The Secret Team, Part 4
by L. Fletcher Prouty
PART IV The CIA: Some Examples Throughout the World
Chapter 16 Cold War: The Pyrrhic Gambit
BY THE SUMMER OF 1955 THE CIA had grown to the point where it was ready to flex its wings in areas in which it had never before been able to operate and in ways that would test its intragovernmental potential. The first wave of Army Special Forces support of CIA war-planning initiatives and of U.S. Air Force Air Resupply and Communications activity had waned following the Korean War; yet the major overseas base structure that the CIA had been able to establish under the cover of those units remained. Border flights, leaflet drops, and other Iron Curtain sensing operations were under way both in Europe and Asia; but the CIA had no major projects that it could call its own.
The Agency believed that it had the means and the requirement for advanced operations, which it would support on its own initiatives. One of the first of these would be a worldwide airborne capability for electronic intelligence, radio transmission surveillance, photographic and radar intelligence, and other related activity. TSS had developed many things that could be put to work, and the overseas base structure that the DD/S had created under the "war planning" cover was more than adequate to support operations.
A small team of Air Force officers, some real Air Force officers who were on Agency assignment, and other CIA career personnel who operated under Air Force cover, met with U.S. Navy personnel to make arrangements for the purchase of seven new navy aircraft, known as the P2V-7. The P2V was not a new plane. It had been developed shortly after World War II, and the original model at one time held the world record for straight-line unrefueled long-distance flight. The "Dash Seven" model had, in addition to its two large reciprocating engines, two small T-34 Westinghouse jet engines. These small jet engines gave the plane a powerful jet-assisted take-off capability and a burst-of-speed capability, if such should be needed in any hostile situation. The airframe was rugged and proven, and Navy support facilities were available all over the world. Also, adequate cover for this plane was possible because it was slated to be given to many foreign countries as part of the Military Assistance Program. This meant that if one should happen to be lost on a clandestine mission, the United States could disclaim any connection with the flight on the hopeful assumption that whatever country found the wreckage in its backyard would be unable categorically to say whether it came from the United States or from one of several other countries.
The gross weakness of this type of cover is readily apparent. Any target country, such as China, eastern European satellites, or the Soviet Union, would scarcely even consider that these specially equipped aircraft had been launched on such a mission by Greece, Taiwan, or Japan, even if they did have some P2V-7s as part of their MAP. Furthermore, the appearance of any aircraft of this type in the inventory of any country would be made the subject of an attach report, and any worthwhile military intelligence system would have reported within days the existence of the exact number of such aircraft. Therefore, if one did show up as wreckage in a denied area, all that country would have to do to verify any cover story release would be to check its records against what it knew to be there and determine if a plane had in fact been lost. The loss would be readily apparent.
Such rather simple abuses of cover would usually lead one to conclude that the exploitation of cover was no more sincere than most other security devices, and that it had been designed just to play the secrecy game in this country, whether it had any merit vis--vis the world of Communism or not. But in any case, this is the way it all was done.
This latter point, about cover itself, was always made a subject of prime importance by the Agency. Wherever the planes would be operated, they would have to have insignia and special serial numbers; nothing stands out more than an unmarked plane. And they would have to operate as part of some parent, or cover, organization. To be effective cover, these numbers and insignia could not be picked out of thin air. The CIA cannot operate aircraft of its own with a CIA insignia on them. This was one of the prime considerations during the first meetings with the Navy.
Discussions went well up to the point of getting the Navy to agree to provide the worldwide support and cover this operation would require. The Navy could see that if anything ever went wrong with the program, if any one of these planes ever crashed or was shot down over denied territory, it would be the Navy that would have to bear the brunt of the exposure. The Army and Air Force already had a history of going along with the CIA; but the Navy, a service that has created a much stronger sense of tradition, was willing to help; however, it was never willing to "become involved". For a while this impasse brought the P2V-7 negotiations to a standstill.
Finally, the "Air Force" people in the CIA decided that they could find no other suitable aircraft and that they would have to find some other way to get this project going, utilizing their original choice, the P2V-7. They asked for a meeting with the Air Force. It took place sometime in August or September of 1955. It was finally agreed that the CIA would make arrangements with the Navy for the production and purchase of the planes and that they would be delivered to the U.S. Air Force. The Air Force had agreed, at the insistence of the CIA, to try to establish an adequate support program for these Navy aircraft.
Such a support project is not easy. The Air Force had aircraft with similar engines; but everything else about them was different. The Navy maintenance and supply manuals were completely different, and the Air Force might just as well have been supporting a completely new type of aircraft. Parts procurement, which would have to be done with Lockheed, the manufacturer, would require that either the Air Force requisition all parts from the Navy and then have the Navy go to Lockheed, or the Air Force would have to set up a separate supply channel itself to Lockheed. In either case it would be complicated. It is as difficult to support seven aircraft of a new and distinct type as it is to establish procedures to support seven hundred. It would have been easier for the Air Force to have set up a line for seven hundred.
All of these things were worked out, and the CIA "Air Force" officers became the project officers at the Lockheed plant. The seven planes were given production numbers along with the regular Navy production orders, and the project was well under way. Air Force pilots were selected for training in these planes, and Air Force maintenance and supporting men were sent to Navy schools to learn how to maintain these planes. All of these men were eventually informed of the special nature of the project and that the CIA was involved. This meant that all of these men had to be assigned to the CIA and that they were all volunteers for the project.
It was necessary to designate one Air Force base as the prime station for these new planes, for their maintenance and for the basic supply stockpile. At the same time the CIA Air Operations staff and the DDS Air Support staff had come to the conclusion that CIA air activity had reached the point where it should be consolidated on one major base rather than spread out all over the world as it had been. Also, the operational missions of the Agency had reached a level that required worldwide capability instead of local European or Asian capability. The Air Force and the CIA agreed to bring all of this together at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. In terms of real estate, this was the largest base in the Air Force, and all kinds of special operations could be set up at Eglin without becoming apparent to others.
Also this was the Air Force proving ground, and it was customary to find there aircraft of all types from all services, undergoing operational training exercises. That base was an ideal location for such an organization as the CIA would have once it had been assembled. Agreement upon the CIA base at Eglin facilitated the support of the P2V-7s. They would go to Eglin also. However, there were differences, and there were problems.
One of the things the project officer on a regular Air Force procurement program is responsible for is to see that new aircraft stays within the limits of design specifications and that it does not "grow" in the process. If the design weight was to be eighty thousand pounds, then the project officer must see that it does not begin to exceed that weight as it is developed. This problem of growth usually arises as the result of the addition to the airframe of other components that are to be part of the plane's armament and electronic (avionics) packages. This was not quite the problem with the CIA plane because it would not have armament; but because this project had been shrouded in security classification, the usual specialists who would have been monitoring the work on these planes were not permitted to work on the P2V-7s, and the Agency had its own men on the job. Later in the development of the CIA version of the P2V-7, it was found that the plane had taken on a lot of weight and that if all of the extra gadgets and other components that TSS and other "users" had been adding to the plane were to be put on board, these planes would never be able to get off the ground.
As a result, many of these parts had to be redesigned, and all sorts of compromises and Rube Goldberg schemes were devised to package these additional items. For example, one group of the Air Operations shop wanted the plane to have a very modern leaflet drop capability. A huge device, which took up all of the space in the bomb-bay compartment, was designed. It looked something like an oversized honeycomb. Tens of thousands of leaflets could be stacked in small compartments, and then when the bomb-bay doors were opened and special motors activated, leaflets would be peeled off each honeycomb section and distributed like a computer-programmed snow storm. This was an excellent idea, and the leaflet spreader worked like magic; but it could not possibly be permanently attached to the plane. It was too heavy and it was too cumbersome. It would have meant that many of the other gadgets that were being planned would have to be left off.
This started some internal hostilities in the Agency. To pay for this P2V-7 project, the CIA Air Operations staff had put together the requirements of several offices of the Agency and had pooled their funds. This was all right for the purchase of the plane; but it was not a reasonable solution for a working arrangement. Every shop that had contributed to the purchase of the P2V-7 felt that it had a proportionate right to put equipment aboard the plane. However, all equipment requirements do not divide themselves into equal packages by weight, and some of these minor "piggyback" accessories began to overload the plane. There was no one in a clear position of authority and know-how sufficient to overrule each claimant. As a result, a number of non-operational concessions were made, and each P2V-7 grew like Topsy.
This is not an uncommon problem, and as we shall see later, this overgrowth of technology and the lack of restraint placed upon highly classified projects -- because the normal "restrainers", the men whom on normal projects would have known how to deal with such problems, were precluded by security measures from knowing what was going on -- caused many projects to go wrong and many others to grow and expand far beyond the original idea.
To accommodate this problem with the P2V-7, the manufacturer and the augmenting-equipment manufacturers reached the conclusion that most of the extra equipment would have to be modularized and made detachable. In this way, the plane could be configured for one set of targets on one flight and for another set the next time. Even with this compromise, certain elements of every system had to be permanently installed, and by the time the planes became operational, they were always overweight.
(At this very same time the CIA bad won approval for the U-2 project, and the Agency was hard at work with its Air Force supporting elements, getting that major program under way. This meant another large Lockheed project on top of the P2V-7 package. The CIA and the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation have always been especially close. At one time, the CIA was working closely with one group of Navy specialists and with two groups of Air Force personnel, all of them aided by highly skilled technical representatives from the Lockheed Corporation. As Allen Dulles had planned, the CIA would be able to grow operationally by spreading itself into other parts of the Government and into industry and by making itself the catalyst for each project, which to the uninitiated would seem to be a project of the host service and not of the CIA.)
Meanwhile, special crews were being trained at Navy bases from Whidby Island in Washington to Jacksonville, Florida, and support personnel were being made familiar with Navy supply catalogues and procedures. Finally the day came when these special planes could be flown to Europe. Some operated out of Weisbaden, Germany, for several years, and others went to Taiwan. Eglin Air Force Base became the logistics support base for their worldwide operational mission.
These unusual aircraft served many purposes and many masters. They possessed an advanced low-level photographic capability. They were an operational test bed for highly specialized electronic intelligence border surveillance work. They were perhaps the first operationally successful carriers of the new side-looking radar system, and they had that novel and most effective leaflet scattering system. On top of all that, someone had insisted that they have the capability to drop supplies or personnel, so a hatch had been cut in the underside of the plane, which could be opened in flight for that specialized purpose.
It was not so much the success or failure of the P2V-7 project that is important. The real issue is that after 1955 the CIA had reached the point in its development at which it was prepared to take on major global operational missions on its own using -- not just requesting support of -- the vast resources of the DOD for its own ends. This was a major turning point in the process that had begun with the passage of the National Security Act of 1947 and that had been moved forward by such other events as the Dulles Report of 1949. By l955 the CIA had progressed from its assigned role as the "quiet intelligence arm of the President" to become the major operational center of power within the military and foreign policy infrastructure of the Government of the United States. The P2V-7 project was another step on the way and was positive evidence of that stage of development.
The important thing was not the size of the project itself or of the CIA operation relative to the gross size of the DOD. Rather, it was the fact that the CIA project was an active operation. It was in a sense a major part of the battle of the Cold War.
Thus the fact that only seven P2V-7s or a few squadrons of U-2s were involved was not the real measure of the impact of the ST. It was the fact that the ST was operational anywhere in the world, fully supported by any element or elements of the DOD and its supporting industrial complex that the CIA needed for its "fun and games". Thus the Western World versus the Communist World Cold War was made increasingly more real because the ST was actively, though clandestinely, engaged.
There was a French colonel in the nineteenth century named DuPicq who wrote that battles -- the great early battles of history -- were not quite the massive, total confrontations that historians have portrayed them to be. On the contrary, they were the close-up hand-to-hand clashes of the few men who were on the contiguous perimeter of opposing forces. Although sixty thousand men may have been arrayed on one side confronted by eighty thousand of the advancing enemy, the only men actually engaged at any one time were those in the front line, and then only those that formed part of the front line who actually came into physical contact with their counterparts and adversaries. Thus it was the task of the general, the man on the white horse, to see that more of his men were in position to engage -- face to face, hand to hand -- the enemy that were on the other side. Yet, the shoulder-to-shoulder mass combat of that time meant only so many men could effectively be crammed into a given area at the same time, and this would roughly be equal for both sides. It was at this juncture that tactics and training began to decide the course of the battle. As men in the front fell others directly behind them had to move into the fray. As the course of battle ebbed and flowed the well-trained, disciplined army would seize the initiative at every turn, not so much demonstrating superior power as superior training, equipment, and morale. Thus the fates of nations and empires rested not so much on huge armies as upon the shoulders of a few men engaged on the perimeter of the battle zone.
In that type of combat, before weapons with longer range -- spears, bow and arrows, and then guns -- the battle was won on the perimeter by small circles of men face to face, locked in deadly combat, with no choice but to go forward or die, until each adversary fell before the physical onslaught. This was essentially a battle of total attrition, with the victory going always to that force that outlasted the foe. Victory was total. It was won by annihilating the vanquished.
In a certain sense this is how the Cold War is being fought. It is all too inevitable that the two greatest powers on earth should oppose each other. General Motors has its Ford; Macy's has Gimbel's, and in nature, positive has negative. Major forces always oppose each other. This is normal. Even without the incessant reminder of real or imagined, actual or potential Cold War, a massive contest would inevitably exist between the United States and the USSR in all areas of contact. We should not lose all sense of proportion as a result of this realization, any more than they should. This confrontation is a fact of life. Thus the battles, large and small, of the "war" are the local face-to-face skirmishes between small, often unnoticed, elements on both sides. These battles may be social, economic, athletic, political, religious, and military. And no matter how large or small, how deadly or insignificant, there is only one way to tally up the score in the won-and-lost column. It is the same way one scores in chess. The game is won by not losing. As in chess, luck plays no part; the loser loses his own game. The winner is simply the man who is there at the end.
Thus the Cold War is a massive, totally grim game of attrition. The loser will be the one who has dissipated all of his resources; the winner will be the one who remains with his force relatively intact. The great and terrible truth is that in this type of warfare the loser may be the victim of deadly attrition brought about as a result of his own futile actions, as much as or even more than by actions of an enemy. Consider the battles of the Cold War all waged against the enemy, Communism. In the Berlin airlift, for example, there may have been a sort of local victory; but in the true measure of victory in the war between the great powers it was the United States that paid very heavily and the USSR that made little more than verbal onslaughts. On the scale of relative total attrition the United States went down and the USSR went up. In this type of scoring, the "up" is relative.
Or look at the score of the massive special operation into the rebellion in Indonesia. Again the battle was waged against Communism. The cost to the United States was very great, much greater than most people realize because so much of what actually took place was concealed quite effectively from the American people, although it was not unknown to the Indonesians, the Chinese, and the Russians, and for that matter, to any other country that chose to know. As a result of that costly Cold War battle, again the attrition of the United States was considerable and that of the USSR was negligible.
The Bay of Pigs was another such major battle. We made a great investment in resources and in our world prestige. Russia's contribution was again little more than words, and they were more the words of Castro than of the men in the Kremlin. Even after the gross failure of this battle, the United States lost further in the tribute it paid in the sum of more than $53 million for the release of the Cuban patriots who had been captured by Castro. It might be pointed out here that it is not so much monetary and other costs of such a secret operation that are important as it is the fact that like the battles of old, it is the ratio -- in the Cuban operation, $53 million to zero -- which is so deadly.
This has been the scoring for the Cold War almost all the way along. When Krushchev no more than threatened western Europe with medium-range rockets after the outbreak of the Suez attack in 1956, he set off a flurry in this country to create a weapon that up to that time had never been considered essential. This led to the hasty and fruitless development of the Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile. Hundreds of millions of dollars were spent on those rockets, and except for their bonus payoff as power systems for certain space projects, the Jupiter, Thor, and Polaris (original model) programs were all hasty tributes to the Cold War threat. Again United States attrition was in the billions of dollars and the USSR loss was little more than the bluster of an angry Krushchev.
The Cold War has been fought along the perimeter of the zones of Communism and of the Free World, along what is called the Iron Curtain, the Northern Tier, and the Bamboo Curtain. In a very special sense, it has been fought, like ancient wars, by those few who actually brush against the hot spots. If anything was ever a better example of the futility of this type of conflict than the operation in Indochina, which has taken place during the past two decades, it would be hard to find. Here again the contribution of the United States, the terrible attrition of our national wealth, prestige, manpower, and money has been stupendous. It is really unparalleled in the history of warfare. One nation has lost so much and its stated adversary has lost and contributed so little. The United States has lost more than fifty-five thousand men and the USSR has lost none. The United States has lost more than $200 billion and perhaps much more if the gross cost is included in this total, and the Soviet Union has lost a few billions at the most -- only enough to assure that we would not lose heart and leave. Unless there is an early realization of these significant facts and with it a major change in the course of events in this country, this massive conflict may well be the last one of this stage of civilization. By all indications now, it is moving on relentlessly to a conclusion of doom for the United States. As in a terrible human chess game, the loser is giving up all of his men as a result of his own errors, and the winner is doing little more than waiting out the game and keeping up the relentless pressures.
This is why it is so important to see how the early small-scale contests between the operational forces under the direction of the ST began to stir the sleeping giant of the Defense Department into an ever-ascending crescendo of Cold War activity. With such minor events as the worldwide program of the P2V-7 and all that it involved, with the much more significant U-2 program escalating from its first tenuous border excursions to that final flight by Gary Powers in May of 1960, the ST was preparing itself for other operations, each one larger and grander than the one that came before. And each time, as the ST prepared a new operation, it was the catalytic force that spurred the passive, counter-punching military establishment further into the quagmire of massive attrition.
By 1958 things had gone so far along these lines that the CIA was able to get itself involved in its most ambitious foreign operation. Contact had been made with an attach from Indonesia in Washington. This is not an unusual thing, and the CIA, the Department of State, and the Defense Department are frequently in contact with foreign individuals and groups who believe, selfishly in most instances, that with the help of the United States they can take over their own Communist oriented government. In the case of the Indonesian attach, the CIA was willing and ready to sound him out further, because it believed the removal of Sukarno from power in Indonesia would return that major Asian nation to the non-Communist family of nations. The "anti-Communist" war cry looked especially good there.
Rebel leaders from one end of the Indonesian island chain to the other were encouraged to organize and to plan a major rebellion against Sukarno.
Meanwhile, the CIA prepared for its most ambitious peacetime operation. A headquarters was established in Singapore, and training bases were set up in the Philippines. An old World War II airfield on a deserted island in the southwest Pacific was reactivated, and other airstrips on remote Philippine territory were prepared for bomber and transport operations. Vast stores of arms and equipment were assembled in Okinawa and in the Philippines.
Indonesians, Filipinos, Chinese, Americans, and other soldiers of fortune were assembled in Okinawa and in the Philippines also, to support the cause. The U.S. Army took part in training the rebels, and the Navy furnished over-the-beach submarine back-up support. The Air Force provided transport aircraft and prepared the fleet of modified B-26 bombers. The B-26 is a light bomber in modern terms, but it had been fitted with a nose assembly for eight 50-caliber machine guns. This is a power-packed punch for this type of warfare. A small fleet of Korean War B-26s was prepared, and a number of covert crews were assembled to fly them.
In the beginning, rebellion broke out in various parts of the island chain, and loyalist forces were forced to deal with them one at a time. While the Indonesian army, under the command of General Nasution, began an attack upon the rebels on the main island of Sumatra it seemed that the rebel cause would be victorious on the other islands.
However, the inability of the rebels to win decisive victories and to enlist the aid of neutrals or of the regular forces of the Government turned the war back gradually in favor of the loyalist army. The struggle was protracted, and the CIA threw everything it had into the attack. Tens of thousands of rebels were armed and equipped from the air and over the beach, but at no time were the rebels ever able to take the offensive.
Meanwhile, the U.S. ambassador in Jakarta had the difficult task of maintaining the semblance that the rebels were acting on their own, and that the United States was not involved. As if to strengthen his hand, the Chief of Naval Operations, then Admiral Arleigh Burke, sent his chief of intelligence to Jakarta right at that time, as much as if to say that certainly there was no U.S. military involvement in these attacks. It was an unusual rebellion, with the CIA doing all it could to help the rebels and with the overt U.S. Government officials doing all they could to maintain normal relations. Then, during an air attack on an Indonesian supply vessel, one of the B-26 bombers was shot down. The pilot and crew were rescued. The pilot turned out to be an American, and his crew was mixed from other nations. This American, Allen Pope, had in his possession all kinds of routine identification documents, including a set of U.S. Air Force orders that proved beyond any doubt that he was an active U.S. Air Force pilot. The only choice left for the Indonesians was to assume that he was either a U.S. Air Force pilot flying for the USAF, or that he was a U.S. Air Force pilot flying in support of the rebels clandestinely at the direction of the CIA.
Things had not been going well, and other CIA assistance had been compromised. It was not long before rebel activity was limited to remote areas where government control had never been strong in the first place. General Nasution continued a mop-up campaign, and the rebellion came to an end.
There were many who asked, when Allen Pope came up for trial in Jakarta, how it happened that a man who was flying clandestine missions could have been carrying so much and such complete identification with him. Why had he not been subjected to a search and other controls that would have assured that he would have been stateless and plausibly deniable if captured? These same questions were asked after Gary Powers had been captured in the Soviet Union after his U-2 had landed there in 1960.
The usual procedure requires that the aircraft, and all records that might ordinarily have been aboard the plane, and all other airborne materials be sanitized before the plane is used on any clandestine mission. A considerable amount of money had been spent by the Air Force to assure that these B-26 aircraft had been sanitized and that all airborne equipment was deniable.
At the forward base where Allen Pope and the other pilots were operating, the CIA was supposed to assure that all crew members were sanitized. This required that they enter a crew room, strip naked, and then be examined by proper authority. From that room they would enter another bare room, where nothing but the flight clothes they would wear would be available. All personal effects and other identification would be removed and left in the first room. From this second room the crew would be driven directly to their aircraft.
However, all crew members, as all other members of the human race, have a strong sense of survival, and they know very well that if they are captured and declared to be stateless, they will then have no legal means to appeal to the United States or to any other nation and they will be shot as spies in accordance with custom. On the other hand, if they are captured and can prove beyond doubt that they are American, then they become valuable pawns in the hands of their captors. The nation that has captured them can deal privately with the U.S. Government in a form of top-level international blackmail. The lives of the men involved becomes of minor importance by that time to both countries compared to the advantages that the capturing country can wring out of the loser with the threat of exposure of the facts of the case. This is the key factor in the present prisoner-of-war problem with Hanoi. Those prisoners, many of whom were captured under unusual circumstances in accordance with the compacts signed in Geneva, have become a much more valuable asset to the Government of Hanoi than what might be called the usual prisoner of war, as in World War II.
With this in mind, it can be said that every agent takes precautionary measures on his own to see that he has some identifying material with him if he can possibly get away with it. It is entirely possible that the crew of the captured B-26 had their identification hidden in the plane and that they retrieved it once they were in the air. This must have been the case because the official reports from the base where they had departed on that mission stated that they had gone through the inspection process outlined above. In spite of all this, the Indonesian Government was able to produce at Allen Pope's trial copies of his recently-dated Air Force orders, which had transferred him to the Philippines. They had his Air Force identification card and a current post exchange card for Clark Air Force Base Manila, and such other documents. There could be no doubt in their minds that Allen Pope was a current Air Force pilot and that he was flying in support of the rebels and for the CIA. Such evidence is all that is needed to expose the hand of the United States and to lay this Government open to pressures.
Students and researchers of subsequent action in Indonesia may have noted that the Pope case and all that it exposed has cost this Government heavily in the years that followed. Although Pope had been captured in 1958, it remained for Bobby Kennedy, during the Administration of President John F Kennedy, to complete some of the remaining "payoff".
The Indonesian campaign was no small matter. It marked the entry of the CIA into the big time. Its failure also marked the beginning of a most unusual career for the CIA. It seemed that the more the CIA failed, the more it grew and prospered. As a direct and immediate result of this failure, the Eisenhower Administration made a searching review of what had happened. Unlike the Bay of Pigs investigation three years later, this review was not made in public and it was not as gentle on the main participants. The leader of all CIA activity in Southeast Asia at the time of the Indonesian action was Frank Wisner. He was then the Deputy Director of Plans for the CIA. He had gone to Singapore himself to head the operation rather than delegate this important task to someone else. Wisner was relieved of duty with the Agency, along with several other top officials, and the whole team that had worked on that program was broken up and scattered to the four winds of Agency assignments.
This brusque action by Eisenhower, although properly justified, led to certain events that have left their record upon history. The activist in the Eisenhower Administration who had gone along with Allen Dulles and Frank Wisner on this campaign was the Vice President, Richard M. Nixon. Also the man who wielded the cudgel when it came time to clean house was the same Richard Nixon. In the government civil service 'safe haven', it is one thing to censure and to wring hands; but it is an entirely different matter actually to fire someone and release him from the protective cocoon of government service. Since the Indonesian campaign was, technically anyway, highly classified, most other government workers did not know why all of these 'nice people' had been fired, and since they were cool to Nixon anyhow, they arose in unison to damn him when he ran for President in 1960.
This in turn led to other events of some magnitude. When Eisenhower directed Allen Dulles to brief Kennedy and Nixon equally during the campaign, Dulles had briefed each of them according to his idea of what each needed to know. He knew that Nixon was up to date on such things as the anti-Castro campaign, so he did not have to go into detail on that with him. And when he briefed Kennedy, he gave the same briefing, being strictly fair and equal. This meant that Kennedy had not been briefed as fully on the anti-Castro plans as Eisenhower might have thought desirable. Allen Dulles was able to report, when challenged, that he had briefed them both equally and that he had not gone into the detail of the covert Cuban campaign (later Bay of Pigs - this will be discussed in detail later). However, other CIA officials at a level well below Allen Dulles did see to it that Kennedy knew all there was to know about the anti-Castro campaign and everything else that might help him in his bitter and strenuous campaign against Nixon.
Thus Nixon, who carefully observed the limits of security, was at a considerable disadvantage, and Kennedy, who could take the stance that he was not "officially" aware of classified things of that nature, could use anything he chose against Nixon. The assistance that he got across the board from the multi-million-civil-servant reservoir of good will easily proved sufficient to tip the scales of that very close election in favor of John F. Kennedy. It is interesting to see how proper action at the time of the Indonesian debacle backlashed against the man who carried it out as a member of the NSC.
With one Deputy Director of Plans gone and with the Agency scrambling to find something to do after it had withdrawn from the area in Indonesia, Allen Dulles turned his attention to the U-2, which had become operational on a grand scale. He made the director of the U-2 program the new Deputy Director of Plans for the Agency, thus promoting Richard Bissell to the highest clandestine operations spot in the U.S. Government.
Meanwhile, the P2V-7 project continued to grow and to operate on a worldwide scale, as did the U-2 project. The Agency also got itself involved in lesser activities all over the world. It was active in Iran and in Ethiopia. It stepped up its work in Laos and Thailand, and it was actively supporting the Chinese Nationalists in their penetration operations into the mainland. Then, in May of 1959, the Agency found itself again involved in one of those totally unexpected catastrophes that seem to occur when least expected and least desired.
Chapter 17: Mission Astray, Soviet Gamesmanship
HIGH OVER EASTERN TURKEY, THE BIG PLANE tossed fitfully in the turbulent air. Scattered snow-white cloud formations billowed above to thirty-five and forty thousand feet. In the brilliant sunlight and clear air between the clouds the crew could see the distant shores of Lake Van. At Lake Van they would turn to the southeast to cross near Lake Urmia and then on to Tehran. All was going well, and they expected to be in Tehran on schedule or perhaps a little early. The navigator was new in this remote area of the world, but he had noted that the winds were picking up, and he had alerted the pilot to watch for the turn at Lake Van: "You know, if you miss it we'll be in Russia."
Five men were up front in the pilot's compartment, and the others were in the empty cabin, relaxing. One young crew member, enjoying his first visit to the Near East, was taking pictures out of the right side of the plane. He noted one particularly high peak rising all by itself from the knot of mountains around it. The plane was cruising at about nineteen thousand feet, yet this lone majestic peak seemed almost to reach that altitude. Then it was lost from sight because of a cloud and he waited for his next chance to take another picture.
In front of them the pilot saw that they were getting quite close to the big lake, and he was preparing to turn as soon as he reached its near corner. On this highly classified mission, none of them wanted to take any chances of being too close to the Soviet Union. If what was in the heavy briefcases in a tail compartment of the plane ever fell into the hands of the Soviets, the work of many years with the U-2 in the Near East would be exposed, and the participation of those friendly Northern Tier countries would be compromised.
As Lake Van dipped under the nose of the big transport the pilot took the plane off of autopilot, gently banked it to the right, and set a course along the international airway for Tehran, which should have brought him just to the east of Lake Urmia. As he was busy realigning the autopilot he noticed far ahead, under the base of the cumulus clouds, what looked to be the shore of Lake Urmia just about where it should be, slightly to his left. Still thinking of the Soviet Union, he gave the knobs that controlled the autopilot an extra twist to bring the big bird that much more onto the safe side.
The young airman in the rear of the plane was able to get another good view of the big mountain now, off to the right rear, and was preparing to shoot another picture when he saw the first MIG coming up fast on their wing tip. When he saw another MIG and that undeniable Red Star on the big, high slab tail which is the distinguishing feature of the MIG, he dashed up to the cockpit and called to the pilot. At about that time they all could hear the "thutt-thutt-thutt" rapid fire of the MIG's cannon. With MIGs riding just off the right wing tip, the pilot had no choice but to detach the autopilot and veer slightly to the left. Then his co-pilot noticed the Russian pilot motioning them downward. He told the pilot, who cut the power a little and continued to bank left. In this maneuver they began to come full circle, and just as they thought they might be able to slip into a nearby cloud the whole plane shuddered and the men in the cabin saw the left inboard engine burst into flames. Another MIG flying just under their belly had given them a convincing burst of fire in the left engine nacelle.
Without waiting, five of the nine men on board donned parachutes, jettisoned the big main door as soon as the pilot decompressed the cabin air pressure, and bailed out. All of these men landed safely but were burned by flying droplets of molten metal coming from the burning engine. The other four men had no choice but to stay with the plane. With the MIGs flying only a few feet off their wing tips, they gently let the burning plane settle toward the fields below. It was then that the pilot noted a small unfinished airstrip in the farm land. He leveled off and eased the plane toward the only safe haven he could see. As he approached this small landing strip, he noticed that the grass was leaning toward his line of flight and that wind in the few small trees indicated that he would be landing downwind. This meant a fast landing on a small strip; but he did not dare to pull the plane up and try again. He could see the flames in the white-hot inboard engine, and he knew that the wing would fold up and drop off in a few more minutes. He cut his power, dropped the gear, and dropped full flaps, all as fast as he could, and drove the big plane into the ground, planning to bring it to a halt with brakes and luck.
The plane stopped skidding, far out into the field, beyond the end of the unfinished runway. It had been a rough landing, but they were on the ground. Now they had to get out of the plane right away. Because of the tail wind, the fire around the engine was blowing forward and had begun to engulf the entire wing and cockpit area in billowing smoke. The fuel tanks in the outer wing would be the next to go -- and that would be some explosion. The four men on the plane didn't wait to put the ladder down from the cabin doorway which was about nine feet in the air. They swung from the emergency rope and slid to the ground, then ran away from the plane as fast as they could. As they ran they saw smoke billowing above the plane. The MIGs swirled above them as much as to say, "Stand where you are. We're watching." Just as they stopped running they saw where the five parachutes had settled to the earth a few miles away. All nine men had landed. All nine wondered where they were.
In Washington I had just been home for about an hour and had started a charcoal fire in the backyard. The steaks were ready, and my wife and I were finishing a drink on the patio when the telephone rang. My young daughter answered the phone and then called to me, "Mr. White wants to speak to you, Daddy." I picked up the phone, and Mr. White turned out to be General Thomas D. White, then the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force. He did not want to discuss the subject on the telephone, but suggested that I go directly to Allen Dulles house and do whatever I could to help him with a grave problem that had arisen.
In a few minutes I was on the way to Mr. Dulles' home. I pulled into his driveway just before dark, and as I walked through the house to his study I noted four men finishing a tennis match on the court in the rear of the house. Allen Dulles had on a vee-necked tennis sweater with white tennis shorts and peaked hat. He quickly introduced me to Dick Bissell and some of the others who were there and then began to tell me about their problem.
American newsmen in Moscow had been saying that a USAF aircraft was down somewhere in the Soviet Union. This report had been coming in from Moscow for more than eighteen hours. No one had been able to confirm or deny it. The President wanted an answer one way or the other without fail. A check of all Air Force aircraft showed that none were missing and that none were known to be anywhere near the Soviet Union. The other services and all other operators of large transport aircraft that might have been in that area were checked. No aircraft were missing. Quiet requests had been made to the CIA station chiefs in other countries to see if there might have been a foreign plane of a U.S. made type that could have gone down in the Soviet Union. For eighteen hours all of these checks had proved to be fruitless; yet the story from Moscow persisted. It was apparent that the Russians knew more than they had released, and that they were letting someone stew over the problem. A picture of a four-engined aircraft was given to the press and had been radio-photographed to the States. It showed a large plane burning in the last stages of destruction. About all that was left was the towering tail section. (Since the wind had blown from the rear, the fire had burned the front and the wings where the fuel cells were located and had left no more than the high tail section.) This gave little to work on; yet it was quite obviously the tail of a DC-6 or military C-118.
After I talked with them for a while and listened to all of the news they had, I excused myself and went to the Pentagon. In my office there was a top secret safe with a special card file on a great number of the seven-thousand-odd men who worked with me all over the world in special activities that were generally related to the support of the CIA. It consisted of a code of names, numbers, and other information that was indispensable. I took this box of cards and went down into the basement of the Pentagon, to the Air Force Command Post. This is one of the finest communications centers in the world. The duty officer authorized me to enter and to take over one of the telephone positions there on a matter of urgency.
In a few minutes I had reached the home, in Germany, of an Air Force officer who might be able to tell me about a C-118 aircraft that was not in the Air Force inventory and which might be the one that was missing. The plane I was looking for was one that belonged to the CIA itself and one of two considered to be Mr. Dulles' personal planes. I had called this officers' home in Germany by private commercial lines to bypass the military center in Frankfurt. There would be time for them later.
It was about four in the morning then in Weisbaden when the phone was answered by the housekeeper. The officer was not home. I asked where he was and learned simply that he had gone on a flight. This was part of the answer I needed. I called another Air Force officer, one who was a cover type. He told me that the plane was away on a trip. I stopped him there and asked him to go immediately to headquarters and to call me from there on the secure scrambler telephone.
About twenty minutes later the security phone rang, and he told me that General Cabell, the Deputy Director of Central Intelligence, had arrived in Germany a few days earlier in the special C-118. He had authorized a CIA/Air Force crew to take the plane on a very highly classified and important flight to Tehran and Pakistan. Cabell had gone on to England in a smaller plane, and the nine Agency men had taken the big plane to Cyprus, then to Adana, Turkey and thence to Tehran. He was advised to get the names of the nine men involved while I called Adana.
The next call was to the duty officer at Adana. He was asked to check the records there for the C-118. After a few moments he said that no C-118 had come through Adana on the day in question. He was asked to check again and to query the operations office people even if he had to wake them up one at a time. The plane must have gone through there. Fortunately, he started his search by talking with the weatherman on duty. He had been on duty when the C-118 had left Adana. The meteorologist remembered the crew and the plane. Still they could find no record of the flight. Finally, the duty officer checked the on-duty operations officer to see if perhaps he had held out the clearance papers for that flight. This did the trick. A few minutes after I had gotten the complete crew list from my contact in Germany, a call from Adana came in, stating that the pilot of the C-118 had told the operations officer not to file the clearance he had made but to hold it. This was done frequently on such black flights, and it accounted for why no one had missed the plane. Ordinarily, any overdue Air Force aircraft would be the subject of an alarm and search within one hour after its last report of position. The people at Adana did not know where the plane was going and the people at Tehran did not know that it was expected; so once the plane -- this plane of all planes -- had taken off, no one had monitored the flight at all. Its singular disappearance had gone completely unnoticed, even to the extent that it was not included on the Air Force master inventory or on the DOD master list of all military aircraft.
Having pieced this much together, I called Allen Dulles on the direct line to his home and told him that the plane we were looking for was General Cabell's plane, but that Cabell was not aboard. Within minutes, even at that hour, he was on the phone to his brother, who in turn passed the word on to the White House.
After a few hours rest, I drove back into town and stopped at Allen Dulles' house, picked him up and went to Foster Dulles' house, where we met the Secretary of Defense, at that time Neil McElroy, and the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, General Thomas D. White. The CIA had confirmed that nine men were on the plane, that it had left Adana for Tehran, and that the men had with them aboard the plane some most highly classified material in heavy briefcases. There was nothing to do but announce that a military transport aircraft on a routine trip had been blown off course on its way from Adana, Turkey, en route to Tehran and that it had landed in the Soviet Union south of Baku. At that time we knew no more than that, and we did not know that the plane had been shot down. The Secretary of State picked up the direct telephone to the White House and spoke with the President. The 'official' version of the story was released with the hope that there would be no necessity to elaborate further. However, this would depend upon the identification carried by the crew members and on whether or not the classified materials and other items that might have identified the CIA would be uncovered.
It was not long before the Russians released the story that the big plane had violated its airspace and that MIG fighters had forced it down as it attempted an escape maneuver, by firing a warning burst into the left wing. What we did not know at the time was that the pilot and other crew members had mistaken Lake Sevan for Lake Van. This meant that a greater than expected tail wind had blown them off course to the left and at the same time had put them ahead of schedule. Because of the clouds they missed Lake Van, and with Lake Sevan in sight they felt no concern. They were sure they were on the right course. The CIA had utilized a crew for this flight who did not know the area well, and confusion is not uncommon for a new crew in a strange place. Then, with Lake Sevan as their mistaken turning point they did see water ahead, which looked like Lake Urmia. Not being familiar with Lake Urmia, a larger lake, they mistook the distant shoreline of the Caspian Sea for Lake Urmia and thought all was well. Actually, on this windblown course, they were well inside the Soviet border, somewhat south of Baku,
The key to their mistake was discovered later, when all of the crewmen were questioned and the young airman in the cabin who had been taking pictures told us about the huge mountain off to their right. That was Mount Ararat, over sixteen thousand feet in altitude and the highest peak in the area. Mount Ararat should have been far on their left, and they should have turned to the southeast before they ever got near Ararat. When the airman revealed that he had photographed Mount Ararat through the right window -- looking to the south -- before the turn, and then had seen it again through the same right window after the turn -- thus to the east -- it became indisputably clear that the plane had passed north and then well to the east of Mount Ararat. This was far off course and over Soviet territory.
Another thing we did not know was that as the men in their parachutes were descending they all realized that they were carrying considerable identification, including reference to their USAF "cover" unit that might have compromised them; so they began to clean out their pockets and tear up all they could while going down. Later, they learned that Russian farmers noticed this hail of bits and pieces and that the local police had rounded up scores of people, located most of this evidence, and reassembled it during their captivity in Baku.
Another thing that became evident from the selected pictures the Russians chose to release was the fact that the C-118 did not burn completely; the part that remained after the tail-wind landing was the entire rear of the plane -- where the classified briefcases were. Tests on such briefcases had shown that they could sustain considerable heat and some flame without appreciably damaging the documents inside. The chances were very good that the entire classified cargo had been recovered intact.
This may have saved the men from lengthy captivity. Knowing that they were doing nothing more than transporting briefcases, and that most likely they were little more than a crew and not true agents, the Soviets may have reasoned that it was better to release the men early. That would imply they really believed the men were simply transport crewmen, and it would lead us to attempt to find out how much the Russians might have gained through the unscheduled gratuity of the briefcases. The men were held for nine days, and during this time they were questioned continually. The Russians learned all they needed to know and then let the crew go without too much delay.
One episode stands out clearly and supports the idea that they knew quite well exactly what they had captured. Aboard was an Air Force colonel and the senior officer of the USAF cover unit in Weisbaden, Germany. He was a real Air Force officer and his cover assignment was deep; but not so deep that he would have had great value to the Russians. However, they did not wish to miss any chances. After a few days in Baku the Russians approached the colonel and told him that since he was the senior officer and since it had become obvious to them that he was simply the commander of a transport unit -- his cover story -- they saw no need to have him attend the strenuous interrogations in which the other men were involved. In fact, they suggested that he might enjoy a few days fishing on the Caspian. They also told him that they had located a teacher who happened to be there on his vacation and that this teacher could speak English.
The colonel accepted this offer, and for several days he joined this male teacher on hiking and fishing trips. During this time they talked alot about the United States. It seemed that the teacher had been in Washington during World War II and that he had been a member of the Russian Lend Lease staff. The teacher was able to lead the conversation into many fields, and the colonel thought it best to speak unrestrainedly in order to establish a comfortable relationship that might help all of them to gain their release. However, upon retrospection the colonel did realize that the teacher seemed to have a most excellent insight into current American policies and practices; but in his zeal to win his cooperation the colonel tried to answer what seemed to be simple questions, even when they led at times into some areas that put a little pressure on secrecy.
When the men were released nine days after they had been shot down, a special team had been sent to the Iranian-Soviet border to provide transportation to get them back to Germany without delay. In Germany the men went through lengthy interrogations designed to be somewhat superficial so that they might let their guard down. Then when they were flown to the United States they were put through a program of intense and highly professional interrogation by teams of well-trained FBI, CIA, and military men. It was the Washington debriefing that uncovered the Mount Ararat fix, the location of the briefcases, and the fact that they most probably were not destroyed; this debriefing also developed the "school teacher" angle further. By about the fifth day of debriefing, the combined FBI and CIA team was able to lay a set of pictures on the table before the colonel and with apparent ease show him several very good pictures of the "school teacher". This "vacationing school teacher" was none other than one of the top intelligence men of the Soviet Union. He had been with the Russian staff in Washington during the Lend Lease period in World War II. The very fact that this man himself participated in this mild interrogation on the shores of the Caspian made it quite clear that the Russians had found out that they had made a big catch in the capture of this one plane.
This whole incident in some ways presaged the U-2 affair and in some ways offered clues to other events that followed. The CIA was getting to the point where it took operational matters into its own hands. There was no reason whatsoever why the highly specialized and sanitized C-118 should have been used on a mission close to the Soviet border. Any Air Force aircraft could have been used. Certainly the Russians combed the remains of the plane and found a number of odd features, among them totally unsanitized and "unmarked" component parts.
There was no reason whatsoever to utilize an inexperienced CIA crew on this flight, when the Air Force had a number of crews that were very familiar with the Gordian Knot area of remote Turkey. Actually, there is an effective radio beacon homer at the southern tip of Lake Van, and an experienced crew would have used it properly. For example, the navigator on this CIA crew had not been in this area before and another navigator who was with him had not been there for a very long time.
Perhaps the most damaging oversight, which must have confirmed for the Russians that they had caught a pretty special breed of fish, was that the CIA used unnecessary secrecy with respect to fight clearances of the plane. There was no good reason why the plane, which looked just like a regular Air Force plane, should not have used the customary landing and take-off clearances that all Air Force aircraft use the world over. This would have assured that the flight would have been monitored. Under such regulations the Air Force would have noted the silence of that plane within thirty minutes, and in any case within one hour after its last contact with a ground station. This is standard procedure. Had this been done, a search would have been started right away. Then the Secretary of State and the President would not have had to deny that a plane was missing for a full eighteen hours, while the Russians knew all that time exactly what had taken place. They had the men, the plane and the briefcases. It might be added that a normal part of an Air Force clearance requires confirmation that the crew is competent and has been over the route recently.
Failure of the entire U.S. Government to respond to the reported loss of this aircraft certainly signaled to the Russians that this plane must have been on a special mission, if nothing else did. One year later this same thing happened when the U-2 was lost. At first the United States did not know just where the U-2 had been lost. Then, when it was realized that it was down in Russia, it was assumed that the pilot was dead; so a cover story was used, only to have Krushchev blow it up when he surfaced a live pilot and a nearly whole aircraft, both in Soviet hands.
It goes without saying that the CIA compounded the problems of this incident by permitting a most highly secret cargo to be entrusted to this plane and crew, when it could have set up a more secure and less casual means of transportation even if it had used a normal commercial air carrier. Such disregard for real professionalism, in favor of a growing dependence upon its new-found strength, independence, and size, became more marked as the years passed.
1. Headed by the same James McCord later to gain notoriety in the 1972 "Watergate" affair.
2. Industrial components are marked with special numbers, codes and other identifying inscriptions. A thorough intelligence system classifies these things and can gain considerable information from such data. (More later.)
Chapter 18: Defense, Containment, and Anti-Communism
A DECADE HAD PASSED SINCE JACKSON, DULLES, AND Correa had submitted their report to President Truman. Allen Dulles, a lawyer trained in the ways and traditions of the law, may well have been familiar with the famous concept of Dicey on "Law and Opinion". "The opinion," according to Dicey, "which changes the law is in one sense the opinion of the time when the law is actually altered; in another sense it has often been in England the opinion prevalent some twenty or thirty years before that time; it has been as often as not in reality the opinion not of today but of yesterday."
With a simple twist that quotation can be made to apply to the eventual outcome of the Dulles report. What he wanted and what he planned to do as a result of his work and his study in 1948 -- fully expecting that Thomas E. Dewey would be elected President and that he would then become the DCI -- had all come about anyhow by 1959. The opinion and hopes of yesterday had all but become the law of the day. If this was not entirely true as early as 1959, it was under way in the glacier-like movement of covert events, as we shall see in the next chapter, and by the winter of 1961 the new Kennedy Administration thought that the methods being used and exploited by Allen Dulles and the ST were, in fact and in practice, the law.
Dulles was the DCI, and his agency had grown to great strength and great power and influence in the Government. As a result of the intelligence oversight at the start of the Korean War, we have seen how his immediate predecessor had been able to turn that gross mistake into an advantage and to establish the concept of the Current Intelligence Estimate, and following that success, to develop the practice of the daily report to the President. Exploited as it was during the following seven years, this device became a most effective tool in the hands of Allen Dulles. By playing on what he called "security", he had been able to limit the National Security Council's working control of the CIA to a small, friendly, and hand-picked Special Group, which instead of "directing" the CIA from "time to time", had easily fallen into the practice of convening its meetings simply to put the stamp of approval on proposals made by the CIA for almost any Secret Intelligence-generated Peace-time Clandestine Operation. By 1959 there were almost no restraints. This permitted the CIA to avoid entirely the scrutiny of the OCB and to work outside the continuing monitorship of that board. In effect, by 1959 the Agency was able to run operations itself as it saw fit.
During this same decade Allen Dulles had been able to accomplish his goal to join within one organization the two power-packed elements of Secret Intelligence and Secret Operations. Dulles knew that when he could combine Secret Intelligence and Secret Operations, he could bring them together under conditions of his own choosing to create a force of unequaled power. By the time he had created an agency, which by bypassing all of the barriers of the law and of the NSC, and with the men, the money, and materials sufficient to carry out any operation anywhere in the world, he knew that he had succeeded in turning the tables completely. He was, for all intents and purposes, in control of the foreign policy and clandestine military operational power of the United States for combat in the Cold War. In this sense the vast military establishment, including much of its industrial supporting complex, had become his orchestra. By 1960, after Eisenhower had seen his hopes and dreams of peace crushed by the untimely disaster of the U-2 flight, he warned of this power and of its abuse.
During this formative decade Dulles had positioned CIA personnel and Agency-oriented disciples inconspicuously through out the Government and in many instances had positioned the CIA throughout the business world and the academic community as well. It will be recalled that many of the new Kennedy team came from some of these founts of power, such as The Center for International Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In fact, there were few places where the CIA had not taken advantage of covert positions, at home and abroad, for the ostensible purpose of gathering intelligence, and for the undercover purpose of making it possible for the CIA to mount any operation it chose to direct.
As in the case of the wayward C-118, the support of the rebellion in Indonesia, the paramilitary activities in Laos, and other such activities in Tibet, by the time the Agency had reached this position of power it had become somewhat insensitive to the usual and ordinary restraints that normally apply to covert operations. The Agency lost a plane, compromised a crew and the U-2 operations, and exposed its hand in Indonesia. But instead of halting such risky and fruitless operations, it ordered more planes and looked for more "subversive insurgents to counter". It was this attitude and this type of activity that led to many controversial events that have plagued this Government during the second decade of the CIA.
To understand why the CIA has become so controversial, one must understand its motivations and one must understand what happens when things are done clandestinely -- and by this we mean clandestinely within the Government of the United States. Recall that we pointed out how World War II ended with Truman's abolishing the OSS and demobilizing the military as fast as possible. Recall what is more important, that the great war against Hitler, Mussolini, and Tojo had been won with the help of the Russians. No matter how anyone may feel about the ideological distinction between the Soviet Government and the United States, the incontrovertible fact is that the Russian people fought the might of Germany on their doorstep, and those people, with our material help as a factor, utterly destroyed the great German war machine. Those of us who have seen the destruction and havoc caused in Russia by that war can vouch for the fact that no conflict in history has ever been so massive and so total.
Then, with victory it was only realistic to have some feeling still for the people of Russia who had given so much to the common cause during that war. And from this feeling there arose in our Government the official view, stated on many occasions by the Secretary of State, among others, that we must establish peace in this world with the Russians and with all people, and that we must not do anything that would divide the world into armed camps and divisive forces. While the official spokesmen of this Government were pledging their faith in the United Nations and in the "one world" of 1946, only one short week passed until the aging Lion of Britain stood up on that platform in Missouri with President Truman beside him and uttered the great cry of the weak, "Beware!" Here in the greatest country on earth, with the greatest victory ever achieved in a major war, with armed forces equipped with the most advanced technology and production know-how, and with all of this increased by an unbelievable order of magnitude because of the possession of the atomic bomb and the proven means to deliver and detonate it, we were being told to beware of that other ally whose ideology we did not like, but certainly whose strength and even whose intentions could scarcely have been dangerous in that era.
But with that cry others were given heart. General Donovan, the Dulles brothers, and many others, including Clark Clifford, preached the doctrine of containment. Even in those days they saw the Soviet danger as a military threat against the United States. How could they support that openly? Even George F. Kennan, then in Moscow, warned of the Soviet danger; but the great distinction was that he saw Russia as a political threat; and the threat that he saw was, more correctly, that the Marxists expected that the United States would crumble in spite of itself. Their threat was not so much what Communism would do to us as what they expected we would do to ourselves. In other words, the Marxists felt that all they had to do was maintain the political pressure, and we would crumble under the weight of our own weaknesses.
Then, behind the curtain of secrecy, the Donovan, Dulles, and Clifford element began to win the day. No longer did the President stand behind his Secretary of State on that declaration that "we shall do nothing to divide the world into blocs." But now he listened to the counsels of the frightened and the weak as they rigged first the Iron Curtain, then the Truman Doctrine, with its shield over NATO, Greece and Turkey, on to the Northern Tier, and then to the Bamboo Curtain. By the end of 1947 the entire military establishment of this great country was technically, semantically, and philosophically reduced to an uncertain and cowering defensive posture. From this position it became dependent upon the eyes and ears and mentality of the intelligence community to tell it what was going on in the rest of the world and where the next threat was coming from. From that day to this, this country has been engaged in the most massive war of attrition ever fought.
By now, the terrifying truth of the matter is that in this last great total war we have been wiped out in every battle. There is no sense in trying to rate the intangibles such as, "We have made friends in Greece" or "We did pretty well in the Congo." The facts are that even though we say that we are engaged in a war with Communism, which at some point inevitably must mean Russia, we have paid all the losses in tens of thousands of men, hundreds of billions of dollars, and prestige beyond measure. On the other side, the Russians have done exactly what Kennan said they would do -- preside over our own demise and demoralization. In a war of attrition, the winner is he who holds his own position while his adversary wastes away. Whether the loser wastes away as a result of strategic moves on the part of the winner, or as a result of his own miscues is of no concern to the historian. All the historian will note is that like the dinosaur, the loser will become extinct in spite of the fact that he seems at the time to rule the world.
The shocking fact is the growth of the power of secret and clandestine actions. The legislators and the Administration that passed into law the National Security Act of 1947, and with it created the CIA, were the same men who most staunchly protested against and denied to the Agency the right to become involved in clandestine operations. Yet it was patently inevitable that the creation of such an agency would lead to its exploitation for just such purposes.
As the National Security Act visualized, the NSC might "from time to time direct" the Agency to carry out a clandestine operation and no more. Congress expected that there would be clandestine operations; but they saw them only as those operations which the highest echelon of the Government would plan and direct. On the other hand, as General Donovan and Allen Dulles had proposed, the very success of Secret Intelligence would from time to time create its own requirements for subsequent clandestine operations for no more reason than that the intelligence input had detected something somewhere. The legislators knew that clandestine operations would grow out of the findings of Secret Intelligence whether or not there was any national plan or policy to carry out in the first place. This is why the Donovan-Dulles-Clifford school of thought requires the existence, real or imagined, of a constant enemy -- Communism. With the constant enemy, every bit of Secret Intelligence that reveals the existence of Communism is its own reason for the development of an operation. Then the counterpunch becomes the action of a machine, not of minds.
Recall the area covered with sprung and set mousetraps we have mentioned before. The traps are there, covering every inch of the floor and every avenue of entree. All the master of the house has to do is wait until a trap has snapped. Then when one trap snaps it most likely activates others, which in turn activate others until all the traps go off. While all of this is going on, the master of the house comes to one preordained conclusion -- there are mice in the house and at least one of those mice has just entered his domain. His "machine" is ready to do the rest.
Throughout this period these were two opposing views. The 1st saw requirements for clandestine operations arising only after and as a result of planning and policy -- in other words, from a position of confidence and strength; the second saw such requirements as an inevitable result of and response to the product of Secret Intelligence -- or from a position of weakness uncertainty, and re-action. In either case, the resort to the use of clandestine operations would be an extremely serious business.
By 1959 there had taken place a rather sinister refocusing of such operations themselves. As we have said earlier, the impetus behind the creation of the CIA came from concern over the gross failures of intelligence during World War II and worry over the possibility that the Soviet Union might acquire the atomic bomb. When the CIA first started, it concentrated its limited efforts in those primary areas of interest in the heartland and contiguous periphery of the Soviet Union. The CIA in those days worked right along with the military as the military establishment developed its "new generation" war plans. As a result, all early targeting of the CIA was directed upon the Soviet Union as a military adversary and on the Iron Curtain countries as part of the primary target area. In other words, the CIA and the military were deeply committed to the "containment" philosophy and dedicated to the encirclement of the Soviet Union and the Communist world.
This action on a continuing basis taxes the counterpuncher severely. He must be always on the alert, always geared for maximum action, and unhesitatingly diligent lest the enemy make a move. The war of attrition was already beginning to take its toll, even in those early years. It would be impossible to maintain a posture of massive retaliation day after day, forever, and then to maintain an alert air defense force, as well as a total intelligence effort supporting both. The whole "defensive-posture system" needed to find some way to maintain its apparent vigilance, but in such a manner that would permit it to relax now and then.
By the end of the decade of the fifties the CIA had found a way to do this and at the same time to make it appear that it was as much in the center of the fray as ever. It began to find Communism in other areas. Rather than devoting all of its time and energies to the Soviet Union and its neighbors, the CIA began to see "problems" in the territories of our friends. By that time the CIA had spread itself all over Africa, Europe (that part that is in the Free World sector), Latin America, and Asia (again the part that is Free World). The CIA spent less and less time concentrating on Russia and its zone of influence and more and more time looking for the influence of Russia and the influence of Communism in our own back yard. As the host nations, among them most of our friends, became increasingly aware of this intrusion, often an unwitting one, they became more and more concerned over the foreign policy and activity of the United States because it was clothed almost everywhere in the black cloak of espionage and clandestine operations. This had become a serious problem. In time this intrusion looked as ominous and sinister as the possibility of Communist intrusion itself.
The change in the very character and traditional nature of this country bothered our friends. Historically, the United States has always professed to be an open society. This government is of the people, and since the power was in the hands of the people, there has always been a majority who believe there is no need for limiting that power. Even as Franklin D. Roosevelt had assumed more and more power, first to fight a terrible depression and then to fight the greatest war in history, few people believed that this usurpation of power by the President was anything more than evidence of the fact that this power was after all being used for the good of the public. Certainly, the American Dream in the minds of most foreigners, at least until 1960, seemed to mean that we lived in an open society and that the power in the hands of the Government was limited to that which could best be used for the good of all citizens.
But with the advent of the Truman Doctrine we heard the new voice of those who had taken the defensive. "The language of military power is the only language," it said in part, and "the main deterrent to Soviet attack on the United States, or to attack on areas of the world . . . vital to our security, will be the military power of this country." This was something Americans had always believed, whether they had in mind Russians, the Red Coats of the British, or the Blitzkrieg forces of Hitler. But then this traditional policy changed: "In addition to maintaining our own strength the United States should support and assist all democratic countries which are in any way menaced or endangered by the USSR." And then, "as long as the Soviet Government adheres to its present policy the United States should maintain military forces powerful enough to restrain the Soviet Union and to confine Soviet influence to its present area."
In 1947, as a part of the Truman Doctrine, this was the way the idea of containment was planted as a seed in the minds of the American people. This was followed by such things as the Marshall Plan and then the worldwide Military Assistance Programs of various kinds. What had begun as a plan to contain Russia and Communism with strong military force became not a barrier against Russia itself, but a creeping encroachment upon the sovereignty and territory of our own friends. Whether they wanted them or not, we have kept military forces on the soil of our friends for more than thirty years, and there is no end in sight. But even more important, we have developed in more than forty countries strong clandestine and paramilitary forces far more dangerous to the internal welfare of those countries than encroachment of Communism, which is supposed to be the reason for the existence of such action. And these covert forces exist. The "Communism" they are there to guard against is for the most part no more than an interpretation of intent.
Whether one believes in the inviolability of national sovereignty as the supreme power among nations -- unlimited, inalienable, indivisible, absolute, and the very essence of a state -- or whether one believes that sovereignty is an antiquated idea, its great importance in the community of nations cannot be disregarded. If the whole concept of sovereignty were to be abandoned, we would of necessity have to fill the void. We would then face the fact that we are dealing with raw power, and what is important in the nature of power is the end it seeks to serve and the way it serves that end. Whether we accept the concept of absolute sovereignty or whether we see a complex world riddled throughout with power centers and other binding, uncontrollable forms of human relationships, we must realize that these rights, in no matter what form, imply certain duties, such as the duty of non-intervention in the affairs of other nations and the duty to respect the rules and customs of international law. Forcible intervention, which was in less civilized times rather common in the relations of states, is now no longer either condoned or justified and is almost always met with violent condemnation, except where crimes have been committed or where international interests of great importance are endangered.
As this nation turned to a broad though quiet and generally covert campaign of worldwide anti-Communism, it pressed its military forces, economic forces, and its intelligence arm upon this group of more than forty countries. At the same time, it turned from the real Communist states such as Poland, Hungary, and others on the periphery, not to mention the heartlands of Russia and China. Thus the struggle took place in remote areas of the rim-land along the traces of the Iron Curtain. The struggle was hidden from the view of most Americans and from those countries where there was no activity at that time; but not from the countries that were active, such as the Philippines, Thailand, Pakistan, or Iran -- and certainly these actions were not hidden from the awareness of the Soviet Union. Although we may have cloaked an activity on the border of India in deepest secrecy, who in India and who in Russia would believe that such activity was being supported and directed by anyone else than the covert peacetime operational forces of the United States?
If the Dalai Lama is spirited out of Tibet in the face of an overwhelming Chinese army of conquerors, are the Chinese going to think he found his support in heaven? If the disorganized rebels on the scattered islands of vast Indonesia are suddenly armed with great quantities of modern and effective weapons, including transport aircraft to airdrop such weapons and the bombers to support their attacks, are the Indonesians and the Soviets going to be fooled for even one day by "secrecy" that is supposed to keep them from knowing where this all came from?
The entire position and policy of the United States Government turned to the defensive. It abandoned its position of real leadership in favor of creating a vast intelligence organization and the mightiest peacetime armed force of all time to react to and respond to the activity, real and imagined, of the men in the Kremlin. And we became totally dependent upon the inputs of intelligence from any and all sources, generally quite random, to activate this great force in what, by the time the Kennedy Administration came upon the scene, had come to be called "counterinsurgency".
By this time the entire might of the U.S. military had become a reservoir and magazine operating in support of the operational machinations of the ST and its paramount force, the CIA. Even though at first impact this may appear to be a totally unrealistic picture in terms of the disproportionate ratio of strength of the two organizations, it comes into focus when we consider the analysis by Colonel DuPicq. That is, the only forces that are in combat are those actually on the perimeter -- even on the three-dimensional perimeter as was Gary Powers in his U-2 and these forces not only bear the brunt of the action, but they make the victory or the defeat.
Now a small CIA operation in Laos, for example, involving only a few hundred CIA personnel, real and contract, and a few hundred more or a few thousand U.S. military in support, may seem too small an effort to support the statement that the entire might of the U.S. military existed in support of the ST. But if the ST activity becomes a runaway action, such as it did in Indochina, it is inevitable that the few hundred, and then a few thousand, all too easily became five hundred thousand.
Thus, in those crucial ten years, the clandestine activities of the CIA were redirected from those originally aimed at the Soviet Union and its neighboring states to the many nations of our friends, in which we saw the "rampant", dangerous forces of "subversive insurgency". And today they have been even further directed, along with other powerful arms of secret power, to seek the sources of subversive insurgency within this country itself. All during this refocusing of direction, the ST has increased its utilization of secrecy in order to keep the host nation from knowing what was gong on. Throughout this complex series of operations the Agency went out of its way to keep this information from the Congress and from the people of the United States. There is no doubt that the people of Taiwan, of the Philippines, of France, and of many other countries know more about what the CIA has been doing during the past twenty years than we do here in the United States.
Even as Congress debates whether or not it should be given more intelligence information by the CIA it can be seen that those august men are again being misled by the turn of events. Should Congress rule that the CIA must brief it on current intelligence matters, it will find itself more and more enslaved by the system, just as the President has been by the current intelligence briefings which are his frequent diet. Not only will the CIA then take over the daily indoctrination of key members of Congress, but it will also place them under the "magic" of its security wraps. Every day it briefs the Congress, in whole or in part, it will warn that what they are hearing is Super Red-Hot, Top Secret and that now that they have heard it, they must not mention it to anyone. Then, to provide them with a reasonable alibi, since most of those men have an occupational proclivity for free and easy speech, the CIA will provide them with suitable cover stories. Day after day they will hear about happenings around the world, as the ST wants them to hear about them, and day after day they will have less and less time to hear about real world events from any other source. Thus their own ideas and knowledge of the outside world will decrease from day to day. Then to finish what this process does not accomplish, consider what the day-by-day pabulum of cover story after cover story can do to otherwise intelligent and wholly rational men.
The record is full of the names of men appointed to high office who have come under the influence of the daily dosage of current intelligence. Look what it has done to them. At whose doorstep did men like Robert McNamara, John McCone, Earle Wheeler, Maxwell Taylor, and countless others learn about Vietnam. Their briefings came directly, or at the most once removed, from CIA sources, whether they were "in house" CIA men like Tracy Barnes and Desmond Fitzgerald, or "across the river" CIA men like Bill Bundy, Ed Lansdale, and Bill Rosson.
The course of these events did not just happen as a random or natural development. It was guided, sometimes quite deliberately, by the early work of Clark Clifford, or later by such relatively chance events as those that took place during the latter part of the fifties. It may be worthwhile to trace a course of events that played quite a role in this period just before the election of John F. Kennedy to the office of President.
In 1956, just before the Arab-Israeli War, the British, with Selwyn Lloyd in the Foreign Office, and the French, with Guy Mollet, had made covert plans to help the Israelis against Nasser for their own interests. Naturally, General Dayan wanted to defeat and roll back the Egyptians, and the British and French were more than willing to help re-establish some form of control over the Suez and to relieve Arab pressures on Algeria. These three interested partners planned in secret to strike at Egypt, defeat the Egyptian army, and depose Nasser. A French undercover unit of navy commandos disguised as Arabs was in Cairo for the express purpose of killing Nasser. All of this hinged upon careful timing and secrecy. Neither Britain nor France informed John Foster Dulles, the American Secretary of State, of their plans. As events progressed, Dulles played on this lack of formal coordination heavily, assuming the role of an unwitting and appalled outsider. However, Allen Dulles was providing Foster with all the information he needed in the form of regular and most revealing high-altitude U-2 pictures and other ferret-type intelligence. These revealed the arrival and off-loading of the French and British shipping in Haifa and the subsequent removal of these ships to pick up allied forces in Cyprus for the next phase of the operation.
As is frequently the case in such pressure situations, the partners got concerned about one another's sincerity and reliability, and they all knew that the CIA has long eyes and ears. Or perhaps Dayan had been tipped off that Dulles knew what was going on. For whatever reasons, Dayan jumped off against the Egyptians with crushing air attacks about forty-eight hours ahead of the joint plans. This locked the British and French into the action and called their hands. Dayan swept across the desert. Since the Egyptian air force had been utterly destroyed on the ground, he received little opposition from the unprotected Egyptian ground forces. The French navy commando elements operating under the skillful direction of the youngest admiral in France, Admiral Ponchardier, moved in swiftly to do away with Nasser. French and British forces steamed across the Mediterranean at top speed to join the action. It was certain that Nasser would be knocked out in a short time.
At this point several strange things happened. John Foster Dulles, seeing all this before him and knowing, despite his technical protestations, exactly what was taking place, demanded that the British and French stop where they were and ordered Dayan to a halt. Over the other horizon, Krushchev thundered that if the attack did not stop he would hurl missiles at all hostile targets in Europe. With pressure from Dulles, from Krushchev, and with the vociferous opposition of the Labor Party in England to contend with also, Selwyn Lloyd and Guy Mollet submitted. They called their troops to a halt. The magnificent plan, which might have done much to change the course of history during the past fifteen years, was shattered. This Suez affair has perhaps been one of the most unfortunate episodes of the past twenty-five years. It prevented the British from re-establishing an enlightened control over the Canal, and it created a situation that made further French action in North Africa untenable. And it has led to fifteen years of unrest on the Arab-Israeli border, not to mention what the weight of its failure had upon events in the Far East. One other thing that came out of this odd situation had a tremendous impact upon the United States.
The United States Army at that time had been going downhill since its glorious days in World War II and its slight though unsatisfactory resurgence in Korea. Then, in the pre-Sputnik era the Army had assembled a team around Werner von Braun in an attempt to regain some of its lost glory in space. Just at this time, Maxwell Taylor, the Army Chief of Staff, heard Krushchev's threat to hurl rockets across Europe, loud and clear. He and his staff sat down without delay and computed that this meant that the Russians must have in operational weapons delivery system that could deliver a warhead effectively about 1,750 miles. This was derived from the computation of the average distance from Russian launching sites to all European capitals. Using this as their battle cry, they set up a great clamor for an Intermediate-Range Ballistic Missile with about l,800 miles range. The IRBM battle was under way to win supremacy for the Army over the Air Force and the Navy in the new missile and space era.
In the clamor of this battle the Suez crisis was nearly forgotten while the U.S. Army and the Air Force fought it out in the halls of Congress and before the eyes of the unwary public. The Army came up suddenly with an IRBM called the Jupiter and the Air Force with its own Thor. Actually there was very little difference between the two. In fact, they both utilized the same rocket motor and many other common components. However, the battle was on not only for the Jupiter or the Thor; but to determine which service would have the primary responsibility for IRBM warfare. Behind the scenes those who were in the know were aware that the Army and the Air Force were puppets for much more serious contenders.
All of the services were joined in a struggle that really involved the most powerful segments of the vast military-industrial combine. The war was not so much about which service would be supreme in the missile business; but it was about whether the great American automobile industry would get the majority of missile contracts or whether the powerful aviation industry would get these contracts. The Navy joined in the fray later and quietly, on the coattails of the steel industry and the conventional munitions makers, with its Polaris system. (The prime contract was through Lockheed for the missile structure; but the whole system was dependent upon submarines and submarine base support and with a solid propellant system that would utilize vast quantities of explosives, which would mean huge contracts for the munitions industries.) Forces were joined, and Maxwell Taylor was at the forefront, leading his Army contenders and fronting for the automobile industry. At that time the Secretary of Defense was the former president of General Motors, Charles Wilson. The ensuing decision from which there could be no escape was not for him to avoid or to make. How could a pre-eminent auto maker rule against his industry? On the other hand, how could he rule against aviation and its powerful industry? With every practice missile shot, the tensions mounted, and Maxwell Taylor was demanding a decision. He saw this as essential to the automobile industry, which had always been the friend of the Army; but he saw it more as a chance to spur his old commanding general, now his Commander in Chief, into making a decision in favor of the Army. This was something Eisenhower had not done for a long time.
Finally Eisenhower finessed the decision by accepting the resignation of Secretary of Defense Wilson and appointing a man from the soap industry, Neil McElroy of Proctor and Gamble, to make this decision. After more study and after working out a more or less acceptable compromise on the business front, McElroy ruled against Maxwell Taylor and his Jupiter crowd. This, along with other decisions that had made the Army the least of the three armed forces, weighed heavily on General Taylor. By 1959 he announced that he would resign from the Army before the expected termination of his assignment as Chief of Staff. On the first of July 1959 General Lyman L. Lemnitzer succeeded Maxwell Taylor as Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army.
This was a most important time. We have discussed how the Agency had grown in size and in capacity so that it had become involved in a really major campaign in Indonesia and in the U-2 global operation. While the CIA grew the Army declined in strength as John Foster Dulles and Eisenhower shaped the world for a grand move toward lasting peace based upon the recognition of the power of nuclear weapons and upon the realization that because they were so powerful no reasonable nation would employ them. Even this was not enough. President Eisenhower was embarked upon a crusade for peace. He had mobilized his Administration with but one objective: to leave as a lasting monument enduring peace. However, there were many small clouds on the horizon.
Castro had come to power in Cuba, and he posed a threat to Latin America. Eisenhower went to Acapulco to meet with the President of Mexico and to win assurance that Mexico understood the Castro menace. De Gaulle had become President of France and had embarked upon a new era, with the Fifth Republic. De Gaulle was occupied with Algeria, which was then a losing cause as a result of the failure to defeat Nasser, and he had little time to work on matters other than French problems. There was continuing trouble in Laos; and each time it flared up the country would authorize more CIA activity and little else.
Early in 1959 the Dalai Lama had been forced to leave Tibet as the Chinese Communists swept across that barren country. This fantastic escape and its major significance have been buried in the lore of the CIA as one of those successes that are not talked about. The Dalai Lama would never have been saved without the CIA.
In the spring of 1959, John Foster Dulles resigned, and shortly thereafter he died of cancer. His successor was Christian Herter, who became Eisenhower's greatest ally in the quest for a permanent peace. At the same time, the Chinese Nationalists and the Chinese Communists worked each other over with aircraft and artillery in a contest for the offshore islands of Matsu and Quemoy. But even this sporadic hostility forecast no real problems for the peace offensive.
President Eisenhower sent his Vice President, Richard Nixon, to Russia to meet with Krushchev and to make arrangements for the impending summit meeting. It was at this time that Nixon and Krushchev engaged in the now famous "Kitchen Debate". Then Eisenhower himself went to London and Paris, and by late September he and Krushchev reported that they had "reached an understanding designed to relieve world tensions." Not long after that Eisenhower further reduced the role of the Army by ordering the transfer of all remaining Army ballistic missile programs to NASA. During November, the United States and the USSR announced "a joint nuclear research program", and a few days later, another joint announcement, this time by the United States, United Kingdom, and the USSR confirmed an agreement "on details of a control organization to be set up, with the signing of the nuclear test-ban treaty".
Then, in December President Eisenhower left on an eleven nation, three-week trip to Europe, Asia, and Africa. For a man of his age, who had suffered through a series of near-fatal heart attacks, this was a major undertaking designed to carry him further toward the pinnacle of his lifelong goal of lasting peace. Everywhere he went he was widely acclaimed. He drew the biggest crowd ever assembled in New Delhi, India. Looking back at such events in the light of present times and conditions makes one realize how far the situation has deteriorated since that time. In those halcyon days, whenever the President of the United States visited a foreign capital tremendous crowds of friendly people gathered to do him honor. Now, fourteen years later, this is not the case. The Vietnam war has done much to destroy the American Dream.
When Eisenhower returned, the Government announced in a most unusual and significant move a planned series of summit talks to be convened in Paris in late April and early May of 1960. Summit talks have seldom if ever been announced so far in advance, at least not in public and with so much prospect for real success. On Christmas Day of 1959, Krushchev accepted the invitation, and on New Year's Eve the date for the greatest summit meeting of all was set for May 16, 1960.
Since the collapse of the Indonesian campaign and the serious compromise brought about by the loss of the CIA C-118 aircraft, Allen Dulles had kept the Agency at a low profile. He had lost one of his closest lieutenants with the departure of Frank Wisner in the aftermath of the Indonesian effort. Although neither the Indonesian incident nor the C-118 loss had broken through security bounds enough to expose the CIA, as the Bay of Pigs episode was to do a few years later, he knew and President Eisenhower knew that the Agency had survived two close calls by the slimmest of margins. However, 1959 and 1960 were not quiet years. The CIA and Allen Dulles had a way of surmounting disaster and coming up ahead.
As 1960 began, two great pressure groups collided. President Eisenhower was steering his Administration to the climax of its final term in office. Everything done during the early months of 1960 was dedicated to the task of establishing a foundation for an era of peace and prosperity. The ultimate summit meeting was to be the prelude to his tour, his visit to Moscow and to other capitals of the world on his crusade for peace.
Although all mankind hoped for peace and few would oppose the noble objectives of the aging President, there were still those of the 'fear Communism' school who believed that the Kremlin could never be trusted, in spite of its public willingness to join with President Eisenhower and other leaders. Elements of this underground faction not only raised the banner of anti-Communism, but lived by it and traded upon its power. They played upon the baser motivation of fear that is in all elements of human society. For them it is easier to move men by that method than to attempt it by more noble means. This under ground faction gained strength from three major areas. The Maxwell Taylor school of Army dissidents, along with their powerful industry collaborators, openly opposed the Eisenhower doctrine of military and foreign policy supported by "massive retaliation", and they distrusted the peace offensive.
Another group -- ostensibly Army, Air Force, high-level Office of the Secretary of Defense and Executive Office Building (White House) personnel -- was working quietly on a vast education and reorientation program of civic action, nation-building, and such other ideas, which were in reality a cover for the extension of covert activities of the ST into the countries served by the Mutual Security Program and such other assistance projects. The regular military assistance program countries were the primary targets. The military cover personnel and their civilian disciples worked on this project with the zeal and energy of dedicated missionaries in support of a new and vital religion. (This is the subject of the following chapter.)
The third group was made up of the hard-core CIA and ST elite activists who were increasingly prepared and able to wage clandestine counterinsurgency anywhere in the world with forces of any size, at any time, and in response to intelligence inputs of all kinds and characteristics. For example, the inputs did not have to be anti-Communist when it did not suit the team. They could see danger to this country in almost any situation. The sudden dislike of the Latin dictator Trujillo certainly had nothing to do with anti-Communism, but he went the way of all "enemies" on charges of a special nature, just as Ngo Dinh Diem did in 1963.
Over the years this group had begun by defining the Soviet Union and World Communism as the enemy. Then it had pressed the idea of global containment of the world of Communism. Having built the wall from Norway on the North Sea to Turkey on the Black Sea, and from Iran on the northeast slopes of the Gordian Knot to India and Pakistan on the high Himalayas, and then on along the tenuous northern borders of Burma, Laos, and the 17th parallel in Vietnam, it began the cultivation and indoctrination of the idea that the real danger lay in the spread of Communism into the peripheral countries by means of subversive insurgency and support of wars of national liberation. To complete this fear-of-Communism syndrome, this movement contained a strong element that saw Communism and Communist subversion seeping into and permeating almost every area of the United States.
One of the greatest non-elective, non-ruling power forces of all time is this anti-Communist fanatic group, which rips through to the very heart and soul of the nation, playing upon fear and ignorance for its own selfish and in many cases ignorant, fear crazed interests. More harm has been done from l947 through 1972 to the United States and the world by this rabid and ruthless element than the Kremlin could have hoped to have accomplished itself by any other means short of nuclear war.
This combination of power elites did win its tremendous underground struggle against the peacemakers led by President Eisenhower when the U-2 reconnaissance spy-plane flown by Francis Gary Powers crash-landed in the heart of the Soviet Union only two weeks before the Paris summit conference. Powers' flight was a most unusual event. It was not part of the regularly scheduled series of routine U-2 operations. It was launched and directed by a small cell of inner elite for reasons which may never be possible for anyone to determine. If by any chance the thought had ever occurred to the four men who launched it that the failure of this relatively unimportant flight would completely wreck and vitiate all of the hopes and plans of the Eisenhower Crusade for Peace, they could not have chosen a more effective method or time to have done it. The very fact that what was done could have been done so easily according to a sinister plan, not an accident or Soviet act, serves only to fuel the thought that it might have been done on purpose. Such a simple thing as failure to supply the plane with sufficient hydrogen for the flight could have resulted, just as it did, in the certain flame-out of the engine and the subsequent failure of the mission -- or success of the mission, depending upon the secret intent of those who dispatched it.
This trend of thought is intriguing, because scarcely had the U-2 crashed into the daisy fields of central Russia than all three power groups mentioned above leaped into the void created by the demise of the Eisenhower initiative, to power a ground-swell upon which the Nixon campaign foundered and the Kennedy team rode to victory. The interesting part of all of this, even the ominous part, was that the ground-swell had started even before the collapse of the peace crusade and the summit conference. It would lead an observer, at least one who was very close to the inside activity, almost to believe that there is a great force somewhere that does not want to see a peace crusade succeed; or, to put it in active terms, that wants to promote professional anti-Communism and all that the term has come to mean during the past inglorious decade in Vietnam.
The New Doctrine: Special Forces
and the Penetration of the Mutual Security Program
THE MILITARY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM HAD BEEN modestly launched as aid to Greece and Turkey in 1947. It was expanded to include military aid to NATO, Iran, Korea, and the Philippines in 1949. Since 1951 it has been absorbed into the annual Mutual Security Act, which is an omnibus legislative enactment covering military aid, developmental aid, technical assistance, and a contingency fund. Over the years, military assistance has been provided to more than forty countries, and in most, if not all of these arrangements, the CIA has been a key factor.
According to the U.S. Army, it is a basic tenet of American foreign policy that Soviet piecemeal aggression must be stopped wherever it occurs so that the balance of power will not shift to the Communists. The most obvious means of carrying out this policy is providing military assistance to our allies so that they will be able to defend themselves. It is further postulated that a recipient's capacity to contribute significantly to resisting active aggression is maximized by building up adequate standing forces and arsenals, and secondly, that the recipient's capacity to maintain internal order and to control subversion is emphasized.
The Army states that there are various goals for the Military Aid Program, depending upon the country and the general region in which it exists. "Aid to Asia is intended to help Asiatic recipients resist internal subversion and perhaps to a more limited extent to resist open aggression." As an internal matter, the Army looks at Military Aid as a program that "straddles the areas of responsibility of the Department of State and of the DOD . . . The development of the MAP involves many agencies."
The program in each country was developed and is controlled by a Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG). The CIA places both military and civilian personnel within these MAAG offices. In some places the number of Agency personnel exceeds the number of military personnel who were assigned. Of course, if the Agency or the DOD were queried about this by a member of Congress or other Government official, they would deny the existence of these people and justify their denial on the basis that the agents in the MAAG had been "declared to be military" by some paperwork cover, usually kept in a highly classified file back in Washington, in the Agency and the service concerned. Thus they could say, "Yes, everyone in that MAAG is a member of the military establishment." But the truth requires them to add, "and some of them are really CIA employees who are military simply as a function of a cover arrangement." However, they never add that, and no one ever asks them in those specific words.
The important thing about the Military Assistance Program is that it brought with it some new definitions of the role and responsibility of the armed forces of the nation. In the first instance, these definitions seemed quite correct and served to make the Military Assistance Program more meaningful to Americans. However, as the years passed and the MAP work became routine, and as these earlier doctrines became part of the "military language" for both countries involved -- the United States and the host country -- they began to produce subtle changes in the role of the U.S. military. This led to a very sophisticated form of direct intervention in the internal affairs of the forty host countries, and in some cases, it resulted directly in the separation of that nation's armed forces from its political control through practices that will be explained. In this sense the elaborate statements of mission of the mutual security programs are a refined cover story. The military assistance program becomes the means by which the ST may, whenever it finds or suspects "communist-inspired subversive insurgency", increase its role in the armed forces and political organizations of the host country until the trouble becomes an outbreak of open hostility. Thus the "fireman" becomes the man who sets fires rather than the one who puts them out.
One source of this doctrine was the Civil Affairs School at Fort Gordon, Georgia. This Army school dates back to World War II, when it was the training ground for the Civil Affairs and Military Government (CAMG) program. It was the function of those specially trained men to go into countries like Italy and France, which had been under German military domination for several years, and to assist with the rebuilding of the local government in the wartorn areas. As a result, these men had been trained in political functions more than in the military tactical profession. Their record in World War II was outstanding, and after the war the school, although cut back as was most of the military, continued, prospered, and found a new life in working up a curriculum based upon the post-strike phase of a nuclear war. It was in this phase of work that the CAMG school and its doctrine played so prominently into the hands of the CIA by underscoring the potential of the Agency during peacetime for establishing contact in denied areas and for setting up clandestine contacts with the agent, underground networks that would be established. This led the CIA into the war planning function of all major military headquarters, and from its success with this, into its logistics buildup.
It was not unusual, then, to find the CIA returning to the Civil Affairs School during another trying period in an effort to breathe new life into Agency operations, which had been seriously curtailed after the Indonesia fiasco of 1958. MAP was an ideal place for the Agency to operate. As we have said, the CIA had by 1959 become well entrenched in all parts of the U.S. Government. Through MAP, the Agency now was able to establish itself quietly in up to forty foreign countries in ways that its usual civilian and diplomatic cover would not permit. All assistance programs needed recruiting and the CIA volunteered to take over the task of helping the services with recruiting in the host country. If some Iranians were to be selected to attend an electronics course in the United States for six months, someone had to select the men who would go. MMG military personnel who had been selected for their assignments, usually on the basis of their tactical and professional background, were not generally well informed about the people with whom they would be working. The Agency supplied men who spoke the languages of and wherever possible were experts on the host country and who already may have had underground contacts there. They were ideal, then, to take over the responsibility and the chore of selecting the men from the host country who would go to schools in the United States.
This gave the Agency a valuable tool for exploitation. Whereas the MAAG may have looked upon this selection in purely professional terms, the CIA looked upon it in political and rather pragmatic terms. The Agency knew well that any Iranian selected to go to the United States for six months, with extra pay and other allowances such as the ability to purchase a new U.S. automobile at low "diplomatic" prices, was going to leap at the chance to go. Thus if the selection were made wisely the Agency could make some valuable contacts and friends in that country. Needless to say, many of the men who reported to the electronics school didn't know the first thing about electronics and didn't care.
The CIA parleyed these contacts into close friendships in these countries and became in many instances very close to the chosen recipients of "military aid". The next thing was to cultivate the soil in order that both the military and the Agency would benefit from these windfall relationships. This was done by carefully relating the Military Assistance Program to the old slogan, anti-Communism."
The Civil Affairs School curriculum, which was to provide background information on the Military Assistance Program, began with an elaborate summary of a course called "Communist Techniques of Aggression". It laid the groundwork for reflexive anti-Communism by telling all students that "local Communists gradually took over [these countries] under the threat of the military domination of the Red Army at their border," and went on to tell them "how important a tool military power is for shaping men's minds in conditions of conflict short of open warfare." It further characterized the kind of Communism they were talking about by saying, "Diplomacy is the classic means of carrying out relations between nations, and hence is not a typical Communist technique . . . the Russian embassy in a foreign country is always used as the center of espionage activity in that country." Then, as the text became more specific in terms of areas of the world where the United States might have an interest, it took into consideration the problem in Vietnam before Dien Bien Phu: "The French did not dare to form an armed force of members of the indigenous population for fear that it would defect to the Communists." This made good instruction as far as the Army was concerned in those formative days. It sugar-coated the cover story. But as we know, the French did try to Vietnamize their war just as we have been trying to Vietnamize ours.
After many more pages of "analyzing" Communism and Communist techniques, the Army lesson goes on to say that in taking over governments, the Communists seek to control "the key positions. . . the Ministry of Defense, which controls the Army, and the Ministry of Interior, which controls the Police. "It adds that the Russians carry on espionage with a worldwide organization: "The information they seek is not only military intelligence but also reports on political and social matters which will guide the Kremlin in its worldwide planning. . . ."
In doing this, the lesson insists that the espionage network operates completely separate from other foreign channels of the Soviet high command, and that "the ambassador, who is the nominal head of the legation, may not even be permitted to set foot in parts of his own embassy."
This legitimate curriculum on the subject of Communism and its ways has been, over the years, lifted almost in its entirety and neatly inserted into other curricula that were used to train United States and foreign nationals how they should operate in a peacetime operation situation; in other words, "Do as they do." When men have been taught that this is the way the enemy does it and the only way we can defeat the enemy at his own games is by copying and emulating him, then it becomes easy to insert into the normal training programs bits and pieces of this doctrine. After years of hearing this material used at first for clandestine orientation and later for less than clandestine operations, these ideas begin to seem right in our own service.
One area with which American servicemen had been totally unfamiliar was what is called the paramilitary organization. A course in such organization has become very formative in the indoctrination of a new generation of military and their civilian counterparts, along with the tens of thousands of foreign military and civilians trained in MAP projects. The following is an official U.S. Army definition of paramilitary forces as extracted from a standard lesson guide.
"We Americans are not very well acquainted with this type of organization because we have not experienced it in our own country. It resembles nothing so much as a private army. The members accept at least some measure of discipline, and have military organization, and may carry light weapons. In Germany in the 1920's and early 30's the parties of the right and the Communists had such organizations with membership in the hundreds of thousands. It is readily apparent what a force this can be in the political life of a country, particularly if the paramilitary forces are armed, when the supremacy of the Army itself may be threatened."
In the beginning these lessons were used to train forces to go out and work with the native forces of other countries, and in many of these other countries the U.S. Army role was submerged and covered in the CIA mechanism. The CIA, rather than train the legitimate army of a host country, would train the paramilitary force to create a structure within the country that could balance the army or even overthrow it.
In many cases the CIA would work with the national police rather than with the paramilitary forces. The results were the same. The thinking as stated by the U.S. Army in this doctrine was that with U.S. guidance and help, the politico-military actions of the [host] armed forces can be decisive in building strong, free nations, with governments responsive to, and representative of, the people." This was the doctrine, but it would be most difficult to find a single case of the armed forces of any such nation being truly representative of, and responsive to, the people. In most cases the situation has been exactly the opposite.
Even as far back as the mid-fifties the U.S. Army doctrine, had a strong overtone of CIA assistance and was preaching "pacification". Pacification, as it is carried on in South Vietnam, can be shown to date back to the Fort Gordon course, where it was taught that "the operational doctrine for the take-over of zones evacuated by the [rebels] was known as Pacification." The doctrine adds, "The two largest pacification campaigns [in Indochina] were undertaken in the early months of 1955, in Camau in the far south and in Quang Ngai-Binh Dinh provinces of the central coast region . . . As a result of good planning, training, and operations by the military, effective government and security were quickly established in the pacification areas, much of the war torn economy was rehabilitated, and the Communist organizations left behind were revealed by the population, along with a great many hidden caches of arms and equipment." This was the U.S. Army lesson guide of 1959-l960 about minor operations in 1955, which by now has been proved to have been so terribly wrong.
Remember, this was the doctrine the school was teaching key people who eventually became the MAAG officials in forty foreign countries. This was also the basic doctrine used to rejuvenate the long dormant U.S. Army Special Forces program. As it continued, it wandered far from its original theme of Communist cold war techniques to talk more about American activity and specifically the type of activity that was most unconventional for the American Army, the use of civilians, foreign nationals, and foreign military in U.S.-sponsored, third-country projects that were essentially clandestine, as extracted from U.S. Army lesson guides.
"During the pacification campaigns, the Vietnamese army learned to work closely with two notable civilian organizations, which are worth mentioning here as an indication of teamwork employed to bring stability to a free nation. The organizations were 'Operation Brotherhood', involving the International Jaycees, and the Vietnamese Government's 'Civic Action' teams. These two organizations of volunteers brought high morals and ideal, unselfish spirit to the campaigns . . . 'Operation Brotherhood' was originally staffed by Filipino volunteers. . . ."
Looking at this with the hindsight of ten to fifteen years of bitter experience in Vietnam, one wonders at the real meaning and intent of such subject matter. As the lesson continues it states that the same Filipinos' Operation Brotherhood was operating in Laos, then it discusses similar projects in Burma. Before leaving the subject of pacification, this Army lesson guide quotes a French officer in Algiers: "The pacification authority cannot be the old one, for the mayors and civilian councilors and some French Moslems, preoccupied with their own interests, are regarded with suspicion by the vast majority of Moslems." The conclusion was that the army must throw out the old regime, the old ways, the old customs, and come up with new villages, new pioneer spirit. "The army turned itself into a social revolutionary forces in the same way that the Chinese Red Army had done during the struggle with Chiang Kai-shek. Every army command started a far-reaching scheme for full civilian employment." In other words, the local army was the new order, and the U.S. Army was being indoctrinated and trained by CIA instructors to do the same thing.
This was heady doctrine for an Army that had just seen its Chief of Staff retire in disgust after what he had termed unfair treatment for the U.S. Army by the JCS, the Secretary of Defense, and the Commander in Chief himself. Finally, the lesson guide with this potent doctrine got to the real subject it had in mind when it started talking about Communist techniques. It ended with a long treatise on the Military Assistance Program. It set forth as an objective of this program, "First, a recipient's [of U.S. military aid] capacity to contribute significantly to resisting active aggression is maximized by building up adequate standing forces and arsenals. [And in this context this doctrine meant paramilitary and police forces as much as it meant military forces.] Second, the recipient's capacity to maintain internal order and to control subversion is emphasized . . . Aid to Asia is intended to help Asiatic recipients resist internal subversion and, perhaps to a more limited extent, to resist open aggression."
Before this indoctrination concluded, it made the key point that MAP "straddles the areas of responsibility of the Department of State and of the DOD . . . The development of the MAP involves many agencies."
This very long (twenty-nine pages) typewritten, single spaced, doctrinal lesson guide was the work of key men dedicated to the reconstruction of the U.S. Army along lines being visualized by General Maxwell Taylor in his book, The Uncertain Trumpet. While he was writing about his problems with the Eisenhower Administration regarding the army and the other services, and while he was outlining his thoughts in terms of what he called "A New National Military Program of Flexible Response", a team of strong-willed and opportunistic men was plowing up new ground for the U.S. Army. This was to nurture the seeds planted by the Army and the CIA along with powerful assistance from the other services and such other places as the Executive Office Building at the White House and from the Department of State.
This Civil Affairs curriculum was taken from Fort Gordon without the knowledge of the intervening next higher command at the Continental Army Command headquarters at Fort Monroe, Virginia, and was brought into the Pentagon where a select team of CIA-experienced officers and civilians worked it over into the new curriculum for the U.S. Army Special Forces school at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
At the same time, action directly related to the above-mentioned projects was taking place at the highest levels of government. A special Presidential committee had been formed early in 1959 to study "Training Under the Mutual Security Program" and to "provide instruction [to recipient countries] in concepts or doctrine governing the employment of the military instrument, in peace and in war." The Presidential committee's report went on to note that "the committee's principle concern -- and consequently the subject of this paper -- is that training objectives have been so severely circumscribed, so inadequately related to the full sweep of our own national interests and of the recipient countries as well." Early on, the committee reported, "The International Cooperation Administration has yet to recognize the potential of the MAP training base for the furtherance of technical assistance objectives." In other words, this committee was laying it right on the line that the Government should be stepping into the Mutual Security program with "military" training, including the development of paramilitary capability in the recipient nations. The only way this could be carried out would be to mount clandestine operations in every country where this was to apply. By this period the CIA knew that it was ready, equipped, and in a position to do this in any "counterinsurgency-list" country, as it had been digging its way firmly into the MAP since the earliest days of the Greek and Turkish aid programs.
The Agency did not take any chances with this vital, to the CIA interests, report. Like the report from Fort Gordon that was being worked on by a team of CIA-experienced officers and civilians, the authors of this report of the President's committee were also CIA-experienced, but not known to be by those with whom they were working. They were under cover within the White House itself! Both primary authors of this report, although recognized throughout this period only as an Army general and an Air Force general, had served for many years with the CIA and then for many more years in service assignments directly supporting the CIA. After they wrote these formative and most influential documents, both of these generals saw considerable service in Southeast Asia, all in conjunction with the CIA. By 1959 and 1960 the CIA was so well entrenched in the Government -- and for that matter in the governments of the some forty recipient nations -- that it could pull the strings even as far up as in Presidential committees. Once a report as important as this one had appeared, with the imprimatur of the Executive Office Building, the rest of the road was clear sailing. Even Presidents themselves would not question its validity. Actually, its authors were frequently called to the White House as Presidential advisers on such matters.
Early in this detailed thirty-three page report the committee made a key point. It stated that the new training programs would "reflect substantial increases over previous years." The latter included a first entry into the undergraduate study field. Meanwhile, the geographic emphasis of the International Educational Exchange Service shifted away from Europe to the underdeveloped countries. Note that the ST was turning from the direct confrontation of the Communist bloc to the softer underbelly of the underdeveloped world for its action. The Agency and the military had established their positions in and around the recipient countries, and now they were going to exploit those positions at will.
One begins to find the term "subversive" sprinkled throughout these and other related reports. Many have thought that the "subversive insurgency" doctrine was an outgrowth of the Kennedy era. It came to the surface during Kennedy's Administration; but Kennedy and his young, inexperienced staff inherited the whole idea of subversive insurgency and the role of counterinsurgency from this inside dissident group that had begun to surface toward the end of Eisenhower's term, after the U-2 affair and the destruction of the summit conferences. It should be pointed out that this was not a doctrine endorsed by Eisenhower, although the Deputy Secretary of Defense at the time did find himself in the position of unwittingly putting his blessing on some of the activities crucial to the beginning of this new movement.
A broad hint at the new rationale came near the heart of the report itself:
It is not enough, however, to restrict leadership inputs to United States norms. Except in specifically defined circumstances, our Armed Forces have no operative responsibilities within national frontiers; conforming generally to the precepts of Western democracies, they are not an integral part of the mechanism for maintenance of law and order. The prevailing concept is expeditionary -- an instrument of latent power, unentangled domestically, ready for projection abroad should the exigency arise. Not so for the great bulk of the forces of the new nations. Their role has additional dimensions and their missions are actual as opposed to contingent. They are a key element in the maintenance of internal security and are largely determinant of whether stability or instability characterizes the routine of government. The Officer Corps is perforce deeply involved in domestic affairs. Those who lead, or are destined to lead, must acquire qualifications and attributes beyond the criteria which identify the successful commander in combat.
More important, tens of thousands of Americans served in the MAP programs, which openly taught and practiced this doctrine. To them, this was the only military they knew, and this was the teaching they received. This was American doctrine, not Communist. Recall that more than three million Americans have been rotated through Indochina during the operations there since 1954 most of these men know only the Army of this doctrine. The impact of this dogma and doctrine, and of these changes in traditional military philosophy, has been tremendous. It is beyond estimate and comprehension at this time. It certainly relates to a considerable degree to the problems that exist in the generation of returned veterans that had not existed before, especially with so many Special Forces Green Beret veterans in our municipal and state police forces.
We said earlier that this doctrine proposed that the CIA assisted in the selection of trainees from the recipient countries. This same proposal was framed in the President's Committee report, and it was cloaked in the following language so that the uninitiated would not be aware of it: "MAP can assist in the identification of officers who should be trained for key responsibilities in the civil sector." Since the CIA was well placed in the MAP, it frequently became the function of the Agency to select these officers "for duty in the civil sector." This was usually unknown to the officers so selected, at first. However, on occasion the Agency did share some of its plans with some of the recruits. In this manner men like Nguyen Cao Ky of South Vietnam and many others who have become quite prominent around the world, got their first real training and made firm friends with American acquaintances. For example, Ky became a fast friend of an Air Force officer who years later "happened" to be in Vietnam when the government was overthrown. He was in a senior position, able to suggest to Ky that he should step forward and assume control. Many of these contacts were of long duration, and the ST saw to it that they remained so. General Loan, the infamous police chief of Saigon, had been so selected for a course at M.I.T.
Of course, things did not always work out smoothly. One afternoon at about 4:00pm in Vientiane, Laos, the "U.S. Army" contact man with Kong Le left him with a promise to meet later at the officers club. Within two hours Kong Le was leading a Pathet Lao column against the government. Of course, his troops were called "Pathet Lao" because they were the opposition. There was little evidence that Kong Le ever embraced Communism, even the brand of Communism attributed to the Pathet Lao. It was not too long after that when news reports had Kong Le back at the head of "Neutralist" forces marching against the Pathet Lao into the Plaines de Jarres. Kong Le, like so many others, had received U.S. training and CIA indoctrination.
Another part of the President's committee report continued, "The stakes for which we contend justify attention to every possibility to improve the competence and influence the orientation of the officer corps of these nations. The attach personnel should be so instructed; and the special efforts involved [this means the Agency efforts] in securing Presidential determinations [this is a cautious reference to the NSC approval required for training in the U.S. or third countries accepted]." There could be little question that the intent of this project was to direct the efforts of the Agency and the entire ST effort toward the orientation' of friendly countries to bring about political, social, and economic ends.
Even in the beginning it was contemplated that this program would be massive. Before the document had been put into final form and readied for approval, it said: "A price tag attaches to any such concept -- one must think in terms of several hundred million dollars over the next few years." Remember, this was more than a decade ago, and several hundred million dollars was a lot of money. It was spent, and much more with it; and yet this was always a quiet project and generally unmentioned in routine budget activity e.g., as a good case in point, the Fiscal Year 1972 budget for the Pacification Program in Vietnam, a program directed by a senior CIA official, amounted to $1 billion.
As this massive report continued it veered away from nonmilitary training and got down to the real purpose of its existence. In a section headed "New Roles for the Military", it said:
"In the past year, a number of informed and thoughtful observers have pointed out that the MAP supported military establishments throughout the less developed areas have a political and socio-economic potential which if properly exploited, may far outweigh their contribution to the deterrence of direct military aggression . . . armies are often the only cohesive and reliable non-Communist instrument available to the fledgling nations.
It is not enough to charge armed forces with responsibility for the military aspects of deterrence; they represent too great an investment in manpower and money to be restricted to such a limited mission. The real measure of their worthiness is found in the effectiveness of their contribution to the furtherance of national objectives, short of conflict. And the opportunities therefore are greatest in the less developed societies where the military occupy a pivotal position between government and populace. As one writer has phrased it . . . properly employed, the army can become an internal motor for economic growth and social-political transformation."
At this time almost everywhere in the Government the word was going around that the only real stabilizing, honest, and useful force in these underdeveloped nations was the army. It could be trusted, it was disciplined, and it would keep and hold the country safely within the Western world. These were nice words, and there might have been an army or part of an army like that somewhere; but few armies anywhere, especially in the underdeveloped countries, were much more than brutal and corrupt forces. In fact, many armies are simply poorly trained groups of desperate men, beggars and bandits who have no other recourse than to submit to military service for a little food for themselves and their families. In most countries the army is the most corrupt sector of the government, and as one group governs another plots its downfall only so they can share the loot for a while.
The type of army this study describes is more like the armies pictured in Communist manuals. The Russian army and the Peoples Army of China are depicted in just the terms that are used in the paper of this Presidential committee. It is a glorious and appealing and totally unreal concept. Anyone can look around the world at countries under the control of their armies, and he will find brutalized nations under generally corrupt and backward leadership.
The report continued to try to win enthusiastic support for this new role for the foreign policy of the United States. In describing the role of the local army, it said: "The maintenance of internal security constitutes a major responsibility of these armed forces, whether assigned directly or not." In other words, if this role were not given to the army, it was suggested that the army would take it over. This is in conflict with the fact that most of the nations under consideration have nationwide national police forces whose traditional role is the maintenance of internal security.
Naturally, this philosophy led to many outbreaks in these recipient countries. The MAP-trained army began to take over the internal security role and got into trouble with the national police and with those national leaders responsible for the national police. This situation brought about friction, which frequently broke out as civil war, and of course there was nothing to do but to declare that the national police were the forces of subversive insurgency; thus the head of Communism was reared. Once these labels had been affixed, the United States would join the army's side with the banner of anti-Communism flying.
The writers of this document saw this in the offing, since they noted, "There must be comprehension of the complex nature of the subversive forces at play and of the variegated methods of Communist attack." It is almost as though the training of firemen should dwell more on the setting of fires rather than on extinguishing them.
The report goes on to say:
"Here is the ultimate test of the armed forces. Their role, in the countries under discussion, is unique. They are at once the guardians of the government and the guarantors that the government keeps faith with the aspirations of the nation. It is in their power to insure that the conduct of government is responsive to the people and that the people are responsive to the obligations of citizenship. In the discharge of these responsibilities, they must be prepared to assume the reins of government themselves. In either capacity -- pillar or ruling faction -- the officer corps, at least, must possess knowledge and aptitudes far beyond the military sphere."
These are interesting words and interesting ideas. Burma has been ruled for years by a general. Is all well in Burma? Trujillo was in a sense the personification of this model. Who would like to have lived under the rule of Rafael Trujillo? What of the oppression in Greece at the present time under the leadership of some of the very men who received the same training exemplified in this Presidential report? Is Greece a better place to live in today because its officer corps had been trained by the MAAG in "knowledge and aptitudes beyond the military sphere"?
The report of the President's committee was unclassified. The ST frequently does this when they wish to utilize a paper freely with foreign nationals and with others who may not at the time possess Government clearances. It further underscores the fact that the ST makes use of administrative security simply as a device to meet its own ends. In this case, it was easier and much simpler to control this paper by a hand-to-hand technique than to control it by the usual classification. This was also done with the paper quoted nearer the beginning of this chapter, the "Lesson Guide", U.S. Army.
These papers, too, were circulated among those who would be properly impressed by their high-level imprimatur. At the same time, when General Taylor was working on The Uncertain Trumpet and coming up with his new National Military Program of Flexible Response, and the Agency was quietly working to rekindle the U.S. Army Special Forces program along the lines of the Civic Action curriculum, the ST was gradually getting more and more involved in subversive identification projects throughout the soft spots of the Free World.
All of this was going on while President Eisenhower was doing everything he and his Administration could to prepare for the fulmination of his two terms of office with the crusade for peace which would begin with the summit conference in Paris in May 1960. Early in January 1960, Krushchev pledged not to renew nuclear testing unless the United States did. At about the same time, the United States, England, and Russia resumed discussions at Geneva to find ways to limit or stop nuclear weapons testing. Russia announced that it was demobilizing 1,200,000 men from its armed forces. By the end of the month Eisenhower made a statement, which has taken on special meaning in later years, "there will be no reprisals against Cuba or intervention in its internal affairs." This was the President's official position, and it was the position he emphasized within the government where certain anti-Castro actions were being planned. It was not President Eisenhower who laid the plans for what later was to be known as the Bay of Pigs invasion.
During February the President made another statement in which there were some of the seeds of the later Vietnam problem: "The United States would consider it intervention in the internal affairs of the Americas if any power denied freedom of choice to any republic in the Western Hemisphere." Note that it has been this "denial of the freedom of choice" slogan that has become a battle cry in South Vietnam as one of our reasons for being there.
As the time for the summit conference approached, Eisenhower spread more oil on the waters. Secretary of State Herter pledged that the United States would not resume altitude flights in the Berlin Corridor. The Russians and East Germans had objected violently to certain high-altitude flights previously. At about the same time Eisenhower, as if to underscore his position as a lame duck, announced his endorsement of Richard M. Nixon as the Republican candidate for President. Eisenhower made this early announcement for many reasons, none of which, perhaps, was more important to him personally than to assure the world that he was attending the summit conference as a totally nonpartisan President interested solely in the welfare of the whole world.
Then a last minute round of visits, reminiscent of the bowing and scraping in a classic minuet before the main dancing begins, took place. Krushchev went to Paris to visit De Gaulle. Macmillan came to Camp David to visit Eisenhower. De Gaulle came to Washington for a last visit before the summit. De Gaulle went back to Europe and visited with Macmillan. Seldom have the chiefs of state made so many planned visits and so many formal announcements prior to a major event as took place during the month before the scheduled meeting. Then, as if to allay any other fears, Under Secretary Dillon announced, "Summit agreements will not abandon Berlin."
Everything was in readiness. It was hard to discover anyone in government not vitally concerned with preparations for this most magnificent meeting, and the hand of the President was evident in all arrangements. This was to be the crowning achievement of a long life devoted to outstanding public service. Seven years of work dedicated to this goal drew to a close as an eventful April ended.
On the first of May the Russians gathered in Red Square, as they have since the revolution, for their annual show of military might. Krushchev was on the majestic podium, along with all of the Soviet hierarchy. However, the man who was supposed to be at his right, Marshal Rodion Y. Malinovsky, was late.
The great festival had begun. All of Russia cheered its leaders, and all of Russia wished them well, for peace at last seemed to be in the Spring air. Then Marshall Malinovsky arrived at the side of Krushchev, and there was a hasty discussion. Without any delay, the Marshall delivered an impassioned speech on the theme of vigilance. He knew, and at that time Krushchev knew, that the spy-plane U-2, with Francis Gary Powers at the controls, had crash-landed in Russia at Sverdlovsk.
Seldom if ever in the history of man had an event of such importance occurred more dramatically. In the following two weeks the course of world history was drastically altered as the hopes and plans of a crusty, earthy son of mother Russia and of a courageous, gallant, and dedicated son of the Great Plains of America were shattered.
1. Captain Kong Le of the Royal Laotian army had been given special training by the U.S. Army, which included familiarization with CIA supporting activities. Later he broke away from his U.S. friends and led a revolt against the government.
Krushchev's Challenge: The U-2 Dilemma
AS THE GLOW OF SUNRISE ILLUMINED the snowcapped peaks of the Western Himalayas, the pilot moved the throttle lever to full power and the heavily laden plane began a lazy roll down the long runway at Peshawar. The engine whined, the rate of acceleration was slow, and with each unevenness of the runway the long downward sloping wings dropped up and down, unable to come to life at that slow speed. And then, with more speed, the wings began to fly. They rose and steadied, the flopping and oscillation dampened out, and they strained to lift the heavy plane into the air. Just before the runway ran out, one last light bump, gentle as the tiptoe leap of a ballet dancer, lifted the plane into the air, and it was instantly transformed into a thing of beauty -- a graceful long winged jet.
As speed built up and wheels were retracted the plane sped through the pre dawn haze. The pilot eased the flaps up into the wings and began to climb toward the mountains. High above and to the left was the historic Khyber Pass. On course, there was a pink tinged twenty-five thousand foot peak, and further to the right was Godwen Austen, over twenty-eight thousand feet, wearing its perennial white plume. The jet was so heavy that the pilot swung it into a lazy turn inside the valley to spiral up and out, gaining altitude as he went, until he was above that famous path of the conquerors through the Khyber and nearly level with the twenty-five thousand foot mountain top. Kabul the capitol of Afghanistan, lay below; to the right, Tadzhik, the first major city inside the Soviet Union, lay ahead with Tashkent beyond. Border crossing was made at Kirovabad in a climb to sixty thousand feet. The sky was clear and dark blue -- the sky that only the small band of jet pilots know the world around. At this altitude the weather, whatever weather there was, was a remote thing, noticed only as patches of white cloud below, obscuring the ground. At cruising altitude the cockpit air system had cleared out all moisture, and the canopy was clear and brittle. Visibility was almost limitless. The pilot was a lone soul above the world, above all normal environment, under a simple, burning sun, and tuned to the even silence of the engine and the slow, mushy responsiveness of the controls in the near vacuum of the atmosphere at that height.
In the still early morning at Peshawar, the operational team had just finished flashing their message to Washington: "Puppy 68" was off and on his way to Norway via Sverdlovsk. The watch officer in the special U-2 control office in downtown Washington got that word shortly after 8:30pm on the evening of April 30. Dick Bissell, the Agency man in charge of the U-2 project, was notified immediately. Then, in short succession four other men were called. One by one they heard the same information, "Puppy 68 is away." President Eisenhower was at his favorite retreat, Camp David, with Prime Minister Macmillan of Great Britain, putting the finishing touches on plans for the summit conference. De Gaulle had just left Washington, and Macmillan and De Gaulle were scheduled to meet again in Paris on May 5. All was well with the world. The aging men who had led the world through World War II and then through the bitterness of the Cold War were preparing to culminate their long efforts in a great summit conference and then, one by one, lay down Krushchev's Challenge: the mantle of government to a new generation who would reap the benefits of peace -- hopefully true and lasting peace.
The fate of the world hung in the balance somewhere between these earnest plans for peace and the miles remaining ahead of that U-2 as it neared Sverdlovsk. This was not the normal U-2 flight. Much was made of the fact that the pilot had with him a vial (needle) of poison; so that rather than expose his native land to charges of willful violation of the air space and sovereignty of the Soviet Union, he could silence himself in death. The code of the spy. Yet little was made of the antithetical fact that the pilot also had a parachute which would save his life. Much was made of the fact, afterwards, that this was a "civilian" aircraft and that it was flown by a "civilian" pilot. Yet this pilot had been permitted to carry with him on this flight his military identification card, complete with name and picture, along with a pocketful of other identifying cards, all of which easily placed him at military installations, in military instrument flight schools, and on military facilities just days before the flight. He was hardly a deniable spy.
Much was made later of the fact that Air Force Captain Powers had resigned from the Air Force and that he was a civilian employee of the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation. He was technically a civilian: But his records were still held by the Air Force, and had he chosen, he could have returned to the Air Force without loss of pay, seniority, and promotion status.
Furthermore, the number of identification items that he had with him made it clear that he was less a true civilian and more a civilian cover spy pilot. He was in the same mold as Allen Pope in 1958, who was captured by the Indonesians, and of the Air Force crew that was shot down in Armenia also in 1958. By that time the Russians had plenty of evidence to know that "civilian" pilots belonged to the CIA by way of the U.S. Air Force.
This course of events had more impact upon the United States than upon the Soviet Union. The U.S. Government made much of the fact that the U-2 was an "unarmed civilian aircraft" and that it was flown by a civilian. However, in his book, The Craft of Intelligence, Allen Dulles makes much of the fact that operation of such sophisticated aircraft could scarcely have been kept a secret. It wasn't! As he wrote, "Sooner or later, certainly this would have leaked out." Since this was so certain, then why did the U.S. Government have to give out untrue cover stories? And why did they have to permit Powers to carry so much identification when it would have been better to limit the leak as much as possible? Even if he had died, they would have had all the information they needed. How did it happen that they broke with policy procedures for that special flight by letting him take off loaded with incriminating evidence that proved he was a U.S. spy pilot? Who was it who wanted this special U-2 flight on May 1, 1960, two weeks before the summit conference, to fail and then to become so glaring an admission of guilt when it did fail that it would inevitably doom the summit conference along with it? The incidence of these things, too many things, give weight to the thought that this flight was intended to be something rather special.
Nothing was said that all clandestine operations personnel, and especially the select coterie of U-2 pilots, were required to submit to a complete inspection before takeoff, which included the removal of all clothes and other personal effects and the issue of sanitized, non-identifiable clothing and equipment sufficient only for the flight. Neither pilot nor plane were sanitized on this flight as was required on other flights.
But these are only details that came up after the flight. The special question about this flight and this plane and this pilot was, "Who sent him out in the first place? What was this flight supposed to gain that could have been worth one particle of what it lost?" The Secretary of State, in attempting to justify the flight and as the official spokesman for his Government, said, "Conditions at a latter season would have prevented obtaining very important information. There is never a good time for a failure of an intelligence mission. We believe it unwise to lower our vigilance because of these political negotiations." Then the following three reasons for operating this flight were given:
"1) Clear skies had been forecast, which meant clear pictures.
"2) May 1 for the Russians is something like the Fourth of July for Americans. It is a national holiday that honors the solidarity of the working class. In Moscow it is the occasion for a display of armed might in a mammoth parade that winds past the Kremlin where high Soviet officials, including Krushchev, watch the troops and material go by from a reviewing stand. It was felt in Washington that the Soviet vigilance might have relaxed on May 1 because of the holiday, that perhaps radar and antiaircraft crews would be celebrating to the detriment of their defenses.
"3) The CIA had intelligence that a new Soviet rocket twice as large as anything produced by the USA would be on its launching pad for a May Day test. The launching pad, it was known, was at a new missile base near Sverdlovsk industrial complex and noted that the launch points were domed rather than following the herringbone pattern of the older Russian ground-to-air missile sites."
For some reason almost everything about this flight was different, and for some reason it had to go at precisely the time when it would cause the most alarm if it failed. A careful rereading of the objectives of this flight fails to confirm them to be of sufficient significance to override the natural precautions that should have been taken, especially since every top official in the Government knew how important the summit conference was to the President. And only high level officials - or knowledgeable ST members -- could have launched that flight. All of the regular launch authorities certainly knew that they were under strictest orders to do nothing that would jeopardize the success of the conferences.
Flights such as this one from Pakistan, Turkey, and Norway were tracked by U.S. radars and other sensitive tracking equipment. The plane did not have to maintain total silence. After all, anything the long range radars from peripheral areas could track from hundreds of miles away the Russians air defense system could track from twelve (the flight altitude) to a few hundred miles. The Soviets would know the plane was there; as we learned later, they knew of almost every flight during the previous four years. They had tracked and forced down countless U.S. aircraft in preceding years. It has been known for decades that Soviet radar is as good as or better than ours. They tracked the U-2 planes, but could not reach them at their extreme altitude. So the U-2 could communicate, not in the usual manner, but with flash, or "squirt", coded transmissions at predetermined times. In spite of the rather strange way in which the news of the loss was announced, there is no reason why we should believe that some authorities in this country did not know that it had occurred, and perhaps they knew exactly why it went down. Yet they ordered the administrator of NASA to give out an unreasonable cover story, which even said the plane had come from Turkey.
When the plane went down, its signals faded and it was lost from tracking radar. The engine had stopped, and Powers was gliding the plane down from its extreme altitude, which was so high that the air's oxygen content was insufficient to support combustion. The normal combustion of the jet engine at that altitude had to be assisted by the infusion of a trace of raw hydrogen from a small liquid hydrogen cryogenic storage bottle. If by some chance the engine either coughed itself out, or if something happened to this slight hydrogen supply and the engine flamed out, it could not be restarted at that altitude. The pilot would have had no recourse other than to let down and see if he could restart the engine at some lower altitude. The evidence that the engine would not restart even at thirty thousand feet indicates that the trouble was most likely hydrogen deficiency and not a normal fuel flameout. Had it been a simple flameout and had there been plenty of hydrogen, the engine should have restarted, as others had in similar circumstances.
When the plane did not restart, Powers was forced to let it continue to spiral toward the earth, and then at a safer altitude either bail out (a high altitude bailout is dangerous and violent) or continue on down to the ground. Actually, some of the early pictures of the U-2 showed an aircraft that was relatively undamaged, when one considers that the Russian story was that it was hit by a rocket in the air and then crashed into the ground. We may never really know whether Powers parachuted because he was hit by Russian rockets or gunfire or whether he parachuted simply to leave a plane that was doomed to crash anyhow. The elaborate pictures of the plane, which the Soviets released at the trial, show neither bullet damage nor rocket fragment damage, although at that point neither would be important; the plane was going to come down. If it had not been on the way down, neither rockets nor bullets would have been able to bring it down in those days.
Those who had been watching the progress of the flight from Washington control soon learned that the U-2 had dropped from surveillance, and they may have received coded information that gave them solid clues as to why the plane did come down. After all, space technology had reached the point by that time that ground tracking stations could tell every minute change and environmental perturbation on a remote nose cone. There was no reason why anyone should expect that the U-2 tracking system was not at least as good as that. Nose cones transit the Soviet Union all the time and are monitored all of that time. The U-2 was most likely monitored in the same manner. Therefore, it was not long before the alerted officials in Washington knew that Gary Powers was down somewhere in Russia.
In spite of this firm knowledge they instructed the CIA to say nothing. By this time the President had returned to his Gettysburg farm, and Secretary of State Herter was in Turkey, continuing his rounds of talks prior to the summit conference. As far as Eisenhower and Herter were concerned, all was well, and the conference was a short two weeks away.
In the belief and the hope that the crash had been unobserved and undiscovered by the Russians, Allen Dulles suggested that the administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, T. Keith Glennan, release a preprepared cover story. Glennan reported that a high altitude weather research aircraft on a flight from Adana, Turkey, was missing and that "it might have accidentally violated Soviet air space." At that time he added that these aircraft were special U-2 high altitude planes and that they were essential to the space program. It was believed that this frankness would take some of the heat off the flight, especially if the Russians should ever find the wreckage and report it.
This was the initiative Krushchev had been waiting for. On the fifth of May, five long days after the plane had landed, he reported that an American plane had been shot down over Russian territory. He gave no more detail than that, although he did harangue about American war-mongers, and those Americans who remembered, recalled that the Russians had shot down that innocent U.S. Air Force transport aircraft in June 1958. It began to look as though the barbaric Russians were being trigger-happy again and that they had shot down another innocent weather plane.
Those who knew the real fate of the U-2 remained silent, and those who did not went through the paces like automatons. The official spokesman of the State Department, Lincoln White, came out immediately after Krushchev's remarks and repeated Glennan's story, and again claimed innocent action on the part of the "disabled" pilot. On the same date, the U.S. Ambassador in Moscow reported that he had picked up some cocktail party gossip in Moscow that implied that the American pilot had been captured and that he was in good health. The 1958 incident was being repeated almost to the line, and hopes began to rise that this "mistake" would be no worse than the last one.
Then, on May 7 Krushchev moved in for the kill: "Comrades, I must let you in on a secret". "When I made my report I deliberately refrained from mentioning that the pilot was alive and safe and that we had the remnants of the plane. We did this deliberately, because had we given out the whole story, the Americans would have thought up another version." He then went on to give the whole story in detail. However, he stopped short of accusing Eisenhower of knowing that the flight had been ordered over the Soviet Union. It is entirely possible, in fact it is most probably the whole truth, that Eisenhower did not know that the U-2 had been dispatched on that fateful flight. Krushchev offered him an out when he said, "I am prepared to grant that the President had no knowledge of a plane being dispatched to the Soviet Union and failing to return; but that should alert us still more."
The Russian Premier was ready to say, "We are so close to the summit and to peace. I am ready to accept that this was a cruel and terrible provocation made by others without the knowledge of the American President." Let the President stand up and say that he had no knowledge of this flight, and then back up his statement by firing Allen Dulles, Dick Bissell, and those other four men who had pressed so hard for this flight. This was the challenge and that was the price. There was still a chance that Ike could have his long dreamed of summit conference; but now he would have to pay the price. Thus Eisenhower was put to the biggest test of his entire career. Could he clean house? Could he rid the country of those who, as Harry Truman said, "had diverted the CIA to become the center of foreign intrigue" or would he have to bend to their might and their cunning and see his dreams shattered in a cold and cruel awakening? Many years later it was President Richard M. Nixon who said, "When you inherit a nightmare . . . " -- and that was as far as he went with his thought. President Kennedy after the Bay of Pigs had the same nightmare. President Eisenhower had come within two weeks of achieving not only the goal of an aging President who had given his entire adult life to his country; but of realizing the hope of the entire country for a lasting and hopeful peace.
No one will ever know just why he turned down Krushchev's gambit. No one will ever know why he decided to back the ST at a time when it had permitted his plans to be shattered. Did he simply believe that his course was the only honest way out and that someone in his Administration had made an innocent mistake; or did he succumb to a greater pressure?
It was not only the U-2 that had trapped him. The ST had armed and equipped a major force of tens of thousands of Tibetans high beyond the Himalayas; it had thousands of Cubans under arms and in training all over the North American continent, from the Canal Zone to many sites in the United States it was deeply entwined in the politics and economy and rebellions of Africa; and already the United States, which had seldom seen armies in its own streets, was becoming accustomed to the roar of heavy trucks and the march of feet in embattled inner cities. Did Eisenhower really have a choice? Could he just fire Allen Dulles and a few of his top lieutenants and clean house that simply? He knew that he could not. Those other men who had seen to it that all the little things fell into place and that the U-2 had gone aloft on that precise day were men of the ST, and wiping out Dulles and his staff would not touch them. Furthermore, it was one thing to have the power to see that the U-2 was not stopped from going on a rather routine flight; but it was an entirely different matter to be able to assure that it would come down in the very center and heart of the Soviet Union.
The men responsible for this flight were highly competent and they knew, for instance, that if the all important hydrogen bottle was only partly filled they could count upon the plane's corning down as certainly as if they had only partly filled its tanks with fuel. But fueling was a routine chore done by men who always know the plane must be full; and a pilot knows that he must check the tanks and the caps. Also, on the U-2 you can just about tell how full it is by seeing how much the heavily loaded wings droop when the plane is on the ground. Hydrogen starvation was much more subtle.
As Ike pondered his dilemma it no doubt flashed through his mind how all of these pieces began to fit together. He had heard a little about the training of Cuban exiles. He had heard something of the Tibetan flights and of the training of Tibetans in the United States for deep paradrop missions into far northwest China. He knew of the troubles in Africa, and he knew how inner city problems were welling up in the United States. But he had put all this aside as small matters in comparison to the importance of his great crusade for peace. It is quite evident that these thoughts preyed upon his mind. On May 9 he authorized Secretary Herter to say, "In accordance with the National Security Act of 1947 the President has put into effect since the beginning of his Administration directives to gather by every possible means information required to protect the United States and the Free World against surprise attack and to enable them to make effective preparations for their defense. Under these directives, programs have been developed and put into operation which have included extensive aerial surveillance by unarmed civilian aircraft, normally of a peripheral character, but occasionally by penetration."
To underscore what the Secretary had said and to confirm what had been on his mind, the President himself said: "As the Secretary of State pointed out in his recent statement, ever since the beginning of my Administration I have issued directives to gather, in every feasible way, the information required to protect the United States and the Free World against surprise attack and to enable them to make effective preparations for defense." He was putting together in his own mind all of the bits and pieces of the big puzzle. He had been trapped by his own ST, and all of the things they had been doing now made a pattern.
The United States and the world were not going to have peace; they were going to enter a generation or perhaps even more of numbing cold war in which the inputs of random secret intelligence would provide evidence of subversion throughout all the countries of the free world and the United States would react by attacking subversive insurgency wherever it was discovered.
Now Eisenhower could see what his old comrade in arms, Maxwell Taylor, had meant by his new "National Military Plan Of Flexible Response." There is much more meaning in those words than anyone would suspect at first reading. It would have been enough for Maxwell Taylor to suggest a new national military plan; but this was not the idea. He meant that from now on the country would be mobilized in an increasing frenzy to the tune of another trumpet, which called for a military plan of flexible response to Secret Intelligence alarms and cries of subversive (Communist) insurgency.
All of these things took on a new meaning and a totally new warning. The President may have realized that he was not really in charge of events, and he could not honestly say that he didn't know what was going on; yet he had never seen the picture in its totality before. There was no other way out. President Eisenhower did the only thing he could. He announced to the world that he had known about the flight and that it had been his sole responsibility as Commander in Chief of the United States.
With that, Krushchev had no choice but to face the same facts, his way. How could he hope to reach a peaceful settlement and meaningful agreements with a President who was admitting to the world that at the very time he had been speaking peace he had been plotting overflights and the invasion of the territorial integrity of not only the Soviet Union, but of China and Tibet and Cuba. Krushchev had no alternative either. All hope for a successful summit conference had gone. The leaders of the world attended the conference individually but all was lost. With this great disaster the fifteen year search for a peaceful settlement in a world menaced by the atomic bomb came to an end. Vietnam lay ahead.
Time of Covert Action: U-2 to the Kennedy Inaugural
THERE WAS NO NEED FOR POST-MORTEMS. THE great crusade was dead. There would be no thaw in the Cold War. Pressures that had lain dormant while the world waited and prayed for the success of the summit conference broke out more violently than before: in Japan where Jim Haggerty, the President's press secretary and advance man for his trip, was mobbed outside the Tokyo International Airport; in the Congo where Dag Hammarskjöld was to die violently; in Cuba, and especially in U.S.-USSR relationships. The ST moved fast and quietly. Its operators in many of the MAP countries and in other peripheral areas stepped up their activities. Trouble spots, such as countries suffering from crop failures, border disputes, and terrorization by bandits were given particular attention. What had been a lull before the summit now became a ground swell before the storm.
Eisenhower put out an immediate order that there would be no more overflights anywhere at anytime. This brought to an end, for the time being, the U-2 program, the Cuban exile overflight para-drop program, the vast Tibetan project that was entirely dependent upon long-range transport infiltration, and others of lesser merit. But it did not bring about an end to clandestine activity. It simply drove it deeper under cover right here in the United States. By that time so much was going on all over the world that curtailing overflights had only a small impact upon the rest. The ST muffled its more elaborate operations and began to put all its eggs into one basket -- the move to counterinsurgency operations in the counterinsurgency-list countries.
More than fourteen thousand Tibetans and remote area tribesmen, nearly all of the active population of Tibet above the high Himalayas, had been armed, equipped, and fed by the Agency. This flow of equipment and activity stopped abruptly with Eisenhower's order. These valiant men were left to their own devices in their hostile homeland. They have, no doubt, been rounded up and many of them slaughtered. All of the equipment destined for them was held at CIA supply points in Okinawa, Taiwan, Thailand, and Laos. The Indonesian campaign, which had ended the year before, had resulted in a windfall of leftover military supplies and aircraft, which were sent to Taiwan, Thailand, the Philippines, Laos, and Okinawa. The Cuban program became less visible and more political. It continued to gather together in strategic locations massive stockpiles of aircraft, armament, and shipping. All of this was being held in readiness in storage in Florida, Guatemala, Panama, and Puerto Rico. As a result, the Eisenhower order, if anything, served to strengthen the operational side of the Agency and place it in a position of being able to move fast with ready equipment and personnel as soon as the Administration changed. That was only six months away; so the ST prepared.
All of this preparation and readiness served to underscore how farsighted and how determined the Agency had been in planning within its own sanctum for its role as leader of the Cold War response mechanism. Whereas its Intelligence chieftains received public accolades for work well done, and its Special Operations (DD/P) agents and operators worked as quietly as they could behind the scenes, none of them were more successful than those of Logistics (DD/S), with emphasis on the men in the comptrollership and budget offices. Somewhere in the early days one of these men, or perhaps one of their friends in the legal division, where Larry Houston has held sway for so many years, observed the special applicability of an old law from the depression days -- the National Economy Act of 1932.
For the CIA it has been the big end of the horn of plenty. In layman's language this act states that if one department or agency of the U.S. Government has something which it would like to get rid of, and another agency of the government would like to buy it, then the two agencies are authorized to get together and agree on a buying and selling price to their mutual satisfaction. The sale would be consummated under the terms of the National Economy Act of 1932. The uses to which this expedient can be put to use are infinite and what the agency can do with a few dollars and a few good cover units would in most cases be unbelievable to the uninitiated.
The National Security Act of 1947 was quite strict with reference to money for the Agency, and in many ways the Congress had shown that it did not want the Agency to get much money and that it believed that one sure way it could keep the CIA out of the covert activities business would be to control and restrict its funds. However, by 1949 Congress relented, and although it did not give the Agency a great deal more money, it had let the barriers down. Ever since that law was promulgated, the CIA has had no trouble at all getting adequate funds. But more important than the dollars the Agency gets is what it can do with those dollars to make them cover all sorts of research, development, procurement, real estate ventures, stockpiles, and anything else money will buy, including tens of thousands of people who do not show on any official rosters.
For example: The CIA Act of 1949 says the CIA may "transfer to and receive from other government agencies such sums as may be approved by the Office of Management and Budget, for the performance of any functions or activities authorized . . . and any other government agency is authorized to transfer or receive from the agency such sums without regard to any provisions of law limiting or prohibiting transfers between appropriations. Sums transferred to the agency in accordance with this paragraph may be expended for the purposes and under the authority . . . of this title without regard to limitations of appropriations from which transferred."
Such procedures give the CIA an open hand to move funds in and out of other accounts freely. Of course, the language of this law mentions "activities authorized" and such other normal controlling terms. However, under high classification few people know that this is going on, and few want to become involved even if they find out. Also, the Agency works long and hard to get its own people, or entirely sympathetic people, into the key jobs where such things as this take place, and they see that the controls of the law do not bind at any point.
Years ago, in the headquarters of the Air Force there used to be a fine old gentleman in the budget office who had been there ever since the cement in the Pentagon was wet. He knew as much about the intricacies of the Federal budget as any man in Washington. He had previously worked with Jesse Jones in the Reconstruction Finance Corporation during the old days of the Roosevelt Administration. Somehow he had been assigned the job of handling all of the CIA money that flowed through the Air Force, and he did this with more zeal and élan than any of the actual Agency men "across the river". He had in his area of operation a younger and most capable assistant who learned the trade from him. As the years passed, this second man was promoted into the highest budget assignment in the Pentagon, where he served under Robert McNamara, who knew all of the intricacies of the CIA money management, and who saw to it that things always went smoothly. In the case of both of these exemplary public servants, they did their work efficiently and smoothly, and one of their greatest common achievements was that they never let any of these unusual money matters create friction, irregularities, or publicity. Whenever things got to the point just before the boil, they knew how to raise the flag of "security", and the subject would be dropped quietly. This process is one of the key elements in the success of the CIA in matters pertaining to money.
It is possible to read the unclassified Public Law on National Security closely, and by careful interpretation, one can see a lot more there than one might see the first time through. By 1959-60 the Agency was able to count on a great deal of money and upon even more tangible things that its money could buy at considerable savings. There were no barriers then to becoming involved in much greater action, and the stage was set for the political moves that would make it possible.
While elements of the ST were keeping Cuban plans alive, other elements were working on the political resurgence of the U.S. Army. Maxwell Taylor had published his book, The Uncertain Trumpet, and announced his new National Military Plan of Flexible Response. The plan itself did not so much advocate a new military system as it opposed the system that existed. He made light of the "massive retaliation" doctrine of John Foster Dulles, which was the mainstay of the Eisenhower defense posture. Taylor proposed that the United States be ready to respond anywhere in the world with whatever it would take to defeat the "Communist-inspired subversive insurgency", which he felt lay all around us. His plan was a totally passive and defensive stand, based upon one word, one idea and one strategy - response. It was the embodiment of the idea of "containment" one stage removed from the proposals of Clark Clifford.
With the Taylor proposal as a rallying call, the ST began to rekindle and rebuild the Army Special Forces along new lines. The Special Forces were being turned away from war planning activity and MAP support to an active role against subversive insurgency in the countries of the Free World. This was called "flexible response", but at least in the initial stages, it was direct clandestine intervention by U.S. Armed Forces in other countries.
The Agency and certain other of its close friends obtained the Civil Affairs school curriculum from Fort Gordon, and working with that as a foundation, rewrote it into the new U.S. Army Special Forces doctrine and course outline. These words, which sounded reasonable for the training and indoctrination of selected foreign troops, took on an entirely new meaning and significance when they were taught as part of the doctrine of the U.S. Army. This political-social-economic role for the Army was a far departure from the historic indoctrination of the military forces of a free nation.
Work on this activity took place in the last half of 1960 and was ready for initial action before Kennedy was inaugurated. The timing was important, and it was very cleverly arranged. Ordinarily, any major policy change and curriculum change in the Special Forces school at Fort Bragg would have been processed through the Continental Army Command at Fort Monroe, Virginia -- the next higher headquarters. However, this new curriculum was not shown to the Continental Army Command. It was brought to the attention of certain selected ClA-oriented officers of the Army headquarters in the Pentagon so that they might obtain a certain de facto blessing from the civilian top echelons of the Army on the premise that it had been duly and properly "staffed". Then this curriculum was taken directly to Fort Bragg and placed in the hands of selected instructors, some of whom were Agency personnel on cover assignments. They worked rapidly to get an instructor-group trained and ready for the first classes, to be given during December and January of 1960-61. Then, in a very opportune move, the CIA and its friends in the office of the Secretary of Defense set up a visit for the Secretary of Defense to this school. The ostensible purpose of this visit was to enlist his support for the Special Forces who, it was said, needed a morale boost after years of neglect. (Actually, this was made to appear to be the Secretary's formal dedication and approval of this new curriculum and the resurgence of the Green Berets.)
The Secretary of Defense was unable to make this trip, but in his place he designated his most experienced and able deputy, James Douglas. He flew to Fort Bragg to see the rejuvenated Special Forces and the school where Green Beret volunteers and foreign students from all over the world were attending classes featuring the new curriculum.
Mr. Douglas found the Green Berets on the firing range with special light weapons. He saw them practicing with one of the most famous and most lethal weapons, the long bow. Special Forces troopers excelled with the ancient weapon. Others were in outdoor classrooms, learning how to use mines and other explosives for sabotage and demolitions work. Still others were listening to foreign instructors, learning a selected vocabulary of foreign words in the languages of Laos, the Congo, or in Spanish. Then he went into formal classrooms where the U.S. military instructors were lecturing to large classes of U.S. students, into other classes where the students were all foreign, and into still others where foreign and American students attended classes together. This was a stirring sight to the Secretary. He had no way of knowing that as he went from front door to front door a number of students were being hastily shuttled out the back door from classroom to classroom to fill every class he witnessed. The whole scene was polished and fleshed out to a high degree of reality and perfection.
Everywhere in the Special Forces sector of Fort Bragg there was new life and new spirit. The camp was alive and most impressive and convincing. He could not have known that some of those instructors had never seen their notes and lesson guides before that day, and he could not have known that many of the foreign students had been rounded up for that visit, were not enrolled in the school, and had not the slightest idea of what was taking place. He had no way of knowing that the curriculum and the whole show that he had witnessed were part of a major plan to help create the future forces needed by the ST and by the new "flexible response" doctrine of the U.S. Army. What he was doing was participating in the "Selling of the Pentagon" -- 1960 style. He was seeing the resurgence of the Special Forces, a resurgence that would involve the active employment of U.S. military personnel in clandestine activities throughout the world. In other words, the Army would be operating under the direction of the CIA in overseas areas such as Laos and Vietnam, Thailand and Latin America. The course of events had, since 1947, run full circle. Whereas it had been visualized and contemplated that the CIA might be used as a sort of fourth force in the event of active employment of U.S. forces under the direction of the military commander, now it was the military establishment that was furnishing forces to the CIA to serve under the operational control and direction of the CIA in the covert activities of the Cold War.
When he returned to Washington, Mr. Douglas approved what he had seen and authorized a modest expansion of the Army Special Forces. At a time when the Army had reached its lowest man power levels in two decades, this was a significant event. The Green Berets were looking for new fields to conquer. Their victory over the bureaucracy was celebrated throughout the Army, and there was a special quiet elation among the ST. They were on their way. From the date of the U-2 disaster, the ST had become the dominant force within the Government of the United States, in terms of foreign policy and military affairs short of all-out nuclear war. (That proviso is added only because it has not yet been tried, not so much because it is beyond possibility.)
Men from the Special Forces were sent to Panama and Guatemala to train Cubans for the ST. Others went to Eglin Air Force Base in Florida to work with the Air Force Special Air Warfare units in their supporting mission on behalf of the Cuban program. The Air Force, not to be outdone by the Army, had leaped into the special warfare business with special aircraft and with the Air Commandos. Although they saw conflict on several fronts in the offing, at that time they were all working on the Cuban program. During the political campaign, President Eisenhower had directed that the Cuban operations should come to a halt. He wanted nothing under way during the remaining portion of his Administration to be left for the incoming Administration to perform. The over-the-beach projects were halted, and the somewhat regular overflight para-drop projects were stopped. The Cubans did not accept this quietly, and to keep them occupied, their training program was maintained at a good pace.
Other Special Forces troops were sent into Laos as advisers to work with the Meo tribesmen and with other groups who were fighting with the national forces against the Pathet Lao. For some time the skirmishes in Laos far outweighed anything going on in Vietnam or Thailand in size and scope. United States support was shifted from one strongman to another faster than the army could keep up with it. On many occasions British, Canadian, Philippine, and other than French foreign nationals were brought in to work with this undercover army. The CIA had all sorts of units working there. Air units were mercenaries, "covered" U.S. Air Force, Chinese Nationalists, and Thailand air force personnel. This was the place where the CIA first employed helicopter forces of considerable size. The years in Laos were formative years for the CIA and all of the forces that later became engaged with it in Southeast Asia.
Once the military forces began to get a regular taste of this sort of action, certain elements of the military, such as the Special Forces, went to great lengths to excel their mentors, the CIA, in the pursuit of secret operations. This operational activity gave birth to staff cells back in higher headquarters, such as at CINCPAC in Hawaii and in the service headquarters in the Pentagon. In the beginning this was relatively informal; but as time and experience were gained they became hard-core operational centers, such as the famous SACSA of Kennedy-era fame.
These forces saw action all over the world. No matter where the action arose, the same group of men and the same equipment and tactics went into action. The Air Force was given the assignment of flying into the Congo in support of the Kasavubu government. Meanwhile, the ST had put together an air armada of heavy transport aircraft, along with other mercenary units, to aid the Katanga cause on the other side. In Latin America the Special Forces -- both Army and Air Force -- were working closely with many countries and were teaching them to act positively and swiftly against rebel elements in remote areas. None of these early experiences were too noteworthy, but they were evidence of things to come.
In previous years, everything the CIA had done had been carefully cloaked in secrecy to avoid detection. Also, the operations of the Agency had been kept small in order that they would be easier to keep secret. However, since the U-2 program the ST had become less and less concerned with security in overseas areas, as long as they could maintain a measure of security within our own government. Secrecy was maintained very closely here, and very few people in government knew what the Team was doing; but overseas the very existence of powerful operations, even though they were generally clandestine, gave evidence of the strong and stealthy hand of the CIA. This was particularly true of the impending Cuban program. The activity in Panama, in Nicaragua, and Guatemala, and the heightened activity in and around Miami and New Orleans could not be kept secret. Anyone who cared to know, knew that something was under way.
In October 1960, just before the election, Castro charged the United States with aerial aggression. It was true that despite the stand-down directed by Eisenhower, a special interpretation was given for overflights manned by Cuban exiles and to flights from non-U.S. bases. Therefore it was considered by the ST not to be a violation of the President's orders to perform such operational flights from Guatemala to Cuba with para-drops of supplies and ammunition for "supposed" reception parties in Cuba. Few of these flights ever accomplished anything of real value. However, they did much to keep the morale of the volatile Cuban community in the United States from collapsing. Then, on October 30, less than one week before the election, Castro warned his people and the world that the United States was planning and preparing an invasion of Cuba. There can be no question of the fact that Kennedy's stand on the Cuban issues in the campaign and especially on the television debates played heavily in his appeal to many voters, who felt that the country should take a direct course of action against Castro. Therefore, Castro's announcement did little to hurt Kennedy and may have just about finished Nixon's chances of salvaging any votes from the anti-Castro sentiment that ran high in the voting public. John F. Kennedy had foreclosed that issue.
The votes were no sooner counted than the ST began a major buildup of the Cuban program. What had always been known as an airdrop and over-the-beach program now began to be called an invasion. Where hundreds of Cubans had been in training, suddenly the numbers leaped to the thousands, and the camps were filled with Cubans who had volunteered at the recruiting stations in Miami, in New Orleans, and other points.
The heavy logistics elements began to converge on shipping points in North Carolina and Florida, and airlift material was sent down to Guatemala and Nicaragua. The invasion operators in the Agency saw no restraints with the new Kennedy team coming in that January. Eisenhower made no more moves to limit their action, and they felt that they had Kennedy's tacit approval, or would have as soon as he got a full briefing. All they needed to know was that he would not stop them. Allen Dulles fully briefed the President-elect late in November, and at about that time, Kennedy announced that he would retain Allen Dulles and J. Edgar Hoover as his DCI and FBI director. In moves that may have had some significance later, Edward G. Lansdale left Washington for a long time and was known to be in Saigon with President Diem. Walt Rostow and Jerry Weisner went to Moscow for lengthy visits, before coming back to take up senior positions in the Kennedy Administration. Then, shortly after Robert McNamara was announced as the new Secretary Of Defense-designate, he took up offices in the Pentagon and assembled a small staff who began immediately to accustom themselves to their environment. Most of them had seldom if ever been in the Pentagon before.
While this transition was under way, the ST was moving rapidly with its new concepts and policies. The school at Fort Bragg was being rapidly expanded, and at the many MAAC headquarters all over the world the planned training program for civic action began to be implemented. New troubles broke out in Laos, and things began to look very grave there. There had been a brief attempt to overthrow Ngo Dinh Diem in Saigon. Cuba asked the UN to investigate imminent military aggression against itself by the United States. After a brief recount of votes in Hawaii the official tabulation of votes in the Presidential race was announced as 34,221,531 for Kennedy and 34,108,474 for Richard Nixon. It was the closest election in history. The ST may not have elected Kennedy, but they had defeated Nixon. This had been their objective ever since 1958.
Even before the inauguration Washington, official and non-official, began to realize that the most important turnover of Presidential power since the arrival of Franklin D. Roosevelt was under way. The Kennedy team had been together for more than two years. They had worked, fought, plotted, and hoped for the election of their man. In the heat of that long battle they had learned not only to dislike the Eisenhower Administration and all that it stood for, they had learned to hate it. In most instances, as they approached Washington and assembled in their new offices they were not so sure what they planned to do. But they were very sure of one thing if it had been done by the Eisenhower Administration, it was going to be changed.
As the Kennedy Administration settled into their official chairs, some of them were selected to hear about the Cuban invasion plans, and some were not. The first big move was ready to come on stage. The ST was ready to show the Kennedy Administration how things would be done from that time on for the future.
1. When the CIA was housed in World War II temporary buildings in the Foggy Bottom and Reflecting Pool part of Washington, the Pentagon was "across the river" from the CIA. Thus, it had a special meaning to both organizations.
Camelot: From the Bay of Pigs to Dallas, Texas
DURING THE AFTERNOON, SNOW BEGAN TO FALL. It had that windblown, leaden look of a major storm. Those who could, slipped out of their offices early to beat the traffic. Few cities in the world suffer more in snowstorms than Washington. The view from the big windows in the office of the Secretary of Defense, out over the Tidal Basin and the Potomac, was wintry and beautiful. A heavy curtain was falling on the end of an era. Men who had been in Washington since the days of Franklin D. Roosevelt were planning to leave, or at least to retire from the daily commitment to government.
In 1960 Washington had become a rather shabby city. The massive government buildings stood stark and cold. The many parks and monuments had been neglected by the aged tenants, who had grown too accustomed to their appearance. No one noticed any longer how drab the whole city had become. They never remembered it any other way. It was evident everywhere that this was the end of an era. An era of depression and recovery; of major war, victory and hopeful peace; of the atom bomb and of worldwide, instant communications. An era of great depths and an era that had the promise of great heights. But all of its leaders were now old and spiritless. Their great moment, those years of preparation for the ultimate summit conference and for the crusade for peace, had come to a shattering end. Now, in the shambles of that dream, that weary generation was turning over the mantle of government, the greatest government the world has ever known, to a young man who was barely a youngster when they had first come to Washington. And as many of the old stalwarts gathered in the office of the Secretary of Defense to say their farewells to him and to the world of great power they knew so well, they looked for the last time out over the Potomac into the sweeping and deepening snow as the night, and history, closed over them.
As if to presage the change that was taking place beneath the surface of the glittering events, the streets of Washington had been plowed, shoveled, and swept clear of all snow for the inaugural parade, not by the municipal equipment other cities would have used, but by the U.S. Army and its heavy equipment. The Kennedy Administration owed its very inaugural festivities to the might of the U.S. Army, to its stealthy appearance by night into the streets of the city -- a United States city. And this was part of the new era, too. Subtle changes, which had been under way, began to burst forth into the open with the inauguration.
From the first, changes were visible. The Kennedy team had been together through a tough and long battle. Their operational procedures were honed and ready. There was a Kennedy way and there was the other way. They changed Washington a lot with the Kennedy way. Eisenhower had been precise in his administrative practices. He had made great use of the National Security Council and of the implementing support of the Operations Coordinating Board. His decisions were the product of open and free discussion in the NSC chambers; and then having been made, those decisions were followed up by the OCB to assure their proper accomplishment within the Government. But Kennedy saw no real need for the NSC method. In the beginning he did not recognize and understand its usefulness and significance. When he wanted something done, he called upon one of his close friends, even upon one of his relatives, and after a brief discussion, they would go out and do what he had directed. This system can work in an operation such as the campaign had been, where the campaign team is the whole organization. However, in any organization as large and as immobile as the ponderous U.S. Government, this system is quite ineffective and leaves much undone and uncontrolled. It tends to leave tens of thousands of lesser bureaucrats on their own and to their own devices. It encourages the stagnation of the bureaucrat, and the catastrophe of the irresponsible in action.
Almost immediately following the inauguration, the ST saw that the door was wide open. With practically no NSC meetings, and therefore no Council to effectively control the CIA, there was no application of those crucial parts of the National Security Act of 1947 that require the NSC to direct the Agency. Without such direction and control, the CIA was practically free to act on its own.
Few men in the new Government had any idea of what was being put into shape for the Cuban invasion. Those who did knew only bits and pieces of the whole plan. These men were not accustomed to the double-talk and undercover language and actions of the Agency. They heard briefings, but they did not know what they really meant. On the other hand, a large number of the new Kennedy team were old CIA hands. They did know exactly what was going on, and they used their special knowledge and experience to further isolate those who did not.
There is a peculiar and dangerous characteristic that derives from the continuing application of secrecy. In an open government such as this country has been accustomed to having, it is only natural to believe that if a man is a fire-fighter, then his job has to do with putting out fires; and if he is a soldier, then his job is being prepared for war. In a simpler sense, Government workers are trained to expect that if the men in the next office are working on the Military Aid Program for Pakistan, then those men are doing that work. Customarily, if they meet those occupants of that next-door office in the snack bar or at the dining hall, they might be expected to ask them how things are going on in "Pakistan".
Now if the men who are supposed to be working on the Pakistan aid program are not working on that program at all, but are actually working on a special support program for the border police of India, and the Pakistan aid program is simply a cover story, then whatever they tell their office neighbors is part of their cover story too. In other words, it is false -- more plainly, a lie. However, they justify that lie as being permissible, in fact necessary, because they have been told that the "border police project" is highly classified and that they cannot tell anyone about it. So if you are on a classified project, it is all right, in fact it is essential, for you to lie. So you lie, the other man lies, everyone lies. But it is all supposed to be for the good of the cause.
Over a period of time this can develop many strange situations too involved to mention here; but one or two examples may be useful. In the Pentagon there are many offices established to do one thing. They really do not do that thing at all, but something entirely different. As a result, there are hundreds and even thousands of men who either cannot say what they are doing; or if they are forced to say something, they must lie. The polite thing is to say that they are "following their cover story".
This can lead to further complications. Even within the cover Story scheme there will be factions. Some men may be working on a certain project with a cover story, and others may be working on exactly the same project under another cover story; and neither group will know about the other. Later, when the Secretary or some other high official wants to be briefed, he may meet with one group and not the other -- simply because the first group did not know of the other's existence. And he will not hear the whole story; he will hear only the first group's version of the activity. So it is not that the new Kennedy team was not properly briefed about anti-Castro activities as it was a matter of the inability of any one briefing officer to give all the facts at one time. There may have been no way to have rounded up all the facts and present them; so much of what was going on was decentralized. In spite of this, each briefing officer may have thought that he knew all the facts and that he was telling the whole truth, as happened when Tracy Barnes was sent to give Adlai Stevenson his briefing at the United Nations.
Other complications crept in. Under the cover of the Bay of Pigs operation, much bigger moves were being made. All over the world the MAP training program was picking up volume and momentum. Thousands of foreigners from all forty countries converged upon the United States for training and indoctrination. The new curriculum was either the one at Fort Bragg or like it. The Army interest in political-social-economic programs, under the general concept of "nation building", was gaining momentum. For every class of foreigners who were trained and indoctrinated with these ideas, there were American instructors and American soldiers who were being brainwashed by the very fact that they were being trained to teach this new doctrine. These instructors did not know otherwise. To them this new nonmilitary political, social, and economic theme was the true doctrine of the U.S. Army. A whole generation of the American Army has grown up with this and now believes, to one degree or another, that the natural role of an army lies in this political field. Also they believe that an army mixes some medical and educational ingredients into this nation building. They believe the army is the chosen instrument in nation building, whether the subject be political -- social, economic or military. In many cases, due to the great emphasis the CIA placed on training the police forces of certain foreign countries, a large number of American servicemen who were used for such training became active in what was really police work and not the scope of regular military work.
It was the CIA, with help from a few other agencies, that put together the Inter-American Police Academy during the early Kennedy years, which played such an important part in emphasizing national police power in the nations of Latin America. The CIA brought in police instructors from all over the United States and from the military for this school. The success of this school, operating covertly from an Army base in the Canal of Panama, led to other schools in the United States that have carried on this type of work for police forces in this country. Part of the impetus behind the great buildup in the strength of police force all over the country dates back to this CIA police academy work and to the other schools it spawned. This police work not only involved training but it integrated new weapons, new procedures, and new techniques into American police work, some of which has been good and much of which has been quite ominous.
Anyone who doubts that this nation building and police activity has not become real and very effective right here in the United States need only visit the area around Fort Bragg to find one of these early paramilitary CIA-oriented specialists, General Tolson, sending his American soldiers out into the countryside with nation-building programs for the citizens of the United States. If such tactics continue, it is possible that an enlargement of such a program could lead to a pacification program of areas of the United States, such as the CIA and the U.S. Army have carried out in Indochina.
At the same time this training program was under way, larger and larger civic action teams and other benevolently named organizations spread throughout the world. MAAG units were no longer small logistics and training organizations. They had grown to large size and were frequently and almost augmented by large units on temporary duty in the host country. This Army accounting device of "temporary duty" is always interesting because of the way the Army uses it. The Army may tell an unwitting Congressman or reporter that there are 50 men in the MAAG of a given country, although there may be many more men there. The Army will justify this lie about the total number by claiming that the extra men, sometimes many more than the regular staff, are there on temporary duty. And of course there may even be 100 or 150 more men there, but since they are on the CIA cover payroll, the Army won't report them either even though they are there on Army cover. In that case there will be another justifiable lie to protect the existence of the CIA.
All of this is a game. The secrecy can't mean a thing to the host country, they know exactly how many men are there and it makes no difference to them whether they are Army, Army temporary duty, or Army cover. By the same token, the Soviet embassy, and all other embassies, will know exactly how many Army men are there. And to them, the fine distinction makes no difference. The only people these devices fool are American. American reporters, American Congressmen, American government specialists, and of course the American public. There was almost no way in which anyone in the United States Government could unravel the whole clandestine business. But at least a beginning was made as a result of a most unexpected series of events and as a result of some very shrewd and clever work by Bobby Kennedy and his closest associates.
What had grown quietly, secretly, and almost totally unobserved within the infrastructure of the U.S. Government was by 1961 so large that it was time to bring it to life and give it some reason for existence. While Jack Kennedy and Bobby Kennedy were seriously pondering what had gone wrong with the Bay of Pigs operation, this new doctrine and new organization was emerging. It remained necessary, then, for the Kennedys to find the master key to all of this activity. It took the Bay of Pigs Board of Inquiry to perform this feat. The day-by-day litany of the Board was designed to indoctrinate Bobby Kennedy and to win him over to this new doctrine of counterinsurgency, flexible response, civic action, nation building, and the rest -- and through him, to win over the President. While the Board was meeting day after day in the back room in the Pentagon, something more important than the fate of the Bay of Pigs was being discussed and elaborated upon. As witness after witness filed through the Board's chambers Bobby Kennedy sat there saying absolutely nothing, just soaking up the hearings and searching for cracks in the story. At the same time, Allen Dulles and Maxwell Taylor paraded a hand-picked group of disciples into the room for interviews and questioning. These men were selected to preach the doctrine of the new covert intervention. Their interviews were designed to train, indoctrinate, and to use an overworked term, even to brainwash Bobby Kennedy. What he heard each day was the Maxwell Taylor new-military-plan-for-flexible-response theme, blended with the White House Committee report material, and topped off by Allen Dulles's own theme of secret operations. This was a most heady mixture, and it was effective. Some of the men who were called to talk about the tactics of the Bay of Pigs had not been connected with it at all, but were Special Forces men from the Army Staff or directly from Fort Bragg. Bobby Kennedy emerged from the incessant catechism of the "truths" ready to soak up the doctrine of counterinsurgency. This was to be the new watchword. The Kennedy Administration became hooked on counterinsurgency, and the indoctrination occurred to a good measure right there in the Board of Inquiry process.
Thus the inner Kennedy clan came out of the Bay of Pigs disaster with two strong convictions. Closely held and deeply felt was the conviction that the CIA had somehow done them in and that they had better be extremely wary of anything it did in the future. This was a very deep feeling and only seldom revealed in any official actions. In fact, Jack Kennedy developed a cover story of his own by giving the appearance as much as possible in public that he could go along with the CIA, when private actions and discussions tended to support otherwise.
The second conviction was that the world was being divided sharply into two strong camps in the battle between the "world of choice" and the "world of coercion". It was President Kennedy who said to Chairman Krushchev, "The great revolution in the history of man, past, present and future, is the revolution of those determined to be free." The Dulles contribution to this philosophy was the reiteration of the Krushchev challenge to support all wars of national liberation; and the Maxwell Taylor contribution was the simple reflex of the counterpuncher, the plan of flexible response. Defined in terms of the infantryman, this meant counterinsurgency.
One of the better definitions of counterinsurgency as practiced in the Kennedy era was that written by a general who worked for the Secretary of Defense: " . . . the technique of using, in appropriate combination, all elements of National Power in support of a friendly government which is in danger of being overthrown by an active Communist campaign designed to organize, mobilize and direct discontented elements of the local population against the government." Although counterinsurgency has been generally regarded as a military activity, careful analysis will reveal that it is really more a civilian-controlled action in the paramilitary area of operation. This is a most important consideration as we observe the country moving from the "Roosevelt-Eisenhower" era into the "Kennedy-Johnson" era, which includes the Vietnam episode. Note also how the definition of counterinsurgency, above, written by an Army General closely allied with the CIA and with the authors of the President's Committee report, almost precisely paraphrases sections of that report. In other words, the actions of this Government, which were called counterinsurgency, were not very different from the actions that were attributed to the Communists and called subversive insurgency. As a matter of fact, they seemed to be identical.
This may seem to be a fine point, but it is the key to much that has happened since then and particularly in Vietnam. Note that the same material written by the spokesman for the Office of the Secretary of Defense continues as follows: "A successful counterinsurgency strategy requires, therefore, the integration of all U.S. Government activities in the country concerned, under the central leadership of the Ambassador or [if the local situation had deteriorated to the point where U.S. Armed Forces are actively involved] the military area commander. In the final analysis, the defeat of a Communist-led insurgency hinges largely on the effectiveness of the Country Team. This depends in great measure upon the willing cooperation of the government departments and agencies in Washington."
When one realizes that this was written by a man who was for years the executive assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Defense and in his own right an acknowledged leader in the new Army doctrine, he begins to see that this is another part of the pattern that was changing this country's entire traditional idea of military action. We have a new doctrine at the Special Forces school, we have worldwide MAP training in the political-social-economic spheres, we have the new creed dramatically spelled out by the President's Committee report and then, to tie this all together, we have the definition of counterinsurgency. We find the official version of counterinsurgency is not to be confused with the more or less public idea of counterinsurgency, which assumes that it is a form of anti-guerrilla fighting against Communist-inspired rebels. The official doctrine of counterinsurgency states clearly that it is carried out "under the central leadership of the ambassador". This means that counterinsurgency is intended to be civilian directed, even though it appears to be a military program, and that the senior man is to be the ambassador. He is placed in charge, not actually to be the country-team commander in chief, but to make it possible for him to delegate his authority to the CIA station chief rather than to some senior military officer.
This has shaped the total efforts of the United States in Vietnam for the past decade and more. All of U.S. history prior to the past decade, more or less followed the general principles of warfare which state that in time of peace the Army trains for war, and during this time the affairs of the nations are carried out by diplomats. When diplomacy fails, then the military men take over and accomplish by military means what the politicians had been unable to accomplish. It has always been clear that when war was the only remaining means of accomplishing national objectives, the ambassador and his staff would leave the scene and the generals would take over. Now here was the highest echelon of military power in the United States stating publicly the new doctrine of the Kennedy era to the effect that counterinsurgency (a form of war) would be "under the central leadership of the ambassador".
Why would a ranking U.S. Army general on a special assignment to the White House define the new training program for mutual security, and another ranking U.S. Army general on assignment to the Office of the Secretary of Defense define the new method of warfare designed to counter the Communist support of "wars of national liberation", and both in terms of civilian direction of the military operations of U.S. forces? To anyone trained in the profession of arms, this is heretical. The answer is simple, although it has lain buried under the long years of the horrible disaster in Vietnam. Both of these men were closely affiliated with and had served with the CIA, and both were the type of men who make up the ST. Even though they wear the uniform of the U.S. Army, their primary allegiance has been with the STICIA new method of operations in peacetime. They saw that the time had come for the ST to make its big move and for it to sweep out beyond the DOD and the CIA to form a massive paramilitary international power under para-civilian leadership and a monstrous cloak of security. Their words were so simple and so Boy-Scout sounding; yet they have changed the entire world during the past decade.
They went on to say, "The United States therefore has made the decision to enter the lists early, to throw its national power into the counterinsurgency campaign on the side of our allies, the local authorities. The problem of counterinsurgency now is receiving the personal attention of the President and his senior advisors. A major effort is being made throughout the government, and particularly within the DOD to develop sound doctrine for the conduct of this unorthodox form of warfare. The JCS, for example, have recently established within the Joint Staff a special staff section dealing exclusively with the problem of counterinsurgency. . . counterinsurgency is not susceptible to a purely military solution. . . it requires the closest possible coordination of political, economic, psychological, and military actions." By the end of 1962 this nation had gone so far down the line following the Agency, the new Special Forces doctrine, the MAP, and the new U.S. philosophy as outlined in the President's Committee report, that it was saying openly it was well on its way to carrying out as top national policy a major clandestine operation so big in fact that the entire government would be involved. Obviously, it could not be really clandestine in the sense that it would be kept secret from our enemies; on the contrary, it was a new kind of "clandestine", so it would be kept secret from all Americans.
When such men stated that the war would be waged under civilian leadership, and then named the ambassador as the commanding and senior officer, they simply were carrying out their usual cover-story double-talk. Any such counterinsurgency would be initiated and directed by the CIA. Of course the generals involved would be real generals; but they would be working inside of and for the CIA -- or in some cases not exactly inside of the CIA, but certainly under its direction. Has it ever been properly explained why this country has retained an ambassador in Saigon since the first one was selected by the CIA to go to that new piece of real estate, a new nation called South Vietnam, back in 1954? Why should the longest war in which this country has ever been involved, and the second costliest and second most destructive, have been waged through all these futile years under the direction of an ambassador? Is it because of the above doctrine? Is it because we entered this conflict to support what were, at first, minor CIA operations? Then when these actions grew and grew, there never was a time when the "war" transitioned from the clandestine operators to the military operators. During all of these years the ambassador has remained as a sort of minor commander in chief, one step down from the Commander-in-chief role of the President. And this has been done so that he could serve as a referee between the CIA and the military, the end result being that neither one of them has been really in complete control since 1964, when the first Marines arrived in Vietnam. Before that, the CIA was in control of operations, while the military played a logistics role and perfunctorily acted the part of a military organization.
At that time, 1963-1964, the ambassador could have been withdrawn in favor of the military commander as the escalation went into effect. Then the CIA chief should have been relegated to the Fourth Force role he should have in a wartime situation. As late as the end of 1963, every U.S. Army combat soldier in Vietnam (excepting a few assigned to such offices as the legitimate MAAG section -- as differentiated from the oversized cover MAAG section) was under the operational control and direction of the CIA. It was only after the beginning of real escalation that the Army soldiers under Army generals began to take over certain roles and missions and areas in Vietnam. They never did take over full responsibility for what was called a "war". One reason for this was that there never was a real honest to God military objective of this war. There never has been in Vietnam that objective, which when achieved by military force, would have spelled victory. There never has been that battle which, if won, would assure victory. Of course, the counterinsurgency supporters have said, "That's the nature of this type of warfare. You can't beat insurgents that way." That is nonsense. When a nation is ready to demand from its people fifty-five thousand lives and more than $200 billion of its wealth as a contribution to some foreign action, it should at least have an objective that can be achieved in a tangible manner so that one can tell when it has been reached or when such attainment is beyond reach. What has happened in Vietnam is that the CIA got in over its head, and the Army was sent in to attempt to bring some order out of the chaos that existed there after the assassination of President Diem. Only then, when the Marines and the Army arrived, were troops serving under the actual command and direction of their generals.
One of the real reasons the Army got in there in the first place was because when the Marines came in they refused to take the field under the CIA. By that time, General Krulak, formerly the Special Assistant for Counterinsurgency and Special Activities on the Joint Staff, and then commanding general of Fleet Marine Forces, Pacific, knew too much about the CIA and its activities to permit his Marines to hit the beaches of Indochina under any command other than Marine and the U.S. Military Command, Vietnam.
Kennedy undoubtedly saw the beginnings of this serious problem after the Bay of Pigs investigation. At that time he wrote two very powerful National Security Action Memoranda, NSAM 55 and NSAM 57. Both were issued from the White House in June 1961. NSAM 55 was a brief memorandum of greatest significance, which was addressed directly to the Chairman of the JCS and was signed personally by the President. In essence it said that Jack Kennedy would hold the chairman (Lemnitzer) responsible for all action of a military nature during peacetime in the same manner as he would hold him responsible for such action in time of war. In other words, the President was saying that he wanted any and all peacetime operations (military type-clandestine, covert, paramilitary, etc.) to be under the control, or at least under the close scrutiny, of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs. One way to interpret this in light of the then current events would be, "No more Bay of Pigs." This was a powerful memorandum, which set forth Kennedy's views without equivocation. It was in fact more positive as an action against the non-addressees than it was for the addressee, the JCS.
General Lemnitzer, a fine soldier of the old and traditional school and one of the best administrators to serve after World War II, did not take advantage of this memo. He knew exactly what it meant, and he did not intend to abuse it. The best way he knew to have no more Bay of Pigs disasters was to have no more Bay of Pigs. He noted the memo, had the Joint Chiefs of Staff "Red Stripe" (formally approve it), then filed it for future use, if needed. As far as that old soldier was concerned, that memo meant there would be no more clandestine military operations in peacetime and that such things as Indonesia, Laos, Tibet, and the Bay of Pigs were a thing of the past.
I was the officer responsible for briefing this paper to General Lemnitzer and to the other Chiefs of Staff, and that NSAM rested in my files. There need be no misunderstanding about what the memo meant, what the President meant, what Lemnitzer understood and did, and what the other Chiefs of Staff understood.
This was an unusual memorandum because Kennedy sent it directly to the chairman and sent information copies only to McNamara, Rusk, and Allen Dulles. It should also be noted that Robert McNamara, Dean Rusk, and Allen Dulles knew that NSAM well and understood its full meaning and intent; and they knew exactly what President Kennedy meant by it. In other words, President Kennedy by the explicit publication of this brief memo was letting the entire top echelon superstructure above the ST, wherever it existed, know that from that time on there were to be no more such ill-conceived, inadequately planned, and inherently dangerous clandestine operations. If this directive had been followed explicitly and if Kennedy had lived to assure that it was followed as he intended it to be, there is a very good chance that United States involvement in Indochina would never have been escalated beyond the military-adviser level. He had learned his grim lesson at the Bay of Pigs, and as his directive made clear, he was not going to become involved in that type of operation again. If evidence of this is needed, consider how he handled the missile crisis in Cuba a year later. Once he had been convinced of the gravity of the situation, he directed the mobilization of sufficient troops overtly, and challenged the Cubans and the Soviets to comply with his demands. He respected the proper employment of military power and had seen how undercover military power fails.
The second memorandum, NSAM 57, though issued at the same time, was signed, as most NSAMs were, by a member of the NSC staff for the President. Coming as it did paired with NSAM 55 there could have been no misunderstanding that it carried the same thrust as NSAM 55, and that it fully expressed the views of President Kennedy. This memorandum was much longer, and it gave much more detail.
Following the policy of the National Security Act of 1947 and of such other directives as NSCID 10/2 and later NSCID 5412/2, it recognized that there might be requirements for clandestine activity from time to time. Then it went further than those earlier directives and became much more explicit. It said that any small and truly covert type of operation "may be assigned" to the CIA and that any which were larger would be the subject of special study and planning and then "may be assigned" to the military, that part of the military which would be sufficient only to carry out that one operation on a one time basis. It directed that large covert operations would not be assigned to the CIA.
This attempt at clarification provided the opportunity for the CIA and its fellow travelers with a chance to blow up the balloon. They counterattacked with a long and drawn out argument about what was a "small" operation and what was a "large" one. They then proceeded to argue about what happens if the Agency goes into some country with a small operation, and then it expands. At what point will the CIA operation be transitioned from the CIA control to the military solely on the basis of size, since it might be assumed that it might or might not have remained covert. The CIA argued that if it remained covert, regardless of size, no such transition of direction could take place. The whole point of the CIA argument was to invalidate the President's controlling mechanism, which depended upon a scale of size.
This started some very long and heated arguments, and as often happens, since the real career military such as Lemnitzer had very little interest in this subject anyhow, the well drilled opposition made quite a bit of headway. After all the dust had settled, it began to appear that except for NSAM 55 which Lemnitzer had let remain in the file (his being of the it-can't-happen-here school), Kennedy's directive had been turned into an encouragement to the CIA to go out and start small fires and count on the military to bail them out. This may seem an odd conclusion -- almost funny -- but it is exactly how we got into Vietnam in spite of the directives from the White House. The ST is perfectly capable of turning a No into a Yes by its gift of irrepressible argument.
I have quoted the ranking U.S. Army officer who worked in the office of the Secretary of Defense, with reference to his definition of the term "counterinsurgency". Now I shall add a few lines written almost exactly one year after the NSAM 57 arguments about how big and when to transition to the military, and which take on a special meaning in this relationship. In this one critical year here is exactly how the fight came out: "A successful counterinsurgency strategy requires, therefore, the integration of all U.S. Government activities in the country concerned, under the central leadership of the ambassador . . . or, if the local situation had deteriorated to the point where the U.S. armed forces are actively involved, the military area commander." In this special sense, read "deteriorated" to mean "expanded beyond the ability or desire of the CIA to continue to be involved". This is exactly what was happening in Laos at about this same time. The CIA had become overextended, and things were going very badly. The CIA wrote a letter to the Secretary of Defense, asking relief or suggesting the abandonment of the Meo tribesmen whom they had been supporting.
Recall how the trouble in Vietnam started. The CIA had been involved in a great number of brush fire operations there for a number of years in one way or another since the OSS days of 1945. These raged out of control, becoming a general conflagration by the end of 1963. At that time there were more than sixteen thousand American military personnel there, more or less in the ostensible role of advisory personnel; but all of these were under the actual direction of the country team, which meant that they were under the operational direction of the CIA. (Some parties may wish to deny this in an attempt to maintain the fiction of those earlier days; but the early general officers who were serving in Vietnam at that time were either serving with the CIA under the cloak of CIA or were closely affiliated with the CIA, such as the Special Forces. One more bit of operational evidence is offered by the combat intelligence available in those days. There was none of the real military kind. What was there was a form of CIA village network intelligence, which on most counts was dependent upon the native population. Even as late as the attacks on the villages in the My Lai complex, it was the Agency intelligence functionary who told the military to attack.)
On the "when to transition" concept it will be noted that even ten years later and after the escalation of military manpower had reached the staggering figure of 550,000 men -- to say nothing of gross amounts of civilian manpower -- the central leadership was never transitioned to the military as President Kennedy's NSAM 57 had ordered. If anyone ever wanted an example of how far the ST can turn things around, this is one of the best. In June 1961 the President stated one thing categorically; by 1962 the Army's spokesman (actually in Army uniform; but a CIA/ST spokesman) had totally turned this around in his counterinsurgency doctrine and definition. Then, after President Kennedy died, the ST retained control of most of the Vietnam war from its earliest birth pangs to the peak of escalation. Even to this day the combat phase of the Vietnamese war, which is called "pacification" and which in fiscal year l972 cost more than $1 billion, is totally under the direction and control of the CIA.
The key to all of this, the matter that made it so easy for the ST to wrest control of this major peacetime "covert" operation, even from the hands of the President and Commander in Chief, lay in the words of the Army general quoted above: "The JCS have recently established within the Joint Staff a special staff section dealing exclusively with the problem of counterinsurgency." This was a carefully designed move, and it emerged from a formative series of events. Almost from the time of the creation of the CIA, the Secretary of Defense had maintained on his immediate staff an Assistant to the Secretary for Special Operations. Among other things, this man was charged with the responsibility for liaison with the CIA, NSA, Department of State, and the White House. His area of interest was almost totally within the field of clandestine operations, although he was interested in routine intelligence matters and other related functions. For the five or six years prior to the Kennedy inauguration, this office was filled by an extremely able and wise figure, a retired four-star Marine general, Graves B. Erskine. He had served in that capacity longer than any man had ever served in the office of the Secretary of Defense at such a level of responsibility. His tenure had covered service under Charles Wilson, Neil McElroy, Thomas Gates, and for a brief period, Robert McNamara. As he was utilized by the secretaries prior to McNamara, he kept a close eye on all CIA operational activity that involved the military in any way, and whenever in his judgment things were going too far he would inform the Secretary, and in most instances the CIA would be asked to drop its request for military support, which generally was tantamount to halting the project. Erskine's role was one of considerable quiet power; yet he used it sparingly. Then shortly after U.S. Air Force Colonel Edward G. Lansdale came back from Saigon, where he had been working for the CIA ever since the establishment of the Diem regime and immediately before that had been in Manila during the selection and establishment of the Magsaysay regime, he was assigned to General Erskine's office at the specific request of Allen Dulles. Along with a number of other CIA agent cover "plants" in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Lansdale provided a strong counterfoil to his boss, General Erskine, within the military departments, where he was known, except to a few, only as an Air Force officer on the Secretary of Defense staff. (By 1961 the CIA, partly as a function of the vast U-2 project, was widely and deeply entrenched in the DOD.)
When McNamara became Secretary, he was advised that he really would not need an Assistant for Special Operations. He abolished that office. Then many of the old office staff were dispersed, especially in one sudden move the day after the failure of the Bay of Pigs operation. Those who were left moved to a new location in a new office, which was then headed by General (recently promoted) Lansdale. During this period, I had been assigned to the Erskine staff and was performing a rather special function, which I had been doing for about five years before in the Pentagon, but in a different staff location. Shortly after the new Lansdale office had been established I was asked by General Earle Wheeler, then the director of the Joint State, if that function would not be better applied if it were moved from OSD to the Joint Staff, so that it might he applied uniformly for all the services and for the many major military commands overseas. He discussed this further with McNamara. In a most unusual administrative maneuver, required because of the stringent limitations of the size of the Joint Staff, my office was transferred from OSD to the Joint Staff, along with the necessary manpower spaces and authorization to staff the office with representatives of all services and administrative support. This small staff was joined later by another highly classified group, which performed a somewhat related function. Then, as a progression of this first move, the Joint Staff created an office called the Special Assistant for Counterinsurgency and Special Activities (SACSA). This new office was much larger than the original office that had moved down from OSD, and it brought with it a large staff of CIA oriented personnel from all services. It had several temporary special assistants, among them General Hemtges and General Craig, before it acquired its greatest and most dynamic driving force, U.S. Marine General Victor H. Krulak.
The important thing to understand is that the much-heralded office of SACSA had very few military responsibilities. It was almost entirely CIA oriented. Most of its dealings with the services were in areas in which the CIA was most active. For example, the great proportion of its dealing with the Army was strictly limited to Special Forces activity. With the Air Force it was for the most part limited to Special Air Warfare activity, and with the Navy it was active in the Sea, Air, Land (SEAL) teams. There were other duties of course; but most of them gave the office something it could say it was doing while it performed its primary task of supporting the CIA, the ST, and of breathing life unto the massive Frankenstein called counterinsurgency.
SACSA played another very important role in the highest level policy discussions of this country. It has been said that Kennedy wanted to get out of Vietnam in 1963 but deferred it "until after his re-election", as he told Senator Mike Mansfield, because such a move would stir up a "McCarthy (Joe) wave of sentiment" and would lose him the support of the JCS.
The JCS Kennedy knew best was the voice of SACSA. The one officer he saw from the Joint Staff more than any other during those crucial days was General Krulak. (See how often Krulak's name appears in the Pentagon Papers, and then see if the name of General Dean ever appears. Technically, General Dean should have been the action man -- he was the operations director of the Joint Staff -- but General Dean was not the CIA/ST man.) This was because Allen Dulles and Maxwell Taylor (at that time the military advisor to the President) opened the door for Krulak, since Krulak's job was to "support the CIA". General Krulak's closest advisors were such men as Bill Bundy, a long-time career CIA man on McNamara's staff at that time; General Lansdale, and other key CIA agents and high officials, whose names will be omitted because some of them are still active. (Some of these highly placed officials were so deeply covered that it is possible that no one in OSD, including Krulak, knew that years ago they had been planted by the CIA. Thus, when he worked frequently with a man in the Department of Research and Engineering, from whom he had been told he could get some assistance, it is quite possible he never knew the man he saw was from Dulles's office.)
Later, when Maxwell Taylor had become the chairman of the JCS, the only JCS John Kennedy knew was even more CIA biased, since Maxwell Taylor himself was by that time more oriented toward the ST than the military, and Krulak was closer than ever to the President.
Thus it was not the real military that Kennedy would have offended if he had withdrawn from Vietnam in 1963. It was the chameleon STICIA military who made him think they would have objected, and who made him think that they represented the military. In this special sense the creation of SACSA and the appointment of Maxwell Taylor as Chairman of the JCS were most influential events. It is no wonder ST writers have made so much of the great importance to them and to the CIA, of SACSA. A careful reader of the Pentagon Papers will see how well documented all of this is, especially if he observes how many "JCS" papers were actually not bona fide JCS papers but were in reality SACSA/STICIA papers, attributed only to the JCS.
As important to the ST as SACSA was, of equal importance was the return to the government and especially to the Pentagon of Maxwell Taylor. After the Bay of Pigs, it was inevitable that Allen Dulles would leave the CIA. His chief lieutenant, Dick Bissell of U-2 fame and of Laos and Bay of Pigs infamy, left the Agency to become the head of the Institute of Defense Analysis, an organization with many interesting functions -- among them acting as a conduit for CIA activities. Dulles again showed that uncanny ability of his and of the Agency's to rise above each fiasco on to new heights. During the Bay of Pigs inquiry he ingratiated Maxwell Taylor to the Kennedys so firmly that Jack Kennedy assigned General Taylor to the position of Military Adviser to the President. This was a good cover assignment for General Taylor. For those who thought he might be interfering with the duties and prerogatives of the chairman of the JCS, this assignment caused a few raised eyebrows. Dulles and Maxwell Taylor were content to let those rumors and fantasies spread because they did much to help transfer some of the blame for the Bay of Pigs from the CIA to the military. However, everyone else in the need-to-know clan knew that Maxwell Taylor was in the White House to be the President's liaison man with the CIA. The President may not have known how closely Maxwell Taylor's aspirations and those of Allen Dulles matched each other. During the last days of the Dulles era, Maxwell Taylor served as the Focal Point man between Dulles and his Agency and the White House.
This was a perfect role of Maxwell Taylor. He had quit the Army in a dispute with the Eisenhower Administration and now he was in an ideal position to encourage with all support and haste the urgent development of the new flexible response army, attuned to the trumpet of Taylor's own choosing -- counterinsurgency. All the pieces were coming together, and during this formative period a new special group was formed. This was the Special Group (of the NSC), Counterinsurgency, better known as the Special Group CI, or CI. This group presided over the CIA, State and Defense Departments, and others, who hastily put together a host of counterinsurgency nations. It was a watch list, which varied from time to time as intelligence inputs rose and fell with the tides of international events. The Special Group CI list usually ran to about sixteen or seventeen countries, in the order of how deep they were along the path to insurgency and decay. It is worth noting that although the automatic target of CI was Communism, not a single "Communist" country, including Cuba, was on the list. It was characteristic of the new ST focus that the United States was to intervene in the affairs of its friends and not in the affairs of Russia's friends or of China's friends.
This game as it was then played in Washington was a most serious business. As countries were added to the list their military aid programs were hastily escalated, and literally hundreds and sometimes thousands of American military personnel of all types descended upon them. Sometimes they arrived in uniform and sometimes in civilian disguise. They went to work immediately in support of the new political-social-economic doctrine, and before long new schools were being built -- by the army; new hospitals were being built -- by the army; new farming techniques were under way -- by the army; irrigation and water purification projects were under way, -- again by the army. Underlying all of the paramilitary and sometimes real military work was the CIA, working with the host government to weed out, to identify, and to categorize all of the subversive insurgents. In countries where the word Communism had never been applied to bandits, beggars, and rebels before, all of a sudden all opposition was given the name "Communist". All the problems were attributed to Communists, and the counterinsurgency action was under way.
These rather amateurish activities were met with all kinds of receptions in the various host countries. Some were cool to this love-your-army doctrine. Some were stunned. It was pretty bitter medicine for many countries, where hatred and fear of the army had been traditional, to find the Americans coming in with a program designed to make the army into local heroes according to the Magsaysay formula of a Robin Hood game. But what were they -- the Colombians, Congolese, Laotians, Jordanians -- able to say in the face of American "goodwill" and concern? It did a lot of good for the "do-gooders" of counterinsurgency action in the U.S. Government, and if nothing else it served to quickly coalesce the ST. The next move, as SACSA and the Agency consolidated their power and influence in the White House and in the DOD, was to propose the "logical" move of General Taylor to the Pentagon to become chairman of the JCS. As soon as this was accomplished, the Army actively threw itself into the Special Forces mold and set out to win back its position of number one on the defense team.
Thus, all of these pressures and behind-the-scenes efforts piled up before Vietnam, and came to a head in Vietnam. As we have said before, the logistics equipment in huge amounts from Indonesia, Tibet, Laos, the Bay of Pigs, and many other operations all began to accumulate in Vietnam along with the ST personnel, who saw an opportunity to accomplish, almost with abandon, all of the things that they had failed to do or had been unable to do before.
While this was going on quietly and quite subtly before his eyes, President Kennedy did a lot of talking with many old hands about "what has gone wrong with the Bay of Pigs" and "what is the meaning of Vietnam". As has been ably reported by many good writers, President Kennedy was forming his own opinion of what was going on, and the evidence is that he was quite close to the facts and to a real evaluation of what was happening. One of Kennedy's closest friends, Kenny O'Donnell, reports that General MacArthur had "stunned" the President in 1961, after the Bay of Pigs, with his warnings about the folly of trying to match Asian manpower and about the absurdity of the domino theory "in a nuclear age." O'Donnell further reports, "The General implored the President to avoid a U.S. military buildup in Vietnam, or any other part of the Asian mainland. . . ." And Mary McGrory, a reporter, has said, in words more truthful and important than she knew, "President Kennedy, who at the time was caught up in the counterinsurgency mania which had swept the New Frontier, was subsequently startled by the passionate objections of Mansfield. But he told Mansfield privately, after a White House leadership meeting, that he agreed with him "on a need for a complete withdrawal from Vietnam, but I can't do it until 1965 after I get re-elected".
Kennedy had the misfortune, which he was overcoming rapidly, of being young and inexperienced in the inner ways of government, such as those employed by the ST. He could not have realized that Maxwell Taylor, for example, by the time he had returned to the Pentagon as chairman of the JCS, was actually more of a Judas goat, as far as the military was concerned, than the leader of the herd, as he had been when he left three years before. Few great armies have been so vastly demoralized and stricken by an integral campaign as has the U.S. Army since those dark days of 1964 and 1965, when Maxwell Taylor and his ST counterparts led them into Vietnam under the banner of counterinsurgency.
Vietnam is not a simple thing. There were many new forces at play there. It had always galled the Navy and the intelligence community the way General MacArthur had dominated the Pacific during World War II and then later in Korea; and in so doing, he had gained the complete upper hand over all of his adversaries in the U.S. military, especially over "Wild Bill" Donovan of the old OSS. They were violently jealous of him. Admiral Radford, who had been Commander in Chief, Pacific Forces, objected strenuously to any decision that would make Southeast Asia an Army theater of action as MacArthur had made the Korean action an Army show. Radford supported the CIA and Lansdale when they moved into Saigon from Manila. For other reasons the Navy and the CIA had the full support of Cardinal Spellman, since he strongly urged the installation of a Catholic in the President's office in Saigon, and Ngo Dinh Diem and his family were pillars of the Catholic Church in Indochina.
Businesses that had been all but knocked out of the defense contract arena by the end of the Eisenhower regime -- some by the sudden and abrupt swing to ballistic missiles and space during the late fifties -- saw new light at the end of the tunnel in the resurgence of the foot-soldier army and the ground warfare this new dogma presaged. They could expect to go back to making World War II type munitions again and dumping them on the shores of Asia. Perhaps the strongest support for the Vietnamese war has always come from the national defense industries, which benefited tremendously by this windfall. The helicopter industry, which was on the ropes in 1958-59, became a major supplier of war material for Vietnam. At the beginning of the war in Vietnam the Air Force had very few aircraft that could carry a respectable tonnage of bombs -- not because the planes could not carry the load, but because they had all been designed to carry nuclear weapons. As the war became a bombing war -- what McNamara called the "sophisticated war of the North -- all of these huge bombers had to be refitted to carry bombs, and the huge munitions industry put back to work manufacturing bombs. There were many periods in the early days of the bombing when the Air Force actually ran out of bombs while the industry was getting out its old tooling and delivering World War II weapons again.
This war halfway around the world was a major bonanza for the transportation industry and especially for the air transportation groups. During peak years, the DOD was spending three quarters of a billion dollars on charter airlift for Vietnam alone.
In the services, military personnel who saw forced retirement facing them during the sixties were looking at the inevitable retirement as majors, lieutenant colonels, and colonels, until a whole new vista opened with the new plan and its return to a ground war of massive troop strength. Men who had lingered in the grade of lieutenant colonel got their colonel's eagles and some of them leap-frogged by way of the Green Berets and CIA recommendation to become brigadier general, major general, and even lieutenant general. There were so many diverse interests, which all came together in the springtide of Vietnam and grew and grew from under a cloak of classification and secrecy. It would be interesting to discover how men like Lansdale, Peers, Dupuy, Stilwell, Tolson, Rosson, and so many others had served with the CIA and also made rapid promotions to the grade of brigadier general and higher as a result of the CIA, Special Forces, and Vietnam. The list is long, and mostly comprised of the men who are listed in the Pentagon Papers, including of course a great number of civilians in the same category.
Few people realized how some of these operations got started, and how important some of these seemingly small things were in the escalation of Vietnam. The Agency brought a squadron of helicopters down from Laos, and immediately these complicated machines needed a great number of skilled men to support them; then these vast agglomerations of men and machines created their own requirements for additional men to protect them and to feed, house, and support them. The first helicopters came in under the wraps of secrecy. No one seemed to know how they got there; but once they were there the great logistics tail that was essential to keep them operating had to be built in the open, without classification. It could not have been kept secret, even if anyone had tried.
On top of this, since the ST was running the beginnings of the war from Washington, they felt that every gimmick they could dream up was worth a try. Even before the escalation, this plan to build up the action in Vietnam was foreshadowed and preordained by official military-type ST doctrine, which stated: "These natural advantages [of the guerrilla] can be largely neutralized by the imaginative employment of modern technological advances which military research and development have been perfecting since the last war . . . night vision devices, lightweight body armor, portable radar for infantry use, invisible phosphorescent dyes, defoliants to deprive the guerrillas of their jungle cover; fast lightweight, silent, shallowdraft boats for river patrol, and tiny reliable short-range radios. . . . Practical uses for all these new developments can best be found by establishing combat development and test centers in the country where the counterinsurgency campaign is being waged."
Such centers were set up later in Vietnam and proved to be the modern counterpart of the horn of plenty and the runaway Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. The center in Saigon was given the highest priority to send daily messages to the Pentagon, and from there every single request, large and small, important or unimportant, was given a high priority to be carried out, all on the assumption that each and every request of the CDTC (Combat Development Test Center) would help win the war of counterinsurgency. The floodgates were open for the zealots, the irresponsible, and the special interests. Such things make small wars grow fast.
The CIA was the first in Vietnam with helicopters. It introduced the M-16 rifle there, and it brought into Indochina the B-26 bombers left over from Cuba and Indonesia and the T-28 trainer aircraft modified as a ground-attack plane. It had the first L-28 utility aircraft, and it brought in the old C-46, C-47 and C-54 aircraft of World War II vintage. It introduced many new ships, such as the Coast Guard patrol ships and the Norwegian-built PT boats. It used the U-2 and had the use of the product of the RF-105 reconnaissance planes. Many of the battlefield tactics used later by the army were first used in the field by the CIA.
By the middle of 1963 it had become evident that either the President was going to have to step in and put a halt to the spread of this counterinsurgency conflagration or it would consume the country. Everywhere the young Kennedy team turned, they came up against CIA and ST specialists. With the sage and powerful General Erskine gone from the staff of the Secretary of Defense, his replacement in this type of activity was either Bill Bundy, a long-time CIA man; Ed Lansdale, a long-time CIA man also, or others too numerous to mention and so well concealed (such as those who really sent the U-2 out on that fateful May 1 mission) that the unaware McNamara had no defense against their continuing pressures. Even in the office that he thought would give him some buffer between the Agency and the military -- that special office in the Joint Staff -- SACSA, McNamara was getting almost 100 percent CIA action, and when Maxwell Taylor became Chairman even his efforts were expended more in support of the ST, as he saw it, than in regular line military.
This was most discernible to those of us who had been in the Joint Staff for some time. In the days of other chairmen, such as Twining and Lemnitzer, JCS meetings used to be wide-open, entirely professional, and generally constructive. This is not to say there were not some strong differences and stronger language when such men as Arleigh Burke the Chief of Naval Operations, or Curt Lemay, the Air Force chief, did not see eye to eye. In any case, they were marked by discussion. They were not dominated and controlled by the chairman. Then, when Maxwell Taylor became chairman, the meetings were somber and apt to be a one-man-show. Little was ever said by any of the Chiefs pro and con when he was in attendance; but let Taylor be away and the meeting then be chaired by another man, the meetings would be open again.
These top military men who had known Taylor for years, had seen him leave the Army in a huff and had watched him return to the White House, where he cast his lot with the CIA and the ST. They knew that even though he was among them officially as the chairman, he was no longer one of them. He was leading the Army and certain elements of the Navy and Air Force away from their traditional roles and into an opportunistic and uncertain future with the CIA and the ST -- into the orgy of Vietnam.
We have seen earlier that President Kennedy's directive NSAM 57, which laid out the ground rules for covert operations and broke them down on the basis that very small was for CIA and the larger ones must be reviewed and probably assigned to the military, had been so turned around that it had become, in practice, almost meaningless on the intangible issue of when to transition from the CIA to the military. To demonstrate how totally this directive has been circumvented, we should note that there has never been a transition in Saigon, even when the force strength stood at 550,000 men. How large does a peacetime operation have to get before the CIA is told to give up its more than intelligence and more than clandestine operations role? How long before the ambassador is withdrawn? before it is placed in the hands of the professional military commanders?
We have not seen what had happened to NSAM 55, the memo Kennedy had sent directly to General Lemnitzer. The General filed that memo and used its silent power to assure that the military would not become involved in covert operations. When Maxwell Taylor became the chairman, he inherited this power. As a prime mover of the inner and security-cloaked ST, he now had the scepter of greater power in his hands. Whereas the President had called upon the chairman of the JCS to advise him in peacetime as he would in wartime, now he had appointed an adviser who was with the other side. The CIA knew that Taylor would not advise against them any more than Lansdale and Bundy would, up in McNamara's office.
Therefore, with the move of Maxwell Taylor to the chairmanship of the JCS, the ST had checkmated President Kennedy on both NSAM 55 and NSAM 57. As the country moved into the crucial summer of 1963 the President admitted to his closest confidants that he could not move against the right-wingers and the ST. As he told Senator Mansfield, "I can't do it until 1965, after I'm re-elected." And as he told Kenny O'Donnell, "In 1965, I'll be damned everywhere as a Communist appeaser. But I don't care. If I tried to pull out completely now, we would have another Joe McCarthy Red scare on our hands." Then in a broadcast on Sept. 2, 1963, President Kennedy gave a hint of his plans for disengagement when he said, speaking of the Vietnamese, "In the final analysis it is their war. They have to win or lose it." Then, as Mary McGrory says, "But Kennedy, like the two presidents who have followed him, was a captive of the Saigon Government." It is typical of reporters and other researchers to give such limited conclusions, because even as close as they are to the Government they are unable to get behind the screen of secrecy and see how the ST really works. Not only was Kennedy captive of the Saigon Government but he and the Saigon Government were captives of the ST.
As we look back to the beginning of this narrative and to those remarkable papers called, quite incorrectly, the Pentagon Papers we recall that early in October 1963, only one month after the above cited broadcast, McNamara and Maxwell Taylor reported to the President that it looked to them, after their visit to Saigon, as though things could be put under control and that we would be able to withdraw all personnel by the end of 1965. Now we can see why they chose that date. This was the date the President had used in his own discussions with his closest advisers. They all knew that he planned to announce a pullout once he had been re-elected. Less than one month after that report, the men who had been running South Vietnam since they had been placed in power there by the American CIA, along with Ngo Dinh Diem and his brother Nhu, were dead, and the government had been turned over to one of the friendly generals who more properly fit the pattern for counterinsurgency and the new plan. If South Vietnam was to be redeemed it would best be saved by a junta of benevolent army generals -- or so the new military doctrine went.
Less than one month after that date, President Kennedy himself had been shot dead in Dallas. And what is even more portentous, it was less than one month after that tragic date that the same two travelers, McNamara and Taylor, returned again from Saigon and reported to a new President that conditions were bad in South Vietnam and we would have to make a major effort, including American combat troops and a vast "sophisticated" clandestine program, against the North Vietnamese.
The ST struck quickly. While the echo of those shots in Dallas were still ringing, the ST moved to take over the whole direction of the war and to dominate the activity of the United States of America.
In the face of these shocking and terrifying events, who could have expected a man who had been in the range of gunfire that ended the life of his predecessor, to make any moves in those critical days that would indicate he was not going to go along with the pressures which had surfaced so violently in Dallas? He knew exactly what had happened there in Dallas. He did not need to wait for the findings of the Warren Commission. He already knew that the death of Lee Harvey Oswald would never bring any relief to him or to his successors.
1. It may be worthwhile to note that both memoranda were very well written, exceeding by far the usual bureaucratic language of such papers in style and clarity. The writer -- Sorenson? -- was certainly more than one of the run-of-the-mill memo writers. Since the Pentagon Papers seem not to have contained these memoranda, it may be some time before we can learn who wrote these excellent and extremely significant papers for the President.
Five Presidents: "Nightmares We Inherited"
FIVE PRESIDENTS HAVE BEEN RESPONSIBLE FOR AND have had to learn to live with the CIA. A parade of Secretaries of State have seen their power and influence dwindle and be eclipsed almost to extinction by the CIA. Even the Secretary of Defense, who in 1947 was charged with the responsibility for direction of the unified military force of this country, has witnessed the diversion of those forces from their traditional peace time role and their subjugation to the requirements of the special operations activities of the CIA. The conflict in South Vietnam stands as a costly and frightening example of how United States military force can be drawn into an operation in pursuit of the unconventional paramilitary activities of the CIA, and of intangible objectives not in keeping with those of the once proud and historic traditions of military power. The Secretary of Defense retains control over nuclear weapons and their means of delivery. In the context of this book that part of Defense has not become involved in action in support of the ST -- yet.
There have been times when Presidents rode high with the CIA, as with the spectacular escape of the Dalai Lama from beleaguered Tibet, and the encouraging developments in Jordan and other moves to protect and safeguard the oil resources of the Middle East. There have been times of grave embarrassment, as the untimely loss of the spy plane U-2 deep in the heartland of Russia.
John Kennedy rode into office on the shoulders of strong CIA support, re-appointed Allen Dulles and J. Edgar Hoover, and then crashed against the beaches of Cuba with the leaderless Bay of Pigs operational disaster. This episode, coming as it did at the very threshold of his term, awakened him abruptly to the stark realities, gross ineptitude, and sudden dangers of secret operations; and it caused him to study with great care what had gone wrong and where the inherent dangers lay. Supreme Court Justice William 0. Douglas recalling a discussion he and Kennedy had about the Bay of Pigs said, "This episode seared him. He had experienced the extreme power that these groups had, these various insidious influences of the CIA and the Pentagon on civilian policy, and I think it raised in his own mind the specter: Can Jack Kennedy, President of the United States, ever be strong enough to really rule these two powerful agencies? I think it had a profound effect . . . it shook him up!"
The eminent, experienced, and wise Supreme Court Justice states the problem precisely when he says, "Can . . . the President of the United States ever be strong enough to really rule these two powerful agencies?" Can any President learn about, comprehend, and then believe what he has learned about this whole covert and complex subject? Can any President see in this vast mechanism, in which there is so much that is untrue and hidden, the heart and core of the real problem? Will any President be prepared to confront this staggering realization when and if he does uncover it? Is this perhaps the great discovery which President Kennedy made, or was about to make? It is not just the CIA and the DOD that are involved. It is also the FBI, the AEC, the DIA, elements of State and of the Executive Office Building, NSA and the hidden pulse of secret power coursing through almost every area of the body politic. It extends beyond into governmental business, the academic world, and certain very influential sectors of the press, radio, TV, papers, magazines, and the publishing business. Before any President can rule this covert automatic control system, he must find out it is there -- he must be aware of the fact it exists -- and he must devise some means to discover its concealed activity.
President Kennedy made a valiant attempt to effect control over this system with his directives, NSAM 55 and 57, as a start. If he had more actively utilized the NSC system, and if he had structured a really strong and effective Operations Coordinating Board or its equivalent, he might have had a chance to grasp control of some segments of this intragovernmental cybernetic machine. As it was, he lacked the administrative experience of Eisenhower, and he did not fully appreciate the power and significance of the NSC/OCB system of effective control. But, as a result of the Bay of Pigs, the inquiry, and the realization by 1963 of how, despite his great efforts, he was still unable to wrest control from and to rule the ST machine, he was beginning to develop an NSC/OCB technique of his own, which by 1965 might have accomplished this task had he lived to perfect it.
Kennedy's battle was not all with the ST. He was going through the same pressures with other groups -- not the least of which was his quixotic contest within the immensely powerful and ruthless professional education establishment and the equally powerful parochial Catholic school hierarchy. For those who have been unable to accept the one-man theory of the Warren Commission report of the Kennedy assassination, there is in evidence more than enough pressure from any one of several of these groups, or their more radical subgroups, to support the germ of the idea that a sinister conspiracy may have arisen from these pressures. For these groups realized that Kennedy was gaining real knowledge, experience, and political power and that he had to be removed from office before winning the inevitable mandate from the U.S. public, which was certain to be his in 1964.
If ever one event had greater influence upon the course of recent history than those shots ringing over Dealey Plaza in Dallas on November 22, 1963, it would be hard to discover what it might be. The man who was to become President in 1969 had been in Dallas only two days before that. Richard Nixon felt the tensions of Dallas in the air in November 1963. He was pierced by the great shock of that staggering event. As the Bay of Pigs had seared John F. Kennedy, the tensions of Dallas seared Nixon. The man who would immediately succeed President Kennedy as President was in a car behind the President. He did not have to read the Warren Commission report, which Allen Dulles and others helped write, to understand the voice of the oracle.
Harry Truman had observed what happened in Dallas from a position once removed. He pondered the significance of that hour, and one month later he wrote:
"For some time I have been disturbed by the way the CIA has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational and at times a policy-making army of the government. . . I never had any thought that when I set up the CIA that it would be injected into peacetime cloak and dagger operations. Some of the complications and embarrassment that I think we have experienced are in part attributable to the fact that this quiet intelligence arm of the President has been so much removed from its intended role that it is being interpreted as a symbol of sinister and mysterious foreign intrigue and a subject for cold war enemy propaganda."
Who knows the thoughts that passed through his mind during those thirty days from November 22 to December 22 in 1963, thoughts that led him to write those powerful and intense words? What "disturbed" him? Who had "diverted" the Agency? How was it "injected into peacetime cloak and dagger operations"? Who did it? And how was the CIA "much removed from its intended role, having become a symbol of sinister and mysterious intrigue"?
Two wise men, much experienced in the terrible pressures of government, Harry S. Truman and William O. Douglas, came up with similar conclusions, one after Kennedy's searing lesson at the Bay of Pigs and the other after his tragic death in Dallas. Both of them saw sinister intrigue and the extreme power of these two groups, the CIA and the Pentagon. Both saw the various insidious influences of the CIA and the Pentagon, and both wondered as Douglas asked, "Can any President ever be strong enough really to rule?"
A third wise, experienced, and tough man raised his hand in Dallas and accepted the awesome responsibilities of the office of President of the United States. While his ears still rang from the sound of those shots, while the murdered President's young wife stood beside him in blood-soaked clothes, while one of his old friends and political cronies lay seriously wounded in the hospital, and while the body of his young predecessor was lifted gently aboard the Presidential aircraft, what thoughts coursed through his mind? Were they by chance similar to those thoughts of Harry Truman and of William Douglas? We may never know.
Then in the following months, when he was engulfed in the affairs of office, it became quite clear that he had come to some hard, earnest, and inevitable decisions: Hold on, keep the temper of the nation below the boiling point, dedicate all action to the restoration of normalcy, and hope for time and divine assistance and guidance to pull through.
Lest anyone wish to raise the suggestion that Lyndon B. Johnson should have made hard, bold, and decisive moves during those fragile and explosive days, let him recall the frightful days in 1968 after the life of Martin Luther King had been snuffed out by another assassin's bullet. The country was very close to real trouble. Law and order was destroyed, and things were out of control in many major cities. The racial riots inspired by the loss of Martin Luther King were one thing. Any violent recrimination over the sudden death of John F. Kennedy could well have been monstrous. The pressures, the deep tragedy, and the popular unrest were all there. Even though the Warren Report itself really satisfies few serious scholars and investigators, it did serve to get this country through a trying time.
Yet not all the answers are to be found this way. Johnson rode on the popular tide that was running first with Kennedy and then later with him. But all the time, those same great pressures were there. The ST machine, always at its most active and insidious best in adversity, surged forward in the post Kennedy void. The record shows that Lyndon Johnson almost never said "No." The only mechanism in existence designed to control the CIA and other members of the ST consisted of the provisions of the National Security Act of 1947, along with other such legislation and directives. It was designed to curtail, to deny, to stop the ClA's inevitable appetite for self-generated activity. There was no curtailment, no denial, and no strong hand to halt its mad rush into Vietnam. Plans that had been directed toward getting out and home by 1965 were suddenly discarded and never mentioned again. Johnson rode the ship throughout the storm, and the team he inherited steered the course based upon data inputs arising from subversive insurgency inspired sources. The wild force of the cult of the gun, resurrected Manifest Destiny, rampant anti-Communism -- ran away with events in Southeast Asia. Even the popular narrative history of the slaughter and extermination of the American Indians and the ruthless Westward Ho as related by Dee Brown in Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, is tame and more believable compared to the waste and devastation brought about by the forces of savagery unleashed upon the helpless people of Indochina.
By the time President Johnson had to make his decision, he already knew too much. Now he saw what Truman saw, what Justice Douglas saw, what Arnold Toynbee saw, and what so many others could see. He had no place to go. His withdrawal in 1968 came as a surprise; but if the LBJ of old had been able to gird himself for battle again, as once he had characteristically been able to do, the next four years would have witnessed the battle of the century, and would have been a bigger surprise than his sudden announcement not to run again. He gave evidence of this in the remaining months of his tenure when, for the first time, he reined in the wild horses and began to put some control on the runaway Indochina conflagration.
Thus the fifth President who has had to live with the CIA and these other forces came upon the scene. There could not have been a man more suited by experience, determination, and background to take over this job. Richard Nixon had lived intimately with the growing power and the growing momentum of the ST during the Eisenhower years. His experience was unmatched. It may have been a handicap. His learning, his training, his beliefs were all tempered by those more established years. His miscalculations at the time of the television debates with John Kennedy serve to underscore that he was not prepared, not aware of the really sinister nature and character of this special adversary, the ST.
He had actively lived through the Eisenhower peace offensive era. He had gone to Russia to meet Krushchev. He had been as shocked and as damaged by the U-2 disaster as Eisenhower, but for different reasons. He had lost his "sure-thing" election to succeed Eisenhower when the shambles of his own crusade-for-peace inheritance turned out to be more a liability than an asset. Furthermore, he had lost some intangible strength when elements of the ST learned that they could hurt him personally as well as at the polls during his campaign against Kennedy.
Above all of these things, however, was his own wealth of experience and his political know-how. Moreover, he was determined to end the war and to give the nation the "lift of a driving dream". Thus, as two years of the Nixon leadership passed, the nation began to evidence real surprise to see that things were not changing as he had promised. The biggest problem was the war. Nixon's strongest promises had been about the war. All other issues paled before that; yet he not only seemed to be no more effective in the face of the war than Johnson had been; he also seemed to espouse the war. The Kennedy-Johnson war had become the Nixon war. What was astounding was that rather than deny this, he actually appeared to accept the mantle. What had happened? As Truman might have said, "How has he been diverted from his original and self-proclaimed assignment. . . What forces a President to change like that?
Have we now witnessed the real significance of the Truman words, of the Douglas words, or the Toynbee words? Is the President, any President, really capable of ruling these forces of insidious influence? Does he rule and command, or is there another power? Can the ST be harnessed? We have one indelible example after the other which seems to say "No." Before his election, Nixon pledged he would end the war. Early in 1971, assessing the outstanding events of his first two years in office, he declared as follows: "We are on the way out [of the war] and we are on the way out in a way that will bring a just peace, the kind of a peace that will discourage that kind of aggression in the future, and that will build, I hope, the foundation for a generation of peace. That is our major achievement in, I think, the foreign policy field."
In the middle of 1972 the war was raging at renewed intensity, equal to any other time despite the token withdrawal of American troops. What has happened to the "driving dream" and the January 1971 proud achievement?
On January 4, 1971, Richard Nixon sat in the library of the White House with four reporters: John Chancellor of NBC, Eric Sevareid of CBS, Nancy Dickerson of PBS, and Howard K. Smith of ABC. It was Howard K. Smith who in a later interview best said what was on the minds of these reporters even at this interview: "Mr. President, l understand that this has been the winter of your discontent." That was the tone of this earlier meeting as they came to discuss his first two years in office. The 1970 midterm elections had not quite been a defeat for his party; but they were no great mandate either. After a rather lengthy and cheerless interview and toward the end of the questions, Nancy Dickerson addressed the President: "Speaking of your campaigns, you made the kickoff address in New Hampshire in 1968 . . . You made a speech how the next President had to give this country the lift of a driving dream . . . Well, as yet, many people have failed to perceive the lift of a driving dream. I wondered if you could articulate that dream for us briefly and tell us how you plan to specifically get it across to the people in the next two years."
The President is always a most polished television personality, and he is characteristically quick, precise, and alert with his answers. But now, toward the end of a trying session and with the weight of the full meaning of that query heavy on his mind, he did a rather uncharacteristic thing. He hesitated, and he looked almost blankly around the room at the four people there with him, and away from the uncompromising eye of the camera. Then he lowered his head and slowly said: "Miss Dickerson, before we can really get a lift of a driving dream, we have to get rid of some of the nightmares we inherited. One of these nightmares is a war without end. We are ending that war . . . But it takes some time to get rid of the nightmares. You can't be having a driving dream when you are in the midst of a nightmare."
Five Presidents have been responsible for and have learned to live with the CIA. Five Presidents at one time or another, under varying conditions and events, have all suffered from this relationship. It can be said that Richard Nixon has come as close as any of them to putting into words the soul-rending, brutal reality of the impact of the power and of the burden that this covert force places upon the mantle of government, when he said, "You can't have a driving dream when you are in the midst of a nightmare." Like a terrible, haunting, terrorizing nightmare, the sinister machine pervades every aspect of the government today -- and affects all of us, our way of life, and the welfare of the entire world.
We have described the ST. We have talked about who it is, what it does, how it operates. But it would be impossible to uncover everything about it and to attribute to it all that it really is. Likewise, it would be wrong to grant to this cybernetic, automatic-control machine more wisdom, more power, more sense than it really possesses. The worst possible mistake would be to overestimate it. It is not just one finite team of individuals. It is a matrix that changes with the gestation of each new operation. It is a sinister device of opportunity and contrivance. What does exist is the mechanism. What exists is the automatic system, much like a nervous system or an electrical system. More properly, what exists is like a giant electronic data processing machine, on the model of Ross Ashby's idea, which has its own power to grow, to reproduce, and to become more insidiously effective and efficient as it operates.
It is a great intragovernmental infrastructure that is fed by inputs from all sources. It can be driven by the faceless, lobbying pressure of a helicopter manufacturer, or of a giant Cam Ranh Bay general contractor. It can be accelerated by the many small pushes of hundreds of thousands of career military personnel -- uniformed and civilian -- who see higher rank and higher retirement pay as a goal worth seeking. It can be suddenly activated by almost any "counterinsurgency" area or similar "hot button" initiator.
This great machine has been constructed by such able men as "Wild Bill" Donovan, Clark Clifford, Walter Beedle Smith, Allen Dulles, Maxwell Taylor, McGeorge Bundy, and many others, who have guided and molded it into the runaway giant that it is today. It is big business, big government, big money, big pressure, and headless -- all operating in self-centered, utterly self-serving security and secrecy. As C. P. Snow has said, "The euphoria of secrecy goes to the head." And as Allen Dulles has said, perhaps in a slightly different context, this is really the craft of intelligence.
For all its fabrication and apparent unreality, especially in this open society, the ST machine does have a central soul or brain. . . or perhaps. . . holy spirit. It is the evidence of a form of new religion. It has its secrets. It has its divine and unquestioned rights and obligations. It has self-righteous power over life and death. It does not believe in anything. It does not value anything. It is utterly ruthless. Its greatest motivating force and drive is entirely undefined, because it moves by pressure. It reacts. It is therefore blind, meaningless, senseless. It will do anything in the name of anti-Communism. Yet in its greatest anti-Communist war it sees no inconsistency in the killing of one of its most anti-Communist creations -- Ngo Dinh Diem. In its zeal to rid the Caribbean of Communism, it leaps at the chance to rid the Dominican Republic of Latin America's strongest non-Communist, Rafael Trujillo. Any person or groups that know how to get to this infrastructure, who have the clearances, who have the need-to-know, can make an input into this ST, and as long as the desired action is anti-Communist, the system will operate.
As Kennedy saw, as Johnson may have seen, as Nixon's "nightmare" may suggest, there is but one way to control this massive ST structure. It must be uncovered. It must be made known. It must be exposed to the light. And then it must be told No. To be effective, this means that Congress must cut its money off, not only at the central source, but at all the hidden nerve centers.
Before it is too late, we Americans must realize that this great cancer exists. We must expose it for pro-American reasons; not as a work of anti-Communism. We have been subjected to so many anti-American and pro-Communist notions all in the name of anti-Communism, that words and facts almost elude us. We must look at all actions -- political, social, governmental, and international -- in terms of their being pro-American. There is such a world of difference between a truly pro-American positive action, and an anti-Communist passive, or reactive, operation.
It is not pro-American to pay barbaric tribute before the shrine of anti-Communism in Southeast Asia by sacrificing fifty-five thousand young men there. Neither is it pro-American to pay tribute in the amount of hundreds of billions of dollars before false altars of savagery there. There may be some argument, some slight argument, about such central effort being anti-Communist. We have been so brainwashed about the meaning of anti-Communism for twenty-five years that we may have forgotten what it really means. To be anti-Communist should mean that an action does have some effect upon real Communists and Communism; certainly the loss of not one Russian in an anti-Communist war can hardly be hurting the Russians one bit. But regardless of this semantic issue, the fact is that what had been going on in Indochina is not pro-American, and that is what matters the most.
Thus this ST must be exposed, bared, and silenced. Then a new and better way of life must be created. We must end the philosophy of Defense. The alternative is not simply Offense, either. The real alternative is the requirement for a sensible strategic concept to meet American needs, not to counter imagined and suspected Communist threats. We must end the policy of "Re-action" in favor of planned action and positive diplomacy. We must end the exploitation of secret intelligence by clandestine operations.
The first twenty-five years of the CIA have given solid evidence of how important the ideas of those legislators in 1947 were. The CIA should be, must be, the "quiet intelligence arm of the President". Not his nightmare. The CIA should be limited to the function of intelligence -- and not a bit more.