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TO NORMAN SHERRY

Philby had described the results of Greeneís intelligence work in Sierra Leone during the war as meagre. Sherry planned to dispute this claim.

February 27, 1991

Dear Norman,

I begin to regret my decision that you should not come here because tired as I am I think it is going to be more tiring answering your letter than meeting face to face. My daughter I am sure would have put you up for a couple of nights but unfortunately she is going to be away the whole of April. Please believe that I liked your book except for what I thought was an excess of sentimental love letters at the beginning when one would have been sufficient.50A face to face interview would perhaps have been less tiring than a long letter.

Philbyís assessment of my work in Freetown is not a bit bleak to my mind. Itís absolutely correct and he is defending me rather than criticising. I didnít at that time know that he was my boss in London. All I knew was that I was under control of a man in Lagos whom I disliked very much and who disliked me. We quarrelled incessantly and finally London withdrew me from his care and I worked direct with London though little knew that it was Kim. I was overworked though I have no memory of the day to day stuff which filled my time. I was sufficiently overworked for them to send me a secretary, a young woman who unfortunately was very bad at coding which only added to our work. Too many telegrams were sent back asking for a repeat.

One of the things which I disliked in my job was that it seemed to be taking over the duties of MI5. All Portuguese boats had to be searched for commercial diamonds and information. In the papers on one boat I learnt that my friend and literary agent Denyse Clairouin had been arrested by the Germans as a member of the Resistance. One interrogation that I had to make of a prisoner disgusted me so much that I never made another. It was a great relief to join Kim and his outfit when I returned.

My two plans which were turned down. An African intellectual, a friend of Victor Gollancz, had been put in prison under the iniquitous 18B regulation which also imprisoned my cousin Ben.51My idea was that he should be rescued from his prison by two purported communists and in return for getting him out he would have to agree to send some harmless economic information from French Guinea. When we had sufficient of this we would blackmail him and threaten to show it to the French if he did not provide more interesting material. The Commissioner of Police was ready to work with me on this, but London wasnít. Their objection was that a question would be asked in Parliament.

My other rather wild plan was to open a brothel on a Portuguese island (Bissau?) just off the coast from Dakar where the Richelieu was stationed. The French were apt to take holidays on the Portuguese island. I had found an admirable Madame, French by origin but very patriotic, who was ready, given the money, to open the brothel. I felt that valuable information could be obtained from many of her visitors. The reply to that was that all brothels were very strictly under French intelligence control which seemed to me dubious in the case of a Portuguese brothel. Anyway I was fed up.



My visits inland [in] Sierra Leone were I suppose in search of some form of information but I canít in the least remember what. These are very inadequate replies to your questions but perhaps after all we can meet one day.

Yours ever,
Graham


Date: 2015-02-03; view: 541


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