Memorandum by The Acting Secretary of State to President Truman

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I am presenting for your approval a statement of United States policy on the interim exploitation of selected German and Austrian specialists in the United States.

Since shortly after V–E Day the War Department has operated a project known as “ Paperclip ,” under which selected German scientists have been brought to this country under military custody for short-term exploitation. There remains in our zones of Germany and Austria a number of specialists whose knowledge and ability could be used to further our technology. General McNarney has reported that the services of many of these specialists may be lost to us unless steps are taken quickly to assure exploitation under favorable circumstances.

The statement provides for expanding “ Paperclip ” to include a total of between 800 and 1000 specialists. Since cooperation of the specialists is necessary to successful exploitation, provision is made for bringing members of specialists’ families to this country, and for relaxing the formerly strict custody arrangements. The War Department would be responsible for custody and for excluding from the program persons with Nazi or militaristic records.

It is contemplated that at a later date selected persons would be granted regular status under the immigration laws.

This statement is based on recommendations of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and has been approved by the State, War and Navy Departments. I recommend your approval.89

Dean Acheson
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Interim Exploitation of German and Austrian Specialists Under Project “Paperclip

It is the policy of this Government (SWNCC 257/5)91 to exploit selected German and Austrian specialists in science and technology in the United States.
To insure that the time required for normal processing of immigration papers does not delay evacuation of specialists and families to the United States so as to render present policy ineffective and thereby endanger the national security, the War Department Paperclip Project will be expanded as follows:
Those specialists selected by the War and Navy Departments, plus nominations by the Commerce Department for exploitation under civilian auspices will be consolidated, coordinated with the British, and certified by a designated agency of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (now JIOA) as the “U.S. Exploitation List of German and Austrian Specialists in Science and Technology”. The War Department will instruct the Commanding General, U.S. Forces in the European Theater to arrange the execution of contracts by specialists and their evacuation to the United States in the following manner:
The specialists so brought to the United States, exclusive of families, will not exceed 1000 in number at any time.
The War Department will be responsible for moving families of specialists already in the United States, additional specialists, and their families, as rapidly as transportation from the Theater and housing in the United States can be made available. Normally families will not be evacuated with specialists concerned, but in the order of the length of time the specialist has been under exploitation and observation in the U.S.
The contracts to be arranged with specialists by the Commanding General, USFET, will be so drafted as to ensure suitable salary and working conditions for the specialists without obligating the War or Navy Departments beyond the legal limitations of their respective appropriations.
Contracts will provide return to Germany or Austria for those specialists and members of their families in cases of specialists not found qualified for extensive exploitation or of individuals not found acceptable by the United States for permanent residence in this country.
Persons proposed to be brought to the U.S. hereunder shall be screened by the Commanding General, USFET, on the basis of available records. No person found by the Commanding General, USFET, to have been a member of the Nazi Party and more than a nominal participant in its activities, or an active supporter of Nazism or militarism shall be brought to the U.S. hereunder. However, neither position nor honors awarded a specialist under the Nazi Regime solely on account of his scientific or technical ability will in themselves be considered sufficient to disqualify a specialist for evacuation to the U.S. hereunder. Where there is doubt as to qualification of a specialist under the preceding sentence, the Commanding General, USFET, may transport the specialist to the U.S., where further interrogation and screening shall be conducted immediately in order to determine such qualification.
All specialists and families brought to the United States will be under temporary, limited military custody until such time as visas [Page 691] are granted or repatriation is accomplished. The degree of surveillance over any specialist will depend upon the length of time he has been under observation and exploitation in the United States, and the trustworthiness he has demonstrated under interrogation, screening and subsequent observation.
The War Department will formulate, in coordination with the Navy Department, the security and administrative procedure necessary to protect the national interests during the temporary limited military custody of these specialists and their families, and yet to insure the maximum exploitation of all these specialists by military and civilian agencies.
Specialists and their families brought to the United States hereunder will remain under temporary, limited military custody until visas are granted or repatriation is accomplished.
Upon arrival of specialists or families in the United States, the War Department will screen, and cause to be prepared complete biographical and professional data on all such persons, copies to be supplied to the FBI, JIOA, and the technical service of the War or Navy Departments, whichever is the sponsoring agency.
Through interrogation, investigation and surveillance by the Technical Services of the Army, the Army Air Forces and the Navy, with the assistance of the Commanding General, USFET, the War Department will cause the best information available concerning these specialists and their families to be assembled for consideration by the Justice and State Departments in connection with implementation of SWNCC 257/5.
At the time request is made for the issuance of a visa, or for the return to Germany or Austria, of any specialist or his family, a copy of all additional security interrogation, investigation and surveillance papers will be forwarded to the FBI through JIOA by the sponsoring agency of the War or Navy Departments.

[On September 6, at Stuttgart, Germany, Secretary of State Byrnes delivered an address, restating United States policy on Germany; for text, see Department of State Bulletin, September 15, 1946, page 496.]

  1. A handwritten marginal notation reads: “Approved 9/3/46 Harry S Truman”.
  2. Filed separately under SWNCC 257/22.
  3. Not printed.