in Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution, we find many of
the leading characters (including FDR) and firms, even a few of the events,
described in this book located at a single address, the Equitable Office
Building at 120 Broadway, New York City.
THE BOLSHEVIK REVOLUTION AND 120 BROADWAY
In Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution, we noted that revolution related financiers were concentrated at a single address in New York City, the same Equitable Office Building. In 1917 the headquarters of the No. 2 District of the Federal Reserve System, the most important of the Federal Reserve districts, was located at 120 Broadway; of nine directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, four were physically located at 120 Broadway, and two of these directors were simultaneously on the board of American International Corporation. The American International Corporation had been founded in 1915 by the Morgan interests with enthusiastic participation by the Rockefeller and Stillman groups. The general offices of A.I.C. were at 120 Broadway. Its directors were heavily interlocked with other major Wall Street financial and industrial interests, and it was determined that American International Corporation had a significant role in the success and consolidation of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution. A.I.C. executive secretary William Franklin Sands, asked for his opinion of the Bolshevik Revolution by the State Department within a few weeks of the outbreak in November 1917 (long before even a fraction of Russia came under Soviet control), expressed strong support for the revolution. Sands' letter is reprinted in Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution. A memorandum to David Lloyd George, Prime Minister of England, from Morgan associate Dwight Morrow also urged support for the Bolshevik revolutionaries and backing for its armies. A director of the FRB of New York, William Boyce Thompson, donated $1 million to the Bolshevik cause and intervened with Lloyd George on behalf of the emerging Soviets.
In brief, we found an identifiable pattern of pro-Bolshevik activity by influential members of Wall Street concentrated in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the American International Corporation, both at 120 Broadway. By 1933 the bank had moved to Liberty Street.
THE FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF NEW YORK AND 120 BROADWAY
The names of individual FRB directors changed between 1917 and the 1930s, but it was determined that, although the FRB had moved, four FRB directors still had offices at this address in the New Deal period, as shown in the following table:
Directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in the New Deal Period
Map of Wall Street Area Showing Office Locations for persons and firms mentioned in this book.
AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL CORPORATION AND 120 BROADWAY
American International Corporation (AIC) was formed in 1915 by a coalition
of Morgan, Stillman and Rockefeller interests; its general offices were
at 120 Broadway from 1915 through the 1920s. The great excitement in Wall
Street about formation of AIC brought about a concentration of the most
powerful financial elements on its board of directors—in effect
a monopoly organization for overseas development and exploitation.1
Mathew C. Brush, president, director, and chairman of the executive committee of American International Corporation and president of Allied Machinery, a subsidiary company, was also director and member of the executive committee of International Acceptance Bank (see Chapter 6), director and member of the executive committee of Barnsdall Corporation,2 director of Empire Trust Company (120 Broadway) and Equitable Office Corporation (which owned and operated the building at 120 Broadway), director of Georgian Manganese Company,3 and director and member of the Executive Committee of the Remington Arms Co., identified by General Butler in the last chapter. Matthew C. Brush was indeed in the vanguard of Wall Street.
Brush's political contributions, unlike those of other AIC directors, were apparently limited to $5000 to the campaign of Herbert Hoover in 1928. Brush was director of International Acceptance Bank, which profited from the inflation of the 1920s, as well as a director of Remington Arms (a suppressed name in the Butler Affair) while serving as president of American International, but appears to have been on the fringes of the occurrences explored in this book. On the other hand, four directors of American International have been identified as substantial financial supporters of Franklin D. Roosevelt: Frank Altschul, Pierre S. Du Pont, Arthur Lehman, and John J. Raskob between 1928 and 1932. The Lehman family and John J. Raskob were, as we have seen, at the very heart of Roosevelt's support. It is significant that AIC, the key vehicle for American participation in the Bolshevik Revolution, should also be unearthed, even in an incidental form, in a study of the Roosevelt era.
THE BUTLER AFFAIR AND 120 BROADWAY
to the House Un-American Activities Committee on the attempt to convert
the Roosevelt administration into a dictatorship with Major General Butler
in a key role as Secretary of General Affairs had several links to 120
Broadway. There were at least half a dozen persons whom the committee
should have subpoenaed to investigate the statements made under oath by
General Butler, Captain Glazier, and Paul French; of these, four were
located in, or had a significant connection with, 120 Broadway.
The Du Pont Company, cited in the suppressed portion of the testimony, was located at 120 Broadway. Hugh S. Johnson, named by General Butler as a probable participant, had been located at 120 Broadway when working as research assistant to Baruch; Baruch's office was at the same address.5 Clark, MacGuire, and Grayson M-P. Murphy had offices just down the street from No. 120; Clark at 11 Wall Street and MacGuire and Murphy at 52 Broadway.
It is also significant that names suppressed by the committee were located at 120 Broadway: the Du Pont Company executive office and Du Pont subsidiary Remington Arms. The other named participants, MacGuire, Clark, Christmas, Martindell, Grayson M-P. Murphy (at Rockefeller headquarters, 25 Broadway) were all located within a few blocks of 120 Broadway and within the previously described golden circle.
FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT AND 120 BROADWAY
We have noted that FDR's preferred office—he had two in the early 1920s—was the one at 120 Broadway. FDR's Georgia Warm Springs Foundation, Inc. was formed as a Delaware company in July 1926 with offices at 120 Broadway and remained at that address at least through 1936. The 1934 annual report for Georgia Warm Springs Foundation shows that its president was listed as Franklin D. Roosevelt, The White House, Washington D.C., with the head office of the foundation shown at 120 Broadway. The vice president and assistant secretary was Raymond H. Taylor, with secretary-treasurer Basil O'Connor, both shown at the 120 Broadway address.
Basil O'Connor was a close associate and business partner of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Born in 1892, O'Connor received his law degree from Harvard in 1915 and then joined the New York law firm of Cravath and Henderson for one year, leaving to work with Streeter & Holmes in Boston for three years. In 1919 Basil O'Connor established a law practice in New York under his own name. In 1925 the firm of Roosevelt and O'Connor was created, lasting until FDR's inauguration in 1933. After 1934, O'Connor was senior partner in O'Connor & Farber and in 1944 succeeded Norman H. Davis as chairman of the American Red Cross.
O'Connor was a director of several companies: in the 1920s, of New England Fuel Oil Corp., in the 1940s of the American Reserve Insurance Co. and the West Indies Sugar Corp. From 1928 until his death he was responsible for administration of the Georgia Warm Springs Foundation.
The Roosevelt New Deal was a gold mine to some of FDR's associates, including Basil O'Connor. Globe & Rutgers was an insurance company recapitalized with government funds, and the reorganization proved a rich source of fees for attorneys handling the liquidation and reorganization. Of these attorneys President Roosevelt's former firm of O'Connor & Farber demanded the largest single fee until Jesse Jones of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation cut it down. Here is a letter Jesse Jones wrote to Earle Bailie of J. & W. Seligman & Company about these fees:
Under court orders Mr. O'Connor's firm was paid $100,000 in 1934 and $35,000 more the following year.6
It is virtually impossible to develop an unshakable conclusion about the significance of 120 Broadway; explanations can range from conspiracy to coincidence.
can we prove with direct, rather than circumstantial, evidence?
Finally, the bizarre Butler affair had a few links with 120 Broadway. For example, this was Du Pont's New York address, although Remington Arms was at Rockefeller headquarters, 25 Broadway. Most of the plotters had other addresses, but still all within the golden circle.
Nothing is proven by a common geographical location. While 120 Broadway was a massive building, it was by no means the largest in New York City. But how does one explain the concentration of so many links to so many important historical events at one address? One could argue that birds of a feather flock together. On the other hand, it is more than plausible that these Wall Streeters were following the maxim laid down by Frederick Howe and found it more convenient, or perhaps more efficient for their purposes, to be at a single address. The point to hold in mind is that no other such geographical concentration exists and, if we ignore the persons and firms at 120 Broadway, there is no case for any relationship between these historical events and Wall Street. Which, incidentally, is also an excellent reason for retaining one's perspective in accepting the fact that we are discussing a small fraction of the banking community, a fraction that has in effect betrayed the financial center of a free economy.
1. See Sutton, Bolshevik Revolution, op. cit.
2. Barnsdall Corporation was the company that in 1921 entered the Soviet Union to reopen theCaucasian oil fields for the Soviets and so enabled the Soviet Union to generate the foreign exchange required to develop a Sovietized Russia; see Sutton, Western Technology and Soviet Economic Development, 1917 to 1930 (Stanford: Hoover Institution, 1968), Vol. 1.
4. House of Representatives, Investigation of Nazi Propaganda Activities and Investigation of Certain Other Propaganda Activities, Hearings No. 73-D.C.-6, op. cit., p. 80. "Mr. Clark" was Robert Sterling Clark and "Mr. Christmas" was Clark's attorney.
5. United States Senate, Digest of Data From the Files of a Special Committee to Investigate Lobbying Activities, 74th Congress, Second Session, Part I: List of Contributions, (Washington, 1936), p. 3.
6. Jesse H. Jones, Fifty Billion Dollars pp. 209-210.