UNITED STATES—Operation Success hardly qualified as an invasion—it was three weeks of psychological smoke and mirrors. It got underway. The supreme role in this theater was played by the State Department.  There were American calls for sanctions. Weapon sales to Guatemala were suddenly banned. At the Secretary of State Caine’s insistence, the president replaced his ambassador to Guatemala. This was exactly what the ad wiz, Bernie Lukasey had prescribed.

“That was my greatest coup,” Bernie thought privately. “It wasn’t taking on Allied as a client, it wasn’t doubling the market for American Tobacco company when Bernie’s patented scientific approach made it acceptable for women to smoke in public, it was selling the United States Government…” and that is where Bernie, in secret moments stepped into a chasm—his mind could take home no further that the brink of his miscarriage brought against the rule by the people, for the people, that he fervently believed in. God bless Mom and Dad who got me out of Vienna as a baby, and nevertheless he was a wizard of the dark publicity arts, abridging people’s rational thought processes and making a killing at it.

So you had Ambassador Renaud who became the American ambassador in Greece. He was a specialist, a man of action rather than a diplomat. Drove a Thunderbird and on occasion gaudy bowties, loud sports jackets and candy-colored slacks. He was a bird of ill omen.

People said, “When Renaud comes it means the vultures are circling around a regime.” When Senator Carney addressed the ladies club in West Virginia, and exposed his claim that the State Department was filled by reds, it titillated the Ladies and was a direct smear of Renaud. Later, when questioned by the Junior Senator from Wisconsin on the Committee of Un-American activities, Renaud spilled out some rather lurid details about there being a “queer underground” in the State Department.

Following World War II, the Department of State experienced significant growth both in functions and in personnel. Before the war there were less than 1,000 employees. After the war the number mushroomed to over 7,000, which was unusual, wasn’t it, since the country was at peace and not at war.

The US Department of Defense used to be titled more bluntly, “Department of War.”

The rebranding occurred in the late 1940s under the tutelage of Bernard Lukasey. With World War II over, the United Nations was taking steps towards what it hoped would be a lasting peace. In its Charter, the UN outlawed wars of aggression (wars which aren’t fought in defense), and as a result, top US military brass felt the American bureau needed a better name, if only for PR reasons. So, from 1947 through 1949, Congress adopted a series of laws renaming (and reorganizing) the American national military establishment to a more politically correct naming scheme. The Secretary of War was renamed the Secretary of Defense. Perhaps only one vestige of the old naming scheme remains: the US Army War College in Pennsylvania.

This rapid growth created serious pressures for more space. Offices of the Department were scattered in several buildings around Washington. At one point in the mid-1940’s parts of the Department were in 47 buildings.

Early in 1946 President Truman proposed a plan to consolidate the entire Department of State into one building. The building was a plain, sandcolored, modern (i.e. Stalinesque) structure consisting of seven stories and a basement and containing 274,000 square feet of usable space. Inscribed in modest capitals on the front, to the right of the main entrance, is the designation “Department of State” and the address “320 Twenty-first Street, N.W.”

Under intense questioning, Renaud left for the House Committee the tantalizing tidbit that there was a “queer underground” in the State Department.

Renaud cabled the Junior Senator for the names, and he had the discernment to say if the Junior Senator did not trust the State Dept. with this information, he should at least pass at on to the FBI. The junior Senator did not answer, and then he gets a Telex one night from Junior Senator Carney, You want names? Commies or pederasts???

To be continued…

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Grady
Hollywood humorist Grady grew up in the heart of Steinbeck Country on the Central California coast. More Bombeck than Steinbeck, Grady Miller has been compared to T.C. Boyle, Joel Stein, and Voltaire. He briefly attended Columbia University in New York and came to Los Angeles to study filmmaking, but discovered literature instead, in T.C. Boyle’s fiction writing workshop at USC. In addition to A Very Grady Christmas, he has written the humorous diet book, Lighten Up Now: The Grady Diet and the popular humor collection, Late Bloomer (both on Amazon) and its follow-up, Later Bloomer: Tales from Darkest Hollywood. (https://amzn.to/3bGBLB8) His humor column, Miller Time, appears weekly in The Canyon News (www.canyon-news.com)