Spies, Dupes and Charities
Rivals for Power, Part 4. Norman Dodd and the tax-exempt foundations.
The exposure of the tax-exempt foundations is a story well told. I shall not repeat it here, except to focus on its protagonist, Norman Dodd, in order to highlight the intersection of those foundations with the intelligence agencies — and the shielding of that connection by the now-familiar smears of ad hominem and antisemitism.
Really, in 1950? That sounds so 2020. Some things don't change.
Because banks? It sounds like a tactless gambit to wave away unwelcome attention. It clearly works because the foundations get very little attention as this advice to journalists notes. After 70 years, the Reece committee remains the most powerful attempt to expose the foundations.
Rivals for Power is a series on the forces behind Event Covid. Part 1, Guildsmen Trap us in the Middle Ages; Part 2, Bankers Infected the Economy; Part 3, Vengeance, Feuds and Memory.
Aug 7, 2021
Metahistory is the history of the writing of history. Many years before the prefix meta- was popularized from the Greek, E.H. Carr wrote, What is History? (1961) in which he argued that the 'facts' of history are simply those which historians have selected for scrutiny.
Carr had the diplomat's overview of historiography, or the study of history as a discipline. Metahistory was developed by Hayden White in his eponymous work of 1973 in which he sees history not unlike Christopher Booker or Joseph Campbell saw the basic plots, notably tragedy and farce.
Is there a difference? Carr suggests that historians have blind spots. They are the product of a scientific and ideological tradition and cannot avoid moral judgements. White said history cannot be written without drawing on and giving form to poetic and philosophical insights; that the "best grounds for choosing one perspective on history rather than another are ultimately aesthetic or moral rather than epistemological."
Much as metahistory is fascinating, it is a subset of historiography. Carr's view is more useful. It shows us that history is just as likely to be shot down as any real-time interpretation of the world. Fact checkers would do well to read E.H. Carr.
You can see that Karl Marx engaged in sleight of hand when he wrote, clunkily: "the philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." University academics have taken this as an injunction to churn out student activists, as if action can ever precede understanding.
If you suspect that Marx was paid by vested interests through his connection to the Engels and von Westphalen families, this might be evidence. For who shapes and influences our universities today but the same banking and financial interests behind the tax-exempt foundations.
The greatest revision of post-war European history is arguably Operation Gladio. This was not the work of historians. Operation Gladio was only revealed due to the bloody-minded persistence of a handful of Italian magistrates and prosecutors.
If we don't hear the evidence — leave aside whether they're proven facts: we can start with the allegation — then our interpretation of the world is inadequate; our activism, our "change", is misdirected.
What else don't we know?
I find myself returning to the testimony of Norman Dodd (1899-1987) recorded shortly before his death. The first impression is of a somewhat stiff member of America's upper middle classes, educated at Andover and Yale and choosing for himself a career in banking. The more I listen, the more I recognise the reflection, the poise between willingness to criticize one's self and the confidence to state opinions about what one has observed and knows, having borne witness, to be true.
Norman Paul Dodd was born in South Orange, Essex County, which itself resonates the Dutch and English heritage of that part of New Jersey. If his manner seems of another time, recall that he had just turned 30 at the time of the Wall Street Crash.
Dodd is known to us today thanks to the efforts of G. Edward Griffin who videotaped an interview with him in 1982. He had been director of research, from 1952 to 1954, of the House Select Committee to Investigate Tax-Exempt Foundations and Comparable Organizations, known for short as the Reece Committee.
The story begins in 1929, in the middle of the stock market and banking crash, when his superiors at a New York bank asked for a report on how to shore up the operation. He told them to "take this experience as proof of something you do not know about banking — and you had better go find out what that something is, and act accordingly." As the young man on the block, his superiors were canny enough to push him into the fray. They told him, "Norm, why don't you go find out."
Like any young person keen to make his mark, he accepted what he says was a foolish assignment to search for something "when you don't know what you are looking for." His report took two and a half years and recommended a return to "sound banking" which in essence means keeping reserves to meet customers' demands in an emergency. His superiors replied, "we will never see sound banking in the United States again."
Sometimes it matters more not what is said but who says it. These were among the most prominent bankers in the country; the bank, a Morgan bank; his boss a Mr Corcoran. The words had such an impact on the young Dodd that he doubted if he had the moral spirit to continue in banking.
The words were: "Since the end of WW1 we have institutionalized conflicting interests that are so prevalent within the country that they can never be resolved."
This recalls the famous quote of president Woodrow Wilson in 1913 on the power “so pervasive, that they better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it.”
Dodd turned down an offer to put his feet on the desk, to live out life in a gilded cage in return for his silence. He resigned and found the doors of every bank closed to him.
He slipped down the rungs of the ladder of finance, working as an investment adviser and a stock market trader. The flames of inquiry burned within. He wanted to restore banking and economics, away from speculation, to fundamental principles. He found himself gravitating towards others at "the center of the world of dissatisfaction with the direction this country was headed."
In 1952 the House of Representatives passed a resolution to investigate the activities of the tax-exempt foundations as to whether those activities could justifiably be labeled un-American — "without, I must say, defining what they meant by un-American."
Today the Reece committee is seen through the lens of the 1950s "red scare" and the HUAC. This overlooks the fact that the Reece committee was formed in frustration at the earlier Cox Committee. In 1952 Edward E Cox (D, Georgia) had led a Committee to Investigate Tax-Exempt Foundations and Comparable Organizations but its report just a year later was criticized for dealing in generalities.
Before beginning work Dodd had to establish a definition of un-American, which was: the determination to effect changes in our country by unconstitutional means. "We have plenty of constitutional procedures assuming we wish to effect a change in the form of government and therefore any effort in that direction which did not avail itself of the procedures authorized by the Constitution could be justifiably called un-American."
The next step was to investigate the effect on the country of activities by large endowed foundations over what was, at that time, the past 40 years. “That effect was to orient our education system away from the principles of the Declaration of Independence and self-evident truths. We uncovered the efforts of these large foundations to get control of American education.”
Here we begin to finger the culprits, especially in the philanthropic and educational spheres.
One of the highlights of Dodd's testimony is his conversation with H. Rowan Gaither, then president of the Ford Foundation. Gaither had summoned Dodd to ask why Congress was interested in the foundations' activities.
“Mr. Dodd, all of us who have a hand in the making of policies here have had experience operating under directives, either in the O.S.S. or the European Economic Administration, with directives from the White House. We operate under those directives... the substance of which is that we shall use our grant-making power so to alter our life in the United States that it can be comfortably merged with the Soviet Union.”
Dodd replied that the foundations had obliged Congress to spend $150,000 to find out what Gaither had just said. Gaither was entitled to make grants for this purpose “but not to withhold that information from the people — to whom you are indebted for your tax exemption.” Why not tell Congress? The Ford Foundation's Gaither replied he would not think of doing any such thing.
Another foundation, the Carnegie Endowment, contacted Dodd. Its president was Dr. Joseph Johnson, who was the successor to Alger Hiss. Dr Johnson was accompanied by two vice presidents and their own counsel, a partner in the firm of Sullivan and Cromwell.
Already we see the connection with the Office of Strategic Services and the Economic Cooperation Administration, the U.S. government agency established in 1948 to administer the Marshall Plan. We see the name of Sullivan and Cromwell, closely involved in pre-WW2 Germany and which acted for Averill Harriman in the negotiations of Prescott Bush and Fritz Thyssen to secure Consolidated Silesian Steel Company (CSSC) in the face of Polish plans to nationalize the company, and which later drew on slave labour from Auschwitz.
The expert rabbit holer will point to the connections between OSS and William Stephenson and British Security Coordination, established in 1940 to protect British interests in the Americas and housed in Rockefeller Center. It is needless diversion because the intelligence agencies have for at least 400 years been an arm of commercial, industrial and financial enterprises.
Dodd's testiomony reinforces these links, showing us that precisely the same institutions that manipulated the world prior to WW2 were active in molding the peace, and shaping United States population to their interests.
The Economic Cooperation Administration is connected to the American Committee for a United Europe, formed in 1948 by William Donovan of the OSS, and funded by the Ford and Rockefeller foundations.
The uninformed will see the ECA and ACUE as charitable beneficence for war-weary Europeans. That’s an inadequate explanation because there's evidence that the plan for a united Europe was in the works long before the end of WW2 — and even in the inter-war years. We are told it was president Woodrow Wilson's plan to have a Europe strong enough to be a trading partner not a rival. Yet Wilson has been exposed as a puppet of Edward Mandell House, founder member of the Council on Foreign Relations. This Wilsonian narrative can be discarded for what it is.
One of the greatest fictions of the CFR is that it doesn't take policy positions but instead sponsors discussion, analysis and research. Businessmen never spend a dime without knowing what they're getting. Philanthropists are businessmen nonpareil.
Experienced rabbit holers have always wondered why Adolf Hitler did not crush Britain when he had the chance: in May 1940 in northern France when the British were driven back to Dunkirk and a new, untested prime minister Winston Churchill had just been appointed. Why instead did Hitler switch his attention to Russia, an attack that would have consumed attention, logistics and resources long before its execution in June 1941? Could it be connected to the plan for Western Europe?
Declassified U.S. government documents show that intelligence agencies financed the supposed visionaries of the European movement, including Robert Schuman and Paul-Henri Spaak whom they treated as hired hands. Much of this activity was conducted through corporations and legal firms and that information is unlikely ever to see the light of day.
If we approach history without an ounce of common sense, we are no better than the arch historian who pontificates from poetic and philosophical insight.
The Carnegie Endowment proved less hostile than the Ford Foundation and allowed access to its libraries, which Dodd perceived as an oversight for he had a good idea what its archive contained. He felt the Carnegie's trustees had lost their collective mind. This is an ominous turn of phrase for it was Dodd's investigator Katherine Casey who ultimately lost her mind when she read what was written there.
When Alger Hiss was forced to resign in 1948, he was being paid $20,000 a year as president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. That's about $250,000 today. Nelson Rockefeller was Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs. He told the New York Times that the FBI came to him in 1945 with "the goods" on Hiss.
Like Hiss, Harry Dexter White, an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, was named by Whittaker Chambers, an admitted Soviet spy, to the journalist Isaac Don Levine. White was an assistant to Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau, Jr., who formulated American financial and industrial policy towards Germany and the Allies.
The Morgenthau Plan would have deindustrialized Germany. It proposed not just the banning of weapons manufacture but the removal or destruction of all industrial plants and equipment in the Ruhr, the country's productive heartland.
Morgenthau's plan had already been leaked during the war. In fact the NAZIs were able to use it as propaganda in 1944, to energize their own civilians with the threat of what the Americans had in store. By 1947 Mogenthau's plan had been neutralized. The large-scale destruction of mines and industrial plant was blocked. Rival interests had triumphed.
White is an unlikely spy. He dominated the conference that set up the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, keystones of the post-war financial architecture. These objectives had existed, in various forms, since before WW1 and the tax-exempt foundations were intimately involved. As for the widespread idea that White followed Soviet orders to harden the Americans’ anti-Japanese stance in order to provoke Pearl Harbor, it is patent nonsense. The lobby that bounced President F.D. Roosevelt into the provocation of cutting off Japanese oil supplies was much broader than White alone, as James Bradley shows in The China Mirage (2014).
Further distraction is provided by the allegation that Hiss was framed by allies of Joseph McCarthy or that he was a scalp to pacify Congress.
Clearly there was a bigger battle going on. Both these men stood at the center of plans to use the war to reshape society at home and abroad. Both of them worked closely with the tax-exempt foundations, notably Rockefeller and Carnegie.
History is abundant with low-hanging fruit, ripe for the picking. To ignore it takes effort — placing people with the right kind of blindness in key positions in academia.
You might wonder why such tantalizing hints of Earth-manipulating movers and shakers do not make their way into print.
That might be because the same institutions that shape the Earth also shape education. Including the historians you get to read.
Norman Dodd's team showed how the tax-exempt foundations, working through the Carnegie Endowment and Guggenheim Foundation, took control of the teaching of history. Using scholarships to Europe, they bought compliant young academics who were later inserted into the U.S. universities. The express purpose was to rewrite history and control the presentation of future events.
Waldo Gifford Leland (1879-1966) could be called the hidden historian. He won't show up in many searches for the most famous. Yet Leland was perhaps the most influential historian of the 20th century. In short, he not only edited archives and research, and raised up future historians, he established the framework for the control of history: the narrative that gets told.
Leland was promoted under the auspices of the Carnegie Institution, beginning a quarter-century association that would see him establish the National Archives and serve as secretary of the American Historical Association to guide a new generation of historians.
He was the long-serving editor of The American Historical Review and The Dictionary of American Biography and the annual Handbook of Latin American Studies, begun in 1935.
He helped found the American Council of Learned Societies and on receiving a Rockefeller grant left the Carnegie Institution to head the ACLA from 1927 until his retirement in 1946. He also founded the International Committee of Historical Sciences in 1926. He was a pioneer in copyrighting research materials — a practice that has become a cancer today and angered the late internet researcher Aaron Swartz.
After WW1 he worked with the nascent League of Nations and returned to the project after WW2 as a delegate to the 1945 London Conference that led to the foundation of UNESCO and served as vice-chairman of the American delegation from 1946 to 1949.
The activities of William Leland match precisely the strategy and institutions that the Carnegie trustees were discussing in order to take over the teaching of history. The timing matches that noted in the transcripts seen by Norman Dodd.
"We are now at the year 1908, which was the year that the Carnegie Foundation began operations. In that year, the trustees, meeting for the first time, raised a specific question, which they discussed throughout the balance of the year in a very learned fashion. The question is: “Is there any means known more effective than war, assuming you wish to alter the life of an entire people?” And they conclude that no more effective means than war to that end is known to humanity.
So then, in 1909, they raised the second question and discussed it, namely: “How do we involve the United States in a war?” Well, I doubt at that time if there was any subject more removed from the thinking of most of the people of this country than its involvement in a war. There were intermittent shows in the Balkans, but I doubt very much if many people even knew where the Balkans were.
Then, finally, they answered that question as follows: “We must control the State Department.” That very naturally raises the question of how do we do that? And they answer it by saying: “We must take over and control the diplomatic machinery of this country.” And, finally, they resolve to aim at that as an objective. Then time passes, and we are eventually in a war, which would be World War I. At that time they record on their minutes a shocking report in which they dispatched to President Wilson a telegram, cautioning him to see that the war does not end too quickly.
Finally, of course, the war is over. At that time their interest shifts over to preventing what they call a reversion of life in the United States to what it was prior to 1914 when World War I broke out. At that point they came to the conclusion that, to prevent a reversion, “we must control education in the United States.” They realize that that's a pretty big task. It is too big for them alone, so they approach the Rockefeller Foundation with the suggestion that that portion of education which could be considered domestic be handled by the Rockefeller Foundation and that portion which is international should be handled by the Endowment.
They then decide that the key to success of these two operations lay in the alteration of the teaching of American history. So they approach four of the then-most prominent teachers of American history in the country — people like Charles and Mary Byrd — and their suggestion to them is: will they alter the manner in which they present their subject? And they got turned down flat. So they then decide that it is necessary for them to do as they say, “build our own stable of historians.”
Then they approach the Guggenheim Foundation, which specializes in fellowships, and say: “When we find young men in the process of studying for doctorates in the field of American history and we feel that they are the right caliber, will you grant them fellowshipson our say-so?” And the answer is yes. So, under that condition, eventually they assembled assemble twenty, and they take this twenty potential teachers of American history to London, and there they're briefed on what is expected of them when, as, and if they secure appointments in keeping with the doctorates they will have earned.
That group of twenty historians ultimately becomes the nucleus of the American Historical Association. Toward the end of the 1920's, the Endowment grants to the American Historical Association $400,000 for a study of our history in a manner which points to what can this country look forward to in the future. That culminates in a seven-volume study, the last volume of which is, of course, in essence a summary of the contents of the other six. The essence of the last volume is: The future of this country belongs to collectivism administered with characteristic American efficiency.
That's the story that ultimately grew out of and, of course, was what could have been presented by the members of this Congressional committee to the congress as a whole for just exactly what it said. They never got to that point."
Norman Dodd would feel at home today, more than 30 years after his death.
On the day the Reece Committee appointed Dodd as director of research, the two Democratic members of the committee abstained rather than confront the power of finance. Plus ça change.
Congressman Wayne Hayes (D, Ohio) said the committe was an effort by B. Carroll Reece (R, Tennesee) to make a name for himself. Since Reece had served from 1921, and would do so until 1961 with a break of only four years, he hardly sounds like he was a man in a hurry.
Dodd was blocked at every step. Intelligence officers were proposed to him as staff. The Republican National Committee brought pressure on Reece. Counsel refused to cooperate with the direction Reece and Dodd wanted to take the investigation. Reece eventually told Dodd to take aspects of the investigation private and to conduct them off the books. Finally the RNC appealed to the White House.
G Edward Griffin: Was their objection because of what you were doing or because of the fact that you were doing it outside of the official auspices of the Committee?
Norman Dodd: No, their objection was, as they put it, my devotion to what they called antisemitism. That was a cooked up idea.
Griffin: Why did they do that? How could they say that?
Dodd: Well, they could say it, Mr. Griffin, but they had to have something in the way of a rationalization of their decision to do everything they could to stop the completion of this investigation in the directions that it was moving, which would have been an exposure of this Carnegie Endowment story and the Ford Foundation and the Guggenheim and the Rockefeller Foundation, all working in harmony toward the control of education in the United States.
In the event, the Reece committee hearings were halted. Someone got to the Democratic Congressman Hayes and convinced him he was being double crossed and he launched a blistering attack on Reece. Although he later apologised, Reece did not resume the hearings.
As for the claim of antisemitism, it turned out that an intelligence officer that Dodd had taken onto his team, a Colonel Lee Lelane, had a book, and the book was deemed to be antisemitic.
Dodd was never called a conspiracy theorist during those years. The term was not yet used as a term of abuse. He argued it was the country that was the victim of a conspiracy.
What's telling are the terms used to attack Dodd himself. The song remains the same.
The industrialist Andrew Carnegie had publicly stated he intended to counteract the departure of the colonies from Great Britain. This would appear to put Carnegie in the same field as the Cecil Rhodes will and scholarships, that were in turn coordinated by Rothschild. It is the same claimed intent as Alfred Milner’s court, which helped found the Council on Foreign Relations and its British counterpart Chatham House. These bodies not only cultivate extensive contacts among journalists and politicians. They have deeper pockets, broader connections and greater influence than many foreign ministries. The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office is small and impoverished in comparison.
Dodd found that the activities and minutes of the Carnegie Endowment prove that its intentions had moved far from those expressed by its founder. The trustees, in word and deed, diminish the ideals upon which the United States was founded, claiming they were no longer practicable and that the future belonged to collectivism and the administering of society in the interest of monopoly and industry.
This is low-hanging historical fruit, as I said earlier. It is not hard to ask qui bono and do a little inductive reasoning. The fact that historians and journalists do nothing to understand this nexus suggests that their salary depends on them not understanding it, to paraphrase Upton Sinclair.
The Reece Commission of 1952-54 was one of the only times the tax-exempt foundations opened their records to outsiders. Carroll Quigley had The Anglo American Establishment published only after his death and Antony Sutton was exiled from the Hoover Institution for writing about the role of the elites in financing Nazism and Bolshevism.
Was Dodd right to say the tax-exempt foundations had been subverted by bankers and lawyers? Was Carnegie outsmarted or was he never honest about his intent: a worldwide collective estate that is to be ruled from behind the scenes by the same powers that run the tax-exempt foundations?
Or as General Charles de Gaulle said in his broadcast via the BBC on June 18, 1940: “This war is not limited to the unhappy territory of our country. This war is not ended by the battle. This is a World War.”
Rene Wormser, the legal counsel to the Reece Committee, wrote a 1958 book on the subject: Foundations: Their Power and Influence.