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Alfred McCormack


Jim Root
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I have recently run accross the name of Alfred McCormack (sometimes spelled MacCormack). This former Chicago lawyer was brought into the War Department and established the "Special Branch" of M.I.S.

What I have found interesting is that during WWII, it seems, McCormack is associated with John J. McCloy, Allen Dulles (while Dulles was in Bern) and the same John B. Hurt that I have been researching. It appears he is involved in X2 and connected to "Fortitude" and later "Blowback."

To the above names you can add Edwin Oldfather Reischauer who, in 1961, was appointed Ambassador to Japan by John F. Kennedy. Reischauer is closely associated with Hurt.

My question is, has anyone else gathered information on Alfred McCormack that they could share?

Jim Root

Edited by Jim Root
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  • 9 months later...

According to Kai Bird in "The Chairman" Alfred McCormack was a partner, along with John J. McCloy, in the New York law firm Cravath, Henderson and de Gersdorff. McCloy convinced Henry Stimson to bring McCormack into the War Department to organize Friedman's group of cryptologist (including John Hurt). For the remainder of the War McCormack would be in day to day control of the "Magic" program reporting directly to McCloy.

McCormack would be involved in the post war planning to limit the spread of nuclear weapons along with McCloy. The two would be pushed aside by the Truman administration and would soon be moved aside in the negotiations with the Soviets by the appointmet of Bernard Baruch to negotiate atomic matters at the United Nations. Contrary to the position of McCloy the Baruch contengent beleived that the Soviets would not be able to produce an atomic bomb for at least twenty years and that the United States could use its monoply of this weapon to its advantage in international affairs.

McCormack also pushed for a centralized intelligence organization and would soon resign and return to New York law in disgust with the move toward a plan to decentralize intelligence. Both he and McCloy became the targets of a more conservative element within the Truman administration that had their own hard line plans for dealing with the Soviets and how intelligence should be gathered.

This political intrigue would lead to a charge by J. Edgar Hoover that McCloy might be involved in poviding atomic secretes to the Soviets. Both McCormack and McCloy would be forced out of govenment and would return to their law practice.

McCloy would return and would soon be the architech of the new intelligence organization known as the CIA and the NSA.

I wonder if McCloy ever forgot the role played by Hoover in limiting his power during this peiod of international tentions? Conversly the appointment of McCloy to the Warren Commission may have provided a few sleepless nights for the FBI head whose organization had been monitoring the movements of Lee Harvey Oswald and were aware of where the accused assassin was working by November 4, 1963.

I could see where Hoover may have worried about McCloys appointment to the Warren Commission.

Jim Root

Jim Root

Edited by Jim Root
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McCormack also pushed for a centralized intelligence organization and would soon resign and return to New York law in disgust with the move toward a plan to decentralize intelligence. Both he and McCloy became the targets of a more conservative element within the Truman administration that had their own hard line plans for dealing with the Soviets and how intelligence should be gathered. (Jim Root)

Good stuff, Jim.

Yes, McCormack is definitely of interest given that in 1949, he was the civilian head of the CIA. But back in 1946 though, things got very messy and a little personal. McCormack's resignation as the State Department's Chief of Intelligence came after the department decided to divide the intelligence gathering among five established divisions rather than giving it to one umbrella type unit.

Interesting to note is that the department's decision came on the back of the House of Representatives action in cutting from an appropriations bill over four million dollars. This allotment was to carry on the division's intelligence gathering program for the financial year of 1947.

This House action was initiated by its appropriations committee and followed earlier charges within the House Military Committee that the State Department's Intelligence Division contained fifteen pro-Soviet sympathizers brought to the department by McCormack, who subsequently demanded a hearing or the allegations withdrawn.

FWIW.

James

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