Frank Gigliotti: Minister, Freemason, OSS and CIA


Dr. Frank Bruno Gigliotti (Oct. 15, 1896 San Bernardo [Catanzaro, Calabria], Italy – Sep. 20, 1975 Lemon Grove, Cal., USA)

By Terry Melanson (Oct. 30, 2015)

If you have studied the history of deep state intrigue, Gladio and stay-behind networks during the cold war, occasionally you may have come across a fleeting mention of someone named Frank Gigliotti. In Philip Willan’s Puppetmasters, for example, Gigliotti is described as a “former OSS and then CIA agent” who played a key role in the US negations to return control to the Grand Orient masons their former headquarters in Palazzo Giustiniani, Rome (57). “Frank Gigliotti of the US Masonic Lodge,” Daniele Ganser asserts in NATO’s Secret Armies, “personally recruited Gelli and instructed him to set up an anti-Communist parallel government in Italy in close cooperation with the CIA station in Rome” (73). In Willan’s book as well, Gigliotti is mentioned in a paragraph that begins with Gelli’s initiation into grand orient masonry.

Gelli, of course, refers to Licio Gelli, the Venerable Master of the Propaganda Due (P2) secret masonic lodge which recruited members with senior positions in the intelligence apparatus, the military, judiciary, parliament, media, banking and high finance. P2 operated like a state within a state, and Gelli as a self-proclaimed puppet master. The discovery, in 1981, of an official list of nearly a thousand members, including “four cabinet ministers, three under-secretaries and thirty-eight parliamentarians,” precipitated a collapse of the government (Willan 2002: 49). In subsequent government inquiries, Gelli and P2 were linked to the downfall of Banco Ambrosiano; Operation Gladio and the Strategy of Tension; the Bologna massacre; far-right/fascist groups such as Ordine Nuovo and Stefano Delle Chiaie’s Italian Social Movement; the Borghese coup; the Rosa dei Venti (Compass Rose) conspiracy; kidnapping, murder and assassination.

The parliamentary commission of inquiry investigating P2 specifically mentions Frank Gigliotti, his OSS/CIA/US Scottish Rite/Grand Orient ties, and draws attention to the conspicuous appearance of Licio Gelli once Gigliotti leaves the scene.

This seemingly obscure mason from the US was meddling in grand orient masonic affairs, on behalf of his masonic brethren as well as the US government, and was linked to the rise of Gelli and his ascendancy to the leadership of P2. Who was this man? What was the trajectory of his career?

Hardship and War; God, Gangsters and Fisticuffs

Born in Calabria Italy, Frank Gigliotti immigrated to a small town in Pennsylvania with his widowed mother when he was four years old. Orphaned at age 10, he traveled west to Chicago and then to South Dakota where he was recruited as an assistant to an itinerant hypnotist “playing the role of a ‘subject’” (Grill).

Adopted by the Sioux Indians of South Dakota and then by the Cheyenne Indians of Montana, the “dark-skinned Gigliotti reportedly passed himself off as a Pawnee,” wrote Dr. Robert R. Pascucci.

“A few years later he began a career as a jockey, racing horses in China, Japan, Hawaii, Mexico, the Philippines, Cuba and throughout the United States and Canada. While in Edmonton, Canada, he passed a street corner where an evangelist was preaching. Gigliotti ‘paused to listen, became converted and abandoned his past life and his past associations at once.’” (Electric City Immigrants: Italians and Poles of Schenectady, N.Y., 1880-1930 Chapter 4: Protestant Evangelism)

Returning home to Pennsylvania, Gigliotti worked in a steel mill and graduated from night school. He enlisted in the Army during WWI, assigned to the First regiment, First Engineers of the First division. Wounded at Mont See and again at Soissons, Gigliotti recuperated for thirteen months in a military hospital at St. Nazaire where he preached to the other patients.

By 1919 Gigliotti had enrolled at a Bible Institute in New York, was subsequently secretary of the New York County Council of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, became a member of the New York Interdenominational Evangelistic committee, and worked “among the gangsters of the east side.” Gigliotti would later boast that he “fought 26 gangsters single-handed, after which 24 of them were converted and became good churchmen.” Director of the boys work while a student, he “personally organized a gymnastic club, a bowling team, a band (the Garibaldi Band) and a social club (the Giuseppe Mazzini Club)” (Pascucci; Grill).

Gigliotti and the New York Evangelistic Committee are mentioned in a 1921 story in the Christian Herald. As “a young theological student,” Gigliotti devoted most of his spare time helping “[c]rap-shooting messengers, boy gangsters, and youths who are unfortunate rather than vicious.” The article mentions how he saved a young cartoonist from poverty and despair, and that “a former leader of an East-Side gang” now had a steady job and regularly visited Gigliotti at his home (Starr 10).

In the same year, the Italian Methodist Church of San Salvatore, Schenectady, N. Y., called him to pastor. His ordination ceremony in 1922 was attended by “Dr. Agide Pirazzini, dean of the New York Biblical Seminary.” At the same church a few months later, he married Pirazzini’s daughter (Pascucci).

After conferment, however, Gigliotti procrastinated on his duties. He was reprimanded by his Presbyterian sponsors for failure to continue his biblical education, accruing too much personal debt, and “neglecting religious duties in favor of fraternal organizations, politics and other ‘outside interests’.”

He seems to have put a fright in the ladies of the church: two deaconesses resigned, characterizing Gigliotti as deceitful, biblically ignorant, and “rotten at heart.” Gigliotti in turn accused them of bribing Italian immigrants into poor settlements.

“To the mortification of the mission board, but to the delight of Neyroz and his congregation,”

Reverend Gigliotti was arrested and charged with third-degree assault following a melee in the press room of Il Corriere, the city’s Italian-language newspaper. The “fistic battle” broke out when Gigliotti demanded a retraction of an article that contained a “violent attack” on his character. Among other accusations, the article charged the minister, “a finished hypocrite,” with having lied about his religious and military background as well as having “outraged the sacred language of Dante” (Pascucci).

With the help of friends in the mission, in 1924 Gigliotti was given a $150 and persuaded to “accept a scholarship for study at a Waldensian seminary in Rome.” On Gigliotti leaving the parish, Synodical representative, A. J. Dean, reportedly said: “I don’t care how or where he spends it. I am only anxious to do all I can to make it easy for him to get away from Schenectady” (Pascucci).

These details were recounted by Dr. Robert R. Pascucci, in Electric City Immigrants: Italians and Poles of Schenectady, N.Y., 1880-1930. Pascucci’s sources for those specifics were archival letters and memoranda from individuals directly involved. Not surprisingly, Gigliotti told a different story.

In a lengthy feature article in the Billings Gazette (Oct. 9, 1927), no mention is made of conflict or strife in Schenectady. According to Gigliotti, the reason for his departure for Italy was that injuries from his wounds in the war had increasingly affected his health, so he was “sent to Italy by the United States veterans’ bureau to recuperate” (Grill).

Gigliotti’s “crowning moment”

Once he got to Italy, Gigliotti helped create a branch of the American Legion in Italy and enrolled more than a thousand WWI Italian-American vets (Pascucci; Grill).

According to a short announcement titled “Organize American Legion in Italian Methodist School,” Gigliotti had first organized an Italian post of the American Legion at the (Methodist) Colegio Monte Mario in Rome where he was a student. “The Italian post will attempt to adjust their bonus claims and disabilities,” said The Christian Century (Vol 43, 1926, p. 119). The American Legion Weekly, on the other hand, gives a precise date for the Rome Post of the Legion — July 25, 1925 — organized by “a group of Americans,” who met in “the office of the military attache to the American Ambassador.” The latter details were related by Gigliotti himself as Rome post adjutant.

His time in Italy coincided with the rise to power of Mussolini and black shirt fascism. Gigliotti’s future boss in the OSS, Earl Brennan was posted there as U.S. State Department vice consul in Florence, then in Rome, and was a member of a Florence Masonic lodge called ‘Risveglia’ (New Age 53: 288).

“Educated in Italy as a boy,” Richard Harris Smith writes in OSS: The Secret History Of America’s First Central Intelligence Agency, “Brennan had later returned to Rome to join the American embassy staff during the first years of the fascist regime.”

Working closely with another young Foreign Service officer, David Bruce, Brennan befriended the chief of Mussolini’s secret police, leaders of the powerful Italian Masonic Order, high-ranking fascist officials, and the Duce himself. On a subsequent diplomatic assignment in Canada, Brennan made the acquaintance of chiefs of the Italian Mafia, sent into exile by Mussolini. David Bruce believed these connections would prove invaluable to Donovan’s labors in the dark world of espionage, and in January 1942 he asked Brennan to join COI (78-79).

Brennan was certainly being watched — his masonic and mafia ties, cause for concern. The following, therefore, wasn’t entirely unpredictable:


Washington, D. C. — It has been reported here that Earl Brennan, United States Consul in Rome, was beaten by black shirt fascist militia and left unconscious in the streets the day of the recent abortive attempt to kill Mussolini with a bomb. The report says that Mr. Brennan was on his way from the American consulate general to Chigi palace to hear the Duce speak to the crowd after his escape from death. He stopped at a shop, and as he came out he was set upon by a group of black shirts, identified as belonging to the militia, comprising the supplementary fascist police force. It was declared that the reason for the beating was the fact that he was a foreigner and particularly an American. Mr. Brennan was completely unconscious for a time from blows on the head with clubs and canes.

Reports of the occurrence were strictly censored by the authorities in Italy (Scottish Rite Masonic news bulletin, Sept. 1926).

Intentional or not, it certainly would have made a lasting impression.

The September 17th and 18th issues of the San Francisco Chronicle and the Chicago Daily Tribune carried the news as well; headlines such as “U.S. Consul Aid Beaten by Fascists” and “ATTACK U.S. CONSUL IN ROME”. The source was an anonymous “United States diplomatic official” who was following Brennan close behind. The San Francisco Chronicle elaborated that Brennan was beat simply because he was a foreigner and an American. “The following day,” they report, “Warren D. Robbins, Charge affairs, in the absence of Henry P. Fletcher sent the Fascist government a critical note.” Afterwards, they noted, “reports of the occurrence were repeatedly censored.”

Gigliotti fared a little better under the fascist regime. Due to his efforts to help veterans in both Italy and America, Gigliotti was awarded the Knight Commander of the Order of the Crown of Italy. It was described in a newspaper account at the time in the following language:

One memorable day, in the month of May, 1926, in the government house in Rome in the presence of the members of the American colony and the Italian parliament, a distinguished group sat behind a long table on the dais. In the center of that group appeared King Victor Emmanuel III. At the right of the table sat the premier, Benito Mussolini. Associated with him were Lieut. Col. E. R. Warner McCabe, commander of Rome post No. 1 of the American Legion and identified with the embassy of the United States of America; American Ambassador to Italy Henry P. Fletcher; the governor of Rome, Cremonesi; minister of war, General Cavalierol; the king’s aide-de-camp, General Mattllio, and the duke of Astrid and his aide-de-camp. Before this group of Italian notables and in the presence of the great gathering that day stood the Rev. Frank B. Gigliotti. Upon him in recognition of his services to the Italian government and his labors for the expatriated soldier of Italy and Europe, there was conferred upon him the title of knight commander of the crown of Italy. It was the crowning moment in his life. It was his hour of personal strength (Grill).

A month earlier, as adjutant of Rome post No. 1 of the American Legion, Gigliotti was in the US and testified on behalf of veterans who stayed in Europe after the war. Public hearings were being held on various bills proposed which would settle the issue of how to repatriate veterans, along with their wives and children, back into the US. “While the committee had long been sympathetic with the proposal that American Veterans might return to the United States regardless of quota restrictions,” reads the 1926 House Report, “Mr. Gigliotti’s statement was so convincing that the committee felt that it should hasten desirable legislation.”

In the following months a bill was passed and President Coolidge promised to sign it. Gigliotti went back to Italy, June 1926, to share the good news:

Commander [of Rome Post, American Legion] Gigliotti was welcomed back to Rome by United States Ambassador Henry P. Fletcher. Premier Mussolini received him.

Throughout the day of his return veterans packed the Legion headquarters singing “The Star-Spangled Banner,” “Over There” and other war songs.

When commander Gigliotti said, “Congress has done you justice; you can all live under Old Glory again,” a veteran, three times wounded, knelt and amid the tears of his comrades kissed the Stars and Stripes (“War Veterans in Italy Rejoice”).

In July, 1927, Gigliotti purchased a ranch near Terry, Montana, “probably the finest tract in the mountains”: 320 acres with close to 1,700 trees (principally ash and cottonwood), including three springs, which he intends to unite into a lake, The Independent Record reported. Gigliotti, the article disclosed, was “both a Presbyterian minister and lecturer on the faculty of the Methodist college at Rome.” A year later The Independent Record (March 4, 1928) further reported that Gigliotti’s position “as a member of the faculty” at the Methodist college at Rome was coming to an end; he would soon bring back families from Italy to farm sheep on his ranch. He expected to arrive in Terry, Montana, on April 15th, and would pastor at a church there.

He stayed in Montana, and then Oregon, for two or three years before finally settling in California, in the area surrounding San Diego — La Mesa and then Lemon Grove.

The earliest instance of Masonic affiliation in the public record is a San Diego Union, May 7, 1934 article. It was reported that (Bro) Dr. Frank B. Gigliotti was the speaker at Blackmer Lodge No. 442 on the subject “Masonry in Italy.” He must have been familiarized with the topic already, likely having been a Mason in 1920s Italy, as was Earl Brennan.  Another announcement in the San Diego Union was printed in the May 3rd, 1939 edition.  At the San Diego Knights Templar Commandery, “[t]he Rev. Frank Gigliotti will speak on the ‘The Present Challenge to World Masonry.’ … [He] has spent many years in Europe and is well-informed on his subject.”

Outspoken Supporter of Mussolini

In the mid-30s Gigliotti was the pastor at the California State assembly and was appointed to the board of the state social welfare and relief committee by Governor Frank F. Merriam in 1935. Also in the 1930s, Gigliotti would make his rounds on the speaking circuit, denouncing communism and praising Mussolini.

In an interview with the Oregonian, August 12, 1930, Gigliotti laments the fact that France was interfering in Italy’s imperial ambitions in Africa. Italy needed part of the old Congo, he asserted. “She would improve it, and make it a fine place for the home of hundreds of thousands of Italians.” The good intentions of Mussolini were highlighted. “I went to Italy after the war [in 1924] very much prejudiced against Mussolini,” he said. “I had been in Rome only three months when I saw that this leader was doing a wonderful work for the nation, that his government was a great blessing. He is intensely patriotic, and is making the country a rich and happy one” (“French Get Blame”).

October 24, 1933, Gigliotti speaks at the San Diego Hammer Club; praises Mussolini and the “forming of the Fascist government to combat Bolshevism in Italy, and the ‘disciplining of the nation’” (“Conditions in Italy”).

The San Diego Union, August 27, 1934, reported that, the next day, Gigliotti would be discussing “Mussolini and the Cooperate State” at a meeting of the San Diego Electric club.

On September 7, 1934, Gigliotti spoke at the San Diego Hi Hatters club, the Evening Tribune (Sep 8) reported:


Just as Italy is doing at the present time, Americans must exert every effort to stamp out Communism, asserted Dr. Frank B. Gigliotti, founder of the American Legion in Italy and prominent among war veterans in this country … He praised Mussolini’s leadership and described him as “a great patriot.”

In the same newspaper, September 25th, 1934, we read:


Dr. Frank B. Gigliotti, past state commander of the American Legion, department of Italy, will be a special speaker this evening at the League Against Communism. Gigliotti’s subject will be “Principles and Purposes of the League Against Communism.”… Gigliotti is an authority on Communism, having spent a number of years in the study of Communistic activity.

It’s not clear exactly what this “League Against Communism” was, however it definitely wasn’t the more well-known (Jewish) organization by the same name, founded by Benjamin Schultz more than a decade later. Announcements about the existence of the League appeared in late March, 1934, with no explanation; only that they would be meeting and the public was invited. Weekly meetings were held from that point on, frequently in the Lincoln school, and they managed to book many prominent citizens of California. By August, however, the education board refused the League’s use of the Lincoln school after an accusation that it “was merely the [fascist] Silver Shirt organization” in disguise (San Diego Union, August 7, 1934: 6).

A September 30th, 1934, San Diego Union article featured Gigliotti recounting his personal interactions with Mussolini. Before he went to Italy, Gigliotti claimed he was quoted as calling the fascist leader “the greatest tyrant since Nero.” Once he got to know him, however, Mussolini had won him over. “From the fellowship I had with him I came to the conclusion that he is not a tyrant,” said Gigliotti. “He is doing everything in his power to help his people.”


Additional reports in the San Diego Union round out the late-1930s.

  • “Fascism Answer to Communism, Campione Says,” a March 9, 1937 story headlined. The talk was held at the Hammer Club, of which Gigliotti, according to the newspaper, was chairman.
  • April 1, 1938: “Fascism’s greatest accomplishment is the attainment of a unity which Italy never before has known,” Gigliotti told an audience of the Little Theater forum. “Under leadership of Mussolini, Italy will continue her ambitious march exemplified in the Ethiopian conquest and participation in the Spanish war.”
  • And on June 3, 1938, speaking again at the Little Theater forum, the newspaper’s headline was “Mussolini Described As ‘Common Soul.’”

Earl Brennan and the Italian Prominenti

During WWII, according to his obituary in the Sept. 25, 1975 edition of the Lemon Grove Review, Gigliotti was “chief consulate of special services in the Office of Strategic Services from 1941 to 1945.”

Gigliotti testified on the matter at the Hearings Before the Committee on Military Affairs, in 1945:

Thank you very much for your statement, Doctor.

Mr. MARTIN. Your service was in the Office of Strategic Services during the war?

Dr. GIGLIOTTI. I was consultant to the Italian-Albanian section. I was assistant to Mr. Earl Brennan, the chief of the Italian section, and I helped in many ways which I am not free to state openly here yet, Mr. Martin.”

In his autobiography, The Fabulous Frank Gigliotti: An Incredible Career, La Mesa, Ca., 1950, p.9 (scan in Butindaro 406), Gigliotti reproduces a letter of recognition from Brennan:



September 29, 1945

Dr. Frank B. Gigliotti

7903 El Capitan Drive

La Mesa, California

Dear Frank:

While you already have from me a more formal letter of appreciation, I have just thought that I should like to write you this very personal letter, at the time of the termination of the Office of Strategic Services, to tell you how grateful I am to you for your unselfish devotion of time, thought and activity in our military and associated activities of the past 3 1/2 years. You have, indeed, given generously of your thought and energy, and it has constantly been a great comfort to my immediate staff as well as myself and all those associated with me in our activities in the Mediterranean area, to have not only your advice and sound counsel, but also the moral sustaining strength of your association with us in our constantly recurring difficult times. I feel too, in this connection, that your good wife, Maybelle, has shared greatly in the contribution through her graciousness and unselfishness demonstrated so long and constantly during the three long and dark years while you were frequently absent from home in order to help us. And all this, of course, has special emphasis when one knows that it was your own unselfish desire not to be compensated financially or materially for your time and assistance.

The purpose of this is to tell you in this simple personal letter that your assistance to us, have made during the critical years just past, a substantial contribution to the success of the American arms in the Mediterranean Theatre of Operations, and to the liberation of the people of Italy from Fascism and Axis domination, and also to the welfare of the people of Italy following their liberation.

I know that all the officers of my staff in Washington and of my organization in the field, as well as all of our associates within the organization, will want to join me in what I say to you at this time, and also in affectionate best wishes for the continued good health of you and Maybelle and all the members of your family; we hope that you will be able to continue for many more years to serve in the same helpful way our country and our fellow men.

Very Sincerely yours,

Earl Brennan

Chief, Italian & Albanian Section

Head of the Secret Intelligence (SI) Italian Section of the OSS, Earl Brennan was the architect of the so-called “Vessel Project.” According to Ronald Filippelli, in American Labor And Postwar Italy:

From his wartime OSS position he masterminded one of the great intelligence coups of World War II. In late 1942 a high official of the Papal Secretariat offered the Americans information on strategic bombing targets in Japan. Brennan, along with his Vatican co-conspirator, Monsignor Giovanni Battista Montini, the future Pope Paul VI, arranged for the information, obtained by Vatican diplomats in Tokyo, to reach Washington through a circuitous route that included the Vatican, the Irish embassy in Rome, Dublin, and London. His contacts in Italy, including those with the Vatican, made him an ideal choice for the Italian assignment after the war. Brennan balanced his staff with agents from the left and the right. Peter Tompkins, David Downs, Milton Wolff, and Irving Fajanis were recruited to make contacts with the Communists and the resistance. Wolff and Fajanis were accused later by a Senate investigating committee of having been Soviet agents while working in Italy. On the right were Serge Obelensky and Andre Bourgain, who worked with the Italian Secret Service (36).

You’ll recall the statement by Richard Harris Smith about Brennan on assignment in Canada meeting with Mafioso chiefs persecuted by Mussolini. Authors Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair take it a bit further and identify the mafia liaison as none other than Monsignor Giovanni Battista Montini. The future Pope, they wrote, “suggested that Brennan recruit the services of a range of Italian exiles, including Masons, business leaders and members of the Mafia” (116).

A series of Mafia purges in Italy — exile, torture and murder at the hands of Cesare Mori — had nearly wiped them out. It didn’t take much persuasion when the possibility of revenge was proposed. “Thus when Earl Brennan met with the dons in Montreal they were delighted to offer cooperation … The Mafia chieftains helped Brennan establish contacts with Sicilian Mafiosi and also with recent immigrants to the United States.” (117).

Lucky Luciano was the most high-profile of contacts — OSS and later the Naval Intelligence. On a possible Brennan/Luciano meeting, in The Mafia and the Allies: Sicily 1943 and the Return of the Mafia professor Ezio Costanzo wrote:

A former Treasury Department officer known as Mr. White, who had been recruited by Earl Brennan, proposed that Max Corvo have a meeting with Luciano. White was in the process of arranging the meeting but it is almost certain that it never took place even though the Herlands inquiry in the services of Luciano to the U.S. Navy someone mentioned two mysterious visits to Luciano in jail where the name of the visitor had never been revealed. Most probably that visitor was Earl Brennan. There is one document drafted by the OSS one month before the invasion and establishing the conduct of operations that mentions the tasks and methods to be used in ­Sicily for intelligence operatives where it may be possible to use local criminal elements (85).

Further mob contacts may have been facilitated through masonry, specifically at the Italian Garibaldi Lodge No. 542 in New York. On their website, Gigliotti is listed as a member. A striking claim by the former Grand Master of the Grand Orient in Italy, Giuliano Di Bernardo, is that the Garibaldi lodge is practically overrun with mob members. They “infiltrated the famous lodge Garibaldi: a concentration of members in the gray area between Masonry and the underworld,” he said. “I remember once when I went on a visit to the lodge, I thought I was surrounded by all the leaders of Cosa Nostra in America” (Mola 2008: 348).

American Committee for Italian Democracy

It was during his OSS service that Gigliotti went to work as secretary of the American Committee for Italian Democracy. Headed by fellow-mason, Judge Ferdinand Pecora (New Age 48: 54); they began “broadcasting shortwave to Italy, and for some time prior to the Badoglio armistice urged the Italian people to surrender and set up a democratic form of government,” reported the Lodi News-Sentinel, Oct 2, 1943.

The “Italo-American steering committee” pledged to work together despite past political differences. Named were quite the assemblage: Judge Felix Forte of Boston, national Grand Venerable of the Sons of Italy; Judge Eugene V. Alessandroni of Philadelphia, Grand Venerable of the Pennsylvania Sons of Italy; Generoso Pope, self-made millionaire, editor of Il Progresso Italo-Americano; Baltimore congressman Thomas D’Alesandro; prominent banker A.P. Giannini who founded the Bank of Italy in San Francisco (merged with Bank of America); John C. Montana of Buffalo, labor racketeer and underboss of the Magaddino crime family. Further prominenti are identified in a Corbis archive photograph, dated July 23, 1943: Luigi Antonini, first vice president of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union; Supreme Court Judge Felix Benvenga of New York; Judge Anthony Savarese, Queens Surrogate; and Dr. Charles Fama, chairman of the medical board of the New York City Retirement System. Also on the committee was New York City mayor Fiorello La Guardia (Pearson 12) who, like Gigliotti, was a member of the Garibaldi Lodge No. 542 in New York.

“This committee represents Italo-Americans from all political groups — Democrats and Republicans, some with Fascist leanings before Pearl Harbor, some bitterly anti-Fascist,” syndicated columnist Drew Pearson wrote in July 1943. “[B]ut all united now to do two things: (1) take Italy out of the war immediately; (2) save Italy from the mistakes of a Giraud/De Gaulle cat-and-dog fight.” The demands were further elucidated in a July 27th, 1943 article in The Brooklyn Daily Eagle: that Fascist party/organizations “be disbanded immediately”; all anti-Fascist political prisoners freed; that a free press and democratic organizations be established; and “that the United Nations governments avoid any imposition of anti-democratic deals.”

These moves by the Italian prominenti were encouraged and supported by the OSS and the State Department. Union leader Luigi Antonini, in particular, proved quite helpful. The Labor Section of the OSS in Italy, after all, was directed by Brennan.

“[A]s early as 1942, the AFL [American Federation of Labor] and the Italian American Labor Council (IALC) — an organization founded by the ILGWU’s Luigi Antonini — anticipated the focus of Washington’s anti-Communist Cold War policies,” wrote Alessandro Brogi.

The AFL was first, even in the midst of the Grand Alliance politics, to alert the public in the United States and Europe about the dangers of Soviet subversion. That year [1942] it already cooperated — through the ILGWU — with the OSS (including the CIO’s Arthur J. Goldberg, nominally leader of the OSS’s Labor Section) to conduct intelligence operations in contact with the resistance movements in Europe, and with the clear intention of favoring the moderate Socialist factions within those groups. … Immediately at the time of the Italian armistice, the IALC and the AFL inaugurated a campaign to raise $250,000 to help restore the occupied country’s “free” trade unions, identified at first with the moderate Socialist elements (Brogi 62).

Max Corvo, one of Brennan’s first recruits to the OSS Italian Section, independently confirmed that Luigi Antonini was officially cooperating with the OSS (Corvo 185). In fact, funds from Antonini’s IALC destined for the newly established Italian General Confederation of Labour (CGIL) — formed through the Pact of Rome, June 1944, which “divided power equally among Communists, Socialists, and Catholics” — were sent through Brennan:

IALC efficiency was entirely due to the fact that the money went through OSS channels in diplomatic pouches. On December 12, 1944, the first of the payments from IALC to use this channel, in the amount of $10,000, moved to Italy through Earl Brennan’s good offices. The money, Antonini told Brennan, was to be transmitted to Italy for disposal “in accordance with our instructions” (Filippelli 39).

Operative A-70 Joins the Van Deman Network

Beginning in 1937 (McCoy 2009b: 52) and through to his OSS years, Gigliotti was tapped for service by the mysterious army Major General Ralph H. Van Deman, “the father of military intelligence” who died in 1952. Working covertly during the Spanish-American war, Van Deman was later assigned to counter insurgency in the Philippines, spent a year as head of “military intelligence in Washington from May 1917, to June 1918,” and organized volunteer civilian spies. He retired in 1929, but for over 25 years compiled a “secret collection of reports on 125,000 allegedly subversive persons” (McCoy 2009a: 293, 321).

Van Deman was exceedingly valuable to the establishment and continued to supply the government — Military Intelligence, the FBI and J. Edgar Hoover in particular — with reports from his many active agents.

Historian Alfred McCoy uncovered archival material identifying “former California state welfare commissioner,” Dr. Frank Gigliotti, “as [Van Deman’s] operative A-70.” Gigliotti, writes McCoy, “provided both exceptional information about Italian espionage and empathy toward the Italian-American community”:

As G-2 Washington continued to build its dossiers on enemy aliens in mid-1940, Van Deman forwarded “lists of Italian suspects compiled by Dr. Frank Gigliotti which may prove helpful,” describing this source as “well informed.” In forwarding a similar list to the local offices of FBI, G-2, and ONI, Van Deman described this asset in glowing terms as “a very well known citizen of California” whose “loyalty and Americanism are unquestioned” and who “wields great influence” with Italian-Americans (emphasis added; McCoy 2009b: 50).

Julia Besozzi, 1942

Julia Besozzi, 1942

A 30 September, 1942, A-70 Confidential Report, establishes that Gigliotti began working for Van Deman in 1937. After the declaration of war on Italy, December 11, 1941, Italian Americans found themselves slapped with curfews and some were relocated and/or incarcerated. Gigliotti objected to “the forced removal of Mrs. Julia Besozzi who has been acting as his ‘look out’ inside the Italian Consulate General in San Francisco since 1937 when the general had asked him to develop such a source.” Van Deman was reminded that Besozzi had provided them with valuable information over the years — reports on fascist spies, and the activities of Captain Mannu who was “connected with the Italian secret police or OVRA”; attempts by the consulate to collect funds, through the Sons of Italy, “for propaganda purposes” — and they needed someone like her who could get “as close as possible to the inner circles.” Van Deman agreed, and opposed the relocation. Besozzi’s information had unearthed subversive Mussolini agents, Van Deman informed his San Diego G-2 contact. Further, Gigliotti is “well known for ‘his loyalty and reliability,’ and his report was ‘absolutely accurate.’ “(McCoy 2009b: 52).

As Gigliotti cultivated his ‘look out,’ the information gathered from Mrs. Besozzi was surely a key factor in his waning support for the fascist dictator — coincided by the abrupt end, in mid-1938, of Gigliotti’s public adoration of Mussolini. Moreover, in 1938 Mussolini cemented his relationship with Hitler, and later instituted the unpopular Italian Racial Laws in November, apparently to appease his German allies.

In his new role as anti-fascist agent, Gigliotti attended the Order Sons of Italy national conference in late 1940. A-70 informed Van Deman, as well as G-2 counterintelligence and the FBI directly, that he had secured the victory of Judge Felix Forte to head the organization over another candidate with “very definite Pro-Fascist leanings” (McCoy 2009b: 50-51). This is the same Judge Forte who would later be involved with Gigliotti in the American Committee for Italian Democracy during the war. There were more than a few members in that organization who also belonged to the Sons of Italy — Gigliotti among them, being the leader of the San Francisco Sons of Italy (Miller 46).

Alfred W. McCoy highlights seven “detailed reports,” 1940-41, of Gigliotti informing on over a dozen of his fellow Italian Americans.

Professor Paolo Valenti of Washington University, St. Louis who teaches “the grandeur of Fascism”; Rev. John Maria Zazzara of Chester, Pennsylvania honored by the Italian government for “raising funds during the Ethiopian campaign”; Mrs. Prisca Marino, president of the Circolo Recreativo Italiano in San Diego, who is a “most ardent exponent of the Fascist ideal” and, as dress maker in Coronado, can “obtain information from wives of Naval personnel”; and Nino Calabro, Italian Consular attaché in Pittsburgh who may “hold a confidential position in the Italian secret police.” A year later, A-70 singled out Mrs. Prisca Marino, saying she “would not hesitate in presenting information to the Axis Powers” and her contacts with “Mr. Albert Campione, Manager of the Coronado Hotel” and a lieutenant in the Italian army, should be “watched carefully.” On the left, A-70 warned that Carmelo Zito, “publisher of an Italian extreme left wing paper” in San Francisco, has “been associated with Harry Bridges and his type.” (McCoy 2009b: 51)

Interesting to note that Gigliotti specifically singled out “Mr. Albert Campione, Manager of the Coronado Hotel.” Recall that just five years earlier Gigliotti was hosting the same Alberto Campione at the Hammer Club. “Defending his native Italy, Campione asserted that Fascism, as exemplified under the leadership of Mussolini, was the only answer to the communistic element that threatened to acquire control of the Italian people,” the San Diego Union (Mar 9, 1937) reported. Those who say otherwise, according to Campione, are “paid propagandists” who spread “insidious poison.”

By late 1942, Agent A-70 reported he could no longer find anything suspicious within the Italian American community in the San Diego area: “a splendid spirit …prevails throughout the entire community.” Gigliotti, therefore, resigned as a FBI informant, December 1st, 1942, and concentrated on his work for the OSS — though presumably maintaining ties with Van Deman.

On the same day of his resignation Gigliotti had shared with the general a detailed strategic plan for Italy:

[R]ecommending, first, strategic bombing to knock the region’s giant hydroelectric dams easily located on the maps he has “placed as the disposal of the Office of Strategic Services”; next, plan operations with the assurance that US troops will be “received… as liberators” in this region, which has long felt “antagonism to dictatorship”; and, finally, provide advance troops with interpreters who speak the many local dialects of this culturally diverse region (McCoy 2009a: 329-330).

Gigliotti and Van Deman at the time both lived in the San Diego area, and if they hadn’t become acquainted through mutual membership in veterans associations — the American Legion in particular — it could easily have been at a masonic lodge. According to the 1931 American Biography: A New Cyclopedia, General Van Deman was “affiliated with the Free and Accepted Masons, in which he has taken all degrees of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, including the thirty-second degree of the Consistory” (Cutter 256). Another mason living in California during the 1930s, who had contact with both men, is General Joseph W. Stilwell. Diary entries for 1933 has him attending a dinner party at Van Deman’s house (Sept. 13); and on Oct. 19, Stilwell’s entry reads: “Usual lunch. A Mr. Gigliotti told what a saint Mussolini is.”

More significantly, Van Deman and Gigliotti were cogs in the machine of a pervasive surveillance network, mainly targeting trade unionists, leftists, and communists. In California, throughout the 1920s and 30s, veterans groups and patriotic associations such as the American Legion, “American Defense Association, the American Vigilant Intelligence Federation, and the Daughters of the American Revolution” joined forces with the Better America Federation (BAF). The BAF, operational until 1963, was one of the first groups Van Deman reached out to, “and his most active collaborator” (Judkins 45, 77). Founded in 1917 as the Commercial Federation of California “and led by Harry M. Haldeman (grandfather of Nixon’s chief of staff), the organization initially defined itself as a lobbying organization for California businesses” (Stromquist 28). Reimagined in 1920 as the Better America Federation, its “power came from its strength as a bloc of influential businessmen, who would collectively isolate fellow employers who refused to join their ranks and enforce the extreme local interpretation of an open-shop” (Judkins 28). Haldeman was a plutocrat at heart and fantasized about replacing the California legislator with a commission of fifteen, “because it could control 15 men much more easily than 120” (32).

BAF’s foray into surveillance and subversion began in the early 20s with recruitment of the children of prominent business families. They were instructed to surveil the schools for radical tendencies and compile reports “of what is going on, both as to students and teachers that uphold radical doctrines and views.” The names of the offending teachers were passed on to school authorities; issues of their newsletter, The Commonwealth, were put in teachers’ mailboxes all throughout the state and attempts were made at inserting “anti-labour propaganda into the school curriculum” (42). By 1925 BAF was targeting the Communist Party USA (CPUSA), and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Some of the dirty work was carried out by Captain William Hynes, LAPD Intelligence Bureau chief and head of the so-called Red Squad. Hynes’ career was supported by the BAF and he was a major contributor to the organization (53-54). He would regularly share intelligence reports with the BAF as well as local businesses and executives — even the Ku Klux Klan (Horne 60). Confidential reports from the Red Squad were shared with Van Deman as well (McCoy 2009b: 39).

From its complex of “fifteen connecting offices” on South Broadway, packed with communist documents and publications, the [Better America] Federation dispatched agents to monitor communist meetings and sent experts to give “irrefutable evidence…on security matters” to congressional committees and federal agencies, battling what it described as the “gigantic conspiracy” threatening America. In July 1932, this office started [what] became a long correspondence with Van Deman … (42-43).

Margaret Kerr, the long-time secretary of the BAF, worked closely with Van Deman. “Kerr carried out a zealous crusade to unmask the Red Hydra and urge true Americans to recapture their government,” wrote Joseph Bendersky in The Jewish Threat: Anti-Semitic Politics of the U.S. Army.

Not content with accumulating intelligence and working through contacts, she personally went undercover within a Communist cell in Los Angeles; and when the opportunity arose, she traveled to Washington to testify before congressional committees. Throughout the 1930s, Van Deman read numerous submissions by Kerr purporting, among other things, to offer “proof of the sinister ties between Jewry, Bolshevism, and Freemasonry” (Bendersky 22).

The last detail about a Judeo-Masonic-Bolshevik conspiracy is interesting in light of the fact that Van Deman was a Freemason of good standing. It’s safe to say Van Deman was adept at separating the wheat from the chaff when he took the time to investigate further. But the Communist threat, whatever its makeup, was the overriding concern of conservatives during the 20s and 30s. Attempts at linking freemasonry to communism was par for the course in these circles — had been for decades (and still is) — with bits of anti-Semitic rhetoric in good measure. Van Deman, though, wasn’t especially hostile toward the Jews, nor was Gigliotti for that matter. Nevertheless, Van Deman would collect, file, and forward reports of this nature to various intelligence agencies of the government (a bit credulously, as documented in Bendersky).

Gigliotti had some connection with the BAF during these years. “Doctor to Talk on Constitution,” was the headline in the San Diego Union, Sep. 18, 1934. It was constitution week and he would be addressing the Better America Federation with a talk entitled “What Shall We Do With Our Constitution?” (Gigliotti, less than two weeks prior, was praising fascist Italy, Mussolini as a great patriot, and would continue to do so for years to come. A more pressing talk would have been how the Constitution should protect the public against fascism under the guise of “Americanism” and the illegal disregard and subversion of the first and fourth amendments by the likes of Van Deman, the MID, the FBI, G-2 and the BAF.) The next day he was introduced at a Daughters of the American Revolution annual dinner, along with other prominent legionnaires; “Henry C. Gardiner, president of the Better America federation, also was introduced” (Evening Tribune, Sep 19, 1934).

Pressure Politics: Evangelical-Scottish Rite Alliance

After the war Gigliotti re-emerged as secretary-treasurer of a Presbyterian organization called Citizens United for Religious Emancipation (CURE), and was also the vice chairman of the Commission of Evangelical Action of the National Association of Evangelicals. “Together with Dr. Charles Fama, Dr. Gigliotti was sent to Italy where they helped write the articles of freedom of assemblage, association and freedom of the Italian constitution” (“Assembly of God to Hear Dr. Gigliotti”).

CURE was organized in 1946 by Dr. Rufus Weaver, “a southern baptist and the former president of Mercer University in Macon Georgia” (Casey 110); also a Scottish Rite Freemason (New Age 54: 692). In the same 1946 Scottish Rite New Age Magazine issue, Frank Gigliotti and Earl Brennan are mentioned as well:

Frank B. Gigliotti, one of the most active members of the association, was given the privilege and distinction of pinning on the breast of Mr. Brennan the Distinguished Service Merit Medal. The principal speaker of the occasion was, of course, the Hon. Earl Brennan, who made quite a hit with his address (237).

CURE was created through a series of meetings in a Washington Presbyterian church, “in the office of Senator Johnston of South Carolina, and in the Scottish Rite Temple” (Ebersole 68) – the House of the Temple in Washington, the headquarters of the Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite of the Southern Jurisdiction. Senator Olin D. Johnston was also a Scottish Rite Mason (New Age 45: 694).

The final decision was made at the Wardman Park Hotel on February 5, 1947. Gigliotti was among the participants. And besides Weaver, others included Elmer E. Rogers, editor of The New Age Magazine; H. H. Votaw, editor of the Adventist magazine, Liberty; Mrs. Charl Ormond Williams, President of the National Education Association; and Dr. Clyde Taylor of the National Association of Evangelicals. “The group decided that some sort of organization should be established to lobby strictly in the religious liberty field” (Archer 68).

Luke Eugene Ebersole, in Church Lobbying in the Nation’s Capital, wrote:

The immediate objective of CURE was “to keep out of the Italian Constitution, then being prepared, the union of government with papacy which had prevailed in Italy.” Several thousand dollars were raised by contributions from fraternal and religious groups, and Frank Gigliotti and Charles Fama were sent to Italy at CURE expense (68).

CURE was renamed Protestants and Other Americans United for Separation of Church and State (POAU) after Weaver’s death in 1947; leadership was exercised by Dr. Joseph Martin Dawson, Texan Baptist preacher, a Scottish Rite Freemason (New Age 61: 440), and first director of the Southern Joint Baptist Committee on Public Affairs. POAU, writes Professor Shawn Casey, “would be one of the last para-church organizations in the protestant world that drew from the full spectrum of Protestantism. The common anti-Catholicism of conservative, moderate, and liberal Protestants was the glue that held POAU together” (110). Scottish Rite Sovereign Commander John H. Cowles “presented a check that assisted in paying POAU’s first-year expenses” (111). The seed money was on behalf of his Order, a generous $38,000 (Holscher 224 n.36).

It’s unclear when Gigliotti first became acquainted with Charles Fama but as was previously shown, they were both on the American Committee for Italian Democracy during the war.

Charles Fama was a long-time mason (New Age 53: 371), a tireless anti-fascist, and an accomplished anti-Catholic with Ku Klux Klan sympathies. (Besides hating black people, the KKK fear a ‘papist’ takeover of America.) On July 5th, 1928, Fama spoke at a 3,000-strong Klan rally, informing them that “Mussolini and the Pope were combined to overthrow the American Government and deliver the nation to Fascism,” the New York Evening Post reported. Fama attended another Klan rally on July 3rd, 1930, and was described by the Brooklyn Daily Eagle as “a Klan radio propagandist.” A 1934 board of Alderman unanimously found Charles Fama guilty of bigotry, and moved for his dismissal from the New York City Employees Retirement Fund. Mayor LaGuardia, however, steadfastly refused and wouldn’t budge even when it became an issue during the mayoral race in 1941, characterizing it as a ‘petty matter’ (Catholic Courier 6; Jewish Telegraphic Agency, June 20, 1934; Brooklyn Eagle: Jul 21, 1930 and Sept 21, 1941). It wasn’t revealed in the reports, however, that both Fama and LaGuardia were Freemasons — surely the reason for the mayor’s lack of action on the matter.

Frank Gigliotti and Charles Fama set out for Italy, March 17, 1947. They had sent a letter to Ambassador James C. Dunn protesting “against inclusion of the Lateran pact and concordat in Italy’s constitution” and met with him on April 2nd and a few days later with Foreign Minister Carlo Sforza. The former leader of the Italian exile movement in the US and abroad, Sforza greeted Gigliotti and Fama as old friends (“Envoy in Italy”; “Italian Foreign Minister Hears”). “Closely identified with the introduction of American power into Italy” wrote James Edward Miller, “[a]fter the war, as foreign minister, Sforza was a leading spokesman for Italian participation in the Marshall Plan, European Union, and Atlantic Alliance” (Miller ix).

Pentecostals in Italy were being persecuted, they charged: church meetings shut down and Assembly of God ministers imprisoned. The Chicago Tribune, April 9, 1947, reported that the police chief of Trapani province “confirmed that an order to close the Pentecostal church at Trapani had come from the ministry of interior in Rome.” The ministry justified the action, said the police chief, “by quoting existing fascist laws.” The local Catholic clergy were constantly watching him and he had no choice but to enforce the order.

Gigliotti and Fama highlighted the fact “that the Vatican treaty, known as the Lateran concordat, signed by Mussolini and the late Pope Pius XI, would destroy the Italian people’s freedom of worship guaranteed by the Italian peace treaty” (“Liberty of All Worshipers”). Article VII of the Lateran Pact guaranteed Catholicism as state religion, subsidized by the government. Article XIV banned secret societies and freemasonry. The inclusion of these in the Italian Constitution, they said, was contrary to Article 15, Section l, of the Peace Treaty, February 10, 1947, ratified by both governments:

Italy shall take all measures necessary to secure to all persons under Italian jurisdiction, without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion, the enjoyment of human rights and of the fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression, of press and publication, of religious worship, of political opinion and of public meeting (“U.S. Asked to Enforce” 33).

It was claimed in the same newspaper article that Frank Gigliotti was in fact the author of the clause — which may indeed be the case, since he was the go-to expert on Italy for the OSS, Van Deman, G-2 counterintelligence and the FBI.

By the time they met with Premier Alcide De Gasperi on April 29th, intimidation was the preferred method. Claiming to speak for sixty million Protestants in the US — and, implicitly, the Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite — Gigliotti and Fama “threatened to lobby against any further relief for Italy in the Senate at Washington unless their demands are met.” Gasperi promised freedom for all and assured them that the Italian Government “has no intention of starting a persecution campaign against Italian masonry.”

Dr. Gigliotti and Dr. Fama said that they recalled to him that masonry had always had as its great ideal the perpetuation of a democratic government based on liberty, equality and justice, ‘the trinity of masonry throughout the world.’ They said that Signor de Gasperi’s statement that he, as head of the Government, would not persecute masonry, was unsatisfactory to them, because another Government might take advantage of Article XIV against the masons (The Tablet 234).

Apparently, the trip was successful. The San Diego Union, July 17, 1947, reported that Gigliotti was back in the States “after helping write and enact two articles to the Italian Constitution.” According to the “Garibaldi Lodge History” webpage, Gigliotti is “credited of being one of the Masons who helped to guide the writing into the Italian Constitution of the three articles XVII-XVIII-XIX which deal with freedom of assemblage, association and freedom of religious worship.” Whether it was in fact three rather than two articles of the Constitution, the Masons in Italy were thankful. A March 3, 1951 San Diego Union headline read “Italian Masons Honor Gigliotti.” Made honorary members of the Grand Orient of Italy were Gigliotti and “Melvin Johnson, of Boston, supreme commander of the Scottish Rite, northern jurisdiction, for Masonic relief work in Italy, and Dr. Charles Fama, of New York, for aiding in improving the Italian constitution.”

A few more visits to Italy occurred in 1948 threw to 1950 and included a larger delegation, as the 1948 photograph below shows (Pentecostal Evangel 1787: 11)

Left to right: Dominic Lisciandrelli, General Secretary, Italian Branch, Assemblies of God; Anthony Piraino, Elder, It. Br., A. of G.; Dr. A. di Domenica, leader in Italian Baptist movement in the USA and pastor in Philadelphia for more than forty years; Dr. Frank B. Gigliotti, Secretary-Treasurer, Citizens United for Religious Emancipation; Dr. Clyde W. Taylor, Missions Secretary, National Association of Evangelicals; His Excellency Umberto Tarchiani, Italian Ambassador to the U. S. A,; Dr. Charles Fama, former Chairman, American Board of Medical Examiners, New York, now National President, American Committee for Religious Liberty in Italy; Umberto Gorietti, National Presbyter of the A. of G. in Rome, Italy; Alexander Mauriello, Treasurer, It. Br., A. of G.; Francis Panetta, Editor Il Resorgimento, national Italian evangelical publication.

Left to right: Dominic Lisciandrelli, General Secretary, Italian Branch, Assemblies of God; Anthony Piraino, Elder, It. Br., A. of G.; Dr. A. di Domenica, leader in Italian Baptist movement in the USA and pastor in Philadelphia for more than forty years; Dr. Frank B. Gigliotti, Secretary-Treasurer, Citizens United for Religious Emancipation; Dr. Clyde W. Taylor, Missions Secretary, National Association of Evangelicals; His Excellency Umberto Tarchiani, Italian Ambassador to the U. S. A,; Dr. Charles Fama, former Chairman, American Board of Medical Examiners, New York, now National President, American Committee for Religious Liberty in Italy; Umberto Gorietti, National Presbyter of the A. of G. in Rome, Italy; Alexander Mauriello, Treasurer, It. Br., A. of G.; Francis Panetta, Editor Il Resorgimento, national Italian evangelical publication.

In 1950, the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) led a successful campaign to force the resignation of the official US special envoy to the Vatican, Myron Taylor. Citing concerns about separation of church and state, and the inability of the envoy to help in the cause of religious freedom in Italy, the Protestant/Scottish Rite lobby demanded “that this unholy relationship between our government and the Papacy be terminated.” Taylor resigned on January 18, 1950, and a victory statement was issued the same day by Frederick C. Fowler, NAE Chairman; Clyde W. Taylor, NAE Secretary of Affairs in Washington; and Gigliotti, vice-chairman NAE Commission on Christian Liberty (Pentecostal Evangel 1867:10).

And it didn’t stop there. Throughout the 1950s, writes Shaun Casey:

[T]he NAE had produced a lush forest of anti-Catholic tracts. Titles such as Shall America Bow to the Pope of Rome? By James Deforest Murch, which included a front-page picture of the U.S. envoy to the Vatican, Myron Taylor, bowing before the pope, as well as Crimes of Intolerance: The Slaughter of Protestants in Mexico and the Fate of Protestants in Colombia by Clyde Taylor and The Truth about the Protestant Situation in Spain by an anonymous Spanish Christian, kept up a steady anti-Catholic drumbeat. The implication that Catholicism presented a threat to American values was clear (133).

When Kennedy announced his candidacy for the presidency, the same lobby put all resources into supporting Nixon.

Gigliotti wrote to Nixon [in 1960] that he “talked with some of the men in his office” and told them that the Masons would do all they could for Nixon in the “great fight ahead.” He went on to say that the NAE would like to help quietly and explained that the NAE represented about 10 million people. About three weeks later, he wrote to Nixon on NAE letterhead and elaborated that both organizations would leave no stone unturned on Nixon’s behalf. Judge Luther A. Smith, the sovereign grand commander of the Southern Masonic Jurisdiction, and the Honorable George Bushnell, the sovereign grand commander of the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction, both Democrats, wanted to meet Nixon privately and discuss how they were going to help the campaign. Apparently, because of Nixon’s flare-up of phlebitis, the meeting never took place, but the Masons were in the field on his behalf (96).

Gigliotti and the CIA

It’s safe to say Gigliotti had enjoyed intelligence work. His friends and bosses, too, recommended him for further service and had described him as a reliable source and unanimously respected. Gigliotti felt he had more to contribute and set about offering his services to the emerging CIA.

In 1946 Gigliotti was recommended to General Hoyt S. Vandenberg, who served as Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) from June 10, 1946 to May 1, 1947. In his declassified diary, it’s recorded that Vandenberg received a phone call, Sep. 23, 1946, from Colonel Leslie R. Forney, Acting Chief of the Military Intelligence Division, about Dr. Gigliotti. “Dr. Frank B. Gigliotti was Chief Consultant on Italian matters for OSS during the war,” the brief synopsis reads. “Served without pay. Highly recommended to Gen Van by Col Forney who states that he has good Italian contacts and is a good man; absolutely reliable.”

The common thread between Col. Leslie Forney and Gigliotti was General Van Deman. According to FBI Intelligence Division Inspector, T. E. Naughten, by early 1951 Forney was “spending several hours a day with the General at the General’s home both because of the long period of close friendship and also to serve as an assistant and adviser to the General in his work” (Van Deman HQ2 94). Ernie Lazar’s Van Deman (FBI) FOIA request also shows the General, dated Feb. 21, 1951, reminiscing about Forney:

I am glad that you hold Colonel Forney in such high regard and I assure you your confidence is not misplaced. I have worked with Colonel Forney since the old days of the Ninth Corps Area and we have been in pretty close touch ever since, so that it is extremely fortunate for my office that he has decided to make his home in San Diego and work with me (98).

Ten years earlier, in fact, Forney had assigned two clerks to Van Deman’s archives with money from the “army’s confidential funds.” Forney was also Van Deman’s liaison officer to FBI and G-2 (McCoy 2009a: 328). Since Gigliotti worked for the latter organizations, along with Van Deman, his intelligence was no doubt handled by Forney.

Vandenberg was succeeded by Rear Admiral Roscoe H. Hillenkoetter who became Director of Central intelligence, the Central Intelligence Group (CIG), and the CIA (May 1, 1947 to October 7, 1950).

Colonel Forney’s recommendation to Vandenberg apparently fell on deaf ears: Gigliotti was not activated for service. But it didn’t stop him from bragging that he was.

Hillenkoetter’s diary records a telephone conversation with Col. D. H. Galloway, Aug. 1st, 1947. He specifically asks Galloway “for information on Dr. Frank B. Gigliotti and if he worked for CIG.” Galloway tells him “definitely that Gigliotti had no connection with CIG.” That same day, Hillenkoetter calls the Office of Operations (OO) for further clarification:

Friday, 1 August 1947 – continued

[Redacted] OO (tel) – Director asked what information he had on Dr. Gigliotti. It seems Gigliotti has been going around Washington informing every one that he is working for CIG. [Redacted] informed Director that OO has several files on Gigliotti but that he has never worked for OO.

The “several files” they had on Gigliotti no doubt contained material similar to what was recounted in a July 7, 1947 secret State Department report, written by Walter Dowling, which has been quoted by numerous Italian investigators over the years.

Dowling was worried that Gigliotti was “trying to reactivate the old OSS gang in Italy as a means to fight communism.” He had two long meetings with Gigliotti and wrote that Frank considered it essential for the reformed socialist, anti-communist Giuseppe Saragat to enter the government. And to further help align non-communist parties, Gigliotti recommended two others: Publio Cortini and Colonel Randolfo Pacciardi (Imposimato 20). Pacciardi had “firm contacts” with the OSS during the war (Corvo 185), as did Cortini who was in fact a long-time friend of Gigliotti’s and would later figure in the Grand Orient deal brokered by Gigliotti.

A San Diego Union article (October 9, 1952) reported that “Dr. Publio Cortini, a leader of Masonry in Italy and also a lawyer and engineer in Rome, has been a San Diego visitor while en route to the California Grand Masonic lodge conclave at San Francisco.”

He and Mrs. Cortini have been guests of Dr. Frank B. Gigliotti, who first met Cortini in World War I. In World War II Dr. Cortini served in the Italian underground and was active in assisting the American O.S.S in Italy, said Gigliotti.

A dedicated mason all his life, Cortini was initiated in 1919 at the Rome Lodge “Rienzi,” and was eventually elected Grand Master of the Grand Orient of Italy, 1953 to 1956 (Mola 1980: 155). According to Denslow’s indispensable 10,000 Freemasons, Cortini worked with Marconi during his first experiments with radio transmission, hid “documents of the Grand Orient of France in his factory” during Mussolini’s persecution of Freemasonry, and was a member of a few lodges in Trenton, Missouri, receiving the honorary “Order of High Priesthood” and the “Order of Silver Trowel.”

Giuseppe Saragat would go on to have a successful career in politics: Deputy Prime Minister of Italy (1954-57), Minister of Foreign Affairs (1963-64) and eventually President of Italy (1964-71). A relationship with P2-boss Licio Gelli can also be established.

Journalist Philip Willan, in his article “Looking for Gelli,” recounts how on a visit to Gelli’s villa in 2005 he was allowed to look through some of Gelli’s personal correspondences:

A number of letters sent to Giulio Andreotti appeared to confirm a close personal relationship between the two men, widely surmised at since the moment when they appeared together in a photo wearing beaming smiles and dinner jackets during a diplomatic visit to Argentina by Andreotti. Andreotti — seven times prime minister of Italy — was by no means the only member of the political establishment to whom Gelli was close. An invitation dating from November 1969 showed Gelli had been invited to a boar hunt at the presidential estate at Castel Porziano under the presidency of Giuseppe Saragat, and there were many more that testified to his excellent political and social connections.

In Washington, July 1947, Saragat was taken aback by Gigliotti’s admission to having met the Bandit Salvatore Giuliano in Sicily, and that he wholeheartedly approved of Giuliano’s violent anti-communist tactics (Casarrubea 169). Interesting too that the infamous Portella della Ginestra May Day massacre occurred precisely at the time of the Gigliotti/Fama visit. There’s an OSS connection as well. According to Italian journalists Roberto Faenza and Marco Fini who conducted an interview with Earl Brennan in 1975, the weapons used by Giuliano were supplied by the polish Anders division with whom Captain Mike Stern was OSS liaison (Faenza 138). Stern was a war correspondent during the invasion of Sicily and Italy, and remained in the country for the next 50 years as a reporter for various magazines. He managed to interview Giuliano in early 1947, immediately preceding the massacre, and penned a white-washed account of the bandit in True magazine, later published in a Life Magazine feature.

Italians weren’t aware, but Gigliotti’s position was in fact the official position of the U.S. government.

The first authorized covert action of the US National Security Council (NSC) and the CIA (formed jointly in 1947) was against Italy. “The Italian Government, ideologically inclined toward Western democracy” NSC document 1/1 of 14 November 1947 read, “is weak and is being subjected to continuous attack by a strong Communist Party.” Soon after, CIA Director Hillenkoetter was ordered “to undertake a broad range of covert activities to prevent a communist victory in the first national postwar Italian election scheduled for 16 April 1948” (Ganser 2009: 258). The election was influenced by injecting over $10,000,000 into the coffers of the newly-created, US-supported Christian Democratic party, as well as Saragat’s Social Democrats and Pacciardi’s New Republicans for good measure, and sustained with press reports, cartoons and pamphlets, ridiculing and defaming communist candidates with sexual innuendo, anti-Catholicism and alleged Fascist sympathies. The Catholic Church, too, was a crucial factor in the Christian Democrat 48.5% majority win.

Truman was impressed and the key authorization, which thereafter would allow the CIA to run rampant across the globe, was swiftly created.

Distressingly, directive NSC 10/2 (June 18, 1948) allows for:

‘covert operations’ … conducted or sponsored by this government against hostile foreign states or groups or in support of friendly foreign states or groups but which are so planned and conducted that any US Government responsibility for them is not evident to unauthorized persons and that if uncovered the US Government can plausibly disclaim any responsibility for them. Specifically, such operations shall include any covert activities related to: propaganda; economic warfare; preventive direct action, including sabotage, anti-sabotage, demolition, and evacuation measures; subversion against hostile states, including assistance to underground resistance movements, guerrillas and refugee liberation groups, and support of indigenous anti-communist elements in threatened countries of the free world.

Gigliotti appears again in DCI Hillenkoetter’s diary entries for 1950, January to April. In a telephone call to Hillenkoetter, Brig. Gen. John Magruder says he was informed that Gigliotti “was interested in talking with someone.” Magruder asks Hillenkoetter if he had any suggestions for handling. “DCI checked the records and later informed Gen. Magruder of the general background of subject and suggested that if Gen. Magruder so desired he might call Mr. [Lyman] Kirkpatrick, OO, to arrange a contact with subject.”

The same day, another telephone conversation is summarized:

Friday, 27 January 1950 – 2

Mr. George G. Carey, AD/OO (tel) – DCI informed him of the call from General Magruder and the possible meeting to be arranged between Contact Division and Dr. Frank B. Gigliotti, for the purpose of hearing what subject has to say.

Surely at this stage it is clear to the reader that Gigliotti would not let up; his deep state connections significant enough that two CIG/DCI/CIA directors were notified and asked about how to proceed on the matter. And it didn’t stop there.

The following month, 20 February 1950, Hillenkoetter’s diary entries read:

Office of Maj. Gen. Harry H. Vaughan (tel) – General [Harry H.] Vaughan would be pleased if the DCI would see a friend of his, Dr. Frank L. [sic] Gigliotti. It was explained that DCI would be absent from the city until Thursday and inquired if anyone could be of assistance. Later, General Vaughan’s office called again, requesting that we communicate with Dr. Gigliotti at the Wardman Park.

At first glance this could be interpreted as two different Frank Gigliotti’s. It becomes immediately clear, however, that they are discussing the same Frank B. Gigliotti of this study.

“Close Acquaintances”

Gigliotti is contacted later that day. He says he’s looking to help in whatever capacity.

Dr. Frank L. [sic] Gigliotti (tel) – [redacted] called him at the request of office of General Vaughan. Subject had information which he wished to pass on to DCI. [Redacted] suggested that he talk with our Contact people, but he stated he would prefer to call on [redacted].

Later, Dr. Gigliotti called on [redacted] is not looking for a job but would be willing to help in a consultant capacity or perform other missions for CIA. He offered the idea that we might wish to cultivate a small number of the 200 Portuguese fishermen in the Azores for possible future use as agents, as he feels the first point of attack by the Russians would be the Azores.

As background information, stated that he helped establish the Italian section of OSS, working closely with Mr. Earl Brennan. Listed the following as close acquaintances: Maj. Gen. H. H. Vaughan, Mr. David Bruce, Count Sforza, Gen. Paccardi [sic] (Italian Minister for Nat’l Defense), Secy Johnson, Brig. Gen. Magruder, Mr. Wm. F. Stanley, and Col. Leslie Fornay [sic]. Also, that he has been working with Mr. Paul Hoffman, ECA, as consultant on aid to Italy. Recommended two former OSS employees, as of valuable aid to CIA: Lt. Orlan[illegible] p[illegible]y aide to Adm. Klein [Grover C. Klein?]; Max Corvo, Middletown, Conn.

These names are certainly significant, and many of the connections are corroborated by other sources. It’s not clear who Wm. F. Stanley is though, and the unfortunate appearance of a “TOP SECRET” stamp across the bottom of the page hinders identification of one name.


Gen. Harry H. Vaughan was Truman’s best friend, his most trusted aide, and a mason like himself. “Secy Johnson” certainly refers to Louis A. Johnson, the Defense Secretary in the Truman cabinet at the time; the Scottish Rite News Bureau publication of 1940 lists a “Louis A. Johnson,” 32nd degree, as a past American Legion National Commander and the former Assistant Secretary of War (which he was in 1940). “Count Sforza” is the same “Carlo Sforza” mentioned previously (who was, in fact, a Count); he was one of William “Wild Bill” Donovan’s informants for the Office of the Coordinator of Information (COI), the immediate precursor of the OSS (Waller 96; Dunlop 315).

As for Brig. Gen. John Magruder, recall that on 27 January 1950, Magruder seems not to have been aware of Gigliotti — DCI had to inform him of Gigliotti’s background. It hardly seems believable, then, that only three weeks later Magruder was now one of Gigliotti’s ‘close acquaintances.’ In any case, Magruder previously was the OSS’s Deputy Director under William Donovan and it was due to his efforts, along with consummate insider John J. McCloy, that the remnants of the OSS were preserved in the War Department until it could finally transition into the CIA (Warner). On the nature of intelligence, Magruder put it bluntly: “Clandestine intelligence operations involve a constant breaking of all the rules. To put it baldly, such operations are necessarily extra-legal and sometimes illegal” (Weiner 13).

Colonel David K. E. Bruce personally recruited Earl Brennan (Kloman 53), and was London OSS station chief and afterwards commander of covert operations in the European Theatre, directly reporting to OSS chief Donovan. Brennan and Bruce served together in the consulate in Rome at the same time when Gigliotti was there. Bruce, the son of a senator, had married into the Mellon family fortune — Andrew Mellon’s daughter, Ailsa — was a millionaire himself and part of the ‘Georgetown set’ in Washington DC, “the abode of the Alsops, Bohlens, Bruces, Harrimans, and Grahams” (Corvo 183; Smith 13-14; Herken 165). The Dulles brothers were among the Georgetown set as well, as was Frank Wisner (of Operation Mockingbird infamy), Wild Bill Donovan, Cord Meyer and a long list of OSS/CIA officers.

Allen Dulles, future CIA director, and David Bruce were involved with a private intelligence group, formed in 1927, and comprised “of prominent East Coast businessmen, bankers, attorneys, and philanthropists.” Bruce was privy to it from the start (Coogan 662; Dorwart); Dulles would join about a decade later.

As recounted in the recent book about the Dulles brothers:

During the late 1930s, as war began spreading across Europe, Allen became involved in a secret organization known enigmatically as “the room.” It was a private forum, based in an unmarked apartment on East Sixty-Second Street, where bankers, businessmen, and corporate lawyers — a total of about three dozen — met to exchange the most sensitive information they had gathered about events unfolding around the world. Nearly all had either backgrounds in intelligence or unusually deep contacts in foreign capitals. Among them were Winthrop Aldrich, chairman of the Chase Manhattan Bank; Vincent Astor, who became known as “the richest boy in the world” after his fabulously wealthy father went down with the Titanic; the investment banker Theodore Roosevelt Jr., a son of the former president; David Bruce, a son-in-law of the banker Andrew Mellon who went on to become the only American to serve as ambassador to Britain, France, and West Germany; the publisher and investment banker Marshall Field III; Sir William Wiseman, a broker at the Wall Street firm of Kuhn, Loeb & Co., who had served as liaison between the British and American intelligence services during World War I; and William Donovan, a war hero who had become a Wall Street lawyer and was honing his interest in intelligence. These patricians not only advised the Roosevelt administration on covert operations abroad, but willingly arranged corporate cover for agents undertaking them (Kinzer 54).

At the time when Gigliotti was using him as a reference, David Bruce was Ambassador to France (1949-52). After DCI Hillenkoetter’s dismissal in October 1950, Truman had asked Bruce to take the job but he declined the offer (Srodes 391). A Marshall Plan administrator, director of the Economic Cooperation Administration (ECA) in France, Bruce was a firm supporter of the Atlanticist/Bilderberg agenda and “greatly encouraged moves towards a European Community begun by Monnet and Robert Schuman” (Beevor and Cooper). In 1955 Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, C.D. Jackson and David Rockefeller offered Bruce the Bilderberg Group American chairmanship but he declined that as well (Gijswijt 62). It appears that David Bruce only attended one Bilderberg Meeting: the Villa D’Este Conference, Italy, in 1965. He was, however, a longstanding member of the Council on Foreign Relations from 1946 until his death in 1977 (Elite Rosters). A Pilgrims Society member since the early 1960s after being appointed Ambassador to Great Britain (1961-69), he later was listed as vice president of the organization in 1972.

Paul G. Hoffman was another Bilderberger, attending from 1955 to 1957, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, 1947 until his death in 1974 (Elite Rosters). Former Studebaker Corporation president during the 1930s into the 40s, Hoffman was ECA director in Washington and the Marshall Plan overseer from 1948-50; later president of the Ford Foundation 1950-53 and first United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) administrator, 1966-72 (Evening Star, October 9, 1974). Hoffman chose Richard Bissell — OSS and then CIA, in charge of the U-2 spy plane program, the Bay of Pigs operation, and black operations in general — as his deputy at ECA, the organization which controlled the Marshal Plan funds. Five percent of $13.7 billion — $685 million — in aide was secretly funneled for use by the CIA (Weiner 32; Herken 56).

During the time he was receiving advice from Gigliotti about Italy, Hoffman was on the board of directors of the newly-formed American Committee on United Europe (ACUE), which “funded and directed the European federalist movement.” ACUE was controlled by senior members of the US intelligence apparatus who handled it as a covert operation; leaders of the European Movement were “treated as hired hands by their American sponsors” (Evans-Pritchard).

This body was organized in the early Summer of 1948 by Allen Welsh Dulles, then heading a committee reviewing the organization of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) on behalf of the National Security Council (NSC), and also by William J. Donovan, former head of the wartime Office of Strategic Services (OSS). They were responding to separate requests for assistance from Count Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi, a veteran Pan-European campaigner from Austria, and from Churchill. ACUE worked closely with US government officials, particularly those in the Economic Cooperation Administration (ECA) and also with the National Committee for a Free Europe (Aldrich 185).

“Gen. Paccardi” refers to the same Randolfo Pacciardi whom Gigliotti had advised Walter Dowling to consider (along with Cortini and Saragat) for a position in the government. By the time Gigliotti was using him as a reference, Pacciardi was nearly two years in office as Minister of Defence (23 May 1948 – 16 July 1953). Pacciardi would be implicated in the so-called Golpe bianco coup (white coup d’état) of Count Edgardo Sogno in 1974. Sogno was a well-connected man in both Italy and the US, and advocated “a Gaullist-style presidency and a government of technocrats” (Willan 2002: 107). He became a member of P2 in 1979. According to Philip Willan, “[t]he culmination of Sogno’s plans was to have been reached in August 1974 with the seizure of the presidential Quirinale Palace. President Giovanni Leone would be forced to dissolve Parliament and appoint a government of technocrats headed by Randolfo Pacciardi, another non-communist Resistance hero and a former Defence Minister” (Willan 2002: 109). The plan didn’t come to fruition — the secret services got wind of it (despite the CIA). Sogno and the conspirators were arrested, tried, and acquitted. Sogno later would admit to the plot, claiming that he had the support of the Rome CIA station chief (Willan 2001).

February 28th, 1950, eight days after Gigliotti offered his services to the CIA, he calls back, inquiring of the “status of his suggestion referred to DCI recently. Is ready to leave for West Coast and wishes to discuss the matter with the Secretary of Defense if the DCI is not going to consider his proposal. He was informed that the DCI was out of town.” The proposal he’s talking about, presumably, is recruiting fishermen in the Azores as agents. Recruiting fishermen in the area as informants or agents is not as farfetched as it may seem. NATO presence in the Azores was strategically important during the Cold War, especially as an anti-submarine warning system, a support station for an air offensive in the event of war, and control over the Atlantic in general.

Six months later, Wednesday, 23 August 1950, another entry in DCI Hillenkoetter’s diary, reads:

Dr. Frank L. [sic] Gigliotti (tel) – Claims to have read report made by [redacted] to Mr. David Bruce in Paris, discounting the reliability of his information which had been submitted to CIA. Stated that his ‘prediction about Korean invasion was on the nose.’ Requested to talk with Far East specialist in CIA; has information about Indo China which he received from a missionary. Wants to come in and talk with General [Walter Bedell] Smith. Stated that he could call the White House and General Vaugh[a]n would refer him but that CIA knows that he has White House backing.

Later, he was informed that [redacted] will call him Thursday morning.

The next day, it was recorded that Gigliotti was in fact interviewed, with no elaboration; the officer’s name was redacted as usual.

This is further corroboration that Gigliotti was aiding the CIA during this period, whether he was a paid employee or not; indeed, whether the CIA had solicited such cooperation or not. He’s also admitting to reading intelligence that he shouldn’t have been privy to — provided by his friend, Ambassador David Bruce — and thinks he should just be able to waltz into CIA headquarters and have a sit-down with the soon-to-be replacement of Hillenkoetter, Bedell Smith, or he’ll go directly to the White House if he doesn’t get what he wants. Hillenkoetter would lose his job as DCI — Bedell Smith was sworn in October 7, 1950 — over the failure of the CIA to predict the Korean invasion (even though they had assured the administration they had good sources in Korea). That Gigliotti specifically wanted to talk with Smith is a probable indication that he knew of the replacement before it was formerly announced.

The extent of the relationship between General Vaughan and Gigliotti is unknown. It is clearly obvious from the DCI diary entries, however, that Vaughan was willing to vouch for him on more than one occasion.

Beginning immediately after the war, Gigliotti was chairman of the National Rehabilitation Commission of the Regular Veterans Association, its National Chaplain, and was eventually elected National Commander of the organization in August 1951. General Vaughan was Military Aide to Truman during his Vice Presidency and Presidency (1945-53), and the White House Coordinator of Veterans Affairs. Given their positions, they would have had ample opportunity to become friends during this period. As it turns out, the two of them were mentioned in a curious article in the San Diego Union, September 28, 1950, titled “Vets Honor Gen. Vaughan for Favors.” The general “will do favors for anybody,” the article quotes Gigliotti. His Regular Veterans Association gave Vaughan a solid gold medal for his service, and ever since “[w]hen we get a real bad veteran’s case, and nobody will do anything for him, we can call Harry Vaughan anytime, even at 10 o’clock at night and he will go to bat for us right away. He will do anything for anybody.”

The last mention (at is a 28 February, 1951 letter, addressed to Gigliotti from someone at the CIA.

28 February 1951

Dr. Frank B. Gigliotti


Dear Dr. Gigliotti:

I attempted to reach you on February 21st, however, our wires must have crossed and we missed each other.

General Truscott’s home address is [redacted]. He informed me that no street or R. F. D. route number was necessary.

It was good to talk with you again.



Gigliotti wanted to send some information to General Lucian K. Truscott, and the CIA obliged with his address. Only those with a “need to know” were aware that Truscott had worked for the CIA before it was first revealed in 1994 that he was assigned by DCI Bedell Smith to oversee CIA operations in Germany from 1951 to 1958. (Extensive documentation of Truscott’s service in the CIA can be had in chapter 14 of Wilson A. Heefner’s, Dogface Soldier: The Life of General Lucian K. Truscott, Jr.) Once again Gigliotti seemed to know the details of things he shouldn’t have been privy to: the letter was dated 28 February, and Truscott had only “accepted Smith’s offer and became the CIA senior representative in Germany, effective February 8, 1951” (Heefner 272).

The Harry S. Truman Library has preserved a few letters from Gigliotti to the President. One letter in particular is quite revealing. Dated 30 September, 1952, Daniele Ganser prints an excerpt of it (Ganser 2009: 274):

My dear President Truman,

Some months ago while talking with Margaret Vaughn [sic] at their home I told her that I felt that General Bedell Smith would let you down the first opportunity that he had… I want you to know, my dear President, that we have loved you and respected you and defended your flank in season and out of season, through the churches, through political organisations, and before the general public… [but] The statement of General Bedell Smith last night that ‘There is no security organisation in the government of the United States into which communists have not infiltrated themselves’ is a shame upon him… What has he been doing all this time besides nursing his ulcers…? You will remember that a little over a year ago I made the statement that what we needed to head Central Intelligence was a man who gave ulcers to the enemy and not one who allowed the enemy to produce ulcers in his own system and in the thinking of the Nation. I feel that…now as Chief of CIA he [Smith] has been a perfect dud… I think, along with many others of your friends, that the Intelligence of the United States as centralised in Bedell Smith is at the lowest ebb it has ever been in the history of the United States… I am sending you this information as your friend, and I am asking these question[s] not only as your friend, but as one who has consecrated and dedicated his life to helping make our beloved America a place where future generations will be proud of the fact that you were President of the United States… Mr. Smith should be brought to task… I feel that he has betrayed all of the confidence that you have placed in him. With regards and prayers, I remain Your friend Frank B. Gigliotti.

When Gigliotti wrote that he was “talking with Margaret Vaughn [sic] at their home,” this was a direct reference to General Harry H. Vaughan: his wife’s name was Margaret. General Vaughan was the gatekeeper for the Truman administration. It was well-known that if you were on good terms with the Vaughans then you directly had the ear of the President. It’s not surprising, then, that Gigliotti thought he was entitled to write such a letter.

Bedell Smith’s assessment of communists infiltrating the government had indeed incurred the wrath of many. He made the comments while testifying in a deposition hearing (29 September, 1952) for Senator Joseph McCarthy’s libel/slander/conspiracy suit against Senator William Benton.

The next day the Associated Press reported:

WASHINGTON — The head of America’s super-secret intelligence services says he believes Communists have infiltrated every U.S. security organization, including his own Central Intelligence Agency.

At the same time Gen. Walter Bedell Smith implied Monday this might be working both ways when he added:

“We have to assume that our enemies are as clever as we are and that they will succeed from time to time.”

Smith said that to his knowledge no Communists ever have been actually found in CIA, that he does not know the identity of any there — and he said he would get rid of them if he did — but he added:

“In our meetings we keep telling each other that somewhere along the line we must be penetrated so we try to keep our mouths shut and watch our step…

“I believe they are so adroit and adept they have infiltrated every security agency of the government.” (Mt. Vernon Register-News, 30 Sep 1952)

This occurred during the period when McCarthyism was in full swing.

Truman opponents immediately seized on it as proof that he was weak on communism. Outrage played out in the press for months but Truman refused to fire his DCI. Ironically, it would be President Eisenhower — Bedell Smith had been his chief-of-staff during WWII — who replaced Smith with Allen Dulles in 1953. Eisenhower understood that Smith had little experience in politics and decided to minimize the chances of another embarrassing lapse in judgement.

Of Grand (Orient) Concern: Fascists, the Vatican, NATO Lodges and the Scottish Rite

Since 1901 the Giustiniani Palace (Palazzo Giustiniani) in Rome was the seat of the Grand Orient of Italy. They would later regret it, but the Grand Orient (New Age 56: 343), as well as the Grand Lodge at Piazza del Gesu, were complicit in fascism’s march on Rome.

On 19 October, 1922, the Grand Master Domizio Torrigiani of the Grand Orient “sent a circular letter to all the lodges of his order in which he emphasized the importance of the masonic contribution to fascism in its earlier stages.”

Torrigiani reminded his brothers that:

When the terrible post-war crisis began we decided that our order must give all its energies to the defence of the state, and we are glad to say today that groups of our Brothers, who enjoy high authority, have contributed to the birth and development of the fascist movement. The number of our Brothers in the fasci is still increasing. In the conflict of tendencies that accompanied the evolution of the fascist phenomenon, they have done their best to encourage the elements most consistent with the spirit of freemasonry (Rossi 277).

Freemasons just a few days later would contribute 3 million dollars toward Mussolini’s march on Rome in which he seized power (Rossi 279).

In a swift about-face, generosity was repaid with aggression.

The fascist government issued an ultimatum on 23 February, 1923: you could be a Freemason or a Fascist, but not both. A “period of violence against Masons and destruction of their property” followed (Bessel), until Mussolini dissolved Italian Masonry in 1925 and appropriated the Palazzo Giustiniani Grand Orient building in 1926.

Mussolini turned on the Masons to appease the Vatican — Catholicism having always been an enemy of Masonry, particularly the more revolutionary Grand Orient rite of France and Italy. A typical example at the time was the Vatican-supervised Jesuit publication, La Civiltà cattolica. The first issue after Mussolini took power carried a story headlined “Jewish-Masonic Socialism Tyrannizes Austria,” where it was claimed that nineteen masonic lodges had formed a Grand Lodge with all its high functionaries being Jews. Their goal was to rule the world “under the domination of the Masons, themselves under the Jews’ power” (Kertzer 194). More directly, the pope’s Jesuit emissary, Tacchi Venturi would use all his powers of persuasion, spending “years trying to convince Mussolini that a vast, evil conspiracy, led by Protestants and Jews, was at work, aimed as much at the Fascist dictator as at the Catholic Church” (190).

Gigliotti was aware of this antagonism toward Masonry, and yet, as already demonstrated, he still supported the dictator throughout the 20s and most of the 30s. Convinced that totalitarianism was necessary for the State to prosper, and guard against bolshevism; fascism, for many Italians at home and abroad, was suited for the times. The “disciplining of the nation,” as Gigliotti articulated in 1933: order, discipline and hierarchy being the chief principles of the fascist party.

The issue of the return of the Grand Orient headquarters wouldn’t be resolved until 1960. But as quickly as the Fascists lost control during WWII, Freemasonry was resuscitated “and lodges sprang up in the wake of the advancing Allied armies” (Willan 2002: 58).

While in Italy, April 1947, Charles Fama and Gigliotti were the first to ask “consent of recognition of the Supreme Council of Palazzo Giustiniani by the Supreme Council of Washington” (New Age 1948: 56). Little progress was made — on recognition and the issue of the Grand Orient’s former headquarters — until Gigliotti created the American Citizens’ Committee for Justice to Italian Freemasonry in 1958.

The Committee was headed by Admiral William H. Standley, former Ambassador to the USSR (1942-43) and OSS officer (1944-45). Almost certainly, Standley is the same ‘Wm. F. Stanley’ that the CIA thought Gigliotti had referred to when he listed his ‘close acquaintances’; presumably, they misunderstood him, or the DCI’s secretary misspelled his name.

Admiral Standley moved to San Diego right after the war where he lived until his death in 1963, giving him ample opportunity to become a ‘close acquaintance’ with one of San Diego’s most prominent residents. Indeed, Standley and his wife were one of 40 guests who attended Gigliotti’s birthday party in 1947, according to the San Diego Union, October 30, 1947. Another story, in the November 8th edition of the newspaper, states that Gigliotti and Adm. Standley were Chairman and Co-Chair, respectively, of the Good Government League of La Mesa. In the 19 March, 1949 edition, the San Diego Union reported that Gigliotti, as chairman of the Regular Veterans’ Association, had appointed Adm. Standley to head the association’s national rehabilitation commission and “serve as a vice chairman of the association for the Pacific Coast.” A year later, Gigliotti re-appointed Standley to the same position, and appointed his old friend Charles Fama as surgeon general of the association (16 November, 1950).

Others who joined Gigliotti’s efforts were Goodwin J. Knight, former governor of California; 33° Christian A. Herter, U.S. Secretary of State, former Governor of Massachusetts (1953-57), prominent CFR member since 1930 and a Bilderberg attendee during the Kennedy administration (Elite Rosters; Gijswijt 251, 252, 286); Sidney R. Baxter, Assistant to the Scottish Rite Sovereign Grand Commander, Northern Jurisdiction; Scottish Rite Sovereign Grand Commanders George E. Bushnell and Luther A. Smith, Southern and Northern Jurisdiction respectively (Proceedings of Michigan council 51; Fisher: Kindle Locations 4954-4959; Butindaro 395).

The Scottish Rite Supreme Commanders had been trying to negotiate the unification of the two Supreme Councils of the Grand Lodge and the Grand Orient. In exchange for recognition and return of the headquarters in Palazzo Giustiniani, the Supreme Council of the Grand Orient would need to unify with the Grand Lodge Supreme Council. They had tried to work it out at a European Grand Commander’s meeting in Brussels the previous year, but lacked the aid of someone with considerable talents of persuasion.

Ahead of the larger delegation, Gigliotti and his wife Mabelle boarded a flight to Rome in late March 1960. “His first effort should be to work on a plan of unity for Italian Freemasonry for, without unity, a building would be of little avail,” wrote Bro. Baxter in the Scottish Rite Proceedings of Michigan council of deliberation (51).

In the P2 Commission Report, they included a photocopy of an article, titled “After 52 Years – Italian Masonic Unity,” from an unspecified masonic magazine. According to the unidentified author, the masons had faith in Gigliotti’s ability to get the job done:

Those who know Bro. Gigliotti will attest to his enthusiasm and ardent desire to accomplish the work set out for his committee. He had been an Italian citizen; he had relatives high up in the Italian government, and he knew the character of the Italian people (Vol. VI, Tome XIV: 861).

This is one of only two instances I’ve come across claiming that Gigliotti had relatives in the Italian political establishment; the other being the already cited article (Oregonian, August 12, 1930) in which he was characteristically praising Mussolini. Towards the end of the article, we read: “He has a cousin on the bench of the Italian supreme court.” These connections no doubt contributed to his earlier successes guaranteeing certain freedoms in Italy. He could get away with changing another country’s constitution due to the fact that he “had relatives high up in the Italian government” willing to pull some strings, in addition to connected friends and masons who had clandestinely helped out Allied efforts, such as Cortini and Pacciardi.

When Gigliotti landed in Rome, Publio Cortini was the first one to great him. They immediately went about the task at hand.

The same volume of the P2 Commission Report (Vol. VI, Tome XIV: 858) cited above, includes a low-quality photocopy of a photograph taken at a reception held at the US Embassy:

From L-R: Dr. Frank B. Gigliotti; Dr. Publio Cortini; Dr. Athos Roncaglia; Ambassador James D. Zellerbach; Dr. Elio Minici; Dr. Pier Andrea Bellerio; Comm. Pettinelli; Col. Michael Fisher

From L-R: Dr. Frank B. Gigliotti; Dr. Publio Cortini; Dr. Athos Roncaglia; Ambassador James D. Zellerbach; Dr. Elio Minici; Dr. Pier Andrea Bellerio; Comm. Pettinelli; Col. Michael Fisher

Gigliotti had successfully negotiated an agreement by the time Grand Commanders Smith and Bushnell had arrived in Naples, April 24. They “were greeted by a considerable number of Brethren, not only from Naples but some who had driven down from Rome. They brought the good news that a merger agreement between the Supreme Council of the Giustiniani group and the Supreme Council formerly recognized by the Southern Jurisdiction, had been signed. They insisted that Commanders Bushnell and Smith go up to Rome” (Proceedings of Michigan council 51).

“The two Supreme Councils of the Italian Masonry, residing respectively in Rome — Via Lombardia 14, and in Rome, Palazzo Giustiniani,” read the Supreme Council Treaty, “…now declare: That these two Supreme Councils after half a century of separation … become once more a single family …uniting all Italian brethren of the A.A.S.R. [Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite]” (Official Proceedings, Missouri Grand Lodge 256).

The Supreme Council at Via Lombardi had already been recognized by the American masons. It was headed by the right-wing monarchist Prince Giovanni Alliata di Montereale — the main point of contention among the Italian masons. During the invasion of Sicily, Alliata had joined the Sicilian Separatist Movement (Movimento Indipendentista Siciliano) and had later been accused of instigating the Portella della Ginestra May Day massacre. After the death of Bandit Salvatore Giuliano, his cousin and second-in-command, Gaspare Pisciotta was captured and put on trial. Pisciotta testified that “it was [Leonardo] Marchesano, Prince Alliata and Bernardo Mattarella who ordered the massacre of Portella delle Ginestre. Before the massacre they met Giuliano” (Servadio 128). “It is a good indication of the political complexion of US-sponsored freemasonry,” wrote Philip Willan, “that Alliata would later be implicated in both the Borghese and Rosa dei Venti coup plots, as well as being linked to the Mafia” (Willan 2002: 58). Alliata would also become a member of Gelli’s P2 in the 70s for a time.

After Gigliotti talked to the various parties involved — and he may have known Alliata from his own meeting with Salvatore Giuliano in 1947 or during the war through the OSS — Alliata was persuaded to resign as Grand Commander of Via Lombardi. The United Supreme Council then elected as their Grand Commander Dr. Marino Lapenna. The Landmarks they agreed upon were: (1) acceptance of the “moral and philosophical basis of Freemasonry”; (2) A declaration of “Trust in God and in the Holy Bible” [the Grand Orient had previously allowed atheists, emulating their brothers in France]; (3) antagonism toward “Totalitarianism (dictatorship), however formulated”; and (4) supporting governments who “respect Liberty, Democratic principles” (Official Proceedings, Missouri Grand Lodge 257).


The next item on the list was a satisfactory settlement on Palazzo Giustiniani. Confiscated by Mussolini, returned to the Masons briefly after WWII, and again taken by the government, the masons were required to pay 100 million lire in back rent and interest by February 18, 1960. The deadline was extended for 90 days due to the intervention of US Secretary of State Christian Herter. Through negotiation with “the American Embassy and to the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Italian Cabinet” Gigliotti and company successfully reduced the debt “by four-fifths, so the Craft was required to pay only 20 million”; they were allowed to rent portions of the building for 20 years (Proceedings of Michigan council 52; Fisher: Kindle Locations 4954-4959). The agreement was signed July 7, 1960.

From L-R: Mrs. Frank B. Gigliotti; Dr. Bartoli; Dr. Frank B. Gigliotti; Dr. Publio Cortini, Past Grand Commander of the Supreme Council of Palazzo Giustiniani; Finance Minister Giuseppe Trabucchi; Judge Ugo Niutta

From L-R: Mrs. Frank B. Gigliotti; Dr. Bartoli; Dr. Frank B. Gigliotti; Dr. Publio Cortini, Past Grand Commander of the Supreme Council of Palazzo Giustiniani; Finance Minister Giuseppe Trabucchi; Judge Ugo Niutta

Shortly after these successful negotiations “Bro. Gigliotti was made an honorary member of the new grand lodge and created an honorary grand master for life, because of the service rendered Italian Freemasonry” (Official Proceedings, Missouri Grand Lodge 256).

Italian Scottish Rite Masons weren’t the only group looking for recognition. The fate of Italian Masonry was directly tied to American military interests who sought recognition of their own NATO base lodges.

The masonic influence of the United States coincided with its military presence. According to Giuseppe D’Alema, American lodges have been set up for every NATO base in Italy, beginning with the Benjamin Franklin, established in Livorno on 25 July 1959 (Willan 2002: 58).

Besides the B. Franklin in Livorno, a list of NATO lodges which were founded in the 60s were “the Aviano in Friuli, the HS Truman at the political command in Bagnoli, Naples, the Colosseum of Rome (frequented by the diplomatic and military corps of the American embassy), the JJ McClennan in San Vito dei Normanni in Puglia, the two SETAF [The Southern European Task Force] lodges… the Verona American Lodge of Verona and the G Washington in Vicenza” (Willan 2014 [translating from Rossi and Lombrassa, In Nome della Loggia, Napoleone, Rome, 1981, p. 20]).

The official name for the lodges is the American Military Scottish Rite Bodies, Orient of NATO Bases, or AMSRB NATO Club. It was formerly established in 1968. A 1997 reunion of the NATO lodges was reported in the Scottish Rite Journal (which used to be called The New Age Magazine). A picture was taken with members of the Benjamin Franklin Lodge n. 591 in Livorno. Identified were the following: Bros. Allan J. Moses, 32, K.C.C.H.; Richard C. Frank, 32; Arthur M. Pascoe, 32, K.C.C.H.; Johnny C. Ledford, 33; Deputy Robert W. Woodward, 33; Arthur J. Hermanson, 33; Melton Schiffer, 32, K.C.C.H.; and Patrick J. Dorsey, 32, K.C.C.H.

Freemasonry isn’t the only fraternal organization allowed on NATO bases. As I reported last year, there are in fact Knights Templar Priories on NATO bases. Officially called NATO Grand Priory of St. Sebastian, members are involved in the “Ordo Supremus Militaris Templi Hierosolymitani (OSMTH), commonly known by its English translation, The Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem (SMOTJ) or simply as Knights Templar.” Emails were revealed showing military members of the OSMTH communicating with the intelligence firm, Stratfor. They were worried that their Knights Templar org might be conflated with another Knights Templar org mentioned in the manifesto of mass-murderer Anders Behring Breivik. I traced the history of this “legitimate” Knights Templar organization to the early 1800s, its subsequent entanglement with the occult revival in France during the 19th century, and its later connections to Licio Gelli, P2, the Gaullist Service d’Action Civique and arms trafficking. A slightly schismatic branch called “OSMTJ Priory in the USA” was headed by Philip Guarino, Republican National Committee advisor, who just happened to have been a P2 member himself; he was the liaison for Licio Gelli when he came to America — to attend President Reagan’s inaugural dinner, for example.

Allegedly, the Colosseum Lodge in Rome was founded by Gigliotti himself, according to L’Espresso, Volume 38, (Edizioni 14-17, 1992), p. 40. Italian author Gianni Cipriani, in an interview in a Larouche publication, said of the lodge:

The Colosseum is a lodge that includes several employees of the U.S embassy in Italy. It has been defined as a lodge with a high CIA presence. The name of the Colosseum popped up during the P-2 inquiry, but this did not stop it; it continued to function, using the name Center for Historical Studies. Colosseum is not a secret lodge, it is official; the only problem is that nobody knows what really was going on there, and who were the real members. In the Colosseum, Elvio Sciubba also used to play a role. He is the Grand Commander of the Scottish Rite who is the correspondent in Italy of the U.S. Southern Jurisdiction. Sciubba has been in the past months one of the main ambassadors of the Southern Jurisdiction to countries of eastern Europe, where the Scottish Rite has been exported over the last years (EIR 1992: Vol. 19, Num. 46 p.49).

These details are easily confirmed. The existence of the lodge did indeed come up in the P2 Commission investigation, as Cipriani asserted, and Enrico Sciubba was specifically mentioned as a member of the Colosseum (P2 Commission Report Vol. III, Tome I: 743). Also, according to the official site of the Supreme Council of the Southern Jurisdiction, Sciubba was a “Grand Representative” of their Supreme Council.

Another member of the Colosseum Lodge (n. 602) in Rome was Bruno Rozera — by his own admission — who was also listed as member no. 76 of Gelli’s P2 lodge (though Rozera dismissed it out of hand). In a 2011 interview with L’Espresso, the 92 year-old mason was asked if the masons were still supporting Silvio Berlusconi, who himself had been a member of P2. The answer was yes. Rozera goes on to discuss both Elvio Sciubba and Gigliotti. Rozera admitted to having been friends with Sciubba and was under the impression that it was the latter who brought Gigliotti to Italy, perhaps with the aid of General Giuseppe Pièche. Gigliotti, he said, also maintained contact with Francesco Malfatti di Montetretto, close political advisor to Giuseppe Saragat. Francesco Malfatti di Montetretto, it turns out, was also listed as a P2 member (no. 812).

As a member of the resistance, Malfatti had aided the OSS during WWII. Malfatti and Maurizio Giglio (subsequently tortured and executed by the Nazis) were recruited by OSS officer Peter Tompkins, in January 1944, for a mission in German-occupied Rome called Operation Shingle. Tompkins and his recruits, of whom Malfatti “cheerfully agreed to deploy his 500 men to help me fulfill my mission,” monitored the activities of the Germans and signaled to the front the location of the Nazis, utilizing a secret radio provided by OSS, codenamed VITTORIA (Tompkins 130).

As of this writing the archivist of the Grand Orient of Italy hasn’t responded to my question about whether Gigliotti had been the founder of the Colosseum lodge in Rome. Cipriani’s insistence that it “has been defined as a lodge with a high CIA presence” is surely accurate. Gigliotti was certainly involved (in some capacity) with the CIA during these years, and obviously members of the Colosseum had dual membership in Gelli’s P2 which had long been suspected of being subordinate to the interests of American Freemasonry, NATO and the CIA.

Confirmation of US involvement in the affairs of P2 comes via a declassified 1983 report from the anti-terrorism office of SISMI, Italy’s military intelligence service, which read:

[I]t was Ted Shackley, director of all covert actions of the CIA in Italy in the 1970s, who presented the chief of the Masonic Lodge [Licio Gelli] to Alexander Haig. Haig and Kissinger authorised Gelli in the fall of 1969 to recruit 400 high ranking Italian and NATO officers into his Lodge (Ganser 2009: 267).

It would make sense that Gelli would seek approval if he were contemplating initiating NATO officers into his lodge (which he did).

Gelli and the P2 lodge are sensitive subjects for the CIA, who have flat-out refused FOIA requests on grounds of National Security (Willan 2002: 82). At the site where they frequently publish previous declassified FOIA request material, for example, other than a few saved newspaper clippings a search for such terms as “Licio Gelli” OR “Propaganda Due” suspiciously comes up with zero results.

One of the few declassified documents that do mention the P2 lodge comes via a CIA National Foreign Assessment Center report on the “Italian Situation,” dated 16 June, 1981. The “so-called masonic lodge scandal” and “charges of a conspiracy to create a ‘state within a state’,” says the report, are overblown, and likely to run its course.

Aside from the political class, the Italian security services have been affected most by the scandal. The chiefs of the services, have taken temporary leave after being accused of membership in the P2 lodge. Terrorist groups, such as the Red Brigades, have taken advantage of the situation to step up their activities. In the short run, these developments seem to have hampered Italy’s anti-terrorist efforts but it is unlikely that there will be any long-term damage as a result of the scandal. Even if those implicated are forced to resign, the working level cadres would remain intact and the security services should be able to absorb the loss.

That last quip meant that they had their hooks into the country so deep that a myriad of “working level” agents could take over the secret services at any point. All structures of power in Italy were compromised, and nothing of significance happened without the blessing of the American-sponsored “deep state.”

The membership makeup of P2, including generals and all the heads of the Italian secret services, was described by the respected historian of Italy, Paul Ginsborg:

The membership of the P2 included the names of all the heads of the secret services, 195 officers of the various armed corps of the Republic, among whom were twelve generals of the Carabinieri, five of the Guardia di Finanza, twenty-two of the army, four of the air force, and eight admirals. There were leading magistrates, a few prefects and heads of police (questori), bankers and businessmen, civil servants, journalists and broadcasters. The political world was represented by forty-four members of parliament, forty-one of whom belonged to the pentapartito and three to the neo-Fascist MSI. There were the names of three ministers, and one secretary of a leading political party, the Social Democrat Pietro Longo (Ginsborg 144-5).

“We have identified, above all, the American secret services as the occupants of the upper pyramid,” Communist P2 commissioner Antonio Bellocchio told Philip Willan. “We have come to the definite conclusion that Italy is a country of limited sovereignty because of the interference of the American secret services and international freemasonry. If the majority of the commission had been prepared to follow us in this analysis they would have had to admit that they are puppets of the United States of America, and they don’t intend to admit that ever” (Willan 2002: 55).

Latter Years and Concluding Remarks

From 1960 until his death in 1975, Gigliotti spent the majority of his time occupied with civic and political organizations. President of the Men’s Republican League of San Diego County, from 1958-1960; Chairman of the San Diego Race Relations Society, 1957-1961; President of the United Taxpayers Association of San Diego County, 1949-1965; the Kiwanis Club and International Order of DeMolay, among others. In addition, Gigliotti still held the position of Vice Chairman of the Commission of Evangelical Action of the National Association of Evangelicals as late as 1968, and in that capacity had nominated GOP State Assemblyman E. Richard Barnes as “Outstanding Christian Statesman of the Year” (San Diego Union, October 12, 1968, p. 21). Arch-conservative Barnes, a former Navy chaplain, was a long-time crusader against communism and pornography and had previously directed the San Diego chapter of the Christian Anti-Communism Crusade.

The Kiwanis Club paid Gigliotti tribute, Oct. 2, 1965, with a testimonial banquet, attended by 550 people. “One Man’s Dream for America” was the theme, and the biographical details of his life were recounted by 15 speakers, including “William Becker, representing Gov. Brown, state Sen. Jack Schrade, R-San Diego, and Assemblyman Richard J. Donovan, R-Chula Vista.” He was presented with a legislative award in recognition “of Gigliotti’s work on the state Relief Commission and Gov. Brown’s Committee on Human Relations.” They also recognized him for his “successful 14-year battle to obtain compensation for the 500 Masonic temples burned or seized by the Italian government during the Mussolini dictatorship” (San Diego Union, October 3, 1965, A17).

Gigliotti, in turn, as a member of the International Supreme Council of the Order of DeMolay, presented an award to Governor of California, Ronald Regan in 1969. It was a medal of appreciation, to the citizen who has done most to “advance the ideals and the principles of god and country” (Progress Bulletin [Pomona, California], Oct. 15, p. 22). Order of DeMolay, a masonic youth organization for boys founded in 1919, is named after the last Grand Master of the Knights Templar, Jacques de Molay who was burnt at the stake, 18 March, 1314. It’s most famous member was President Bill Clinton.

In 1970, Gigliotti’s old friend Giuseppe Saragat, President of Italy at the time, decorated him with “Knight Commander of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Italy” — similar if not identical to the award he received from Mussolini in 1926. Dr. Gino L. Jannone, Vice Consul of Italy for San Diego, bestowed the award at a Columbus Day celebration. Unforeseen was the second medal: “Knight Commander of the Order of Grace by the Military Order of Hospitalers [sic] of St. Mary’s of Bethlehem, a Catholic religious order” (San Diego Union, Oct. 6, 1970, p. 13). Gigliotti was deeply honored by the awards, but genuinely surprised to have received one from a Catholic religious order. He was, after all, a lifelong Pentecostal Minister who had associated with anti-Catholics of every stripe, including the Scottish Rite masons (some with KKK sympathies such as Charles Fama). If the history of the Italian Catholic Order on this page is to be believed, however, knights of the Order were antifascist guerrillas during WWII, called “Ordine Betlemme” or ORBET.  They created a special medal for those who fought with the resistance, and it was probably the one given to Gigliotti.

Finally it was reported on Oct. 19, 1971, that Henry C. Clausen, Sovereign Grand Inspector General of the Scottish Rite in California, would confer onto Gigliotti the coveted 33rd degree in a ceremony to be held at the Los Angeles Scottish Rite Cathedral in Los Angeles on Dec. 11th (San Diego Union, Oct. 19, 1971).


Gigliotti’s life was anything but typical. There are, however, certain commonalities he shared with his generation.

The stark reality of those born at the end of the 19th century, of course, was that the entire globe would soon be engulfed in war — not once but twice. It was also the height of masonic sociability, a time when the Craft in America alone could boast a near fixed membership of 3 to 4 million from 1924 to the early 1980s (membership waned in the 1930s because of backlash against the masonic-inspired Ku Klux Klan and failure of hundreds of thousands during the Depression to pay their lodge dues).

Gigliotti’s was a generation of joiners, particularly those of Protestant extraction. The local lodge formed “a sort of pan-Protestant men’s fellowship,” wrote William J.  Whalen, “membership in the lodge is considered a certificate of bourgeois respectability” (Whalen 15-16). An apt description of Protestantism during this period is that it was “a type of pragmatic deism, a civil religion in which Christianity, state, and society were forever intertwined” (Bendersky 11).

Similarly, Scottish Rite Freemasonry

has as one of its major purposes the maintenance and propagation of civil religion … Individual members are constantly exhorted in the pages of The New Age to make their voices heard in Congress, particularly on issues of separation of church and state and public education (Jolicoeur 3, 8).

The Protestant cause was mirrored in the cause of Masonry. Both were conflated with Americanism itself. “Americanism had convinced Masons that as Masons they should address civic issues and other non-Masonic issues,” observed US cultural historian, Lynn Dumenil. It was “linked to nativism and anti-Catholic sentiment, and it demonstrates how the desire to promulgate Americanism and to reestablish the authority of native Protestants led Masons to call for cohesive institutional activity” (Dumenil 136).

This is the milieu in which Gigliotti was wholly enmeshed for a half-century.

Beginning in the 1920s, a resolution was passed in the Supreme Council of Scottish Rite Freemasonry, 33°, to admonish Masons to uphold: “The entire separation of church and state and opposition to every attempt to appropriate public moneys, directly or indirectly, for the support of sectarian institutions.” This was a direct outgrowth of their fight, in cooperation with the Ku Klux Klan, against Catholic parochial schools receiving funding from the government (Hamburger 415-17 and notes; Fisher: Locations 2983, 3227). It is now known as the fifth principle of the Scottish Rite Creed, and specifically alluded to in the petition to receive the Scottish Rite Degrees, as you promise “always to bear true Faith and Allegiance to the Supreme Council of the 33rd and last degree for the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States.”

Moreover — if it wasn’t made sufficiently clear already — in the 30th degree of Scottish Rite Freemasonry, you specifically take an oath to defend the separation of church and state.

For background on the degree, I quote from a fascinating article titled “Esoteric Coloniality,” by Sam Cannon of the University of Texas at Austin (emphasis mine):

The 30th Degree: Knight Kadosh. This advanced degree teaches about the separation of church and state. An extensive apartment, or section, of this degree communicates the importance of the separation of church and state and the aspirants take obligations to protect this division of powers. Previously this degree taught this lesson with such impact that the aspirants trampled a cross and a crown, but since this practice has been changed for its problematic nature. While I personally believe that the separation of church and state are necessary, this concept has been embraced and developed by nations that via neocolonial practices exploit and influence other nations. These ideas are then perpetuated in other countries that must conform to North American or European standards of government structure. These concepts that can be found in Freemasonry appear within governments and are then forced upon other nations where they are unable to develop their own concepts of government of justice. When these concepts are not followed the neocolonial powers see other nations as threats and intervene in their sovereign affairs.

The point he makes about Freemasonry as a tool of imperialism is well taken, and has been the subject of many studies lately (see the work of Jessica Harland-Jacobs in particular). It is precisely within this context that Charles Fama and Gigliotti could be sent to Italy — on behalf of Evangelicals and Scottish Rite Masons — to intimidate public officials, threaten “to lobby against any further relief for Italy in the Senate at Washington unless their demands are met,” meddle with the constitution and bring it in line with the principles of Masonry and North American standards, free from the direct influence of the Catholic Church.

Gigliotti was political by nature: a skilled networker; a joiner of numerous clubs, leagues and associations; a brother to his masonic brethren. He was constantly involved with one cause or another throughout his life, and didn’t let up until the task at hand was complete. This character trait was respected by his peers, and they didn’t hesitate to utilize his talents when the opportunity arose (especially where others had failed).

The life of Gigliotti also speaks to a wider network of transatlantic elites, more cohesive in nature than in recent times. Cold War politics necessitated Masons commingling with European Movement advocates, OSS and CIA agents, Bilderberg Group participants, technocrats, Marshall Plan administrators, and the rogue P2 lodge.

One of the few political scientists to take these factors into account is Kees van der Pijl:

Bilderberg’s role in synthesising conflicting forces and viewpoints was amplified by them and by links to other planning bodies or private associations, diplomatic links at the state as well as inter-state level (IMF, OEEC/OECD, etc.), and through intelligence services. Neither should we forget that such older networks as Freemasonry continued to function. To give but one example, when the headquarters of the Italian Grand Lodge, confiscated by Mussolini, were returned to it in 1960, James Zellerbach, US ambassador in Rome, and CIA agent Frank Gigliotti, who had assisted in the preceding negotiations with the Italian government, were both guests of honour. Zellerbach, chairman of the board of paper company Crown-Zellerbach, was also a rapporteur at the first Bilderberg Conference and a prominent member henceforth. In light of the later role of the Propaganda Due (P2) lodge in Italy and the profusion of masonic lodges at NATO bases in Italy, an event like this should be part of our understanding of how state (including intelligence) and private forces combine to form a complex web of Atlantic class links, with a potential operational capacity at that (Van der Pijl 123).

This study has not proved whether Gigliotti was a true CIA officer (or operative), however it has been amply documented that he was in fact an agent or a “consultant” at the very least. My one regret is not filing a FOIA request. Hopefully others will be inspired to do so.

His Obituary is as follows (though a few points are not exactly correct, as we’ve seen):

Gigliotti Passes: Services were held Sept. 25 for Dr. Frank Gigliotti, 79, at the Scottish Rite Temple

The Italian immigrant arrived in America in 1900 and in Lemon Grove in 1948. The 1965 Kiwanis Man of the Year was feted by 1,000 people in Balboa Park. He was on a first-name basis with every president since Wilson and each California governor since Merriam.

Orphaned at 10, he became a hypnotist’s assistant, but was abandoned in Montana, where he was adopted by Cheyenne Indians. After a stint as a high-paid jockey, he earned his Doctor of Divinity degree in 1928 at Monte-Mario College, Rome, and his Doctor of Humanities degree in 1945 at Palmer College, Ohio. He was ordained in 1921 as a pastor of the Italian Presbyterian church. He was pastor of the California State Assembly from 1934 to 1935, and chief consulate of special services in the Office of Strategic Services from 1941 to 1945.

His lengthy list of political, social service, religious, civil rights and philanthropic activities attests to Dr. Gigliotti’s standing in the world. Among his proudest achievements was helping to restore constitutional liberty to the Italian constitution and his 14-year opposition to the tyranny of Mussolini.

Sept. 25, 1975, edition of the Lemon Grove Review

He’s buried at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, San Diego. Voluminous information can be had in this essay on those whom he was connected with; and a thorough search of the CIA’s archives should include the following terms: “Frank B. Gigliotti” OR “Frank Bruno Gigliotti” OR “Frank Gigliotti” OR “Frank L. Gigliotti” OR “Dr. Gigliotti”



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