740.00119 European War 1939/2499
Memorandum by the Assistant Secretary of State (Berle)55
The attached secret telegram, relating to a German military group which has made overtures to OSS informants, has two points of interest, the latter disquieting.
First, the group intimates the possibility of a putsch, followed by a “surrender to the West” and asks for “political ammunition”, which, of course, would mean assurances or the like of use to them. OSS, of course, is not following this up in any way and has no desire to, which is in line with the consistent policy of the Department.
Second, this group indicates that certain of their associates in Spain and/or Lisbon have been in touch with Beaulac56 and with Campbell,57 the British Minister [Ambassador] in Lisbon. True or not, [Page 497]this means that a German military group, composed in part of former German intelligence people and perhaps in touch with present German intelligence, is saying that it has established contact with a Britisher and an American, and that they have received encouragement from Campbell.
So far as I am aware, nothing of the kind has been heard in respect to Beaulac.
My fear is that attempts will be made by German intelligence groups to create some situation which they can later represent to the Soviets as preliminary steps to a separate peace. This would be in line with their present known strategy of endeavoring to find ways and means of dividing the three powers.
I wonder if it would not be well to cable Beaulac to be on his guard, and take up with the British a similar warning to Campbell.
You may also wish to consider informing the Soviet representatives. Here is a matter which is already being discussed in Switzerland, where everything eventually becomes known, relating to matters which appear to have occurred in Lisbon and, perhaps, Spain, where most things are discovered pretty promptly.
OSS officials have told me that the cable has been suppressed and that they have no further interest other than to lay it before the Department for its information.
- Addressed to the Secretary of State and to the Director of the Office of European Affairs (Dunn).↩
- Willard L. Beaulac, Counselor of the American Embassy in Spain.↩
- Sir Ronald H. Campbell, British Ambassador in Portugal.↩
- Presumably Allen W. Dulles; see the account of this episode in his Germany’s Underground (New York, Macmillan, 1947), pp. 134 ff.↩
- Otto John, head of the Legal Department of Lufthansa.↩
- Adm. Wilhelm Canaris, Chief of German Military Intelligence.↩