08-07-2009, 06:25 PM
I'm currently reading Eustace Mullin's Secrets of the Federal Reserve. I had to share this little tidbit which I find comical.
In 1932, the American people elected Franklin D. Roosevelt President of the United States. This was hailed as the freeing of the American people from the evil influence which had brought on the Great Depression, the ending of Wall Street domination, and the disappearance of the banker from Washington.
Roosevelt owed his political career to a fortuitous circumstance. As Assistant Secretary of the Navy during World War I, because of old school ties, he had intervened to prevent prosecution of a large ring of homosexuals in the Navy which included several Groton and Harvard chums. This brought him to the favorable appreciation of a wealthy international homosexual set which travelled back and forth between New York and Paris, and which was presided over by Bessie Marbury, of a very old and prominent New York family. Bessie’s "wife", who lived with her for a number of years, was Elsie de Wolfe, later Lady Mendl in a "mariage de convenance", the arbiter of the international set. They recruited J.P. Morgan’s youngest daughter, Anne Morgan, into their circle, and used her fortune to restore the Villa Trianon in Paris, which became their headquarters. During World War I, it was used as a hospital. Bessie Marbury expected to be awarded the Legion of Honor by the French Government as a reward, but J.P. Morgan, Jr., who despised her for corrupting his youngest sister, requested the French Government to withhold the award, which they did. Smarting from this rebuff, Bessie Marbury threw herself into politics, and became a power in the Democratic National Party. She had also recruited Eleanor Roosevelt into her circle, and, during a visit to Hyde Park, Eleanor confided that she was desperate to find something for "poor Franklin" to do, as he was confined to a wheelchair, and was very depressed.
"I know what we’ll do," exclaimed Bessie, "We’ll run him for Governor of New York!" Because of her power, she succeeded in this goal, and Roosevelt later became President.
08-08-2009, 01:02 PM
Though I expect this blog's author to be predictably pro-gay (if not even more predictably gay himself), this does give you a lot of the....errrr...blow-by-blow details.
In the Navy: The Newport Scandal
A Comprehensive Synopsis of "Perverts by Official Order" by Lawrence Murphy
June 24th, 2007, 10:16 pm
The Newport Naval Scandal erupted after the most extensive--and lurid--campaign ever conducted by a branch of the U.S. military against enlisted homosexual men. Despite the fact that it made national headlines when it broke in 1920, requiring Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin Delano Roosevelt to testify before a special governmental inquiry, it has all but been forgotten by historians. A compelling example of this is the Wikipedia entry on the scandal, which as of this writing consists of a single sentence: "The Newport Sex Scandal involved allegations in 1919 of 'immoral conduct' (specifically, homosexuality) at the United States Navy base in Newport, Rhode Island, USA."
In fact, the scandal was exhaustively researched and documented by Lawrence R. Murphy in Perverts by Official Order: The Campaign Against Homosexuals by the United States Navy (New York: Haworth Press, 1988. 340pp.) Although Murphy died of AIDS shortly after the book was published, his study lives on as an alarming account of just how far the Navy went to, um, snag these gay sailors.
Perhaps the most astonishing component of this study is the clear linkage between homophobia and homoeroticism. These young recruits--most of whom actually volunteered for the "sting operation"--had been instructed by their superiors to engage in homosexual sex with targeted gay Naval personnel, which they did "with interest and zeal"; as a matter of association, they also had sex with civilian homosexuals who were friends of the gay Navy guys. They were told to carefully document each encounter so that the full extent of military law could later be imposed on the guilty, who had become known in some late-night circles as "the Ladies of Newport."
Who gave these orders? Technically, the future President of the United States, Roosevelt himself, who had become alarmed after being told that the Navy had been infiltrated by perverts. As soon as he signed the papers authorizing that action be taken toward "cleaning the whole matter up," the sting began. Meticulously recorded reports of the sexual trysts the straight "operators" (perhaps I should put "straight" in quotes too) had with the unsuspecting sailors and their gay friends exist to this day in Naval archives and are central to Murphy's documentary of what has been called "the first national gay sex scandal." This blog provides a comprehensive and--beware--uncensored synopsis of the events his book has brought into the public domain.
How the Campaign Began
It started in February 1919 when Chief Machinist's Mate Ervin Arnold, a rabid homophobe with a curious obsession with gay sex, was a patient in Ward B of the Naval Training Station Hospital. There he befriended fellow patient Thomas Brunelle, a seemingly straight guy who eventually confided in Arnold that he had enjoyed sex, and lots of it, with "queers" and "cocksuckers." Unknown by Brunelle, Arnold secretly took notes about these conversations and was the first to document the seamy gay underground of Newport, Rhode Island. According to Brunelle, the Naval YMCA and the Newport Art Club was a hang-out spot for a "gang of perverts," many of whom "loved to be screwed in the rectum." These "pogues," Brunelle told Arnold, hooked up regularly with naval personnel and, worse, several of them were naval personnel (11).
Arnold personally investigated the gay scene and found Brunelle's story to be true. He carefully documented the society of "queers" that he had infiltrated. According to his reports, this legion of gay men, including sailors, acted effeminately, went by women's names ("Theda Barra," "Ruth," "Beckie," "Salome," "Ella"), wore women's undergarments, and attended "69 Parties" with their "boys" (young straight guys, often marines and sailors) whom they provided with liquor, cocaine, and sex.
Appalled, he informed his superiors. Eventually, Admiral Spencer S. Wood, Commander of the Second Naval District, ordered "a thorough investigation" and created a court of inquiry to review Arnold's claims. On March 19, 1919, the court concluded that the government must devote "any expense and time necessary" to conduct a "most thorough and searching investigation . . . made by a corps of highly experienced investigators" (15). The court's recommendation was approved by Roosevelt, who asked Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer to put his "most skilled investigators at work with a view of ultimately cleaning the whole matter up" (16).
The Legal Evidence: Having Gay Sex "to the Limit"
The secret operation was put into the hands of Arnold, whose "highly skilled investigators" were men chosen on the basis of their youth and looks: "[A] good looking man from the average of 19 to 24 are the best people," Arnold wrote, "in handling this class of work, with reference to perverts" (22). He helped personally select his "detectives."
His first three recruits--Charles B. Zipf, Gregory Cunningham, and John E. McCormick,--after being told of their assignment on March 17, dove headfirst into their new job, even before their formal induction that was not scheduled until the following evening. Within the hour they were at the YMCA allowing themselves to be solicited by gay men. As it turned out, two of the three were invited to a "party" in an upstairs room. Here, one of the solicitors, George Richard, followed McCormick into the bathroom. The young investigator recorded the incident later that evening: "He [Richard] turned out the light and had me sit on the toilet while he felt my privates, even opening my trousers and . . .". The gay man was "very much put out," McCormick stated, "because I could not get a hard-on." After ten minutes the novice detective suggested that they "give it up and try some other time." (23)
The reports the investigators submitted to Arnold the next morning touched on some important questions, most pressingly: just how far should the detectives go in getting their "evidence"? Apparently, no clear answer was ever recorded. Detailed records of the investigation, however, reveal that at least thirteen investigators went "to the limit"--to orgasm--in order to prove that the men with whom they had sex were, indeed, gay.
[SIZE="3"]After a Formal Induction, the Sordid Sting Begins[/SIZE]
On March 18, thirteen young men from the naval ranks who had volunteered to help expose "immoral practices and conditions believed to exist" in and around the Newport base were formally inducted into the sting operation. The ceremony took place in the X-Ray room in the basement of the Naval Hospital. After being told of the physical requirements of their task, the volunteers were given the opportunity to withdraw. None did. They then stood and took an oath of secrecy: "I will not converse upon or in any manner communicate any information concerning the business, files, policy or routine of the Office of Naval Intelligence," they promised, "with any persons outside of said office, or to any person whatsoever, without authority from the Director of Naval Intelligence." (24) The young men were given personal code numbers (to help maintain secrecy), money, motorcycles, and a 14-page document detailing the names, ages, and activities of some of the gay naval personnel it was their duty to entrap.
No sooner had this group of "operators" (there would be more than one group) taken their oath when several headed directly to the YMCA to begin work. Over the next several weeks they submitted daily reports to Arnold that are astonishing for their candid description of gay sex. Only one, William Crawford, attempted objective distance from the sexual acts he participated in by writing in third-person and using his initials, WC. The gay man he ended up alone with, Jay Goldstein, asked how he, WC, "wanted it":
[I]WC told him to suit himself. Goldstein asked if he wanted it French style, WC said any old way if good, then Goldstein said all right I'll suck it, then went down and sucked WC off. ... Then threw his arm over WC and said "I like you."(28)[/I]
The other operators more typically reported their escapades in first-person. For example, Preston Paul, a new recruit who had no trouble adjusting to the demands of this assignment, hooked up with fellow enlisted man Seaman Second Class Samuel Rogers after renting a room at 118 Spring Street, they undressed and got into bed. In a report that I dare not quote from for fear of violating decency codes everywhere, Paul graphically described having sex with the sailor. "He kissed me," he wrote, closing his report, "when I left." (35)
Some evidence exists that one or two of these straight young recruits were not particularly enthralled about certain aspects of their work. "He had awful smelling breath," complained John Feiselman of Harold Trubshaw, the gay enlisted man he got it on with. So appalled was Feiselman that he avoided sex with Trubshaw all night long. At 6:00 the next morning (Friday, March 29, 1919), Feiselman had a change of heart. "I worked up a hard on and he [Trubshaw] hopped on it," he reported. By 6:45, both men were on their way to the station to report for duty. (31)
[SIZE="3"]The Lurid Evidence Presented in Military Court[/SIZE]
On April 4 the first of the gay sailors, Frank Hoag, was arrested. Within the next week five more men were rounded up. By April 22, fifteen gay sailors were in the brig. The convictions followed the same pattern. Each sailor was brought before a military tribunal as a "person of interest." At that point, as the accused looked on in horror, the "operators" with whom they had sex were called to the stand to testify.
The testimonies were just as graphic as the reports they had submitted to Arnold. Operator Charles Zipf testified how Frank Dye had peformed oral sex on him a number of times (40). Dye was so shaken by the testimony of someone he had trusted that, when called upon to defend himself, he could not speak and was immediately taken to jail. As another accused sailor brought before the tribunal, Maurice Kreisberg, hung his head in shame, operator Floyd Brittain told the court: "I know that Kreisberg is guilty of immoral practice, such as sucking pricks. My only experience with him was that he sucked me off" (40).
Older naval officers in charge of the procedings were confounded by some sexual terms used by the investigators. "What do you mean 'he went down on you'?" asked one officer of Zipf, perhaps the most engaged and vociferous member of the sting operation. "I mean he sucked my cock," Zipf replied, before restating it out of feigned respect for the old fogies: "Put my penis in his mouth and held it there until there was an emission." When the officers asked him what he meant when he wrote about "browning" someone, the impatient Zipf said it meant "pushing my prick in his ass" (42).
Once the operators had presented their evidence before the court, the accused were encouraged to incriminate their friends, which many of them did apparently in an attempt to secure leniency. Thomas Brunelle, the "straight" guy who months earlier had unwittingly confided in Ervin Arnold his exploits with gay men, did so in explicit detail. Fred Hoag, he told the court, "was a very brilliant woman, ... a good French Artist," and Frank Dye, he said, "has sucked me, and so has Goldstein." Brunelle apparently spared the gay man with whom he was closest, and had shared a room with, William Hughes: "We were known as man and wife, but nothing was pulled off between us" (49).
When it came time for the accused to address the court, they adopted homophobic language and attitudes in an attempt to convince it that they were not gay. Defendant Harrison Rideout told the court everything he knew about gay life in Newport. The Art Association "reeks with it. . . . The women and these perverts get together and they talk" (45). Only one, Frank Hoag, under cross examination, came close to admitting he was homosexual: "I am not saying that I am straight," he stated. "A straight person must be straight and not reciprocate in any way"--something Hoag himself could not lay claim to. What was he then? "As they say in sets I have know," Hoag replied, "it is a dash of lavender." While admitting that he "might have what they call, yanked someone off," Hoag denied that he had engaged in other sexual acts. (54)
The three-week military trial ended with the court-martial of seventeen sailors charged with sodomy and scandalous conduct, most of whom were sent to the naval prison at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in New Hampshire. Two more were dishonorably discharged, and two others found innocent "with no further action." The vicarious pleasure the undercover operators took in conducting their investigations did not go unnoticed by the court, which ordered that "a notation be entered in the service records" of each operator "in recognition of their interest and zeal" (61) for collecting evidence of their peers' homosexuality.
[SIZE="3"]The Navy Fares Poorly in Civilian Court[/SIZE]
Had the prosecution stopped there, no word of this weird sting might ever have reached the public. But many of the undercover operators had recorded sexual encounters with civilian gay men, and prosecutors wanted to try them as well. Charges were issued and the accused--many of whom hired lawyers--were tried in civilian court. This time, instead of focusing on the "immoral acts" themselves, lawyers for the accused cast a critical eye on the morality of the investigation itself.
Things really unraveled for the Navy when prosecutors sought to convict a well-liked and respected Chaplain at the Newport YMCA, Samuel Neal Kent. From the day the trial began to the day it ended (Kent was found innocent), the Providence Journal, under publisher John Rathom, one of the great practitioners of "yellow journalism," covered the proceedings, often with a critical eye toward the prosecution's case. To the vexation of defense attorneys, the young operators who were called to testify were far less candid in their verbal accounts of their sexual trysts before the civilian jury, asserting that they couldn't remember certain things--including acts they had vividly described in their reports--and refusing to expound on certain sexual issues on the basis of self-incrimination.
The defense sought to exploit the irony of the case--that the young men indulged in, on numerous occasions and with no protest, the "immoral acts" that the defendants were being prosecuted for. "You were quite willing to go into that sort of work?" defense attorney Abbott Phillips asked operator Charles McKinney:
[I]McKinney: I was willing to do it, yes sir.
Phillips: And so willing that you volunteered for it, is that right?
McKinney: Yes, sir, I volunteered for it, yes, sir. [. . .]
Phillips: Your requirement--you were to suck the part?
McKinney: No, sir.
Phillips: Being sucked?
McKinney: Yes, sir.
Phillips: You were sucked, weren't you? In doing this sort of work?
McKinney: Not by Mr. Kent, no, sir."
Phillips: By others?
McKinney: Yes, sir.
Phillips: How many?
McKinney: One, no there were two times . . . Yes, sir.[/I]
Phillips then referred to the records of the military court proceedings in which McKinney testified that at least four gay men had fellated him. McKinney played dumb: "There may have been two, three, four. I don't recollect how many there were" (127-30).
The cross-examination of Henry Dostalik, another "volunteer," produced similar responses. He, too, had forgotten how many men he had "gone through the same sort of performance with," but thought it was three or four. When asked by Defense Attorney Rathbone Gardner why he joined the operation in the first place, and why he was willing to "go the limit" with the gay men he slept with, Dostalik said: "For the good of the cause. I saw the good of the cause in it" (133-4).
[SIZE="3"]The Scandal Breaks[/SIZE]
On January 8, 1920, Samuel Neal Kent was found innocent on all counts and freed. That's when the so-called "Newport Scandal" broke. Within days a committee of Newport clergymen drafted a lengthy denunciation of the Navy's activities in Newport in the form of a letter to President Woodrow Wilson. The letter, which was published in the Providence Journal, railed against "certain deleterious and vicious methods employed by the Navy Department." The letter put the Navy on the moral defense:
It must be evident to every thoughtful mind that the use of such vile methods cannot fail to undermine the character and ruin the morals of the unfortunate youths detailed for this duty, render no citizen of the community safe from suspicion and calumny, bring the city into unwarranted reproach, and shake the faith of the people in the wisdom and integrity of the naval administration. (157)
The national publicity of the scandal infuriated Assistant Secretary of the Navy Roosevelt, who blamed Providence Journal publisher John Rathom of muckraking. "Any mother reading the headlines would very probably hesitate before allowing her son to enlist in the Naval Service." Any average person reading the papers would think "the Navy as a whole is a pretty rotten institution, and that it is not a proper place, either on its ships or in its training camps, for young Americans to be" (165). As part of a damage-control campaign, Roosevelt appointed his close friend and naval officer Admiral Herbert O. Dunn to investigate the Newport investigation. The Dunn Inquiry opened court on January 17, 1920.
Yet again, the young operators were called upon to explain themselves. This time, however, less focus was put on the sexual acts and more on the reasons why the young men so willingly participated in them. Thirty year-old Dudley J. Marriott had described having sex with a gay Newport artist. "Why did you permit the artist to do what he did?" he was asked. "Just to save boys as that [sic] from having their morals destroyed, and also to uphold the morale of the Navy, and to eliminate men lower than beasts from a rendezvous where young boys 17 years of age are stationed," he answered. (217-18) Twenty-six year old Preston Paul told the court that the work had "materially strengthened" his morals and that, in the future, he would "be able to take these things a whole lot easier and keep away from them" (220). Charles B. Zipf affirmed that, although he didn't like the work, he "liked the principle involved too much" to leave it. (222)
[SIZE="3"]Roosevelt Testifies, and the Navy is Rebuked[/SIZE]
Roosevelt himself was called before the Inquiry on April 25. His testimony attempted to relocate blame for the scandal on the judge in the civilian trial, Hugh Baker, whom FDR called "incompetent," and on the muckraking of the Providence Journal's publisher. When asked if he would "sanction the method of having enlisted men in the Navy submit their bodies to unnatural vices to obtain evidence," FDR said, "As a matter of information, of course no." (234)
The Dunn Inquiry condemned the methods used to obtain information on Newport homosexuals. The Navy's official interpretation of its ruling was that, with a few minor exceptions, the Department was not to be held responsible for the scandal. Although FDR did not desire it, Naval Secretary Josephus Daniels ordered that letters of censure be written of the men who oversaw the undercover operation, including the one who started it all, Ervin Arnold. (249)
The investigation of the investigation didn't stop there. The Senate then formally took up the scandal. Senators Lewis H. Ball (R-Delaware), Henry W. Keyes (R-Vermont), and William H. King (D-Utah) comprised a subcommittee to deal with the scandal. Thirteen operators were called to testify, but this time around--and to the Senators' relief--they refused to detail their sexual trysts. The Senators were astounded by the scope of the operation in which young sailors had been "compelled under specific orders . . . to commit vile and shameless acts" on other sailors or had "suggested these acts be practiced upon themselves." In all, 41 sailors had been involved; ten were between the ages of 16 and 19 and the rest between 21 and 32 (264). While the subcommittee did offer a modicum of compassion for the gay enlisted men who were entrapped and sent to prison, it heaped sympathy on the "naïve schoolboys" who were forced into this duty "because of their ignorance regarding the obedience of any order given to them by their superior" (267). The subcommittee laid full blame for the scandal on Ervin Arnold and the men who oversaw the operation.
By 1922 the anti-gay scandal had subsided and in its place were headlines of a declining economy and political corruption. The new Secretary of the Navy Edwin Denby, appointed by Republican president-elect Warren Harding, in both an attempt to rectify wrongs that might have been done and put the scandal behind the Navy once and for all, ordered five gay enlisted men found guilty by the original military court on evidence of having "gone the limit" released: Frank Dye, David Goldstein, Samuel Rogers, Harold Trubshaw, and Albert Viehl. All were dishonorably discharged from the Navy a few days later.
[SIZE="3"]A "Vital Chapter" in Gay American History[/SIZE]
Newport, Murphy asserts, was the city "where the United States government conducted the most extensive systematic persecution of gays in American history" (299).
He argues that it is also a vital chapter of gay American history, one "without antecedent." The gay men's similar dress, distinctive vocabulary, and shared social activities recorded in the operators' reports suggest a society of gay life that few knew existed in turn-of-the-century America. The scandal, hence, "provides the first detailed documentary evidence in American of a distinctive homosexual community; from these small beginnings one the most important social rights movements of the twentieth century--the gay rights struggle--may trace its origins" (284).
This exhaustively researched and objectively narrated study may be hard to read for some, but it is still a valiant effort on the part of its late author to reveal a chapter in American military history many in uniform would prefer not to be read.
08-08-2009, 02:18 PM
Wait.....here's more FDR-related ass-banditry! But let CONFIDENTIAL Magazine's March 1956 issue tell the tale: off the record, on the QT, and very hush-hush....
WE ACCUSE SUMNER WELLES
By Truxton Decatur
EDITOR'S NOTE: Authorities tell us homosexuals are security risks in time of war, and the State Department is a prime target for espionage. No government at war could commit greater folly than to retain a confirmed homosexual in its No. 2 Foreign Policy post.
This magazine feels the American people have a pressing right to know that their wartime Under Secretary—SUMNER WELLES—was such a man. Continued suppression of the Welles story can no longer be justified in view of the need of public awareness of this danger and public support of our Federal Security Program. It must not happen again, and an informed citizenry will not let it happen again.
THE AMERICAN PUBLIC was jarred like a seismograph in an earthquake in 1950 when the Senate disclosed a Washington police estimate of 3,500 homosexuals in federal jobs—many of them in the State Department.
The Senate's announcement that its Committee on Executive Department Expenditures would investigate this shocking estimate was the first real inkling citizens of the United States had of the grandiose scale on which the government had been infiltrated by sex deviates during the Roosevelt and Truman administration.
Homosexuals are said by FBI director J. Edgar Hoover and other authorities to be security risks in time of war or international tension for two reasons: 1) They are promiscuous to the point of consorting with strangers who might be spies; 2) They are open to blackmail by espionage agents out of the necessity of hiding their perversion.
Small wonder then that the knowledge that homosexuals had virtually saturated the State Department—the treasury of America's foreign policy secrets—caused a wave of public indignation.
Subsequent firings and resignations of several hundred State Department employees who either admitted or were proved by investigation to be homosexuals has served to turn the heat down on this sizzling post-war political issue; but the whole story hasn't even begun to be told. A conspiracy of silence among Washington bigwigs and news correspondents has kept the public ignorant of how high homosexuals were able to penetrate the State Department, or how decisive was their influence.
This magazine cannot tell the full story. That is the task of Congressional investigative agencies and historians. But there is one dossier in CONFIDENTIAL'S files that should be helpful to the American people in realizing how near a man who would now be classified as a security risk, came to dominating American foreign policy.
Didn't Dare Print Truth About His Resignation
That man was Sumner Welles, a confirmed homosexual who was Under Secretary of State from 1937 to 1943, and second only to Secretary of State Cordell Hull in office and influence during some of the most fateful years in American history. Welles, now living in upstate New York, was actually Acting Secretary of State on many occasions during these years and might well have succeeded Hull—if knowledge of his promiscuity with men who were total strangers to him had not rallied opposition among certain apprehensive elements in the Roosevelt coterie.
Sumner Welles rose to the Under Secretaryship on the basis of his undisputed ability as a suave but hard-headed diplomat and his friendship with Franklin Delano Roosevelt. It is questionable whether Roosevelt knew of Welles' perversion when he brought him into his administration as Assistant Secretary of State on April 6, 1933, only a month after his first inauguration.
Rumors that Welles was double-gaited, especially when liquored up as he often was, thrived, however, in the elite New York and Washington Society in which both Roosevelt and Welles were at home. They flourished too in the social circles of Cuba, where Welles served briefly as ambassador in 1933. These rumors didn't seep down to press circles until later, but by the time of World War II, Welles' prissiness was the butt of much pressroom humor around Washington.
Roosevelt Regime Couldn't Afford the Scandal
When Welles resigned as Under Secretary on Sept. 30, 1943, a score of newsmen knew the actual reasons. But no one dared print more than the "reliable report" that Welles was forced to resign by Secretary of State Hull. Hull was said to have demanded that Roosevelt choose between him and Welles, since fundamental policy differences which had arisen between them over United States-Argentine relations could not be compromised.
That was true, but it was really former Ambassador William C. Bullitt, a strong contender for the ailing Hull's job and Welles' archenemy, who organized opposition to Welles in the State Department and forced the issue. Bullitt threatened to expose the fact that Welles was a man morally ill. The Roosevelt regime couldn't afford the scandal, and F.D.R. had to sacrifice his old friend on the altar of respectability.
Subsequent developments showed it was one of Roosevelt's wisest moves. Hull resigned Nov. 27, 1944, and Welles probably would have succeeded him if Welles had remained in the State Department.
Welles enjoyed Roosevelt's esteem and trust due to their similar New York Society backgrounds and identical alma maters. But Roosevelt found his tall, aloof and fastidious friend had a side to his character that was more Bohemian than Social Register when Welles began to behave so scandalously that F.D.R. had to assign Secret Service agents to keep him out of trouble.
Roosevelt couldn't overlook Welles' peccadillos and the lavender stripe Welles had added to their old school tie after an incident involving Welles and a railroad dining car steward. The incident occurred in July, 1937, two months after Roosevelt had appointed Welles Under Secretary of State.
Ducked Detective Escort and Headed for Gay Time
Welles was en route by train to Little Rock, Ark. to represent the State Department at the funeral of Senate Majority Leader Joseph T. Robinson when the steward caught his eye. An invitation to visit Welles' compartment brought a complaint from the steward that was passed on by the railroad directly to the White House.
For almost a decade after that, the FBI stuck as close to Welles as a Spanish duenna to a wayward ward whenever he traveled to conferences or represented the President abroad. This was true when Welles attended the Panama conferences in 1939, when he toured the major allied and axis capitals of Europe in 1940, when he accompanied F.D.R. to the sea meeting with Churchill in 1941, and when he was a delegate to the Rio de Janeiro Conference in 1942.
Even after Welles' resignation from the Under Secretaryship in 1943, he was still a hot potato who had to be handled with care by police detectives in major American and Canadian cities, where his critical books on U. S. foreign policy made him much in demand as a speaker at conclaves on international affairs. Welles slipped his guards and nearly landed in headlines on one wild weekend in Cleveland in January, 1947. Police in that Ohio city still remember that incident as a nightmare.
Welles arrived in Cleveland Jan. 10th to speak before a meeting of the Council of World Affairs that had attracted such world figures as Alcide de Gasperi, Oswaldo Aranha, James Forrestal, V. K. Wellington Koo, Gen. Omar Bradley, Robert Schuman, James F. Byrnes, Francis Cardinal Spellman, James Carey, and Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg.
Welles spoke at the Cleveland Municipal Auditorium the next day and returned immediately to the Presidential Suite of the Cleveland Hotel for a session with a fifth of Old Grandad. Welles, who was so fond of whisky that he downed at least two double Manhattans before venturing out of bed in the morning, drank intermittently until 3 a.m. the next day. Then he ducked his detective escort and headed for a gay night on the town.
Found Him In Hamburger Joint
The frantic detective and a correspondent for a national magazine who joined the search found Welles in the Royal Castle Hamburger cafe, 15 Public Square, squiring a handsome youth. The boy admitted that the inebriated Welles had given him three $50 bills to persuade him to come to Welles' hotel suite. The correspondent persuaded the lad to fork over the cash, and the detective got Welles into a taxi only by promising to take him to the Club Vendome, a late hour pickup spot that was favored by Cleveland's most flaming homosexuals until it was later closed by police.
The detective and the correspondent took Welles instead to a side entrance of the Cleveland Hotel, where Welles grew obstreperous and refused to enter. His escorts subdued him but the correspondent's eye connected with Welles' flailing fists during the melee. The correspondent covered the final sessions of the Council meeting with a shiner that couldn't have been explained without precipitating a national scandal.
Welles' escorts put him to bed and took his clothes and money away from him to make sure he wouldn't resume his manhunt, but Welles was intent on seeing what bizarre pleasures Cleveland had to offer. The next evening, still in an alcoholic daze, Welles again gave his guard the slip after wheedling back his clothes, but not his money. This time a motorcycle policeman located the elegant former Under Secretary of State at the corner of Sixth Street and Prospect Avenue trying to get a ride to the Club Vendome.
He was hustled back to the hotel where a round-the-clock guard made sure he didn't leave until he departed Cleveland for good the next day with honors due to a visiting dignitary who might have been Secretary of State if a few persons in Washington had not been alert to the dangers inherent in homosexuality in 1943.
The fears of Bullitt and others who opposed Welles' continuance in public office were nearly realized in their worst aspect the following year when the secret of Welles' twisted sex drives came nearer to being told in headlines than at any time in his career.
Almost Frozen To Death
On the morning of Dec. 26, 1948, Welles was found semi-conscious in a field near his baronial 500-acre estate, "Oxon Hill Manor," overlooking the Potomac 10 miles south of Washington at Oxon Hill, MD. Welles' fingers and toes were frozen by seven hours' exposure in 15° temperature, and his clothes, covered with mud and sand, were frozen to his body.
The American press front-paged the story and, subsequent news of Welles' difficult recovery. But the only reason ever published for the accident was an allusion, unverified by Welles' physician, to the "possibility of a heart attack."
Did the flaw of Shakespearean proportions in Welles' moral character prompt him to leave his home at midnight, after imbibing liberally of Christmas cheer, for a nocturnal walk through the frozen fields of his lonely estate in search of 'forbidden satisfaction? CONFIDENTIAL can answer that affirmatively. Homosexuality, which drove Welles to the brink of notoriety, finally drove him almost to his death that winter night.
People Entitled To Know
These are facts the editors of this magazine feel the American public is entitled to know at long last. Not until 1947 did the Department of State, acknowledging itself "a vital target for persons engaged in espionage and subversion," institute a stringent security program providing for dismissal of any person who "has such basic weaknesses of character or lack of judgment as reasonably to justify the fear that he might be led into any course of action" detrimental to the security of the United States. For the first time "habitual drunkenness, sexual perversion and moral turpitude" were listed among those weaknesses of character.
By 1952, officials of Truman's Department of State were testifying repeatedly before Congressional committees that there were no known homosexuals left in the State Department. Yet the Eisenhower administration was still weeding homosexual "security risks" from the department as late as 1953.
At that time the New York Herald Tribune reported that Members of Congress familiar with the situation said some of the homosexuals apparently had been "protected" from questioning by former ranking officials of the Department of State.
If Sumner Welles, whose homosexuality was no secret in the White House, could rise to second in command of the State Department, it is not surprising that others who shared his weakness could rise to positions of rank, too. It is a chapter in American history that must not be repeated.
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