Gilbert I. Nelson
Commendation for Service
Vietnam Ministry of Labor
Note above: G.I. Nelson's
date of birth is 5 July 1914. This date is written 7/5/1914
in the illogical month/day/yr order used by
America, and 5/7/1914 in
the sensible small-day, medium-month, big-year order used by the rest
of the world. Did I mention the metric system?
father Gilbert Isaac Nelson (1914-2004) joined the Central
Intelligence Agency in late 1951 and was a CIA Case Officer working
under light cover as a State Department foreign service officer.
The CIA had programs to foster labor unions responsive to the
needs of their members in Germany, Italy, and (above) Viet Nam.
In Europe, careers were manipulated and covert funding was
Dad worked side by side with some colorful people who, like him, had
soldiered across Europe in World War II, denazified Germany, and now
worked to build responsive civic societies and strong social
democracies in Western Europe.
Other CIA colleagues were German Jews who had escaped Hitler's final
solution, entered US government service, and returned -- sometimes to
the consternation of their families -- to Germany. As
denazification of Germany gave way to the Cold War. some of these
German Jews participated with my father in covert CIA programs to
make the re-armament of Germany politically palatable to post-war
The United States strengthened the European Coal and Steel Community,
supported the emergence of the European Economic Community in 1957, and
hoped in the 1950s that some kind of united Europe would ultimately
emerge. I do not know if covert operations run by the CIA
supported these goals specifically.
J. I. Nelson, Ph.D.
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