I read parts of the book, just published, basically what is written about a case I studied with detail, Nathalie Sergueiew's mission for the XX Committee, for which she worked as a double agent, codenamed Treasure. Please allow me to remember my biography of this extraordinary woman.
With due respect, what could be said about her is simplified in the short version given by Professor Andrew. But what surprises me is the outline of Treasure’s personality as «a temperamental woman» someone that almost blew up D’days operation because of a dog! Saying so, Professor Andrew reproduces what has been disseminated through the National Archives site and after Kenneth Benton, PCO and MI6 man in Madrid, wrote it in a short story of his life after his memoirs of his encounter with a young lady aplying for a visa to the UK: that she confessed to her British controller, Mary Sherer, that, irritated because the dog Bab’s was not given back up to her by the British, as promised, she threat to betray them in benefit of the German Abwehr, that candidly took her as one of the best assets in UK.
This version of the facts cannot be accepted without scrutiny. The problem of Sergueiew is very complex. First, she is a white Russian anti-communist, and British alliance with Stalin’s is not easy accepted in the circles where she came from. Second, it is possible to find if not a clear sympathy for the German nazism, at least for German values, in the first book she wrote in 1933, despite the fact she had been arrested by the Gestapo while in Berlin. Extreme conservative were the kind of newspapers she read and the organizations she had been in contact with, during her youth. But more important are two facts that are not mentioned in that regrettable dog’s story simplified version: her sister was found dead in very strange conditions an there are documents that show that Treasure was blaming the British Secret Service for that, claiming that she was the target; and there were deep connections between Stalin’s/Hitler operation against the White Russian ROV’s in Paris, and the kidnap of general Miller – his uncle! – and the German controller that was assigned to her, major Emil Kliemann, from Luft Eins. So, there is much more to justify her desire to cut with the British than that naïve dog's story! So allow me to ask: if she wasn't a woman, would that «temperamental» version be given as an explanation for the facts?
A final remark: Babs, a Fox-Terrier, was not kept in Lisbon, as it is written about one of the photographs published in Professor Andrew’s book, but in Gibraltar in November 1943. Nathalie flew to Lisbon in January 1944 only, some months afterwards, already without any dog at all. If truth must be said about the woman, the same to Babs!
MI 1 Administration.
MI 2 Information on Middle and Far East, Scandinavia, USA, USSR, Central and South America. MI 3 Information on Europe and the Baltic Provinces (plus USSR, Eastern Europe and Scandinavia after Summer 1941).
MI 4 Geographical section - maps (transferred to Military Operations in April 1940).
MI 5 Liaison with Security Service. Some Portuguese Axis controlled spies where caught in the UK by MI 5.
MI 6 Liaison with SIS. Section V of MI 6 had an office in Lisbon during WW2.
MI 7 Press and propaganda (transferred to Ministry of Information in May 1940).
MI 8 Signals interception and communications security.
MI 9 Escaped British PoW debriefing, escape and evasion (plus enemy PoW interrogation until December 1941). There was a station of MI 9 in Lisbon during WW2.
MI 10 Technical Intelligence world-wide.
MI 11 Military Security.
MI 12 Liaison with censorship organisations in Ministry of Information, military censorship.
MI 13 Not Used.
MI 14 Germany and German-occupied territories (aerial photography until Spring 1943).
MI 15 Aerial photography (in Spring 1943 aerial photography moved to the Air Ministry and MI 15 became air defence intelligence).
MI 16 Scientific Intelligence (formed 1945).
MI 17 Secretariat for Director of Military Intelligence (from April 1943).
MI 18 Not Used.
MI 19 Enemy PoW interrogation (formed from MI9 in December 1941).
MI (JIS) Axis planning staff.
MI L (R) Russian Liaison.
MI L Attachés.
SOE activity in Portugal is usually out of official accounts, because it was a failure. For many SOE failure in Portugal is usually described as a result of local police infiltration. That is part of the truth. The real cause must be searched also on the ambiguous nature of the double game played by John Beevor, establishing its networks here with the left-wingers that were opponents to Salazar’s regime but not preventing from close contacts with the Legião Portuguesa, a armed militia, organized by the extreme right to fight communism. Internal disputes between Legião and PVDE, the State Police, the amateurish nature of Beevor’s work, and conflict with the Foreign Office mentality created the explosive mixture. The British were saved by Salazar from the scandal of being traitor’s vis-à-vis our oldest diplomatic Alliance, the Portuguese involved suffered deportation to Tarrafal, a concentration camp and prison in Cape Vert. A gloomy story, and «a case study».
These are the conclusions of a lecture I gave at Warsawa yesterday in an international conference organised by the Office fo War Veternas and Victims of Oppression entitled On the Secret Front: the Intelligence during the World War II