By David H. Lippman Sir Alexander Cadogan did not believe it. He had been given a report from Admiral Sir Archibald “Quex” Sinclair, head of MI6, on October 6, 1939, that German generals were reaching out to the British Embassy in The Hague in neutral Holland, to orchestrate a coup against Adolf Hitler that would replace the Nazi regime with a military junta, which would then make peace. During the “Phoney War,” when the only combat action consisted of German U-boats and surface raiders on the high seas and propaganda bombast, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain was eager to keep the new war from becoming worse and repeating the horrors that had taken family members from 1914 to 1918. An internal German coup to remove Hitler from power would do the trick. However, while most of the War Cabinet was impressed by the apparent feeler, First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill was not. Neither was British Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs Alexander Cadogan, who wrote in his diary for the day, “(Menzies) has a report on interview with his German General friends. I think they are Hitler agents.” Despite these objections, London ordered two spies in The Hague, nominally assigned to the Passport Control Section, with the sonorous names of Captain Sigismund Payne-Best and Major Richard Henry-Stevens, to meet with a “Major Schaemmel” of the German Army, who was allegedly a link to disaffected Wehrmacht generals. In actuality, “Schaemmel” was Secret


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