The Lindbergh Kidnapping Hoax
7 page Statement of Robert Thayer (PDF)
Obituaries of Robert Thayer
Thayer's Diary Notes
Ben Bradlee memoir excerpt on Thayer
Robert Thayer was one of the "insiders" from the very beginning of the investigation yet he was never called to testify at Hauptmann's trial 3 years later. He was a colleague of Henry Breckinridge, Lindbergh's lawyer. Lindbergh's first call, after deciding his child had been kidnapped, was to Henry Breckinridge - even before alerting the State Police.
Thayer was immediately called into the case by Breckinridge. He would have been an important witness yet his testimony was never given nor was he contacted or quoted in any press publications. He mysteriously disappeared from the case and ended up working for the CIA in Europe. Gave up a lucrative law practice and was never called to testify at Hauptmann's trial though he gave this 7-page statement to NJ State Police after the the corpse was discovered on May 16, 1932
The Lindbergh child was found on the Mt Rose - Hopewell Highway, only four miles from its crib.
(Thanks to Siglinde Rach for submitting these documents from the W Trenton Archives)
Robert Thayer's Obituaries
The Washington Post
January 29, 1984, Sunday, Final Edition
SECTION: Metro; Obituaries; B4
HEADLINE: Robert Thayer, Naval Officer, Diplomat, Dies
BYLINE: By J. Y. Smith, Washington Post Staff Writer
Robert H. Thayer, 82, an attorney who helped investigate the Lindbergh
kidnaping, was a Navy intelligence officer in World War II, a former U.S.
minister to Romania and a trustee emeritus of the National Trust for Historic
Preservation, died of leukemia Jan. 26 at Georgetown University Hospital.
Mr. Thayer, who lived in Washington, was born in Southboro, Mass. He received
bachelor's and law degrees from Harvard University and went to New York to
practice law. There he worked with Gen. William J. (Wild Bill) Donovan, who
headed the Office of Strategic Services in World War II, on a commission to
revise public service laws.
In 1932, he assisted Col. Henry S. Breckinridge, who had been retained by
Charles A. Lindbergh after the kidnaping March 1 of Lindbergh's nearly
2-year-old son. He stayed at the Lindbergh residence in Hopewell, N.J., until
the body of the child was found May 12, 1932, and assisted police in obtaining
the cooperation of banks in checking the serial numbers of bills that had been
paid in the $50,000 ransom. Bruno Richard Hauptmann, a paroled German convict
who had entered the country illegally, was convicted of the crime and was
executed in 1936.
During World War II, Mr. Thayer was commissioned in the Navy. He was an
intelligence officer in the South Pacific early in the war and then went to
Europe, where he took part in the invasions of Normandy and southern France. He
returned to the Pacific in time for the invasion of the Philippines.
In 1945, he was an assistant to John Foster Dulles, who became secretary of
state in the Eisenhower administration, at the organizing conference of the
United Nations at San Francisco.
In 1950, Mr. Thayer began a career in diplomacy as assistant to the U.S.
ambassador to France. In 1955, Eisenhower appointed him minister to Romania, a
post he held until 1958. He then went to the State Department as assistant
secretary for educational and cultural affairs.
Mr. Thayer left the government in 1962 and was director of governmental
relations of the American Field Service until 1972.
He was appointed a trustee of the National Trust for Historic Preservation in
1966 and was vice chairman of the board from 1975 to 1977, when he was made a
He also was coordinator of foreign gifts for the John F. Kennedy Center for
the Performing Arts, a director of Kennedy Center Productions and a member of
the advisory council of the School of Advanced International Studies of Johns
He was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Foreign Policy
Association, the Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs and the
Mr. Thayer's military decorations included the Bronze Star and the Navy
Commendation Medal. He also was a member of the French Legion of Honor.
He was a member of the Harvard Club of New York, the Metropolitan Club in
Washington, the Somerset Club in Boston, the Porcellian Club in Cambridge,
Mass., and the Travellers Club in Paris.
His wife, Virginia Pratt Thayer, whom he married in 1926, died in 1979.
Survivors include three children, Robert H. Jr. of Lorton, Stephen Badger of
Washington and Sally Sears of New York City; and a brother, John O. of Boston.
The New York Times
January 29, 1984,
Robert H. Thayer, 82;
Ex-Envoy to Rumania
Robert H. Thayer, a longtime New York City lawyer who once served as United
States Minister to Rumania, died of leukemia on Thursday at Georgetown
University Hospital in Washington. He was 82 years old.
Mr. Thayer, who lived in Washington, held several appointed posts at state
and national levels. From 1950 to 1954 he was Assistant United States Ambassador
to France. He was appointed Minister to Rumania by President Eisenhower in 1955
and served until 1958. Then he served as assistant Secretary of State for
Cultural and Educational Affairs until 1962.
He began his law career in New York in 1926, after graduating from Harvard
Law School. In 1932 he worked closely with Col. Henry Breckinridge on the
investigation of the kidnapping of Charles Lindbergh's son. In 1938 he became an
Assistant District Attorney of New York County under Thomas E. Dewey. He left
the position in 1941, became a lieutenant commander in the Navy and worked
throughout World War II on intelligence activities.
After the war he was appointed Assistant to the Commissioner of the New York
State Division of Housing by Mr. Dewey, who had since become Governor, and in
1949 was appointed by Mr. Dewey to lead the New York State Commission Against
He is survived by two sons, Robert H. Thayer Jr. and Stephen B. Thayer, both
of Washington, and a daughter, Sally Sears, of Manhattan; by a brother, John
Otis Thayer, and a sister, Violet Parker, both of Boston.
Notes from Thayer's handwritten
diary during the earliest days following the kidnapping.
"Saturday: March 5, 1932
Very tense day -- everyone expecting something -- message from H. B. [Henry Breckinridge] in morning that he was very peaceful and getting some sleep -- few calls.
Sunday: March 6, 1932
Same as Saturday -- No messages except apparently letter # 5 received at H. B.'s office + read to L. [ Lindbergh] over phone by Jim Falin, law clerk of H. B.
L. very cheerful -- practical jokes all evening..."
BEN BRADLEE'S MEMOIR - "A GOOD LIFE"
.....I became, in effect, the Rosenberg
attache', charged with
receiving delegations that came to the embassy to protest the verdict and the
death sentence. This was an extremely difficult task. Contemporaneous newspaper
accounts provided us with nothing like the detailed knowledge of the case that
we needed to counter the emotional protesters. The last straw for me came when
the blind mayor of Ivry, a worker suburb of Paris and a stronghold of the
PCF (Parti Communist Francais), showed up with his buddies, shouting questions,
and we still had no material from Washington to answer them.
On a Saturday morning I went to my
immediate boss, the embassy's public affairs officer, Bill Tyler, for help.
Since we couldn't get any help from Washington, why didn't we send our own
man-me, obviously-to New York to read the transcript of the entire Rosenberg
Trial (and appeals), return to Paris as quickly as possible, and write a
detailed, factual account of the evidence as it was presented, witness by
witness, and as it was rebutted, cross-examination by cross~examination?. Tyler
thought that was a great idea. When could I-should I leave? Right away. Fine,
but it was Saturday. The banks were closed and no one had cash for the air fare.
"That's all right," said Tyler. "We'll ask Bobby for some
Robert Thayer, son of the founder of St. Mark's School, a longtime friend
of my mother and father, and the CIA station chief in Paris. He reached
nonchalantly into the bottom drawer of his desk and fished out enough francs to
fly me to the moon, much less to the Federal Courthouse in the Southern District
of New York, and I left that afternoon. This incident caused me some
embarrassment years later, when a woman named Deborah Davis argued in a book
about Katharine Graham that I had worked for the CIA as an agent. Her
"evidence," obtained through a Freedom of Information request, was
an internal CIA document noting that Bobby Thayer had advanced the cash for my
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