Iron Mountain, 1967
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Following is the U.S. News & World Report on The Report from Iron Mountain
from November 20, 1967. The Iron Mountain Report continues to have some
currency among conspiracy researchers. Hoaxed or not, the unintentially humorous
situation its publication set off should not be lost on readers. Pentagon
bureaucrats found it so plausible that, according to the caption underneath a DC skyline
photo that accompanied this article, "In Washington, a "manhunt" began for the unidentified
author." "Hoaxed" political analysis reached a new peak recently with the publication
of The Real Report on the Last Chance to Save Capitalism in Italy. Those with
an interest in Iron Mountain would do well to check out the Real Report, reviewed
near the bottom of the main Steamshovel page with a link to its publisher, Flatland Books.
Hoax or Horror? A Book
That Shook White House
There can be no peace, but endless war may be
good for the U. S. anyway-that is the conclusion
reported in a volume causing a severe case of jit-
ters in official Washington. Reason: The book pur-
ports to be based on a secret, Government-financed
study by top experts. Some say it is grimly serious.
Others call it leg-pulling satire. Whatever the truth,
it is something of a sensation in high places.
"Report From Iron Mountain"
was published October 16 by the
Dial Press of New York City. It has
an introduction by Leonard C. Lew-
in, a New York free-lance writer.
Mr. Lewin wrote that the manu-
script was made available to him
in 1966 by a member of the 15-
man "Special Study Group" which
produced the work.
That person is referred to as
"John Doe" and is described as a
professor of social science from "a
large Middle Western University."
The manuscript identifies "Iron
Mountain" as the assembly point
for the study group, near Hudson,
The Library of Congress, on No-
vember 10, told "U.S. News &
World Report" that "Iron Moun-
tain" has not been registered. To
do so would require divulging at
least the nationality of the author.
Did a select group of prominent
Americans meet in secret sessions be-
tween 1963 and 1966 and produce a re-
port that advised the U. S. Government
it could never afford an era of peace?
Yes-according to the mysterious new
book, "Report From Iron Mountain on
the Possibility and Desirability of
No-came a resounding chorus from
worried Government officials, who, none-
theless, were double-checking with one
another-just to make sure.
The response of experts and political
observers ranged from "nutty" to "clever
satire" to "sinister."
IS WAR NECESSARY? Central theme of
the book, which purports to reflect the
unanimous view of 15 of the nation's
top scholars and economists, is this: War
and preparations for it are indispensable
to world stability. Lasting peace is prob-
ably unattainable. And peace, even if it
could be achieved, might not be in the
best interests of society.
All this set off a blazing debate in
early November, cries of "hoax"-and a
"manhunt" for the author, or authors.
Sources close to the White House re-
vealed that the Administration is
alarmed. These sources say cables have
gone to U. S. embassies, with stern in-
structions: Play down public discussion
of "Iron Mountain"; emphasize that the
book has no relation whatsoever to Gov-
LBJ's REACTION. But nagging doubts
lingered. One informed source confirmed
that the "Special Study Group," as the
book called it, was set up by a top offi-
cial in the Kennedy Administration. The
source added that the report was drafted
and eventually submitted to President
Johnson, who was said to have "hit the
roof"-and then ordered that the report
be bottled up for all time.
As the turmoil mounted, so did the
speculation about those who participat-
ed in writing "Iron Mountain."
John Kenneth Galbraith, former Am-
bassador to India, was quoted by "The
Harvard Crimson" as having parried the
question of authorship.
Mr. Galbraith, who reviewed "Iron
Mountain" under a pseudonym, was re-
ported to have said: "I seem to be, on
all matters, a natural object of suspi-
cion." And he added: "Dean Rusk,
Walt Bestow, even Robert Bowie could
as easily have written the book as 1.
Yes, Rusk could."
Several sources turned toward Har-
vard in general as the site of authorship.
One even went so far as to suggest that
the book is an effort by Kennedy forces
to discredit Lyndon Johnson.
A BIG SPOOF? Whatever else it was,
"Iron Mountain" raised fears at high levels
that it would be a mother lode for Com-
munist propagandists. There was also a
feeling that if the book is just an elabo-
rate spoof, it is not likely to find under-
standing or sympathy in world capitals.
In the academic community, many
held the view that "Iron Mountain" was
a hilarious hoax-a kind of dead-pan
parody of the studies emanating from
the nation's "think tanks."
One history professor at a large Mid-
western university, telephoned by "U.S.
News & World Report," came on the
line with these words: "I didn't do it."
But he added: "Whoever did is laugh-
ing his sides off. He's saying, in effect,
'Look, if you read and take seriously
some of the bilge in these exalted studies,
you might as well read and take serious-
ly my little exercise.' "
In all the furor, a literary analogy
cropped up. Not since George Orwell's
"1984" appeared some 18 years ago has
there been such a controversial satire.
"WAR IS PEACE." Mr. Orwell's cbar-
acters spoke a language called "new-
speak." They lived by the all-powerful
state's slogan: "War is Peace."
In "Report From Iron Mountain," the
language is the flat, metallic jargon dear
to the U. S. bureaucrat. The message:
War is, "in itself, the principal basis of
organization on which all modern soci-
eties are constructed."