Why the Communists are Winning as of 1976...
Changes brewing in D.C.
MONAZITE SANDS AND EISENHOWER POLITICS
My next task for Lovett came about after I had left the Defense Department. It will be recalled that at the dinner party which Senator McMahon gave to discuss the Indian situation, I had told the Senators that a monazite processing plant would probably cost about a million dollars.
In the fall of 1952, the Government was prepared to make a more generous cash outlay, with Lovett’s office being in charge of negotiations. My instructions, in a memo from Lovett, dated September 16, 1952, read:
“The Department of Defense will make available out of ‘Contingencies, Defense’ up to $1,400,000 which may be used in your discretion, for one or more of the following purposes: (1) as investment capital or as partial and participating aid in setting up the proposed monazite processing plant and getting it into operation; (2) for the purchase of thorium oxide, at prices representing a fair cost of materials, cost of processing, and a reasonable profit; and (3) for the purchase of or option to purchase monazite sands and rare earth compounds.”
Arriving in Paris in September, Edna and I found the hotels full and obtained rooms at the Trianon Palace in Versailles, the headquarters area of SHAPE - Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe. The lobby was small and unattended. As we entered it, the phone in a corner of the room was ringing. Since no employees were visible, I answered it. A voice said in English: “I would like to speak to Ambassador Pawley.”
“Speaking,” I replied, to the amazement of my old friend and right-hand man in Brazil, Vernon Walters, today (1976) a 3-star general and deputy chief of the CIA. He relayed a message from General Gruenther, deputy commander-in-chief of SHAPE, that Marshall was touring North Africa on an inspection trip of the cemeteries of American soldiers who had died in World War II. The Marshalls hoped that we could join them.
Thanks to Gruenther’s loan of his airplane, we were able to meet them in Naples and fly the next day to Tunis. The trip treated us to such fascinating sidelights as a luncheon at the home of the Bey of Tunis, a visit to Carthage and the home where General Marshall met with Churchill during the War. On our return with the Marshalls to the French Riviera, Edna and I discovered that Prime Minister Winston Churchill had invited General Marshall and his party to dinner at 10 Downing Street.
I had never met Churchill and considered him, together with Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, the greatest political giant of my time. Edna and were very disappointed that we could not meet this great man because of my previous appointment to meet with India’s two top atomic energy experts regarding our requirement for monazite sands.
We went to New Delhi, and there the representatives of the Navy, which had been charged by Lovett with preparing, executing and administering all monazite contracts, met with me. My instructions were to try to obtain options to purchase the sands, and to conclude a commitment from India “to prevent ore and compounds of uranium and thorium from reaching Iron Curtain countries.”
The experts with whom I was expecting to negotiate were Dr. H.J. Bhabha and Dr. S.S. Bhatnagar. Bhabha, a brilliant young atomic scientist, was chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission of India. Bhatnagar was an older man in charge of scientific development and was a cabinet member.
Before I left the States, Senator Clinton Anderson had offered twenty-to-one odds against my chances of budging Nehru. It appeared that he was right when Nehru greeted me with the news that he had not been notified of my arrival in advance - hardly an auspicious beginning. Accordingly, he had sent Bhabha on a mission to Moscow, and Bhatnagar to one in London. Senator Anderson’s gloomy odds looked even better when Nehru told me flatly that under no circumstances would he permit any thorium to be exported to either the Soviet Union or to the Western Powers, since the material might be used to manufacture atomic bombs.
“Sir,” I replied, “We have no intention of making nuclear weapons from any Indian raw materials, and I will be happy to give you that assurance in writing. We want the monazite sands for experimental purposes only, some of them medical. The results could be of immense benefit to your country as well as to mine.”
Nehru’s initial skepticism thawed as I finally managed to convince him that I was telling the truth. He agreed to release 500 tons of monazite sands. Though the amount was small quantitatively, it was a breakthrough diplomatically. I began to breathe easier still, when he asked me to fly to London, where Bhatnagar would be instructed to remain until my arrival. Bhabha, also, would be ordered to leave Moscow and join us.
On October 18, 1952, five days after my conference with Nehru, my staff, consisting of H.B. Gross, N.P. Cassidy, J.B. Hamilton and A.V. Corry, and I met on two occasions with Dr. Bhatnagar and N.R. Pillai in India House, London, with Dr. Bhabha joining us later.
I explained that the American supply position for monazite sands had eased. Originally, we had wanted 2,500 tons of unprocessed material annually; our requirements were now more like only 1,600 tons. Bhatnagar said that such an amount would have to be approved at the highest level. He urged me to return to India to convince Nehru of the economic appeal of the proposal.
We also discussed the establishment of a second Indian plant to process monazite and agreed that its construction cost would be paid approximately one- third in dollars, one-third in sterling, and one-third in rupees. I made a point of recommending that American technical assistance take the form of a contract with a private U.S. corporation rather than the hiring of individual American technicians by the Indian Government agency concerned.
Before Dr. Bhabha, who was probably India’s most outstanding atomic authority, could participate actively and constructively in our upcoming talks in Washington, he would have to be cleared under our laws, since he had been a Communist in his youth. We managed to get a special dispensation and he was permitted to enter the United States. The Washington talks proved to be time-consuming, but we finally reached agreement with India that the United States would import all of that country’s surplus thorium and substantial quantities of her rare earths.
We hurried home from India to continue campaigning for the election of our good friend General Eisenhower, who had been nominated for President on the Republican ticket.
During the months from January to May 1952, While Edna and I were in Paris, we had been privileged to see a great deal of General Eisenhower and Mamie, meeting them for lunch, dinner and on other occasions. I carefully avoided putting Ike on the spot with political questions, mindful of his military mission for the President, and knowing him by now well enough to sense that with him the topic was out of bounds.
One day as I was leaving SHAPE Headquarters, Ike flagged me down and invited me to lunch, ushering me into his staff car. To my surprise, and ignoring the big ears of his chauffeur and aide, he opened up with:
“Bill, let’s talk politics.”
“I’ve been ready for a long time,” I said. “I just wanted to be sure that you were ready to hear my views.”
“All right,” he said, “what are they?”
“You can’t hide the Washington Monument,” I said. “There is a virtual mandate all over America to have you drafted, willing or not, for the Presidency. Taft is right in there, too, but the consensus is that if you are willing to meet with some of our key political people, you’re home free.”
“But, Bill,” he demurred, “I’m over here as a soldier. It’s my duty to stay out of politics.”
I mulled this over very carefully before telling him:
“If it’s all right with you, may I make some discreet inquiries without using your name?”
“That’s up to you,” he said.
“Fine,” I said. “Edna is going to be out for lunch tomorrow and, if you can spare President Kevin McCann (on leave from Defiance College), he and I might just come up with something.”
McCann and I met next day at the Ritz and put our heads together.
I phoned Governor Thomas E. Dewey at Albany and asked him whether he could arrange to have Herbert Brownell, Jr., spend a week with me in Paris. I wanted Brownell to have leisurely talks with Ike about the desirability of his candidacy for the Republican nomination, during which he must not take “no” for an answer. Dewey replied that he wanted to sound out the “Draft Ike Committee” first: Lucius Clay, Henry Cabot Lodge, Paul Hoffman and other key Americans.
Since I had been a lifelong Democrat, I was not on intimate terms with many Republican big wheels, but I was aware that Arthur E. Summerfield in Flint, Michigan, was a prime mover in the party and an active and effective campaigner. Phoning Flint, I found that Summerfield was recuperating in Florida from an operation. In a long phone conversation, I invited him to come to Paris. In the event that he swung to Ike as a candidate, I suggested, he might than want to bring over forty or fifty grass roots Republican leaders, from various states - at my expense - to form their own firsthand impressions of the war hero’s potential as our chief executive.
“You probably know, Mr. Pawley,” Summerfield answered, “that I’m a two-time loser on Dewey, and I’m not quite ready to make a decision. Also, I’m not completely recovered, so do you mind if I think this over and let you know my decision?”
Next day I received a telegram from Dewey: REGRET UNABLE ANSWER YOUR PROPOSAL AT THIS TIME.
This negative response scarcely prepared me for an unexpected guest, two weeks later, when Edna and I were invited to dinner with the Eisenhowers. Among those present were the Summerfields. Ike simple bowled them over, although Summerfield was as strong Taft supporter. However, as chairman of the Michigan Republican Committee, Summerfield had told its members that they were free to take their pick among Taft, Stassen, Warren or Eisenhower. He would abide by their decision.
Shortly afterward, when we were dining again with Ike and Mamie, the Herbert Brownells were present. Brownell and Summerfield became the spark plugs in Ike’s subsequent campaign. Ike did not try to “sell” himself, for he did not have to. It was a case of two men, like scouts in pro baseball, recognizing a future Most Valuable Player, in college, when they saw one. I could not have cared less that they did not come to Paris under my sponsorship. What counted was that they came.
When Ike’s candidacy was launched, my chores in France were over, and I was free to devote myself to a vigorous movement in his cause in Virginia.
We build an Eisenhower-for-President organization for Northern Virginia on a county and precinct level, and worked to get out the vote with telephone volunteers, car transportation and even baby sitters - the works.
Eisenhower then asked me to pitch in and help organize his campaign in Florida also, which I did. The Eisenhower-Nixon ticket carried both states, upsetting their traditional loyalty to the Democrats. Virginia, for example, had gone Democratic in every election since Woodrow Wilson’s day, except for the Hoover-Smith contest of 1928. Florida went for Ike overwhelmingly.
When the returns were in, George Messersmith, who was in business in Mexico City, wrote me to describe the trepidation and even panic which Eisenhower’s victory had caused in Latin America:
“I think I can assure you that the politicians in every one of these Latin countries are scared stiff; the election came to them as a tremendous shock. They were sure that Stevenson would be elected. They were sure that a period of greater hand-outs was coming. They were sure that they would be able to get away with almost anything in the way of discrimination. Now they feel that a nice party, in which they got all the free liquor, is about over, and they are beginning to think that perhaps what they have done to the big brother has not been just right.”
George agreed with me that Ike was entering the Presidency “with many great qualifications for a tremendous task.” He was particularly happy over the selection of John Foster Dulles as Secretary of State, and also welcomed the presence of his brother Allen Dulles as head of the CIA. “As long as Truman and Acheson were running things in the State Department, I had a sense of hopelessness,” he declared.
But Messersmith went on to say that the removal of Acheson and the presence of Dulles would not of itself eliminate the dry rot. From Mexico City on December 1, 1952, he wrote to me:
“In spite of his competence, he (Dulles) is going to need all kinds of good people around him. There will have to be better means for formulating and coordinating policy; there will have to be better men in the State Department and in the field to interpret and implement policy. There will have to be not only the best available men in the top jobs of the Department, but you and I know how important it is to get more simplification and unity in the Department, and to get rid of simply hordes of people there on secondary and lower levels, who have been making policy on their own and in many cases thwarting their superiors.
“I should say there are at least 30% too many people in the State Department and the field establishments for proper conduct of the work and there must be a cleaning out, but the most important thing is to get the right people into the proper positions, not only at the top, but on the secondary and lower levels. You and I who have worked on the practical implementation of policy know how important this is if policy is to be effective, no matter how good the policy may be.”
I agreed with George that “a complete house cleaning in State and other departments and agencies was a must.” As for Latin America: “Goodwill cannot be bought with money handouts, nor is it wise anyway. What we have been doing is building twenty socialistic states within our own hemisphere. The approach must be a different one. We must create a climate for the free flow of private investments, well protected against the abuses of the past.”
I had, as I wrote Messersmith, “stayed away from the New York Republican headquarters and from the Washington headquarters because I am seeking no position with the new administration. I worked like the devil for their success and I am again proud to say I am an American.”
When former Governor Sherman Adams was brought in as Ike’s principal aide, it became more and more difficult to see the President. Adams evidently resented anyone who had known Ike intimately prior to his move into the White House, and did his level best to isolate the President from his old friends. On the few occasions that I managed to see Ike in the Oval Room, Adams first endeavored to side-track me by asking that I tell him what was on my mind, so that he could inform the President.
But there was a way around the Sherman Adams roadblock at Ike’s frequent stag dinners. I seized these openings for at least a brief chat on matters of national concern. After Adams’ departure under a cloud, the President became more accessible.
It had been my secret hope that he would give me some kind of chance to strike a blow in the continuing Cold War.
He did not disappoint me.
On May 16, 1954, the phone rang at my home in Miami Beach. A voice informed me that the President would like to talk to me in about half an hour. I remained in the house, awaiting the call with a tingle of anticipation.
The call was just as I had hoped. Could I come immediately to Washington on an urgent and confidential matter? The President would arrange to have me met at the airport. As soon as I could conclude the necessary arrangements, I called back and informed him that Edna and I would arrive in Washington at nine o’clock the next evening.
I learned that I would be met by Henry Holland, Assistant Secretary of State for Latin American Affairs, and my old friend, Walter Donnelly, who had resigned as High Commissioner to Germany and had accepted a position with U.S. Steel as their Latin American representative, stationed in Caracas. Now I caught the scent of real action. Whatever the project was, two important individuals had been selected.
Holland and Donnelly accompanied us to the Mayflower Hotel, and the three of us talked until two in the morning.
The subject matter was Guatemala, a small but currently significant Central American country in which the Communists had recently seized power. Unlike some of his successors, Eisenhower was not about to take so open a challenge lying down. He recognized immediately that any Soviet-dominated regime in the Americas was a provocative violation of the Monroe Doctrine and of the Rio treaty, and other agreements which I have already described. Patriotic Guatemalans were now pleading for our help in the violent crisis.
Under the reign of Dictator Stalin, who died in 1953, the Soviet Union had been cautious and circumspect about moving into countries which the Red Army was unable to dominate by proximity. But, over Molotov’s objections, Stalin’s successors had been espousing the rasher policy of championing “national liberation movements,” with the risk of direct confrontations with the United States in areas outside of the Soviet sphere of influence.
Guatemala had been chosen as one of the first guinea pigs in the Western Hemisphere. It was Eisenhower’s thinking that his brother Milton, Donnelly and I should be in charge of studying all requests for assistance coming from a group of beleaguered Guatemalans under Colonel Castillo Armas who had been forced into exile.
Our first job would be to get reliable facts. What were the capabilities of the insurgents? How many men could they recruit? What equipment would they need? What was the overall picture?
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