Kim Philby


Kim Philby : biography

1 January 1912 – 11 May 1988

In 1938, Walter Krivitsky (born Samuel Ginsberg), a former GRU officer in Paris who had defected to France the previous year, travelled to the United States and published an account of his time in "Stalin’s secret service." He testified before the Dies Committee (later to become the House Un-American Activities Committee) regarding Soviet espionage within the United States. In 1940 he was interviewed by MI5 officers in London. Krivitsky claimed that two Soviet intelligence agents had penetrated the British Foreign Office, and that a third Soviet intelligence agent had worked as a journalist for a British newspaper during the civil war in Spain. Krivitsky was shot in a Washington hotel room the following year.

Alexander Orlov (born Leiba Feldbin; code-name Swede), Philby’s controller in Madrid, who had once met him in Perpignan, France, with the bulge of an automatic rifle clearly showing through his raincoat, also defected. In order to protect his family, still living in Russia, he said nothing about Philby, an agreement Stalin respected. Whilst on a short trip back from Spain, Philby tried to recruit Flora Solomon as a Soviet agent; she was the daughter of a Russian banker and gold dealer, a relative of the Rothschilds, and wife of a London stockbroker. At the same time, Guy Burgess was trying to get her into MI6. But the resident in France, probably Pierre at this time, suggested to Moscow that he suspected Philby’s motives. Solomon introduced Philby to his second wife, Aileen Furse, but went to work for the British retailer Marks & Spencer.

World War II

In July 1939, Philby returned to the Times office in London. The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, with its secret protocol that the Wehrmacht and the Red Army would divide Poland, shocked Philby. He often asked, "Why was this necessary?" When Britain declared war on Germany in September 1939, contact with his Soviet controllers was lost and Philby failed to attend meetings. During the Phoney War from September 1939 until the Dunkirk evacuation, Philby worked as the Times correspondent with the British Expeditionary Force headquarters. After being evacuated from Boulogne on 21 May, he returned to France in mid-June (now representing the Daily Telegraph in addition to The Times). He briefly reported from Cherbourg and Brest, sailing for Plymouth less than twenty-four hours before the French surrender.Seale and McConnville, 110–111

Esther Marson-Smedley, a correspondent with the Daily Express who shared the train ride from Plymouth to London, then introduced him to Marjorie Maxse, who offered him a role in the War Office. On his first meeting in her office, Philby was surprised to see his old friend from Cambridge, Guy Burgess, who was already working there. His time there, however, was short-lived; the under-funded section was absorbed by the new Special Operations Executive (SOE) in July 1940. Burgess was fired for "irreverence", and Philby was appointed as an instructor in the art of clandestine propaganda at the SOE’s training establishment in Beaulieu, Hampshire.Seale and McConnville, 129

Philby’s role as an instructor of sabotage agents again brought him to the attention of the OGPU. The new London resident, Ivan Chichayev (code-name Vadim), re-established contact and asked for a list of names of British agents being trained to enter the USSR. Philby replied that none had been sent and that none were undergoing training. This statement was underlined twice in red and marked with two question marks by disbelieving staff at Moscow Central in the Lubyanka, according to Genrikh Borovik, who saw the telegrams much later in the KGB archives.

Section IX was often known as Section D (SIS Sections used Roman numerals). Philby was originally a Section D officer and is so noted in a letter of 24 September 1940 written by Lt. Col. Valentine Vivian, the head of Section V at that time. Under Section IX was The Statistical Research Centre War Office (a cover name), mobilised on September 1939 on the outbreak of war at War Station No X Bletchley Park, charged with breaking the German Enigma codes.UK National Archives Philby provided Stalin with advance warning of Operation Barbarossa and of the Japanese intention to strike south at Singapore instead of attacking the USSR as Hitler had urged. The first was ignored as a provocation, but the second, when confirmed by the Russo-German journalist and spy in Tokyo Richard Sorge, enabled Stalin to transport Siberian troops from the Far East in time for Georgy Zhukov to use them to save Moscow.