By Nels MacPherson
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Extra resources for American Intelligence in War-time London: The Story of the OSS (Cass Series--Studies in Intelligence)
About all ‘C’ could do at the Prime Minister’s behest was offer up ULTRA signals, often personally, for Churchill’s attention from at least September 1940 onwards. It is suggested in the Official History that this state of affairs ‘was to have one beneficial result. 30 A less contented conclusion can THE BRITISH INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY 23 nevertheless be drawn regarding ‘C’s’ position, and Churchill’s knowledge of SIS. 31 ‘C’ himself ‘admitted’ (to the Americans at least) that this particular direct relationship was ‘probably inadvisable.
The Labour Party leader, Clement Attlee, serving as Lord Privy Seal within the coalition government, minuted Churchill on 4 November 1940 regarding the organization of intelligence and demanded to know ‘who is responsible and how long he has been in control’. 37 The Chiefs of Staff submitted their response on 14 November, addressing Attlee’s points in sequence. An appendix outlined that the intelligence 24 AMERICAN INTELLIGENCE IN WAR-TIME LONDON establishment was not actually under a single fixed authority.
This survey of Churchill’s preferred 32 AMERICAN INTELLIGENCE IN WAR-TIME LONDON method of intelligence management and its implicit drawbacks is therefore more ambivalent than the portrait in the Official History, or in Christopher Andrew’s works on the subject, among others. Those works characterize Churchill’s relationship with intelligence as being a fundamentally positive one in light of the PM’s personal interest in such matters. His keen understanding of the ULTRA windfall; his continual personal contact with intelligence officials; his focus on intelligence in the Anglo-American alliance; and his reliance on deception and intelligence in formulating military operations and strategy are all considered to outweigh the relatively minor sins of an exaggerated faith in the efficacy of sabotage and subversion, and some impetuousness in using intelligence.
American Intelligence in War-time London: The Story of the OSS (Cass Series--Studies in Intelligence) by Nels MacPherson