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Picture from New York Times obituary October 7th 2000
from the original of April 18th 1968

The picture above, taken at the pinnacle of the sixties peak of American power, influence and prestige, shows William Bundy, seated at the high table of power.

Bundy is perhaps one of the few names of that generation of second rank power players that might still be remembered today.  Not that I am suggesting that second rank here is second rate by any means.  Bundy, and others then like Acheson et al, wielded power on levels undreamed of by similar second tier members of foreign countries, greater powers even than many premiers of other countries.

William certainly looks comfortable in the photograph, quite at home.  Which is exactly where he and generations of his family had felt themselves to be, at home seated at the political high tables of Washington.  William and his brother McGeorge’s family had been there since the beginnings of the republic.

They represent another of the oligarchical families of American politics.  Those who never quite achieve the glories of the American consulship – the Presidency itself – but who form the glue that binds the whole.  They are some of the dark matter of this political universe holding together the Presidential stars that blaze and outshine them.

The tree below gives a brief and selective view of the family and it’s connections.  Not, you understand, edited to make the best stand out, instead, edited to show the political members rather than those exalted in their different fields.

We start with the Bundys themselves……Solomon Bundy was a Republican United States Representative from New York,  and his grandson Harvey Holister Bundy snr., was Assistant Secretary of State working for his old pal Henry Stimson.

William Putnam Bundy was the elder of his sons.  He worked for the CIA and was Foreign Advisor to both John F Kennedy and Lyndon B Johnson.  Later in life he was the Honorary American Secretary to the Bilderberg Group.  William married Mary Acheson the daughter of Dean Acheson Secretary of State.  His brother-in-law David Acheson was a partner in Covinton’s a legal firm and President of the US Atlantic Council.  David’s daughter Eleanor Acheson went to school with Hillary Clinton and has been Assistant Attorney General and Director of the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force.

McGeorge Bundy, is best remembered  as United States Security Advisor to John F Kennedy and Lyndon B Johnson.  A brotherly double act to rival the Dulleses.

The Lawrences and others on McGeorge’s mother Katherine Lawrence Putnam’s side, families on the “Social Register” represent that cat’s cradle of interconnected privilege which is given the shorthand of “Boston Brahmins”.  I have largely ignored the poets, Presidents of Harvard and astronomers that fill out their ranks.

Thoroughly oligarchical.

Copyright David Macadam 2011