Op-16-Z
  A16-2(4)  
  CONFIDENTIAL  
     
                                                                                         June 12, 1943.  
     
 
MEMORANDUM
 
     
 
From: Op-16-Z
To: Op-16-B-7
   
SUBJECT: Gestapo Agents among Prisoners of War.
   
Reference: (a)  FBI Letter of June 10, 1943.  (Routing slip 025799).
 
     
          1.        Custody pf all Prisoners of War is the responsibility of the Provost Marshal General of the Army and the Army, therefore, has the paramount interest in this subject.  
     
          2.        Although there have been several rumors of Gestapo agents among the crews of Naval vessels, Op-16-Z has never been able to establish this as a fact in so far as regards Naval vessels.  It is, however, suspected that there may be Gestapo agents among the merchant crews of blockade runners.  
     
          3.        In general it may be said that the German Navy is not fanatically pro-Nazi, although certain younger officers and men may be so.  It is the belief in Op-16-Z that the regular Naval officers in the higher ranks of the German Navy have kept that service clear of such agents.  
     
          4.        It is definitely known that the German Army has been infiltrated by Gestapo agents and the percentage mentioned by the FBI is, if anything, conservative.  There will certainly be a fair number of such agents imported with Army prisoners.  
     
          5.        The facts mentioned in Paragraph 4 are believed to have been already demonstrated in our own prisoner of war camps and have definitely been demonstrated in the Canadian camps.  FBI can gain a mass of information on this from the Canadian authorities.  
     
          6.        Certain practices in our own camps have been brought to the attention of the Provost Marshal General's office by Op-16-Z as being not only dangerous from the point of view of actual prison escapes or revolts but, especially, from the point of view of security of information.  Some of these are:  
     
 
  (a) Mixing of Army and Navy personnel, especially officers, in the same camps.  This has been largely corrected and will be entirely corrected.
     
  (b) Prisoners of War are permitted to correspond with other
 
     
 
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Op-16-Z
  A16-2(4)  
  CONFIDENTIAL  
     
  SUBJECT:    Gestapo Agents among Prisoners of War.  
     
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    prisoners of war in other camps, thereby permitting a concerted plot to be hatched or for sabotage or other trouble making to be synchronized.
     
  (c) Prisoners are permitted to correspond with persons (civilian or military) in the United States and to subscribe to newspapers in their own name and with the camp address.  This permits messages to be sent out to American citizens or firms.
     
  (d) In some cases known to us German Naval Officers, prisoners of war, maintain discipline among the enlisted prisoners of war, assign punishment, etc., without the knowledge of the camp authorities.  In one case enlisted prisoners of war in one camp have referred certain questions of discipline to their own C.O. in another camp for decision.  This means that certain C.Os. maintain discipline over their own crews.
     
  (e) In one case we know that enlisted personnel, prisoners of war in one camp have informed their C.O., in another camp, that a certain member of the crew was a "traitor" for having given information to the U.S. authorities.
 
     
          7.        Prisoners are presumably already questioned regarding their political affiliations as this would be routine.  
     
          8.        It was  informally recommended to the Provost Marshal General by Op-16-Z when the first prisoners of war arrived, that an effort be made to segregate pro-Nazi and anti-Nazi prisoners and that an intensive effort be made to introduce anti-Nazi literature and propaganda into the camps with the idea of counteracting to some extent the Nazi training.  So far as is known nothing has been done along this line.  
     
     
     
     
                                                                                            John L. Riheldaffer  
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
 
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