R.D. Foot, who wrote the official history of SOE, died last week (20th February). In his obituary in the Daily Telegraph [Read More]
we find the following two paragraphs:
"The genesis of Foot's classic account SOE in France (1966) was almost as clandestine as its subject. In 1958 the Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan, authorized the inception of research, but it was not until two years later that Foot was invited to an interview in the Foreign Office. Even then, it was only after an hour-long grilling that he was asked whether he would like to take on such a project.
There were, his interviewers told him, some conditions: he was not allowed to tell anyone what he was doing -- not even his wife. He was, furthermore, to write his account on the assumption that MI6 did not exist,
and without the knowledge or co-operation of the men and women involved."Thus, Claude Dansey's successors succeeded in covering up MI6's treachery by ensuring that a false history of SOE was written,
based on files now back under MI6 control (and the probably false claim that certain files had been lost or burnt) , and without the knowledge of former SOE people.
As this recent obituary shows, Marshall's claim, twenty years after Foot's "classic account", that Dansey, Boddington, and MI6 deliberately betrayed SOE's Prosper network, still remains a potentially explosive issue.
All The King's Men is one of those books which are perhaps even more resonant with a reader today than when they were published.