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Thread: The Military-Industrial Complex in the 50s and 60s

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    Default The Military-Industrial Complex in the 50s and 60s

    Future Warren Commission member John McCloy was one of the key people behind the building of the Pentagon in the 1940s. (The Wise Men, Walter Isaacson & Evan Thomas)

    8/1949 US News & World Report editorialized, "War scare is having to be drummed up again to excite interest in a gift of arms to other nations. War talk is artificial, phony, but it is regarded as necessary to get Congress stirred up enough to produce a favorable vote."

    9/1952 the Wall St. Journal commented that "the economy is adjusting itself to increasingly heavy infusions of military spending. 'It's like dope,' says one economist. 'It's a lot easier to start the habit than to break it.'"

    4/16/1953 "Every gun that is fired, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.... We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat (by 1987, the price was twenty million bushels). We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than eight thousand people.. This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron." -- Dwight David Eisenhower's Cross of Iron speech

    In 1958, Senator John Kennedy delivered a major speech attacking the Eisenhower administration for allowing a “missile gap” to open up between allegedly superior Soviet forces and those of the United States. Kennedy repeated the charge of a missile gap in his successful 1960 presidential campaign, developing it into an argument for increased military spending. When he became president, his science adviser, Jerome Wiesner, informed him in February 1961 that "the missile gap was a fiction " -to which Kennedy replied with a single expletive, "delivered," Wiesner said, "more in anger than in relief. " (Gregg Herken interview of Jerome Wiesner, February 9, 1982. Cited by Christopher A. Preble, "Who Ever Believed in the 'Missile Gap'? John F. Kennedy and the Politics of National Security, " Presidential Studies Quarterly 33 , no. 4 (December 2003 , p.816) The United States in fact held an overwhelming strategic advantage over the Soviets' missile force. Whether or not Kennedy already suspected the truth, he had taken a Cold War myth, had campaigned on it, and now partly on its basis, was engaged in a dangerous military buildup as president. Marcus Raskin, an early Kennedy administration analyst who left his access to power to become its critic, summarized the ominous direction in which the new president was headed: " The United States intended under Kennedy to develop a war-fighting capability on all levels of violence from thermonuclear war to counterinsurgency. " (Gareth Porter, Perils of Dominance ( Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005), p. 14. Marcus G. Raskin, Essays of a Citizen (Armonk, N.Y. : M. E. Sharpe, 1991), p. 52.

    In the last few months of the administration of Dwight Eisenhower, the Air Force began to argue that it needed a successor to its F-105 tactical fighter. This became known as the TFX/F-111 project. In January, 1961, McNamara changed the TFX from an Air Force program to a joint Air Force-Navy under-taking. On 1st October, the two services sent the aircraft industry the request for proposals on the TFX and the accompanying work statement, with instructions to submit the bids by 1st December, 1961. Three of the bids were submitted by individual companies: the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation, the North American Aviation Corporation and the Boeing Company. The other three bids represented team efforts: Republic Aviation & Chance Vought; General Dynamics Corporation & Grumman Aircraft; and McDonnell Aircraft & Douglas Aircraft. It soon became clear that Boeing was expected to get the contract. Its main competitor was the General Dynamics/Grumman bid. General Dynamics had been America’s leading military contractors during the early stages of the Cold War. For example, in 1958 it obtained $2,239,000,000 worth of government business. This was a higher figure than those obtained by its competitors, such as Lockheed, Boeing, McDonnell and North American. More than 80 percent of the firm’s business came from the government. However, the company lost $27 million in 1960 and $143 million in 1961. According to an article by Richard Austin Smith in Fortune Magazine, General Dynamics was close to bankruptcy. Smith claimed that “unless it gets the contract for the joint Navy-Air Force fighter (TFX)… the company was down the road to receivership”. General Dynamics had several factors in its favor. The president of the company was Frank Pace, the Secretary of the Army (April, 1950-January, 1953). The Deputy Secretary of Defense in 1962 was Roswell Gilpatric, who before he took up the post, was chief counsel for General Dynamics. The Secretary of the Navy was John Connally, a politician from Texas, the state where General Dynamics had its main plant.

    1/17/1961 In his farewell address to the nation, Ike said, "We face a hostile ideology global in scope, atheistic in character, ruthless in purpose, and insidious in method. Unhappily the danger it poses promises to be of indefinite duration...Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction." But then he issued a surprising warning: "Our military establishment today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peacetime...we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions...We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations. This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence - economical, political, even spiritual - is felt in every city, every State House, every office of the Federal government...we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex...We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes...Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together...The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present--and is gravely to be regarded...we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological and I, and our government--must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow."

    In Kennedy's short presidency, the military-industrial complex actually increased its profits and power. JFK's initial call to develop a military response to the Soviet Union and its allies that would be "more flexible" than the Eisenhower policy of mutual assured destruction expanded the Pentagon's contracts with U.S. corporations. Yet in the summer of 1963, the leaders of the military-industrial complex could see storm clouds on their horizon. After JFK's American University address and his quick signing of the Test Ban Treaty with Khrushchev, corporate power holders saw the distinct prospect in the not distant future of a settlement in the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union. Both Kennedy and Khrushchev were prepared to shift their war of conflicting ideologies to more peaceful fronts. Kennedy wanted a complete ban on the testing of nuclear weapons, then mutual steps in nuclear disarmament. He saw a willing partner in Khrushchev, who wanted to ease the huge burden of arms expenditures on the Soviet economy. In that direction of U. S .-Soviet disarmament lay the diminished power of a corporate military system that for years had controlled the United States government. In his turn toward peace, Kennedy was beginning to undermine the dominant power structure that Eisenhower had finally identified and warned against so strongly as he left the White House. (James Douglass, JFK and the Unspeakable)

    1/21/1961 Robert McNamara becomes Secretary of Defense, head of an organization that has 2.5 million military personnel and 1.5 million civilians. He pulled enormous power into his office and away from the Service Secretaries, who bitterly resented what they considered an unlawful usurpation of power by the Defense Secretary. In January, Eisenhower had submitted a proposed Defense Dept budget for FY 1962 of $41.8 billion. Within two months, Kennedy and McNamara had added nearly $2 billion to the requests to provide more money for Polaris-armed subs, increase research in non-nuclear weapons and boost Army personnel. McNamara also wanted to cut funding for the B-70. (Mollenhoff, The Pentagon)

    2/6/1961 NY Times reported, "Kennedy Defense Study Finds No Evidence of a 'Missile Gap'." The source for this was a background interview McNamara gave the night before; he had told the reporters that if there was a gap, it was in favor of the US. JFK sent out Salinger to deny the stories about the missile gap: "These stories are incorrect. Absolutely wrong. No studies have been completed and no such finding has been made..."

    2/8/1961 JFK said in a press conference that "it would be premature to reach a judgment as to whether there is a gap or not a gap." Then he wrote a memo to Bundy: "Could you let me know what progress has been made on the history of the missile gap controversy...I would like to know its we came to the judgment that there was a missile gap." (Profile of Power 59)

    3/28/1961 JFK told Congress, "Our arms must be subject to ultimate civilian control and command at all times...The primary purpose of our arms is peace, not deter all insure the adequacy of our bargaining power for an end to the arms race. The basic problems facing the world today are not susceptible to a military solution. Neither our strategy nor our psychology as a nation - and certainly not our economy - must become dependent upon the permanent maintenance of a large military establishment...Our arms will never be used to strike the first blow in any attack." JFK told Congress that he had ordered McNamara to "reappraise our entire defense strategy, capacity, commitments and needs in the light of present and future dangers." Initially, the basic policies outlined by President Kennedy in a message to Congress on March 28, 1961, guided McNamara in the reorientation of the defense program. Kennedy rejected the concept of first-strike attack and emphasized the need for adequate strategic arms and defense to deter nuclear attack on the United States and its allies. U.S. arms, he maintained, must constantly be under civilian command and control, and the nation's defense posture had to be "designed to reduce the danger of irrational or unpremeditated general war". The primary mission of U.S. overseas forces, in cooperation with allies, was "to prevent the steady erosion of the Free World through limited wars". Kennedy and McNamara rejected massive retaliation for a posture of flexible response. The U.S. wanted choices in an emergency other than "inglorious retreat or unlimited retaliation", as the president put it.

    3/30/1961 The first announcement of 73 base closings by Defense Secretary McNamara. He claimed it would result in the saving of $220 million a year. (The Pentagon, Mollenhoff)

    Retired Admiral Chester Ward said in the spring of 1961, "Some of the advisers now surrounding the President have philosophies regarding foreign affairs which would chill the average American."

    “The SAC [Strategic Air Command] people never seemed to be satisfied that to kill once was enough. They want to kill, overkill, overkill, because all of this has built up the prestige of SAC, it created the need for more forces, for a larger budget. …. [T]hat’s the way their thinking went.” - Admiral Roy L. Johnson, USN (ret’d), Deputy Director of Joint Strategic Target Planning Staff (1961-1963) 6 December 1980

    4/7/1961 Time magazine had a report from General Electric challenging the president's decision to cancel development of a nuclear-powered aircraft; they claimed they could build a nuclear engine for a test flight by 1963 "for less than one-fifth of the additional billion dollars mentioned by Kennedy."

    4/14/1961 Wire services and newspapers throughout the world carried a story quoting the independent Overseas Weekly to the effect that Gen. Walker had been indoctrinating his troops in West Germany with John Birch Society literature since last fall. The Weekly also reported that Walker had called Truman, Eleanor Roosevelt and Dean Acheson “definitely pink.” Walker denied the charges.

    4/16/1961 This night, General Edwin Walker leaves his command in West Germany -- he is in disfavor with the administration for indoctrinating his troops with right-wing propaganda. Says Walker: “My career has been destroyed. I must find another means of serving my country in time of her great need. To do this I must be free from the power of the little men who, in the name of my country, punish loyal service to it.”

    4/17/1961 On the night of 16-17 April 1961, when the relatively young President needed the advice of the armed forces as the Bay of Pigs invasion was turning into an unmitigated fiasco, the tension between President Kennedy and Admiral Burke was palpable. As told by Admiral Burke’s biographer, the late E.B. Potter, in the early-morning hours of 17 April, President Kennedy, Vice President Lyndon Johnson, Secretary of State Dean Rusk, and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, in white tie and tails, along with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Lyman Lemnitzer and Admiral Burke, in dress uniforms with medals, left the East Room, where the annual Congressional Reception had just concluded, headed for the Oval Office. There, Richard M. Bissell of the CIA informed President Kennedy that although the situation was bad, it "could still take a favorable turn if the President would authorize sending in aircraft from the carrier." "Burke concurred," wrote Potter. "Let me take two jets and shoot down the enemy aircraft," he urged. But President Kennedy said "No," and reminded them that he had said "over and over again" that he would not commit U.S. forces to combat. Apparently, he did not want the world to find out what it already knew, that the whole expedition had been conceived, planned, and armed by the United States. According to Potter, "Burke suggested sending in a destroyer. Whereupon Kennedy explodes. ‘Burke.’ He snapped, ‘I don’t want the United States involved in this.’ ‘All in all, Mr. President,’ Burke snapped back, ‘but we are involved."’

    Summer 1961: There are approximately 1,250 generals and admirals on active duty in all branches of the US military. “In the summer of 1961, irritation arose over irresponsible and unreasonable censorship of public speeches. High-ranking military officers expressed concern over changes made by the censors that did not seem to make sense, and for which they had received no explanation.” By the fall of 1961 Sen. Strom Thurmond demanded an investigation. (The Pentagon, Clark Mollenhoff, 1967)

    6/4/1961 A full-page ad in the Los Angeles Mirror-News ran, "The summit meeting has failed. What does that mean for you? A fantastic electronics boom. Billions of dollars, a healthy industry in Southern California employing 110,000 people."

    6/12/1961 Gen. Walker was reprimanded by the Army for "taking injudicious actions and for making derogatory public statements about prominent Americans while in command of the 24th Infantry Division in Germany." His planned assignment to command of VIII Corps in Texas is changed to assistant chief of staff for training and operations in Hawaii.

    6/18/1961 NY Times reported, "The Pentagon is having its troubles with rightwingers in uniform. A number of officers of high and middle rank are indoctrinating their commands and the civilian population near their bases with political theories resembling those of the John Birch Society. They are also holding up to criticism and ridicule some official policies of the US Government. The most conspicuous example of some of these officers is Maj. Gen. Edwin A. Walker..."
    Last edited by Tracy Riddle; 06-13-2013 at 02:49 PM.

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    7/7/1961 The U.S. was far ahead in the arms race. Yet the military continued to press for a rapid build-up of strategic missiles. Curtis LeMay had asked for at least 2,400 Minutemen; Gen. Thomas Power of the Strategic Air Command had asked for 10,000. All were to be unleashed in a single paroxysm of mass annihilation, known as SIOP, the Single Integrated Operational Plan. SIOP was a recipe for blowing up the world, whether in a first or a second strike. As McGeorge Bundy wrote to the President on July 7, 1961:
    "...All agree that the current strategic war plan is dangerously rigid and, if continued without amendment, may leave you with very little choice as to how you face the moment of thermonuclear truth. We believe that you may want to raise this question with Bob McNamara in order to have a prompt review and new orders if necessary. In essence, the current plan calls for shooting off everything we have in one shot, and is so constructed as to make any more flexible course very difficult." (quoted in Kaplan, 297) During that summer of 1961, the Defense Secretary ordered an overhaul of SIOP carried out by RAND analysts (including Daniel Ellsberg) and quickly approved by the JCS. (Bobbitt, 48) Kennedy and Defense Secretary Robert McNamara eventually imposed a limit of 1,000 Minuteman missiles, angering the Chiefs. Kennedy also launched efforts to gain operational control of the nuclear force, then far from being securely concentrated in the President's hands.

    7/19/1961 "At a Georgetown dinner party recently, the wife of a leading senator sat next to Gen. Curtis LeMay, chief of staff of the Air Force. He told her a nuclear war was inevitable. It would begin in December and be all over by the first of the year. In that interval, every major American city -- Washington, New York, Philadelphia, Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles -- would be reduced to rubble. Similarly, the principal cities of the Soviet Union would be destroyed. The lady, as she tells it, asked if there were any place where she could take her children and grandchildren to safety; the general would, of course, at the first alert be inside the top-secret underground hideout near Washington from which the retaliatory strike would be directed. He told her that certain unpopulated areas in the far west would be safest." --Marquis Childs, nationally syndicated columnist, Washington Post, 19 July 1961

    A 1994 article (PDF) about Curtis Le May: 2/Item 13.pdf

    Did Gen. Curtis E. Le May, chief of the Strategic Air Command in the 1950s and the model for one nuke-crazed general in the film "Dr. Strangelove," have a real-life secret agenda of trying to provoke nuclear war with the Soviet Union?

    That's the question raised by the recent disclosure of unauthorized U.S. Air Force spy flights over the U.S.S.R. in 1954, 1957 and 1958. These overflights were revealed in a BBC documentary in May in which U.S. airmen talked about how Le May ordered provocative flights over the Soviet Union, apparently without the permission of President Eisenhower.
    It was at this meeting that the question arises about Le May's motives. Hal Austin recalls what happened next: "Then Gen. Le May said, 'Well, maybe if we do this overflight right, we can get World War III started.'
    Nonetheless, six months later, Le May authorized more flights. In December 1956, he sent three RB-47 aircraft over Vladivostock. This time, the Soviets went public. Still-classified minutes of a White House meeting shows that Eisenhower was furious and rebuked the Air Force. The Air Force, in response to Freedom of Information Act requests, says it cannot find the records of these flights.
    Another clue comes from Hal Austin. He crossed paths with Le May again in the late
    '80s, at Air Force Village West, a retirement community in Riverside, California. "I brought up the subject of the mission we had flown," Austin recalled. "And he apparently remembered it like it was yesterday. We chatted about it a little bit. His comment again was 'Well; we'd have been a hell of a lot better off if we'd got World War III started in those days.' Well, who knows? We'll never know because history didn't go that way."

    7/1961 This month, Sen. Fulbright, “noting the activities of General Edwin Walker, called for an investigation of the Institute for American Strategy, the Richardson Foundation, the National War College, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff – all for subversive activity. Fulbright compared the mentality of some US military men to that of the OAS (Secret Army Organization) in Algeria…” (Webster Tarpley, Synthetic Terror)
    The Fulbright Memorandum was drafted in July 1961 as a personal communication between the Senate and the Secretary of Defense, who was Robert McNamara.[2] Entitled "Propaganda Activities of Military Personnel Directed at the Public," the memorandum began by noting that a 1958 National Security Council directive had made it the policy of the United States "to make use of military personnel and facilities to arouse the public to the menace of the Cold War." Fulbright reported that private organizations were preparing material that was then distributed by the military, material which was contrary to the President's policies. He noted that the actual programs being carried out under the 1958 directive "made use of extremely radical right-wing speakers and/or materials, with the probable net result of condemning foreign and domestic policies of the administration in the public mind."

    Fulbright's allusion to a military coup, came as follows: "Perhaps it is farfetched to call forth the revolt of the French generals as an example of the ultimate danger. Nevertheless, military officers, French or American, have some common characteristics arising from their profession and there are numerous military 'fingers on the trigger' throughout the world. While this danger may appear very remote, contrary to American tradition, and even American military tradition, so also is the 'long twilight struggle' [referring to President Kennedy's characterization of the Cold War as a conflict which may not be solved 'in our lifetime'], and so also is the very existence of an American military program for educating the public."[3]

    Fulbright called for a review of the mission and operation of the National War College—as to whether it should operate under the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS)—and also urged that the relationships among FPRI, IAS, the Richardson Foundation, the National War College, and the JCS, be reexamined "from the standpoint of whether these relationships do not amount to official support for a viewpoint at variance with that of the administration."

    Fulbright cited 11 examples of questionable educational and propaganda activities involving military personnel; these included:

    * A "Strategy for Survival" conference held at Fort Smith and Little Rock, Arkansas, dominated by George S. Benson and other speakers from Harding College in Searcy, Arkansas. (Benson, one of the leaders of the Church of God which produced "Get Clinton" operative, independent counsel Kenneth Starr, among others, was a British-linked intelligence operative and evangelist.) Harding College produced a widely circulated film, "Communism on the Map," which blamed the advance of Communism on Franklin Roosevelt (for recognizing the Soviet Union) and on Gen. George Marshall (for allowing the Communist takeover of China).

    * A "Fourth Dimensional Warfare Seminar" in Pittsburgh, including a prominent speaker from the IAS who said that U.S. foreign policy since World War II had played into Soviet hands, and that some of Kennedy's advisers "have philosophies regarding foreign affairs that would chill the average American."

    * Other meetings and seminars which promoted the pro-House Un-American Activities Committee film "Operation Abolition," and which featured Dr. Fred C. Schwartz of the Christian Anti-Communist Crusade, Herbert Philbrick, Frank Barnett of the Richardson Foundation and IAS—all of whom warned of Communist subversion and infiltration and attacked the policies of the Kennedy Administration.

    Attached to the Fulbright Memorandum were a number of documents, including an article from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists which focused on the book American Strategy for the Nuclear Age, which was described as outlining the master curriculum for the military-related seminars. The book was written by Frank Barnett, then the research director for both the IAS and the Richardson Foundation, and it contained contributions from FPRI director Robert Strausz-Hupé (see Profile, in this section), and Col. William Kintner (then assigned to FPRI).

    The article accurately described the IAS as having grown out of a 1955 symposium in Chicago called the "National Military-Industrial Conference"; the IAS was established and financed by the H. Smith Richardson Foundation to carry forward the work of the Conference. In 1959, the IAS began a series of "National Strategy Seminars," which were authorized by the JCS to take over the education of reserve officers. IAS and Strausz-Hupé worked closely with the National War College in this period. (Among the speakers at these seminars were Harvard's William Yandell Elliott and Henry Kissinger.)

    The Fulbright Memorandum, as could be expected, set off a huge controversy, with articles and editorials—and not a little behind-the-scenes activity as well.

    For example, FPRI and its Director Strausz-Hupé went on a mobilization to deny that they were organizing a military coup. FPRI circulated a private letter to its "Associates, friends and supporters" on Oct. 18, 1961, containing an attack on Fulbright and a lengthy defense of its own actions. Among other things, it stated: "The Foreign Policy Research Institute takes a certain pride in being linked to the four organizations mentioned in the Fulbright memorandum. However, an investigation of our relationships with them will be a disappointment to our critics. There is no sinister plot underfoot at the Foreign Policy Research Institute to inspire United States military personnel to launch a coup d'état along the lines of the abortive French affair in Algeria."

    Shortly after this, Strausz-Hupé drafted a letter to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, and sent a copy to William Yandell Elliott, with a "Dear Bill" cover letter. Elliott had been a speaker at some of the seminars in question, including one at the National War College in July 1960, and another in Chicago in April 1961.

    7/20/1961 At a National Security Council Meeting, the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s Gen. Lemnitzer and CIA director Allen Dulles present a plan for a preemptive nuclear attack on the Soviet Union "in late 1963, preceded by a period of heightened tensions." President Kennedy walks out of the meeting, saying to Secretary of State Dean Rusk, "And we call ourselves the human race." (Brothers, Talbott)

    Arthur Schlesinger's Robert Kennedy and His Times gives this account:
    "...Kennedy received the Net Evaluation, an annual doomsday briefing analyzing the chances of nuclear war. An Air Force General presented it, said Roswell Gilpatric, the deputy secretary of defense, "as though it were for a kindergarten class.. Finally Kennedy got up and walked right out in the middle of it, and that was the end of it. We never had another one." (p. 483)

    McGeorge Bundy evidently refers to the same meeting in this passage:
    "In the summer of 1961 [Kennedy] went through a formal briefing on the net assessment of a general nuclear war between the two superpowers, and he expressed his own reaction to Dean Rusk as they walked from the cabinet room to the Oval Office for a private meeting on other subjects: "And we call ourselves the human race." (p. 354)

    Dean Rusk describes the meeting as an "awesome experience" in his memoirs, As I Saw It, published in 1990.
    "President Kennedy clearly understood what nuclear war meant and was appalled by it. In our many talks together, he never worried about the threat of assassination, but he occasionally brooded over whether it would be his fate to push the nuclear button... If any of us had doubts, that 1961 briefing convinced us that a nuclear war must never be fought. Consequently, throughout the Kennedy and Johnson years we worked to establish a stable deterrent..." (p. 246-7)

    Numerous other apparent accounts of the meeting exist, though they do not refer to it by name or date. All agree on Kennedy's reaction. But none reveal what was actually discussed. Theodore Sorenson's Kennedy, published only four years later, presents an understandably benign version:

    "That briefing confirmed, however, the harsh facts [Kennedy] already knew: (1) that neither the Soviet Union nor the United States could 'win' a nuclear war in any rational sense of the word; (2) that, except to deter an all-out Soviet attack, our threat of 'massive retaliation' to every Communist move was no longer credible, now that it invited our own destruction; and (3) that a policy of 'pre-emptive first strike' or 'preventive war' was no longer open to either side, inasmuch as even a surprise missile attack would trigger, before those missiles reached their targets, a devastating retaliation that neither country could risk or accept." (p. 513)

    Unfortunately, the critical third point was not yet true. As UnderSecretary of State Roger Hilsman wrote in 1967:
    "As the intelligence community looked at their estimates in 1958, 1959, and 1960, and even through the first half of 1961, they saw a missile gap developing that would come to a peak about 1963." (p. 162)

    What Hilsman does not say explicitly is that the estimated missile gap was in America's favor. The Soviets had virtually no operational ICBMs in 1961, a fact known to American intelligence at least by the end of 1960. And it appears the Russians did not solve their fundamental technical problem, namely building a hydrogen bomb small enough to be carried by a missile of manageable size, until years later. (Sorenson, 524; Bobbitt, 61).

    The memorandum reproduced here was written for Vice President Lyndon Johnson, who did not attend the meeting, by Colonel Howard Burris, his military aide.

    TOP SECRET EYES ONLY (Declassified: June, 1993)
    Notes on National Security Council Meeting July 20, 1961

    General Hickey, Chairman of the Net Evaluation Subcommittee, presented the annual report of his group. General Lemnitzer stated that the assumption of this year's study was a surprise attack in late 1963, preceded by a period of heightened tensions.

    After the presentation by General Hickey and by the various members of the Subcommittee, the President asked if there had ever been made an assessment of damage results to the U.S.S.R which would be incurred by a preemptive attack. General Lemnitzer stated that such studies had been made and that he would bring them over and discuss them personally with the President. In recalling General Hickey's opening statement that these studies have been made since 1957, the President asked for an appraisal of the trend in the effectiveness of the attack. General Lemnitzer replied that he would also discuss this with the President.

    Since the basic assumption of this year's presentation was an attack in late 1963, the President asked about probable effects in the winter of 1962. Mr. Dulles observed that the attack would be much less effective since there would be considerably fewer missiles involved. General Lemnitzer added a word of caution about accepting the precise findings of the Committee since these findings were based upon certain assumptions which themselves might not be valid.

    The President posed the question as to the period of time necessary for citizens to remain in shelters following an attack. A member of the Subcommittee replied that no specific period of time could be cited due to the variables involved, but generally speaking, a period of two weeks should be expected.

    The President directed that no member in attendance at the meeting disclose even the subject of the meeting.

    7/21/1961 UPI story by David Burnham reported "Study Asserts Military Rightists Raise Obstacles to Kennedy Program."

    7/25/1961 JFK, in a major television speech on the crisis in Berlin, calls for additional $3.5 billion for defense and additional reserve troops, increasing draft calls, and recommending the construction of fallout shelters. "We cannot and will not permit the Communists to drive us out of Berlin, either gradually or by force" Yet Kennedy also stressed the dangers: "miscommunication could rain down more devastation in several hours than has been wrought in all the wars of human history" He asked for increased military appropriations and called out 150,000 reserve personnel. But he did not engage the Soviets. The wall was allowed to remain intact when constructed in August of 1961, a symbolic column of soldiers was sent through to West Berlin, and a fallout shelter program was undertaken in the United States. With the Burris memorandum, the reasoning behind the fallout shelter program now begins to fall into place. As a civil defense measure against a Soviet nuclear attack, the flimsy cinderblock shelters Americans were told to build were absurd. But they could indeed protect those in them, for a couple of weeks, from radiation drifting thousands of miles after a U.S. pre-emptive strike on the Soviet Union. It is known that Kennedy later regretted this program.

    7/26/1961 Sen. Strom Thurmond defended the anti-Communist views of the military in a speech before the Senate: "The military officers...are charged with defending our country from all enemies, foreign and domestic...the military leader must know the enemy in order to defend our country against him....There can be no truthful denial that our country and its leaders have, on many occasions in the past, accepted the most thinly-veiled Communist fronts for whatever they purported themselves to be."

    7/29/1961 Sen. Barry Goldwater, in a speech to the American Legion, criticized "the repeated and growing attacks being made on our military leaders, and to the strenuous efforts being made to muzzle them and prevent them from telling their troops and the American people some of the facts which they should know...This is no pink tea we are engaged in - it is a grim battle to the death."

    8/1/1961 St Petersburg Times (Florida) reported that MacDill AFB had received word that it would remain open until at least June 1963. “This is a definite extension of more than a year, since plans had been to phase out the Strategic Air Command (SAC) base in April and May of 1962. Col. Wayne Connors, MacDill base commander, said the extension means that some major repairs to air strip surfaces will be made.” Wikipedia: In 1962, MacDill AFB was transferred to Tactical Air Command (TAC). Bomber aircraft would remain at MacDill until the 306th Bombardment Wing's transfer to McCoy AFB, and SAC would continue to maintain a tenant presence at MacDill through the 1980s, utilizing their Alert Facility as a dispersal location for B-52 and KC-135 aircraft. But for all practical purposes, the 1960s marked MacDill's transition to a fighter-centric TAC installation. Under TAC, MacDill remained a fighter base for almost 30 years, but other changes went on in the background.

    8/30/1961 The Soviet Union resumes atmospheric testing of thermonuclear weapons, exploding a hydrogen bomb over Siberia. British PM Harold Macmillan recalled in his memoirs (At the End of the Day, 1961-1963) that he "knew the strong pressure being brought upon him [JFK] by the Pentagon and the atomic scientists to resume [aboveground nuclear] tests immediately...At the same time I knew that Kennedy was desperately anxious to postpone the day of resuming tests, which he regarded as a confession of failure in the diplomatic field." In 1961 the US had 450 nuclear missiles, the Kennedy administration was asking for 950, but the JCS wanted 3000. When JFK discovered that 450 was adequate for the military's needs, he asked McNamara why they were pushing for 950; McNamara replied, "that's the smallest number we can take up on the Hill without getting murdered." (The Best and the Brightest p91) "The alliance between the military and the right disturbed the Kennedys. This was why the President backed McNamara so vigorously in the effort to stop warmongering speeches by generals and admirals." (RFK and his Times p484) McNamara told Robert Scheer in 1982 that during JFK's presidency, the JCS was always pushing for a nuclear first-strike capability, which Kennedy and McNamara rejected. (With Enough Shovels p10) O'Brien recalled him complaining about the military: "They always give you their pitch about their instant reaction and their split-second timing, but it never works out. No wonder it's so hard to win a war." (No Final Victories p142)

    9/25/1961 JFK’s speech at the United Nations: "Today, every inhabitant of this planet must contemplate the day when this planet may no longer be habitable. Every man, woman and child lives under a nuclear sword of Damocles, hanging by the slenderest of threads, capable of being cut at any moment by accident or miscalculation or by madness. The weapons of war must be abolished before they abolish us. " . . . It is therefore our intention to challenge the Soviet Union, not to an arms race, but to a peace race-to advance together step by step, stage by stage, until general and complete disarmament has been achieved."

    Late September 1961: State Dept issued a document entitled 'Freedom from War: The United States Program for General and Complete Disarmament in a Peaceful World,' which would ban nuclear weapons, keep space free of armed conflict, and "no state (including the U.S.) would have the military power to challenge the progressively strengthened UN Peace Force." (Gary Allen, None Dare Call it Treason p81) This was based on Kennedy's recent speech.

    10/1/1961 The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) was created by Robert McNamara. It was designed to coordinate all US military intelligence; the CIA saw this as a threat. Its first director was Lt. Gen. Joseph F. Carroll, former inspector general of the Air Force. He had been with the FBI and was a leading aide to J Edgar Hoover. He moved to Air Force in 1947 to set up its first investigation and counter-intelligence section. His two main subordinates, Maj. Gen. William W. Quinn and Rear Adm. Samuel B. Frankel, were former CIA men and had worked closely with Allen Dulles. Quinn left the DIA to become commander of the 7th Army in 11/1963. By 1964 the DIA had supplanted the services' intelligence groups and was competing with the CIA for overall intelligence coordination. (The Invisible Government, Wise p211-16) The DIA is made up of both civilians and military personnel. It is said to have 7000 employees. (The Intelligence War p27)

    In October 1961, the president's newly appointed personal representative in West Berlin, retired General Lucius Clay, tried to escalate the Berlin crisis to a point where the president would be forced to choose victory. In August, Khrushchev had ordered the building of the Berlin Wall, thereby ending a mass exodus of East Germans to the capitalist side of the city. In September, General Clay began secret preparations to tear down the wall. He ordered Major General Albert Watson, the U.S. military commandant in West Berlin, to have army engineers build a duplicate section of the Berlin Wall in a forest. U.S. tanks with bulldozer attachments then experimented with assaults on the substitute wall. General Bruce Clarke, who commanded U.S. forces in Europe, learned of Clay's exercise and put a stop to it. (Raymond L. Garthoff, " Berlin 1961: The Record Corrected, " Foreign Policy no. 84 (Fall 1991) , p.147)

    When he told Clay to end the wall-bashing rehearsals, Clarke looked at Clay's red telephone to the White House and said, "If you don't like that, call the President and see what he says.” (Reeves, President Kennedy: Profile of Power, p. 249.) Clay chose not to. Nor did either man ever inform the president of what had gone on at the secret wall in the forest. While Kennedy remained unaware of Clay's provocative planning, Khrushchev was much better informed. Soviet spies had watched the forest maneuvers, had taken pictures of them, and had relayed their reports and pictures to Moscow. Khrushchev then assembled a group of close advisers to plot out step by step their counter scenario to a U.S. assault on the Berlin Wall. (Garthoff, " Berlin 1961, " pp. 147-48 , 152) However, Nikita Khrushchev doubted that John Kennedy had authorized any such attack. He and the president had already begun their secret communications and had in fact even made private progress in the previous month on the question of Berlin. Khrushchev strongly suspected that Kennedy was being undermined. (Sergei Khrushchev, Nikita Khrushchev and the Creation o f a Superpower (University Park, Pa.: Pennsylvania State University, 2000), p. 464.)

    Khrushchev's son, Sergei, in his memoir, Nikita Khrushchev and the Creation of a Superpower, has described from the Soviet standpoint how the two Cold War leaders had begun to conspire toward coexistence. His account has been corroborated at key points by Kennedy's press secretary, Pierre Salinger. At their Vienna meeting in June, Kennedy had proposed to Khrushchev that they establish "a private and unofficial channel of communications that would bypass all formalities." Khrushchev agreed. In September the Soviet premier made a first use of the back channel.

    10/12/1961 JFK attacks the far-right in a speech at the University of North Carolina, saying that "we shall be neither Red nor dead, but alive and free..." (Wash. Post 10/13)

    Mid-Oct 1961 Kennedy was so resistant to the military's demand for troops that he took a step he knew would further alienate them. He subverted his military leaders ' recommendations by planting a story that they were against sending combat units. In mid-October the New York Times reported erroneously: "Military leaders at the Pentagon, no less than General Taylor himself, are understood to be reluctant to send organized U.S. combat units into Southeast Asia. " The opposite was the truth. As we have seen, the Pentagon leaders and General Taylor were in fact beating their war drums as loudly as they could in the president's ears. They wanted combat troops. Kennedy fought back with a public lie. As the Pentagon Papers noted, " It is just about inconceivable that this story could have been given out except at the direction of the president, or by him personally. " The president was undermining his military leaders by dispensing the false information that they were against the very step they most wanted him to take. The ploy worked . As the Pentagon Papers observed, "The Times story had the apparently desired effect. Speculation about combat troops almost disappeared from news stories . . . " However, besides misleading the public, Kennedy was playing a dangerous game with the Pentagon's leaders. His misrepresentation of their push for combat troops would prove to be one more piece of evidence in their mounting case against the president.
    But Kennedy would do anything he could to keep from sending combat troops to Vietnam. He told Arthur Schlesinger, " They want a force of American troops. They say it's necessary in order to restore confidence and maintain morale. But it will be just like Berlin. The troops will march in; the bands will play; the crowds will cheer; and in four days everyone will have forgotten. Then we will be told we have to send in more troops. It's like taking a drink. The effect wears off, and you have to take another. "

    10/21/1961 In a major speech cleared by Rusk, Bundy and JFK, Roswell Gilpatric publicly deflates the "missile gap" theory, telling his audience in Hot Springs, Virginia, that the United States actually possessed a substantially larger nuclear arsenal than the USSR.

    10/27/1961 Ten American M-4 8 tanks, with bulldozers mounted on the lead tanks, ground their way up to Checkpoint Charlie at the center of the Berlin Wall. They were confronted by ten Soviet tanks, which had been waiting for them quietly on the side streets of East Berlin. A well-briefed Nikita Khrushchev and his advisers had set their counterplan in motion. Twenty more Soviet tanks arrived soon after as reinforcements, and twenty more U.S. tanks moved up from the allied side. The American and Russian tanks faced off, with their long-nosed guns trained on one another, ready to fire. Throughout the night and for a total of sixteen hours, the confrontation continued. Soviet foreign affairs adviser Valentin Falin was beside Khrushchev throughout the crisis. Falin said later that if the U.S. tanks and bulldozers had advanced farther, the Soviet tanks would have fired on them, bringing the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. "closer to the third world war than ever . . . Had the tank duel started then in Berlin-and everything was running toward it-the events most probably would have gone beyond any possibility of control. " (Michael R. Beschloss, The Crisis Years: Kennedy and Khrushchev ( New York: Edward Burlingame Books, 1991) , p.335) An alarmed President Kennedy phoned Lucius Clay. Although Kennedy left no record of the conversation, Clay claims the president said, "I know you people over there haven't lost your nerve." Clay said his bold reply was: "Mr. President, we're not worried about our nerves. We're worrying about those of you people in Washington." At that point the president sent an urgent message to Khrushchev via the back channel. Robert Kennedy contacted Soviet press attache Georgi Bolshakov. RFK said that if Khrushchev would withdraw his tanks within twenty-four hours, JFK would do the same within thirty minutes later. (Robert Kennedy in His Own Words, edited by Edwin O. Guthman and Jeffrey Shulman (New York: Bantam Books, 1988) , pp. 259-60. See also Garthoff, " Berlin 1961, " p. 150, and S. Khrushchev, Nikita Khrushchev, p. 466.) The president then ordered Lucius Clay to be ready to carry out the U.S. side of such a withdrawal.

    11/13/1961 Two and a half weeks after the tanks confrontation that threatened a nuclear holocaust, its instigator, Lucius Clay, sent a telegram to Secretary of State Dean Rusk in which he stated: "Today, we have the nuclear strength to assure victory at awful cost. It no longer suffices to consider our strength as a deterrent only and to plan to use it only in retaliation. No ground probes on the highway which would use force should or could be undertaken unless we are prepared instantly to follow them with a nuclear strike. It is certain that within two or more years retaliatory power will be useless as whoever strikes first will strike last. " (Clay-Rusk telegram, November 13, 1961 ; in FR US, 1961-1963, Volume XIV: Berlin Crisis, 1961-1962 (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1994) , p. 586)

    11/21/1961 Memo from McNamara to JFK informing him that the Air Force wanted to focus on developing a nuclear "first-strike capability" against the USSR. (Scheer, With Enough Shovels p216)

    11/24/1961 New York Times: Former President Dwight D. Eisenhower last night [in a TV interview] urged officers of the armed services to shun partisan politics. Speaking as a General of the Army, he declared it was "bad practice -- very bad" for an officer, even when testifying under oath before a committee of Congress, to express opinions "on political matters or economic matters that are contrary to the President's." ...The former President was blunt in discussing the recent "rise of extremists" in the country. "I don't think the United States needs super-patriots," he declared. "We need patriotism, honestly practiced by all of us, and we don't need these people that are more patriotic than you or anybody else." His definition of extremists embraced those who would "go back to eliminating the income tax from our laws and the rights of people to unionize... [and those] advocating some form of dictatorship." It also included those who "make radical statements [and] attack people of good repute who are proved patriots." At that point, Walter Cronkite of the C.B.S. news staff, who conducted the interview, asked about the "military man's role in our modern political life." He did not cite, but obviously referred to, the case of Maj. Gen. Edwin A. Walker, who stirred up a controversy that led to his "admonishment" for the political nature of the indoctrination of his troops. General Walker later resigned from the Army. "I believe the Army officer, Navy officer, Air officer," General Eisenhower said, "should not be talking about political matters, particularly domestically, and never in the international field, unless he is asked to do so because of some particular position he might hold." ...The general declared there was hope for disarmament and better East-West relations. As the Russian standard of living improves, the Russian people will begin to understand that there is another way of life, he said...

    In December 1961, McNamara established the United States Strike Command (STRICOM). Authorized to draw forces when needed from the Strategic Army Corps (STRAC), the Tactical Air Command, and the airlift units of the Military Air Transport Service and the military services, Strike Command had the mission "to respond swiftly and with whatever force necessary to threats against the peace in any part of the world, reinforcing unified commands or… carrying out separate contingency operations."
    Last edited by Tracy Riddle; 06-13-2013 at 02:50 PM.

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    1/4/1962 Fred Korth, a Fort Worth lawyer and bank president, is appointed as Navy Secretary by President Kennedy to replace John Connally. According to author Seth Kantor, Korth only got the job after strong lobbying from Lyndon B. Johnson. A few weeks after taking the post, Korth overruled top Navy officers who had proposed that the X-22 contract be given to Douglas Aircraft Corporation. Instead he insisted the contract be granted to the more expensive bid of the Bell Corporation. This was a subsidiary of Bell Aerospace Corporation of Forth Worth, Texas. This created some controversy as Korth was a former director of the company. Korth also became very involved in discussions about the TFX contract. Korth, was the former president of the Continental Bank, which had loaned General Dynamics considerable sums of money during the late 1950s and early 1960s. Korth later told the John McClellan committee that investigated the granting of the TFX contract to General Dynamics “that because of his peculiar position he had deliberately refrained from taking a directing hand in this decision (within the Navy) until the last possible moment.” As I. F. Stone pointed out, it was “the last possible moment” which counted. “Three times the Pentagon’s Source Selection Board found that Boeing’s bid was better and cheaper than that of General Dynamics and three times the bids were sent back for fresh submissions by the two bidders and fresh reviews.

    On the fourth round, the military still held that Boeing was better but found at last that the General Dynamics bid was also acceptable.” Stone goes on to argue: “The only document the McClellan committee investigators were able to find in the Pentagon in favour of that award, according to their testimony, was a five-page memorandum signed by McNamara, Korth, and Eugene Zuckert, then Secretary of the Air Force.” Robert McNamara justified his support for General Dynamics because “Boeing had from the very beginning consistently chosen more technically risky tradeoffs in an effort to achieve operational features which exceeded the required performance characteristics.” The TFX program involved the building of 1,700 planes for the Navy and the Air Force. The contract was estimated to be worth over $6.5 billion, making it the largest contract for military planes in the nation’s history.

    1962: The US government sprays florescent particles of zinc cadmium sulfide over Stillwater, Oklahoma, but reportedly does not monitor how the application affects the population. Leonard Cole, an expert on the Army's development of biological weapons, later explains to an Oklahoma TV news program: “Cadmium itself is known to be one of the most highly toxic materials in small amounts that a human can be exposed to If there were concentrations of it enough to make one sick, you could have serious consequences a person over a period of time could have illnesses that could range from cancer to organ failures.” [KFOR, 4/25/03] Sometime between 1962 and 1973 the US government performs biological and/or chemical weapons tests in Florida and in Vieques, Puerto Rico, possibly exposing the civilian population to these agents. [Reuters, 10/10/02]

    1/23/1962 Congressional hearings into the “muzzling” of military officers opened, appearing before the Senate Preparedness Subcommittee in 36 days of hearings. Gen. Walker was among the witnesses. He charged that “with this nation’s survival at stake, our armed forces are paralyzed by our national policy of ‘no win’ and retreat from victory.” He blamed Secretary of State Rusk and others in the State Dept.

    1/29/1962 Sen. John Tower (R-Texas) said on the Senate floor, "I think it is naive and unrealistic to be preoccupied with the question of disarmament. We know that the communist conspiracy has no intention of co-existing with us."

    2/2/1962 Pentagon memorandum entitled "Possible Actions to Provoke, Harass or Disrupt Cuba," written by Brig. Gen. William H. Craig and submitted to Brig. Gen. Edward Lansdale, the commander of the Operation Mongoose project. The memorandum outlines Operation Bingo, a plan to, in its words, "create an incident which has the appearance of an attack on U.S. facilities (GMO) in Cuba, thus providing an excuse for use of U.S. military might to overthrow the current government of Cuba." It also includes Operation Dirty Trick, a plot to blame Castro if the 1962 Mercury manned space flight carrying John Glenn crashed, saying: "The objective is to provide irrevocable proof that, should the MERCURY manned orbit flight fail, the fault lies with the Communists et al Cuba [sic]." It continues, "This to be accomplished by manufacturing various pieces of evidence which would prove electronic interference on the part of the Cubans."

    3/13/1962 Operation Northwoods was a false-flag conspiracy plan, proposed within the United States government in 1962. The plan called for CIA or other operatives to commit apparent acts of terrorism in U.S. cities to create public support for a war against Castro-led Cuba. The plan stated: “The desired resultant from the execution of this plan would be to place the United States in the apparent position of suffering defensible grievances from a rash and irresponsible government of Cuba and to develop an international image of a Cuban threat to peace in the Western Hemisphere.” The main proposal was presented in a document entitled "Justification for US Military Intervention in Cuba (TS)," a collection of draft memoranda written by the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) representative to the Caribbean Survey Group. (The parenthetical "TS" in the title of the document is an initialism for "Top Secret.") The document was presented by the Joint Chiefs of Staff to Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara on March 13 as a preliminary submission for planning purposes. The Joint Chiefs of Staff recommended that both the covert and overt aspects of any such operation be assigned to them. There is no record of McNamara 's response. However, according to the record of a March 16 White House meeting, President Kennedy told Lemnitzer and other key advisers that he could not foresee any circumstances " that would justify and make desirable the use of American forces for overt military action" in Cuba.

    James Bamford wrote on Northwoods:
    “Operation Northwoods, which had the written approval of the Chairman and every member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called for innocent people to be shot on American streets; for boats carrying refugees fleeing Cuba to be sunk on the high seas; for a wave of violent terrorism to be launched in Washington, D.C., Miami, and elsewhere. People would be framed for bombings they did not commit; planes would be hijacked. Using phony evidence, all of it would be blamed on Castro, thus giving Lemnitzer and his cabal the excuse, as well as the public and international backing, they needed to launch their war.”
    In addition to Operation Northwoods, under the Operation Mongoose program the U.S. Department of Defense had a number of similar proposals to be taken against the Cuban regime of Fidel Castro.
    Twelve of these proposals come from a 2 February 1962 memorandum entitled "Possible Actions to Provoke, Harass or Disrupt Cuba," written by Brig. Gen. William H. Craig and submitted to Brig. Gen. Edward Lansdale, the commander of the Operation Mongoose project.
    The memorandum outlines Operation Bingo, a plan to; "create an incident which has the appearance of an attack on U.S. facilities (GMO) in Cuba, thus providing an excuse for use of U.S. military might to overthrow the current government of Cuba."
    It also includes Operation Dirty Trick, a plot to blame Castro if the 1962 Mercury manned space flight carrying John Glenn crashed, saying: "The objective is to provide irrevocable proof that, should the MERCURY manned orbit flight fail, the fault lies with the Communists et al. Cuba [sic]." It continues, "This to be accomplished by manufacturing various pieces of evidence which would prove electronic interference on the part of the Cubans."

    Even after General Lemnitzer lost his job as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Joint Chiefs of Staff still planned false-flag pretext operations at least into 1963. A different U.S. Department of Defense policy paper created in 1963 discussed a plan to make it appear that Cuba had attacked a member of the Organization of American States (OAS) so that the United States could retaliate. The U.S. Department of Defense document says of one of the scenarios, "A contrived 'Cuban' attack on an OAS member could be set up, and the attacked state could be urged to take measures of self-defense and request assistance from the U.S. and OAS."
    The plan expressed confidence that by this action, "the U.S. could almost certainly obtain the necessary two-thirds support among OAS members for collective action against Cuba."
    Included in the nations the Joint Chiefs suggested as targets for covert attacks were Jamaica and Trinidad-Tobago. Since both were members of the British Commonwealth, the Joint Chiefs hoped that by secretly attacking them and then falsely blaming Cuba, the United States could incite the people of the United Kingdom into supporting a war against Castro. As the U.S. Department of Defense report noted:
    Any of the contrived situations described above are inherently, extremely risky in our democratic system in which security can be maintained, after the fact, with very great difficulty. If the decision should be made to set up a contrived situation it should be one in which participation by U.S. personnel is limited only to the most highly trusted covert personnel. This suggests the infeasibility of the use of military units for any aspect of the contrived situation."
    The U.S. Department of Defense report even suggested covertly paying a person in the Castro government to attack the United States: "The only area remaining for consideration then would be to bribe one of Castro's subordinate commanders to initiate an attack on [the U.S. Navy base at] Guantanamo."

    In 1962 Sen. Strom Thurmond asserted that if the President issued an unconstitutional order, the military would be honor bound to revolt. In the late '50s and early '60s he had hinted that the military might have to take over the federal government to preserve states' rights (Gothic Politics in the Deep South, Robert Sherrill, p258)

    May 1962 Averell Harriman told Arthur Schlesinger that JFK's Laos policy was being "systematically sabotaged " from within the government by the military and the CIA. "They want to prove that a neutral solution is impossible," Harriman said, " and that the only course is to turn Laos into an American bastion. " From the journal of Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. , May 14, 1962; cited in Robert Kennedy and His Times, p. 758

    6/9/1962 NSAM 161 to the Secretaries of State, Defense, Treasury, Commerce, Attorney General, CIA director, Military Rep. of the President, FAA administrator, AEC chairman. "SUBJECT: US Internal Security Programs. 1.In line with my continuing efforts to give primary responsibility for the initiative on major matters of policy and administration in a given field to a key member of my administration, I will look to the Attorney General to take the initiative in the government in insuring the development of plans, programs and action proposals to protect the internal security of the United States. I will expect him to prepare recommendations in collaboration with other departments and agencies in the government having the responsibility for internal security programs with respect to those matters requiring presidential action. 2.Accordingly, I have directed that the two interdepartmental committees concerned with the internal security - the Interdepartmental Intelligence Conference (IIC) and the Interdepartmental Committee on Internal Security (ICIS) - which have been under the supervision of the National Security Council will be transferred to the supervision of the Attorney General....signed, John F. Kennedy." A copy of this NSAM was sent to J Edgar Hoover.

    Summer 1962 The president's friend Paul Fay, Jr., told of an incident that showed JFK was keenly conscious of the peril of a military coup d'etat. One summer weekend in 1962 while out sailing with friends, Kennedy was asked what he thought of Seven Days in May, a best-selling novel by Fletcher Knebel and Charles W. Bailey II that described a military takeover in the United States. JFK said he would read the book. He did so that night. The next day Kennedy discussed with his friends the possibility of their seeing such a coup in the United States. Consider that he said these words after the failed Bay of Pigs invasion and before the Cuban Missile Crisis: "It's possible. It could happen in this country, but the conditions would have to be just right. If, for example, the country had a young President, and he had a Bay of Pigs, there would be a certain uneasiness. Maybe the military would do a little criticizing behind his back, but this would be written off as the usual military dissatisfaction with civilian control. Then if there were another Bay of Pigs, the reaction of the country would be, 'Is he too young and inexperienced? ' The military would almost feel that it was their patriotic obligation to stand ready to preserve the integrity of the nation, and only God knows just what segment of democracy they would be defending if they overthrew the elected establishment. "Pausing a moment, he went on, "Then, if there were a third Bay of Pigs, it could happen." Waiting again until his listeners absorbed his meaning, he concluded with an old Navy phrase, "But it won't happen on my watch." (Fay, The Pleasure of His Company p190)

    In ‘Seven Days,’ a military cabal schemed to topple the government under the guise of a military communications exercise. This "war game" was to have been used as the cover for toppling the government and installing a General as President who would stop arms control treaties with the Soviet Union. According to David Talbot, the book was published in September 1962 and JFK had received an advance copy in late summer. (Brothers) Knebel said he got the idea for the book after interviewing Curtis LeMay, who at one point went off the record to fume against Kennedy’s “cowardice” at the Bay of Pigs. (NYT 2/28/1993) Kennedy quickly read the book and others in his inner circle did as well. JFK contacted director John Frankenheimer, who had been working on The Manchurian Candidate (another Cold War thriller JFK was a huge fan of) and encouraged him to turn Seven Days into a film. “Kennedy wanted Seven Days in May to be made as a warning to the generals,” recalled Arthur Schlesinger. “The president said the first thing I’m going to tell my successor is ‘Don’t trust the military men – even on military matters.” (Talbot interview with Schlesinger, Brothers). Sinatra had gotten Kennedy to intervene with United Artists to get The Manchurian Candidate made, when the studio began to get cold feet. (Sinatra interview, 1988 video release; Brothers, Talbot)

    7/20/1962 JFK announced that Lauris Norstad would resign as NATO commander and would be replaced by Lyman Lemnitzer. Max Taylor was appointed new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs.

    10/1/1962 Maxwell Taylor becomes Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, replacing Lyman Lemnitzer. Gen. Earl Wheeler becomes Army Chief of Staff. Even after General Lemnitzer lost his job as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the JCS still planned false-flag pretext operations at least into 1963. A different U.S. Department of Defense policy paper created in 1963 discussed a plan to make it appear that Cuba had attacked a member of the Organization of American States (OAS) so that the United States could retaliate. The U.S. Department of Defense document says of one of the scenarios, "A contrived 'Cuban' attack on an OAS member could be set up, and the attacked state could be urged to take measures of self-defense and request assistance from the U.S. and OAS." The plan expresses confidence that by this action, "the U.S. could almost certainly obtain the necessary two-thirds support among OAS members for collective action against Cuba." Included in the nations the Joint Chiefs suggested as targets for covert attacks were Jamaica and Trinidad-Tobago. Since both were members of the British Commonwealth, the Joint Chiefs hoped that by secretly attacking them and then falsely blaming Cuba, the United States could incite the people of the United Kingdom into supporting a war against Castro. As the U.S. Department of Defense report noted: “Any of the contrived situations described above are inherently, extremely risky in our democratic system in which security can be maintained, after the fact, with very great difficulty. If the decision should be made to set up a contrived situation it should be one in which participation by U.S. personnel is limited only to the most highly trusted covert personnel. This suggests the infeasibility of the use of military units for any aspect of the contrived situation." The U.S. Department of Defense report even suggested covertly paying a person in the Castro government to attack the United States: "The only area remaining for consideration then would be to bribe one of Castro's subordinate commanders to initiate an attack on [the U.S. Navy base at] Guantanamo." (Bamford, Body of Secrets)

    10/19/1962 JFK secretly taped the White House meetings during the crisis. The tapes were declassified, transcribed, and published in the late 1990s. [(In 1997 Ernest R. May and Philip D . Zelikow edited and published transcripts of the Cuban Missile Crisis tapes in their book The Kennedy Tapes ( Cambridge, Mass . : Harvard University Press, 1997). The transcripts reveal how isolated the president was in choosing to blockade further Soviet missile shipments rather than bomb and invade Cuba. Nowhere does he stand more alone against the pressures for a sudden, massive air strike than in his October 19, 1962, meeting with the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In this encounter the Chiefs' disdain for their young commander-in-chief is embodied by Air Force Chief of Staff General Curtis LeMay, who challenges the president. President Kennedy asked LeMay skeptically, "What do you think their reprisal would be ?" LeMay said there would be no reprisal so long as Kennedy warned Khrushchev that he was ready to fight also in Berlin. After Admiral George Anderson made the same point, Kennedy said sharply, "They can't let us just take out, after all their statements, take out their missiles, kill a lot of Russians, and not do...not do anything. "

    LEMAY: "This [blockade and political action] is almost as bad as the appeasement at Munich...I just don't see any other solution except direct military intervention right now."

    A historian who has studied the missile crisis tapes for over twenty years, Sheldon Stern, has noted a pause in the conversation at this point, during which the Joint Chiefs "must have held their collective breath waiting for a reaction from the President. The general had gone well beyond merely giving advice or even disagreeing with his commander-in-chief. He had taken their generation's ultimate metaphor for shortsightedness and cowardice, the 1938 appeasement of Hitler at Munich, and flung it in the President's face. "President Kennedy," Stern says," in a remarkable display of sang froid refused to take the bait; he said absolutely nothing." Ending the awkward silence, the Navy, Army, and Marine Corps Chiefs of Staff argue for the prompt military action of bombing and invading Cuba. General LeMay breaks in, reminding Kennedy of his strong statements about responding to offensive weapons in Cuba. He almost taunts the president:

    LEMAY: " I think that a blockade and political talk would be considered by a lot of our friends and neutrals as bein' a pretty weak response to this. And I'm sure a lot of our own citizens would feel that way, too. In other words, you're in a pretty bad fix at the present time. "
    KENNEDY: "What'd you say?"
    LEMAY: "I say, you're in a pretty bad fix."
    KENNEDY: [laughing] "You're in with me, personally."

    The discussion continues, with Kennedy probing the Chiefs for further information and LeMay pushing the president to authorize a massive attack on Soviet missiles, Cuban air defenses, and all communications systems. As the meeting draws to a close, Kennedy rejects the arguments for a quick, massive attack and thanks his military commanders.

    KENNEDY: "I appreciate your views. As I said, I'm sure we all understand how rather unsatisfactory our alternatives are."

    A few minutes later, the president leaves the room, but the tape keeps on recording. General LeMay, Army Chief of Staff General Earle Wheeler, and Marine Corps Commandant General David Shoup remain. Shoup, who is usually the most supportive of the Joint Chiefs toward Kennedy, praises LeMay's attack on the president:

    SHOUP: "You were a . . . You pulled the rug right out from under him."
    LEMAY: "Jesus Christ. What the hell do you mean?"
    SHOUP: ". . . He's finally getting around to the word 'escalation.' . . . When he says 'escalation,' that's it. If somebody could keep 'em from doing the goddamn thing piecemeal, that's our problem..."
    LEMAY: "That's right. "
    SHOUP: "You're screwed, screwed, screwed. He could say, 'either do the son of a bitch and do it right and quit friggin' around.'"
    LEMAY: "That was my contention."

    After the meeting, the President recounted the conversation to his aide Dave Powers and said," Can you imagine LeMay saying a thing like that? These brass hats have one great advantage in their favor. If we listen to them, and do what they want us to do, none of us will be alive later to tell them that they were wrong. "

    In a conversation that fall with his friend John Kenneth Galbraith, Kennedy again spoke angrily of the reckless pressures his advisers, both military and civilian, had put on him to bomb the Cuban missile sites. "I never had the slightest intention of doing so," said the president. (John Kenneth Galbraith, A Life in Our Times (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1981), p. 388.)

    During the discussions on invading Cuba, Marine Corps Commandant David Shoup displayed a map of Cuba during a meeting by overlaying it on a map of the US; everyone was surprised at how big the island was. Then he placed a red dot over the map of Cuba, and explained that this represented the island of Tarawa, which cost 18,000 Marines to capture in WWII. Shoup would become Kennedy's favorite general. (The Best and the Brightest p85; RFK and his Times p484)

    10/16/1962 As discussions continue on proposals to destroy the missiles by airstrike, RFK passes a note to the president: "I now know how Tojo felt when he was planning Pearl Harbor." This phase of the meeting ended at 12:57pm. (Robert Kennedy, Thirteen Days (New York: Signet, 1969) President Kennedy also telephones John McCloy, who recommends that the president take forceful action to remove the missiles, even if that involves an airstrike and an invasion. (The Missile Crisis, Abel; The Wise Men, Isaacson & Thomas)

    10/24/1962 On 24th October, 1962, Seth Kantor reported in the Fort Worth Press that: “General Dynamics of Fort Worth will get the multibillion-dollar defence contract to build the supersonic TFX Air Force and Navy fighter plane, the Fort Worth Press learned today from top Government sources.”

    10/24/1962 At the direction of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, SAC increases its alert posture to DEFCON 2 for the first time in history. Thomas Power, the commander-in-chief of SAC, believed, as he later wrote, that while discreet preparations had been appropriate before, it was now "important for [the Soviets] to know of SAC's readiness." Consequently, Power decides on his own authority to transmit uncoded messages to SAC commanders noting that SAC plans are well prepared and that the alert process was going smoothly. (The Air Force Response to the Cuban Crisis 14 October - 24 November 1962, ca. 1/63, pp. 7-8, Tab A2-A3; Garthoff 1, p. 62; Sagan 2, p. 108)

  4. #4


    10/26/1962 According to political scientist Scott Sagan in his book The Limits of Safety, the U.S. Air Force launched an intercontinental ballistic missile from Vandenberg Air Force Base on October 26, 1962, the day before the U-2 was shot down. The ICBM was unarmed, a test missile destined for Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands. The Soviet Union could easily have thought otherwise. Three days before, a test missile at Vandenberg had received a nuclear warhead, changing it to full alert status for the crisis. By October 30, nine Vandenberg "test" missiles were armed for use against the Soviets. At the height of the missile crisis, the Air Force's October 26th launch of its missile could have been seen by the Soviets as the beginning of an attack. It was a dangerous provocation. Had the Soviets been suckered into giving any sign of a launch of their own, the entire array of U.S. missiles and bombers were poised to preempt them. They were already at the top rung of their nuclear war status, DefCon ( Defense Condition) -2, totally prepared for a massive strike. Scott D. Sagan, The Limits of Safety ( Princeton, N.].: Princeton University Press, 1993) , p. 79.

    Also at the height of the crisis, as writer Richard Rhodes learned from a retired Air Force commander, "SAC [Strategic Air Command] airborne-alert bombers deliberately flew past their customary turnaround points toward the Soviet Union-an unambiguous threat that Soviet radar operators would certainly have recognized and reported." With their far superior number of missiles and bombers, U.S. forces were prepared for a preemptive attack at the slightest sign of a Soviet response to their provocation. Fortunately the Soviets didn't bite. Richard Rhodes, "The General and World War III," New Yorker (June 19, 1995), pp. 58 -59.

    McNamara recalled how strongly the Chiefs expressed their feelings to the president. "After Khrushchev had agreed to remove the missiles, President Kennedy invited the Chiefs to the White House so that he could thank them for their support during the crisis, and there was one hell of a scene. LeMay came out saying, 'We lost! We ought to just go in there today and knock 'em off! '" (Rhodes, " General and World War III, " p. 58) Robert Kennedy was also struck by the Chiefs' anger at the president. "Admiral [George] Anderson's reaction to the news," he said, "was 'We have been had."' (Schlesinger, Robert Kennedy, p. 565) "The military are mad," President Kennedy told Arthur Schlesinger, "They wanted to do this." (Ibid)

    10/27/1962 Around 10:15 to 11:00A.M.: A U-2 from a SAC base in Alaska strays into Soviet airspace over the Chukotski Peninsula on what was reported to be a "routine air sampling mission." The U-2 pilot apparently enters Soviet airspace as a result of a navigational error. The pilot radios for assistance and a U.S. F-102 fighter aircraft in Alaska scrambles and head toward the Bering Sea. At the same time, Soviet MiGs take off from a base near Wrangel Island to intercept the U-2, which eventually manages to fly out of Soviet territory with no shots being fired. Alaskan Air Command records suggest that the U.S. fighter planes are armed with nuclear air-to-air missiles. According to one account, when Secretary of Defense McNamara hears that a U-2 was in Soviet airspace, "he turned absolutely white, and yelled hysterically, `This means war with the Soviet Union.'" President Kennedy's laconic reaction upon hearing of the incident is simply to laugh and remark that "there is always some S.O.B. who doesn't get the word." (War Room Journal, 10/27/62; Chronology of the Cuban Crisis October 15-28, 1962, 11/2/62, p. 14; Interview of David A. Burchinal, 4/11/75, pp. 114-15; Hilsman 1, p. 221; Sagan 2, pp. 117-18; Air Defense Operations, ca. 12/62)

    Robert Kennedy's climactic meeting with Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin became the moving force for Khrushchev's dramatic announcement that he was withdrawing the missiles. Khrushchev wrote in his memoirs what he thought Robert Kennedy told Dobrynin, who had relayed it to Khrushchev: "'The President is in a grave situation,' Robert Kennedy said, 'and he does not know how to get out of it. We are under very severe stress. In fact we are under pressure from our military to use force against Cuba . . . We want to ask you, Mr. Dobrynin, to pass President Kennedy's message to Chairman Khrushchev through unofficial channels . . . Even though the President himself is very much against starting a war over Cuba, an irreversible chain of events could occur against his will. That is why the President is appealing directly to Chairman Khrushchev for his help in liquidating this conflict. If the situation continues much longer, the President is not sure that the military will not overthrow him and seize power. The American army could get out of control." (Khrushchev Remembers)

    After the fall of the Soviet Union, the Russian Foreign Ministry declassified Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin's October 27, 1962, cable describing his critical one-on-one meeting with Robert Kennedy. Dobrynin's report offers a less dramatic version than Khrushchev's memoirs of Robert Kennedy's words concerning the military pressures on President Kennedy: "taking time to find a way out [of the situation] is very risky. (Here R. Kennedy mentioned as if in passing that there are many unreasonable heads among the generals, and not only among the generals, who 'are itching for a fight.') The situation might get out of control, with irreversible consequences." (From Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin's cable to the Soviet Foreign Ministry, October 27, 1962. Reprinted in translation in Richard Ned Lebow and Janice Gross Stein, We All Lost the Cold War (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1994), pp. 523-26. Cited by Jim Hershberg, "Anatomy of a Controversy: Anatoly F. Dobrynin's Meeting with Robert F. Kennedy, Saturday, 27 October 1962," The Cold War International History Project Bulletin (Issue 5, Spring 1995)

    In November 1962 SAC started inactivation planning of the 306th Bombardment Wing at MacDill AFB in Florida, slated for April 1963. Phase down and transfer of B-47s was started, and by 15 February 1963 the Wing was no longer capable of fulfilling its part of the strategic war plan. General Curtis E. LeMay, USAF Chief of Staff, recalling his days as the 306th Bomb Group’s executive officer, compared its WWII role as "one of the handful of groups" that pioneered strategic daylight bombing and "carried the air war to the enemy during the lean days of 1941-43", to its role in the late forties as pioneer of jet bombardment tactics and combat ready deterrent force. He went on to say that this considerable accomplishment was done while at the same time assuming the staggering mission of maintaining a bomber alert force. On 1 April 1963, SAC inactivated the 306th BW at MacDill and activated it at McCoy AFB, Florida. The 4047th Strategic Wing personnel, equipment, B-52Ds and KC-135As were re-designated the 306th Bombardment Wing.

    11/24/1962 The Pentagon announced that the TFX contract would be awarded to General Dynamics. Henry M. Jackson, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, the Senate Government Operations Committee and the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, learned that: “Boeing’s bid was substantially lower than its competitor’s. Reports indicated Boeing’s bid was $100 million lower on an initial development contract and that the cost difference might run as high as $400 million on the total $6.5 billion procurement.”

    December 1962 Following the death of Herman Brown, Halliburton Energy Services acquired Brown & Root (a Texas construction company). According to Dan Briody, who wrote a book on the subject, the company became part of a consortium of four companies that built about 85 percent of the infrastructure needed by the Navy during the Vietnam War. At the height of the anti-war movement of the 1960s, Brown & Root was derided as "Burn & Loot" by protesters.

    12/5/1962 McNamara was quoted as telling Congress that he planned to eliminate eight National Guard divisions and 750 units of the organized reserves. (St. Louis Globe Democrat)

    12/6/1962 Gen. Edwin Walker spoke before the Miss. House of Representatives, and warned that a planned reorganization of the National Guard and Reserves was part of a “State Department plan to put our armed forces under the control of the United Nations.” (UPI 12/7)

    12/7/1962 JFK went to Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, was briefed by Curtis LeMay and Thomas Power about their secret underground SAC base.

    12/18-19/1962 St Louis Globe Democrat reported that the Administration had stopped all production of long range manned bombers and cancelled production of the Skybolt missile.

    12/31/1962 The joint US-UK Skybolt missile project is canceled.

    In 1963, US military intelligence controlled more agents than the CIA and had nearly as large a budget. In the '70s it became known that the Army had long been conducting surveillance and keeping files on thousands of Americans with suspected leftist affiliations. Senator Ervin's Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights revealed that by 1969 the Army had built up a "massive system" for keeping tabs on US politics and politicians. US military and intelligence groups had used psychics, at a cost of $20 million over two decades, to try to uncover otherwise unobtainable secrets. (Washington Post 11/30/1995)

    Drew Pearson in his Washington Merry-Co-Round column datelined January 23, 1963, headlined the presidential challenge of the year ahead, "Kennedy Has Chance to End the Cold War." Pearson stressed the need for the president to seize the time for peace: "President Kennedy today faces his greatest opportunity to negotiate a permanent peace, but because of division inside his own Administration he may miss the boat. "That is the consensus of friendly diplomats long trained in watching the ebb and flow of world events. " They add that Europe is moving so fast that it may take the leadership away from Mr. Kennedy and patch up its own peace with Soviet Premier Khrushchev. " The diplomats Pearson was drawing upon could already discern a massive shifting of political fault lines beneath the Kennedy-Khrushchev settlement of the missile crisis. At the same time they had identified the primary obstacle to an end of the Cold War-powerful forces in the U.S. government who did not believe in such a change, and who were throwing their weight against it. Pearson noted that, in spite of this deep opposition within the government, the president was nevertheless " sitting on top of the diplomatic world" in settling the problems of the Cold War. He cited Kennedy's decision to remove U.S. missiles from Turkey and Italy without fanfare: " This should decrease tension between the U.S.A. and USSR, but the United States has neither taken credit for it nor used it as Khrushchev used his removal of missiles from Cuba. " The columnist had interviewed Khrushchev at his villa on the shores of the Black Sea over a year before. He believed the Soviet leader sincerely wanted peace. Khrushchev's retreat from Cuba and his subsequent statements for peace reinforced that conclusion. " The latest, " Pearson wrote in his January 1963 column, " is his amazing speech in East Berlin last week in which he renounced war as an instrument of Communist policy." As a result of these swirling currents of change, the United States and the Soviet Union were on the " brink of peace, " especially on nuclear testing and Berlin. However, Pearson emphasized, if the sharply divided Kennedy administration kept " gazing passively at this rapidly changing picture, " other Western leaders such as President de Gaulle would jump ahead of Kennedy and make their own peace with Khrushchev.

    1/25/1963 JFK phoned Roger Hilsman, the head of State Department intelligence, at his home to complain about a front-page box in the New York Times on a U.S. general visiting Vietnam. In what Hilsman remembered as "decidedly purple language, " (Roger Hilsman, letter to the New York Times, January 20, 1 992) Kennedy took him to task. He ordered Hilsman to stop military visits that seemed to increase the U.S. commitment in Vietnam. Kennedy said, "That is exactly what I don't want to do. Remember Laos," he emphasized. "The United States must keep a low profile in Vietnam so we can negotiate its neutralization like we did in Laos . " (FR US, 1961 - 1963 , Volume III: Vietnam, january-August 1963 (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1991) , p.63. Hilsman letter to the New York Times.) After listening to the angry president, Hilsman pointed out that he had no authority as a State Department officer to deny a Pentagon general permission to visit Vietnam. "Oh," said Kennedy and slammed down the phone. That afternoon the president issued National Security Action Memorandum Number 217, forbidding " high ranking military and civilian personnel " from going to South Vietnam without being cleared by the State Department office where Hilsman worked. This action by JFK, reining in the military's travel to Vietnam, for the sake of a neutralization policy, did not please the Pentagon.

    3/1963 Kenny O'Donnell, who sat in on part of their meeting, recalled: "The President told [Senator] Mansfield that he had been having serious second thoughts about Mansfield's argument and that he now agreed with the Senator's thinking on the need for a complete military withdrawal from Vietnam. '' 'But I can't do it until 1965-after I'm reelected,' Kennedy told Mansfield. "President Kennedy explained, and Mansfield agreed with him, that if he announced a withdrawal of American military personnel from Vietnam before the 1964 election, there would be a wild conservative outcry against returning him to the Presidency for a second term. "After Mansfield left the office, the President said to me, 'In 1965, I'll become one of the most unpopular Presidents in history. I'll be damned everywhere as a Communist appeaser. But I don't care. If I tried to pull out completely now from Vietnam, we would have another Joe McCarthy red scare on our hands, but I can do it after I'm reelected. So we had better make damned sure that I am reelected. "' (O'Donnell and Powers, "Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye, " p. 16.)

    The President sought advice from General Douglas MacArthur, who spent much of his career in Asia, and met with him in the latter part of April. MacArthur warned the President against committing American foot soldiers on the Asian mainland. He also told President Kennedy there were elements inside the US government who did not share his motives and who were seeking to destroy his administration. MacArthur said, "The chickens are coming home to roost, and you happen to have just moved into the chicken house." (Sorensen, ‘Kennedy’)

    3/14/1963 Sen. Goldwater complained, "Not one new weapons system has been proposed under the present Administration. The RS-70 has been abandoned. Skybolt has been dropped, manned bombers are being phased out, Nike-Zeus is being delayed, the Dyna-Soar is being re-examined for possible junking. This is not only stagnation, this is Disarmament." (None Dare Call it Treason, Allen p85)

    3/30/1963 McNamara decided to close 52 military installations located in 25 different states, plus 21 bases overseas. This reorganization was to be spread over a three- year period. His announcement had important repercussions throughout the country.

    4/3/1963 "Memo for the Secretary of Defense. It would be helpful if we could get an analysis of what our military strength was in 1961 if there had been a call for military action at that time, what is available to us today, and what will be available next summer. I am thinking particularly of President Eisenhower's statement that the defense budget could be cut back to the levels which were maintained in his last defense budget without in any way weakening the security of the United States. I think we should have a positive response to that thesis. [signed] John F. Kennedy."

    In May 1963, Assistant Secretary of Defense Paul H. Nitze sent the White House proposing "a possible scenario whereby an attack on a United States reconnaissance aircraft could be exploited toward the end of effecting the removal of the Castro regime." In the event Cuba attacked a U-2, the plan proposed sending in additional American pilots, this time on dangerous, unnecessary low-level reconnaissance missions with the expectation that they would also be shot down, thus provoking a war "[T]he U.S. could undertake various measures designed to stimulate the Cubans to provoke a new incident," said the plan. Nitze, however, did not volunteer to be one of the pilots. One idea involved sending fighters across the island on "harassing reconnaissance" and "show-off" missions "flaunting our freedom of action, hoping to stir the Cuban military to action." "Thus," said the plan, "depending above all on whether the Cubans were or could be made to be trigger-happy, the development of the initial downing of a reconnaissance plane could lead at best to the elimination of Castro, perhaps to the removal of Soviet troops and the installation of ground inspection in Cuba, or at the least to our demonstration of firmness on reconnaissance." About a month later, a low-level flight was made across Cuba, but unfortunately for the Pentagon, instead of bullets it produced only a protest. (Bamford, Body of Secrets)

    5/17/1963 TIME magazine: “The dirty work fell to Deputy Defense Secretary Roswell Gilpatric. On Sunday afternoon he drove to the official quarters, atop Observatory Hill in northwest Washington, of the U.S. Chief of Naval Operations. There he informed Admiral George W. Anderson Jr. that he would not be reappointed when his present two-year term is up in August. Anderson was stunned. So was most of the Navy. "A military man has really got to bow to this Kennedy crowd,'' said an admiral who is close to Anderson. ''Guys who get in their way get knocked off." And Anderson had been getting in the way...

    June 1963: The announcement this month that Adm. George W. Anderson would not be reappointed as chief of naval operations, and Curtis LeMay would be reappointed for a single year only, prompted legislation in Congress to fix a four-year term for all members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Previously, members of the Joint Chiefs were appointed to two-year terms by the President, except for the Commandant of the Marine Corps, whose term is fixed by law at four years. Anderson and LeMay were thought to have displeased McNamara when they expressed their views before a Senate committee investigating the awarding of a contract for a new tactical aircraft (TFX). (1964 Collier’s Encyclopedia Yearbook)

    6/10/1963 John Kennedy's Commencement Address at American University in Washington. Saturday Review editor Norman Cousins summed up the significance of this remarkable speech: "At American University on June 10, 1963 , President Kennedy proposed an end to the Cold War. " (Norman Cousins, The Improbable Triumvirate ( New York: W. W. Norton, 1972 ) He had outlined his thoughts for what he called "the peace speech " to adviser and speechwriter Ted Sorensen, and told him to go to work. Only a handful of advisers knew anything about the project. Arthur Schlesinger, who was one of them, said, "We were asked to send our best thoughts to Ted Sorensen and to say nothing about this to anybody. " On the eve of the speech, Soviet officials and White House correspondents were alerted in general terms. The speech, they were informed, would be of major importance.

    6/20/1963 A memorandum of understanding between the United States and the Soviet Union establishing a "hot line" between Washington and Moscow is signed. The agreement establishes a direct teletype communication link to be used "in time of emergency" in order to clarify intentions and prevent accident, miscalculation, or misunderstanding from leading to unintentional war. (ACDA, pp. 28-33)

    This summer, JFK signed into law the Defense Budget for fiscal year 1964: $47.2 billion, a reduction of $1.8 billion from the budget estimate. “This was the biggest reduction in any administration defense budget in six years.” (1964 Collier’s Encyclopedia Yearbook)

    On July 9, 1963, the President met privately in the Oval Office with Vice President Lyndon Johnson, Defense Secretary Robert McNamara and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Maxwell Taylor. This meeting took place immediately after a larger National Security Council meeting on the test ban negotiations, specifically Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Averell Harriman’s upcoming mission to Moscow. General Taylor expressed to the President the opinion of several members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who were privately critiquing the idea of a test ban and about the possibility that they may state these opinions publicly to Congress. The President, although open to debate on the subject, is concerned about the timing of any formal, public evaluation by the Joint Chiefs of Staff on the test ban issue:

    “I don’t care who comes up and testifies - it ought to be wide open. That’s the time you gotta say it and we haven’t presented our case – then I can say this is why I am for it and that’s the way - then the Chiefs can speak about the military disadvantages and advantages. Proliferation is certainly a danger to us… I am afraid that if the Chiefs ever met that there are (risks) having position against even an atmospheric test ban, at a very time, which would will leak out, at a very time when Harriman (is in Moscow) …So even though they’ve all taken a separate position, which seems to me somewhat better off than we are that ‘the Joint Chiefs of Staff have met and said this is a threat’ - God we would be in a terrible shape.”

  5. #5


    7/12/1963 Washington Star quoted William Foster, director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency: "Everyone feels that if we can't negotiate a test ban - when we are so close - that we can't negotiate any other part of the disarmament program."

    7/25/1963 During the negotiations, Kennedy spent hours in the cramped White House Situation Room, editing the U.S. position as if he were at the Moscow table himself. Soviet ambassador Anatoli Dobrynin was astounded at the president's command of every stage of the process. "Harriman would just get on the phone with Kennedy, " he said, " and things would be decided. It was amazing. " The president's peacemaking had moved beyond any effective military control or even monitoring. In the test-ban talks, the military weren't in the loop. Kennedy had made a quick end run around them to negotiate the treaty. As JFK biographer Richard Reeves observed, " By moving so swiftly on the Moscow negotiations, Kennedy politically outflanked his own military on the most important military question of the time. " (Reeves, Profile of Power) Kennedy pointed out to Norman Cousins that he and Khrushchev had come to have more in common with each other than either had with his own military establishment: " One of the ironic things about this entire situation is that Mr. Khrushchev and I occupy approximately the same political positions inside our governments. He would like to prevent a nuclear war but is under severe pressure from his hard-line crowd, which interprets every move in that direction as appeasement. I've got similar problems. " (Cousins, Improbable Triumvirate, pp. 113-14) On July 25, 1963 , when the final text was ready, Harriman phoned Kennedy and read it to him twice. The president said, " Okay, great! " Harriman returned to the conference room and initialed the Limited Test Ban Treaty, outlawing nuclear tests "in the atmosphere, beyond its limits, including outer space, or under water, including territorial waters or high seas. " At the Spiridonovska Palace, Moscow, representatives of the US, Britain and USSR initial the Limited Test-Ban Treaty. In Moscow, on behalf of President Kennedy, U.S. negotiator Averell Harriman agrees with Soviet negotiators to the Limited Test Ban Treaty, outlawing nuclear tests " in the atmosphere, beyond its limits, including outer space, or under water, including territorial waters or high seas."

    7/26/1963 Tonight, President Kennedy makes a television appeal to the nation for support of the test ban treaty, quoting Nikita Khrushchev on a nuclear war they both hope to avoid: "The survivors would envy the dead." JFK calls the test ban treaty "a victory for mankind." “Yesterday, a shaft of light cut into the darkness. Negotiations were concluded in Moscow on a treaty to ban all nuclear tests in the atmosphere, in outer space and under water. ... Now, for the first time in may years, the path of peace may be open. No one can be certain what the future will bring. No one can say whether the time can come for an easing of the struggle. But history and our own conscience will judge us harsher if we do not now make every effort to test our hopes by action, and this is the place to begin. According to the ancient Chinese proverb, ‘A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.’ My fellow Americans, let us take that first step. Let us, if we can, get back from the shadows of war and seek out the way of peace. And if that journey is 1,000 miles, or even more, let history record that we, in this land, at this time, took the first step.”

    When Kennedy told Galbraith in August 1963 that after the election he might replace Rusk with McNamara as his Secretary of State, he said revealingly, " But then if I don't have McNamara at Defense to control the generals, I won't have a foreign policy. " (John Kenneth Galbraith, A Life in Our Times ( Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1981)

    The August 5, 1963, U. S. News and World Report carried a major article headlined, "Is U.S. Giving up in the Arms Race ? " The article cited "many authorities in the military establishment, who now are silenced, "as thinking that the Kennedy administration's" new strategy adds up to a type of intentional and one-sided disarmament. "

    8/7/1963 Cold War influences so dominated the U.S. Congress that the president felt getting Senate ratification of a test ban agreement would be " almost in the nature of a miracle, " as he described the task to advisers today. He said that if a Senate vote were held right then it would fall far short of the necessary two-thirds. Larry O'Brien, his liaison aide with the Congress, confirmed the accuracy of the president's estimate. Congressional mail was running about fifteen to one against a test ban. Kennedy initiated a whirlwind public education campaign on the treaty, coordinated by Norman Cousins. The president told an August 7 meeting of key organizers that they were taking on a very tough job and had his total support. Led by Cousins and calling themselves the Citizens Committee, the group mounted a national campaign for Senate ratification. The National Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy, which had been formed in 1958 to dramatize the dangers of nuclear testing, played a key role in the campaign. Kennedy and Cousins also successfully sought help from the National Council of Churches, the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, Catholic Archbishop John Wright of Pittsburgh and Cardinal Richard Cushing of Boston, union leaders, sympathetic business executives, leading scientists and academics, Nobel Laureates, and, at a special meeting with the president, the editors of the nation's leading women's magazines, who gave their enthusiastic support. As the campaign grew, public opinion began to shift. By the end of August, the tide of congressional mail had gone from fifteen to one against a test ban to three to two against. The president and his committee of activists hoped that in a month public opinion would be on their side. (Cousins, Improbable Triumvirate)

    The alarm was sounded even more loudly in the August 12 U.S. News and World Report with an article headlined, " If Peace Does Come-What Happens to Business? " The article began: "This question once again is being raised: If peace does come, what happens to business? Will the bottom drop out if defense spending is cut ? "There is a lull in the cold war. Before the U.S. Senate is a treaty calling for an end to testing of nuclear weapons in the air or under water. A nonaggression agreement is being proposed by Russia's Khrushchev. "Talk of peace is catching on. Before shouting, however, it is important to bear some other things in mind. " U.S. News went on to reassure its readers that defense spending would be sustained by such Cold War factors as Cuba remaining "a Russian base, occupied by Russian troops " and " the guerrilla war in South Vietnam " where " the Red Chinese, in an ugly mood, are capable of starting a big war in Asia at any time."

    8/20/1963 JCS recommended to McNamara that no decision be made to withdraw US forces until the end of October. (In Retrospect p49) At the Pentagon, the Joint Chiefs of Staff were dragging their heels on the Vietnam withdrawal plan. The chiefs used the Buddhist crisis as a rationale for bogging down McNamara's May order that a specific plan be prepared for the withdrawal of one thousand military personnel by the end of 1963. On August 20, the chiefs wrote to McNamara that " until the political and religious tensions now confronting the Government of Vietnam have eased, " " no US units should be withdrawn from the Republic of Vietnam. " The chiefs argued, for the same reason, that " the final decision to implement the withdrawal plan should be withheld until late October"-one month before Kennedy would be assassinated. But Kennedy and McNamara sped up the process. The decision for withdrawal would in fact be made in early October.

    9/12/1963 At a National Security Council meeting, the Joint Chiefs of Staff again present a report evaluating a projected nuclear first strike against the Soviet Union, in a time scheme of 1964 through 1968. President Kennedy turns the discussion to his conclusion: " Preemption is not possible for us. " He passes over without comment the report's implication that the remaining months of 1963 are still the most advantageous time for the United States to launch a preemptive strike. But this time, rather than stalking out of the meeting, Kennedy engaged his military in order to get a more exact idea of what they were up to. At least Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara was on his side. Here are some of the relevant excerpts from a summary of the meeting:

    PRES. KENNEDY: De Gaulle believes even the small nuclear force he is planning will be big enough to cause unacceptable damage to the USSR… Why do we need to have as much defense as we have if, as it appears, the strategy is based on the assumption that even if we strike first we cannot protect the security of the U.S. in nuclear warfare?
    GEN LEON W. JOHNSON: No matter what we do we can't get below 51 million casualties (to the United States) in the event of a nuclear exchange. We can, however, bring down this number by undertaking additional weapons programs.
    PRES. KENNEDY: Doesn’t that get us into the overkill business?
    GEN. JOHNSON: No, sir. We can cut down U.S. losses if we knock out more Soviet missiles by having more U.S. missiles and more accurate U.S. missiles. The more Soviet missiles we can destroy the less the loss to us…
    Each of the strategies (recommended in the report) used against the USSR results in at least 140 million fatalities in the USSR. Our problem is how to catch more of the Soviet missiles before they are launched and how to destroy more of the missiles in the air over the U.S….
    SEC. MCNAMARA: There is no way of launching a no-alert attack against the USSR which would be acceptable. No such attack… could be carried out without 30 million U.S. fatalities – an obviously unacceptable number… The President deserves an answer to his question as to why we have to have so large a force….
    PRES. KENNEDY: I understand… Preemption is not possible for us. This is a valuable conclusion growing out of an excellent report…
    GEN. JOHNSON: I would be very disturbed if the President considered this report indicated that we could reduce our forces and/or not continue to increase those programmed…I have concluded from the calculations that we could fight a limited war using nuclear weapons without fear that the Soviets would reply by going to all-out war.
    PRES. KENNEDY: I have been told that if I ever released a nuclear weapon on the battlefield, I should start a pre-emptive attack on the Soviet Union as the use of nuclear weapons was bound to escalate and we might as well get the advantage by going first…

    Air Force Lieutenant General David Burchinal (U.S.A.F. Chief of Staff LeMay's deputy for operations), recalled the Cuban Missile Crisis and the value of strategic superiority:
    "It [value of superiority] was totally missed by the Kennedy administration... They did not understand what had been created and handed to them... Fortunately, there was enough panic in Washington when they saw those missiles going in... they gave only the broadest indication of what they wanted in terms of support for the President. So we were able at the military level, from the JCS on down (without involving the politicians) to put SAC on a one-third airborne alert, to disperse part of the force to civilian airfields [and take other alert measures] ... These were things that would be visible to the Soviets... We could have written our own book at the time, but our politicians did not understand what happens when you have such a degree of superiority as we had, or they simply didn't know how to use it. They were busily engaged in saving face for the Soviets and making concessions, giving up the IRBMs, the Thors and Jupiters deployed overseas -- when all we had to do was write our own ticket."
    A few moments later in this interview, U.S.A.F. General Leon Johnson (Chairman, Net Evaluation Subcommittee, National Security Council) said about the political leadership: "They were very good at putting out brave words, but they didn't do a bloody thing to back them up except what, inadvertently, we did."
    To which LeMay confirmed: "That was the mood prevalent with the top civilian leadership; you are quite correct" (Richard H. Kohn and Joseph P. Harahan, eds., Strategic Air Warfare: An Interview with Generals Curtis E. LeMay, Leon W. Johnson, David A. Burchinal, and Jack J. Catton(Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History, 1988), pp. 113-114, 119.)

    9/1963 SAC Commander Gen. Thomas Power had attacked the Test Ban treaty before the Senate Armed Services Committee. When General LeMay was named vice chief of staff of the Air Force in 1957, General Power became commander in chief of SAC and was promoted to four-star rank. But although Power was LeMay's protégé, LeMay himself was quoted as privately saying that Power was mentally "not stable" and a "sadist". When RAND proposed a counterforce strategy which required SAC to restrain itself from striking Soviet cities in the beginning of a war, Power countered with: ”Restraint? Why are you so concerned with saving their lives? The whole idea is to kill the bastards. At the end of the war if there are two Americans and one Russian left alive, we win!”

    Right-wing Texas historian J. Evetts Haley said the treaty was a "betrayal of America" "flew in the face of all the lessons of survival in history, as well as the intuitive wisdom of every healthy American." (A Texan Looks at Lyndon p166)

    Kennedy had finally obtained the support of the Joint Chiefs for the test ban treaty, although Air Force chief LeMay said he would have opposed it had it not already been signed. Other military leaders testified against the test ban. Admiral Lewis Strauss said, "I am not sure that the reduction of tensions is necessarily a good thing. " Admiral Arthur Radford, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs, said, " I join with many of my former colleagues in expressing deep concern for our future security . . . The decision of the Senate of the United States in connection with this treaty will change the course of world history. "

    The Generals realized that the test ban treaty constituted a step towards general disarmament. General Thomas D. White, former head of the Army chiefs of Staff, remarked, "True security lies in unlimited nuclear superiority."

    10/1963 “NATO leaders were disturbed in October when US Deputy Defense Secretary Roswell Gilpatric, speaking in Chicago, declared that American forces abroad could be thinned out without weakening the nation’s capacity to deal with Soviet aggression. This speech, coming in the midst of ‘Operation Big Lift’ in which the United States flew a 15,000-man division from Texas to West Germany, suggested that henceforth the United States would station more of its troops at home.” (1964 Collier’s Encyclopedia Yearbook)

    11/1/1963 Secretary of the Navy Fred Korth resigned. John McClellan, chairman of the Permanent Investigations Committee, continued looking into the activities of Billie Sol Estes and Bobby Baker. During this investigation evidence emerged that Lyndon B. Johnson was also involved in political corruption. This included the award of a $7 billion contract for a fighter plane, the TFX, to General Dynamics, a company based in Texas. It was discovered that the Continental National Bank of Fort Worth was the principal money source for the General Dynamics plant. As a result of this revelation Korth resigned from office.

    11/19/1963 Look magazine ran a photo essay by Fletcher Knebel on the making of the film Seven Days in May. The journalist revealed the rampant anxieties that the film’s production had set off in Washington. “At the outset of filming, the moviemakers had a call from still another arm of government. The Secret Service was alarmed at a spurious report that the movie involved a President’s assassination.”

    11/21/1963 The Dallas Times Herald "Final Edition" for November 21, 1963 reported "U2 Found in Gulf; Pilot Not in Jet." It was believed to have been on a routine recon mission over Cuba before it left a visible oil slick in the Caribbean.

    12:40pm In Washington, McGeorge Bundy and Commander Oliver Hallet man the Situation Room in the White House. Much of their information is coming from the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) in the Pentagon. Officials in the Pentagon are calling the White House switchboard at the Dallas-Sheraton Hotel asking who is now in command. An officer -- a member of the Presidential party -- will eventually grab the microphone and assure the Pentagon that Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara and the Joint Chiefs of Staff are now the President.

    The day Kennedy was assassinated, Paramount Pictures, the distributor of the film Seven Days in May, planned to run an ad for the film, using a quote from one of its fictional military conspirators: “Impeach him, hell. There are better ways of getting rid of him.” The studio quickly yanked the ad at the last minute, fearing it was too provocative, “narrowly avoiding an embarrassing coincidence on the very day the president was shot,” Variety reported 12/4/1963.

    1:50 PM Around this time, says FBI agent Jim Hosty, "I learned after the assassination from two independent sources [that] fully armed warplanes were sent screaming toward Cuba. Just before they entered Cuban airspace, they were hastily called back...the entire US military went on alert. The Pentagon ordered us to Defense Condition 3...Def Con 3..." (Hosty, Assignment Oswald p219) These planes probably would have been launched from the U.S. Strike Command at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida.

    A cable from U.S. Army Intelligence in Texas, dated November 22, 1963, telling the Strike Command (falsely) that Oswald had defected to Cuba in 1959 and was "a card-carrying member of the Communist Party." (Peter Dale Scott, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press), 1966), 275; Deep Politics II, 80-85.)

    M.S. Arnoni, writing in December 1963 in The Minority of One (published January 1964):
    " Let us make the “fantastic” assumption that President Lyndon Johnson and Attorney-General Robert F. Kennedy know or believe that the murder was planned by a group of high-ranking officers who would stop at nothing to end American-Soviet negotiations. However strong their desire to avenge John F. Kennedy, what course would be open to them? To move against such formidable conspirators might start a disastrous chain of events. It could lead to American troops shooting at other American troops. It could lead to a direct take-over by a military clique. To avert such catastrophes, it might well be considered prudent to pretend utter ignorance, in the hope that the conspirators might be removed from power discreetly, at a later date, one by one.
    Of course, this theory sounds absolutely fantastic. But if we are to think about the issues without “patriotic” prejudice, it is necessary to test its plausibility by imagining it to be an explanation of the assassination of the head of another country. Few people in America would have difficulty accepting such a theory about the assassination of a Soviet, Latin American or Southeast Asian leader; and chances are that its incredulity in our own case is merely a measure of our ill-conceived national exceptionalism."

    1/29/1964 Stanley Kubrick's satirical anti-nuclear, anti-Cold War film, Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Bomb, premiered. The NYT fears that it shows “contempt for our whole military establishment” and the Washington Post calls it “anti-American.” It concerns a mad general who is convinced that the Communists are polluting his 'precious bodily fluids' and decides to launch a nuclear strike. The President tries to recall the bombers, while battling with his hawkish advisers. The film’s London release date (12-12-63) was pushed backed until 1964 due to the assassination. The screening for the critics was to be shown on 11/22/63, but was cancelled when word of the President's death was announced. Also, the line "A fella could have a pretty good weekend in Vegas" was originally "A fella could have a pretty good weekend in Dallas," but was changed after the assassination.

    2/12/1964 The John Frankenheimer film Seven Days in May premieres. It was filmed apparently in spring-summer 1963. Originally a bestselling political thriller by Charles Waldo Bailey II and Fletcher Knebel (published 1962 by Harper and Row). It concerns a liberal President who makes a disarmament treaty with the Soviets, only to find his hard-line Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff plotting to oust him in a coup. The coup is designed to take place during wargames maneuvers, which the President is to attend as a spectator, while the Vice President and much of the cabinet are out of the country. In the end, the attempted coup is hidden from the country and the plotters in the JCS are forced to resign; the reason given to the public is their differences with the President over the treaty.

    2/28/1964 Robert Kennedy did a recorded interview with John Bartlow Martin. He and JFK anticipated that LBJ would be the front-runner in 1968, and they wanted to back McNamara: "The President didn't really have much respect for he said to Jackie on Thursday night, November 21 [1963], Lyndon Johnson was incapable of telling the truth...It wasn't until after the Bay of Pigs that [JFK] found out that he couldn't rely on people [in the military and the CIA]..."

    3/1, 4/13, 4/30 and 5/14/1964 Robert Kennedy, in a series of recorded interviews with John Bartlow Martin, recalled that JFK had been strongly assured by the CIA and military that the Bay of Pigs plan would succeed: "If he hadn't gone ahead with it, everybody would have said it showed he had no courage was Eisenhower's plan, Eisenhower's people all said it would succeed...We found out later that, despite the President's orders that no American forces would be used, the first two people who landed on the Bay of Pigs were Americans - CIA sent them in....It was clearly understood in all the instructions that there weren't going to be any military forces of the United States." They had been repeatedly assured that even if the invasion went badly, the Cubans could disappear into the mountains and become guerrillas. "It turned out that, when they talked about this guerrilla territory, it was guerrilla territory back in 1890. Now it was a swamp...After Cuba [JFK] continuously prodded and probed to bring out all the facts...he made an effort to find out himself...I then became involved on every major and all the international questions...the President spoke to me about becoming head of the CIA. I said I didn't want to...I don't know who suggested John McCone originally. Maybe Scoop Jackson did...The President was never very enthusiastic about the [nuclear] testing...Most of the testing was aimed at developing smaller bombs with bigger punch. He wasn't convinced that was so necessary...There was a strong feeling by the scientific community that we should test...He reached the conclusion that probably it was worthwhile [staying in Vietnam] for psychological, [world] political reasons more than anything else."

    He was asked if JFK was "concerned about the rightist upsurge" in the country; RFK replied, "Not really, no....He thought it was silly, that [Gen.] Walker was crazy...But it was more humorous than anything else." He recalled that JFK's policy in Latin America was to do more than just side with anti-Communist dictatorships. He denied that the administration was behind the Trujillo assassination, then added, "To my knowledge, this isn't true. I got into that planning, and I expect I probably would have known...Lyndon Johnson said to Pierre Salinger that he wasn't sure but that the assassination of President Kennedy didn't take place in retribution for his participation in the assassinations of Trujillo and President Diem...divine retribution...There was never any intention of dropping [LBJ from the ticket]. There was never even any discussion about dropping him...After the missiles [crisis], Dean Rusk said that Castro would collapse or be replaced within two months."

    RFK confirmed that Kennedy was trying to improve relations with Castro in 1963, but only if Castro cut off military ties with the Soviets and stopped trying to export revolution. He said that there were no assassination attempts on Castro, not even any planning for it. He commented that when JFK visited Venezuela "we had a real check on whether all the Communists and fellow travelers were picked up and the guards were adequate...I often think that's the kind of arrangement when you were going into a crazy city like Dallas, Texas. It should have been done." He emphasized that JFK thought Vietnam was very important to the security of the whole region, had no intention of completely pulling out, but also was not going to go in with combat troops: "because everybody, including General MacArthur, felt that land conflict between our troops - white troops and Asian - would only end in disaster. So we went in as advisers to try to get the Vietnamese to fight, themselves, because we couldn't win the war for them." He was asked, "And if the Vietnamese were about to lose it, would he propose to go in on land if he had to?" RFK replied, "We'd face that when we came to it...we were winning the war in 1962 and 1963. Up until May or so of 1963, the situation was getting progressively better." He recalled that on the question of supporting a coup in Saigon, "the government split in two," with JFK, Taylor, McNamara and McCone opposed to it. (RFK In His Own Words)

    2/27/1965 Robert Kennedy records an oral history interview with Art Schlesinger:
    "The Bay of Pigs was the best thing that happened to the administration, because if it hadn't been for the Bay of Pigs, we would have sent troops into Laos...[JFK] started asking questions that were not asked at the Bay of Pigs..." He recalled that the JCS told him they could land 1000 troops a day into Laos, but when Kennedy asked how the early arrivals would fight off thousands of Pathet Lao guerillas, "Well, they said, they really hadn't thought about that....They just wanted to go in and drop bombs on people. Even after the Cuban missile crisis, two of the Chiefs of Staff were really mad. One of them suggested that we go and bomb them anyway on Monday, and the other one said, 'We've been sold out.'....LeMay and Anderson. That's really the reason why the President got rid of Anderson." He said that LBJ played little part in foreign policy: "he was never in on any of the real meetings...he was their for the first meeting, I think. Then he went to Hawaii...He wasn't there at all when the decisions were being made. He came back on the Sunday night before the Russians withdrew their missiles from Cuba...He was displeased with what we were doing, although he never made it clear what he would do. He said he had the feeling that we were being too weak...[LBJ] liked Diem...Johnson is...incapable of telling the truth...And my experience with him since then is that he lies all the time. I'm telling you, he just lies continuously, about everything. In every conversation I have with him, he lies. As I've said, he lies even when he doesn't have to...At one time, you know, I liked John Connally. I don't like him now...He's been very ungracious. I really dislike him..."

    2/1967 I.F. Stone wrote that "it is the prestige of the Machine that is at stake in Vietnam. It is Boeing and General Electric and Goodyear and General Dynamics. It is the electronic range finder and the amphibious truck and the night-piercing radar. It is the defoliant, and the herbicide, and the deodorant, and the depilatory. It is the products and the brand names we have been conditioned since childhood to revere. Down there in the jungles, unregenerate, ingenius, tricky...emerged a strange creature whose potency we had almost forgotten - Man."

    2/20/1967 Retired Gen. David M. Shoup, former Marine Corps Commandant, told the Senate, “You read, you’re televised to, you’re radioed to, you’re preached to, that it is necessary that we have our armed forces fight, get killed and maimed, and kill and maim other human beings including women and children because now is the time we must stop some kind of unwanted ideology from creeping up on this nation. The place we chose to do this is 8000 miles away...I don’t think the whole of South East Asia, as related to the present and future safety and freedom of the people of this country, is worth the life or limb of a single American. I believe that if we had and would keep our dirty, bloody, dollar-crooked fingers out of the business of these nations so full of depressed, exploited people, they will arrive at a solution of their own.”

    Sen. Thruston B. Morton (R-Kentucky) warned in a filmed interview (probably 1968’s “In The Year of the Pig”): “I think that there’s a great danger in this country because of the fact that so much of our economy is geared in the military area. There is grave danger of the military-industrial alliance of a kind actually affecting policy.”

    2/24/1968 Gen. James M. Gavin wrote an article in the Saturday Evening Post: "There has been much speculation about what President Kennedy would or would not have done in Vietnam had he lived. Having discussed military affairs with him often and in detail for 15 years, I know he was totally opposed to the introduction of combat troops in Southeast Asia. His public statements just before his murder support this view. Let us not lay on the dead the blame for our own failures."

  6. Default

    Gods conspire to bless this thread. While I am familiar with most of these comments, it is another thing entirely actually type them out!

    Let us now Twitter famous organisms!

    These quotes are the necessary antidote to efforts, especially strong on the Foundation Funded "left"?, to strip the policy implications from the assassination, also to neUtralize wider numbers of Citizens' historical understanding of the unique moment in the History of the National Security State that was 1963.


  7. Default

    Wow. Such an awesome thread.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Marius from Agro Installation

  8. #8


    Tracy, Another of your great compilations! Don't stop.
    N.B. I hope the 'retired' member refers to you being retired and not from the Forum.
    Nathaniel's idea is a very good one. One can also link back to this thread - but suggest doing it both ways, all ways, different ways.
    Currently, I'm working on the fascist connection to all of 'this' - and its a perfect match in persons, corporations, banks, investment houses, legal firms, military figures, cover operatives, super-rich, intelligence organizations, secret societies, and on and on and on. The 'Octopus' has many tentacles, and all have been around our necks (and the eyes of too many) for too long.
    If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” - Frederick Douglass
    "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
    "Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn

  9. #9


    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Lemkin View Post
    Tracy, Another of your great compilations! Don't stop.
    N.B. I hope the 'retired' member refers to you being retired and not from the Forum.
    Nathaniel's idea is a very good one. One can also link back to this thread - but suggest doing it both ways, all ways, different ways.
    Currently, I'm working on the fascist connection to all of 'this' - and its a perfect match in persons, corporations, banks, investment houses, legal firms, military figures, cover operatives, super-rich, intelligence organizations, secret societies, and on and on and on. The 'Octopus' has many tentacles, and all have been around our necks (and the eyes of too many) for too long.
    Heard ya missed me; well, I'm back.

  10. #10


    Quote Originally Posted by Tracy Riddle View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Lemkin View Post
    Tracy, Another of your great compilations! Don't stop.
    N.B. I hope the 'retired' member refers to you being retired and not from the Forum.
    Nathaniel's idea is a very good one. One can also link back to this thread - but suggest doing it both ways, all ways, different ways.
    Currently, I'm working on the fascist connection to all of 'this' - and its a perfect match in persons, corporations, banks, investment houses, legal firms, military figures, cover operatives, super-rich, intelligence organizations, secret societies, and on and on and on. The 'Octopus' has many tentacles, and all have been around our necks (and the eyes of too many) for too long.
    Heard ya missed me; well, I'm back.
    "We'll know our disinformation campaign is complete when everything the American public believes is false." --William J. Casey, D.C.I

    "We will lead every revolution against us." --Theodore Herzl

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