William Harding Jackson (II) ( March 25, 1901 – September 28, 1971) was a U.S. civilian administrator, New York lawyer, and investment banker who served as Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.[1] Jackson also served briefly under President Dwight D. Eisenhower as United States National Security Advisor in 1956 while in his role as 'Special Assistant for National Security Affairs' from 1956-1957 [2]

Education[edit | edit source]

Jackson attended the Fay School in Boston and St. Mark's School, an Episcopal Preparatory school in Southborough, MA. He received his undergraduate Bachelor of Arts degree (B.A.) from Princeton University (1924) and his LL.B. from Harvard Law School (1928).

Early life[edit | edit source]

Born William Harding Jackson (II), March 25, 1901 on the Belle Meade Plantation, in Nashville, Tennessee to parents William Harding Jackson (I) and wife, Anne Davis (Richardson) Jackson (later remarried to Stevenson).[3]

Much confusion surrounds Bill Jackson's name (perhaps convenient by design, given his importance in U.S. national security affairs). Bill Jackson's grand-father, a U.S. Military Academy at West Point graduate (1856) and former Confederate States Army General, was named William Hicks Jackson (more commonly known during his lifetime as 'General Red Jackson'); Bill Jackson's father was named William H. (Harding) Jackson and one of Bill Jackson's sons was named William H. Jackson, Jr., as well. All four men are known as 'William H. Jackson' making it difficult to distinguish one from another.

To further confuse the issue, Bill Jackson's paternal grand-father, General Red Jackson, died at age 67 of natural causes—and young Bill's father, William Harding Jackson (I), died of complications from typhoid fever at age 29—both within four-months of each other—during the Spring-Summer of 1903 when young Jackson was only two-years old.

All three of these men were heirs to the world famous Belle Meade Plantation near Nashville, Tennessee, during their life times.

Belle Meade Plantation[edit | edit source]

Bill Jackson's great-great-grandfather, John Harding of Virginia, moved to Tennessee in 1807 and acquired the initial 250 acres (1.0 km2) along the Natchez Trace (Old Natchez Road) and Richland Creek at "McSpadden's Bend" near Nashville; then known as the "McSpadden's Bend Farm". John Harding continued to acquire surrounding land that he would later rename Belle Meade.

John Harding's son, Confederate Army General William Giles Harding was Bill Jackson's great-grandfather; he built the Belle Meade Mansion in 1853. William Giles Harding had a son he named 'John' by his first wife, Mary Selena McNairy (she died in 1837). Giles Harding remarried and had two daughters, Selene Harding (Bill Jackson's grandmother) and Mary Elizabeth Harding (Bill Jackson's aunt), by Giles Harding's second wife, Elizabeth McGavock.[4]

The eldest daughter, Selene Harding (1846–1892), married Jackson County, TN resident General William Hicks Jackson on December 15, 1868 after the Civil War ended, and they moved to Belle Meade where Red Jackson co-managed the business affairs of the Belle Meade Estate with his new father-in-law, General William Giles Harding; the two men expanded the estate into a world class thoroughbred horse farm. The marriage resulted in one daughter named Selene Harding Jackson (1876–1913) who later married William Robert Elliston, and took the name Selene Elliston.

Red and Selene Jackson also had a son. According to the records of the Tennessee State Library and Archives, Red Jackson sent a letter to his father-in-law, General Harding, announcing the birth of a son he named 'William Harding Jackson' (I) on September 15, 1874.

It should be noted that General Red Jackson had a rather famous brother, Howell Edmunds Jackson (1832–1895), also from Jackson, Tennessee. He was a judge and former U.S. Senator (1881–86) who was eventually appointed a United States Supreme Court Justice (1893–95). After the death of Howell Jackson's first wife in 1873 (Sophia Malloy of Jackson, Tennessee), Howell Edmunds Jackson married General Harding's youngest daughter, Mary Elizabeth Harding. The two harding sisters and the two Jackson brothers would become the foundation for the Harding-Jackson family dynasty of Nashville, TN.

In 1897, Red Jackson's son, William Harding Jackson (I), married Anne (Davis) Richardson (young Bill Jackson's mother) who was the daughter of James B. Richardson, the eventual Executor of the Belle Meade estate.

When General William Giles Harding died in 1886, he left the Belle Meade estate (one-third) to General "Red" Jackson and his wife (General Harding's eldest daughter Selene Harding), (one-third) to his son and Selene Harding's half-brother, John Harding, and (one-third) to Howell Edmunds Jackson (1832–1895) and his wife (General Harding's youngest daughter, Mary Elizabeth Harding).

Subsequently, when General Red Jackson died in March, 1903, his portion of the Belle Meade estate was left to his son, William Harding Jackson (I) who, in turn, died just 4 months later in July, 1903; leaving the estate to Selene Elliston, the Catholic Church and his son, William Harding "Bill" Jackson (II), (then age 2) -- all of which was to be administered by James B. Richardson, Executor.[5]

Upon the deaths of both father and grand-father in the same year, Bill Jackson had become an instant heir to the sprawling, world renowned Belle Meade Estate. He was only two-years old.

James B. Richardson (Bill's maternal grand-father) made the decision, along with Bill's mother, Anne (Davis) Richardson Jackson, to liquidate the huge property, reportedly near 5,400 acres (22 km2) in 1903, all the horses and livestock, outbuildings, equipment, and the Belle Meade Mansion built in 1853 by General Harding.

By 1907, and within four years of Bill Jackson's inheritance, the entire 5,400-acre (22 km2) Estate and the Belle Meade Mansion had been auctioned off and sold by Richardson.

After the sale of Belle Meade in 1907, Bill Jackson's mother sent young Jackson to Boston to the Fay School preparatory school for boys, prior to his attending the nearby co-educational St. Mark's School in Southborough, Massachusetts.

Belle Meade Mansion is still located at 5025 Harding Pike, Nashville, TN 37205. On 25 Mar 1953, it was resold to the State of Tennessee and turned over to the APTA (Association for the Preservation of Tennessee Antiquities) "...as a monument to the Old South...". It was listed on 30 Dec 1969 in the National Register of Historic Places (#69000177).[6]

Professional life[edit | edit source]

After graduation from Harvard Law School in 1928, Bill Jackson joined the New York law firm of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft. In 1930, he moved to the business and financial interest law firm of Carter, Ledyard & Milburn, where he became a full 'partner' in 1934. "During these prewar years he was an active polo player and also an active pilot of light private aircraft" according to CIA Historian, Ludwell Lee Montegue's account.

After WW-II, Jackson became an investment banker and the 'Managing Partner' (1947) for J. H. Whitney & Co. in New York.[7]

Military service[edit | edit source]

During World War II, Bill Jackson (II) served in the United States Army (1942–1945) as an intelligence officer on the staff of General Omar Bradley in 1944-45. At the urging of Tommy Hitchcock, a friend and famous polo player, Bill Jackson had entered military service as a commissioned 'Captain' in the Army-Air Corps working in air intelligence. After graduating from Air Intelligence School at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Jackson was assigned to the headquarters of the Army Air Force Anti-Submarine Command which operated under the control of the Navy's Eastern Sea Frontier.

According to Montague's World War Two historical account "...Captain Jackson had the temerity to produce an analysis of the effectiveness of anti-submarine warfare as it was then being conducted off the U.S. East Coast. He showed that it was a dismal failure and urged that the Army units involved be sent to reinforce the Royal Air Force Coastal Command for a concerted attack on the German submarines at their source in the Bay of Biscay. Captain Jackson's paper infuriated the U.S. Navy, from Admirial King on down, but it delighted the Army Air Force. Jackson was reassigned to be Assistant Military Air Attache in London, in liaison with the Costal Command. His recommendation was eventually carried out, although it took the personal intervention of the Secretary of War to over come the bitter opposition of the Navy."

Jackson achieved the rank of full 'Colonel' in the Army Air Force and served as 'Deputy G-2' under Brigadier General Edwin Sibert ('G-2') at Headquarters, 12th Army Group, SHAEF (Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Forces) on General Bradley's staff.

Marriage to Mary P. Keating[edit | edit source]

According to Montague, "...Jackson was in intimate contact with General Bradley's office; he married the General's secretary." The lady was Mary Pitcairn, better known today as Mary P. Keating. She was born Mary Leet Pitcairn in Pittsburgh, PA and raised in St. Louis, MO, where her father, Norman B. Pitcairn was a former President of the Wabash Railroad.

Mary did a lot of volunteer work during the World War Two years as a nurse for the Red Cross. She was one of the first Red Cross nurses to attend to allied troops immediately after the invasion of France in June, 1944 (she reportedly landed at 'Utah Beach' just six weeks after D-Day). She later became secretary to General Omar Bradly of the 12th Army (SHAEF), where she met her husband to be, Bill Jackson. They had two sons together. Bill Jackson was actively involved as DDCI and Special Advisor to the DCI, Central Intelligence Agency, as well as, Special Advisor in National Security matters to both President's Truman and Eisenhower, during those years (1950–1957) [8]

After her divorce from Bill Jackson, she remarried to another New York lawyer, Wendell Davis, who died in 1972; she subsequently remarried a third time to U.S. Senator and former Ambassador to Israel, Kenneth Keating; thus, becoming Mary (Pitcairn) Jackson Davis Keating.

Mary P. Keating was active as a volunteer in the Princeton University Museum of Art, the Asia Society of New York, and Princeton Symphony Orchestra. She died on January 19, 2009 at the age of 88 "after a long illness" [9]

The Princeton 'Town Topics' obituary indicates "...The family moved to Princeton in the early 1950's where her two stepsons, William H. Jackson, Jr (the fourth 'William H. Jackson' in the family) and Richard L. Jackson, were attending college. ....She is survived by two sons, Bruce P. Jackson of Washington, DC and Howell E. Jackson of Newton, MA, two grandchildren; nine stepchildren; fifteen step-grandchildren; and numerous step-great-grandchildren."

CIA - Deputy Director, Central Intelligence (DDCI)[edit | edit source]

Bill Jackson was the first Deputy Director of Central Intelligence at CIA to serve under former Ambassador to the Soviet Union (1946) and former World War Two four-star General, Walter Bedell Smith (DCI), known affectionately as "Beatle".

Beatle Smith's appointment by President Harry S. Truman as DCI was announced on August 18, 1950. On the same date, Beatle Smith announced Jackson's appointment as his 'Deputy'. Jackson had been recommended by former Secretary of the Navy, Admiral Sidney W. Souers who had served as "Director Central Intelligence" prior to the enactment of the National Security Act of 1947. He knew of Bill Jackson's work in anti-submarine air warfare and his connection to Secretary of Defense, Admiral James Forrestal from the days of the old Office of Strategic Services, disbanded in 1945.[10]

Smith and Jackson officially assumed the duties of DCI and DDCI on October 7, 1950. Three months later, General Smith and Bill Jackson succeeded in bringing Allen Dulles to CIA. On January 2, 1951, Allen Welsh Dulles was sworn in and took office as Deputy Director for Plans (DDP) in charge of covert activities. While many claim that Major General William Joseph Donovan (known as 'Wild Bill Donovan') was the "founder" of the CIA, official CIA history shows that these three men (Beatle Smith, Bill Jackson, and Allen Dulles) were the principals who actually put the CIA organization together as we know it, during its formative years from 1950-1961.

Bill Jackson's successful Wall Street investment banking career was interrupted by his reluctant tenure as Deputy Director of the CIA, which was originally to be for ...only six months..., by agreement with General Smith, but lasted until August 3, 1951, "...when he signed a personal services contract (WAE). He returned to private business but remained active in CIA affairs as the Special Assistant and Senior Consultant to the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) from August, 1951 to February, 1956. ...Allen Dulles succeeded Jackson as DDCI on 23 August 1951...." according to Montague.

When Bill Jackson resigned from CIA to return to Wall Street and, also, become Special Advisor in National Security affairs to General Smith (DCI) and Presidents Truman and Eisenhower (from 1951–1957), Allen Dulles was promoted to DDCI, serving from 23 August 1951 through 26 February 1953. When Beatle Smith retired in 1953, Allen Dulles then became DCI from 26 February 1953 to 29 November 1961. Those three men essentially guided the CIA for more than ten-years, through the Korean War period, and all were very close advisors to the White House.

During the Eisenhower Administration, Bill Jackson is listed by the 'White House Staff' publication [11] and by the CIA as being a 'Special Assistant' and 'Senior Consultant to the Director of Central Intelligence' (from 1951–1957). Bill Jackson was the Chairman of President Eisenhower’s Committee on International Information Activities, often known inside the Beltway as the 'Jackson Committee', during 1953 and 1954.

In February 1956 he was appointed special assistant to President Eisenhower on psychological warfare, succeeding Nelson Rockefeller.[12]

To the occasional amusement of many politicians and Washington, DC insiders, there was a George Jackson at CIA serving on the National Board of Estimates Staff, and other members of the 'Jackson Committee' which included the Committee's Chief of Staff, Wayne Jackson, a former office-mate of Bill Jackson's at the law firm Carter, Ledyard & Milburn, and C. D. Jackson from the private sector Time-Life-Fortune magazine syndicate.

According to Montague's account, "...This multiplicy of CIA-related Jacksons occasioned some merriment."

Retirement years[edit | edit source]

Bill Jackson retired in Tucson, Arizona during the Vietnam War era. According to Ludwell Lee Montague's foot notes "Portraits of famous "Belle Meade" stallions adorn Jackson's living room in Tucson, Arizona", [13] along with personally autographed pictures of Presidents Truman and Eisenhower, among other memorabilia.

William Harding "Bill" Jackson (II) died in Tucson at age 71 (September 28, 1971).

References[edit | edit source]

  1. (Reference: "The Central Intelligence Agency", by Arthur B. Darling, copyright, 1990, ISBN 0-271-00717-6 -- and --"General Walter Bedell Smith as Director of Central Intelligence", by Ludwell Lee Montague, copyright, 1992, ISBN 0-271-00750-8 - both texts declassified with redactions and deletions by the CIA and published by The Pennsylvania State University Press)
  2. www.cia.gov Reference: Central Intelligence Agency Library/Center for the Study of Intelligence
  3. (Reference: Tennessee State Library and Archives "The Papers of William Hicks Jackson (1835-1903)from 1766-1978", Accession Number 1979.059, completed December 12, 1979.)
  4. Tennessee State Library and Archives "The Papers of William Hicks Jackson (1835-1903)from 1766-1978", Accession Number 1979.059, completed December 12, 1979
  5. (References: Tennessee State Library and Archives and the internet website www.bellemeadeplantation.com/people)
  6. (Reference: www.bellemeadeplantation.com/people)
  7. Eisenhower Presidential Library - the interviews of Gordon Gray
  8. (Reference: CIA website, www.cia.gov)
  9. (Reference: "Town Topics" ...Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946, Vol. LXIII, Wednesday, January 28, 2009, Obituaries)
  10. "General Walter Bedell Smith as Director of Central Intelligence", by Ludwell Lee Montague, copyright, 1992, ISBN 0-271-00750-8
  11. Eisenhower Presidential Library, White House Staff photographs and biographies of key people
  12. "U.S. President's Appointments". The Times: pp. 5. February 25, 1956. 
  13. "General Walter Bedell Smith as Director of Central Intelligence", by Ludwell Lee Montague, copyright, 1992
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Preceded by
Dillon Anderson
United States National Security Advisor
Succeeded by
Robert Cutler

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