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Lawrence Patton McDonald, M.D. (April 1, 1935 – September 1, 1983) was an Americanmarker politician and a member of the United States House of Representatives, representing the seventh congressional district of Georgiamarker as a Democrat. He was a passenger on board Korean Air Flight 007marker shot down by Sovietmarker interceptors and presumed dead. He was a cousin of General George S. Patton. McDonald was the only sitting member of Congress killed by the Soviet Unionmarker during the Cold War.

A conservative Democrat, he was active in numerous civil organizations and maintained a conservative voting record in Congress. He was known for his staunch opposition to communism and believed in long standing covert efforts by powerful U.S. groups to bring about a socialist world government.

Early life and career

Larry McDonald was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgiamarker, more specifically in the eastern part of the city that is in DeKalb Countymarker. As a child, he attended private and parochial schools before attending a non-denominational high school. He spent two years at high school before graduating in 1951. He studied at Davidson College from 1951 until 1953, spending time studying history. He enrolled in the Emory University School of Medicine at the age of 17, graduating in 1957. He trained at Grady Memorial Hospitalmarker as an urologist.

From 1959 to 1961 he served as a Flight Surgeon in the United States Navy stationed at the Keflavík naval basemarker in Icelandmarker. McDonald married an Icelandic national, Anna Tryggvadottir, with whom he would eventually have three children: Tryggvi Paul, Callie Grace, and Mary Elizabeth. It was in Iceland that McDonald first began to take note of communism. He felt the U.S. Embassy was doing things advantageous to the Communists. He went to the commanding officer, but was told he did not understand the big picture.

After his tour of service he practiced medicine at the McDonald Urology Clinic in Atlanta. He took an increasing interest in politics, reading books on political history and foreign policy. McDonald's passionate preoccupation with politics led to a divorce with his first wife. McDonald made one unsuccessful run for Congress in 1972 before being elected in 1974. He married Kathryn Jackson in 1975, whom he met while giving a speech in Californiamarker.

In 1979, he founded the Western Goals Foundation, and in 1983 he became the second President of the John Birch Society, a conservative, anti-communist organization. McDonald served as a member on the Georgia State Medical Education Board (as chairman 1969–1974), the National Historical Society and the Cobb Countymarker Chamber of Commerce and received numerous civil honors.

Political career

In 1974, McDonald ran against incumbent John W. Davis in the Democratic primary. McDonald criticized Davis for voting in favor of long-distance busing and for receiving thousands of dollars in political donations from out-of-state groups which favored long-distance busing. McDonald won the primary and was elected in November 1974 to the 94th United States Congress, serving for Georgia's 7th congressional district, which included most of Atlanta's northwestern suburbs (including Mariettamarker). He was re-elected four times and served from January 3, 1975, until his death, on September 1, 1983.

McDonald—who considered himself a traditional Democrat "cut from the cloth of Jefferson and Jackson"—was known for his conservative views, even by Southern standards. In fact, one scoring method published in the American Journal of Political Science named him the second most conservative member of either chamber of Congress between 1937 and 2004. The American Conservative Union gave him a perfect score of 100 every year he was in the House of Representatives, except in 1978, when he scored a 95. He also scored "perfect or near perfect ratings" on the congressional scorecards of the National Right to Life Committee, Gun Owners of America, and the American Security Council. Referred to by The New American as "the leading anti-Communist in Congress", McDonald admired Senator Joseph McCarthy and was a member of the Joseph McCarthy Foundation. He took the communist threat seriously and considered it an international conspiracy. An admirer of Austrian economics and a member of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, he was an advocate of tight monetary policy in the late 1970s to get the economy out of stagflation. McDonald called the welfare state a "disaster" and favored phasing control of the Great Society programs over to the states to operate and run. He also favored cuts to foreign aid, saying "To me, foreign aid is an area that you not only can cut but you could take a chainsaw to in terms of reductions."

His staunch conservative views on social issues attracted controversy. For instance, McDonald sponsored amendments to stop government aid to homosexuals. He also advocated the use of a non-approved drug laetrile to treat patients in advanced stages of cancer. McDonald also opposed the establishment of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, saying the FBImarker had evidence that King "was associated with and being manipulated by communists and secret communist agents." It was reported that McDonald had "about 200" guns stockpiled in his official district residence.

In 1975, Tom Anderson mentioned McDonald's name as a potential 1976 presidential candidate for the American Party. McDonald dismissed the idea, saying "I have enough to do right now representing the Seventh District in Congress."

McDonald was frequently opposed by members of his own party, once remarking that "The national [Democratic] party is a bunch of kooks" but that he had "no problems" with Georgia or 7th District Democrats. However, in 1978, the Seventh District Democratic Committee voted, 10–8–1, to pass a resolution to "censure" McDonald "for the dishonorable and despicable act of calling himself a Democrat." The main cause of the censure was McDonald's membership in the John Birch Society. Other causes included: McDonald's alleged belief in the "discredited" idea that there were no implied powers in the U.S. Constitution, the claim that McDonald did not favor anti-monopoly laws, McDonald's lack of support for Jimmy Carter, and the claim that McDonald ran misleading advertisements. McDonald's reply stated the censure was "illegal" under party rules, but that the action would probably help him at the polls: "It proves beyond any doubt to all my constituents in the Seventh District that I represent them and that I am not the puppet of a clique of liberal, disgruntled party bosses." He also felt the resolution would "badly split" the party and "make it much easier for other political parties to gain clout on the local level in future years."

In 1979, with John Rees and Major General John K. Singlaub, McDonald founded the Western Goals Foundation. According to The Spokesman-Review, it was intended to "blunt subversion, terrorism, and communism" by filling the gap "created by the disbanding of the House Un-American Activities Committee and what [McDonald] considered to be the crippling of the FBI during the 1970s."

In 1980 Larry McDonald introduced American Legion National Convention Resolution 773 to the House of Representatives calling for a comprehensive congressional investigation into the Council on Foreign Relations and Trilateral Commission.

McDonald rarely spoke on the House floor, preferring to insert material into the Congressional Record. These insertions typically dealt with Sovietmarker and communist activities around the world. Reed Irvine, of Accuracy In Media, referred to McDonald's insertions as "high quality" and "extremely valuable". A number of McDonald's insertions relating to the Socialist Workers Party were collected into a book, Trotskyism and Terror: The Strategy of Revolution, published in 1977.

At the time of his death, McDonald was considering a run for the U.S. Presidency.

KAL 007

McDonald was invited to South Koreamarker to attend a celebration of the 30th anniversary of the United States–South Korea Mutual Defense Treaty with fellow members of Congress, Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina, Senator Steven Symms of Idaho and Representative Carroll J. Hubbard Jr. of Kentucky. Due to bad weather on Sunday, August 28, 1983 McDonald's flight from Atlantamarker was diverted to Baltimoremarker and when he finally arrived at JFK Airportmarker in New York he had missed his connection to South Koreamarker by two to three minutes. McDonald could have boarded a Pan American World Airways flight to Seoul, but he preferred the lower fares of Korean Air Lines and chose to wait for the next KAL flight two days later. Carroll Hubbard planned to join McDonald on the flight, but at the last minute he canceled his reservations to accept a Kentucky speaking engagement.

McDonald occupied an aisle seat, 02B in the first class section, when KAL 007 took off on August 31 at 12:24 a.m. local time, on a 3,400 mile trip to Anchorage, Alaskamarker for a scheduled stopover seven hours later. The plane remained on the ground for an hour and a half during which it was refueled, reprovisioned, cleaned and serviced. The passengers were given the option of leaving the aircraft but McDonald remained on the plane, catching up on his sleep. Jesse Helms invited McDonald to move onto his flight KAL 015, but McDonald did not wish to be disturbed. With a fresh flight crew, KAL 007 took off at 4 a.m. local time for its scheduled non-stop flight over the Pacific to Seoulmarker's Kimpo International Airportmarker, a nearly 4,500-mile stretch that would take approximately eight hours.

On September 1, 1983, McDonald and the rest of the passengers and crew of KAL 007 were killed when Soviet fighters shot down KAL 007 after the plane entered Soviet airspace. The International Committee for the Rescue of KAL 007 Survivors, an organization composed of family members and friends of the KAL 007 victims, believes that KAL 007 made a controlled water ditching into the Sea of Japanmarker, and the surviving passengers, including McDonald, were captured and imprisoned in the Soviet Union.


After McDonald's death, a special election was held to fill his seat in Congress. Lester Maddox stated his intention to run for the seat if McDonald's widow, Kathy McDonald, did not. Kathy McDonald did decide to run, but she lost to George "Buddy" Darden. Much of the congressional district McDonald represented would later be represented by Newt Gingrich.


On March 18, 1998, the Georgia House of Representatives, "as an expression of gratitude for his able service to his country and defense of the US Constitution", passed a resolution naming the portion of Interstate Highway 75, which runs from the Chattahoochee River northward to the Tennesseemarker state line in his honor, the Larry McDonald Memorial Highway.


  • "We have four boxes with which to defend our freedom: the soap box, the ballot box, the jury box, and the cartridge box."
  • "[T]he drive of the Rockefellers and their allies is to create a one-world government, combining super-capitalism and Communism under the same tent, all under their control ... Do I mean conspiracy? Yes I do. I am convinced there is such a plot, international in scope, generations old in planning, and incredibly evil in intent."
  • (Speaking of Carroll Quigley, a history professor at Georgetown Universitymarker:) "He says, Sure we've been working it, sure we've been collaborating with communism, yes we're working with global accommodation, yes, we're working for world government. But the only thing I object to, is that we've kept it a secret."
  • "I personally believe that we don't need a lot more laws, I think we've got far too many laws on the books now, that's part of the problem. ... we don't need more government, more laws; we need a lot less. I'm up there [in Washington, D.C.] trying to dismantle a lot of this giant government. ... when you 'pass a law' with the current attitude in the Congress what do you get in a law today? You get either more spending, or more taxes, or more controls. ... which do you want? Do you want more spending? I think we've got too much. Do you want more taxes? I think we're taxed too heavily now. Do you want more controls over your life? Does anybody say 'Hey look, I really believe the federal government needs to control me. I want to be a slave. Please tell me how to run every facet of my life.' I don't hear many people saying that. I think most people say 'I think it's time we get the government off our backs, and out of our pockets.

Quotes about Larry McDonald


  • Allen, Gary. The Rockefeller File. McDonald, Lawrence P. (introduction). Seal Beach, CA: '76 Press, 1976. ISBN 0892450010.
  • McDonald, Lawrence Patton. We Hold These Truths: A Reverent Review of the U.S. Constitution. Seal Beach, CA: '76 Press, 1976. ISBN 0-89245-005-3.
  • McDonald, Lawrence Patton. Trotskyism and Terror: The Strategy of Revolution. Washington, D.C.: ACU Education and Research Institute, 1977.

See also


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