George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography - Part 5 of 8
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GEORGE BUSH: THE UNAUTHORIZED BIOGRAPHY - PART 5 of 8
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CHAIRMAN GEORGE IN WATERGATE
In November 1972, Bush's "most influential patron," Richard Nixon, / Note
#1 won reelection to the White House for a second term in a landslide
victory over the McGovern-Shriver Democratic ticket. Nixon's election
victory had proceeded in spite of the arrest of five White House-linked
burglars in the offices of the Democratic National Committee at the
Watergate building in Washington, early on June 17 of the same year. This
was the beginning of the infamous Watergate scandal, which would overshadow
and ultimately terminate Nixon's second term in 1974.
After the election, Bush received a telephone call informing him that Nixon
wanted to talk to him at the Camp David retreat in the Catoctin Mountains
of Maryland. Bush had been looking to Washington for the inevitable
personnel changes that would be made in preparation for Nixon's second
term. Bush tells us that he was aware of Nixon's plan to reorganize his
cabinet around the idea of a "super cabinet" of top-level, inner cabinet
ministers or "super secretaries" who would work closely with the White
House while relegating the day-to-day functioning of their executive
departments to sub-cabinet deputies. One of the big winners under this plan
was scheduled to be George Shultz, the former Labor Secretary, who was now
supposed to become "S uper" Secretary of the Treasury. Shultz was a Bechtel
executive who went on to be Reagan's second Secretary of State after Al
Haig. Bush and Shultz were future members of the Bohemian Club of San
Francisco and of the Bohemian Grove summer gathering.
Bush says he received a call from Nixon's top domestic aide, John
Ehrlichman. Ehrlichman told Bush that George Shultz wanted to see him
before he went on to meet with Nixon at Camp David. As it turned out,
Shultz wanted to offer Bush the post of undersecretary of the treasury,
which would amount to "de facto" administrative control over the department
while Shultz concentrated on his projected super secretary policy
Bush says he thanked Shultz for his "flattering" offer, took it under
consideration, and then pressed on to Camp David. / Note #2
Bush Takes RNC Chair
At Camp David, Bush says that Nixon talked to him in the following terms:
"George, I know that Shultz has talked to you about the Treasury job, and
if that's what you'd like, that's fine with me. However, the job I really
want you to do, the place I really need you, is over at the National
Committee running things. This is an important time forthe Republican
Party, George. We have a chance to build a new coalition in the next four
years, and you're the one who can do it." / Note #3
But this was not the job that George really wanted. He wanted to be
promoted, but he wanted to continue in the personal retinue of Henry
Kissinger. "At first Bush tried to persuade the President to give him,
instead, the number-two job at the State Department, as deputy to Secretary
Henry Kissinger. Foreign affairs was his top priority, he said. Nixon was
cool to this idea, and Bush capitulated." / Note #4
According to Bush's own account, he asked Nixon for some time to ponder the
offer of the RNC chairmanship. Among those whom Bush said he consulted on
whether or not to accept was Rogers C.B. Morton, the former congressman
whom Nixon had made Secretary of Commerce. Morton suggested that if Bush
wanted to accept, he insist that he continue as a member of the Nixon
cabinet, where, it should be recalled, he had been sitting since he was
named ambassador to the United Nations. Pennsylvania Senator Hugh Scott,
one of the Republican congressional leaders, also advised Bush to demand to
continue on in the cabinet: "Insist on it," Bush recalls him saying. Bush
also consulted Barbara. The story goes that Bar had demanded that George
pledge that the one job he would never take was the RNC post. But now he
wanted to take precisely that post, which appeared to be a political
graveyard. George explained his wimpish obedience to Nixon: "Boy, you can't
turn a President down." / Note #5 Bush then told Ehrlichman that he would
accept, if he could stay on in the cabinet. Nixon approved this condition,
and the era of Chairman George had begun.
Of course, making the chairman of the Republican Party an ex-officio member
of the President's cabinet seems to imply something resembling a one-party
state. But George was not deterred by such difficulties.
While he was at the U.N., Bush had kept his eyes open for the next post on
the way up his personal "cursus honorum." In November of 1971 there was a
boomlet for Bush among Texas Republican leaders who were looking for a
candidate to run for governor. / Note #6
Nixon's choice of Bush to head the RNC was announced on December 11, 1972.
The outgoing RNC Chairman was Senator Bob Dole of Kansas, an asset of the
grain cartel, but, in that period, not totally devoid of human qualities.
According to press reports, Nixon palace guard heavies like Haldeman and
Charles W. Colson, later a central Watergate figure, were not happy with
Dole because he would not take orders from the White House. Dole also
tended to function as a conduit for grassroots resistance to White House
directives. In the context of the 1972 campaign, "White House" means
specifically Clark MacGregor's Committee to Re-Elect the President (CREEP),
one of the protagonists of the Watergate scandal. / Note #7 Dole was
considered remarkable for his "irreverence" for Nixon: "[H]e joked about
the Watergate issue, about the White House staff and about the management
of the Republican convention with its 'spontaneous demonstrations that will
last precisely ten minutes.'|" / Note #8
Bush's own account of how he got the RNC post ignores Dole, who was Bush's
most serious rival for the 1988 Republican presidential nomination.
According to Dole's version, he conferred with Nixon about the RNC post on
November 28, and told the President that he would have to quit the RNC in
1973 in order to get ready to run for reelection in 1974. According to
Dole, it was he who recommended Bush to Nixon. Dole even said that he had
gone to New York to convince Bush to accept the post. Dole sought to remove
any implication that he had been fired by Nixon, and contradicted
"speculation that I went to the mountaintop to be pushed off." What was
clear was that Nixon and his retainers had chosen a replacement for Dole,
whom they expected to be more obedient to the commands of the White House
Bush assumed his new post in January 1973, in the midst of the trial of the
Watergate burglars. He sought at once to convey the image of a pragmatic
technocrat. "There's kind of a narrow line between standing for nothing and
imposing one's views," Bush told the press. He stressed that the RNC would
have a lot of money to spend for recruiting candidates, and that he would
personally control this money. "The White House is simply not going to
control the budget," said Bush. "I believe in the importance of this job
and I have confidence I can do it," he added. "I couldn't do it if I were
some reluctant dragon being dragged away from a three-wine luncheon." /
Bush inaugurated his new post with a pledge that the Republican Party, from
President Nixon on down, would do "everything we possibly can" to make sure
that the GOP was not involved in political dirty tricks in the future. "I
don't think it is good for politics in this country and I am sure I am
reflecting the President's views on that as head of the party," intoned
Bush in an appearance on "Issues and Answers." / Note #1 / Note #1
Whether or not Bush lived up to that pledge during his months at the RNC,
and indeed during his later political career, will be sufficiently answered
during the following pages. But now Chairman George, sitting in Nixon's
cabinet with such men as John Mitchell, his eyes fixed on Henry Kissinger
as his lodestar, is about to set sail on the turbulent seas of the
Watergate typhoon. Before we accompany him, we must briefly review the
complex of events lumped together under the heading of "Watergate," so that
we may then situate Bush's remarkable and bizarre behavior between January
1973 and August of 1974, when Nixon's fall became the occasion for yet
another Bush attempt to seize the vice-presidency.
The Watergate Coup
By the beginning of the 1990s, it has become something of a commonplace to
refer to the complex of events surrounding the fall of Nixon as a coup
d'etat. / Note #1 / Note #2 It was, to be sure, a coup d'etat, but one
whose organizers and beneficiaries most commentators and historians are
reluctant to name, much less to confront. Broadly speaking, Watergate was a
coup d'etat which was instrumental in laying the basis for the specific new
type of authoritarian-totalitarian regime which now rules the United
States. The purpose of the coup was to rearrange the dominant institutions
of the U.S. government so as to enhance their ability to carry out policies
agreeable to the increasingly urgent dictates of the
Morgan-Rockefeller-Mellon-Harriman financier faction. The immediate
beneficiaries of the coup have been that class of technocratic
administrators who have held the highest public offices since the days of
the Watergate scandal. It is obvious that George Bush himself is one of the
most prominent of such beneficiaries. As the Roman playwright Seneca warns
us, the one who derives advantage from the crime is the one most likely to
have committed it.
The policies of th e Wall Street investment banking interests named are
those of usury and Malthusianism, stressing the decline of a productive
industrial economy in favor of savage Third World looting and
anti-population measures. The changes subsumed by Watergate included the
abolition of government's function as a means to distribute the rewards and
benefits of economic progress among the principal constituency groups, upon
whose support the shifting political coalitions depended for their success.
Henceforth, government would appear as the means by which the sacrifices
and penalties of austerity and declining standards of living would be
imposed on a passive and stupefied population. The constitutional office of
the President was to be virtually destroyed, and the power of the usurious
banking elites above and behind the presidency was to be radically
Watergate included the option of rapid steps in the direction of a
dictatorship, not so much of the military as of the intelligence community
and the law enforcement agencies, acting as executors of the will of the
Wall Street circles indicated. We must recall that the backdrop for
Watergate had been provided first of all by the collapse of the
international monetary system, as made official by Nixon's austerity
decrees imposing a wage and price freeze starting on the fateful day of
August 15, 1971. What followed was an attempt to run the entire U.S.
economy under the top-down diktat of the Pay Board and the Price
This economic state of emergency was then compounded by the artificial oil
shortages orchestrated by the companies of the international oil cartel
during late 1973 and 1974, all in the wake of Kissinger's October 1973
Middle East War and the Arab oil boycott.
In August 1974, when Gerald Ford decided to make Nelson Rockefeller, and
not George Bush, his vice president-designate, he was actively considering
further executive orders to declare a new economic state of emergency. Such
colossal economic dislocations had impelled the new Trilateral Commission
and such theorists as Samuel Huntington to contemplate the inherent
ungovernability of democracy and the necessity of beginning a transition
toward forms that would prove more durable under conditions of aggravated
economic breakdown. Ultimately, much to the disappointment of George Bush,
whose timetable of boundless personal ambition and greed for power had once
again surged ahead of what his peers of the ruling elite were prepared to
accept, the perspectives for a more overtly dictatorial form of regime came
to be embodied in the figure of Vice President Nelson Rockefeller. Skeptics
will point to the humiliating announcement, made by President Ford within
the context of his 1975 "Halloween massacre" reshuffle of key posts, that
Rockefeller would not be considered for the 1976 vice-presidential
nomination. But Rockefeller, thanks to the efforts of Sarah Jane Moore and
Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, each of whom attempted to assassinate Ford, had
already come very close to the Oval Office on two separate occasions.
Ford himself was reputedly one of the most exalted freemasons ever to
occupy the presidency. Preponderant power during the last years of Nixon
and during the Ford years was in any case exercised by Henry Kissinger, the
de facto President. The preserving of constitutional form and ritual as a
hollow facade behind which to realize practices more and more dictatorial
in their substance was a typical pragmatic adaptation made possible by the
ability of the financiers to engineer the slow and gradual decline of the
economy, avoiding upheavals of popular protest.
In the view of the dominant school of pro-regime journalism, the essence of
the Watergate scandal lies in the illegal espionage and surveillance
activity of the White House covert operations team, the so-called Plumbers,
who are alleged to have been caught during an attempt to burglarize the
offices of the Democratic National Committee in the Watergate office
building near the Potomac. The supposed goal of the break-in was to filch
information and documents while planting bugs. According to the official
legend of the "Washington Post" and Hollywood, Nixon and his retainers
responded to the arrest of the burglars by compounding their original crime
with obstruction of justice and all of the abuses of a coverup. Then, the
"Washington Post" journalists Bob Woodward and CarlBernstein, dedicated
partisans of the truth, blew the story open with the help of Woodward's
mysterious source, Deep Throat, setting into motion the investigation of
the Senate committee under Sam Ervin, leading to impeachment proceedings by
Rep. Peter Rodino's House Judiciary Committee which ultimately forced Nixon
The received interpretation of the salient facts of the Watergate episode
is a fantastic and grotesque distortion of historical truth. Even the kind
of cursory examination of the facts in Watergate which we can permit
ourselves within the context of a biography of Watergate figure George Bush
will reveal that the actions which caused the fall of Nixon cannot be
reduced to the simplistic account just summarized. There is, for example,
the question of the infiltration of the White House staff and of the
Plumbers themselves by members and assets of the intelligence community
whose loyalty was not to Nixon, but to the Anglo-American financier elite.
This includes the presence among the Plumbers of numerous assets of the
Central Intelligence Agency, and specifically of the CIA bureaus
traditionally linked to George Bush, such as the Office of
Security-Security Research Staff and the Miami Station with its pool of
Who Paid the Plumbers?
The Plumbers were created at the demand of Henry Kissinger, who told Nixon
that something had to be done to stop leaks in the wake of the "Pentagon
Papers" affair of 1971. But if the Plumbers were called into existence by
Kissinger, they were funded through a mechanism set up by Kissinger clone
George Bush. A salient fact about the White House Special Investigations
Unit (or Plumbers) of 1971-72 is that the money used to finance it was
provided by George Bush's business partner and lifelong intimate friend,
Bill Liedtke, the president of Pennzoil. Bill Liedtke was a regional
finance chairman for the Nixon campaigns of 1968 and 1972, and he was one
of the most successful. Liedtke says that he accepted this post as a
personal favor to George Bush. In 1972, Bill Liedtke raised $700,000 in
anonymous contributions, including what appears to have been a single
contribution of $100,000 that was laundered through a bank account in
Mexico. According to Harry Hurt, part of this money came from Bush's bosom
crony Robert Mosbacher, now Secretary of Commerce. According to one
account, "two days before a new law was scheduled to begin making anonymous
donations illegal, the $700,000 in cash, checks, and securities was loaded
into a briefcase at Pennzoil headquarters and picked up by a company vice
president, who boarded a Washington-bound Pennzoil jet and delivered the
funds to the Committee to Re-Elect the President at ten o'clock that
night." / Note #1 / Note #4
These Mexican checks were turned over first to Maurice Stans of the CREEP,
who transferred them in turn to Watergate burglar Gordon Liddy. Liddy
passed them on to Bernard Barker, one of the Miami station Cubans arrested
on the night of the final Watergate break-in. Barker was actually carrying
some of the cash left over from these checks when he was apprehended. When
Barker was arrested, his bank records were subpoenaed by the Dade County,
Florida district attorney, Richard E. Gerstein, and were obtained by
Gerstein's chief investigator, Martin Dardis. As Dardis told Carl Bernstein
of the "Washington Post," about $100,000 in four cashier's checks had been
issued in Mexico City by Manuel Ogarrio Daguerre, a prominent lawyer who
handled Stans's money-laundering operation there. / Note #1 / Note #5
Liedtke eventually appeared before three grand juries investigating the
different aspects of the Watergate affair, but neither he nor Pennzoil was
ever brought to trial for the CREEP contributions. But it is a matter of
more than passing interest that the money for the Plumbers came from one of
Bush's intimates and, at the request of Bush, a member of the Nixon cabinet
from February 1971 on.
The U.S. House of Representatives Banking and Currency Committee, chaired
by Texas Democrat WrightPatman, soon began a vigorous investigation of the
money financing the break-in, large amounts of which were found as cash in
the pockets of the burglars.
Patman confirmed that the largest amount of the funds going into the Miami
bank account of Watergate burglar Bernard Barker, a CIA operative since the
Bay of Pigs invasion, was the $100,000 sent in by Texas CREEP chairman
William Liedtke, longtime business partner of George Bush. The money was
sent from Houston down to Mexico, where it was "laundered" to eliminate its
accounting trail. It then came back to Barker's account as four checks
totaling $89,000 and $11,000 in cash. A smaller amount, an anonymous
$25,000 contribution, was sent in by Minnesota CREEP officer Kenneth
Dahlberg in the form of a cashier's check.
Patman relentlessly pursued the true sources of this money, as the best
route to the truth about who ran the break-in, and for what purpose. CREEP
National Chairman Maurice Stans later described the situation just after
the burglars were arrested as made dangerous by "... Congressman Wright
Patman and several of his political hatchet men working on the staff of the
House Banking and Currency Committee. Without specific authorization by his
committee, Patman announced that he was going to investigate the Watergate
matter, using as his entry the banking transactions of the Dahlberg and
Mexican checks. In the guise of covering that ground, he obviously intended
to roam widely, and he almost did, but his own committee, despite its
Democratic majority, eventually stopped him."
These are the facts that Patman had established -- before "his own
committee ... stopped him."
The anonymous Minnesota $25,000 had in fact been provided to Dahlberg by
Dwayne Andreas, chief executive of the Archer Daniels Midland grain trading
The Texas $100,000, sent by Liedtke, in fact came from Robert H. Allen, a
mysterious nuclear weapons materials executive. Allen was chairman of Gulf
Resources and Chemical Corporation in Houston. His company controlled half
the world's supply of lithium, an essential component of hydrogen bombs.
On April 3, 1972 (75 days before the Watergate arrests), $100,000 was
transferred by telephone from a bank account of Gulf Resources and Chemical
Corp. into a Mexico City account of an officially defunct subsidiary of
Gulf Resources. Gulf Resources' Mexican lawyer, Manuel Ogarrio Daguerre,
withdrew it and sent back to Houston the package of four checks and cash,
which Liedtke forwarded for the CIA burglars. / Note #1 / Note #6
Robert H. Allen was Texas CREEP's chief financial officer, while Bush
partner William Liedtke was overall chairman. But what did Allen represent?
In keeping with its strategic nuclear holdings, Allen's Gulf Resources was
a kind of committee of the main components of the London-New York
oligarchy. Formed in the late 1960s, Gulf Resources had taken over the New
York-based Lithium Corporation of America. The president of this subsidiary
was Gulf Resources Executive Vice President Harry D. Feltenstein, Jr. John
Roger Menke, a director of both Gulf Resources and Lithium Corp., was also
a consultant and director of the United Nuclear Corporation, and a director
of the Hebrew Technical Institute. The ethnic background of the Lithium
subsidiary is of interest due to Israel's known preoccupation with
developing a nuclear weapons arsenal.
Another Gulf Resources and Lithium Corp. director was Minnesotan Samuel H.
Rogers, who was also a director of Dwayne Andreas's Archer Daniels Midland
Corp. Andreas was a large financial backer of the "Zionist lobby" through
the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'nith.
Gulf Resources Chairman Robert H. Allen received the "Torch of Liberty"
award of the Anti-Defamation League in 1982. Allen was a white Anglo-Saxon
conservative. No credible reason for this award was supplied to the press,
and the ADL stated their satisfaction that Mr. Allen's financing of the
Watergate break-in was simply a mistake, now in the distant past.
From the beginning of Gulf Resources, there was always a representative on its board of New York's Bear Stearns firm,
whose partner Jerome Kohlberg, Jr., pioneered leveraged buyouts and merged with Bush's Henry Kravis.
The most prestigious board member of Allen's Gulf Resources was George A.
Butler, otherwise the chairman of Houston's Post Oak Bank. Butler
represented the ultra-secretive W. S. ("Auschwitz") Farish III, confidant
of George Bush and U.S. host of Queen Elizabeth. Farish was the founder and
controlling owner of Butler's Post Oak Bank, and was chairman of the bank's
executive committee as of 1988. / Note #1 / Note #7
A decade after Watergate, it was revealed that the Hunt family had
controlled about 15 percent of Gulf Resources shares. This Texas oil family
hired George Bush in 1977 to be the executive committee chairman of their
family enterprise, the First International Bank in Houston. In the 1980s,
Ray Hunt secured a massive oil contract with the ruler of North Yemen under
the sponsorship of then-Vice President Bush. Ray Hunt continues in the
1991-92 presidential campaign as George Bush's biggest Texas financial
Here, in this one powerful Houston corporation, we see early indications of
the alliance of George Bush with the "Zionist lobby" -- an alliance which
for political reasons the Bush camp wishes to keep covert.
These, then, are the Anglo-American moguls whose money paid for the
burglary of the Watergate Hotel. It was their money that Richard Nixon was
talking about on the famous "smoking gun" tape which lost him the
The Investigation Is Derailed
On Oct. 3, 1972, the House Banking and Currency Committee voted 20-15
against Chairman Wright Patman's investigation. The vote prevented the
issuance of 23 subpoenas for CREEP officials to come to Congress to
The margin of protection to the moguls was provided by six Democratic
members of the committee who voted with the Republicans against Chairman
Patman. As CREEP Chairman Maurice Stans put it, "There were ... indirect
approaches to Democratic [committee] members. An all-out campaign was
conducted to see that the investigation was killed off, as it successfully
was." / Note #1 / Note #8
Certain elements of this infamous "campaign" are known.
Banking Committee member Frank Brasco, a liberal Democratic congressman
from New York, voted to stop the probe. New York Governor Nelson
Rockefeller had arranged a meeting between Brasco and U.S. Attorney General
John Mitchell. Brasco had been a target of a Justice Department
investigation for alleged fraud and bribery since 1970, and Mitchell
successfully warned Brasco not to back Patman. Later, in 1974, Brasco was
convicted of bribery.
Before Watergate, both John Mitchell and Henry Kissinger had FBI reports
implicating California Congressman Richard Hanna in the receipt of illegal
campaign contributions from the Korean Central Intelligence Agency. Hanna
surprised Patman by voting against the investigation. Hanna was later
(1978) convicted for his role in the Koreagate scandal in 1978.
The secretary of Congressman William Chappell complained in 1969 that the
Florida Democrat had forced her to kick back some of her salary. The
Justice Department, holding this information, had declined to prosecute.
Chappell, a member of the Banking Committee, voted to stop Patman's
Kentucky Democratic Congressman William Curlin, Jr. revealed in 1973 that
"certain members of the committee were reminded of various past political
indiscretions, or of relatives who might suffer as a result of [a]
The Justice Department worked overtime to smear Patman, including an
attempt to link him to "Communist agents" in Greece. / Note #1 / Note #9
The day before the committee vote, the Justice Department released a letter
to Patman claiming that any congressional investigation would compromise
the rights of the accused Watergate burglars before their trial.
House Republican leader Gerald Ford led the attack on Patman from within
the Congress. Though he later stated his regrets for this vicious campaign,
his eventual reward was the U.S. presidency.
Canceling the Patman probe meant that there would be no investigation of
Watergate before the 1972 presidential election. The "Washington Post"
virtually ended reference to the Watergate affair, and spoke of Nixon's
opponent, George McGovern, as unqualified for the presidency.
The Republican Party was handed another four-year administration. Bush,
Kissinger, Rockefeller and Ford were the gainers.
But then Richard Nixon became the focus of all Establishment attacks for
Watergate, while the money trail that Patman had pursued was forgotten.
Wright Patman was forced out of his committee chairmanship in 1974. On the
day Nixon resigned the presidency, Patman wrote to Peter Rodino, chairman
of the House Judiciary Committee, asking him not to stop investigating
Watergate. Though Patman died in 1976, his advice still holds good.
The CIA Plumbers
As the late FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover told the journalist Andrew Tully
in the days before June 1972, "By God, he's [Nixon's] got some former CIA
men working for him that I'd kick out of my office. Someday, that bunch
will serve him up a fine mess." / Note #2 / Note #0 The CIA men in question
were among the Plumbers, a unit allegedly created in the first place to
stanch the flow of leaks, including the Jack Anderson material about such
episodes as the December 1971 brush with nuclear war discussed above.
Leading Plumbers included retired high officials of the CIA. Plumber and
Watergate burglar E. Howard Hunt had been a GS-15 CIA staff officer; he had
played a role in the 1954 toppling of Guatemalan President Jacobo Arbenz
Guzman, and later had been one of the planners in the Bay of Pigs invasion
of 1961. After the failure of the Bay of Pigs, Hunt is thought to have been
a part of the continuing CIA attempts to assassinate Castro, code-named
Operation Mongoose, ongoing at the time of the Kennedy assassination. All
of this puts him in the thick of the CIA Miami station. One of Hunt's close
personal friends was Howard Osborne, an official of the CIA Office of
Security who was the immediate superior of James McCord. In the spring of
1971 Hunt went to Miami to recruit from among the Cubans the contingent of
Watergate burglars, including Bernard Barker, Eugenio Martinez, and the
rest. This was two months before the publication of the "Pentagon Papers,"
leaked by Daniel Ellsberg, provided Kissinger with the pretext he needed to
get Nixon to initiate what would shortly become the Plumbers.
Another leading Watergate burglar was James McCord, a former top official
of the CIA Office of Security, the agency bureau which is supposed to
maintain contacts with U.S. police agencies in order to facilitate its
basic task of providing security for CIA installations and personnel. The
Office of Security was thus heavily implicated in the CIA's illegal
domestic operations, including "Cointelpro" operations against political
dissidents and groups, and was the vehicle for such mind-control
experiments as Operations Bluebird, Artichoke, and MK-Ultra. The Office of
Security also utilized male and female prostitutes and other sex operatives
for purposes of compromising and blackmailing public figures, information
gathering, and control. According to Hougan, the Office of Security
maintained a "fag file" of some 300,000 U.S. citizens, with heavy stress on
homosexuals. The Office of Security also had responsibility for Soviet and
other defectors. James McCord was at one time responsible for the physical
security of all CIA premises in the U.S. McCord was also a close friend of
CIA Counterintelligence Director James Jesus Angleton. McCord was anxious
to cover the CIA's role; at one point he wrote to his superior, General
Gaynor, urging him to "flood the newspapers with leaks or anonymous
letters" to discredit those who wanted to establish the responsibility of
"the company." / Note #2 / Note #1 But according to one of McCord's own
police contacts, Garey Bittenbender of the Washington, D.C. Police
Intelligence Division, who recognized him after his arrest, McCord had
averred to him that the Watergate break-ins had been "a CIA operation," an
account which McCord heatedly denied later. / Note #2 / Note #2
The third leader of the Watergate burglars, G. Gordon Liddy, had worked for
the FBI and the Treasury. Liddy's autobiography, "Will," published in 1980,
and various statements show that Liddy's world outlook had a number of
similarities with that of George Bush: He was, for example, obsessed with
the maintenance and transmission of his "family gene pool."
Another key member of the Plumbers unit was John Paisley, who functioned as
the official CIA liaison to the White House investigative unit. It was
Paisley who assumed responsibility for the overall "leak analysis," that is
to say, for defining the problem of unauthorized divulging of classified
material which the Plumbers were supposed to combat. Paisley, along with
Howard Osborne of the Office of Security, met with the Plumbers, led by
Kissinger operative David Young, at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia
on August 9, 1971. Paisley's important place on the Plumbers' roster is
most revealing, since Paisley was later to become an important appointee of
CIA Director George Bush. In the middle of 1976, Bush decided to authorize
a group of experts, ostensibly from outside the CIA, to produce an analysis
which would be compared with the CIA's own National Intelligence Estimates
on Soviet capabilities and intentions. The panel of outside experts was
given the designation of "Team B." Bush chose Paisley to be the CIA's
"coordinator" of the three subdivisions of Team B. Paisley would later
disappear while sailing on Chesapeake Bay in September of 1978.
In a White House memorandum by David Young summarizing the August 9, 1971
meeting between the Plumbers and the official CIA leaders, we find that
Young "met with Howard Osborn and a Mr. Paisley to review what it was that
we wanted CIA to do in connection with their files on leaks from January
1969 to the present." There then follows a 14-point list of leaks and their
classification, including the frequency of leaks associated with certain
journalists, the gravity of the leaks, and so forth. A data base was called
for, and "it was decided that Mr. Paisley would get this done by next
Monday, August 16, 1971." On areas where more clarification was needed, the
memo noted, "the above questions should be reviewed with Paisley within the
next two days." / Note #2 / Note #3
The lesser Watergate burglars came from the ranks of the CIA Miami station
Cubans: Bernard Barker, Eugenio Martinez, Felipe de Diego, Frank Surgis,
Virgilio Gonzalez and Reinaldo Pico. Once they had started working for
Hunt, Martinez asked the Miami station chief, Jake Esterline, if he was
familiar with the activities now being carried out under White House cover.
Esterline in turn asked Langley for its opinion of Hunt's White House
position. A reply was written by Cord Meyer, later openly profiled as a
Bush admirer, to Deputy Director for Plans (that is to say, covert
operations) Thomas Karamessines. The import of Meyer's directions to
Esterline was that the latter should "not ... concern himself with the
travels of Hunt in Miami, that Hunt was on domestic White House business of
an unknown nature and that the Chief of Station should 'cool it.'|" / Note
#2 / Note #4
Notes for Chapter 13, Part 1
1. Fitzhugh Green, "George Bush: An Intimate Portrait" (New York:
Hippocrene Books, 1989), p. 137.
2. George Bush and Victor Gold, "Looking Forward" (New York: Doubleday,
1987), pp. 120-21.
3. "Ibid.," p. 121.
4. Green, "op. cit.," p. 129.
5. Harry Hurt III, "George Bush, Plucky Lad," in "Texas Monthly," June 1983.
6. "Dallas Morning News," Nov. 25, 1971.
7. "Washington Post," Dec. 12, 1972.
9. "Washington Post," Jan. 22, 1973.
11. "Washington Post," Jan. 22, 1973.
12. See for example Len Cholodny and Robert Gettlin, "Silent Coup" (New
York: St. Martin's Press, 1991).
13. Lyn Marcus, "Up-Valuation of German Mark Fuels Watergate Attack on
Nixon," "New Solidarity," July 9-13, 1973, pp. 10-11.
14. See Thomas Petzinger, "Oil and Honor" (New York: Putnam, 1987), pp.
64-65. See also Harry Hurt's article mentioned above. Wright Patman's House
Banking Committee revealed part of the activities of Bill Liedtke and
Mosbacher during the Watergate era.
15. Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, "All the President's Men" (New York:
Simon and Schuster, 1974), present the checks received by Barker as one of
the ways they breached the wall of secrecy around the CREEP, with the aid
of their anonymous source "Bookkeeper." But neither in this book nor in
"The Final Days" (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1976), do "Woodstein" get
around to mentioning that the Mexico City money came from Bill Liedtke.
This marked pattern of silence and reticence on matters pertaining to
George Bush, certainly one of the most prominent of the President's men, is
a characteristic of Watergate journalism in general.
For more information regarding William Liedtke's role in financing the
CREEP, see Hearings Before the Select Committee on Presidential Campaign
Activities, 93rd Congress, including testimony by Hugh Sloan, June 6, 1973;
and by Maurice Stans, June 12, 1973; see also the Final Report of the
committee, issued in June, 1974. Relevant press coverage from the period
includes "Stans Scathes Report," by Woodward and Bernstein, "Washington
Post," Sept. 14, 1972; and "Liedtke Linked to FPC Choice," United Press
International, June 26, 1973. Liedtke also influenced Nixon appointments in
areas of interest to himself.
16. "New York Times," Aug. 26, 1972 and Nov. 1, 1972.
17. Interview with a Post Oak Bank executive, Nov. 21, 1991. See also
"Houston Post," Dec. 27, 1988.
18. Maurice H. Stans, "The Terrors of Justice: The Untold Side of
Watergate" (New York: Everest, 1978).
19. Stanley L. Kutler, "The Wars of Watergate: The Last Crisis of Richard
Nixon" (New York: Knopf, distributed by Random House, 1990), pp. 229-33.
20. See Jim Hougan, "Secret Agenda" (New York: Random House, 1984), p. 92.
21. Ervin Committee Hearings, Book 9, pp. 3441-46, and Report of the Nedzi
Committee of the House of Representatives, p. 201, cited by Hougan, "op.
cit.," p. 318.
22. Nezdi Committee Report, pp. 442-43, quoted in Hougan, "op. cit.," p. 261.
23. Hougan, "op. cit.," pp. 46-47.
24. Ervin Committee Final Report, pp. 1146-49, and Hougan, "op. cit.," pp.
CHAIRMAN GEORGE IN WATERGATE
During the spring of 1973, George Bush was no longer simply a long-standing
member of the Nixon cabinet. He was also, de facto, a White House official,
operating out of the same Old Executive Office Building, which is adjacent
to the Executive Mansion and forms part of the same security compound. As
we read in the Jack Anderson column for March 10, 1973, in the "Washington
Post": "Republican National Chairman George Bush, as befitting the head of
a party whose coffers are overflowing, has been provided with a plush
office in the new Eisenhower Building here. He spends much of his time,
however, in a government office next to the White House. When we asked how
a party official rated a government office, a GOP spokesman explained that
the office wasn't assigned to him but was merely a visitor's office. The
spokesman admitted, however, that Bush spends a lot of time there." This
means that Bush's principal office was in the building where Nixon most
liked to work; Nixon had what was called his "hideaway" office in the Old
Executive Office Building.
As to the state of George's relations with Nixon at this time, we have the
testimony of a "Yankee Republican" who had known and liked father Prescott,
as cited by journalist Al Reinert: "I can't think of a man I've ever known
for whom I have greater respect than Pres Bush ... I've always been kind of
sorry his son turned out to be such a jerk. George has been kissing Nixon's
ass ever since he came up here." / Note #2 / Note #5 Reinert comments that
"when Nixon became president, Bush became a teacher's pet," "a presidential
favorite, described in the press as one of 'Nixon's men.'|"
On the surface, George was an ingratiating sycophant. But he dissembled.
The Nixon White House would seem to have included at least one highly
placed official who betrayed his President to Bob Woodward of the
"Washington Post," making it possible for that newspaper to repeatedly
outflank Nixon's attempts at stonewalling. This was the celebrated, and
still anonymous, source Woodward called "Deep Throat."
Al Haig has often been accused of having been the figure of the Nixon White
House who provided Woodward and Bernstein with their leads. If there is any
consensus about the true identity of Deep Throat, it would appear to be
that Al Haig is the prime suspect. However, there is no conclusive evidence
about the true identity of the person or persons called Deep Throat,
assuming that such a phenomenon ever existed. As soon as Haig is named, we
must become suspicious: The propaganda of the Bush networks has never been
kind to Haig. Haig and Bush, as leading clones of Henry Kissinger, were
locked on a number of occasions into a kind of sibling rivalry. On the one
hand, it cannot be proven that Haig was Deep Throat. On the other hand,
George Bush has frequently escaped any scrutiny in this regard. It may
therefore be useful, as a kind of "reductio ad absurdum" permitting us a
fresh approach to certain long-standing Watergate enigmas, to ask the
Could Bush have been Deep Throat?
Or, could Bush have been one part of a composite of sources which Woodward
has chosen to popularize as his legendary Deep Throat? Or, could Bush have
been a source who chose to use Deep Throat as his cut-out?
The novelty of Bush as Deep Throat is not due to any objective
circumstance, but rather to the selective omissions of sources,
journalists, press organs, publishers, and editors, none of whom is immune
to the influence of the Skull and Bones/Brown Brothers, Harriman powerhouse
we have already seen in action so many times. Some years after Nixon's
fall, "Time" magazine listed what it considered to be the possible sources
for the leaks attributed by "Woodstein" to Deep Throat. These were: Richard
Nixon, Rose Mary Woods, Alexander Haig, Charles Colson, Stephen Bull, Fred
Buzhardt, Leonard Garment, and Samuel Powers. / Note #2 / Note #6 Woodward
and Bernstein do not list Bush among the Cast of Characters in "All the
President's Men," although he was a member of the Nixon cabinet. In these
authors' later book, "The Final Days," he does appear. But the exclusion of
Bush from the list of suspects is arbitrary and highly suspicious,
especially on the part of "Time" magazine, founded by Henry Luce of Skull
Discounting the coverups, both crude and sophisticated, we can state that
Bush is a plausible candidate to be Deep Throat, or to be one of his voices
if these should prove to be multiple. What intimate of Nixon, what cabinet
member and quasi-White House official had a better line of communication to
the Wall Street investment banking circles who were the prime movers of the
overthrow of Nixon? Who had a better working relationship with Henry
Kissinger, the chief immediate beneficiary of Nixon's downfall? Who had
links to the dirty tricks and black operations divisions of the CIA,
especially to the Miami station? Whose business partner and cronies had
financed the CREEP? And who could count on the loyalty of a far-flung
freemasonic network ensconced in positions of power in the media, the
courts, the executive branch, the Congress, and law enforcement agencies?
Surely Bush is more than a plausible candidate; by any realistic reckoning,
he is a formidable candidate.
In terms of the immediate tactical mechanics of the Watergate scandal, Bush
possessed undeniable trump cards. The first was his long-standing family
and business relationship with the owners of the "Washington Post," the
flagship news organ of the scandal. The paper was controlled by Katherine
Meyer Graham, and both her father, Eugene Meyer, and her late husband,
Philip Graham, had been among the investers of the Bush-Overbey oil firm in
1951-52. With Eugene Meyer, Bush says, he "had other oil-business dealings
over the years, most of them profitable, all enjoyable." / Note #2 / Note
#7 In addition, there are a few details of the personal background of
reporter Bob Woodward which may suggest a covert link to Chairman George.
Woodward was a naval intelligence officer with a government security
clearance of the highest level ("top secret crypto"). He was specifically
one of the briefers sent by the Joint Chiefs of Staff to provide verbal
intelligence and operational summaries for top officials, including those
of the National Security Council. Woodward was also, like Bush, a graduate
of Yale, where he took his degree in 1965. Also like Bush, Woodward had
been a member of a Yale secret society. Woodward had not been tapped for
Skull and Bones, however; he had joined Book and Snake, thought to be among
the four most prestigious of these masonic institutions. Book and Snake,
like Scroll and Key and Wolf's Head, functions as a satellite of Skull and
Bones, receiving as members the best young oligarchs not culled by Skull
and Bones. Dean Acheson, of Wolf's Head, for example, was an asset of the
political-financial faction headed up by Averell Harriman of Skull and
Some delving into the details of the Deep Throat-Woodward relationship may
further substantiate the Bush candidacy. If we wish literally to believe
what Woodward recounts, we obtain the following picture of his contacts
with Deep Throat. First we have a series of telephone contacts between June
19 and October 8, 1972. Even if we posit that Bush was busily fulfilling
his diplomatic commitments in New York City on the days when he was not
attending cabinet meetings in Washington, there is no practical reason why
Bush could not have provided the tips Woodward describes. Then we have the
legendary late-night garage meetings, starting Monday, October 9, 1972, and
repeated on Saturday, October 21, and Friday, October 27, with a further
likely garage meeting in late December. Since all of these but the first
were on weekends, there is no reason to conclude that they could not have
been accommodated within Bush's U.N. schedule. Any time after December 12,
1972 (the date Bush's GOP appointment was announced), his presence in
Washington would have fit easily into the reorientation of his work
schedule toward his new job at the White House. A garage meeting in January
1973, a bar meeting in February, phone calls in April, another garage
meeting in May, and a further one in November -- none of this would have
presented any difficulty.
What does Woodward tell us about Deep Throat? "The man's position in the
Executive Branch was extremely sensitive." "Deep Throat had access to
information from the White House, Justice, the FBI and CRP. What he knew
represented an aggregate of hard information flowing in and out of many
stations." He was someone whom Woodward had known for some time : "His
friendship with Deep Throat was genuine, not cultivated. Long before
Watergate, they had spent many evenings talking about Washington, the
government, power." / Note #2 / Note #8 Deep Throat was a man who "could be
rowdy, drink too much, overreach. He was not good at concealing his
feelings, hardly ideal for a man in his position." Could this be the
precursor of the Bush of Panama, the Gulf, and civil rights controversies,
unable to suppress periodic episodes of public rage? Perhaps. We also learn
from Woodward that Deep Throat was "an incurable gossip." Perhaps this can
be related to Bush's talent as a mimic, described by Fitzhugh Green. / Note
#2 / Note #9
It was on May 16, 1973 Deep Throat told Woodward: "Everyone's life is in
danger." He added that "electronic surveillance is going on and we had
better watch it." Who is doing it? Bernstein asked. "CIA," was Woodward's
reply. Woodward typed a summary of Deep Throat's further remarks, including
these comments: "The covert activities involve the whole U.S. intelligence
community and are incredible. Deep Throat refused to give specifics because
it is against the law. The cover-up had little to do with the Watergate,
but was mainly to protect the covert operations." / Note #3 / Note #0 Butwh
at were the covert operations to which Deep Throat so dramatically refers?
Enter Lou Russell
One of the major sub-plots of Watergate, and one that will eventually lead
us back to the documented public record of George Bush, is the relation of
the various activities of the Plumbers to the wiretapping of a group of
prostitutes who operated out of a brothel in the Columbia Plaza Apartments,
located in the immediate vicinity of the Watergate buildings. / Note #3 /
Note #1 Among the customers of the prostitutes there appear to have been a
U.S. Senator, an astronaut, A Saudi prince (the Embassy of Saudi Arabia is
nearby), U.S. and South Korean intelligence officials, and above all,
numerous Democratic Party leaders whose presence can be partially explained
by the propinquity of the Democratic National Committe offices in the
Watergate. The Columbia Plaza Apartments brothel was under intense CIA
surveillance by the Office of Security/Security Research Staff through one
of their assets, an aging private detective out of the pages of Damon
Runyon who went by the name of Louis James Russell. Russell was, according
to Hougan, especially interested in bugging a hotline phone that linked the
DNC with the nearby brothel. During the Watergate break-ins, James McCord's
recruit to the Plumbers, Alfred C. Baldwin, would appear to have been
bugging the telephones of the Columbia Plaza brothel.
Lou Russell, in the period between June 20 and July 2, 1973, was working
for a detective agency that was helping George Bush prepare for an upcoming
press conference. In this sense, Russell was working for Bush.
Russell is relevant because he seems (although he denied it) to have been
the fabled sixth man of the Watergate break-in, the burglar who got away.
He may also have been the burglar who tipped off the police, if indeed
anyone did. Russell was a harlequin who had been the servant of many
masters. Lou Russell had once been the chief investigator for the House
Committee on Un-American Activities. He had worked for the FBI. He had been
a stringer for Jack Anderson, the columnist. In December 1971, he had been
an employee of General Security Services, the company that provided the
guards who protected the Watergate buildings. In March of 1972, Russell had
gone to work for James McCord and McCord Associates, whose client was the
CREEP. Later, after the scandal had broken, Russell worked for McCord's new
and more successful firm, Security Associates. Russell had also worked
directly for the CREEP as a night watchman. Russell had also worked for
John Leon of Allied Investigators, Inc., a company that later went to work
for George Bush and the Republican National Committee. Still later, Russell
found a job with the headquarters of the McGovern for President campaign.
Russell's lawyer was Bud Fensterwald, and sometimes Russell performed
investigative services for Fensterwald and for Fensterwald's Committee to
Investigate Assassinations. In September 1972, well after the scandal had
become notorious, Russell seems to have joined with one Nick Beltrante in
carrying out electronic countermeasures sweeps of the DNC headquarters, and
during one of these he appears to have planted an electronic eavesdropping
device in the phone of DNC worker Spencer Oliver which, when it was
discovered, refocused public attention on the Watergate scandal at the end
of the summer of 1972.
Russell was well acquainted with Carmine Bellino, the chief investigator on
the staff of Sam Ervin's Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign
Practices. Bellino was a Kennedy operative who had superintended the seamy
side of the JFK White House, including such figures as Judith Exner, the
President's alleged paramour. Later, Bellino would become the target of
George Bush's most revealing public action during the Watergate period.
Bellino's friend, William Birely, later provided Russell with an apartment
in Silver Spring, Maryland, a new car, and sums of money.
Russell had been a heavy drinker, and his social circle was that of the
prostitutes, whom he sometimes patronized and sometimes served as a bouncer
and goon. His familiarity with the brothel milieu facilitated his service
for the Office of Security, which was to oversee the bugging and other
surveillance of Columbia Plaza and other locations.
Lou Russell was incontestably one of the most fascinating figures of
Watergate. How remarkable, then, that the indefatigable ferrets Woodward
and Bernstein devoted so little attention to him, deeming him worthy of
mention in neither of their two books. Woodward and Bernstein met with
Russell, but had ostensibly decided that there was "nothing to the story."
Woodward claims to have seen nothing in Russell beyond the obvious "old
drunk." / Note #3 / Note #2
The FBI had questioned Russell after the DNC break-ins, probing his
whereabouts on June 16-17 with the suspicion that he had indeed been one of
the burglars. But this questioning led to nothing. Instead, Russell was
contacted by Carmine Bellino, and later by Bellino's broker Birely, who set
Russell up in the new apartment (or safe house) already mentioned, where
one of the Columbia Plaza prostitutes moved in with him.
By 1973, minority Republican staffers at the Ervin committee began to
realize the importance of Russell to a revisionist account of the scandal
that might exonerate Nixon to some extent by shifting the burden of guilt
elsewhere. On May 9, 1973, the Ervin committee accordingly subpoenaed
Russell's telephone, job, and bank records. Two days later, Russell replied
to the committee that he had no job records or diaries, had no bank
account, made long-distance calls only to his daughter, and could do
nothing for the committee.
On May 16-17, Deep Throat warned Woodward that "everybody's life is in
danger." On May 18, while the staff of the Ervin committee were pondering
their next move vis-a-vis Russell, Russell suffered a massive heart attack.
This was the same day that McCord, advised by his lawyer and Russell's,
Fensterwald, began his public testimony to the Ervin committee on the
coverup. Russell was taken to Washington Adventist Hospital, where he
recovered to some degree and convalesced until June 20. Russell was
convinced that he had been the victim of an attempted assassination. He
told his daughter after leaving the hospital that he believed that he had
been poisoned, that someone had entered his apartment and "switched pills
on me." / Note #3 / Note #3
Leaving the hospital on June 20, Russell was still very weak and pale. But
now, although he remained on the payroll of James McCord, he also accepted
a retainer from his friend John Leon, who had been engaged by the
Republicans to carry out a counterinvestigation of the Watergate affair.
Leon was in contact with Jerris Leonard, a lawyer associated with Nixon,
the GOP, the Republican National Committee, and with Chairman Ge orge Bush.
Leonard was a former assistant attorney general for civil rights in the
Nixon administration. Leonard had stepped down as head of the Law
Enforcement Assistance Administration (LEAA) on March 17, 1973. In June
1973, Leonard was special counsel to George Bush personally, hired by Bush
and not by the RNC. Leonard says today that his job consisted in helping to
keep the Republican Party separate from Watergate, deflecting Watergate
from the party "so it would not be a party thing." / Note #3 / Note #4 As
Hougan tells it, "Leon was convinced that Watergate was a set-up, that
prostitution was at the heart of the affair, and that the Watergate arrests
had taken place following a tip-off to the police; in other words, the June
17 burglary had been sabotaged from within, Leon believed, and he intended
to prove it." / Note #3 / Note #5 "Integral to Leon's theory of the affair
was Russell's relationship to the Ervin committee's chief investigator,
Carmine Bellino, and the circumstances surrounding Russell's relocation to
Silver Spring in the immediate aftermath of the Watergate arrests. In an
investigative memorandum submitted to GOP lawyer Jerris Leonard, Leon
described what he hoped to prove: that Russell, reporting to Bellino, had
been a spy for the Democrats within the CRP,and that Russell had tipped off
Bellino (and the police) to the June 17 break-in. The man who knew most
about this was Leon's new employee, Lou Russell."
Is it possible that Jerris Leonard communicated the contents of Leon's
memorandum to the RNC and to its chairman George Bush during the days after
he received it? It is possible. But for Russell, the game was over: On July
2, 1973, barely two weeks after his release from the hospital, Russell
suffered a second heart attack, which killed him. He was buried with quite
suspicious haste the following day. The potential witness with perhaps the
largest number of personal ties to Watergate protagonists, and the witness
who might have redirected the scandal, not just toward Bellino, but toward
the prime movers behind and above McCord and Hunt and Paisley, had perished
in a way that recalls the fate of so many knowledgeable Iran-Contra
With Russell silenced forever, Leon appears to have turned his attention to
targeting Bellino, perhaps with a view to forcing him to submit to
questioning about his relationship to Russell. Leon, who had been convicted
in 1964 of wiretapping in a case involving El Paso Gas Co. and Tennessee
Gas Co., had weapons in his own possession that could be used against
Bellino. During the time that Russell was still in the hospital, on June 8,
Leon had signed an affidavit for Jerris Leonard in which he stated that he
had been hired by Democratic operative Bellino during the 1960 presidential
campaign to "infiltrate the operations" of Albert B. "Ab" Hermann, a staff
member of the Republican National Committee. Leon asserted in the affidavit
that although he had not been able to infiltrate Hermann's office, he
observed the office with field glasses and employed "an electronic device
known as 'the big ear' aimed at Mr. Hermann's window." Leon recounted that
he had been assisted by former CIA officer John Frank, Oliver W. Angelone
and former congressional investigator Ed Jones in the anti-Nixon 1960
Leon collected other sworn statements that all went in the same direction,
portraying Bellino as a Democratic dirty tricks operative unleashed by the
Kennedy faction against Nixon. Joseph Shimon, who had been an inspector for
the Washington Police Department, told of how he had been approached by
Kennedy operative Oliver W. Angelone, who alleged that he was working for
Bellino, with a request to help Angelone gain access to the two top floors
of the Wardman Park Hotel just before they were occupied by Nixon on the
eve of the Nixon-Kennedy television debate. Edward Murray Jones, then
living in the Philippines, said in his affidavit that he had been assigned
by Bellino to tail individuals at Washington National Airport and in
downtown Washington. / Note #3 / Note #6 According to Hougan, "these
sensational allegations were provided by Leon to Republican attorneys on
July 10, 1973, exactly a week after Russell's funeral. Immediately,
attorney Jerris Leonard conferred with RNC Chairman George Bush. It
appeared to both men that a way had been found to place the Watergate
affair in a new perspective, and, perhaps, to turn the tide. A statement
was prepared and a press conference scheduled at which Leon was to be the
star witness, or speaker. Before the press conference could be held,
however, Leon suffered a heart attack on July 13, 1973, and died the same
day." / Note #3 / Note #7
Two important witnesses, each of whom represented a threat to reopen the
most basic questions of Watergate, dead in little more than a week! Bush is
likely to have known of the import of Russell's testimony, and he is proven
to have known of the content of Leon's. Jerris Leonard later told Hougan
that the death of John Leon "came as a complete shock. It was ... well, to
be honest with you, it was frightening. It was only a week after Russell's
death, or something like that, and it happened on the very eve of the press
conference. We didn't know what was going on. We were scared." / Note #3 /
Note #8 Hougan comments: "With the principal witness against Bellino no
longer available, and with Russell dead as well, Nixon's last hope of
diverting attention from Watergate -- slim from the beginning -- was laid
to rest forever."
Diversion and Damage Control
But George Bush went ahead with the press conference that had been
announced, even if John Leon, the principal speaker, was now dead.
According to Nixon, Bush had been "privately pleading for some action that
would get us off the defensive" since back in the springtime. / Note #3 /
Note #9 On July 24, 1973, Bush made public the affidavits by Leon, Jones,
and Shimon which charged that the Ervin committee chief investigator
Carmine Bellino had recruited spies to help defeat Nixon back in 1960. "I
cannot and do not vouch for the veracity of the statements contained in the
affidavits," said Bush, "but I do believe that this matter is serious
enough to concern the Senate Watergate committee, and particularly since
its chief investigator is the subject of the charges contained in the
affidavits. If these charges are true, a taint would most certainly be
attached to some of the committee's work."
Bush specified that on the basis of the Shimon and Leon affidavits, he was
"confident" that Jones and Angelone "had bugged the Nixon space or tapped
his phones prior to the television debate." He conceded that "there was
corruption" in the ranks of the GOP. "But now I have presented some serious
allegations that if true could well have affected the outcome of the 1960
presidential race. The Nixon-Kennedy election was a real cliff-hanger, and
the debates bore heavily on the outcome of the people's decision." Bush
rejected any charge that he was releasing the affidavits in a bid to
"justify Watergate." He asserted that he was acting in the interest of
Bush said that he had taken the affidavits to Sen. Sam Ervin, the chairman
of the Senate Watergate Committee, and to GOP Sen. Howard Baker, that
committee's ranking Republican, but that the committee had failed to act so
far. "I haven't seen much action on it," Bush added. When the accuracy of
the affidavits was challenged, Bush replied, "We've heard a lot more
hearsay bandied about the [Watergate] committee than is presented here. I'd
like to know how serious it is. I'd like to see it looked into," said Bush.
He called on Sam Ervin and his committee to probe all the charges
forthwith. Bush was "convinced that there is in fact substance to the
In 1991, the Bush damage control line is that events relating to the
"October Surprise" deal of the Reagan-Bush campaign with the Khomeini
mullahs of Iran to block the freeing of the U.S. hostages are so remote in
the past that nobody is interested in them anymore. But in 1973, Bush
thought that events of 1960 were highly relevant to Watergate.
Bellino lab eled Bush's charges "absolutely false." "I categorically and
unequivocally deny that I have ever ordered, requested, directed, or
participated in any electronic surveillance whatsoever in connection with
any political campaign," said Bellino. "By attacking me on the basis of
such false and malicious lies, Mr. Bush has attempted to distract me from
carrying out what I consider one of the most important assignments of my
life. I shall continue to exert all my efforts to ascertain the facts and
the truth pertinent to this investigation."
Here Bush was operating on several levels of reality at once. The
implications of the Russell-Leon interstices would be suspected only in
retrospect. What appeared on the surface was a loyal Republican mounting a
diversionary attack in succor of his embattled President. At deeper levels,
the reality might be the reverse: the stiffing of Nixon in order to defend
the forces behind the break-in and the scandal.
Back in April, as the Ervin committee was preparing to go into action
against the White House, Bush had participated in the argument about
whether the committee sessions should be televised or not. Bush discussed
this issue with Senators Baker and Brock, both Republicans who wanted the
hearings to be televised -- in Baker's case, so that he could beon
television himself as the ranking Republican on the panel. Ehrlichman, to
whom Bush reported in the White House, mindful of the obvious potential
damage to the administration, wanted the hearings not televised, not even
public, but in executive session with a sanitized transcript handed out
later. So Bush, having no firm convictions of his own, but always looking
for his own advantage, told Ehrlichman he sympathized with both sides of
the argument, and was "sitting happily on the middle of the fence with a
picket sticking up my you know what. I'll see you." / Note #4 / Note #0 But
Nixon's damage control interest had been sacrificed by Bush's vacillating
Bush had talked in public about the Ervin committee during a visit to
Seattle on June 29 in response to speculation that Nixon might be called to
testify. Bush argued that the presidency would be diminished if Nixon were
to appear. Bush was adamant that Nixon could not be subpoenaed and that he
should not testify voluntarily. Shortly thereafter, Bush had demanded that
the Ervin committee wrap up its proceedings to "end the speculation" about
Nixon's role in the coverup. "Let's get all the facts out, let's get the
whole thing over with, get all the people up there before the Watergate
committee. I don't believe John Dean's testimony." / Note #4 / Note #1
Senator Sam Ervin placed Bush's intervention against Carmine Bellino in the
context of other diversionary efforts launched by the RNC. Ervin, along
with Democratic Senators Talmadge and Inouye were targeted by a campaign
inspired by Bush's RNC which alleged that they had tried to prevent a full
probe of LBJ intimate Bobby Baker back in 1963. Later, speaking on the
Senate floor on October 9, 1973, Ervin commented: "One can but admire the
zeal exhibited by the Republican National Committee and its journalistic
allies in their desperate effort to invent a red herring to drag across the
trail which leads to the truth concerning Watergate." / Note #4 / Note #2
But Ervin saw Bush's Bellino material as a more serious assault. "Bush's
charge distressed me very much for two reasons. First, I deemed it unjust
to Bellino, who denied it and whom I had known for many years to be an
honorable man and a faithful public servant; and, second, it was out of
character with the high opinion I entertained of Bush. Copies of the
affidavits had been privately submitted to me before the news conference,
and I had expressed my opinion that there was not a scintilla of competent
or credible evidence in them to sustain the charges against Bellino." /
Note #4 / Note #3
Sam Dash, the chief counsel to the Ervin committee, had a darker and more
detailed view of Bush's actions: "In the midst of the pressure to complete
a shortened witness list by the beginning of August, a nasty incident
occurred that was clearly meant to sidetrack the committee and destroy or
immobilize one of my most valuable staff assistants -- Carmine Bellino, my
chief investigator. On July 24, 1973, the day after the committee subpoena
for the White House tapes was served on the President, the Republican
national chairman, George Bush, called a press conference.... Three days
later, as if carefully orchestrated, twenty-two Republican senators signed
a letter to Senator Ervin, urging the Senate Watergate Committee to
investigate Bush's charges and calling for Bellino's suspension pending the
outcome of the investigation. Ervin was forced into a corner, and on August
3 he appointed a subcommittee consisting of Senators Talmadge, Inouye, and
Gurney to investigate the charges. The White House knew that Carmine
Bellino, a wizard at reconstructing the receipts and expenditures of funds
despite laundering techniques and the destruction of records, was hot on
the trail of Herbert Kalmbach and Bebe Rebozo. Bellino's diligent,
meticulous work would ultimately disclose Kalmbach's funding scheme for the
White House's dirty tricks campaign and unravel a substantial segment of
Rebozo's secret cash transactions on behalf of Nixon." / Note #4 / Note #4
Dash writes that Bellino was devastated by Bush's attacks, "rendered
emotionally unable to work because of the charges."
The mechanism targeted by Bellino is of course relevant to Bill Liedtke's
funding of the CREEP described above. Perhaps Bush was in fact seeking to
shut down Bellino solely to defend only himself and his confederates.
Members of Dash's staff soon realized that there had been another
participant in the process of assembling the material that Bush had
presented. According to Dash, "the charges became even murkier when our
staff discovered that the person who had put them together was a man named
Jack Buckley. In their dirty tricks investigation of the 1972 presidential
campaign, Terry Lenzner and his staff had identified Buckley as the
Republican spy, known as Fat Jack, who had intercepted and photographed
Muskie's mail between his campaign and Senate offices as part of Ruby I (a
project code named in Liddy's Gemstone political espionage plan)." It would
appear that Fat Jack Buckley was now working for George Bush. Ervin then
found that Senators Gurney and Baker, both Republicans, might be willing to
listen to additional charges made by Buckley against Bellino. Dash says he
"smelled the ugly odor of blackmail on the part of somebody and I did not
like it." Later, Senators Talmadge and Inouye filed a report completely
exonerating Bellino, while Gurney conceded that there was no direct
evidence against Bellino, but that there was some conflicting testimony
that ought to be noted. Dash sums up that in late November 1973, "the
matter ended with little fanfare and almost no newspaper comment. The
reputation of a public official with many years' service as a dedicated and
incorruptible investigator had been deeply wounded and tarnished, and
Bellino would retire from federal service believing -- rightly -- that he
had not been given the fullest opportunity he deserved to clear his good
Another Bush concern during the summer of 1973 was his desire to liquidate
the CREEP, not out of moralistic motives, but because of his desire to
seize the CREEP's $4 millon-plus cash surplus. During the middle of 1973,
some of this money had already been used to pay the legal fees of Watergate
conspirators, as in the case of Maurice Stans. / Note #4 / Note #5
During August, Bush went into an offensive of sanctimonious moralizing.
Bush appears to have concluded that Nixon was doomed, and that it was
imperative to distance himself and his operation from Nixon's impending
downfall. On the NBC "Today" show, Bush objected to John D. Ehrlichman's
defense before the Ervin committee of the campaign practice of probing the
sex and drinking habits of political opponents. "Crawling around in the
gutter to find some weakness of a man, I don't think we need that," said
Bush. "I think opponent research is valid. I think if an opponent is
thought to have done something horrendous or thought to be unfit to serve,
research is valid. But the idea of just kind of digging up dirt with the
purpose of blackmail or embarrassing somebody so he'd lose, I don't think
that is a legitimate purpose," postured Bush. By this time Ehrlichman, who
had hired retired cops to dig up such dirt, had been thrown to the wolves.
/ Note #4 / Note #6
A couple of days later, Bush delivered a speech to the American Bar
Association on "The Role and Responsibility of the Political Candidate."
His theme was that restoring public trust in the political system would
require candidates who would set a higher moral tone for their campaigns.
"A candidate is responsible for organizing his campaign well -- that is,
picking people whom he trusts, picking the right people." This was an
oblique but clear attack on Nixon, who had clearly picked the wrong people
in addition to whatever else he did. Bush was for stricter rules, but even
more for "old-fashioned conscience" as the best way to keep politics clean.
He again criticized the approach which set out to "get dirt" on political
adversaries -- again a swipe at Nixon's notorious "enemies list" practices.
Bush said that there were "gray areas in determining what was in good
taste." Bush has never been noted for his sense of self-irony, and it
appears that he was not aware of his own punning reference to L. Patrick
Gray, the acting FBI Director who had "deep-sixed" Howard Hunt's
incriminating records and who had then been left by Ehrlichman to "hang
there" and to "twist slowly, slowly in the wind." Bush actually commented
that Ehrlichman's comments on Gray had been in questionable taste. / Note
#4 / Note #7
The next day Bush was at it again, announcing that he was reopening an
investigation into alleged courses in dirty tricks taught by the GOP to
college Republicans in weekend seminars during 1971 and 1972. Bush pledged
to "get to the bottom" of charges that the College Republican National
Committee, with 1,000 campus clubs and 100,000 members listed had provided
instruction in dirty tricks. "I'm a little less relaxed and more concerned
than when you first brought it to our attention," Bush told journalists. /
Note #4 / Note #8
Bush had clearly distanced himself from the fate of the Nixon White House.
By the time Spiro Agnew resigned as Vice President on October 10, 1973,
Bush praised Agnew for his "great personal courage" while endorsing the
resignation as "in the best interest of the country." / Note #4 / Note #9
Later the same month came Nixon's "Saturday night massacre," the firing of
Special Prosecutor Cox and the resignation of Attorney General Elliot
Richardson and his deputy, William Ruckelshaus. To placate public opinion,
Nixon agreed to obey a court order compelling him to hand over his White
House tapes. Bush had said that Nixon was suffering from a "confidence
crisis" about the tapes, but now commented that what Nixon had done "will
have a soothing effect. Clearly it will help politically.... Hopefully, his
move will cool the emotions and permit the President to deal with matters
of enormous domestic and international concern." / Note #5 / Note #0
Later, in November, Bush bowed out of a possible candidacy in the 1974
Texas gubernatorial race. Speculation was that "the specter of Watergate"
would have been used against him, but Bush preferred sanctimonious
explanations. "Very candidly," he said, "being governor of Texas has
enormous appeal to me, but our political system is under fire and I have an
overriding sense of responsibility that compels me to remain in my present
job." Bush said that Watergate was "really almost ... nonexistent" as an
issue in the Texas race. "Corruption and clean government didn't show up
very high at all," he concluded. / Note #5 / Note #1
In May of 1974, after a meeting of the Republican congressional leadership
with Nixon, Bush told his friend Congressman Barber Conable that he was
considering resigning from the RNC. A few days later, John Rhodes, who had
replaced Gerald Ford as House Minority Leader when Ford was tapped by Nixon
for the vice-presidency, told a meeting of House Republicans that Bush was
getting ready to resign, and if he did so, it would be impossible for the
White House to "get anybody of stature to take his place." / Note #5 / Note
But even in the midst of the final collapse, Bush still made occasional
ingratiating gestures to Nixon. Nixon pathetically recounts how Bush made
him an encouraging offer in July 1974, about a month before the end: "There
were other signs of the sort that political pros might be expected to
appreciate: NC Chairman George Bush called the White House to say that he
would like to have me appear on a fund-raising telethon." / Note #5 / Note
#3 This is what Bush was telling Nixon. But during this same period, Father
John McLaughlin of the Nixon staff asked Bush for RNC lists of GOP diehards
across the country for the purpose of generating support statements for
Nixon. Bush refused to provide them. / Note #5 / Note #4
The Smoking Gun
On August 5, 1974, the White House released the transcript of the
celebrated "smoking gun" taped conversation of June 23, 1972 in which Nixon
discussed ways to frustrate the investigation of the Watergate break-ins.
Chairman George was one of the leading Nixon administration figures
consulting with Al Haig in the course of the morning. When Bush heard the
news, he was very upset, undoubtedly concerned about all the very negative
publicity that he himself was destined to receive in the blowback of
Nixon's now-imminent downfall. Then, after a while, he calmed down
somewhat. One account describes Bush as "somewhat relieved" by the news
that the tape was going to be made public. "Finally there was some one
thing the national chairman could see clearly. The ambiguities in the
evidence had been tearing the party apart, Bush thought." / Note #5 / Note
#5 At this point, Bush became the most outspoken and militant organizer of
Nixon's resignation, a Cassius of the Imperial Presidency.
A little later, White House Congressional liaison William Timmons wanted to
make sure that everyone had been fully briefed about the transcripts going
out, and he turned to Nixon's political counselor Dean Burch. "Dean, does
Bush know about the transcript yet?" Timmons asked. Burch replied, "Yes."
"Well, what did he do?" Timmons asked.
"He broke out in assholes and shit himself to death," was Burch's answer. /
Note #5 / Note #6
Notes for Chapter 13, Part 2
25. Al Reinert, "Bob and George Go to Washington or The Post-Watergate
Scramble," "Texas Monthly," April 1974.
26. "Deep Throat: Narrowing the Field," "Time," May 3, 1976, pp. 17-18.
27. Bush and Gold, "op. cit.," pp. 65-66.
28. Bernstein and Woodward, "All the President's Men" (New York: Simon and
Schuster, 1974), pp. 72, 130-31.
29. Green, "op. cit.," p. 80.
30. Bernstein and Woodward, "All the President's Men," p. 318.
31. The question of the Columbia Plaza Apartments is a central theme of Jim
Hougan's "Secret Agenda, op. cit." We have also relied on Hougan's version
of the Russell-Leon-Bellino subplot described below.
32. Hougan, "op. cit.," pp. 324.
33. "Ibid.," p. 370.
34. Interview of Jerris Leonard with Anton Chaitkin, Aug. 26, 1991.
35. Hougan, "op. cit.," p. 374-75.
36. See Jules Witcover, "Political Spies Accuse Committee Investigator,"
"Washington Post," July 25, 1973, and John Geddie, "Bush Alleges Bugs,"
"Dallas News," July 25, 1973. See also Victor Lasky, "It Didn't Start with
Watergate" (New York: Dial Press, 1977), pp. 41-55.
37. Hougan, "op. cit.," p. 376. Notice that the day of Leon's death was
also the day that White House staffer Butterfield told congressional
investigators of the existence of Nixon's taping system.
39. Richard Nixon, "The Memoirs of Richard Nixon" (New York: Warner Books,
1979), p. 811.
40. Walter Pincus and Bob Woodward, "Presidential Posts and Dashed Hopes,"
"Washington Post," Aug. 9, 1988.
41. "Washington Post," July 12, 1973.
42. Sam J. Ervin, Jr., "The Whole Truth" ( New York: Random House, 1980), p. 28.
43. "Ibid.," p. 29.
44. Samuel Dash, "Chief Counsel" (New York: Random House, 1976), p. 192.
45. Evans and Novak, July 11, 1973.
46. "Washington Post," Aug. 7, 1973.
47. "Washington Post," Aug. 9, 1973.
48. "Washington Post," Aug. 10, 1973.
49. "Washington Post," Oct. 11, 1973.
50. "Washington Post," Oct. 24, 1973.
51. "Washington Post," Nov. 17, 1973.
52. Bernstein and Woodward, "The Final Days," pp. 159, 176.
53. Nixon, "op. cit.," p. 1042.
54. Green, "op cit.," p. 135.
55. Bernstein and Woodward, "The Final Days," p. 368.
56. "Ibid.," p. 369.
CHAIRMAN GEORGE IN WATERGATE
Why should Bush be so distraught over the release to the press of the
transcript of the notorious White House meeting of June 23, 1972? As we
have seen, there is plenty of evidence that the final fall of Nixon was
just the denouement that Bush wanted. The answer is that Bush was upset
about the fabulous "smoking gun" tape because his friend Mosbacher, his
business partner Bill Liedtke, and himself were referred to in the most
sensitive passages. Yes, a generation of Americans has grown up recalling
something about a "smoking gun" tape, but not many now recall that when
Nixon referred to "the Texans," he meant George Bush.
The open secret of the "smoking gun" tape is that it refers to Nixon's
desire to mobilize the CIA to halt the FBI investigation of the Watergate
burglars on the grounds that money can be traced from donors in Texas and
elsewhere to the coffers of the CREEP, and thence to the pockets of Bernard
Barker and the other Cubans arrested. The money referred to, of course, is
part of Bill Liedtke's $700,000 discussed above. A first crucial passage of
the "smoking gun" tape goes as follows, with the first speaker being
"H: Now, on the investigation, you know the Democratic break-in thing,
we're back in the problem area because the FBI is not under control,
because [FBI chief] Gray doesn't exactly know how to control it and they
have -- their investigation is leading into some productive areas because
they've been able to trace the money -- not through the money itself -- but
through the bank sources -- the banker. And, and it goes in some directions
we don't want it to go. Ah, also there have been some things -- like an
informant came in off the street to the FBI in Miami who was a photographer
or has a friend who was a photographer who developed some films through
this guy Barker and the films had pictures of Democratic National Committee
letterhead documents and things. So it's things like that that are
filtering in. Mitchell came up with yesterday, and John Dean analyzed very
carefully last night and concludes, concurs now with Mitchell's
recommendation that the only way to solve this, and we're set up
beautifully to do it, ah, in that and that -- the only network that paid
any attention to it last night was NBC -- they did a massive story on the
"P: [Nixon] That's right.
"H: That the way to handle this now is for us to have [CIA Deputy Director
Vernon] Walters call Pat Gray and just say 'Stay the hell out of this --
this is ah, business here we don't want you to go any further on it.'
That's not an unusal development, and ah, that would take care of it.
"P: What about Pat Gray -- you mean Pat Gray doesn't want to?
"H: Pat does want to. He doesn't know how to, and he doesn't have, he
doesn't have any basis for doing it. Given this, he will then have the
basis. He'll call Mark Felt in, and the two of them -- and Mark Felt wants
to cooperate because he's ambitious --
"H: He'll call him in and say, 'We've got the signal from across the river
to put the hold on this.' And that will fit rather well because the FBI
agents who are working the case, at this point, feel that's what it is.
"P: This is CIA? They've traced the money? Who'd they trace it to?
"H: Well they've traced it to a name, but they haven't gotten to the guy yet.
"P: Would it be somebody here?
"H: Ken Dahlberg.
"P: Who the hell is Ken Dahlberg?
"H: He gave $25,000 in Minnesota and, ah, the check went directly to this
"P: It isn't from the committee though, from Stans?
"H: Yeah. It is. It's directly traceable and there's some more through some
Texas people that went to the Mexican bank which can also be traced to the
Mexican bank -- they'll get their names today. And (pause)
"P: Well, I mean, there's no way -- I'm just thinking if they don't
cooperate, what do they say? That they were approached by the Cubans.
That's what Dahlberg has to say, the Texans too, that they --
"H: Well, if they will. But then we're relying on more and more people all
the time. That's the problem, and they'll stop if we could take this other
"P: All right.
"H: And you seem to think the thing to do is get them to stop?
"P: Right, fine."
Kenneth Dahlberg was a front man for Dwayne Andreas of Archer Daniels
Midland. Nixon wanted to protect himself, of course, but there is no doubt
that he is talking about Liedtke, Pennzoil, Robert Mosbacher -- his
Bush-league Texas money-raising squad. With that comment, Nixon had dug his
own grave with what was widely viewed as a "prima facie" case of
obstruction of justice when this tape was released on August 5. But Nixon
and Haldeman had a few other interesting things to say to each other that
day, several of which evoke associations redolent of Bush.
Shortly after the excerpts provided above, Nixon himself sums up why the
CIA ought to have its own interest in putting a lid on the Watergate
"P: Of course, this Hunt .. will uncover a lot of things. You open that
scab there's a hell of a lot of things and we just feel that it would be
very detrimental to have this thing go any further. This involves these
Cubans, Hunt, and a lot of hanky-panky that we have nothing to do with
ourselves. Well what the hell, did Mitchell know about this?
"H: I think so. I don't think he knew the details, but I think he knew.
"P: He didn't know how it was going to be handled through -- with Dahlberg
and the Texans and so forth? Well who was the asshole that did? Is it
Liddy? Is that the fellow? He must be a little nuts!"
Shortly after this, the conversation turned to Bus Mosbacher, who was
resigning as the chief of protocol. Nixon joked that while Mosbacher was
escorting the visiting dignitaries, bachelor Henry Kissinger always ended
up escorting Mosbacher's wife. But before too long Nixon was back to the
"P: When you get in -- when you get in (unintelligible) people, say, "Look
the whole problem is that this will open the whole, the whole Bay of Pigs
thing and the President just feels that ah, without going into the details
-- don't, don't lie to them to the extent to say there is no involvement,
but just say this is a comedy of errors, without getting into it, the
President believes that it is going to open the whole Bay of Pigs thing up
again. And, ah, because these people are plugging for (unintelligible) and
that they should call the FBI in and (unintelligible) don't go any further
into this case period! (inaudible) our cause."
It would also appear that Nixon's references to Howard Hunt and the Bay of
Pigs are an oblique allusion to the Kennedy assassination, about which
Nixon may have known more than he has ever told. Later the same day
Haldeman reported back to Nixon about his meeting with Walters:
"H: Well, it was kind of interesting. Walters made the point and I didn't
mention Hunt. I just said that the thing was leading into directions that
were going to create potential problems because they were exploring leads
that led back into areas that would be harmful to the CIA and harmful to
the government (unintelligible) didn't have anything to do
Later, Haldeman returned to this same theme:
"H: Gray called Helms and said I think we've run right into the middle of a
CIA covert operation.
"P: Gray said that?
"H: Yeah. And (unintelligible) said nothing we've done at this point and ah
(unintellibible) says well it sure looks to me like it is (unintelligible)
and ah, that was the end of that conversation (unintelligible) the problem
is it tracks back to the Bay of Pigs and it tracks back to some other the
leads run out to people who had no involvement in this, except by contracts
and connection, but it gets to areas that are liable to be raised? The
whole problem (unintelligible) Hunt. So at that point he kind of got the
picture. He said, he said we'll be very happy to be helpful
(unintelligible) handle anything you want. I would like to know the reason
for being helpful, and I made it clear to him he wasn't going to get
explicit (unintelligible) generality, and he said fine. And Walters
(unintelligible), Walters is going to make a call to Gray. That's the way
we put it and that's the way it was left.
"P: How does that work though, how they've got to (unintelligible) somebody
from the Miami bank.
"H: (Unintelligible) The point John makes -- the Bureau is going on this
because they don't know what they are uncovering (unintelligible) continue
to pursue it. They don't need to because they already have their case as
far as the charges against these men (unintelligible) One thing Helms did
raise. He said. Gray -- he asked Gray why they thought they had run into a
CIA thing and Gray said because of the amount of money involved, a lot of
dough (unintelligible) and ah (unintelligible)
"H: Well, I think they will. If it runs (unintelligible) what the hell, who
knows (unintelligible) contributed CIA.
"H: Ya, it's money CIA gets money (unintelligible) I mean their money moves
in a lot of different ways, too." / Note #5 / Note #7
Nixon's train of associations takes him from the Pennzoil-Liedtke
Mosbacher-Bush slush fund operation to Howard Hunt and the Bay of Pigs and
"a lot of hanky-panky" and then back to Bus Mosbacher, Robert's elder
brother. Later on, Haldeman stresses that the FBI, discovering a large
money laundering operation between Pennzoil and Bill Liedtke in Houston,
Mexico City, Maurice Stans and the CREEP in Washington, and some CIA Miami
station Cubans, simply concluded that this was all a CIA covert operation.
As Haldeman himself later summed it up: "If the Mexican bank connection was
actually a CIA operation all along, unknown to Nixon; and Nixon was
destroyed for asking the FBI to stop investigating the bank because it
might uncover a CIA operation (which the Helms memo seems to indicate it
actually was after all) the multiple layers of deception by the CIA are
astounding." / Note #5 / Note #8
Moves for Impeachment
Later, on Nixon's last Monday, Bush joined White House Counsel J. Fred
Buzhardt and Dean Burch on a visit to Congressman Rhodes, and showed him
the transcript of the smoking gun tape. "This means that there's just no
chance in the world that he's not going to be impeached," said Rhodes. "In
fact, there's no chance in the world that I won't vote to impeach him."
Bush must have heaved a sigh of relief, since this is what he had wanted
Rhodes to tell Nixon to get him to quit. "Rhodes later let it be known that
he was offended that Bush had been briefed before he was," but of course,
Bush was a top official of the Nixon White House. / Note #5 / Note #9
But Nixon still refused to quit, raising the prospect of a trial before the
Senate that could be damaging to many besides Nixon. The next day, Tuesday,
August 6, 1974, saw the last meeting of the Nixon cabinet, with Chairman
George in attendance. Nixon's opening statement was: "I would like to
discuss the most important issue confronting this nation, and confronting
us internationally too -- inflation." Nixon then argued adamantly for some
minutes that he had examined the course of events over the recent past and
that he had "not found an impeachable offense, and therefore resignation is
not an acceptable course." Vice President Ford predicted that there would
be certain impeachment by the House, but that the outcome in the Senate
could not be predicted. Ford then said he was an interested party on the
resignation issue and would make no further comment.
Nixon then wanted to talk about the budget again, and about an upcoming
summit conference on the economy. Attorney General Saxbe interrupted him.
"Mr. President, I don't think we ought to have a summit conference. We
ought to make sure you have the ability to govern." Nixon quietly assured
Saxbe that he had the ability to govern. Then Chairman George piped up, in
support of Saxbe. The President's ability to govern was impaired, said
George. Watergate had to be brought to an end expeditiously, Bush argued.
From his vantage point at Nixon's right elbow, Kissinger could see that
Bush was advancing toward the conclusion that Nixon had to resign. "It was
cruel. And it was necessary," thought Kissinger. "More than enough had been
said," was the Secretary of State's impression. Kissinger was seeking to
avoid backing Nixon into a corner where he would become more stubborn and
more resistant to the idea of resignation, making that dreaded Senate trial
more likely. And this was the likely consequence of Bush's line of
"Mr. President, can't we just wait a week or two and see what happens?"
asked Saxbe. Bush started to support Saxbe again, but now Nixon was getting
more angry. Nixon glared at Bush and Saxbe, the open advocates of his
resignation. "No," he snapped. "This is too important to wait."
Now the senior cabinet officer decided he had to take the floor to avoid a
total confrontation that would leave Nixon besieged but still holding the
Oval Office. Kissinger's guttural accents were heard in the cabinet room:
"We are not here to offer excuses for what we cannot do. We are here to do
the nation's business. This is a very difficult time for our country. Our
duty is to show confidence. It is essential that we show it is not safe for
any country to take a run at us. For the sake of foreign policy we must act
with assurance and total unity. If we can do that, we can vindicate the
structure of peace." The main purpose of this pompous tirade had been to
bring the meeting to a rapid end, and it worked. "There was a moment of
embarrassed silence around the table," recalls Nixon, and after a few more
remarks on the economy, the meeting broke up.
Kissinger stayed behind with Nixon to urge him to resign, which Nixon now
said he felt compelled to do. Bush sought out Al Haig to ponder how Nixon
might be forced out. "What are we going to do?" asked Bush. Haig told Bush
to calm down, explaining: "We get him up to the mountaintop, then he comes
down again, then we get him up again." / Note #6 / Note #0 Kissinger walked
back to his office in the West Wing and met Gen. Brent Scowcroft, the NSC
director. Kissinger told Scowcroft that "there was precious little support"
for the President. Kissinger, no mean hypocrite in his own right, thought
that Saxbe had been "weak-livered." Bush and Saxbe had both been petty and
insensitive, Kissinger thought. He compared Bush and Saxbe and the rest to
a seventeenth-century royal court with the courtiers scurrying about,
concerned with themselves rather than with their country.
During this cabinet meeting, Bush was already carrying a letter to Nixon
that would soon become the unkindest cut of all for Chairman George's
wretched patron. This letter was delivered to Nixon on August 7. It read as
Dear Mr. President,
It is my considered judgment that you should now resign. I expect in your
lonely embattled position this would seem to you as an act of disloyalty
from one you have supported and helped in so many ways. My own view is that
I would now ill serve a President whose massive accomplishments I will
always respect and whose family I love, if I did not now give you my
judgment. Until this moment resignation has been no answer at all, but
given the impact of the latest development, and it will be a lasting one, I
now firmly feel resignation is best for the country, best for this
President. I believe this view is held by most Republican leaders across
the country. This letter is much more difficult because of the gratitude I
will always have for you. If you do leave office history will properly
record your achievements with a la sting respect. / Note #6 / Note #1
The next day, August 8, 1974, Nixon delivered his resignation to Henry
Kissinger. Kissinger could now look forward to exercising the powers of the
presidency at least until January 1977, and perhaps well beyond.
For a final evaluation of Bush in Watergate, we may refer to a sketch of
his role during those times provided by Bush's friend Maurice Stans, the
finance director of the CREEP. This is how Stans sizes up Bush as a
Watergate player: "George Bush, former member of Congress and former
Ambassador to the United Nations. Bush, who proved he was one of the
bravest men in Washington in agreeing to head the Republican National
Committee during the 1973-74 phase of Watergate, kept the party
organization together and its morale high, despite massive difficulties of
press criticism and growing public disaffection with the administration.
Totally without information as to what had gone on in Watergate behind the
scenes, he was unable to respond knowledgeably to questions and because of
that unjustly became the personal target of continuing sarcasm and cynicism
from the media."/ Note #6 / Note #2
But there are many indications that Bush was in reality someone who, while
taking part in the fray, actually helped to steer Watergate toward the
strategic outcome desired by the dominant financier faction, the one
associated with Brown Brothers Harriman and with London. As with so much in
the life of this personage, much of Bush's real role in Watergate remains
to be unearthed. To borrow a phrase from James McCord's defense of his
boss, Richard Helms, we must see to it that "every tree in the forest will
Notes for Chapter 13, Part 3
57. For the "smoking gun" transcript of June 23, 1972, see "Washington
Post," Aug. 6, 1974.
58. H.R. Haldeman, "The Ends of Power" (New York: Times Books, 1978), p. 64.
59. Bernstein and Woodward, "The Final Days," p. 374.
60. Available accounts of Nixon's last cabinet meeting are fragmentary, but
see: "The Memoirs of Richard Nixon," p. 1066; "The Final Days," pp. 386-89;
Theodore H. White, "Breach of Faith: The Fall of Richard Nixon" (New York:
Atheneum Publishers, 1975), p. 24; Henry Kissinger, "Years of Upheaval"
(Boston: Little, Brown, 1982), pp. 1202-3; J. Anthony Lukas, "Nightmare:
The Underside of the Nixon Years" (New York: Viking Press, 1976), pp.
61. The ostensible full text of this letter is found in Nicholas King,
"George Bush: A Biography" (New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1980), p. 87.
62. Maurice H. Stans, "The Terrors of Justice: The Untold Side of
Watergate" (New York: Everest, 1978), p. 66.
insert chapter subhead here
1974: BUSH ATTEMPTS THE VICE-PRESIDENCY
Those who betray their benefactors are seldom highly regarded. In Dante's
"Divine Comedy," traitors to benefactors and to the established authorities
are consigned to the ninth circle of the Inferno, where their souls are
suspended, like insects in amber, in the frozen River Cocytus. This is the
Giudecca, where the three arch-traitors -- Judas Iscariot, Brutus and
Cassius -- are chewed for all eternity in the three mouths of Lucifer. The
crimes of Nixon were monstrous, especially in Vietnam and in the
India-Pakistan war, but in these Bush had been an enthusiastic participant.
Now Bush's dagger, among others, had found its target; Nixon was gone. In
the depths of his Inferno, Dante relates the story of Frate Alberigo to
illustrate the belief that in cases of the most heinous treachery, the soul
of the offender plunges at once into hell, leaving the body to live out its
physical existence under the control of a demon. Perhaps the story of old
Frate Alberigo will illuminate us as we follow the further career of George
As Nixon left the White House for his home in San Clemente, California, in
the early afternoon of August 9, 1974, Chairman George was already plotting
how to scale still further up the dizzy heights of state. Ford was now
President, and the vice presidency was vacant. According to the 25th
Amendment, it was now up to Ford to designate a Vice President who would
then require a majority vote of both houses of Congress to be confirmed.
Seeing a golden opportunity to seize an office that he had long regarded as
the final stepping stone to his ultimate goal of the White House, Bush
immediately mobilized his extensive Brown Brothers, Harriman/Skull and
Bones network, including as many Zionist lobby auxiliaries as he could
One of the first steps was to set up a boiler shop operation in a suite of
rooms at the Statler Hilton Hotel in Washington. Here Richard L. Herman,
the Nebraska GOP national committeeman, and two assistants began churning
out a cascade of calls to Republicans and others around the country,
urging, threatening, cajoling, calling in chits, promising future favors if
Chairman George were to become Vice President George. / Note #1
There were other, formidable candidates, but none was so aggressive as
Chairman George. Nelson Rockefeller, who had resigned as governor of New
York some months before to devote more time to his own consuming ambition
and to his Commission on Critical Choices, was in many ways the front
runner. But Nelson was the incarnation of the Eastern Liberal Establishment
internationalists against whom Goldwater had campaigned so hard in 1964.
His support was considerable, but he had more active opposition than any
other candidate. This meant that Ford had to hesitate in choosing Nelson
because of what the blowback might mean for a probable Ford candidacy in
The conservative Republicans all regarded Goldwater as their sentimental
favorite, but they also knew that Ford would be reluctant to select him
because of a different set of implications for 1976. Beyond Rockefeller and
Goldwater, each a leader of a wing of the party, the names multiplied:
Senator Howard Baker, Elliot Richardson, Governor William Scranton, Melvin
Laird, Senator Bill Brock, Governor Dan Evans, Donald Rumsfeld and many
others. Bush knew that if he could get Goldwater to show him some support,
the Goldwater conservatives could be motivated to make their influence felt
for Bush, and this might conceivably put him over the top.
First, Chairman George had to put on the mask of conciliation and
moderation. As Nixon was preparing his departure speech, Bush lost no time
in meeting with Ford, now less than 24 hours away from being sworn in as
President. Bush told the press that Ford had "said he'd be pleased if I
stayed on" at the RNC, but had to concede that Ford had given no indication
as to his choice for the Vice President. Bush's network in the House of
Representatives was now fully mobilized, with "a showing of significant
support in the House and among GOP officials" for Bush on the day before
Nixon left town. Bush also put out a statement from the RNC, saying, "The
battle is over. Now is the time for kindness.... Let us all try now to
restore to our society a climate of civility." But despite the hypocritical
kinder and gentler rhetoric, Chairman George's struggle for power was just
beginning. / Note #2
Melvin Laird soon came out for Rockefeller, and there were sentimental
displays for Goldwater in many quarters. With Bush's network in full gear,
he was beginning to attract favorable mention from the columnists. Evans
and Novak on August 11 claimed that "as the new President was sworn in,
Rockefeller had become a considerably less likely prospect than either
Senator Howard Baker of Tennessee or George Bush, the gregarious patrician
and transplanted Texan who heads the Republican National Committee."
On August 10, Ford announced that he would poll Republicans at all levels
across the country. Some expressed their preferences directly to the White
House, but the Republican National Committee members had to report their
choices through Chairman George. Many of them, fearing the price they might
have to pay for lese majeste, indicated Bush as their first choice. This
matter was the subject of a complaint by Tom Evans of the RNC, who talked
to the press and also wrote letters to the Ford White House, as we will
By August 14, the "Washington Post" was reporting a "full scale campaign"
on behalf of Bush, with an "impressive array of support" against
Rockefeller. Bush's campaign manager and chief boiler room operator,
Richard L. Herman of Nebraska, summed up his talking points: Bush, said
Herman, "is the only one in the race with no opposition. He may not be the
first choice in all cases, but he's not lower than second with anyone."
Herman said he was "assisting" a broader organization on the Hill and of
course at the RNC itself that was mobilized for Bush. Bush "can do more to
help the Republican Party than anyone else and is totally acceptable
throughout the country," blathered Herman. Bush was "obviously aware of
what we're doing," said Herman.
Support for Goldwater was apt to turn into support for Bush at any time, so
Bush was gaining mightily, running second to Rocky alone. Taking note of
the situation, even Bush's old allies at the "Washington Post" had to
register some qualms. In an editorial published on August 15, 1974 on the
subject of "The Vice Presidency," "Post" commentators quoted the ubiquitous
Richard Herman on Bush's qualifications. The "Post" found that Bush's
"background and abilities would appear to qualify him for the
vice-presidency in just about all respects, except for the one that seems
to us to really matter: What is conspicuously lacking is any compelling or
demonstrable evidence that he is qualified to be President."
But despite these darts, Chairman George continued to surge ahead. The big
break came when Barry Goldwater, speaking in Columbia, South Carolina, told
a Republican fundraiser that he had a "gut feeling" that Ford was going to
select Bush for the vice presidency. On August 15, a source close to Ford
told David Broder and Lou Cannon that Bush now had the "inside track" for
the vice-presidency. Rockefeller's spokesman Hugh Morrow retorted that
"we're not running a boiler shop or calling anyone or doing anything,"
unlike the strong-arm Bush team. / Note #3
Inside the Ford White House, responses to Ford's solicitaton were coming
in. Among the top White House counselors, Bush got the support of Kenneth
Rush, who had almost become Nixon's Secretary of State and who asserted
that Bush "would have a broader appeal to all segments of the political
spectrum than any other qualified choice." Dean Burch wrote a memo to Ford
pointing out that among the prominent candidates, "only a few have a
post-1980 political future." "My own choice," Burch told Ford, "would be a
Vice President with a long term political future -- a potential candidate,
at least, for the Presidency in his own right." In Burch's conclusion,
"Still operating on this assumption, my personal choice is George Bush." /
The cabinet showed more sentiment for Rockefeller. Rogers Morton of the
Interior, Weinberger of HEW, James Lynn of HUD, Frederick Dent of Commerce,
and Attorney General Saxbe were all for Rocky. Earl Butz of Agriculture was
for Goldwater, and James R. Schlesinger of Defense was for Elliot
Richardson. No written opinion by Henry Kissinger appears extant at the
Then the White House staff was polled. Pat Buchanan advised Ford to avoid
all the younger men, including Bush, and told the president that
Rockefeller would "regrettably" have to be his choice. John McLaughlin also
told Ford to go for Rocky, although he mentioned that Bush "would also be a
fine vice president." / Note #5 Richard A. Moore was for Bush based on his
economic credentials, asserting that Bush's "father and gradfather were
both highly respected investment bankers in New York." In the White House
staff, Bush won out over Rockefeller and Scranton. Among personal friends
of Ford, Bush won out over Rocky by a four to three margin.
Among Republican governors, there was significant resistance to Bush.
Former Pennsylvania Governor William Scranton, who had been considered of
presidential caliber, wrote to Ford aide Phillip Buchen of Bush: "Quite
frankly, in my experience with him his one drawback is a limitation of his
administrative ability." / Note #6
Among the Republican Senators, Bush had intense competition, but the
Prescott Bush network proved it could hold its own. Howard Baker put Bush
second, while Henry Bellmon and Dewey Bartlett sent in a joint letter in
support of Bush. Bob Dole put Chairman George last among his list of
preferences, commenting that the choice of Bush would be widely regarded as
"totally partisan." Pete Dominici put Bush as his first choice, but also
conceded that he would be seen as a partisan pick. Roth of Delaware had
Bush in third place after John J. Williams and Rocky. Hugh Scott of
Pennsylvania wanted Rocky or Goldwater, but put Bush in third place. James
Pearson of Kansas had Bush as first choice. Jesse Helms mentioned Bush, but
in fifth place after Goldwater, Harry Byrd, Reagan and James Buckley. /
Note #7 In the final tally, Rocky edged out Bush with 14 choices to Bush's
12, followed by Goldwater with 11.
Bush was stronger in the House, where many members had served side by side
with their old friend Rubbers. Bush was the first choice of Bill Archer of
Texas (who had inherited Bush's old district, and who praised Bush for
having "led the fight in Congress for disclosure and reform"), Skip Bafalis
of Florida, William G. Bray of Indiana, Dan Brotzman of Colorado, Joe
Broyhill of Virginia, John Buchanan of Alabama, Charles Chamberlain of
Michigan, Donald Clancy of Ohio, Del Dawson of California, and Thad Cochran
of Mississippi. William Armstrong of Colorado struck a discordant note by
urging Ford to pick "a person who has extensive experience in "elected"
public office." William S. Cohen of Maine found that Bush did "not have
quite the range of experience of Richardson or Rockefeller." James Collins
favored Bush "as a Texan." Glenn Davis of Wisconsin, Derwinksi of Illinois
(a long-term ally who eventually rose to the Bush cabinet after having
served with Bush at the U.N. mission in New York), Sam Devine of Ohio, and
Pierre S. Du Pont IV of Delaware -- all for Bush. William Dickinson of
Alabama found Bush "physically attractive" with "no political scars I am
aware of" and "personally very popular." But then came John J. Duncan of
Tennessee, who told Ford that he could not "support any of the fifteen or
so mentioned in the news media."
Marvin Esch of Michigan was for Bush, as was Peter Frelinghuysen of New
Jersey. Edwin D. Eshelman told Ford to go for Bush "if you want a
moderate." The Bush brigade went on with Charles Gubser of California, and
Hammerschmidt of Arkansas, still very close to Bush today. John Heinz of
Pennsylvania was having none of Bush, but urged Ford to take Rockefeller,
Scranton or Richardson, in that order. John Erlenborn of Illinois was more
than captivated by Bush, writing Ford that Bush "is attractive personally
-- people tend to like him on sight." Why, "he has almost no political
enemies" that Erlenborn knew of. Bud Hillis of Indiana, Andrew Hinshar of
California, Marjorie Holt -- for Bush. Lawrence Hogan of Maryland was so
"disturbed" about the prospect of Rockefeller that he was for Bush, too.
Hudnut of Indiana put Bush as his second choice after favorite son Gov.
Otis Bowen because Bush was "fine, clean."
Jack Kemp of New York, now in the Bush cabinet, was for Bush way back then.
Lagomarsino of California put Bush third, Latta of Ohio put him second only
to Rocky. Trent Lott of Mississippi, who has since moved up to the Senate,
told Ford that he needed somebody "young and clean" and that "perhaps
George Bush fits that position." Manuel Lujan of New Mexico, who also made
the Bush cabinet, was a solid Bush rooter, as was Wiley Mayne of Iowa. Pete
McCloskey put Bush second to Richardson, but ahead of Rocky. John
McCollister of Nebraska deluded himself that Bush could be confirmed
without too much trouble: McCollister was for Bush because "I believe he
could pass the Judiciary Committee's stern test" because "he had no
policy-making role in the sad days now ended," but perhaps Ford knew better
on that one.
Clarence Miller of Ohio was for Bush. Congressman Bob Michel, ever climbing
in the House GOP hierarchy, ha d long-winded arguments for Bush. Rocky, he
thought, could "help most" over the remainder of Ford's term, but Bush
would be a trump card for 1976. "George Bush would not command all the
immediate adulation simply because he hasn't had as long a proven track
record in the business and industrial community, but his credentials are
good," wrote Michel. "He is young and he would work day and night and he
would never attempt to 'upstage the boss.' Aside from projecting a
'straight arrow image,' he would be acceptable to the more conservative
element in the party that would be offended by the appointment of
Rockefeller." In addition, assured Michel, Bush enjoyed support among
Democrats "from quarters I would not have believed possible, ... and they
are indeed influential Democrats.... Over and above this, we may be giving
one of our own a good opportunity to follow on after a six-year Ford
administration," Michel concluded.
Donald Mitchell of New York was for Bush because of his "rich background,"
which presumably meant money. Ancher Nelson thought Bush had "charisma,"
and he was for him. But George O'Brien of Illinois was also there with that
bothersome request for "someone who was elected and was serving in a
federal position." Stan Parris of Alexandria, Virginia, a faithful yes-man
for Bush until his defeat in 1990, was for Bush -- of course. Jerry Pettis o
f California was for Bush. Bob Price of Texas urged Ford to tap Bush, in
part because of his "excellent" ties to the Senate, which were "due to his
own efforts and the friendships of his father." Albert Quie of Minnesota
had some support of his own for the nod, but he talked favorably about
Bush, whom he also found "handsome." "He has only one handicap," thought
Quie, "and that is, he lost an election for the Senate." Make that two
handicaps. Score J. Kenneth Robinson of Virginia for Bush, along with
Philip Ruppe of Michigan, who lauded Bush's "human warmth." Earl Ruth of
northern California and William Steigler of Wisconsin for Bush. Steve Symms
of Idaho, later a Senator, wanted "a Goldwater man" like Reagan, or
Williams of Delaware. But, Symms added, "I would accept our National
Chairman Bush." Guy Vander Jagt of Michigan confided to his former
colleague Ford that "my personal recommendation is George Bush." John H.
Ware broke a lance for Chairman George, and then came the endorsement of G.
William Whitehurst of Virginia. According to Whitehurst, Bush demonstrates
"those special characteristics that qualify a man for the highest office if
fate so designates." Bob Wilson of California was for Bush, also
considering the long term perspectives; he liked Bush's youthful enthusiasm
and saw him as "a real leader for moderation." Larr Winn of Kansas, Wendell
Wyatt of Oregon, Bill Young of Florida, Don Young of Alaska, Roger Zion of
Indiana -- all listed Bush as their prime choice. The Republican House
Steering Committee went for Bush because of his "general acceptance." /
When Ford's staff tabulated the House results, Bush's combined total of 101
first, second and third choice mentions put him in the lead, over Rocky at
68 and Reagan at 23. Among all the Republican elected and appointed
officials who had expressed an opinion, Bush took first place with 255
points, with Rockefeller second with 181, Goldwater third with 83, Reagan
with 52, followed by Richardson, Melvin Laird and the rest. It was a
surprise to no one that Bush was the clear winner among the Republican
National Committee respondents. But all in all it was truly a monument to
the Bush network, achieved for a candidate with no qualifications who had
very much participated in the sleaze of the Nixon era.
The vox populi saw things slightly differently. In the number of telegrams
received by the White House, Goldwater was way ahead with 2,280 in his
favor, and only 102 against. Bush had 887 for him and 92 against. Rocky had
544 in favor, and a whopping 3,202 against. / Note #9
But even here, the Bush network had been totally mobilized, with a very
large effort in the Dallas business community, among black Republicans, and
by law firms with links to the Zionist lobby. Ward Lay of Frito-Lay joined
with Herman W. Lay to support Bush. The law firm of McKenzie and Baer of
Dallas assured Ford that Bush was "Mr. Clean."
The full court press applied by the Bush machine also generated bad blood.
Rockefeller supporter Tom Evans, a former RNC co-chair, wrote to Ford with
the observation that "no one should campaign for the position and I offer
these thoughts only because of an active campaign that is being conducted
on George Bush's behalf which I do not believe properly reflects Republican
opinion." Evans was more substantive than most recommendations: "Certainly
one of the major issues confronting our country at this time is the economy
and the related problems of inflation, unemployment, and high interest
rates. I respectfully suggest that you need someone who can help
substantively in these areas. George is great at PR but he is not as good
in substantive matters. This opinion can be confirmed by individuals who
held key positions at the National Committee." Evans also argued that Bush
should have put greater distance between the GOP and Nixon sooner than he
did. / Note #1 / Note #0
So Nelson's networks were not going to take the Bush strong-arm approach
lying down. Bush's most obvious vulnerability was his close relationship to
Nixon, plus the factthat he had been up to his neck in Watergate. It was
lawful that Bush's ties to one of Nixon's slush funds came back to haunt
him. This was the "Townhouse" fund again, the one managed by Jack A.
Gleason and California attorney Herbert W. Kalmbach, Nixon's personal
lawyer, who had gained quite some personal notoriety during the Watergate
years. These two had both pleaded guilty earlier in 1974 to running an
illegal campaign fundraising operation.
On August 19, the eve of Ford's expected announcement, the "Washington
Post" reported that unnamed White House sources were telling "Newsweek"
magazine that Bush's vice-presidential bid "had slipped badly because of
alleged irregularities in the financing of his 1970 Senate race in Texas."
"Newsweek" quoted White House sources that "there was potential
embarrassment in reports that the Nixon White House had funneled about
$100,000 from a secret fund called the "Townhouse Operation" into Bush's
losing Senate campaign against Democrat Lloyd Bentsen four years ago."
"Newsweek" also added that $40,000 of this money may not have been properly
reported under the election laws.
Bush's special treatment during the 1970 campaign was a subject of acute
resentment, especially among Senate Republicans Ford needed to keep on
board. Back in 1970, Senator Mark Hatfield of Oregon had demanded to know
why John Tower had given Bush nearly twice as much money as any other
Senate Republican. Senator Tower had tried to deny favoritism, but Hatfield
and Edward Brooke of Massachusetts had not been placated. Now there was the
threat that if Bush had to go through lengthy confirmation hearings in the
Congress, the entire Townhouse affair might be dredged up once again.
According to some accounts, there were as many as 18 Republican Senators
who had gotten money from Townhouse, but whose names had not been divulged.
/ Note #1 / Note #1 Any attempt to force Bush through as Vice President
might lead to the fingering of these Senators, and perhaps others, mightily
antagonizing those who had figured they were getting off with a whole coat.
Ripping off the scabs of Watergate wounds in this way conflicted with
Ford's "healing time" strategy, which was designed to put a hermetic lid on
the festering mass of Watergate. Bush was too dangerous to Ford. Bush could
not be chosen.
Because he was so redolent of Nixonian sleaze, Bush's maximum exertions for
the vice-presidency were a failure. Ford announced his choice of Nelson
Rockefeller on August 20, 1974. It was nevertheless astounding that Bush
had come so close. He was defeated for the moment, but he had established a
claim on the office of the vice-presidency that he would not relinquish.
Despite his hollow, arrogant ambition and total incompetence for the
office, he would automatically be considered for the vice-presidency in
1976 and then again in 1980. For George Bush was an aristocrat of
senatorial rank, although denied the Senate, and his conduct betrayed the
conviction that he was owed not just a place at the public trough, but the
accolade of national political office.
Notes for Chapter 14
1. "Washington Post," Aug. 16, 1974.
2. "Washington Post," Aug. 9, 1974.
3. "Washington Post," Aug. 16, 1974.
4. Gerald R. Ford Library, Robert T. Hartman Files, Box 21.
5. Hartman Files, Box 19.
6. Philip Buchen Files, Box 63.
7. Hartman Files, Box 21.
8. Hartman Files, Boxes 19 and 20.
9. Hartman Files, Box 21.
10. Hartman Files, Box 20.
11. Walter Pincus and Bob Woodward, "Presidential Posts and Dashed Hopes,"
"Washington Post," Aug. 9, 1988.
BUSH IN BEIJING
""Whatever benign star it is that tends George Bush's destiny, lights his
ambition, it was early on trapped in the flawed orbit of Richard Nixon.
Bush's meteoric ascent, in a decade's time, from county GOP chairman to
national chairman, including his prestigious ambassadorship to the United
Nations, was due largely to the strong tug of Nixonian gravity. Likewise,
his blunted hopes and dimmed future, like the Comet Kohoutek, result from
the too-close approach to a fatal sun."" / Note #1
Several minutes before President Ford appeared for the first time before
the television cameras with Nelson Rockefeller, his Vice President
designate, he had placed a call to Bush to inform him that he had not been
chosen, and to reassure him that he would be offered an important post as a
consolation. Two days later, Bush met Ford at the White House. Bush claims
that Ford told him that he could choose between a future as U.S. envoy to
the Court of St. James in London, or presenting his credentials to the
Elysee Palace in Paris. Bush would have us believe that he then told Ford
that he wanted neither London nor Paris, but Beijing. Bush's accounts then
portray Ford, never the quickest, as tapping his pipe, scratching his head,
and asking, "Why Beijing?" Here Bush is lying once again. Ford was
certainly no genius, but no one was better situated than he to know that it
would have been utter folly to propose Bush for an ambassadorship that had
to be approved by the Senate.
Why Beijing? The first consideration, and it was an imperative one, was
that under no circumstances could Bush face Senate confirmation hearings
for any executive branch appointment for at least one to two years. There
would have been questions about the Townhouse slush fund, about his
intervention on Carmine Bellino, perhaps about Leon and Russell, and about
many other acutely embarrassing themes. After Watergate, Bush's name was
just too smelly to send up to the Hill for any reason.
As Bush himself slyly notes: "The United States didn't maintain formal
diplomatic relations with the People's Republic at the time, so my
appointment wouldn't need Senate confirmation." An asterisk sends us to the
additional fact that "because I'd been ambassador to the United Nations I
carried the title 'ambassador' to China." The person that would have to be
convinced, Bush correctly noted, was Henry Kissinger, who monopolized all
decisions on his prized China card. / Note #2 But George was right about
the confirmation. In 1974, what Bush was asking for was the U.S. Liaison
Office (USLO), which did not have the official status of an embassy. The
chief of that office was the President's personal representative in China,
but it was a post that did not require Senate confirmation.
Bush's notorious crony Robert Mosbacher was uncharacteristically close to
the heart of the matter when he opined that Bush "wanted to get as far away
from the stench [of Watergate] as possible." / Note #3 His own story that
Beijing would be a "challenge, a journey into the unknown" is pure tripe.
The truth is that with Washington teeming with congressional committees,
special prosecutors and grand juries, Bush wanted to get as far away as he
could, and Beijing was ideal.
Otherwise, serving in Beijing meant further close subordination to Henry
Kissinger. Kissinger told Bush before he left that policy would be
implemented directly by Kissinger himself, in contact with the Chinese
liaison in Washington and the Chinese representative at the United Nations.
Finally, anyone who has observed Bush's stubborn, obsessive, morally insane
support for Deng Xiaoping, Li Peng, and Yang Shankun during the aftermath
of the Tiananmen massacre of June 1989 is driven toward the conclusion that
Bush gravitated toward China because of an elective affinity, because of a
profound attraction for the methods and outlook of Chinese leaders like Mao
Zedong, Zhou Enlai, and Deng, for whom Bush has manifested a steadfast and
unshakeable devotion in the face of heinous crimes and significant
political pressure to repudiate them.
Bush's staff in Beijing included Deputy Chief of Mission John Holdridge,
Don Anderson, Herbert Horowitz, Bill Thomas and Bush's "executive
assistant," Jennifer Fitzgerald, who has remained very close to Bush, and
who has sometimes been rumored to be his mistress. Jennifer Fitzgerald in
1991 was the deputy chief of protocol in the White House; when German
Chancellor Kohl visited Bush in the sping of 1991, he was greeted on the
White House steps by Jennifer Fitzgerald.
Bush's closest contacts among Chinese officialdom included Vice Minister of
Foreign Affairs Qiao Guanhua and his wife Zhang Hanzhi, also a top official
of the foreign ministry. This is the same Qiao who is repeatedly mentioned
in Kissinger's memoirs as one of his most important Red Chinese diplomatic
interlocutors. This is the "Lord Qiao" enigmatically mentioned by Mao
during Kissinger's meeting with Mao and Zhou Enlai on November 12, 1973.
Qiao and Zhang later lost power because they sided with the left extremist
Gang of Four after the death of Mao in 1976, Bush tells us. But in 1974-75,
the power of the proto-Gang of Four faction was at its height, and it was
toward this group that Bush quickly gravitated.
When Bush had been in Beijing for about a month, Henry Kissinger arrived
for one of his periodic visits to discuss current business with the Beijing
leadership. Kissinger arrived with his usual army of retainers and Secret
Service guards. During this visit, Bush went with Kissinger to see
Vice-Premier Deng Xiaoping and Foreign Minister Qiao. This was one of three
reported visits by Kissinger that would punctuate Bush's stay.
Bush's tenure in Beijing must be understood in the context of the
Malthusian and frankly genocidal policies of the Kissinger White House.
These are aptly summed up for reference in the recently declassified
National Security Study Memorandum 200, "Implications of Worldwide
Population Growth for U.S. Security and Overseas Interests," dated December
10, 1974. / Note #6 NSSM 200, a joint effort by Kissinger and his deputy,
Gen. Brent Scowcroft, provided a hit list of 13 developing countries for
which the NSC posited a "special U.S. political and strategic interest" in
population reduction or limitation. The list included India, Bangladesh,
Pakistan, Nigeria, Mexico, Indonesia, Brazil, the Philippines, Thailand,
Egypt, Turkey, Ethiopia and Colombia. Demographic growth in these and other
Third World nations was to be halted and if possible reversed for the
brutal reason that population growth represented increased strategic, and
military power for the countries in question. Population growth, argues
NSSM 200, will also increase pressure for the economic and industrial
development of these countries, an eventuality which the study sees as a
threat to the United States. In addition, bigger populations in the Third
World are alleged to lead to higher prices and greater scarcity of
strategic raw materials. As Kissinger summed up: "Development of a
worldwide political and popular commitment to population stabilization is
fundamental to any effective strategy.... The U.S. should encourage LDC
leaders to take the lead in advancing family planning." When NSSM 200 goes
on to ask, "would food be considered an instrument of national power?" it
is clear to all that active measures of genocide are at the heart of the
policy being propounded. A later Kissinger report praises the Chinese
Communist leadership for their commitment to population control. During
1975, these Chinese Communists, Henry Kissinger and George Bush were to
team up to create a demonstration model of the NSSM 200 policy: the Pol Pot
regime in Cambodia.
One of the gambits used by Kissinger to demonstrate to the Beijing
Communist leaders the utility of rapprochement with the U.S.A. has to do
with the unhappy nation of Cambodia. The pro-U.S. government of Cambodia
was headed by Marshal Lon Nol, who had taken power in 1970, the year of the
public and massive U.S. ground incursion into the country. By the spring of
1975, while the North Vietnamese advanced on Saigon, the Lon Nol government
was fighting for its life against the armed insurrection of the Cambodian
Communist Party or Khmer Rouge guerrillas, who were supported by mainland
China. Kissinger was as anxious as usual to serve the interests of Beijing,
and now even more so, because of the alleged need to increase the power of
the Chinese and their assets, the Khmer Rouge, against the triumphant North
Vietnamese. The most important consideration remained to ally with China,
the second strongest land power, against the U.S.S.R. Secondarily, it was
important to maintain the balance of power in Southeast Asia as the U.S.
policy collapsed. Kissinger's policy was therefore to jettison the Lon Nol
government, and to replace it with the Khmer Rouge. George Bush, as
Kissinger's liaison man in Beijing, was one of the instruments through
which this policy was executed. Bush did his part, and the result is known
to world history under the heading of the Pol Pot regime, which committed a
genocide against its own population proportionally greater than any other
in recent world history.
Until 1970, the government of Cambodia was led by Prince Sihanouk, a former
king who had stepped down from the throne to become Prime Minister. Under
Sihanouk, Cambodia had maintained a measure of stability and had above all
managed to avoid being completely engulfed by the swirling maelstrom of the
wars in Laos and in Vietnam. But during 1969, Nixon and Kissinger had
ordered a secret bombing campaign against North Vietnamese troop
concentrations on Cambodian territory under the code name of "Menu." This
bombing would have provided real and substantive grounds for the
impeachment of Nixon, and it did constitute the fourth proposed article of
impeachment against Nixon submitted to the House Judiciary Committee on
July 30, 1974. But after three articles of impeachment having to do with
the Watergate break-ins and subsequent coverup were approved by the
committee, the most important article, the one on genocide in Cambodia, was
defeated by a vote of 26 to 12.
Cambodia was dragged into the Indo-China war by the U.S.-sponsored coup
d'etat in Phnom Penh in March 1970, which ousted Sihanouk in favor of
Marshal Lon Nol of the Cambodian Army, whose regime was never able to
achieve even a modicum of stability. Shortly thereafter, at the end of
April 1970, Nixon and Kissinger launched a large-scale U.S. military
invasion of Cambodia, citing the use of Cambodian territory by the North
Vietnamese armed forces for their "Ho Chi Minh trail" supply line to
sustain their forces deployed in South Vietnam. The "parrot's beak" area of
Cambodia, which extended deep into South Vietnam, was occupied.
Prince Sihanouk, who described himself as a neutralist, established himself
in Beijing after the seizure of power by Lon Nol. In May of 1970, he became
the titular leader and head of state of a Cambodian government in exile,
the Gouvernement Royal d'Union Nationale du Kampuchea, or GRUNK. The GRUNK
was in essence a united front between Sihanouk and the Khmer Rouge, with
the latter exercising most of the real power and commanding the armed
forces and secret police. Sihanouk was merely a figurehead, and he knew it.
During these years, the Khmer Rouge, which had launched a small guerrilla
insurrection during 1968, was a negligible military factor in Cambodia,
fielding only a very few thousand guerrilla fighters. One of its leaders
was Saloth Sar, who had studied in Paris, and who had then sojourned at
length in Red China at the height of the Red Guards' agitation. Saloth Sar
was one of the most important leaders of the Khmer Rouge, and would later
become infamous under his nom de guerre of Pol Pot. Decisive support for
Pol Pot and for the later genocidal policies of the Khmer Rouge always came
from Beijing, despite the attempts of misguided or lying commentators (like
Henry Kissinger) to depict the Khmer Rouge as a creation of Hanoi.
But in the years after 1970, the Khmer Rouge, who were determined
immediately to transform Cambodia into a Communist "utopia" beyond the
dreams even of the wildest Maoist Red Guards, made rapid gains. The most
important single ingredient in the rise of the Khmer Rouge was provided by
Kissinger and Nixon, through their systematic campaign of terror bombing
against Cambodian territory during 1973. This was called Arclight, and
began shortly after the January 1973 Paris Accords on Vietnam. With the
pretext of halting a Khmer Rouge attack on Phnom Penh, U.S. forces carried
out 79,959 officially confirmed sorties with B-52 and F-111 bombers against
targets inside Cambodia, dropping 539,129 tons of explosives. Many of these
bombs fell upon the most densely populated sections of Cambodia, including
the countryside around Phnom Penh. The number of deaths caused by this
genocidal campaign has been estimated at between 30,000 and 500,000. / Note
#7 Accounts of the devastating impact of this mass terror-bombing leave no
doubt that it shattered most of what remained of Cambodian society and
provided ideal preconditions for the further expansion of the Khmer Rouge
During 1974, the Khmer Rouge consolidated their hold over parts of
Cambodia. In these enclaves, they showed their characteristic methods of
genocide, dispersing the inhabitants of the cities into the countryside,
while executing teachers, civil servants, intellectuals -- sometimes all
those who could read and write. This policy was remarkably similar to the
one being carried out by the United States under Theodore Shackley's
Operation Phoenix in neighboring South Vietnam, and Kissinger and other
officials began to see the potential of the Khmer Rouge for implementing
the genocidal population reductions that had now been made the official
doctrine of the U.S. regime.
Support for the Khmer Rouge was even more attractive to Kissinger and Nixon
because it provided an opportunity for the geopolitical propitiation of the
Maoist regime in China. Indeed, in the development of the China card
between 1973 and 1975, during most of Bush's stay in Beijing, Cambodia
loomed very large as the single most important bilateral issue between the
U.S.A. and Red China. Already, in November 1972, Kissinger told Bush's
later prime contact, Qiao Guanhua, that the United States would have no
real objection to a Sihanouk-Khmer Rouge government of the type that later
emerged: "Whoever can best preserve it [Cambodia] as an independent neutral
country, is consistent with our policy, and we believe with yours," said
Kissinger. / Note #8
When Bush's predecessor David Bruce arrived in Beijing to open the new U.S.
Liaison Office in the spring of 1973, he sought contact with Zhou Enlai. On
May 18, 1973, Zhou stressed that the only solution for Cambodia would be
for North Vietnamese forces to leave that country entirely. A few days
later, Kissinger told Chinese delegate Huang Hua in New York that U.S. and
Red Chinese interests in Cambodia were compatible, since both sought to
avoid "a bloc which could support the hegemonial objectives of outside
powers," meaning North Vietnam and Hanoi's backers in Moscow. The genocidal
terror-bombing of Cambodia was ordered by Kissinger during this period.
Kissinger was apoplectic over the move by the U.S. Congress to prohib it
further bombing of Cambodia after August 15, 1973, which he called "a
totally unpredictable and senseless event." / Note #9 Kissinger always
pretends that the Khmer Rouge were a tool of Hanoi, and in his memoirs he
spins out an absurd theory that the weakening of Zhou and the ascendancy of
the Gang of Four was caused by Kissinger's own inability to keep bombing
Cambodia. In reality, Beijing was backing its own allies, the Khmer Rouge,
as is obvious from the account that Kissinger himself provides of his
meeting with Bush's friend Qiao in October 1973. / Note #1 / Note #0
Starting in the second half of 1974, George Bush was heavily engaged on
this Sino-Cambodian front, particularly in his contacts with his main
negotiating partner, Qiao. Bush had the advantage that secret diplomacy
carried on with the Red Chinese regime during those days was subject to
very little public scrutiny. The summaries of Bush's dealings with the Red
Chinese now await the liberation of the files of the foreign ministry in
Beijing or of the State Department in Washington, whichever comes first.
Bush's involvement on the Cambodian question has been established by later
interviews with Prince Sihanouk's chef de cabinet, Pung Peng Cheng, as well
as with French and U.S. officials knowledgeable about Bush's activities in
Beijing during that time. What we have here is admittedly the tip of the
iceberg, the merest hints of the monstrous iniquity yet to be unearthed. /
Note #1 / Note #1
The Khmer Rouge launched a dry-season offensive against Phnom Penh in early
1974, which fell short of its goal. They tried again the following year
with a dry-season offensive launched on January 1, 1975. Soon supplies to
Phnom Penh were cut off, both on the land and along the Mekong River. Units
of Lon Nol's forces fought the battle of the Phnom Penh perimeter through
March. On April 1, 1975, President Lon Nol resigned and fled the country
under the pressure of the U.S. embassy, who wanted him out as quickly as
possible as part of the program to appease Beijing. / Note #1 / Note #2
When Lon Nol had left the country, Kissinger became concerned that the open
conquest of Phnom Penh by the Khmer Rouge Communist guerrillas would create
public relations and political problems for the shaky Ford regime in the
United States. Kissinger accordingly became interested in having Prince
Sihanouk, the titular head of the insurgent coalition of which the Khmer
Rouge was the leading part, travel from Beijing to Phnom Penh so that the
new government in Cambodia could be portrayed more as a
neutralist-nationalist, and less as a frankly Communist, regime. This turns
out to be the episode of the Cambodian tragedy in which George Bush's
personal involvement is most readily demonstrated.
Prince Sihanouk had repeatedly sought direct contacts with Kissinger. At
the end of March 1975, he tried again to open a channel to Washington, this
time with the help of the French embassy in Beijing. Sihanouk's chef de
cabinet, Pung Peng Chen, requested a meeting with John Holdridge, Bush's
deputy station chief. This meeting was held at the French Embassy. Pung
told Holdridge that Prince Sihanouk had a favor to ask of President Ford:
"[I]n [Sihanouk's] old home in Phnom Penh were copies of the films of
Cambodia he had made in the sixties when he had been an enthusiastic
cineast. They constituted a unique cultural record of a Cambodia that was
gone forever: would the Americans please rescue them? Kissinger ordered
Dean [the U.S. ambassador in Cambodia] to find the films and also
instructed Bush to seek a meeting with Sihanouk. The Prince refused, and
during the first ten days of April, as the noose around Phnom Penh
tightened, he continued his public tirades" against the United States and
its Cambodian puppets. / Note #1 / Note #3
On the same day, April 11, Ford announced that he would not request any
further aid for Cambodia from the U.S. Congress, since any aid for Cambodia
approved now would be "too late" anyway. Ford had originally been asking
for $333 million to save the government of Cambodia. Several days later,
Ford would reverse himself and renew his request for the aid, but by that
time it was really too late.
On April 11, the U.S. embassy was preparing a dramatic evacuation, but the
embassy was being kept open as part of Kissinger's effort to bring Prince
Sihanouk back to Phnom Penh. "It was now, on April 11, 1975, as Dean was
telling government leaders he might soon be leaving, that Kissinger decided
that Sihanouk should be brought back to Cambodia. In Peking, George Bush
was ordered to seek another meeting; that afternoon John Holdridge met once
more with Pung Peng Cheng at the French embassy. The American diplomat
explained that Dr. Kissinger and President Ford were now convinced that
only the Prince could end the crisis. Would he please ask the Chinese for
an aircraft to fly him straight back to Phnomn Penh? The United States
would guarantee to remain there until he arrived. Dr. Kissinger wished to
impose no conditions.... On April 12, at 5 a.m. Peking time, Holdridge
again met with Pung. He told him that the Phnom Penh perimeter was
degenerating so fast that the Americans were pulling out at once. Sihanouk
had already issued a statement rejecting and denouncing Kissinger's
invitation." / Note #1 / Note #4
Sihanouk had a certain following among liberal members of the U.S. Senate,
and his presence in Phnom Penh in the midst of the debacle of the old Lon
Nol forces would doubtless have been reassuring for U.S. public opinion.
But Sihanouk at this time had no ability to act independently of the Khmer
Rouge leaders, who were hostile to him and who held the real power,
including the inside track to the Red Chinese. Prince Sihanouk did return
to Phnom Penh later in 1975, and his strained relations with Pol Pot and
his colleagues soon became evident. Early in 1976, Sihanouk was placed
under house arrest by the Khmer Rouge, who appear to have intended to
execute him. Sihanouk remained under detention until the North Vietnamese
drove Pol Pot and his forces out of Phnom Penh in 1978 and set up their own
In following the Kissinger-Bush machinations to bring Prince Sihanouk back
to Cambodia in mid-April 1975, one is also suspicious that an included
option was to increase the likelihood that Sihanouk might be liquidated by
the Khmer Rouge. When the Khmer Rouge entered Phnom Penh, they immediately
carried out a massacre on a grand scale, slaying any members of the Lon Nol
and Long Boret cabinets they could get their hands on. There were mass
executions of teachers and government officials, and all of the 2.5 million
residents of Phnom Penh were driven into the countryside, including
seriously ill hospital patients. Under these circumstances, it would have
been relatively easy to assassinate Sihanouk amidst the general orgy of
slaughter. Such an eventuality was explicitly referred to in a Kissinger
NSC briefing paper circulated in March 1975, in which Sihanouk was quoted
as follows in remarks made December 10, 1971: "If I go on as chief of state
after victory, I run the risk of being pushed out the window by the
Communists, like Masaryk, or that I might be imprisoned for revisionism or
More than 2 million Cambodians out of an estimated total population of
slightly more than 7 million perished under the Khmer Rouge; according to
some estimates, the genocide killed 32 percent of the total population. /
Note #1 / Note #5 The United States and Red China, acting together under
the Kissinger "China card" policy, had liquidated one Cambodian government,
destroyed the fabric of civil society in the country, ousted a pro-U.S.
government, and installed a new regime they knew to be genocidal in its
intentions. For Kissinger, it was the exemplification of the new U.S.
strategic doctrine contained in NSSM 200. For George Bush, it was the
fulfillment of his family's fanatically held belief in the need for
genocide to prevent the more prolific, but "inferior," races of the earth,
in this case those with yellow skins, from "out-breeding" the imperial
Anglo-Saxon racial stock.
Making Money in Beijing
In addition to opportunities to promote genocide, Bush's tenure in Beijing
presented him with numerous occasions to exploit public office for the
private gain of financiers and businessmen who were a part of his network.
In September 1975, as Ford was preparing for a year-end visit to China,
Kissinger organized a presidential reception at the White House for a
delegation from the Beijing China Council for the Promotion of
International Trade. The meeting was carefully choreographed by Kissinger
and Scowcroft. The Ford Library has preserved a supplementary memo to
Scowcroft, at that time the NSC chief, from Richard H. Solomon of the NSC
staff, which reads as follows: "Regarding the President's meeting with the
Chinese trade group, State has called me requesting that Ambassador Bush
and [Kissinger henchman] Phil Habib attend the meeting. You will recall
having approved Bush's sitting in on the President's meeting with the
Congressional delegation that recently returned from China. Hence, Bush
will be floating around the White House at this period of time anyway. I
personally think it would be useful to have Bush and Habib sit in. The
Cabinet Room should be able to hold them. Win[ston] Lord is someone else
who might be invited." This meeting was eventually held on September 8,
A little earlier, Bush, en route to Washington, had sent a hand-written
note to Scowcroft dated August29, 1975. This missive urged Scowcroft to
grant a request from Codel Anderson, who had just completed a visit to
China complete with a meeting with Deng Xiaoping, to be allowed to report
back to Ford personally.
These were the type of contacts which later paid off for Bush's cronies.
During 1977, Bush returned to China as a private citizen, taking with him
his former Zapata business partner, J. Hugh Liedtke. In January 1978,
Liedtke was on hand when the Chinese oil minister was Bush's guest for
dinner at his home in Houston. In May 1978, Liedtke and Pennzoil were at
the top of the Chinese government's list of U.S. oil firms competing to be
accorded contracts for drilling in China. Then, in the late summer of 1978,
J. Hugh Liedtke of Pennzoil made another trip to China, during which he was
allowed to view geological studies which had previously been held as state
secrets by Beijing. Pennzoil was in the lead for a contract to begin oil
drilling in the South China Sea. / Note #1 / Note #6
Kissinger made four visits to Beijing during Bush's tenure there. On
October 19, 1975, Kissinger arrived in Beijing to prepare for Ford's visit,
set for December. There were talks between Kissinger and Deng Xiaoping,
with Bush, Habib, Winston Lord and Foreign Minister Qiao taking part. It
was during this visit that, Bush would have us believe, he had his first
face-to-face meeting with Mao Zedong, the leader of a Communist revolution
which had claimed the lives of some 100 million Chinese since the end of
the Second World War.
Meeting of the Monsters
Mao, one of the greatest monsters of the twentieth century, was 81 years
old at that time. He was in very bad health; when he opened his mouth to
meet Kissinger, "only guttural noises emerged." Mao's study contained
tables covered with tubes and medical apparatus, and a small oxygen tank.
Mao was unable to speak coherently, but had to write Chinese characters and
an occasional word in English on a note pad which he showed to his
interpreters. Kissinger inquired as to Mao's health. Mao pointed to his
head saying, "This part works well. I can eat and sleep." Then Mao tapped
his legs: "These parts do not work well. They are not strong when I walk. I
also have some trouble with my lungs. In a word, I am not well. I am a
showcase for visitors," Mao summed up. The croaking, guttural voice
continued: "I am going to heaven soon. I have already received an
invitation from God."
If Mao was a basso profondo of guttural croaking, then Kissinger was at
least a bass-baritone: "Don't accept it too soon," he replied. "I accept
the orders of the Doctor," wrote Mao on his note pad. Mao at this point had
slightly less than a year to live. Bush provided counterpoint to these
lower registers with his own whining tenor.
Bush was much impressed by Mao's rustic background and repertoire of
Chinese barnyard expressions. Referring to a certain problem in
Sino-American relations, Mao dismissed it as no more important than a "fang
go pi," no more important than a dog fart.
Mao went on, commenting about U.S. military superiority, and then saying:
"God blesses you, not us. God does not like us because I am a militant
warlord, also a Communist. No, he doesn't like me. He likes you three." Mao
pointed to Kissinger, Bush and Winston Lord.
Toward the end of the encounter, this lugubrious monster singled out Bush
for special attention. Mao turned to Winston Lord. "This ambassador," said
Mao while gesturing toward Bush, "is in a plight. Why don't you come
visit?" "I would be honored," Bush replied according to his own account,
"but I'm afraid you're very busy." "Oh, I'm not busy," said Mao. "I don't
look after internal affairs. I only read the international news. You should
really come visit."
Bush claims / Note #1 / Note #7 that he never accepted Chairman Mao's
invitation to come around for private talks. Bush says that he was
convinced by members of his own staff that Mao did not really mean to
invite him, but was only being polite. Was Bush really so reticent, or is
this another one of the falsifications with which his official biographies
are studded? The world must await the opening of the Beijing and Foggy
Bottom archives. In the meantime, we must take a moment to contemplate that
gathering of October 1975 in Chairman Mao's private villa, secluded behind
many courtyards and screens in the Chungnanhai enclave of Chinese rulers
not far from the Great Hall of the People and Tiananmen, where less than a
year later an initial round of pro-democracy demonstrations would be put
down in blood in the wake of the funeral of Zhou Enlai.
Mao, Kissinger, and Bush: Has history ever seen a tete-a-tete of such mass
murderers? Mao, identifying himself with Chin Shih Huang, the first Emperor
of all of China and founder of the Chin dynasty, who had built the Great
Wall, burned the books, and killed the Confucian scholars -- this Mao had
massacred ten percent of his own people, ravaged Korea, strangled Tibet.
Kissinger's crimes were endless, from the Middle East to Vietnam, from the
oil crisis of 1973-74, with the endless death in the Sahel, to
India-Pakistan, Chile and many more. Kissinger, Mao and Bush had
collaborated to install the Pol Pot Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia, which
was now approaching the zenith of its genocidal career. Compared to the
other two, Bush may have appeared as an apprentice of genocide: He had done
some filibustering in the Caribbean, had been part of the cheering section
for the Indonesia massacres of 1965, and then he had become a part of the
Kissinger apparatus, sharing in the responsibility for India-Pakistan, the
Middle East, Cambodia. But as Bush advanced through his personal "cursus
honorum," his power and his genocidal dexterity were growing, foreshadowing
such future triumphs as the devastation of El Chorillo in Panama in
December 1989, and his later masterwork of savagery, the Gulf war of 1991.
By the time of Bush's own administration, Anglo-American finance and the
International Monetary Fund were averaging some 50 million needless deaths
per year in the developing sector.
But Mao, Kissinger and Bush exchanged pleasantries that day in Mao's
sitting room in Chungnanhai. If the shades of Hitler or Stalin had sought
admission to that murderers colloquium, they might have been denied
entrance as pikers.
Later, in early December, Gerald Ford, accompanied by his hapless wife and
daughter, came to see the moribund Mao for what amounted to a photo
opportunity with a living cadaver. The Associated Press wire issued that
day hyped the fact that Mao had talked with Ford for one hour and 50
minutes, nearly twice as long as the Great Steersman had given to Nixon in
1972. Participants in this meeting included Kissinge r, Bush, Scowcroft and
Winston Lord. Bush was now truly a leading Kissinger clone. A joint
communique issued after this session said that Mao and Ford had had
"earnest and significant discussions ... on wide-ranging issues in a
friendly atmosphere." At this meeting, Chairman Mao greeted Bush with the
words, "You've been promoted." Mao turned to Ford, and added: "We hate to
see him go." At a private lunch with Vice Premier Deng Xiao-ping, the
rising star of the post-Mao succession, Deng assured Bush that he was
considered a friend of the Chinese Communist hierarchy who would always be
welcome in China, "even as head of the CIA." For, as we will see, this was
to be the next stop on Bush's "cursus honorum."
Later, Kissinger and Bush also met with Qiao Guanhua, still the Foreign
Minister. According to newspaper accounts, the phraseology of the joint
communique suggested that the meeting had been more than usually cordial.
There had also been a two-hour meeting with Deng Xiaoping reported by the
Ford White House as "a constructive exchange of views on a wide range of
international issues." At a banquet, Deng used a toast for an anti-Soviet
tirade which the Soviet news agency TASS criticized as "vicious attacks." /
Note #1 / Note #8
Ford thought, probably because he had been told by Kissinger, that the fact
that Mao had accompanied him to the door of his villa after the meeting was
a special honor, but he was disabused by Beijing-based correspondents who
told him that this was Mao's customary practice. Ford's daughter Susan was
sporting a full-length muskrat coat for her trip to the Great Wall. "It's
more than I ever expected," she gushed. "I feel like I'm in a fantasy. It's
a whole other world."
The Next Step
Days after Ford departed from Beijing, Bush also left the Chinese capital.
It was time for a new step in his imperial "cursus honorum." During his
entire stay in Beijing, Bush had never stopped scheming for new paths of
personal advancement toward the very apex of power.
Before Bush went to Beijing, he had talked to his network asset and crony
Rogers C.B. Morton about his favorite topic, his own prospects for future
career aggrandizement. Morton at that time was Secretary of Commerce, but
he was planning to step down before much longer. Morton told Bush: "What
you ought to think about is coming back to Washington to replace me when I
leave. It's a perfect springboard for a place on the ticket."
This idea is the theme of a Ford White House memo preserved in the Jack
Marsh Files at the Ford Library in Ann Arbor. The memo is addressed to Jack
Marsh, counselor to the President, by Russell Rourke of Marsh's staff. The
memo, which is dated March 20, 1975, reads as follows: "|'It's my
impression and partial understanding that George Bush has probably had
enough of egg rolls and Peking by now (and has probably gotten over his
lost V.P. opportunity). He's one hell of a Presidential surrogate, and
would be an outstanding spokesman for the White House between now and
November '76. Don't you think he would make an outstanding candidate for
Secretary of Commerce or a similar post sometime during the next six
Bush was now obsessed with the idea that he had a right to become Vice
President in 1976. As a member of the senatorial caste, he had a right to
enter the Senate, and if the plebeians with their changeable humors barred
the elective route, then the only answer was to be appointed to the second
spot on the ticket and enter the Senate as its presiding officer. As Bush
wrote in his campaign autobiography: "Having lost out to Rockefeller as
Ford's vice-presidential choice in 1974, I might be considered by some as a
leading contender for the number two spot in Kansas City...." / Note #1 /
Bush possessed a remarkable capability for the blackmailing of Ford: He
could enter the 1976 Republican presidential primaries as a candidate in
his own right, and could occasion a hemorrhaging of liberal Republican
support that might otherwise have gone to Ford. Ford, the second
non-elected President [Andrew Johnson was the first], was the weakest of
all incumbents, and he was already preparing to face a powerful challenge
from his right mounted by the Ronald Reagan camp. The presence of an
additional rival with Bush's networks among liberal and moderate Republican
layers might constitute a fatal impediment to Ford's prospects for getting
himself elected to a term of his own.
Accordingly, when Kissinger visited Bush in Beijing in October 1975, he
pointedly inquired as to whether Bush intended to enter any of the
Republican presidential primaries during the 1976 season. This was the
principal question that Ford had directed Kissinger to ask of Bush.
Bush's exit from Beijing occurred within the context of Ford's celebrated
"Halloween massacre" of early November 1975. This "massacre," reminiscent
of Nixon's cabinet purge of 1973 ("the Saturday night massacre"), was a
number of firings and transfers of high officials at the top of the
executive branch, through which Ford sought to figure forth the political
profile which he intended to carry into the primaries and, if he were
successful in the winter and spring, into the Republican convention and,
beyond that, into the fall campaign. So each of these changes had a purpose
that was ultimately rooted in electioneering.
In the Halloween massacre, it was announced that Vice President Nelson
Rockefeller would under no circumstances be a candidate to continue in that
office. Nelson's negatives were simply too high. James Schlesinger was summarily ousted as the Secretary of Defense;
Schlesinger's "Dr. Strangelove" overtones were judged not presentable
during an election year. To replace Schlesinger, Ford's White House chief
of staff, Donald Rumsfeld, was given the Pentagon. Henry Kissinger, who up
to this moment had been running the administration from two posts, NSC
Director and Secretary of State, had to give up his White House office and
was obliged to direct the business of the government from Foggy Bottom. In
consolation to him, the NSC job was assigned to his devoted clone and later
business associate, retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Brent Scowcroft, a Mormon
who would later play the role of exterminating demon during Bush's Gulf war
adventure. At the Department of Commerce, the secretary's post that had
been so highly touted to Bush was being vacated by Rogers Morton. Finally,
William Colby, his public reputation thoroughly dilapidated as a result of
the revelations made during the Church Committee and Pike Committee
investigations of the abuses and crimes of the CIA, especially within the
U.S. domestic sphere, was canned as Director of Central Intelligence.
Could this elaborate reshuffle be made to yield a job for Bush? It was
anything but guaranteed. The post of CIA Director was offered to Washington
lawyer and influence broker Edward Bennett Williams. But he turned it down.
So Bush almost went to Commerce, but then was proposed for Langley instead.
Bush in his campaign autobiography suggests that the CIA appointment was a
tactical defeat, the one new job that was more or less guaranteed to keep
him off the GOP ticket in 1976. As CIA Director, if he got that far, he
would have to spend "the next six months serving as point man for a
controversial agency being investigated by two major Congressional
committees. The scars left by that experience would put me out of
contention, leaving the spot open for others." / Note #2 / Note #0 Bush
suggests that "the Langley thing" was the handiwork of Donald Rumsfeld, who
had a leading role in designing the reshuffle. (Some time later, Fo rd's
Secretary of the Treasury William Simon confided privately that he himself
had been targeted for proscription by "Rummy," who was more interested in
taking the Treasury than he was in the Pentagon.)
On All Saints' Day, November 1, 1975, Bush received a telegram from
Kissinger informing him that "the President is planning to announce some
major personnel shifts on Monday, November 3, at 7:30 PM, Washington time.
Among those shifts will be the transfer of Bill Colby from CIA. The
President asks that you consent to his nominating you as the new Director
of the Central Intelligence Agency." / Note #2 / Note #1
Bush promptly accepted.
Notes for Chapter 15
1. Al Reinert, "Bob and George Go to Washington or The Post-Watergate
Scramble," in "Texas Monthly," April 1974.
2. George Bush and Victor Gold, "Looking Forward" (New York: Doubleday,
1987), p. 130.
3. Walter Pincus and Bob Woodward, "Presidential Posts and Dashed Hopes,"
"Washington Post," Aug. 9, 1988.
6. See Hassan Ahmed and Joseph Brewda, "Kissinger, Scowcroft, Bush Plotted
Third World Genocide," "Executive Intelligence Review," May 3, 1991, pp.
7. Russell R. Ross ed., "Cambodia: A Country Study" (Washington: U.S.
G.P.O., 1990), p. 46.
8. Henry Kissinger, "Years of Upheaval" (Boston: Little, Brown, 1982), p. 341.
9. "Ibid.," p. 367.
10. "Ibid.," p. 681.
11. See William Shawcross, "Sideshow: Kissinger, Nixon, and the Destruction
of Cambodia" (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1987), pp. 360-61.
12. See Sutsakhan's "The Khmer Republic at War and the Final Collapse"
(Washington: U.S. Army Center of Military History, 1980) pp. 163, 166.
13. Shawcross, "op. cit.," p. 360.
14. "Ibid.," p. 361.
15. Ross, "op. cit.," p. 51.
16. "Forbes," Sept. 4, 1978.
17. See Bush and Gold, "op. cit.," pp. 145-49 for Bush's account of his
alleged first meeting with Mao.
18. "New Orleans Times-Picayune," Dec. 3, 1975.
19. Bush and Gold, "op. cit.," p. 157.
20. "Ibid.," pp. 157-58.
21. "Ibid.," p. 153.
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