Tyler Kent bigraphy, stories - American diplomat

Tyler Kent : biography

March 24, 1911 - November 20, 1988

Tyler Gatewood Kent (March 24, 1911 – November 20, 1988) was an American diplomat who stole thousands of secret documents for a pro-German organization while working as a cipher clerk at the US Embassy in London during World War II.

Arrest, trial and conviction

On May 18, the US ambassador, Joseph P. Kennedy Sr., was informed of this development, and agreed to waive Kent's diplomatic immunity. On May 20, 1940, Kent was arrested in a dawn raid at his flat. Officers of MI5 found 1,929 official documents there: besides Churchill's cables, there was a book containing the names of people under surveillance by Special Branch and MI5. Searchers also found keys to the US embassy code room.

On May 31, after 11 days of secret arrest, the US State Department announced that he had been fired and "detained by order of the Home Secretary". The statement did not say that he had been arrested under the Official Secrets Act. Anna Wolkoff was arrested on May 20 and charged with violating the same act.

On October 23, Kent was tried in camera in the Old Bailey. Brown paper was pasted on the windows and glass door panels. He was specifically charged with obtaining documents that "might be directly or indirectly useful to an enemy" and letting Wolkoff have them in her possession. He was also accused of stealing documents that were the property of Ambassador Kennedy. The only spectators allowed at the trial were official observers, including Malcolm Muggeridge, representing MI6. Two of the witnesses against Kent were Maxwell Knight and Archibald Ramsay, who was interned on the Isle of Man under Defence Regulation 18B because he had seen the documents. British officials who were knowledgeable of the documents believed that if they would come to light at that time, it would seriously damage Anglo-American relations, for it showed that Roosevelt was looking at ways to evade the Neutrality Acts to help Britain survive the German onslaught. It would have also damaged Roosevelt's reelection bid for the presidency that year.

In his trial, Kent also admitted that he had taken documents from the US Embassy in Moscow, with the vague notion of someday showing them to US senators who shared his isolationist, anti-semitic views. He said that he burned the Moscow documents before being assigned to London. It was learned later on that he fell in love with an interpreter who worked for the NKVD, thus fueling speculations that he had Soviet contacts.

On November 7, 1940, he was convicted and sentenced to seven years' imprisonment. Isolationist groups in the United States claimed that he had been framed and that the trial was an attempted cover-up of an attempt to get the US to join the war. The documents, finally released in 1972, did not support this claim. The papers that Kent had purloined did indicate Anglo-American naval cooperation, but they also showed that Roosevelt was not prepared to go further without support from Congress or the public.

Early life and career

Kent was born in Newchwang, Manchuria where his father was the US Consul. He was educated at a prestigious private school, St. Albans School in Washington, D.C., followed by Princeton University where he studied history, George Washington University, the Sorbonne (where he studied Russian) and the University of Madrid. Through his father's connections, he joined the State Department and was posted to Moscow under William C. Bullitt, the first American ambassador to the Soviet Union. There he was promoted to cipher clerk.

By 1939, he was suspected of engaging in espionage for the Soviet Union, but lacking any solid evidence, the Diplomatic Service decided to transfer him to the embassy in London, where he began working on October 5, 1939.

In London

As soon as Kent arrived in London, he was seen in the company of Ludwig Matthias, a suspected German agent who was being tailed by detectives of Scotland Yard's Special Branch. He was observed being a frequent guest of the Russian Tea Room in South Kensington, a habitué for White Russians led by Admiral Nikolai Wolkoff, the former naval attaché for Imperial Russia in London, and his wife, a former maid of honor to the Tsaritsa. Through one of their daughters, Anna, Kent met Irene Danishewsky, wife of a British merchant who was a frequent visitor of the Soviet Union. She became Kent's mistress. Because of their background, Irene and her husband were placed under surveillance by MI5 as possible Soviet spies.

Living octopus

Living octopus

In countries which are located near sea coasts, sea food is an important part of national cuisine