No Wonder ‘The New Republic’ Hates LRC

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Writes Charles Burris:

Your LRC posting concerning the possible imminent demise of that hated rag, The New Republic, brought to mind these classic passages below from Carroll Quigley‘s Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time, on the foul Wall Street bankster origin of this nefarious publication by agents of the House of Morgan, soon after they had established the Fed, just prior to the First World War in 1914:

“More than fifty years ago the Morgan firm decided to infiltrate the Left-wing political movements in the United States. This was relatively easy to do, since these groups were starved for funds and eager for a voice to reach the people. Wall Street supplied both. The purpose was not to destroy … or take over but was really threefold: (1) to keep informed about the thinking of Left-wing or liberal groups; (2) to provide them with a mouthpiece so that they could “blow off steam,” and (3) to have a final veto on their publicity and possibly on their actions, if they ever went “radical.” There was nothing really new about this decision, since other financiers had talked about it and even attempted it earlier. What made it decisively important this time was the combination of its adoption by the dominant Wall Street financier, at a time when tax policy was driving all financiers to seek tax-exempt refuges for their fortunes, and at a time when the ultimate in Left-wing radicalism was about to appear under the banner of the Third International.

“The best example of this alliance of Wall Street and Left-wing publication was The New Republic, a magazine founded by Willard Straight, using Payne Whitney money, in 1914. Straight, who had been assistant to Sir Robert Hart (Director of the Chinese Imperial Customs Service and the head of the European imperialist penetration of China) and had remained in the Far East from 1901 to 1912, became a Morgan partner and the firm’s chief expert on the Far East. He married Dorothy Payne Whitney whose names indicate the family alliance of two of America’s greatest fortunes. She was the daughter of William C. Whitney, New York utility millionaire and the sister and co-heiress of Oliver Payne, of the Standard Oil “trust.” One of her brothers married Gertrude Vanderbilt, while the other, Payne Whitney, married the daughter of Secretary of State John Hay, who enunciated the American policy of the “Open Door” in China. In the next generation, three first cousins, John Hay (“Jock”) Whitney, Cornelius Vanderbilt (“Sonny”) Whitney, and Michael Whitney (“Mike”) Straight, were allied in numerous public policy enterprises of a propagandist nature, and all three served in varied roles in the late New Deal and Truman administrations. In these they were closely allied with other “Wall Street liberals,” such as Nelson Rockefeller.
“The New Republic was founded by Willard and Dorothy Straight, using her money, in 1914, and continued to be supported by her financial contributions until March 23, 1953. The original purpose for establishing the paper was to provide an outlet for the progressive Left and to guide it quietly in an Anglophile direction. This latter task was entrusted to a young man, only four years out of Harvard, but already a member of the mysterious Round Table group, which has played a major role in directing England’s foreign policy since its formal establishment in 1909. This new recruit, Walter Lippmann, has been, from 1914 to the present, the authentic spokesman in American journalism for the Establishments on both sides of the Atlantic in international affairs. His biweekly columns, which appear in hundreds of American papers, are copyrighted by the New York Herald Tribune which is now owned by J. H. Whitney. It was these connections, as a link between Wall Street and the Round Table Group, which gave Lippmann the opportunity in 1918, while still in his twenties, to be the official interpreter of the meaning of Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points to the British government.

“Willard Straight, like many Morgan agents, was present at the Paris Peace Conference but died there of pneumonia before it began. Six years later, in 1925, when his widow married a second time and became Lady Elmhirst of Dartington Hall, she took her three small children from America to England, where they were brought up as English. She herself renounced her American citizenship in 1935. Shortly afterward her younger son, “Mike,” unsuccessfully “stood” for Parliament on the Labour Party ticket for the constituency of Cambridge University, an act which required, under the law, that he be a British subject. This proved no obstacle, in 1938, when Mike, age twenty-two, returned to the United States, after thirteen years in England, and was at once appointed to the State Department as Adviser on International Economic Affairs. In 1937, apparently in preparation for her son’s return to America, Lady Elmhirst, sole owner of The New Republic, shifted this ownership to Westrim, Ltd., a dummy corporation created for the purpose in Montreal, Canada, and set up in New York, with a grant of $1.5 million, the William C. Whitney Foundation of which Mike became president. This helped finance the family’s interest in modern art and dramatic theater, including sister Beatrix’s tours as a Shakespearean actress.

“Mike Straight served in the Air Force in 1943-1945, but this did not in any way hamper his career with The New Republic. He became Washington correspondent in May 1941; editor in June 1943; and publisher in December 1946 (when he made Henry Wallace editor). During these shifts he changed completely the control of The New Republic, and its companion magazine Asia, removing known liberals (such as Robert Morss Lovett, Malcolm Cowley, and George Soule), centralizing the control, and taking it into his own hands. This control by Whitney money had, of course, always existed, but it had been in abeyance for the twenty-five years following Willard Straight’s death.

“The first editor of The New Republic, the well-known “liberal” Herbert Croly, was always aware of the situation. After ten years in the job, he explained the relationship in the “official” biography of Willard Straight which he wrote for a payment of $25,000. “Of course they [the Straights] could always withdraw their financial support if they ceased to approve of the policy of the paper; and, in that event, it would go out of existence as a consequence of their disapproval.” Croly’s biography of Straight, published in 1924, makes perfectly clear that Straight was in no sense a liberal or a progressive, but was, indeed, a typical international banker and that The New Republic was simply a medium for advancing certain designs of such international bankers, notably to blunt the isolationism and anti-British sentiments so prevalent among many America progressives, while providing them with a vehicle for expression of their progressive views in literature, art, music, social reform, and even domestic politics. In 1916, when the editorial board wanted to support Wilson for a second term in the Presidency, Willard Straight took two pages of the magazine to express his own support for Hughes. The chief achievement of The New Republic, however, in 1914-1918 and again in 1938-1948, was for interventionism in Europe and support of Great Britain.

“The role of “Mike” Straight in this situation in 1938-1948 is clear. He took charge of this family fief, abolished the editorial board, and carried on his father’s aims, in close cooperation with labor and Left-wing groups in American politics. In these efforts he was in close contact with his inherited Wall Street connections, especially his Whitney cousins and certain family agents like Bruce Bliven, Milton C. Rose, and Richard J. Walsh. They handled a variety of enterprises, including publications, corporations, and foundations, which operated out of the law office of Baldwin, Todd, and Lefferts of 120 Broadway, New York City. In this nexus were The New Republic, Asia, Theatre Arts. the Museum of Modern Art, and others, all supported by a handful of foundations, including the William C. Whitney Foundation, the Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney Foundation, the J. H. Whitney Foundation, and others. An interesting addition was made to these enterprises in 1947 when Straight founded a new magazine, the United Nations World, to be devoted to the support of the UN. Its owners of record were The New Republic itself (under its corporate name), Nelson Rockefeller, J. H. Whitney, Max Ascoli (an anti-Fascist Italian who had married American wealth and used it to support a magazine of his own, The Reporter), and Beatrice S. Dolivet. The last lady, Mike Straight’s sister, made her husband, Louis Dolivet, “International Editor” of the new magazine.”

2:40 pm on March 1, 2009