Traitor requests permission to come back to Britain

Categories:Local News
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10th Oct 1960

One little known but intriguing fact about Donald Maclean, the British spy and traitor who fled to communist Russia in 1951 and who was also part of the Cambridge Spy Ring, was his request for permission to enter the country nine years later.

On October 10th 1960 it was revealed in the Daily Express that Mr Maclean had applied for a visa so he could enter the country.

Although for some reason the request did not include neither, his wife or any of his three children even though they had joined him in Moscow in September 1953, two years later, travelling by a Communist underground route from Geneva.

Douglas Clarke, Daily Express Political Correspondent asked the Foreign Office:  “Will Maclean be granted a visa?” to which they replied: “This would be a matter for the Home Office”, but the Home Office had no information to give.

It was revealed by the correspondent that fellow spy Guy Burgess who escaped Britain with Maclean was also anxious to visit Britain even though it was quickly made known that the British Government was not prepared to grant him travel facilities.

Upon fleeing Britain they eventually made it to Moscow where they were given two luxury flats in the Moscow suburbs with villas in the Pinewoods for use at weekends.

Maclean was just 37 when he fled and was 46 years old when applying for a visa.

Retrofile comment

Could the visa application have something to do with his wife’s unhappiness, leading to a forthcoming affair with Kim Philby, another KGB mole? As all participants are now long dead I suppose we’ll never know.

It was obvious that both spies were disillusioned with what they saw as their moral birth place and were disappointed not to be given access to high grade intelligence information once in Moscow, as they had expected.

Also interesting to note, is that in 1974, his eldest son Fergus returned to Britain and enrolled at the University College of London, prompting a question in the house.

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