German saboteurs landed in the USA from U-boats in 1942: report of operation (KV3/413) 18/01/1943 - 04/02/1946

In June 1942, two groups of sabotage agents landed in the USA from U-boats. Following their apprehension and interrogation, Victor Rothschild went to Washington to be briefed on this Abwehr operation, codenamed PASTORIUS; named so after Francis Pastorius, who led the first German settlement in USA in the 17th century. Rothschild's subsequent report outlines the sabotage mission's objectives, which were to slow down factory production and increase unease. Rothschild lists the training the German recruits received at 'Sabotage School', which included using and revealing 'secret ink'. The saboteurs were instructed to 'trust nobody and kill any man who turned traitor' and told that 'any traitor should be liquidated by force'.

Summarising the operation itself, Rothschild described how the submarine used by saboteurs ran aground and how 'it was only owing to the laziness or stupidity of the American coastguards that this submarine was not attacked by USA forces'. The report states that one saboteur openly declared himself to be a secret agent in an American bar after consuming alcohol. At the time of writing, Rothschild stated there was almost certainly a third group of landed German agents 'still at large'.

File KV3/413 is available to view on Discovery.

Use of poisons by the German Sabotage Service (KV3/414) 22/11/1944 - 26/08/1945

The interrogation of captured German sabotage agents produced reports which showed that, as part of their training, they had been lectured by the SD on the use of poisons for various purposes. This included suicide, assassination, poisoning water wells and contaminating food. German plans to use poison as a post-war weapon included the addition of poisons to alcoholic beverages; the injection of poison into sausages; arsenic in cake and bread; and poisoned Nescafe, sugar, aspirin, German cigarettes and chocolate. In particular, the file discusses the use of poisonous cigarette lighters that kill the smoker, and poisonous powders and brown pellets which, when placed in ashtrays, vaporised with the heat of cigar or cigarette ash, killing anyone nearby. Plans to use germ warfare involved supplying 'microbes' to female agents, concealed in a compact mirror kept in their handbag, to use against highly placed persons in Allied territory.

File KV3/414 is available to view on Discovery.

D3 Survey of Russian Espionage in the United Kingdom 1935-1955 (KV3/417) 16/11/1955 - 22/05/1956

The file contains a potted history of world events and contemporary profiles of the most significant agents from this period. These include Edith Tudor-Hart, a key figure in the recruitment of the Cambridge spy ring, Soviet agent Percy Glading of the Woolwich Arsenal spy ring and atomic spy Klaus Fuchs. The file also includes a chronology of the lives of Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean up until their appearance at a Moscow press conference in February 1956. Burgess and Maclean associate, John Cairncross, is also profiled and it is noted that members of the now notorious Cambridge spy ring 'were for the most part men of exceptional intellect' whose positions had given them access to 'classified political information of high importance'.

There is some debate in the file over the inclusion or otherwise of Kim Philby, who was at the time still under investigation, although it was thought unfair to include Philby alongside other proven spies. The potted history was designed as a manual for new officers but its distribution was confined to Head Office: 'It must certainly not go to the Americans since it reveals an alarming number of known spies still walking about as free men'.

File KV3/417 is available to view on Discovery.