Poet used as secret weapon

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The Independent Online
Government documents to be released today will reveal that a mixed bag of public figures had key roles in an under- cover war anti-Soviet propaganda campaign.

Papers released by the Public Record Office show that the poet Stephen Spender, the philosopher Bertrand Russell and the traitor Guy Burgess were involved in the campaign against the Stalinist Soviet Union in the 1940s and 1950s.

A report in The Times newspaper says the covert unit, secretly financed by the Secret Service Intelligence budget, also used contributions by Denis Healey, who later became Chancellor of the Exchequer.

The revelations come as the Public Record Office prepares to release documents detailing the activities of the Foreign Office's Information Research Department. Copies of the documents will be released today but many names have been blacked out and the originals will not be made available.