Speaker: Walter Bawell, Author, retired US Army Colonel, and former President of AGBC National and President AGBC Bonn
When: Wednesday, 23 February 2021, 19.00-20.15
As past President of both AGBC National and AGBC Bonn, Mr. Bawell will lead-off with a brief outline of his background with the club. Then he will proceed to his core topic for the evening – espionage during last years of the DDR. .
Well before Mr. Bawell’s arrival at the United States Embassy in Bonn in 1983, the U.S. counter-intelligence apparatus knew there was a major leak of classified documents at the embassy. This was compartmentalized, need to know information, never shared until the March 13, 1991 apprehension of his former secretary, Gabriele Kliem, for espionage. He will provide us an eyewitness-to-history story of betrayal and crushing disappointment told in the background of intrigue, nuclear threats, protest movements, the elimination of nuclear missiles in Europe, German reunification, and the status of US Forces.
Recruited by a seductive East German Agent operating under a false flag as a journalist working for an organization dedicated to peace, Ms. Kliem would deliver over 1900 classified documents to the East German spy agency, the STASI. Unknowingly, she was the most prolific spy in the history of the Cold War. Ironically, her pilfered documents, along with info from three other sources not known to her, were key to convincing Moscow not to launch a preventive nuclear strike against NATO in November 1983. The consequences of a near nuclear strike convinced President Ronald Reagan to alter course and pursue elimination of nuclear weapons. The 1987 Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty signed with Mikhail Gorbachev eliminated all land based nuclear missiles on European soil. The 1987 Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty signed with Mikhail Gorbachev eliminated all land based nuclear missiles on European soil. But today the United States and Russia have cancelled their nuclear arms limitation treaties. We are back to square one, sleeping through, one minute to midnight.
Walter A Bawell, Colonel, US Army, ret. With two tours in Vietnam, command positions, Pentagon assignments and extensive tours in Germany during the Cold War as a Foreign Area Specialist, Colonel Bawell’s experience covered a broad geo-political spectrum. And he just happened to be in Berlin on the date of the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989.
As Chief of the Joint Programs Section, Office of Defense Cooperation, United States Embassy Germany, from 1983-1987, he organized and arranged negotiations between the US Department of Defense and the German Defense Department with regard to defense related projects including the stationing of nuclear capable Pershing II missiles. Subsequent to a command tour in Wiesbaden, Germany, Colonel Bawell was appointed as the Commander in Chief, United States Army Europe personal representative and adviser to the US Ambassador and to the German ministries of Defense, Finance, Construction and Transportation. He also was the Chief of the American Mission of the Sending States, responsible for successful renegotiation of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with the newly united German government.
After his retirement from the US Army, Colonel Bawell, worked for industry and later was elected as President of the American German Business Club, e.V. in Bonn from 2004-2013 and served as AGBC National President 1992-94. He is currently an entrepreneur and consultant/speaker on foreign policy.
His book, “Cold War Germany 1983, One Minute To Armageddon: The German Secretary,” is currently available in Kindle format on Amazon: https://www.amazon.de/Cold-Germany-1983-Minute-Armageddon-ebook/dp/B08CTL743X.
Education: USA War College (Geopolitical Science, Masters Degree Equivalent), USA Command and General Staff College 1976-77, Masters Of Science, Business Administration, Pennsylvania State University, and Bachelors of Science, Pennsylvania State University.
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