Nixon: Man Behind the Mask - Gary Allen

The Pachyderms Return

During the election campaign many influential Conservatives were approached by Nixon emissaries and told in knowing confidential tones that, after "Dick" was elected, "for every Liberal brought in the front door, seven Conservatives would be brought in the back door." Most Conservatives hopefully accepted this promise, many, because of past experience, against their better judgment. In reality the reverse has proven to be true. While a few Conservative advisers are dangled (like so many charms on a bracelet) before the increasingly incredulous Americanists, the status quo has prevailed over the Liberal bureaucracy, while Nixon's "good grey men" dutifully attempt to apply the same type of business efficiency to socialism that their counterparts in Germany applied to Hitler's concentration camps. And, we might add, the same morality applies in both cases.

Shortly after his election Richard Nixon assembled a brain trust to staff the new Republican administration. The ideological make-up of the brain trusters was to be reflected in the appointments they made.

One of the key men working behind the scenes for Nixon on the selection of talent to staff the new administration was Joseph E. Johnson, a member of the board of directors of the Council on Foreign Relations and president of the grossly misnamed Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Johnson is a former chief assistant to, and close friend of, Soviet spy Alger Hiss. When he was indicted. Hiss was president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; he was succeeded by Joseph E. Johnson.

According to internationally respected journalist Edward Hunter, Johnson was "actively engaged in preparing alternative Republican personalities to replace top Democratic party officials," in a Nixon reorganization "to bring in precisely those Republicans as successors who are most similar to those being displaced." Since Richard Nixon was partially responsible for the unmasking of Hiss, it is incredibly ironic that he should pick Hiss's successor to help staff a Republican administration.

Johnson was chairman of a conference held in the State Department on November 14-15, 1968, by the American Foreign Service Association. Hunter stated: "The theme underlying the two days of speeches and private discussions was the retention of power through personal selection."

Those attending the conference included such familiar Establishmentarians as Adam Yarmolinsky, Herman Kahn, Doak Barnett, Arthur Larson, R. Richard Rubottom Jr., and Charles E. ("Chip") Bohlen. Nicholas Katzenbach, who at that time had announced his resignation but was later retained, attended as representative of Secretary of State Rusk. A laugh greeted Katzenbach's salutation to "fellow officers and fellow Republicans." Former Young Communist Leaguer Adam Yarmolinsky, who, according to U.S. News & World Report, had been responsible for securing the appointment of Robert Strange McNamara to the position of Secretary of Defense, discussed the retention of a class of appointees developed by the Kennedys called the "In-and-Outers." Yarmolinsky pointed out that a procedure must be assured by which these persons could continue to move between official government posts and related jobs outside, as in graduate schools and "think factories."

On December 7, 1968, the AP noted that another of Mr. Nixon's chief talent scouts was Dr. Glenn Olds, who (said Human Events on November 23, 1969) conferred over appointments for the Administration with Adam Yarmolinsky. Yarmolinsky, the son of two well-known comrades and a key figure in the Kennedy administration, is now a professor at Harvard, where he once led the Young Communist League. No doubt Yarmolinsky had some fascinating suggestions for Olds. Human Events lamented:

"Dr. Glenn Olds, a chief talent scout for the Nixon Administration, continues his liberal ways. Having previously suggested that Nixon tap LBJ rejects Robert McNamara and Arthur Goldberg for the Cabinet, Olds has also recommended that the Presidentelect bring George Ball back into the government.

"Dr. Olds says he "was involved in helping to get the Peace Corps going"; he also worked with Sargent Shriver in setting up VISTA. Just how he became a Nixon talent scout is a mystery. Old's own explanation was rather hazy: "Mr. Nixon said, 'Glenn, I don't want you to be concerned with political partisanship.'"

The man in charge of top Nixon appointments was an international banker named Peter Flanigan. Stuart Loory noted of him, in the Los Angeles Times of March 3, 1969:

"The keeper of the document known in the Nixon Administration as 'the Plumb Book,' one of the most powerful men in the capital during these early days of the new presidency, has no official title, draws no salary and is preparing to leave town as quietly as he came.

"He is Peter M. Flanigan, the man who has directed the talent search for all the top-level positions—cabinet officers, their deputies and the occupants of slots on all the important boards and commissions in Washington."

Instead of leaving town, Flanigan joined the White House staff. He is a senior partner in the international banking firm of Dillon, Reed & Co., where he works for JFK's Secretary of the Treasury, C. Douglas Dillon, a member of the board of directors of the Council on Foreign Relations. In the 1960 campaign Flanigan was chairman of the Citizens for Nixon organization. Wrote Loory:

"While he worked for Nixon last year, a more senior partner in his firm, former Treasury Secretary C. Douglas Dillon, worked hard promoting the candidacy of New York Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller for the Republican nomination."

Columnist Loory's description of Flanigan suggested that he was playing Colonel House to Nixon's Woodrow Wilson:

"He was never appointed to a government position. Yet his office can be reached quickly by calling the White House switchboard. One White House official calls Flanigan's relationship to the White House 'the Czar' and says objections to it were raised shortly after the inauguration. The objections were considered and rejected, however . .

"And along with submitting a sampling of evaluations by others to the President, Flanigan also expresses his own opinion on each applicant. And as an aide said, 'His power of suggestion is considerable.'"

Flanigan did not exactly lean over backwards to bring Conservatives into the administration. A year and a half later Ralph de Toledano noted:

"In fact, a quick look around official Washington shows that, with a few exceptions, the people who laid it on the line for Mr. Nixon over the last two decades are conspicuously absent. It could, of course, be that these old battlers for Nixon lack the qualifications for White House positions—or that Peter Magnus Flanigan, the patronage-and-knife-wielder in residence, has discovered that they all have political bad breath.

"However, the absence of the old Nixon stalwarts goes beyond these personal considerations. For they represent, ideologically speaking, the millions of Americans who put Mr. Nixon in office and who are expected in November to give him a Republican Senate and House. These Americans made Mr. Nixon, but they have, in effect, lost their franchise."

Yet another of the President's top procurers of talent for the administration was Leonard Garment, a former Nixon law partner, who, according to the Wall Street Journal of August 12, 1968, ". . . considered himself a very liberal Democrat—until his conversion to the Nixon candidacy." Garment's job was to recruit non-Republican Leftists into the administration. Evans and Novak wrote in the Washington Post on November 8, 1968:

"Nixon aide Leonard Garment, a political liberal in Nixon's law firm, has been exploring the ranks of liberal Democrats and some New-Left thinkers to cull ideas and size up personalities . . ."

The Los Angeles Times of May 24, 1969, in an article titled "Outsider with Inside Ties," said of Leonard Garment:

"There are times in the White House when the discussion among President Nixon's staff reaches a point where someone will say: 'What does Len think about this?' So someone will pick up a phone, dial 298-5970, and get Leonard Garment . . . and, if necessary. Garment can get from his desk chair across the street and through the south-west gate of the White House (where he is not likely to be spotted entering) within a few minutes to render his advice in person.

"Garment's name appears on no White House roster. He is not on federal salary. Yet he is one of the key men in the Nixon Administration. He needs no clearance to get through the gate. He wears no Secret Service badge as other visitors must . . . Garment studiously avoids interviews, preferring to stay as far behind the scenes as possible . . .

"After the election, he stayed on in a small office at campaign headquarters helping put the new administration together . . ."

That half-block walk must have been getting to be too much. According to columnist Victor Riesel in the Indianapolis Star of July 21, 1969, Garment, after returning from the Moscow Film Festival, moved into the White House and, said U.S. News & World Report, was regarded as Nixon's "No. 1 idea man." "Officially," wrote Riesel, "Garment is special counsel to the President on the arts, volunteerism and minorities—reminiscent of a [Franklin] Rooseveltian aide, Dave Niles." (David K. Niles was a White House contact man for Soviet agents.)

Leonard Garment has been called Nixon's Harry Hopkins—since Hopkins was for all practical purposes a Soviet agent. Garment is currently in charge of the Washington branch of Nixon's law firm, but none of the Liberals who opposed Judge Haynsworth's confirmation to the Supreme Court bench have said anything about Garment's flagrant conflict of interest.

James Reston (CFR) inadvertently revealed that Robert Anderson (CFR), Ike's Secretary of the Treasury, a member of the Business Advisory Council—which comprises the hierarchy of the CFR—and a partner of the Insider international banking firm of Carl M. Loeb, Rhoades and Co., was sneaking in and out of Nixon's apartment, obviously wanting not to be seen. Reston wrote:

"It is a fascinating parade—from old-fashioned Chippendale Republicans like Everett McKinley Dirksen to functional modern Democratic types like Patrick Moynihan of M.I.T. Most of them [those attending sessions at which appointments are discussed] come out of Nixon's quarters saying that it was all very interesting, and some of them, like Robert Anderson, slip down the freight elevator out of sight . . . "

Two other advisers from the campaign believed to have played a part in staffing the Nixon administration are J. Irwin Miller (CFR), head of Cummins Engine Co., and Kingman Brewster (CFR), president of Yale University. Miller was the first layman to ascend to the presidency of the politically-powerful National Council of Churches and was called by Esquire magazine the man most qualified to be President of the United States.

He was a backer of the "poor people's army" that invaded Washington during 1968. Miller, who has always been a Rockefeller man, served as chairman of a special presidential panel that recommended liberalization of U.S. trade with the Communists. Both Miller and Brewster have ties with the Ford Foundation: Miller is a member of its board of trustees, and Brewster—who made headlines in the spring of 1970, when he said that Black Panther Bobby Seale could not get a fair trial in this country on a charge of murdering a police informant—has served on a special committee for the Ford Foundation.

The screening of thousands of prospects for rank-and-file jobs with the Nixon administration was handled by Harry Flemming, age 28. He is the son of the radical Arthur Flemming, Leftist president of the National Council of Churches and head of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare under President Eisenhower. Human Events of December 14, 1968, reported that Flemming's friends said he was "an out-and-out liberal who actually preferred Rockefeller to Nixon."

Young Flemming, who might be thought hardly experienced enough at 28 to be an authority on national talent, sent letters to all 70,000 persons listed in Who's Who in America, soliciting suggestions for presidential appointments. (The editors of this volume have exhibited a marked bias in listings to favor the Left.) He said that neither party nor ideology would be a barrier to selection, and many Republicans complained about the large number of jobs Flemming was handing out to "Liberal" Democrats. So bad was the situation that Senator Robert Dole of Kansas, half in jest and wholly in earnest, urged Republican lawmakers to include this line in any letters of recommendation for a Nixon appointment: "Even though Zilch is a Republican, he's highly qualified for the job."

Battle Line, the publication of the American Conservative Union, in its February-March 1969 issue, had this to say:

"Slowly but surely it has finally dawned on Republican party regulars across the nation that they have been taken. First there was the hocked-up post-election business about a "great talent hunt" by the aides of the President-elect Nixon among thousands of Americans who might be qualified to serve in Washington. The GOP pols, ready, willing and Republican, did not understand why their applications for jobs carried no more weight than a listing in Who's Who. After all, how many of the thousands of citizens listed in the 2287 pages between Messrs. Aagaard and Zugger had actually worked for the election of Richard Nixon . . . ?"

The column of Liberals Evans and Novak in the Los Angeles Times of February 13, 1969, reported:

"Thus the Nixon Administration . . . is running badly afoul of its own party over jobs and patronage. Some such trouble is inevitable in any new administration, but what sets the Nixon Administration apart is the unprecedented decision not to clean house.

"To the contrary. Republican politicians are convinced that Mr. Nixon is so concerned about getting along with the Democrats, who still control Congress, that the promised bureaucratic housecleaning is indefinitely postponed.

"That may help Mr. Nixon with the Democrats. But it's a far cry from the party-building operation Republicans were absolutely certain Mr. Nixon would put into sweeping effect if he ever entered the White House.

Like many other Republicans, Mrs. Phyllis Schlafly, who had done much to achieve Nixon's election by organizing Republican womens' groups, was extremely upset by the Nixon policy. In an article for the May 10, 1969 Human Events titled "Patronage Is the Name of the Game," Mrs. Schlafly proclaimed:

"Ever since Richard Nixon won the Presidency in November 1968, the press has been filled with variations on the principal theme: President Nixon can only fill 1,500 to 3,000 federal jobs—the rest of the federal employees are locked in by Civil Service.

"This claim is preposterous and Republicans at every level should call the bluff of the Democrats and the liberals who are trying to put it over.

"The Democrats have never permitted Civil Service to impede their political objectives. Presidents Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy and Johnson ruthlessly got rid of Republican holdovers—Civil Service to the contrary notwithstanding—and used every possible tactic to put Democrats on the payroll and keep them there. No holds were barred in their purge of Republicans and payroll padding with Democrats.

"The elimination of this payroll padding would be a fulfillment of Republican campaign promises and a service to the overburdened American taxpayers . . .

"This failure to use federal patronage [during the Eisenhower Administration] is also probably a principal reason why, in every subsequent year of the Eisenhower Administration, the Republican party steadily lost ground and more of its candidates were defeated . . . There are hundreds of thousands of jobs which must be turned over to Republicans if we are to accomplish policy changes . . .

"There should be thousands of Republicans flooding into federal offices from every state in the union—especially from the states which contributed substantially to Nixon's victory. This is the only way we can secure the change for which the American people voted."

Candidate Nixon admitted publicly, when he spoke to Republican delegates in caucus at Miami Beach during the convention in 1968, that one of the greatest failures of the Eisenhower administration was the complete lack of White House action in building up the Republican Party organization. It appears that GOP history not only repeats itself, it stutters badly.

As the months dragged on it became more and more obvious to dismayed Republicans that there would be no housecleaning of the federal bureaucracy, which by its very nature is overwhelmingly Liberal. In an article in the Long Beach Press Telegram titled "Where's the New Broom?" Nixon partisan James Jackson Kilpatrick lamented:

"Out with it: Mr. Nixon, thus far, disappoints . . . Where is the new broom of our autumn exertions?

"Mr. Nixon has not cleaned house. To be sure, a new cabinet is in office, but what of that? Bureaucracy is a kind of root vegetable: What counts is underground. It is at the third and fourth levels that memorandums are drafted, regulations enforced, speeches prepared, and policies shaped. If Mr. Nixon fails to dig down to these levels, and to put in new men with new ideas, he will harvest the same old thing . . ."

Human Events added on May 10, 1969: ". . . while Republicans occupy the highest-paying jobs. Democrats remain entrenched in the second-level jobs where policy is often set." Nixon's friendly biographer Ralph de Toledano commented:

". . . Mr. Nixon [has] forgotten the prime rule of politics, so well applied by Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman: Reward your friends and punish your enemies. The opposite has been true in this administration . . ."

Given the debts to the Insiders of the Eastern Liberal Establishment run up by Mr. Nixon in order to become President, and the men who picked the appointees to the new administration, it is no wonder that Conservatives fared so poorly. Again we cite Mr. de Toledano:

"The 'conservatives' won the election for Richard Nixon—and they are losing the election to him. It can no longer be denied that those to the right of center who carried the election for Nixon have gotten less than the back of his hand for their efforts. Obviously, the spoils are going to those who did their worst, or best, to see Nixon's opponents triumph . . . "

This being the case, it is interesting and instructive to reflect on the men who did receive appointments from the new president.

While stumping the hustings during the campaign, Mr. Nixon had given this description of the men he would appoint to high positions if elected: "I don't want a government of yes men in which high officials are asked to dance like puppets on a presidential string."

Following the election, rumors as to who would be picked for the cabinet positions were of course rife. Evans and Novak hopefully forecast that "he [Nixon] may go far leftward by Eisenhower standards." The Christian Science Monitor reported that Nixon was "giving serious thought" to the selection of Nelson Rockefeller as Secretary of Defense a possibility that received the approval of none other than William F. Buckley Jr. It was also pointed out that Rockefeller would fit in as Secretary of State.

The names of other prominent Republican Liberals were bandied about like so many ping-pong balls. However, the jobs did not go to Rockefeller or any of the other big-name Eastern Establishment Republicans, but instead went primarily to old Nixon confidants and second-echelon Establishment men. Rockefeller was apparently content to operate through lieutenants rather than stir up a hornets' nest by taking a job himself. U.S. News & World Report observed in its March 17, 1969 issue: "Some 'conservative' Republicans are complaining that too many appointments by the Nixon Administration have been influenced by Governor Nelson Rockefeller . . ."

The New York Times' Tom Wicker, a literary spokesman for the elite snobs, wrote that "one of the notable events of the transition period was the collective sigh of relief that went up from the liberal Eastern Establishment" when Nixon made his appointments. The Liberal press was mildly enthusiastic. "The quality of pragmatism, may indeed, best sum up the basic characteristic of Nixon's incoming cabinet." The New York Times itself sniffed, on December 12, 1968:

"As a group Mr. Nixon's men bear a much closer resemblance to the Kennedy-Johnson team they replace than to the Eisenhower Republican team from which they are theoretically descended."

On the same date the hysterically Leftist Washington Post gave its approval:

"The Nixon Cabinet, and that small part of the supporting cast which was unveiled earlier, has a look of careful practical mindedness, a sense of purposefulness, and an air of competence, taken in the main . . . it is enough to say that Mr. Nixon has begun well, by collecting around him the sort of competent men that are the prerequisite to a competent Government."

Even LBJ said he had a "good opinion" of cabinet appointees he knew. Democratic National Chairman Lawrence F. O'Brien described them as "a group of distinguished men with fine backgrounds." All the Liberals seemed relieved.

The American Conservative Union's Battle Line wasn't quite so thrilled. It rhetorically asked in February 1969: "Who ever heard of most of these men, much less ever having seen them at a Republican Lincoln Day dinner anywhere . . .?"

Most observers concluded that the Cabinet was made up of "good gray men" who were unlikely to steal any of Nixon's thunder but were hardly what Nixon had promised—"a Cabinet made up of the ablest men in America, leaders in their own right and not merely by virtue of appointment."

In fact, the appointees very much resembled the "yes men" whom Nixon had said during the campaign that he did not want. And on closer inspection, some of the "good gray men" don't appear quite so gray.

Some of these appointees are personal friends and associates or political cronies of the President—men like, for instance, Robert Finch of California, an old intimate, who was first Nixon's Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare and is now Presidential Advisor; John N. Mitchell, Attorney-General, who was Nixon's campaign manager in spite of the fact that he has close ties with Nelson Rockefeller; and William P. Rogers, Secretary of State, an old and close friend of the President since his Vice-Presidential campaign, who as Eisenhower's Attorney-General had spear-headed the move to destroy Senator Joseph McCarthy and had also played a major role in the drafting of the Civil Rights Act of 1957.

Other appointees are ideological Liberals, Democrats or theoretical ex-Democrats, CFR members, and other types of strange bedfellows for an allegedly Conservative Republican President—for example, Henry A. Kissinger (CFR), Special Assistant for National Security Affairs and the most important man in the Nixon Administration, bar none; Arthur Burns, now chairman of the extremely powerful Federal Reserve Board, who was a New Deal Democrat before he turned "modern Republican" and was appointed to President Eisenhower's Council of Economic Advisors; Jacob Beam (CFR), now American Ambassador to Russia, who as Eisenhower's Ambassador to Poland had been involved in the Warsaw sex and spy scandals and had resigned his post under mysterious circumstances, only to be appointed director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency and later, under LBJ, Ambassador to Czecho-Slovakia; and Presidential Counselor Daniel Patrick Moynihan, self-professed "Liberal radical" who salvaged—expensively—the Great Society under the Nixon administration.