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A Great Find For Intel Buffs

Kudos to the “Imperating Kents for their pointing to the digital archive of the private papers of Allen Dulles, the OSS spymaster and seminal DCI whose tenure was responsible for much of the CIA’s later cultural mystique. KI had it right when they declared:

It is thus with great interest we note that Princeton University has opened a digital archive of the private papers belonging to former DCI Allen Dulles. The variety and volume of materials is simply extraordinary, and although it is organized by librarians (rather than intelligence professionals or modern search engine experts) it is well worth the time to explore these virtual stacks. Given that the gentleman’s 1963 text The Craft of Intelligence, is still reprinted for use as a basic text at many university level programs, these further materials are both substantively illuminating and historically invaluable. Of particular interest are the French and German language items, which may never have been previously referenced in depth during intelligence studies research on the matter.

Eisenhower’s role as a decisive voice in IC operations during his administration has been frequently underestimated by historians, with the consequent inflating of the role played by Allen Dulles. In reality, Dulles was deeply influential, given Ike’s high level of interest in intelligence matters and his brother John Foster Dulles as SecState and sister Eleanor also in several consequential bureaucratic position at Foggy Bottom, including a stint in State’s intelligence bureau, creating a formidible familial troika. But Dulles was not a free-lance operator in any sense of the word. That was something a hot-tempered President Eisenhower would never have tolerated for an instant, despite cultivating a public image of genial, grandfatherly, disconnection; nor was it in Dulles’ character to personally micromanage operations to the extent that being a “rogue” DCI would require.

Dulles might have been America’s master spy but as DCI he carried out the orders of his political masters – to both great success and global scandal.

4 Responses to “A Great Find For Intel Buffs”

  1. Lexington Green Says:

    The older I get and the more I read, the more valuable lessons I think there are to be learned from the Eisenhower administration.  Unexciting periods in history (often under Republican presidents) are under-rated.  Excitement usually means somebody screwed up.  Give me the McKinley, Coolidge or Eisenhower administrations any day. 

    Eisenhower will look better and better as he recedes into history and partisan attitudes die down. 

  2. Dave Schuler Says:

    While we’re reminiscing about the Eisenhower Administration, have you seen this, Mark?

  3. Dave Schuler Says:

    I think that some of the best and worst decisions of the post WWII period were made during the Eisenhower Administration.  Among the worst I’d include the decision not to support Hungary during the rebellion against the Soviets and the Interstate Highway Defense Act.

  4. The Glittering Eye » Blog Archive » Dulles Papers Online Says:

    […] Mark Safranski has pointed out that the papers of Allen Dulles, long-serving director of the Central Intelligence Agency, are now available online. Some commentary on the Eisenhower Administration follows Zen’s pointing out of the availability of the papers. […]

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