Anglo-German Fellowship

According to Martin Pugh, the author of Hurrah For The Blackshirts!: Fascists and Fascism in Britain Between the Wars (2006), the Anglo-German Fellowship (AGF) was formed in 1935 following a speech by Prince of Wales that called for a closer understanding of Germany in order to safeguard peace in Europe. Sir Thomas Moore, the Conservative Party MP, responded by suggested setting up a study group of pro-German MPs. It was then decided to open it up to those outside the House of Commons and the Anglo-German Fellowship was established in September 1935 with Wilfrid Ashley (Lord Mount Temple), the former government minister, as chairman and historian Philip Conwell-Evans and merchant banker Ernest Tennant as secretaries.

Other early members included Admiral Sir Barry Domvile, Geoffrey Dawson, Alfred Knox, Diana Mitford, Unity Mitford, David Freeman-Mitford (2nd Baron Redesdale), Douglas Douglas-Hamilton, Hugh Grosvenor, 2nd Duke of Westminster, Charles Vane-Tempest-Stewart, 7th Marquess of Londonderry, Ronald Nall-Cain, 2nd Baron Brocket, Bank of England director Frank Cyril Tiarks, Governor of the Bank of England Montague Norman, and several Tory MPs, such as Sir Peter Agnew, Sir Robert Bird, Robert Tatton Bower, Robert Vaughan Gower, Thomas Guinness, John Macnamara, Norman Hulbert, Archibald James, Assheton Pownall, Frank Sanderson and Duncan Sandys.

Arnold Deutsch, a Soviet intelligence officer, recruited Kim Philby and Guy Burgess, as agents in 1935. He gave them orders to distance themselves from their socialist past. They now attempted to give the impression they were both pro-fascist. Burgess became the parliamentary assistant of Anglo-German Fellowship member, John Macnamara. The two men became lovers. According to Florence Tamagne, the author of A History of Homosexuality in Europe: Berlin, London, Paris 1919-1939 (2004): "In 1935, became the parliamentary assistant of a homosexual young deputy of the far Right, Jack Macnamara, a member of the Anglo-German Fellowship, an association for Nazi sympathizers. Burgess gained the confidence of MacNamara and they organized a series of sex tourist trips abroad, especially to Germany where Macnamara had ties within the Hitler Youth. Burgess managed to be in touch with a number of highly placed homosexuals, like Edouard Pfeiffer, the chief private secretary of Edouard Daladier, War Minister, an agent of the 2nd Office and of MI6. Macnamara and Burgess were invited on several occasions to pleasure parties at Pfeiffer's or to Parisian nightclubs."

Macnamara arranged for Burgess to work for the Anglo-German Fellowship. Andrew Boyle, the author of The Climate of Treason (1979) has pointed out: "The Anglo-German Fellowship, a lose association of Conservative and other well-wishers of Hitler, had been on the lookout for someone qualified to handle their publicity. The offer was too good to refuse, though Burgess remained mysteriously vague as to the nature of his duties."

Kim Philby found work with the Anglo-German Fellowship. According to William E. Duff, the author of A Time for Spies (1999): "In January 1936 an opportunity arose for Philby to tender his resignation from the Review of Reviews to become upon Burgess recommendation, a salaried official of the fellowship. Deutsch approved the move and Kim was soon editing a propaganda sheet that attempted to prove, by using selected extracts from various sources, that the British press was misleading the public over the policies of both the British and German governments. Kim quickly made his presence known as a promising young member of the Anglo-German Fellowship by attending public functions with impressive guest lists, including members of Parliament as well as captains of industry and finance whom the fellowship hoped to influence."

The Anglo-German Fellowship had a close relationship with several important Nazi leaders. This included Joachim von Ribbentrop, Rudolf Hess and General Werner von Blomberg. The pro-Nazi press baron, Lord Rothermere, arranged for Ernest Tennant, the leader of AGF, to meet Adolf Hitler, Konstantin von Neurath, Joseph Goebbels, and Hermann Goering. A Time for Spies

Primary Sources

(1) William E. Duff, A Time for Spies (1999)

When Deutsch returned to London from Moscow in November 1935 one of the tasks he assigned Guy Burgess was to develop data on German influence in Britain. Soon Burgess among other endeavors, became engaged in writing a pamphlet for the Anglo-German Fellowship.

In January 1936 an opportunity arose for Philby to tender his resignation from the Review of Reviews to become upon Burgess recommendation, a salaried official of the fellowship. Deutsch approved the move and Kim was soon editing a propaganda sheet that attempted to prove, by using selected extracts from various sources, that the British press was misleading the public over the policies of both the British and German governments. Kim quickly made his presence known as a promising young member of the Anglo-German Fellowship by attending public functions with impressive guest lists, including members of Parliament as well as captains of industry and finance whom the fellowship hoped to influence.