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Anyone want to do the honours? >.<
Interesting article by Mark Stout titled: "The Pond: Running Agents for State, War, and the CIA, The Hazards of Private Spy Operations" https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-.../article07.html I have drifted into information concerning "The Pond" over the past few weeks and have began to cross check information that I have gathered over the years with these new revelations. Just scratching the surface it seems. The Pond was the name given to a super secrete spy organization ran by John V. "Frenchy" Grombach for a period of about 13 years between 1942 and 1955. This organization originally worked under the auspices of Military Intelligence although Grombach was on loan to OSS at times during WWII and the information points to the fact that John J. McCloy, if not the father of the Pond was in fact its wetnurse. After the war Grombach's group worked for the military, the State Department, the CIA and provided information to Joseph McCarthy during the days of the Red Scare and the McCarthy hearings. Grombach led crusades against Alfred MacCormick, Allen Dulles, William Donovan and even John J. McCloy, depending upon his priotities at the time. He fought for the abolition of the OSS and tried to destroy the CIA after he was bypassed for the leadership position within that organization. While much about The Pond remains a mystery what is for sure is that Grombach was a powerful person in the field of intelligence and continued to peddle his wares, information and influence beyond what would be officially considered his time of usefullness. Some areas that are of interest for myself: Grombach was closely associated with the creation of OSS/SI which was headed by Whitney Shepardson (I have started a topic on Shepardson that I hope to continue adding to). OSS/SI seems to have been the group that watched over OSS Stockholm Station during WWII and Grombach can be/is being tied to members of the OSS Stockholm team. This was a surprize so I reviewed Anthony Cave Brown's book "Wild Bill Donovan the Last Hero" (Times Books, 1982). Stockholm receives no mention whatsoever from the OSS Chief/Brown although that particular station can be credited with some very important successes of the OSS. For example, Fortitude North (allied deception planning prior to the D-Day landings), Himmler's peace feelers to the Allies in 1944, negotiations leading to the survival of 100-200,000 Hungarian Jews, tracking of ball bearings into Germany, German production of oil and synthetic fuels, piece feelers from Japan, etc. including the interception of the Finnish Intelligence corp and cryptological team that began the Venonal Project (ie. Frank Rowlett and Meredith Gardner, Oswald investigators). A member of this OSS Stockholm team was Richard "Dick" Helms. When I cross checked Grombach to the book by Peter Grose (Gentleman Spy, the Life of Allen Dulles, Houghton Mifflin, 1994) I found five entries dealing with this mysterious fellow. Each entry sparked interest but two really caught my eye. First, on pages 276-279 we have a discription of the testimonys three men gave at a secret hearing in congress on June 27, 1947. The three men, in order, were Hoyt S. Vandenber, then head of the Central Intellligence Group, followed by John V. "Frenchie" Grombach who is described by the author as a "shadowy freelancer under contract" but whose invitation to this hearing shows obvious importance within the intelligence community. The final speaker was Allen Dulles who, "minced no words in puncturing the simple-minded prescriptions of the freelance sleuths and the notion that collection of intelligence and its analysis could be so neatly disconnected....Allen worried about 'these private collectors of information...I think it is impossible to continue with a series of agencies engaged in the work of secret inteligence...You are going to cross wires, and you are going to find that these various agents will become crossed.' he urged that control of secret collection operations be assigned exclusively to theproposed central agency.. "Vanenberg, though loyal to the uniformed services, whet even further that Allen in complaining about contract entrepreneurs like Grombach....." Two paragraphs later (page 279)we read..."a loosely defined Central Intelligence Agency was established by law on July 26, 1947. The new agency assumed the functions of the galtering CIG, and absorbed the few OSS veterans remaining in the field - the PERSONAL NETWORKS (capital letters mine) NUTURED BY THE LIKES OF (RICHARD) HELMS and (JAMES JESUS) ANGLETON, who had been conserving their intelligence assets in Germany and Italy under the supervision of the War Department." The use of the phrase "PERSONAL NETWORKS" says a lot considering the information that I am researching dealing with Helms at this time. The second piece of information that I found most interesting upon cross checking Grombach in this context was on pages 405 - 408 of Grose's book. It deals with Dulles fight to maintain control of the U-2 within the hands of the CIA vs the Airforce. "General Curtis LeMay, chief of the Strategic Air Command and renowned in his day for tough-talking bravado, told a staff meeting, 'We'll let them develop it (the U-2) and then we'll take it away from them.' They tried; even a year later, in July 1955, as a prototype U-2 was checked out for its first test flight, Bissell warned Allen that the air force still had designs on the project. As the CIA men left the briefing room, Bissell remembers giving a final message to the director: 'Don't let Le-May get his cotton-picking fingers on the U-2.' Having brought his agency this far, Allen needed no such reminders." "...Eisenhower had more confidence in the CIA than the Pentagon.... "Notably on the offense against CIA was Frenchie Grombach, pursuing his eight-year vendetta against the presumptuous civilian intelligence service. The agency, having tired of Grombach's flow of unevaluated barroom gossip, had canceled the contract that had kept him in business for the past three years, and he was seeking new buyers for the secrets uncovered by his private networks." Grombach then passed information to "Major General Arthur Trudeau, an engineer and gifted battle commander from WWII and Korea, who had no particular background in intelligence. An admirer of MacArthur, he fell easily into his service's suspicions of CIA. Numerous reports were coming in from Grombach...Trudeau had asked the West German ambassador in Washington for an opportunity to discuss intelligence concerns with a couterpart from Bonn's armed forces... (Trudeau) was escirted into the embassy garden and introduced to the ambassador's house guest, Konrad Adenauer. Trudeau plunged in, confiding to the West German Chancellor his concers...and the dangers of NATO secrts being passed to Moscow. He pulled a packet of seven index cards from his uniform jacket and read out some of the derogatory reports coming in to military intelligence. Adenauer heard him out, then asked to have the general's cards for his own review.' "Returning to Bonn, Adenauer and his aids went throug Trudeau's file cards with the local CIA station chief, James Critchfield, who recognized familiar half-baked accusations (from Grombach) that had already been checked out and dismisssed. He cabled a report to Allen, who reacted with a rate burst of outrage...at the audacity of the Pentagon general in passing unevaluated field reports, on his own initiative, to a foreign head of state. In July the new army chief of staff, GENERAL MAXWELL TAYLOR, summoned Trudeau for an explanation, and they went over the same seven index cards....A power struggle between a journeyman chidf of army intelligence and the revered head of the CIA was no contest at all, and within days Trudeau was transferred to another command in the Far East." (I might point out that, according to Grose, six years later the information passed by Grombach to Trudeau/Adenhauer proved to be correct) Private intelligence organizations controlled by the Grombachs, Helms and Angeltons of the world along with Military Intelligence infighting with CIA over projects like the U-2....... What are we to make of this? I will admit that this area is opening so many doors for me that it is overwelming my time and limited mental capabilities, It does seem that this long dusty trail that I am following continues to lead to the same people...McCloy, Taylor, Helms, Dulles, U-2, Signals Communications, etc., etc. Thoughts about the Pond? Jim Root