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Paul Rigby

'Arrogant' CIA Disobeys Orders in Viet Nam by Richard Starnes, Washington Daily News, October 2, 1963

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As for the rest of your post, I disagree fundamentally. Before doing so, however, I owe you the basic courtesy of scrutinizing and digesting your work. There is, perhaps, much I could learn from it. I'll do that tomorrow night when I have regained the feeling in my outer extremities, fingers in particular.

Best wishes,

Paul

Paul,

Let me back up and regroup. I do not think the articles on the CIA were necessarily false. Most of it was right on -- what I was trying to say was that Lodge wasn't exposing the CIA's behavior and practices because he had a golden heart and mind, it was because he coveted what Richardson had -- his own little kingdom.

I've added many of my source files here: http://www.jfklancer.com/dallas05/ppt/conway/

Please feel free to check them out.

Best,

Debra

Edited by Debra Conway

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Debra & Cliff,

Apologies for bundling my replies together, but it seemed a sensible measure given the length and nature of the post to follow.

First to Debra: I’ve skimmed the links you posted and found much that was new to me, for which many thanks. I won’t comment on the unfamiliar material therein in any detail as I haven’t yet had the time to do it justice. One brief, relatively minor, observation, however.

While it was nice to see the cover of Dick’s noirish mystery – And When She Was Bad She Was Murdered (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Co., 1950), one of three he dashed off in the period to pay the bills – much the most apposite of his books in this context is his classic 1967 assault on the CIA and liberal illusion, Requiem In Utopia (NY: Trident Press). It’s one of the outstanding spy novels of the decade and I commend it to all.

Cliff, second but not least: Later than intended, I at least deal with the question of the bowdlerisation of the Times of Vietnam’s edition of 2 September 1963, as promised in my previous post to you.

I begin with a book published in 2005. A picture of its cover features in Debra’s presentation, and she makes reference to its author in the post above. Written by the son of the CIA station chief Starnes named in ‘Arrogant’ CIA Disobeys Orders In Vietnam, My Father The Spy: An Investigative Memoir (NY: HarperCollins) represented a return to an old and mendacious line of Agency attack on the Scripps-Howard man. Here is John H. Richardson fils on the Times of Vietnam’s detailed expose of the thwarted CIA coup of 28/29 August, as posted earlier in this thread. It is to Richardson fils’ credit that he reproduces his father’s acknowledgement of its accuracy. There, honesty ends:

“I have a copy of that newspaper, its angry headline spanning the entire front page: CIA FINANCING PLANNED COUP D’ETAT. Although it didn’t actually use my father’s name…” (p.187).

Stop right there. It did, as we shall shortly see. The trouble is, the version to be found today in both the Chicago-based Centre for Research Libraries, and the British Newspaper Library at Colindale, is not the original. What became of that? Two veteran China Lobby propagandists, Stephen Pan and the Jesuit Daniel Lyons, explained its fate in 1966: “All of the copies of the paper disappeared from the newstands within a few hours…and when 6,000 more copies were reprinted on September 9, they, too, disappeared almost immediately…That night the presses were smashed by unknown forces.” (Vietnam Crisis (NY: Twin Circle Books, second edition, July 1967), p.121).

I offer four very different sources, spread across three decades, for my claim that Richardson’s name did appear in the CIA-suppressed original. To begin in the 1970s, with Polish diplomat, and International Control Commission member, Mieczyslaw Maneli: “In the first version of this article, as I learned later, there was even a mention of the high CIA officials who engineered this conspiracy. According to the information I gathered in Saigon, it mentioned the name of Mr. Richardson, allegedly chief of the CIA in South Vietnam, who masterminded the abortive coup. It was allegedly Mme. Nhu who ordered them to drop this name from the article. I had the opportunity in Saigon to read one of the first versions of this article...” (Mieczyslaw Maneli. War of the Vanquished (NY: Harper & Row, 1971), p. 143.)

John Prados offered confirmation in his 2001 study of William Colby: “The station chief’s name [Richardson’s] appeared, first in the Times of Vietnam, then in articles in the United States” (Lost Crusader: The Secret Wars of CIA Director William Colby (Oxford UP, March 2003), p.122).

We can do even better. Here is Diem-critic Stanley Karnow writing within a month of 'Arrogant' CIA's publication: “All this might have remained secret had not Nhu, learning of the attempt against Diem’s regime, publicized the ‘plot’ by foreign elements.’ Vietnamese newspapers named Richardson as the leader of the operation, and Washington recalled him.” (“U.S. Still Divided On Viet-Nam Aims,” Washington Post, 31 October 1963, p.A20).

My final witness is Dick Starnes. In late February 1964, he despatched a Scripps-Howard researcher to the State Department in successful pursuit of copy. There it was, Richardson’s name. He was moved to seek confirmation of its presence as a consequence of the following attack, launched by our old friend Dodd of Connecticut on the Senate floor: “The propaganda campaign against the CIA reached a crescendo during the recent Vietnamese crisis. Last October 4, an article by a correspondent for an American newspaper chain charged that the CIA had been subverting State Department policy in Viet Nam, and that John Richardson, the CIA man in Saigon, had openly refused to carry out instructions from Ambassador Lodge.

The correspondent who wrote this article was guilty of openly identifying a CIA representative abroad, thus reducing his potential usefulness forever. Visiting Congressmen and members of the press may sometimes know the identity of the CIA representative but it has been take for granted that they do not reveal his identity to the public.

To the best of my knowledge, this was the first instance in which an American correspondent has been guilty of this flagrant breach of the ethics of security.”

Starnes responded to Dodd’s farrago with this tour de force:

The Washington Daily News, March 4, 1964, p.35

Over to You, Senator

A spirited – if maundering and contradictory – defense of the Central Intelligence Agency’s role in Viet Nam has been uttered by Sen. Thomas J. Dodd (D., Conn.).

Altho he prudently avoided using my name, Sen. Dodd’s speech unmistakably was an attack upon me for reporting the truth about the CIA’s headlong wilfulness in Viet Nam. The speech was long-winded and tedious, which is par for the course, and it was also essentially untrue. It betrayed a man who either is disingenuous or whose memory has played him false.

He complained to the Senate that “baiting the CIA almost seems to have achieved the stature of a popular national pastime.” He cited my dispatches from Saigon last October, and he alluded to two subsequent broadsides against the CIA levelled by “distinguished members of Congress.” He neglected to include in his indictment a well-reasoned attack on the CIA made recently by former President Harry Truman, who repeated and enlarged upon my well-founded charges that the huge espionage apparatus had strayed into operational and policy-making areas where it did not belong. Sen. Dodd’s motives in slighting Mr. Truman is unknown to me, and may well be nothing more than additional evidence of eclectic memory.

In his speech, the Senator and erstwhile FBI agent warned that these attacks upon the CIA are “highly dangerous,” and added: “Whether the critics realize it or not, these charges also constitute an attack on the wisdom and integrity of both President Eisenhower and President Kennedy. It is tantamount to accusing them of passively allowing an executive agency to function without control or supervision; and to make foreign policy – in other words, to usurp the President’s own authority. This is patently ridiculous. Neither President would have ever permitted such a thing.”

Here regard for historical truth impels one to remind the Senator that he himself repeated strikingly similar charges, “patently ridiculous” or not, less than four years ago.

I quote now from a press release issued by the Senate Internal Security Sub-committee for use Sunday, Sept. 11, 1960:

“’Cuba was handed to Castro and the communists by a combination of Americans in the same way that China was handed to the communists,’” Senators James O. Eastland (D., Miss.) and Thomas J. Dodd (D., Conn.) said today in releasing the testimony of two former United States Ambassadors.”

The two envoys were Earl T. Smith, who was US Ambassador to Havana when Castro rose to power, and Arthur Gardner, his immediate predecessor. Again the press release:

“The Senators drew particular attention to this statement of Ambassador Smith.

“’We helped overthrow the Batista dictatorship which was pro-American, only to install the Castro dictatorship, which is pro-Russian.

According to former Ambassador Smith, the agencies of the United States Government which ‘had a hand in bringing pressure to overthrow the Batista government’ were ‘certain influential people, influential sources in the State Department, lower down echelons in the CIA…”

These charges, of course, were not ridiculous.

Ambassador Smith is a distinguished financier and public official. He levelled his charges against the CIA in sworn testimony before the Internal Security sub-committee, on Aug. 30, 1960, Sen. Dodd, among others, present. Ambassador Smith enlarged upon his charges in a book (previously quoted here at some length) entitled “The Fourth Floor,” which was published by Random House two years ago. Both his testimony, which was accepted at face value and broadcast by Sen. Dodd, and his book made it plain that the CIA, indeed, had run contrary to American interests, had helped boost Castro into power, had made policy, or attempted to, and, in one instance, had been openly rebellious and insulting toward Ambassador Smith.

So much for Sen. Dodd’s own excursion into what I am afraid he would now deride as dangerous CIA baiting.

In his speech two weeks ago, Sen. Dodd laid two charges against me. Both are false and dastardly, both are of a piece with the CIA’s record for crude intimidation of reporters who undertake its lunatic growth and hunger for power.

CHARGE: A dispatch of mine identified and thus destroyed the usefulness of one John Richardson, the CIA’s then “station chief” in Saigon.

TRUTH: Mr. Richardson’s identity and role in Saigon were secrets from no one – except American newspaper readers. He was widely known as the CIA’s chief resident spook in Saigon. It is inconceivable that in a few days digging, I could discover information not long known to Ho Chi Minh’s espionage network.

CHARGE: My dispatches violated a gentleman’s agreement to protect the identity of CIA agents.

TRUTH: I am party to no agreement to hide facts from American taxpayers and parents when I am sure the enemy knows them.

CHARGE: Striking at the CIA is like hitting a man ‘who has his hands tied behind his back…the agency cannot confirm or deny published reports, true or false, favourable or unfavourable. It cannot alibi. It cannot explain. It cannot answer…

TRUTH: Baloney. Ask any reporter who has hung one on the CIA’s solid Spode chin. Few editors with guts enough to hire honest reporters have not had plaintive and/or outraged phone calls from CIA Director John McCone and his predecessors. And, indeed, Sen. Dodd’s own apologia disproves him. The voice is Sen. Dodd’s, but I’ve got a powerful hunch the words are Mr. McCone’s.

John H. Richardson fils used the CIA’s suppression of the original edition of the Times of Vietnam’s CIA Financing Planned Coup D’Etat to fashion a lie: Starnes’ identification of his father a month later came as a “bombshell” (p.197) that “stunned and dismayed” (p.198) the veteran CIA man who had, of course, as we have seen, been named a mere month earlier by the Times of Vietnam.

The revival of this ancient anti-Starnes canard had a distinctly contemporary – and distinctly Mockingbirdish –purpose. Richardson fils parleyed the lie into a piece for the NYT in which he solemnly averred that the fiendish outing of Valerie Plame Wilson had precedent, and that precedent was Starnes’ outing of Richardson’s father way back in 1963 (“The Spy Left Out In The Cold,” NYT, 7 August 2005). “The past telescopes into the future,” one of Richardson pere’s patrons, James Angleton, is famously reported to have observed. The process manifestly runs both ways.

As ever, the NYT printed the CIA-serving lie.

P.S. Was John H. Richardson really Nhu’s bosom pal, as so many claim? Not according to those aforementioned veteran China lobbyists, Stephen Pan & Daniel Lyons, SJ: "From 1957 to 1960, Diem's brother…co-operated very closely with the representatives of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in Saigon…Nhu had good friends with the CIA in Saigon, but the CIA replaced them with men who were unfriendly to him..." (Vietnam Crisis (NY: Twin Circle Publishing Co. Inc, July1966; this edition March 1967), p. 105).

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Debra & Cliff,

Apologies for bundling my replies together, but it seemed a sensible measure given the length and nature of the post to follow.

First to Debra: I’ve skimmed the links you posted and found much that was new to me, for which many thanks. I won’t comment on the unfamiliar material therein in any detail as I haven’t yet had the time to do it justice. One brief, relatively minor, observation, however.

While it was nice to see the cover of Dick’s noirish mystery – And When She Was Bad She Was Murdered (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Co., 1950), one of three he dashed off in the period to pay the bills – much the most apposite of his books in this context is his classic 1967 assault on the CIA and liberal illusion, Requiem In Utopia (NY: Trident Press). It’s one of the outstanding spy novels of the decade and I commend it to all.

Cliff, second but not least: Later than intended, I at least deal with the question of the bowdlerisation of the Times of Vietnam’s edition of 2 September 1963, as promised in my previous post to you.

I begin with a book published in 2005. A picture of its cover features in Debra’s presentation, and she makes reference to its author in the post above. Written by the son of the CIA station chief Starnes named in ‘Arrogant’ CIA Disobeys Orders In Vietnam, My Father The Spy: An Investigative Memoir (NY: HarperCollins) represented a return to an old and mendacious line of Agency attack on the Scripps-Howard man. Here is John H. Richardson fils on the Times of Vietnam’s detailed expose of the thwarted CIA coup of 28/29 August, as posted earlier in this thread. It is to Richardson fils’ credit that he reproduces his father’s acknowledgement of its accuracy. There, honesty ends:

“I have a copy of that newspaper, its angry headline spanning the entire front page: CIA FINANCING PLANNED COUP D’ETAT. Although it didn’t actually use my father’s name…” (p.187).

Stop right there. It did, as well shall shortly see. The trouble is, the version to be found today in both the Chicago-based Centre for Research Libraries, and the British Newspaper Library at Colindale, is not the original. What became of that? Two veteran China Lobby propagandists, Stephen Pan and the Jesuit Daniel Lyons, explained its fate in 1966: “All of the copies of the paper disappeared from the newstands within a few hours…and when 6,000 more copies were reprinted on September 9, they, too, disappeared almost immediately…That night the presses were smashed by unknown forces.” (Vietnam Crisis (NY: Twin Circle Books, second edition, July 1967), p.121).

I offer four very different sources, spread across three decades, for my claim that Richardson’s name did appear in the CIA-suppressed original. To begin in the 1970s, with Polish diplomat, and International Control Commission member, Mieczyslaw Maneli: “In the first version of this article, as I learned later, there was even a mention of the high CIA officials who engineered this conspiracy. According to the information I gathered in Saigon, it mentioned the name of Mr. Richardson, allegedly chief of the CIA in South Vietnam, who masterminded the abortive coup. It was allegedly Mme. Nhu who ordered them to drop this name from the article. I had the opportunity in Saigon to read one of the first versions of this article...” (Mieczyslaw Maneli. War of the Vanquished (NY: Harper & Row, 1971), p. 143.)

John Prados offered confirmation in his 2001 study of William Colby: “The station chief’s name [Richardson’s] appeared, first in the Times of Vietnam, then in articles in the United States” (Lost Crusader: The Secret Wars of CIA Director William Colby (Oxford UP, March 2003), p.122).

We can do even better. Here is Diem-critic Stanley Karnow writing within a month of 'Arrogant' CIA's publication: “All this might have remained secret had not Nhu, learning of the attempt against Diem’s regime, publicized the ‘plot’ by foreign elements.’ Vietnamese newspapers named Richardson as the leader of the operation, and Washington recalled him.” (“U.S. Still Divided On Viet-Nam Aims,” Washington Post, 31 October 1963, p.A20).

My final witness is Dick Starnes. In late February 1964, he despatched a Scripps-Howard researcher to the State Department in successful pursuit of copy. There it was, Richardson’s name. He was moved to seek confirmation of its presence as a consequence of the following attack, launched by our old friend Dodd of Connecticut on the Senate floor: “The propaganda campaign against the CIA reached a crescendo during the recent Vietnamese crisis. Last October 4, an article by a correspondent for an American newspaper chain charged that the CIA had been subverting State Department policy in Viet Nam, and that John Richardson, the CIA man in Saigon, had openly refused to carry out instructions from Ambassador Lodge.

The correspondent who wrote this article was guilty of openly identifying a CIA representative abroad, thus reducing his potential usefulness forever. Visiting Congressmen and members of the press may sometimes know the identity of the CIA representative but it has been take for granted that they do not reveal his identity to the public.

To the best of my knowledge, this was the first instance in which an American correspondent has been guilty of this flagrant breach of the ethics of security.”

Starnes responded to Dodd’s farrago with this tour de force:

The Washington Daily News, March 4, 1964, p.35

Over to You, Senator

A spirited – if maundering and contradictory – defense of the Central Intelligence Agency’s role in Viet Nam has been uttered by Sen. Thomas J. Dodd (D., Conn.).

Altho he prudently avoided using my name, Sen. Dodd’s speech unmistakably was an attack upon me for reporting the truth about the CIA’s headlong wilfulness in Viet Nam. The speech was long-winded and tedious, which is par for the course, and it was also essentially untrue. It betrayed a man who either is disingenuous or whose memory has played him false.

He complained to the Senate that “baiting the CIA almost seems to have achieved the stature of a popular national pastime.” He cited my dispatches from Saigon last October, and he alluded to two subsequent broadsides against the CIA levelled by “distinguished members of Congress.” He neglected to include in his indictment a well-reasoned attack on the CIA made recently by former President Harry Truman, who repeated and enlarged upon my well-founded charges that the huge espionage apparatus had strayed into operational and policy-making areas where it did not belong. Sen. Dodd’s motives in slighting Mr. Truman is unknown to me, and may well be nothing more than additional evidence of eclectic memory.

In his speech, the Senator and erstwhile FBI agent warned that these attacks upon the CIA are “highly dangerous,” and added: “Whether the critics realize it or not, these charges also constitute an attack on the wisdom and integrity of both President Eisenhower and President Kennedy. It is tantamount to accusing them of passively allowing an executive agency to function without control or supervision; and to make foreign policy – in other words, to usurp the President’s own authority. This is patently ridiculous. Neither President would have ever permitted such a thing.”

Here regard for historical truth impels one to remind the Senator that he himself repeated strikingly similar charges, “patently ridiculous” or not, less than four years ago.

I quote now from a press release issued by the Senate Internal Security Sub-committee for use Sunday, Sept. 11, 1960:

“’Cuba was handed to Castro and the communists by a combination of Americans in the same way that China was handed to the communists,’” Senators James O. Eastland (D., Miss.) and Thomas J. Dodd (D., Conn.) said today in releasing the testimony of two former United States Ambassadors.”

The two envoys were Earl T. Smith, who was US Ambassador to Havana when Castro rose to power, and Arthur Gardner, his immediate predecessor. Again the press release:

“The Senators drew particular attention to this statement of Ambassador Smith.

“’We helped overthrow the Batista dictatorship which was pro-American, only to install the Castro dictatorship, which is pro-Russian.

According to former Ambassador Smith, the agencies of the United States Government which ‘had a hand in bringing pressure to overthrow the Batista government’ were ‘certain influential people, influential sources in the State Department, lower down echelons in the CIA…”

These charges, of course, were not ridiculous.

Ambassador Smith is a distinguished financier and public official. He levelled his charges against the CIA in sworn testimony before the Internal Security sub-committee, on Aug. 30, 1960, Sen. Dodd, among others, present. Ambassador Smith enlarged upon his charges in a book (previously quoted here at some length) entitled “The Fourth Floor,” which was published by Random House two years ago. Both his testimony, which was accepted at face value and broadcast by Sen. Dodd, and his book made it plain that the CIA, indeed, had run contrary to American interests, had helped boost Castro into power, had made policy, or attempted to, and, in one instance, had been openly rebellious and insulting toward Ambassador Smith.

So much for Sen. Dodd’s own excursion into what I am afraid he would now deride as dangerous CIA baiting.

In his speech two weeks ago, Sen. Dodd laid two charges against me. Both are false and dastardly, both are of a piece with the CIA’s record for crude intimidation of reporters who undertake its lunatic growth and hunger for power.

CHARGE: A dispatch of mine identified and thus destroyed the usefulness of one John Richardson, the CIA’s then “station chief” in Saigon.

TRUTH: Mr. Richardson’s identity and role in Saigon were secrets from no one – except American newspaper readers. He was widely known as the CIA’s chief resident spook in Saigon. It is inconceivable that in a few days digging, I could discover information not long known to Ho Chi Minh’s espionage network.

CHARGE: My dispatches violated a gentleman’s agreement to protect the identity of CIA agents.

TRUTH: I am party to no agreement to hide facts from American taxpayers and parents when I am sure the enemy knows them.

CHARGE: Striking at the CIA is like hitting a man ‘who has his hands tied behind his back…the agency cannot confirm or deny published reports, true or false, favourable or unfavourable. It cannot alibi. It cannot explain. It cannot answer…

TRUTH: Baloney. Ask any reporter who has hung one on the CIA’s solid Spode chin. Few editors with guts enough to hire honest reporters have not had plaintive and/or outraged phone calls from CIA Director John McCone and his predecessors. And, indeed, Sen. Dodd’s own apologia disproves him. The voice is Sen. Dodd’s, but I’ve got a powerful hunch the words are Mr. McCone’s.

John H. Richardson fils used the CIA’s suppression of the original edition of the Times of Vietnam’s CIA Financing Planned Coup D’Etat to fashion a lie: Starnes’ identification of his father a month later came as a “bombshell” (p.197) that “stunned and dismayed” (p.198) the veteran CIA man who had, of course, as we have seen, been named a mere month earlier by the Times of Vietnam.

The revival of this ancient anti-Starnes canard had a distinctly contemporary – and distinctly Mockingbirdish –purpose. Richardson fils parleyed the lie into a piece for the NYT in which he solemnly averred that the fiendish outing of Valerie Plame Wilson had precedent, and that precedent was Starnes’ outing of Richardson’s father way back in 1963 (“The Spy Left Out In The Cold,” NYT, 7 August 2005). “The past telescopes into the future,” one of Richardson pere’s patrons, James Angleton, is famously reported to have observed. The process manifestly runs both ways.

As ever, the NYT printed the CIA-serving lie.

P.S. Was John H. Richardson really Nhu’s bosom pal, as so many claim? Not according to those aforementioned veteran China lobbyists, Stephen Pan & Daniel Lyons, SJ: "From 1957 to 1960, Diem's brother…co-operated very closely with the representatives of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in Saigon…Nhu had good friends with the CIA in Saigon, but the CIA replaced them with men who were unfriendly to him..." (Vietnam Crisis (NY: Twin Circle Publishing Co. Inc, July1966; this edition March 1967), p. 105).

Here's Richardson the younger's NY Times article:

http://tinyurl.com/h3t84

Here's Richardson the elder's cable making the case for a coup August 28, 1963.

http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/pentagon2/doc129.htm

Young Richardson refers to Starnes as "obscure" -- interesting way to describe

a guy who won the Ernie Pyle Award for excellence in military/foreign-affairs

journalism in 1962...

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As for the rest of your post, I disagree fundamentally. Before doing so, however, I owe you the basic courtesy of scrutinizing and digesting your work. There is, perhaps, much I could learn from it. I'll do that tomorrow night when I have regained the feeling in my outer extremities, fingers in particular.

Best wishes,

Paul

Paul,

Let me back up and regroup. I do not think the articles on the CIA were necessarily false. Most of it was right on -- what I was trying to say was that Lodge wasn't exposing the CIA's behavior and practices because he had a golden heart and mind, it was because he coveted what Richardson had -- his own little kingdom.

I've added many of my source files here: http://www.jfklancer.com/dallas05/ppt/conway/

Please feel free to check them out.

Best,

Debra

Debra, the original Washington Daily News headlines are much appreciated,

along with everything else!

JR1.jpg

I agree with you that the Diem coup was directed from State.

Like many things American, there's a Prom Queen analogy...

Both CIA and the State Dept wanted to date the Prom Queen (overthrow of Diem).

Richardson (CIA) struck out in the summer of '63.

So State took the Prom Queen out and CIA had to drive the limo...

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Young Richardson refers to Starnes as "obscure" -- interesting way to describe

a guy who won the Ernie Pyle Award for excellence in military/foreign-affairs

journalism in 1962...

Cliff,

As you rightly imply, Richardson’s abuse of Starnes was puerile stuff. It told the reader much about its author, and nothing whatever about its intended target. To more rewarding things.

For readers of this thread interested in examining Starnes’ prize-winning journalism from the summer of 1962, either through the Library of Congress (in person, or through its excellent duplication service) or via inter-library loan, here is useful guide. All items listed are from the Washington Daily News, as held by the LoC.

It’s profoundly patriotic stuff, in a style not a million miles away from that of, say, Richard Tregaskis, whose own Vietnam Diary (NY: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1963) did well in the period.

In a few short years, Starnes’ own flesh and blood was to occupy the uniform he briefly shared billets with in Vietnam, Laos and Thailand. For an early journalistic opponent of subsequent U.S. policy in the region, these were to prove dark and fearful years indeed.

June, 1962

The Stakes Are High in Vietnam, 11 June 1962, p.27

Viet Nam Frustrations, 12 June 1962, p.19

We Can Be Proud of GIs in Viet Nam, 13 June 1962, p.37

It’ll Be Good to Be With Marines Again, 14 June 1962, p.31

Here Is Where the Cold War Becomes Warm, 15 June 1962, p.33

A Daring Adventure Is About to Begin, 18 June 1962, p.21

It Was a Polished, Expert Performance, 19 June 1962, p.19

Eyes That Would Break Your Heart, 20 June 1962, p.37

A Hot One Near Ben Cat, 21 June 1962, p.29

Family Man in a Nasty Little War, 22 June 1962, p.25

A Nation With a Mess on it’s Hands, 23 June 1962, p.11

Viet Cong Guerillas Are Tough, 25 June 1962, p.25

A Two-Headed Mouse, 26 June 1962, p.17

We Are Seeing a ‘Nutritional Migration,’ 27 June 1962, p.29

The Sweet Old ‘Round Eyes’ Understood, 28 June 1962, p.13

New Coalition Alarms South Viet Namese, 29 June 1962, p.29

U.S. Inches Ahead in Drive to Save South Viet Nam, 30 June 1962, p.12

July, 1962

Enough to Make Anyone’s Liver Start to Bang, 2 July 1962, p.21

Little Girl in Big Job, 3 July 1962, p.15

If You’re Really ‘Au Fait,’ the Game is ‘CIA,’ 4 July 1962, p.15

Anna Wouldn’t Know Siam, 5 July 1962, p.27

Cobras Come With the Rain, 7 July 1962, p.9

An Elephantine Disaster…Well, Almost, 9 July 1962, p.23

’14 Can Be a Troubled Sort of Age, 11 July 1962, p.29

They Never Learned to Hate, 12 July 1962, p.43

‘Happy As A Dead Hog in the Sunshine,’ 13 July 1962, p.27

Wolfhound’s Morale Sags, 14 July 1962, p.9

When Reds Will Strike Is Big Thailand Poser, 16 July 1962, p.17

Like Something in a Midway ‘Crazy House…,’ 17 July 1962, p.17

Long Shot Chance in Laos, 18 July 1962, p.31

A Shoeshine Boy Brings Home a Basic Truth, 19 July 1962, p.31

Perhaps a Few ‘Pipes’ Might Have Helped, 20 July 1962, p.29

Made for Mystery, 21 July 1962, p.13

Big Question in Laos, 23 July 1962, p.19

It Has Been a Painful Lesson in Laos, 24 July 1962, p.15

Saga of the Willowy Ton, 25 July 1962, p.37

It Was Like the Taste of Burnt Caramel, 26 July 1962, p.29

A Sense of Foreboding, 28 July 1962, p.11

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Richardson Sr., a long time CIA official, seemed to feel Diem was a workable solution -- Lodge did not. The result is now history -- the overthrow and assassination of Diem and his brother.

A sidebar on the question of Lodge and his role in Saigon in the period August-November 1963.

I thought it might be interesting to see what an identified CIA asset had to say about him more or less contemporaneously. One example was ready to hand, courtesy of Pan & Lyons’ Vietnam Crisis.

In that riveting tome, the authors offer an alleged verbatim extract from an interview with Nhu conducted by Suzanne Labin, the French “leftist” who enjoyed the somewhat surprising distinction of being permitted to address Pentagon high-fliers; and of having had at least one book - The Anthill: The Human Condition in Communist China - subsidised by the Agency through its best-known publishing arm, Praeger of New York, in 1960.

Labin attributes the following to Nhu: “His political views seemed to be dominated by the fashionable decrees of Linus Pauling in the New York Times, and the neutralist preachings of Walter Lippmann in the New York Herald-Tribune.” Labin goes on to offer the classic Agency line on Lodge’s role, as supposedly recounted unbidden by Nhu, that renowned master of colloquial English: “Lodge never stopped working against us, with the cocksureness that a representative of a colonial power might have evinced, thirty years ago toward protectorate…Lodge does not bother with the normal business of an Ambassador, which would be to galvanize and to strengthen the friendship between our two governments. No, his only care is to intrigue against the legal government to which he has been accredited.” (Stephen Pan & Daniel Lyons, SJ. Vietnam Crisis (NY: Twin Circle Books, 1967 edition, p.117), citing Suzann Labin. Vietnam: An Eyewitness Account (Springfield, VA: Crestwood Books ), 1964, pp.34-35.)

Interesting to note that Labin’s 1965 book, Embassies of Subversion (New York: American Afro-Asian Educational Exchange), carried a forward by one Thomas J. Dodd, the same Senator who, as we have seen, attacked Starnes at the CIA’s behest in February 1964. In early March 1963, Dodd had entered a gushing tribute to the CIA asset into the Congressional Record. It went by the modest title "Suzanne Labin: Joan of Arc of Freedom" (Congressional Record, 1963 March 4).

You couldn’t make this up.

Labin and Daniel Lyons were themselves to collaborate on Twin Circle’s 1968 book, Fifty Years: The USSR vs. The USA.

Small world, indeed.

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The view of the State v. CIA war in Vietnam embodied in Starnes’ ‘Arrogant’ CIA was to receive powerful corroboration in the pages of The Times, then still the house-organ of the British elite. On Macmillan’s last day in No.10, it offered a succinct summary of the forces in play and what they represented. British historians, it should be noted, have spent over forty years avoiding this and similar meditations on the CIA under Kennedy in the Times 1961-63. More fool them.

The capitalisation follows the original.

The Times, Tuesday, 8 October 1963, p.13:

Second leader

An Elusive Agency

President Kennedy’s failure to control the political activities of the Central Intelligence Agency has been one of the more disappointing and mysterious aspects of his Administration. It is to be hoped that his belated recall of MR. RICHARDSON, the head of the C.I.A. mission in South Vietnam, is a sign of a new determination to exert the full political control which the agency so badly needs. Few things damage a country more than if its representatives on the spot appear to be at odds with each other.

The Cuban fiasco provided a unique opportunity to reassess the role of the C.I.A. The evidence of Laos and South Vietnam is that the opportunity was fumbled. (In Laos two years ago the C.I.A. was still opposing the neutralist coalition some time after PRESIDENT KENNEDY had formally endorsed it.) It is important, however, that the C.I.A. should not become a scapegoat for what are often the sins of the Government. Its involvement with NGO DINH DIEM’S family in Vietnam was encouraged by the absence of clear direction from Washington. The American Government was split over the proper policy for Vietnam, and in the resulting cleavage the State Department went one way and some of the C.I.A., with some of the Pentagon, another. There should have been especially keen vigilance over the C.I.A., for it is well known that many members of its staff are out of sympathy with the basic assumptions of the Administration’s policies, as they were not, on the whole, in the days of MR. DULLES.

The difficulty that has always dogged the C.I.A. is that it is basically inimical to American traditions, and the country has been unable to assimilate it. Born out of the shock of Pearl Harbour, it found its present name in 1947. The original intention was that it should confine itself to the collection and evaluation of information, and many think it should return to this pristine state. It outgrew the restrictions almost by accident. The State Department was weak in staff and funds, and American policy demanded methods that were not compatible with normal diplomacy. Gradually MR. JOHN FOSTER DULLES found that he could sometimes act more effectively through his brother ALLEN, then head of the C.I.A., than through his own department. Repeated attempts to subject the agency to Congressional control stumbled on the obvious need for secrecy. Secrecy would disappear in the open arenas of American political life. At the same time the Dulles fraternity inhibited control by the Executive. The result was a new and secret kingdom which combined the collection of information with the formulation and the execution of policy.

After the Bay of Pigs PRESIDENT KENNEDY tried to restore the making of policy to the State Department, local authority to his ambassadors, and most operational responsibilities to the Pentagon. He has had some success with these reforms, but not enough. The recent troubles have already revived demands for more Congressional control, and some increase may be possible. In the end, however, only one person is in a position to exert full control, and that is the President himself.

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Richardson Sr., a long time CIA official, seemed to feel Diem was a workable solution -- Lodge did not. The result is now history -- the overthrow and assassination of Diem and his brother. In this case, the CIA did not run this operation, it was run from the State Department.

Hi, Ms. Conway.

Would you be kind enough to factor in the $40,000 paid to the coupers by Lucien Conein, and perhaps explain how the State Department managed it?

Ta.

Ashton Gray

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The Times, Tuesday, 8 October 1963, p.13:

Second leader

An Elusive Agency

The American Government was split over the proper policy for Vietnam, and in the resulting cleavage the State Department went one way and some of the C.I.A., with some of the Pentagon, another. There should have been especially keen vigilance over the C.I.A., for it is well known that many members of its staff are out of sympathy with the basic assumptions of the Administration’s policies, as they were not, on the whole, in the days of MR. DULLES.

Starnes returned to the subject of the CIA's catastrophic conduct in south-east Asia on the eve of Kennedy's murder. The country was Cambodia, where Sihanouk had been the object, as with Diem in neighbouring Vietnam, of repeated Agency assassination attempts well before Kennedy reached the White House. Note the sharp distinction drawn yet again by Starnes between State Department policy and that pursued by the Dullesians of Langley.

The New York World-Telegram & Sun, Thursday, 21 November 1963 p.25

CIA and Decay

The decay of the American bridgehead on the mainland of Asia continues with news that the unlikely kingdom of Cambodia has spurned military and economic aid from the United States.

This represents a sharp defeat for American policy in Southeast Asia, certainly a disaster comparable to the loss of Laos, and it contains ominous portents for the future.

Once again the Central Intelligence Agency is credited with playing a role in a calamitous undoing of American aims. Once the conditioned reflexes of the State Department have produced an instant denial that the Ivy League spooks of the CIA had anything to do with it.

These reflexes are inherently incredible, of course. There is a rich and growing literature showing that too often the State Department doesn't know what the patient plotters of the CIA are doing. Moreover, Cambodia's Prince Norodom Sihanouk, as vain and bombastic as he is, is not stupid. He is no more likely to eviscerate Santa Claus than any other money-hungry Oriental despot is - unless he has what seems to be compelling reason. The State Department may not believe the CIA was conspiring in the downfall of Sihanouk, but the prince thought so.

Such is the neurotic haze of secrecy under which the CIA coils and writhes that the specimen American lawgiver (to say nothing of the ordinary taxpayer) will never know the truth about America's defeat in Cambodia. But never doubt for a moment that it is a defeat, and a resounding one. If Viet Nam, Thailand and Laos are worth the lives and money we have so recklessly dedicated to them, then so is Prince Norodom's flyblown little kingdom.

The United States has spent more than $350 million (plus what ever clandestine appropriations the CIA has devoted to the country) in an attempt to keep Cambodia from swinging completely into the Communist orbit. At best all we got for our money was a precarious neutrality, while Sihanouk gleefully played East and West off against each other with all the oily skill of a chop suey tycoon playing fan-tan. It takes no great prescience to understand that freed of any restraints from the West, Sihanouk will zoom straight for the candle flame held out by Communist China.

The capture of Cambodia, like Laos' similar fate, may not be ratified for some time. But when it is, it will require only a moment of map reading to understand what has happened: Communist China now has a clear corridor from her borders to the Gulf of Siam. South Viet Nam is now flanked from the west, beleaguered from the north, surrounded by totally hostile neighbours and pinned against the sea. Thailand is just as ill-used. Malaysia is jeopardized; so it the sprawling, lunatic empire of Indonesia.

To be sure, no one who has seen the miserable, almost impassable mountains, jungles and swamps of the Laotian-Cambodian corridor expects the people's army of China to go rolling down to the sea any time soon. But inexorably the Chinese Communist cadres will infest the countryside, subvert it, and bend it to Peking's grand designs.

It is, of course, difficult to assay the CIA' s function in all of this. Dismiss, for the sake of argument, Sihanouk's proofs of CIA plotting against him as the paranoiac ravings of an uneasy tyrant. The fact remains that the United States secret, wholly unaccountable spy bureaucracy had carte blanche in Cambodia, had unlimited resources, and failed. It not only failed to keep Cambodia out of the Communist orbit, it provided Sihanouk with an excuse to cast out the last vestiges of American influence.

All this, in the Orwellian language of Washington's CIA stiffs, will be cited as more evidence of the sad truth that the spooks get lumps every time the United States takes a licking, but never get credit for its mysterious, unknown feats of derring-do. The CIA remains above the battle of agencies which have to account for themselves. Only from time to time (and at times like this), its well-bred murmur is heard in the expense clubs in the nation's capital, explaining why it cannot be held accountable to democratic processes, as all our other great organs of government, secret and overt, are.

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The New York World-Telegram & Sun, Thursday, 21 November 1963 p.25

CIA and Decay

by Richard Starnes

The decay of the American bridgehead on the mainland of Asia continues with news that the unlikely kingdom of Cambodia has spurned military and economic aid from the United States.

This represents a sharp defeat for American policy in Southeast Asia, certainly a disaster comparable to the loss of Laos, and it contains ominous portents for the future.

Once again the Central Intelligence Agency is credited with playing a role in a calamitous undoing of American aims. Once the conditioned reflexes of the State Department have produced an instant denial that the Ivy League spooks of the CIA had anything to do with it.

These reflexes are inherently incredible, of course. There is a rich and growing literature showing that too often the State Department doesn't know what the patient plotters of the CIA are doing. Moreover, Cambodia's Prince Norodom Sihanouk, as vain and bombastic as he is, is not stupid. He is no more likely to eviscerate Santa Claus than any other money-hungry Oriental despot is - unless he has what seems to be compelling reason. The State Department may not believe the CIA was conspiring in the downfall of Sihanouk, but the prince thought so....

It is, of course, difficult to assay the CIA' s function in all of this. Dismiss, for the sake of argument, Sihanouk's proofs of CIA plotting against him as the paranoiac ravings of an uneasy tyrant. The fact remains that the United States secret, wholly unaccountable spy bureaucracy had carte blanche in Cambodia, had unlimited resources, and failed. It not only failed to keep Cambodia out of the Communist orbit, it provided Sihanouk with an excuse to cast out the last vestiges of American influence.

Extract from Shadow on a Dry Light:

In February 1959, Cambodia police broke up the Dap Chhuon plot and fingered Victor Matsui, a CIA officer working under light diplomatic cover at the Phnom Penh embassy(1), as the co-ordinating agent(2). In late August of the same year, a bomb blast at the royal palace in Phnom Penh killed the protocol minister(3). The following month, Diem reached a modus vivendi with Sihanouk, despite the attempts of Viet-Nam Presse, the official Saigon news bulletin, to sabotage the deal(4).

(1)Michael Field. The Prevailing Wind: Witness in Indo-China (London: Methuen & Co. Ltd., 1965), p.213, citing the French-language newspaper Realites Cambodgiennes, 19 September 1959.

(2)Mona K. Bitar, “Bombs, Plots and Allies: Cambodia and the Western Powers, 1958-59,” p. 162, within Richard J. Aldrich, Gary Rawnsley, and Ming-Yeh Rawnsley (Eds.), “Special Issue on the Clandestine Cold War in Asia, 1945-65: Western Intelligence, Propaganda and Special Operations,” Intelligence and National Security, Winter 1999 (Vol. 14, No. 4).

(3)“Friends of Former Envoy Questioned,” The Times, 3 September 1959, p.8.

(4)Bernard Fall, “Cambodia’s International Position,” Current History, March 1961 (Vol.40, No.235), p.167.

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Here's Kennedy describing the Diem over-throw three days after it occured:

http://www.whitehousetapes.org/clips/1963_...nam_memoir.html

(quote on)

President Kennedy: Opposed to the coup was General [Maxwell] Taylor, the

Attorney General [Robert Kennedy], Secretary [Robert] McNamara to a somewhat

lesser degree, John McCone, partly based on an old hostility to [Henry Cabot] Lodge

[Jr.] which causes him to lack confidence in Lodge's judgement, partly as a result

of a new hostility because Lodge shifted his [CIA] station chief; in favor of the

coup was State, led by Averell Harriman, George Ball, Roger Hilsman, supported

by Mike Forrestal at the White House.

Cliff,

Were McCone and Colby really opposed to the November coup – er, the one in Vietnam, that is - as so many U.S. historians have sought to convince us? One interested party certainly didn’t think so - the Diem government. In a fascinating piece in the Times of Vietnam on 19 September 1963, under the headline “Pardon, CIA, Your Split Is Showing” (p.1), we find the following:

“There is now a campaign to whitewash the CIA’s costly blunder…

The Washington Post on September 17, said, ‘CIA Director John A. McCone and his assistant for Asia, William Colby, former agency head in South Viet Nam, reportedly have great confidence in the Diem-Nhu regime.’

It did not explain why, if this true, these two persons claimed to be responsible for CIA activities authorized the financing of the planned coup d’etat, and why they continue to permit the financing of continued activities aimed at overthrowing the Government of Viet Nam.”

The Washington Post whitewashing the Agency's role in a coup? Unthinkable.

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Paul,

Let me back up and regroup. I do not think the articles on the CIA were necessarily false. Most of it was right on -- what I was trying to say was that Lodge wasn't exposing the CIA's behavior and practices because he had a golden heart and mind, it was because he coveted what Richardson had -- his own little kingdom.

Best,

Debra

Debra,

I forgot to post this explicit denial by Starnes that Lodge was his source for Richardson's name and role. Apologies for the oversight.

The New York World-Telegram & Sun, Tuesday, 24 December 1963, p.13

Truman and the CIA

The murmuring chorus of Americans who are deeply concerned with the growing power and headlong wilfulness of the Central Intelligence Agency has been joined by former President Truman.

Mr. Truman must be accounted an expert witness in this matter, because it was under his administration that the CIA came into being. In a copyrighted article he wrote recently that the CIA had strayed wide of the purposes for which he had organized it.

"It has," he wrote, "become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the government. This has led to trouble and may have compounded our difficulties in several explosive areas."

For writing substantially the same thing from South Viet Nam last fall, this reporter was (and still is) subjected to a calculated behind-the-scenes campaign of opprobrium at the hands of the CIA. So, indeed, has the United States' ambassador to Saigon been subjected to the same sort of behind-the-hand attack, on the theory that he was the source of my account of the CIA's heedless bureaucratic arrogance in Saigon.

Mr. Lodge, it is now charged by CIA apologists, destroyed the effectiveness of one of the CIA's most skilful agents. It is also charged that this reporter violated a gentleman's agreement in naming the agent.

Both charges are false, meaching and disingenuous.

The name of the agent, hurriedly summoned home from Saigon within 24 hours of my account of his stewardship of the huge spook operations, was John Richardson. In my several conversations with Ambassador Lodge, Richardson's name never passed between us.

It was, indeed, not necessary for any wayfaring journals to go to any such exalted figures to descry the activities of the CIA's station chief in Saigon. Richardson, a frequent visitor at the presidential palace and a close adviser to the devious and powerful Ngo Dinh Nhu, was widely known in the Vietnamese capital. Until Mr. Lodge replaced Frederick Nolting as ambassador, most knowledgeable Americans and sophisticated Vietnamese regarded Richardson as the most powerful foreigner in Viet Nam.

It is nonsense to say that Lodge destroyed Richardson's value as a CIA agent. In Saigon, Richardson was as clandestine as a calliope with a full head of steam. It is, moreover, a libel to allege (as high CIA officials have alleged) that this reporter violated an agreement to shield Richardson's identity. In all my assiduous inquiries about the man, never once was it suggested that there was an agreement to keep his identity secret. If there had been any such agreement, I would, of course, have respected it even though it would have been plainly absurd in view of Richardson's notoriety.

This is, unfortunately, more than a parochial dispute between a reporter and a writhing, unlovely bureaucracy. The President of the United States himself has been misled by the CIA mythology regarding just how and by whom Richardson's utility as chief resident spook was destroyed. Neither Lodge nor any journalist cast Richardson in his role in Saigon. If CIA chief John McCone really believes that his man in Saigon was compromised by my dispatches (and presumably he does believe this or he would not have planted and cultivated the tale as thoroughly as he has) then he does not know what is going on in the huge, bumbling apparatus he nominally leads.

Mr. Truman knows whereof he speaks. Wise in the ways of malignant bureaucracy, he knows that unfettered and unaccountable power such as is vested in the CIA is bound to feed upon itself until it poses a threat to the very free institutions it was founded to safeguard. No man alive knows the enormous power that is now vested in the CIA, nor the wealth it dispenses, nor the policy it makes. Most people in government would be appalled if they knew that already the CIA has overflowed its huge new headquarters building in McLean, Va., but it is fact that it has done.

There is far, far too much about the CIA that is unknown to far too many Americans. We will, occasionally and from time to time, twang this same sackbut. It is not a pretty tune it plays, but it is an important one.

Best wishes,

Paul

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The Washington Daily News, Wednesday, October 2, 1963, p.3

'SPOOKS' MAKE LIFE MISERABLE FOR AMBASSADOR LODGE

'Arrogant' CIA Disobeys Orders in Viet Nam

SAIGON, Oct.2 - The story of the Central Intelligence Agency's role in South Viet Nam is a dismal chronicle of bureaucratic arrogance, obstinate disregard of orders, and unrestrained thirst for power.

Twice the CIA flatly refused to carry out instructions from Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge, according to a high United States source here.

In one of these instances the CIA frustrated a plan of action Mr. Lodge brought with him from Washington because the agency disagreed with it.

This led to a dramatic confrontation between Mr. Lodge and John Richardson, chief of the huge CIA apparatus here. Mr. Lodge failed to move Mr. Richardson, and the dispute was bucked back to Washington. Secretary of State Dean Rusk and CIA Chief John A. McCone were unable to resolve the conflict, and the matter is now reported to be awaiting settlement by President Kennedy.

It is one of the developments expected to be covered in Defense Secretary Robert McNamara's report to Mr. Kennedy.

Others Critical, Too

Other American agencies here are incredibly bitter about the CIA.

"If the United States ever experiences a 'Seven Days in May' it will come from the CIA, and not from the Pentagon," one U.S. official commented caustically.

("Seven Days in May" is a fictional account of an attempted military coup to take over the U.S. Government.)

CIA "spooks" (a universal term for secret agents here) have penetrated every branch of the American community in Saigon, until non-spook Americans here almost seem to be suffering a CIA psychosis.

An American field officer with a distinguished combat career speaks angrily about "that man at headquarters in Saigon wearing a colonel's uniform." He means the man is a CIA agent, and he can't understand what he is doing at U.S. military headquarters here, unless it is spying on other Americans.

Another American officer, talking about the CIA, acidly commented: "You'd think they'd have learned something from Cuba but apparently they didn't."

Few Know CIA Strength

Few people other than Mr. Richardson and his close aides know the actual CIA strength here, but a widely used figure is 600. Many are clandestine agents known only to a few of their fellow spooks.

Even Mr. Richardson is a man about whom it is difficult to learn much in Saigon. He is said to be a former OSS officer, and to have served with distinction in the CIA in the Philippines.

A surprising number of the spooks are known to be involved in their ghostly trade and some make no secret of it.

"There are a number of spooks in the U.S. Information Service, in the U.S. Operations mission, in every aspect of American official and commercial life here, " one official - presumably a non-spook - said.

"They represent a tremendous power and total unaccountability to anyone," he added.

Coupled with the ubiquitous secret police of Ngo Dinh Nhu, a surfeit of spooks has given Saigon an oppressive police state atmosphere.

The Nhu-Richardson relationship is a subject of lively speculation. The CIA continues to pay the special forces which conducted brutal raids on Buddhist temples last Aug. 21, altho in fairness it should be pointed out that the CIA is paying these goons for the war against communist guerillas, not Buddhist bonzes (priests).

Hand Over Millions

Nevertheless, on the first of every month, the CIA dutifully hands over a quarter million American dollars to pay these special forces.

Whatever else it buys, it doesn't buy any solid information on what the special forces are up to. The Aug. 21 raids caught top U.S. officials here and in Washington flat-footed.

Nhu ordered the special forces to crush the Buddhist priests, but the CIA wasn't let in on the secret. (Some CIA button men now say they warned their superiors what was coming up, but in any event the warning of harsh repression was never passed to top officials here or in Washington.)

Consequently, Washington reacted unsurely to the crisis. Top officials here and at home were outraged at the news the CIA was paying the temple raiders, but the CIA continued the payments.

It may not be a direct subsidy for a religious war against the country's Buddhist majority, but it comes close to that.

And for every State Department aide here who will tell you, "Dammit, the CIA is supposed to gather information, not make policy, but policy-making is what they're doing here," there are military officers who scream over the way the spooks dabble in military operations.

A Typical Example

For example, highly trained trail watchers are an important part of the effort to end Viet Cong infiltration from across the Laos and Cambodia borders. But if the trailer watchers spot incoming Viet Congs, they report it to the CIA in Saigon, and in the fullness of time, the spooks may tell the military.

One very high American official here, a man who has spent much of his life in the service of democracy, likened the CIA's growth to a malignancy, and added he was not sure even the White House could control it any longer.

Unquestionably Mr. McNamara and Gen. Maxwell Taylor both got an earful from people who are beginning to fear the CIA is becoming a Third Force co-equal with President Diem's regime and the U.S. Government - and answerable to neither.

There is naturally the highest interest here as to whether Mr. McNamara will persuade Mr. Kennedy something ought to be done about it.

A further glimpse of Starnes' key source for 'Arrogant' CIA is perhaps to be found in another magnificent piece from the period. Here he is pouring scorn on the composition of the Warren Commission in mid-December 1963:

The New York World-Telegram & Sun, Wednesday, December 11, 1963, p.49

Light On a Shadow

By Richard Starnes

A small, but possibly significant, insight into ourselves as others see us is to be obtained in reading an account of Fidel Castro's reaction to the news that the American President had been murdered.

He was, of course, deeply concerned with the nature of his new adversary - Lyndon B. Johnson. Writing in the current New Republic, Jean Daniel, who was with Castro when he heard of Mr. Kennedy's assassination, reports that the Cuban dictator asked:

"Who is Lyndon Johnson? What is his reputation? What were his relations with Kennedy? With Khrushchev? What was his position at the time of the attempted invasion of Cuba?"

The: "What authority does he exercise over the CIA?"

Shielded as they are from the realities of life, Americans are easy to placate and reassure on the score of such cloudy organisms as the Central Intelligence Agency. Not so, however, are sophisticated foreigners, particularly foreigners against whom the CIA is waging war. Castro falls within this category.

The unlikely figure of Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia is another alien princeling whose thoughts are much with the shadowy spooks of the CIA. So much so, indeed, that he turned off the U.S. foreign aid spigot that had poured $355 million into his country, chucked out the U.S. aid mission and U.S. military advisers, and may have condemned his country to the gravitational lure of Communist China - all because he believed the CIA was assisting rebels seeking to overthrow him.

It is possible to reject the maunderings of such as Sihanouk and Castro. But it is not so easy to turn aside episodes such as a conversation with an American official of high rank (and immense personal prestige) who was at the time stationed in the Far East. We had been talking about the CIA, when he said:

"I have Q security clearance, which is the highest anyone can have, and I thought I pretty much knew what was going on. But I have been appalled by what I've seen here. I seriously question whether President Kennedy himself has any effective control over this monstrous bureaucracy."

Castro's question, then, is perhaps not so foolish as it might first appear to be.

President Johnson may be forgiven if his special commission to examine into the murder of John F. Kennedy seems on sober second thoughts to be a curiously ill-assorted group. He had many problems nagging at him and consuming his time; he unquestionably sought the advice of the Chief Justice, among others, and it is clear now that some of the advice he obtained was poorly considered.

If he had any idea of the tremendous CIA psychosis that is abroad in the world today, he most certainly would not have named Allen W. Dulles to the extraordinary commission. Dulles headed the CIA for eight years, a tenure which spanned such dismal episodes as the U-2 incident and the Bay of Pigs disaster, and he now seems bent on spending his declining years as apologist without portfolio for the huge, bumbling espionage apparatus.

What the meaning of Dulles' appointment is, no one outside the White House knows. But whatever the final judgement of the commission is, it will be looked upon as a product, at least in part, of Dulles' thought processes, conditioned reflexes and rigidly-fixed notions of what is the public's business and what isn't.

In the eyes of foreigners, indeed, Dulles' role in the verdict of the commission will loom larger than life size. He is the only member of the commission (with the exception of Justice Warren) who is widely known abroad. He is known, moreover, as the dean of American spies. His appointment to the commission was not an act designed to reassure those organs of world opinion that are terribly concerned and frightened over what the true significance of the Kennedy assassination may be.

A great many journalists talk about speaking truth to power. Few do it. Dick Starnes did, when it mattered.

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Paul-- thanks. Always good to read CONTEMPORARY accounts of the struggle between JFK and CIA.

Generally a brave article, but one question re the word "bumbling" in the same sentence as U-2 incident

and Bay of Pigs. As you know there are those who argue that both incidents were staged disasters used

by the CIA to force the Ike and JFK into a corner.

Do you agree with these interpretations of the U-2 and Bay of Pigs incidents?

Did Starnes have access to this interpreation?

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Paul-- thanks. Always good to read CONTEMPORARY accounts of the struggle between JFK and CIA.

Generally a brave article, but one question re the word "bumbling" in the same sentence as U-2 incident and Bay of Pigs. As you know there are those who argue that both incidents were staged disasters used by the CIA to force the Ike and JFK into a corner.

Do you agree with these interpretations of the U-2 and Bay of Pigs incidents?

Did Starnes have access to this interpretation?

Nat,

Sorry about the delay in responding, but I either missed your reply first time round, or, more likely, got distracted and forgot about any intended reply. Worse, I revisited this thread merely to note with approval David Talbot’s inclusion of Starnes’ ‘Arrogant CIA in Brothers – see pp.217-218 - which arrived this morning. Talbot first describes the despatch as “a remarkable report” (p.217), then as “stunning” (p.218). Extraordinary, is it not, that Talbot could find the piece forty-plus years after the event, while Lane, Weisberg et al never once referenced it in the 60s! Let’s hope a US academic or two is sufficiently emboldened to interview Dick while the chance remains.

A small quibble: Talbot erroneously claims that Richardson, the CIA station-chief in Saigon, was anti-coup at the time of his recall. The truth, of course, not least from Richardson’s own hands (see earlier in the thread), is quite contrary.

And so to your questions from August last:

No, I don’t agree with Dick’s characterisation of the CIA’s role in both the U-2 and Bay of Pigs “incidents” as “bumbling.” But then I suspect this was as far as he thought he could go in the contemporary discourse, certainly in the case of the BoP. Starnes couldn’t jump in at the time, as he was in Israel covering the Eichmann trial, but he did make comment on it, briefly, in The Ugly American Made Even Uglier, 28 April 1961, pp.1&7. He did return to the subject of the BoP, however, in a mid-July 1965 column:

The Washington Daily News, 28 July 1965, p.31

A Shocking Oversight

The disaster of the Bay of Pigs has been illuminated during the last few days by the recollections of two of John F. Kennedy’s principal aides, and by a published interview with the former CIA official who was the chief architect of the invasion.

Theodore C. Sorenson and Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., now disgorging high-priced memoirs in Look and Life respectively, agree in general: After the debacle Mr. Kennedy felt he had been deceived in key points regarding the invasion, and he reproached himself for trusting the “experts.”

But the interview with Richard M. Bissell, Jr., the principal planner of the operation, copyrighted by the Washington Evening Star, reflects none of Mr. Kennedy’s pre-invasion doubts. It is, indeed, a good specimen example of the self-serving, now-let’s-get-my-side-of-it interview with a wounded bureaucrat.

Mr. Bissell professes to believe that the invasion would have had “A damned good chance” of success if air support had not been withdrawn at the last moment.

The Bissell interview contains only one notable insight: The fear that if the invasion was cancelled (A move which Mr. Kennedy was sorely tempted to make) the Cuban exile force (“The most powerful military force between Mexico and Panama”) might run riot throughout Guatemala, Honduras of Nicaragua.

But the truth – a truth that is amply documented and scandalously ignored – is that Mr. Kennedy would not have succeeded in calling off the invasion even if he had tried. The CIA, according to unchallenged testimony that is on the public record, told invasion leaders a few days before the scheduled landing at the Bay of Pigs that it was possible the invasion would be called off by Washington.

If that took place, the CIA’s mysterious “Frank” (who was the chief training officer for the invasion force) told exile leaders, they were to take their CIA shepherds prisoner and go ahead with the planned landing.

This account of contingency treason is contained in interviews with three leaders of the ill-fated Brigade 2506. The interviews were taken by Haynes Johnson and published in his meticulously documented book, “The Bay of Pigs.”

Of all the revelations about the shabby double-dealing that led to a humiliating defeat for the U. S., the planned betrayal of Mr. Kennedy is the most shocking. But equally shocking is the fact that this sensational imputation of disloyalty to a high CIA officer has been completely ignored by Congress, which finds time to investigate everything, and by President Johnson.

The men who made the charge are not irresponsible; indeed, they were the CIA’s choice to lead the invasion. Two of them, Jose Perez San Romain (commanding officer of Brigade 2506) and Erneido Oliva (his deputy), are now officers in the U.S. Army. The third, Manuel Artime, was the civilian leader of the exile force that came to grief at the Bay of Pigs.

The only conclusion that the sensible observer can draw is that the power of the elephantine, unaccountable CIA is now so great that no organism of government dares challenge it, however compelling the circumstances may be.

Starnes on the U-2 incident remains terra incognita: I didn’t have enough spare cash at the time to pay for the necessary copying of Dick’s 1960 columns. I hope to harvest them if I can get to Washington in the autumn.

As to your second question, “Did Starnes have access to this interpretation?,” I can’t answer that, but I’ll certainly put it to him when we next speak. As a general observation, Scripps-Howard group journalists, the one US newspaper group’s to emerge with real credit from the coup’s prelude and aftermath – not that you’ll find S-H execs boasting about this – challenged the consensus chiefly on empirical, not theoretical, grounds: Kantor met Ruby at Parkland, Starnes visited Saigon as the CIA ran amok, Ruark was a hunter and thus thought the Warren Report on ballistics utter baloney, etc. Not until the publication of Sylvan Fox’s Unanswered Questions did this change.

Paul

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