The Bush Family Crime Syndicate

Bush Family Chronicle

 by Morgan Strong

The Bush family did not have a distinguished history before Samuel Bush ingratiated himself to the wealthy and powerful. Although they appear to have been present in this country from the early Colonial period, they had gained no distinction. There were no records of a passionate commitment to the American Revolution, nor was there a record that any member of the family served in the ranks of the Continental Army, or in the War of 1812, or the Civil War. They made no great fortunes, nor did they show merit in any endeavor. The Bush family did not prosper, but endured.

In 1934 Senator Gerald Nye, (R, N.D.) held hearings on the profiteering during the First War, by the Rockefeller’s, the Harriman’s and Samuel Bush. The phrase used to describe them collectively, and which became a public label, was the, “Merchants of Death.” Nye accused the cabal of “Deliberately starting wars from which they, and their companies would profit regardless of the consequences.” Nearly all of the records compiled by the Federal government in the investigation of the Rockefellers, Harriman’s, and of Samuel Bush were inexplicably destroyed at some point following the hearings. The destruction of these records would begin an unseemly history of the destruction of incriminating evidence of Bush family unsavory conduct going mysteriously missing.

Prescott Bush, Samuels’s son, served in the First War as an artillery officer. What is remarkable is that Samuel had profited in such a way while his son served at some risk, however small, in the Army. Samuel returned from the First World War to Columbus, Ohio. He was unable to live in that town because of the ridicule arising from the fabrication of his war record while serving in France. Prescott like millions of veterans of that war found himself unemployed.

Prescott went to the Yale class reunion of 1919 where he tried to use his friendships and connections to find a job. His fellow Bonesman Wallace Simmons offered him a position with a company he owned, the St. Louis Railroad Co. He moved to St. Louis to begin work at St. Louis railroad equipment.

In 1919 Prescott Bush met George Herbert Walker’s daughter, Dorothy. They were married two year’s later. This marriage literally saved Prescott Bush from a life of mid-level mediocrity.

George Herbert Walker, Prescott’s father in law, founded the W. H. Harriman & Company private bank in 1919. Averill Harriman was Chairman, his brother Roland “Bunny” Harriman was a partner as well as Percy Rockefeller, Samuel Bush’s mentor. It was Walker’s father who built the family residence at Kennebunkport, Maine.

Prescott was at best mediocre; he had none of the brilliance of his father Samuel, nor was he particularly ambitions. He was however a near perfect scoundrel. He would have stagnated in his job in St. Louis, somewhere in middle management, for the rest of his life were it not for his friend Yale classmate, and bonesman, “Bunny” Harriman. Bunny showed up in St. Louis and offered Prescott a job with the Harriman-controlled U.S. Rubber Co. whose corporate offices were in New York City.

George Herbert Walker Bush was born in St. Louis in 1924, and was one year old when the family moved to Greenwich, Connecticut for Prescott’s new job. Only a year after beginning his job at the U.S. Rubber Co., Prescott was made a vice president of the bank started by his father in law George H. Walker. It was not long before Prescott Bush made his way to the bank, the W.H. Harriman & Co., founded by his father in law and the Harrimans. In May of 1926 Prescott Bush became a Vice President of the Bank, serving under his Father in Law Bert Walker.

Averell Harriman had begun the Hamburg-Amerika line using German steamships confiscated by the American Government during, and following the First World War. Harriman & Co. were given the ships through an arrangement with the U.S. Government. The particulars of that arrangement have never been made public. It was to be the beginning of the Harriman’s, Walker, and Bush’s dealings with the German government, and finally with Adolph Hitler and his Nazi party. The Hamburg-Amerika line resumed shipping between the United States and Germany in 1919.

The Harriman bank then created a subsidiary corporation, the Union Banking Corporation; the UBC was to become a financial conduit, circumventing German banking authorities of the Weimer Republic, for the Nazi party through the accounts of German millionaire industrialist Fritz Thyssen held by UBC bank. Prescott Bush was that Banks C.E.O. In 1941 the UBC held 36 Million dollars in Nazi party money.

In May of 1933 following Hitler’s seizing absolute control of the German government, an agreement was reached in Berlin for the coordination of all Nazi commerce with the United States. Harriman International led by Averill Harriman’s cousin Oliver was to lead a syndicate of 150 firms and individuals, to conduct all exports and imports with the United States. The agreement had been negotiated between Hitler’s Economics Minister, Hjalmar Schacht and John Foster Dulles. Dulles represented dozens of firms doing business with Hitler. Dulles was the principal attorney for Harriman holdings.

Doing business with Hitler was not illegal in the 1930’s, when the Harriman’s began making deals. By the late 1930’s, Brown Brothers Harriman, and U.B.C. had bought and shipped millions of dollars of gold, fuel, steel, coal, and US treasury bonds to Germany making Hitler’s rise to power possible.

Doing business with Hitler was still legal through the 1930’s. Following Hitler’s invasion of Poland in 1939, all that had changed. The Bank’s assets were finally seized in November of 1942 under the trading with the enemies act. Papers at the National Archives contained in vesting order 248, records the seizing of the properties owned by UBC and listed Prescott Bush as director. Following an investigation of the bank’s books, the government seized three additional companies, The Holland-American Trading Co., the Seamless Steel Corporation, and Silesian-American Company.

The assets of the bank were returned immediately following the war. Prescott Bush, who held one share, received 19 Million dollars in today’s currency as compensation for the seizure of his one share. The Harriman’s received 4 billion dollars in compensation. The bank lived on until 1951 until it was formally dissolved.

According to documents at the Library of Congress and the National Archives, Prescott Bush was the director and shareholder of a number of companies controlled by Fritz Thyssen among them Consolidated Silesian Steel Company. The Harriman bank controlled a one third interest in that company. The other two thirds were owned by Fredrich Flick, a high-ranking Nazi, and the Military Economy Leader of the Third Reich.

Following the war Flick was tried and convicted of war crimes at Nuremberg. He was sentenced to seven years hard labor for employing slave labor from Auschwitz at Silesian Steel. Walker, Harriman, and Prescott Bush were listed as the directors of the company, but they were never charged in the Silesian Steel case. Nor were they ever charged with crimes under the Trading with the Enemy Act, although they were clearly culpable and deserved to be indicted.

The Senate had also investigated Remington after it formed a business partnership with the German firm I.G. Farben. The directors of I.G. Farben was later tried and convicted for war crimes at Nuremburg. The Senate concluded that Hitler’s private army of Brown and Black Shirts, numbering nearly 400 thousand, were armed with American weapons trans-shipped through Holland by the Harriman owned Hamburg-Amerika line. The Senate found the majority of weapons shipped were Remington-Thompson sub machine guns and Remington pistols.

Defining ownership and complicity in the illegal operations of these companies by Prescott Bush and the Harriman’s is burdensome. There are any number of twisted paper trails to defy clear understanding of just who owned what, and just who knew what. Needless to say Prescott Bush and the Harriman’s can not have been wholly innocent dupes of Adolph Hitler. They were in the business of supporting Hitler because they saw the re-emergence of Germany as an industrial power to be to their advantage. That was their motivation and establishes their complicity even if argued tangentially.

Marine Major General Smedley Butler claimed before a House committee, the McCormack-Dickestin Committee, later to be known as, the House Committee on Un-American Activities, that a group of wealthy business men had tried to recruit him to lead a plot to stage a coup against President Franklin Roosevelt and install a Fascist government. Butler testified that the group included several men who headed major American corporations, H.J. Heinz, Joseph Colgate, Clarence Birdseye, J.P. Morgan, the DuPont family and Prescott Bush who represented the Harriman’s. A British Broadcasting Company documentary, aired in July of 2007, claims that Prescott Bush was the leader of the coup attempt and had contacted Butler. Butler said before the committee that the conspirators were intent on using disgruntled veterans of W.W. 1, thousands of whom had marched on Washington demanding a post-war bonus for their service in 1932. Butler had encouraged the veterans in pressing their demands with the government, and was wildly popular among them. General Douglas MacCarthur then Army Chief of staff claimed that the veterans were Communist’s intent on overthrowing the Hoover Government.

Butler was to form a military force to take control of the government drawing upon the disaffected veteran community. Butler was then to install a fascist style regime to prevent the possibility of Franklin Roosevelt, along with his liberal New Deal policies, from assuming the Presidency in 1933. Butler’s testimony was suppressed, and no great alarm seemed to ensue. Transcripts of the hearing and Butler’s testimony are largely unavailable. The B.B.C. however broadcast some of Butler’s testimony during the show.

Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s cousin had called Averell Harriman’s banker father W. Averell Harriman, “cynical, and deeply corrupted, and an undesirable citizen.” Teddy Roosevelt tried unsuccessfully to thwart Harriman in his un-ethical business practices, but was unsuccessful. The plotters of the coup against Roosevelt were at the very least admirers of Hitler and Fascism.

In the early 1930’s Prescott Bush was already doing business with Hitler and his financier Fritz Thyssen through the Harriman brothers bank the U.B.C. That much is clearly known from a variety of records at the National Archives, the Library of Congress, and the Nuremburg trials. Prescott Bush and the leading industrialists of the time viewed Hitler’s National Socialist Party platform as a cure for the chaos and economic depression that had occurred in Germany under the Weimer Republic. Their investments in support of Hitler demonstrate at the very least their support of his policies. Roosevelt’s New Deal policies were decidedly liberal in comparison, and proved a threat to the laissez faire business practices of the day.

Hitler’s Fascist policies made sense to these men and it is not at all out of the question that they would have supported a military coup, as long as they could control the outcome.

March 10, 2008

Morgan Strong [send him mail], a former professor of Middle Eastern History at S.U.N.Y. Poughkeepsie, is a consultant to 60Minutes on the Middle East. He has written for Playboy, USA Today, Vanity Fair, and many other publications.

 Copyright © 2008

    Leave a Reply

    Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

    You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

    Google+ photo

    You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

    Twitter picture

    You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

    Facebook photo

    You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


    Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: