Guy Burgess at the BBC | The early career of the Cambridge spy
Document Type | Internal Memo
17 February 1941
In this memo explaining why he hasn't signed his contract, Burgess sets out his claim for a higher salary than that offered. He argues not only that he is returning to the BBC with an extra two years' experience under his belt, but also that he has spent the last two years working in broadcasting and propaganda for the government. So, obviously, deserves a pay rise.
Guy Burgess first went to work at the Foreign Office in December 1938 when, with war looming, a new section of the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) was set up. Known as Section D (for destruction), it was concerned with handling subversion and sabotage in enemy-occupied territory. Part of Burgess' job was to arrange for pro-British broadcasts to be made through channels not open to the BBC. He also helped set up a training camp for European civilian saboteurs in Hertfordshire called 'Guy Fawkes College'. Part of the training Burgess introduced there, according to his biographer Tom Driberg, involved watching the Soviet revolutionary film 'Battleship Potemkin'. Burgess was later sacked from the SIS.
The relative merits of three Cambridge graduates are assessed by the university.
A Cambridge don provides a reference for Guy Burgess
An astute assessment of Burgess' strengths and weaknesses by his Cambridge University tutor.
Burgess is pursued for a photograph by an exasperated BBC administrator.
Burgess, as a BBC producer, advises Blunt about speaking on the radio
Burgess recounts his conversation with a mistrustful Churchill.
Burgess fails to clear his desk when he leaves the BBC.
Burgess forgets to sign his BBC staff contract and is unhappy with the salary offered.
The case of the locked door.
A concerned Director of Talks reports on his handling of Burgess and the locked door incident.
Burgess gives his version of events in the case of the locked door.
Burgess insists on travelling first class and claims for visiting the House of Commons.
A revealing insight into Burgess' working day from an exasperated administrator.
Alarm is expressed at Burgess' profligate use of BBC funds for entertaining MPs.
'MPs are expensive to entertain.'
Burgess' case for travelling first class is disputed.
Burgess persists with his claim for first-class travel.
His country needs him: Burgess is required for essential war work.
The head of the Talks Department is reluctant to let Burgess go.
Guy Burgess plans to leave the BBC to join the Foreign Office.
The manner and timing of Burgess' departure from the BBC causes concern.
A summary of Burgess' strengths, weaknesses and suitability for re-employment.
The BBC may have uncovered a clue to Burgess' recent movements.
The BBC and the Foreign Office are called to account for employing Burgess.
This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.