Devil’s Chessboard: JFK and the struggle for power France, part 2

In Part 2 of this 3-part series in WhoWhatWhy , President Kennedy learns of Dulles’s involvement in plotting to overthrow de Gaulle, and assures the French of his support for de Gaulle, while issuing a warning:

“The CIA is such a vast and poorly controlled machine that the most unlikely maneuvers might be true,” Kennedy said.  But not even the CIA, with all its right-wing allies, was any match for the millions of French who stood up for de Gaulle.

Read Part 1 here.


  1. Ronnie Wayne says:

    I don’t know where else to to post it that it might be posted.
    Vive La France!
    May the Democracy that supported us in our infancy Live On.

  2. Ronnie Wayne says:

    Was Dulles MKULTRA program of using scientists to test unsuspecting civilians and prisoners with LSD among other abominations (E.G. sleep deprivation)such a far step (some did die, some were altered for life) from what his nazi clients and friends like mengle did?
    After all he did suppress information on the holocaust while it was happening.

  3. Ronnie Wayne says:

    In light of the terrible developments in France last week should these revelations about the role of the CIA’s apparent involvement in the attempted overthrow and assassination of DeGaulle be considered in a new context? Bill Maher stumped his guest’s iver read by asking “Why do they Hate US?”. JFK opposed our support of taking over foreign Nations for the sake of corporate interests.
    One reason he died?
    It all brings to mind a song or two.

    IMHO I think JFK would have approved of these songs.

  4. Roy W Kornbluth says:

    This WhoWhatWhy series is simply great. How differently the French deal with fascism in their country:
    –as soon as the Algiers putsch became apparent (practically coincident with our Bay of Pigs fiasco which CIA and other worldwide reactionaries figured would keep Kennedy tied up), de Gaulle took to the airwaves and begged his countrymen to “block the road everywhere to these men.”
    –and ten million French responded with a general strike. Cars and trucks were ready to block all runways should the traitors try to land troops. The labor at the huge Renault plant outside Paris took it over and demanded to be militia-ized. Etc. Result: the ringleader Challe flew to Paris and surrendered.
    –then, as de Gaulle purged his various “security” forces of CIA and Gehlen right-hand men, the cornered fascists stepped up their program of terror so much that “liquidations became almost a daily routine.”
    –but did the French lay down and give up? No. Vietnamese exiles punched back, decimating the Nazi holdovers, and Algeria finally got their independence anyway 7-62.
    –then, 8-62, the day of the Jackal, OAS’ last gasp in France, 12 snipers couldn’t end de Gaulle, though all his tires were shot out. Kind of different than the driver of Kennedy’s car 11-22-63, ey?

  5. MDG says:

    It is so disgusting to read about the incredible power of unelected people like Dulles.

    President John F. Kennedy was elected in 1960 by the people of the United States.

    One can only shudder at the unspeakable tragedy of his assasination. We will always wonder what might have been had he lived and served for two terms.

    A nation was robbbed of a great man and one of our greatest presidents had he lived to accomplish what he campaigned on.

    Allen Dulles be dammed!

    He was a cruel killer period if he was involved in any way in the events of 22/11/63.

    We need not glorify the power of the unelected.

    • lysias says:

      11 years later, the CIA removed the equally elected Nixon from office. They had discovered a more subtle way to dislodge a president they didn’t like. And that was after Allen Dulles had died.

      • leslie sharp says:

        Bill Kelly recently posted on a jfkfacts thread, “Devil’s Chessboard JFK assassination story foreshadowed In 1961 France”: ‘In 1961 while Oswald was in USSR – some of his former Civil Air Patrol pals – David Ferrie, Gordon Novel, an ex-USMC who kept dry firing a rifle and someone’s model Miss New Orleans wife broke into an ammo bunker and stole CIA owned weapons said to have been earmarked for the Bay of Pigs and then the French OAS generals coup, and were stored at Banisters office. The bunker was owned by a French oil company whose director associated with dohrenschildt and Oswald when he returned from USSR.’

        The French oil company was Schlumberger. Leon Jaworski, Houston attorney who served as the special prosecutor that forced Richard Nixon to finally release the Watergate tapes that revealed the ‘smoking gun’ and lead to Nixon’s resignation just weeks later, was a board member of Schlumberger Oil for decades. Fulbright-Jaworski clients included the deMenil/Schlumberger families, their oil investments, as well as Houston-based MD Anderson Foundation – another alleged conduit for the CIA.

        It is no longer tenable to dismiss the power created by the symbiosis between policies and actions that advance private interests and the clandestine operations that are designed to protect and advance those interests. Failure to acknowledge and confront the co-optation {def. to appropriate as one’s own} of government-funded intelligence agencies – particularly the CIA – by private industry has delayed resolution of the overriding motives behind the conspiracy to assassinate President Kennedy and more and more the likelihood that a related agenda was behind the removal from office of Richard Nixon. Jaworski and Schlumberger provide us a window into the opaque world of modern oligarchy.

  6. Charles says:

    photon, i don’t understand your reasoning regarding French withdrawl from Indochina. Why would Dulles have any objection at all to such withdrawl when the U.S. was already preparing to replace the French. Ike and vp Nixon had even gone so far as to consider the use of nuclear weapons (Operation Vulture) to defeat the Viet Minh at Dien Bien Phu.

    I would argue that Dulles would have welcomed the French leaving so as to have a freer hand for American commercial and military interests in the region after the “loss” of China to Mao.

    The U.S. had no way in intervene in Algeria without a “friendly” government in place to prop up like South Viet Nam.

  7. Jordan says:

    A rather illustrative example of CIA connections in the DeGaulle matters can be found in the circumstances of the death of Enrico Mattei….The links are obvious….

    • Photon says:

      Not to the CIA.
      Algeria was the test site for the Franco-Israeli nuclear weapons program.

      • Steve Stirlen says:


        Speaking of Talbot’s new book, here is a line from page 204. I would like your interpretation.

        “Under Allen Dulles, the CIA would become a vast kingdom, the most powerful and least supervised agency in government.”

        (Now, before you tell me, I know that Dulles was not the director of the CIA in 63.)

        Question: How can the most powerful agency in our government NOT produce an accurate picture of LHO leaving the embassy in Mexico City?

        Still wish to stick to your classic “they made a mistake” bs?

        • Photon says:

          ” The CIA’s 10 Worst Blunders”.
          Makes your Mexico City mistake look like child’s play.

          • Steve stirlen says:

            Which makes the WO look a like a cheap, supermarket novel…

          • JSA says:

  …That’s kind of a web source for Stupids. Why would anyone cite that site for an argument about CIA activity, unless they were hopelessly grasping at flimsy straws?

      • lysias says:

        Mattei’s fatal flight took off from Sicily (on Oct. 27, 1962). Which organization is more closely associated with the Sicilian Mafia: the CIA or the Franco-Israeli nuclear program?

        For that matter, wasn’t Israel rather closely tied to the CIA through liaison and counterintelligence chief Angleton?

        The investigation of the crash was sabotaged by Italian authorities. Who would have been more able to get Italian authorities to do that than the CIA?

        Phillipe Thyraud de Vosjoli (the former SDECE French intelligence officer who figures in Topaz) blamed SDECE French intelligence. But, as we know from Topaz itself, Vosjoli was more loyal to the CIA than to his own organization and country.

        • Photon says:

          Gerald Bull.

        • leslie sharp says:

          Frank M. “Brandy” Brandstetter, host to an apparently terrified Vosjoli in Cuba, had welcomed Castro to the Havana Hilton in the early days of the revolution. Brandstetter was hired by Conrad Hilton in 1957 to manage some of his hotels. (Following the nationalization of US interests in Cuba including the Havana Hilton, the hotel company received a financial infusion from the Chicago Crown family of General Dynamics whose president was Frank Pace, former Secretary of the Army whose ties to Allen Dulles are not yet well known.) The threads are endless – including ties between Hilton and United Fruit – and seem meaningless until one weaves the tapestry.

          Brandstetter later purchased the Las Brisas in Acapulco where he mingled with Ricky di Portanova whose reputation as the grandson of oilman Roy Cullen in Houston is infamous. Baron di Portanova played host to Henry Kissinger at his Acapulco mansion, Arabesque which was nestled at the base of Brandstetter’s Las Brisas. Eventually Brandstetter ends up in Dallas in the Oak Lawn area within blocks of an alleged 1963 safe house of the CIA, and purely by chance within blocks of Mary Ferrell.

          Leon Uris who wrote Vosjolis’ story “Topaz” spent months as a guest of my father-in-law’s hotel in Ireland where they became good friends while Uris was writing “Trinity”. To add to this personal scene of the tapestry, my future father-in-law had worked at the Waldorf Astoria under Hilton management contract in 1957 when Brandstetter walked thru the doors to meet Conrad Hilton. One can’t make this up.

      • Jordan says:

        What do Mattei, Algeria and Texas have in common…?

        Oil….Need I say more…?

  8. Photon says:

    Does Talbot have any sources for this narrative besides French reporters and his own imagination ?
    He seem to have forgotten that France had a socialist government in the 1950s and pulled out of Indochina-arguably having already pursued policies Dulles supposedly would prevent by removing DeGaulle.

    • JSA says:

      I had always heard that Dulles was more comfortable dealing with ex-Vichy French than with DeGaulle, as he was regarded by many in CIA as a “loose cannon” who could not be corralled. Later, when the French decided to pull out of NATO and operate their own nuclear force, this REALLY pissed off the CIA and American hardliners in general. Because of DeGaulle’s unpredictability alone I could see why people in power in the US would want to eliminate him to instigate or lay the foundation for “regime change” a la Guatemala or Iraq.

      • Photon says:

        France pulled out of the military arm of NATO in 1966. Ivan, are you suggesting that the CIA was clairvoyant?
        DeGaulle was difficult with everybody-none of the Allied leaders wanted to deal with him until after the North African landings made him a fait accompli .Post one ex-Vichy that Dulles was comfortable dealing with.
        For all of his issues, DeGaulle brought stability to the French government.He was better than what came previously.

    • Ronnie Wayne says:

      Yes photon he does have other sources. But why are French sources not credible? Pg. 414 ” A Paris correspondent for the Washington Post reported Challe launched his revolt “because he was convinced he had unqualified American support” – assurances Challe was led to believe, “emanating from President Kennedy himself”. Who gave these assurances, the Post reporter asked his French sources? The Pentagon, the CIA? “It’s the same thing,” he was told.
      Source? That ever trustworthy one, your MSM controlled Washington Post.

      • Ronnie Wayne says:

        Then you have on page 415, “The New York Times Scotty Reston…reported that the CIA was indeed “involved in an embarrassing liaison with the anti -Gaullist officers”

        Don’t you get it? The CIA would have liked to have seen De Gaulle Dead for the sake of keeping US interests in Algeria free for the taking

      • lysias says:

        Challe’s job immediately before he resigned from the French Air Force and went to Algeria to lead the coup was as Commander-in-Chief Allied Forces Central Europe (CINCENT). In that job, he would have had intimate contact with Americans and the whole NATO establishment.

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