The Unseen Hand - Ralph Epperson

The Exposers

The strange events of World War II had predictable effects among certain of the American people. Some saw them as being the machinations of those who actually wanted Russia to win the world war.

There were at least three individuals who, in posidons of power and hence in a posidon to expose the true reasons behind diese events, attempted to do so.

The first of these was Frank Murphy, a Supreme Court Jusdce at the dme of his discovery. He had been appointed by President Roosevelt as Attorney General in 1938, and later to a vacancy on the Supreme Court.

He once had an occasion to meet with Congressman Marun Dies, the Chairman of the House Committee on Un-American Activities. Murphy told Dies: "We're doomed! The United States is doomed! The Communists have control completely. They've got control of Roosevelt and his wife as well."

A few years later, in 1949, Murphy went into a Detroit hospital and died from a heart attack, just before he was scheduled to be released as recovered.

Congressman Dies was convinced that he had been murdered.

The second individual who apparently figured it out was James Forrestal, America's first Secretary of Defense. Forrestal's credentials for this position were impressive. He became a partner and President of Dillon, Read and Company, an international banking firm, and in April, 1944, he was appointed Secretary of the Navy. This was followed on September 17, 1947, by his appointment as Secretary of Defense. He was later asked to resign by President Harry Truman, and he did so on March 2, 1949.

Forrestal had viewed the events at the ending of the World War with much dismay, as he saw the American government consistently yield to the Russians in important matters. His explanation for these events was simple: "These men are not incompetent or stupid. They are crafty and brilliant. Consistency has never been a mark of stupidity. If they were merely stupid, they would occasionally make a mistake in our favor."

Such thoughts on the part of the Secretary of Defense were certain to make enemies of those who were subverting America. An author has summarized the situation:

"The Communists, both American and European, had good reason to hate Jim Forrestal: he hated them. He emerged from the Second War dedicated to the destruction of Communism.

"He had opposed every concession to bring Russia into the war against Japan. He fought General Marshall's effort to force Chiang Kai-shek to coalesce with the Chinese Communists. He battled those men in the State Department who tried to give the Mediterranean to Russia.

"[He] . . . was alarmed by what he took to be Roosevelt's trust in Stalin Forrestal's nightmare was that capitalism itself was under seige all over the world.

"During the war his personal files fattened alarmingly—filled with the names of journals and organizations and individuals who were 'under Communist influence'."

After Truman asked him to resign, Forrestal went to Florida. Sensing that he was under emotional strain, the White House sent the chief of neuropsychiatry at the U.S. Naval Hospital at Bethesda, Maryland to see Forrestal. Forrestal did not request that this doctor, Doctor George N. Raines, visit him. In fact, there was no reason for even the White House to send him as Forrestal was no longer in the employ of the government and, therefore, no longer the direct concern of the federal government.

But it was decided that Forrestal should go to the Bethesda Naval Hospital. Even before Forrestal left Florida for the hospital, his personal diaries: " . . . consisting of fifteen loose-leaf binders totalling three thousand pages, were hastily removed from his former office in the Pentagon and locked up in the White House where they remained for a year."

Before Forrestal left for Bethesda, he told a friend that he had been followed and that his telephone had been tapped. He further discussed the impending war in Korea, a war still fifteen months from beginning. Forrestal said: "They're going to catch us unprepared. American soldiers will be dying in a year."

Forrestal apparently saw the same forces at work planning the war in Korea a full fifteen months before it started. He must have felt that these were the same planners who had arranged the debacle of post-war Europe, where, in Forrestal's mind, the Eastern European countries had been given over to Communism.

After Forrestal went to Bethesda, his brother asked Dr. Raines whether his brother was fundamentally okay. Dr. Raines answered in the affirmative.

But Dr. Raines' behavior in regards to not allowing Forrestal to see both his own brother and his family priest, Monsignor Maurice S. Sheehy, was unusual, to say the least. He utterly refused to allow them to see Forrestal. (Sheehy had attempted to see Forrestal six times, and each time he was refused.)

Finally, Henry Forrestal, his brother, decided to take his brother into the country on May 22, 1949. He then phoned the hospital and told them he was arriving to take his brother. But only hours before Henry was due to board his train to go to Bethesda, he received the news that his brother was dead.

It is strange that James Forrestal died the very day his brother had planned to take him from the hospital.

The ex-Secretary of Defense is said to have jumped to his death from a sixteenth floor window of the hospital on May 22, 1949. His body was found sprawled grotesquely on a third floor projection of the building. The cord of his bathrobe was wound tightly around his neck and tied in a knot

The hospital issued a prepared statement that Forrestal had committed suicide. This was followed almost immediately by an almost identical coroner's verdict.

It was theorized that, on the night of May 22, Forrestal had left his bed and walked across the hall to an unlocked window. It was here that he tied one end of his bathrobe cord around a radiator and the other end around his neck. He then, according to this theory, opened the window and jumped out "in an attempt to hang himself."

Several things about his purported suicide do not ring true. For instance:

  • Forrestal left no suicide note.
  • He was not critically ill, so he had no medical reason to terminate his life. In fact, Dr. Raines had admitted that he had progressed to the point that his discharge from the hospital was imminent.
  • Not one shred of the bathrobe cord or mark on the radiator existed to indicate that the cord had ever been there.
  • The cord hadn't broken during the purported hanging. The cord was tightly wrapped around Forrestal's neck, but ex-Navy man Forrestal apparently had not tied the other end tightly around the radiator.

In summary, then:

"Contrary to the impression given the public at the time, Forrestal had none of the usual reasons for killing himself.

"He had no financial worries. He had no personal worries. He was basically in good health.

"The only possible motive he could have had for taking his life, everyone agreed, was depression over losing his job as Secretary of Defense and/or over the smears of newspaper columnists and radio commentators.

"However, Forrestal could hardly have killed himself for these reasons either. All his life he had been a fighter. He was actively planning, as soon as he left the hospital, to start a career as a newspaperman and write a book. These projects, he had told friends, would allow him to take the offensive against his attackers and expose their real motives.

"As far as 'depression over losing his job' as a possible suicide motive, he had intended leaving his government post soon in any event."

Monsignor Sheehy placed the blame on Forrestal's death on those who kept him from seeing his long-time friend:

"Had I been allowed to see my friend, Jim Forrestal . . . and put his mind at ease with the oldest and most reliable medicine known to mankind [religion], he would be alive today. His blood is on the heads of those who kept me from seeing him."

There was a semi-official investigation into Forrestal's death. It was conducted by the medical officer in command of the Bethesda Naval Hospital and it "did not find that Forrestal had committed suicide. The word 'suicide' was not once used: the board found only that Forrestal had died 'as a result of injuries, multiple, extreme, received incident to a fall. . . M0

Perhaps the key to Forrestal's death is in his diaries. These papers were: "subjected to censorship. . . from three different sources. . . the White House; . . . the Pentagon; and, finally, they were condensed and gutted by Walter Millis under the guise of editing [for serialization in the New York Tribune]."

Millis was also responsible for the publishing of the diaries by the Viking Press in 1951. So what Forrestal had written in his diaries will probably never be known to the American public. The three acts of censorship have probably eliminated the meat of Forrestal's concerns.

One possible clue of what they contained comes from Monsignor Sheehy, who is on record as saying:

"Many, many times in his letters to me, Jim Forrestal wrote anxiously and fearfully and bitterly of the enormous harm that had been, and was unceasingly being done, by men in high office in the United States government, who he was convinced were Communists or under the influence of Communists, and who he said were shaping the policies of the United States government to aid Soviet Russia and harm the United States."

It is interesting to see that the opinion that Forrestal was insane at the time of his death is still the version being offered to the American public. Take, for instance, the answer Walter Scott in his Parade magazine column called "Personality Parade" offered to the following question on May 24, 1981:

"Question: Did President Harry Truman ever conspire with the American press to hide the truth about the insanity of James Forrestal, our first Secretary of Defense?

"Answer: . . . the press declined to reveal to the public that Forrestal suffered from a severe psychosis in the late 1940's. He was obviously insane at the time."

Dr, Carroll Quigley voiced the same opinion in his book entitled Tragedy and Hope by informing the reader that: "His mind collapsed under the strain and he resigned in 1949, committing suicide shortly afterward." The American people will probably never know what happened to James Forrestal. Only the clues to his tragic death remain.

The third individual who came to realize that there was something wrong with America's policies was Senator Joseph McCarthy who was to pay for this knowledge with both his reputation and later with his life.

The campaign to vilify Senator McCarthy was long in duration and in fact has continued to the present. An examination of the facts will reveal why his name is so sullied even to this day.

Appropriately, it was: "Forrestal who personally alerted the freshman Senator to the Communist menace and 'named names' to him of key persons in our federal government who were consistently shaping our policies and programs to benefit Soviet Russia."

The story of McCarthy begins, perhaps, on March 22, 1947, when President Harry Truman issued Executive Order #9835, establishing a federal loyalty program that forbade the employment of loyalty risks. 16 This action was followed on June 10, 1947, by a memorandum sent to Secretary of State George C. Marshall by the Senate Committee on Appropriations. The memo read, in part, as follows:

"On file in the Department is a copy of a preliminary report of the FBI on Soviet espionage activities in the United States which involves a large number of State Department employees, some in high official positions

"There is a deliberate, calculated program carried out, not only to protect Communist personnel in high places, but to reduce security and intelligence protection to a nullity.

"Should this case break before the State Department acts, it will be a national disgrace."

This report was completely ignored by Secretary Marshall.

This inaction caused Senator McCarthy to write the following about George Marshall in his book, America's Retreat From Victory: "If he was wholeheartedly serving the cause of the United States, these decisions were great blunders. If they followed a secret pattern to which we do not as yet have the key, they may very well have been successful in the highest degree." Later, on March 13, 1948, President Truman softened his position on security risks when he: "issued an order instructing all federal employees to withhold personnel loyalty and security information from members of Congress. . ."

This order obviously would make it extremely difficult to pursue any security or loyalty risks through government channels, and certainly hampered the investigations by those agencies responsible for ferreting out those who jeopardized the security of the American government.

Later, just after Thanksgiving, 1949, three men came to Senator McCarthy's office and:

". . . showed the Senator a one-hundred page summary of Communist subversion in the United States, including serious penetration of the State Department. The report, which had been prepared under the direction of J. Edgar Hoover [the head of the F.B.I.], had already been supplied to the White House, the Secretary of State, and heads of other federal departments concerned.

"It detailed the operations of spy networks operating in the U.S. government and involving a large number of State Department employees, some in very high positions.

"Senator McCarthy read the report and was so shocked by what it revealed that he committed himself to do something about it.

And so began the McCarthy saga.

It was but a few months later, on February 9, 1950, that Senator McCarthy "did something about it." He gave a speech to the Ohio County Women's Republican Club of Wheeling, West Virginia, in which he said:

"I have in my hand fifty-seven cases of individuals who would appear to be either card-carrying members or certainly loyal to the Communist Party, but who nevertheless are still helping to shape our foreign policy."

McCarthy's sensational charges began appearing in newspapers across the country.

"In Salt Lake City, he withdrew the offer to give [Secretary of State Dean] Acheson the names. A presidential order was then in effect prohibiting the government from turning over loyalty records of U.S. employees to anyone outside the Executive Department, including, of course, congressional investigating committees.

"What would be the use of giving Acheson the names of Communists and their sympathizers, McCarthy argued, unless their actual records could be obtained and proof shown to the people.

"What would prevent the Secretary of State from simply accepting the list, announcing that nobody on it was either a Communist or a security risk, and thus end the matter."

On February 11, 1950, Senator McCarthy sent a wire to President Truman: "calling upon him to furnish Congress with a list of all State Department employees considered bad security risks and asking him to revoke the presidential order."

Senator McCarthy was certain that the State Department loyalty files would prove his case, but he never got a chance to receive them, as:

"The State Department's press officer. . .issued a heated denial. 'We know of no Communist members in this Department and if we find any they will be summarily dismissed.'"

Those who felt McCarthy was libeling and slandering innocent people now know that he was very concerned about not releasing the names of the individuals he had on his lists, and: "on February 20, 1950, without naming names, he gave his colleagues [in the Senate] a resume of the facts from the files of eighty-one individuals—the fifty-seven referred to at Wheeling and twenty-four additional cases of less importance and where the evidence was less conclusive."

Two days later:". . .a Special Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was appointed and charged with conducting 'a full and complete study and investigation as to whether persons who are disloyal to the United States are or have been employed by the Department of State.' Instead of investigating McCarthy's accusations, however, the Committee investigated McCarthy. Millard Tydings, the Committee Chairman, set the tone for the inquiry when he boasted: 'Give me three days of public hearings and McCarthy will never show his face in the Senate again.'"

The anti-McCarthy feelings in the United States started rising. Even the Communist Party newspaper, the Daily Worker, of April 15, 1950, added its concerns: "Communists are keenly aware of the damage the McCarthy crowd is doing."

Gus Hall, the head of the American Communist Party urged: "Communist Party members and all anti-fascists to yield second place to none in the fight to rid our country of the fascist poison of McCarthyism."

So McCarthy had to face both the Communist Party and the government investigating committee in an effort to force the government to rid itself of the subversives already known to exist within its ranks.

McCarthy appeared to have won a victory when, on May 4, 1950, President Truman changed his mind and announced that the loyalty files on McCarthy's cases would be made available to the Committee. But when they were delivered to the Committee, McCarthy charged that they had been "raped," "skeletonized," and "tampered with." Later, on July 12, 1950, McCarthy released the documents on which he based his charges that the files had been stripped.

"These documents are affidavits from four persons who had been employed by the [State] Department on a temporary basis in the Fall of 1946 and assigned to a 'file project,' the purpose of which, they said, was to remove from the personnel files of Department employees all derogatory information."

So McCarthy was taking on the State Department and it was countering with a concealment of the truth.

McCarthy also told the American public that it was at the Yalta conference in 1945 that Roosevelt and Stalin planned, not only the Korean War that the United States was then involved in, but also the Vietnamese war that was to follow some 10 to 12 years later. It was on September 23, 1950, that McCarthy charged:

"Here was signed the death warrant of the young men who were dying today in the hills and valleys of Korea. Here was signed the death warrant of the young men who will die tomorrow in the jungles of Indochina [Vietnam]."

He also saw that all of these machinations were the work of a giant conspiracy and he said so. He wrote:

"How can we account for our present situation unless we believe that men high in Government are concerting to deliver us to disaster? This must be the product of a great conspiracy, a conspiracy on a scale so immense as to dwarf any previous such venture in the history of man. A conspiracy of infamy so black that, when it is finally exposed, its principals shall be forever deserving of the maledictions of all honest men . . ." "What can be made of this unbroken series of decisions and acts contributing to the strategy of defeat? They cannot be attributed to incompetence . . . . The laws of probability would dictate that part of . . . [the] decisions would serve this country's interest."

(Note: Notice the similarity of this statement and the one made by James Forrestal about "consistency never being the mark of stupidity.")

McCarthy was becoming too dangerous to the conspiracy that he had begun to discover. So the smear job began that it hoped would destroy him, the smear job that went something like: "I like what he is doing, but I object to his methods." Or: "He is smearing individuals with guilt by association." McCarthy knew that these smear jobs against him were inaccurate, and he wrote about them in his book, published in 1952:

"Whenever I ask those who object to my methods to name the 'objectionable methods;' again I hear parroted back to me the Communist Daily Worker stock phrase: 'irresponsible charges' and 'smearing innocent people.' But as often as I have asked for the name of a single innocent person who has been 'smeared' or 'irresponsibly charged,' nothing but silence answers."

The government later substantiated McCarthy's charges in 1953 when it published a report, on July 30, entitled Interlocking Subversion in Government Departments, which was written by the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee. It read, in part:

"The Soviet international organization has carried on a successful and important penetration of the United States Government, and this penetration has not been fully exposed. This penetration has extended from the lower ranks to top-level policy and operating positions in our government. Despite the fact that the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other security agencies had reported extensive information about this Communist penetration, little was done by the Executive branch to interrupt the Soviet operatives in their ascent in Government."

So the decision was made to "get McCarthy," as there were those who felt that he was getting too close to the truth. So on January 21, 1954: " . . . an anti-McCarthy strategy meeting [was] held . . . in the office of the Attorney General."

Present at this meeting were: Henry Cabot Lodge, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations; Attorney General Herbert Brownell; Deputy Attorney General William Rogers (later President Nixon's Secretary of State); White House aides Sherman Adams and Gerald Morgan; and John G. Adams, counselor. Department of the Army.

At this meeting: "It was decided that John Adams would start compiling notes to be used as the basis for filing charges against Senator McCarthy. . ."

It has been pretty well established by America's major media that the most serious charge against McCarthy is that he maliciously "smeared" innocent people, by calling them names.

One of the efforts to expose McCarthy was a book written by Richard H. Rovere entitled Senator Joe McCarthy? Mr. Rovere, certainly no supporter of the Senator, called him the following names in his book: a bully, a seditionist, a species of nihilist, a screamer, a political thug, a master of the mob, a black arts practitioner, a champion liar, a prince of hatred, possibly a homosexual, a true hypocrite, morally indecent, perhaps crazy, an outrageous four-flusher, a fraud, a heavy drinker, and a demon.

It is comforting to know that it was the Senator who smeared people by calling them names!

Mr. Rovere did like certain people, however. He called the Socialist Norman Thomas a "devoted champion of liberty and decency."

The famous Army-McCarthy hearings started a few months later on April 22, 1954, after McCarthy questioned the Army's decision to promote a suspected Communist.

The next step in the destruction of Senator McCarthy occurred on May 17, 1954, when President Eisenhower, who had replaced Harry Truman, "issued an Executive order prohibiting testimony at the hearings from any member of the Executive without prior permission—which of course was not given."

Eisenhower himself admitted to some strong negative feelings about McCarthy. He wrote about these feelings in the April, 1969, Reader's Digest:

"From the beginning, I was urged by a great many people . . . to 'smash' McCarthy by a public denunciation. When I refused, I was criticized bitterly in many quarters. Actually, I yearned in every fiber of my being to do precisely what my critics were urging—but I felt sure this was the wrong tactic."

The charges against McCarthy came to a head on July 3O, 1954, when Senator Ralph Flanders introduced a resolution condemning Senator McCarthy for "conduct unbecoming a member." It contained forty-six different counts, and a committee was appointed to investigate the charges. After hearings, it recommended that McCarthy be censured, not on the forty-six counts, but on only two.

The charges introduced by Flanders, however, were not written by him nor members of his staff: "What is generally not known is that the speech made by Senator Flanders in introducing the resolution, as well as the resolution itself, were written for him by the National Committee for an Effective Congress, [which was] created by . . . Arthur Goldsmith . . . . "

(Note: It is very revealing that the Arthur Goldsmith who created the organization which wrote the charges against McCarthy was the same Arthur Goldsmith who had the ability to make decisions for the Communist Party of the United States. It will be recalled that it was Dr. Dodd, a member of the Communist Party, who revealed that it was the wealthy Goldsmith who had this incredible power.)

The Senate later voted on the charges when they voted to "condemn" and not "censure" the Senator. ("Condemning" is milder than "censuring.")

After all of the allegations against McCarthy about his "smearing innocent people," was he personally able to substantiate his charges?

Now, in retrospect, it is possible to look at the record. Was McCarthy able to substantiate his allegations that there were at least eighty-one security risks in the State Department?

  1. Fifty-seven of these cases were later summoned by a Loyalty Board, and fifty-four of the accused confirmed McCarthy's charges by resigning under fire.
  2. By November of 1954, all of the eighty-one persons on McCarthy's list had left government employ by dismissal or resignation.
  3. The Senate Internal Security Subcommittee revealed that, on June 27, 1956, the State Department's own security chief, Scott McLeod, drew up a list of 847 security risks in the State Department

It would seem that Joe McCarthy's major sin was that he underestimated the extent to which the Communists had penetrated the State Department.

It is also revealing that an organization named 'The Constitutional Educational League' of New York "offered a $10,000 reward for any person who could prove that Senator McCarthy ever called anyone a Communist or a Communist Fronter who, in fact, was not. Although this offer was widely publicized from coast to coast, no one ever claimed that reward."

How did Senator McCarthy account for, first, the smear and, then, the vote to condemn him? It will be recalled that he wrote the following in his book, America's Retreat From Victory.

"How can we account for our present situation unless we believe that men high in this government are concerting to deliver us to disaster? This must be the product of a great conspiracy, a conspiracy on a scale so immense as to dwarf any previous such venture in the history of man."

He also went on to explain what he felt was the purpose of this conspiracy:

". . . to diminish the United States in world affairs, to weaken us militarily, to confuse our spirit with talk of surrender in the Far East, and to impair our will to resist evil. To what end? To the end that we shall be contained and frustrated and finally fall victim to Soviet intrigue from within and Russian military might from without"

McCarthy's life came to an end on May 2, 1957, when he died at Bethesda Naval Hospital, the same hospital where Secretary of Defense James Forrestal "committed suicide." It was stated that McCarthy died of "acute hepatic failure." And it is now known that McCarthy did have infectious hepatitis. In his book, The Assassination of Joe McCarthy, the author, Dr. Medford Evans, examines McCarthy's death:

"A man with a history of infectious hepatitis could indeed succumb abruptly to toxic hepatitis, a deadly affair in any case.

"Toxic hepatitis is caused, as the name indicates, by any of several poisons, including chloroform, mercury, and snake venom, but most conveniently, perhaps, by carbon tetrachloride, the common dry-cleaning solvent.

"A scarcely noticeable or quickly dissipated concentration might be fatal to a man already suffering from a liver complaint hepatitis."

When McCarthy went into the hospital, he was "immediately placed in an oxygen tent," and Evans asked this question: "Do you suppose anybody could have got any carbon tetrachloride into that thing?"

It is his theory that carbon tetrachloride easily could have been placed under the oxygen tent and then dissipated quickly as McCarthy was sleeping. The breathing of a poison by a man suffering from infectious hepatitis would have been fatal.

Dr. Evans comments on McCarthy's overall health: ". . . Joe McCarthy's health was such in the Spring of 1957 as to make it incredible that he should die so swiftly of natural causes."

In any event, no autopsy was performed on McCarthy's body, so the truth about what caused his death may never be revealed.

At Senator McCarthy's funeral, the eulogy was delivered by the Right Reverend Monsignor John K. Cartwright, who observed:

" . . . Communism is the greatest enemy of our society. Not everybody saw from the beginning, and many still do not see, that the threat of Communism is domestic as well as foreign, civil as well as military. But this man saw it clearly and knew that it is an evil with which there can be no compromise. . . "

Louis Budenz, a former member of the Communist Party, said this about the Senator:

"The destruction of Joe McCarthy leaves the way open to intimidate any person of consequence who moves against the Conspiracy. The Communists made him their chief target because they wanted to make him a symbol to remind political leaders in America not to harm the Conspiracy or its world conquest designs."

But Dr. Evans notes that it was not the Communist Party that ultimately secured the destruction of Senator McCarthy. He wrote:

"A note is necessary on the relationship of the [Communist] Party—McCarthy's declared enemy, as he was theirs—to the American 'establishment,' which is presumably anti-Communist, and which McCarthy never attacked, but which attacked him, and was, indeed, more immediately the instrument of the destruction than was the Communist Party."

It was the very "establishment" that should have joined the Senator in his attack against the Communist Party that finally brought him down.

It was indeed a strange partnership.

But it succeeded.