TO JOHN CAIRNCROSS
Widely believed to be the fifth man in the Cambridge spy ring, Cairncross, a translator and literary scholar, passed on to the Soviets important information from intercepts at Bletchley Park that helped them to defeat German tank divisions at the battle of Kursk. He denied that he had passed on information that allowed Stalin to develop an atomic bomb. Greene had known Cairncross, a Scot, from his days with the SIS, when he dubbed him ‘Claymore’. In the 1980 s Greene advised Cairncross on many matters, including his efforts to secure a carte de séjour in France. When various researchers, including the Cambridge historian Christopher Andrew, identified him as the fifth man, Greene was unconvinced and advised him on the writing of The Enigma Spy: An Autobiography, published posthumously in 1997. Another friend of Greene’s, Colonel Ronald Challoner, an intelligence officer who had been British consul in Nice, also assisted Cairncross over many years; he eventually edited his manuscript and provided an introduction summarising the evidence in his favour.
January 22, 1991
I have dictated this letter because I am really too ill to write. However my secretary is a complete safety box. And also incidentally my niece!48She will send your letter back to me. Or rather I am not sending your letter to her as I keep all your other letters.
I would gladly write to my own publisher, Max Reinhardt, about your book and if necessary show him the testament, but I wouldn’t do either of these things without your consent. He is not now a very large publisher but all the same he might be very interested. The trouble is that your book should come after the new Andrew book if it contains material which you wish to attack, and a controversy of the two books might well sell each other. The other point is secrecy. I can’t absolutely guarantee anybody’s secrecy except my own. My own feeling is that you should remain in the dark for a period as Challoner suggested, unless certain circumstances broke. This would make your reappearance on the scene in your own book all the more important. Do get on with that and let me know when it is finished.
I’m glad Gayle is doing well.
Date: 2015-02-03; view: 536