Timefiction

Time Travel Logs

1954 Part 5

Chapter 5.

Professor Robertson said to Robert Thomas, “Good news, the President, Secretary of State, and Chief of the CIA have agreed to meet with you, tomorrow morning.”

Robert Thomas said, “Finally. I was beginning to wonder what was taking so long.”

Professor Robertson couldn’t tell him all the reasons. Essentially, the experts weren’t sure if he was a brainwashed spy, a lunatic, a Martian, or a time traveler. Even the later didn’t rule out also being one of the other three possibilities.

The fact that he knew a lot about the camera-phone, and about classified government programs, tended to rule out lunatic as the sole explanation.

There was actually a search made to identify, by picture, Robert Thomas, from among any still missing from the Korean War or World War Two. There were some good leads, but they were all ruled out.

Some of the advisers to President Eisenhower were worried that his main mission was to assassinate the 3 people he asked to meet, or to somehow hypnotize or brainwash them using some advanced technology.

Professor Robertson said, “This might sound a little strange, but we have to stress the importance that when you meet with them, that you not make any sudden moves, or approach them too closely. People are still a little nervous about you.”

The meeting itself was in a classified facility attached to an air force base, which is where Robert Thomas has been since coming to the attention of the government.

Bob Thomas was led to a larger meeting room. When the door was opened, at the other end of the room were the three people out of a history book, President Eisenhower, John Foster Dulles, and Allen Dulles, along with some guards and other people he didn’t recognize.

President Eisenhower strode right up to him, shook his hand and said, “I want to thank you for your help to your country.” Bob Thomas said, “It is an honor to meet you, President Eisenhower.”

Eisenhower went back to his seat, Thomas was ushered to his seat, and the Dulles’s greeted Bob Thomas from their side of the table.

Eisenhower said, “I hear you don’t like my Vice President.” Allen Dulles said, “And you don’t like my CIA.” John Foster Dulles said, “Did you say if you didn’t like my State Department?”

Bob Thomas said, “I have a bunch of things to say about the State Department. And Mr. President, I am pretty sure that you don’t like your Vice President either.”

President Eisenhower said, “What is it you wanted to discuss personally?”

Bob Thomas said, “The CIA is a little out of control. You yourself would bring them more in line in a year or two, to have every operation approved as being in the national interest. However, by the early 1960’s they slip away again. Some conspiracy theorists think that they even ordered the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963. The suspicion never fell to the top of the chain of command within the CIA, only in the lower to mid-upper levels.

The second area I wanted to discuss is the preservation of the United States as an elected democracy. I have seen 1 movie, and read 3 novels, that each involved time travel, and each had Richard Nixon as President for life, using knowledge he gained. I don’t know exactly what they are talking about, but it became a cliche. In 1974 he became the first President to resign the Presidency, due to his covering up a burglary of Democratic Party offices in which his people, who by the way, also worked for the CIA, tried to steal files. In my history, he lost the 1960 election, which was almost a tie, and your tepid endorsement of him probably made the difference in him no winning. He went on to win in 1968.

The third area I want to discuss is foreign policy, the Cold War, and the long view of history from 54 years later.

The fourth area I want to discuss is your health. In 1955 you have a heart attack, but survive it, and live to 1969. However, in 1957 you have a stroke, which slightly impairs your for your second term. I think you might have been a little more effective if that didn’t happen.”

John Foster Dulles, said, “Before we begin, let me gauge your advice based upon what I know from history. If this were 1934, what would your advice be, briefly?”

Bob Thomas replied, “In short, to get Britain and France to stop Germany from rearming. After that, for the US to develop military technology, but not to build lots of equipment in the 1930’s that would become obsolete soon.”

John Foster Dulles said, “I read the transcript where you said that your situation mirrored a novel you read, of a man from around your era, finding himself in 1934 Britain. There was also a man helping Germany at the same time. Since your situation is inexplicable, and the only reference is a novel, have you seen any sign of recent events being different from what you remember?”

Bob Thomas answered, “No. However, I don’t know that much day to day detail from this era.”

Allen Dulles said, “You are going to start getting CIA briefings of any events going on anywhere outside the US.”

President Eisenhower said, “You told me my future health history. What in blazes am I supposed to do with it?”

Bob Thomas said, “I think you already stopped smoking, but that would be the first advice. The second, is to take a daily aspirin as a blood thinner to reduce the chance of both heart attacks and strokes. The third is to check your blood pressure and if too high, cut down drastically on salt. The fourth is to check your cholesterol level, if above 240 mg/dL drastically cut down on meats, dairy fat, fried foods, and increase fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, but not peanuts, and fiber, especially soluble fibers such as oat bran.

The next general advice would be to exercise 30 minutes per day, at least 5 days a week, to get the pulse up to make 120, but I don’t know if that would be advised for someone so close to having a heart attack, it might be more for someone in better condition.

You also have an intestinal disease called Crons, but I don’t know of any cure in 2008, except for the surgery you will have in a couple years, although I think the same dietary changes help that condition also.

You can also make a difference in American’s health. You were going to start the President’s Council on Youth Fitness in 1956, which would later become a more general program. It would encourage people to improve their fitness, and it is not just exercise, but also diet, and stopping all smoking. The studies linking smoking to heart disease and lung cancer are already out there. I read it in the stack of news magazines from 1954. It doesn’t have to wait until 1964 for the Surgeon General’s report to make it official.

You yourself could follow the best advice and inspire others to do so, and do so this year.”

President Eisenhower said, “Thank you for your advice. I am wary about starting a public program now, and having a heart attack next year anyway. It might turn off the public from the fitness in general. Let’s get to the discussion of the Cold War and what you think we should do.”

Allen Dulles interjected, “Getting back to looking for evidence of any other time travelers. Give me some names that a Soviet time traveler would consider important to either help or hurt.”

Bob Thomas said, “Leonid Brezhnev, Kosygin. All of the current top leadership, including Gromyko. Nagy and Kadar in Hungary.

Most of the others that I’m familiar with, were important after the next 10 years. Dubcek of Czechoslovakia. Andropov, Chernenko. Mikhail Gorbachev in his early 20’s now. Vaclav Havel of Czechoslovakia, a little younger. Boris Yeltsin, early 20’s. Alexander Lebed born 1950 or so. Vladimir Putin born in the early 1950’s. Novelist Solzhenitsyn, not so young, maybe mid-30’s now. I think he is already a political prisoner who was released and still alive in 2008. Sakharov, now a nuclear physicist in his 30’s, later a dissident. Lech Walesa in Poland, born early 1940’s, later works in the Gdansk shipyards. A Priest Karol something or other, in his 30’s, probably not even a Bishop yet, later becomes an anti-communist Pope from Poland.”

Allen Dulles said, “We’ll send you a bulletin any time we get any news on any of those names. What about spies? Can you remember who the Communist spies are? Let us start with recent suspects, Alger Hiss, Robert Oppenheimer, and the Rosenbergs.”

Bob Thomas said, “Oppenheimer, never any evidence of his being a spy. I think the only thing he was guilty of was being uneasy about atomic warfare. Julius Rosenberg, guilty. He sent atomic bomb drawings to the Soviet Union. They didn’t find it useful, but he did try. His wife, still an open question. As for Hiss, there was never any information from the Soviet archives on him, but your own information that you have now became available later, the Venona intercepts. The Soviets misused their one time pad encryption scheme, giving you a lot of decodes, and you were fairly certain one of the communications was from him.

In any case, Hiss should be a lesson to you, which in my history you’ll ignore. His profile and background put him above suspicion. There will be a bunch of spies like him over the next decades. And yet, you’ll still excuse some people from taking lie detector tests.

Of course lie detector tests don’t really work. They mostly intimidate people into telling the truth. Maybe that is why you had the policy some time in the late 1950’s. Still, realize that at least some spies can completely fool lie detector tests and the noise level of false positives make it hard to pick out true lies anyway.”

President Eisenhower, said, “You expressed concerns about Curtis Lemay. What would you do differently?”

Bob Thomas said, “He was competent, no doubt about that. However, he believed in preventative nuclear war, as did his successor as SAC chief, General Power. The President must have control over his military. I know that you soundly rejected a preventative war, around this timeframe, when the Soviets don’t yet have launchable Hydrogen bombs.

What I would do differently, is to find a way to keep the military under control, not just during your term or terms of office, but especially during the next one, if the President isn’t someone the military respects. The second change I would make, is to develop a credible second strike capability now, instead of several years from now. It is the lack of one that causes hair-trigger alerts and the possibility of nervous decisions.

One method of dealing with nuclear security is what President Kennedy in 1961, Permissive Action Links on all atomic warheads. These are locks, that require an 4 to 12 digit code for an atomic explosion to occur. The bomb requires a precise set of times for different conventional explosives to detonate, so the lock is a secret code to make that happen. The bomb is also designed so that an external explosion or shock is sure to prevent, rather than cause an atomic explosion. A sub-critical, or small explosion is probably possible, but not a damaging yield, unless the code is entered as part of arming a warhead. It was revealed that the ICBM bases actually set their codes to 00000000 and violated orders to have them under control.

The codes themselves are held by the members of the chain of command. The officers in charge of warheads would expect to hear from the correct personnel, and would get the correct code.

It should be noted, that at the height of the Cold War, the US gave this technology to the Soviet Union, and later to other nuclear powers such as China. Noone wanted some insane General to be able to start a global nuclear war.

The second strike capability is needed. In the next 10 years or so, before the Soviets have an undeniable massive strike capability, there will be never ending debate about what the Soviet capability is. First there will be talk of a bomber gap, which you will know to be false, but not being able to reveal your intelligence capability, mostly U-2 flights, you’ll have to let the perception stand. The Soviets can build something like the B-47, I think you call it the Bison, but they don’t have the capability of building many of them. You probably don’t realize just how limited Soviet industry is right now, and how bad their war damage was. They will recover, but it will take a few more years.

Then there is the missile gap. The Soviets launch an ICBM into Earth orbit, while the US can’t launch anything without it blowing up near the launchpad for a while. Actually, the Soviets don’t have a working reentry vehicle at the time, and then have only a few ICBMs that would take days to prepare to launch.

In any case, what the US needs is a global network of radars, computers to interpret what they see, and the ability to get a warning to every bomber base. Then the bomber base needs to be able to get enough bombers up in the air, and out of blast range, within 15 minutes. The only bomber you have that can handle the wear is the B-52, the B-47’s aren’t up to the task. You’ll need to have some B-52’s in the air at all times, and a large number of others that can be in the air in a few minutes, much less than 15 minutes in order to clear the area. Of course they all need to be pre-loaded with warheads.

The other thing you’ll need for the B-52’s to be credible is stand-off missiles, instead of gravity dropped bombs. That way they can fire away from areas with heavy anti-aircraft coverage. They’ll fly at treetop level the whole way to their target. You’ll figure out ways to have a command and control system that can survive any surprise attack.

For missiles, you’ll need solid fueled missiles, since they can remain on alert, and don’t need to be fueled. They can be based in protected silos, each only vulnerable to an accurate direct hit, and only 1 warhead per missile and no two silos too close together. This way, you won’t need to ever have a launch on warning policy.

I don’t know how to deal with the Soviet response to the US having this capability first. They’ll have liquid fueled missiles, which cannot be protected, so they might have a launch on warning policy.”

John Foster Dulles retorted, “How could the Soviets have a launch on warning policy if it takes days to prepare to launch?”

Bob Thomas corrected what he said with, “Actually, launch on tension, not warning. If their missiles of the late 1950’s can’t be launched before being destroyed, the only way they could be used would be in a surprise attack.

I think by 1961 or so, they get their readiness time down to 1 to 3 hours. The US also has a series of liquid fueled ICBMs, called the Titans. I think they started being ready in early 1962 and took 15 minutes to launch, including loading the liquid oxygen.

Before that the US had the Atlas usable at the end of 1959. I don’t think it was any faster to launch than the Soviet ICBMs, but they usually stored them in underground shelters, to be launched at a time they weren’t under attack. In any case, with IRBM bases in Britain, Italy, and Turkey, the US wasn’t as dependent on ICBMs in the 1950’s. Those Jupiter missiles though were very vulnerable on the launchpad.”

John Foster Dulles asked, “How do we get solid fueled missiles?”

“I heard that the civilian plastics industry has been credited for why the US got them earlier. They were used in ICBMs, and also submarine launched missiles. These didn’t require the submarine to surface in order to fire, and were an important part of a credible second strike capability. I think it was tested in 1960 and deployed in 1961. I think the ICBM was deployed around 1960 and it had its own computer guiding it.”

Story: 1954: Part 6

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