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The Blunt Affair: No enquiry, says Thatcher

Anthony Blunt, the sell-confessed British spy whose treachery was exposed last week. will not be the subject of a public inquiry. This followed a debate in the House of Com- mons where most Members agreed an in- quiry would serve no useful purpose. (Full story on page 3) The Blunt Affair: No enquiry, says Thatcher The British Government has ruled out a full-scale enquiry into the scandal surrounding Anthony Blunt, who remained Queen Elizabeth's arts adviser for 15 years after confessing he had been a Soviet spy. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher told Parliament that, contrary to previous reports, security chiefs did not leave government leaders in the dark on the spying of Blunt. Resisting dem-/ ands for a public inqui- ry Into security leaks| and the shielding of known Soviet Agents,| Mrs. Thatcher said her} : three immediate predecessors as Prime Minister knew of Blunt's 1964 confes- sion of passing British counterintelligence in- formation to the Rus-| sians during World War ML. : The shielding of Blunt for 15 years after he was granted immunity in exchange for his confes- sion has caused wides- pread outrage, and claims that he was protected be- cause he belonged to the upper-class establish- ment, “Thare is no doubt that British interests were seriously damaged by his activities,” Mrs. Thatcher said in a statement lead- ing off a parliamentary debate, but she added it was unlikely British lives or military operations were endangered. She rejected sugges- tions that security offi- cials had acted improperly, but said she has given instructions to be fully informed of any important security devel- opmants and the granting of any immunities. Blunt came out of hiding last week and told a selected group of repor- ters he acted out of “palit- ical conscience” and had given the Russians no- thing of major value, Spies Fled Mrs. Thatcher said other persons besides Blunt were investigated in connection with the Guy Burgess, Donald Macle- an, Kim Philby spy scan- dal of the 1950s and 60s, and that a number “left the public service or were transferred to work which did not involve access to classified information.” TO The London Gazette of ‘Thursday, 15th November 1979 Phblished by Authority FRIDAY, 16Tn NOVEMBER 1979 CENTRAL CHANCERY OF THE ORDERS OF KNIGHTHOOD St. James's Palace, London 5.4.1 léth November 1979 The Queen has directed that the appointment of Professor Sit Anthony Frederick Blunt to be 2 Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order dated 31st Moy 1956 shall be cancelled and annulled and that his name shall be erased from the Register of the said Order. Sir Anthony Blunt stripped of his title — the London Gazette announcing the Queen's decision. She refused to give names or numbers. One former intalli- gence official nas said as many as sight persons were involved in the case of the three spies, who all fled to the Soviet Union, “| am satisfied that all appropriate steps were taken to safeguard na- tional security,” Mrs. Thatcher said. The Prime Minister said the security services have “no evidence which could be the basis of prosecution against Blunt.” and the distin- guished art professor had given valuable informa- tion to security authori- ties about Burgess, Maclean and Philby and about Soviet intelligence activity. She said former prime ministers James Callaghan, Harold Wilson and Edward Heath, and Queen Elizabeth Il with Royal Art Curator Blunt in 1959 the Home Secretary to Prime Minister. Alec Douglas Home—wha was in. office when Blunt confessed—all knew of the confession immunity. Lord Home denied knowledge of Blunt's ac- tivitias. His Home Secre- tary, Henry Brooke, denied it at first but re- called it when his memory was refreshed, Mrs. Thatcher said. Outrage On the question of whether Queen Elizabeth Il was informed of Blunt's confession, Mrs. Thatch- ef gave only a partial an- swer. Part of the public outrage had centred on Biunt's Keeping his 1956 Knighthood and honor- ary post as art adviser af- ter his treason became kina rt. Mrs. Thatcher said the Queen's Private Se- cretary was told Blunt might confess, “asked what action the Queen was advised to take if Blunt confessed.” and was told “that the Queen was advised to take no ac- tion. “Any action would of course have alerted Blunt's former Russian controllers and others who were already under Suspicion, to the fact that he had confessed and could be providing infor- mation to our security au- thorities,” Mrs. Thatcher added.