John Birch Society

The John Birch Society was established by Robert Welch in 1958. The organization was named after Captain John Birch, a member of the China Air Task Force murdered by Chinese communists on 25th August, 1945.

Welch made it clear he wanted a "secret, monolithic organization" that would "operate under completely authoritative control at all levels". Welch explained that "democracy is merely a deceptive phrase, a weapon of demagoguery, and a perennial fraud".

In 1958 Welch became editor and publisher of the monthly magazine American Opinion. Contributors to this right-wing journal included Martin Dies and Westbrook Pegler.

Robert Welch believed that Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, and Dwight Eisenhower, were part of a communist conspiracy. Welch sent out a letter claiming that President Eisenhower was a "conscious, dedicated agent of the Communist Conspiracy". In 1956 Welch wrote that other top government officials such as John Foster Dulles and Allan W. Dulles were "communist tools".

The John Birch Society was also opposed to the Civil Rights movement. Welch was one of the first to attack the government of Fidel Castro. In the February 1959 issue of American Opinion, Welch wrote "the fact that Castro was, and all of his adult life had been, a vicious, lying, brutal, murdering Communist."

The John Birch Society called on its members to urge Congress to stop foreign aid. It also campaigned against attempts by those organizations trying to abolish the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HCUA). The JBS was also totally opposed to the United Nations, an organization it claimed was involved in "an insidious scheme to establish a tyrannical world government".

By 1961 Robert Welch claimed that the John Birch Society had nearly 100,000 members. The JBS was very popular in Dallas, Miami, Palm Beach, Los Angeles and Houston. One member was Dan Smoot, the author of The Invisible Government. In the book he wrote: "'Somewhere at the top of the pyramid in the invisible government are a few sinister people who know exactly what they are doing: They want America to become part of a worldwide socialist dictatorship, under the control of the Kremlin".

Another important supporter of the JBS was William F. Buckley. The two men worked closely in an attempt to persuade the Republican Party to adopt Barry Goldwater as its presidential candidate. In September, 1960, Buckley, Douglas Caddy and Marvin Liebman established the far right group, Young Americans for Freedom (YAF). The first meeting was held at Buckley's home in Sharon, Connecticut. Caddy became YAF's first president. Its first national council included eleven members of the John Birch Society. The main mission of the YAF was to “prepare young people for the struggle ahead with Liberalism, Socialism and Communism”.

In 1961 Robert Welch published The Politician (better known as the Black Book). In the book Welch accused Franklin D. Roosevelt of deliberately encouraging Japan to bomb Pearl Harbor. He described George Marshall as being "a conscious, deliberate, and dedicated agent of the Soviet conspiracy." Harry S. Truman had been used, "with his knowledge and acquiescence" by the communists who "controlled his administration". His most dramatic charge concerned Dwight Eisenhower who was said to have been "knowingly receiving and abiding by Communist orders, and consciously serving the Communist conspiracy, for all his adult life."

In April 1961 Major General Edwin Walker, commander of the 24th Infantry Division in Europe and stationed in Augsburg, Germany was accused of indoctrinating his troops with right-wing literature from the John Birch Society. With the agreement of President John F. Kennedy, Defense Secretary Robert McNarmara relieved Walker of his command an announced an investigation into the affair. Kennedy was accused of trying to suppress the anti-Communist feelings of the military. Walker resigned from the army in protest about the way he had been treated. In September 1961 Walker organized the protests against the enrollment of James Meredith at the University of Mississippi. Attorney General Robert Kennedy responded by issuing a warrant for Walker's arrest on the charges of seditious conspiracy, insurrection, and rebellion.

Walker now became a leading figure in the fight against what he considered to be the liberal establishment. Based in Dallas, he gave many speeches around the country denouncing communism and liberalism. In February 1962 Walker stood for governor of Texas. Although he gained the support of Barry Goldwater, Walker finished last and John Connally went on to be governor.

On 10th April, 1963, Edwin Walker was victim of an assassination attempt while he sat at a desk in his Dallas home. It was later claimed that Lee Harvey Oswald had taken the shot at Walker. Marina Oswald reported that she "asked him what happened, and he said that he just tried to shoot General Walker. I asked him who General Walker was. I mean how dare you to go and claim somebody's life, and he said "Well, what would you say if somebody got rid of Hitler at the right time? So if you don't know about General Walker, how can you speak up on his behalf?." Because he told me... he was something equal to what he called him a fascist."

Robert Welch continued to work with William F. Buckley to help Barry Goldwater become the Republican Party candidate in the forthcoming presidential election. However, both Buckley and Goldwater grew increasingly concerned about the public image of Welch and the John Birch Society. Buckley was especially concerned about Welch's claims that the much loved Dwight Eisenhower was an agent of the American Communist Party.

Welch claimed that the Republican Party had been infiltrated by secret supporters of a communist conspiracy. One member of the JBS, Phyllis Schlafly, published a book, A Choice, Not an Echo, where she claimed that the party was being controlled by elitist intellectuals dominated by members of the Bilderberger group, whose policies were "designed to usher in global communist conquest". "A Choice, Not an Echo" became one of Goldwater's campaign slogans.

The JBS also suggested that John F. Kennedy and other leading members of the Democratic Party were part of this communist conspiracy. After the assassination of Kennedy the JBS turned its attention towards the new president, Lyndon B. Johnson. In 1964, another member of the JBS, J. Evetts Haley, published A Texan Looks at Lyndon. In the book Haley attempted to expose Johnson's corrupt political activities. This included a detailed look at the relationship between Johnson and Billy Sol Estes. Haley pointed out that three men who could have provided evidence in court against Estes, George Krutilek, Harold Orr and Howard Pratt, all died of carbon monoxide poisoning from car engines.

Haley also suggested that Johnson might have been responsible for the death of John F. Kennedy: "Johnson wanted power and with all his knowledge of political strategy and his proven control of Congress, he could see wider horizons of power as Vice-President than as Senate Majority Leader. In effect, by presiding over the Senate, he could now conceive himself as virtually filling both high and important positions - and he was not far from wrong. Finally, as Victor Lasky pointed out, Johnson had nursed a lifetime dream to be President. As Majority leader he never could have made it. But as Vice-president fate could always intervene."

It was estimated in 1964 that the John Birch Society was spending $10 million a year on 7,000 weekly television and radio broadcasts. The editor of the Idaho Statesman wrote: "When day after day they hear distortions of fact and sinister charges against persons or groups, often emanating from organizations with conspicuously respectable sounding names, it is no wonder that the result is: Confusion on some important public issues; stimulation of latent prejudices; creation of suspicion, fear and mistrust in relation not only to their representatives in government, but even in relation to their neighbors.”

The JBS continued to grow and by 1964 it had an income of $3,000,000 and employed a staff of 200. Around 100 people were employed at the JBS headquarters in Belmont, a suburb of Boston. In a survey carried out in 1964, the JBS was supported by 11 per cent of Americans. Despite this, Welch believed that the communist conspiracy continued to flourish. In 1970 he wrote in American Opinion that "America is becoming increasingly socialist. It is obvious that socialist government increasingly controls us from the cradle to the crematorium."

In 1975 Harry J. Dean claimed he had been an undercover agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation who in 1962 infiltrated the John Birch Society. He later reported that John Rousselot and General Edwin Walker had hired two gunman, Eladio del Valle and Loran Hall, to kill President John F. Kennedy.

Welch regularly published a "Scoreboard" showing the degree to which various countries are supposed to be under communist control. When he started the JBS he claimed that the USA was 20-40 per cent communist-controlled. By 1978 he claimed it had reached 60-80 per cent.

Robert Welch died on 6th January, 1965 and Lawrence P. McDonald replaced him as chairman of the John Birch Society. McDonald, who represented the seventh congressional district of Georgia, was killed when the Korean Air Flight KAL-007 was shot down by Soviet fighters on 1st September, 1983. He therefore became the first congressman killed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

The John Birch Society has some supporters in Congress. Ron Paul of Texas recently argued:"The beneficial, educational impact of the John Birch Society over the past four decades would be hard to overestimate. It is certainly far more than most people realize. Anyone who has been in the trenches over the years battling on any of the major issues - whether it’s pro-life, gun rights, property rights, taxes, government spending, regulation, national security, privacy, national sovereignty, the United Nations, foreign aid - knows that members of the John Birch Society are always in there doing the heavy lifting. And most importantly, they approach all of these issues from a strong moral and constitutional perspective. Lots of people pay lip service to the Constitution, but Birchers study it, understand it, apply it, and are serious about protecting it and holding public officials accountable to it."

Other members of the John Birch Society include John Rousselot (1927-2003), Haroldson L. Hunt (1899-1974), Clint Murchison (1923-1987), Edgar Willard Hiestand (1888-1970), John George Schmitz (1930-2001) and Lawrence P. McDonald (1935-1983).

Primary Sources

(1) Robert Welch, May God Forgive Us (1952)

The real trouble is a callousness throughout the whole mood and the collective conscience of the American people. How can we expect either a Roosevelt or Truman to have been disturbed by the barbarous Katyn Massacre, or to have reduced for that reason their pampering appeasement and generosity to its perpetrators? The news of a similar mass murder, of eight thousand of our own sons and brothers, as prisoners of war behind the Korean lines, caused only a temporary ripple of indignation across the national consciousness; and we go serenely on negotiating with, and making new concessions to, the cold-blooded murderers.

What is the matter with us, anyway? Neither facts nor pictures seem to sink into our centers of feeling any more .... The physical suffering, the mental anguish, the never-ceasing terror of our fellow human beings, represented by these words and pictures, no longer reach through the glaze to activate our imaginations or to excite our sympathies ....

As we sit in our warm homes, after a happy meal with our families, and turn on our television sets or radios, it is hard for us to think of a man just like ourselves always half-starved, always half-frozen, haggard and hopeless, remembering the days when he too was free, as he is brutally driven to finish up the literal exhaustion of his body in labor for the benefit of the very tyrant who has enslaved him. It is harder still to remember that there are millions of such men; or that in the past six years six hundred millions of our fellow human beings have been placed under the merciless heel of this monster and the bestial control of his henchmen and police.

For the pusillanimous part that we played in all this spreading horror; for our indifference to the grief of others; for our apathy to the crimes we saw and our blindness to those we should have seen; for our gullibility in the acceptance of veneered treason and our easy forgetfulness even when the veneer rubbed off; for all our witting and unwitting help to the vicious savages of the Kremlin and to their fellow ordinate savages everywhere, may God - and our fellow men -some day forgive us!

(2) Robert Welch, My Concept of Freedom (1964)

I want for our country enough laws to restrain me from injuring others, so that these laws will also restrain others from injuring me. I want enough government, with enough constitutional safeguards, so that this necessary minimum of laws will be applied equitably to everybody, and will be binding on the rulers as well as those ruled. Beyond that I want neither laws nor government to be imposed on our people as a means or with the excuse of protecting us from catching cold, or of seeing that we raise the right kind of crops, or of forcing us to live in the right kind of houses or neighborhoods, or of compelling us to save money or to spend it, or of telling us when or whether we can pray. I do not want government or laws designed for any other form of welfarism or paternalism, based on the premise that government knows best and can run our lives better than we can run them ourselves. And my concept of freedom, and of its overwhelming importance, is implicit in these aspirations and ideals.

(3) CIA Report released as a result of the Assassination Records Review Board (1st December, 1966)

A source who has furnished reliable information in the past and who was in Russia on the date of the assassination of the late President John F. Kennedy advised on December 4, 1963, that the news of the assassination of President Kennedy was flashed to the Soviet people almost immediately after its occurrence. It was greeted by great shock and consternation and church bells were tolled in the memory of President Kennedy.

According to our source, officials of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union believed there was some well-organized conspiracy on the part of the "ultraright" in the United States to effect a "coup." They seemed convinced that the assassination was not the deed of one man, but that it rose out of a carefully planned campaign in which several people played a part. They felt those elements interested in utilizing the assassination and playing on anticommunist sentiments in the United States would then utilize this act to stop negotiations with the Soviet Union, attack Cuba and thereafter spread the war. As a result of these feelings, the Soviet Union immediately went into a state of national alert.

Our source further stated that Soviet officials were fearful that without leadership, some irresponsible general in the United States might launch a missile at the Soviet Union. It was the further opinion of the Soviet officials that only maniacs would think that the "left" forces in the United States, as represented by the Communist Party, USA, would assassinate President Kennedy, especially in view of the abuse the Communist Party, USA, has taken from the "ultraleft" as a result of its support of peaceful coexistence and disarmament policies of the Kennedy administration.

(4) Harry J. Dean, Memoirs, Education Forum (1st July, 2005)

In 1962 I became a sincere member the new conservative movement as did a great number of other Republicans. The John Birch Society (JBS) was an invention and political extention of the Church (Latter-Day Saints, Mormon}. The JBS infrastructure was an exact miniture of the Church designed to serve as it's political arm in reaching where the Church was forbidden to go by U.S. laws of Church-State separation.

An extremely costly seizure of the Republican Party was the urgent and powerful first step taken by LDS-JBS for entrance into the legitimate political scene (a relentless goal of the Church hierarchy since it's 1830 founding). Their revival and use of the name 'conservatism' was merely as a title, a semantic weapon, to display opposition to the liberalism that dominated both Democrat and Republican parties, choking and limiting both political conservativism and Church ambitions. The more important purpose in exploiting this title was to draw-in the sincere, influencial and idealogical conservatives to serve our cause in many ways.

We were also instructed to infiltrate the Democratic Party apparatus at every level. The Democratic was taken over from the bottom and the top and it's liberalism was forever neutralized!

Kennedy continued setting up a liberal 'one world' system in following the United Nations plan soon after his election, as had Eisenhower and all of their predecessors after it's founding in 1945. All of these efforts gave little consideration to including the conservative ideology that, in the 1960s was only a mere political splinter.

The first 'fiver year plan' to usurp the power of government at any human or economic cost was the fast closing consideration of the upper-echelon LDS conspiracy through the use of their JBS action arm. A last minute loss of faith in their own costly and radical efforts against the so-called liberal/communist enemy, and an ever increasing fear that Kennedy ' just might ' be re-elected in 1964 created an urgency for the ' final solution '.

This long {five year} twilight struggle against the elected government of the United States was for world power. that power lay within an almost impotent United Nations Organization. Control and direction of that body would be realized by the subversives upon first neutralizing, then seizing the government by shock force, JFKs assassination.

Ezra Taft Benson, president of the LDS Church, was in the forefront of attacks on former President Eisenhower that branded 'Ike' a conscious agent of communism, along with all others of the so-called conservative movement, and readily led the way in calling President Kennedy and U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren ' comsymps ', communist sympathizers!

Through it's revolutionary JBS front, the LDS Church dumped millions of it's yearly billions into subverting operations and brilliantly devised, twisted and firey propaganda causing a national foreboding and fear that the U.S. government might actually be under communist influence and direction.

These, and their supporters, who wield this stolen power, expect to continue for hundreds of years in control of the present system now so wrongly titled Republican and conservative (and in the future by any other name).

Their guilty leadership, by stealth, with blood stained hands, reached out and picked the overripe fruit of all constitutional government power and control. Wherein all other whites, colors and nations are now and forever 'second place subordinates ' in all present and future schemes. These are to serve the arrogant LDS/JBS [plan for a world wide, totally materialistic, Church-State for the eternal comfort of this caucasic beast and it's political image!

(5) Harry J. Dean, Memoirs, Education Forum (9th July, 2005)

Gabaldon's organization was called DAC, Drive Against Communism. When DAC came under the JBS, The John Birch Society banner the title was change to DACA, Drive Against Communist Aggression.

In late August, 1963, Gabaldon and I kept an appointment with former U.S. Congressman John H. Rousselot, then Western Director of the John Birch Society at his San Marino, California office. Gabaldon picked up ten thousand dollars as pre-arranged, from Rousselot. The money was for the 'Mexico Operation'..

In September, 1963 Oswald accompanied Hall and Howard to Gabaldon's Mexico City area office. Oswald then received instructions and funds from the impressive, but phony CIA 'officer' Gabaldon. The fate of both Oswald and Kennedy were there forever sealed! The trio later returned to the U.S. Hall and Howard eventually to California, and Oswald to Texas where two weeks later, October 1963 he began working at the book depository building in Dallas.

The poor slob was awaiting further instructions from another fake CIA contact that, among other details, requested him to deliver weapons, suppossedly to be picked up at his workplace along with other weapons to be donated and used by anti-Castro raiders.

The names Alonzo (Howard) and Lorenzo (Hall) were used by then as war names, and described in translation by Sylvia Odio as (Angelo) and (Leopoldo) Gabaldon returned again from Mexico in September 1963, he and I readied a huge mass of medical drugs and supplies gathered from several LDS doctors throughout Southern California.

Some were slated for Gabaldon's JBS front DACA in Mexico. The majority of these were destined to accompany Hall and Howard's car and trailer load of weapons and ammunition to No Name Key, Florida... to aid an anti-Castro raider group under command of Hall. This effort was organized by (LDS) W. Cleon Skousen and (JBS) John Rousselot, and chaired by anti-Castro Cubans........

The defeated raiders split up (after being arrested,and released) Hall and Howard, at Gabaldon's direction, to New Orleans, Louisiana picked up Oswald and continued on to Dallas, Texas where they made several stops to raise desperately needed funds. The three then crossed the border and drove to Mexico City..........

Kennedy's Dallas trip was a non-secret. It was known and leaked by mole agents (LDS) in-place that lurked for more than 60 years in every agency, service and bureau of U.S. government. The burrowing moles informed (RID) Reaserch Intelligence Department of the John Birch Society on a continuing basis concerning the movements and personal activities of the president.

Every separate,subversive effort of months was aimed at that fateful day. A previously framed fall guy (Oswald) with recently arranged (by my associates) pro-Communist connections to the Russian and Cuban embassies, would be assumed guilty... Oswald's alleged guilt destroyed the powerful and subversive Fair Play For Cuba Committee and, with it, Castro's influence in the American hemisphere.

(6) Michael Parks, First Reports, Between The Lines (1977)

In an exclusive interview granted to Valley Publications, former undercover operative for the FBI, Harry Dean, has stated that the John Birch Society had a heavily armed network of citizen soldiers ready to take to the streets in late 1963 and early 1964, if President Johnson and Chief Justice Warren did not quickly find Lee Harvey Oswald (a supposed communist sympathizer) guilty of the murder of President Kennedy. The threat was delivered to Johnson and Warren, within a few days after the assassination, by intelligence sources and by agents of the power structure that eliminated the President. LBJ had the choice - nation-wide internal strife or knuckling under to the threat and thereby giving this minority force a position of recognition. Johnson opted for the second choice.

Dean, an undercover operative for the FBI from 1960 to 1965, had been assigned by the FBI to infiltrate the Birch Society. In that role, he was active in the Covina, (Calif.) chapter of the JBS from 1962 through 1964. During Dean's tour with the Society he states they planned three major activities against John Kennedy: a planned assassination in Mexico City in 1962 that was called off: the assassination in Dallas; and the threat against a thorough investigation. In each case, according to Harry Dean, Congressman John Rousselot (R-San Marino) was involved in the planning. Rousselot was Western Director of the John Birch Society during the first half of the '60s.

During the years when Harry Dean had been acting as an active member of the Covina Birch Society, the main meeting place for all the anti-Kennedy activities was at a residence on San Pierre Street in El Monte. The Birchers were connected with anti-Castro Cubans, often mentioned as assassination suspects, through the Drive Against Communist Aggression (DACA). The DACA was an anti-Communist organization directed by members of the JBS, which had attracted certain Cubans who were in the Los Angeles area during 1962-63, trying to enlist support for another invasion of Castro controlled Cuba. The DACA operated in Mexico as well as the U.S.. According to Dean, World War II hero Guy (Gabby) Gabaldon was the Mexican Director, while Ray Flieshman of Whittier was the U.S. Director. Another active member of DACA and the Covina JBS, who had a close relationship with Gabaldon, was Dave Robbins, who at the time (1962-63), was a high ranking employee of the Fluor Corporation. (J. Robert Fluor and John Rousselot had been known to be close political allies.) In a number of different circumstances, Dean was able to determine that Gabaldon, Robbins, Flieshman, and Rousselot had been involved in planning the aborted assassination of JFK in Mexico City, June 1962.

(7) John Birch Society (2004)

We believe the American system of government, a Constitutional Republic, is the finest yet developed by man.

We believe the traditional moral values of our Judeo-Christian heritage form the cornerstone of Western Civilization, and that the family is the basic and most vital unit of society.

We believe the free market system, competitive capitalism, and private enterprise afford the widest opportunity and highest standard of living for all.

We believe in the dignity of the individual. The Society welcomes and enjoys the participation in its ranks of individuals from every walk of life and from all ethnic, racial, and religious backgrounds. Judging others only by character and ability - as we wish to be judged ourselves - our common bond is a love for liberty and our rejection of totalitarianism under any label.

We believe that the rights of the individual are endowed by his Creator, not by governments; that the proper function of government should be limited to the protection of the rights to life, liberty, and property; and that individual rights are inseparably linked to individual responsibility.

We believe in patriotism based on principle, not on pragmatism, personality, or partisan politics.