March 6, 1990
It is amazing how things work, I am at home recuperating from a major back operation (to regain
my ability to walk); so I was tossing around in bed last night...not too comfortable...and I began to
think of Garrison. I thought, "I have got to write Jim a letter detailing how I believe the whole job
By another coincidence I had received a fine set of twenty photos from the Sprague collection in
Springfield, Mass. As the odds would have it, he is now living just around the corner here in
Alexandria. Why not? Lansdale lived here, Fensterwald lives here, Ford used to live here.
Quite a community.
I was studying those photos. One of them is the "Tramps" picture that appears in your book. It is
glossy and clear. Lansdale is so clearly identifiable. Why, Lansdale in Dallas? The others don't
matter, they are nothing but actors and not gunmen but they are interesting. Others who knew
Lansdale as well as I did, have said the same thing, "That's him and what's he doing there?"
As I was reading the paper the Federal Express man came with a book from Jim, that unusual
"Lansdale" book. A terrible biography. There could be a great biography about Lansdale.
He's no angel; but he is worth a good biography. Currey, a paid hack, did the job.
His employers ought to have let him do it right.
I had known Ed since 1952 in the Philippines. I used to fly there regularly with my MATS Heavy
Transport Squadron. As a matter of fact, in those days we used to fly wounded men, who were
recuperating, from hospitals in Japan to Saigon for R&R on the beaches of Cap St Jacque.
That was 1952-1953. Saigon was the Paris of the Orient. And Lansdale was "King Maker" of the
Philippines. We always went by way of Manila. I met his team.
He had arrived in Manila in Sept 1945, after the war was over, for a while. He had been sent
back there in 1950 by the CIA(OPC) to create a new leader of the Philippines and to get rid of
Querino. Sort of like the Marcos deal, or the Noriega operation. Lansdale did it better. I have overthrown
a government but I didn't splash it all around like Reagan and Bush have done.
Now, who sent him there?
Who sent him there in 1950 (Truman era) to do a job that was not done until 1953 (Ike era)?
From 1950 to Feb. 1953 the Director of Central Intelligence was Eisenhower's old Chief of Staff, Gen
Walter Bedell Smith. Smith had been Ambassador to Moscow from 1946 to 1949. The lesser guys in the CIA
time were Allen Dulles, who was Deputy Director Central Intelligence from Aug. 1951 to Feb.
Frank Wisner became the Deputy Director, Plans (Clandestine Activities) when Dulles became
Lansdale had to have received his orders from among these four men: Truman, Smith, Dulles,
Wisner. Of course the Sec State could have had some input...i.e. Acheson.
Who wanted Querino out, that badly? Who wanted HUKS there?
In Jan 1953 Eisenhower arrived. John Foster Dulles was at State and Gen Smith his Deputy.
Allen Dulles was the DCI and General Cabel his deputy. None of them changed Lansdale's prior
orders to "get" Querino. Lansdale operated with abandon in the Philippines. The Ambassador
and the CIA Station Chief, George Aurell, did not know what he was doing. They believed he was
some sort of kook Air Force Officer there...a role Lansdale played to the hilt. Magsaysay
became President, Dec 30, 1953.
With all of this on the record, and a lot more, this guy Currey comes out of the blue with this
purported "Biography". I knew Ed well enough and long enough to know that he was a classic chameleon.
He would tell the truth sparingly and he would fabricate a lot. Still, I can not believe that he told
Currey the things Currey writes. Why would Lansdale want Currey to perpetuate such out and out
bullshit about him? Can't be. This is a terribly fabricated book. It's not even true about me. I believe that this
book was ordered and delineated by the CIA.
At least I know the truth about myself and about Gen. Krulak. Currey libels us terribly. In fact it
may be Krulak who caused the book to be taken off the shelves. Krulak and his Copley Press cohorts
have the power to get that done, and I encouraged them to do just that when it first came out. Krulak was
Ed told me many a time how he operated in the Philippines. He said, "All I had was a blank
checkbook signed by the U.S. government". He made friends with many influential Filipinos. I
have met Johnny Orendain and Col Valeriano, among others, in Manila with Lansdale.
He became acquainted with the wealthiest Filipino of them all, Soriano. Currey never even
him. Soriano set up Philippine Airlines and owned the big San Miguel beer company, among
things. Key man in Asia.
Lansdale's greatest strategy was to create the "HUKS" as the enemy and to make Magsaysay
"Huk Killer." He would take Magsaysay's battalion out into a "Huk" infested area. He would use
movies and "battlefield" sound systems, i.e. fireworks to scare the poor natives. Then one-half
Magsaysay's battalion, dressed as natives, would "attack" the village at night. They'd fire into
air and burn some shacks. In the morning the other half, in uniform, would attack and "capture"
the "Huks". They would bind them up in front of the natives who crept back from the forests, and
even have a "firing" squad "kill" some of them. Then they would have Magsaysay make a big
speech to the people and the whole battalion would roll down the road to have breakfast together
somewhere...ready for the next "show".
Ed would always see that someone had arranged to have newsmen and camera men there and
Magsaysay soon became a national hero. This was a tough game and Ed bragged that a lot of
people were killed; but in the end Magsaysay became the "elected" President and Querino was
This formula endeared Ed to Allen Dulles. In 1954 Dulles established the Saigon Military
Mission in Vietnam...counter to Eisenhower's orders. He had the French accept Lansdale as its chief.
This mission was not in Saigon. It was not military, and its job was subversion in Vietnam.
Its biggest job was that it got more than 1,100,000 northern Vietnamese to move south. 660,000
by U.S.Navy ships and the rest by CIA airline planes. These 1,100,000 north Vietnamese became the
"subversive" element in South Vietnam and the principal cause of the warmaking. Lansdale and
his cronies (Bohanon, Arundel, Phillips, Hand, Conein and many others) did all that using the same
check book. I was with them many times during 1954. All Malthuseanism.
I have heard him brag about capturing random Vietnamese and putting them in a Helicopter.
Then they would work on them to make them "confess" to being Viet Minh. When they would
not, they would toss them out of the chopper, one after the other, until the last ones talked. This was Ed's
idea of fun...as related to me many times. Then Dulles, Adm. Radford and Cardinal Spellman set
up Ngo Dinh Diem. He and his brother, Nhu, became Lansdale proteges.
At about 1957 Lansdale was brought back to Washington and assigned to Air Force
Headquarters in a Plans office near mine. He was a fish out of water. He didn't know Air Force
people and Air Force ways. After about six months of that, Dulles got the Office of Special
Operations under General Erskine to ask for Lansdale to work for the Secretary of Defense.
Erskine was man enough to control him.
By 1960 Erskine had me head the Air Force shop there. He had an Army shop and a Navy shop
and we were responsible for all CIA relationships as well as for the National Security Agency. Ed
was still out of his element because he did not know the services; but the CIA sent work his way.
Then in the Fall of 1960 something happened that fired him up. Kennedy was elected over
Nixon. Right away Lansdale figured out what he was going to do with the new President. Overnight he
left for Saigon to see Diem and to set up a deal that would make him, Lansdale, Ambassador to
Vietnam. He had me buy a "Father of his Country" gift for Diem...$700.00.
I can't repeat all of this but you should get a copy of the Gravel edition, 5 Vol.'s, of the Pentagon
Papers and read it. The Lansdale accounts are quite good and reasonably accurate.
Ed came back just before the Inauguration and was brought into the White House for a long
presentation to Kennedy about Vietnam. Kennedy was taken by it and promised he would have
Lansdale back in Vietnam "in a high office". Ed told us in OSO he had the Ambassadorship
sewed up. He lived for that job.
He had not reckoned with some of JFK's inner staff, George Ball, etc. Finally the whole thing
turned around and month by month Lansdale's star sank over the horizon. Erskine retired and
his whole shop was scattered. The Navy men went back to the navy as did the Army folks. Gen
Wheeler in the JCS asked to have me assigned to the Joint Staff. This wiped out the whole
Erskine (Office of Special Operations) office. It was comical. There was Lansdale up there all
by himself with no office and no one else. He boiled and he blamed it on Kennedy for not giving
him the "promised" Ambassadorship to let him "save" Vietnam.
Then with the failure of the Bay of Pigs, caused by that phone call to cancel the air strikes by
McGeorge Bundy, the military was given the job of reconstituting some sort of Anti-Castro
operation. It was headed by an Army Colonel; but somehow Lansdale (most likely CIA
influence) got put into the plans for Operation Mongoose...to get Castro...ostensibly.
The U.S. Army has a think-tank at American University. It was called "Operation Camelot".
This is where the "Camelot" concept came from. It was anti-JFK's Vietnam strategy. The men
running it were Lansdale types, Special Forces background. "Camelot" was King Arthur and Knights of
the Round Table: not JFK...then.
Through 1962 and 1963 Mongoose and "Camelot" became strong and silent organizations
dedicated to countering JFK. Mongoose had access to the CIA's best "hit men" in the business
and a lot of "strike" capability. Lansdale had many old friends in the media business such as Joe
Alsop, Henry Luce among others. With this background and with his poisoned motivation I am
positive that he got collateral orders to manage the Dallas event under the guise of "getting"
Castro. It is so simple at that level. A nod from the right place, source immaterial, and the job's
The "hit" is the easy part. The "escape" must be quick and professional. The cover-up and the
scenario are the big jobs. They more than anything else prove the Lansdale mastery.
Lansdale was a master writer and planner. He was a great "scenario" guy. It still have a lot of his
personally typed material in my files. I am certain that he was behind the elaborate plan and
mostly the intricate and enduring cover-up. Given a little help from friends at PEPSICO he could easily
have gotten Nixon into Dallas, for "orientation': and LBJ in the cavalcade at the same time,
contrary to Secret Service policy.
He knew the "Protection" units and the "Secret Service", who was needed and who wasn't. Those
were routine calls for him, and they would have believed him. Cabell could handle the police.
The "hit men" were from CIA overseas sources, for instance, from the "Camp near Athena,
Greece. They are trained, stateless, and ready to go at any time. They ask no questions: speak
to no one. They are simply told what to do, when and where. Then they are told how they will be
removed and protected. After all, they work for the U.S. Government. The "Tramps" were
actors doing the job of cover-up. The hit men are just pros. They do the job for the CIA anywhere.
They are impersonal. They get paid. They get protected, and they have enough experience to
"blackmail" anyone, if anyone ever turns on them...just like Drug agents. The job was clean,
quick and neat. No ripples.
The whole story of the POWER of the Cover-up comes down to a few points. There has never
been a Grand Jury and trial in Texas. Without a trial there can be nothing. Without a trial it
does no good for researchers to dig up data. It has no place to go and what the researchers reveal
just helps make the cover-up tighter, or they eliminate that evidence and the researcher.
The first man LBJ met with on Nov 29th, after he had cleared the foreign dignitaries out of
Washington was Waggoner Carr, Atty Gen'l, Texas to tell him, "No trial in Texas...ever."
The next man he met, also on Nov 29th, was J. Edgar Hoover. The first question LBJ asked his
old "19 year" neighbor in DC was "Were THEY shooting at me?" LBJ thought that THEY had
been shooting at him also as they shot at his friend John Connally. Note that he asked, "Were
THEY shooting at me?" LBJ knew there were several hitmen. That's the ultimate clue...THEY.
The Connallys said the same thing...THEY. Not Oswald.
Then came the heavily loaded press releases about Oswald all written before the deal and
released actually before LHO had ever been charged with the crime. I bought the first
EXTRA on the streets of Christchurch, New Zealand with the whole LHO story in that first
news...photos and columns of it before the police in Dallas had yet to charge him with that crime.
All this canned material about LHO was flashed around the world.
Lansdale and his Time-Life and other media friends, with Valenti in Hollywood, have been doing
that cover-up since Nov 1963. Even the deMorenschildt story enhances all of this. In deM's
personal telephone/address notebook he had the name of an Air Force Colonel friend of mine,
Howard Burrus. Burrus was always deep in intelligence. He had been in one of the most
sensitive Attache spots in Europe...Switzerland. He was a close friend of another Air Force Colonel and
Attache, Godfrey McHugh, who used to date Jackie Bouvier. DeM had Burrus listed under a DC
telephone number and on that same telephone number he had "L.B.Johnson, Congressman."
Quite a connection. Why...from the Fifties yet.?
Godfrey McHugh was the Air Force Attache in Paris. Another most important job. I knew him
well, and I transferred his former Ass't Attache to my office in the Pentagon. This gave me
access to a lot of information I wanted in the Fifties. This is how I learned that McHugh's long-time
special "date" was the fair Jacqueline...yes, the same Jackie Bouvier. Sen. Kennedy met Jackie
in Paris when he was on a trip. At that time JFK was dating a beautiful SAS Airline Stewardess
was the date of that Ass't Attache who came to my office. JFK dumped her and stole Jackie
away from McHugh. Leaves McHugh happy????
At the JFK Inaugural Ball who should be there but the SAS stewardess, Jackie--of course, and
Col Godfrey McHugh. JFK made McHugh a General and made him his "Military Advisor" in the
White House where he was near Jackie while JFK was doing all that official travelling connected
with his office AND other special interests. Who recommended McHugh for the job?
General McHugh was in Dallas and was on Air Force One, with Jackie, on the flight back to
Washington..as was Jack Valenti. Why was LBJ's old cohort there at that time and why was he
on Air Force One? He is now the Movie Czar. Why in Dallas?
See how carefully all of this is interwoven. Burrus is now a very wealthy man in Washington. I
have lost track of McHugh. And Jackie is doing well. All in the Lansdale--deM shadows.
One of Lansdale's special "black" intelligence associates in the Pentagon was Dorothy Matlack of
U.S. Army Intelligence. How does it happen that when deM. flew from Haiti to testify, he was
met at the National Airport by Dorothy?
The Lansdale story is endless. What people do not do is study the entire environment of his
strange career. For example: the most important part of my book, "The Secret Team", is not
something that I wrote. It is Appendix III under the title, "Training Under The Mutual Security
Program". This is a most important bit of material. It tells more about the period 1963 to 1990
than anything. I fought to have it included verbatim in the book. This material was the work of
Lansdale and his crony General Dick Stillwell. Anyone interested in the "JFK Coup d'Etat" ought
to know it by heart.
I believe this document tells why the Coup took place. It was to reverse the sudden JFK
re-orientation of the U.S. Government from Asia to Europe, in keeping with plans made in 1943
at Cairo and Teheran by T.V. Soong and his Asian masterminds. Lansdale and Stillwell were
long-time "Asia hands" as were Gen Erskine, Adm Radford, Cardinal Spellman, Henry Luce and
so many others.
In October 1963, JFK had just signalled this reversal, to Europe, when he published National
Security Action Memorandum #263 saying...among other things...that he was taking 1000 troops
home from Vietnam by Christmas 1963 and ALL AMERICANS out of Vietnam by the end of
1965. That cost him his life.
JFK came to that "Pro-Europe" conclusion in the Summer of 1963 and sent Gen Krulak to
Vietnam for advance work. Kurlak and I (with others) wrote that long "Taylor-McNamara"
Report of their "Visit to Vietnam" (obviously they did not write, illustrate and bind it as they
traveled). Krulak got his information daily in the White House. We simply wrote it. That led to
NSAM #263. This same Trip Report is Document #142 and appears on page 751 to 766 of
Vol. II of the Gravel Edition of the Pentagon Papers. NSAM #263 appears on pages 769-770
(It makes the Report official). This major Report and NSAM indicated an enormous shift in the
orientation of U.S. Foreign Policy from Asia back to Europe. JFK was much more Europe-
oriented, as was his father, than pro-Asia. This position was anathema to the Asia-born Luces, etc.
There is the story from an insider. I sat in the same office with Lansdale, (OSO of OSD) for
years. I listened to him in Manila and read his flurry of notes from 1952 to 1964. I know all this
stuff, and much more. I could write ten books. I send this to you because I believe you are one
of the most sincere of the "true researchers". You may do with it as you please. I know you will do
it right. I may give copies of this to certain other people of our persuasion. (Years ago I told this to
Mae Brussell on the promise she would hold it. She did.)
Now you can see why I have always said that identification of the "Tramps" was unnecessary, i.e.
they are actors. The first time I saw that picture I saw the man I knew and I realized why he was
there. He caused the political world to spin on its axis. Now, back to recuperating.
L. Fletcher Prouty