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On the Bruce-Lovett Report

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From the article: But thanks in large part to Allen Dulles and the CIA, whose foreign policy intrigues were often directly at odds with the stated policies of our nation, the idealistic path outlined in the Atlantic Charter was the road not taken. In 1957, my grandfather, Ambassador Joseph P. Kennedy, sat on a secret committee charged with investigating the CIA’s clandestine mischief in the Mideast. The so called “Bruce-Lovett Report,” to which he was a signatory, described CIA coup plots in Jordan, Syria, Iran, Iraq and Egypt, all common knowledge on the Arab street, but virtually unknown to the American people who believed, at face value, their government’s denials. The report blamed the CIA for the rampant anti-Americanism that was then mysteriously taking root “in the many countries in the world today.” The Bruce-Lovett Report pointed out that such interventions were antithetical to American values and had compromised America’s international leadership and moral authority without the knowledge of the American people. The report also said that the CIA never considered how we would treat such interventions if some foreign government were to engineer them in our country.


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Here is commentary on this topic by Joan Mellen that I am posting with her permission:


A few of us have for some years been searching for a copy of the Bruce-Lovett Report, an assessment of the CIA's clandestine services, written at the request of President Eisenhower by the premier ambassador of the twentieth century, David K. E. Bruce, with the assistance of Harry Truman's Secretary of Defense, Robert Lovett. (In 1979-80 I wrote a book called "Privilege" about the unexplained death of the second of David Bruce's daughters and have taken an interest in Mr. Bruce since that time).

The context of the Bruce-Lovett Report was that the assignment first went to James Doolittle, the air force general who bombed Japan in retaliation for Pearl Harbor, and who "wrote" his report, admittedly, with the help of Allen Dulles. The Doolittle Report, which is available, justifies CIA's crimes and misdemeanors as part of a violence that began with the misappropriation of the land of native Americans. David Bruce, who served on Eisenhower's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, was a considered choice, not only for his rational and measured approach to history, but for his intelligence background. Not only had he been chief of OSS operations in London, but he wrote an important article in 1946 for the Virginia Quarterly Review warning against the creation of a central intelligence agency and the abuses that such an entity might embrace. In that article, Mr. Bruce wonders even whether gestapo-like activities might reside in the future of such an institution.

Doug Caddy notes an article by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., which references this document carelessly, but which is of interest since a copy of the Bruce-Lovett Report was last seen by Arthur Schlesinger in the papers of Robert F. Kennedy at the Kennedy library, from which it subsequently disappeared. Neither President Eisenhower's papers, nor David Bruce's, nor Robert Lovett's, nor Arthur Schlesinger's, contain a copy.

I was taken aback by the disrespectful tone of Mr. Kennedy's politico article and its reference to the "so-called 'Bruce-Lovett Report'."

The Bruce-Lovett Report is passionate, critical, defiant, and authored by a figure who never sought notoriety and never ran for office. It's among the most important documents to have been created in CIA history. Does Mr. Kennedy have a copy? It would be a service to history were he to make it available.

Mr. Kennedy refers to the fact that his grandfather was a signatory. Yes, Joseph P. Kennedy sat on the Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board at the time, although how such a figure, a man who lobbied against the U.S. sending aid to the Loyalists in Spain who were facing Generalissimo Franco, could have been chosen to sit on that board I cannot imagine. Certainly the elder Kennedy deserves no credit for David Bruce's righteous indignation at CIA's interventions in foreign governments.

Joan Mellen

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