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Fowler Hamilton: the DCI who never was


Paul Rigby
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A rare chance to see some good quality photos of Fowler Hamilton, the man originally intended by JFK to replace Allen Dulles, courtesy of eBay. Here’s one from a batch currently available:

http://www.ebay.com/...=item3a76d72bcf

The accompanying caption reads:

(NY10) New York, July 31 – MAY HEAD CIA – Fowler Hamilton, 50, New York lawyer, reported in line to succeed Allen Dulles as director of the Central Intelligence Agency, is shown in his office on New York’s Wall Street today. Hamilton, a Democrat, has been in and out of government service for the past 20 years. (APWirephoto) (See AP Wire Story) (jdc21320ac) 1961

The following day, this AP story ran:

AP, "Retirement of CIA Chief Announced," Washington Post, (Tuesday), 1 August 1961, p.A2: Salinger yesterday announced retirement of Allen Dulles, claiming retirement in November 1961 had been Dulles' intention when accepted JFK's offer to stay on. Salinger declined to answer questions concerning Fowler Hamilton. Hamilton, according to forthcoming issue of Newsweek (August 7), due to succeed Dulles in October "after several months of working with Dulles".

Other sources confirm:

Helen Fuller. Year of Trial: Kennedy’s Crucial Decisions (NY: Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc., 1962), p. 271: “A New York lawyer, Fowler Hamilton, with considerable experience behind him, had been brought to Washington and installed at the CIA with the general expectation that he would succeed Allen Dulles…”

Question: what happened to Kennedy’s original intention to replace Dulles with Hamilton? That that intention was no mere whim can be seen from the AP piece of 1 August – working with the outgoing Dulles for “several months” represented serious intent.

So what went wrong, or caused Kennedy to change his mind? Was there a behind-the-scenes campaign of which we know little, even today? If so, who waged it and how? The switch from Hamilton to McCone surprised contemporary observers:

http://www.time.com/...,895689,00.html

Foreign Aid: First AID

Time, Friday, Sept. 29, 1961

A couple of weeks ago, Administration insiders leaked the news that Fowler Hamilton, an international lawyer and an old Government hand, would soon be appointed director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, succeeding Allen Dulles. Later, the word came that Wall Street Banker George Woods would soon be named head of the new Agency for International Development. But under the New Frontier, such predictions are often unsafe until the actual swearing-in ceremonies. When President Kennedy last week announced the appointment of Fowler Hamilton, it was not to the CIA but to the AID job....

http://www.bibliotec...ecretgov_5f.htm

Extract from: The Invisible Government by David Wise and Thomas B. Ross (1964)

from AmericanBuddha Website

There had been some thought that the Attorney General might take the job himself, but this inevitably would have provoked Republican charges that the Kennedys were creating a dynasty. And it probably would have stirred up new demands for tighter Congressional control of the CIA -- a prospect which the President did not relish.

Serious consideration was given to the possibility of offering the job to Clark Clifford, who had impressed Kennedy mightily when he directed the change-over in the White House staff between administrations. But the handsome and prosperous Washington lawyer was not interested.

The President then turned to Fowler Hamilton, a Wall Street lawyer and close friend of Senator Symington. The White House was on the verge of announcing Hamilton's appointment when Kennedy encountered a series of difficulties in finding a director for the Agency for International Development (AID).

The foreign-aid job had been scheduled to go to George D. Woods, the board chairman of the First Boston Company. But Woods felt compelled to withdraw his name because of renewed talk about First Boston's implication in the Dixon Yates scandal. Kennedy then tried to fill the AID opening with Thomas J. Watson. Jr., the president of the International Business Machines Corporation. But Watson said no and the President named Hamilton as the AID director.

It was then that Kennedy decided upon McCone as Director of Central Intelligence. The decision, announced on September 27, 1961, shocked official Washington. The members of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board were stunned that Kennedy had not asked their advice in advance of the appointment; and there were further grumblings over the Caltech incident and McCone's close ties with the Republican Party. "I think," a board member was heard to comment, "that the President should have got a Kennedy man."

One pointer that there is more to this story than meets the eye is this rank piece of disinfo from Victor Lasky, in a work first published in 1963:

“The Liberals had hoped that CIA would be given to one of their own…there had been pressure on Kennedy to appoint someone like New York attorney Telford Taylor…,” JFK: The Man and the Myth (NY: Dell, 1977), p. 672.

Did Lasky really believe JFK intended to replace Dulles with Telford Taylor? I very much doubt it. So what was this Taylor nonsense about

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Interesting stuff, Paul. I look forward to hearing more, although I have nothing new or additional to offer myself.

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Interesting stuff, Paul. I look forward to hearing more, although I have nothing new or additional to offer myself.

This is an old itch, Mark, and I can’t seem to scratch it, chiefly due to the apparent dearth of source material.

I should explain that the Dulles succession intrigues me for two main reasons.

First, this was an appointment of profound significance for Kennedy and his new diplomacy: If he couldn’t establish control over the Agency, what hope for his reassertion of the primacy of the diplomatic over the paramilitary, of détente over cold (and hot) war? I stress that this isn’t an example of retrospective imposition. The issue of the CIA’s behaviour was a matter of deep concern to the White House at the time.

Second, the late shuffling of the deck which resulted in the appointment of McCone, not Hamilton, is eerily reminiscent of what happened in the senior ranks of the Secret Service at much the same time.

If I had to place money on one hypothesis before the rest, it would be this: A late and sustained intervention by such as Acheson et al, perhaps supplemented by the emergence of a classic Angletonian smear. But this is pure guess-work and fit only for testing against the evidence.

I just wish I could find some.

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Yes, interesting post Paul.

According to author Lawrence Kaplan, Fowler Hamilton was a member of the elite Special Group (CI) in 1962.

http://books.google....ton cia&f=false

Hamilton's 1964 Oral History Interview is at the John F Kennedy Presidential Library.

http://www.jfklibrar...KOH-MFH-01.aspx

Gratefully received. The first link would suggest that Hamilton wasn't considered a security risk, but begs the question: why confine the man you originally selected to replace Dulles to a consultative body when you could have had him directing matters?

I still find this baffling.

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Guest Tom Scully

Fowler Hamilton had already served in as many as ten positions in the Federal Government during and just after WWII.

If low compensation was his true concern, he certainly would not have accepted the DCI position at $25,000 annual salary

expecting to stay at CIA for only a year. He may have anticipated he would feel trapped in that job for several years at

what he considered low pay. The minimum wage was $1.15 /hr. in 1962, $46.00 for 40 hrs work week. Hamilton was

paid $432.69 per week at AID / State Dept. The current hourly minimum wage is $7.15, $286.00 weekly.

Hamilton was paid 9.4 times the minimum wage at that time. 9.4 times the current minimum wage for 40 hours work is

$2688.40 weekly, $139,797 annually.

In 2012, Executive Level III Salary is Level III - $165300

Fowler Hamilton accepted the position as Under Secretary of State, AID agency administrator in October, 1961, at

an annual salary of $22,500. He and his aids groused about compensation from the start.:

SELF HELP,' AID LINKED

‎The Sun - Nov 26, 1961

25 (AP)--Fowler Hamilton's job is to spend $5500,- 000000 for foreign aid in the ... is a wealthy New York city lawyer who says he ac- cepted the $22500-a-year ... about future foieign-aid piogiams " Aides figure Hamilton's take- home pay for ...

There is description here of raising the salaries of the managers under Hamilton to mid to high teens to attract able applicants.:

New Foreign Aid Chief Stresses Self Help .

news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1873&dat...id...sjid...

... Spring when I go back to. Congress to talk about future foreign aid prograins. Aides figure Hamilton's take home pay for his first 30 days In office comes to about.

Five Salary Levels Are Approved for Executive Branch: 69 Jobs in Level 4

By Jerry Kluttz. The Washington Post, Times Herald [Washington, D.C] 05 Aug 1964: B1.

On August 5, 1964, an article in the Washington Post reported that Level I salary levels received by 10

cabinet members in the Executive Branch would be raised from the then present level of $25,000 to a

new level of $35,000. Level 2 salaries of Secretaries of the Army, Navy, Air Force,.....directors of CIA, FBI,

would be raised to $30,000 and Level 3 salaries, including under Secretaries of State and administrator of

AID would be raised to $28,500 .....

HAMILTON QUITS AS AID DIRECTOR; ASKS NEW STUDY; Agency Head...

‎New York Times - Nov 11, 1962

Fowler Hamilton has resigned as foreign aid administrator. ... Financial Sacrifice Cited :lit. Hamilton, who was a hi;hly successful `i all Street lawyer ...

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The following day, this AP story ran:

AP, "Retirement of CIA Chief Announced," Washington Post, (Tuesday), 1 August 1961, p.A2: Salinger yesterday announced retirement of Allen Dulles, claiming retirement in November 1961 had been Dulles' intention when accepted JFK's offer to stay on. Salinger declined to answer questions concerning Fowler Hamilton. Hamilton, according to forthcoming issue of Newsweek (August 7), due to succeed Dulles in October "after several months of working with Dulles".

The cited August 7 Newsweek issue had an interesting cover: http://www.collectics.com/z050.jpg

Journalist (and personal friend of President Kennedy) Max Freedman wrote that the job had been offered and was being considered:

"The position of chief intelligence director has been offered to Mr. Fowler Hamilton, a lawyer in New York, who is considering the appointment on condition

that his lines of authority in Washington both to the President and the various intelligence agencies, are clearly established beyond any effective challenge."

http://news.google.c...4,4765299&hl=en

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In an Oral History Interview, Dylan S Myer gave some of his back story on events leading up to the appointment of Hamilton to AID Director.

....During August and September we began to hear rumors that some of the White House young men who President Kennedy had brought in were feeding out material to some of the columnists to the effect that Harry Labouisse was not tough enough and that a Republican banker should head the (AID) program. It was evident there was an attempt on the part of some of the smart young men to run the program from the White House rather than leaving it in the hands of the director.

Harry Labouisse was appointed as (AID) Director in February and was almost immediately made chairman of a task force. This required practically all of his time and he never did get a chance really to serve as the head administrative officer. Dr. Dennis Fitzgerald carried most of the job during that period.

The upshot of all of this was that Harry Labouisse resigned effective October first and they soon announced that George Wood, a Republican banker from the First Boston Corporation, would replace him. It so happened however that the Washington Post published a story relating to Wood's opposition to the T. V. A. and to cooperatives generally and played the story in the middle of the front page. As a result so much controversy developed regarding Mr. Wood's place in the picture that his name was withdrawn and another name presented. The name of Mr. Fowler Hamilton was hurriedly submitted to the senate and he took over in December. Of course all of this meant that my appointment into a key spot in the new program went out the window. Possibly the bright young men in the new regime felt that anyone seventy years of age or older was no longer useful. I did continue to serve in the personnel review program until late in December.

During this period I had lunch with Harry Labouisse and learned that he had taken a bundle of the clippings of the various columns that had appeared, many of which appeared in overseas editions, to President Kennedy, who said that he had not known about them and that he was very sorry. Harry Labouisse told the President, according to his statement, that the pressures were such that he felt that it would be better if he resigned. Which he did. He then told me that Secretary Rusk had called him in and obviously had tried to convey his regret about the whole thing. After a nervous and agitated discussion on Rusk's part he produced a map to show where there were openings or probable openings in embassies throughout the world and practically said "Take your choice." Harry selected Greece and in the early part of 1962 he became the Ambassador to Greece. After serving in that spot for a term or more, he took on the job as Executive Director of the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF in New York, and that is where he is today.

See page 385: http://www.trumanlib...myerds4.htm#385

Edited by Michael Hogan
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The cited August 7 Newsweek issue had an interesting cover: http://www.collectics.com/z050.jpg

Journalist (and personal friend of President Kennedy) Max Freedman wrote that the job had been offered and was being considered:

"The position of chief intelligence director has been offered to Mr. Fowler Hamilton, a lawyer in New York, who is considering the appointment on condition that his lines of authority in Washington both to the President and the various intelligence agencies, are clearly established beyond any effective challenge."

http://news.google.c...4,4765299&hl=en

Very interesting, particularly that Freedman post. Thanks for both.

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The switch from Hamilton to McCone surprised contemporary observers...

Not least McCone himself, according to this interview posted by Deborah Conway a couple of years ago:

http://www.jfklancer...85949&mode=full

Reflections on a life in Government Service, Conversations with John A. McCone, former Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, Former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency

Conversations with History; Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley Fall 1987, Spring 1988

On how JFK offered him the job:

It seemed to have relieved him a great deal. He said, "What I would like you to do is to come into my administration as director of Central Intelligence."

This surprised me. I had no idea that he had any such thought in his mind. And I said: "Well, I'm deeply honored that you'd think of me in that distinguished capacity. Let me think about it, and I will see whether I can disassociate myself from some of my business activities and still take care of my organization and, most importantly, discuss the subject with my wife." So he gave me ten days or so to do that, ... and he said a very interesting thing. (I don't know whether I should put this on the record or not.) He said: "Now there are only four people besides Allen Dulles that know that we are having this discussion: Bob McNamara and his deputy Roswell Gilpatric, and Secretary Dean Rusk, and Senator Clinton Anderson." And he said, "I don't want anybody else to know about it, because if these liberal s.o.b.'s that work in the basement of this building hear that I am talking to you about this, they'd destroy you before I can get you confirmed." It is quite interesting. So I didn't talk to anybody. I came out and talked to my wife about it, and we decided to go ahead and call him on the telephone.

None of which, of course, advances us an inch in the search to establish why Hamilton was suddenly ditched after nearly two months of preparation for the role.

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Fowler Hamilton had already served in as many as ten positions in the Federal Government during and just after WWII. If low compensation was his true concern, he certainly would not have accepted the DCI position at $25,000 annual salary expecting to stay at CIA for only a year. He may have anticipated he would feel trapped in that job for several years at

what he considered low pay.

It's unquestionably one possible answer, Tom, but I have to observe, not the most likely or convincing. I wouldn't mind seeing one of your google harvests on Hamilton's background and social connections. I wonder who was his patron? Harriman? Friends of Dulles?

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In an Oral History Interview, Dylan S Myer gave some of his back story on events leading up to the appointment of Hamilton to AID Director.

....During August and September we began to hear rumors that some of the White House young men who President Kennedy had brought in were feeding out material to some of the columnists to the effect that Harry Labouisse was not tough enough and that a Republican banker should head the (AID) program. It was evident there was an attempt on the part of some of the smart young men to run the program from the White House rather than leaving it in the hands of the director.

Harry Labouisse was appointed as (AID) Director in February and was almost immediately made chairman of a task force. This required practically all of his time and he never did get a chance really to serve as the head administrative officer. Dr. Dennis Fitzgerald carried most of the job during that period.

The upshot of all of this was that Harry Labouisse resigned effective October first and they soon announced that George Wood, a Republican banker from the First Boston Corporation, would replace him. It so happened however that the Washington Post published a story relating to Wood's opposition to the T. V. A. and to cooperatives generally and played the story in the middle of the front page. As a result so much controversy developed regarding Mr. Wood's place in the picture that his name was withdrawn and another name presented. The name of Mr. Fowler Hamilton was hurriedly submitted to the senate and he took over in December. Of course all of this meant that my appointment into a key spot in the new program went out the window. Possibly the bright young men in the new regime felt that anyone seventy years of age or older was no longer useful. I did continue to serve in the personnel review program until late in December.

During this period I had lunch with Harry Labouisse and learned that he had taken a bundle of the clippings of the various columns that had appeared, many of which appeared in overseas editions, to President Kennedy, who said that he had not known about them and that he was very sorry. Harry Labouisse told the President, according to his statement, that the pressures were such that he felt that it would be better if he resigned. Which he did. He then told me that Secretary Rusk had called him in and obviously had tried to convey his regret about the whole thing. After a nervous and agitated discussion on Rusk's part he produced a map to show where there were openings or probable openings in embassies throughout the world and practically said "Take your choice." Harry selected Greece and in the early part of 1962 he became the Ambassador to Greece. After serving in that spot for a term or more, he took on the job as Executive Director of the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF in New York, and that is where he is today.

See page 385: http://www.trumanlib...myerds4.htm#385

From the thread Arrogant CIA Disobeys Orders in South Vietnam:

http://educationforu...=75#entry112048

Kennedy’s decision to back Lodge and recall Richardson was not the first time he had sided with an ambassador at war with his CIA station-chief, as Andreas Papandreou revealed in Democracy at Gunpoint: The Greek Front (London: Andre Deutsch, 1971), p.80:

“Ellis Briggs, the career diplomat who was ambassador at the time” was a “rather straight-laced man” who “had no patience with ‘democratic excesses’ in Greece…during the summer of 1963, it was disclosed that Briggs, testifying before the Senate Security Committee, had admitted that while in Greece he did not have control over the American services. The CIA had bypassed him and, at the request of Queen Frederika, had undertaken a series of projects which it financed by drawing in its secret funds.

“When I read Briggs’ Christmas message I decided to fly to the United States, and protest this unbelievable performance of the American services in Greece. I had hopes that I could be accorded a fair hearing and that President Kennedy would respond to my appeal. But he was in Florida when I reached in Washington. I saw Carl Kaysen…We spent a night talking about the electoral coup [October 29, 1961 – PR], the role of the Embassy, the role of the CIA’s Laughlin Campbell…Not long after my visit, Laughlin Campbell was removed from Athens.”

It is a measure of the CIA’s contempt for Kennedy that Campbell was transferred to Paris (1), a capital in which conviction that the CIA had prompted the Challe putsch was matched only by the belief that Langley was now sponsoring OAS terrorism. Shades of Langley’s decision to send William Harvey to Rome at the height of the Kennedy-backed “opening to the left.”

Writing of the same period in Greece, Peter Murtagh emphasises the clash between Ambassador Henry Labouisse, a Kennedy-appointee, and Agency man Campbell. Labouisse had attempted to preside over honest elections; and it was this unprecedented commitment to free and fair elections by a US Ambassador that permitted Papandreou’s Centre Union “to win not one but two elections” (2). Murtagh goes on to note: “Not long before the second general election, a number of Army generals approached the Ambassador. They asked him how the US would react to a coup to forestall a Papandreou victory. Labouisse said the US would be against such a move and cabled Washington with a copy of his answer. The State Department supported his position” (3).

(1) August 1962 – see Peter Murtagh. The Rape of Greece: The King, the Colonels and the Resistance (London: Simon & Schuster, 1994), p.71.

(2) Ibid.

(3) Ibid.

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There was a controversy regarding Fowler Hamilton's appointment as a potential successor to Allen Dulles, but if you accept Robert Kennedy's explanation, it is probably not for the reason you might think. In the interview with John Bartlow Martin, after mentioning JFK's desire for Bobby to head the CIA, which was determined to be too controversial, they take the point up.

In Robert F. Kennedy - In His Own Words p. 253 (Milo) Fowler Hamilton.....

MARTIN: Fowler Hamilton became head of AID.

RFK: It centered on Fowler Hamilton. I spoke to him tentatively about becoming head of CIA. Everybody had spoken

well of him and thought that he had gotten very high marks. Then we found in some papers that had been uncovered- -

he'd worked in the Second World War in some capacity -- in a code that had been broken in the Second World War,

that there was a Russian spy, somebody working in the same department as he, who was delivering important

information to the Communists, He was close enough to Fowler Hamilton that at least one person on the British side

had thought that the information had come from Fowler Hamilton. Actually, investigating and looking into it deeply,

I was convinced that it had not. He wasn't involved at all. But the British had the information. If there was somebody

over there in an important position who thought so and they had to work closely together, it might even infect the relationship.

Robert: Anyone who knows about the spy versus spy world of counterintelligence knows of James (Jesus) Angleton

and the whole paranoid era, would realize that not only the British aspect would have been an issue but James Angleton

himself would have been another fly in the ointment to deal with, and he already was scandalized by JFK's policies

regarding the dynamic of the Kennedy Administration's foreign policy with regards to Italy;

David C. Martin quoted Tom McCoy, [William] Colby's deputy in Rome as stating. "We were supporting and engaged in operations with some left-wing elements that Angleton held highly suspect because his police [carabinieri] friends held them suspect"

see Wilderness of Mirrors p 184.

McCoy went on to state that Angleton considered Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., the Soviet mole who tipped off the Soviets

about the Bay of Pigs.

What is really enlightening about all of this is the information I've posted is only about half of the story; but you will have to read pps. 269-271 of The Ordeal of Otto Otepka, to get the other half see

Seymour Judson Janow.....

Gill's tome goes a long way toward convincing the layman or uninitiated of the JFK Assassination that the

JFK Administration was "secretly appointing Communist's and Communist sympathizers to his administration," as such, it is still a very valuable book to the politically correct view regarding the assassination.

Edited by Robert Howard
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Guest Tom Scully

Interesting, Robert, and the concern about perceptions influenced by WWII era reputation is probably a top explanation for Milo Fowler "Husky" Hamilton not being DCI. He was Symington's supportrr, they both clashed with Lemay in 1956. Symington is another JFK friend who seems more like a political and philosophical antagonist than a friend.

Good to see Tom McCoy so forthcoming, but I wish he was as open about his wife's CIA file getting mixed with Priscilla Mary Post Johnson's file, about his father in law being a Bar Harbor pal of John D. Jr. and his sons, about his work for Gene McCarthy and his friendship with Clark Clifford's boy, Finney, and even some details about how his New Haven Dem. partu boss dad getting disbarred and reinstated...any Yale help in that comeback?

Edited by Tom Scully
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