A Clandestine Journey and a 4-Decade Secret: An Untold Story Behind Jimmy Carter’s Defeat

After Mr. Connally’s marketing campaign collapsed, he and Mr. Barnes went into enterprise collectively, forming Barnes/Connally Investments. The 2 constructed house complexes, purchasing facilities and workplace buildings, and purchased a commuter airline and an oil firm, and later a barbecue home, a Western artwork journal, a title firm and an promoting firm. However they overextended themselves, took on an excessive amount of debt and, after falling oil costs shattered the Texas actual property market, filed for chapter in 1987.

The 2 stayed on good phrases. “Regardless of the disillusionment of our enterprise preparations, Ben Barnes and I stay mates, though I doubt that both of us would return into enterprise with the opposite,” Mr. Connally wrote in his memoir, In Historical past’s Shadow,” shortly earlier than dying in 1993 at age 76. Mr. Barnes, for his half, stated this previous week that “I stay an excellent fan of him.”

Mr. Barnes stated he had no concept of the aim of the Center East journey when Mr. Connally invited him. They traveled to the area on a Gulfstream jet owned by Superior Oil. Solely after they sat down with the primary Arab chief did Mr. Barnes be taught what Mr. Connally was as much as, he stated.

Mr. Connally stated, “‘Look, Ronald Reagan’s going to be elected president and you should get the phrase to Iran that they’re going to make a greater cope with Reagan than they’re Carter,’” Mr. Barnes recalled. “He stated, ‘It might be very sensible so that you can cross the phrase to the Iranians to attend till after this basic election is over.’ And boy, I inform you, I’m sitting there and I heard it and so now it dawns on me, I notice why we’re there.”

Mr. Barnes stated that, apart from Israel, Mr. Connally repeated the identical message at each cease within the area to leaders reminiscent of President Anwar el-Sadat of Egypt. He thought his buddy’s motive was clear. “It turned very clear to me that Connally was operating for secretary of state or secretary of protection,” Mr. Barnes stated. (Mr. Connally was later supplied power secretary however declined.)