Sunday, October 20, 2013

LBJ's Strange Links to C.R. Smith of American Airlines

C.R. Smith
All this inquiry has taken us far afield of our original interest in the Fort Worth preacher, J. Frank Norris, and his sponsorship by the attorney who set up the first Southern Air Transport (SAT) in Texas. It was this location from which John Birch was launched to the very site in China where he would come to the aid of Doolittle's Raiders. Was this a mere coincidence or was it part of someone's insidious plan?

Those of us who struggle to learn "the secret history" are well aware of the Florida company by that name and what the SAT was was known to transport in Asia. Helliwell links the OSS and the military's Air Transport Command through the Central Intelligence proprietary company re-created years after the Dallas company's incorporation. This blog has spent many words exploring Helliwell's background, as you can find by using the search engine to the right.

We can learn even more about Southern Air Transport's links to Claire Chennault from an excerpt, "Heroin in Southeast Asia," from Henrik Kruger's book, The Great Heroin Coup – Drugs, Intelligence, and International Fascism:
Pawley 1918 passport
[William D.] Pawley eventually built five large airplane factories around the world. It is also likely that he was involved in the CIA's Double Chek Corp. in Miami, as he had similarly been in the Flying Tigers. The CIA's air proprietaries are said to stick together. When in 1958, CIA pilot Allen Pope was shot down and taken prisoner in Indonesia, he was flying for CAT. When he was released in 1962 he began flying for Southern Air Transport, another agency proprietary, which operated as late as 1973 out of offices in Miami and Taiwan. 
Pawley, it seems, had ties to Cuba going back as early as 1918, according to his passport application (above right). Secret intelligence operatives fighting communism along with Claire Chennault and the Flying Tigers would obtain their funds for that continuing war from laundered profits that came from the sale of heroin refined from poppies produced in Southeast Asia. The laundering mechanism was Southern Air Transport, a corporation set up in 1947 by CIA paymaster, Paul Helliwell, also a Florida attorney. Is there a connection between this corporation in Florida and the earlier one in Texas? Norris' Searchlight would come in handy now, to help us look for those links.
Norris' newspaper.

Back in Fort Worth

Norris' anti-Catholic rhetoric had inspired the wrath of Henry C. Meacham, who in addition to owning a retail store was also Fort Worth's mayor from 1925-27. Meacham, a Catholic, allegedly asked his friend Dexter Elliott Chipps, referred to as an angry drunk, to reason with the preacher. So says Don Graham in a Texas Monthly piece:
Mayor Meacham
By the mid-twenties Norris oversaw a virtual communications empire. Besides producing a steady stream of articles for his tabloid, The Searchlight , he broadcast sermons and political rants on his radio station, KFQB, which billed itself “Keep Folks Quoting the Bible.” Everything came to a head in the summer of 1926, after Mayor H. C. Meacham sought to heavily tax Norris’s empire. Norris responded by accusing the mayor of graft and dropping hints about a sexual relationship between Meacham and a young woman. The mayor retaliated by firing several employees of his department store for refusing to give up their membership in the First Baptist Church. This kind of heavy-handed tactic only gave Norris another reason to bash the mayor, which he did on an almost daily basis. Many people in Fort Worth wanted Norris dead, and one of them, a friend of the mayor’s named D. Elliott Chipps, decided to deal with Norris personally. Known to be belligerent when drinking, Chipps confronted Norris in his church office on a hot July afternoon in 1926. The visit ended when Norris fired three bullets into Chipps’s body, an act that captured the nation’s attention. 
Norris was acquitted of murder charges, based on public threats made against him by the victim, and he continued to preach against all forms of vice — and against Communism — until his death in 1952.

World Fundamental Baptist Missionary Fellowship

Norris antagonized the "Southern Baptists" and their SBGCT organization as well as the seminary he organized in Fort Worth, and as a consequence set up a a new one to replace the first, which was too liberal for his taste. His friend Pemberton was a trustee.

Dr. Louis Entzminger relates that Norris organized his own seminary in downtown Fort Worth in 1939 called the Fundamentalist Baptist Bible Institute (page 55), but changed the name in 1938 for accreditation purposes. Located within the First Baptist Church of Fort Worth, the institute, or seminary, was an impressive structure. His most well- known student was Captain John M. Birch.

The following item appeared on the front page of the Big Spring, Texas, Daily Herald on March 3, 1938:
Dr. Entzminger, who maintains headquarters in Chicago and Fort Worth, is engaged principally in organization work and seeking contributions which go directly to missionary fields in China, Europe and Africa and the Spanish field around San Antonio. He said that the movement had doubled in the past six months, that he had travelled 11,000 miles since the first of the year, spoke to 60,000, converted 1,000 and made contacts with more than 1,000. He is accompanied by Dr. J. Frank Norris, Fort Worth, who is unofficially connected with the movement.
In 1940 Entzminger lived in an apartment building which is at the same address as today's YMCA building.

Cutting Red Tape in FDR's State Department

Entzminger tells in his book how his first trip to the Far East came about:
[FDR's] Former Secretary of State Cordell Hull, I know, rendered him [Norris] several special favors. For instance, when I went to the Orient, I did not know I was going until Thursday night before I left on Sunday night. I had no passport, I had made no preparation. Dr. Norris said, "You're going to China and Japan." I appreciated his enthusiasm but deplored his judgment, as I knew it was impossible. But, to my surprise, Friday morning he called up the Secretary of State and though I had not made any application, he told the Secretary of State he had to have the passport by the following Sunday morning, two days afterwards. The Secretary of State said, "You get the application in, and I will get the passport back to you." That was only two days before. I filed the necessary application and early Sunday morning a Special-Delivery registered letter came, and it was my Passport to China, Japan, Manchuria and Korea. That was really cutting the Washington red tape in a hurry.

C.R. Smith, FDR's Air Transport Command
Then there remained the question of transportation. Dr. Norris was a great personal friend of Mr. C.R. Smith, President of American Airlines, and he called him and secured my round-trip ticket from Detroit to Seattle and upon my return from the Orient the proper plane reservation from San Francisco to Los Angeles and then to Fort Worth and on back to Detroit. Then he had another friend who was agent for the biggest shipping company and secured steamer passage without delay on that trip. Everything went according to clockwork and I got back to Detroit within two minutes of my scheduled time, after going half way around the world and back.
Thus, not only are we led to understand that the relationship between the preacher and the Buck family, the attorneys for both C. R. Smith and A. P. Barrett and their airline and radio companies--a relationship which began in 1909--continued during Cordull Hull's tenure as Secretary of State for FDR from  1933 through 1944--but that the State Department was responsible for obtaining authority for Norris and his staff to travel internationally without using the normal channels.

This could only mean that whatever Norris was doing abroad, he was linked to the highest echelons of the Department of State's permanent bureaucracy, most likely handled through the office of the Chief of Protocol, James Clement Dunn. We will return to this connection in future posts, after briefly noting a few interesting data which tie this office to Fort Worth.

Dunn had married Mary Augusta Armour, daughter of Kirkland Brooks Armour, president of Armour Packing Co., who died in 1901. Mary's portion of the estate left to her in trust was almost a million dollars in 1901, when she was only seven years old. When the company went public in 1923, Mary Dunn would not only have become much wealthier, but the Armour family also became more politically connected, as shown below. J. Ogden Armour was one of her father's relations, who was in 1917 a director of American International Corporation and associated with many directors of the new Federal Reserve Bank of New York:
Among the directors of AIC were Frank A. Vanderlip, President of the National City Bank of New York, Theodore N. Vail,  President of American Telephone and Telegraph, shipping line magnates Robert Dollar (Dollar Lines) and J. P. Grace (director of National City Bank), Percy A. Rockefeller (son of William Rockefeller and Isabel Stillman--heir to National City Bank), Pierre S. du Pont (heir to explosives company that created chemical industry and owner of General Motors; cousin of the owner of 120 Broadway), J. Ogden Armour (meat-packing heir), Robert S. Lovett (attorney and president for both the Union Pacific and Southern Pacific while owned by E.H. Harriman), William E. Corey (director of Sinclair Oil at 120 Broadway), Otto H. Kahn (of Kuhn, Loeb and Co.), C. A. Coffin (chairman of General Electric), John D. Ryan (National City Bank), W. S. Saunders (director of New York Fed at 120 Broadway), G. L. Tripp (Chase National Bank), A. H. Wiggin (Director of Federal Reserve Bank of New York in the early 1930s), James Stillman (National City Bank), R. F. Herrick, Beekman Winthrop (Secretary of the Navy and Governor of Puerto Rico), Edward S. Webster and Charles Augustus Stone (both of Boston engineering firm of Stone and Webster).
Lyndon Johnson appointed Rev. Norris' close friend, Cyrus Rowlett Smith, Secretary of Commerce in 1968. Five years earlier, on March 23, 1963, Smith had introduced President Kennedy at a speech he gave at the Conrad Hilton Hotel Civic Luncheon in Chicago. In 1968 Smith campaigned with John Connally for Richard Nixon, according to an article by Leo Janos in the July 1973 Atlantic. The article appeared as part of the FBI's 201 file set up on Lee Harvey Oswald.

It should also be mentioned that Smith and his manager Ralph Radcliffe were also recommended less than one month after the JFK assassination by the FBI Dallas SAC for a personal letter from J. Edgar Hoover to thank them for their "unusual assistance" in the FBI's investigation of Kennedy's assassination. We all know the results of that so-called investigation.

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