15 April 1944
MEMORANDUM FOR THE PRESIDENT:
The enclosed dispatch from Berne and the accompanying evaluation of its source should, it is believed, be brought to your attention as early as possible.
You will recall earlier copies of a special character which were secured from original official German sources through our Agency in Switzerland. This cable is not such a message but it is the evaluation by our principal Swiss intelligence representative16 of two hundred such enemy documents (four hundred pages) which have just come into his hands.
As is customary with material of such special character these enclosures are also being delivered personally to the Secretary of State, General Marshall, Admiral King, General Eisenhower and the Secretary of the Joint Chiefs.
Under existing arrangements on this particular contact the British will see this cable and, as in the past, will doubtless show it to their highest officials.
MEMORANDUM TO ACCOMPANY 2787-92 ATTACHED
With regard to the attached message which left Bern April 12th, the following is to be said.
(1) The author of message is an American citizen, 52 years old, in charge of OSS secret intelligence in Switzerland since November 1942. His intimate knowledge of European politics dates back to 1915. During the last war he acted as an intelligence officer for the United States Government from the Legation in Switzerland. Subsequently, he represented the United States officially on several occasions in important diplomatic negotiations. During the last 30 years he has had a continuing expert and responsible interest in European affairs.
(2) All "Boston" (Kappa) material has been handled personally by him in Switzerland since it first appeared in October 1943.17
(3) The sender of this message has hitherto acted merely as a reporter of material received by him, transmitting it as it reached him, and only occasionally making a brief note of comment on some point of fact or on some individual named in Boston material.
(4) His last previous evaluation, a month ago (not based primarily on earlier Boston material), was conservative, and by no means optimistic with regard to the possibility of an early German internal collapse.
(5) As a man experienced in affairs, he knows how significant the attached message may be and the responsibility he assumes by sending it.
(6) However, in view of the very great implications in this message, a cable has been sent to the author requesting him to review it carefully to see whether he wishes, on reflection, to modify any of its language and to report here by cable immediately.
(7) It would seem that the author, thanks to the sudden receipt of 400 pages of material all at one moment, finds himself in a position where he can see the whole picture rather than any single part. He is probably better able to see and evaluate that whole picture than the Germans are themselves, since they have neither the time nor the calm nor the undistracted minds to take an overall view of their own diplomatic situation.
(8) You will be further informed when and if any modification of this message comes from Bern.
Sincerely regret that you cannot at this time see Wood's material as it stands without condensation and abridgement. In some 400 pages, dealing with the internal maneuverings of German diplomatic policy for the past two months, a picture of imminent doom and final downfall is presented. Into a tormented General Headquarters and a half-dead Foreign Office stream the lamentations of a score of diplomatic posts. It is a scene wherein haggard Secret Service and diplomatic agents are doing their best to cope with the defeatism and desertion of flatly defiant satellites and allies and recalcitrant neutrals. The period of secret service under Canaris and diplomacy under the champagne salesman is drawing to an end. Already Canaris has disappeared from the picture, and a conference was hurriedly convoked in Berlin at which efforts were made to mend the gaping holes left in the Abwehr. Unable now to fall back on his favorite means of avoiding disconcerting crises by retiring to his bed, Ribbentrop has beat a retreat to Fuschl and retains a number of his principal aides at Salzburg. The remainder of the Foreign Office is strung out all the way between Riesengebirge and the capital. Almost impossible working conditions exist in the latter, and bombing shelters are being permanently used for code work. Once messages have been deciphered, a frantic search begins to locate the particular service or minister to which each cable must be forwarded; and, when a reply is called for, another search is necessary to deliver this to the right place.
Borman or Neubacher will step forward if Ribbentrop is sacked, and one of them will carry out Gestapo diplomacy. Ample evidence of what this will mean is contained in 100-odd pages of Weesenmeyer cables describing the situation in the Hungarian capital. There, however, the drama involves that old fox, Horthy, playing the role of a 1944 Petain. Weesenmeyer's cable dated the 20th of last month ends on the following querulous note: "Within the last 24 hours, I have had three long talks with Von Horthy. As a result, I am becoming more and more convinced that on the one hand the Regent is an unmitigated liar and on the other he is physically no longer capable of performing his duties. He is constantly repeating himself, often contradicting himself within a few sentences, and sometimes does not know how to go on. Everything he says sounds like a memorized formula, and I fear that it will be difficult to convince him, let alone win him over."
In Sofia, cagy Bulgarians are playing all kinds of tricks on Beckerle and going off to Turkey on pleasure trips, while Nazi offices are accusing each other right and left of letting traitors clear out from under their noses. In Bucharest, Antonescu's harried aides try to think up excuses for the Stirbey-Chastelain incidents that will satisfy the Nazis, while the Marshall himself is getting reports that looting German troops are just ahead of the Russians.
The final death-bed contortions of a putrefied Nazi diplomacy are pictured in these telegrams. The reader is carried from one extreme of emotion to the other, from tears to laughter, as he examines these messages and sees the cruelty exhibited by the Germans in their final swan-song of brutality toward the peoples so irrevocably and pitifully enmeshed by the Gestapo after half a decade of futile struggles, and yet at the same time sees also the absurdity of the dilemma which now confronts this diplomacy both within and outside of Festung Europa.
19 April 1944
MEMORANDUM FOR THE PRESIDENT:
In connection with the message from Switzerland (transmitted to you on 15 April 1944) giving an appreciation of the German political and diplomatic situation rendered by the principal OSS intelligence officer, Switzerland, he was immediately queried as to whether he wished to modify or add to that message, in view of its import. He has now replied.
(1) That he sees no reason to change or qualify his earlier message as a description of the current Nazi diplomatic and political scene.
(2) That though his evaluation is derived most immediately from the material recently received by him, and from conversations with one tried informant, he has received other similar reports recently from other well-proven informants in the same strain, and background data to him in Bern supports his view.