By Jay Jakub
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Extra resources for Spies and Saboteurs: Anglo-American Collaboration and Rivalry in Human Intelligence Collection and Special Operations, 1940-45
80 Donovan saw Godfrey, who - at the behest of Stephenson - had advised the Commander-in-Chief of the Mediterranean Fleet, Admiral Cunningham, of the impending mission. ' This communication, in fact, explained clearly why the British were so willing to work closely with Donovan, who was still without a government portfolio: Donovan exercises controlling influence over Knox, strong influence over Stimson, friendly advisory influence over the President and Hull ... Being a Republican and a Catholic of Irish descent he has a following of the strongest opposition to [Roosevelt] ...
104 16 Spies and Saboteurs The Balkans Donovan left Cairo for the Balkans on 15 January 1941, stopping first in Athens for meetings with the Greek leadership (16-17 January). He then proceeded to Sofia for talks with the Bulgarian regime (20-22 January) and to Belgrade for meetings with Yugoslav leaders (23-24 January), before going back to northern Greece to view the Albanian front (25-28 January) and thence to Ankara (31 January-4 February) for discussions with the Turks. He had extended his mission to the Balkans at Churchill's request; the Prime Minister 'was anxious to find some means of upsetting Hitler's timetable for the subjugation of the Balkan countries.
German U-boats were tightening their stranglehold on the British resupply effort, the German 'Afrika Korps' was deploying in Libya to rescue the Italians and press the attack, Hitler was turning his attentions to the Balkans, and Britain was still virtually alone in the war. Churchill argued convincingly for increased involvement by the US, especially the provision of US naval escorts for his badly depleted merchant fleet and for more war materiel, which he could divert to the hard pressed Middle East and Balkan fronts.