or 1901
Raynham, North Carolina
|Died||25 January 1976
|Alma mater||Columbia School of Journalism|
|Known for||advocacy of non-interventionism, arrest and imprisonment as a Japanese agent|
|Notable work(s)||Ways That Are Dark: The Truth About China|
|Spouse(s)||Janet (from 16 October 1926)|
Ralph Townsend (1900 or 1901 – 25 January 1976) was an American author, consul, and political activist noted for his opposition to the entry of the United States into World War II.
Townsend was born in North Carolina and educated in New York. He served in the foreign service as a consul stationed in Canada and China from 1931 to 1933. Shortly after returning to the United States he came to public prominence for the first time through penning the book Ways That Are Dark: The Truth About China, a harsh critique of Chinese culture which became a highly controversial bestseller. Townsend, who was ideologically conservative, would soon go on to become a prominent advocate of non-interventionism and in the 1930s and 1940s he was well known for his vocal opposition to the Roosevelt administration's foreign policies from a pro-Japanese and pro-neutrality point of view. Following the outbreak of World War II Townsend was arrested for having acted as a Japanese agent without registering under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. He pleaded guilty to the charge, admitting that he had accepted payments before the war from a propaganda organization funded by the Japanese government while still denying that he was a Japanese agent. He received a prison sentence and while in prison was also involved in the Great Sedition Trial.
After the war Townsend moved to Fairfax, Virginia, where he died on 25 January 1976. His writings continue to be influential in far-right circles.
Ralph Townsend was born either in 1900 or 1901 in Raynham, North Carolina to "one of Robeson county's oldest and most prominent families." After graduating from Mount Hermon Preparatory School in Massachusetts, he attended Columbia University in New York City and in 1924 received his degree from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He worked as a journalist in San Francisco for several years before returning to New York where he taught English at Columbia University from 1927 to 1930. On 11 November 1930 he passed the foreign service test and was posted to Montreal, Canada, as vice-consul on 20 December 1930.
His second assignment was to Shanghai, where he officially served as vice-consul between 10 December 1931 and 9 January 1932, though a two-month temporary detail kept him in the city long enough to witness the Shanghai Incident firsthand. After that he was stationed in Fuzhou up to his resignation from the service on 1 March 1933.
Books on Asian affairs
Townsend's experiences in China formed the basis of his first book Ways That Are Dark: The Truth About China, the release of which on 10 November 1933 put Townsend in the spotlight both nationally and internationally. Billed as doing "for China what Katherine Mayo did for Mother India", Townsend's book included a controversial critique of Chinese society and culture. At a time when China was in the grip of considerable civil strife, Townsend asserted that the source of China's problem lay in fundamental defects in the ethnic characteristics of the Chinese people, including above all their propensity for dishonesty, lack of fixed loyalties outside of their family group, and inability to cooperate effectively with one another, as well as their insatiable greed, physical cowardice, and lack of critical thinking skills. He concludes that the "outstanding characteristics" of the Chinese people "neither enable other peoples to deal satisfactorily with them, nor enable the Chinese to deal satisfactorily with themselves" and predicts no end to chaotic conditions within the country. He also favorably contrasts what he considers Japan's sensible policies toward China with the naively "sentimentalist" ones adopted by the United States.
Ways That Are Dark rose onto the bestsellers list and elicited many vociferous reactions from critics and supporters. Writing for Current History, E. Francis Brown praised the book as "a welcome antidote to much that has been written in recent years and some of its conclusions might be well pondered by those who shape America's Far Eastern Policy," but by contrast Owen Lattimore denounced the work as "a general indictment of a whole race" which lacked insight, relied on second-hand accounts, and would "only convince people who are convinced already." The book itself was entangled in the political turmoil it discussed, being banned by the government of China but distributed free of charge by the government of Japan.
The Robesonian, a newspaper of Townsend's native county, reported in February 1934 that he had "aroused more glowing praise and bitter abuse for his lectures and written comments on China than any other recent speaker and writer on Far East affairs." Townsend moved from New York back to San Francisco in 1934 where he continued to write and give lectures on Asian issues as well as teaching classes at Stanford University and doing advertising work for the San Joaquin Light and Power Corporation. Until 1941 he resided in a number of Californian cities near San Francisco.
In 1936 Townsend published his second book, Asia Answers, in which he heaps praise on what he deems to be Japan's thriving political, economic, and cultural model and its growing and positive influence in Asia, and attributes anti-Japanese sentiment in the United States to pro-communist "liberals", above all the sensationalist newspaper editors and journalists, who seek to crush Japan as a bulwark of capitalism in Asia. He condemns liberals for having already wrecked the US economy, warns of a possible communist takeover of the United States, and ends by advocating that America resist anti-Japanese warmongering and adopt a foreign policy of neutrality towards Asia.
Townsend predicted that Asia Answers might have a frosty reception from reviewers because of what he alleged to be the pro-Soviet biases of the media, and indeed, the book received negative coverage in The China Weekly Review, The Times Literary Supplement, Times of India, and The Living Age, the last of which deemed Asia Answers a work "suspiciously similar to press releases by the Tokyo Foreign Office" which would appeal to "none except avowed Fascists". Among the book's detractors was also Pearl S. Buck who described it as "so fraught with the prejudices and personality of the writer that it is impossible to criticize any of it without involving the author's whole scheme." On the other hand, the book was received more positively in Japan and in Manchukuo, where Sadatomo Koyama, a leader in the Manchuria Youth League, declared that "[Townsend's] understanding of China is impeccable" and strongly promoted the work. In 1937 Townsend made a trip to Japan coinciding with the release of the book's Japanese translation.
Advocate of non-interventionism
After returning from Japan, Townsend was highly active in writing articles, delivering lectures, and making radio broadcasts in support of the movement to keep the United States out of the conflicts in Asia and Europe. In explaining the reason for his participation in the pro-neutrality movement, Townsend stated that while serving as a consul abroad he had "learned enough of the rottenness of international politics ... to wish to do my part of peace for this country."
Claiming that publishers would no longer accept anti-interventionist books, Townsend began self-publishing pamphlets. Between 1938 and 1940 he wrote a series of pamphlets which were extremely popular and widely circulated among anti-interventionists. Two of them, The High Cost of Hate and America Has No Enemies In Asia, had a circulation of at least 60,000 copies, while another, There Is No Halfway Neutrality printed 30,000 copies. The last pamphlet in the series, Seeking Foreign Trouble, attracted the attention of the German embassy in Washington DC which bought and distributed more than 500 copies of it.
In his pamphlets Townsend speaks out against boycotting products from Japan, noting that America does more considerably more trade with Japan than China and arguing that peaceful trade with Japan and Nazi Germany would serve the interests of American workers and consumers. He blames "red elements" within China for starting the Second Sino-Japanese War, but praises Japan for the "humane" manner in which its armed forces have behaved in China, believing that it is only the Soviet Union and "a powerful minority" of pro-communist Americans who are conspiring to push America to war with Japan. Townsend predicts that if the Chinese won their war with Japan, the result would be a communist takeover of China, but he dismisses the idea that Japan might launch an attack on the United States as "simply too idiotic to discuss." On Europe he avers similarly that German conduct is largely a defensive reaction to British and French attempts to "obliterate the Germans as an entity".
Townsend became an active member of America First after its formation in 1940, and was invited to speak at America First meetings on at least two occasions. Townsend, however, would appear as a private citizen when he came before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on 8 February 1941 in opposition to the Lend-Lease Act. In a widely publicized testimony, Townsend condemned the legislation as tantamount to "a war bill" that would "assign dictatorial powers to the President" and would "make America the unmistakable aggressor against nations which have not sought objectively to molest us."
His activism eventually brought him to the attention of George Teeple Eggleston, the editor of Scribner's Commentator, an anti-interventionist magazine based in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, and in June 1941 Townsend accepted an offer to move to Lake Geneva to serve as a contributor to the magazine. Shortly thereafter Townsend also became an assistant editor of The Herald, a virulently anti-Semitic weekly newspaper which the owners of Scribner's Commentator launched that August.
Arrest and imprisonment
Townsend's first run-in with the law occurred on 25 November 1941 when federal prosecutors investigating German-funded propaganda in the United States sought him to answer questions before a grand jury about Scribner's Commentator. When he could not be found at his home in Lake Geneva a nation-wide manhunt was launched, but three weeks later Townsend came forward willingly, claiming he had simply been on vacation in the southern United States and hadn't known he was wanted by the government. On 15 December he stated that he had no knowledge about how Scribner's Commentator was financed, but had strong confidence in the magazine's owners who he knew to be "good Americans." He added that although he had worked to prevent the outbreak of a conflict, he was now fully supportive of the US war effort. It emerged later that Nazi German agents had been surreptitiously bankrolling the magazine.
Then on 28 January 1942 FBI agents arrived at Townsend's home and arrested him for having acted as a Japanese agent without registering under the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938. A federal investigation into Japanese propaganda which had begun in November 1941 discovered that Townsend had received payments from the Japanese Committee on Trade and Information, a Japanese propaganda organization which had existed between 1937 and 1940. Though Townsend denied being a paid Japanese agent and claimed to be a victim of political persecution, he did admit to having accepting money from the Committee, stating that it was merely a payment in exchange for the bulk sale of his pamphlets. Even so Townsend opted to plead guilty on 27 March and argued for a lenient sentence on the grounds that he was not aware that his acts were illegal. Townsend also solicited the support of anti-interventionist politicians and he was sent favorable character references by both former Senator Rush D. Holt and his longtime friend Senator Gerald Nye, the latter of whom described Townsend as "a loyal and patriotic American citizen".
The presiding justice T. Alan Goldsborough was, however, unmoved, and deeming his crimes "repulsive, obscene and macabre", Townsend was sentenced on 12 June to between 8 and 24 months in prison and was incarcerated in Washington DC.
Defendant in the Great Sedition Trial
While still in prison, Townsend became a defendant in what would become the so-called "Great Sedition Trial". The trial had its origin in President Roosevelt's conviction, against the wishes of his Attorney-General Francis Biddle, that those who had been most vocal in defending Nazi Germany be tried for subversion. On 23 July 1942 Townsend and 27 other Americans were charged under the Smith Act and the Espionage Act with having participated in a German-backed conspiracy to publish seditious literature seeking to undermine the morale of members of the United States military. The indictment cited the following statement of Townsend's, which he had written in 1941 prior to the outbreak of the war, as proof that he had committed sedition:
With a fifth of the earth's people kept under their rule by force, [the British] bleat of fighting to liberate subject populations. Fighting now for the triumph of the bloodiest dictatorship ever known – Soviet Russia – they microphone to listening Americans their pious horror of dictatorships.
Townsend, who was arraigned on 20 August, strongly denied that his writings had been subversive and questioned the legality of the charges laid against him. Along with the other defendants, Townsend was as before strongly defended by senators with anti-interventionist sympathies, including Gerald Nye who said the defendants were no more guilty of sedition than he had been for speaking out against intervening in the war. In fact there were from the beginning many concerns even within the US government about the validity of the proceedings and their constitutionality as no clear evidence had yet been uncovered to demonstrate that the defendants were in collusion with Nazi Germany or with each other.
These problems caused repeated delays in the formal opening of the trial and the indictment had to be laid down a second time on 4 January 1943 after the first had expired. More delays arose, however, and when the indictment was laid down for a third time on 3 January 1944, Townsend's name had been dropped from the list. Although Francis Biddle initially said that Townsend would still be subject to prosecution in the future, in the end no further actions were taken against him. By then Townsend had been financially bankrupted by the legal expense of defending himself and most of his former friends had deserted him. Biddle himself later called the sedition case "a dreary farce".
During this period the Washington Post had additionally revealed that before the war Townsend had once accepted money from a man with connections to German agents in order to circulate anti-British pamphlets. Despite all this Townsend still insisted that, "I was never anybody's foreign agent. All I published was independently written and 100 per cent American", a stance which he maintained for the remainder of his life.
In the early-1950s Ralph Townsend moved to Fairfax, Virginia, and by the time of his death was considered a "prominent resident". He helped organize the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce, of which he was the executive director, and in this capacity played a leading role in lobbying the CIA to put its headquarters in Virginia. He also did work in the field of conservation. In 1967 he appeared before the House Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs as a member of Defenders of Wildlife and served on that organization's Board of Directors between 1972 and 1976 where he was known for "his insistence on sound financial management."
Townsend also maintained friendships with far-right figures after the war, including Harry Elmer Barnes and Willis Carto, and for a time he worked as an editor and contributor to Carto's anti-Semitic magazine, The American Mercury, which introduced Townsend as "a former Foreign Service officer who made the mistake of fighting FDR's war plans".
Townsend died in Fairfax on 25 January 1976 at the age of 75.
Legacy and assessment
Historians have noted the stridency with which Townsend put forward his pro-Japanese views before World War II. Justus Doenecke, for instance, described Townsend as "The most adamant and extreme of the voices in America defending Japanese policy." Judith Papachristou concurs that "Few anti-imperialists were as extreme as isolationist Ralph Townsend", though Townsend himself rejected the "isolationist" label during his life, and instead called himself a "realist" and "Pro-Peace".
Townsend is still held in esteem by many members of the extreme right in the United States, and recently in Japan as well. After his death his widow Janet turned over his papers to Larry Humphreys, an Oklahoma multimillionaire and supporter of right-wing militia and Christian Identity groups, who referred to Townsend as a man who "knew FDR was trying to entice Japan into attacking the United States, and FDR had him jailed". Humphreys stored Townsend's papers in his so-called "Heritage Library", though today many of them are held by Barnes Review, an anti-Semitic organization under the leadership of Townsend's old friend Willis Carto. In 1997 Barnes Review re-published Ways That Are Dark: The Truth About China for the first time since World War II with a new foreword written by Carto, who praised Townsend as "a profound, genuinely courageous and painfully honest writer". In 2004 a Japanese translation of the Barnes Review edition of Ways That Are Dark was released in Japan where it became a runaway success and quickly elevated Townsend to "hero" status among the Japanese far right.
Concerning the quality of his writing, however, the retrospective viewpoints of scholars have been mixed. Limin Chu, who analyzed the articles Townsend wrote about China for the Overland Monthly and Out West Magazine, considered some of his claims to be "either incredibly gullible or deliberately vicious", and historian Justus Doenecke described his pamphlets as "crudely written". By contrast Peter O'Connor, professor at Musashino University, found the same pamphlets to be "well-argued and researched."
- Ways That Are Dark: The Truth About China. New York: Putnam, 1933.
- Asia Answers. New York: Putnam, 1936.
- Does Japan Slam the Door against American Trade in Areas of Japanese Influence in Asia? San Francisco: Japanese Chamber of Commerce, 1938.
- There Is No Halfway Neutrality. San Francisco: self-published, 1938.
- America Has No Enemies In Asia. San Francisco: self-published, 1938.
- The High Cost of Hate. San Francisco: self-published, 1939.
- Seeking Foreign Trouble. San Francisco: self-published, 1940.
- An Appeal To Patriotic Americans. Washington DC: self-published, 1943.
- "China Submits to Chaos," Current History, June 1933.
- "Our Slump in Foreign Pets," The North American Review, August 1933.
- "Mission Schools Curbed in China," New York Times, November 12, 1933.
- "America Watches Sino-Japanese Relations," Contemporary Japan, June 1934.
- "Let's Stop Baiting Japan," Overland Monthly and Out West Magazine, December 1934.
- "Meeting Japan's Challenge," Overland Monthly and Out West Magazine, June 1935.
- "Easing the Pacific Tension," Overland Monthly and Out West Magazine, July 1935.
- "La Chine, terre de l'opium," Revue Belge, January 15, 1936.
- "Soviet Propaganda in America," The Far Eastern Review, August 1938.
- "Pidgin English 'Can Do'," New York Times, January 23, 1939.
- "Japan: Our Commercial Prize," Scribner's Commentator, November 1940.
- "Mercy – Strictly Political," Scribner's Commentator, March 1941.
- "Must We Fight Japan?," Scribner's Commentator, June 1941.
- "Publicity Reversal Technique," Scribner's Commentator, December 1941.
- "Sedition ... Then and Now," The American Mercury, Summer 1968.
- "The Context of Pearl Harbor," The American Mercury, Winter 1969.
- "Saving the Great Dismal Swamp," Defenders of Wildlife News, March 1973.
- Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Marriage Records, 1810–1973
- Frank P. Mintz, Revisionism and the Origins of Pearl Harbor (Lanham, Maryland: University Press of America, 1985), 13–14.
- Edward Martell et al., Who Was Who Among English and European Authors, 1931–1949 (Detroit: Gale Research Co., 1978), 1411.
- Ralph Townsend, 米禍: アメリカ外交政策の過誤 (Tokyo: Nihon Keizai Renmeikai Taigai Jimukyoku, 1941), 6.
- "Memorials," The Robesonian, 19 October 1976.
- 1940 United States Federal Census
- "Ralph M. Townsend," Defenders, April 1976, 136.
- "Townsend Faces Serious Charges," The Robesonian, 3 February 1942.
- "Aged Schoolmaster Travels Over World Visiting Old 'Boys'," Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 16 January 1934.
- "Son of Robeson Man Named Vice Consul At Montreal," The Robesonian, 29 January 1931.
- "Pass Foreign Service Test," New York Times, 12 November 1930, 48.
- The Department of State, Foreign Service List 1931 (Washington DC: United States Government Printing Office, 1931), 62.
- "Native of Robeson Well Known Author, Lecturer," The Robesonian, 1 February 1934.
- "Seven Promoted In Foreign Service," New York Times, 17 January 1932, N2.
- "Six Indicted For Distributing Pro-Jap 'News'," Racine Journal Times, 28 January 1942.
- The Department of State, Foreign Service List 1932 (Washington DC: United States Government Printing Office, 1932), 62, 79.
- The American Foreign Service Journal 9 (Washington DC: American Foreign Service Association, 1932), 401.
- "Consulates Will Close," New York Times, 5 February 1933, N1.
- New York Times, 10 November 1933, 19.
- Ralph Townsend, Ways That Are Dark: The Truth About China (New York: Putnam, 1933), 26.
- Ralph Townsend, Ways That Are Dark: The Truth About China (New York: Putnam, 1933), 48–117.
- Ralph Townsend, Ways That Are Dark: The Truth About China (New York: Putnam, 1933), 82.
- Ralph Townsend, Ways That Are Dark: The Truth About China (New York: Putnam, 1933), 244.
- Ralph Townsend, Ways That Are Dark: The Truth About China (New York: Putnam, 1933), 173–174, 287, 297–298, 307–315.
- E. Francis Brown, "Books of the Month: National and International Problems – The Truth About China," Current History, January 1934, 8.
- Owen Lattimore, "A Long Way From The Whole Truth About China," New York Times, 10 December 1933, BR9.
- "Townsend and the Ways That Are Dark," The China Weekly Review, 2 June 1934.
- "American's Book Banned in China," Berkeley Daily Gazette, 26 January 1935.
- "College Avenue," Berkeley Daily Gazette, 10 October 1935.
- To Promote the Defense of the United States: Hearings Before The Committee On Foreign Relations United States Senate Part 1 (Washington DC: United States Government Printing Office, 1941), 802.
- "Behind the Scenes," Scribner's Commentator, March 1936, 191.
- Ralph Townsend, Asia Answers (New York: Putnam, 1936), xiii.
- Columbia Alumni News, 21 January 1938, 15.
- "US Indicts 6 Bay Men As Japan Agents," Oakland Tribune, 28 January 1942.
- Ralph Townsend, Asia Answers (New York: Putnam, 1936), 174–186, 239–241, 265–272.
- Ralph Townsend, Asia Answers (New York: Putnam, 1936), 50–65, 87–91, 136.
- Ralph Townsend, Asia Answers (New York: Putnam, 1936), 175–176, 256.
- Ralph Townsend, Asia Answers (New York: Putnam, 1936), 97, 254.
- Ralph Townsend, Asia Answers (New York: Putnam, 1936), 255, 263.
- Ralph Townsend, Asia Answers (New York: Putnam, 1936), 77–78.
- "Mr. Townsend 'Answers' His 'Ways That Are Dark'," The China Weekly Review, 13 March 1937.
- "Other New Books," The Times Literary Supplement, 6 March 1937.
- "Studies of Japan," Studies of Japan, 23 April 1937.
- Leo Gurko, "Other New Books," The Living Age, February 1937.
- Pearl S. Buck, "Asia Book-Shelf," Asia: Journal of the American Asiatic Association, January 1937, 65.
- Hideo Tanaka, "ラルフ・タウンゼントの思想が現代にうったえてくるもの," in 暗黒大陸中国の真実, (Tokyo: Fuyo Shobo, 2007), 308–309.
- "Japanese Initiate New Propaganda Drive to Re-Establish US-Nippon Friendship," China Weekly Review, 30 July 1938.
- Dillard Stokes, "Former Jap Consulate Secretary Tells District Court of Propaganda Scheme," The Washington Post, 20 May 1942, 5.
- To Promote the Defense of the United States: Hearings Before The Committee On Foreign Relations United States Senate Part 1 (Washington DC: United States Government Printing Office, 1941), 795.
- Ralph Townsend, "Sedition ... Then and Now," American Mercury, Summer 1968, 35.
- John Roy Carlson, Under cover: My four years in the Nazi underworld of America (Philadelphia: Blakiston, 1943), 136, 148, 185, 195, 200.
- John Roy Carlson, Under cover: My four years in the Nazi underworld of America (Philadelphia: Blakiston, 1943), 413.
- O. John Rogge, The Official German Report: Nazi penetration 1924–1942 (New York: T. Yoseloff, 1961), 317.
- Ralph Townsend, The High Cost Of Hate (San Francisco: self-published, 1939), 29, 40.
- Ralph Townsend, There Is No Halfway Neutrality (San Francisco: self-published, 1938), 17.
- Ralph Townsend, Does Japan Slam the Door against American Trade in Areas of Japanese Influence in Asia? (San Francisco: Japanese Chamber of Commerce, 1938), 9.
- Ralph Townsend, America Has No Enemies in Asia (San Francisco: self-published, 1938), 28–29.
- Ralph Townsend, There Is No Halfway Neutrality (San Francisco: self-published, 1938), 18.
- Ralph Townsend, The High Cost Of Hate (San Francisco: self-published, 1939), 54–55, 60.
- Ralph Townsend, America Has No Enemies in Asia (San Francisco: self-published, 1938), 5–6, 42.
- Ralph Townsend, There Is No Halfway Neutrality (San Francisco: self-published, 1938), 7.
- Ralph Townsend, The High Cost Of Hate (San Francisco: self-published, 1939), 50.
- Ralph Townsend, Seeking Foreign Trouble (San Francisco: self-published, 1940), 3, 5–6, 35, 83.
- Wayne S. Cole, America First: The Battle Against Intervention, 1940–41 (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1953), 121.
- Ralph Townsend, An Appeal To Patriotic Americans (Washington DC: self-published, 1943), 2.
- Justus Doenecke, Storm on the Horizon: The Challenge to American Intervention 1939–1941 (Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2000), 194, 437.
- Town Meeting: Shall We Guarantee Peace in the Pacific? (New York: Columbia University Press, 1941), 5.
- Robert C. Albright, "Six Denounce Bill," Washington Post, 11 February 1941, 1.
- To Promote the Defense of the United States: Hearings Before The Committee On Foreign Relations United States Senate Part 1 (Washington DC: United States Government Printing Office, 1941), 795, 799, 802.
- Michael Sayers, "Japan's Undercover Drive In America," Friday, 14 February 1941, 5.
- "Japan Spends Millions To Make The World 'Understand'," China Weekly Review, 15 October 1938.
- Anti-Fifth Column, "Japanese Propaganda: To The Editor," China Weekly Review, 19 October 1940.
- "War in China," Propaganda Analysis, 1 February 1939.
- George Teeple Eggleston, Roosevelt, Churchill, and the World War II Opposition : A Revisionist Autobiography (Old Greenwich, Connecticut: Devin-Adair Co., 1979), 141.
- Henry Hoke, It's A Secret (New York: Reynal & Hitchcock, 1946), 153–157.
- Morris Schonbach, Native American Fascism During the 1930s and 1940s (New York: Garland, 1985), 261.
- Dillard Stokes, "U.S. Hunting Key Nazi Agent Probe Witness," The Washington Post, 25 November 1941, 1.
- Dillard Stokes, "Probe Jury Will Question Writer Today," The Washington Post, 16 December 1941, 14.
- Dillard Stokes, "Jury to Probe Jap Activities Up to Attack," The Washington Post, 17 December 1941, 38.
- O. John Rogge, The Official German Report: Nazi penetration 1924–1942 (New York: T. Yoseloff, 1961), 303.
- Dillard Stokes, "Scribner's Writer Seized As Jap Agent," The Washington Post, 29 January 1942, 1.
- Department of Justice, Report of the Attorney General to the Congress of the United States on the Administration of the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938 (Washington DC: United States Government Printing Office, 1945), 537.
- Special Committee on Un-American Activities, Investigation of Un-American Propaganda Activities in the United States (Washington DC: United States Government Printing Office, 1943), 214.
- "Three Americans Held as Jap Agents After Skillful Sleuthing by G-Men," Port Arthur News, 9 February 1942.
- "Foreign Agent Charge Denied By Townsend," Madison Capital Times, 29 January 1942.
- "Writer Guilty As Jap Agent," The Washington Post, 28 March 1942, 13.
- "Lesser Term Is Denied To Townsend," The Washington Post, 18 July 1942, 3.
- William E. Coffey, "Isolationism and Pacifism: Senator Rush D. Holt and American Foreign Policy," West Virginia History, 1992, 8.
- Wayne S. Cole, Senator Gerald P. Nye and American Foreign Relations (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1962), 209–210.
- Dillard Stokes, "Griffin Denies Memory of Viereck Pay," The Washington Post, 13 June 1942, 19.
- George Seldes, "Associate of Japanese Agent, Now in Jail," In Fact, 12 July 1943.
- Samuel Walker, Presidents and Civil Liberties from Wilson to Obama: A Story of Poor Custodians (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012), 116–117.
- Dillard Stokes, "28 Indicted in Wide Conspiracy To Corrupt Army and Navy," The Washington Post, 23 July 1942, 1.
- Morris Schonbach, Native American Fascism During the 1930s and 1940s (New York: Garland, 1985), 415.
- William Henry Chamberlin, "Civil Liberties: Slogan or Reality?," The Christian Century, 13 January 1943, 45.
- "Draft Board Asked To Find Suspects," The Washington Post, 4 August 1942, 14.
- "Arraignments Set on Morale Charges," The New York Times, 20 August 1942, 21.
- Joseph Paull, "Author Spends Hour With Sedition Jury," The Washington Post, 29 October 1943, 5.
- Richard W. Steele, Free speech in the Good War (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1999), 214–217.
- "Nye Doubts Merits of Charges Against 33 to Undermine Morale," The Washington Star, 15 January 1943.
- "U.S. Indicts 30, Alleging Nazi Plot To Incite Mutiny and Revolution," The New York Times, 4 January 1944, 1.
- "US Indictment Against Ralph Townsend Stands," The News-Journal, 6 January 1944.
- Michael Collins Piper and Ken Hoop, "The Great Sedition Trial of 1944," Barnes Review, November/December 1999, 13.
- Drew Pearson, "The Washington Merry-Go-Round: The Nazi Network," The Washington Post, 26 October 1942, 14.
- "Townsend Enters Denial," The New York Times, 4 August 1942, 20.
- "Ralph Townsend," The Robesonian, 11 February 1976.
- "Ralph M. Townsend, Author Civic Leader," The Washington Post, February 14, 1976, C7.
- "Fairfax C of C Members Pay Prize Deficit," The Washington Post, 27 August 1955, 41.
- Marie D. Smith, "Industries Respond To Fairfax Welcome," The Washington Post, 10 July 1955, B5.
- San Rafael Wilderness: Hearings Before The Subcommittee on Public Lands of the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs House of Representatives: June 19, 20, and 21, 1967 (Washington DC: United States Government Printing Office, 1967), 135.
- Ralph Townsend, Ways That Are Dark: The Truth About China (Washington DC: Barnes Review, 1997), back cover.
- American Mercury, Spring 1972, 2.
- American Mercury, Winter 1974, 2.
- American Mercury, Summer 1968, 33.
- Justus Doenecke, Anti-intervention: a bibliographical introduction to isolationism and pacifism from World War I to the early Cold War (New York: Garland, 1987), 346.
- Judith Papachristou, "An Exercise in Anti-Imperialism: The Thirties," American Studies, Spring 1974, 65.
- Ralph Townsend, There Is No Halfway Neutrality (San Francisco: self-published, 1938), 31.
- Ralph Townsend, Asia Answers (New York: Putnam, 1936), 2.
- Ralph Townsend, "Sedition ... Then and Now," American Mercury, Summer 1968, 45.
- Douglas Hand, "The Making of A Right-Wing Radical," Harrowsmith, March/April 1987.
- Willis Carto, "Publisher's Foreword," in Ways That Are Dark: The Truth About China, (Washington DC: Barnes Review, 1997).
- Hideo Tanaka, "ラルフ・タウンゼントの思想が現代にうったえてくるもの," in 暗黒大陸中国の真実, (Tokyo: Fuyo Shobo, 2007), 307.
- Gregory Clark, "New mindset is the only salve," The Japan Times, 11 October 2004.
- Limin Chu, "China and Sino-US Relations, 1900–1930: The Overland Monthly," Sino-American Relations: An International Quarterly, Summer 2001, 78.
- Justus Doenecke, Anti-intervention: a bibliographical introduction to isolationism and pacifism from World War I to the early Cold War (New York: Garland, 1987), 73.
- Peter O'Connor, "General Introduction," in Japanese Propaganda: Selected Readings, Series 2, Volume 1, ed. Peter O'Connor (Tokyo: Edition Synapse, 2005), 35.
- Townsend's first book Ways That Are Dark
- Townsend's second book Asia Answers
- 1938 pamphlet America Has No Enemies in Asia
- 1939 pamphlet The High Cost of Hate
- 1940 pamphlet Seeking Foreign Trouble
- a 1941 Japanese language translation of the pamphlet Seeking Foreign Trouble
- a contemporary pamphlet including Townsend's 1941 testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
- transcript of Townsend's complete 1941 testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
- transcript of Townsend's 1966 testimony before the Senate on protecting California redwood trees
- transcript of Townsend's 1973 testimony before the House of Representatives as a board member of Defenders of Wildlife