Conversations with History: Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley

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 McCone
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Reflections on a Life in Government Service: Conversation with John A. McCone; former Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission and former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency; 1987-88 by Harry Kreisler

This interview is part of the Institute's "Conversations with History" series, and uses Internet technology to share with the public Berkeley's distinction as a global forum for ideas.


In the fall of 1987 and the spring of 1988, Harry Kreisler interviewed the distinguished University of California alumnus John A. McCone (class of 1922). A prominent California industrialist, Mr. McCone served his country for more than twenty years as advisor and governmental official. Most importantly, he was chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission (1959-60) and Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (1961-65), Throughout his career, Mr. McCone served on numerous commissions that made recommendations on issues as diverse as civilian applications of military technology and the Watts riots.

The following excerpts are a synthesis of three interviews. The first two interviews, on October 15, 1987, and December 3, 1987, were audiotaped in Mr. McCone's Pebble Beach residence. The third interview, on April 21, 1988, was videotaped at the University of California, Berkeley, as a part of the "Conversations on International Affairs" video series.

  1. Early Career ... recollections of Berkeley ... from riveter to businessman
  2. Government Service under Truman ... from business to public service ... government budgets: then and now
  3. The Eisenhower Years ... Eisenhower presidency ... the test ban debate
  4. The Kennedy Years ... a Republican joins the Kennedy administration ... reflections on Kennedy ... the Cuban Missile Crisis ... the Bay of Pigs
  5. Vietnam ... intelligence vs. military analysis ... Truman, Kennedy, and Johnson
  6. Conclusion ... the role of intelligence in a democracy ... perspectives on the present ... the Wise Men ... reflections on government service

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