As I mentioned elsewhere in this book, I was good friends with Bunker Hunt. He was a most interesting man. He really kept his thoughts quite simple. He was also very self-effacing. Even when he was considered one of the world’s richest men, being with him, you would never have guessed it if you did not know about it.
He had one trait that was very important even “consuming” to him. He wanted to know for sure what had happened in history and what was happening now. He like many of us, heard all kinds of rumors and conspiracy theories. Bunker wanted to know absolutely for sure which or if any of these were really true.
My first contact with him was just after my return from Russia that I have written about in this book. As I mentioned, few Americans had spent time in Russia after the Communists took over. In those early 1970’s when I was there, Russia was probably at what would have been considered the peak of its “meanness” and program to achieve world dominance.
Bunker had me spend almost 4 hours with him and his wife and his fine son one evening. He had me show all the colored slides that I had taken there and tell him about every story concerning the events of the time I was there. I asked him: “Why do you want to know all this?” And he answered: “Ronald, I want to know all about them and I don’t want to go myself!” So, I went through it all for him.
Since he wanted to know all the “for sure answers” he would pay large amounts of money to people who he thought may have the real answers to come and brief him. Many of them, most people may have never heard of, but he would find them. However, especially when some of them were fairly famous and important, it would occur to him at the last minute that it was going to be rather awkward for them to be speaking just to him. So, at those occasions he would invite a handful of folks to come and hear the briefing with him. I was one of the ones he would call.
To make this “come alive” for you and make this more real for you, let me give you just one example: FDR was a most unusual and interesting man. Many think that he was a Socialist or at least had those leanings. Surely some of his policies and attempted policies would lead one to believe that. But whatever his Marxist “leanings” were; he for sure had an extremely conservative side to him also. One reason that I know that was that during most all of his tenure in the White House he kept this very conservative retired army general right there with him.
This general, long dead now, had a daughter who was still living. Some of the things that she knew about, like what we now call the “deep state” so consumed her that she never married. But her father had confided everything that he knew to her. Bunker paid her to come and brief him and he asked me to be there.
I shall never forget some of the things she told us at that briefing. Here is just one……….
Right at the end of Roosevelt’s tenure, shortly before he died, he attended the Yalta Conference.
There were four major conferences during WWII. Yalta was the one where Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin met there in the Crimea and decided that they would demand the unconditional surrender of Germany, and they made plans for what the world would look like after the war…..how it would be split up.
The general’s daughter said that the morning after the President had gotten back from the Yalta conference he walked past the general’s desk and threw this file down on the general’s desk. It was the full file from the Yalta conference.
He said: “General, see if we can live with this.”
The general shot back: “Mr. President, tell me what you think, first.”
Roosevelt said: “General, I was so sick, I don’t even know what happened there. Just let me know if we can live with it!”
The general went over the whole file that night and reported back first thing the next morning.
He said: “Mr. President, we absolutely cannot live with this!!!”
So Roosevelt said: “Well go see if you can undo it.” And he added: “I will give you personal letters from me.”
The general went straight to London and met with Churchill.
Churchill was quite cordial. Churchill told him that he could change anything there but one. Churchill was adamant that he wanted to keep Hong Kong for Britain.
However, you did not just go to Moscow and walk in and see Stalin. It did not matter if you had a letter from the President of the US. The general went to Moscow and tried to get an audience with Stalin several times with no success.
But the general had heard that Stalin would work and stay-up most all night and then sleep much of the day. The general never could explain to his daughter or even to himself why he had taken his old army uniform with all its medals and ribbons with him all the way to Moscow.
He put that uniform on, took the personal letter from Roosevelt, and showed-up at the door of the Kremlin at 3:00 in the morning. At that hour there was no one there with much authority. The officer that was there read the Russian copy of the letter and just took the general straight through to Stalin.
Stalin just burst out laughing. He said: “You are a man after my own heart! You know how to ‘operate’ and get things done!”
Of course, the general got nowhere with Stalin, though he really tried. Stalin now had the promise of the east half of Germany and most all of eastern Europe. He was not about to give any of that up.
Before we left, Bunker had one more question for this lady, and I shall never forget her answer.
At that time the KGB had taken over Nicaragua and was on the verge of taking over the rest of Central America and then Mexico. The liberal groups in New York were helping them. Bunker asked her: “Why are ‘those people’ helping the Communists; they are business people. They like to make money. That is not good for their businesses at all.” Bunker was not prejudiced in the least, but he really meant Jewish businessmen in New York.
And the general’s daughter answered: “Bunker, you just don’t realize how totally seductive it is to think you can achieve absolute power.”
I was also friends with Bunker’s father……Mr. H.L. Hunt. He was so dear, and bigger that life, and just “something else”. Have you ever known of anyone that was married to three different women at the same time.
I used to go up to his office and sit with him for as long as 2 hours at a time. He would pull that brown paper sack out of his desk (which you have probably heard about) and have lunch right there. It was usually just dried apricots and pecans. It was just him and me, though a few times Bill Harris showed up briefly.
Be patient with me while I tell you about Bill Harris.
I first met him at Baylor. He was on our famous Debate Team with me. Every Spring the Team would have an annual party where the freshman debaters who qualified were inducted into the Debate fraternity, Phi Kappa Delta. On two Springs the annual party was held at our home at Rainbow Lake. Everyone went fishing and had a big meal and a great time.
The Baylor debate coach, Professor Capps and his wife were famous all over America. Baylor and Notre Dame were considered by far the best two teams in the country. Baylor debaters had a big advantage, for at the debate tournaments when teams from other schools drew Baylor as an opponent, they felt frightened and at a disadvantage.
At one of those parties, everyone headed straight for the lake and piled into the several little boats there to bass fish. Poor Mrs. Capps was too slow. She did not get a seat in one of the boats. She had to fish off of the floating pier where one would expect little to no success. She put on this huge, ugly old fishing plug and cast it out just into the open water off the pier.
Mirabile Dictu, she hauled in the largest bass that was caught in that lake all year. Was she ever a proud lady.
Anyway, Bill Harris came to those parties.
He was a nice looking, fine Christian young man. He was not like the other guys. He had this amazing knack of injecting himself into any place or situation that he desired. So, he said to himself: “Instead of just getting a job like the other guys, I think I will go where the ‘power’ is.” Well, the most powerful man in America at that time was Lyndon B. Johnson………the powerful Leader of the United States Senate.
Bill Harris went up to Washington and actually become an assistant to Johnson. I think he was officially listed as a member of the Senate Office Staff, but he was close to Johnson.
Then after Bill was pretty much finished with Johnson, and Johnson had decided to be on the Ticket with Kennedy as Vice President, Bill Harris said to himself: “What shall I do now? I have been where the power is. I think I will now go were the money is.”
The richest man in America at that time was H.L. Hunt, so Harris came back to Texas. He had a few tasks to finish first, but he did actually become a personal assistant to Mr. Hunt.
He did all kinds of things for Mr. Hunt, even taking care of Hassie sometimes. OK, be patient with me again. I had better tell you about Hassie.
Do you know what the Oedipus Complex is? That is a term that Sigmund Freud gave to us to describe the event when an oldest child will develop a monstrous competition with their same sex parent. Mr. H.L.’s oldest son was named Hassie. When he came back from the war, he did act a little strange sometimes. He probably had what we now call Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Upon his return, he went into the oil business, too. He was really brilliant and good at it. He was finding way more oil than his father over in Mississippi. They developed a monstrous Oedipus Complex with each other. They say that the two of them would actually wrestle on the floor in the office.
Well, Mr. H.L. was not in the habit of ever losing. And he for sure did not lose this battle.
Hassie was being treated at Green Oaks Psychiatric Hospital in Dallas, but it did not seem to slow down his oil finding ability or his business acumen.
Do you know what a lobotomy is? That was a new procedure at the time where they would sever the nerves between the two front lobes of one’s brain from the rest of the brain. It was done to only the worst psychiatric patients…….the very worst and most dangerous. The person would then revert to the mentality of a 3 to no more than a 4 year old. I don’t think it is even done now
I don’t know exactly how much Mr. H.L. knew about it, but he had heard that it would make a person more tractable and manageable. Hassie did display some violent tendencies. His father had him sent to a State of Texas mental hospital. They didn’t know what to do to help him.
His father then had Hassie taken to the Mayo Clinic. Mr. Hunt expressed that it was his “hardest decision ever”. They gave Hassie what they described as only a partial lobotomy. When Green Oaks heard that it was being planned they just had a fit, trying to stop it, but to no avail. So now Hassie was somewhat incapacitated for life and required supervision 24/7 for the rest of his life but had no more “violent tendencies”.
It is my opinion that Mr. H.L. had a severe guilt complex about it for the rest of his life. When I would be sitting with him in his office, it seemed like no more than any 15-minute period would go by that he would not mumble something to himself about Hassie. I heard him mumble many times: “You know Hassie never was the same after he came back from the war.”
After Mr. H.L.’s first wife died, Miss Ruth became his wife and moved into the big house with her son, Ray Hunt, Helen, June, and Swanee……all later becoming incredibly successful. She did acknowledge that Mr. H. L. was their father. Miss Ruth was such a lovely lady. She would come up to my home at the ranch to have dinner. After dinner she dearly loved to sit in front of our big fireplace and listen to music.
Toward the end of his business career, Bunker Hunt (the son with Mr. H.L.’s first wife) became closer and closer to the Lord. When they were making the Jesus Film in Israel they found that it was going to take way more money than they had anticipated. Dr. Bill Bright came to see Bunker. I am not sure if Paul Eshelman was with him or not. Anyway, Bunker gave them one million dollars to finish the film.
Later, he would host weekend conferences across the country to help Campus Crusade raise money for evangelism and to finance teams to show the Jesus film all across the world. I attended many of those and saw a most curious thing at one in California.
Bunker became famous for accumulating all that silver as you have heard. People started saying that he and Herbert were trying to corner the silver market. The US Government and the “Deep State” allowed other countries to sue Bunker over it. They would have never allowed that to happen to someone more “liberal”.
To my knowledge and from what his nephews told me, it was never his plan to corner the silver market. He was just buying silver in massive amounts because he thought it was a good investment and a hedge against where the dollar will for sure someday have to go when the “big resent” happens. You know that we can most probably never come close to repaying all the debt that our country is accumulating.
Anyway, at the Christian Conference in California, an interesting young man showed up. He was driving a big new Rolls Royce and had a “trophy girlfriend” with him……not all that compatible with a Christian Conference to raise money for evangelism.
What was so curious was that Bunker would be earnestly talking with us about something and just walk over to the young man and put his arm around his shoulders. He would never say anything to the young man or stop conversing with us. And after awhile he would just walk away.
I made it a point to visit with the young man and get to know him. He had driven all the way down from Seattle where he lived.
At that particular time, silver had just about reached its peak. Bunker looked so smart and prescient. Also, on Wall Street and at other financial centers of the world, so many people were so very curious and wanting to know……..who or what entity was buying all this silver for Bunker. They had to be making a killing with all the commissions.
This was the man. This explained Bunker’s unusual, unconscious affection and feeling of closeness to him. The young man told me that very early on, when no one was interested in silver, he was one of the only individuals who had become bullish on it. He had only read about Bunker and his wealth, but he flew down to Dallas and walked into Bunker’s office and gave him his “pitch” on silver, and Bunker bought it. This young man was the one who had made all those silver purchases for the Hunts.
In the years after that, I would give Bunker reports on the millions of people who were finding God and getting saved into Heaven through seeing the Jesus film……..as I am sure others were telling him also.
On one occasion I told him that it had to be the most important thing that he had ever done in his whole life, for sure, for sure. I told him that he would meet literally millions of Christians in Heaven that would be so grateful to him in my opinion.
Do you know what he said? He said: “Ron, I am so glad for all those results, but to be perfectly honest, at that point in my life, giving that piece of money was like flipping a dime to the shoe-shine boy.” Wow! God works in mysterious ways.
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