Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Herbert Hoover Left False Evidence to Hide Influence of J.P. Morgan, Thomas W. Lamont

According to Thomas Ferguson, Hoover wrote diary entries which directly conflicted with his private account of events:
"The onset of the Great Depression opened a new phase in the decay of the now creaking system of '96. As the Depression grew worse, demands for government action proliferated. But Hoover, who gradually became so in thrall to the big banks that he concealed Morgan's crucial role in initiating his famous European debt moratorium of June 1931 by deliberately faking entries in a "diary" that he left historians (one of whom years later cited it as evidence for the independence of Hoover, and the American state from the bankers), opposed deficit-financed expenditures and easy monetary policies.79 After the British abandoned the gold standard in September 1931 and moved to establish a preferential trading bloc, the intransigence of Hoover and the financiers put the international economy onto a collision course with American domestic politics. Increasingly squeezed industrialists and farmers began clamoring for government help in the form of tariffs even higher than those in the recently passed Smoot-Hawley bill; they also called for legalized cartels and, ever more loudly, a devaluation of the dollar through a large increase in the money supply." Golden Rule: The Investment Theory of Party Competition Thomas Ferguson, pp. 145 (my emphasis)
In footnote 79, Ferguson provides the contrast as it appeared in conversations between Hoover and Thomas W. Lamont of J.P. Morgan:
"In her American Business and Foreign Policy (Boston: Beacon Press, 1971), pp. 137-38, Joan Hoff Wilson Cites a Hoover "diary" in the Hoover Presidential Library as the authority for an account in which Hoover worked against the bankers. Box 98 of the Lamont Papers contains transcriptions of the telephone conversations to which the "diary" refers. The transcriptions not only refute every detail of Hoover's account but actually record Lamont's specific instructions to the president to conceal the origins of the moratorium. (As Lamont signed off from the first conversation: "One last thing, Mr. President ... if anything, by any chance, ever comes out of this suggestion, we should with to be forgotten in this matter. This is your plan and nobody else's.") A mass of supporting correspondence in the file confirms that authenticity of the transcripts, while being grossly inconsistent with what Wilson reports about the "diary." (Hoover often harbored private misgivings about both his policies and his advisers - but he never consistently acted upon these doubts.)" Golden Rule: The Investment Theory of Party Competition Thomas Ferguson, pp. 169
In reference to the same conversation, Liaquat Ahamed further points out:
"In response to Lamont's call, that same afternoon Hoover summoned his trio of senior advisers - Secretary of State Henry Stimson; Secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon; and Mellon's undersecretary, Ogden Mills - to work our a moratorium along Lamont's lines. Mellon declared his "unqualified disapproval" of such a move but left on vacation the very next day." Lord of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World Liaquat Ahamad
The implications of this are stirring. First off, we have a standing president deliberately aligning US foreign policy to the interests of an elite banking minority - at that, a financial-minority power (though significant). J.P. Morgan, by way of Thomas Lamont, deliberately manipulated Hoover and implored him to keep quiet about it. Hoover obliged, and if it weren't for the release of the Lamont Papers, we would still be in the dark in regard to this specific turn of events - having to endure more works in the line of Joan Hoff Wilson's quixotic regard for the official narrative of events. Hoover's own words in his "diary" explicitly contradict source material on this matter. Not only this, but Ahamad has Hoover drawing up the plans for the debt moratorium on the same day as the above conversation takes place.

Now, is there still any question as to what drives policy? It is very stirring to think that the very turn of events constituting presidential graft can be used to proclaim the "independence" of presidential policy.

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