Defector from Berlin: Lt Col Gregory Tokaev (codename EXCISE); reports and information

  • Catalogue ref: FO 1093/548
  • Date: 21/11/1947 - 15/03/1949

At the back of this file is an envelope containing documentation on Soviet forces in post-war Germany, provided by the defector, Gregory Tokaev, codenamed Excise. It also includes information on various 'Russian personalities': Kliment Voroshilov is described as 'a log dressed in marshal's uniform. Better dead than alive'. Excise also provided intelligence on Stalin's vulnerable points and warned of war planned for 1950. The file also contains Excise's account of his meeting with another defector, Jason Tasoev. There follow a number of interrogation reports, and a summary provided for Bevin and Attlee by Frank Roberts, in January 1948, of information received from Tokaev. Early in 1948 Tokaev was evidently getting restive, and wrote a personal letter to Bevin on 1 February 1948 asking if he was to be interned, and if not he would like to publicise his situation, and publish a book. Later the problem of handling Tokaev, who was considered something of a loose cannon, became more acute.

Defection from Bremen and return to Berlin: Lieutenant Colonel Jason Davidovich Tasoev

Tasoev proved to be a troublesome defector, though the problems were caused mainly by his handling. He was a friend of Lt Col Gregory Tokaev (Excise), and SIS brought him over to the UK without proper authorisation or clearance by the JIC. A long explanatory memo of April 1948 sets out the whole affair. On 4 May 1948, Sargent minuted to Bevin that the recruitment of Tasoev was intended to loosen Tokaev's tongue, but that it had ended in an 'embarrassing muddle' and the press had got hold of it. Just when it had been sorted out, Tasoev was 'overcome by a fit of remorse and in a mood of Slavonic penitence' announced he now wished to give himself up to the Soviet authorities. He had to be restrained in order to prevent his escaping. Questions were asked in Parliament about the case and arrangements were made to hand him over in Berlin.