Acting as the Leader of the Senate Delegation.
John A. McCone was a California industrialist and politician who served as Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission under Eisenhower. After the Bay of Pigs disaster, President Kennedy sacked Allen Dulles as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and named McCone in his place. McCone was a key player in Kennedy’s strong...
John A. McCone was a California industrialist and politician who served as Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission under Eisenhower. After the Bay of Pigs disaster, President Kennedy sacked Allen Dulles as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and named McCone in his place. McCone was a key player in Kennedy’s strong stand against the Soviet Union in the Cuban Missile Crisis. Under his leadership, the agency became involved in a civil war in the Congo, provided the opponents of Chile’s Salvador Allende with $20 million, and clashed with Kennedy over the latter’s desire to try and withdraw from Vietnam. McCone resigned in 1965, believing himself to be unappreciated by President Johnson. He submitted a final policy memorandum to Johnson maintaining, correctly, that Johnson’s expansion of the war in Vietnam would arouse national and world discontent over the war before it brought down the North Vietnamese regime. After leaving public service, McCone became a director of ITT, Pacific Mutual Life Insurance, United California Bank, and Standard Oil of California. He was also involved with the Republican Party, and as such would have a role to play at his party’s national convention.
Typed Letter Signed on California Delegation to the 1972 Republican National Convention letterhead, Sacramento, January 22, 1972, to McCone, in which acting as the leader of the state delegation, Reagan invites him to serve as an honorary delegate to the convention. “As you know, President Nixon has asked me to organize and lead California’s delegation to the Republican Convention this summer – a delegation pledged to his renomination and reelection. That is not a simple job. The Republican Party in California, a large and diverse minority, must again remain united. A half a million new voters must be convinced of the merits of our case. To achieve these ends…I have decided to ask a select group of individuals to serve as Honorary Delegates to the convention. The Honorary Delegation…will consist of those individuals who have served the party with distinction through the years.”_Reagan then lists thirteen notables who have agreed to serve in that capacity, including Sen. George Murphy, John Wayne and Leonard Firestone. He then continues, “More important in terms of winning this election, however, your acceptance of a position as Honorary Delegate will make it possible for us to include, in a junior position, a whole new crop of deserving men and women who will constitute the front line for our defense of the Presidency. We will need the whole team, and I know we can count on your support of the delegation’s activities as well as the campaign itself…”
It is interesting to see how wisely Reagan managed to find a place of honor for the party’s elder statesmen while at the same time rewarding a younger generation of leaders just coming to the fore.
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