THE DEFENDERS OF THE AMERICAN CONSTITUTION AND THE LEAGUE OF EMPIRE LOYALISTS: THE FIRST POSTWAR ANGLO-AMERICAN REVOLTS AGAINST THE “ONE WORLD ORDER” The belief that any participation in global institutions such as the United Nations poses a clear threat to national sovereignty has been a cornerstone of the Anglo-American far right stretching back to the 1950s. This study examines one of the earliest of such groups, the Defenders of the American Constitution (DAC), an organization of retired high ranking American military officers that was founded in 1953 and led by former Marine Corps Lieutenant General Pedro del Valle (1893-1978).1 I also look at the DAC’s British counterpart, Arthur Keith (A.K.) Chesterton’s League of Empire Loyalists (LEL), which was founded in 1954. The DAC and LEL continually warned against what they claimed was an attempt by murky international conspirators to strip U.S. and U.K. citizens of all vestiges of national sovereignty and patriotic feeling in order to reduce them to helpless slaves of a vast police state administered under the banner of the United Nations. Anti-globalist arguments first developed by groups like the DAC and LEL in the early 1950s continue to resonate inside the far right militia movement today.
The DAC and LEL were equally obsessed with the notion that there existed an organized Jewish conspiracy intent on building a “One World Order.” Although both groups were fiercely anti-Semitic, neither of them was “Nazi.” Appeals – both overt and covert – to National Socialism were absent from their publications. The DAC and LEL existed in a twilight world that included far right military men, religious fundamentalists, Franco supporters, staunch segregationists and longtime anti-Semites. It is the core conspiratorial anti-Semitic belief structure of both organizations that places them well beyond the confines of conventional political discourse.
Part One: Pedro Del Valle and the Creation of the DAC WHO WAS PEDRO DEL VALLE?
The stereotype of the American far rightist as a buffoonish figure with little sense of the outside world could not be less apt when looking at Pedro del Valle, the DAC’s founder and leader until his death in 1978 at age 85.
Pedro Augusto Jose del Valle Barcay Muñoz was born on August 28, 1893, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, when it was still under the control of Imperial Spain. His father, Francesco, a surgeon and former mayor of San Juan, had been educated at the University of Seville, the Sorbonne, and Johns Hopkins. In 1900 Pedro del Valle became an American citizen after his family relocated from Puerto Rico to Maryland. Upon graduation from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, del Valle joined the United States Marine Corps (USMC). He first saw action in 1916, when he participated in the capture of Santo Domingo. In World War I he led a Marine Corps detachment on the USS Texas that deployed with the British Grand Fleet.
In the late 1920s del Valle was stationed in Haiti before becoming active in the war against Augusto Sandino in Nicaragua. He later reported that as a young officer, “I found everywhere evidence of Communist organization commencing with Sandino’s red bandits.”2 He next served in Havana as an intelligence officer under Admiral Charles Freeman following the 1933 Cuban Sergeant’s Revolt. Del Valle was then assigned to Rome, where he served as an Assistant Naval Attaché in the U.S. Embassy from October 1935 to June 1937. He accompanied the Italian Armed Forces in the conquest of Ethiopia as a U.S. military observer and received the Order of the Crown of Italy, the Colonial Order of the Star of Italy, and the Italian Bronze Medal for Military Valor.3 During his stint in Ethiopia, del Valle also became good friends with some of Fascist Italy’s top military officers.
Following his return to the United States to attend the Army War College, del Valle worked at USMC headquarters as an Executive Officer in the Division of Plans and Policies. During World War II, he led the 11th Marine Regiment of the First Marine Division in the defense of Guadalcanal where he earned the Legion of Merit. After a brief stint in Washington, del Valle again returned to the Pacific in April 1944, this time as Commanding General of the Third Artillery, Third Amphibious Corps, and fought the Japanese on Guam. His crowning achievement came when, as Commanding General of the First Marine Division, he played a critical role in the capture of Okinawa in June 1945 for which he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal. After the war, he again returned to Washington serving first as the USMC Inspector General and – from 1946 to his retirement in 1948 – as Director of Personnel for the Marines.
After his retirement and in financial debt, del Valle turned to Sosthenes Behn, the head of ITT and an old friend of his father, for employment. Behn first chose him to represent ITT in the Middle East. From his office in Cairo, del Valle visited Istanbul, Damascus, Beirut and Athens. After a short stint at ITT’s Rome office, he relocated to Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he served as president of ITT for all South America.4
OVERTURES TO THE FAR RIGHT
Del Valle’s ties to the radical right – ties that almost certainly existed during his Marine Corps days – continued unabated while he worked for ITT.5 On 12/19/49, for example, he sent a letter of support to Conde McGinley, founder of Common Sense, one of the most notorious far right and anti-Semitic journals in America. Del Valle told McGinley, “If the Truman welfare state triumphs we shall lose our republic and emerge a very sad socialist oligarchy which will shortly be overthrown by a communist dictatorship.” In another letter, del Valle reported, “I have warned Senator McCarthy because I know his life is in danger.”6 In an 8/8/50 missive to Captain J.M. Kimbraugh, del Valle claimed