Near East Operations – #10 – Agent for Palestine and Transjordan – Nelson Glueck


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This CIA declassified document was recovered from the internet archive. It was declassified in 2004.

This document is titled Near East #10. It is from:


Chief of Geographic Section – Gordon Loud

Project Officer – Wilson Thomas Moore Beale

Director David K.E. Bruce


From the document – the main ideas:


A word on the SA/B acronym.


When Donovan first set up undercover operations, he made a Special Activities branch of two divisions: A Special Intelligence Service – SI –  (which conducted “straight” espionage) and Special Operations – SO – which conducted sabotage, guerrilla warfare and subversion. Special Operations was roughly the same as the British SOE, Special Operations Executive.

  • Term “Special” meant “Secret”.

Abbreviations-wise SI was referred to as SA/B and SO was called SA/G, which the second letter after the slash in each term was chosen by using the last initial of the division chief at the time.

SA/B – where the B stood for David Kirk Estes Bruce, head of SI, and
SA/G – where the G stood for M. Preston Goodfellow, head of SO.

The first director of SI was Wallace P. Phillips, who was a “civilian assistant” to the Head of ONI  PULL ASTOR.

He was only there for six weeks, hence there never was a SA/P.



This document is mainly concerned with establishing covert propaganda and psychological warfare networks and agent to try and influence that Arabs to be against “the enemy” and in favor of Allied Goals.

“To investigate the attitudes of Arab tribes toward the allied nations and determine the most effective means of securing their cooperation.”


The agent, -whose code name is William Hicks, is already on the field, having completed the course in the SA/B Training School before his departure. He arrived in Jerusalem on April 29. He is an archaeologist with extensive experience in Palestine and Transjordan and he is operating as the representative of an archaeological group which maintains a school in Jerusalem of which the agent is director . He has done a vast amount of work, especially in Transjordan , and will have full opportunity to continue his surveys and explorations in the entire area north of the Gulf of Aqabah . He will have occasion to inspect the sites of his previous digs at Aqabah and elsewhere.

The agent has highly advantageous connections with British officials in Palestine and Transjordan, as well as with Arabs of wide variety of importance . He has employed Arabs with great success on his previous expeditions, and his knowledge of Arabic, together with his established friendly relations with them, makes him an ideal man for securing their future cooperation.


He has “highly advantageous” connections with British officials?


not a good sign


The agent being trained, is an archaeologist code-named William Hicks.


This is Professor Nelson Glueck.


Head of the Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati and one of the leaders of the American Jewish Reform movement.




1936 – sign on auto says “American School Oriental Research”.GlueckAuto1936B.

Time magazine, December 13, 1963


By the way, the Middle East (Near East) desk chief at Research and Analysis (R&A) was Professor Efraim Avigdor Speiser.



Another OSS man associated with this area was Harold W. Glidden (code name Robert Laing) field representative in Palestine.


Document details

DATE: signed circa 1941 possibly

  • a National Archives listing of declassified CIA documents mentions the following: Information on the political situation in Palestine and Transjordan written by and records relating to, Nelson Glueck and William Hicks, ca. August 1941–September 1945, ca. 300 pp. [WN#14334–WN#14335.


NAMES mentioned:


Other Images and People




Images and PDF files


For those who don’t know – OCR stands for Optical Character Recognition and when that is done on images, it makes it so you can search the images for certain words or phrases that you are looking for.

Here is an OCR’d PDF file of all the pages of this document.

  • No PDF – it is only a one page document.


Following are the individual images of the document, for those who prefer to look at them that way.

(click to enlarge)



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