tv Codename Cynthia CSPAN April 11, 2015 10:00am-11:11am EDT
. >> you are watching american history tv. follow up on twitter at cspanhistory to keep up with the latest history news. >> up next on american history tv natalie zanin tells the history of an american born diplomat who became a spy. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]
the post, the times. she's been on spanish television american television, and a number of others. she has been in the silver spring inclusive theater. she spent a lot of time on this particular case. i must say, i'm fascinated, i was discussing it with her this morning. natalie, we are glad to have you here. pleas help me welcome natalie zanin. >> good morning. thank you. that was a wonderful introduction. this morning i'm going to be talking to you about cynthia or "codename cynthia." this is a very unusual woman.
she lived a very exciting life. if you were going to concoct a spy, from a machine, you couldn't come up with one better than cynthia. she was born naomi elizabeth thorpe. she said she was of irish-scandinavian heritage on her father's side and scandinavian-bavarian on her mother's side. amy had an aunt named "amy" and
so for convenience of the family they began calling her betty, and that stuck. first they called her elizabeth, but then betty stuck. she was an educated woman. she didn't mix well with minneapolis society. i think she at sometimes may have felt she was apuff them. she studied at clom bank and sorvougnt and university. it was difficult for her to display affection to her family. when i picture her now, i picture a cross between marches
dumond and a character from douwnton abbey. well, the family lives here until 1914. betty has a sister born in 1912 and a brother george born in 19 15 and they are both born in maine. betty's childhood is interesting. she liked being outside. she liked to run through the maine woods. she often said she felt she were built around aloneness, but that was most comfortable for her. from the age of 4, she woo hide among the large pine trees in the maine woods. she would look up at the sky filtered thrull the pine trees. she would hear the water nearby, and she would stay there for hours and hours. sometimes all day into the evening.
she would wait for 6 hib abare -- they would let her go out in the woods all day and if she didn't return, they would send the police out to find her. her father was often away, and there she was with cora and her siblings. her mother, again, unable to hug the children or tell them that she loved them. didn't seem comfortable with the children. in 1914, betty and her family moved to washington, d.c.
washington, d.c. was a social whirl for the thorpes. the children, i think liked it a lot. betty looked back thon time with -- betty looked back on this time with fondness. george needs to go to cuba. cora decides to follow him. when sthe arrives there she finds he was in south america. she decides to stay in cuba. eventually she takes the children to florida to wait for george. they return to washington, d.c.
betty begins keeping a diary. "it is all marble and painting." she notices matters can be useful. she observes that good manners are actually rather useful to hide hinet. this is a skill that will serve her later in life. betty now seeks excitement. she's bored. any kind of excitement, even fear. she wrote "i remember when we were very young and running races. i always ran past the finish line and ran and ran and ran until i dropped. " my brother george used to go
mad. "you're crazy! he'd shout as i raced by. why don't you stop? but betty couldn't stop." the -- now george is the head of the -- cora writes a book of stories about the pacific island folktales that's well received. betty watches them and she decides to start writing herself. she pens an article about her family. she calls it many "days bygone." it is not really about her family though. it is a description of a ball rather than being a true family history.
but she is only about 9 or 10 at this point. then she decides to write more detailed stories about a character named theoretta. then she decides to write a more detailed story. the story is quite good. george hires an illustrator and he has it printed. it is a beautiful tale of a girl living on the streets of naples with her blind father. poor theoretta. when her father becomes ill, she sings in the streets to earn bread. her lovely voice is overheard and she is made a famous soprano. it is a great little story. especially for an 11-year-old. this slide you see is a photo of betty taken to illustrate theoretta. "the sun had not yet cast its
sunset robe over naples but it was sinking fast behind that ancient piece of beauty which nature had so thoughtfully bestowed upon the earth." it is great stuff for an 11-year-old. it is good. betty is already becoming a beautiful girl. the book, which is printed only for family and friends, finds its way to washington. in 1923, betty's family comes to washington. george is retired.
they are making a grand tour of europe and when they tour, betty studies french at the institution above lake geneva. betty is bored at school. she chafes at the routine. she gets into several dustups with the principles over her rebelliousness. she is said to be a bad influence on the other students. her french was flawless. points to her for that. she spent the next few years at private schools. she preferred solitude. she had a careless disregard for conventions and rules and is asked to leave one of the schools. she is a blonde and beautiful girl. she is coming into her looks now. she writes in her diary "my looks are better than i had hoped. god was kind and that, at least." i have to agree.
i think she is stunning. the thorpes are summering in rhode island. they attend parties and a host parties at their summer home. it is at one of these google gatherings that betty meets a handsome young man of 21. his family is out of the social register. she will never name and in her diaries. i cannot give you his name for i do not know it and i have looked. she is smitten by this young man. she wrote, "i imagine myself in love with him. we were both lonely and met only twice before the love affair was over." she was only 14. she claimed she was a seduced but she also wrote, "life is but a stage upon which to play. one's role is to pretend and always hide one's true feelings." now she has a secret she cannot even share with her diary. thus the spy is being created. what does a spy do? hold secrets, pass them on to their handlers. keep up a false front, never reveal your true feelings. mission comes above yourself. this is a good training ground for her. the family returns to washington
from the summer home. george establishes a firm specializing in maritime cases. betty becomes well-known. not only is she stunning but she is a charming girl. she has learned how to flirt. girl from naples has been read by diplomats and the italian embassy. they adore her. they make a fuss over her. an italian man is especially intrigued and calls her his golden girl. they may have been only friends. i cannot find if they were lovers. but, she revels in the attention from this charming italian. one day, she is sunning beside a pool in washington, d.c.
she catches the eye of arthur pack. he apparently never got over that first glance. he was a commercial secretary at the british embassy. she also flirts with a handsome just a moment as they gaze at each other while watching a tennis match. it sparks something in betty. as he left the club, the spaniard bowed dramatically. gentlemen, take note. she begins to write in her diary that this young man, this mysterious spaniard, is her true love. all of the restlessness she felt before she pours into feelings for this man she has really only spoken with once. and barely spoken with at that. it is interesting. she is going to be presented to society.
she estimates a good presentation. the year is 1929. she will be primed. by thorpe standards, this meant the right kind of husband. betty has an affair with a man she does not name in her diary over the christmas holiday in 1929. then, she goes to tea at her spaniard at a country club here. betty was entranced. we ladies know, sometimes that is all it dakes, a bow. this is very important to cora. parents' home. she lived at 328 1-woodly road here in the city. she meets arthur pack again. he remembers that first glance he had ever at the swimming pool.
she writes in her diary -- and i wonder if this was written to arthur or the affair she had with the unnamed man. she writes, "i think i cannot understand the depth of wanting unfulfilled desire and hating you to touch my hand when embers die where once there was a fire." now there is a party where arthur and betty are houseguests in 1929. he walks into his room late at night, tired, just wants to sleep. he turns on the light and finds betty in his bed, naked. he told his friend he was surprised to find her there. [laughter] i'll bet he was. they were married april 29 1930. this was a good marriage by cora's standards. he is from the british embassy he is a solid respectable person, a man of standing. by at the wedding, here at the piff any -- epiphany church,
at the wedding, betty was four months pregnant. was this arthur's child or of the unnamed man she had the affair with? when arthur finds out that she is pregnant and she kept it from him as long as she could, he is furious. this is 1930. a man whose young wife is pregnant at the wedding could derail his career. like something out of downtown abbey, arthur insists betty try to lose the child. this is in betty's words. she wrote later that arthur insisted she ride on horseback very fast and jump off of stairs, run until she was exhausted. i find this a bit in congress with betty's nature, however. i think this might be her looking back and reflecting on
something she misremembered. because betty was a very strong person and i cannot imagine her going through with this attempt to lose a child. in any case, she does become ill. when she sees her doctor, he says you must stop what you are doing right now, because you will not only lose your child, you will die. you must take care of yourself." that is the end of it. she goes forward, has the baby. arthur insists no announcement will be made of little anthony george's birth. in fact, they will not raise the child. a family will be found. they place a notice. a family is found. in dorington england, in the village of shropshire. they will raise the child, and betty is never to see him again. arthur will not see the child,
he will not -- he will not visit the child. betty is heartsick over this. he insists this is the way it'll be. she makes visits to see the child. she tries to observe him from a distance. she later visits the family. i'm not sure what little tony thought of her as he was growing up, this beautiful woman who came and played with him sometimes, brought him gifts. arthur takes no interest at all. at one point, the little boy wants to have a toy gun. betty tells arthur this that she will send him a toy gun. this is the only time arthur speaks about the child. "no. absolutely not." betty writes to the child and says sorry, she cannot send him the gift he wants. now, she has another secret to keep. she is becoming an expert at keeping secrets.
no one knows the inner turmoil over her heartbreaking loss of the beautiful little boy. arthur is now transferred to chile. betty embraces the tropics. she traveled there with her family when she was younger. and she loved it. more importantly, it gives her an outlet. she is grieving over the loss of little tony. she can throw herself into the social world. she is so angry with arthur. this is a secret she has to keep deep within herself. she is so angry with him over the loss of her child that she decides anything goes at this point. what can he possibly do to her at this point? she learns to play polo, speak spanish, she meets a handsome chilean named alfredo. they have an affair. it does not last long.
she is out with friends and sees her lover alfredo with a woman. later, she confronts him. "oh, this is my official mistress. oops." "your official mistress? all right, we are done." she is done with him. he has an official mistress? no, no. she's furious with alfredo. she feels betrayed by him. i think because she threw herself so much into the affair. you see in her writings that she really loves him, she is really is pouring out her love for the little boy. it is at this point she becomes pregnant by arthur. a little girl named denise in 1934. she loves denise.
she dotes on her at first. arthur is transferred to madrid. betty loves it in spain. she soon found herself swept up by the political turmoil. a right-wing, catholic government is in power. the country is heading towards national revolution. betty feels unleashed. the p.a.c.'s are on the other side. she feels the freedom to do what she pleases. she is officially mrs. arthur j pack. this is her photo from the presentation to the queen. she is dolled up to be presented. she is at a club one day in spain and sees a face she recognizes.
he is a handsome spaniard. he is the same handsome spaniard from her childhood that she met so many years ago at that tennis match in washington. she calls him antonio in her diaries but in fact, he is senor carlos. -- sartorios. they run into each other while she is with arthur. she doesn't feel at all nervous about this situation. this is the man she loved for years and is now meeting him officially with her husband. she jokes in front of arthur "this is someone i had a crush on when i was younger." carlos responds, "we were terribly young and i'm sure you have forgotten about me." but, she has not.
they begin an affair. carlos is married. arthur is busy with work. at this point, betty does something rather interesting. she decides to become a catholic. she says it is to please arthur. carlos is catholic so i have a feeling that might have pushed her in that direction. to please him as well. george oglby thorpe, the embassy counselor encourages her to seek the counsel of a young priest to further her studies. the priest and betty meet. they have appropriate meetings. they converse daily about catholicism. it is during this point that betty and sir george ogelvy thorpe have to take an elevator ride to the meeting. he asks how her studies are
are going with the priest. she says it is going well. then, the elevator stops. there were frequent strikes in spain. one day, she tried to light a cigarette. the match would not strike and she turned to her friend and said, "this is the only thing that won't strike in spain." he says, "i will use that in my newspaper." she and sir george are in the lift and it is stuck between floors. these are the days when there was no telephone in an elevator, of course. hours and hours go by. after a while, arthur notices betty has not come home. he goes to the place he knows the meeting will take place, sees the elevator is stuck arranges to have someone open the top of the elevator. so that betty can climb out. sir george is not able to make the climb and spent the rest of the night in the elevator.
they pass food and water to him. betty goes on to meet with her young priest again. she notes he is quite a hand so many young priest. wait for it. one day he requests that she meet him in another part of town. this is not suspicious to betty because priests are in great danger in spain at this time. they are arrested. it is understandable he is looking for what she thinks is a safer place to meet. she arrives and realizes it is a part of town where people meet for secret lovers meetings and now she is a bit suspicious. she climbs the stairs to the room. when she arrives to the apartment, he is out of habit. he is really out of habit. [laughter] betty falls into old habits.
he confesses he has fallen in love with her. they fall into bed but it is a mild affair. she is still in love with carlos. apparently, she does not have an issue continuing an affair with the priest with the affair with carlos. but the priest is in love with her. he is going to leave the force force -- he is going to leave the priesthood and wants to marry her. this is more complicated then she would wish. "you should stay a priest. i cannot leave my husband." any excuse she can use. the priest does not care. he is arrested. not because of his affair with betty, but because of other reasons. she does what she can to have him released from prison. she feels badly. this is a good out for betty because she encourages him to leave the area, leave spain for his own safety. now she is done with this entanglement.
war is eminent in spain. carlos, her lover, his wife comes to see betty one day. of course he's married. carlos has been arrested. he is in prison, they don't know where. his wife is hysterical, can't betty help her? i don't think his wife knew at this point that she was having an affair with carlos. betty does try to find him through her efforts to find her true love, she is accused of espionage through these efforts by the generals military headquarters. she is not a spy at this point but this is the first time she is accused of espionage. she meets a man at the chancery in valencia. he is a very charming british man. he is very sympathetic to
betty's plea to find carlos. she uses her charm on him. it works. they had a great encounter. -- they have a brief encounter. betty was surprised by this encounter. she went to meet john lisch and i think she thought they he tells her he is madly in love with her. he doesn't care about his career, he wants only to be with betty. she has to work hard to convince him this affair is a mistake. he is in love with her.
she goes to see arthur. he admits to her that he has had an affair. wife of a junior colleague. he wants to marry this woman he calls maude. i could not find out her real name. no one noted it. now, it is 1937. arthur is being posted to war. john tried to follow betty and was told he could not under any circumstances by the british embassy -- arthur was furious when he found out that john meant to be with betty forever. arthur is strained, stressed. he is madly in love with maude. the stress over the affair, his marriage with betty unraveling he collapses. he continues working and
collapses again. betty decides to wholeheartedly nurse him back to health. she cannot leave him now. she will make sure he gets well. she sends him to england to recover and she returns. she refers to herself as a grass widow. she meets a young polish diplomat. they have an affair. [laughter] i know. they also discussed the german occupation of austria. they would drive to the banks of the river, sunbathe naked, make love alfresco, and discuss. [laughter] this is true.
edward tells betty many things. "i love you, my darling. hitler intends to invade czechoslovakia." during the golf game, she tells jack what edward has told her about hitler's plans. i don't think she told him about the alfresco lunches on the banks of the river but she says, i heard this. jack says, he is assisted with the secret intelligence service. this news will be helpful to them. by march, 1938, she is actively gathering information. they encourage her to use her romance with edward to get more information. london instructs jack shelley to recruit her formally as an agent.
they believe her charm will work well. she meets the colonel general in poland. soon, he is chatting freely about contacts in berlin and his daily, secret communications with the polish foreign office. ah, betty. she is practically the only agent in poland providing intelligence. she notes it is easy to make highly trained her fashionably closed-mouthed patriots give away secrets in bed. she has the magnetism. she is producing information. she gives details on the polish cryto-analysis unit. she leaves for england and finds arthur recovered.
he is going to chile. she wants to go back to poland. she writes that she is in love with michael. she wants to be with him. in fact, not only that, she wants to continue working for sis. she loved doing this kind of work. it brings back the feeling she had a childhood of running until she was exhausted. she cannot go back to warsaw. her affair has made her a person of discussion there. she cannot return. she goes to chile with arthur. she wants to go back to sis. she decides she is kind of done with being a wife and mother. she leaves arthur and denise. she visits her mother in
washington and learns a mr. howard is attempting to reach her. she meets with this man in new york city. he calls himself john howard. mr. howard is a frequent alias in sis. when she meets with him in new york, he tells her she can be useful for them. he suggested she take a house or apartment in washington. he gives her a codename that will come directly from william stephenson, british secret intelligence. "cynthia." she likes it. it suits her. he said she wanted to go to washington and rent a house.
i think he preferred it would be an apartment but a house is fine. a secluded street, not a lot of traffic. this house will be useful to betty. she is requested by mr. howard to contact alberto. she hears this name and says, i have known him since i was a child. he called me his golden girl. he is now the italian naval atache. betty calls them at the embassy. she says, it is your golden girl, alberto. he says, oh, i cannot talk to you now. later, she gets a call at the
house. he says, yes i would like to see you, i do remember you. he comes to the house. they have an affair. the affair consists mainly of them drinking fine, red wine talking. betty undressing. alberto lying next to her. the talk is what he mainly desires. betty responds. cynthia is a good listener. now she knows this is what he needs, just to talk. he needs to talk to a sympathetic, beautiful woman. that is fine with her. she asks him for something special.
"can you get something for me?" i'm sure he is thinking, diamonds, chocolates, flowers. "no, i would like the italian naval ciphers." "no, no. i cannot get those for you." "if you really think of me as her golden girl..." he gives her the name of a man. he is in love with her. she contacts the man and arranges for him to be paid for the naval codebooks to be copied and returned. at this point, she notices men sitting in a car outside the little house in georgetown.
someone is watching her. someone notices that foreign visitors are coming to the house. i am sure they can imagine what is going on inside. at one point, alberto says that the italians plan to scuttle their ships in harbors in the u.s. and blow them up. betty passes this information on and some of these plans are thwarted. the fbi will be an issue for betty. hoover writes " it is believed a discreet inquiry of miss pack may produce viable information." betty is asked to penetrate an embassy in washington and obtained the cipher codes. they will rely on her to use her usual methods.
betty has come up with a cover. she is going to pose as a freelance writer, contact the embassy. she looks at the embassy directory, picks out a name, a captain. she calls, asks to speak with him, gets a lower ranked person who says "no." he does not grant interviews. she says, i want to interview him, i'm a journalist. "no. you will not speak to bruce. he cannot arrange anything like that." this is perfect for betty. she waits an hour and calls
again. this time, she gets the captain on the phone. she does a little flirting with him and says, i would like to interview you but i understand that is not something you are able to do. he says, of course i can. absolutely. she gets the interview, has a two-hour interview. she meets. she chose her outfit very carefully. she wore a green dress to match her eyes. she used all of her flirting skills. interestingly, she seems more interested in the adache than the ambassador. she receives roses at her georgetown home.
not only roses, but he shows up the next afternoon. as he walks into her home, he swoops her in his arms and carries her upstairs. she protests mildly. "oh, what are you doing?" they make love in her bedroom and she becomes his mistress. there is an anti-british sentiment among the french and she knows that will not be effective if she lets on. the captain started working at the embassy in 1940 but served in the french air force in world war i, worked with the anglo-french intelligence in world war ii.
he had a newspaper stirring in france before she came to the embassy. what is happening now, it is officially the french estate. it is based in a small city in france but paris remains the official capital. the city only controls the unoccupied zone in southern france. germany now occupies northern france and the regime posts this regime to washington.
first, the u.s. was not sure if they should recognize this regime. but, they do. it is a good working relationship. he doesn't know she works british intelligence. eventually, she tells him she is helping the americans. that sort of appeals to him. there is a problem now. remember, the fbi is watching her. they could unravel everything. what if they came to the house? they do. one day, when she was making
love to alberto, the fbi knocked on the door. she had to let him out and upstairs window. he climbed onto the garage roof. he is hanging onto the roof and drops to the ground. betty is worried about this happening again. she does not want this to happen to the captain. she will make a move. a more discreet location. a hotel on connecticut avenue. this is perfec it would have been better if she had started here because it has multiple entrances. they are meeting at the hotel, making love. "i must have the naval ciphers." "i am not able to get into the code room."
"please!" "ok." a plan is set a foot. her contact is mr. huntington. it is not just going to be betty and the captain who will go into the french embassy to get the naval codes. a gentleman called the georgia cracker will assist them. i love that name. he is a canadian, actually. i am not sure how close he ever got to georgia. he will open a safe, remove the codebooks. they will take them to a room
they have set up at the hotel. betty was at the hotel one day and knock on the door. "exterminator." she thinks it is the ei. a man says he is here to check -- "box." he goes over the room with a fine tooth comb. they set up a safe room in another apartment. this is where the codebooks will be opened, photographed, and dusted for fingerprints. then, returned to the embassy. this is the plan. the problem is at the embassy, there is a nightwatchman with a large guard dog.
the captain, betty's appeal to his strong, french sentiments -- "you will help france." he says he will work late and his girlfriend will join him. he tells the security guard, "can you look the other way? i am married and this is my girlfriend and this is the only place we can meet." the guard accepts that. for a few weeks, the captain and his girlfriend spend time on a sofa in his office. they keep up the fiction they are having this affair at the office. but, it works. the guard is used to them. cynthia is worried about the guard dog but she feels all right.
it is the date of the break in. cynthia and the captain arrive at the embassy. the oss safe man is going to be let in through a window. they go in, see the guard, everything is usual. she gives the guard champagne. there is a drug in the champagne. she refers to it as something sleepy but later she said she knew it was nebutol. she puts some in the dogs water dish.
the dog was ok. now, the drug is taking effect. they are still on the couch. everybody is falling asleep, the dog, the guard. they go to the window, leapt the georgia cracker in. he is working on the safe. this is an agent safe. these locks are not tumbling like they should. he finally gets it open but it is around 4:00 a.m. there is no time to remove the books, photographed them, and
get them back in the safe. they will have to go in again. could cynthia learn to crack a safe? yes. yes, she could. the georgia cracker works with her. he cannot go back the second time. they go back the second time. betty tries to get the safe open and cannot. she has been at it for a long time. she is upset. they know the fbi agents are across the street watching the embassy. the second time, they did not drug the guard. betty says to the captain, get undressed. he says, we are just pretending. but, they need to be relisted now. she takes off all her close and is wearing only pearls. [laughter] the door opens, the guard shines a flashlight on her.
"oh, i'm so sorry." he goes back out. she throws on his lip. charles once her to get dressed. she was the kind of girl who went shopping without underclothes on. if a girlfriend remarked, you should wear underwear. she said, i don't have time for things like that. she starts working on the safe. she cannot get it open. now they will have to try another time. the georgia cracker will have to be enlisted again. he worked with her but they know they will have to go in another time. the next time, the georgia
cracker is in and opens the safe. they get out the codebooks. they give them the codebooks. he hands them to cynthia. he drops out the window and she drops them down to him. they are photographed, fingerprints wiped off, returned to the embassy. she puts them in the safe. spins the tumbler. success. the cipher codes once obtained and photographed were sent to london. they got there within 24 hours. the oss use them during the allied north african landing. success. cynthia was eventually transferred to oss from the british. bill donovan, head of the oss approved her to continue working until the end of the war. he felt this collaboration had worked pretty well. now, what to do about the embassy?
they needed to remove staff from the embassy. where could they put them? the hotel hershey. you might think of hershey candy. you may not know or you may know that during the war, hershey made the bulk of their chocolate for the army. there also housed the french diplomats. they kept them in the hotel hershey after they had to be removed from washington.
they kept them there in style. betty wanted to join charles at the hotel hershey. the story have to be concocted. she would pose as his long-lost daughter. his wife was approached by intelligence and she went along with this scheme. her daughter had died. betty would be posing as her late daughter. charles would write at this point he did not even know his wife had a daughter. [laughter] betty will come to the hotel hershey. this worked briefly at the hotel where you can live quite comfortably. flowers delivered daily, all of the food you want. remember this is rationing in wartime in america but everything was given to them. you can use a medical excuse to go into town anytime you wanted. she would use that all the time. she would say she feels terrible. she goes into harrisburg
meeting with intelligence, giving them information she has acquired. then, charles wife catches charles and betty in bed. she rages so loudly you can hear it throughout the hotel. betty has to be sent away. she tried to sneak back to see charles. she was caught on the grounds and they said, you have to leave. she said "i am just a naughty girl." eventually, after the war, betty and charles were married. he took her to his castle in france. i want to say they lived happily ever after but they did not. so i will end it here because it gets sad later on.
this is cynthia. she wrote "i hope and believe i was a patriot." i believe she was. i look at her face, staring out at some unknown person through the years and i think, your story needs to be told. who would be good to play her in a movie? my son said steve carell. [laughter] even with prosthetics, i don't know about that. so, thank you for listening to the tale. [applause] >> i think this is almost our downtown abbey and 50 shades of
grey meet the imitation game. ms. zanin: it feels very downtown abbey to me. a brief note about her child. she did see tony has a young man before he shipped to the korean war. he had grown into a beautiful young person and unfortunately died fighting to the last minute. he died with honors and was a true hero. she was comforted by that. but it just breaks your heart when he think about the baby being taken away from her. >> questions for natalie? >> we have one here. >> i didn't remember from the beginning, what year was she born?
ms. zanin: 1910. >> she was in her early 30's during the 1940's. >> what happened to her daughter? ms. zanin: her daughter died. denise was very unhappy. as it can imagine, your mother just abandons you and goes off to live her life. in some ways, i think betty is repeating what cora did to her. she ignored the children in favor of the social world. she is able at some point to compartmentalize and to say, that part of my life, goodbye. done. i am going to work with intelligence. almost as if denise doesn't exist for her. >> how were they in possession
of the family? you made a number of references to the diaries. ms. zanin: i have not had my hands on the diaries. i have seen excerpts. i think the families have been. -- them. >> you are a great storyteller. will you really not tell less -- tell us the end of the story? ms. zanin: i will tell you but it is not sexy and it is sad. betty and charles were very happy for a while. then betty, the restlessness crept in. she wanted to feel useful. she was literally in a castle at the top of a mountain. she was bored. she tried to alleviate the boredom. she kept up with old friends in intelligence, a lot of letter writing. eventually, she became ill.
she died. it was a very slow and painful death. i told you it was sad. then charles also died not long after. he was electrocuted by his electric blanket which then set fire to the castle. i told you it was awful. i did not want to tell you. when i read that in the notes, i thought, oh my gosh, i am ending it after hotel hershey. i told my husband, your electric blanket is never coming out of the package. [laughter] >> right over here. >> two questions. you started talking about british intelligence and then all the sudden, oss. did they pass her over to oss? ms. zanin: they were cooperating at that point and i think it was
a mutual benefit for them to work together. i believe oss might have had something, i cannot confirm, something to do with the fbi detail that watched the embassy. not being as alert as they should have been because certainly, if you are fbi and watching people every night going into the embassy as couples, that would be -- yeah. i believe later on, the fbi may have bugged her hotel room but i am not an hundred percent certain. >> did her father and or mother have a lot of money? it sounds like they really had -- he was not just a military officer. ms. zanin: they did well. in newport, rhode island, they really moved in yachting circles. those boats require a lot of
money. yeah, they did. >> one back here. >> it was already answered. >> right there. one over here. not think one here -- and then i think one here. >> over 20 years ago, i read mary lovell's book. i was wondering what you thought of that book. ms. zanin: i got a sense she did not really like her subject. but, i mean, she is thorough and beautifully detailed. but there was a sense as i read it that she was not that fond of betty. from the first moment i started reading about betty i thought, i just love this woman.
but it is beautifully detailed. it is worth reading. it is called "cast no shadow." there is one that is out of print by montgomery hyde. but you can get it on amazon. it is also really good. it is very conversational. he is talking with betty shortly before she dies. she leaves a lot of things out. because she is still in her flirtatious mode. she wants to come across well to hyde. so, she is not as detailed about certain things. she never named her lover carlos to him. she kept referring to him as antonio. >> yes, right here. >> was there an exchange of
embassy personnel between the embassies in paris? were they kept prisoners? the whole war. ms.zanin: they were kept prisoners the whole time and some of them who wanted to become americans were allowed to do so. some were shipped off to warm springs. to a hotel there because the people of hershey understandably were less than thrilled. stories were circulating through harrisburg about how the french are living in the hotel. after a while, people were very open with their pro-nazi sympathies. it was deemed that maybe they should be moved out of the hotel. then, the hotel goes back to
being a proper hotel. which i'm sure the people of hershey -- whew. [laughter] >> natalie, thank you so much for a fascinating story. [applause] let me thank the smithsonian volunteers for joining us throughout the series. thank you. [applause] have a great rest of your day. be careful on the red line. [laughter] >> here are some of our featured programs for this weekend on the c-span networks. on c-span two, tonight at 10:00 p.m. eastern president of americans for tax reform says that americans are tired of the irs and our tax system. and sunday night at 8:00, author susan butler on franklin roosevelt and joseph stalin
allies during world war ii and their unexpected partnership be on the war. and tonight at 8:00 eastern on "american history tv," a university of virginia college professor on how server war veterans unions -- reunions have changed. and sunday afternoon at 1:00, "american history tv" is live from appomattox, commemorating the 150th anniversary of the confederate surrender and the end of the civil war. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> up next, a discussion with former members of president nixon's former security staff. topics include vietnam, the paris peace accords, and relations with china. the national archives cohosted this event with the richard nixon foundation as part of the
nixon legacy forum's. it is almost two hours. >> good morning. i am here to welcome you on behalf of the nixon foundation. it is a wonderful partnership. david is responsible for 12 billion documents. some 43 million pages of wish he -- which he graciously placed at the nixon library in california. if you are old enough to remember war and 80, we got the head, and he has got the documents. we have done over 30 of these. and i had the pleasure of helping produce them. since my experience on nixon's staff was on the domestic side we tend to favor topics that i love. and i did not include foreign affairs.
but we stumbled upon a brilliant and helpful counterpart at it is -- and it is my pleasure to introduce. that is kt mcfarland. you know kt as a fox analyst. everybody has to start somewhere. kathy troia started as a typist on the graveyard shift when she was a sophomore at george washington university. kt: i was a freshman. >> my facts are wrong. she grew in stature and importance under nixon. she was a contributing member of the national security council. she has kindly consented to moderate a series of these nixon legacy forum's on foreign affairs topics. and in that particular series, this is our third one. and i am very, very happy to introduce kt. thank you. kt: thank you. and i