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The Fifth Man

Evan Burton

Who was the Fifth Man?  

  1. 1. Who was the Fifth Man?

    • Roger Hollis
    • Victor Rothschild
    • Other
    • There was no "Fifth Man"

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There have been numerous articles about who might have been the "Fifth Man" of the Cambridge spy ring.

The first four were:

Guy Burgess

Donald Maclean

Kim Philby

Anthony Blunt

Peter Wright, in his book 'Spycatcher', believes it was Sir Roger Hollis. Another book I read said it was Victor Rothschild.

Have we learnt anything more since the early 90s?

Are there other candidates?

Has evidence emerged from Russia about who really was the "Fifth Man"? If not, why haven't they said who it was?

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Evan, if you want the offical KGB dizinformation story go to Mitrokin - the KGB "Archivist" who wrote a book with Cambridge professor and MI5.

But whose to say it was a man?

How's this one - Ann Margaret - and Oswald and Elvis too.



Bella Donna: an Italian term meaning both "beautiful lady" and a plant with red, bell shaped flowers and roots that yield a fatal poison. Both meanings apply to Ann-Margret, whose lifelong devotion to Communist causes eventually led to the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

Born in 1941 in an ardently anti-Nazi, pro-Soviet family, Ann-Margret Ollson immigrated to the United States to escape the ravages of post World War II Europe. Her father, who had preceded the family to the States, met her and her mother on a New York, NY pier on 29 November 1946. Intending to immerse their daughter in American culture, she was taken straight from the ship to Radio City Music Hall, where she saw her first moving picture, "The Jazz Signer". Between the end of the film and the performance of the Rockettes she was allowed to go to the concession stand by herself to purchase ju-ju beans. While there she met a friendly, debonair stranger who was to influence her throughout her life: Aleksandr Semyonovich Feklisov, KGB officer in the New York Soviet Consulate. Already famous in KGB circles for having recruited Julius Rosenberg and having delivered the secrets of the atomic bomb to his Soviet masters, Feklisov could see in the personable, lovely five year old Ann-Margret the fiery soul of a future operative. Ingratiating himself with her family, Feklisov positioned himself to develop Ann-Margret as the most successful Soviet mole yet known.

Although privately demure, from an early age Ann-Margret projected a public persona of confidence and sultry appeal. By the time she entered high school she was already an accomplished performer, appearing both on her school's stage and on local television programs. By the time she was sixteen she had her own performing group, "The Suttletones", and was entertaining at locations far from home. Feklisov was instrumental in arranging performing dates for her, and in return received a steady flow of information about her performance venues, which often included U.S. military installations.

In August of 1957 Ann-Margret and her group were performing at the Muelbach Hotel in Kansas City, MO when she met two traveling gamblers from New Orleans, LA: Clay L. Shaw and David William Ferrie. Through them she was introduced to New Orleans Mafia kingpin Carlos Marcello, who would help her develop connections with the American underworld.

Quitting college to devote herself to her signing career, Ann-Margret and her group were booked for an engagement at The Nevada Club in Las Vegas, NV. During this engagement in September of 1959 she would meet two more individuals central to her history: Howard Robard Hughes, who would pay the same degree of attention to the nineteen year old beauty that he had to the more jaded movie starlets of his younger years, and Lee Harvey Oswald, whom she would convince to defect from the United States to the Soviet Union. Using her established friendship with Shaw, Ferrie, and Marcello she helped Oswald leave the country that same month.

But her greatest coup as a Communist recruiter occurred in July of 1960 in Reno, NV. While performing at the Riverside Hotel she met the famous American playwright and Soviet sympathizer, Arthur Miller, who was in town with his wife, Marilyn Monroe, for the filming of "The Misfits". Miller, worn from playing nursemaid to his neurotic, drug dependent wife, thought that the sultry teenager might make a perfect companion for Monroe. Arranging a meeting on the set of the film, Monroe and Ann-Margret became fast friends, and gave Ann-Margret another opportunity to infiltrate Hollywood with her Leninist dogma. The drug hazed Monroe was an easy target for the wily Ann-Margret, and yet another Soviet spy was born. Ann-Margret was especially interested in Monroe's "special friend", then Senator John F. Kennedy, and as a result was able to provide Feklisov with reams of information about the future President.

In May of 1961 Ann-Margret was contracted to record her first signing album by RCA in Nashville, TN. While in the Volunteer State she was able to meet Elvis Presley. Although he was taken by her obvious charms, Elvis was obsessed by his hatred for U.S. Maj. Gen. Edwin Anderson Walker, who had humiliated Elvis during his Army service in Germany. Disappointed by not making an impression on "The King", Ann-Margret made an off-hand suggestion that he hire a hit man and do away with his nemesis. This blithe comment would later be central point in the plot to kill JFK.

Ann-Margret's greatest disappointment was the apparent suicide of her protégée Monroe on 5 August 1962. She reluctantly reported the suicide of her most promising operative to Feklisov, who had been promoted to KGB chief in Washington, DC. But one disappointment was not enough to keep this Mata Hari down for long. Her performing career was skyrocketing, and she had established herself as a rising movie star. But more importantly, the connections she had made throughout her life were coming to fruition. In January of 1963 her friend, Elvis, contacted her to discuss the assassination of Walker. She suggested contacting another veteran, the now repatriated Oswald, and discussing the attack with him. Regardless of her best intentions, Oswald botched the job. That May she was invited to perform in Washington, DC at Kennedy's annual birthday party. During her stay she consulted with Feklisov. Central to their discussions was the future of Oswald, who had become an embarrassment to them both. June 1963 found her back in Las Vegas, preparing for her co-starring rôle with Elvis in "Viva Las Vegas". Again meeting with Hughes, she learned from him that Monroe's suicide was, in fact, a murder conducted by Robert Francis Kennedy and Peter Sydney Lawford at the request of JFK. Enraged, Ann-Margret began formulating her revenge. After completion of the film, she seduced and blackmailed Elvis into cooperating with the assassination of the President. Fearful that his involvement in the aborted Walker assassination would come to light, Elvis agreed to her plans. Seeing the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone, she recommended that Elvis enlist Oswald into the plot, and set him up to take the blame. Knowledgeable of, but not directly involved in, the assassination plans, Ann-Margret watched from afar as Kennedy was killed in Dallas. Anticipating that Oswald would contact her for help after his arrest, Ann-Margret had arranged in advance to have an associate of her friend Marcello, Jacob "Jack Ruby" Rubinstein, ready to silence Oswald. On 24 November 1963 Ruby killed Oswald, eliminating the last loose thread in exposing Ann-Margret's involvement in the assassination plot.

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Cheers Bill - gave me a laugh. But seriously - who else fits the bill?

Michael Hanley... but he was cleared. Can we be sure that he was properly cleared? After, Philby was.

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Cheers Bill - gave me a laugh. But seriously - who else fits the bill?

Michael Hanley... but he was cleared. Can we be sure that he was properly cleared? After, Philby was.

I was serious in suggesting that you look into the Mitrokin Archives - I forget the name of the book - but its by a Cambridge professor and recounts what the KGB Archives say about such things - if you want to know what their official policy on such matters are.

No sense speculating on possible candidates when Mitrokin supposidly knows all.

This is a very lenghly and complicated subject that would be impossible to reflect on without having kept up with it for years.


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  • 6 years later...


Maybe this memoir could provide some more insight... ?

Edit : for copy-pasta of article for those of a lazy bent :P

Harold Adrian Russell ''Kim’’ Philby was an adequate rather than spectacular cricketer as a pupil at Westminster School. When fielding, he was content to stand apart from the rest, observing events at a distance. His preferred position? Deep cover. So it would be for much of his adult life.

The label often attaching to Philby, the most prominent member of the Cambridge Ring, is that of “master spy”, a description conveying ruthlessness, guile and charm. Britain’s most infamous Cold War traitor, whose betrayal resulted in the deaths of untold numbers of agents operating on the dark side of the Iron Curtain, possessed those qualities, certainly. But his charm was not simply of the synthetic kind and he commanded the affection and loyalty of friends, even as the awful truth of his clandestine career – a Soviet asset operating at the heart of British intelligence – became clear.

Tim Milne was Philby’s closest associate in the Secret Intelligence Service, MI6. A fellow pupil at Westminster, he was recruited into the secret world during the Second World War on the recommendation of his friend. In retirement, he wrote a memoir of his friendship with Philby, which was promptly banned from publication by MI6. Now, four years after Milne’s death at the age of 97, his story can be told.

Kim Philby: The Unknown Story of the KGB’s Master Spy is an often-intimate portrait of the Third Man, candid in its assessments. Written without rancour – despite Philby’s attempt to blacken Milne’s name during interrogation – it charts the 37 years from first meeting at Westminster in 1925 to Philby’s escape from Lebanon to Russia.

The book has been updated with extracts from freshly released official files showing how Philby continued to deceive even after confessing his treachery. From 1951, when the defection of Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean led to Philby’s enforced resignation from the service he was one day expected to lead, until 1963, when he climbed aboard a Soviet freighter in Beirut, the former golden boy of MI6 was protected by his former employers, seemingly in denial about the titanic scale of his deceit.

“Sitting opposite me in the office, puffing at his pipe, with a faraway look in his eyes, he seemed to be planning some new initiative with the Foreign Office,” remembers Milne. “More probably he was putting together in his mind a report to the Russians, or wondering what, in furtherance of their interests, his next move should be.”

Philby was the son of St John Philby, the noted Arabist and explorer of the Empty Quarter of the Arabian Peninsula. Like his father, he displayed an independent streak.

“Kim at school was tough, self-reliant and self-confident,” writes Milne of the boy with the stammer. “He was never a popular figure, but neither was he unpopular. People accepted he was something of a loner. He had something untouchable about him, a kind of inner strength and self-reliance that made others respect him.”

Following the death of his father, Milne was taken under the wing of his uncle, AA Milne, creator of Winnie the Pooh. The author insisted on ''vetting’’ his nephew’s friend before the two young men set off on the first of three touring holidays in Europe. Kim passed the test.

Milne recalls the first trip as “a light-hearted juvenile affair” during which he and Kim travelled through Germany, Austria, Hungary and Czechoslovakia on a motor bike and sidecar. “Kim’s politics at this time, September 1930, were still somewhat vague – certainly Left-wing but he had not yet acquired the knowledge of, or interest in, Marxism that marked his third and fourth year at Cambridge. He was a marvellous companion, intensely interested in everything and impervious to discomforts and setbacks.”

Their second journey took place in the summer of 1932, when Hitler was making his bid for power. “We attended a vast Nazi torchlight rally at which Hitler spoke,” records Milne. “What impressed and alarmed us was the totally uncritical attitude of so many ordinary German men and women.”

The pair’s final trip was to Berlin in the Easter of 1933, by which time Hitler was Chancellor. The students argued politics with a Stormtrooper – a reasonably benign one, fortunately. The KGB’s recruitment of Kim Philby was less than a year away.

Philby’s chance to serve his new masters came with the outbreak of the Second World War and the vast expansion of Britain’s intelligence machine. His ascent through it was rapid and by late 1944 he was head of Section V, the counter-intelligence arm of MI6, based in St Albans. “The job was so absorbing and completely time-consuming that I would have found it almost impossible to imagine it could take second place to even more important work,” says Milne. “Yet, one supposes, that is how it was with Kim.

“I assume that his contacts took place during his regular visits to London. They must have been quickly and efficiently managed, for his visits to London seldom lasted more than a day, travel included, and he always had a number of people to see and meetings to attend (at MI6 headquarters) in Broadway, MI5 and elsewhere. If one tried to get a message to him on the telephone there were no unexplained gaps in his timetable.”

Philby’s next appointment, just before the war’s end, was a spectacular success for the KGB: director of the anti-Soviet section. Head of station in Turkey followed and then Washington, where Philby was in charge of liaison between MI6 and the CIA, another crown jewel of a post. His appointment as ''C’’, chief of the Secret Intelligence Service, beckoned. But then it fell apart. US code-breakers had found proof that Maclean, a diplomat, was working for the Russians. Philby sent Guy Burgess, his friend and fellow KGB agent, to warn Maclean. Maclean and Burgess fled to Moscow in May 1951 and Philby found himself the centre of suspicion, the so-called Third Man. Recalled to London, he was subjected to hostile interrogation.

“Kim was in a state almost of shock,” says Milne. “The brilliant career, the high hopes had vanished and he was now an outcast.” MI6 was in shock. Sir Stewart Menzies, chief of the service, had no choice but to ask Philby to resign. “Many people in SIS who, like myself knew very little of the case against Kim, clung to the belief that he was innocent of any serious offence,” Milne recalls.

“The general office belief was that he’d had to go simply to preserve good relations with the Americans. There were very few people in the service who had inspired so much trust and respect as Kim. It seemed impossible that he had done anything worse than act a little unwisely.”

Philby, says Milne, was distressed at having to face interrogation by counterparts in MI5, like Dick White, with whom he had worked.

“It may seem strange that the attitude of SIS and MI5 friends should have mattered so much to him, but I am sure that one part of Kim was fully and genuinely involved in his SIS life,” reflects Milne.

Over the next decade, MI6 continued to argue that there was no evidence against Philby, persuading White, when he became head of MI5 in 1953, to drop the investigation. When in 1955 Harold Macmillan, then foreign secretary, cleared Philby in Parliament, MI6 sent him back into the field, operating in the Middle East as an agent under journalistic cover. “Before long it appeared that the atmosphere had changed,” Milne writes. “Kim was no longer considered a total outcast. I received an elated postcard from him.”

Then, in late 1962, Flora Solomon, a long-time friend of Philby, tipped off MI5 that he had tried to recruit her to the communist cause in 1937. Dick White, now head of MI6, decided to offer Philby immunity in return for the truth. Nicholas Elliott, one of Philby’s supporters in MI6 and a former head of station in Lebanon, went to Beirut to interview him. Elliot botched the interview, allowing Philby to write his own confession and failing to get him to sign it. Elliott believed Philby when he claimed that he had only been a spy up until 1946, which is when arguably his most productive period for the Russians began. The MI6 officer even sought Philby’s advice on seven suspected cases of Soviet penetration. Philby mentioned Milne.

“Kim apparently said that he had mentioned me (among others) to the Russians as someone they might find it worth approaching,” recalls Milne. “However, he went on to say that they had turned the idea down. I was horrified. I think my immediate reaction was to say something like, 'How dare he?’”

Shortly after the interrogation Philby seized his chance to defect, slipping out of a drinks party at the British embassy in Beirut. But why had he not sought to escape earlier?

Philby married four times. Litzi Friedmann, his first wife, a Hungarian Jew, was almost certainly the person who recruited him to the Soviet cause. His second wife, Aileen, mother of his five children, suffered from depression and died in 1957.

“The dominant memory I retain of visits to the Philby family is that of young children,” remembers Milne. “There was a permanent fairly well-behaved hullabaloo. With all their troubles, Kim and Aileen were good parents. Kim’s children meant an enormous amount to him. I have a strong feeling that, if it had not been for them, he might have been tempted to defect during this period.”

Milne’s last meeting with Philby was at a pub on the Thames. He and his wife were late for lunch with the Philbys. “Kim was a little annoyed. 'We’d given you up and written you a note,’ he said, and handed me one of his visiting cards, on the back of which he had inscribed in his unforgettable handwriting a message which ran like this: 'Nothing can excuse defection’.”

Looking back on Philby’s double life, Milne cannot fully explain his motivations. “He never seemed to identify himself with his country, even over sport. Although Kim was a very English person, and much more at home in congenial English company than any other, he showed little affection for England or its countryside, cities, institutions and traditions. Though he never lacked physical or moral courage, one could not imagine him making patriotic gestures. Perhaps this should have been a clue to his real feelings.”

And Philby the man? “It is interesting that whereas the character sketches we have of Burgess and Maclean are detailed, convincing and reasonably consistent, nobody seems able to pin down Kim himself. Even those who knew him best probably all have different pictures. “Kim said in an interview that if he had his time over again he would do the same thing. I wish that were not true. But I do not regret knowing him. He enriched my world for many years and I owed a lot to him. Certainly my association with him caused many difficulties for me but I do not feel bitterness towards him, only sadness.”

'Kim Philby: The Unknown Story of the KGB’s Master-Spy’ by Tim Milne (Biteback Publishing, £20) is available to order from Telegraph Books at £18 + £1.35 p&p. Call 0844 871 1514 or visit books.telegraph.co.uk

Edited by Steve Knight
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