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John J. McCloy


Jim Root
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With Iran UN-sealing their nuclear research facilities it might be interesting to note this bit of information from 1945 (before the first Atomic Bomb was used). John J. McCloy, as Asst. Sec. Of War was involved from the beginning in these discussions about the use of and the potential distruction of civilization that could occur from the improper management and development of nuclear weapons and materials.

Interim Committee members at their May 14, 1945 meeting:

"There is hope that an arms race on this [nuclear] basis can be prevented, and even that the future peace of the world may be furthered, by complete international scientific and technical interchange on this subject, backed up by an international commission acting under an association of nations and having the authority to inspect." (from the diaries of Henry Stimson)

During the Kennedy administration McCloy would disagree with John F. Kennedy's willingness to back away from the neccessity of inspections (in the name of peace) to verify compliance with international agreements (Limited Test Ban Treaty with the Soviets).

Were members of the govenment willing to sacrifice Francis Gary Powers in order to prevent the Paris Summit and stop those nations that were to attend from signing what was preceived as a flawed nuclear treaty that did not provide for enough "inspections" and varification (Peace in our time)?

Was Lee Harvey Oswald's "mission" to Russia involved?

I continue to be intrigued by the idea that this particular issue (limiting the spread of nuclear weapons) was of such importance to McCloy (as well as to Maxwell Taylor, John McCone, etc.) and what may have been perceived as a threat to our national survival (Kennedy backing away fromt he idea of a comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty involving all the countries of the world) could have motivated certain elements within the government to take deadly action against John F. Kennedy.

After the funeral of JFK his widow, Jacqueline, conversed with a Soviet Diplomat:

In a dispatch about the reception to Soviet leaders, Mikoyan wrote: "It struck us that Jacqueline Kennedy, who exchanged only two or three words with the persons introduced to her, looked very calm and even appeared to be smiling.

"However, when we were presented to her, and when we conveyed our heartfelt condolences to her on behalf of Nina Petrovna, N.S. Khrushchev, and Rada and Alyosha Adzhubey ... Jacqueline Kennedy said, with great emotion and nearly sobbing: 'I am sure that Chairman Khrushchev and my husband could have been successful in the search for peace, and that they were really striving for that. Now you must continue this endeavor and bring it to completion.'

"She said all this with inspiration and deep emotion," Mikoyan wrote. "During the entire conversation she clasped my hands with her two hands, trying to convey as convincingly as possible her feelings and thoughts ... Her fortitude is most impressive."

There was a follow up letter to Khrushchev from Jacqueline:

In the letter, Mrs. Kennedy thanked Khrushchev for sending Mikoyan to the funeral. But she said that it had been "such a horrible day for me that I do not know if my words were received as I wanted them to be."

So the new widow said she was writing to explain how important her husband had felt Khrushchev was to the peace effort --- and how she hoped those efforts continued.

"The danger troubling my husband was that war could be started not so much by major figures as by minor ones," Mrs. Kennedy wrote. "Whereas major figures understand the need for self-control and restraint, minor ones are sometimes moved rather by fear and pride. If only in the future major figures could still force minor ones to sit down at the negotiating table before they begin to fight!"

Did Jacki have her own suspicions?

Some time back Tim Carroll posted:

When Bobby Kennedy was murdered, Jackie said, "I hate this country.... I despise America and I don't want my children to live here anymore. If they're killing Kennedys, my kids are number one targets.... I want to get out of this country."

In the movement to prevent the development and spread of nuclear weapons was Kennedy perceived as a liability?

Did Kennedy's desire to enter into a less than sufficient treaty for political reasons and before the 1964 election, make him a target for the more reactionary elements of his administration?

Jim Root

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During the Kennedy administration McCloy would disagree with John F. Kennedy's willingness to back away from the neccessity of inspections (in the name of peace) to verify compliance with international agreements (Limited Test Ban Treaty with the Soviets). Were members of the government willing to sacrifice Francis Gary Powers in order to prevent the Paris Summit and stop those nations that were to attend from signing what was preceived as a flawed nuclear treaty that did not provide for enough "inspections" and verification (Peace in our time)?

There is a conflict in the understanding of McCloy's disarmament position with regard to the Limited Test Ban Treaty. One of history's great mysteries continues to be whether the U-2 was deliberately brought down by militarists on either or both sides to undermine the Paris Summit at which Eisenhower hoped to conclude a nuclear treaty they felt contained inadequate provisions for inspections and verification. Khrushchev's argument that the demand for more comprehensive inspections was a ruse to enable espionage contained a good measure of truth.

I continue to be intrigued by the idea that this particular issue (limiting the spread of nuclear weapons) was of such importance to McCloy (as well as to Maxwell Taylor, John McCone, etc.) and what may have been perceived as a threat to our national survival (Kennedy backing away from the idea of a comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty involving all the countries of the world) could have motivated certain elements within the government to take deadly action against John F. Kennedy.... In the movement to prevent the development and spread of nuclear weapons was Kennedy perceived as a liability? Did Kennedy's desire to enter into a less than sufficient treaty for political reasons and before the 1964 election, make him a target for the more reactionary elements of his administration?

I have difficulty believing that the motivation for Kennedy's murder would be his resistence to more substantive disarmament measures. The negotiations in 1963 were hung up on the number of annual inspections to be allowed. A comprehensive treaty had become politically unviable for both superpowers, and given the failure to obtain the requisite inspections in Cuba to formally end the Missile Crisis, the solution became a ban on atmospheric testing. While some may have considered this too little too late, the general disposition was that it was the first such treaty and highly significant to the environmental effects of testing, such as Strontium-90 in milk. It was also significant because it was the first substantive step back from the abyss of Cold War nuclear saber-rattling. At the time, there was no public criticism that Kennedy was being too intransigent; all of the criticism was from the right side of the political spectrum, which held that the test ban treaty would weaken the American position.

It was during the negotiations about the numbers of inspections that McCloy took leave of the administration and his role as chief disarmament negotiator. Kennedy did not have the political power to obtain NATO support for a treaty with more teeth, a dynamic that would have been much worse if the Europeans had known about the Secret Deal to dismantle the NATO Jupiter missiles to settle the Missile Crisis. When Khrushchev asserted that Bonn was preventing Kennedy from agreeing to a nonaggression pact, the wily Soviet premier stated: "You conquered the Germans and now you are afraid of them." I agree!

When McCloy left the Kennedy administration, he claimed that he was answering the call of business on behalf of "oil clients."

T.C.

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