Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Three Martini Lunch Crew

The Three Martini Lunch Crew

Even before Ian Fleming’s 007 James Bond made it famous, the martini was the drink of spies, as a select group of espionage agents and operatives were flagrantly drinking martinis, including Ernest Hemingway, James Jesus Angleton, Kim Philby, William Harvey, Harvey’s secretary Maggie and JMWAVE maritime boss Gordon Campbell and his wife – all, as historically recorded, martini drinkers in the midst of the Cold War tempests.

Lee Harvey Oswald mentions in his letter to Navy Secretary John Connally, who he is later accused of shooting, that he was in Russia like Hemingway went to Paris, a simple analogy that the NANA correspondent who interviewed him, Priscilla Johnson, to relate to Hemingway’s “Moveable Feast” time in Paris in the 1920s, but Oswald didn’t say the 20s, and Hemingway also made another memorable visit to Paris in 1944, during World War II when he was serving as a war correspondent. 

After D-Day Hemingway went into France attached to an advanced American unit and a tight band of French resistance fighters. Hemingway’s son was an OSS Jedbergh, one of those special agents trained as a commando and parachuted behind the lines to organize resistance forces. While his son was captured and in a prisoner of war camp, Hemingway was affiliated with Colonel David Bruce, who was the senior OSS officer in that theater of the war.

Bruce would later be Hemingway’s best man at his wedding and serve as President Kennedy’s ambassador to the Court of St. James, but in late June 1944 he was with Hemingway and a band of French resistance fighters on the outskirts of Paris, as it was being liberated.

While French General LeClerc accepted the surrender of the German general at the train depot, Hemingway, Bruce and their band of resistance fighters rode a jeep and a truck full of partisans into Paris and liberated the bar at the Ritz Hotel, shortly after the German general staff had left the premises. 

Hemingway reportedly put his machine gun on the bar, looked around and counted heads and ordered 60 double vodka martinis.

Of course Ian Fleming’s James Bond would make famous the vodka martini, shaken, not stirred, but as with all of his characters and story lines, there is some semblance of truth to his stories, and real life counterparts to his fiction, but when it comes to martinis, it could be just the preferred drink of spies.

Among those secret agents who are known to have enjoyed martinis on a regular basis, James Jesus Angleton, Kim Philby and William Harvey quickly come to mind, as Angleton’s three martini lunches were possibly written off as a government business expense if the chief of CIA’s counterintelligence was trying to get his lunch mate loosened up and spill the beans of whatever it is Angleton was after at the time. Unfortunately, Kim Philby was one of his more frequent lunch partners, and Philby probably got more out of Angleton and his other lunch mates than Angleton got out of Philby, who Angleton thought was a friendly British MI6 officer when in fact he was a KGB double agent.

While Angleton may have not been able to see through the three martinis, William Harvey apparently could, although Philby later complained that Harvey once drank too many after dinner martinis and passed out for awhile before his wife took him home.

Certainly martinis and alcohol had something to do with the dinner party fiasco that Philby hosted one evening that included Angleton, Harvey, Harvey’s wife, Philby’s co-conspirator Guy Burgess and a dozen other top US spies, including Ted Shackley and Our Man in Mexico Win Scott.

When a drunk and obnoxious Burgess drew an unflattering sketch of Harvey’s wife, “America’s James Bond” took a swing at Burgess and Angleton and others had to pull him off of the offending Burgess in a scene more like Oliver & Hardy than 007.

“Then came an incident which practically everyone who has written about the CIA’s early days mentions: a dinner party in January 1951 at Kim Philby’s house on Nebraska Avenue that went disastrously wrong and had consequences that shook both the British and the American governments. The story made its public debut in David Martin’s ‘Wilderness of Mirrors,’ but all versions are substantially the same, even to the one in Norman Mailer’s ‘Harlot’s Ghost.’ Kim had invited ‘twenty-five to thirty’ of his closest American associates, including Bob Lamphere and his wife, and ‘Mickey and Catherine Ladd, Emory and Molly Gregg,’ all of the FBI. The CIA contingent included the top brass from Clandestine Services; Jim Angleton and his wife, Cicely; and the Harveys. The party was a disaster, far worse than any host’s worst nightmare. First, there was the obvious social split between the Bureau and the Agency people. Harvey was somewhere in the middle: not, socially, CIA, but no longer FBI. Then, into this tense-but-bibulous group of guests waltzed Guy Burgess, a second secretary at the British embassy, who was bunking with Philby. Burgess had already come to the attention of the American civil authorities because of a flagrant traffic incident in Virginia. He had been spared a driving under the influence citation only because of his diplomatic immunity.”

Bob Lamphere: “Libby Harvey joined us [at the party]. She’s already had a lot to drink and wanted to share her disgust at the entire array of dinner guests and the party itself with anyone who’d listen. Somehow she became my dinner partner, and I spent most of the meal attempting to quiet her. She hated the typically British cold roast beef and loudly said, ‘Isn’t this God-awful!’ about every detail of food and service. The end of the dinner came none too quickly for me, and as soon thereafter as we could politely manage, the Greggs and my wife and I left the party. We should have stayed….Burgess got into an insulting debate with Mickey Ladd, which Ladd probably enjoyed…But then Burgess turned to Libby Harvey. He said to her, ‘how extraordinary to see the face I’ve been doodling all my life!’ She invited him to sketch her portrait. Burgess executed a caricature so lewd and savage that Libby demanded to be taken home immediately.”

As Stockton relates, “Burgess’ sketch was a vividly obscene cartoon of Libby, dress hiked above her waist, crotch bared. Burgess, very drunk, showed the sketch around. Enraged, Harvey swung at Burgess and missed. The party lurched close to mayhem. Winston MacKinlay Scott, former FBI station chief in Mexico City, now CIA, described the dinner to John Barron, the well-known chronicler of the secret world. ‘Harvey jumped on Burgess and was choking him with both hands. It took Scott and Philby and one other guest to pull him off.’ Angleton quickly steered Harvey out the door and walked him around the block. Others took care of the now-hysterical Libby.”

Burgess shortly thereafter returned to England to warn Donald MacLean of his impending arrest for espionage and the two of them disappeared behind the Iron Curtain, leaving Philby to fend for himself.

While Philby’s days were numbered from that party on, it seems like Harvey made martinis a popular drink at the JMWAVE station, where

After leaving Berlin, Harvey moved over to the Cuban desk, where he was a senior officer at JMWAVE, and where his faithful secretary followed. and where U.S. Army Ranger Capt. Bradley Ayers met her. Maggie was said to drink martinis while sitting on floor, so as not to fall off the carpet. 

Harvey’s first secretary was like “M” Miss Moneypenny, as described by Stockton, “Middle-aged, plain looking, hard as nails, precise, but a good worker….If Bill told her to file something securely, she might have used her own body cavities…That’s how loyal, and how secure, she was.” 

“She was the latest in a select line of secretaries who served Bill with ferocious fealty. In Berlin, it had been Maggie Crane…, who sat on the floor when she drank martinis ‘so she wouldn’t fall off the carpet.’ Rita Chappiwicki succeeded Maggie. And then, in the Langley basement, it was Skip. The three knew all the secrets, but they never, ever betrayed Bill’s trust.”

Ayers also recalled visiting JMWAVE’s head of maritime operations, Gordon Campbell on his Dinner Key yacht, where he found Campbell and his wife drinking martinis, in a scene that 007 could easily fit into.

“I stole a few hours’ extra sleep the next morning,” Ayers recalled, “then went out to Coconut Grove, where I was to meet Gordon Campbell. He and his wife lived on a yacht moored at the Dinner Key marina. I walked down a long concrete pier, past sleek, expensive cruisers, and finally found Gordon’s boat. Both he and his wife – an attractive bikini-clad silver-haired women – were well into their Sunday afternoon martinis. As he mixed me a drink, he asked, “What do you think of the men? How do they look – moral, interest – you know, guts for the job?”…Our discussion terminated when Mrs. Campbell came down to the gallery carrying drinks for all of us. She chided us fro spending the “glorious Sunday afternoon” talking business, and threw her heavily oiled, deeply tanned body into her husband’s lap.”

Campbell died, in 1962, the year before Ayers met him, which remains one of the major mysteries of the case.

But just as everything Adele Edisen said checked out, except the fact that she was given Oswald’s New Orleans phone number two weeks before Oswald himself knew what it was, then perhaps the incongruity is reason for further inquiry.

While Campbell is certifiably dead, Maggie however, may still know all the secrets.

Writing in a style that resonates like Ian Fleming, Ayers wrote: “The affair with Maggy had gotten out of hand. I felt great sympathy for her. Abstractly, I saw us as two lonely, desperate souls, each with self-made problems, struggling to retain some sense of honor or dignity while confronted by almost overwhelming decisions. In view of this, I was not surprised when she hinted about working out some kind of ‘arrangement’ and, together, remaining with the CIA after my resignation. One night, as we talked, I experienced an almost overwhelming sense of entrapment. I had placed unquestioning trust in Maggie. Now it occurred to me that there could be another motive behind her efforts to persuade me to stay with the CIA. Maybe it wasn’t love. Maybe it was just a clumsy CIA recruitment plot. Perhaps Maggy, in her dedication to the agency, was using my deep feelings for her and my sense of commitment to ensnare me for the agency. Maybe that’s what our friendship had been about from the beginning. I thought. Nausea washed over me. Why would any other CIA venture be any different than this: the bodies in the barn, abandoned and expendable. That was the end of our affair. The next morning I moved out of her apartment and went back to the emptiness of the Homestead safe house. I never confronted her with my suspicions, but she must have known why I left. She telephoned a few times and told me how lonely she was and how she missed me. But the seeds of doubt about her true intentions had been planted, and I gave her no encouragement. My experience with Maggy intensified my paranoia. Assuming that my suspicions about the underhanded recruitment effort were correct, and considering the doubts I had always harbored about the agency’s sincerity in handling the Cuban freedom fighters, I began to wonder about the ends to which they might go to maintain control over a disenchanted employee. Assuming I rejected them after having the door opened so widely, would they take reprisals? What if they wouldn’t let me resign? They had no rules except expediency. Suddenly, the idea of being framed for some criminal act or publicly dishonored and confined became a real fear. My suspicions eroded whatever loyalty I felt toward the agency…But I was never very far from the reality of my involvement with the agency and JM/WAVE…”

1 comment:

Mark A. O'Blazney said...

Wonder what happened to Libby's 'sketch' ? E-bay????
9120 rminpho