John Magruder

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Person.png John Magruder  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(soldier, spook)
John Magruder.jpg
BornJune 3, 1887
DiedApril 30, 1958 (Age 70)
Alma materVirginia Military Institute, United States Army War College, United States Army Command and General Staff College
Member ofOffice of Strategic Services
After the WW2 Office of Strategic Services was disbanded in 1945, core elements of it were maintained in the new Strategic Services Unit (SSU) led by Magruder, a link to the creation of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in 1947.

Employment.png Office of Strategic Services/Deputy director

In office
January 1943 - September 1945

Employment.png Strategic Services Unit/Director

In office
October 1, 1945 - April 2, 1946
On April 2, 1946 the Strategic Services Unit was transferred to the Office of Special Operations

John L. Magruder was a Brigadier general in the U.S. Army. Among his offices was that of Deputy Director for Intelligence for the Office of Strategic Services. He played a formative role in the continuation of the wartime intelligence service with creation of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in 1947.


John Magruder was born on June 3, 1887, in Woodstock, Virginia. He attended Virginia Military Institute and graduated in 1909. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in infantry in 1910. He was transferred to the field artillery branch of the army in the next year.

During World War I, Magruder served with the 112th Field Artillery within the American Expeditionary Forces in France.

After the war Magruder was transferred to China, where he was appointed an assistant military attaché in Beijing. He served in this capacity until 1924, when he was assigned for study at Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. After his graduation, Magruder was transferred back to Beijing, now in the new capacity of military attaché.

During World War II Magruder served in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), as deputy director under the leadership of General William J. Donovan, from January 1943 to September 1945. General Magruder was responsible for the supervision and coordination of the Secret Intelligence, Counterespionage Intelligence, Research and Analysis, Foreign Nationalities, and Censorship and Documentation Branches.[1]

After the war, the OSS was disbanded. Core elements of it, however, were maintained in the new Strategic Services Unit (SSU), located in the then Department of War. This newly formed SSU was led by General Magruder.[2][3][4][5] Assistant Secretary of War John J. McCloy's initial instructions to Magruder directed him "to insure that the facilities and assets of OSS are preserved for any possible future use."[6]

Magruder played a formative role in the creation of the civilian Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in 1947,[7] which absorbed the SSU.

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  2. L. L. Montague, Walter Bedell Smith as Director of Central Intelligence (2014), p. 21 (Magruder at OSS).
  3. Peer de Silva, Sub Rosa. The CIA and the uses of intelligence (1978), p. 4 (Magruder at OSS, SSU).
  4. John Ranelagh, The Agency (1986), pp. 100-101 (Magruder at OSS, SSU).
  5. Thomas Powers, The Man who kept the Secrets. Richard Helms and the CIA (1979), p. 28 (Magruder at SSU).
  7. Prados, John (2006). Safe for Democracy: The Secret Wars of the CIA. Ivan R. Dee. p. xxiv