Wednesday, October 10, 2012

White Russians and British Spies

The following post has been sitting in my draft file for ages now. As I did my research, I kept running into work previously done at Greg Parker's website, Reopen Kennedy Case, but it seems no one else has been fascinated by the potentially earth-shaking connections Max E. Clark of Fort Worth had to the White Russian community in Dallas. As revealed by the Warren Commission, Max Clark was married to Gali Scherbatoff, a Russian who was born in France. He explained in his testimony how their meeting with the Oswalds came about:
Mr. CLARK. My wife was born in France; her father is Russian and her mother is English and Russian. I know her father was born in Russia but I am not certain whether her mother was born in Russia or England because they alternated back and forth so I really don’t know....
Mr. LIEBELER. This first attempt of Oswald’s to contact your wife did he tell
you what motivated him; was it purely a social matter?
Mr. CLARK. Purely social; his wife could not speak English and she would
like to talk to some girl that spoke Russian so we made the offer. We were not
about to go out to his house where he was living. If he wanted to see us he
could come over there. We felt we had done enough. Shortly after that my
wife’s mother was having an operation in France so it had been planned that
she would go over there during this operation, so my wife left in July, I believe,
or first of August. I have forgotten, of 1962 and was gone 7 weeks or something
like that. When she returned to Fort Worth in September or the latter part
of September, the Russian group which she keeps rather close contact with -- there is not such a large number between Dallas and Fort Worth that they communicate quite freely back and forth -- stated that they had met this Marina
Oswald and that she was having an extremely hard time and so several of
them came over from Fort Worth, I mean from Dallas to Fort Worth and asked
my wife to meet them at Oswald’s house.

Bill Simpich has also studied Max Clark and described his role as a security officer in Fort Worth as well as within the community of White Russians in Dallas. Bill Kelly posted Simpich's research at his blog, JFKCountercoup:
The Dallas-Fort Worth community of Soviet and Eastern European emigres -- referred to as "White Russians" -- took Oswald and his family under their wing upon their arrival from the USSR in May 1962....
Max Clark, an attorney and former industrial security supervisor at General Dynamics, was a mentor for de Mohrenschildt and this community. Clark was part of a network of security personnel that put the squeeze on the Kennedy Administration that year to get General Dynamics' TFX project in Fort Worth approved over their Boeing competitors At the time, this deal to churn out the F-111 fighters was one of the largest military contracts in history.

The White Russian community harbored an underground anti-Soviet movement known as the NTS.
The Dallas White Russian community was tightly aligned with an anti-Soviet movement known by its Russian initials of "NTS" (National Alliance of Russian Solidarists).

Documents show Max and Gali had married at some point before 1947, when as a couple, they returned from France aboard the S.S. De Grasse.

Click to enlarge.
Gali Scherbatoff's family's address was listed on the opposite page to the one above, shown as follows:

Click to enlarge.

The address shown for Max and Gali Clark at that time in 1947 was 608 Eighth Avenue in Fort Worth, Texas--a four-unit apartment house quite close to the historic Thistle Hill mansion built for Electra Waggoner Wharton. This apartment was only two streets over from the Sixth Avenue office building--where Max Clark's father's oil business had been housed for many years. The building was named for the late Dan Waggoner and his widow and built by rancher/oilman, W. T. Waggoner. By 1947 most of the Waggoners were either dead or had moved from Fort Worth, but their name still commanded a great deal of power among the old-timers in the city, like Sid W. Richardson, who resided in a hotel called the Fort Worth Club and had his offices on the 24th floor of the Fort Worth National Bank Building at 714 Main.

Adelaide Scherbatow in 1918
The Warren Commission testimony of  Paul Raigorodsky disclosed that Gali Scherbatoff Clark (Max Clark's wife) was a cousin of Kyril Scherbatow, who lived in New York and Jamaica. Thus, it seems the Clarks had invested with Raigorodsky in the Tryall Resort he had helped to build in Jamaica beginning in 1957.

Intriguingly, the British novelist Ian Fleming also had a residence in Jamaica, as did the head of British Security Coordination (BSC), William Stephenson. Only in recent years has it been disclosed the extent to which BSC was using its agents to spy on the internal politics and policy of its American allies. The first research came to this blogger's knowledge from a fascinating book called The Irregulars: Roald Dahl and the British Spy Ring in Wartime Washington, written by Jennet Conant.  A second, even more comprehensive report of the propaganda techniques used by the BSC appeared in Thomas E. Mahl's book, Desperate Deception: British Covert Operations in the United States, 1939-44.

Considering also the fact that several other Texans had vacation homes in Jamaica where they could have been in contact with British spies--intent during WWII and its aftermath with directing the course of American policy in a direction favorable to that of the United Kingdom--it leads us to consider an alternative to the common belief that it was the CIA behind the assassination of JFK. At the Tryall website we read:
By the 1950s, a group of entrepreneurs--including John Connally, later governor of Texas, and Lloyd Bentsen, who would become a U.S. Senator--had purchased the land. In 1957, they founded the Tryall Club as a private villa resort.

John Connally was the Texas governor at the time President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, an act which benefited Connally's mentor, Lyndon Johnson, as well as those businessmen who supported him. Many assassination researchers have wondered about the meaning of his exclamation on November 22, 1963:
My God, they are going to kill us all!
We will come back to John Connally later, after exploring more about the other investors who helped the White Russian Paul Raigorodsky create his resort somewhere between Ian Fleming's "Goldeneye" and Sir William Stephenson's "Hillowton". H. Montgomery Hyde described Hillowton in his book, Room 3603:
Stephenson had gone to live in Jamaica, where he had bought a property at Hillowton, overlooking Montego Bay - "the finest house in the island," he called it. (Incidentally, it was his wife's choice). His example was followed by several of his friends, including Lord Beaverbrook, Sir William Wiseman, Noel Coward and Ian Fleming, all of whom acquired estates on Jamaica's beautiful north shore at this time. For a year or so he showed little interest in the outside world and was content to enjoy life on this island in the sun. Only gradually did he recover his interest in commerce and industry. With some of his war-time associates, such as financiers Sir Rex Benson and Sir Charles Hambro in London, General Donovan in Washington,and a number of Canadian and American industrialists like Edward Stettinius, former chairman of the U.S. Steel Corporation, he formed the British-American-Canadian Corporation, which developed into the World Commerce Corporation, originally designed to fill the void left by the break-up of the big German cartels which Stephenson himself had done much to destroy. Thus he and his colleagues on the board raised an initial $1,000,000 to help 'bridge over the breakdown in foreign exchange and provide the tools, machinery and "know how" to develop untapped resources in different parts of the world.
The Hillowton tract was apparently owned in 1939 by Mrs. John King Reckford, who lived in New York City. Reckford published a notice in the Kingston Gleaner to have her 22 acre property registered after it was surveyed. Reckford was the former Virginia Aileen Thelfall of Crafton, Pennsylvania, who married Naval Lieutenant Reckford, scion of the American Lead Pencil Co., in 1936 in the church in Elberon, N.J. named for eminent banker Moses Taylor. After John's death in 1941, the property was sold to Sir William Stephenson, head of British Intelligence in the United States. Room 3603 states that Hillowton was owned by the BSC chief no later than 1943, when he invited Noel Coward to visit there.

An aside to this story is intriguing as well. The seller of the Jamaican estate, Mrs. Reckford in 1945 married Fernand Jean Prosper Delzaert, a Belgian economist stationed in Washington, D.C., whom she divorced in 1949 (see news clip).

In February 1948, The Gleaner published a photo of Roald Dahl with his first name typically misspelled:
MR. ROULD [sic] DAHL, writer, and friend of Sir William Stephenson, who arrived here yesterday afternoon by British South American Airways plane from London to spend a four week vacation.
Mr. Dahl told the Gleaner yesterday that his first book "Flying Fast," was recently published, and the second, "The Satier," will be published in the United States next month. He will leave Kingston some time today for Hillowton Reading, where he will be a guest at Sir William Stephenson's winter home in St. James.

In July that year another notice mentioning Dahl and Hillowton appeared in the Gleaner:
NOTICE
ALL WRITERS MAY FORWARD their SCRIPTS to MISS LENA LEVY, STENOTYPIST. who has her office OPPOSITE the MONTEGO BAY POST OFFICE. PHONE 654. Some months ago Miss Levy got through 85.000 words for those well-known writers, the Max Murrays, and 40,000 words for that brilliant young writer, Ronald [sic] Dahl, who spent a few weeks with Sir William and Lady Stephenson at Hillowton.
Donald Sturrock wrote in his book, Storyteller, a biography of Roald Dahl:
Dahl himself escaped for a month to Jamaica in early 1948, flying via Senegal and Brazil, and staying for two weeks with Hemingway at Sir William Stephenson’s house in Hillowton outside Montego Bay—a “dream place” where he went swimming every day on Max Beaverbrook’s private beach. He then travelled east along the north coast of the island to spend a few days with Charles Marsh near Ocho Rios. But he ended up staying as the house guest of Pamela Berry, the Marchioness of Huntly, and making his Jamaican “headquarters” with her.
It has been said that Stephenson sold Hillowton in 1951. If so, there appears to be a gap to research between that date and six years later--May 6, 1957--when the following headline appeared at the top fold of the Kingston Gleaner in Jamaica:

Tryall sold to multi-million dollar group
Jamaican named Chairman


We will pick up at this point, hopefully, in our next entry.

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