Klop: Britain's Most Ingenious Secret Agent
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Klop Ustinov was Britain's most ingenious secret agent, but he wasn't authorised to kill. Instead, he was authorised to tell tall tales, bemusing and beguiling his enemies into revealing their deepest, darkest secrets. From the Russian Revolution to the Cold War, he bluffed and tricked his way into the confidence of everyone from Soviet commissars to Gestapo Gruppenführer. In Klop: Britain's Most Ingenious Secret Agent, journalist Peter Day brings to life a man descended from Russian aristocrats and Ethiopian princesses but who fancied himself the perfect Englishman. His codename was U35 but his better-known nickname 'Klop' meant 'bedbug', a name given to him by a very understanding wife on account of his extraordinary capacity to hop from one woman's bed to another in the service of the King. Frequenting the social gatherings of Europe in the guise of innocent bon viveur, he displayed a showman's talent for entertaining (a trait his son, the actor Peter Ustinov, undoubtedly inherited), holding a captive audience and all the while scavenging secrets from his unsuspecting companions. Klop was masterful at gathering truth by telling a story; this is his.
awkward’ customer. John maintains that he drew Putlitz’s attention to the fact that he was still technically a British citizen despite his adherence to his new political masters’ doctrine.356 Otto John apparently neglected to inform his superiors of these potentially treasonable discussions, although he kept his British handlers aware of them. He also briefed his old boss, Sefton Delmer, when he came to visit in 1954 intent on writing a series for the Daily Express entitled: ‘How Dead is Hitler?’
hymnbook. The children grew up with Russian nannies, Arab servants and guests who spoke French, German and English.9 He attended a high school in Jerusalem but when he reached the age of thirteen it was decided to send him away to the gymnasium in Düsseldorf to take his Abitur, the German equivalent of the International Baccalaureate. His younger brother Peter followed in his footsteps. Lodgings were obtained for Klop in the home of a retired Hauptmann (army captain) and his wife. According to
anti-Nazi, they were politically conservative or right wing, credentials which would have appealed to the Western Allied governments as they contemplated the future of Europe, after unconditional surrender by Germany, and the increasingly obvious aspirations of the Soviet Union to extend Communist control. They were a more attractive proposition than the likes of Otto John, whose co-conspirators were thought to have social democrat and left-wing sympathies. Speidel returned to the Western Front
seem to have thought any the worse of her for it. One MI5 officer, Kenneth Younger, commented that there were half a dozen women and scores of men who deserved a reprimand for their part in the quarrel but he did not believe Moura would deliberately do Britain harm. Downing Street was less sanguine. Without alluding to his own role in the previous conspiracy, Desmond Morton wrote to MI5 director Sir David Petrie complaining about ‘this appalling woman’ who was a perfect terror at intrigue in
Maltzan was determined to get in ahead of him. On the face of it, Britain was trying to bring down the Bolshevik regime, while Germany was trying to establish good relations with them, in spite of their ideological differences. It was not so straightforward.25 Klop was a natural candidate for recruitment. He had strong personal reasons to go to Russia: he had lost touch with his parents and his sister. Early in the war they had corresponded through his mother’s younger sister Katia, who was in