Book Says KGB Used Freemasonry To Penetrate Secret Service
The Associated Press
Thursday, PM cycle
26 January 1984
LONDON - A book published today says the Soviet KGB used Freemasonry to get spies into top British intelligence jobs, and that its biggest success was the naming of the late Sir Roger Hollis as head of MI5 counter-intelligence in 1956.
The book says the KGB instructed spies to become Freemasons, then exploited what author Stephen Knight calls Freemasonry's "jobs for the brethren" network to place spies in senior positions in MI5 and the MI6 Secret Intelligence Service.
Knight says in the book, "The Brotherhood: The Secret World of the Freemasons," that he believes Hollis become a member of the secret society when he worked for a tobacco company in Shanghai in China in the 1930s.
Knight's book says Hollis was initially rejected by MI5 on grounds of health and talent, but then was accepted in the service by a fellow Freemason and enjoyed a rapid series of promotions.
Hollis was director-general of MI5 from 1956-65. Chapman Pincher, defense specialist of the London newspaper, the Daily Mail, created a furor in March 1981 when he charged in his book, "Their Trade Is Treachery," that Hollis was a Soviet agent.
Knight says he has a copy of a secret memorandum warning of the dangers of KGB infiltration of Freemasonry, written in 1981 by a British diplomat who worked with MI6 for nearly 20 years. He does not name the diplomat.
The book says the memorandum notes it is inconceivable Freemasonry could be persuaded to act to Soviet advantage, but presents many chances for covert exploitation.
Previous books by the 32-year-old author include "Jack the Ripper: the Final Solution," which alleges a cover-up by Freemasons over Victorian London's notorious murderer of prostitutes. The murderer was never caught.
Freemasonry is an international society espousing brotherliness, charity and mutual aid. It is known as the Free and Accepted Masons, the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, or simply as the Masons in the United States.
With more than 6 million adherents, it is believed the largest secret society in the world.
Freemasons claim roots going back to antiquity. But reference books say the order probably derives from English and Scottish fraternities of stonemasons and cathedral builders in the Middle Ages.
The exclusively male society, which insists members guard absolute secrecy, is organized in self-governing national authorities known as Grand Lodges. Reference books say the first Grand Lodge is believed to have opened in London in 1717 and that others opened in other European countries in 1800.
Freemasons number prominent men from many walks of life in their ranks. The Duke of Kent, the cousin of Queen Elizabeth II, is the head of English Freemasonry. He was installed with the title Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England in 1967.
Many leading members of the American Revolution also were members, including George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock and Paul Revere.