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A Pledge Betrayed
Part 4: The OSS Friend or Foe

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In April 1945, FDR dispatched an American delegation to England at Londonís request to overcome their differences and formulate a common war criminals policy. Judge Samuel Rosenman headed the delegation. Viscount Simon headed the British side. Rosenman's proposals included crimes committed before 1939 and against Germans citizens. To please the Americans, Simon in his proposal included a reference to crimes against Jews. Sadly, no resolution was reached due to the death of Roosevelt.

Shortly FDR's death, President Truman adopted the recommendations contained in the memorandum on trial and punishment of Nazi war criminals first presented to Roosevelt in January 1945. Truman used the San Francisco conference to discuss and promote this list with the allies. No decisions were reached since the Soviets and French were not authorized to negotiate the American proposal. On June 14, 1945, the British issued a royal warrant setting the stage for arrests of war criminals by British forces. This warrant was limited to only crimes occurring after September 1939. It also to excluded crimes against the Jews.

It was not until after intense negotiations from June 26 until August 8 among the Allies that a joint accord was reached. Under Article 6 paragraph c, the charter established crimes against humanity which included murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation and other inhuman acts committed against any civilian population before or during the war. Before this time the only Holocaust crimes recognized were merely violence directed at Jews.

On December 20, 1945 in order to establish a common basis for trials to be conducted in the four zones the Allied Control Council for Germany published Law No. 10 "Punishment of Persons Guilty of War Crimes, Crimes against Peace and Humanity." The law empowered the allied commanders of the four occupied zones to conduct criminal trials of individuals on charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity or membership in an organization that planned such crimes. In case of crimes committed by Germans against Germans or stateless persons the military commanders were authorized to permit trial by a German court.

Between December 1946 and April 1949 there were twelve trials involving 185 defendants in the American zone. These trials became known as the Subsequent Nuremberg Proceedings. In none of these trials was the mass murder of Jews considered as a separate criminal offense.29

In the end, the Americans tried 1857 defendants. The military courts convicted 1416 of the 1672 tried. Of those, 450 were sentenced to death, 219 were given life imprisonment and the remaining 889 to various prison terms of five years or less. The British tried 1085 sentencing 240 to death, acquitting 348, sentencing 24 to life the remaining 473 received varying prison sentences. The French tried 2107 acquitting 404, sentencing 104 to death, sentencing 44 to life imprisonment, the remaining 1475 received various prison sentences. The Soviets charged 14,240 with crimes, of which 138 were sentenced to death, 142 were acquitted and the remainder sentenced to various prison sentences.30

However, these statistics fail to tell the complete story. Many of the death sentences were commuted and many of those sentenced to prison for long terms were free by 1951. They indicate a lack of the desire by the United States and Britain to pursue war crimes when compared to the total brought to trial under the Soviets especially when many of the Nazis forces went to extraordinary lengths to surrender in the west rather than to the Soviets.

To gain further insight into the failure of the 4-Ds program and the failure of the 4-Ds program to denazify Germany a brief look at the OSS is required. In 1941, Roosevelt created the COI or the Office of Coordinator of Information with Bill Donovan at the helm. The COI evolved into the OSS, the forerunner of the CIA. In assembling his team, Donovan hired many recruits from Wall Street and the top echelons of major corporations. The OSS officers in Spain and Switzerland came from Standard Oil.10 Following the invasion of North Africa, Standard Oil was no longer able to supply Nazi Germany with oil through this route. Standard Oil then began shipping oil through the neutral countries of Spain and Switzerland.

It wasnít until January 28, 1944 that the British cut off oil shipments to Spain. They allowed the shipments to Spain resume only after just three short months on May2, 1944 after vigorous protests by Franco.11

At the beginning of November 1942, Henri Henggler and David Duvoisin, the Standard Oil bosses in Berne asked Leland Hansen and Daniel Reagan respectively minister and commercial attachť of the United States Embassy permission to continue shipping Nazi Oil from Rumania through Switzerland. The request was made under the guise that it was used by the Hungarian and German embassies. The American embassy depended upon German coal.12

Here is the crux of the sabotaging the 4-Ds program. Many of the personnel within the OSS and the Office of Military Government (OMG) had previously been connected with corporations that traded with the Nazis or had signed cartel agreements with German companies. The problem was systemic throughout the US forces in post war Germany and throughout the intelligence forces during the war.

The statement above should not be construed to convey the impression that all of the corporate or Wall Street executives that served in the OSS or occupation forces were disloyal to their country and used their positions to the advantage of their corporation. Whether the former Standard executives stationed in Spain and Switzerland with the OSS played any role in the shipment of oil to Nazi Germany by Standard is not known with any degree of certainty and may never be known. However, in many cases there is no doubt that many put their loyalty to their firm ahead of their loyalty to their country. The sabotage of the 4-Ds program was widespread and in some cases can be traced back to congress, elements within the Department of State or the top echelon of the military.

Even Bill Donovan as head of the OSS and former Wall Street lawyer had ties to I.G. Farben. The files of Ted Clark, vice president of Drug Inc. were withdrawn from the public shortly after Donovan was appointed to head the COI. Donovan had been associated with Drug Inc. Moreover, he had expressed an opinion that cartel agreements were not restricting the market.

A brief look at the formation of the OSS reveals much of its nature. Perhaps, one of the more striking features of the personnel from the OSS roster was how many of the employees rose to later positions within the political system (see appendix). The reader should bear in mind that the list in the appendix should not be considered complete. It was complied from a single source.13 However, scanning the list reveals that an extraordinary number of ex-OSS agents obtained positions as ambassadors or within the State Department. Throughout the 1950s and 60s, these ex-OSS agents had an inordinate influence on foreign policy. Likewise, they undoubtedly contributed to the image that our embassies were merely havens for the CIA.

The OSS had a role in foreign policy from the very beginnings of the agency. Sometimes that role was thrust upon the OSS officers. The State Department jealously guarded their domain while abdicating responsibility. One example was in Cairo, where the American ambassador to Greece and the Yugoslavia-in-exile governments refused to represent the American view at an Anglo-American planning committee. The American view was then put forth by Turner McBaine a California attorney and OSS officer.

Following the war McBaine became a senior partner in a San Francisco law firm and counsel to Standard Oil of California. McBaine also served on the Asia Foundation. In 1967, the Asia Foundation was revealed as having received funding from the CIA and was acting as a front for the CIA.

In a more significant matter, the OSS officers wrote the foreign policy towards Thailand during the war. At the time, Thailandís Minister of Defense was Pibul Songgram, an admirer of Mussolini and Hitler. His main opposition in the Thailand cabinet was Phanomyoung Pridi and admirer of the New Deal. Pibul soon became Premier of the government and purchased large quantities of arms from Italy and Japan. Pibul created a political and social model based on fascism and when the Japanese invaded Thailand Pibul ordered the military to offer no resistance and agreed to form a military defensive agreement with Japan. Th British regarded Thailand as a fascist state and was technically at war with Thailand. The State Department remained indifferent towards Thailand not wishing to ruffle English feathers. It was the OSS backing of Pridi and his underground army that lead to the creation of the free and independent state of Thailand following the war despite British objections and desires to retain control over a former colony.

Donovan chose his agents from both the left and the right of the political spectrum. For instance, he hired James Murphy former organizer for the IWW for the labor unit. In other cases, he hired members of the Lincoln brigade that had fought in Spain, knowing beforehand they were communists. These veterans of guerilla warfare were assigned to Italy where they set up a network with their former comrades. The group provided some of the best intelligence in the Mediterranean Theater. They also were assigned to France where they could work effectively with the large communist faction of the resistance movement.

Other members of the OSS refused to work with the communist faction in France or at best could only offer half hearted support.14 Most of the left wing intellectuals hired by Donovan were for assigned to operational or research roles, while the majority of corporate attorneys and executives were assigned administrative roles. Never the less by hiring some agents from the left, Donovan had slated the OSS for dissolution following the war. Additionally by hiring members of the Lincoln brigade Donovan provided fuel for the later McCarthy era.

While academia and corporations provided the bulk of the OSS recruits many members of Americas wealthiest families provided another source. Andrew Melonís son Paul served as administrative officer of the Special Operations Branch in London. William Mellon, the son of the president of Gulf Oil served in the SI Branch in Madrid. (Note the connection of oil and Spain.) Another OSS agent from the Mellon family was David Bruce, whose wife was the daughter of Andrew Mellon. Allan Scale whose wife was a cousin to Bruceís wife also served in the OSS.

The Mellon family was not the only family connected with the Nazis that had members serving in the OSS. Morganís two sons were both OSS officers stationed in London. The du Pont family also had two family members serving in the OSS. Alfred was one of the top OSS officials in Washington at the French desk. The Rockefeller family was the only rich family without a family member serving in the OSS.

Just as the corporate attorneys and executives were assigned administrative roles and were in positions to make policy so were the offspring of Americaís wealthiest families. For instance, Junius Morgan was OSS Treasurer.

While these members of some of Americaís richest families undoubtedly contributed to winning the war, there is no question that they and many of those recruited from Wall Street and the corporate boardrooms across America were responsible for sabotaging the 4-Ds program. Despite overwhelming evidence by the end of the war of corporate America willingly trading with the Nazis during the war not a single charge was ever brought against an American corporation. Nor were any top Nazi industrialists ever convicted of war crimes at Nuremberg. The OSS members recruited from Wall Street and corporate boardrooms had intimate knowledge of the cartel agreements and where in the ideal positions to squash any investigations that might lead to the truth about corporate America and its leading industrial families. The elite would be protected.

While Donovan chose his recruits without regard to their political views, he was not adverse to party politics. His non-partisan friendship with Roosevelt protected the OSS. However, Donovan was not adverse to party politics. He correctly foresaw that Thomas Dewey would be the Republican candidate to face Roosevelt in the 1944 election. In anticipation of that, Donovan had suddenly recruited a large number of former assistants of Dewey. Dewey was a Republican and a conservative that later developed a hatred of communism. In fact, Donovan had recruited so many Republicans that in some circles the OSS was referred to snidely as that Republican Club.

Several of Donovanís recruits from the hard right were unable to fit in. Hilaire du Berrier a hard right journalist was interned by the Japanese and later rescued by the OSS. Donovan then recruited du Berrier as an expert on Indochinese affairs. In a matter of months, du Berrier left the OSS complaining that the leftists within the OSS had squeezed the right wing out of the organization. Du Berrier later became a writer for the John Birch Society.


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Another hard right recruit that was dropped was Ralph de Tokdano. De Tokdano had been selected for a parachute drop behind enemy lines in Italy and was training for the mission at a Virginia mansion. While training for the upcoming mission, de Tokdano labeled his representive, Vito Marcantonio as a communist. To be fair Marcantonio had started politics as a Republican with very liberal views and was elected to Congress in 1935 from East Harlem's 20th District. In 1938, Marcantonio defended his seat running as an American Labor Party candidate. Marcantonio viewed the Communist Party as an American party. He was also a strong supporter of civil rights and a vigorous opponent of Joseph McCarthy. In 1944, his district was gerrymandered to include Yorkville, an area south of East Harlem whose major ethic groups, expressed hostility to left politics and had been a hotbed of support for the Nazis in the 1930s. The Wilson-Pakula Act of 1947 prevented him from entering the major-party primaries, thereby forcing him to run on the American Labor Party at a time when it was almost universally identified as Communist controlled. Marcantonio was defeated in 1950 as another victim of the spreading McCarthyism. Ralph de Tokdano later became a contributing editor of William Buckleyís National Review.15

Donovanís warriors often experienced needless delays. The State Department objected to issuing the OSS officers passports. Mrs. Ruth Shipley ran the State Departmentís passport division and insisted on issuing passports with the OSS officer clearly identified as OSS.16 The British Psychological Assessment Board rejected a high proportion of OSS officers assigned to write anti-Nazi propaganda. Many of those rejected were well-known screenwriters and New York advertising men. The sole reason for their rejection was they were Jews.17

While Donovan allowed his agents a free reign to conduct their operations, this resulted in many embarrassing moments for the OSS. In one case, OSS officers in Portugal broke into the Japanese embassy and stole a copy of the enemyís codebook unaware that a naval intelligence team had already broken the code. The Japanese promptly changed their code after discovering the missing codebook. Washington and the Joint Chiefs were then left without a vital source of information for several months until the new code was broken. In another high-level flap, OSS officers armed Titoís guerillas, without first obtaining the permission of the British Theater commander. Additionally, OSS officers sent communist agents into Spain without first notifying the American embassy in Madrid. Thus the agents had been left with no contact and had to fare for themselves.18

In another incident following the establishment of a beachhead at Salerno, a group of OSS officers headed by a young Republican, John Shaheen hatched a wild plot to reach the Italian Naval Command in hopes of convincing the Italian admirals to surrender their fleet to the allies. Shaheen hadnít realized that the main body of the Italian fleet had already set sail for Malta to surrender to the British. Shaheen later became president of several international oil companies and is a large donor to the Republican Party.19 Shaheen later became embroiled in the October Surprise conspiracy in which the Reagan-Bush team conspired with Iran to hold the American captives until after the election. Shaheen was also involved in the Iran/Contra conpsiracy.20 Shaheen had served with Bill Casey in the OSS and they remained close associates throughout their lives.

In other cases, the embarrassment was more humorous such as in the case of an elderly former executive of General Electric briefing an OSS agent on his mission. The former GE executive now a colonel in the OSS incorrectly pronounced the name of the drop zone but spent ten minutes searching the map to find the location before an aide indicated that it was several hundred miles north of the area he was searching. In another case, the OSS parachuted a team into Brittany into a supposed safe zone. The zone turned out to be in the center of the German Second Parachute Division and the OSS team spent a few frantic days in avoiding the Germans.21

Often times the OSS engaged in truly ludicrous operations. One OSS operation involved a Hungarian astrologer. The Hungarian was sent to the Untied States to shake American public confidence of the invincibility of Hitler. After reading the Fuehrerís stars the astrologer predicted immediate doom for Hitler. The astrologerís report was carried from coast to coast in the media.

Although the Hungarian astrologerís operation was bordering on the inane, another OSS operation stands out above all others as truly ridiculous. An OSS group based in London had came to the conclusion that the Nazi State would implode if only its leader could be demoralized. After conducting a long psychological profile of Hitler, the group concluded that Hitler could be unhinged by exposure to vast quantities of pornography. The OSS groups then proceeded to assembly the finest collection of pornography ever put together. The material was to be dropped by plane in the area around the fuehrer bunker in the assumption that Hitler would step outside and pick one up and immediately be thrown into a state of madness. The effort was in vain however, as the airforce liaison stormed out of the first meeting with the OSS cursing them as maniacs and swearing he would not risk a single life for such an insane plan.22

In another incident, OSS agent Jane Foster obtained a large supply of condoms from a doctor in Ceylon (Sri Lanka). Foster and her team then stuffed the condoms with a message urging the residents of Indonesia to resist the Japanese invaders. They then blew the condoms up and tied the end shut; submarines then released hundreds of these condoms off the Indonesian coast.

One of the first hints of sabotaging the efforts to bring Nazis and their supporters to justice occurred shortly after the invasion of North Africa. Charles Bedeaux was born a Frenchman and became a naturalized American citizen. He accumulated a small fortune in America by devising an anti-union efficiency system. Known as the speed king and hostile to unions, Bedeaux returned to France before the outbreak of war. Bedeaux openly supported the Nazis and cultivated close relationships between many leading Nazis. After the fall of France to the Nazis, Bedeaux became the Vichy representative of a number of French industrialists in their dealings with the Nazis.

As part of his collaboration with the Nazis, Bedeaux traveled to North Africa with a plan to lay a pipeline across the Sahara from West Africa to bring cheap vegetable oil from Dakar to Hitlerís Europe. Unfortunately for the enterprising Bedeaux, he became trapped in North Africa following the allied landings in Algiers. As an American citizen, he could have been arrested for treason immediately. However, Allied headquarters took no action against the Nazi collaborator. Edmond Taylor the OSS officer finally had the French arrest the Mr. Bedeaux. Even then after his arrest, the American authorities refused to charge him with treason.

Following his arrest the OSS agent, Arthur Roseborough a former Sullivan and Cromwell attorney working with the Gaullists prepared a case against Bedeaux. Allied headquarters refused to act on the case. The OSS then took the case to Washington. Bedeaux was finally indicted for treason but not before an odd attempt by the FBI to destroy the evidence. Bedeaux was taken into custody and put aboard a plane to the United States. In Miami, Bedeuax committed suicide by taking poison under the very eyes of his guards. Many of the OSS agents in North Africa suspected that a group of influential Americans did not want Bedeaux to stand trial. 31 How Bedeaux obtained poison after being held prisoner for months first by the French and then by the Americans remains a mystery.