Skip to comments.ROBERT WELCH, THE BIRCH SOCIETY, and "THE POLITICIAN", revised
Posted on 08/28/2003 11:00:29 PM PDT by Ernie.cal
Recently, a JBS chapter leader accused me of lying when I pointed out that Robert Welch thought President Dwight D. Eisenhower was "a dedicated, conscious agent of the Communist conspiracy." It amazes me how, even at this late date, many Birch Society members still parrot the Birch party-line with respect to this matter.
I obtained my photocopy of the unpublished version of The Politician from G-2 Army Intelligence. The copy in their files was first obtained circa January 1959 and appears to be an edition that was last updated by Welch in June 1958 but printed in August 1958.
According to Robert Welch, the first edition of the unpublished manuscript was completed in "December 1954 and shown to about thirty of my best-informed friends. A much longer version was finished in August, 1956 and has been read by perhaps sixty friends."
The 1956 edition had 6000 words whereas the 1958 edition had 80,000 words (287 pages). Ultimately, the unpublished manuscript version was sent to "hundreds" of people before a published version appeared in June 1963 with major editing and elimination of 3 paragraphs.
Army Intelligence, 108th CIC Group in New York, described the unpublished version of The Politician in a January 14, 1959 memo, as follows:
"An attack such as this one on the Chief Executive of the United States of America can only favor those elements of society who oppose the democratic processes by which we elect Presidents, and as such, aids the cause of International Communism which the author claims to abhor. The author must be considered to have become unbalanced on his subject or to be consciously aiding the enemies of the Republic. In view of his previous writings and background, it must be concluded that his hate for Communism has obscured his judgement and that he has written an unbalanced book."
In early 1959, The Boston Field Office of the FBI obtained a copy of The Politician from Army Intelligence and forwarded it to HQ. FBI HQ notified all of its Special Agents in Charge of Field Offices about the manuscript and described it as "a vicious attack" upon President Eisenhower and his Administration.
In the Spring of 1961, Robert Welch publicly blamed "the media" for the controversy that erupted at that time over The Politician and he claimed that critics deliberately distorted what he wrote and wrongly associated the Birch Society with his "private letter".
At that time, Mr. Welch claimed that his manuscript was circulated as a numbered "private letter" which was "on loan" to interested, trustworthy individuals who would return it and keep it confidential. Welch further claimed (falsely) that The Politician had no relationship to the John Birch Society since it was written long before the JBS was founded and was unknown to almost all its members.
As I will demonstrate in future postings in this Group, in the months immediately following the creation of the JBS, The Politician was used as a recruitment tool for the Society and represented a "higher truth" which only certain "advanced" prospective members could be trusted to understand. Welch wrote letters in 1959-1960, to accompany copies of the unpublished version he mailed out, in which he solicited members for the Birch Society based upon their reading and acceptance of the themes, evidence, and arguments presented in The Politician.
In addition: Revilo Oliver, one of the founding members of the Birch Society, and an original member of its National Council, has written in his 1981 memoir, America's Decline: The Education of a Conservative, that when he received his copy of the "private letter" in October 1958, attached to it was "a prospectus for the formation of a national society, then unnamed but later known as the John Birch Society, and for the promotion, as an instrument of that society, of the periodical, renamed American Opinion..."
Oliver reports that his edition of The Politician was 304 pages. My copy (August 1958 edition) was 287 pages so it would appear that the "prospectus" regarding formation of what would become the Birch Society and American Opinion magazine was an additional 17 pages.
A typewritten addendum by Welch appears on page 287 of my photocopy. It seems to support the Oliver version of this matter. Welch begins by pointing out that he has given up his business responsibilities "and am now devoting 'the whole of my life'...to efforts to wake up my fellow citizens to the horror and imminence of the Communist danger. If you would like to help me to increase the reach and effectiveness of those efforts, there is a postscript to this manuscript which I shall be glad to send to any reader who requests it."
Moreover, with respect to the founding meeting of the Birch Society in Indianapolis in December 1958, Oliver contends: "The fact was that The Politician had presumably been read, and had been at least tacitly approved by, every man present at the meeting in Indianapolis, and was so far from having been 'disavowed' by anyone (except, possibly, in private comments of which I had no knowledge) that I recommended then and later that no one who had not read and approved the document should be admitted to membership in the Birch Society." According to Oliver, "Members of the Council were requested, and members of the salaried staff were instructed" to endorse "falsehoods" about The Politician after the controversy erupted in Spring of 1961.
In private, Robert Welch blamed the debacle over the "private letter" on someone about whom most JBS members probably had a high opinion---Frederick C. Schwarz (Christian Anti-Communism Crusade). According to Welch, Schwarz was responsible for providing a copy of The Politician to a Chicago newspaperman, via one of Schwarz's employees, and it was the subsequent unfavorable publicity resulting from Chicago and Milwaukee newspaper articles that caused Welch so much grief.
Most Birch Society members swallowed whole everything that Welch told them about The Politician (and most everything else for that matter) -- and they believed that Welch never called Ike anything more than an unprincipled, opportunistic politician.
However, one curious chapter leader in Wisconsin asked Welch to send him a copy of the unpublished manuscript (which Welch did). After the chapter leader confirmed that Welch did indeed call Ike a Communist, both he and his entire chapter resigned from the Society!
Unpublished vs. Published Remarks about Ike
I have posted a scanned copy of two pages from the unpublished version of The Politician in the "Files" section of my Yahoo group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/FBIvsExtremeRight/
The pertinent paragraphs are on pages 266 and 267. In the published edition, Welch is somewhat more guarded and theoretical in his wording, but he still manages to defame Eisenhower and insinuate that Ike was a traitor. After all, the chapter title in which even the toned-down comments are made is: "The Word Is Treason" !
Page 266, unpublished version: "For the sake of honesty, however, I want to confess here my own conviction that Eisenhower's motivation is more ideological than opportunistic. Or, to put it bluntly, I personally think that he has been sympathetic to ultimate Communist aims, realistically willing to use Communist means to help them achieve their goals, knowingly accepting and abiding by Communist orders, and consciously serving the Communist conspiracy, for all of his adult life."
Page 267, unpublished version: "And it seems to me that the explanation of sheer political opportunism, to account for Eisenhower's Communist-aiding career, stems merely from a deeprooted aversion of any American to recognizing the horrible truth. Most of the doubters, who go all the way with me except to the final logical conclusion, appear to have no trouble whatever in suspecting that Milton Eisenhower is an outright Communist. Yet they draw back from attaching the same suspicion to his brother, for no other real reason than that one is a professor and the other a president. While I too think that Milton Eisenhower is a Communist, and has been for thirty years, this opinion is based largely on general circumstances of his conduct. But my firm belief that Dwight Eisenhower is a dedicated, conscious agent of the Communist conspiracy is based on an accumulation of detailed evidence so extensive and so palpable that it seems to me to put this conviction beyond any reasonable doubt."
In the published edition which excises the section just quoted above, there is a footnote on page 278 (# 2) and its text appears on pages cxxxviii-cxxxix at the back of the book (the text appears below):
"At this point in the original manuscript there was one paragraph in which I expressed my own personal belief as to the most likely explanation of the events and actions with this document had tried to bring into focus. In a confidential letter, neither published nor offered for sale, and restricted to friends who were expected to respect the confidence but offer me in exchange their own points of view, this seemed entirely permissible and proper. It does not seem so for an edition of the letter that is now to be published and given, probably, fairly wide distribution. So that paragraph, and two explanatory paragraphs, connected with it, have been omitted here. And the reader is left entirely free to draw his own conclusions."
Welch's explanation above for excising 3 paragraphs from the original edition makes very little sense. The themes, arguments, evidence, premises, and conclusions contained in The Politician differ not one iota from themes, arguments, evidence, premises, and conclusions in official Birch Society literature from its inception. Both attribute all of our nation's adversities and setbacks to conscious deliberate actions by numerous prominent Americans in Administrations since FDR occupied the White House. Explanations of motivation always center around "treason" and "conspiracy" by numerous noxious, subversive, and unprincipled characters.
Consequently, the most reasonable inference for why Welch felt compelled to eliminate 3 paragraphs from the published edition of The Politician, is the same reason why Welch initially falsely claimed that his "private letter" had nothing to do with the JBS, namely, Welch thought excising the "offending" paragraphs would diminish negative publicity and retain those members (or prospective members) of the Birch Society who might be offended by such an unsparing denunciation and description of Eisenhower as an outright traitor and "dedicated, conscious agent of the Communist conspiracy."
To repeat Welch's rationale from page 267 of the unpublished version, he was trying to accommodate those persons who could not "go all the way with me...to the final logical conclusion."
I am not a member of the John Birch Society; however, I am a member of the Nashville Council on Foreign Relations. I can tell you one thing for certain; every President in the past 100 years has enabled Marxism to evolve within our political system. Do not take my word for it, read The Ten Planks of Communism, by Marx and Engels and tell me which ones are not entrenched by our government. These principles are necessary for Marxist to gain control of the government, which, based on observation, has occurred.
Regarding the JBS and Rovert Welch:
Many of the articles smearing Robert Welch and the Society took statements from The Politician out of context, even though the work was yet to be published and was largely unknown to JBS members. One “quote” often repeated in the press was that Robert Welch had labeled Eisenhower as “a dedicated, conscious agent of the Communists.” In fact, the only place in The Politician where the phrase appears it is directed not at Eisenhower, but at General George C. Marshall: “I defy anybody, who is not actually a Communist himself, to read all of the known facts about his career and not decide that since at least sometime in the 1930’s George Catlett Marshall has been a conscious, deliberate, dedicated agent of the Soviet conspiracy.”
Was Eisenhouwer a Communist? Maybe not, but he was sure used by the Marxist to advance its agenda in the USA.