The Lewis L. Strauss Page

Albert Lasker's International Banking Connection

"Admiral Lewis L. Strauss, a successor to Lilienthal as chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, had been a good friend of Lasker's since the Shipping Board days.... In 1935 Strauss lost his mother, through cancer; in 1937, his father. At this time radium, which along with surgery and X-Ray was the only known therapy for cancer, was extremely scarce and expensive. Few hospitals had it. Strauss then came across two refugee physicists who told him about the possibility of transforming cobalt into its radioactive isotope, Cobalt 60, by bombarding it with 'highly accelerated subatomic particles.' At once Strauss saw the possibility of making Cobalt 60 cheaply and being able to provide it to hospitals and research laboratories to replace radium. He said that he would build the necessary accelerator (which in those days was called a 'surge generator') and distribute the isotope as a memorial to his parents. One day he mentioned this to Lasker. At once Albert became vehemently interested, and offered to contribute $100,000 to the project.

"Work began at the California Institute of Technology. At this date, late in the 1930s, the most powerful tube to accelerate electrons against a target had a capacity of approximately one million electron volts. No one dreamed of anything bigger - not even in science fiction. The California team managed to build an apparatus capable of delivering eight to ten million electron volts. But then it became known that scientists in Germany, working on the fusion of uranium, had produced infinitely more powerful devices, which made the California experiment obsolete. Then came the war and the Manhattan Project, and anything that had to do with atom splitting or nuclear energy became ultra-top secret. Lasker repeatedly called Strauss asking him to report on what was going on and to call on his money but Strauss could not, of course, say a word." Along with William J. Donovan, he also helped introduce the Laskers to each other. (From: Taken at the Flood. The Story of Albert D. Lasker. By John Gunther. Harper & Brothers, 1960.)

Lewis L. Strauss biography: "Born in Charleston, West Virginia in 1896, Strauss was the son of Rosa Lichtenstein and Lewis Strauss, a successful wholesaler of shoes... in February of 1917 he chanced to read about Herbert Hoover's efforts to save the Belgians from starvation and Hoover's recent appointment as US Food Administrator," and volunteered to serve without pay for a few months as Hoover's administrative assistant. "One of these assignments involved the coordination of Food Administration programs with the Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. This brought him into contact with Felix Warburg, a partner in the international banking firm of Kuhn, Loeb and Company," and Warburg recruited him to the firm. He was an active partner in Kuhn, Loeb until 1941. In 1925 Strauss was commissioned in the naval reserve as an intelligence officer; in 1941 he was called up for active duty. He soon wound up working for Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox. [Knox, formerly of the Chicago Daily News, was an old friend of Albert Lasker; Lasker's son Edward also served in his office -cast.] "Soon after Knox's death in May 1944, Forrestal created a special position in the Navy Department for Strauss as his personal 'trouble shooter' . Strauss also came to the attention of President Truman as a result of his tenure on an inter-service committee on the future role of atomic energy. [Mary Lasker's close connections to Truman perhaps also helped -cast.] A few months later, in July 1946, Truman appointed Strauss as one of the commissioners of the new and highly controversial Atomic Energy Commission," where he served from 1946-50 and 1953-58. Strauss was a director of RCA and Inland Steel.

Lewis L. Strauss Papers, Scope and Content Note / Hoover Library

Strauss' papers include correspondence with Albert D. and Mary Lasker from 1942 to 1970; with Edward L. Bernays between 1933 and 1940; with William J. Donovan from 1928-38 and 1952-57 (and Allen W. Dulles from 1946 to 1968); with Max & Leola Epstein between 1929 and 1967; with Anna Rosenberg between 1945 and 1962; with Paul G. Hoffman between 1934 and 1961; with Jean Monnet between 1943 and 1968; with Ivar Krueger between 1930 and 1933; with Maxwell M. Rabb between 1959 and 1971; with Samuel I. Rosenman between 1923 and 1973; with Inland Steel officials including Joseph L. Block between 1943 and 1972, and Edward Ryerson between 1945 and 1971; with Clark Clifford between 1946 and 1968; with David Sarnoff between 1941 and 1972 (and his son Robert between 1952 and 1974); and James K. Vardaman of the Brown Shoe Co. in St. Louis, who brought master political manipulator Clark Clifford to Washington, DC, between 1945 and 1960; with Memorial Hospital from 1946 to 1957, and the Sloan Kettering Institute from 1950 to 1972.

His correspondence also includes a roster of the biggest international bankers of the 20th century, including Jacob Henry and Theresa Schiff, John M. and Edith Schiff, Mortimer, Otto, Philip and William Schiff; Otto H. Kahn and other Kahns; Edmund de Rothschild, Victor Rothschild, and other Rothschilds; Warburgs Edward MM, Frieda, Frederick M., and Eric; Benjamin and Joseph L. Buttenweiser; and numerous Loebs and Rockefellers.

And also numerous politicians and the Republican National Committee (1943-1971): Franklin Delano Roosevelt and family, 1922-35; Harry F. Byrd of VA; Clifford Case of NM; Dwight Eisenhower and family from 1947-69; Gerald R. Ford Jr. from 1959 to 1970; Richard Milhous Nixon from 1952 to 1973; Charles Percy of IL from 1958 to 1972; Barry Goldwater from 1959 to 1973; Jacob Javits of NY from 1950 to 1968; Albert Gore (Sr.) from 1958 to 1971; Mark O. Hatfield of OR from 1959 to 1972; Margaret Chase and James Smith of ME from 1942 to 1973; John J. Sparkman of AL from 1948 to 1964; Adlai Stevenson of IL from 1994 to 1962; Stuart Symington of MO from 1950 to 1973; Robert A. Taft of OH from 1940 to 1959, and Robert A. Taft Jr. from 1942 to 1971.

And members of the media, including Arthur Hays Sulzberger and Iphigene; Arthur Ochs Sulzberger; Cyrus, Frank L., and Marion B. Sulzberger; Eugene Meyer; Robert E. Kintner; and Philip R. Graham.

Lewis L. Strauss Papers 1 / Hoover Library
Lewis L. Strauss Papers 1a / Hoover Library
Lewis L. Strauss Papers 2 / Hoover Library
Lewis L. Strauss Papers 2a / Hoover Library

Sir William Wiseman, "the chief British spy master in America during World War I," was a Kuhn, Loeb partner and advisor to John Schiff, grandson of Jacob Schiff and the chief partner. (The Warburgs, by Ron Chernow. Random House, 1993, pp 612-613.) He was a correspondent of Strauss between 1941 and 1962.

Eustice Mullins writes: "During World War I, J. Henry Schroder Banking Company played an important role behind the scenes. No historian has a reasonable explanation of how World War I started. Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated at Sarajevo by Gavril Princips, Austria demanded an apology from Serbia, and Serbia sent the note of apology. Despite this, Austria declared war, and soon the other nations of Europe joined the fray. Once the war had gotten started, it was found that it wasn't easy to keep it going. The principal problem was that Germany was desperately short of food and coal, and without Germany, the war could not go on. John Hamill in The Strange Career of Mr. Hoover explains how the problem was solved. He quotes from Nordeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, March 4, 1915, 'Justice, however, demands that publicity should be given to the preeminent part taken by the German authorities in Belgium in the solution of this problem. The initiative came from them and it was only due to their continuous relations with the American Relief Committee that the provisioning question was solved.' Hamill points out 'That is what the Belgian Relief Committee was organized for--to keep Germany in food.'

"The Belgian Relief Committee was organized by Emile Francqui, director of a large Belgian bank, Societe Generale, and a London mining promoter, an American named Herbert Hoover, who had been associated with Francqui in a number of scandals which had become celebrated court cases, notably the Kaiping Coal Company scandal in China, said to have set off the Boxer Rebellion, which had as its goal the expulsion of all foreign businessmen from China. Hoover had been barred from dealing on the London Stock Exchange because of one judgement against him, and his associate, Stanley Rowe, had been sent to prison for ten years. With this background, Hoover was called an ideal choice for a career in humanitarian work.... As his principal assistant in the U.S. Food Administration, Hoover chose Lewis Lichtenstein Strauss, who was soon to become a partner in Kuhn Loeb Company, marrying the daughter of Jerome Hanauer of Kuhn Loeb..." (Secrets of the Federal Reserve, by Eustice Mullins. Chapter 7, The Hitler Connection.)

Ch. 7, Secrets of the Federal Reserve / Family Guardian

Paul G. Hoffman and Anna Rosenberg Hoffman

Paul G. Hoffman was a correspondent of Strauss between 1934 and 1961; as were Jean Monnet from 1943-68; Elisha Walker from 1942 to 1961; and Anna Rosenberg from 1945 to 1962

Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research

Strauss was a Trustee of the Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research during 1955-57.

Sloan-Kettering Institute, 1955-57 / tobacco document

Julius Klein

Strauss was a correspondent of Major General Julius Klein from 1922 to 1961. Klein was a member of the advisory committee of the Yale Institute of Human Relations in 1929.

William T. Golden

William T. Golden was Strauss's assistant on the newly-formed Atomic Energy Commission. He was a correspondent of Strauss from 1940 to 1961. Golden's investment partner, Harold Linder, was a correspondent from 1941 to 1972, and Ralph E. Hansmann was a correspondent from 1951 to 1968.

John J. McCloy

John J. McCloy was a correspondent of Strauss from 1941 to 1971; fellow Salk Institute Trustee Warrren Weaver was a correspondent from 1947 to 1967.

Maxwell M. Rabb

From 1959 to 1971, Strauss was a correspondent of Maxwell M. Rabb, who was a trustee of the American Health Foundation between 1969 and 1974.

Frank Stanton

Frank Stanton, the president of CBS from 1946 to 1971, was a correspondent of Strauss between 1949 and 1968.

Siegmund George Warburg

Siegmund George Warburg was a partner of Kuhn, Loeb in the 1950s; his firm, SG Warburg & Co., and Kuhn, Loeb represented each other's interests in London and New York. "The leading theorist of European integration, Jean Monnet, was friends with Donald Swatland of Cravath, Swaine - the lawyers for Kuhn, Loeb. When the ECSC [European Coal and Steel Community] searched for New York financing, Swatland directed it to Kuhn Loeb. Because he was a European partner in an American firm, Siegmund was a major attraction for the ECSC, and Swatland would regard him, Andre Meyer, and Jean Monnet as their era's three leading figures in international finance." American investors were reluctant, and Siegmund had to turn to an insurance company, Metropolitan Life. (The Warburgs, by Ron Chernow. Random House, 1993, pp 612-616.)

"He was tough on smokers long before such militancy was fashionable. Like schoolboys sneaking behind the headmaster's back, even senior executives puffed away on the sly. When uncle Ernest Thalmann - a bright, rather delicate man who respected but feared Siegmund - heard him shuffling doiwn the hall, he would slide open a desk drawer, squash his cigarette in a hidden ashtray, then close it. One day, Siegmund shuffled into Thalmann's office and saw wisps of smoke issuing from a slit. 'My dear Ernest,' he said with wry amusement. 'I think your desk is on fire.'

"A marvelous actor, Siegmund would stage fake tantrums then slyly wink at his associates, saying, 'Well, I think that had the right effect, don't you?' Sometimes he whispered in German to Grunfeld, 'Should I get angry?' He adroitly used his temper to keep people nervous, off balance, uncomfortable, working at maximum capacity.... Siegmund liked to scream, bang his fists, and slam doors. Occasionally, if a colleague's telephone line was busy, he hurled the phone violently at the wall and then buzzed for a porter to retrieve it. He might do this several times in an hour." (The Warburgs, by Ron Chernow. Random House, 1993, pp. 641-642.)

In 1957, SG Warburg merged with Seligman Brothers. Geoffrey Seligman's American clients included Cummins Engine Company. (The Warburgs, by Ron Chernow. Random House, 1993, p. 647.) His relative, Eric Warburg, was a friend of Adolph Hitler's authority on cancer, Otto Heinrich Warburg. Eric sold EM Warburg to Lionel Pincus.

Lehman Brothers Kuhn Loeb

In 1977, Kuhn Loeb merged with Lehman Brothers, and this firm was headed by Peter G. Peterson, the husband of Joan Ganz Cooney, founder of the Children's Television Workshop, until its merger with Shearson/American Express in 1984.

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cast 05-15-04