By FOIA Research
on April 27, 2019 - Last updated: December 23, 2020

Eberhard Blum

Eberhard Blum (April 28, 1919 – July 9, 2003), born in Kiel, was the fourth head of the German Federal Intelligence Bureau Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) from 1982 to 1985.


  • 1919 Born in Kiel
  • 1937 Officer career
  • 1945 Studies in judicial and state science
  • 1947 Entered Gehlen Organization and became personal consultant to Reinhard Gehlen, afterwards Bundesnachrichtendienst
  • 1961 - 1964 Head of the subdivision "Personnel" of the BND
  • 1964 - 1968 Resident spy of the BND in London
  • 1968 - 1970 Head of Department IV Administration (Abeitlung IV Verwaltung) in Pullach
  • 1970 - 1982 Resident spy in Washington
  • 1982 President of the Bundesnachrichtendienst until 1985
  • 2003 † 9. Juli 2003 in Stuttgart


Blum had served in the Wehrmacht on the Eastern front during World War II, last in the position of a Rittmeister. After the war he finished his university studies in law and state science and in 1947 joined the Gehlen Organization, the precursor of the BND. He became personal consultant to Reinhard Gehlen under the codename HARTWIG.1

From 1961 to 1964 he was head of the subdivision "Personnel" of the BND. From 1964 to 1968 he became resident spy of the BND in London.

After his stay in London he returned to Pullach as head of Department IV Administration (Abeitlung IV Verwaltung), a position he kept until 1970 when major disputes with the then BND president Gerhard Wessel arose and he was transferred as resident spy to Washington where he remained until 1982.

He overtook the position as head of the Bundesnachrichtendienst in 1982 and remained in office until 1985. According to Ebrulf Zuber it was Rudolf Werner (alias KEMPE) who was ultimately responsible for the promotion of Blum:2

"When Klaus Kinkel unexpectedly and suddenly left BND presidency for state secretaryship in Bonn, search began for replacement. Within BND Dept I at that time, Zuber was deputy chief (and de facto chief) and Kempe was chief of Polish desk. Kempe approached Zuber (both are strong CSU supporters), explained his close relationship to Teltschik and latter's to Kohl, and suggested that Teltschik could be convinced to champion Eberhard Blum as replacement for the departed Kinkel. Advantages were that Blum had solid "pedigree", being from old, well-regarded family with impeccable military background (read free of any Nazi connections), Blum was one of "BND's own," which would be important from BND morale standpoint, and finally, Blum was known for his politically conservative views and would have backing of Franz Josef Strauss and the CSU party machine. Kempe further noted Kohl's alleged distaste for decision-making and that Teltschik, armed with above reasoning, would be presenting Kohl with easy solution to what had become vexing political football. Zuber liked Kempe's idea and accompanied Kempe to Bonn where Kempe sold idea to Teltschik and rest is history."

According to a contributor to The Oxford Handbook of National Security Intelligence, Wolfgang Krieger, Eberhard Blum was "the last head of the BND who had worked for the Americans," an assessment that certainly does not hold up at all.3

"By the time the BND was established in 1956 as part of West German rearmament within the NATO framework, the Bonn government had already abandoned its previous efforts to build up a military intelligence organization from scratch and with people of its own choice. This choice was never explained to the German public, though it met with considerable criticism from the parliamentary opposition parties. It seems that at the time the numerous political battles over the armed forces left no time and energy for the government to develop a coherent policy on foreign and military intelligence. In this way Gehlen and his associates, who had been intelligence mercenaries for the Americans over a period of ten years, gave the Americans a unique intelligence asset of sorts deep inside the West German government. The last head of the BND who had worked for the Americans was Eberhard Blum, recruited in 1957. He retired in 1985"

Blum died on July 9 in Stuttgart.

James Srodes book on Allen Dulles includes a description by Eberhard Blum of the relation between the Gehlen Organization and the CIA:4

"Allen Dulles was a tremendous father figure to us and a very impressive man. He had a capacity to make people trust him and follow him. He certainly showed confidence in Gehlen's project, and he stuck with us even when there was political opposition before we became official. I think the Gehlen Organization at the beginning of the Cold War had a monopoly on intelligence on the military threat from the east. But then the American technology began to have greater influence and effect. Our contribution to the CIA always remained strong in certain areas, but Dulles's philosophy always was to be independent as a national service and to get their own intelligence for their own needs. We were counted upon to help, but they never depended on us as the sole source of information. Dulles was never dependent on any of the allies, the French, the Israelis, or the British. He knew, although many thought otherwise at the time, that there never would be a NATO intelligence force to confront the Soviets. He knew, and he was right, that it would always remain a group of national services. You know, a book that will never be written is the relation of the BND and its contacts with the third world countries. It is interesting that we were never considered a colonial power in the third world. Many of the governments in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East had no direct memories of us, or Hitler, or even the First World War. So while they did not welcome their old colonial masters, or especially the United States, we found we were welcome. This was the time of the Cold War, and the nonaligned movement was very popular. We offered them friendship and aid, and were not perceived as colonialists, so we had a very good entrée. And I must say that worked too, even in countries in Europe that we had conquered under Hitler; even before we could admit to having political or military ties, there were good relations with the intelligence services. And despite the fact that we had been their enemies, Gehlen was very successful there. He had a political mind, like Dulles, that went beyond just swapping information for information..."

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