To begin with, the Government was hopeful that the culprit would soon be found. The combined forces of MI5 and of the Special Branch would most surely be able to cope with the efforts of a bunch of amateurs. 'A most rigorous investigation had been ordered', wrote the Political Correspondent of the Daily Telegraph1. 'Ministers seem confident that this will yield speedy results'. Making virtue of a necessity the article announced: 'The intention is to concentrate on the source of the breach, without paying too much attention to hundreds of people, who, perhaps unwittingly, were involved in the distribution of the pamphlet'.
'This is a direct challenge to the State' yelped the Evening News. 'Only early arrests will help to calm the worst Westminster fears'2. According to the Sunday Telegraph3 'the Special Branch was expected to trace in a matter of days those who printed and sent out the "Spies for Peace" pamphlet'. The paper called for 'stiff punishment' of the culprits. No mention here of such insignificant details as trials or verdicts.
Having called for blood, the Press then got down to some serious speculation.
The Mail4 was categorical. 'The author of the pamphlet had obviously served in a secret establishment.' Three days later it changed its tune. 'Special Branch detectives in a score of provincial towns and University cities are investigating the private lives of suspect civilians who share Government secrets … The investigation is focused on scientists and Civil Defence workers engaged in recent nuclear war exercises … These possible suspects have taken part in regular and frequent mock war exercises at RSGs throughout Britain5.
If only top Government bureaucrats didn't have to share their secrets with so many 'suspect civilians'! How much easier everything would then be for them! If they could only run their society without the participation of ordinary people. If they could just take the decisions themselves and issue instructions from time to time for the robots below to carry out! A Ford executive once said that 'the trouble with industry today is that it is full of men'. The same deplorable state of affairs seems to apply to Civil Defence
By April 17, the Mail had forgotten its previous suspects. 'Scotland Yard now have reason to believe that the RSG pamphlet was the combined work of a number of people who spent many months amassing the material'.
You pays your money and you takes your choice!
The Evening Standard6 had other ideas. 'Files of known members of extremist political movements who may have been responsible for collecting the information … were being examined today by Special Branch detectives … recalled from Easter leave in an attempt to track down the source of the leakage'. The Daily Sketch7 on the other hand strongly believed 'the mystery Mr. X. to be a top civil servant'. Perhaps both papers were right. Perhaps it was all the work of the work of the Whitehall section of the Rank and File movement.
The Daily Herald8, trying to be a 'democratic' paper, smelt Treason at the Top. 'The handful of officials who would become Government supremos in a nuclear war are to be interviewed by the Special Branch … One of these men may be able to give detectives a vital lead'. And to think we naively believed that these Top People had been vetted before they had selected one another for the Regional Survival Grottoes.
Mrs. Gillian Greenwood, wife of Labour MP Anthony Greenwood, also suspected the men at the top. 'The distributors,' she said, 'didn't look like CND types. They were well-dressed, middle class looking people'.9 She didn't say whether they were carrying umbrellas or bowler hats. Her account may help the police in their search. As for us, the only people of this description we have recently seen at CND meetings have all been delegates from the Special Branch.
The Daily Express10 started probing in other directions. 'The Special Branch's Red Squad — men who keep tabs on all Communist agitators — believe details in the pamphlet may have been collected by Communist agents throughout the country who have had access to confidential documents sent to local government departments'. In a letter to the North London Press11 the League of British Patriots (London Branch) and the British Anti-Communist League (Manchester Branch) also claimed that the Communists were behind the pamphlet. Perhaps this explains why during the March the Daily Worker preferred talk of the Pope's message and of the petition to the Queen to a discussion of the implications of the RSG disclosures.
Fortunately there were clues. 'Scores of clues' stated the Sunday Telegraph.12 'The most significant was the use of an obscene four-letter word'. The culprits were perhaps followers of D. H. Lawrence, Henry Miller or Lenny Bruce. But as the Daily Mirror (May 6) pointed out in an article entitled The Cussword Age, even the Times had joined the ranks of "people blasting off about sex and other bodily functions in monosyllabic words'.
The Express13 was more down to earth. 'Stencils for the pamphlet were believed to have been cut on a foreign made typewriter'. The Sunday Mirror14 was positively jubilant: 'The Yard men have discovered that the typewriter used to type the pamphlet has a fault. After talks with the machine manufacturers they hope to trace the author'. The pundits didn't explain how one proceeded from a faulty typewriter (whose isn't?) to the Mystery Man who leaked the secrets.
The Daily Mirror15 went one better. 'Three faulty letters on a typewriter' were going to trap the ringleaders. Documents seized from ban-the-bomb organizations 'were being checked for the typing flaws found in the "Spies for Peace" pamphlet: weak impressions from the small letter "a", capital "B", and capital "G".' Some BaG!
In the understatement of the year the Evening News16 concluded one of its articles: 'It is not yet known exactly who was responsible for issuing the pamphlet containing the RSG secrets'.
Among the possibilities not hitherto mentioned in the Press and which might help the authorities in their investigations, we suggest the following:
(1) the information was leaked to the Committee of 100 by a top Russian spy, active in Cabinet circles, who had collected it several months previously. The Russians had found the information of no military value whatsoever but thought it might be of interest to the civilian population in Britain.
(2) the information was leaked by a top official in MI5 — a man absolutely above suspicion. This man had attended a meeting addressed by Canon Collins and had been instantaneously converted to the cause of nuclear disarmament. This official is continuing to leak information. He is also deliberately obstructing the searches of the authorities, directing them along false trails, etc.
(3) A group of female CND supporters, disguised as building workers, had invaded No. 10 Downing Street, where as is well known certain very deep and very complex structural alterations have been going on for a very long time. These men (sorry, girls) blew up a safe, helped themselves to some secret documents and to some port and pheasant, and left without leaving a trace. 'Just one of those things'.
1. April 15. 2. April 15. 3. April 14. 4. April 13. 5. April 16.
6. April 14. 7. April 16. 8. April 16. 9. Guardian, April 13.
10. April 15. 11. April 26. 12. April 14. 13. Daily Express, April 15.
14. April 14. 15. April 18. 16. April 18.