Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Joseph Ball and Guy Burgess

One particular aspect of the sinister work of MI5's Joseph Ball has been hard to research. His dealings and involvement with the Cambridge Spies - especially Guy Burgess. Many Intelligence writers in their researching of Burgess, Maclean, Philby and then Blunt between 1951 and 1995 have said various things about Ball - suggesting that he was Homosexual, that he sponsored Burgess into MI5 and that he used him for various intelligence related activities  (Burgess's link to Daladier, his Radio work, spying on Heinlein) and that Ball was an active member of the Anglo-German Fellowship and part of a Pro-Nazi circle which included Henry Ford, Henri Deterding, and Basil Zaharoff.
Guy Burgess himself in 1956 told Tom Driberg about his activities with Ball and also named Ball in a list of mostly prominent homosexual aquaintances in reports to Moscow in declassified KGB files from the 1930's.
Ball strongly denied the Burgess allegations in 1956 and his lawyers made Driberg redact much of the material from his book. Because many of the Cambridge Spy writers got many of the biographical details about Ball wrong and wrongly believed Burgess that Ball was a member of the AGF when it was a namesake, I have largely discounted Burgess's claims and the rumours of Ball's homosexuality as Moscow propaganda aimed at discrediting a leading right wing spook. However revisiting Conspiracy of Silence by Penrose and Freeman (1987) I realised that MI5 officer TAR Robertson did corroborate in conversations with Freeman in 1985  in part Burgess's involvement in a clandestine intelligence link from Neville Chamberlain to Eduard Daladier in 1938 which use the St Ermin's Hotel and Burgess's claim to have slept with Daladier's Chef du Cabinet. I now feel that most of what Burgess claimed about Ball including his homosexuality (with the exception about the Anglo-German Fellowship, though Ball may have clandestine involvement) now is more likely to be fact than malicious invention. Given that, Homosexuality is the most likely explanation for Ball's rapid rise, his meeting Burgess and sponsorship of Howard and other homosexuals in MI5 and CRD and links to the pederast Maundy Gregory.

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