The Frank Olson Legacy Project

MEMORANDUM FOR THE RECORD

28 November 1953

From: Sheffield Edwards

 

 

SUBJECT: Suicide of Frank OLSEN

Army Civilian Employee, Camp Dietrich

1. I was called by telephone at 5:00 A.M. this date by a CIA Officer and asked to meet with him, Dr. Gibbons and Dr. Sidney Gottlieb in the latter's office in Quarters Eye. I arrived there about 5:40 and was told the following story:

2. Mr. Robert V. Lashbrook, a TSS employee, had been in New York on two occasions during the last week accombanying Subject, who was taking psychiatric treatment from Dr. Abramson. Olsen is a civilian employee of the Chemical Corps at Camp Dietrich. The arrangements for Olsen to proceed to New York were made by Colonel Vincent Ruette (sp.), the officer in charge of Special Operations at Camp Dietrich, and at the suggestion of Dr. Gottlieb. The latter stated that he suggested Dr. Abramson due to the fact that the latter is a cleared consultant of both this Agency and the Chemical Corps, and that the sensitive nature of Olsen's work, part of which he was performing for TSS, made this appear desirable.

3. Dr. Gibbons stated that Olsen had been treated five or six times during the last week by Dr. Abramson. Olsen and Lashbrook returned to the Washington area for Thanksgiving but went back to New York City for further consultation with Abramson. Yesterday, ABramson decided that Olsen should be placed in a sanitarium for treatment for a period and apparaently arrangements were made with a sanitarium near Rockville, called Chestnut Hill. Gottlieb reported that Subject had stated he was willing to take this treatment.

4. Last night, Lashbrook and Olsen had a room at the Statler Hotel. At 2:30 A.M. Lashbrook was awakened by a crash, awoke and found that someone had dived through the window, blind, glass and all. Olsen was missing from the room.

5. It appears that Lashbrook called Gottlieb before he called the desk. He then called the desk and police from the 14th Precinct arrived shortly. Lashbrook told the police that he, Lashbrook, was a Government employee who had been associated with Olsen. Lashbrook had an AGO card and also a CIA badge on his person.

6. When I arrived in Gottlieb's office, he was talking to Lashbrook, who had called from a pay station in the Statler. I told Gottlieb to tell Lashbrook to take another room at Statler and await later phone call from us.

7. I questioned Dr. Gibbons and Dr. Gottlieb at some length on certain matters which had occurred prior to this incident and which will follow later in this memornadum.

8. I then told Gottlieb to call Lashbrook at his room, which turned out to be Room 488 and to tell him [a Special Agent (name whited out)] of the Department of Defense would call on him at 8:00 A.M. to assist and follow any future dealings or interviews with the police. I then sent word of the incident to [the agent (named whited out)] and made the necessary arrangements with him. EVENTS OCCURRING PRIOR TO THE SUICIDE

9. In my questioning of Drs. Gibbons and Gottlieb, they related the following events which preceded this incident.

10. It appears that on Wednesday and on Thursday, November 18th and 19th, a group of persons from Camp Dietrich and from TSS assembled at a cabin (two-story log house) at Deer Creek Lake. Gottlieb stated there were seven men from the "Special Operations" of Camp Dietrich and three men from TSS. The latter were Gottlieb, Lashbrook and Hughes of TSS. Gibbons stated that the TSS liaison and connection with the "Special Operations" had been kept "EYES ONLY" to a very few persons both in the CIA and at Dietrich. He said it was known to Generals Bullene and Creary of the Chemical Corps. It appears that the purpose of this liaison and connection was to discuss and work on matters of mutual interest in the sensitive and covert fields. Gottlieb said the Dietrich grup had meetings once or twice a year at the log-house referred to above.

11. In any event , it appears that the entire group had assembled at Deer Creek Lake by Thursday. On Thursday evening, it was decided to experiment with the drug LSD, and for the members persent to administer the drug to themselves to ascertain the effect a clandestine application would have on a meeting or conference. Gottlieb stated a "very small dose" of LSD was placed in a bottle of cointreau and that all present except two of the persons had a drink thereof. This included Gottlieb and the Commanding Officer of Special Operations, Colonel Vincon Ruette (sp?). Olsen also was included in the group.

 

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Note on names mentioned in this document:

Sheffield Edwards

Dr. Gibbons

Dr. Sidney Gottlieb

Robert V. Lashbrook

Dr. Harold Abramson

Vincent Ruwet

General Bullene

General Creary