Soviet intelligence agents

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Soviet intelligence agents

Oliver Green (KV 2/2203-2206)

The case of Soviet spy Oliver Green has attracted little attention to date, largely because his wartime conviction was for forgery, and he was never tried on espionage charges. Green was a well-known British Communist before the war, and served in the International Brigade in Spain, and the Security Service files on him, starting with KV 2/2203 (1936-1942) include some details from various intercepted communications and other sources about his activities. It was not until the war that Green, now working as an ambulance driver for Hendon ARP, came under serious consideration by the Service. He was arrested in early 1942 on a charge of forging and uttering petrol coupons, and when the Metropolitan Police searched his home, in addition to forgery materials, they found two rolls of developed film, which proved to contain classified information from War Office Weekly Intelligence Summaries. A Special Branch report of these discoveries is at serial 15a. Green went to trial on the forgery charges, and was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment, which he served in Brixton. A debate opened up as to what should be done with the Green case – should he be prosecuted as a spy, could he be useful as an informant, or could he even act as an adviser to SOE given his known opposition to the Nazis and his specialist knowledge? The merits of these options are considered on the file. Eventually it was decided that he should be interviewed, and reports of the various interviews held with Green are at serials 69a, 70a and 98a. Green also wrote to his interviewer, and his letters are at serials 71b, 93a and 101a. Green´s account of his recruitment as a spy while in Spain can be found at serial 113a.

KV 2/2204 (1942-1946) continues the case, with further interview reports (serial 121a) and case summaries at serials 125a and 132b. The case summaries include details of how Green arranged to meet with his agents, using buses or occasionally visits to a shooting gallery in Tottenham Court Road. Green´s claims, including that he was running an agent in a government department and that there was a Soviet spy in the Security Service, were considered. This and the following files show the difference of opinion between Service officers, some of whom thought Green was being as truthful and helpful as he could without revealing the names of his agents, and others who thought he was deceiving his interviewer. Green was released from prison in December 1942, and it was decided not to prosecute on the espionage charges. His correspondence was however now watched, and this file and KV 2/2205(1946-1953) include copies of intercepted correspondence. The Service continued assessing the case, and Green´s contacts were thoroughly investigated. The supplementary file KV 2/2206includes Green´s 1941 pocket diary, and copies of the information produced from the films found in Green´s home when he was arrested, which chiefly focus on what intelligence the British had acquired about German armaments.