WASHINGTON — Adolf Hitler’s top intelligence officials worked with U.S. intelligence during World War II, according to a transcript made available Tuesday of secret testimony by Allen Dulles before a House committee in 1947.
The Nazi officials provided information about Germany’s missile program that led to the allied bombing of the bases from which the Germans launched rockets against Britain, Dulles told the committee.
Dulles testified June 27, 1947, at a hearing by the House Committee on Expenditures in the Executive Departments that laid the basis for establishment later that year of the Central Intelligence Agency. Dulles became CIA director.
The House Government Operations Committee, successor to the expenditures committee, voted unanimously Tuesday to release the transcript.
Dulles, identified in the transcript as ‘Mr. B,’ was a key figure during World War II in the Office of Strategic Services, the predecessor to the CIA.
The transcript of his testimony confirmed previous disclosures over the years on how U.S. intelligence had penetrated key Nazi organizations.
Dulles said about 10 percent of the Abwehr, the German central intelligence agency operating under the joint chiefs of staff, turned against Hitler because they were ‘disgusted with Hitler’s tactics’ and opposed his ‘treatment of the Russians.’
‘I had a certain measure of success in penetrating the German intelligence service, the German Foreign Office, and certain other of the German agencies,’ he testified.
While he was OSS chief operating out of neutral Switzerland, top German counterintelligence officials like Adm. Wilhelm Canaris, who headed the Abwehr, and Canaris’ deputy were in direct touch with him, Dulles told the committee.
They and others, including two agents attached to the German Consulate at Zurich, ‘furnished information to me of a very valuable nature,’ Dulles said.
‘I think we received some of the first information we had about the German development of the guided missile, and some of the first clues that led us to the bombing of Peenemuende and things of that kind from men in the German Intelligence Service working for us,’ Dulles said.
Peenemuende was the German missile construction base on the Baltic coast where scientists like Wernher von Braun, who later worked for the U.S. space program, developed the devastating V-1 and V-2 rockets launched against England from coastal bases in occupied France.
After the location of the bases became known, the Royal Air Force and U.S. Army Air Corps bombed them repeatedly.
Asked whether it was not true that Canaris was in fact his agent, Dulles replied: ‘That is going a little far.’
But Dulles said, ‘I had working with me several of the men in Canaris’ organization and I was in direct touch with Canaris, especially with General Oster, who was chief of staff and in charge of his intelligence.’
‘About 10 percent of the Abwehr became anti-Nazi,’ Dulles said. ‘They became disgusted with Hitler’s tactics and they opposed Hitler’s activities against the Russians and his treatment of the Russians and, as a result, it was possible to penetrate the Abwehr.’
Dulles told the committee the top five officials of the German intelligence agency, including Canaris and Oster, ‘were all executed as traitors.’
‘There was a good reason for that?’ a congressman asked.
‘Yes, they were traitors in the German sense. There is no doubt. Two of the men worked with me,’ Dulles replied.