"All studies [of the post-WWII Nazi networks] have shown the determining role played by the [Roman] Catholic Church in the flight of war criminals."



WINTER 1986 Number 25

Pages 27-38

[2 of 4 ....... 30-33 ]



Page 30

The American Association of SMOM

In Europe SMOM's membership had been traditionally limited to those who could prove a requisite purity of noble blood for several generations. Nevertheless, as a concession to the rising political, economic, and military power of the United States, in 1927 SMOM agreed to incorporate an American National Association whose members were not obliged to prove their genealogical pedigree.

When the American Association of SMOM was created in 1927 the founding members included Patrick Cardinal Hayes, Edward L. Hearn, Nicholas F. Brady, Howard F. Carry, Patrick E. Crowley, James A. Farrell, James A. Fayne, Edward N. Hurley, James J. Phelan, Morgan J. O'Brien, John J. Raskob, and John D. Ryan.

By 1941 Francis Cardinal Spellman was listed as the "Grand Protector" and "Spiritual Advisor" of the Order, with John J. Raskob as Treasurer. Members included John Farrell, then President of U.S.Steel, Joseph P. Grace, and John D. Ryan. In 1934 Raskob, inspired by the French fascist Croix de Feu, and working closely with Morgan Bank's John Davis, had been a principal financier in the plot to organize a fascist coup in the U.S. The plan failed when General Smedley Butler, who had been set up to lead the project, denounced it.

The 1941 list also included Joseph J. Larkin. According to Charles Higham's Trading With the Enemy (see review in this issue),

Joseph J. Larkin . . . [vice-president of Chase Manhattan Bank in charge of European affairs] kept the Chase Bank open ....... in Nazi-occupied Paris throughout World War II. .... [He] had received the Order of the Grand Cross of the Knights of Malta from Pope Pius XI in 1928. He was an ardent supporter of General Franco and, by extension, Hitler. Morgenthau first suspected him as a fascist sympathizer in Octoher 1936. ..... With the encouragement of Schacht, Larkin took on the Franco account and the Reichsbank account, though the Reichsbank was under the personal control of Hitler. ..... 7

The Role of Felix A. Morlion

In the latter part of April 1948 the Romanian Timpul published an article, "The Vatican Espionage Service," cited in the Soviet journal New Times, No.31, 1948, at pp. 5, 6. As reported, the article indicated that,

In August 1966, Morlion approached H. L. Hunt for funding Vatican anti-Communist operations in Latin America. Hunt gave an interview to the British Guardian Weekly, February 27, 1969:

Subsequently, Morlion emerged as a key figure in the "Bulgarian Connection" hoax when the fascist Grey Wolf Agca attempted to assassinate the Pope: It appears that Morlion lived in Rome directly below the apartment of the Bulgarian Antonov, and was a possible source of Agca's description of Antonov's apartment. (See, Il Mondo, April 8, 1985; L'Espresso, May 19, 1985.)

The American-Italian Conneclion

From 1932 until 1938 Myron Charles Taylor was the Chairman of U. S. Steel. In 1939 he became the U.S. envoy to Pope Pius XII, a post he would maintain until 1950. Meanwhile, according to Anthony Cave Brown, OSS chief William Donovan secretly had established an intelligence connection with the Vatican as early as 1941, when he evacuated from Lisbon to New York the Dominican Father Felix A. Morlion, who had founded "a European Catholic anti-Comintern'' called Pro Deo. (See sidebar.) Throughout the war Donovan financcd Morlion's Pro Deo service and in June 1944 he "went to considerable expense, time, and trouble to transport Morlion from New York and establish him at the Holy See.''8

Subsequently Morlion became a key figure in Vatican intelligence, working closely with Giovanni Battista Montini, the future Paul VI.

According to Frederic Laurent,

With the American Grand Protector of SMOM already in contact with the Vatican, and Allen Dulles busy negotiating with Nazis in Switzerland, the Amerieans entered Rome June 4, 1944. On July 7 General Mark Clark was made a Knight Grand Cross of SMOM.

According to British journalist Stuart Christie,

Borghese was to be heard from again on the twenty-ninth anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. (See below.)

- Truman's Vatiean envoy Myron C. Taylor received SMOM's Gran Croci Al Merito Con Placca May 23, 1945.

- On June 12, 1945 Admiral Ellery W. Stone was awarded the Croci Al Merito Di Prima Classe Con Corona from the SMOM.

- On December 27, 1946 James Angleton received the Croci Al Merito Seconda Classe from the Order, the same day as George Raymond Rocca. Rocca went on to become Angleton's deputy chief of Counterintelligenee Division of the CIA and was the liaison between the Warren Commission and the CIA following the Kennedy Assassination. (See sidebar.)

[Also, about this same time, head of OSS "Wild Bill" Donovan was decorated by the papacy ....... JP ]

According to declassified documents from the American Department of State, in February 1948, in anticipation of the upcoming elections scheduled for April 18, the Vatican created organizations called 'Civic Committees' under the leadership of Luigi Gedda, a 45-year-old doctor from Turin who was also the leader of the rightist 'Catholic Action'. By March 17, 1948 Gedda became a Knight of the Grand Priory of Lombardy and Venice. The liaison to Gedda was through an Ecclesiastical Assistant, Mgr. Fiorenzo Angelini, a member of the National Executive of the Civic Committees, who had become a ranking member of the Rome Priory of SMOM also on March 17, 1948.11 At that time the Grand Priory was headed by Ferdinando Thun Hohenstein, Director of Ceremonies of SMOM, a member of the all powerful five-member Sovereign Council of the Order, and nephew of a former SMOM Grand Master.

Page 32

On March 22, 1948 the New York Times reported that Gedda had appealed to American Catholics to provide financial assistance to Italian Catholics in their fight against communism. On April 5, it was reported that

By April 13 the paper reported that Taylor would meet with Pius once a week, and that based on the information recently received, the Pope was "considerably more optimistic'' about the outcome of the elections.

Page 33

Two days later with the Italian military staging massive parades and as fascist gangs attacked leftists in the streets, C. L. Sulzberger reported from Rome that Catholic Action "is armed, active, and tough."

The State Department documents cite Angleton as "feel[ing] quite strongly that Gedda can be effectively used to further our interests in Italy in the political, labor and social fields," and that the Civic Committees were to receive CIA funds. The Pope had allegedly met with Gedda three times during the month after the elections.

One of those reported to have loeen involved in interference in the April 18 election was Baron Luigi Parrilli. Parrilli, son of an Italian admiral, and who had reportedly worked for the American firm Kelvinator before the war, was a fascist and had extensive industrial interests in Italy. He was made a Knight of Malta on December 7, 1942 and by early 1945 had excellent contacts with the top Schutzstaffel (SS: elite guard) and Sicherheitsdienst (SD: secret service) German officers in Northem Italy. By April 1945 he became a representative of SS General Karl Wolff to Allen Dulles and U.S. Gen. Lemnitzer during the period that the latter two were involved in private negotiations to recruit top Nazis before the end of the war. It has been rumored that Parrilli also had "concocted a plan to transport ex-Nazis from Germany to Paraguay."12 (See article by Peter Dale Scott in this issue.)

In 1949 SMOM published an Official General Roll of the Grand Magistery with a preface by Pius XII which referred to "The ancient laurels collected on the battle-fronts" of earlier wars. As noted above, among only four recipients of the Order's Gran Croci al Merito con Placca at the time was Reinhard Gehlen, Hitler's Chief of Intelligence on the Eastern Front, who received the award November 17, 1948.

By this time Reinhard Gehlen's brother had already been in Rome serving as the Secretary to Thun Hohenstein. Conveniently for Reinhard, who was negotiating with the U.S. for the preservation of his Nazi colleagues, Thun Hohenstein was Chairman of one of SMOM's grand magistral charities, the Institute for Associated Emigrations, and had arranged for two thousand SMOM passports to be printed for political refugees.

Thun Hohenstein was also related to the leading German Knights of SMOM, and at a crucial time in an internal SMOM controversy after the war had received the active support of Prince Frederic von Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, Honorary Chairman of the Silesian Association of the Order, the head of the Catholic Hohenzollerns, of which several members were Knights of SMOM. The Silesian Knights, led by their Chairman Prince von Hartzfeld and Graf Henckel von Donnersmark, maintained a refugee camp at Ulm which in 1951 alone had received 134,000 refugees from the East.13 Meanwhile, both the Polish and Hungarian Associations of SMOM had also relocated safely to the West.

In 1950, the American Committee for Liberation from Bolshevism was created. The trustees included J. Peter Grace, Charles Edison, William Henry Chamberlain, H. J. Heinz II, Isaac Don Levine, and Eugene Lyons. The Committee (now known as Radio Liberty), under the guiding hand of the CIA's Frank Wisner, funded numerous emigre "research institutes'' which, according to John Loftus [see UNHOLY TRINITY ], were "little more than front groups for ex-Nazi intelligence officers.''14


23 5 1945 S. E. HAROLD ALEXANDER, visconte di Tunis

23 5 1945 S. E. MYRON C TAYLOR

11 11 1948 Brig. Gen. Barone DEAN de MARGUERITTES


Document shows SMOM's honor bestowed on Hitler's intelligence chief Reinhard Gehlen and on U.S. Admiral Ellery W. Stone.


1. See generally, Clarence G. Lasby, Project Paperclip (New York: Atheneum, 1975). Grace had also served as the Chairman of the Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty Fund, a CIA front infested with Nazi collaborators, and of the American Institute for Free Labor Development (AIFLD), another CIA-funded organization. The Chairman of the W. R. Grace Executive Committee Felix Larkin, is also a SMOM. The Chancellor of the Order, John D. J. Moore, was a Director of the Grace company until at least 1982 having been with the company since 1946 managing its Peruvian operations from 1947-1950. From 1969-1975 Moore was the U.S. Ambassador to Ireland. See sidebar on J. Peter Grace.

2. Roger Peyrefitte, Knights of Malta (New York: Criterion Books, 1959), at p. 137.

3. See the illustrated feature story on SMOM in Town and Country, April 1984, pp. 194, ff. 4. Point de Vue, September 23, 1983.

5. Sir Edwin King and Sir Harry Luke, The Knights of St. John in the British Realm, 2d ed. (London: St. John's Gate, 1967).

6. Ibid., pp. 103-105. Subsequently in England in the 19th Century, since each monarch has the authority to create any Order it wishes, Queen Victoria chartered, alongside the Rome-based British Association of SMOM, a predominantly Anglican Order called "The Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem" under the aegis of the British crown.

On November 26, 1963 the Venerable Order and the Bntish Association of SMOM signed a treaty of mutual recognition and respect which can be seen in the Library of the Venerable Order in London. SMOM continues to regard the Venerable Order with somewhat amused score; while SMOMs are members of the highest levels of the Venerable Order, there do not appear to be any Anglican members of the Venerable Order in the British Association of SMOM.

7. Charles Higham, Trading With the Enemy: An Exploration of the Nazi-American Money Plot, 1933 -1949 (New York: Delacorte, 1983), pp. 20-31.

8. Anthony Cave Brown, Wild Bill Donovan, The Last Hero (New York: Times Books, 1982), pp. 683, 684.

9. Frederic Laurent, L'Orchestre Noir (Paris: Editions Stock, 1978), at p.29; see also Charles Allen, The Vatican and the Nazis, in Reform Judaism, Spring/Summer and Fall 1983; and Saul Friedlander, Pius XII and the Third Reich (New York: Knopf, 1966).

10. Stuart Christie, Stefano delle Chiaie, Portrait of a Black Terrorist (London: Anarchy Magazine, 1984), at p.6. One member of the family, S.E. Don Giangiacomo, Principe Borghese, had been a Bailiff Grand Cross Of Honor and Devotion of SMOM since June 4,1932. Christie's book includes a photo of Borghese driven by an unidentified SS officer in 1944, with the caption, ``Borghese was then [1944] head of 'XMAS' (Decima MAS), a special forces corps of 4,000 men founded in 1941. Borghese assumed command after the Italian armistice and XMAS was officially recognized by the Nazi High Command on September 14, 1943. Under his direction, XMAS was responsible for the torture and mass murder of Italian partisans. Ibid., p. 7; see also Laurent, op. cit., n.9.

11. Declassified documents of May 17, 1948 and October 11, 1948. Gedda was listed as a member of the "Comite de Patronage" of the French neo-Nazi 'Nouvelle Ecole' in April 1982 along with Robert Gayre. Gedda also served on the Advisory board of Gayre and Pearson's Mankind Quarterly from at least the mid 1960s until 1979.

12. R. Harris Smith, OSS, The Secret History of America's First Central Intelligence Agency (Berkeley: University Of California Press, 1972), at p.114; and Bradley F. Smith & Elena Agarossi, Operation Sunrise (New York: Basic Books, 1979). And see Peter Dale Scott's article in this issue.

13. See, Peyrefitte, op. cit., n. 2, pp. 172, 173, 214.

14 John Loftus, The Belarus Secret, ed. by Nathan Miller (New York Knopf, 1982), pp. 106-107, 178. [and see UNHOLY TRINITY by Loftus]


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