The Corps of
Intelligence Police
From 1917 to

ONI Message

Attorney General
Harlan Stone's

Special Committee
to Investigate

Program, 1936-38

The Search for
Japanese Spies

Special House
Committee for the
Investigation of


FBI Intelligence
Authority and

Letters To/From

Directive of
September 6, 1939

The Scope of
FBI Domestic

Between the Wars

Between the Wars


Between the Wars

End Notes

Between the Wars


The "war to end all wars" was over and the United States was poised on the threshold of world leadership, when the American people retreated into a period of isolationism. They wanted to forget the war, and its destructive influence on the nation's psyche, and forget the world's problems. Americans wanted to be happy and enjoy life.

Enter the "Roaring Twenties." Depicted in movies by speakeasies, gangsters, dapper college boys and flapper girls dancing to the new, electrifying jazz, it displayed an era of happy, carefree Americans enjoying a materialistic lifestyle. That image disguised the many problems facing the nation. Most Americans still harbored deep-rooted bias against foreigners immigrating to the United States. To them, these refugees from abroad were undercutting their dreams of a good life by willing to work for low wages. They also brought the evils associated with the Old World and the new evil of communism.

A "Red Scare" began to sweep the country. American business leaders alleged that there was more to the growing strikes across the nation than workers desiring higher pay. They accused the foreign "Reds" and anarchists, Bolsheviks, Communists and Socialists of plotting to destroy the American way of life. Hysteria increased. Government leaders said that unless these anarchists were stopped, a Red revolution would subvert America.

In June 1919 a bomb exploded outside the home of Attorney General, A. Mitchell Palmer, which killed the bomber. A search of the body found leaflets, which suggested a foreign conspiracy. Almost six months later, Palmer, using the Bureau of Investigation and citizen volunteers, launched a series of raids on "radical" meetings. Thousands of people were arrested without cause. Palmer was a hero but as the raids and the abuses committed by the raiders continued, American public opinion shifted. In the end, Palmer and the Bureau of Investigation were rebuked.

There were cries that the Bureau of Investigation be stripped of its investigative authority and that the Secret Service be given this role. Instead, a new Attorney General, Harlan Fiske Stone, decided that the Bureau was needed but had to operate under strict legal guidelines. Stone fired William Burns, chief of the
Bureau, and abolished the General Intelligence Division, headed by J. Edgar Hoover. Hoover was then made acting director and later director of the Bureau.

Further, after World War I ended, the military did not want to terminate its cryptographic and decoding activities. Working with the Department of State, a Cipher Bureau was established in New York with secret funds provided by State. This bureau became known as the "Black Chamber." Using cooperative liaison contacts in Western Union Telegraph Company and the Postal Telegraph Company, the Black Chamber was given access to diplomatic cable traffic. The Chamber operated until the new Secretary of State, Henry Stimson, withdrew State Department's funding in 1929. The military then transferred the Chamber's functions to the Army Signal Corps.

In the early 1930s, a special committee, led by New York Congressman Hamilton Fish, was authorized by the House of Representatives to investigate communism. After almost a year of study, the committee concluded that the federal intelligence community had no authority to deal with the growing problem of communist activity. The committee recommended that the Department of Justice severely crackdown on communists but the recommendation fell on deaf ears.

In 1934 Congress granted the Bureau of Investigation the power to make arrests but required the Bureau to obtain a warrant from the Judiciary prior to making the arrest. To obtain the warrant, the Bureau was required to show reasonable grounds for suspecting the person to be arrested and the Judiciary had to agree with the grounds.

In 1938, Texas Congressman Martin Dies, who headed a special committee to investigate subversion in the United States, continued to shove the Roosevelt Administration and the FBI to be more active in the investigation of communists and Nazis. The FBI informed Congressman Dies and his committee that it had commenced "building up a system of internal security" since early 1935.

There was an ardent desire by the counterintelligence community to counter this newly perceived threat but the old arguments surfaced as to what government entity would be in charge. President Roosevelt, also feeling the heat from the Dies Committee, directed the creation of the modern federal counterintelligence system. He temporarily solved the mistrust and discord that plagued the counterintelligence community in a series of presidential directives that gave the FBI the mantle of lead agency to investigate and conduct domestic surveillance against individuals and organizations posing a threat to the United States.

Having gained the advantage over the Army's Military Intelligence Division and Navy's Office of Naval Intelligence, Hoover would never waive his primary role. This would have serious consequences when the Office of Strategic Services is formed during World War II and the Central Intelligence Agency is created in 1947.


The Corps of Intelligence Police
From 1917 To World War II

During World War I the Intelligence Section, American Expeditionary Force, recommended and the War College Division sanctioned the establishment of the Corps of Intelligence Police. Authority for such action was contained in the provisions of Section II of an Act of Congress (approved 18 May 1917) giving the President the power to increase the Army to meet the national emergency. This Corps of fifty men in the rank of sergeant of infantry was to report for counterespionage duty under the Commanding General, American Expeditionary Force. On 13 August 1917, War Department General Orders officially established the Corps of Intelligence Police.

A French-speaking officer with experience in police work was given the mission of recruiting the men. He traveled to New Orleans and New York City where he advertised in the local newspapers for men who could speak French to do intelligence work in France. He accepted all candidates who could pass the Army physical examination and answer a few simple questions in French.

On 25 November 1917, the Corps of Intelligence Police, fifty strong, arrived in St. Nazaire, France. Some were sent to British Intelligence at Le Havre for further training. The others were assigned to the rear area under the control of General Headquarters or were merged with divisional intelligence sections. The Le Havre Detachment worked at copying British suspect lists and counterespionage summaries and began indexing these lists. This training continued until a short while before the Armistice.

In January 1918, the Corps opened its office in Paris and began work on its central card file, securing names from British, French, and American sources. At the end of the war this file contained some 50,000 names.

The first actual counterespionage work was done at St. Nazaire where enemy agents were reported to be active. Agents apprehended by the Corps of Intelligence Police were immediately turned over to French authorities for disposition. Civilians were screened, travelers checked, and passports examined. In addition to work of a counterespionage and security nature, the Corps of Intelligence Police also did investigative work for the Department of Criminal Investigation by conducting fraud and graft investigations. Members of the Corps of Intelligence Police were assigned to the American Peace Delegation in Paris. One detachment was assigned to guard President Wilson's residence while he was in France.

In January 1918, authorization was granted to increase the Corps gradually to an eventual strength of 750 men. One year later, there were 405 agents on duty with the American Expeditionary Force. However, the allotted 750 vacancies were never filled because of the Armistice and demobilization of the Corps.

Meanwhile, during the years 1917-1918, the work of the Corps of Intelligence Police in the continental United States was carried out under the Chief of the War College Division, General Staff. On 28 November 1917, the Corps was increased to 300 men, 250 of whom were to work within the United States. In March 1918, with the abolition of the War College Division of the General Staff, the Corps of Intelligence Police was transferred to the control of the Military Intelligence Branch of the Executive Division of the General Staff.

The next increase in strength came in an order from The Adjutant General dated 4 September 1918. This was deemed necessary because of the rapid increase in the number of investigations being conducted throughout the United States and the territorial departments.

However, these goals were never reached, for by January 1920, of a total of 600 men who had been on duty in the Corps of Intelligence Police, only 18 remained. This caused serious concern among those who saw the menace of failing to provide a permanent place for the Corps of Intelligence Police in the organization of the Army. Many saw the necessity for such personnel, in New York, Washington, and the Western and Southern Departments for investigation and guard duties of a strictly confidential nature. Therefore, authority was requested to detail not more than 24 sergeants of the duly authorized organizations of the Army for intelligence service. These were to be evenly divided among the Eastern, Western, and Southern Departments, and the District of Columbia. The Adjutant General granted the authority for such action on 7 February 1920. These men were to be subject to the orders of the Department Commander in whose territory they were assigned, except for the six men on duty with the Western Department who were to be subject to the orders of the Director of Military Intelligence. However, this order did not create a permanent status for the Corps of Intelligence Police in the organization of the Army.

A series of memoranda, prepared by the Director of Intelligence, pointed out the necessity for such a body of men, requested a permanent organization for the Corps of Intelligence Police, and set forth the quotas for the Corps Areas and Departments. The quota of 45 sergeants allotted by the resultant order was not as great as had been desired by the various Corps Areas and Departments, but it did give the Corps of Intelligence Police a permanent foothold in the organization of the Army.

Duties of the Corps of Intelligence Police were outlined by the War Department in the spring of 1921. All individuals who might be suspected of operating against the Military Establishment were to be closely observed. In addition, the Corps of Intelligence Police was directed to report on radical activities in political and industrial fields. This was a tremendous assignment for a handful of men whose number was reduced to a mere 30 in 1922 when the Army was cut to 125,000 men.

The policy of isolationism that swept the country at that time made it impossible to increase the Army in general and the Corps of Intelligence Police in particular. Although there was important work for the Corps, the policy of the Army prohibited the Corps of Intelligence Police from growing large enough to control subversive activity or directly affecting, the Military Establishment. However, in 1926, when it became clear that the Corps of Intelligence Police would have to expand rapidly in an emergency, a "Mobilization Plan" for the Corps was drawn up. The initial strength of the Corps was set at 250 men with provision for increments as the mobilization progressed. The functions of the personnel were outlined more clearly, and a promotion plan formulated.

Despite the best intentions of the men who were aware of the real value of the Corps of Intelligence Police, a further decrease occurred in 1926, which brought the total to 28; and in November 1933, strength was decreased to 15. This curtailment of essential personnel was effected as an economy move in the days of the depression. It was argued that the grades held by the men were too high for the clerical duties they were performing. It was even suggested that other military personnel or civilian employees replace the Corps of Intelligence Police in certain localities. To this, the Philippine Department answered:

"This Department presents a special case in that its distance from the homeland, its close proximity to World Powers, its heterogeneous mixture of foreigners, and the uncertainty of the future, all tend to emphasize the importance of keeping the Commanding General fully informed at all times. In order to perform this important duty, the scope of the organization charged with its execution is wide and varied...All of the present members of the Corps of Intelligence Police are men of proven ability, loyalty, and experience... Were any of these agents replaced by civilians or military personnel, it would confront this office with the necessity of building a new organization and discarding one which has reached its present state of efficiency after years of intelligence effort and experience."

From 1934 to 1939, with but a single increase of one man authorized for work in the Philippine Department, the Corps of Intelligence Police existed precariously with its small quota. Meanwhile, continued reports indicated that Japanese and Nazi activity were on the upswing in the Panama, Hawaiian, and Philippine Departments. Finally, in June, 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued a proclamation which stated that the control of all matters of an espionage, counterespionage, and sabotage nature would be handled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the Department of Justice, the Military Intelligence Division of the War Department, and the Office of Naval Intelligence of the Navy Department. The Directors of these three agencies were ordered to function as a committee to coordinate their activities.

One year later, the chiefs of the three agencies involved drew up an agreement as to jurisdiction, with particular emphasis given to foreign operations. Further revision of this agreement, defining clearly the work to be handled by each agency, was made in February 1942. This has become known as the Delimitations Agreement of 1942.

Expansion of the Corps began almost immediately. In June 1940, authorization was granted to bring in an additional 26 men. In December 1940, the allotment was increased to 188 men. Although some difficulty was experienced in recruiting, because of a lack of definite standards of qualifications, it was soon established that only men of the highest integrity with a high school education or better would be selected. On 20 February 1941 a total of 288 men was reached. A total of 18 agents was allotted to the important Panama Canal Department. By 31 May the over-all total swelled to 513, and by 17 February 1942 the Panama Canal Department alone could count 59 men on duty there.

In January 1941, the office of the Chief of the Corps of Intelligence Police-Sub-Section, Investigating Section, Counter Intelligence Branch, Military Intelligence Division, was established. On 24 February 1941, the Corps of Intelligence Police Investigators School became operational in the Army War College and, after two classes, was moved to Chicago. By April, Technical Manual 30-215 (Tentative) was published, thereby creating a definite and consistent procedure of training for all personnel in the Corps.

On 6 December 1941, the eve of Pearl Harbor, the Corps of Intelligence Police was a permanent organization of the Army, organized under the direction of the Assistant Chief of Staff, G-2, General Staff. It had authorization for 513 enlisted men, and had begun the task of expanding its work under the policies set forth in the Delimitations Agreement. Suddenly the days of begging for men and money had come to an end. The problem was now to grow as rapidly as possible, procure and train men, and do a professional job simultaneously.

Memo to Director of Naval Intelligence

United States Asiatic Fleet
U.S.S. Huron, Flagship
Manila, P.I.
24December 1923

From: Commander in Chief
To: Director of Naval Intelligence

Subject: Orange1 Radio Code

1. Information has been received from a reliable military source that considerable progress has been made in the Department of Military Intelligence, Washington, in breaking certain Orange Radio Codes.

2. If the above information is true, the Commander in Chief considers it of vital importance that all such data be available in his SECRET files prior to any emergency that may arise.

3. Should the above information be sent to the Commander in Chief, and if the Director of Naval Intelligence considers it advisable, the mailing envelope will be kept sealed and the seal unbroken until such conditions arise that make it advisable to open it.

4. In connection with the above, it is considered highly desirable that an officer who has completed the Orange language course be made available for duty in the Asiatic Fleet. One such officer is at present on duty on board the flagship, but he is at present under orders to the United States, and his departure will leave no one who is able to speak or translate Orange language.

Thos. Washington
Army's Domestic Intelligence

Under the terms of the National Defense Act of 1920, the six territorial departments of the Army within the continental limits of the United States, were superceded for purposes of administration, training and tactical control by nine corps areas. Likewise, for inspection, maneuvers, war mobilization and demobilization, these same corps areas were further grouped into three larger army areas with the commanding officers and staffs for them to be named from time to time only as necessity arose. The overseas territorial commands, however, continued to remain officially designated as departments.

Subsequent War Department orders also required that there should be an "Assistant Chief of Staff for Military Intelligence" included on the staff of the Commanding General of each Corps Area and Department. This, of course, would have been a particularly appropriate time for the War Department authorities to describe in detail the specific duties assigned to these Corps Area and Department Military Intelligence officers, as well as to establish beyond any doubt their precise relationship to the Assistant Chief of Staff G-2 in Washington. Unfortunately for all concerned, though, these two important steps were not properly taken.

Both the MID officials and the Corps Area Intelligence officer soon felt the need for additional information to provide the latter with effective guidance in the conduct of their assigned duties. It was finally decided, therefore, to furnish each Corps Area and Department Headquarters with six hastily revised copies of a pamphlet that had been prepared during 1918 for use by the field intelligence offices in order to form a divisional intelligence service. This obsolete wartime pamphlet was given the new title of "Provisional Instructions for the Operations of the Military Intelligence Service in Corps Areas and Departments" but it still contained a number of references to approved wartime methods for investigating individuals and groups who might become involved in domestic disorders within the United States. Its issuance under peacetime conditions thus plainly presaged future difficulties for the departmental military intelligence agency.

Following the conclusion of World War I, most of the experienced intelligence personnel within the War Department felt strongly that MID should continue to follow the growth of all significant radical movements either at home or abroad, so as to discharge fully its basic military intelligence responsibilities.2 This action appeared to be even more essential in view of the possible need for a sudden commitment of Federal troops in the event of major domestic disturbance3 and because of the constantly increasing efforts by various extremist groups to subvert members of the armed
forces. There was no desire on the part of these same officials; however, to examine in any way the political beliefs or other private opinions held by military personnel.4 That was one reason why an agreement had been concurred in calling for the War Department to relinquish all previous activities connected with military graft and fraud investigations and to turn the entire function without delay over to the Department of the Justice.5

Despite every possible effort by the department intelligence authorities to execute their domestic intelligence responsibilities in a manner calculated to avoid outside criticism, they were steadily forced on the defensive. Important segments of the American public were in no mood to countenance any military intelligence activities which they could construe as being an intrusion into their own private affairs, while left wing socialist and pacifist organs remained constantly on the alert to publish in sensational style whatever evidence that came to light point toward military intelligence involvement in such matters.6 In the MID annual report for the fiscal year ending 30 June 1921, the military security mission assigned to the Negative Branch was most carefully defined as consisting only of the following non-operational tasks:

1. Observation of movements within the United States whose object is the overthrow by violence of the government of the United States, or the subversion of the loyalty of the personnel of the military establishment.

2. Observation of the activities based on foreign countries the object of which is the overthrow of the United States by force.

3. Study of the measures necessary for carrying out the counter-espionage service in the military establishment in time of war."7

The problem of how best to acquire needed information on important radical movements in the United States during peacetime, without stirring up a public furor or encroaching upon the established authority of the Department of Justice, continued to remain an exceedingly vexatious one for the military intelligence authorities to solve. It already had become clearly evident that it no longer be practicable for MID to perform any actual investigations of
American individuals engaged in radical activities, even though their activities were closely related to military subversion or might bear directly upon the possible use of Federal troops in domestic disturbances.8 The only practicable course of action appeared to lie in working out some sort of an arrangement wherein MID could regularly receive from the Department of Justice "sufficient information on individuals to enable it to have full knowledge of radical and interracial movements" developing within the United States. Necessary steps were taken toward the end of 1920, to initiate a series of conferences between the responsible officials of MID and the Department of Justice on domestic intelligence matters.9 When these exploratory talks proved to be successful, a formal agreement was jointly signed by Maj. W.W. Hicks, Chief, MI4 and J. Edgar Hoover, which said:

1. The Department of Justice will transmit to MID eleven additional copies of its General Intelligence Bulletin, for distribution to each of the Corps Area and Department Intelligence Officers of the Army. Also, after having been officially designated to the Department of Justice by MID, these same Corps Area and Department of Intelligence officers will be granted full access by the Divisional Superintendents of the Department of Justice to their field reports. Such reports, however, are to be examined at the Department of Justice field offices and not removed therefrom by the military intelligence personnel.

2. MID will furnish to the Division of Investigation enough extra copies of its "G-2 Weekly Situation Survey" for distribution to the nine Divisional Superintendents of the Department of Justice in the field.10

Upon completing this noteworthy agreement with the Army intelligence authorities, Hoover took the occasion to declare:

"I sincerely hope that the plan which we have devised for a more thorough and effective cooperation will be satisfactorily carried out and if there is any matter which should arise in connection with the arrangements do not hesitate to bring the same to my attention as I am particularly desirous of establishing a thorough cooperation between our two services."11

Although the MID officials did manage in this way to remain for the time being comparatively well- informed regarding the domestic intelligence situation, problems of an extremely embarrassing nature kept coming up on the subject at frequent intervals. These problems were derived principally from the fact that many of the Corps Area G-2's were still conducting undercover investigations along the lines described in their previously issued "Provisional Instructions for the Operation being of the Military Intelligence Service in Corps Areas and Departments." Since activities of this type had already caused a large amount of adverse public comment to be directed against the United States Army, the Director of Military Intelligence, in June 1922, secured permission from the Office of the Chief of Staff to rescind that offending pamphlet. At the same time, the Corps Area Commanders were specifically instructed, as follows:

The Assistant Chiefs of Staff, G-2 of Corps Areas should be charged with such of the specific duties of the Military Intelligence Division enumerated in paragraph 9, AR 10-15, as are applicable within their respective boundaries. They should be required to make studies from an opponent's point of view of possible operations on the frontier contiguous to their areas, as such studies are necessary for the formulation of mobilization and defense plans. In general, except for the supervision of all activities concerning Military Topographical Surveys and Maps, the collection of information pertaining to our own territory is a function of staff sections or branches other then

This noticeably vague letter describing the duties of the Corps Area G-2's fell far short of constituting a suitable official directive for delimiting their operations within the domestic intelligence field. Questionable intelligence practices continued in most of the Corps Areas, especially because all the higher tactical headquarters of the Army were still being required to maintain an up-to-date emergency plan covering the possible commitment of their troops in local civil disturbances.13 It was finally considered necessary, therefore, to dispatch another letter on the same subject to the Corps Area Commanders, in December 1922 as follows:

The Secretary of War is much concerned at reports from time to time of the activities of intelligence officers in the United States. It is obvious that the American people are very sensitive with regard to any military interference in their affairs. Harmless and even readily justifiable inquiries arouse suspicion and opponents of the Army are very apt to quote such acts as forms of Russian or Prussian military supervision. During the World War it became necessary to investigate individuals, groups and corporations…. All investigations ceased shortly after the Armistice but the general idea was kept alive by the seeking of information preparatory to the drafting of the various local War Plans White. The result is that in the minds of civilians and those of many officers as well, the word "intelligence" is associated with the investigations and inquiries mentioned above.14

While this more strongly worded communication seemed to put across the desired point effectively to the Corps Area G-2's themselves, it failed to solve the problem of curbing activities of the more enthusiastic intelligence officers at post, camps and stations, or members of the Military Intelligence Section of the Officers Reserve Corps (M.I. Reserve) who were sponsoring semi-private investigations of radical groups on their own. As long as these individuals kept operating, it probably would be only a matter of time when one of them would undertake some embarrassing project and put military intelligence right back on the front pages of the so-called liberal press. An incident of this sort did take place, derived from a circular letter written by 1st Lt. W.D. Long, Post Intelligence Officer, Vancouver Barracks, Washington, and addressed to all "County Sheriffs of the State of Oregon."15

Sent out on his own initiative and without the knowledge or sanction of his commanding officer, the letter contained the following highly explosive statements:

The Intelligence Service of the Army has for its primary purpose the surveillance of all organizations or elements hostile or potentially hostile to the government of this country, or who see to over-throw the government by violence.

Among organizations falling under the above heads are radical groups such as the I.W.W., World War Veterans, Union of Russian Workers, Communist Party, Communist Labor Party, One Big Union, Workers International Industrial Union, Anarchists, Bolsheviki, and such semi-radical organizations as the Socialists, Non-partisan League, Big Four Brotherhoods, and the American Federation of Labor.16

As might well be expected, when this circular letter was reproduced in such news organs as The Nation and The Labor Herald, a violent storm erupted. The affair not only received prominent editorial coverage throughout the country but also caused a deluge of protesting letters to reach the President and Secretary of War, many of them signed by politically influential labor leaders.17 Secretary of War John W. Weeks ordered the immediate relief of Lt. Long from his military duties18 and instructions dispatched to all Corps Area Commanders for them to take whatever steps were necessary to insure that no intelligence officer would be appointed in the future at any post, camp or station unless the assignment was specifically prescribed under an existing table of organization.19 Furthermore, whenever a table of organization did call for the assignment of such an intelligence officer, his responsibilities were to be limited strictly to training troops in their combat intelligence duties.20

Still remaining at hand, however, was the ticklish problem of curbing unofficial investigative activities on the part of individual M.I. Reserve officers. This matter was soon handled by addressing a War Department letter to all listed members of the M.I. Reserve and forwarding it to them through their respective Corps Area Commanders. The letter first emphasized that the mere fact of an appointment in the M.I. Reserve did not automatically give the individual permission to perform military security investigations and then went on to forbid the actual conduct of any operations of such type unless they had been directly authorized by the War Department. It also warned each M.I. Reserve officer against taking any personal advantage of his military commission to promote some unofficial investigation in which he might be privately engaged.21

These various strictures on domestic intelligence activities were originally applied with equal force both within the overseas Departments and the Corps Areas. It was not long, though, before the intelligence officials of the overseas departments started to complain that they were being seriously hindered by them in the execution of their primary missions. For example, on 16 February 1924, the Assistant Chief of Staff G-2, Hawaiian Department, protested that owning to the peculiar racial conditions existing throughout his area and the absence of any other governmental agency capable of keeping him properly informed about the domestic situation, it was necessary for him to carry out investigations similar to those described in the recently rescinded War Department countersubversive pamphlet. He requested permission, therefore, to continue maintaining "the close watch and supervision that is now being kept on our alien and other racial groups" in Hawaii.22 Despite the admitted special conditions in his area, the MID authorities chose to reply to him most indefinitely as follows: "You must appreciate that both the letter and spirit of the recent instructions are opposed to investigation activities by military authorities and contemplate them only when absolutely necessary in the interest of national defense or when civilian agencies do not function."23

The G-2's of the Panama Canal and Philippine Departments likewise expressed themselves as being thoroughly dissatisfied with the new domestic intelligence situation. The former commented that "a G-2 should be able to give warning of approaching trouble and not wait until trouble starts to find out what it is all about," while the latter felt that in the Philippine area it was "essential that the G-2 be fully informed of the political situation at all times and to do this it is necessary to carry on a modified form of espionage.24

On 8 March 1924, the Assistant Chief of Staff G-2, Sixth Corps Area, finally made the rather telling point that he could hardly be expected to devise a suitable counterespionage system for his command under the existing War Department Mobilization Plan unless he was granted access to some effective form of official guidance in the matter. When he further requested that the rescinded provisional instruction pamphlet be reissued to him for such purpose, the action was approved by the Deputy Chief of Staff but only with the proviso that all the returned copies would be clearly stamped "To Be Used Solely in the Preparation of War Plans."25

A discouraging climax to the entire postwar domestic intelligence effort occurred early in April 1925. By the time it had become completely apparent to Col. (later Brig. Gen.) James H. Reeves, the Assistant Chief of Staff G-2, War Department General Staff26, that MID was not receiving enough information under the approved system to fulfill its assigned military security responsibilities for developing the War Department General Mobilization Plan. He believed that the Corps Area Commanders should again be required to forward periodic reports to the War Department "relative to groups and organizations which might be involved in internal disorders or in aiding an enemy." To accomplish this action, he had a letter drafted in MID for dispatch to all the major unit commanders that slightly modified the restrictions that were already in force covering the collection of such information. When this proposed letter was submitted to the Chief of Staff for his approval, it came back with the following unfavorable notation inscribed on it:

DISAPPROVED: G-2 in liaison with Department of Justice should keep in good touch with general situation without calling on Corps Area Commanders.

By order of the Secretary of War

/s/ D.E. Nolan

Major General
Deputy Chief of Staff27

A marked deterioration in the performance of basic counterintelligence responsibilities within MID was now plainly evident, with irresistible pressures generated by a hostile public opinion having forced the departmental military intelligence authorities to adopt an essentially negative approach to the whole problem. During 1927, 1928, and 1929, therefore, with reference to domestic intelligence, the following carefully worded paragraph appeared as a regular part of the G-2 Annual Report:

The collection of information by G-2 regarding the radical situation in the United States is confined to that which appears in the public press. The information collected is studied in connection with the possible effect of the radical situation upon the execution of any existing or proposed war plans. It
is also studied in connection with the effect upon the efficiency of the Army of the United States at the present time, especially with reference to the military training in schools, colleges and activities of pacifists and radicals.28

It was during this particular period that M/Sgt. John J. Mauer, Corps of Intelligence Police, was put in personal charge of all MID activities bearing upon Communist activities and the subversion of Army personnel. He continued to supervise these operations until 18 January 1943, when he was finally forced to transfer to an inactive reserve status "by reason of physical disqualification." His duties were considered to be so ultra-secret that even many members of his own MID branch had no true idea of who was or what he was actually doing. Under his efficient direction, the cellular organization commencing at company level, which had been introduced into the Army in World War I to detect subversives, was first reestablished and then revitalized.

During 1929, in compliance with a provision of the War Department General Mobilization Plan, the MID Operations Branch completed a new "Regulations for Counter Espionage in Time of War." These regulations were promptly approved by the Chief of Staff but with the stipulation that they would be issued only to key field commanders who might have a definite need for them in the appropriate development of their respective mobilization plans.

Early in 1931, with the Nation already in the midst of a severe economic depression and the threat of serious domestic disturbances mounting daily, Brig. Gen. A.T. Smith, the new Assistant Chief of Staff G-229, decided to reopen once more the sensitive question of MID shortcomings in not being able to maintain an effective surveillance over radical activities in the United states. On 19 February 1931, he submitted a relevant study to the Chief of Staff, which strongly recommended the lifting of all restrictions in regard to corps area and other field intelligence officers investigating such matters. Even though this recommendation had been formally concurred in by the G-1, G-3, G-4, and the Chief of the War Plans Division, it was disapproved by the Chief of Staff, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, who declared "it is not believed advisable at this time to initiate this procedure."30 Unfortunately for the departmental military effort, this adverse decision was made just when the first bonus marches were being organized throughout the country for the avowed purpose of converging upon the District of Columbia and intimidating the United States Government. Six months later, though, permission was finally obtained on a temporary basis to have the Corps Area Commanders forward to the War Department a monthly report covering subversive activities detected within their own areas.

After the initial bonus marcher groups had actually started to undertake a mass descent upon Washington, the Assistant Chief of Staff G-2, was belatedly instructed by higher authority to follow their detailed progress. Accordingly, on 25 May 1932, a secret War Department memorandum was sent out to all Corp Area Intelligence Officers directing them to investigate and report regularly concerning "bonus demonstrations by veterans." At the same time, MID commenced to forward a daily memorandum to the Chief of Staff describing the current status of the bonus marcher situation within the Nation's capital.31 Because of this intensified intelligence effort, the anti-subversive files of the departmental intelligence agency soon grew to be richly productive in valuable information and personnel data covering the large number of Communist agitators who were operating with the Bonus Expeditionary Force (BEF).32

The principal sources utilized by MID in collecting information on subversive individuals within the ranks of the bonus marchers were through direct observation by departmental military intelligence personnel, civil police33 and press reports, and interviews held with cooperative BEF members. Alerted United States Army troop units stationed in or near the District of Columbia also executed a number of special reconnaissance missions and notified MID of the results obtained. The departmental agency thus soon found itself actually acting as an operational intelligence center, with Sergeant Mauer in direct charge. Oddly enough, in this same connection, when the Assistant Chief of Staff G-2, Second Corps Area, queried a local representative of the Division of Investigation of the Department of Justice on the subject of bonus marcher activities, he was told that "the Bureau has no
jurisdiction over communistic or radical activities and cannot engage in any inquiry concerning same."34

Even after the remarkably successful eviction, on 28-29 July 1932, of the original bonus marcher expedition from the District of Columbia by United States Army elements without firing a single shot, the threat of further domestic disturbances along similar lines continued to remain dangerously acute.35 As a mater of fact, radical elements had recently launched a concerted subversive drive among the ranks of the Civilian Conservation Corps, which was then in the process of being organized as an anti-depression measure by the national administration. Communist-inspired efforts to stir up discontent of major proportions not only continued throughout the life of that particular corps but also were later coupled with a companion effort aimed at personnel of the National Guard.36

The United States Army now stood in obvious need of an active and efficient counterintelligence organization centered about MID but it was not long before the powerful influences which were constantly trying to limit activities along such lines again became controlling. Effective 19 March 1934, for example, "in order to relieve the Corps Area G-2's of the burden of preparing monthly subversive reports, that profitable requirement was abruptly terminated.37 Nevertheless, to overcome the effects of this unfavorable development, an informal practice shortly grew up wherein the Corps Area Assistant Chief of Staff G-2's continued to forward to MID a series of unofficial monthly "Notes on the Subversive Situation."38 They were severely handicapped in this irregular enterprise, however, since they did not dare to engage in any open investigative activity to
support it.

During early 1934, with Japanese-American relations rapidly worsening, both the President and the War Department began to receive a large number of letters claiming information to the effect that the Panama Canal was in immediate danger of sabotage. As might well be expected, these warnings proceeded to set off a complicated train of events involving the departmental military intelligence agency. After a high-level conference on the subject, attended by representatives of the War, Navy and State Departments, the Secretary of War addressed a letter to the Commanding General, Panama Canal department, with information copy to the Governor of the Canal Zone, directing that "no effort be spared to maintain the safety of the Canal from any type of sabotage."39 A corresponding conference was then held within the Panama area, which mainly resulted in a request to Washington for additional counterespionage funds and the assignment of a qualified specialist to coordinate and advise the Governor relative to military security matters. The Secretary of War duly approved these two requests on 11 April 1934.

In searching for a counterintelligence expert to assist the Governor of the Canal Zone as requested, Brig. Gen. A.T. Smith first consulted with J. Edgar Hoover and W.H. Moran, Chief of the United States Secret Service, hoping that one of these key internal security officials might be able to recommend an acceptable civilian for the position. When neither of them seemed willing to do so, he was then forced to turn to the Officer Reserve Corps list in order to find a qualified person with suitable military intelligence background. After careful reviewing the considerable number of applications he had received, General Smith finally selected Maj. Harry A. Taylor, Infantry Reserve, for the assignment. Major Taylor was directed to report to Panama without delay, to become the "Intelligence Specialist for the Governor of the Canal Zone."40

Under the existing "Joint Cooperative Plan for the Defense of the Panama Canal," the G-2 Office, Panama Canal Department, was designated as the "coordinating agency for protective information gathered by the Canal Administration, Army and Navy." Although the American Legation in Panama had not formed a part of this early collection arrangement, the MID officials felt that it should now be brought into the regional intelligence picture just as soon as possible. Hence, the Secretary of War was prevailed upon to direct the Governor of the Canal Zone to reach an agreement with the American Administer in Panama City, which would serve to link the Legation in security matters with the three other parties concerned and thereby insure a maximum coordination of effort for collecting information on Canal Zone protection. The eventual result was the creation of a four-member Interdepartmental Intelligence Liaison Board to accomplish that particular purpose, composed of appropriate local intelligence representatives from the Canal Zone Administration, American Legation in Panama, Naval District and Army Department.

The pressures caused by that particular sabotage scare not only served to improve the conduct of counterintelligence operations throughout the Panama Canal area measurably but also helped the Assistant Chief of Staff G-2, War Department General Staff, gain requisite authority to reopen the American military Attaché Office in Columbia, which had been closed in 1932 as an economy measure. On the other hand, similar requests for reopening inactive military posts in Peru and Venezuela failed to obtain like approval until 1939 and 1940, respectively.

During the same general period, MID received numerous reports from a wide variety of more or less reliable sources claiming to describe the operations of Japanese intelligence agents both in the United States and its overseas territories. Additionally, the Army Signal Corps succeeded in intercepting and translating a significant volume of Japanese governmental and commercial coded messages. There was, therefore, a gradual but notable resurgence of counterintelligence activity within the War Department that finally culminated on 17 April 1939, in the establishment of a separate MID Counterintelligence Branch.

This new Counterintelligence Branch was purposely designed to achieve a better functional concentration for military security activities than had been obtainable under the earlier catchall Operations Branch. For that reason, it was given the more aptly descriptive name of "counterintelligence" in denoting its activities, instead of the less adequate terms of "negative intelligence" or "counterespionage." Initially allocated an officer complement of only one colonel, one lieutenant colonel and one major, the branch was called upon to accomplish the following specific tasks:

1. Plans and regulations for both national and military censorship.

2. Plans and regulations for counterespionage and passport control.

3. Domestic intelligence information.

4. Safeguarding of military information.

5. Plans and regulations for espionage.41

One of the immediate effects of the improved counterintelligence situation in MID was to place a greatly increased emphasis upon issuing proper security instructions for use by the United States Army. This was a most important matter because the current instructions were not only in obvious need of re-codification but also often in actual conflict with each other. The first AR 380-5 "Safeguarding Military Information," dated 19 June 1939, therefore, sought to combine all of the existing rules and regulations on that complicated subject into one concise document. A new counterintelligence field manual was then promptly prepared, which later formed an integral part of the BFM 30 (Military Intelligence) series that was issued to the Army commencing in 1940.

Because the War Department Mobilization Instructions for 1938 had stressed that all subordinate mobilization plans must provide for the immediate institution of military censorship in case of an emergency, the new counterintelligence manual included detailed instructions covering the establishment of such censorship in the field.42 Censorship planning at the departmental and national level was also expedited in order to complete a joint (Army-Navy) censorship plan by early 1941, which was then approved by the President. While most of the activity within the censorship field continued to remain only in the planning stage prior to the end of the peacetime period, several selected officer-specialists were sent to Bermuda for the purpose of observing British censorship methods and an informal lecture course in military censorship for "certain key officers" was opened at Clarendon, Virginia. Finally, effective 1 September 1941, a separate Censorship Branch was created in MID.

Along with the rest of MID, the Counterintelligence Branch was being sorely handicapped at this time by a constant lack of insufficient and qualified personnel. During June 1940, though, after the assignment of three recent graduates from the Army War College, it was reorganized on a much sounder basis and placed in a better position to conduct an orderly expansion if and when more funds might become available. Early in 1941, the branch also managed to establish a school for the express purpose of training counterintelligence agents. Instructors for this school were selected from among former FBI agents and civilian detectives holding ORC commissions. Its initial graduates all had to be utilized directly by MID in attempting to uncover subversives working at Army arsenals or plants executing government contracts but it was later possible to assign some of them to tactical units in the field.43

There were several other important counter-intelligence developments just before Pearl Harbor, as follows:

1. Shortly after the Counterintelligence Branch was formed, the problem of satisfying the basic requirements for establishing suitable security measures in industrial plants working on manufacturing projects for the Army became acute. Since the FBI had already started to make lengthy surveys along such lines44, there was also a compelling need for devising more effective coordination procedures among the many different government agencies involved. Any new system adopted would have to be extended without delay in order to cover the numerous plants and arsenals still operating directly under military control. In October 1939, therefore, Maj. (later Brig. Gen.) W.E. Crist, received instructions from the Assistant Chief of Staff G-2, War Department General Staff, to form a "Plant Protection Section." His new section then promptly commenced to compile pertinent security data with reference to civilian manufacturing facilities engaged in classified or sensitive government contracts, as well as for all military installations handling critical items.

2. In June 1940, MID issued a revised confidential pamphlet entitled "Countersubversive Instructions" to all Army, Corps Area, Department and GHQ Air Force Intelligence Officers. The Chief purpose of this security pamphlet was to clarify earlier instructions regarding the formation of a cellular countersubversive control organization within their respective commands starting at the company level. The new instructions were optimistically intended to achieve a high degree of lateral coordination between this undercover security system and the normal chain of command, a most desirable goal but one which had never before been satisfactorily attained.

3. In view of the impressive combat successes that had recently been gained throughout Western Europe by the German Army, the Assistant Chief of Staff G-2 became gravely concerned early in 1940 with the problem of providing appropriate security in the rear areas of American military forces operating in the field. He felt that under currently accepted defense doctrines a serious "fifth column" threat could easily develop within these areas, occasioned either by a major domestic disturbance or a full-scale attack from without. For this reason, he had already directed the preparation in MID of a "War Department Counter Fifth Column Plan." This plan, which was submitted to the Chief of Staff on 6 October 1940,45 not only described the effective organization of a rear area defense without any important commitment of combat troops but also contemplated the timely accumulation of sufficient counterintelligence information in the United States and possessions to cover all areas where such a defense might become necessary. It was given prompt official approval and forwarded to the Corps Area and Department Commanders on 22 October 1940.46

4. Early in January 1941, Brig. Gen. (later Maj. Gen.) C.H. Bonesteel, Commanding General, Sixth Corps Area, addressed a letter to the War Department calling attention to certain military steps which should be taken without further delay to insure the security and continued operation of the canal and locks situated near Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. Both the Director, FBI, and the Transportation Commissioner of the Advisory Commission for the Council of National Defense had previously written personnel letters on this same subject to the Secretary of War.47 The matter was far from simple, though, because one of the locks was located on Canadian territory and there were two international bridges crossing the canal area. Brig. Gen. (later Maj. Gen.) Sherman Miles, the Acting Assistant Chief of Staff G-2, had displayed an active interest in the problem and MID was already preparing a detailed intelligence study pertaining to it. When finished, this study recommended the immediate institution of more than twenty new security procedures at critical defense plants and the transfer of an infantry battalion from Camp Custer to Fort Brady, Michigan, so as to give such points more substantial military protection. It also recommended stationing a Coast Artillery unit with the general area. Eventually, the War Department created, effective 15 March 1941, a special "District of Sault Sainte Marie" defense sector in the Sixth Corps Area for the announced purpose of "safeguarding and protecting the St. Mary's Falls Canal and Great Lakes Waterway from Whitefish Bay to Lake Huron."48

5. On 10 June 1941, in view of the national emergency,49 the Assistant Chief of Staff G-2 was finally granted permission to instruct the Corps Area and Department Commanders to "maintain a digest of subversive situation which will be kept in such form that a brief estimate of the situation, with conclusions, may be submitted promptly by telephone, radiogram, or otherwise, upon request of the War Department." These same commanders were again cautioned, however not to allow any unauthorized investigative activities by their intelligence personnel in accomplishing this newly assigned mission.

6. The President, on 14 November 1941, directed the Secretary of State, to set up a "comprehensive system for the control of all persons, citizens and aliens alike, entering or leaving the United States and its possessions." In compliance, the Secretary of State soon requested the War Department to provide proper representation on several visa committees and one seaman's passport committee, which were being established. MID was naturally called upon to furnish this representation, so the departmental military intelligence agency once more commenced to take part in handling passport and visa control matters for the United States Government.

Hence, after undergoing an abrupt shrinkage immediately following the conclusion of World War I, domestic intelligence operations for the United States Army were soon committed to a lengthy period of enforced inactivity. This unfavorable situation was dictated principally by a public opinion that remained consistently hostile to any form of military intelligence activities along such lines. The handicaps stemming from such outside pressure were somewhat overcome in 1932, though, when the Government was confronted with a series of threatening domestic disturbance caused to a large extent by economic unrest but also conveniently exploited throughout by Communist and other radical elements. These same events likewise served to focus the attention of the national authorities upon the prompt necessity for uncovering Communist attempts to subvert members of the Civilian Conservation Corps and the National Guard. A rapid succession of espionage and sabotage scares pointing toward an alarming increase in foreign agent activities, especially Japanese, against the United States, further contributed to this delayed recognition of the seriousness of the domestic intelligence problem.

Even though the creation of a separate Counterintelligence Branch, within the MID in April 1939, resulted in a more effective domestic intelligence program, this branch, along with the rest of the departmental agency, continued to suffer from a persistent lack of personnel and funds. As a matter of fact, it was not until after the President had issued his limited emergency proclamation in September 1939 that these crippling conditions were permitted slightly to ease. They gradually did improve, however, to the extent that during the last year before Pearl Harbor, there was a marked increase in all phases of Army counterintelligence operations. By 7 December 1941, the Counterintelligence Branch of MID had progressed to the point where it was relatively well-prepared to perform most of its major functional responsibilities and to participate actively in the crucial military security problems which were about to face the Nation.


ONI Message

From: Director of Naval Intelligence
To: Pacific Coast Communication Superintendent
Subject: Japanese Government Radio Traffic
Reference: (a) Letter 1651-24 of 25 January 1924

1. Reference (a) addressed to the Chief of Naval Operations was referred to this office. The letter itself has been referred to the Director of Naval Communications so far as the traffic problem is concerned.

2. The enclosures have been examined in this office and they are all from Japanese officials in this country to Japanese Government offices, principally to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

3. The copies enclosed have been sent to the Cryptographic Section of the Code & Signal Section, where they are accumulating a file of all Japanese code messages and it is noted that code and English and code and Japanese have been mixed which us a valuable aid in cryptography.

4. This office also picked up one or two names from Buenos Aires that are interesting from the espionage standpoint and the message regarding Loomis shows his standing as a propagandist in the Japanese Government.

5. It is believed highly desirable that copies of all Japanese messages in code and all Japanese messages in plain Japanese addressed to government offices in Japan or in the United States be sent to this office for examination and later to be sent to the Code & Signal Section for cryptographic work. It is requested if practicable that this be done. It is impossible to get from the telephone companies or cable companies any Japanese messages, government of otherwise.

/s/ Henry H. Hough



Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Main