Jewish terrorist attempts to assassinate Winston Churchill & Ernest Bevin

Security Service release: Subjects of Security Service Enquiry


Possible Jewish terrorist attempts to assassinate Ernest Bevin, Foreign Secretary (KV2/3428) 31/10/1945 – 17/08/1946

This file details possible Jewish terrorist attempts to assassinate Ernest Bevin, Foreign Secretary at the time, including a threat from terrorist groups operating outside of Palestine. The file includes detailed security planning for Bevin’s visit to Egypt in 1946. One report states that the likelihood of an attempt on Bevin’s life should he visit Egypt was ‘almost a topic of household conversation in the Middle East’.

Alert was heightened by the bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, July 1946, in which 91 people died. It was said there was reliable information that the terrorists also planned to target other members of Her Majesty’s Government and highly placed British political personalities, including Winston Churchill.

The file suggests the plot to assassinate Bevin may have been in response to his speech at the Labour Party conference in Bournemouth which had caused ‘considerable bitterness amongst the Jewish community in Palestine’.

File KV2/3428 is available to view on Discovery.

Stanislaw Kot (KV 2/3429-3431) 05/09/1940 – 19/09/1958

A history professor at the University of Cracow in the 1920s and 1930s and leading member of the Polish Peasants’ Party, Kot became a Minister in the Polish Government-in-exile, established in France in 1939 and subsequently based in UK. In this capacity he held a number of important posts: Deputy to Prime Minister Sikorsky, Interior Minister, Minister for Information and Ambassador in Moscow (1941-1942) and Rome (1946-1948). This file presents a vivid picture of the personalities, their factions and rivalries and the political issues with which Kot was involved at the time.

File KV2/3429 is available to view on Discovery.

Cyril Vernon Connolly (KV2/3436) 25/10/1940 – 30/01/1955

Editor of ‘Horizon’, an influential literary magazine, Connolly was a member of the circle which included the Soviet agents, Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean. The file deals with the Security Service’s response to articles Connolly wrote for The Sunday Times following the disappearance of Maclean and Burgess in 1951. The Security Service admits that the articles are ‘fairly correct’ in their assessment of Maclean and Burgess but ‘since much information as there is has been restricted to the narrowest official circles a more probable explanation is that by a series of shrewd surmises Connolly has come close to the truth’. ‘The detailed nature of the content of Connolly’s first article on Burgess and Maclean suggests that, while he undoubtedly knew both missing diplomats personally to some extent he has also had the confidence of other members of the Burgess and Maclean circle.’

Connolly worked with Stephen Spender, one of Burgess’ intimates, on Horizon and lived with Philip Toynbee, one of Maclean’s close friends. The file contains transcripts of telephone conversations involving Connolly made from Toynbee’s phone in which he discusses rumours circulating around Burgess and Maclean’s disappearance. Others mentioned include artist, Lucien Freud, and poet, W H Auden.

File KV2/3436 is available to view on Discovery.

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