Typed Letter Signed with holograph additions, on 4to "Kemsley House," London, June 16, 1950. Paired with gelatin silver print photograph showing Fleming holding a pistol, 12mo
by FLEMING, IAN
Fleming writes an important association letter to Antony Terry of Kemsley Newspapers, "We had a further meeting at the Foreign Office...at which Seal said that the Foreign Office had gone back completely on its previous promises regarding Berlin. After 1st October rents, secretary, transport, etc., will all have to be paid for in deutsche marks. There are various insignificant concessions in regard to N.A.A.F.I accreditation cards, etc. I made the sternest protest which was seconded notably by 'The Times' and the 'Daily Mail,' but I fear nothing can be done and we shall just have to see how things work out...." Fleming writes the salutation in his own hand and ends the letter, "Yours [well] Ian Fleming." Very boldly signed in ball point pen. Two punch-holes to the left, rust stain from pin in upper left, and creasing at folds, otherwise in good condition. Ian Fleming became Foreign Manager in the Kemsley Newspaper Group in May of 1945, after serving in the British Naval Intelligence during the war. Kemsley owned the "Sunday Times," at which Fleming later became editor. While editor, Fleming ran the "Mercury News Service," the organization wherein he organized the worldwide network of foreign correspondents for the "Sunday Times." Fleming recruited most of the correspondents himself; he hired Antony Terry, a then post-war journalist-spy as a journalist with the "Mercury News Service," working for the "Sunday Times." James Bond was conceived by Ian Fleming while he ran the "Mercury News Service." According to an article "My Secret Life at the Sunday Times," by Mark Edmonds, "Sunday Times," October 14, 2012, Fleming's "work at The Sunday Times…may have had even greater resonances with the milieu of 007; the job almost certainly blurred into the opaque half-light of the intelligence world. What was Fleming up to? What was the real purpose of the extraordinarily large network of correspondents he masterminded and ran from his office in central London? Perhaps in his work at the paper he saw himself not as Bond, but M, the head of MI6." According to this article, taken from previously "unseen files," Fleming's network, was shown visually on the wall of his office with a map of the "Mercury News Service," "the huge nexus he set up to service the whole Kemsley group of newspapers… nerve centre of Fleming operations… ambitious, grandiose plan for world domination that would have done Ernst Stavro Blofeld himself proud." With reference to the content of this letter, in "Ian Fleming," by Andrew Lycett (page 202), it is stated that "Ian's beloved Mercury, his 'raison d'etre' at Kemsley House, was not functioning as well as it should." In the summer of 1949 he "vented his disappointment about the way the group as a whole was functioning" to his chairman. "The Foreign Department… is so out of touch…." In another letter to Antony Terry also in June of 1950, when Terry had moved from Vienna to Berlin, as mentioned in Lycett's book, Fleming admitted "the economics of Mercury are causing grave concern to the Chairman." Ian then hired Ian Lang, editor of the 'Sunday Graphic' in hopes of the Mercury running more efficiently. Also according to Lycett, "Post-war Germany may have emerged as a particularly important news centre, but it was also Mercury's most expensive bureau. So Fleming approached Sir Ivone Kirkpatrick, the Assistant Under Secretary at the Foreign Office, with a proposal to allow accredited newspapermen there to use the diplomatic mark, which enjoyed a favourable exchange rate." He also worked to obtain a visa for a permanent 'Sunday Times' Moscow correspondent which, after four years of his efforts, he succeeded in securing on November 12, 1950. As noted in his announcement in the paper, it had become the only newspaper with a Moscow correspondent. What Lycett presents in his book specifically addresses the discussion of this letter to Terry. He mentions another meeting with the Foreign Office and the expenses of running the Berlin office. Our letter is an important association piece. Fleming, in his capacity as editor of the "Sunday Times," had employed Terry as a full-time correspondent in Berlin. Antony Terry, who had previously worked as an army intelligence office, proved to be a valuable asset. Simultaneously with his journalism, and with Fleming's tacit approval, Terry worked as an agent for the Secret Intelligence Service in Vienna. An intriguing association piece, and during the period of time leading up to the first James Bond book when ideas about espionage would have been percolating through Fleming's mind.
(Inventory #: 4195)
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