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Letter: Zinoviev secret

Sir: May I add a memory to the history of the Zinoviev letter, which has just been produced by Gill Bennet, Chief Historian at the Foreign Office (report, 4 February)?

About 40 years ago I had dinner with Lord Davison. He had been the right- hand man and closest intimate of Stanley Baldwin. He had also been Bonar Law's link with the secret service. He knew I was Guy Kindersley's grandson. He told me the following story.

Davidson became aware of the Zinoviev letter through his secret service involvement. He knew my grandfather was explosively anti-Communist and could be relied on to make a great fuss if he were to hear of it. Davidson therefore arranged for Donald im Thurn, a former MI5 agent and a director of a City company, to take the letter to Guy Kindersley his "trusted friend in the City" just before the 1924 election.

Kindersley, also the Conservative MP for Hitchin, unaware of im Thurn's connection with Davidson, took the letter to the Daily Mail, with devastating results for the Labour Party at the 1924 election. Davidson told me how delighted he and Baldwin were when Kindersley berated them for doing nothing about the Zinoviev letter.

It seems that Baldwin and Davidson used a willing Donald im Thurn to cover their tracks. He wrote to Conservative Central Office about the payoff to a fictitious source of the leak that had disappeared to Argentina!

The redeeming feature of this outrageous conspiracy is that everyone involved thought the letter was real. They believed they were acting in the national interest. The interests of the Conservative Party were ruthlessly pursued under that banner.


Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire