Security Service release: Communists and suspected communists, including Russians and communist sympathisers
- Catalogue ref: KV2/3592
- Date: 28/09/1932 - 06/03/1961
A barrister and a Communist Party member from about 1931, Lawson (who became a QC in 1955) first came to notice in 1932 when he acted for the 'Daily Worker' in a contempt of court case and in 1933 he was briefed, with D N Pritt, to defend the Communists accused in the Reichstag Fire trial. By 1938 he was Treasurer of the secret Legal Group of the Communist Party and Secretary of the Communist fraction of the National Council of Civil Liberties. He later allowed his overt connection with the Party to fade but continued to make undercover financial contributions until 1957. In the same year he was appointed legal adviser to the Rulers of the Malay States on constitutional matters, his competence in this role impressing both the Malay Rulers and the Colonial Office. A proposal to inform the Malay Rulers of Lawson's Communist affiliations whilst independence negotiations were in progress rejected in 1957, following Colonial Office objections.
Yelena Dimitrievna STASSOVA
- Catalogue ref: KV2/3596
- Date: 29/09/1922 - 02/01/1967
A Party member from 1898, personal secretary to Lenin and Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1917, Stassova was later President of the General Committee of MOPR (the Russian section of International Red Aid) and a member of the Women's Executive Committee of the Communist International. Stassova is described as 'a person of considerable influence in Moscow' and an 'expert in underground work'. The file contains a telegram from Stassova seeking lawyers to defend those accused of the Reichstag fire. The file also contains press cuttings of articles on the occasion of Stassova's 60th birthday and later, her 90th birthday including a photograph of her with Ho Chi Min, the Vietnamese Marxist revolutionary leader who went on to become President of Vietnam. One press clipping contains a picture of Stassova wrongly captioned 'purged by Stalin' suggesting she was amongst those killed in an explosion in an office building. But this turned out to be a case of mistaken identity.
Arthur William OLDAG
- Catalogue ref: KV2/3597
- Date: 25/07/1938 - 31/10/1950
British-born of a German mother and Scottish father, Oldag lived in Germany, was active in Communist circles and fled to the UK in 1937. Once he had arrived in the UK he approached Scotland Yard so that they could work together to 'over throw Hilterism' in Germany. His proposed plot employed 'sabotage techniques in the style of the IRA' which involved sending travelling trunks packed with explosives to German officials as well as the possible use of exploding fountain pens. The file notes that Oldag felt hurt when Scotland Yard did not share his enthusiasm for the plot. After his arrival in the UK, his political interests turned towards anarchism and as John OLDAY he wrote several books of cartoons, notably in 1943 'The March to Death' and in 1944 'The Life We Live, the Death We Die', both published by Freedom Press. He deserted from the army in 1943 and in 1945 was sentenced to a year's imprisonment for using a false identity card and on release was court-martialled for his desertion and sentenced to a further 18 months, becoming a cause célèbre to the anarchists.
The files span KV2/3597 to KV2/3599. File KV2/3597 is available to view on Discovery.
Cheddi and Janet Rosalie JAGAN
- Catalogue ref: KV2/3600
- Date: 01/05/1947 - 17/03/1961
These 39 files deal with the early careers of Cheddi and Janet Jagan, founders of the People's Progressive Party (PPP) in pre-independence British Guiana, and both future presidents of the independent nation of Guyana. They came to the attention of the Security Service because of their links to the British Communist Party and their Marxist views. The files provide considerable detail of Cheddi Jagan's regular visits to London, including transcripts of telephone intercepts and copies of his correspondence. KV2/3606 contains an account of Operation Windsor, the mission to suspend the constitution and neutralise the threat following the PPP's success in the 1953 colonially-administered election. KV2/3617 contains an analysis of the Jagans from the Security Liaison Officer in Trinidad in which the American-born Janet Jagan is described as "highly emotional…uncompromising in her hatreds and more concerned with the position of British Guiana in the pattern of world communism than with good government". Cheddi, in contrast, is said to be well-liked and it is felt he could make a good chief minister "without his wife". KV2/3625 contains an eight-page summary of the political situation in British Guiana in 1958 by then governor, P.M Renison.