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John McCloy entered Amherst College in 1912 and supported himself by waiting on tables. After graduating cum laude in 1916 he went on to the Harvard Law School.
Interrupting his education in 1917 to enter the Army, he became a captain of field artillery and served at the front in France in World War I. He returned to Harvard in 1919 and, after getting his law degree in 1921, practiced for five years with the New York firm of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft.
In 1925 he moved to Cravath, de Gersdoff, Swaine & Wood, another Wall Street firm, where he became a partner in 1929. Recognized as bright and perservering, he was put in charge of the Black Tom
case for Bethlehem Steel, one of the firm's clients.
The case involved damages incurred in a 1916 explosion at a Hoboken munitions factory. Mr. McCloy carried the case along for nine years, hunting down clues in Baltimore, Vienna, Warsaw and Dublin
and proving that German agents had caused the explosion. The case was settled when the Mixed Claims Commission at The Hague found Germany responsible for the blast. Mr. McCloy's tenacity and legal
acumen were highly esteemed in the profession, and these traits brought him to the attention of Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson in 1940.
The contribution made by American capitalism to German war preparations before 1940 can only be described as phenomenal. It was certainly crucial to German military capabilities. For instance, in 1934 Germany produced domestically only 300,000 tons of natural petroleum products and less than 800,000 tons of synthetic gasoline; the balance was imported. Yet, ten years later in World War II, after transfer of the Standard Oil of New Jersey hydrogenation patents and technology to I. G. Farben (used to produce synthetic gasoline from coal), Germany produced about 6 1/2 million tons of oil — of which 85 percent (5 1/2 million tons) was synthetic oil using the Standard Oil hydrogenation process. Moreover, the control of synthetic oil output in Germany was held by the I. G. Farben subsidiary, Braunkohle-Benzin A. G., and this Farben cartel itself was created in 1926 with Wall Street financial assistance.
Moreover, American assistance to Nazi war efforts extended into other areas. The two largest tank producers in Hitler's Germany were Opel, a wholly owned subsidiary of General Motors (controlled by the J.P. Morgan firm), and the Ford A. G. subsidiary of the Ford Motor Company of Detroit. The Nazis granted tax-exempt status to Opel in 1936, to enable General Motors to expand its production facilities. General Motors obligingly reinvested the resulting profits into German industry. Henry Ford was decorated by the Nazis for his services to Naziism. (See p. 93.) Alcoa and Dow Chemical worked closely with Nazi industry with numerous transfers of their domestic U.S. technology. Bendix Aviation, in which the J.P. Morgan-controlled General Motors firm had a major stock interest, supplied Siemens & Halske A. G. in Germany with data on automatic pilots and aircraft instruments. As late as 1940, in the "unofficial war," Bendix Aviation supplied complete technical data to Robert Bosch for aircraft and diesel engine starters and received royalty payments in return.
The planes that made up the Luftwaffe needed tetraethyl lead gasoline in order to fly. In 1938, Walter C. Teagle, then president of Standard Oil, helped Hermann Schmitz of I.G. Farben to acquire 500 tons of tetraethyl lead from Ethyl, a British Standard subsidiary. A year later, Schmitz returned to London and obtained an additional 15 million dollars worth of tetraethyl lead which was to be turned into aviation gasoline back in Germany.In 1938, Walter C. Teagle, then president of Standard Oil, helped Hermann Schmitz of I.G. Farben to acquire 500 tons of tetraethyl lead from Ethyl, a British Standard subsidiary. A year later, Schmitz returned to London and obtained an additional 15 million dollars worth of tetraethyl lead which was to be turned into aviation gasoline back in Germany.
Quite apart from this governmental work, The Rockefeller Foundation, during the past few years, has spent more than 1.000.000$ in Central America alone, in teaching the people of those five republics the laws of sanitation and how to combat hookworm, malaria, and other tropical diseases. On my recent stay in Managua, the capitol of Nicaragua, I was able to drink pure water because of the Rockefeller Foundation has thus assisted in the establishment of proper water supply for that city
On 9th April 1944, Rudolf Vrba and Alfred Wetzler, managed to escape from Auschwitz. The two men spent eleven days walking and hiding before they got back to Slovakia. Vrba and Wetzler made contact with the local Jewish Council. They provided details of the Holocaust that was taking place in Eastern Europe. They also gave an estimate of the number of Jews killed in Auschwitz between June 1942 and April 1944: about 1.75 million.
On 29th June, 1944, the 32-page Vrba-Wetzler Report was sent to John McCloy. Attached to it was a note requesting the bombing of vital sections of the rail lines that transported the Jews to Auschwitz. McCloy investigated the request and then told his personal aide, Colonel Al Gerhardt, to "kill" the matter.
McCloy received several requests to take military action against the death camps. He always sent the following letter: "The War Department is of the opinion that the suggested air operation is impracticable. It could be executed only by the diversion of considerable air support essential to the success of our forces now engaged in decisive operations and would in any case be of such very doubtful efficacy that it would not amount to a practical project."
In March 1950, McCloy was given the task of appointing a new head of the West German Secret Service. After discussing the matter with Frank Wisner of the CIA, McCloy decided on Reinhard Gehlen, the Nazi war criminal. This resulted in protests from the Soviet Union government who wanted to try Gehlen for war crimes.
During the Second World War Gehlen served Adolf Hitler as head of military intelligence for the Eastern Front. It was in this post he had created a right-wing group made up of anti-Soviet Ukrainians and other Slavic nationalists into small armies and guerrilla units to fight the Soviets. The group carried out some of the most extreme atrocities that took place during the war. Gehlen was also responsible for a brutal interrogation program of Soviet prisoners of war.
"I can find no personal guilt in defendant Krupp, based upon the charges in this case, sufficient to distinguish him above all others sentenced by the Nuremberg courts. As one of the compelling motives of this review is to introduce a certain uniformity in the sentences, I have determined to eliminate this feature from the defendant Krupp's sentence..."
By 1950 the United States was involved in fighting the Cold War. In June of that year, North Korean troops invaded South Korea. It was believed that German steel was needed for armaments for the Korean War and in October, McCloy lifted the 11 million ton limitation on German steel production. McCloy also began pardoning German industrialists who had been convicted at Nuremberg. This included Fritz Ter Meer, the senior executive of I. G. Farben, the company that produced Zyklon B poison for the gas chambers. He was also Hitler's Commissioner of for Armament and War Production for the chemical industry during the war.
It was Eisenhower who first introduced McCloy to Sid Richardson and Clint Murchison. Soon afterwards, Chase Manhattan Bank began providing the men with low-interest loans. In 1954 McCloy worked with Richardson, Murchison and Robert R. Young in order to take control of the New York Central Railroad Company. The activities of these men caused a great deal of concern and the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) eventually held hearings about what was described as "highly improper" behaviour. The takeover was a disaster and Young committed suicide and New York Central eventually went bankrupt.
According to Jonathan Kwitny (Endless Enemies) from 1955 to 1963, Richardson, Murchison, and Rockefeller interests (arranged by John McCloy) and the International Basic Economy Corporation (100% owned by the Rockefeller family) gave "away a $900,000 slice of their Texas-Louisiana oil property" to Robert B. Anderson, Eisenhower's Secretary of the Treasury.
At a meeting with J. Lee Rankin on 22nd January, 1964, McCloy was told that according to the Texas attorney general, Oswald had been an undercover agent of the FBI since September 1962. According to Rankin, his agent number was 179 and was being paid $200 a month.McCloy was also in communication with the Time-Life executive, C. D. Jackson, about the Zapruder film. Jackson sent McCloy blown-up transparencies of the film that revealed that John F. Kennedy and Connally had been hit by different bullets. McCloy also questioned Connally’s doctor at the hospital, who was also of the opinion that he had been hit by a separate bullet from Kennedy.
Rockefeller also established the highly secret, Project Alpha. The main objective was to persuade Carter to provide a safe haven for Mohammad Reza Pahlavi (code-named "Eagle"). McCloy, Rockefeller and Kissinger were referred to as the "Triumvirate". Rockefeller used money from Chase Manhattan Bank to pay employees of Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy who worked on the project. Some of this money was used to persuade academics to write articles defending the record of Pahlavi. For example, George Lenczowski, professor emeritus at the University of California, was paid $40,000 to write a book with the "intention to answer the shah's critics".
Kissinger telephoned Zbigniew Brzezinski, National Security Advisor to Carter, on 7th April, 1979, and berated the president for his emphasis on human rights, which he considered to be "amateurish" and "naive". Brzezinski suggested he talked directly to Jimmy Carter. Kissinger called Carter and arranged for him to meet David Rockefeller, two days later. Gerald Ford also contacted Carter and urged him to "stand by our friends".
In October, 1979, David Rockefeller's assistant, Joseph V. Reed, called the State Department and claimed that the Shah had cancer and needed immediate treatment in a U.S. medical facility. Cyrus Vance now told Carter that the Shah should be allowed in as a matter of "common decency". Carter's chief of staff, Hamilton Jordan, argued that if the Shah died outside the United States, Kissinger and his friends would say "that first you caused the Shah's downfall and now you've killed him." Carter replied: "What are you guys going to advise me to do if they overrun our embassy and take our people hostage?"
Faced with the now unanimous opposition of his closest advisers, the president reluctantly agreed to admit the Shah. He arrived at New York Hospital on 22nd October, 1979. Joseph V. Reed circulated a memo to McCloy and other members of Project Alpha: "Our mission impossible is completed. My applause is like thunder." Less than two weeks later, Iranian militants stormed the U.S. Embassy in Teheran and took hostage 66 Americans. Thus beginning the Iranian Hostage Crisis.