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David Hayward's

Automotive History

This site has been established in order to publish various Working Papers for general study and comment on automotive history.



James D. Mooney, engineer and corporate executive, was born in Cleveland, Ohio on 18 February, 1884. In 1908, he received a B.S. from Case School of Applied Sciences in Mining and Metallurgy, leaving soon after graduation for gold mining expeditions in Mexico and California. Between 1910 and 1917, he worked successively at Westinghouse, B. F. Goodrich and Hyatt Roller Bearing Company during which time he became increasingly involved in corporate management. In 1917, although somewhat over age, he enlisted and served as a captain in France with the 309th Ammunition Regiment, 159th Field Artillery

Mr James D Mooney

He was honourably discharged in the spring of 1919. At the close of the war, Mooney was named President and General Manager of the Remy Electric Company, by then a subsidiary of General Motors Corporation. In 1919, he was appointed an Assistant Vice-President of General Motors Corporation, possibly at the same time as President and G.M. of Remy Electric Company, and thus precessed one step behind Alfred P. Sloan.

James D. Mooney had worked as Sales Manager of the Hyatt Roller Bearing Company, and then Sales Manager of the Remy Electric Company, from 1915 to 1917, until he volunteered for war service. He returned, from war service in the autumn of 1919, and went back to Remy. Mooney stated in October 1935 that he had travelled through England with his Regiment in 1917, on his way to France, and then again on return in the Autumn of 1919. [1]

It seems that G.M. had previously considered acquiring Morris Motors Limited previously and it is suggested that because of the interest in Morris, Mooney must have been well aware of the agreement that William Morris later had with Budd about the technology for all-steel bodies, which would then migrate to all-steel chassis-less construction.

From 1920 to 1921 Mooney was appointed President of Remy Electric Company in Andersen, Indiana, by Alfred P. Sloan, Jr., and was thus responsible ultimately for the British Remy operation. On 1 January 1922 Mooney took over as General Manager of the General Motors Export Company with business in more than one hundred countries. He was appointed Vice-President and General Manager of the General Motors Export Company on 1 January 1922 in succession to Peter Steenstrupp, the Export Company having combined in 1918 with General Motors (Europe) Limited in London, as it was then called: the next year it changed its name to General Motors Limited. When J. Amory Haskell resigned on 15 November 1922 as President of the Export Company, Mooney replaced him as President of the Export Company instead. [2] A.L. Haskell then took over from November 1922 to June 1925 as Vice-President and General Manager in succession to Mooney. A few days after Mooney was appointed President of the Export Company, he was further honoured at a special meeting of the Board of Directors of General Motors Corporation by his election to Vice-President of G.M.C. and a member of the board, which he was to maintain until 1941. His new appointment gave him general charge of all G.M.'s overseas activities. Haskell resigned as Vice-president and general manager of the Export company 15 June 1925, and was replaced in turn by L.M. Rumely, former Regional Director for Australia: Rumely sailed for Sydney on 22 April 1923, and subsequently appointed "in the field", Vice-president of the Export Company and Regional Director for Australia. Mooney states in his memoirs that when he first contemplated sales to Australia in 1922, he had to look up the country in the atlas!

Mooney stated in the autumn of 1936 that he had visited the Morris Motors Limited factory in 1922, in Cowley, and had been asked by William Morris what he thought of the operation. Morris Motors were at the time assembling the Cowley Touring car, importing Timken axles and U.S.-built Continental engines. Some chassis parts were made on the premises, but otherwise the wooden frame was made on the premises and bought-in parts were added in what we would call now a "screwdriver operation". Mooney was impressed with the great volume of business with a very low investment, and the fact that there were only standard tools around. Morris laughed and replied " But you would be surprised to know how much money I am making"! Mooney commented to the industrial heads that he congratulated on their performance over the previous 18 years, and had remarkable progress, and wished them all the best for the future. Part of this improvement he put down to "an enlightened government". [3]

In the Spring and Summer of 1924, General Motors of Canada Limited exhibited at the 1924 British Empire Exhibition at Wembley Park, which saw the opening of Wembley Stadium. H.M. King George V officially opened the British Empire Exhibition on 23 April 1924, and attending his father was H.R.H. The Prince of Wales. James D. Mooney stated that he gave a speech from the same platform as the Prince. The idea was to promote and display industrial and social exhibits of the Empire, including Canada. The Canadian pavilion was massive, and was one of the most, if not the most, well-visited of the various pavilions housed in the 219 acre site. General Motors of Canada Ltd. occupied 3/5ths of the space in the Canadian car section. He also stated that Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin [4] as well as Minister of Transport, Leslie Hore-Belisha were well known to him [5]. Given that Mooney was appointed a Director of General Motors Limited on July 5th 1924, presumably he was resident in the U.K. from April to July, and attended a meeting of the Board of General Motors Limited on the day that he was appointed a Director.

Mooney headed a committee formed to acquire Austins. Mooney was consistently a Director of General Motors Limited until 1941 that is both companies, and therefore the longest-serving Director pre-1945. He was also a member of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders and evidently a regular visitor to the U.K. Sloan reports in his book [6] that the suggestion of acquiring Austin Motor Car Company Limited was first mooted in 1924, presumably after the acquisition of Morris Motors Limited had fallen through after, no doubt, constant negotiations. Mooney commissioned a survey on the British motor industry and the domestic market in 1924. The report pointed out that the tax on engine size [the "Horsepower Tax"] plus fees, insurance and garage charges placed the Chevrolet Superior at $112 disadvantage with an Austin. [7] In the spring of 1925, Mooney travelled to the U.K. to inspect Austins' plant and then in July 1925 was appointed to head a committee including John J. Raskob and A.H. Swayne, to make a formal visit. In then meantime, the Hendon Plant of General Motors Limited was allegedly turned over to assembly of Chevrolets with locally produced commercial vehicle bodies in order to keep the plant busy. [8] In August, the committee unanimously recommended the purchase of Austins for the sum of £1,333,000, which the G.M. Board agreed to, though Sloan quotes $2,575,291 "as a kind of experiment in overseas manufacturing", i.e. for a company producing 1,500 "class cars" per year. Alfred P. Sloan then publicly announced on September 1st [New York Times] that the Austin company had agreed to the take-over subject to shareholder approval, etc. Sloan again confirmed the financial arrangements in the New York Times 5 September 1924, but three directors of Austins disagreed with their colleagues, and on 11 September, G.M. withdrew its offer. This approach to take over Austin was seized upon by the British Press, as well as the American, and as Mooney later stated in 1936, he was cast as an American "Romeo", with the "lover" being Herbert Austin. [9] In The Motor 27 October 1925 there was an article "THE BRITISH MOTOR INDUSTRY FOR THE BRITISH NATION", for instance.

On 21 October 1925, according to Arthur Pound [10], there was a proposal to acquire Vauxhall Motors Limited instead, which was completed 24 November 1925, probably through Morgan Grenfell, G.M.'s Merchant Bankers, who had dealt with the Austin proposals. G.M. then acquired the majority of the share capital in Vauxhalls for £510,000. However, we now know that although Sloan made the official announcements, it was in fact James D. Mooney at the "sharp end". Mooney lived in a house, which was presumably rented, about 20 miles north of London, until at least December 1925. When the news was revealed there was a huge outcry: Maurice Platt in his autobiography states that Vauxhall Motors had:

"hundreds of letters from readers, deploring the sale of on eof the pioneering British motor companies to the Americans, in which a recurrent theme was the change in character of the car which was certain to ensue under the new management. One result of this was that the General Motors connection was never mentioned in Vauxhall's advertising or "sales promotion" for many years thereafter".

However, Ford was not affected by these sentiments! [11] In fact there is no evidence that there was any reference to General Motors in Vauxhall advertising pre-war!

Mooney made a speech in late November of 1925 to fellow Americans in London just as the negotiations for acquiring Vauxhall Motors Limited were coming to the fore, and a few days before the acquisition was completed: in fact it was a justification for purchasing Vauxhalls. His speech ambles on, what the most relevant points which he proposed, and which were of relevance 10 years later were:
Labour: "our British workmen are always willing and have always been willing to do a good day's work for a fair day's pay".
Economic background:
a) a) The raw materials were always available, and the industrial and production facilities that had to provide the general background for producing cars in quantities existed readily and within a comparatively limited area.
b) b) The mental approach to manufacturing a high-grade complex product like a motor car was readily available, with a complete industrial tradition and background including elements of personnel, management, engineering, mechanical craftsmanship, which supported a broad manufacturing programme.
c) c) The U.K. was faced with the economic necessity of capitalising to better advantage manufacturing high-grade, complex, fine quality products. Motor car assembly fitted into this requirement as one of the U.K.'s economic necessities.
The rising costs of raw materials which were endangering competitiveness in world markets could be remedied by increasing the amount of labour on the products that were exported, so that less items shipped in a raw or semi-finished state, and an increase in manufactured goods, i.e. by increasing the degree of fabrication of U.K. manufactures for export would be considerably advantageous.

General Motors found that the U.K. had the general elements that provided a sound basis for investment in the motor industry, with high character values, the amount and character of labour needed, the fundamental production facilities, and an expanding market. The U.K. provided the entire background that was needed to support the manufacture of motor cars that could compete on the world's markets.

Mooney stated that as an American, speaking to Americans, that [G.M.] would develop more cordial relations between Americans and the British Empire. They did not intend to play the role of "hands across the seas", as this was in the sage hands of [politicians] on both sides of the Atlantic. Mooney said that he had been living in a village 20 miles or so north of London for some time, which seems to have had a profound effect on him, by contact with the local Vicar. This had resulted, according to the clergyman, "a more brotherly union among the English speaking peoples of the World". [12]

In 1926, General Motors Corporation tried to acquire Morris Motors Limited for $11 million, but were rejected, and then entered into an auction with William Morris and Herbert Austin for the bankrupt Wolseley company: Morris won that battle.


Automotive Industries 30 March 1929 announced that General Motors had purchased Opel. It was stated that on 20 March 1928, James D. Mooney, President of the G.M. Export Company, speaking before the Export Managers' Club of New York referred in his speech to that of "the building of an industrial and commercial empire". The next year, G.M. Corporation acquired all of the shares in Vauxhall Motors Limited that it did not already own, and that year, 1928, Delco-Remy & Hyatt Limited came under total G.M. ownership. However, alongside this was an announcement made on 18 March 1929 by Alfred P. Sloan Jnr., President of G.M. Corporation, at Wiesbaden, Germany, that General Motors Corporation had formed an association with Adam Opel Company in Rüsselsheim, Germany, a substantial interest in that company being taken at a cost of approximately US$30 million. The financial world had already guessed that something was afoot by October 1928, and finally when Messrs. Sloan and Mooney left for Germany by ship and the rumours seemed to have been confirmed. In fact, and General Motors World confirms [13], that the Adam Opel was experiencing a decline in its domestic market as it lacked funds for modern machinery and equipment, and had no adequate export facilities either. G.M. were apparently to be wishing to expand into those export markets where German-made cars sold, just as the decision was made to increase exports of Vauxhalls from 1930 to the British Empire markets, though southern Africa was one Empire area that Opel met success in and yet Vauxhalls did not. G.M. had realised that so far as exports were concerned, the larger North American car was losing out to smaller, cheaper, more economical cars favoured by the European manufacturers. G.M. therefore needed a Continental base for its North American and British products, and of course G.M. had assembly plants all over Europe as well as subsidiary sales companies. Thus, during the latter part of 1928, Geheimrat Wilhelm von Opel met and talked to G.M. executives and the many advantages of taking over an existing factory persuaded G.M. to buy-out Opel on a majority basis.

The exact price was put at $28 million. On the 24 January 1929, the Opel family holdings were placed into a limited liability company. Shares were issued totalling 60,000 with a par value of 1000 marks each, capitalising the company at over $12 million. This was a holding company for the Opel works, and public offering of stock was made, but the Opel family retained control. It was then surmised that G.M. paid $28 million for 76% of the stock which represented the Opel family holdings, or more than twice the par value of the company! 18 March it was stated that the new board of directors would consist of five Americans and three Germans and that an American would displace the then head of the firm, Fritz Opel. However, Sloan went on to say that Opels would be run as an independent organisation by the then present management committee, with G.M. engineering, manufacturing, financing and managerial co-operation. However, this time G.M. had acquired a majority stake in a company five times that of Vauxhall Motors Limited!

Mooney, Edward C. Riley and Alfred Swayne, formerly of G.M. Export Company New York, were appointed directors of Vauxhall Motors Limited in 1925, though Riley resigned in August 1926 to become Managing Director of G.M. Continental until July 1930. Mooney remained a director of Vauxhalls until 1940 though. Ronald K. Evans the Regional Director for Europe, was appointed as Managing Director of Vauxhall Motors to replace Leslie Walton who was promoted Chairman. In 1930, Mooney was asked by Sloan to pick an Englishman to run Vauxhall, whose sales programmes had been subordinated to G.M. Limited in 1928. In addition, post-Wall Street Crash, the anti-American sentiments concerning Chevrolet cars and trucks assembled in Luton required measures to emphasise their "Britishness". The 40-year old Charles John Bartlett was appointed Managing Director of Vauxhall Motors Limited in succession to Evans, because allegedly his capabilities had been noted during the investigations and financial planning that preceded the purchase of Vauxhalls in 1925. However, a story at the time was that Sloan asked Mooney to pick an Englishman to run Vauxhall, and Mooney suggested that they pick Bartlett, as "he's about as English as they come". Bartlett was born in 1889 to a modest family from Bibury, Gloucestershire. He received training in business methods from Bath Technical College specialising in accounting. During the First World War he gained the rank of sergeant having joined the Devonshire regiment. He was injured in Loos and later served in the Middle East and then joined G.M. Limited in 1919 as a clerk at £3 per week. In 1921 he joined General Motors Limited at Hendon as an accounting clerk. In August 1926, Bartlett was appointed Managing Director of Limited in succession to Riley, only to move across to Vauxhall in the same year. From September 1930 he would assume the same role at Vauxhall. Bartlett remained as Managing Director of G.M. Limited until the company was dissolved in 1934. However, Bartlett was also appointed a director of the British G.M. subsidiaries, Delco-Remy & Hyatt Limited in 1930 and then AC-Sphinx Sparking Plug Company Limited in 1931.

As part of his responsibilities in managing overseas production, Mooney travelled extensively throughout the world, visiting G.M.C.'s numerous manufacturing and assembly plants. In this capacity, he was afforded the opportunity of meeting with "top-flight government officials and others in positions of power and influence, and with them discussed not only their own economic problems but also the impact of the international situation on their own countries and on economic affairs." Mooney became a pioneer in the development of management thought and the nature of organisation. Many of his theories and practical experiences were widely read and studied in Onward Industry (1931), later re-worked and re-titled The Principles of Organisation. The success of G.M.C. Overseas was due in large part to Mooney's ability to adapt American methods and technology to existing conditions of amazingly diverse natures.

Mooney's various trips to Europe convinced him that the Treaty of Versailles was responsible for many of Europe's post-war ills. In 1930, he delivered a speech calling attention to the follies of the Treaty. "Not very long after the great nations laid down their arms an economic warfare began that has increased in momentum and intensity until we find ourselves today, twelve years after the armistice, beginning more or less seriously to discuss war again". [14]

Mooney states in his unpublished autobiography that in the lifetime of the Weimar Republic, he met various leaders from time to time including Chancellor Heinrich Bruening, Hjalmar Schacht and others. Then, with the "start of Hitlerism", he came to Nazi leaders especially well because the government began moving in more prominently on industry, which required frequent meetings with various members of the regime. [15]

General Motors World, June 1934 referred to James D. Mooney's discussions with Hitler on 1 May 1934. Mooney was in Berlin at the time on a European trip, and apart from visiting Berlin, he also visited London. The 1 May was celebrated as the first anniversary of the German "New Deal" under Hitler's guidance [not to be confused with Schacht's New Plan of September 1934]. Mooney was invited to see Hitler's landing at Tempelhof airfield, and the triumphal motorcade to the Chancellery. The next day, Mooney was invited to meet the Chancellor and was accompanied by Ronald K. Evans and R.A. Fleischer of Opel. They discussed the automotive industry in Germany, and Opel's important place in it as the leading manufacturer of cars. Hitler characterised the 1.2 litre Opel [the Model P-4] as his conception of the true Volkswagen, the car for the German masses. The G.M. men apparently thought that this was welcome news as many interpretations of what Hitler would consider a Volkswagen had leaned towards a baby or cyclecar class vehicle, as per Porsche's first attempt through NSU. Hitler definitely stated that any car giving less package size and less performance than the 1.2 litre Opel "would be an imposition upon the German people". Hitler estimated that using the U.S. as a standard, Germany should have 12 million cars, but realised that the difference in conditions would make 3 million more logical.

In a discussion on how to benefit more German families to enjoy the benefits of car ownership, Dr. Fleischer demonstrated to Hitler that whilst the buyer paid only RM1,880 for the 1.2 litre Opel saloon, he had to spend an additional RM7,700 in operating costs during the expected seven years of use. Simply reducing the acquisition cost would not make much wider use of cars that Hitler was calling for. The Chancellor then admitted that this was valid, and said that he would definitely see to it that operating costs were reduced. There was no logic in a small and dark garage costing RM30-40 per month when comfortable furnished rooms were available at RM25. To bring down garaging costs, he promised to rescind the rigid building regulation regulations relating to garages, as well as making street parking legal. Hitler also asked that Opel's experience with car insurance be placed at his disposal as he thought insurance costs could also safely be cut. He also mentioned the possibility of reducing gasoline taxes and prices to accelerate Germany's motorization. [16]

Anita Kugler comments that the Reich foreign ministry notes state that Mooney was supposed to receive assurances that the Führer would "allow no discrimination against foreign capital invested in legitimate business pursuits in Germany. That also applies, despite the special German interest in advancing the German motor vehicle industry, to the capital of General Motors and similar companies. He naturally expects that German capital abroad is just as secure". Hitler's promise was not broken, she says, and Opel had been treated as though it was a German company. [17]

Wilhelm von Opel has been regarded dimly in histories of the Volkswagen car because he tended to be critical of the Porsche project. However, Ferdinand Porsche had been engaged since 1934 to develop designs for the Volkswagen, though the contract originated not with the Reich government, but with the Society of German Automobile Manufacturers of which von Opel was a life member. Neither he nor Mooney, as private industrialists can have been expected to be opposed to the Kraft durch Freude car and all the restraints on industry of the time.

In 1935 Mooney was appointed a member of the General Motors Corporation's Executive Committee, though it is not known yet whether he was appointed to the board as well.

There were also speeches in 1935 and 1936 to the British motor industry in London that were in fact of no great consequence, though this proves that he visited General Motors Limited on several occasions in those years. Mooney made a speech at the Car Distributors Section, Motor Traders Association, on 22 October 1935. Then, about a year later, at the Banquet of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders in London on 14 October 1936, Mooney commented to the industrial heads he congratulated on their performance over the previous 18 years, and had remarkable progress, and wished them all the best for the future. Part of this improvement he put down to "an enlightened government".

Guy Nicholas Vansittart was appointed Regional Director for the European Region in March 1937, and then on 1 January 1938 the European Region was split into the North European region under David F. "Dave" Ladin [based in Copenhagen]; Mediterranean Region under G.D. Riedel bases in Alexandria, Egypt], and Central European Region under Vansittart [based in Antwerp]. On 30 September 1938, with the formation of General Motors Operations Division by the merger of the Export Division with the German and Vauxhall operations, Vansittart was appointed Regional Director for the British Isles based in London, and Arthur J. Wieland Regional Director for Western Europe, based in Antwerp.

In view of the information below, it is queried as to when Vansittart and Mooney first came into contact with each other. Mooney brought a number of young men into the Export Company from 1923 onwards, and this included Edward C. Riley, on 1 January 1923, and probably arranged for him to be appointed Managing Director of General Motors Continental, Antwerp, in 1926. Vansittart joined the Sales Department of Continental in April 1925, but left and rejoined as Sales Manager in May 1927, being promoted Assistant Managing Director under Riley until the latter was promoted again in July 1930 to Regional Director for Europe based in Antwerp, and Vansittart succeeded Riley as Managing Director of G.M. Continental. Riley and Vansittart had worked together from at least 1927 therefore, and it can only be suggested that Mooney had known Vansittart from then as well. R.W. Seeley, a future General Motors Limited director, was appointed Mooney's Assistant in August 1936, until he was appointed 1 April 1937 as Managing Director of General Motors Nørdiska, Stockholm.



Mooney made the following speeches that were of relevance to the American-German relations [18]:

18 January 1934 "International Trade"
23 January 1934 "Paper Money and Gold Prices in International Trade"
23 June 1934 "America's Stake in International Trade"
10 August 1934 "Paper Money and Gold in International Trade"
9 October 1934 "Fallacies and Realities in International Trade"
20 December 1934 "International Economic Relations"
1934 "Developing Foreign Trade"
10 June 1935 "Economic Values of International Trade"
18 July 1935 "The International Money Situation"
17 September 1935 "The American Foreign Trade Situation"
1935 "Foreign Trade and Domestic Markets"
24 January 1936 "Remarks Before the Foreign Trade Council"
7 February 1936 "American Neutrality and Trade"
16 November 1936 "Stabilizing the Exchanges"
25 January 1935 "The Impending War in Europe-and a Gamble Toward Halting It"
17 April 1937 "American Economic Policies for the Impending World War"
1 May 1937 "What World War Will Mean for Us and What we Can Do About It"
18 May 1937 "Peace or War: A Trade Policy for America"
27 May 1937 "German-American Trade A Shadow of Its Former Self"
January 1938 Stabilizing The Exchanges"
14 January 1938 "Some Observations on Economics, Politics and Government"
27 January 1938 "European Observations"
25 May 1938 "Remarks at World Fair Dinner/Foreign Trade Week"
16 June 1938 "Gold, Paper Money and Commodity Prices"
19 January 1939 "Paper Money: A National and International Hazard"
4 February 1939 "Economic Policies for the Next World War"

Mooney travelled extensively, throughout the world, and visited G.M.'s numerous manufacturing and assembly Plants. In this capacity he was afforded the opportunity of meeting with top-flight government officials and others in positions of power and influence, and with them discussed their own economic problems but also the impact of the international situation on their own countries and on economic affairs. He had the ability to adapt U.S. methods and technology to existing conditions of amazingly diverse natures.

Mooney expressed the inadequacies of traditional diplomacy by arguing that diplomats were frequently "willing to risk millions of lives rather than to try and see the other side and to arrive at conclusions which involve some give-and-take on both sides, but which are far, far, cheaper than the resort to war". Hitler awarded the German Order of Merit of the Eagle in 1938 to Mooney: the is was the highest award that could be given to a foreigner, and the same decoration as awarded to Henry Ford in July 1938 by the German Consul in the U.S.

"In Germany, Dr. Schacht kept pointing out all the time, even after Hitler had taken charge, that his country was headed for a bad end unless steps were taken with the help and co-operation of other great powers to export manufactured wares in exchange for food…" [19]

Mooney first visited Spain when there was just a selling organisation there [based in Madrid], which was followed by the development of an assembly and bodybuilding plant in Barcelona: G.M. Peninsular opened their plant in 1932. "…I had an intimate contact with what was going on in Spain, and was aware that a war was being staged right there- a thing few propagandists seemed to realise….It was definitely a trial background for the impending European war". [20] The Barcelona Plant was seized by the Popular Front on 28 July 1936, and all the American personnel had to be evacuated.

Mooney first met Hermann Göering in June 1936, at the dinner, which the U.S. ambassador to Germany, Hugh Wilson, gave in honour of Charles Lindbergh who was, then on his return from Russia to the U.S. Göering was one of the honoured guests. [21]

"With my far-flung international contacts as General Motors Overseas executive, and on the basis of what I could observe directly in the course of my travels, I could not but note that the world was, alas, once again headed for war". [22] Mooney expressed this view in an address before the Economic Club of New York in 1937: "There is a great war threatening in Europe. When this great war will come, whether it will come at all, I do not even pretend to be able to say. But I do know that the Germans will not starve. They will be on the march again before they starve. America and her recent allies could make an intelligent gamble toward halting this march and the war by putting up the food for Germany in exchange for guarantees for peace". He claims that he was then a "voice crying in the wilderness". Money pointed out that Europe was "getting itself tied up in an economic knot particularly because of tariff barriers. In insisted that hungry people will march across borders if you don't break down the barriers to the flow of trade". [23]Mooney made various speeches that year: 25 January 1935 "The Impending War in Europe- and a Gamble Toward Halting It"; 17 April 1937 "American Economic Policies for the Impending World War"; 1 May 1937 "What World War Will Mean for Us and What we Can Do About It"; 18 May 1937 "Peace or War: A Trade Policy for America" and finally 27 May 1937 "German-American Trade A Shadow of Its Former Self". [24] It was probably the latter that his comments were made in because the other, [not "another"] speaker at the same evening was Dr. Hjalmar Schacht himself, President of the Reichsbank and Minister for Economics. He was asked after his address numerous questions from the 1,500 or so members of the audience: however three-quarters of the answers were simply references to Mooney's speech, stating that Mooney had already anticipated Schacht's answer by comments already made.

"In Germany, Dr. Schacht kept pointing out all the time, even after Hitler had taken charge, that his country was headed for a bad end unless steps were taken with the help and co-operation of other great powers to export manufactured wares in exchange for food…" [25]

Mooney excuses his visits to Berlin as General Motors had a "great deal at stake" in Adam Opel A.G., with a company of 26,000 German employees. It was thus natural to see men like Schacht as American industrial managers went to Washington. Mooney states that Schacht was always helpful and extremely eager to assist the operations in Germany. Schacht apparently realised that "American engineers were making a great contribution potentially to the industrial and economic life of Germany, particularly in the field of standards of living, because naturally the motor car is an important factor in connection with the standard of living." Schacht naturally wanted to encourage G.M. in every possible way and to help the Corporation make the venture succeed". This is with respect sheer smokescreen on the part of Schacht: Mooney would not have personally fallen for this line, although he had in fact made much the same points to Hitler in 1934. Mooney was too astute to not realise that the German government sought the benefits of foreign exchange in the first instance, and the use of facilities for all-out industrial techno-war. For reasons of diplomacy to satisfy certain quarters in both countries, including those who had interests in American-German trade, this front had to be presented.

It is not yet known when Mooney first met President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, but we do know that Mooney met "FDR" on 7 March 1935 at the White House. This enabled Mooney to be able to approach the President much later on: see below. [26]

Mooney states that he was called "up to" Berlin [which suggests that he was in Rüsselsheim at the time] by German bureaucrats who were objecting to the manner in which "we" [G.M. Overseas Operations Group] were pricing Opel cars for export. The General Manager at the time was Ronald K. Evans, so this dates it to prior to July 1936, when Evans left for the U.S. to become a Corporation Vice-president and was replaced by E.R. Palmer, Assistant General Manager of Adam Opel since March 1933. [27] Because foreign exchange was a difficult problem, as Germany had no gold, the bureaucrats were apparently sceptical about anyone who was seemingly exporting capital out of the country. The bureaucrats challenged Opel's costs as they thought the costs and prices placed on cars for export were too low. This suggests that this meeting was indeed around October 1935 as the Brandenburg truck Plant had not officially opened until January 1936 and major exports had thus not started. Mooney states that Dr. Schacht "did us the courtesy" of attending the meeting, and defended G.M.'s cause, taking issue with his fellow bureaucrats. [28] This is either a false or naive interpretation of events: there were several Reich departments involved in export subsidies overseen by Schacht with overall responsibility and interest in exports. A retrospective and non-jaundiced view is that this was a clever and successful attempt by the Reich ministries and the Reichsbank to have detailed assessments of costs, export potential, foreign-currency potential, etc. in the manner of an internal revenue audit, with Schacht then playing the trump card of appearing to be an amicus curiae or "best friend" to the manufacturer once the audit had been completed to his satisfaction. Ever the diplomat, Schacht obtained the required information sought and at the same time enhanced the impression of the importance of Opel to the Reich economy.

Mooney states that two German representatives travelled to New York in the autumn of 1936 to plead that G.M. put up $1,000,000 to finance Adam Opel's own rubber requirements in Germany as demanded by a newly-introduced government ruling. Apparently Ford Werke also had a similar requirement levied on them. [29] G.M. put up the money, but only after receiving assurances that the expenditure would be liquidated by means of barter transactions and exports of Opel cars and trucks. It was further agreed that the German government would assume the financing responsibility for crude rubber in about a year. G.M. did not therefore put up dollars in cash, but compounded their difficulties in extracting dividends out of Adam Opel by having to enter into barter and export deals. One of the two representatives was an Adam Opel director from 1935, and President of the company, Professor Dr. Karl Lüer, who was appointed Chairman of the company in 1942. R.K. Evans was General Manager of Adam Opel at the time.

In the summer of 1938, Mooney, as a U.S. Naval reserve officer [Lieutenant-Commander?] was serving on the U.S.S. Enterprise, an aircraft carrier, with a Captain Wallace L. Lind. [30]He did not otherwise mention his U.S.N.R. commission in any way in his memoirs until 1940 when he took advantage of the Naval signals system for his messages back to Washington. However, after Pearl Harbor, Mooney was taken on active duty and his career is of considerable interest since it hints that he had been involved in intelligence work of some sort in peacetime.


"So far as England was concerned, I had not only lived there, but had been responsible for investing millions of dollars of capital in a British manufacturing venture. Moreover, I had many personal friends in England, who to sure, knew that I was difficult at times, but who were also aware that I could be trusted to keep my mouth shut and be on the level. My war record, moreover, was an added guaranty that I would not sell the Allies down the river." [31]

The very respected military and automotive historian, Mr. Bart Vanderveen wrote in the specialist but well-circulated military vehicle magazine Wheels & Tracks in 1984 that in the summer of 1938 the War Office in London was approached by a "senior representative of the General Motors Corporation", who came to discuss possible British requirements in the even of conflict. The W.O. showed a "certain amount of interest", which caused the representative to immediately contact all G.M.O.O. plants and requested them if not instructed them to "freeze" all truck output in order to give the British first option on purchasing trucks if required. The W.O. then received the following day a written statement of the quantities and locations of vehicles available. However, with the apparent resolution of the crisis as a result of the Munich agreement, the Treasury felt that they did not need to take up the offer. However, as a means of expressing gratitude for the endeavours, the British W.O. awarded a contract for 500 Chevrolet trucks to be assembled in the General Motors Near East plant in the Rue des Ptolomées, Alexandria, Egypt. This assembly plant was under the Mediterranean Regional Director, G.D. Riedel from 1 January 1938, and the Region also covered the Bombay, India, plant for instance. We know that Contract V3352 was placed to supply 500 Chevrolet trucks from the Ministry of Supply census records, which were all supposedly British military orders, and Mr Vanderveen quotes 350 of these as being either cargo or water tanker trucks. [32] They would all have been based on civilian style 1940 series WA trucks, and indeed similar trucks were supplied to General Motors Limited in 1940 for the civilian market, all built in June and July 1940, according to registration evidence, and slightly larger trucks, series WB, were also sold in the U.K. as civilian trucks which were built in December 1939. [33]There is adequate proof that a large order was placed, and there is no evidence to suggest that an approach was not in fact made in 1938. However, did Mooney make the offer, or was it, say, Guy Nicholas "Nick" Vansittart, the Regional Director for Central Europe, as he then was, as he was appointed Regional Director for the British Isles in November 1938, after Munich [although the events have no connection on the face of it? We know that Mooney was away at sea in the summer of 1938, but was he in the U.K. in September, say? We can place him in London at the beginning of November though, as mentioned below. Would anyone else in G.M.O.O. have had the authority to obtain the information on stocks held by G.M. in Egypt and India, and perhaps Belgium, presumably by telegraphing the plants concerned? If it was not Mooney, then it was most likely Nick Vansittart given his position and connections, and he acted with Mooney's authority. Having said that, if Mooney had made the offer, then he would have been acting in tandem and with the assistance of Nick Vansittart. The result was the same whomever was there in person!

On Friday 5 November 1938, James D. Mooney went to see the Southern Railway Docks & Marine Manager, R.P. Biddle. He apparently visited Southampton and saw the new Plant which was now finished, and would have called in at the London H.Q. [34] In addition, he went to see Charles Bartlett, the Chairman of Vauxhall Motors Limited. Bartlett was apparently quite off-handed towards Mooney: the latter had allowed him a considerable degree of independence on the basis that British managers understood British workers better. However, a few years later, after Mooney had resigned, Edward C. Riley wrested back control over Vauxhall and the two apparently failed to see eye-to-eye until Bartlett finally retired. [35]

A relevant piece of information not revealed by Mooney in Lochner's draft is revealed by the file on James D. Mooney in the papers of Secretary of Commerce in Washington, Harry Hopkins. The file contains a letter from Mooney to Hopkins, dated 21 March 1939, submitting a twenty-seven page document on Monetary Policy and a note from Henry Chalmers, Chief, Division of Foreign Trade, Department of Commerce dated 26 May 1939, commenting on the report [36].

James D. Mooney sailed from New York on the SS Europa for one of his regular visits to the European operations of General Motors on Tuesday night, 21 March 1939, presumably after he had finished and despatched the letter to Hopkins. [37] He landed in Southampton [38], and was presumably as was usual, met on the dockside by G.M. Limited managers who then showed him the new Plant under construction. We know Mooney was in London on or about the 27th March, and he thus probably arrived on the 26th or 27th. Mooney says that he met Guy Nicholas "Nick" Vansittart, Regional Director for the British Isles, and Geheimrat Wilhelm von Opel, Chairman of the Board of Adam Opel A.G. in London, though meeting at Southampton and then taking the train or car to London is more logical. Vansittart and von Opel had disturbing news about several engineering executives who had been taken into German police custody on a charge of alleged activities inimical to Germany's national economy in general, and its automotive industry in particular. It was agreed that Mooney would proceed to Berlin to investigate. As Mooney, Riley, and Opel were all in London, 27 and 28 March it is suggested that they must have visited the Southampton Plant together with Nick Vansittart.

Together with Edward C. Riley, then Assistant General Manager of G.M. Overseas Operations [under Graeme K. Howard, the General Manager, G.M.O.O., and Mooney as President], who was also travelling in Europe, Mooney left for Berlin 29 March 1939 [with von Opel?] arriving morning of 30 March. Mooney spent the following week strenuously trying to expedite the official investigation of the charges against the engineers, which Mooney said the company knew were unfounded. Two men proved very co-operative and helpful in securing clearance for the men: Raymond H. Geist, American Chargé d'Affaires in Berlin and Joachim "von" Ribbentrop, the Reich Foreign Minister. By 6 April, the men were released with a "clean bill of health". [39] One of the men was executive engineer Karl Stief who was in fact a member of the Committee of Management of Adam Opel A.G. from 1937 to 1940 at least. Stief and the others whom had been arrested not by the Kriminalpolizei, or "Kripos", but by the Geheimstaatspolizei, the "Gestapo". Mooney wrote to Geist who was then Counsellor at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, on 11 July 1947 and stated that he head heard two weeks previously from Stief, whom Geist had helped Mooney get out of the clutches of the Gestapo. [40]

Soon after Mooney arrived in Berlin he advised Adam Opel President, Dr. Karl Lüer of Mooney's desire to have the rubber financing procedure discontinued. Lüer arranged for a dinner to be given on 19 April in the Berlin apartment maintained by Opels so that he could discuss the subject with Dr. Emil Puhl, a director of the Reichsbank [and the Vice-president], and Dr. Helmuth E.H. Wohlthat, departmental chief [Ministerialdirektor] on Generalfeldmarschall Göering's special staff for the functioning of the "Four-Year Plan". [41] Puhl, who introduced Wohlthat to Mooney, sat at Mooney's left and right at dinner, respectively, with various other German officials and Adam Opel executives flanking them. Mooney reminded that the rubber plan was meant to last for a year, and had in fact operated a year longer than agreed: it was time for it to be terminated. Mooney said that the greatest contribution to the German foreign exchange problem was made by the export of Opel products and not by purchases incidental to the rubber plan [because G.M. had agreed to discharge the $1 million rubber scheme by means of barter and Opel exports: the barter arrangements must have required complex deals]. Mooney argued that the disposition of any foreign exchange created was fundamentally the concern of the German government authorities and that it was not desirable to have G.M. working within a certain specialised and restricted area creating foreign exchange earmarked for Opel's specific rubber requirements. He also pointed out the special difficulties created by the plan in New York where it drew attention and emphasis greatly in excess of its true magnitude. The plan had outlived its usefulness and should be gradually liquidated, with responsibility for Opel's internal domestic rubber requirements being taken over by the German authorities. A unanimous agreement on the desirability of developing an alternate plan for rubber financing was agreed. [42]

Mooney took the opportunity to present at the dinner to deliver his own "blockbuster": if the Germans could negotiate some form of gold loan, would they be willing to stop their subsidised exports and special exchange practices which were so annoying to foreign traders, particularly the U.K. and the U.S. Whilst Mooney clearly honestly believed that this might ensure peace, in truth the practices had had a deleterious effect on General Motor's extraction of profit out of Germany. Wohlthat and Puhl reputedly readily agreed to this proposal if there was the slightest possibility of negotiating a gold loan with which the Germans could resume normal trading arrangements. The reason for the attraction of the gold loan is twofold: firstly, the supply of foreign currency had sunken because of preparations for the invasion of Czechoslovakia and replenishment was considered necessary for increasing armaments, and secondly because Schacht's replacement as President of the Reichsbank, Walter Funk, who had served under Göering in the Four Year Plan, was in the process of secretly transferring all available funds of the Reichsbank abroad into gold. Mooney probably had no idea that the prospect of a gold loan would have seemed extremely attractive to the Reichsbank and Göering's office. Mooney remained in Berlin the following day to witness the celebrations and huge military parade to celebrate Hitler's birthday on 20 April, and then left for London that night [43].

Whilst Mooney was in Europe, Alfred P. Sloan, Jr. chaired the General Motors Corporation General Meeting ["Stockholders' Meeting]. Sloan is reputed to have said "we are too big to be affected by petty international squabbles…the company's operations in Germany are highly profitable and the internal politics of Nazi Germany should not be considered the business of the management of General Motors….". [44] and commented "We must conduct ourselves [in Germany] as a German organization. We have no right to shut down the [Rüsselsheim] Plant". [45] However, there is no evidence as yet that this letter existed: it has been oft-quoted and yet the original has not been found yet, casting doubt on whether it was genuine.

After Mooney arrived in London, 21 April, 1939, he paid a courtesy call on the U.S. Ambassador, Joseph Kennedy, whereupon he acquainted him of the discussion with Wohlthat and Puhl. Kennedy suggested a meeting with Puhl in Paris and asked Mooney to see if he could arrange such a meeting. Mooney made an appointment with Francis Rodd, a partner in Morgan Grenfell & Co. in the City, with whom Mooney was well acquainted, to be appraised of the technicalities involved in a gold loan. Mooney asked Rodd on the various steps necessary to provide an Anglo-American gold loan to Germany. Rodd replied that there had been a great deal of discussion on that subject from time to time in the City by people who believed a move of that sort should be made, and he happened to be one of them. Rodd thought that an Anglo-German loan might be made through the Bank for International Settlements in Basle, Switzerland. Germany had been a party to the B.I.S., and the U.K. and the U.S. could deposit gold in the B.I.S. accordingly. Rodd pointed out that the B.I.S. provided a flexible medium for avoiding conflict with some of the internal legal limitations on international loans. [46] Mr. Montagu Norman, Governor of the Bank of England, was presumably associated with the International Bank, as he can be placed in Basel where he had seen Dr. Schacht. This must have been before the end of January 1939 as Schacht resigned/was dismissed on 20 January as President of the Reichsbank

Mooney returned to Berlin 29 April, stopping at Antwerp en route, probably meeting Nick Vansittart again. On 2 May, Mooney wrote from his Berlin hotel to Dr. Puhl, stating that Ambassador Joseph Kennedy had asked him to come to Berlin so that he could invite Puhl to meet him in Paris to discuss mutual American-German economic and financial problems. Mooney suggested a meeting in his own apartment in the Hotel Ritz in Paris for an unobserved rendezvous with Kennedy, to which Puhl was interested and said that he would take the matter up with his government. However, on the 3rd Puhl advised Mooney that because of the conferences he was holding at the time with British and U.S. bankers in connection with the Dawes Plan payments, he could not make the trip to Paris without attracting public attention and newspaper surmise, and it would be better if Dr. Wohlthat went in Puhl's place. Wohlthat agreed to be in Paris the following weekend, and Kennedy agreed over the telephone his willingness to go to Paris. On Thursday 4 May, Mooney left for Antwerp, and stayed at G.M. Continental the next day, Friday 5 May 1939. Whilst at the Plant, Ed Zdunek gave a message to Mooney that Kennedy had tried in vain to reach him by telephone to tell him that Roosevelt had refused approval for Kennedy's trip to Paris. Embarrassed by the turn of events, Mooney chartered an aircraft and flew back to London. [47]

Whilst in transit, Mooney formulated a list of principal contributions to peace that could be made by Germany and thus which could be made by the U.K. and the U.S.:

Contributions by Germany:

1. 1. Limitation of armaments.
2. 2. Non-aggression pacts.
3. 3. Move into trade practices of western nations:
a) a) Free exchange
b) b) Discontinue subsidised exports
c) c) Move into most-favoured nation practices.
d) d) Discharge foreign obligations (pay debts).

Contributions by United Kingdom and United States:

1. 1. Gold loan of $500,000,000 to $1,000,000,000 @ $4.46 = £112,102,763 to £224,215,246 and @ RM12.17 to the £, approximately RM1,364,000,000 to RM2,729,000,000 at "official" average rates, via Bank of International Settlements in Basle to provide a gold reserve so that orthodox money and price practices could be set up.
2. 2. Colonies
3. 3. Cut out embargoes on German goods
4. 4. Credits on raw materials
5. 5. Free access by trade to sources of critical raw materials such as tin and rubber
6. 6. Participation in Chinese markets when reopened to Western powers. [48]

Mooney placed the notes on Kennedy's desk in the Embassy when he arrived in London, and after reading them Kennedy replied "What a wonderful speech could be built up from those points back home!". Kennedy agreed to get permission from the President again to visit Paris, but the following day he advised Mooney that he had had a second refusal. Mooney then asked if it would be possible for Wohlthat to come over to London instead upon invitation, as in some ways he felt it more hazardous to make the longer trip to London than to Paris. Wohlthat had to undertake considerable re-arrangement of plans and had to secure a British visa in order to accept the changed invitation. Mooney was staying in the Berkeley Hotel in London, and was sent a telegram stating that Wohlthat would arrive by aeroplane from Berlin in London about 10 p.m. on Monday 8 May 1939 [he would have flown most probably to Croydon, though he could also have landed at Heston]. [49] It appears that Wohlthat had an office at Leifzugen Strasse No.3, Berlin W.8. The actual Post Office Telegram states that it was received at the Piccadilly, London Telegraph Office of the G.P.O. on [Saturday] 6 May at the Berkeley Hotel. [50] Mooney booked rooms for the German official in the Hotel two floors above his. Dr. Puhl, Reichsbank director introduced Dr. H.C.H. Wohlthat, Ministerialdirektor in Göering's office, by typed note written dated 4 May 1939, which Wohlthat must have brought with him. Wohlthat had already met Mooney, but presumably in order to effect an introduction to Kennedy, brought with him a typed resume in German explaining his responsibilities: Puhl wrote in English. [51]

Late in the morning of Tuesday 9 May Kennedy and Wohlthat met Mooney in the latter's apartment. Mooney left them to do the talking, which they did for about two hours, discussing many phases of the tangled international problems. After Kennedy left, Wohlthat spent several hours dictating notes to his secretary, and Mooney and he had dinner together that night. Mooney expressed some political and economic matters which he was convinced that Germany had to face if she hoped to come into harmony with British and American thinking. Wohlthat then returned to Berlin on Wednesday 10 May.

The meeting between the various parties would certainly have come to the attention of Sir Robert Vansittart, the germanophobic Diplomatic Adviser to H.M. Government even if there had been no direct appraisal by his brother Nick Vansittart [by then General Motors Overseas Operations Division Regional Director for the British Isles], which is very much doubted. Mooney then left for Paris by Golden Arrow on the morning of 11 May 1939, and probably visited the Gennevilliers Plant. Just before boarding the train, Mooney was handed a copy of the Daily Mail, which was headlined "Göering's Mystery Man Here", and beneath was a story of Wohlthat's "secret arrival" on a "secret mission", followed by a denial of any knowledge of his visit by the German embassy and the paper's own speculation that Wohlthat was "taking soundings for new Anglo-German trade discussions". Despite guarded arrangements, the whole story had become public, because of the need to apply for a visa. Whether an interested very senior civil servant had leaked the information [1], or whether an astute reporter had picked up the information from the airport is not known. The reporter could only surmise as to the nature of the mission and by the time that it appeared in print, the Dr. was back in Berlin beyond the reach of reporters. Mooney then sailed for New York by ship 25 May 1939 after a short holiday in Cannes. [52]

The question of the Anglo-German Gold Loan to Germany was evidently left with Kennedy and Wohlthat, and Mooney played no further part in the negotiations. Mooney criticised the lack of acquaintance between Berlin and London and Berlin and Washington, and the lack of acquaintance between men in corresponding positions in corresponding governments, with no interchange of thought. [53] It appears as though the Reichsbank started transferring gold to the Swiss National Bank in Bern in January 1939. Given the invasion of Czechoslovakia, and seizure of Czech assets it is extremely unlikely that the U.K. government would have entertained any contribution to a Gold Loan, even if it could have been afforded, which is extremely doubtful. However, the principle may not have been dismissed completely. Schacht's successor, Dr. Walter Funk gave evidence to the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg that in the months before the beginning of the war he concentrated his entire activity on international negotiations for bringing about a better international economic order, and for improving commercial relations between Germany and her foreign partners. At that time it was arranged that the British Ministers Hudson and Stanley were to visit him in Berlin. The subject of short-term foreign debts had again to be discussed and settled namely the moratorium. Funk had worked out new proposals for this, which he claimed were hailed with enthusiasm, especially in England. In June 1939, an international financial discussion took place in his offices in Berlin, and leading representatives of the banking world from the United States, from England, from Holland, France, Belgium, Switzerland, and Sweden, took part in it, and the discussions led to results that satisfied all parties or so he claimed. At the same time Funk carried out the exchange or transfer of Reichsbank assets in foreign countries. This exchange of gold shares was also considered very fair and satisfactory in foreign banking circles and the foreign press Funk suggested. Funk also participated in the customary monthly discussions of the International Clearing Bank at Easel as late as the beginning of July 1939, and despite the strong political tension which existed at the time was convinced that a war would be avoided.


The next event of significance was the General Motors' Executive Conference, which ran from 26 July to 28 August 1939, and which Mooney's protégé the General Motors Limited Managing Director, F.C. Lynch, probably attended. Before the end of the Conference, James D. Mooney sailed on 22 August 1939 from New York to Europe on the S.S. Europa again, presumably a German ship as it was shadowed by a Royal Navy Cruiser which necessitated taking an extended northerly route north of the Arctic Circle, and then down the Norwegian Coast. The ship then landed in Bremerhaven on 29 August from New York. [54] I propose that Frank Lynch, Mooney's appointee [55], took the same ship and they arrived in Bremerhaven together, whereupon Lynch caught a ship back to the U.K. immediately. Mooney travelled immediately to Berlin to confer with his business associates in Germany about the status of G.M.'s properties in the event of war, about the evacuation of G.M. non-German personnel, and about the various measures possible for the protection of G.M. Corporations' investments within the Reich. [56] Anita Kugler suggests that Mooney had involved the prominent Berlin lawyer, Heinrich Richter in the discussions: Richter had been G.M.'s lawyer since 1934. The Southern Railway's Solicitor was informed on 31 August 1939 that Frank Lynch had returned from the U.S. and that the position as regards the Lease of the Southampton Plant was that "Mr. Lynch states that he has fully discussed the matter with his Headquarters in America, and it has been decided that the Lease should be completed and signed as early as possible….A representative of General Motors will be visiting Antwerp, as soon as he is able, and on his way hopes to call at Southampton for the purpose of agreeing the figures, but it is not yet known when this will take place. In the circumstances, therefore, will you please hasten the preparation and submission of a draft lease…, and upon hearing from us that the Lease is ready for signature, Mr. Lynch will cable America, when a special Directors' meeting will be held, and they will cable him the necessary authority to sign." [57] This description of "a representative" must have been taken to refer to Vansittart who would have travelled to Antwerp where his family home was [though he lived also in London], and could have taken the regular ship from Southampton to Antwerp if it still ran, otherwise he would have gone from Dover or more likely Folkestone to Oostende [Ostend]. Vansittart was the Regional Director for the British Isles and thus in theory he was responsible for the final decisions regarding the Southampton Plant. It is logical that if it was Vansittart, he was intending to contact Mooney via Antwerp to discuss much the same as Mooney had travelled to Berlin for, as telephone/telegraphic connections would have been terminated between the U.K. and Germany. Nick Vansittart was in overall charge of Vauxhall Motors, Luton and the other G.M.-owned components companies in London and Dunstable, as well as G.M. Limited in London and Southampton, and contact with Mooney and Adam Opel could have been, and was permissible via Belgium. Vansittart was still a director of Adam Opel A.G. as well as that of G.M. Continental, so he had a justifiable reason to travel to Antwerp, where he had a house as well.

Mooney states that at the outbreak of war, G.M. employed 26,000, "an excellent cross-section of Germany". Mooney states that he actually had lunch with Dr Helmuth Wohlthat on 1 September 1939, i.e. the day that Hitler declared war on Poland. After about two weeks in Berlin, say therefore around 15 September, Mooney went to Wiesbaden to examine the position of Adam Opel at nearby Rüsselsheim. On 21 September 1939, Mooney proceeded [by rail?] to Switzerland and Italy to be able to communicate freely with General Motors in New York. This seems to confirm that it was Nick Vansittart who travelled to Antwerp, and communication could have been made from Antwerp to the G.M. Plant in Biel/Bienne, or to Rome. Mooney then returned from Italy, presumably via Switzerland again, to Rüsselsheim around the 13th October [Mooney says mid-October], and received a long-distance telephone call from Berlin on 14 October from Heinrich Richter. Richter said that he and an American resident in Berlin had been discussing the war and the proposal had been made by a German official that it would be most useful if someone like himself could be interested in an attempt to bring about the end of the war, and also whether he could ascertain if President Roosevelt would be interested in initiating a proposal that hostilities cease. Mooney said that he would motor to Berlin the following day to discuss. However, that day, namely 14 October, Mooney telephoned his "trusted friend", Edward C. Riley [58], Assistant General Manager, G.M.O.O. [then two rungs down the ladder from Mooney], acquainted him of the proposal concerning the President, and requested that Riley contact the White House. Riley cabled Mooney "a few days later" [not correct: see below] stating that Basil O'Connor, unofficial adviser to, and former law partner of Franklin D. Roosevelt, had ventured the opinion that he should acquaint U.S. Ambassador William C. Bullitt in Paris with the matter, and if Bullitt approved of the principle, then Roosevelt might give it sympathetic consideration as well. Mooney acknowledged and approved Riley's advice [59]. Mooney in fact called Riley in the early afternoon of Saturday 14 October 1939, at home in Pennsylvania, from Wiesbaden. Riley then discussed the matter with George Woolf, President of U.S. Steel Export over the telephone that afternoon, and then in the evening Woolf rang Riley to say that he had in turn discussed the matter with Mr Ed Stettinius. The latter had suggested that there was no better man to take up the question that O'Connor. Riley arranged a meeting with O'Connor in his apartment at 20.00, Sunday evening October 15 in New York. Sunday morning, Riley telephoned Stettinius in Virginia and he expressed his views, which confirmed the understanding received from Woolf. The meeting with O'Connor lasted two hours, and afterwards a cable was sent in cryptic terms to Mooney. The cable was received Monday 16 October, and Mooney then cabled Riley back on receipt. [60]

On 19 September 1939 a meeting was held in Berlin between Göering, Luftwaffe Generals Udent and Milch, Heinrich Koppenburg the chief executive of Junkers, and General von Schell of the Wehrmacht. Schell was "Plenipotentiary for the Vehicle Industry in the Four-Year Plan". It was agreed that the Brandenburg plant should continue producing Blitz trucks for the Wehrmacht leaving Rüsselsheim for the Junkers parts production program. The following day the details of conversion of Rüsselsheim to Ju-88 parts production were set out at the offices of the southern Hessian regional "Military Economy Inspectorate" for war production and resource allocation in Wiesbaden: Wehrwirtschaftsinspektion X111 at which Heinrich Wagner represented Opel [the production manager at Rüsselsheim]. Mooney was in Wiesbaden at the time but Cyrus C. Osborn, chief managing officer, may have been involved in the negotiations. Immediately after the meeting Rüsselsheim began converting to war production and then two days after Mooney left for Switzerland on 22 and 23 September, Adam Opel A.G. allegedly purchased RM 10 million in German equities which was supposed to have been approved by the Corporation's Policy Committee of which Mooney was a member, on 16 January 1940. [61]

Mooney motored to Berlin and saw Richter, Sunday afternoon on 15 October at the Adlon Hotel. He learned that Dr. Otto Dietrich who was the P.R. chief of the German government and Hitler's personal press representative, had suggested the desirability of American mediation between Germany and U.K. & France, to Louis P. Lochner, chief of bureau of The Associated Press in Berlin. Lochner was an American, a fervent anti-Nazi, and Pulitzer Prize winner for distinguished foreign correspondents. Lochner then mentioned the proposal to Richter, with whom he was associated on the board of directors of the American Chamber of Commerce in Germany. Richter was a lawyer for a number of large American concerns and would thus probably know of someone who had the calibre that Dietrich was after. Richter suggested Mooney, and Dietrich approved. Dietrich, being a member of the handful of close men with the right and power of Immediat-Vortrag, or Immediate Report, must have had the ear or backing of Hitler. The following day, 16 October, Lochner agreed that that it would be wise for Mooney to see Dr. Helmuth Wohlthat again. Wohlthat was Ministerial-Direktor in Göering's special economics ministry. In this position he was charged with chief responsibility for the effective execution of the Four-Year Plan. Mooney then telephoned Wohlthat, who invited him to have dinner that evening. They then discussed the problems of war and peace for several hours, and then suggested that Mooney meet with Göering. Wohlthat made an appointment for Mooney to see the Field Marshall at noon on Thursday 19 October. The night before, Wednesday 18 October, Wohlthat and Mooney discussed at length the international politic and economic situation. [62]

Mooney had an audience with Göering in Berlin on Thursday 19 October 1939, over 3 hours from noon, and in attendance was Dr. Helmuth Wohlthat who translated for Mooney where required. Mooney had already met the Field Marshall in June 1936 at the U.S. Embassy. The U.S. Ambassador in Berlin, Hugh Wilson, suggested that Mooney wear his decoration given him in 1938. Göering stated that Germany was willing to give every reasonable guarantee that she would not molest the Empire if Great Britain would not meddle with Germany's affairs. Some sort of Monroe doctrine for the Empire might be recognised by Germany. "…. fundamentally Germany would like nothing more than to be on good terms with the Empire". [63] The Reich was perfectly willing to co-operate with the Empire idea, and willing to assure or guarantee the integrity of the British Empire. [64] Mooney states that he learnt subsequently that the meeting was with the full knowledge and concurrence of Hitler. Göering then urged Mooney to travel to the U.K. and find out what the war was about and whether the British wanted to fight. Göering also agreed to a meeting in a neutral country, by representatives of the two countries: even the Field Marshall agreed to go if necessary. [65]

After the meeting with Göering, Mooney apparently intended to pay a "purely friendly visit" to Schacht, who was at the time "in the doghouse" with the Nazis. However, he was at that time living on his farm some distance from Berlin and so they were not destined to met again. On Friday, 19 October, Mooney left for Paris to see Ambassador Bullitt [66], apparently via Aachen and the Belgian border, and thence to the French border [by train?]. Before he had left Berlin, Mooney had called on Alexander Kirk, Charge d'Affaires in the U.S. Embassy, who then telephoned Bullitt to say that Mooney was on his way to Paris. Mooney must have gone via Brussels as he asked his close associate of 25 years, M. Paul Cousin, the French-born G.M. dealer in Brussels, to accompany him to Paris. Mooney arrived in Paris on Sunday 22 October, which suggests that he had spent at least two days in Belgium: he could have met Nick Vansittart, Nick's colleague the Regional Director for West Europe A.J. Wieland, Antwerp's General Manager Ed Zdunek in Antwerp or Brussels. The Southampton Lease had still not been signed at this point, and the Canadian representatives of the Department of National Defence had been, or were still inspecting the Southampton plant and British motor industry. [67]

Mooney received a lunch invitation when he arrived in Paris from Bullitt, but was unable to attend. He therefore called at the Embassy the next day. Whilst he was there, Ambassador Kennedy rang from London and Mooney explained that he was coming back to London again. There were various meetings with Bullitt, including when Bullitt saw the British Ambassador in Paris off back to London. [68] The British Ambassador was in fact Sir Eric Phipps, the brother-in-law of both Sir Robert and Nick Vansittart. Mooney may have already known Phipps: he was British Ambassador in Berlin (1933-37) and in Paris (1937-39. He gained a reputation as a staunch anti-Nazi and an 'anti-appeaser' in Berlin, and as a 'defeatist-appeaser' in Paris. Bullitt apparently cabled the State Department in Washington, and raised the strongest objections to Mooney being involved in any peace mission. [69]

Cousin was in touch with a government official close to the French Prime Minister, Daladier, and advised Mooney that the P.M. could see Mooney on 24 hours' notice, though Mooney felt he ought to hurry to London, the general gist having been expressed to Daladier.

Mooney left Paris for London himself on the evening of Wednesday 25 October 1939, although evidently Bullitt thought the peace mission foolish and probably rang Kennedy to tell him so. He arrived in London the same evening: did he fly over therefore? He then met or telephoned Nick Vansittart, and explained his mission immediately on arrival. Vansittart was most sympathetic and offered to enlist the aid of his brother, Sir Robert to meet the appropriate British officials. [70] Given the information network at his disposal, even in late 1939, Sir Robert probably knew already of the mission and would certainly have known that Mooney was in the country via Special Branch, or through Phipps.

Mooney met Joseph Kennedy, U.S. Ambassador in London, in the morning of Thursday 26 October 1939. Kennedy said that he refused to have any part in the "damned affair", and expressed his vehement objection to the mission. It appears that Bullitt had telephoned Kennedy and echoed his comments to the State Department directly to his counterpart in London.

"My record showed me to be no pacifist….should the United States be compelled to fight Germany, I was quite ready to do my part in the fray and had, in fact, already made my preparations for that eventuality".

Mooney explained that he though that the British ought to be given the opportunity of hearing Göering's proposal and reject it if it seemed unreasonable, before the real slaughter got under way. After ten minutes, Kennedy thought that Mooney should see [the Foreign Secretary] Lord Halifax straightaway. [71] Mooney returned to his hotel, where he found Nick Vansittart waiting for him. Sir Alexander Cadogan as Permanent Secretary in the Foreign Office had replaced Sir Robert Vansittart as Diplomatic Adviser to H.M. Government and had to present matters to higher authorities before making statements or commitments [i.e. to Cadogan and Halifax]. One of Sir Robert's responsibilities was that of contacting carriers of missions, and Mooney was one of them. Nick Vansittart immediately telephoned his brother Sir Robert and made an appointment for Mooney to see Sir Robert that afternoon. At Mooney's request, Nick Vansittart accompanied him to the Foreign Office on Thursday 26 October 1939. During the interview, Mooney told Sir Robert the complete story of the mission, how he became involved, discussions in Berlin, and of conversations with Göering. Specific details of Göering's principal points of interest were conveyed including the German attitude on the British Empire. Mooney also advised Sir Robert of Wohlthat's intimations that arrangements could be made for an alteration in the German government to avoid having to have discussions with Hitler. Further, that Göering would meet any British representative in a foreign country if necessary. Mooney states that he repeated consistently to find reason for supporting a refusal in meeting to discuss peace. Sir Robert asked pertinent and penetrating questions, and made meticulous notes on everything said to him: Mooney claims that Sir Robert was the only man in London or subsequently in Washington, who seemed to be intelligently interested in the German position, in their attitude of mind, or in conditions in Germany. [72] Sir Robert apparently advised Halifax that "Mr. Mooney was being used by Göering, but that he was personally honest". [73]

"It was one of the ironies of my experience during those first years of World War II, that, despite their knowledge of my visits to Germany since war was declared, few Americans or Englishmen in public life appeared to be interested in obtaining any information I might possess….. Although I was in the unusual position of knowing a great deal about what was going on behind the scenes in Europe, and in Germany particularly, almost no one asked me for first-hand political or military facts which I might have provided". [74]

Two evenings later, on 28 October, Ambassador Kennedy's [male] secretary telephoned Mooney to inform him that Kennedy had revealed the story of the mission to Lord Beaverbrook, who wanted to see Mooney as soon as possible. Nick Vansittart was in Mooney's room when the call was received, and both he and Mooney were angry about the unexpected development. They immediately telephoned Sir Robert, explained what had happened, and asked for his assistance in blocking any further revelations. Mooney assured Sir Robert that he had no intention of discussing the subject with anyone outside the F.O., and especially not with a newspaper proprietor. Deep regret was expressed at the "unfortunate betrayal of confidence". Mooney then dropped in on Sir Robert on the next day, Sunday 29 October. Sir Robert was still greatly annoyed over Kennedy's disclosures to Beaverbrook, and as a consequence ventured a few remarks about Kennedy's ineptitude. Afterwards, Sir Robert paused to reflect and suggested that it was appropriate for Mooney to send a message back to Germany saying that he had arrived in England and was delivering the message. The two men then worked on the wording of the message to be sent. A Belgian "business executive associated over a long period years with G.M." and well acquainted with the manager of the Belgian operations [who was Ed Zdunek, a former U.S. Marine] was leaving for Belgium that evening. Who this is, is unknown: could it have been Paul Cousin, the Brussels G.M. dealer? The written note was handed to Zdunek, and then transmitted to Germany through private channels. [75] Costello claims that Halifax had instructed Sir Robert to send word back to Berlin that Göering's message was being considered seriously by the British Government. The Foreign Office stalled Mooney's meeting with Halifax until after the U.S. Congress had voted to amend the Neutrality Acts to allow the U.S. to supply arms and equipment to the Allies on a cash-and-carry. Roosevelt's move to permit the cash-and-carry trade was backed by the Democrats but opposed by the Republicans. On 2 November 1939, the Senate approved the amendment by a 2:1 margin. [76]

On 1 November 1939, Nick Vansittart was called to the Foreign Office and specifically requested to go without Mooney. On return from seeing Sir Robert Vansittart, Nick told him as delicately as possible without betraying a confidence that Mooney's proposal had struck a barrier because of another peace effort about to be made by a neutral. This latter effort required a good deal of consultation in the Foreign Office and Nick was to pass on the message that this was the main reason why Mooney would have to be kept waiting a few days more. Very shortly thereafter, Queen Wilhelmina of The Netherlands [a Lincoln owner] and King Leopold of the Belgians offered their services as joint mediators in the conflict, and this had come as a complete surprise in London. This was not the one that the proposal that caused the delay, and Mooney never did find out whose overtures had caused the delay. Then, a further confidential report came to Nick Vansittart from his brother, stating that the French Ambassador in London had been informed of Mooney's reason for being in the U.K. and this was making it difficult for the British government to decide how to proceed, so could Mooney hang on a while longer still? Sir Robert then suggested that Mooney sent a second message to Berlin to the effect that definite word would be received shortly. Nick Vansittart and Mooney both concluded that it was very notable that Sir Robert had suggested twice that he ought to send a message back to Berlin that the message was being considered seriously. Further, there was an impression that there should be no blunder caused by the mere fact of a delay in Mooney's return. On the day of Sir Robert's second suggestion, which must have been Thursday 3 November, a message was received which was relayed from Germany through private channels [presumably via Antwerp again] asking when Mooney was expected back in Berlin. The strict wartime regulations stated that no letters or written messages could be carried by anyone. No risks could be taken with this second message, and it therefore required a verbal message conveyed to Belgium for onward relay to Berlin. [77]Chamberlain rejected the Leopold/Wilhelmina offer of mediation on 7 November. [78]

Nick Vansittart and Mooney discussed all possible candidates for the mission, as it was important that the messenger was in a position to leave and then return to England. The logical choice was Frank Carlos Lynch, Managing Director of General Motors Limited, and Mooney's "poodle", who just happened to be in London from Southampton. Lynch may have been genuinely visiting the Headquarters in St. James's Square, or he might have been calling on Mooney. [79] As an American, Lynch could easily obtain permission to leave the U.K., enter Belgium, and then re-enter the country with the legitimate excuse of having business matters to transact with G.M. Continental in Antwerp. The next boat to leave for Belgium was 36 hours later, and so Mooney and Nick Vansittart had to work quickly to obtain visas, exit permit and reservations. Lynch came to the hotel, and then had committed to memory the first message already sent via the Belgian businessman, and then the second that Lynch was to pass on. Lynch was given explicit instructions as to whom he was to see, when and where, and how he was to act on his arrival. This exercise was rehearsed the first night, and repeated at breakfast the next day, with a second rehearsal the next night. Lynch was then assured that if authorities detained him, "we" [Mooney and Vansittart] could eventually get him released. Riley must have left by train to Folkestone evening of Thursday 3 November. At the port, the sailing was delayed by several hours and checking and re-checking of passports of many passengers on the ship delayed the sailing even after official clearance had been given. Two men and their baggage were taken off the ship, and then it sailed. Presumably the sailing had to be at night for safety reasons, and would have taken him to Oostende. The ship landed safely, the message was put through to Berlin, and after considerable "wire-pulling" Lynch obtained a return visa quickly. He then caught a plane in Brussels, landed at Brighton [must have been Shoreham airfield], and was back in London [by train?] on the evening of Saturday 6 November 1939. Mooney found out on Lynch's arrival that the first messenger had got through all right, and passed on his message, and that the second was being passed on that day as well. Word came back the next day, Sunday 7 November, that the message had actually been sent to Germany. [80]

Mooney arranged for his own departure for the Continent on Friday 11 November. However, on Thursday 10 November, Mooney was granted an interview by Lord Halifax, the Foreign Secretary. It lasted just 15 minutes as Halifax had already had two weeks to consider the matter and had evidently discussed it thoroughly with Sir Robert and others [which would have included Cadogan]. Halifax said that Britain could not entertain a peace proposal at that time because Chamberlain and he did not trust Hitler and von Ribbentrop, and [given with great emphasis] the country would lose face politically if any discussions were entered into, as this would be regarded as another "Munich". Halifax and Chamberlain had "gone out on a limb" in their public declarations and could not then recede by talking peace. On his way out, Halifax told Mooney that Sir Robert would give him the exact answer to take to Germany. [81] Mooney felt that Chamberlain and Halifax had been so savagely criticised after Munich that they did not dare retreat from their insistence that Hitler and Ribbentrop had to be removed before there could be any peace discussions. [82]

Nick Vansittart and Mooney went to see Sir Robert to obtain the promised official answer, on the morning of Friday 11 November, Armistice Day. The message was written and on Sir Robert's desk, but Mooney was not allowed to see it. Instead, Sir Robert read it out loud three of four times until Mooney could fully commit it to memory. The message stated that Mooney's message had been delivered and listened to with interest. No progress could be made until there was a government in Germany with which the British could deal with. Mooney and Nick Vansittart rushed from the Foreign Office the short distance to Limited's Headquarters at 3 St. James's Square and there the message was written down by each of them with memories checked for the exact wording. Until Mooney left the country, he carried the words in the bottom of his shoe as he went around London, repeating to himself the wording until he was satisfied that he had memorised them exactly. On the train to Folkestone, the text was checked and memorised and then the paper was torn up and flushed down the toilet. [83]


Mooney left England via Dover late on the 11th, and said that he had to concentrate his thoughts on encounters with customs officials and secret service officers at the borders, especially as someone travelling from one country into an enemy one was scrutinised carefully, and a traveller who went back and forth frequently awakened especial suspicion. Mooney says that he was frequently subjected to long questioning, but was always able to prove that he was genuinely travelling as G.M. had plants on both sides of the conflict and the intelligence officers were soon satisfied and allowed him to pass through. When Mooney arrived at Folkestone, the Special Branch me satisfied themselves after checking his name on their lists and books that he was not a suspicious character. However, one of them confided that they had had news that morning and the Germans were moving into Belgium, and by the time that Mooney arrived in Oostende, the Germans would be on their way to Brussels. The information of course turned out to be totally false! The steam ferry was one of the few that ran at odd times between Folkestone and the Belgian port, and the main hazard was the danger of being damaged by mines. Mines had been laid along the Atlantic and Channel coasts as soon as war broke out, and four out of five coastal packets hit a mine and sank. The ship headed straight from Folkestone across to the French coast, and then hugged the shore until off Calais a German bomber appeared. Luckily, French Anti-aircraft batteries opened up on the raider and the aircraft flew off. [84]

The ferry landed safely in Belgium, and presumably Mooney went straight through to the German border and thence to Berlin, arriving Saturday 12 November 1939. Mooney went to see Wohlthat straight away, but he was not in his office. Dr. Hahn, his assistant, was mysterious about his chief's whereabouts and when he was likely to return. Hahn suggested that Mooney saw Göering instead. Mooney insisted, however, that the message was in English and had to be delivered to the German government in the same tongue, to avoid misconstruction and misunderstanding. The next day, 13 November, Hahn told Mooney that Wohlthat was expected to be in Rome about the end of that week and he could be met there if Mooney was prepared to go to Italy. Mooney discussed the matter with Louis Lochner, who promised to see that there would be no slip-up in Berlin in his plan for meeting Wohlthat in Rome. Mooney kept in indirect contact by telephone via Switzerland when in Rome: it is assumed that Mooney used to call the G.M. offices in Bienne, and they then passed on the message. Mooney then travelled from Berlin by train through Switzerland to Rome, arriving on Wednesday 16 November, but there was no sign of the German minister. However, Hahn sent an airmail letter urging Mooney to be patient and assuring that Wohlthat would be arriving shortly and staying at the Hotel Eden. Two weeks later, the German had still not arrived, but a German courier arrived at Mooney's rooms at the Ambasciators Hotel. Mooney was presented with a plain envelope, and inside that was another and then another, which ultimately contained a letter from Wohlthat addressed to Mooney from the Hotel Ritz in Madrid. This was a surprise as Mooney had been told indirectly that the German was in Istanbul. The letter requested that Mooney stay there for a few more days, but Wohlthat never arrived. Mooney ran into a retired U.S. Naval officer, Commander Riggs on his way back to the U.S. via Rome. Mooney asked Riggs to fly to Madrid and see what was happening with Wohlthat. Early on Saturday, 9 December 1939, Mooney received a cable message from Riggs saying that the German minister had to remain in Madrid for a few more days and that if Mooney would care to fly over and spend the Sunday with him, he would be happy for Mooney to do so. [85]

Mooney flew to Spain and then took a train to Madrid, arriving Sunday morning, 10 December. They met at the Ritz and then had lunch, followed by a car drive around the city to see the Civil War damage. [86] They returned to the Ritz for lunch, talked to midnight, and then met the next morning until noon when Mooney flew to Seville to make connections with an Italian aircraft for Lisbon. This would make it Monday 11 December. Wohlthat listened to everything that Mooney had to say, but the German reversed his previous sentiments and replied that it was now too late for any realignment in the German government. The impression was given that something had happened since they met weeks previously. Costello suggests that this "event" was a searing attack on Hitler broadcast by Churchill on 19 November [87]. Rejection of Göering's offer of talks meant that the Germans had no alternative than to "bomb hell out of" the British fleet and all of the strategic military points, ports and harbours "of England". Mooney thought this a mistake as this would increase ill-wishers of Germany in the world and that Britain had many friends particularly the U.S. and Germany was interested in re-establishing peace as well as any of the great nations, and she could not afford a long war. Germany's national interests lay in re-attainment of peace because her most desperate need was the standard of living improvements through industrial development. The two parted, the German staying on in Madrid for negotiations of a new treaty with General Franco and his cabinet, which had already dragged on for weeks and which were entangled by Spanish habits. Mooney returned to Seville, caught the Lisbon plane, and on Wednesday 13 December left Portugal by Pan-American Clipper flying-boat for New York, arriving Thursday 14 December 1939. The aircraft probably went via The Azores and the "southern route". [88] Mooney had left New York 22 August and arrived back nearly four months later!


The Lease of the Southampton Plant was signed on 22 November 1939, nearly a year after the official opening. F.C. Lynch, Nick Vansittart and Fred Beard, the Secretary signed the deed to witness the company seal being affixed. Mooney's "poodle", Lynch's assignment at an end, on 20 December 1939, he formally resigned as Managing Director and Director of General Motors Limited and was replaced by a Briton, Reginald Cartwright. Lynch presumably flew back to the U.S., but we cannot be sure whether he went by sea instead [from Liverpool?]. Mrs. Dorothy Rylands, then Miss Brook, the Treasurer's Secretary in Southampton in 1939 remembers Lynch and confirms that he left the country as quickly as possible, and his rented house was taken over by her boss instead. He may therefore have taken a flying boat back. [89] On reaching New York, Lynch was appointed Mooney's assistant for several months.

When Mooney had arrived in New York he hoped to establish a personal contact with President Roosevelt, to acquaint him with some of Mooney's first-hand experiences. He also wanted to meet Basil O'Connor to thank him for his interest and advice and to enlist his help in getting the ear of the President. Ed Riley made an appointment for Mooney and himself to see O'Connor in his apartment in the evening of Sunday, 17 December 1939. The discussion lasted until nearly midnight, and it was agreed that it would be to everyone's advantage, including the U.S. that the war was brought to a swift end. O'Connor was thanked for his assistant and advice through Riley, and suggested that he had information that would surely be of interest and potential value to the President. O'Connor decided that he would consider the matters that had been discussed and advise Mooney in due course whether he could assist further. A day or two later, Mooney was advised that an appointment had been made for him to see Roosevelt on Friday 22 December. [2] The Press never found out why Mooney was in Washington for some reason. Mooney states that he was a registered Democrat and had been at the White House at various times to talk about commercial affairs with the President [3]. Further, it was generally known that Mooney was engaged in international trade: he was therefore seemingly just another industrialist of no political significance. [90]

The interview with the President lasted more than 1½ hours and the discussion included the foreign political situation, details of negotiations in Berlin and London, and the trip through Europe. Back at his Washington hotel, Mooney wrote his notes of the conversation. Roosevelt stated that as Democrats, he and Mooney both believed in a liberal tariff policy [if not Free Trade!], but did not believe that some of the schemes that were being discussed to abolish tariffs entirely in Europe were practicable. Governments needed tariffs for revenue purposes [good point], and it would be better to open up a broader distribution of goods and raw materials gradually rather than through radical changes. Tariff barriers had to be reduced and trade relations improved remarkably in Europe because in any discussions of a peace formula, it was necessary to provide some means of furnishing employment for those who were involved in armaments programmes. In recent years, especially the two previous ones, the armaments industry had been used for employment [soak up unemployment] because industry and trade had been so badly hit by the many restrictions placed on the flow of international trade. The President would, inter alia, like a scheme for making raw materials more readily available, e.g. copper from the Congo as a material that could be made in a broader way for Europe and the countries that wanted copper. [91]

On 19 December 1939 a directors' and managers' meeting was held in Rüsselsheim [or Berlin?] to discuss the ongoing conversion to war production. C.R. Osborn, the chief execu
executive of Adam Opel A.G. was appointed a director and served as deputy to the Chairman, Wilhelm von Opel Heinrich Wagner was designated the new chief executive leading a management board of six Germans. The new board consisted of Osborn, Sloan, Mooney, Graeme K. Howard, and Elis "Pete" Hoglund, plus Albin Madsen the director of G.M. International and a further Dutch director, plus von Opel, Consul Franz Berlitz, attorney from Dresdner Bank. [92] However, the 1940 list of directors the President Professor Dr Karl Lüer, and David "Dave" Ladin who was also with International. Nick Vansittart who had been a director since 1938 was removed from the board at the meeting.



Mooney took a short vacation in Florida, and then had accumulated business matters on his return to New York, which kept him occupied for most of January 1940. Frank Lynch returned to New York and would have assisted Mooney in G.M. business as a consequence. In the meantime, O'Connor and Riley kept in touch with each other and discussed the possibility of a second talk with the President. Another meeting was scheduled for Wednesday 24 January, with the "Phoney War" at its height [4]. A few days before the visit, O'Connor suggested to Mooney that it would be a good idea for him to go abroad again and secure expressions from the heads of the belligerent states as to their war aims and terms which they would consider acceptable as a basis for peace discussions. Roosevelt thought that this would be successful only if Mooney disguised it as an ordinary business trip on the lines of those he was in the habit of making. Before Mooney left New York for Washington, he made reservations on two or three steamships. Mooney met Roosevelt again at 11.00 on 24 January and stated that he was planning to sale for Naples on the Conte di Savoia [Count of Savoy], leaving on 3 February. [93] It was agreed that the trip was to be disguised as a business one, and he was to have an ordinary passport, not a diplomatic one. A letter amounting to an informal credential was handed to Mooney when he got back to New York, signed by Roosevelt and dated 24 January. [94]

Just as he was leaving the White House, Mooney suggested that he ought to go over to the State Department and see Secretary of State Cordell Hull. Roosevelt agreed, but when Mooney arrived at the Department, Hull was ill at home. The next man down in charge was George W. Messersmith whom Mooney had known for years in Europe, and so Hull's secretary took him to see the no.2 man. However, Messersmith was totally against the trip and thought it highly dangerous. However, Mooney insisted that the President had wanted him to make the trip, and asked for help getting a passport. Messersmith knew all about the aspects of the trip between Berlin and London, and also pulled out in Mooney's presence the cablegram from Bullitt sent the previous October. Arguably using the text of the cable, Messersmith launched a violent attack on the planned trip, which resulted in a heated argument. Mooney stated that he was going as he had told the President, and the least that Messersmith could do was co-operate and provide the privilege of using diplomatic pouches for transmission of reports to the President. The interview ended, and Messersmith walked along the hall with Mooney to the passport division. However, relations with the State Department on the whole subject of the trip were decidedly unfavourable and jealousy by career diplomats was responsible for the opposition to the mission. If Hull had not been ill, then Mooney could have talked personally to him and an effective and mutually satisfactory arrangement could have been reached. However, the previous year, Graeme K. Howard, General Manager, General Motors Overseas Operations Group, and a Corporation Vice-president, Mooney's No.2 had openly attacked Hull's trade programme for its opposition to Germany's efforts at bilateral trade policies and the State Department for not making agreements under the Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act with "have-not" nations. This surely would not have endeared Hull to Mooney? Events then took an interesting turn: on Mooney's return to New York he discussed his difficulties with the State Department at a dinner with O'Connor and Riley, and it was agreed that another effort should be made to see Hull before leaving for Italy. Charles W. Taussig, a personal friend of Cordell Hull and State Department adviser suggested that Mooney returned to Washington on Tuesday 30 January only to find Hull was still ill. Mooney decided to see Adolph Berle, Assistant Secretary of State instead, and asked him to inform U.S. embassies of his plan so that in the event of a need for assistance, he could use their message transmission and code facilities. Berle resented the mission, and anybody and everybody who had something to offer. Nothing constructive "ever came out of my conversations with him". Berle promised to send word to the ambassadors as requested, but Mooney subsequently wondered if he ever did. [95]

With the hostility of the professional diplomats, Mooney felt that he needed another means of safe and confidential means of communicating with the President, and as Mooney was a Naval Reserve Officer, he arranged for Captain Wallace Lind and through him, Rear-Admiral W.B. Andersen, director of Naval Intelligence to make another avenue available for communications. Lind presented Mooney to Andersen who, the moment he was informed of the task to be undertaken and the need for a safe means of communication, gave Mooney letters to the naval attaches in London and Rome, namely Captain Allan G. Kirk and T.C. Kincaid, respectively. He also wrote directly to the officers, as well as to Rear-Admiral Charles E. Courtney, squadron commander, U.S. naval forces in Lisbon, instructing them to give Mooney fullest co-operation. Mooney also called upon Archbishop Francis Joseph Spellman, of the Diocese of New York, to enlist his support. Spellman arranged a contact with Pope Pius X to enable Mooney to have a private audience in case he needed the Pope's help at any point [Mooney being a non-regular Church attending Catholic]. Mooney then called on a friend of the family, Rt. Rev. Msgr. Charles J. Canivan, rector of St. Dominic's R.C. church at Oyster Bay, near the Mooney's Long Island, NY, home. The priest agreed to say special prayers each day for the mission's success until Mooney returned. [96]


Mooney sailed from New York on the Italian liner, Conte di Savoia, as planned, bound for Naples, accompanied by Mooney's executive assistant, William B. Wachtler, a vice-president of General Motors Overseas Operations. In February, whilst en route for Italy, Ed Riley cabled Mooney on board saying that the President was sending Under-secretary of State Sumner Welles to Europe to survey conditions in Italy, France, Germany and the U.K. in the name of the United States. Statements made to Welles were to be received solely by Roosevelt and Hull. Mooney was shocked that the President had arranged to send an official mission of observation over much of the same ground as his. Mooney believed after contemplation that the President had agreed to the Welles mission solely upon the instigation of the State Department and that the professionals made the appointment against the infringement by an amateur in their territory. [97] Mooney resolved to place any information that he had at Welles's disposal.

The ship landed at Naples on 12 February, and Nick Vansittart [no longer a director of Adam Opel but still Regional Director for the British Isles and a director of the British G.M. companies] and "Ed" Zdunek, Managing Director of G.M. Continental, Antwerp met Mooney when he arrived! They had been requested to meet Mooney as he wished to discuss with them "such phases of my mission as would require their co-operation". This required making advance preparations for Mooney's later arrival in England as well as in Belgium and France. The four men then travelled by car to Rome, and Captain Kincaid arranged to put the Navy mail pouch at his disposal and also offered to encode and transmit any messages that were to be sent back to the President. Mooney also called on U.S. Ambassador Phillips on the 13th as well, who had, as was expected, not received any word from the State Department about his trip. However, Mooney decided not to have an audience with the Pope at that time, and notified a Vatican official to whom Mooney had been given a letter of introduction from the Archbishop Spellman, that he would not be taking the Pope's time at that juncture. [98]


On 13 February 1940, Mooney and Wachtler took the evening train for Munich from Rome [through Austria and the Brenner Pass presumably]. What happened to Zdunek is not known: Zdunek was back in Antwerp at the beginning of May though Nick Vansittart returned to the U.K. without Mooney. He understandably reported to his brother, who in turn sent a Memo. to Halifax on 16 February, thus suggesting that Nick had arrived back by the 15th. Sir Robert advised Halifax that Sumner Welles' mission was to check up on the reports of the diplomatists and Mr. Mooney will be checking up on Mr. Sumner Welles". Halifax apparently allowed his distaste for Americans to show in his comment in the margin "They are strange people and pursue strange methods!" [99] The Foreign Office files that refer to Sumner Welles's mission are in the Public Records Office in Kew under PRO FO371/24405 to 24408, and Mooney is referred to in 24418 and possibly 24419. Upon arrival in Munich, noon of 14 February, the train was met as arranged by Cyrus R. Osborn, General Manager of Adam Opel A.G., and Heinrich Richter. There Mooney met Dr. Fritz Belitz, a Munich banker who was also a board member of Opel, who came to call on them. Belitz was another that was very concerned at the unsatisfactory relations between Germany and the U.S. Osborn and Richter were acquainted with the mission on the train from Munich to Berlin after the train left in the evening in a heavy snowstorm, and the train arrived in Berlin two hours late. In the capital, snow was piled high on the streets. Whilst in Munich, Mooney arranged for a meeting over the telephone with Alexander Kirk, the Charge d'Affaires in Berlin. Mooney met him at 11.00, February 15 and acquainted him with the general circumstances and broad purposes of the trip. They had already met before Mooney left for Paris the year before. Kirk tried to work out in his mind any relationship between Mooney's trip and the impending mission by Welles. The following day, 16 February, Mooney visited Louis P. Lochner at home [in Giesebrechtstrasse?] taking in a package of coffee, fruit, chocolate and soap bought in Italy as Germany was on strict rations at the time. Lochner was brought up to date and shown the President's letter, and offered his assistance with the mission. [100]

It should be mentioned here that Mooney was not the only man involved in peace missions: James Lonsdale Bryans was an Old Etonian and had met Lord Halifax in August 1939 when visiting the Foreign Office. After war had broken out, Lonsdale Bryans left for Rome and after a time made contact with a junior Italian official who was engaged to the daughter of Ulrich von Hassell. The Briton was told all about the planned coup that involved his future father-in-law, and various German Generals. Lonsdale Bryans then returned to the U.K. and met Halifax, etc. He then travelled to Switzerland where he met von Hassell himself on 22 February 1940. On return to the U.K. with a message from von Hassell concerning the ant-Hitler plot, he met various Foreign Office officials including Sir Robert Vansittart. Evidently, Lonsdale Bryans's amateur mission seemed not only pointless but positively dangerous. Sir Robert sent a Memorandum to Lord Halifax, as Foreign Secretary on 11 March insisting that neither the Generals "nor anybody else can or will deliver the goods or revolution". In support of this he cited soundings taken by his intelligence agent and former colleague Colonel Malcolm Graham Christie, a co-director of the private intelligence company "front", Vansittart & Christie Limited. Christie had been in communication from Switzerland with members of the anti-Hitler opposition inside Germany. Sir Robert thought that it was a "doomed experiment" to negotiate with the Germans "whether the Will o'the Wisp dances in the name of phantom Generals or of a fat Field Marshal with a neutral go between". The latter referred to feelers from Göering through a Shell-Mex oil executive, Baldwin Reaper. [101]If this applied to an amateur Briton, and an approach from Göering through Reaper, it must also have applied to Mooney's activities as well.

In February 1940, Junkers aero-engines and cockpits and canopies for the Ju.88 as well as running gear, frame components, and electrical harnesses with instrument panels were made under licence at Rüsselsheim. At the beginning of the same month, Osborn and Elis S. "Pete" Hoglund [102], had been invited by General Bruno Loerzer, commander of the active air services in the Wiesbaden area, to attend a dinner at Bad Homburg for all the air force officers of that district. The last German Ambassador in Washington, Dr. Heinrich Dieckhoff, had been the principal speaker. After Mooney arrived in Berlin, he had various business conferences with ranking officials of Opel [103] over several days. Dieckhoff, according to Osborn and Hoglund, discussed realistically the definitely sympathetic attitude, which prevailed in the U.S. towards the U.K. and France, and recognised the strong desire of the American people to stay out of the war. He insisted that encouragement for the allies had come from America, largely from official quarters, and without such encouragement England & France would not have declared war. However, under all circumstances Germany should avoid antagonising American public opinion. General Loerzer in his closing remarks at the dinner said it was up to all officers and men of the Luftwaffe to conduct themselves in the war so as to avoid any affronts to American public opinion. Further calls at the U.S. Embassy brought Mooney in contact with Commander Albert E. Schrader, naval attaché, Commander Piel, naval aeronautics attaché, Donald Heath, Embassy First Secretary, and Alfred W. Klieforth, American Consul-General in Cologne. All were most curious about Welles's coming concerning which Washington still kept them in the dark about. Nothing of value to his task came from the visits, though.

Roosevelt's own "official" representative, Under-Secretary of State Sumner Welles left New York on 17 February, in a blaze of publicity, and was in Rome on 25 February. He immediately saw Count Ciâno and then the next day, 26 February, Il Duce, Benito Mussolini.


Mooney deliberated for some time on how to apply to see Hitler. In the end, he wrote to the Chancellor on 16 February from his Hotel Adlon, asked Heinrich Richter to translate it, and then signed the German text. Richter and Wachtler delivered the letter the evening of 16 February to Geheimrat Hinrichs, Foreign Office liaison officer at the Reichschancellery whom they had been informed was the proper person to receive such communications for Hitler. Hinrichs opened the letter, read it and then stated that it would have to be sent via the Foreign Ministry for comment and approval before it was placed in front of Hitler. Mooney thought that a more direct approach should be made to the Foreign Ministry, and telephoned the "Ambassador" Dieckhoff to make a luncheon appointment for the following day with a view to asking Dieckhoff to use his connections with Ribbentrop. However, Louis Lochner dropped in to say that he had just seen Reichs Press Chief Dietrich, who had originally proposed Mooney being drawn into the peace mission. Dietrich told Lochner that he already knew about the letter to Hitler, but that the letter would have to pass over Ribbentrop's desk before being acted upon, and Dieckhoff would be the best man to ensure that the letter was dealt with. Wohlthat's wife telephoned Mooney at his hotel and asked him to come to lunch on Tuesday 20 February and Mooney thought that this would be a prime opportunity to acquaint Wohlthat himself with the nature of the assignment. In the meantime, Mooney kept Alexander Kirk at the Embassy fully informed about developments. [104]

Dieckhoff turned up at the Hotel Adlon for lunch on Monday 19 February as agreed, and the reasons for the trip were discussed. The possibility of seeing Ribbentrop before Hitler was discussed. Dieckhoff expressed great interest in the forthcoming Welles visit: the Dr. had asked Lochner as to what the connection was between the two visits. Lochner had advised that there was in fact no connection! Dieckhoff stated that Germany no longer had any national interests which conflicted with those of France and the U.K.: Germany wanted nothing from France and the U.K. and the only problem remaining, namely the question of the handing back of the former German colonies, was certainly no basis for a world war. The next day, 20 February, Mooney and Wohlthat had lunch at the latter's house, and asked what Mooney planned to do on this trip [nothing had happened after his last visit some months previously]. Mooney acquainted him with the whole picture, and was disappointed that the official routine was to pass the letter through the Foreign Ministry, based on what Mooney says was a false impression in Wohlthat's mind that Ribbentrop had refused to see Mooney in the previous year. However, Mooney disabused him of this by saying that he had been prevented by circumstances from accepting the Minister's invitation to call on him. Wohlthat asked for permission to tell Göering of the conversation, which was given, and Mooney promised to keep in touch with Wohlthat. [105]

Immediately after arrival in Berlin, Mooney worked with his assistant, Bill Wachtler, on the preparation of a suitable agenda and notes, and these in turn were discussed with Louis Lochner. [106] The relevant portion of the text, here, was the Part B, Paragraph 10, where President Roosevelt's views on economic freedom encompassed access to raw materials, lowered barriers to international trade, and the absorption of unemployed and armament workers in peacetime industries. The President believed in the concept of the most-favoured nation principle in connection with mutual trade. The other point of relevance is that if Germany looked forward to a more orderly political and economic future world, in which the status and advantages of the white men would not be lower than in the past, Germany could not fail to recognise the past and potential future contribution of the British Empire to the maintenance of "white man's" law and order, prestige, and trading advantages in a large part of the world for the overall benefit of the white race. The American view was that the weakening of the British Empire would be an irreparable loss to the white peoples in all parts of the world. As regards an aspect that Mooney had touched on before with the Germans: Paragraph 15 stated that public opinion in the U.S. was moving in the direction of acceptance of the principle of a substantial contribution of surplus commodities and gold toward the solution of the broad world problem. It was being increasingly felt that such a contribution would in the long run benefit the U.S. domestic economy through the liquidation of America's own surpluses and through the beneficial influence which release of war materials and gold into the world economy would have on international trade in general. This is what Mooney termed "Agreement on a substantial American contribution". [107]

On the 21st February, Mooney penned a latter from the Hotel Adlon addressed to Under-secretary Welles, care of the U.S. Embassy in Rome, acknowledging that he knew that Welles had arrived in Rome, and offered his services accordingly. [108] No acknowledgement of the letter reached Mooney.

Five days after Mooney's first contact with Dieckhoff, the acting chief of protocol, Dr. G.A. von Halem, telephoned Mooney to advise that Ribbentrop would like to speak with him but he was still ill at home. A few days later, Lochner came to see tell Mooney that Dieckhoff had visited Ribbentrop at his home, explained the nature of the trip, and had asked the Minister to endorse the interview with Hitler. Von Halem advised an appointment had been made with Ribbentrop for 1 p.m. 29 February and that Attaché von Bredow would call for Mooney at his hotel. [109]

Mooney made an appointment to see Wohlthat in the morning of 28 February. He advised the Minister that a meeting with Hitler was no far off and he would like his assistance in making it possible for him to discuss matters with him, Wohlthat, and Göering as soon as he had seen Hitler. This he agreed to do. However, Mooney should be advised that Hitler was particularly sensitive to American press and radio criticism and ridicule, and so could Mooney please assure the Chancellor that material of this sort was in fact prepared by irresponsible, non-official people who reflected only their own personal views. Wohlthat then discussed economic matters and tariffs and their bearing on broad German policies included in their concept of Lebensraum or "Living space". The Minister referred to two articles written by him in economic journals and which he felt reflected the official viewpoint on these matters. The first might be translated as "International Regional Markets and the Most-Favoured-Nation Principle", published December 1938, and the second, "Repercussions of British Economic Warfare", which had appeared a few days previously, so therefore February 1940. Mooney was convinced that with respect to the former paper, Germany still accepted the "most-favoured-nation" principle as the best basis for international trade, and that such modifications as were implied in their trade agreements and trade treaties were regarded as exceptions which should be corrected if and when the realities of international trade and politics permitted. On 3 June 1935, a new Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Consular Rights was negotiated between the U.S. and Germany, but this excluded new trade concessions for the Germans and the Article VII provisions guaranteeing mutual most-favoured-nation status, which were contained in the previous Agreement between the two countries. By 1938, 16 countries had entered into reciprocal trade agreements with the U.S., and these afforded special tariff concessions that the Germans were not able to benefit from. With regard to Central Europe, Dr. Wohlthat explained the German view that the location, size and industrial development of Germany entitled her to prior economic rights in the Central European area. In this connection, he mentioned that not only Hungary and Rumania but Bulgaria and Yugoslavia as well. He stated that Germany does not want political hegemony in any of these countries, but will not tolerate any outside political interference in them. He said that Germany regarded Greece and Turkey as Mediterranean states in which Germany was not concerned. German trade was the largest economic factor in this area and Germany should be entitled to the opportunity to develop this trade. He stated further that Germany wag even now subsidising the wheat growers in these countries by paying them more than the world price, which practice was directly comparable with similar American agricultural subsidies. Furthermore, Germany was willing to permit the British trade to continue in neutral European countries at about its present levels, which represented about 10% of the foreign trade of this area. In concluding this portion of the discussion, Dr. Wohlthat felt prepared to state that Chancellor Hitler would not yield an inch as regards this Mitteleuropa concept. However, "Germany accepted in principle and without reservation that fact of the British Empire and its political and economic structure. Germany was ready to guarantee a complete policy of non-interference in the British Empire and likewise to refrain from any political activities or propaganda in all of South America". [110]

Mooney wrote again to Welles on 28 February and sent a copy of his first letter, and again offered his services. This was passed in person to Alexander Kirk in the U.S. Embassy in Berlin, and a promise was given that it would be passed to Welles immediately he arrived in the capital. However, there was a noticeable change in Kirk's attitude toward the trip and towards Mooney's presence in Berlin. Although Kirk continued to make himself available to Mooney on his frequent visits, sometimes arranged at short notice, his spontaneous interest and the evident desire to assist in what he previously regarded as a commendable effort towards peace had completely disappeared. He became uncommitted in his attitude, and pleaded ignorance almost until the hour that Welles arrived, of dates and arrangements of the expected visit: the impression given was that he was acting on instructions or suggestions that had caused him to change his attitude. [111]

Ribbentrop received Mooney at his home on the 29th, and a discussion ensued concerning the nature of the visit, especially that the President had asked him to travel to Europe to transmit his views. Ribbentrop regretted the recall of the U.S. Ambassador Wilson, which left him no alternative but to recall Dieckhoff from Washington. Mooney was asked if he wanted to see Hitler, to which her replied that he wanted to deliver the President's message, and then discuss matters further with the Minister afterwards. Ribbentrop stated that he would be in touch again after Welles's visit. Welles was in fact in Berlin at least the next day, so the meetings more or less coincided: the two American representatives were in Berlin at the same time. After the discussion, Mooney went straight to the U.S. Embassy to acquaint Alexander Kirk. [112]


Mooney learned through Lochner that the interview with Hitler had been approved by the Foreign Ministry, and felt as a consequence that he should take the next step towards a meeting with Göering as soon as possible. [113]

Under-secretary of State Sumner Welles finally arrived in Berlin Friday 1 March 1940, and went almost immediately to see Ribbentrop at the Foreign Ministry as well as apparently, Staatssekretaer [State Secretary] Ernst von Weiszäcker [114] at the Reich Foreign Office, as well as Göering at his home: see below. In the evening, Louis Lochner advised Mooney that after the meeting Lochner had been in the Wilhelmstrasse where he had been shown an agenda of the meeting and a brief summary of the discussions. It was apparent that Ribbentrop had informed Welles [115]that economic discussions would be worthless until some political assurances were forthcoming that the U.K. would no longer strangle German economically. Peace was out of the question until assurances were given that British political interference and agitation in Central Europe would cease, and until the control of strategic points like Gibraltar and the Suez Canal were in some way placed on a broader base. Ribbentrop also asked Welles for his proposed agenda and the list of questions he desired to present to Hitler, so that the Chancellor could be properly prepared for the meeting. Welles gave reporters and press representatives a hearing at the U.S. Embassy following his subsequent interview with Hitler, and though he did not reveal anything of importance, the press despatches reported extremely shrewd and well-informed guesses as to what had transpired. Although Mooney left cars at the Hotel for both Welles and Pierrepoint Moffat who accompanied him, he had still not heard from either of them except a return of cars, and the Embassy did not/would not advise him of a time and place for the meeting with Welles: repeated telephone calls said that they were working on the matter and would let him know, but no definite appointment was forthcoming. [116]

Alexander Kirk had planned by the afternoon of Saturday 2 March, a large cocktail party in honour of Welles, to which the entire Embassy and Consular staffs were invited, as well as American businessmen and newspaper correspondents located in Berlin. The entire American community was invited, but no Germans were asked to come, though invitations did extend to Berlin diplomatic representatives of all South American countries. Up until 4.00 p.m., no word was received from the Embassy. Lochner arrived at the Hotel Adlon at about 4.00, and expressed astonishment that Mooney had not received an invitation, and did not intend to go. Perhaps this was an oversight? Lochner said that Welles was due to leave the next day, Sunday 3 March, and this would be his only opportunity to even have a brief word with him and that a trivial oversight should not interfere with the important matter of advising Welles that certain German views had not been presented to him by officials that Mooney had interviewed. Lochner and Mooney drove out to Kirk's home, and there met Kirk alone in the reception hall. In the following half-hour, Mooney had a chance encounter with Welles, and commonplace remarks were exchanged in two minutes only as he had to address words of greeting to South American diplomat friends in an adjoining salon. Afterwards, Lochner advised Mooney that several other American correspondents who had been in Germany a long time and felt that they had understood the situation had tried to impart some of their knowledge to Welles, but as if by pre-arrangement, every time that the newspapermen addressed themselves to Welles, Kirk eagerly brought up someone for an introduction so that no-one could tell Welles something about conditions as they knew them. [117]

Welles saw Ribbentrop the morning of 1 March, and then Göering followed by Hitler on the 2nd and 3rd with minutes being taken by Dr. Paul Schmidt. [118] He then saw Göering, Hess and Schacht, and then left for Paris via Switzerland, the evening of 3 March. Welles also met Dr. Schacht after he had fallen from grace and after having been summoned by Hitler and told what line to take. [119]Welles subsequently saw Prime Minister Daladier in Paris, and was still in Paris on 9 March, but then flew to London from Paris arriving at Hendon Aerodrome, ironically about a half-mile from General Motors Limited's Hendon Plant, on the 10th, being met by Ambassador Joseph Kennedy. At one o'clock on March 12 Welles lunched with Sir John Simon at 11 Downing Street. The other guests were Lord Hankey, Lord Chatfield, Minister of Co-ordination, Sir Kingsley Wood, Minister for Air, Sir Andrew Duncan, President of the Board of Trade, Sir Horace Wilson [head of the Civil Service] and Sir Robert Vansittart. Welles cabled Roosevelt, inter alia, "Lord Hankey, whom I had known before, told me Mr. Chamberlain had spoken with him of our talk the preceding evening [Remembrance Day, 11 November]. He said that I believed I would find I would receive some valuable information when I saw Mr. Chamberlain again the following day [13 November]. I gathered that Lord Hankey and Sir Horace Wilson, who joined Lord Hankey and myself after lunch, were both striving to find some approach to the problem of security and disarmament which might offer some hope of preventing a protracted war of devastation". [120] Welles seems to have also met The King, as well as Foreign Secretary Lord Halifax, and Permanent Under-Secretary of State, Foreign Office, Sir Alexander Cadogan, Sir Robert Vansittart's successor. Welles must have left 13 March for Paris again, was then in Rome on 15 and 16 March, and had left for the U.S. by 20 March. [121] The U.S. Government subsequently formally froze German assets in the U.S. in April 1940: if they had believed that there was no possibility after all of an economic route to peace, then the U.S. should take immediate steps to ensure payment of German debts.

The meeting between Mooney and Hitler was finally set for Tuesday 4 March. Firstly, a telephone call was received on Sunday 2 March from Legationsrat [Counsellor of Legation] von Halem of the Foreign Ministry protocol section, stating that the appointment had been made for 4 March, at an hour to be notified. The next day, Mooney was told that Legationsrat Dr. Hans Strack would visit him at his hotel to complete the arrangements. Strack arrived with Attaché von Bredow who had taken Mooney to see Ribbentrop a few days previously. Strack was in charge for the Foreign Ministry bureau that handled arrangements for official visits and "distinguished persons". The meeting, Strack advised, was at 12.15 the following day after Hitler had seen Sven Hedin, the Swedish explorer at the Chancellery. Later that day, Wachtler and Mooney made a final check and review of the prepared notes with Lochner at the latter's home. On Tuesday the 4th, Strack and von Bredow arrived at the Hotel Adlon to escort Mooney to the Chancellery, in a large official car [Mercedes?], and they were driven to the first corner of Under den Linden where the car turned right and proceeded along Wilhelmstrasse pas the British Embassy. The Food and Agriculture Ministry, the former Reich's President's Palace, which was by then Ribbentrop's official residence, the Foreign Ministry on the right, and the Justice, Prussian State, and Goebell's Propaganda Ministries on the left, to the New Reich's Chancellery. A guard of honour, which duly presented salute, met the car. Geheimrat Hinrichs and Staatssekretaer Dr. Brinckman met Mooney at the lower rung of the outer steps, and at the head of the steps stood Staatsminister Dr. Otto Meissner, head of that section of the Chancellery which had to do with powers, duties and prerogatives devolving on Hitler as chief of state, as distinguished from Chancellor and head of the N.S.D.A.P. Meissner was therefore an official host during Mooney's stay in the Chancellery building. Mooney was then met by Wilhelm Brueckner, Hitler's personal adjutant, who conducted him to an ante-room adjoining Hitler's office. They then had to wait for the interview with Hedin to finish. The Swede had come on a personal mission from King Gustav of Sweden, urging Hitler to bring about an early end to the Russian attack on Finland. Germany did intervene a short time afterwards, and negotiations between Finland and Russia were soon under way [122]. Hitler shook hands with Mooney, and Dr. Paul Schmidt joined the two as interpreter, and the only other person in the room was a uniformed bodyguard. Hitler then referred back to the last conversation that they had had some years previously, and then indicated his readiness to hear what Mooney had to say. The President's remarks offering himself as a "moderator" seemed to intrigue the Chancellor. Hitler, amongst other points, when discussing the U.K., digressed to berate the British Government for its high-hatted attitude towards Germany. He insisted that Britain and France should come to their senses and stop talking so loud, i.e. "Who is England to talk to me this way?" Hitler, Mooney felt, was ready to accept Roosevelt's services as moderator and his general attitude was that he had no axe to grind with the U.S. Hitler said that "Germany regarded it as inadmissible that two countries like Britain and France should endeavour to rule the whole world by means of their Empires, and to reserve to their exclusive use the whole of the economic resources of the world. For Germany's economic security with respect to the importation of necessary foodstuffs and raw materials it was imperative that she get out of the position where Britain by one means or another could take steps every ten years or so to throttle or impede this flow of essential foodstuffs and necessary materials and goods". [123] The notes on U.S. public opinion that Mooney had written were left with Dr. Schmidt for later examination by Hitler. However, Mooney felt that he wanted to talk over these expressions of American public opinion with officials in the Foreign Ministry and also with Göering and his staff, which Hitler agreed to. The return journey was a reversal of the inward one, and Mooney was driven back to his hotel. [124]

Immediately upon return, Mooney telephoned Ambassador Dieckhoff, and the latter came to the Hotel Adlon that afternoon [4 March]. Mooney acquainted Dieckhoff of the meeting in general terms, and read to him the notes dealing with the President's point of view, and then the copy of the notes dealing with the U.S. public opinion. To all of the President's comments, the Ambassador gave enthusiastic agreement and approval. Mooney then urged Dieckhoff to discuss the matter with Ribbentrop so that he [Mooney] could take with him Ribbentrop's expressions when Mooney left in the following few days. Mooney also asked for Dieckhoff to arrange for another short talk with Ribbentrop because he wished to tell him about the President's message as he had promised to do after delivering it to Hitler. [125] Schirer states that Hans Dieckhoff was "whiling away his time in Berlin" and confirms that he saw Mooney after his attendance on Hitler, and the former ambassador immediately reported to the Foreign Office that Mooney was "rather verbose" and that "I cannot believe that the Mooney initiative has any great importance". [126]

However, Schirer writes that Mooney had told Hitler on 4 March "President Roosevelt was more friendly and sympathetic to Germany than was generally believed in Berlin, and that the President was prepared to act as moderator in bringing the belligerents together", and that Hitler had merely repeated what he had told Welles two days previously. Further, Hans Thomsen, German Chargé d'Affaires in Washington sent to Berlin a confidential memorandum prepared for him by "an unnamed American informant declaring that Mooney was "more or less pro-German". The memorandum stated that Mooney had informed Roosevelt on the basis of an earlier talk with Hitler that the Führer "was desirous of peace and wished to prevent the bloodshed of a spring campaign". [127] In fact, Mooney had not seen Hitler since they last met on 1 May 1934 in Berlin. [128] Shirer adds that Mooney "was certainly taken in by the Germans" [129], which is not true: he did in fact know only too well what was happening but he felt sincere in his aims.

Whilst Mooney was still having his interview with Hitler, Wachtler called upon Dr. Wohlthat to inform him that Mooney was having his interview with the Chancellor, and would thereafter be free to talk with Göering, by then appointed Reichsmarschall. [Query if Göering had been appointed Hitler's successor over the head of Deputy Führer Rudolph Hess by then?]. Mooney wanted to keep Göering's office informed as well as Ribbentrop's Foreign Ministry, on activities and progress. Mooney called on Wohlthat personally the day after the meeting with Hitler, namely Wednesday 5 March, and brought him up to date with what had transpired, and asked him to arrange a meeting with Göering as soon as possible because Mooney was eager to send word to Roosevelt and hoped to be able to leave for Italy within the following three or four days. Wohlthat said that he had always felt that among British statesmen, Sir Horace Wilson [5] "possessed the most open mind and had the most complete understanding of Germany's problems" [130] Interestingly, Welles met Wilson and Sir Robert in London on his mission. He said that it was tragic that he and Sir Horace had not been allowed the opportunity to work out a settlement, because it was certain that between them they could have reached a mutually satisfactory understanding that would have made it possible to avoid the war entirely. [131] Wohlthat also said that regarding the message carried to London in the autumn of 1939 on behalf of Göering, that the complete plans and circumstances of this message had been discussed both before and afterwards with Hitler. Hitler and Göering had apparently felt that Mooney's errand had been a useful one. Wohlthat said he had urged Göering against any Polish venture at that time as it would leave the British with no honourable alternative except for a declaration of war. Göering had apparently tried to dissuade Hitler, but in Wohlthat's opinion Hitler had permitted himself to be guided by his more extreme advisers. The following day, Wohlthat informed Mooney that an appointment had been made with Göering at his country home, Karinhall, 25 miles or so outside Berlin, for Thursday 7 March at 10.30 a.m. This would require leaving the Hotel Adlon at 8.30 a.m. for the two-hour drive. Wohlthat was asked to arrange for him to be the third person at the meeting, in order to translate. The meeting eventually lasted 1½ hours. [132]

Mooney arranged with Dr. Strack at the Chancellery for a later meeting with Dr. Schmidt, in order to give access to the minutes of the meeting that Schmidt had made. Two days later, on the 6 March, Wachtler and Mooney called on Dr. Schmidt, and saw the summary statement of what Hitler had said, and which had been approved by the Chancellor himself. Schmidt verbally translated the statement into English, so that Mooney and his assistant could write the text down themselves. Schmidt asked for a copy of the notes dealing with the President's point of view so that these could be checked. Mooney subsequently wrote courtesy letters to Hitler and Ribbentrop, thanking them for their interviews, and giving notice of Mooney's departure within a few days. These were then translated into German by Richter, and delivered shortly afterwards by Wachtler to Geheimrat Hinrichs in the Chancellery.


On 7 March, Mooney drove out to Karinhall, following after Sumner Welles [who was in Paris the same day]. Mooney went over the Part I of his notes that dealt with Roosevelt's personal views, and Göering seemed to be intrigued by the idea of a moderator, as had Hitler. However, the answer to the President's offer lay in London, not Berlin: if London agreed, then the rest would be easy. However, though she could not wait indefinitely, Germany would refrain temporarily from pushing the war aggressively if assured that something if assured that something constructive was in the process of development in England and France. This offer was necessarily limited in time. Göering seemed greatly concerned about the improvement in German-American relations, insisted that Germany had done nothing contrary to American interests, referred to the large numbers of Americans of German descent, but warned that the cancellation of the arms embargo by the U.S. was in reality a departure from neutrality [this presumably meant the supplies to the U.K. and the Dominions]. Göering expressed the belief that if the British were convinced that Germany was strong enough to fight both Britain and France, they would both be ready to end the war, and would find Germany equally prepared to do so. He [Göering] agreed with Hitler's conviction that the British Empire ought to continue to exist, but that it must cease meddling in German affairs. Germany stressed many of the points already made by Hitler, but added that Germany was fighting for a German sphere of influence in middle Europe which could be likened to a German Monroe Doctrine. In this sphere of influence, Germany was ready to extend political, cultural and religious autonomy to all the smaller states in the German orbit. Göering claimed that the most-favoured-nation principle was Germany's basic economic principle in all commercial treaties she was making, but that necessities of the situation demanded some deviations from the theoretical principle, just as the Ottawa Agreements constituted certain deviations from the most-favoured-nation idea. For the countries that fell within her orbit, the open door would be maintained and the freest possible trade relations encouraged with the countries of western Europe and the rest of the world. Göering indicated a strong desire for improved commercial and economic relations and co-operation between Germany and the U.S. [133]

In his statement of German objectives, the Field Marshal was very clear. Germany had renounced forever any ambitions upon Alsace-Lorraine. Germany not only had no desire to impair the integrity of the British Empire; it believed in her own interest that the British Empire should be maintained intact

After Mooney and Wohlthat returned to the Hotel Adlon, Wachtler joined them, and the points of discussion with Göering were confirmed between themselves from their memories. Wachtler put down in writing what Wohlthat and Mooney had said, and the text was read and approved as representing the essential elements of what was agreed at Karinhall. Mooney hoped to see Ribbentrop before he left for Italy, but the next day, Friday 8 March, Ambassador Dieckhoff informed Mooney that Ribbentrop had had to cancel all appointments as he had received sudden orders to proceed to Rome [Welles was in Rome on 15 and 16 March, though in fact Ribbentrop was to see the Pope on 12 March]. Ribbentrop had left in such a hurried departure that no opportunity had been made to obtain from Ribbentrop his commentary on American public opinion. There did not seem to be anything remaining to be done in Berlin, and so he wrote a courtesy letter to Göering, made a few farewell calls, and prepared to leave for the south. Mooney had not seen much of Alexander Kirk, the Chargé d'Affaires, though he felt that he ought to say goodbye because he was convinced that Kirk's recent attitude had not been of his own choosing. Mooney and Kirk had a friendly chat in the latter's office, and said when Mooney went out the door "Well, Jim, don't think too badly of us around here". On Saturday 9 March 1940, James D. Mooney and Bill Wachtler left for Munich from Berlin, where a board meeting of Adam Opel A.G. was scheduled. The following night, Sunday 10 March, Mooney and his assistant took the express train for Rome [via Austria?]. [134] This was the last Opel Board meeting that Mooney attended.


Mooney stated that his principal reason for leaving Germany and travelling for Rome was in order to reach a neutral company from which he might arrange for the transmission of his reports to the President through confidential government channels. As the train crossed the Brenner Pass [i.e. through western Austria] during the night, and then through Northern Italy, Mooney worked on a first draft of his message to Roosevelt. The train arrived just before noon on Monday 11 March, and by then the draft had taken definite form. Mooney went at once to Ambassador Phillips to arrange for the message to be sent in code to the State Department. However, the Ambassador was confined to bed with a cold [135], and told Mooney that no provision had been made for the transmission of such messages, but he would take up the matter with Washington. Mooney therefore went to Captain Kincaid, the Naval Attaché whose office was in an adjoining building within the Embassy grounds. Kincaid acted under authorisation from Admiral Anderson and readily agreed to pass on the messages. However, all work on the messages had to be done in his own offices, and a stenographer was assigned to the task of typing out the message. When finally completed, the coded message was turned over to the regular Italian cable company for onward transmission to the U.S. The cable itself was kept clear for an hour or so at midnight for the use of the U.S. diplomatic service, and of this about 30 minutes were available for the Naval Attaché's office. With routine business given first priority, only 15 to 20 minutes were left for sending special messages such as Mooney's, though by applying for some extra transmission time, Kincaid's staff managed to transmit the first report to Roosevelt in the course of two midnight sessions. [136]Kincaid cabled the request to Admiral Anderson for the privilege of utilising the facilities of the Trenton, and Anderson promptly radioed instructions to Admiral Courtney to accept and transmit any messages from Mooney. [137]

Mooney and Wachtler agreed that the latter would fly from Rome to Lisbon on Saturday 16 March and deliver the remaining messages to Courtney for transmittal. The Conte di Savoia was sailing on the 16th for the U.S., and plans were made to place in the Navy pouch a complete set of Mooney's five messages to Roosevelt. The rest of the week was spent in careful drafting of the remaining texts, and the entire set of confirming messages, together with a covering letter to the President, went into the Navy pouch just a few minutes before it closed on Friday 15 March prior to its despatch on the ship at Naples. Mooney states that he did not possess any verbatim copy of the five cables to Roosevelt: Navy security forbade the carrying of plain English duplicates of coded material outside the sending offices. Closely paraphrased copies retaining the exact sense of the original could be taken out under certain precautions. Mooney thus based his file records on these, though the text of the original messages appears in Roosevelt's private safe files in the FDR papers at Marist University: the benefit of the passage of time has enabled the texts to be revealed to the public. [138]

Mooney states that it was "perfectly clear to me that the entirely unofficial status under which he had been operating had reached the limit of its effectiveness". Experiences with the U.S. diplomatic agencies in Berlin and Rome opened his eyes to the weakness of his position. He believed that the German officials had not exploited this weakness because of their strong desire to use every available means for attempting to bring about an end to the war. However, Mooney could plainly see that his efforts in France and the U.K. would be nullified unless his position was in some way strengthened markedly. Mooney was not, however, eager to take on any official status: he was well aware of the limitations and handicaps involved in an official status, but he needed something more than Roosevelt's "innocuous note". Mooney telephoned Ed Riley by transatlantic telephone connection and made his feelings known to Riley. American slang was very helpful he said in exercising caution and judgement in the conversation. On 13 March, Riley sent a guarded cable indicating that Basil O'Connor was willing after the five messages had reached Roosevelt to offer authoritative advice concerning Mooney's further movements. In order to ensure that O'Connor had all available facts at his disposal, Mooney decided to send Wachtler to New York by PanAm Clipper from Lisbon. Wachtler consequently left Ostia, the seaplane base for Rome, to Lisbon on 16 March 1940, and carried with him the messages to the President that Admiral Courtney had been instructed to code and forward to Roosevelt from Lisbon. However, bad weather delayed Wachtler's departure from Portugal and later kept him for five days in Horta on the Azores, so that he did not reach Port Washington on Long Island until the morning of 27 March. There was no delay though in the radio transmission of the messages. Riley and Wachtler spent an hour with O'Connor on 29 March, and used guarded language to acquaint Mooney with the result by transatlantic telephone. Wachtler stressed [to O'Connor] the fact that for really effective handling of Mooney's mission in France and U.K. his [M's] position had to be made infinitely stronger with adequate support from the U.S. as well as greatly improved co-operation from the State Department. O'Connor told Wachtler that he fully recognised the situation and difficulties inherent therein, but he considered the State Department's attitude as being a perfectly natural reaction under the circumstances, particularly as Mooney was an "outsider". He thought it only human for the State Department in the absence of direct presidential instructions, to be guided by the rules of the game as it was usually played. O'Connor did state that if Mooney was to carry on with the program then Roosevelt would certainly know the ways and means by which such activities could be fortified and implemented. Wachtler and Riley established from the discussion with O'Connor that the latter had already seen the five messages to Roosevelt and had read parts of them. Wachtler offered O'Connor the paraphrased but accurate version of the messages and he eagerly perused them. O'Connor asked Wachtler numerous queries about conditions in Germany and the manner in which the messages were prepared and transmitted. He told Riley and Wachtler that Roosevelt was going to Warm Springs on 31 March and that he would accompany or join the President there. He implied that Money's mission would be brought up for full discussion and advised Riley and Wachtler that they might expect some definite word about the middle of the following week, namely around 3 April. Wachtler revealed that it was his intention to fly back to Lisbon as soon as any basis for further activity had been established. [139]


Whilst staying at the Albergo Palazzo Ambasciatori Hotel in Rome, Mooney wrote to Louis P. Lochner in Berlin, and also to William H. "Bill" Harvey Jnr., Personnel Director at General Motors Overseas Operations, 1775 Broadway, NY. [140] He was trying to arrange for a job for Lochner's son who was taking an M.A. in Chicago. Mooney states "…if God gives us peace, of course almost immediately after his graduation he could join up with the training class at Opel". This indicates that Mooney believed that, before the invasion of Norway at least, it was anticipated that G.M. management would have/regain control over their Opel subsidiary.

Roosevelt wrote to Mooney on 2 April from the White House, care of Captain Thomas C. Kincaid, the Naval Attaché in Rome. The letter stated amongst other things that U.S. public opinion had veered towards a point of view that whenever peace came it should be a lasting peace, and that some form of disarmament was of primary importance. Further, U.S. public opinion realised that the U.K. and France did not seek dismemberment of the Reich but only a peace that in a thoroughly practical way would make the Reich's neighbours secure. This again supported some form of disarmament and with it some practical efforts to put armament workers into forms of peaceful industry. The letter reached Mooney in a Navy pouch about 29 April. On the same day as the President's letter, O'Connor telephoned Riley to make a luncheon appointment for the following noon. Riley telephoned Mooney over the transatlantic telephone of the points of the discussion. The President liked to have Mooney wait in Rome for a few weeks on the possibility that within that period the international and domestic situation might have cleared up sufficiently for the President to decide on the next move, though on the other hand the reasons which favoured Mooney's waiting in Rome for further developments were indefinite in the extreme. Therefore Roosevelt hesitated to suggest an indefinite wait particularly if there were reasons unconnected with the task Mooney had undertaken, which favoured his early return. Riley must also have sent further details of the conversation with O'Connor subsequently: the difficulty in O'Connor's and presumably Roosevelt's opinion was that all of the principal figures in the European drama were still thirsting for power and were all a bad lot. It would be fine said O'Connor if Mooney could stay over in Europe for three or four more weeks: Ambassadors Kennedy and Bullitt had "already talked themselves out of the picture". Events might turn out that if Mooney could stay he might be "the man of the hour". Against this, Riley argued that he deemed it extremely desirable that Mooney returned immediately by air to see Roosevelt himself and ask for advice as to what should be done next. O'Connor was apparently greatly impressed with Riley's line of reasoning, and agreed that no harm could come to the Cause by Mooney's immediate return. On the contrary there was much to be gained by Mooney's coming back and having direct contact with the President, and then deciding on whether or not to return and if so in what status. Mooney described Edward Riley as a realist: no matter what O'Connor might say, Riley felt that the important thing was to get the President's own reaction. He therefore told O'Connor that it would be desirable to check with Roosevelt and pointed out that some of Roosevelt's decisions and actions had struck him as somewhat opportunistic and that he did not want to see Mooney involved in decisions of opportunism or convenience, and that Mooney was thoroughly devoted to the cause of trying to stop the war. O'Connor agreed that it would be useful to get Roosevelt's opinion and promised to telephone Riley the next day before O'Connor's departure at 6 p.m. for Chicago where he had some business matters to attend to. Riley and Wachtler waited until 4 p.m. and not having heard from O'Connor, tried to reach him. His secretary professed not to be able to contact him but after being told of his promise to call Mooney's representatives, suggested that they try O'Connor's apartment. Riley countered with the suggestion that as it was O'Connor who had promised to telephone, the secretary had better call O'Connor and remind him that Riley would remain at his office for at least another hour to await O'Connor's call [so Riley and Wachtler were presumably in G.M.O.O.'s offices New York City]. There was no return call from O'Connor although Riley remained at his desk until the time of departure of the train for Chicago. Riley wrote a report that same day to Mooney expressing his view why O'Connor never telephoned: Riley believed that O'Connor had purposely refrained from telephoning Roosevelt. This on the grounds that Roosevelt may have already suggested that it would be useful for Mooney to wait some weeks so that certain domestic questions could be first be answered in the U.S. and that Mooney could just as well wait in the U.S. [as abroad] At the same time, O'Connor may have felt that he could not go back to reopen the thing again with Roosevelt over the telephone and Riley though that he refrained from telephoning Riley hoping that Mooney would come back to the U.S. After this unsatisfactory experience with O'Connor, it was finally decided that Wachtler would return to Rome by the first available Clipper flyingboat to bring Mooney a more detailed and first-hand report on the situation. Wachtler left New York's La Guardia Airport on 7 April 1940 and arrived in Rome on 9 April. [141]

After due consideration, Mooney cabled Riley an American slang message to the effect that in Mooney's opinion he [Mooney] should continue in Europe for approximately three more weeks, contact Nick Vansittart in Rome, Paris or London, send Wachtler back to New York by ship on 17 April, and remain for one more week after Wachtler had arrived in the U.S., during which time a final decision could be made concerning Mooney's further movements. A few days later, Riley replied by cable, establishing that O'Connor had not seen Roosevelt although he had planned to join him on several occasions. However, O'Connor rang the President in Riley's presence and had received the suggestion that Mooney remain in Rome another week and then go back to Germany for a short visit, after which, barring advice to the contrary, Mooney was to return to the U.S. Also it would be all right for Mooney to have Nick Vansittart come to Rome, but Mooney was not to go to London or Paris to see him. Presumably, Riley had contacted Nick Vansittart by telephone or cable and had received a reply and due authority. Mooney had already decided that it would be useless and even prejudicial for him to return to Germany without some word for the German authorities in exchange for all the information that they had given him. He also had doubts whether his wholly unofficial status would serve to carry him a second time as far as had the first. As a consequence, Mooney held to his decision not to go back into Germany. He did however telephone Riley that Wachtler would depart for New York on 17 April as suggested, that Mooney would remain in Rome until about a week after his arrival in the U.S. and that he hoped the situation would clarify itself meanwhile. Before Wachtler left, Mooney requested him to call upon O'Connor, Archbishop Spellman, and Secretary of State Cordell Hull to ascertain their state of mind. Wachtler was asked by Mooney to be ready to report to him on his contemplated arrival on the S.S. Rex in New York on 9 May. [142]

Whilst Mooney was in Rome, Cyrus R. Osborn had been requested to work on a detailed exposé of the position of Adam Opel A.G. which Mooney wanted to transmit to New York. Osborn arrived with his report on 17 April 1940, and also brought with him information indicating a notable stiffening in the German attitude: the battle of Norway had begun and the Germans were by then in a decidedly "truculent mood". Osborn had had a long conversation with Dr. Wohlthat, which he considered so important that Mooney asked Osborn to jot down in the form of notes that he told Mooney verbally. Basically, Wohlthat was saying that after the developments in Norway, and he was suggesting that Germany had evidence that Britain was to invade Norway ten hours after Germany took action, peace discussions were possible only if the U.K. asked for them and Germany would no longer make any peace overtures. The results of the fighting in Norway were tremendously important not only for the outcome of the war but also the standpoint of military, naval and aviation strategy because it furnished first conclusive evidence that modern aviation was more than a match for surface battle craft of all types was. [143]German aircraft bases could now be located less than ½ as far away as from all the military objectives in the U.K. than before the Norwegian occupation. [144] Wohlthat enquired as to what the state of U.S. public opinion was regarding the German occupation of Denmark and Norway, and also whether the American public felt that this was justified by the British mining in neutral waters. Osborn gave his view that the invasion of Norway by the Germans came too soon after the planting of the mines and that the British mine-laying had been practically erased from the American public consciousness by the magnitude of the invasions by the Germans. Osborn further mentioned that the American public recognised that the Allies had not laid any mines around Denmark and therefore this justification which was advanced by the Germans with respect to the Norwegian invasion, did not apply to Denmark. Wohlthat commented that the Danish occupation was made "in full agreement with the Danes"! [145] Wohlthat summarised the situation by saying that it was not considered likely in Germany that America's position regarding the World War would crystallise during an election year. He then asked whether Mooney expected to return to Germany but expressed no interest in any other moves that Mooney might or might not be contemplating. Osborn drew the general conclusion from the interview with Wohlthat that the German leaders felt that the Norwegian campaign had given them a very decided advantage which could and must be capitalised in bringing the war to a satisfactory conclusion before the next winter. This became increasingly important in view of the unsatisfactory material situation, particularly with regard to non-ferrous metals, oils, etc. This was reinforced by Wohlthat's remarks about the U.S. election year, representing "a period of grace" for German activities. [146] Osborn must have taken the train back to Munich and then Wiesbaden although General Motors World June 1940 stated that Osborn, "the General Manager of Adam Opel A.G." expected to catch the S.S. Manhattan in Genoa, Italy in June and so must have left Germany for Italy by rail or car through Switzerland, and ultimately arrived in New York.

What Wohlthat never revealed to Mooney was that he had been actively involved in a plot to finance and install the Norwegian traitor, Quisling, in place of the legitimate government and so enable the Germans to invade the country. Quisling was to be paid £10,000 per month for three months from 15 March 1940, and that currency had to come from resources gained through trade. Perhaps, although there is nothing at all to prove this, from the sale of Opels in the U.K. amongst other sources ? [147]


Wachtler departed for New York, and then on 29 April Mooney received a cable from Riley stating that O'Connor had no exceptional word that warranted Mooney's changing plans, and advised sailing on the Rex on 1 May, and Wachtler and Riley concurred. At about the same time, Captain Kincaid brought Mooney the President's letter of 2 April. Mooney though that the quickest way to reply would be for him to write to Roosevelt upon arrival in New York. Mooney did indeed leave on the S.S. Rex on 1 May 1940, with the feeling that something constructive had been accomplished and the door was still partly open for an energetic move towards peace. The ship had just cleared Gibraltar when Mooney received a cablegram from Frank Lynch, "at this time my assistant in New York", informing Mooney that his Alma Mater, the Case School of Applied Science, had invited him to speak at the 55th alumni reunion banquet at the University Club in Cleveland on 1 June. Mooney though that this would provide an ideal opportunity to "send up a trial balloon in the form of a speech urging a negotiated peace". He therefore spent the rest of the voyage working on the address and had it types in preliminary form immediately after his arrival. He also drafted a response to Roosevelt. Mooney arrived in New York on 9 May, and then wrote to the President the next day. Shortly after his return, Mooney had an opportunity to show the draft of his address to O'Connor, because he was anxious for the latter's opinion. O'Connor read the speech and thought it a very god speech. Further that it was entirely in good taste. "War or Peace in America" was delivered in Cleveland, Ohio on 1 June. A fairly extensive network had been provided, and Mooney had several letters of agreement, and some of disagreement from people who had heard it. Amongst other comments, he said "I propose to you that we consider the possibility of using America's enormous economic and potential military strength to compel a discussion of peace". [148]

On 6 June 1940, Mooney received a letter from Wesley Stout, editor of the Saturday Evening Post, in which he expressed interest in the address of the 1st. He asked whether Mooney would contribute an article along the same lines to his weekly magazine. The speech was slightly amplified in certain portions, though reference to a negotiated peace for France was removed as France had capitulated by the time for publication. O'Connor was sent a draft of the article, which he expressed as "quite captured" with it, and asked for two additional copies, one being sent to the President by airmail and the other to Secretary of Commerce Harry L. Hopkins. When Mooney arrived back home at Oyster Bay, Long Island, NY, on Friday 28 June 1940, Mooney found a telegram from General Watson asking Mooney to come to Washington to see Roosevelt on the following Tuesday 2 July [149]. Mooney was naturally pleased, he said, to receive this further evidence of the President's interest and for the opportunity to pass on some of the information gleaned in Europe that was not mentioned in the five telegrams. [150]


Events in Mooney's G.M. career made a dramatic change, though, from 18 June 1940. Alfred P. Sloan, Jr., Chairman of the Corporation announced that Roosevelt had appointed William S. Knudsen, President of the Corporation, as head of Industrial Production on the Advisory Commission of the Council of National Defense early in June. Knudsen asked for and received leave of absence from G.M. to take up the appointment. Charles E. Wilson who was formerly Executive Vice-president was appointed Acting President. Sloan stated that the production of highly technical equipment which would naturally be involved in such a program, would require in many cases a considerable background of engineering for the development of new machinery, and the modification of existing machinery for its adaptation to military purposes. James D. Mooney was therefore relieved of his responsibilities in connection with G.M.O.O., and transferred to Detroit as Executive Assistant to Acting President Wilson. Mooney then became responsible specifically for all negotiations involving Corporation sales of materials for defence purposes, including general supervision over such production and engineering liaison as may be essential between the purchaser and Corporation in such developments as may involve new design or changes in existing design. Mooney thus played his part in better co-ordination and more effective administration of the Corporation's part in the National Defense Program. Graeme K. Howard, Vice-president assumed Mooney's responsibilities in charge of G.M.O.O. Howard announced in turn the appointment of Edward C. Riley as Acting Manager of Overseas Operations. Riley then announced that W.K. Norton, Distribution Manager, had left G.M.O.O. to assume a new position in connection with the Defense Materials Program. Mooney was to retain his offices in New York, with his then staff, and was to open additional offices in Detroit where a large part of his activities would be centred. Norton was to be headquartered in Washington, and W.B. "Bill" Wachtler, who also left G.M.O.O. and was headquartered in New York, were to be closely associated with Mooney. [151]

Mooney is alleged to have reported to the newly-appointed head of the Special Operations Executive. in New York, Sir William Stephenson, that at a meeting at the Waldorf Astoria in N.Y.C. on 26 June 1940, the German intelligence agent and "trade official", Dr. Gerhard Alois Westrick, had discussed the inevitable defeat of Britain within three months with various U.S. executives representing business interests in Germany and France. Mooney is claimed to have represented General Motors and Edsel Ford, the Ford Motor Company. Mooney was expected to pressure Roosevelt into suspending help for Britain so that the Germans would allow G.M. to continue business in Europe. Mooney supposedly reported to Stephenson that U.S. corporations were being offered trade monopolies inside the new Nazi empire, and in return American industrialists were asked to refuse to join any rearmament programme. [152] If there is any truth in this allegation, then it is interesting to note here that Dr. Hugh Dalton was Minister of Economic Warfare still as at the date of the "meeting". Sir Robert Vansittart had just been appointed to head the Foreign (Overseas) Resistance Committee. Dalton was appointed on 16 July to head the S.O.E., and Sir Robert was asked to offer political advice to the new organisation. The two men had had a long association, and for a few months in theory they worked together. Given the connections between Mooney and the brothers Vansittart, and the latter's proven intelligence associations, it is possible that if the meeting did take place then Mooney would have reported to Stephenson.


On Sunday 30 June 1940, Riley called Mooney to advise that he had just learned from O'Connor that the appointment with the President on Tuesday the 2nd July, to which Mooney had been looking forward, had been cancelled: it seems that General Watson had sent a telegram cancelling the appointment. Mooney later found out that Roosevelt had called off the meeting at the instigation of Secretary for Commerce Harry Hopkins. Hopkins had read Mooney's article and thought that its general theme cam close to what he thought would be the Republican platform on foreign policy. He thus told Roosevelt that in his opinion it would "politically dangerous" for the President to see Mooney at that time, just before the Democratic and Republican conventions, or to enter into any discussions of the thesis presented in the article. Thus, party politics won, and Mooney's unofficial mission was "no longer viewed in Washington in terms of an objective evaluation of what he had accomplished and might yet accomplish, but solely in terms of narrow, partisan politics". Mooney made one more attempt to save the situation by seeing Edward R. Stettinius, who was the Lend-Lease administrator. [153] Mooney must have known Stettinius because of the contracts placed by the British and French governments for G.M. vehicles. Stettinius then telephoned Secretary of Commerce Hopkins, and tried to argue with him. Hopkins knew O'Connor and Mooney very well, but Mooney "lost out": Hopkins had put his thumb down on the whole business and feared that the administration would be accused of appeasement. [154]

Mooney realised that President Roosevelt could not cope with the forces of the State Department, the "narrow politicians of the Harry Hopkins type", and propagandists who labelled every humanitarian attempt to prevent a world holocaust as "appeasement" in the Munich sense. Mooney therefor decided that he had to abandon any further activities, and wrote a polite letter to the President on 1 July accordingly. [155]

If Mooney though that this would be an end to any further discussion, then he was mistaken. In early August, 1940, PM Magazine, a then new and rather sensationalist Chicago-based newspaper, published a number of inflammatory articles about James D. Mooney's alleged association with the Nazi government and accused him of publishing pro-German propaganda. The articles centred on Mooney's receipt of the German Order of Merit of the Eagle in 1938 and the speech delivered by Mooney on 1 June, 1940 later printed in the Saturday Evening Post, "War or Peace in America?" Included in the Mooney papers at Georgetown University's collection are numerous letters between Mooney and General Motors Corporation executives, including Alfred P. Sloan, Jr., and between officials at General Motors Corporation and PM Magazine, including Marshall Field, III. [156]


This was still not the end of the story: in September 1941 Mooney was approached by Sir William Wiseman, Bt., a partner in the firm of Kuhn Loeb & Co., and during the Great War head of the British Intelligence Service in the U.S. Wiseman was in New York and apparently "groping about for some means of initiating an effective peace move". W.K. Norton, who headed the Washington Office of the Defense Materials Program, and on Mooney's staff, "chanced" to meet Sir William at a friend's home and remarked that it might interest Sir William to meet and discuss the matter with a more active peace advocate, namely Mooney. It was suggested that Wiseman and Mooney lunch together, but beforehand Norton sent Wiseman a copy of the Saturday Evening Post article. When the two finally met, it was established that there was harmony in their views, Wiseman emphasised though that any activities towards peace, in order to be acceptable to the British, would have to be handled in such a way as not to bear any mark of having originated in London: first utterance on peace had to come from the Germans. It seemed to Wiseman that only the Pope could fulfil all the requirements and make the necessary public utterances to prepare world opinion for a negotiated peace, but Wiseman lacked a direct approach to the Vatican. Mooney therefore arranged for the two of them to lunch with Archbishop Spellman on Thursday 5 September 1940. However, nothing tangible came from this meeting as English financier and American prelate spoke in exceedingly guarded language. When they were alone, Wiseman consequently emphasised the importance of ascertaining what the German terms might be at that time and said he thought someone like Mooney should go to Germany and talk with the leaders there, and try and sound out their ideas on the subject. Mooney and Wiseman agreed that it would be advisable for Mooney to go to London first, where he might meet some of the leading men inside and out of the government to get their general sense of how the matter could be handled, including their ideas on terms for ending the war. Mooney stressed the necessity of him going to Germany by way of England, and Wiseman agreed because he would have been cold-shouldered unless he had some reason for opening discussions with the German government. Wiseman always emphasised to Mooney, at least, of his unofficial status, but Mooney's friends reported to him that Wiseman was frequently at the British Embassy in Washington as the guest of Lord Lothian. Some two weeks later, say around 20 September, the two men met again: Wiseman had definitely made up his mind that Mooney should make the trip to the U.K. and Germany. He even discussed contacts with his friends in London and insisted that although there would be no red carpet treatment ass it would only attract undesirable attention, he would nevertheless be given every facility for moving quickly and reaching the right people. Again, General Motors business was to be given as the reason for the journey. Wiseman seemed to speak with authority as though he had been in close touch with British officials and had been authorised to make commitments. [157] It seems that Mooney handed Wiseman a set of terms that he thought the Germans might find acceptable as the basis for peace discussions, and Wiseman then communicated the same to London. [158]

According to an article in The New York Times on 16 September 1940, James D. Mooney was relieved of his overseas duties to take up the post of managing the automotive arm of the refugee childrens' program. With Mooney's permanent removal, Graeme K. Howard was appointed substantive President of G.M.O.O. with Riley as Riley was Acting General Manager of General Motors Overseas Operations until May 1941 and also Vice-President of G.M.O.O. as well. [159]

In late September 1940, Mooney had dinner with Alfred P. Sloan, Chairman of G.M. Corporation, who agreed to co-operate when Mooney set down a set of terms he thought that the Germans would find acceptable because they were based on the proposal he had personally received from Hitler the previous spring. [160] Wiseman and Mooney met again on 10 October 1940, and the former indicated that his negotiations in London had met with opposition and that his friends felt that the time was not propitious for continuing the plan. With the U.S. elections less than a month away, Wiseman suggested that they might reconsider the expediency of using the Administration as an intermediary after all. Not long after the election, Wiseman invited W.K. Norton and Mooney to lunch: he now took the position that in the light of the balloting results it seemed advisable to ascertain whether the White House could be interested in an intervention for peace. Mooney offered for Wiseman to meet O'Connor who might, in turn, be willing to undertake to sound out Roosevelt. During the conversation, Wiseman agreed to start work on drawing up a set of peace terms acceptable to the British, which again confirmed the G.M. men's opinion that Wiseman had recently had contacts with London. [161]

Wiseman made contact with Mooney at the Metropolitan Club [in N.Y.C.?] on 15 November and announced that it was time to revive their peace efforts. Mooney was led to believe that Wiseman had received approval from the British Ambassador in Washington, Lord Lothian, which was not the case. There was discussion as to the possibility of Mooney going to Europe via London on a mission for G.M. that would provide cover for peace soundings. [162]

Wiseman met with O'Connor on 2 December, though the meeting never went beyond the "getting-acquainted stage" and no mention was made of a negotiated peace. Wiseman therefore called on Mooney the next day, 3 December, and it was decided that Wiseman had better call on O'Connor again and lay before him the question of discussing the subject of peace with Roosevelt. Wiseman frankly informed Mooney that the U.K.'s best interest at that moment lay in the direction of peace. British Ambassador Lord Lothian had returned from London back to Washington ten days previously, so this may or may not have been significant. Wiseman saw a problem though in how the situation could be manoeuvred so that a third party, preferably Washington, could step into the role of peacemaker without letting the world or the Germans know in advance that the British were willing to entertain peace proposals. The mere implication that the British had instigated the proposal would be crippling to British morale and prestige. The ideal situation Wiseman thought was for Washington and the White House to use the U.S. military and economic power to insist upon the discussion of peace and then to take such a prominent role that the Germans would be prevented from using their supremacy in Europe to demand terms too hard for British acceptance. Wiseman thought Churchill would vigorously protest against any idea of discussing peace, and yet would be secretly pleased that he was being compelled to accept it. At the second meeting with O'Connor, Wiseman broached the ideas of Roosevelt acting towards compelling a stoppage of the war. O'Connor replied sympathetically but was not committal. O'Connor later told Mooney that he had seen Roosevelt several times but the President's attitude seemed to be hostile to the idea of a negotiated peace and so O'Connor decided that it was not wise to introduce Wiseman's suggestions. Wiseman must have anticipated the unavailability of the President as mediator as when Mooney visited him before he left for a Christmas vacation in Florida, and told him that he had been invited to participate in a golf foursome with the Duke of Windsor, he warned that it would be most inadvisable for him to join the group. Wiseman suggested that he had potential as a neutral who was detached from the whole affair, and if he seemed to be too friendly with the British, that usefulness in discussing matters with Berlin might be destroyed. Mooney was advised to leave well enough alone and not play. In fact, Mooney did meet the Duke, and they cruised with Alfred P. Sloan on the latter's boat off Florida. This vacation was later misconstrued as confirmation that the "pro-Nazi" Duke was in league with a vehemently anti-British Irish-American. This was pure rubbish, but the suggestion in print resulted in Mooney's son taking issue with the author about the allegation, especially as his father had died in 1957 and was therefore unable to disabuse personally. [163]

However, it did not matter ultimately what Wiseman thought as on 12 December 1940 Lord Lothian died unexpectedly [to be replaced by Lord Halifax]. Sir William was informed of Lord Lothian's death at 4.30 a.m., ten to 15 minutes after the Ambassador died! Mooney returned from Florida and called on Wiseman on 7 January 1941. Wiseman volunteered that he used to have dinner with Lothian every week and talk things over, and since Lothian had died Wiseman did not know what to do. Wiseman revealed that he had had close contact with the Ambassador and had several meetings. It became clear in the final discussion that Lothian had been continually a silent partner of Wiseman's in his discussions with Mooney. Mooney was also convinced that Lothian had been co-operating with Wiseman in effectuating the tentative arrangements that had been made for Mooney's projected trip to Europe. Wiseman was deprived of his "alter ego" and Mooney's involvement with him came to an end. That was also the end of Mooney's peace overtures [164]: Costello claims that Roosevelt had proven hostile to any peace feeler to Mooney's "intense frustration" and thus his third attempt at bringing about peace was doomed. [165]

It is appropriate here to add that pre-war there had been a small but important group of Americans and a larger group of Britons that believed in Anglo-American understanding being fundamental to the containment and possible "liquidation" of bolshevism. The group met monthly at 34 East 62nd Street, New York City, in an apartment: hence it was called "The Room". This was or became essentially a private intelligence service that worked in collaboration with the British Secret Intelligence Service or S.I.S. headed by Sir Robert Vansittart until 1937 and thence by Sir Alexander Cadogan, and under them by "C", Sir Stewart Menzies. The Room was either superseded by or to have had contact with the Walrus Club in N.Y.C., a dining club whose members were Anglophiles. The principal point of contact with the S.I.S. was Sir William Wiseman who became a member of both The Room and the Walrus Club, as was [probably in the case of The Room] William "Wild Bill" Donovan a leading Wall Street lawyer and founder of the O.S.S. in N.Y.C. These institutions had the closest of links with the [Anglo-American] Ends of the Earth Club and the 1b Club of which Sir Stewart Menzies and Sir William Wiseman were members as well. [166]Further, Sir William Stephenson reputedly had Mooney as a member of the "Baker Street Irregulars", the groups of amateur intelligence-gatherers who had adopted the name of the amateur sleuths that assisted Sherlock Holmes. [167] Stephenson appealed to J. Edgar Hoover in October 1940 when Wiseman was threatened by the State Department for expulsion from the U.S. for breaches of U.S. neutrality when his activities became known. In the end the matter was sent up to F.D.R. who stopped the expulsion of Wiseman as well as that of Stephenson. [168] Whether James D. Mooney was a member of The Room or the Walrus Club, or even knew of their existence in N.Y.C. is not known and yet there is a degree of circumstantial evidence concerning the interconnections.


Aware of Menzies's sensibilities, and his preference for educated men of good background, good manners, and independent finances, William J. Donovan, the new head of Office of Co-ordinator of Information [169], which later became the Office of Strategic Services in 1942, made a first choice for the chief of C.O.I. London in William Dwight Whitney, was well known to Menzies. Lately personal assistant to W. Averill Harriman, President Roosevelt's special representative in London in 1940-41, Whitney is supposed to have been the intermediary between James D. Mooney, apparently known to "C" as Stallforth, one of the men whom Brigaderführer SS Schellenburg claimed later was a spy for England in 1940.

However, extensive research in several publications that repeat the same basic allegation, and also of the O.S.S. Archives in the U.S. have proven that firstly there is not a scrap of evidence to prove that this was true, and secondly have proven that the suggestions are completely and utterly bogus. The real "spy" Federico aka Frederic Stallforth, a New York banker holding dual Mexican/German citizenship was not James David Mooney and Schellenburg's statements are wrong on the face of it, unless there was indeed a relationship between Mooney and the brothers Vansittart that exceeded Mooney's admissions in his memoirs. James D. Mooney was not, therefore, "Stallforth".


"I regard British-American collaboration as a cornerstone of peace. The most fortunate situation that could develop, as I see it, would be for the Americans and the British to agree on their policies, and for the British to then assume the responsibility for handling Western Europe through the French and later the Germans. That would be an effective counterblow to Russian communism in Europe". [170]

After Pearl Harbor, Mooney resigned from General Motors and volunteered for service in the Production Engineering Section of the Bureau of Aeronautics, eventually joining the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations. Mooney states that he was involved in "cloak and dagger work" in the Navy, which seems to fit in with his possible intelligence activities before the entry of the Unites States into the War. Mooney seems to have ended his Navy career in the rank of Captain. He then returned to work for G.M. again in March 1945, and was re-appointed Vice-president of the Corporation, a member of the Administration Committee and member of the board of directors. [171]
General Motors Corporation announced in January 1946 that Edward C. Riley had succeeded Mooney as "group executive of General Motors Overseas Operations" although judging by later positions it should properly be termed Group Executive of G.M.O.O. [172], in addition to his position as General Manager. Thus, it seems that Mooney was given the former title when he rejoined G.M., although Graeme K. Howard his erstwhile replacement became Vice-president in charge of Europe until he resigned in 1947 and joined Ford. [173] After his resignation in January 1946, Mooney was appointed President of Willys-Overland for three years, resigning in the summer of 1949. Whilst at Willys-Overland, Mooney was concerned for the wife and family of the former Opel Attorney, Heinrich Richter, who had been arrested by the Soviets and imprisoned in Moscow for some years.

After leaving Willys, in Toledo, Ohio, Mooney became an industrial consultant with an office in New York: J.D. Mooney Associates, 11 West 42nd Street. In 1953 he seems to have still been in touch with Dr. Helmuth Wohlthat through Louis P. Lochner.

In February 1954, Mooney was elected president, chief executive officer and a director of R. Hoe and Co. Inc. Mooney is quoted in the official press release, with photograph, as assisting the Hoover Commission on Organization of the Executive Branch of the Government. Mooney was also a member of the Naval Air Advisory Council, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and the American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical Engineers. On 26 February 1954, Lochner wrote to Mooney, and commented that Wohlthat "wrote me recently that he had a fine huddle with you. Unfortunately he did not know my New Jersey address [Fair Haven, NJ], so we didn't get together here. But then, I saw a good deal of him in Germany".

On 4 April 1955, Lochner wrote to Mooney again, and commented that after the war "the General Motors boys" had violently objected to their names being drawn into the affair [the peace missions]. Lochner stated that in the discussions that he had with Wohlthat after the war, Lochner realised that Wohlthat was "very proud of having been associated with you in apart of the venture". Mooney replied on 19 April 1955, saying that he was no longer at R. Hoe & Co., and he was care of the 11 West 42nd Street address. He was leaving for South America for a few days, and then was due back in New York 1 June. Mooney commented:

"Incidentally, you and I can feel better now, although our views were extremely unpopular for many years, it is being increasingly recognised that Hitler could have been bumped off, and bloodthirsty, diabolical, Stalin could have been checkmated without the world being precipitated into chaos and tens of millions of people being tossed into slavery, starvation, and gruesome disease."

James David Mooney died at the age of 73 on 21 September 1957, in Tucson, Arizona where he had retired to shortly before because of health reasons. His second wife, four sons and two daughters survived him, and members of his family still own the large mansion at Oyster Bay, Long Island, New York, as well as it is believed the Tucson property.

James David "Jim" Mooney had his last entry in General Motors World, October 1957 [174]. The Obituary stated that Mooney had staffed the original G.M. Export Company with a group of young men who grew up with the business, and under Mooney's imaginative leadership, they developed in foreign experience. The General Motors Overseas Division at that time was under the direction of those men whom he recruited in the 1920's. Edward Creaser Riley, whom Mooney had recruited on 1 January 1923 was General Manager of the Overseas Division for 19 years and retired finally on 1 July 1959. Elis Sterner "Pete" Hoglund, Assistant General Manager since 1947 and who joined the Export Division in 1927, replaced him. Hoglund stayed on after the evacuation of personnel from Germany in 1939 and then 1940, and was the last man apart from an Accountant, to leave Adam Opel and Germany in February 1941. Edward Zdunek became Managing Director of Opel in 1948, and relinquished active management in March 1961 because of illness and retired 1 September 1961 after 36 years with G.M. Zdunek replaced Nick Vansittart at G.M. Continental in Antwerp in 1937. Guy Nicholas Vansittart was continuously a director of General Motors Limited from 1938 to 1958. Post-war, he was elected Chairman of the Board of Vauxhall Motors Limited in July 1948, and then at a meeting of the Board on 22 April 1953, he relinquished his office in favour of Sir Charles Bartlett. On 23 April 1953, the Board of Directors of General Motors Limited elected Vansittart Chairman of the Board succeeding the American, Walter E. Hill. [175] Hill then resigned and returned to the U.S. in February 1955, and Vansittart succeeded him. Vansittart finally retired as Director and Chairman of the Boards of General Motors Limited and Vauxhall Motors Limited 30 September 1958.

Riley, Hoglund, Ed Zdunek, and Wachtler all complained to Mooney in 1947 that their names were suggested as being included in Mooney's book being drafted by Lochner. They stated that General Motors had nothing to do with the missions, and effectively demanded that they not be mentioned in the book if it was ever published, and they hoped that it was not! Lochner wrote his own memoirs in the end, and advised Mooney that he was not going to refer to any names

However, one name that should have cropped up in any post-war objection in 1947 was that of Nick Vansittart: if he had any concerns at his name being mentioned, then he would have made his views clear. The fact that he did not can perhaps be explained by the relationship between the gentlemen from 1925 to 1945.


There have been numerous allegations in publications and elsewhere that James D. Mooney was "pro-Nazi", "an anti-British Irish-American", and a collaborator. This was not the case: quite the reverse was true, and Mooney, with Sloan, Howard, Riley and others strove to ensure that military build-up in Germany was balanced if not exceeded by those countries opposing Nazism. These are some of the most publicised, and oft-quoted statements:

1. This is the first allegation:
"Due to their multinational dominance of motor vehicle production, G.M. and Ford became principle suppliers for the forces of fascism as well as the forces of democracy. It may, of course, be argued that participating in both sides of an international conflict, like the common corporate practice of investing in both political parties before and election, is an appropriate corporate activity. Had the Nazis won, General Motors and Ford would have appeared impeccably Nazi; as Hitler lost, these companies were able to re-emerge impeccably American. In either case, the viability of these corporations and the interests of their respective stockholders would have been preserved.

General Motors has owned 100% of Adam Opel A.G. continuously since 1929 [incorrect the balance of shares was acquired in 1931]. Accordingly, it selected the Board of Directors and appointed the management, which supervised wartime operations of all Opel Plants, including the aircraft production facility at Rüsselsheim. Alfred P. Sloan, Jr.,, Board Chairman of G.M.-U.S.A. and G.M. Vice-Presidents James D. Mooney, John T. Smith, and Graeme K. Howard served on the G.M.-Opel Board of Directors throughout the War [This is incorrect: Mooney had resigned or been removed as a director in the autumn of 1941]. G.M. continued to operate its Opel plants after the U.S. had formally declared war on Germany [December 11 1941] without any apparent interference by the German government until November 25 1942. At that time, Professor Dr. Carl Lüer was appointed as an administrator of the Rüsselsheim warplane plant, as Enemy Property Custodian [Professor of economics, Dr. Lüer was appointed a director of Adam Opel A.G. in 1935]. The Darmstadt Provincial Court of Appeal stressed in its appointment of Lüer, however, that "the authority of the Board of Directors shall not be affected by this administrative decision.

The management during the war remained essentially the same as pre-war, with the exception of American personnel.

Communication as well as materiel continually flowed between G.M. plants in Allied countries and G.M. plants in Axis-controlled areas, presumably in direct violation of trading with the Enemy legislation. The Rüsselsheim Plant records show that the Plant was dealing with G.M. companies in Axis and Allied countries all over the world including General Motors China Limited, Shanghai and Hong Kong, General Motors Uruguaya in Montevideo, G.M. do Brazil, Sâo Caetano, and General Motors Overseas Corporation in New York: Adam Opel A.G. Jahresbericht Und Bilanz Fur Das…….Geschaftsjahr 1944.

November 1940 saw the last Opel cars for the domestic market at least as concentration was made on the Truck production, and also aircraft production." [176] This is correct!

2. During the last quarter of 1939 General Motors converted its 432 acre Rüsselsheim Plant to warplane production, producing 50% of all requirements of the engines for the Junkers 88. In February 1940, Junkers aero-engines and cockpits and canopies for the Ju.88 as well as running gear, frame components, and electrical harnesses with instrument panels were made under licence. Göering allegedly arranged this, with parts delivered to Junkers at Dessau. However, allegations have been made that James D. Mooney oversaw and arranged for the Plant to be remodelled for Junkers production. This appears to be correct

3. "Mooney probably thought that the war would be over very quickly, so why should we give our wonderful company away": Anita Kugler, Researcher of Nazi records.

4. Mooney told journalist Henry Paynter in the Autumn of 1940 that he would not return his Medal because such an action might jeopardise G.M.'s $100 million investment in Germany. "Hitler has all the cards"

5. That an F.B.I. Report into Mooney's possible security risk quoted him as saying that he [Mooney] would refuse to take any action that might "make Hitler mad"; F.B.I. Report July 23 1941

On October 13, 1916 Durant met a brilliant young businessman in control of the United Motors Corporation. This was Alfred Pritchard Sloan Jr., and was so impressed with him that when General Motors Corporation merged with United Motors December 31, 1918, Durant took Sloan on as well.

Alfred Pritchard Sloan, Jr. was born in New Haven, Connecticut, May 23, 1875, the first of five children of Alfred Pritchard Sloan, Sr., and Katherine Mead Sloan. His father, a machinist by training, was then a partner in a small company importing coffee and tea. In 1885 the family moved to Brooklyn, where it was particularly active in the Methodist Church. (Young Alfred's maternal grandfather was a Methodist minister.) Alfred, Jr., excelled as a student both in the public schools and at Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute where he completed the college-preparatory course. After some delay in being admitted to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (which considered him too young when he first applied), he matriculated in 1892 and took a degree in electrical engineering in three years as the youngest member of his graduating class.

Sloan began his working career as a draftsman in a small machine shop, the Hyatt Roller Bearing Company of Newark, New Jersey. At his urging, Hyatt was soon producing new anti-friction bearings for automobiles. In 1898 he married Irene Jackson of Roxbury, Massachusetts. The next year, at age 24, he became the president of Hyatt, where he supervised all aspects of the company's business. Hyatt bearings became a standard in the automobile industry, and the company grew rapidly under his leadership. In 1916 the Hyatt Roller Bearing Company, together with a number of other manufacturers of automobile accessories, merged with the United Motors Corporation, of which Sloan became President. Two years later that company became part of the General Motors, and Sloan was named Vice President in Charge of Accessories and a member of the Executive Committee, under W.C. Durant.

After Durant left, and Pierre S. DuPont took over as President in October 1920 in his place, Sloan became Vice-president in charge of operations. He was also appointed a Director of General Motors Limited 31 August 1921 in replacement of "Durant men".

Sloan was elected President of General Motors May 10th, 1923, succeeding Pierre S. du Pont, who said of him on that occasion: "The greater part of the successful development of the Corporation's operations and the building of a strong manufacturing and sales organisation is due to Sloan. His election to the presidency is a natural and well merited recognition of his untiring and able efforts and successful achievement." Pierre Du Pont resigned as President and Chairman of the Executive Committee of G.M. Corporation, though Du Pont remained as Chairman of the Board, and also held a corresponding position in E. I. Du PONT de NEMOURS & CO., largest shareholders in G.M. common shares. Canadian Automotive Trade June 1923 referred. They said that when at Hyatt Roller Bearing Company, he conceived the idea of bringing together the larger parts and accessory concerns into a holding company similar to G.M.. He brought together under the United Motors umbrella: DAYTON ENGINEERING LABORATORIES COMPANY, Dayton, Ohio; REMY ELECTRIC COMPANY, Andersen, Indiana, HYATT ROLLER BEARING COMPANY, Newark, NJ, NEW DEPARTURE MANUFACTURING COMPANY, Bristol, Connecticut, HARRISON RADIATOR COMPANY, Lockport, NY, JAXON STEEL PRODUCTS COMPANY, Jackson, MI, KLAXON COMPANY, Bloomfield, NJ, and several others. Sloan was elected President of United Motors. In 1918 U.M. was taken over by G.M. Corporation headed by W.C. Durant, and Sloan was appointed Vice-President of G.M. in charge of accessories and parts group. When du Pont succeeded Durant in December 1920, Sloan was made Vice-President in charge of operations.

Sloan had developed by then his system of disciplined, professional management that provided for decentralised operations with co-ordinated centralised policy control. Applying it to General Motors, he set the Corporation on its course of industrial leadership. The next 23 years, with Sloan as Chief Executive Officer, were years of enormous expansion for the Corporation and of a steady increase in its share of the automobile market.

In 1937 Sloan was elected Chairman of the Board of General Motors, and resigned as President, though he continued as Chief Executive Officer until 1946. Danish-born William S. Knudsen, who had at one stage worked for Henry Ford, succeeded Sloan as President. Knudsen was granted leave of absence from G.M. when he was asked by President Roosevelt to become head of Industrial production on the Advisory Committee of the Council of National Defense in early June 1940, and was replaced as Acting President by Charles E. Wilson, formerly Executive Vice-president on 18 June 1940 [177]. When Sloan resigned from the chairmanship in 1956, the General Motors Board said of him: " The Board of Directors has acceded to Sloan's wish to retire as Chairman. He has served the Corporation long and magnificently. His analysis and grasp of the problems of corporate management, his great vision and rare good judgement laid the solid foundation which has made possible the growth and progress of General Motors over the years." Sloan was then named Honorary Chairman of the Board, a title he retained until his death on February 17, 1966.
[1] "Speech for the Car Distributors Section, Motor Traders Association", 22 October 1935, James D. Mooney Papers, Georgetown University.
[2] Peter Severn Steenstrupp had been Vice-President of General Motors Corporation and General Manager of G.M. Export Company, and Jonathan Amory Haskell President of General Motors Export Company: Steenstrup had been a Director of General Motors (Europe) Limited since January 3 1917, in place of Orville Green Bennett who had resigned from G.M. Export Company in 1916 through ill health. Haskell had joined as Director of General Motors Limited 9 April 1920. Steenstrup and Haskell were replaced by Frederick William Beard at General Motors Limited December 13 1922.
[3] "Address before the Banquet of the S.M.M.T.", 14 October 1936, Georgetown University, ibid.
[4] Baldwin was Prime Minister in 1923, 1925 to 1929, and then 1935 to 1937.
[5] Hore-Belisha had been Minister of Transport, July 1934-May 1937, and replaced A. Duff-Cooper as Mooney states that Hore-Belisha was "well known to me": Money's autobiography, P.8. Hore-Belisha was Secretary of State for War, May 1937 to January 1940: House of Commons Information Office. After Hore-Belisha in the National Government of 1935-40, Oliver Stanley was the Secretary of State for War. Hore-Belisha reconstituted the Army Council in December 1937: Major-General John Standish Surtees Prendergast Vereker, 6th Viscount Gort, was appointed Chief of the Imperial General Staff [later Field Marshall Lord Gort].
[6] Alfred P. Sloan, Jr., "My Years With General Motors", Doubleday, N.Y., 1963.
[7] HOLDEN, L.T. "A HISTORY OF VAUXHALL MOTORS TO 1950; INDUSTRY, DEVELOPMENT AND LOCAL IMPACT ON THE LUTON ECONOMY", 1983/4. HL-77547, Theses 1983 338.476292 HOL, Open University Thesis.
[8] Holden, ibid.
[9] "Address before the Banquet of the S.M.M.T.", ibid.
[10] Arthur Pound "The Turning Wheel", 1934.
[11] Maurice Platt, P.90, "An Addiction to Automobiles", 1981.
[12] "The future of the motor vehicle in the British Empire", American Chamber of Commerce in London, 17 November, 1925: Georgetown University, ibid.
[13] General Motors World Number 8 of 1951
[14] James D. Mooney, P.13, "Always the Unexpected", Unpublished Autobiography, Ed. Louis P. Lochner, State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Madison, 1948
[15] Mooney, P.9, ibid.
[16] General Motors World, June 1934, Pp.1-3.
[17] Anita Kugler, P.43, "Working for the Enemy", Bergahn Books, 2000.
[18] Transcripts are held in the James D. Mooney papers, Georgetown University, Washington D.C.
[19] Mooney, P.13, ibid.
[20] Mooney, P.13, ibid.
[21] Mooney, P.42, ibid
[22] Mooney, P.14, ibid.
[23] Mooney, P.15, ibid.
[24] 18 January 1934: International Trade
23 January 1934: Paper Money and Gold Prices in International Trade
23 June 1934: America's Stake in International Trade
10 August 1934: Paper Money and Gold in International Trade
9 October 1934: Fallacies and Realities in International Trade
20 December 1934: International Economic Relations
1934: Developing Foreign Trade
10 June 1935: Economic Values of International Trade
18 July 1935: The International Money Situation
17 September 1935: The American Foreign Trade Situation
1935: Foreign Trade and Domestic Markets
24 January 1936: Remarks Before the Foreign Trade Council
7 February 1936: American Neutrality and Trade
16 November 1936: Stabilizing the Exchanges
25 January 1935: The Impending War in Europe- and a Gamble Toward Halting It
17 April 1937: American Economic Policies for the Impending World War
1 May 1937: What World War Will Mean for Us and What we Can Do About It
18 May 1937: Peace or War: A Trade Policy for America
27 May 1937: German-American Trade A Shadow of Its Former Self
January 1938: Stabilizing The Exchanges
14 January 1938: Some Observations on Economics, Politics and Government
27 January 1938: European Observations
25 May 1938: Remarks at World Fair Dinner/Foreign Trade Week
16 June 1938: Gold, Paper Money and Commodity Prices
19 January 1939: Paper Money: A National and International Hazard
4 February 1939: Economic Policies for the Next World War
[25] Mooney, P.13, ibid.
[26] FDR Library, Marist University.
[27] General Motors World, July 1937, P.5. Mooney was in London on 22 October 1935, and he may have visited Berlin as well. His visit to London would have coincided with, and taken in, the 1935 London Motor Show at Olympia.
[28] Mooney, P.17, ibid.
[29] Anita Kugler, P.37, ibid.
[30] Mooney, P.91, ibid.
[31] Mooney, P.11, ibid.
[32] Wheels & Tracks, Pp. 14-15, Number 8, 1984, Bart Vanderveen, Ed.
[33] Ministry of Supply Census, November 1944; registration records held by the writer.
[34] 3 November 1938: Memorandum: R.P. Biddle, S.R. Docks and Marine Manager, Southampton, to Gilbert Szlumper, S.R. General Manager, Southern Railway files.
[35] Maurice Platt: "An Addiction to Automobiles", P.118.
[36] Harry Hopkins Papers, Marist University, USA.
[37] Mooney, P.21, ibid.
[38] Ten Days That saved The World, John Costello, P. 144, Bantam Press 1991.
[39] Mooney, P.21, ibid.
[40] Mooney papers, ibid.
[41] Dr. H. Schacht had been removed as President of the Reichsbank in January 1939. Wohlthat had spent four years in America as an importer, and had been a resident of Forest Hills, Long Island.: Mooney P.39, ibid.
[42] Mooney, P.22, ibid.
[43] Mooney, P.24, ibid.
[44] Alfred Pritchard Sloan, Junior, Chairman of Board of Directors, General Motors Corporation, Stockholders' Meeting, April 1939.
[45] Letter to concerned shareholder by Sloan, April 6 1939.
[46] Mooney, Pp.24-25, ibid.
[47] Mooney, Pp.24-26, ibid.
[48] Mooney, Pp.27-28, ibid.
[49] Mooney, Pp.27-28, ibid.
[50] Mooney, P.29, ibid.
[51] Originals in Lochner papers, ibid.
[52] Mooney, Pp.29-30, ibid.
[53] Mooney, P.30, ibid.
[54] Mooney papers, ibid.
[55] See below: Frank Carlos Lynch was referred to subsequently by Mooney as his "Assistant".
[56] Mooney, P.33, ibid.
[57] Letter, 31 August 1939, Biddle to S.R. Solicitor, S.R. files.
[58] Riley joined General Motors Export Company on 1 January 1923, having been invited by James D. Mooney, and they evidently had a close relationship from then on until 1940.
[59] Mooney, P.36, ibid.
[60] Mooney, Appendix 1, Statement by Edward C. Riley.
[61] Kugler, Pp. 39/40, ibid.
[62] Mooney, P.40, ibid.
[63] Mooney, P.5, ibid.
[64] Mooney, P.49, ibid.
[65] Mooney, P.52, ibid.
[66] Mooney, P.54, ibid.
[67] Mooney, P.55, ibid.
[68] Mooney, P.55-56, ibid.
[69] Mooney, P.89, ibid.
[70] Mooney, P.59, ibid.
[71] Mooney, P.59, ibid.
[72] Mooney, Pp. 62-63, ibid.
[73]Costello, P. 60, ibid.
[74] Mooney, P.61, ibid.
[75] Mooney, Pp. 62-63, ibid.
[76] Costello, P.60, ibis.
[77] Mooney, Pp.64-65, ibid.
[78] Costello, P.61, ibid.
[79] The Lease of the Southampton Plant was ready to be signed, and the Privy Council were shortly to deliberate on the possible leasing of the premises, ibid.
[80] Mooney, Pp.66-67, ibid.
[81] Mooney, Pp.67-68, ibid.
[82] Mooney, P.70, ibid.
[83] Mooney, P.70, ibid.
[84] Mooney, Pp.72-73, ibid.
[85] Mooney, Pp.73-76, ibid.
[86] This must have been poignant, as Mooney had visited Spain before the war broke out in 1936, ibid. The Republicans had seized the Barcelona Plant but with the war over, the plant was recovered in 1939 by G, ibid.M, ibid. personnel, ibid. It opened briefly but then closed for good, ibid.
[87] Costello, P.61, ibid.
[88] Mooney, Pp.77-78, ibid.
[89] Discussion with Mrs. D. Rylands, Southampton, January 2001.
[90] Mooney, Pp.79-81, ibid.
[91] Mooney, Pp. 82-83, ibid. Copper was essential for wiring and electrical machines, and for alloys use din armaments, ibid.
[92] Kugler, P. 32, ibid.
[93] Mooney, Pp. 84-85, ibid.
[94] Mooney, P.86, ibid.
[95] Mooney, Pp. 87-91, ibid.
[96] Mooney, P.92, ibid.
[97] Mooney, Pp. 92-93, ibid.
[98] Mooney, P.94, ibid.
[99] Costello, Pp. 67-68, ibid.
[100] Mooney, P. 94, ibid.
[101] Costello, Pp.470-472, ibid.
[102] Hoglund was appointed Special Assistant to Osborn in May 1937, and then an executive committee member, 1938. He had previously been Managing Director of G.M. Nørdiska since February 1934. By 1940, he was the second ranking American under Osborn. Hoglund may have also been a director of G.M. Suisse as well.
[103] Adam Opel A.G. executives,1940
Heinrich Wagner, Chairman
Hanns Grewenig, Deputy Chairman
Adam Bangert
Herman Hansen
Dr-Ing Gerd Stieler von Heydekampf
Karl Stief

Deputy Committee members:
Otto Jacob
Dipl-Ing Heinz Nordhoff

Chairman: Geheimrat Kommerzienrat Dr.-Ing. e.h. Wilhelm von Opel
Cyrus R. Osborn, Deputy Chairman
Dr. Franz Belitz
Elis S. Hoglund
Director-General, Graeme K. Howard, NY
President Professor Dr Karl Lüer
President Alfred P. Sloan [of GMC]
Vice-President President James D. Mooney [of G.M.O.O.]
David F. Ladin, Copenhagen
Albin D. Madsen, Copenhagen
[104] Mooney, Pp.100-101, ibid.
[105] Mooney, Pp.102-103, ibid.
[106] Mooney, Pp.104-105, ibid.
[107] Mooney, Pp.105-106 and Appendix III, ibid.
[108] Mooney, p.115, ibid.
[109] Mooney, P.111, ibid.
[110] Mooney, Pp.112-113, ibid.
[111] Mooney, Pp.116-117, ibid.
[112] Mooney, P.110, ibid.
[113] Mooney, P.111, ibid.
[114] Mooney refers to Staatssekretaer Dr. Brinckman as having met him: which was correct?
[115] Ribbentrop spoke to Welles in German: he could speak English but this was a trick he had pulled on Mooney as well. and it took a lot of time for translation to be done for Welles to understand what had been said
[116] Mooney, P.118, ibid.
[117] Mooney, Pp.119-120, ibid.
[118] William Shirer, "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich", P. 686fn, 1959, 1960.
[119] Shirer, Note 21, P. 1163, ibid.
[120] FDR Safe Files, Cables from Welles to Roosevelt, FDR Library, at Marist University, USA, ibid.
[121] FDR Safe Files, ibid. FDR Library, ibid.
[122] The peace agreement ceded territory to the Soviet Union, but this was short-lived as the Finns joined the Axis when Germany attacked Russia and then attacked the Russians along the new frontier with German backing.
[123] Mooney, Appendix IV, P.22, ibid.
[124] Mooney, Pp.121-130, ibid.
[125] Mooney, P.131, ibid.
[126] Shirer, P.687fn, ibid.
[127] Shirer, P.687fn, ibid.
[128] General Motors World, June 1934, Pp.1-3.
[129] Shirer, P.687fn, ibid.
[130] Sir Horace Wilson made his name at the July-August 1932 Ottawa Imperial Conference on tariffs, etc. at Sir Robert Vansittart's subsequent cost [when Chief Industrial Adviser to HM Government]. Vansittart said "Wilson had enormous talents, a pure personality, and a sancta simplicitas in foreign affairs. His winning ways captured Stanley Baldwin from me and spellbound Neville Chamberlain, with whom he shared incomprehension of such ugly ideas as mine". Vansittart states that as time went by, he and Baldwin met less and less amicably, and the longer in office, the less he counted with Baldwin. Further, the Prime Minister never knew enough of tyranny to hate it, whereas Vansittart loathed it with "all of his heart all those who used power cruelly, and found few to share a trait that was un-British". As Baldwin portrayed himself as a Briton, " he could not feel comfortable consorting with a passion that he condemned. No wonder in contrast he called Horace Wilson 'wise, calm and serene'": Lord Vansittart: "The Mist Procession", Pp.442-443, Hutchinson & Co. (Publishers) Ltd., London, 1958.
[131] Mooney, P.132, ibid.
[132] Mooney, P.133, ibid.
[133] Mooney, Pp.136-137, ibid.
[134] Mooney, Pp.137-138, ibid.
[135] Mooney states in his letter to Lochner, 20 March 1940, that a day or two after arriving in Rome, he contracted a cold!
[136] Mooney, Pp.139-140, ibid.
[137] Mooney, P.140, ibid.
[138] Mooney, P.141, ibid.
[139] Mooney, Pp.148-150, ibid.
[140] 20 March 1940: Letter: Mooney to William H, ibid. "Bill" Harvey Jnr, ibid. Harvey had been the Export Company's General Manager in the Twenties, and visited the British, Belgian and Danish plants from March to May 1925, probably at the same time as Mooney was in England.
[141] Mooney, Pp.151-153, ibid.
[142] Mooney, Pp.153-155, ibid.
[143] Interesting point this: the Japanese proved this when they sank the King George V and the Repulse in 1941, and the Royal Navy at Taranto, which the Japanese copied for the attack on Pearl Harbor. However, when the "surface battle craft" took on their own aircraft, this scenario was rectified and the Battle of Midway was the first fought between battle fleets over the horizon from each other, and when neither fleet ever saw each other either. The Germans scrapped their own aircraft carrier in 1940, which was intended to use a variant of the Messerschmidt Bf.109 for seaborne operations.
[144] Attacks could indeed be launched from Stavanger Luftwaffe base, but the distances involved across the North Sea prevented any fighter escort apart from Bf.110 aircraft, if that. It was a long way to northern England and Scotland and a much longer distance back especially when damaged!
[145] One of the reasons for invading Norway was in order to safeguard Swedish iron ore and ball-bearing exports, etc. The "invasion" of Denmark was a very quiet affair…more a walk-in and possession. As a consequence, the Danes were allowed a degree of autonomy and peaceful occupation for some time. The G.M. International Plant in Copenhagen was able to carry on its business for a few years.
[146] Mooney, Pp.155-157, ibid.
[147] Translation of Document 004-PS Copy : "The Political Preparation of the Norway Action".
The complete report including appendices has been submitted to the Deputy of the Fuehrer by Reichsleiter Rosenberg on 17 June 1940): "The Office of Foreign Relations [Aussenpolitisches Amt] of the National Socialist Party (NSDAP) has had contact with Vidkun Quisling, leader of the Nasjonal Samling in Norway, for years....In January [1940], during a conference between Reichsleiter Rosenberg and Foreign Minister von Ribbentrop it was decided to appropriate to Quisling an initial sum of 200,000 Goldmarks. This money was to be taken to Oslo, in two instalments, by the liaison agent Scheidt where it was to be handed to Quisling. Apart from financial support, which was forthcoming from the Reich in currency, Quisling had also been promised a shipment of material for immediate use in Norway such as coal and sugar. Additional help was promised. The shipments were to be conducted under cover of a new Trade Company to be established in Germany or through especially selected existing firms while Quisling's deputy Hagelin was to act as consignee in Norway. Hagelin had already conferred with the respective Ministers of the Nygardsvold Government as for instance the Minister of Supply and Commerce [Versorgungs-und Handelsminister] and had been assured permission for the import of coal. At the same time the coal transports were to serve possibly to supply the technical means necessary to launch Quisling's political action in Oslo with German help…..In February, after a conference with General Field Marshal Göering, Reichsleiter Rosenberg informed the Secretary in the Office of the Four Year Plan [Ministerialdirektor im Vierjahresplan] Wohlthat only of the intention to prepare coal shipments to Norway to the named confidant Hagelin. Further details were discussed in a conference between Secretary Wohlthat, Staff Director Schickedanz and Quisling's deputy, Hagelin. Since Wohlthat received no further instructions from the General Field Marshal, Foreign Minister von Ribbentrop-after a consultation with Reichsleiter Rosenberg-consented to expedite these shipments through his office. Based on a report of Reichsleiter Rosenberg to the Führer it was also arranged to pay Quisling ten thousand English pounds per month for three months commencing on the 15th of March to support his work. This money was to be paid through liaison agent Scheidt: Berlin, 15 June 1940: Avalon Project, Yale University.
[148] Mooney, Pp.158-164, ibid.
[149] The President's Personal File on James D. Mooney (PPF 6448) contains nineteen pages of correspondence concerning meetings with Franklin Roosevelt and a copy of Mooney's speech, "War or Peace in America", before the Case Alumni Association, June 1, 1940. This file also includes
six cross reference sheets describing related material scattered in files on Italy, Commerce Department, Navy Department, Basil O'Connor and Walter Reuther in the President's Secretary's File and Official File: FDR Papers, Marist University, ibid.
[150] Mooney, P.165, ibid.
[151] General Motors World, July 1940, Pp.1 and 2.
[152] William Stevenson, Pp.106-108, "A Man Called Intrepid", The Lyons Press, NY, 2000. The concern about authenticity is because Stevenson states that Mooney was known to Stephenson by the codename "Stallforth", which is now proven to be completely bogus: the real Stallforth was one Federico Stallforth, a NYC banker.
[153] However, as the Lend-Lease Act was signed 11 March 1941: the reference must have been to, more correctly, the co-ordinator for "Cash-and-Carry".
[154] Mooney, P.165, ibid.
[155] Mooney, P.166, ibid.
[156] Mooney Papers, Georgetown University.
[157] Mooney, Pp.171-173, ibid.
[158] Mooney, P.174, ibid.
[159] When Howard left G.M. to join the Army in 1942, Riley was appointed Corporation Vice-president in his placer in May 1942. It is not known yet who filled Mooney's place immediately, but when Elis S. "Pete" Hoglund arrived back in New York in February/March 1941, Hoglund was appointed to head the Detroit Defense office, returning to G.M.O.O. as Riley's Executive Assistant in February 1942: General Motors World July/August 1959, Pp.2-3.
[160] Costello, P.399, ibid.
[161] Mooney, Pp.174-175, ibid.
[162] Costello, Pp. 400-401, ibid.
[163] Mooney, Pp.174-175, ibid.
[164] Mooney, Pp.175-176, ibid.
[165] Costello, P. 403, ibid.
[166] Anthony Cave Brown; Pp.127-128, "C: The Secret Life of Sir Stewart Menzies", Macmillan, 1987.
[167] Stevenson, P. 108, ibid.
[168] Cave Brown, P.206, ibid.
[169] "Will Bill" Donovan was appointed head of the Office of Co-ordinator of Information in June 1941
[170] Mooney, "Economic Aspects of World Rehabilitation", P.3.
[171] 1946 Press Clippings: Georgetown University, ibid.
[172] Press release, G.M.C., January 1946, per G.M.I., Flint.
[173] New York Times, obituary, 7 December 1962.
[174] General Motors World, October 1957.
[175] General Motors World, May 1953
[176] Bradford C. Snell, Counsel to the Committee on the Judiciary, US Senate, February 26 1974
[177] [177] [177] General Motors World, July 1940, P.1. General Motors Overseas Operations, New York





DIRECTORS: HARRY SKEET BROOM, DUDLEY LOVELL, ALFRED PRITCHARD SLOAN Junior, American, West End Avenue, New York City, Vice-President of General Motors Corporation; JAMES DAVID MOONEY, American, of Van Rensselaer Hotel, New York City, Assistant Vice-President, General Motors Corporation; EARL ELLSWORTH EBY, American, of East Orange, New Jersey.

The initial Registered Office of the Company was at 24 Devonshire Street, London W.C.1, as at 28 August 1919. By an Agreement dated 2 September 1919, Shares were allotted as to 20,000 £1 Ordinary Shares in the Company to General Motors Corporation. As at 25 August 1921, the Directors had changed:
HARRY SKEET BROOM; DUDLEY LOVELL;ALFRED PRITCHARD SLOAN, Jnr., GEORGE CLARENCE SEERS ; JOHN COATES. The Company was voluntarily wound-up 15 October 1924 and finally wound-up 14 March 1927.


DELCO-REMY LIMITED changed its name to DELCO-REMY & HYATT LIMITED, in October 1924 when the business of HYATT LIMITED was acquired.
Directors as at 1924/5:
H.S. BROOM, Chairman; W.O. KENNINGTON. Managing Director; DUDLEY LOVELL; R.M. EMSLIE; JAMES DAVID MOONEY; JOHN LEE PRATT; Secretary and Registered office: RICHARD M. EMSLIE, 111 Grosvenor Road, London S.W.1
1938-41: W.O. KENNINGTON, Chairman; C.J. BARTLETT; G.K.DREW; H.S. BROOM; G.N. VANSITTART [Regional Director for Northern Europe, based in Antwerp, also Director of G.M. Continental, Antwerp, and Adam Opel A.G.], C.G. GRIFFIN; N.F. STOCKBRIDGE; JAMES D. MOONEY; B. RUSHTON; W.F. EDWARDS; W.A. CREWE, MI Mech E Managing
ALFRED PRITCHARD SLOAN, JR. was appointed to the Board of General Motors Limited on August 31 1921, when Vice-President, General Motors Corporation.
JAMES DAVID MOONEY was appointed Director July 5 1924, And both continued as Directors until 1934.
JAMES DAVID MOONEY was appointed a Director of the second General Motors Limited in 1933 and resigned apparently between March and July 1945 according to Headed Notepaper. I now think that he resigned in 1941 in fact. R.C. Riley as a Director replaced him.


JAMES DAVID MOONEY was a Director of General Motors (Ireland) Limited from May 28 1923 to when the Company was dissolved, September 23, 1929.



General Motors G.m.b.H. was incorporated in 1925. The history is as follows:
1925, September: General Motors G.m.b.H., previously sales office, then warehousing operation, opened in Hamburg.
1926, April: General Motors G.m.b.H. assembles trucks in Hamburg.
1926, September 6th: Frigidaire G.m.b.H. incorporated to sell Frigidaire appliances supplied through General Motors Export Group.
1926, November: General Motors G.m.b.H. moves to Berlin from Hamburg.
1930, General Motors G.m.b.H. builds a prototype of the first Overseas bus bodies designed by the Berlin Body Centre.
1932, General Motors G.m.b.H. set up as Zone Office of G.M. Continental S.A., Antwerp, and car/truck assembly finishes in favour of imports through G.M. Continental?
1935, 8 February, 239 Chevrolet cars ordered from G.M. Export Company, NY.
1935, Brandenburg truck Plant opens.
1937, AC Oil Filter production starts in Berlin?
1937, First Frigidaire produced in Berlin by G.M. G.m.b.H.
1937, April, last 12 Chevrolet cars imported.

According to a report in 1943, the company had a capital of 1 million RM and was owned by General Motors Corporation in New York. However, control [by 1936?] was in the hands of the G.M. Export Company, NY, G.M. International and G.M. Continental. By 1939 the Committee of Control, or Board of Directors included James D. Mooney.

James D. Mooney, also a director of General Motors Limited, and Adam Opel A.G.
Graeme K. Howard, Vice-president and general manager of G.M.O.O. until 1940
Cyrus C. Osborn, also a director of G.M. Continental, and G.M. Suisse?
Elis S. "Pete" Hoglund, director G.M. Continental?, G.M. Suisse and also director of Adam Opel A.G.
Kaufmann Hermann Hansen, Wiesbaden

C.R. Osborn fled from Belgium in 1940 back to the U.S. after the country was invaded. However, Hoglund was in Bienne in Switzerland [as a Director of G.M. Suisse] when Antwerp was bombed, and it appears from the Reich Commissar records that Hoglund was granted a general Power of Attorney over Adam Opel AG in March 1940, and did not leave Germany until February 1941. He then transferred the P. of A. to Mooney's/G.M.'s Attorney in Berlin, Heinrich Richter.

The Company Report says that the G.M. G.m.b.H. ceased trading in April 1937 but was not liquidated, and was then resuscitated in the Summer of 1940. However, it appears in that final year of 1937, 12 Chevrolet cars were sold. However, it appears that 239 Chevrolet cars were sold, imported from G.M. Export Company in N.Y.C., delivered in February 1935.
The office address in 1943 was GENERAL MOTORS G.m.b.H., Berlin W15, though the street address appears to be KURFÜRSTENDAMM 207/8, FERNRUF, BERLIN 91 82 01.


Frigidaire G.m.b.H. was incorporated under German law on September 6, 1926. In November 1939, Adam Opel A.G. purchased the entire direct investment of General Motors Corporation in Frigidaire G.m.b.H., located in Berlin and also in Rüsselsheim. These were heavily damaged in the War. However, it would seem that Frigidaire appliances were imported and only manufactured from 1937 onwards, by G.M. G.m.b.H. and then sold through Frigidaire G.m.b.H. It would seem that the appliances were manufactured at Rüsselsheim, and traded through the Berlin office.


Founded 1862, A.G., 3 December 1928, eingetragen 27 December 1928 acquired by General Motors Corporation, March 1929, for 120 million RM
Owned by General Motors Corporation and Opel Family

Rüsselsheim, and Branches in Aaachen, Düsseldorf, Bresslau and Magdeburg
Dr. R.A. Fleischer
Edwin R. Palmer
Deputy: Adam Bangert

Chairman: Geheimrat Kommerz-Raf Dr.-Ing. e.h. Wilhelm von Opel
Deputy: Farbrikant Dr.-Ing. e.h. Fritz Opel
Deputy: Director-General Ronald K. Evans
Alfred P. Sloan
Fred Fisher
James D. Mooney
John Thomas Smith
Albert Bradley
Charles Fisher

Dr. R.A. Fleischer
Edwin R. Palmer
Deputy: Adam Bangert
Dipl-Ing. Otto Byckhoff
Otto C. Mueller

Chairman: Geheimrat Kommerz-Raf Dr.-Ing. e.h. Wilhelm von Opel
Deputy: Farbrikant Dr.-Ing. e.h. Fritz Opel
Deputy: Director-General Ronald K. Evans
President Professor Dr. Karl Lüer
Bank Director Franz Belitz
President Alfred P. Sloan [of G.M.C.]
President James D. Mooney [of GMOO]
Vice-President John Thomas Smith [of G.M.C.]
Albert Bradley
Charles Fisher

Rüsselsheim, Brandenburg/Havel and Branches in Aaachen, Düsseldorf, Bresslau and Magdeburg

Dr. R.A. Fleischer
Edwin R. Palmer
Deputy: Adam Bangert
Dipl-Ing. Otto Byckhoff
Otto C. Mueller

Chairman: Geheimrat Kommerz-Raf Dr.-Ing. e.h. Wilhelm von Opel
Deputy: Farbrikant Dr.-Ing. e.h. Fritz Opel
Deputy: Director-General Ronald K. Evans
President Professor Dr. Karl Lüer
Bank Director Franz Belitz
President Alfred P. Sloan [of G.M.C.]
President James D. Mooney [of GMOO]
Vice-President John Thomas Smith [of G.M.C.]

Dr. R.A. Fleischer
Adam Bangert
C.R. Osborn, General Manager
Deputy: Otto C. Mueller
Karl Stief
Dipl-Ing. Dr. Gerd Stieler von Heydekampf

Chairman: Geheimrat Kommerzienrat Dr.-Ing. e.h. Wilhelm von Opel
Deputy: Farbrikant Dr.-Ing. e.h. Fritz Opel
Graeme K. Howard
President Professor Dr. Karl Lüer
Bank Director Franz Belitz
President Alfred P. Sloan [of G.M.C.]
President James D. Mooney [of GMOO]
Vice-President John Thomas Smith [of G.M.C.]

Cyrus R. Osborn, Chairman
Adam Bangert
William G. Guthrie
Elis S. "Pete" Hoglund
Albert A. Maynard
Karl Stief
Heinrich Wagner

Deputy Committee members:
Dr. Kurt Auerbach
Hanns Grewenig
Herman Hansen
Dr.-Ing Gerd Stieler von Heydekampf
Otto C. Mueller
Carl T. Zaoral

Chairman: Geheimrat Kommerzienrat Dr.-Ing. e.h. Wilhelm von Opel
Deputy Chairman: Farbrikant Dr.-Ing. e.h. Fritz Opel
Director-General and Deputy Chairman, Graeme K. Howard, NY
President Professor Dr. Karl Lüer
Dr. Franz Belitz
President Alfred P. Sloan [of G.M.C.]
Vice-President President James D. Mooney [of GMOO]
G. Nicholas Vansittart, Antwerp
David F. Ladin, Copenhagen [G.M. International]

Heinrich Wagner, Chairman
Hanns Grewenig, Deputy Chairman
Adam Bangert
Herman Hansen
Dr.-Ing Gerd Stieler von Heydekampf
Karl Stief

Deputy Committee members:
Otto Jacob
Dipl-Ing Heinz Nordhoff

Chairman: Geheimrat Kommerzienrat Dr.-Ing. e.h. Wilhelm von Opel
Cyrus R. Osborn, Deputy Chairman
Dr. Franz Belitz
Elis S. Hoglund
Director-General, Graeme K. Howard, NY
President Professor Dr. Karl Lüer
President Alfred P. Sloan [of G.M.C.]
Vice-President President James D. Mooney [of G.M.O.O.]
David "Dave" F. Ladin, Copenhagen [Director, G.M. International]
Albin D. Madsen, Copenhagen [Ditto]


1934- 1935 Board of Directors:
John R. McKenzie, Finance
Edward W. Holden, Chairman
Laurence J. Hartnett, Managing Director
James J. Welker, Service
James R. Holden, Body Division
Graeme K. Howard, Director
Sir Wallace Bruce, Director
Sir John Butters, Director
James D. Mooney, Director
John Storey, Manufacture
Vernon L Sunners, Sales

In 1938/9:
L.J. Hartnett, Managing Director
V. L. Sunners, Director of Sales
J R McKenzie Director of Finance
J. Storey, Director of Manufacturing