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Simon Paul Kramer papers

Identifier: COU:955

Scope and Contents

The S. Paul Kramer Collection is separated into five sections. Section I. Correspondence contains letters Kramer wrote to archivist David Hays and historian Pedro Loureiro. II. Military contains correspondence, a report, and written accounts during World War II. In III. Photographs contains photographs of Kramer on a Japanese submarine and a letter describing the photograph. Section IV.


  • Creation: 1946 - 2008

Biographical Note

Simon Paul Kramer was born on August 17, 1914 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Kramer was the son of Simon Pendleton and Minnie Halle Kramer. Kramer was born into a wealthy family. His father was one of the first neurosurgeons and a professor at the Cincinnati College of Medicine and his mother was from a Jewish family that owned one of the first modern department stores in the Midwest. Kramer attended Princeton University and graduated with a B.A., cum laude, in 1935. In June 1938, Kramer received a Master of Letters from Trinity College at Cambridge University. After receiving this degree in Modern European History Studies, Kramer returned to America. On August 19, 1940, Kramer was hired by the White House and began working for Nelson Rockefeller, the coordinator for the Office for Coordination of Commercial and Cultural Relations between the American Republics (OCCCRAR). While working for the OCCCRAR, Kramer was assigned as a member of the press operation to monitor U.S. companies doing business in Latin America that were suspected of having connections with the Axis Powers. In addition to working for the OCCCRAR, Kramer was also working for the FBI’s Chief of Enemy Subversion and the British Intelligence to help locate German, Russian, and Japanese informants. One of Kramer’s first assignments was to determine if a Milwaukee-born German, Kurt Schmidt was working for the Nazis. Kramer determined Schmidt was receiving orders from the Nazis and handed Schmidt over to the FBI. In February 1943 Kramer was also involved in entrapping and arresting a Japanese spy. Kramer’s intelligence background attracted the attention of Captain Zacharias, USN, who then recruited Kramer to attend the USN Japanese Language School (JLS) at University of Colorado Boulder.

On March 22, 1943 Kramer began taking courses in the JLS; successfully completing the course, after which he was commissioned as an Ensign USNR on July 2, 1943. While taking his Japanese courses, Kramer had been given responsibility by the government for secretly searching for JLS students that had any FBI files or connections to Russia, Germany, or Japan. From Kramer’s work with the FBI, he was able to identify William Remington, a Russian language student, who was later convicted of perjury. After graduation, Kramer attended the Navy Advanced Intelligence School at the Henry Hudson Hotel in New York. He was then assigned to Washington, D.C. with orders to translate Japanese telephone books that were used to gather addresses for factories. At the beginning of November 1943, Kramer was promoted to Lieutenant USNR. In December, he was ordered to leave Washington and report to the Seventh Fleet Intelligence Center Unit #3, stationed in Hollandia, New Guinea. On December 8, Kramer arrived at the Navy shipyard in San Francisco and waited transportation for New Guinea. While waiting at San Francisco, Kramer was suddenly reassigned to the M.S. Tjisadane, an ex-passenger Dutch liner that was being used as a military transport. During the trip to New Guinea, Kramer became the ship’s unloading officer. As the unloading officer, Kramer would travel ashore and determine which Navy officers needed to be replaced and then escorted the replacements to their new unit. On January 15, 1945, the M.S. Tjisadane arrived at Hollandia, but during the trip Kramer caught a topical fever and was immediately sent to the 42nd General Hospital unit in Brisbane, Australia. After recovering, Kramer remained in Brisbane and reported to Royal Navy Commander Lionel Holmes Hopkinson, the commander of the Allied Translator and Interpreter Service (ATIS) in Australia. While assigned to the ATIS, Kramer and other JLS graduates interrogated Japanese POWs and translated intelligence. At the end of the war, Kramer was temporary stationed in Guam and assisted in translating Japanese newspapers for Admiral Chester Nimitz. On October 16, 1945 Kramer was temporary assigned to the 32nd Infantry Division, which was occupying Sasebo, Japan. In September, Kramer received orders from General McBride to meet the 126th Infantry Regiment in Kokura to be the language officer while the troops occupied the city. Due to mistakes in orders, Kramer arrived 6 days before the 126th Infantry Regiment. As a result of arriving early, and thereby being the sole representative of the United Sates occupying forces, Kramer had to deal with and became friendly with the city’s mayor, a retired general and former member of the Imperial Household. When the 126th Infantry arrived, the commander had no orders regarding why Kramer was assigned to his unit. Since the commander already had a language officer, Kramer was assigned to non-translating/interpreting intelligence duties. After three and half months with the 126th, on January 11, 1946 Kramer was reassigned and reported to Captain Follmer as an intelligence officer for the USS Nereus (AS-17). While Kramer was on the USS Nereus, it was in Sasebo Harbor, guarding 24 captured Imperial Japanese Navy submarines. Since Kramer spoke Japanese, he was to supervise the mechanical maintenance of the submarines, deal with disciplinary issues, and help with any non-mechanical problems. On April 1, the Allied Commanders determined that the Japanese submarines needed to be destroyed and ordered Operation Road’s End. Since Kramer supervised the Japanese crew, he was assigned to call the final roll call for all the Japanese crew before their submarines were sunk near Nagasaki, Japan. For Kramer’s actions, he received a Commendation for Performance from the Commander Naval Activities Japan. After Operation Road’s End, Kramer requested orders to return to the United States. Before being shipped back to the United States, Captain Follmer asked if Kramer would delay his departure and remain on the USS Nereus to write the history of Operation Road’s End for the Navy. Although writing the history would be the only duty, Kramer declined and expressed his desire to immediately return to the United States. While on inactive Reserve duty, Kramer was ordered to submarine duty at New London, Connecticut.

After his discharge from the Navy in 1946, Kramer began working for the CIA and worked primarily in Latin America until 1951. From 1954 to 1957, Kramer was a partner in the security brokerage form of Auerbach, Pollak and Richardson in New York City. Kramer then moved to Panama and worked for: the Corporación Industrial (1954-1957) and the Panama Cooperation Fisheries (1957-1960). In addition to working for the Panama Cooperation Fisheries, Kramer was also a staff consultant for the National Academy of Science from 1956-1957 and from 1960-1962. Kramer then retired in the early 1960s. While retired, Kramer published articles and books, which included The Last Manchu and Memories of a Secret Agent. He married Marie Louis Belden on January 5, 1955 and had one daughter, Theresa. In 1968 Kramer and Marie divorced. On April 6, 2008 Kramer died from a congestive heart failure. Kramer is buried at Oak Hill Cemetery in Georgetown, Washington D.C.


.5 linear feet

Language of Materials



Simon Paul Kramer (1914-2008) graduated in June 1944 from the US Navy Japanese Language School (JLS), located at the University of Colorado in Boulder. During World War II (WWII), LT USNR Kramer served as an interrogator/translator, intelligence officer, and served in US submarines in the Pacific. After WWII, Kramer worked for the CIA in Latin America until he retired in the 1960s. The collection contains: correspondence, military documents, WWII photographs, and drafts of his memoir, Memories of a Secret Agent, original/restricted correspondence, and a copy of Kramer’s published memoirs which were published in 2006.

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Repository Details

Part of the University of Colorado Boulder Libraries, Rare and Distinctive Collections Repository

1720 Pleasant Street
184 UCB
Boulder Colorado 80503 United States