|Birth name||Bonner Frank Fellers|
February 7, 1896|
|Died||October 7, 1973(aged 77)|
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/branch||United States Army|
|Years of service||1917–1946|
|Battles/wars||World War I
World War II
|Awards||Distinguished Service Medal (2)
Legion of Merit
Bonner Frank Fellers (February 7, 1896 – October 7, 1973), was a U.S. Army officer who served during World War II as military attaché and psychological warfare director. He was considered a protégé of General Douglas MacArthur.
Early military career 
Fellers entered the United States Military Academy at West Point in June 1916. Due to the increased need for junior officers during the First World War, Feller's class was accelerated and graduated on November 1, 1918. Upon graduation, Fellers was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Coast Artillery Corps.
Fellers was promoted to first lieutenant on October 1919 and graduated the Coast Artillery School Basic Course in 1920. The drastic reduction in the Army after the war created limited opportunities for promotion and Fellers was not promoted to captain until December 3, 1934. In 1935 he graduated from the Command and General Staff School and the Chemical Warfare School Field Officer's Course.
Fellers graduated the Army War College in 1939 and was promoted to major on July 1, 1940. He was promoted to temporary lieutenant colonel on September 15, 1941 and to temporary colonel the next month.
World War II 
In 1941, Colonel Fellers was assigned as military attaché to the U.S. embassy in Egypt. He was tasked with the duty of monitoring and reporting on British military operations in the Mediterranean and Middle East Theatre. The British granted Fellers full access to their activities and information. Fellers dutifully reported everything he learned to his superiors in the United States. His reports were especially prized by Army Chief of Staff General George Marshall.
Fellers concerns about security were overridden and he sent his reports by radio, encrypted in the "Black Code" of the U.S. State Department. Unbeknownst to the U.S. government, the details of this code were stolen from the U.S. embassy in Italy by Italian spies in September 1941. Around the same time it was also broken by German cryptanalysts.
Fellers' radiograms provided detailed information about troop movements and equipment to the Axis. The information was extensive and timely to the Axis powers. Information from Fellers' messages alerted the Axis to British convoy operations in the Mediterranean Sea, including efforts to resupply the garrison of Malta. Information about the numbers and condition of British forces was provided to General Rommel, the famed German commander in Africa. He could thus plan his operations with reliable knowledge of what the opposing forces were. The Germans referred to Fellers as "die gute Quelle" (the good source). Rommel referred to him as "the little fellow".
The information leak cost the Allies a great many lives. For example, in June the British were attempting to resupply Malta, which was under constant air attack and was being starved out. The British determined to sail two supply convoys simultaneously in the hopes that if one were to become discovered attacks upon it would distract the Axis from the other. Code-named Vigorous and Harpoon, and sailing from Alexandria in the east and Gibraltar in the west respectively, their sailing was timed with an effort by special forces teams to neutralize Axis ships and aircraft. Fellers efficiently reported all of this. His cable, No. 11119 dated June 11, was intercepted in both Rome and by the German Military High Command Cipher Branch (OKW Chiffrierabteilung). It read, in part:
NIGHTS OF JUNE 12TH JUNE 13TH BRITISH SABOTAGE UNITS PLAN SIMULTANEOUS STICKER BOMB ATTACKS AGAINST AIRCRAFT ON 9 AXIS AIRDROMES. PLANS TO REACH OBJECTIVES BY PARACHUTES AND LONG RANGE DESERT PATROL.
British and Free French raiders went into action behind the lines in Libya and on the island of Crete. In most of these attacks, the raiders were met with the accurate fire of the alerted garrisons and suffered heavy losses while failing to inflict any damage upon the Luftwaffe. Their only success came where Fellers' unwitting early warning was either not received, ignored or ineptly handled. Meanwhile, both convoys were located and came under attack. A day after leaving Gibraltar, Convoy Harpoon's six merchantmen and their escorts came under continuous air attack. Only two of the merchantmen survived to reach Malta. Convoy Vigorous was the larger effort. Made up of 11 merchant ships, it suffered such serious losses that it was forced to turn back to Egypt.
Fellers had been ordered to use the State Department code over his objections and had been ordered by Marshall to report in detail. For his part, Marshall never found any fault with Fellers for any of his actions in Egypt.
Though Ultra intercepts indicated the Germans were gaining information from a source in Egypt, and British intelligence had considered Fellers as a possible source, it was not until Australian troop under British command overran a German intelligence gathering unit in the First Battle of El Alamein in July 1942 that the source of the leak was identified.
Fellers was not found at fault for the interception of his reports. Following this, Fellers was transferred from Egypt. His successor as attaché used the U.S. military cipher, which the Germans could not read. Upon returning to the United States, Fellers was decorated with the Distinguished Service Medal for his analysis and reporting of the North African situation. He was also promoted to brigadier general, the first in the West Point Class of 1918, on December 4, 1942. While assigned to the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) in Washington, he was, recalled a colleague, "the most violent anglophobe I have encountered".
In the summer of 1943, Fellers left his job in the OSS, where he played a role in planning psychological warfare, and returned to the Southwest Pacific and resumed working for General MacArthur. Fellers later served as military secretary and the Chief of Psychological Operations under MacArthur.
There are stories that suggest that General Eisenhower was at odds with Fellers, and had been since the time they served together under General MacArthur in the Philippines. In a recollection in her personal diary, the Countess of Ranfurly wrote of a comment made by Eisenhower when she expressed admiration for Fellers; Eisenhower reportedly replied, "Any friend of Bonner Fellers is no friend of mine!" Eisenhower apologized the next day for his rudeness. Purportedly, Eisenhower's dislike of Fellers had begun at the time the two were serving under MacArthur. MacArthur had strained his relationship with Eisenhower in 1936–1937 while in the Philippines. Subsequently MacArthur began to use Fellers as a confidant.
Post-war Japan 
After the war, Fellers played a major role in the occupation of Japan. He met with the major defendants of the Tokyo tribunal. In their research and analysis of events and considerable controversy about the time period, according to historians Herbert Bix and John W. Dower, Fellers—under an assignment by the code name "Operation Blacklist"—allowed them to coordinate their stories to exonerate Emperor Hirohito and all members of his family. This was at the direction of MacArthur, now head of SCAP, who had decided that there was to be no criminal prosecution of the Emperor and his family.
Retirement from the Army and politics 
In October 1946, Fellers reverted to rank of colonel as part of a reduction in rank of 212 generals. He retired from the Army on November 30, 1946. In 1948, his retirement rank was reinstated as brigadier general.
After retiring from the Army, he worked for the Republican National Committee in Washington, D.C. In 1952 Fellers was actively involved in promoting Robert Taft as a presidential candidate. Fellers was a member of the John Birch Society, named for a military intelligence officer who was considered by its founding members as the first casualty of the Cold War. In 1953 Fellers wrote a book: Wings for Peace: A Primer for a New Defense (Chicago: Henry Regnery Co., 1953). Fellers was also actively involved in promoting Barry Goldwater for the presidency during the 1964 campaign.
Military awards 
|Distinguished Service Medal with oak leaf cluster||Legion of Merit|
|World War One Victory Medal||Army of Occupation of Germany Medal||American Defense Service Medal with star||European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with two stars|
|Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with six stars||World War Two Victory Medal||Army of Occupation Medal with "Japan" clasp||Philippine Liberation Medal with two stars|
See also 
- Army Register, 1936. pg. 223.
- Army Register, 1945. pg. 302
- Deac, Wil. "Intercepted Communications for Field Marshal Erwin Rommel". The History Net. Retrieved 2008-02-03.
- Wil Deac (June 12, 2006). "Intercepted Communications for Field Marshall Erwin Rommel". World War II Magazine.
- Deutsch, et al., Harold C. (2010). If the Allies Had Fallen. New York: Skyhorse Publishing. p. 336. ISBN 1616085460.
- Ranfurly, Hermoine. To War With Whitaker: The Wartime Diaries of Countess of Ranfurly 1939-45. Mandarin,1994
- Bix, Herbert. Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan, Perennial, 2001, p. 583
- Dower, John W. Embracing Defeat, 1999
- "212 GENERALS CUT TO COLONEL RANK". The New York Times. 8 March 1946. Retrieved 5 March 2013. Subscription required.
- www.bonnerfellers.com, a website maintained by the family of Bonner Fellers.
- The Bonner Frank Fellers papers, 1904-1997 are open and available for research at the Hoover Institution Archives, Stanford University.
- Example of a report by Colonel Bonner Fellers which was intercepted and decoded by the Italians in 1942