Information Concerning Lubricating Oil

Obtained by the Technical Oil Mission in the Hamburg Area

I. Norddeutsche Mineralölweke, Pölitz (near Stettin).

II. Rhenania-Ossag Mineralölweke, Harburg Refinery (Hamburg)

III. Rhenania-Ossag Mineralölweke, Shell-Haus, Hamburg

G. Although the Technical Oil Mission sent to the Hamburg area did not reach Pölitz, which was then, and still is, in Russian hands, it was fortunate in being able to interview Dr. Hans Hartmann, who fled from Pölitz just before the entering Russian forces; and the information that follows was obtained from him:

"a) Description of Process The process consists of two principal stages:

"(1) the cracking of paraffin wax for the production of liquid olefins
"(2) polymerization of the olefinic fraction with aluminum chloride and and refining of the polymer thus produced with fine clay.

"The preferred charging stock is

"(1) Fischer-Tropsch hard paraffin wax from Ruhrchemie, Schwarzheide, or Kamen-Dortmund, etc., boiling about 350oC

"(2) Paraffin wax from mineral oil, tar oils, etc., also boiling above 350oC

"(3) Mixtures of (1) and (2) above

The charging stock is first pumped through a preheater where the temperature is raised to 450-470oC, thence to the direct fired cracking section. Steam, equivalent to 5 cents by weight of the wax charge, is injected into the tubes of the cracking section to assist vaporization. The cracking section consists of 5 tube bundles, 240 tubes to the bundle. The tubes are silica-chrome steel, 3 m long, 10 cm i.d., 3 mm wall thickness. Cracking is carried out at 49-510oC, at atmospheric pressure without a catalyst, with an average residence time of 25 seconds. Total capacity of the unit is 125 T/D. Average on stream time is 1,500 hours, when charging Fischer-Tropsch wax. On straight paraffin wax from petroleum, the tubes require cleaning every 300-400 hours. No coking has been encountered in the preheater. The product from the cracking coil passes to a separator, the higher boiling uncracked wax from the bottom of the separator is recycled to the cracking coil, the vapors from the separator passing to a fractionator where the desired olefin fraction, 35 to 300oC, is removed as a bottoms, liquid out. The light overhead from the fractionater equivalent to 26-28% of wt of the wax charged, is made up as follows:

% by Wt.

Methane, ethane, propane 








The yield of the desired liquid olefin fraction, 35-300oC boiling range, is 7-72% by weight. This material is 100% olefinic and has a iodine No. of 150. Sufficient methane and ethane are produced in the wax cracking operation to account for the yield of olefins obtained in the converted material. Loss and coke amount to 2%. Conversion of the original wax charge is 35% per pass.

The liquid olefin fraction is pumped to the polymerizing kettle, a 20 cu.m capacity elliptical vessel of wrought iron with full-upon head and equipped with stirrers and cooling coils. The kettle is charged to 90% of capacity with 6% by weight of technical aluminum chloride added. Screened material with a particle size of 1-2.5 cm and containing 1% of ferric chloride is used. The iron chloride impurity is not essential, according to Hartmann, but aluminum chloride of this quality is much cheaper than the sublimed grade.

During the polymerization reaction, the temperature is not allowed to "exceed 60oC. At the end of 15-20 hours, the reaction is complete. The sour oil and sludge is then pumped to 50 cu.m capacity settling tanks, 4 m in diameter, and 4 m high, also constructed of wrought iron. The sludge is settled 12 hours and drawn off to a mixing tank. The sludge is then diluted with 40% by volume of cutting oil (light gas oil), plus an amount of water equal in volume to the original sludge. The slurry is heated to 84oC while stirring, and enough caustic soda is added to neutralize any free HC1. The neutralized slurry is then centrifuged, yielding a cylinder oil-gas oil mixture and water containing dissolved sodium chloride.

The oil stream is reduced with vacuum and steam to 300-320oC flash, the gas oil and a small spindle oil cut are obtained at an overhead cut and a side stream from the flash tower respectively: the bottoms "Zylinderöl, a high grade cylinder stock, require no further refining.

The settled sour oil from the primary settling tank is pumped to a separate mixing tank, diluted with 10-15% by volume of cutting oil, digested with an equal quantity of water, neutralized with caustic soda, and centrifuged, to give "Roh Motoren 01" (diluted with gas oil) and water.

A total of 25 special centrifuges are used with vertically rotating bowls of nickel-chrome alloy, operating at 4,500 RPM. The centrifuge shell is mild steel. The oil stream from the centrifuges is also reduced with vacuum and steam (10-60 mm absolute pressure and 5% by wt. Of steam; the cutting oil recovers and pumped to storage for re-use; a small spindle oil cut obtained and the bottoms, minimum 300oC flash, clay treated, using 2% by wt. of "Frankouit", a decolorizing clay similar to Floridin. Clay treatment is carried out at 95oC for 2 hours. The clay is removed by means of standard filter presses. The filtered oil is shipped to blending plants for admixture with an "equal volume of solvent refined lubricating oil reserved for use in aircraft engines.

"b) Yields Ultimate yields, based on the wax charged to the cracking unit, are, as follows:

Aviation Blending Oil 


Cylinder Oil 


Gas Oil a. 


Fuel Gas 


Loss  2%

a. Does not include recycle gas oil used as a cutting oil to Facilitate sludge separation.

Typical tests of Pölitz production plus the inspection of a blend of equal parts of Politz Aviation Blending Oil and a Duo-Sol refined oil, are shown in the following table:-


1.  2.  3. 


Description Zylinderöl (High Flash Cylinder Stock)   Aviation Blending Oil   Duo-Sol Refined Lube Oil 

Aviation Engine a. Lube Oil


Sp.Gr.: 70o 0.879  0.840  0.890 


Viscosity, Engler: Deg.

50oC 68.4 42.0 7.0


100oC 7.86 5.93 1.84


Viscosity Index 108  120  98 


Polhoehe  1.7 1.54 1.9


Flash: ° 315  310  225 


Fire: °C 355  350  260 


Cold Test: °C -31 -29 -18


Color (German Method) Green  100  30 


Neutralization No. 0.14 0.03 0.03


Saporification No. 0.47 0.10 0.11


Iodine No. - 20 -


Carbon Residue: % 2.0 0.31 0.16


Ash: %  0.03 0.001 


Evaporation Loss:% 250o 1.64  2.3 -


a. A blend of equal parts of Pölitz Aviation Blending Oil and Duo-Sol Refined mineral oil shown in column 3.


"Fischer-Tropsch was is the preferred charging stock. Petroleum waxes, containing some oil, yield aromatics on cracking; these subsequently raise the carbon residue, darken the color and lower the viscosity index of the finished lubricating oil.

"Corrosion problems have been very minor at Pölitz. Caustic soda is used, where required, to neutralize any free HC1.

"The fuel gas from the Norddeutsche Mineralölweke was shipped to Hydrierwerke, also at Pölitz. In return, utilities were furnished by Hydrierwerke.

"Normally 300 men are employed. 120 of these are skilled Germans, the balance Frenchmen and Poles.

"After the severe bombing raid on May 29, 1944, production dropped from 1,500 tons per month to 800 tons per month, for the period of June 1, 1944 to February 8, 1945.

"Hartmann avers that synthetic lubricating oil produced by the polymerization of ethylene is superior to that made by wax cracking; the engine performances of the ethylene oil showing less tendency to stick the piston rings in the BWW oil test engine.

"The Plant is now in Russian hands."

II. The synthetic lubricating oil plant of the Rhenania-Ossag was moved from Harburg to Osterode in the Hartz Mountains after air attacks made it impossible to operate this plant at its original location. The design capacity of the plant was 400 tons per month but actually reached 700 tons per month. The process differs from other wax cracking processes in that it does not require oil-free wax or straight Fischer-Tropsch Wax. The principal source of wax for the Harburg plant from dewaxing plants in Harburg, Schulau, and Oslebshausen, operating on solvent refined petroleum oils. The charge is cracked at a temperature of 560-590oC in the vapor phase and yields 60% of cracked distillate of 30o-310oC boiling range with a bromine number of 80-110. A portion of the uncracked wax is recycled. The olefin fraction is next polymerized with a commercial grade of sublimed aluminum chloride pasted with lubricating oil and containing a trace of water. The reactors are batch and the initial polymerization takes place at 10oC. Toward the end of the reaction the temperature is raised to 80oC reaction time is four to five hours. The reactors are essentially agitator type tanks equipped with centrifugal pumps for circulating the material through exchangers, first for removing the heat of reaction and later for heating the material near the end of the process to complete the polymerization. These reactors are built of wrought-iron with nickel-chrome used for valve trimming, impellers, etc. According to information available, improved yields were obtained by processing 7-ton batches to a bromine number of 40 and then transferring the three batches to a larger vessel of 25 tons capacity, continuing circulation for six to seven hours while the temperature was raised gradually to 80oC. When the bromine number reached 5, the sludge was allowed to settle and drawn off to another vessel. The sludge was then washed with water and the separated oil returned to the 25-ton tank while further polymerization took place and the bromine number subsequently reduced to about 2. The polymerized material of approximately 2 bromine number was then settled for 20 hours and drawn off to larger tanks for still further settling. The sour oil was next treated with 5% of Fuller’s Earth and 1% of lime and the mixture heated to 260-270oC. and stripped with steam to remove light ends. The bottoms were pumped to filter presses for the removal of the clay. The color of the clay treated oil varied from white to pale yellow, depending upon the amount of oil in the original wax charged to the cracking unit. The clay-treated oil was then redistilled under high vacuum at moderate temperatures to produce the various viscosity overheads and bright stock type bottoms of 5 to 6 viscosity Engler at 100oC and 47 Engler at 50oC, with a viscosity index of 100-110 and a pour of minus 27oC. Yield on the wax charged was 40-50%, depending upon the amount of oil in the primary wax charged to the cracking unit. In the BMW ring sticking test, the oil will satisfactorily function for 17 to 18 hours as compared with less than 8 hours for normally refined mineral oil.

III. The information on lubricating oils obtained from Dr. Lützkemeier and Professor Zerbe at Shell-Haus in Hamburg will only be discussed briefly as Dr. Haensel will cover this subject under his subject "Shell Research."

a. Aviation Engine Oils

The two principal oils used by the Luftwaffe were:

1) V.2, AeroShell-Mittel (ASM), a blend of 85% solvent extracted oil and 15% Voltol.

2) S.3, Intava or Rotring, originally 100% solvent refined mineral oils, later a mixture of equal parts of synthetic oil and solvent refined oil.

The Duo-Sol refined oil made by Deutsche Vacuum at Oslebshausen was coded SS-707; other code numbers were:

SS-607 S0.2 refined, asphaltic distillates made by Rhenania-Ossag.

SS-807 Nerag’s furfural refined, deasphaltized residual oil.

SS-906 Synthetic Oil – I.G. at Lenna

SS-1,006 Synthetic Oil – Rhenania-Ossag at Harburg

SS-1,106 Synthetic Oil – DVO at Pölitz

SS-970 Blend of SS-707 and 906

According to Rhenania-Ossag, 0.2% I.G. anti-oxidant and anti-ring sticking additive was included in all final blends. All finished oils were tested in the BMW 132 single cylinder aero engine and required to have as good ring sticking performance as the standard oil Rotring D.

b. Voltol

The Voltol plant near Dresden continued to produce 200-250 tons/month "endvoltol" during the war from a blend of 1/3 rape and 2/3 mineral oil distillate, mainly for use in A.S.M. Aero Oil.

"Halbvoltol" made from straight rape seed oil was used (3%) in hydraulic oils.

Electrion Oil was produced at Ghent.

c. Motor Oil

The Wehrmacht originally had one grade of motor oil "Einheitsoil" for both summer and winter use in all types of automotive engines, an oil with a viscosity of 8 Engler at 50oC and V.I. of 90. For North Africa, they later used "Sondermotern Oel T" (tropical) with a viscosity of 12 Engler at 50oC and a V.I. of 80-90. Oppanol, the V.I. improver, was used in these oils. During the Russian winter campaign of 1941, "Einheitsoil" was unsatisfactory and a winter grade was produced but not containing Oppanol as the Army thought this additive produced gumming piston deposits. The desired viscosity-temperature characteristics were obtained by the addition of 10-20% synthetic oil.

Until the end of the war, motor oils for the Wehrmacht continued to be of high quality; however, for civilian use, quality deteriorated and during the last few months reduced crudes (filtered to reduce ash) were blended with spindle oils for winter and summer viscosities.

No HD additives appear to have been used in Germany for Diesel or heavy duty gasoline engines.

d. Gear Oils

Normal type mile E.P. oils containing sulfurized fats were used at the start of the war. As supplies of fats decreased, lead naphthenate, free sulfur, sulfur monochloride treated cracked wax, and Etrol, a nitro compound containing some sulfur and fatty oil, were substituted.

e. Greases

Due to the shortage of fats, the principal grease-making materials were tallow, synthetic fats (oxidation paraffins), and Montan Wax.

Low temperature greases were made with spindle oil and lithium soaps.

The army used "Einheitsfett", a sodium soap Montan Wax for vehicle tracks.

The Navy used large quantities of "Aerfett Blau", a lime-tallow grease made with spindle oil.

A special thickened oil was made by mixing a finely divided silica gel with non-aromatic type mineral oil.

f. Cutting oils and Rust Preventives

Soluble cutting oil were made up with only 1-2% of oil (instead of the usual 5-10%) by increasing the proportion of sulphonated fish oil emulsifying agent. As this agent became scarce, other agents were prepared from resins, Montan wax, etc.

Non-emulsifying cutting oils were prepared with 3% sulfo-chloro treated fatty oils.

Little progress seems to have been made on no-rust compounds.

g. Hydraulic Oils

Rhenania-Ossag supplied the Luftwaffe with a –50oC pour test, 1.6o Engler and 20oC viscosity, hydraulic oil prepared by SO2 treating a low pour naphthene lubricating oil distillate and blending with it 3% Voltol.

h. Marine Engine Oil – Torpedo Oils

As the shortage of fatty oils became more critical, emulsifiable types of marine engine oils were prepared with 1-1/2 by wt. of sodium soap of Montan Wax.

Torpedo oils for torpedoes with internal combustion type engines (alcohol, decalin fuels) used heavily compounded oil make up as follows:


Mineral oil 5o Engler at 50oC.


Neatsfood oil


Rapeseed oil (unblown)


Rapeseed oil, blown





Electrically driven torpedoes were lubricated by a blend of mineral oil, fatty oil, Paraflow, and 25% "Clophen", a chlorinated material.



J.D. Doherty. Colonel Melton is here, when you are ready for him.

P. K. Kuhne. Yes, please Colonel Melton, would you mind coming up? Do you mind if this is on the record?

P. W. Melton. All right.

P. K. Kuhne. Good, we’ll listen to Col. Melton.

P. W. Melton. I’m not too sure what you want, because you have been discussing it for some time before I came in, and I do not have the background of what it is you want specifically.

P. K. Kuhne. Well, Colonel, would you prefer to hear Dr. Faragher, who has some opinions on the subject. Would you like to hear a little bit about what he thinks? This is Dr. Faragher.

P. W. Melton Specifically, what you want to know is what progress has been made in bringing back documents, equipment and German scientists.  Is that correct?  Or, is it just German scientists?

P. K. Kuhne. Principally scientists; we understand the procedure on documents.

J. P. Jones. We understand that a number of German scientists, according to the newspaper article yesterday – 1,500, had been brought over here by the Army. We would like to now what we can about those that pertain to synthetic fuels and lubricants. Also, we understand that when we want to bring over German civilians for work, it is impossible to do so.

P. W. Melton. I should say you had the picture pretty accurate. Specifically, if any scientists were brought over by the Army, I do not know. I can remember back as much as two years ago the Army started bringing Germans back to the United States, many German prisoners of war, and certain other Germans they got their hands on. It’s been going on for quite a long time. How many, specifically what type of personnel, where they went when they got here, and why they were brought here, I can’t pretend to answer. So I do not know where the newspaper got its information. Again the War Department is a big organization. Any agency of the War Department, the Quartermaster Corps (in your case the one you’re most interested in), the Ordnance Department, Engineers, any other staff section of the War Department, has authority to bring back personnel from any overseas theatre, and all of the avail themselves of that opportunity from time to time. That isn’t the answer you wanted. That doesn’t come down to specific information that you want, but what personnel has been brought back, they were brought back by some specific agent in the War Department, and they want this specific man back for a specific purpose. After getting the desired information, they will send him back to Germany, or back to England, as the case may be. I don’t know what men or how many have been brought back.

As for the secrecy involved, the information is obtained specifically by members of the War Department, or by Army Officers, Army personnel, and so far as I know, no records of interrogation of German scientists made in the United States have yet been made available for agencies other than the War Department. I must qualify that again, so far as I know. Now I haven’t nearly answered the questions you put there. I haven’t given the information you want, so I’ll go a little further than that. At the present time, and this I am reasonably sure of, no German scientists have been brought back to the United States by any agency other than the War or Navy Departments. I’m leading up to something you’ll want to know from there on, but I want to get that on the record as a matter of information. Suppose I stop there and you shoot some questions at me, because I think I haven’t come to the part you are interested in yet.

E. P. Peck. I think we would like to know more specifically about the case of Dr. Reppe, who is the test case. I understand that he has been offered a salary and Chair at the University of Illinois, where he can come back and continue the acetylene research he was doing in Germany. That means bringing him over here and keeping him here for a substantial period of time, for purely scientific purposes; everything he does will be available to the public.

P. W. Melton. The request for Col. Reppe was forwarded through channels from the Department of Commerce to the State Department for approval, and to the best of my knowledge the State Department has not approved or disapproved the request for Dr. Reppe. It is still pending in the State Department.

E.  P. Peck. Entirely in the hands of the State Department?

P. W. Melton. That specific case is still in the hands of the State Department. If a request had gone in for payment to Dr. Reppe by a Government agency, the Treasury Department would also have passed on his case.

J.  P. Jones. Could the Army bring him over here they wanted to?

P. W. Melton. The Army could bring Reppe over here, if they wanted to, and having brought him over here, the Army would have signed a contract, or rather the European Theatre of Operations would have signed a contract with Dr. Reppe, for his services to the War Department either in European Theatre or in the United States, and while he is in the United States, he would be employed, in effect, by the War Department and under the supervision of the War Department. I suppose I should get up there and answer if I can, your implied question. This matter of bringing over Germans, scientists or otherwise to the United States now, even if everyone agreed that he would be valuable and it would be to the interest of the United States to bring him back here, there is specific legislation enforced by the Treasury Department which makes it impossible for a civilian agency, or any agency in the Government, to pay an enemy alien. All Germans are enemy aliens. If you follow my line of reasoning there, it is not possible then under the existing legislation for the Unites States to employ any enemy alien, including all Germans. There is your first block. That does not necessarily block procedure for bringing back Germans to the United States. However, any alien who comes to the United States must be approved by the State Department Visa Section. There are certain regulations, legislation, and administrative rules which govern the procedure of the visa rules of the State Department in bringing aliens into the United States. As yet, the Visa Section of the State Department has not ruled specifically on a request for bringing back a German citizen, scientists or otherwise. There are other sections of the State Department involved in this business. The State Department has not yet set forth a policy concerning the matter of bringing back scientists from Germany to the United States. Until the State Department does enunciate a policy in this matter, other civilian agencies in the Government can’t move.

J. P. Jones. That doesn’t apply to a man brought back by the War Department, is that right?

P. W. Melton. The War Department has always had the authority to bring back prisoners of war or other aliens for the defense of the United States where the well-being of the United States is involved. In the case of the German scientists the procedure was worked out for brining back civilians and the State Department approval was obtained. However, the contract that is written for the German concerned, specifically states that the man, while he is in the United States, will be employed on a Military installation, and will be under the supervision of Military personnel. Now mind you, I’ve used the word there "supervision". There seems to be some feeling abroad when the German is brought back to the United States, regardless of his standing in Germany, that he is immediately put in the guard house and kept locked up while he is here. There is no such provision in the contract. It is written by the War Department and signed by the German civilian. He has exactly the same status as any other employee of the theatre of operation has, who is on the payroll in Europe. He is paid out of Occupation Funds; he does whatever work may be assigned to him, and is simply put on temporary duty while he is in the United States. Without getting involved in Government procedure or Government regulations, there is a perfectly legitimate and legal procedure available for use by the War Department, which has been approved by the State Department and Treasury Department, for the use of Germans in the United States. At the present time such procedure does not exist for bringing back a German for employment by either a Federal government agency or by a non-government agency. The best I can say is that the matter is under advisement by the State Department. In the meantime this Agency, the J.I.O.A. (Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency), an agency of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has been given responsibility for bringing back German scientists who are requested, or who are needed, or who are wanted either by civilian agencies of the Government or other non-military agencies. Requests are coming in and being considered for a considerable number of scientists. If you want one back here, and you know who he is and where he is, and know specifically what he is going to do when you get him here, then the request should be forwarded through any channels you wish to use, to this Agency of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (the J.I.O.A.), who are responsible for getting the men back here.

V. Haensel. I think as members of the Oil Mission we certainly are well qualified to make recommendations as to what men should be brought back, if any, and I think one of the questions which I think you’ve answered already in part, is to whom we should address such communication, or should I say recommendation, in that respect, and as to whether we can find out any more about the procedure involved.

P. W. Melton. Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency, J.I.O.A. for short, as I said, is an Agency of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Its membership includes intelligence or information agencies of the War Department, the Navy Department, the Department of Commerce, the State Department, the Interior Department and Department of Agriculture. I hope (for the record) I haven’t forgotten anybody here. I have probably forgotten one or two other agencies that I should mention. They all have a hand in this matter; they are all concerned. Parenthetically, I should have included the Treasury Department because they have a vital concern in the matter.

V. Haensel. Perhaps we could clarify one more point. The reason we are interested in this is because we believe that German scientists who could be brought over here could contribute to a certain extent to the research in universities or in private industries. That is one thing we are very anxious to find out; if such a move actually is going to take place, or what is going to happen to these men, or if they are brought over by Military could they be later transferred over to a University or private industry, or do they have to go back, for example, then be brought back over again.

P. W. Melton. That is a question I cannot answer. Many men have been brought back by Germany, and many of them have been sent back to Germany or England, as the case may be. Others are here now and they think that their stay is undetermined. They were brought over by the War Department. If you know men who should be brought back because they have information or have conducted research or have something they can contribute which other scientists in this country cannot furnish, it would be highly desirable to get the requests for those men in the hands of the Bureau of Mines, who in turn, through their staff channels, will send the request forward to the Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency, which has been specifically assigned the responsibility for bringing back these scientists who have something to offer industry.

H. V. Atwell. I’d like to approach this on a little different basis if I might. The Army-Navy Petroleum Board, I know, is very much concerned with synthetic fuels and lubricants in the matter of National defense. They went over there on SHAEF orders, likewise a matter of National defense.

P. W. Melton. At the time then, you were technically a civilian employee of the War department.

H. W. Atwell. Yes. The Germans we are thinking of, and anxious to get hold of, are specialists in these same matters. I wonder why we shouldn’t argue to have some of them brought over here still as a matter of National defense. Not for any civilian agency, or industry, but for the Army and Navy. Why couldn’t your branch of the Army act for itself, not for any Government agency, but for the Army specifically, and dray some of these fellows over here just the same as Ordnance has dragged their specialists over?

P. W. Melton. I would recommend that at the earliest possible date, you get those requests for specific men again into the hands of the Bureau of Mines.

H. V. Atwell. That’s just the trouble, if you put it through any Government Bureau other than the Army or Navy, you run into the State Department, and you’re stopped.

Paul K. Kuhne. I won’t attempt to set up the channels, because frankly I don’t know what the channels would be.

P. W. Melton. Well, let’s say, has the Bureau of Mines an objective to sending those names into the J.I.O.A.? It’s all the same, as far as I can see.

H. V. Atwell. Well, the Bureau (of Mines) has tried this with Reppe, and so far has failed.

P. W. Melton. Again I say, the request to bring Dr. Reppe back for use by industry is at the present time in the hands of the State Department, which has as yet taken no action on that specific case. Let’s keep your two points there. If you want those men brought back for National defense purposes, by all means send through the request for the man, listing his name, where you think he is, and what he has to contribute. Follow the same procedure if you think he would be of value to industry.

Paul K. Kuhne. Two separate requests, is that correct?

P. W. Melton. I don’t care. I would suggest that you keep the two separate because there is existing machinery whereby the War Department can bring back men for National defense purposes. At the present time, there is no existing machinery to provide that any agency can bring back a man for industrial use.

H. V. Atwell. We wondered if we couldn’t explain to you why we wanted that particular man s a matter of National defense, and let you get it and let the agency get it, without further formality.

P. W. Melton. Sure, put it in writing.

J. P. Jones. How widely could that information we get from you, how widely could that be disseminated?

P. W. Melton. The information that you get from the man in the theatre of operations is, as you may know, sent back to the War Department to the Military Intelligence Section of the Army. There, it is reviewed for possible limitations as to the desirability for public distribution. Then if the Military Intelligence office agrees that the information is general information, can be released for general information, it is sent out through the Department of Commerce and Industry. The Joint Intelligence Objectives Department of Commerce and Industry. The Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency is assigned also the responsibility for administrative handling of reports. Now as far as I know, the War Department has not yet released through those channels, information it obtained from the scientists while there were in the United States. Presumably because that is specifically war information, National defense information. I can see no reason why it couldn’t be released; it is a matter of general interest to the public military and secrecy is not involved.

P. K. Kuhne. In other words, Mr. Jones’ question was prompted by the thought that if we brought these men over here through you, could we get the information? Would it be locked up as some of these things are being withheld today?

P. W. Melton. Yes, you can get the information. Information secured from Germans interviewed here or in Germany will be made available to industry or Commerce, provided always, there is nothing released which it is necessary that the Army keep secret.

J. P. Jones. The Army often says that information must be kept secret, when some of us civilians feel that it need not be kept secret, and it is always the Army which is the final word on that.

P. W. Melton. The Army is a huge organization. I would be reluctant to generalize. I would think it might be desirable to draw a line on what the Military Intelligence does and wants done, and what the Quartermaster Corps does and wants done. Even in the Army, I have no doubt there are, from time to time, some men who wish the Military Intelligence Service would loosen up with the information they keep secret, and perhaps in all due time the Military Intelligence Service will make the information available through the Government Printing Office, which at this time is still classifying as confidential, secret, or restricted.

Paul K. Kuhne. Mr. Snodgrass, would you help us out at this point? Do you have some remark you would care to make?

C. S. Snodgrass. No, other, I believe, than that particular matter or release of reports (technical information which comes from German territory), has been pretty well thrashed out and procedures established. If I have followed the trend of this discussion, it all points more specifically to the matter which the Colonel has just refuted in a few words, and that is getting scientists over here and putting them to work; not so much for what can be obtained from them through interrogation, as what ca be obtained from their services in creative effort scientifically from here on out.

P. K. Kuhne. I think that’s correct.

H. V. Atwell. Personally, putting scientists to work in the laboratory doesn’t seem to be quite so urgent, if it’s a matter of getting what they have over a period of years, or the remainder of their lives, whether it’s this month or next month or perhaps a year from now, it doesn’t matter too much, and we can wait for the State Department to make up its mind on such a policy on that. On the other side of the picture, we have in our possession a tremendous mass of German documents and microfilms, and at least as much or more on its way. We have an immediate problem as to reading, digesting, and analyzing that mass of data and obtaining from German sources supplemental information which we missed on the first round over there. Seems to me there is a problem on which there is greater urgency, something on which we could put these men to work immediately, and certainly it is a matter of defense as well as a matter of getting it out of them in the long run. It seems to me we have good grounds for arguing why some of these men should be brought over for Army and Navy purposes specifically.

P. W. Melton. Put it in writing; the names of the men, where they can be found, and the information you think they have to contribute if they are brought over.

W. F. Faragher. It is not a question as to why these men should be brought over, as Mr. Atwell mentions, why the work could not be conducted in the theatre of operations just as well, under the Army plan, and avoid all this difficulty. Certainly copying film and other documents are available from London and could be used over there. I think we could avoid much of this discussion that is going on in this matter of transportation to this Country from Germany, for the purpose which Mr. Atwell mentioned.

P. K Kuhne. Of course, that’s one possibility. Is there any comment on that thought?

H. V. Atwell. I doubt very much if provisions had been made for doing this sort of job in Germany. I do think there is one argument, that a great many interests and points of view could easily be brought together here, whereas doing the job in Germany would mean delays in communication and dependence on a few representatives from this side across the ocean. The other argument is that there are even more documents, better sources of information over there. There are two sides to the questions, perhaps we should hear from the Colonel as to how the job could be done over there, and decide a place to do it then.

P. W. Melton. I can’t answer that. I do not know what they do over there, and I don’t know what the present facilities are or circumstances are. I do know there is a great volume of documents, microfilm, copies for the most part, filtered in to the Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency in all scientific fields. Those documents are consigned to Military Intelligence for declassification, are sent back through channels, and the Department of Commerce releases them to the general public. The volume is so large it is going to be sometime before the information will be made available.

H. V. Atwell. Just say it will take a long time.

P. K. Kuhne. Yes, that was one of Mr. Atwell’s problems, that is, assistance to get this mass of data studied and translated, and put into a useful form.

H. V. Atwell. This is more or less repetitious of what I have already said, but we’ve done a job in collecting tons and tons of documents which have been microfilmed and we now have the tremendous task ahead of us of getting all that information translated and put to use, without even considering the possibility of picking up any new information in Germany which couldn’t very well be done efficiently until we have listed what we have already accumulated. I think before we even consider getting German scientists for further interrogations to fill possible gaps that we don’t know exist, we ought to make it a point to employ whatever resources we can get from Germany to actually get the German data translated and then see where we stand, and then if necessary to select certain items, certain fields for further investigation, and pick out the appropriate persons, instead of a program for further study. We probably have a mass of information which we don’t even know about yet, in the form of documents. Until we get all that material out in the open, I think it’s hopeless to consider adding any further program. I think our immediate objectives should be to try to get those to assist to expedite the translation of what they have, which in turn will also permit us to select more intelligently Germans for further interrogation or for further research, depending on what we found today, and how aptly, how closely we have been able to digest it. Now, what would be the possibilities, or what would be involved in getting Germans over on that kind of a status, merely to assist in translating the information we have accumulated? Would that involve any special program or would that be treated in the same category as any other job which is instigated and done under the supervision of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, which require the assistance of German scientists for effective execution?

P. K. Kuhne. Could that be done, Colonel, on that basis?

P. W. Melton. Yes, if the State Department approves.

P. K. Kuhne. Well, that’s the hitch.

P. W. Melton. If the request comes in for a specific man, a specific job, and he can be located in Germany, I repeat that, if he can be located in Germany when we want him, the State Department may help in securing him.

P. K. Kuhne. Well, I think gentlemen, we are imposing on the Colonel. Does anyone have a direct question that the Colonel can answer, or you think he might be able to help us with? If not, we’d like to thank you, sir, for coming over here and giving us your time, we appreciate it very much.

P. K. Kuhne. Shall we go on with the rest of the program? We still have before us three items: one by Mr. Fraser, "Refineries Near Hamburg;" one by Dr. Peck, "oxidation of Methane;" and one by Mr. Jones, "Acetylene Chemistry (Reppe)." Shall we go on, or shall we defer this until tomorrow?

V. Haensel. I think in view of the interesting topics to be presented that we should defer them until tomorrow, and cut down on the presentation tomorrow. Some of the allotted time (as far as I’m concerned, I don’t need thirty-five minutes) for the presentation could be cut, and I’d much rather hear it in the morning when I think it would be a little clearer.

J.P. Jones. I would suggest that since some of the discussion which has taken our time this afternoon was really contemplated under the general discussion tomorrow afternoon, we could well run our technical presentations into tomorrow afternoon.

P. K. Kuhne. We have the motion by Dr. Haensel, seconded by Dr. Schindler; all those in favor please signify by saying aye, opposed no. The meeting is adjourned.


December 19, 1945

To the New York Herald Tribune:

The first page story about "Fifteen hundred German Scientists" in your issue of December 13th appeared on the very day that American technologists who had investigated the German wartime fuels and lubricants developments were assembling in Washington to summarize and recapitulate their findings.

This group of over twenty scientists and engineers were over seas under Government auspices for periods as long as eight months, in the course of which, and in cooperation with their British opposite numbers, they went over the German plants and research laboratories in the field with a fine toothed comb. As a result of this exhaustive (and strenuous) investigation, it can be categorically stated that the Germans had not, as was reported in you story, developed "faster and cheaper processes for making high octane gasoline" than those known and used in the United States.

It is true that the Germans had developed new technique for making synthetic fuels from brown coal and other indigenous stating materials, but their large scale installations even in this field lagged behind their laboratory work. In any even their techniques could not be economically competitive at this time with the manufactures of similar products from petroleum.

So far as is known to the men on the technical mission and as can be ascertained from the sponsoring agencies, Petroleum Administration for War and the United States Bureau of Mines, no German scientists in these fields have as yet been brought into the United States.

Very truly yours,
Malvin R. Mandelbaum,
Former European Representative,
Liquid Fuels and Lubricants Sub-Committee,
Technical Industrial Intelligence Committee.