International Telephone & Telegraph ITT Random Facts and Trivia

Some random facts and trivia about the U.S. corporation International Telephone & Telegraph including hotels, IndoChina war.

INTERNATIONAL TELEPHONE & TELEGRAPH (ITT)

NOTE

ITT Sheraton owns, leases, and manages 55 hotels in the U.S. containing 27,894 rooms, and 28 foreign hotels containing 14,037 rooms. Sheraton also grants franchises for 216 U.S. hotels with 35,636 rooms and 14 foreign hotels with 2,527 rooms.

ITT Continental Bakeries bakes and sells bread, snacks, cakes, and other bakery items under the brand names Daffodil Farms, Home Pride, Hostess, Profile, and Wonder Bread. It also manufactures and sells potato chips, corn chips, and Morton frozen food. ITT Gwaltney, Inc., produces fresh and processed pork products, including Genuine Smithfield Hams. O. M. Scott & Sons sells lawn seed, fertilizer, weed and insect controls, and other lawn care products. Hartford Life Insurance sells fire, marine, casualty, life, and accident and health insurance, annuity contracts, and surety bonds.

ITT Rayonier produces chemical cellulose, wood pulp, lumber, and treated wood products.

Airport Parking Company of America manages parking facilities at airports, downtown lots and garages, hospitals, and stadiums in the U.S. and Europe.

Howard W. Sams Company provides reference services, magazines and books, including Bobbs-Merrill books.

In 1973 ITT and Transcontinental Gas and Pipeline began a joint venture, U.S. Transmission System, which plans to provide private line communications service in a 200-mi.-wide corridor from New York to Houston.

For the Indochina War ITT developed and produced electronic countermeasures for B-52 bombers, navigation systems for laser guided bombs dropped by F-4 and F-105 bombers, and ground surveillance radar and gunfire control for the Army's automated battlefield. The company operates the Western Test Range and Space and Missile Center at Vandenberg Air Force Base, and operates and maintains the Distant Early Warning System and the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System.

In 1969 after ITT acquired Canteen Corporation, Grinnell Corporation, and Hartford Fire Insurance, the U.S. Justice Dept. filed suits against ITT charging that the mergers were in violation of the antitrust laws. From August, 1970, a month before the Grinnell trial began, to April, 1971, when President Richard Nixon's aides began searching for a 1972 convention site, ITT officials tried to persuade the Government to drop the antitrust suits. During that time ITT chairman Geneen, vice-president William Merriam, director Felix Rohatyn, and lobbyist Dita Beard met with Vice-President Agnew, presidential assistants Ehrlichman, Colson, Peterson, and Krogh, Cabinet Secretaries Connally and Stans, Justice Dept. officials Mitchell, Kleindienst, and McLaren, and the President's military aide, Colonel Hughes. In May or June, 1971, ITT offered the Nixon Administration $400,000 to finance the Republican national convention in San Diego. In a memo made public the following February by columnist Jack Anderson, lobbyist Dita Beard said that only President Nixon, Attorney General John Mitchell, Bob Haldeman, and California's Lieut. Gov. Edward Reinecke knew of the $400,000 offer. Then on July 31, 1971, the Justice Dept. and ITT announced a consent decree whereby ITT would keep Hartford, but dispose of Canteen, parts of Grinnell, and Avis, Levitt & Sons, and some life insurance companies. On August 5, 1971, ITT made a $100,000 payment as the 1st part of its $400,000 commitment. The antitrust settlement was advantageous to ITT, since the companies it disposed of were losing money, while Hartford was its biggest profit maker. In 1973, Avis and Levitt lost money equal to 1% of ITT's income, while Hartford made 24% of ITT's profits. When Jack Anderson disclosed the Dita Beard memo, ITT shredded documents that discussed the antitrust settlement and the convention offer.

In columnist Jack Anderson's words, "ITT operates its own worldwide foreign policy unit, foreign intelligence machinery, counterintelligence apparatus, communications network, classification system, and airliner fleet." The most recent and blatant example of this power was reflected in ITT's relations with Chile. In 1970 ITT's board of directors concluded that Salvador Allende would be elected President of Chile. Allende was campaigning on a platform calling for the expropriation of American businesses, including ITT. ITT tried to get the CIA to support Allende's right-wing opponent with ITT funds and offered to pay the CIA $1 million to prevent the Chilean Congress from confirming Allende after he was elected. In October, 1971, after Allende nationalized ITT's 70% interest in the Chilean Telephone Company (Chiltelco), ITT proposed an 18-point action plan to the U.S. Government to strangle Chile's economy, create panic among its population, and cause social disorder, so the Chilean armed forces would overthrow Allende. Three months later President Nixon created a special inter-agency group to implement ITT's proposal, and the National Security Council's 40 Committee approved a plan to overthrow Allende. ITT directors John A. McCone, former head of the CIA, and Eugene R. Black, former head of the World Bank, were instrumental in getting the U.S. to approve ITT's plan. Funding for the covert actions was channeled through the CIA, and the World Bank was one of the 1st financial institutions to cut off credit to Chile.

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