This lecture delineates the profound connections between Wall Street and U.S. intelligence. Specifically, the talk highlights the disproportionate influence of key Wall Street law firms upon the formation and development of both the OSS (Office of Strategic Services), America’s World War II civilian intelligence service and its successor, the Central Intelligence Agency. Men such as William Donovan, Allen Dulles and Frank Wisner were both key intelligence officers and powerful Wall Street lawyers. Along with men like John Foster Dulles (Allen’s brother and partner in Sullivan & Cromwell), Carmel Offie, William Bullitt, George Kennan, Paul Nitze and James Forrestal, they did much to shape the history of the 20th century.
The discussion begins with the Versailles Treaty concluding the First World War. Key figures in the machinations of the U.S. delegation to the Versailles negotiations figure prominently in the development of U.S. intelligence and national security policy for decades to follow. They also played a primary role in assisting the development of international fascism, before, during and after World War II. After Versailles, John Foster Dulles (a key member of the American delegation), acting as Special Counsel to the Dawes Committee, helped arrange the loans that re-capitalized Germany under the Dawes Plan. Foster’s prominent Wall Street law firm, the above-mentioned Sullivan & Cromwell, profited handsomely from those loans, as well. Dulles’ brother Allen also practiced for Sullivan & Cromwell.
The firms capitalized under the Dawes and Young plans were instrumental in promoting the rise of Hitler and creating his war machine. Mussolini, Franco and Poland’s Pilsudski were among the European fascists who benefited from the largesse of the Wall Street Elite.
The lecture highlights the role in America’s World War II intelligence service–the Office of Strategic Services–of Allen Dulles and another prominent Wall Street lawyer, Frank Wisner. Dulles served as head of the Berne (Switzerland) office of OSS and later in Berlin after the war. In both positions, Dulles interfaced closely with members of the German industrial and financial elite with whom he had worked while serving with Sullivan & Cromwell. Through these contacts, Dulles was instrumental in helping to preserve this German elite after the war.
One of Dulles’ principal contacts was Gero von Gaevernitz, who played an important role in introducing German spymaster Reinhard Gehlen to the U.S. intelligence operatives who proved instrumental in bringing the general and his organization into the American intelligence apparat. The lecture highlights the work for both OSS and CIA of Frank Wisner, a partner with Carter, Ledyard and Milburn, another powerful Wall Street Law Firm that was the counsel for the New York Stock Exchange. (Later, when Wisner went to work for the CIA as Deputy Director of Central Intelligence, another Deputy Director, Harding Jackson, was also a former partner in Carter, Ledyard and Milburn.) Both Dulles and Wisner worked intimately with the Gehlen organization when the ex-OSS duo “graduated” to posts with the CIA.
The lecture delineates John Foster Dulles’ role as Secretary of State under Eisenhower, when Allen was Director of the CIA. George Kennan was the author of the “containment strategy,” a key element of American Cold War policy. As a diplomat serving in Moscow prior to World War II, Kennan became an intimate of Gustav Hilger, a key Third Reich diplomat who worked for the US after World War II.
Lecture Highlights Include: discussion of OSS chief William Donovan’s role as an anti-Bolshevik emissary of American industrialist J.P. Morgan in the 1920’s; Donovan’s work as a key Wall Street lawyer prior to the war; Paul Nitze and James Forrestal’s work for Dillon, Read (deeply involved in funding the Third Reich); Nitze’s and Forrestal’s post-war role as anti-communist crusaders; the role of Sir William Stephenson in developing the OSS (Stephenson was Britain’s primary spymaster in the Americas during World War II); Stephenson’s alliance with key Morgan associate Edward Stettinius; the role of Ian Fleming (the author of the James Bond novels) in aiding Stephenson’s intelligence work in the U.S. (Recorded at Foothill College in 11/22/1997.)