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« Jane Fonda and Her Friendly North Vietnamese Intelligence Officer | Main | Kill or Capture, Torture or Deceive »

11 September 2011


Barry Rubin

Thanks for this most interesting article, as so many items on this list are fascinating.
For once, I can make a contribution on a point. In my book Istanbul Intrigues, I was able to review in great detail American and British intelligence dealing with Turkey and the Balkans during World War II. I also interviewed many wartime intelligence officers from Hungary and other countries, including those involved in Operation SPARROW, the secret surrender of Hungary. I was able to definitely identify the double agent--a Hungarian officer working both on Sparrow and with the Germans--who had told the Germans about the secret operation and helped them to foil it. I'm confident that there was no Soviet factor in this, as the authors of the article note regarding Arthur Goldberg's thesis.

I'd be very happy to be directed to any article that dealt with the other people on the list of the OSS investigation. It would be interesting if someone did an article on the whole list evaluating each of those two dozen people.

Regarding Communist espionage, some members of this list might be interesting in my account of the von Papen assassination attempt in which the Soviets sought to kill the German ambassador to Turkey and blame it on the Turks. The goal was to spark a German-Turkish conflict that would benefit the Soviets by forcing Turkey to be their ally and easing the pressure on the Soviet-German front.

While the OSS and British operation in Yugoslavia to help the partisans there was compromised, I don't recall any other Middle East operation in which American Communists were in the OSS and had some effect on events.

Professor Barry Rubin, Director
Global Research in International Affairs
(GLORIA) Center
The Rubin Report
He is a featured columnist at PJM
Editor, Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA)
Editor Turkish

Stephen Schwartz

My friend and colleague Dr. Rubin has quite perceptively noted the concentration of American CP agents in the OSS operations in Yugoslavia. While this is a highly controversial issue among Balkan historians, my conclusions are that the assignment of the CPers, many of them veterans of the Spanish civil war, to work with the Yugoslav Partisans reflects, first, the interesting fact that the Yugoslav and Albanian Partisans represented the only full-fledged military forces operating as Partisans, while those in Italy and Western Europe did not surpass the status of irregular forces, i.e. saboteurs and individual assassins. Tito had a Supreme Staff, ranks, and organized battalions, and the capacity to wage extensive offensives against the Axis. This was never true of any other Partisan group in Europe even though the French, Dutch, Italians, etc. designated their
groups with military titles. The Albanians became a subordinate element in the Tito militarization of the Partisan Army but there were apparently no Americans in liaison with them, only British officers.

I think a second aspect of the situation, and one that most certainly clinched the compromise of the Yugoslav Partisans by Soviet influence, was the involvement on the ground of American Yugoslav Communists, some of them also veterans of the Spanish war.

While some historians stress the influence of Tito on British intelligence agents under Soviet control, I believe the role of the OSS was more significant.

Stephen Schwartz

Walter James McIntosh

In Richard Harris Smith's book on the OSS he notes that SOE managed to bring an SOE agent into Yugoslavia by submarine in October 1941. Does anyone in this forum know the identity of that SOE agent?
In the same book, Smith notes that William Hudson was the first SOE officer who actually liaised with the Chetniks, but Hudson, who had previously been an agent for MI-6, may have been more British than American. He was jailed by the Soviets later on.
I would highly recommend Smith's book in that he interviewed so many of the surviving OSS Officers.

Walter James McIntosh
former intelligence officer


I'm pretty good at this kind of stuff . . . I've been researching the characters on this and related lists (Vassiliev notebooks) for several days now. I can't find any sensible references for "Fena Harrison." "Fena" is NOT a normal name. Allowing for typographical or transliteration errors, the closest match on the OSS Personnel Database is "Verna E. Harrison," likely Verna Eileen Harrison (Pelrine) of Annapolis.

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