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The Secret Treaty of Fort Hunt

[Orig­i­nal­ly pub­lished in Covert Action Infor­ma­tion Bul­letin, Fall, 1990]

An arti­cle by Carl Ogles­by

William Shir­er closed his 1960 mas­ter­piece, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, with the judg­ment that the Nazi regime “had passed into his­to­ry,“1 but we can­not be so con­fi­dent today. On the con­trary, the evi­dence as of 1990 is that World War II did not end as Shir­er believed it did, That Nazism did not sur­ren­der uncon­di­tion­al­ly and dis­ap­pear, that indeed it finessed a lim­it­ed but cru­cial vic­to­ry over the Allies, a vic­to­ry no less sig­nif­i­cant for hav­ing been kept a secret from all but the few Amer­i­cans who were direct­ly involved.

The Odessa and its Mission

Hitler con­tin­ued to rant of vic­to­ry, but after Ger­many’s mas­sive defeat in the bat­tle of Stal­in­grad in mid-Jan­u­ary 1943, the real­ists of the Ger­man Gen­er­al Staff (OKW) were all agreed that their game was lost. Defeat at Stal­in­grad meant, at a min­i­mum, that Ger­many could not win the war in the East that year. This in turn means that the Nazis would have to keep the great pre­pon­der­ance of their mil­i­tary forces tied down on the east­ern front and could not rede­ploy them to the West, where the Anglo-Amer­i­can inva­sion of Italy would occur that sum­mer. Appar­ent­ly inspired by the Sovi­et vic­to­ry, Pres­i­dent Franklin Delano Roo­sevelt and Prime Min­is­ter Win­ston Churchill announced at Casablan­ca, on Jan­u­ary 24, 1943, their demand for Ger­many’s uncon­di­tion­al sur­ren­der and the com­plete de-Naz­i­fi­ca­tion of Europe.2

With­in the Ger­man gen­er­al staff two com­pet­ing groups formed around the ques­tion of what to do: one led by Hein­rich Himm­ler the oth­er by Mar­tin Bor­mann.3

Himm­ler was chief of the SS (Schutzstaffel, “pro­tec­tive ech­e­lon”), the black­shirt­ed core of the Nazi par­ty that emerged as Hitler’s body­guard in the late 1920s and grew into the most pow­er­ful of the Nazi polit­i­cal insti­tu­tions. After the fail­ure of the attempt­ed mil­i­tary coup of July 20, 1944, which wound­ed but did not kill Hitler, the SS seized all pow­er and imposed a furi­ous blood purge of the armed ser­vices in which some sev­en thou­sand were arrest­ed and near­ly five thou­sand kil­lled.4 The SS was at that point the only organ of the Nazi state.

Himm­ler’s plan for deal­ing with the grim sit­u­a­tion fac­ing Nazism found its premise in Hitler’s belief that the alliance between “the ultra-cap­i­tal­ists” of the U.S. and “the ultra-Marx­ists” of the Sovi­et Union was polit­i­cal­ly unsta­ble. “Even now they are at log­ger­heads,” said Hitler. “If we can now deliv­er a few more blows, this arti­fi­cial­ly bol­stered com­mon front may sud­den­ly col­lapse with a gigan­tic clap of thun­der.“5 Himm­ler believed that this col­lapse would occur and that the U.S. would then con­sid­er the for­ma­tion of a new anti-sovi­et alliance with Nazi Ger­many. The Nazis Would then nego­ti­ate “a sep­a­rate peace” with the Unit­ed States, sep­a­rate from any peace with the USSR, with which Ger­many would remain at war, now joined against the Sovi­ets by the Unit­ed States.

But Mar­tin Bor­mann, who was even more pow­er­ful than Himm­ler, did not accept the premise of the sep­a­rate-peace idea. Bor­mann was an inti­mate of Hitler’s, the deputy fuhrer and the head of the Nazi Par­ty, thus supe­ri­or to Himm­ler in rank. Bor­mann wield­ed addi­tion­al pow­er as Hitler’s link to the indus­tri­al and finan­cial car­tels that ran the Nazi econ­o­my and was par­tic­u­lar­ly close to Her­mann Schmitz, chief exec­u­tive of I.G. Far­ben, the giant chem­i­cal firm that was Nazi Ger­many’s great­est indus­tri­al pow­er.

With the sup­port of Schmitz, Bor­mann reject­ed Himm­ler’s sep­a­rate-peace strat­e­gy on the ground that it was far too opti­mistic.6 The Allied mil­i­tary advan­tage was too great, Bor­mann believed, for Roo­sevelt to be talked into a sep­a­rate peace. Roo­sevelt, after all, had tak­en the lead in pro­claim­ing the Allies’ demand for Ger­many’s uncon­di­tion­al sur­ren­der and total de-Naz­i­fi­ca­tion. Bor­mann rea­soned, rather, that the Nazis’ best hope of sur­viv­ing mil­i­tary defeat lay with­in their own resources, chief of which was the cohe­sion of tens of thou­sands of SS men for whom the prospect of sur­ren­der could offer only the gal­lows.

Bor­mann and Schmitz devel­oped a more aggres­sive self-con­tained approach to the prob­lem of the loom­ing mil­i­tary defeat. the cen­tral con­cept of which was that large num­bers of Nazis would have to leave Europe and at least for a time, find places in the world in which to recov­er their strength. There were sev­er­al pos­si­bil­i­ties in Latin Amer­i­ca, most notably Argenti­na and Paraguay; South Africa, Egypt, and Indone­sia were also attrac­tive rear areas in which to retreat.7

After the Ger­man defeat in the bat­tle of Nor­mandy in June 1944, Bor­mann took the first exter­nal steps toward imple­ment­ing con­crete plans for the Nazis’ great escape.

An enor­mous amount of Nazi trea­sure had to be moved out of Europe and made safe. This trea­sure was appar­ent­ly divid­ed into sev­er­al caches, of which the one at the Reichs­bank in Berlin includ­ed almost three tons of gold (much of it the so-called tooth-gold from the slaugh­ter camps) as well as sil­ver, plat­inum, tens of thou­sands of carats of pre­cious stones, and per­haps a bil­lion dol­lars in var­i­ous cur­ren­cies.8

There were indus­tri­al assets to be expa­tri­at­ed, includ­ing large ton­nages of spe­cial­ty steel and cer­tain indus­tri­al machin­ery as well as blue-prints crit­i­cal to the dom­i­na­tion of cer­tain areas of man­u­fac­tur­ing.

Key Nazi com­pa­nies need­ed to be reli­censed out­side Ger­many in order to escape the reach of war-repa­ra­tions claims.

And tens of thou­sands of Nazi war crim­i­nals, almost all of them mem­bers of the SS, need­ed help to escape Ger­many and safe­ly regroup in for­eign colonies capa­ble of pro­vid­ing secu­ri­ty and liveli­hoods.

For help with the first three of these tasks, Bor­mann con­vened a secret meet­ing of key Ger­man indus­tri­al­ists on August 10, 1944, at the Hotel Mai­son Rouge in Stras­bourg.9 One part of the min­utes of this meet­ing states:

The [Nazi] Par­ty is ready to sup­ply large amounts of mon­ey to those indus­tri­al­ists who con­tribute to the post-war orga­ni­za­tion abroad. In return, the Par­ty demands all finan­cial reserves which have already been trans­ferred abroad or may lat­er be trans­ferred, so that after the defeat a strong new Reich can be built.10The Nazi expert in this area was Hit­ter’s one-time finan­cial genius and Min­is­ter of the Econ­o­my, Dr. Hjal­mar Horace Gree­ley Schacht, avail­able to Bor­mann even though he was in prison on sus­pi­cion of involve­ment in the anti-Hitler coup of 1944. Accord­ing to a U.S. Trea­sury Depart­ment report of 1945, at least 750 enter­pris­es financed by the Nazi Par­ty had been set up out­side Ger­many by the end of the war. These firms were capa­ble of gen­er­at­ing an annu­al income of approx­i­mate­ly $30 mil­lion, all of it avail­able to Nazi caus­es.11 It was Schacht’s abil­i­ty to finesse the legal­i­ties of licens­ing and own­er­ship that brought this sit­u­a­tion about.12

Orga­niz­ing the phys­i­cal removal of the Nazis’ mate­r­i­al assets and the escape of SS per­son­nel were the tasks of the hulk­ing Otto Sko­rzeny, simul­ta­ne­ous­ly an offi­cer of the SS, the Gestapo and the Waf­fen SS as well as Hitler’s “favorite com­man­do.“13 Sko­rzeny worked close­ly with Bor­mann and Schacht in trans­port­ing the Nazi assets to safe­ty out­side Europe and in cre­at­ing a net­work of SS escape routes (“rat lines”) that led from all over Ger­many to the Bavar­i­an city of Mem­min­gen, then to Rome, then by sea to a num­ber of Nazi retreat colonies set up in the glob­al south.

The inter­na­tion­al orga­ni­za­tion cre­at­ed to accom­mo­date Bor­man­n’s plans is most often called “The Odessa,” a Ger­man acronym for “Orga­ni­za­tion of Vet­er­ans of the SS.”

It has remained active as a shad­owy pres­ence since the war and may indeed con­sti­tute Nazis­m’s most notable orga­ni­za­tion­al achieve­ment. But we must under­stand that none of Bor­man­n’s, Sko­rzeny’s, and Schacht’s well-laid plans would have stood the least chance of suc­cess had it not been for a final com­po­nent of their orga­ni­za­tion, one not usu­al­ly asso­ci­at­ed with the Odessa at all but very pos­si­bly the linch­pin of the entire project.

Enter Gehlen

This final ele­ment of the Odessa was the so-called Gehlen Orga­ni­za­tion (the Org), the Nazi intel­li­gence sys­tem that sold itself to the U.S. at the end of the war. It was by far the most auda­cious, most crit­i­cal, and most essen­tial part of the entire Odessa under­tak­ing. The lit­er­a­ture on the Odessa and that on the Gehlen Orga­ni­za­tion, how­ev­er, are two dif­fer­ent things. No writer in the field Of Nazi stud­ies has yet explic­it­ly asso­ci­at­ed the two, despite the fact that Gen­er­al Rein­hard Gehlen was tied polit­i­cal­ly as well as per­son­al­ly with Sko­rzeny and Schacht. More­over, Gehlen’s fabled post-war organ­za­tion was in large part staffed by SS Nazis who are pos­i­tive­ly iden­ti­fied with the Odessa, men such as the infa­mous Franz Alfred Six and Emil Augs­burg of the Wannsee Insti­tute. An even more com­pelling rea­son for asso­ci­at­ing Gehlen with the Odessa is that, with­out his orga­ni­za­tion as a screen, the var­i­ous Odessa projects would have been direct­ly exposed to Amer­i­can intel­li­gence. If the Counter Intel­li­gence Corps (CIC) and the Office of Strate­gic Ser­vices (OSS) had not been neu­tral­ized by the Gehlen ploy, the Odessa’s great escape scheme would have been dis­cov­ered and bro­ken up.

At 43, Brigadier Gen­er­al Rein­hard Gehlen was a stiff, unpre­pos­sess­ing man of pounds when he pre­sent­ed him­self for sur­ren­der at the U.S. com­mand cen­ter in Fis­chhausen. But there was noth­ing small about his ego. “I am head of the sec­tion For­eign Armies East in Ger­man Army Head­quar­ters,” he announced to the GI at the desk. “I have infor­ma­tion to give of the high­est impor­tance to your gov­ern­ment.” The GI was not impressed, how­ev­er, and Gehlen spent weeks stew­ing in a POW com­pound before an evi­dent Sovi­et eager­ness to find him final­ly aroused the Amer­i­cans’ atten­tion.14

Gehlen became chief of the Third Reich’s For­eign Armies East (FHO), on April 1, 1942. He was thus respon­si­ble for Ger­many’s mil­i­tary intel­li­gence oper­a­tions through­out East­ern Europe and the Sovi­et Union. His FHO was con­nect­ed in this role with a num­ber of secret fas­cist orga­ni­za­tions in the coun­tries to Ger­many’s east. These includ­ed Stepan Ban­der­a’s “B Fac­tion” of the Orga­ni­za­tion of Ukrain­ian Nation­al­ists (OUN/B),15 Roma­ni­a’s Iron Guard,16 the Ustachis of Yugoslavia,17 the Vanagis of Latvia18 and, after the sum­mer of 1942, “Vlassov’s Army,“19 the band of defec­tors from Sovi­et Com­mu­nism march­ing behind for­mer Red hero Gen­er­al Andrey Vlassov. Lat­er on in the war, Gehlen placed one of his top men in con­trol of For­eign Armies West, which broad­ened his pow­er; and then after Admi­ral Wil­helm Canaris was purged and his Abwehr intel­li­gence ser­vice can­ni­bal­ized by the SS, Gehlen became in effect Nazi Ger­many’s over-all top intel­li­gence chief.

The Great Escape

In Decem­ber 1943, at the lat­est, Gehlen reached the same con­clu­sion about the war that had come upon Bor­mann, Schacht, Sko­rzeny, and Himm­ler. Ger­many was los­ing and could do noth­ing about it. Sev­er­al months lat­er, Gehlen says, he began qui­et­ly dis­cussing the impend­ing loss with a few close asso­ciates. As he writes in his mem­oir: “Ear­ly in-Octo­ber 1944 I told my more inti­mate col­leagues that I con­sid­ered the war was lost and we must begin think­ing of the future. We had to think ahead and plan for the approach­ing cat­a­stro­phe.“21

Gehlen’s strate­gic response to Got­ter­dammerung was a kind of fusion of Himm­ler’s phi­los­o­phy with Bor­man­n’s more pes­simistic Odessa line: “My view,” he writes, “was that there would be a place even for Ger­many in a Europe rearmed for defense against Com­mu­nism. There­fore we must set our sights on the West­ern pow­ers, and give our­selves two objec­tives: to help defend against Com­mu­nist expan­sion and to recov­er and reuni­fy Ger­many’s lost ter­ri­to­ries.“22

Just as Bor­mann, Sko­rzeny, and Schacht were begin­ning to exe­cute their escape plans, so too was Gehlen: “Set­ting his sights on the West­ern pow­ers,” and in par­tic­u­lar on the Unit­ed States, Gehlen pur­sued the fol­low­ing strate­gic ratio­nale: When the alliance between the Unit­ed States and the USSR col­lapsed, as it was bound to do upon Ger­many’s defeat, the Unit­ed States would dis­cov­er a pierc­ing need for a top-qual­i­ty intel­li­gence ser­vice in East­ern Europe and inside the Sovi­et Union. It did not have such a ser­vice of its own, and the pres­sures of erupt­ing East-West con­flict would not give it time to devel­op one from scratch. Let the Unit­ed States there­fore leave the assets assem­bled by Gehlen and the FHO intact. Let the Unit­ed States not break up Gehlen’s rela­tion­ship with East Euro­pean fas­cist groups. Let the Unit­ed States pick up Gehlen’s orga­ni­za­tion and put it to work for the West, the bet­ter to pre­vail in its com­ing strug­gle against a Sovi­et Union soon to become its ex-ally.

Gehlen brought his top staff peo­ple into the plan­ning for this amaz­ing pro­pos­al. Togeth­er, dur­ing the last months of the war, while Hitler was first rag­ing at Gehlen for his “defeatist” intel­li­gence reports, then pro­mot­ing him to the rank of brigadier gen­er­al, then at last fir­ing him alto­geth­er (but pro­mot­ing into the FHO direc­tor­ship one of Gehlen’s co-con­spir­a­tors), Gehlen and his staff care­ful­ly pre­pared their huge files on East Europe and the Sovi­et Union and moved them south into the Bavar­i­an Alps and buried them. At the same time, Gehlen began build­ing the ranks of the FHO intel­li­gence agents. The FH0 in fact was the only orga­ni­za­tion in the whole of the Third Reich that was actu­al­ly recruit­ing new mem­bers as the war was wind­ing down.23 SS men who knew they would be in trou­ble when the Allied forces arrived now came flock­ing to the FHO, know­ing that it was the most secure place for them to be when the war final­ly end­ed.24

When Gehlen’s plans were com­plete and his prepa­ra­tions all con­clud­ed, he divid­ed his top staff into three sep­a­rate groups and moved them (as Sko­rzeny was doing at the same time) into pre­arranged posi­tions in Bavaria. Gehlen him­self was in place before the Ger­man sur­ren­der on May 7, hid­ing com­fort­ably in a well-stocked chalet in a moun­tain lea called Mis­ery Mead­ow. Besides Gehlen, there were eight oth­ers in the Mis­ery Mead­ow group, includ­ing two wound­ed men and three young women. For three weeks, main­tain­ing radio con­tact with the two oth­er groups, Gehlen and his col­leagues stayed on the moun­tain, wait­ing for the Amer­i­can army to appear in the val­ley far below. “These days of liv­ing in the arms of nature were tru­ly enchant­i­ng,” he wrote. “We had grown accus­tomed to the peace, and our ears were attuned to nature’s every sound.“25

Destruction of the OSS

Gehlen was still com­muning with nature when William Dono­van, chief of the Office of Strate­gic Ser­vices (OSS), arrived in Nurem­berg from Wash­ing­ton, dis­patched by the new pres­i­dent to assist Supreme Court Jus­tice Robert Jack­son. Har­ry S. Tru­man had made Jack­son the Unit­ed States’s chief pros­e­cu­tor with the Inter­na­tion­al Mil­i­tary Tri­bunal (IMT), estab­lished to try the Nazis’ prin­ci­pal mil­i­tary lead­ers. Dono­van’s OSS was to func­tion as an inves­tiga­tive arm of the IMT.

By the last half of the war if not before, Pres­i­dent Roo­sevelt and Dono­van were con­vinced that the U.S. need­ed a per­ma­nent intel­li­gence ser­vice and that this ser­vice, like the OSS, should be civil­ian rather than mil­i­tary. They were con­vinced too that the OSS should be its foun­da­tion. On Octo­ber 31, 1944, Roo­sevelt direct­ed Dono­van to pre­pare a memo on how such a ser­vice should be orga­nized.26

Dono­van con­sult­ed on this assign­ment with his col­league Allen Dulles, a force unto him­self as wartime chief of OSS oper­a­tions in Bern. Dulles advised Dono­van to pla­cate the mil­i­tary by propos­ing that the new agency be placed auto­mat­i­cal­ly under mil­i­tary com­mand in time of war.27 Dono­van’s pro­pos­al incor­po­rat­ed this idea,28 but only in order to state all the more strong­ly the case for civil­ian con­trol and for mak­ing the OSS the basis of the new orga­ni­za­tion. As he wrote in his memo to Roo­sevelt of Novem­ber 18, 1944, “There are com­mon-sense rea­sons why you may desire to lay the keel of the ship at once.... We now have [in the OSS] the trained and spe­cial­ized per­son­nel need­ed for such a task, and this tal­ent should not be dis­persed.“29

Dono­van pro­posed estab­lish­ment of a civil­ian intel­li­gence ser­vice respon­si­ble direct­ly to the Pres­i­dent and the Sec­re­tary of State, the chief mis­sion of which would be to sup­port the Pres­i­dent in for­eign pol­i­cy. Except for the civil­ian Sec­re­taries of War and the Navy, Dono­van’s plan did not even include a place for mil­i­tary rep­re­sen­ta­tion on the advi­so­ry board, and he was care­ful to spec­i­fy that the advi­so­ry board would mere­ly advise and not con­trol. The new ser­vice was to be all-pow­er­ful in its field, being respon­si­ble for “coor­di­na­tion of the func­tions of all intel­li­gence agen­cies of the Gov­ern­ment.” The Dono­van intel­li­gence ser­vice, in oth­er words, would direct­ly and explic­it­ly dom­i­nate the Army’s G‑2 and the Navy’s ONI.30

Nat­u­ral­ly, there­fore, the Dono­van plan drew an intense attack from the mil­i­tary. One G‑2 offi­cer called it “cum­ber­some and Pos­si­bly dan­ger­ous.“31 Anoth­er referred to the OSS as “a bunch of fag­gots.“32 Nor was the FBI’s J. Edgar Hoover silent. Hoover had fought cre­ation of the OSS per­haps more bit­ter­ly than the mil­i­tary and had insist­ed through­out the war on main­tain­ing an FBI intel­li­gence net­work in Latin Amer­i­ca despite the fact that this was sup­posed to be OSS turf.33

Cer­tain ele­ments with­in Army intel­li­gence were not only opposed to Dono­van’s plan but were also begin­ning to for­mu­late their own notions of what a post-war intel­li­gence sys­tem should be like.

Roo­sevelt sent the Joint Chiefs of Staff ultra-secret copies of Dono­van’s pro­pos­al along with Roo­sevelt’s own draft exec­u­tive order to imple­ment it. On Jan­u­ary 1, 1945, the Chiefs for­mal­ly report­ed to Roo­sevelt their extreme dis­sat­is­fac­tion with this scheme and leaked Dono­van’s memo to four right-wing news­pa­pers, which leapt to the attack with blar­ing head­lines accus­ing FDR and Dono­van of con­spir­ing to cre­ate “a super Gestapo.” This attack put the Dono­van plan on hold, and the death of FDR on April 12, 1945 destroyed it.34

In ear­ly May 1945, pres­i­dent for less than a month, Tru­man made the OSS the Amer­i­can com­po­nent of the inves­tiga­tive arm of the IMT. It is one of the fas­ci­nat­ing con­junc­tions of this sto­ry that Dono­van should have left for Nurem­berg just as Gehlen was com­ing down from his moun­tain. It is one of its riper ironies that Dono­van would soon resign from Jack­son’s staff in a dis­agree­ment over try­ing Ger­man offi­cers as war crim­i­nals, which Dono­van object­ed to but Jack­son and Tru­man sup- port­ed.35 Had Dono­van lent his ener­gies to the tri­al of Nazis with­in the Ger­man offi­cer corps, he might have con­front­ed the very adver­saries who would short­ly take his place in the Amer­i­can intel­li­gence sys­tem, not only mil­i­ta­riz­ing it, but Naz­i­fy­ing it as well.

Gehlen Makes his Move

Gehlen had been on the moun­tain for exact­ly three weeks and the war had been over for almost two weeks when he decid­ed on May 19 that it was time to make con­tact. He left the three women and the two wound­ed men at Mis­ery Mead­ow and with his four aides began the decent to the val­ley town of Fis­chhausen on Lake Schliersee.

On the same day Sovi­et com­mis­sion­ers far to the north at Flens­burg demand­ed that the Unit­ed States hand over Gehlen as well as his files on the USSR. This was the first the U.S. com­mand had heard of Gehlen.36

Gehlen and com­pa­ny took their time, stay­ing three days with the par­ents of one of his aides and com­mu­ni­cat­ing by radio with those who had remained at Mis­ery Mead­ow. On May 22, Gehlen at last decid­ed the moment was right. He and his aides marched into the Army com­mand cen­ter and rep­re­sent­ed them­selves to the desk offi­cer, a Cap­tain John Schwarzwalder, to whom Gehlen spoke his pre­pared speech:

“I am head of the Sec­tion For­eign Armies East in Ger­man Army head­quar­ters. I have infor­ma­tion to give of the high­est impor­tance to your gov­ern­ment.” Schwarzwalder had Gehlen and his group jeeped to Mies­bach where there was a[n] OSS detach­ment. There Gehlen once again gave his speech, this time to a Cap­tain Mar­i­an Porter: “I have infor­ma­tion of the great­est impor­tance for your supreme com­man­der.” Porter replied, “So have they all,” and shunt­ed him and his cohorts off to the prison camp at Salzburg.

Gehlen’s dis­ap­point­ment at this recep­tion was keen and his biog­ra­phers all say he nev­er for­got it, “laps­ing,” as one puts it, “into near despair” as he “pre­sent­ed the strange para­dox of a spy-mas­ter thirst­ing for recog­ni­tion by his cap­tors.“37

Recog­ni­tion was inevitable, how­ev­er, since the CIC was try­ing to find him. By mid June at the lat­est, his name was rec­og­nized by a G‑2 offi­cer, Colonel William H. Quinn, who had Gehlen brought to Augs­burg for his first seri­ous inter­ro­ga­tion. Quinn was the first Amer­i­can to whom Gehlen pre­sent­ed his pro­pos­al and told of his staff dis­persed at sev­er­al camps in the moun­tains as well as the pre­cious buried archives of the FHO. Unlike Cap­tain Porter, Colonel Quinn was impressed. He prompt­ly passed Gehlen up the com­mand chain to Gen­er­al Edwin L. Sib­ert.

Sib­ert lat­er recalled, “I had a most excel­lent impres­sion of him at once.” Gehlen imme­di­ate­ly began edu­cat­ing him as to the actu­al aims of the Sovi­et Union and its dis­play of mil­i­tary might.” As Sib­ert told a jour­nal­ist years lat­er, “With her present armed forces poten­tial, he [Gehlen] con­tin­ued, Rus­sia could risk war with the West and the aim of such a war would be the occu­pa­tion of West Ger­many.“38

Act­ing with­out orders, Sib­ert lis­tened to Gehlen for sev­er­al days before inform­ing Eisen­how­er’s chief of staff, Gen­er­al Wal­ter Bedell Smith.39 Smith and Sib­ert then con­tin­ued to devel­op their rela­tion­ship with Gehlen secret­ly, choos­ing not to bur­den Eisen­how­er with knowl­edge of what they were doing “in order not to com­pro­mise him in his rela­tions with the Sovi­ets.“40 Eisen­how­er in fact had strict­ly for­bid­den U.S. frat­er­niza­tion with Ger­mans.

Gehlen was encour­aged to resume con­tact with his FHO com­rades who were still at large in Bavaria, releas­ing them from their vow of silence. Gehlen was suf­fi­cient­ly con­fi­dent of his Amer­i­can rela­tion­ships by this time that he dug up his buried files and, in spe­cial camps, put his FH0 experts to work prepar­ing detailed reports on the Red Army for his Amer­i­can cap­tors. Well before the end of June he and his com­rades were “dis­charged from pris­on­er of war sta­tus so that we could move around at will.“42 They were encour­aged to form a unit termed a “gen­er­al staff cell” first with­in G‑2’s His­tor­i­cal Research Sec­tion, then lat­er in the Sev­enth Army’s Intel­li­gence Cen­ter in Wies­baden, where they worked in pri­vate quar­ters and were treat­ed as VIPs.43

Indeed, a part­ly declas­si­fied CIA doc­u­ment reca­pit­u­lat­ed this sto­ry in the ear­ly 1970s, not­ing at this time:

Gehlen met with Admi­ral Karl Doenitz, who had been appoint­ed by Hitler as his suc­ces­sor dur­ing the last days of the Third Reich. Gehlen and the Admi­ral were now in a U.S. Army VIP prison camp in Wies­baden; Gehlen sought and received approval from Doenitz too!44

In oth­er words, the Ger­man chain of com­mand was still in effect, and it approved of what Gehlen was doing with the Amer­i­cans.

Gehlen’s biog­ra­phers are under the impres­sion that it took six weeks for some­one in Euro­pean G‑2 to notice and rec­og­nize Gehlen in the POW cage, that Sib­ert did not tell Smith about find­ing him until the mid­dle of August, and that it was much lat­er still before Sib­ert and Smith con­spired to cir­cum­vent Eisen­how­er to com­mu­ni­cate their excite­ment about Gehlen to some­one at the Pen­ta­gon pre­sum­ably asso­ci­at­ed with the Joint Chiefs of Staff.45 But doc­u­ments released in the 1980s show that this part of Gehlen’s sto­ry raced along much more quick­ly. Already on June 29, in fact, the Pen­ta­gon had informed Eisen­how­er’s Euro­pean com­mand that the War Depart­ment want­ed to see Gehlen in Wash­ing­ton.46

It was a fast time. By no lat­er than August 22, one of Gehlen’s top asso­ciates, Her­mann Baum was form­ing what would become the intel­li­gence and coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence sec­tions of Gehlen’s new orga­ni­za­tion. Gehlen him­self, with ret­inue, was depart­ing for Wash­ing­ton in Gen­er­al Bedell Smith’s DC‑3 for high-lev­el talks with Amer­i­can mil­i­tary and intel­li­gence offi­cials. And the whole con­cept of the deal he was about to offer his con­querors had been approved by a Nazi chain of com­mand that was still func­tion­ing despite what the world thought and still does think was the Nazis’ uncon­di­tion­al sur­ren­der.47

Gehlen arrived in Wash­ing­ton on August 24 with six of his top FHO aides and tech­ni­cal experts in tow.48 World War II had been over about a week, the war in Europe about three and a half months.

The Secret Treaty of Fort Hunt

As Gehlen and his six men were en route from Ger­many to Wash­ing­ton, Dono­van’s OSS trou­bles became crit­i­cal. On August 23, Admi­ral William Leahy, chief of the JCS, the Pres­i­den­t’s nation­al secu­ri­ty advis­er and a man who despised Dono­van, advised Tru­man to order his bud­get direc­tor Harold Smith to begin a study of the intel­li­gence ques­tion. Stat­ing “this coun­try want­ed no Gestapo under any guise or for any rea­son.“49 Tru­man may not have known that the Gestapo’s Odessa heirs were land­ing in the lap of the Pen­ta­gon even as he spoke. Smith in any case respond­ed to Tru­man’s direc­tive by ask­ing Dono­van for his OSS demo­bi­liza­tion plans. Now, too late. Dono­van tried to fight. The Gehlen par­ty, “Group 6,” was check­ing out its very com­fort­able accom­mo­da­tions at Fort Hunt at the very moment at which Dono­van, writ­ing from a bor­rowed Wash­ing­ton office, fired back a memo to Smith defend­ing the OSS and its right to live:

Among these assets [of the OSS] was estab­lish­ment for the first time in our nation’s his­to­ry of a for­eign secret intel­li­gence ser­vice which report­ed infor­ma­tion as seen through Amer­i­can eyes. As an inte­gral and insep­a­ra­ble part of this ser­vice, there is a group of spe­cial­ists to ana­lyze and eval­u­ate the mate­r­i­al for pre­sen­ta­tion to those who deter­mine nation­al pol­i­cy.“50

Much more sig­nif­i­cant than the ques­tion of the ade­qua­cy of U.S. intel­li­gence on the Sovi­et Union, how­ev­er, was the ques­tion of civil­ian ver­sus mil­i­tary con­trol of the intel­li­gence mis­sion. Ger­many and Eng­land had fought this bat­tle in the 19th cen­tu­ry, the mil­i­tary cap­tur­ing the intel­li­gence role in Ger­many and the civil­ians main­tain­ing a posi­tion in Eng­land. Through­out the sum­mer and fall of 1945, this same bat­tle raged in the U.S. gov­ern­ment.51 The bat­tle for intel­li­gence con­trol was indeed the back­ground for the arrival of Gehlen and his six aides at Fort Hunt, where Gehlen’s par­ty was housed and Gehlen him­self pro­vid­ed with an NCO but­ler and sev­er­al white-jack­et order lies.52

A momen­tous rela­tion­ship was estab­lished at Fort Hunt, one that had the pro­found­est effects on the sub­se­quent evo­lu­tion of Unit­ed States for­eign pol­i­cy dur­ing an excep­tion­al­ly dif­fi­cult pas­sage of world his­to­ry. The peri­od of the Cold War as a whole, and more espe­cial­ly its ear­ly, for­ma­tive years — from Gehlen’s com­ing aboard the Amer­i­can intel­li­gence ser­vice until he rejoined the West Ger­man repub­lic in 1955 — was laden with the per­il of nuclear war. On at least one occa­sion, in 1948,53 Gehlen almost con­vinced the Unit­ed States that the Sovi­et Union was about to launch a war against the West and that it would be in the U.S. inter­est to pre­empt it.

Clear­ly it is impor­tant to know who made and autho­rized the deci­sions that led to our nation­al depen­den­cy on a net­work of under­ground Nazis, yet because the rel­e­vant doc­u­ments are still clas­si­fied this cen­tral part of the Gehlen sto­ry still can­not be recon­struct­ed.

From the hand­ful of pub­lished books about the Gehlen affair (none of which cite their sources on this point) we can list only sev­en Amer­i­cans who were said to be involved with Gehlen at Fort Hunt:

  • Admi­ral William D. Leahy, chief of staff end Tru­man’s nation­al secu­ri­ty advi­sor.
  • Allen Dulles, OSS sta­tion chief in Bern dur­ing the war.
  • Sher­man Kent, head of OSS Research and Analy­sis Branch and a Yale his­to­ri­an.
  • Gen­er­al George V. Strong, head of Army G‑2.
  • Major Gen­er­al Alex H. Bolling of G‑2.
  • Brigadier Gen­er­al John T. Magrud­er, first head of the Army’s Strate­gic Ser­vices Unit, a vul­ture of OSS.
  • Lof­tus E. Beck­er, a lawyer assc. with G‑2 and the Nurem­berg war-crimes oper­a­tion; the CIA’s first deputy direc­tor.

We do not know if these peo­ple were involved as a com­mit­tee, if they talked with Gehlen and his six aides a lot or a lit­tle, sep­a­rate­ly or all at once, or if they sent their own aides to work out the details. We do not know how a POW-inter­ro­ga­tion was trans­formed into a bar­gain­ing process. Above all, we do not know what kind of com­mu­ni­ca­tion the U.S. par­tic­i­pants in the Fort Hunt-Gehlen talks had with the polit­i­cal author­i­ties to whom they were respon­si­ble. Leahy is the only one who had obvi­ous con­tact with Pres­i­dent Tru­man. But there is noth­ing in the revealed record to indi­cate that he ever dis­cussed Gehlen or the Fort Hunt deal with Tru­man, or took the least trou­ble to explain to Tru­man the impli­ca­tions of hir­ing a Nazi spy net­work. We have no idea, for that mat­ter, how Leahy him­self saw it.

What we do know is the out­lines of the Gehlen deal itself, how­ev­er it was ham­mered out and how­ev­er it was or was not rat­i­fied by legal, polit­i­cal author­i­ty. That is because Gehlen him­self laid out its terms in his auto­bi­og­ra­phy, The Ser­vice. Gehlen says in this work (which has been attacked for its inac­cu­ra­cies) that the dis­cus­sion end­ed with “a gen­tle­man’s agree­ment,” that the terms of his rela­tion­ship with the Unit­ed States were “for a vari­ety of rea­sons nev­er set down in black and white.” He con­tin­ues, “Such was the ele­ment of trust that had been built up between the two sides dur­ing this year of inten­sive per­son­al con­tact that nei­ther had the slight­est hes­i­ta­tion in found­ing the entire oper­a­tion on a ver­bal agree­ment and a hand­shake.“54

Accord­ing Gehlen, this agree­ment con­sist­ed of the fol­low­ing six basic points. His lan­guage is worth savor­ing. “I remem­ber the terms of the agree­ment well,” he wrote:

“1. A clan­des­tine Ger­man intel­li­gence orga­ni­za­tion was to be set up. using the exist­ing poten­tial to con­tin­ue infor­ma­tion gath­er­ing in the East just as we had been doing before. The basis for this was our com­mon inter­est in a defense against com­mu­nism.”

“2. This Ger­man orga­ni­za­tion was to work not ‘for’ or ‘under’ the Amer­i­cans, but ‘joint­ly with the Amer­i­cans.”

“3. The orga­ni­za­tion would oper­ate exclu­sive­ly under Ger­man lead­er­ship, which would receive its direc­tives and assign­ments from the Amer­i­cans until a new gov­ern­ment was estab­lished in Ger­many.”

“4. The orga­ni­za­tion was to be financed by the Amer­i­cans with funds which were not to be part of the occu­pa­tion costs, and in return the orga­ni­za­tion would sup­ply all its intel­li­gence reports to the Amer­i­cans.” (The Gehlen Orga­ni­za­tion’s first annu­al bud­get is said have been $3.4 mil­lion.55)”

“5. As soon as a sov­er­eign Ger­man gov­ern­ment was estab­lished, that gov­ern­ment should decide whet
her the orga­ni­za­tion should con­tin­ue to func­tion or not. but that until such time the care and con­trol (lat­er referred to as ‘the trustee­ship’) of the orga­ni­za­tion would remain in Amer­i­can hands.”

“6. Should the orga­ni­za­tion at any time find itself in a posi­tion where the Amer­i­can and Ger­man inter­ests diverged, it was accept­ed that the orga­ni­za­tion would con­sid­er the inter­ests of Ger­many first.“56

Gehlen acknowl­edges that the last point espe­cial­ly might “raise some eye­brows” and make some think that the U.S. side “had one over­board in mak­ing con­ces­sions to us.” He assures his read­ers that actu­al­ly “this point demon­strates bet­ter than any oth­er Sib­ert’s great vision: he rec­og­nized that for many years to come the inter­ests of the Unit­ed States and West Ger­many must run par­al­lel.“57

Gehlen and his staff left Fort Hunt for Ger­many on July 1, 1946, hav­ing been in the Unit­ed States for almost a year. They were tem­porar­i­ly based at Oberursel then set­tled into a per­ma­nent base in a walled-in, self-con­tained vil­lage at Pul­lach near Munich. Gehlen set up his head­quar­ters in an estate orig­i­nal­ly built by Mar­tin Bor­mann.58 There a start-up group of 50 began to turn the “gen­tle­men’s agree­ment” of Fort Hunt into real­i­ty. The first order of busi­ness being staff, Gehlen’s recruiters were soon cir­cu­lat­ing among the “unem­ployed mass” of “for­mer” Nazi SS men, the Odessa con­stituen­cy, to find more eval­u­a­tors, couri­ers and inform­ers.59 Gehlen had “solemn­ly promised in Wash­ing­ton not to employ SS and Gestapo men,“60 although it will be not­ed that Gehlen includes no such pro­vi­sion in his list of terms. There is not the least ques­tion that he did recruit such men, sup­ply­ing them with new names when nec­es­sary.

Two of the worst of them were Franz Six and Emil Augs­burg. Six was a key Nazi intel­lec­tu­al, and both Six and Augs­burg were asso­ci­at­ed with the Wannsee Insti­tute, the Nazi think-tank in Berlin where SS leader Rein­hard Hey­drich, in Jan­u­ary 1942, announced “the Final Solu­tion to the Jew­ish Ques­tion.” Both of them had com­mand­ed exter­mi­na­tion squads rov­ing in East Europe in pur­suit of Jews and com­mu­nists. and both had gone under­ground with the Odessa when the Third Reich crum­bled. Augs­burg hid in Italy, then returned in dis­guise when Gehlen called. Six was actu­al­ly cap­tured by Allied intel­li­gence, tried at Nurem­berg and impris­oned, only to be sprung to work with Augs­burg run­ning Gehlen’s net­works of East Euro­pean Nazis.61

From the edge of total defeat Gehlen now moved into his vin­tage years, more pow­er­ful, influ­en­tial and inde­pen­dent than he had been even in the hey­day of the Third Reich. Min­i­mal­ly super­vised first by the War Depart­men­t’s Strate­gic Ser­vices Unit under Fort Hunt fig­ure Major Gen­er­al John Magrud­er, and then by the SSU’s fol­low-on orga­ni­za­tion, the Cen­tral Intel­li­gence Group under Rear Admi­ral Sid­ney Souers,62 the Org grew to dom­i­nate the entire West Ger­man intel­li­gence ser­vice. Through his close ties to Chan­cel­lor Kon­rad Ade­nauer’s chief min­is­ter, Hans Globke, Gehlen was able to place his men in posi­tions of con­trol in West Ger­many’s mil­i­tary intel­li­gence and the inter­nal coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence arm. When NATO was estab­lished he came to dom­i­nate it too. By one esti­mate “some 70 per­cent” of the total intel­li­gence take flow­ing into NATO’S mil­i­tary com­mit­tee and Allied head­quar­ters (SHAPE) on the Sovi­et Union, the coun­tries of East Europe, the rest of Europe, and indeed the rest of the world was gen­er­at­ed at Pul­lach.63

Not even the estab­lish­ment of the CIA in 1947 and the offi­cial trans­fer of the Pul­lach oper­a­tion into the West Ger­man gov­ern­ment in 1955 (when it was reti­tled the Fed­er­al Intel­li­gence Ser­vice, BND) less­ened the reliance of Amer­i­can intel­li­gence on Gehlen’s prod­uct.64 From the begin­ning days of the Cold War through the 1970s and beyond, the Unit­ed State’s, West Ger­many’s, and NATO’s most pos­i­tive beliefs about the nature and inten­tions of the Sovi­et Union, the War­saw Pact, and world com­mu­nism would be sup­plied by an inter­na­tion­al net­work of utter­ly unre­con­struct­ed SS Nazis whose pri­ma­ry pur­pos­es were to cov­er the escape of the Odessa and make the world safe for Nazi­ism.

The Cost of the Fort Hunt Treaty

Gehlen’s sto­ry has may branch­ings beyond this point. These include sev­er­al spy scan­dals that exposed his oper­a­tion as dan­ger­ous­ly vul­ner­a­ble to Sovi­et pen­e­tra­tion. They include the piti­ful spec­ta­cle of U.S. CIC agents pur­su­ing Nazi fugi­tives on war-crimes charges only to see them sum­mar­i­ly par­doned and hired by Gehlen. They include the dark saga of Klaus Bar­bie, the SS “Butch­er of Lyon” who worked with the Gehlen Orga­ni­za­tion and boast­ed of being a mem­ber of the Odessa. They include assets of Oper­a­tion Paper­clip, in which right-wing forces in the U.S. mil­i­tary once again sav­aged the con­cept of de-Naz­i­fi­ca­tion in order to smug­gle scores of SS rock­et sci­en­tists into the Unit­ed States. They include con­tin­u­a­tion of the civilian-vs.-military con­flict over the insti­tu­tion of secret intel­li­gence and the ques­tion of polit­i­cal­ly moti­vat­ed covert action with­in the domes­tic inte­ri­or. They include above all the sto­ry of the enor­mous vic­to­ry of the Odessa in plant­i­ng pow­er­ful Nazi colonies around the world — in such coun­tries as South Africa where the enact­ment of apartheid laws fol­lowed; or sev­er­al coun­tries in Latin Amer­i­ca that then became breed­ing grounds for the Death Squads of the cur­rent day; and indeed even in the Unit­ed States where it now appears that thou­sands of want­ed Nazis were able to escape jus­tice and grow old in peace.

In mak­ing the Gehlen deal, the Unit­ed States did not acquire for itself an intel­li­gence ser­vice. That is not what the Gehlen group was or was try­ing to be. The mil­i­tary intel­li­gence his­to­ri­an Colonel William Cor­son put it most suc­cinct­ly, “Gehlen’s orga­ni­za­tion was designed to pro­tect the Odessa Nazis. It amounts to an excep­tion­al­ly well-orches­trat­ed diver­sion.“65 The only intel­li­gence pro­vid­ed by the Gehlen net to the Unit­ed States was intel­li­gence select­ed specif­i­cal­ly to wors­en East-West ten­sions and increase the pos­si­bil­i­ty of mil­i­tary con­flict between the U.S. and the Sovi­et Union. It was exact­ly as the right-wing press had warned in 1945 when they were aroused by Dono­van’s pro­pos­al for a per­ma­nent intel­li­gence corps, warn­ing their read­ers that a “super spy unit” could “deter­mine Amer­i­can for­eign pol­i­cy by weed­ing out, with­hold­ing or col­or­ing infor­ma­tion gath­ered at his direc­tion.“66 It was exact­ly as Tru­man had warned when he demo­bi­lized the OSS with the obser­va­tion that the U.S. had no inter­est in “Gestapo like mea­sures.” The fact that this live­ly con­cern for a police-state appa­ra­tus should have been focused on the rel­a­tive­ly innocu­ous OSS while at the same time the red car­pet was being rolled out for Gehlen’s gang of SS men must sure­ly count as one of the supreme wrench­ing ironies of the mod­ern peri­od.

Anoth­er dimen­sion of the cost the Gehlen deal is the stress it induced with­in Amer­i­can insti­tu­tions, weak­en­ing them incal­cu­la­bly. The Gehlen Orga­ni­za­tion was the antithe­sis of the Allied cause, its sin­is­ter emer­gence on the scene of post-war Europe the very oppo­site of what the west­ern democ­ra­cies thought they had been fight­ing for.

Per­haps at least we can say that, despite Gehlen and despite the mil­i­tary, the Unit­ed States did after all final­ly wind up with a civil­ian intel­li­gence ser­vice. The Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Act of 1947 did embody Dono­van’s cen­tral point in cre­at­ing a CIA out­side the mil­i­tary. But in fact the Gehlen Org sub­stan­tial­ly pre-empt­ed the CIA’s civil­ian char­ac­ter before it was ever born. The CIA was born to be rocked in Gehlen’s cra­dle. It remained depen­dent on the Org even when the Org turned into the BND. Thus, what­ev­er the CIA was from the stand­point of the law, it remained from the stand­point of prac­ti­cal intel­li­gence col­lec­tion a front for a house of Nazi spies.

The Org was not mere­ly mil­i­tary, which is bad, not mere­ly for­eign, which is much worse, and not mere­ly Nazi, which is intol­er­a­ble; it was not even pro­fes­sion­al­ly com­mit­ted to the secu­ri­ty of the U.S. and West­ern Europe. It was com­mit­ted exclu­sive­ly to the secu­ri­ty of the Odessa. All the Gehlen Org ever want­ed the U.S. to be was anti-com­mu­nist, the more mil­i­tant­ly so the bet­ter. It nev­er cared in the least for the secu­ri­ty of the Unit­ed States, its Con­sti­tu­tion or its demo­c­ra­t­ic tra­di­tion.

It is not the point of this essay that there would have been no Cold War if the Odessa had not want­ed it and had not been able, through the naive col­lab­o­ra­tion of the Amer­i­can mil­i­tary Right to place Gehlen and his net­work in a posi­tion that ought to have been occu­pied by a descen­dant of the OSS. But it was pre­cise­ly because the world was so volatile and con­fus­ing as of the tran­si­tion from World War II to peace­time that the U.S. need­ed to see it, as Dono­van put it in his plain­tive appeal to Tru­man in the sum­mer of 1945, “through Amer­i­can eyes.” No Nazi eyes, how­ev­er bright, could see it for us with­out deceiv­ing us and lead­ing us to the betray­al of our own nation­al char­ac­ter.

Sec­ond, there was no way to avoid the Cold War once we had tak­en the des­per­ate step of open­ing our doors to Gehlen. From that moment on, from the sum­mer of 1945 when the Army brought him into the Unit­ed States and made a secret deal with him, the Cold War was locked in. A num­ber of Cold War his­to­ri­ans on the left (for exam­ple D.F. Flem­ing and Gabriel Kolko) have made cogent argu­ments that from the Sovi­et point of view the Cold War was thrust upon us by an irra­tional and bel­liger­ent Stal­in. The sto­ry of the secret treaty of Fort Hunt expos­es this “his­to­ry” as a self-serv­ing polit­i­cal illu­sion. On the con­trary, the war in the Pacif­ic was still rag­ing and the Unit­ed States was still try­ing to get the Sovi­et Union into the war against Japan when Gen­er­al Sib­ert was already deep into his rela­tion ship with Gehlen.

The key point that comes crash­ing through the prac­ti­cal and moral con­fu­sion about this mat­ter, once one sees that Gehlen’s Orga­ni­za­tion was an arm of the Odessa, is that, whether it was eth­i­cal or not, the U.S. did not pick up a Gift Horse in Gehlen at all; it picked up a Tro­jan Horse.

The uncon­di­tion­al sur­ren­der the Ger­mans made to the Allied com­mand at the lit­tle red school­house in Reims was the sur­ren­der only of the Ger­man armed ser­vices. It was not the sur­ren­der of the hard SS core of the Nazi Par­ty. The SS did not sur­ren­der, uncon­di­tion­al­ly or oth­er­wise, and thus Nazism itself did not sur­ren­der. The SS chose rather, to seek oth­er means of con­tin­u­ing the war while the right wing of the Unit­ed States mil­i­tary estab­lish­ment, through fears and secret pas­sions and a naivete of its own, chose to facil­i­tate that choice. The his­to­ry that we have lived through since then stands wit­ness to the con­se­quences.

References

Carl Ogles­by is the author of sev­er­al books, notably The Yan­kee and Cow­boy War. He has pub­lished a vari­ety of arti­cles on polit­i­cal themes. In 1965 he was the Pres­i­dent of Stu­dents for a Demo­c­ra­t­ic Soci­ety. He is the direc­tor of The Insti­tute for Con­tin­u­ing de-Naz­i­fi­ca­tion. For infor­ma­tion on the Insti­tute write to: 294 Har­vard Street, #3, Cam­bridge. MA 02139.

  1. William Shir­er, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (New York: Simon & Schus­ter, 1960), p. 1140.
  2. Ibid., p. 1033 fn. Enun­ci­a­tion of this pol­i­cy sur­prised and upset some U.S. mil­i­tary lead­ers who feared it would pro­long the war. See, for exam­ple, William R. Cor­son (USMC ret.), The Armies of Igno­rance: The Rite of the Amer­i­can Intel­li­gence Empire (New York: Dial Press, 1977), pp. 8–10.
  3. William Steven­son, The Bor­mann Broth­er­hood: A New Inves­ti­ga­tion of the Escape and Sur­vival of Nazi War Crim­i­nals (New York: Har­court Brace Jovanovich, 1973).
  4. Op. cit. n. 1, p. 1072.
  5. Ibid., pp. 1091–92
  6. This dis­cus­sion of Bor­man­n’s strat­e­gy is based main­ly on Glenn B. Infield, Sko­rzeny: Hitler’s Com­man­do (New York: St. Mar­t­in’s Press, 1981); and op. cit., n. 3.
  7. My sum­ma­ry of the Nazi sur­vival plan is based on op. cit., n. 3; Infield, op. cit., n. 6; Ladis­las Fara­go, After­math: Mar­tin Bor­mann and the Fourth Reich (New York: Simon & Schus­ter, 1974); Charles High­am, Amer­i­can Swasti­ka (New York: Dou­ble­day, 1985); Bri­an Bunting, The Rise of the South African Reich (New York: Pen­guin, 1964); and Simon Wiesen­thal, The Mur­der­ers Among Us (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1967). On “neo-Nazi” colonies in the Near and Mid­dle East and South Amer­i­ca, see Wiesen­thal, pp. 78–95.
  8. Infield, op. cit., n. 6. p. 192.
  9. Ibid., p. 179; and Wiesen­thal, op. cit., n. 7. pp. 87–88.
  10. Wiesen­thal, op. cit., n. 7, p. 88. Also quot­ed in Infield, op. cit., n. 6, p. 183.
  11. Infield, op. cit., n. 6, p. 183.
  12. Schacht, who had lost favor with Hitler in 1938, was acquit­ted of war-crimes charges by the Nurem­berg Tri­bunal. He was lat­er con­vict­ed of being a “chief Nazi offend­er” by the Ger­man de-Naz­i­fi­ca­tion court at Baden-Wurt­tem­berg, but his con­vic­tion was over­turned and his eight-year sen­tence lift­ed on Sep­tem­ber 2, 1948. Infield, op cit., n. 6.
  13. Infield, op cit., n. 6, p. 16.
  14. Heinz Hohne and Her­mann Zolling, The Gen­er­al Was A Spy (New York: Richard Bar­ry, Cow­ard McCann & Geoghe­gan, 1973), p. 54; and E.H. Cookridge, Gehlen, Spy of the Cen­tu­ry (New York: Ran­dom House, 1971), p. 120.
  15. Christo­pher Simp­son, Blow­back (New York: Wei­den­feld and Nicol­son, 1988), p. 160 ff. Simp­son’s is the best book on the Gehlen mat­ter so far pub­lished.
  16. Ibid., pp. 254–55.
  17. Ibid., pp. 180, 193.
  18. Ibid., pp. 10, 207–08.
  19. Ibid., pp. 18–22. Also see Hohne and Zolling, op. cit., n. 14, pp. 35–37; Cookridge, op. cit., n. 14, pp. 56–58.
  20. Cookridge op. cit., n. 14, p. 79.
  21. Rein­hard Gehlen, The Ser­vice (New York: World, 1972), p. 99.
  22. Ibid., p. 107.
  23. Cookridge, op. cit., n. 14, pp. 103, 106.
  24. I do not know of an esti­mate of the size of the For­eign Armies East (FHO) as of the end of the war. Cookridge, op. cit., n. 14, p. 161, says that by 1948, when the Gehlen Orga­ni­za­tion was prob­a­bly back up to war-time speed, its key agents “exceed­ed four thou­sand.” Each agent typ­i­cal­ly ran a net of about six infor­mants, Cookridge, op. cit., n. 14, p. 167. Thus, the total Gehlen net might have num­bered in the range of 20,000 indi­vid­u­als
  25. Op. cit., n. 21, p. 115.
  26. Cor­son, op. cit., n. 2, pp. 6, 20; Antho­ny Cave Brown, The Last Hero, Wild Bill Dono­van (N.Y.: Vin­tage Books, 1982), p. 625; U.S. Sen­ate, “Final Report of the Select Com­mit­tee to Study Gov­ern­men­tal Oper­a­tions with Respect to Intel­li­gence Activ­i­ties,” Book IV, Sup­ple­men­tary Staff Reports on For­eign and Mil­i­tary Intel­li­gence (known as, The Church Report), p. 5.
  27. Cookridge, op. cit., n. 14, p.130.
  28. Brown, op. cit., n. 26, p. 626.
  29. Cookridge, op. cit., n. 14, p. 131.
  30. William M. Leary, ed., The Cen­tral Intel­li­gence Agency: His­to­ry and Doc­u­ments (Atlanta: Uni­ver­si­ty of Atlanta Press, 1984), pp. 123–25; Cor­son, op cit., n. 2, pp. 214–17; Brown, op. cit., n. 26, p. 625.
  31. Brown, op. cit., n. 26, p. 627.
  32. Ibid., p. 170.
  33. Thomas Pow­ers, The Man Who Kept the Secrets: Richard Helms and the CIA (New York: Pock­et Books, 1981), p. 31.
  34. Ibid.
  35. Brown, op. cit., n. 26, p. 744.
  36. This account of Gehlen’s sur­ren­der is based on Hohne and Zolling, op. cit., n. 14, pp. 52–56; Cookridge, op cit., n. 14, pp. 118–21; op. cit., 3, pp. 89–90; op cit., n. 15, pp. 41–43; and the BBC doc­u­men­tary, Super­spy: The Sto­ry of Rein­hard Gehlen, 1974. There are many triv­ial dis­crep­an­cies in these four accounts but they are in per­fect agree­ment as to th
    e main thrust.
  37. Cookridge, op. cit., n. 14, p. 120.
  38. Hohne and Zolling, op. cit., n. 14, p. 58.
  39. As to break­ing orders, Gehlen is effu­sive in his praise of “Sib­ert’s great vision.... I stand in admi­ra­tion of Sib­ert as a gen­er­al who this this bold step — in a sit­u­a­tion fraught with polit­i­cal pit­falls — of tak­ing over the intel­li­gence experts of a for­mer ene­my for his own coun­try.... The polit­i­cal risk to which Sib­ert was exposed was very great. Anti-Ger­man feel­ing was run­ning high, and he had cre­at­ed our orga­ni­za­tions with­out any author­i­ty from Wash­ing­ton and with­out the knowl­edge of the War Depart­ment.” Op. cit., n. 21, p. 123.
  40. Hohne and Zolling, op. cit., n. 14, p. 58.
  41. Ibid., pp. 58–59.
  42. Op. cit., n. 21, p. 120.
  43. Hohne and Zolling, op. cit., n. 14, p. 58.
  44. Undat­ed CIA frag­ment with head, “Recent Books,” appar­ent­ly pub­lished cir­ca 1972, part­ly declas­si­fied and released in 1986 in response to a Free­dom of Infor­ma­tion (FOIA) suit.
  45. Hohne and Zolling, op. cit., n. 14, pp. 56, 58–59.
  46. U.S. Army doc­u­ment SHAEF D‑95096, Sep­tem­ber 15, 1946, declas­si­fied FOIA release. The rout­ing of this cable through SHAEF HQ rais­es a ques­tion as to whether Eisen­how­er was real­ly kept in the dark about Gehlen.
  47. As Gehlen was about to leave for the Unit­ed States, he left a mes­sage for Baun with anoth­er of his top aides, Ger­hard Wes­sel: “I am to tell you from Gehlen that he has dis­cussed with [Hitler’s suc­ces­sor Admi­ral Karl] Doenitz and [Gehlen’s supe­ri­or and chief of staff Gen­er­al Franz] Halder the ques­tion of con­tin­u­ing his work with the Amer­i­cans. Both were in agree­ment.” Hohne and Zolling, op. cit., n. 14, p. 61.
  48. There is vari­ance in the lit­er­a­ture con­cern­ing how many assis­tants Gehlen took with him toWash­ing­ton. John Ranelagh, The Agency: The Rise and Decline of the CIA (New York: Simon and Schus­ter, 1986), p. 92; Cookridge, op. cit., n. 14, p. 125; and op. cit., n. 15, p. 42, say it was three while Hohne and Zolling, op. cit., n. 14, p. 61, say four. A U.S. Army note of August 28, 1945 (a 1986 FOIA release) refers to “the 7 shipped by air last week” and that no doubt is the cor­rect num­ber. Anoth­er FOIA release, an unnum­bered Mil­i­tary Intel­li­gence Divi­sion doc­u­ment dat­ed Sep­tem­ber 30, 1945, orig­i­nat­ed at Fort Hunt, labels the Gehlen par­ty as “Group 6″ and names sev­en mem­bers: Gehlen, Major Alberg Schoeller, Major Horst Hiemenz, Colonel Heinz Herre, Colonel Kon­rad Stephanus, and two oth­ers whose rank is not giv­en, Franz Hin­richs and Her­bert Feukn­er. The num­ber is impor­tant for what it says about the nature of Gehlen’s trip, Three might be thought of as co-defen­dants but six con­sti­tute a staff. Cookridge, op. cit., n. 14, p. 125, says Gehlen made the trip dis­guised in the uni­form of a one-star Amer­i­can gen­er­al, his aides dis­guised as U.S. cap­tains. Hohne and Zolling, op. cit., n. 14, pp. 60–61, inflate the rank to two stars but then call the sto­ry spu­ri­ous. Gehlen’s mem­oir says noth­ing about it.
  49. Cor­son, op. cit., n. 2, p. 239.
  50. Ibid., p. 240.
  51. Ranelagh, op. cit., n. 48, p. 102ff.
  52. BBC doc­u­men­tary, Super­spy, op. cit., n. 36. Cor­son, in an inter­view with the author, said the but­ler and the order­lies must have been CIC agents. Still, the detail ran­kles.
  53. Cookridge, op. cit., n. 14, 203; op. cit., n. 15. p. 136.
  54. Op. cit., n. 21, p. 121. Hohne and Zolling, op. cit., n. 14. p. 64, say that the details of this “gen­tle­men’s agree­ment” were put into writ­ing by the CIA in 1949.
  55. Hohne and Zolling, op. cit., n. 14, p. 65.
  56. Op. cit., n. 21, p. 122.
  57. Ibid., pp. 122–23.
  58. Hohne and Zolling, op. cit., n. 14, p. 119; Cookridge, op. cit., n. 14, p. 155, BBC doc­u­men­tary, Super­spy, op. cit., n. 36.
  59. Hohne and Zolling, op. cit., n. 14, p. 67.
  60. Cookridge, op. cit., n. 14, p. 144.
  61. Op. cit., n. 15, pp. 17, 46–47, 166, 225; Cookridge, op. cit., n. 14, pp. 242–43.
  62. Hohne and Zolling, op. cit., n. 14, p. 133.
  63. Cookridge, op. cit., n. 14, p. 218.
  64. Ibid., p. 128.
  65. Author’s inter­view with Cor­son, May, 1986.
  66. Cookridge, op. cit., n. 14, p. 131.

(This arti­cle was orig­i­nal­ly from Cover­tAc­tion Infor­ma­tion Bul­letin, Fall, 1990)