None of the incidents or dialogue in The Great Conspiracy has been invented by the authors. The material has been drawn from various documentary sources which are indicated in the text or listed in the Bibliographical Notes.
1. Enter M. Massino
REVOLUTIONARY Petrograd, besieged by foreign enemies without and menaced within by counterrevolutionary plots, was a terrible city in 1918. There was little food, no heat, no transport. Ragged men and women shivered in endless breadlines on the bleak, unswept streets. The long gray nights were punctuated with the sounds of gunfire. Gangster bands, defying the Soviet regime, roamed the city, robbing and terrorizing the population.(1) Detachments of armed workers marched from building to building, searching for the hidden stores of the food speculators, rounding up looters and terrorists.
The Soviet Government had not yet established complete control. Remnants of Czarist luxury contrasted weirdly with the mass destitution. Anti-Soviet newspapers continued to appear, daily predicting the imminent fall of the Soviet regime. Expensive restaurants and hotels were still open, and catering to throngs of fashionably dressed men and women. At night, the cabarets were packed. There were drinking and dancing, and, at the crowded tables, Czarist officers, ballet dancers, famous Black Market speculators and their mistresses whispered excited rumors: The Germans are marching on Moscow! - Trotsky has arrested Lenin! - Lenin has gone insane! Wild hopes and lies flowed as freely as the vodka. Intrigue thrived. . . .
A certain M. Massino had shown up in Petrograd that spring. He described himself as "a Turkish and Oriental merchant." He was a pale, long-faced, somber-looking man in his early forties, with a high, sloping forehead, restless dark eyes and sensual lips. He walked with an erect, almost military carriage, and with a rapid, curiously silent step. He seemed to be wealthy. Women found him attractive. Amid the uneasy atmosphere of the temporary Soviet capital, M. Massino went about his business with a peculiar aplomb.
At evenings, M. Massino was a frequent visitor to the small, smoky Balkov Cafe, a favorite haunt of anti-Soviet elements in Petrograd. The proprietor, Serge Balkov, greeted him deferentially. In a private room at the back of the cafe, M. Massino met mysterious men and women who spoke to him in low tones. Some of them addressed him in Russian, others in French or English. M. Massino was familiar with many languages. . . .
The young Soviet Government was struggling to bring order out of chaos. Its colossal organizational tasks were still further complicated by the ever-present, deadly menace of the counterrevolution. "The bourgeoisie, the landlords and all the wealthy classes are making desperate efforts to undermine the revolution," wrote Lenin. A special Soviet counter-sabotage and counterespionage organization was set up, at Lenin's recommendation, to deal with domestic and foreign enemies. It was called the Extraordinary Commission to Combat Counterrevolution and Sabotage. Its Russian initials spelled the word: Cheka(2) . .
In the summer of 1918, when the Soviet Government, fearing German attack, moved to Moscow, M. Massino followed it. But in Moscow the appearance of the suave, wealthy Levantine merchant oddly changed. He wore a leather jacket and the peaked cap of a worker. He visited the Kremlin. Stopped at the gates by one of the young Communist Lettish Guards, who formed the elite corps guarding the Soviet Government, the erstwhile M. Massino produced an official Soviet document. It identified him as Sidney Georgevitch Relinsky, an agent of the Criminal Division of the Petrograd Cheka.
"Pass Comrade Relinsky!" said the Lettish guard.
In another part of Moscow, in the luxurious apartment of the popular ballet dancer Dagmara K., M. Massino, alias Comrade Relinsky of the Cheka, was known as Monsieur Constantine, an agent of the British Secret Service.
At the British Embassy, Bruce Lockhart knew his real identity: "Sidney Reilly, the mystery man of the British Secret Service and known . . . as the master spy of Britain."
2. Sidney Reilly
Of all the adventurers who emerged from the political underworld of Czarist Russia during the First World War to lead the great crusade against Bolshevism none was more colorful and extraordinary than Captain Sidney George Reilly of the British Secret Service. "A man cast in the Napoleonic mold!" exclaimed Bruce Lockhart, whom Reilly was to involve in one of the most dangerous and fantastic undertakings in European history.
Just how Reilly first came to the British Secret Service remains one of the many mysteries surounding that very mysterious and powerful espionage apparatus. Sidney Reilly was born in Czarist Russia. The son of an Irish sea captain and a Russian woman, he grew up in the Black Sea port of Odessa. Prior to the First World War, he was employed by the great Czarist naval armaments concern of Mandrochovitch and Count Tchubersky in St. Petersburg. Even then, his work was of a highly confidential character. He served as liaison between the Russian firm and certain German industrial and financial interests, including the famous Hamburg shipyards of Bluhm and Voss. Just before the outbreak of the First World War, valuable information concerning the German submarine and shipbuilding program began regularly reaching the British Admiralty in London. The source of this information was Sidney Reilly.
In 1914, Reilly showed up in Japan as the "confidential representative" of the Banque Russo-Asiatique. From Japan he traveled to the United States, where he conferred with American bankers and munition manufacturers. Already, in the files of the British Secret Service, Sidney Reilly was listed under the code name, I Esti, and was known as a secret agent of great daring and resourcefulness.
A fluent linguist, with a command of seven languages, Reilly was soon summoned from the United States for important work in Europe. In 1916, he crossed the Swiss frontier into Germany. Posing as a German naval officer, he penetrated the German Admiralty. He secured and delivered back to London a copy of the official German Naval Intelligence Code. It was probably the greatest secret service coup of the First World War....
Early in 1918, Captain Reilly was transferred to Russia as Director of British Secret Intelligence operations in that country. His many personal friends, wide business connections and intimate knowledge of the inner circles of the Russian counterrevolution, made him an ideal man for the job. But the Russian assignment also had a deep personal significance for Reilly. He was consumed by a bitter hatred for the Bolsheviks and, indeed, for the entire Russian Revolution. He frankly stated his counterrevolutionary aims: -
"The Germans are human beings. We can afford to be even beaten by them. Here in Moscow there is growing to maturity the arch-enemy of the human race. If civilization does not move first and crush the monster, while yet there is time, the monster will finally overwhelm civilization."
In his reports to the British Secret Service headquarters in London, Reilly repeatedly advocated an immediate peace with Germany and an alliance with the Kaiser against the Bolshevik menace.
"At any price," he declared, "this foul obscenity which has been born in Russia must be crushed out of existence. Peace with Germany: Yes, peace with Germany, peace with anybody! There is only one enemy. Mankind must unite in a holy alliance against this midnight terror!"
On his arrival in Russia, Reilly immediately plunged into anti-Soviet conspiracy.
His avowed aim was to overthrow the Soviet Government.(3)
3. Money and Murder
The numerically strongest anti-Bolshevik political party in Russia in 1918 was the Social Revolutionary Party, which advocated a form of agrarian socialism. Led by Boris Savinkov, Kerensky's one-time war minister who had taken part in the abortive Kornilov Putsch, the militant Social Revolutionaries had become the pivot of anti-Bolshevik sentiment. Their extremist methods and propaganda had attracted considerable support for them among the many anarchistic elements which generations of Czarist oppression had bred in Russia. The Social Revolutionaries had long practised terrorism as a weapon against the Czar. Now they prepared to turn the same weapon against the Bolsheviks.
The Social Revolutionaries were receiving financial aid from the French Intelligence Service. With funds personally handed to him by the French Ambassador Noulens, Boris Savinkov had re-established the old Social Revolutionary terrorist center in Moscow under the title of League for the Regeneration of Russia. Its aim was to plan the assassination of Lenin and other Soviet leaders. On Sidney Reilly's recommendation, the British Secret Service also began supplying Savinkov with money for the training and arming of his terrorists.
But Reilly, an ardent pro-Czarist, did not trust the Social Revolutionaries when it came to forming a new Russian Government to replace the Soviet regime. Apart from Savinkov, whom he regarded as completely reliable, Reilly felt that the leftist Social Revolutionaries represented a dangerously radical force. Some of them were known to be linked with the oppositionist Bolsheviks who followed Trotsky. Reilly was prepared to use these people for his own purposes, but he was determined to stamp out radicalism in Russia. He wanted a military dictatorship as the first step to the restoration of Czarism. Accordingly, while he continued to finance and encourage the Social Revolutionary terrorists and other radical anti-Soviet groups, the British spy was at the same time carefully building a conspiratorial apparatus of his own. Reilly himself later revealed in his memoirs how it functioned: -
It was essential that my Russian organization should not know too much, and that no part of it should be in a position to betray another. The scheme was accordingly arranged on the "Fives" system, and each participant knew another four persons only. I myself, who was at the summit of the pyramid knew them all, not personally, but by name and address only, and very useful was I to find the knowledge afterwards. .Thus, if anything were betrayed, everybody would not be discovered, and the discovery would be localized.
Linking up with the Union of Czarist Officers, with remnants of the old Czarist secret police, the sinister Ochrana, with Savinkov's terrorists, and with similar counterrevolutionary elements, Reilly's apparatus soon mushroomed throughout Moscow and Petrograd. A number of Reilly's former friends and acquaintances from Czarist days joined him and proved of great value. These friends included Count Tchubersky, the naval armaments magnate who had once employed Reilly as a liaison with the German shipyards; the Czarist General Yudenitch; the Petrograd cafe proprietor, Serge Balkov; the ballet dancer, Dagmara, at whose apartment Reilly set up his Moscow headquarters; Grammatikov, a wealthy lawyer and former undercover agent of the Ochrana, who now became Reilly's chief contact with the Social Revolutionary Party; and Veneslav Orlovsky, another former Ochrana agent, who had contrived to become a Cheka official in Petrograd, and from whom Reilly obtained the forged Cheka passport under the name of Sidney Georgevitch Relinsky, which enabled him to travel freely anywhere in Soviet Russia.
These and other agents, who even penetrated into the Kremlin and Red Army General Staff, kept Reilly fully informed of every measure of the Soviet Government. The British spy was able to boast that sealed Red Army orders "were being read in London before they were opened in Moscow."
Large sums of money to finance Reilly's operations, amounting to several millions of rubles, were hidden in the Moscow apartment of the ballet dancer, Dagmara. In raising these funds, Reilly drew on the resources of the British Embassy. The money was collected by Bruce Lockhart and conveyed to Reilly by Captain Hicks of the British Secret Service. Lockhart, whom Reilly involved in this business, subsequently revealed in his British Agent how the money was collected: -
There were numerous Russians with hidden stores of roubles. They were only too glad to hand them over in exchange for a promissory note on London. To avoid all suspicion, we collected the roubles through an English firm in Moscow. They dealt with the Russians, fixed the rate of exchange, and have the promissory note. In each transaction we furnished the English firm with an official guarantee that it was good for the amount in London. The roubles were brought to the American Consulate-General, and were handed over to Hicks, who conveyed them to their destined quarters.
Finally, overlooking no detail, the British spy even drew up a detailed plan for the government that was to take power as soon as the Soviet Government was overthrown. Reilly's personal friends were to play an important part in the new regime: -
All arrangements had been made for a provisional government. My great friend and ally Grammatikov was to become Minister of the Interior, having under his direction all affairs of police and finance. Tchubersky, an old friend and business associate of mine, who had become head of one of the greatest mercantle houses in Russia, was to become Minister of Communications. Yudenitch, Tchubersky and Grammatikov would constitute a provisional government to suppress the anarchy which would almost inevitably follow from such a revolution.
The first blows of the anti-Soviet campaign were struck by Savinkov's terrorists.
On June 21, 1918, as he was leaving a workers' meeting at the Obuchov factory in Petrograd, the Soviet Commissar for Press Affairs, Volodarsky, was assassinated by a Social Revolutionary terrorist. This was followed within two weeks by the assassination of the German Ambassador Mirbach in Moscow on July 6. The aim of the Social Revolutionaries was to strike terror in the Bolshevik ranks and simultaneously to precipitate a German attack which they believed would spell the doom of Bolshevism.(4)
On the day on which the German Ambassador was murdered, the Fifth All-Russian Congress of Soviets was in session in the Opera House in Moscow. Allied observers sat in the gilded boxes listening to the speeches of the Soviet delegates. There was an air of tension about the proceedings. Bruce Lockhart, sitting in a box with a number of other Allied agents and diplomats, knew that something eventful had occurred when Sidney Reilly entered. The British spy looked pale and agitated. In hurried whispers he told Lockhart what had happened.
The shot that killed Mirbach was to have been a signal for a general Social Revolutionary rising, backed by dissident Bolshevik elements, throughout the country. Social Revolutionary gunmen were to have raided the Opera House and arrested the Soviet delegates. But something had gone wrong. The Opera House was now surrounded by Red Army soldiers. There was firing in the streets, but it was clear that the Soviet Government had the situation in hand.
As Reilly spoke, he was examining his pockets for compromising documents. He found one, tore it into shreds and swallowed the pieces. A French secret agent, sitting beside Lockhart, proceeded to do the same thing.
A few hours later, a speaker rose on the stage of the Opera House and announced that an anti-Soviet Putsch, designed to overthrow the Soviet Government by force of arms, had been swiftly put down by the Red Army and the Cheka. There had been no public support for the putschists whatsoever. Scores of Social Revolutionary terrorists, armed with bombs, rifles and machine guns, had been rounded up and arrested. Many of them had been killed. Their leaders were either dead, in hiding or in flight.
The Allied representatives in the Opera House were told they could now safely return to their respective embassies. The streets were safe.
Later the news came that an uprising at Yaroslav, timed to coincide with the Moscow Putsch, had also been put down by the Red Army. The Social Revolutionary leader, Boris Savinkov, who had personally led the Yaroslav uprising, had narrowly escaped capture by the Soviet troops.
Reilly was bitterly angry and disappointed. The Social Revolutionaries had acted with characteristic impatience and stupidity! Nevertheless, he declared, there was nothing wrong with their basic idea of starting a coup at a moment when most of the Soviet leaders were assembled in one place attending some congress or convention. The thought of seizing all the chief Bolsheviks at one swoop appealed to Reilly's Napoleonic imagination. . . .
He began seriously to plan to accomplish this.
4. The Lettish Plot
During the climactic month of August 1918, the secret plans for Allied intervention in Russia flared into the open. On August 2, British troops disembarked at Archangel with the proclaimed purpose of preventing "war supplies from falling into the hands of the Gem mans." On August 4 the British seized the oil center of Baku in the Caucasus. A few days later, British and French contingents landed at Vladivostok. They were followed on August 12 by a Japanese division, and on August 15 and 16 by two American regiments recently transferred from the Philippines.
Large sections of Siberia were already in the hands of antiSoviet forces. In the Ukraine, the Czarist General Krasnov, supported by the Germans, was waging a bloody anti-Soviet campaign. At Kiev, the German puppet Hetman Skoropadsky had initiated wholesale massacres of Jews and Communists.
From north, south, east and west, the enemies of the new Russia were preparing to converge on Moscow.
The few remaining Allied representatives in Moscow began to make preparations for their departure. They did not inform the Soviet Government that they were doing so. As Bruce Lockhart later wrote in British Agent: "It was an extraordinary situation. There had been no declaration of war, yet fighting was proceeding on a front stretching from the Dvina to the Caucasus." And Lockhart added: "I had several discussions with Reilly, who had decided to remain on in Moscow after our departure."
On August 15, the day the Americans landed at Vladivostok, Bruce Lockhart received an important visitor. The scene was later described by Lockhart in his memoirs. He was lunching in his apartment, near the British Embassy, when the bell rang and his servant announced that "two Lettish gentlemen" wished to see him. One was a short, sallow-faced youth called Smidhen. The other, a tall, powerfully built man with clear-cut features and hard, steely eyes, introduced himself as "Colonel" Berzin, the commander of the Lettish Kremlin Guard.
The visitors brought Lockhart a letter from Captain Cromie, the British Naval Attaché in Petrograd, who was extremely active in anti-Soviet conspiracy. "Always on my guard against agents-provocateurs," records Lockhart, "I scrutinized the letter carefully. It was unmistakably from Cromie." Lockhart asked his visitors what they wanted.
Colonel Berzin, who had introduced himself as the commander of the Kremlin Guard, informed Lockhart that, while the Letts had supported the Bolshevik Revolution, they had no intention of fighting the British forces under General Poole which had recently landed at Archangel. They were prepared to talk terms with the British agent.
Before giving an answer, Lockhart talked the matter over with the French Consul General, M. Grenard, who as Lockhart records, advised him to negotiate with Colonel Berzin, but "to avoid compromising our own position in any way." The next day, Lockhart again saw Colonel Berzin and gave him a paper saying, "Please admit bearer, who has an important communication for General Poole, through the English lines." Lockhart then put Colonel Berzin in touch with Sidney Reilly. . . .
"Two days later," records Lockhart, "Reilly reported that his negotiations were proceeding smoothly and the Letts had no intention of being involved in the collapse of the Bolsheviks. He out forward a suggestion that after our departure he might be able, with Lettish help, to stage a counter-revolution in Moscow."
Towards the end of August, 1918, a small group of Allied representatives gathered for a confidential conference in a room at the American Consulate General in Moscow. They chose the American Consulate General because all other 'foreign centers were under close Soviet supervision. In spite of the American landings in Siberia, the Soviet Government still maintained a friendly attitude toward the United States. Throughout Moscow, placards presenting Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points were prominently displayed. An editorial in Izvestia had stated that "only the Americans know how to treat the Bolsheviks decently." The legacy of Raymond Robins's mission was not altogether spent.
The gathering at the American Consulate General was presided over by the French Consul Grenard. The British were represented by Reilly and by Captain George Hill, a British Intelligence officer who had been delegated to work with Reilly. A number of other Allied diplomatic and secret service agents were present, including the French newspaperman Rene Marchand, the Moscow correspondent of the Paris Figaro.
Sidney Reilly had called the meeting, according to his own account in his memoirs, to report on the progress of his anti-Soviet operations. He informed the Allied representatives that he had "bought Colonel Berzin, the commander of the Kremlin Guard." The Colonel's price had been "two million roubles." An advance of 500,000 rubles in Russian currency had been paid to Colonel Berzin by Reilly; the remainder of the sum was to be paid in English pounds when Colonel Berzin had rendered certain services and had escaped to the British lines in Archangel.
"Our organization is now immensely strong," declared Reilly. "The Letts are on our side, and the people will be with us the moment the first blow is struck!"
Reilly then announced that a special meeting of the Bolshevik Central Committee was to be held at the Moscow Grand Theater on August 28. It would bring together in the same building all the key leaders of the Soviet state. Reilly's plot was bold but simple. . . .
In the course of their regular duty, the Lettish Guards would be stationed at all the entrances and exits of the theater during the Bolshevik meeting. Colonel Berzin would choose for the occasion men "absolutely faithful and devoted to our cause." At a given signal, Berzin's guards would close the doors and cover all the people in the theater with their rifles. Then a "special detachment" consisting of Reilly himself and his "inner circle of conspirators" would leap on the stage and arrest the Central Committee of the Bolshevik Party!
Lenin and the other Soviet leaders would be shot. Before their execution, however, they would be publicly paraded through the streets of Moscow "so that everyone should be aware that the tyrants of Russia were prisoners!"
With Lenin and his associates out of the way, the Soviet regime would collapse like a house of cards. There were "60,000 officers" in Moscow, said Reilly, "who were ready to mobilize immediately the signal was given," and form an army to strike within the city while the Allied forces attacked from without. The man to head this secret anti-Soviet army was the "wellknown Czarist officer, General Yudenitch." A second army under "General" Savinkov would assemble in north Russia and "what remained of the Bolsheviks would be crushed between an upper and nether millstone."
This was Reilly's plot. It had the backing of both the British and the French Intelligence Services. The British were in close touch with General Y udenitch and were preparing to supply him with arms and equipment. The French were backing Savinkov.
The Allied representatives gathered at the American Consulate General were told what they could do to help the conspiracy by espionage, propaganda and by arranging for the blowing-up of vital railroad bridges around Moscow and Petrograd in order to cut off the Soviet Government from any aid which the Red Army might try to bring from other sections of the country. . . .
As the day of the armed coup drew near, Reilly, was meeting regularly with Colonel Berzin, carefully working out every last detail of the plot and making preparations for all possible exigencies. They were drawing up the final plans when they learned that the meeting of the Bolshevik Central Committee had been postponed from August 28 until September 6. "I don't mind that," Reilly told Berzin. "It gives me more time to make my final arrangements." Reilly decided to go to Petrograd to make a last-minute check-up on the apparatus in that city.
A few nights later, traveling by train on the forged passport which identified him as Sidney Georgevitch Relinsky, agent of the Cheka, Reilly left Moscow for Petrograd.
5. Exit Sidney Reilly
In Petrograd, Reilly went straight to the British Embassy to report to Captain Cromie, the British Naval Attaché. Reilly quickly outlined the situation in Moscow, and explained the plan for the uprising. "Moscow is in our hands!" he said. Cromie was delighted. Reilly promised to write out a full report for secret dispatch to London.
The following morning Reilly began getting in touch with the leaders of his Petrograd apparatus. At noon he telephoned the former Ochrana agent, Grammatikov.
Grammatikov's voice sounded hoarse and unnatural. "Who is it?" he asked.
"It's I, Relinsky," said Reilly.
"Who?" asked Grammatikov.
Reilly repeated his pseudonym.
"I have somebody with me who has brought bad news," Grammatikov said abruptly. "The doctors have operated too early. The patient's condition is serious. Come at once if you wish to see me."
Reilly hurried to Grammatikov's house. He found Grammatikov feverishly emptying his desk drawers and burning papers in the fire grate.
"The fools have struck too early!" Grammatikov exclaimed as soon as Reilly entered the room. "Uritsky is dead, assassinated in his office this morning at eleven o'clock!"
As he spoke, Grammatikov went on tearing up papers and burning the pieces. "It is a terrible risk our staying here. I am, of course, already under suspicion. If anything is discovered before anything else it will be your name and mine."
Calling Captain Cromie at the British Embassy, Reilly learned he already knew about the assassination. Uritsky, the head of the Petrograd Cheka, had been shot by a Social Revolutionary terrorist. Everything, however, was in order at Cromie's end. Guardedly, Reilly suggested they meet at the "usual rendezvous." Cromie understood. The "usual rendezvous" was the Balkov Cafe.
Reilly spent the intervening time destroying various incriminating and unnecessary documents, and carefully, hiding his codes and other papers. . . .
Cromie did not show up at the cafe. Reilly decided to risk a visit to the British Embassy. As he left, he whispered a warning to Balkov. "Something may, have gone wrong. Be prepared to leave Petrograd and slip across the frontier into Finland. . . ."
In the Vlademirovsky Prospect, Reilly saw men and women running. They, dove into doorways and side streets. There was the roar of powerful engines. A car shot by, crammed with Red Army men, then another, and another.
Reilly, quickened his pace. He was almost running when he rounded the corner onto the street where the British Embassy was situated. He stopped abruptly,. In front of the Embassy lay several bodies. They were dead Soviet police officials. Four cars were drawn up opposite the Embassy, and across the street was a double cordon of Red Army men. The Embassy door had been battered off its hinges.
"Well, Comrade Relinsky, have you come to see our carnival?"
Reilly spun around to see a young grinning Red Army soldier whom he had met several times in his guise of Comrade Relinskv of the Cheka. "Tell me, comrade, what has happened?" Reilly asked hastily.
"The Cheka were looking for someone called Sidney Reilly," replied the soldier.
Later Reilly learned what had happened. Following the murder of Uritsky, the Soviet authorities in Petrograd had sent Cheka agents to close up the British Embassy. Upstairs, the members of the Embassy staff, under the direction of Captain Cromie, were burning incriminating papers. Captain Cromie dashed downstairs and bolted the door in the faces of the Soviet secret police. They broke down the door, and the desperate British agent met them on the stairs with a Browning automatic in each hand. Cromie shot and killed a commissar and several other officials. The Cheka agents returned his fire. Captain Cromie had fallen, with a bullet through his head. . . .
Reilly spent the rest of that night at the home of a Social Revolutionary terrorist named Serge Dornoski. In the morning he sent Dornoski out to reconnoiter and learn all he could. Dornoski returned with a copy of the official Communist newspaper, Pravda. "The streets will run with blood," he said. "Somebody has had a shot at Lenin in Moscow. Missed him unfortunately!" He handed Reilly the paper. A flaring headline told of the attempt on Lenin's life.
On the previous evening, as Lenin was leaving the Michelson factory, where he had been speaking at a meeting, a Social Revolutionary terrorist named Fanya Kaplan had fired two shots point-blank at the Soviet leader. The bullets had been notched and poisoned. One of them had penetrated Lenin's lung above the heart. The other had entered his neck close to the main artery. Lenin had not been killed, but his life was said to be hanging in the balance.
The gun which Fanya Kaplan had used on Lenin had been given to her by Reilly's accomplice, Boris Savinkov. Subsequently, Savinkov disclosed this fact in his Memoirs of a Terrorist.
With a small automatic pistol strapped under his arm for use in an emergency, Reilly left immediately by train for Moscow. En route the next day, he bought a newspaper at the junction of Klin. The news was the worst possible. There was a detailed account of Reilly's whole conspiracy, including the plan to shoot Lenin and the other Soviet leaders, to seize Moscow and Petrograd, and to set up a military dictatorship under Savinkov and Yudenitch.
Reilly read on with growing dismay. Rene Marchand, the French journalist who had been present at the meeting at the American Consulate General, had informed the Bolsheviks of everything that had transpired there.
But the final blow was yet to come.
Colonel Berzin, the commander of the Lettish Guard, had named Captain Sidney Reilly as the British agent who had tried to bribe him with an offer of two million rubles to join in a plot to murder the Soviet leaders. The Soviet press also published the letter which Bruce Lockhart had given Berzin to pass him through the British lines at Archangel.
Lockhart had been arrested in Moscow by the Cheka. Other Allied officials and agents were being rounded up and taken into custody.
All over Moscow, Reilly's description was pasted up. His various aliases - Massino, Constantine, Relinsky - were published, together with the proclamation of his outlawry. The hunt was on.
In spite of the obvious danger, Reiliy proceeded to Moscow. He located the ballet dancer, Dagmara, at the house of a woman named Vera Petrovna, an accomplice of Lenin's would-be assassin, Fanya Kaplan.
Dagmara told Reilly that her apartment had been raided several days before by the Cheka. She had managed to conceal two million rubles which she had in thousand-ruble notes, part of Reilly's conspiratorial money. The Cheka agents had not arrested her; she did not know why. Perhaps they believed she would lead them to Sidney Reilly.
But with Dagmara's two million rubles at his disposal Reilly was no easy game. Now disguised as a Greek merchant, now an ex-Czarist officer, now a Soviet official, now a rank-and-file Communist worker, he kept on the move, eluding the Cheka.
One day he met his former Moscow aide, Captain George Hill of the British Secret Service, who thus far had also managed to escape the Bolshevik net. The two agents checked lists of names and addresses. Reilly discovered that a sizable portion of his anti-Soviet apparatus was still intact. He felt there was still hope.
But unlike Reilly, Captain Hill thought the game was up. He had heard that an exchange of prisoners was being arranged between the Soviet and British Governments. The Russians were to free Lockhart and others in exchange for the safe passage home of various Soviet representatives, including Maxim Litvinov, whom the British authorities had arrested in England.
"I'm going to give myself up," said Captain Hill, He advised Reilly to do likewise.
Reilly would not admit defeat. "I'll get back without permission of the Redskins," he told Captain Hill. He wagered his accomplice that they would meet in London in the Savoy Hotel two months later.(5)
Railly remained in Russia for several weeks longer, gathering espionage material and advising and encouraging the anti-Soviet elements who were still carrying on. Then, after a series of hairbreath escapes, he made his way by means of a forged German passport to Bergen, Norway. From here, he sailed for England. . . .
Back in London, Captain Reilly reported to his superiors in the British Secret Service. He was full of regrets for lost opportunities. "If Rene Marchand had not been a traitor . . . if Berzin had not shown n the white feather . . , if the Expeditionary Force had advanced quickly on the Vologda... if I Could have combined with Savinkov ..'
But of one thing Reilly was sure. The fact that England was still at war with Germany was a mistake. There must be an immediate cessation of hostilities on the Western Front and a coalition against Bolshevism. Cried Captain Sidney George Reilly: -
"Peace, peace on any terms - and then a united front against the true enemies of mankind!"
1. By firsthand investigation, Raymond Robins and Bruce Lockhart jointly established that many of these anti-Soviet gangster heads, some of whom called themselves Anarchists, were actually financed by the German Military Intelligence to provoke disorders and riots as a pretext for German intervention in Russia.
2. In 1922, the Cheka was abolished and its place taken by the OGPU (the initials of the Russian title meaning United State Political Administration). In 1934, the CGPU was replaced by the NKVD, the Department of Public Security under the Soviet Commissariat of Internal Affairs.
3. In this chapter, and elsewhere in The Great Conspiracy, the authors are making use of the picturesque story of Captain Sidney Reilly as a symbol of the activities of the western anti-Soviet coalition headed at this period by British Toryism and French reaction. While the opinions and actions ascribed to Reilly are his own, it is quite clear that Reilly himself was not in a position to originate policies, but was at this time and later merely the most resolute and audacious instrument of the anti-Soviet conspiracy directed from outside Russia.
4. The assassin of Mirbach was a Social Revolutionary terrorist named Blumkin. He gained admission to the German Embassy by posing as an officer of the Cheka come to warn Mirbach of a plot against his life. The German Ambassador asked Blumkin how the assassins were planning to act. "Like this!" cried Blumkin. He whipped out a pistol and shot the Ambassador. Blumkin escaped by leaping through the window, and was taken away in a waiting car. Some time later the assassin Blumkin became the personal bodyguard of Leon Trotsky. See page 193.
5. Following his return to England. Captain George Hill was assigned by the British Secret Service in 1919 to work as a liaison officer with the White Russian armies of General Anton Denikin during the war of intervention against Soviet Russia. Later, Captain Hill went to Work as a special agent for Sir Henri Deterding, the famous European oil magnate whose obsession was to destroy Soviet Russia and who helped finance Hitler's rise to power in Germany. The British Government subsequently used George Hill on important "diplomatic" assignments in eastern Europe. In 1932 a book by Hill, describing some of his adventures as a spy in Soviet Russia, was published in London. Its title was Go Spy the Land, Being the Adventures of I.K.8 of the British Secret Service.
In the spring of 1945 the Churchill Government selected George Hill, who by then had risen to the position of Brigadier in the British Army, to go as a special envoy into Poland. Brigadier Hill, it was explained, was to serve as a British observer in Poland and was to report back to London on the then troubled Polish situation. The Warsaw Provisional Government, however, would not permit Brigadier Hill to enter Poland.