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Saturday, 20 October, 2001, 11:58 GMT 12:58 UK
Spy's secret memoir 'held in library'
The British Library
The memoir is reported to be locked in a vault
A secret memoir which would cast light on why the "fourth man" in the Cambridge spy ring betrayed his country is locked away in the British Library, it has been reported.

The only copy of a manuscript by exposed Soviet spy Anthony Blunt, former Surveyor of the Queen's Pictures, will not be released until 2013 - 30 years after his death.

I hope it will not cause too much discomfort to people when it eventually sees the light of day

John Golding

The executor of Blunt's will, John Golding, told the Times newspaper he decided to have the manuscript locked away to spare the embarrassment of many high profile figures.

Mr Golding, who claims he is the only person to have read the memoir, said: "It would have embarrassed the descendants of a number of people in high places if I had not.

"I hope it will not cause too much discomfort to people when it eventually sees the light of day."


The type-written document is reported to be an account of the development of Blunt's life, his time as a spy, right through to his exposure by Margaret Thatcher's government in 1979.
Anthony Blunt
Anthony Blunt was the so-called fourth man

The former MI5 agent was the so-called fourth man in the Cambridge spy ring, with Kim Philby, Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean, and passed secret material to Moscow before 1945.

The other three men fled to Moscow when they were exposed but Blunt remained in Britain, and eventually confessed in return for a promise of immunity from prosecution.

The spy's memoir, which Mr Golding says has been held in the British Library's vaults since Blunt's death in 1983, will not be released for another 12 years.

It is reported to lie in a sealed container inside a safe in the library's basement, and most staff were said to be unaware of its existence.

Mr Golding told the Times that the memoir cast light on why Blunt had betrayed his country for some 30 years.

He worked on the document from the time of his exposure, when he was stripped of his knighthood, until his death.

Mr Golding was a student of Blunt's while he was the director of the Courtauld Institute, and described him as a "complex" and "reticent" man who had never discussed the memoir with him.

British Library spokesman Greg Hayman later declined to confirm the existence of the archive.

But he said the library did receive sealed documents with instructions that they could only be opened to scholars several years in the future.

See also:

13 Sep 99 | Britain betrayed
The Cambridge spy ring
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