Jump to content
The Education Forum

Two Letters from June 1963


Jim Root
 Share

Recommended Posts

Just a historical curiousity....easily found but never published that I know of.

The first is a letter from Edwin Walker to Lt. Gen. Groves with a c.c. to John J. McCloy dated June 5, 1963.

Lt. General Leslie R. Groves

President, Association of Graduates

West Poin, N.Y.

Dear General Groves:

In view of the Sylvanus Thayer Award to John J. McCloy (May, 1963) by the United States Military Academy's Association of Graduates, I hereby resign from the Association of Graduates. I respectfully request that my name and membership be dropped from your rolls. The Association of Graduates is not representing me in it's presentation of the Sulvanus Thayer Award to John J. McCloy as an honored and distinguished United States citizen whose service and accomplishments in the national interests exemplify outstanding devotion to the ideals expressed in the West Point motto, "Duty, Honor, Country."

I prefer to stand by the ideals, principles, and traditions of the Long Grey Line - past, present, and future - rather than to stand with the Association and the temporary administrators of our government. The New Frontiersmen of today were accurately classified by Khrushchev before he took Cuba - "Too liberal to fight."

Yours sincerely,

Edwin A. Walker

c.c. Lt. General Earl Wheeler, Chief of Staff, United States Army

General Douglas MacArthur

Maj. General W. C. Westmoreland, Superintendent, United States

Military Academy

John J. McCloy

EAW/sf

McCloy sent a two page reply to Walker dated June 12, 1963

My dear General:

I received through the mail the other day a copy of your resignation from the Association of Graduates of the United States Military Academy, prompted by my selection for the Colonel Thayer Award for this year.

You are a graduate of the Academy and for you to resign because a group of graduates duly selected to make an award and did so according to their best judgment, in a manner which resulted in an award to me, seems a rather fantastic expression of your disapproval of what you term "new frontier policy" as contrasted to the traditions of West Point.

Whether my selection was deserved or not, I was very much warmed by it. I was in the regular service in World War I, here and in France. I served as The Assistant Secretary of War during World War II. All during this period and since, I have been closely associated with graduates of the Academy and among them are my warmest friends. I am also very familiar with your very fine record in World War II and in Korea and I had been distressed that a leader of your qualifications should have been lost to the service, whatever the reason.

I have served the country according to my lights and opportunities, just as you have according to yours. I very much doubt that I have ever been less concerned with the security of the country than you.

I was called in form abroad in the Cuban emergency to express my views as to what should be done in regard to the presence of missiles in Cuba. I did so and I think no one misunderstood my position. Thereafter, I was asked to arrange with the Russians for the removal of the missiles. This I did and I also arranged for the removal of the bombers, though they were not part of the original agreement -- both under condidtions far better for the security of the country, in my judgment, than the form of United Nations inspection which was originally contemplated. Apart from this, I have had nothing whatever to do with Cuban policy, either under President Kennedy or General Eisenhhower. I have not been what you term a "New Frontiersman" in the sense that I have been a Republican all my life and I was born in the last century, not this one.

All this is written to you not to justify my selection, in any sense, but to urge you to reconsider your resignation from your own Graduate Association on any account with which I am Concerned. I suggest that you tell whomever you want, as vigourously as you care to, that, in your opinion, I do not deserve the Award, but to sever your relations with the Graduates of West Point on this account, though I recognize in the last analysis it is entirely your own business, does seem to me to be a hasty and perhaps ill-advised action.

Sincerely,

John J. McCloy

Major General Edwin A. Walker

4011 Turtle Creek Boulevard

Dallas 19, Texas

P.S. In the possibility that it might be of some interest to you, I am sending

to you herewith a copy of the remarks I made tot he Cadets at the time of

Award.

When I first saw these letters I was surprized to see that these two men had corresponded with each other five months before the assassination of JFK.

Although mundane in content to the whole assassination business a timeline question (as usual for me) is interesting. April 10, 1963 someone shoots at Walker, May, 1963 McCloy receives the Thayer Award that prompts Walker to resign from his Graduate Association in June.

Nice trail of letters for two people that would shortly play a major role in the Warren Commission conclusions.

On August 15th 1943 the Third Regiment of the Firsts Special Services Force, commanded by Col. Edwin Walker, were the first troops to land on the Island of Kiska in the Aleutian Campaign. Present to witness the landings was the Assistant Secretary of War John J. McCloy.

Any thoughts?

Jim Root

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...
Brought back for the curiosity value.

Jim Root

I personally find these types of letters very interesting, whether it is because I am an outsider looking in or just curious, although I couldn't give you an example. I have seen letters before between "government officials" in which there appeared to be just as much that was unsaid as was said. Kind of like a "read between the lines" type of thing. McCloy IMO was one of the most important figures of the 20th century, again IMO, if the assassination was on a scale as large as I think it was, I would find it virtually impossible that he would not have eventually come to know all the details, if he didn't know before. I certainly think Walker knew all the details before 11/22/63.

I wish Gerry Patrick Hemming would "fill us in" on the particulars of the meeting in New Orleans, in mid-62 which was attended by Hemming, Guy Bannister, and Edwin Walker among others, the one where there was a suitcase full of money.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Robert

In a recent post Hemming made reference to a visit to the Walker residence in Dallas after the assassiantion attempt and during the heat of 1963. In the book Breach of Trust, Gerald McKnight suggest that Hemming was in New Orleans at the same time as Oswald.

I too "wish Gerry Patrick Hemming would "fill us in" on the particulars of the(se) meeting(s)"

Jim Root

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Robert

In a recent post Hemming made reference to a visit to the Walker residence in Dallas after the assassiantion attempt and during the heat of 1963. In the book Breach of Trust, Gerald McKnight suggest that Hemming was in New Orleans at the same time as Oswald.

I too "wish Gerry Patrick Hemming would "fill us in" on the particulars of the(se) meeting(s)"

Jim Root

To me the two most interesting angles after you get past the individuals - Oswald's (Lee and Marina), Ruby, Ferrie, Shaw, LBJ, Hoover, RFK etc....in other words the names that come to mind in sort of a generic way; Become Gen. Walker/Army Intelligence/Schmidt/Weissman/DeMohrenschildt connection and the CIA's Dulles/Helms/Angleton/Philips/Joannides connection if you can tie these two together in a concrete way you are on your way.....Where I differ, and I am not ashamed to admit it is that I think the "organized crime' tag is "out the window." When you come down to the bottom line, organized crime (as a group or disparate individuals) never, ever, ever had the power to do some of the things asociated with this crime. It is just an observation that at this point in time cannot be fully substantiated, but I believe will be soon that Ruby was "just as connected to intelligence agencies" as Oswald was. The item John has stumbled onto about Grant Stockdale to me is a real added layer. I also think about Gery Underhill and Wilcott. What was the quote that is attributed to Underhill "The Far-East section of the CIA was responsible for JFK's death. IMO points to the CIA "buddies" that share a connection with a seldom mentioned country - Greece. All you have to do is connect the dots... and look for the (where there's smoke there's) fire . Just Gotta do the math.

Edited by Robert Howard
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Robert

In a recent post Hemming made reference to a visit to the Walker residence in Dallas after the assassiantion attempt and during the heat of 1963. In the book Breach of Trust, Gerald McKnight suggest that Hemming was in New Orleans at the same time as Oswald.

I too "wish Gerry Patrick Hemming would "fill us in" on the particulars of the(se) meeting(s)"

Jim Root

To me the two most interesting angles after you get past the individuals - Oswald's (Lee and Marina), Ruby, Ferrie, Shaw, LBJ, Hoover, RFK etc....in other words the names that come to mind in sort of a generic way; Become Gen. Walker/Army Intelligence/Schmidt/Weissman/DeMohrenschildt connection and the CIA's Dulles/Helms/Angleton/Philips/Joannides connection if you can tie these two together in a concrete way you are on your way.....Where I differ, and I am not ashamed to admit it is that I think the "organized crime' tag is "out the window." When you come down to the bottom line, organized crime (as a group or disparate individuals) never, ever, ever had the power to do some of the things asociated with this crime. It is just an observation that at this point in time cannot be fully substantiated, but I believe will be soon that Ruby was "just as connected to intelligence agencies" as Oswald was. The item John has stumbled onto about Grant Stockdale to me is a real added layer. I also think about Gery Underhill and Wilcott. What was the quote that is attributed to Underhill "The Far-East section of the CIA was responsible for JFK's death. IMO points to the CIA "buddies" that share a connection with a seldom mentioned country - Greece. All you have to do is connect the dots... and look for the (where there's smoke there's) fire . Just Gotta do the math.

These letters of June 1963 are interesting; they seem to portray McCloy as a liberal in comparison with General Groves.

Kai Bird, in The Chairman, a biography of McCloy, writes that General Groves and McCloy disagreed at

a high level of the Truman Admin. in 1946 over the degree of international cooperation that should exist to control the atomic bomb. McCloy was more on the side of Oppenheimer, Acheson, Lillienthal that the goal of

an international atomic agency be to abolish the nuclear weapons; Groves thought such an agency could be used to ensure that other nations didn't get the bomb.

Later in 1946, McCloy and Groves seem to have agreed that "atomic diplomacy" might be used to open up the U.S.S.R. to some degree politically, although this was rejected as naive by Lilienthtal and Acheson.

The McCloy as the opposite of a unilateralist General Groves scenario might be further undermined if we consider McCloy's role at the World Bank, where he went soon after working on post-war nuclear policy.

Bird depicts McCloy as a Draconian bargainer, who moved the Bank significantly to the right of what New Dealers Hans Morthanthau and Harry Dexter White had envisioned in 1942.

McCloys leading role in the forced reocation of Japanese-Americans during 1944, and his work collaborating with Dulles in Operation Paperclip would also tend to belie his reputation as a liberal.

Both sides could see what they wanted in McCloy. That probably has a lot to do with what made him Mr. Establishment. He worked with Rockefeller, but also with Murchison, and Sid Richardson.* These 1963, letters seem to position McCloy as a liberal as opposed to General Groves' conservativism. The record

doesn't seem to bear this out.

What purpose could this false dichotomy serve? If McCloy was now portrayed as more liberal than his record bore out, could this misrepresentation serve to buttress the legitimacy of the Warren Commision?

* P.D. Scott has an interesting footnote in his chapter on The Great Southwest Corporation:

"In 1954 John J. McCloy, chairman of the Rockefeller-dominated Chase Manhattan Bank, bacame "an

important financial ally" of Clint Murchison, Sr. and Sid Richardson when the two Texans became (through

Alleghany Corp.) major stockholders in the New York Central Railroad. later merged into the

Penn Central..... Warren Commission assistant counsel Francis W.H. Adams had represented the

Murchisons in 1959 in a conflict over control of Alleghany Corp."-- Footnote to chapter 18 of Deep Politics.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nathaniel

Thank you for keeping this thread alive with your informative post.

You have provided additional information for what I believe is an important aspect of the life of John J. McCloy; his involvement in the question of nuclear proliferation.

I have seen some documents from 1945 (before the first bomb was dropped on Hiroshima) that indicate that this question was already confounding the minds of many great Statemen and scientists. What has been nagging me lately is how well this issue overlaps the Oswald story that leads to Dallas.

In early November 1959 the US was preparing for the Paris Summit that was to take place in May of 1960. There was fear that the US was being pushed into an adverse position by public opinion in the area of nuclear testing. (Document 19: State Department memcon, "Meeting of the Secretary's Disarmament Advisers," 3 November 1959 Source: National Archives, RG 59, decimal files 1955-1959, 600.0012/11-359)

In this meeting (with McCloy's participation) the fear of a Test Ban Treaty forced upon the United States by international opinion was discussed. It seems that the US did not believe that a Treaty, at that time, would be in our best interest. Only days before this meeting Oswald serendipidously enters the Soviet Union through the only Soviet Embassy in Europe that can issue a visa within 24 hours.

On May 1st, 1960 Francis Gary Powers is downed while flying over the USSR. The Paris Summit is doomed from that moment. Did Oswald's defection to Russia play a roll in this event? If Oswald's trip did play a roll in this event we have an impact upon a group of people that may have been pleased with the results of Oswald's "defection." That group would include John J. McCloy.

Was Oswald aware of the association of the U-2 incident and the failure of the Paris Summit? Shortly after the assassination attempt on the life of Edwin Walker, Lee Harvey Oswald would give a speech at Spring Hill College. It seems that Oswald did in fact make the association between the U-2 incident and the failure of the Paris Summit and that it was important enough for him to put this into the "main body" of his talk (Spring Hill College Speech).

Some people, myself included, feel that the failure of the Paris Summit was a contributing factor in the election of John F. Kennedy to the Presendency, in a very close elction, the following November.

On January 25, 1961 John F. Kennedy would give his first press conference. The first two paragraphs from that conference show the significance of arms negotiations and the position John J. McCloy was to play in this sphere:

Kennedy's remarks,

"I have several announcements to make, first. I have a statement about the Geneva negotiations for an atomic test ban. These negotiations, as you know, are scheduled to begin early in February. They are of great importance, and we will need more time to prepare a clear American position. So we are consulting with other governments, and we are asking to have it put off until late March.

As you know, Mr. John McCloy is my principal adviser in this field, and he has organized a distinguished panel of experts, headed by Dr. James Fisk of the Bell Laboratories -- and Mr. Salinger will have a list of the names at the end of the conference -- who are going to study previous positions that we have taken in this field, and also recommend to Mr. McCloy, for my guidance, what our position would be in late March, when we hope the tests will resume."

Is this, perhaps, another reason why McCloy would have been pleased by the dowing of the U-2 and the subsequent failure of the Paris Summit?

Putting the timing of McCloy's letter to Walker (June 12, 1963) into the historical context of the Limited Test Ban Treaty is interesting:

Document 50: Commencement Address by President John F. Kennedy at American University in Washington, DC, 10 June 1963 Source: Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: John F. Kennedy Containing the Public Messages, Speeches, and Statements of the President. January 1 to November 22, 1963. (United States Government Printing Office: Washington, DC. 1964), pp. 459-464

In this famous speech, Kennedy broke the ice with Khrushchev by making a public declaration in favor of peace and arms control. An important influence was the writer and editor Norman Cousins who had met secretly with Khrushchev several times since 1962 in an attempt to get the two powers beyond the dispute over the number of inspections. Even some of Cousin's own language, such as "making the world safe for diversity" found its way into the text. (Note 59) Toward the end of the speech, after Kennedy discussed the test ban negotiations and the problem of nuclear proliferation, he announced that the United States would not conduct any more atmospheric tests as long as other nations refrained from doing so. Drawing upon the understanding that he, Macmillan, and Khrushchev had already reached about high-level talks, Kennedy also declared that Washington, London, and Moscow would soon resume negotiations on a test ban treaty and that United Kingdom and the United States would send a senior delegation to Moscow for the discussions. While Kennedy did not name any names, he quickly settled on Ambassador-at-Large W. Averell Harriman, who had met with Khrushchev before and had the stature needed for a mission of this sort.

Document 51: CIA Information Report, "Soviet Reaction to June 10 Speech of President Kennedy," 11 June 1963, excised copy Source: John F. Kennedy Library, box 100, Disarmament-Nuclear Test Ban Negotiations, 4/62-8/63

That President Kennedy's speech had an immediately favorable impact on Soviet opinion is suggested by this CIA information report based on intelligence gleaned from a Soviet official working for the secretariat of an international organization, probably the United Nations. The source believed that the speech improved prospects for a test ban, although he (or she) was too confident in believing that the problem of inspections could be easily resolved. The source was also overoptimistic in believing that impending Sino-Soviet talks "can only be a step forward" because the discussions turned out to be among the most acrimonious in the history of the relationship.

McCloy was out as the lead negotiator with the Soviets and Harriman was in. But the fears of those who had been excluded from having authority in this area was not limited to just McCloy. This memo from John McCone to John J. McCloy is dated two day before the alledged assassination attempt on Walker:

Memorandum by Director of Central Intelligence McCone/1/

Washington, April 8, 1963.

/1/Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DCI, ER Subject Files, White Papers-Nuclear Test Ban 3/1/63-1/2/64. Secret. Circulated to McCloy.

With respect to the test ban treaty, I have not gone over the last draft./2/ However, it is my understanding that the present negotiating position provides for seven on-site inspections, seven black boxes within the USSR, and an inspection area of 500 square kilometers, and that the treaty deals with all the other issues which have been developed through the years. Some consideration is being given to reducing the seven on-site inspections to six, or even to five. There is also a difference of opinion as to the value of the black boxes.

/2/Reference is to a March 23 draft comprehensive test ban treaty. (Washington National Records Center, RG 383, ACDA/CRSC Files: FRC 77 A 59, Basic Policy, Pol 3-3, Proposals to President)

One would have to make a penetrating study of the results of the Vela experiments to make a final judgment as to the adequacy of the verification provisions of the treaty. However, Mr. Foster, at a recent Executive Committee meeting,/3/ stated that the threshold is on the order of one kiloton in granite, two kilotons in tuff, and 10 to 20 kilotons (and possibly 30 kilotons) in alluvium. He added that this was the threshold for a single test. Based on a theory of probabilities, he further concluded that a series of tests which included a meaningful number of underground shots in a single location would, with a small number of inspections, undoubtedly be detected and identified as nuclear rather than natural.

/3/Not identified; the test ban was not discussed in the Executive Committee of the National Security Council during 1963.

On the basis of these threshold figures, I have expressed the view to Mr. Foster and to the President/4/ that the degree of verification is not sufficient, as it cannot prove adherence to a suspension of testing in an important area of yields. Of greater importance, however, is the fact that under present political circumstances a test ban between the U.S., USSR, and UK would not, in the final analysis, answer the "proliferation" problem because the Soviets cannot handle the Chinese Communists and we and the British cannot handle the French.

/4/In a memorandum for the record, April 4, McCone wrote he had told the President that day that former President Eisenhower had expressed opposition to the present draft treaty "because of inadequate verification, the threshold, etc.," and that he, McCone, agreed with this position and also opposed it because "the Russians could no longer handle the Chinese situation and we and the British could no longer handle the de Gaulle situation, and hence the proliferation problem. The President seemed to agree, and restated that he did not think we were going to get a treaty anyway." (Central Intelligence Agency, Meetings with President, 4/1/63-6/30/63) McCone's memorandum of April 4 of a meeting held with Eisenhower on March 30 is ibid.

As for the advantages to the United States of further testing, doing so would yield a continuing improvement in our technology through the further development of small weapons, improvement of weight/yield ratios and increased knowledge of weapons effects. With respect to the first two of these items, improvements are important. Our failure to pursue them while the Soviets do so (clandestinely) would probably deprive us of our superior nuclear position. However, this would not necessarily affect the military balance as the improvements are expected to be evolutionary rather than revolutionary, although important information would be provided. With respect to effects of testing, more study would be necessary before I would have an opinion.

There is a great danger of engaging in a treaty, living under it for a number of years, and permitting our laboratories to go downhill (which they undoubtedly would do) while the Soviets covertly pursue developments in their laboratories. The Soviets could then abrogate the treaty for some reason they claim provocative, and confront us with a situation under which they had made a significant forward step in their technology. This, as will be recalled, was exactly what they did in 1961. I do not see how we can avoid this risk if we engage in a treaty unless the treaty is subscribed to by all world powers and contains substantial penalties for such abrogation.

The Plowshare problem must be considered. Meaningful Plowshare experiments involve our most advanced weapons technology and, if the inspection arrangements outlined in the treaty are undertaken, it would mean exposing to the Soviets our most advanced weapons technology. This might mean abandoning Plowshare and therefore one must consider whether Plowshare is important to our national interest.

Intelligence will make some contribution to the verification of a test ban. Some indicators which have been meaningful in the past are now lost to us, some useful indicators are still available but they, too, could be lost. Aerial surveillance might help in some circumstances, and clandestine penetrations might also help. Soviet fear of the latter might also serve as a deterrent. No useful figure can be placed on the contribution of intelligence.

It seems to me that there has been an overemphasis on the importance of the test ban treaty and the whole issue of testing for many years, and most particularly, during the last two or three years. The issue at first centered around fallout. The most responsible scientific judgment seems to indicate that the effects of fallout were vastly overemphasized by the test ban advocates. I feel the whole issue should be brought into proper perspective and question whether much is to be gained by an agreement to stop testing so long as the United States, Soviet Union, and the British continue the production of fissionable material, nuclear weapons, and delivery systems at a high rate, and in addition, the French and the Chinese Communists pursue an independent and uncontrolled program, and rumor has it that the Israelis are now doing likewise. Hence, stopping testing does not slow down the arms race, does not remove the dangers of a nuclear holocaust, and does not end the proliferation problem.

One important consideration is that if we reach an agreement with the Soviets, we have "broken through" in our effort to negotiate with the USSR on an issue of disarmament, and this might lead to other more meaningful agreements. This consideration is important and we could sacrifice a great deal to accomplish such a "break through". However, this consideration is of value only if the test suspension agreement provides reasonable means of verification and reasonable guarantee for conformance with all treaty terms, including some protection against unilateral revocation or abrogation of the treaty. If, however, we are reckless on the question of verification, then the "break through" will be a decided disservice to the United States' security interests because it will establish a precedent for further steps in disarmament without adequate means of verification.

I have not personally studied the most recent developments in detection and identification techniques and cannot render a judgment on the proposed treaty. However, Mr. Foster's disclosure of the threshold set forth in the second paragraph of this memorandum represents a drastic departure from US policy so often stated, i.e. we will only agree to a suspension of tests which can, in the opinion of responsible and informed people, be verified with reasonable assurance.

Two days before the attempted assassiation of Edwin Walker the head of the CIA is writting to McCloy about his opposition to the proposed Test Ban Treaty. Coincidence?

Maxwell Taylor would have a problem with this treaty as well:

Document 56: Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Glenn Seaborg, Journal Entry for 9 July 1963

Source: Journals of Glenn T. Seaborg, Volume 6, July 1, 1963-November 22, 1963 (Berkeley, CA: Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, 1989)

Early in the evening of 9 July, Kennedy met with the NSC to discuss the Harriman mission. Still unsure whether a limited three environments test ban treaty was negotiable, the participants briefly discussed an agreement that permitted a quota of underground tests. Nevertheless, if an atmospheric test ban was feasible, Rusk wanted Harriman to be able to conclude an agreement "on the spot." Bundy wondered whether the French should be consulted, which raised the question of whether it would be possible to induce Paris to sign a limited test ban treaty. Maxwell Taylor's comments questioning the advantages of an atmospheric test ban raised the continuing problem with the Chiefs, but Kennedy declared that the issue was settled: "such a ban is to the advantage of the U.S." Nevertheless, Taylor vainly pushed away on the issue.

Once again it is the overlapping dates that continue to intrigue me. Perhaps, more importantly, it is the high powered opposition (by persons with substantial power such as McCone, McCloy, Taylor) to the position being dictated by President Kennedy.

Some of these same people would be charged with investigating the assassination of the man whom they had recently had a substantial disagreement with.

That "disagreement" would be centered around the long term security of the United States.

Could this be considered as a possible motive for assassination? Could it explain the ability of a group of conspirators to "cover-up" their plot?

Jim Root

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...