41. Memorandum by the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (Hoover)1
- Mr. Tolson
- Mr. De Loach
- Mr. Sullivan
- Mr. Bishop
I called Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, National Security Adviser to the President, at Key Biscayne, Florida. I told him I had some information which I thought he ought to know about so as to bring him up to date.
I told him that in regards to the background of William Beecher, who wrote the article in the New York Times today,2 he is formerly from the St. Louis Globe Democrat and then went to the Wall Street Journal and was later employed by the New York Times. He has been active in the U.S. Army reserve program for a period of time and is described as particularly astute as to military affairs. In 1966 at the request of Marvin Watson, Assistant to the President at that time, we conducted an investigation as to a leak of information concerning United States government policy in the anti-missile field in connection with an article by Beecher in the New York Times of December 27, 1966. Our investigation led to nothing very definite except the possibility that his story was primarily on informed speculation as there had been made available publicly a lot of source material from which he could draw his conclusions.
I stated that in regard to the current three articles,3 it is the conclusion of the contacts we have made that it could have come and probably did from a staff member of the National Security Council. I continued that Beecher while at undergraduate school at Harvard had a roommate who is now a staff member of the National Security Council. There is a strong possibility also that he may have gotten some of his information from the Southeast Asian Desk, Public Affairs Office of the Department of Defense, as the Public Affairs Office is constituted of employees who are pronounced anti-Nixon. I continued that Beecher frequents this office as well as the National Security Council, and the employees freely furnish him information inasmuch as they are largely Kennedy people and anti-Nixon. I said that also in the Systems Analysis Agency in the Pentagon, there are at least 110 in the 124 employees who are still McNamara people and express a very definite Kennedy philosophy.4
I continued that this situation has made it very easy for Beecher to obtain information; however, the source we have been working through said it should not be ruled out that a staff member of the [Page 98] National Security Council who obviously was in a position to know the information contained in all three articles could have assisted Beecher. Dr. Kissinger said he has heard this as an allegation, too, but there is no proof; that he has heard it as a speculation. I said, of course, this is speculation all the way through tying it into this man Halperin. I said that Beecher works full time at the Pentagon and was asked today as to what his source of information was, and he said it was an excellent one. He said that his source was from the Air Force, but he did not reveal any names. I continued that he stated the Air Force was particularly anxious to soften up its press in its bomber program and is endeavoring to obtain a favorable image with the press. I commented that I thought that was probably a misleading statement by Beecher to throw it into the Air Force.
I continued that there is a man named Eagleburger who attended the Central State College at Stevens Point and the University of Wisconsin and is presently a State Department Foreign Service officer on detail to the National Security Council at the White House. I said he was formerly an assistant to former Under Secretary of State Nicholas Katzenbach and is a close friend of Beecher.
I said in regards to Halperin, we conducted an applicant investigation of him in 1962 and in February 1969 and the investigation reflected Halperin and other experts in his field are of the opinion that the United States leadership erred in the Vietnam commitment as we did not possess the interest or capabilities to obtain the original objectives. I said that in 1965 his name appeared on a list of individuals who responded to a request for a public hearing on Vietnam by agreeing to sponsor a national sit-in. I said the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in 1965 advised that Halperin’s name was on a list of Americans who had reportedly received the World Marxist Review Problems of Peace and Socialism, a communist publication.
I continued that from another source it was indicated we should not overlook the Systems Analysis Agency in the Defense Department who had an employee named Ivan Selin and another named Halperin currently employed as staff employee of the National Security Council. I said they are very close to each other and both are so-called arrogant Harvard-type Kennedy men who would not hesitate to do anything to save their jobs. I said it was stated that Halperin was particularly anxious to save Selin’s job with the Systems Analysis Agency. I said both men know Beecher and consider him a part of the Harvard clique, and, of course, of the Kennedy era and we should not ignore the possibility that Halperin and/or Selin could be the source of the leak to Beecher.
I said that is as far as we have gotten so far. Dr. Kissinger said he appreciated this very much and he hoped I would follow it up as far [Page 99] as we can take it and they will destroy whoever did this if we can find him, no matter where he is.
I told Dr. Kissinger I wanted him to know the developments and he said he appreciated it very much and they will certainly keep looking into it at their end. I told him we would keep after it and he said they were counting on whatever we can find out.
Very truly yours,
- Source: National Archives, RG 460, Plumbers Task Force, Gray/Wiretap Investigation, Box 8, FBI Wiretap Correspondence with WH. No classification marking. Also a typed note at the bottom of the page reads, “Original impounded by court order. See memo in 63–16062–3.”↩
- See footnote 2, Document 39.↩
- See Documents 39 and 40.↩
- In a May 13 letter to Kissinger, Hoover stated: “In regard to the current three articles, it is the conclusion of the sources we have contacted that the information probably came from a staff member such as Morton H. Halperin of the National Security Council. Also, it is a strong possibility that some of the information came from the Southeast Asian Desk, Public Affairs Office of the Department of Defense, as the Public Affairs Office is constituted of anti-Administration personnel.” (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box TS 88, Confirmation Hearings—Wiretaps)↩