John Alexander Symonds
“I'd say: ‘join the KGB and see the world’ - first class. I went to all over the world on these jobs and I had a marvellous time. I stayed in the best hotels, I visited all the best beaches, I've had access to beautiful women, unlimited food, champagne, caviar whatever you like and I had a wonderful time. That was my KGB experience. I don't regret a minute of it ...”
"Sunny Jim" - my story about James Callaghan
I give the following story as a taster for what is to come. This was meant to be an Introduction to one of my books, all of which were blocked from publication by D-Notices. It seems that somebody doesn’t want me to tell these stories, but I can’t understand why.
Anyway, read through this little chapter and see what you think. It is all true, as anybody who was around at the time will be able to verify.
PROLOGUE “SUNNY JIM”
Throughout this book I mention various people that I met, bumped into, brushed against, or had various other forms of contact with from good friendship to confrontation. Some of these contacts definitely affected my life in one way or another. I have mentioned Moody and Virgo at the beginning of my story and later Marcel and then Nick and (of course) my wife Nelly throughout my story from 1975 to this date.
My father knew James Callaghan quite well. We were living in Wales throughout the war and for a few years thereafter. I was sometimes in their company but I was only a young lad then. My father considered Callaghan to be a ‘Bolshie Rabble Rouser’ in the early days (he was a friend of the ‘real’ Tax Inspector for that area) and then there is a ‘story’ attached to his sudden enlistment (aged 31) in the Royal Navy in 1943. (I think as a ‘ships steward’)? At the end of the war Callaghan popped up again, now as the Labour MP for Cardiff South (after the Labour ‘landslide’) and my father said that “The bugger has got his nose into everything” Their mutual friend was the then Lord Mayor of Cardiff, whom my father later wrote about (quite amusingly) in the ARDE’s in-house quarterly magazine.
Now fast forward ten years to 1957 and I am a probationary Police Constable at London’s Bow Street Police Station. I have just brought in two prisoners for the desk sergeants attention. I have arrested them for the offence of OPD (Outraging Public Decency) in a public urinal within the Convent Garden Market area. One of the men (an actor) is weeping (in a most effeminate manner) and the other, a small pompous man is shouting that he is a Member of Parliament and demanding to speak to the Chief Superintendent immediately. I am told to wait in the canteen whilst writing up my notes, and another officer is sent up to Supt Jones’ flat (above the Police station).
I had completed my notes and was prepared to give my evidence to the Desk Sgt when I was called back to the Front Office. The actor had stopped crying and was now preening himself and the arrested M.P was in a friendly huddle with the Chief Superintendent and another M.P who had now turned up at Bow Street after a phone call from the first. The arrested M.P who, according to my notes was named Driberg, said something to the others which caused a burst of laughter from all, and the second M.P turned to look at me. It was Callaghan our old Cardiff M.P !
The last time I had seen Callaghan he was an ‘eager-beaver’ desperate ‘net-worker’ Uriah Heep’ish in his eagerness to please and be accepted. No longer! He had put on weight and his face now had the patina of good grooming, food and wines. No longer Uriah Heep, he now exuded Power and Confidence. I later found out why. He was the Mr Fixit of the House’s of Commons and the Lords and the Great and the Good including certain members of the Royal Family a direct conduit between them and the corrupt senior Police who could ‘Arrange Things’ and there were a lot of ’things to arrange’ in those years! He also acted as the ‘middleman’ holding the money where relevant, at that time Callaghan was the ‘Parliamentary Advisor to the Police Federation’ and knew everybody worth knowing within the Met! That was his power base which he kept throughout his career and it enabled his rise to the top.
I was told that I should put my pocket book away and return to my patrol. A few weeks after I had arrested him, the nasty little bugger that I caught with his trousers down was appointed Chairman of the Labour Party and a few weeks after that I had left the Metropolitan Police and started work as a salesman for an import and export company in the City of London.
My father was right in his opinions of Callaghan who had now ruined my career in the Police. That incident was the last straw for me at that time.
Now fast forward 12 years to 1969. I had rejoined the Police Force in 1960 (thanks to the Callaghan inspired pay rises for the Police.) I had risen to the rank of Detective Sergeant and was waiting to go on to the Flying Squad which would have helped my career no end. In anticipation of this advance I was renewing all my informant contacts and busily seeking further potential informants. (The lifeblood of the Flying Squad.)
When an up and coming local criminal phoned me up to say that he wanted to give me some information, I put down the papers I was working on and went off to meet him, another one who could be of use to me on the Squad! The volunteer informant turned out to be one Michael Perry whom I had met briefly when some Nuneaton CID had brought him into Camberwell for questioning. Perry was very nervous and his information was to the effect that two Crime Squad Officers has fitted him up with dynamite and were demanding information from him in exchange for dropping the dynamite possession charges. I promised to try and help him and gave him a ‘soft’ recruitment spiel. I then went to Peckham and asked Jim Sylvester to pass on a warning to Bernie Robson whom I knew to be a friend of his. (They had served together at Chelsea).
Jim asked me to ‘keep an eye on’ Perry who sounded like ‘trouble’
Normally I would have kept a good mile between Perry and myself after that first meeting (as Jim did after my warning) but both Jim and Bernie had passed the last Selection Board for Detective Chief Inspectors and were just waiting for the vacancies to come up. They were both very well thought of as Detectives and I could find myself working with either one or the other (or both) as my chiefs, when I went onto the Flying Squad.
Perry phoned twice more over the next few weeks and I overcame my natural reluctance to again meet with this unsavoury young thief, but I had promised to ‘keep an eye on him’ and I knew that Bernie was still meeting him so all seemed OK . Bernie was now arresting numbers of the various gangs involved in the duplicate key robberies and I wondered if Perry had taken my advice to give the Police the information they wanted.
The second meeting lasted as long as it took me to light and smoke a cigarette and I repeated the No 3 recruiting speech, but this time with ‘knobs on’ i.e. He could help me and I could help him and we could ‘even work in together’ Perry seemed impressed.
The last meeting was a repeat of the first and second but this time with ‘knobs on the knobs’ i.e. we could not only work in together but I could actually work for him? Every little crooks dream? His very own tame bent copper. WOW!! When I later heard the recordings I heard Perry plaintively asking one of the reporters if they could ‘leave me out of it’. So Drury’s old recruiting speech had worked its wonders yet again?
A few days later I read the No 3 recruiting speech on the front page of the Times newspaper, repeated three times? The first was broken up and was in parts only but the other two were loud and clear and obviously repeats of the first speech. There was now one additional point. Perry was now claiming that I was charging him £50 per performance? The original delivery and the two repeat performances. Or he was donating this fee? What is it called? Appearance money? Well anyway it was ’Good Bye’ to The Flying Squad ! They were not ‘into’ comedians seeking publicity?
I did not deny the recruiting speech but the money allegation was a libel and a writ was issued to the Times that same day. (29th November 1969)? The Scotland Yard Investigation had started the previous evening when a copy of the newspaper was taken to the Yard and a ‘top man’ was then appointed to head it. Detective Chief Superintendent Fred Lambert had cracked the case before Christmas. It was all complete ‘billiards’ Easy!
The whole thing was a ‘get up’ by an ex safe blower name of Brennan who after spending most of his life in prison for failed safe blowing’s, had started a new life as a receiver of stolen property He became the ‘Mr Big’ that Bernie Robson and his merry men had been trying to track down, and it was his name that they tried to get out of Perry, with the aid of a piece of dynamite (or plasticene), Perry ran to Brennan for some help instead.
Brennan made a plan. He was ‘friends with’ one of the editors of the Times and he would arrange for Perry to complain directly to him. He had answered an advertisement in the Times for ex-criminals to advise their readers on the best way to protect their properties from burglars! ‘Peter’ (or Pete) had invited him up to the Times’ Offices in London and Pete apparently shared his hatred of, and contempt for, each and every London Policeman of that day. Brennan’s advice was later printed.
Brennan telephoned Pete and told him the ‘story’ Pete was interested and spoke to Perry. He then told Perry that he would send two ‘top reporters’ down to interview him and try to get evidence of the Police threats. The two ‘top reporters’ Lloyd and Mounter then spent several days interviewing the local crooks laid on for them by Brennan and Perry and then reported back to Peter who arranged for a Sound Engineering Company to supply recording equipment and a Sound Engineer to run the equipment. The reporters and the engineer and his assistant then spent several weeks telephoning and asking to meet just about every active ‘thief taking’ Detective in that part of South London. Several dozen?
All these calls were made from Perry’s mothers flat in the Peckham area. Perry’s mother a convicted ’hoister’ (professional shop lifter) was the person who in fact supplied my name and telephone number to the reporters as I had dealt with her when she visited Camberwell Police Station on occasion. There were about two dozen ’catches’ from the entrapment calls (offering information) and a dozen and a half meetings with Detectives were successfully recorded by the sound engineer. Three were printed on Saturday the 29th of November and the rest were going to follow on over the next two weeks! Some scandal it would have been and the ’making’ of Peter, Mounter and Lloyd as ’investigative reporters’?
It later came out at the Committal of Robson and Harris that all three had planned to ‘write a book’ about their heroic exploits in this case and had discussed bringing out this book as a ‘Penguin Special’ following on the system then in use by the Sunday Times Insight Teams. Investigate and report a scandal and start writing the book from day one on.
Well ‘not quite’ the whole get-up fell to pieces the minute Fred Lambert and his Sgt Baz Haddrell walked into the Times Office that same day. Scotland Yard had been busy the whole night after the reporters had brought in the next day’s paper and the supporting ’evidence’ and specialist people had looked carefully at the evidence of tape recordings, transcripts, photographs, statements and the various notes of evidence.
Everything was a complete and hopeless ‘mess’ This was ‘Pete’s work’. So who was Pete? Over there, the ’economics editor’ Peter Jay. ((I go into the ’evidence’ in the relevant chapter)) but Peter Jay kept on about “what daddy might say? or might think? or might do“? So who is ’daddy’ then? Wait a minute! There was an MP Douglas Jay who got sacked from his job at The Board of Trade a couple of years ago? Oh no not that daddy? Who is the other daddy then? Oh No! not him again not ‘Sunny Jim’ CALLAGHAN? Our own Boss, The Home Secretary.
Well now Mr Jay, the tape recordings you gave us are not all originals? Some are (the telephone conversations) but the others appear to be ‘edited copies’? We would like to see the originals! There appears to be no continuity of the handling of these tapes and that is important.
The photographs you have given us have no evidential value whatsoever! Do you have any others? The reporters notes are obviously concocted at a later date and their statements do not provide the evidence required to support their allegations.
The numbers of the bank notes that you allege were given to these police officers some weeks or months ago are genuine bank note numbers but according to the Bank of England these particular numbered notes were not printed and issued to clearing banks until last week? You were also using unlicensed short wave radios during your observations and that was illegal and will be reported to the Post Office.
We have spoken to your friend Mr Brennan and his young criminal associates and I now propose to take a statement from you which will be taken under caution. “You are not obliged to say anything blah blah”.
Deflation of “The Brightest Young Man In Britain” As he had once advertised himself! “The young man ’voted’ to go the furthest” etc. I heard that the Times Newsroom was busy but there were two miserable looking ‘dwarves’ standing forlornly in a corner as if in disgrace. One of the dwarves was described by the observer as “The ugliest looking dwarf he had ever seen”! So these were the two ’top reporters’ were they? Lloyd and Mounter? And then I remembered. I had seen two dwarves at the time of my first meeting with Perry. We were sitting in my car and the side street was deserted, when an ugly dwarf came scampering along past my car. He was carrying a large old fashioned type of tape recorder covered over with a piece of newspaper which was flapping about as he ran. Another dwarf was running along behind the first and was calling out (squeaking) stop, come back, not that way. this way! The ugly dwarf seemed to be very angry and continued on past my car The second dwarf appeared to be very effeminate and I assumed that it was a lovers tiff! Perry and I had made a joke about this incident but this was not recorded in the transcript. And therefore it was not on the tape recording?
There was another incident during the third and last meeting in the Grove car park. There was a nondescript looking man hanging about, he was wearing an old raincoat open at the front and a snappy sort of trilby hat. He appeared to be looking in all the cars and as he came towards our car he stopped and fiddled inside his coat. It was then I saw that he was wearing a camera around his neck with the lens protruding through his open coat. I made a joke about him and Perry responded to it, That conversation was not in the transcript or on the tape recording either. The photographs he had taken were now in the Times newspaper!
In both cases there was proof of editing where those conversations would have been? Psychological explanations anyone? ‘Perfect’ fit-up required?
The two reporters were brand new to the Times, one had come from some unheard of paper in Wales and the other from some local ‘free’ paper in the Home Counties. But both could be described as trained ‘journalists’! Jay on the other hand was neither an economist nor a journalist, He held some sort of honorary position invented when his father in law slipped him into the Times days before he lost his own job as Chancellor of the Exchequer from which position he had slipped Jay into the Treasury and from where Jay had been supplying the Times with nuggets of stolen information from his father-in-laws breakfast table, His previous journalistic history?
Lambert put a team into the Times to interview and take statements from everybody and the whole sorry story came out. ‘Certain people’ were not very pleased about what had gone on behind the scenes. They included the Editor and the Owner.
Rees Mogg had written both the Editorial and the Story and very prettily so, powerful and cogent. Nobody could ever doubt ‘his’ journalistic credentials. The only problem lay within the ’facts of the case’ around which he had constructed his pieces. The fact was, that all the ‘facts’ he had been fed by Jay and his dreadful dwarves were all ’ billiards’ And so!
Thomson was advised by his lawyers to pay a quarter of a million pounds into the High Court against my libel action and a short while afterwards similar sums against the writs of Robson and Harris. He was not pleased.
I was later asked why I had not been ‘warned’ by the capering dwarves carrying tape recorders and the typical cartoon Fleet Street photographer. All he needed was a card with PRESS written on it stuck in that hatband!
I replied that I noticed them and was not at all worried. Why should I be? I was meeting an informant for a five minute chat (as registered in my desk diary on each occasion) I was completely relaxed as the meeting was entirely innocent and in order. BUT if there had been corruption involved it would have been an entirely different matter, I would have been on high alert and VERY aware of any such incidents as those above. Perry was experienced enough to have realised that if he had attempted to give me money under those conditions I would have reacted very forcefully.
Anyway it was all water under the bridge now. Fagin Brennan and the cheeky young cockney chappies within his thieves den had tried it on, but had been let down by a bunch of incompetents at the Newspaper.
Lambert was one of our best senior officers, very competent, very honest, very experienced, very fair, very respected and absolutely immaculate on paper. He was wrapping things up and paid me a visit in Barbara’s wool and button shop where I was helping out for a couple of hours in the afternoons so she could do her shopping. Fred told me it was all over and complimented me on my calm behaviour during the scandal. He then bought some rather nice buttons which could go on his next blazer! Baz told me that the final report had gone in to the Director of Public Prosecutions office. It was very clear and to the point. The guilty persons should be charged and the innocent cleared. The Times team had clearly conspired with Brennan and others to pervert the course of justice! End. Or so we thought! Certain people were less than happy about the outcome of the investigation, Thomson was not happy about the amount of his money now sitting in the High Court and awaiting our collection.
Callaghan was not happy about his son-in-law heading the list of people to be charged with various offences, (starting with conspiracies) the ‘top reporters’ were into nervous breakdowns and believed themselves to be followed by assassins and so the counter-attack got under way.
A large number of crank letters suddenly appeared in certain newspapers expressing concern that the Metropolitan Police were being allowed to investigate themselves? Surely it was time for this anomaly to be put right? It seemed that people in general were not happy with the result of the investigation?
But how did they know of this result? It had not been published? Only the Investigating Officer and the Director of Public Prosecutions knew and of course Lord Thomson and the Home Secretary knew as well?
Callaghan then made ‘history’ (bearing in mind the ‘public disquiet‘) He issued an ‘edict’ that he would call in a (‘strong-man‘) Chief Inspector of Constabulary (Frank Williamson) and instruct him to choose an ‘outside’ team of Detectives to ‘take over’ (and re-do?) the Investigation?
Williamson duly turned up at New Scotland Yard with a motley gang of (soon to be notorious) Midlands Serious Crime Squad thugs in tow.
The mother of all rows immediately broke out as Callaghan had forgotten to annul those Acts of Parliament that had set up the Metropolitan Police and cast its duties responsibilities and privileges in bronze. As the then Commissioner was pleased to inform both Williamson and Callaghan.!
Williamson hung around the Yard for as long as he could, He and his men were set to silly pointless tasks until Williamson walked out on the job, resigned his post, lost his (automatic) knighthood, and gave numerous interviews criticising Scotland Yard but the ‘strong-mans’ voice was now that of a broken old man (which he then was). Thank you Mr Callaghan?
Callaghan had cunningly ‘muddied the waters’ The investigation that had been completed in three weeks was now to last a further three years and to cost the public purse multi-millions of pounds. It is still uncompleted but Jay + Co have escaped justice and Thomson has kept his money. Callaghan had failed in his ‘outside takeover‘ attempt but he still had the power and influence to effect a takeover from the inside and this is what he did. Commander Roy York was the Reserve Senior Officer on duty the night that the Times reporters arrived at Scotland Yard with their story and their ‘evidence‘. Roy appointed Fred Lambert to ‘investigate’ Fred said to Roy “I think you should know that I served with Bernie Robson at Chelsea” Roy said “Yes and I know Bernie too, just do your duty Fred” A few minutes later Fred appointed Baz Haddrell to assist him in the investigation. Baz said to Fred Lambert “ I served with John Symonds at St Mary Cray and he is a friend of mine” Fred said “That is OK Baz, I know you will do your job - so just get on with it” That is how it was!
Roy York was a young A/Commander who had taken over C1 when Wally Virgo was attached to the Home Office to head an inquiry into (I think) Prison Security. York had appointed Fred Lambert to the Times Inquiry and supported him throughout and in every way. Fred’s progress reports went up to Roy York. What Callaghan did was to release Virgo from his Home Office attachment, Wally returned to Scotland Yard C1 department and took back his old position, York as an A/Commander had to step aside, Virgo then picked a quarrel with Lambert and sacked him. Virgo then brought in his associate Moody to replace Lambert.
This was called ‘changing horses in mid stream’ the usual way to alter the submitted (unwelcome) conclusions of the previous investigators. So Callaghan had got his way again! The biggest winner was Thomson who had now taken control of the Times Inquiry as Virgo had been ‘in his pocket’ ever since the High Court ‘Belfast Telegraph ‘case a few years previously. All Lamberts work was destroyed and the case re-investigated.
I had been informed of all these ‘dirty tricks’ as and when they occurred I decided to ‘fight back’ and commenced my own investigations, but these were into the criminals who were destroying my life for their own ends. I investigated Callaghan, Thomson, Virgo, Moody and some others.
Through good friends I had access to all of Scotland Yard’s resources and particularly the C4 records and correspondence departments also the Special Branch Records. I also used my contacts in the RCMP and Pinkertons in Canada. This information was to be useful to me in the future. But not in any way then envisaged by me at that time in my life.
This information would eventually go into the hands of the KGB who (I understand) were to make very good use of it. So it was not ‘wasted’ I started to send some of this ‘counter-information’ back into the Times Squad and observed some very satisfying reactions. Moody decided that the only way I could have obtained the information that I had acquired was by breaking into the Squad Office and his ‘safe’ within?
For ‘Security’ the investigation had already been moved out of Scotland Yard and into rented offices in ‘Tintagel House’ nearby. Moody arranged for all the locks to be changed on all the doors and he changed his ‘safe’.
I enjoyed that but another leak had tragic results. I let it be known that I had discovered the true reason why the enquiry had been changed around and that was because Moody was trying to protect his ’bagman’ in the West End “Frankie the Barber”, Shortly afterwards Moody had Frankie murdered. (thrown off the roof of his own block of flats) Shame that?
Some time later I was warned that I would share Frankie’s fate if I did not leave the country immediately. I left but with the secret intention to return in time for my trial the following July. I instead ended up in the hands of the KGB. The KGB had previously acquired my ‘dossier’ on Police corruption which included all the information that I had obtained from all sources over the previous three years.
I was interrogated by the second in command of the Internal Security unit of the Counter Intelligence Department of the KGB’s First Directorate !
A very clever man indeed who went on to head this unit and then retire as a General. I used to call him Nick and he was an important part of my life for the next seven years. I do not regret one minute of his company.
Of course I was full of my beefs about this and that crooked policeman but I could see the sudden stir of interest when corrupt politicians were named, I was later to be further questioned by even more senior KGB officers and their main interest became centred around Jim Callaghan.
These same senior people were also very interested in Thomson of the Times. Particularly in his Criminal records in Canada and his ‘Great Escape’ from British Justice in the Belfast Telegraph case, courtesy of the crooked and greedy “Virgo of the Yard” I was getting more KGB kudos for my information against these two than for all the crooked cops in Scotland Yard put together. How does it work? It seems one bent Home Secretary is worth one hundred bent cops? One criminal capitalist newspaper magnate is worth how many bent cops? More or Less?
On reflection I suppose that they were right in their values. My first KGB interrogation was in 1973. Callaghan was out of power from 1970 to 1974. In 1975 I was invited to Moscow to celebrate the success of my ‘Beginners Luck’ enterprise and whilst there I was invited to ‘meet some people’ at what I later learnt to be their ‘Foreign Office’ There three men all very elegant and courteous, speaking perfect English wanted to talk to me about the British Foreign Secretary aka Sunny Jim.
I told them all I knew and noted that they were referring to my old notes within my ‘dossier’ They asked me if there was anything I could add but I told them that I had written down all I knew in 1970 to1972 and I had not gained any further information since then. They thanked me nicely.
On my return to Sofia I was met by ’Valentin’ my handler in Bulgaria and he told me to go and smarten myself up as I was going to meet someone very important. I had a wash and brush up and was taken to a large building in the very centre of the best part of town. There were UBO guards on the front door and we went up in the lift to the fourth floor.
There was a guard on the door of the flat opposite the lift. We went in and there waiting was the KGB General who was the de-facto ruler of Bulgaria. The General waved his arms around a beautiful apartment and said “Welcome to your new home John” I was very pleased. I later found that the previous occupant, who was the leader of the Greek Communist Party in Exile had been moved to another home to make way for me!
Not so very long after this event I was to meet this General (who was the Soviet Ambassador to Bulgaria) once more. I was invited to attend the Soviet Embassy in Sofia and who should be there but one of the ‘Diplomats’ from the Ministry of the Exterior in Moscow. The General, the Diplomat and myself then had a conversation that still seems surreal to me. It appeared that I was being asked to choose who should be the next Prime Minister of Great Britain? Viz “Michael Foot or James Callaghan? Which one would you choose?” and WHY? It seemed that they were competing for this job (and Foot had narrowly won the first Party vote) I went all out in support of Michael Foot of course. My father had admired Foot (and the whole Foot family et al) and I did too but of course I hated Callaghan, so as far as I was concerned it was ‘no contest’ in their popularity stakes. I went home and told Nelly about this meeting.
What a fool I was. I had a lot to learn about the ‘great game of politics’ I was later told what happened next! All the ‘agents of influence,’ All the GB Communist Party agents (particularly Scottish Communists) All the far left MP’s and everybody else instructed to back Callaghan. He won.
The honest, decent, good-man, champion of the poor, and of the workers, and of building a socialist paradise for all etc ….Brilliant intellect, Spell Binding Orator, Author, Leader . . .cast aside, nay sabotaged by the great Soviet in favour of a thoroughly dishonest and corrupt reprehensible man.
Mr ‘Sunny Jim’ Callaghan WHY? Because the KGB knew it could exert ‘influence’ over Sunny Jim (if not recruit him outright) It could buy him!
Whereas, poor old Michael Foot for all his far left ideas and policies was the last sort of man the KGB would want to see in power. He was Honest and he was a Patriot. There was no way into him. They did not want him.
All this was first written down in 1980 in my prison cell. I have no doubt that all I wrote was seen by the Security Services whose private cell I was residing in. (My next door neighbour was the sole survivor of the Iran Embassy siege) Strange men in ‘civvies’ came and went at will and the ‘screws’ hurried to carry out their orders and requests? Owned by SS!
I therefore assumed that this account was in ‘their’ records? I was most surprised to read some fifteen years later that the KGB defector Oleg Gordievsky had written that Michael Foot was known to him as a KGB agent? I could not believe my eyes. It could only be disinformation to protect a real KGB agent politician? Such as Sunny Jim Callaghan for example? I later heard that this disinformation was fed to Gordievsky by his MI6 handler, which, if so, was rather a dirty trick on the Sunday Times who had to pay out a huge sum to Michael Foot in compensation and we all know who that ‘handler’ was? . . . . . Don’t we Mr S?
When I returned to Moscow in the Spring of 1979 I walked into a bit of a ‘flap’ Where have you been? We expected you a week ago? I explained that when I left Australia the temperature was +50 degrees plus and I read that in Moscow it was +50 degrees minus (records in both zones?) So I stopped off for a few days a couple of times to diminish the shock .
I was told that the ‘job’ would have to be done that night, so an hours sleep and a bath and off we go. I was going back into the British Embassy where I last was in 1974/5. I was to use the same old 2nd Directorate’ silly’ passport last used when courting ’Vera’ viz Jean-Jacques Baudouin a French Canadian Professor of Organic Chemistry. Hair Fair (blond in Passport photo) Blue eyes Height 5ft 5ins. Yes it was a suicide trip? This is a nice way to end my career as a KGB agent? Obviously I had to be cued in on this one! (OR tie me with rope and put me in a sack!) I was fully briefed. It was to be a staged ‘confrontation’!
I had done confrontations before, I enjoyed them, Extra special adrenalin surge. Nick had once come out to Africa to back me up in a confrontation with a very senior Chinese Diplomat named Wun Hung Lo (or similar) I had to try and give him a blackmail note “Meet us about this…or else“! And of course there were quite a few on the mercenary side of things.
I was told that I was selected for this task by the ‘very top bosses’ and Mitrokhin confirms it! Andropov, Kryuchkov and Grigorenko you could not have more ‘top’ than that? The Chairman himself, the head of the First Directorate and the head of the Second Directorate. The KGB Board.
Can anyone seriously believe that these three men would convene a meeting to agree that I should try to pick up a young lady who had quite a reputation around the currency bars, nightclubs (and men) of Moscow.
This was a Second Directorate job (so not in archive) and so someone in the Embassy had been compromised. (and recruited?) His true loyalties need to be tested. I had done this before. I will be well supported and will be able to leave the Embassy no matter what happens. I was able!
I was to enter the Embassy ‘social club’ a sort of basement where low level staff and their friends could socialise, Russian staff also allowed.
An English woman would approach me and I should socialise with her. If anyone speaks to me answer politely (as Prof Baudouin) If anyone tries to detain/arrest me a fight will break out and I should leave the premises. A Police car will be waiting outside to take me away from that area.
Everything went like clockwork. I was dropped off near the Embassy and walked up to the Police box near the gate. Two very tasty looking cops in the box. I offered my passport, one took it but did not open it. He winked at me and swivelled his eyes towards the Police car. As I looked the back door flew open by itself, and then slammed itself shut. I had seen this with the Taxi’s in Tokyo. (I could run up and dive in). Went into club and some sort of doorman (Russian) nodded and let me in (another on side?).
The club was just as sad as I remembered it, ‘low level staff’ was a good description. A short plump fair haired woman approached me and addressed me as ‘J-J’ I had seen her around over the years that I had visited Moscow. She had been talking to a Russian man that I recognised as the KGB son of General Grigorenko, who had often been in ‘Erica’s’ company in various currency bars and clubs This was getting interesting?
Suddenly the internal door at the far end of the club opened and a tall patrician looking man just stood there. The bar fell silent and Erica took my hand in hers and turned to face the man as if to say “Here he is”.
The tall man came straight towards us stopped an arms reach away Put his hands behind his back, leaned back on his heels and looked down his nose at me. A most unfriendly and insulting thing as far as I was concerned. Only once before had that happened to me and that was when the Assistant Commissioner came to the Police Nursing Home looked down his nose at me and ordered me to be evicted. I could feel rage.
I raised my eyes very slowly and saw that I was looking straight up this mans nose. As I did so the nostrils flared and I had a flashback of Kenneth Williams flaring. As my eyes met his I saw contempt as if to say I know who you are. So I gave him my own special ‘evil eye’ (with evil grin) and silently replied “And I know who you are too” The man then suddenly ‘turned his back on me ‘ and walked out of the room. One up to him there as I had no chance to give that back. So confrontation over.
And now the worst bit THE TEST what is he going to do next? Nothing?
Or send the Marines in to arrest me or whatever? All the above had taken place in total silence. After the Ambassador left the club there was a babble of conversation. It seems that was the first time ever ANY Ambassador had entered the low level staff club. It was unheard of.
The next hour or so was a bit of a strain, I would rather have been enjoying a very violent punch up with the Embassy Marines or whatever But 9pm arrived and it was time to close the club and all to leave, which we did. It seemed the Ambassador had passed the KGB test, and he presumably, would have failed the SIS test? I was glad that was over!
The next thing was that the Ambassador had suddenly disappeared? It was maybe the next day and he was gone? Had he returned to the Foreign Office to tell them he had been compromised (This had happened before).
No! It soon came out that the Ambassador had returned to the UK to take over MI5? Unbelievable ? Under the circumstances? But true.
Sunny Jim had been up to his cunning tricks again. It seems that he suddenly realised that he was about to be defeated and lose power! Like all corrupt Dictators, Presidents and Prime Ministers the overpowering need must be to cover their arses, who can do that?
Your successor? Or if not, your own Secret Service Chief ‘slipped in’ at the last moment. This is not new. It has been standard through the ages. For example Yeltsen slipping in Putin and so on. The ideal protector should be some person who is intimately compromised together with you. So when and why was Howard Smith compromised? By whom and on behalf of whom? I have always believed that Callaghan was KGB.
The truth started to come out with the arrival of Herbert Keeble the successor to Howard Smith (The Spymaster). Keeble was a gregarious and outgoing man (with nothing to hide) He apologised to everybody about his Russian. It seems that he had just started his one year Russian course in preparation for taking over the Moscow post (up to lesson 6) when Sunny Jim grabbed him by the arm to tell him that he wanted Howard Smith back in London for a job.
Keeble went straight out and Smith came straight back. Days later Callaghan was out, but Smith was in (just) So what about Sir Michael Hanley who had been a very efficient and respected Director General since 1972. Was he sacked and if so why.
Was it as brutal as the sacking of Sir Peter Ramsbotham a couple of years earlier to make way for his idiot son-in- law who brought disgrace and shame to that post, as did his wife (Sunny Jims daughter Margaret).
And much else along these lines, if anyone was interested? But no one was. I sent a resume of all this (plus the MI6 men I had recruited) and a number of other tit-bits of information to the Director of MI6 through my lawyer, Ben Birnberg, The reply came that they were not interested in interviewing me and I was deposited in a special cell at Brixton Prison. I was ‘incommunicado’ for the next eighteen months and when I emerged ’blinking’ both Callaghan and Smith were long gone, It was ’History‘!
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