Files released today at The National Archives reveal the inside story of Juan Pujol Garcia, codenamed Garbo, the most remarkable of Britainâs Second World War Double Cross agents. The files show how he fed misinformation to the Germans in order to deceive them about Allied intentions on a number of topics, most notably the timing and location of the D-Day landings.
They also reveal the price of this success, particularly on Garboâs young wife, who had been an integral part of setting up the espionage network and yet soon came to be seen as the biggest threat to its success.
Garbo, unlike virtually all other Double Cross agents, was not originally a German spy. Instead he started out on his own, working in Lisbon, feeding the Germans information he made up fromÂ the few maps and guide books he had available.Â Garboâs wife, Araceli, played a vital role in the setting up of this deception. She personally delivered some of Garboâs earliest messages and through some excellent acting helped convince Garboâs German handlers that he was spying in England, when in fact he was living quietly in Portugal.
From the outset it was clear that Garbo could not run a deception network on his own and he was keen to establish links with the British intelligence services. Unfortunately, although perhaps unsurprisingly, the British embassy officials in Lisbon and Madrid were less than impressed when he approached them unheralded and offered his services as a spy.
It fell to Aracelli to establish the connections which would turn Garbo from being one manâs dream into one of the most successful spies of the war. Unknown to her husband she made contact with Edward Rousseau, the American Assistant Naval AttachĂ© in Lisbon. Rousseau, unlike his British counterparts, believed Mrs Garboâs story and despite further setbacks, Garbo eventually came to the notice of the British intelligence services (KV 2/4190). Continue reading »