"In Washington (on
September 10, 1963), Ambassador-at-Large Llewellyn E.
Thompson prepared a memo of his conversation with the Russians and JFK’s
response. As described by Mark White, the editor The Kennedys and , 'In a secret message to JFK, Khrushchev makes clear that he is aware of the
recent resumption of sabotage by the Cuba against United
He also warns Kennedy that the Cuba Soviet Union will
respond if is
Despite the official State Dept. declaration of March 1963 that no attacks would be made against Cuba from US Shores, the Special Group and JFK approved five such attacks that were proposed in April, approved in June and conducted in the fall of 1963. Most of the commandos infiltrated were immediately arrested by Cubans, much like the Frank Wisner's Albanians were rounded up when infiltrated behind the Iron Curtain in the 1950s. Kim Philby was identified as the security breach in the Albanian operation, and should be a suspect in the betrayal of the JMWAVE Cubans.
One of the reasons the government and CIA continue to resist the release of the records related to the assassination of President Kennedy is because of national security.
CIA might oppose the
release of 50 year old operational records related to the assassination of
President Kennedy on grounds of national security, since Castro is still alive
and the records are still relevant today, but the American people are the only
ones being kept in the dark about what’s so secret since both Castro’s G2
infiltrated JMWAVE at sea level while Kim Philby penetrated the CIA
at the highest levels in Washington.
Things might have continued on unabated had not President Kennedy appointed Michael Straight to a prominent post in the government, which set a series of events in motion that are still being felt to this day, and is at the heart of the government’s continued resistance to the opening of their records, not an attempt to keep the enemy from learning the most important secrets, because they already know, but to keep the American people from knowing the embarrassing truths.
JFK, MICHAEL STRAIGHT, IAN FLEMING
All of the official biographies of Ian Fleming acknowledge that he took the name for his fictional 007 hero from James Bond, the American author of the book Birds of the West Indies, but they also all falsely claim that Bond enjoyed the celebrity status Fleming gave him and took it as a joke, when in fact Bond was quite annoyed and deeply resented the “theft of his identity.”
So I also began to question the validity of the frequently repeated statement that Fleming began to write the 007 novels on a lark, to take his mind off his impending marriage, and considered the possibility that there was a more significant “operational” motive behind the literature. They could have been written either to boost the morale of the British Secret Service which was severely damaged by the betrayal of Kim Philby and the
spy ring or to salvage some of the operations they may have exposed. Cambridge
This thought occurred to me when I read Jim Houghan (in Secret Agenda – Watergate, Deep Throat & the
CIA, Random House, 1984, p. 5-6) where
he notes that:
“When (E. Howard) Hunt first approached Colson for work in the White House, he was still a part of the
His retirement from the agency would not occur until April 30, 1970, and, considering his record,
the possibility of his retirement was bogus is quite real. Indeed, this was the
third time that Hunt had left the Central Intelligence Agency. The first
occasion was in 1960, when he was issued fraudulent retirement papers to
facilitate his liaison with anti-Castro exiles. When that invasion was
launched, only to founder, Hunt returned to the agency’s staff – having never
actually left its payroll. Five years later, in 1965, Hunt quit for a second
time. The author of more than four dozen pulp thrillers and novels of the
occult, Hunt left the agency in furtherance of a counterintelligence scheme
that revolved around his literary efforts. The purpose of the scheme, according
to government sources familiar with Hunt’s curriculum vitae at the agency, was
to draw the KGB’s attention to books that Hunt was writing under the pseudonym
David St. John. These spy novels alluded to actual CIA
operations in Southeast Asia and elsewhere, and
contained barely disguised portraits of political figures as diverse as Prince
Norodom Sihanouk and the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy. It was the CIA’s
intention that the KGB be led to believe that the books contained security
breaches, and toward that end the agency created a phony ‘flap’ that was capped
by Hunt’s supposedly ‘forced retirement.’ In his memoir of his years as a spy,
Hunt does not mention the counterintelligence aspects of the David St. John
novels, but writes, ‘I resigned from the CIA
[this second time], and was at once rehired as a contract agent, responsible
only to [the CIA’s Deputy Director of Plans,
Since it has also been acknowledged that E. Howard Hunt, in light of the success of Ian Fleming’s 007 books, had obtained official permission to write his spy-fiction novels as an intelligence operation, perhaps there is something to the idea that Fleming also began to write his novels as a counter-intelligence project as well.
Fleming began to write his first 007 novel within a year of the defection of Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean to the Soviet Union.
In January 1952, when Fleming sat down at his typewriter to begin his first 007 novel, “Casino Royale,” it was no longer a matter of speculation as to whether the British Secret Service had been betrayed by its own long standing members, it was only a matter of determining the severity of the damage and what could be done to rectify it.
When Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean disappeared the previous May, 1951, shortly before MacLean was to be confronted with the evidence he was a Soviet spy and interrogated, the speculation centered on the identity of the “third man” who had tipped them off and allowed them to flee. Since these secrets were tightly held by only a few men in the counter-intelligence field, the “third man” was certainly positioned in a high place within the Secret Service, and a major effort was made to identify him.
The investigation quickly focused on Kim Philby, a former
classmate of Burgess and Mclean, who at the time was serving in Cambridge as liaison to the Washington
Both Burgess and Maclean had been posted to
and associated with Philby, and Burgess drew suspicion on himself and Philby by
his outrageous behavior, sparking William Harvey “ America ’s
James Bond,” to question whether Philby and Burgess were Soviet agents. But
James Angleton, chief of the America CIA’s
counterintelligence branch, discounted any such notions, especially after many
three-martini lunches with Philby.
In November 1956 Sir Roger Hollis of MI5 visited
to brief the Americans about the
missing diplomats and the Third Man affair. Driving Hollis around town, Richard
Helms of the Washington
D.C. CIA asked Hollis, “Who’s this
writer Ian Fleming?” Helms mentioned the recently published book Live and Let Die, but Hollis replied, “I
A few days later it was revealed that Prime Minister Anthony Eton had flown to
to spend some time at Ian Fleming’s Goldeneye beach house, sparking Helms to
assume, “The man lied. Hollis must have cleared the prime minister to stay with
Fleming,” wrote Tim Bower [in The Perfect
English Spy]. Jamaica
When President Kennedy, already familiar with the 007 novels, and having entertained Fleming at dinner at his home, requested to meet the “American James Bond,” he was presented with William Harvey, who insisted that Philby and Burgess were Soviet spies.
While Burgess’ treachery was confirmed by his disappearance, Philby weathered the storm and though relieved from his position as liaison to the American services, he was eventually rehired by MI6 – the British foreign intelligence service.
President Kennedy then nominated Michael Straight to be the director of the National Endowment for the Arts, a move that unraveled a whole new line of inquiry that revitalized the spy hunt for the elusive “third man.”
Michael Straight, nominated by JFK to be the head of the National Endowment for the Arts, at first accepted and then turned it down after he feared a background investigation would uncover his association with the Cambridge University communist spy cell that also included Kim Philby, Donald MacLean and Guy Burgess.
At first Straight accepted the prestigious position, but when he realized that he would have to undergo a vigorous background check, he declined because he too was one of those recruited by the Soviets while a student at
. When he
explained his dilemma to a friend he was advised to go to the FBI and tell them
everything, which he did. Cambridge
After writing the first 007 novel Casino Royale, Fleming and his wife returned to
for the birth of their son England .
After dropping her off at the hospital, Fleming visited an old friend from
their school days, the American born Whitney Straight, then chairman of BOAC
airlines. Both Whitney Straight and his younger brother Michael had attended Casper
and were personal friends with Guy Burgess, and according to Fleming biographer
Andrew Lycett, the case of the Missing Diplomats is what they discussed. Cambridge
Michael Straight was preceded at
by his older brother Whitney, a playboy race car driver who introduced Michael
to the Pitt Club, which has been described as a “hunting and drinking” club,
where he first met Guy Burgess, who Straight dismissed as “an alcoholic
adventurer, a name dropper and gypsy.” Cambridge
While most of the
spy ring were members of the Apostles, Michael Straight, Guy Burgess and James
Bond himself, from some years earlier, were members of the Pitt Club, and
continued their affiliation with the club years after they left Cambridge .
Among those who attended Cambridge, James Bond and Michael Straight, while years apart, stood out conspicuously as American “Yanks,” though they too were products of the British prep school system, Bond having attended St. Paul’s school in New Hampshire and then Harrow in England, while Michael and his older brother Whitney attended Dartington Hall in South Devon.
A month after his arrival at Cambridge Michael Straight was reluctantly recruited into the Cambridge Communist cell by Anthony Blunt, who would go on to become a member of the Secret Service as well as the surveyor of the Queen’s extensive art collection. Although he declined Blunt’s invitation to join them, Straight never betrayed his friends and assisted them in other ways.
Straight’s reluctance to willingly serve the Soviets did not prevent them from obtaining valuable use of him, especially when he returned to America and became editor and publisher of the New Republic, which published some of Philby’s commentaries.
J. E. Hover had ordered a complete investigation of all the American students who attended Cambridge in the 1930s to see if there were any more similar communist moles who had burrowed into the heart of the American government bureaucracy, the Straight brothers among them, but James Bond himself apparently avoided that dragnet since he had attended in the 1920s, even though the communist recruiters were busy at work there at that time too.
According to John Costello [Mask of Treachery – Spies, Lies and Betrayal, Warner Books, 1988], Straight “…was given a list of eighty-five Americans who attended Cambridge University between the years 1930 and 1934, from which he picked out one American who he knew casually at he Department of State. He then named two more Americans with whom he had studied at
between 1936 and 1937 and whom he knew to have been Trinity cell members and/or
Communist sympathizers…The FBI representative in the U.S. Embassy in Cambridge
recommended a full review of all Americans who had studied at either London
or Oxford before the war.”
[Costello would die suspiciously while engaged in his investigation of the Cambridge
spy ring.] Cambridge
Although J. E. Hover allegedly balked at “the political repercussions of an investigation of over 500 American citizens with no basis for such inquiry in fact,” the
reportedly changed his mind and “as a result, the records of nearly six hundred
Americans who had attended Oxford or Cambridge before World War II were
carefully compiled, examined and scrutinized.”
If James Bond was among those scrutinized, it wasn’t the first time he came to the attention of the counter-intelligence, counter-spies, as Bond had called attention to himself by providing information to the FBI about some German activity in the Caribbean during World War II.
According to Mrs. Mary W. Bond, in her book To James Bond With Love [Sutter House, 1980], while on a bird hunting expedition in Haiti, Bond had a run in with a reclusive and suspicious German on Morne La Selle mountain. When he returned home Bond “told his friend Brandon Barringer about the encounter with the German, and Brandon took it up with the authorities in
Jim (Bond) was promptly visited at the Washington by Army, and
then Navy intelligence officers.” Academy
of Natural Sciences
As Mrs. Bond related, “Fleming would have been intrigued with the final twist to the story. The intelligence people asked a lot of foolish questions and seemed far more suspicious about Jim’s reason for climbing Morne La Selle than about the German’s activities.”
Whether by intent or coincidence, James Bond’s Cambridge ties add credence to the theory that Ian Fleming wrote the 007 novels as part of a concerted psychological warfare operation rather than on a ‘lark,’ and the James Bond stories have more to do with actual covert operations than has been acknowledged.
One biographer, Andrew Lycett, [in The Man Behind James Bond, Turner, 1995] while mocking Fleming’s actual intentions and motives, acknowledged how Fleming’s first novel was inspired by the betrayals of the Cambridge spies when he wrote: “What raised Casino Royale out of the usual run of thrillers was Ian’s attempt to reflect the disturbing moral ambiguity of a post-war world that could produce such traitors like Burgess and Maclean. Although Bond is presented like Bulldog Drummond with all the trappings of a traditional fictional secret agent,…in fact he needs ‘Marshall Aid’ from Leiter (
CIA) to enable him to continue his baccarat
game with Le Chiffre. Bond is rescued from his kidnappers not by the British or
the Americans but by the Russians, who complete the job he should of done by
eliminating Le Chiffre. Bond does not even get the girl: [Vesper] she has been
duplicitous throughout, betraying not only him personally but all Western
Intelligence’s anti-Soviet operations. No wonder, feeling let down and
abandoned, he fails to conceal his bitterness at the end and spits out, ‘The
bitch is dead now.’”
If Casino Royale was Ian Fleming’s response to the betrayal of the
spy ring, then portraying the women who loved James Bond as the snake who
actually worked for the opposition, was much like the sexual ambiguity and
background of the Cambridge spies. Cambridge
If Casino Royale was Ian Fleming’s response to the betrayal of the
Although his official biographies hardly mention their names, Ian Fleming had many close associations with all three traitors – Philby, Burgess and Maclean.
The career paths of Ian Fleming and Kim Philby crossed more than once, but most certainly during World War II when Philby was responsible for MI-6 counter-intelligence for the Iberian peninsula – Spain and Portugal, which includes Gibralta, for which Fleming was given the responsibility of planning the defense of for the Admirality, a plan he codenamed “Goldeneye,” also the name of his Jamaican estate.
In his fictional obituary of 007, Fleming notes that his James Bond attended
Eton, as did many of those involved
in these intrigues beginning with “C,” Sir Stewart Menzies, the head of the
British Secret Service and on whose watch the
moles were recruited into it. Other former Cambridge Eton students
include Ian Fleming and Guy Burgess, and Eton headmaster
Charles Elliot was the father of Fleming’s chief MI6 contact Nicholas Elliot.
The old Eton ties facilitated recruitment into the
British Secret Service when Menzies served as its head.
The day before Burgess embarked on his sudden journey to
with Maclean, he returned to Moscow
where he visited a former history professor to explain a moral dilemma
concerning his authorship of a biography of the Earl of Sandwich authorized by
the family. Cambridge
At the same time Maclean was in
where he met and had lunch with Fleming’s close associate Cyril Connolly, who
after the defection, was assigned to write about the missing diplomats by
Fleming’s Sunday Times. London
According to Douglas Sutherland [in The Fourth Man – The Story of Blunt, Philby, Burgess and McLean, Arrow Books, 1980], “The late Cyril Connolly, the well-known Sunday Times book critic, was a close friend of Maclean’s and lunched with him the day before he left on 25 May, 1951.”
Sutherland quoted Connolly as saying: “I was very interested to read your remarks about Mclean and Burgess…because I knew them both and actually lunched with Maclean the day before he disappeared. The point I want to mention to you was that on that day I am sure he had no intention of leaving the way he did. He spoke to me so normally as to his private affairs…this makes me feel that, subsequent to meeting me on May 24th, he received some warning that he was under suspicion, and immediately left the country with Burgess. It may be, therefore, that someone in the Foreign Office told him on May 25th that you had authorized him to be questioned. Of course it was not until the Foreign Office knew that the security office knew as well.” Now we know that person was Kim Philby.
Cyril Connolly’s book on the affair was to have been published by Queen Anne’s Press, on his board of directors Ian Fleming served. The publishing company’s name did not disguise the nature of their interests, as Queen Anne’s Gate was where the offices of the British Secret Service were located.
Most intriguing among the connections between Fleming and the
moles is the sequence
of events that resulted in Burgess and Maclean publicly surfacing in Cambridge .
While most people suspected they were in the Moscow Soviet Union,
it wasn’t known for sure until Fleming’s chief foreign correspondent Richard
Hughes urged the Russians to produce the two defectors before a major
British-Soviet summit conference. At Fleming’s suggestion Hughes made an effort
to contact the “missing diplomats,” succeeded in meeting the two in a
hotel and obtained a formal statement from them. Hughes did so by making an
official inquiry, suggesting that the scheduled summit conference would not be
successful unless the matter of the missing diplomats was first explained. Moscow
Then after Burgess and Maclean publicly surfaced, the British-Soviet summit conference was disrupted by a botched covert operation, much like the Gary Powers-U2 incident wrecked the USA-Soviet summit in 1959. British frogman Buster Crabb disappeared while investigating the hull of Khrushchev’s ship in
harbor, his body discovered a few days later. Fleming even wrote about the
incident, which was a joint venture between MI6 and British Naval Intelligence,
and reportedly directed by Fleming’s chief contact in MI6, Nicholas Elliot, and
eventually led to the resignation of the director of MI6. Portsmouth
The resurfacing of Burgess and Maclean also called unwanted attention to Kim Philby, who somehow had reclaimed his job with MI6 and was working in
with the cover job as a correspondent for two British publications. Beruit, Lebanon
When Philby arrived in Beruit the MI6 station chief there was his long time friend and faithful supporter, Nicholas Elliot, Fleming’s contact who was reportedly responsible for the botched Buster Crabb operation that led not only to the resignation of the head of MI6 but also brought about a change in the political party in power. That November, shortly before relinquishing power, outgoing Prime Minister Anthony Eden and his wife took a vacation to
where they stayed at Fleming’s Goldeneye.
With the change in government, the Buster Crabb incident also forced a change in the leadership of both MI6, responsible for foreign intelligence, and MI5, counter-intelligence, with the director of MI5 Dick White assuming the position of director of MI6, the first time anyone had served both positions. White was astonished when he learned that Philby, after all the fuss over the “Third Man,” was still working for MI6 in Beruit.
Tom Bower [in The Perfect English Spy – a biography of Sir Dick White] wrote, “Even thirteen years later when he met Burgess in
he (Michael Straight) volunteered that he had never betrayed his friends. But
in 1963 Straight was offered a government post and, apparently fearful of
exposure, he had spent June closeted with FBI officers, including Bill
Sullivan, detailing Blunt’s futile attempt at recruitment. In January, 1964,
Straight repeated the story to Arthur Martin. By any measure, the confession
was a major breakthrough. Not surprisingly, the MI5 officer returned to Washington
excited about the disclosure. The molehunt had been legitimized.” Britain
While the earlier evidence was inconclusive, with the addition of Michael Straight’s confession and a number of Soviet defectors who had identified Philby as a Russian spy, the evidence was overwhelming, his longtime friend Nicholas Elliot was ordered to confront him. Elliot did extract a confession of sorts from Philby, but he did not get him to return to
and instead Philby disappeared, resurfacing in England
with his Moscow mates, Burgess
and Maclean. Cambridge
How he got there, while a mystery for some time, had something to do with his Armenian friends, a connection he shared with Fleming.
Of their life in
Philby’s wife Eleanor wrote: “People are constantly asking me how it was
possible that I, who shared his daily life, could have remained so unaware of
his secret work for Beirut .
Perhaps the answer is that I just was not looking for clues. Looking back over our
life together in Russia , I can see
some significance in one or two odd incidents which I thought nothing of at the
time. There was, for example, the occasion when Kim, after a few drinks too
many, decided late in the evening to take me and a friend out to dinner. We
took a taxi and Kim directed the driver outside the city to an Armenian shanty
town which sprawls across the malodorous Beirut
river. In one of the mean streets, we stopped outside a first-floor restaurant
full of shabby people. The food was good, but Kim, fuddled with alcohol, seemed
hardly aware of his surroundings. Some weeks later I suggested we return to the
Armenian restaurant. ‘What Armenian restaurant?’ Kim asked, giving a sharp
look. He strongly denied that we had ever been to any such place.” [p. 48 Kim Philby-The Spy I Married, Eleanor
Philby, Ballentine, 1968] Beirut
In The Third Man – The Full Story of Kim Philby [by E. H. Cookridge, Berkley Medllion, 1968] the mystery deepens further into the Armenian mist. Cookridge wrote: “On one occasion, however, Philby was almost caught red-handed. He was observed on night on the terrace of his apartment waving a dark object to and fro in the air. The observer was a security agent of the Lebanese secret police, the head of which was Colonel Tewfik Jalbout, a trusted ally of the American
whom he had rendered many services in the past…To find out who was at the
receiving end, Colonel Jalbout sent out a posse of agents, but Philby’s house
stood on a hill overlooking a fairly large part of the city. The receiver of
the signals could be one of several hundred people, looking from any window.
However, the search was narrowed down to two or three suspects, one of them an
Armenian, believed to be a Soviet agent….On another occasion one of Jalbout’s
detectives reported that he had seen Philby twice changing taxicabs and
eventually arriving at a small sweetshop belonging to an Armenian in the old
city. Soon after, the Soviet assistant military attaché entered the shop. The
detective did not dare stop the two men, as he was afraid to cause a diplomatic
incident. The fact that both Philby and a Soviet officer had gone to a dirty
little sweet shop, whose regular customers were Arab children, was significant,
particularly if considered in conjunction with the other incidents
Then in the Philby Conspiracy [by Bruce Page, Daid Leitch and Philip Knightley (Times Newspaper-Signet, 1968)] it is revealed: “How did Philby get to
We are able to reveal for the first time, that Philby arrived on Russian soil
four days after he left Moscow ,
i.e. on Beirut January 27, 1963…He
made his way across
into Syria .
From there on,m using his knowledge of the country gained during his earlier
periods there and his contacts with Armenians which he had built up in Turkey ,
he walked into Soviet Armenia. Then, feeling safe for the first time in thirty
years, he ‘went home’ to Cyprus .” Moscow
Before Philby fled however, Ian Fleming himself visited
arriving in November 1960 on his way to Beirut ,
where he had been commissioned to write the official history of the Gulf
emirate by the Kuwait Oil Company. In Kuwait
he met up with his friend and MI6 contact Nichoals Elliot. According to Fleming
biographer Andrew Lycett, “…Elliot was delighted to see him. Their conversation
ranged over a variety of intelligence-related topics, including Kim Philby, a
key participant in the Missing Diplomats affair, who had been working in Beirut
as a newspaperman since 1956. Ian told Elliot that he had his own minor
freelance intelligence assignment to perform: the then NID chief Vice Admiral
Sir Norman Denning had asked him for information about the Iraq port of
Basra…Ian did not delay…at 10:30 sharp he asked to leave, saying he had a
rendezvous with an Armenian in the Place de Canons in the center of town.” Beirut
“Perhaps,” speculated Lycett, “Ian was meeting Philby, whom he had certainly met during the war. But Elliot had the distinct impression his dinner guest had arranged to see a pornographic film in full color and sound.”
As we see, even though Kim Philby, Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean are hardly mentioned in the first two official biographies of Fleming and dismissed by Lycett, they played a major role in his life and work, as well as his fiction.
“Casino Royale,” Fleming’s first 007 book, concerns the betrayal of a fellow agent named Vesper, the snake, and John Pearson, who wrote The Life of Ian Fleming, the first official biography, also wrote a companion book, A Biography of James Bond, an ostensibly fictional work in which he acknowledges discovering the real James Bond while researching and writing Fleming’s biography.
According to this account, Fleming wrote the 007 books in order to salvage some important on-going operations and to make James Bond such a famous and outrageous super hero, the Soviets would not believe that he really existed. And it worked.