The Birth Of The CIA

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So there they all were—former subalterns risen to high responsibility, hearing once more from the Old Man and hating it mightily. The things he was talking about were already afoot, through the responsible government of Thailand. Each of those present had at least some small piece of the action and each dreaded the thought that the complicated work might be further complicated by having to deal with Wild Bill Donovan as a kind of third force.

When Donovan finished, there was polite applause. Hands were shaken all round and Dulles took the visitor off for a private chat. Years later, one of those who was present thought to inquire about the outcome. “What did you ever do,” he asked Dulles, “about Bill Donovan’s last request?”

Dulles smiled reflectively. “I arranged for him to have a very capable assistant,” he answered, “so that I knew exactly what he was doing—and then I gave him some of what he wanted.”

“You know,” he added, and his eyes took on that familiar “this-is-in-confidence” look, “it wouldn’t have been right for us to turn Bill down altogether.”