Some of the Roman Catholic influence on Richard Nixon

From ........ NIXON - The Education Of A Politician 1913-1962

By Stephen E. Ambrose

Published by Simon and Schuster ............. 1987

ISBN 0-671-52836-X

pg 144-145


ANOTHER ACQUAINTANCE Nixon made at that first meeting of the Labor Committee was Charles Kersten, freshman Republican from Wisconsin. Kersten had been investigating Communist influence in an Allis-Chalmers strike, and Nixon asked him to recommend an authority on Communism.

Kersten arranged for Nixon to meet with Father John Cronin, a Maryknoll seminary teacher in Baltimore. On at least four occasions in late January and early February [1947], Nixon and Kersten drove to Baltimore for briefings from Cronin.

Father Cronin was no Red-baiter. He had devoted his life to social causes and served as a CIO organizer in the early forties. But in his CIO experiences, he had become disturbed by the attempted Communist take-overs. He began collecting data on Communist involvement in the labor movement, in the process exchanging information with William Sullivan, an FBI agent.


In 1944, ["Father"] Cronin had circulated a series of reports on his findings to the [Roman] Catholic bishops, who had been so impressed that they had asked Cronin to devote an entire year to preparing a study of Communism in America. He had completed it at the end of 1945 and had circulated one copy to each bishop. On one of Nixon's visits to Baltimore, Cronin let him read a copy.

The report, entitled The Problem of American Communism, concentrated on Communist infiltration tactics in labor unions and in government.

["Father"] Cronin cited material given him by Sullivan from the voluntary testimony before the FBI of ex-Communist and current senior editor of Time magazine Whittaker Chambers. Chambers had named names. He said that John Abt, Lee Pressman, and Alger Hiss formed a Communist cell within the government. Cronin named Hiss four times in the report. The report stated that Chambers vowed to expose Hiss if he were named Secretary-General of the United Nations, an idea that was in the rumor mill, because Hiss had been the chief organizer of the San Francisco Conference that set up the United Nations. What Cronin did not know was that the Soviet Ambassador to the U.N., Andrei Gromyko, had urged Secretary of State Edward Stettinius to name Alger Hiss as the first U.N. Secretary-General.11

In his early meetings with Nixon, ["Father"] Cronin not only gave him some names to think about but also a great deal of practical advice on how to deal with the Communist Party [USA]. He explained Communist tactics, put Nixon onto other ex-Communists who might be willing to talk, and in general gave Nixon a crash course on the subject. He emphasized the presence of "certain communists ..... in the State Department" and urged Nixon to go after them. 12

JUST AS Nixon was learning from ["Father"] Cronin that Communism was a bigger problem than simple infiltration of the CIO, he had the lesson reinforced by his initial experience on HUAC. On February 6, HUAC held its first meeting of the session under the chairmanship of J. Parnell Thomas, Republican of New Jersey. [---------------]



ON SEPTEMBER 29, 1953, AT St. Matthew's Cathedral in Washington, Joe McCarthy married his secretary, Jean Kerr. The wedding was a gala event, of course, but more interesting for what it revealed about McCarthy's position in the world of politics.

Pope Pius sent his "paternal and apostolic" blessings to the couple.

Numerous senators and representatives were there, including John Kennedy [whose younger brother Robert was on McCarthy's staff, and who had written the letter for McCarthy demanding to know what Eisenhower intended to do about trade with Red China].

Allen Dulles was present, as was Alice Roosevelt Longworth and other Washington socialites.

The President sent his congratulations, along with three of his aides, including Persons and Adams.

But the most prominent dignitaries present were the Vice-President and his wife. McCarthy gave Nixon an extravagant handshake and the biggest smile as he walked down the aisle.44



page 411- informs the reader that "Father Cronin" was the "principal speech writer" for Nixon during his 1956 campaign. [therefore, at this time, Nixon and Cronin had had a relationship lasting nine years]

page 638 informs the reader that Nixon was still in touch with "Father Cronin" as late as 1961.

page 586 informs the reader of Cardinal Spellman's political clout. [About which Cardinal Spellman's biography, The American Pope elaborates]