When Spies invaded Russia p.6

As we have seen in the previous parts of this investigation the initial interventions were not, until their very end, monitored by traditional military or political chains of command. Their planners were primarily intelligence-operations specialists whose objectives were to preserve and expand the Empire by reconstituting Russia "to withstand German economic penetration after the war."

This is why, in the beginning, there were so few troops sent to either of the two areas: there was no need for them. Their purpose was to extend intelligence; that was a technological matter, which required a small supporting military group.

As has been properly analyzed by Iaroslav Golubinov in 2017, the British military supply mission led by General Poole in 1917- early 1918 had to verify, in the first place, the proper use of weapons and ammunition from the United Kingdom and, in the second, had to help in establishing closer contacts between industrial businessmen of the two states. General Poole and his team observed work of the artillery parks and aviation workshops as well as the defense facilities. According to the British officers all of them suffered from common problems. Revolutionizing of the masses diverted many people from work, contributed to the fall of the discipline and was accompanied by the reluctance of the military and civilian officials to do anything for normalizing the situation. Thus both tasks of the mission failed. The first reason was the gradual collapse of the front and army work in the rear, and the second was the Bolshevist pursuit to conclude the peace with Germany. General Poole and Colonel Byrne were both skeptical about Russia’s ability to continue the war.

General Poole's return to the north than was augmented by troops who were neither committed to nor knowledgeable of that intelligence objectives-mid-year 1918 hence the northern intervention lost its original purpose without gaining a satisfactory substitute. The intelli­gence-operations which were meant to guarantee and safeguard communi­cations capability now became merely another military incursion.

Meanwhile the many different White Russian and anti-Bolshevik factions remained divided and failed to agree on a strategy. It was only the involvement of the Czechs (who initially fought side by side with the Bolsheviks) that provided the Bolsheviks with any serious opposition during 1918, preventing further consolidation of Soviet power and driving the limits of the Red zone well back into European Russia. It was this and this alone that allowed the emergence of two rival anti-Bolshevik authorities, Komuch (with its "People's Army") and the Provisional Siberian Government in Omsk, with a new mission: to unite the anti-Bolshevik forces of the east.

By initially making "class enemies" of many Russian specialists, the Bolsheviks lost any loyalty they might have won from them. Equally, the Allies and Whites found themselves having to trust people who had something to gain from the Bolsheviks or were ideologically committed to them. Questions of time and scale inhibited either party from thoroughly vetting all who presented themselves, which meant both were frequently obliged to build upon foundations of sand. Initially, the Bolsheviks were almost defeated by the officers and specialists who turned to the Allies, while the Letts who presented themselves as erstwhile allies crippled the Allied Intelligence Services.

In the course of 1918-19, the Intelligence apparatus of every major state was involved. What is also apparent is the paradox of deeply Imperialist states turning to the spread of revolution and subversion to achieve their aims. It became the task of the Intelligence Services to foment and nourish this in hostile states.

The Whites were impotent without the support of the Allies. Had the Allies refrained from taking counsel of their fears and interfering in Russia (with their 1919 military action), the suspicion is that local opposition, much of it inspired by the Bolsheviks, would have kept many German troops in the east as would Germany's dreams of imperial expansion in south Russia and Central Asia. The Allies were frightened to the point of desperation through viewing the situation in narrow terms.

Most of the Allied nations which sent troops did not border Russia nor have any obvious reason to get involved. Several countries sent forces or military missions to Russia. These ranged from YMCA canteens to the 70,000-strong expeditionary force sent by Japan to Siberia, by far the largest contributor of foreign troops. The US sent troops to both North Russia and Siberia as did the French, Italians, and Serbs. Japanese interests in Russia were purely expansionist and limited to the maritime provinces of Siberia and China. They were also the last Allied interventionist forces to leave Russia. It was not until October 1922 that the Japanese reluctantly relinquished control of eastern Siberia to the Red Army.

And as had been the case before, nations working together have their own national interests. Each has its own strategic goals and, when there is resistance from allies, each goes its own way, usually secretly. Described by me several years back a detailed description of the various 1918-20 military actions by the different participants can be sean in the final part of the following link:

I started this investigation by detailing the initial interventions that were steered by Military Intelligence- operations-MIO. And that whereby MIO existed only between January and June 1918 it appears to have existed for that brief period because, as the governor of limited action, that was all the time it required. What happened subsequently was not really an MIO concern at all. Which brings us to the next question namely what influence did British Intelligence had on the later military phase of the intervention in Russia. By recreating the intelligence picture provided by these human intelligence organizations, I will next attempt an assessment to what extent this was considered by the British government.

Intelligence gathering in Bolshevist Russia 1919

As for the military involvement under discussion, it can be said that March 1919 was a key period for British policy towards Bolshevik Russia. Here the delegates at Versailles had recently agreed there would be no Allied policy formulated, with the onus being put back to the War Cabinet in London.1 Also, by this stage, formal diplomatic channels had been cut off, meaning official sources within Bolshevik held territory were not available to the government. Representatives of the armed forces could provide information on several key developments in the Russian exterior, but there was a strong need for good intelligence to supplement this. Victor Madeira’s work has highlighted how signals intelligence sources on Bolshevik Russia were not fully utilized by the government until the formation of the Government Code & Cypher School in November 1919 and so in Bolshevist Russia human intelligence remained the principal source in March.2 Human intelligence via agent reporting was being produced by the SIS, of which we know a great deal about the agents involved, but also via the military in North Russia, of which we know less. The short-lived Political Intelligence Department (PID) of the Foreign Office also produced reports at this time, and although perhaps understandably understudied due to its short existence, it is still significant to this period. The work of Erik Goldstein and Michael Dockerill has provided a useful outline to this organization’s remit.3

On 8 March 1919, Winston Churchill, the Secretary of State for War, articulated his understanding of the British government’s Russian policy in a letter to Lloyd George.4 In it, he summarized decisions made by the War Cabinet on 4 and 6 March, with the critical parts to this policy being the evacuation of British troops from the North Russian fronts, in conjunction with the extension of economic and technical support to General Denikin in South Russia.5 Regarding the Bolsheviks, this policy was a middle-way strategy that was neither recognition of the regime nor a full military intervention. The political need for a decision at this time was due to the growing public campaign against continuing to have troops stationed in Russia, while the debate surrounding Churchill’s 1919–1920 Army Estimates provided the immediate backdrop. In these estimates, Churchill stated the nation was half way between peace and war, which caused considerable unease in the Commons.6 Firstly, and much like governmental reporting of all kinds on Bolshevism at this time, there is a distinct lack of sources of intelligence from January to early March 1919. Whether or not MI1(c) reports found in other departmental archives represent all those collected will remain unknown,7 but indeed aside from the well-known reports from Paul Dukes (codenamed ST25) or Arthur Ransome (ST76), the cupboard is relatively bare.

Dukes’ early 1919 reporting to the Admiralty, including direct intercepts from war and naval Commissar Leon Trotsky, is frequently lauded as providing a "wealth of intelligence" and being of "sound analysis".8 In a more sober analysis, Keith Jeffery acknowledges his courage but highlights the mostly low-level value of his intelligence.9 Many of Dukes’ reports at this time provided very useful tactical, and even operational intelligence to the Admiralty, including information on Bolshevik suspicion at an attack from Admiral Cowan’s force.10 It confirmed important officer changes instructed by Trotsky, while also highlighting his preference for old Tsarist specialists over Bolshevik Commissars.11

Despite this, Dukes was unable to deliver much in the way of strategic intelligence until April 1919, the same month Arthur Ransome produced his "State of Russia" report.12 Unlike the majority of sources on Bolshevik Russia, Ransome warmed to their ideas, to the point where many in British intelligence considered whether he had become a Bolshevik himself.13 Ransome’s file within the Security Service’s archive at Kew has warnings from late 1918 and early 1920 of him being a Bolshevist agent, while his 1927 biographical file is littered with similar suspicions.14 While Roland Chambers’ study of Ransome concludes it is hard to suggest he was a double agent, the fact that the intelligence services were highly skeptical of Ransome’s motives put into question the extent to which they would have accepted his intelligence.15

In any case, the important point here is it would appear the key policy decisions were made on Russia before this useful political intelligence arrived at Whitehall. Both Ransome and Dukes have featured widely in the literature, and their significance is often emphasized. However, if a key policy decision regarding Russia occurred in March 1919, Ransome and Dukes’ main political reporting could not have affected that crucial decision; and thus, their significance is greatly undermined.

That said, the Political Intelligence Department (PID) was producing strategic intelligence at this time and aimed to provide the British delegation at the Paris Peace Conference with information on the situation inside Bolshevik Russia. Up to the beginning of the conference, the PID had advanced a relatively tentative assessment of what to do about Russia, advising that what territory the Bolsheviks had gained should be kept by them.16 From the start of the conference too early March, the PID produced some reports pertaining to Bolshevism but clearly seemed more concerned with the border states on Russia’s western frontier.17 This discrepancy is manifested in the same PID files that detail the conference minutes, where throughout January and February, key world leaders frequently delay tactics at Versailles were not met well in Westminster, and throughout this period calls by Members of Parliament (MPs) for better information on Russia caused significant political pressure.18

Interestingly, military intelligence summaries related to the Archangelsk and Murmansk fronts offered some useful strategic intelligence about their Bolshevik enemies’ home front. Sources ranged from the Bolshevik press to captured prisoners and also agents in the field that combined to produce snapshots of the political situation.19 This indicates the infancy of usefull political intelligence compared to its military counterparts, and MI1(c) was frequently having to stave off attempts by the War Office to be incorporated into its wider intelligence machinery.20 This context, coupled with the overtly hostile and chaotic Bolshevik regime, prevented strategic intelligence having a real impact on policy this soon after the First World War. Ultimately, the War Cabinet could not wait for the more thorough intelligence reports from April 1919 onwards.

If these early 1919 reports would have little impact on the timing of the decisions in March, what intelligence could be offered to British decision makers? In terms of Bolshevik strategic intentions, foreign intelligence reporting added to the growing culture of fear among British decision makers. British military intelligence at this time was reporting how the Bolshevik press asserted the British were warming to their cause which, in the context of army mutinies and growing industrial unrest, produced governmental alarm at Bolshevik subversion fomenting revolution.21 The PID also highlighted two speeches by future Comintern leader Zinoviev, both emphasizing the Bolshevik commitment to world Revolution, while also advocating a sham conciliation to the Allies to give the regime respite.22 Such sentiments are echoed in the PID interview with returning Britons from Russia, who argue "India is in far greater danger from Bolshevism than it ever was from Czardom".23

intelligence reporting remained until the British began to rely more on intercepted signals from Moscow, which presented more unambiguous (yet moderate) reports on Bolshevik intentions.24

Aside from their commitment to world revolution, the crucial other argument against peace with Bolshevism was the atrocities that were occurring throughout Russia. A lot of PID reports commented on atrocities, with one source suggesting the Bolsheviks cease to be a political party, instead of a mere excuse for plunder and robbery.25

A 94-page document is almost exclusively about atrocities and has since been viewed by Clifford Kinvig as an absurd piece of government propaganda.26 While not quite as crude as the White Paper, British intelligence collectors certainly upheld the notion of atrocities’ importance in any report to decision makers. Fundamentally, the concentration on atrocities in Russia, coupled with the aforementioned fear of subversion, helped underpin the government’s preference for hostility towards the Bolshevik regime. If peace was not an option, did Bolshevism in Churchill’s words need to be "strangled in its cradle," or could it be left to wither away on its own?27 An MI1(c) report suggested vast swathes of the bourgeoisie stood opposed to Bolshevik rule, with only 20% of the proletariat being supporters, while the peasantry remained hostile due to the execution of priests in the countryside.28 PID reports highlighted the growing loss of support from the trade unions, while the peasantries previous animosity to the ‘English’ was beginning to subside with them supposedly welcoming any intervention.29 Military intelligence summaries also point to various village risings, while the feeling among the sailors was becoming more antagonistic.30 All of this would point towards a regime that is on the verge of collapse, yet in the War Cabinet, the Prime Minister remained skeptical on the idea that the Bolsheviks had minimal support. Nearly all the members present at the 12 February meeting agreed that the Bolsheviks were becoming stronger, and Lloyd George insisted the non-Bolsheviks would have succeeded by now had the population willed it.31 This view seems at odds with the intelligence, but the key here is the analysis of Bolshevik strength. While some villages experienced uprisings and the proletariat was becoming restless, Bolshevik institutions of state had become very sophisticated and this cushioned the impact of unrest by oppression, but also mobilized supporters rapidly.32 British intelligence ignored this and continued to insist that Bolshevism and hooliganism were the same.

The one institution that intelligence reporting did recognize as growing in importance, however, was the Red Army. Military intelligence took a great interest in this area, and in some detail outlined the major changes that occurred in the Red Army in early 1919. These included the introduction of universal conscription, the order for the calling up of all ex-Tsarist generals and the re-introduction of traditional drill and discipline practices, while the inadequacy of munitions supply is also commented on.33 Another report focused on the ever-increasing problem of desertion, while an MI1(c) report detailed how a 600,000 strong army had been effectively "fanaticised" to become a well-disciplined force.34

Other sources highlight the importance of political terror in enforcing Bolshevik power, with Lenin’s "Red Terror" far exceeded the violence seen in 1790s France or even the Spanish the Bolsheviks hostility towards sections of society, such as the bourgeoisie and the later historians have written on the Red Army, especially the balance between the rapid growth and utilization of ex-Tsarist ministers against the high desertion and inadequate munitions supply.35 Not all reports were as in tune with military developments though, and intelligence gathered from PID interviews paint a different picture of the Red Army.

In these reports, the army is stated to be untrustworthy, incapable in the face of a more disciplined enemy and currently becoming increasingly dissatisfied.36 More specifically, one source suggested the only loyal forces were the small group of Lettish units that guarded vital strategic areas.37 Like most aspects of Bolshevism, conflicting reports would see the government maintain policies in line with pre-existing views in Whitehall.

The important point to extract here from British intelligence reporting on the Bolsheviks is that the majority of reports examined here conformed to the prevalent thinking within Whitehall, that of the Bolshevik regime being the antithesis of British values. This suggests that intelligence had limited effect on the policy of indirect intervention decided in March 1919. Ultimately, only some agent sources were able to highlight "the mirage" of Bolshevik vulnerability.38

British intelligence in North Russia

One of the key components of Churchill’s letter to Lloyd George on 8 March was the policy of evacuating the troops at Murmansk and Archangel. British forces had originally landed in North Russia in August 1918, with the apparent (alleged) objective of protecting Allied munitions there from falling into German hands via the Bolsheviks. Following the November 1918 armistice, the primary objective of the British force in Russia was gone, and many began to question what the troops there were fighting for.39 The immediate post-war context of Britain in early 1919 was one of political instability, amid crises of demobilization and industrial unrest. Despite the apparent desire from Churchill and Lord Curzon to annihilate Bolshevism, there was also significant pressure on the government to withdraw the troops in North Russia. From 3 January, Lord Beaverbrook’s Daily Express began running articles calling for the immediate evacuation of the troops, such as "withdraw from Russia".40 At the same time, soldiers’ strikes, which began in Folkestone on 4 January, were being perceived by the government and armed forces as being indicative of growing Bolshevism in the Army. This is evident in one of the War Cabinet’s first meetings of 1919, where Chief of the Imperial General Staff (CIGS) Henry Wilson compared the soldier delegations to Russian Soviets.41 In reality, the grievances were purely based on the unfair British demobilisation policy that favored those soldiers who had not served for long, and thus could prove they had employment and speed up their demobilization.42

Much of this reporting does conform to what many potentially being sent to North Russia helped fuel the grievances and highlighted to the War Office that obtaining reinforcements for the Russian theatres would be very difficult. While the returning soldiers and elements of the media were opposed to the idea of troops remaining in Russia, the Conservative-dominated Coalition government continued to support the idea of helping the anti-Bolshevik forces in Russia. During the army estimates debates on 3 March, MPs cited the Bolshevik massacre (later disproved) in Shenkursk as evidence that the troops should remain.43

One Conservative backbench MP, vehemently against Bolshevism, who favored combined Allied intervention in North Russia, was Sir Samuel Hoare.44 Some authors write that Hoare had been MI1(c)’s head of station in Petrograd (St Petersburg) from July 1916 to February 1917 whereby in reality he was the Chief of the British intelligence mission attached to the (Tsarist) General Headquarters.45 Heath’s work looks very positively on the impact of Hoare in Petrograd, with him providing good political intelligence from a variety of sources, and being an active part in the growing professionalism of MI1(c).46 As Bennett argues, the similar social backgrounds that linked the intelligence community led to frequent exchanges of information.47 Indeed throughout 1919, Hoare was in frequent contact with intelligence people, even receiving top-secret intelligence reports from Metropolitan Police Special Branch chief Basil Thomson.48

Fear of Bolshevism among men like Hoare and Thomson was matched in government, who established the Secret Service Committee in January 1919. This committee would support the creation of the domestic Directorate of Intelligence, led by Thomson, and it was one of the Directorate’s reports that Hoare received.49 As well as this, Hoare was also in contact with Vernon Kell, head of MI5, while also exchanging pieces of intelligence with Rex Leeper, head of PID.50 All this points to a very close network of intelligent people, all positioned similarly on the political spectrum, sharing supposedly top secret material quite informally. Hoare was sharing intelligence with the Foreign Affairs Group, a committee he chaired, after having found it at the beginning of 1919.51 Hoare informs Churchill of the group’s members in February 1919, the first of three direct correspondence to the War Secretary in order to exert pressure upon him.52 Represented in the House of Lords by the Duke of Northumberland, the group clearly had radical right sympathies, and Hoare received a correspondence from radical right politician Leo Maxse lamenting Churchill’s Russian policy, on 3 March.53

The pressure this right-wing coalition would have exerted on the government would have been an effective counter to the public pressure on withdrawing the troops from North Russia. Military intelligence from North Russia would, therefore, become key in adding weight to one of these two polarised positions. The means by which Churchill received military intelligence was via the relevant Russian section within the War Office’s military intelligence department. Sir William Thwaites, Director of Military Intelligence (DMI), took a keen interest in gathering Russian military and political intelligence while overseeing the dramatic reduction in intelligence investment into the inter-war period.54

In 1919, Thwaites’ department was reorganized, with a separate Russian liaison section (MIR) set up under Brigadier Frederick Kisch. Beginning his intelligence career in November 1916 as a General Staff Officer at the War Office under the DMI, Kisch first assessed intelligence related to Russia in 1918, at MIR’s predecessor MI2(d). In early 1919, he was selected to be part of the British delegation to the Paris Peace Conference, and thus it can be assumed his knowledge of Russian affairs was sufficient enough to be sought after by the government.55 The specific Russian sub-section, MIR(a), was led by Brigadier Eric Skaife. Only taking up an intelligence post after the armistice at the War Office, Skaife had improved his Russian as a prisoner of war. That said, echoes of his liaison with the Foreign Office remain in the archives, and it would appear Skaife took an active role in assessing Russian military and political intelligence.56 Another junior officer in the MIR(a) section was Malcolm Woollcombe. Coming to the War Office in November 1918, he would later transfer, in February 1921, to SIS as the head of its Political Section, a post he retained until 1944.57 Such a rise to a high-profile intelligence post in the interwar period would suggest his intelligence work while in MIR(a) was viewed favourably.

The respective careers of War Office military intelligence, and in particular MIR personnel, suggest a high level of expertise was present within the department, no doubt aided by the various officers’ experience with intelligence work during the First WorldWar.58

In early 1919, GHQ Archangel sent intelligence summaries approximately every three weeks on to the War Office, to update the DMI on the Expeditionary force’s intelligence work in the field. The intelligence officer in charge of compiling these summaries at Archangel was Major Cudbert Thornhill. He had preceded Samuel Hoare as MI1(c) head of station in Petrograd, where he worked from May 1915 to July 1916.59 Michael Smith suggests he kept ties with MI1(c) during his time in Archangel and ran many of his own agents in cooperation with what Cumming’s organization was doing in the area.60 Considered an expert in detailing enemy troop movements and orders of battle, Thornhill’s summaries provide an accurate picture of Bolshevik capability in North Russia.As a source, however, the intelligence summaries are limited as they may not represent all the information that was sent from Archangel back to London. While providing raw intelligence products from a variety of open and secret sources, they are also limited in that they offer no supplementary analysis of the raw material. This means it is difficult to gauge how GHQ Archangel was interpreting their situation on the ground as this intelligence was being gathered.

In the early months of 1919, few operations were conducted by either side, mainly due to adverse weather conditions.61 That said, military intelligence reporting was able to conclude that on a variety of fronts, the Bolsheviks intended to advance – and would do so as soon as possible. On one occasion, a captured Bolshevik agent revealed there was a considerable espionage operation being conducted agitate the peasantry in preparation for an upcoming offensive.62 A rapidly expanding enemy, running agents into occupied territory in preparation for an offensive would suggest a very negative picture being portrayed by military intelligence, but the reporting also detailed the problems that the Bolsheviks faced. Mutiny and unrest are described in the Vologda district, while the supply of munitions is reported as inadequate.63 Overall, the intelligence picture from North Russia was not one presenting a dire situation, rather one where the advantage was incrementally moving towards the Bolsheviks.

As already noted, the key decision on 4 March also included the withdrawal of the North Russian expeditionary force. As late as 17 February, Churchill, in a well-documented maneuver, was in Paris attempting to persuade the Allied Supreme War Council to send a force to crush Bolshevism.64 At this point, the Prime Minister, and the general public saw Churchill as trying to lead an anti-Bolshevik crusade. In the Churchill papers it is clear that by late January, the War Secretary concedes to Lloyd George that intervention is practically impossible.65 In an angry letter to the Prime Minister (that was eventually never sent) Churchill insists he has no "Russian Policy" and that he went to Paris to "search for one".66 It would appear that Churchill’s main aim in Paris was to stimulate the government into making an expedient decision which, as he consistently states to the Chief of the Imperial General Staff's (CIGS's) offices, was his main goal.67 Churchill’s papers do not contain any direct references to intelligence on the North Russian front, and it is unlikely that the January intelligence summaries, collated on 11 February, would have made a significant influence on Churchill’s thinking before he left for Paris on 14 February. Churchill’s antics while in Paris had put him at odds with Wilson who as early as November 1918 had told the War Cabinet his preference to "liquidate our commitments in troops at the earliest possible moment".68 Jeffery’s work also highlights how Wilson was becoming tired of Churchill’s political maneuvering, and certainly having the intelligence backing by the end of February 1919 may have allowed the CIGS to compel Churchill into solidarity.69 On 24 February, the pair co-authored a memorandum that suggested the evacuation of Archangel and Murmansk as soon as possible, probably commencing in June.70 This paper was discussed in the War Cabinet on 26 February, but again the Prime Minister stalled in making a decision, despite Churchill’s calls for expediency.71 Between this meeting and 4 March, the intelligence summaries from February would have reached the War Office. The specific references to the concern over the changing weather conditions and the greater potential for conducting offensive operations may have stimulated an even greater need for a swift decision.72 Amid further calls for a definitive policy, and after receiving agreement from the Royal Navy and the Treasury, the Cabinet decided to evacuate the troops from North Russia.73 The early 1919 military intelligence summaries highlighted, above all else, the growing disadvantage of the North Russian Expeditionary Force, and this view was in line with the growing public mood against intervention. It is difficult to acknowledge any direct link between the available military intelligence and Churchill turning to a policy that favored troop evacuation. Thus, once again, it would appear that the role of intelligence in deciding Russian policy was limited. However, this should not detract from the growing professionalism and expertise developing within intelligence organizations, as in 1919 the War Office was still able to utilize staff officers with high levels of experience from the First World War.

Sidney Reilly in South Russia

Aside from evacuating the troops from North Russia, the other key aspect to government policy in March 1919 was the decision to increase aid to General Denikin. His Volunteer Army was operating in South Russia, an area that had descended into chaos by 1919, with a variety of different military interests and operations ongoing.74 The British government required good intelligence about such a rapidly changing area, and thus MI1(c) tasked agents Sidney Reilly and George Hill to South Russia, to supplement the information already gathered by the British military missions on Denikin’s force.75 The organization’s confidence in Reilly was high, considering the events of the Lockhart Plot, with MI1(c) chief Sir Mansfield Cumming even suggesting the agent should receive the Military Cross.76 Prior to his first MI1(c) deployment in March 1918, the New York station sent reservations to Cumming about Reilly and his unsavory past,77 yet despite this and the diplomatic drama of the Lockhart Plot (Reilly was sentenced to death by the Bolsheviks in absentia), the need for good political intelligence was too strong. Sent back out into the field, the extensive popular literature on Reilly focuses on the master spy’s dining habits and other anecdotal matters.78 That said, the historiography has outlined the general picture that Reilly presented back to Whitehall, namely that Denikin’s force had a good chance of uniting Russia if it could only receive more allied support.79 Ainsworth’s work goes further by looking at the influence of Reilly’s South Russian reporting on the government, and he concludes that Reilly was of little consequence, portraying a zealous advocacy of Denikin that Whitehall saw through.80 Before 4 March, Reilly despatched 16 reports, the first 12 of which Hill delivered by hand on his return from South Russia on 1 March.81 Of the remaining four reports that were sent via Constantinople by telegram, two were deemed significant enough to be circulated directly to the War Cabinet.82

This would suggest that the Whitehall elite held Reilly’s intelligence in high regard. Even other well-known agents, such as Ransome or Dukes, did not have their reports sent straight to the War Cabinet. This would suggest that in early 1919, Reilly was the only British agent well-regarded enough to possibly have any direct impact on the government. Reilly’s broad impression of the Volunteer forces is positive, referring to it as the "only concrete dependable force".83 Contrasted to this is his depiction of Krasnov’s Cossack regime as hugely reactionary, with the Don people "being forged between the hammer of [Krasnov] . . . and the anvil of Bolshevism". He lamented Krasnov for not honoring Denikin’s supreme command in an unselfish manner and highlighted the growing antagonism of the peasantry, over half of which were ethnic Russian immigrants. Reilly suggested their discontent owed to the increasing reliance on Cossack land rents and their unchanging disenfranchisement.84 It is not surprising, given his views on Bolshevism, that Reilly’s reports pick up on the terrible food  shortages, disorganized public finances and "Red Terror" of Lenin’s regime, leading to the Russian populations "depression" and "hopelessness".85 Reilly’s South Russian reports essentially create a dichotomy with any force standing opposed to Denikin being expressed in equally repressive terms, even though there was a huge discrepancy in politics between the Don Cossacks and Bolsheviks. His binary view of the political situation in South Russia allows for a more positive reading of the Denikin regime, which stands as the antithesis to the brutal, oppressive regimes elsewhere.

That said, Reilly’s promotion of Denikin is not quite as zealous as Ainsworth suggests. Reilly concedes that the Volunteer Army’s political message is successfully being attacked by the Bolsheviks and Ukrainian separatists, and more needed to be invested in propaganda by Denikin.86 In taking this view, Reilly is acknowledging the great difficulties that Denikin faced in being able to mobilize the masses to join his movement, an issue historians have seen as a core failure of Denikin’s Army.87 Other sources of intelligence in South Russia at this time also provided insight on Denikin’s political failings: a PID report about Ukraine, while admitting they were the best hope of fighting Bolshevism, argued the Volunteer Army needed to stand on a clear democratic land program to be successful. The report also suggests that such a plan should be a "condition of real assistance from the Allies".88 The DMI, in a note sent to GHQ Constantinople on 25 February also expressed concern at the nature of Denikin’s regime. While condemning the acts of Bolshevism, Thwaites tells GHQ Constantinople to warn Denikin that "wholesale shooting of prisoners by the anti-Bolsheviks will certainly further and assist Bolshevik propaganda in the United Kingdom".89 Reilly’s preference for Denikin was not atypical among the sources from South Russia, bearing in mind the scarcity of these sources. It is also clear that British intelligence was not completely uncritical towards the Volunteer Army.

If Reilly’s reports in South Russia were biased (but still useful), what was their impact, if any, upon the policy to offer more economic aid and a British mission to Denikin? In the War Cabinet on 12 February, the outlook was negative regarding the support of South Russian forces. The Chancellor at this meeting stated that ‘our information now was that both Denikin’s and [Krasnov’s] forces were untrustworthy’, while even Churchill acknowledged the situation in the South had considerably deteriorated.90 Intelligence reports from later in the month, including from military intelligence, highlighted Denikin attacking Caucasian Georgia in the south, resulting in Lord Curzon arguing that any aid sent to the General should be conditional on him not making further Caucasian raids.91 These Georgian incursions were an ongoing issue that undermined support for Denikin, but by 24 February, it would appear that the War Cabinet was agreed on a policy of aiding him. On that day, a request by the Navy to assist Denikin in the Black Sea was granted, in line ‘with the policy now being pursued...in that quarter’, while a secret operational note from the War Office to GHQ Constantinople ordered that the Don Cossacks, through Denikin, should also receive supplies.92 Two days later, on 26 February, Chancellor Austen Chamberlain argued there was much to be said for supporting Denikin, with the policy becoming concrete on 6 March.93

It would appear then that in February 1919, there was a change of thinking within government on the value of supporting Denikin. In the opinion of Brook-Shepherd, Reilly’s South Russian assessments may well have had a direct political impact on this change. He claims Reilly’s report on Denikin would have been on Churchill’s desk in January 1919, and it is, therefore, no coincidence that the War Secretary’s rhetoric in a acknowledges the potential influence of General Poole’s military report from South Russia, published 14 February.94 It may seem plausible than to assume that sometime in mid-February, Churchill fully adopted a policy of supporting Denikin, after harnessing the intelligence provided from Reilly.

Brook-Shepherd, of course, had the benefit of being given access to Reilly reports in the still-classified SIS archive and may, therefore, have seen material that Reilly cabled back to Whitehall via Constantinople before mid-February 1919. The publicly available evidence would suggest that Reilly’s principal analyses of Denikin (in despatches 1–12) were not even in London until 1 March. On this day, it was confirmed by the PID that George Hill had successfully delivered the reports, Hill having left with the despatches on 4 February.95 The physical presentation of the documents within the files at the National Archives would similarly suggest they were delivered as one set of typed reports, as no indications of any cipher being used on the documents remain. Of course, there may have been earlier copies sent in advance of Hill’s return via telegram, yet further evidence within the military intelligence files sheds further doubt on this. A report to the Foreign Office informing them of Hill’s departure states "I have read and discussed reports and would suggest suspension of decision...until Captain Hill has submitted reports and given verbal explanations".96 This would imply that no reports had been sent before Hill’s leave date and that the earliest any decision maker would view the reports would be on Hill’s return to London (on 1 March).

That said, there is no doubt two of Reilly’s despatches were circulated to the War Cabinet by telegram in late February, arriving on 20 and 22, respectively. These reports, however, amount to more of a final plea from Reilly for manpower and aid to Denikin, while also stating how disturbed the Russian population is at the Allies lack of support.97 While it could be speculated that these despatches gave the War Cabinet more impetus in offering more support to Denikin, the more detailed (and balanced) assessments of South Russia would have only been available on 1 March, and by this stage a policy of support for Denikin was decided. It would appear then that Brook Shepherd has overplayed the role of Reilly’s reports informing government policy, yet given that he is basing his interpretation of the sources as they appear in the SIS archive, it is impossible to verify this argument. Brook-Shepherd may well have seen evidence to suggest Reilly played a more significant role, and this inability to scrutinize his possible misinterpretation of the unreleased source material highlights an ongoing methodological challenge for intelligence historians concerning SIS in this period.

Similar skepticism is given to the influence of Poole’s report by Kinvig, with the General essentially failing to offer any new recommendations. Two previous military missions had been sent to South Russia, and Kinvig argues the first of these missions under General Blackwood would set the template for the policy with Denikin.98 The Blackwood report itself was thoroughly analyzed by the Director of Military Operations, the Foreign Office, and even the Treasury Department, as shown in the latter’s appreciation of the report.99 The government accepted many of Blackwood’s recommendations including the offering of aid and the sending of a permanent British mission.100 CIGS Wilson, in his preface to the report, calls it "very valuable", while acknowledging "the sturdy nature...of the Volunteer Army" that is presented.101 This would support Kinvig’s argument that it was the Blackwood report that would ultimately set the agenda for South Russian policy, with later reporting from Poole and the secret intelligence from Reilly reinforcing this policy. The British government did stop short of sending political representation to Denikin; however, with the neglect of the need to pressure Denikin on his political program their biggest failure. Although there were only fragments of his political failings within the intelligence reporting, the PID assessment on Ukraine was one specific example where it was advised that support for Denikin should be conditional on his political stance.

Reilly’s reporting had much less impact on government policy than Brook-Shepherd has suggested, with the genesis of South Russian policy coming from the late 1918 Blackwood mission and its subsequent report. This is certainly not to denigrate the content of Reilly’s reports, which are more balanced than Ainsworth admits. However, such reliance on a single human intelligence source is problematic, even when the source in question was the so-called "Ace of Spies".

Early March 1919, saw the first major post-war policy decisions on Russia, and in every aspect of these policy decisions, intelligence had limited significance. In most cases, public opinion and the preconceptions of War Cabinet members were the drivers in Russian policy. The scarcity of sources on the Bolsheviks, reliance on single sources like Reilly in South Russia and the inability for the government to wait for more detailed reports by Ransome or Dukes made intelligence a minor factor. Indeed, if we apply the theoretical ideal types of intelligence espoused by Michael  Herman, that "every government has an intelligence system to make it better informed than it would be without it",102 we can see how the British intelligence system in early 1919 had much developing to do.

Sources of human intelligence rarely exist in a vacuum, and as a product, they often conform to the views and preconceptions that exist among those who are doing the intelligence foremost, but also those who are consuming it. In the case of British human intelligence in Bolshevik Russia, the sociocultural perspectives of political elites often had more impact on intelligence than the intelligence having more effect on Whitehall decision-making. This is not to suggest that intelligence in Russia was utterly insignificant, as Christopher Andrew viewed it in Secret Service, and the difficulties of collecting intelligence in the Bolshevik state must be remembered. In fairness, Andrew did not draw on sources relating to military intelligence on the North Russian force, and this study has argued that the intelligence machinery in this region and at the War Office was working quite competently. Their political intelligence counterparts at MI1(c) and the PID were not as successful in this case. The former would have its resources significantly rolled back at this time, while the latter was focused on the Paris Peace Conference. In short, the foreign intelligence organizations were still adapting to the unique post-war context and the different demands that entailed.


Just recently another book titled "Churchill's Secret War with Lenin"(2019) came out that focusses on the British intervention in Russia. There is however much more to the story than this recent book manages to convey. In fact, not just this latest one but most books about the subject fail to grasp the underlying issues something that based on recently unclassified documents only now can start to be told. When Spies invaded Russia p.1.

The secret mission of the three interventions against Russia was to establish a signals intelligence support group, which was meant not only to guarantee British access but also to serve as a relay for intelligence gathered within Russia and the surrounding areas to London, where it would serve as an informed and reliable basis for further action. Without such signals intelligence presence, the War Office was blind. When Spies invaded Russia p.2. To mold irregular warfare into a method which honored the Imperial myth.

While the intervention in North Russia was based primarily on commercial and military imperatives and secondarily on Imperial great power politics, not of little importance here was that on 1 March 1918, the Murmansk government informed Petrograd that they wanted to accept the Allied offer to assist in the defense of the city. The Soviets acting on a positive reply by Trotsky placed regional military authority into the hands of a council controlled by Allied officers. Defense of the port passed to the Allied forces with Russian cooperation. When Spies invaded Russia p.3. The alleged protecting of supplies propaganda.

As we have seen in the previous parts of this investigation the initial interventions in Russia were not, until their very end, monitored by traditional military or political chains of command. Their planners were primarily intelligence-operations specialists whose objectives were to preserve and expand the Empire by reconstituting Russia "to withstand German economic penetration after the war." This is why, in the beginning, there were so few troops sent to either of the two areas: there was no need for them. Their purpose was to extend intelligence; that was a technological matter, which required a small supporting military group. But this was soon going to change. When Spies invaded Russia p.4. How North Russia evolved into its military phase.

When General Poole saw the need to get various goods (including Oil that came via the British controlled part of the Middle East) out of Russia it drove Poole and Captain Proctor (Intelligence Archangel) to suggest that a few troops be moved into Archangel-troops which could provide logistical security for the transport effort. It is uncertain whether they knew about MIO’s operational intentions for that area, or for the similar plans and problems in the south. Given the circumstances and priorities of immediate supply and subsequent commercial advantage, it was reasonable that what Poole suggested, what the Cabinet considered, and what Military Intelligence- operations-MIO provided, made up an acceptable strategic response. Thus hence the objectives of all the interested Imperial parties started to coalesce. When Spies invaded Russia p.5. What must develop into a civil war.


1 Until October 1919, the six-man War Cabinet was formally maintained, with ministers like Churchill attending Cabinet meetings when relevant.

2 Victor Madeira, Britannia and the Bear: The Anglo-Russian Intelligence Wars, 1917-1929, 2014, 48–53.

3 Goldstein, Winning the Peace, 57–89; and Michael Dockrill, “The Foreign Office Political Intelligence Department and Germany in 1918,” in Strategy and Intelligence: British Policy During the First World War, ed. Michael Dockrill and David French (London: Hambledon, 1996), 160–83.

4 Letter to Prime Minister, 8 March, 1919, CHAR 16/5, Churchill Papers, Churchill Archives Centre (CAC), 32–4.

5  Private Office of the Cabinet Secretary(CAB) 23/15/6, (4 March), The National Archives (TNA), 10–14; and CAB 23/9/18 (WC 542), (6 March), TNA, 3–4.

6 Hansard, 3 March 1919, Series 5 Vol. 113, cc69–183.

7 During the First World War, SIS adopted the cover name of MI1(c) in order to be contacted within the War Office. As such, intelligence reports at this time use this designation instead of SIS; Jeffery, MI6, 50, 209.

8 Brook-Shepherd, The Iron Maze, 134; and Service, Spies and Commissars, 227.

9 Keith Jeffery, MI6: The History of the Secret Intelligence Service 1909–1949 (London: Bloomsbury, 2010),p.175.

10 Document C.X. 066477, 18 February 1919, ADM 223/637, The National Archives (TNA), f. 96.

11 Document C.X. 066470, 13 February 1919, ADM 223/637, TNA, f. 94; C.X. 066471, 13 February 1919, ADM 223/637, TNA, f. 95.

12 Roland Chambers, The Last Englishman: The Double Life of Arthur Ransome (London: Faber and Faber Ltd, 2009), 158–73; Report on the State of Russia by Mr Arthur Ransome, 2 April 1919, FO 371/4001, (2 April 1919), TNA, ff. 100–105; and Report on the strikes at the Putilov works from ST25, 26 April 1919, FO 371/4001, TNA, ff. 117–119.

13 Robert Service, Spies and Commissars: The Early Years of the Russian Revolution,2012, 88–9.

14 Arthur Ransome, KV 2/1904, TNA.

15 Roland Chambers, The Last Englishman: The Double Life of Arthur Ransome, 2010, 349–50.

16 Erik Goldstein, Winning the Peace: British Diplomatic Strategy, Peace Planning, and the Paris Peace Conference 1916-1920: British Diplomatic Strategy, Peace Planning and the Paris Peace Conference, 1916-20, 1991, 142.

17 Russia, Peace Conference minutes, 16 January 1919, FO 371/4375, TNA, ff. 163a–163b; and Allied attitude to Russia, Peace Conference minutes, 20 January, FO 371/4375, TNA, ff. 172–172a.

18 Hansard, 13 February 1919, Series 5 Vol. 112, c242; and Hansard, 20 February, Series 5 Vol. 112, cc1105–6.

19 North Russia Military Intelligence Summaries, 13 January–12 March, War Office (WO) 157/1223–1225, TNA.

20 Keith Jeffery, MI6: The History of the Secret Intelligence Service 1909-1949, 2010, 141–8.

21 Military Intelligence Summary No. 13, 9–23 February 1919, WO 157/1224, TNA, Appendix II, 5; and Adam R. Seipp, The Ordeal of Peace: Demobilization and the Urban Experience in Britain and Germany, 1917–1921 (Surrey: Ashgate Publishing, 2009), 138–45.

22 Memorandum on the Prinkipo proposal, 21 February 1919, Foreign Office (FO)371/4375, TNA, ff. 14–14a; and Memorandum on the Bolshevik attitude towards peace with the Allies, 25 February 1919, FO 371/4375, TNA, ff. 17–19.

23 Notes on interviews with Mr Brier and Mr Hume, 13 February 1919, (FO) 608/195, TNA, f. 284.

24 Madeira, Britannia and the Bear, 49–53.

25 Memorandum on interview with Mr Keeling, 6 February, FO 371/4375, TNA.

26 Clifford Kinvig, Churchill's Crusade: The British Invasion of Russia 1918-1920, 2007,159–66.

27 David Carlton, Churchill and the Soviet Union, 2000, 20.

28 Extracts from MI1(c) report, 3 February 1919, FO 608/195, TNA, ff. 199–203.

29 Memorandum on interview with Mr Keeling, 6 February, FO 371/4375, TNA, ff. 6–10.

30 Military Intelligence Summary No. 13, 9–23 February 1919, WO 157/1224, TNA, Appendix II, 1.

31 The situation in Russia, Cabinet minutes, 12 February, CAB 23/9/18 (WC 531), TNA, 4–5.

32 T. H. Rigby, Lenin's government: Sovnarkom 1917-1922,1979, 11–24, 160–89; and Evan Mawdsley , The Russian Civil War, 1987, 260–7.

33 Military Intelligence Summary No. 13, 9–23 February 1919, WO 157/1224, TNA, Appendix I, 1–3.

34 Extracts from MI1(c) report, 3 February 1919, FO 608/195, TNA, f. 204.

35 Mawdsley, The Russian Civil War, 246–57; and Figes, A People’s Tragedy, 589–603.

36 Memorandum on interview with Mr Keeling, 6 February, FO 371/4375, TNA, ff. 9–10.

37 Notes on interviews with Mr Brier and Mr Hume, 13 February 1919, FO 608/195, TNA, f. 283.

38 Extracts from MI1(c) report, 3 February 1919, FO 608/195, TNA, f. 204.During the First World War, SIS adopted the cover name of MI1(c) in order to be contacted within the War Office. As such, intelligence reports at this time use this designation instead of SIS; Jeffery, MI6, 50, 20

39 Kinvig, Churchill’s Crusade; Mawdsley, The Russian Civil War, 215–21; and Vladislav Goldin, “The Civil War in Northern Russia, 1918–1920,” Acta Borealia: A Nordic Journal of Circumpolar Societies 17, no. 2 (2000): 65–82.

40 Kinvig, Churchill’s Crusade, 89.

41 Demonstrations by Soldiers, Cabinet minutes, 10 January, CAB 23/9/18 (War Cabinet 514), TNA, 9.

42 Adam R. Seipp, The Ordeal of Peace: Demobilization and the Urban Experience in Britain and Germany, 1917–1921, 2016,, 139–45; and Peter K. Cline, “Reopening the Case of the Lloyd George Coalition and the Postwar Economic Transition, 1918–1919,” Journal of British Studies 10 (1970): 162–75.

43 Number of land forces, Hansard, Commons sitting, 3 March 1919, Series 5 Vol. 113, cc92–93, 104.

44 John Arthur Cross, Sir Samuel Hoare: A Political Biography (London: Jonathan Cape Ltd, 1977); and Andrew Holt, “‘No More Hoares to Paris’: British Foreign Policymaking and the Abyssinian Crisis, 1935,” Review of International Studies 37, no. 3 (2011): 1383–401.

45 Jeffery, MI6, 102–9; Keith Neilson, “‘Joy Rides’?: British Intelligence and Propaganda in Russia, 1914–1917,” The Historical Journal 24, no. 4 (1981): 885–906. At this post, he infamously reported the death of Rasputin back to Whitehall, see Andrew Cook, To Kil Rasputin: The Life and Death of Grigori Rasputin (The History Press, 2006).

46 David Heath, “British Foreign Intelligence in the First World War: The Case of Sir Samuel Hoare,” Intelligence and National Security 22, no. 2 (April 2007): 206–28 (219).

47 Gill Bennett, ‘A Most Extraordinary and Mysterious Business’: The Zinoviev Letter of 1924 (Stroud, London: Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 1999), 28.

48 ‘The Communist Revolution in Hungary’, Directorate of Intelligence Special Report, 31 May 1919, Part II (Russia, 1915–24), file 3, Templewood Papers, Cambridge University Library (CUL).

49 Christopher Andrew, The Defence of the Realm: The Authorized History of MI5, 2010; Madeira, Britannia and the Bear, 23–8; and Quinlan, The Secret War between the Wars, 9–13.

50 Letter to Vernon Kell, 18 July 1919; Letter from Rex Leeper, 24 April 1919; and Letter to Rex Leeper, 16 October, 1919, Part II (Russia, 1915–24), file 3, Templewood Papers, CUL.

51 Coalition Group on Foreign Affairs, 5 March, 1919, Part II (Russia, 1915–24), file 3, Templewood Papers, CUL.

52 Letter to Churchill, 27 February, 1919; Letter to Churchill, 30 July, 1919; and Letter to Churchill, 16 October, 1919, Part II (Russia, 1915–24), file 3, Templewood Papers, CUL.

53 For a brief outline of Maxse and the Duke of Northumberland’s far right politics see Richard Thurlow, Fascism in Britain: From Oswald Mosley’s Blackshirts to the National Front (London: I.B Tauris, 1987), 3, 5, 12, 30–8; and Letter from Leo Maxse, 3 March, 1919, Part II (Russia, 1915–24), file 3, Templewood Papers, CUL.

54 Keith Jeffery, “British Military Intelligence Following World War I,” in British and American Approaches to Intelligence, ed. K.G. Robertson (London: Macmillan, 1987), 55–84.

55 Directorate of Military Intelligence, War Office Lists, 1919, 98; Frederick Hermann Kisch, Army Lists, October 1919; and Who Was Who? Volume 4, 194 (London: Adam & Charles Black Limited, 1952).

56 Medal Card of Eric Ommaney Skaife, WO 372/18/90067; Directorate of Military Intelligence, War Office Lists, 1919, 98; Eric Ommaney Skaife, Army Lists, October 1919; Who Was Who? Volume 4, 1941 (London: Adam & Charles Black Limited, 1952); Note from MIR to Foreign Office Russian section, 25 February 1919, FO 371/3962, f. 156; and Note from E.O. Skaife to the Foreign Office, 4 March 1919, FO 371/3962, f. 181.

57 Directorate of Military Intelligence, War Office Lists, 1919, 98; Malcolm Louis Woollcombe, Army Lists, October 1919; Madeira, Britannia and the Bear, 261; and Jeffery, MI6, 167.

58 This process features within military intelligence historiography, see Beach, Haig’s Intelligence, 85–9, 326–7; Michael Handel, “Intelligence in Historical Perspective,” in Go Spy the Land: Military Intelligence in History, ed. Keith Neilson and B.J.C. McKercher (Westport, CT: Praeger, 1992), 186–8; Michael Handel, “Intelligence and Military Operations,” in Intelligence and Military Operations, ed. M. Handel, 1–95; and Ferris, Intelligence and Strategy, 275–87.

59 Cudbert Thornhill, Army Lists, October 1919; and Jeffery, MI6, 102–4.

60 Michael Smith, Six: The Real James Bonds 1909–1939 (Biteback Publishing, 2011), 222–4.

61 Kinvig, Churchill’s Crusade, 115–34.

62 Military Intelligence Summary No. 12, 11 February 1919, WO 157/1223, TNA, 5.

63 Ibid., 1; and Military Intelligence Summary No. 13: Organisation of the Bolshevik Army, 27 February 1919, WO 157/1224, TNA, 3.

64 Carlton, Churchill and the Soviet Union, 12–13; Kinvig, Churchill’s Crusade, 149–52; and Martin Gilbert, Churchill: A Life (London: Heinemann, 1991), 409–11. 7998

65 Letter to Prime Minister, 27 January, 1919, CHAR 16/3, Churchill Papers, CAC, 101–3.

66 Unsent letter to Prime Minister, 21 February, 1919, CHAR 16/4, Churchill Papers, CAC, 170–4.

67 Letter to Henry Wilson, 23 February, 1919, CHAR 16/22, Churchill Papers, CAC, 6–9.

68 Memorandum on our Present and Future Military Policy in Russia, 13 November 1918, CAB 24/70/11, TNA, 4.

69 Keith Jeffery, Field Marshal Sir Henry Wilson: A Political Soldier (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), 229–55.

70 Note for the Cabinet on Future Military Operations in Russia, 24 February 1919, CAB 24/75/85, TNA, 1.

71 Policy in Russia, Cabinet minutes, 26 February, CAB 23/9/18 (WC 537), TNA, 2.

72 Military Intelligence Summary No. 13: Bolshevik Northern Fronts, 27 February 1919, WO 157/1224, TNA, 7–8.

73 Russian Policy, Cabinet minutes, 4 March, CAB 23/15/6, TNA, 10–14.

74 Mawdsley, The Russian Civil War, 162–6, 222–38; and Peter Kenez, Civil War in South Russia, 2 vols. (University of California, 1971–1977).

75 Kinvig, Churchill’s Crusade, 94–102; Hill, Go Spy the Land; and Reilly, Adventures of a British Master Spy.

76 Brook-Shepherd, The Iron Maze, 148–50. Brook-Shepherd believes that Cumming’s faith in Reilly rested on a hunch, and a determination by the chief to trust his instincts on Reilly’s intelligence-gathering ability (21).

77 Cook, Ace of Spies, 145–54.

78 Ibid, 182–5; and Brook-Shepherd, The Iron Maze, 149.

79 Jeffery, MI6, 179.

80 Ainsworth, “Sidney Reilly’s reports from south Russia, December 1918–March 1919”, 1466.

81 Ibid., 1467; and Note to Mr Campbell, 6 February 1919, WO 157/766, TNA, ff. 74.

82 The two reports circulated to the King and War Cabinet were Reilly’s Despatch no. 13, 18 February 1919, FO 371/3978, ff137–138 and Reilly’s Despatch no. 14, FO 371/3978, f. 132.

83 Brook-Shepherd, The Iron Maze, 156.

84 Reilly’s Despatch no. 5, 17 January 1919, FO 371/3962, ff. 397–412.

85 Reilly’s Despatch no. 8, 27 January 1919, FO 371/3962, ff. 417a–425.

86 Reilly’s Despatch no. 3, 9 January 1919, FO 371/3962, ff. 391–392.

87 Mawdsley, The Russian Civil War, 386–95; and Figes, Revolutionary Russia, 60–4.

88 The situation in the Ukraine, 27 January 1919, FO 608/195, ff. 77-79.

89 Note from DMI to GHQ Constantinople, 25 February 1919, WO 157/766, TNA, f. 109.

90 The situation in Russia, Cabinet minutes 12 February, CAB 23/9/18 (WC 531), TNA, 4–6.

91 Ibid., 4; and Feeling of Georgians towards Volunteer Army, 24 February 1919, WO 157/766, f. 119.

92 Naval Forces in the Black Sea, Cabinet minutes 24 February, CAB 23/9/18 (WC 535), TNA, 2; and Policy of supporting Don Cossacks, 24 February 1919, WO 157/766, f. 103.

93 Policy in Russia, Cabinet minutes 26 February, CAB 23/9/18 (WC 537), TNA, 2; Russian Policy, Cabinet minutes 4 March, CAB 23/15/6, TNA, 10–14; and Assistance to General Denikin, Cabinet minutes 6 March, CAB 23/9/18 (WC 542), TNA, 3–4.

94 Brook-Shepherd, The Iron Maze, 165–7; and Report from General Poole on the conditions in South Russia, 14 February, WO 106/1204.

95 Ibid., 189; and Note from Reginald Leeper to Walford Selby, Russia Department, 1 March, FO 371/3962, TNA, f. 476.

96 Following for Mr Campbell, 6 February 1919, WO 157/766, f. 94.

97 Reilly’s Despatch no. 13, 18 February 1919, FO 371/3978, ff. 137–138; and Reilly’s Despatch no. 14, FO 371/3978, f. 132.

98 Kinvig, Churchill’s Crusade, 94–102.

99 Foreign Office. Economic situation in South Russia and Finland: report by Lieut. Col. A.P. Blackwood on the British Military Mission’s visits to Finland and Gen. Deniken’s Volunteer Army in South Russia, 20 January 1919, T 1/12293/10603.

100 Report on visit of British Military Mission to the Volunteer Army under General Denikin in South Russia, FO 371/3978, ff. 4–51.

101 Preface to Blackwood report, 22 January 1919, FO 371/3978, f. 5.

102 Michael Herman, Intelligence Power in Peace and War, 1996, 140.

103 R. Gerald Hughes, “Truth Telling and the Defence of the Realm: History and the History of the British Secret Intelligence Service,” Intelligence and National Security 26, no. 5 (2011): 701–23; and Scott and Jackson, “The Study of Intelligence,” 152–3.

104 Richard J. Aldrich, “Policing the Past: Official History, Secrecy and British Intelligence Since 1945,” English Historical Review 119 (2004): 922–53.










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