Manchuria 1945-1950

Aug 25, 2016

James E. Parker

Over this past summer I took a look at how our US military went from world-beaters in 1945, defeating two highly industrialized countries with ferocious, dedicated military, to its unsuccessful fight with the sub-par North Vietnamese 1965/1975.

Ended up where I never imagined.

Yalta 1945.

Allow me to explain.

The Korean War was significant among events that led to Vietnam.  Early on I came across that famous speech of MacArthur on 23 August 1950 in the conference room of his Hqs in the Dai Ichi building downtown Tokyo.  To relieve the pressure on the 8th Army at the Pusan perimeter in the south, MacArthur wanted to invade Korea at Inchon, despite the advice against that by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the US Marines and the US Navy.  No one thought the harbor at Inchon was a realistic landing site… with its limited beaches, high docks, enormously shifting tides and narrow approach channel that may have been mined.  The US invasion force would be massive; the Inchon landing place tiny and hard to access.

The best military minds in our country – save MacArthur – said no.  Not just no, but hell No. General Collins, the Chief of Staff of the Army, and Admiral Sherman, the Chief of Naval Operations, went to Tokyo for the express purpose of persuading MacArthur against this operation.

At that 23 August 1950 meeting with Collins and Sherman, MacArthur said their thinking got at one of the reasons Inchon would work, because the communist knew the U.S. military brass wouldn’t consider Inchon, and we’d catch them by surprise.

Impressive with his commanding presence and his persuasive, eloquent-phrased arguments, he carried the day.

Invasion at Inchon 15 September 1950 it would be.

And against all odds it was an enormous success.   In fact, most military scholars consider the battle one of the most decisive military operations in modern warfare; describing the Inchon “Chromite operation” as “an example of brilliant generalship and military genius.”

The general plan and the decision to land at Inchon were entirely MacArthur’s. He had made several significant battle plans throughout his military career, but none more momentous, none more fraught with danger, none that promised to be more decisive if successful.

Inchon was more than merely a name for a battle that changed the balance of power in Korea, more than just a great strategic victory; it was also an intensely personal victory for MacArthur.  Inchon had vindicated his judgment. He had – despite all opposition – come, planned, and conquered. He had assumed that the harbor approaches to Inchon would not be heavily guarded or mined; that the difficulties of tide and terrain could be surmounted; that the North Korean reserves stationed near the port would be slender; that the enemy’s morale would be quickly broken; and that Japan, stripped of its occupation troops, would remain quiet and orderly. Because he had assumed correctly on 23 August 1950, the Inchon invasion will go down in infamy as genus generalship.

MacArthur bent the US military to his will with his determined, persuasive arguments because he must have known that Inchon was absolutely doable, right?

Must have had the intelligence that he could bring in 60-80 thousand US GIs on maybe 250 ships through a very narrow channel and put them on shore against whatever the North Korean had set up in the way of defensives.  Shallow bottom.  Tides shifting up to 30 foot twice a day.  Mud flats.  Mines. Reinforced enemy positions with commanding fields of fire across the harbor.

Whole world watching.  Certainly the future of South Korea in the balance.

Like Daniel Boone said way back in his day, “Make sure you’re right and then go ahead.”

That was my thought about MacArthur.

Well, here’s the thing, MacArthur didn’t have good current intelligence on Inchon.  Had no friggin’ idea what was really out there when he convinced the US military to go along with his plans, and it was like three weeks before the invasion.

You read your history.  MacArthur’s G-2 Charles Willoughby only had dated ideas on the layout of the harbor’s defenses… and really no information on whether the channel was mined or not.

And like I said, it was three weeks before D-Day.

From the following books – Battle Report, The Landing at Inchon, MacArthur, Inchon Landing, Korea and Korea, The Untold Story – came reports of a mission organized right after the 23 August 1950 conference in which US Navy Lt Commander Eugene Clark, with a couple of ROK officers and some young South Korean partisans, evaded North Koreans for 15 days operating from one of the out-laying islands (Yonghung-do) near the approach to the Flying Fish Channel.  Despite the danger, despite the fact he operated as a singleton American using local resources and partisans… he got the necessary information on which MacArthur could make his final invasion plans.  Of particular interest to me was the locally scrounged single piston, putt-putt sampan on which he mounted a .50 caliber machine gun he had brought on the mission… that he used to destroy a small fleet of North Koreans who were intent on killing Clark.  He described the captain as an almost toothless old South Korean fisherman, who would – often at critical moments – have to restart the one piston engine to get out of harm’s way.  Makes for a great visual.


The whole Inchon invasion hinged on the work of one American; racing the clock, behind the lines, out witting the North Koreans who found out he was there.  Ending when he lit the harbor lighthouse to lead the invasion force in.

Military historians maybe haven’t given Clark his due for what he did… against almost impossible odds.  Someone suggested he had something like 500-1 chances of coming out alive.

Plus Clark himself knew the date of the invasion, so for him capture was not an option.  He supposedly carried a grenade around for a sure suicide in case capture seemed imminent.

I found that Eugene Clark had written a book on his mission, so I ordered a used copy from and went back with my main research about the corrosion of US military effectiveness during the middle of the 20th century.  But I sure liked Clark.

I finally came to some conclusion on what happened to the US military and published an article on my web site mid May 2016.  I then re-worded the core of that research into a new introduction of my The Vietnam War Its Ownself… that will be out 1st of September 2016.  [Stayed tuned to]

But all the time when I’m writing up the decline of our winning military ways… I kept expanding my reading and research about Clark, and his pre-invasion reconnaissance there behind lines, a whole invasion force waiting completion of his work.

The operation was called Trudy Jackson and Clark’s book, the Secrets of Inchon, was an interesting read… though some of it – to my great disappointment – didn’t ring true… like for example his Chapter 7 Taemuui-Do Raid, was just too hokey, too much like a bar-room sounding war story… and the raid wasn’t mentioned in any of the other books on Inchon I had read.

Also Clark’s mission was a joint operation with the CIA, as most books/articles pointed out, but Clark, other than saying up front it was a joint ops, never had anything to say about the CIA; who went, what the CIA did, or didn’t do.  And you gotta remember MacArthur didn’t allow the OSS into his Pacific theater during WW II… and the CIA had just been created, so this would have been the first joint ops with the CIA MacArthur ever authorized, so how it was managed was of interest to me.

Not a word in Clark’s book.

Through the help of a friend, we went through the gentleman who did the introduction to his book to get the name of Clark’s daughter (Clark himself has died), who supposedly had the manuscript daddy Clark had written in 1951 on the mission. We made contact over the telephone and had lunch together 26 December 2015 near her home in Reno.  She gave me the information on how the book came to be published from a manuscript she had kept “laying around the house” and some personal background on her Dad.

Her story had holes in it.  The chain of acquisition on the text/narrative of the book was not provable back to her Dad… in fact that the daughter dealt with professional writer/historian Thomas Fleming and Fleming’s agent to get it published – and received a $125,000 advance – seemed to add to the appearance of impropriety about its authenticity.

To find out last week that the publishing house, when the book was catalogued with the Library of Congress, had listed the book as “fiction.”  I got in contact with the Library of Congress to double check this… to find the Library of Congress wants to change the classification to “non-fiction” based almost entirely on the number of times the book is referenced in other books/articles on the Inchon invasion.  On Friday the 5th I sent the Library of Congress an email explaining my many areas of doubt about the veracity of the book… their final determination is goin’ be interesting.

But anyway in digging into Clark’s account of the invasion, up jumped Operation Racketeer, maybe a joint operation with the CIA that Clark led up the west coast of North Korea the last two week of October 1950, the month after the Inchon Invasion.  The mother ship in this very, very dangerous operation, far behind enemy lines, was PC 703, the same ROK sub chaser used to put the Trudy Jackson team on that island near the mouth of the Inchon channel early September.


Operation Racketeer got Clark to the mouth of the Yalu River, where he reported – in 6 of the 43 Intel reports he sent out during the mission – that 300,000 Red Chinese had crossed the Yalu and were in northern North Korea.


At the time MacArthur’s G-2, General Charles Willoughby, carried only 60 to 80 thousand Red Chinese in the mountains of northern North Korea.  So now with Clark’s information you’d expect Willoughby would have upped the estimated number of enemy in front of the two prongs of the US military 8th Army and the X Corps advancing towards the Yalu.



Willoughby must disseminate Clark’s information to the intelligence community and back to Washington.  Six times Clark said 300,000 Chinese soldiers have crossed the Yalu and were waiting for MacArthur’s army.

Yet, not a word from Willoughby.  No change to the projected number of Chinese soldiers in North Korea MacArthur’s headquarters.  And consequently no change to the CIA estimates on Chinese military in North Korea.

Understand Clark’s information went directly to Willoughby.  The receiving radio station for Clark’s one-time pad reports was near Willoughby’s desk.

In 1987 Clark gave an interview to historian John Toland (author of In Mortal Combat among many other classics), in which 1) he never mentioned having written a book about his mission… in fact was unsure of some of the facts Toland asked about, that were spelled out in the book he had supposedly written.  2) He did go into considerable discussion about the CIA participation in Trudy Jackson and its lack of participation in the Yalu River part of Racketeer.

CIA answered my FOIA request with something that they could find no records on CIA involvement in Trudy Jackson or Racketeer.

But other information is accumulating and I’m near a point to publish what I know about those two operations… with the significance of Trudy Jackson being the way the CIA and MacArthur’s people worked together, and Clark’s absolutely incredible contributions (despite what I’m considering a fanciful account credited to him 50 years after the fact, written by who knows who).

The significance of the Racketeer operation is Willoughby’s (or MacArthur’s) decision not to disseminate Clark’s behind-the-lines patrol reports.

But all this has led me to the question:  How did the Chinese communist come to be in Manchuria in such numbers that they could send at least 300,000 of their forces into North Korea?

This just 5 years after the end of WW II, when the Nationalist Army of Chiang Kai-shek was around 3 million strong, and Mao’s communist troops considerably less, 1.5 or 2 million.  This though the Nationalist had suffered the most casualties fighting the Japanese during the war.  Mao more or less sitting off to the side, hunkering down, waiting the war out, in northwest China, near the terminus of Soviet railroads.

US supported Chiang Kai-Shek.

USSR supported Mao Zedung.

How did Mao turn things around in 5 years?

Well, it doesn’t take much looking to see that the Russian invasion of Manchuria on the day after the US dropped Little Boy on top of Hiroshima, and the Soviet subsequent occupation of Manchuria and Port Arthur, played a big, big role in changing the history and the destiny of the Far East.


Here’s what Russia – Stalin – did:

First he used many or most of his “Penal” Divisions in the assault… these are front line outfits made up of riff-raff from other divisions.  Soldiers were assigned there rather than face execution or jail for violation of Soviet Army rules.  While some Penal units acquitted themselves well in combat, others acted just like a bunch of thugs.  They were regarded, understandably, as dregs of the Soviet military… throwaways.

These Penal divisions met light resistance from the Japanese in their invasion of Manchuria, because the Japanese troops here had been depleted to fill out replacement quotes for the Japanese Army out in the Pacific.

Then the more elite Soviet Army units moved in and took control of all the ports, including the strategic Port Arthur.

Behind them came the third wave of… Soviet engineers, who stripped the Japanese factories throughout Manchuria and sent the heavy equipment back to Russia.  Mukden, Manchuria, for example, was a thriving city of 2 million with Japanese factories galore when the Soviets attacked.  All factories, one after the other, were stripped clean of machinery by the Soviets.  OSS teams that entered the country soon after the Soviet occupation began, found factory after factory after factory, little more than building shells.  Nothing inside.

And the Soviets took over all the banks and transferred the gold, other precious metals and international currency back to the Soviet Union, exchanging them for worthless “Occupation Yen.”

And at the ports?  Soviets did not allow the Nationalist troops to come into Manchuria… giving Mao time to move his army up north.  And keep in mind that before the Soviet invasion, the Japanese kept Manchuria commie-free.


And in the insuring Chinese civil war 1945 to 1949, Manchuria became critical terrain.  Lower China would go to whatever army controlled Manchuria.

Surely you say the US saw this coming.  Right?

Wrong, again!

General Stilwell who worked with Chiang Kai-shek didn’t like him. Check the record.  And one of the reasons it seems to me, is that Stilwell didn’t consider Chiang Kai-shek an equal.  Chiang didn’t speak English.  Didn’t kowtow to the westerner or his ways.  Stilwell resented this.

And the “ol’ China hands” in the US State Department were predominately sons of missionaries who had been born in China, spoke the language fluently, and – because of the religious nature of their upbringing – believed the Mao propaganda about a “people’s” army.  State Department for the most part didn’t look on Mao as a communist that was getting great help from the Soviets and falling in line with their attitudes and policies, so much as Mao was a man of the people.

Then there was General George Marshall, who came over as the China civil war was just getting started and said, hey hold on a minute, let’s all take a minute here, catch our breaths and figure this thing out… like let’s have a cease fire… you, Chiang, and over there, you, Mao… let’s see if we can find a way to have a joint gov’t.

He kept to this cease-fire thing and “let’s talk” attitude, even though Mao boldly told him one time that his tactic in waging a long contested war was “Talk-Fight, Fight-Talk” (“Da-Da, Tan-Tan”).

Because the U.S. was providing the Nationalist with weapons and equipment, Chiang had to “cease fire.”

Did Mao?  Of course not.  He used the Marshall-imposed halt to Chiang’s maneuvering, to take great advantage.  Certainly to move up at the Soviet’s invitation into Manchuria.

And Marshall is on record as saying he didn’t like Chiang.  Again like Stilwell he never treated him as an equal and long-time ally of the U.S., the leader of western oriented forces in China.  Marshall it seems regarded Chiang pretty much as the union leader of bucktooth Asian laundry men, not at all comparable to say, European leaders.

And Marshall went on to be Secretary of Defense and then, God Save the Queen, he became the U.S. Secretary of State.

Chiang was toast.

The Chinese communist army would force the Nationalist Kuomintang out the back door to Taiwan and in October 1949, Mao assumed control of all China…. and a year later sent his troops across the Yalu to attack American forces…

So how did Stalin get such a good deal of occupying Manchuria ostensibly to help the US with its war on Japan… that eventually, surely, led to Mao’s victory in China?

Read the two attachments below:  excerpts from Spanning the Century and Special Envoy.  

Come to your own conclusions.  Decide who’s to blame for aiding and abetting the communist in Manchuria, and Korea, and then subsequently in Vietnam?



 “….  hurried to install an emergency power station and lay transmission lines to the conference sites. To Kathleen and Eddie Page fell the responsibility of assigning quarters. 

The Czar’s bedroom suite, the only one with a private bath, was reserved for the President. Private bed rooms nearby were set aside for Stettinius, who had succeeded Hull as secretary of state, Hopkins, Harriman, Bohlen, and James F. Byrnes, director of the Office of War Mobilization. General Marshall and Admiral King were put on the second floor, the latter in a suite that had once been the Czarina’s boudoir. The others were less fortunate. Major generals were billeted four to a room, colonels sixteen. Thirty-five officers were assigned to a single bath and forced to shave at water buckets beside their cots. 

After two days, Harriman boarded the President’s plane, the Sacred Cow, which had been ferried from Washington to Sevastopol, and flew off to meet Roosevelt nearly 1,400 miles away at Malta, while Kathleen was left behind to complete preparations at the palace. 

Churchill was already there when he arrived, as were the American and British military chiefs, who had been in a day-long debate over General Eisenhower’s strategy for crossing the Rhine. Hopkins had also joined the party, arriving from Paris, where he had gone to see de Gaulle. Worn out from his trip, he dragged himself off to bed early, leaving Harriman and Churchill to play bezique for several hours and to hash over what they expected from Stalin. 

The following morning, Roosevelt arrived aboard the cruiser USS Quincy after ten days at sea. It had been the kind of interlude that ordinarily rejuvenated him physically and spiritually, but this one obviously had not. Harriman was shaken by his “worn, wasted” appearance, alarmingly deteriorated since November. But haggard as he was, Roosevelt was alert and clearly excited about meeting Stalin with the end of the war in sight. He had only one short night to rest before jumping off on the last leg of his journey. 

The flight across the Mediterranean, over Greece, the Macedonian peninsula, and the Black Sea to the Crimea was the most hazardous part of the journey because there were still Nazi-controlled airfields along the route. To take advantage of darkness, they took off at three o’clock in the morning, under escort by half a dozen heavily armed P-38s. Churchill followed ten minutes later. Aside from the fighters, they entrusted their security to the darkness, radio silence, and a course carefully charted to take them around the enemy-held island of Crete.

The precautions were now especially serious, for American intelligence had learned that the Germans had discovered the location of the conference. And just the day before, an American plane taking equipment to Yalta had carelessly flown so close to Crete that German antiaircraft guns had attacked and damaged it before it got out of range.  

Seven hours after leaving Malta, they arrived at Saki Airfield at Sevastopol. In a huge tent, the Russians had laid out the inevitable refreshments- tables laden with cold cuts, eggs, curd cakes, wine, champagne, and Crimean brandy. Roosevelt skipped all of it, staying just long enough to join Churchill in inspecting the honor guard before leaving on the ninety-mile drive to Yalta. 

By the time the party reached the palace, Hopkins was so spent that Admiral Ross Mcintire, the President’s physician, seriously considered putting him aboard the Catoctin so he could have intense medical care. Hopkins would have none of that, but he stayed in his room throughout the conference, convening a few bedside meetings and, with obvious effort, taking the few steps down the hall for each day’s plenary meeting. Harriman stepped into his friend’s customary role.  He was, therefore, at Roosevelt’s side through much of the day; and on several evenings, he and Kathleen shared a quiet dinner in the President’s suite with Roosevelt and his daughter Anna. 

The President immediately went to work where he had left off at Teheran, trying to promote a civil relationship with the Russians after the war, but Stalin was as obstreperous as ever. To Averell’s consternation, the President made little effort at coordination with Churchill, allowing five days to pass without a private talk with the Prime Minister. Although Yalta would be ridiculed as a capitulation by an exhausted President, its political agenda had been thoroughly explored at Teheran and in the intervening fourteen months had dominated Harriman’s contacts with the Kremlin. Particularly in the case of the Far East, Yalta confirmed what had already been worked out through Harriman during the fall. 

The Pacific had been one of his urgent priorities from the day he arrived in Moscow. He had dogged the Russians for permission to use Soviet airfields in the bombing of Japan’s home islands, and since the Teheran conference, he had pressed Stalin to name his conditions for a Soviet declaration of war in the Pacific. 

As far back as the Moscow foreign ministers’ meeting in October 1943, Stalin had voluntarily assured Hull that the Soviets would help defeat Japan after Hitler was finished. Although he had extended his personal assurances to the President at Teheran, he had been reluctant to lay out his conditions. 

While Churchill was in Moscow in October 1944, Stalin had told Averell that the Red Army could mount an offensive against Japanese forces in Manchuria three months after the capitulation of Germany.  He had thirty divisions in the Far East, and he would move about thirty more from Europe after Hitler’s surrender. In preparation, he wanted the United States to stockpile supplies for two or three months’ fighting. He did not think the war would go on much longer.  

But aside from the American arms and ammunition, he continued, “political considerations” had to be taken into account. The Russian people had to know what they were fighting for. They fought against the Germans because they had been invaded. They would have to understand why they were fighting against the Japanese.

Two days later, Stalin handed Harriman the long list of supplies he wanted and promised to let him know in two weeks when the United States could begin delivering the four-engine bombers it was providing the Red Air Force. 

Clearly, the Soviet dictator now wanted to play a larger part than the Americans had in mind. In Washington, strategists envisioned the Soviet role as one of securing the railroads and taking control of Manchuria. But Stalin’s plan sketched for Averell was to drive south across the Mongolian desert into China, all the way south to Peking.

With that, Harriman had flown home to give Roosevelt a full account of Churchill’s Moscow visit and his own talks with the Premier. The President was pleased with Stalin’s new forthrightness and not particularly disturbed that references to “political considerations” indicated that territorial demands were coming. But Stalin’s comments about driving all the way to Peking caused him to wonder aloud, “If the Russians go in, will they ever go out?”40 

With the second Big Three summit delayed by quibbling over the site, the Soviets’ political demands in the Far East were finally spelled out to Harriman when he met Stalin at the Kremlin on December 14. 

In brief, Stalin wanted the Kuril Islands, an archipelago stretching from the northern tip of Japan to the Kamchatka Peninsula, plus the southern half of Sakhalin Island, which the Japanese had got in the 1905 Treaty of Portsmouth. With control of the Kurils and all of Sakhalin, the Soviet Navy would have unimpeded access to the Pacific. He also wanted leases on the Manchurian ports of Dairen and Port Arthur, as well as on the Chinese Eastern and South Manchuria railroads. The rails would link Dairen and Port Arthur with the port at Vladivostok.

Harriman was skeptical of Stalin’s assurance that the Soviets would do nothing to interfere with China’s sovereignty in Manchuria, but Washington indicated neither disapproval nor acceptance of Stalin’s claims, and there the matter still stood when the leaders gathered at Yalta. 

It seemed as urgent as ever to bring the Soviets into the Pacific war. During their stopover at Malta, the combined military chiefs had reconfirmed their judgment that it would take eighteen months after Germany’s surrender to defeat Japan. Estimates suggested that as many as 200,000 American casualties could be prevented by prompt Soviet entry into the conflict. 

At Livadiya Palace, Harriman sat with Roosevelt and Stalin as the Marshal went over his demands again. Despite their profound implications, President accepted them almost casually, and Harriman raised no question. The agreement had to be protected with extraordinary secrecy because it would take time to move the Soviet divisions across Siberia and into position for the offensive. If it was revealed to the Chinese, both Stalin and Roosevelt feared, the Japanese would promptly learn about it and might even attempt a preemptive attack on the port of Vladivostok to prevent the buildup of stockpiles. 

Even Roosevelt’s secretary of state was kept in the dark. When Stettinius inquired whether his department should not be involved in the Far East discussions, the President politely told him that it was a military matter. Asia was never mentioned in the plenary meetings, nor in the sessions of the foreign ministers. When the conference ended, the only American copy of the agreement was taken back to the White House and locked in a safe by Admiral Leahy. Not even Chiang Kai-shek learned of the concessions until after the President’s death. 

While he raised no objection to Stalin’s demand for the islands, Roosevelt balked at the proposed lease arrangement for the ports and the rail lines. He preferred to see Dairen operated as a free port controlled by an international commission instead of being leased to the USSR. The Manchurian railroad, he insisted, should be jointly operated by a Soviet­ Chinese commission. After one meeting on the subject, drafting was turned over to Harriman and Molotov. As Harriman shuttled the various versions back to Livadiya, the President insisted upon keeping his amendments on both the railroads and the port at Dairen. Besides finally accepting the American position, the Soviets also bowed to Roosevelt’s insistence that the ten-paragraph agreement require the approval of Chiang. The President reciprocated by dropping his demand that Port Arthur be put under international control, accepting Stalin’s contention that a lease was necessary, since the port would become a Soviet naval base. 

Years later, the secret accord would become an exhibit for Yalta critics contending that the President had been fleeced by the Soviet dictator. Bohlen, who interpreted all of the conversations between the President and Stalin, thought that where the Far East was concerned, the United States had indeed been caught napping.

Being the American most involved, Harriman shared the blame, but he did not readily accept it. In his memoire, Special Envoy to Churchill and Stalin, published in 1975, he insisted that he himself had been unhappy with parts of the agreement. He did not, he said, like the railroad and ports section, which stated that the Soviet Union’s “pre-eminent interests” would be protected at the international port of Dairen. Nor did he like the pledge that the Soviet claims would be “unquestionably fulfilled after Japan has been defeated.” He had told the President as much, but the President “was not disposed to fuss over words.” Harriman said he had hoped that the military chiefs would complain and give him an excuse to go back to Roosevelt, but they raised no objection. 

In demanding the Kurils and southern Sakhalin, Stalin insisted that he merely wanted a return to the situation that existed before the Russo­ Japanese War forty years earlier. The well-known truth was that Japan had gotten only the portion of the island below fifty degrees north latitude at the end of the conflict. The Kurils had been acquired from Russia by treaty in 1875. If Roosevelt had forgotten that, the State Department had not, and neither had Harriman. A memorandum describing the issue in detail was prepared before the President left Washington, but apparently he never saw it. When Harriman mentioned the history of the island chain, Roosevelt casually dismissed it. The Kurils seemed to him “a minor matter.“ 

The agreement was not accompanied by a map or list of the islands. Consequently, decades later, Russo-Japanese relations remained soured by Japan’s insistence that four of the islands ceded to Stalin at Yalta were, in fact, a part of the Japanese homeland, not the Kuril chain. 

Harriman saw Franklin Roosevelt for the last time on the day after the conference ended. 

Following a jovial luncheon to celebrate the signing ceremony at Livadiya, the President drove eighty miles down the coast to board the Catoctin, still anchored off Sevastopol. At the suggestion of his naval aide, Vice-Admiral Wilson Brown, Roosevelt agreed to spend the night aboard the ship as a gesture of thanks to the crew that had supported America’s Yalta contingent around the clock. 

Having watched the President at close range for nine days, Harriman had become truly alarmed over his physical condition. Now, following the strenuous conference, Roosevelt faced a trip home that would be as taxing as his journey to Yalta. From the Crimea, he would fly to Egypt, where he would re-board the Quincy. Before sailing, he was to meet with King Farouk, Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, lbn Saud of Saudi Arabia, and Churchill. 

Under the circumstances, Harriman thought the President should rest another night at Yalta. He was furious at Brown’s insensitivity in suggesting that he go through the rigor of boarding ship and spending the night in cramped quarters. Nevertheless, the party went aboard in the late afternoon and passed what Harriman called a “ghastly night” in stifling heat. 

They departed at daybreak, and back at Saki Airfield, Harriman said good-bye. After Roosevelt had been lifted into his plane in a marrow­ chilling rain, the giant C-54 lumbered down the runway and climbed slowly into the sky over the Black Sea.”


 “…agree that any action of the Big Three powers should be submitted to the judgment of the little ones. Churchill challenged this remark. There was no question of the small powers dictating to the great ones. he said, but greatness carried with it a moral responsibility to exercise power with moderation and respect for the rights of weaker nations. “The eagle,” Churchill said, “should permit the small birds to sing an’ care not where for they sang.” 

When the Prime Minister offered a toast to the proletarian masses of the world, possibly by way of placating Stalin, the talk turned to the rights of people to govern themselves and get rid of leaders who no longer enjoyed their support. Churchill made the point that although he was constantly being “beaten up” as a reactionary, he happened to be the only leader present who could be thrown out of office at any time by his people, adding that he personally gloried in that danger. Stalin remarked that Churchill seemed to be afraid of election. Not at all, the Prime Minister replied. Far from fearing them, he was proud of the right enjoyed by the British people to change governments whenever they saw fit. 

A great cloud of myth and misinformation has obscured the true shape of the Yalta decisions for three decades.  Now, with the benefit of hindsight, certain right-wing critics have traced back to Yalta many of America’s postwar difficulties with the Soviet Union, the origins of the Cold War itself, and even the victory of Mao Tse-tung’s Communist armies in China.  Harriman, who was at Roosevelt’s side during most: the crucial Yalta negotiations, stands by his 1951 testimony:

The discussions at Yalta and the understandings reached there were an integral part of our negotiations with the Soviet Union throughout the war to bring the desperate struggle to a victorious and early conclusion and to find a way in which the United States, Great Britain and the U.S.S.R. could live together in peace. The postwar problems have resulted not from the understandings reached at Yalta but from the fact that Stalin failed to carry out those understandings and from aggressive actions by the Kremlin.

The Yalta discussions covered a wide range of topics:  final plans for concerting the defeat and occupation of Germany, and the terms and circumstances for Soviet participation in the war against Japan.   These essentially military decisions are best understood in light of the actual battlefield situation that first week of February 1945. Although General MacArthur had just entered Manila, the bloody battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa were yet to be fought. It would be more than five months before the first experimental explosion of the atomic bomb at Alamagordo, New Mexico. The Joint Chiefs of Staff had not taken the bomb into account in their calculations of the military pressures needed to break Japan’s resistance. (Harriman recalls that even five months later, at Potsdam, Admiral Leahy was offering bets that the bomb would not work.) The Chiefs of Staff, just before Yalta, had estimated that it would take eighteen months after the German surrender to defeat Japan. Far from visualizing Japan’s quick collapse, they were planning to invade the home islands in the winter of 1945-46. And in the event that the European war was prolonged, necessarily postponing the redeployment of troops to the Pacific, they contemplated postponing that invasion until “well into 1946.”

Anxious to reduce American casualties from what General Marshall conceived as a bitter-end campaign to invade and occupy the industrial heart of Japan through the Tokyo Plain, the Joint Chiefs looked to the Russians for help. In a memorandum to the President, dated January 2 3, 1945, they declared: 

Russia’s entry at as early a date as possible consistent with her ability to engage in offensive operations is necessary to provide maximum assistance to our Pacific operations. The United States will provide maximum support possible without interfering with our main effort against Japan. The objectives of Russia ‘s military effort against Japan in the Far East should be the defeat of the Japanese forces in Manchuria, air operations against Japan proper in collaboration with United States Air Forces based in eastern Siberia, and maximum interference with Japanese sea traffic between Japan and the mainland of Asia.

Stalin, understandably, had his own set of objectives in the Far East. He had outlined his terms to Harriman in December, claiming the return to Russia of the lower half of Sakhalin Island and the Kuriles. He wanted leases on the ports of Dairen and Port Arthur as well as the railroads in Manchuria built and operated by the Russians in Czarist times under contract with the Chinese. He also had asked for recognition of the status quo in Outer Mongolia, promising that the Soviet Union would not interfere with China’s sovereignty over Manchuria. On February 8, at Yalta, Stalin took up his demands with Roosevelt. Secretary of State Stettinius had no part in these discussions. The President asked Harriman alone to join him, Bohlen sitting in as the interpreter. Stalin, who brought Molotov and his own interpreter, V. N. Pavlov, to the meeting, said he would like to discuss the political conditions under which the Soviet Union would enter the war against Japan, as he had explained them to Harriman earlier. Roosevelt saw no difficulty about the return of South Sakhalin or the transfer of the Kurile Islands. As for Dairen, he had suggested at Teheran that the Soviet Union ought to have access to a warm-water port at the end of the South Manchurian Railroad. But he could not speak for Chiang Kai-shek. Perhaps, rather than ask the Chinese for an outright lease, Dairen could become a free port under an international commission. That was the method he preferred, Roosevelt said, not only in Dairen but also in Hong Kong. As for the Manchurian railroads, instead of leasing them he would like to see them operated jointly by the Russians and the Chinese. 

Stalin pressed harder. Unless his conditions were met, he said, it would be difficult for the Soviet peoples to understand why Russia was going to war with Japan. They clearly understood the war against Germany, which had threatened the very existence of the Soviet Union, but they would not understand why Russia should attack the Japanese. If his political conditions were met, however, the matter could be more easily explained to the people – and the Supreme Soviet – in terms of “the national interest involved.”

Roosevelt stressed that he had not had an opportunity to discuss the matter with Chiang. It was difficult to speak frankly with the Chinese, he said, because anything said to them in confidence was known round the world, Tokyo included, in twenty-four hours. 

There was no rush about talking to the Chinese, Stalin said, but he did want his proposals put in writing and agreed to by Roosevelt and Churchill before the conference ended. Turning then to internal conditions in China, Stalin said he could not understand why the united front against the Japanese invaders had broken down. The time had come, he said, for Chiang to take the leadership, uniting his Kuomintang forces with Mao’s Communists in a common front against Japan. 

On February 10, at Molotov’s request, Harriman called at the Villa Koreis to receive and discuss the first draft in English of Stalin’ political conditions for entering the war against Japan.  He explained to the Soviet Foreign Minister that Roosevelt would have to ask for three amendments.  Stalin had agreed two days earlier, Harriman pointed out, that Port Arthur and Dairen should be free ports and that the Manchurian railroads should be operated by a joint Russian-Chinese commission. He also felt certain that the President would not wish to settle these matters without Chiang’s concurrence. All three changes would have to be incorporated in the Russian draft. 

Returning to Livadia, Harriman showed the President Molotov’ draft together with the amendments he was suggesting.  Roosevelt promptly approved the changes and Harriman resubmitted them to Molotov. The matter was settled after the formal conference session later that day. Stalin told Roosevelt that he agreed it would be more appropriate for the Manchurian railroads to be operated by a joint commission.  He accepted the requirement for Chiang’s concurrence adding that he wanted Chinese concurrence also on the status quo in Outer Mongolia. He was entirely willing to have Dairen a free port under international control, Stalin added, but Port Arthur was going to be used as a Soviet naval base, and for this a lease arrangement would be required. Roosevelt accepted this change, taking upon himself the responsibility for consulting Chiang Kai-shek as soon as Stalin notified him that the time was ripe. 

Harriman was unhappy with the final Soviet text, submitted for signing by Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin on February 11. Without prior discussion, the Russians had written into the sections concerning Manchurian ports and railroads a provision that “the pre-eminent interests of the Soviet Union shall be safeguarded.” Harriman disliked the term “pre-eminent interests” and said as much to Roosevelt. But the President was not disposed to fuss over words. They meant nothing more, he said, than that the Russians had a larger interest in the area than the British or the Americans. This seemed to him true, and he was not disposed to argue over two words. Harriman also questioned a paragraph stipulating that the territorial claims of the Soviet Union in the Far East “shall be unquestionably fulfilled after Japan has been defeated.” It was just language, Roosevelt replied. Here again he was not going to quarrel with Stalin. 

Roosevelt felt other matters were more important, the establishment of the United Nations, for example. “He was trying like the dickens,” Harriman recalled, “to get Stalin to be more cooperative in other areas that he cared about, the United Nations and Poland.  He didn’t want to use up whatever trading positions he had and he may have been trying to save his strength. Perhaps it was a combination of the two. Roosevelt never was much of a stickler for language. Even at Teheran, when his health was better, he didn’t haggle with Stalin over language. It was my impression that as long as he could put his own interpretation on the language, he didn’t much care what interpretations other people put on it.” 

Nor did the Joint Chiefs of Staff raise the slightest objection when Harriman showed each of them the draft agreement. He hoped that they would question one detail or another so that be could take it back to Roosevelt and persuade him to get the language changed. But Marshall, King and Leahy all approved the draft. Even Admiral Leahy, who later wrote that he believed Japan could be defeated without Russian participation, remarked to Harriman, “This makes the trip worth­ while.” In his memoirs Leahy wrote: “No one was more surprised than I to see these conditions agreed to at Yalta labeled as some horrendous concessions made by Roosevelt to an enemy.”

The admiral carried the signed agreement back to Washington and locked it in the President’s personal safe. It was not mentioned in the protocol of the Yalta Conference. When Stettinius in a private conversation at Yalta asked the President whether there was some aspect of the Far East negotiations that the State Department ought to know about, the reply was that Harriman alone had handled the matter, which was primarily military in any case, and that it had best remain that way.

Roosevelt, it would seem, had not a great deal more confidence in the State Department than in the Chiang Kai-shek entourage at Chungking, when it came to keeping secrets. The most important reason for secrecy, of course, was the plain fact that Russia remained at peace with Japan and ostensibly neutral. Stalin had promised Roosevelt he would shift some twenty-five divisions to the Far East as soon as they could be spared from the European front, and he had reason to fear a pre-emptive attack by the Japanese against this thinly defended area if word of his intention to declare war leaked out before those divisions were in place. 

The crucial agreement, so far as the Joint Chiefs were concerned, was Stalin’s commitment to join the war against Japan within two or three months after the German surrender. The Soviet Union also undertook to conclude an alliance with Chiang Kai-shek, to assist the Chinese in driving out the Japanese invaders and to respect China’s “full sovereignty” in Manchuria. Stalin contended that he was asking, in return, little more than the restoration of rights and territories wrested from Imperial Russia by the Japanese in 1904. This was not strictly true of the Kurile Islands, which in fact had been peaceably transferred to Japan in 1875 by the terms of a Treaty of Commerce and Navigation with Russia. But Roosevelt dismissed Harriman’s reservations on this point before signing the agreement. The Kuriles seemed to him a minor matter, measured against the larger benefits of a Russian helping hand against Japan. 

Harriman, in spite of his reservations, felt the Far Eastern agreement was undermined less by Stalin’s duplicity than by Chiang’s weakness. “The agreement in no way weakened him,” Harriman said. “Stalin recognized Chiang as the head of the government of China. The formal agreement negotiated with Stalin by Foreign Minister T.V. Soong in July of 1945 promised to respect continuing Chinese sovereignty in Manchuria. If Chiang had been strong enough at home to hold up his end, the outcome might well have been different. In my judgment it was Chiang’s inherent weakness that gave the Chinese Communists their opportunity.“ 

For Churchill the problems of winning the war in the Far East were “remote and secondary.”13 Although he signed the agreement, he had taken no part in the negotiations. His chief concern was to prevent the domination of Europe by the Soviet Union. He fought Stalin hard (Roosevelt as well, at times) to ensure a respectable postwar role for France, to block the dismemberment of Germany and to guarantee the right to govern themselves.”

An Interview with Gene Discipio

The Lint Center’s John Thomas Wiseman interviews Gene Discipio.

John Thomas Wiseman: How would you define National Security and in what capacity have you been involved with United States National Security? How did you get involved?
Gene Discipio: National Security is the concept and the primary responsibility of the Federal Government to protect our physical state and people usually against foreign problems by whatever means possible, including military action, diplomacy and economic sanctions. I’ve been involved with National Security through my work as a Government employee in the Intelligence Community and now as a systems engineer with the MITRE Corporation working with various US Government agencies. I was hired by the CIA as an imagery analyst (now called a geospatial analyst). I held this position from November 1996 to January 2008. I’ve been at the MITRE Corporation since January 2008.

JTW: What is one of the more memorable or impactful experiences during your National Security Career?
GD: I authored several reports that were read by the Vice-President and Secretary of Defense.

JTW: Was there a particularly funny or comedic experience?
GD: There were no specific events that I would consider particularly funny, but I along with my co-workers, would always try to have fun at our jobs in the course of a normal workday.

JTW: What is one of the most valuable lessons you learned from your NS time?
GD: Be patient and verify everything. The answer to the problem you are working may take longer to find than you anticipated. Along with the quality assurance mechanisms that are in place, always coordinate your work with as many people as possible and solicit feedback.

JTW: What was one of the most difficult experiences you faced during your NS time?
GD: The only thing that I would say was difficult would be working nights, weekends and holidays at various times throughout my career.

JTW: What advice would you give new personnel thinking about starting a career in National Security?
GD: Research the agency that you would like to work for and study the area that they would be most interested in.

Life in Germany

Life in Germany

By: Lou Rothenstein

September 5, 2016

Sunday on the Munich-Stuttgart Autobahn.  Reminds me of my days over there with a 64 Pontiac GTO 3 pack that gave fits to Mercedes drivers.  I could keep up or pass until the gas ran out.  I figured I got about 7-8 MPG driving fast over there.  In those days only a few Mercedes models and Porsche’s were really fast.  BMW’s were all small  – 2 liters and Audi’s were in town economy cars, rarely seen on an autobahn.

If we used the same standards for mandatory driver training, licensing and highway regulations the Germans have, we could probably cut highway deaths by a big margin. One particular regulation they enforce with a vengeance is following too close.  They take photos from overpasses and send you the fine in the mail.

One problem driving at no speed limit on an autobahn is that some are old design and the exits are sharp, requiring a real slow down when exiting.  Have seen a few cars that didn’t quite make the turn off.

What was fun was driving the Berlin-Helmstedt Autobahn through the old Soviet Zone – about 105 miles from Checkpoint Alpha to Checkpoint Bravo.  I drove it a couple of times in 55 minutes, causing a stir with the Soviets.  Couldn’t drive it any faster as some sections were just too rough. Col Skowronek, Chief of US Military Liaison Mission drove it even faster in his 63 Corvette…

I have always thought that passing on the right left (no pun) one open for too many possible problems from other drivers.  About the time I got a drivers license in California, passing on the right was a no-no.


Thank you John Wiseman for this submission.

War Stories

Retired from the clandestine service in the early 90s, I went back to work for the CIA after 9/11. One of my first jobs had me at the end of the day in a bay area with other retired CIA case officers. Occasionally a bottle of wine was opened.

Not that it was needed to get this particular group of old retired spies to talk about what they had seen and done over the years.

There was a certain one-upmanship involved in the story-telling along the lines of “Oh yea, well listen to this.”

Caused a natural tendency for grander and grander acc’ts of CIA field duty to the point that some of the stories there towards the end of the end-of-the-day sessions were hard to believe.

With that in mind here are three of those stories:

A) There was an up and coming firebrand of a case officer, who after three tours was made Chief of Station of a small 3rd world country. He had this piece of business that he was sure this one particularly busy larger station would want to know about.

So he wrote them a long involved message giving the background to this piece of business and where it stood now and how it might be of use to them.

He got no response.

A few days later he wrote again, referencing his first message, giving some minor details about how the situation had changed and asking the busy station to respond, at least to provide an expression of interest.

He got no response.

A few days later he wrote again, referencing his first two messages, and gave this large station a piece of his mind about professional courtesy.

The response from the busy station referenced his three messages and the text had only one word.


B) The Agency in its relatively short life has gone through several “riffs.” Good men have been let go, although most of the bottom quarter of the case officer corps have periodically been purged too.

Usually a panel of officers two grades over the grade under review would be convened and they would make the determination of who stayed and who was let go.

The Chief of Station in a significant geographical location was called to Hqs to sit on one of these panels. By all acc’ts he didn’t want to be there doing this distasteful work, and he was the most severe in his recommendations. The most damning.

When he got back to his station, finally, he found waiting for him, his own riff notice.

He sent a two word message to Hqs.

“Fuck you.”

C) An old experienced ops officer from Hqs flew out to a foreign station to pay off a long time asset.

Reasons why he was being paid off and terminated and his exact country of origin, isn’t part of the story.

The story told in that group of old case officer late one day was about the large amount of money the agent was to receive.

The officer coming from Headquarters had arranged to have the cash sent from Headquarters and it was awaiting him when he arrived at the CIA field station. He introduced himself around, picked up his package and found an empty desk. When he opened the package he found instructions on how the officer was to transport the money from station to the hotel room where he would meet and pay the agent.

An old hand, he didn’t feel the need for some Headquarters bean-counter to tell him how to do his business, so he put the instruction letter away and began counting the money slowly. When he finished he checked the total against the amount listed in the package and then checked the amount against the due amount in the agent’s file. All matched.

Looking around the desk he found a blank sheet of paper and listed the amount on it, with intentions of writing a receipt around that number for the agent to sign once they were together.

He checked that he had a pen in his shirt pocket and then took bundled money by the handfuls and placed them in different pockets of his suit coat and a newly purchased black wool overcoat.

On the way out he stopped by the Chief of Station’s office, an old contact. There was some re-introductory chit chat, and then the Hqs guy went over his plans for the afternoon, evening ahead. His comments were brief and to the point.

Station Chief made a few comments about security and ended by saying that the newcomer should be careful because of the threat of street crime, especially aimed at tourist. Pickpockets, street walkers and street thugs would be along his route to and from his destination. The Headquarters officer assured the Chief that he could look after himself and took his leave.

All went well for the Headquarters officer as he walked along the streets of this old city, passing through the crowds with his hands in his overcoat pockets. His coat collar turned up against the winter wind, he kept his head down and did not stand out from others rushing by. He had memorized his route and walked it casually, effortlessly taking note along the way that he wasn’t being followed.

Two hours he walked this way and that before going into a subway station, bought a ticket to a stop several beyond where he was going and waited in the shadows. The train arrived and the officer boarded. The trip to his destination stop was uneventful although the officer had a local newspaper up as if he was reading it and kept his attention on his surroundings in the noisy fast moving underground train.

When he reached his stop, he got up, folded the newspaper and waited for others to get off before he did. The last to leave, he stepped out on the platform and looked around.

Suddenly he was swarmed by young kids. Filthy, laughing, grabbing kids, yelling in some odd language. They were at his back, his front, his sides. Hands everywhere all at once. He tried to shoo them away by hitting them with his newspaper and his open hand. He grabbed a hand that was inside his overcoat pocket then turned around to stop a kid from pulling his wallet out and that took his focus, because he didn’t want to lose his documents. The kid – with unkempt hair, dark eyes and ratty clothes – was smiling but was biting his lip as he tugged at the wallet, yanking again and again to get it out of the man’s back pocket. The officer tried to slap the kid but he ducked and then there was sharp electronic “bing, bing” in the subway station and the kids were gone. Completely swarmed by youngsters one minute, the next, they had stopped yelling and leaped away. The man, getting his balance, looked up and saw a tall dark man standing in the door of the subway, holding it opened against the constant sounding door-ajar “bing, bing.” All the kids scampered by him, safely aboard. A few waved gleefully as the train left the station.

They had taken most of his money… almost every dollar of that enormous amount. In no more than a dozen seconds.

In the sudden quiet of the empty underground station, the agent collected himself and then carried on.

Hqs was not pleased when they got his report. Eventually he suffered career ending consequences.

The incident sent shivers down the spines of everyone in the local station, because they had to work on those streets every day. Gangs of young thieves – some coming from other countries – were a constant menace, targeting tourist and other foreigners primarily, but going after anyone who looked prosperous. They operated on plazas where tourist congregated and also near bus and subway stations. Everyone at the CIA station made renewed vows to be absolutely professional at all time on the street and to stay out of the grasps of the local young thieves. They also checked their wardrobes to make sure they dressed down to the common level of working people when they went out on the streets.

Late one Wednesday afternoon several months later, a CIA officer from the station went out to pay a local agent. Coincidentally he ended up at the same subway stop were the Headquarters officers was robbed. He was well aware of where he was and what had happened before. He buttoned his worn overcoat to the top and locked his arms around his chest, pulling the slack of the coat to the front, took a deep breath, put his head down and was quickly out the door as soon as they stopped.

He was immediately swarmed by kids, pushing him around, backing him toward the subway door. Yelling amongst themselves. Laughing.

The officer didn’t hesitate. He swung out both arms at the same time, catching one young boy on the temple who dropped to the platform floor. Turning he picked up another boy and used him as a bat against another youngster, screaming now as loud as he could.

As he was widening his stance ready to do more battle a large grown man dove in like a football player hitting the officer in the chest, knocking him to one side. He fought to keep his feet after stepping on one of the boys still down on the platform. But he was losing the battle – there were more men on him and he fell to the floor – so he sought to put his hands in his pockets, covering his money.

One of the angry men sitting on his chest asked in a very excited, very US mid western voice, “What are you doing? Are you crazy?”

The CIA officer had stepped off the subway train into the path of some US Boy Scouts on an international field trip rushing to make the train.

Sipping our wine there in that bay area, we all agreed that this CIA spy business is tough. You just never can be sure.

This was a late afternoon story… and some agreed later it was awfully cute to be true. But then who knows?

Story was originally published at:

Background about the Author:    James E. Parker, Jr. a.k.a. Mule

James E. Parker, Jr. a.k.a. Mule

James E. Parker, Jr

Many people dream of success and living a fulfilling life. This Bronze Star and Purple Heart awarded veteran is one of the few people to ever actually achieve those dreams. Mr. James E. Parker, Jr. fought in Vietnam as a 2LT and eventually joined the CIA where he received two Certificates of Outstanding Service, a Certificate of Distinction and the Intelligence Medal. He has decided to share his insightful experiences and through stories on his website as well as in the books he has written which are listed below. The Lint Center for National Security Studies is thankful and proud that we are able to share some of his selected stories with you in our Virtual Archive.



The Vietnam War Its Ownself (2015)
Kessler Country Homilies (2013)
Battle for Skyline Ridge (2013)
Covert Ops (1997)
Last Man Out (1996)
Codename Mule (1995)

US Army Attaché Program Taken Over by Defense Intelligence Agency

July 1, 1965
Lori S. Tagg
USAICoE Command Historian

By Department of Defense Directive, on July 1, 1965, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) established a single Defense Attaché System (DAS), thereby consolidating the attaché systems managed by the individual military departments. On that date, the US Army, Air Force, and Navy placed all their attachés on temporary duty with the DIA and relinquished their responsibilities for the mission.

Officially, the US Army attaché program began in 1889, but as early as 1815, it had detailed individuals to foreign countries as observers.  Capt. Sylvanus Thayer went to France to attend the military academy there and collect information on science and mathematics, while Maj. William McRee traveled to Belgium and France to survey those countries’ fortifications.  Several other Army officers followed in the subsequent decades.  In 1880, General William Tecumseh Sherman, Commanding General of the Army, who himself had undertaken an unofficial tour of Europe in the early 1870s, ordered all officers traveling abroad to obtain “information of value to the military service of the United States” and report their observations to the Adjutant General. This was not only the precursor to the official military attaché program formed nine years later, but also one of the catalysts for the formation of a Military Information Division (MID) in the Adjutant General’s office in 1885. The MID’s primary mission existence was to “obtain and collate such military data as may be deemed useful and beneficial to the Army at large.”

The US Navy had established a naval attaché system in 1882.  Seven years later, the US Army followed suit, when Congress authorized expenditures for officers detailed abroad for the “collection and classification of military information.”  Under the oversight of the MID of the Adjutant General’s Office, the attaché system was the foundation of national peacetime foreign intelligence throughout the late 19th and early 20th century.  The first official attachés were posted at the American legations in London, Paris, and Vienna, with St. Petersburg and Berlin added later that year.  By 1898, the Army had attachés stationed in 16 countries, including Italy, Spain, Belgium, Japan, Mexico, and several other Latin American nations.

The Army’s attaché in Mexico, Capt. (later Brig. Gen.) George Scriven, proved exceedingly valuable on the eve of the Spanish-American War in Cuba.  His report detailed the Cuban road and railway systems (with maps), military strength and location of defensive works, and attitudes of local inhabitants. Scriven’s report formed in large part MID’s pamphlet “Military Notes on Cuba” issued in June 1898.  Meanwhile, Capt. (later Gen.) Tasker Bliss, attaché in Madrid, forwarded reports on Spain’s decision to send troop reinforcements and munitions to the Caribbean island.  MID, accordingly, compiled highly accurate strength estimates of the Spanish Army throughout Cuba.

During the early part of the 20th century, the number of military attachés increased until, by 1914, the Army had 23 posts, more than any other country except Russia.  Twenty years later, more than 450 military, naval, and air attachés were serving abroad. Most of the military information the US Army had about the Axis powers prior to entering World War II came from peacetime collection efforts of these attachés.  Although often incomplete, the information they provided specified technological developments and possible employment of the modern weapons of war, such as the airplane, tank, and antiaircraft guns.

In the two decades after World War II, the Army continued to rely heavily on attachés as the most effective method of peacetime human intelligence.  Recognizing a long uncorrected deficiency, in 1946, it established the Strategic Intelligence School in Washington, DC, to train officers selected for such duty.  The numbers continued to grow.  In 1956, the Army had 68 attaché posts, the Navy 45 and the Air Force 53.

In 1963, a special Senate Subcommittee on National Security Staffing and Operations looked into the various attaché systems and found critical problems.  Foremost were duplication of effort and poor information sharing, as well as inefficient use of resources. The Secretary of Defense, consequently, ordered a comprehensive study on the attaché structure, which resulted in the recommendation for a centralized military attaché system under the DIA.  The trend toward consolidation had already begun when, in 1963, the Strategic Intelligence School and its Navy counterpart merged to become the Defense Intelligence School to train attachés from all the military services.

The Army’s attaché system remained a responsibility of the G-2 until DIA assumed the mission.  After that, the military services maintained and financed the personnel, but DIA was responsible for programming and overall financing of the new Defense Attaché System and served as a single chain of command.  DIA also determined the appropriate composition of attachés at each post as compatible with the intelligence collection goals.  In this way, the identity of the individual service attachés was ensured, but reporting was streamlined, policies and procedures were standardized, and the management of the total attaché effort was improved.

Photo Caption:
Col. Truman Smith (left), military attaché in Berlin from 1935-1939, provided valuable intelligence on Germany’s preparation and modernization for war. Upon returning to the US, he worked in the Military Intelligence Division as a German specialist. Charles Lindbergh (right) also helped collect intelligence on the German Luftwaffe.

Cyber’s Hot, but Low-Tech Spies Are Still a Threat

The Edward Lin espionage case highlights America’s human vulnerabilities.
By: Neal Duckworth

It was recently made public that U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Edward Lin was arrested by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service on September 11, 2015, and is in pretrial confinement charged with passing secrets to a foreign government, patronizing prostitutes and committing adultery (the latter being a crime under military law). Lin pleaded not guilty, and it has not been revealed whether Lin passed, or attempted to pass, classified information to either Taiwan or China—and just recently, several media reports claim an undercover FBI agent may have been involved. However, since Lin is of Taiwanese heritage, Taiwan’s National Security Bureau quickly disavowed any knowledge, as you would expect, and the People’s Republic of China’s government provide a comment similar to “Who? Never heard of him!”—also as would be expected.

Lin’s arrest is a stark reminder that traditional espionage is ongoing, and despite such a global focus on securing computer systems in the wake of (alleged) Chinese hacking of the Office of Personnel Management, Edward Snowden’s theft of National Security Agency data, Bradley Manning’s release of classified information to the website WikiLeaks and several others, we must continue and renew the focus on countering all of the foreign intelligence methods used to obtain U.S. information.

Too often in today’s world we wake up to find that personal or government data was stolen by unknown (although often suspected) persons who found a way to hack into what we thought was an unhackable computer system. The recurrent theft of our personal data, credit-card details or sensitive government information is almost numbing to the public, but has caused a renewed emphasis across governments and corporations for cybersecurity. The data stolen from the government is unclassified, yet when properly connected and analyzed with other unclassified information, such as personal financial data, could identify government personnel with high amounts of debt and an increased susceptibility for recruitment or coercion by foreign intelligence services.

However, the theft of computer data is but one method of foreign intelligence services. Foreign intelligence entities around the world use a full spectrum of espionage techniques—not just cyber theft. I hope it turns out that an undercover FBI agent posed as a foreign intelligence officer to intercept the classified information Lin had access to, but this case reminds me of two classic operations from the espionage playbook that foreign intelligence agencies may utilize, and of which others must be aware: the honey trap and the false flag.

The honey trap is an intelligence operation that utilizes sex, either to place the target in a compromising position (one that he or she does not want revealed, such as to a spouse or employer) or to establish a “genuine” personal/physical relationship. In Lin’s case, he is accused both of using prostitutes and of adultery, so it is possible that someone took pictures of him with a prostitute and/or having an affair with a person other his wife, which could be used to coerce Lin into stealing classified information on the intelligence-collecting EP-3 Aries II aircraft, to which he was assigned. While I do not believe Western intelligence agencies use this technique, the media has reported its use by China, Taiwan and North Korea, to name a few.

This case also provides an opportunity for a false flag operation. Lin is originally from Taiwan and became a naturalized U.S. citizen. With a false flag operation, a foreign intelligence officer, for example, would identify himself as a compatriot to his target and ask that he or she provide assistance in defending “their” homeland—by providing information. In Lin’s case, a foreign intelligence officer from a third country would identify himself or herself as Taiwanese and appeal to Lin’s Taiwanese heritage to learn about the capabilities and limitations of the EP-3 and how, specifically, the U.S. Pacific Command planned to assist Taiwan in case of an attack from China. That information would be extremely valuable to China, or even North Korea.

The computer system hacks we see today are compromising U.S. national and economic security. However, as shown in the media, the stolen data is accessed through the internet and unclassified. To obtain the really juicy classified information, a foreign nation must establish some type of human connection with a person who has access to the information they need. Long before computer hacking, adversaries were exploiting the personal vulnerabilities and mistakes of their fellow man, and manipulating them to obtain information. Classic foreign espionage is alive and well, and our adversaries lack moral, ethical or even legal limitations on how they steal secrets. The United States must work diligently to educate those with access to sensitive information about the techniques that foreign intelligence services will use.

Neal Duckworth is a former U.S. intelligence officer with multiple international deployments who currently works at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Originally published:

LTG Hughes at 50th Annv of CIA

In American Military You Can Grow – PVT to LT General Hughes

The journey of Private P.M.Hughes, Medic to Director of Defense Intelligence Agency and Lt General.

Alfred G. Platt, Capt USAF, Ret. 1941-2016

Who had the most enemy challenged dynamic landings in USAF and Air American?

Alfred G. Platt, Capt USAF, Ret. 1941-2016

Alfred G. Platt, Capt USAF, Ret
Most of you also knew Fred as Raven 47.  Fred’s notable contributions to the Secret War are documented in many online articles and videos including:
During his service, Fred was awarded the Silver Star, three Purple Hearts, three DFC’s and 48 other decorations. Fred is survived by a brother, a sister, several nieces and nephews and many Brothers in Arms.  The Platt Family requests that you please not send flowers, that in lieu of flowers, donations should be made in Fred’s name to China Post 1.
Funeral services will be held in Houston, Texas, 18 May 2016. Further details will follow.
Donations in Memory of Fred should be mailed to:
American Legion, China Post 1
Attention: Adjutant
PO Box 299
Fate, TX 75132-0299

The sites below take you to a documentary made a few years ago when 4 Ravens returned to Laos to discuss their years there. All Ravens are fiercely patriotic and strong men. Fred will be missed greatly.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Portfolio Items