Before, during, and after World War II, Ulius "Pete" Louis Amoss (1895-1961) engaged in espionage. His work included directorship of the OSS during the war and founder and director of the ISI, the International Services of Information Foundation, Incorporated. Amoss is credited with the coining the phrase "leaderless resistance." The collection includes correspondence, literary manuscripts, espionage material, and print material that reflect his life and work as a spy.
Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries
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Ulius "Pete" Louis Amoss (1895-1961) dedicated his life to espionage. In several of his speeches Amoss quotes an old-school general who defines espionage as "...the second most ancient profession in the world, not as honorable as the first, nor as much fun." He admits espionage is dirty business, all the more reason, he says, for it to be practiced only by the most honorable of men.
Amoss' first espionage experience was acquired via the war work of the International committee of the YMCA in Greece. Wanting to move into Turkey, the Middle East, and Africa, Amoss set up an export business, Gramtrade International Corporation, of which he was President from 1936 to 1942. During this time, he also posed as a munitions dealer to intervene in negotiations between Germany and Turkey and became involved in two more business: Harrisburg Machine and Foundry company and the Shirgun Corporation. In 1942, when Amoss was ordered to report to the army, the government took over and "ruined" his export operations.
While in the Armed Forces, Amoss served as Director of the Balkan Desk for information, C.O.I. (Coordinator of Information); Director of the OSS (Office of Strategic Services) Near Eastern Desk, intelligence; Deputy Directory, OSS, for sabotage, intelligence, psychological and guerrilla warfare; Commanding Officer, Experimental Detachment G-3 UASFIME; and Deputy Chief of Staff, U.S. Ninth Air Force. He was awarded the Legion of Merit and formed important friendships with colleagues from most U.S. allies. In addition, he met and later married Mary Veronica "Ron" Grogan who also served in the Armed Forces' secret intelligence.
After being discharged in 1946, Amoss, still dedicated to a career in espionage, formed the International Services of Information Foundation, Incorporated (ISI), a non-profit, privately owned and operated intelligence service whose purpose was to collect and disseminate information from overseas countries. ISI published a
General Report, a newsletter entitled
INFORM, and a
Special Letter to ISI Trustees and Supporters, in order to pass on the information they had learned through their intelligence operations. Amoss edited these publications.
To assist in the financial support of ISI, Amoss formed an unincorporated U.L. Amoss Syndicate in 1948 to promote and carry out legitimate and profitable transactions in foreign or domestic trade. In turn, the Syndicate invested in several other corporations. One, World Rights, Inc. capitalized on Amoss' discovery in 1954 of the hair restoring product, Grecian Formula 16. Aegean Products, Inc. and Delian Distributors, Inc. were set up as distributors for the product. In 1957, Amoss sold his stock in Grecian Formula 16 because he found it had lead in it as well as other undesirable side effects. He then tried to get a British company formed to invest in a new, improved product, but apparently was unable to raise the capital.
The Amoss Syndicate ventures and Amoss personally suffered financial loss. Amoss raised money by giving numerous speeches promoting ISI and writing articles for magazines. It is also evident from his Papers that he intended to write several books. Everything he did earn, he put into ISI.
Amoss died November 9, 1961 from coronary thrombosis.
This collection includes correspondence, manuscripts, speeches, espionage material, and memorabilia relating to Ulius Amoss, spymaster, and international Services of Information (ISI), a private intelligence agency he founded.
The correspondence is arranged alphabetically within a general folder for each letter of the alphabet, followed by folders relating to specific subjects or more extensive correspondence with one person. Information concerning the Amoss Syndicate (box 4, folder 16) and its investments can be found here as well as publishing ventures and three folders of condolences addressed to Mrs. Mary Veronica Amoss upon the death of Ulius Amoss in 1961.
Amoss apparently intended to write an autobiography with a proposed title, "Easier Said than Done" (see box 5, folders 11 through 13) and at least one other book, possibly a biography of one of his agents. This material, in addition to articles he wrote, can be found in the series of manuscripts.
Between 1950 and 1960 Amoss made many speeches promoting ISI and his profession. These have been arranged chronologically in boxes 6 through 7.
The espionage material includes correspondence special and secret reports and material removed from two notebooks concerning Soviet Intelligence. It is followed by four folders of reports, correspondence and official papers created while he was in the Armed Forces.
Other material that can be found in this collection includes certificates, broadsides, and printed matter. ISI publications, published articles and newsclippings make up the series of printed matter. Although the original photographs have been removed to the Photo Vault, photocopies do appear in the collection (box 10, folder 1).
Use of the Collection
Restrictions on Access :
Collection is open to the public.
Collection must be used in Special Collections & University Archives Reading Room.
Restrictions on Use :
Property rights reside with Special Collections & University Archives. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish collection materials must be submitted to Special Collections & University Archives. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.
Archival material may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws and other regulations.
Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g. a cause of action for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of Oregon assumes no responsibility.
If a researcher finds sensitive personal information in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.
Preferred Citation :
[Identification of item], Ulius L. Amoss papers, Coll 005, Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon.
Acquisition Information :
Gift of Mary Veronica Amoss in 1980.
Report to ISI Trustees, June 15, 1959 (box 3, folder 3)Personal History Statement (box 1, folder 3)
Processing Note :
Collection processed by staff.
This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.