November 22, 1963
The motorcade begins from Love Field in Dallas.
The JFK motorcade turns onto Houston Street
Into the Plaza
Approaching the Grassy Knoll, 12:30 PM, November 22, 1963.
The late Jack White served as a JFK Assassination expert to the House Select Committee on Assassinations as well as a consultant to Oliver Stone on the JFK film. Jack White gave a powerful presentation at the Zapruder Film Symposium, University of Minnesota in May 2003. After years of careful study he was able to highlight numerous questionable portions of the Kennedy Assassination films.
15 March 1985
Mr. Fletcher Prouty
As I read your interesting letter it is plain that you have not wanted for interest or achievement in your life. It has to have been exciting and rewarding too.
Mine has been a lively existence too. I had much to do with Vietnam from '64 to '68, and was loudly disenchanted with what went on and how. I recorded it as part of my book First to Fight that came out a few months ago.
I've also spent ten years in the newspaper business (a most useful education) and now write a syndicated weekly column. I wrote another book, Organization for National Security that resulted in my testifying before a Senate committee.
All taken together, a stirring life.
As to your chronicle concerning the JFK assassination period, I remember your going to Antarctica. I was in the Pentagon at the time of the tragedy but have no recollection of where Lansdale was.
The pictures.-- The two policemen are carrying shotguns, not rifles. Their caps are different (one a white chinstrap, one black). One has a Dallas police shoulder patch, one does not and their caps differ from that of another police officer in photo 4. Reasonable conclusion -- they are either reservists or phonys. And, as you know, city cops don't have anything to do with Sheriff's offices.
As to photo no. 1. That is indeed a picture of Ed Lansdale. The haircut, the stoop, the twisted left hand, the large class ring. It's Lansdale. What in the world was he doing there? Has anyone ever asked him and who was the photographer? Why did he take the pictures? What did he do with them?
I have examined my own records and find no clue that would help. Suffice to say, it is a fascinating proposition.
I am returning your pictures.
Best regards always.
March 6, 1990
It is amazing how things work, I am at home recuperating from a major back operation (to regain my ability to walk); so I was tossing around in bed last night...not too comfortable...and I began to think of Garrison. I thought, "I have got to write Jim a letter detailing how I believe the whole job was done."
By another coincidence I had received a fine set of twenty photos from the Sprague collection in Springfield, Mass. As the odds would have it, he is now living just around the corner here in Alexandria. Why not? Lansdale lived here, Fensterwald lives here, Ford used to live here. Quite a community.
I was studying those photos. One of them is the "Tramps" picture that appears in your book. It is glossy and clear. Lansdale is so clearly identifiable. Why, Lansdale in Dallas? The others don't matter, they are nothing but actors and not gunmen but they are interesting. Others who knew Lansdale as well as I did, have said the same thing, "That's him and what's he doing there?"
As I was reading the paper the Federal Express man came with a book from Jim, that unusual "Lansdale" book. A terrible biography. There could be a great biography about Lansdale. He's no angel; but he is worth a good biography. Currey, a paid hack, did the job. His employers ought to have let him do it right.
I had known Ed since 1952 in the Philippines. I used to fly there regularly with my MATS Heavy Transport Squadron. As a matter of fact, in those days we used to fly wounded men, who were recuperating, from hospitals in Japan to Saigon for R&R on the beaches of Cap St Jacque. That was 1952-1953. Saigon was the Paris of the Orient. And Lansdale was "King Maker" of the Philippines. We always went by way of Manila. I met his team.
He had arrived in Manila in Sept 1945, after the war was over, for a while. He had been sent back there in 1950 by the CIA(OPC) to create a new leader of the Philippines and to get rid of Querino. Sort of like the Marcos deal, or the Noriega operation. Lansdale did it better. I have overthrown a government but I didn't splash it all around like Reagan and Bush have done. Now, who sent him there?
Who sent him there in 1950 (Truman era) to do a job that was not done until 1953 (Ike era)? From 1950 to Feb. 1953 the Director of Central Intelligence was Eisenhower's old Chief of Staff, Gen Walter Bedell Smith. Smith had been Ambassador to Moscow from 1946 to 1949. The lesser guys in the CIA at the time were Allen Dulles, who was Deputy Director Central Intelligence from Aug. 1951 to Feb. 1953. Frank Wisner became the Deputy Director, Plans (Clandestine Activities) when Dulles became DDCI. Lansdale had to have received his orders from among these four men: Truman, Smith, Dulles, and Wisner. Of course the Sec State could have had some input...i.e. Acheson. Who wanted Querino out, that badly? Who wanted HUKS there?
In Jan 1953 Eisenhower arrived. John Foster Dulles was at State and Gen Smith his Deputy. Allen Dulles was the DCI and General Cabel his deputy. None of them changed Lansdale's prior orders to "get" Querino. Lansdale operated with abandon in the Philippines. The Ambassador and the CIA Station Chief, George Aurell, did not know what he was doing. They believed he was some sort of kook Air Force Officer there...a role Lansdale played to the hilt. Magsaysay became President, Dec 30, 1953.
With all of this on the record, and a lot more, this guy Currey comes out of the blue with this purported "Biography". I knew Ed well enough and long enough to know that he was a classic chameleon. He would tell the truth sparingly and he would fabricate a lot. Still, I can not believe that he told Currey the things Currey writes. Why would Lansdale want Currey to perpetuate such out and out bullshit about him? Can't be. This is a terribly fabricated book. It's not even true about me. I believe that this book was ordered and delineated by the CIA.
At least I know the truth about myself and about Gen. Krulak. Currey libels us terribly. In fact it may be Krulak who caused the book to be taken off the shelves. Krulak and his Copley Press cohorts have the power to get that done, and I encouraged them to do just that when it first came out. Krulak was mad!
Ed told me many a time how he operated in the Philippines. He said, "All I had was a blank checkbook signed by the U.S. government". He made friends with many influential Filipinos. I have met Johnny Orendain and Col Valeriano, among others, in Manila with Lansdale. He became acquainted with the wealthiest Filipino of them all, Soriano. Currey never even mentions him. Soriano set up Philippine Airlines and owned the big San Miguel beer company, among other things. Key man in Asia.
Lansdale's greatest strategy was to create the "HUKS" as the enemy and to make Magsaysay the "Huk Killer." He would take Magsaysay's battalion out into a "Huk" infested area. He would use movies and "battlefield" sound systems, i.e. fireworks to scare the poor natives. Then one-half of Magsaysay's battalion, dressed as natives, would "attack" the village at night. They'd fire into the air and burn some shacks. In the morning the other half, in uniform, would attack and "capture" the "Huks". They would bind them up in front of the natives who crept back from the forests, and even have a "firing" squad "kill" some of them. Then they would have Magsaysay make a big speech to the people and the whole battalion would roll down the road to have breakfast together somewhere...ready for the next "show".
Ed would always see that someone had arranged to have newsmen and camera men there and Magsaysay soon became a national hero. This was a tough game and Ed bragged that a lot of people were killed; but in the end Magsaysay became the "elected" President and Querino was ousted "legally."
This formula endeared Ed to Allen Dulles. In 1954 Dulles established the Saigon Military Mission in Vietnam...counter to Eisenhower's orders. He had the French accept Lansdale as its chief. This mission was not in Saigon. It was not military, and its job was subversion in Vietnam. Its biggest job was that it got more than 1,100,000 northern Vietnamese to move south. 660,000 by U.S.Navy ships and the rest by CIA airline planes. These 1,100,000 north Vietnamese became the "subversive" element in South Vietnam and the principal cause of the warmaking. Lansdale and his cronies (Bohanon, Arundel, Phillips, Hand, Conein and many others) did all that using the same check book. I was with them many times during 1954. All Malthuseanism.
I have heard him brag about capturing random Vietnamese and putting them in a Helicopter. Then they would work on them to make them "confess" to being Viet Minh. When they would not, they would toss them out of the chopper, one after the other, until the last ones talked. This was Ed's idea of fun...as related to me many times. Then Dulles, Adm. Radford and Cardinal Spellman set up Ngo Dinh Diem. He and his brother, Nhu, became Lansdale proteges.
At about 1957 Lansdale was brought back to Washington and assigned to Air Force Headquarters in a Plans office near mine. He was a fish out of water. He didn't know Air Force people and Air Force ways. After about six months of that, Dulles got the Office of Special Operations under General Erskine to ask for Lansdale to work for the Secretary of Defense. Erskine was man enough to control him.
By 1960 Erskine had me head the Air Force shop there. He had an Army shop and a Navy shop and we were responsible for all CIA relationships as well as for the National Security Agency. Ed was still out of his element because he did not know the services; but the CIA sent work his way.
Then in the Fall of 1960 something happened that fired him up. Kennedy was elected over Nixon. Right away Lansdale figured out what he was going to do with the new President. Overnight he left for Saigon to see Diem and to set up a deal that would make him, Lansdale, Ambassador to Vietnam. He had me buy a "Father of his Country" gift for Diem...$700.00.
I can't repeat all of this but you should get a copy of the Gravel edition, 5 Vol.'s, of the Pentagon Papers and read it. The Lansdale accounts are quite good and reasonably accurate.
Ed came back just before the Inauguration and was brought into the White House for a long presentation to Kennedy about Vietnam. Kennedy was taken by it and promised he would have Lansdale back in Vietnam "in a high office". Ed told us in OSO he had the Ambassadorship sewed up. He lived for that job.
He had not reckoned with some of JFK's inner staff, George Ball, etc. Finally the whole thing turned around and month by month Lansdale's star sank over the horizon. Erskine retired and his whole shop was scattered. The Navy men went back to the navy as did the Army folks. Gen Wheeler in the JCS asked to have me assigned to the Joint Staff. This wiped out the whole Erskine (Office of Special Operations) office. It was comical. There was Lansdale up there all by himself with no office and no one else. He boiled and he blamed it on Kennedy for not giving him the "promised" Ambassadorship to let him "save" Vietnam.
Then with the failure of the Bay of Pigs, caused by that phone call to cancel the air strikes by McGeorge Bundy, the military was given the job of reconstituting some sort of Anti-Castro operation. It was headed by an Army Colonel; but somehow Lansdale (most likely CIA influence) got put into the plans for Operation Mongoose...to get Castro...ostensibly.
The U.S. Army has a think-tank at American University. It was called "Operation Camelot". This is where the "Camelot" concept came from. It was anti-JFK's Vietnam strategy. The men running it were Lansdale types, Special Forces background. "Camelot" was King Arthur and Knights of the Round Table: not JFK...then.
Through 1962 and 1963 Mongoose and "Camelot" became strong and silent organizations dedicated to countering JFK. Mongoose had access to the CIA's best "hit men" in the business and a lot of "strike" capability. Lansdale had many old friends in the media business such as Joe Alsop, Henry Luce among others. With this background and with his poisoned motivation I am positive that he got collateral orders to manage the Dallas event under the guise of "getting" Castro. It is so simple at that level. A nod from the right place, source immaterial, and the job's done.
The "hit" is the easy part. The "escape" must be quick and professional. The cover-up and the scenario are the big jobs. They more than anything else prove the Lansdale mastery.
Lansdale was a master writer and planner. He was a great "scenario" guy. It still have a lot of his personally typed material in my files. I am certain that he was behind the elaborate plan and mostly the intricate and enduring cover-up. Given a little help from friends at PEPSICO he could easily have gotten Nixon into Dallas, for "orientation': and LBJ in the cavalcade at the same time, contrary to Secret Service policy.
He knew the "Protection" units and the "Secret Service", who was needed and who wasn't. Those were routine calls for him, and they would have believed him. Cabell could handle the police.
The "hit men" were from CIA overseas sources, for instance, from the "Camp near Athena, Greece. They are trained, stateless, and ready to go at any time. They ask no questions: speak to no one. They are simply told what to do, when and where. Then they are told how they will be removed and protected. After all, they work for the U.S. Government. The "Tramps" were actors doing the job of cover-up. The hit men are just pros. They do the job for the CIA anywhere. They are impersonal. They get paid. They get protected, and they have enough experience to "blackmail" anyone, if anyone ever turns on them...just like Drug agents. The job was clean, quick and neat. No ripples.
The whole story of the POWER of the Cover-up comes down to a few points. There has never been a Grand Jury and trial in Texas. Without a trial there can be nothing. Without a trial it does no good for researchers to dig up data. It has no place to go and what the researchers reveal just helps make the cover-up tighter, or they eliminate that evidence and the researcher.
The first man LBJ met with on Nov 29th, after he had cleared the foreign dignitaries out of Washington was Waggoner Carr, Atty Gen'l, Texas to tell him, "No trial in Texas...ever."
The next man he met, also on Nov 29th, was J. Edgar Hoover. The first question LBJ asked his old "19 year" neighbor in DC was "Were THEY shooting at me?" LBJ thought that THEY had been shooting at him also as they shot at his friend John Connally. Note that he asked, "Were THEY shooting at me?" LBJ knew there were several hitmen. That's the ultimate clue...THEY.
The Connallys said the same thing...THEY. Not Oswald.
Then came the heavily loaded press releases about Oswald all written before the deal and released actually before LHO had ever been charged with the crime. I bought the first newspaper EXTRA on the streets of Christchurch, New Zealand with the whole LHO story in that first news...photos and columns of it before the police in Dallas had yet to charge him with that crime. All this canned material about LHO was flashed around the world.
Lansdale and his Time-Life and other media friends, with Valenti in Hollywood, have been doing that cover-up since Nov 1963. Even the deMorenschildt story enhances all of this. In deM's personal telephone/address notebook he had the name of an Air Force Colonel friend of mine, Howard Burrus. Burrus was always deep in intelligence. He had been in one of the most sensitive Attache spots in Europe...Switzerland. He was a close friend of another Air Force Colonel and Attache, Godfrey McHugh, who used to date Jackie Bouvier. DeM had Burrus listed under a DC telephone number and on that same telephone number he had "L.B.Johnson, Congressman." Quite a connection. Why...from the Fifties yet.?
Godfrey McHugh was the Air Force Attache in Paris. Another most important job. I knew him well, and I transferred his former Ass't Attache to my office in the Pentagon. This gave me access to a lot of information I wanted in the Fifties. This is how I learned that McHugh's long-time special "date" was the fair Jacqueline...yes, the same Jackie Bouvier. Sen. Kennedy met Jackie in Paris when he was on a trip. At that time JFK was dating a beautiful SAS Airline Stewardess who was the date of that Ass't Attache who came to my office. JFK dumped her and stole Jackie away from McHugh. Leaves McHugh happy????
At the JFK Inaugural Ball who should be there but the SAS stewardess, Jackie--of course, and Col Godfrey McHugh. JFK made McHugh a General and made him his "Military Advisor" in the White House where he was near Jackie while JFK was doing all that official travelling connected with his office AND other special interests. Who recommended McHugh for the job?
General McHugh was in Dallas and was on Air Force One, with Jackie, on the flight back to Washington..as was Jack Valenti. Why was LBJ's old cohort there at that time and why was he on Air Force One? He is now the Movie Czar. Why in Dallas?
See how carefully all of this is interwoven. Burrus is now a very wealthy man in Washington. I have lost track of McHugh. And Jackie is doing well. All in the Lansdale--deM shadows.
One of Lansdale's special "black" intelligence associates in the Pentagon was Dorothy Matlack of U.S. Army Intelligence. How does it happen that when deM. flew from Haiti to testify, he was met at the National Airport by Dorothy?
The Lansdale story is endless. What people do not do is study the entire environment of his strange career. For example: the most important part of my book, "The Secret Team", is not something that I wrote. It is Appendix III under the title, "Training Under The Mutual Security Program". This is a most important bit of material. It tells more about the period 1963 to 1990 than anything. I fought to have it included verbatim in the book. This material was the work of Lansdale and his crony General Dick Stillwell. Anyone interested in the "JFK Coup d'Etat" ought to know it by heart.
I believe this document tells why the Coup took place. It was to reverse the sudden JFK re-orientation of the U.S. Government from Asia to Europe, in keeping with plans made in 1943 at Cairo and Teheran by T.V. Soong and his Asian masterminds. Lansdale and Stillwell were long-time "Asia hands" as were Gen Erskine, Adm Radford, Cardinal Spellman, Henry Luce and so many others.
In October 1963, JFK had just signalled this reversal, to Europe, when he published National Security Action Memorandum #263 saying...among other things...that he was taking 1000 troops home from Vietnam by Christmas 1963 and ALL AMERICANS out of Vietnam by the end of 1965. That cost him his life.
JFK came to that "Pro-Europe" conclusion in the Summer of 1963 and sent Gen Krulak to Vietnam for advance work. Kurlak and I (with others) wrote that long "Taylor-McNamara" Report of their "Visit to Vietnam" (obviously they did not write, illustrate and bind it as they traveled). Krulak got his information daily in the White House. We simply wrote it. That led to NSAM #263. This same Trip Report is Document #142 and appears on page 751 to 766 of Vol. II of the Gravel Edition of the Pentagon Papers. NSAM #263 appears on pages 769-770 (It makes the Report official). This major Report and NSAM indicated an enormous shift in the orientation of U.S. Foreign Policy from Asia back to Europe. JFK was much more Europe- oriented, as was his father, than pro-Asia. This position was anathema to the Asia-born Luces, etc.
There is the story from an insider. I sat in the same office with Lansdale, (OSO of OSD) for years. I listened to him in Manila and read his flurry of notes from 1952 to 1964. I know all this stuff, and much more. I could write ten books. I send this to you because I believe you are one of the most sincere of the "true researchers". You may do with it as you please. I know you will do it right. I may give copies of this to certain other people of our persuasion. (Years ago I told this to Mae Brussell on the promise she would hold it. She did.)
Now you can see why I have always said that identification of the "Tramps" was unnecessary, i.e. they are actors. The first time I saw that picture I saw the man I knew and I realized why he was there. He caused the political world to spin on its axis. Now, back to recuperating.
L. Fletcher Prouty