Thursday, April 22, 2010
Hemingway & David Bruce
OSS Col. David Bruce, later JFK's ambassador to the Court of St. James, and NANA newspaper correspondent Ernest Hemingway shortly before entering Paris and liberating the bar at the Hotel Ritz.
[Photo from the book OSS - by Smith.]
From the Soviet Union, Lee Harvey Oswald wrote a letter to John Connally, the man Oswald is later accused of shooting while also assassinating President John F. Kennedy.
When Oswald wrote the letter Connally was Secretary of the Navy, and Oswald was trying to put his affairs in order so he could return to the United States after defecting a few years earlier.
In the letter Oswald tells Connally that he went to Russia like Hemingway went to Paris, ostensibly as a writer. While Priscilla Johnson McMillan, in her book Lee & Marina speculates that Oswald was refering to Hemingway's sorjourn to Paris in the 1920s, but it's possible Oswald meant when Hemingway went to Paris in 1944, a lesser known but equally meaningful experience.
While living in Key West and Cuba at the beginning of the war, Hemingway had offered his services to the Office of Naval Intelligence, and began reporting to them on Nazi U-boat activities in the Caribbean. Hemingway's son had enlisted in the Army was trained as a Jedburg by the OSS and the British, and had parachuted behind enemy lines before D-Day, but was captured and was in a German prisoner of war camp.
Hemingway began covering the war for a number of publications, including Colliars and the North American Newspaper Alliance (NANA), a syndicate of newspapers that was later purchased by former American OSS and British secret intelligence agents Ernest Cueno, John Bryce and Ian Fleming.
When Priscilla Johnson interviewed Oswald the defector in Moscow, she did so for the NANA, a syndicate that employed, besides Hemingway, a bevy of women reporters like JFK's paramour Ingrid Avid, Priscilla Johnson, one of David Atlee Phillip's assets Virginia Prewett, and Lucy Goldberg, whose husband was a NANA editor under Ian Fleming. Lucy would later encourage Linda Tripp to illegally tape record White House intern Monica Lowinski recounting how her dress got stained. Over the years NANA was a hornet's nest of journalist spies, Priscilla Johnson (McMillan) among them.
But instead of Hemingway in Paris in the 20s, when Oswald wrote to Connnally to try to make it easier for him to return home after defecting to the Soviet Union, could Oswald have actually meant Hemingway in Paris in 1944?
In that case, it wasn't part of a literary cell, as Priscilla Johnson speculates, but as a war correspondent who liberated Paris with OSS Colonel David Bruce and a detachment of French resistance fighters.
David Bruce, who would be best man at Hemingway's wedding, also became U.S. Ambassador to the Court of St. James, a position he held during the Kennedy administration, personally keeping the President updated on the latest developments in the Profumo Affair, which could have entangled Kennedy himself.
As a senior OSS Colonel, Bruce was the highest ranking Office of Strategic Services officer in the field, and is shown in the photo with Hemingway shortly before they entered Paris.
According to Smith, and other accounts, while the French generals officially accepted the surrender of the Nazi generals at the railway station, Hemingway and Bruce liberated the bar at the Hotel Ritz, where Hemingway counted the heads of his motley troop of commandos, and ordered 60 dry martinis, no doubt shaken, not sturred.