January 12, 1943

Searching Tesla's Room After His Death

[ *** denotes blackened information.]


Unsubs --- Equipment experiments and research of Nikola Tesla, deceased, *** espionage - M. Retel under above heading to the Bureau from this office dated Jan nine last.  Inquiry develops that Tesla died Jan eight, rather than Thursday, Jan seven, as SA *** stated in reference teletype.  On the night of Jan eight, Sava Kosanovich, George Clark, and Kenneth Sweezey visited Tesla's hotel with a representative of Shaw Walker Co. in order to open the safe in the room of Tesla.  Kosanovich later reported to Walter Gorsuch, office of Alien Property custodian, NYC, that he went into the room in order to search for a will of Tesla. 

Kosanovich and the others made the search of the safe in presence of three asst. managers of Hotel New Yorker as well as representatives of the Yugoslavian Consulate, identities of latter not yet known.  After the safe was opened, Sweezey, took from the safe a book containing testimonials sent to Tesla on the occasion of his seventy fifth birthday.  This book was arranged for Tesla by Sweezey.  Kosanovich took from the room three pictures of Tesla, two being enlarged newspaper pictures.  According to managers of hotel and Kosanovich himself, nothing else was removed from the room or safe.  The safe was then closed under a new combination, which combination is now in possession of *** Kosanovich.  On Saturday afternoon, Jan nine, Gorsuch and *** Fitzgerald of Alien property control went to hotel and seized all the property of Tesla, Consisting of about two truckloads of material, sealed all articles and transferred them to the Manhattan Storage and Warehouse Co. NY, where they are now located. At that *** time there were also in this warehouse approximately thirty barrels and bundles belonging to Tesla which had been there since about nineteen thirty four.  These have also *** been sealed and are now under orders of Alien Property Custodian.  In view of fact Tesla is a US naturalized citizen, Alien Property Custodian feels that its jurisdiction over property is doubtful but *** feels that no other agency will be able to get *** to this property for at least two days.  After that time it is possible that a public administrator will be appointed for the property who may take the property into his custody.  Tesla also had some property, *** alleged by informant Fitzgerald in this case, to be a working model of an invention in a safe deposit box in Governor Clinton Hotel in NY.  Iquiry shows that this was placed here by Tesla in nineteen thirty two as a security for four hundred dollars owed hotel.  This bill is still owed and hotel appears unwilling to release this property to anyone at least until *** debt is paid, but this office will be advised if anyone attempts to pay bill and obtain property.  Concerning Tesla hotel managers report he was very eccentric if not *** mentally deranged during past ten years and it is doubtful if he has created anything of value during that time, although prior to that he probably was a very brilliant inventor.  Therefore, any notes of value were probably those made prior to that time.  Kosanovich is a nephew of Tesla who described himself as formerly quote Yugoslav Minister of State unquote and now quote *** President of Eastern and Central Planning Board representing Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Poland and Greece, unquote.  Sweezey is a writer for Popular Mechanics and other publications who is *** desirous of publishing a biography of Tesla and therefore would like to obtain control of his notes for this work.  Clark is employed by RCA and would also provide storage room for Tesla's effects in order to use them in writing a biography.  Tesla at one time reported to be working on experiments for Yugoslavian government in exile.  It is desired that Bureau advise immediately whether it is interested further in this property for purposes of taking control of it.  Suggest that, in view of fact that the notes and other material would be highly technical in character and for that reason *** could not be reviewed *** except by a trained person the Office of Scientific Research Development might be interested.