KGB defector claims Burgess called for death of fellow British agent

GUY BURGESS, one of the "magnificent five" KGB spies asked the Soviets to assassinate one of his fellow agents, according to KGB defector, Col Vasili Mitrokhin.

Oxford University student, Goronwys Rees had been recruited by Soviet Intelligence in the 1930s and codenamed FLEET. He knew Burgess, Guy Maclean and Anthony Blunt, all from Cambridge University and that they were Soviet spies. However, when the Nazi-Soviet Pact was signed in August 1939, Rees was so sickened he broke off contact with his Russian NKVD (the predecessor of the KGB) contacts.

Burgess, by then working as an MI6 officer, panicked over Rees's action and sent an urgent message to Moscow "Centre" warning that Rees might betray both him and Anthony Blunt. He asked for Rees to be killed. Rees's KGB file, however, records that he did not inform on Burgess and Blunt.

Guy Maclean, another trator in the Cambridge spy ring, was also worried by Rees' "defection".Burgess and Maclean defected to the Soviet Union in 1951. According to the KGB files smuggled out of Russia by Col Mitrokhin and published in a book next week, the NKVD refused Burgess's request to kill his former friend. Goronwys Rees went on to become a British Military Intelligence officer during the war and later an academic.

The book, co-authored with Professor Christopher Andrew, contains a number of further revelations. It details KGB attempts to recruit leading politicians including Harold Wilson, Oskar Lafontaine, Willy Brandt, Giscard d'Estaing, Cyrus Vance and Zbigniew Brezinzinski.

The KGB files show that London KGB residency tried to inflate it's own influence. For example, it attempted to claim credit for an article in The Guardian by journalist Richard Gott in the mid 1970s attacking the role of the CIA in the overthrow and death of the Marxist president of Chile, Salvador Allende. The KGB even gave Gott the unlikely codename RON. Richard Gott later denied reports he had been a KGB agent. Later he resigned from The Guardian.

The book also details close contacts between the IRA and the KGB in the early 1970s. On the 3 July 1972 the Irish Communist leader, Michael O'Riordan wrote to ask the USSR's Central Committee for arms. This was approved and a shipment of weapons including two machine guns, 70 automatic rifles, 10 Walther pistols, 41,600 cartridges were sent.

The Mitrokhin Archive: The KGB in Europe and the West by Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin. Penguin. pounds 25.00

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
Disruption at Waterloo after a person was hit by a train
newsCancellations and disrupted service after person hit by train
Arts and Entertainment
music
Arts and Entertainment
The almost deserted Liverpool Echo Arena on Monday
tvCan X Factor last in the face of plummeting numbers auditioning
News
Kirsty Bertarelli is launching a singing career with an album of songs detailing her observations of “real life”
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Photographer / Floorplanner / Domestic Energy Assessor

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Photographer/ Floor planner /...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Surrey - £40,000

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Guildford/Craw...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Assistant

£13500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Assistant is...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £35,000

£16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious and motivated Sale...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence