Aline Countess of Romanones Message Board
MarkM posts on 4/26/2011 1:10:50 PM
Robert, I find your comment on Lasalle finding his posting in Spain, as documented in the National Archives, to be most interesting. I think that speaks to what stands out for me in Romanones' memoirs, how the tone and depiction of OSS activities differs from pretty much all the others I have read. Granted, most of the first-hand accounts or information based on first-hand accounts I have researched have been related to OSS activities in Indochina (always been fascinated by the cooperation with Ho Chi Minh), but I still have read quite a few based in the ETO. The work done by SO operatives sounded very exciting and hazardous, but this was all paramilitary activity, while the SI work is routinely depicted as mundane, even when it was done inside enemy territory, and even moreso for duty assignments in neutral countries. Romanones' portrayal of her life has a quality more in line with pre-war spy movies like Hitchcock's The 39 Steps or even Bob Hope's My Favorite Blonde. So, for me, it's a lot of things that make me question the memoirs: the divergence from most depictions of OSS activity, the borrowing of text from other sources, the questions raised in the media, and by CIA operatives who worked on cases she claimed to have worked on. If it were only a matter of the OSS files in the National Archives not corroborating her stories, I would believe as Angela does, that it is simply a matter of the records not being able to document everything. However, when evidence starts coming in from different directions as it is, I can't help but doubt.
Anita posts on 4/26/2011 12:14:54 PM
From all I have read over the years, Mrs. Simpson was allegedly a Nazi Sympathizer. She also dated Ribbentrop(Nazi). After marrying the Duke of Windsor following his abdication, she and the Duke were both sympathizers as Hitler let it be known that when German won the war, they would re-instate the Duke as King once again in England.
I have also not only read, and seen the newsreels from that era, I saw the Documntary that Prince Edward, Queen Elizabeth II's son made about his Uncle and Mrs. Simpson a few years ago. His claim is that they were not sympathizers with the Nazi's. I think the bad PR caused Buckingham Palace to get the Documentary made. The Windsor's are Germans, and the name Windsor was another PR job since England was at War with Germany(WW I & WW II).
It is all very interesting and keeps us trying to figure it all out. It has kept me busy!
MarkM posts on 4/26/2011 10:46:51 AM
One thing that has always struck me as hard to believe is Romanones' story about her and the Duchess of Windsor working together to uncover a CIA mole. Simpson was a well-known Nazi sympathizer before and even during the war, and acoording to 1st Baron Ironside, had even leaked information on French and Belgian defenses to nazis. This person sounds like a major security risk, and from what I have read of CIA procedure, I would think the CIA would have a dim view of Romanones, if she were a CIA agent, bringing Simpson into an operation.
Angela posts on 4/25/2011 10:02:23 PM
Robert, to start with, I respect you and your opinions very much. I know from past posts that you also served our country, and I find it very touching that you labored to provide Edmundo's family with the most factual account of his life that you had access to. But herein lies my point; All things in life do not come neatly bundled in a folder filled with bits and pieces of info. considered factual. Remember the parable of the elephant and the two blind men? Depending on which part of the elephant they were touching, each had his own way of describing the same elephant? Well, Aline's description of Tophat came from her personal experiences with him. As for him not being an assassin, how could you possibly know that for 100 percent sure? In addition, what is the stigma with him if he was an assassin? It would have been for a good cause, right? The KGB part I could understand not being true, because at the time the books were printed, wasn't Edmundo's official cause of death still undetermined? Anyway, you call her books fiction based on some fact, but the way I see it, the books are as factual as the Countess could allow them to be to avoid exposing people to needless danger and scrutiny. Send my best wishes to your wife. Her father was an awesome man. Too bad you couldn't have met him.
Robert Huddleston posts on 4/25/2011 12:25:15 PM
THE SPY WORE RED and THE SPY WENT DANCING, the two books featuring Edmundo Lassalle, were fiction based on the fact that both Edmundo and Aline were OSS employees in Spain during WW II and CIA agents in 1966 though any CIA connection I have been unable to confirm. Yes, Edmundo is my wife's father though he died before we were married. I published EDMUNDO: FROM CHIAPAS, MEXICO TO PARK AVENUE for his seven children to know that he had been depicted in Aline's books as a man and spy he never was. He had many flaws but was never an assassin nor was he killed by the KGB. Yes, many memoirs are quote enhanced unquote but key events MUST BE FACTUAL. Had Edmundo not died in 1974 he most certainly had grounds to sue for slander but we were advised that a deceased person cannot be slandered.
Edmundo Lassalle became an employee of the OSS on January 17, 1944 with his cover as the European Representative of the Walt Disney Company. He was posted to Spain with a Mexican passport in May 1944. As Disney's representative he moved in the high circles of Spain's business, political and social circles. Aline accompanied him socially and in 1945 learned that he was also an OSS agent and he submitted his reports to the OSS station Chief through her. He found the duty so dull he requested to be posted from Secret Intelligence to Counterintelligence elsewhere, verified by documents in the National Archives.
A writer in Madrid is working on a book about the relationship between Edmundo and Walt Disney which should prove interesting.
MarkM posts on 4/25/2011 10:01:12 AM
Sorry, I put your post in mine so I could reply to it, including spelling Lasalle's name correctly. Then I forgot to delete it before pressing Post, and as you know, we can't edit our posts here. You are right in your interpretation - I remembered the character of Tophat, just not his real name. It's been a while since I read Spy Wore Red. Recently, when I was reviewing chapters from a couple of books on OSS training, and certain passages rang a bell, I pulled my old copy of Spy Wore Red off the shelf, thumbed through it to the chapters on her training at the Farm and reread those, but didn't reread the entire book.
Angela posts on 4/24/2011 10:24:43 PM
Roseanne, I posted the original comment beginning with Okay! I guess MarkM rewrote my entry a second time so we wouldn't question what he was responding to. Mark knew who Tophat was, just not that his real name was Edmundo Lasalle. I'm not pointing any fingers in my referral to mudflinging, I'm just hoping we can all discuss these books with respect towards eachother. I mean, we're all obviously fascinated with the Countess, otherwise we wouldn't be here. That includes the people who question her work! It's the questions that keep these discussions going, otherwise we're just a bunch of adoring fans repeating ourselves.
Roseanne H posts on 4/24/2011 8:04:23 PM
Angela, did you accidently put the name of MarkM as the author of YOUR post? I ask that, because of the wording, and also because your name appears on an identical post as the author. It is also curious that MarkM, in a recent post, states that Huddleston seems QUOTE to have a particular interest in the Romanones portrayal of Edmundo Lasalle, though I cannot say that I remember this person or what she wrote about him END QUOTE. Huh? MarkM is so relentless in his criticism of the Countess, yet he cannot remember the character Top Hat, which predominantly figures in her first three books? That only solidifies his hypocrisy and meaningless comments.
Anita posts on 4/23/2011 9:36:17 PM
If you have not read "Edmundo" then I suggest it to you all. It is well written, by Mr. Huddleston. I also think The Countess, embelishments or not,when she included Edmundo in her book, had him come to life . Frankly, I would have enjoyed knowing him, and he was quite a character. For me he "jumped right out of the pages"!I did promise Mr. Huddleston that when and if I get to the National Archives I would get research for him, and I meant it! Happy Holiday to you all.
Angela posts on 4/23/2011 4:49:36 PM
Hi Mark. Yes, I do believe that the Countess acknowledged that she embellished certain events for added drama, but the fact that she is up front about this only adds to her credibility to me. Never having been a professional spy, I can only imagine that as a spy, and one wqrking for the government at that, one is held to a certain code of secrecy and discretion, even long after the events took place. Therefore, I can only go by what I know and feel in my gut, and my gut tells me that Aline is the real thing, embellishments and all! I trust her to tell me a story that gives me an authentic taste of the dish without giving away the secret recipe.
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