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Navy League in San Juan Puerto Rico May 1, 1963


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The tensions between the armed forces and President Kennedy during 1963 are not mythological. This area is, of course

a highly controversial area and a lightning rod for the historical debate over who was ultimately responsible

for the death of President Kennedy. My views on the circumstances surrounding the assassination of President Kennedy are certainly no secret here on the Forum.

There has been no shortage of suspicious aspects of JFK's death, and I believe one would find there is a body of

written word, video, audio/visual and investigative documents surrounding his death that are unique to say the least.

As one remembers Oliver Stone's JFK the phrase "The story that won't go away," is certainly a historical reality.

The fact that so many persons had a Navy background, including President Kennedy, his brother Robert, LBJ's interaction with the administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the very relevant issue of a rabbit hole of sorts

regarding documents regarding Lee Harvey Oswald and the Office of Naval Intelligence are also not an illusion.

As someone who knows a little about the players in the JFK assassination, areas of suspicion and areas which are documented which, some would state the evidence of conspiracy is not so subtle, an area has come to my attention

that is deserving of a very careful look.

It concerns a interview with Admiral George Whelan Anderson, whom more dedicated students of the JFK assassination will recognize as an controversial JFK administration figure whose tenure as Chief of Naval Operations was not extended during 1963, for the purpose of succinctness, I will not present a detailed account of the hows and whys of why this decision was made, but simply present what has as far as I can tell, some events from the late spring of 1963, which have never been presented. I myself only recently discovered this area, and believe it is beyond interesting and will let thee reader decide how relevant it is to the circumstances surrounding the death of President Kennedy.

The JFK Library, as we all know is a treasure trove of relevant media concerning JFK. In Admiral Anderson's Oral History interview from April of 1967 which is very compelling in its own right, he mentions a very strange incident concerning the activities of the Navy League in Puerto Rico.

see

http://www.navyleague.org

see page 17

He states "The Navy League was getting ready for its annual meeting in San Juan [Puerto Rico] and a resolution had been framed by the directors of the Navy League severely criticizing the Secretary of Defense."

The remainder of this passage is very enlightening, but you will have to read it for yourself, as I am not

in a position to transcribe this lengthy passage.

JFKOH-GWA-01—TR.pdf

http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKOH-GWA-01.aspx

The Navy League, according to Anderson's column was headed by Robert Crown, son of Henry Crown, who is not a insignificant figure in the historical record of the JFK assassination.

Unbeknownst to me, Jack Anderson in his May 1963 Washington Merry-Go-Round had some rather eye-opening

statements about this event, buttressed by Admiral Anderson's own admission that he was responsible for preventing this public record type of resolution to be enacted and his subsequent becoming persona non grata in the JFK Administration

I believe this area should be looked at very carefully.

More see

FROM THE BELL-MCCLURE SYNDICATE DREW PEARSON ...

dspace.wrlc.org/doc/bitstream/2041/.../b18f02-0501zdisplay.pdf

You +1'd this publicly. Undo

File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - Quick View

RELEASE UEDNESDAYo MAY 1, 1963. DREW PEARSON SAYS: NAVY BRASS FLIES TO PUERTO RICO FOR NAVY LEAGUE CONCLAVE; ITS PART OF MILITARY LOBBY IKE WARNED ABOUT ......

I do not keep up with every single post made on the Education Forum, which is practically impossible especially over the

last few months, if this subject has ever been previously covered, I submit it is worthy of a second look.

I am well aware of Tom Scully's research in this area, and while Tom is a colleague of mine, I have not shared the

contents of this post with anyone prior to posting.

Robert

Edited by Robert Howard
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I agree. Thank you for sharing that, Robert. There's lots to mull over.

Initially the first paragraph leading to the overall question re Navy as a recuring theme. Imo, one must therefore also consider the merchant navy which if one does again comes across parallels. There is another paralell. Remember (and this is also directed at those who might read this sort of stuff 30 odd years hence when there will be precious few left who actually do remember) that the merchant navy has had a significant political role. so the fight was often in this arena.

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Very very interesting Robert. Especially when combined with your earlier post on the LeMay thread. We are told again and again about inter-service rivalries that came to a head around the time of the 1947 military restructuring. And lingered. But one of the lingering issues that evolved as a result of that struggle was the relatively weak position of the Sec of Defense as a whole in his relation to the separate civilian service secretaries, who, it was thought would be more reflective of the top military dogs in each service.

Indeed this ambiguity between centralization and loyalty to the Navy was a major reason for Truman's appointment of Forrestal and the later's calling Harry's bluff by accepting. And, IMO this ambiguity was a major variable in Forrestal's bugging out in 1949.

James Carroll describes JFK's creation of the DIA as an attempt to strengthen the president's hand and reign in the autonomy of the separate services.

While we are often led to believe that the Air Force was feeling very special after 1947, your post on the LeMay thread-- in conjunction with this one-- suggests that maybe the issue of inter-service rivalry, though real enough, might sometimes serve as a foil for the other conflict, that between central and decentralized control over the services. And it should be emphasized that this conflict was at the center of the 1947 restructuring debate itself.

So it should not surprise us too much if this issue --never fully resolved-- should crop up again when National Security State was SACarine 16.

Edited by Nathaniel Heidenheimer
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Very very interesting Robert. Especially when combined with your earlier post on the LeMay thread. We are told again and again about inter-service rivalries that came to a head around the time of the 1947 military restructuring. And lingered. But one of the lingering issues that evolved as a result of that struggle was the relatively weak position of the Sec of Defense as a whole in his relation to the separate civilian service secretaries, who, it was thought would be more reflective of the top military dogs in each service.

Indeed this ambiguity between centralization and loyalty to the Navy was a major reason for Truman's appointment of Forrestal and the later's calling Harry's bluff by accepting. And, IMO this ambiguity was a major variable in Forrestal's bugging out in 1949.

James Carroll describes JFK's creation of the DIA as an attempt to strengthen the president's hand and reign in the autonomy of the separate services.

While we are often led to believe that the Air Force was feeling very special after 1947, your post on the LeMay thread-- in conjunction with this one-- suggests that maybe the issue of inter-service rivalry, though real enough, might sometimes serve as a foil for the other conflict, that between central and decentralized control over the services. And it should be emphasized that that was a conflict that was at the center of the 1947 restructuring debate itself.

So it should not surprise us too much if this issue --never fully resolved-- should crop up again when National Security State was SACarine 16.

John, and Nathaniel, I really appreciate the comments. I would like to point out that Admiral Anderson was as mentioned in this thread, definitely a casualty of the JFK Administration. It is also interesting to point out that Dr. Henry Kissinger in April 1969, asked Admiral Anderson to serve in the PFIAB almost seven years after the assassination of President Kennedy. Admiral Anderson did serve as Chairman of the PFIAB, three years after the interview below, in 1978 the PFIAB was dissolved during the Carter Administration.

INTERVIEW, GEORGE B. ANDERSON, CHAIRMAN PFIAB, 4/16/75

http://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/viewer/showDoc.do?docId=32038

Edited by Robert Howard
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Very very interesting Robert. Especially when combined with your earlier post on the LeMay thread. We are told again and again about inter-service rivalries that came to a head around the time of the 1947 military restructuring. And lingered. But one of the lingering issues that evolved as a result of that struggle was the relatively weak position of the Sec of Defense as a whole in his relation to the separate civilian service secretaries, who, it was thought would be more reflective of the top military dogs in each service.

Indeed this ambiguity between centralization and loyalty to the Navy was a major reason for Truman's appointment of Forrestal and the later's calling Harry's bluff by accepting. And, IMO this ambiguity was a major variable in Forrestal's bugging out in 1949.

James Carroll describes JFK's creation of the DIA as an attempt to strengthen the president's hand and reign in the autonomy of the separate services.

While we are often led to believe that the Air Force was feeling very special after 1947, your post on the LeMay thread-- in conjunction with this one-- suggests that maybe the issue of inter-service rivalry, though real enough, might sometimes serve as a foil for the other conflict, that between central and decentralized control over the services. And it should be emphasized that that was a conflict that was at the center of the 1947 restructuring debate itself.

So it should not surprise us too much if this issue --never fully resolved-- should crop up again when National Security State was SACarine 16.

John, and Nathaniel, I really appreciate the comments. I would like to point out that Admiral Anderson was as mentioned in this thread, definitely a casualty of the JFK Administration. It is also interesting to point out that Dr. Henry Kissinger in April 1969, asked Admiral Anderson to serve in the PFIAB almost seven years after the assassination of President Kennedy. Admiral Anderson did serve as Chairman of the PFIAB, three years after the interview below, in 1978 the PFIAB was dissolved during the Carter Administration.

INTERVIEW, GEORGE B. ANDERSON, CHAIRMAN PFIAB, 4/16/75

http://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/viewer/showDoc.do?docId=32038

May 1, 1963

DREW PEARSON SAYS: NAVY BRASS FLIES TO PUERTO RICO FOR NAVY LEAGUE CONCLAVE; ITS PART OF MILITARY LOBBY IKE WARNED ABOUT

WASHINGTON: THE ANNUAL TREK OF ADMIRALS PLUS HIGH AND LOW BRASS TO THE CONCLAVE OF THE CHIEF LOBBYING ORGANIZATION OF THE NAVY,THE NAVY LEAGUE IS ON TO PUERTO RICO THIS WEEK.

THIS YEAR THERE ARE 161 FREE TICKETS AVAILABLE FOR ADMIRALS, CAPTAINS AND THEIR WIVE- - BUT NOT BY COURTESY OF UNCLE SAM. SOME OF THE TOP ADMIRALS WILL FLY THEIR SPECIAL GOVERNMENT PLANES - - AT THE TAXPAYERS EXPENSE - - BUT THE OTHER 161 FREE TICKETS RESULT FROM A GIMMICK WORKED OUT BY AN ASTUTE TRAVEL BUREAU “TRAVEL CONSULTANTS” WHEREBY IT ALLOCATES ONE FREE TICKET TO AND FROM SAN JUAN FOR EVERY FIFTEEN TICKETS THE NAVY LEAGUE BUYS. AND THE RASH OF INDUSTRIALISTS AND LOBBYISTS WHO DO BUSINESS WITH THE NAVY FLOCKING TO PUERTO RICO, THERE WILL BE A LOT OF TICKETS SOLD.

PRESIDENT OF THE NAVY LEAGUE THIS YEAR IS ROBERT CROWN, SON OF HENRY CROWN, WHOSE COMPANY, GENERAL DYNAMICS, GOT THE $5 BILLION TFX [ALL CAPS TFX, ] CONTRACT, OVER WHICH THERE IS SUCH CONTROVERSY.

YOUNG CROWN IS ALSO AN EXECUTIVE OF GENERAL DYNAMICS, A COMPANY WHICH CONTROLS CONVAIR AND SPECIALIZES IN AIRCRAFT

MANUFACTURE.

REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STEEL INDUSTRY HAVE BEEN COMPLAINING THAT THERE IS TOO MUCH AIRCRAFT INDUSTRY INFLUENCE IN THE NAVY LEAGUE OF LATE AND ARE PUSHING A U.S. STEEL EXECUTIVE, BOB BARNUM TO BE THE NEXT PRESIDENT.

- - INDUSTRY AND NAVY - -

MOST PEOPLE HAVE FORGOTTEN IT, BUT THE NAVY LEAGUE WAS FOUNDED BY ANDREW CARNEGIE AND OTHER STEEL EXECUTIVES IN ORDER TO

PROMOTE BATTLESHIPS, THEREBY INCREASING THE MARKET FOR STEEL. IT WAS BETHLEHEM STEEL, TOGETHER WITH NEWPORT NEWS AND OTHER SHIPYARDS WHICH ACTUALLY PAID LOBBYIST WILLIAM BALDWIN SHEARER $40,000 TO GO TO GENEVA IN 1927 AND BREAK UP THE COOLIDGE NAVAL CONFERENCE.

THE NAVY LEAGUE IS ONE OF THE BEST ILLUSTRATIONS OF THE WARNING GIVEN BY PRESIDENT EISENHOWER IN HIS LAST MESSAGE TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE THAT THE NATION FACED DANGER FROM THE ALLIANCE BETWEEN THE MILITARY BRASS AND THE BIG DEFENSE INDUSTRY. INDUSTRY LEADERS WHO HAVE DOMINATED THE NAVY LEAGUE IN RECENT YEARS INCLUDE RALPH DAVIES, OF THE ALUMINUM CORPORATION OF AMERICA, TOM CALAHAN OF FORD ASTRONAUTICS, HAROLD WORTH OF FIRESTONE, FRANK JAMESON WHO HAD A MISSILE PAD CONTRACT, LATER WENT WITH DOUGLAS.

BARNUM, THE PROPOSED NEW PRESIDENT, IS A RESERVE ADMIRAL AND A ANNAPOLIS GRADUATE. HAROLD WORTH SERVES ON THE RESOLUTIONS COMMITTEE, ALONG WITH ADMIRAL “MICK” CARNEY, WHO REPRESENTS BATH IRON WORKS, ALSO OCCUPIES OFFICES WITH WESTINGHOUSE.

THE NAVY LEAGUE AND ITS INDUSTRIAL MEMBERS ARE PICKING UP THE HOTEL TABS FOR TOP GUESTS IN SAN JUAN, AND YOU CAN’T GET A HOTEL RESERVATION AT THE BETTER HOTELS WITHOUT GOING THROUGH THE LEAGUE AND ITS TRAVEL AGENCY.

THERE WILL BE AROUND 1600 NAVAL LEAGUERS AND FRIENDS IN ATTENDANCE.

ADMIRALS WHO ARE REPORTED USING GOVERNMENT PLANES FOR THE TRIP ARE ADMIRAL GEORGE W. ANDERSON, CHIEF OF NAVAL OPERATIONS, VICE ADMIRAL WILLIAM A SCHOECH, CHIEF OF NAVAL OPERATIONS FOR AIR AND REAR ADMIRAL JOHN S. MCCAIN, JR., CHIEF OF INFORMATION.

WHEN THE NAVY’S OFFICE OF INFORMATION WAS QUERIED REGARDING THE GOVERNMENT’S USE OF PLANES, BY THESE ADMIRALS, AND WHY,

IT WAS STATED THAT THE NAVY HAD BEEN UNABLE TO ASCERTAIN THE FACTS.

Obituary

Retired Admiral George Whelan Anderson, the chief of naval operations in charge of the U.S. blockade of Cuba during the missile crisis in 1962, died Friday at the Arleigh Burke Pavilion nursing home in McLean, Va.

Admiral Anderson, who was 85, lived in Washington, D.C. He died of congestive heart failure, his family said.

Many military experts had expected the four-star Navy admiral to become chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. But a series of major policy disputes with Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara sidetracked Admiral Anderson's 36-year Navy career, and he was abruptly replaced as operations chief in 1963.

Shortly after that, President John F. Kennedy, who was pleased with the Navy's handling of the blockade, appointed Admiral Anderson as the U.S. ambassador to Portugal. During his three years there, he encouraged plans for a peaceful transition of the Portuguese colonies in Africa to national independence.

After leaving his post in Portugal, he returned to government service from 1973 to 1977 as a member and later chairman of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board.

In the Cuban missile crisis, the United States forced the removal of Soviet nuclear missiles from the island. Kennedy was quoted as telling Admiral Anderson, ''Well, Admiral, it looks as though this is up to the Navy,'' to which he replied, ''Mr. President, the Navy will not let you down.''

San Francisco Chronicle (CA)

Date: March 23, 1992

Edition: FINAL

Page: A18

Record Number: 21328

Copyright © 1992 The Chronicle Publishing Co.

I believe the information contained here factors into the TFX matter, if not a clear indication of, at least

some of the ideological enemies in the Navy of President Kennedy's Defense Secretary. Preparing a resolution attacking Robert "Bob" McNamara, which, according to Admiral Anderson, he was responsible for quashing, seems a tad militant

and coming six months before the assassination, does not make it any less interesting.

Edited by Robert Howard
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  • 3 months later...

What does this suggest about the degree to which conflicts between the Air Force and the Navy, present in the military reorganization of 1947, were still present in 1963?

Did these conflicts play a direct or indirect role in the assassination?

To what extent did McNamara feel capable of trying to tackle inter-service rivalry? Did his involvement in the TFX affair and his apparent conflicts with the Navy play a role in his decision to continue on under LBJ ?

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Nathaniel, it is a weird coincidence that you would update this thread with those particular

questions, because this is one area, I've been working on a lot lately. In all honesty I cannot

definitively answer all of your questions. But I believe that I can get you in the ballpark so to speak.

I will address them one at a time.

1. What does this suggest about the degree to which conflicts between the Air Force and the Navy, present in the military reorganization of 1947, were still present in 1963?

Answer: I tend to look at this particular issue, the Navy League meeting in Puerto Rico, as symptomatic of the fact that JFK's appointment of McNamara as DOD, despite good intentions on the part of Kennedy and McNamara definitely was one more log to add to the fire in terms of the fairly one sided enmity and distrust the military establishment felt toward President Kennedy and McNamara and towards veteran foreign policy figures such as Averill Harriman, for one. I wouldn't include George Kennan in persons the military hawks had bad feelings towards. One person very much in the loop in all of this was [see google books; title below]

George S. Brown General, U.S. Air Force Destined for Stars - Edgar F. Puryear, Jr., as part of the structure of the JFK Administration, Brown, according to Puryear won high marks from the military establishment and the Kennedy administration for being (as I would categorize it) a peacekeeper between the two parties. In one passage, [p. 117] he writes.........

Gen. Gabriel Disoway, said of the relationship between George [strong] and Secretary McNamara: Brown would come down and tell General LeMay, the Air Force Chief of Staff, or General McKee, the Vice Chief of Staff, Look here's what McNamara is going to do whether you like it or not; this is whats going to happen and you better adjust yourself to it. This is the type of man he was. He didn’t mince words. And he was just as frank with McNamara as he was with everybody else........I might add that McNamara is quoted in the book as saying that Brown was basically one person he always was able to rely upon. The dynamic of the enmity was most if not all of the hawks had peaked out career wise from the World War II era to the late 1950’s early 1960’s, but they didn’t think so. They believed stratagems and techniques to fight the Cold War against the Soviet-WARSAW Pact/China/Cuba triumvirate were not obsolete, when in fact, they were very obsolete in the era of Mutually Assured Destruction, as the fine points of the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis more than testify. The whiz-kids maybe a little over-exuberant did know this and I would imagine there was a little bit of contempt on their side as well. So, that was fueling the bad feelings, compounded by the Hotline between Moscow/Washington, the Test-Ban Treaty... and well, you get the picture.

2. Did these conflicts play a direct or indirect role in the assassination?

Response: I would be lying if I said I knew definitively the answer to that question, but I would say that it, [the reorganization of the various military and intelligence agencies] didn’t hurt the persons involved in the assassination, and did hurt JFK, in the sense that in any administration there is a lot to keep track of and the reorganization only exacerbated the JFK administration’s ability to monitor “threats from within,”especially if you consider only RFK had the diligence and intensity to monitor that area and be effective as Attorney General.

I will expound on this in a matter that I personally feel to be fairly cutting edge as far as my personal research ability is concerned. There is turnover in any administration before an election, even more if you count the military infrastructure; even though 1963 was not an election year, there was, I believe an inordinate amount of “retirements among military and intelligence personnel.” And they were, from what I’ve seen, practically all in the summer or early fall of 1963..Just two names out of many: Brigadier General Edward Lansdale and Colonel Philip J. Corso, the list which I haven’t compiled, but is in my head is......extensive, and I cannot say that the reorganization of the military would have accounted for all of them.

3. To what extent did McNamara feel capable of trying to tackle inter-service rivalry? Did his involvement in the TFX affair and his apparent conflicts with the Navy play a role in his decision to continue on under LBJ ?

Response: Knowing what I do of McNamara’s background and having read his biography, I would say he was supremely confident in his ability of dealing with inter-service rivalry. I also believe that his “involvement” in the TFX affair, does not appear to me to be any different than any other head of DOD’s involvement in a actual or potential scandal. What was at the heart of the TFX Scandal, at least as I see it, was the fact that Korth had personal business relationships ie conflict of interest regarding his tenure as Secretary of the Navy.

Either he was really stupid, thought he would get away with out anyone knowing, or even deliberately trying to sabotage the JFK administration, I would imagine only Fred Korth could answer definitively and he has been dead for several decades now. But for all of its flaws, Vice-President LBJ being the biggest as far as integrity was concerned, the JFK Administration’s historical report card for tolerating corruption on a political level grades very high, excepting private piccadiloes which to say have been extensively documented, adultery, that is.

Edited by Robert Howard
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  • 6 months later...

Thanks Robert - I found Anderson's interview enlightening. I'm glad I read to the end, because Salazar's remarks about African blacks were reported by Anderson without any distancing from the racism Salazar so glibly expressed, revealing something about Anderson himself.

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