George M. Moffett

By Richard Sanders, Editor, Press for Conversion!

Moffett is known to have donated at least $10,000 to American Liberty League and $7,500 to one of its front groups, the Crusaders.

As president of the Corn Products Refining Co. (CPRC), Moffett presided over some of the country’s most advanced, chemistry labs. CPRC processes made pure starch, for corn “syrup,” and had invented Mazola oil in 1910. Corn is more than just a food, it’s also a source of raw power, metaphorically and literally. In 1906, the leading U.S. corn refiners merged into one huge company, with capital of $33 million. It was organized by Edward Bedford, of Thompson & Bedford Co., a marketing firm for Rockefeller’s Standard Oil lubricants. Bedford, a Standard Oil director since 1903, also had a brother and cousin on the board. By 1912, CPRC was one of the world’s largest company. In 1916, Judge Learned Hand ruled against the edible oil, “Glucose Trust.” During that suit, a memo was exposed in which the CPRC president said, “We have built a Chinese Wall around our competitors and have them in chains.” (For decades, CPRC fought antitrust actions and continued its predatory practices.) By 1919, CPRC controlled Canada Starch and the plot thickened. In the 1920s and 1930s, CPRC’s alcohol distilleries were linked to the mafia’s National Crime Syndicate, that was bootlegging liquor. In those years, CPRC was among fewer than two dozen companies that dominated U.S. investments in Germany. When Germany’s Knorr Co. needed infusions of cash starting in 1922, the CPRC’s German subsidiary got loans from the U.S. head office. By 1958, CPRC owned Knorr completely.

In a joint venture with Texaco called Pekin Energy, CPRC uses corn starch to make millions of gallons of Ethanol per year. The history of this fuel is instructive. When Germany’s oil supplies were threatened in 1915, they switched to ethyl, thus prolonging WWI. In the 1920s, Henry Ford, author of The International Jew: Jewish Influences in American Life, one of Hitler’s greatest fans and financiers and president of the Ford Motor Co., called ethyl the “fuel of the future.” By the 1930s, there was much research into the fuel. Ethyl-gas use was growing, especially in Europe, but the major oil firms squashed it by acquiring control over industrial alcohol production. Between 1913 and the 1930s, the U.S. government’s anti-trust committees looked into this sinister connection. Investigations into Standard Oil’s links to I.G. Farben, in the early 1940s revealed that du Pont, a top oil behemoth, owned large U.S. and Cuban distilling firms. As mentioned above, a Standard Oil director/marketer was instrumental in the formation of CPRC. Just before WWII, the U.S. dropped its antitrust cases. However, top oil industry directors did have to resign and oil firms’ supposedly sold off their alcohol distillery stocks.

Vast investments in Germany, and the financing of fascist groups in the U.S., were not obstacles to Moffett’s involvement in government war planning. In 1940, Roosevelt appointed Moffett to the Council of National Defense, which oversaw industrial production. GM executive and Nazi admirer, William Knudsen, oversaw the government’s National Defense Advisory Commission. He had senior officials from large industries advising on construction, machine tools, heavy ordnance, aircraft, shipbuilding, small arms and ammunition. Advising on chemicals was George Moffett, for the CPRC.

In 1942, the U.S. government seized American assets of I.G. Farben, the Nazi’s top chemical/munitions cartel, namely, General Aniline & Film (GAF), General Dyestuffs, its 50% holding in Winthrop Chemical and its Jasco stock (in trust for Standard Oil, NJ). The U.S. Alien Property Custodian imposed new managers on these Nazi-linked companies, but the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division (AD) objected to the managers chosen. One was a U.S. oil firm official. An AD official said: “the connection between I.G. Farben and all oil concerns here is well-known.” Despite having major chemical subsidiaries and investments in Germany, another new manager came from CPRC. The AD said: “It can be assumed that [CPRC’s German] subsidiaries... are connected by cartel agreements with other German chemical works, especially I.G. Farben.” In the early 1930s, CPRC and GAF were linked through Gibson Island Research Conferences, which brought together top U.S. corporate chemists on a secluded island. Other American Liberty League-linked chemical firms, also networked at these intimate getaways: du Pont, Firestone, H.J.Heinz, Pittsburgh Plate Glass, Standard Oil and Sun Oil.

Perhaps the saddest chapter in CPRC’s litany of scandals was its role in stealing Skippy, a popular comic strip that hit the papers in the early 1920s. It’s maverick creator, Percy Crosby, knew General Smedley Butler and shared his convictions. Crosby used his cartoon character to tackle politicians, corporate criminals, Al Capone’s mafia and the KKK. Skippy ran worldwide from 1926 to 1945 and championed civil rights, child labour laws and free speech. Crosby became a wealthy man but was obviously a threat to the upscale fascist, corporate elite and seamy underworld gangsters. Then, in 1933, along came a bankrupt company, Rosefield Packing. It stole the good Skippy name, its lettering and distinctive graphics and used them to sell peanut butter. They even had a “Skippy” radio show, 1933-1935. It was sponsored by an I.G. Farben subsidiary, Sterling Products Co., and a CPRC official was on the Sterling Drug Co. board.

The CPRC sugared up “Skippy” peanut butter and later purchased Rosefield. Crosby had to fight a David-and-Goliath-style legal battle against CPRC. It turns out that Crosby’s lawyer, Herbert Brownell, also worked for the CPRC! Brownell later became Attorney General for Eisehower and Nixon. Crosby’s daughter, Joan, notes that

"’Wild Bill’ Donovan, former head of the [Office of Strategic Services, the CIA’s forerunner], was one of my father’s former lawyers. Allen Dulles and [brother] John Foster [were lawyers] with the Sullivan & Cromwell law firm (which was lead counsel for Best Foods in 1954 when it ‘bought’ Skippy assets from Rosefield Packing)."

In 1958, CPRC and Best Foods merged to form CPC. The McCarthy-era legal battle over Skippy devastated Crosby. He was forced into a psychiatric institution for 16 years until his death in 1964. His efforts to contact family, friends and authorities were thwarted. Crosby’s daughter says he

"was a political prisoner of the powerful Corn Products Corp., which had stolen his Skippy business, destroyed his reputation and career, and looted his estate of valuable assets. My father was held hostage by this evil combination, and died in virtual poverty, while CPC made millions of dollars from the Skippy criminal enterprise."

CPC has tried to ban her website <>.

In 1996, CPRC paid $7 million to settle a lawsuit for corn syrup price fixing. In 2003, it was revealed that the International Life Sciences Institute, an international “food” industry association, had infiltrated the World Health Organisation to exert “undue influence” over policies on diet, pesticides, additives, transfatty acids, sugar and genetically modified foods. It was founded in 1978 by the Heinz Foundation. Among its top members are CPC International and Knorr. With sales of $2.3 billion in 2003, CPC is the world’s top dextrose producer and one of America’s top 30 industrial stocks. It has 115 plants in 60 countries and employs 50,000. Since Unilever bought Bestfoods in 2000, CPRC is now part of that corporate conglomerate.


Richard Tedlow, "The American CEO in the 20th Century," 2003.

Corn Products Company


Bill Kovarik, "Henry Ford, Charles Kettering and the Fuel of the Future," Automotive History Review, Spring 1998.

Mark Glick, Duncan Cameron, David Mangum, "Importing the Merger Guidelines," 1997.

Alan Gropman, "Mobilizing U.S. Industry in World War II," McNair Paper, 1996.

Wyatt Wells, Antitrust and the Formation of the Postwar World, 2003.

Russell Mokhiber & Robert Weissman, "The Surprising Political Economy of Skippy," July 30, 1999.

Joan Crosby, "Percy L. Crosby: His Life and Times," July 16, 1999.

Joan Crosby, personal communication with author, February, 2004

Wall Street Journal, 5/28/1996, p. R-45, cited in Timelines of History.



"Achtung!! September Blues," World Market Chronicles, Oct. 2002.

Sarah Boseley, "WHO 'infiltrated by food industry," The Guardian, Jan. 9, 2003.,3604,871228,00.html

Source: Press for Conversion! magazine, Issue # 53, "Facing the Corporate Roots of American Fascism," March 2004. Published by the Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade.

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