Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Nixon and the ITT Scandal of 1972

Sosthenes Behn and International Telephone

During the administration of Richard Nixon, one of the worst scandals to arise prior to Watergate was that involving the merger between International Telephone and Telegraph Co. and the Hartford Insurance Co. ITT had been founded by a man from an island purchased by the U.S. and renamed the Virgin Islands, thus making him an American citizen. He had considerable interests in Cuba, as well as Spain, and his outlook was in favor with that of Germany during the Nazi regime, as shown below in an excerpt from author Anthony Sutton, Wall Street and the Rise of Hitler

Peter Flanigan was caught up in the middle of the flap over I.T.T. just at the time John Mitchell resigned as Attorney General to take over the re-election of Nixon at CREEP headquarters.

From Chapter Five of Anthony Sutton, Wall Street and the Rise of Hitler:
The multi-national giant International Telephone and Telegraph (I.T.T.)1 was founded in 1920 by Virgin Islands-born entrepreneur Sosthenes Behn....In 1930 Behn acquired the German holding company of Standard Elekrizitäts A.G., controlled by I.T.T. (62.0 percent of the voting stock), A.E.G. (81.1 percent of the voting stock) and Felton and Guilleaume (six percent of the voting stock). In this deal Standard acquired two German manufacturing plants and a majority stock interest in Telefonfabrik Berliner A.G.I.T.T. also obtained the Standard subsidiaries in Germany, Ferdinand Schuchardt Berliner Fernsprech-und Telegraphenwerk A,G., as well as Mix and Genest in Berlin, and Suddeutsche Apparate Fabrik G,m.b.H. in Nuremburg.

It is interesting to note in passing that while Sosthenes Behn's I.T.T. controlled telephone companies and manufacturing plants in Germany, the cable traffic between the U.S. and Germany was under the control of Deutsch-Atlantische Telegraphengesellschaft (the German Atlantic Cable Company). This firm, together with the Commercial Cable Company and Western Union Telegraph Company, had a monopoly in transatlantic U.S.-German cable communications.

W.A. Harriman and Company took over a block of 625,000 shares in Deutsch-Atlantische in 1925, and the firm's board of directors included an unusual array of characters, many of whom we have met elsewhere. It included, for example, H. F. Albert, the German espionage agent in the United States in World War I; Franklin D. Roosevelt's former business associate yon Berenberg-Gossler; and Dr. Cuno, a former German chancellor of the 1923 inflationary era. I.T.T. in the United States was represented on the board by yon Guilleaume and Max Warburg of the Warburg banking family.
Baron Kurt von Schroder and the I.T.T.
There is no record that I.T.T. made direct payments to Hitler before the Nazi grab for power in 1933. On the other hand, numerous payments were made to Heinrich Himmler in the late 1930s and in World War II itself through I.T.T. German subsidiaries. The first meeting between Hitler and I.T.T. officials — so far as we know — was reported in August 1933,3 when Sosthenes Behn and I.T.T. German representative Henry Manne met with Hitler in Berchesgaden. Subsequently, Behn made contact with the Keppler circle (see Chapter Nine) and, through Keppler's influence, Nazi Baron Kurt von Schröder became the guardian of I.T.T. interests in Germany. Schröder acted as the conduit for I.T.T. money funneled to Heinrich Himmler's S.S. organization in 1944, while World War II was in progress, and the United states was at war with Germany.4

Through Kurt Schröder, Behn and his I.T.T. gained access to the profitable German armaments industry and bought substantial interest in German armaments firms, including Focke-Wolfe aircraft. These armaments operations made handsome profits, which could have been repatriated to the United States parent company. But they were reinvested in German rearmament. This reinvestment of profits in German armament firms suggests that Wall Street claims it was innocent of wrongdoing in German rearmament — and indeed did not even know of Hitler's intentions — are fraudulent. Specifically, I.T.T. purchase of a substantial interest in Focke-Wolfe meant, as Anthony Sampson has pointed out, that I.T.T. was producing German planes used to kill Americans and their allies — and it made excellent profits out of the enterprise.

In Kurt von Schröder, I.T.T. had access to the very heart of the Nazi power elite. Who was Schröder? Baron Kurt von Schröder was born in Hamburg in 1889 into an old, established German banking family. An earlier member of the Schröder family moved to London, changed his name to Schroder (without the dierisis) and organized the banking firm of J. Henry Schroder in London and J. Henry Schroder Banking Corporation in New York. Kurt von Schröder also became a partner in the private Cologne Bankhaus, J. H. Stein and Company, founded in the late eighteenth century. Both Schröder and Stein had been promoters, in company with French financiers, of the 1919 German separatist movement which attempted to split the rich Rhineland away from Germany and its troubles. In this escapade prominent Rhineland industrialists met at J. H. Stein's house on January 7, 1919 and a few months later organized a meeting, with Stein as chairman, to develop public support for the separatist movement. The 1919 action failed. The group tried again in 1923 and spearheaded another movement to break the Rhineland away from Germany to come under the protection of France. This attempt also failed. Kurt yon Schrader then linked up with Hitler and the early Nazis, and as in the 1919 and 1923 Rhineland separatist movements, Schröder represented and worked for German industrialists and armaments manufacturers.

In exchange for financial and industrial support arranged by yon Schrader, he later gained political prestige. Immediately after the Nazis gained power in 1933 Schrader became the German representative at the Bank for International Settlements, which Quigley calls the apex of the international control system, as well as head of the private bankers group advising the German Reichsbank. Heinrich Himmler appointed Schroder an S.S. Senior Group Leader, and in turn Himmler became a prominent member of Keppler's Circle. (See Chapter Nine.)

In 1938 the Schroder Bank in London became the German financial agent in Great Britain, represented at financial meetings by its Managing Director (and a director of the Bank of England), F.C. Tiarks. By World War II Baron Schrader had in this manner acquired an impressive list of political and banking connections reflecting a widespread influence; it was even reported to the U.S. Kilgore Committee that Schrader was influential enough in 1940 to bring Pierre Laval to power in France....

This was the Schröder who, after 1933, represented Sosthenes Behn of I.T.T. and I.T.T. interests in Nazi Germany. Precisely because Schröder had these excellent political connections with Hitler and the Nazi State, Behn appointed Schröder to the boards of all the I.T.T. German companies: Standard Electrizitatswerke A.G. in Berlin, C. Lorenz A.G. of Berlin, and Mix and Genest A.G. (in which Standard had a 94-percent participation).

In the mid-1930s another link was forged between Wall Street and Schröder, this time through the Rockefellers. In 1936 the underwriting and general securities business handled by J. Henry Schroder Banking Corporation in New York was merged into a new investment banking firm — Schroder, Rockefeller and Company, Inc. at 48 Wall Street. Carlton P. Fuller of Schroder Banking Corporation became president and Avery Rockefeller, son of Percy Rockefeller (brother [sic] of John D. Rockefeller) [Note: Avery was Percy's son; Percy was son of William A. Rockefeller, Jr.-- John D.'s brother, and both he and his brother, William G. Rockefeller, married daughters of James Stillman, founder of the City National Bank of NY--Citigroup] became vice president and director of the new firm. Previously, Avery Rockefeller had been associated behind the scenes with J. Henry Schroder Banking Corporation; the new firm brought him out into the open.7

Westrick, Texaco, and I.T.T.

I.T.T. had yet another conduit to Nazi Germany, through German attorney Dr. Gerhard Westrick. Westrick was one of a select group of Germans who had conducted espionage in the United States during World War I. The group included not only Kurt von Schröder and Westrick but also Franz von Papen — whom we shall meet in company with James Paul Warburg of the Bank of Manhattan in Chapter Ten — and Dr. Heinrich Albert. Albert, supposedly German commercial attache in the U.S. in World War I, was actually in charge of financing yon Papen's espionage program. After World War I Westrick and Albert formed the law firm of Albert and Westrick which specialized in, and profited heavily from, the Wall Street reparations loans. The Albert and Westrick firm handled the German end of the J Henry Schroder Banking loans, while the John Foster Dulles firm of Sullivan and Cromwell in New York handled the U.S. end of the Schroder loans.

Just prior to World War II the Albert-Papen-Westrick espionage operation in the United States began to repeat itself, only this time around the American authorities were more alert. Westrick came to the U.S. in 1940, supposedly as a commercial attache but in fact as Ribbentrop's personal representative. A stream of visitors to the influential Westrick eluded prominent directors of U.S. petroleum and industrial firms, and this brought Westrick to the attention of the FBI.

Westrick at this time became a director of all I.T.T. operations in Germany, in order to protect I.T.T. interests during the expected U.S. involvement in the European war.8 Among his other enterprises Westrick attempted to persuade Henry Ford to cut off supplies to Britain, and the favored treatment given by the Nazis to Ford interests in France suggests that Westrick was partially successful in neutralizing U.S. aid to Britain.

Although Westrick's most important wartime business connection in the United States was with International Telephone and Telegraph, he also represented other U.S. firms, including Underwood Elliott Fisher, owner of the German company Mercedes Buromaschinen A.G.; Eastman Kodak, which had a Kodak subsidiary in Germany; and the International Milk Corporation, with a Hamburg subsidiary. Among Westrick's deals (and the one which received the most publicity) was a contract for Texaco to supply oil to the German Navy, which he arranged with Torkild Rieber, chairman of the board of Texaco Company.

In 1940 Rieber discussed an oil deal with Hermann Goering, and Westrick in the United States worked for Texas Oil Company. His automobile was bought with Texaco funds, and Westrick's driver's license application gave Texaco as his business address. These activities were publicized on August 12, 1940. Rieber subsequently resigned from Texaco and Westrick returned to Germany. Two years later Rieber was chairman of South Carolina Shipbuilding and Dry Docks, supervising construction of more than $10 million of U.S. Navy ships, and a director of the Guggenheim family's Barber Asphalt Corporation and Seaboard Oil Company of Ohio.9. ...In short, during World War II International Telephone and Telegraph was making cash payments to S.S. leader Heinrich Himmler.10 These payments enabled I.T.T. to protect its investment in Focke-Wolfe, an aircraft manufacturing firm producing fighter aircraft used against the United States.

The interrogation of Kurt von Schröder on November 19, 1945 points up the deliberate nature of the close and profitable relationship between Colonel Sosthenes Behn of I.T.T., Westrick, Schröder, and the Nazi war machine during World War II, and that this was a deliberate and knowledgeable relationship....

For footnotes, see Chapter Five, of Wall Street and the Rise of Hitler, by Anthony Sutton.

Peter Flanigan also found himself criticized over one of his aides, a Military Intelligence officer named Jonathan Chapman Rose, who seemed to be avoiding his military service as the Vietnam War raged, spending his days in a cushy job at the White House, assigned to Flanigan's office. Just as Jack Anderson had attacked the Nixon staffers for how they handled ITT, reporters also sniped about what this seemingly healthy attorney was doing instead of dodging bullets in Vietnamese ride paddies. It would turn out that Rose's father had been a high official in Eisenhower's administration, serving as deputy to the Secretary of the Treasury, George Humphrey. Chappie Rose, as he was called, had been an attorney during World War II, handling the same type of termination contracts for the Army that Nixon had handled for the Navy. He was a partner in a law firm founded in Ohio with a branch in Washington, D.C. to handle Rose's former boss' lobbying interests for the Hanna Mining Co., of which Humphrey was the controlling shareholder.

Jonathan C. Rose, Skull and Bones 1963, hid out in Peter Flanigan's office instead of serving in Vietnam, allegedly because of an injured left shoulder. He and Nixon's daughter, Tricia, had a mutual acquaintance in Cleveland.

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