Send in the clowns~~making fun of poor people is just so amusing~~stand-up comic extraordinaire~~ Jamie Dimon~~remains the funniest boy in America and the laughs just keep coming~~what better way for us to leave the merry, merry month of Mai??~~


~~Jamie’s hand~~which card to play now, boys~~

~~We’re all really glad to hear that Jamie’s Royal straight flush is alive and kickin~~

~~You gotta give credit where credit is due, now don’t ya, Jamie Dimon?  Dont’cha just?~~  

You guys remember our pal Jamie Dimon–how could anyone forget~~during the darkest hour of the fallout of The Great Panic of 2008, Jamie pithily pronounced that the Americans were holding in their hands an economic “Royal straight flush.”

Here is an out take of our last visit with Jamie~~~

~~”The enduring lesson of the Panic of 2008 is that, suddenly, that summer, politics in America became important. Prior to that, politics was unimportant and, that now somehow distant and bucolic time when politics did not matter, was very pleasant. One of the glories of liberal democracies is that politics does not matter.

That is a very good thing. Having travelled widely and to virtually every country on this earth I can say with alacrity that nations in which politics matters are most unpleasant places. Americans do not want to live in a country where politics actually matters. They won’t like that at all.

The blessing of liberal democracy is likewise the curse of liberal democracies in that they are, and they attract a cut of men to them as an occupation in their politics who are, constitutionally incapable of dealing with serious matters. This incapacity is in their DNA. They cannot help it. But they must ignore their DNA at this moment and address, in a draconian way, the horror of poverty in America. When a calamity such as the Panic of 2008 hits, these men cannot even see how serious it is and, if they do see, they’ve no idea what to do about the panic. They must learn to recognize and address properly this horrific situation very quickly.

America is now a desolate, fearful place and all Americans know this with few exceptions. One such unenlightened is Mr. Jamie Dimon, a most upbeat fella of, I believe, the Morgan Stanley Trust, who the other day enthused that the US economy is doing so well that it is holding “a royal straight flush,” an allusion, I think, to poker card games in which such a flush is the best conceivable hand a man can draw—and no improvement is possible . I don’t know if Mr. Dimon was having a laugh or behaving swankishly on purpose to say such a thing, but I must ask him-how is it possible to say such a heartless thing with so many millions of his fellow citizens in poverty or just above that sad border and many millions more worry at night that they are next up for the bread lines? Shame on him!”~~

Good to hear from Jamie today that he remains as optimistic a boy as when we last met with him.

Notwithstanding the now 5 year uninterrupted aftershock of the Great Panic of 2008, today, we find on the Linked-in that ole Jamie is still the funniest boy of all~~ at that giddy intersection of Wall Street and Broad~~in ole New York City~~

Now watch Jamie work the crowds and tell us you’re not enjoying the show~~~

The United States Is Still in an Extraordinarily Good Position

If you look past the immediate economic situation and the recent financial crisis and take stock of the overall picture, the United States is in a great position. Let’s look at our outstanding strengths:

  • The United States has the world’s strongest military, and this will be the case for decades. We also are fortunate to be at peace with our neighbors and to have the protection of two great oceans.
  • The U.S. has among the world’s best universities and hospitals.
  • The U.S. has a reliable rule of law and low corruption.
  • The people of the United States have a great work ethic and “can do” attitude.
  • Americans are among the most entrepreneurial and innovative people in the world – from those who work on the factory floors to the geniuses like Steve Jobs. Improving “things” and increasing productivity is an American pastime. And America still fosters an entrepreneurial culture where risk taking is allowed – accepting that it can result in success or failure.
  • The United States is home to many of the best businesses on the planet – from small and middle sized to large global multinationals.
  • The United States also has the widest, deepest, most transparent and best financial markets in the world. And I’m not talking about just Wall Street and banks – I include the whole mosaic: venture capital, private equity, asset managers, individual and corporate investors, and the public and private capital markets. Our financial markets have been an essential part of the great American business machine.

All Americans today benefit from what our forefathers struggled to build – from democracy itself to what is still the best economy in the world. We benefit from the hundreds of trillions of dollars that have been invested over the centuries in research and development, in public infrastructure and in our companies. When my grandfather was born in 1897, there was nothing that resembled the healthcare and technology of today – there were no cars, planes, phones, TVs or computers. Technology and exponentially growing human knowledge are like the energy of “dark matter” – it is everywhere – and it will drive productivity and growth for decades. I have little doubt that a hundred years from now, there will be new technologies that, today, we never could have imagined.

While the wounds of the financial crisis still are healing and too many Americans still are struggling, the country actually may be in a better position today than it has ever been in. In fact, Americans born today hold a far better hand than Americans who were born 50 or 100 years ago – we all clearly stand on the shoulders of all those who came before us.

America, however, does not have a divine right to success

Great potential and past glory do not guarantee future success. This is true for companies, and it is true for countries. America does not have a divine right to success — we have some serious issues to address. Our immigration policy is flawed. We have yet to find a way for law-abiding but undocumented immigrants to stay in this country. And it is alarming that approximately 40% of those who receive advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering and math at American universities are foreign nationals with no legal way of staying here even when many of them would choose to do so.

We need five- to 20-year intelligent infrastructure plans (electrical grids, roads, tunnels, bridges, airports, etc.) for our cities, states and federal government. We also need better opportunities for all our citizens, and that can’t happen when 50% of our high school students in the inner cities fail to graduate. And without rational, long-term fiscal policy, including cost-effective reform of our entitlement programs – it will not be possible to establish a proper safety net and to create the incentive for consumers to responsibly take care of their health. It also is time to reform both the individual and corporate tax codes, which are confusing, inefficient and costly. Our corporate tax policies are, at the margin, driving capital overseas, just as, at the margin, our immigration policies are driving brainpower back overseas. The good news is that all these problems are known, and they are solvable. Fixing these issues would greatly increase American prosperity for decades. I also suspect it would improve income equality, a cherished American ideal.

While the U.S. political system appears to be in deep gridlock today, it always has been able to find its way forward. America has exhibited extraordinary resiliency through its darkest moments – and I wouldn’t bet against her today. The future is extremely bright, but we are still going to have to earn it.

Expansionary global fiscal and monetary policies may create additional potential risky outcomes

Governments around the world, partially but not entirely due to the crisis, generally have been spending more money than they take in. And central banks, mostly as a reaction to the global financial crisis, essentially have been creating money (called Quantitative Easing) to keep rates low and foster a stronger recovery. For the most part, these policies have helped the world economy recover – particularly in the United States. But this medicine is untested, and it may have severe aftereffects. This especially is true if fiscal policy makes it increasingly harder for central banks to slowly remove some of the monetary stimulus. Good fiscal policy and any policies that create growth will make the central banks’ job easier. Higher interest rates and a little bit of inflation won’t matter much if we have strong job growth, good profitability and general prosperity.

We don’t know the outcome of all these efforts. While it is entirely possible that we will manage through the process without too much suffering, there also are some fairly coherent arguments that suggest there could be significant negative consequences. We cannot ignore this possibility and must safeguard against unintended and adverse outcomes. One such scenario would be rapidly raising rates without strong growth. In the recent past, in 1994 and 2004, interest rates, both short term and long term, rose about 300 basis points within approximately a one-year period. In 1994, such action was unexpected, and it caused real damage for many who were unprepared (i.e., the failure of Orange County and significant financial losses at several financial and non-financial institutions). In 2004, the increase in rates was more expected – institutions probably had additional tools at their disposal to manage it, and the damage was far more limited.

Although we are not predicting it, we need to be prepared for rapidly rising rates, potentially even worse than we have seen in recent history. One of the ways we do this is to position our company – if all things are equal – so we can benefit from rapidly rising interest rates. As we currently are positioned, if rates went up 300 basis points, our pre-tax profits would increase by approximately $5 billion over a one-year period. Remember, however, that all things are not equal, and that $5 billion of improved income should be looked at as an additional cushion to protect us from other bad outcomes. You should know that it costs us a significant amount of current income to be positioned this way. But we believe it is better to be safe than sorry.

This is an excerpt from my letter to shareholders. In future weeks, we’ll be discussing:

  • The Hard Lessons We Learned from the London Whale Problem
  • The State of the Global Economy
  • How JPMorgan Hires and Manages
  • ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~`
  • ~~~WE now cease to quote stand up comic, Jamie Dimon~~and we must say~~we enjoyed the show, kiddo~~

Jamie, me boy~~you are a stone stitch~~of course if we all had nothing but royal straight flushes all the time~~we might all be stitches too~~now mightn’t we just~~

~~Κύριε ἐλέησον~~

Rejoice and Glad!!



John Daniel Begg


Washington DC

Friday, 31st Mai, Anno Domini Nostri Iesu Christi, 2013


The Deadman’s hand~~oh, no, Jamie!!~~and, here, you thought life was all roses, now didn’t ya?  Didn’t ya??

The Gentlemen of the Press~~in November, 1963~~report the news~~as ever~~without a shred of leading the witnesses~~of a historic misadventure in Dallas~~

It’s a going to be a hell of a day

Declassified JFK tapes reveal president’s sense of foreboding about fateful trip to Dallas~~


John and Jacqueline Kennedy being greeted at Love Field
22 Nov 1963
by Cecil Stoughton


A~~terribly sad~~rendezvous with destiny~~

Read more:
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

John Kennedy~~gone from us November, 1963~~

~~Requiescat in pace~~

~~~Love and remembrance, always~~~

~~Κύριε ἐλέησον~~

Rejoice and Glad!!



John Daniel Begg


Washington DC

Thursday, 30th Mai, Anno Domini Nostri Iesu Christi, 2013


 Stan Wayman—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images

“As taps sounded, [French] President de Gaulle and [Ethiopian] Emperor Haile Selassie saluted the grave.”

Read more:

My Dear Fellow Republicans~~~Attend and be ever-mindful~~and HAPPY~~and proud~~that ours is “THE THINKING MAN’S PARTY”~~and we are THE BETTER ONES~~


Goldwater is nominated, 1964~~photo credits~~Time Magazine

Barry Morris Goldwater

January 2, 1909~~May 29, 1998


 Philosophical Father and Son~~good things~~sometimes~~take time~~prepare yourselves, brethren, for the long haul~~concentrate on being CORRECT and the race will turn our way~~with God’s help~~as~~we are the BETTER ONES~~

Dear Fellow Republicans~~~Attend and be ever-mindful~~and proud~~and HAPPY~~that ours is the “THE THINKING MAN’S PARTY“~~so called for very good reason~~but~~never an easy address to call home~~most particularly so~~in  the years intervening since Barry Goldwater’s comment quoted~~no material change in this equation~~none whatsoever~~since Mr Goldwater in 1960~~

“The root difference between the Conservatives and the Liberals of today is that Conservatives take account of the whole man, while Liberals tend to look only at the material side of man’s nature.”

The Conscience of a Conservative.


The Cheerful Malcontent~~Barry Goldwater~~here is an interesting note and a video clip~~

~~All credits to


Today, we welcome to the morning coffee klatch, Mr. Erick Erickson, who does, we think, fine work at the The RED STATE Morning Briefing.  We are happy to have Mr. Erickson with us and here commence to quote from The RED STATE this morning~~until noted by us ceased quoting~~


Go Big or Go Home

By: Erick Erickson (Diary)  |  May 29th, 2013 at 04:30 AM  |  18


In 1960, Barry Goldwater published The Conscience of a Conservative. In it, he noted

Conservatism is not an economic theory, though it has economic implications. The shoe is precisely on the other foot: it is Socialism that subordinates all other considerations to man’s material well-being. It is Conservatism that puts material things in their proper place — that has a structured view of the human being and of human society, in which economics plays only a subsidiary role.

The root difference between the Conservatives and the Liberals of today is that Conservatives take account of the whole man, while Liberals tend to look only at the material side of man’s nature.

Fifty-three years later that remains a constant. Unfortunately for conservatives, much of the hand-wringing over paths forward to victory involve haggling over taxes and balanced budgets and spending and debt to GDP ratios, etc.

Ben Domenech gets to the heart of this.

The choice for the Republican Party is whether to invest more in the 2010 strategy of this populist strain, to refine it and connect more policy proposals to it … or to embark on an effort to restore the party’s standing as the adult in the room – the competent, clean cut, good-government technocracy that sees the chief appeal of Republican politicians as combining agencies and seeking out efficiencies rather than rolling back government power and draining bureaucratic swamps. The GOP swung back to this technocratic approach on a national scale in 2012, and let’s just say the electoral results left much to be desired.

The budgetary and economic wonkery only gets the GOP so far and that isn’t far enough to victory.

In truth, I think it will take a magnetic personality to pull the GOP out of the gutter. We live in an age of personality politics. But that personality will have to have a message that resonates with the American public. What resonates right now with the American public is a deep-seated distrust of government. Any Republican way forward must capitalize on this. In other words, the faces in Washington who can play the role are very limited to people like Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and — if immigration can go away as an issue and the base forgives him — Marco Rubio.

The message to seize on is pretty straight forward. Under Republican and Democrat policies in Washington, particularly accelerated in the past five years, the United States meritocracy has given way to an aristocracy.

Only those of means can get ahead. Increasingly, they view their role as making life comfortable for the less well off instead of enabling the less well off to become well off. Wall Street, banks, major corporations, politicians, bureaucrats, lobbyists, and the rich are the only ones who can prosper because they are the only ones who can either navigate the system or afford to pay others who can figure out how to navigate the system.

For the rest of Americans, from small business to the middle class, the only path is one of dependence on a governmental structure too byzantine to figure out and, should one be smart enough to figure out, too costly through litigation, regulation, and complication to navigate through.

An America where, as Lincoln said, every man can make himself, is replaced by an America where men are made by how the government takes cares of their individual circumstances. Students are no longer trained to be creative, entrepreneurial citizens, but to be workers for others. The self-employed are encumbered to the point of needing to be employees of others. The nuclear family is disincentivized and destabilized.

The America where one could work hard and get ahead is less and less possible because Democrats wish to force us all onto a safety net on which all are entangled, ensnared, and punished if we escape. Republicans, for fear of being disliked, would rather nibble at numbers than paint a picture of a better America for everyone.

Just one fact worth noting: under the present system, enabled by Republican and Democrat alike, a single mother on $29,000.00 a year and government benefits would have to get to $60,000.00 in salary to make it worth her getting off the safety net. This is a bipartisan construct, but one only an outsider conservative can build a campaign around fixing to the betterment of the single mom and everyone else.

But, to begin, the Republicans must be able to relate. With distrust in government at an all time high, a relatable Republican is probably going to be a guy who hates the status quo, not one who talks Washington wonkspeak.

As Domenech concluded:

The Republican Party needs to understand that shrinking its policy aims to more modest solutions is not going to be rewarded by the electorate. Yes, they need to tailor their message better and find policy wedges which peel off chunks of the Democratic base (winning political strategy is built on an understanding that every drama needs a hero, a martyr, and a villain). But what’s truly essential is that the party leadership rid themselves of the notion that politeness, great hair, and reform for efficiency’s sake is a ballot box winner, and understand instead that politicians who can connect with the people and deliver on their limited government promises – not ones who back away from them under pressure – represent the path forward.


Today, we welcome to the coffee klatch, Mr. Erick Erickson, who does, we think, fine work at the The RED STATE Morning Briefing.  We are happy to have Mr. Erickson with us and here cease to quote from The RED STATE this morning~~


We thank likewise~~New York Magazine and Mr. Harry Jaffa for this illuminating interview and here commence to quote them until noted by us ceased quoting.~~



The Goldwater Campaign

Catching up with Harry Jaffa, the 94-year-old historian who wrote, “extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.”


Illustration by Tony Millionaire

You weren’t one of Barry Goldwater’s speechwriters. How did you come to write his most famous speech?

For most of the campaign, I was on the payroll for the American Enterprise Institute. And I went to the Republican convention with a group of scholars who were sitting in on the platform committee hearings, just to keep our eyes and ears open and see if there was anything constructive we might have to say. After a meeting where I heard Nelson Rockefeller warn about the dangers of extremism, I wrote a two-paragraph memorandum with the line about extremism in defense of liberty. Somehow that filtered up to Goldwater. Then he said he wanted his speech written around those lines.

Celebrating extremism doesn’t seem like a way to win over undecided voters. Did you think Goldwater had a chance?

The people close to Goldwater thought he had a shot, but I didn’t think so. Look at the political circumstances: The country was very prosperous, the Vietnam War was just a small cloud on our horizon, and Kennedy had just been assassinated. I thought of the Goldwater campaign as an attempt to educate the American people and the conservative movement itself, which I hoped to influence.

What was the conservative movement like before Goldwater’s candidacy?

It called for stronger foreign policy than the Kennedy administration was pursuing, and had a general commitment to free enterprise and against state socialism. Back in ’64, federal revenues were rapidly increasing. But instead of lowering taxes, that money went into the War on Poverty, which supplied half of the jobs for the Democrats but never did anything to make the poverty level less.

I had read Friedrich von Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom, and it convinced me that some version of the free-market economy was the basis for a free society. When I spoke on campuses, I emphasized that a rapid increase in federal revenue should not be used for new programs. But we certainly had no intention of getting rid of Social Security or any of the things that were in place with the New Deal. Remember: Ronald Reagan and I were both good New Dealers. But we believed that as the business community revived, as it did through the war, there wouldn’t be much need for the kinds of things the New Deal did.

Many people see Reagan’s ­presidency as the culmination of the conservative movement galvanized by Goldwater. Was Reagan really the heir?

Yes. In 1983, Reagan gave the Goldwater campaign all the credit for forming the principles of his administration. I made a speech in 1965 where I told people that the reputation of the Goldwater campaign would be determined by events that had not yet happened. That was a pretty good prediction. It gave us a platform, and it gave a great impetus to the conservative movement. Even when we went down to what looked like a bad defeat.

If Reagan had been a candidate in 1964, he wouldn’t have gotten any more votes than Goldwater did. And if Goldwater had been a candidate in 1980, he would’ve gotten the same votes as Reagan did. The art of politics is judging what circumstances permit and what they forbid. Look at the reputation of, say, John Brown and the abolitionists before the Civil War. Lincoln had very harsh things to say about John Brown in 1859. The Civil War vindicated John Brown.

And do you think the Reagan Revolution continues with today’s Republican Party?

Political parties are always being formed and re-formed. They’re never a fixed entity. The great danger to the Republican Party right now is Ron Paul and the—what do they call themselves?

The tea party?

Yeah. As far as I’m concerned, they’re anarchists. And they’re no different than Communists in their opposition to capitalist government. Remember, the ultimate object of Marxist Communism is to return to the Garden of Eden with no forbidden fruit. That’s the goal of libertarianism as well. And we’re marching rapidly in that direction. Morality is disintegrating in front of our eyes.

So why do you continue to be such a supporter of the Republican Party, especially since its libertarian wing is ascendant?

Well, I think if Obama is reelected, then that’ll be a disaster of immeasurable proportions. If the government takes over large segments of the economy, we will become a socialist state.

The salvation of the Republican Party, and of the country and of the world, will be changing the conservative moment to reflect the principles of Abraham Lincoln. The platform on which Lincoln was elected in 1860 quoted part of the Declaration of Independence: Government is based on the consent of the governed.


We very much thank New York Magazine and Mr. Harry Jaffa for this illuminating interview and here cease to quote them.~~

Dear Fellow Republicans~~~Attend and be ever-mindful~~and proud~~and HAPPY~~~that ours is the “THE THINKING MAN’S PARTY“~~so called for very good reason~~kindly think about that~~as we know that~~good things~~sometimes~~take time~~prepare yourselves, brethren, for the long haul~~concentrate on being CORRECT and the race will turn our way~~with God’s help~~as~~we are~~ THE~~ BETTER ONES~~

~~Κύριε ἐλέησον~~

Rejoice and Glad!!



John Daniel Begg


Washington DC

Wednesday, 29th Mai, Anno Domini Nostri Iesu Christi, 2013


~~~Young Daniel and I continue our discussion of the old days at The Department and read an interview of interest from those old days~~~



Oral History Interview with
John M. Begg

U.S. Department of State, 1941-53: Assistant Chief, Cultural Relations, 1941; Acting Chief, Motion Picture and Radio Division, 1944; Chief, International Information Division, 1944-46; Chief, International Motion Pictures Division, 1946; Assistant Director, Office of International Information and Cultural Affairs, 1947; and Director, Private Enterprise Cooperative Staff, International Information Administration, 1948-53. Also served as consultant, U.S. Delegation, London Preparatory Commission, UNESCO, 1946; Vice-Chairman, U.S. Delegation to International High Frequency Broadcasting Conference, 1947; Special Assistant to U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands, 1949; and Deputy Examiner for Board of Examiners for the Foreign Service, 1952-53.

Washington, D.C.
July 11, 1975
by Richard D. McKinzie

[Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript | List of Subjects Discussed]

This is a transcript of a tape-recorded interview conducted for the Harry S. Truman Library. A draft of this transcript was edited by the interviewee but only minor emendations were made; therefore, the reader should remember that this is essentially a transcript of the spoken, rather than the written word.

Numbers appearing in square brackets (ex. [45]) within the transcript indicate the pagination in the original, hardcopy version of the oral history interview.

This oral history transcript may be read, quoted from, cited, and reproduced for purposes of research. It may not be published in full except by permission of the Harry S. Truman Library.

Opened October, 1982
Harry S. Truman Library
Independence, Missouri

[Top of the Page | Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript | List of Subjects Discussed]

Oral History Interview with
John M. Begg

Washington, D.C.
July 11, 1975
by Richard D. McKinzie


MCKINZIE: Mr. Begg, scholars are interested in why people go into Government service. Could you explain something about your education, your background, and why you decided to go into Government service in 1941?

BEGG: Well, my education happened to be rather diversified. I was educated in Central America, France, England, Spain, Switzerland, and other places because my family happened to be there. In the future, my education was going to help me in the State Department, but at that time it was just a matter of where I was.


I decided to go into Government in January, 1941. The war had already broken out in England and the situation was pretty desperate. I felt very strongly that we, in the United States, would get into the war. Therefore, I thought I might as well go down to Washington and get into Government or the Army or Navy before we got into the war.

When I went to Washington I wanted to get into the Navy. I applied to the Navy, and they said that they would take me and then asked me why I wanted to get into the Navy. I said, “Because we’re going to get in the war sooner or later.”

They said, “Mr. Begg, you’ve been misinformed or you don’t read the papers. Haven’t you seen about the destroyers that we’ve given to England? We’re not going to get into this war. This is one we’re going to stay out of.”

I said, “Well, that may be true, but I would still like to get into the Navy because I have a different idea of the subject.”

They asked me, “What do you want to do?”

I said, “I want to be an officer.”


They said, “Well, all right. You’re going to have to go to officer’s training school.”

They asked me where I had been educated and I told them I was an honor graduate of Oxford and Harvard. They said, “Well, that seems pretty good. Now, Mr. Begg, where were you born?”

I told them that I happened to be born in Central America. My father was a doctor there, and I was born in Costa Rica.

They said, “Well, we’re sorry but you can’t become an officer of the U.S. Navy.”

This is something that I hadn’t known and most people don’t know. Naval officers, just as the President, have to be born in the United States. I was very disappointed, but I left and didn’t think anything more about it.

Somebody told me later that that law was abolished in 1942 so that people who had been born outside the United States could become naval officers.

I then went over to the State Department. I had a good letter of introduction from an Acting Secretary of State, Norman [Jezekiah] Davis, and I


was asked what I wanted to do in the State Department. I told them, again, that I thought we would be getting into the war and I’d like to see what I could do in the fields of radio and motion pictures. I was told that the fields of motion pictures and radio was not part of the State Department’s work. I left rather disappointedly, but I came back the following day. I was told that if I really was interested in radio I should go and see the man who was in charge of radio. I went to the radio division man and he asked me what I wanted to do and why. I said, “Mussolini and Hitler are sponsoring broadcasts to the world giving false impressions of our country, doing a great deal of damage to us while we have no means of counteracting that false information. I would like to see whether we could do something about it.”

I was told, “Don’t you realize that we broadcast radio messages to every Embassy in the world?” I was surprised at that but then I realized that we weren’t talking on the same beam. He said, “Well, maybe we can find a job for you. How many words can


you transmit in Morse code?”

When I told him that I couldn’t transmit any, I didn’t get the job.

MCKINZIE: Mr. Begg, please insert something about your work prior to coming to Washington in January, 1941.

BEGG: I had been working in private business, in the radio and motion picture fields. Most pertinent to what I was trying to do in the State Department probably was this work. In motion pictures I had been with Fox Movietone News and subsequently with Pathe News. I ended up editing the newsreels before they went out to the theaters.

In the radio field I had developed a program called “Pathe News of the Air,” a recorded program of interviews throughout the world done by our cameramen but without benefit of photography; simply as a recording. That type of program was very simple to do some years later after the new techniques were developed in radio and recordings. In those days recordings had to be done on film.

MCKINZIE: How did you finally get the job in the State



BEGG: I decided, as I watched developments in Europe and the war, that I better try again. I remembered that I was, I suppose, pretty well acquainted with Latin America and I heard that there was a Division of Cultural Relations that had been just recently formed in the State Department. This time I was given an interview by the Chief of the Cultural Relations Division, Mr. [Charles A.] Thompson. I told him that I would be glad to do anything I could to develop cultural relations, particularly in the fields of radio and motion pictures, with Latin America. Just about that time, I was also offered a job in private industry to direct international radio programs, which is what I really had wanted to do in Government. I had to take it more slowly in Government, as one has to.

I was in the Cultural Relations Division and I stayed for several years. Our work eventually became important enough that the administration decided that the work, as far as radio and motion pictures were concerned, should be extended to other


countries. There would be cooperation between the Office of War Information and the Office of Inter-American Affairs, which had then been set up outside of the State Department to carry on informational activities and cultural activities. The Cultural Relations Office of Radio and Motion Pictures was made into a division on its own. I was made Chief of the Division of Radio and Motion Pictures. Some eight months later, because we had got involved in various press and publications activities, the name of the division was changed to the International Information Division. It was from these last three divisions that I used to attend joint meetings once or twice a week with the Office of Inter-American Affairs and the Office of War Information. I represented the State Department in terms of policy and content insofar as it was necessary.

MCKINZIE: Was there generally agreement among those people about the content of programs leaving the country?

BEGG: There was general agreement on content but the


great difficulty was in following up. You could give directives to the various producers, starting off with the group that we met with, who relayed them to the actual technicians and producers. What they actually did and said in their languages (after all they were broadcasting in 46 languages or more) was very difficult to follow up on. Whether the policies were always followed up or not was quite a question at that time. I found out later on, when I became Assistant Director in charge of media for the State Department’s operations in radio, that some of the programs were not carrying out the instructions being given. It’s very possible at that time, when the State Department was not directly concerned with production of programs, that it was also happening.

MCKINZIE: Did you, while you were in those three divisions that you have just mentioned, have direct contact with radio programs, radio stations, program directors, and motion picture producers?

BEGG: We didn’t have direct contact except when they


came to us and asked for guidance which they occasionally did. We didn’t have any direct contact with the programs that were being produced by the Office of Inter-American Affairs and the Office of War Information. That was their responsibility. We did have, however, a rather special committee in the Cultural Relations Division which was continued during most of the war and after called the attestation for content committee for slide films, motion pictures and subsequently radio programs. That attestation was given as a help to private industry because private industry, if they got an official attestation clearance of the State Department through our Cultural Relations Attestation Committee, did not have to pay any customs duties. Industry was very pleased to send their stuff into us for attestation.

MCKINZIE: Had there been a controversy over the export of a film like The Grapes of Wrath, which presented an aspect of American life about which many people weren’t terribly proud? I believe that you did favor the export of that particular film.


BEGG: It’s not that I personally favored the export of that kind of film. It is a film which did show certain aspects of the American life, of course: the Okies, leaving their problems and crossing over to California. We did not think we wanted to use it in our program by sending it overseas, or taking parts of it and sending it overseas with our documentaries. We raised no objection to the industry sending it overseas, because we had no right to raise an objection. It was their product and we were not in the censorship business. As a matter of fact, they did send it to Chile. They may have sent it to other countries, but I remember a report from our Embassy in Chile saying that they had been quite upset that that kind of a film was to be shown in Chile, but they’d gone to the theaters and listened to the reaction to it and wanted to report that the reaction was very good. The people of the theaters pointed to the Okies as having sneakers and broken-down cars. It was obvious that these were the poor of the United States at that time, but it was also obvious to these Chileans who had never seen a car,


broken down or not, and were barefooted, that they were very well off. They figured that the United States must be all right if the poor there had as much goods to use as the Okies had. You can never tell what the reactions are going to be, really, when you come right down to it. That was an example of not being able to tell. Of course, we thought we could tell other things, and did.

Since we’re on the question of censorship — we had another rather interesting case. The reason we got in on it was not because we wanted to censor; we always wanted industry to censor their own. Reader’s Digest came to us because they could not get their Swedish edition into Sweden without the Government’s help. It was published in Sweden but the original copy had to be flown in first. The only way it could be flown in was above the Nazi occupation of Norway, so it had to be flown in a very high-flying airplane. We had to arrange for that because we approved of the Swedish edition of Reader’s Digest getting into Sweden. Because we were helping in it, we were in the position of having to more or


less attest to its value, and the editors of Reader’s Digest would send down their copy for us to look at. I found that by circulating this copy to various political area divisions, there was always comment on some phrase, or paragraph, of almost every article. It was impossible, therefore, to set ourselves up as censors. I changed the approach to it and said we do not wish comments on the individual articles, except a statement on whether or not any individual article is detrimental to the United States; not whether a paragraph or sentence is detrimental. That was the way it was carried out. Whenever we felt strongly that an article would be detrimental we asked the Reader’s Digest to eliminate that particular article. It was very seldom done, and I only remember one case: an article about Russia. At that time our negotiations with Russia were at such a point that it was better not to have that coming out in an American magazine in Sweden. That’s about the only time that I can remember that we actually said “no” to something.

MCKINZIE: During and after the war you preferred, if


censorship were necessary, that it be industry censorship rather than Governmental censorship?

BEGG: I have always preferred that industry be its own censor. I think it’s fair to say that it probably came from my own background. I had worked on motion pictures, and in press, publications, and radio. I, at that time, felt rather strongly that the Government should not interfere with what we felt was all right.

MCKINZIE: Did you feel that industry before the war had done a good job in self-censorship?

BEGG: Censorship during war and in peacetime are very different. In wartime some censorship can be justified, as I have said, on the basis that it’s detrimental to a country. It would have to be very obviously so in my estimation. In times of peace, censorship applies not to something that is detrimental to the country, but in terms of decency; whether the public will want to see it. Industry is best qualified to do that kind of censorship. I remember for instance in a case of my own when I was editing a newsreel story of the burning of the


zeppelin, the Hindenburg. We had cameras there as it landed. Cameras took pictures of everything, passengers dropping out of the gondola on fire and catching on fire as they landed, running off screaming, dying. We had to issue the subject for the theaters because it had been all over; everybody knew about it. I saw no reason, though, to let the public see the horrible things that were happening. We censored, if you like, so that the story told the tragedy and the horror of it but didn’t go into the things that would be hard to take if an audience was seeing it. The same sort of thing happened in another story that we covered in newsreels, the burning of the Morro Castle off the coast of New Jersey. We had cameramen out there covering that. Passengers were running to portholes trying to get out and they’d get stuck in the portholes. They would be burning to death with their heads sticking out and they’d be screaming as they died. We had those pictures, but there was no point in showing them to the public in my estimation. As an industry man I thought this would not be a good thing to do, and we didn’t show


them. Call it censorship if you like; it was really cutting out something that we didn’t feel was contributing anything to life.

MCKINZIE: In wartime did you feel that industry had this same code of decency plus a concern for what might or might not be detrimental to the United States?

BEGG: I don’t think that industry was in just as good a position to censor in terms of what might be detrimental to the United States. It might be a very good story — just take the case of the Reader’s Digest article. Industry saw it as a good story and it was, but from a point of view of the Government it was not. We didn’t stop that article and couldn’t have in the other editions of the Reader’s Digest. We simply could say to them, “We are taking this article out because we don’t think it should be in there, particularly for Sweden.” Now after that, if they wanted to, they could have eliminated that article. They didn’t eliminate it from the American edition because we had it in that, but they may have


eliminated it from other editions because their own people in those countries may have told them that they didn’t want it.

MCKINZIE: How did you get involved with radio people in the information program?

BEGG: We used to get a number of radio programs from private industry which we sent abroad for use to our Embassies and USIS [United States Information Service] officers. Those programs were primarily educational. In those days there were several stations that were concentrated on educational programs. We used their programs a great deal and subsequently developed some of our own, such as the teaching of English, which were very successful, particularly in Latin American countries. Whenever we found that there were programs that would be of interest we tried to get them for broadcasting overseas. Of course, it was only for broadcasting overseas. By law, we couldn’t broadcast domestically.

Another way of getting in touch with the radio people was by pulling into our operations people who


had been in the radio business. I remember when I was in the International Information Division and was trying to get the State Department more and more interested in international radio, I got Mr. [David] Sarnoff, then head of the RCA [Radio Corporation of America] and NBC [National Broadcasting Company], to let me have his Chief of Educational Radio Programs, Mr. Sterling Fisher. He came down to our office in Washington to try and help. He knew where educational radio programs were in the industry and through him we were able to get them, along with many ideas as to what could be done with radio. He, of course, was given a Government salary and whether he did or did not get the difference between his original salary in NBC and his salary in the State Department, that was a matter for Mr. Sarnoff to decide and I don’t know how it was decided. But he did come down. He was a very useful man. So there were two ways of operating with radio people: personally, and in terms of information about programs.

MCKINZIE: You developed a belief that the representation


of the United States abroad is more than a matter of sending a person gifted in matters of politics or economics. He must also be a diplomat for the American people and American culture. You sent a memorandum in 1943 to Harley Notter, who was in the Planning Division of the State Department, in which you suggested a radical reorganization of the Department after the war which might bring into operation this cultural component. Could you elaborate on that?

BEGG: Well, let me start off with where I got the idea. I got the idea for doing it based on various concepts. One was in history; when I was in the University of Oxford I graduated in so-called “modern history.” By the way, modern history at Oxford at that time ended after the Napoleonic wars; so it wasn’t very modern, but I had lived through a good deal of history since then. It seemed to me that in the early days, contacts between countries were between the kings, emperors or later on Presidents of the country; more so in the days of the kings and emperors where they would arrange for marriages as for


relationships between countries. When we, as a country, became independent, it was again the ruling groups that had the contacts, but during this last war, radio, motion pictures, newspapers, and fast communication had developed an interest in the people; they wanted to participate. This was democracy, in my mind, in international relations. The people should know about other people; who they were, how they lived, what they wanted. If those people, in turn, understood better how we lived in the United States, they might support things on behalf of us that their leaders might or might not want to develop. It was inevitable, in my mind, that we should have people involved in international relations. After I wrote that memorandum to Harley Notter, it was shown that people wanted to get involved in international relations. We started the People to People program. There we had some forty to fifty national committees in all facets of American life developing projects and contacts with people overseas, whether it was with town affiliation or letter writing or sending a “Hope” ship to teach people how we do things in


the medical field here. All of this was proven years later, after the war. I was thinking about it during the war. I sent it to Harley Notter because he was the key man in a group that was supposed to develop plans for the State Department to carry out after the war.

MCKINZIE: Was there a sense of optimism about the possible outcome of these proposals?

BEGG: If I had been really optimistic that they would be carried out I don’t think I would have put them down on paper. I wanted them to be on paper so they could be brought up again and again in the next few years. Whether or not the paper was read by anybody during the next few years when some things were done along the line suggested, I don’t know. If I’d been really optimistic I think I would have just talked about it and said, “Well, it’s going to happen; I’m optimistic about this.”

MCKINZIE: Why did they create the International Information


Division in 1944? You’ve mentioned that it went through three metamorphic changes.

BEGG: The International Information Division was created because I found that more and more the State Department was being called on to give ideas and policy guidance to the other Government agencies, particularly the Office of Inter-American Affairs and the Office of War Information. This was not only in the fields of radio and motion pictures, but also press and publications. I felt that we should have, in the State Department, some specific division where this kind of policy could be evolved. After checking it out with the Geographic Division we could be the funnel. for channeling ideas to groups that were actively engaged in using those media. We were using them in a minor way, some educational and cultural exchanges; but not in the active grace that the Office of War Information and the Voice of America were. Interestingly enough, because that division


was created it became the focal point for the transfer, by executive order of President Truman, of many of the activities of the Office of War Information and CIA to the State Department. Had there not been that division I doubt whether it would have been as easy to have transferred those activities. Having a division where we had had contact with those operations, we knew about them. It was just really more or less a matter of pulling over into the State Department the technical and administrative work of developing and producing programs. This would be used throughout the world on the new basis; closer to the work of the State Department itself. That division played an important role in the ultimate setting up of the OIC [Office of International Conferences]. That office was more or less the key for the future development of a much bigger office, the Office of International Information and Cultural Exchange. Mr. [William] Benton, subsequently Senator Benton, became the first director and in that office assumed the


responsibilities which were taken over from the OWI and CIAA. In doing so they formed an Office of Media Operations in which there was a specific division of radio, another for motion pictures, and another one for press and publication. It operated under the terms of the executive order of President Truman.

MCKINZIE: How sympathetic were political and geographic desk officers to the information program after you assumed operational responsibilities; after OWI and CIAA had ceased their wartime operations?

BEGG: That’s a good question and one that can only be answered by saying that it depended so much on the individual. If the individual thought it was good we thought he was a pretty good individual. If he didn’t think it was worthwhile we wondered why and thought that possibly he had not been properly oriented on the benefits of such an operation.


We found that that feeling against the operations of information was fairly prevalent amongst the Foreign Service officers, probably because they really didn’t understand what it was doing. Over the years, as it has gone ahead, they have come to realize that it is a very important part of operations and it can be used to their benefit; turning to the information officers overseas for the writing of speeches, the stopping of certain rumors, and all the things that an information program can do. They found that it was helpful to the total picture of diplomatic relations overseas.

MCKINZIE: At the time these organizational matters were in such flux, you were appointed the alternate representative to a committee for strengthening democratic processes, a part of the Far Eastern Commission. Did you have any influence on that committee

BEGG: I doubt whether I had much influence in that


committee. I sat in, I gave some ideas; but it was a pretty strong committee of its kind and they had their own ideas. I don’t remember having had any specific influence on it. I was interested in it, I was glad to serve on it; but that’s about all I remember of the committee.

MCKINZIE: Did that have anything to do with your appointment to the U.S. delegation to the United Nations Economic and Social Council

BEGG: I don’t think it had much to do with it. My appointment to that was, I think, based on the fact that I was one of the few people in the State Department who had had experience both in cultural relations (where I had been Assistant Chief of the Cultural Relations Division) and in the media division (where I had created Radio and Motion Pictures Operation Division and the International Information Division). When they wanted to have a delegate to that preliminary conference for the creating of UNESCO [United


Nations Educational Scientific, and Cultural Organization] who knew media, I was chosen. As a matter of fact, after I had been named to that position, the person who was going to handle the humanities side of the UNESCO operations was unable to attend. I was induced to take that job on as well. I can’t tell why it was. Possibly my education had given me a chance to know something about the humanities, but not as much as the person who had dropped out.

MCKINZIE: After this reorganization period, you went off to Europe to establish information offices in the Netherlands, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Norway, and Sweden. Would you narrate some of your experiences on those organizational trips?

BEGG: I was instructed to go off by the State Department. At that time the actual operation of an international information and cultural program had been taken over by the State Department. Several of us so-called “senior officers” in this


type of work were assigned to go overseas and pick up the remnants of the Office of War Information and try to amalgamate them into the everyday work of the Embassies, as a State Department operation. I remember that another fellow also was selected for it, a senior officer Charles Hulten. Charles Hulten was appointed to go down through the Balkans and meet me in Czechoslovakia. I was assigned to develop this type of operation in the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Poland and Czechoslovakia. I had a very interesting time and Charles Hulten and I met in Czechoslovakia. We exchanged ideas and when we got home we sent out our instructions to the fields. This was just merely for organizational purposes, but again, we came across people in the foreign Service who were not anxious to have the Department set up offices for informational activities. This was true in the Netherlands where the Ambassador there was definitely against setting up what they now call a USIS office there. Subsequently he became more agreeable toward


the idea, but when I was there he was not. In other places we found that ambassadors had not yet been appointed. In Norway I arrived before they had appointed a new ambassador there. They were very interested in how this should be operated because, after all, Norway had been an occupied country. The ambassador in Poland was there but, unfortunately, was neither for nor against the USIS. He was suffering very badly from a physical disability and was not able to devote the time that I would have liked to have seen an ambassador devote to the development of a new office. It was set up nevertheless and it worked pretty well.

As soon as we would arrive in a place, the newspapers would get hold of the story and it would be known that we were there. Newspaper correspondents would come round and ask us all kinds of questions, many of which we couldn’t or wouldn’t answer. Others were quite interesting. In Norway, for instance, I was immediately asked why it was


that the United States was not sending over new cars, building materials and all kinds of goods to Norway. Didn’t the United States realize that Norway had been occupied by the enemy for several years?

My answer was, “Certainly, certainly we knew it. We are doing all we can for you, but we are not sending over new cars because we, ourselves, don’t have new cars. I was fortunate to be able to buy a second hand car in the United States before I left. I was not able to get any lumber for building a barn on my farm because it was going to foreign countries.”

“But we haven’t seen any of it here,” they said.

I said, “Perhaps not, but remember, the United States is sending materials to all over the world.”

Well, why can’t you buy it in other places?”

“Because,” I said, “we don’t have that kind of money. We are working very hard.” I remember


using the words, “Dollars don’t grow on trees in the United States anymore than they do here.” I said, “I want to say something. It may be a little strong saying this, but you here in Norway forget that the United States is still, in many cases, using three shifts in factories to work for materials to come overseas, whereas you here in Norway only have one shift, I’ve noticed.” They admitted that this was true and I think it had a salutary effect on a lot of the people. They suddenly realized that the United States was not there just to serve this one country. The same thing would happen in other countries. They feel their country was most important.

In Czechoslovakia they were talking about going Communist. I was talking to a group there about the United States. They said that they were going to change things in their own country and would be closer to the United States because they were going to have more democracy. I said, “Well, as long as you don’t vote Communist you probably


will. We’d be delighted to work with you.”

They said, “Oh, no but we’re going to vote Communist because then we can become more democratic. We will have more land from the big landholders and the wealth will be spread around a little more. We’ll be able to work more closely with the democracies of your part of the world.” I suggested that they might not be able to if the Communists did come in and take over the power. They assured me that this would never happen in Czechoslovakia; they would vote Communist but would still hold the power.

MCKINZIE: In the case of the Netherlands, Ambassador Stanley Hornbeck said something to the effect that he didn’t believe the program was an integral part of the diplomat’s work.

BEGG: It was rather a touchy situation, of course, because he was the ambassador. Fortunately for me, I was not directly responsible to him for anything I did. I had to work under the jurisdiction


of the Ambassador but I had been sent by the State Department to do a specific job. An instruction had been sent to the Ambassador saying that he should cooperate with me in doing this job or that I should cooperate with him; we would work together on it. The fact that he didn’t was unfortunate, but we were able to get the offices that had been used by the OWI for our new offices and get a man sent out by the State Department to head up our new USIS office. I must say that it was rather difficult for the man who took over at that time, Colter Hyler. His first few months, even perhaps a year of operations, were not very happy for him.

MCKINZIE: Do you remember your first contact with Mr. Hornbeck?

BEGG: My first contact with Mr. Hornbeck was when he was in the Department of State. He was head of the Far Eastern Division, and I used to have to


clear things with him for our policy meetings if it affected the Far East. I used to get on quite well with him at that time, but he was a man brought up in the tradition of the old State Department. I believe that carried over into his job as an ambassador.

MCKINZIE: To what groups did you aim the postwar information program of the United States?

BEGG: I think I should refer back to the People to People program, where we had some 40 to 50 different types of committees: medical, labor, industry, children, school children, students, etc. We aimed as much as possible, across the board, and that’s the way I think it should be. We tried to get the universities to affiliate with one another to exchange professors and students. We got a special pamphlet written on that for them to do so. The program was aimed not only to individuals with specific interests, but to the public who might be coming as visitors to the


United States. “Why don’t you come to the United States and have a look-see at us?”

All the information activities that I was associated with, and I think this is true of others, were aimed at no specific higher income groups. It was across the board.

MCKINZIE: There is a question about whether the informational activities, 1947 thru 1952, could be called “pro-American” or “anti-Communist.” Is there a substantial difference’

BEGG: I think there is. I would say that they were “pro-American.” They were only “anti-Communist” in the sense that we tried to counteract false statements or impressions, that the Russians or Communists were trying to develop, of the United States. A full and fair picture, it was called at that time. Whether we got it by being anti-Communist or not, it was a full and fair picture that we tried to put out.

MCKINZIE: In 1947 you attended something called the


High Frequency Conference which had to do with shortwave radio. Why would shortwave radio have been so important in 1947?

BEGG: Shortwave was something that had proven itself during the war and in the several years after the war. It was a marvelous means of communication between nations for informational activities, which we were carrying on and for propaganda activities, which other groups may have been carrying on. Shortwave radio was something that everybody wanted, but if the United States was using some wave and another country wanted to use that same wave because it was a good shortwave, there would be no program at all. It was inevitable that the countries of the world would get together to try and divide up the available wave lengths. Each one would have his channel of communication to the rest of the world. Without that it would have been a terrible mess. Interestingly enough, at that meeting more nations were represented than there were in the United Nations; more nations than had


ever been represented in any international gathering. It was vital to every nation that they should have such shortwave rules. Amongst other things, they created an office in Switzerland to continue, in between these annual meetings, the rules that had been laid down. Dividing up the air was a very difficult operation. Some stations were already broadcasting and using certain wave lengths. You had to tell that country that they weren’t to use it anymore, because Peru, Chile, the United States, or Russia wanted to use it and would use it on the basis of agreement. We tried to divide it up as fairly as possible.

MCKINZIE: Was there any bloc voting regarding the allocation of the wave length?

BEGG: In every international conference that I’ve known about there’s been some bloc voting. Naturally there were certain groups that would get together and say, “If you vote for me or so much of this and that type of wave length,


I’ll vote for you to have more.” There was a group that was trying to get a lot of the wave lengths away from the United States. They got together and agreed to vote for it on the basis that each of them would have so much of the United States’ wave length. It would have left us with very little in comparison to the others. That had to be stopped, and then finally an agreement was made.

MCKINZIE: I understand that because of your knowledge of Spanish you came into prior knowledge of that?

BEGG: Yes. I was mistaken by one country’s chief of delegation as being the chief of delegation of Costa Rica, because I was speaking to him in Spanish. He told me about this plan that they had; that they had written a speech and wanted me to deliver it. I laughed and said, “I can’t deliver it. I’m Vice-Chairman of the American delegation.”

He said quite rightly, “Yes, I know. You


told me you were an American but we’re all American.”

I said, “Yes, but I’m a North American.”

“Oh, you’re a North American. You mean from the United States?”

I said, “Yes.”

“Oh,” he said, “now that you know what’s in it, you might as well deliver it anyway.”

Of course, I didn’t, but it was delivered and we did know beforehand. We had suspicions of what was going to happen.

MCKINZIE: In 1948 the budget for the State Department was cut drastically and it ruined many of the programs. How was your work affected by that cut, and did it affect your superiors and their attitudes?

BEGG: Those people in higher positions that were for an information program were, naturally, very upset by these cuts. Those who were of the old line, feeling that the State Department should be


primarily a diplomatic operation, didn’t feel so badly. By and large we had a good deal of support. We got support from the hearings, Senators, people from overseas, and ambassadors who said it was very important to have. There were many instances of this type of appeal for money. In spite of that we were cut very badly. We had to fire hundreds of people from their jobs overseas, because it was in the millions that we were cut. Particularly the media operations were cut, press, radio, and motion pictures. We had to dismantle some of the organizations that we had in the State Department as well as overseas. The radio division, the motion picture division and the present publication division of the State Department were done away with. I, as Assistant Director in charge of media, was very upset by this. I did my best to see what could be done to get private industry to step in; not to give us money, but to do the job on their own. In fact, I wrote a memorandum on that subject. I also decided that I should go back to the idea that


people should speak to people; as well as government to government, and kings to kings and so forth. I was wondering how this could be set up. I remember one time (this is just a little story of how things start), I was in an office with a secretary, which was about all that was left of the organization I had been head of. A man came to the door and I said, “Come in.”

He came in and I asked him what he wanted. He said, “Oh, I want to get some guidance from the State Department on what countries need more food, particularly in Europe.” I asked him where he was from and he said he was from the CARE [Cooperative for American Relief Everywhere] organization. I said that I had just returned from Europe and that, from the information that I had, food was not a real necessity in European countries now. I said there was one thing that they really needed; food for thought in the form of books. I believe that that was the origin of the CARE book program. We helped a great deal


on it. More and more we turned to the public for operating a People to People program in terms of letter writing, of university exchanges and affiliations. I believe there’s a list of some 40 or 50 different operations that we developed. We also developed an organization to carry through with them, the Private Cooperation Division that I organized and headed up.

MCKINZIE: This was done at pretty much your own initiative?

BEGG: Most of that work on the Private Cooperation was done on my own initiative and it turned out to be very good. During President Eisenhower’s time he decided that he would like to have it known as President Eisenhower’s People to People Program. We set up committees, I went to operate in each field, and the President got so interested in it that he agreed to write a letter to individual people to head up committees. We, though it wasn’t commonly known, wrote letters, suggested the people,


and sent the letters into the White House. He would or would not sign them or might have a suggestion of his own. Most of the time he would sign. This was very helpful to us. It’s rather interesting, with all the trouble that Nixon has had, that I just found something here that in 1960, the then Vice President sent a greeting to the People to People Committee chairman that President Eisenhower had asked to serve. When they all came into Washington to develop a program which would have their support, Nixon sent them a special message from the President supporting it. It’s interesting because he says, “People to People has become a by-word to millions of Americans whose genuine interest in their world neighbors has been expressed in direct and dramatic contact with peoples of other countries.” That sums up pretty well what I had in mind. That’s the point that was in back of the People to People program.

MCKINZIE: Just prior to this Private Enterprise Cooperation


staff you did undertake one additional special mission in the Netherlands. As I understand it, it was aid to the information programs at a time when the United States was having some difficulties over the Indonesian question. Could you discuss your mission and how you went about achieving it?

BEGG: I was sent, accompanied by my wife, to be with the Ambassador who was going to the Netherlands. It was a situation which concerned us a good deal. The people of Holland, as well as the people in their government, were very much against the United States, feeling that we had been the cause of their losing Indonesia through a vote in the United Nations. This idea was being not only developed in Holland, but was being promoted by other countries against the United States. We, as an information outfit, were trying to counteract this wrong information. We did not wish to take Indonesia away from the Netherlands. We did happen to vote for


independence in the United Nations committee, not only for Indonesia, but for other countries that became independent. It was not aimed at the Netherlands. We had to do something to counteract that. The feeling against the United States was being expressed against the Ambassador and the Embassy and we wanted to stop that before it got too far. I spent three months in the Netherlands working with the Ambassador. I’m glad to say that at the end of my stay there, we had been able to alter the opinion of the Government and people.

MCKINZIE: In order to work this closely with the new Ambassador, did you have some special relationships with him or did you work through the information office that was already a part of the structure?

BEGG: We did both. We did have a special relationship with the Ambassador because he was the man representing the United States over there. What he said and did was very important. One of the


first things that we did that proved to be very beneficial was to accompany the Ambassador on the ship to the Netherlands. Since my wife was a native of the Netherlands, we were able to prepare for the Ambassador a speech in Dutch, which he delivered on his arrival in the Netherlands. Being the first time an American Ambassador had ever spoken Dutch, this made a great impression. We got out newspaper articles on that point and the newsreels covered it as he made this speech to the people gathered to greet him. When the newsreels came around and wanted a few words with the Ambassador, we said, “Repeat your speech.” He repeated his speech and it appeared in all the theaters in the Netherlands. I went to the theater on several occasions to listen to it and it had a very good affect on the people. He immediately became a friend of theirs because he spoke their language. That was one way of showing that Americans were interested in the Dutch.


MCKINZIE: Beyond the expression of interest in the Dutch there were some hard substantive issues there. The Dutch were, in fact, losing a great deal of potential and real wealth. They must have talked about the importance of that to you.

BEGG: Well, they would. It was a difficult question to answer because they were losing a good deal, but so were other countries. That fact didn’t affect them very much, please or displease them, so I took another attitude. I said that Americans felt that the Dutch were a great nation and had a great future in the field in which they were really good; the industrial field. I suggested that they get American industry to set up their factories in Amsterdam and Rotterdam and make it a center. It could be a crossroads for industry, going back and forth through Holland to the rest of Europe from the United States. We would do all we could to urge American industry to do that. This pleased them and they did, in fact,


get a lot of business out of that suggestion. I remember one occasion when the minister of economics (or industry) was sitting next to me at a dinner party. He suggested that the Americans were not really very friendly because they weren’t buying much of the chocolate that the Netherlands depended on for their exchange. I expressed the idea that they liked the chocolate very much, but they didn’t like the way it was packaged. The Dutch, now that they were getting into a new field of competition, should study American ideas on packaging. After I had explained it fairly carefully he did take the idea to heart. Subsequently Dutch chocolate has been sold very extensively in the United States. It was a result of one of those suggestions.

MCKINZIE: You said earlier that they ought to put chocolate in wooden shoes and tie bows around it. Is that right?

BEGG: Yes. This shocked them because they said,


“We’ve been trying to get away from the idea of wooden shoes all our lives; we can’t start it with chocolate.”

I said, “If you want to sell chocolate put them in tins with windmills.”

“Windmills! We only have a few left.”

“Well, put them on tins and put the chocolates in.” They did and they were very successful as a result, and for other reasons.

MCKINZIE: You mentioned there were some fifty-odd areas in which the Department cooperated with private industry and other organizations of the Government. Aside from the CARE “food for thought” thing, which of those are you most proud?

BEGG: There were so many of these opportunities and they all played a part. It’s like playing favorites with children; it is pretty hard to say which one. I was very, very keen about the town affiliation program. There was a great salute, from Boston to Rome, and there was one very


interesting affiliation between Dubrovnik, Yugoslavia, where Tito was born, and a city in New Jersey. This one irritated the Russians very much because Dubrovnik celebrated with all kinds of American dances, exhibits and so forth, and were very pleased at what the counterparts were doing. This city affiliation had a great deal of interest for many people. San Diego was affiliated, I believe, with Osaka. Osaka paid for a very beautiful fountain in San Diego, and the Mayor of San Diego was invited to go to Osaka.

Going with that were affiliations between universities. We had some 30 or 40 universities affiliating exchange students and professors. Temple University and Hamburg University was an outstanding case of that kind of affiliation.

Then, there was the Good Ship Hope. We started off with one head of the People to People Medical Committee. He was a very well-known man, head of the American Medical Association, but he didn’t have the feeling for what we had in mind in terms of


exchanges and information on medicine. He felt that it could be done just in a university, like it had been done in the past. We were grasping for something new. I remember that one time I was having dinner at a party in Washington. After dinner somebody said, “You know, something happened today that I think would interest you.”

I said, “What was it?” I turned to Captain Holman who was then on the staff of the Chiefs of Staff.

He said, “At the meeting this morning we were putting into mothballs two baby flattops and two hospital ships. It seems a shame that they should be put into mothballs. Can’t you think of some idea for these two items? The Government will be glad to turn them over, I’m sure, if it were for something useful.”

I thought about it for a while and I came up with an idea for the hospital ship. It ultimately turned out to be the Hopehospital ship, going to other countries and helping them


to learn how to take care of their health and protect themselves. I also thought that industry could use one of these flattops as a floating exhibit, to go to other countries with American goods to sell. After some difficulties we were able to get the Hope ship idea going. I had trouble in the State Department getting wholehearted support of it. There were some old timers, even though they were friends of mine, who didn’t think it would do any good; it might cause trouble going to overseas countries. Others supported it. I won’t mention names, but there were some very important people in the State Department against it.

We tried to get industry to back the flattop idea. I went to New York, I went to industrial firms, and they thought that it wouldn’t work. The chief obstacle to it was that in some of the places where they’d like to see such a flattop exhibit, it couldn’t get into the harbor. Finally, the plan died, but I think this is worth noting;


the Japanese knew that we were doing this. They took one of their little flattops and did exactly what we had recommended a year before; sent it to all up and down South America and to Europe. They increased their commerce terrifically and they had no problem getting into harbors. They anchored outside the harbor, sent little boats in and out for the people, and brought them aboard. In that particular case, the People to People program that might have been very good and useful to industry was dropped by industry.

MCKINZIE: I understand that you are one of the instigators, if not the instigator, of the program of Mediterranean lights on U.S. naval vessels docked in foreign ports.

BEGG: Yes, that’s quite an interesting story. It was during one of my trips to Europe. I was on one of the panels for the board of examiners of the Foreign Service, examining people for transfers into Foreign Service for class one, two, three,


and four. I was coming home and I noted that in Cannes there were great numbers of American battleships lined up. The sailors were on shore in the evening and had girlfriends. The girlfriends weren’t too happy; they’d look out at these menacing ships. The war had just been over and to them battleships meant war. I didn’t feel happy about it and I’m sure the sailors and their girlfriends were not feeling happy. The next night I was in Monte Carlo and in the harbor was somebody’s yacht. For all I know it may have been Onassis’ or somebody else’s. It had electric light bulbs going from bow to stern and connecting with the two masts and it looked so festive and bright. You know perfectly well that there was no danger of war and that kind of thing. When I came home to Washington, I called in the man who was the liaison between the Navy and the State Department and suggested to him that the Navy, could help. The Navy, in this People to People program, had done a very fine job. They carried books overseas and


developed a program of their own called the Naval People to People Program (so did the Army). I asked them why they didn’t put lights on the ships. I explained that the lights would be festive and people would look out at sea and say, “These people aren’t bad. They don’t want war or they wouldn’t have these lights on.”

A few months later, the liaison man telephoned me and said, “You’ll be interested to hear, Mr. Begg, that the Admiral sent an order out to all ships at sea that whenever they were in a foreign port to put up lights from stern to bow and on their mastheads, to be called Mediterranean lights.” They are still called Mediterranean lights in the Navy and it is still a custom. I really was quite pleased with that one.

MCKINZIE: Mr. Begg, you were, by 1948-1949, the leading expert in the State Department on matters of information. Why did you not become a Foreign Service officer and make that a career?


BEGG: There were two reasons. The first is that I thought I had spent too many years in private industry and that I would be older than the other people in whose class I would be. Subsequently, I found out that I didn’t have to wait for the age problem to catch up with me; that I might have been put into Foreign Service at a fairly high rank. That was when I served with the foreign Service men in the examining panel. All of them that were in the State Department and the Foreign Service subsequently became Ambassadors. They were very keen to transfer me because we were examining for class 1. I didn’t want to. At that time I’d had what I figured was enough of the State Department attitude which some, and I’m glad to say it’s only a few, Ambassadors have. They control and give orders that may be against what a junior officer feels. It’s alright for him to be told what to do but he should be able to express himself. I was not one of those people who fail to express himself. I always took the attitude


in the State Department that if they don’t want me they can let me go, because I can make much more money out of Government than I can in. I am just suggesting this idea and if they like it, okay; if they don’t, okay. I found out while I was in the State Department, and it’s true of the Foreign Service too, that if you abide by the rules you seem to get along better than if you come up with new ideas and oppose what has been a “sacred dogma.” In fact, there was a fairly good article in my estimation written recently about that very subject in the Foreign Service Journal. The title of it is amusing, “It Hurts to be an Avis.” It shows that people who are number two people, the best of the number two people, seldom get to be the number one person. There were so many examples of that that I had seen that I didn’t join the Foreign Service. Nobody really tried to persuade me, but there was the idea that more people in the information offices should join the Foreign Service. Towards the end of my career in


the State Department I found that I had reached as far as I was going to go. One reason I didn’t join the Foreign Service was because of these acts. Political appointees come into the picture very much, too. I didn’t want to be sent as a senior foreign Service officer to some country for which I had very little interest. I would like to go to a country where I did have an interest. In fact, I had been (before the information officers became Foreign Service officers) offered the job of being a public affairs officer in two countries. In one country I gave as a reason, and it was a true reason, that I didn’t like the people of the country or their actions. I couldn’t do a good job pretending that I was their friend. If you’re a Foreign Service officer you can’t say that; you just simply go. On the other hand, I think the Foreign Service is a very good service and has some excellent people in it. It’s becoming better and better. I found that out when I was serving on their examining


panel. I thought that the examiners gave a very good examination and that the people they selected were very good. However, many of the people that failed in that examination were taken into the Foreign Service at that time when they were demanding a great increase in the number of Foreign Service officers. This was called the “Ristonization era.” On the Riston program they took in some 27 or 30 percent of the people that had failed our examination. I was not too happy about the Foreign Service when that happened.

MCKINZIE: You felt that there was not a great deal of future for yourself in remaining in the Government or in the Foreign Service?

BEGG: That’s correct. I found that out after I had done what I thought was important; creating the People to People program and many others. Even the organization that was to back it, called the Office of Private Cooperation, had become a temptation to other people. It had become important


enough that it could be offered to people as a political plum. On two successive occasions I had a political appointee put in over me. This was very disappointing, and when I saw that it was going to happen again, I decided that 20 years in the Government was enough. I had to get back into private industry.

One of the reasons I didn’t stay on, too, was I had hoped that I would get a high position when one came open in the State Department. Unfortunately, I didn’t; political appointees were twice put in over me. My hopes had been raised at the time when the Civil Service set up what they called a career executive roster. People were asked to fill out special forms because they had been selected for this special career executive roster and when an opening came they would be put in. As far as I know, I don’t believe I ever was considered for any of the jobs. Being in the career executive roster meant nothing to me and I realized that I would get nowhere further.


Either another political appointee or possibly a Foreign Service officer would be put in.

MCKINZIE: Could you talk about how the life of this agency and your own operations changed after the Eisenhower election in 1952, when John Foster Dulles took over the Department of State?

BEGG: Yes. As I mentioned earlier, President Eisenhower became very interested in the People to People program. As a matter of fact, he was very willing to support the creation of the People to People Foundation. He became honorary chairman and people whom he appointed became officers. Charles E. Wilson became president of the People to People Foundation. It showed that he had a continuing interest in it and I would say that under President Eisenhower and Secretary Dulles the program had a good deal of support from President Eisenhower. Mr. Dulles was too occupied with his job as Secretary of State to take too much interest in it. I have been told, I don’t know


whether it’s true or not, that I had been considered to be more of an Acheson man. A lot of the work of starting these things had been done during the Acheson and Truman era. Mr. Acheson and the President, at that time, were supporting information activities, but that was a curious thing in politics. There may have been some feeling about it, I don’t know. I’ve always been very grateful to President Truman for an action he took when he had a man who, supported by some group, wanted my job in the State Department. The man had given reasons why he should be appointed to the job (this was before the days when political appointees were put in over me) pointing out certain things. The President looked at these and felt that they were not enough to justify any such appointment. He apparently wrote on the memorandum that had been sent to him that “this man (meaning me) appears to be doing a good job. Let him stay.”

MCKINZIE: As time passed a number of people at a


higher rank in the Department exercised a kind of general supervision, a policy control over your office. I wonder if you might comment on their attitudes, beginning with Mr. Benton?

BEGG: Mr. Benton, who was brought into the Department, I found to be a man who had great ideas. He was very willing to cooperate. I had known him slightly in private industry and had worked with him on projects for the Encyclopaedia Britannica. Mr. Benton got the idea of information activities very well assimilated into his whole being. He would think in terms of informational activities. He would send memos to me constantly and call me in to discuss things, It was he who appointed me to be Assistant Director in Charge of Media, because he had known my operations not only in the State Department, but in private industry. I got on very well with Senator Benton. I thought he did a good job. He had a really hard time trying to fight for


funds and failed, but he went on to be a Senator, so that was something. One of his assistants was Mr. Stone. I never did get along very well with him. He seemed to be unenthusiastic about the type of operations that I was carrying on and my ideas, but that may have been just a personal feeling on his side.

MCKINZIE: Would it be your opinion then that Mr. Benton was the most enthusiastic?

BEGG: He was probably the most enthusiastic and the most energetic, though Ed Barrett, who came along afterwards, was also very good. I was also glad to see Mr. [George] Allen come in. There is a very strange thing which I once told Mr. Allen. I said, “When you were appointed by the President to be Assistant Secretary in Charge of Information Activities, weren’t you a little bit surprised?”‘ He never was surprised at anything. Mr. Allen said, “Why?” I said, “I’ll tell you.”

I said, “You remember a committee that you


served on with me that I created years ago of State and Foreign Service officers? One was Allen and there was another one, two Department of State officers. The Foreign Service officer was this young man called George Allen and I got him on the committee when I was in Cultural Relations Division and again when I was in the Chief of International Information Division and got him to express ideas on what should be done in policies that should be carried out. But I had a reason for doing it. I thought that if he, an up and coming Foreign Service officer would get to know what we were doing, he would then influence other Foreign Service officers to be on our side, which is exactly what he did. He went up very fast and rapidly in the Foreign Service. He became Ambassador to Iran and when they were looking for a new man to appoint in place of Benton, I suggested that possibly the time had come to get a Foreign Service officer into it. And they — that is, the people who were most interested in getting


people appointed — said, “But what would he [A11en] know about information activities?”

Well, I assured them that he knew plenty about information activities and I got somebody else to assure them the same way. A fellow who had worked for me — Noel Macy, and there are others — said that he would be very good.

He was appointed as the Assistant Secretary in Charge of Information Activities. He was the first foreign Service officer to join the program. I think it helped the entire information program as a whole to have him in there. He could influence other foreign Service officers to support us.

MCKINZIE: Mr. Begg, was the experience of Government service worth the personal cost?

BEGG: Yes, very much so. I had always felt, even in private industry, that I wanted to do something which had to do with information internationally. I started off thinking I was going to be a lawyer.


I didn’t go on with that. I then thought of being an international banker and was offered a very good job in the banking field. That didn’t satisfy me because it didn’t get me into what I got in Government through these information programs: contact with the people and helping the world’s people to understand one another. I made educational films, one for Eastman, and was interested in that. But that only was limited in its scope. I went into the International Telephone Company because that was international. I found out that that was really a business and a technical thing that had nothing to do with what I was looking for. Then I produced motion pictures. That was getting me closer to it. When sound started I realized that this is where Mr. McDonald (then Prime Minister of England) and the President of the United States can speak from a motion picture theater to the world. All they need do is to be put on film. I got immediately into Fox Movietone News, which was doing these


things. I know I was the first person to record in sound and pictures a woman, and that was Lady Astor.

I have in my library many, many books of people that I brought into the studios, at Fox and later on at Pathe, to make sound pictures. Admiral Byrd, for instance, came in and made a sound picture after he’d been down to the South Pole. Clarence Darrow came in and I got him to make a sound picture. Here I was getting closer to what I wanted to do in life. Many of then came in; all the leading people of that time. I could call them up and say, “Would you like to say something to this country? We could do it from film.” I’d work with them, get to know them; authors like Boothe Tarkington and others who were rather interesting. When I recorded Boothe Tarkington I went up to his residence. I always, in a case like that, had one or two of the author’s books ready for him to autograph. One of them already had “Booke Tarkington”


inscribed at the top. I gave it to him to sign and he said, “Who’s this?”

I said, “Well, it seems to read ‘Boothe Tarkington.’ Is that your signature or has somebody just written it in and pretended it’s yours?”

He looked at it and said, “No, that is my signature.” Then he wrote down, “Inscribed evidently by mistake for somebody and reinscribed for Mr. John Begg.”

Here I was getting into it, but I finally had my fill of newsreels. I saw what happened to newsreel men; it’s like in the Government. I could go no further with newsreels and I sensed that there was something else coming. Television was beginning to come into being but wasn’t known yet. I got into the cultural relations field where I brought the knowledge that I had of using the film and using radio for international effect. After twenty years of it, I’d had my fill. I enjoyed it; I think it was very worthwhile. I feel that I have had some influence somewhere


and that I’ve gotten people interested in the international scene as I’d always wanted to. Now I’m back in private industry. I happen to be in the international real estate operations.

MCKINZIE: Mr. Begg, we thank you very much.

[Top of the Page | Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript | List of Subjects Discussed]

List of Subjects Discussed

Acheson, Dean, 60
Allen, George V., 62-64
American Medical Association, 48

Barrett, Edward W., 62
Begg, John M., background, 1-7
Benton, William, 2261-62
Byrd, Richard E., 66

Cannes, France, visiting U.S. warships at, 52
Censorship of public media, government vs. private industry, 9-15
Central Intelligence Agency, 2123
Chile, reaction to U.S. movie Grapes of Wrath10-11
Cooperative for American Relief Everywhere (CARE), 3947
Costa Rica, 3
Czechoslovakia, USIS office in, 2629-30

Darrow, Clarence, 66
Davis, Norman J., 3
Dubrovnik, Yugoslavia, 48
Dulles, John F., 59

Eisenhower, Dwight D., 40-4159
Encyclopedia Britannica61

Far Eastern Commission, 24
Fisher, Sterling, 17
Foreign Service Journal, 55
Foreign Service, U.S.:

Board of Examiners,




career in evaluated,


Fox Movietone News,




Grapes of Wrath (movie), 9-11

Hamburg University, 48
Hindenberg zepplin disaster, 14
Hope, S.S., 48-50
Hornbeck, Stanley, 30-32
Hulten, Charles M., 26
Hyler, Colter, 31

Indonesia, independence of, 42- 43
International High Frequency Broadcasting Conference, 1947, 34-37
International Telephone Company, 65

Japanese goodwill ships, 51

MacDonald, Ramsay, 65
Macy, Noel, 64
“Mediterranean lights,” 51-53
Monte Carlo, visiting U.S. warships, 52
Morro Castle ship disaster, 14

National Broadcasting Company, 17

Indonesia, and independence of,


USIS office in,






Nixon, Richard M.,


Norway, USIS office in,


Notter, Harley,






Office of Inter American Affairs, 7921
Office of International Conference, 22
Office of International Information and Cultural Exchange, 22-23
Office of Media Operations, 23
Office of Private Cooperation, 4057
Office of War Information, 792122232631
Osaka, Japan, 48
Oxford University, 18

Pathe News, 566
“Pathe News of the Air,” 5
People to People Foundation, 59
People to People Medical Committee, 48
People to People program, 1932-3340-415152535759
Poland, USIS office in, 27

Radio Corporation of America, 17
Radio programming, 16-17
Readers Digest11-1215-16

San Diego, California, 49
Sarnoff, David, 17
Soviet Union, Readers Digest Swedish controversy re, WW II, 12
State Department, U.S.:

Cultural Relations Division,






International Information Division,








Radio and Motion Picture Division,



Readers Digest

edition for, censorship of in WW II,






Tarkington, Booth, 66-67
Temple University, 48
Thompson, Charles A., 6
Truman, Harry S.:

Begg, John M., support for in job retention,


executive order re transfer of CIA/OWI functions, issues,




UN Economic and Social Council, 25
UN Educational, Scientific/Cultural organization, 25-26
U.S. Information Service, 1626-3337-3942

Voice of America, 21

[Top of the Page | Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript | List of Subjects Discussed]

The Harry S. Truman Library and Museum is one of thirteenPresidential Libraries administered by the National Archives and Records Administration. 500 W. US Hwy. 24. Independence MO 64050
Phone: 816-268-8200 or 1-800-833-1225;
Fax: 816-268-8295.





~~Κύριε ἐλέησον~~


Rejoice and Glad!!



John Daniel Begg


Washington DC

Wednesday, 29th Mai, Anno Domini Nostri Iesu Christi, 2013 


Dearest Mummy~~May 29~~today our tear~~gone now fifty year~~and today our prayer~~for your eternal peace~~


~~~Joan Berry Vessa Begg~~~

~~Requiescat in pace~~

~~~Love and remembrance, always~~~

~~Κύριε ἐλέησον~~

Christopher Theogenesis~~

John Theophilus~~

Mary Joan~~

Joan Frances Ann~~

Joseph William~~

James Francis~~

~~Κύριε ἐλέησον~~

Rejoice and Glad!!



John Daniel Begg


Washington DC

Wednesday, 29th Mai, Anno Domini Nostri Iesu Christi, 2013

This is where I learned to hunt and chase~~and now, it’s all chased away~~by time Herself~~reflections for The Memorial Day, 2013~~


Chasing at Roedown~~John Murray Begg~~and Janey’s farm~~now~~like themselves~~a memory~~a Memorial in the mind.~~

Press this link and watch some races~~~

Today, The Memorial Day, is traditionally intended to commemorate the bravery of all  those who served~~and most especially~~those who died~~to keep us free.

In keeping with that tradition, Lovey and I had Trudie and Buzz Perkins to a Bar–bee–Que this afternoon.  Buzz was a medical doctor and a Navy pilot in the Japanese theatre of things and was very brave.

Buzz is now  97, Trudie, 95.   Trudie relates that she had to wait for the war to run to marry Buzz and in those days “ran a serious risk of being an old maid~~so I would write him– John~~~that he’d best come home in one piece because a girl in her middle’s 20’s was not likely to get asked again often after that age” She stood to wait~~she is remembered for that sacrifice today in a very special way.

Well, Buzz came home~~from that savage fighting, in one piece and they were married as arranged–bless them both–and raised a large and healthy brood right down the street from Lovey and I~~and they are now great grandparents~~please God above.

I came to thinking that The Memorial Day is for memories and commemorations of all sorts~~ and somehow I thought of John Murray Begg, man of the Department, businessman and gentleman of the land–master of Roedown Farm in Davidsonville, Maryland.

John Murray Begg did his bit in the war–propaganda~~ and his wife Janey, was a Dutch national who worked for both the Dutch resistance and for Wild Bill Donovan of the OSS.

John Murray and Janey Begg raised and raced thoroughbreds for about 50 years at Roedown~~a spectacular place–now gone~~but today~~memorialized in my mind.

The, brief, story and pictures of Roedown come now to you~~~~


The Maryland Governor’s Cup Series is sponsored by
By Rodney CalverThe Marlborough Hunt Races at Roedown celebrates its 36th anniversary on April 11, 2010. The rolling meadows of the historic Davidsonville farm provide a spectacular backdrop for point-to-point racing and the colorful festivities that traditionally herald the start of spring.The 36th running of the steeplechase races promises to be a day to remember for owners, riders and the more than 5,000 faithful who flock to Roedown come rain or shine. This year, the event will commemorate Maryland’s thoroughbred industry that makes such a significant contribution to the state’s economy and reputation for breeding, training and racing.The weather may be unpredictable but it’s a sure bet that both the on-track and tailgate contests will be as competitive as ever. The ten-race card is expected to attract around 120 entries. Up on the hill, judges will have a hard time separating the wheat from the chaff as tailgaters vie for top honors in five separate categories. There is also a ladies’ hat contest.
Copyright 2009

A new feature was added to the 2008 program. As part of the Annapolis 300th anniversary celebrations, Roedown revived the Annapolis Subscription Plate, the first recorded formal horse race in Maryland. It was run initially in 1743.

Steeple-chasing began more than 300 years ago when two Irishmen set up a race between two church steeples – hence the name. The Maryland Hunt Cup steeplechase was founded in the 1830s. In Southern Maryland, a group of equine enthusiasts got together in the early 1970s to organize the Marlborough Hunt Races.

“The scene has changed very little over the past 34 years, a testament to the group of equine enthusiasts who had the organizational vision to set up the races,” said Marlborough Hunt Races Co-chair Christine Clagett.

John Cory was in the vanguard of the movement that put Roedown on the map. In the 1970s, he began racing family horses on the steeplechase circuit from North Carolina to Maryland. But there were no local training opportunities in Southern Maryland. In 1973 and 1974, he persuaded some fellow hunt club members to build a hunter chase course at Dodon Farm, Davidsonville, the home of Steuart and Bobby Pitman.

This event inspired Cory to look for a true steeplechase course in the southern part of the state. Talk of a larger course caught the ear of Jeanne (van den Bosch) Begg, who suggested Cory should speak to her husband, John Murray Begg about Roedown Farm. “John’s enthusiasm was infectious,” recalls Cory, “and soon, he and I were joined by a few other stalwarts on the highest hill between Washington, D.C. and Annapolis. We were gazing for the first time on the Marlborough Hunt Race Course.”

Begg enthusiastically endorsed the idea and 31 local people, many of them members of the hunt club, became founders, thereby easing the issue of finances.

For the first two years, the timber race was conducted over a course that crossed the farm roadway twice and ran through the spectators’ hill. Keeping the course clear during the race was not easy and the timber course was modified for the third running. Now everything is contained in a large field, spectators watching the races from the hill behind.

For the first three years, racing was conducted on the first Saturday in March. However, weather played havoc and in 1978 the race date was changed to April. There have been just two postponements. “We have had glorious 70-degree days and on other days it snowed,” said Clagett. “But the crowd is committed to coming no matter what.”

Those connected with the races over the decades quote some interesting tales. Some got into the newspapers, others did not.

In 1979, Washington art gallery owner William Chewning rode his father’s Kelly’s Hero to victory in the Roedown Cup, which then sported a $500 purse. Six years later, the prize had doubled to $1,000 as Charles Fenwick Jr. rode Anvil to victory. That same year, a six-year-old bay mare dropped dead in the paddock.

In 1993, the event was washed out by heavy rains, forcing the first postponement in its history. The races were held later that year in September. In 1998, a then-record crown enjoyed temperatures in the 80s. Jack Fisher won the big race astride Ivorgorian and a prize for the “unique tailgate” went to an entry named Loedown, a tilt at high-brow contestants who bring the crystal and silver. “At Loedown, you bring blue jeans and a cowboy hat,” explained David Kolb of Harwood.

In 1979, Randy Wilson wrote in the Baltimore Sun: “The scene looked like a clothing advertisement for the New Yorker. Men spectators wore dark green blazers and tweed vests and caps. The women wore tan and proper boots. Cars that Detroit calls personal luxury automobiles were parked in the brown grass. A Great Dane loped among the onlookers.”

“It wouldn’t be Roedown without the Rolls,” observed Gabrielle deGroot, writing in The Capital in April 1992.

In the 1980s, the event got the better of one spectator. His fashion statement was to strip off and “streak” the enclosure at the conclusion of racing, adding perhaps another twist to the line “losing your shirt” at the races.

Colorful History

Roedown Farm has a colorful history. It was originally part of a grant of more than 2,000 acres made by Lord Baltimore. At the beginning of the 19th century, Jerome Bonaparte reputedly spent part of his honeymoon at Roedown after his marriage to Betsy Patterson, of Baltimore. A marble bust of Jerome, given to the present owners by a member of the Bonaparte family, stands in the garden of the striking Georgian brick house. George Washington is reported to have stayed at the house in 1760. Mr. and Mrs. John M. Begg purchased the 150-acre farm in 1945.

When Begg died in 1985, his widow insisted the Roedown event be continued. In 1994, she married Hal C. B. Clagett, another founder as well as a breeder of thoroughbred racehorses. Jeanne Begg died in November, 2007 but her 92-year-old husband agreed that the tradition continue.

December 3, 2008

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Snaps of barns and horses from dear old  Roedown Farm

Roedown Farm

Roedown Farm

Roedown Farm

Roedown Farm


Youth~~No fear of war here~~


Jumping the FOX~~~PURE~~ Combat~~Insanity here~~but~~again~~youth~~remember that??~~


After combat~~~Peace~~~do you remember that???

Memorial Day,  for us all,  is a mixture of happy and sad recollections and remembrances~~as all~~no matter one’s station or one’s position~~all end the same way~~to all places~~to all God’s Children~~all the same end~~in the end~~it is fitting then~~that all understand that universal meaning of ~~The Memorial Day~~and for, first and foremost, the brave boys and girls who did their bit—some actively some who stood to wait—behind the lines–all heroes–all today Memorialized.

Also remembered for Lovey and I~~ especially so~~ is Roedown Farm this day.


Rejoice and Glad!!



John Daniel Begg


Washington DC

Monday, 27th Mai, Anno Domini Nostri Iesu Christi, 2013~The Memorial Day

RoedownFarm (1)

The Manor House at Old Roedown Farm

Nana maternal counselled me as a lad that “every man wastes his life in his own way~~if you are rich, you get to choose how to waste your life~~and that’s a great advantage.” Today, a yellowed paper from 40 years on gives me pause to recall Nana’s admonition and likewise to think, fleetingly, of a long forgotten fella~~of Mr. George Frost Kennan~~man of The Department~~


 George Frost Kennan (February 16, 1904 – March 17, 2005)

As I was taken out to “make the rounds at Washington” very young, I had occasion to know George Frost Kennan fairly well when I was small.  He visited on several  of occasions~~at my father’s house~~and those of my uncles~~as well as at various events~~both social and official.

 I remember that he had been a boxer~~golden gloves~~like my father.  I remember that he had reasonably decent taste in suits~~very odd for a government man~~and that he wore English vests~~odder still~~I remarked these modes of dress as a high positive.

George Frost lived a very long time and for a awhile had~~what passes for~~high influence at Washington~~and very much more specifically so also at The Department~~for a time~~until his luck ran out there.

I remember George as being gentlemanly enough~~but Nana was ever in my ear and I can hear her, yet now, saying “Princeton is a playboy school.”  I never knew what that meant, or if it was a positive or a negative, but Nana was so autocratic of opinion that I accepted all she said as God’s Gospel.

I do remember that Mr. George Kennan~~when I knew him~~struck me as both affable and excessively guarded~~in private meetings.

Being guarded is understandable~~likely~~a requirement~~to hold the offices Mr. Kennan held.  But, as today, I suppose, if one must run squads of Philadelphia Lawyers through one’s brain before engaging a~~bromidic~~ question~~one runs risk of becoming laconic.


Mr. George Frost Kennan~~in hard hat~~I think~~a Homburg~~yes~~it is~~a Homburg~

Today, Lovey came across a weathered note of mine sent to Mrs Graham’s morning paper, The Washington Post, penned by me in July of 1977, concerning Mr. George Frost Kennan~~by then a man of ~~rather late~~middle age.  That note follows on below:


Over the course of a long career, Mr Kennan’s point of view did alter course~~more than once in  fact.  That’s~~perhaps inevitable~~given the tenor of the times~~its ebbs and flows.

In my note to Mr Kennan, shown here, penned in July, 1977, I was young and eager and perhaps~~over keen.  The ebb and flow of the times since 40 years ago have changed the tenor for me, and everyone else, I  guess~~again~~more than once~~likely.

I do hold yet to the general attitude that democracy is a universal good for all men~~and that America ought actively to promote that universal good.  Yes, actively so.

Rejoice and Glad!!



John Daniel Begg


Washington DC

Friday, 25th Mai, Anno Domini Nostri Iesu Christi, 2013


Mr. George Frost Kennan, pictured playing chess with those~~ crafty Russians.

An American Moses will usher in The Birth of a New Nation~~The disciplined few will rule over the indolent many~~it’s up to you to heed the call up~~


Muhammad Mosque #1~~Detroit~~2013 Youth Day~~photo credit~~Muhammad Mosque #1 Face Book~~

As I have aged, I have noted, in reading history and in observing life, that discipline and determination are far better the bell-weathers of success than are native ability and intelligence.

When I was a very young boy~~about the middle 1960’s~~I noticed the well-dressed, well-spoken, remarkably disciplined, followers of the Nation of Islam, who handed out their newspapers to the blacks outside the old Woodies department store in downtown Washington.

I found these boys impressive.  Very impressive.  White, crisply pressed, shirts. Subdued ties, pressed suits, shiny black shoes, white gloves~~not the sort of blacks I’d ever encountered~~  and~~disciplined~~polished~~extremely well-spoken and, to their people, very polite.

Terminally bored with my seminary school~~I was always on the look out for new adventure~~when I first encountered The Nation outside Woodies.

They struck me then as being a sort of religious army.  Fascinating.

I was unwanted.  I was white.  “A blue-eyed devil.”

The boys of The Nation, no older than myself, would not speak to me or make direct eye contact.  Washington was still a very segregated city~~black boys were supposed to call white boys Sir or Mister~~and I was surprised at the evident sense of superiority these lads gave off.

I would pick up discarded newspapers~~often brusquely and with curses~~tossed off by blacks who had other things to do than listen to the Word~~or heed the call-up~~and, on reading these papers,  I came to know a bit about The Nation Of Islam.



~~Symbol of The Nation~~

~~We now commence to quote directly from website of the Nation, as to its history, and do so until noted cease quoting~~


A Nation of Beauty & Peace

On July the Fourth, the day of America’s Independence celebration, He announced the beginning of His mission which was to restore and to resurrect His lost and found people, who were identified as the original members of the Tribe of Shabazz from the Lost Nation of Asia. The lost people of the original nation of African descent, were captured, exploited, and dehumanized to serve as servitude slaves of America for over three centuries. His mission was to teach the downtrodden and defenseless Black people a thorough Knowledge of God and of themselves, and to put them on the road to Self-Independence with a superior culture and higher civilization than they had previously experienced.

He taught us the ways of love and peace, of truth and beauty. We are being led into the path of a new spiritual culture and civilization of complete harmony and peace, one of refinement in the pursuit of happiness and eternal joy in the Supreme Knowledge of God and the Science of everything in life.

IN 1931, THE MASTER WAS preaching this Great Truth of salvation when He met a man named Elijah Poole in Detroit, Michigan. He chose him to be His Divine Representative in continuing this most difficult task of bringing truth and light to His lost and found people. For 3 1/2 years He taught and trained the Honorable Elijah Muhammad night and day into the profound Secret Wisdom of the Reality of God, which included the hidden knowledge of the original people who were the first founders of civilization of our Planet and who had a full knowledge of the Universal Order of Things from the beginning of the Divine Creation.

Upon the Master’s departure in 1934, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad labored tirelessly to bring life to his mentally and spiritually dead people until his return to the Master in 1975. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad identified the Master as being the answer to the one that the world had been expecting for the past 2,000 years under the names Messiah, the second coming of Jesus, the Christ, Jehovah, God, and the Son of Man. When the Honorable Elijah Muhammad asked Him to identify Himself He replied that He was the Mahdi. He signed His name in 1933 as Master Wallace Fard Muhammad to express the meaning of One Who had come in the Early Morning Dawn of the New Millennium to lay the base for a New World Order of Peace and Righteousness on the foundation of Truth and Justice; to put down tyrants and to change the world into a Heaven on Earth.

During the Honorable Elijah Muhammad’s initial 44 years, he suffered persecution & rejection from the very people whom he was appointed as a Servant of God. He was rejected and despised by the 10 percent leaders of America and the world because he revealed a Greater Truth and Wisdom that would end the old world of Satan’s rule and dominion. He was not self-taught or self-made but ONE MIGHTY IN POWER had taught him what he knew not. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad had never received any more than a fourth grade education, yet his heart was true in what he saw and he saw the greatest of the Signs of his Lord.

The more converts that he made in the cities, in the by-ways, and in the highways of this land, along with receiving honor and fame abroad, the powerful leaders and rulers of this world grew in opposition. As the baby Nation of Islam came to birth in America, the world rulers were shaken in their foundation to learn of this miraculous achievement, and are today frustrated in plans to prevent our survival. The theme of the Holy Qur’an and Bible that most clearly defines this struggle is revealed in the history of Pharaoh’s opposition to Moses and Aaron in the delivery of Israel in bondage in Egypt.

THE NATION OF ISLAM WAS founded on the basis of peace and as an answer to a prayer of Abraham to deliver his people who would be found in servitude slavery in the Western Hemisphere in this day and time. The Flag of Islam with the symbols of the Sun, Moon, and the Stars, represent the Universe and is also a Banner of Universal peace and Harmony. Our Holy Temples of Islam were established in America as sanctuaries of peace and higher learning into the Knowledge of the Oneness of God. Our schools are called Universities of Islam and teach the higher meaning of Islam which is Mathematics. We have always been taught to respect the laws of the land. We are taught never to carry arms, to make war or to be the aggressor, for this is against the nature of the righteous. We are taught the Principles of Divine Unity and the Universal Brotherhood of Islam.

We are taught cleanliness inwardly and outwardly with the practice of good manners and respect to one and all. We are taught that the family is the back bone of society and that our children must be reared to reflect the highest morals and training to perfect our society. We are trained to eat and to prepare the best of foods for the longevity of life, without the use of alcohol, smoking and substance abuse which endangers the ethics of healthy living. We are taught to respect and protect our women who are the mothers of civilization.

Our women are taught a dress code of modesty that will lead to the practice of high morality. We are trained to be an exemplary community expressing the highest spiritual goals for the reform of ourselves and others based on wisdom, knowledge and beauty.

Contrary to the inflammatory rhetoric that has been utilized by the news media and some community leaders to condemn the positive effects of Islam’s influence in today’s modern society, just the opposite is being proven true. The Nation of Islam (The Nation of Peace) represents hope to millions of our people in America and around the globe who have been deprived of the high standards of a righteous way of life.

This unity and love so sorely absent from our communities was genuinely exemplified by the millions of participants on the day of the Million Man March held in Washington, D.C., October 16, 1995. The exemplary Spiritual Leadership of Minister Louis Farrakhan in the rebuilding of the Nation of Islam in America is showing the way in the breaking down of barriers of communication throughout the society regardless to one’s religious, racial, or ideological beliefs and views.

Through God’s Divine Guidance, we are extending this Divine Work of moral and spiritual reform throughout the Western Hemisphere. God’s Light and Truth will prevail against the darkness and falsehood of all opposition. In spite of the controversy and clamor surrounding the Nation of Islam and it’s Divine Leader, Minister Louis Farrakhan, we are forging ahead in the Spirit of Almighty God, Allah, to unite with all of humanity in the Oneness of God, where all people of goodwill of every Race and of every Nation may participate in the Universal Expression of the Principles of Peace and the Brotherhood of man. This is the Beautiful Community of the Nation of Islam that is coming to birth in America on this Farthest Western Horizon in fulfillment of the Prophecy that God would meet with Muhammad for a second time and reveal to His servant What He Revealed. Thus the world is witnessing the Sun of Islam arising in the West. Praise the Holy Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

Where do we go from here in the remaining four years of the twentieth century? Will we continue to argue, to condemn, to fight and kill one another; or will we sit down and counsel with one another in seeking a just solution to the problems that beset us in America and in the world? Wisdom decrees that in counsel and in dialogue is the way to peace. Foolishness decrees that if we ignore the warning signs, we will fall into the deeper abyss of Hell. God is the Judge today; and most surely upon Him do the Believers rely!

Document written by Minister, Writer, Music Composer
and wife of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad
Mother Tynetta Muhammad
March 28, 1996


~~We now cease to quote directly from website of The Nation, as to its history, and thank The Nation for that history.~~~

The coffee klatch is all white, predominately Catholic, and we are indebted to The Nation for its history of itself, yet today, little known to most Americans.

The purpose of discussing The Nation in the coffee klatch is two-fold:

~~Washington is thoroughly useless, tiresome and pinheaded~~any further trifling with this city is pointless, boring and stupid~~there is nothing more to say about the place.~~

~~The Americans need a Moses~~to lead them out of the city of Washington, where they are now captive, and to cobble together with them~~a parallel society~~within the borders of America.~~

The Nation is raised here as illustrative to us~~as The Nation has been about the business of constructing a parallel society within America for about 80 years.  We can learn a lot from The Nation as to structure and objectives~~as we build our own parallel society.

From the beginning, The Nation preached complete autonomy, self-sufficiency and community support of its members.  They took care of one another~~looked out after one another~~ Had their own banks~~Nurtured their own businesses~~ Did not ask for anything from the American government~~Did not ask for anything from the white people~~and worshiped their God in peace.

And they prospered.

Have you prospered?

Since the Great Panic of 2008, many middle class Americans have been reduced to the poor class with little hope of ever returning to their former station.  Are you one such?  Do you know one such?  Are you related to one such?  I bet you do~~I bet you are.

What has Washington done to redress the harm done the Americans by the Great Panic of 2008?  Absolutely nothing~~nothing~~and it never will.  In fact, both Parties act as though there is no problem at all~~everything’s great!!

Only, it ain’t.  It ain’t great at all.  And you know it.

So, friends~~what are we going to do about it?

We are going to follow a new Moses who will lead us out of the captivity of Washington and into a new America~~where devotion to God, rigid discipline, hard work, self-sufficiency, helping one’s neighbor, fairness, honesty, loyalty, self-esteem and honor~~will be the watch words.

We will take care of one another.  We will seek right-minded businessmen and industrialists who want to help the Americans recover from the Great Panic of 2008.  Men such as those from history as Henry Ford, Henry Kaiser, Milton Hershey~~and many other like-minded businessmen who realize it is in their own, enlightened, self-interest, to help make this country come~~back to life.

When you hear the call up~~will you heed the call up~~or~~brusquely and with curses~~ toss off this newspaper~~onto the ground?

Which~~will you do?

Rejoice and Glad!!



John Daniel Begg


Washington DC

Thursday, 23rd Mai, Anno Domini Nostri Iesu Christi, 2013


 The Greatest~~heeds the call up and joins The Nation~~Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr.~~March, 1964

Photo credit~~A. Baum/The New York Times

“I have lost my power base in Congress and can no longer govern.”~~~Mr Nixon, summer of ’74.~~Today, forty years on, old men now scribble half-recollected facts on the fallible notepads that pass for~~history.


A happy young Quaker, Richard Milhous, developed that most deadly of diseases~~ambition political~~no man in history who has ever suffered from that ailment has ever had a happy day.

Summer has come and~~lacking better to do~~we watch the past haunt us at Washington~~

Scribbled notes, faded reminiscences, in the klatch, regarding matters, now yellowing with antiquity, follow us now, my dears~~in the shadows of the mind:

images (52)

Playing fields~~the fever of that horrible disease named~~ ambition~~by now burns brightly in a, yet young,  lad.


John—We have impeached Presidents before.  Do you think Executive Orders are legal without approval of Congress?
Mike–Likely not, but I am not a lawyer–THANK GOD~~–but again–it’s all  a sort of a game–a power gambit–some readers from the klatch are confused–but they did not read carefully–while all I write is in part satire–it is also in dead earnest–who has power as against who is right or wrong–I distinctly remember being here when Nixon resigned–do you remember his reason–“I have lost my power base in Congress and can no longer govern.” People laughed and said–that’s so Nixon–but–it was also true–if you have a sufficient number of men who will stand behind you in the Lower House, you cannot be impeached–for any reason. Reciprocally, if you have no power base in Congress–you can be impeached for any reason whatsoever–in fact–for no reason at all–this is why when people speak of legalisms respecting this to me, I have to take them aside a bit because impeachment has absolutely nothing to do with law–it is about raw political power–and only that.–JOHN


Executive orders have been a normal way of running business for all modern presidents. Nothing illegal about that process.~~Rick


Rick~I would never suggest otherwise, Rick–i simply state that the lower house can impeach at its whim–this is not debatable–at its whim–so the particularities as to why the lower house impeaches are not pertinent–it has the power–to even be capricious“Jack

     Someone in your group is asking whether executive orders are legal (see below). unless syu favor whimsical impeachments, It is important for knowledgeable people in your group know that, so it becomes harder for House to impeach a president on whims and wrong information. Your group is too intelligent and well-placed not to have that fact straight in their own discussions. also, only 3 presidents have been impeached (Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon and BIlL Clinton). It’s important for smart people to know that impeachment is a rarity and can only be done for “high crimes and misdemeanors” so the bar is high> let;s not whimsically lower that standard in our own discussions.
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Man’s best friend~~and~~a checkered past~~
rick–agreed–and I’m not lowering the bar–it is important that the group understand that there is a fair amount of high talk about at the moment respecting impeachment–my observation simply is that, while, de jure –you are correct in your note—de facto–there is no bar at all–and implicitly, that is a dangerous message.–also–to be airtight–Nixon was not impeached–it’s nice to have a forum that can trade quips as here without causing apoplexy in the room–rare today–we are all on page to keep the discussion civilized and informative.–Jack

No Nixon was impeached  b y the House He resigned before the senate could convict him. Impeachment is merely the act of charging a president with high crimes and misdemeanors. the next step is senate conviction.
~~A card dealt out, but not played~~~~~~~~~
rick–unless I’ve gone batty–i don’t think he was impeached–i think he bagged out before the inevitable–I’ll check again but I am rather sure it never came to that–jack
richard-nixon-resignsClash of interests~~Wave bub-bub-bub-bye to the boss~~~
It’s our profit, it’s his loss.~~~

John and friends,

        Hope you all read the sensible article in Washington Post Outlook Sunday by Matthew Dallek which seeks to temper impeachment fever in today’s House of Representatives by punching holes in would-be morphing of images and history between Obama and Nixon – at least on the basis of any evidence unearthed so far. If there are hot heads on the Hill, there’d better be plenty of cool heads among other critics of Obama. We’ve got troubles enough in the uncivil politics of today, without going off the rails.
       Impeachment is a rarity, and properly so. I should have said before that only two of our 44 presidents have been impeached (Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton). the third one, Nixon, was about to be impeached but resigned just as the impeachment axe was about to fall. On July 27 and 30, 1974, the House Judiciary Committee  – after a long and careful investigation, not by hotheads and carried out in bipartisan fashion – approved three articles of impeachment after federal prosecutors had named Nixon an unindicted co-conspirator” in the Watergate cover-up. His resignation on August 9 forestalled a House vote on impeachment, though there is little question how they would have voted. Both House and Senate Republican leaders were on record with sharp criticism of Nixon’s abuses of power and cover ups.
         Some of those details are worth recalling as a reminder that the facts then and now are vastly different. It is vitally important to keep the distinctions clearly in mind – now, no enemy’s list, no Watergate break-in, no destruction of evidence, so far no indication the president or the White House was involved in anyway in the IRS excesses, though it may turn out that Obama bears some responsibility for giving a green light in principle to the aggressive leak investigation that led to the FBI’s phone sweep of AP records. But even there, the motive was different from the wiretaps that Nixon-Kissinger-Hoover and company put on reporters like me for stories about Vietnam and other policies that embarrassed the Administration. The AP story that triggered the investigation actually made the Obama Administration look good. So while a such a broad search was excessive, the motive looks like protecting national security.
      It’s worth rereading some of that Nixon history to help keep today’s events in context.
      It’s also worth looking for that Time magazine cover showing George Herbert Walker Bush as a tiny midget under the headline :”the Incredible Shrinking Presidency.”
      Rick ~~~
A, brusque, letter to the Secretary of the Department

Rick–we all thank you for these lessons and remembrances, for some of us, now a tad faded~~I want to take a somewhat different tack here and put in a side bar note to another fella who is writing me along the same lines–our Mr Rosman:

Dear Mr Rosman~~the point that I attempt to bring across as to the difference between law and power in the instant case is this~~had the Democrats not held the House and had Mr Rodino not Chaired the Committee, there would have been no uncovering of White House involvement in Watergate in a formal proceeding and~~by extension~~no article would have been voted out–once again~~the difference between what is right and just under the law~~~ and power~~an element often overlook in these discussions–who has power–to either act–or to prevent action~~ in the instant case.~~John Begg


On 05/20/13 1:39 PM, David Rosman wrote:
So, it is your position that, it all else was different except the majority of Congress, the FBI investigation that showed the connection originally would have simply been dismissed? I find that fascinating.

I believe I will continue this in my blog and would like to use our conversation, if you do not mind.



On 05/20/13 11:38 AM, john begg wrote:
Mr Rosman~~that is my position precisely~~had the Republicans held the House at the time~~you would never have heard of Watergate~~ever~~most newspapers ignored it completely~~today~~if the Democrats held the House~~the incumbent could do anything he liked and he would not be impeached~~Washington is a very different place than the American citizens think that it is–John Begg


And, of course the initiating question as to this came to us from Allan earlier yesterday~~after I wrote him first this:

“My dear lads~~relax~~the plain truth is that the Lower House can impeach anyPresident for any reason it wants~~any reason~~this is Realpolitik~~not Mrs Haley’s History on goody-goody two-shoes citizenship~~in Mrs Haley’s class there are put forth~~nicely-nice ettiquettes~~ for impeachment~~~the rules~~but in the real world of Realpolitik we find~~the other rules~~~~and discover that~~the only predicate for impeachment is for the Lower House to have the horses, and the desire, to vote out articles–to entangle, entrap, ensnare~~this is, dears, res ipsa~~it is beyond dispute.”

As to if or no, it is advisable to vote articles in given instances, well, fellas~~that’s the rub.

John Daniel Begg


Allan, ever dutiful and inquisitive, wrote back:

“So, John, in your opinion do you think he should be impeached??


I wrote Allan back~~quickly and, perhaps tad testily:

“I’ve no opinion as to that, Allan–none whatever~~I’m likely the only boy in America who would say that to you~~and, frankly, if I had an opinion, it wouldn’t matter as I am not in the Lower House~~all the power to vote out articles resides in the Lower House~~I am simply trying to clear up confusion about who wears the trousers in this city~~Ergo…If the Lower House were to vote out articles~to entangle, entrap and ensnare~~


~~ So, my dears~~ The wheel goes ’round and ’round~~memories fade~~now aged men, relive a summer when they were far younger and had far more hair and, very likely, better things to do, than to remember and discuss such things~~as these now~~ noted here~~half-remembered facts, whimsies, whiskies, recriminations~~acted out again~~over the dead leaves of the past.


Rejoice and Glad!!



John Daniel Begg


Washington DC

Monday, 20th Mai, Anno Domini Nostri Iesu Christi, 2013


Royal visit~~~A President meets the King.

Peachy keen–ORB now defeated~~brother Allan suggests impeachment~~to entrap, entangle or ensnare~~I offer a brief lesson in “the other rules,” and of who wears the trousers at Washington.


Still Life with Peaches~~Pierre-Auguste Renoir

One can never tell if the precipitous decline in the general, fundamental, social amenities and standards today is down to boys having been too drunk at school or not drunk enough~~we recognize that there is a very fine line between the one and the other.  A crucially, fine line.

Today, while Lovey and I awaited the very painful loss of our beautiful ORB at Pimlico in the Preakness Stakes this late afternoon, I killed time talking with my friend Allan, chartered member of the morning coffee klatch~~who~~for reasons known best to him, raised with me the issue of impeachment~~a word meaning, if I recall my little, Latin, to entrap, entangle or ensnare.

I was caught altogether off guard~~couldn’t think what, or whom, he meant.  Was this to do with my ORB?  I, suddenly, felt myself~~entangled, entrapped, ensared~~had Allan and the klatch impeached me?  I sure hope no for me~~but I worried after ORB.

Annoyed, vexed, but simultaneously thankful, of the distraction from worrying on our ORB prior to his dismaying defeat, we wrote this to Allan:

“Sometimes, I wonder how it is that many lads I know went all the way through the tedium of schools~~sometimes even good schools~~without learning the difference between “the rules” and the “other rules.”

To wit~~today, I pen this, while anxiously awaiting something actually important to go off~~The Preakness Stakes at Pimlico in Baltimore~~to lads confused about “the other rules.”

“My dear lads~~relax~~the plain truth is that the Lower House can impeach any President for any reason it wants~~any reason~~this is Realpolitik~~not Mrs Haley’s History on goody-goody two-shoes citizenship~~in Mrs Haley’s class there are put forth~~nicely-nice ettiquettes~~ for impeachment~~~the rules~~but in the real world of Realpolitik we find~~the other rules~~~~and discover that~~the only predicate for impeachment is for the Lower House to have the horses, and the desire, to vote out articles–to entangle, entrap, ensnare~~this is, dears, res ipsa~~it is beyond dispute.”

As to if or no, it is advisable to vote articles in given instances, well, fellas~~that’s the rub.

John Daniel Begg

Allan, ever dutiful and inquisitive, wrote back:

“So, John, in your opinion do you think he should be impeached??

ORB??  I hoped ORB would not be entangled, entrapped or ensnared.~~God. no!!

It was still well short of ORB’s post time with destiny so I wrote Allan back~~quickly and, perhaps tad testily:

“I’ve no opinion as to that, Allan–none whatever~~I’m likely the only boy in America who would say that to you~~and, frankly, if I had an opinion, it wouldn’t matter as I am not in the Lower House~~all the power to vote out articles resides in the Lower House~~I am simply trying to clear up confusion about who wears the trousers in this city~~Ergo…If the Lower House were to vote out articles~to entangle, entrap and ensnare~~



Sliced peaches~~Laurie Justus Pace~~oil art credit

~~~~to impeach~~~thusslicing up the fruit~~thus entrapping, entangling, ensnaring~~

~~the Upper House would, in its turn~~seek to get to the heart of the matter”~~comme ca

Painting-Peach Slice

Roberta Reb Allen~~art credit~~

“The Upper House must get to the heart of the matter~~the dead center of the peach itself and decide, if or no, the articles voted by the Lower House, hold sufficient water or no. 

That’s it~~as with most things taken to the bedrock~~to the~~what is that horrid word the lawyers use–oh yes, the gravamen~~the seed corn~~ of the matter~~this is all really rather simple.

Comes into this mix, now rather late, Mike–who puts this question–but, guys–I am retired, infirm and reclusive–try to limit these curve balls–despite so~~

Mike asks~~~”John—We have impeached Presidents before.  Do you think Executive Orders are legal without approval of Congress?”

Tired now, but trained a gentleman young, I wrote back~~~

“Mike–Likely not,  but I am not a lawyer~~THANK GOD~~–but again–it’s all a sort of a game–a power gambit–some readers from the klatch are confused–but they did not read carefully–while all I write is in part satire–it is also in dead earnest–who has power as against who is right or wrong.

I distinctly remember being here when Nixon resigned–do you remember his reason–“I have lost my power base in Congress and can no longer govern.” People laughed and said–that’s so Nixon–but–his statement was also true–if you have a sufficient number of men who will stand behind you in the Lower House, you cannot be impeached–for any reason.

Reciprocally, if you have no power base in Congress–you can be impeached for any reason whatsoever–in fact–for no reason at all–this is why when people speak of legalisms respecting this matter to me, I have to take them aside a bit and pull their coats, because impeachment has absolutely nothing to do with law–it is about raw political power–and only that.–JOHN”

Bedevilled, ensnared, entangled, entrapped~~in a word~~impeached~~so sorry, lads~~so sorry~~

slide_298286_2470583_freeORB and young Joel Rosario, now themselves, impeached~~now ensnared, entrapped,  entangled~~ taste of the bitter dust of bedevilling defeat in the 2013 Preakness stakes (Group-1)

What is so terribly complicated is to console Lovey after the defeat of her dear ORB~~a matter of actual material consequence as opposed to the idle gossip preceding~~taken up to keep our minds from worry over our ORB.

Lovey is to bed~~some drinks after~~and she is not happy.  She asks~~over and over: “Thurston~~how could ORB possibly have lost–HOW??”  Can you bear to watch?  I can’t~~

 A~HA~~~Allan, a~ha, Mike, A~ha~~ my dears of the coffee  klatch~~would it only be that the ripe peach of ~real life~ were as easily sliced and dissected as are the trivialities of politics~~would it only be that.

We pray God make that so.

Rejoice and Glad!!



John Daniel Begg


Washington DC

Saturday, 18th Mai, Anno Domini Nostri Iesu Christi, 2013


Still Life with Peaches~~Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Peaches, explored from yet another angle, may satisfy Allan, Mike and other political lads, yet fail to solve the mystery of ORB’s misadventure in Baltimore today~~or, in the slightest, console Lovey.


Combat for Glory in the afternoon of tomorrow~bonne chance~ORB~toujours pret~bonne chance!!


ORB~~Derby winner~~having a breeze under exercise rider Jennifer Patterson~~(Lloyd Fox/Baltimore Sun Photo)

We wish ORB and all his connections best luck in their quest to take down the second leg of the Triple Crown in the Preakness at Pimlico in Baltimore less a day away now.  ORB has been preparing smashingly for the race~~we think even better so than before Derby.

If ORB is successful, he, and we, have so many dedicated connections and attendants to thank~~from the very rich men who own him, to his much heralded trainer, to the flash jockey boy~~ Joel Rosario~~who will ride him tomorrow afternoon, to the dozens ill-paid, yet most hard-working stable lads, grooms, vets and walkers who keep the barn around him safe and humming.

It has always hit us a bit of sadness that so many of the exercise riders of the morning are girls~~who have an effortless rapport with horses and have little difficulty making assigned weights~~but who are, nonetheless, very infrequently, able to suit up in silks and ride their, often close friends, in what we call the combat of the afternoon.

Combat at the races is yet a boy’s purview~~with notable exceptions~~one of whom, Miss Anna Rosie Napranik~~pilots My Lute tomorrow~~a very nice horse who ran a game 5th in the Derby but whom we feel ran about as well as he can for Rosie in that splendid race.  We wish Rosie and My Lute all best of course~~as we do all the other combatants and their connections~~but it simply may prove out that ORB is the quicker sort.

Racing, ever a fascination~~likewise~~is ever a heartbreak.

That said, we have become so close to ORB personally that we think it sad~~yes, sad~~that Jenny Patterson has to watch him in the big race from the sidelines~~cheering him on like the rest of us fans, but unable to boot up on him as she does every morning~~for tomorrow~~comes~~the combat of the afternoon.

All good luck to ORB and all the others~~and a well-deserved pat of appreciation to Jenny~~ who rides him so well in his exercises~~comme ca:

Rejoice and Glad!!



John Daniel Begg



Friday, 17th Mai, Anno Domini Nostri Iesu Christi, 2013

Gatsby~~The VII~~The morning coffee klatch heartily recommends seeing this film as an American duty patriotic~~suitable for all ages of normal Americans of red blood. BRAVO!!

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The American librarian class and faux communist newspaper movie reviewers are not enchanted by Gatsby and his ostentatious displays of American wealth, sloppily acquired.  Many I know say today that “my signature color is black.”  How original, dears~~that must have taken some contemplation.   We adore pink ourselves here at the klatch–and wear it like a flower on a coat~~often as possible~~we are not sure we could bring off a pink suit, but hat’s off here to Mr. Redford in the attempt~~as he plays Gatsby.~~at right.



 (L-r) Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby and Tobey Maguire as Nick Carraway in Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Village Roadshow Pictures’ drama “THE GREAT GATSBY,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.  Photo by Mary Ellen Mark~~Read more:

Scott Fitzgerald shown below with, what passed for, his family~~before he fell head over for the girl who don’t talk back~~liquor by the drink.


That’s Zelda Fitzgerald-right — named “America’s first flapper” by her husband and acclaimed novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald. The iconic woman is photographed here with F. Scott along with their daughter Frances “Scottie” Fitzgerald. (photo:  Read more:

Scott Fitzgerald was a reasonably talented writer who managed being the quintessential American novelist and his work, The Great Gatsby, is the quintessential American novel.  There is little not in the book that one need know of the Americans.

We ask~~why then, is Gatsby so critically panned~~times now seven times~~ by the librarian class?  Librarians mutter that there “is nothing to this book~~beyond money and ostentatious display!”

But girls, girls~~that is what America is~~money, quickly, and sloppily acquired, and its ostentatious display~~that is America.

Despite what school marms might tell you~~the story of Gatsby is the story of the Americans~~a people insatiably thirsty for more money than they can count and an opulence that Kings would envy.

Willy Maugham, a writer more adroit than myself or even our thirsty Scotty, said of the Americans~~ “The Americans are so terribly successful principally because they know who they are~~something most people do not know~~the Americans are a people feverishly devoted to the twin lusts of~~~ big business and fornication~~and very, very little else.”


~~Pretty in pink~~

The Brooks Brothers clothing store, owned by a man from Milano~~Mi mummy’s home!!~~from where else, we ask, could he hail??–took a flyer a few years back and plunked down $300 millions of his own green energy for a store thought then stodgy and at death’s door, upon the sage premise that dressing up for business would return after the plague of “smart causal”~~what the devil does that even mean~~”smart casual??”~~had breathed its loathsome last~~seeks to capitalize–HOORAY!! on the newest Gatsby with a clothing line in his name.

Over-due books and ~~~Brazen Capitalists~~scruffy moving pictures reviewers and wall-flower librarians don’t like this sort of guy at all~~

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Claudio Del Vecchio, owner of Brooks Brothers



~~The closer he gets~~the librarians  just don’t know what to think here~~

Lovey protests no longer that I do not go to the American moving pictures~~she’s given up and goes with her girlfriends instead.  Lovey tells me that the last movie we saw together at cinema was Sea of Love~~and that my singular motivation in going to that otherwise completely forgettable film was down to my captivation with Ellen Barkin’s bottom~~an astounding foundation that, then, worthy of Michael Angelo Buonarroti-Simoni~~another pisano, thank you, Jesus~~still imprinted vividly on my mind~~although Lovey adds here~~cattily~~and most unlike her~~ “that girl used a body double in those scenes you remember most.”  Girls, girls~~give peace a chance.

I am told that movie reviewers dislike this, seventh, take on Gatsby now at the moving pictures shows around the nation~~and this is no surprise~~movie reviewers have never liked any iteration of Gatsby.

On blush first, this disdain of a very simple story of the Americans and their dreams is inscrutable until one reckons~~and most correctly so~~that movie reviewers are both ill-paid and scruffy employees of American newspaper houses that affect a sort of fake communism in their politics that just doesn’t fit with Gatsby.

We’ve always been amused by rich communists here at the coffee klatch.  The more left we find a man, the more ardently he worships at his secret altar rail to money.

Alongside a dreary fake communism, now fully run its day, thank Jesus, there is additionally among the Americans today an idol worship of the badly dressed that is a nick or two below a religion in its fervor.

Lovey thinks it necessary to teach me as to why girls at city dress always as though they are nuns or prisoners–in darkest black and in pants suits~~but I already know~~they think it makes them look slim~~but–so sorry girls~~it just doesn’t work.

Really sorry girls–here’s a hint–God gave us colors, free to use–employ them to your advantage.  If you want to catch a boy~~and you do~~and I know that’s dicey here in city–go to a gymnasium~~and afterwards–wear–colors–like a rainbow!!

Boys too today in America fall for a scruffy sort of dress that is remarkably disagreeable.  One such habit is to wear dress shirts not tucked in–even when wearing sports coats.  Lovey assures that this affectation is now simply faddish habit but had its genesis in boys also wanting to look slim when they are not~~but again~~it just doesn’t work.  Sorry, guys.  Fellas–Go to a gymnasium too–to banish that pinch or two of excess fat~~and maybe~~you’ll meet a newly~toned up girl!!

So~~you have now our very first movie review done~~to recapitulate~~

~~Gatsby~~Take Seven~~That thing about a boy in a pink suit~~and that whole nakedly, unashamedly, opulent style of life~~the American librarian class just don’t like it~~oh NO!!

These other things taken together, the American newspapers’ filtering any and all through the glass of fake communism and the collapse of all semblance of capacity to understand what to be well dressed means, conspire to make selling Gatsby today, this seventh time ’round a tough sled indeed.  Very Tough.

This all remains an oddity as Gatsby stands still as the quintessential American novel about the Americans.  Despite what the television might put on, and politicians might posture, and  dreary newspapers might pontificate, the Americans love money~~adore it~~ in all its glaring, ostentatious, display and even its gaudy gaucherie..

Gatsby gets panned because newspaper reviewers and the librarian class hate the Americans.

We at the coffee klatch think it an American duty patriotic to see Gatsby the VII~~if for no other reason than to annoy and vex the librarian and fake communist newspaper moving pictures reviewing squads whom we all so love to irritate.

 ~~La Fin~~

Rejoice and Glad!!



John Daniel Begg



Thursday, 16th Mai, Anno Domini Nostri Iesu Christi, 2013


~~In The Pink~~