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Old Boys - Burton Hersh - 2001 eBook

Old Boys - Burton Hersh - 2001 eBook

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Published by: skalpsolo on Jan 24, 2011
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THE OLD BOYS - Chapter One - The Roots of Versailles
or over a week by then the tall man hadbeen pressing toward the border while Panzer regiments mobilized. He’d sufferedthrough
with better organized timetables, Allen Dulles chuckled later,rehashing the frustrations over drinks with his wartime supremo, Major GeneralWilliam (Wild Bill) Donovan. To conceive of the fact that months after he’d clearedhis reassignment as chief of espionage in Switzerland at Bern with the OSS’sWashington Planning Group, and weeks and weeks after his application reachedFoggy Bottom — as late as
of 1942 those knuckleheaded bureaucrats stillbogged him down and kept him
for his Spanish transit visa! That outragedAllen, it boiled him over each time he thought about it.And with an invasion in the ofng? Allen’s was a forgiving temperament,but reminiscing to intimates years later and recalling the senselessness of it all,those crafty, importunate eyes would tend to narrow angrily behind Allen’s rimlessspectacles, he’d pluck the pipe from his mouth, his heavy jaw trembled.The hop he snagged had barely left New York by November 2, 1942; that latesubstantial British Covering Elements were starting to jockey into formation insidethe Mediterranean itself. By November 5, when Dulles nally touched down onEuropean soil at Lisbon, Nazi spotters above Algeciras were peppering Berlin withsightings of vessels from both Eastern Task Forces, already squeezing by Gibraltarto fall on French North Africa as specied by Operation Torch.Allied intentions were obvious; exchanging pleasantries with strangers, Dullesfelt his prospects tightening as kilometer by kilometer a succession of coal-burning
crawled west across the Iberian Peninsula and started north into the
THE OLD BOYS - Chapter One - The Roots of Versailles
Spanish mountains and up the coast toward Vichy France.Without
invasion portending, Dulles would have congratulated himself for making it across the semi-occupied Vichy underbelly of the defunct ThirdRepublic with which the Roosevelt government still nursed its tenuous diplomaticconnection. What could he expect once Operation Torch struck? The Nazis wereguaranteed to roll up Vichy.Allen and his pickup traveling companions had already crossed into France,laying over between trains, when without warning a Swiss commercial traveler inhis party burst through the restaurant door and delivered the inevitable shocker:“ ‘Have you heard the news? The Americans have landed in North Africa.’
And after that? German armor had already reached Lyons, Dulles told hiswartime chief, and “it was a question whether I could get through” — Dulles took in pipesmoke: more reective now, Mr. Chips in repose — “but I decided thathaving come this far I would proceed.”A display of negligent aplomb in the face of disaster recollected was longsince Dulles’s trademark. “We took the train to Cerbere,” Allen continued toDonovan. “There was a terric excitement among the French, who had the feelingthat liberation was only minutes away since our troops had landed successfullyin North Africa. I had a bottle of cognac with me and so we celebrated theoccasion.”At every stopover throughout the long haul up the Rhone, Dulles slipped outof his wagon-lit until the locomotive red up again. Nazi ofcials were likely toclimb aboard and ransack the cars. His luck held beautifully until the customsstation just short of Switzerland at Annemasse. “My Swiss friend went throughthe customs and told me there would be a Gestapo man there,” Allen told WildBill. “The Gestapo man made only a cursory inspection of other passports but hene-tooth combed my passport, noting down the numbers and other details and

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