LATIN AMERICA

Mexico

To 1945

Angel, José de Jesús Angel, and Guillermo Morales-Luna. "Cryptographic Methods during the Mexican Revolution." Cryptologia 33, no. 2 (Apr. 2009): 188-196.

The authors survey the cryptographic systems used by Porfirio Díaz, Francisco I. Madero, and Venustiano Carranza.

Dyer, George B., and Charlotte L. Dyer. "Century of Strategic Intelligence Reporting: Mexico, 1822-1919." Geographical Review 44 (Jan. 1954): 49- 69. [Petersen]

Harris, Charles H., III, and Louis R. Sadler. The Archaeologist Was a Spy:  Sylvannus G. Morley and the Office of Naval Intelligence. Albuquerque, NM:  University of New Mexico Press, 2003. 

Peake, Studies 47.3, notes that Morley "was a 33-year-old Harvard-trained archaeologist studying the Mayan civilization in Mexico and Central America" when in 1917 he proposed to ONI that "he and a group of colleagues serve as agents in Central America." They were "to provide data on German, and later Japanese, efforts to establish submarine bases in the region.... The authors deal in some detail with ONI organizational problems, agent communications, relationships with American firms in the area, and the problems of maintaining cover when suspected of being spies." This work "is well documented with copies of Morley reports and primary source citations."

For Brooks, NIPQ 19.3, the authors have clearly documented Morley's work with ONI, providing "almost day-to-day accounts of his exploits." Beyond that, however, they "have made an even greater contribution to the history of ONI by obtaining the declassification of ONI records of the World War I era which document the far-flung nature of ONI agent operations." See also, Jamie Bisher, "Hunt for Superweapons, Circa 1918," The Submarine Review, Jul. 2004.

Harris, Charles H., III, and Louis R. Sadler. The Border and the Revolution: Clandestine Activities of the Mexican Revolution, 1910-1920. Silver City, NM: High-Lonesome Books, 1988. [pb]

Surveillant 1.3 notes that the authors' thesis is "that the modern American intelligence community began during the period of the Mexican Revolution." Archer, I&NS 7.3, comments that the chapters here were first published as separate essays, a fact made clear by the episodic nature of the book. This is not a comprehensive study of clandestine activities along the U.S.-Mexican border in the second decade of the 20th century. There is research here from previously unexplored sources, but the work "does not change major interpretations of the Mexican Revolution."

Harris, Charles H., III, and Louis R. Sadler. The Secret War in El Paso: Mexican Revolutionary Intrigue, 1906-1920. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press, 2009.

For Benbow, Studies 53.4 (Dec. 2009), the authors' "story flows smoothly," and they "write with wit and humor." Although "Harris and Sadler failed to discuss in sufficient detail ... the role of third-party actors,... the book is well-done and should be read by anyone interested in the Mexican Revolution or in American intelligence operations in the years before the development of formal intelligence processes."

Hill, Larry D. Emissaries to a Revolution: Woodrow Wilson's Executive Agents in Mexico. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1973.

See review by Calvert, Journal of Latin American Studies 7.2  (Nov. 1975).

Katz, Friedrich. The Secret War in Mexico: Europe, the United States, and the Mexican Revolution. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981. 1984 [pb]

From publisher: This book "is far more than a diplomatic history of the 1910-1920 era. It is a penetrating analysis of the social basis and leadership of the Mexican Revolution, woven into the story of how Mexican factions used and were used by Europeans and North Americans in the period immediately preceding and during the First World War."

Mahoney, Harry Thayer, and Marjorie Locke. Espionage in Mexico: The 20th Century. Bethesda, MD: Austin & Winfield, 1997.

Miller, IJI&C 10.3, is quite enthusiastic about the Mahoneys' work. He finds that the authors know their subject and know how to tell a story about an interesting subject. American, German, Japanese, and Russian intelligence efforts are all chronicled.

Mahoney, Harry Thayer, and Marjorie Locke Mahoney. Mexico and the Confederacy, 1860-1867. Bethesda, MD: Austin & Winfield, 1998.

Anderson, Intelligencer 9.1, found this "small [219 pages], well organized book ... most interesting." Although it is not focused on intelligence, the book "has a modest number of intelligence references.... Of particular interest,... is a discussion of the active and effective role of Union agents in New Orleans.... The most intriguing intelligence vignette is about ... Loreta Velasquez."

Paz, Maria Emilia. Strategy, Security, and Spies: Mexico and the U.S. as Allies in World War II. University Park, PA: Penn State University Press, 1997.

Kolb, H-PCAACA, H-Net Reviews, Jun. 1998 [http://www.h-net.msu.edu], finds this a "compelling and unique analysis." The book includes chapters on "Axis Intelligence Activities in Mexico" and "U.S. Counterintelligence in Mexico," which represent an "extremely valuable syntheses of German and Japanese intelligence operations and espionage networks. Based on declassified primary documents [in Mexico and the United States], these chapters add immeasurably to earlier treatments." The reviewer notes that it would have been useful to have had similar treatment for the Italian components of the wartime intelligence picture.

For Randell, I&NS 14.3, the author has produced "a well-researched, highly detailed and carefully analyzed account of the strategic aspects of the Mexico-United States bilateral relationship during World War II." Nevertheless, "[t]here is little here on actual intelligence or spy activity." Valero, IJI&C 13.1, calls this "an enlightening and well-crafted account" that fills "several major gaps in the literature on the history of intelligence and U.S.-Mexico relations.... Maria Paz has effectively examined the diplomatic, military, economic, cultural, and intelligence dimensions of the U.S.-Mexico wartime alliance."

This work also gets a highly positive review ("important work," "outstanding research," "important new insights," and "delight to read") from Schuler, Hispanic American Historical Review, Aug. 1999.

Raat, William Dirk.

1 "The Diplomacy of Suppression: Los Revoltosos, Mexico, and the United States, 1906-1911." Hispanic American Historical Review 56, no. 4 (1976): 529-550.

Calder: "Suggests that an espionage system was established by the US and Mexico to counter the activities of Los Revoltosos aimed at overthrowing President Diaz."

2. "U.S. Intelligence Operations and Covert Action in Mexico, 1900-1947." Journal of Contemporary History 22, no. 4 (Oct. 1987): 615-638.

Includes activities by the FBI, OSS, and the State Department.

Smith, Michael M. "The Mexican Secret Service in the United States, 1910-1920." The Americas 59, no. 1 (Jul. 2002): 65-85.

U.S. Congress. Senate. Committee on Foreign Relations. Investigation of Mexican Affairs, Reports and Hearings. 2 vols. 66th Cong., 2nd sess. Sen. Doc. 285. Washington, DC: GPO, 1920. [Petersen]

Von Feilitzsch, Heribert. Hiding in Plain Sight: Felix A. Sommerfeld, Spymaster in Mexico, 1908 to 1914. Amissville, VA: Henselstone Verlag, 2012.

Benbow, Studies in Intelligence 57.3 (Sep 2013), comments that this self-published book "is well researched and well argued." The author's "conclusions are logical, but while they are the most reasonable explanations for Sommerfeld's activities, they are not the only explanations." The book "would have benefitted from the services of a professional editor.... Despite these issues, Feilitzsch has done an exemplary job of tracing the activities of a shadowy character in a chaotic time and place."

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