German Capitulation, North Italy (OSS)

(Memoranda for the President : Sunrise)

Intelligence cables covering the capitulation of the German armies in northern Italy. Among the William J. Donovan papers are five volumes entitled OSS Reports to the White House containing carbons of memorandum predominantly transmitting or paraphrasing intelligence reports for the President’s personal attention.

kriegsgefangene They are characteristically introduced by a note to the President’s secretary, Miss Grace Tully : Dear Grace : Will you please hand the attached memorandum to the President ? I believe it will be of interest to him. They begin in modest quantity, the first volume covering a full two years and including some administrative matters such as requests for draft deferment; but those for the nine months beginning with July 1944 occupy three volumes, almost exclusively intelligence.
After President Roosevelt’s death and the end of the war in Europe they taper off in the fifth volume bound, curiously, in reverse chronology and again include non substantive material, particularly concerning the formation of a peacetime central intelligence agency. The reports are for the most part not the finished intelligence that the President might now be expected to examine personally. They do include summaries of some Research and Analysis Branch estimates of the age distribution of German casualties, for example, or the Soviet Union’s population in 1970 – but the bulk of them are unedited reporting from individual case officers on subjects of particular importance or of particular interest to President Roosevelt. For the historian this minute but choice fraction of the total of OSS raw reporting constitutes a pre-selected documentary source of considerable value.

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