The Paperclip Project sent elite teams of scientists and investigators, known as 'T-Forces', into Europe to
confiscate all documents, files, hardware in German labs, and even scientific personnel who were involved in the Nazi aerospace research, an operation which led to the great European 'brain drain' following WWII.
The British angle to this story is very interesting. In the late 1920s Anthony Blunt met Kim Philby, Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean. All of them became secret supporters of the Communist Party.
In the early 1930s Blunt was recruited as a Soviet agent. He was a Fellow of Trinity and in this post worked as a talent-spotter for the Soviet Union. A homosexual, it is claimed he blackmailed other homosexuals into spying for the Soviets.
On the outbreak of the Second World War Blunt joined the British Army. In 1939 he was sent to France where he served with the Army Intelligence Corps. When the German Army invaded in May 1940 Maclean returned to England. Soon afterwards he was recruited by MI5.
Blunt was placed in charge of the section that dealt with examining the communications of foreign embassies. This enabled him to pass valuable information to the Soviet Union. He later became the personal assistant to Guy Liddell, Deputy Director-General of MI5. In 1944 Blunt was responsible for liaison between MI5 and Allied Supreme Headquarters concerning the invasion of Europe.
At the end of the war Blunt was sent to Germany on a secret mission for the Royal family. A few months later Blunt retired from MI5 to become Surveyor of the King's Pictures. He continued to be a member of the spy ring led by Kim Philby and in 1951 helped Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean to defect to the Soviet Union. Blunt, who had been seen in the company of Burgess and Maclean just before they disappeared, was interviewed by eleven times by MI5 but was never charged with spying. Instead, Queen Elizabeth II asked Blunt to become Surveyor of the Queen's Pictures a post he held until his retirement in 1978.
Blunt's role as a Soviet agent was exposed in Andrew Boyle's book, The Climate of Treason in 1979. This resulted in his knighthood, awarded in 1956, being annulled. However, he was never charged with any offence. Why? The fact is that the establishment could not allow Blunt to tell his story in court. This is because he read those documents that he had sent to Germany to collect for the royal family. What did they say that had to remain a secret? Maybe it was something to do with the highly secret fascist group called the Right Club. This pro-Nazi group included Archibald Ramsay, William Joyce, Anna Wolkoff, A. K. Chesterton, Francis Yeats-Brown, E. H. Cole, Lord Redesdale, 5th Duke of Wellington, Duke of Westminster, Aubrey Lees, John Stourton, Thomas Hunter, Samuel Chapman, Ernest Bennett, Charles Kerr, John MacKie, James Edmondson, Mavis Tate, Marquess of Graham, Margaret Bothamley, Lord Sempill, Earl of Galloway, H. T. Mills, Richard Findlay and Serrocold Skeels.
Maxwell Knight, the head of B5b, a unit within MI5 that conducted the monitoring of political subversion, was formerly Director of Intelligence of the British Fascisti (BF). In the 1930s MI5 were very keen to recruit fascists. This is how Kim Philby and Guy Burgess managed to be recruited (they pretended to be fascists by joining the Anglo-German Fellowship, a pro-Nazi pressure group).
After the outbreak of the war several members of the Right Club spied on the UK for Nazi Germany. They also tried to negotiate an end to the war. I believe the Neville Chamberlain government and King George VI were implicated in these secret negotiations. So also was the previous monarch, Edward VIII).
This helps to explain why Rudolf Hess was kept from making any public statements after being captured in Scotland on 10th May, 1941. Hess had been trying to reach the Duke of Hamilton, a member of the Right Club.
The problem for the British establishment is that the Americans discovered that Tyler Kent, a cypher clerk from the American Embassy, was a spy. He had been recruited by Anna Wolkoff, a member of the Right Club. Wolkoff was the daughter of Admiral Nikolai Wolkoff, the former aide-to-camp to the Nicholas II in London. Wolkoff ran the Russian Tea Room in South Kensington and this eventually became the main meeting place for members of the Right Club.
In the 1930s Anna Wolkoff had meetings with Hans Frank and Rudolf Hess. In 1935 her actions began to be monitored by MI5. Agents warned that Wolkoff had developed a close relationship with Wallis Simpson (the future wife of Edward VIII) and that the two women might be involved in passing state secrets to the German government.
In February 1940, Wolkoff met Tyler Kent. He soon became a regular visitor to the Russian Tea Room where he met other members of the Right Club including Ramsay. Wolkoff, Kent and Ramsay talked about politics and agreed that they all shared the same views on Jews.
Kent was concerned that the American government wanted the United States to join the war against Germany. He said he had evidence of this as he had been making copies of the correspondence between President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill. Kent invited Wolkoff and Ramsay back to his flat to look at these documents. This included secret assurances that the United States would support France if it was invaded by the German Army. Kent later argued that he had shown these documents to Ramsay in the hope that he would pass this information to American politicians hostile to Roosevelt.
On 13th April 1940 Wolkoff went to Kent's flat and made copies of some of these documents. Joan Miller and Marjorie Amor, two MI5 agents who were members of the Right Club, were later to testify that these documents were then passed on to Duco del Monte, Assistant Naval Attaché at the Italian Embassy. Soon afterwards, MI8, the wireless interception service, picked up messages between Rome and Berlin that indicated that Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, head of German military intelligence (Abwehr), had seen the Roosevelt-Churchill correspondence.
Soon afterwards Anna Wolkoff asked Joan Miller if she would use her contacts at the Italian Embassy to pass a coded letter to William Joyce (Lord Haw-Haw) in Germany. The letter contained information that he could use in his broadcasts on Radio Hamburg. MI5 still did nothing about this until they received information from sources in the United States.
On 18th May, 1940, Knight was forced to tell Guy Liddell of MI5 about the Right Club spy ring. Liddell immediately had a meeting with Joseph Kennedy, the American Ambassador in London. Kennedy agreed to waive Kent's diplomatic immunity and on 20th May, 1940, the Special Branch raided his flat. Inside they found the copies of 1,929 classified documents, including the secret correspondence between Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill. Kent was also found in possession of what became known as Ramsay's Red Book. This book had the names and addresses of members of the Right Club and had been given to Kent for safe keeping.
Anna Wolkoff and Tyler Kent were arrested and charged under the Official Secrets Act. The trial took place in secret and on 7th November 1940, Wolkoff was sentenced to ten years. Kent, because he was an American citizen, was treated less harshly and received only seven years.
Archibald Ramsay was surprisingly not charged with breaking the Official Secrets Act. Instead he was interned under Defence Regulation 18B. Ramsay now joined other right-wing extremists such as Oswald Mosley and Admiral Nikolai Wolkoff in Brixton Prison.
The government found it difficult to suppress the story and in 1941 the New York Times claimed that Ramsay had been guilty of spying for Nazi Germany: "Before the war he (Ramsay) was strongly anti-Communist, anti-semitic, and pro-Hitler. Though no specific charges were brought against him - Defence Regulations allow that - informed American sources said that he had sent to the German Legation in Dublin treasonable information given to him by Tyler Kent, clerk to the American Embassy in London."
Some left-wing politicians in the House of Commons began demanding the publication of Ramsay's Red Book. They suspected that several senior members of the Conservative Party had been members of the Right Club. Some took the view that Ramsay had done some sort of deal in order to prevent him being charged with treason.
Herbert Morrison, the Home Secretary refused to reveal the contents of Ramsay's Red Book. He claimed that it was impossible to know if the names in the book were really members of the Right Club. If this was the case, the publication of the book would unfairly smear innocent people.
Archibald Ramsay sued the owners of the New York Times for libel. In court Ramsay argued that if there had been any evidence of him passing secrets to the Germans he would have been tried under the Official Secrets Act alongside Anna Wolkoff and Tyler Kent in 1940. The newspaper owners were found guilty of libel but the case became a disaster for Ramsay when he was awarded a farthing in damages. As well as the extremely damaging publicity he endured, Ramsay was forced to pay the costs of the case.
During the summer of 1944 several Conservative Party MPs in the House of Commons called for Ramsay to be released from prison. William Gallacher, a member of the Communist Party, argued that he should remain in detention. He pointed out that Ramsay was "a rabid anti-Semite" and that "anti-Semitism is an incitement to murder." He asked "if the mothers of this country, whose lads are being sacrificed now, are to be informed by him that their sacrifices have enabled him to release this unspeakable blackguard." When Gallacher refused to withdraw these comments he was suspended from the House of Commons.
Ramsay was released from Brixton Prison on 26th September, 1944. He was defeated in the 1945 General Election and in 1955 he published his book The Nameless War.
Ramsay died in 1955 and it was not until 1989 that the Red Book was found in the safe of Ramsay's former solicitors. The book included the names of 235 people. Unfortunately a lot of the names were in code. However, it did contain the names of several senior Tories including a large number of MPs and peers of the realm.
To go back to the Anthony Blunt case. His mission was to obtain documents that implicated the British royal family in negotiations that went on with Hitler in the 1930s and the 1940s. As Blunt told friends, the information he found in those documents gave him "protection for life". That is why he got the job of Surveyor of the Queen's Pictures, a post he held even after MI5 discovered that he was a long-term Soviet spy. It is also the reason why he was never charged with any spying offences. Unlike with Archibald Ramsay, Blunt could not be tried in secret.