In the early part of 1945 as the Allied armies advanced, German laboratories and plants became available for investigation. Since German development work had been hidden from the eyes of the world by the Reich’s national policy of secrecy, and by five and one-half years of war, it was obvious that much might be learned from such investigation. In particular, this was true in the synthetic fuel industries deriving oil, gasoline, and a wide variety of chemicals from coal, for owing to the scarcity of domestic petroleum, Germany had been forced into intense development of this field in contrast to the limited amount of similar development by United States and Great Britain. Before the fighting ended in Europe, the United States and Great Britain organized teams comprised of experts in all fields to investigate the research and industrial operations in Germany. The teams investigating coal, oil, gasification, and allied chemical fields, included more than 30 American investigators and about an equivalent number of British investigators during 1945. German work in the synthetic liquid fuels industries and allied fields was on such a large scale that even such extensive investigations could not possibly cover the subject in all detail. However, a great deal of information possible of direct application, and much information of fundamental nature to help guide work in this country for many years was uncovered.

The primary fields that were covered in the oil and synthetic fuels investigations were concerned with petroleum refining and the gas synthesis and coal hydrogenation process for producing oil from coal. The related fields of coal gasification, oxygen production, alcohol manufacture, lubricating oil production, and the production of waxes and edible fats, as well as a variety of other chemicals, were an inherent part of the investigation.

On December 13 and 14, 1945, a meeting of the members of the Technical Oil Mission was held in Washington for the purpose of summarizing the results of their investigations in Germany, and thereby providing a guide for the reduced staff of investigators still engaged in filing in the gaps in the information secured.

A transcript of the proceedings of the meeting follows. In general, the meeting adhered closely to the program which was approved by the members of the Mission. This program was prepared at a preliminary meeting in Pittsburgh which was attend by the following:

Ernest Cotton
L. L. Hirst
William A. Horne
Irvin H. Jones
Paul K. Kuhne
L. L. Newman
H. H. Storch

The proceedings have been recorded on a sound track and the transcription of the papers were edited by their respective authors. Many of the authors considered it advisable to add important technical data to their presentations. According, a considerable amount of time was consumed before making possible the release of this transcript.


Office of Synthetic Liquid Fuels,
Bureau of Mines,
Washington, D.C.