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Mosley's links with Berlin are revealed

An MI5 report on the finances of Sir Oswald Mosley's Fascist party, drawn up for wartime Home Secretary Herbert Morrison, reveals that he won the German franchise for his commercial radio station Radio Sark, thanks to his wife's friendship with Hitler.

One of 10 heavily-weeded files on British Fascism released yesterday at the Public Record Office shows that Mosley's British Union of Fascists (BUF) was desperately short of money on the outbreak of war, despite the generous support of backers like Lord Rothermere, owner of the Daily Mail, and a former Air Minister.

The report, signed by G P Churchill, Secretary of the Special Advisory Committee on Defence Regulation 18b, said that the Fascists' finances had been left "in a most unsatisfactory state, after the Special Branch swooped on 23 May 1940, following the Prime Minister's order "to collar the lot".

In 1936, the financial position of the BUF became very serious, he said. Because of his privileged background Sir Oswald had not needed to make money until he was 40. "Then for the first time he entered the commercial world. He was aware while in America that pounds 20m a year was spent on radio advertising and such money could be employed in financing the movement to which he had given his life." Radio Sark, which broadcast primarily to France and Belgium, was one of the first such ventures in Europe.

G P Churchill told Morrison that in June 1938 Sir Oswald "entered into association with persons concerned with the government of Germany in connection with a wireless broadcasting station to be erected there". He said Lady Mosley was instrumental in achieving this, and quoted Sir Oswald's testimony to the committee: "She could see Hitler constantly and discuss it with him. I want to be ultra-fair about this ... that knowing Hitler would get doors open for her that otherwise could not be opened." Lady Mosley, said her husband, was a great friend of Frau Goebbels and they had married in the Goebbels' Berlin home in Hitler's presence.

The report revealed that Special Branch had uncovered a secret BUF bank account, worth pounds 86,000 (in 1940 values), which "was used as a conduit pipe to feed in funds to the organisation from supporters like Lord Rothermere, who wanted to conceal that support".

The files also show that while in Brixton prison in 1943, Mosley was used as a guinea pig in experiments with a revolutionary treatment to cure thrombosis.

A letter from Frank Smith, president of the International Haemophiliac Society complains to Morrison about the Medical Research Council's "abuse of its privileges in blocking development of an anti-thrombotic substance which would have mitigated the most serious aspects of Mosley's condition" which was then causing concern in the prison hospital.

The file is annotated, however, with a comment "Mosley treated with the new drug but the treatment was not completed due to his release" by Morrison, who "didn't want to make a martyr of him".