A SHORT HISTORY
A SHORT HISTORY OF INCA
(INFORMATION COUNCIL OF
by Frank DeBenedictis
aspect of anti-communism which has not received the
attention given to
the US conflict with the Soviet Union is the more recent war
Castro and his Communist regime in Cuba. Cuba's conversion
in 1959 caused much consternation in the United States, and
in cities doing trade with that Latin American country. New
particular feared the new regime, and out of this fear a new
anti-communist organization based in this city was born in
the Information Council of the Americas (INCA).
the 1950s, 75% of US imports from Latin America came through
port of New Orleans. Civic and business leaders of the
throughout the decades forged closer business, political and
ties with their Latin American counterparts. Fidel Castro's
power sent shock waves through New Orleans and threatened a
mutual relationship. In Tampa, Florida (another large port
cigar manufacturing played an important part of that cities
the Cuban Revolution also caused alarms to go off when
Smathers of Florida proposed an embargo against Cuban
Tampa reacted differently from New Orleans.
of fear and reaction leading to the anti-communist INCA,
saw a rise in pro-Castro activity. The Fair Play for Cuba
started a chapter and in an early 1961 rally proclaimed
action, "would lead to unemployment in Tampa." Castro's
began to take effect in the United States. Three months
after the Tampa
FPCC rally, the Information Council of the Americas would
begin its own
campaign against the changing economic sensibilities of a
was founded on May 15, 1961 by public relations professional
Edward Scannell Butler. From the beginning its agenda was
focused on Communism as an issue. INCA in fact sought
liberal as well as conservative anti-communists, asking
anti-communist Smathers to speak at an organization
function. Ed Butler
had prior to the Castro takeover, laid plans for an
organization. But when Castro took over in Cuba, and New
expressed growing anxiety over the new Latin American
dictator, the 27
year old public relations man was handed a searing issue and
Butler had an interest in both pubic relations and
psychology, so in
a real sense his organization was not ideologically based,
this public relations man exhibited a penchant for
politics. He especially expressed admiration for red-baiting
Senator Joe McCarthy whom he described as a great American.
Butler the founder of INCA did have ideological convictions
function of INCA, but he put his promotional talents rather
politics into the organization. INCA soon evolved into an
propaganda machine under its youthful leader.
University archivist Arthur Carpenter expressed
in a realpolitik sense when he poses the question, "Was
a manifestation of popular, democratic sentiment or of elite
interests?" He answers that question in the latter vein,
formation of INCA. Carpenter also describes anti-communism
origins of INCA in a post-World War II context.
anti-communism as opposed to an elitist based movement died
with the more excessive reactions of Senator Joe
McCarthy in the
early 1950s. Then the writings of historian Richard
sociologist Daniel Bell dismissed the idea of a popular
movement. They were saying that legitimate anti-communism
properly understood only by the elite; the public should be
to divert in other directions. So by the late 1950s the
organizations which had anti-communism as a primary function
be organs of business, civic and academic leaders. The John
Society in 1958 was founded by Robert Welch and twelve well
business friends in Indianapolis. In 1961 the Young
Freedom met at the Connecticut mansion lawn of
editor William F. Buckley to form that group. INCA came on
the heels of
both of these conservative organizations and had similar
with founder Ed Butler, the most important member of INCA
famed physician Dr. Alton Ochsner. Ochsner, 38 years
formed a partnership with his younger colleague which would
years. Ed Butler, who didn't have a great knowledge of Latin
affairs, benefited substantially from the association with
celebrated doctor. Alton Ochsner had an internationalist
outlook---especially when it pertained to the field of
Ochsner felt medicine transcended national boundaries, and
many physician exchange students from Latin America since
1920s. His prominence as an international physician
led him to be
elected to leadership of both the International Trade Mart
International House in the 1960s. Both business groups
Latin American trade for New Orleans, and had been founded
after World War II. Ochsner also was elected to the
presidency of the
Cordell Hull Foundation which administered a program of
fit the mode of the wealthy educated elite. He was elderly
encouraged other New Orleans prominent and wealthy citizens
INCA. Ochsner's persuasiveness helped Ed Butler recruit
Joseph W. Montgomery, Delta Steamship Line's John W. Clark,
International Trade Mart's William Zetzmann and William B.
Reily Coffee Company. The local Catholic hierarchy also
Archbishop Phillip M. Hannan and Dean of Loyola University
AE Papale becoming members. INCA also received endorsements
deLesseps Morrison and Congressman Hale Boggs.
approach to anti-communism (in addition to being
tended to follow a practical approach of containment. This
not conciliatory, but echoed the realities of American
in the early 1960s with the newly elected Kennedy
Alton Ochsner had written a letter to President Kennedy, at
request, urging a quarantine of Cuba from shipments of
military equipment. Yet Ochsner doubted the plea would
"many of Kennedy's advisors were leftists." Presidential
Schlesinger, Jr. echoing the new administrations desire to
chart a new
course in foreign policy---both with regard to the Cold War
developing nations---called for a new liberal
anti-communism, one that
would be more cooperative with the American progressive
sensitive to changes in the less rigid post-Stalinist Soviet
Schlesinger had expressed his opinion that, "a policy
designed for the
age of Stalin was not necessary in the age of Khruschev."
War containment dominated foreign policy in Eisenhower's
administration. Advisor Dean Acheson was its main proponent,
incoming Kennedy saw it as static and a remnant of the
When Kennedy became president in January, 1961 he faced a
he inherited the CIA sponsored war against Castro. This war
with the Eisenhower administration and continued with
culminating with the Bay of Pigs invasion in April,
Eisenhower's vice president and Kennedy rival Richard Nixon
was one of
the first Republicans to make a career out of anti-communism
had been one of the first in his party to support the
Party's contrived Marshall Plan. Nixon was not a disciple of
Acheson either, favoring a more aggressive stand against
Vice President's former membership on the House Committee on
Un-American activities belied the difference between two
anti-communist thought. One was liberal anti-communism which
the American Communist Party as a real political danger in
States. The other anti-communist wing was politically
conservative and domestically counter-subversive in its
Conservatives saw Communists infiltrating public life and
"collectivist" values on the population at large. Both Nixon
Information Council of the Americas with its leadership of
Ochsner and the New Orleans business elite fit the
Nixon and INCA were also internationalist in outlook. Yet
with the new
Kennedy administration, INCA opted for a containment policy,
was unable to be more aggressive toward Cuba. It directed
propaganda energies toward Latin American nationals who had
to Communism, but (who) like the New Orleans business
felt threatened by Castro.
started expanding its bi-directional support lines into
America. Ed Butler in an interview explained to me that INCA
international organization." Nurtured by its benefactor Dr.
expanded its list of supporters to include former Latin
of state. Among them were former Guatemalan president Miguel
Fuentes, Nicaraguan president Anastasio Somoza, and Juan
president of Argentina. Ochsner's medical prowess made him
Latin American circles, some of the Latins saw him almost
like a god.
In his early career, Ochsner studied in Europe, practiced in
Orleans, set up the Ochsner medical clinic in 1941, and
relations with Latins in New Orleans." While he did profess
extremist personal views toward integration and communism,
these were somewhat offset by his dedication to
of Communism was no less a concern for Ed Butler, Dr.
the other prominent INCA members than it was for the many
segregationist groups springing up in the South in the early
INCA, however, studiously avoided forming alliances with the
segregationists. INCA had never defended segregation.
rapport with Latin Americans further strengthened this
image, and the
organization made alliances with local anti-Castro Cuban
in August, 1963 an event proving important to both the
Cubans and INCA
occurred. INCA was to have an encounter in New Orleans with
accused assassin of President Kennedy, Lee Harvey Oswald.
August 5, 1963 Lee Harvey Oswald visited Casa Roca, a
managed by Carlos Bringuier. Bringuier, a Cuban refugee, was
one of the
important Cuban exile leaders in New Orleans at the time.
offered help to the beleaguered Cuban exiles in the form of
training for the purpose of fighting Castro. Four days later
became inflamed when he saw Oswald on Canal Street passing
pro-Castro literature, urging "hands off Cuba" and promoting
Play for Cuba Committee (FPCC). The two got into a fight and
arrested. Again on August 16, Oswald passed out literature,
in front of the International Trade Mart. On August
joined in a radio debate with Bringuier of the Cuban Student
Directorate, an anti-Castro group and Ed Butler of INCA. The
participants were ready for Oswald, having done some
research on him,
and shifted the discussion to his defection to the Soviet
sympathy for Cuba and his professed Marxism. Ed Butler
Oswald as an articulate speaker, and well versed in his
having looked into the defector's background and
discrediting him, the
INCA director also expressed the view that they had driven
him and the
FPCC out of town.
Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963, three months
after the New Orleans radio and TV sessions. Oswald was
the murder. Ed Butler recorded the debate sessions and
produced a new
propaganda tool with two LP records entitled Oswald:
Red and Oswald Speaks. Butler after the assassination argued
propaganda had incited Oswald to violence. The Oswald
provided new raw material for yet another propaganda film,
Hitler in Havana---which equated the Cuban Communist and
leaders. The film showed graphic accounts of murder replete
squads and corpses in both totalitarian states. Also the
there was a
split screened sequence showing the rantings of both Castro
side by side. This film went on to blame Castro for
Possibly foreseeing a future spread of INCA out of New
Butler and his organization claimed that if there had been
chapter in Dallas, Oswald may have been neutralized and the
life may have been saved.
politics has had a tendency,during certain periods, of not
only being colorful, but spreading beyond the boundaries of
and into the nation. The first example of this phenomenon
governor and US senator Huey P. Long who challenged Franklin
Roosevelt for the presidency in 1932 and found himself to be
with the Roosevelt administration many times in the early
founded the Share Our Wealth Clubs, which originated in
spread to other states. INCA in the mid-Sixties started
something similar for its organization. Unlike Long's left
INCA made no pretensions to populism. But it did share with
desire to move its politics out of the South and into the
INCA soon found itself in a new partnership with California
contributors such as National Airline chairman Dudley Swim
importantly with Schick Razor executive Patrick Frawley, Jr.
fall of 1966, Frawley underwrote the cost for television
Hitler in Havana in several large cities. The reaction
for Butler in New Orleans as several hundred Cuban exiles
New Orleans city hall and saluted INCA's film. By this time
relocated his home base from New Orleans to practice his
relations craft in Los Angeles, the communications center of
Since he felt Oswald was the vanguard of the later student
held meetings to determine what to do---what program would
Butler also worried about the Kennedy assassination since
started coming out during this period. He noticed a
the new writers to questioned the Warren Report and its
Oswald acted alone in killing Kennedy. Although the
District Attorney Jim Garrison occurred in New Orleans
fact implicated Clay Shaw, who at the time was a former
director of the
International Trade Mart, INCA itself never was implicated.
Carlos Bringuier both were very critical of Garrison and his
CIA and Cuban exile involvement in the assassination,
propaganda instead focused on writer Mark Lane.
Butler criticized Mark Lane, claiming he had been informed
had been associated with several communist front groups
and 1967. He had gotten the information by asking Louisiana
F. Edward Hebert to get information on Lane from HUAC
Congressman Willis. INCA's memos showed much concern for
Lane, who was
one of the leading critics of the Warren Commission. Two
in a public statement criticized Lane's Rush to Judgment and
him an unscrupulous communist. The Garrison investigation
descendency upon New Orleans by Lane and others proved to be
distraction for INCA. But the organization continued in New
California and Washington DC with propaganda activities
the JFK assassination trial.
a 1968 memo explaining INCA's "programs and plans," a
enveloped in hysteria was issued. Calling for mobilization
anti-communists from the left, right and center, INCA
several issues in this very turbulent year. Described in the
memo was a
resistance to the war in Vietnam in the US, which was
according to INCA
designed to split children from their parents. It spoke of
creating urban anarchy, and creating divisions between
whites. Assassination was also spoken of in this April 8,
which it describes as being used to divide government from
The memo went on to talk about the upcoming Democratic and
national conventions, which warned of "Communist convergence
predicted riots. INCA also lambasted black militancy
"Castroite Black Power extremists" wanted to assassinate
moderates such as Roy Wilkins and Whitney Young.
in the early 1960s the issue of race was generally avoided
INCA, the latter part of the decade proved different. This
Butler's book Revolution is My Profession outlines this
emphasis brought on by urban riots and campus unrest. In the
example of race as an issue outside the US is brought out.
memo states, "From experience in Malaya and elsewhere,
a one-race revolution won't work. If the Communists capture
and attack the white sections from these sanctuaries the
be very dark for America. Reiterating an old INCA theme in
the New Orleans based group called for a mobilization of
anti-communists of the left, right and center.
order to counteract the increasing radical and anti-war
on college campuses, INCA set up some of their own programs.
Readers Digest article from January, 1965 the author speaks
agents" and "front groups" and calls upon citizens to
attack forces to "wreck the wreckage." The article brought
up as one of
its examples INCA and the Oswald/FPCC episode in New
Orleans. And it
went at the end to tell its readers how to contact INCA and
involved. INCA turned its attention to college campuses. In
Missouri it set up a booth at the conservative Young
Freedom (YAF) national conference. In Chicago at another
INCA members picketed the Student for a Democratic Society's
headquarters. INCA member Dick Warren of New Orleans was
by hawkish South Carolina Congressman Mendel Rivers for his
in the late 1960s took on the image as an all-American
organization which believed in wholesome positive values.
nurtured in part by negative New Left rhetoric became
incorporated into Ed Butler's organization with vigor.
was Up With People (UWP). UWP developed as a singing group
in 1966 and
expressed its desire to work with others, promote
and avoid rebellion toward the older generation. INCA
involved in drug education with a program entitled "Drugs
Teenagers." The purpose of the proposed TV documentary was
to focus on
why teenagers used drugs. It proved to be another effort by
indicated a yearning for the turbulence of the 1960s to end,
the so-called "decency rallies" which took place in some
during this time. INCA's lip service to creating
coalitions were not that successful. Butler's organization
but increasingly sought out and formed alliances with
conservative groups. One of the most important of these was
Americans for Freedom. The YAF increasingly started
mimicking the New
Left in its tactics. YAF engaged in liberating campus
over by the New Left activists. One YAF activist
succinctly, "We don't need all the flag-wavers (referring to
Right" heroes such as California Superintendent of schools
and radio talk show host Joe Pyne). We need people who are
hip to the
media, like [Yippie leader] Jerry Rubin. Increasingly
found his organization's themes dated when compared to the
YAF, but he
understood the media, imagery of the person, and its effect
audience. So the New Orleans public relations man grew his
wore mod clothing and hosted a television show called the
of Ed Butler.
Butler's Westwood village SQUARE started in California as an
auxiliary to the INCA organization. It too was funded by
business executive Patrick J. Frawley. Among the persons he
were 1960s radical figures such as Chicago Seven trial
Rubin, Tom Hayden, and William Kunstler. Butler also used a
which he learned from his public relations work which
"aping" or copying the opposition. He countered the hippie
with "SQUARE-ins, and accused the New Left of sponsoring
break down moral values." Butler also organized the INCA
Service to counteract the counterculture and New Left
Liberation News Service. The object was to give timely
happenings at universities around the country. INCA's media
slanted as the New Left media was. At one particular
by SQUARE magazine, Butler sat on a panel with SDS founder
and other 1960s radical figures such as Stu Alpert and Steve
The radicals chastised Butler and when he rose to speak his
was pulled. The radicals got up to leave and Butler's
it with the caption, "the revolutionaries beat an ignominous
addition to the radical left criticizing INCA's
incursions, the establishment press chided in also. Hitler
was roundly criticized in a New York Times review
the crudest form of propaganda." Dr. Ochsner
complained to his
friend Turner Catledge the executive editor of the Times,
to Butler, "that we have a real problem when we have to
leftist press." But INCA had friends on the right such
Frawley, Congressman Edward Hebert (a Congressional Medal of
Winner), and eventually included in its list of advisors
William Westmoreland, Cuban military figure Admiral George
and some intelligence experts such as Herbert Philbrick
agent and subject in the television series I Led Three
Malaysian psychological warfare expert C.C. Too. The
inclusion of the
Asian intelligence expert is revealing since INCA in
fighting Communism in the Western Hemisphere became
involved in countering campus unrest and urging support of
the US war
effort in Vietnam. Butler continuously described the
figure from the early INCA days started complaining about
of events. Carlos Bringuier, who had earlier debated Lee
with Ed Butler, voiced his support of the U.S. war
lamented with concern how Castro had increased subversive
when the U.S. started escalating in the Vietnam war. This
Bringuier appeared in INCA's information service newsletter.
wrote about President Nixon's plan to "Vietnamize" the war,
and urged a
new program on called "Flan Torrienta" which would create an
organization of Latin American nations for the purpose of
Castro's subversion. This article appeared in March, 1970
and is an
early indication of at least one INCA associate expressing a
get the organization back to its original purpose---which
was to combat
Communism in Latin America.
rhetoric is described by Arthur Carpenter as "rational but
overwrought and its analysis simplistic." But when one
account Butler's profession of public relations, the
reliance on visual symbols and the need for simple but
rhetoric Butler's communications style becomes more
understandable. Ed Butler was a salesman at heart, and since
constituency was an elite and consequently more prominent,
educated, the message conveyed need not be complex,
academically inclined. It also didn't need alliances with
anti-communist groups on the far right which were concerned
segregation and paranoiac conspiracy theories of the variety
about by the likes of Richard Hofstadter in his book the
of American Politics. One of Ed Butler's associates during
1960s was Lee Edwards, a former campaign worker for Barry
1964 presidential campaign.
writes in his book Goldwater: The Man Who Made a Revolution
about Goldwater and the attacks made on him by both the far
far left. The Nazi like National States Rights Party labeled
kosher conservative due to his Jewish heritage. Goldwater
civil rights programs, but he saw it as a constitutional
than as a way to enforce segregation, Edwards writes. In
carried much of the South. It proved to be a seminal event
solidly Democratic area of the nation. Since Butler's
emphasis was on free trade and anti-communism and not on
political leanings and refusal to defend segregation
proved to be
somewhat ahead of its time with regard to the region it
But Lee Edwards and Ed Butler had other things in common
ideology. Both had promotional skills. Edwards developed his
service of Barry Goldwater, and Butler in the service of
INCA. By the
late 1960s both were now promoting the Information Council
Americas as Lee Edwards became an advisor to the
himself in many debates chastised both the extreme left and
right. He had debated Frank Colin head of the American Nazi
one point for the same reasons he took on the New Left.
fighting against extremism of both the left and right, and
book Revolution is My Profession, Ed Butler expressed his
action. Butler's anti-communism was practically rather than
ideologically based. On page 171 he describes "Model
deliberate construction and elevation of a model attitude,
concept, or personality for political purposes. He goes on
"By capturing or creating peer leaders in entertainment,
political and cultural figures with whom people can identify
(especially youth) one can control the opinion climate in
clearly as steering a car." Butler went on to use his
assassination author Mark Lane and others as an example of
defining books used to exonerate Oswald. Revolution is My
goes on to say, "In this age of instant idea via mass
telecommunications, simply saying it is (or isn't) so, can
make it so
(or not so).
talking about his new profession of Conflict Management
basically a offshoot of public relations), INCA, and the
against communism and the media Butler describes the use of
Tapes" which his organization made and used Cuban refugees
Juanita Castro (sister of Fidel Castro) to serve as the
voice on the
tape recordings. These tapes were sent to over 15 Latin
countries and over 100 broadcast stations. Juanita Castro
Bethel of the Free Cuba Committee in Miami, Florida both
to INCA. Butler and Dr. Ochsner saw the importance of
early in the organizations inception and gave INCA credit in
leftist Salvador Allende out of power in Chile's 1964
obsession with the media is apparent in his book, when he
writes, "The media are the delivery system for mental
messages are the warheads, The vehicles are the rockets."
experiences in Latin American propaganda show when he writes
book, "Conflict Managers must learn to relate, to articulate
numbers of people. As a spokesman for the SQUARE movement, I
learned no one can create fads or trends, but can identify
anticipate latent convictions and viewpoints, help verbalize
give them form, content and substance." Butler applied this
and used it when in Los Angeles with graphic symbols and
in his magazine as a way to counteract the New Left and
imagery at the time. He referred to the New Left as the
anti-establishment and the hippies as the non-establishment.
both as being in need of Conflict Management. His INCA
service depicted hippie types in derogatory situations.
a 1973 New Orleans newspaper article, Ed Butler took credit
breaking the defunct SDS, and claimed a victory against
this article proved to be one of the few jubilant moments
Information Council of the Americas as the 1970s got under
magnanimous California contributor Patrick Frawley incurred
difficulties and his past generous support was lost. Also
another generous California contributor died. In 1972 Butler
California operation, and moved back to New Orleans, but met
financial difficulties there also. Other things of Ed
doing lost ground for INCA in the early 1970s. Butler and
weak explanation for the Watergate scandal placed the blame
Communists. It proved to be a pathetic time for the
this narrow thinking analysis as anti-Castro exile
conservative fellow travelers Frank Sturgis, E. Howard Hunt,
Martinez, G. Gordon Liddy and Bernard Barker all were
tried and convicted of the break-in of Democratic
continued until 1981, its final demise attributed to the
of an aged Dr. Alton Ochsner that year. His son
Ochsner, Jr. helped start another organization similar to
Caribbean Commission was formed in 1982 by the younger
several influential New Orleanians. While INCA had
energies on the Cuban Revolution, the CC concentrated on
proved to make a definitive statement with regard to
anti-communism in its time. Ed Butler in September, 1980,
late in the
organization's history, interviewed president-to-be Ronald
Several years later in June, 1982 Reagan addressed the
Parliament. He surprised his supporters and infuriated his
returning to the idea of the Cold War as a conflict between
systems. Reagan said, "The struggle that's now going on in
will not be bombs and rockets, but a test of wills and
ideas, a trial
of spiritual resolve, the values we hold, the beliefs we
ideals to which we are dedicated..." Reagan went on in the
the same time, we see totalitarian forces in the world who
subversion and conflict around the globe to further their
assault on the human spirit. What, then, is our course? Must
civilization perish in a hail of fiery atoms? Must freedom
wither in a
quiet, deadening accommodation with totalitarian evil?"
over the disintegration of communism. INCA founder Ed Butler
president was a communicator. The reference to Reagan
his enemies by taking on an idea of calling the Cold War a
value systems, and where communications and not bombs were
the key to
winning the struggle was one not foreign to Ed Butler. His
preceeded the likes of other communications wizards such as
and Ralph Reed. While his own propaganda organization was
covert activities, some of which we do not know everything
he and INCA still proved to be politically effective. An
History magazine article showed some of the possible
of Butler to the CIA directly and through the
Mart and Cuban Student Directorate members such as his Cuban
colleague Carlos Bringuier. Butler's own ties to INCA, the
and possibly to the CIA was peripheral to the Garrison
of Kennedy's death, and the congressional intelligence
that followed. These CIA links may or may not be
if so would put another interesting footnote in the history
Information Council of the Americas.
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