John Mccone James Schlesinger Cia Aec Atomic Letter Nuke Nuclear Spy Director For Sale
Personal signed letter from Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, James R. Schlesinger to former head of the AEC/CIA James McCone on AEC letterhead dated 22 Sep 1971. This letter is from the estate of McCone's personal assistant, Terrance Lee. The letter is in overall good condition.
Schlesinger writes to McCone in response to a letter sent by McCone. Schlesinger accepts McCone's offer of counsel and asks him to notify him (Schlesinger) when he is next in town. He ends by talking about contemplating the reorganization of the intelligence community and he would like to discuss McCone's view on intelligence (CIA).
Also included is an AEC copy of Schlesinger's speech on 19 Apr 72--to be released at 12:15 EST. The is a photocopy of the time period from McCone on his personal letterhead dated 9 Mar 72 talking about Schlesigner's comments on Uraniun enrichment, and ends with stating that the contents of what he is writing about are confidential and not to be circulated. The letter is to Steven Bechtel of the Bechtel Corporation. Attached is a photocopy of a 24 Feb 72 letter on AEC letterhead from Schelsinger talking about meeting, talking about the DCI/CIA, Kennedy and working close with the President, intelligence evaluation within the White House, Kissinger, Marshall, Helms, enrichment capacity and projected guidelines and the role of the US in nuclear control of uranium. There are hand written notes in pencil and ink in the margins.
James Rodney Schlesinger (born February 15, 1929) was United States Secretary of Defense from 1973 to 1975 under presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. He became America's first Secretary of Energy under Jimmy Carter.
While Secretary of Defense, he opposed amnesty for draft dodgers, and pressed for development of more sophisticated nuclear weapon systems. Additionally, his support for the A-10 and the lightweight fighter program (later the F-16) helped ensure that they were carried to completion
Schlesinger was born in New York City, the son of Rae, a Russian Jewish immigrant, and Julius Schlesinger, an Austrian Jew. He was educated at Horace Mann School and Harvard University, where he earned a B.A. (1950), M.A. (1952), and Ph.D. (1956) in economics. Between 1955 and 1963 he taught economics at the University of Virginia and in 1960 published The Political Economy of National Security. In 1963 he moved to the Rand Corporation, where he worked until 1969, in the later years as director of strategic studies. In 1969, Schlesinger joined the Nixon administration as assistant director of the Bureau of the Budget, devoting most of his time to Defense matters. In 1971 President Nixon appointed Schlesinger a member of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) and designated him as chairman. Serving in this position for about a year and a half, Schlesinger instituted extensive organizational and management changes in an effort to improve the AEC's regulatory performance. On February 2, 1973 he became Director of Central Intelligence, after Richard Helms, the previous director, had been fired for his refusal to block the Watergate investigation. Schlesinger's first words upon becoming DCI were, reportedly, "I'm here to make sure you don't screw Richard Nixon." Although his CIA service was short, barely six months, it was stormy as he again undertook comprehensive organizational and personnel changes. He became so unpopular at CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia that a security camera had to be installed opposite his official portrait because of fears that it would be vandalized. By this time he had a reputation as a tough, forthright, and outspoken administrator. Schlesinger left the CIA to become Secretary of Defense on July 2, aged 44. Despite his relative youth, given his academic and government credentials he appeared exceptionally well-qualified for the post. As a university professor, researcher at Rand, and government official in three agencies, he had acquired an impressive background in national security affairs. Shortly after assuming office, Schlesinger outlined the basic objectives that would guide his administration: maintain a "strong defense establishment"; "assure the military balance so necessary to deterrence and a more enduring peace"; obtain for members of the military "the respect, dignity and support that are their due"; assume "an . . . obligation to use our citizens' resources wisely"; and "become increasingly competitive with potential adversaries . . . . We must not be forced out of the market on land, at sea, or in the air. Eli Whitney belongs to us, not to our competitors." In particular, Schlesinger saw a need in the post-Vietnam era to restore the morale and prestige of the military services; modernize strategic doctrine and programs; step up research and development; and shore up a DoD budget that had been declining since 1968.
Analyzing strategy, Schlesinger maintained that the theory and practice of the 1950s and 1960s had been overtaken by events, particularly the rise of the Soviet Union to virtual nuclear parity with the United States and the effect this development had on the concept of deterrence. Schlesinger believed that "deterrence is not a substitute for defense; defense capabilities, representing the potential for effective counteraction, are the essential condition of deterrence." He had grave doubts about the assured destruction strategy, which relied on massive nuclear attacks against an enemy's urban-industrial areas. Credible strategic nuclear deterrence, the secretary felt, depended on fulfilling several conditions: maintaining essential equivalence with the Soviet Union in force effectiveness; maintaining a highly survivable force that could be withheld or targeted against an enemy's economic base in order to deter coercive or desperation attacks against U.S. population or economic targets; establishing a fast-response force that could act to deter additional enemy attacks; and establishing a range of capabilities sufficient to convince all nations that the United States was equal to its strongest competitors.
To meet these needs, Schlesinger built on existing ideas in developing a flexible response nuclear strategy, which, with the President's approval, he made public by early 1974. The United States, Schlesinger said, needed the ability, in the event of a nuclear attack, to respond so as to "limit the chances of uncontrolled escalation" and "hit meaningful targets" without causing widespread collateral damage. The nation's assured destruction force would be withheld in the hope that the enemy would not attack U.S. cities. In rejecting assured destruction, Schlesinger quoted President Nixon: "Should a President, in the event of a nuclear attack, be left with the single option of ordering the mass destruction of enemy civilians, in the face of the certainty that it would be followed by the mass slaughter of Americans?"
With this approach Schlesinger moved to a partial counterforce policy, emphasizing Soviet military targets such as ICBM missile installations, avoiding initial attacks on population centers, and minimizing unintended collateral damage. He explicitly disavowed any intention to acquire a destabilizing first-strike capability against the USSR. But he wanted "an offensive capability of such size and composition that all will perceive it as in overall balance with the strategic forces of any potential opponent."
Because he regarded conventional forces as an equally essential element in the deterrence posture of the United States, Schlesinger wanted to reverse what he perceived as a gradual downward trend in conventional force strength. He pointed out that because Soviet nuclear capabilities had reached approximate parity with the United States, the relative contribution to deterrence made by U.S. strategic forces had inevitably declined. One of the missions of conventional forces, he noted, was to deter or defeat limited threats.
In this vein Schlesinger devoted much attention to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, citing the need to strengthen its conventional capabilities. He rejected the old assumption that NATO did not need a direct counter to Warsaw Pact conventional forces because it could rely on tactical and strategic nuclear weapons, noting that the approximate nuclear parity between the United States and the Soviets in the 1970s made this stand inappropriate. He also rejected the argument that NATO could not afford a conventional counterweight to Warsaw Pact forces. In his discussions with NATO leaders, Schlesinger promoted the concept of burden-sharing, stressing the troubles that the United States faced in the mid-1970s because of an unfavorable balance of international payments. He urged qualitative improvements in NATO forces, including equipment standardization, and an increase in defense spending by NATO governments of up to five percent of their gross national product.
During President Nixon's last days in the White House during the Watergate crisis, when the President's mental stability was doubted by some, Schlesinger is thought to have instructed the Joint Chiefs of Staff to check with him before carrying out any of Nixon's orders regarding nuclear weapons. He also drew up contingency plans for an emergency deployment of the 82nd Airborne to Washington D.C. in the event of Nixon refusing to step down in the event of impeachment and usurping of the marines. According to Paul Nitze, writing in his autobiography, Schlesinger wanted to resign during this time but could not bring himself to do it. When asked why, Schlesinger replied to Nitze that he was concerned Nixon's aides, particularly Alexander Haig, may have contemplated initiating a military coup to retain Executive power.
Schlesinger had an aoffering interest in strategic theory, but he also had to deal with a succession of immediate crises that tested his administrative and political skills. In October 1973, three months after he took office, Arab countries launched a surprise attack on Israel and started the Yom Kippur War. A few days after the war started, with Israel not faring as well as expected militarily, the Soviets resupplying some Arab countries and the Israeli government having authorized the use and assembly of nuclear weapons, the United States began an overt operation to airlift materiel to Israel. As Schlesinger explained, the initial U.S. policy to avoid direct involvement rested on the assumption that Israel would win quickly. But when it became clear that the Israelis faced more formidable military forces than anticipated, and could not meet their own resupply arrangements, the United States took up the burden. Schlesinger rejected charges that the Defense Department delayed the resupply effort to avoid irritating the Arab states and that he had had a serious disagreement over this matter with Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Eventually the combatants agreed to a cease-fire, but not before the Soviet Union threatened to intervene on the Arab side, because of Israeli advances after the agreed-upon cease-fire, and the United States declared a higher level worldwide alert of its forces.
Another crisis flared in July 1974 within the NATO alliance when Turkish forces, concerned about the long-term lack of safety for the minority Turkish community, invaded Cyprus after the Cypriot National Guard, supported by the government of Greece, overthrew President Archbishop Makarios. When the fighting stopped, the Turks held the northern portion of country and about 40 percent of the island. Turkey's military action caused controversy in the United States, because of protests and lobbying by supporters of the Greek Cypriot side and, officially, because Turkish forces used some U.S.-supplied military equipment intended solely for NATO purposes. Schlesinger felt the Turks had overstepped the bounds of legitimate NATO interests in Cyprus and suggested that the United States might have to reexamine its military aid program to Turkey. During this time, President Gerald R. Ford had succeeded Nixon after his resignation; eventually Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger made it clear with two presidential vetoes that they favored continued military assistance to Turkey as a valued NATO ally, but Congress overrode both vetoes and in December 1974 prohibited such aid, which instituted an arms embargo that lasted five years.
The last phase of the Indochina conflict occurred during Schlesinger's tenure. Although all U.S. combat forces had left South Vietnam in the spring of 1973, the United States continued to maintain a military presence in other areas of Southeast Asia. Some senators criticized Schlesinger and questioned him sharply during his confirmation hearings in June 1973 after he stated that he would recommend resumption of U.S. bombing in North Vietnam and Laos if North Vietnam launched a major offensive against South Vietnam. However, when the North Vietnamese did begin an offensive early in 1975, the United States could do little to help the South Vietnamese, who collapsed completely as the North Vietnamese entered Saigon in late April. Schlesinger announced early in the morning of 29 April 1975 the evacuation from Saigon by helicopter of the last U.S. diplomatic, military, and civilian personnel.
Only one other notable event remained in the Indochina drama. In May 1975 forces of the Communist Cambodian government boarded and captured the crew of the Mayaguez, an unarmed U.S.-registered freighter. The United States bombarded military and fuel installations on the Cambodian mainland while a battalion of Marines landed by helicopter on an offshore island to rescue the crew. The 39 captives were retrieved, but the operation cost the lives of 41 U.S. military personnel. Nevertheless, the majority of the American people seemed to approve of the administration's decisive action.
Unsurprisingly, given his determination to build up U.S. strategic and conventional forces, Schlesinger devoted much time and effort to the Defense budget. Even before becoming secretary, in a speech in San Francisco in September 1972, he warned that it was time "to call a halt to the self-defeating game of cutting defense outlays, this process, that seems to have become addictive, of chopping away year after year." Shortly after he took office, he complained about "the post-war follies" of Defense budget-cutting. Later he outlined the facts about the DoD budget: In real terms it had been reduced by one-third since FY 1968; it was one-eighth below the pre-Vietnam War FY 1964 budget; purchases of equipment, consumables, and R&D were down 45 percent from the wartime peak and about $10 billion in constant dollars below the prewar level; Defense now absorbed about 6 percent of the gross national product, the lowest percentage since before the Korean War; military manpower was at the lowest point since before the Korean War; and Defense spending amounted to about 17 percent of total national expenditures, the lowest since before the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941. Armed with these statistics, and alarmed by continuing Soviet weapon advances, Schlesinger became a vigorous advocate of larger DoD budgets. But he had little success. For FY 1975, Congress provided TOA of $86.1 billion, compared with $81.6 billion in FY 1974; for FY 1976, the amount was $95.6 billion, an increase of 3.4 percent, but in real terms slightly less than it had been in FY 1955.
Schlesinger's insistence on higher defense budgets, his disagreements within the administration and with Congress on this issue, and his differences with Secretary of State Kissinger all contributed to his dismissal from office by President Ford in November 1975. Kissinger strongly supported the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks process, while Schlesinger wanted assurances that arms control agreements would not put the United States in a strategic position inferior to the Soviet Union. The secretary's harsh criticism of some congressional leaders dismayed President Ford, who was more willing than Schlesinger to compromise on the Defense budget. On 2 November 1975, the president dismissed Schlesinger and made other important personnel changes. Kissinger lost his position as special assistant to the President for national security affairs but remained as secretary of state. Schlesinger left office on 19 November 1975, explaining his departure in terms of his budgetary differences with the White House.
The unreported, but important, main reason behind Schlesinger's dismissal, though, was his insubordination toward President Ford. During the Mayaguez incident, Ford ordered several retaliatory strikes against the Cambodians. Schlesinger told Ford the strikes were carried out, but Ford later learned that Schlesinger, who disagreed with the order, had none of them carried out. Ford let the incident go, but when Schlesinger committed further insubordination on other matters, Ford finally fired him. This is all reported in Bob Woodward's 1999 book, Shadow.
In spite of the controversy surrounding both his tenure and dismissal, Schlesinger was by most accounts an able secretary of defense. A serious and perceptive thinker on nuclear strategy, he was determined that the United States not fall seriously behind the Soviet Union in conventional and nuclear forces and devoted himself to modernization of defense policies and programs. He got along well with the military leadership because he proposed to give them more resources, consulted with them regularly, and shared many of their views. Because he could be blunt in his opinions and did not enjoy the personal rapport with legislators that prior Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird had, his relations with Congress were often strained. A majority of its members may have approved Schlesinger's strategic plans, but they kept a tight rein on the money for his programs. As for the Pentagon bureaucracy, Schlesinger generally left its management to Deputy Secretary of Defense William P. Clements.
After leaving the Energy Department he resumed his writing and speaking career and was employed as a senior adviser to Lehman Brothers, Kuhn Loeb Inc., of New York City. On June 11, 2002 he was appointed by U.S. President George W. Bush to the Homeland Security Advisory Council. He also serves as a consultant to the United States Department of Defense, and is a member of the Defense Policy Board. On January 5, 2006, he participated in a meeting at the White House of former Secretaries of Defense and State to discuss United States foreign policy with Bush administration officials. On January 31, 2006 he was appointed by the Secretary of State to be a member of the Arms Control and Nonproliferation Advisory Board. On May 2, 2006, he was named to be a co-chairman of a Defense Science Board study on DOD Energy Strategy. He is an honorary chairman of The OSS Society.
On June 5, 2008, Defense Secretary Robert Gates appointed Schlesinger to head a task force to ensure the "highest levels" of control over nuclear weapons. The purpose of the review is to prevent a repeat of recent incidents where control was lost over components of nuclear weapons, and even nuclear weapons themselves.
Schlesinger is currently the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of The MITRE Corporation; on the advisory board of The National Interest; a Director of BNFL, Inc., Peabody Energy,Sandia Corporation, Seven Seas Petroleum Company, Chairman of the Executive Committee of The Nixon Center. He is also on the Advisory Board of GeoSynFuels, LLC. He has written a number of opinion pieces on global warming, expressing a strongly skeptical position.
Schlesinger is also aware of the peak oil issue and supports facing it. In the keynote speech at a 2007 conference hosted by the Association for the Study of Peak Oil in Cork, Schlesinger said that oil industry executives now privately concede that the world faces an imminent oil production peak.
On June 5, 2008, US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates announced that he had asked Schlesinger to lead a senior-level task force to recommend improvements in the stewardship and operation of nuclear weapons, delivery vehicles and sensitive components by the US DoD following the 2007 United States Air Force nuclear weapons incident. Members of the task force came from the Defense Policy Board and the Defense Science Board.
Terrance M Lee was a personal assistant/associate to John McCone from the 1940's through at least the 1970's. This material is from Lee'sestate and contains many personal documents, memo's, transcripts of conversations,on such topic's as McCone's personal scandals, business dealings, USAF contracts, AEC material,important CIA studies and more. Why he kept it is your guess? Perhaps to write a tell all book, protection, or loyalty to his old boss. This is a historian's and/or conspiracy theorist's dream come true as these documents prove or help prove McCone's role in history in some ofthe top level US Governmental positions 1948-1972.
John Alex McCone was born in Los Angeled on 4th January, 1902. A child of Scotch-Irish parents, he was raised a devout Roman Catholic. McCord studied engineering at Berkeley, where he met Stephen D. Bechtel, his future business partner. Following graduation, McCone found work at the Llewellyn Iron Works. He started off as a riveter but by the age of 26 he had become construction manager.
In 1931 McCone was appointed sales manager for Consolidated Steel. The company was in financial difficulty but McCone came to the rescue when he sold 55 million tons of steel to a group of Californian businessmen building the Boulder Dam (later renamed the Hoover Dam). This group of businessmen included Henry J. Kaiser and Stephen D. Bechtel.
In 1937, McCone left Consolidated Steel to join Bechtel and Kaiser. Initially they established the Bechtel-McCone Corporation. Over the next few years the three men formed several companies with them taking it in turn to become the front man. In some cases, they remained silent partners in these business ventures. The first major customer of Bechtel-McCone was Standard Oil of California (Socal). The company obtained a contract to build Socal’s new refinery in Richmond. It was the first of many refineries built by Bechtel-McCone. By 1939 the company had more than 10,000 employees and was building refineries, chemical plants and pipelines all over the world.
In the summer of 1940 McCone and Stephen D. Bechtel had a meeting with Admiral Howard L. Vickery of the U.S. Maritime Commission. Vickery told the men he “had received a telegram from the British Purchasing Commission (BPC) urgently requesting that the Maritime Commission arrange the building of 60 tankers to replace the ships the British had lost to German torpedoes”. At another meeting a few weeks later, Maritime Commission chairman, Admiral Emory S. Land, told Bechtel and McCone that: “Besides building ships for the British, they would have to build them for the Americans as well. Not merely tankers, but Liberty and Victory cargo ships, troop transports, the whole makings of a merchant navy.” Admiral Land confidently added that thousands of vessels would be needed as “America was headed into war.” As a result of these two meetings, Bechtel, McCone and Kaiser built shipyards at Richmond and Sausalito. Several of their companies were involved in this project that became known as “Operation Calship”. This included Kaiser Company (78 ships), Kaiser-Swan Island (140 ships) and Kaiser-Vancouver (118 ships).
It was a terrible gamble because at that time they were relying on the predictions of Admiral Emory S. Land. However, Land was right and only a month after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the Maritime Commission awarded Calship its first shipbuilding contract. Within a year, Calship was employing over 42,000 workers at its shipyards. In 1942 McCone and Stephen D. Bechtel obtained a contract to build aircraft at Willow Run in Alabama. The War Department agreed to pay all the company’s costs plus 5 percent on work estimates presented by Bechtel-McCone every six months. A 300-acre factory was built and 8,000 employees hired to staff it. However, no aircraft were built. Employees were paid for doing nothing. A local man, George P. Alexander, discovered details of this scam and collected affidavits from workers who admitted that they “went in every day at 9.00, punched the time clock, then went home”. They then returned to the factory at 5.00 to “punch out”. Alexander filed suit against Bechtel-McCone in federal district court on 31st July, 1943. He claimed that the company had made “many and various claims against the government of the United States, or a department or officer thereof, knowing such claims to be false, fictitious or fraudulent.” However, the judge dismissed the case. The problem was with the contract, not the claims by Bechtel-McCone. As John McCone admitted to Fortune Magazine on 17th May, 1943: “Every six months, we estimate how much work we expect to do in the next six months and then we get a fee of five percent of the estimated amount of work regardless of how much work we actually do turn out.” Bechtel-McCone was also involved in another scandal concerning war contracts. Lieutenant General Brehon Somervell, head of the Army Sources of Supply Command, decided to build “a major refinery at the Norman Wells oilfields in Canada’s Northwest Territories, and run a pipeline from there 1,200 miles southwest through the Yukon Territory into Alaska.”The contract to do this was given to John McCone and Steve Bechtel. The terms of the contract were very unusual. The Bechtel-McCone Corporation was guaranteed a 10% profit on the project. The other surprising thing about the Canol Project was that it was to be a secret contract. It seems that Somervell did not want anyone outside the War Department and the Bechtel-McCone Corporation to know about this deal. The reason for this is that Harold Ickes, as Interior Secretary and the head of the Petroleum Administration for War, should have been the person who oversaw this project. The $35 million for the project came from within a massive war appropriations bill that was passed by Congress in April 1942. After working on it for a year the cost had reached over $100 million. It was finished in May 1945. However, the wrong sized pipes had been used and it was discovered that to pump the oil it cost $150 per barrel rather than the $5 estimated by Somervell, Bechtel and McCone. Less that a year after it was finished, the plant and pipeline was abandoned. It had cost the American taxpayer $134 million. After the war the “General Accounting Office told a House Merchant Marine Committee investigation that the company had made $44,000,000 on an investment of $100,000. The same committee a few months later complained that Mr McCone's company was “paid $2,500,000 by the government to take over a shipyard costing $25,000,000 and containing surplus material costing $14,000,000.” Tommy Corcoran was not the only person arranging for people like McCone, Kaiser and Berchtel to obtain lucrative government contracts during the war. John L. Simpson was a close friend of an interesting group of people including Allen Dulles, John Foster Dulles, Dean Acheson and William Donovan. In 1942 Simpson was recruited into the OSS by Allen Dulles. His official title was chief financial advisor for the U.S. Army in Europe. In 1944 Simpson returned to San Francisco and became a consultant to the Betchtel-McCone Corporation. His arrival brought even more contracts from the War Department. At the end of the Second World War the Bechtel-McCone company was brought to an end. John McCone now invested much of the profits he had made from war production in Pacific Far East Lines. McCone was the majority stockholder but Henry J. Kaiser and Stephen D. Bechtel were also silent investors in this company. McCone also formed a partnership with Henry Mercer, the owner of States Marines Lines, whose vast fleets operated in the Atlantic. As Laton McCartney pointed out in Friends in High Places: The Bechtel Story, McCone was now “one of the dominant shipping figures in the world.” McCone and Bechtel were also directors of the Stanford Research Institute (SRI). McCone was also chief fund-raiser for the California Institute of Technology, whose scientists had been involved in the development of the atom bomb and were now involved in nuclear research. McCone took a keen interest in politics and was a fanatical anti-communist. McCone told his friends that the Soviets intended to achieve “world domination”. I. F. Stone described him as a “rightest Catholic… a man with holy war views.”John L. Simpson, chief financial officer to the various corporations owned by Stephen D. Bechtel, introduced McCone to Allen Dulles at a meeting in 1947. It was at this time he became friends with William Knowland and Dwight D. Eisenhower.
In 1948 Harry S. Truman appointed McCone as Deputy to the Secretary of Defense. According to Laton McCartney, despite his title “it quickly became apparent that he was the department’s real boss.” In 1950 he became Under Secretary of the Air Force. While in these posts McCone gave contracts to Standard Oil and Kaiser Aluminum, two companies in which he had financial connections.
McCone was an ardent Cold War warrior and in 1956 attacked the suggestion made by Adlai Stevenson that there should be a nuclear test ban. McCone, a strong supporter of Dwight Eisenhower, accused American scientists of being "taken in" by Soviet propaganda and of attempting to "create fear in the minds of the uninformed that radioactive fallout from H-bomb tests endangers life."
In 1958 President Dwight Eisenhower rewarded McCone by appointing him Chairman of the Atomic Energy commission. After the Bay of Pigs disaster, President John F. Kennedy sacked AllenDulles Fosteras Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Under pressure from right-wingers in the intelligence community, Kennedy appointed McCone as the new director of the CIA.
It is assumed that McCone was informed of Executive Action (a plan to remove unfriendly foreign leaders from power). However, McCone always denied any knowledge of this policy. This included the ZR/RIFLE project, a plot to assassinate Fidel Castro. Robert Maheu, a veteran of CIA counter-espionage activities, was instructed to offer the Mafia $150,000 to kill Castro. The advantage of employing the Mafia for this work is that it provided CIA with a credible cover story. The Mafia were known to be angry with Castro for closing down their profitable brothels and casinos in Cuba. If the assassins were killed or captured the media would accept that the Mafia were working on their own.
In April 1963 McGeorge Bundy suggested to President John F. Kennedy that there should be a "gradual development of some form of accommodation with Castro". In an interview given in 1995, Bundy, said Kennedy needed "a target of opportunity" to talk to Fidel Castro. Later that month Lisa Howard arrived in Cuba to make a documentary on the country. In an interview with Howard, Castro agreed that a rapprochement with Washington was desirable.
On her return Howard met with the Central Intelligence Agency. Deputy DirectorRichard Helmsreported to John F. Kennedy on Howard's view that "Fidel Castro is looking for a way to reach a rapprochement with the United States." After detailing her observations about Castro's political power, disagreements with his colleagues and Soviet troops in Cuba, the memo concluded that "Howard definitely wants to impress the U.S. Government with two facts: Castro is ready to discuss rapprochement and she herself is ready to discuss it with him if asked to do so by the US Government."
McCone was strongly opposed to Lisa Howard being involved with these negotiations with Fidel Castro. He argued that it might "leak and compromise a number of CIA operations against Castro". In a memorandum to McGeorge Bundy, McCone commented that the "Lisa Howard report be handled in the most limited and sensitive manner," and "that no active steps be taken on the rapprochement matter at this time."
While McCone was director the CIA was heavily involved in the Congo, supplying mercenaries and arms to the supporters of Sese Seko Mobutu.
When John F. Kennedy was assassinated McCone immediately sought a meeting with Robert Kennedy. The two men met between 2 and 2:30 p.m. Kennedy later told his aide Walter Sheridan: "I asked McCone if they had killed my brother."
On 23rd November, 1963, the day after the assassination, McCone informed Lyndon B. Johnson that Lee Harvey Oswald had been in contact with Valery V. Kostikov, a Soviet diplomat, in Mexico. He also passed on information that Winston Scott, CIA station chief in Mexico, believed that Kostikov was a KGB agent who specialized in assassination.
Four days after the assassination, McCone sent a copy of a highly classified document to the White House, the State Department and the FBI. This document claimed that on 18th September, 1963, Gilberto Alvarado, an agent of the Nicaraguan Secret Service, had infiltrated the Cuban Embassy in Mexico City, saw an employee of that embassy give $6,500 to Oswald, to carry out the assassination of an "important political figure."
Further investigations revealed that Alvarado admitted that he had made up this story to incite hostilities between the United States and Cuba. However, Alvarado's story continued to be promoted by McCone and Thomas C. Mann. In his book, The JFK Assassination Debates (2006), Michael L. Kurtz claims that both McCone and Mann "received reprimands" for trying to blame the assassination of John F. Kennedy on Fidel Castro. In 1964 McCone arranged for the CIA and other agencies to provide the opponents of Salvador Allende with funds of $20 million. He was also active in helping to establish military rule in Ecuador.
McCone had clashed with President John F. Kennedy over his decision to try and withdraw from Vietnam. He got on better with President Lyndon B. Johnson but he objected to his Vietnam policy on the grounds that it could not be successful and advocated the use of increased force. This led to his resignation in 1965 as Director of the CIA.
Soon afterwards McCone was appointed to investigate the Watts Race Riot. The McCone Commission report was published in December, 1965. This was not well received. The California Advisory Committee to the US Commission on Civil Rights claimed that "the report is elementary, superficial, unorganized and unimaginative... and... a marked and surprising lack of understanding of the civil rights movement.... The McCone Commission failed totally to make any findings concerning the existence or nonexistence of police malpractices."
McCone became a director of ITT. He also did consultancy work with the CIA. In 1970 McCone met with Henry Kissinger and CIA director Richard Helms. McCone later testified that he tried to persuade Helms to accept $1 million in order to prevent the election of Salvador Allende in Chile. The offer was refused by Helms, but $350,000 did pass from ITT to Allende's opponent with CIA assistance. This included implementing ITT dirty tricks campaign in Chile.
In retirement McCone was also director of Pacific Mutual Life Insurance, United California Bank, Standard Oil of California, and Western Bancorporation.
McCone also helped to establish Committee on the Present Danger. A pressure group that campaigned against cuts in military spending.
John Alex McCone died on 14th February 1991.
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