The Second Job

“At 10:15 a.m. on December 14, 1937, Donald Heath entered a wood-paneled corner office at 1500 Pennsylvania Avenue for his first on-the-books meeting with Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau Jr. . . . Morgenthau’s meetings were typically jammed with meetings, but today his desk calendar showed a considerably lighter load. He had a full half-hour for Heath.” (All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days, p. 276)

Morgenthau was sending Donald Heath to Berlin and wanted to discuss Heath’s responsibilities. “The job description was not, in the strictest sense, straightforward. Heath was taking on not just one job, but two.”

The first job would be “first secretary at the American embassy in Berlin . . . Here’s where it got tricky: someone already had the job . . . Heath would need to devote his time to his second job, which was the real, off-the-books reason he was being dispatched to Berlin. The second job . . . didn’t even have a name.”

And Morgenthau was able to get all of that across to Heath in a half hour? Because self highly doubts Heath was prepped before his interview!

Apparently Heath kept his responsibilities so secret that not even US Ambassador Hugh Wilson knew what they were! On June 30, 1938, Wilson sent a carefully worded letter (with bullet points! That’s when you know he’s getting serious!) to the Assistant Secretary of State complaining that no one had told him what kind of “work Heath was to do” and could someone please tell him what Heath was doing in Berlin? LOL LOL LOL

It took six months for Heath to file his first report, but it contained some very important information from the president of the Reichsbank, which was funding Hitler’s military build-up.

Heath’s wife jumps on him the minute Heath gets back from the Embassy, to complain that she thinks she is being followed by the Gestapo (but of course she is!)

Stay tuned.


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