Jump to content
The Education Forum

Edward Lansdale


Wim Dankbaar
 Share

Recommended Posts

To my knowledge Lansdale was never called to testify for any of the committees in the 70's, like the Church Committee, Rockefeller Commission and HSCA. This is strange as these committees were investigating CIA assassination plots. You would expect they would call the guy heading operation Mongoose. It seems that certain forces were able to keep him out of the wind.

The question is why?

Wim

PS: If there already was a discussion on Lansdale this post can be moved there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here is a brief biography of Edward Lansdale.

Edward Lansdale was born in Detroit, Michigan, on 6th February, 1908. During the Second World War Lansdale was a member of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), an organization that was given the responsible for espionage and for helping the resistance movement in Europe.

After the war Lansdale was promoted to the rank of major and transferred to the Philippines. Appointed Chief of the Intelligence Division, his main task was to rebuild the country's security services.

On his return to the United States in 1948 Lansdale became a lecturer at the Strategic Intelligence School in Colorado. However, in 1950, Elpidio Quirino, the president of the Philippines, requested Lansdale's help in his fight against the communist insurrection taking place in his country.

In 1953 Lansdale was sent to Vietnam to advise the French in their struggle with the Vietminh. The following year Lansdale and a team of twelve intelligence agents were sent to Saigon. The plan was to mount a propaganda campaign to persuade the Vietnamese people in the south not to vote for the communists in the forthcoming elections.

In the months that followed they distributed targeted documents that claimed the Vietminh and Chinese communists had entered South Vietnam and were killing innocent civilians. The Ho Chi Minh government was also accused of slaying thousands of political opponents in North Vietnam.

Colonel Lansdale also recruited mercenaries from the Philippines to carry out acts of sabotage in North Vietnam. This was unsuccessful and most of the mercenaries were arrested and put on trial in Hanoi. Finally, Lansdale set about training the South Vietnamese army (ARVN) in modem fighting methods. For it was coming clear that it was only a matter of time before the communists would resort to open warfare.

In October, 1955, the South Vietnamese people were asked to choose between Bo Dai, the former Emperor of Vietnam, and Ngo Dinh Diem for the leadership of the country. Lansdale suggested that Diem should provide two ballot papers, red for Diem and green for Bao Dai. Lansdale hoped that the Vietnamese belief that red signified good luck whilst green indicated bad fortune, would help influence the result.

When the voters arrived at the polling stations they found Diem's supporters in attendance. One voter complained afterwards: "They told us to put the red ballot into envelopes and to throw the green ones into the wastebasket. A few people, faithful to Bao Dai, disobeyed. As soon as they left, the agents went after them, and roughed them up... They beat one of my relatives to pulp."

After the election Ngo Dinh Diem informed his American advisers that he had achieved 98.2 per cent of the vote. Lansdale warned him that these figures would not be believed and suggested that he published a figure of around 70 per cent. Diem refused and as the Americans predicted, the election undermined his authority.

Another task of Lansdale and his team was to promote the success of the rule of President Ngo Dinh Diem. Figures were produced that indicated that South Vietnam was undergoing an economic miracle. With the employment of $250 millions of aid per year from the United States and the clever manipulating of statistics, it was reported that economic production had increased dramatically.

Lansdale left Vietnam in 1957 and went to work for the Secretary of Defence in Washington. Posts held included: Deputy Assistant Secretary for Special Operations (1957-59), Staff Member of the President's Committee on Military Assistance (1959-61) and Assistant Secretary of Defence for Special Operations (1961-63).

In March I960, President Dwight Eisenhower approved a CIA plan to overthrow Fidel Castro. The plan involved a budget of $13 million to train "a paramilitary force outside Cuba for guerrilla action." Over 400 CIA officers were employed full-time to carry out what became known as Operation Mongoose. Lansdale continued to work for the Central Intelligence Agency and after the failure of the Bay of Pigs operation he was appointed project leader of Operation Mongoose, whereas William Harvey became head of what became known as Task Force W.

In 1963 Lansdale was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for counter-insurgency work and became consultant to the the Food for Peace programme.

Lansdale returned to Vietnam in 1965 and became Senior Liaison Officer of the U.S. Mission to South Vietnam. Two years later he became assistant to Ambassador Ellsworth Bunker. Lansdale retired in 1968 and his book, The Midst of Wars, was published in 1972.

Edward Lansdale died in McLean, Virginia, on 23rd February, 1987.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Summary of Lansdale's depositon before Rock Com. from Ford Library - B. Kelly

LANSDALE, EDWARD G.

Deposition of Edward G. Lansdale, Friday, May 16, 1975

NLF MR Case No. 93-16. Document No. #8

Questioned by Rockefeller Commission counsel David Belin.

Declassified 8/4/94

Lansdale identifies himself as Major General USAF, retired in late October, 1963. As Dept. Asst. to Sec. of Defense Thomas Gates, in the Eisenhower administration, Lansdale held the title of Deputy Assistant to SOD for Special Operations and assisted in the early planning of what became the Bay of Pigs.

In the Kennedy administration, as Special Operations assistant to McNamara, Lansdale coordinated counter-insurgency planning and operations for all the military services.

In the fall of 1961 JFK asked him to look into the Cuban situation, with the Attorney General Robert Kennedy as the chief intermediary, although he occasional reported directly to the president. His report, Lansdale said, is part of JFK’s personal papers.

Until the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, Lansdale was a member of the Special Group Augmented, aka MOONGOOSE. Early in 1962, Lansdale surveyed the refugee organizations primarily in Florida.

Lansdale denied any k knowledge of assassination planning or attempts to kill Castro.

Lansdale attended an August 10, 1962 meeting at the office of the Secretary of Defense. A report of this meeting is referred to as Helms Exhibit No. 17, dated August 13, 1962.

At Lansdale’s request, a Colonel Stakeley came in the October 4th meeting, chaired by RFK, and first reported preparations for missile sites in Cuba.

In regards to anti-Castro Cuban harassment raids against Cuba, Lansdale said that they would have been against the President’s policy after October 1962, and that of those individuals he knew who was working on such operations, a CIA office he referred to as “Mr. Harvey” would have been the person most likely to have initiated such raids.

“I remember most clearly from ’62 was the fact that it was definitely against the top executive policy to carry out harassing raids in Cuba, and I had exacted a promise and had give instructions in writing to CIA to cease and desist on that, not carry them out…There might have been individuals there who would inclined to know better than an outsider, and they might attempt something, but it’s just a feeling I had. I have not been able to pin it down specifically.”

Q. With reference to any particular individuals?

A. It might have been Harvey. It might have been such a person.

Q. You mean Harvey might have done something you feel without direction from above?

A. Possibly so. That is why I gave him directions in writing. It was just a gut feeling I had dealing with him. With his Deputy, with his bosses there. I had no such feeling and I just singled out an individual and I thought, just be doubly sure, I should do that. Now it might have been a personal attitude of his or something that caused that and nothing specific in proof of it.

Q. Apart from Mr. Harvey, whom you singled out as an individual, did you have any other experience which I might indicate that the CIA would not follow directions to curtail an activity in those directions.

A. Not really.”

Lansdale added that his testimony should be kept secret because his involvement in Cuban operations should not become known to the governments in Southeast Asia, and he wanted placed into the record the fact that he was against massive U.S. military buildup in Vietnam and advised against it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Summary of Lansdale's depositon before Rock Com. from Ford Library - B. Kelly

LANSDALE, EDWARD G.

Deposition of Edward G. Lansdale, Friday, May 16, 1975

NLF MR Case No. 93-16. Document No. #8

Questioned by Rockefeller Commission counsel David Belin.

Declassified 8/4/94

Lansdale identifies himself as Major General USAF, retired in late October, 1963. As Dept. Asst. to Sec. of Defense Thomas Gates, in the Eisenhower administration, Lansdale held the title of Deputy Assistant to SOD for Special Operations and assisted in the early planning of what became the Bay of Pigs.

In the Kennedy administration, as Special Operations assistant to McNamara, Lansdale coordinated counter-insurgency planning and operations for all the military services.

In the fall of 1961 JFK asked him to look into the Cuban situation, with the Attorney General Robert Kennedy as the chief intermediary, although he occasional reported directly to the president. His report, Lansdale said, is part of JFK’s personal papers.

Until the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, Lansdale was a member of the Special Group Augmented, aka MOONGOOSE. Early in 1962, Lansdale surveyed the refugee organizations primarily in Florida.

Lansdale denied any k knowledge of assassination planning or attempts to kill Castro.

Lansdale attended an August 10, 1962 meeting at the office of the Secretary of Defense. A report of this meeting is referred to as Helms Exhibit No. 17, dated August 13, 1962.

At Lansdale’s request, a Colonel Stakeley came in the October 4th meeting, chaired by RFK, and first reported preparations for missile sites in Cuba.

In regards to anti-Castro Cuban harassment raids against Cuba, Lansdale said that they would have been against the President’s policy after October 1962, and that of those individuals he knew who was working on such operations, a CIA office he referred to as “Mr. Harvey” would have been the person most likely to have initiated such raids.

“I remember most clearly from ’62 was the fact that it was definitely against the top executive policy to carry out harassing raids in Cuba, and I had exacted a promise and had give instructions in writing to CIA to cease and desist on that, not carry them out…There might have been individuals there who would inclined to know better than an outsider, and they might attempt something, but it’s just a feeling I had. I have not been able to pin it down specifically.”

Q. With reference to any particular individuals?

A. It might have been Harvey. It might have been such a person.

Q. You mean Harvey might have done something you feel without direction from above?

A. Possibly so. That is why I gave him directions in writing. It was just a gut feeling I had dealing with him. With his Deputy, with his bosses there. I had no such feeling and I just singled out an individual and I thought, just be doubly sure, I should do that. Now it might have been a personal attitude of his or something that caused that and nothing specific in proof of it.

Q. Apart from Mr. Harvey, whom you singled out as an individual, did you have any other experience which I might indicate that the CIA would not follow directions to curtail an activity in those directions.

A. Not really.”

Lansdale added that his testimony should be kept secret because his involvement in Cuban operations should not become known to the governments in Southeast Asia, and he wanted placed into the record the fact that he was against massive U.S. military buildup in Vietnam and advised against it.

Thanks

Edited by Peter McGuire
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Indeed very interesting.

It's so clear he is lying. Harvey and Lansdale were in charge of Operation Mongoose, which had the sole task to assassinate Castro. Yet he claims he had no knowledge of assassination attempts against Castro.

It's a pity that Belin didn't ask him where he was on 11/22/1963. But then again, knowing that it's Belin, and that the Commission is Rockefeller , it all makes sense.

I wish that like you, I had had the opportunity to talk to Holt when he was alive. Did he not tell you about the Mongoose meeting at Bermuda Dunes airport with Harvey, Giancana, Roselli Licavoli etc?

You asked him if he saw Lansdale on Dealey Plaza . Do you recall what he said?

Wim

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 10 years later...
On ‎9‎/‎30‎/‎2006 at 10:36 PM, William Kelly said:

Summary of Lansdale's depositon before Rock Com. from Ford Library - B. Kelly

LANSDALE, EDWARD G.

Deposition of Edward G. Lansdale, Friday, May 16, 1975

NLF MR Case No. 93-16. Document No. #8

Questioned by Rockefeller Commission counsel David Belin.

Declassified 8/4/94

Lansdale identifies himself as Major General USAF, retired in late October, 1963. As Dept. Asst. to Sec. of Defense Thomas Gates, in the Eisenhower administration, Lansdale held the title of Deputy Assistant to SOD for Special Operations and assisted in the early planning of what became the Bay of Pigs.

In the Kennedy administration, as Special Operations assistant to McNamara, Lansdale coordinated counter-insurgency planning and operations for all the military services.

In the fall of 1961 JFK asked him to look into the Cuban situation, with the Attorney General Robert Kennedy as the chief intermediary, although he occasional reported directly to the president. His report, Lansdale said, is part of JFK’s personal papers.

Until the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, Lansdale was a member of the Special Group Augmented, aka MOONGOOSE. Early in 1962, Lansdale surveyed the refugee organizations primarily in Florida.

Lansdale denied any k knowledge of assassination planning or attempts to kill Castro.

Lansdale attended an August 10, 1962 meeting at the office of the Secretary of Defense. A report of this meeting is referred to as Helms Exhibit No. 17, dated August 13, 1962.

At Lansdale’s request, a Colonel Stakeley came in the October 4th meeting, chaired by RFK, and first reported preparations for missile sites in Cuba.

In regards to anti-Castro Cuban harassment raids against Cuba, Lansdale said that they would have been against the President’s policy after October 1962, and that of those individuals he knew who was working on such operations, a CIA office he referred to as “Mr. Harvey” would have been the person most likely to have initiated such raids.

“I remember most clearly from ’62 was the fact that it was definitely against the top executive policy to carry out harassing raids in Cuba, and I had exacted a promise and had give instructions in writing to CIA to cease and desist on that, not carry them out…There might have been individuals there who would inclined to know better than an outsider, and they might attempt something, but it’s just a feeling I had. I have not been able to pin it down specifically.”

Q. With reference to any particular individuals?

A. It might have been Harvey. It might have been such a person.

Q. You mean Harvey might have done something you feel without direction from above?

A. Possibly so. That is why I gave him directions in writing. It was just a gut feeling I had dealing with him. With his Deputy, with his bosses there. I had no such feeling and I just singled out an individual and I thought, just be doubly sure, I should do that. Now it might have been a personal attitude of his or something that caused that and nothing specific in proof of it.

Q. Apart from Mr. Harvey, whom you singled out as an individual, did you have any other experience which I might indicate that the CIA would not follow directions to curtail an activity in those directions.

A. Not really.”

Lansdale added that his testimony should be kept secret because his involvement in Cuban operations should not become known to the governments in Southeast Asia, and he wanted placed into the record the fact that he was against massive U.S. military buildup in Vietnam and advised against it.

Isn't it amazing.  David Belin did such a good job on the Warren Omission they brought him back 12 years later for Rock Y Feller Commission.   Thank yew, appointed president and former warren omissioner Jerry Ford.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On ‎10‎/‎1‎/‎2006 at 6:21 AM, Wim Dankbaar said:

Indeed very interesting.

It's so clear he is lying. Harvey and Lansdale were in charge of Operation Mongoose, which had the sole task to assassinate Castro. Yet he claims he had no knowledge of assassination attempts against Castro.

It's a pity that Belin didn't ask him where he was on 11/22/1963. But then again, knowing that it's Belin, and that the Commission is Rockefeller , it all makes sense.

I wish that like you, I had had the opportunity to talk to Holt when he was alive. Did he not tell you about the Mongoose meeting at Bermuda Dunes airport with Harvey, Giancana, Roselli Licavoli etc?

You asked him if he saw Lansdale on Dealey Plaza . Do you recall what he said?

Wim

Not to get into Files here but I never knew Harvey and Lansdale worked on Mongoose together.  Any evidence for this claim?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ron:

I cannot provide any evidence that Harvey and Lansdale worked together, but I believe its plausible.  I have been digging into the Lansdale story recently, and see some very interesting associations. He seems to be not what he appears ... a wolf in sheep's clothing, if you will.  Some writers (Sterling Seagrove) characterize him as a chameleon. Although the Dealey Plaza tramps picture seems "too good to be true", Lansdale certainly seems in the right circles with the right expertise to lay-in the requisite misdirection and plot intricacies. 

To use another idiom, the Rockefeller Commission was analogous to the fox guarding the henhouse. The Biblical wolf idiom is appropriate, used to describe those "playing a role contrary to their real character with whom contact is dangerous, particularly false teachers".  Lansdale's public persona is one of almost a pacifist, apparently reflecting JFK's intent to keep US forces out of Vietnam and against any military strategy.  He sidles up close (and friendly) to Diem, and yet he and his master Henry Cabot Lodge allow (or perhaps support/arrange) Diem to be assassinated ... a fate that JFK experiences shortly thereafter. There are too many tell-tale caution signs: Lansdale's early background with OSS and close association with Lucien Conein;  being "retired" by LeMay on November 1st, 1963; his apparent signature in Project Northwoods; his expertise in psychological operations (which Dallas and Dealey Plaza certainly were) and in "changing governments"; his later involvement in Vietnam "pacification" efforts (read Project Phoenix); his sponsorship by the Georgetown Set.  He lied to the Rockefeller Commission, but gives up Harvey's name... strange, but perhaps a limited hangout.  What clinches it for me is that Lansdale was a protégée of the Dulles brothers.  They sponsored him, funded him, and promoted him ... an auspicious sponsor to be sure.

No wonder that Dean Rusk didn't trust him, or his true loyalties.  As Seagrove and Prouty both assert, Lansdale was an agent of the Cold War playing a life-long double game ... and not a like mind or ally of JFK, as some might think.  

Gene

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Gene.  In addition to all you mentioned I was somewhat stunned by his duplicity reading Dr. Newman's JFK and Vietnam last week (still not finished).  While he was espousing reforms and continuing to cozy up to Diem, and JFK regarding the Ambassadorship he did the following way back in 1961.  (pg. 49)

"was the first document to recommend a U.S. troop commitment to Vietnam during the Kennedy administration, was written by Edward Lansdale".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Brian, your post and Gene's made me think "I've read more about Lansdale somewhere".   So I started looking in book indexes.  Flawed Patriot by Bayard Stockton had some nuggets I'd forgotten about. 

Like the pecking order of Bobby's get Castro project after the Bay of Pigs, The Special Group Augmented.   Others were involved but, RFK, Taylor, Lansdale, Harvey.  "Taylor told Lansdale to come up with a master plan to wreak havoc, death and destruction in Cuba.  Sam Halpern recalls that Lansdale's resulting directives became infamous for their grandiosity and their sheer lack of comprehension of Cuban reality."  Pg. 118. "Bill writhed under the goading of Lansdale".  He didn't like the demands for written plans and schedules.  "To Harvey, Lansdale was worse than wacky.  He was a security risk".  "Harvey seldom talked to me, Lansdale said".  "...Lansdale took himself seriously, whereas the men in the Langley basement called him "The Man who walked on Water".  All pg. 119.

"Sometimes the Attorney General would take things into his own hands...he sent Lansdale down to Miami in a futile effort to create a government in exile, and kept the trip a secret from the CIA."  "Predictably Harvey took RFK's interference and the fawning support the attorney general received from Lansdale as a professional and, increasingly, as a personal affront."  "... frequent taut meetings...uptight...steaming...clenched jaws"  "In mid February 1962 Lansdale produced a game plan that he claimed would lead to the violent demise of the Castro regime by October...LANSDALE APPLAUDED THE THOUGHT OF USING GANGSTER ELEMENTS".  Halpern: "Everyone was happy when the SGA turned down Lansdale's timetable or requirements and said it needed hard intelligence.'  Pgs. 133-135.

Then starting on page 149 we have the "Plotting Assassination" chapter subtitle "The Lansdale Flap".   "CIA IG's report...Agency's actions...assassination of Castro.  ...two such discussions, 8/10/62" (Harvey was not at the second on 7/30/Nineteen Sixty Four - Two Years Later???).  Attending in 62, Secretary of State Rusk and his deputy Alexis Johnson, Goodwin - security adviser, "White House sent General Maxwell Taylor",  McGeorge  Bundy for RFK,  McNamara and his deputy Gilpatric, Chief of the COS Lemnitzer, attended by Lansdale from the Pentagon, Murrow from the USIA, CIA director McCone and Harvey, Tom Parrott of the CIA was secretary of the SGA, and Helms were present".  "Lansdale presented the Touchdown play...all conceivable pressures - diplomatic, economic, political and psychological..."  "There was discussion of a possible Castro assassination, perhaps mentioned first by McNamara."  "After the meeting at Harvey's urging McCone called McNamara.  The subject you just brought up, I think is highly improper...I intend to have it expunged from the record."   "On August 13, 1962, Lansdale showing his poor judgement committed McNamaras thoughts to paper in a memo to State, Defense, the CIA and USIA...".   Next, in a photocopy of a memo to Helms that still exists , "I called Lansdale's office and, in his absence pointed out to Frank Hand the inadmissibility and stupidity of putting this type of comment in such a document."          

 

 

Edited by Ron Bulman
Link to comment
Share on other sites

This won't add any light to this topic, but I found it interesting nonetheless. 

From Simkin's 2nd post above:

"On his return to the United States in 1948 Lansdale became a lecturer at the Strategic Intelligence School in Colorado. However, in 1950, Elpidio Quirino, the president of the Philippines, requested Lansdale's help in his fight against the communist insurrection taking place in his country."

The Strategic Intelligence School mentioned here, was located at the old Lowry Air Base, which is about a mile from my house. Most of it is long gone, except for a few remaining buildings which have been repurposed in a mixed use development. The Wings Over The Rockies air museum is located there as well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...