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Alias George Wood

Fritz Kolbe (alias George Wood) espionage services,
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George Wood

CONFIDENTIAL

be enlisted to transcribe the script.) Not as camouflage but out of literary fancy it is cast in the form of an argument that the outcome of the war was already decided and supports this thesis by a sort of survey of the world situation in which the evidence is drawn from the Foreign Office telegrams and other sources of inside information. Dulles cabled on 21 February that "it is hard to decipher the origin of all the cases as well as to differentiate . . . Foreign Office documents or policy from Wood's own opinions." The letter ended hurriedly, "I have to stop. Too bad. What good are these air raids?" and a Madrid telegram referred to was not enclosed.
The world survey contained a number of items interesting from the intelligence-historical viewpoint--the defection in Ankara that month of Abwehr officers Vermehren and Willi Hamburger, German speculation as to who Cicero was, the deciphered English text of an intercepted Irish cable from the Vatican--but one that caused commotion in Washington and London at the time was a report that the German command in Italy had ordered Rome electric power plants and all the Tiber bridges blown up if the city had to be evacuated. X-2 Washington and the Special Branch of MIS had recently been holding "evaluation meetings" on the "Wood" material, Special Branch having changed its "spurious" tune about 1 February and started looking, like the British, for the grand deception it was leading up to; and Colonel McCormack pounced on this item. (The dissemination of the reports to MIS must have been rather slow: Dulles cabled it on 23 February, but McCormack didn't see it until 11 March, when the contents of yet another letter had begun coming in from Bern.)   He telephoned X-2 that at last the first piece of bad fish had come in; only Hitler, not the field commander, could make such a decision, and this was obviously an attempt to confuse the issue at the very time that a conference in the Vatican was discussing the possibility of evacuation.9 This ball was bounced back and forth across the Atlantic for some time.
On Washington's birthday, by coincidence, "Fritz" penned a hasty birthday card to Walter Schuepp with hearty greetings for "you and Ernst." He apologized that some child had run a line of play typing down the side; it was the only card he had. The line of gibberish, deciphered from Kolbe's private code, was a flash warning that "Yolland of OWI in Ankara is discussing defection to Germany with
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9 X-2 memorandum 11 March 1944. This and other X-2 memoranda cited can be found under Central File 32858 Box 6.
CONFIDENTIAL

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Posted: May 08, 2007 08:05 AM
Last Updated: Aug 05, 2011 08:49 AM