Friday 6 June 2008 by Craig Berelle. No comments
News, New acquisitions, Official records

Series AWM347 is a recently acquired collection of historical records of the Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI). Accumulated from 1927 to 1984, these records afford a detailed and often fascinating look into the thinking that characterised Australian and Allied intelligence doctrine for over half a century.

The collection consists of supplementary documents, maps and reports originating with the Commonwealth (Department of Defence and service arms) or acquired from foreign defence and intelligence organisations (in Britain and the United States) and often is collateral to other source material.

The records relate mainly to the Second World War and Vietnam War. The other periods of conflict this series covers is the war in Korea (intelligence gathering from enemy POWs and returning Allied POWs), the Cold War (and the capability of Cold War adversaries) and the inter-war period (the planning and conduct of military exercises).

Of interest is the earliest dated collection item: 'The Army Headquarters Staff Exercise of 1927'. This scheme considered the problem of how to 'oust an enemy once he has seized Port Stephens...the problems of the land defence of Newcastle and the prevention of an advance westward to the Maitland area.'

Another item of interest is the Government War Book of 1954 , and is the first time a Commonwealth agency has offered a 1950s edition for viewing. This document from the Cold War was approved by Cabinet as a 'Summary of Important Action to be Taken by Government Departments', spelling out the commitment of the Menzies Government to direct the economy in the event of war.

AWM347 is not a record of DMI administrative practice. The collecting activity of the organisation meant that most of the maps and reports are distributed copies (for example, Army Staff Exercise 1927). However, the diverse nature of AWM347 makes it possible to gain access to lesser known intelligence histories recorded by government ( such as the Government War Book of 1954), defence and intelligence agencies both here and overseas. The scope of records which are Australian in origin include:

  • Censorship and Radio Telegraphy and Telephony, August 1933;
  • Security of Internees and POWs in Australia, 1939-1945;
  • Intelligence dossiers for Operation Oboe One, Oboe Two and Oboe Six in 1945;
  • Monthly reports of Office of the Naval and Military Attaché, Australian Embassy, Saigon 1963-1964;
  • Pacification schemes in Phuoc Tuy Province, 1967-1972

Items of United States origin include:

  • Department of the Army pamphlet 30-5-2 and 30-11-1. Foreign weapons and military equipment - Volume 5 Engineer Equipment - Volume 6 Signal Equipment, 1951 to 1953
  • US 500th Military Intelligence Service Group, Chinese and Korean prisoner interrogation reports, 1953;
  • Third Regional Assistance Command PERINTREP [Period Intelligence Report], 1971.

The RecordSearch series decription page for AWM347 enables you to examine the items catalogued to date. You can find more information by viewing the series note, agency links and associated item notes.

These records can be viewed in the Memorial's Research Centre.