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Prefaces to 3 Editions of The Secret Team
This Appendix includes replicas of the Preface to the original 1973 First Edition of The Secret Team, The CIA and Its Allies in Control of the United States and the World, the 1997 Electronic Edition reprint published on Len Osanic's essential CD, The Collected Works of Col. L. Fletcher Prouty, and an updated version Fletcher wrote to include in this book as further explanation of how the The Secret Team was at the center of the Vietnam War Era.
Preface to the 1973 First Edition
From President to Ambassador, Cabinet Officer to Commanding General, and from Senator to executive assistant -- all these men have their sources of information and guidance. Most of this information and guidance is the result of carefully laid schemes and ploys of pressure groups.In this influential coterie one of the most interesting and effective roles is that played by the behind the scenes, faceless, nameless, ubiquitous briefing officer.
He is the man who sees the President, the Secretary, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff almost daily, and who carries with him the most skillfully detailed information. He is trained by years of experience in the precise way to present that information to assure its effectiveness. He comes away day after day knowing more and more about the man he has been briefing and about what it is that the truly influential pressure groups at the center of power and authority are really trying to tell these key decision makers. In Washington, where such decisions shape and shake the world, the role of the regular briefing officer is critical.
Leaders of government and of the great power centers regularly leak information of all kinds to columnists, television and radio commentators, and to other media masters with the hope that the material will surface and thus influence the President, the Secretary, the Congress, and the public. Those other inside pressure groups with their own briefing officers have direct access to the top men; they do not have to rely upon the media, although they make great use of it. They are safe and assured in the knowledge that they can get to the decision maker directly. They need no middleman other than the briefing officer. Such departments as Defense, State, and the CIA use this technique most effectively.
For nine consecutive, long years during those crucial days from 1955 through January 1, 1964, I was one of those briefing officers. I had the unique assignment of being the "Focal Point" officer for contacts between the CIA and the Department of Defense on matters pertaining to the military support of the Special Operations of that Agency. In that capacity I worked with Allen Dulles and John Foster Dulles, several Secretaries of Defense, and Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as well as many others in key governmental places. My work took me to more than sixty countries and to CIA offices and covert activities all over the world -- from such hot spots as Saigon and to such remote places as the South Pole. Yes, there have been secret operations in Antarctica.
It was my job not only to brief these men, but to brief them from the point of view of the CIA so that I might win approval of the projects presented and of the accompanying requests for support from the military in terms of money, manpower, facilities, and materials. I was, during this time, perhaps the best informed "Focal Point" officer among the few who operated in this very special area. The role of the briefing officer is quiet, effective, and most influential; and, in the CIA, specialized in the high art of top level indoctrination.
It cannot be expected that a John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, a Richard Nixon, or a following President will have experienced and learned all the things that may arise to confront him during his busy official life in the White House. It cannot be expected that a Robert McNamara or a Melvin Laird, a Dean Rusk or a William Rogers, etc. comes fully equipped to high office, aware of all matters pertaining to what they will encounter in their relationship with the Congo or Cuba, Vietnam or Pakistan, and China or Russia and the emerging new nations. These men learn about these places and the many things that face them from day to day from an endless and unceasing procession of briefing officers.
Henry Kissinger was a briefing officer. General John Vogt was one of the best. Desmond Fitzgerald, Tracy Barnes, Ed Lansdale, and "Brute" Krulak, in their own specialties, were top flight briefing officers on subjects that until the publication of the "Pentagon Papers," few people had ever seen in print or had ever even contemplated. (You can imagine my surprise when I read the June 13, 1971, issue of the Sunday New York Times and saw there among the "Pentagon Papers" a number of basic information papers that had been in my own files in the Joint Chiefs of Staff area of the Pentagon. Most of the papers of that period had been source documents from which I had prepared dozens -- even hundreds -- of briefings, for all kinds of projects, to be given to top Pentagon officers. Not only had many of those papers been in my files, but I had either written many of them myself or had written certain of the source documents used by the men who did.)
The briefing officer, with the staff officer, writes the basic papers. He researches the papers. He has been selected because he has the required knowledge and experience. He has been to the countries and to the places involved. He may know the principals in the case well. He is supposed to be the best man available for that special job. In my own case, I had been on many special assignments dating back to the Cairo and Teheran conferences of late 1943 that first brought together the "Big Four" of the Allied nations of WW II: Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Chiang Kai-shek and Joseph Stalin.
The briefing officer reads all of the messages, regardless of classification. He talks to a number of other highly qualified men. He may even have staff specialists spread out all over the world upon whom he may call at any time for information. Working in support of the "Focal Point" office, which I headed, there were hundreds of experts and agents concealed in military commands throughout the world who were part of a network I had been directed to establish in 1955-1956 as a stipulation of National Security Council directive 5412, March 1954.
In government official writing, the man who really writes the paper -- or more properly, the men whose original work and words are put together to become the final paper -- are rarely, if ever, the men whose names appear on that paper. A paper attributed to Maxwell Taylor, Robert McNamara or Dean Rusk, of the Kennedy era, would not, in almost all instances, have been written by them; but more than likely would have been assembled from information gathered from the Departments of Defense and State and from CIA sources and put into final language by such a man as General Victor H. Krulak, who was among the best of that breed of official writers.
From l955 through 1963, if some official wanted a briefing on a highly classified subject involving the CIA, I would be one of those called upon to prepare the material and to make the briefing. At the same time, if the CIA wanted support from the Air Force for some covert operation, I was the officer who had been officially designated to provide this special operational support to the CIA.
If I was contacted by the CIA to provide support for an operation which I believed the Secretary of Defense had not been previously informed of, I would see to it that he got the necessary briefing from the CIA or from my office and that any other Chief of Staff who might be involved would get a similar briefing. In this unusual business I found rather frequently that the CIA would be well on its way into some operation that would later require military support before the Secretary and the Chiefs had been informed. During preparations for one of the most important of these operations, covered in some detail in this book, I recall briefing the chairman of the Joint Chief's of Staff, General Lyman L. Lemnitzer, on the subject of the largest clandestine special operation that the CIA had ever mounted up to that time: and then hearing him say to the other Chiefs, "I just can't believe it. I never knew that." Here was the nation's highest ranking military officer, the man who would be held responsible for the operation should it fail or become compromised, and he had not been told enough about it to know just how it was being handled. Such is the nature of the game as played by the "Secret Team."
I have written for several magazines on this subject, among them the Armed Forces Journal, The New Republic, the Empire Magazine of the Denver Sunday Post, and The Washington Monthly. It was for this latter publication that I wrote "The Secret Team", an article that appeared in the May 1970 issue and that led to the development of this book. With the publication of the Pentagon Papers on June 13, 1971, interest in this subject area was heightened and served to underscore my conviction that the scope of that article must be broadened into a book.
Within days of The New York Times publication of those "Pentagon Papers," certain editorial personnel with the BBC-TV program, "Twenty-Four Hours", recalling my "Secret Team" article, invited me to appear on a series on TV with, among others, Daniel Ellsberg. They felt that my experience with the Secret Team would provide material for an excellent companion piece to the newly released "Pentagon Papers," which were to be the primary topic of the discussions. I flew to London and made a number of programs for BBC-TV and Radio. Legal problems and the possible consequences of his departure from the country at that time precluded the simultaneous appearance of Daniel Ellsberg. The programs got wide reception and served to underscore how important the subject of the "Pentagon Papers" is throughout the world.
I have not chosen to reveal and to expose "unreleased" classified documents; but I do believe that those that have been revealed, both in the "Pentagon Papers" and elsewhere, need to be interpreted and fully explained. I am interested in setting forth and explaining what "secrecy" and the "cult of containment" really mean and what they have done to our way of life and to our country. Furthermore, I want to correct any disinformation that may have been given by those who have tried to write on these subjects in other related histories.
I have lived this type of work; I know what happened and how it happened. I have known countless men who participated in one way or another in these unusual events of Twentieth Century history. Many of these men have been and still are members of the Secret Team. It also explains why much of it has been pure propaganda and close to nationwide "brainwashing" of the American public. I intend to interpret and clarify these events by analyzing information already in the public domain.
Few concepts during this half century have been as important, as controversial, as misunderstood, and as misinterpreted as secrecy in Government. No idea during this period has had a greater impact upon Americans and upon the American way of life than that of the containment of Communism. Both are inseparably intertwined and have nurtured each other in a blind Pavlovian way. Understanding their relationship is a matter of fundamental importance.
Much has been written on these subjects and on their vast supporting infrastructure, generally known as the "intelligence community." Some of this historical writing has suffered from a serious lack of inside knowledge and experience. Most of this writing has been done by men who know something about the subject, by men who have researched and learned something about the subject, and in a few cases by men who had some experience with the subject. Rarely is there enough factual experience on the part of the writer. On the other hand, the Government and other special interests have paid writers huge amounts to write about this subject as they want it done, not truthfully. Thus our history is seriously warped and biased by such work. Many people have been so concerned about what has been happening to our Government that they have dedicated themselves to investigating and exposing its evils. Unfortunately, a number of these writers have been dupes of those cleverer than they or with sinister reasons for concealing knowledge. They have written what they thought was the truth, only to find out (if they ever did find out) that they had been fed a lot of contrived cover stories and just plain hogwash. In this book I have taken extracts from some of this writing and, line by line, have shown how it has been manipulated to give a semblance of truth while at the same time being contrived and false.
Nevertheless, there have been some excellent books in this broad area, among them The Invisible Government by David Wise and Thomas B. Ross, The Secret War by Sanche de Gramont, The Craft of Intelligence by Allen W. Dulles, The Real CIA by Lyman B. Kirkpatrick, Jr., and many others. A partial listing does injustice to those other excellent scholars, reporters, and writers who have worked in this field. But many of these books suffer from various effects of the dread disease of secrecy and from its equally severe corollary illness called "cover" (the CIA's official euphemism for not telling the truth).
The man who has not lived in the secrecy and intelligence environment -- really lived in it and fully experienced it -- cannot write accurately about it. There is no substitute for the day-to-day living of a life in which he tells his best friends and acquaintances, his family and his everyday contacts one story while he lives another. The man who must depend upon research and investigation inevitably falls victim to the many pitfalls of the secret world and of the "cover story" world with its lies and counter-lies.
A good example of this is the work of Neil Sheehan and his associates on The New York Times' Pentagon Papers. The very title is the biggest cover story (no pun intended) of them all; so very few of those papers were really of Pentagon origin. The fact that I had them in my office, that I had worked with them, and that I had written parts of some of them proves that they were not genuine Pentagon papers, because my work at that time was devoted to support of the CIA. The same is true of General Krulak, Bill Bundy, and to a degree, Maxwell Taylor and others.
To look at this matter in another way, the man who has lived and experienced this unnatural existence becomes even more a victim of its unreality. He becomes enmeshed beyond all control upon the horns of a cruel dilemma. On the one hand, his whole working life has been dedicated to the cause of secrecy and to its protection by means of cover stories (lies). In this pursuit he has given of himself time after time to pledges, briefings, oaths, and deep personal conviction regarding the significance of that work. Even if he would talk and write, his life has been so interwoven into the fabric of the real and the unreal, the actual and the cover story, that he would be least likely to present the absolutely correct data.
On the other hand, as a professional he would have been subjected to such cellularization and compartmentalization each time he became involved in any real "deep" operation that he would not have known the whole story anyhow. This compartmentalization is very real. I have worked on projects with many CIA men so unaware of the entire operation that they had no realization and awareness of the roles of other CIA men working on the same project. I would know of this because inevitably somewhere along the line both groups would come to the Department of Defense for hardware support. I actually designed a special office in the Pentagon with but one door off the corridor. Inside, it had a single room with one secretary. However, off her office there was one more door that led to two more offices with a third doorway leading to yet another office, which was concealed by the door from the secretary's room. I had to do this because at times we had CIA groups with us who were now allowed to meet each other, and who most certainly would not have been there had they known that the others were there. (For the record, the office was 4D1000 -- it may have been changed by now; but it had remained that way for many years.)
Another group of writers, about the world of secrecy, are the "masters" -- men like Allen W. Dulles, Lyman Kirkpatrick, Peer de Silva and Chester Cooper. My own choice of the best of these are Peer de Silva and Lyman Kirkpatrick. These are thoroughly professional intelligence officers who have chosen a career of high-level intelligence operations. Their writing is correct and informative -- to a degree beyond that which most readers will be able to translate and comprehend at first reading; yet they are properly circumspect and guarded and very cleverly protective of their profession.
There is another category of writer and self-proclaimed authority on the subjects of secrecy, intelligence, and containment. This man is the suave, professional parasite who gains a reputation as a real reporter by disseminating the scraps and "Golden Apples" thrown to him by the great men who use him. This writer seldom knows and rarely cares that many of the scraps from which he draws his material have been planted, that they are controlled leaks, and that he is being used, and glorified as he is being used, by the inside secret intelligence community.
Allen Dulles had a penchant for cultivating a number of such writers with big names and inviting them to his table for a medieval style luncheon in that great room across the hall from his own offices in the old CIA headquarters on the hill overlooking Foggy Bottom. Here, he would discuss openly and all too freely the same subjects that only hours before had been carefully discussed in the secret inner chambers of the operational side of that quiet Agency. In the hands of Allen Dulles, "secrecy" was simply a chameleon device to be used as he saw fit and to be applied to lesser men according to his schemes. It is quite fantastic to find people like Daniel Ellsberg being charged with leaking official secrets simply because the label on the piece of paper said "top secret," when the substance of many of the words written on those same papers was patently untrue and no more than a cover story. Except for the fact that they were official lies, these papers had no basis in fact, and therefore no basis to be graded top secret or any other degree of classification. Allen Dulles would tell similar cover stories to his coterie of writers, and not long thereafter they would appear in print in some of the most prestigious papers and magazines in the country, totally unclassified, and of course, cleverly untrue.
Lastly there is the writer from outside this country who has gained his inside information from sources in another country. These sources are no doubt reliable; they know exactly what has taken place -- as in Guatemala during the Bay of Pigs era -- and they can speak with some freedom. In other cases, the best of these sources have been from behind the Iron Curtain.
In every case, the chance for complete information is very small, and the hope that in time researchers, students, and historians will be able to ferret out truth from untruth, real from unreal, and story from cover story is at best a very slim one. Certainly, history teaches us that one truth will add to and enhance another; but let us not forget that one lie added to another lie will demolish everything. This is the important point. Consider the past half century. How many major events -- really major events -- have there been that simply do not ring true? How many times has the entire world been shaken by alarms of major significance, only to find that the events either did not happen at all, or if they did, that they had happened in a manner quite unlike the original story? The war in Vietnam is undoubtedly the best example of this. Why is it that after more than thirty years of clandestine and overt involvement in Indochina, no one had been able to make a logical case for what we had been doing there and to explain adequately why we had become involved; and what our real and valid objectives in that part of the world were?
The mystery behind all of this lies in the area we know as "Clandestine activity", "intelligence operations", "secrecy", and "cover stories", used on a national and international scale. It is the object of this book to bring reality and understanding into this vast unknown area.
L. FLETCHER PROUTY
Colonel, U.S. Air Force (Ret'd)
Preface to the 1997 Electronic Edition
Like it or not, we now live in the age of "One World". This is the age of global companies, of global communications and transport, of global food supply and finance and . . . just around the corner . . . global accommodation of political systems. In this sense, there are no home markets, no isolated markets and no markets outside the global network.
It is time to face the fact that true national sovereignty no longer exists. We live in a world of big business, big lawyers, big bankers, even bigger money-men and big politicians. It is the world of "The Secret Team" and its masters. We are now, despite common mythology to the contrary, the most dependent society that has ever lived, and the future of the viability of that infrastructure of that society is unpredictable. It is crumbling.
As one of the greatest historians of all time, Ibn Khaldun, wrote in his unequaled historical work The Muqaddimah of the 14th Century:
God created and fashioned man in a form that can live and subsist only with the help of food . . . Through cooperation, the needs of a number of persons, many times greater than their own number, can be satisfied.
As this One World infrastructure emerges it increases the percentage of our total dependence upon remote food production capacity to the mass production capability and transport means of enormous companies operating under the global policy guidance of such organizations as the Chartered Institute of Transport in London, and the international banking community. As individuals, few of us would have any idea where to get a loaf of bread or yard of fabric other than in some supermarket and department store . . . and we are all dependent upon some form of efficient transport, electric power, gasoline at the pump, and boundless manufacturing capacity and versatility. Let that system collapse, at any point, and all of us will be helpless. A cooperating, working system is essential to survival; yet over-all it is a system without leadership and guidance.
At the same time the traditional family farm, and even community farms and industries, have all but vanished from the scene. This has created, at least in what we label, the advanced nations, a dearth of farmers and of people who have that basic experience along with that required in the food and home products industries. Furthermore, as this trend is amplified, the transport of farm produce has become increasingly assigned to the trucking industry, which has its over-land limits . . . mostly as applied to the tonnage limits of rural bridges, and the economical availability of petroleum.
As a result, something as simple as a trucking industry strike that keeps trucks out of any city for seventy- two hours or more, will lead to starvation and food riots. None of us know where to get food, if it is not in the nearby supermarket; and if we do have a stored supply of food locked in the cellar, we shall simply be the targets of those who do not. Food is the ultimate driving force. Under such predictable conditions, there will be waves of slaughter and eventually cannibalism. Man must eat, and the only way he can obtain adequate food supplies is through cooperation and the means to transport and distribute food and other basic necessities. This essential role is being diminished beyond the borderline. The lack of food supplies has already resulted in a form of covert genocide in many countries. Other essential shortages unavoidably follow.
These are fundamental statements of fact. In such a world, the Secret Team is the functional element of the dominant power. It is the point of the spear and is neither military nor police. It is covert: and the best (or worst) of both. It gets the job done whether it has political authorization and direction, or not. In this capacity, it acts independently. It is lawless. It operates everywhere with the best of all supporting facilities from special weaponry and advanced communications, with the assurance that its members will never be prosecuted. It is subservient to the Power Elite and protected by them. The Power Elite or High Cabal need not be Royalty in these days. They are their equals or better.
Note with care, it is labeled a "Team". This is because as with any highly professional team it has its managers, its front office and its owners. These are the "Power Elite" to whom it is beholden. They are always anonymous, and their network is ancient and world-wide. Let us draw an example from recent history.
During the Senate Hearings of 1975 on "Alleged Assassination Ploys Involving Foreign Leaders," Senator Charles C. Mathias' thoughts went back to November 22, 1963 and to the coup d'état brought about by the surgical precision of the death of President John F. Kennedy, when he said:
Let me draw an example from history. When Thomas Becket (Saint Thomas Becket, 1118-1170) was proving to be an annoyance, as Castro; the King said "Who will rid me of this man?" He didn't say to somebody, go out and murder him. He said who will rid me of this man, and let it go at that. (As you will recall, Thomas Becket's threat was not against the King, it was against the way the King wanted to run the government.)
With no explicit orders, and with no more authority than that, four of King Henry's knights, found and killed "this man", Saint Thomas Becket inside of his church. That simple statement . . . no more than a wish floating in air . . . proved to be all the orders needed.
Then, with that great historical event in mind, Senator Mathias went on to say:
There's the point! Because the structure, a "Power Elite", "High Cabal" or similar ultimate ruling organization, exists and the psychological atmosphere has been prepared, nothing more has to be said than that which ignites that "spark" of an assumed "authorization to go forward." Very often, this is the way in which the Secret Team gets its orders . . . they are no more than "a wish floating in air."
This book is about a major element of this real power structure of the world and of its impact upon the CIA and its allies around the world. It is based upon much personal experience generally derived from my military service from mid-1941 to 1964: U.S. Army Cavalry, U.S. Army Armored Force, U.S. Army Air Corps and Army Air Force, and finally the U. S. Air Force; and more specifically from my special assignments in the Pentagon from 1955 to 1964. At retirement, I was the first Chief of Special Operations with the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff. All of these duties, during those Pentagon years, were structured to provide "the military support of the world-wide clandestine activities of the CIA." They were performed in accordance with the provisions of an Eisenhower era, National Security Council Directive No. 5412/2, March 15, 1954.
Since this book was first published in 1973, we have witnessed the unauthorized release of the Defense Department's official "history of United States involvement in Vietnam from World War II to 1969" popularly known as the "Pentagon Papers," "Watergate" and the resignation of President Nixon, the run away activities of the "Vietnam War," the "Arab Oil Embargo" that led to the greatest financial heist in history, the blatantly unlawful "Iran Contra" affair, and the run-away banking scandals of the eighties. Many of these were brought about and master minded by renegade "Secret Team" members who operated, without Presidential direction; without National Security Council approval so they say; and, generally, without official Congressional knowledge. This trend increases. Its scope expands . . . even today.
I pointed out, years ago in public pronouncements, that the ClA's most important "Cover Story" is that of an "intelligence" agency. Of course the CIA does make use of "intelligence" and its assumed role of "intelligence gathering," but that is largely a front for its primary interest, "Fun and Games" . . . as the "Old Boys" or "Jedburgh's" of the WW II period Office of Strategic Services (OSS) called it.
The CIA is the center of a vast, and amorphous mechanism that specializes in Covert Operations . . . or as Allen Dulles always called it, "Peacetime Operations." In this sense, the CIA is the willing tool of a higher level High Cabal, that may include representatives and highly skilled agents of the CIA and other instrumentality's of the government, certain cells of the business and professional world and, almost always, foreign participation. It is this ultimate Secret Team, its allies, and its method of operation that are the principal subject of this book.
It must be made clear that at the heart of Covert Operations is the denial by the "operator," i.e. the U.S. Government, of the existence of national sovereignty. The covert operator can, and does, make the world his playground . . . including the U.S.A.
Today, in the mid-1990's, the most important events of this century are taking place with the ending of the "Cold War" era, and the beginning of the new age of "One World" under the control of businessmen and their lawyers, rather than under the threat of military power and ideological differences. This scenario for change has been brought about by a series of Secret Team operations skillfully orchestrated while the contrived hostilities of the Cold War were at their zenith.
Two important events of that period have been little noted. First, on Feb. 7, 1972 Maurice Stans, Nixon's Secretary of Commerce opened a "White House Conference on the Industrial World Ahead, A Look at Business in 1990." This three-day meeting of more than fifteen hundred of the country's leading businessmen, scholars, and the like were concluded with this memorable summary statement by Roy L. Ash, president of Litton Industries:
. . . state capitalism may well be a form for world business in the world ahead; that the western countries are trending toward a more unified and controlled economy, having a greater effect on all business; and the communist nations are moving more and more toward a free market system. The question posed during this conference on which a number of divergent opinions arose, was whether `East and West' would meet some place toward the middle about 1990.
This amazing forecast had its antecedent pronouncements, among which was another "One World" speech by this same Roy Ash during the Proceedings of the American Bankers Association National Automation Conference in New York City, May 8,9,10, 1967.
The affairs of the world are becoming inextricably interlinked . . . governments, notably, cannot effectively perform the task of creating and distributing food and other essential products and services . . . economic development is the special capability and function of business and industrial organizations . . . business organizations are the most efficient converters of the original resources of the world into usable goods and services.
As a Charter Member of the American Bankers Association's Committee on Automation Planning and Technology I was a panelist at that same convention as we worked to convert the 14,000 banks of this country to automation and the ubiquitous Credit Card. All of these subjects were signs of the times leading toward the demise of the Soviet Union in favor of an evolutionary process toward One World.
In addition to the 1972 White House Conference on the Industrial World Ahead a most significant yet quite unnoticed action took place during that same year when President Nixon and his then-Secretary of the Treasury, George Shultz, established a Russian/American organization called the "USA USSR Trade and Economic Council." Its objective was to bring about a union of the Fortune 500 Chief Executive Officers of this country, among others, such as the hierarchy of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, with their counterparts in the Soviet Union. This important relationship, sponsored by David Rockefeller of Chase Manhattan Bank and his associates, continues into the "One World" years.
It is this "US-TEC" organization, with its counterpart bilateral agreements among other nations and the USSR, that has brought about the massive changes of the former Communist world. These did not go unnoticed. During a speech delivered in 1991, Giovanni Agnelli, chief executive officer of the Fiat Company and one of the most powerful men in Europe, if not the world, remarked:
Now, is this what Nixon, Stans, Shultz, Ash, Rockefeller and others had in mind during those important decades of the sixties, seventies and eighties. For one thing, it may be said quiet accurately, that these momentous events marked the end of the Cold War and have all but shredded the canopy of the nuclear umbrella over mankind.
The Cold War was the most expensive war in history. R. Buckminster Fuller wrote in Grunch of Giants:
The power structure that kept the Cold War at that level of cost and intensity had been spearheaded by the Secret Team and its multinational covert operations, to wit:
This is the fundamental game of the Secret Team. They have this power because they control secrecy and secret intelligence and because they have the ability to take advantage of the most modern communications system in the world, of global transportation systems, of quantities of weapons of all kinds, and when needed, the full support of a world-wide U.S. military supporting base structure. They can use the finest intelligence system in the world, and most importantly, they have been able to operate under the canopy of an assumed, ever-present enemy called "Communism." It will be interesting to see what "enemy" develops in the years ahead. It appears that "UFO's and Aliens" are being primed to fulfill that role for the future. To top all of this, there is the fact that the CIA, itself, has assumed the right to generate and direct secret operations.
-- L. Fletcher Prouty
Alexandria, VA 1997
How many of us recall that early in June 1971 the official history of "The United States Involvement in Vietnam from World War II to the Present" burst upon the scene in several of the larger newspapers of this country? It was said that this enormous collection, given the name "The Pentagon Papers" of "37 studies and 15 collections of documents done in 43 volumes" had been secretly released to these newspapers by a young man, Daniel Ellsberg, who had stolen them despite their cloak of highest secrecy.
Furthermore, how many recall that the Director of the Study Task Force, Leslie H. Gelb, whom Secretary Robert McNamara had directed to head this task force was assigned to the office of the Assistant Secretary, International Security Affairs, under the Honorable Paul C. Warneke and that his immediate superior was the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Plans & Arms Control, Morton Halperin? Two important comments are to be derived from the introductory material published in the Senator Gravel Edition of The Pentagon Papers, Volume One:
Note: Mr. McNamara did not include the word "war" in his directive, nor did he use it in his recent book, In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam. What took place in Vietnam was not a "war" in the classic sense.
b) "The Pentagon Papers tell of the purposeful withholding and distortion of facts. There are no military secrets to be found here, only an appalling litany of faulty premises and questionable objectives, built one upon the other over the course of four administrations, and perpetuated today by a fifth administration", Mike Gravel, U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C. August 1971.
It is Mr. McNamara's direction to the Task Force that confirms the historical date, Sept. 2, 1945, as the beginning of the U.S. Armed Forces involvement in Vietnam. He recognized all too well that United States involvement in Vietnam had begun on that same date when World War II ended. There had been no hiatus in our military engagement in that extended conflict from "Pearl Harbor" in 1941 to that ignominious helicopter retreat from Saigon in 1975, and it had all been planned that way.
Few historians have noted the fact that initial plans for the United States role in Korea and Vietnam had been made at the "Big Four" Teheran Conference of Nov/Dec 1943, when Roosevelt, Churchill, Chiang Kai-Shek and Stalin met to discuss long range military plans to include the de-Colonialization of Southeast Asian states. (It is generally over-looked that Chiang Kai Shek was at Teheran for that most important meeting. This will be thoroughly discussed in this book, and will include a reference in a U.S. Government publication which confirms that fact. Also, I was ordered by the military to fly the Chinese delegation from Cairo to Teheran after the Cairo Conference in Oct 1943.)
These facts are of grave importance to an understanding of an accurate appraisal of what some now call "The Vietnam War" . . . despite the fact that by all conventional standards what took place during those hectic three decades in Indochina was certainly not a war. First of all this country had never established a "military objective" for the conflict in Viet Nam.
The reason, of course, was because of the realization that Ho Chi Minh's potential allies, Russia and China, had combat-ready nuclear weapons and most certainly possessed the option to employ them against us, either in the United States or in Southeast Asia, had they chosen to do so. As a result our combat commanders were prohibited from preparing and pursuing a bona fide military objective in Vietnam.
During a National Security Council Meeting, January 8, 1954 on the subject of "Significant Developments affecting U.S. Security" and with special emphasis on Southeast Asia, President Eisenhower said:
For himself, said the President with great force, he simply could not imagine the United States putting ground forces anywhere in Southeast Asia, except possibly in Malaya . . . to do this anywhere was simply beyond his contemplation. Indeed the key to winning this war was to get the Vietnamese to fight. There was just no sense in even talking about United States forces replacing the French in Indochina. If we did so, the Vietnamese could be expected to transfer their hatred of the French to us. I can not tell you, said the President with vehemence, how bitterly opposed I am to such a course of action. This war in Indochina would absorb our troops by divisions!
This remarkable comment by the man who had led U.S. Forces to victory in Europe during World War II marked a major turning point in Strategic War Planning both in the United States and the world. It must be noted that by Jan 8, 1954 President Eisenhower was fully cognizant of the fact that the Russians had already detonated the first portable, tactical Hydrogen Bomb. As a result, before the close of this memorable NSC meeting it was agreed that:
d. The National Security Council . . . requested the Department of Defense, in collaboration with the Central Intelligence Agency, urgently study and report to the Council all feasible further steps, short of the overt use of U.S. forces in combat, which the United States might take to assist in achieving the success of the NSC Action No. 1005 "Laniel-Navarre" Plan.
The President had put his opinion on the record, Jan 8, 1954. In spite of that, during the following meeting of the NSC, Jan 14, 1954, the Secretary of State John Foster Dulles made the following significant comment:
If we could carry on effective guerrilla operations against the new Vietminh government we should be able to make as much trouble for that government as they had made for our side . . . 
At the close of this January 14th meeting the "National Security Council . . . Agreed that the Director of Central Intelligence, in collaboration with the other appropriate departments and agencies, should develop plans, as suggested by the Secretary of State, for certain contingencies in Indochina." By the end of the month, it had been decided that Allen Dulles' choice for the head of the CIA's "Saigon Military Mission", Colonel Edward G. Lansdale would be sent to Saigon to establish that office by July 1, 1954.
Then on March 15, 1954 the National Security Council launched a major new covert counter-revolutionary, counter-insurgency program aimed at combatting the Communists, especially in the grey areas and behind the "Iron Curtain." As a result, NSC 5412 of March 15, 1954 marked the official recognition and sanctioning of a much larger program of anti-Communist covert activities in Indochina and throughout the world. In the interests of world peace and U.S. national security, the overt foreign activities of the U.S. Government should be supplemented by covert operations.
With this action the U.S. Government for the first time defined "Covert Operations" as:
All activities conducted pursuant to this directive which are so planned and executed that any U.S. Government responsibility for them is not evident to unauthorized persons and that if uncovered the U.S. Government can plausibly disclaim any responsibility for them. Such operations shall not include: armed conflict by recognized military forces, espionage and counterespionage, nor cover and deception for military operations.
This was a pivotal decision in the era of the international availability of the hydrogen bomb. It was not significant solely for the "Vietnam" era of 1954, but also for today . . . 1998 . . . as the nations of the world are discussing the build-up and strengthening of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. We continue to face the insoluble "Hydrogen Bomb Weapon" dilemma.
The cloud over-hanging both these NSC sessions of 1954, and the current NATO expansion talks of 1998 has been the same: "What is the strategic role of the Hydrogen Weapon in time of war?" Or to put it in its more basic form, "Can the Hydrogen Weapon be used in warfare, ever, in any capacity . . . victoriously?"
On the authority of Bernard J. O'Keefe, formerly Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of EG & G, Inc. one of the nation's leading high-technology companies, and the man who armed the first "Fat Man" five-foot-diameter implosion type Atomic Bomb that was dropped over Nagasaki during August 1945, stated:
Note carefully the sequence of dates above from the emphatic statement by Eisenhower on Jan 8, 1954 through to the National Security Council decision defining "Covert Operations" on March 15, 1954. These bracket the initial and operational Hydrogen bomb explosion dates by the Soviets on August 12, 1953 and the first U.S. shot on March 1, 1954.
As the world's military strategists noted those developments they knew all too well that "Conventional" warfare in any form that had been known before was no longer the final solution to international conflicts of any size. At the same time they were beginning to realize that these great "Fission-Fusion-Fission" hydrogen weapons would not resolve international disputes effectively either.
Bernard O'Keefe, one of the few men with a total, practical understanding of the hydrogen weapon, summed up this problem that faces the citizens of the entire world at the close of his book, Nuclear Hostages:
Only when we get economic cooperation can we hope to get political reconciliation. Only when a prosperous economy permits it, will the barriers to human rights of the police state begin to fall. Only when these things begin to happen can mutual understanding and mutual trust emerge. Only then can come meaningful disarmament. Only then, and generations away, can we realize the hopes for the world government, the ultimate solution to the nuclear threat.
Except for Mr. O'Keefe's 1983 words, the above is an outline of the thinking of World Leaders of the Mid-Fifties era. It may be noted that the alternative to that "War Planning" stalemate was first stated by the Dulles brothers team. They saw a future for "Covert Operations" as a potential alternative. This led to NSC's approval of CIA's Saigon Military Mission and to the most important document of those decades, NSC Directive #5412 of March 15, 1994 that became the official recognition and sanctioning of covert operations in Indochina and throughout the world. Such operations were required to have been "Approved and Directed" by the NSC, and specifically:
In other words, during this age of thermonuclear weapons, the United States would utilize covert operations under the control of the CIA. From that date on the CIA became:
During this period of the early Fifties, I was the Commanding Officer of the 99th Air Transport Squadron of the Military Air Transport Squadron in Tokyo with regularly scheduled flights to Honolulu on the East and across Southeast Asia to Saudi Arabia on the West. All during 1952-1954 my squadron operated in and out of Saigon weekly. As a result I became quite familiar with the troubled situation in that emerging country, later known as South Vietnam, first-hand; and with Edward G. Lansdale and his Saigon Military Mission (SMM).
It became clear that the CIA role in Indochina was to strengthen its SMM, to recruit as many Vietnamese as possible in order to assist Ngo Dinh Diem with the task of establishing a new state: South Vietnam.
I was transferred from Tokyo to the Armed Forces Staff College in Norfolk in 1954, and after that excellent course, transferred to the Pentagon. Shortly after reporting there I was informed by the Chief of Staff, U.S. Air Force, Gen. Thomas D. White that I had been selected to establish an Air Force office designed to operate under the provisions of NSC 5412 to "provide military support of the clandestine operations of the CIA." I was introduced to selected representatives of each Air Force staff section that would be involved in this new task, and then Mr. Allen Dulles, Director of Central Intelligence had me put through a complete indoctrination of his Agency, which ended with an escorted trip around the world to meet personally with CIA Station Chiefs of each country where there was clandestine activity. By the end of 1956, it had become clear to me and to my associates that the CIA was certainly the "Make War" branch of the government and that new "Secret Team" would be responsible for most "war-like" activity around the world . . . provided it had been directed by the National Security Council to do so.
This is the background of the nation's planning for "warfare" during this Nuclear era, and for the role of the military services in its support. This was my responsibility from 1955-1964 as my work was cycled first through the Air Force, then through the Office of the Secretary of State and finally through the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
L. Fletcher Prouty
Colonel, U.S. Air Force (Retired)
- Special Operations is a name given in most cases, but not always, to any clandestine, covert, undercover, or secret operations by the government or by someone, U.S. citizen or a foreign national . . . even in special cases a stateless professional, or U.S. or foreign activity or organization. It is usually secret and highly classified. It is to be differentiated from Secret intelligence and in a very parochial sense from Secret or Special Intelligence Operations.
- Foreign Relations of the United States: 1952-54, Volume XIII, Indochina, Part 1. Department of State Publication 9210, Washington, D.C. p.949.
- Ibid., p.954.
- Ibid., p.963.
- Ibid., p.964.
- The U.S. Government and the Vietnam War, Part I, 1945-1961, prepared for the Committee on Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate, by the Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, printed by the U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, 1984. See Appendix C on page 330.