Thursday, January 16, 2014

Decoded US diplomatic messages from 1944

In the US National Archives, in collection RG 457 ‘Records of the National Security Agency’ - Entry 9032 - boxes 205-213 ‘German decrypts of US diplomatic messages 1944’ one can find many decoded messages from US embassies and consulates around the world.

These were messages decoded in WWII by the Germans. Specifically the codebreaking department of the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces – OKW/Chi (Oberkommando der Wehrmacht/Chiffrier Abteilung).
The codebreakers of OKW/Chi could solve most State Department cryptosystems, not only the low level ‘Gray’, ‘Brown’ but also the high level ‘A1’, ‘C1’ and the M-138-A strip cipher.

Unfortunately we don’t know the full story of their success with State Department systems.
Their main targets were the US embassies in European countries like Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland and the Soviet Union. However it seems they did not neglect to intercept and decode messages from around the globe.

Here are some interesting samples.
Mrs Morgenthau’s trip to Moscow


Kabul government recognizes Syria and Lebanon as independent republics


Information on South African gold mines

Speech by Gandhi and information on Purshotamdas Thakurdas and Ardeshir Dalal


Saudi gold

Railway policy in Iran


Arab union resolution on Palestine


US policy in Greece

Avoidance of Soviet shipping routes in the Far East for US officials


Nickel purchases in Australia

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