The Threat to Britain

The Chinaman Report goes further than drawing attention to the KGB's almost certain use of Freemasonry for placing operatives in positions of authority, most damagingly achieved, so far as we know, in the case of Hollis. The Report also expresses concern that British Freemasonry as a whole is, quite unknown to its members, a major target for so-called 'Special Political Action' by the KGB. It states:

. . . sheer prudence demands that the lessons of the P2 affair receive the attention of all who have the interests of the UK and the West at heart, Masons and non-Masons alike . . . The affair has so far been to the considerable advantage of the Soviet Union and of the Communists, which alone of the political parties has no known members among the listed names published by order of the Prime Minister. Had P2 continued its secret growth and unacceptable activities, the inevitable eventual scandal could have brought down with it non-Communist government in Italy. Yet Italian Freemasonry has been estimated as of the order of under 100,000 - a mere tenth of the supposed UK total for a roughly similar population.*

*This includes England and Wales, Scotland and Ireland. Even so, the commonly quoted figure of a million Freemasons in Britain is about 250,000 too high.

It could be argued that Italy's laws regarding secret associations differ from Britain's, and that there is far more prejudice against Freemasonry in Italy because of strong Roman Catholic and Communist opposition than there is in the UK where, on the contrary, the Brotherhood enjoys the inestimable advantage of royal patronage. Thus the reaction in Britain to a masonic scandal would be nothing like so extreme as in Italy. But Chinaman suggests that 'the Italian affair is a serious warning from which important lessons can be drawn . . . The UK could well prove very much more vulnerable to exposure of improper activities by a group of Freemasons than is Italy.'

There are two reasons for this:

First, Masonry so permeates so many revered British institutions from the Crown downwards, that a grave masonic scandal could in modern circumstances involve popular revulsion against the whole established order, Government and business. Second, the proportion of Masons to non-Masons in some professions and other walks of life, including areas of Government, appears to have reached a critical point: the point at which people believe themselves obliged to join Freemasonry, no longer voluntarily, but from a feeling of compulsion.

This statement is certainly accurate, as my own enquiries have revealed.

Masons and non-Masons alike seem increasingly to fear the potential of the fraternity to ruin them. At such a point it becomes hard to find in certain areas vital to the state an adequate number of competent persons who are non-Masons to prevent such a vacuum as now threatens Italy were all the officers of the armed forces of General rank named in the P2 documents to be required to retire. Third, there is much circumstantial evidence that more ruthless elements have joined Freemasonry and are using up the fund of respectability that Royal patronage confers to indulge in activities which reputable members would find quite unacceptable were they aware of the extent of the abuse. This, of

course, is a danger inherent in all secretive societies for their cellular form devised by the founders for the security of the movement, can as readily be used to 'hoodwink' the leadership, who thus become unwitting 'front men' for activities they would never countenance.

The Report alludes to the argument that there has not been a masonic scandal of major proportions in modern times and the contention that should one occur, it could readily be contained by the Brotherhood by means of both public expulsions and cover-ups. It continues:

This may possibly be so. But British society as a whole is changing rapidly. The established order of things developed over the past thousand years is no longer so widely and so automatically accepted as in even the recent past. Many, of all political hues, consider some of our institutions archaic and in need of reform. This view is fuelled by the loss of national self-confidence and national pride following from the loss of Empire and our very poor showing in the list of advanced industrial societies. Disrespect for those in authority is already considerable and is increasing at an accelerating rate: such rife dissatisfaction soon comes to seek a scapegoat, such as 'the Establishment' provides. But our institutions - both public and private - seem incapable of reforming themselves and performing the aggiornamento the thoughtful of all moderate persuasions are increasingly coming to expect.

Against this worsening background it would be rash to suppose that the methods of the past to contain scandals and irregularities in Masonry (or indeed in anything else) will still be adequate by, say, the end of this decade. And this is to count without the attentions of the KGB.

The possibility that the KGB has a long-term interest in British Freemasonry must be taken seriously. For to any trained intelligence officer, Freemasonry offers an ideal vehicle for the destabilization of the United Kingdom. To make two points: there has for some time been practically no mention of Freemasonry in the media: for so widespread and important a movement this almost amounts to a taboo - any serious, well-documented exposure of substantial malpractices could be expected to have a disproportionate shock effect. We are not yet so cynical and so inured to scandal as the Italians. Second, the KGB - itself growing out of a clandestine movement's seizure of state power, well understands the organization, motivation and other problems of secret societies (particularly of communications, records, and the use of a reputable 'front') and is thus ideally qualified to exploit Freemasonry for its own ends.

Here Chinaman constructs, from his thirty-year knowledge of the KGB's political methods and of the inner workings of British Freemasonry - with the P2 conspiracy forming a bridge between the two - a scenario which to my certain knowledge senior officials of both MI5 and MI6 regard with the utmost gravity. The man code-named Chinaman suggests that the most likely method of attack would follow the pattern of P2 - in other words, the KGB, doubtless through Czech intelligence, would attempt to hive off a promising area of Freemasonry and encourage its growth.

The more prominent those unwittingly involved, the greater the ultimate effect - provided the top echelon [of Freemasonry] were carefully preserved untainted. Another phase would be deliberately to encourage and exacerbate existing abuses for personal advancement at the expense of non-Masons. Arrogance would be inflated to a point where the Masons concerned would become over-confident and incautious . . . the KGB would then obtain and collate documentary and circumstantial evidence in as many spheres of activity as possible.

Once sufficient material had been gathered, the KGB would be prepared to wait years if required until directed to mount an exposure at a politically appropriate juncture. Then the 'fuse' would be lit, for example by arranging for a blackmail operation to fail, or a Soviet 'defector' to arrive perhaps in the US, and point conclusively to KGB involvement in Masonry. Media and Government enquiries could then be fed with supplementary evidence garnered for the purpose over the years. Names would be called. Confusion would be sown by including the righteous (chosen for their effectiveness in opposition to Soviet designs) with the guilty (chosen for their publicity value): in such circumstances lies mixed with incontrovertible truths would be hard to winnow.

If the right moment for 'ignition' were chosen the disaster could be very great. One need only to remember the effect on each occasion of the news of Fuchs's* espionage, the Maclean and Burgess defections, the Philby case, the Blunt exposure and the recent public allegations regarding the late Sir Roger Hollis, to appreciate the effect of well documented exposures at one time of even fifty prominent persons - let alone nearly a thousand as in the Italian case.

Chinaman makes it plain that short of information from some formerly well-placed genuine defector, there is no certain means of knowing whether the Soviet Union is operating such a plan - nor, if so, how long it has been in preparation. And if it is in preparation, we cannot know how much time is likely to elapse before it could be 'ignited'.

I have no idea whether Communist bloc defectors have been questioned on the subject or what were their replies. I simply suggest that it is self-evident that the possibility should be taken seriously and appropriate defensive action taken if this has not already been done adequately.

I can reveal that no such defensive action has yet been taken because prior to the submission of the Chinaman Report, no one had considered the possible exploitation of Masonry. No one knew enough about the Brotherhood for it to present itself as a possibility. Chinaman suggests measures to minimize the effects of any KGB-promoted exposure in two main ways:

* Klaus Emil Julian Fuchs, convicted in 1950 of passing British and American atomic research secrets to the Soviet Union.

First, by ensuring that we are not 'caught' with persons holding certain key delicate positions being Masons . . . From my own experience (as well as reports of the P2 case) I would hope for example that the heads of both the Secret Intelligence Service and the Security Service are not permitted to be Masons, and that the regulations of these two services now provide for any Masons to declare their adherence to the head of the service concerned personally.* I believe that the same should apply to Special Branch. Masons who are members of these branches of Government could however provide a valuable link to Freemasonry in the service of the state if they are not so acting already. In other Departments, arrangements could be made to ensure that heads of personnel sections be non-Masons, and that they have a right of access to the Director-General of the Security Service. The legal profession - presently the object of increasing public disquiet because of its alleged tendency to protect its own - is a particular problem given the large number of Freemasons . . . The second direction I would concentrate upon would be legislation. It seems to me, for instance, far less likely that any deliberately organized exposure would cause serious and lasting damage to the benefit of the pro-Communist left and the Soviet Union, if all citizens had the legal right, if they so elected, to a written assurance that any professional person they consulted is not a member of any secret society, including the Freemasons and similar or related groupings: an untrue denial rendering the professional person liable to criminal proceedings. I appreciate the very great difficulties, but possibly in the not too far distant future in the wake of the P2 affair, some measure along these lines might be passed ... In the Government service Masons in delicate areas would come to know that for security reasons a few positions were closed to them: this too would help shift the balance of advantage.

Such measures could, I believe, also incidentally lead to a significant improvement in Britain's performance in many places, lessening the possibility that the more dynamic, more forward-looking and better qualified may be passed over to the detriment of governmental and industrial efficiency. I repeat, though, that I am well aware that I have not the qualifications for suggesting counter-measures, that I have for setting out the dangers.

*As already stated, MI5 officers are banned from joining the Brotherhood, but this has not prevented several from doing so.

I have discussed this Report in general terms and off the record with several highly placed officials and with three former Cabinet Ministers, all of whom told me that if such a report came into their hands when they were in office they would have initiated an enquiry. In March 1982, having contacted Foreign Secretary Lord Carrington and been assured by him that he was not nor had ever been a member of the Brotherhood, I was on the point of raising it with him. Then Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands and Britain lost one of its most able ministers.

And here another link is forged between Licio Gelli, his Soviet masters, and the important task P2 had been created to perform in the continuing programme to destablize the West. After his flight from Italy, Gelli did not go into hiding beyond the Iron Curtain as suggested by the perspicacious Peter Hebblethwaite. Most informed sources believed he was in Argentina, where he had exercised so much influence in the past and where, I suggest, General Galtieri was his new Peron. It cannot be a coincidence that Admiral Emilio Massera, the commander of the Argentine Navy and one of the three-man junta that launched the Falklands invasion, and the commander of the Argentine First Army, General Carlos Suarez Mason, were both secret members of Lodge P2.

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