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Memoir reveals regret of spy Anthony Blunt

Discussion in 'The Stump' started by Kai-Petri, Jul 23, 2009.

  1. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Memoir reveals regret of Soviet spy Anthony Blunt - Yahoo! News

    Anthony Blunt — English gentleman, art adviser to Queen Elizabeth II and Soviet spy — felt the decision to give British secrets to the Kremlin was "the biggest mistake of my life."

    Blunt wrote of his remorse in a 30,000-word memoir completed shortly before his death in 1983 and released Thursday by the British Library. It was given to the library in 1984 on condition it not be made public for 25 years.

    Blunt was the infamous "fourth man" in a ring of upper-class Britons who spied for the Soviet Union. He, Guy Burgess, Kim Philby and Donald Maclean attended Cambridge University in the 1930s and — fired by opposition to the spread of fascism across Europe — were drawn into espionage.

    The document reveals few new details of Blunt's career as a spy, but recounts how he was recruited at Cambridge by the charismatic Burgess.

    Blunt wrote that he believed, "naively," that the story would never be made public. However, in 1979 Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher publicly unmasked him as a Soviet spy, and he was stripped of his knighthood.

    Blunt said he considered suicide but decided it would be cowardly to leave his friends and family with "the double shock of my suicide and the revelations which would have followed immediately."

    Blunt said that after he was exposed he took refuge in "whisky and concentrated work."

    The manuscript, which has been known about for years but never made public, is likely to disappoint historians because it does not contain any sensational revelations.
     
  2. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    In this recording from the House of Commons, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher confirms that Professor Anthony Blunt was once a suspected Soviet spy and that the security services have known about this since a confession Blunt made in 1964. She reveals how Blunt came to make this admission, to what extent his activities affected British security and how MI5 was able to use Blunt's confession to identify other spies.

    Margaret Thatcher refers in her speech to the "honourable gentleman, the member for Hartlepool", whose priority question prompted the revelations surrounding Anthony Blunt. The gentleman in question was Labour backbencher Ted Leadbitter, who had formally asked the prime minister to make a statement on "recent evidence concerning the actions of an individual whose name has been supplied to her in relation to the security of the United Kingdom". Her response came the following week and it was the catalyst that helped expose just how deep the Cambridge spy ring had managed to penetrate the British establishment.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/archive/state-security/zkd8y9q
     
  3. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Interesting....

    When the Queen’s art adviser Anthony Blunt quietly admitted in 1964 that he had been a spy for Stalinist Russia, the confession sent shockwaves through the British secret state and the royal family.

    Having spent years attempting to identify the so-called “fourth man” of the Cambridge five spy ring, MI5 finally had their man.

    The attorney general of the day, Sir John Hobson, had already agreed that Blunt could be offered immunity from prosecution as long as he made a full confession, and the home secretary, Henry Brooke, was fully briefed by MI5.

    Discreetly, the Queen was informed about the treachery. Not only was Blunt the surveyor of the Queen’s pictures – looking after one of the largest and richest collections of art in the world – he was also her mother’s third cousin.

    Unfortunately, nobody bothered to tell the prime minister, Alec Douglas-Home.

    British government papers released at the National Archives on Tuesday make clear that Douglas-Home knew nothing about Blunt’s acts of betrayal until November 1979, when Margaret Thatcher stood up and exposed Blunt in the House of Commons.

    PM was not told Anthony Blunt was Soviet spy, archives reveal
     

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