The United States Political Adviser for Germany ( Murphy ) to the Secretary of State
The Political Adviser for Germany refers to his telegram no. 1683, dated July 15, 194755—in which was announced the conclusion of the interrogation of five of the eight Germans recently deported from Argentina aboard the SS Rio Teuco—and has the honor to enclose herewith the sworn statement55 of one of the repatriates, Hans Lieberth, or Juan Antonio Lieberth Mueller: owing to the subject’s dual German-Chilean nationality, there are alternative versions of his name.
Lieberth’s case presents a typical example of the way in which the Argentine police built up their story of German espionage in an entirely arbitrary manner to suit the necessities of Argentine policy, using as a means to that end intimidation, torture, and wilful falsification of facts. As will eventually be seen in the interrogation reports of Wolf Franczok (alias Gustav Utzinger) and of Hans Harnisch, the object of the Perón-Farrell regime was to construct an all-over “spy story” which would satisfy Allied demands for a clean-up of German espionage and would at the same time suppress all references which might be embarrassing to members of the Argentine Government. To this end it was necessary for the police to fabricate almost at will in building up a version that would fit governmental specifications; and little people such as Lieberth were forced to assume the roles assigned them by the invention of Comisario Amarante, who was apparently the chief author of the official version. This prisoner claimed to have been made almost impotent by applications of the so-called “picana eléctrica” (electric goad).[Page 203]
According to Wolf Franczok, who was specifically questioned on the point, Lieberth did not in reality know of the trial transmissions being made on the Tandil property of which he was overseer: Franczok’s experiments were carried out in great secrecy in a separate building. His affidavit clearing Lieberth of intentional collusion is included herewith as enclosure no. 3.56 Franczok added, moreover, that the Argentine police, for “window-dressing” purposes, included in their various press releases many more farm properties than were in fact used by his organization for transmitting bases. One such apocryphal addition was Lieberth’s later farm, “Mi Capricho.”
Although the interrogator was inclined to be skeptical of Lieberth’s claims to absolute and innocent ignorance of what was going on, it was sufficiently evident from the known facts and from an appraisal of the prisoner himself that Lieberth did not possess any knowledge of real worth to the ends of the present investigation. He was one more sacrificial goat to the requirements of Argentina’s international policy. The internment authorities have therefore been informed that he may be transferred to the Repatriation Center at Ludwigsburg and processed for release, pending ultimate clearance from the Office of the Political Adviser.