June 19, 1941

Report Outline
Government Action Against Sagotage and Spies
German Sabotage During the First World War
Legal Weapons Against Sabotage

Government Action Against Sagotage and Spies

At A press conference immediately after delivery to the German Embassy of the United States note of June 16 ordering the closing of German consulates and other German agencies in this country, Under Secretary of State Sumner Welles said that the step had been taken after a long investigation by the Department of Justice of Nazi espionage, sabotage, and propaganda activities. While the dissemination of Nazi propaganda has been the most important charge made against these German agencies in recent months, the United States government is also doubtless mindful of the fact that prior to United States entry into the World War in 1914–18, German diplomatic and consular officials were directly implicated in plots to blow up or burn up American munitions plants which were making war materials for the Allies.

On April 4, the United States demanded immediate recall of the Italian naval attaché in Washington, Admiral Alberto Lais, for “acts in violation of the laws of the United States.” Secretary of State Hull made it clear that Lais was specifically accused of ordering acts of sabotage by the crews of Italian merchant vessels in American ports, just before the seizure of Italian and German ships by the United States government. Captains and crews of Italian ships have already been convicted at Wilson, North Carolina, and San Juan, Puerto Rico, of violating United States sabotage laws, and sentenced to jail terms, and ten other Italian sailors were found guilty by a jury in Newark on June 18.

The German consul at Seattle was directly connected with a Canadian sabotage plot in February, 1940, when A. W. Hauffe, a German agent, was convicted of planning sabotage at the Trail, British Columbia, plant of the Consolidated Smelters Corporation. The most important piece of evidence against Hauffe was a letter in his possession addressed to the Seattle consul in which the sabotage plan was discussed.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
United States During World War II
Mar. 13, 1945  The Nation's Health
Aug. 14, 1943  Quality Labeling
Aug. 06, 1943  Voting in 1944
Jul. 27, 1943  Civilian Production in a War Economy
Mar. 08, 1943  Labor Turnover and Absenteeism
Nov. 06, 1942  War Contracts and Profit Limitation
Oct. 10, 1942  Control of Manpower
Aug. 14, 1942  Soldiers and Politics
Jul. 16, 1942  Reduction of Non-War Government Spending
Jul. 08, 1942  Education for War Needs
Jun. 20, 1942  Roll Calls in 1942 Campaign
Jun. 12, 1942  War Shipping and Shipbuilding
Apr. 30, 1942  Forced Evacuations
Apr. 21, 1942  Politics in Wartime
Apr. 14, 1942  Agricultural Import Shortages
Feb. 10, 1942  Disease in Wartime
Jan. 12, 1942  Wartime Rationing
Jun. 19, 1941  Sabotage
Dec. 13, 1940  Shipping and the War
Oct. 24, 1940  Price Control in Wartime
Jul. 20, 1940  Labor in Wartime
Oct. 05, 1937  Alien Political Agitation in the United States
Military Intelligence
U.S. at War: World War II