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Irving Davidson

John Simkin

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During the Dominican Crisis, LBJ and Abe Fortas had a discussion about secret negotiations with prospective leaders. This discussion is on tape and is included in one of Michael Beschloss' books. Well, in this discussion, LBJ and Fortas refer to the man making the negotiations as DAVIDSON, and Beschloss explains that this was a code-name for FORTAS! Even more incredibly, he explains that they spoke about Fortas in code in order to deceived LADY BIRD, who was in and out of the room! This sounds to me like a complete CROCK!!

I agree it's a crock. Have you read Caro on LBJ's treatment of Lady Bird? LBJ would not sit there on the phone and try to deceive Lady Bird by using a code name. LBJ would tell Lady Bird in no uncertain terms to keep her derriere out of the room. ("Derriere" being another code term that LBJ wouldn't use.)

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Another person whom maybe John can contact, assuming he's still alive, is Robin Moore. Robin Moore wrote the Green Berets, where he was embedded with Special Forces in Vietnam before the War got BIG. He also wrote The French Connection, where he investigated the Corsican Mob. But, most importantly, he co-wrote the book LBJ and the Kennedy Assassination with Hugh McDonald, and interviewed Davidson about his relationship with de Mohrenschildt. Moore's thoughts would undoubtedly be interesting.

The premise of that book was that LBJ made a deal with the KGB to kill Kennedy, and that de Mohrenschildt and Albert Osborne were Oswald's handlers. While I don't buy it, it would be interesting to see if Moore just went along with McDonald or whether he believed this himself. If so, it would be interesting to see if he still believes it.

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John, I hate to raise this point less you think my sole purpose is to defend the Bush administration, but if Wheaton is disclosing the identity of CIA agents is he violating the same statute involved in the Wilson/Plame matter? And since the "Bush bashers" appear to want to hang Libby and Rove for their possible involvement, is there a double standard here?

That being said, let me be clear that if Wheaton in fact has accurate information about participants in the JFK assassination, I will do everything I can do to figure out how they could be brought to justice. I think that is still possible, as indicated by the recent trials of KKK murderers from the 1960s. Bringing them to justice would hopefully lead to the exposure of persons up the food chain.

I still have concerns about aspects of Wheaton's story.

And I remain intrigued about the Davidson connections.

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Tim, there is no disclosure of active CIA agents and no disclosure of CIA agent names which are not eaisly searchable on NARA...which I keep highly recommending. The first test at vetting Wheaton was simply to search released documents for names of the CIA officer and contract employees he identified circa 1963.

The full names were quickly found in a simple search, as well as details of their activities with the CIA in 1963/64.

-- Larry

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I would point out that if Davidson was involved in the assassination, his close association with Marcello therefore makes his participation fit in well with the scenarios of Waldron/Hartmann, Blakey, Davis and Kurtz.

Does anyone remember what the outcome of the BRILAB case was? If I recall Marcello was convicted and Davidson walked. (But I could be wrong.) Also, who represented Davidson?

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This is the report that Anne Buttimer, Chief Investigator for the Assassination Records Review Board, wrote after meeting Gene Wheaton on 11th July, 1995 (dated 12th July, 1995)

Wheaton began by telling me he would only give me limited information over the telephone although he was willing to meet me face to face to provide as much information as he had. He said he had no physical proof of what he would eventually tell the Board; however he said he does have a number of documents which he will need to show me in order for me to believe what he has to say.

By way of providing background on himself Wheaton explained he is a 59 year old retired miliatry intelligence officer. He works as a consultant investigating terrorist attacks around the world and said he expects his telephone will ring in the next few days with an offer to work on the Oklahoma City federal building bombing. He said if this happens he will also probably be called to Washington DC and would meet with me here. If he does not he would still agree to meet with us but would have to do so on the West Coast. He lives in Riverside County, California near Palm Springs.

Wheaton told me that from 1984 to 1987 he spent a lot of time in the Washington DC area and that starting in 1985 he was "recruited into Ollie North's network" by the CIA officer he has information about. He got to know this man and his wife, a "'super grade high level CIA officer" and kept a bedroom in their Virginia home. His friend was a Marine Corps liason in New Orleans and was the CIA contact with Carlos Marcello. He had been responsible for "running people into Cuba before the Bay of Pigs." His friend is now 68 or 69 years of age.

Over the course of a year or a year and one-half his friend told him about his activities with training Cuban insurgency groups. Wheaton said he also got to know many of the Cubans who had been his friend's soldiers/operatives when the Cubans visited in Virginia from their homes in Miami. His friend and the Cubans confirmed to Wheaton they assassinated JFK. Wheaton's friend said he trained the Cubans who pulled the triggers. Wheaton said the street level Cubans felt JFK was a traitor after the Bay of Pigs and wanted to kill him. People "above the Cubans" wanted JFK killed for other reasons.

Wheaton said we must look at his friend and his associates in order to know what really happened to JFK. One of those associates was I. Irving Davidson who was/is "the bag man for the intelligence community." Davidson runs a group called the Timber Center which handles payoffs and payments for the CIA, the NSA and the Pentagon. He is a friend of Jack Anderson's and was indicted with Carlos Marcello in the 1980's on a Teamster's kick-back charge. Davidson is a non-practicing attorney in Washington D.C. He is now about 70 years old.

Wheaton said he would speak to the Board confidentially but would not allow his name to be used publicly because his friend and the friend's associates "said they would destroy me int he media witha blitz of disinformation to destroy my professional reputation. They will make me out to be a conspiracy nut. I'm not afraid of them, I've been a cop too long and besides, they only kill the people on the inner circle. The rest of us end up having our reputations destroyed."

Wheaton concluded by saying "this matter is not complex but it is convoluted. I need to show you the paper trail to show the contacts of these people."

I. Irving Davidson was an attorney/lobbyist with an office adjacent to Jack Anderson's. He had direct access to J. Edgar Hoover by dint of representing Hoover's close buddy, Clint Murchison. He also represented Jimmy Hoffa, Carlos Marcello, Trujillo of the Dom Rep, among other shady characters. He would have been a natural for the intelligence agencies to approach, as Wheaton indicates.

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According to "Deep Politics", Davidson was assisting Jimmy Hoffa in the Chatanooga trial which was underway when Garrison launched his investigation.

There are those who suggest that the Garrison probe was used, at least in part, to put pressure on Ed Partin, the key witness against Hoffa, to recant his testimony. If that happened, it did not work, of course..

"Ultimate Sacrifice" claims Hoffa was the CIA link to the underworld in 1959 plots against Castro!

And, of course, Frank Ragano wrote that he delivered a message from Hoffa to Trafficante and Marcello that he wanted Kennedy dead.

I think a thread on Hoffa would be appropriate. Was his disappearence related to the Kennedy assassination?

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  • 3 weeks later...

Some more information on Issac Irving Davidson. He was born in 1921. Davison arrived in Washington. in 1941 and worked for the War Production Board. In 1944 he began working in public relations. Later he became a licensed arms dealer.

In 1955 Davidson was employed by Anastasio Somoza. Over the next few years he arranged arms deals between Israel and Nicaragua. He also sold arms to Batista, the military dictator of Cuba.

Davidson was a close associate of Carlos Marcello and played an important role in the legal attempt to prevent Jimmy Hoffa from being sent to prison. According to Peter Dale Scott (Deep Politics), in September, 1960, Davidson was at a meeting where a suitcase containing $500,000 was passed from Marcello to Hoffa for Richard Nixon.

After the fall of Batista, Davidson developed a close relationship with those Cubans attempting to overthrow Fidel Castro. In 1963 Davidson met Roland Masferrer.

Davidson also represented Clint Murchison and his oil company in Dallas. It is also alleged by John H. Davis (Mafia Kingfish) that Davidson was a specialist in "putting people together". This included Rafael Trujillo, J. Edgar Hoover, Jimmy Hoffa, Bobby Baker, and Santos Trafficante.

In 1964 Papa Doc Duvalier hired Davidson to represent the Haitian government. It has been claimed that while in Haiti, George DeMohrenschildt. According to recently released classified documents, Davidson provided information to both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Central Intelligence Agency during this period.

When he returned to Washington, Davidson shared an office with investigative journalists, Drew Pearson and Jack Anderson. In his book, The Kennedy Contract (1993), John H. Davis claims that Davidson was a constant source of information for Anderson.

In the early 1970s Davidson became involved with Santos Trafficante and the Teamsters Union. The FBI were closely watching these two men and they were eventually charged with pilfering large sums from the Teamsters Southeast States Health and Welfare Fund. Although indicted, the charges were eventually dropped.

Davidson is still alive and is likely to take legal action against people who make false claims against him.

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Some more information on Issac Irving Davidson.

According to the John H. Davis book "Mafia Kingfish: Carlos Marcello and the Assassination of John F. Kennedy" one of David's clients, who he represented in the United States, was Fidel Castro.

So who is this "David" you refer to, and what does he have to do with Davidson?

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Some more information on Issac Irving Davidson.

According to the John H. Davis book "Mafia Kingfish: Carlos Marcello and the Assassination of John F. Kennedy" one of David's clients, who he represented in the United States, was Fidel Castro.


If the person you are referring to here is Davidson (not "David"), then it doesn't seem to make sense that he would represent Castro, given his apparent aforementioned client base.

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  • 5 months later...

I have just got hold of Andrew J. Shannon's FBI report on I. Irving Davidson (30th September, 1958):

DAVIDSON is self-employed in general public relations work with office located in Suite 1224 Wyatt Buildings WDC. JAMES G. FARRISS, a former State Department employee, JACK ANDERSON and FRED BLUMENTHAL, present and former DREW PEARSON associates share office space with subject, Subject registered with Registration Section, Department of Justice, since 4/15/55 as representative of Republic of Nicaragua, and since 7/22/58 as representative of Israeli Military Industries controlled by government of Israel, Subject represents Republic of Nicaragua and President of Nicaragua in general public relations and as purchasing agent for Republic of Nicaragua, including military forces, Subject registered to import arms, ammunition and implements of war Israel to US. (Blanked out) Subject registered with Office of Munitions Controls Department of State, effective 10/12/54, Subject maintains checking account in DC bank under name of Nicaraguan Government Agency; he claims account maintained to keep his records straight for income tax purposes; information obtained concerning activities of DAVIDSON from 1949 to date set out with the financial group which was building an insecticide plant and hotel in Nicaragua. He also advised that he had accompanied a group, which he did not identify, to Nicaragua in an attempt to set up an irrigation system there. He advised that he had completed negotiations for the military equipment purchased from the Government of the United States. In addition he advised that he was in continuous negotiation with the United States Government for various types of excess property consisting of military, industrial and consumer goods on behalf of Nicaragua.

DAVIDSON also stated that he was engaged in general public relations for a variety of clients and was handling public relations for CLINT MURCHINSON, JR., of the Tecon Corporation in Dallas, Texas, regarding tie construction of the Avila Tunnel in Caracas, Venezuela. He advised that for the period of this statement he had received the following money from the Nicaraguan Government: August 15, 1957 - Salary - $6,000; July 28, 1957 - Expenses in connection with race horses of President LUIS SOMOZA (Montelimar Stables $3600); October 1st, 1957 - Expenditures - $5,000.

He advised that in connection with the $5,000 received for expenditures that they were mainly for personal expenses of President LUIS SOMOZA and former president, A. SOMOZA, their families and the Guardia Nacional of Nicaragua, as well as his own travel expenses,

DAVIDSON pointed out on this supplemental statement for the period ending October 18, 1957 that he had opened a bank account at the Security Bank in Washington, DC., in the name of the Nicaraguan Government Agency. He advised that he opened this account "to keep his records more clear for internal revenue,"

On May 27th 1958, DAVIDSON filed a supplemental registration statement for the period ending April 18, 1958. He listed the following foreign travel during this period:

Nicaragua (November 29, 1957, from Miami; December 15, 1957, to Miami)

Cuba (January 5, 1958, from Miami; January 7, 1958, to Miami)

Canada (January 12, 1958, from New York; January 14, 1958, to New York)

Cuba and Nicaragua (January 22, 1958, from Miami; February 5, 1958, to Miami)

Switzerland, France, Italy, Israel (February 7, 1958, from New York; February 26, 1958, to New York)

Cuba (March 6, 1958, from Miami; March 7, 1958, to Miami)

Cuba and Nicaragua (March 22, 1958, from Miami; March 31, 1958, to Miami)

Nicaragua (April 15, 1958, from Miami; May 3, 1958, to Miami)

DAVIDSON advised that he was still working on the insecticide plant and hotel to be built in Nicaragua. He also advised that during this period he had arranged for a shipment of arms at the request of General A. SOMOZA, from Nicaragua to Cuba. He also advised that he had arranged for the beginning of a "Do it Yourself" housing program between the United States and Nicaragua with ICA (International Cooperation Administration of United States) assistance. He also advised that he had arranged for the purchase and shipment of hospital equipment and supplies for the Morovian Hospital in Nicaragua In addition he had arranged for the purchase and shipment of equipment and supplies for certain Nicaraguan schools and had arranged for the financing and building of a plywood factory in Nicaragua with private Israeli, Nicaraguan and American capital. He also stated that he was working on the acquisition of new ships and their registration under the Israeli flag for the Nicaraguan steamship line Mamenic.


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Excellent, John. I find Davidson's little side trip to Switzerland interesting. Was he doing some "banking" on behalf of his clients? While reading this report, I suddenly flashed on the HSCA testimony of John Whitten (using the name John Scelso). Scelso, if I remember correctly, said that there was in rumor in the agency that James Angleton had ties to gambling interests and had bank accounts in Central America. If this is so, it would make sense that these accounts were in Nicaragua. Howard Hughes hid some of his money there, as well. Since Davidson was connected with Israel, and orchestrating arms sales on their behalf, and Angleton was the CIA/Mossad contact, it makes sense that Davidson and Angleton would be well aware of one another. If Angleton was indeed dirty, and tied to gambling interests--read Lansky, Trafficante and Marcello, then it follows that Davidson was a possible conduit for this corruption. Is anyone aware of any Angleton/Davidson ties?

On a (possibly) related note, I was looking through Bruce Allen Murphy's 1988 biography of Abe Fortas a few weeks back. He makes the same claim as Michael Beschloss--that the "Davidson" mentioned by Johnson and Fortas re the Dominican Republic was Fortas himself. He says the name used was "C.J. Davidson," and was an obscure reference to a mutual friend, C. Girard "Jebby" Davidson. He informs that the Davidson story--that LBJ sent Fortas on a secret mission to the Dominican--was first exposed in a 7/5/68 article in Time. On page 150, Murphy notes that "The first two times Fortas phoned back to the President from Puerto Rico he was simply listed in the White House diary as Fortas. Then realizing the error, the secretarial listings of phone calls started to alternate between Fortas and "Mr. Davidson." By the time Fortas had returned to Washington five days later, the secretaries no longer knew how to list the calls, recording that "Mr. Davidson" was now placing local calls to the President....Fortas. as superspy, was confused about the initials oi his own code name...C.J. made no sense at all, unless Fortas fancied himself the Chief Justice. McGeorge Bundy was even more baffled. In his explanatory memos to the president, he kept alternating between talking about the Fortas mission and the C.G. Davidson mission. The conversations in White House meetings on the secret diplomatic effort routinely fudged the distinction as well, referring first to Fortas then to Davidson...Then Fortas himself began forgetting his cover. One handwritten note sent back to the White House by him carefully explained that some of the language of an accompanying statement was in "AF" handwriting. Realizing his egregious error, Fortas simply crossed out the "AF" and wrote "Davidson" above it. This baffled the secretaries, who had only just figured out how to handle the phone call listings. So they did their best to preserve the ruse by typing up what they labeled as the "Davidson" message, but then carefully attached it to the corrected handwritten document from Fortas, showing where it had really come from."

Does this make sense? Or does it not make more sense that the Davidson in the messages was in fact C.G. Davidson, whom Murphy admits was a mutual friend of both Fortas and Johnson, "and for whom Fortas had been fruitlessly trying to land a job in the Administration." Why is Murphy so positive that Fortas was "Davidson?" In the footnotes to this section, Murphy states "Special thanks go to Dave Humphreys of the Johnson Library staff for helping me locate these materials. After the initial clues to this operation by Fortas from his oral history and the Time magazine hint, all efforts to locate written materials on the operation in the various "country files" and "crisis files" failed. Interestingly, as Humphreys discovered, it was the White House staff's decision to file the materials in a special folder under the code name of the operation that threw us off. Much of the material in this thick folder still remains classified by the government."

So...if I'm getting this straight, there is no real evidence saying that Fortas was Davidson. Murphy and others DECIDED Fortas was Davidson; when they came across documents written by Fortas referring to Davidson, they DECIDED further that Fortas was confused on how he was supposed to disguise his involvement. There's no discussion of the possibility that there was an actual Davidson and that he traveled with Fortas to Puerto Rico and back. Why not? Was C.G. Davidson, who worked with Fortas and Johnson "from their Interior Department" days, dirty?

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C.G. Davidson's papers are listed online along with this biographical sketch. I'm wondering if he hadn't helped Lyndon out back in the early days. Davidson was apparently an expert on dams and water projects. If I remember correctly it was Lyndon's ability to get such projects for his district that ensured his early rise to power. I'm also wondering if Davidson's meetings in the Dominican weren't designed to fatten his (and LBJ's) pocketbooks. Does anyone know if the Dominican government built any dams shortly after the crisis? Or if they gave out contracts to the logging industry? I saw a picture once of the Dominican/Haitian border. One side had been stripped of trees, although I can't remember which side...


Biographical Sketch

Attorney, politician, and businessman, Crow Girard “Jebby” Davidson was born July 28,

1910 in Lafayette, Louisiana. He received his B.A. from Southwestern Louisiana Institute (1930),

LL.B. from Tulane University (1933), and D.J.S. from Yale University Law School (1936). Davidson

was a member of the bar in five states: Louisiana, Tennessee, Oregon, District of Columbia, and

Alaska. He was married to Mercedes Hester (1939-1952), Joan Kaplan (1953-1967), and Sylvia

Nemer (1967-until his death in 1996), and was the father of six children and two step-children.

After the completion of his law degree, Davidson served as attorney for the Tennessee

Valley Authority, 1934-1937. Following his resignation, he went into private practice with his

brother in Lafayette, Louisiana where he organized all of the REA Electric Cooperatives in that

state. His job as consultant to the Bonneville Power Administration, 1940-1946, took him to

Portland, Oregon. While there, Davidson shuttled to Washington, D.C. to serve as Assistant

General Counsel of the War Production Board, 1944-1945. He remained in government service in

the position of Assistant Secretary of the Interior under President Truman, 1946-1950.

Subsequent to his resignation as Assistant Secretary of the Interior, Davidson returned to

private law practice in Portland, Oregon as a partner in the law firm of Davidson, Hart and Veasie,

and became involved in several major legal cases. The first was a fight against the powerful

aluminum companies, in which Davidson represented Leo Harvey of Harvey Machine Company

who was seeking a $46 million loan from the government to build an aluminum plant in Montana.

He also took on the Idaho Power Company as counsel for the National Hell’s Canyon Association

in its battle for a high dam rather than a series of low dams. In 1967, Davidson confronted

Consolidated Edison of New York when he was hired as consultant by that city to investigate high

rates and poor service. Another major case was the Sierra Club legal action against U.S. Plywood-

Champion Papers, a company that wanted to construct a pulp plant in southeast Alaska. Davidson

represented the latter in the court case which, after numerous delays, was rendered moot.

In the 1950s, Davidson became active in the Democratic Party. He served as National

Democratic Elector in 1952, and was twice elected, in 1956 and 1960, as Democratic National

Committeeman of Oregon by popular vote in state-wide elections. Between 1960 and 1963

Davidson was Chairman of the Advisory Council on National Resources of the Democratic

National Committee as well as a member of the Executive Committee. Concurrently, he served as

Chairman of the Western States Democratic Conference.

Davidson’s wife, Sylvia Nemer Davidson, was also active in Oregon’s civic and political

affairs. She was Co-Chairman of the Adlai Stevenson’s Oregon Presidential Campaign and played a

prominent part in John F. Kennedy’s primary campaign in that state. In 1972, the Davidsons ran as

a husband/wife team for delegates pledged to Edmund Muskie to the Democratic National

Convention. Their campaign was unsuccessful, but they did attend the convention as members of

the ’72 Sponsors Club. Between 1972 and 1977, Davidson was once again active in civic affairs


Page 5

Coll. 162

when he was appointed to the Oregon Educational Coordinating Council, later Commission, by the


Davidson resigned as Democratic National Committeeman in 1963 so that he could attend

to his business interests in Alaska. Davidson was primarily involved in lumber and construction

companies. Many of his business endeavors were financed by the Jemkap Company, headed by J.M.

Kaplan, Davidson’s father-in-law. A partnership between Davidson and Jemkap, Frontiers-Oregon,

Ltd., invested in several other firms in which Davidson had a controlling interest.

C. Girard Davidson died on Friday, September 20, 1996, at his home in Portland, Oregon.

He was 86. He was survived by his wife and six children."


Here's a summary of Davidson's business dealings from the University of Oregon website..

"Davidson was highly active in the political arena that included Oregon and the nation.

Correspondence files in the Political Activities series include Frank Church, Hubert Humphrey,

John F. Kennedy, Wayne Morse, Richard L. Neuberger, Charles O. Porter, and Adlai Stevenson. His

activities include his work with the Western States Democratic Conference, Democratic National

Committee, and the Advisory Council on Natural Resources of the Democratic National


The Business Interests series includes folders on the Alaska Pacific Lumber Company that

was founded by Davidson in 1957. This was the first modern sawmill and chipping plant in the state,

located in Wrangell, Alaska. He sold the company to the Puget Sound Plywood Company in 1967.

That company, in turn, sold the operation to the Wrangell Lumber Company, a Japanese firm. Other

timber business interests include: Pacific Northern Lumber Company for the construction of the

sawmill in Wrangell, Alaska, 1959; Seversky-Electronatom, a company that developed basic patents,

designs, and concepts for the creation of a commercially feasible device to eliminate particulate and

gaseous emissions caused by incineration and other forms of combustion or Hydro-Precipitrol;

Western Forest Products, Inc.; and The Pacific Northern Timber Company. Construction and

development interests include: Frontiers Construction Company, Idaho Falls, Idaho, Frontiers –

Oregon, Ltd., Georgia-Pacific Alaska, Schenk Construction Company, Townhouse, Inc., Western

Land Development Company, and Wrangell Development Company. Other business interests also

includes Portland Television, Inc. and J.M. Kaplan. Kaplan, owner and President of Welch Grape

Juice Company was Davidson’s father-in-law. The Jemkap Company provided loans to Davidson in

his numerous business endeavors. "

Edited by Pat Speer
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Might have answered an even bigger question. According to a 1967 Ramparts article, the J.M. Kaplan fund was a CIA conduit. Davidson's father-in-law was J.M. Kaplan.


Here's the summary of a book on namebase that mentions the Kaplan fund in connection to the Dominican crisis.

"U.S. Policy / Dominican Republic

Gutierrez, Carlos Maria. The Dominican Republic: Rebellion and Repression. New York: Monthly Review Press, 1972. 172 pages.

Carlos Maria Gutierrez is an author and activist who interviewed Fidel Castro in the Sierra Maestra in 1958, and was imprisoned in Uruguay after the publication he edited was suppressed by the government in 1969.

This book covers the Dominican Republic from 1961-1971, and mentions the assassination of Trujillo in 1961, police training by AID's Office of Public Safety, CIA conduits (the J.M. Kaplan Fund and the Institute of International Labor Research, which involved U.S. socialist Norman Thomas), the populist movements of 1965 which prompted the U.S. invasion, and the repression that followed under Joaquin Balaguer. Other chapters deal with the Catholic Church, the trade unions, and various political parties. Juan Bosch, the constitutional president overthrown in 1963 with U.S. encouragement, is interviewed on pages 82-114. After the U.S. invasion, Bosch was defeated by Balaguer in an election marked by anomalies."

Here's another passage regarding the Kaplan fund found on a webapage for the papers of socialist Norman Thomas:

"Subseries H. Institute of International Labor Research, 1957-1967

The Institute of International Labor Research (IILR) was founded by

Thomas and his colleagues in 1957 to oppose dictatorship and to promote democratic

institutions in third world nations. Eventually its activities were focused

on Latin America and the Caribbean. The papers document four of the Institute's

initiatives in particular: support for the left-wing Costa Rican newspaper

Combate; the establishment of the Interamerican Institute for Political

Education (CIDAP), also in Costa Rica; the development of the Interamerican

Institute for Economic and Social Studies, which supported the government

of Juan Bosch in the Dominican Republic; and the operation of the Center for

Social Documentation and Research in Mexico City, which acted as the IILR's

publishing house.

File 1I:H:l contains correspondence sent to Thomas (the chairman) by the

IILR staff, much of it from the organization's secretary and manager of

operations, Sacha volman. Enclosed with much of the correspondence are

minutes of board meetings, reports, press clippings, and lists of courses,

faculty and students at CIDAP. Enclosures that have become separated from

cover letters are filed at the end of the correspondence for each year.

The file also includes correspondence between the IILR and such financial

backers and advisors as the J.M. Kaplan Fund, the Free Europe Committee, and



Prounis Associates. Also, there are copies of Thomas' letters to

Volman and others on Institute policy and Latin American affairs, and those that

he wrote soliciting support for the IILR from important figures such as Richard

Nixon, William


Douglas, and J. William Fulbright. Of particular interest,

in the light of charges that the J.M. Kaplan Fund acted as a conduit for CIA

money, is Thomas' 1963 correspondence with Kaplan, as well as copies of Kaplan's

letters to Juan Bosch, the U.S. Department of State, and Special Assistant

to the President Ralph Dungan."

Here's a history of the Kaplan fund from its own website:

"Jacob Merrill Kaplan (1891-1987) established The J. M. Kaplan Fund in 1945 and was its president until 1977, his eighty-fifth year. The Fund was established with proceeds from the sale of the Welch Grape Juice Company -- wholly owned by Mr. Kaplan -- to the National Grape Co-operative Association in Westfield, New York. This growers' organization, which Mr. Kaplan had sponsored and encouraged, became and remains one of the nation's most successful agricultural cooperatives. The newly established Fund won recognition for major commitments to the New School (where Mr. Kaplan served as board chairman for twenty years), Carnegie Hall (which he helped save), and the movement for union democracy. The Fund also became known for small grants given quickly for emergencies or as seed money to attract other funding.

Joan K. Davidson, a daughter of the founder, was named president of the Fund in 1977 and served in that capacity until 1993, when she was appointed by Governor Mario Cuomo as Commissioner of New York State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. She rejoined the Fund in 1995 as Trustee and President Emeritus and now heads its Furthermore program of grants for publications.

In the years of Ms. Davidson's leadership, the Fund was known for its support of both established institutions and fledgling projects, mostly concerning civil liberties and human rights, the arts, and enhancement of the built and natural environments. The major focus was on New York City and New York State. Among major undertakings that came into being or took long strides forward with Fund assistance were: Human Rights Watch and the Natural Resources Defense Council; Westbeth Artists and the South Street Seaport Museum; the Rural New York program and the New York Greenmarket; and the New York Preservation League, the Sacred Sites program of the Landmarks Conservancy, and the renovation of Gracie Mansion. The Fund also sponsored efforts to protect the city's water supply, supply winter coats to the homeless, and bring public toilets to New York streets.

From 1993 through 2000, the Fund established a governance system that involved both the children and grandchildren of Jacob Kaplan. Under the co-chairmanship of Richard D. Kaplan and Betsy Davidson, the Fund maintained and expanded its support for the arts, the environment, human rights, and a robust civil society. New interests emerged in programs to support New York City neighborhood parks and libraries as well as historic preservation and municipal design work in Lower Manhattan.

The most recent chapter in Fund history opened in mid-2000. Day-to-day management of the Fund and responsibility for the non-discretionary portions of the annual grants budget were entrusted to an Operating Board consisting of the seven Kaplan grandchildren (now in their forties). A new Chairman, Peter Davidson, was elected and a new Executive Director, Conn Nugent, was hired. By March 2001, the Operating Board approved a new slate of programs. Those initiatives were reviewed in late 2002, and formally evaluated in 2004. A modified set of those was approved for 2005 - 2006."

So here we have confirmation that the Kaplan of the fund was indeed Davidson's father-in-law, and that the Davidson family continues to run the fund. We know that C.G. Davidson was the name used for the man who traveled with Fortas. We know that Davidson's father-in-law ran a fund that was a CIA conduit used to influence policy in the Dominican Republic. So why the heck have historians like Murphy and Beschloss missed this? The pieces more than fit. So why bend over backwards to say Davidson was Fortas when it makes a heck of a lot more sense that it was actually Davidson (although not the Davidson I originally suspected)? It certainly appears that Davidson was in the Dominican to channel CIA (read taxpayer) moola to whoever would play ball and swear off communism. It appears that he did this on LBJ's behalf but while pretending to be a private citizen. While the possibility exists that he made a few side-deals for himself along the way--if anyone knows about the Dominican lumber industry I remain curious--it certainly seems Davidson was really there working for Uncle Lyndon. When Uncle Lyndon asks you to bribe foreign leaders by gosh you do it.

I hope this makes sense. Perhaps knowing about C.G. and the Kaplan fund will allow us to tie together a few other loose threads.

Edited by Pat Speer
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