The Car Connection

from the book

Trading with the Enemy

The Nazi - American Money Plot 1933-1949

by Charles Higham

Delacorte Press, 1983


Henry Ford was once ranked in popular polls as the third greatest man in history: just below Napoleon and Jesus Christ. His wealth may be gauged by the fact that when young Edsel turned twenty-one, the father took the boy into a private vault and gave him $1 million in gold. Henry Ford controlled more than half of the American automobile market by 1940: in the early years of the century, his famous Model T, the chariot of the common man, revolutionized the nation.

Lean and hard as a Grant Wood farmer, Henry Ford was a knotty puritan, dedicated to the simple ideals of early-to-bed, early-to-rise, plain food, and no adultery. He didn't drink and fought a lifetime against the demon tobacco.

He admired Hitler from the beginning, when the future Fuhrer was a struggling and obscure fanatic. He shared with Hitler a fanatical hatred of Jews. He first announced his anti-Semitism in 1919, in the

New York World, when he expressed a pure fascist philosophy. He said, "International financiers are behind all war. They are what is called the international Jew: German-Jews, French-Jews, EnglishJews, American-Jews . . . the Jew is a threat."

In Germany, Hitler was uttering identical sentiments. In 1920, Ford arranged for his Dearborn Independent, first published in 1918, to become a platform for his hatred of the Jews. Week after week the newspaper set out to expose some horror of Jewish misbehavior. The first anti-Semitic issue on May 22 carried the headline THE INTERNATIONAL JEW: THE WORLD S PROBLEM. The leading article opened with the words "There is a race, a part of humanity, which has never been received as a welcome part . . .'' and continued in the same vein to the end. A frequent contributor was a fanatical White Russian, Boris Brasol, who boasted in one piece: ''I have done the Jews more injury than would have been done to them by ten pogroms."

Brasol was successively an agent of the Czar and of the U.S. Army Intelligence; later he became a Nazi spy.

Ford's book The International Jew was issued in 1927. A virulent anti-Semitic tract, it was still being widely distributed in Latin America and the Arab countries as late as 1945. Hitler admired the book and it influenced him deeply. Visitors to Hitler's headquarters at the Brown House in Munich noticed a large photograph of Henry Ford hanging in his office. Stacked high on the table outside were copies of Ford's book. As early as 1923, Hitler told an interviewer from the Chicago Tribune, ''I wish that I could send some of my shock troops to Chicago and other big American cities to help." He was referring to stories that Ford was planning to run for President.

Ford was one of the few people singled out for praise in Mein Kampf. At Hitler's trial in 1924, Erhard Auer of the Bavarian Diet testified that Ford had given Hitler mone~lFord formed crucial link in The Fraternity at an early stage. He appointed Gerhardt Westrick's partner Dr. Heinrich Albert as chairman of the Ford Company. Other prominent figures in that company were fanatically pro-Nazi. They included a grandson of the Kaiser and Carl Bosch, Schmitz's forerunner as head of I.G. Farben. Later, Carl Krauch of I.G. Farben became a director and Kurt von Schroder, as one might have predicted, handled the banking.

Carl Krauch testified in an interrogation in 1946:

"I myself knew Henry Ford and admired him. I went to see Goring personally about that. I told Goring that I myself knew his son Edsel, too, and I told Goring that if we took the Ford independence away from them in Germany, it would aggrieve friendly relations with American industry in the future. I counted on a lot of success for the adaptation of American methods in Germany's industries, but that could be done only in friendly cooperation. Goring listened to me and then he said: "I agree. I shall see to it that the German Ford Company will not be incorporated in the Hermann Goring Company." So I participated regularly in the supervisory board meetings to inform myself about the business processes of Henry Ford and, if possible, to take a stand for the Henry Ford Works after the war had begun. Thus, we succeeded in keeping the Ford Works working and operating independently of our government's seizure."

Edsel Ford had a great deal to do with the European companies. He was different in character from his father. He was a nervous, high-strung man who tried to work off his extreme tensions and guilts over inherited wealth in a furious addiction to tennis and other sports. Darkly handsome, with a whipcord physique, he was miserable at heart. He could not relate to his father, who despised him, and his inner distress caused him severe stomach ulcers that developed into gastric cancer by the early 1940s. Nevertheless, he and his father had one thing in common. True figures of The Fraternity, they believed in Business as Usual in time of war.

Edsel was on the board of American I.G. and General Aniline and Film throughout the 1930s. He and his father, following their meetings with Gerhardt Westrick at Dearborn in 1940, refused to build aircraft engines for England and instead built supplies of the 5-ton military trucks that were the backbone of German army transportation. They arranged to ship tires to Germany despite the shortages; 30 percent of the shipments went to Nazi-controlled territories abroad. German Ford employee publications included such editorial statements as, "At the beginning of this year we vowed to give our best and utmost for final victory, in unshakable faithfulness to our Fuehrer." Invariably, Ford remembered Hitler's birthday and sent him 50,000 Reichsmarks a year. His Ford chief in Germany was responsible for selling military documents to Hitler. Westrick's partner Dr. Albert continued to work in Hitler's cause when that chief came to the United States to continue his espionage. In 1941, Henry Ford delivered a bitter attack on the Jews to The Manchester Guardian (February 16, 1941) saying inter alia, that the United States should make England and Germany fight until they both collapsed and that after that there would be a coalition of the powers.

And in 1941 he hired Charles Lindbergh as a member of his executive staff. Lindbergh had been one of the most vocal supporters of Hitler. Indeed, the advent of Pearl Harbor made no difference to Lindbergh's attitude. On December 17, 1941, ten days after the Japanese attack, Lindbergh said to a group of America Firsters at the home of prominent businessman Edwin S. Webster in New York,

There is only one danger in the world-that is the yellow danger. China and Japan are really bound together against the white race. There could only have been one efficient weapon against this alliance.... Germany.... the ideal setup would have been to have had Germany take over Poland and Russia, in collaboration with the British, as a bloc against the yellow people and Bolshevism. But instead, the British and the fools in Washington had to interfere. The British envied the Germans and wanted to rule the world forever. Britain is the real cause of all the trouble in the world today.

While Lindbergh took over as consultant, Edsel Ford began to concentrate on insuring that his interests in France would not be affected following the German invasion. Management of the Ford interests was in the hands of the impressively handsome and elegant Paris financier Maurice Dollfus, who had useful contacts with the Worms Bank and the Bank for International Settlements. Although he had little knowledge of manufacturing processes, Dollfus supplied much of the financing for the new sixty-acre Ford automobile factory at Poissy, eleven miles from Paris in the Occupied Zone. Under Dollfus the Poissy plant began making airplane engines in 1940, supplying them to the German government. It also built trucks for the German army, as well as automobiles. Carl Krauch and Hermann Schmitz were in charge of the operation from their headquarters in Berlin along with Edsel Ford at Dearborn.

After Pearl Harbor, Edsel Ford moved to protect the company's interest in Occupied France, even though this would mean collaboration with the Nazi government |Edsel and Dollfus decided to consolidate their operation in conjunction with Carl Krauch, Heinrich Albert, and Gerhardt Westrick in Gemmany. The problem they had was how to keep in touch, since their two countries were at war. In order to overcome this difficulty, Edsel traveled to Washington at the beginning of 1942 and entered into an arrangement with Assistant Secretary of State Breckinridge Long, who simultaneously was blocking financial aid to German-Jewish refugees by citing the Trading with the Enemy Act. Long agreed that it should be possible for letters to travel to and from Occupied France via Lisbon and Vichy. Since it would be too dangerous to risk the letters falling into the hands of the press or foreign agents, they would have to be carried by a Portuguese courier named George Lesto who, with clearance from the Nazi government, was permitted to travel in and out of Paris.

On January 28, 1942, Dollfus sent the first letter after Pearl Harbor to Edsel Ford in Dearborn, Michigan, via the Portuguese courier Lesto. Dollfus wrote that, "Since the state of war between U.S.A. and Germany I arn not able to correspond with you very easily. I have asked Lesto to go to Vichy and mail to you the following information." He added that production was continuing as before, that trucks were being manufactured for the occupying Germans and the French, and that Ford was ahead of the French automobile manufacturers in supplying the enemy. Dollfus said he was getting support from the Vichy government to preserve the interests of the American shareholders and that a company in North Africa was being founded for the Nazis with ground plots in Oran. Amazingly, the letter concluded by saying, ''I propose to send again Mr. Lesto to the States as soon as all formalities and authorizations are accomplished."

Edsel replied at length on May 13: ''It is interesting to note that you have started your African company and are laying plans for a more peaceful future." He went on, "I have received a request from the State Department to make a recommendation for issuance of a visa to Mr. Lesto.'' However, the letter went on, Ford was uneasy about making the request; it was clear that he was nervous about the matter being disclosed.

The Royal Air Force, apparently not briefed on the world connections of The Fraternity, had just bombed the Poissy plant. Ford wrote on May 15 that photographs of the plant on fire were published in our newspapers here but fortunately no reference was made to the Ford Motor Company. In other words, Edsel was relieved that it was not made clear to the American public that he was operating the plant for the Nazis.

On February 11, 1942, Dollfus wrote again-that the results of the year up to December 31, 1941, showed a net profit for Ford's French branch of 58 million francs including payment for dealings with the Nazis.

On June 6, Dollfus wrote Edsel enclosing a memorandum prepared by George Lesto. The memo stated that the RAF had now bombed the plant four times, and that all machinery and equipment had been taken from the plant and scattered all over the country. Lesto was pleased to state that the Vichy government "agreed to pay for all damages." The reparation was "approved by the German government." Ford replied to this letter on July 17, 1942, expressing pleasure with this arrangement, congratulating Lesto on organizing the repayment, and saying that he had shown the letter to his father and to Charles E. Sorenson, and that they both joined him in sending best wishes to Dollfus and the staff, in the hope that they would continue to carry on the good work that they were doing.

Meanwhile, Dollfus and Heinrich Albert set up another branch of Ford in North Africa, headquartered in Vichy Algiers with the approval of I.G. Farben. It was to build trucks and armored cars for Rommel's army. In a lengthy report to the State Department dated July 11, 1942, Felix Cole, American Consul in Algiers, sent a detailed account of the planned operation, not complaining that the headquarters was located in the Occupied Zone of France or that Dollfus was prominent in the Pucheu* group of bankers that financed the factory through the Worms Bank, the Schroder Bank, and BIS correspondent in Paris. Cole remarked en passant, ''The [Worms] firm is greatly interested in the efforts now being made to effect a compromise peace on behalf of Germany." Cole had put his finger on something: Dollfus was more than a mere Nazi collaborator working with Edsel Ford. He was a key link in The Fraternity's operation in Europe, scheming with Pucheu, the Worms Bank, the Bank of France, the Chase, and the Bank for International Settlements.

The letter from Cole went on: "It is alleged that the main outlets for the new works [in Oran] will be southwards, but the population which is already getting plenty of propaganda about the collaboration of French-German-American capital and the questionable (?) sincerity of the American war effort * is already pointing an accusing finger at a transaction which has been for long a subject of discussion in commercial circles.''

Dollfus wrote again on August 15, 1942; the letter reached Edsel Ford two weeks later. Dollfus stated that following the RAF bombing, production had been resumed in France at the same rate; that he was not permitted to say where the new plants were to which production had been disbursed but that they were four of the principal plants. He went on, "Machinery has been overhauled and repaired and some new machinery purchased so that the capital in machinery and equipment is completely restored to its pre-bombing status. I have named a manager in each plant and the methods and standards are the same as they were in Poissy. Essential repairs have been started at Poissy but work is slow because of the difficulty in obtaining materials.''

In the rest of a very long letter, Dollfus pointed out that at this stage the Poissy and other works came directly under Dr. Heinrich Albert and a German officer named Tannen, in trust, "Mr. Tannen has in turn given me back most of the powers that I used to have previously to run our business, with the exception of certain ones that he does not hold himself, and some others which I believe should have been given me but anyhow they are not indispensable for me to continue to run the business normally.'' Dollfus added that Dr. Albert was clearly anxious to play a part "so as to appear a Good Samaritan after the war in the eyes of the Allies."

On September 29, 1942, Breckinridge Long wrote to Edsel enclosing a letter from Dollfus saying that Vichy's compensation payment to Ford to the tune of 38 million francs had been received. On October 8, Ford sent a letter of thanks.

In April 1943, Morgenthau and Lauchlin Currie conducted a lengthy investigation into the Ford subsidiaries in France, concluding that

"their production is solely for the benefit of Germany and the countries under its occupation" and that the Germans have "shown clearly their wish to protect the Ford interests" because of the "attitude of strict neutrality" maintained by Henry and Edsel Ford in time of war. And finally, "the increased activity of the French Ford subsidiaries on behalf of Germans receives the commendation of the Ford family in America."

Despite a report running to hundreds of thousands of words and crammed with exhaustive documentation including all the relevant letters, nothing whatsoever was done about the matter.

Meanwhile, Ford had gone on making special deals. On May 29, 1942, the Ford Motor Company in Edgewater, New Jersey, had shipped six cargoes of cars to blacklisted Jose O. Moll of Chile. Another consignee was a blacklisted enemy corporation, Lilienfeld, in Bolivia. On October 20, 1942, John G. Winant, U.S. Ambassador to London, coolly reported to Dean Acheson that two thousand German army trucks were authorized for repair by the Ford motor works in Berne. On the same day, Winant reported that the British Legation and the U.S. authorities recommended the Ford Motor Company of Belgium be blacklisted because its Zurich branch, on U.S. orders, was repairing trucks and converting the use of gasoline for trucks and cars of the German army in Switzerland.

In December 1943 a further report from Minister Leland Harrison in Berne said, "The Ford Motor Company in Zurich, acting for Cologne, supplies spare parts for the repair of Ford trucks and passenger cars to U.S. Ford Motor Company agents in Switzerland. Some of these parts are imported, which provides the enemy with clearing funds.'' Thus, one year after these matters were reported in Washington, trading with the enemy was continuing. All Swiss operations functioned under the guidance of Ford's Charles E. Sorenson.

Edsel died of cancer in 1943, but Sorenson went on with the dealings. On November 6, 1945, Maurice Dollfus, enemy collaborator, traveled to New York (by U.S. Army Air Transport Command) and gave an interview to The New York Times at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. He discussed his operation during the war, but apparently nobody on the New York Times staff thought to question him on the nature of that operation, which remained a complete secret to the American public.

General Motors, under the control of the Du Pont family of Delaware, played a part in collaboration comparable with Ford's. General Aniline and Film had heavy investments in the company.

Irenee du Pont was the most imposing and powerful member of the clan. He was obsessed with Hitler's principles. He keenly followed the career of the future Fuhrer in the 1920s, and on September 7, 1926, in a speech to the American Chemical Society, he advocated a race of supermen, to be achieved by injecting special drugs into them in boyhood to make their characters to order. He insisted his men reach physical standards equivalent to that of a Marine and have blood as pure as that in the veins of the Vikings. Despite the fact that he had Jewish blood in his own veins, his anti-Semitism matched that of Hitler.

Between 1932 and 1939, bosses of General Motors poured $30 million into I.G. Farben plants with the excuse that the money could not be exported. On several visits with Hermann Schmitz and Carl Krauch of Farben in Berlin in 1933, Wendell R. Swint, Du Pont's foreign relations director, discovered that I.G. and the gigantic Krupp industrial empire had arranged for all Nazi industry to contribute one half percent of its entire wage and salary roll to the Nazis even before they rose to power. Thus, Swint (who testified to this effect at the 1934 Munitions Hearings) admitted under oath that Du Pont was fully aware it was financing the Nazi Party through one half percent of its Opel wages and salaries as well as through its deals with I.G. and its building of armored cars and trucks.

Simultaneously with the rise of Hitler, the Du Ponts in 1933 began financing native fascist groups in America, including the anti-Semitic and antiblack American Liberty League and the organization known as Clark's Crusaders, which had 1,250,000 members in 1933. Pierre, Irenee, and Lammot du Pont and John Jacob Raskob funded the Liberty League, along with Alfred P. Sloan of General Motors. The League smeared Roosevelt as a communist, clairned the President was surrounded by Jews; and despite the fact that they were Jewish, the Du Ponts smeared Semitic organizations.

The connections between General Motors and the Nazi government began at the moment of Hitler's rise to power. Goring declined to annex General Motors and indeed received with pleasure Williarn S. Knudsen, General Motors' president, who returned on October 6, 1933, to New York telling reporters that Germany was ''the miracle of the twentieth century."

Early in 1934, Irenee du Pont and Knudsen reached their explosion point over President Roosevelt. Along with friends of the Morgan Bank and General Motors, certain Du Pont backers financed a coup d'etat that would overthrow the President with the aid of a $3 million-funded army of terrorists, modeled on the fascist movement in Paris known as the Croix de Feu. Who was to be the figurehead for this ill-advised scheme, which would result in Roosevelt being forced to take orders from businessmen as part of a fascist government or face the alternative of imprisonment and execution? Du Pont men allegedly held an urgent series of meetings with the Morgans. They finally settled on one of the most popular soldiers in America, General Smedley Butler of Pennsylvania. Butler, a brave hero, had been awarded two Congressional Medals of Honor and his brilliant career as commandant of the Marine Corps had made him a legend. He would, the conspiratorial group felt, make an ideal replacement for Roosevelt if the latter proved difficult. These business chiefs found great support for their plan in Hermann Schmitz, Baron von Schroder, and the other German members of The Fraternity.

The backers of the bizarre conspiracy selected a smooth attorney, Gerald MacGuire, to bring word of the plan to General Butler. MacGuire agreed Butler would be the perfect choice. Butler had attacked the New Deal in public speeches.

MacGuire met with Butler at the latter's house in Newton Square, Pennsylvania, and in a hotel suite nearby. With great intensity the fascist attorney delivered the scheme to the general. Butler was horrified. Although there were many things about Roosevelt he disliked, a coup d'etat amounted to treason, and Butler was nothing if not loyal to the Constitution. However, he disclosed nothing of his feelings. With masterful composure he pretended interest and waited to hear more.

When MacGuire returned, it was with news of more millions and more extravagant plans, which included turning America into a dictatorship with Butler as a kind of Hider. Once more Butler was infuriated but kept quiet. After MacGuire left on the second occasion, the general got in touch with the White House. He told Roosevelt of the entire plan.

Roosevelt's state of mind can scarcely be imagined. He knew that in view of the backing from high banking sources, this matter could not be dismissed as some crackpot enterprise that had no chance of success. He was well aware of the powerful forces of fascism that could easily make America an ally of Nazism even that early, only one year after Hitler had risen to power.

On the other hand, Roosevelt also knew that if he were to arrest the leaders of the houses of Morgan and Du Pont, it would create an unthinkable national crisis in the midst of a depression and perhaps another Wall Street crash. Not for the first or last time in his career, he was aware that there were powers greater than he in the United States.

Nevertheless, the plan had to be deactivated immediately. The answer was to leak it to the press. The newspapers ran the story of the attempted coup on the front page, but generally ridiculed it as absurd and preposterous. When Thomas Larnont of the Morgan Bank arrived from Europe by steamer, he was asked by a crowd of reporters to comment. "Perfect moonshine! Too utterly ridiculous to comment upon!" was the reply.

Roosevelt couldn't quite let the matter rest. Under pressure from liberal Democrats he set up a special House committee to investigate. Butler begged the committee to summon the Du Ponts but the committee declined. Nor would it consent to call anyone from the house of Morgan. Then Butler dropped a bombshell. He gave interviews to the press announcing that none other than General Douglas MacArthur was a party to the plot. This again was dismissed by the press, and MacArthur laughed it off.

The committee hearings were a farce. MacGuire was allowed to get away with saying that Butler had "misunderstood" his intentions. Other witnesses lamely made excuses, and there the matter rested.

It was four years before the committee dared to publish its report in a white paper that was marked for "restricted circulation." They were forced to admit that "certain persons made an attempt to establish a fascist organization in this country . . . [The] committee was able to verify all the pertinent statements made by General Butler.''

This admission that the entire plan was deadly in intent was not accompanied by the imprisonment of anybody. Further investigations disclosed that over a million people had been guaranteeed to join the scheme and that the arms and munitions necessary would have been supplied by Remington, a Du Pont subsidiary.

The Du Ponts' fascistic behavior was seen in 1936, when Irenee du Pont used General Motors money to finance the notorious Black Legion. This terrorist organization had as its purpose the prevention of automobile workers from unionizing. The members wore hoods and black robes, with skull and crossbones. They fire-bombed union meetings, murdered union organizers, often by beating them to death, and dedicated their lives to destroying Jews and communists. They linked to the Ku Klux Klan. Irenee du Pont encouraged General Motors foremen to join the Legion. In one episode a Detroit worker, Charles Poole, was brutally murdered by a gang of Black Legionists, several of whom belonged to the sinister Wolverine Republican League of Detroit. This organization had as its members several in big business. However, their names were kept out of the papers during the Poole case trial. It was brought out that at least fifty people, many of them blacks, had been butchered by the Legion, which swept through General Motors factories and had 75,000 members.

At the same time, the Du Ponts developed the American Liberty League, a Nazi organization whipping up hatred of blacks and Jews, love of Hitler, and loathing of the Roosevelts. Financed by Lammot and Irenee to the tune of close to $500,000 the first year, the Liberty League had a lavish thirty-one-room office in New York, branches in twenty-six colleges, and fifteen subsidiary organizations nationwide that distributed fifty million copies of its Nazi pamphlets. In September 1936, while Hitler at Nuremberg expressed his grand design for the Four-Year Plan, the Du Ponts and the American Liberty League poured thousands into backing Republican Alf Landon against Roosevelt in the election. Other backers were the American Nazi party and the German-American Bund.

The attempt to launch Landon failed, which made the Du Ponts hate Roosevelt even more. In outright defiance of Roosevelt's desire to improve working conditions for the average man, Knudsen of General Motors along with the Du Ponts instituted the speedup systems created by another prominent figure of The Fraternity, Charles Bedaux. These forced men to work at terrifying speeds on the assembly lines. Many died of the heat and the pressure, increased by fear of losing their jobs at a time when there were very few available. Irenee personally paid almost $1 million from his own pocket for armed and gas-equipped storm troops modeled on the Gestapo to sweep through the plants and beat up anyone who proved rebellious. He hired the Pinkerton Agency to send its swarms of detectives through the whole chemicals, munitions, and automobile empire to spy on left-wingers or other malcontents.

By the mid-1930s, General Motors was committed to full-scale production of trucks, armored cars, and tanks in Nazi Germany. The GM board could be guaranteed to preserve political, personal, and commercial links to Hitler. Alfred P. Sloan, who rose from president of GM to chairman in 1937, paid for the National Council of Clergymen and Laymen at Asheville, North Carolina, on August 12, 1936, at which John Henry Kirby, millionaire fascist lumbemman of Texas, was prominent in the delivery of speeches in favor of Hitler. Others present, delivering equally Hitlerian addresses, were Govemor Eugene D. Talmadge of Georgia and the Nazi Reverend Gerald L. K. Smith. Sloan frequently visited Berlin, where he hobnobbed with Goring and Hitler.

Graeme K. Howard was a vice-president of General Motors. Under FBI surveillance throughout his whole career with the company, he was an outright fascist who wrote a poisonous book, America and a New World Order, that peddled the line of appeasement, and a virtually identical doctrine to that of Hitler in terms of free trade and the restoration of the gold standard for the United States of Fascism in which General Motors would no doubt play a prominent part.

Another frequent visitor to Germany was the rugged, cheerful, hearty James D. Mooney, head of the European end of the business, directly in charge of the Adam-Opel production. On December 22, 1936, in Vienna, Mooney told U.S. diplomat George Messersmith, who despite his German family origin hated Hitler, ''We ought to make some arrangement with Germany for the future. There is no reason why we should let our moral indignation over what happens in that country stand in the way." In other words, although the mass of Americans despised the Nazis, business must continue as usual. Messersmith was furious. He snapped back, "We can hardly be expected to trade with a country only so that it can get those articles which it intends to use against the peace of the world.''

In a report of December 23 to the Acting Secretary of State in Washington, Messersmith wrote, "It is curious that Mooney and Col. Sosthenes Behn . . . both give this opinion. The factories owned by ITT in Germany are running full time and in double shifts and increasing their capacity for the simple reason that they are working almost entirely on government orders and for military equipment. The Opel works, owned by General Motors, are [also] working very well [in the same way]."

That Christmas, Mooney was in Berlin for talks with Hjalmar Horace Greeley Schacht to discuss Germany's and America's joint future in the world of commerce. He attracted the hatred of the liberal U.S. Ambassador to Germany William E. Dodd, who returned from Berlin to New York in 1937 and referred to The Fraternity in a shipboard press conference in New York harbor. Dodd was quoted in The New York Times as saying:

"A clique of U.S. industrialists is hell-bent to bring a fascist state to supplant our democratic government and is working closely with the fascist regime in Germany and Italy. I have had plenty of opportunity in my post in Berlin to witness how close some of our American ruling families are to the Nazi regime. On [the ship] a fellow passenger, who is a prominent executive of one of the largest financial corporations, told me point blank that he would be ready to take definite action to bring fascism into America if President Roosevelt continued his progressive policies."

Dodd's words were ignored.

On November 23, 1937, representatives of General Motors held a secret meeting in Boston with Baron Manfred von Killinger, who was Fritz Wiedemann's predecessor in charge of West Coast espionage, and Baron von Tippleskirsch, Nazi consul general and Gestapo leader in Boston. This group signed a joint agreement showing total commitment to the Nazi cause for the indefinite future. The agreement stated that in view of Roosevelt's attitude toward Germany, every effort must be made to remove him by defeat at the next election. Jewish influence in the political, cultural, and public life of America must be stamped out. Press and radio must be subsidized to smear the administration, and there must be a fuhrer, preferably Senator Burton K. Wheeler of Montana, in the White House. This agreement was carefully hidden. But a secretary who was loyal to the American cause managed to obtain a copy and give it to George Seldes, liberal journalist, who published it in his newsletter, In Fact. The patriotic liberal Representative John M. Coffee of Washington State entered the full agreement, running to several pages, in the Congressional Record on August 20, 1942, demanding that the Du Ponts and the heads of General Motors be appropriately treated. Needless to say, the resolution was tabled permanently.

In 1938, Mooney, like Henry Ford, received the Order of the Golden Eagle from Hitler. On March 27,1939, he arrived in England to confer with the heads of his British company. He learned that three of the Adam-Opel staff had been seized by the Gestapo and charged with leaking secrets of the new Volkswagen to the United States. Mooney rushed to Berlin and arranged meetings with one Dr. Meissner, who was in charge of foreign VIPs. Meissner said that even the Fuhrer could not interfere with Himmler and the SS. Mooney reminded Meissner of his commitment to the Fuhrer.

Meissner agreed that this trivial matter must not be allowed to interfere with German-American relations but that the men would be punished if found guilty. Mooney offered to testify on their behalf; on April 6 he went to see one of Himmler's lieutenants and on the same day he visited Ribbentrop. But he was powerless to affect the fate of his employees.

On April 19, Mooney met with the invaluable Emil Puhl of the BIS and the Reichsbank, and Helmuth Wohlthat, Goring's Americaneducated right-hand man in the Four-Year Plan. Mooney conferred with these men on Hitler's basic plan of the massive American gold loan that would provide the basis for the New Order. Mooney enthusiastically endorsed the scheme and promised to bring it about.

In a state of excitement he traveled to London on April 25 to see Ambassador Joseph Kennedy. Kennedy agreed to meet with Puhl and Wohlthat in Paris. Mooney talked with Francis Rodd of Morgan, Grenfell, the British representatives of the Morgan Bank. They agreed that the loan should be made to Germany through the Bank for International Settlements. Rodd said significantly that the BIS provided a flexible medium for avoiding conflict with some of the internal legal limitations on international loans-a complicated way of saying that the BIS could dodge the law whenever it felt like it.

Mooney went to Berlin on April 29. On May 1 he urged Puhl to meet with Kennedy in Paris. He promised to arrange the meeting secretly at Mooney's apartment in the Ritz Hotel. Puhl was interested. But on the following day he said he dared not make the trip because it would attract too much attention in Germany and that Wohlthat should go instead. Wohlthat agreed to go.

On May 3, Mooney called Kennedy in London. Kennedy replied that he would be willing to come on the weekend of May 5-6. But he hesitated and asked if Mooney didn't think it was advisable that he put the matter up to the White House first. Mooney said he would only do that in Kennedy's place if he thought he was a good enough salesman to get approval. Otherwise it would be taking a long chance. He added that the arrangements had been accepted in Berlin and it would not be wise to withdraw at this late hour.

After this conversation, Kennedy panicked. He called Roosevelt, who told him immediately not to make the trip. Roosevelt knew the nature of the arrangements in which Mooney was involved. There was no way he would sanction Kennedy's involvement.

Kennedy tried to reach Mooney several times. When he finally got through, Mooney chartered a plane in Brussels and flew to London. The idea of peace was clearly such an obsession he couldn't wait. On the plane, he scribbled out his notes on what was needed: a half to one billion gold loan through the BIS, a restoration of Germany's colonies, a removal of embargo on German goods, participation in Chinese markets. On Germany's side there would be armaments limitations, nonaggression pacts, and free exchange. Whatever Mooney's motives, these were pure Nazi objectives, nothing else.

Mooney went straight to the embassy from his plane and laid out the points of the peace agreement on Kennedy's desk. He begged him to see Wohlthat. Kennedy promised to put pressure on Roosevelt once more. Next morning, Mooney found Kennedy deeply depressed. Kennedy had tried to reach Roosevelt for hours, and when he had done so, Roosevelt had once again refused him.

Mooney now suggested Wohlthat should come to London. Kennedy agreed at once. Mooney called Wohlthat in Berlin and asked him to come to London. Wohlthat obtained permission from Hitler and Goring and arrived at the Berkeley Hotel on May 8. The meeting was held on May 9, apparently without Roosevelt's knowledge or approval. The Nazi economist got along well with Kennedy. Mooney noted that the two men saw eye-to-eye on everything. Wohlthat returned to Berlin, promising his help. The press discovered Wohlthat was in London and played the visit up tremendously with headlines like "Goering's mystery man is here." This greatly annoyed Mooney, who had assumed the visit was secret.

Roosevelt stepped in as soon as the news was announced and forbade Kennedy to have anything further to do with the arrangement. Mooney was greatly disappointed by this lack of rapport between the President and Nazi Germany. It was this series of meetings with Kennedy and Wohlthat that helped to spawn ITT's Gerhardt Westrick's visit to New York the following year, and it is significant that Mooney was high on the list of people who received and encouraged Westrick. Roosevelt was greatly aggravated by Mooney but played along with him in order to see what he was up to.

In the Mooney diaries at Georgetown University in Washington, there is an eighteen-page document signed by Wohlthat that lays out Germany's economic plans. It is quite clear that Mooney was in total accord with these.

On September 22, 1939, Mooney had a meeting with Roosevelt. His notes after the meeting, quoting as nearly as possible the President's actual words, suggest that Roosevelt was using Mooney to see what Hitler was up to. Roosevelt pretended he was not interested in telling the Germans what they should do about Hitler. That Mooney should remind the Germans that Roosevelt had gone to school in Germany and had a great many personal friends there. He said he wished Germany would pipe down about domination of the world. He discussed the question of broader distribution of goods in time of peace and that it ought to be reasonably simple to get around a table with the proper will and settle problems like Silesia, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and the general attitude toward Russia. Roosevelt said he would be glad to offer himself as moderator, that the Pope could serve a useful purpose in negotiations, and that practical suggestions must be made satisfactory to Berlin, London, and Paris. He encouraged Mooney to see Hitler but to be careful in communicating the results to the White House by telephone.

Armed with this artificial, carefully calculated authorization, Mooney traveled to Europe at the same time as Roosevelt's official emissary, Sumner Welles, in March 1940. He was only one day later than Welles in audience with Hitler on March 4.

Because of the importance of Adam-Opel and the Du Ponts to the Nazi war machine, Hitler was extremely cordial. Mooney said that Roosevelt's early days in Germany had remained a nostalgic recollection; that the President's attitude to Germany was more sanguine and warm than was generally believed in Berlin; that Roosevelt would help toward a negotiated peace; that the German reporters ought to emphasize what Germany and America shared together.

Hitler smiled broadly at these sentiments. He did not want war with America: he had his hands full enough already. He wanted America to remain inactive until it either entered the Axis or was conquered. Hitler said he was delighted to hear Roosevelt's viewpoint and that Roosevelt had constructively undertaken the tasks of the Presidency. He suggested that Roosevelt would be well placed to negotiate peace. These statements were as calculated to deceive Mooney as Roosevelt's.

From the Chancellery, Mooney proceeded to the Air Ministry to see Goring, who later had him to dinner at Karin Hall. Goring played out a similar line of lies, denying among other things that Germany had any desire to affect the British colonial empire when in fact one of Hitler's burning obsessions was to retrieve his lost colonies. Wohlthat also attended the meeting at Goring's house, and everyone concurred that the gold loan must once again be pushed by Mooney with the President.

From a warship off the Italian coast in March, Mooney beseeched Roosevelt with a stream of messages calling for peace and unison with Hitler. On April 2, Roosevelt wrote to Mooney that public opinion in America was all for peace and disarmament.

Back in New York, Mooney met with Gerhardt Westrick, and joined that party at the Waldorf-Astoria in which some American leaders of The Fraternity, including Sosthenes Behn and Torkild Rieber, celebrated the Nazi conquest of France. On June 27 the Nazi consul general in New York and local Gestapo chief, Heinrich Borchers, sent a report prepared by Westrick to Ribbentrop. It read:

"A group of prominent businessmen and politicians whom I personally regard as reliable in every way, and whose influence I consider to be very great, but who, in the interest of our operation, do not want to be mentioned in any circumstances at this time, suggested that I convey to the Foreign Ministry the following: the aforesaid group, which has the approval and support of a substantial number of leading personalities, will shortly urge upon President Roosevelt the following recommendations: 1. Immediate sending of an American Ambassador to Berlin. 2. A change of Ambassadors in London. 3. Suspension of armament shipments to Great Britain until the new Ambassador to Berlin has had an opportunity to discuss matters with the German government."

On July 18, Hans Thomsen, charge d'affaires in Washington, wrote to Berlin that this group was headed by James D. Mooney. Thomsen went on to report that Henry Ford had conveyed the same idea to him two days earlier.

In December 1940, Mooney set off on a journey to South America to contact some of the General Motors managers. Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes, in an urgent meeting with Roosevelt and Cordell Hull on December 20, asked, "Wouldn't it be a good thing if we refuse Mooney a passport and told him why?" Roosevelt said, "That is a good idea. Cordell, how about it?'' Hull said, "Passports to South America have never been refused." Ickes commented, ''South America is a critical zone. We shouldn't let Mooney in." But Hull did.

The FBI apparently traced Mooney to further meetings with representatives of the German government. In a letter dated February 5, 1941, marked Strictly Confidential, James B. Stewart, U.S. consul in Zurich, wrote to Fletcher Warren of the State Department that he had heard from a French journalist connected to Charles de Gaulle that Eduard Winter, GM distributor in Berlin now in Paris, acted as a courier for Mooney, carrying secret messages to the Nazi high officials in Paris. Stewart said that Winter had a special passport that allowed him to travel between occupied and unoccupied France. The letter continued, "Mr. Mooney is known to be in sympathy with the German government."

However, Stewart wondered if there was anything in the story, since he believed Mooney to be a fine person. Would Warren comment? Warren forwarded the letter to Messersmith, who was ambassador to Cuba. In his letter to Messersmith, dated March 1, 1941, Warren said: ''I may say that I, personally, am rather unhappy about Mr. Mooney, and I am not sure that there is not truth in Mr. Stewart's information. There are too many rumors.

Messersmith replied to Warren on March 5, saying that in his mind there was no doubt that Mooney was transmitting messages of a confidential character to the Nazi government. He added, ''Mooney is fundamentally fascist in his sympathies. Of course he is quite unbalanced . . . he is obsessed by this strange notion that a few businessmen, including himself, can take care of the war and the peace. I am absolutely sure that Mooney is keeping up this contact with the Germans because he believes, or at least still hopes, that they will win the war, and he thinks if they do that he will be our Quisling.''

Messersmith sent a further letter to Warren on March 7, adding, "The attitude of Jim Mooney has a great deal to do with the attitude of some of the people of the GM Overseas Corp. who are making this difficulty about getting rid of Barletta and other anti-American representatives of GM." Barletta was GM's Cuban representative.

Questioned about these activities by Hoover's men, Mooney insisted he was a patriotic American, a lieutenant commander in the Reserves in the United States Navy, with a son on active duty with the Navy. Asked by the FBI's L. L. Tyler in mid-October 1940 if he would return the Hitler medal he said he would, "but it might jeopardize General Motors getting part of the $100,000,000 of stockholders' money invested in Nazi Germany." Clearly, along with other Fraternity members, Mooney was working for a quick negotiated peace to release those funds; but even in this time of European war, they were gathering interest toward the time when the war would be over and America would stand next to Hitler in the scheme of things. He added, "Besides, Hitler is in the right and I'm not going to do anything to make him mad. I know Hitler has all the cards." He said he was sure Hitler would win the war; that there was justice in Hitler's general position; that Germany needed more room; and that if we tried to prevent the expansion of the German people under Hitler, it would be ''just too bad for us."

Soon after making these remarks, Mooney was promoted to assistant to Sloan in charge of defense liaison work in Detroit! In a special report to J. Edgar Hoover, FBI agent Tyler stated (July 23, 1941): "Men of Mr. Mooney's prominence, holding the views he holds, are potentially dangerous to national security.''

Tyler was convinced, he went on, that Mooney ''was threatening to the National Defense Program" that Mooney purportedly was aiding. Tyler also felt that Graeme K. Howard was a danger. He had been given a secret report from the State Department, which made clear that Sumner Welles, the Under Secretary of State, had had to threaten Howard with public exposure before Howard would agree to fire nine hundred Nazi spies working for the General Motors Export Corporation in South America.

On May 1, J. Edgar Hoover reported to Adolf Berle that he had evidence that Eduard Winter was a Nazi agent, who moved freely around Europe and had been given his position by Mooney in Antwerp just after Hitler occupied the Low Countries. Adding that Winter "hopes to be on the winning side whichever is victorious in the present conflict," Hoover stated that Winter was the son-in-law of a German Foreign Office official. He had good party connections in Germany. In a comment on this note, John Riddleberger of the State Department said, "I can easily understand how Mr. Mooney's and Mr. Winter's minds would run along the same channel with respect to the war.''

Further reports on Mooney state that he had aided the Germans as director and financial contributor to the Gerrnan-American Board of Trade for Commerce, which greatly aided certain Nazis. The German-American Commerce Association Bulletin contained pictures of Mooney standing in front of a swastika; it named him as a GACA financial contributor.

On March 21, 1942, representatives of Du Pont were reported by the U.S. Consulate in Basle to be meeting with representatives of Hermann Goring's industries at Montreux and St. Moritz. The subject of the discussions was not disclosed, but the meeting caused grave concern in Switzerland. It was alleged in reports after the war that substantial Du Pont funds were retained from 1942 on in Occupied France, gathering interest for Du Pont/General Motors.

On April 15, 1942, a curious item appeared in Gestapo reports in Berlin. Eduard Winter, it seemed, had been arrested on suspicion of American espionage. He was now running the General Motors AdamOpel unit in Nazi Germany and had fallen foul of Wilhelm Ohnesorge, the postminister who had similarly denounced Westrick. As in the ITT matter, Himmler stepped in and Winter was released. It was clear that, like Ford, General Motors was protected from seizure in time of war. Winter continued as usual.

On July 3, 1942, the U.S. Embassy in Panama sent a lengthy report to the Secretary of State, giving particulars of Nazi activities in the area. A paragraph read: "General Motors gives orders for molds to the Nazi firm, Erca, or via, the firm Alpa, San Martin. Both firms should be on the blacklist because they employ Nazis and work together with Nazi firms.'' The companies were not blacklisted.

On November 25, the Nazi alien property custodian appointed Carl Luer, an official of the government and the Dresdnerbank as manager of the General Motors Adam-Opel establishment at Russelsheim. This establishment manufactured military aircraft for the German government throughout World War II. It manufactured 50 percent of all Junkers Ju 88 propulsion systems; the Junkers was the deadliest bomber of the Nazi air force. It was decided by a special court at Darmstadt shortly after November 25 that the directorial board under Eduard Winter would remain unaltered.

Charles Levinson, formerly deputy director of the European office of the CIO, alleged in his book Vodka-Cola,

"Alfred Sloan, James D. Mooney, John T. Smith and Graeme K. Howard remained on the General Motors-Opel board . . . in flagrant violation of existing legislation, information, contacts, transfers and trade continued [throughout the war] to flow between the firrn's Detroit headquarters and its subsidiaries both in Allied countries and in territories controlled by the Axis powers. The financial records of Opel Russelsheim revealed that between 1942 and 1945 production and sales strategy were planned in close coordination with General Motors factories throughout the world.... In 1943, while its American manufacturers were equipping the United States Air Force, the German group were developing, manufacturing and assembling motors for the Messerschmitt 262, the first jet fighter in the world. This innovation gave the Nazis a basic technological advantage. With speeds up to 540 miles per hour, this aircraft could fly 100 miles per hour faster than its American rival, the piston-powered Mustang P150."

As late as April 1943, General Motors in Stockholm was reported as trading with the enemy. Henry Morgenthau, in an instruction given in special code, instructed W. B. Wachtler, regional manager of GM in New York, to order his Stockholm chief to discontinue trading.

Further documents show that, as with Ford, repairs on German army trucks and conversion from gasoline to wood-gasoline production were being handled by GM in Switzerland.

In April 1944 various letters between the U.S. Embassy in Stockholm and the State Department indicate that GM in Sweden was importing products of Nazi origin, including Freon, with permission from State. One letter, dated April 11, 1944, from John G. Winant said, "We are . . . of the opinion that local manufacture of a suitable refrigerant in Sweden should be encouraged, but if it proves impossible for Svenska Nordiska to obtain a suitable local product, we agree that there would be no objection to the supply of [German] refrigerant [similar to that from] I.G. Farben." The refrigerant was imported.

On April 3, 1943, State Department officials reported to Leland Harrison of the American Legation in Berne that censorship had intercepted cabled reports from Swiss General Motors to the parent company in New York showing that Balkan sales were made from stock held by General Motors dealers in Axis areas. The report continued, "It is understood that the parent company recently instructed the Swiss company to cease reporting on sales in enemy territory."

A GM overseas operations man in New York cabled Swiss GM that "We have been placed in an extremely embarrassing position by your action." However, there was no indication that the action ceased. Only that it must be authorized by the American Legation! "It is our desire," the cable continued, "that you keep the Legation completely informed of your operations and engage in no transaction to which trading with the enemy regulations of the U.S. government apply without clearing with the Legation.''* A copy of this telegram was forwarded by State officials to Cordell Hull with the understandable proviso: "This cable has been sent in confidential code. It should be carefully paraphrased before being communicated to anyone."

In June 1943, when he was in the Navy, James D. Mooney's activities were still under surveillance by the FBI. He became a prime reason for a contretemps between the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and the State Department that month. Lord Halifax, the British ambassador in Washington, had written to Cordell Hull requesting that the Duchess of Windsor, who was now in Nassau with her husband, the governor of the Bahamas, should be freed from the censorship of her correspondence. This request immediately heightened grave suspicions in Adolf A. Berle. He sent a memorandum to Cordell Hull urging him to deny the request. Dated June 18, 1943, it read:

"I believe that the Duchess of Windsor should emphatically be denied exemption from censorship."

Quite aside from the more shadowy reports about the activities of this family, it is to be recalled that both the Duke and Duchess of Windsor were in contact with Mr. James Mooney, of General Motors, who attempted to act as mediator of a negotiated peace in the early winter of 1940; that they have maintained correspondence with Charles Bedaux, now in prison in North Africa and under charges of trading with the enemy, and possibly of treasonable correspondence with the enemy; that they have been in constant contact with Axel Wenner-Gren, presently on our Blacklist for suspicious activity; etc. The Duke of Windsor has been finding many excuses to attend to ``private business" in the United States, which he is doing at present.

There are positive reasons, therefore, why this imrnunity should not be granted-as well as the negative reason that we are not according this privilege to the wife of an American official.

Hull called Halifax and told him the Duchess's request was denied. General Motors went unpunished after the war. According to Charles Levinson, in 1967, after a prolonged series of detailed requests, the United States awarded the corporation a total of $33 million tax exemption on profits for the "troubles and destruction occasioned to its airplane and motorized vehicle factories in Germany and Austria in World War II.

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