- Biographical Background
- (1893-1969) Born in Watertown, New York, on April 23,
1893, to Presbyterian minister Allen Macy and Edith Foster Dulles, daughter
of a former secretary of State began his 51 year career in intelligence
after graduating from Princeton in 1914 by being accepted as a clerk in
the State Department's intelligence service on 22 May, 1916. Dulles
received formal training in spycraft from William S. Stephenson of MI6
and was assigned to Vienna, Austria on 7 July, 1916. After America declared
on war on Germany on 7 April, 1917, the U.S. Legation transferred its intelligence
and diplomatic operations to Bern, Switzerland, where Dulles found himself
on 23 April taking over intelligence functions. Dulles later served in
the State Department's intelligence unit during the Paris Peace Conference
in 1919. Dulles stayed on in the State Department after Germany signed
the peace accords and worked in the U.S. Legation in Berlin sending back
vital information regarding the social and political chaos that ensued.
In May 1920, Dulles reported back to the State Department to collect military
and economic intelligence on Turkey and Persian oil activities. After
resigning from the State Department in the fall of 1926, Dulles got became
a lawyer and worked for Sullivan & Cromwell, a Wall Street investment
firm as a managing partner where he successfully engineered the largest
Treasury loan ($30,000,000) to the Prussian government as well as other
foreign loans and became the State Department's point man on foreign loans
during 1926-1933. During this period, Dulles became the State Department's
top arms negotiator.
- In June 1940, General William Donovan recruited Dulles
into his secret Coordinator of Information staff organized by Stephenson
and used his influence as member of the ROOM (a private Wall Street intelligence
gathering organization and forerunner of the OSS that provided covert money
laundering operations abroad and supplied other field assets to American
and British agents inside Germany) to assist Donovan in getting Army G-2
approval for establishing the Office of Strategic Services.
- In late 1942, Dulles went to Bern, Switzerland, to become
station chief for the OSS and created and organized a huge intelligence
network of German double agents and expanded his operation to include Yugoslavia,
Hungary and other German occupied countries to spread disinformation and
forward all political and military secrets of the German High Command.
His network provided critical intelligence to Allied war planners and
was instrumental in negotiating with Nazi Germany's leadership for an unconditional
surrender in May 1945.
- Post War Activities
- After President Truman signed into law the National Security
Act of 1947, the United States Central Intelligence Agency was created
and not long afterwards, a political turf war erupted between the war-time
Intelligence Advisory Board composed of the three intelligence chiefs of
the Armed Services and State-War-Navy Committee (forerunner to the NSC)
over who should run the CIA.
- On 10 October, 1947, the new Secretary of Defense, James
Forrestal, acted on a recommendation by Rear Admiral Roscoe H. Hillenkoetter,
Director of Central Intelligence, to form an advisory committee under the
National Security Act to smooth out the interpretation of the wording and
define the authority of the DCI. To supervise a survey, Allen Dulles was
appointed by Sherman Kent, head of the Office of Reports and Estimates
(Kent had been head of the Research and Analysis Branch of the OSS) to
do the survey. NSC Secretary, Admiral Sidney Sours favored Ken's choice
because Dulles would "keep the Central Intelligence Agency out of
the public eye."1 In April 1948, the Dulles Group (William H. Jackson
and Robert Blum) completed Survey Interim Report No. 2 on secret intelligence
and covert operations and soon after the survey was completed to assess
the DCI and the agency. On 1 June, 1948, Secretaries Forestall and Lovett,
based on Dulles' findings decided to give the post of director of secret
intelligence and covert operations to Dulles and to reorganize the personnel
in the agency.2 The Dulles Report studied General Vandenberg's efforts
and the "difficulties" experienced by Hillenkoetter with the
Intelligence Advisory Board agreed "that there was lack of full cooperation."3
- CIA Consultant
- The survey report had gained Dulles recognition and on
22 December, 1951, Dulles drew up his contract defining the functions and
responsibilities of Deputy Director for Operations (later designated Deputy
Director for Plans). The Dulles Report recommended that all offices within
Operations be integrated into a self sufficient, self reliant, and semi-autonomous
"Operations" Division. DCI Smith pursued this recommendation
made by Dulles and asked Dulles to come into the agency for six weeks as
a consultant. On 16 November, 1950, Dulles was officially on board as
Smith's consultant and remained in that position until 2 January, 1951,
when he was hired officially as Deputy Director for Operations.
- Dulles as Deputy Director for Operations
- Though DCI Smith did not fulfill the recommendations
as outlined in the Dulles Report, he did value Dulles for his experience
as a clandestine operator and organizer of covert operations in the field.
Smith also understood that Dulles knew how to run covert operations and
had been doing so since he left the OSS performing coordination and funding
activities throughout post-war Europe for his large intelligence network
he developed and kept them alive and operating for the CIA.
- Smith did read the Dulles Report chapter on "Secret
Intelligence and Secret Operations," in which Allen so graphically
defined. In it, Dulles stated: "The collection of Secret Intelligence
is closely related to the conduct of Secret Operations in support of national
policy. These operations including covert psychological warfare, clandestine
political activity, sabotage, and guerrilla activity, have always been
companions of Secret Intelligence.-Italics added. The two activities support
each other and can be disassociated only to the detriment of both."4
Dulles' office was adjoined to Smith's at "The Kremlin" as it
was known by subordinates and quite frequently Smith was heard yelling
for Dulles, but Dulles never took the threats and chewing outs as cause
for concern. Dulles was a professional and was cool all during Smith's
often nerve shattering outbursts and fits of rage that melted others.
- On 26 February, 1953, Allen Welsh Dulles officially assumed
the office of Director of Central Intelligence after President Eisenhower
had sworn him in and took the reigns of power to wield the CIA as America's
most formidable weapon against the Soviet Union and her satellite states.
He quickly acquired a "Ascham" opinion of the Agency, believing
as he did, that intelligence should be at the left hand of power as did
the "Ascham" or Greek for "those who stand on the left hand
of the king." Dulles likened himself and his Agency as the praetorian
guard of Caesar, serving the left hand of the president-doing the dark
deeds that statecraft required.
- While Dulles thanked Smith for gaining respectability
for the CIA, he let it be know that "The reorganization period, except
for minor changes, is over."5
- One of the first tasks Dulles set out for his staff was
that of providing security for the CIA and its operations. Smith had spoken
directly to Dulles about Soviet penetration of the U.S. government but
not the CIA itself. The penetration by the Burgess, Maclean, Philby spy
ring into British intelligence and the State Department had paralyzed the
exchange between the U.S. and Great Britain and it would never happen again.
Dulles meant to pry into every corner of the world and learn everyone's
intentions. To do this, Dulles brought in James Jesus Angleton, the notorious
spy hunter and counter intelligence expert from the OSS days to create
and run Counter Intelligence and the Liaison Section which became the least
understood, but the most successful of all counterintelligence tasks for
Operations. Dulles and Angleton had acquired General Gehlen's German counterintelligence
organization for the sole purpose of infiltrating Soviet intelligence networks
established all over West Germany and Allied occupied Europe and may explain
the increased interest by the CIA in UFO sighting reports shortly after
Angleton became Director of Counter Intelligence.
- Allen Dulles as Director of Central Intelligence
- Dulles was looked upon by all in the CIA as a "father
figure" and had the respect of everyone in the Agency. No stranger
to covert operations, Dulles set out to make the CIA the premiere intelligence
organization of the U.S. intelligence community. He did this by insulating
the Agency from political opposition and military intervention by keeping
alive the mutual cooperation established earlier by Vandenberg and Smith.
He had the full support of President Eisenhower and that of the State
Department which was run by his brother John Foster Dulles (JFD died in
1959). He was a tireless administrator often coming in to work at eight
in the morning and leaving after six in the evening and his example was
copied by others in the Agency. Dulles would sometimes stroll through
the corridors of the East Building and speak formally with employees and
exhibited a professional demeanor to female employees and secretaries.
- Allen Dulles will probably be remembered most for the
development and use of high altitude reconnaissance aircraft and satellite
imagery that ushered the CIA into the space age which he endorsed completely
while still relying on human intelligence or HUMINT as equally valuable
sources of information. Though, he is remembered for the CIA's mind control
projects, psychological warfare operations, and his role in protecting
the Agency during the Warren Commission investigation into the assassination
of President John F. Kennedy, Dulles also showed concern for involving
the CIA in other areas as well. During the decision making period in creating
the National Reconnaissance Office in August 1960, Dulles told Richard
Bissell (Deputy Director for Plans), that he would not allow a CIA officer
to take operational control of the NRO and run covert operations in the
CIA at the same time for fear the Agency would be used as a scapegoat if
something went wrong and have the DCI answer to the president or the NSC.
Dulles did expand CIA operations into photographic interpretation by creating
the Photographic Interpretation Division in 1953 which later became the
Photographic Interpretation Center in 1958. Dulles also created a ad hoc
Joint Study Group to review all aspects of U.S. foreign intelligence activities
on 10 July, 1960, that led to the establishment of the National Photographic
Interpretation Center which President Eisenhower later ordered Allen Dulles
to absorb into CIA operations. He also maintained operational control
of the U-2 spy planes, the A-12 (successor to the U-2) and the CORONA spy
satellite program for the CIA.
- Allen Dulles and His Final Years as DCI
- President Eisenhower had begun a campaign of détente'
with the Soviet world and wanted Allen Dulles to carry out certain initiatives
that ran counter to Dulles' philosophy "America is at Peace because
the CIA is at War" which put Dulles in a uncomfortable position as
DCI. Eisenhower had given Army G-2 the task of protecting him from surprises
and gave orders to Dulles requesting prompt action and immediate feedback.
Eisenhower had the growing suspicion that Dulles did not have full operational
control of the CIA and placed a series of studies, watch committees and
operations control boards to encourage Dulles to exert more control on
intelligence collection processes. During Eisenhower's last year in office,
the CIA was under attack by allegations that the CIA had control of Air
Force UFO investigations and was deliberately using camouflage to protect
classified CIA projects and forcing needless expenditures on psychological
warfare operations against the Soviets. Funding for CIA operations was
hidden away in appropriations for the Pentagon, State Department, and other
agencies and Dulles had to go to the Hill to pitch for more money. When
asked by the subcommittee of the House and Senate Appropriations Committee
if he had enough money to carry out directives of the President and the
NSC, Dulles would reply by saying that he had enough but if he needed more,
he would ask and that would end the meeting promptly. In an effort to
get quick responses to his requests, Eisenhower created the 5412 Committee
known as the "Special Group" to serve as a circuit breaker between
the President and "ops" and Dulles knew that the 5412 Committee
would, in time, cause him embarrassment and the CIA would take the blame
for any policy blunders of the President or State Department. One of these
5412 Committee actions was political assassinations of foreign leaders.
One document suggested that the NSC had discussed the "removal"
of Fidel Castro and "direct positive action" against Castro be
moved to an "executive action capability" which everyone understood
to mean the killing of selected individuals.6 Dulles briefed Eisenhower
on the Cuban operation on 29 November, 1960, at which Eisenhower wanted
it expedited at the earliest possible time to offset Democratic Party candidate
John F. Kennedy's attacks on communism and the "missile gap"
that Dulles knew didn't exist. The 5412 Committee was briefed by Dulles
and expressed the opinion that the Trinidad Plan would be successful. The
U-2 crash over the Soviet Union became a breaking point with Eisenhower
and Dulles which caused great consternation to the White House and exposed
the CIA to a tongue lashing by the press which came at a most precarious
moment for Dulles. What Dulles had feared came true.
- Allen Dulles and President Kennedy
- The New York Herald Tribune had printed Dulles' epitaph
by printing "The general expectation within the Kennedy administration
has been that Mr. Dulles...would step down in 1961...." Just three
days after the election, President Kennedy called Dulles at his office
and bluntly told him that he was moving quickly to announce his "reappointment"
as soon as possible and that Dulles would remain as DCI which pleased him
greatly. Kennedy wanted to immerse himself in the intelligence gambit
and Dulles and Bissell had briefed him on sensitive areas but held back
on specific items regarding the CIA invasion plan for Cuba and proposed
direct actions against Castro until Kennedy was firmly acquainted with
all the Eisenhower approved projects.
- Relationship between President Kennedy and Dulles began
on a cordial note and things seem to be on the right track but Dulles knew
that he would have to convince Kennedy that the Cuban Plan would work and
not put the United States in a bad light in world opinion. On 16 April,
1961, the 1,200 Cuban Brigade began their beach assault at the Bay of Pigs
with air support and the island defenders easily overpowered and captured
the few who made it ashore. Somewhere along the CIA chain of command,
the air strikes were not coordinated and insufficient to do any damage
to Castro's ground forces and coupled with aging light bombers and mechanical
failures, the strikes were called off, the transports were ordered back
to Florida and future air strikes were cancelled leaving the CIA trained
Cubans stranded and trapped. Immediately the press were printing headlines
that the U.S. had failed in a illegal invasion of Cuba and repercussions
were evident everywhere in the White House. Reeling from the disaster
and embarrassment of the failed invasion, Kennedy quickly ordered an investigation
only to learn that it was an Eisenhower plan which he had embraced and
disregarded the Operations Coordinating Board and took control from 5412
and ran the operation within his own staff. General Charles P. Cabell,
Allen Dulles, and Richard Bissell became the scapegoats of this debacle
shortly after Kennedy publicly apologized and Kennedy issued a National
Security Action Memorandum that transferred all covert paramilitary operations
to the military and set in motion the dismantling of the CIA. On 28, April,
1961, The New York Herald Tribune printed a piece that was prophetic by
saying: "President Kennedy had planned an overhaul of the Central
Intelligence Agency after its Director, Allen W. Dulles, retired at the
end of this year or early next year, it was learned today." What
followed was unmistakable to all in the Agency, "The timetable for
the review of the CIA was moved up as a result of last week's ill-fated
invasion of Cuba by rebel forces. The President last Saturday named General
Maxwell D. Taylor (Ret.) to investigate U.S. intelligence capabilities,
including the CIA."-Italics added.
- Dulles would now have to think about how to protect the
Agency that he had labored for so long to build up and his own future.
The strain on the once cordial understanding that existed between Kennedy
and Dulles had broken down and it is reported that Kennedy bluntly told
Dulles that he had to go. Dulles was not one to trifle with and supported
Kennedy's active measures to assassinate Castro and set up the machinery
to launch Operation MONGOOSE but it failed even though Kennedy gave approval
to the CIA to use mafia assassins to do it.
- The final tribute to Dulles came on 28 November, 1961,
with the formal ceremony to dedicate the new $50,000,000 CIA headquarters
building at Langley, Virginia, officiated by President Kennedy. Kennedy
said: "I know of no man who brings a greater sense of personal commitment
to his work, who has less pride in office than he has. Your successes
are unheralded-your failures trumpeted. I sometimes have that feeling
myself. But I am sure you realize how important your work is, how essential
it is, and how in the long sweep of history, how significant your efforts
will be judged."-Italics added.
- On 29 November, 1961, Allen Dulles formally relinquished
his office and retired from the intelligence business. As with all retired
professionals, Dulles made speeches and wrote books. Among them were The
Craft of Intelligence, which became a best seller. Dulles also lectured
at universities and attended private meetings to discuss the abandonment
of National Intelligence Estimates by President Kennedy known as the Gun
- Allen Dulles and The Warren Commission
- After President Kennedy was gunned down in Dallas, Texas,
on 22 November, 1963, the newly sworn in Vice President, Lyndon Johnson,
asked Allen Dulles to be a member of a the Warren Commission tasked by
President Johnson to investigate JFK's murder and report back to him with
- There has been a lot of speculation and rumors regarding
Johnson's decision to pick Allen Dulles as a member of the Warren Commission
and became a focus point by conspiracy theorists. One theory is, that
Allen Dulles could act as a back channel source to the CIA appraising those
concerned on the progress-or lack thereof in determining the guilt of Lee
Harvey Oswald, the accused trigger man. Another, that Dulles knew of the
conspiracy and steered the panel away from any CIA connections. And still
another, that Dulles had a secret running dispute with Kennedy over disclosure
of classified UFO intelligence collected by the CIA and Kennedy threatened
to make such disclosure at Dallas in a speech to the Chamber of Commerce.
Whatever the reasons, it is believed by many that Allen Dulles conspired
to set the President up for a coupe orchestrated by a secret intelligence
cabal who wanted Kennedy out of the way.
- Among the findings found in The Warren Commission Report:
The Official Report of The President's Commission On the Assassination
of President John F. Kennedy, the report stated in regards to official
contact with Oswald, that contacts were "made in the regular exercise
of their different responsibilities."7 The CIA did indicate in their
response for information on visa applicants into the Soviet union that
Oswald "obtained permission to remain within one or two months""
and when the Warren Commission asked if this was "normal procedures,"
CIA responded by saying, "It is impossible for us to state any "normal"
procedures."8 Allen Dulles would have been in a position to know
this and he may have warned the CIA to not be specific in their response
to the question. It is now known that the CIA did maintain a 201 personnel
file on Oswald declassified in 1992 through the CIA Historical Review Program
and released to the National Archives. The whereabouts of Lee Oswald
were suppose to be unknown until 23 February, 1963, but internal Counter
Intelligence documents relate to queries regarding Oswald's return from
the Soviet Union in 1960.9 There are no references to Oswald's 201 files
in the entire 26 volumes of the Warren Commission Report and Dulles might
have had a hand in keeping this vital information from the commission members
- When New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrsion had long-time
CIA operator Clay L. Shaw arrested in 1967 as a conspirator in President
Kennedy's murder, Garrison attempted to have the United States Attorney's
Office serve a subpoena on Allen Dulles regarding Oswald, black ops, and
Shaw, but was declined. On 29 January, 1969, Allen Dulles died in his
house from an acute influenza infection. On 1 March, 1969, Clay L. Shaw
- Allen Welsh Dulles and His Legacy
- What can be said about Allen W. Dulles and his life as
a intelligence officer, lawyer, investigator, writer, diplomat, and keeper
of state secrets? Dulles was not a brash, swash buckler, cloak and dagger
spy so stereotyped in spy novels and films. Dulles was an educated man
and wary of political trappings and two-stepping in statecraft. Dulles
was more of an opportunist and politician when confronted with difficult
choices and always sought the high ground for an overall view of the problem.
He was a consummate communicator who loved to throw tidbits out to inquiring
minds but never disclosed vital secrets. His informed opinions were viewed
by those who knew him as gospel and enjoyed the satisfaction that his CIA
was the best intelligence agency in the world. His demeanor was that of
a "old school" gentleman and commanded the respect of everyone
in the Agency he loved so much.
- Lately, his name has been associated with a secret intelligence
cabal known as MJ-12 who has steered UFO policy and deception for over
50 years. This has not been proven, but Dulles did like using the old
OSS alphabet prefix for black operations code words such as MK-ULTRA. He
did acknowledge that UFOs were top secret and he did authorize the Domestic
Collection Division to interview UFO witnesses and assumed the responsibility
from his predecessor, General Walter B. Smith, as DCI to coordinate all
UFO intelligence within the U.S. intelligence community. Dulles had associations
in every branch of government, the press, and possessed classified knowledge
from foreign intelligence sources regarding military and civilian reports.
- In matters relating to covert operations, Dulles was
a master of disinformation and propaganda and used these tools to keep
hostile powers off balance and guessing about their own security. He was
skillful in the art of persuasion and subtleties that convinced presidents
and diplomats that he was always one step ahead of the game and was in
control and could be relied upon to provide critical answers when the occasion
required it. His philosophy that covert operations were not meant to be
seen nor heard, but felt, were largely successful and altered the checks
and balances of world power for 40 years. His willingness to listen to
others gave him perspective and insight which allowed him to draw information
without the person being aware of it without giving away too much. He enjoyed
being around people and lavished the attention he drew. He made any conversation
interesting when puffing on a pipe and giggling to make one feel at ease.
He never showed anger nor raised his voice but chose to interject thoughts
and solutions as opposed to cutting remarks. Dulles liked to win.
- Dulles was a interesting and complex study of a man who
knew secrets and kept them very well. Perhaps, and most importantly, Dulles
was a cold warrior and a spy, and believed that as long as the CIA was
at war, America was at peace. He once said that he was the only man in
government among the free world who could send men out to die in peacetime
and perhaps, it is this silent war that Allen Dulles will be remembered
- 1 The Central Intelligence Agency: An Instrument of Government
to 1950, by Arthur B. Darling, pg. 302, Penn State Press (1990).
- 2 In a written statement Blum suggested that "The
basic weakness reaches back to the unwillingness of the IAC (Intelligence
Advisory Committee, established in 1947 to study the UFO problem)members
to give their full cooperation if they are to be purely advisory and the
absence of strong CIA leadership which would be necessary to overcome this
unwillingness and make IAC effective."
- 3 The Central Intelligence Agency: An Instrument of Government
to 1950, by Arthur B. Darling, pg. 312.
- 4 Central Intelligence Agency, excerpt from Chapter 9
of still-classified "Dulles-Jackson-Correa Report," 1 January,
1949, Dulles Personnel File, Box 9.
- 5 AWD Papers, Box 58, February 25, 1953.
- 6 Interim Report of the Select Committee to Study Government
Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, U.S. Senate, 94th Congress,
"Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders," Report
No. 91-465, November 20, 1975, pg. 110-181, see footnote 17.
- 7 The Warren Commission Report, pg. 22, Longmeade edition,
- 8 The Warren Commission Report, pg. 267, Longmeade edition,
- 9 Oswald And The CIA, by John Newman, pg. 169, Carrol
& Graf, 1995.
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