A Foreigner Carrying in the Crook of His Arm a Tiny Book by Edmond Jabès

By Edmond Jabès

Literature/Jewish experiences, tr Rosmarie Waldrop

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S. ‘Josh’ Cooper. 34 The main reason that the Military and Air Sections were restricted from work on Enigma traffic, and instead worked on low-grade material, appears to have been the paranoia surrounding the potential loss of Enigma as a source. By April 1940, with the exception of officers from within GC&CS and SIS, only 30 individuals had been informed regarding the existence of Ultra. 36 Enigma work was conducted within GC&CS, without the knowledge of the Military and Air Sections, by two separate but closely related sections.

Over time, the agency began to deplete this resource, and the net was cast further afield, moreover the nature of the agency had changed. The rise of managerialism necessitated a different type of recruit to take positions of leadership at various levels of the agency. Nevertheless, at its core GC&CS remained wedded to the university common room culture it had inherited from the First World War. The primary difference lay in the type of academic recruited, and there was a clear step away from an emphasis on the arts and classics towards the sciences and mathematics.

Continuing in this fashion, which prioritised results over managerial structures, the hierarchy of these sections became very loose and rank often became largely irrelevant. As Bill Bundy, an American intelligence officer posted to Bletchley Park, recalled, the ‘structure was one where you might readily find a Major working under a Lieutenant or under a civilian, somewhat younger. ’88 This practice was actually supported and championed from the highest levels within GC&CS when it came to sections such as Hut 3.

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