Liaison Among Nations

Alexander, Martin S., ed.

A. "Special Issue on Knowing Your Friends: Intelligence Inside Alliances from 1914 to the Cold War." Intelligence and National Security 13, no. 1 (Spring 1998): Entire issue.

Clark comment: The articles here probably do not technically fit with the category of "liaison" activities. As explained by the editor, they seek to

"explore the gathering of intelligence, its evaluation and assessment, and the contribution which this intelligence made, or failed to make, to policy-formulation towards nations and their armed forces that the protagonists expected to be operating with, rather than on those they would be fighting against." (emphasis in original) (p.2)

Nevertheless, the intelligence gathered -- by whatever means -- in the relationships between partners flows out of the nature of those relationships. Hence, the decision made to place these materials under the liaison rubric.

The comments accompanying each listing are taken from the article abstracts in I&NS 13.1.

1. Martin S. Alexander, "Introduction: Knowing Your Friends, Assessing Your Allies - Perspectives on Intra-Alliance Intelligence," 1-17.

"Spying on friendly powers ... is among the most sensitive type of intelligence work and is often denied, though less so by former directors of French intelligence than by their Anglo-Saxon counterparts."

2. Jennifer D. Keene, "Uneasy Alliances: French Military Intelligence and the American Army during the First World War," 18-36.

"During the First World War, French liaison officers ... provided valuable intelligence about the American army to French military authorities.... Non-adversarial spying on the Americans improved the French military's ability to understand and work with their ally."

3. J.F.V. Keiger, "'Perfidious Albion?' French Perceptions of Britain as an Ally after the First World War," 37-52.

"[A]ttempts in 1919 and 1921 to convert Franco-British friendship into a formal alliance laid bare the thought processes and mentalities of French decision-makers and their seeming inability to assess Britain accurately as a potential ally."

4. Martin S. Alexander and William J. Philpott, "The Entente Cordiale and the Next War: Anglo-French Views on Future Military Co-operation, 1928-1939," 53-84.

"Improved Franco-German relations made intelligence co-operation appear unnecessary [during the 1920s].... Only after 1935 did a resurgent Germany spark a revival of Franco-British staff talks. A renewed intelligence effort by Britain endeavored to estimate French armed strength, while France examined Britain's ability to send an expeditionary force to Europe."

5. Brian R. Sullivan, "From Little Brother to Senior Partner: Fascist Italian Perceptions of the Nazis and Hitler's Regime, 1930-1936," 85-108.

"[A]fter the Nazi putsch in Vienna, Mussolini joined the West against Germany.... Mussolini [later] abandoned Austria to get Hitler's support [in Ethiopia]. The Axis became Nazi-dominated."

6. Kathryn E. Brown, "The Interplay of Information and Mind in Decision-Making: Signals Intelligence and Franklin D. Roosevelt's Policy-Shift on Indochina," 109-131.

"In 1945, after a severe decline in Roosevelt's already poor health..., his staff ... [gained] much greater influence over policy towards Indochina. As a result, intelligence on Indochina played a role in the Roosevelt administration's policy-shift toward the colony."

7. Richard J. Aldrich, "American Intelligence and the British Raj: The OSS, the SSU and India, 1942-1947," 132-164.

"The scale of OSS reporting on India's economic and political condition is striking. This underlines how OSS always perceived itself as providing long-term political and commercial intelligence beyond 1945."

8. Christina Goulter-Zervoudakis, "The Politicization of Intelligence: The British Experience in Greece, 1941-1944," 165-194.

Because "a large portion of the intelligence effort had to be devoted to gathering political intelligence,... SOE operatives became embroiled in the internecine struggles between communist based and other resistance groups. Intelligence work was made even more difficult by inter- and intra-departmental rivalries, and tensions among the Allied involved in Greece."

9. Alexander Zervoudakis, "'Nihil mirare, nihil contemptare, omnia intelligere': Franco-Vietnamese Intelligence in Indochina, 1950-1954," 195-229.

"This article analyses French intelligence in Indochina at the height of the war (1950-54), and the contribution made by the [V]ietnamese in the intelligence effort. The effectiveness of this effort is demonstrated by the use of operational examples."

10. Andrew Rathmell, "Brotherly Enemies: The Rise and Fall of the Syrian-Egyptian Intelligence Axis, 1954-1967," 230-253.

This is the story "of allied services whose ties helped bring about a union between their two states. However, after the collapse of the union the services concentrated their energies on attacking each other."

11. Richard J. Popplewell, "The KGB and the Control of the Soviet Bloc: The Case of East Germany," 254-285.

"The Soviet Union's spying on its 'friends' took various forms. First, the ordinary population was watched by its own security services. Second, the security services spied on the rank and file of the local communist parties.... Third, at times the leadership of the satellite communist parties also came under the close scrutiny both of the KGB and its local auxilieries."


B. Knowing Your Friends: Intelligence Inside Alliances from 1914 to the Cold War. London: Frank Cass, 1998.

Clark comment: The articles here were originally published in Intelligence and National Security 13, no. 1 (Spring 1998).

Nelsen, Choice, Nov. 1998, comments that the individual chapters are "disparate studies ... [whose] only commonality is that all the cases are from the 20th century. Perhaps the greatest weakness of the volume is its irrelevance to the contemporary world." On the other hand, Cohen, 78.2 (1999), sees this as an "excellent collection of articles," and Christensen, Military Review, Jul./Aug. 1999, comments that "[a]nyone who has worked with allies or in combined operations will find much thought provoking material in this collection."

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