Avedis Derounian

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Avedis Boghos Derounian (April 4, 1909, Alexandroupoli, GreeceApril 23, 1991 New York) (pseudonym John Roy Carlson) photo was a writer for the communist Daily Worker newspaper and author of books such as Under Cover and The Plotters which were tantamount to smears against American patriots during the 1930s and 1940s.[1]

Derounian wrote for the Armenian General Benevolent Union's Armenian Information Service, and the Armenian Mirror-Spectator. His exposé writing has been the subject of lawsuits.[2]

Derounian is notable for editing the controversial manifesto of Armenia's first prime minister, Hovhannes Katchaznouni.[3]

Personal life

Derounian was of Armenian descent. He was born to Boghos Derounian and Eliza Aprahamian in Alexandroupoli, Greece, and spent part of his childhood in Turkey and Sofia, Bulgaria, where his brother Steven Derounian (who later became a Republican Representative) was born.[4][5] His family, fleeing the Balkan Wars, eventually settled in Mineola, New York. He went on to study at New York University's School of Journalism. Later, he married Marie Nazarian, and had a daughter, Elyse, and a son, Robert.

He died of a heart attack on April 23, 1991 at the library of the American Jewish Committee on East 56th Street.

Undercover work

Derounian decided to infiltrate the nationalist patriot network and devised a ruse by publishing a phony New York-based newsletter called The Christian Defender. See copy here: [1] His new identity would be "George Pagnanelli", editor and publisher. He claimed to have joined numerous groups, some of which he listed in the opening of his book Under Cover: American National-Socialist Party, German American Bund, Christian Front, The Ultra-American, Nationalist Party, American Nationalist Party, American Women Against Communism, The Gray Shirts, America First Committee, No Foreign War Committee, Christian Mobilizers, American Destiny Party, American Brotherhood of Christians Congress, The Ethiopian Pacific Movement, Citizens Protective League, Social Justice Distributors Club, The American Defense Society, Anglo-Saxon Federation of America, Paul Revere Sentinels, Ra-Con Klub, Crusaders for Americanism, We the Fathers (Auxiliary to We the Mothers Mobilize for America), The Christian Mobilizer, Phalanx, PAX (secret gun club), National Workers League, Yankee Freemen, The Cross and the Flag, Committee of One Million, Flanders Hall, American Patriots, American Bulletin, National Gentile League.

He was also the chief investigator of the communist-aligned group, Friends of Democracy which contributed material to Under Cover.[6]

Best seller and lawsuits

Under Cover was the best selling nonfiction book of 1944 with more than a million copies published.[7] However several of those mentioned in the book sued Derounian and his publisher C.P. Dutton and Company for libel. In every case the jury brought back a verdict of guilty. Derounian was turn downed by several publishers before Dutton accepted it because they considered the proposed book to be libelous.[8]

Federal Judge John P. Barnes commented on the author and publisher:

I think this book was written by a wholly irresponsible person who would write anything for a dollar. I wouldn’t believe this author if he was under oath. I think he and the publisher are as guilty as anyone who was ever found guilty in this court.[9]


  • Under Cover, My Four Years in the National Socialist Underworld of America, by John Roy Carlson, The World Publishing Company, 1943
  • The Plotters, by John Roy Carlson, E. P. Dutton & Company, Inc. 1946
  • Cairo to Damascus, by John Roy Carlson, Alfred Knopf. 1951

Articles and pamphlets

  • "Our Fascist Enemies Within", American Mercury March 1942, text [2]
  • Hate-Mongers Among the Clergy 1946


  1. The Great Sedition Trial of 1944: A Personal Memoir
  2. Sanctuary v. Thackrey, [NO NUMBER IN ORIGINAL], Supreme Court of New York, Trial Term, New York County, 189 Misc. 724; 72 N.Y.S.2d 104; 1947 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 2709, July 29, 1947. (The New York Post, published by Dorothy S. Thackrey, had serially printed Under Cover starting on October 16, 1943.)
  3. Katchaznouni, Hovhannes (August 1955). in John Roy Carlson (trans. Matthew A. Callender): The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnagtzoutiun) Has Nothing to Do Anymore. New York: Armenian Information Service. 
  4. Kelly, Lee (1994-11-05). "Austin man remembered for honesty in 'Quiz Show'". Austin American-Statesman. http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?s_hidethis=no&p_product=AASB&p_theme=aasb&p_action=search&p_maxdocs=200&s_dispstring=derounian&p_field_advanced-0=&p_text_advanced-0=(derounian)&xcal_numdocs=20&p_perpage=10&p_sort=YMD_date:D&xcal_useweights=no. 
  5. Fowler, Glenn (1991-04-25). "Arthur Derounian, 82, an Author Of Books on Fascists and Bigots". New York Times. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D0CE4DA1639F936A15757C0A967958260&sec=&spon=&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink. Retrieved 2008-08-08. 
  6. Kahn, E.J. (1947-07-26). "Profiles: 'Democracy's Friend'". New Yorker. http://www.newyorker.com/archive/1947/07/26/1947_07_26_028_TNY_CARDS_000209522. Retrieved 2008-08-06. "One of Friends of Democracy most fruitful accomplishments has been discovering a man named Avedis Derounian, better known by his pen name of John Roy Carlson." 
  7. Real Enemies: Conspiracy Theories and American Democracy, World War I to 9/11, By Kathryn S. Olmsted, page 72
  8. Joseph P. Kamp's FBI file
  9. Roosevelt, Churchill, and the World War II Opposition, by George T. Eggleston, page 165

See also

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