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Cord Meyer and the Assassination of JFK


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#1 John Simkin

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Posted 07 April 2005 - 11:05 AM

James Richards: Here is a photograph of Cord Meyer in 1980.

#2 James Richards

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Posted 07 April 2005 - 09:50 PM

Good one, John.

He looks like Barry Bostwick.

James

#3 John Simkin

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Posted 08 April 2005 - 08:03 AM

It is clear that several senior CIA officials were involved in the cover-up of the assassination. This included John McCone, Richard Helms, Winston Scott, Jesus Angleton and Desmond FitzGerald. Some researchers have argued that some CIA officials may have been involved in the actually planning of the assassination. Those named include David Atlee Phillips, William Harvey, William (Rip) Robertson, David Morales, Jake Esterline, Tracy Barnes, Richard Bissell, Frank Wisner, E. Howard Hunt and Ted Shackley.

Cord Meyer’s name is rarely mentioned. However, he did have a motive. In fact, he had more than one.

It has been pointed out that Phillips, Harvey, Robertson, Morales and Shackley had political reasons to hate JFK. They all disapproved of JFK’s post-1962 foreign policy. But so did Meyer.

After the war Meyer was a member of the Georgetown Crowd. This group included Frank Wisner, George Kennan, Dean Acheson, Thomas Braden, Richard Bissell, Desmond FitzGerald, Joseph Alsop, Tracy Barnes, Philip Graham, Katharine Graham, David Bruce, James Reston, James Truitt, Alfred Friendly, Clark Clifford, Walt Rostow, Eugene Rostow, Chip Bohlen and Paul Nitze. They were all passionate anti-communists. However they all held liberal views on domestic issues.

Meyer was probably the most liberal of all this group. Between 1945 and 1948 he campaigned for world government and nuclear disarmament. He was also highly critical of the power that the major powers had in the United Nations. Interestingly, Meyer’s first contact with JFK was at the San Francisco Conference that set up the UN. The two men argued about its structure. At this time, Meyer was far to the left of JFK.

By 1951 Meyer had moved to the right and had joined the CIA. However, he was still left of centre. Meyer’s role in the CIA reflected his liberal political opinions. He served as Tom Braden’s deputy at the International Organizations Division (IOD). This job included the funding of certain organizations (trade unions, political parties, student associations, newspapers and journals, radio stations, etc.) On the surface these groups were invariably seen as left of centre. As Meyer points out in his autobiography, right-wing groups had no difficulty getting funds. The purpose of this money was to move these organizations to what was considered to be a anti-communist position. In the UK’s case, a lot of this money was used to shape the minds of its government. In 1945 General Election the Labour Party won a massive majority on a left-wing manifesto. The IOD did a tremendous job in shifting Labour Party leaders to the right.

However, to crude anti-communists such as J. Edgar Hoover and Joseph McCarthy, these tactics were far too sophisticated to grasp. McCarthy described the Office of Policy Coordination (OPC) as "Wisner's gang of weirdos" and began carrying out investigations into their past. It did not take him long to discover that some of them had been active in left-wing politics in the 1930s. In the case of Meyer, his work with the IOD meant that he was still associating with those on the left. Hoover and McCarthy, like other fanatical right-wingers, never understood that a large number on the left were also passionate anti-communists. McCarthy went as far as to claim that the CIA was a "sinkhole of communists" and promised “to root out a hundred of them”.

One of his first targets was Cord Meyer. In August, 1953, Allen Dulles was forced to suspend Meyer without pay. Dulles knew that Meyer was no communist (Dulles had personally recruited Meyer in 1951 because of Meyer’s work with anti-communists in the trade union movement).

Meyer was eventually cleared (although his wife Mary Pinchot Meyer was not and the FBI continued to keep a file on her).

By 1954 Meyer was disillusioned with the work he was doing with the CIA. So also were other liberals in the CIA. This was partly due to its success. It had helped to overthrow governments in Iran (1953) and Guatemala (1954). Liberals like Meyer expected pro-American democracies to be established in these countries. Instead right-wing military dictators took power.

In 1954 Meyer tried to get out of the CIA. He spent several days in New York trying to get a job in publishing. While working for the CIA he had developed good contacts in the industry. However, he found them unwilling to help. Meyer became convinced he was being blocked. When his family dog was killed he began to suspect he was being warned not to leave the CIA.

In November, 1954, Braden managed to leave by buying into a newspaper in California. The CIA offered Meyer Braden’s job as head of the IOD. Meyer accepted and remained in the CIA. This brought an end to his marriage to Mary Pinchot Meyer who was insisting he left the CIA (they did not formally divorce until two years later). This also saw the start of his heavy drinking. Other liberals in the CIA followed a similar route. In the cases of Frank Wisner and Philip Graham, it played a role in their suicides.

Unlike most members of the Georgetown Crowd, Meyer now abandoned his liberal views. By the early 1960s he held right-wing opinions. In fact, according to several of his friends, on social occasions he became very aggressive when discussing politics. He was a strong advocate of the “domino theory” and felt very passionate about the need to take a stand over Cuba and Vietnam. This of course brought him into conflict with JFK.

There were also other reasons of conflict between the two men. Meyer believed that JFK had tried to seduce his new wife (Mary Pinchot Meyer) at the San Francisco Conference in 1945. Meyer was still in love with his wife when she eventually ditched him in 1956. He no doubt would have been angry when he discovered that JFK had began an affair with his wife in January, 1962.

JFK was also blocking his career. In 1961 James Jesus Angleton asked Ben Bradlee to suggest to JFK that Meyer should become ambassador to Guatemala. Bradlee, who disliked Meyer, refused. Bradlee later claimed that he did not respond to this request because he knew that JFK hated Meyer. Meyer also asked Charles L. Bartlett, another mutual friend, to suggest to JFK that he should be given a political appointment. Bartlett did as requested but reported back that "due to some incident that occurred at the U.N. conference in San Francisco in 1945 there was no possibility".

Meyer therefore had several motives for wanting JFK dead. Therefore, it seems to be that he is as much as a candidate as Phillips, Morales, Robertson and Harvey.

#4 James Richards

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Posted 08 April 2005 - 08:43 AM

Good post, John. Excellent information.

I certainly agree that Meyer had motive but did he have opportunity? Can you see a way in which Meyer could have started the wheels of conspiracy in motion, or indeed help to move it along?

In simplistic terms, the plot to kill JFK had to start somewhere, with one person and then grow into a conspiracy. Where do you see Meyer, if at all, fitting into this chain?

James

#5 John Simkin

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Posted 08 April 2005 - 11:52 AM

Good post, John. Excellent information.

I certainly agree that Meyer had motive but did he have opportunity? Can you see a way in which Meyer could have started the wheels of conspiracy in motion, or indeed help to move it along?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Good point. I have been unable to find any links between Meyer and those suspected of killing JFK. Meyer would of course have been in a good position to manage the cover-up.

However, Meyer had worked on covert operations since 1951. He was still in the Directorate of Plans in 1963. He therefore would have had contact with those CIA officials such as David Atlee Phillips, William Harvey, William (Rip) Robertson, David Morales and E. Howard Hunt who did have these connections. Meyer would have obviously needed help but there were others like those named also hated JFK.

In his autobiography Meyer refers to the murder of his wife. He points out that there was an ugly rumour circulating at the time that suggested he believed that his ex-wife had been murdered as part of a communist conspiracy. That it was some sort of revenge for things that he had done in the past. He denies believing this. Meyer insists that he believed the Washington police when they assured him that Mary had been murdered by a lone gunman (Raymond Crump).

Of course, this was not the real rumour that was circulating. The main rumour was that the CIA had killed Mary because of what she knew about the assassination of JFK.

It is commonly believed that James Angleton and Ben Bradlee were searching for Mary’s diary because of what she might have written about her relationship with JFK. I suspect they wanted the diary for other reasons. They feared that Mary might have speculated in her diary about who murdered JFK. It would have indeed been very inconvenient if Mary’s writings about the possible involvement of Cord Meyer and the CIA in the assassination had been read out in court. This would have provided a motive for her murder. That is why the diary had to be removed. That is why LBJ’s judge, Howard Corcoran, ruled that the defending attorney could not mention Mary’s private life in court.

#6 James Richards

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Posted 08 April 2005 - 11:11 PM

Thanks, John.

I have no doubt that if Meyer wasn't involved directly with the murder of JFK, then he was in a position to find out who was. Meyer may also have speculated that the individuals behind JFK's death may have been the same ones behind his ex wife's demise.

As a personal observation, I have serious problems with Ray Crump being a lone gunman here. Call me cynical but it was all a little too convenient. I submit that James Angelton was running Bernardo de Torres who in turn was running the clean-up.

Speculation of course.

James

Edited by James Richards, 08 April 2005 - 11:22 PM.


#7 John Simkin

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Posted 09 April 2005 - 08:19 AM

In his autobiography, Facing Reality: From World Federalism to the CIA (1980) Cord Meyer admits he was head of the Covert Action Staff in the early 1960s.

#8 A.J. Weberman

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Posted 09 April 2005 - 01:46 PM

There is no doubt in my mind that MPM was assassinated. One must look at a pattern of events that occurred around this time. The intelligence community was very much concerned not only with a break down in America's anti-Communist response but in traditional American morality. Kennedy was having a minor f***fest - nothing in comparison to the f***fest on the part of the gay community that brought AIDS from an esoteric disease to the forefront of infection - which was cool with beatnicks like myself but did not go over big with James Angleton who ran the show, having been the CIA official to remain in place the longest, and the best and brightest of the lot. Angleton was a very traditional human being who would crush anyone who threatened the classical father knows best view of America. When I met him he attempted to crush me by squeezing my hand so f***ing hard that I had to do a double take on it after he released his grip. But by that time he was out of power and his crew of renegade agents had been disbanded to some extent or another. In any event the FBI discovered that Kennedy was meeting with a lady whose phone records were traced back to Sam Giancana. After the affair ended she became JFK-s ex(ner). Then there was MM, another woman whose death has come under scrutiny but was most likely suicide. What irked them about MPM was the reefers and acid. Angleton did not want a beatnick President, but was not ready to kill John at that point. The fact he ended up with her diary and Truitt's death in Mexico points to James Jesus Angleton renegade CIA spinoff.

#9 Dawn Meredith

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Posted 09 April 2005 - 04:43 PM

Then there was MM, another woman whose death has come under scrutiny but was most likely suicide.

______________

A.J.. Who commits suicide by putting things into her rectum?? Mighty unusual.

Dawn

#10 Tim Gratz

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Posted 10 April 2005 - 07:05 AM

To Mr. weberman:

I gather you do not credit the story of the death of Monroe in the book "Doublecross?"

Do you give any credence to the "Doublecross" version of the assassination of JFK?

Thanks (in advance) for your opinions.

#11 Gerry Hemming

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Posted 11 April 2005 - 08:13 AM

Good one, John.

He looks like Barry Bostwick.

James

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


John:

I doubt very much that Frank G. Wisner, Sr. was in any kind of shape to do any plotting in the JFK matter. While at the Naval Academy [Annapolis, MD] during 1958, I visited Frank at the Hospital? near Baltimore -- and he was definetly on his way out of reality shortly thereafter. My uncles [partners in CALSHIP during WWII with John McCone] had arranged for me to meet Frank early in my Marine Corps career.

During a 1975 visit with Vic Marchetti [at his home in Vienna, VA] I queried him as to Frank being the lead (and fatal) character in his first novel, "The Rope Dancer". The plot is centered on a DDP discovering that eith the DCI or the Deputy DCIA is a Soviet "Mole", and is ultimately "suicided".

Vic wouldn't comment on the story-behind-the-story at that time !!

I was in D.C. at that time [May 1975] to give testimony to the "Church Committ-ee"; visit with "Bud" Fensterswald & Andrew St. George; and give warning to Lou Conein that the "Quantum/WerBell Op" was about to be blown.

Gerry Patrick Hermming
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#12 Harry J.Dean

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Posted 18 April 2005 - 02:07 AM

Good one, John.

He looks like Barry Bostwick.

James

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


John:

I doubt very much that Frank G. Wisner, Sr. was in any kind of shape to do any plotting in the JFK matter. While at the Naval Academy [Annapolis, MD] during 1958, I visited Frank at the Hospital? near Baltimore -- and he was definetly on his way out of reality shortly thereafter. My uncles [partners in CALSHIP during WWII with John McCone] had arranged for me to meet Frank early in my Marine Corps career.

During a 1975 visit with Vic Marchetti [at his home in Vienna, VA] I queried him as to Frank being the lead (and fatal) character in his first novel, "The Rope Dancer". The plot is centered on a DDP discovering that eith the DCI or the Deputy DCIA is a Soviet "Mole", and is ultimately "suicided".

Vic wouldn't comment on the story-behind-the-story at that time !!

I was in D.C. at that time [May 1975] to give testimony to the "Church Committ-ee"; visit with "Bud" Fensterswald & Andrew St. George; and give warning to Lou Conein that the "Quantum/WerBell Op" was about to be blown.

Gerry Patrick Hermming
_____________________________

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Hey,Gerry

You know of Mooney Dr. in Monterey Park, and Park St, in Alhambra, Ca, San Gabriel, Rosemead, and 'others' in the wide general area? They were my stomping grounds in the 1960s & seventies.

Larry Howard, Hall and the group were my associates, among 'others' known to us both. My question is did you know Guy 'Gabby' Gabaldon' of Marine Corps fame, and hero to Howard, also somewhat to Hall. I recall some of your own hangouts from those days but do not recall ever seeing you. Have been following your exposures on this forum with great interest.

Until later..........

Harry Dean

#13 Nina Burleigh

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Posted 19 August 2005 - 04:27 PM

(1) Do you believe Timothy Leary’s account of his relationship with Mary Meyer?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Up to a point, yes. I think he knew her and possibly did drugs with her or shared his drugs with her or talked to her about them. LSD was a very trendy drug with the artsy edgy people then. My problem is that he had no corroborating evidence - not a single eyewitness, not a hotel bill, no contemporaneous notes, to back up his claims. Given his lifetime drug use, I felt I needed that to be certain of his memories.

(2) During your research into the Meyer killing did you ever come across the names of Herminio Diaz Garcia and Bernardo de Torres? I have been told that they might have been responsible for her death.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I did not, but I'd be very interested to hear more. Please fill me in.

(3) Did you find any evidence that the killing was a CIA operation?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


No. I can't say I disproved that theory though. There remains, in my mind, a ten percent chance that someone besides Crump did it.

(4) Did you read Leo Damore’s manuscript on Mary Meyer?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


An assistant of his shared his papers, and notes with me, I have since learned that he did not share everything however.

(5) What do you make of this passage in C. David Heymann’s book, The Georgetown Ladies' Social Club (2003)

Asked to comment on the case, by the current author (C. David Heymann), Cord Meyer held court at the beginning of February 2001 - six weeks before his death - in the barren dining room of a Washington nursing home. Propped up in a chair, his glass eye bulging, he struggled to hold his head aloft. Although he was no longer able to read, the nurses supplied him with a daily copy of The Washington Post, which he carried with him wherever he went. "My father died of a heart attack the same year Mary was killed , " he whispered. "It was a bad time." And what could he say about Mary Meyer? Who had committed such a heinous crime? "The same sons of bitches," he hissed, "that killed John F. Kennedy."

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Absolute utter hogwash. Cord Meyer was apparently enraged at my well-researched book, and I cannot believe he would sit down with Heymann, no matter how near death.

At the end of his life, Cord had a very disfigured visage from mouth and jaw cancer - you would think Heymann would have mentioned that fact if he had seen him in the flesh.

#14 Alfred W. McCoy

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 07:41 PM

(1) In 1972, Cord Meyer, a senior official in the CIA became aware of your manuscript and made efforts to have the book withheld from publication. Could you tell us more about this story?


This entire story of the CIA's attempted suppression of the book was documented in an article that I did for the "New York Review of Books" in late 1972 and recounted, in brief, in a biography of Cord Meyer, Jr. by Merle Miller in "The New York Sunday Times Magazine." In brief, Meyer, then head of covert operations for the CIA, somehow learned of the book's contents while it was in press at Harper & Row in New York. He called on the company's publisher, a friend from New York social circles, to persuade him to suppress the book. Though the publisher refused that request, the company did agree, over my strenuous objections, to grant the Agency prior review, a dangerous transgression of constitutional protections. The US media reacted in rage and the Agency back off, producing a weak 14 page critique of the ms. and the book was published unaltered.



(2) According to the Frank Church report (Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities) published in 1976, the CIA arranged for books critical of the agency to receive bad reviews in the media. Did this happen to The Politics of Heroin?


This did not happen to the book. While I was in Laos doing the research, CIA mercenaries made an assassination attempt on my research team. Even though I was a lowly graduate student at Yale University, I had an FBI phone tap, an IRS audit, an investigation of my federal fellowship by the US Department of Education, and, I believe, pressure my university to dismiss me from the graduate program. Once the book was published, the Agency threatened my sources in Laos to repudiate information they had given me. In sum, the Agency tugged at every thread in the threadbare life of an American graduate student. After the book was published and I finished my Ph.D., I found no academic employment in the US and migrated to Australia where I taught for 12 years.

#15 Pat Speer

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Posted 09 March 2006 - 11:37 AM

Those of you who know me know that I'm constantly digging through old books looking for bits of trivia that could be important. Today, while looking through a 1976 book by Washington Post columnist, Art Buchwald, I think I found one. In a column entitled Where are My Files? Buchwald writes about his use of the FOIA to get a look at his files; he has fantasies that they are really juicy and that he has secretly been followed for twenty years. When he finally gets his files, of course, he finds they are totally anemic and disappointing. The ONE thing he finds turns out to be of great interest, however. (At least to me.) He finds that Cord Meyer, after discussing the Bay of Pigs with Buchwald at a Georgetown party on June 9, 1964, wrote a memorandum on their discussion, which was put in Buchwald's file. Meyer wrote: "Mr. Buchwald added that it was his feeling that the policy control over the agency was not as close as it should be. He cited as an extreme example the claim of the Cuban exiles in the recent "Bay of Pigs" that they had been encouraged to proceed with the invasion even if the White House issued contrary orders. I stated that I was not personally familiar with the Cuban events, but that it was my clear understanding that no such incitement to mutiny had ever been officially authorized, and that it was inconceivable to think that it had been." Buchwald writes: "If I had known Cord Meyer, Jr. was reporting back to headquarters on what he heard at parties, I sure as hell would have come up with something more interesting than some idle gossip about the Bay of Pigs." Buchwald also notes that the first half of Meyer's memo involved a discussion Meyer had with Senator Eugene McCarthy, at the same party.

For me, this brings up a few interesting questions. While we have pretty much taken it for granted that people like Meyer and Wisner and Angleton ran in the same circles as the Georgetown crowd, and that members of the media willingly played along with them, I now wonder if this was not by design. Perhaps people like Meyer and Wisner and Angleton insinuated themselves into this crowd so they could keep tabs on them as well. The other question is whether in June 1964 Meyer was paying particular attention to anti-CIA comments amongst the Georgetown crowd. Buchwald and Meyer ran in the same circles and had had other conversations over the years. Why was this one in his file? Was this the only time Buchwald had said something negative about the CIA? Or was Meyer specifically tracking such comments at Georgetown parties in early 1964? If so, we can all imagine why.




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