There are two things about this case we will probably never know: who and what the Somerton Man was. This means the only way forward is by incremental means, one of which is by trying to find signs showing the police were in some way responsible for hiding his identity and purpose.
It has been established that the UK post-war government led by Clement Attlee and the Australian federal government led by Ben Chifley signed and enacted a secret agreement to import an approved list of German scientists, chemists, doctors, propulsion engineers, explosive experts and rocketry technicians together with other technical personnel for employment in Australia in what was the beginning of the Cold War arms race. The Agreement was called the Anglo-Australia Joint Project. The once top-secret files for 1948/1949 are publicly available in the Kew archives. More files are believed to be held in ASIO’s early archives, their availability to the public yet to be tested. It is thought the Somerton Man’s true identity might be found there.
Several pages of names from the 48/49 files have been published here.
Between 1946 and 1949, scores of Germans, many of them Nazis* agreed to leave the ruins of their homeland to live and work in utmost secrecy in Australia, some of them at the Salisbury explosives complex which was situated only thirty-four kilometres from Somerton Beach.
It’s also been established that the South Australian police (1) withheld crucial evidence from scrutiny, (2) delayed conveying the finding of crucial evidence to the press and (3) allowed the press to muddy the water by publishing false facts about the evidence on at least two occasions.
In other words, the police were in some way responsible for hiding the Somerton Man’s identity and purpose, and given the decades-long secrecy that surrounded the settlement of these Germans in Australia so soon after the war in Europe ended – a war that cost over nine thousand Australian lives – it becomes evident that Jessica Harkness’ Higher Authority was just that.
Header pic is of Doc Evatt, Ben Chifley and Clement Attlee.