A most interesting meeting of a group of high level German secret service chiefs and diplomats took place on the evening of September 22, 1914 on the roof garden of the Ritz-Carlton in New York. German Ambassador Count Johann Heinrich von Bernstorff and the the commercial agent and spymaster in New York, Heinrich F. Albert met with Count Arthur von Rex, the returning German ambassador to Japan, and Colonel Alexander von Falkenhausen, the German military attaché in Tokyo. Von Falkenhausen's wife also attended. Japan had declared war on Germany on August 23, prompting the German ambassador’s return from Tokyo. The outbreak of hostilities with Japan also precipitated the assignment to China of an experienced diplomat, personal friend of Kaiser Wilhelm II, minister to Mexico, and naval intelligence officer in the person of Rear Admiral Paul von Hintze.

Rear Admiral Paul von Hintze

Rear Admiral Paul von Hintze

Much has been made of this secret trip, Admiral Paul von Hintze made from Mexico City to Beijing in the fall of 1914. The German diplomat never revealed exactly where and when he went. However, archival sources that contain Heinrich Albert's wartime diary now document that in the middle of September, von Hintze was traveling through New York and San Francisco to his new post in the Far East. While Albert did not mention the rear admiral as a member of this dinner in the end of September, it is certain that he was there. Around the time of the dinner, von Hintze was in New York, had meetings with von Falkenhausen, and turned over his naval intelligence responsibilities for the American theater to the Imperial naval attaché in New York, Captain (of the Navy) Karl Boy-Ed. It would be more than logical that he timed his secret trip to meet his retiring colleague from Tokyo and receive briefings on navy intelligence activities in the Far East, now the essence of von Hintze’s wartime assignment. From New York von Hintze traveled to San Francisco where he met Kurt Jahnke, a notorious sabotage agent who has been alleged to be behind the explosion on Black Tom Island in New York harbor in the summer of 1916. There is no mention of Karl Boy-Ed at the dinner. While he certainly had meetings with von Hintze, Boy-Ed might not have felt too social that day. His younger brother Walter, a captain in the German artillery, had been badly injured and died around the day of the meeting.

Alexander Freiherr von Falkenhausen

Alexander Freiherr von Falkenhausen

Von Hintze took his assignment in the Far East in October 1914. Under his auspices, Germany waged a secret war against the Entente powers in the Far East which included a sabotage campaign not too different of what Karl Boy Ed and his colleague, Military Attache Franz von Papen conducted in the United States at the same time. The similarities of the sabotage campaigns and their coordination through the members of the secret dinner meeting in New York are striking. In the end of 1915 von Hintze once more traveled through the United States in disguise to take his assignment as ambassador to Norway. On July 9, 1918 von Hintze became Imperial German foreign minister. As the German empire collapsed under the weight of a combined Entente and American military on the eastern front and internal turmoil, the imperial cabinet decided to send none other than the dashing diplomat and admiral von Hintze to ask the Kaiser for his resignation. Von Hintze retired after the war. Alexander von Falkenhausen became a general and returned to the Far East in the 1930s to become a close adviser of Chiang Kai-Shek. After becoming a major conspirator in the coup d'etat against Hitler in 1944, General von Falkenhausen spent the last year of the war in concentration camps but survived. 

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