Igor Gouzenko was born in Russia on 13th January, 1922. He worked as a cipher clerk in the Russian Legation in Ottawa, Canada. This was only a cover as he was really a KGB intelligence officer. According to Benjamin de Forest Bayly: "The military attaché at the Soviet embassy got Gouzenko to decode one of his messages because he didn't feel like doing it himself. When Gouzenko decoded it he saw it was instructions for him to be sent back to the Soviet Union, because he wasn't trusted." His wife advised him to: "Go into the vault and steal every secret thing you can put your hands on, and change the combination on the vault and lock the door. It'll take six weeks for the Russians to send somebody over to chisel the door of the safe open to find out you've taken all these things. Turn yourself over to the Canadians."
In September 1945, William Stephenson, the head of British Security Coordination, was told that Gouzenko wanted to defect. Gouzenko later wrote: "During my residence in Canada, I have seen how the Canadian people and their government, sincerely wishing to help the Soviet people sent supplies to the Soviet Union, collected money for the welfare of the Russian people, sacrificing the lives of their sons in the delivery of supplies across the ocean - and instead of gratitude for the help rendered, the Soviet government is developing espionage activity in Canada, preparing to deliver a stab in the back to Canada - all this without the knowledge of the Russian people."
Stephenson arranged for Gouzenko to be taken into protective custody. He was then transfered to Camp X, where he and his wife lived in guarded seculusion. Later two former BSC agents interviewed him. He claiming he had evidence of an Soviet spy ring based in Britain. The case was passed on to Kim Philby, head of Section IX (Soviet Affairs) of MI6. He suggested that Gouzenko should be interviewed by Roger Hollis of MI5.
Gouzenko provided evidence that led to the arrest of 22 local agents and 15 Soviet spies in Canada. Information from Gouzenko resulted in the arrest and conviction of Klaus Fuchs and Allan Nunn May. Gouzenko also claimed that there was a Soviet agent inside MI5. However, he was later to argue that Hollis showed little interest in this evidence. "The mistake in my opinion in dealing with this matter was that the task of finding the agent was given to MI5 itself. The results even beforehand could be expected to be nil."
Bill Macdonald, the author of The True Intrepid: Sir William Stephenson and the Unknown Agents (2001), has argued: "He (Gouzenko) is regarded as the most important defector of the era, and his revelations are often regarded as the beginning of the Cold War." Gouzenko also published a novel, The Fall of Titan (1960), about life in the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin, which won the Governor-General of Canada's Prize for Literature.