Gustav Siegfried's left-wing stable companion, the `Sender der Europaischen Revolution', had produced little or no reaction in Germany. Nor had its right-wing predecessor. German prisoners seemed never to have heard of either. `Der Chef', however, after only a few weeks produced a crop of startling `comebacks', as we called the bits of direct and indirect evidence that a station was being listened to. What pleased me most was when I found a story we had invented being retailed as fact by the Germans without any mention of Gustav Siegfried as the source.
Great was my delight for instance, when in the P.O.W. monitoring reports I found a freshly captured German Luftwaffe officer telling the story about Nazi boss Robert Ley and the Diplomat Rations which `Der Chef' had invented and broadcast only three weeks before. It was a good little story.
The father of a kitchen maid who had recently left her employ in the Ley household had telephoned the Ley major-domo to ask for his daughter's ration cards to be sent on to her. "This is the Palais Ley," grandly answered the major-domo. "We have no ration cards here. We don't bother about them, you know. Here we have Diplomat Rations!"
The so-called `Diplomat Rations' had been instituted by the German Government for foreign embassies in Berlin and certain government departments that had to entertain for representational purposes. Gustav Siegfried Eins made out that the party big shots had all got themselves fixed up with `Diplomat Rations' as a way of evading the rationing laws to which the common man was subject. The Ley story we had invented as an example. And here was the proof now out of the mouth of this Luftwaffe officer, that Germans had accepted our story and were passing it on.
We plugged the diplomatic rations racket with such effect that Goebbels and Ley had to lay on a special campaign to counter it. Robert Ley himself went on record in Goebbel's newspaper Der Angriff". . . we National Socialists know no such thing as Diplomat Rations-every man, whether he is a Reich Minister or a Reich Leader, has to live on his rations just like any ordinary workman, mechanic and official. The normal rations are enough. I myself am a normal consumer and live on them. . . ."
But by the time they got around to this dementi we were able to quote the decree authorising special rations for diplomats and party officials with representational duties.** We were even able to give them the colour of the certificates and the exact scale of the Diplomat rations.
There were plenty of other `comebacks'. The most entertaining of them all, however, was one that showed up the greatest danger inherent in `black' operations-the danger of misleading your own side. In those days of the Summer and Autumn of 1941, the Americans still had an embassy in Berlin. And just as Franco's Foreign Office used to show the Duke of Alba's dispatches from London to the Germans, so did the State Department allow the Foreign Office to see the reports they were getting from Berlin. In due course, Foreign Office dispatch boxes with copies of these reports made their way up to Woburn Abbey where they were carefully scrutinised for anything that might help us with our picture of war-time Germany.
Valentine Williams was reading the report of one of the American Service Attaches, when his eyes lit on a passage that filled him with mischievous triumph. The American reported that there had been a dramatic increase in the hostility of the army to the Nazi party since the invasion of Russia. The army, he said, had gone so far as to set up a radio transmitter trom which a nameless officer referred to as `Der Chef' was broadcasting violent attacks on certain sections of the party. An ever increasing number of Germans, said the American diplomat, were listening to the broadcasts of this officer. The German Government's attempts to locate his transmitter and have it shut down had so far failed, probably because an important army authority was shielding the group of which the officer was the spokesman.
Valentine Williams called me in, and congratulated me. I felt a little less sanguine about this `comeback' than Valentine, because I suspected that the American Officer might be writing with his tongue in his cheek, in order to tell us that we were being heard. But further dispatches came in, each quoting `The Chief' at length. And each insisted that the emergence of this station was a most significant indication of the increased strength and confidence of the anti-Party undergound in the army. I was forced to agree with Valentine that we appeared to have deceived our American friends.
Valentine Williams now called a conference to decide what was to be done. For it was by no means desirable that the Americans should be under the illusion that they had only to sit on the fence a little longer, and Hitler would be overthrown by his army. But could we warn them, without disclosing our operation to the whole wide world? At last it was decided that David Bowes-Lyon, the brother of the Queen who was our Washington representative, should call on President Roosevelt at the White House and reveal the truth to him on the strict understanding that it was for Roosevelt's ears alone.
David performed the task admirably. Instead of Roosevelt being chagrined at the thought that his diplomatic agents had fallen for such a simple deception, he had the President chuckling and chortling, as though the whole affair had been specially laid on for his amusement. Unfortunately, however, Roosevelt's ideas of security were not as strict as ours. The President could not refrain from telling his friends the trick the British were playing on the Germans. And soon the story of Gustav Siegfried Eins was all over Washington.
When the United States came into the war, Rex Lecper was besieged by Americans demanding to be initiated into the arts and techniques of `Black Propaganda'. One good result of this was the close and profitable collaboration between the emissaries of the Office of Strategic Services and myself. It was a collaboration which, like that with our British Fighting Services, became the basis of the most important and successful work my unit performed.
Gustav Siegfried Eins continued to defy the Gestapo and burn up the ether with its sulphurous broadcasts until the end of October 1943. Then I decided that we could make even better use of the Corporal in a new capacity: So `Der Chef' had to die-"caught at last". Alas, in dying `The Chief' suffered the only bad slip-up of his long career. For he died twice!
A transmitter engineer, knowing no German and unaware of the final nature of the broadcast-complete with tommygun salvo and gruff "Got you, you swine!"-went through his usual routine and repeated the record an hour after the broadcast that was supposed to be his last. Fortunately I heard it. I have never met anyone else who did.