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C. Douglas Dillon and the Assassination of JFK


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I have stated before that it is as easy to assume that Bob Dylan killed JFK than it is to assume that C. Douglas Dillon did. There is no evidence connecting either of them to the assassination, and neither had motives.

Actually, it would be easier to speculate on Dylan than Dillon because Dillon was a friend of JFK.

I thought it would be useful to have a thread on C. Dougas Dillon. Did Dillon do it?

Unfortunately my time for posting tonight is about out so I will just post two brief thoughts for tonite.

Re the friendship: Dalleks' biography of JFK ("An Unfinished Life") states that the only two cabinet members with who, JFK regularly socialized (in addition to his brother, of course) were the McNamaras and the Dillons.

According to Richard Reeves' biography of JFK, it was Dillon's turn-around during the internal Kennedy administration debates on the missile crisus that allowed JFK to reach a consensus on a blockade rather than an invasion. Originally Dillon had sided with the military that an invasion was necessary but he carefully listened to the arguments of Robert Keennedy and switched positions to support the idea of a blockade. Reeves considers Dillon's turn-around of great importance. I'll post the actual quote tomorrow.

In the meantime if Shanet or anyone has actual evidence to link Dillon . . . but no more speculation, please!

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I do not believe that Dillon had anything to do with the assassination of JFK. However, you need to ask why forces within the CIA were so keen to have Dillon in JFK's cabinet. Was it because some feared that JFK might tackle the oil depletion allowance and other corporate tax fiddles.

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKoildepletion.htm

Once again, here is a passage from Katharine Graham's, book Personal History (1997). In the book she explains how her husband, Phil Graham, got Douglas Dillon a job in JFK's cabinet. It was of course Graham who persuaded JFK to appoint LBJ as his running mate. Graham also established Operation Mockingbird with Frank Wisner in 1948.

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKgrahamP.htm

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKwisner.htm

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKmockingbird.htm

Well here is Graham's account of how Dillon got the job.

Right after the election, he started talking to and writing the president-elect about appointments to the new administration. Both Phil and Joe Alsop thought Kennedy ought to appoint our friend Douglas Dillon as secretary of the Treasury. Dillon was a liberal Republican who had served as undersecretary of state in the Eisenhower administration and had contributed to the Nixon campaign, so this didn't seem like a strong possibility. Arthur Schlesinger and Ken Galbraith had dinner with us one evening, and, as Arthur noted in his book A Thousand Days, "we were distressed by (Phil's) impassioned insistence that Douglas Dillon should and would-be made Secretary of the Treasury. Without knowing Dillon, we mistrusted him on principle as a presumed exponent of Republican economic policies." But as Arthur also wrote, "When I mentioned this to the President-elect in Washington on December, he remarked of Dillon, "Oh, I don't care about those things. All I want to know is: is he able and will he go along with the program?'"

What a refreshing thought - if only more presidents felt that way! In fact, the president-elect called. Joe about the liberals wanting Albert Gore (father of the Clinton administration vice-president, Al Gore) for the position, but he told Joe that he wanted Dillon. Joe recalls Kennedy saying, "They say that if I take Doug Dillon he won't be loyal because he's a Republican." Joe responded that it would be very hard to imagine a man less likely to be disloyal than Dillon. He also added, "And if you take Albert Gore you know perfectly well, i) he's incompetent; ii) you'll never be able to hear yourself think, he talks so much; iii) when he isn't talking your ear off, he'll be telling the New York Times all." I'm sure this whole conversation with Kennedy was recalled in Alsopian terms, but I'm also sure that some such conversation did indeed take place.

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Savor the moment!  John (who I, of course, consider a great guy and a scholar despite our political differences) agree that Dillon did not do it!

Tim,

You're a bit quick to savor the moment, aren't you? While John believes Dillon was not involved, there was a little rider in his statement wasn't there? Namely, "you need to ask why forces within the CIA were so keen to have Dillon in JFK's Cabinet". Well............why? Or do you deny this to be the case? Why?

BTW, I'm still waiting for your answer to my question about the Sorenson book on the "Communication breakdown" thread. You do remember that book, don't you?

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I think we can speculate until the cows come home about who MIGHT have killed JFK.

Our government told us it was LN Lee Oswald. As John noted on another thread, historians continue this falsehood, so that when we are dead and gone, history will be forever falsified. Our "mission" is not to prove who did kill JFK but to who did not.

Dawn

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I think we can speculate until the cows come home about who MIGHT have killed JFK.

Our government told us it was LN Lee Oswald. As John noted on another thread, historians continue this falsehood, so that when we are dead and gone, history will be forever falsified. Our "mission" is not to prove who did kill JFK but to  who did not.

Dawn

Dawn,

I have to differ with you on this. I'd much rather know who did kill JFK than who didn't.

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I have stated before that it is as easy to assume that Bob Dylan killed JFK than it is to assume that C. Douglas Dillon did.  There is no evidence connecting either of them to the assassination, and neither had motives.

Actually, it would be easier to speculate on Dylan than Dillon because Dillon was a friend of JFK.

If so, AJ Weberman would have found some evidence in Bob Dylan's garbage, surely..... 

I thought it would be useful to have a thread on C. Dougas Dillon.  Did Dillon do it?

Unfortunately my time for posting tonight is about out so I will just post two brief thoughts for tonite.

Re the friendship:  Dalleks' biography of JFK ("An Unfinished Life") states that the only two cabinet members with who, JFK regularly socialized (in addition to his brother, of course) were the McNamaras and the Dillons.

Don't forget Kennedy's other close friend, Brutus.  Politics make for strange bedfellows, Tim.  CIA and Mafia?  Impossible, one might think.  And yet...

According to Richard Reeves' biography of JFK, it was Dillon's turn-around during the internal Kennedy administration debates on the missile crisus

I believe that's actually spelled "crisis," Professor.  I promise not to make a habit of being so petty about other people's spelling and grammar.  Sure wish you'd do the same.

that allowed JFK to reach a consensus on a blockade rather than an invasion.  Originally Dillon had sided with the military that an invasion was necessary but he carefully listened to the arguments of Robert Keennedy and switched positions to support the idea of a blockade.  Reeves considers Dillon's turn-around of great importance.  I'll post the actual quote tomorrow.

Please do.  So far as I know, Kennedy wasn't against consensus, per se, but sure didn't require one to make a decision.  Otherwise, the US would have used nuclear weapons against Moscow and Havana decades ago.

In the meantime if Shanet or anyone has actual evidence to link Dillon . . . but no more speculation, please!

No, we must ensure that "speculation" is confined only to Castro.

As interesting as it is may be to pore over Dillon's record while in Kennedy's cabinet, one might profit from looking a bit further back than that, as Shanet has urged you and the rest of us to do. 

One needn't go back all that far to realize that prior to serving under Kennedy, Dillon was also instrumental in the planning for the Bay of Pigs.  The following citations are from the National Security Archives at George Washington University, and may be of some interest:

  NOV 29, 1960: President Eisenhower meets with key aides from the State, Treasury, and Defense departments, CIA, and the White House. He expresses his unhappiness about the general situation: "Are we being sufficiently imaginative and bold, subject to not letting our hand appear; and ...are we doing the things we are doing, effectively?" State Department Acting Secretary Dillon voices the department's concern that the operation is no longer secret but is known all over Latin America and has been discussed in U.N. circles. President Eisenhower states he thinks, "we should be prepared to take more chances and be more aggressive." (Memorandum of Meeting with the President, Tuesday, November 29, 1960, 12/5/60)

DEC 2, 1960: Acting Secretary of State Dillon informs President Eisenhower that the 5412 Group has decided that a senior official in the State Department and a senior officer in CIA should work full time to better organize the government's "total program with respect to Cuba." Whiting Whitauer and Tracy Barnes are suggested to fill the roles and the 5412 Group (Messrs. Dulles, Gray, Douglas, and Merchant) recommends that it "intensify its general supervision of the covert operation." (Douglas Dillon, Memorandum for the President, Subject: Cuba, December 2, 1960)

DEC 6, 1960: President Eisenhower meets with President - elect Kennedy to discuss the anti-Castro Cuban operation currently being planned. (Gleijeses, p.26)

DEC 7, 1960: President Eisenhower responds to Doug Dillon's December 2, memo. He grants approval for reorganization of the Cuba program, but wants to clarify that; “Mr. Willauer should have a position directly subordinate to the Secretary of State for so long as Cuba remains a critical problem in our foreign relations. There should be no doubt as to the authority of the Special Assistant in the State department (Willauer) to coordinate [deleted] activities.” (President Eisenhower, Memorandum for the Secretary of State, December 7, 1960). 

Hence, we find that Dillon was in the thick of plans for the Bay of Pigs.  His concern didn't seem to be that the invasion might be illegal under international law, or that it might backfire against the US.  His concern was that it remain secret, and that loose lips were already chattering about US hegemonistic plans for the island.  Was he merely a good soldier, or a true believer?

If the latter, Dillon's view of Kennedy may have soured dramatically in the invasion's sad aftermath.  And since Dillon's man Willauer was the liaison with Tracy Barnes in coordinating plans for the invasion, is it not safe to assume that Dillon was up to his armpits in CIA's machinations?

If so, what is it about Dillon's purported friendship with Kennedy that automatically absolves him from suspicion?  The President was murdered as a direct result of Secret Service failures that fateful November day.  There is no doubt that standard Secret Service protocols were not followed that day.  Do we just assume cosmic slackitude was responsible for these lapses?  Or are we legitimately entitled to question how those lapses transpired?

Moreover, Tim, I'm sure you know that CIA "helped" the Secret Service in its arrangements for the Miami trip.  At whose suggestion was this collaboration struck?  That's a question that's never even been asked, let alone answered.

None of the foregoing indicts Dillon as a coconspirator.  But we do ourselves, history and justice no favors by failing to ask the pertinent questions.   

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I have stated before that it is as easy to assume that Bob Dylan killed JFK than it is to assume that C. Douglas Dillon did.  There is no evidence connecting either of them to the assassination, and neither had motives.

Actually, it would be easier to speculate on Dylan than Dillon because Dillon was a friend of JFK.

If so, AJ Weberman would have found some evidence in Bob Dylan's garbage, surely..... 

I thought it would be useful to have a thread on C. Dougas Dillon.  Did Dillon do it?

Unfortunately my time for posting tonight is about out so I will just post two brief thoughts for tonite.

Re the friendship:  Dalleks' biography of JFK ("An Unfinished Life") states that the only two cabinet members with who, JFK regularly socialized (in addition to his brother, of course) were the McNamaras and the Dillons.

Don't forget Kennedy's other close friend, Brutus.  Politics make for strange bedfellows, Tim.  CIA and Mafia?  Impossible, one might think.  And yet...

According to Richard Reeves' biography of JFK, it was Dillon's turn-around during the internal Kennedy administration debates on the missile crisus

I believe that's actually spelled "crisis," Professor.  I promise not to make a habit of being so petty about other people's spelling and grammar.  Sure wish you'd do the same.

that allowed JFK to reach a consensus on a blockade rather than an invasion.  Originally Dillon had sided with the military that an invasion was necessary but he carefully listened to the arguments of Robert Keennedy and switched positions to support the idea of a blockade.  Reeves considers Dillon's turn-around of great importance.  I'll post the actual quote tomorrow.

Please do.  So far as I know, Kennedy wasn't against consensus, per se, but sure didn't require one to make a decision.  Otherwise, the US would have used nuclear weapons against Moscow and Havana decades ago.

In the meantime if Shanet or anyone has actual evidence to link Dillon . . . but no more speculation, please!

No, we must ensure that "speculation" is confined only to Castro.

As interesting as it is may be to pore over Dillon's record while in Kennedy's cabinet, one might profit from looking a bit further back than that, as Shanet has urged you and the rest of us to do. 

One needn't go back all that far to realize that prior to serving under Kennedy, Dillon was also instrumental in the planning for the Bay of Pigs.  The following citations are from the National Security Archives at George Washington University, and may be of some interest:

  NOV 29, 1960: President Eisenhower meets with key aides from the State, Treasury, and Defense departments, CIA, and the White House. He expresses his unhappiness about the general situation: "Are we being sufficiently imaginative and bold, subject to not letting our hand appear; and ...are we doing the things we are doing, effectively?" State Department Acting Secretary Dillon voices the department's concern that the operation is no longer secret but is known all over Latin America and has been discussed in U.N. circles. President Eisenhower states he thinks, "we should be prepared to take more chances and be more aggressive." (Memorandum of Meeting with the President, Tuesday, November 29, 1960, 12/5/60)

DEC 2, 1960: Acting Secretary of State Dillon informs President Eisenhower that the 5412 Group has decided that a senior official in the State Department and a senior officer in CIA should work full time to better organize the government's "total program with respect to Cuba." Whiting Whitauer and Tracy Barnes are suggested to fill the roles and the 5412 Group (Messrs. Dulles, Gray, Douglas, and Merchant) recommends that it "intensify its general supervision of the covert operation." (Douglas Dillon, Memorandum for the President, Subject: Cuba, December 2, 1960)

DEC 6, 1960: President Eisenhower meets with President - elect Kennedy to discuss the anti-Castro Cuban operation currently being planned. (Gleijeses, p.26)

DEC 7, 1960: President Eisenhower responds to Doug Dillon's December 2, memo. He grants approval for reorganization of the Cuba program, but wants to clarify that; “Mr. Willauer should have a position directly subordinate to the Secretary of State for so long as Cuba remains a critical problem in our foreign relations. There should be no doubt as to the authority of the Special Assistant in the State department (Willauer) to coordinate [deleted] activities.” (President Eisenhower, Memorandum for the Secretary of State, December 7, 1960). 

Hence, we find that Dillon was in the thick of plans for the Bay of Pigs.  His concern didn't seem to be that the invasion might be illegal under international law, or that it might backfire against the US.  His concern was that it remain secret, and that loose lips were already chattering about US hegemonistic plans for the island.  Was he merely a good soldier, or a true believer?

If the latter, Dillon's view of Kennedy may have soured dramatically in the invasion's sad aftermath.  And since Dillon's man Willauer was the liaison with Tracy Barnes in coordinating plans for the invasion, is it not safe to assume that Dillon was up to his armpits in CIA's machinations?

If so, what is it about Dillon's purported friendship with Kennedy that automatically absolves him from suspicion?  The President was murdered as a direct result of Secret Service failures that fateful November day.  There is no doubt that standard Secret Service protocols were not followed that day.  Do we just assume cosmic slackitude was responsible for these lapses?  Or are we legitimately entitled to question how those lapses transpired?

Moreover, Tim, I'm sure you know that CIA "helped" the Secret Service in its arrangements for the Miami trip.  At whose suggestion was this collaboration struck?  That's a question that's never even been asked, let alone answered.

None of the foregoing indicts Dillon as a coconspirator.  But we do ourselves, history and justice no favors by failing to ask the pertinent questions.   

Robert,

Great post--interesting points. I was unaware that CDD had served as Acting Secretary of State. His deep involvement in the BOP plans and the Cuba program generally suggest a reason why the CIA pushed hard for his inclusion in JFK's cabinet. You also make a fair point in that, after the BOP, CDD's opinion of JFK may have changed for the worse.

Robert, I agree that none of this indicts Dillon as a conspirator, although it does raise questions. It certainly reveals the foolishness of Tim's strident conviction that Dillon's involvement is impossible---because they socialised a lot!!!

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Friends don't kill friends! Even if Dillon thought Kennedy botched the BOP (and there is no evidence AT ALL to suggest that) do you suppose he would decide to murder him?

Mark, where is your common sense? When a jury is instructed by a judge how to evaluate the evidence in a criminal case, it is usually instructed to use its common sense.

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Friends don't kill friends!  Even if Dillon thought Kennedy botched the BOP (and there is no evidence AT ALL to suggest that) do you suppose he would decide to murder him?

Mark, where is your common sense?  When a jury is instructed by a judge how to evaluate the evidence in a criminal case, it is usually instructed to use its common sense.

Tim,

As Robert pointed out, Brutus was Caesar's friend. Any student of history knows that, occasionally, friends do kill friends---where's your common sense?

Anyway Tim, you did undertake to post your evidence of JFK's close friendship with CDD from the Sorenson book on the "Communication breakdown" thread. You've berated me and others for not reading it, so it must be vital. Where is it?

Please post it at your earliest convenience. Thank you.

p.s. Spare us the childish tantrums. It's a research forum.

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Mark wrote:

p.s. Spare us the childish tantrums. It's a research forum.

A strange remark coming from someone who has called me names.

No idea what "childish tantrum" you refer to, Mark.

And I will post more about Dillon, when I have time. There is, of course, nothing that prevents you from reading Sorenson's entire book at your local library.

To John (refering to the post below):

When "friends" or relatives kill each other, it is usually, as I am sure you know, what is called a "crime of passion". Obviously people who are close sometimes have arguments and in the heat of a passionate argument one party can grab a gun or knife and kill the other person. Something he or she would never do but for the passion of the moment.

Do you assert the assassination was a crime of passion? I mean, if Dillon was in the Oval Office with JFK and for whatever reason a shouting match occured and Dillon had a gun and shot JFK, I could understand that, even if Dillon was his friend.

If a relative plans a murder of a relative, it is usually for a readily apparent motive, such as financial gain.

Dillon was JFK's close friend, the only Cabinet member with which he socialized, other than RFK and McNamara. Dillon had no policy differences with JFK. The proposition that Dillon did it is simply preposterous!

Edited by Tim Gratz
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Friends don't kill friends!  Even if Dillon thought Kennedy botched the BOP (and there is no evidence AT ALL to suggest that) do you suppose he would decide to murder him?

In fact in the UK the majority of people who are murdered are murdered by someone they know. These are often wives, children, girlfriends, etc.

In history there have been a lot of cases of friends murdering friends. What was it Julius Ceasar said: “what, you too, Brutus”. What about Adolf Hitler. He murdered a lot of his friends. So did Joseph Stalin. Or maybe it is only Americans who don't kill their friends and loved ones.

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Mark wrote:

p.s. Spare us the childish tantrums. It's a research forum.

A strange remark coming from someone who has called me names.

No idea what "childish tantrum" you refer to, Mark.

And I will post more about Dillon, when I have time.  There is, of course, nothing that prevents you from reading Sorenson's entire book at your local library.

To John:

When "friends" or relatives kill each other, it is usually, as I am sure you know, what is called a "crime of passion".  Obviously people who are close sometimes have arguments and in the heat of a passionate argument one party can grab a gun or knife and kill the other person.  Something he or she would never do but for the passion of the moment.

Do you assert the assassination was a crime of passion?  I mean, if Dillon was in the Oval Office with JFK and for whatever reason a shouting match occured and Dillon had a gun and shot JFK, I could understand that, even if Dillon was his friend.

If a relative plans a murder of a relative, it is usually for a readily apparent motive, such as financial gain.

Dillon was JFK's close friend, the only Cabinet member with which he socialized, other than RFK and McNamara.  Dillon had no policy differences with JFK.  The proposition that Dillon did it is simply preposterous!

Tim,

Oh, so now you don't have time to post the relevant parts form Sorenson's book which you undertook to do on the "Communication breakdown" thread ? It was post #188, I believe. I can only draw two conclusions:

1. You don't have the book or

2. It doesn't contain the material you said it did.

I know I've said this before but I'll have to say it again--dear, oh dear.

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All I can do is shake my head.

I have the book and I will post it at my time.

There is no danger of Dillon making his escape in the intertim.

I have already posted from Dallek's book that Dillon was the only Cabinet member besides McNamara and his own brother with whom JFK socialized. Do you have any basis for disputing Dallek's point?

Edited by Tim Gratz
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All I can do is shake my head.

I have the book and I will post it at my time.

There is no danger of Dillon making his escape in the intertim.

I have already posted from Dallek's book that Dillon was the only Cabinet member besides McNamara and his own brother with whom JFK socialized.  Do you have any basis for disputing Dallek's point?

Tim,

You must be referring to this,

"McNamara was one of only two members of the Cabinet-the other being Douglas Dillon-who enjoyed a consistent social relationship with the Kennedys. Charming, gay, gregarious, a sort of modern Renaissance man with a capacity to discuss the arts and literature, he became a favorite of Jacqueline Kennedy's...."

(Dallek p.527)

That's McNamara Dallek's talking about. This is the only reference in the book to Dillon's social relationship to Kennedy. So you absolve CDD from the possibility of any involvement based on this paragraph?

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