P.O. BOX 1398
Preprint-Subject to Correction



Paper for Presentation to Group Session
On Refining, before the Twenty-fifth
Annual Meeting of the American Petroleum
Institute, in the Stevens Hotel, Chicago,
Ill., November 14, 1945


Albert E. Miller *


    Some farsighted individuals in the Petroleum Administration for War gave thought at an early date to the possibility of finding out if there was technical information in conquered enemy countries, particularly Germany, which might be useful to industry in this country in prosecuting the war and to ways and means of obtaining such information. Dr. M.R. Mandelbaum, in the Fall of 1943, discussed this subject with Mr. C.S. Snodgrass, Director of the Foreign Refining Division of the PAW who called it to the attention of the Military in a letter dated November 5, 1943. This letter met with very little response at that time.

    Early in August 1944, Dr. Robert E. Wilson, Chairman of the Technical Committee of the Petroleum Industry War Council, and Mr. Bruce K. Brown, then Assistant Deputy Administrator for the PAW, discussed this matter and, under date of August 3, 1944, Dr. Wilson wrote to Dr. T.G. Delbridge, Chairman of the Technical Advisory Committee of the PIWC, stating that the PAW would like a recommendation from TAC as to what, in its opinion, would be the best procedure for obtaining technical instruction on questions of interest to the petroleum industry in this country from conquered enemy countries.

    This question was submitted to a number of those TAC members who had had considerable contact with European countries, particularly Germany, France and Italy, for their opinions. Of special value was one submitted by Mr. Robert of the Standard Oil Development Co.

These individual recommendations were passed on to Dr. Wilson and were presented for consideration at a special Executive Session of the TAC on August 23, 1944 following the regular meeting of that Committee in New York City. The results of that discussion and of the opinions of individual TAC members formed the basis of a formal report titled, “Report on Oil Procession Information for Enemy Sources”, which was submitted by Dr. Delbridge to Mr. Brown under date of August 25, 1944. This report summarized the views of the TAC as follows:

  1.  We believe that our enemies have information that the oil industry in the United States can utilize for even greater effectiveness in supplying petroleum products for war. Germany and her partners have demonstrated amazing ability to wage modern warfare, a warfare in which petroleum fuels, lubricants and flammables are of maximum importance. In spite of meager supplies of crude oil, the Axis has continued to find quantity and quality of such petroleum products, presumably in large degree through synthetic operations. Recent dire needs have doubtless accelerated scientific progress.
  2. We believe that technical information on oil refineries behind our invading armes will be of substantial value to our military strategists.
  3. We believe that speed in getting the desired information is of paramount importance. If we delay, information will be harder to get: much of it may be past getting.
  4. We believe that the Technical Advisory Committee can materially assist Government. We are prepared to do so.
  5. We suggest immediate formation in this country of a group including perhaps five TAC representatives to:
    1. Formulate the proposed program.
    2. Select personnel for foreign activity.
    3. Select personnel for a group to receive information gathered abroad.
    4. Arrange for analysis of material.
    5. Contact non-petroleum agencies where desirable.
  6. We suggest that several groups of seven to ten men be sent abroad to cover the various geographic districts as they become available. These groups should be so selected that broad familiarity with oil processing is available in each group. Linguistic ability on part of about two members is needed.
  7. We suggest that the Receiving Group in this country be directed to receive, translate where necessary, digest, correlate and evaluate all information as fast as possible.
  8. We believe that among the subjects to be investigated by groups in enemy lands, are the following:

General Refining Technology
General Refining Engineering
Synthetic Processes for Fuels, Lubes and Rubber Components
Catalysts - especially authentic samples for Study in the States
Instruments and Instrumentation
Analytical Methods

    Each group should constantly search for the information most likely to be missed, such as minor but essential process steps or controls.

  1. All personnel should be sworn to utmost personal secrecy. All information released from secrecy restrictions should become available to all units of the oil industry simultaneously.
  2. From tentative offers made at the TAC meeting on August 22, 1944, it seems certain that the oil industry stands ready to furnish the necessary personnel. For the foreign work, a permanent nucleus might be supplemented by rotation of specialists.”

In acknowledging receipt of this report, Mr. Brown wrote as follows:

“Thank you for your letter of August 25, 1944, transmitting the report of the report of the Technical Advisory Committee entitled ‘Report on Oil Processing Information from Enemy Sources’. This report has already proved valuable to the Deputy Administrator and myself and I think it will continue to be of value. In view of the number of agencies involved it may take some time to make real progress but everything that can be done is being done.”

Selection of Personnel

    At a meeting of the Program Panel of TAC in New York September 25, 1944, during a discussion of the proposed Technical Oil Mission, Dr. Mandelbaum, representative of the PAW at the meeting, stated that things were coming to a head on this subject in Washington and that soon the TAC would be requested to suggest candidates to the PAW for the Mission, this in view of the statement, number 10, in the above mentioned TAC report.

    The following wire was sent to all members of the TAC under date of September 27, 1944.

    “Investigation of Hydrocarbon Technology in conquered countries may require personnel immediately Stop TAC requested to list all available candidates Stop Please select up to three competent men from your own company who can be made available Stop Rush reply to A.E. Miller, Secretary TAC Room 2017 - 50 West 50th Street, New York City, stating each candidate’s name, his specialty and engineering, chemical and refining experience and knowledge of languages Stop Candidate should be available for perhaps two to four months Stop Financial arrangements undecided Stop Prompt action is imperative or important information may be lost permanently. Nominees not connected with TAC companies will also be welcome.”

In response to this wire, 26 high class oil technologists were nominated as candidates by TAC member companies or, through them, by companies outside of the TAC membership, as follows:

Company Number of Nominees

Atlantic Refining Company 

California Research Corp. 1
Gulf Oil Corporation  3
Houdry Process Corporaiton (Agency, Sun Oil Co.) 1
Humble Oil & Refining Co. 3
M.W. Kellogg Co. (Agency, Sun Oil Co.) 1
Koppers Co., Inc. (Agency, Gulf Oil Corp.) 1
Phillips Petroleum Company 2
Pure Oil Company 2
Shell Oil Company, Inc.  1
Sinclair Refining Co. 1
Socony-Vacuum Oil Co.  2
Standard Oil Development Co. 3
Standard Oil Co. (Indiana) 1
The Texas Company 1
Universal Oil Products Co. (Agency, Atlantic)  2

    All of the above nominees were offered to the PAW as candidates for the Mission in the period from October 4 to December 11, 1944.

    By this time, a number of Governmental agencies in Washington were interested in organizing Missions, some from a military point of view and others from the technical or industrial angle. There followed a considerable period during which an effort was made to satisfy the desires of all parties interested in setting up such Missions and to organize to obtain all technical information in a manner agreeable to all Government agencies concerned and to avoid too much duplication of effort.

    A great deal of time was lost at this period due to lack of direction and attempts to organize a number of Missions which overlapped considerably in their objectives and apparently covered the same field. Often, during this period, it looked as though it would be impossible to set up a Technical Oil Mission, which would meet with the approval of all concerned. Those interested could neither agree upon the proper size of the Mission nor upon the qualifications necessary for those participating.

    Due principally to the delays in getting the Mission started, a number of the companies, which had offered candidates for the Mission withdrew them. In addition, several candidates offered for the Technical Oil Mission joined other Missions.

    The proposed Technical Oil Mission, under the caption of “study of Hydrocarbon Technology in Foreign Countries” was an important subject for discussion on the agenda of the TAC meeting held in Chicago November 10, 1944. Lt. Col. H.C. Dees stated that the Army Air Forces were pushing very hard to get something going immediately perhaps on a small and separate scale. He requested the TAC to prepare an outline for the use of the Army Air Forces, this outline to list information which the Committee believed might be available in occupied enemy countries and which would be of value if brought back to this country. Messrs. A.B. Culbertson and P.J. Byrne, Jr., both representing PAW at that meeting, spoke on the subject of the proposed Mission, in fact, Mr. Byrne read a letter from Mr. Snodgrass giving the present status of the undertaking.

    Mr. Culbertson asked that the TAC prepare such an outline as requested by Lt. Col. Dees for PAW. The requested outline was turned over to Messrs. Culbertson and Dees on the following day, November 11, 1944, in the form of a memorandum entitled “Information to be Obtained on Hydrocarbon Technology in Conquered Enemy Countries”. In this memorandum reference was made to the eight subjects suggested in the TAC report of August 25, 1944 to Mr. Brown. The memorandum contained an explanation of just what information on each subject whose on the Mission should look for and the reason why TAC thought the Germans might have information of value along such lines. Examples of each kind of information desired were provided.

    After many initial moves, the PAW, through its membership on the Enemy Oil Committee (EOC), developed plans which were superseded by a directive which provided that the Technical Industrial Intelligence Committee (TIIC). This committee had been formed by the joint chief’s of staff so that all Missions from this country to obtain technical information from conquered enemy countries for the benefit of our industries could be given proper government assistance and funnel through one channel. It was composed of government agencies interested in all groups of industry concerned with collecting technical information abroad. The American agency, TIIC, worked through another group known as the Combined Intelligence Objectives Subcommittee (CIOS) which was created by the combined chiefs of staff with headquarters in London.

    Upon the formation of the Fuels & Lubricants Subcommittee of TIIC, Mr. Snodgrass was chosen chairman with Mr. P.J. Byrne, Jr. as the PAW alternate member. In order that all records might be coordinated and consolidated in one place, Mr. Snodgrass set up an Office of the Executive Secretary of his Subcommittee and appointed Major Robert M. Cornforth of PAW as Executive Secretary.

    Since the members of this subcommittee were most helpful in briefing the Technical Oil Mission, a list of its members follows:

Messrs. C.S. Snodgreass, Chairman Petroleum Administration for War

H.C. Dees, Lt. Col. 

Army Air Force

B.F. Hake, Lt. Col. 

Army Service Force

E.S. Pettyjohn, Comdr. 

Navy Dept., Bureau of Ships

A.C. Fielder 

Bureau of Mines

B.H. Grove 

Foreign Economic Administration

W. Levy 

Office of Strategic Services

Robert M. Cornforth, Major 

(Executive Secretary) Petroleum Administration for War

L.D. Stinebower 

Department of State

P.J. Byrne, Jr. 

Petroleum Administration for War

D.R. Munoz, Major 

Political and Economics Branch,Military Service

P.L. Hopper, Lt. Comdr. 

Office of Naval Intelligence

    A meeting was called in Washington November 15, 1944 under the Chairmanship of Mr. Snodgrass. At this meeting those present agreed on seven broad categories for investigation by the proposed Technical Mission, the categories to be expanded as seemed necessary by the Mission to accomplish its objectives as detailed. The seven categories were based on the recommendations contained in the TAC memorandum of November 11, 1944 mentioned above.

    Mr. Snodgrass advised Mr. Delbridge in a letter, dated November 18, 1944, that plans now provided that the Oil Mission would be sent abroad under government auspices as soon as military conditions permitted, and that arrangements for security clearances, inoculations, passports and other formalities would be initiated as soon as he was informed that the men were available. He anticipated that the whole group would be called promptly to Washington for briefing and indoctrination.

    Following the meeting of November 15, there was considerable correspondence and discussion between the TAC and Mr. Snodgrass in regard to the number of men who should take part in the Mission and a better definition of the qualifications of candidates. At about this time, in a letter of December 6, 1944, in line with a recommendation from the Program Panel of the TAC, Mr. Snodgrass was requested to add to the categories for investigation by the Mission an additional one which should include such subjects as the recovery and separation of light ends, extractive distillation, azeotropic distillation, and liquid extraction. This suggestion was accepted.


    Mr. Snodgrass invited Messrs. T.G. Delbridge, P.J. Harrington, H.W. Field, Harry Lovin and Albert E. Miller to attend the first briefing of those selected up to that time to take part in the Mission. This meeting was held December 13th and 14th, 1944 in Washington. Each of the above were given an opportunity to present the view points of the TAC with respect to its activities and relationships with the Oil Mission and its objectives. This meeting was attended by representatives of all Government Agencies and Military Branches interested in the objectives of the Technical Oil Mission. We were informed at this time of the Technical Industrial Intelligence Committee (TIIC) and of the Combined Intelligence Objectives Subcommittee (CICS).

    It was agreed at this meeting that copies of pertinent TAC reports should be sent to those already selected to take part on the Mission. It was also agreed that Chairmen Field, Harrington and Lovin should prepare memoranda reviewing the activities of their TAC subcommittees and point out to those going on the Mission the important subjects of interest to the work of their Groups and call attention in the memorandum to the most important factors and data to be secured in connection therewith.

    In line with these recommendations, the Secretarial Office of the TAC supplied copies of some twenty outstanding TAC process reports to the Mission and twenty-five copies each of the Subcommittee Chairman’s memoranda. Distribution to the members of the Mission was made through Mr. W.C. Schroader who had been appointed Assistant Chairman of the Mission at the meeting of December 13th, with the distribution of such items as one of his particular assignments. Those on the Mission were also supplied with copies of lists of all TAC reports and analytical methods so that they could call upon its Secretarial Office for copies of any of them they thought would be helpful in carrying out the work of the Mission. The TAC file copy of abstracts of TAC reports, prepared by the Gulf Research and Development Co. under the direction of Dr. Eugene Ayres, which were later issued as TAC Report ZGC-1, was loaned to Mr. Snodgrass for the use of the Mission.

    At the invitation of Mr. Snodgrass, Messrs. Dolbridge, Field, Harrington, Lovin, and Miller attended the second two-day briefing session of the Mission in Washington January 9 and 10, 1945. Various groups from those going on the Mission had been set up at the previous session. These groups reported on the subjects assigned to them at this second session, such group reports lending to discussion. The second briefing Mission was well attended. There were present representatives from the Technical Industrial Intelligence Committee, the Army, the Navy, the Enemy Oil Committee (EOC), Bureau of Mines, Technical Advisory Committee, Navy Bureau of Ships, Navy Experimental, Army Air Forces, Crdnance, Petroleum Administration for War, and others.

    By this time, those taking part in the Mission were divided into the following groups for briefing in this country and in England:

  1. Products and Test Methods - seven members - P.K. Kuhne, from the Gulf Oil Corporation, Chairman.
  2. Gasification and Carbonization of Solid Fuels-seven members - A.R. Powll from the Keppers Company, Chairman.
  3. Hydogenation of Coal, Tar and Oil - nine members - L.L. Hirst, from the Bureau of Mines, Chairman.
  4. Hydrogenation Synthesis of Oil from Water Gas (Fischer-Tropsch)-eleven members, I.H. Jones of the Koppers Co, Chairman.
  5. Recovery and Separation Methods for Gases, Liquids, and Solids - eight members - M.M. Weir, Chairman.
  6. Oil Shale Processes - three members - W.W. Odell of the Bureau of Mines, Chairman.
  7. Materials of Construction, Including Metallurgy - five members - E. Voss of the Humble Oil and Refining Co., Chairman.
  8. By-Products from Hydrocarbons Produced in Synthetic Oil Processes - nine members - V. Haensel of Universal Oil Products Co., Chairman.

Each of the Mission group leaders reported on the subject under his charge.

    At this second briefing session, it was suggested that Mr. H. W. Field prepare outlines or brief handbooks, including flow sheets and questionnaires on such subjects as Polymerization, Alkylation, Isomerization. This resulted from a presentation made at this meeting by Mr. Field from an outline, which he had prepared entitled “Processes Applied to the Manufacture of Aviation Gasoline Components.”

 Chairman Snodgrass talked about the size and personnel of the American team and called for the nomination of additional members. He also reviewed the British teams and divisions, as follows:

  1. Fischer-Tropsch group, 10 men.
  2. Lubricating Oil group, 4 men.
  3. Utilization and Performance, 5 men
  4. Carbonication and Gasification, 9 men
  5. Hydrogenation, 11 men.

    Seven additional nominations for the Mission were presented to Mr. Snodgrass by Dr. Delbridge at this second briefing session.

It was reported that the British team at present was briefing its men and it was suggested that representatives from the American team go over to London and attend their briefing. This was done. Messrs. B.H. Grove and W. Levy of the Enemy Oil Committee were particularly helpful in briefing this Mission. In fact, if it had not been for the support given the Mission by the EOC, it is questionable whether this Mission would ever have been approved and carried out.

In line with the requests outlined above, copies of the following memoranda were prepared and sent from the TAC Secretarial Office for distribution to those going on the Mission:

  1. Copies of the following Operating Guides prepared by the Aviation Gasoline Advisory Committee Codimer Subcommittee - supplied to the TAC Secretarial Office by Mr. H.W. Field, Chairman of the Synthesis Subcommittee of the TAC:
    1. - “Polyco Codimer Plant Operation” 10/19/44
    2. - “U.O.P. Codimer Plant Operation” 10/19/44
    3. - “Acid Polymerization of Hydrocarbons” 12/12/44
  2. Copies of TAC report AMC-15 entitled “AN OUTLINE OF THE SULFURIC AND HYDROFLURIC ACID ALKYATION PROCESSES.” This was prepared by Mr. Field especially for distribution to the Foreign Technical Mission.
  3. Copies of a memorandum prepared by Mr. Field, entitled “GUIDE TO INFORMATION REQUIRED ON THE ACID POLYMERIZATION OF OLLFINS”. For purposes of identification, this Guide was assigned TAC Report Symbol PMC-5.
  4. Copies of a memorandum prepared by Mr. F.W. Schumacher, entitled “ISOMERIZATION OF LIGHT PARAFFIN HYDROCARBONS”. For purposes of identification, this Guide was assigned TAC Symbol IMC-2 as it was supplied to the TAC Secretarial Office for distribution to the members of the Technical Mission.

    Toward the end of February 1945, I was informed that approximately eight individuals, representing the Technical Oil Mission, had departed and that the remainder would leave over the next few weeks. Futhermore, that all future matters pertaining to the Technical Oil Mission should be handled through the Office of the Executive Secretary, Liquid Fuels and Lubricants Subcommittees of the Technical Industrial Intelligence Committee, and that Major Robert M. Cornforth had been appointed Executive Secretary of this Subcommittee.

    It became apparent that further assistance was needed in London to head up the Mission and coordinate its work. Mr. Donald S. Fraser was given this assignment.

    Toward the end of March, I was informed that all of the industry candidates for membership on the Mission, nominated through the agency of the TAC, had now been exhausted, that is, all persons who had been so nominated had either gone abroad or their companies had notified Mr. Snodgrass that they would not be available at the present time due to physical or other reasons. The TAC was called upon for eight additional nominees. In view of this situation, the following wire was sent out under date of April 2, 1945 to all members of TAC:

    “Entire list TAC industry nominations foreign mission offered answering Delbridge wire September twentyseventh exhausted. TAC now requested for eight additional personnel anticipating possible future requests from abroad re mission. Nominees should be men of broad experience particularly in hydrocarbons and Fischer-Tropsch Process. Notify this office re nominees giving some information as requested in earlier wire.”

    In response to the above wire, the following nominees were offered as candidates for the Technical Oil Mission:


Number of Nominees

California Research Corp. 


Kenyon & Kenyon (Agency, TAC Panel) 


Shell Oil Co., Inc. 


Sinclair Refining Co. 


Standard Oil Co. (Indiana) 


Standard Oil Co. (Ohio) 


Union Oil Co. 


Universal Oil Products Co. 


Worthington Pump Co. (Agency, Atlantic) 


Special Advisory Committee to PAW

    At Washington, on March 9, 1945, Mr. Snodgrass stated that it was not time to give consideration to setting up a group in this country to function as advisors or assistants to those who had gone abroad with the Mission. What was needed at once, or, at least soon, was a group which would be available to Messrs. Snodgrass, Cornforth and Byrne, the PAW members on the Fuels and Lubricants Subcommittee of the TIIC in evaluating information sent over by those on the Mission and to decide if such information should be distributed to the petroleum industry through the TAC and what, if any correlation or other work would be needed to put the information in form for distribution under instructions from PAW.

    In line with the above suggestion, Mr. Ralph K. Davies appointed a Special Advisory Group to assist PAW on technical problems arising out of the activities of the Technical Oil Mission in Europe. The duties of this Special Advisory Group were to assist PAW’s Domestic Refining and Foreign Refining Divisions, as requested, along the following lines:

  1. To review reports received from the Technical Oil Mission and to recommend which reports, in whole or in part, should be released by PAW to units of the oil industry in furtherance of the war and the maintenance of national security.
  2. To advise as to the proper handling of samples of materials sent back from the Technical Oil Mission with particular reference to adequate analysis and evaluations.

The group appointed consisted of the following individuals:


 G.C. Cunningham

T.C. Delbridge

H.W. Field

P.J. Harrington

Harry Levin

Albert E. Miller

H.H. Storch

    Since the reports and other information at the time were under CONFIDENTIAL and SECRET classifications, the members served on this group in the capacity of individual advisers to PAW and not as representatives of their companies and without any connection with or reference to the Technical Advisory Committee. This group required the same clearances from the Military intelligence as the members of the Technical Oil Mission. This Special Advisory Group was dissolved by Mr. Davies’ letter of September 7, 1945.

    This group met several times in Washington subject to call by Mr. Snodgrass. At these meetings, Major R.M. Cornforth acted as Chairman and there were usually present members of the TIIC Subcommittee representing various Government groups or the Military. One of the first duties was outlining a program for handling the analysis and evaluation of samples of catalysts, petroleum products, pure hydrocarbons, and so forth, which we were advised would be received by PAW from the Mission. Such a program was prepared and arrangements set up between PAW and various laboratories for such analysis and evaluations of materials.

    At the first meeting of this group in Washington May 9, 1945, we were informed that data and reports obtained by the members of the Mission were being microfilmed in London and ways and means were discussed for obtaining copies for reports for study by the group.

    At the next meeting, May 24, 1945, the Group reviewed a few reports, which had been sent over from London. It must be explained that when a visit was paid to any key plant or refinery, which, in the Mission terminology was always referred to as a “target”, both the British and American team members took part. All information found was sent to London where it was collected. In some cases, it was photostated but, in most cases, all reports in the original German were microfilmed. Some reports written by the teams covering the targets they visited were written up and photostatic copies of these in English were received by PAW. At first, while the war was still on, all of this information was market CONFIDENTIAL. Some of it, after V-J Day, was classified as RESTRICTED and now most of it has been completely declassified. It was so difficult for the Special Advisory Group to get access to the information from the Mission that some of us early in May requested that microfilms of the reports in German be sent from London to PAW so that they might be studied by means of “viewers” or projectors and the information of value be distributed to industry.

    V-E Day, May 8, 1945, had very little effect upon our efforts to obtain information for industry from the Technical Oil Mission but, when V-J Day came suddenly, as it did, the entire picture changed. Every attempt was then made to fine a means of getting the information from the Technical Oil Mission to industry as quickly as possible. Several things interfered, one being the fact that the information was still under Military control and classified as CONFIDENTIAL. Furthermore, most of it was in the German language and on microfilms.

    The last meeting of the Special Advisory Group was held in Washington June 19 and 20, 1945. The main purpose of this meeting was the study of four microfilm reels in German, the first to be received by PAW* from Mr. Z.C. Buck, supplied by the Sinclair Refining Co. as translator for this purpose, and making use of one of the new Lear Wire Recorders supplied by Dr. Dolbridge. Each reel consisted of approximately 1000 standard 35 mm frames, each being a microphotograph of a page of a report, a flow diagram, or other information in the German language and all marked either CONFIDENTIAL or SECRET.

    It took us about a day and a half to screen the first reel and decide on those portions considered of sufficient importance to warrant translation. The group was told that there would probably be over 120 such microfilm reels received from the Mission for study. Some of us suggested the possibility of having reels sent to the various individuals of the Advisory Group so that they might be studied elsewhere than in Washington under more favorable conditions. This plan could not be followed at that time because of the CONFIDENTIAL and SECRET classification of the information on the reels. This was difficult to understand in view of the PAW Press Release 720 of June 16, 1945 which publicized the Mission, its objectives, its personnel and, in general terms, what it was accomplishing.

Restricted Information Obtained Made Available

Through the Technical Advisory Committee

Following the TAC Panel Meeting in New York July 23, 1945, and which was attended by Mr. P.J. Byrne, Jr., representing PAW, there was a meeting of the Special Advisory Group to PAW on matters pertaining to the Technical Oil Mission. Mr. Byrne stated that PAW was most anxious to find a means whereby the information obtained by the Technical Oil Mission abroad could be placed in the hands of the petroleum industry with the least amount of delay. He further stated that arrangements could now be made with TIIC Committee so that the microfilm reels received from the Mission could be sent to responsible individuals and studied in their own offices or libraries, thereby eliminating the necessity for having all this work done in Washington. Furthermore, that many of the reports and much of the information, including the microfilm reels received from abroad had been declassified to RESTRICTED. This was the news for which we had been waiting.

    This suggested a plan which was discussed with several TAC members, including Messrs., E.W. Isom, K.G.Mackenzie and E.V. Murphree, whereby the RESTRICTED information from the Mission could be made available broadly to industry. Arrangements were made for a meeting in Washington July 25, 1945 to discuss this proposed plan. Those present were the following:


George Armisteed, Jr. 

Representing PAW

P.J. Byrne, Jr. 

Representing PAW

Line left out as follows the Mission. This study was carried out in Major Conforth’s office, using


 R.W. Pachaly, Major

 Representing PAW

Francis J. Connor

 Representing PIWC

Allan H. Hand

 Representing PIWC

Robert M. Cornforth, Major

 Representing TIIC

K.G. Machenzie

 Representing TAC

Albert E. Miller

 Representing TAC

    The Plan agreed upon at that meeting formed the basis of the letter sent out from the Technical Advisory Committee under date of August 9. 1945. The plan was formally approved by the four groups represented at the meeting.

    The PAW Press Release 762, dated August 7 1945, calling attention to the Plan, appeared in the morning papers and a companion Press Release of PIWC appeared in the afternoon papers on the same date.

This PAW-PIWC Plan provided two things of great, importance:

  1. means whereby those interested could immediately purchase positive prints of the microfilm reels in German through the TAC Secretarial Office at a nominal price.
  2. The setting up of TAC Film Study Groups which would study the individual reels, screen out unimportant portions, and abstract or translate the more important portions, with the further provision that composite reports by subjects based on the study of the individual reels and other information from the Mission be prepared and distributed to a list as designated by PAW.

    In order that all those in industry might have the opportunity to obtain the information from the Mission at the same time, no offers to purchase copies of the microfilm reels were accepted until indexes in English supplied by PAW were sent out to all those on the mailing list.

    In line with the above Plan, indexes to 119 microfilm reels from the Mission have been distributed to a mailing of approximately 250 individuals and companies representing that portion of the petroleum or closely affiliated industries thought by PAW to be most interested in the subject matter.

    As to the second part of this Plan, sixteen TAC Film Study Groups are buys studying and reviewing Mission reels. Incidentally, all expenses connected with the carrying out of this Plan are borne either by the Petroleum Industry War Council or by the individual companies that have set up Film Study Groups. Following is a list of companies which have set up TAC Film Study Groups:

Atlantic Refining Company
Bureau of Mines
California Research Corporation
Gulf Research & Development Company
Humble Oil & Refining Company
M.W. Kellogg Company
Koppers Company, Inc.
Phillips Petroleum Company
Shell Development Company
Pure Oil Company
Sinclair Refining Company
Socony-Vacuum Oil Co., Inc.
Standard Oil Development Co.
Standard Oil Co. (Ohio)
The Texas Company
Universal Oil Products Co.

    Under date of October 15, 1945, the microfilms themselves and the indexes thereto were declassified, that is, they were taken out of the RESTRICED classification.

    Let us now go back a little bit and consider another aspect of the information obtained by the Mission in Europe. In many cases when teams returned from interviews with prominent German scientists or from visits to “targets”, one of their number would write a report which was filed with the CICS in London. Beginning with the meeting of the Special Advisory Group in Washington on May 24, 1945, previously referred to, photostatic copies of some of these reports were received by PAW in this country. They were all marked CONFIDENTIAL. Many of them, in the opinion of the Special Advisory Group, contained information which should be distributed to the petroleum industry. After considerable effort, a number of these were declassified to RESTRICTED.

    On June 23, 1945, following the PAW Press Release of June 16, 1945, Mr. Ralph K. Davies wrote to Dr. T.C. Delbridge requesting that TAC use its facilities to reproduce, distribute and handle certain reports from the Mission for PAW, these to be handled just like any other TAC reports on the same subjects, and copies to be sent to those designated by PAW to receive such reports. The PIWC approved this arrangement and the expenditure of $2500.00 of its funds for this purpose. Under this Plan, about 80 reports, thought to be of most value to the petroleum industry, have bee sent by Major R.W. Pachaly of PAW to the TAC Secretarial Office fore reproduction and distribution. Approximately one-half of these reports have been distributed or are in the process of being reproduced and distributed.

    All of the reports, as received, bore the RESTRICTED classification. The reports originating in the Technical Oil Mission are being declassified as rapidly as possible and a plan has been worked out between PAW and the Office of the Publication Board of the Department o Commerce in Washington whereby it is believed that all of the reports originating not only in the Technical Oil Mission, but, also, in the other Missions which went abroad, will be made available to anybody interested in them through that office at a nominal price. As soon as this plan is assured, it should be unnecessary for the TAC to continue its work along this line. This has been a considerable undertaking since the TAC mailing list for Mission reports amounts to 450 copies.

    The primary concern of both the PAW and the TAC has been to see that new information of value obtained by the Technical Oil Mission gets to those in the petroleum industry who can use it to best advantage for the general benefit of our industry.

    The Fuels and Lubricants Subcommittee of the TIIC was dissolved September 30, 1945. The functions of the TIIC itself were transferred to the Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency on October 1, 1945.

Information Declassification and Made Public

    As long as reports and microfilm reels from the Mission were classified as RESTRICTED, dissemination thereof could apparently only be successfully carried out through the agency of the TAC of the PIWC. Now that the microfilm reels and many of the reports have been declassified and the rest of the reports are being declassified as rapidly as possible, the picture has changed completely.

    Some time ago, arrangements were made whereby the Library of Congress would become the repository of the microfilm reels, reports and other information received by PAW from the Technical Oil Mission. In line with request of PAW, letter from Mr. A.P. Frame, October 5, 1945, thirty-five copies of the indexes to microfilm reels and reports from the Technical Oil Mission, reproduced and distributed by TAC, have been sent to Chief, Exchange and Gift Division, Acquisition Department, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., in anticipation that this material would be declassified. As pointed out in PAW Press Release 807 of October 23, 1945, the Library of Congress will supply copies of these reports and microfilm indexes to a selected number of Public Libraries throughout the United States, thereby making this information available to the public through the established facilities of these libraries. Furthermore, this information becomes a part of the archives of the Library of Congress.

    Arrangements have also been made whereby copies of declassified reports from not only the Technical Oil Mission but also the other Missions abroad can be obtained for a nominal sum by writing to Mr. J.C. Green, Executive Secretary of the Office of the Publication Board of the Department of Commerce in Washington, D.C. This office has already published a list of about 360 reports of this type which have been reproduced and will be available for purchase at nominal prices on November 16, 1945. Copies of this list of available reports have been mailed from the Secretarial Office of the T.A.C. to all those on the mailing list to receive Mission reports. By the first January, 1946, according to Mr. Green, his office will be in a position to reproduce and make available a great number of additional reports of this class.

    In spite of the fact that the microfilm reels have now been declassified, and though it is not mentioned in the PAW Press Release referred to above, the TAC or some successor thereto will continue the study of the German microfilm reels and prepare composite reports by subject therefrom and distribute this information to the petroleum industry.

Who Went on the Mission

    So that you might know who actually took part in the Technical Oil Mission, there is submitted herewith a list thereof. This Mission functioned under the general direction of Mr. C.S. Snodgrass, Director of Foreign Refining of the Petroleum Administration for War:

Mssrs. J.G. Allen

Phillips Petroleum Company

H.V. Atwell

The Texas Company

E.L. Baldeschwieler 

Standard Oil Development Co.

G.S. Bays, Jr.

Humble Oil and Refining Co.

Ernest Cotton

Gulf Oil Corporation

L.P. Evans

Socony-Vacuum Oil Company

W.F. Faragher

Houdry Process Company

Donald S. Fraser

Petroleum Administration for War

Vladimir Haensel

Universal Oil Products Co.

L.L. Hirst

Bureau of Mines

W.A. Horne

Gulf Oil Research & Development Co.

I.H. Jones

Koppers Company, Inc.

J.P. Jones

Phillips Petroleum Company

Paul K. Kuhne

Gulf Oil Corporation

M.R. Mandolbaum

Kenyon & Kenyon, Lawyers

L.L. Newman

Bureau of Mines

B.L. Mackusick

Pure Oil Company

Earl J. Opal

Petroleum Administration for War

W.V. Odell

Bureau of Mines

E.B. Peck

Standard Oil Development Co.

A.R. Powell

Koppers Company, Inc.

Edward Rogers

Bureau of Mines

Hans Schindler 

Pure Oil Company

W.C. Schroeder

Bureau of Mines

Guenther von Elbe

Bureau of Mines

H.M. Weir

Consultant, nominated by M.W. Kellogg Co.

    All of the above were released from their obligations and returned to their original connections by the end of October 1945 with the exception of Messrs. J. Opal, Edward Rogers and Guenther von Elbe who are still in Europe.

Information Obtained by the Mission

As to the value of the Mission, this will be disclosed as time goes on and a study of the microfilm reels and reports disclose the information actually obtained. In can be said that from the information so far seen, studied and distributed, much information of interest and some of value was obtained by the Mission on the following subjects:

Acetylene - Excellent information including synthetic method of production.

Alcohols - Production, particularly of the higher alcohols, by synthesis from olefins.

Ammonia - Synthesis of ammonia and of nitrogenous compounds such as nitriles.

Analytical Methods - Many methods of analysis covering all kinds of petroleum  Products and chemicals made therefrom were located by the Mission

Aviation Gasoline - A great deal of information was obtained on this subject  Including synthesis of its components and engine testing.

Butadiene - Very complete information on its manufacture by several processes.

Catalytic Cracking Processes and plants.

Catalysts - Excellent information was obtained on the preparation, testing, life And use of the catalysts employed in synthesizing petroleum Products.

Fatty Acids - Complete information of the synthesis of fatty acids from wax.

Fischer-Tropsch Synthesis - Very complete information was obtained from a Number of commercial plants for synthesizing petroleum products By this process. The products made and described run from the Lightest ends through gasolines, kerosines, diesel oils, lubricating Oils and waxes.

Fractionation - Some good information was obtained on fractionating methods And equipment.

Gasification - Very complete information was secured of the German methods For the gasification of solid carbonaceous materials often in Connection with the operation of Fischer-Tropsch units.

High Pressure Equipment - Information includes materials, type of construction And controls.

High Pressure Hydrogenation Processes.


Organic Chemicals - Their production from petroleum by synthetic or other processes.

Patents - Information was obtained as to the status of patented processes and Compositions of matter in Germany pertinent to the petroleum and allied Arts.

Shale and Brown Coal - Very complete information was secured covering the Design, operation and products from such plants in Belgium, France and Germany.

Synthetic Rubber - A good picture was obtained as to the state of the production Of this material in Germany. Complete technical data were obtained.

Specifications and Methods of Test - These were obtained for practically all Petroleum products used or produced in Germany.


    The Technical Oil Mission was another example of the excellent team work of the petroleum industry and government that has been characteristic of them in wartime. Of the twenty-six men that went to Europe on the Mission to obtain technical information and knowledge of processes in enemy conquered countries thought to be of value to the American petroleum industry, eighteen were nominated by members of the Technical Advisory Committee of the Petroleum Industry War Council or through their agency, six by the U.S. Bureau of Mines and two were from the Petroleum Administration for War.

    The Mission was under the general direction of Mr. C.S. Snodgrass, Director of the Foreign/Division of PAW and Chairman of the Fuels and Lubricants Subcommittee of the Technical Industrial Intelligence Committee.**Donald S. Fraser of PAW acted as the progress coordinator in London and kept the Washington office informed of the progress of the Mission.

    Certain members from the TAC assisted PAW in briefing and organizing the Mission. Considerable assistance along this line was also rendered Mr. Snodgrass by the Members of his TIIC Subcommittee and by the Bureau of Mines.

    PAW appointed a Special Advisory Group of seven petroleum technologists in their individual capacities to assist its representatives on the Fuels and Lubricants Subcommittee of TIIC in evaluating the reports, information and samples of oils and materials which it received from the Mission. This was necessary because of the CONFIDENTIAL and SECRET nature of all Mission matters at that time.

    The sudden ending of the World War led to the declassifying of the Mission information to the status of RESTRICTED. TAC, with the approval of PAW and PIWC, set up a plan whereby the information received by PAW from the Mission was reproduced and distributed to those in industry considered most interested and as requested by PAW. Another plan was set up by TAC whereby the great bulk of the information received by PAW from London in microfilm reels in the German language would be made available to the oil industry in English.

    Recently, every effort is being made to declassify the Restricted Mission reports and the microfilm reels have been declassified. PAW, in line with its efforts to wind up its work, has made arrangements for the reproduction and sale of the reports to the general public through the Office of the Publication Board of the Department of Commerce. Arrangements have also been made for turning over the PAW records from the Mission to the Library of Congress as a part of its permanent archives. These moves should relieve TAC and the petroleum industry from the burden of making the Mission reports available. TAC or some other agency from the petroleum industry will continue making the information in German on the Mission reels available to industry. Prints of reels may be obtained from the Library of Congress.

    A great deal of technical and other information was obtained by the Mission and is or will be available to industry here. Some of it looks new and valuable and much of it is of interest. Time alone will tell just how much the Technical Oil Mission benefited our petroleum industry.

*Sinclair Refining Co., New York, N.Y.; Secretary, Technical Advisory Committee of the Petroleum Industry War Council.

**Sentence omitted is as follows: The American team, using London as headquarters, worked closely with British teams through the combined Intelligence Objectives Subcommittee.