Julian Amery

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1919-1996 Julian Amery was a prominent Conservative MP and later, as Lord Amery of Lustleigh, a member of the House of Lords.[1]

Special Operations in the Balkans

As an agent of MI6's Section D in Belgrade in 1941, Amery recruited Albanian exiles in Greece and Turkey to fight the Italians.[2] Along with David Smiley and Neil McLean, Amery made up a group known as 'the musketeers' which favoured Albanian nationalist and royalist groups, which were less reliably anti-Nazi than Enver Hoxha's communists.[3]

Amery still believed that an allied intervention could prevent a communist takeover when he entered Albania with McLean and Smiley in April 1944, as part of the Consensus 11 mission. However, their superiors disagreed and they were forced to abandon their local allies.[4]

Postwar Albania

In 1948, Amery was approached about a possible operation in Albania by Colin Gubbins, who retained a relationship with MI6 in post-war retirement.[5] Amery began lobbying around this idea, claiming that Stalin was using Albania as submarine and rocket base.[6] In a January 1949 article he suggested the Hoxha regime was rope for overthrow, a claim that was disputed by Albanian exiles.[7]

In a March 1949 article in The Nineteenth Century and After Amery called on the defence authorities to embrace 'Resistance' as a branch of warfare, arguing for a reply "to communist revolutions in China, Malaya and Greece by launching insurrections or sabotage campaigns in the Balkans or Turkestan."[8]

Amery and McLean met at Buck's Club in London some weeks later with Frank Wisner who approved American support for an operation in Albania.[9] Amery and McLean then toured the Mediterranean, linking up with their Albanian exile contacts.[10] Although the subsequent Anglo-American operations in Albania were widley regarded as a complete failure, Amery believed that they "forced the Soviets and Albanians to call off the civil war in Greece."[11]

Congress for Cultural Freedom

In June 1950, Amery attended the Berlin Congress for Cultural Freedom as a member of the British delegation, which was funded by the Foreign Office through the Information Research Department.[12] In October, James Burnham wrote to Amery asking him to conciliate Hugh Trevor-Roper and A.J. Ayer who had been critical of the conference proceedings, and to form "a potential nucleus for the Congress in England."[13]

Amery was present at the meeting of the steering committee which created a permanent structure for the Congress for Cultural Freedom (CCF) in November 1950.[14]

Amery was also present at the foundation of the Congress's London affiliate, the British Society for Cultural Freedom at the Authors' Club, Whitehall on 11 January 1950.[15] A meeting of the society's executive in July 1951 noted Amery's intention of keeping 'in touch informally' with the Foreign Office.[16] Amery resigned from the society in January, in a struggle over CCF patronage between Michael Goodwin and Stephen Spender.[17]

British League for European Freedom

In January 1952, Amery was a delegate of the British League for European Freedom at a Church House conference of Eastern European exile groups organised by the European Movement. Stephen Dorril suggests that the presence of ACUE and NCFE observers indicates the conference was funded by the CIA.[18]

Iran

In March 1952, Amery was approached by the Iranian aristocrat Qavam Saltaneh, who said he was prepared to act against Prime Minister Mossadegh with support from the British Government.[19]

Egypt

Prior to the overthrow of King Farouk in 1952, Amery passed Anthony Eden a tip-off from a British military instructor that a group of Egyptian officers was ready to seize power, but his assessment was contradicted by MI6[20] Amery went on to become a member of the 'Suez Group' of Tory MPs formed in 1953 to oppose any change in Britain's relationship with Egypt.[21] As Secretary of the Suez group, Amery was involved in discreet contacts with Egyptian opponents of Nasser, including members of the Muslim Brotherhood. His favoured candidate to replace Nasser was Prince Abdul Monheim.[22]

Muscat

As Under-Secretary for War in January 1958, visited Muscat to discuss the prospect for a fresh assault on the rebels then fighting the Sultan. After consulting David Smiley he proposed an innovative solution: sending in the SAS under cover of a training mission.[23]

Cyprus

As Colonial Minister in 1958, Amery persuaded George Young and John Bruce-Lockhart that MI6 should join in the fight against EOKA in Cyprus.[24] MI6 intelligence was subsequently credited with a key role in enabling Amery to negotiate the 1959 agreement which allowed for a continued British military presence in an independent Cyprus.[25]

Yemen

Following a Nasserite coup in Yemen in September 1962, Amery met with King Hussein of Jordan and agreed to send Neil McLean to report on the situation.[26] on 7 January 1963, Amery took part in the Cabinet Overseas and Defence Committee which considered McLean's findings and rejected any move to recognise the new regime, a position which put Britain at odds with the United States.[27]

Harold Macmillan gave Amery the remit to organise covert support for the royalists. In late March 1963, he met at White's with Neil McLean, David Stirling, Col Brian Franks and Alec Douglas-Home to organise an unofficial mercenary operation. He subsequently introduced Stirling, McLean and Col. Jim Johnson to the royalist foreign minister Ahmed al-Shami.[28]

In June 1963, Amery introduced McLean to Prince Faisal and Prince Sultan of Saudi Arabia, with a view to Saudi support for the proposed operation.[29]

Congo

According to Stephen Dorril, Amery was active in the 'Katanga lobby' which supported British uranium interests in the Congo.[30]

Affiliations

Connections

Notes

  1. Julian Amery dies, The Independent, 4 September 1996.
  2. Stephen Dorril, MI6, Touchstone 2002, p.356.
  3. Stephen Dorril, MI6, Touchstone 2002, p.357.
  4. Stephen Dorril, MI6, Touchstone 2002, pp.359-360.
  5. Stephen Dorril, MI6, Touchstone 2002, p.364.
  6. Stephen Dorril, MI6, Touchstone 2002, p.365.
  7. Stephen Dorril, MI6, Touchstone 2002, p.366.
  8. Stephen Dorril, MI6, Touchstone 2002, p.370.
  9. Stephen Dorril, MI6, Touchstone 2002, p.371.
  10. Stephen Dorril, MI6, Touchstone 2002, p.372.
  11. Stephen Dorril, MI6, Touchstone 2002, p.402.
  12. Frances Stonor Saunders, Who Paid the Piper, Granta Books, 2000, p.76.
  13. Hugh Wilford, Calling the Tune? The CIA, the British Left and the Cold War, Frank Cass, 2003, p.195.
  14. Frances Stonor Saunders, Who Paid the Piper, Granta Books, 2000, p.88.
  15. Hugh Wilford, Calling the Tune? The CIA, the British Left and the Cold War, Frank Cass, 2003, p.196.
  16. Hugh Wilford, Calling the Tune? The CIA, the British Left and the Cold War, Frank Cass, 2003, p.198.
  17. Frances Stonor Saunders, Who Paid the Piper, Granta Books, 2000, p.110.
  18. Stephen Dorril, MI6, Touchstone 2002, pp.446-447.
  19. Stephen Dorril, MI6, Touchstone 2002, p.572.
  20. Stephen Dorril, MI6, Touchstone 2002, p.601.
  21. Stephen Dorril, MI6, Touchstone 2002, p.603.
  22. Stephen Dorril, MI6, Touchstone 2002, pp.628-629.
  23. Stephen Dorril, MI6, Touchstone 2002, p.663.
  24. Stephen Dorril, MI6, Touchstone 2002, p.554.
  25. Stephen Dorril, MI6, Touchstone 2002, pp.556-557.
  26. Stephen Dorril, MI6, Touchstone 2002, p.679.
  27. Stephen Dorril, MI6, Touchstone 2002, p.683.
  28. Stephen Dorril, MI6, Touchstone 2002, p.684.
  29. Stephen Dorril, MI6, Touchstone 2002, p.687.
  30. Stephen Dorril, MI6, Touchstone 2002, p.685.