Labour History Review

State Surveillance of the CPGB Leadership: 1920s-1950s

Labour History Review (2004), 69, (1), 19–33.

Abstract

Newly-declassified files on the surveillance of the CPGB leadership from its founding through to the 1950s provide a fresh and important source of information on both the nature, extent and success of state surveillance, and on the CPGB leadership itself. In particular, as this article makes clear, the material contained within the files offers a valuable window on Moscow's attitude towards the CPGB and its leadership, and illustrates the way in which the leadership's public display of monolithic unity towards Moscow concealed internal doubts and divisions.

Access Token
£25.00
READ THIS ARTICLE
If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

Margot Heinemann is the principal figure here but elsewhere Isobel Brown is reported to have told Marion Jessop about Pollitt's affair with Esther Henrotte (‘They both agreed that he might have chosen someone better’), KV2/1041, 16 December 1942. Isobel Brown was convinced that Pollitt knew about her own affair with J. R. Campbell. Pollitt also allegedly revealed that his wife Marjorie had had an affair with a leading comrade when he advised Jack Silver — in a similar predicament — to do what he had done and accept the situation (25 May 1943). These reports give at least some basis to the published allegations of sexual promiscuity in the Party which Douglas Hyde made in I Believed. Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

Times Literary Supplement, correspondence from R. P. Dutt, 5 May 1966, p. 387 and Brian Pearce, 19 May 1966, p. 462. Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

A. Kuusinen, Before and After Stalin, London, Michael Joseph, 1974, pp. 20, 134, 144, notes 30 and 31. P. 247. Before and After Stalin 20 Google Scholar

Newbold Papers, John Rylands Library, Manchester, Autobiographical Materials and Railway Review, 5 April 1940. Google Scholar

P. Spratt, Blowing-Up India: Reminiscences and Reflections of a Former Comintern Emissary, Calcutta, Prachi Prakashan, 1955, p. 24. Blowing-Up India: Reminiscences and Reflections of a Former Comintern Emissary 24 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

Krivitsky's lengthy debriefing sessions produced an eighty-six-page document divided into five chapters, now released in file KV2/805. See also his memoir, W. G. Krivitsky, I Was Stalin's Agent, London, Hamish Hamilton, 1939. I Was Stalin's Agent Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

The veracity of the reported conversation can be gauged by Pollitt's biographer's remark that: ‘The orientation towards a constructive engagement with progressive capitalism was indeed one with which Pollitt fervently identified’ in 1944. K. Morgan, Harry Pollitt, Manchester, Manchester University Press, 1993, P. 141. Harry Pollitt 141 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

P. Kerrigan, ‘Harry Pollitt’, Communist Review, December 1950, pp. 355-61. ‘Harry Pollitt’ Communist Review 355 61 Google Scholar

See J. Callaghan, Cold War, Crisis and Conflict: A History of the CPGB, 1951-68, London, Lawrence and Wishart, 2003. Cold War, Crisis and Conflict: A History of the CPGB, 1951-68 Google Scholar

See his Daily Worker column, ‘Politics Help the Soldier’, 11 August 1943. Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

Richard Thurlow, The Secret State: British Internal Security in the Twentieth Century, Oxford, Blackwell, 1994, P. 153. The Secret State: British Internal Security in the Twentieth Century 153 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

Margot Heinemann is the principal figure here but elsewhere Isobel Brown is reported to have told Marion Jessop about Pollitt's affair with Esther Henrotte (‘They both agreed that he might have chosen someone better’), KV2/1041, 16 December 1942. Isobel Brown was convinced that Pollitt knew about her own affair with J. R. Campbell. Pollitt also allegedly revealed that his wife Marjorie had had an affair with a leading comrade when he advised Jack Silver — in a similar predicament — to do what he had done and accept the situation (25 May 1943). These reports give at least some basis to the published allegations of sexual promiscuity in the Party which Douglas Hyde made in I Believed. Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

Times Literary Supplement, correspondence from R. P. Dutt, 5 May 1966, p. 387 and Brian Pearce, 19 May 1966, p. 462. Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

A. Kuusinen, Before and After Stalin, London, Michael Joseph, 1974, pp. 20, 134, 144, notes 30 and 31. P. 247. Before and After Stalin 20 Google Scholar

Newbold Papers, John Rylands Library, Manchester, Autobiographical Materials and Railway Review, 5 April 1940. Google Scholar

P. Spratt, Blowing-Up India: Reminiscences and Reflections of a Former Comintern Emissary, Calcutta, Prachi Prakashan, 1955, p. 24. Blowing-Up India: Reminiscences and Reflections of a Former Comintern Emissary 24 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

Krivitsky's lengthy debriefing sessions produced an eighty-six-page document divided into five chapters, now released in file KV2/805. See also his memoir, W. G. Krivitsky, I Was Stalin's Agent, London, Hamish Hamilton, 1939. I Was Stalin's Agent Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

The veracity of the reported conversation can be gauged by Pollitt's biographer's remark that: ‘The orientation towards a constructive engagement with progressive capitalism was indeed one with which Pollitt fervently identified’ in 1944. K. Morgan, Harry Pollitt, Manchester, Manchester University Press, 1993, P. 141. Harry Pollitt 141 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

P. Kerrigan, ‘Harry Pollitt’, Communist Review, December 1950, pp. 355-61. ‘Harry Pollitt’ Communist Review 355 61 Google Scholar

See J. Callaghan, Cold War, Crisis and Conflict: A History of the CPGB, 1951-68, London, Lawrence and Wishart, 2003. Cold War, Crisis and Conflict: A History of the CPGB, 1951-68 Google Scholar

See his Daily Worker column, ‘Politics Help the Soldier’, 11 August 1943. Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

Richard Thurlow, The Secret State: British Internal Security in the Twentieth Century, Oxford, Blackwell, 1994, P. 153. The Secret State: British Internal Security in the Twentieth Century 153 Google Scholar

If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Details

Author details

Callaghan, John

Phythian, Mark

Callaghan, John

Phythian, Mark