Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Truth Be Told

I met Justin Crann in Toronto this year at a press conference at the Women's Bookstore on Harbord near the University. He was one of several intrepid reporters who had turned up there to talk to Judyth Vary Baker about her book, Me and Lee, which had been selling in hardback for a year and was being released in soft cover on October 20, 2011, the day Lee Oswald would have been 72 years old.

Judyth knew Lee from April until November in 1963 and has never forgotten who he really was, though she has had to fight hard to stay alive once she began telling her story in 1999. She has been either castigated or ignored by many in the "research community," people with no sense of what community really means.

Justin Crann's story in the Gleaner Community Press, however, was a refreshing change. Open, eager, and enthusiastic, Justin reported what he saw and heard without bias. In fact, all the reporters in Toronto met Judyth with open arms, and minds, questioned her objectively as a witness to events leading up to JFK's assassination and that of Lee Oswald two days later. Researchers who seek the truth are not afraid of listening with open minds and hearts. Thanks to Justin Crann for this accurate report:

Lee Harvey Oswald’s lover visits Toronto Women’s Bookstore

October 20th, 2011

Judyth Vary Baker, 68, made a rare North American appearance at the Toronto Women’s Bookstore (73 Harbord St.) to promote the paperback release of her memoir and celebrate what would have been her lover’s 72nd birthday. Justin Crann/Gleaner News

Lee Harvey Oswald was a patriotic American, a government agent fiercely loyal to his President, and a patsy framed by the conspirators who really killed John F. Kennedy.
That’s the truth according to Judyth Vary Baker, author of Me and Lee, a 600-page memoir recounting her teenage years and brief romance with Oswald. Baker was at the Toronto Women’s Bookstore (73 Harbord St.) on Oct. 18 to promote the paperback release of her book and celebrate Oswald’s 72nd birthday.

“I love my country, and I love the truth, and I want the truth to come out that Lee Oswald did not kill Kennedy,” Baker, 68, said to a small crowd of reporters, JFK enthusiasts, and devotees.

During what was billed as a “rare media appearance,” Baker spoke extensively about her involvement in a secret government program attempting to create an injectable form of cancer and a short-lived tryst with the alleged presidential assassin.

Baker also talked about her passion for her country, which she said she hasn’t been able to visit in years for fear of her own life and the wellbeing of her family.

But Baker’s self-imposed exile hasn’t prevented her from making friends in the United States, and some of those friends were in attendance at the paperback release.

Linda Minor, a Texan who said she has researched Judyth’s story and a friend of her publisher, traveled from Tennessee to see them and attend the release.

“When I heard that they were coming, I had just known them through email and various Internet facilities, and I thought, ‘This is my great opportunity to meet them both at one time,’” said Minor, “and I just couldn’t pass it up.”

Jeff Worcester, a political science student from Rochester, New York, said he has been talking with Judyth for over four years.“I’d been familiar with her story ever since she was featured of the Men Who Killed Kennedy series, and I had been put in touch with her and we’ve corresponded since.

“I always look at things and try and follow-up as much as I can no matter how much I believe and I just came out saying, ‘Yeah, this lady is the real deal.’”

Jerry Lasky, a resident of Toronto and JFK enthusiast, took the day off of work to attend the release. “I’m glad that I came here, I guess because my hero [JFK] led me here,” said Lasky. “I didn’t realize it was Oswald’s birthday today.”

Me and Lee is available for purchase at the Toronto Women’s Bookstore and other select retailers. For more information about Judyth Vary Baker and her memoir, visit meandlee.com


Friday, November 11, 2011

An unbending anti-communism

It was not the Communist propaganda that convinced people in Latin America that American capitalism was bad. It was the heavy-handed power wielded by the United States' Department of State, long prior to the creation of the Central Intelligence Agency in 1947. But the capitalists and businessmen who had long operated in Latin America were convinced that the best way to counter the threat to American capitalism was through their own propaganda machine. This article explores how that machine was developed as a social network through The Information Council of the Americas, set up and operated by Edward S. Butler of New Orleans.

The article has been broken down into two parts.

Edward Scannell Butler

Social Origins of Anti-communism: 
The Information Council of the Americas
By Arthur E. Carpenter, Archivist, Loyola University
 Published by Louisiana Historical Association in Louisiana History: 
The Journal of the Louisiana Historical Association
Vol. 30, No. 2 (Spring, 1989), pp. 117-143
Dr. Alton Ochsner

Whereas previously when you first went to Latin America and when I started going down there, we were looked up to and respected, now everyone is against us and it has been because of the propaganda that has been so cleverly done by the Communists. 1 
Dr. Alton Ochsner to Matilda Grey, 1962.

An unbending anti-communism has been among the defining characteristics of American political culture since 1945. Scholars have offered two major interpretations of that postwar anti-communism, especially of those most heated years, the late 1940s and early 1950s. One interpretation attributes anticommunism to a  mass-based movement of the radical right. It describes a popular movement that emerged outside traditional political institutions, that challenged established elites, and that was driven by paranoid fears of conspiracy and by apocalyptic anxieties.

The other interpretation portrays a rightist politics that developed within leading institutions, that enjoyed the complicity of respected elites, and that pursued its agenda rationally.2 The interpretative difference is of some importance: Was anti-communism a manifestation of popular, democratic sentiment? Or was it an expression of elite interests?

Sustaining the latter interpretation is the history of the Information Council of the Americas (INCA), founded in 1961 in New Orleans. This history suggests that anti-communism originated with and served the elite. It suggests further that in a democratic political culture that frowned upon naked assertions of racial or class privilege, anti-communism offered the elite a respectable way to discredit challenges to its power. And it suggests that anti-communism waxed strongest when the elite felt most vulnerable.

INCA was not an organization of the rough, provincial, unlettered masses. Its members were wealthy, educated, and cosmopolitan. Most of its support came from prominent New Orleanians, though it also drew members from elsewhere, especially from California. Neither was INCA irrational, even though its analysis was simplistic and its rhetoric overwrought. Instead, it acted soberly, if disingenuously, to legitimize and defend class interests. Twice in the 1960s its elite social base was threatened: first by the Cuban Revolution and then by radicalism within the United States. Rather than openly defending the social structure that
benefitted its members, INCA blamed rebellion abroad and at home on a Soviet-inspired global conspiracy. By identifying social radicalism with an alien totalitarianism, it tried to shield a wealthy, conservative elite from fundamental change.

INCA's origins demonstrated this correlation between elite interests and anti-communism. INCA was born in a city that derived much and expected even more from business with Latin America. For much of the twentieth century, New Orleans business and political leaders tried to make their city the nation's center for Latin American business. The path to the city's modernization, they argued, traveled through Latin America. After World War II, local business organizations such as International House and International Trade Mart joined with city and state agencies to push the city along that path.3

By the 1950s New Orleans rested comfortably and profitably at one of the crossroads where North America exchanged its manufactured goods for Latin America's raw materials and foodstuffs. Latin American goods accounted for approximately 75 percent of the city's imports. Coffee, sugar, bananas, sisal, mahogany--almost all of which came from Latin America--flowed across its wharves in great abundance to be processed locally or shipped into the nation's domestic hinterland. Profiting from this trade were many of the city's leading firms and many of its prominent citizens.4

Eager to perpetuate and extend this lucrative hemispheric business, the New Orleans elite cultivated and drew close to Latin American rulers. Thus in 1952, looking back over his more than five decades of business dealings with Latin America as president of Pan-American Life Insurance and as an executive of United Fruit, Crawford H. Ellis boasted that he had known many Central American rulers, including such dictators as Guatemala's Manuel Estrada Cabrera and Nicaragua's Anastasio Somoza. "These were great men and strong men," said Ellis, "who did not allow a socialist nor communist to cross their borders." When revolutionary or nationalist oppositions challenged those strongmen, official and wealthy New Orleans felt threatened as well. Leading New Orleanians then used a fierce anti-communism to transmute those Latin American oligarchs into guardians of freedom and hemispheric security. Thus in 1954 the Crescent City's elite applauded the overthrow of Guatemala's reformist democracy and rallied behind the counter revolution led by Enrique Castillo Armas.5

These amicable and profitable Latin American relations, seemingly so durable, received an unsettling shock from the Cuban Revolution. New Orleans watched with growing anxiety as Cuba edged leftward. That nation was one of the city's chief trading partners-typically ranking alongside Brazil as its leading source of imports. Cuba supplied, for instance, 19.8
percent of its imports in 1955 and 18.1 percent in 1959. Almost all of its considerable sugar imports came from that Caribbean island: 92.8 percent in 1955 and 93.6 percent in 1959. Because much of this Cuban sugar was refined locally, this trade also encouraged the city's hopes of industrializing by processing Latin American commodities. A new Cuban project further encouraged such hopes. New York-based Freeport Sulphur Company planned to mine nickel and cobalt in Cuba and then ship those minerals to Port Nickel in Plaquemines Parish, about twenty miles downriver from New Orleans. There the company was constructing a refinery where an estimated 600 workers were to process the nickel and cobalt concentrates into metals. Production was scheduled to begin late in 1959.6

The revolution abruptly ended all of this trade and business. When the leftist government expropriated U. S. properties in 1960, New Orleans lost its economic stake on the island: after Cuba seized Freeport's properties, the refinery in Plaquemines Parish closed; New Orleans-based Pan-American Life Insurance lost its investment; New Orleans-based Standard Fruit lost its wharf and terminal; at least six shipping lines ended their routes between Cuba and New Orleans; and trade between the city and Cuba dwindled and then stopped altogether.7

Thus wounded by the revolution and fearful of its spread, the New Orleans elite grew especially susceptible to an anti-communist appeal. An astute young New Orleanian, eager to carve out a career as a professional anticommunist, drew upon that elite's choleric temper, its loathing for Castro, and its anxiety to guard its hemispheric interests from the revolutionary contagion. Even before Cuba's trajectory leftward frightened the wealthy and prominent of the Crescent City, Edward S. Butler had sketched the outlines of a new type of anti-communist organization. Conveniently, the Cuban Revolution handed him a searing issue and an alarmed constituency.

Ed Butler was born in 1934 of a New Orleans family with some elite antecedents. Both of his grandfathers had been members of the city's exclusive Boston Club, and his paternal grandfather also had been president of the Cotton Exchange, president of the state agency that administered the port, and a director of a local bank. Butler himself attended Loyola University in New Orleans and the National Art Academy in Washington, D. C., and spent most of his military service between 1957 and 1959 at the U. S. Army Management School at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. He then returned home to a position as an account executive with an advertising firm.8 He seemed, at first glance, an unlikely organizer of elite anti-communists, burdened as he was by youth, by ignorance of Latin America, and by a lackluster background. But he more than compensated for those shortcomings with self-confidence, promotional talents, and ideological fervor.9

Before Castro swept down from the Sierra Maestra into Havana, Butler had already immersed himself in what were to be his abiding concerns: anti-communism and psychological warfare. He had been influenced by the right-wing anti-communism of the 1950s. Years afterward he wrote Willard Edwards, a former reporter for the Chicago Tribune and a former confidant of Senator Joseph R. McCarthy, that his "first exposure to anti-communism came from Buckley and Bozell's 'McCarthy and his Enemies,' which crystallized all the vague impressions of the late 40's and 50's for me, and set the course of my life. I still believe Senator Joe McCarthy was a great American." This right-wing anti-communism was wedded to a keen interest in psychology and public relations. Butler later described how in about 1957 he became interested "in psycho-politics and particularly Soviet applications." After his discharge from the army, he published an article warning that communists were winning psychological warfare by default.

To counter this threat, the "forgotten army" of public relations professionals should be enlisted to contest the communist advantage in "Brainwar." This war, he suggested, should be waged by a privately funded non-profit institution made up of public-relations professionals: an Information Council of America.10

Soon, thanks to the Cuban Revolution, Butler had the chance to implement these ideas. In New Orleans sometime in 1960, probably late in the year, he helped form the Free Voice of Latin America. This organization's advisory committee included such leading local citizens as Joseph D'Antoni, president of Standard Fruit and Steamship Company; Victor H. Schiro, president of the city council; and A. E. Papale, dean of Loyola's law school. To combat Cuba's revolutionary message, Free Voice planned to beam anti-communist radio broadcasts to Latin America. Instead, it quickly fell apart. In February 1961 Butler resigned, blaming a faction for "an immature, passive approach."11

Butler turned immediately to building a new organization. On May 15, 1961, he and a handful of others founded INCA. From its birth INCA was an anticommunist united front composed of members of the elite and directed by ardent conservatives. Yet it masked its elite social base and softened its conservative convictions with a democratic and moderate appearance. Worried that INCA might be ostracized as an ultra-right fringe sect, Butler insisted upon concentrating on the single issue of communism, upon appropriating a democratic idiom, and upon recruiting those with diverse views. "The member's realize," he wrote, "that they must agree to disagree, and avoid anything but the central subject of defeating tyranny."

Many organizations, he pointed out, had "been discredited as 'ultraconservative', 'rightist', etc. Not only has this effectively isolated them from the people who most need to be reached, but it is costing them their tax-exempt status." Despite his own political sympathies, he tried to balance conservatives with liberals. In 1963, for example, when a supporter offered, on behalf of another group, to sponsor a conservative speaker such as Barry Goldwater for an INCA benefit, Butler proposed instead a liberal anti-communist such as Florida Senator George Smathers.12 INCA never defended segregation, accused the federal government of socialist designs, or otherwise indulged itself in that period's ultra-right shibboleths. Such studied moderation was nonetheless largely ornamental. Although founded after the 1950s anti-communist crusade had ebbed, INCA's alliances, style and ideas bore the imprint of those years. Its organizational alliances and associations situated it firmly in a right-wing anti-communist milieu.

Butler reported that in 1966 he had "attended meetings, established close liaison with, or become an officer or member of' conservative groups such as the Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) and the American Security Council. And in the fall of 1968 Richard Warren, an INCA staff member, tried to organize a YAF chapter at Loyola University, where he was an evening division student.13

Also characteristic of the anti-communist right was INCA's political style. It delivered its ideas in alarmist and shrill tones that were designed to create a sense of impending catastrophe. That disaster was to be averted only if generous support strengthened INCA and thereby allowed it to grapple hand-to-hand with communists atop freedom's barricades. "I will have to go where the communists are," wrote Butler, "and hit them where it hurts. They will retaliate in kind. Sooner or later they may kill me."14

Typical as well of the anti-communist right were INCA's reductionist ideas. It viewed major foreign and domestic conflicts as surface expressions of an underlying Manichean struggle between democracy and communism. Its primary enemy was Soviet-dominated communism, a monolithic international conspiracy that deftly manipulated struggles across the globe and that deftly handled conventional weapons-diplomatic, military, and economic. Particularly dangerous was Cuba, communism's hemispheric beachhead. Cuba was, for Butler, "the controlling force behind virtually all revolutionary violence in the Americas, including the United States."'15

These guiding ideas, a pastiche of overworked cold war formulas, lacked originality. To prosper, INCA needed to distinguish itself from the plethora of anti-communist groups. It managed to set itself apart by insisting that communists wielded unconventional weapons with uncommon ability. Propaganda and psychology now formed the Cold War's decisive battleground, said INCA, and a new type of organization was needed to defeat communists on that unfamiliar terrain. According to Butler, Lenin had first grasped the primacy of communications, that "words are weapons," and communists had since used that understanding to great advantage.

Making themselves even more formidable, Marxists took on an indigenous look by establishing communist parties in each nation. Revolutionary conflict was ignited, said INCA, when a society was "both saturated by propaganda launched from without, and by the relay of propaganda by sympathizers within the target society." Such was the case in Latin America where lumbering U. S. propaganda agencies were easily outmaneuvered. There the communist parties' persistent "iYanqjui No!" chant had identified the U. S. with Latin America's economic misery and its sense of regional grievance.16

Believing this mismatch between the free world's bumbling amateurs  and communism's crafty professionals demanded an innovative response, INCA proposed a conservative analogue to the revolutionary party: the conflict corporation. By mastering the arts of propaganda and psychological warfare, this type of private institution could contend with the communists for popular loyalties; intervening among the masses, it could expose and defeat subversives. The conflict corporation would require an effective division of labor between  the conflict manager and patrons, roughly the conservative equivalents of Lenin's professional revolutionary and leftist sympathizers.

The former would be a professional "trained to meet, compete with, and defeat any tyrannical form of organization, through revolutionary means, in order to allow the development of systems which guarantee Liberty Under Law." Drawn from the elite, patrons would support the conflict manager with money, advice, and prestige.17

An appreciative audience embraced these ideas. Butler concentrated on recruiting the wealthy and the notable and, to an impressive degree, he succeeded. INCA drew most of its support from the New Orleans elite from business executives, civic leaders, cultural figures, and leading politicians. It flattered that elite as a champion of democracy while portraying Latin American radicalism as a Soviet-Cuban stalking horse. Bleached from INCA's hemispheric tableau was that familiar figure, the New Orleanian with one hand stroking a Latin American oligarch and the other pocketing considerable sums won in hemispheric  business.

Logically, INCA's most faithful supporters should have come from those local businessmen  with direct interests in Latin America, from those most threatened by spread of the Cuban Revolution. But a few of those business men were skittish, wary perhaps of the taint of extremism. One such was Harry X . Kelly, an executive of the Delta Steamship Lines and an early INCA member. For decades the New Orleans- based Delta Line, which carried much Brazilian coffee to the Crescent City, had actively promoted the city's Latin American trade. Yet in August 1961 Kelly expressed misgivings about INCA's proposed anti-communist radio broadcasts: " If  New Orleans businessmen are to be directors [of INCA], then I think they must set up some supervision over broadcasts which originate in New Orleans. Someone could prepare something very appropriate and yet you, as a business man, would not be in a position to endorse it." Until this and other matters were clarified, he preferred" not to be active in INCA."

Standard Fruit and Steamship Company, another local firm with extensive Latin American business, also held INCA at a polite distance. In 1963 INCA's treasurer asked Joseph S. D'Antoni, Standard's president, for a contribution. Although D'Antoni was sympathetic to INCA, explained the treasurer, he declined to  contribute since "it may be that he is afraid any help from this country would react unfavorably in Latin America." Undeterred, Butler assured D'Antoni that INCA could "show you how to protect your investment by helping to prevent a communist takeover." Apparently D'Antoni was not persuaded by Butler's arguments either.19

But such frosty responses were rare. INCA found its warmest support among those New Orleanians who possessed the closest ties with Latin America. By far the most important of these was Dr. Alton Ochsner. A celebrated surgeon, wealthy, socially prominent, and an old hand in Latin America, Ochsner helped legitimize the new organization. Pared to its essentials, INCA was a partnership between Ochsner and Butler, between elder patron and young activist, between president and leading staff member. Political kinship strengthened their partnership.

Even more clearly than was the case with Butler, Ochsner's outlook was that of the radical right. He equated liberalism with socialism, thought the federal government infiltrated by leftists, and opposed the civil-rights movement. An avid supporter of Goldwater's 1964 presidential quest, he savored the humiliation dealt moderates at the Republican presidential convention. "I thoroughly agree with you," he wrote a Mississippi friend, "that the radical people in the United States, the extremists, are not the Ku Klux Klan and the John Birch Society but some of the people like Rockefeller, Javits and Keating. They got just what they deserved at the Republican Convention." He recommended the ultra-right tract None Dare Call It Treason, which, he claimed, "shows our Government, our schools, our press, and our churches have become infiltrated with Communism." At a friend's request, he urged President Kennedy to quarantine Cuba from Soviet shipments of troops and military equipment. Yet he doubted the plea would matter "because I think his [Kennedy's] advisors are pretty much leftists." He wrote Louisiana Senator Allen Ellender about pending civil rights legislation: "I sincerely hope that the Civil Rights Bill can also be defeated, because if it were passed, it would certainly mean virtual dictatorship by the President and the Attorney General, a thing I am sure they both want."20

Further evidence of Ochsner's extremist views came when he endorsed The Dispossessed Majority by Wilmot Robertson. "One of the greatest books I have ever read," wrote Ochsner in a blurb for this volume. What he admired was a frankly racist work. Robertson called upon citizens of Northern European extraction, the "dispossessed majority," to wrest control of the U.S. from usurping racial minorities. The majority's genetic superiority, he argued, justified such a course. "Separation is obviously part of the solution," he suggested for the "Jewish envelopment of America." Similarly, he proposed "independent or semi-independent Negro communities tangential to white communities," that is an American version of apartheid.21

These views did not make Ochsner a pariah. Indeed, he was one of New Orleans's most esteemed citizens. In the 1960s he was elected to the leadership of both International House and International Trade Mart, the city's chief trade-promotion organizations. For years he was president of the New Orleans-based Cordell Hull Foundation, which administered a program of Inter-American university study. He received social accolades as well: He had been crowned Rex, king of Carnival, perhaps New Orleans's highest social honor, and was a member of the city's select Boston Club. His prestige and connections extended beyond the Crescent City. Thus he was a director of National Airlines and a friend of Dudley Swim, chairman of that corporation. In the summer of 1965, as Swim's guest, he gamboled in the northern California woods at the exclusive Bohemian Grove--a retreat that attracted many of the nation's corporate and political leaders.22

Ochsner's civic and social attainments as well as his Latin American ties began with his professional accomplishments. Born in South Dakota in 1896, he graduated from the University of South Dakota and received his medical degree from Washington University. Postgraduate study in Europe and teaching in the U.S. followed. In 1927 he became chairman of the surgery department at Tulane University's School of Medicine.23

Tulane nourished Ochsner's internationalist inclinations. Study in Europe and acquaintance with foreign medical authorities had convinced him that medicine transcended national boundaries. Practically, internationalism in New Orleans meant a hemispheric awareness-an awareness shared by Tulane, which by 1927 had begun academic and medical programs focusing on Latin America. Ochsner embraced the city's and the university's perspective. "I was attracted to them," he later said of Latin Americans enrolled at the medical school, "and because I thought it important to cement the contacts, I cultivated them." Some outstanding Latin American doctors either trained under him or attended his Tulane postgraduate seminars, and often he consulted or operated in Latin America.24

In 1941 Ochsner and a handful of colleagues formed the Ochsner Clinic. As the clinic's business grew, the partners realized they needed their own hospital. In 1947 abandoned military barracks became the makeshift site for the Ochsner Foundation Hospital until a new hospital was opened in 1954.25 Thereafter his career and his Latin American activities centered on the Ochsner medical institutions. Alton Ochsner and his colleagues expanded the Latin American contacts they had acquired at Tulane. Ochsner won a devoted following in parts of Latin America, especially in the Caribbean Basin. One New Orleanian who lived in Nicaragua in the mid-1950s recalled that Nicaraguans "thought of him [Alton Ochsner] almost as a god as far as medicine was concerned."

When they spoke of going to the "clinic," it was understood to be Ochsner's. Part of this following came from Latin America's ruling caudillos. Among others Ochsner treated Argentina's Juan Peron and Guatemala's Miguel Ydigoras Fuentes. He also developed close relations with some of these rulers, including the Somozas of Nicaragua. Henri DeBayle, a Nicaraguan physician and member of the Somoza family, was a close friend. In 1967 Ochsner consoled DeBayle on Luis Somoza's sudden death and praised Anastasio (Tacho) Somoza, who had just visited New Orleans. "I want you and the family to know how distressed we are," he wrote. "We enjoyed having Tacho here about ten days ago. He made a great hit and everyone was tremendously impressed with him. I think you are very fortunate to have him as your new President. He is a smart boy and certainly has the right ideals."26

But the Ochsner Clinic attracted more than the handful of ruling caudillos. Its Latin American patient count climbed impressively, from 317 in 1950 to 2,478 in 1975. Alton Ochsner reported that in 1961 the clinic treated 1,781 Latin Americans, "and since accompanying each patient there are very conservatively two other people, the total number of people brought to New Orleans from Latin America last year by the Clinic is 5,343." Of those Latin Americans treated in 1961, 86.5 percent came from Central America, Panama, Mexico, or Venezuela.27

Joining Ochsner in support of INCA were other New Orleanians and local institutions with similarly strong Latin American interests. The following New Orleans business executives were INCA members: coffee importer Sam Israel, Jr.; United Fruit's Joseph W. Montgomery; Robinson Lumber's Samuel G. Robinson; and Pan-American Life Insurance's G. Frank Purvis, Jr. Under Captain John W. Clark's leadership, the Delta Line reversed Kelly's position and embraced INCA; the company gave money and Clark served as a director. Among INCA's nine charter members was William G. Zetzmann, president of International Trade Mart (ITM) and one of the city's outstanding business and civic leaders. ITM also donated funds--$2,000 in
1968, for example.28

Also aiding INCA was the Reily family, owner of William B. Reily and Co., one of the city's largest coffee roasters. H. Eustis Reily was an INCA officer and director. In 1965 William B. Reily, an INCA member, gave $250. In 1971 he informed Ochsner that his company had decided to donate $5,000 through the Reily Foundation and that he had enclosed a personal check for $1,000, "with the understanding that both these checks are to be used for sending radio information to Latin America. As I explained to you, I am interested in that work and would like to see this money applied to the work of speaking in Spanish to the masses in these countries."29

INCA also won backing from local businessmen and businesses that apparently lacked a direct stake in Latin America. Among these were some of New Orleans's most respected citizens and firms. In 1967 Ochsner thanked Mr. and Mrs. Darwin S. Fenner for their $500 donation. Darwin Fenner, an INCA director, was a vice president of Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner and Beane and a board member of the Ochsner Foundation and of Tulane University's governing body. At least during the mid-1960s, New Orleans Public Service (NOPSI), the city's privately owned utility company, gave $1,000 each year. NOPSI President George S. Dinwiddie was an INCA member; his successor, Clayton L. Naire, was an INCA director. Louisiana Coca-Cola President Richard W. Freeman was an INCA member. So was Ashton Phelps, partner of a leading New Orleans law firm and, beginning in 1967, the president and publisher of the Times-Picayune Publishing Corporation.30

INCA's social base spread beyond businessmen to include the broader New Orleans elite. The Catholic hierarchy gave INCA its blessing. Archbishop Philip M. Hannan was a director, and Monsignor Henry C. Bezou, superintendent of archdiocesan schools, was a member. Also joining INCA were academic and cultural figures such as A. E. Papale, dean of Loyola University's law school; Herbert Longenecker, president of Tulane University; and Walker Percy, the novelist. Prominent Jewish philanthropists and businessmen Percival Stern and Edgar B. Ster, Jr., joined INCA as well.31

Respected local politicians of moderate views approved of INCA. Since first elected New Orleans mayor in 1946, deLesseps S. Morrison had stood in the forefront of the city's Latin American program. Soon after INCA was founded, Butler asked Morrison for an endorsement to attract members.


1 Alton Ochsner to Matilda Grey, April 30, 1962, folder 4, box 49, Alton Ochsner Papers, The Historic New Orleans Collection.

2 The standard source for the first interpretation is the collection of essays edited by Daniel Bell, The Radical Right: The New American Right Expanded and Updated (Garden City, N.Y., 1964). For the second interpretation, see Michael Paul Rogin, The Intellectuals and McCarthy: The Radical Specter (Cambridge, Mass., 1967). Also see the following historiographical essays: Robert Griffith, "The Politics of Anti-Communism: A Review Article," Wisconsin Magazine of History, LIV (1971), 299-308; Reg Whitaker,
"Fighting the Cold War on the Home Front: America, Britain, Australia and Canada," in Ralph Miliband, et al., eds., Socialist Register, 1984: The Uses of Anti-Communism (London, 1984), pp. 23-67.

3 Business relations between New Orleans and Latin America are explored in my dissertation: "Gateway to the Americas: New Orleans's Quest for Latin American Trade, 1900-1970" (Ph. D. dissertation, Tulane University, 1987).

4 Board of Commissioners of the Port of New Orleans, Statistics Covering Import-
Export Commerce of the Port of New Orleans, 1952-1955 (New Orleans, n.d.); see also
Carpenter, "Gateway to the Americas," chs. II, VI.

5 Crawford H. Ellis, "Address on the Occasion of the Thomas F. Cunningham Award of
1951," September 24, 1952, International House Papers, Special Collections Division,
Tulane University Library. For coverage of the homage rendered to Castillo Armas by
the New Orleans elite, see the New Orleans Times-Picayune, November 12, 13, 1955.

6 Board of Commissioners, Statistics Covering Import-Export Commerce, 1955-1959; Moody's Industrial Manual, 1959 (New York, 1959), pp. 1868-1869; Times-Picayune, September 21, 1958, Dixie Roto Magazine, 10-11.

7 New Orleans States-Item, February 8, 1962; Thomas L. Kames, Tropical Enterprise: The Standard Fruit and Steamship Company in Latin America (Baton Rouge, 1978), p. 287; Board of Commissioners of the Port of New Orleans, Port of New Orleans Statistics Covering Import-Export Commerce, 1961 (New Orleans, n.d.).

8 Ed Butler to Patrick J. Frawley, Jr., September 29, 1972, folder 2, box 172, Ochsner Papers; Stuart O. Landry, History of the Boston Club, Organized in 1841 (New Orleans, 1938), p. 223; "Butler, Edward Scannell," Who's Who in America, 1976-1977.

9 Several years later Garry Wills observed that Butler had "an extraordinary gift for self-promotion." Garry Wills, The Second Civil War: Arming for Armageddon (New York, 1968), p. 147.

10 Butler to Willard Edwards, July 11, 1977, folder 1, box 228, Ochsner Papers; Butler to Harry X. Kelly, September 11, 1961, folder 3, box 49, Ochsner Papers; Scannell Butler, "The Forgotten Army," Public Relations Journal, (June, 1960), 10, 12-13.

11 Free Voice of Latin America, "What Is the Free Voice of Latin America?," carton S60-2, Victor Hugo Schiro Collection, Louisiana Division, New Orleans Public Library; States-Item, January 10, 1961; Butler to deLesseps S. Morrison, February 19, 1961, carton S61-10, deLesseps S. Morrison Collection, Louisiana Division, New Orleans Public Library; Butler to Admiral Whittaker Riggs, June 3, 1961, folder 11, box 437,
Chamber of Commerce of the New Orleans Area Collection, Archives and Manuscripts Department, Earl K. Long Library, University of New Orleans.

12 Ed Butler, Revolution Is My Profession (n.p., 1968), p. 101; Butler to Edgar A. G. Bright, December 29, 1964, folder 1, box 51, Ochsner Papers; Butler to Mrs. B. C. Toledano, May 6, 1963, folder 3, box 50, Ochsner Papers.

13 Butler to INCA Member, January 23, 1967, folder 2, box 105, Ochsner Papers; Loyola Maroon, November 8, 1968.

14 Butler to Alton Ochsner, February 1, 1966, folder 4, box 53, Ochsner Papers.

15 Butler, Revolution, p. 80.

16 Ibid., pp. 121, 225; INCA, "INCA and Latin America," n.d., Information Council of the Americas, Political Ephemera Collection, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Library.

17 "INCA and Latin America;" Butler, Revolution, pp. 49, 50, 86, 99.

18 Kelly to Ochsner, August 22, 1961, folder 3, box 49, Ochsner Papers.

19 Joseph S. D'Antoni to Maurice W. Grundy, May 22, 1963, folder 3, box 50, Ochsner Papers; Grundy to Ochsner, May 23, 1963, folder 3, box 50, Ochsner Papers; Butler to D'Antoni, October 7, 1963, folder 2, box 50, Ochsner Papers.

20 Ochsner to R. H. Crosby, July 22, 1964, folder 1, box 73, Ochsner Papers; Ochsner to Marlan E. Bourns, August 12, 1964, folder 2, box 51, Ochsner Papers;Ochsner to William A. Powe, March 1, 1963, folder 7, box 70, Ochsner Papers; Ochsnerto Allen Ellender, July 30, 1963, folder 3, box 67, Ochsner Papers.

21 Wilmot Robertson, The Dispossessed Majority (Cape Canaveral, Fla., 1976), pp. 193, 222. Ochsner's endorsement is contained in the first inside pages of the 1981 paperback edition. I learned of this book and of Ochsner's encomium from Lance Hill.

22 "Ochsner, Alton," Who's Who in America, 1964-1965; Ochsner to Turner Catledge, July 1, 1965, folder 4, box 82, Ochsner Papers. On the Bohemian Grove, see G. William Domhoff, The Bohemian Grove and Other Retreats (New York, 1974).

23 "Ochsner, Alton," Who's Who in America, 1964-1965; Edwin Adams Davis, The Story of Louisiana (New Orleans, 1960), pp. 1-2.

24 Alton Ochsner, Jr., interview with author, New Orleans, June 10, 1984; John Wilds, Ochsner's: An Informal History of the South's Largest Private Medical Center (Baton Rouge, 1985), pp. 14-15.

25 Wilds, Ochsner's, pp. 4, 33; Guy A.Caldwell, Early History of the Ochsner Medical
Center: The First Twenty-Two Years (Springfield, Ill., 1965), pp. 27, 53, 70, 113.

26 Wilds, Ochsner's, pp. 12-15; Virginea Burguieres, interview with author, New Orleans, May 15, 1984; Miguel Ydigoras Fuentes to Ochsner, March 7, 1962, folder 16, box 59, Ochsner Papers; Ochsner to Henri DeBayle, April 14, 1967, folder 11, box 102, Ochsner Papers.

27 Figures provided by Luis Iglesias, Department of Latin American Affairs, Alton Ochsner Medical Foundation; Ochsner to W. F. Riggs, Jr., October 13, 1962, folder 11, box 36, Ochsner Papers.

28 Correspondence, INCA's letterhead for different years, a membership list, and other sources provide evidence of an individual having been a member, director, or officer of INCA,w hile correspondence and other sources document financial contributions to INCA: "INCA Membership List," f older 1, box 105, Ochsner Papers; J. W. Clark to Ochsner, June 14, 1968, folder 3, box 121, Ochsner Papers; Butler to Morrison, May 19, 1961, carton S61-11, Morrison Collection; International Trade Mart Executive Committee, minutes of August 15, 1968, meeting, International Trade Mart Papers, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Library.

29 M. W. Grundy to William B. Reily, June 16, 1965, folder 3, box 52, Ochsner Papers; William B. Reily to Ochsner, March 10, 1971, folder 5, box 165, Ochsner Papers.

30 Ochsner to Mr. and Mrs. Darwin S. Fenner, January 19, 1967, folder 6, box 105, Ochsner Papers; J. Mason Guillory to Ochsner, June 8, 1967, folder 6, box 105, Ochsner Papers; "INCA Membership List," folder 1, box 105, Ochsner Papers.

31 Butler to Morrison, June 21, 1961, carton S61-11, Morrison Collection; "INCA Membership List," folder 1, box 105, Ochsner Papers.

Monday, November 7, 2011

LBJ's Friend Posh, a Cousin of Wynne

Master of the Senate
"Master of the Senate" is the third book in Robert A. Caro's series, "The Years of Lyndon Johnson."

But then the man who lived on caffeine, cigarettes and pure anger was betrayed by his own body. The man who lived in fear of dying young, who feared danger and became "frantic" when put under physical discomfort was suddenly struck down.

Posh Oltorf
Caro writes of Johnson, driven in an ambulance that was actually a hearse, facing the most grave health problem of his life, a severe heart attack — and taking it with enormous courage. Suffering what could only have been incredible pain, Johnson told his old friend, Frank "Posh" Oltorf,"I want Lady Bird to have everything I have ... She's been a wonderful, wonderful wife, and she's done so much for me. She just deserves everything I have. That's what was in my will."
In earlier chapters of "Master of the Senate," Caro lays out how Johnson treated Lady Bird as a servant, kept her at his beck and call, derisively asked her to leave the room when he was talking with other politicians about issues of substance — and essentially treated her with cold, sometimes savage disregard. To see him complimenting her with what might have been his dying breath is deeply moving.

And then Johnson asked Oltorf how Alice Glass — one of his most serious mistresses — was doing. He then asked Oltorf if he'd be able to keep smoking after attack.
"Well, Senator, Frankly, no," and Johnson, with what Oltorf recalls as "a great sigh," said, "I'd rather have my pecker cut off."

So, just who was this Posh Oltorf who was so close to LBJ?  

In a word, he was a cousin of Jesse Bedford Shelmire, Jr. and Nemo Shelmire Wynne (the uncle and mother, respectively, of Bedford S. Wynne) .

SEPTEMBER 11, 1932
Mr. and Mrs. Morgan Brian Aynesworth, who were married on Thursday in Marlin, will come to Galveston to reside after their wedding trip to Monterrey, Mexico. Mrs. Aynesworth was the former Miss Rosalis Oltorf of Marlin. The ceremony was performed before an improvised altar decorated with ferns and palms and baskets of yellow gladioli in the home of the bride's grandfather, T. E. Battle. Dr. C.C. Carroll, cousin of the bridegroom, of Natchitoches, La., read the service. 

Preceding the wedding party, Frank Oltorf, Jr. of Marlin and Bedford Shelmire, Jr. of Dallas, cousins of the bride, laid ribbon streamers forming an aisle for the bridal party. Nancylu Crosthwait of Waco, niece of the bridegroom, was flower girl. The bride, who was given in marriage by her brother, James B. Oltorf, wore a suit of gray luca cloth with silver fox collar and hat of black felt with a small veil. Her accessories were in black. She carried an arm bouquet of talisman roses. Mrs. Oltorf was attended by her cousin, Miss Tallulah Holloway of Marlin as maid of honor.... Kenneth Aynesworth of Houston, brother of the bridegroom, attended him as best man. Mrs. Barry Braselton, aunt of the bride, played Lohengrin's wedding march for the bridal party. Before the ceremony, Mrs. N. W. Goodrich, of Marlin, sang Grieg's "I Love Thee" and "O Promise Me" with Mrs. Braselton at the piano.

"Families of Falls County," Compiled and Edited by the
 Falls County Historical Commission, page 14
Rosalis (Oltorf) Aynesworth's paternal grandparents, Judge James Daniel and Mary Irene (Hutchings) Oltorf settled in Marlin, Falls County, Texas after their marriage in 1855. Her maternal grandparents were Thomas Elbridge and Susan (Green) Battle; and Susan's maternal grandfather was Churchill Jones, who bought 28,000 acres of land-- moving to Falls County, Texas in 1853, where his son James Sandford Jones preceded the family with a large number of slaves to build the slave homes, a family home and begin working the land before his parents arrival from Conecuh County, Alabama.

Thomas Elbridge Battle and his wife Susan had five daughters, one of whom was named 
  • Maude Annie Battle Bunch, whose daughter Mable married Dr. Jesse Bedford Shelmire II in 1925. 
  • A younger daughter was was Susan Kendrick Battle, born in Marlin in 1881, who married Charles Archer Oltorf in 1902.
[Source: The Battle book : a genealogy of the Battle family in America, with chapters illustrating certain phases of its history (Montgomery, Ala.: Paragon Press, 1930, 780 pgs).

Big Spring Daily Herald - May 12, 1939

MARLIN, May 12 (AP)—Thomas Elbridge Battle, 91, president of the First State bank of Marlin, who rode with Sul Ross against the Indians of far West Texas, died here last night.
Battle was a member of the Washington and Lee university student guard of honor which sat
with the body of Gen. Robert E. Lee, and was a Confederate cavalryman at 15. He accompanied Sul Ross when the Indian fighter freed Cynthia Parker from the Indians .

JUNE 11, 1931 Galveston News
Philadelphia. Pa., June 10.—The American Medical Association today awarded its gold medal for the best scientific exhibit to Jacob Furth, M. D., Henry Phipps Institute, University of Pennsylvania, for original investigation of experimental lukemia and excellence of presentation. The silver medal went to Bedford Shelmire, Baylor University of Medicine, Dallas, Tex., and W. E. Dove. United States bureau of entomology, Charleston, S. C., for original work on the spread of typhus fever by the tropical rat mite.

Brazos Irrigation Director Is Dead
MARLIN, March 10.—(AP)—Frank Oltorf, 50, veteran attorney, civic leader and a director of the Brazos river conservation and reclamation district, died at his home here last night of pneumonia which developed after a lengthy illness of heart disease.

Oltorf was a native of Marlin and had been a member of the bar here since 1906, when he completed his law work at the University of Texas. He served as assistant district attorney under Tom Connally, now United States senator, from 1906 to 1910, and as district attorney from 1910 to 1914, when he retired to private practice. The veteran attorney was named a director of the Brazos district last year. He had large agricultural holdings and was a member of the board of directors of the Home Benefit association and the Marlin and Falls County Bar associations. Survivors include the mother, Mrs. Bailie Calvert Oltorf, the widow, a son, Frank Oltorf Jr.; two brothers, Dan and Prentice Oltorf and two sisters, Mrs. B. G. Ware and Mrs. J. C. Holloway.

Oltorf was very close to LBJ. He was a long-time employer of Brown and Root, working hand-in-hand with George R. Brown, LBJ's number-one financial patron. He hailed from the same small town as Alice Glass, wife of LBJ's other patron, Charles Marsh, the newspaper tycoon. Both Brown and Marsh owned large estates in the hunt country of Virginia where they entertained Lyndon. Could it be a mere coincidence that Oltorf and Bedford Wynne could trace their ancestry back to the same wealthy plantation owner, Thomas E. Battle?

In his oral history, Oltorf discloses how close he was to his friend, President Lyndon B. Johnson:

...three-man race between Johnson, Stevenson, and George Peddy. The Houston Post was supporting Peddy because he was a Houstonian, and I was a cousin of Governor Hobby's and just extremely devoted to him . And Johnson felt that one of the reporters on the paper, at least one of the editors, not the Hobbys, but one of the editors, was very much opposed to him and was just not giving him any play in the papers at all .

And [Johnson] asked me did I think I could say something about getting him a little better exposure . I said, "Better than that, I'll see if I can't get a job covering the campaign for the Post ." So I went down and asked if I could cover his campaign . And the Governor thought about it and talked it over,with the paper and said yes, I could . I had represented the Post while I was at Rice Institute as the Rice reporter for the Houston Post . So he knew I had some talent in reporting, and I was given that position . So I traveled then with Lyndon Johnson throughout the state, with the retinue of newspaper people who were covering him....

The other time that I think I was helpful : we were coming into Houston, and this was still in the first primary and I was still writing. So the Post, though, it was, you know, not only for Peddy, but the managing editor was the one that was so [involved]. He was really putting Peddy on the front page all the time. The Stevenson articles and Johnson articles were not as prominently displayed. At least, that was, I'm sure, Johnson's feeling and Stevenson's feeling. Now, whether it was true - or not--but it was a Peddy paper. But he called me in and he said, "Now, I want you to talk to Governor Hobby." And he said, "My father loved him so much. He was in the legislature when Hobby was governor. He supported his program and was very fond of that." And [he] said, "Now, I'm running for this thing, and everything is Peddy on the front page, George Peddy. I think I should get better coverage. Say something for me."

So I went out that evening, and I took it upon myself, knowing the tension the man was under and what I thought he really felt, to change his message a little bit . And I said, "Governor, Lyndon sent his love to you and Oveta . He said that he'd always remember the deep affection that his father had for you when he was in the legislature and you were governor . He understands that Peddy's a Houstonian and he's an old friend, and that the Post would have to be for him during this first primary, but he hopes if he and Stevenson are in the second race that it will help him ."

And the Governor said, "Well, that's mighty nice of Lyndon. Why don't you bring him by for breakfast in the morning?" Well, the next morning at seven o'clock, I took Lyndon out, and we had breakfast with Governor and Mrs. Hobby. And after he left, the Governor told me "I certainly enjoyed that visit." And said, "He talks like he knows what he's up to and wants to do. We can sure give a lot of thought to supporting him in the second race, if Peddy's not in it."
At this time, I was still thinking of finishing law school. I never finished law school. And Herman Brown , who was a contractor and president of Brown and Root, was a great friend of mine. I'd known him in the legislature. I was always on opposite sides. I was totally against everything he was for, but we were the closest of friends. He was a man who, if he thought you were honest and had integrity and imagination, the fact that you saw things differently from him didn't make a bit of difference. Anyway, I decided really that I didn't want to be a lawyer. My father had been, and my great-grandfather, and I was sort of expected to, but
I decided I didn't [want to].

The Browns had a lot of property that they'd taken in through the years on payment notes, and I was going to take over the development of this property. It was scattered all throughout Texas. So I started. They gave me this job, developing real estate. The Korean War was getting pretty hot then, and they had a hard time getting their control materials, I mean the steel, the copper. And they had the control materials plan there in Washington. Herman called me in one day and asked me if I would go up to Washington; he said they had to send up the vice president about every three weeks to take an application over to the control materials; said would I just go up there and stay awhile, so that they could save this constant thing in taking the things over.

I said yes. I never will forget, I said, "How long do you think I'M going to be there, because I've got to know whether to store my car, or sell my car, or what." He said, "Oh, you'll probably be there not over six months." I think I was there four or five years.
But I went there. And of course, one thing led to another, and I finally not only did that, but we were building some tanks for the government, and tried to get the tools allocated through the Pentagon, and I'd do that. Then I'd call on the foreign embassies about overseas work and keep up with the Export-Import Bank. So I lived there in Washington at the Hay-Adams House for about four years. And I saw then-Senator Lyndon Johnson socially a great deal.

I will say this, which is an interesting thing, [because] everyone's always talked about the great closeness to the Browns. And it was certainly there. They were just devoted friends; in fact, Lyndon Johnson and George Brown and Herman Brown were like brothers.* But I was told by George Brown, when I went to Washington, "Never go on the Hill for any help. When you're dealing with government agencies or anything else, we find that these people resent that."

*Lyndon said this. I never heard the Browns say so. I think LBJ was closer to George than Herman.

M: Yes. There's also the story that Brown and Root, the Browns in particular, contributed heavily to Johnson's campaigns.
O : I've heard that, but I have no knowledge of their doing it or their not doing it .
M: Yes .
O: They certainly never did through me. In fact, I never contributed a penny to his campaigns. I would have, because I admired him and thought he was great. I just didn't have that sort of money. Now, what the Browns did, I have no idea.
M: Well, the Browns had a ranch or a farm.
O: At Middleburg, Virginia .
M: Now, did the Senator go down there?
O: Occasionally . I bought the place down there for the Browns.
M: Oh, you did?
O : At Middleburg. George Brown, at the time had been on several commissions; one, under President Truman, the [William S.] Paley Committee, I believe it was called, on the needs of this nation for raw materials for the next twenty or thirty years. And then later, Eisenhower put him on a committee, too. I remember on that committee, Walter Reuther and Ernie [Earnest Robert] Breech, the head of Ford, [were] people on it. I just forget exactly what it was right now; a similar thing as the one that Truman had had him on; might have really been an extension of the two, of the same committee, I don't know. But George Brown had to be in Washington a great deal. And he told me, he said, "You know, I'd like to have a place that's not over an hour from here. I'm here so much." He always stayed at the Carlton Hotel. He said, "A place where I can have some pleasure and go when I'm here. And also, you could do some entertaining there with your business contacts." I, by the way, was not only calling on foreign governments, sometimes I'd go to New York to call on an industrial customer, just trying to get us business wherever we could get it.

So, oh, this had been said casually for about--well, a year and a half had passed without it ever being mentioned. I, in the meantime, had been looking around, and I saw this place and it was about one-third of what places not nearly as grand were selling for. I called George, and I said, "George, I have found the most beautiful place. It's the greatest buy; it has to be bought right now." And he said, "Well, I'm not going to be able to get up there." And I said, "Well, if you don't buy it, I'll buy it, because I can borrow the money. And then I'll sell it to somebody at a profit." He says, "Oh, I'll buy it!" (Laughter) So we got it, and it is a beautiful

The Johnsons visited out there; they'd come out for supper or dinner; and a great many, all my Texas friends. The Browns were awfully nice. They would let me invite my personal friends out, because it was just an hour's drive. They had a dairy on it, and I was in charge of seeing to it that the farm tried to pay for itself. I don't think it ever did. So, yes, they would come out. In fact, that's where he had his heart attack.

M: Right . . Were you there at the time?
O: I .was .
M: Well, tell me about that, then.
O: Well, George and Alice Brown had come up. They were going to spend the weekend at Huntland, George, and Alice, and their daughter Isabel .
M : They called it Huntland?
O: Yes. That's the name of the place. And Isabel, who had worked for the Democratic Policy Committee in Washington, very smart girl,and really an extremely able and brilliant girl. The four of us went out. George had asked Lyndon if he wouldn't like to come out for lunch the following day, which I think was a Saturday. I'm not sure, but it was the following day. And he said, yes, he had some matters in the Senate that were very important, but when he got through, he'd drive on out. He'd get there either for lunch or later, but not to wait on lunch. So we had had our lunch. Afterward George Brown decided he would take a nap, and Alice and I were going to go to a neighbor's house who had a swimming pool and swim. And probably Isabel, I don't recall. But anyway, just as we were leaving, the limousine drove up with the Majority Leader Johnson, at the time, of course. And he came to the door, and we said that George was taking a nap and would he like to come swimming with us. And he said, no, that he felt badly, and that he'd had to stop on the way down; he had terrible indigestion . Alice said, "Well, I'm going to wake George up ." And he said, "Oh, no, don't do that . I think I'll go out and lie down on the couch ." Well, Alice did, I think , get George up, but we went on swimming . When we came back, George met us at the door ; he had a rather worried look on his face . He said, "Lyndon is sick . He's downstairs on the couch . I'm trying to make him lie down and rest, but he says he's got these pains, and I'm worried about him ." He said, "Do you know a doctor around here, Posh?"--talking to me . He said, "It might be his heart ."

...I think he definitely felt there was a possibility that he'd die before he got there . Now there are a couple of reasons behind that . Number one, he reached up to me during the trip, and he said, "Posh, if something happens, I want to tell you where I think my will is . I think it's in the bottom drawer of the desk at the radio station. I made it when I went off in World War II
and I haven't seen it in a long time, but I made it when I went off to the war ; I think it's there .'` But said, "If it's not, I just want to tell you what I want. I want Lady Bird to have everything I have."
And he gave a great tribute to her; he said, "She's been a wonderful, wonderful wife, and she's done so much for me. She just deserves everything that I have . . . That's what was in my will. And if it's not found, that's what it says, wherever it is." And I said, "All right ."

Then I had wanted very much to buy a ranch back here in Texas, a small ranch, which I now, by the way, own, got it some ten years later. A man named Dick Hooper owned it; Lyndon knew that I wanted this ranch, because someday I wanted to retire and put up a little place on it. It's at the back of this present-day ranch now. And he asked me during all this, "Did Dick Hooper ever sell you that ranch?" And I said, "ado." And he said, "Well, I wish he'd do it,
because I know how badly you want it and how you love the land."

He said, "I wonder why he won't sell it." I said, "I just don't know, but I'm not going to give up on it." He said, "Well, I certainly hope you will get it." But it was concern about something
he knew I wanted, and that he showed through all of this suffering. The doctor would occasionally look back. And there was one rather--as I say, he's an earthy man, and I always later said, "You know, you hear about the last words of great men like Washington and Jefferson, and others," but I'd say, "If you'd have conked out on the ambulance, I'd have had to do something about those last words."

Because one of the few things, he's a great smoker. I think history ought to know this: he asked the doctor, "Doctor, let me ask you something. Will I ever be able to smoke again if this is a heart attack?" And Dr. Gibson said, "Well, Senator, frankly, no." And he gave a great sigh and said, "I'd rather have my pecker cut off."

Posh Oltorf is on the far right with sunglasses. On far left is Texas politician, Homer Thornberry. Next is U.S. Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn. Next is George Brown of Houston, Texas (Brown & Root). Posh is with some of the most powerful men of Texas and the United States during the mid-20th century.