Ironically, Garbo’s reputation among the Germans was reinforced by his information about the D-Day landings in Normandy and on July 29th he received the following message:
With great happiness and satisfaction I am able to advise you today that the Führer has conceded the Iron Cross to you for your extraordinary merits. A decoration which, without exception, is granted only to first line combatants. For this reason we all send you our most sincere and cordial congratulations.
Humbled Garbo responded:
I cannot at this moment, when emotion overcomes me, express in words my gratitude for the decoration conceded by our Führer, to whom humbly and with every respect I express my gratitude for the high distinction which he has bestowed on me, for which I feel myself unworthy as I have never done more than what I considered to be the fulfilment of my duty.
Member of the Order of the British Empire
Juan Pujol is the only person honoured by both sides of the Second World War, since the British named Garbo Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE), a distinction that is only granted to citizens of that nationality.
And breaking the tradition had to be done very discreetly, avoiding the usual announcement in the London Gazette and including his name in a secret annex in the General Chancellery of the Orders of Knighthood.
The medal was given to him by Sir David Petrie, general director of the Security Service, at a banquet held in his honor shortly before Christmas 1944, as Juan Pujol tells us:
I was very proud to be given the MBE during the war, although it had to be presented to me privately. I had prepared a little speech for the occasion and, when I had been given it, all those present began to bang on the table to congratulate me. It was a very moving moment.