What type of lipstick did the OSS use in the field?

A WWII telegram authorizes an emergency pick-me-up for the pout

Written by Beryl Lipton
Edited by JPat Brown

In the final days of the Battle of the Bulge, January 1945, the Allied war effort was approaching, but hadn’t yet reached, a victorious end, and supplies were still required on the ground and in offices, military and intelligence, throughout Europe.

As one telegram collected in CIA’s declassified CREST archive reveals, not all of these necessities were armaments or standard stapler-type office artifacts.

In a curious communication sent on January 13, 1945 from London to Stockholm, the Agency’s predecessor, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), authorized a quick list of workplace wants.

First, pens …

Then, pencils …

And finally …

50 fresh tubes of lipstick.

The sender puts no further parameters around the pucker pigments’ purchase, though the final sentence assumes that whoever is making the buy will know exactly what kind to get.

The only other mention of lipstick from that era retrieved from CREST thus far appears in the March 1944 Month Report of OSS activities.

Know more about the United States use in the European war effort? Let us know at info@muckrock.com or via Twitter.


Image by Mark Phillips via Vimeo