Please: do not multiply this document, as its purpose is for studying this subject only!
KV 2/244 Westerlinck (Weasel) Case
Selected papers from the (alias) Weasel (= Westerlinck) Case Crown Copyright
Page initiated on 20 September 2022
Current status: 22 October 2022
Westerlinck, alias Weasel, was a Belgium medical doctor.
KV 2/244-1, page 2 (minute 295a) As to keep Mr. Westerlinck's name secret they, in this document, noticed his cover-name or alias 'Weasel'
During the course of this file, such as at PDF page 8, it becomes apparent that Mr. Westerlinck had been involved with a 'play or game' as to fake his operational status.
E.1.A/B Miss Lough.
In reply to your minute of 17.4.45 I hope that the following information may be of use to the Belgian Suretť:
Westerlinck is a Belgian subject on the deleted words. He originally chose the army as a career but in 1919 abandoned this profession in favour of medicine. he obtained a degree as Doctor of Medicine at Louvain (Leuven) University and purports to be a specialist in tropical diseases. He has travelled fairly extensively, having been to Germany, France, Portugal, Egypt, Argentina, Brazil and the Belgian Congo. He married a Belgian woman considerably older than himself whom he met in the Belgian Congo, where she was nursing. His wife enjoys some private means of her own and owns certain property in Congo. In 1937 as the result of a breakdown in health Westerlinck was forced to renounce (abandon) his prospects of a career in the Belgian Congo and in August of that year returned to Belgium where he went into private practice, meeting with considerable success. He found, however, that the work was uncongenial (unpleasant) to him and in March 1938 took a post as ship's doctor on a Belgium liner. This life appears to have suited him and at the time of the Belgian collapse (late May 1940) he found himself serving in this capacity on the s.s. "Thysville", which, at the end of June 1940, put into Lisbon from La Palice. Some weeks previously he had been replaced by his assistant aboard the "Thysville", in all probably because his verbal expression in favour of pro-German collaboration and appeasement, etc., which no doubt aroused the ire (anger) of the loyal Belgians with whom he was associating.
It was as a result of his activities in Lisbon at the end of 1940 that Westerlinck first came to the notice of the Security Service. From a number of sources it was reported at about this time that Westerlinck was only pro-Nazi but was acting as an agent for the German Consul in Lisbon in subordinating Belgian seamen and inducing and assisting them to desert from their ships and return to Belgium. Consequently when he arrived in this country (England) from Lisbon in company with his wife on 5.5.42 he was regarded with considerable suspicion and detained on leaving the 'plane for questioning. He was eventually taken to our special interrogation camp (Camp 020) and within a short time of his arrival there he confessed that he was in fact in German pay and had accepted espionage assignments on behalf of the enemy.
Westerlinck is still in detention. His wife, of whom a more favourable view is taken than her husband, is at present employed by the Belgian Ministry for the Colonies in London. It is hoped to deport Westerlinck to Belgium in the near future.
B.1.b./PS. 25.4.45. Sgd. Pamela Stiebel.
KV 2/244-1, page 5 (minute 290a)
Mr. Wilson, B.1.b. (M.I.5.)
As arranged, I saw Mme. Westerlinck at Room 055 (War room) this morning, and made your excuses, explaining that your were away on business.
She enquired after her husband and I told her that I knew nothing about this case, but that I had just been told that he was in good health and had everything which he required. She asked that the information on the attached piece of paper, relating to the deaths of various members of her family, should be transmitted to him, together with the attached parcel. I agreed to do this.
She also asked that he should be told that he was not receiving letters from her because it was not permitted for her to write to him.
She asked when Weasel (= Westerlinck) was likely to be released, and I replied that I thought it was certain that he would not be released until the cessation of hostilities. She was very anxious that Weasel should not be handed over to the Belgians at the end of the war, as she thought (AOB: rightly) that feeling would probably run high against him. I replied that I had no idea what fate was awaiting him, but that I would refer the matter to you.
She emphasised that she was keeping his detention a strict secret and that in her letters to Belgium she was suggesting that he had a job which kept him very occupied.
B.1.A. 9.12.44 Sgd. H.W. Astor (Hugh W.)
KV 2/244-1, page 6 + 7 (minute 255c)
Report dated 23.1.43
1. Will you please refer to B.1.a. (Mr. Wilson's) letter of 18.1.43
Mr. Westerlinck was interviewed yesterday in the presence of Mr. Wilson. He was handed the packet containing sardines and told that these had been sent as per the label from Transatlantic Trading Co. (associated to Paul Georg Fidrmuc's company?), Post Box 527, Lisbon. He was asked to open the package, in order to see whether anything was concealed inside, and this he proceed to do.
2. There was nothing apparent concealed in the packet, but I am forwarding the tins and the packing for more expert investigation.
3. Mr. Westerlinck appeared very surprised to receive this package, and could offer no explanation. The letter he had written had no mention of food in it. He had never heard of the Transatlantic Trading Company, but he confirmed that the address- Post Box No. 527 - was the address the Germans previously given him for communication with Bettencourt c/o Orsmus, Ltd.
4. Mr. Westerlinck stated that he did not think Germans would try and conceal anything in a tin of Sardines.
KV 2/244-1, page 8 + 9 (minute 253a)
B.1.b. Mr. Milmo, and p.a. (Westerlinck?)
You will remember that Mr. Westerlinck stated that his instructions were to communicate with Bettencourt c/o/ Orsmus Ltd., post-box 527, Lisbon, but as the Germans apparently thought that address might be regarded by us as suspect he was not to write to that address direct but to send his letters to his friends the Raeymaekers to pass on.
After he had communicated his London address to the Germans in this manner, Westerlinck received, on 25.7.42, a letter dated 3.7.42 from Bettencourt, who gave the address Av. Dugue d'Avila 60 Lisbon. An extract from the translation of this letter is as follows:
"It is with great pleasure that according to your wishes I will send you, during the next few days, some sardines, hoping that they will reach you without much delay or difficulty.
In fact Westerlinck had not asked for sardines.
On 8.1.43 two packages were received, addressed to Westerlinck at the London address we had provided for him. These packages had not been intercepted, notwithstanding that Post Box 527 and Westerlinck's London address are on the I.B. list. The reason I understand is the parcel post is not passed through the hands of the sorters who operate the I.B. list.
One package has been untied and at first sight consists of nothing but two tins of sardines, a layer of corrugated (ribbed) cardboard, and a thin sheet of brown paper bearing a label giving the sender's and recipient's addresses. I have handed this package to Grogan so that Collins can investigate it thoroughly.
The other package, which was outwardly identical, I am not touching, as I think that, if you agree, it might be as well to ask Mr. Westerlinck himself whether it is likely to contain anything, and if so, how or where any secret message or material might be concealed. before taking this step I proposed, however, to wait for Collins' report on the first package. Unfortunately I cannot read the date on the postmark on either package.
Mr. Westerlinck himself last wrote to Bettencourt at Av. Duque d'Avila 60, Lisbon on 1.8.42. The letter contained secret ink which, however, was probably not legible and no answer has been received.
Sgd. D.I. Wilson
KV 2/244-1, page 10a
Information Leading up to his arrest:
It was a result of his activities in Lisbon in the late summer and early Autumn of 1940 that Mr. Westerlinck first came to the notice of the security Service. From a number of sources it was reported at about this time that Mr. Westerlinck was not only pro-Nazi but was acting as an agent for the German Consul in Lisbon in suborning Belgian seamen and inducing and assisting them to desert from their ships and return to Belgium. There was also a suggestion that he was actually a German Secret Service agent. Subsequently, Mr. Westerlinck disappeared from Lisbon (AOB: maybe he was for training in Hamburg or Bremen, for a while) and was next heard of in January 1942 when reports were received from that city to the effect that he and his wife had returned and were trying to go to Belgian Congo. The original suspicions which his previous activities had aroused were substantially increased as it was apparent that he must have been facilitated by the Germans in making a return journey from Lisbon to Belgium. These suspicions were completely substantiated by further evidence which came to hand identifying Mr. Westerlinck with a fully trained German agent who was destined for the U.K. (AOB: not entirely according the truth: Mr. Westerlinck's aim was to reach Congo, but the Belgium Consulate in Lisbon told him, for what ever reason, that permission and papers could only being obtained in London; likely a set-up trap)
The first interrogation of Mr. Westerlinck was very brief and it was indicated to him very clearly that we knew a great deal about →
KV 2/244-1, page 11b
him and Mr. Westerlinck had sufficient presence of mind and native cunning to realise that the game was up and that the best thing he could be to make a clean breast of everything, or nearly everything, and endeavour to persuade the authorities that this had been his intention from the start. He thereupon revealed the following information about himself.
Mr. Westerlinck has persisted in denying what is alleged against him at this time. These denials cannot be accepted, however, in the face of several independent reports already referred to (AOB: MSS?), all of which tend to show that he was at least collaborating with the Germans at this period.
Return to Belgium:
In October 1940 Mr. Westerlinck left Lisbon and returned to his wife and family in Belgium. He states that having no means of livelihood and finding conditions depressing and difficult he resolved to set out again for Belgium Congo, accompanied by his wife. He therefore set out making enquiries concerning the necessary Exit Permits. Whether or not the project of returning to the Congo originated with him or was put into his head by the German Secret Service is a matter about which no certain view can be expressed.
Recruitment as a German Agent:
In the beginning of November 1940 Mr. Westerlinck received a letter purporting (asserting) to come from one Schubert (Dr. Theodor?) suggesting that he might care to visit the writer at the Hotel Metroploe, Brussels.
Mr. Westerlinck accepted the invitation and was told by Schubert that he had heard of him from the Compagnie Maritime Belge. Schubert appears to have been cognisant (aware) of events connected with the "Thysville" in Lisbon which again suggests that Mr. Westerlinck's activities in that regard were not unconnected with the Abwehr. At this meeting Schubert did not make any reference to Mr. Westerlinck's undertaking espionage on behalf of the Germans.
A few days later Mr. Westerlinck was summoned to the wellknown Abwehr address Avenue de Belgique No. 189 where Schubert introduced him to two other German Secret Service personalities who have been previously known to us, namely Ackermann and Bertram. At the interview during which Mr. Westerlinck informed the Germans that although he was capable of transmitting and receiving morse on the tape he could not do so by ear. The proposal was put forward that he should to go to the Congo as the Germans' "correspondent", sending them information by W/T about general politics, economic questions, local matters and the treatment of German and Italian prisoner of war. A week later , Mr. Westerlinck was as a result of a further invitation, called at an address in the Avenue van Ryswyck where he was introduced by Bertram to a certain Dr. Bremer. After a few preliminaries the conversation turned to the teaching of wireless telegraphy to Mr. Westerlinck and it was suggested that he should go to Bremen for the purpose. Mr. Westerlinck insists that up to this stage he had not accepted the Germans' proposal and that they told him that the visit to Bremen would be in no way bind him to decide to accept.
At the beginning of November 1940 Mr. Westerlinck left Bremen in the company of one Crahl, a member of the Antwerp Abwehrstelle. →
KV 2/244-1, page 12c
Abwehrstelle. In Bremen he studied radio transmission and was instructed
in an ingenious but somewhat cumbersome plain language code. He
stayed in the Hotels Columbus,
Fremienheim Ferienheim and
Bremerhospiz and was kept under constant supervision. During the visit he
was asked by the Germans to supply a written account of his part in the s.s. "Thysville"
affair. In order to arouse no suspicion the Germans arranged that during
his stay in Bremen
should should receive regular postcards from Holland purporting to be sent
In December 1940, the wireless instructor being apparently satisfied with the progress made, Mr. Westerlinck was sent back to Antwerp where he received further radio instruction twice a week in the Boulevard Quinten Metsys 59a (?) This building seems to have been a regular radio school with a permanent staff. Training in Antwerp continued until April of 1941.
Meanwhile, steps were being taken to procure the necessary Visas for the journey to the Congo. The Portuguese Consulate in Antwerp refused to issue him with a Visa. In consequence Mr. Westerlinck was in April of 1941 ordered to Bremen again where he was taught a further code and was also instructed in secret writing, the process being xxx
This visit to Bremen lasted only eight days and a few days after his return to Antwerp he was interviewed at the Avenue Quinten Metsys address by two Germans who came from Antwerp and were apparently concerned with obtaining of Visas. They told him that they hoped to be able to obtain the necessary Portuguese Visa in Paris where they were going.
In July of 1941 Mr. Westerlinck paid a third visit to Bremen whence he was sent to Paris to complete the final arrangements in connection with his journey to Congo. On arrival at the Gare du Nord he got in touch with a certain Dr. Kilbourgh, described as being of Bulgarian nationality, who proved to be his main contact in the city and who seems to have been responsible for the organisation of his journey. The purpose of this visit to Paris was to fix up the Visa with the Portuguese Consulate and as soon as these formalities were completed Mr. Westerlinck returned to Antwerp.
Departure for Portugal:
On the 14th of August 1941 Mr. Westerlinck accompanied by his wife, set out from Brussels for Lisbon bringing with them the two children of an acquaintance who were travelling to join their parents at Loanda. Mr. Westerlinck states that his wife knew nothing of his espionage mission and on the whole it is thought that this is probably correct. The party stopped in Paris for a few days during which Mr. Westerlinck contacted Dr. Kilbourgh who handed him his passport and supplied him with $ 100.
The party arrived in Lisbon on the 19th of August and the following day Mr. Westerlinck, using the Alias ?? which had been given to him by his German masters, got in touch with the German Vice Consul but since this official did not appear to know anything about him he announced his safe arrival by a letter to a cover →
KV 2/244-1, page 13d
cover address which had been given to him in Lisbon. As the result of this letter Mr. Westerlinck was contacted by a German agent who enquired whether he was in need of anything and made a appointment for him to meet Bertram a few days later. This meeting duly took place. Bertram who had been transferred to Lisbon from Antwerp and was now living in Estoril asked whether he would be willing to take a radio transmitter with him but Mr. Westerlinck protested vigorously against this proposal on the ground that it was too dangerous.
From this time onwards Mr. Westerlinck passed into the care of a certain Grimm (Hans Friedrich; KV 2/2454, PF 600288) who appears to have a office on the third floor of a new building situated alongside the wellknown Lisbon restaurant "Cambrinus", rua Eugenio, Lisbon. On the first of October 1941 Mr. Westerlinck and his wife after two moves eventually ahead at the Pension Beiramar at Estoril where they stayed for seven months until they left for England. The long delay was caused by the complications in connection with the Visas. During this period Mr. Westerlinck was tested in his secret writing technique by Grimm.
It was not until comparatively shortly before his eventual department that Mr. Westerlinck was advised by the Belgian Legation at Lisbon that it would be necessary for him to proceed to London where the final arrangements for getting to the Congo would be made (a true trap!) A visa to the U.K. was granted to him and the Germans took the view that he should fall with this plan and made their arrangements accordingly. He was made to understand that there was much available information which he could supply from England and it was hinted that should he succeed in his various efforts he would be in a position to request whatever post he desired from the Bremen Abwehrstelle (Abwehrnebenstelle; a dependence of Ast-X Hamburg). He was given cover address to which to correspond from England and eventually from Congo.
Although Mr. Westerlinck was not aware of the fact that the Belgian authorities had decided to route him via England for the reason that he had aroused their suspicions (The trap).
Mr. Westerlinck visit to this country was regarded as transitory and it was evident that it was only at the last moment that he was shown a standard questionnaire (skipped here) of the type of information which the Abwehr required from agents in England. His general training →
KV 2/244-1, page 14e
training was directed towards equipping him for work in the Congo and there is no doubt that this was intended to be the principal scene and objective of his espionage assignment. At the time, and indeed throughout the period which has since intervened the Germans have been making strenuous endeavours to penetrate this particular part of the world and it is clear that they attach considerable importance to running agents into the Congo.
As regards his motives, all the evidence shows that Mr. Westerlinck was induced to undertake espionage in the hope of obtaining a comfortable administrative post for himself in the Belgian Congo when, as confidently believed would soon be the case, the German armies merged triumphant over the Allies. There is nothing to suggest that he was actuated by any ideological or patriotic considerations, or indeed, by anything other than his own personal advancement as was graphically illustrated by his sudden switch on arrival at Camp 020. (AOB, does this imply - that they truly favoured a fanatic German?) Mr. Westerlinck is a man who not only likes to be on the winning side but will always be prepared to change his allegiance to the quarter which it appears is most likely to serve his immediate personal interests.
There is some reason to believe that Mr. Westerlinck is still withholding information and that he may even have succeeded in double-crossing us. He has not been prosecuted because the decision was taken to utilise his service as a D.A. but it is significant that no reply has ever been received to any of the several communications which he has despatched to the opposition (the Germans). The evidence is anything but conclusive but there are good grounds for arguing that Mr. Westerlinck has by some pre-arranged or other means managed to convey to the other side the fact that he is under control. (mainly guesses by a quite frustrated crown servant).
KV 2/244-1, page 15 (minute 239a)
Weasel (= Westerlinck)
arrived at Poole from Lisbon on 5.5.42. He has had no success in getting
responses from the Germans. The reason may be partially that his technical
arrangements have broken down (either by his own intention or not), but
fundamentally the failure of the case, as a double agent case, suggests either
that the Germans grew suspicious of him and dropped him, or that he has deceived
us and contrived to warn the Germans that he is under our control. It is
worth remembering that
Kliemann KV 2/278)
was was his contact in Paris, and our experience suggests that this man is more
likely than other Germans whom we know of to have arranged a warning or to have
smelt a rat for himself.
It seems clear that the time has come to cross the Weasel (= Westerlinck) off our list of active cases. he should become simply a B.1.b. investigation case "for the duration". As far as we are concerned the H.O.W's (Home Office Watch List) could be removed and there is no need for Westerlinck to communicate with us regularly, if indeed she still does so.
B.1.a. 2.12.42 Sgd. J.C. Masterman
KV 2/244-1, page 31a + 32b both partially
In considering the case of Westerlinck's wife, it is difficult to establish whether she was in fact aware of his association with the German Secret Service. Mme. Westerlinck insists that if she had suspicions, she certainly did not question him or evince any curiosity at all. The subject was never discussed between them.
Some faith may be placed in this statement, was his senior by thirteen years; in the second place, in spite of his infidelity and disease (+ footnote), she has remained with him for seven years. The fact that her family is devoutly Catholic would be no reason against, a separation had she so wished.
On 21.5.42 she was interrogated at Holloway Prison by officers from Camp 020, who received the impression that moreover, that she was in a position to maintain this attitude in her future dealings with the authorities. It is extremely difficult to believe, however, that a woman of xx deleted words education and intelligence was not somewhat suspicious of her husband's activities, and it would seem that she deliberately chose to turn a blind eye to the facts.
In the first week of June of this years, Mme. Westerlinck was released from Holloway prison, where she had been previously been arranged that she would be taken care of by her brother, xxx words deleted an engineer working at the Belgian Colonial Ministry at 118, Eaton Square, Mr. Westerlinck for his part, realises that his wife's freedom is dependent upon his own good behaviour.
KV 2/244-1, page 32c
In Mr. Westerlinck case the salient factor would appear to be that his mission was of an economic nature to be carried out in the Belgian Congo. His visit to this country was transitory, engineered unknown to him by the authorities here in collaboration with the Belgian Consulate in Lisbon (AOB: the arranged trap). The fact that he had been shown a standard questionnaire of the type of information required by the German Secret Service from their agents in England, and instructed to supply this information in secret ink was of secondary importance. The purpose of his training in Bremen was to equip him as a useful agent operating from the Belgian Congo, always bearing in mind the possibility of an extension of the zone of conflict to the West Coast of Africa.
Indeed, in Mr. Westerlinck's case, one of the inducements, if not the principle reason for his entering the Germans' service, was the opportunity it offered him of leaving Europe to return to the Belgian Congo. Had the original German offer mentioned England as the ultimate destination, there is no reason to believe that would have undertaken such a mission. Undoubtedly, at the time Germany had gained great prestige for her early victories and, to a man of Mr. Westerlinck's mentality, there seemed little cause to to believe that she would not be finally victorious. With an eye to the main chance, he naturally foresaw a comfortable administrative post for himself in the Belgian Congo, always providing he satisfied his German masters meanwhile.
KV 2/244-1, page 33d
Mr. Westerlinck was trained by the I M (= Marine; German Navy) section of the German Secret Service (in Bremen) and, consequently, most of the senior officers with home he came in contact held commissions in the German Kriegsmarine. He gave them every promise of developing into a capable and intelligent spy. (AOB: really - did they believe this; why not simply rejecting to respond at all, after the Westerlinck couple had arrived safely in Belgian Congo?)
According to his own statements, he rapidly became extremely proficient in the art of transmitting in Morse code and, having passed many years in the Belgian Congo, presumably is both well-known out there and the bearer of an honoured and respected name among the Belgian colonist - obviously an excellent 'cover' for espionage, from the Germans' point of view. Furthermore, his wife's family is of some social standing in Belgium, which would enable the Westerlinck couple to be received in official Government circles. Obviously this man was potentially a most useful agent, and the failure of his mission eliminated at least one source of enemy information (when Westerlinck really would have been determined, what quite likely wasn't).
His life as judged by his history is one of failure and unrealised ambitions. Indeed, his very entry into the medical profession appears to have been by chance and undoubtedly, all this man's interest is centred in politics and social problems. During his stay at Camp 020, he is constantly entering into ideological discussions with the various internees whom he meets.
As already stated, he has signed a full confession, and M.I.5. are in possession of his materials for secret ink writing, together with a full explanation of his codes, etc. It is therefore possible, at any time convenient to them, to bring this man up for trial at the Old Bailey. It would seem, however, that this intelligent Belgian doctor might, with more advantage, serve the Allies' cause as a human reference library. Already, since his arrival here, two other spies on similar missions, namely Hermant and Meiss-Teuffen (KV 2/742 .. KV 2/746), have been received at Camp 020 and, it is only reasonable to suppose, that others will follow in their footsteps. For the time being anyway, it would seem that Mr. Westerlinck's knowledge may yet prove of value.
KV 2/244-1, page 35a + 36b
Chronological List of Events.
A. Period prior to recruitment by the Germans:
5.7.99 : Born
1912-1919 : Attended College Episcopal, Termonde (BE)
1919-1926 : Medical student at University of Louvain (Leuven) gaining degree of Doctor of Medicine, Surgery and Midwifery in July 1926
1926-1927 : Various posts as locum. Short touring trip to Holland.
1927-1930 : Post as doctor of Malines (Antwerp). Built up large clientele.
March 1930 : Disposed of practice; took a course in tropical medicine at Brussels obtaining diploma in June. Signed contract for 2 years with La Foreminiere.
July 1930-1932 : Left for Belgian Congo. Visited Eshikapa - Sasatshie - Kabalekesse.
1932 : Returned to Belgium on expiration of contract.
1932-1936 : Employment with the Croix Rouge du Congo. Post at Poko - Iawa - Viadana - Ibambi.
1935 : Married (a nurse)
End of 1936 : Returned to Europe.
January 1937 : Joined branch of Forminiere at Congo (Kailo) (Katanga?)
August 1937 : Enforced return to Europe owing to ill-health. Joined the Medical Mutual Aid Society for 6 months at Coutrai (Kortrijk)
?? 1938-1939 : Joined C.M.B. as ship's doctor. 2Ĺ months' trip to South America. Then regular voyages on Antwerp-Congo Line. Three months enforced unemployment ashore just before the war. Then
resumed employment with C.M.B.
?? 1940 : Arrived La Palice. Dismissed from C.M.B. and replaced by Dr. de Belder. Taken to Lisbon.
?? - September : In Lisbon. Thysville affair.
September 1940 : Return to Belgium.
B. Period of recruitment by the Germans:
October 1940 : Contact by Schubert. Interviews with Schubert, Hotel Metropole, Antwerp.
Begin Nov.1940 : Trip to (Nest) Bremen for wireless instruction. Stayed for six weeks/
Dec 1940 : Return to Antwerp. Continuation of wireless training at Boulevard Quinten Metsys 59a
Apr 1941 : 2nd visit to Bremen. Learnt Codes. Secret ink instruction. Subsequent return to Antwerp.
14.8.41 : Left Brussels via Paris to Lisbon.
19.8.41 : Arrived Lisbon. various contacts with Germans. Securing visa for Belgian Congo, and final instructions given him by the Germans. Stayed for 8 months in Lisbon and Estoril. (Hotel
International in Lisbon and Pensao Royale and Beiramar in Estoril).
End Jan 1942 : Interview with Gouze of Belgian Legation
24.3.42 : Visit to British Passport Office.
5.5.42 : Arrival Poole by plane and brought to Camp 020.
KV 2/244-1, page 38 (minute 214a)
J.H.M. (= J.H. Marriott)
Weasel (alias of Westerlinck)
I saw Mr. Westerlinck on 22.8.42, to discuss whether he would write again or wait to receive a further later from the Germans first. At the moment the Germans have not answered his letter of 18.7.42, which contained a brief request for a postbox number in 111 Code (special clear text code), nor his letter of 1.8.42, containing a coded message in secret writing, which is probably indecipherable. The former letter was passed on to the German cover address by Mr. Westerlinck's friend, the (De Raymaeckers) on 10.7.42, and crossed a letter from the Germans dated 3.7.42.
Mr. Westerlinck's own views are that he should not write until he has heared again, partially because he had no clear instructions as to what he was to do in England as distinct from the Congo, and partially because he thinks he would want to wait and see that his first secret ink letter got through the censorship and was safely received before he wrote again. I am not satisfied that what he pretends, because although the principle objective in the case was, no doubt, to go and make trouble in the Congo, I think the Germans would obviously have take the opportunity of his passing through England to try and get some information about this country.
On the other hand there is some plausibility in his second point, and he has all along and said that he would not write often but would only do so when he had something definite to say. I do not think therefore that any harm can de done by waiting at least for another two or three weeks without writing, in order to see if the Germans reply.
B.1.a. 24.8.42 Sgd. D.I. Wilson.
KV 2/244-1, page 40a (minute 178c)
T.A.R (T.A. Robertson Chief B.1.a.)
The Weasel = Mr. Westerlinck
I saw I saw with Captain Short at Camp 020 on 25.7.42. We showed him the letter which had been received from Bettencourt. Mr. Westerlinck said that notwithstanding the rather suspicious fact that the first three pages of this letter were written in double spacing while the last page was in single spacing, it would contain secret ink because he had not been any instruction in developing secret inks. He would not expect the letter in contain Duff as he would not expect themto send him Duff unless be asked for it or indicated that he had a microscope. If it had this code the whole letter would have to be in code as there was no indication of any starting pr finishing point. (As far as I can see there is no code).
He could not identify the handwriting he said that the reference to be the Avenida Palace Hotel and to Henriette had no signature and were no doubt introduced to give colour to the letter. He assured us that there was no hidden meaning whatsoever in the letter.
He said that in view of the address given on the back of the envelope he would now write to Bettencourt in secret ink to that address. He would do this using the name of Henri and Josť and would not use his own name as he had previously had to do when sending his letters through the Raymaeckers. He expressed his willingness to write in secret ink as soon as we thought fit. His own view was that he would not have been in an urgent hurry to reply and would write only when he had something which he regarded as being of interest to say. He was not very helpful in giving a line on the sort of things he would say and I propose to collect such information as is available for him, partially on any matter at Hull, and then discuss further with Mr. Westerlinck what part of such available information he would have used. I hope that Lieutenant Commander Montagu can provide a general statement on activity in the port.
KV 2/244-1, page 41b
It occurs to me that as a doctor Mr. Westerlinck might take an interest in and report on the steps that we have been taken in this country to provide substitutes for various tropical and specialised medicines which before the war were imported from Germany. I think I can obtain such information without difficulty through my own firm.
It should be noted that although Mr. Westerlinck's name and address are on the I.B. (Home Office?) list, and also subject to to a H.O.W. (Home Office Watch list), we received no information of the letter until it was brought in by the actual occupant of the address. It had in the meantime obviously been fairly severely handled in the Censorship, and it seems to me at least possible that the letter contained Duff (to find German micro-dots) this would have been destroyed on the way. At the same time another letter arrived which had been addressed to Morris W. at the Pension in Lisbon. This letter posted in Belgium, had been forwarded presumably by the Pension proprietor. This letter also does not seem to have been intercepted, and the H.O.W. does not seem to have disclosed replies from Gerhard & Hey, in this country, to letters written by Mr. Westerlinck under our instruction. I am taking these points up with Colonel Allen and will have the letter from Bettencourt thoroughly tested.
Mr. Westerlinck confirmed that the letter addressed to Maurice W. is meant for his brother-in-law's children. This method of addressing letters was adopted to conceal the fact that the children in Belgian were communicating with their father in England. I propose to hand this letter to Mme. Westerlinck for her brother.
Mr. Westerlinck suggested that when he wrote and used secret ink to cover the letter should be typed on a typewriter other than his own. He said that this was suggested to him as a precautionary measure because his own typewriter is a Portuguese model and might be sufficiently distinctive to enable him to be traced if one of his letters was intercepted. The Germans suggested that as an alternative →
KV 2/244-1, page 42c
when typing a letter to them he should make some slight adjustments to his typewriter, for example cause some of the letters to be typed out of the correct alignment and as soon as this letter was typed he should rectify the irregularities so that if the typewriter should be tested the irregularities would not appear.
In view of what Mr. Westerlinck said I arranged for Camp 020 to give me a sample of the type of his typewriter. I attach this, and apart from the figure 7 there does not seem to me to be anything in this type which would particularly attract attention. I am assuming, of course, that he would write his letter without using the accents or the 'C' cedilla («). It seems to me a little unlikely that Mr. Westerlinck could readily acquire or borrow a different typewriter and personally I think it preferable that he should use his own. (AOB: how often do they lack true alternatives in other-ones thoughts?)
Sgd. D.I. Wilson.
B.1.a. 27.1. 42.
PF 402262/B.1.a.DIW (The Weasel = Mr. Westerlinck) file /( B.1.a. = M.I.5. = / DIW = D.I. Wilson) 25th July, 1942
Dear Foley (AOB, S.I.S. 's representative in Lisbon at the office in Consular representation),
I enclose a translation of a letter today received by the Mr. Westerlinck. No secret message has as yet been discovered in or on the letter. We have no trace of the address given on the envelope, namely:-
Avenida Dugue de Avila 60,
Have you any knowledge of this address?
Sgd. D.I. Wilson
for T.A. Robertson (Chief of B.1.a.)
Major F. Foley, C.M.G,
S.I.S. (now M.I.6.)
KV 2/244-1, page 49 (minute 169a)
1. I attach a letter the draft letter Mr. Westerlinck has prepared for writing to the Raymaeckers and the suggested enclosure to that letter to the Raymaeckers should include a request to pass on the enclosure. The letter to Bettencourt does not seem to me to be at all satisfactory. In order to give the necessary syllables for the 111 code the language seems to me to have come very unnatural, and I propose to discuss it with Mr. Westerlinck and if he cannot do better using the code then I think it would be better not to send any code message but to rewrite the letter in more natural language and to add a sentence to the following effect:- 'Please pass on my news to Pierre Dubois and tell him that I will write to him fully direct as soon as he lets me have his new address'.
2. I attach a letter from Mme. Litwinska enclosing a card from here brother in Estoril. I propose to ask Mr. Westerlinck if there is any hidden meaning in the brother's letter and to get him to write an answer to both letters to the effect that his London address is his permanent address because he is, likely to be moved about from place to place in the course of his work.
Sgd. D.I. Wilson
KV 2/244-1, page 50 (minute 167a)
Box No. 500
Parliament Street B.O.
B.1.b. (Milmo). (M.I.5.)
With reference to Wilson of B.1.a's visit of yesterday's date, the message he wished coded is attached herewith.
The letter headed: "Chers Monsieur et Madame" will of course terminate with the customary greetings.
I should be much obliged if you would pass on the coded message to the section concerned.
For Lieut-colonel Stephens (Camp 020?)
Encl.: Sample letters written by Mr. Westerlinck.
1) To M and Mme de Raeymacker
2) "Cher Ami, with separate page showing hidden code message.
KV 2/244-1, page 51 (minute 166a)
Original in PF 305143 (= KV 2/2424) Plain Language Codes in Letters"& telegrams. Held in B.3.D.
Draft of Telegram.
To Lieut. Colonel Maunsell, Cairo (S.I.M.E.) Date 17.7.42
Signed. D.G. White (A.D.B.1 at M.I.5)
Out File No. PF 305143/B.1.b./HPM (= H.P. Milmo)
Reference your telegram No. 440 of 17.7.42
Defect referred to can be mitigated though not eliminated by choice of initial key words. Code was given to an enemy agent in whom considerable confidence is believed to have been placed (Mr. Westerlinck?) Most Secret Source (meant: Most Secret Source = M.S.S.) are British decrypts of intercepted German ISOS or ISK messages, mainly received via R.S.S. (RSS))(Churchill considered it Britain's most valuable asset; which it truly was!) informed us that the Germans attached importance to the agent having been trained in this code. It was however an emergency measure since agent had other means of communication.
KV 2/244-1, page 56a + 57b (minute 162a)
J.C.M. = J.C. Masterman
Weasel = (Mr. Westerlinck)
Mr. Westerlinck has had no reply to the letter sent through Raeymacker to Bettencourt dated 15.5.42 though Raeymacker stated that he had duly forwarded the letter. The letter merely announced Mr. Westerlinck's arrival, that the formalities of entry had lasted for the entire week, that during this time he had been regarded with some suspicion, (this would have been caused, no doubt, by his being somewhat suspect because of the Thysville incident), but that he appeared to have cleared himself; he gave the London address we have provided for him and asked for the Post Box number to which he was to communicate with Pierre Dubois.
Mr. Westerlinck himself said that he did not expect an early reply and probably would not hear for about two months. As two months have now expired I think we should write again through the same channel, indicating partially in the cover letter and partially in the 111 code the following points:-
1. That he cannot get a visa for the Congo.
2. That he has had to take up employment as a doctor in this country.
3. That he is at present stationed at Hull, but that he is likely to be moved. They should still write to the London address.
4. That his wife has obtained a job with the Belgian Red Cross.
5. That he iis anxiously awaiting the Pierre Dubois address as he can only use his own name when communicating with Bettencourt through Raeymaecker and cannot, therefore, send long messages in secret ink, and that the 111 code can only be used for short messages.
This is proposed to take this matter up with the Mr. Westerlinck at Camp 020 tomorrow.
KV 2/244-s, page 9 (minute 143a)
B.1.b. Mr. Gibbs.
You will remember that Mr. Westerlinck said that Congo was the key word of his 111 code. You drew attention to the fact that this made the code almost unworkable owing to the difficulty of finding suitable words of one, three, and three syllables to present the letter E. If however the key word is spelt Kongo, as I believe the Germans would be more likely to spell it, the group representing the letter E becomes two, one which is no doubt much easier. I think Mr. Westerlinck should be interrogated on this point. If you like I will see this is done when next I see him, but as I am not likely to be seeing him for 10 days or so you may prefer to ask Camp 020 to question him on the point in the meantime.
Sgd. by Mr. D.I.Wilson
for T.A. Robertson
KV 2/244-2, page 11a + 12b (minute 141x)
Mr. Wilson and I saw Mme. Westerlinck yesterday afternoon at Imperial House and handed over to her a suitcase containing certain of her effects which had been packed with her husband's luggage, including her personal papers and her jewellery. A receipt was obtained.
She submitted for our approval several letters she had written, one to Mme. Dupret one to the Raeymackers, and one to her mother. We told her that was saw no objection to any of them going forward as she had written them and undertook to forward ourselves the letter to the Raeymaeckers in which the letter to her mother would be enclosed.
In order to see if any further light could be thrown on certain apparent slight divergences in the accounts given on different occasions about the Westerlinck's journey from Brussels to Lisbon we asked her to give us a detailed story of how this took place.
She gave us the following account:-
1. Befor leaving Brussels the Westerlinck's obtained a German permit to travel as far as Paris. They therefore had German permission to leave Belgium, but the Germans had previously refused when they asked permission to leave Belgium giving the Congo as their destination.
2. While they were in Paris they obtained their visa for Portugal which in turn enabled them to obtain a Spanish visa. They thereafter had no difficulty in travelling through occupied France to the Spanish frontier at Irun.
3. It was Westerlinck who looked after the business of obtaining the visas and Mme. Westerlinck was unable to give any further information about it.
Although this account is not identical with that of Mme. Westerlinck gave in the letter which she wrote from Estoril last September to her brother in London, it is not, in my opinion, inconsistent. She said in her letter that they had left Belgium without German permission and she now informs us that they did have permission, but it is true, according to her present account, that permission to leave for Congo was refused. Further, though she has now omitted any reference to the Portuguese friend who was previously stated to have obtained the visas for Paris, an omission of this sort does not seem to be important and may be due solely to lapse of time. It is now nearly a year since the Westerlinck's left Paris.
I think it would, however, be worthwhile obtaining a careful account from Mr. Westerlinck himself in relation to these points.
Sgd. T.A. Robertson
A.H. Robertson. Not identical to the just forenamed.
KV 2/244-2, page 14 (minute 140a)
KV 408262/ A.D.B. 1 (= Dick W. White at M.I.5; the PF serials were maintained by M.I.5.) (This mail had been directed to S.I.S. which maintained differently - CX serials such as: CX/12345/xx or that like; though which in 99% of the cases had been made invisible)
Dear Miss (name deleted)
Many thanks for your CX/ ..., dated 17.6.42. I wonder if you can arrange to have the following reply cabled to Captain Liddell:
Following from White for Liddell:
Your description xxxx (made invisible) on the whole fits very well. Will send photograph. Can we now have your information as (TAR) Robertson is already operating.
DGW (Dick W. White)
addressed on to: S.I.S.
KV 2/244-2, page 16 (minute 133b)
B.1.b. Mr. Milmo. (at M.I.5.)
Please see attached. I think I am right in saying that Westerlinck stated that polysyllable words of more than three syllables were to be ignored according to his instructions, but you may think it worth while to check on this point.
Although I agree with the substance of Hughes' comments on the disadvantages of this code, I nevertheless feel that his own effort and that Gilbert Ryle indicate clearly that letters could be written which would unquestionably escape censorship's suspicion. A large volume of letters pass through Censorship which are poorly phrased, and it is the exception rather than the rule to find letters which are lucid and convincing.
The ease with which this particular code (111 ?) could be used appears to depend upon the choice of the key word. If the phrase "break things" wee used as the key many of the difficulties refered to by Hughes would disappear, since this phrase contains the letters which are most commonly used in the English language.
B.3.d. 15.6.42 Sgd. Alan Grogan
KV 2/244-2, page 25
Dear Aunt Janet,
Thank you for your letters. We are all well here. The arrangements about your old home appear very difficult, although we realise you are worrying, with natural cause. However yesterday I telephoned instructions to our family solicitor who promises that his own two brothers in Edgbaston, Birmingham, lawyers, will undertake the whole business. The carpets and the curtains will be sold without reserve. Silverware and the residue of Grandfather's library will be stored. Certainly every article of antique (likely, this being the key word) furniture will also be extremely carefully overhauled and Pickfords will only utilise trustworthy men for transporting it. Their warehouse nowadays are entirely bombproof. Certainly Edgbaston district has hitherto avoided damaging raids, very luckily, and probably, if Germany meditates 'Blitzkrieging' it will be directed chiefly on coastal on costal areas. Edgbaston Hospital requires our blankets, cutlery, crockery, and bedlinen. Mother and Mary are willingly foregoing them and understand that conditions inside that large building may spell serious damage. However, nurses, doctors and invalids deserve comforts. Housekeepers in wartime cannot decently keep luxury articles for themselves. The remaining articles fireirons, photographs and other personal knickknacks, like nursery furniture, can be left underground. The resident officers all undertake not to allow anyone keys to the cellars. Lieutenant is Adjutant and domestic details belong almost wholly under his department and every officer respects Parry's opinions. We all hope to hear from you soon and I hope that your anxiety about our family possessions won't have to last much longer.
Your loving nephew,
Hidden (for example) message: en Boeings Fortresses arrived Yesterday at Hendon Pilots Expected to Raid Kiel.
KV 2/244-1, page 26b
procedure would be the more difficult to detect, inevitable tendency to adopt stilled language when applying the code would prevail throughout the letter, and would therefore be less noticeable then if it were restricted to only a part.
It is known that the Germans have a reasonably high opinion of the efficacy of this code, and consider it to be sufficiently complicated to obviate the use of bogus signature, the writer being instructed to sign his own name.
An example of what can be done with this code will be found in the attached draft addressed to "Aunt Janet" (notice foregoing letter) by her loving nephew Hubert. This letter has been provided by a person who has had little opportunity of practising the application of this code. Owing to the use of the code word GONGO, the letter "e" is represented by 133, with the result that the letter is checked with a large number of three syllable words. obviously the code would be much simpler to apply, and the manifest manifest letter would read more smoothly if the letter "e" were represented by 111 or 112, which would be the case if the code word were "event" or "never".
This code depends upon the fact that there are at least to ways in which any character in the alphabet can be written. Two alphabets are prepared, one in normal script, and the other in very similar, but slightly modified, script, in which each letter differs in some particular from the normal. Having prepared message - say it "Leaving Madrid tonight" - write a fake or innocent letter, and then mark, one by one, in order, as they occur, the letters composing that message; L-E-A-V etc. then copy the letter carefully, still using normal script, except were where a marked letter occurs, when the modified script must be used. It is, of course, desirable that the intended recipient should be acquainted, with both the normal and the modified script of the sender, though this is not absolutely necessary.
The process is somewhat laborious, and, although not so ingenious and less difficult to detect than Code 1 above, has the advantage that the text of the manifest letter can be perfectly straightforward, and need not be stilled in any message, provided the manifest text is sufficiently lengthy.
A photostat copy of a letter, demonstrating the application of this code is attached.
AOB: actually not being reproduced
KV 2/244-2, page 27
See copy in KV 2/2424
Plain language code-Ecriture Camouflee
There have recently come to light two interesting examples of plain language codes given by the Germans to agents who have come to the U.K. These codes are extremely ingenious, and it is submitted that their detection and decoding would present problems on no little difficulty. In each case, a hidden message can be conveyed in an ordinary letter without undue difficulty, the only disadvantage of the system being that the text of the manifest writing is somewhat lengthy, in comparison in that of a hidden text.
For this code it is necessary to write down the alphabet, but not in a regular order, a key word being provided, which is taken for the initial letters. In the particular case which came to notice, the key word was CONGO, which, for reasons referred below, was not particular a happy choice. The code is then written out as follows:-
c ... 111
o ... 112
n ... 113
g ... 121
o ... 122
a ... 123
b ... 131
d ... 132
e ... 133
f ... 211
h ... 212
i ... 213
j ... 221
k ... 222
l (L) . 223
m ... 231
p ... 232
q ... 233
r ... 311
s ... 312
t ... 313
u ... 321
v ... 322
w ... 323
x ... 331
y ... 332
z ... 333
The code is based on the number of syllables employed in each word used - fore example, the letter "c" is represented by three words, the first one of the three syllables, the second one syllable, and the third of three syllables, i.e. "intending to re-enter". Words of more than three syllables can be inserted at any point in the letter, but are not taken into account; they therefore not only assist the writer in phrasing his manifest letter, but serve to complicate the message, and render its detection more difficult. The actual code message commences after the deliberate crossing out of a word, as though a mistake had been made, and would terminate just before a similar crossing out. Alternatively, if no crossing out of the words appear, the hidden message starts at the beginning of the letter and works straight through the end. It is submitted that this alternative → page end not provided!
KV 2/244-2, page 30 R.S.S. (RSS) (minute 127b)
(↑AOB, rather curious, because line XIV is pointing at 'Amt VI operations' (via the Havelinstitut) whereas it here concerned an clear Abwehr matter, commenced via Belzig)
They might have, erroneously, neglected another serial most likely, see:
Cconsidering this map line III/1 would have been more likely.
@ Congo man
12.8.41. O/21 unidentified. Have spoken to Congo man (AOB: this concerns a translation of a German-language communication and they certainly used the word: Kongo) Departure from Brussels (by train) 1352german Summer Time. The rest will be carried out in accordance with telegram received.
25.3.42 Lisbon-Berlin. To Ludwig (I L = I Luft), for Nest Bucht (= Nest Bremen, a sub-division of Ast Hamburg) Giovanni urgently requires details concerning Dr. Weber. His passport was requested from the English Consul but not yet been handed over. (signed) Ludovico (= Leiter KO Portugal, cover-name Ludovico von Karshof, real name: Major Ludwig Kremer von Auenrode)
27.3.42 Berlin-Lisbon. For Ludovico for Diaz (= Bendixen) Ref. above message. Stelle Bucht (in seamen terms known as Deutsche Bucht) (= Nebenstelle Bremen) requests you to be of assistance to Dr. Weber on his return journey to Grube (= Belgium) and to afford Giovanni greatest possible . (Whom transmits) Ludwig (= Abwehr Referat Berlin I L).
30.3.42 Lisbon-Berlin. To Ludwig (I
L) for Nest Bucht (=Nest
Bremen) Ref. above
message. Dr. Weber (=
been requested by the English Consulate at this end (=
via the Belgium Consulate, to fly to England immediately in order to present
himself for military service there.
proposes to exploit this opportunity for direct reconnaissance of England.
Request immediate advice by W/T. Giovanni (=
Hans Friedrich Grimm)
will receive appropriate instructions. Ludovico (=
Leiter KO Portugal)
31.3.42 Berlin-Lisbon. For Ludovico and Diaz. Ref above message Nest Bucht (Bremen) agrees to Diaz (Bendixen's) proposal. Ink problem still being clarified. through Martin (= I M KOP).
7.4.42 Berlin-Lisbon. For Diaz (Bendixen). Please advice by W/T at once whether Dr. W. (Westerlinck) is returning home or whether he is coming to work in in land 8 (Congo). Nest Bucht (= Nest Bremen) through Martin (I M).
10.4.42. Lisbon-Berlin. To Ludwig (I L) for Martin (I M) for Nest Bucht (= Nest Bremen). Ref above message of 7/4. Dr. W. (Westerlinck) has already received an English visa. He is leaving by air in the period up to 15/4. Will be told precise time only 7 hours before departure. His wife is flying with him. Has been trained (in the use of ink Mr. Westerlinck in addition to this this in system 111/333 (AOB, please notice this file page 27) .
11.4.442. Berlin-Lisbon. For Ludovico (von Karshof) (both an alias) (see above 10/4). Congo man (Kongomann). Send the new arrangements soon to be made on reporting route and cover addresses to this end. Nest Bucht (= Bremen) Through Martin (= Berlin I M).
14.4.42. Lisbon-Berlin. To Ludwig (I L) for Martin (=1 M) for Nest Bucht (= Nest Bremen) Report concerning agreements over report routes and over (cover)-addresses of Congo man already under way with Giovanni report. Ludovico Diaz. (AOB: in these cases, it was sent by means of a diplomatic bag; which means was free of custom-check) (Please be also aware: that there existed regular airline flights up to early spring 1945, between Germany and the Iberian Peninsula)
7.5.42. Berlin-Lisbon. For
Diaz (= I M Bendixen).
Nest Bucht requests to
be informed by W/T whether and when Kongo man set out. Martin (=
Referat I M Berlin).
9.5.42. Lisbon-Berlin. Ludwig (I L) for Martin (I M) for Nest Bucht (= Bremen) Re your message 7/5 Kongo man started on 4/5. Ludovico (Leiter KOP) Diaz (Bendixen I M)
12.5.42. Lisbon-Berlin. To Blank (= Name of the: Werkstadt-Leiter at Stahnsdorf) Sets SE 90/40 (serial) No. 45 for Kongo of Nest Bucht, SE 90/40 No. 60 and SE 85/14 No. 214 for Watson. (AOB: these type-numbers can be found in: https://www.cdvandt.org/Staritz-Abwehrfunk-Funkabwehr-neu2.pdf
To be continued in due course
By Arthur O. Bauer