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History Notes Issue 14 [February 1999]

The Zinoviev Letter of 1924: ‘A most extraordinary and mysterious business’

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(A 1nost extraordinary and 1nysterious business ': The Zinoviev Letter of 1924

Foreign &

Gill Bennett hief Historian ommonwealth Office


Contents Page

Glossary List of Illustrations

II II

Introduction Chapter I: The Context Britain in 1924: the first Labour The ovitt Union in 1924 The Intelligence world

vemment

4 5 12

27 27

British Intelligence ovitt Intelligence

32

Chapter II: The Letter

34

In earch of the Zinoviev Letter: the 1m Thurn tory The Zinoviev Letter and the Foreign Office: prote t and publication Gregory the Zinoviev Letter and the Francs scandal The unanswered question Chapter III: The Investigation The search for truth: the Lcndon angle

The search for truth: the Riga angle Conclusion

40 47

5 5

72 84

Annexes Annex A: Text

of the Zinoviev Letter as received by '], on 8 October 1924 Annex B: 1Yrillic text of the Zinoviev Letter as received by '], on 12 December 1924 Annex C: Facsimile of the Foreign )jfice ote to M. Rakovsky, 24 October 1924 signed by J.D. egory Annex D: opy of a document found at 'F 'B Headquarters when raided by the police on 14 October 1925: memorandum of 26 March 1924 on TIe ituation in and the Immediate asks of the British ommunist Party Annex E: eeret ervice ommittee Report 1925 Annex F: Report of the Board of nquiry appointed by the Prime Minister to inve tigate certain tatements qffecting ivil ervants

Bibliography List oj previousfJ published F 0 History

3

1 2 1

5

115

124

ote

127


GLOSSARY ommuni tInt rn tional mmuni t Party or r t Brit in ommuni t P r r th

Documents on British For ign Policy 1 1 -1 3 Documents on Briti h Policy Dokumenty vne hney poLitiki Policy Document

P liti al mmanding ard/

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Front cover Facin p. 6 Facing p. 14 Facing p. 34 Facing p. 48 Facing p. 5 Facing p. 74

Fa in p. 75 Back cover 11

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'A Dl.ost extraordinary and Dl.ysterious business' 1 : the Zinoviev Letter of 1924 Introduction

On 8 Octob r MacDonald a Prim Mini t rand d feat d in th Hou of of

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touchstone for my researches and I have relied heavily upon its meticulou detail. The memorandum also draws extensively on mat rial which is already op n to public inspection. This includes Treasury and Home Office as well as Foreign Office records, and records of the U tate Department consulted at the National Archives in Washington. I am grateful for the help given by Archivists in all these departments and institutions, and for permission to quot from their material. At an early stage in the work it beam 1 ar that an important part of th jigsaw would be incomplete without con ulting mat rial in th Ru ian ar hives. I th refor visit d Mo ow with Mr K.A. Bishop, until r ntly the FCO's Principal onference lnt rpr t rand m mb r of th a t rn R arch roup, and consult d a range of sourc relevant to the Zinovi affair, in luding re rds f the Ex utiv mmitt e of th Politburo of the ntral Committ of th th entral ommitt of th to xpr my thanks to th rvi d ration, th D partm nt f Hi tory and R ords in th Mini try of or ign Affair , and th Ru sian Centre for th Pre rvation and tudy of 0 urn nts n nt mporary Hi tory (th ÂŁi rm r Marxist-L nini t In titut ), 11 f wh m offi r d a ess, advi , do urn ntati n and fa iliti s. h Russian Foreign Int llig n ervi ( VR) al xt nd d sp ial c peration t u , pr viding b th d urn ntation and th valuabl opp rtunity to dis uss th Zin vi v 1 T ar v, -auth r f The Crown Jewels. inally, I am affair with par icul rly grat ful to th Russian Amba ador in L nd n, Hi 11 n y Mr Yuri kin, ÂŁi r hi h lp and n urag m nt in my qu st.

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frequ ntly br athtakingly auda ious, of pas ionate but rar ly undivid d all giance.

Britain in 1924: the first Labour Government Ram ay MacDonald, Prime Mini t r of th fir t Briti h Labour ov rnm nt whi h t k ÂŁIi in January 1 24, did not xpect that g v rnment to la t long. Ind d, he and his Ministerial c 11 agu emed om what urpri d t find th m 1 in p w r at all, baring ut th verdi t f th v t ran Briti h mmunist Harry Pollitt, wh t Id th Pra idium f th of th n 3 January that' h r f th to the Lab ur Party than to any n th r ult w uld put th m in th f at t th plit within th Lib ral ~ r

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Union was one of the governm nt's first acts on oming to pow r.ll In it search for improved bi1at ra1 r lation ,th gOY rnment wa only ontinuing th poli y of its ons rvative pred es or which had sign d a trad agr ment with th ovi t nion in 1921 n gotiated against a ba kdrop f aggr ovi t propa anda and vo al prot st by som on rvative again t th ovi t n gotiat r .12 R 1ation sinc th n had b n stormy how v r, mainly du to th y temati ampaign wag d by th mintern to und rmin Briti h rul in vari u part of th Empir. In 1923 th on ervati gOY rnm nt had thr at n d to t rminat th rad Agr m nt unl s th ovi t a pt d a ~ rmula by whi h th y und rt k t 'r frain fr m h undertaking again t r at Britain, and fr m ndu ting ut id any ffi ia1 pr paganda dir t r indir t gain t th in titution upp rt with fund or in any th r form p r on r mpir ), and 'n t t b di r ag n i s r in tituti n wh t spr ad di nt nt r t fom nt r b Bion in ny part f th

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Labour and Ru sia: The attitude oj the Labour Parry to the

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unl ss the R g ts money in s m form or an th r - and it will certainly not g t it until experienc ha r tored confiden x pt a part of an agre m nt betw en th two governm nts - w mu t b c nt nt to giv up all id a of resuming normal relations; wor than that, it may probably b taken for granted that, hould th pr nt n gotiations break down relations will b v n I atisfa tory than if th y had never be n tart d. 20

D spit a m morandum by out strong r a n against guarant ing a loan to th abinet ga way although impo ing nditions: if th viet gOY rnm nt a pt d provi ion r garding mp nsati n for Briti h b ndh lders and prop rty own r , th British gOY rnm nt would a p a g n ral treaty whi h provid d ÂŁ r n g tiation b tw n th bondhold rs and th ovi t g v rnm nt; if th u ful, a third tr ty (th s nd wa mm rial tr aty) w uld b drawn up paving th w y r th British gOY rnm nt' guarant of a 1 an. 21 ft r final t n r und of n t!at! n th draB tr ati w r ign d at th I th PI nary m ting n 8 August. Ma D nald warn d th Ru sian d 1 gati n that 'th r will b v ry onsid r bl pp sition to b v r m b fore w an g t th tr aty fin lly ttl d ', 22 and th tr ati w r tabl d in parliam nand 1 ft t Ii v r th r , th b ttl r th ir r tifi a i n d b rr d until th autumn. h gift nald 's p liti al pp n nt . ns rvati in t th tr 'R d P ril'

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Workers Weekry and wa pr par d to writ a 1 tt r to that ÂŁIe t, made a onviction unlik ly. 27 But the damag had b n don , and Ma D nald clumsy handling of th affair in luding making a tat m nt in Parliam nt in viden of abin t minut s r at d a bad dir t ontradi tion to th impr ion v n if, as h rna Jon ' Whitehall Diary impli it wa th r ult of 0 rw rk and onfusion rather than d lib rat pre ari ati n.28 h fi 11 n th is u with gl , oming a it did at ju t th right tim ampaign again t th go rnm nt n th Ru ian tr ati . ÂŁIair, with how v r Lib ral opini n wa utrag d by th its 1 ar impli ati n ( n ur g d by th mmuni t ) that th withdrawal of n h d n fi r d n th gOY rnm n t by th had put Ma th b x: alth u th wh put d wn a m ti n f nsur wh n parliam nt r nv n d at th nd f am ndm nt t th moti n that th g rnm n ur , and i 1 ar that y thi Ma n Id w 1 ' r ard d thi ind d w nt d t ur p iti n t r furth r fi f th

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document, to arri e: w mu t n w a k " h th r the Soviet Government to d pat hit.

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The Soviet Union in 1924 r

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By th time of Lenin's death, the supremacy of the Party was well established, and its organs of control, whether bureaucratic through local and central committees and organisation, or exercised through compulsion and terror by state security agencies, had Ru sia in a firm grip which was bing extended by for e to oth r parts of the Union. Whil power formally lay with the Council of People's Commis ars (Sovnarkom), the x cutive arm of the All-Russian Congress of oviets, r al authority lay with the Party, and ovnarkom was in practice the xecutive arm of th Central Committe of th CPSU and its Politburo: 'That was where policy wa d id d - by member of the Coun il of Peopl 's ommissars m ting in a dift rent capacity as leaders of th Communist Party, th n putting n th ir oth r hat as P opl 's Commi sars and giving rd rs through the tat rna hinery, the difIi r nt gOY rnment d partm nts :£ r whi h they w re r sponsibl , for th policy to b carri d out. '33 Whil th r may hay b n fricti n, both b tween gOY rnm nt and Party and b tw en m mb r of the Central Committ e it If, th r was no d ubt of th latt r' auth rity: he ntral roughly in it Many fit va ant pI

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The promotion of revolution in other countri wa Zinoviev' job a Pr id nt of the Comintern. The records of Comint rn Exe utiv Committ m ting contain many exampl of the approval of draft 1 tter to omrnunist parti in countri thought to be ripe or ripening for revolution, xh rring party 1 ad rs to greater effort, more fficient organisation and rel ntI ss pres ur on 'corrupt' capitalist government. The e messages wer targ tted particularly toward ountrie wh re the bourg ois y tern of government seem d to breaking down under a tide of ocial unr st and industrial trifl, and pro pe t for r volution seemed promising. While th despat hand d liv ry of orne f th s lett r an be auth nticated, many more w r report d which mayor may not have b n g nuine; it was routine for the ovi t lead r to d ny that they wer in iting revolution or unrest in other ountri s, and difficult if not impo ibl to d t rmin wh n th y wer t lling th truth. Thi i illu trat d by an arly 'Zinovi v I tt r' pub1i h d in I 20, wh n the Deut cke Zeitung of 5 ov mb r print d th t xt of a I tter uppo dly nt from Riga by Zinovie in ptemb r to the ommunist Work rs' Party f G rmany (KPD), r garding joint military a tion by G rman and Rus ian r volutionari .38 In July 1923 th Bulgarian Mini t r of th Int rior, M. Ru ff, told th Daily Express that Zinovi v and th r lading Bol h vik had nd avour d to prom te a r vol uti n again t th n w Bulgarian g v rnm nt, an all gation upp rt d by r fI r n in his p h f 18 January I 24 to th 13th ongr s of t a 'big mi tak ' by th omint rn durin the ummer in Bulgaria fI llow d by an arm d ri ing, whi h fI r th fir t tim, that ountry' .39 Th r is no doubt, ply invol d in prom ting th abortiv how v r, that in 1 ommuni t r v luti n in rmany In tob r a poli y D r whi h h op nly ngr in January 1924 that th ntral admitt d at th 13th Party f th mmuni t Party, th Po1itbur au sic], and I my If f pI ill n tw n th ovi t 1 ad r a t n ourag r voluti n in rmany in 1923 had ntribut d gr atly urr unding th r gi n 1 upri ing whi h ollap d or w r d, fa t whi h Zin vi v a knowl dg d but attempt d to h.4

nt

h in hi d pat h 24, .. V. ibid.

unt

f v nt in

k, op. cit., pp. 13 - 2. /; ide tory ( nd n, 1 ), pp. 58- . Bull

. 78 of 31 January


f th

wa sent through th official repre entati n in Investigation (FB wh Armour of the in tru tion " In D I tt r for publication of provenan :

nt

Briti h of

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Th ori 'nal in tru ti n w r while th th

Zin vi v d ni d h t h h int r ting parall 1 wi h ommuni t P rty a y r la r.

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10


International' on 19 December 1923, just after the election, contains a somewhat contradictory message. It begins by stressing the responsibility which lies with the CPGB: The radical changes in the political life of your country, which will lead to the formation of the first Labour Government in England have placed upon you th great and responsible work of preparing for the grand cause of the ov r-throw of the yoke of capitalism and the pseudo-socialist leaders, who will endeavour to arrest the historic process of the advent to power of the British proletariat. The Labour Government, in the vent of it not meeting with any obstacles from the side of the bourgeoisie during its first steps will, undoubtedly, in th future, in carrying out its programs, encounter intenser resistance on th part of indu trial and trading bourg oisie. After the period of p aceful cohabitation, a period of acute class struggle will be started into which will be dragg d not only the middle-class and lower lass s of th bourg oisie but al 0 th proletariat, whom the Labour Party will end avour to xploit for its own purposes. Upon you it will d volv to convert thi truggle into civil war ... This app ar to imply that th CPGB hould hold back from radical action until th Labour gOY rnm nt g t into troubl , or its polici s proved sufficiently radi al t pr vok unr t and v n a pr -r v lutionary situation in Britain although, a th 1 tt r c ntinu d, 'we know how gr at and difficult is your ta k in u h a pr foundly burg oi ountry a ngland'. Aft r thi , how v r , the 1 tt r t ut a 1 ng Ii t f 12 'indisp nsabl ' ours of action for th CPGB, of whi h th following xampl s (which for shad w th pt mb r 'Zinoviev 1 tt r') t illu trat th t n :

(2)

th

mass s in favour of abolition of landed w rk r

(5) d mand fr m th Labour v rnm nt th cation of all ppr i n nd pr ur by Briti h om ials in th coloni s parti ularly in Indi ; th r nun iati n of all hostil or If-int r p Ii y in Afi hani tan, P r ia and Egypt. En rg ti ally to truggl for th mpl t ind p nd n f India anad and Au tralia . . .

(11 )

nd m di iplin th privil


committees elected by th oldiers. In the avy to form hip and squadron committees. To pread pr paganda with the obj forming Councils of Workmen oldier and ail r D puti for the purpose of seizing power and governing th ountry ... 43 It would seem difficult to recon il working for th di int grati n of th Labour Party while making a serie of d mand ~ r a ti n fr m a Labour government. Other evidence, however, ugg t that th recognised that in practice ther w re great r advanta t b supporting Labour than from undermining it, alth u h th should endeavour to retain th ir ind p nd n . In a 1 tt r 1924 Karl Radek, a member of th mint rn admonished the British Communist Purc 11 with th f that th

nly d

Up till that mom nt th mmuni t Party mu t r work of attracting th 1 ft wing f th demand of th L ft Wing f th L b composition of th Gov rnm nt, representativ s from am ng t it supported. It is of great r advanta the fall of the Governm nt, it bankrupt y intere ts of the working la h uld that no representativ s of th L ft Wing h

This 1 tter, signed by memb r of th Briti h Secretary Kolarov, was included in a' rth rn umm British Communist Party dat d 26 F bruary I 24 whi Office, Scotland Yard, th India ffi , 1 ni 1 ffi from the SIS copy: the FO opy ha not b n f, und in search other Departments' file wh r a opy m y urviv

43

H

A copy of this letter rea hed

45

Minutes of 30 January 1924, Ru ian

I

ry' n h w ir ul and W r fil .

through our s in B rlin . ntr , R

18

4 5/ I

/1

l


as these may as a consequence of such an event, come to an agreement all the more easily with the Communists. 46 The authenticity of this letter would seem to be corroborated by a despatch sent by the US Legation in Riga to the State Department on 9 June 1924, enclosing a confidential report of a meeting called by Zinoviev on 18 March at which plans for anti-British propaganda were discussed. Zinoviev 'roundly accused' the Central Committee of the CPGB of 'lack of energy, weak organisation and incompetence in the selection of workers', and suggested that they should be sent a programme for an agitation campaign, the main points of which he had drawn up. These points, which appear to have formed the basis for the 18 March letter, included the following: 'In carrying out the agitation campaign . . . the Central Committee must be especially careful to avoid at all costs anything aimed at the overthrow of th MacDonald Government, as this would not suit the interests either of the Sovi t Governm~nt or of the IKKI' .47 It is worth mentioning on other document, interesting in that it ' does not appear to hay reached IS in the same way as other such documents, and indeed did not com to light until a copy was found at CPGB Headquarters when they w re raid d by th police on 14 October 1925: it was not available as evidence during the Zinoviev affair. This is a memorandum by Zinoviev dated 26 March 1924, entitled 'The Situation in and the Immediat Tasks of the British Communist Party.'48 Its reasoned rather than polemical tone suggests that it wa intended for an internal readership. Zinoviev argues that the tim has om 'when a mass communist parry must be at last formed in Britain': for the first tim, with th Labour gov rnment, 'real objective conditions' exist for the stablishm nt of such a party, but 'quite frankly ... the British Communi t Party is far from having come up to this task'. Zinoviev's pr s ription for th correct cour of action on the part of the CPGn 1 arly nvisag making us of th Labour government to achieve their ends, inducing th 'mas s' to put their d mands to the government while at the sam tim drawing th gov rnm nt into r pressive measures which would expos Labour in its true colours: In a word, C mmunists must now not act as the advocates of the unit d fr nt with Macdonald' Cabinet ministers, but as men able to organis a r al unit d front with the advanced sections of the workers in th trade union and among th unemployed, as men who can politi ally tak the imp rialist 'Labour Party' by the throat. This lett r, r eived by SI Scotland Yard.

46

47

Riga de pat h No. 2181 to

See Ann x D below. h Exe utive mmitte f th authenti .

48

from its Riga station, was also cir ulated to the Foreign Office and tate Departm nt of 9 June 1924, NARA, RG 59, 841.00B/38. fa t that a 0PY of th m morandum appear in the files of the mint rn (Russian entre, RC 495/100/135) suggests that it is


Zinoviev and his colleagues were clearly looking to the future, rather than to the immediate destabilisation of the Labour Government. Th ir view w re familiar to officials in the Foreign Office and oth r departm nts, to whom IS , and Special Branch, circulated such reports regularly as part of a general watching brief on Bolshevik propaganda. 49 FO officials w re, th refore, unsurprised by reports of wild and revolutionary spee h by oviet leaders, and also knew that material emanating from the omintern arne with th imprimatur) if not always with the specific knowledg of th P litburo of the Central Committee of the CPSU itself. It was only brought to Mini ter ' attention on rare occasions, and was rar ly con id r d to r quir a r spon e. When the Home Secretary, Arthur Henderson, indignantly dr w Ma Donald's attention to yet another letter from the Comintern to th PGB of 7 April 1924, instructing them to organise mass demon trations on May Day (ev n supplying slogans, such as 'Long live th World olidarity of th Proletariat' and 'To justice with Ministers who interv ned in Ru sian affair '), n ith r FO officials nor MacDonald were impressed by hi call ~ r a ti n. Mr. M un y, a Counsellor in the Foreign Offi e, minuted on 6 May that The point which the Home Office I tt r ha s lam ntably mi d i that, when the time does com for us to mak ntation t th Soviet Gov rnment on thi qu tion, our r pr mu t b based on serious facts - whi h th Hom mu t upply capable of clear proof, and not on in tru tion or int nti n f vi t agents secretly gleaned from do ument , th auth nti ity and bona fides of which is open to considerabl doubt. Nevile Bland, Private Secretary to the P rman nt nd r r tary, lr Crowe, vouched for the authenti ity of the do urn nt (n d ubt b aus was the named r cipient of the SI copy) but agr d with M un y, a Crowe: 'I agree that it would b well to wait ~ r om thin whi h w enable us to catch the agitators in "flagrant d lict ".' to MacDonald, who added: 'For purp e f r pr ntati n th valueless though valuable as a warning to u . Unl & until w hav of acts we must wait & be watchful. '50 It is tru that Ma Don ld did addr

yr h did uld

a

When MacDonald took office in 1924 Major- n ral ir Wyndham Commissioner of the MetropoHtan Police from 1 21-28 with r spon ibility f, r p iaJ Bran h, asked the new Prime Minister whether he should still cir ulat th w kJy rep rt on r v luti nary movements, based on secret sources. Ma Donald sugg st d that this mal rial wa r ly n w t anyone who read the Workers' Weekry and suggested xtending th r vi w to oth r xtr me p liti al movements such as Fasci m, or to investigating the funding of th right-wing n wspap r th Morning Post. Child refused, d dining to inv stigat mov ment who pursu d th ir ims peacefully, and stating that 'he was not aware that the Morning Post had v r adv at d r voluti n' (see Marquand, op. cit., pp. 314-15).

49

Home Office letter of 3 May with endo ur s, and F 371110478.

50

20

minut , N 3844/ I 04/38, F


reproachful letter to Rakovsky in July concerning recent speeches by Zinoviev but only in response to a letter from Lord Stamfordham, Private S cr tary to HM King George V, conveying a request from the King that 'notice should be taken of these continued outbursts'.51 By the time that the May Day letter had been circulated, Anglo-Russian negotiations had begun in London on the terms of a general treaty. Th Foreign Office had, therefore, even more reason to refrain from action. As Mounsey put it: At the present time we do not want any unn cessary incidents . . . If we are going to take up every incident that occurs with Mr. Rakovsky we shall, I am afraid, create the atmosphere that we do not really want an agreem nt and are continuing what has been described in th press as 'a policy of pin pricks'. 52 There is evidence from a range of sources to suggest that from the point of view of the Soviet Union, seeking as it was a loan from Britain, the arrival of the Russian delegation in London coincided with a deliberate period of restraint upon the activities of the Comintern, and a change of emphasis in their efforts. After the letter of 7 April no further letters of instruction from Comintern to CPGB reached IS until the 'Zinoviev letter' of 15 September. While this doe not of course mean that none was sent, an examination in 1998 of the files of the Executive Committee of the Comintern for this period a substantial and well-maintained archive has not revealed any references to letters of instruction sent to Britain during the summer of 1924, wher as in many other cas s drafts of such letters were noted on the agenda and usually app nd d to the minutes. This corroborates the findings of the Trades Union Del gation which visit d Moscow in November-December 1924 to investigat th Zinovi v letter, and although it is clear that the Soviet authoriti s showed th Del gation only what they wanted them to see, nothing has b n found ither in British or Russian files to suggest that they were misled on this point. 53 The D legation' Report, publish d in May 1925, stated that their examination of C mint rn Ex cutive Committee minutes for June to October 1924 provid d 'good vid n e that the activities of the Comintern in respect of

51

DBFP, First

52

Minut in

ries, Volume XXV, No. 244: see No. 246 for Rakovsky's reply. 3844,

e not 50.

It is impos ibl to r fut the ac ount given by Kuu inen, and quoted in Andrew and omintern's effort to 'pull the wool ... over the Englishmen's eyes': Gordievsky, p. 67 , of th clearly, if the r ord w r sanitis d, no trace would remain. If the Zinoviev letter really was a forgery, howev r, it i hard to und rstand why this activity should have been necessary. It is also clear from th Young papers ( ee note 55 b low) that the Delegation did, in fact, see ' compromising do ument ' about omintern activitie in Britain. Kuusinen's boasting could, of course, be r ad as routine Bolshevik elf-aggrandis memo

53

21


England have been affected by the international agreement and that its mam offensives have been given a very different objective'. 54 Further detail is given in a document found in the papers of a Delegation member: The records of outgoing correspondence, including the most secret, the rough daily registers, the minutes of meetings of the Executive Committee where-in any matter requiring a letter to be written outside of purely routine business is discussed and the decision noted, were seen and examined covering a period of several consecutive months up to the end of October. It became clear that no document of such importance or confidential content as the 'Zinoviev' letter would have been sent out without the matter bing first submitted to the Executive Committee, and from the minutes een of these meetings there is not the least reason to suppose that - had the 'Zinoviev' letter been a genuine production of the Comintern - its subject and composition would have been kept from th Executive Committee's knowledge. 55 In their report the Trades Union Delegation also drew attention to two other documents they saw concerning Britain: a letter nt to the C ntral ommittee of the CPGB on 12 September by Arthur McManus, British m mb r of the Praesidium of the Comintern Executive Committe, n 10 ing a copy of a speech by Zinoviev delivered to the Enlarged Plenum of th C ntral Committee of the Russian Communist Party; and a 'v ry nfid ntial document . . . which showed conclusively what th r al p Ii y of th organisation is in respect of Great Britain'. Again, furth r d tail is giv n in th Young papers: It is true that there was a record of a letter of an xtr m ly r t character sent to the British Communist Party la t pt mb r. Th subject matter of this communication, however, was n ith r diti u nor inflammatory, but related to a lin of p Ii y of th mmuni t Party in relation to other socialist organisations that naturally wa desirable to keep from the knowl dg of it adv rsari . It al contained some pungent criticisms of certain promin nt figur in th British Labour and Trade Union movem nt that 1 arly w uld hav been highly inconvenient had they become publi prop rty t a tim when the British and Moscow Gov rnments w r till n id rin ratification of the Anglo-Russian Treaty. Subs quent nqUln in London showed that this letter had been re iv d, uninter ept d, by the addressees, and their statement of its purport ntirely talli d with

5<l

Report for the Trades Union Congress General Council, 1925; xtracts w r r pr du

d in The

Times, 18 May 1925. Unsigned and undated note from a private collection of pap rs of ir org (hereafter Young papers), a member of the delegation who knew both Russian and grateful to his family for allowing me to make use of th se pap r .

55

22

Young, Bt. rman . 1 am


the information seen in Moscow . . . This was the only letter or communication of a specially confidential character recorded as sent to London during as period of several months . . . Nor, by any possible stretch of imagination, could its contents have been twisted - supposing that it had been tapped during transit - into any semblance of a ba is for the substance of the foundling document fathered by Downing Street and declared authentic by the British Government. 56 Although it appears that th Delegation secured a copy of this 'extr mely secret' letter, none has been found and in accordanc with instructions the copy received in London would hav been destroyed by the CPGB. Its date in September is unknown. Without further evid nce its provenance must remain doubtful, but it is worth bearing in mind th possible existence of such a 1 tter - of which detail are giv n in several documents in the Young papers when estimating the value of the corroborative evidence produced by SIS and other to authenticate th 15 eptember letter (se Chapter II). If there were another' ptemb r' I tt r in th terms described above, the corroborative proofs could b qually appli able. If there w re a p riod of delib rat r straint during the summer of 1924, this did not pr vent Zinovi v and other Sovi t leaders from continuing to make inflammatory sp ch , including d rogatory remarks about the MacDonald gOY rnm nt, but th thru t f th ir propaganda effort was directed more towards sp cific parts of th Empir - in particular India and Ireland - and to Eastern Europ . A r port r c iv d by IS from B rlin dated 11 Jun 1924 stat d that As far as w

hav b n abl a ertain, sinc the arrival of the Sovi t d I gati n in England no propaganda literature has been sent to England . . . rding to a report from a reliable source, a large amount f propaganda lit ratur i bing sent through Czecho10vakia and Gr , wh n it is forward d to Austria and Hungary and to th Balkan. Th Bol h vik app ar to be paying more att nti n t ntral and outh East rn Europe and to the North. 57

At th Fifth ongr f th omint rn, h ld in Moscow from 17 June to 8 July (and att nd d, unusually, by talin), th question of communism in Britain re urr d fr qu ntly in d bat, and a r solution was adopted on the ne d for a mass C mmunist Party in Britain, containing recommendations ba d 1 s ly n Zin vi v' m morandum of 26 March (see above). But the Congress agr d that although th Comintern was an organisation for world much ntr d towards th West', and more attention revolution it wa 't a t, in luding Japan, China and Turkey. No mention must b paid to th 56 57

Ibid. IS fi1


was made of plans for further aggressive propaganda in Britain. According to Mr Hodgson's account of the proceedings, the ongress revealed damaging splits among the Soviet leaders and between Russia and other parts of the USSR, despite Zinoviev's plea for the international leadership to be 'more collective'.58 On 28 June, however, the Congress did adopt a resolution proposed by Zinoviev to the effect that a 'permanent mixed organ' of representatives of the Comintern and Commissariat for For ign Affairs should be formed, with a view to establishing constant contact between the two institutions and ensuring their close collaboration in regard to foreign affairs. Meanwhile, Moscow was following with interest the progress of the AngloRussian talks in London, as well as that of the Inter-Allied Conference on German debt. The signature on 30 August of th agreements to impl ment the Dawes Plan 59 led the Comintern to issue in September an appeal 'to Working Men and Working Men of all Countries' against the Dawes Plan, 'devised for the purpose of shifting to the shoulders of the workers the burden of the tremendous crisis of capitalist economy, whilst at th sam tim affording the possibility for better preparation to fight out the outstanding cau s of war among the imperialist powers'.60 As far as the draft Anglo-Rus ian g neral treaty was concerned, however, the Soviet leaders were con ern d to portray it publicly as proof of the increasing influ nce of th ovi t Union, although in private they considered it an 'extreme oncession' which would have to b made and to which no amendments could be ent rtain d. 61 h vitup rative 'anti-Red' press campaign during the parliamentary r c wa r gard d as a good opportunity to blame unrest on oviet borders, in Afghanistan and Persia, on Britain. Kamenev, addressing th L nini t L ague of Communist Youth, made the connection boldly: A month ago all was quiet on our border, but th day aft r th treaty was signed English diplomacy (which, for th r t, is not in th hands of MacDonald) stirred on all our fr nti rs. All this Conservative diplomacy, which ha r main d inta t in Curz n' time - for MacDonald has not replaced a single om ial - ha worked feverishly with one aim of showing that all round Ru sia ar rebellions, so let's wait after signing th tr aty. v rywh r w the activities of English diplomats . . . All this a tivity within and without is one convulsive effort to smash the int rnational p sition which we won by the signature of th treaty. 62

59

Moscow despatch No. 701 of 25 July 1924, N 6356/172/38 , FO 371110482 . See DBFP, First Series, Volume XXV1, No. 546, note 4.

60

Meetings of the Executive Committee Secretariat, Russian Centre, R

58

495/100/228.

Politburo meeting of 2 October 1924, Russian C ntre, 17/3/466; se also DBFP, Fir Volume XXV, No. 259.

61

t

An extract from Kamenev's speech was printed in Izvestiya on 20 eptemb r, r port d in Moscow despatch No. 893 of 24 September 1924, N 7716/108/38, FO 371/10478 .

62


The Campbell case and subsequent defeat of the MacDonald government led to considerable discussion in both Comintern and Politburo. While the Soviet leaders had predicted that the Labour Government would encounter trouble from 'bourgeois capitalist opponents', they had not foreseen the form that trouble would take: as Zinoviev told the Comintern Executive Committ e, 'It is indeed a remarkable thing that the British Parliament is being dissolved because of a communist, Campbell, and because of a treaty with Russia'. News of the coming election led Zinoviev to reflect on the Labour government as a whole, and its effect on the progress of revolution in Britain. It is worth quoting at some length from the statement he made to the Praesidium of the Executive Committee on 10 October, bearing in mind that this was afier he supposedly sent an inflammatory letter to the CPGB; but before it had been made public in Britain. In the eyes of the working masses of Britain I believe the Government has not compromised itself. Not for the time bring. The period was too brief. The Anglo-Russian Treaty helped the Government to throw a little sand into the eyes of the workers. In this respect the Labour Party has perhaps for the time being gained in authority. As regards the prophecy that a certain differentiation would take place within the Labour Party, this I think has been confirmed. A left wing has sprung up which even wants to attempt to publish its own paper. A process of radicalisation has begun in the trade unions. That is a fact. We therefore see a certain differentiation taking place within the Labour Party. So much has been achieved; that is the first fact . . . If [the bourgeoisie] only wanted to frighten MacDonald a little, a new general election was not necessary, since firstly MacDonald was quite ready to allow himself to be frightened and, secondly, the bourgeoisie could have used many other means to this end . . . This is therefore a sign that the bourgeoisie wants a new government. What kind of Government, a purely Conservative Government or a Conservative-Liberal Government? It is even possible that MacDonald will take part in the Government as Foreign Secretary . . . The objective result of the whole thing will in the main be advantageous to the British working class and to the British Party. For, although the communists will not win a direct victory this time, they will gain from the propaganda point of view . . .

I think that both these facts indicate that we are marching forward rather rapidly. It is often said that we are marching very slowly, but it certainly cannot be called slow when within nine months an attempt of such world historical importance is made and the immediate result is already so clear to the working class . . . I think that the British worker will now have a great appetite for power. If the Labour Government is defeated and a Conservative or a


will

Con rvativ -Lib ral Go be dissatisfi d and will d real workers' governm nt . . . E beli ve h will, but it is po ibl - th also grow. They will d mand that th a r al workers' gOY rnm nt ...

a n t

w rk r will rnm nt h uld b

f ur Party in th unit d fr word? re th ta ti believe they are. 0 r what ha th br ak th Anglo-Russian Tr aty and th upp rt r th ordinary worker th qu ti n thu: th Campb 11 and the Ma Don Id rnm aid that in th did Campb II ay? H should n t fir on th w rk r. hat i t

f r n t? I r

are quit so ial democrat ay cannot yet show whole thing ha th q u sti 0 n as t w h th r a th worker', sh uld b impri the tactic of th unit d fr nt i hand with th mu t ay to C nservativ s; w ar Zinovi v w nt on t the forthcoming el might 1 ad to th criticise MacDonald's' rvility' of the re olution x ludin associating them ely with th stated that 'Thi is th

th

by Zinoviev for the forth

ming

2

Pra i ium

f th

â&#x20AC;˘ x utiv


should come out during the election campaign with another manit to addressed to the soldiers which will repeat and emphasise what Campb 11 said.' He gave no hint of having despatched any such appeal less than a month earlier. The documentary evidence suggests, therefore, that the Soviet lead rs were pleased with the conclu ion of the Anglo-Russian treaty, and hoped (though well aware of the difficulties) that it would be ratified. The Labour government, while unsatisfactory, had neverth less brought about tangibl progress towards the revolutionary goal. The forthcoming el ction, though its announcement was unexpected, might bring advantages to the Sovi t cause whatever the result. In th s circumstances, and in the absence of any indication in Politburo or Comintern files of a policy decision to that effect, 15 September would not seem to have been an appropriate or indeed likely moment at which to have de patched a I tter of instruction to the British Communist Party urging th incitement of armed insurrection.

The Intelligence world While it i impossibl to und rstand the Zinoviev letter and its impact without knowing the situation in the oviet Union, from which it allegedly came, and in Britain, wh re it cau d a major political rumpus, the picture is not complet without som in ight into the methods used by both countries for intelligenc gath ring, and into th exten ive intelligence networks in Europe which served a caus - or th highest bidd r - rather than a nation.

British Intelligence

In post-First World War Britain ther wer fiv agencies concerned with the gath ring of intellig n : MI5, concern d with internal security; MI1 (c) or SIS, concern d with for ign int llig nee matt rs; the Government Code and Cypher chool (GC&C ), th pr cursor of today's GCHQ; Indian Political Intelligenc (IPI) and pial Branch of cotland Yard (which comprised three differ nt divisions). In the wak of th Zin vi v affair, which was considered to have exposed s riou w akn ss s in th operation and interaction of these agencies, th Cabin t r t ervic Committee in February 1925 began at the Prim Mini ter's r quest an enquiry into the intelligence services, and produc d a r port which b gan with a useful statement of the nature, stablishm nt and fun tion of each part of the intelligence structur . This is r pr du d at Ann x E below, and there is no need to reiterate its detail hr. For th Zinoviev story it is important to rememb r that although the work of the agencies as delineated in the


Report seemed di rete and w ll-d fin d , in pra ti th r wa a d r e of overlap betwe n their ar a of juri di ti n v hi h u d nfu i n. inC rmation During the Zinovi v affair C r xampl , I t1 nd Yard nt from agents within Bri tain a w 11 a ncy of ag nts to Mo cow: in neith r a did th Y in~ rm th their actions. A degree of overlap how ver wa in vitab1 . SI were concerned with B 1 h vik a ti iti propaganda and sub r iv a tlVltl Union itself and its activitie in information from Whit London community a w 11 a 1924 there wer many hann 1 r ached Britain, and

This sense of community, members, makes it xtr m ly diffi ult t who leaked information, wh m d d important figur in Zin vi v myth this. 1m Thurn, th bu in man wh m the Zinoviev 1 tt r wa mad publi and wh part of the vid n in th 1 7 b k th and Young, had b n employ d durin MIS until 1919. Aft r 1 avin MIS ~ r th regularly with a nior m mb r f MI Hotel. He had contacts in I , nd app r its Director, 'e', th form r Dir t r

r

th MIS a nd

th f

it

h


Sinclair. 1m Thurn was also in contact with a former m mber of SIS, now involved in business but retaining u eful links with his form r colleagues; and he knew the current Director of Naval Intelligence. As the Chester, Fay and Young book shows, he had close contacts with leading members of th Conservative Party and newspaper proprietors and editors. Finally, he was a director of an emigre cone rn call d the London Steamship and Trading Corporation, and was in touch with the London agents of the Anglo-Russian Volunteer Fleet, which had come in 1923 under the control of ARCOS, the body which represented th interests of the Soviet Commi sariat for Foreign Trade in London. 65 Th case of 1m Thurn - by no means the only person with a imilar range of contacts - shows how intertwined a network encompassed politic and press, government and civil s rvic , White and Red Russians. For th fierce and violent struggl condu t d by Whit Rus ians against the Bolshevik regime did not pr clude th ir close contact with its representatives. Many White Ru sian w re mploy d by th Boish viks in the US R, and in Britain there wer imilar conta ts through uch bodi s as the Anglo-Russian Volunt r FI t. White Rus ian in London had close links with British officials and oth r m mbers of th 'community' d scrib d abov . Aft r th recognition of th ovi t Union by th Labour Government, J.D. (Don) Gregory, h ad f th FO' orth rn D partm nt, agreed in r spons to a requ st by fourt n Whit Ru sian organi ations in Britain to receive E.V. Sablin as th ir sp k man and dis us with him unofficially any qu stions affecting th ir int r t. Whit Ru ian and Briti h subj cts sat tog ther on the ommitt f vari u w lfar organi ations in London such as the iati n. Prominent anti-Bolsheviks, with lose Russian R fug R Ii f links to th int rnational M nar hi t mov m nt, w re married to Britons: for Vladimir vna Tyrkova-Williams, wiÂŁ of Harold xample Mr William , r ign dit r of The Times (and form rly its Petrograd corr p nd nt). It an b n , th r for , how rich a store of information was availabl within Britain to MI5 and pial Bran h on the activities of Russians f all mpl xi n; h w wid th potential sources of that informati nd als h w it wa rar ly x lusive. xt nsive n twork of agents and h most notoriou of the 'irregulars' is " who ha b en named by some as the

probably

65

66

he Ru

S c, h w v r, Andr w nd

A

iati n had been t up in t. Pet rsburg in 1883 and nd to Mo ow in 1923-5. In 1923-4 Anglo-Russian pp int d L ndon ag nts of th RVF. One of the director of n ral Manag r of AR and ARVF. He wa liquidated in rdi v ky , op. cit. p. 51.

29


author of the Zinoviev Letter (the evidence do s not support thi ).67 R illy was an occasional and erratic agent for SI , wh re h was dealt with by the section headed by Major Desmond Morton.68 R eilly' chief motivation (apart from increasing his personal fortune) wa oppo ition to the Bolshevik regime which he pursued through a variety of channels including the Monar hist Organisations of Central Russia (also known a Th Tru t), whi h had its headquarters in the US Rand asso iated centre and nta ts in other countries. The Trust, however, wa actually bing u d by the oviet For ign Ru sian Intelligence Service as a means of p n trating oth r Whit organisations, a fact which was to I ad t Reilly' ntrapm nt and d ath. Reilly was only one of a number of larg r-than-lifi int rnati nal ' pies' who roamed Europe at this time. orne of th hay b n id ntifi d in the plethora of books about th undoubtedly liv ly int lLig n e s n in th 1 20s, but their names and histories ar not g n rally r I vant t thi unt, though some will occur in later hapt r. h imp rtant fa t i t of them served at least one rna ter, and th infl rmation th y purv y d wa lik ly to find its way, possibly in garbl d form , to a v ri ty f g v rnm nt .6 far as SIS were concerned, mor relianc wa to b pIa d n r gular infl rm received from agents in situ, who remain d in n pIa fI r themselves established a n twork of inti rmant with I identities of whom might w 11 not be known t ur these agents was checked where po sibl from other material from the same sour ,and valuat d in th gath r d by 11 th picture built up from int lligen reports, containing both ummary and unabridg dint Hi sent by SIS to its sponsoring d partm nt, th ill

Although it is impo sibl to prove that R illy had no nn ti n with th Zin vi v L tt r th evidence indicates that, as Gordon Brook- h ph rd r ntly wr t , th id th t h wr t it i 'just another will-o'-the-wisp in the vapour trail of the Ace oj ;pies I g nd' (Iron Maze: The Western Secret Services and the Bolsheviks (Ma millan, 19 8), pp. 307-8).

67

Major Qater Sir) Desmond Morton i antral figur in th Zin vi v t ry. A I Churchill's since they met during the First World War, h w mpl y d by I fr m until 1935, although in 1929 he b arne Dir tor of th Indu trial Int Big n under the Department of Overs as Trad . He r tain d I t with personal assistant until 1946; h also retained 10 onta t with I . In 1 3 h w Director of Intelligence and Op rations in th Ministry f E on mi Wan r , and I t r h committee responsible for French overs a affair. After th nd f th war h wa th British representative on the Int r-Allied Reparation A ripartit Restitution of Monetary Gold. He died in 1971.

68

Vladimir Orlov, whose own areer illustrat th described the life of th spy as follows: 'The pay i g six months his spy will be working for th other sid a honourably which rewards him more g nerou Iy' (The Underworld, trans. Mona Heath, Harrap, 1932, p. 81 ).

69

truth of thi tat m nt (5 d, a v ry hi f kn ws th w 11, and th t h will nly eertt Dos ier: My Memoirs of

p. 3 b 1 w), t at th nd of rv that p rty Ru sia' Political


(parent department of MI5), Naval Intelligence.

cotland Yard and the Directors of Military and

Despite jurisdictional conflicts and rivalrie , there was naturally, con iderabl liaison between the Intelligen e agencies. MI5 and SIS offic r pas d information to each other which they considered would be of u e to the ist r Service. One particular xampl of uch liaison i worth mentioning be aus of its possible relevanc to th Zinoviev lett r. In July 1924 Desmond Morton wrote to Major Joseph Ball of MI5 ,7o following an unrecorded t lephon conversation, ending him two 'spe imen copies of reports' concerning 'lett rs from the Executiv Committee of the Third Int rnational to th C ntral Committee of the British Communi t Party'. Th s reports contain d the t xt of the letter of 19 Dec mber 1923 from the Comintern to th CPGB (s p. 17 above), and extract from th lett r of 18 March (p. 18). Morton told Ball: I hay a whole file full of similar on . .. All these letters are addr d in the arne way and signed generally speaking, by th sam p opl . .. Th r i no doubt that th actual copies of these 1 tter d stin d for th ntral ommitte of th Communist Party go from Mos ow t B rlin, and from B rlin to London in the Arcos nt r und by hand to th ir d stination. bag; that th y ar th n Presumably th y ar n t d liv r d op nly at King Stre t [CPG B HQJ, but of that id of th bu in w know nothing. I will not recapitulat what it i w ar out to do, a I think my d cription on th t I phon mu t hay mad it quit cl ar to you. 71 SI had good ur s in B rlin , and nn tions in ARCO which would account for M rton' nfid n r garding th hann Is through which th se P B. H w v r, although parti ular att ntion was drawn i nifi n f thi 1 tt r in th Bagot hi tory of th Zinovi v lett r, it h not pr v d p ibl to tabli h what it wa that Morton wa 'out to d " or what part Ball might play. Morton him If, when interviewed, claim d t hay n m m ry f it. In vi w of th timing, how ver - wh n the

work at in 1 61. A

opp n nt 71 I file s.

t r f Publi ity for on rvative entral Offic in th 1920s and h mb rlain in th 1930. Th oth r, behind the cenes, was a an nd had wy p liti al fixer who d vot d much of his en rgy in dirty-tri k ampaign against both th Labour Party and on rvativ Party it lr (p. 98).


Anglo-Soviet negotiations were proceeding unexp t dly well' of the key positions of the two men in their organi arion " and of th Ir current and future political connections; the corre ponden i tantali ing.

Soviet Intelligence

There is, naturally enough, less do umentary vid n

a ailabl

int llig nee

According to an historical account by th Ru ian (SVR), the OGPU had four ta ks: th d t VI terrorist organisations, which w r plotting th from adjacent states; th monitoring f unt rintelligence organisations; th coll ti n and the execution of op rations aim d at dividing and di r ditin emigre leaders,?4 This compr h n iv pr gramm w ntral ur n (whi h in Iud d operating in six sectors: North rn, P Ii h, both Berlin and London), outhern ur p n, t rn nd A priority was to penetrate White Russian ' migr' n , from any source: There was only one thing r quir d fr obtain secret information of int r t there was not a clear-cut di tin ti n intelligence: the same intellig n ffi r cover of an official Soviet r pr ntativ and foreigner's name on his next s rvice mi 1 n.

72

th t w

th t tim nd 'ill 1 fir t und r w 11 und r t

See, in particular, Andrew and Gorclievsky, op. cil.

V. ibid., p. 56. Trilisser was also Deputy hairman fr m 1 2 . H w repressed' (i.e. killed) in 1938, though rehabilitated p thumou ly.

H

This section is based on reference material made avail bl t th Intelligence Service (SVR).

74

uth r

y th

' unl wfully

Ru i n

r ign


According to the SVR's account, OGPU foreign intelligence succ eded in penetrating 'practically all active White emigrant formations', and information from other sources supports this assertion while making clear that the traffic in information was by no means one-way. The SVR's account states that th Berlin station of the OGPU foreign department, which was conducting operations against not only Germany but also Austria, Britain, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, France and Roumania, 'managed to penetrate directing bodies of counter-revolutionary organizations of White emigration, as well as government organs and special services of Germany' . While this may be tru , other evidence indicates counter-penetration: the German Intelligence s rvic were knowledgeable about Bolshevik activities, and were themselves controlling several groups of emigres and forgers in Berlin whose activities they permitted in return for information. Thus Vladimir Orlov, a member of the emigre antiBolshevik forgery ring in Berlin which was to play a part in the Zinoviev Letter affair, was working both for German and British intelligence; there is some evidence to suggest that he also passed information to Moscow. H confirmed to London that there were other emigre groups in B rlin from which the Soviet Embassy received inside information. The likelihood is that many of these groups and organisations, conspiring against one another, w re far more 'inter-conscious' than many of their members realised. The above passages are not intended as a detailed account of the working of the intelligence services either in Britain or the Soviet Union. Intelligence was, even then, a serious business, and in both countries these Services fulfilled a role which was valuable and important to their governments. In the case of the British Intelligence Agencies, the account of their establishment and workings in the Report of the Secret Service Committee, reproduced at Annex E below, highlights this point. If, however, this section has also created a degree of confusion and an impression of melodramatic but oft n counterproductive effort, it has succeeded in conveying something of the flavour of the international espionage scene of the early 1920s. It was into this arena that the Zinoviev Letter was, as one account put it, let loose 'like a flash of lightning in a dark night' in October 1924.

33


Chapter II: The Letter

In order to answer the first of the question po d in Truth - who wrot the Zinoviev letter! - it i necessary to answ r th oth r uch a how did the Foreign Office get hold of it? In publi hed a ount f the affair, xplanations of how a copy of the letter reached the For ign ffi hay b n many and various. One of the mo t r cent, The Crown Jewels qu t Ru ian documentation alleging that th letter was writt n in Riga y th White Guards intelligence organization', and s nt through P Ii hint rmediari s by post from Riga to London, addr s d 'to a w 11 kn wn Engli h mmunist, MacManus. The British polic who k p [sic] tap n th latt r' correspondence, photograph d th lett r and hand d it r t th British Foreign Office as genuine'.2 British Int llig n r rd d thi account (although it has som basi in fa t) how the letter came into British hand ha n v r b the clues which can be found in Foreign ffi by some. 3 The explanation of how th F r ign particularly important, b caus it als an w r th third evidence they had that it wa g nuin The English text of a I tt r dat d 15 P m Central Committee, British ommuni t Party' y th ' x uti Third Communi t International. Pra idium' and b rin

th

It took a week to reach its d

Air Mini try,

1

See p. 4 above.

2

Crown Jewels, op. cit., p. 40.

See, for example, Ephraim Mai el, The Foreign Office and Foreign Polic p. 148. :3

A fa simile of the first page of th opy of th r port fr m Rig i r text is printed at Annex A. Thi opy of th an 'original' of the Zinoviev I tt r.

4

34

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du

J J -/ 2

(I

4), full t t


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.


I am directed to draw your special att ntion to th c py d pt mb r fr m th herewith of a communication, dat d th 15th Presidium of the 3rd International to th C ntral Committ f th British Communist Party. 2. The document contains strong incitement to arm d r v luti n, and constitutes evidence of intention to contaminat th Arm d f th Forces; and it constitutes a flagrant violation of Artic! 1 Anglo-Russian Treaty, signed on the 8th August. 3. The authenticity of the document is undoubt d. 5 This categoric endorsement of the lett r which wa bound to rry considerable weight with the Foreign Office - se ms in r tro p t oddly premature. At this stage, SIS had made no ÂŁforts to auth nti at th document, which at first sight seemed little diffi r nt to earli r mmuni ation from Comintern to CPGB intercepted by SIS agents overs as most of whi h were circulated to the FO and other departments on a routin rath r than urgent basis. Desmond Morton, who as head of Production responsible for the evaluation of such reports, later said that h thought it particularly important when it came in. Nev rth I ,inst ad of waiting for further corroboration, the letter was circulat d imm diat ly, at a stage when the only guarantee of its authenticity was that it had om through regular SIS channels. Noone in SIS asked, at this stag , how Riga had got hold of the letter, where it had come from, whether it wa a translation from an original Russian text or had been written in English. Only on 27 Octob r - after the publication of the Letter, and in response to an nquiry by th Permanent Under Secretary, Sir Eyre Crowe - did SIS tel graph to Riga t ask for further information. Riga replied that their document had been a translation made by a s r tary in SIS's Riga station from a Russian version said to have be n copi d by an agent from a file in Moscow: 'The original to Communi t Party London would presumably go in English thus impossible our translation and original English be identical.' Crowe was given this information 'in a modifi d form'. 6 Later, on 12 December, a typed copy of the Cyrillic text was s nt to H ad Office at London's requestJ As was customary, the agent's copy was r tain d in the Riga station, where it would have been destroyed at th xpiry of a statutory period. It was thus the English translation, made in Riga, which th Foreign Office, without enquiring whether it was the original v rsion or a

Gregory's copy of this note, and of the Letter, are preserved in N 7838/108/38, FO 371110478.

5

6

SIS records.

7

A facsimile of this text is reproduced at Annex B below.

35


translation, made th basis of their note of protest to the Soviet Charge d' Affair on 24 October. h FO, how ver, had sought corroboration of the lett r's authenticity. On ipt from IS it was registered in the Foreign Office on Friday, 10 o tob r, and een by William Strang, th n a Second Secretary in Northern D partm nt. 8 That day he spok to Captain Hugh Miller of N w Scotland Yard, who quot d in upport of the 1 tter's auth nticity the general gist of passag in an anti-war number of International Press Correspondence (Inprecor).9 N v rth 1 s , as Strang noted in his m moirs, h did not think th I tt r 'out of the ordinary run of things'. Sir Eyre Crowe, how ver, shown the letter by hi Private Secretary Nevile Bland, was inclined to tak the letter more eriously: according to Strang's account, he 'attached great importan e to it and thought that it ought to be published' .10 Th cons quent chain of events i set out in a memorandum, 'History of the Zinovi v In ident', dated 11 Novemb r 1924 and prepar d at the requ st of the incoming Secretary of tate for Foreign Affairs, Austen Chamberlain:

r

The Zinoviev letter was brought to the P rman nt Und r-Secr tary of State on the 10th October in the form of a copy of th original document. The situation was very carefully con sid r d, but although the most convincing assurances of th genuin charact r of the letter had b en received it was not thought right to put th pap r before the Prime Minister until corroborative proofs w re forth ming of its having r ached this country. Such proof was obtained on Saturday, the 11 th October, and was communicated to the Und r-Secr tary of State on the 13th October, wher upon it wa d cid d to submit the whole matter to Mr. MacDonald.!! This summary account can now be fleshed out from lnt lligen e re ords. Th 'corroborative proof obtained on 11 October and sent on to Crowe on 13 October was based on a report by Desmond Morton of information r ceived by him on the evening of 10 October from on of his agents (not, as commonly supposed, an MIS agent) who had been infiltrated into the CPGB. Later, Morton said that he had received a writt n r port from th ag nt 'on his own initiative', on which the latter elaborated at th meeting. The gist of thi information was that according to a member of the C ntral Committee of the CPGB, the Committee had held a me ting during the w ek of 29 trang pre umably saw Gregory's opy of the letter, but no eviden e has b en found to suggest that Gregory himself saw the letter on Friday 10 October.

8

9 Note by Captain Miller on his copy of the letter, 10

Lord

ecurity ervice ar hiv s.

trang, Home and Abroad (Andre Deutsch , 195 ), p. 56.

FO memorandum, 11 November 1924, N 8467 II 08/38 , print d in DBFP, First Series, Volum XXV, No. 264. Although strongly impres ed by SIS's initial endor ement of the letter, Crow was not convinced, as stated in Chest r, Fay and Young, that ' no further enquiry was nece sary' (p. 68; cf. also pp. 189-90). 11

36


September-4 October to consider a letter of instru tion from Mo concerning:

w

action which the CPG B was to take with regard to making th proletariat force Parliament to ratify the Anglo-Soviet Tr aty. It wa decided that particular efforts were to be mad to p rm at th Armed Forces of the Crown with Communist agents, th n to promote strikes and incite to revolutionary action so that th For of the Crown could be called out. It is hop d this last, by r a on of the Communist propaganda which will have had ffi ct, will eith r refuse to quell the disturbance or join the rioters . . . th Mos ow instructions rec ived insisted on distrust of the Labour Party and MacDonald, with whom the International was disgust d in that th y had shown that their policy was little diffi rent from that of a bourgeois government. 12 Not surprisingly, Morton concluded from the above that th tat m nt mad to his informant 'seems undoubtedly confirmation of the r c ipt by th CP B of Zinoviev's letter'. There are indications, however, that th r port hould b treated with some caution. According to SIS records, th original writt n report from Morton's agent made no referenc to any I tter from Mos ow but stated merely that at a meeting held shortly before by th CPGB Exe uciv it had been decided once more 'to do all in their pow r to make what v r government was in power to be the promoters of the Revolution. This wa to be brought about by the Communist Party taking mor fli ctive a cion in promoting strikes and incitement, so that the Governm nt in offic would b compelled to bring out troops to quell disturbances.' According to Mort n hi agent elaborated on this report at their meeting on 10 October, providing th details which so neatly fitted th Zinoviev letter. As Miss Bagot point d ut in her internal history, however: It is difficult . . . to imagine how an experienced agent ould hay omitted from his original report such an important matt r a th receipt of a directive from Moscow, if he had known of it. Th mo t likely explanation seems to be that he was asked 'load d' question by Morton, who is known to have been working on th Riga r port and had no doubt put the two together in his mind. 13 Miss Bagot added that OD- this point (as on many oth rs) Morton lat r professed to have no recollection of the incident. The force of Morton's evidence is also weakened, rather than strength n d by an expanded version of his report submitted in March 1925 , tating that according to his informant

12 13

Minute by Morton of 11 October, SIS records. Bagot, p. 15.

37


othing like an offi ial r full m the P B had b n h 1 to di policy oudin d w th m mb r w r obviou ly irnmin n While in

1+

IiI .


disposal of Scodand Yard'. Later, in a letter to Nevile Bland, Childs added that 'if it was a question of backing agents against agents . . . if [a member of the CPGB Central Committee] stated that a special meeting of the Executive Committee was convened at which the Zinovieff letter was read and considered I could produce from equally reliable sources evidence to the exact opposite' .15 The background to Morton's report, which provided the 'corroborative proof sent in a sanitised form to Crowe at the Foreign Office on 13 October, has be n examined in detail in order to illustrate the difficulty of evaluating the \ evidence not just eventy years after the event, but even at the time. Morton may w 11, as Miss Bagot suggested, have put two and two together when he r eiv d both th Zinoviev letter and a report from his agent within the space of two days; but it must also be allowed that Morton was in the perfect p sltlOn to authenticate, for his own r asons, and from apparendy unimp a hable sour e a document which he may have had good reason to b Ii v wa a forg ry. Thi po sibility will be discussed further below, but howe v r p culativ it may be, it is a fact that the letter sent to Crowe by SIS stat d that th information afford d 'strong confirmation of the genuineness of our do urn nt, which hould b communicat d to the Prim Minist r. This w nough for row to minut on 15 0 tober: W hay n w hard d finitely on absolut ly reliable authority that th Ru ian I tt r wa rived and discu d at arc nt meting of th ommitt of th Communist Party of Gr at Britain. 16 w nt on t r ommend that a formal note of protest should be addressed M. Rak v ky, and that full information should be given to the press: -

and w hay always felt - that w get nothing out v rnm nt by any r monstranc s simply becaus th se liar m r ly d ny v rything however clearly n th oth r hand th r i mu h force in the view that nly d fi n a ainst th s tr acherou proc dings is m fair to our own p opl that our knowledge u ian rna hin ti n h uld r main for v r onceal d. W nly v ry right but alm t a duty to bring u h case of pr p nd th pr nt n to th notice of the Sovi t v rnm n und r p ra r ph 13 f th m morandum hand d to M. 10 n th 2 th May, 1 23 . . . W cannot rally re t ontent

it'.

V, p. 434.

39


with th ridiculous assertion of the Sovi t Government that they giv no upport whatever to th Third Int rnational. 17 MacDonald, away from London campaigning, agre d that in principle he rtainty favoured 'the publication of such things', but stres ed the n ed for before pro eeding: 'We mu t be sure that th docum nt i auth ntic.' 0 further proof was sought, how ver, or receiv d in the Foreign om b fore the letter and the reply, signed by Gregory, w r s nt to Rak vsky and the press on 24 October. Th fa t that the I tter came fr m I orr borat d by further proof from them, was r gard d a conclu iv . After th publication of th Zinovi v I tter, wh n a ri of inv tigati n into fits its auth nticity were set in train, I mad a number of nquiri sources, in Riga and els wher , both to an w r qu ti ns put to th m and to ju tify th ir continued as rtions that the I tt r wa g nuin . In th m however, they had receiv d information from a quit difIi r nt appear d to upport its auth nticity. Writing t viI Bland n 25 to xplain why SI were sure that the I tt r wa g 'additional confirmation that u h a docum nt wa in by an individual in touch with M. Rak v ky and th apparently a refer nce to information r eiv d from hurn, th form r MI5 offi er who, ac rding to hi diary, had p nt hi tim 8 Octob r in trying to per uad a ri s of ffi ial and d partm nts t public th Zinoviev I tter. 1 Wh th r or n t 1m hurn wa th ur r ft rr d to by' ' (who was vid ntly p r nally a quaint d with him), r a third party was involv d, th form r' story is r I vant t a n id r ti n f why th Foreign Office and oth r thought it wa g nuin

In search of the Zinoviev Letter: the 1m Thurn tory Although it is alleg d in h t r, Fay and Y ung th t 1m t wind f r t ry t th the Zinovi v letter ... forty- ight hour b t r th P rman nt Foreign Office',20 it se m lik ly that th py f th Zin vi v 1 t r r from Riga by SIS on 9 0 tob r wa th fir t (and p ibly th nly b cir ulated in official or oth r hann I m nd n. h m

17 Minut 18

I

of 15 Octob r 1924 by fit .

row , print d ibid. pp. 434-5.

19 h t r, Fay and Young r produ a App ndix A ' h mpl t py f thi di discov r d among Major Guy Kind r ley' pap r ' . A typ writt n hester, Fay and Young as ' th do um nt whi h h Id th k y t th un ffi Zinoviev lett r' (p. 73), wa appar ntly ~ und m ng th p p r f 1m Thurn ' Major Guy Kind r 1 y MP ( , Hit hin) who di d in 1 5 . Kind r I y i drib politi a1 preoc upations: his n titu n y, and ' th m na f th int rn ti on pira y' (p. 78). 20

Ibid' J p. 72.

ry i 1 , nly onfidant', d h vin tw naJ mmu i t


Donald 1m Thurn's diary are sufficiently vague to allow a number of int rpr tation . A cording to the entry for 8 0 tober, 1m Thurn met 'X', who told him that his 'old enemy Apfelbaum' (i.e. Zinoviev) had boasted in Mo ow a fI w day pr viou ly that he was 'entering on a gr at propaganda war in England and ermany' and had 'already sent in tructions over here to b u d as oon a th reaty was igned" 1m Thurn a ked X 'to find out if thi had be n re iv d and if 0, by whom.'21 0 date was giv n, and th d ription of th 'in tru tion' do s not it ntirely comfortably with th f th I tter of 15 pt mber, whi h, although urging th prol tariat gr at st po ibl energy in the further truggle for ratification' of vi t Tr aty, mak s no mention of st ps to b taken after the ign d and ind ed urg s th CPGB not to put off 'to a futur m m n in tru tion in th 1 tt r for atta king Ma Donald's imperialist and impr ving agitation-propaganda activity in the armed force. tion

int nti

f dating i al 0 probl mati al. According to Im Thurn's diary r th 1 tt r d ribed by 'X' had arriv d 'about th 25th' of dat f origin i m ntion d until Im Thurn note hi f hi ffort to find out about th letter and to th Director of aval onv ration . . . Pret nd di coy red that th dat hurn in i ted that hi

ov rnm nt) w s

1 ar that

w r

r ibid.

pp. 1 7-8.

try

1. 214,

1. 71.

r 18


informants ready to pass information on the letter to the press, and there was no need for 1m Thurn to pursue a copy. Indeed, there is no evidence in MI5 or SIS files to suggest that he ever got hold of a copy of the letter before publication, although at the time he succeeded in making representatives of the Intelligence agencies believe that he had: and, thereby, confirmed their belief in its authenticity. 25 In regard to 1m Thurn's contact 'X', who first told him about the letter, there are inconsistencies between the account given in Chester Fay, and Young, where X is identified as a member of Polish intelligence, and information in SIS archives, although the former version is not necessarily incorrect. As described in Chapter I, 1m Thurn's contacts in London were eclectic (see p. 28 above), but both his diary and SIS archives draw attention to the probable involvement of Boris Kadomtsev, a co-director with 1m Thurn of the London Steamship and Trading Co., and involved with Lady Egerton, who was formerly 'a Rostov' and had White Russian connections. It is possible that we need look no further for 'X', for although 1m Thurn's diary and letters published in Chester, Fay and Young refer to 'X' as a man, on 18 October he told a member of SIS a rather different story: On being asked how he became aware of the existence of the document, he stated that he had long been in touch with various people connected with the Russian Volunteer Fleet both here and their friends in Moscow, all Monarchists but some actually in the employ of the Soviet in London and elsewhere. It was through the mistress of one of those, domiciled in London, in touch with Rakovski and Arcos that he had first heard of the letter and succeeded in getting the above details. 26 It is impossible to be certain from the available evidence who 'X' was. But as Chester, Fay and Young acknowledge, the important thing about X for the Zinoviev letter story is not so much his or her identity, but his or her connections. Assuming that 1m Thurn's account is not wholly fictitious, then it would seem that by 8 October 'X' had heard about instructions - whether those in the 15 September letter, or in some other document - sent from Moscow to the CPGB. Apparently, 'X' was in the way of receiving information from Moscow - and very timely information, if the story of Zinoviev's boasting 'a few days ago' is to be believed. There are a number of channels through which such information could have been passed. Polish Intelligence services, actively anti-Bolshevik, may have been involved. Equally likely, however, was the involvement of the large and pervasive White Russian

Internal evidence thus confirms the statement in Chester, Fay and Young that 'im Thurn's main difficulty was that he had to keep on bluffing the authorities into believing he did possess the letter when in fact he did not' (p. 185). 26 SIS files.

25


n twork in Europe, directed from Paris but with influential members in London. orne of these, including Kadomtsev, were connected with the London team hip and Trading Company of which 1m Thurn was a director. This company in turn was connected with the Russian Volunteer Fleet, which op n up a further channel of information: as noted earlier, on of the dir tor of Anglo-Ru sian Volunteer Fleet Ltd, Vladimir Sagovsky, was n ral Manager of both AVRF and ARCOS, the body which represented the int r ts of th oviet Commi sariat for Foreign Trade in the UK, with its p r onn I and capital provided by the ovi t Union. According to one sourc , AR wa intend d to play in the world of commerce and industry the part which th notorious Communist 'germ ells' or nuclei ar set to fulfil in Briti h parti , fa tori s and military and naval units. It is the g rm of th tat organi ation through whi h commer e and industry will b run in ovi t England. 27 Wh th r

r n t thi om what apocalyptic view of ARCO 's functions wa i no doubt that ARC and it bank w re u d to channel ountry, and al 0 a a post office for corre pondenc K. Morton wa ur that messag s reach d th thr u h thi hann 1. In thi cont xt, it must b a sum d that iv d thr ugh th Lond n t am hip and Trading Company, nd th r ~ r AR links, wa likely to b pa s d on to ovi t d uppli d by th m. hurn' Labour

ould t

43


original in London would cost perhaps ÂŁ10 ,000'. 29 He did not say where he thought he could get the original from. Enough has been said about 1m Thurn's clumsy efforts simultaneously to extract information and to sell it to cast doubt upon the details of his story, and indeed, on his motives. The obfuscation and prevarication he encountered from his Intelligence contacts, which he interpreted as uncertainty or ignorance on their part, were a logical response to his probing but imprecise enquiries which seemed to have considerable potential for causing trouble. The letter had been circulated by SIS; 1m Thurn appeared either to have a copy or know about it; those who already had a copy wanted to ascertain how much he knew and what use he proposed to make of it. At this point, when the Foreign Office were acting on the Prime Minister's instructions to prepare a draft protest to Rakovsky,30 there appeared no imminent prospect of publication of the letter. It was not surprising, th refore, that th Director of Naval Intelligence refused to see 1m Thurn on 20 October and 'apparently seemed nervous because I had information and meant to publish'. 31 The following day, however, the situation changed. Major Alexander of MIS informed MI6 that a complete copy of the Zinoviev I tter was about to be passed to each of the General Officers Commanding (GOCs) of the military commands, and that the Admiralty were und rstood to b taking similar steps.32 In the words of Professor Christoph r Andr w, 'MIS viewed Comintern's commitment to military subversion with peculiar horror and almost continuous concern', 33 entiments which were rtainly shared by military commanders in all arms of the services. In circulating the lett r, MIS would have been well aware that it could only be a matter of time b for it was leaked to the press: its incitement to insubordination and revolt in the armed forces was bound to have a powerful impact on a group of m n who were already impatient at the refusal of successive governments to d nounce Soviet propaganda and subversive activities. The supposition that imp nding circulation of the letter implied publicity is strengthened by the fact that lat r on 21 October 1m Thurn appears to have been informed personally both by

29

SIS files .

MacDonald had minuted on 16 October: 'We must b sure that th document is authentic. I favour the publication of such things, and the way to do it is to address a despat h to M . Rakovsky. Prepare such and see how it looks. It must be so well-found d and important that it carries conviction and guilt. If not, it will do harm.' According to the FO memorandum of 11 November (see note 10 above), the papers with MacDonald's minute were received back in the FO on 17 October, 'and the Department set to work at on e to prepare a draft on th lines indicated by him '. See DBFP, First Serie , Volume XXV, p. 435. 30

31

Diary entry for 20 October, Chester, Fay and Young, p. 199.

32

SIS fUes .

33

Secret Service, op. cit., p. 264.

44


Alexander and by 'C' that the 1 tt r would b cir ulat d nearer to catching a glimpse of it: 'Cann t r lyon g ttin Must play all I can on F.O. ft ar of publi ation.'34

lthuhh w n py. Wh t h h ll!

1m Thurn immediat ly passed his n ws to Young r at Office, but the evidence suggests that th yaIr ady kn w. David, writing in L'Humanite on 23 Mar h 1928 th hi u Party had invited Conservativ journali t to att nd a m ting headquarters on 21 October and told th m that a bomb h 11 w burst. This report cannot be substantiated, nd Mi B g t a t m d u t on David's motives, but it is support d by th tory in th Manche teT Evening Chronicle on 22 October that sen ational d v lopm nt ti n with th name of Zinoviev might be xpected at th nd of th h Manche leT Guardian of 27 October also stat d that th in th hand f th Conservative Party befor it was giv n to th pr s by th F r ign ffi . Another possible informant was th myst riou Ru sian who, a rding t articles in the Morning Post and Daily Mail on 22 0 tob r, had all d at ap d Conservative Central Office th previous day with a tory that h had from Russia after being senten d to d ath by Zinovi v. 3 h latt r t ry wa examined in detail in the Bagot report, and som upportin inÂŁ rmati n and in th unearthed. 37 However, ther wer important in on i t n i absence of corroborative detail the story prov d impo ibl to onfirm. The authenticity of th more sinister or national a c unt of how Conservative Central Office may have com by informati n about th Zinoviev letter may be doubtful; th r ar more traightforward xplanation which are also more probable. If Central Office had a opy of th I tt r by 22 October, where might they have obtained it? Not from 1m Thurn who wa still trying vainly to get hold of the I tter himself. But th r wer , for xampl members of the Intelligence agencies whose all giance lay firmly in th Conservative camp and who may well hav felt that once th d i ion had been taken to circulate the letter to the military commands th at was aIr ady out of the bag: in view of their previous corresponden e ( e pp. 30-31 ) both Joseph Ball of MI5 and Desmond Morton of SIS must fall into this category; as must Stewart Menzies (a future head of SIS) who, according to lat r testimony by Desmond Morton, admitted sending a copy by post to th Diary entry for 21 October, Chester, Fay and Young p. 199. The do urn ntary evid n suggests that 1m Thurn's informant categorised as 'c' did in fa t refer to the h ad of I . 35 Security Service and SIS file .

34

36

See W.P. and Zelda Coates, History

of AngLo-Soviet Relations (London ,

1 43), p. 196.

For example, a White Russian journal published in Paris tated that th aping Ru ian had called at Central Office after evading Cheka offi ials who had been ent by Rakov k to apprehend him, and his extradition was subsequently demand d. How ver, n ith r th F nor Home Office could confirm that any application for extradition wa made during 0 tob r or November 1924. 37

45


Daily Mail. 38 Lt.-Col. Frederick Browning a form r D puty

hief of I , now in business but still in close touch with hi fonner c lleagu possible conduit, as were both former and urrent aval Intelligence. 39 There were al 0 official in th For ign om e, in luding J.D. Gregory whose strange and complicated r l in th affair will b xamin d later, who may have had an int re t in pa ing in~ rmation t tho who wished to make use of it for party political purp inally if n ervativ Central Office did not actually obtain a py f th 1 tt r until 22 the range of possible source 1 even wid r ompri ing all th h ad military commands. 4o As with so many other aspe t of th Zin support each one of thes

m

vid n

m

friends has be n th subj t Young who name, amon Rear Admiral ir R .nald above, th s ar rtainly p again, it se m p inti Aft r all, Marl w may hav ntral Offic .

r

There is, inde d, r ached both than 22 Octob by their oppon nt in th 1928, giving vid n 38

f.

he ter, Fay and Y un , wh r

rr n y


speculation undertaken by J.D. Gregory and other FO officials, MacDonald voiced his suspicions forcefully: we knew afterwards that the headquarters of the Conservative Association had the Zinovieff letter for days before it was published, and presumably the Daily Mail had it for weeks before it was published. I think it will be found that the Daily Mail had it before the Foreign Office had it.42 Nothing has been found in Intelligence or other archives to suggest that the lett r was in circulation before the Foreign Office received it from SIS on 9 October.43 It is certainly possible, however, that following its initial circulation a copy was passed to Conservative Central Office and/or the press, but ther is no conclusive evidence of this. If MacDonald's political opponents were in early pos ssion of this useful pi ce of ammunition against the Labour government, they chos carefully the best time to deploy it through publicity: the week b for the Gen ral Election. Whether or not such politicallymotivated manipulation took place, it is clear that there were a number of p opl , offi ial and unofficial, who may have thought it their duty to ensure that a opy of what was considered a seditious document r c ived proper publicity through the pr ss; equally cl arly, th y felt that they could not rely upon its bing mad public by th govemm nt through official channels that i , through the Prime Minister and Foreign ecretary, or the Foreign Offic it If. It i to th Foreign Office that we need to turn for the n xt link in th hain which mu t b forged b fore attempting to answer the question 'who wrot the Zinovi v I tt r?'

The Zinoviev Letter and the Foreign Office: protest and publication Th draft 1 tt r of prot t to th ovi t Charge d'Affaires which the Prime Mini t r had commission d on 16 October44 did not reach MacDonald until Thur day, th 23rd. A draft pr pared in orthern Department, unsigned but appar ntly ubmitt d by trang and initialled by Gregory, was amended xt n iv ly by r w who minuted on 21 0 tob r that the revised text 'puts th a quar ly. It an b puhli h d 0 oon as it has reached M. Rakovsky's hands. '45 h draft wa duly nt off to Ab ravon, but MacDonald had gone d wn t Ba claw to h lp hi son Malcolm in his parliamentary campaign and f Th Rt. Hon 28, 281/13.

J.

Ram ay MacDonald to the Treasury Board of Enquiry, 15

n ug ted by number of commentator that there were variant copies of the letter th in Lond n and overs a . It is impossible to disprove this, but the eviden e in m ts th t the variant were in fact tran lation and retranslations of th

f the d partmental draft i in N 8105/108/38, FO 371110478. Sir E. 7838, i r pr du ed in DBFP, Fir t eries, Volume XXV, p. 435.

47


did not see the papers until he returned to beravon on 23 0 tob r. H wa not at all happy with the draft, which a ording to th m m randum of 11 November was 'entirely revi ed and larg ly rewritten by th Prim Mini t r in his own hand'. As the draft sent to MacDonald and return d by him am nd d ha not b n found in the FO archives, MacDonald's r vi ion an only b r n tru t d by comparing the original, d partmental draft a am nd d by r w , with th final version sent to Rakov ky on 24 tob r.4 rtainly th ton and content of the two differ con iderably, th draft ad ptin m what hectoring tone (' eed I remind y u that') whil Ma nald, a h lat r tat d in hi evidence to th Tr a ury Board of Enquiry, ' purp ly dr ft d th fir t part of the d spatch in a ho til spirit and th nd part in a fri ndly pirit' appreciating that thi wa not a p ttifogging littl thing nt t but a de pat h upon whi h th wh were going to hang or might hay hung. back a For ign r tary I had tarry u not go away and withdraw it. It wa importanc .47

th th nsuing s qu n my try, th on n u Minist r' hand, arriv 24 Octob r, and that Ma Much has b n writt n, in tim, ab ut th way in on 24 orelgn

me

m

ul r


The Northern Department of the Foreign Office, 1924


igned by Gregory 'in the absence of the ecretary of tate' , to th oviet Charg ' Rakovsky at about 4 p.m. that afternoon and to the press, together with the t xt of the Zinoviev letter, at around 6 p.m. ( nsuring that publication would be delayed until th following day).49 A a number of commentator have imput d sinister motives to the officials involved, it is worth setting out th sequence of events, as far as the docum ntary record allows. It is worth r m mbering, when considering this vid nc , that Friday was a day when many om ial commonly allow d th ms lves a leisurely lunch with 011 agu s and contacts, or indeed left th om early for a long weekend. It app ar that the draft, xt nsively am nd d by MacDonald, was tak n in at about 11 a.m. to ir Eyr Crow, who dis uss d it with his Privat Bland, and the h ad of orthern Departm nt, Gregory. Although no r cord wa mad of this di us ion, all thos pr s nt subsequently affirm d that row a urn d from th outs t that th not to Rakov ky on put in final form to in rporat Ma Donald' amendm nts hould be nt off that sam day and al 0 nt to th pr without furth r refi ren e to th Prim Mini t r. In making thi judg m nt, row was undoubt dly inÂŁlu n ed by th fact that h had b n inform d that morning by I that the Zinovi v I tt r was to b publi h d in th pr s th following day. 5o According to th ir own t stimony a numb r f om ials point d out to Crow that th draft had not b n initiall d xp ct t it again b for d spatch. by Ma Donald, who might th r for row , how v r, wa adamant that h had th authority to nd th not both t Rak v ky and th pr r gory, who had from th first xpr d hims If pp d t publi ati n f th Zinovi v 1 tt r,5 1 m to hay tri d

fth

i t omint rn

49

ov rnm nt'


Vln rowe t unsuccessfully to per uad 19n th not him If. trang gay ~ 11 WIn th 1 ill 28 Enquiry evidence to the Trea ury Board of [ 24 r ory n th m rrun account of his ubsequent eli u ion with O ctober: I said I thought th Prim ini t r him If ught t ign it and if h f th n t w uld b [ru trat d. I th u h t did not do 0 th purp the publi , whi h wa not in tru t d in w uld mi under tand and w uld that

tr

tim ny by Mr

a I , 21

g

l

th

bru

1 2 , Ibtd.


should appear in brackets above the signature - it was 4 p.m. The note was then taken round to the Soviet Embassy, and a copy of it, together with the letter from Zinoviev, given to the press at 6. Th re is no doubt that the chain of events set out above is both confused and confu ing, and therefor open to sinister interpretation. Whatever the truth of the misunderstanding about MacDonald's signing off of the draft, he had surely a legitimate grievanc in not being consulted or at least informed of what was to b done . He was, as he repeated afterwards, at the nd of a t lephon all aftern on that Friday: even if Crowe assumed his chiefs authority to send the note, it seems extraordinary that he did not think to inform MacDonald that it would appear in th press the following morning, at a tim wh n th Prim Minister was addr ssing a constant succession of political m etings at whi h the press were pre ent and would b bound to a k him ab ut the signifi anc of such a document issued in his name. A it was, wh n a rep rt r from th Daily News a k d MacDonald at the nd of a m ting on Friday v ning 'if h authorised the issu of the Despatch i su d t day' , th Prim Minist r did not know what h was talking about and could only r ply that 'the For ign Office nev r is ues Despatch unauthorised';54 h r iv d no xplanation from the FO until aturday ev ning, by which time h had had t mak a furth r sp ech in wansea, unable to comm nt on the day' nation. Ma D nald was und rstandably angry and inde d humiliat d, hi aunt to th r asury Enquiry in 1928 mak s cl ar: I did n t kn w wh th r ther had b n a r volution in Moscow or wh t on r h had happ n d and I ould not find out; and the thing I h uld hay d n w t throw you all ov r [i.e. th Civil ervice] n id ring th way I wa us d in trying to protect you . . . I could n t mak a tat m nt. My poor fri nds were slaught r d in th ir . I my If ut a mis rabl ant mptible figure and this mind. That i wh r th thing am s in. I am u pi ion . .. h y had that thing six hour in at th oth r nd of the tel phon and they w r mu t b s m xplanation of that. 55

In

a c pted the xplanation of a rib d th Prim Minist r's t legram of 25 Octob r , kn w wha wa g ing on and declaring that h had not p t hand publi ation f th not to Rakovsky, as 'a bolt from

th

281113. r th imm di t r cion f other Labour politi ian to the 'bomb hell' on 25 0 tob r I for x mpl h m J n I Whitehall Diary, op. cit., p . 2 9, and Raymond A. Jon Arthur Ponsonby: The Politics oj Lift nd n, I 8 ), p . 153. r a ury Bard of enquiry,


o doubt as to your having appr v d it had cr d my mind . I remembered that you had wi h d u to mak quite ur f th authenticity of ZinoviefI' I tt r. I had n into thi with ar and wa entir ly ati fi d on th point. W had evid nc n t only f th lett r being ent from Mo ow, but of i having b n r iv d hr . Thi i , a a matter of fa t now furth r nfirm d by th Daily Mail having succeeded in obtaining th d urn nt pr urn ly fr m ommuni tamp hr . h n y u r tum v nal in~ rmer in th draft with your very imp rtant nd to m mind x 11 nt amendm nt ) th r wa n indi ati n that y u did n a final . . . If any n i to lam ~ r y ur int nti n mi und r toad, it must fall n my If. But in th a I hay xplain d th m, h r app r f jnt rpr ting your int nti n oth rwl

2


MacDonald never, apparently, doubted Crowe' sincerity, yen though in his diary h attributed the Permanent Under ecretary's action at least partly to his 'anti-Russian mentality': He was appar ntly hot. He had no intention of bing disloyal, ind d quite the opposite, but his own mind de troyed his dis retion and blinded him to the obvious ar he should have exerci ed. I favour d publi ation; h d cided that I meant at once and before Rakovsky replied. I asked for care in establi hing authenti ity; h was satisfied and that was enough. till, nothing untoward would hay happen d had not the Daily Mail and oth r agenci s including on ervative leaders had th letter and w re preparing a politi al bomb from it.59 This comment show that MacDonald was w 11 awar that Crowe and oth r For ign Office officials wer openly ho tile to oviet Russia and b Ii v d th Bol hevik lead r capabl of anything. lnd d, he had deliberat ly left Crow out of the Anglo- ovi t n gotiation earli r in 1924, knowing th tr ngth of his feeling .60 Howev r , although he flIt let down by hi ivil s rvants ov r th i su of the note to Rakovsky on 24 0 tob r, th r is nothing to ugg st that MacDonald suspe t d that their action wer part of any kind of con piracy, or ba d on any institutional and systemati opposition to hi policie and tho e of hi gOY rnm nt. Wh n in 1925 h did r IV vid n of th possibl involv m nt of r gory in th Zinovi v affair, h wa profoundly hock d and v ry willing to a pt r ory' d nial. 61 Throughout th lifl of th 1924 Labour gOY rnm nt Ma Donald w rk d clo ly and g n rally harmoniou ly with his offi ials - in luding, d pit hi 'anti-Russian m ntality', Crow 2 row's a umption that h kn w Ma Donald' mind uffi iently t a t without his dir t authority on 24 0 tob r i not a out of chara t r a it may m for som on who wa known a a 'sti kl r for proto 01'. in th Labour gOY rnm nt am int offi h had n sarily a urn d on id rabl h h avy workload of a r sponsibility fI r int rpr ting MacDonald's wi h Prim Minist r who was al 0 F r ign r tary m ant that Ma Donald

59

Qu t d in Marquand, op. cit., p. 384.

rowe t Id hi wife that he had put it formally and rep atedly on r ord that h entir Iy di ppr v d of and pr te ted again t th wh Ie pro eeding' ( rowe and orp op. cit., p. 457). 61 ee p. 58 b I w. 2 ir Warr n Fi her, intervi wing Ma Donald in 1928 stat d th t 'whatev r th private i w of individual civil rvant may b th ne thing w in ul ate, and I hop in ul at u e fully i absolut neutrality and g ing all out t erve our rna ter wh ver th y may b '; wh n h k d Ma D nald whether he wa 'quite omfortabl in your mind th t th or ign ffi e fulm and fulfilled during your time . . . the ab olute tandard that th publi and Mini t r , politi ian and th rvic it elf r quire', h repli d 'Perfe tly, without r erve at all'. He I 0 added that h had be n 'in th m t diffi ult ffi for that purpose. I have no memory in the For ign ffi of nyon giving rn anything but th rno t loyal upp rt ... ' 281 / 13).

53


devolved considerable re pon ibility onto th Permanent nd r retary, who, despite his own legendary working practi es - mor than 12 h ur a day, 7 days a week - was in turn for ed to d 1 gat gr at r auth rity to the FO's Assistant Under e retaries and H ad f Departm nt. hi did not mean that MacDonald detached him If fr m policy-making: 'h imply abstained from taking part in the arly tag of th for ign-p li y ~ rmulation process and instead put a premium on rapid d ci ion-making n a matt r was brought to his attention .63 It did, how v r, m an that h pIa d a high reliance on Foreign Office offi ial , and in parti ular n r w to advi and forewarn him a well a to arry out hi wi hand ind d t anti ipat th m. Crowe himself, a compi x and driv n hara t r wh wa aIr ady ill thr w him elf with hi usual con inti u nand z al int rvin Ma he had erved Curzon: ind d th in r a d r p n ibility a rd him s ems to have inflam d that z al. Th fll upp rt by hi nt mp rari ' m moirs, portray him durin the p ri d fr m January 1 2 until hi d April 1925 a arrying d di ati n t duty t th pint wh r th w r maim t unbal n a tions - and p rhaps judg m nt Much of th anti-Labour fil s of th the ry that ob tru ti n,

tandp int, th and had b n Whit Balti a gr

urz ir 1

kh- rl. Illb wih 0'

, r

f

0

t

l

pi til 路


It is perhaps unsurpnslng, in these circumstances, that Gregory and many of his colleagues were alienated by Bolshevism, and had doubts about the wisdom or utility of negotiating with the Soviet Union. But it does not mean that they considered their new political masters to be no better than Lenin and Zinoviev, nor that they refused to carry out policies which were designed to promote closer Anglo-Soviet relations. Indeed, there is evidence to show that they actively welcomed MacDonald as a successor to Curzon, who had been autocratic, difficult, inconsistent and often a bully. MacDonald, by contrast, was warm, friendly and courteous: as Alexander Cadogan commented: 'It's odd that we should have had to wait for the Labour Party to give us a gentleman. '66 The style and complexion of the new Government was undeniably different from what civil servants, including those at the FO, were used to: there is certainly an air of condescension, a certain snobbishness in the tone some officials adopted when writing or speaking about their new masters; the Labour Ministers had not gone to the same schools as their senior officials, and moved in different social circles; but there is no documentary evidence of institutional non-cooperation or obstructiveness. 67 If any FO officials did act improperly during the Zinoviev affair, the evidence suggests opportunism and personal gain were more compelling than political motivation.

Nothing has been found in FO or Intelligence files to suggest that Crowe's handling of the Zinoviev letter and of th r ply to it was informed or motivated by political (or pecuniary) considerations. His letter to MacDonald of 25 October, wh re he attributes the Daily Mail's possession of the letter to 'some venal informer in the Communist camp', is either compl t ly disingenuous or indicat s a lack of both interest in and understanding of th interplay of press and politics which had I d to at least one copy of the letter reaching opponents of the government. The documentary evidence also indicates that Crow had a high degree of confidence in information passed to the Foreign Office by SIS. His behaviour may have been odd, but it is hard to suspect him of being the villain of the piece. It is much harder to dispel suspicions regarding the role of Gregory, whose behaviour was to lead to the reopening of enquiries into the Zinoviev affair in 1928.

A ording to Sir Arthur Willert in Washington and other memories (Boston, 1972), Cadogan ('a fa tidiou man') made thi remark 'as a group of u left Ramsay MacDonald's room after our first meeting with him when he took offi e in 1924 .. . Th wooliness that affii ted him at times in his second premiership was then entirely absent. He knew what he wanted and con idering the hort time he was in office he secured a good deal of it' (p. 166).

6

f. on this point Andrew Williams, Labour and Russia, op. cit.: 'It will never be elucidated whether the Foreign Offi e did in erely stay neutral or whether class predilections . . . won through in the end. Such would have been a departure from tradition, but then many Foreign Offi offi ial con idered both the advent of the Labour Party and relation with Soviet Ru ia as equal departures from sane and normal practice' (p. 18).

67

55


Gregory the Zinoviev letter and the Franc Th

but

Di

r 1

candal


good character, had been in MIl (c) (i.e. I ) until 1918, and had th n erv d in Russia and later as Vice-Consul in Lithuania for the For ign Office until June 1921. Thus Mrs Dyne' husband, Gr gory, Blennerha ett and po sibly de Waal had all travelled on Russia's west rn borders in the arly 1920s and had connections with the Baltic Stat s. Wh th r on th strength of this shar d experience, or whether, as de Waal later aid, it was b cau e h r garded civil servants as 'absolutely gilt-edged client' ,69 de Waal gave Mr Dyne xten iv un ecured credit, a fact on which h was qu stion d harply at the Board of Enquiry in 1928. The details of the Gregory-Dyn finan ial d aling , and of th les er involvement f Owen O'Malley and Command r H.F.B. Maxse both offi ials in Northern Department, are not important to th Zinovie story. It is enough to know that they engaged to buy amount of foreign curren y which they then sold before they had to pay for them: a common m thod, then as now, for attempting to mak mon y qui kly, and not illegal a long as losse ar paid for; Dyne and Gr gory, howev r, 10 t more than th y gain d, 0 that by 1927 Mrs Dyn ow d nearly ÂŁ40 000 - a v ry larg sum at that time - to Ironmong rs, who w r prompted to u her and th reby t in train the public shaming of Gr gory and other official . Even if u c ssful, thi was not prud nt their finan ial dealings had b en mor ondu t for officials mploy d by th For ign om ,as th Report of th Board of Enquiry mad lear in 1928: In ur opinion . . . a our f sp ulativ transa tion su haw hav d scrib d . . . ought nev r to hav b n ent r d upon by any ivil rvant. L a t of all ought for ign x hang p ulati n to hav b en und rtak n by tho to whom, from th natur of th ir work, th n itiv n sand suspi ion of for ign countri with regard t d alings in th ir urr n y annot hav b n unfamiliar.7 0 n t b d alings had b n

r a ury Bard f

n doing ommon

bruary 1928, T 281/2

nquiry,

mmi i n f Enquiry, publi h d in 1 28. Part HI of th R p rt i at Ann

57


1 ewher. h al said he wa g ing t g work. up to the publication of the Zinovi v lett rand th on 25 Octob r:

unn that w k 1 din r ply igned by ry

Mr. Gr gory pretty w 11 liv d th r tog th rand h generally Octob r 25th Mr Dyn w nt out to lun h. anag r and a k d him rn nti n d a urn of 0, 0 fran and Ab ut thi tim Mr Dyn aid 'Mr Minist r' ba k was turn d '. aid that Mr. Ma D nald h d Mr

a r

71

r

ury B

nq i , T 'l. III

lun h in


MacDonald left it to rowe's judgement as to how to deal with the matter, but also insisted on seeing Gregory himself. Gregory 'denied the whol thing', and stated 'very emphatically, which was natural, that Mrs Dyne was an old friend, and just took a sort of general line of def! nee' . He rep ated his denial when challenged by ].H. Thomas (Colonial S cretary in the first Labour government), who felt it his duty to inve tigate Violet Digby's tory even though he, too found it hard to take seriously: What struck me more than anything else was th remarkabl connection of it. It was not spasmodic. It looked to me a though if someone at Scotland Yard had dropped someone down to have listened on the telephone th y could not hav done it bett r than this girl did it.7 3 Thomas a k d Gregory to com and e him, told him that all orts of wild statements had b en made about him, in luding that 'th hand of Rom can b traced in this' (Gregory was a Roman Catholic), and read the deposition t him. Gregory 'laughed outright', explain d that Mrs Dyn 's husband was an old s hool friend, and told Thomas that Viol t Digby was a maid with a grievan e against her mistr ss who had failed in her suit for wrongful di mi sal in th County Court:' ed I say any mor .' Thomas found this a reasonable explanation, as h told the Board of Enquiry: Now, g ntlem n, all I hav to ay i it s med to m that a man in th position of Gr gory, this was an old school hum, h r was a maid that had gone to th Country Court and was non-suited, it s emed to m so unreasonable. I said to Gregory 'W 11 I am awfully sorry to hav troubled you with it and I am quit sati fied ther i nothing in the allegation.' He aid 'It is absurd t talk ab ut my d aling in exchang matt r . Why should I d al with x hang matt rs . . . I nev r dealt with anything of th kind. It is too ludicrous for words.' It 0 onvinc d m that in my report I r port d to a Party me ting that I had car fully inv stigat d this do urn nt and was satisfied ther was no v stig of truth in it to onn t Gr gory with th Roman Catholic side or that th r was any d alings in fran s or roubl s or anything lse. It was simply th imagination of a girl who had a gri vance and thought sh could tak advantag of it by th publication of this Zinovi v d cum nt. 74 o furth investigat row di ontinu d Affairs in

73 74

Eviden Ibid.

r action was taken, within or without th For ign ffic , to Vi 1 t Digby's all gations until th Board of Enquiry in 1928. d shortly aft r MacDonald told him about it, and Gr gory' ar r cr tary for Foreign to flouri h: h wa appoint d A si tant Und r 1925. Wh n Ironmong r' uit again t Mrs Dyn am to ourt in by J.R . Th mas to the Tr a ury Board of Enquiry, 20

59

ebruary 192B,

2B1I 20.


n v rthel major pr bi to advi on matt r

r

in

yn ¡, h 2 1/


testimony was in direct conflict with that of a number of oth r witne es: h told the Board, for example, that he had b n 'so involv d and so busy for a fortnight or three weeks before that unfortunate letter and a good fortnight after that, that I do not even know whether I saw the Dyn family'; that the despatch of the note to Rakovsky was 'in the ordinary cours and 'did not mak the impression on any of us of an impending sensation or anything of that sort'; that MacDonald had not asked him wheth r Violet Digby's allegations were true, and that he had made no categorical statements to ].H. Thomas. He also told the Board that he had s vered all bu in s conn ctions with Mrs Dyne in 1924, while an examination of their bank book r vealed continuing financial transactions b tween them, and the vid nc shows that their personal r lations remained close. The Board's verdict indicat d their opinion of such evidenc , as well as their distast for the id a of ivil s rvants ervic, O'Mall y engaging in sp culation: Gregory wa dismissed from th was permitted to resign 76 and Maxse was sev r ly reprimand d and forf! it d thre y ars' s niority. During the Enquiry, as shown in Ann x F, th vents of Octob r 1924 in r lation to th Zinoviev I tt r and its possibl link to Gr gory' finan ial d alings w r discuss d at length with a large numb r of witn ss . Th Board c ncluded that 'th r i not th slight st foundation for any of th USpl Ion whi h hay , in our opinion, most unjustly attach d to Mr. Gr gory in conn xion with th vents of th 24th and 25th Octob r, 1924'. R vi wing th vid nc in r tro p ct, it i c1 ar that th re wa no other onclusion th y ould r ach in th light of th qu stions they cho to a k. For th primary fo u of th Enquiry was, of cours , curr ncy sp culation by civil rvant, and th Bard addr ss d in particular th issu of wh th r Gregory and his 011 agu uld hay u d their privil g d position as m mbers of th For ign Offic to gain information from abroad which might b us ful to th m in timing th ir financial dealing . Witn ss call d by th Board w re almo t unanimou in agr ing that or ign Offic officials, whil naturally w ll-placed for rtain information from abroad, w r much Ie s w ll-pla d than th City for pi king up arly tip and acting on th m, and for judging th stat of th mark t . h failur or inability of th p culators to mak us of in id infl rmation wa confirm d by a atalogu of ill-tim d d aling and th ir lack of uc In making mon y. h Board's nsure was ba d on th fa t that a ivil or ign Offi , th y should not hay b n rvants, parti ularly in th ngaging in u h d alings at all.

yn' muddl d and ntTadi torytatem nts - parti ularty that h r hu band had known n thing of h T UTr n y d aling until h h d ask d him on on i n for m n t mak g od h r I . A c rding l Mr yn , h r hu band wa 'a v ry ompla nt p ron' 281/34). 'Mall y w ub qu ntly r in tated following a d t rmin d ampaign by fri nd and in pi de in Permission to Resign (Lond n , p rti ul r by hi wif" Ann Bridg , who d rib d th

I 72).

61


hi line of que tioning wa Gr gory and the Zinovi v I tt r. ould hay profit d financially from Zinoviev I tter and th r ply t it. ouid h of th not out of th political unanim u Iy no mean urr n 1 in at th did not gambl that h oin id

e Ann x

blow, p. 117 .

th


Declaration are in our judgment crystal clear and we have no doubt that our readers will draw the same conclusions as we have made in our own mind. Was it because these deductions were so evident and so damning that the Special Board put up their inflated man of straw and then demolished him?80 Howev r misguided their assumptions may hav been, technical inconsistencies and lack of proof convinced the Board of Enquiry that they were barking up the wrong tree in trying to link the franc scandal to the Zinovi v letter, and that Gregory's crime was confined to inappropriate curr ncy sp culation. Yet ther remain many unanswered questions. It is a fact, as the Enquiry's investigations made clear, that Mrs Dyne had r ach d a period of crisis in her financial dealings during October 1924 (little appear in Gr gory's nam at thi time, but they frequently acted for each other and it is pra tically impo sibl to disentangl their dealings). An analysi of her buying and selling transactions revealed that all th se dated befor 31 July 1924 had b n closed by 9 August, but a numb r of large deals nt red into in August were not clos d off until Novemb r. The franc fluctuated considerably during October, falling st adily after th 16th, and Mr Dyne n eded cash to s ttle h r a counts with Ironmong rs: the origin, p rhaps, of her r mark to Viol t Digby about losing ' a lot of mon y' and Gregory having to I ave the Foreign Offic . Y t Gr gory's bank b ok show d that between 29 Octob rand 19 ov mb r h paid £8,258 145 into Mrs Dyne's ac ount in four in talm nts; while Mrs Dyn (who had initially r fu ed the Enquiry access to her bank r cords, but lat r agr d) was abl t make two payments to Ironmong rs of £6,140 and £2,467, on 28 October and 20 November. 81 N oher nt xplanation was given to th Board of Enquiry eith r by Gregory or Mr yne as to what th e sum r pr s nt d or wh r th money cam fr m. in b th of th m profl s ed to k p no r cord of th ir d alings, and to b in th habit of ontinually paying out on th other's b half and th n bing r paid, it wa and i impo ible to mak any firm conne tion betw n thes trans a tion and th ev nts surrounding the publication of th Zinoviev I tt r. In th ir umstan s, how ver, and bearing in mind the eviden e of other witn s ,th po ibility of uch a conn ction must b allow d. But what sort of nn tion? As th Board conclud d, th idea of manipulating th publi ation of th L tt r and its r ply for finan ial advantage s ms impr babl in th xtr m . Mor likely, sur ly, that money might b earn d by selling a opy of th Zinovi v 1 tt r to th pr ss, in advan of publication; p rhap , ind d, b for publi ati n by the FO its If w r d id d upon? A tat d abov ,it ms lik ly that both on rvative C ntral £lic and th pr h d opi s of th 1 tt r by 22 0 tob r at th lat st, and th re i no h "Zin vi v Lett r": he as for a Full lnve tigation', by W.P. Coat with a pr fa M xton M.P. Th Anglo-Ru ian Parliam ntary Committe , May 1928, p. 19. 81 B rd f Enquiry mi Han ous d uments, T 281/36 and 38.

80 '

b j.


shortage of candidate who may hay b n r p onethel s it i al 0 clear that a numb r of p pI letter, whil finding it Ie s ea y to g t hold of a py. it worth whil to pay for a c rtainty: and who m r than the head of the Forth rn D partm nt?

'1 ak. th ~lt

py

f th

Dai!:J h

Mail, was a cu d of paying

W

hay

ri

vry

th th

83

u i n M A

pp. 57-8.

4


negotiating with the Soviet delegation in the summer of 1924. He may have taken a somewhat condescending and di dainful attitud to the Labour government and to MacDonald,85 but the evidence in FO files of the way he carried out his duties and served his political masters uggests scrupulous observance of official procedures. Indeed, what is known about him personally bears out his own testimony that he was not interested in politics and had 'never voted in my life'. 86 He and Mrs Dyne enjoyed moving in cosmopolitan, adventurous and even clandestine circles, but the documentary vidence sugge ts that they were more interested in excitement for its own sake than in the ndgame some of their friends were pursuing; their gambling a tivities, bold but bumbling, bear out this portrayal. Gregory was certainly in a position to know a lot about the letter and its provenance, and to pass it on to others if h wished. But if political motivation is sought - and as we have s en, the cont nt and timing of the letter were very opportun for opponents of the Labour government - it can surely b found much more readily in figure like D smond Morton and Jos ph Ball, both senior members of Int llig nc ag n ie , both clos ly involv d with th fortun s of the Cons rvativ party, than it can in J.D. Gr gory, whos involv ment is clearly indicated but who may, in th nd, have b en no more than a rash and misguided man I d a tray for th loy of an xoti and xtravagant woman. The unanswered question

W

hay

n how th For ign Offi got hold of the Zinoviev letter; and th y had of its g nuinen s; that the Daily Mail (and n rvativ ntral me ) ould hay g t hold of a opy of th I tt r in advan through a variety of hannels; and that a numb r of senior figur s w r willing t t 11 th pre s about th letter's circulation to military ommand. h an wer to th final qu tion - who wrot the Zinovi v letter? - mu t n w b ught in th r sults of th xt nsive enquiri s into th ity f th I tt r whi h w r t in train by its publication with th r ply n 25 tob r; nquiri s pursu d on both ides of th r ign ffi p I p trum in Britain at an offi ial 1 v I by b th th British and Ru i n v rnm n , and by th ir r p tiv Int llig n s rvIces.

r g ry ' p rtr yal f M m moir (' h tru k u a kindly, but 1 n ly') em nu u nd rn f hi bittern at th mann r f hi leaving th F r ign IIi e - whi h i n l m nti n d ( n the Edge oj Diplomacy, p. 218).

85

di in

ury Bo rd

f

nquiry,

281 / 9 .

5


Chapter III: The IDvestigatioD

'It is impossible solely on the basis of internal evidence to make a firm assessment of the authenticity of the Letter of 15 eptember 1924 as a oviet Russian document although there seems little doubt today that it was never ent by Zinoviev Jor the instruction of the ePGB.))l The publication on 25

ffi

f

wa ' 0

M

I

B ot rep rt, 1 70, p. .

2

R kov ky to Litvin v, 25

u in M 4

R kov ky

1

Litvin v, 25


in most categorical terms that the manife to attached to it is a gross forgery ... Not only the contents but th heading and signatur of the document definitely prove that it is the work of malicious individuals who are inad quately familiar with the constitution of th Communist International. 5 Rakovsky's rebuttal of the authenticity of the Zinoviev lett r was of cour e ovi t Ministry predictable. But it is clear from his communications with th of Foreign Affairs that he, at lea t, was in th dark about th origins of the Lett r, referring in his letter to Litvinov to 'the forgery of the Comintern manifesto', and 'this apocryphal docum nt', and speculating on MacDonald' involv m nt; on 26 October he telegraphed again to the Commissariat for Foreign Affair, asking for 'fresh data confirming the falsity of such an (?all ged) statement by ZinoviefP, noting that h was 'taking into account th possibility that MacDonald may be seeking an opportunity to drop the treaty "with a bang"'. 6 v rth Is, Rakov ky was reali ti enough to allow the possibility that th Comintern had tak n action without his knowl dg , and await d information from Moscow. Th Rus ian do umentation, how v r, indicat that Rakovsky's communication had b en re ived with onfusion and un rtainty in Mos ow, and that the For ign Mini try them Iv s were by no m an c rtain what th whol affair wa about. A Litvinov wrote to Rakov ky on 27 0 tob r (wh n a s ond ovi t not r pudiating in gr at r d tail th auth nticity of th 1 tter was sent to the British Gov rnm nt) th Briti h not of 24 0 tob r had b en r iv d mu h arli rand parat ly from th text of the ham Zinovi v I tt r. At first w did not know why the Foreign Offic am out with it accu ations and wer in lined to regard it as an 1 tion ring tunt on the part of MacDonald, dictated by a desir from Mo ow. W n m r to d m nstrat hi ind p nd n almo t d cid d th r for , in order not to ups t his I toral appl art, not to r ply until after th I tions, and then to giv a harp d i iv r buff. N w of the forg d do ument of cour e oblig d u to alt r our d i ion and giv an imm diat r ply. 7 M anwhil ,th uppo d author of th not, mak a r pon to th all gations, not I a t d i ion a t th handling of th matt r in Zinovi v of 25 tober, opied to all m mb wr t :

Zinovi v, had b n pr ed to b caus of th ne d to tak a th ovi t pr s. In a not to r of th Politburo, Chich rin

not wa publi hed in md. 2895, A election of Papers dealing with the relations between His Majesry's Government and the oviet Government 1921-1927 (liM 0 , 1927). It is alo printed in DVR op. cit. o. 242.

~ Rakov ky'

lnt r ept d t I gram from R kov ky to Mow, ecurity ervi e me . 7

itvinov to Rakov ky, 27

tober 1 24, Russian MFA ar hive , 69/8/47/15.


The whole of Britain is awaItmg a telegram from you recent incident. I urge you to g t in tou h with Litvin matter . . . We also need to tak a d ci ion on v nn our press. This is connected with th i ue of a d nial from

about th about thi all this in you. 8 t

Despite this appeal, and

th

p . .. [h ~ h n ply]. With h Zin vi v wi h lh

th

Pr idium

pr parati n

in

fit

8

in


that this has been inserted by officials of th British Foreign Office or persons concerned in the affair. Undoubtedly we have to deal h re with an instance of carefully planned provocation, directed simultaneously against the Labour Party and the SSSR. The Conservatives, who are the chief enemies of the Labour Party, owing to their contact with the Foreign Office have strained every effort to have a note presented to us on the matt r of this unfortunate letter. MacDonald and the Labour Party have suffer d a severe blow. Considerabl damage has b en done to us also, as the Soviet Gov rnment is accused of assisting the IKKI, a fact for which ware particularly blam d by the bourgeois governments with which w would have liked to maintain friendly relations. The first step of th KID is of cours ab olutely to d ny the accusations levell d against us, e pecially as the British Governrn nt is hardly lik ly to pos ss any dir ct proof that the I tt r was actually signed by Zinoviev, sent from Mo ow, and actually r ceived by th Briti h Communi t Party . . . h a , ther fore, is u h that w cannot accu e the British officials of di torting th txt, as thi would hardly xonerate th IKKI, or th ovi t Gov rnm nt from th a u ation of int rferen in th int rnal affairs of th Briti h tate; th whole qu stion must b kept on th plan of th auth nticity of the whol I tt r. It is essential to rout th en my ompl t ly, d stroy th accusation, and on and for all mak an nd of all attempts to hold the Sovi t Gov rnm nt r p nsibl for th a tivity of the IKKI. It would b extremely d irabl btain th di mi al from th or ign Office of p rsons who ar working against us, u h as, for in tanc ,th Chi f of th Ru ian D partm nt, Gr gory, an ard nt oppon nt of th ovi t urth r, it w uld b d sirabl that th Foreign ction of th b in tru t d to tak all measur s to a certain the ources from whi h th Briti h Governm nt obtains its n ws and s cr t information about th R, and also to a rtain by what m an th data r garding the I tt r of th IKKI came into th hands of th Briti h or ign Offi . I also dar to a urn that the IKKI mu t b r qu t d to ob rv gr at r caution in its communication and rr p nd n with th ommitt of frat rnal ommuni t Parti ,in ord r that th vi t Gov rnm nt may not b omp lIed t und rtak th d ~ nand ju tification b th of it If and th IKKI. Alth ugh thi r ord, if auth nti , rtainly onstitutes proof that the omint rn had addr d a I tt r to the Briti h ommuni t Party, it em hardly uffi nt vid n to warrant th c rtainty with whi h ' , assur d r w n ov mb r that it con titut d proof that th I tt r of 15

69


ptember was genuin .10 Zin vi ' r marks on th di t rti n 'drawn up by omrad Manu' w r bru h d a id with th 'The r fer n e to mutilation vid ntly r ~ r to th di tran lation of the Ru sian riginal and that r Communi ts. II Diffi ren in tran lation uld in ertion of paragraph r lating t [utur 1 ad r th main ignatory of th 15 pt mb r 1 tt r w M Manus. I , of COUf e, had only th 15 pt mb r 1 evaluating th ovnarkom meting, in a tat d b Opl of no other 1 tt r of in tru tion fr m April.I2 Zinovi v, n th th r hand wa w 11 th

u 15

P ts . I fil

7

[a lett r ur


an appropriate respons to the possibl leakage of any docum nt, and w re not specific to the 'Zinoviev letter' as such. Although the Soviet authorities denied consistently the auth nticity of the letter, no attempt was made to disguis the fact that it was ntir ly in lin with other documents and speech s written and made by Soviet leader on th r occasions. What might be constru d by British politician and the pr ss a admission of oviet author hip of the letter (at I ast in the imm diat aftermath of publication), Sovi t leader and the ovi t pre us d as viden e of forg ry: they might have written uch a 1 tter,16 but had not done 0 - at least at that particular time. Ind ed, The Times on 29 October publi h d a d a I tt r of report from Berlin that on 26 Octob r Zinovi v had addr ~idan e to th German Communist Party on their forth oming g n ral 1 tion, whi h wa printed in Rote Fahne (Red Flag) without any que tion of d nial of it auth nti ity; and th Daily Telegraph ran this alongsid a tory fIe t that the Russian from th rw gian n w paper Tidens Tegn, to th ommuni t Party in orway had received in th arly spring a lett r 'cou h d in almo t id nti al terms with th on from ZinoviefT, which cau d uch a tir tat D partment from th U in England'. How ver, a r port to th L gation in Riga forwarding tran lation of ovi t r ÂŁ r n to th Briti h I tion and th Zinovi v in id nt, not d that Zinovi v him If, in an int rvi w with ÂŁ r ign journali ts, di ov r n thing in th all g d 1 tt r attribut d to him that th ommuni tInt rnational ha not addr s d at som time to it m ountri, but h argu d that th instru tion g nt in arc ly tim ly.1 7 r garding military pr paration in ngland w r Wh

t

m rg

f th

hi f publi ati n of UK and with ffi t on th that th

ovi t


m id nt man

government or ev n th

v rnm

int

The earch for truth: th London angl

tin , 2

7

n n ui


suspicion - I will not ay the conclusion political plot? 19

that the whole thing is a

By giving the app aran e of casting doubts on th authenticity of th 1 tter, while making it clear that the Foreign Office believ d it to b genuine, Ma Donald confused the issue further and mad hi own po ition wors . As th Manchester Guardian pointed out, 'If th letter was a hoax, as he s em d to think, hi Department had made an " gregiou blunder"; if it was genuin , h ould not accu his nemie of having "fabricat d a plot". '20 ev rthel 55, h I arly £ It both mystifi d and misus d: as h told th abinet on 31 0 tob r, 'I £ It like a man sewn in a sack and thrown into the sea'.21 By that tim , I ction was ov r and the government s day numb r d: not howey r, th b au th y lost ot ov r Zinovi v - for d pite th bad publi ity, Labour till in rased it total vot by a million' but b aus of a Liberal collaps , 10 ing a hundr d at (including that of A quith hims If) and hug on rvativ gains, 0 that th latt r h ld 419 s at out of 615 and 48.3 % of th total vot . Mt r 2 0 t ber MacDonald' con rn wa not t repair an oHap ,but t alvag hi and hi party r putation by trying to tabli h th tru th ab u t th Zinovi v affair. Hi har d in th or ign Offic . Th do urn ntary vid n ugg t that although Ma Donald b Ii v d hi ffi ial th ught it auth nti ,22 by th tim h r turn d to L nd n from Wal s h had r a h d th onclu ion that th tt r wa a £ rg ry, but wa anxiou to ur d finite proof. row, h w v r, n id ra ly di turb d by th v nt of th pa t fi w days, wa qually anxi u to ur pr of of th auth nti ity of th L tt r, and s ught 1 rifi ti n fr m n numb r of point . In a long conversation at th r i n ffi n 27 t b r with a m mb r of I, r w finally a ked th u ti n whi h mi ht hay b n mor u fully put wh n th L tt r wa fir t

tob r

ur a ain

22

M t

73

t

dat d 25 and 2 tob r, ju tifyin th Rako ky, a rting that h r m in d publi in th dark would


r

harg' B

21

hi not i print d in DBFP, ir

,

t

0. 245.

7

o. 2

, n tt ( , nd in D P,

op. cit.,


J

19M. '

Uy dear yoneleur RakovakJ.

You oannot of oourse be aerioue 1n suggesting ' that I left JOur off1oial

not~

of the 27th inetant by

aco1dent on JOur table last TUesday evening ! Ae you know. mJ direot and personal instruot10ns from the Prime Minister were to hand the note

b&o~

you ae unaaoeptable for the reasone I gave. and I oarried out thoee I my

am

~ra1d

action:

to formall~

~etruot10ne.

I have no altern&t1Te but to repeat

and I must add that the Prime M1n1ster desires

me to .ay that 1t i. final OD hie part. as be <*lDot pOB81b17 allow any suggestion that a foreign government

may LDterfere either in rewards or punishmente bi Rie l~jelty's 'tV

ill

e~8

Government.

Look at the 3rd paragraph and you

what 1s ob jeoted to.

Ilona ieur C. RakovsQ.


GREGORY:

Trans/miqn:

CHA1\1BERLAIN:

"IT'S THE THIRD TThIE I M1 TAKlNG THIS TRIP TO RETURN RAKOWSKY HIS DAMNED NOTE. I A...\l ALL IN A S\VEAT OVER IT.' ,\,\'HAT, SENT IT BACK AGAIN? \'YELL THEN. WE'LL ruST HAVE TO MISLAY IT SOME"VHERE AMONG OUR PAPERS'


inadmissible interference in our domestic affairs' and must be withdrawn. 28 Rakovsky refused to take it back, whereupon Gregory deliberately left it behind; Rakovsky re-presented it on 29 October, it was again returned on 31 October and then re-presented on 1 November in a series of demarches which Rakovsky described to Moscow as a 'tragi-comedy', while admitting that he could not 'disguise the fact that the situation has become involved and that we are most probably heading for a lengthy conflict'. 29 MacDonald, who had presided on 31 October over an apparently stormy and even hysterical meeting of the Cabinet - although the official minutes noted merely that a Cabinet Committee had been appointed 'to examine at once the authenticity of the Zinoviev letter'30 met Rakovsky on the evening of Sunday, 2 November, avowedly to protest ov r the s cond Russian note. MacDonald's own short record of the meeting shows that from the outset he referred to the Zinoviev letter as a forgery, while rejecting the implications of the second Russian note that the forgery may have been committed by one of our officials. That I would not listen to nor do anything in any way to seem to admit. I pointed out that there was no analogy between his accusation by implication and our definite complaint against the Russians officials with proofs [in 1923], and gave him quite clearly to und rstand that his not will not placed on our files or be recognised in any way unl ss that part of it were eliminated. In the end he had nothing to say, and I understood h gave in. 31 MacDonald's minute records no other points of his conversation with Rakovsky. Russian r cords of the meeting, however, rev al that the Prime Minister was just as inter sted in trying to elicit information about the Zinovi v 1 tt r as he was in rejecting the terms of the Soviet note. In a Top r t r port s nt to Litvinov on 5 November, Berzin, Rakovsky's colleague from th ovi t Trade Delegation who was present at the meeting, described MacDonald as at first striking 'a direct hit' against Rakovsky by asking him 28

Minut by Gregory of 2 October, N 84751108/38, FO 371/10479.

Inter pted t legram from Rakov ky to Mo cow, 29 0 tober 1924, Security Service fUes. Interestingly, on the arne date Rakov ky wrote to Litvinov describing how he had sent the note ba k to reg ry, who 'looked very perplexed, he remarked that he was not in any way involved in this matt r, that he was r qui red to an wer for his superiors, that he was tired of his work, that he want d t go off to somewhere in America, that we had been wasting our time over the past four m nth in s king to conclude a treaty, etc.' (Rus ian MFA archives, 4/4/373/26). There is no hint of this weary despair in regory's risp FO minute re ording hi talk with Rakovsky, whi h h d ribed as 'of th fri ndli t nature without any per onal animus on either side'. On Rakov ky' att mpts to deliv r his note, the terms of which he maintained were justified by th mor 1 injury caus d to the oviet Union Government by the British note of the 24th tob r', s DBFP, First eries, Volume XXV, pp. 437-8.

2

abin t on lu ions (57)24, 31 October 1924, CAB 23/48. Thomas Jones's more graphic a ount f th m ting is in his Whitehall Diary, op. cit.) pp. 299-300.

DBFP, ibid., p. 438. In fa t Rakov ky maintain d the position et out in hi note, writing to Gr g ry on 10 ov mber that Ma Donald had drawn 'in orr ct on lusions' from their conver ation (ibid., p. 440). By that time, however, MacDonald was out of offi e.

31

75


whether he had not known about the Letter before it was sent to him with the British reply. Rakovsky answered this with a categorical statement that w kn w absolutely nothing about it. Since there hay been several r ports in the press that our Embassy received the said docum nt arli r, and MacDonald put the question in such a dire t form d pit Rakovsky's denials of the rumour, the conclusion to b drawn i that thi fal statement must app ar in the cotland Yard r port .32 MacDonald pre sed Rakov ky for letter a forgery, but Rakov ky' r about which MacDonald had channels 33 - were dismiss d as in

details of why th Ru sian on id r d th sp n on rrun t tual ina ura i b n r lVlng in~ rmation fr moth r uffici nt pr f:

it would appear that h had been giv n whi h se med to make all our riti i m pointl s n wa that 0 far as h is cone rn d th vid n far pr vid d f th false natur of th do urn nt i inad quat . Rak v ky nd I pint d out to him that it wa n t a qu tion f u havin t pr v th t th document is fals ,quit th ntrary. h Briti h g v rnm nt] mu t prove it is genuin . A som what bizarre not i tru k in B and Rakov ky's att mpt to at h a glimp

hi

A r gards our vi w th t it i fal a mu h great r xt nt if w had

h ad d pap r, signatur, t. At th want to how u th do urn nt. H but th n h itat d and did not p n d cid d not to r v al hi a tually hay it. 34

Berzin to Litvin v, 5 vern Rakov ky t Mow, r portin 33 e pp. 78-9 below.

y

4/ /37 / 2 . print in DVP.

32

34

h n

B rzin to Litvinov, ibid.

7

, op. 路t.,


said that he had stolen the forged letters from a friend and was prepared to hand them over to the Russian government together with 'the names, personal descriptions and present habitats of all the agents of the secret police now In Russia and employed by various organisations'. 35

Anti-Soviet Forgeries asserts that the British authorities maintained 'an obstinate silence' in regard to these allegations, and that S - - had 'vanished into spac " but in fact the latter was well-known to SIS and the Security Service (und r a vari ty of aliases) as 'an unscrupulous scoundrel' who tried to plant 'clumsy forgerie ' on Scotland Yard, among others; he appears to have had more succe s with the Russians, but 'dropped out of the picture, the Russians having appar ntly not thought it worth while to keep up with him'. However, th ass rtion in Anti-Soviet Forgeries that Rakovsky had given the Foreign Office copi s of the do urn nts passed to them by S - - is supported by Berzin, who r port d that at MacDonald's request Rakovsky sent him copi s of the docum nts from ' ingl ton' the following day, 3 November: if h did so, howev r, Ma Donald did not inform th For ign Office; on 9 December 1924 Bland wrot to w cotland Yard that 'We do not know for certain whether Rakov ky pr du d any do urn ntary evidenc about the forgery organisation wh n h aw Mr. MacDonald'. 36 0 trac of the receipt of such copi s has v r b n found in For ign Offic or Intellig nce fil s. Berzin and Rak v ky con Iud d from th meting with MacDonald that th latt r 'wa in n d ubt that th I tt r wa false, but on the one hand, he had b m inv Iv d in th matt r by sending his own note, and on the other hand h i now on th dg of r tiring, and he no longer has enough time to inv ti at thi whol tory in d tail'. Aft r his me ting with the Russians, how v r, th Prim Minist r made a final attempt while in office to det rmin wh th r th Zin vi v I tt r wa auth nric. On 3 November he submitted a list I , r lating to Rakovsky's textual criticism of the Zinoviev tory about' ingl ton' which the oviet Charge had told him h I r pons to the questions is of interest in exploring Zin vi v 1 tt r, and indeed IS themselves considered it For ign Offic . This does not, of ith r w or th For ign Office doubt the urn nt in any way.37 h n w r t Ma nald' t xtual qu ri w r in onclusiv . In hi r ply to th Briti h not , Rakov ky had drawn attention to two ÂŁ atures of the lett r whi h h aid prov d it to b a forg ry: the d ignation 'Third Communist I

77

file.


International', which he as erted would n v r hay b n u d a it wa not admitted that there was a cond International,38 and th fact that Zinoviev had supposedly signed the letter ' Presid nt of th Pr sidium of the IKKl' whereas in fact he was Presid nt of th Ex cutiv Committ it If. n 26 October IS Head Office sent a telegram to Riga asking for c mm nt on these point , and received a r ply th sam day t th ÂŁIi t that a photostat of Comintern writing pap r confirmed th hading ' x cutiv ommitt of Third Communist lnt rnational', whil Zinovi v invariably i d a Pr id nt of th Pra idium when corr pondin on ' highly important matt r ' . Riga followed thi up the n xt day in a t 1 gram 'Ii r [i . . ' '] nIy' adding that on of th ir ag nt , ' him If a omint rn man tat d that Rak v ky objection was 'ridiculou beau hay r had until r ntly no d finit in tructions h w to word Zin vi v' ffi i 1 d i nd (h ] ha p rsonally en Zinovi v ign a Pr id n t lar'. 3 hi r a con

d

or

ur

wa in on i tent.

I fLl 41

Ibid.

wn

n to Mr Bland

n 27

n


As far as ' ingl ton' is oncern d, th information provided about his contacts i mor inter sting than his dubious bona fides. MacDonald was told that the 'Imperial nion, th organisation through which 'Singleton' claimed forgeries wer proc s d, was on of th designation of the 'Central Bureau of Russian Corporation " which had its h adquarters in B rlin and ran an intelligenc s rvic for Whit Ru ian who organi ation was based in Paris. Head of the B rlin offic wa Vladimir Orlov,42 who with his group was said to obtain a certain amount of auth nti material but al 0 to produc 'a lot of propaganda and {; rg ri I w r confid nt, howey r, that th Letter could not ha e manat d from thi group as th ir servi had t p t b fully informed regarding th organisation and it a nt with th bj t of prot cting it elf again t th p ibility f bing tak n in by u h agents and m thod. 0 mat rial what manating fr m thi organisation i a cept d ... 43 had od our s in B rlin, but ourc s whi h were n rna t r. A will b n below, d umentary vid nc w r ov r- nfid nt in ruling out Orlov's organisation so u h th d urn nt in qu tion had r a h d th m from Riga, f I link b tw n th Berlin group and Whit t in Latvia. nquiry hair d by Ma Donald wa due to report bin t m ting, th Committ int rvi w d ir n th qu ti n f th r ption of th L tter by th CP B, a amant tha h had n m an of forming an pini n on it auth nti ity: I m d

it

r tha und r no cir umstanc ould I I had n m an what v r to go upon a I fr m whi h it wa obtain d and s ur d by th or ign Offi e v rw igh that f any oth r rviC would b an

Imp n

rtun

hild

ontinu d in th

sam

v In:

n r eiv d and onn t d with

ir Wyndh m

hild of hi

vid n

fll.

79


the Secret Service would have been aware of the fact'. He did, however, when pressed by the Prime Minister, offer a general opinion on the Letter: I said (again emphasizing that qua authenticity I could offer no observations) I did not understand why the Third International should select that particular psychological moment to write a letter, which, to me, was redundant ad nauseam. I should much more have expected a letter from the Third Int rnational to the Communist Party of Great Britain admonishing them to damp down all propaganda in this country until after the election, pointing out that the fate of the Treaty and the loan hung in the balan . How v r, I observed, that one could not budg t for the mentality of th Bolshie as he was quite as capable of doing tupid things a w 11 as anybody else. 45 None of this, however, took the Committ e or Ma Donald mu h furth r m their deliberations. Reporting to the Cabin t that day, th y ann un d that they 'found it impossible on the evid nc b for th m to om t a po itiv conclusion on the subject'; it was d id d that MacDonald should ~ rthwith place his government's r signation in th hand f th King.4 Th Committee's report made it clear that on th ba is of th availabl vid nc it was unable to reach any other on iu ion: We have had enough evid nc to show u th xi t n f h bitual IT ~ rg ri s a auth nti attempts in Russian matt r to pa documents and to use such for politi al purp s . h f thi particular document, th original of which has n t b n produced to us or any D partm ntal offi ial, did n t r a h th Foreign Office till th 10th Octob r, and wa imm diat ly d alt with, in spite of the fact that th G n ral I ti n was n fr m th tim f its receipt. Whilst it was going thr ugh th u ual D partm ntal processes, and diplomati action upon it wa ing n id r d and prepared, the Foreign Office wa inform d n th 24th ultim that a ti n f copy of the letter had b n for om tim in th hand f a the Press and that on th following m rning it wa t pu Ii h No enquiries had b en mad by tho in p i n f thi py t find out what view the Departm nt took f th 1 tt r had followed upon its r ceipt. W d nth itat t evidence submitted to us giv s no upp rt t th all leakage of information took pIa through om nature of the cas, som time must laps b ~ r imp rt nt pi evidence bearing upon the xist nand th hi t ry f th d urn n can be thoroughly examin d and t t d. 47 ~~

Ibid.

46

Cabinet Conclusions (58)24, 4 Novemb r 1 24,

~7

Cabinet

AB 23/48.

ommittee report on Th Zinovi IT Letter,

80

AB 27/254.


The Report also noted that the Committee had received a request from Inkpin and McManus of the CPGB to be heard, but had 'd cided to limit our enquiries to the Departments concerned'. The CPGB had, ind ed repudiated the Zinoviev letter as oon a it was publish d (see p. 39 above), and McManus, supposedly on of the signatories, had issued an imm diate disclaimer to the press. On 28 0 tober both McManu and Inkpin wrote to Gregory at the Foreign Office, asking for photographic copies of the L tter, copying their request both to MacDonald and to the press. 48 It is clear, however, that the CPGB were seeking rather than offi ring information, whi h is perhaps why the Committee decided to refuse th ir r quest to be heard. The burd n of investigation now passed to the incoming Conservative government, which d cided on 12 November to set up another Cabinet Committ ,chair d by Foreign S cretary Aust n Chamberlain, to xamine the question of th authenticity of the lett r. 4 This Committee, which included Lord Curzon, Lord Birkenhead and Viscount Cecil, did not produce a written r port but told th Cabin t on 19 November that after hearing all the n sary witn th y were 'unanimously of the opinion that ther was no doubt a t th auth nticity of the Letter'.50 No r fI renee to the identity of thes witn sses ha b en found, but it s ems unlikely that SIS were called upon, a n 17 ov mb r 'C' s nt to Crowe a copy of the answers that he had b n pr par d to giv to the Committe had h been call d, giving 'five v ry good r a ons' why th Zinovi v I tt r wa considered genuine. In the light of do urn ntati n now availabl , however, th se answers could b int rpr t d as r a ons why th L tter is unlikely to be g nuine, and make it worth xamining th do urn nt, which was appar ntly bas d on information r iv d from Riga, in d tail. Th fir t r as n giv n a it our ':

videnc of authenti ity of the L tter was 'Because of

It cam dir t from an agent in Moscow for a long time in our rvi and of prov d r liability. He is an official in the Secretariat of th 3rd Int rnational who works dir ctly under Zinoviev and has a to hi r t fil s. H mad a copy traight from Zinoviev's Ru sian original, and pa d this copy direct to us. [This was a conflation of the facts. It was the agent's source, not the agent, who allegedly worked in the Comintem ecretariat. SIS did not know, then or afterwards, the identi~ of this source the reliabili~ of whose reports was later questioned.]

371110478.

e

loA. M Manu, History

(59)24, 12

ovemb r 1924, CAB 23/49.

( )24, 19

ovember 1924, CAB 23/49.

81

of the Zinoviev Letter

(CPGB,


nfirmation' d in L ndon

The second rea on given wa 'Be au from informants connected with th

Th fourth r ason, 'B au Ru sians" wa ntir ly formulation:

th

p

n m

y "Whi

nvin m

in it

t only hav w mad it th methods and p r nn 1 forging

Th fifth r a on wa

mt

'.

It wa ntir ly uni t nun iatin and puttin int hay ntly b n nt y th m rw gian mmuni t P rti . I w th ir g n ra) p Ii y. Thi wa a valid Tea 012 or as uming lh

Lett r authenticiry. What tells again t it howev r i that a e plain d in ~lapt r I the evidence point to the omintern having refrained delib rat b rom nding inflammatory instruction to Britain during the period betwe n th i .natur 0 th -70 ab v .

52

f. p. 71 abov .


Anglo-Soviet treaties and their ratification. The existence of similar letters would, of course, have provided useful models for a potential forger with an interest in causing a political disturbance in Britain.] Finally, 'C' produced his trump card: 'If it was a forgery, by this tim we should hay proof of it.' This was bound to be a convincing argument both to th Foreign Office and to the Cabinet Committee. As Sir Wyndham Childs told the latter, the For ign Offi had to accept the assurances given to them by their own s cret organisation 'otherwise the Secr t Servic would be an impo sibility'. With hindsight, however, there mu t be serious objections to 'C's contention. It is true that SI did receiv a considerable amount of information about anti-Bol hevik activities, including forging rings, but their own fil s mak it cl ar that such information was often ambiguous and its prov nanc doubtful. Conflicting r ports were received from diffi rent sources. h forg rs th m Iv wer rving a vari ty of caus s. There was no way in which I ould b c rtain of r eiving proof of ev ry forged document, no matt r how good th ir lin of information. p ulativ obj ction ari es if, as has b en suggested, c rtain ni r m mb r f I wer in fa t w 11 aware that it was a forgery; in effect, had d liv r d th good, but in the opposite sens to that stated th ir s ur in th not giv n to th . If, for exampl , Desmond Morton - in charge of valuating and di minating information on thes matters - knew that it was a ~ rg ry; had p rhap v n b n forewarned about it; but nev rthel ss had party p liti I r a on for making it app ar genuin , he would have known that hi (i.. I ' ) a uran would b a c pted by the Foreign Office. None of thi an b prov d, and it i ther for unfruitful to pur u the hypothesis t 0 far. All that an b found in th fil ar small clues, which put together with a kn wI dg of th g n ral nvironm nt of government, politics and Int 11ig n a d rib d in hapt r I, reat suspicions whi h cannot be ub tantiat d d finitiv ly but whi h r iv suffici nt nourishment from the do urn ntary vid n that th y annot b ignor d. II wing th of th cond Cabin t Committee, the Conservative g v rnm nt r ponsibility for ntinuing correspondence with the latt r's d mands for id ' ntification and vi t g v rnm nt ab ut th puni hm nt f th t rg r() . h x hang s can be followed in the published Briti h d urn nt nd n d n t be r it rat d h re. 53 Th Cabinet also took v mb r, that th Anglo- oviet tr ati s would not be th d i i n, n 20 mm nd d t Parliam nt. 54 Although thi wa not the end of governmental r int r t in th Zinovi v affair - furth r all gations were made in 1925, and th i u w f ur rai d v ry publi ly as a result of th Francs scandal in 1928 - inv tigati n at this 1 v I offi r littl in the way of vidence relevant .53

DBFP, ir

.54

bin

t

l

onclu i n ( 1)24, 20

V, 0

. 264-74 passim . emb r 1 24,

83

AB 23/49.


to the authenticity and authorship of th For further pertinent detail it i n received by SI from a numb r of ur with attention increasingly fo used on Riga.

th r than th t it d arli r. turn t in~ rmati n bing ibl rigin of th L tter

The search fOT truth: the Riga angle As de crib d in hapt r I th int rnational Int lli period was b th div rand difTu with a Russian emigr' playing its full part in that togeth r with oth r Balti apital wa a mi r particularly a tiv ntr of in~ rmati n pr to th ni n. B th th Briti hand

n

mmunity at thi tw rk f Whit a tiviti . Riga,

a tiviti fo u Budap t War aw an

link 路 with

n f a vari ty Alli d

f nati naliti

th y did not,

55

f. pp. 32-3.

f

vivlt rt ur , ay that it ha


divulg d in r pon to row's fir t qu tion to hi lint rlo utor on 27 o tob r,5 wh n th information that it was a translation mad in Riga from a Ru ian v r ion copi d from a fil in Mo cow wa pa d on to Bland on 28 ctob r, aft r a ' tri t a uran ' that it would not go b yond the PU . B tw en th r ipt of th L tter and its publi ation, th re is no do urn ntary t ugg t that th Ri a onn tion wa made by any of tho 0; I wh uppo edly kn w about the I tt r: c rtainly not by th nor by th P B, nor Donald 1m Thurn. As the Bagot report put it, 'Th fa t that it wa a tran lati n mad in Riga from a Rus ian t xt was not th n kn wn in L nd n" n r i th r any tra e of th Riga conn tion in Russian ar hiv at thi tag. Mt r publi ation, how v r r ports b gan to r ach I indi atin that kn wI dg f th rigin of th L tt r was more wid spr ad. h r n h Amb ador in Lond n Vi mt d aint Aulair , r port d at th nd f t b r n t ju that th I tt r had m from an agent in Riga, but that a m mb r f th n rvativ party had got to h ar of it, pa sing it to th Daily Mail and oth r n w p p r. h r i no indi ation of how th on Iuded, how v r that th Amba ad r h Id f thi inti rmation. H th r ult of th n ral El ction: 'I pan ont

hay

ntiment. I a an admis ion that th ourc f Zinovi v authorship, M nzies has b n n, I w r at th sam our in Riga to provid detailed I arly un a y about Riga's emphati h ir un a wa not surpri ing in vi w of oth r of for ign Int llig nc w r r lYIng b ut th a tlVltl in nd ar und Riga, and th ir onn ction with th forging r buttal

tru n 7

mb r

th r i n

videnc to sugge t that

nfirm d that the L tt r had b en

orland nt

from


ring in Berlin. One source of thi information was a Tsarist x-naval officer, a prominent figure in Russian Monarchist circle, wh was introduc d to I in October 1924 through a contact in the War Office. This ffi r laim d t b the head of a large secret organisation with r pre ntativ s in lev ry government office in Moscow' , and that hi agents in p t d the cont nt of 'every Russian courier bag which cro sed th fronti r f Ru ia and pa ed through Germany'; he also informed I that at I a t on of th ir sour s in Berlin was working for the Germans, a fa t of whi h th y w re aIr ady awar . SIS were interested, however, in anything th offi r mi ht hav t ay whi h would shed light on the access and int grity of th ag nt wh wa aid t hav copied the text of the Zinoviev 1 tter in Mo ow and pa d it Riga. Wh n uld bt in fr m the officer produced samples of th kind f d urn nts h Moscow, and two of these were pra tically id nti al with r p rt r iv d from Riga arlier in the y ar, I w nd r d what th r lati n hip migh t b between his sources of information and th ir , an wh th r th latt r w r a reliable as had b en thought. h ir d ubt ~ t r d y th ( thy did ur n. not know, then or ever, th id ntity of th

BI nand

Wh n the information about th I tt r'

nt 1 th t

h

in November, 1924, h Seer tariat of the Third

It was not unusual for SI which reached them: on

to b unawar

ur ur

On 14 November an analy i was prepar d in I of rep r pr vid d by th xt nt t whi h th y had supposedly produc d the Zinovi v letter, h wing th from indep ndent ources in England or abroad ( I fil ).

60

61

Bagot report, p. 10.

8


identity of th ir own informants when pa sing r ports to London. If th Zinoviev I tter affair had not raised doubts about the authenticity of this particular report, the identity of its author would probably have r mained unquestion d. The need to establish authenticity, however, inspir dan d for reas uranc about the r liability of the source which Riga would not, or could not, sati fy. Doubts about th quality of his reports continu d to grow, and were foster d by another I source in the Baltic States, who had b com suspicious about the proven an e of som of th report circulat d from Riga, and had te ted the sy t m by £ ding in a tory which later app ar d a a Riga r port. In Nov mb r 1924, how v r, I did not admit that they did not know who th sourc was, assuring Crow, a we hav s n, that they were 'awar of th identity of every person who handled the do urn nt on its journ y from Zinovi v's fil to our hands'. Indeed, they w re mor concerned at thi point with wh th r th sour what v r hi id ntity, might have either d ceiv d or b n d c iv d. The information from the sari t offic r wa not r assuring in thi r p t in his po s ion of th am reports that SI had r c ived from Riga ugg ted that hi n twork had som means of pen trating IS's of in£ rmation, and that ind ed th y may have b en sharing th sam ffi r al 0 told I that on of his agents had be n plant d in h or ign Ministry by th Monarchists som fiv year arlier, and n tran ~ rr d to th Ex cutiv C mmitte of the Comintern as Zinovi v' prin ipal advi r on Briti h affair . H also expr ssed th opinion that thi ag nt had advi d Zin viev to write th letter, and had hims If taken a c py of it and fl d t England, wh r h got in touch with th Daily Mail or th n rvativ Party. hi tory, which was upported by information from a parat Ru sian our in London to th ffi ct that the officer's agent had b n n in L ndon about 16 0 tob r, fits in with th reports in the Morning Po t and Dairy Mail aIr ady di u s d; but, as explained earli r, it has proved impo ibi to ubstantiat . 2 ari t offi r wa just one received and evaluated by I, both at th tim and in ucc eding years. It is not pos ible here to xamin all f th m n r to di u all th all gations and theori s which have b n put £ rward about th uth nticity of th L tt r and the id ntity of those inv Iv d in pr du ing and di minating it. Enough ha b en said arli r in thi t to indi at that although no conclusiv proof is available, it is very unlik ly that th L tt r wa writt n by Zinovi v himself, and that it is far m r Iik ly to hav b n a £ rg ry produ d by a per on or per ons who had a od kn wI dg f th m hani of viet government and in particular of th mint rn; wh w r w ll-conn cted in th international Intelligence ommunity, nabling th m to pas th L tt r off as genuin and to


auth nticat it convincingly by lipping it int a r gular supply f information; and who were aware that th r w re int r t groups in Britain who would make use of the forg ry to further th ir own au by damaging the Lab ur go ernment and nsuring th d railment of th ratifi ation f th Anglo- vi t treaties. A th final tag in ur att mpt t an w r th que tion 'who wr t ati fi d th rit ria; and, the Zinoviev I tt r' , we mu t ask who might ha in the pro s, on ider th pr v nanc f tw f th rigin of the Zinoviev I tt r whi h ha e b n t u in m d t il by h t r Fay and Young, in th ir 19 7 b ok The Zinoviev utter and by wh hay ba d their ac ount on in~ rmati n fr m Ru ian Int ili n If Zinovi v did not writ th and wa knowl dge to d ace ptanc? h do urn n ary th BaIti tat , pr bably

n ugh

~ r

nn parti

63

p. 31 ab v .


did com from an ag nt in th Comintern who mayor may not hav b en the arne p r on as th agent laimed by th Ru ian Monarchist. It s ems mu h 1 lik ly, how v r that th information pass d on by that agent really omint rn路 and mor lik ly that he either manufactured it cam out of th him If, or btained it from a third party with whom h had supplied the n ary d tail to mak the forg ry cr dibl . Th fil s how that ther w re a numb r f p ibl andidat for th 'third party' role bas d in Riga at this tim , many of th m with los Whit Ru ian conn tions; many of th m al 0 with nn ti n in th Briti hInt llig nc world, not a ag nt but as form r omrad s in th arm d trug 1 again t Bol h vism. It is worth rem mb ring xp ri n of u h figure as Gr gory and Musgrave in thi c nt x th Brad! y yn on Ru i ' w t rn bord r . It ha b n argu d that th 1 a t with th rl v ring d tail i m d ~ r B 11 ard d tail. t ry nd ntifi d

L tt r wa probably forg d in Riga, in collusion at in B rlin. In h t r, Fay and Young, however, a th ~ r ry t b attribut d to a m mb r of that wid w, Irina sub tantiat d the story in fr m th di cr panci betw en Madame that b rward by anoth r min nt forg r, t r, y and Young, '" it is difficult to and in parti ular with urn ntary vid n : for xampl , h r laim that only on sh t t pap f wa availabl . Quit apart from th I ng ( Ann x A), th opy of th L tter ffi i 1 n t pap f. Th lat Prob sor W. . Documents on British Foreign Policy J 919f 1966 to oth r difficulti s with

th t

w r

th

of th

letter?

form and mint rn] mmuni ation t th Bep than this. ti n f th r m to th BCP th n th authors n hip with th inn r workings of

th

R

B' unsupport d ass rtion, f gay young things having

n erning stout in Che ter, ay and of th m hav been found to d

89

urn ntation .


a good joke at Moscow's expense can't quite be reconciled with the professional knowledge and obvious slick handling of the affair). Although, again, elements of this story have a clear basis in fact, there are too many inconsistencies for it to be convincing. Russian Intelligence sources point to the involvement of a White Russian officer, allegedly called 'Lieutenant Pokrovsky'. According to documents from the former KGB archives, Pokrovsky was a member of 'White Guard Intelligence' who also had connections with 'British count r-intelligence'. 65 Further details given in these papers do not fit the evidence now available: for example, the letter was not 'posted from Riga to a pre-arrang d address for the British Communist Party'; nor was it addressed to 'a well-known English Communist, McManus'. These documents were used as th basis for the account in the book by West and Tsar v, The Crown Jewels, publish d in 1998, which includes further details of Pokrovsky's forgery activiti and his onta ts with the Orlov ring in Berlin. 66 Despite discrepanci s in detail, this a ount i plausible in many respects, although littl of it can b sub tantiat d from rds to British Intelligence records. In particular, ther is nothing in tho r suggest that the forgery was commissioned from Pokrovsky by 'British Intelligence in Riga', the former 'not knowing how it would bud'. In his recent book, The Iron Maze, Gordon Brook-Sh ph rd r it rat s th about Pokrovsky, citing as his source an unpubli h d 'Hist ry of tat urity Organs', an in-house record of Soviet int lligenc pas d to him privat ly. 7 He also repeats the story that the L tter was ommi i n d by British Intelligence, stating that 'the whole op ration wa all g dly run ut f th British consulate in Riga', though agreeing that thi 'a rum taJ '. Hi reasons for giving credence to the tale: that Orlov wa nn t d with Briti h Intelligence; that the story is r count d in a 'ob r' hi tory f vi t Intelligence; and that the British Intelligenc community ntain d a hard core of what would later be dubb d 'Cold War warri r " veterans of the revolutionary era oppos d to any id a f politi al softening towards the Bolshevik r' gim ,who d wnfall th y till ardently desired68 certainly contain elements of truth which can b sub tantiat d I wh r . Bu n ulat no documentary evidence has b en found to indicat that th Riga or SIS sources in Riga were responsibl for th Zinovi v I tt f , n r that it wa commissioned in response to British Intellig nc 'un asin about it pr p t r fut under a re-elected Labour government'. It is, th r for , impo sibl 6~

Information from documents given to the author by the Rus ian F r ign Int Ilig n

66

The Crown Jewels, op. cit., pp. 40-43.

67

The Iron Maze, op. cit., pp. 9 and 308.

68

Ibid., p. 309.

go

rvi

.


the allegation about Riga: certainly it is known that SIS's sources there had close contacts with White (and Red) Russians. The most that can be said is that if there were elements ther connected with British Intelligence, who felt strongly enough about the Bolsh viks and (in the context of the proposed loan to the Soviet Union) about opposing the Labour government, to commission such a forgery and send it to London to be pass d off as genuine, there is no evidence to suggest that this was done with th knowledge or consent of SIS Head Office. As far as Brook- h pherd's argument about the sobriety of his Russian source mat rial is conc rned, it is not surpri ing that from th evidence they received the OGPU r ached th onclusions they did. As West and Tsarev point out, the information about Pokrovsky e med clear and was authenticated from sev ral sourc s, whil oth r tatements (such as those from members of the Berlin forgery ring) w r vague and contradictory. Thus, although they admit that very Ii ttl is known about Pokrov ky and many details are vague, the r fi r nces to his 'anti-Comint rn xp rtis ' were clear and c rtainly 1 d the 0 PU to con Iud that h had played a key role, tog th r with Briti hInt llig nc , in the fabrication and despatch of th Zinovi v L tt r. h final word on thi tory, how ver, must go to Oleg Tsarev, with whom I d thi matt r in Mos ow in July 1998. The Pokrovsky story, he said, wa ' n v r ion' of what might b the truth. Conclusion

It is undoubt dly fru trating to admit that after an xtended examination of th ar hival vid n , with unpr d nt d acce to closed papers, it is impo ibl to ay who wrot th Zinovi v L tter. In th light of the confused situation op rating at th tim, and th contradictory videnc provided from u h a wid rang of our 5, it is, however, possibly an unsurprising con lu ion. Aft r r vi wing all th availabl evidenc , what follows is a 'best gu 'at what tu By happen d.

It is w 11 d

urn nt d that Whit Russian, Monarchist, anti-Bolshevik circles outrag d by th ignatur of th Anglo-Sovi t tr atie5 in Augu t 1924. tat m nt in th H u of C mmons on 19 March 1928 by the Labour aklatval to th f1I t that th signature of the treati s was followed by a flurry f ommuni ati n b tw n th Baltic Stat s and Berlin, with the aim of d vi ing 'way and m an . . . ith r to fright n [MacDonald] out of his positi n, r to tr ngth n hi hand and nab1 him to shake off his xtr mi t " may w 11 b corr t. 70 Whit Russian Intelligence services were

w r

6

The Grown Jewels, p. 43.

70

Pari. Deb

'J

5th er'J H.

of

'J

1 Mar h 1 28,

1 . 84-5 .

91


w 11 developed and highly organi ed, and includ d th op ration of a forg ry ring in Berlin. It eem likely that they a k dither th ~ rge r or th ir contacts in the Baltic tates with imilar kill t pr du a d urn nt which of would derail the treaties and damag th Lab ur gov rnm nt . B au British Intelligenc link with B rlin, information ab ut th pr po d forg ry could have reached certain m mb rs of British Int llig n e wh w r on the look-out for opportuniti to furth r th n rvati au and to di credit th Labour Party in th pro e . Any n in that p with a wide net of contacts in London, wa w 11 pIa d n t nly t it di mina ti n m the authenticity of th L tt r but al 0 to n oura quarters where profitable - and mi hi v u - u might b m d fi t. The idea of an in titutionalis dint rnati nal ampaign dir discredit both the Bolsh vik and th Lab ur unsub tantiated by the do urn ntation , just not how th Intelligenc rvi coh sion and control, not to m ntion p As has been hown in th cas of th

t d

t

nly It wa f

their privat views may b . rtain figur both mysterious and mystifying, and n rtain their involvement. As far as Ramsay Ma Donald and th Zinoviev affair c rtainly damag d th ir r putati n, found it hard to forget or forgiv th humiliati n h mythology which has persist d in th the government' is unfound d. As n ab v , th a vote of confidenc b for th L tt r rriv d ; th depended was aIr ady disapp aring; and Lab ur' even if diminished by the furor ov r th terms, th impact of th Zin vi v than measurable.

The story remains in ompl t . Thi M m randum i d n int rm ti n never previously mad availabl to hi torians, and h rry th t mpt d t story further than ver b for ; but th Zin vi v trfmm b r , 'most extraordinary and myst rious bu in s' .

2


ANNEXA Text

of the

'Zinoviev Letter' as received by SIS on 8 October 1924

Latvia L/3900 2.10.24

SOVIET RUSSIA

Instruction to British Communist Party VERY SECRET

Executiv Committee, Third Communist International. Pr sidium. S pt 15th, 1924.

To th C ntral Committee, British Communist Party.

Moscow. D ar Comrad , Th tim i approa hing for th Parliament of England to consid r the Tr aty on Iud d b tw n th Gov rnm nts of Gr at Britain and the S.S.S.R. for th purp s of ratification. Th fi rce campaign raised by the British bourg oisi around th qu tion shows that th majority of the same, together with reacti nary cir 1 ,ar against th Tr aty for th purpose of breaking off n olidating th ti s b tw en the proletariats of the two an agr m nt I ading to th r storation of normal relations between England and

.R. Th pr I tariat f r a t Britain, whi h pronounced its weighty word when dang r thr at n d f a br ak- IT of th past n gotiations, and compelled the Gov rnm nt f Ma D nald to on Iud the Treaty, must show the greatest pos ibl n rgy in th furth r struggle for ratification and against the end av urs of Briti h apitalist to omp} Parliament to annul it. It is indisp n abl t stir up th masses of the British proletariat, to bring into mov m nt th army of un mp10y d proletarians, whose position can be improv d nly aft r a loan has b n grant d to the S.S.S.R. for the restoration of h r conomi sand wh n business collaboration between the British and Russian pro} tariat ha b n put in order. It is imp rative that the group in th Lab ur Party ympathising with th Treaty should bring increased pr ur t b ar upon th Governm nt and parliamentary circles in favour of th ratifi ation f th Tr aty.

93


Keep close observation over the leaders of the Labour Party, because those may easily be found in the leading strings of the bourgeoisie. The foreign policy of the Labour Party as it is already represents an inferior copy of the policy of the Curzon Government. Organise a campaign of disclosures of the foreign policy of MacDonald. The IKKI will willingly place at your disposal the wide material in its possession regarding the activities of British imperialism in the Middle and Far East. In the meanwhile, however, strain every nerve in the struggle for the ratification of the treaty, in favour of a continuation of negotiations regarding the regulation of relations between the S.S.S.R. and England. A settlement of relations between the two countries will assist in the revolutionising of the international and British proletariat not less than a successful rising in any of the working districts of England, as the establishment of close contact between the British and Russian proletariat, the exchange of delegations and workers, etc. will make it possible for us to extend and develop the propaganda of ideas of Leninism in England and the Colonies. Armed warfare must be preceded by a struggle against the inclinations to compromise which are embedded among the majority of British workmen, against the ideas of evolution and peaceful extermination of capitalism. Only then will it be possible to count upon complete success of an armed insurrection. In Ireland and the Colonies the case is different; there there is a national question, and this represents too great a factor for success for us to waste time on a prolonged preparation of the working class. But even in England, as in other countries where the workers are politically developed, events themselves may more rapidly revolutionise the working masses than propaganda. For instance, a strike movement, repressions by the Government, etc. From your last report it is evident that agitation-propaganda work in the Army is weak, in the Navy a very little better. Your explanation that the quality of the members attracted justifies the quantity is right in principle, nevertheless it would be desirable to have cells in all the units of the troops, particularly among those quartered in the large centres of the country, and also among factories working on munitions and at military store depots. We request that the most particular attention be paid to these latter. In the event of danger of war, with the aid of the latter and in contact with the transport workers, it is possible to paralyse all the military preparations of the bourgeoisie and to make a start in turning an imperialist war into a class war. Now more than ever we should be on our guard. Attempts at intervention in China show that world imperialism is still full of vigour and is once more making endeavours to restore its shaken position and cause a new war, which as its final objective is to bring about the break-up of the Russian

94


proletariat and the uppression of the budding world revolution, and further would lead to the enslavement of the colonial peoples. iDanger of Wart, iThe Bourgeoisie e ks War; Capital fresh Markets'! - these are the slogans which you must familiarise th masses with, with which you must go to work into the mass of the proletariat. Those slogans will op n to you the doors of comprehension of th mass s, will help you to capture them and march under the banner of ommuni m. The Military e tion of th British Communist Party, so far as we are aware, furth r uffi r from a lack of p cialists, the future directors of the Briti h Red Army. It is tim you th ught of forming su h a group, which, together with the lead rs, might b , in th v nt of an outbr ak of active strife, the brain of the military organi ation of th Party. Gatt ntiv ly thr ugh the Ii t of th military ic 11s1, detailing from them th and apabl m n, turn att ntion to th more tal nted hay for n r a on or anoth r, I ft the Service and th minto th ranks of th Communist Party if th prol tariat and d sire in the future to direct in the s rvice of the bourg oisie, but a nati nal army. rm a dir ting

tiv h ad f th Military

tion.

o not put thi off t a futur mom nt, whi h may be pregnant with events and at h y u unpr par d. iring y u all u

th in rgani ation and in your struggle, With Communist Gr etings, Pr sid nt of th Pr sidium of th IKKI

ZI OVIEV M mb r f th Pr sidium M Manu.

Copi s to

95


ANNEXB

of the

Cyrillic Text

'<inoviev Letter' as received by IS on 12 December 1924

- -, I-Korru., - ---, -

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Bp8on~ox.


ANNEXC Facsimile

of the Foreign Office Note to M. Rakovsky, 24 October 1924, signed by J.D. Gregory

-- - -, .. -: '. IN

0 .----: /"

"

-:

AN WE R" ' - - -

;'T~

,

.-. - \

. UT No~ - -=-~=.. F~I9~ . OP~ICE, ("

:'?

,

S. W.l.,

oo:~~r 24th. 1924r.

Sir,

I have the honour to 1nT1:te Jour

,~ten~on

O N OC\W'

to the

.no10sed oopy of a letter whiCh has Deen reoeived by the Central Committee of the British Communiat PartJ Prel1dium of the Jxeoutive Committee of the

~rom

the

Co~at

International, ov.r the aignature of Mons1eur ZinoTlev. ita Pres1dent, dated September

The letter oootain.

~5th.

inatruotion. to British aubJeota to work for the rtolent overthrow 0% exiatlng lnst1tut10na 1n th18 country, and for the aUDversion of Bia KaJeat7'a armed foroea aa a mean. to that en4. It 1. mJ dU't7 to infOrm you

2.

tba~

Hia

KaJes~7'8

Government oannot allow thia propaaana.a and !DUat regard it as a d1reot interferenoe from outaide in British domestio aftaira. Io one who underetanda the OODatltution ana. the

3.

relationShips of the Communiat Internat10nal will doubt ita intimate oonneot10n and oont.at with the Soviet Government.

10 Government w1l1 ever tolerate an arrangement with

a foreign government by whioh the latter il in farmal d1plomatio relat10ne of a aorreot k1nd the

aam.

tim. a propeaandlat

bo~

lid th

it. Whilst at

organioail7 oonneoted

w1th that fore1gn government enoourage. and even ordera aubjeota of the former to plot overthrow.

and

plan revolution. for ita

SUoh oonduot i. not onb

&

the rul •• of international oOlllt7. but Konsieur C. DakOT.ki. eto •• eto •• eto.

grave c1.eparture frOil &

vial_otton o-r speoifiol


.p.Oifl0 and 80lemn undertaklnga repeatedly given to Bis Je.ty"

Government.

4. GOl' rDm

So reoently a. June 4th of 1

t year

the SOviet

nt mad. t .be follow!" aolemn agreement w1th His

MaJes-

ty'l Gol'eranent. " !1'he Sortet QO'fU'DlDent undertakea not to aupport with .funda or in any other form peraon. or bodi.a or agenoiea or .iDltitutlona who••

&1. ia to

apread di.oontent or to foment

"rebeUion in aD1 part of the BritIsh BmpIra •••••••• and to "impree. upon its offioers and offioiall the tull and oon"t1nuous ob •• r'faDoe of the.e oonditlon.". S.

Moreover ln the Treaty wh;ah Hia Maje.ty'a

ment rec.ntly oonoluded w1th

10~

Gover~

Government, atill further

provl,10n wa. ma4. for \h. faithful exeoutlon of an analogoua undertaklng whloh 1 •••• ential to the ex1atenoe of go04 and fr1endly relatioDII between the two oountrie..

Bie Jlajeaty'.

Government .. an that the.e lmdertalt1ng. eball ba oarried" both 1.n

the letter and 1n the sp1r1t, and 1t oannot aooept the

ooutention that wb1lat the SOT1et GO'fernment undertake. obligat10n.,

&

polltloal body, a. powerfUl

&8

1tself, 1. to b8

all0 ed to conduct • propaganda aDd aupport 1t wlth lIon81,

hleh 1. ln dtrect 'f101atlon of the offloial agreement. The Soviet GOTernment .ither haa euoh agreement.. the.

ou~

or ha. DOt

u.

power to make

If it haa the power 1t 1. 1t, duty to oarry

and a.e that the other partl •• are not deoeived.

If 1t ha. Dot thi. po••r and If respon.ib11iti •• which belong to the itate in other cttunt rle. are 1n Bu.1a 111 the keeping of

pr1vate aDd irr"poD.1ble bodie. the Sortet Government

ought lnot to make &BT.ement. whioh 1t em•• 1t Oamlot oarry out.

6./


6. le~

I 8hould be obliaed 1f you

•• bave

he ob

er?

I he?

auld be good enollgh to

10n. of your Government on thi. eubJeot

the honour to be,

1th h1sb oon8ideration, 81% •

lour ob edict Su , ~

l

,\. c.c.

I

I

t.


ANNEXD Copy

of Document found at CPGB Headquarters when raided by the police on

14 October,

1925 MemoranduDl The Situation in and the IDlDlediate Tasks of the British CODlDlunist Party

In our article on the Fifth Anniversary of the Comintern we stated that one of the most important tasks now confronting the Comintern is to create a mass communist party in Great Britain. Without exaggeration the creation of such a party in Great Britain would be of great historical significance. Correctly speaking the problem of establishing a mass communist party exists since the time of Marx. The difficulty of the task was attributed to important objective causes, the most important of which was that the wealthy British bourgeoisie extracting huge profits from its colonies and semi-colonise bribed the upper strata of the working class. The situation changed somewhat in the last four years, particularly aft r the war of 1914-18. The priveliged (sic) position of the British bourgeoisie has been shaken. The economic situation in the country at the time of the formation of the so-called Labour Government of MacDonald is such that the opportunist upper strata of the working class cannot fail to lose its influence in the British Labour Movement. Speaking briefly, for the first time real objective conditions are being created for the establishment of a real revolutionary mass communist party in Great Britain. However, it must be said quite frankly that the British Communist Party is far from having come up to this task. The editorship of the weekly organ is far from satisfactory. Except for general phrases about the 'United Front' one rarely finds anything important in it. The former dogmatic hostility to the idea of the Communists joining the Labour Party is now substituted by a noncritical and sometimes inopportune repetition of banal phrases about the United Front. Even while comrade Newbold was a member of Parliament, certain influential British comrades seriously discussed the questions as to wether (sic) this sole communist in the British Parliament may sometimes vote against the Labour Party, or wether (sic) for the sake of the United Front he must constantly act with the Labour Party. It need not be said that such a point of view has nothing in common with the actual exploitation of revolutionary parliamentarism. 102


t

P of


trade unions and among the unemployed, as men who can politically take the imperialist 'Labour Party' by the throat. It is necessary to convene several conferences with the principal leaders of the Central Committee of the British Party, particularly with MacManus, Newbold, Gallacher, Dutt, Inkpin, etc. They must be given this letter to read and to bring up for discussion on their Central Committee in order that they may give a clear reply to it. We repeat the time has come when a mass communist ~ must b at last formed in Great Britain. We must commence to work on this immediat ly. G. ZINOVIEV Moscow, 26. 3. 1924

104


ecre

ervue

ommit

Report

E RET

rr 11 wa app int d wh h d att nd d wa at th m

tim r

bt in d fr m th t

f whi h ar parat


1. Secretary Intelligence Service, commonly known as SIS 2. Code and Cypher School. 3. MI5 4. Indian Political Intelligence 5. Scotland Yard (Special Branch) 1. The Secret Intelligence Service is now in charge of Rear-Admiral Sinclair, a former Director of Naval Intelligence, who, for purposes of secrecy, is known, and generally referred to, as 'C '. It is responsible for the collection in foreign countries of secret information likely to be of value to His Maj esty's Government for defensive purposes, in the widest acceptance of the term ; that is to say information regarding military, naval or aerial developm nts, activities of suspicious individuals, and subversive political movements likely to affect this country, principally, of course, if not exclusively at the present time, communism. Apart from the headquarters branch in London, the Secret Intelligence Service operates only in foreign countries: its writ runs n ith r in the United Kingdom nor in the colonies. The Chief of the service is responsible, through the Permanent Under Secretary of State, to the Secretary of State for Foreign Affair , and the expenses are defrayed from the foreign secret service vote, but, it is almost unnecessary to observe, its activities are by no means confined to the inter sts of the Foreign Office. Information is obtained by it of great value to th Admiralty, War Office, Air Ministry, India Offic , Colonial Offic, Department of Overseas Trade, and, last, but by no means least, th Spe ial Branch of Scotland Yard. 2. The Code and Cypher School, which, a few y ars ago, survived, a reli of the war, as a branch of the Admiralty, has since b n tak n over by th Foreign Office, and now figures definitely in the For ign Offi e vot as an integral part of that department. What does not, however, app ar in th Foreign Office vote is that, for convenience of managem nt and in the interests of efficiency, 'C' had been put in harge of th School with satisfactory results, and, secondly, that an extensive and probably the most valuable part of the School's activities is devoted to perhaps th mo t confidential work carried out by any branch of His Maje ty' s rvice, nam ly, the interception and decyphering of foreign government telegrams. Thi may be described as the destructive side of the School: th constructiv sid IS concerned with the manufacture of our own cyph rs and d cyphers, and in this sphere the School is at the disposal of any government departm nt that has need of its services. 3. The duties of MIS are, briefly, the detection of espionage and of s ditious movements directed against, or arising within, the armed forces of the crown. Their work is confined to British territory: any necessary enquiri s in for ign countries are carried out on their behalf by the Secret Intelligence Service.

106


and it i principally r tInt llig n e rvJ fund for F reign Affairs r ani ation. The

arran

m nt w

ll. nd n i an r anisati n with Indian t India. It i

I

7


pial Bran h on ists of one hundred and thirty-fiv poli offic rs of v ri u grad s und r a deputy as istant commis ioner (Colonel Cart r). This is th ex utiv bran h of th s ret s rvi of S otland Yard. It is thi branch that obtains the bulk of th information digested by SS2 , carries out nquiries, and mploy su h ag nt and informers a ar n ed d, for which latt r purp s a portion of th cr t s rvice fund i at the disposal of th Deputy A si tant om mission r. It will b

n from this summary of the duties of the various branche of our rvic that, whil th sphere of activity of each is clearly defin d, there ar rtain factors which are common to two or more, and at I ast one, and that p rhaps one of th prime int rests of the day, which is the concern of all, in on form or another, namely, communism. To take a simple illustration, the Secret Intelligence ervi e may obtain abroad information of the impending visit of a foreign spy to the United Kingdom. The spy, on arrival, passes from the observation of the Secret Int llig nc Service to that of MI5. If MI5 are successful in making a case against him, the pap rs go to the Director of Public Prosecution, and if he is satisfied as to the prospects of conviction, Scotland yard is called in to arrest him. Th Indian Political Intelligence may have an interest in an Indian agitator who is simultaneously engaging the attention of the Special Branch on account of his activities in London. Or, again, a communist, working in naval or military circles at Portsmouth or Aid r hot, may spend his Sundays making revolutionary speeches in Hyde Park. The former of these occupations is a matter for research by MIS; his w ek-end relaxations bring him into the preserve of the Special Branch. With th functions of the different branches so similar and, to a large extent, so closely interwoven, it was perhaps natural that at the outset of the investigation a mild predisposition was noticeable in the committee in favour of an amalgamation of all into a single whole, under the direction of one upreme chief. As the enquiry progressed, however, the difficulties in the way of such a consummation grew more impressive and certain disadvantages b gan to show themselves which were not at first apparent. Amongst the numerous individual responsible for, or interested in, the secret services, there was a marked divergence of opinion on the subject, and this was equally noticeable on the question whether, without a general amalgamation, the m rger of two or more branches in one would be an improvement on the xi ting arrangement. h principal alt rnative on id ration were

changes 108

which

presented

themselves

for


ntT ti n

1.

all

. tin bran h

2.

()

IV1

with MI5

)

IVl

with th Indian

ur

that th

mmitt

mmit

mml

In i- n

in

r

ir

hi


With one exception, these officers expressed general satisfaction with existing arrangements. It is only right, however, to record that the remarkably efficient chief of the Secret Intelligence Service strongly urged an amalgamation of all branches under one head. He based this recommendation on the difficulty of maintaining proper contact between five different organisations housed separately, and dotted at irregular intervals along a line starting at Olympia and ending only at Westminster Bridge; on the deep substratum of common interests underlying the superficially diverse activities of the branches; and on the consequent need for, and the, hitherto complete, absence of, c ntral control. In amplification of this last point 'C' emphasised th dang r of the same agents being employed simultaneously by different branches, unknown to one another; and the disadvantages arising out of the fact that when action by one branch was required by another, the requirem nt had to be put in the form of a request and not of an order. The means of communication wer not satisfactory and gave rise, according to his experience, to confusion and delays. In his view, there should be a single organi ation, install d in a ingle centrally-situated, building with the Passport, and Passport Control, Offi es under the same roof to provide camouflage. The main body of opinion represented by the other witn sses was mor conservative in character. Generally speaking, they app ared satisfi d with th existing order of things and were opposed to concentration for various reasons, partly, for instance, on the ground that it would add to the risk of publicity, partly because the investment of the control over such a powerful organisation in the hands of one man was a danger in itself, partly b caus a government hostile to secret service would find it easy to abolish with a sweep of the p n a single entity, however large, whereas to locat and disp rs a number of smaller and independent offices would be a matter of om diffi ulty. The first of these objections could, in our opinion, b met to orne ext nt by the expedient proposed by 'C', granted alway the availability of a suitabl building - a doubtful point today. As regards the s cond, we admit th vast potentialities inherent in the position of the chief of a combin d se ret rvi but the danger of a combined secret service, but the dang r th re Ii s, w think, not so much in the use to which a good chief would put his powers, but in the difficulty of ensuring a succession of officers capable of filing such a post, and in the harm which might be done in it by a man who, after appointment, turned out to be incompetent. To th third objection, we atta h no weight at all: if and when such a contingency arises, the actual constitution of the secret service is immaterial, for the government of th day would require no knowledge of its habitation to adopt, if it decid d to do so, the simplest and surest method of dispersal, to wit, the suppression of th e ret service vote! We have no hesitation in saying that if there were today no British secr t service of any kind and we were called upon to organise one ab ovo, we 110


h uld

ontrary w should to which would be

n

r t d partm nt, ta d abov

L with

ar

di r

t

d by an

ivil

und r any an b

III


Th pr c ding paragraph hay difficultie in th way of a t tal then, no way in whi h ontinuin can be in r a d? W think th o ecur th gr at t d gr branch hould maintain th th d partm n whom th y mmitt whi h not only th ub rib unh itatingly. atisfaction with th ir mutu I r 1

m

An additi nal adv nt an opportunity would b f whi h t pr th ab in th xi ting y t m.

Th a hi v m

mo t imp rtant Yard. W h r

112


of p r onaliti fault.

rath r than of th

a tual y tern though the latter is also at

1 at

cotland Yard is a

the

IVl

cr t to d

rvlC

evidenc ection

ould

onvi tion not r ult in an d partm nt, it may b

ugg st, if you n pap r) a it w r a


1 ping partner in th seer t s rvice, to which any fundamental differences of pinion ari ing b tw n th various branches could, if necessary, b referred ~ r advi or s ttl ment. The knowledge that such an unprejudiced body was av ilabl for onsultation would go far, we think, to inspire confidence and to n ourag a spirit of compromise between the chiefs of the diffi rent sections.

ign d)

N F Warren Fisher W Tyrrell M P A Hankey John Anderson

D c mb r 1st, 1925


ANNEX F Report of the Board of nquiry appointed by the Prime Minister to investigate certain tatements affecting Civil ervants Part III h uld hay b n glad to b hay fi rm d th ubj t of ly r lat d to our pr s nt w think it our plain

33.

hay

a

r fa t pial

h w hay ontaining

known, both to

lIS


r g ry had ngin r d b th th d pat hand vi t harg ' d' Affair b hind th back of th don thi t s rv hi wn finan ial nd, that conn t d in s m way with the d ~ at of th Gov rnm nt at th polls wa arly in 1925 was brought to th It is ar ly n ary to say that, as h ibl r s rv , but h th ught it both right

r g ry ordingly aw first Mr. MacDonald and later Mr. J.H. rna who wa a m mb r of the Cabin t Committe which had in tigat d the Zin vi do urn nt b for th Gov rnm nt w nt out of office. I ar impr i n I ft upon the minds of both Mr. MacDonald and Mr. rna wa th t Mr. r gory d ni d all the stat ments in the tatutory in luding th r ti r nces to foreign xchang transactions. Mr. 11 ti n i , that while h d ni d that in th p rformanc of his h had b n influ n d by any motiv s of a per onal or political hara t r, d lin d to di cu s th privat affairs of on of his fri nd . He w a h told u indignant at what h suppos d to be pionage upon Mr . Dyn a uppo ition which, w may say, was ntirely mistak n, for the tatut ry d laration wa a voluntary tat ment and the person making it had h r If n nn tion with any political party. But what ver Mr. Gregory said r did n t say it i quit cl ar that he made no admission of speculative d alin in ~ r ign x hange, and w think that the only r asonable inti rence whi h Mr. Ma D nald and Mr. Thomas ould hay drawn from their in rview with him was that uch d alings had not taken place. W cannot but r gr t Mr. r gory' retic nee, whatever may have b en the motive for it; and v n if h was in th circumstanc s unwilling to make any admissions to Mr. MacDonald and Mr. Thoma , we think that he was wrong in not making a full di 10 ure to ir Eyr Crow. 0 further action was taken either by Mr. Ma D nald or by Mr. Thoma , for, as they told us, they were both ready to a urn that th tat m nts mad had no ufficient foundation to justify further a tion. hat thi was 0 is hown by the fact that neither mentioned the m tt r again to ir Eyr Crow. 3 . Wh n how v r, th cas of lronmonger v. Dyn was r ported in the n w pap r Mr. MacDonald v ry naturally recalled the earlier incid nt, and I t u kn w through the Prime Mini t r that he had in his possession inti rm ti n whi h he thought it right to lay befor us. He told us that he harg or a cusation against Mr. Gregory, but that in an m d n

II6


inv tigation u h a that on whi h w w r engag d he felt it d irable that v ry fa t whi h might hav a po ibl relevanc hould b brought to our knowledg . If w may b p rmitt d to ay 0 we con ur in this view and we ar grat ful to r. Ma Donald and Mr. ].H. homa for th ir a i tance in th matt r路 for it i 1 ar that the arli r u picions and rumours, dismi d at th tim a impr babl and a r ring upon h arsay alon would naturally b r viv d by th vid n giv n b fi r Mr. Ju rice Horridg which afforded conclu iv pro f that Mr. r gory had in fa t b n pe ulating largely in for ign xchang. It might th r fi r b b li v d by om p r on and we ar atisfi d that thi b li f xi t, that Mr. finding him elf riou ly d and b in on iv d th id a of u of hi 0-

In

giving

ral

umption on abov mu t whi h i

whi h

mu

t r a p th produ d th upp th t rdingly, th 25th 0 tob r.


After that date the speculator would be in no better position than any other member of the public. 42. The evidence which is relevant to the above matters i as follows: The document known as the Zinoviev letter was brought first to the notice of the Foreign Office, as we have said, on the 10th October. It cam before Mr. Gregory in the ordinary course of his official duties on the 14th October, and in minuting it to Sir Eyre Crowe he wrote: 'I very much doubt th wisdom of publication. The authenticity of the docum nt would at once b deni d.' Sir Eyre Crowe took a different view and minuted to the cr tary of tate accordingly. The gist of Mr. MacDonald's reply on th 16th October was that they must be sure that the document wa auth ntic, that h favoured publication of such things, and that a draft of a I tt r of protest to th ovi t Charge d'Affaires should be prepared for his consideration, whi h must b such as to carry conviction. It is therefore I ar that up to that dat n plot could have been conceived by Mr. Gregory. It fell to him to pr pare the first draft of the letter; the draft was altered by ir Eyr r w , wh , having satisfied himself on the question of authenti ity, on th 21 tOt b r ubmitt d the redraft to Mr. MacDonald (who was then in th ountry ndu ting hi election campaign) with the observation that it ould b publish d as 0 n a it had reached Mr. Rakovski's hands. On th morning f th 24th 0 tob r it was received back at the Foreign Office by ir Eyr row with xtensiv alterations in Mr. MacDonald's own handwriting, but not initiall d by him. Sir Eyre Crowe at a meeting befor midday on th 24th in hi own r m, at which Mr. Gregory and one or two others w r pr nt, nnoun d his decision to despatch it forthwith to th ovi t Charg' d'Affair . A py wa handed to the Press during th evening, and th I tt r wa publi h d in all th newspapers on the 25th October. 43. The decision to despatch the letter was, w ar ati fi d, th d i ion of Sir Eyre Crowe alone. Apart from the fa t that h wa not a man tallow himself to be overruled or overper uaded by a ub rdinat ,war abl state on the authority of one of our own numb r, as w 11 a on th unimpeachable evidence of other witnesse ,that ir yr r w a 1m wI dg d his entire responsibility for the action tak n. It i n part f ur duty t inquire whether his decision was due to a mi und r tanding f Mr. MacDonald's wishes, to an error of judg m nt, to a d ir t anti ipat th possible publication of the Zinoviev docum nt by a London n w pap r, r (it may be) to a belief that the hands of th overnm nt w uld b tr ngth n d by his action. Whatever the reason, none wh kn w ir Eyr r w 's high and austere sense of public duty will doubt that hi motiv s w r upright, single-minded and honourable; and we ar confid nt that h n v r ~ r n moment anticipated the political consequence which in fa t foll w d. 44. So far as regards Mr. Gregory, it is a n cessary con Iu ion, we think, from hav known what we have said above, that he could in no ir umstan before the morning of the 24th Octob r, wh n a communi ation would b received from Mr. MacDonald, nor what its cont nt w uld b . And v n if,

lIB


row

th d i ion to d patch the lett r had been hi hi onI opportunity for turning his a t to his own

m

P

). L

at of

to us to

s

Profit

mg

ÂŁ 24

501

v

4 3 1 382 235

II

ÂŁ

71


on IV1n

f hi coll ague in th orthern th in tru cion rep ated a doubt ir yr row wh th r on political

mak

ÂŁw

f w

1 I


ill

affai

particularly tho e with his own p irion 1 arly imposes upon him busin s from which th ordinary

ivil


Bibliography Unpublished docUDlents The main ource for thi Note were th ar hiv (M I5) and Secret Intelligence Service ( I ).

of th

Security Service

particular those of th For ign ffi 23, 24 and 27), r a ury (in parti ular D etailed reÂŁ r n to do urn nt in th PR At the U.S. National Archive , Departm nt of tat w r n ult d 800.00, 841.00 and 8 1.00)

rk

, R

fit

th rd

In Mo ow, th following ar hiv

w r n ult : Russian Centre for the Pre ervation and Study ConteDlporary Hi tory ( mint rn n ommuni t Party of r at Britain, priv Russian Ministry of Foreign AlTair , (M FA a rchiv s) orne re ord w r al pr vid d t th uth r y h Ru Intelligence Service ( VR)

on th

i n Foreign

Published docwnent

Documents on British Foreign Policy and XXVI; ri l a, Volum I ( M Dokumenty vneshney politiki :R (D ~ Y volum vii (Mo ow, I 3) Document of the Communist International ( d. Jan of International Affair , 1

II

)

Book and articles Andrew, C h ri toph r, ecret ervtce: The Makin of the Brit' hint lli en e Communiry (R ein mann, Lond il, Andrew, Christoph r,' h Briti h r t TV1 in th 1920s, Part 1: From th trad n HistoricalJournal, 20, 3 (1977), pp. 73-7 Andrew, hristoph r, 'Mor n th Zin vi v tt r' The H ' tori al Journal 22, 1 (1979), pp. 21 1- 14


Andrew hri toph rand Gordievsky Oleg, KGB: The Inside Story ( odd rand t ughton London, 1990) Bazhanov B ri Ba<;hanov and the Damnation of talin (trans. David W. yl hio r ity Pr then 1990) Bradley J hn llied Intervention in Russia (Weidenfeld and Nicolson, nd n 1 8) oings-on in the Corridors of Power (Sidgwiek

The torm Petrels: The First oviet Defectors, 1928ervices and the

Hug , The Zinoviev Letter: A

apprai aI', Journal of Contemporary

Our Able t Public v n

ervant:

ir Eyre Crowe,

)

ovi t in World Affair : A History of the Relations between and the Re t of the World 1917-1929, vol. ii (Prine ton wJr yl 1) tt r ' a ' , oviet tudies, vol. XIX Ramble and Reflections 1902-28

nd n , 1

5)

Ri e and Fall of the Economic League n n 1 2) The Politic of Life ( hri toph r H 1m,

lum

1 I -25

d. K. Midd1emas,

rgi B k 1 83) KP( ) P 1itburo Do urn nt "


McManu, ., History of the Zinoviev Letter ( P B 1 2 ) Mai el, Ephraim The Foreign Office and Forti n Polic 1 1 - 1 2 niver ity Pr s, 1 4) Marquand, David, Ramsay MacDonald Oclaerki istorii rossiiskoi vne lanei rtJz vedki RussiaJs Foreign Intelligence ervice) v 1. 2 1 17O'Malley, ir Ow n The Phantom aravan hn Orloff, Vladimir, The eeret Do sier: M (tran . M na Hath Harrap 1 32) Sayer , Mi ha 1 and Kahn, b rt against oviet Russia (Pr 1 tarian Pu li h Somervell, D . ., tanley Baldwin: Young s Biography ( ab rand b r L n n 1 Sommer, Dudl y Haldane of loan ( 1 n Stafford, David hurchill and cr t Strang, L rd, Home and Abroad ( dr Taylor, AJ .P., Engli h Hi tory 1 14-1 Thorpe, ndr w ' n r Britain, 1 2 -43', Engl' h Hi lorical Revi 37- 2 Thorpe, An 83 . 272, pp. We t, i 1 and T arev, of the Ki :B Archive (H rp r n Willert, ir Ar hur WashiTzgton and 1 72) William ndr w J., lAbour and Ru Lab u P r (j, 'R 1924-34 (M n h r niv r it Young, .M., tanley Baldwin (

12

v

1.

H art

th


List of previously published FeO History Notes

nta t Buildin

Note ar produ d by th Historians in Library and R ecords r ign and omm nw alth Office. For information f th Hi torian Library and R ord D partment, Old Admiralty L nd WI 2 T 1. 0 171-210 386112 -mail:

Alr a y publi h d:

o

91

aty, the Spirit and the Suite: '-"v~vU''-'

: Policy, Practice and Po terity, 1782路1993 : ugu )

vm

r1

t

I

2

3

4

7. 'My Purdah Lady'. Th Foreign Offic and the Secret Vote, 1782路1909: ~et)tenl1bcr

1

2

and E t bli iunent of the Foreign Office InConnation rtDlent, 1946-48: u t I 5

acr : an SOE Perspective:

12

7

bruary 1


11. Nazi Gold: Infonnation frOID the Britis h Archive : Second edition (revised) January 1997 ISBN 0 903359 69 3

12. Nazi Gold: Infonnation ISBN 0 903359 71 5

frOID

pt mb r 1

the Briti h Archives : Part II: May 1

7

13. British policy towards enelDY property during and after the Second World War: April 1998 ISBN 0 903359 75 8

128


“A most extraordinary and mysterious business”: The Zinoviev Letter of 1924  

Former FCO Chief Historian Gill Bennett draws on papers held by SIS, as well as those in the Foreign Office archives to take a step closer...