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John Simkin

John Franklin Carter and Franklin D. Roosevelt's Secret Intelligence Unit

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John Franklin Carter was a journalist who first met Franklin D. Roosevelt in January 1932. The two men became close friends and Carter became an ardent supporter of the New Deal. He was also an advisor and speechwriter for Henry Wallace, the secretary of agriculture. He was described by a colleague as "brilliant, cynical, occasionally cockeyed and always exciting." He was also the author of the books, The New Dealers (1934) and American Messiahs (1935).

In 1936 Carter adopted the pen name, Jay Franklin, and began a syndicated column, We, The People. His office in the National Press Building was close to the White House and usually reflected the views of Roosevelt. In January 1941, Carter told undersecretary of state Sumner Welles, that America's various intelligence services were "pretty well loused up and floundering around" and "there might be a use for a small and informal intelligence unit operating out of the White House without titles".

According to Joseph E. Persico, the author of Roosevelt's Secret War (2001): "Carter made his pitch to the President for the informal White House intelligence ring and found FDR receptive... The man (Carter) seemed to know everybody - officials, diplomats, the entire press corps domestic and foreign, and corporate executives all over the globe. He also had access to the National Broadcasting Company's worldwide shortwave network. And FDR grasped that Carter's profession offered the perfect cover for delivering intelligence, a Washington journalist coming to the White House occasionally to interview the President."

On 13th February, 1941, the President approved the establishment of "a small special intelligence and fact finding unit" under Carter. Persico also claims that President Franklin D. Roosevelt arranged for plausible deniability. Carter later admitted: "The overall condition was attached to the operation by President Roosevelt that it should be entirely secret and would be promptly disavowed in the event of publicity... That year's military appropriations act included an Emergency Fund for the President, from which FDR transferred $10,000 to the State Department... to finance Carter, ostensibly by buying from him surveys on conditions in various countries, with Germany leading the list.... By the end of 1941 Carter... was operating with $54,000 from the President's emergency funds."

Adolf Berle was placed in charge of distributing the funds. On 20th February, Berle recorded: "Jay Franklin (J.F. Carter) came in to see me today. He stated as a result of his conversation with the President and with you, and preparatory to the work he had been asked to do, he had spent some seven hundred dollars, and that he would be broke by the end of this week... He wanted an advance of some kind against the compensation which he would eventually receive for his work. Accordingly I lent him seven hundred dollars... I am not, of course, familiar with what the President has asked him to do, nor do I wish to be."

One of Carter's first tasks was to deal with Charles Lindbergh, one of the leaders of the American First Committee. Roosevelt was furious with Lindbergh after a speech he made on 23rd April, which included the following: "It is not only our right but it is our obligation as American citizens to look at this war objectively and to weigh our chances for success if we should enter it. I have attempted to do this, especially from the standpoint of aviation; and I have been forced to the conclusion that we cannot win this war for England, regardless of how much assistance we extend. I ask you to look at the map of Europe today and see if you can suggest any way in which we could win this war if we entered it. Suppose we had a large army in America, trained and equipped. Where would we send it to fight? The campaigns of the war. show only too clearly how difficult it is to force a landing, or to maintain an army, on a hostile coast."

President Roosevelt told Henry Morgenthau, "If I should die tomorrow, I want you to know this. I am absolutely convinced that Lindbergh is a Nazi." He wrote to Henry Stimson and claimed that: "When I read Lindbergh's speech, I felt that it could not have been better put if it had been written by Goebbels himself. What a pity that this youngster has completely abandoned his belief in our form of government and has accepted Nazi methods because apparently they are efficient." Roosevelt asked J. Edgar Hoover to keep a watch on him. He willingly did so for he had been upset by Lindbergh's critical comments about the failures of the FBI investigation into the kidnapping and murder of his infant son.

According to the author of Roosevelt's Secret War (2001): "Within days, he (Carter) delivered a fifty-page report for placement in the President's night time reading file. Thus armed, FDR was able to fire back when a reporter at a press conference asked him why Colonel Lindbergh had not been called to active duty. That was simple. Lindbergh, the President explained, was the equivalent of the arch-Civil War Copperhead Clement L. Vallandigham. The thrust drew blood. Lindbergh wrote FDR three days later resigning his commission as a colonel in the Army Air Corps Reserve. In Roosevelt's mind, his assignment to Carter had not been prompted by personal animus. Lindbergh, in FDR's eyes, was an enemy of his country, as dangerous as any fifth columnist, and had to be exposed."

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAcarterJF2.htm

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Adolf Berle was placed in charge of distributing the funds. On 20th February, Berle recorded: "Jay Franklin (J.F. Carter) came in to see me today. He stated as a result of his conversation with the President and with you, and preparatory to the work he had been asked to do, he had spent some seven hundred dollars, and that he would be broke by the end of this week... He wanted an advance of some kind against the compensation which he would eventually receive for his work. Accordingly I lent him seven hundred dollars... I am not, of course, familiar with what the President has asked him to do, nor do I wish to be."

Who was Berle writing to?

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Adolf Berle was placed in charge of distributing the funds. On 20th February, Berle recorded: "Jay Franklin (J.F. Carter) came in to see me today. He stated as a result of his conversation with the President and with you, and preparatory to the work he had been asked to do, he had spent some seven hundred dollars, and that he would be broke by the end of this week... He wanted an advance of some kind against the compensation which he would eventually receive for his work. Accordingly I lent him seven hundred dollars... I am not, of course, familiar with what the President has asked him to do, nor do I wish to be."

Who was Berle writing to?

He was writing in his diary.

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Adolf Berle was placed in charge of distributing the funds. On 20th February, Berle recorded: "Jay Franklin (J.F. Carter) came in to see me today. He stated as a result of his conversation with the President and with you, and preparatory to the work he had been asked to do, he had spent some seven hundred dollars, and that he would be broke by the end of this week... He wanted an advance of some kind against the compensation which he would eventually receive for his work. Accordingly I lent him seven hundred dollars... I am not, of course, familiar with what the President has asked him to do, nor do I wish to be."

Who was Berle writing to?

He was writing in his diary.

I believe you're mistaken, he refers to himself in the 1st person ("me", "I") and (presumably) someone else as "you".

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