Date: Saturday, November 16, 1996
Commenced: 9:48 AM CST
Concluded: 10:25 AM CST
RTC: Hello, Gregory. Are you getting ready to assault the turkey?
GD: Oh, no doubt. One of the few childhood practices remaining. I gave up Christmas some time ago. I haven’t sent a card out in years and last year, I got two. Times change, don’t they?
RTC: They do indeed. Christmas used to be a sort of magic time for children but now all it’s become is a chance to sell junk to frantic people.
GD: I’ve been working up the ZIPPER material and I must say, what surprises me is the extent of the plot. Half of Washington was in on it.
RTC: Actually, they weren’t. A handful of our top people, Hoover and one or two of his very close aides, a military representative here and there.
GD: The Russian report…do you have this? I can’t read Russian but I have friends who do.
RTC: No, I do not.
GD: This Driscoll fellow. Do you know him?
RTC: I did. He’s dead now. Was a specialist on the Warsaw Pact people and since I am a specialist on Russia and Russian intelligence, we met on several occasions. That’s why I got a copy of the report. Driscoll knew nothing about ZIPPER or at least my part in it.
GD: This might be a hard sell. I have tremendous competition from the nut fringe. They will rise up and smite me hip and thigh because I haven’t included their pet theories.
RTC: But that’s to be expected. We have a good in with them. At this point, there is little danger of embarrassing facts getting out but we kept our hand in. The Farrell woman is one of ours and she is a strong influence over the nutties.
GD: To accept this might be a problem.
RTC: Gregory, if you knew a half of what was actually planned, you would see that the ZIPPER business was nothing, just nothing. All right, for example there are some interesting matters for you. I just happen to be in an expansive mood today so I can run a few of the more wild ones past you. There was the Army plan to start bubonic plague in Soviet military units in the east zone of Germany to prevent an invasion of the west. We had a German military specialist working for us on that, plus, of course, many USAF people down in San Antonio. Never went anywhere. Then…by the way, do you know why Truman really sacked MacArthur?
GD: He was defying Truman as I recall.
RTC: Yes but it was his intention to infect the Chinese and North Korean armies with the plague as well. I told you MacArthur had set the Kempeitai Doctor Ishi up in Tokyo in a chemical and medical lab, didn’t I?
GD: Yes, you did.
RTC: Well, when the war in Korea broke out and we were in serious retreat, MacArthur wanted to nuke them. We didn’t have a hell of a lot of such weapons but he was serious. Truman said no so Mac decided to, as he said, ‘radically reduce their effective troop levels.’ For this, read the plague. I don’t know how this got back to Truman but a project like that is really hard to conceal and Mac took too long messing over the logistics of it. When Harry found out about this, he blew his top and sacked MacArthur on the spot. Mac was crazy, of course, but was such an idol here that Truman got reamed on this but it really had to be done. We hanged German and Japanese leaders after the war for far less, believe me. And then there was the Army plan to fake attacks on American soil, blame Castro and then attack him. On that project, which included blowing up a commercial aircraft with Americans on board and setting off bombs in major cities, Eisenhower was in full support. Kennedy found out about it by accident and pulled the plug. That wasn’t one of ours, by the way, and neither were the plague attacks. We were working on plans to destroy the Asian rice crop but that one was quietly put into the closet when too many people found out about it and our rice industry howled that it could easily spread over here and ruin their business. Not that they cared about the Chinese and others, just their own profits. This AIDS business was a legitimate project that got out of control but it was not planned at all. Of course there were plans to instigate a war between the Soviet Union and China but it proved to be too complicated and was dropped. One of our people read Malthus and went to Dulles with a plan to thin out the world’s population, after inoculating our citizens, or most of the non-colored ones. That is still in the active file somewhere. If you read of a national immunization day coming up, that will be a token sign.
GD: If the victims ever get wind of this, they might preempt you and start their own plagues and loose their own virus attackers. Müller told me that such actions were not only criminal and insane but would be bound for a certainty to come back on those who started it.
RTC: That’s the main reason why they never got started. Pragmatic, not moral.
GD: That sums it all up, doesn’t it?
RTC: In theory, Gregory, getting rid of the tired and huddled masses would not be impractical in the long view.
GD: In theory not but I wouldn’t be happy with the practice.
RTC: We would lay the blame on some other enemy and let them worry about defending themselves.
GD: It’s one thing for your people to off the head of the UN or blow up an inconvenient head of state or two but starting plagues is nothing less than psychotic mass murder and I, for one, can’t think of any kind of an excuse for it, pragmatic or not.
RTC: You can always make such an argument, Gregory, and it is not unbecoming for you to do this but when you have been where I have been, these objections fade away very quickly. Well, enough science fiction for today. I am indeed looking forward to your visit and so is Bill.
GD: Question? Why is Kimmel sitting in?
RTC: He has his own agenda. In spite of all the assistance you have given him and his family, he still despises you. You see, Tom saw that Bill and I were doing well in the writing business and we had, and have, a certain reputation in the professions. He will probably retire and wants to find a safe berth when he does. He sees you as a potential threat and you do not treat him with the unalloyed respect that people like Tom demand as their birthright.
GD: I don’t consider myself to be any kind of a threat to him.
RTC: You exist, Gregory, and he views you as a loose cannon, his very words to Bill, and for people like Tom, a loose cannon can’t be controlled. I don’t care what positive things you’ve done for him and his family. In the final cut, you are a potential intellectual threat to him so he dislikes you. And be careful at lunch not to let fly with one of your terrible remarks. I understand them and most often agree with them but Tom considers himself to be an establishment type and people like that don’t like people like you.
GD: My grandfather used to say that the reason some people could stand up without a spine is because their skin is so thick.
RTC:(Laughter) Ah, there you go again, Gregory. I would wager you’d say that right to Tom’s face, wouldn’t you?
GD: If I felt it was necessary.
RTC: He’d do the same thing, Gregory, but to your back, so at the table, watch yourself. Bill is neutral but Tom is not a friend and keep that in mind all the time.
GD: Speaking of back-stabbing, have you seen my good friend Wolfe lately?
RTC: No, I haven’t been over to the Archives lately so I have been spared his most unwelcome attentions. Now we can add Critchfield to your collection of loyal friends. Jim wants back that letter he sent you. The one you read to me. He thinks it might be misunderstood and wants me to try to get it out of you just to look at and then give it back to him. I told him I would try but of course that’s not my plan. If you would follow my advice, hide it in a safe place. It would bother me if you went out of town, say to come back here in December, and remember Kimmel knows the dates of your trip, and some burglar broke in and ran off with it and any other inconvenient and accusatory paperwork you might have lying around. Just a cautionary piece of advice from a friend.
GD: I appreciate it. I could leave a little surprise in a box marked ‘secret CIA documents,’ couldn’t I?
RTC: Now, now, Gregory, not on the phone.
GD: I’ll bet someone would make quite a report.
RTC: Probably hear it five miles away. Do let’s change the subject. How is the Müller book selling?
GD: Actually, I understand quite well. After it’s been out for about two years, I expect the usual run of paid rodents to start in squealing their objections to it. It will take that long for the rays of brilliant light to penetrate the Stygian gloom that packs their collective brain cases. I do hope they get nice checks for their pains. It beats public assistance or begging in railroad stations. Which, I suspect, is how most of these twits make their living.
RTC: I think most of them work in obscure community colleges in the wilds of Massachusetts or Ohio.
GD: Yes, and I’m told they eat once a day. A piece of salt pork on a long string which can be used over and over. I’ve heard about the dog returning to his own vomit but Robert, what happens when they are the vomit?
RTC: Now, now, and so close to Sunday and Thanksgiving. And what are you going to give thanks for, Gregory?
GD: The fact that almost all of my nasty relatives have passed away, Robert. It will be a matter of some satisfaction to me to have survived them all. When I feel my time is coming, I can travel around the country and urinate on their graves. At any rate, tenderly, tenderly Jesus is calling and my dog is making it very clear that she wants to go out and relive herself on the neighbor’s flower beds so let me beg off. And give my best to Emily, won’t you? You know, if I ever meet her face to face, I would be the soul of civility to her.
RTC: I would certainly hope so.
(Concluded at 10:25 AM CST)
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