New Enlightenment: As a person who served in high positions in military and civilian service, what has been the process by which you've been able to free yourself from the usual blinders and come to an understanding of what's really going on?
Mr. Prouty: It was due actually to some very unusual assignments I had not long after I graduated from flying school in November, 1942. It just happened that less than a year later I was flying some of the people out to the Cairo Conference in October, 1943. That was a very important conference. I had learned by that time, from flying other VIPs, that one of the best breaks in that kind of flying, especially when there's nothing under you but the Sahara dessert, was to let the co-pilot fly the plane and to go back and talk with whomever you're flying. So in October of '43 I flew the president of a major corporation into Saudi Arabia. If you recall, in World War II, Saudi Arabia was neutral and we weren't allowed into that territory. But with this gentleman on board there were none of those problems. You could just feel that aura of power coming through. He said to me, "Look, tonight I want your crew to paint the insignia off the plane and I want your crew to go into the city and buy some civilian clothes. Because tomorrow we're going to be civilians and go into Saudi Arabia." When you're dealing with people like that, the founder and president of American Airlines, you begin to understand. He was leading a geological survey study, under the direction of President Roosevelt, and was meeting with the California Standard people, who had been there holding a conference on their franchise because of the potential of the enormous amounts of oil in that area which had not yet been tapped. Well, when you're dealing with oil companies, the king of Saudi Arabia, and the president of American Airlines, all operating on absolutely business principles, by direction of the president, you don't have much trouble seeing that that kind of business controls even the biggest and most powerful war we were ever involved in. It was such a lesson at an auspicious time.
And then a little less than a month later, those men were at Cairo, where Churchill came down and Chiang Kai-shek came in from China. With Chiang Kai-shek was his wife, Madame Chiang Kai-shek - nee May Ling Soong, daughter of Charlie Jones Soong and sister of T.V. Soong, at that time the wealthiest man in the world and probably one of the most powerful men. So here we have the public leaders, Churchill, Roosevelt, and Chiang at a conference, but not a word about T.V. Soong, although Madame Chiang Kai-shek was there. It seemed strange to a lot of people that when the pictures were taken of the conferees in Cairo instead of three there were four in the picture: Roosevelt, Churchill, Chiang and Madame Chiang. So again we have this very strange relationship of the top-level, wealthiest people along with the most powerful political figures. And all of them in control of the movement of the largest army we ever put together in our history. Well, that's one event, but it's things like that. It doesn't come from textbooks.
New Enlightenment: And yet there are people in the military who have had experiences similar to yours but the light never dawned on them. So there must have been something in your thinking to allow you to get through.
Mr. Prouty: I wasn't tops in college, but I did a lot of reading. Later, just at the time of Pearl Harbor, I was studying at Fort Knox, Kentucky, assigned to an armored division school with about fifty-five thousand men. There we ran into men like George Patton, some of these generals who had been officers in World War I and had come all the way through the post-war period. And here they were on the threshold of World II. I never met such military leaders, in all the experience I had, including my nine years in the Pentagon, that would match those men who were leaders before the war came. They weren't in a war from 1917 to 1941; they were training for war. They were the kind of men that you don't find today. I've been in the Pentagon in Washington for nine years, and you can't compare the two. They were outstanding military leaders; they knew what things were all about.
New Enlightenment: As you look at the military today, do you think there are people of that character in leadership positions who will be able to bring the military back into a balance?
Mr. Prouty: The word "character" is a very important one. There's no doubt that there are men of that calibre. But when we have a General Fogleman of the Air Force retiring on his own, when we have other generals saying that there is no way we can plan for warfare with nuclear weapons on both sides. Never in the history of mankind have we faced this situation. Nuclear weapons cannot be used in warfare and yet they exist. (see General George Lee Butler's speech: "Eliminating Weapons of Mass Destruction," Vital Speeches of the Day, Feb. 1, 1997)
New Enlightenment: And yet there are military leaders who are willing to do anything, go into Panama, for example. Are there, from your way of understanding, some genuine military leaders who might be able to bring us back to an even keel?
Mr. Prouty: In 1954, when Eisenhower was president, the National Security Council, for the first time, addressed the subject of clandestine warfare. Up to that time, the CIA had been defined as an intelligence coordinating agency, not an intelligence gathering agency. It was understood that the military could not participate in covert actions, but that didn't stop the CIA. Part of the reason for the Bay of Pigs was that Kennedy, quite correctly, understood that we could not put military forces in a covert operation. For the first twenty years of the action in Vietnam, operations were under the control of the CIA. We never had a general in Vietnam who was totally in charge because even to the very last day, the ambassador was in charge of the war. Any student of military history will tell you that you can't have an ambassador in charge of a war.
New Enlightenment: Do you feel that Kennedy's actions to take away some of the power of the Federal Reserve System, such as printing our own currency, was part of the reason for his assassination?
Mr. Prouty: It was certainly part of the reason. The area of finance, really, is where the opposition arose. Because of how our country has developed, certain people have become very very powerful, as I know from being a former banker. Kennedy wanted to go back to the days when the government printed money, which means that it doesn't have to borrow and that means we don't have as much debt, and interest to bankers.
New Enlightenment: You seem to feel that there are good military leaders today. What do you feel that civilian citizens would be able to do to help bring our country back to a more stable position?
Mr. Prouty: I think we have lost touch with the way a democratic government is supposed to operate. Much of what happens in our cities is controlled by our federal government. We have forgotten that the things that we know best, how to take care of our children, how to take care of our churches, how to take care of our businesses, should be done locally. We should be governing ourselves, close to home.
New Enlightenment: What specific activities are you currently carrying out that you feel it would be helpful for our readers to know about?
Mr. Prouty: Because I'm fortunate enough to know people like you, I have realized that because of my experiences I have learned quite a bit and that it was not from ordinary textbooks. I taught at Yale for four years and I remember, in that marvellous library there, trying to find the right books for a particular subject. A lot of the time you can't find them. A lot of the time you find books that are at cross purposes, providing disinformation. So I have felt that every day I want to increase my knowledge in any way I can. And I feel that we ought to provide books that are much more accurate than books we have on the shelves today.
New Enlightenment: Do you have any sources of information you would like to recommend?
Prouty: I feel Joseph Needham in his series of books tells us more than almost anyone I've read anywhere. And I feel that Buckminster Fuller's Critical Path is an indispensible book for anyone to read. Strauss and Howe's book, The Fourth Turning: what the cycles of history tell about the America's rendezvous with destiny. There is always Nehru's unmatched book: Glimpses of World History.
New Enlightenment: Are there other areas that you feel are particularly important?
Mr. Prouty: Our transport in this country is abysmal. If you've been to Japan, you see a transportation system that is truly remarkable. Our highway system in America is a disaster. Eisenhower built our highway system in the 50s, but we've let it degenerate by having no control over vehicle weight and repair. Our railway system is a disgrace on the basis of technology alone. I have many transportation items on my CD: Secret Team. I have written on railroad engineering for the McGraw Hill Encyclopedia and Yearbook.
New Enlightenment: Do you feel that there needs to be some concerted effort on the part of citizens to free our nation from this current regimen of oppression?
Mr. Prouty: I think this effort is coming almost without our realizing it. The Internet is a marvellous way for people to communicate and improve our country. I'm constantly amazed by the international nature of communication via the Internet. When we completed our CD-ROM book, one of the first orders was from Malaysia. Almost every day I get letters from people who wouldn't know of my book were it not for the Internet. The more we can do things like interviews such as this and similar things, the more it will help the country to understand what's happening.
This interview was conducted by phone on 7/29/97. We wish to thank Mr. Prouty for his gracious, warm-hearted participation in this interview. He was an inspiration to us all.
Additional information about L. Fletcher Prouty