My Silent War: The Autobiography of a Spy by Philby Kim

My Silent War: The Autobiography of a Spy by Philby Kim

Author:Philby, Kim [Philby, Kim]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Tags: Biography & Autobiography, Historical, Military, Personal Memoirs
Publisher: Modern Library
Published: 1968-01-01T07:00:00+00:00


I now come to the Volkov case, which I propose to describe in some detail, both because of its intrinsic interest and because it nearly put an end to a promising career. The case began in August and ended in September of 1945. It was a memorable summer for me because it yielded me my first sights of Rome, Athens and Istanbul. But my delighted impressions of Istanbul were affected by the frequent reflection that this might be the last memorable summer I was destined to enjoy. For the Volkov business, which was what took me to the Bosphorus, proved to be a very narrow squeak indeed.

I had scarcely settled down to my desk one August morning when I received a summons from the Chief. He pushed across at me a sheaf of papers and asked me to look them through. The top paper was a brief letter to the Foreign Office from Knox Helm, then Minister at the British Embassy in Turkey. It drew attention to the attachments and asked for instructions. The attachments were a number of minutes that had passed between and within the British Embassy and Consulate-General, from which the following story emerged.

A certain Konstantin Volkov, a Vice-Consul attached to the Soviet Consulate-General in Istanbul, had approached a Mr. Page, his opposite number in the British Consulate-General, and asked for asylum in Britain for himself and his wife. He claimed that, although nominally a Vice-Consul, he was in fact an officer of the NKVD. He said that his wife was in a deplorably nervous state, and Page remarked that Volkov himself was less than rock-steady. In support of his request for asylum, Volkov promised to reveal details of the headquarters of the NKVD, in which apparently he had worked for many years. He also offered details of Soviet networks and agents operating abroad. Inter alia, he claimed to know the real names of three Soviet agents working in Britain. Two of them were in the Foreign Office; one was head of a counter-espionage organization in London. Having delivered himself of his shopping list, he stipulated with the greatest vehemence that no mention of his approach should be relayed to London by telegram, on the grounds that the Russians had broken a variety of British cyphers. The rest of the papers were of little interest, representing only off-the-cuff comments by various members of the Embassy, some of them quite flippant in tone. What proved to be of some importance later was that the Embassy had respected Volkov’s stipulation about communications, and had sent the papers home, securely but slowly, by bag. Thus it was over a week after Volkov’s approach to Page that the material was examined by anyone competent to assess its importance.

That “anyone” was myself; and the reader will not reproach me with boasting when I claim that I was indeed competent to assess the importance of the material. Two Soviet agents in the Foreign Office, one head of a counter-espionage organization in London! I stared at the papers rather longer than necessary to compose my thoughts.


Copyright Disclaimer:
This site does not store any files on its server. We only index and link to content provided by other sites. Please contact the content providers to delete copyright contents if any and email us, we'll remove relevant links or contents immediately.
Web Analytics