Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Saudi Arabia: the Nixon Years

"Politics, as we all know, is a game played by the powerful on a field of irony. 
And irony, just like politics, makes for curious bedmates…" Al Reinert
"Bob and George Go to Washington," Texas Monthly (April 1974).

Long Live the Saudi King 

Abdulaziz ibn Saud (full name Abdulaziz bin Abdul Rahman, or just Ibn Saud for short) had founded the House of Saud in 1932--deposing his half-brother, Muhammad Ibn Talal, the previous king. Once Ibn Saud deposed Ibn Talal, he arranged a marriage between one of his own son's and a daughter of the deposed King. This daughter, Watfa, married Musaed (Musa'id), a son of Ibn Saud, born in 1923 to wife, Jawhara of the Al Sudairi family. Jawhara's sister Haya was another wife of Ibn Saud and the mother of three of his approximately 40 sons by assorted wives. Ten of those sons rose to hold the title of Crown Prince and are pictured below.

Crown Princes of Saudi Arabia (click to enlarge)
Rashidi family, published 1997

Musaed and Watfa had a son, Faisal bin Musaed, born in 1944 before they divorced. Faisal was then sent to live with his mother's family, the Rashidis, of which Muhammad Ibn Talal, who died in exile in 1952, was a member. Meanwhile Faisal's father, Prince Musa'id, remarried, had other children, and did not hold any significant administrative positions--never viewed as a possible successor.

King Faisal bin Abdulariz was shot and killed in March 1975 by an estranged nephew, Prince Faisal bin Musaed bin Abdulaziz. By June 18 the nephew had been convicted and beheaded by Saudi leaders, who were quick to label him "deranged."

The 27-year-old assassin had lived in the United States from 1966 until 1973 while studying political science and obtaining a degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1971. He then moved to UC Berkeley for graduate studies. Called a "radical" by his Saudi countrymen, he had attempted unsuccessfully to convince Saudi Arabia to put an end to Islamic rule.

Nixon's Balancing Act in the Middle East

In August 2018 I published a long-researched piece about the history between the United States and Saudi Arabia called "Within the Netherworld of International Currency Exchange Rates." That research helps to understand the financial crisis that haunted Nixon on a daily basis at the end of his first term and into his re-election.

During Nixon's first term, Secretary of State William P. Rogers had negotiated, and "international oil companies" had signed on, with six of the ten OPEC countries in Tehran on February 14, 1971, to a five-year oil tax and price agreement. The six countries of the Persian Gulf did not include Libya, Algeria, Indonesia or Venezuela. The terms of the agreement gave the six countries (Abu Dhabi, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar) a 30% increase on their price for oil with further increases through 1975.

Just prior to that point in time, Nixon and his cabinet officials were attempting to maintain a balancing act between Iran and Iraq, achieved somewhat with help from the Kurds' resistance in Iraq. According to Foreign Relations, 1969–1972, Volume E–4, Iran and Iraq, in the Office of Historian Summary:
The Nixon administration’s tilt toward Tehran [Iran] led to significant shifts in its policy toward Iran and Iraq in 1972. First, the United States abandoned its sporadic efforts to rein in the Shah’s extravagant military spending. During his May 1972 visit to Tehran, Nixon promised to sell the Shah any American arms (short of atomic weapons) that he desired. Second, at the same meeting, the President conceded the Shah’s point that Iraq, now a close Soviet ally, was a security danger to the Gulf region. To help keep the Ba’athist regime [Iraq] off-balance, the U.S. Government began to support the Iraqi Kurdish rebellion under Mullah Mustafa Barzani in July 1972. Although the Shah had funded Barzani for years, Washington had resisted Kurdish appeals for aid on the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries. After the Iraqis signed a treaty with the Soviets in April 1972, however, U.S. officials “particularly in the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)” agreed that the threat from Baghdad warranted U.S. attention.

King Faisal Issues a Threat

Rogers resigned as Secretary of State as of September 3, 1973, and Henry Kissinger replaced him. Only a week after Rogers' departure, King Faisal of Saudi Arabia issued a dire warning to the Nixon administration:
"America's complete support of Zionism against the Arabs makes it extremely difficult for us to continue to supply U.S. petroleum needs and even to maintain friendly relations with America."
Balance in the Middle East could no longer be achieved on a binary scale. With King Faisal, purportedly speaking not only for Saudi Arabia, but for all six OPEC countries bound by the terms of the 1971 Persian Gulf Agreement, the scale was almost impossible to manipulate, especially with Israel re-entering the fray--threatening to boycott U.S. oil companies if the U.S. government conceded to Faisal's additional demand that Israel "return Arab land it had been occupying since 1967."

Nixon had to choose between the demands of two strong allies--Israel or Saudi Arabia--while also keeping the Shah of Iran as a friend. All that had to be done for the Shah was to open the door for him to buy all the weaponry he could wish for.

Roham Alvandi wrote in 2012 that Mohammad Reza Pahlavi (the Shah of Iran):
had normalized Iran’s relations with the Soviet Union and now sought Iranian primacy in the Persian Gulf in the wake of Britain’s withdrawal from the region in 1971. Mohammad Reza Shah had seen five American presidents  pass  through  the  White  House;  each  in  turn  had  frustrated  and disappointed him in his ambition to make Iran the region’s leading power. But now, under the Nixon Doctrine, the United States would rely on the shah to maintain stability in the Persian Gulf.

Two Crown Princes Passed Over

Faisal had been the third King of the Saudis following the death of Ibn Saud. After Faisal was assassinated in 1975, as shown in the chart above, the succession followed in an orderly process until Salman became the new King of Saudi Arabia on January 23, 2015 following the death of his half-brother. Note that two crown princes were ahead of him to be king, one of whom was already deceased:
  • Talal bin Abdulaziz (died December 2018) and 
  • Nayef bin Abdulazriz (died June 2012).
Why were Talal bin Abdulaziz (whose son was the well-known and wealthy pro-American  Alwaleed bin Talal) and the sons of Nayef (notably Mohammad bin Nayef) skipped from the line of succession?

Reports leaked out in 2017 (shortly after President Donald Trump's inauguration) that Nayef was removed as a result of a plot organized by the man commonly known today as MbS, Mohammed bin Salman about whom it was said at the time:
The decision to oust Mohammed bin Nayef and some of his closest colleagues has spread concern among counterterrorism officials in the United States who saw their most trusted Saudi contacts disappear and have struggled to build new relationships.
And the collection of so much power by one young royal, Prince Mohammad bin Salman, has unsettled a royal family long guided by consensus and deference to elders.
Jamal Khashoggi
As early as 1989 while "Saudi intelligence ... was coordinating aid to the fighters as part of its cooperation with the CIA against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan," Jamal Khashoggi, who had traveled with the Arab mujahideen in Afghanistan, "criticized Prince Salman, then governor of Riyadh and head of the Saudi committee for support to the Afghan mujahideen, for unwisely funding Salafist extremist groups that were undermining the war." Jamal's rise "was linked with the Faisal clan — Turki and his brother Saud al-Faisal, the longtime Saudi foreign minister. Educated at Georgetown and Princeton, respectively, the Faisal brothers represented the thoughtful, moderate face of the royal family."

As for the Talal branch, James Wynbrandt wrote in 2010:
The attack [on September 11, 2001]  brought long-festering antagonisms between the two nations to the fore. The Saudis were blamed for exporting an intolerant brand of Islam and donating large sums to groups that supported terrorism. The United States was blamed for its unbending support for Israel, which was seen as the root cause of the attacks. Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, son of the founder of the Free Princes movement [formed in 1962 and ended in 1964], came to New York to express his sympathy and offered a $10 million donation for the victims, along with advice for the United States to rethink its Middle East policy. New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani rejected the advice and the $10 million donation, and the episode came to represent the vast gulf that had suddenly opened between the two longtime allies.
Prince Alwaleed bin Talal
Prince Talal and his son, in short, were, according to David Ottaway, "liberals" compared with their countrymen--a term traditionally used to mean those advocating more democratic reforms and limiting autocratic power of leaders. The father had been forced out the cabinet for his suggested reforms in 1961, but in 2007 he was again a member of the Allegiance Council, which was supposed to be consulted when one of the members of the ruling family died before another was admitted in his place. When Prince Nayef ascended as Crown Prince in November 2011 without consulting anyone, Talal resigned from the Council, watching his country became ever more undemocratic until Talal's death two months after Jamal Khashoggi's murder.

In 2015 Jamal had convinced the son of Crown Prince Talal bin Abdulaziz, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, whom the Washington Post referred to as "a reform-minded Saudi billionaire," to finance a news channel in Bahrain. It was unfortunately removed from the airwaves by Bahrain after only 24 hours for featuring an "interview with a prominent Bahraini Shiite politician who had criticized the regime."

Jamal Khashoggi at Alwaleed's news channel

Two years after Jamal's plan to liberalize the media failed, Prince Alwaleed was arrested "plus at least 10 other princes, four ministers and tens of former ministers," as part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's plan to consolidate power, and Jamal fled the country.

Greg Olear wrote in Medium, after reports of Jamal's murder began to surface, that "Trump and Kushner both have skin in the game." He continued:
Saudi Arabia was the first state visit Trump made as president, a trip organized and pushed for by Kushner, who is chummy with MbS and has acted as the de facto ambassador to Saudi Arabia. Khashoggi was not banned from Saudi media for his criticisms of MbS, but rather for his criticisms of Donald Trump. More importantly, U.S. intelligence knew of a plan to lure Khashoggi back to arrest him, so the president and the de facto ambassador to Saudi Arabia must have also known. If they knew and did not share the information with Khashoggi, they are liable.
Alwaleed was released in January 2018, ten months before Jamal Khashoggi's murder. When he spoke in an interview with Fox News the following December, he sounded like a defeated man, one who had made a deal with his captors, whom he now insisted were honorable. It was a secret deal, so we may never know the truth.


"Saudi Arabia: Creation of the Petrodollar" has been in draft form for several years, being added to and edited as time permitted. Because of the length and complexity, I have decided to divide it into several parts. The next segment will follow soon.

Monday, April 29, 2019

D. Harold Byrd

Researched and written
by Linda Minor

D. Harold Byrd's Convergence with Mac Wallace?

As promised in Part II of "Tale about a Tail," this post will give you more information than you ever wanted to know about the background of D. Harold Byrd. We may return to tracing Tail #N-17888 in a later post. What initially piqued an interest that motivated me to research D. Harold Byrd in greater depth were two facts I discovered about Byrd while researching the history of TUSCO:
  1. Byrd was born in a tiny town called Detroit in Red River County, Texas in 1900, and he graduated from the University of Texas in Austin in 1921, yet the college-degreed geologist had been made to look like a rube with the nickname "Dry Hole."
  2. His first big oil discovery in the Talco Field of northeast Texas led to partnership in a refinery in Mt. Pleasant, Titus County, Texas in 1937 with three other independent oilmen--Captain J.F. Lucey, Ralph Emerson Fair (who bought 5,000 acres near Camp Bullis at Boerne, Texas--developed by his heirs into Fair Oaks Ranch), and Jack Frost.
Towns in northeast Texas where Byrd, Wallace, Rainey and Witt families lived and worked
In addition to being the site for the Talco Refinery, Mt. Pleasant, for those who aren't up on Texas trivia, was once the hometown of LBJ's favorite assassin, Mac Wallace. Just north of Mt. Pleasant is Red River County, where a significant number of lives in Mac's history converged. His father Alvin Wallace had been born in Mt. Pleasant and began his career as a concrete contractor there. He built roads and bridges in partnership with Mac's uncle, Leonard Roy Bowden, a brother of Alvin's sister Nellie.

Nellie Arlene Wallace had married in 1914, and both her husband and brother were farmers in Titus County, before they left for WWI. Upon their return, they formed a road-paving company called Wallace & Bowden to bid on government road and bridge contracts. The asphalt produced by the Talco Refinery would have been a cheap source of road material for their business, although they also were concrete contractors.

In order to expand their business, Wallace and Bowden moved to the city, to an office address at East Grand Avenue near the Mt. Auburn Elementary School. Both the Wallace and Bowden families lived nearby. Mac Wallace was a 1938 graduate of Woodrow Wilson High School in the Mt. Auburn area of Dallas.

He joined the Marine Corps after graduation and on November 3, 1939 was aboard the U.S.S. Holland, a submarine based in San Diego. From there it appears he was shipped to Hawaii. According to Joan Mellen, in 1938 Mac had injured his lumbar spine playing quarterback for Woodrow Wilson High School and required spinal surgery. After joining the Marines, he reinjured his back in a fall on the USS Lexington on June 27, 1940 and was discharged two months later.

He enrolled in the spring semester of 1941 at the University of Texas, where in 1943 he was shown as a member of the student assembly and was elected president of the Students Association in 1944. He was also one of eight men selected to the UT secret society known as the Friars Society, as well as a member of the elite Tejas Club. The Friars had been created in 1911, and until 1949 they never selected more than  four new members per semester. Notables in the Friars, according to their website, included
  • Arno Nowotny, fall 1925
  • Cecil Bernard Smith, spring 1927
  • Allan Shivers, spring 1931*
  • Joe R. Greenhill, spring 1936
  • Jake Pickle, spring 1937
  • John B. Connally, spring 1938 *
  • Dolph Briscoe, Jr., spring 1942*
  • Jack B. Brooks, spring 1943
  • Malcolm (Mac) Wallace, spring 1944
  • Horace Busby, spring 1945 
  • Theodore Strauss, spring 1945
  • Ronnie Dugger, fall 1950
  • Lloyd Hand, spring 1951
  • Barr McClellan, fall 1960
  • Fred Hofheinz, spring 1960
The three men marked with asterisks * would become Texas governors. Greenhill would serve many years on the Texas Supreme Court, while Jake Pickle and Jack B. Brook would serve for many years in the U.S. Congress and be closely associated with LBJ. Notowtny and Smith will be discussed in a later post for their role in organizing the UT Cowboys.
Walt Brown referred to Notwotny in 1998 as "future Dean of Men at the University of Texas and alleged CIA recruiter at UofT."

Ronnie Dugger was in his day a well-known "liberal" journalist who also authored a biography of Johnson. Strauss, brother of Robert S. Strauss, would become a wealthy businessman in Dallas. The name of Horace Busby also appeared in the list. Busby was hired to work for Lyndon Johnson in Washington, D. C.

Joan Mellen writes of Busby's knowledge about Mac Wallace. Holland McCombs, researching LBJ for LIFE magazine, interviewed Wallace and concluded, according to Mellen:
Wallace was assigned to strong-arm businessmen into rewarding Johnson for the small business loans that Johnson had bestowed upon them. Mac Wallace’s role was to facilitate the Faustian bargains low-level Texas contractors and businessmen had made with Lyndon Johnson, to collect payment. For these forays to Texas, Mac Wallace later earned the melodramatic sobriquet of Johnson’s “hatchet man.” The term was first attached to Wallace at the time he was an employee at the Department of Agriculture and seems not to have involved violence. Johnson sent Mac Wallace back to Texas to “arrange to buy or get a piece of” the businesses of those to whom Johnson had awarded the favor of those loans.  [Mellen, Joan. Faustian Bargains: Lyndon Johnson and Mac Wallace in the Robber Baron Culture of Texas (p. 80). Bloomsbury Publishing. Kindle Edition.]
Mac Wallace stands out because of his 1952 conviction for murder with malice. The jury, however, sentenced him to only five years in prison, but suspended that sentence, so that he never served a single day inside. The only defense presented by his attorneys (Polk Shelton and John Cofer, long-time associates of Lyndon Johnson) was in the argument that the prosecution found no motive for the cold-blooded killing. Nevertheless, the lack of any apparent motive could not overcome the fact that a witness had identified Wallace and written down the license plat number of his car, in which a blood-stained shirt was found two hours after the shooting.

Mac Wallace named to Friars June 1944, Daily Texan, UT newspaper
Mac Wallace had led a student protest in 1944 against the dismissal of Dr. Homer P. Rainey, the well-educated Clarksville-born (see map above right) man who had served as the head of FDR's American Youth Commission (1935-39), immediately prior to being selected as president of the University of Texas.  Whether or not Rainey had met Lyndon B. Johnson, when the latter headed the Texas branch of the National Youth Administration, the focus of which was finding jobs for young people, is unknown. The NYA, though not affiliated with Rainey's American Youth Commission within the Education Department, both groups did focus on finding jobs for young people during the post-depression years. Only a few months after the student protests Wallace was chosen as a member of the Friar Society.

Mac Wallace at the University of Texas in 1944
Courtesy of Life
Life magazine captured a memorable photograph of D. Harold Byrd, well-known as a band booster, in 1941 at a University of Texas Longhorn game. Seated directly behind him at the game was the daughter of President Homer Price Rainey (born in Clarksville,TX in 1896), the man against whose firing by the Board of Regents in 1944 because he supported economic professors who "espoused New Deal views." The regents themselves had fired such professors in 1942, and Rainey's protest of the firing resulted in his being dismissed by the Regents in 1944.

By 1944 Mac Wallace's father was a road and bridge builder in a company with his brother-in-law (Wallace & Bowden), bidding on jobs as far away as Johnson City, often in conjunction with Maurice Edward Ruby, a contractor who helped Mac's father pay the bond to get Mac released from jail during his murder trial. Another contractor from the same small town in Hays County who helped pay the bond was John E. Greenhaw, who died in January 1965 of cirrhosis of the liver.

Dr. Homer P. Rainey, 1939
 Rainey's biggest booster on the U.T. Board of Regents was J. R. Parten, a progressive Democrat, who was also very close to Congressman Sam Rayburn. Both men favored the hiring of  Berkeley physicist Dr. E. O. Lawrence as a professor at UT. The loggerhead between Rainey and the Regents began late in 1939 when Houston attorney James A. Elkins warned the Regents that the Legislature would "kick the Regents across the state line if they [University of Texas] dared to squander tax dollars" to build a nuclear cyclotron, an "atom-smashing machine." [quoted by Susan R. Richardson, in "Reds, Race, and Research: Homer P. Rainey and the Grand Texas Tradition of Political Interference, 1939-1944," an essay which appears in a book edited by Roger L. Geiger, Perspectives on the History of Higher Education: 2005 (History of Higher Education Annual) (2005), page 141.]

The Rainey Controversy

From Susan R. Richardson, "Reds, Race and Research," page 144.
What brought on Rainey's downfall as president of the University of Texas was that when W. Lee O'Daniel was re-elected governor, he believed he had been given authority to appoint new regents who opposed the University president. Then, once O'Daniel left the state office to fill a U.S. Senate seat, his lieutenant governor, Coke Stevenson, became governor and continued the process of packing the Board with anti-Rainey men.

New regents voted in a bloc with Lutcher Stark, lumberman from Orange, Texas, to fire pro-New Deal economics professors, as well as to cut the salary of J. Frank Dobie, a Texas history folklore writer with only an M.A. from Columbia University in New York. A "liberal" oilman, Parten opposed these efforts and began spreading rumors about their intent of "fomenting a coup." [See inset, left, from pages 144-5.]

It was the ex-Marine and elected student body president, Mac Wallace, who led the protest against Rainey's firing, which occurred during the fall of 1944, a few months before his selection to the Friar Society.

Joan Mellen wrote of Mac Wallace's activities during the summer of 1945 in New York City, poised to continue his education, but not quite sure what path he would take:
On June 11, 1945, Mac Wallace enrolled at the School of Law at Columbia. Two weeks later, he dropped out “for reasons of ill health.” He had contracted a nasty skin infection that required expensive injections that he could not afford. He never went back. Instead, he registered for the fall semester beginning in September 1945 at the New School for Social Research as a candidate for a master’s degree in economics. He took courses in “money and credit (essentially Keynesian)” and “trade policies and tariff construction.” ... Wallace dropped out of the New School without receiving a degree. At the turn of the new year 1946, he quit his job at the National City Bank to “work on a campaign” and returned to Texas. Homer Rainey was seeking the Democratic Party nomination to be governor of Texas and Wallace would be his Dallas city campaign manager. He would also be the state director of College Students for Rainey. To complete his undergraduate degree, he enrolled in classes at the University of Texas and commuted between Dallas and Austin. [Mellen, Joan. Faustian Bargains: Lyndon Johnson and Mac Wallace in the Robber Baron Culture of Texas (pp. 70-71). Bloomsbury Publishing. Kindle Edition. ]
Information available on the Friars website considerably differs from what Mellen writes in her book, which states:
As a senior, Wallace was now eligible to be elected to the Friar’s Society. The 1946– 47 Friar’s group of eight included not only Wallace, but Horace Busby; Dolph Briscoe Jr., a future governor of Texas; and future congressman Jack B. Brooks. [Mellen, Lyndon Johnson and Mac Wallace... (p. 73).]
If the website is to be believed, Mac was already a Friars member before he went to New York in the summer of 1945, not yet having completed his degree. Not long after returning to Austin, he married:
That summer of 1947 Mac took up with a pretty, sexually adventurous young woman named Mary Andre Dubose Barton. “Andre,” as she preferred to be known, and her sister Ruth had been adopted by Kostromey [sic] Palestrina Barton, a Methodist minister known as “KP,” who taught at the University of Texas, and his wife, Roberta, a former English instructor at UT.

In 1922 R.J. (Ruddell Jones Byrd, sometimes called Leo by his family) and his wife Ada lived at 822 N. Lancaster in Dallas, but before long they had moved farther west to the unincorporated area between Grand Prairie and Irving onto Lone Star Road. His younger brother had been born in Detroit, Texas in

By 1953, D.H. had taken over the company his brother, R.J. had started after apparently selling his interest in Byrd-Frost to his former partner.

Did his growing up in this area have even greater significance, when considering the fact that, after his murder conviction which resulted in a suspended sentence and immediate release, Malcolm Everett (Mac) Wallace was given a security clearance to work for Ling-Temco-Vought's facility in California?

Is it simply a remarkable coincidence that the name of Mac Wallace's younger brother was Harold David Wallace?

Mac's father, Alvin James Wallace, had been born (1896) and reared in Mt. Pleasant, but by 1920 he was married and living in Red River County at Johntown.

By 1944 Texas businessmen, although most were still Democrats since Reconstruction days, were fed up with FDR's New Deal "liberalism." When Rainey ran for governor of Texas in 1946, he was defeated by Beauford Jester and his running mate Allan Shivers. As Richard Bartholomew informed us in his monograph, "Colonel Burris' wife, Barbara J. Burris, is the daughter of Governor Jester." QJ has mentioned the Burris family often and even contains a detailed genealogical study of the family; Burris was also mentioned in my edited remarks from 2014 JFK Assassination Conference. Understanding how he fit into the network of men behind LBJ has never been completely understood. It may be the key to the real perpetrators.

Who Else was Born in Detroit, Texas?

David Harold (D.H.) Byrd's father Edward transplanted his roots to Texas, after growing up in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, following his marriage in 1879 in the tiny town of Blossom Prairie, Texas, the hometown of his chosen bride, Mollie Easley. For those interested in what I call "Byrd's Back Back Story," I will post the research into the family simultaneously with this segment. Otherwise, it becomes much more bulky and confusing than it already is.

Politics is about power. When Edward Byrd married Mollie Easley in 1879, he was initiated into a circle of power that would descend to his youngest son, D. Harold, for, as it happens, Mollie and her younger brother Edwin grew up in eastern Lamar County near John Nance Garner, who, the Texas State Historical Association tell us "was born on November 22, 1868, in a log cabin near Detroit, Texas. He went to school at Bogata and Blossom Prairie. At eighteen he went to Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, where he stayed only one semester, possibly because of ill health. He returned to Clarksville, Texas, read law, and was admitted to the bar in 1890. After an unsuccessful run for the office of city attorney he moved to Uvalde, where he began law practice." He also ran for county judge and in 1895 married Mariette "Ettie" Rheiner, daughter of a Swiss immigrant who had settled in Texas in 1860.
D.H. Byrd's grandfather was R. J. Easley, Garner's "lifetime friend." Photos from FDRlibrary website.
We first begin seeing the name John Nance Garner in newspapers in 1904, a couple of years after his first election to the U.S. Congress. There he garnered favor from the boss of the region, James Babbage Wells, Jr., better known simply as Jim Wells, whose south Texas political machine shepherded Garner's election to Congress. Possibly because of Wells' protection, Garner's district was one of the safest, enabling him to attain the coveted role of Speaker of the House of Representatives.

John Nance Garner (fourth in a series of men with the same name) was born in 1868 in the same town where D. Harold Byrd would be born in 1900. Garner's father (age 17) was listed near Clarksville in Red River County's 1860 census, and his mother, Sallie Guest, was born in Blossom Prairie in 1851. Six of Garner's seven siblings still lived in either Red River or Lamar County when he was, elected Vice President in 1932.

Within six years the pride Garner felt about being on the ticket with Franklin Roosevelt had turned to disgust, and his siblings and friends joined with others who turned against the President and began campaigning to nominate Cactus Jack Garner as the Democrats' standard bearer. They were angry for FDR's selection of Henry A. Wallace as Garner's replacement.

We jump now to what John Nance Garner did during his retirement after 1940.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Charles B. Wrightsman's Early Years

Charles B. Wrightsman grew up in Pawnee and Tulsa, Oklahoma, where his father, Charles John Wrightsman, was a lawyer--practicing with C.E. Bush and  V. O. Johnson. C.B. was sent off to New Hampshire for boarding school at Phillips Exeter Academy before March 1913.

In 1914, however, C.J. Wrightsman announced he had sold all his property in Tulsa and was moving to New York, where he and several independent oilmen from Oklahoma were then in the process of contracting to sell oil to the U.S. Navy for the market price of 50 cents a barrel. In 1915 the Wrightsman family had moved from Tulsa to New York. C.B.had attended prep school at Phillips Exeter in New Hampshire, and by the spring of 1915 was enrolled in Leland Stanford University at Berkeley, California.

In 1916, C.B., by then a student at Columbia University in New York City, went with his father to Kansas to look over oil properties his father had just purchased in the El Dorado field. But in New York he had fallen in love with airplanes, although his father had attempted to discourage him by giving him a boat. The Tulsa Daily World wrote in April 1917 that C.J. finally consented to allow his son to enlist in the volunteer aviation corps and to train as a pilot, and he was not ready to give up flying at that time to be a mere oilman.

As a Navy Ensign, C.B became executive officer and aide to Lieut. Comdr. Albert Cushing Read (nephew of Rear Admiral Albert Smith Barker, deceased in 1916). A. C. Read had started a flight school at Bay Shore, Long Island, New York, one of the millionaires' units described by Marc Wortman in his 2007 book, The Millionaires' Unit: The Aristocratic Flyboys Who Fought the Great War and Invented American Air Power. From there Read and Wrightsman moved to Florida to  build a new school south of Miami. A court case decided in 1970 reveals the highlights of Wrightsman's life, from that point up until his "career" as an investor in works of art.

Excerpt from court case:

Charles B. Wrightsman and Jayne Wrightsman v. the United States United States Court of Claims. - 428 F.2d 131

 July 15, 1970
In 1918, after active service in the United States Navy, Charles Bierer Wrightsman moved to Fort Worth, Texas, [sic] where he engaged in the oil business as a lease broker and in several oil ventures. He accumulated sufficient funds by 1930 to purchase, and did purchase at private sale, the shares of the largest stockholder of Standard Oil Company of Kansas. He was then elected to the board of directors and, in 1932, became president of that company. He held such office through January 1951, when liquidation of that company, which had commenced in 1949, was concluded. At this time, Charles owned 93.7 percent of the outstanding stock.

Upon the liquidation, Mr. Wrightsman received a 93.7 percent interest in all of the properties, including one million dollars in cash distributed to him. With the removal of the corporate structure, his financial position changed from stock ownership to direct ownership of oil-producing properties, which he has continued to operate as an individual under appropriate arrangements with the owners of the 6.3 percent interests. Thus, he commenced and has continued to receive directly a large cash flow, which had previously gone into the corporate coffers.
Aside from his investments in Standard Oil of Kansas, Mr. Wrightsman's ownership of stock, as well as that of Mrs. [Jayne Kirkman Larkin] Wrightsman, has been quite limited. In 1959, Wrightsman Investment Company was organized, with Mr. Wrightsman as the sole stockholder, owning minor Oklahoma oil properties contributed by Charles, land on which plaintiffs' Palm Beach, Florida, home is located, and limited assets previously owned by Charles in New Mexico, Mississippi and Nebraska. Plaintiffs acquired 1,583 shares of Wrightsman Petroleum Company in 1960 and 1961, a company which had been organized by Charles' father. At the time of the trial of this case, Mrs. Wrightsman was the beneficial owner of a trust for which a bank, as trustee, had purchased stock.

Mr. Wrightsman believed that oil was one of the best possible investments, if selectively made. His trips to the Persian Gulf countries in the mid-1950's indicated to him, however, that there was a possibility of an oil glut, which caused him to conclude that he should make an effort to hedge his investments in oil with investments of other kinds. He sought advice from qualified employees. The certified public accountant in charge of his accounts recommended purchase of unimproved real estate and stock in corporations not in the oil industry. These recommendations were not followed.

By this time, Mr. Wrightsman had formed the belief that works of art were an excellent hedge against inflation and devaluation of currencies, that they represented portable international currency, since there were no restrictions on export from the United States, and that works of art were appropriate assets for investment of a substantial portion of his surplus cash being generated. These beliefs and investment intent were expressed to numerous friends and associates and the employees of his business office.

Mrs. Wrightsman's assets have been derived from income through Mr. Wrightsman under community property laws and from funds received from Charles in the form of gifts. Jayne Larkin Wrightsman fully shared Charles' beliefs and intent concerning investment in works of art. Their marriage has been one of constant association and travel together, with common interests and goals.

In their art collecting activities, plaintiffs have specialized in the acquisition of 18th century French works of art. Mrs. Wrightsman is not just a nominal party herein because of the filing of joint returns by the parties. She owns about three-fourths of plaintiffs' works of art, either by number or by value. Their activities in the acquisition and holding of such works of art have been conducted jointly.

Plaintiffs' mode of living from 1947 to the present time has been to reside from the latter part of November until late April at their home in Palm Beach, Florida, with occasional trips to New York City or elsewhere. Commencing about the first of May, they live for about 30 days in New York City, staying since 1956 in their Fifth Avenue apartment. From June 1 to the end of September or early October, they are in Europe, where they live exclusively in hotels. (Emphasis added above in italics and bold text.)

Wrightsman Residences

From news reports published while the above mentioned events were taking place, we detect at least one misstatement. Wrightsman did not move to Fort Worth in 1918. 

Carl Fisher's Miami casino
News reports indicate he and then-Lieutenant Read were guests at the Royal Palm Hotel in January 1918, where Glenn H. Curtiss was said to be a "regular". "Captain" Read and Ensign Wrightsman were also in attendance at that year's opening of Carl Fisher's casino in Miami Beach, along with two sons of Woodrow Wilson's Secretary of the Treasury William Gibbs McAdoo--Ensigns P. H. and W. G. Jr. That month Wrightsman was Read's only attendant at his wedding to Bess Burdine, and the following month he and William G. McAdoo Jr. were together in Palm Beach. Running the flight school was their job until at least May 1918.

C.B. disappeared from society news until he resurfaced in Shreveport, Louisiana in September 1919, just in time to be visited by his friend from the naval air school, preparing for a reprise of his transatlantic flight with the original crew who had accompanied him on the first flight only weeks before. In October C.B. set up American Drilling Company, Inc. in Shreveport with H. C. Brewster, Jr. and C. S. Clarke.

There are indications from these same news reports that, although involved in drilling for oil, his major interest was still aviation. In August 1920, he entered the Pulitzer trophy transatlantic race in New York with a friend from Tulsa, Howard Birkett, but was also entered the next year for the Pulitzer trophy in Omaha. 

Referred to as the "senior lieutenant on the reserve list," Wrightsman was said to own three airplanes entered in the American Legion aerial derby held in Kansas City, Missouri, during the organization's annual meeting. There was some confusion spread among various newspapers about which of his planes won which prizes, most alleging first place had been won by Lloyd Bertau. Later reports stated that a $3,000 prize awarded to Earl F. White, had been enjoined because the plane he flew, owned by Wrightsman, was not in compliance with the race rules. Wrightsman refused to give up the prize, and the court eventually sided with him.

Intelligence report on oil in Soviet lands
According to the write-up in the Tulsa Daily World, C. B. had spent the months of June through October 1921 traveling across Europe by air, to "study oil conditions, particularly in Russia and Roumania." The newspaper then printed a large portion of what appears to have been an intelligence briefing prepared for investors hoping to obtain the right to drill in old Russian oilfields now controlled by the new Soviet Union.

Once the court case was settled in his favor, C.B., reportedly of New York, was back in Miami by February 1, 1922 to enjoy the beach and polo games. By June he had met his first wife, Irene Stafford, and married her at his home in Tulsa--1645 South Cheyenne Avenue. 

Later that year the Aero Club of America ordered C. B. to return the $3,000 award from the previous year's contested aero race in Omaha. 

By 1923 the younger Wrightsmans were residing in Beverly Hills, while his parents had homes in both New York and Tulsa. C.B. began playing polo at the Midwick Country Club near Alhambra where he sometimes teamed with Hal Roach, Will Rogers, Jr., Carleton F. Burke and others until 1931. By 1932 his primary focus centered on the proxy fight he was waging for Standard Oil of Kansas, along with Lionel T. Barneson and Cyrus Bell. After 1934 everything in C.B.'s life would change.

Charles John and Edna Wrightsman (not related) Wrightsman, did eventually move to 935 Hillcrest in Fort Worth, Texas, but not before 1938, where they lived adjacent to the River Crest Country Club golf course, their home until their deaths in 1950 and 1959. Only nine houses now stand between their home and 805 Hillcrest -- a residence built in 1927 by attorney Edwin T. Phillips, father of the notorious CIA agent David Atlee Phillips.

The year after moving into the new home, Edwin died, leaving his widow with numerous sons to support. Mrs. Phillips then moved less than a mile away to the northern tip of the golf course on Rivercrest Drive in Fort Worth. The background of CIA Agent David Atlee Phillips, and his ancestry, has been set out in detail elsewhere in this blog.

Charles B. Wrightsman is more fully developed at a previous blog post as well.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Within the Netherworld of International Currency Exchange Rates

"The Bank of Russia took another step towards a free float ruble by abolishing the dual currency soft peg, as well as automatic interventions. Before, the bank propped up the ruble when the exchange rate against the euro and dollar exceeded its boundaries....The Central Bank of Russia’s un-pegging of the ruble from the dollar and euro brings to an end two decades of exchange rate controls. The transition to a free exchange rate means monetary policy in Russia moves to interest rates and inflation targeting."
RT website, November 10, 2014

"Experts have given the petrodollar a fatal diagnosis. Falling crude prices have accelerated the petrodollar's demise, dealing a heavy blow to the system that has long facilitated the US dollar's world reserve currency status. Emerging economies are abandoning the US dollar as a means of payment for oil, having shifted to national currencies."
Sputnik International, April 2, 2016
Diminishing Gold Reserves Led to Watergate

Currency valuation set in 1945
At the close of World War II, the various economies of the world had entered into an agreement in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, whereby a system of fixed exchange rates was established, pegging all currencies to the U.S. price of gold, which was fixed at $35 per ounce. Price increases of consumer goods, however, began during the last years of Lyndon Johnson's last term and had continued unabated through Nixon's first and into his second term. The Group of Ten met in Washington, D.C. to sign the Smithsonian Agreement on December 21, 1971, devaluing the Dollar against gold by approximately 8.5 percent-- $38 per ounce--hoping to shore up . Gold speculators, however, continued to drive the price of gold ever higher.

By 1972 inflation reached a rate of 6%, while GDP growth was less than 1%. Gold reserves backing the Dollar had collapsed from 55% down to 22%. The United States did not have enough gold to cover the volume of dollars in worldwide circulation at the rate of $35 per ounce. Because foreign traders refused to buy the dollars printed by the Fed, Nixon ordered a 10% export tax to be paid by buyers of U.S. goods in the hope that European and Asian traders would lower barriers to allow trade with America. They did not. The U.S. had no choice but to devalue the dollar, since it could not pay for its imports with the gold available valued at $35 per ounce.

Nixon's advisers tried to explain to him why America's trade imbalance existed. One major reason, as discussed here previously, was that American demand for Indochina-derived opium, refined and distributed by French mobsters, resulted in a huge flow of dollars into the European trade zone. The second reason for the inflationary rise was that American oil companies had increasingly turned to foreign countries which offered more lucrative fields for production to supply American consumers, including the  U.S. Navy's undiminished demand for oil. (See source documents cited by this article.)

Removal of gold backing of U.S. $$$
Texas lawyer John Connally, Nixon's Treasury Secretary, LBJ's knowledgeable adviser in oil matters, had made their first formal announcement in mid-August 1971 of America's intent to end the existing system of fixed exchange rates set up in the Bretton Woods Agreement. The responsibility for supporting the Bretton Woods exchange rate values fell upon the United States, which had become incapable of garnering enough gold to cover the volume of dollars in worldwide circulation at the rate of $35 per ounce, even though the government had introduced countless measures in the attempt to do so. On August 15, Nixon told the world that the dollar would no longer be convertibility into gold. More detailed terms were set forth in December at the G-10 meeting in Rome, where Connally declared:
The dollar is our currency, but it's your problem.”

At that G-10 meeting the Smithsonian Agreement was adopted, fated to last only fifteen months. In March 1973, the "G–10 approved an arrangement wherein six members of the European Community [West Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and Denmark] tied their currencies together and jointly floated against the U.S. dollar, a decision that effectively signaled the abandonment of the Bretton Woods fixed exchange rate system in favor of the current system of floating exchange rates." Britain, Ireland and Italy were also members of the Common Market, but only stood and watched.

In the midst of all the worry over the international exchange rate, Nixon had a few dozen other crises to deal with, the top three being:
  • Getting out of the war in Vietnam;
  • What to do about the Spiro Agnew scandal; and
  • How eliminating the gold standard was affecting the price of oil agreed to in the Tehran Agreement of 1971.
What Senator Ervin's Watergate Committee might dig up was still only mentioned on inside pages of the news in the fall of 1973. Oil producing states were demanding a 70% increase in prices, unsuccessfully, at the time Egypt and Syria coordinated attacks of the territories occupied by Israel (see inset map) on October 6, 1973, following by an oil embargo,which forced the United Nations to step in and adopt Resolution 340, calling for a ceasefire monitored by peacekeepers.

The embargo imposed by OPEC cut supplies of oil while the price per barrel of crude was increased, a situation which continued into March of 1974, when thirteen western nations met in Washington, D.C. to discuss the situation. The Arabs planned to hold an oil summit but repeatedly delayed it. Then President Nixon, having first me with King Faisal in June 1974, sent Salomon Brothers-bond trader William E. Simon, his "energy czar," to Saudi Arabia, trailed by Gerald Parsky, with orders to finalize the terms of the two leaders' verbal agreement.

Gerald Parsky
Nixon had recruited Parsky, a native of West Hartford, Connecticut from his "obscure" New York law firm (Nixon Mudge Rose & Guthrie), which hired Parsky straight out of law school. From the firm he was hired in November, 1971 by the Tax Legislative Council to be the executive assistant to his University of Virginia Law School professor, Edwin Cohen, a tax expert. During this time, Parsky was also "mentored" by Treasury Secretary George Shultz. Cullen Crouch wrote of the UVA alumnus in 2007:
Time magazine called him “Treasury’s Wunderkind,” a “lean, tireless, dapper, and serenely poised” public servant who was “one of the administration’s most powerful bright young men.”
Birth of the Petrodollar

King Faisal signed the agreement Parsky worked out, thus bringing a temporary settlement to the crisis. However, the King insisted that the underlying promises be kept secret, that is "King Faisal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud demanded the country’s Treasury purchases stay 'strictly secret,' according to a diplomatic cable obtained by Bloomberg from the National Archives database." Consequently, how much U.S. debt the Saudis held would be classified top-secret for 41 years. As summarized by the Bloomberg article:
The U.S. would buy oil from Saudi Arabia and provide the kingdom military aid and equipment. In return, the Saudis would plow billions of their petrodollar revenue back into Treasuries and finance America’s spending....By 1977, Saudi Arabia had accumulated about 20 percent of all Treasuries held abroad, according to The Hidden Hand of American Hegemony: Petrodollar Recycling and International Markets by Columbia University’s David Spiro.
 Stated somewhat differently by Andrea Wong in the Independent:
Treasury officials solved the dilemma by letting the Saudis in through the back door. In the first of many special arrangements, the US allowed Saudi Arabia to bypass the normal competitive bidding process for buying Treasuries by creating “add-ons.” Those sales, which were excluded from the official auction totals, hid all traces of Saudi Arabia’s presence in the US government debt market....Instead of disclosing Saudi Arabia’s holdings, the Treasury grouped them with 14 other nations, such as Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Nigeria, under the generic heading “oil exporters” – a practice that continued for 41 years.
The New York Times reported in its February 22, 1974 edition about a speech given to a merchant marine executives' luncheon meeting at the local Propeller Club. The speaker, Michael Mohamed Ameen Jr., a vice president of Saudi Aramco (who, according to Lawrence Wright in his book, The Looming Tower at page 55, had known Mohammed bin Laden [fn-Osama was his 17th child out of 54 born] during the 1950s), told his  listeners:
King Faisal of Saudi Arabia “told us, in August, 1973, there would be another war within six months, and that he would have no alternative but to use oil as a weapon. His warnings went unheeded.”**

A Republican Game of Musical Chairs

Bush campaign 1970
In the interim between the end of President Nixon's first term and his resignation in 1974, George (Poppy) Bush, was a busy man. Having been defeated for election to the U.S. Senate against Democratic candidate Lloyd Bentsen in 1970, Bush was quickly appointed by President Nixon to be Ambassador to the United Nations, which was then overseeing the ending of the Arab-Israeli War. Bush must, therefore, have been annoyed when Nixon summoned him back to Washington in January 1973 to clean up CREEP's fiasco as Watergate plumbers were about to go on trial.

Editorial - January 6, 1973
Bush was  chair of the Republican National Committee as columnists were speculating about how Bernard Barker ended up with money "laundered" through a Mexican bank in his Florida bank account. The column from Smith Hempstone (above right) concluded on a somewhat positive note by opining that the trial would be "quick, tidy, [and] antiseptic," adding that Nixon hoped the trial would be over and rumors squelched before his upcoming January 20 inauguration. But it was not to be.

Bush officially left the U.N. on January 16, but he was already present in Washington earlier. Nevertheless, the scandal continued to increase even after E. Howard Hunt and his Cuban associates pled guilty and the jury in the Gordon Liddy and James McCord trial convicted the last two burglars on January 30. The Senate Judiciary Committee then began its investigation of bugging activities, appointing Senator Sam Ervin to name a Select Committee for that purpose. McCord's sentencing was held up as he considered whether or not to testify in the Senate hearings. As the scandal played out on national television, Bush supposedly encouraged Nixon to tell all so the party could put the grubby "Mickey Mouse" caper to rest. The rest is, as we say, history.

Musical chair shifts began: Spiro Agnew resigned, and was replaced by Gerald Ford. Nixon resigned, and Ford was sworn in, naming Nelson Rockefeller Vice President. On September 26, 1974, after appointment by the new President Gerald Ford, Bush took the oath as replacement for David K. E. Bruce, first Liaison Officer to Beijing. Bruce at that time became U.S. Representative to NATO in Brussels, thus replacing Donald Rumsfeld, who then became President Ford's new chief of staff. Was there a method to that madness?

David Bruce had been called back from China to Washington in February 1974 to consult with Kissinger about energy matters, discussed above, which were approaching a crisis. As former head of the Economic Cooperation Agency (ECA) in France after WWII, Bruce, former Treasury Secretary Mellon's son-in-law, had helped to design counterpart funds for the Marshall Plan's foreign aid program. The underlying concern in both situations was how to prevent inflation while tinkering with international monetary exchange values (See Harry Bayard Price, The Marshall Plan & Its Meaning, pages 99 and 105).

By the time Nixon's resignation was announced in August 1974, Bush, having just celebrated his 50th birthday, was groomed and ready to fill David Bruce's shoes in China. The more experienced Bruce flew to Brussels to work out the petrodollar exchange ratios with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) western European countries. Bruce, by then 76 years old, returned from Europe in February 1976, only a few weeks following Ford's appointment of George Bush to be Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Bruce died the following year.

The first crisis of the Nixon administration in August 1971 had foretold these events. Ten years earlier, in fact, US Treasury’s Exchange Stabilization Fund (ESF), with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York acting as its agent, had begun participating in the London Gold Pool to maintain the price of gold at $35 an ounce. In 1968 France withdrew from the pool, just as Lyndon Johnson was about to leave office--bombarded as he was by critics against the war in Vietnam.

QJ posted excerpts from The Great Heroin Coup under the heading "Changing the Middle Man," about the real reason Nixon, inaugurated as President in January 1969, began his so-called "war on drugs". There we said:
Since three Cabinet officials were cooperating in this effort, a committee of those officials was created September 7, 1971, called the Cabinet Committee on International Narcotics Control (CCINC). The timing of this occurred almost simultaneously with President Nixon's revelation that he was considering a devaluation of the dollar as well as cutting the connection of the value of gold from the value of the dollar. (See AP article at bottom of this post.) The two issues--international narcotics trade and protecting the American trade balance were, in fact, inextricably intertwined, and the Central Intelligence Agency worked covertly on both issues through the various agencies administered by the executive branch of the U.S. government.
Safari Club's History

The secret deal Parsky had negotiated came into play in what was dubbed the Halloween Massacre, when William Colby was replaced by George (Poppy) Bush as Director of the CIA. Peter Dale Scott explained in his book, The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America (2007), that Bush's move to DCIA put him in charge of a newly minted covert agenda in which he coordinated CIA activities among Safari Club's member countries--France, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and Iran. Joseph Trento wrote in Prelude to Terror (2005), p. 314 that: 
"The Safari Club was run by the Saudis. It was a club to serve their purposes through the CIA."
Trento claimed their first face-to-face meeting had been held in Kenya at the exclusive African hotel by that name.

Holden sold to Khashoggi.
Earl Wilson gossiped in his column in September 1977 that actor William Holden, who had owned the Safari Club in Kenya with two partners since 1959, sold his share of the Club to "some Arabs" who just happened along. However, on October 12 the Philadelphia Daily News disclosed the sale had been made to Adnan Khashoggi, who was so unknown in those days his name was often misspelled.

Only days later, however, one of Holden's three partners died in a car bomb explosion. Raymond J. Ryan had been fighting to stay out of jail for more than a decade as a result of accusations against him--comping memberships to the Club to Mafia members, shredding evidence, tax evasion, and refusing to answer FBI questions. Ryan had been long suspected of ties to organized crime. Three months after his murder, the Seventh Circuit decided against him and his wife in his last appeal (568 F.2d 531, 1977). In that case Ryan had refused to answer a question propounded to him about his deposits in Handelskredit Bank in Zurich (page 536), a bank mentioned nine years later by Jack Anderson as being a bank the CIA used to store secret offshore slush funds.

Ryan's attorneys for this trial and previous cases were named partners---Herbert J. Miller, Raymond G. Larroca, and Nathan Lewin--of the firm Miller, Cassidy, Larroca & Lewin, Washington, D. C. Orrick, Herrington, Rowley & Sutcliffe, San Francisco, Cal., handled the appeal. One case was cited as 455 F.2d 728 (No. 71-1165); United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit. Dec. 13, 1971. As Modified on Denial of Rehearing March 7, 1972.

A previous case was cited 430 F.2d 658 - In the Matter of the Grand Jury Subpoena Duces Tecum of Raymond J. RYAN, Appellant. No. 23343. United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit. Decided May 19, 1970. Rehearing Denied July 29, 1970. Further examination reveals these attorneys to be the same ones chosen by Richard Nixon in 168 U.S.App.D.C., cited as 513 F.2d 430. No. 75-1063. Argued Feb. 1, 1975. Decided Feb. 14, 1975. In 1960 both Miller and Larroca constituted the Board of Monitors assigned to Jimmy Hoffa.

A third founding partner of the Kenyan Safari Club was Swiss-born Carl W. Hirschmann, a banker, who had in April 1969 been indicted for contempt for failing to appear at a grand jury investigating Ryan. Hirschmann is first mentioned in American newspapers in 1966.  He was said to be a land developer based in Long Island, NY, who had built a five-store industrial office building ten miles east of Los Angeles--9550 Flair Drive, El Monte CA. The international headquarters of Hirschmann Industrial Corporation, "specializing in precision machinery and equipment," was placed on the top floor of the building at that location. Also located in this building was a branch of the United California Bank, which would later become Security Pacific Corporation.

Years later it would be revealed in British press in 1984 that Hirschmann's grown son, trained in his father's Swiss bank, had a power of attorney from the Sultan of Brunei to act as a go-between with Egyptian mogul, Mohamed al-Fayed and his two brothers, who acquired Harrods from the House of Fraser and thus prevented Tiny Rowland of Lonrho (formerly London and Rhodesian Mining and Land Company) from obtaining the coveted department store, a prize Tiny had hoped would give him a step up to achieving British citizenship. Calling him a "Phony Pharoah," Rowland accused Fayed of using the Sultan's money to gain Harrods.

While Egypt was a member of the Safari Club, working with the CIA, Brunei was aligned with the British. What's more, Mrs. Mohamed al-Fayed was Adnan Khashoggi's sister, and everyone knew that Khashoggi amassed his great wealth from acting as arms broker between wealthy Saudis and weapons dealers.

Trump admired Khashoggi.
Donald Trump was also on the scene in those days, finding much to admire and emulate. Trump once said "Khashoggi understood the art of bringing people together and putting together a deal better than almost anyone – all the bullshitting part, of talk and entertainment." Henry Wilkins in the Gentleman's Journal (March/April 2016) described Trump thus:
Trump, like so many business tycoons of the era, seemed to have inherited some of Khashoggi’s panache for making deals and some of his taste for garish decadence. He also inherited his multi-million dollar super-yacht, Nabila. Trump bought it from the Sultan of Brunei who seized it from Khashoggi when he defaulted on a loan secured by the boat.
William Holden, like his close friend, Ronald Reagan, had an almost charmed life until his own death in 1980. A short biography of him states:
Although never involved in politics himself, he was best man at the marriage of his friend Ronald Reagan to Nancy Davis in 1952. He maintained a home in Switzerland and also spent much of his time working for wildlife conservation as a managing partner in an animal preserve in Africa. His Mount Kenya Safari Club in Nanyuki, Kenya, (founded 1959) became a mecca for the international jet set.
In 1974, he began a relationship with actress Stefanie Powers which sparked her interest in animal welfare. After his death, Powers set up the William Holden Wildlife Foundation at Holden’s Mount Kenya Game Ranch.
Holden did live long enough to see his friend elected to the Presidency, but died before Reagan's inauguration in January 1981.