Guy Burgess at the BBC | The early career of the Cambridge spy

Memo quoting a recommendation for Burgess

A Cambridge don provides a reference for Guy Burgess

BBC ARCHIVE
WRITTEN DOCUMENT
1935

[Page 1 of 1]

BBC Internal Circulating Memo

Subject: Mr. Guy Burgess

From: C.(P) C. G. Graves [Controller Programmes]

To: C.(A) B. E. Nicolls [Controller Admin]

In a letter which I had from George Trevelyan this morning he writes as follows:

"I believe a young friend of mine, Guy Burgess, late a scholar of Trinity, is
applying for a post in the B.B.C. He was in the running for a Fellowship in
History, but decided (correctly I think) that his bent was for the great world
- politics, journalism, etc. etc. - and not academic. He is a first rate man,
and I advise you if you can to try him. He has passed through the
communist measles that so many of our clever young men go through, and is well
out of it. There is nothing second rate about him and I think he would prove a
great addition to your staff."

[Signed] C. Graves
December 5th, 1935


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Document Type | Internal Memo

05 December 1935

Document version

Writtenin

1935

Synopsis

This internal memo from the Controller of Programmes, Cecil Graves, to the Administration Controller quotes from a favourable reference for Burgess by the eminent historian (and Graves' personal friend) Professor George Trevelyan. The academic correctly gauges Burgess' suitability for a journalistic role, but judges that his interest in communism has passed.

Did you know?

The period between 1933 and 1939 saw a great deal of political upheaval, from the Depression to the rise of fascism and the spread of communism. There was growing concern about the possibility of another world war, although fewer than 20 years had passed since the Great War in which over 13 million died. Young people in particular were questioning the existing political order. Interest in Marxism was widespread and, inevitably, academic environments were the places where such debate took place.

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