Gilbert I. Nelson
Commendation for Service  
Vietnam Ministry of Labor

Vietnam Ministry of Labor cites Gilbert I. Nelson for service

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?  


My 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 distributed.  

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 Germany society.  

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.
McLean, VA
March 2009

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Rev 1Mar09