Alexander Rado

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'Rote Drei' agent files

Alexander Rado (KV 2/1647-1649)

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Rado was the GRU intelligence officer living under cover in Switzerland who from 1936-1943 controlled the Rote Drei spy ring, with the aid of his wife Helene. At the end of the War, the Rados left Switzerland for Paris, while the Soviets agitated for his return (Rado had been fiddling the books and misusing funds the Soviets had supplied for the use of the Rote Drei). He was deported to the Soviet Union, and tried to defect to the British en route in Cairo, but was sent on to Russia, where he was sent to the Gulag. His wife remained in Paris after Rado's departure.

KV 2/1647 records how the Rados first came to Security Service notice in 1929, when Helene wrote to a British communist whose correspondence was being watched under a Home Office warrant. Several further items of correspondence were intercepted in the same way, but it was not until after Alexander Rado arrived in Egypt, and had been interrogated by SIME and handed over to the Egyptian authorities, that a report from Kim Philby at the Secret Intelligence Service to the Security Service made it clear that Rado was the former controller of the Rote Drei spy ring. A copy of the SIME interrogation report is on the file, along with Philby's note. The file goes on to record great dissatisfaction with SIME's handling of the case in London. The remainder of the file chiefly concerns Helene Rado and her attempts to gain entry to Britain so that she could stay with her sister. The file contains two photographs of Helene Rado (one attached to her application for entry), and one of Alexander Rado.

KV 2/1648 (1949-1951) contains further intercepted correspondence, and the records of other unprofitable attempts to move the case forward (such as the report of an extremely unproductive interview with Helene Rado in Paris).

The SIME papers on the conduct of the Rado interrogation can be found in KV 2/1649 (1945-1946, plus a 1966 article). This includes the interviews carried out by SIME with Rado, reports of his two attempted suicides (one where he attempted to slash his wrists and neck with a safety razor, and one where he tried to seize the gun of one of his guards) and his intercepted correspondence while in the transit camp.