– Colonel Park (Part II, Page 1)
Five months before Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt authorized the creation of a new intelligence agency, the Office of the Coordinator of Information. William Donovan was put in charge of this agency. During the war, the name of this organization would change to the Office of Strategic Services (OSS).
A few months before the war ended, Colonel Richard Park Jr. wrote a blistering report about the agency. The report contains three parts and three appendices.
Secret Intelligence / Secret Operations
Appendix III contains an outline of the activities performed by OSS. This is the outline:
- Secret Intelligence
- Liaison with undergrounds, minority groups, and subversive groups in various countries throughout the world.
- Interception (radio, telegraph, telephone, etc.).
- Dark chamber (cryptanalysis).
- Secret Operations
- Subversive activities.
- Subversive propaganda.
- Research and Analysis
- Propaganda, counterpropaganda and miscellaneous activities
After reading this outline, I came to the conclusion that I had a hard time finding a proper definition for these terms because the government does not want the public to know what these terms mean. The government, I presume, rarely if ever has defined those terms publicly. That is why it is hard to find an accurate definition for those terms on the Internet. Why the government was willing to declassify this document is something of a mystery to me.
From section 1a and section 2, we can deduce that secret intelligence and special operations involves using subversive groups, including minorities, to destabilize other governments. Over the years, the Chinese government has often complained that the West is using minorities like the Tibetans and the Uyghurs to stir up trouble for them. And based on this outline, they are probably correct. Such activities apparently fall under the category of secret intelligence and special operations.
The Park report, however, does not talk about how OSS tried to use minority groups to attack other countries. Instead, the report mostly depicts OSS as an agency that had no idea what they were doing.
“One Assistant Secretary of State said the O.S.S. has made mistakes which not even the Boy Scouts could be guilty of had they entered this field.”
– Colonel Park (Appendix I, Page 18)
As an example, Park cited the techniques OSS used to deliver money to the field. These techniques “were so amateurish that they tipped off the Gestapo and other intelligence agencies, pointing the way to O.S.S. agents in the field with the result that they were either apprehended or kept under close surveillance and fed false information.” (Appendix I, Page 21)
In Lisbon, OSS agents tried to infiltrate the Office of the Japanese Naval Attaché. They did such a lousy job some speculated that they were double agents working for Japan. The Japanese became worried about American intelligence activities in Lisbon and changed their code books. Until then, America had been able to decode Japanese messages. But after the switch, America could not decode Japanese messages for ten weeks. (Appendix I, Page 28)
“How many American lives in the Pacific represent the cost of this stupidity on the part of the O.S.S. is unknown,” said one American official. (Appendix I, Page 28)
While in Bucharest, Donovan lost his briefcase which contained important papers. Apparently, the briefcase was seized by a Romanian dancer during a party. The dancer later gave the briefcase to the Gestapo. (Appendix I, Page 26)
At a restaurant in Istanbul, four foreigners were sitting at a table. One of them was known to be a member of the Gestapo. An OSS officer, who came uninvited, sat down at that table and began talking about his job at OSS. (Appendix I, Page 26)
One army officer declared that OSS activities in India were beyond belief. In Bombay, a Chinese girl, Mabel Wong, was working for OSS. The army officer discovered that she was a Japanese agent. She was collecting information from an OSS official who would later abscond with $40,000 of OSS money. When the army officer told another OSS official about this situation, he was told to mind his own business. (Appendix II, Page 8)
The army officer noticed that Japanese agents were scrutinizing the OSS office in Bombay. He recommended that a security survey be performed on the site. But OSS declared that such an idea was asinine. He asked if he could tell military intelligence about what was going on. But OSS declined his request, saying that a dereliction on their part would make OSS look good. (Appendix II, Page 8)
OSS spent a considerable amount of money on entertainment. In order to befriend the various Allied intelligence agencies in Bombay, OSS “threw a big party” in a hotel suite. They invited so many people that they could not all fit inside the suite. So they moved the party to the local OSS office.
“The party was evidently a real orgy as source reports no work was performed at the office for the following three days," said Park. (Appendix I, Page 13)
OSS India distributed $25,000 worth of liquor to Allied intelligence agencies in exchange for information. This was necessary because those agencies “held the O.S.S. in utter contempt and would not give them any data except in exchange for liquor, hosiery or lipsticks.” (Appendix I, Page 13)
Communists among us
“The Communist element in O.S.S. is believed to be of dangerously large proportions.”
– Colonel Park (Part II, Page 1)
Allegedly, one of the doctors at an OSS facility in Virginia was a Soviet agent. (Appendix I, Page 2) Another OSS official, Leonard E. Mins, worked for Communist International. In 1943, Congressman Martin Dies declared publicly that Mins was a Communist. But OSS didn’t remove him until three months later. (Appendix II, Page 10)
Alexander Barmine defected from the Red Army and joined OSS. He provided OSS with the names of Communist moles who had infiltrated the agency. But instead of taking action against those moles, OSS fired Barmine. (Appendix II, Page 8)
When the Soviets arrived in Sofia, a newspaper reporter, Charles Lanius, publicly declared that he was a member of the American Secret Service and he provided the Soviets with the names of his men and his associates. He was an OSS official. (Appendix II, Page 7)
You can guess what was the result of all this incompetence. In Spain, the Gestapo uncovered the names of virtually all the OSS agents there. (Appendix II, Page 7) In Portugal, they claimed to know about all OSS activities throughout the country. (Appendix II, Page 7) In Romania and Bulgaria, either the Soviets or the British knew the identity of all the local OSS agents. (Appendix II, Page 7) In Istanbul, Turkish police had a dossier on all the OSS officials there. (Appendix II, Page 8) In Stockholm, the Swedish Secret Police knew about the identities and activities of all OSS personnel. (Appendix II, Page 11)
OSS incompetence led to the death of many allies. In Austria, three OSS agents met with six leading members of the underground. Later that day, the Gestapo arrested those six Austrians and executed them. (Appendix I, Page 25) In Turkey, despite repeated warnings, OSS used a well-known Hungarian double agent to deliver a radio set to Colonel Kadar, a member of the Hungarian opposition. Subsequently, the colonel was arrested and executed. (Appendix I, Page 26)
Much of this incompetence was likely the result of hiring unqualified people. Colonel Ellery Huntington was the OSS security officer. He was a former corporate lawyer who had no experience in intelligence. (Appendix I, Page 5) Colonel John Haskell was the OSS Chief of Moscow. He too had no background in intelligence and had “the reputation of being a naïve person.” (Appendix II, Page 7)
Rather than hire the most qualified person, in many instances OSS hired the relatives of current OSS employees, including the wives of Colonel Goodfellow and Colonel Huntingon. Neither of them had any experience, but both received excellent positions. Most of the members of Donovan’s law firm acquired important positions in OSS. The social director of the St. Regis Hotel became a Lieutenant Colonel in OSS (Donovan lived in that hotel). (Appendix I, Page 31)
Method to the madness
Though Colonel Park argues that OSS was merely incompetent, in many cases, I believe their “mistakes” were intentional. Consider that party in Bombay. OSS may have used that party to gather intelligence. If so, it would not be the only time OSS pulled a stunt like this.
In Washington, OSS asked a widow with "unusual social connections" if she would host parties for them. OSS would pay for the parties and would pay her a salary. They would tell her who to invite. During the parties, she would try to extract information from those people. (Appendix I, Page 14)
OSS probably made the party in Bombay a “real orgy” by giving their guests alcohol. Once they were intoxicated, their guests would lose their inhibitions and spill their secrets. OSS may have intentionally invited too many guests. Perhaps they wanted an excuse to move the party to their office. I would bet their office was wired with recording equipment which allowed them to record the naughty behavior of their guests. Later on, OSS could use the recording to extort them. Unless their guests did what OSS wanted, OSS would release the recording to the public.
This kind of extortion is relatively common. For example, in China, Zhang Rongkun, the chairman of Fuxi Investment Holdings, had sexually explicit videos of the officials he bribed. (cablegatesearch.net/cable.php?id=06SHANGHAI6957) Most likely, he made these tapes to protect himself. If the government went after him, he could use the tapes to strike back.
The communist infiltration of OSS was probably not accidental either. Remember, for most of the war, the Soviets were allied with the West. As such, allowing the Soviets access to our secrets was probably part of the alliance. In China, OSS secretly supported the communists. The West wanted the communists to emerge victorious after the war, not because America supported communism, but because the West wanted China to have an ideology different from our own. That allowed the West to isolate China after the war. I wrote an article about this subject, in case you are interested: (www.twitlonger.com/show/jpoov3).
“O.S.S. is hopelessly compromised to foreign governments, particularly the British. Further questioning of British intelligence authorities will evince nothing but praise because the O.S.S. is like putty in their hands and they would be reluctant to forfeit a good tool.”
– Colonel Park (Part II, Page 1)
The connection between OSS and Britain started at the top with Donovan. He frequently interacted with prominent Englishmen, including Winston Churchill. He once declared that OSS owed its existence to (1) Churchill and (2) Roosevelt. (Appendix II, Page 4)
Britain had their men planted throughout OSS. One OSS official, Patrick A. Meade, was a British citizen who spent 16 years in the British Army. (Appendix II, Page 4) Another OSS official, Lieutenant Adams, worked as a British agent in San Francisco for five years. (Appendix II, Page 4) A third OSS official, Victor Oswald, was a citizen of Switzerland. He was also a British agent. (Appendix II, Page 3) OSS put a British officer, Lieutenant Colonel Coffey, in charge of their Calcutta office. He recruited positive intelligence agents for East Asia. He forwarded economic and political information to OSS and to the local British authorities. (Appendix II, Page 3) The British infiltration of OSS was so pervasive that the Czechs considered OSS and British intelligence as one entity. (Appendix II, Page 3)
OSS New York
Britain had a very close relationship with the OSS office in New York. That office was located on the same floor as the alleged headquarters of British secret intelligence in America (which was the British Passport Central Office). This made it easy for the British to keep tabs on everyone who visited the OSS in New York. (Appendix II, Page 6)
Britain used this situation to their advantage when a prominent Frenchman met with Mr. Hughes, the Chief of the OSS New York office. This Frenchman wanted to hand over a set of important documents to OSS. But Britain was placing him under considerable duress. He declared that OSS should not tell the British about what he was doing. But the following day, British intelligence contacted him and told him that they knew all about his meeting with Hughes. (Appendix II, Page 6)
The access OSS provided to Britain was not reciprocated.
One way street
“While the O.S.S. knows details about normal British intelligence, it knows very little about British secret intelligence. On the other hand, the British are believed to know everything about the O.S.S. and exercise quite a good deal of control over the O.S.S.”
– Colonel Park (Appendix II, Page 1)
In Cairo, the British knew the names of all OSS personnel while OSS only knew the identity of non-secret intelligence British personnel. (Appendix II, Page 1) In France, the British participated in all OSS secret intelligence activities. However, Britain did not tell their OSS counterparts about their secret intelligence activities in the country. (Appendix II, Page 2) In Spain and Portugal, due to an agreement made in 1943, Britain knew the identities of all OSS agents in those countries. What's more, before they arrived on the peninsula, those agents were trained in London. And after they were deployed, they stayed in close contact with British intelligence. On the other hand, Britain only told OSS the names of a few of their agents. And OSS may have already known the identities of those agents beforehand through their counterintelligence work. (Appendix II, Page 2)
Examples of control
The Park report contained several examples of how Britain controlled OSS. Though OSS wanted to locate one of their headquarters in Algiers, Britain convinced them to remain in London. (Appendix II, Page 2) OSS wanted to build a worldwide secret intelligence radio network. But the plan was abandoned due to pressure from the British “who desired to control all S.I. radio communications.” (Appendix I, Page 17)
By controlling OSS, that allowed Britain to use OSS to gather information about America. According to Park, there were “numerous cases in New York where the British desired certain economic or commercial information in postal censorship and requested the O.S.S. to obtain it for them.” (Appendix II, Page 5) As an example, he cited a case where Britain failed to convinced Washington to give them certain documents whereupon Britain had the OSS New York office retrieve the documents for them. (Appendix II, Page 5)
Park listed several cases where Britain used its control of OSS to undermine America. In one case, an OSS officer, Captain Temple Fielding, who was stationed in Yugoslavia, had a British chauffeur. This chauffeur traveled with Fielding wherever he went until one day when he disappeared.
“Shortly thereafter, according to an unbelievable report from an authentic source, the British tried to have Fielding seized and hanged,” said Park. “He managed to escape to an O.S.S. base in Italy where he pleaded with U.S. authorities to take action in his behalf. The British put such pressure on the O.S.S. that he was removed to a hospital ship, locked up and listed as a mental case. He was released shortly after his arrival in the U.S.” (Appendix II, Page 5)
OSS appointed foreigners to key positions, positions which allowed them to influence policies and access personnel and intelligence information. Many of them worked for foreign companies that competed with American companies. For example, F. A. Guepin was the Chief of OSS in the Near East and a manager at Shell Oil. (Appendix I, Page 20)
“He has jokingly confided in friends that all American businessmen in that area who joined the O.S.S. will never live it down and that many of them who have resigned and are no longer with O.S.S. are still pointed out by the British and other nationals as U.S. secret agents," said Park. "Their business careers and the progress of their U.S. companies are likely to be handicapped to the advantage of the British and the Dutch.”
In Cairo, the government paroled all anti-Fascist prisoners except for one - the manager of an American oil company. According to Park, he was not “paroled because of the influence of the O.S.S. and its Shell Oil non-American executive.” (Appendix I, Page 20)
The Middle East was divided into separate areas. Either the British or OSS would operate within a given area. The British gave themselves by far the better area to operate in. (Appendix II, Page 3)
At one point during the war OSS contemplated separating itself from the British “but it was difficult to understand how this could be accomplished as the British were believed to know almost without exception the name, location, cover, and assignment of O.S.S. agents throughout the world.” (Appendix II, Page 7)
You may be wondering if British control of American intelligence continued after the war. During the war, Allen Dulles was the Chief of OSS in Switzerland. According to Park, he was “strongly influenced” by Royall Tyler, another OSS official who also happened to be a British secret agent. (Appendix II, Page 2) After the war, Dulles served as the director of the CIA from 1953 to 1961.
In 2010, the British House of Commons issued a report called “Global Security: UK-US Relations.” (www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/cmfaff/114/11402.htm) In that report, the House of Commons declared that Britain still enjoyed a “special relationship” with American intelligence.
It seems unlikely that all OSS incompetence was intentional on their part. Remember, their incompetence led to the death of many of our allies. Had America known the extent of their stupidity, we might have shut down the agency. To prevent that from happening, British intelligence gave OSS credit for activities they did not perform. (Appendix II, Page 1) As long as OSS was still around, Britain could control U.S. secret intelligence activities.
One Briton said his country was having a hard time building up the reputation of OSS because their agents were so incompetent. (Appendix II, Page 1) That is ironic because Britain trained those agents to begin with. Many of them were trained at Camp X, a British training facility located in Ontario. One might think that Britain should have done a better job of training them. As long as those agents were acting so foolishly, Britain was running the risk of having America close OSS and replacing them with an organization that Britain could not control.
So why did Britain make OSS so stupid? This is my theory. Britain had three reasons.
As long as they were idiots, Britain could control where OSS operated. For example, due to its many blunders, OSS was prohibited from sending their agents into European enemy territory. Britain was given the exclusive right to send their agents into that region. (Appendix I, Page 39) So to prevent OSS from operating in a certain area, Britain would somehow inform Allied command of all the blunders committed by OSS in that area. And to prevent America from shutting down OSS entirely, Britain gave OSS credit for achievements they were not responsible for.
Britain probably wanted OSS to hire idiots because idiots are easily manipulated. If you want someone to do something stupid, you’d better ask an idiot to do it. A smart person would refuse your request.
Perhaps most importantly, if Britain taught OSS everything they knew, if OSS officials weren't stupid, then OSS would not need Britain.
Same old, same old
Though nearly seven decades have passed since the end of the war, when it comes to the relationship between American and British intelligence, much remains the same. After the war, and after several name changes, OSS would emerge as the CIA. The CIA is still much more visible then any other intelligence agency. You will often see former CIA agents talk to the media (e.g. Robert Grenier, Michael Scheuer, Robert Baer, Christopher Johnson, John Stockwell, Bruce Riedel, Glenn Carle, Marc Sageman, Reuel Marc Gerecht).
By contrast, I only know about one British intelligence official, David Shayler. Britain prosecuted him for handing over classified documents to the Mail on Sunday. In Britain, it is a crime, it is a violation of the Official Secrets Act to divulge secrets even if doing so is in the public interest. This is almost certainly why so little is known about British intelligence. And the law is a gigantic red flag which shows that the actions of British intelligence are extremely illegal.
Still to this day, CIA has at best a questionable reputation. Though conservatives may have a positive view of the CIA, amongst the left, the CIA is hated. And that’s in America. Overseas, the CIA’s reputation is much worse. Much less is known about British intelligence. For the most part, when one thinks of British intelligence, the only thing that comes to mind is James Bond. Ironically, Ian Fleming, the author of James Bond, was trained at Camp X, which suggest that James Bond is nothing more than a publicity stunt for British intelligence. Notice that British intelligence has a good reputation while the reputation of American intelligence is mixed at best.
Reason for the Park report
A copy of the Park report was given to President Truman. The report provided Truman with the justification he needed to close OSS, which he did on September 20, 1945 when he signed an executive order which dissolved OSS and moved its components into other agencies. But that was not the end of the story. The remnants of OSS were placed in an agency called the Strategic Services Unit (SSU) which would later become part of the CIA. In the end, the order to dissolve OSS resulted in little more than a name change.
So why the theatrics? Why did America have Colonel Park write a report which justified the closure of OSS when, in the end, they only shifted its functions to a new agency, the CIA? During the war, OSS made an agreement with the Chinese Nationalists. The agreement was called the Sino-American Technical Cooperative Organization Treaty. The agreement prohibited OSS from operating independently of the Nationalists in China. America hated this agreement. By closing OSS, that allowed America to weasel its way out of the agreement (because the agreement was made with OSS). America needed the agreement during the war, as the agreement provided the foundation for cooperation between the Nationalists and America against Japan. However, once the war was over, America wanted to rid itself of the agreement’s restraints and so America dissolved OSS. But needless to say, American intelligence did not stop meddling in China once OSS was closed. For more information on SACO, the Park report, and OSS involvement in China, read the book OSS in China: Prelude to Cold War (the part that deals with the Park report and the closure of OSS is contained in Chapter 12).
And in case you believe the problems with American intelligence aren’t a big deal because they only screw up things overseas, consider this.
The New Gestapo
“General Donovan made a proposal for the organization of a new secret world-wide intelligence agency which would control all other U.S. intelligence agencies. It has all the earmarks of a Gestapo system.”
– Colonel Park (Part II, Page 2)
Even before the creation of the CIA, OSS was running “what many claim to be an American Gestapo.” (Appendix I, Page 27) In 1943, OSS added another 1,000 officers, 3,000 enlisted men, and 5,000 Women’s Army Corps (WAC) members to their ranks. A third of these officials would operate in America. One OSS agent declared that these officials would work as a sort of U.S. Gestapo. They would have the power to penetrate every government agency, trade union, and large corporation in America. (Appendix I, Page 27) During the war, many officials who worked for different agencies in Washington publicly declared that they were OSS agents. For example, Pierre Crenier, an official at the Board of Economic Warfare, declared that he was an OSS agent and that OSS had planted their agents throughout the government. (Appendix I, Page 28)
The British weren’t the only ones who infiltrated America. Donovan invited the French Secret Service and officers from Belgium to operate in the western hemisphere. This allowed the French to gain a foothold here. (Appendix II, Page 11)
“Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellow-citizens) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government.”
– George Washington
The Park Report
Parts 1 to 3:
Appendix I (Page 1 to 10):
Appendix I (Page 11 to 20):
Appendix I (Page 21 to 30):
Appendix I (Page 31 to 40):