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The Counter Intelligence Corps and its activities in Australia and New Guinea 1942-1945.

In the panoply of intelligence agencies that operated in New Guinea during World War II, few are as intriguing and prone to criticism as the Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC). (1)

The CIC had its origin in the Corps of Intelligence Police set up by US forces in World War I. It was re-established under the new title as of 1 January 1942. (2) Detachments served in counterintelligence operations around the world from Iceland to Burma, undertaking tasks as varied as guarding the Manhattan Project and uncovering German soldiers disguised as Americans during the Battle of the Bulge.

In the South West Pacific Area (SWPA), General MacArthur's headquarters assumed responsibility for positive intelligence relating to operations, while the rear echelon USAFFE (United States Armed Forces Far East) in Australia was given responsibility for denying vital information to the enemy: the CIC was the agency directed to undertake the counterintelligence task. The mission of the CIC in the SWPA was to provide a group of specially selected men,
 to detect and investigate all manners pertaining to espionage,
 sabotage, disaffection and subversive activity occurring within the
 military organisations, to apprehend enemy agents or otherwise to
 nullify their activities, to inform proper authorities regarding
 differences in the security of vital civil or military
 installations, to assist in the security instruction of military
 personnel in the field and during stabilised operations, and in
 combat operations to assist in ensuring the necessity security of
 captured enemy installations, documents and material". (3)

While some suggest that CIC has similarities with the Gestapo or the Japanese Kempeitai, (4) one of the CIC's main preoccupations was the investigation of US troops. Indeed, it gained the sobriquet "the FBI of the Army". (5) As it was small, (the CIC never reached more than 5000 agents across all theatres) it needed to work in conjunction with other intelligence agencies. Where it was attached to US Army units it supported the recruitment of informers to create an "elaborate and fine network of secret agents" with, according to Finnegan, an average ratio of one informant to every thirty men. In just one of the nine service commands in the US, 52,000 operatives produced 162,000 reports in one month; CIC agents were required to pursue any issue arising from this mountain of words. (6) As an example of their enthusiasm, a million security reports revealed 600 suspects. Even the CIC admitted that it allocated half its man-hours in 1942-43 to the selection of its own applicants. (7)

If this sounds like an agency that was doing little to thwart the enemy, for much of its existence Allied observers were similarly confused. There were other and competing intelligence bodies seemingly doing the same job; commanding officers often expected CIC agents to be first class combat troops, which they were not trained to be; they were confused with the military police, whether as part of its criminal investigation unit or linked with provost marshal units; and they tended to poach tasks allocated to other units.

CIC agents were selected from the best of the Army intake--often from peacetime occupations such as lawyer, journalist, detective or insurance investigator. Every agent was educated to at least officer level (that is, an IQ of 110), they commonly had at least one college degree and were required to speak one foreign language, they were not expected to take on guard duty or other inconsequential task, and they were "encouraged to exercise initiative to the fullest extent and will be permitted to operate with minimum restrictions.." (8) CIC agents could "make arrests of US Army personnel" and in US jurisdictions they could arrest non-Army personnel "where the arrest appears essential to the performance of the CIC mission". The opportunity was there for agents to become a law unto themselves. (9)

What irked many was that with the talent residing in CIC, it should have accomplished more. To make things complicated from a military perspective, the agents were rarely commissioned: one of the problems CIC had was convincing suitable applicants to join the CIC as a private when with their unique qualifications they could as easily have entered officer's school. Further, they were expected to remain as enlisted men with little chance of promotion (leading them to become known as the 'Corps of Indignant Corporals'). Only in the SWPA was the CIC agent required to wear badges of rank; this was circumvented where possible and agent badges were pinned on the underside of the shirt lapel. As two intelligence officers said after the end of the war in what must be one of the great understatements, the CIC "frequently got in everybody's hair". (10)

Perhaps the continuing bureaucratic problems experienced by the CIC were partly to blame--the command of the organisation always seemed in a state of flux (11) and through the war the CIC had come under the control of the 5227th CIC Detachment (Provisional) and then the 441st CIC Detachment. Indeed, the machinations would be worthy of a separate study by a student of organisations. As an untried agency it was not until after the North African landings that the CIC gained some general measure of credibility which then washed over into the SWPA (12). But to some senior officers, fighting in a country such as New Guinea where the prospects of espionage, sabotage and subversion were limited and the resistance movement decidedly slim, the CIC represented a burden without any offsetting advantages. In some commands it was undoubtedly given short shrift. The CIC history suggests late 1944 as the time when it had "sold" the message of its usefulness to unit commanders, (13) and that may have been the case with the US 6th Army.

Given the CIC's broad canvas of shortcomings, we need to assess the role it played in Australia and New Guinea. In the dark days of early 1942, Brigadier Elliot Thorpe escaped from Java and with the agreement of General MacArthur, established a counter intelligence apparatus in Australia. Thorpe was given the position of Assistant Chief of Staff, G-2 (Intelligence), USAFFE, and remained chief of the section and director of counter intelligence throughout the war. A section of 14 officers and men began CIC operations in April 1942. Thorpe set up his area with three components: theatre censor, being responsible for censorship of all US mail and photographs within SWPA; security, responsible for maintaining security in the region including disseminating literature and indoctrination material; and the investigative section, responsible for investigation and suppression of all subversive activities, security violations and sabotage. (14)

One cannot separate Australia from the operations of CIC in the SWPA. Whereas MacArthur and his team acted as the forward echelon and moved some distance behind the troops, the USAFFE as the rear echelon used Australia as its base. USAFFE and CIC headquarters moved from Melbourne to Sydney, and then to Brisbane in February 1943. By the end of 1944 it was in Hollandia, and by 14 March 1945 the headquarters had moved to Manila. (15) Obviously, CIC advance bases moved far earlier than headquarters, with the first advance base at Port Moresby from 17 October 1942 followed by one at Milne Bay. As of 1943, all CIC operations on the island came under the control of a detachment at Oro Bay. When Hollandia was taken the detachment there assumed responsibility for Dutch New Guinea while the Oro Bay detachment looked after Papua and New Guinea. (16) We turn to a review of the efficacy of the CIC by viewing its three stated missions.


Censorship of mail from US troops was a massive task. There were few trained operatives (trained censors were not sent from the US until November 1943) and the massive build-up of troops produced enormous quantities of outgoing mail needing to be censored: incoming mail was not examined. Staffing problems were only barely overcome by the recruitment of Australian civilians--initially there were six women in a Melbourne suburban house concentrating on letters from non-English correspondents, with the figure rising to a claimed 2000 civilians recruited in 1943. (17) The mail was read by a unit censor then sent to base office then to the theatre censor where it was spot-checked; the theatre censor could make recommendations for action such as destruction of the item. In September 1942 a combination base office and theatre censorship office was moved to Sydney from Melbourne, and a base office established in Port Moresby soon after. This gave six base censorship offices, at Darwin, Townsville, Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and Port Moresby. (18)

By November 1942 there were over one million pieces of mail leaving Australia each month, with over half a million going through the Brisbane office. This figure reached 4,510,906 items by September 1943. The amount of mail undergoing censorship only reached about 15 per cent and so new offices had to be opened (including a field office at Rockhampton). Brisbane remained the "hub of the censor's wheel" until 1944 when Port Moresby took over; the hub then moved to Biak, Leyte, and Luzon. With the push to the Philippines, former base offices including Darwin and Adelaide had closed by the end of 1943. When Army Transport Command moved to Port Moresby in April 1944, the censorship staff there was simply unable to cope and censorship coverage ran at about one half of one per cent. This forced the downgrading of the Cairns, Sydney, Melbourne and Rockhampton offices and all possible personnel were sent to Port Moresby (Australian civilians were not allowed outside the country). A solution came with the arrival in Port Moresby of the 5203rd WAC (Women's Army Corps) Detachment, with most WACs transferring to censorship duties. By October 1944 the Port Moresby office was clearing 572, 819 pieces of mail per month. Base censors were also appointed at Lae, Finschhafen, and Hollandia. To handle materials leaving the main ports a base was set up at Milne Bay, and later at Finschhafen.

An associated challenge was that of photographs. While the US Signal Corps usually took responsibility for developing and censorship of photographs this was not possible so Kodak in Brisbane was given the task from May 1943. But by July 1945, two million roils of film were checked during the month and the Kodak office clearly was not coping. Kodak in Brisbane was allowed to co-opt the Kodak offices in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide, air freighting the materials to the other plants, but the demand was too great. The level of soldiers' complaints reached the ears of General Sutherland who instigated an inquiry, although the findings showed the fault did not lie with the censors.

Security Measures

The second mission of the CIC was security, and the initial focus was US bases in Australia. In conjunction with the Australian Security Services, the CIC established programs to screen the employment of civilians. A list of undesirables was drawn up and circulated to all bases. Lectures on security matters were arranged for troops entering the area. To ascertain the usefulness of security measures, in April and May of 1942 a program known as 'security (espionage) checks' was introduced to determine how much enemy agents could learn if present. A group of ten Australians, eight of them women whose backgrounds "might not be generally considered respectable", were trained and told to circulate among US servicemen and women at public places such as bars and restaurants. Some 30 reports a week were submitted on their findings and not surprisingly, "uncovered considerable evidence of security lapses in unguarded conversations". The program was discontinued when sufficient CIC agents were available to undertake security checks of their own. In addition, a "Counter Subversive System" or operation to determine the level of disaffection, low morale or the potential for sabotage, was instituted by intelligence officers in the army camps. (19)

Security posters (such as 'The Enemy is Listening' or identification charts of enemy aircraft) were printed and hung in taverns, restaurants and at railway stations. Cards and menu folders were printed and placed on restaurant and pub tables while slides stressing the importance of security were played during intervals at movie theatres. For troops, training films and animated films were shown on the same topic. To ensure adequate coverage of CIC agents beyond the base offices, extra field offices were established at Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Rockhampton where there was the highest concentration of troops.

Intelligence officers were kept up to date with a regular newsletter, known as 'Bi-Weekly Intelligence Survey' and later 'Counter Intelligence Bulletin', which included news, stories of the CIC in action overseas, hints on Japanese booby traps or other ordnance, as well as including updated lists of citizens not suitable for employment at US Army bases.

Security was to remain a problem. When attack seemed imminent, there was little worry with the passage of information, but as the months passed and the level of troops rose in Australia, the public became disinterested. Evidence grew of breaches. When Japanese submarines entered Sydney harbour the enemy knew the locations of the shipping in port at the time, including the number of warships, their types and exact locations. In New Guinea it was known that the enemy had received information through "activities of enemy agents or resident collaborators within our areas, interrogation of our troops taken prisoner, reconnaissance by air, submarines and small craft, capture of mail bags and diaries". (20) There was a definite need to increase security. precautions.

Australian intelligence agencies organised the country into areas: offices were established in each of these locations to maintain a closer security check. From March 1943, a "concerted drive" was undertaken to instruct the Australian public as well as the US troops, and this emphasis was not relaxed until the war ended. The indoctrination program included posters, radio advertising and lectures. A security survey was made of the coast watching system, of ports, of the US Army safe-hand courier system, of travel centres and of small units in the field. (21) The CIC at this time became "more and more" concerned with security matters. At the request of General George C Marshall, CIC conducted night "raids" on the offices of Headquarters, USAFFE as well as 5th Air Force, Intelligence Corps and other headquarters where the raiders took every classified document in open view. CIC operatives travelled through regional areas to Cairns, Townsville, and Mackay to see if there were security problems, and later the group went to Adelaide, Port Moresby, Oro Bay and Milne Bay. Agents also sought out areas of friction that could have led to adverse publicity. This included looking at subversive organisations, and conflict between Australians and Americans. When the Philippine invasion was planned, two three-man lecture teams were sent around bases in Australia making presentations on three themes--general security matters, the importance of not disclosing information, and dealing with prisoners. In July 1944 teams were sent to the New Guinea combat zone. Subsequently teams lectured on the experience in the Philippines and then prepared troops for the invasion of Japan-eventually ten teams were used. Linked with this activity were radio lectures and spot comments on security through the "jungle network" of Army radio stations, and the distribution of 'The Intelligence and Security Guidebook for SWPA' to appropriate personnel.

From 1943, the CIC was involved with what was known as "panelling" or checking ships for security breaches. The original intent was to control the passage of merchant seamen sailing into forward areas, so all seamen were screened and a register of shipping maintained. In 1944, 4621 ships were boarded and the papers and effects of 47,553 seamen examined. In July 1944, CIC was requested to coordinate the panelling of aircraft, so points were established at Milne Bay, Hollandia and Biak: by the end of 1944 12,649 aircraft had been checked along with the papers of 1,002,000 persons. In June 1945 the CIC handed this task to the Military Police. (22)

Investigative Section

Investigations constituted the third area of CIC's mission. Given the expectation of an invasion in early 1942, there were concerns that aboriginal tribes that had been befriended by Japanese lugger crews over years, would help any invasion force. (23) In conjunction with Australian security authorities, the CIC began work with the tribes--one officer spent twelve months on this task. Also, agents worked with tribes in the inland, encouraging them to help any Allied airmen who had landed miles from civilisation and needing guidance or help in getting back to the authorities. (24) By May 1942 agents were investigating sabotage claims on aircraft and shipping, aircraft crashes, fire in Army installations and machinery breakdowns. In December 1942 for example, there were three cases of apparent sabotage at the Jackson aerodrome at Port Moresby. Other activities included "checking port and coast security, examining suspect persons and organisations, investigating 'accidents' involving Allied personnel and equipment, fighting unfounded rumours and loose talk" and other tasks as required (25)

As there were shortages of trained CIC agents in the theatre, a decision was made in July 1942 to recruit agents locally. This led to recruitment from US troops already in Australia, and some 14 were selected from a pool of 1500. These recruits were then given courses on intelligence, investigative procedures and report writing, surveillance, use of informants, interrogation procedures, espionage, counterespionage, censorship, codes and ciphers, and explosives. Australian experts were also used where possible. Training was initially carried out in classrooms of the Melbourne Grammar School. A move was made to Brisbane in February 1943 and a permanent school was set up there as from June 1943 in the T and G Building in the city. (26) From early 1944, a mansion in the Brisbane suburb of Hamilton known as "Palmarosa" was taken over for the two or three week training courses. (27) In addition to any local recruits, all incoming CIC agents from Camp Ritchie in Maryland were given localised training there. Courses grew to include jungle training, combat counter intelligence, field security, and map reading. For those likely to work in combat units in New Guinea, extra jungle training was added, along with courses in pidgin, Malay or Tagalog. On occasions, CIC agents also trained at Canungra and at the Australian School of Military Intelligence. Later schools were set up in Hollandia, Manila and Tokyo. (28)

When Hollandia fell, some Allied citizens were released from prison. They were all taken to Brisbane and interrogated by CIC staff; information provided gave knowledge of Japanese interrogation techniques. (29) Similarly when the Philippines was stormed, 76 formerly imprisoned American military personnel were questioned for possible future leads on the Kempeitai and other agencies. While planning for the Philippines invasion was underway, the US 2nd Filipino Battalion was taken over by the CIC to assist with counterintelligence work and their leaders taken to Brisbane. There they were given intensive training from 23 August until 17 September 1944, then returned to Oro Bay to help train the rest of the battalion. (30) Conferences and meetings among various intelligence groupings were held at "Palmarosa" on a regular basis. (31)

One of the key activities of CIC was undertaking investigations. In September 1944, for example, the number of cases by category was: sabotage 17, espionage 5, incidents 57, subversive 9, loyalty 2264, disaffection 107, security surveys 34, for a total of 2511. In the May 1943-February 1944 period the proportion of cases was loyalty of personnel 67%, disaffection 11%, security 11%, subversive 5%, incidents 3%, and sabotage and espionage 1%. (32)

Agents gathering data for their cases made use of the latest technical equipment and procedures. Brisbane became the home of the technical support apparatus. A photographic laboratory was established in September 1943 to photograph staff working in support of CIC and requiring identification (such as native police used at Hollandia) as well as any suspects, documents, and examples of CIC projects. The facility was also able to develop confiscated Japanese film. In August 1944 a chemical laboratory was set up to permit chemical analysis along criminological lines, to detect secret inks and to detect items of sabotage as used in fuels, engines or other mechanical components. Fingerprinting and ballistics identification was undertaken in the technical laboratory (knowledge of fingerprints was especially useful in the Philippines where the Japanese destroyed almost all official records and the CIC's work there managed to facilitate the arrest of collaborators). Once the CIC moved north to Hollandia, the technical laboratory was developed and improved at that location.

Brisbane also housed the research teams. These agents prepared briefing papers on the Japanese agencies such as the Kempeitai (military police), the Special Service Organisations (Tokumu Kikan) (33), the neighbourhoods association (Hoko system), and the Army Intelligence Department in charge of espionage and fifth column activities, the Rikugun Sho Dai Nika. They also produced a gazetteer of the SWPA and the South Pacific, and a range of topical studies on future target areas (such as the oil fields at Balikpapan and nickel mines in the Celebes). From July/August 1944 the teams prepared a series of twelve Area Studies or geographical terrain studies including maps of likely target locations. (34) Included in the material was either 'black lists' of expected disloyal suspects or 'white lists' of likely supporters. The same unit prepared the "Who's Who of the Philippines" in September 1944 which listed the most likely collaborators as well as key figures in any new civil government. Studies on the Philippines including shipping, armaments, politics and economics were prepared at the express request of MacArthur's office. Later the unit prepared studies on likely targets in Japan.

The researchers also compiled material on Japanese atrocities. These were given to the G-2 USAFFE for checking and subsequently forwarded to the Webb commission of inquiry into the topic and to the Allied War Crimes Commission.

Another interest of G-2 USAFFE was the obtaining of technical intelligence. Combat units were required to send any new item of materiel to the Allied Enemy Equipment Board in Brisbane while any documents were sent to the Allied Translator and Interpreter Section (ATIS). However, the success rate of this exercise was not considered satisfactory as too many items were being kept as souvenirs. So USAFFE called a conference of all technical staff sections under its control and new guidelines were laid down for holding souvenirs. Sayer and Botting suggest that the CIC helped fix the issue by offering troops a 'grab bag' of gifts--provide the CIC with an item needing to be assessed and the soldier could have in exchange an item from the 'grab bag' containing materiel of no military significance. (35)

A significant deficiency for CIC agents for some period was their lack of understanding of the territory or inhabitants of the island of New Guinea. When Thorpe set up the counterintelligence unit he instituted training in Malay from his earlier experience in Dutch New Guinea, although this was next to useless in Papua or New Guinea. In June 1943 the CIC was given approval to work with ANGAU (Australian New Guinea Administrative Unit). (36) Eleven members of the CIC spent three months with ANGAU, receiving training in field-craft and native customs, and learning the Japanese approach to administration. CIC thereafter maintained a close link with ANGAU staff. (37) This exposure helped CIC agents understand better the intricacies of the interview process, as suspects needed to be interviewed in their own language (CIC agents worked with Nisei, ATIS staff or sometimes their own men who could speak the appropriate language or dialect). In addition the CIC agents learned the importance of preparing typed interviews and affidavits along with other legal requirements that enabled the guilty to be taken to court as required. (38)

With these skills at their disposal, there was a demand for CIC agents to go into combat, and indeed, become part of the leading echelons in landings on enemy territory. In the European theatre, there was resistance from the CIC to their agents going into battle but it was not the same in the SWPA. (39) From 17 April 1943 the proposition was accepted that CIC agents were to act with forward combat troops. The intent was that they would make "an immediate and continuous check of the battle area for civilians, both native and white, and individual enemy personnel, question and investigate refugees, combat fifth column activities, ensure internal security, locate, secure and guard vital installations such as public utilities and aid the intelligence officer of the task force". (40) In combat zones, CIC agents came under the control of the tactical G-2s.

The first landing with CIC agents was on 22 June 1943 with the Kiriwini and Woodlark Island operations. They "immediately put security measures into effect", liaised with ANGAU and began a survey of the local natives to find out what information they could on the Japanese presence. CIC agents were subsequently involved in combat operations at Saidor, the Admiralties, Finschhafen, Oro Bay, Aitape, Hollandia, Wakde-Sarmi, Sansapor, Biak, Morotai, the Solomons, New Caledonia, Bougainville, and New Britain, prior to their heavy involvement in the Philippines.

Among their activities were the obtaining of documents (it is claimed that 350,000 were obtained) and sending these to ATIS in Brisbane, taking information or items from bodies, looking to secure technical equipment such as new ordnance or radars, liaising with ANGAU and establishing a native intelligence network that helped bring in Japanese soldiers, interviewing suspects, searching buildings, arresting collaborators, screening civilians, distributing posters, giving lectures, and going on patrol to seek out collaborators or Japanese agents. They were often the first to interrogate downed Japanese airmen brought in by natives, and they accompanied Nisei operators working with ATIS when moving to an area where Japanese were to be interrogated. Where possible, CIC agents went with the natives to church and mingled with the congregation to ascertain the whereabouts of Japanese stragglers (the offering of a reward probably helped). CIC was part of the planning before any landing in Japanese-held areas, advising on security concerns, while the CIC was often involved in positive intelligence gathering as well as counterintelligence activities. (41) At Noemfoor they supervised what was described as a 'counter reconnaissance screen' which involved watching for enemy observation, reconnaissance and filtration. (42) They also established parachute units such as the one with the 11th Airborne Division that went through the usual training in New Guinea. (43) In the Wakde-Sarmi area agents went into the air in spotter aircraft to search for Japanese command posts.

Given their interest in technical intelligence, the CIC sections moving into combat zones included a number of extra men--the US Navy had Mobile Explosives Intelligence Units, the Army had ordnance specialists, engineers, chemical warfare technicians "and others". In addition, there were often AIB (Australian Intelligence Bureau) and ANGAU representatives plus NEFIS (Netherlands Forces Intelligence Service) or other personnel able to work with civil agencies. The intent was that when the unit landed, seizure of enemy documents would take place with the advice of ATIS, enemy equipment would be under the eye of the technical equipment services, interrogation would be handled with ATIS, the civil representatives such as the Netherlands Indies Civil Administration (NICA) would begin work on establishing order, while CIC would be coordinating these activities as well as looking out for fifth column activity, collaborators or other enemy infiltration. (44)

An informal report from a CIC agent who was with the Humboldt Bay landing during the Hollandia operations gives a good feel for what could be achieved. With his section he landed at H + 76 (i.e. three days after the main force) and he sent back through Intelligence Corps approximately 3500 pounds weight of documents and printed material. His unit screened and processed some 300 natives and others in the area. Two Ambonese who had worked for the Japanese were arrested. Two radar sets were located and turned over to the Intelligence Corps. The CIC also located four different types of bomb sights, meteorological equipment, as well as "one of the new types of incendiary grenades and a mortar shell with a new type of filler". (45)

Brigadier Thorpe described the recruitment of two Mormons who were sent to work behind the Japanese lines in the Vogelkop region of Dutch New Guinea, staying there three months. (46) He also described a project based on Merauke when natives were supplied with a boat and told to sail into Japanese-held ports to try and purchase rubber. Not surprisingly, this was "not a great Success". (47)

The actual number of CIC agents in Australia and on the island of New Guinea is not known with any accuracy. While the staffing of the CIC agents across all theatres approached 5000, the CIC history in the SWPA says that it grew from two officers to become a "trained team of several thousand" although this figure must include a sizeable allocation of ancillary staff. The ideal number allocated to one division was 26 (one officer and 25 enlisted men). From the initial allocation of two agents in the SWPA the CIC went to 50 staff in Australia by February 1943 (23 of them agents), and there were sizeable later allocations of US-based staff. Sayer and Botting say that only "one roster of CIC personnel now exists" as of February 1945 and that is "demonstrably erroneous". They do advise that as at September 1944, there were 39 detachments of CIC agents, with 73 officers and 381 agents. (48) The total complement in the SWPA may have been around 450 agents and 1500 ancillary staff.


For its own reasons, the rear echelon USAFFE decided to duplicate services administered by MacArthur's Headquarters. Thus CIC developed a publishing arm that did much the same work as that of the Allied Geographical Section (AGS) while in technical intelligence CIC duplicated the activity of the 5250th Company, also under the direction of GHQ SWPA. (49) On the positive side, the CIC was willing to work closely with other intelligence agencies as well as bodies including NICA and ANGAU when required.

The CIC assumed three areas of responsibility--censorship, security and investigation. Of these, the CIC seems to have scored well in the unpopular role of censor given the lack of trained experts, the rapid troop build-up and the vast geographical area to be covered. On security matters, while examination of troops by US troops verged on the excessive, when it came to maintenance of security in the theatre, the effort seems appropriate and often innovatory. Looking at its investigative role, results are mixed. Its activities are confused by the often senseless duplication of effort with other agencies, while the CIC often only did what say, the Australian Intelligence Service was doing in the same circumstances. (50) Yet when one looks at activities of CIC agents in the field, the application of agents in dangerous missions looks most impressive. (51)

We need to acknowledge the positive aspects of the CIC and the job it did--it may well have trampled over other agencies and intelligence specialists, assumed responsibilities it should not have had, and gained itself an unenviable reputation for being aggressive and overbearing. Yet its counterintelligence role was important and carried out with skill. Significantly, when General MacArthur moved to Japan with the occupation forces, the CIC was retained in a modified form within the Civil Intelligence Section. (52) It is a tribute to the contribution that the CIC made in World War II, not least in Australia and New Guinea, that the organisation was updated and readied for the next challenge in the occupation of Japan.

(1) In this paper New Guinea is taken to be the island mass containing the areas of Papua, New Guinea and Dutch New Guinea

(2) Ian Sayer and Douglas Botting, America's Secret Army: The Untold Story of the Counter Intelligence Corps, Grafton Books, London, 1989, pages 9 and 23. One of the best sources of information on CIC in the SWPA remains the 'History of the Intelligence Activities Under General Douglas MacArthur, 1942-1950, The Intelligence Series G-2 USAFFE-SWPA-AFPAC-FEC-SCAP', Wilmington DEL, Scholarly Resources, 1950. This microfilm series under the call-sign ORMF 0081/1-0081/8 at the Australian War Memorial, is hereafter referred to as The Intelligence Series. It contains among others, ORMF 0081/4, 'Counter Intelligence Corps' (from which this article is largely drawn), ORMF 0081/3, 'Operations of the Civil Intelligence Section GHQ, FEC and SCAP' (looking at the post-war experience with CIC), and ORMF 0081/7, 'A Brief History of the G-2 Section, GHQ SWPA and Affiliated Units'. Major-General Charles Willoughby, G-2 to MacArthur, edited the CIC history and added caustic footnotes which provide a running commentary on the irritations Willoughby had with the CIC.

(3) USAFFE Regulations No 1-30, Counter Intelligence Corps, 5 June 1944. Also see Intelligence Series, 'Counter Intelligence Corps' ('CIC'), page 3

(4) See Sayer and Botting, op cit, page 6, Raymond Lamont-Brown, Kempeitai: Japan's Dreaded Military Police, Budding, Gloucestershire, 1998, Chapter 1 and US War Department, Handbook on Japanese Forces (originally published as TM-E 30-480 on 1 October 1944), Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge, 1991, page 84. Not surprisingly, there are features of each agency that make them somewhat comparable. However, it is disturbing to read in Sayer and Botting, op cit, page 226, 281 and 283 of the willingness of CIC units to call themselves the Gestapo for their own ends. On another similarity with the intelligence agencies, AWM 54 423/4/105, 'Moto Heidan Intelligence Reports', included this Japanese unit's counter espionage regulations, which not surprisingly mirror those followed by the CIC--eg screen all applicants for jobs, watch disposal of scrap paper, censorship of mail, care to be taken in allowing natives to listen to the radio, care to be taken with natives generally, etc.

(5) Intelligence Series, 'CIC', page 19. In the US it also spied on defence plants and organisations involved in war work.

(6) As an example of the coordination role that the CIC played in late 1943, it produced monthly intelligence summaries and received input from intelligence officers in USASOS (United States Army Services of Supply), 6th Army, 5th Air Force, the 14th Anti Aircraft Command and the Civil Censorship Detachment--Intelligence Series, 'CIC', page 41

(7) John Finnegan, Military Intelligence, Army Lineage Series, Centre of Military History, US Army, Washington DC, 1998, page 72, and Joan Jensen, Army Surveillance in America, 1775-1980, Yale University Press, New Haven, 1991, pages 219 and 220.

(8) USAFFE Regulations 1-30, which was issued under the command of General MacArthur and signed by General Sutherland as Chief of Staff, 5 June 1944.

(9) See William A Owens, Eye Deep in Hell: A Memoir of the Liberation of the Philippines, 1944-1945, Southern University Methodist University Press, Dallas TX, 1989 from pages 20 to 24. Owens as a CIC agent was ordered by an infantry Colonel to pick up a shovel and dig a trench. Owens removed himself from the scene, advised superior officers of his actions and made a difficult trip to see Colonel John Irwin, second in charge of CIC in the southwest Pacific, to explain his actions and obtain a ruling confirming that the CIC was exempt from such work. Also, Brigadier Thorpe's autobiography which reveals little about the CIC or his role in it, said that much effort went into getting CIC agents "understand that they were not judge and jury", there was a tendency "among too many members of the CIC to feel they were Judge Lynch", and that agents had to be convinced "subversion and not sin were our business"--Elliot R Thorpe, East Wind, Rain: The Intimate Account of an Intelligence Officer in the Pacific 1939-1949, Gambit Incorporated, Boston, 1969, at page 98. Also see Sayer and Botting, op cit, pages 276-277 where it describes the indulgent lifestyle of one CIC staff sergeant in Germany, Henry Kissinger, later to serve in the Nixon Administration.

(10) Finnegan, op cit, page 76. In the Intelligence Series, 'A Brief History of the G-2 Section' at page 81, the comment is made that the CIC developed dual but contradictory functions--in combat areas the CIC came under the direction of troop G-2s and where interrogation was to be done, ATIS (Allied Translator and Interpreter Section) worked with them, while in rear areas the CIC was independent and separated from other intelligence groups.

(11) Sayer and Botting, op cit, at page 247 claim that in the first months of 1942, the Theatre G-2 responsible for counterintelligence was changed seven times and there were nine changes of Commanding Generals in the same period

(12) The subsequent performance of the CIC in Italy, France and Germany seems to have been of a very high order where it worked with the resistance and rounded up collaborators, for example.

(13) Intelligence Series, 'CIC', page 45--also see Sayer and Botting, op cit, page 28 for a comment on the conflict experienced by agents in the SWPA

(14) Intelligence Series, 'CIC', page 4

(15) Intelligence Series, 'Operations of the Military Intelligence Section, GHQ, SWPA/FEC/SCAP' at page 94

(16) Intelligence Series, 'CIC', page 42

(17) See Intelligence Series, 'CIC', page 6. This number could be a typographical error, for at page 28 it says that "of the 269 base and theatre censorship personnel in August 1943, 226 were civilians". A chart at page 51 indicates the various censorship detachments and postal gateways in the theatre.

(18) Thorpe, op cit, page 102 said that the censors also removed items such as skulls and Japanese ashes from the mail

(19) Ironically, the system was discontinued in SWPA on 20 December 1943 which "relieved CIC headquarters of considerable supervisory work of doubtful value"--Intelligence Series, 'CIC', page 41

(20) Intelligence Series, 'CIC', page 31. Australian Security staff for example, had identified that the Japanese were using Dutch and Australians as spies to pass on information, and Chinese were recruited to be used to land as refugees. As well the Japanese were setting up spy rings using natives in New Guinea.

(21) As an example of the challenges, Austin Laughlin, Boots and All: The Inside Story of the Secret War, Colorgravure, Melbourne, 1951 at pages 105-108, discusses the joint operation between Australian Military Intelligence and the CIC in ensuring no word leaked of the departure of troops from the Atherton Tablelands to the Salamaua-Lae-Finschhafen battles in early 1943.

(22) Intelligence Series, 'CIC', page 48. This number of over a million people appears to be too high given the size of most aircraft at the time.

(23) See Archives A 8911/1/226 'Japanese Activities Among the Aboriginals' for the assessment of the tribes and their expected willingness to succumb to any Japanese entreaties

(24) Thorpe, op cit, page 110

(25) Intelligence Series, 'CIC', page 19

(26) Intelligence Series, 'Operations of the Military Intelligence Section, GHQ, SWPA/FEC/SCAP' at page 92 says that Major Vreeland opened the school which instructed "American officers and enlisted men, as well as officers of the Australian Field Security Services". It is claimed by General Willoughby that the wide and practical curriculum was due to his urging--ibid.

(27) See for the street location of "Palmarosa" and the T and G Building used by CIC

(28) By December 1944 William Simpson was recruited from a US camp near Buna, sent to a training camp at Hollandia with 150 others over a 39 day period, and then sent into the Philippines campaign-William Simpson, Special Agent in the Pacific, WW II: Counter-Intelligence--Military, Political and Economic, Rivercross Publishing, New York, 1995, pages 34, 36, 38, 43, 50, 104

(29) Owens says that he spent six weeks in Brisbane interviewing priests and nuns. His preoccupation when in the Philippines was to meet with Catholics who had known of the Hollandia group--Owens, op cit, page 73

(30) See Intelligence Series, 'CIC', page 57, and also Finnegan. op tit, page 95 where it says that Filipinos manned the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion (Special) that was sent in to the Philippines via submarine to link up with the resistance and collect intelligence

(31) AWM 54 423/9/27, 'Combined Counter Intelligence Centre, Report on Conference held at US Intelligence Office July/August 1943-August 1944'. This contains the minutes of intelligence meetings held over the period 20 June 1943 to 18 July 1944, and included topics such as censorship, capture of a bacteriological bomb, booby traps, airfield and port security, and security measures on mail.

(32) Intelligence Series, 'CIC', at page 43 says that espionage and sabotage were "such rarities" and there were no treason incidents or cases of collaboration.

(33) Intelligence Series, 'CIC', at page 56 approvingly noted that the Counter Intelligence Bulletin had published a study of the Tokomu Kikan. A footnote presumably written by Willoughby, says that the article had been taken from an existing ATIS reference, an 'Enemy Publications' issue.

(34) The level of verification on some of the geographical studies was limited. For example, the report on Dutch New Guinea was checked by a Dutch lady and former resident who was working as a censor, and the one on Java and Madoera was checked by the CIC agent who was author, and the same lady--see Intelligence Series, 'CIC', page 36 footnotes.

(35) Sayer and Botting, op cit, page 250. This explanation seems most unlikely as the problem with souvenirs was never resolved.

(36) See Alan Powell, The Third Force: ANGAU's New Guinea War, 1942-1946, Oxford University Press, South Melbourne, 2003, page 60 for the recommendation from General Herring that ANGAU become the control agency for all intelligence gathering from July 1943. For the CIC, see Intelligence Series, 'CIC', page 23

(37) In the Philippines the CIC set up a Legal Board of Review comprising lawyers, to determine whether a prima facie case of collaboration was shown so that the suspect was not denied natural justice. Thorpe, op cit, page 139, says that they sometimes used natives as intelligence agents although he said that the natives had a lack of ability to describe what they had seen, "they couldn't count" and they had no words "suited to describing modern military men and equipment". However, AIB agents used natives constantly and were quite capable of learning information from them--the CIC force may have lacked a true understanding of the capacity of the natives. Also see AWM 54 423/4/105 which looks at the Japanese Moto Heidan unit, and includes a map of Allied positions based on the information provided to the Japanese by the natives.

(38) Intelligence Series, 'A Brief History of the G-2 Section, GHQ, SWPA and Affiliated Units', page 80. Nisei were the first generation Japanese born in America and therefore likely targets in a combat zone.

(39) Sayer and Botting, op cit, 251

(40) Intelligence Series, 'CIC', page 20

(41) Sayer and Botting, op cit, pages 249, 250, 251,252

(42) Intelligence Series, 'CIC', Appendix 14

(43) Intelligence Series, 'CIC', Appendix 14. In Europe the CIC parachute units dropped on quite a few occasions, such as Normandy.

(44) Intelligence Series, 'CIC', page 47

(45) Intelligence Series, 'CIC', Appendix 8,

(46) It was not within the CIC charter to operate behind enemy lines as their role was counterintelligence, not covert operations as undertaken by bodies including AIB

(47) Thorpe, op cit, pages 100 and 135. He says that Mormons were particularly good as CIC agents as they were accustomed to looking after themselves with few resources. He also says that the agents in the Vogelkop were happy to do another 3 month stint behind enemy lines as they were doing some proselytising of the natives in their free time. The Special Operations Executive (SOE) was also involved in smuggling rubber in its Operation Mickleham--see Ian Dear, Sabotage and Subversion: The SOE and OSS at War, Cassell, London, 1996, Chapter 13

(48) Sayer and Botting, op cit, pages 247 and 254, and Intelligence Series, 'CIC', Appendix 3. At page 58 of Intelligence Series, 'CIC', it provides a map of CIC detachments extant as at July 1945. Even at that stage of the war with most CIC units in the Philippines (74 units), there were seven units in rear areas: at Brisbane, Finschhafen, Hollandia, Tarakan, Brunei, Balikpapan, and at Morotai.

(49) Intelligence Series, 'Operations of the Technical Intelligence Unit in the SWPA', page 17. At Wakde-Sarmi, for example, the CIC beat the 5250th to the scene and shipped out "considerable Japanese ordnance equipment" before the 5250th arrived--ibid.

(50) Finnegan, op cit, page 96 notes that General Willoughby was seen as unable to control the activities of the competing intelligence agencies while he was engaged in the daily tactical intelligence requirements of the forward echelon at MacArthur's headquarters. There is an odd duality about Willoughby and the CIC--he was closely associated with the agency in such activities as appearing at graduation classes yet was also very critical of CIC as shown in his pungent footnotes in the CIC history.

(51) Sayer and Botting, op cit, at page 247 say that most of the wartime documentation of the CIC in the SWPA has been lost, so a complete assessment of the agency is not possible. Any judgement needs to be tempered by the realisation that New Guinea was a battlefield with different problems from say, the Philippines (for example, infiltrating Japanese were not likely to pass as New Guinea natives fleeing the battle zone, but the CIC lacked a strong resistance movement to assist in ferreting out collaborators as they had in the Philippines).

(52) Intelligence Series, 'Operations of the Civil Intelligence Section', page 1 notes the changes made from wartime operations, and Intelligence Series, 'CIC', page 42 affirms the correctness of such changes. See Archives A1066, 'Security Interrogation of Australian Civilians by United States Counter-Intelligence Section', which is a memo from the Secretary, Department of the Army of 30 October 1945 to the Secretary, Department of External Affairs, advising that the Counter-Intelligence Section is "authorised to interview such Australian citizens in occupied territory as they may desire".
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Date:Jun 1, 2006
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