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THE French were accused of “treachery” for agreeing to pay a “considerable sum” to British double agent Kim Philby to publish his memoirs, according to letters released by the National Archives today.
My Silent War was published in France, the United States and, from March 1968, was serialised by the Sunday Express while KGB spy Mr Philby was exiled in Moscow.
In a letter seen by the Morning Star, Sir Denis Greenhill, chairman of the joint intelligence committee and then head of the Diplomatic Service a year later, condemned magazine Paris Match for agreeing to pay Mr Philby for worldwide serialisation rights.
Mr Greenhill said that “treachery is more familiar to the French than it is to us, and no doubt the publisher was for this reason better able to accommodate himself to the fact that he was liberally rewarding someone who had damaged his own country’s interests.”
He wrote that editors and literary agents were “all very cadgey” [sic] and that “none would admit having any direct knowledge of the manuscript but all said it was being hawked around.”
Other newly released letters show that the then Labour government succeeded in discouraging the BBC, the Independent Television Authority (now ITV), and production companies from interviewing Mr Philby and had corresponded with British publishers to discourage them from printing his book.
Mr Greenhill had also sought a warrant should Mr Philby return to Britain to be interviewed, which the then director of public prosecutions said would be an “abuse of the process of court,” a letter dated August 1969 shows.
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