We still think there is a fascinating book to be written on Allen Dulles in Switzerland and his involvement with a close group in Berne, including an American heiress and a Swiss Banker, as well as ALIU, the Art Looting Investigation Unit set up after the war. If you can ever get to a truth in the smoke and mirror world of spies, part of the story we believe is concealed in documents still classified under the Safehaven Papers. We did not find any smoking gun, indeed Dulles’s involvement is rather thrilling, but there is certainly a story to be told. It has been touched on in the academic collection of documents On Hitler’s Doorstep. But our story involves the diaries of Count Ciano, smuggled into Italy by his wife and Mussolini’s favourite daughter, Edda, British and American agents working together, Drew Heinz, the hugely rich American heiress and figures like Colditz escapee Pat Reid and the painter Balthus. It also involves a story that caused a spat on the Internet about how downed American airmen were treated at camps like Wilmeroose.

It was fascinating though how uninterested literary agents have been, and especially in America. Apparently they will not touch books on the CIA, though of course then it was still the OSS, unless handled by well known academics. Rather a waste of important historical documents too, like a letter by Mussolini’s daughter on Hitler’s attitude to women and of a very dramatic story in Switzerland. Sniffing into it at the National Archives in the UK we found reference to a wireless set installed at the British Legation in Berne, just as we have a record of Drew Heinz’s one time husband Dale Maher calling himself ‘Master of the Five by Five’, the best Nato radio signal possible, but requests for access to documents have simply been ignored. As official MI5 Historian Christopher Andrew once said, one of the richest sources of intelligence history is in neutral territories like Switzerland, for obvious reasons, namely they became critical vantage points.

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Filed under America and the UK, Education

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