Phil Kitchin at the Dom Post reports:
Forty years after he was acquitted of spying, electrifying new evidence has emerged showing that top government official Bill Sutch was a KGB recruit working under the codename “Maori”.
The Dominion Post has obtained copies of official KGB records that show Sutch was a 24-year veteran recruit of the feared Soviet spy agency when he was arrested while meeting a KGB agent at an Aro Valley park, in Wellington, in 1974.
I’m not surprised, but nice to finally have it proven.
But his daughter says the evidence does not match her father and maintains he was not involved with the Soviets.
The file with New Zealand material in it says the KGB recruited an “ex-high ranking official in state machinery” who was born in 1907, obtained a PhD and retired in 1965.
That profile is a perfect match to Sutch who was born in June 1907, held a PhD and retired as the head of the Department of Industries and Commerce in 1965.
The KGB thumbnail sketch says the agent was “recruited in 1950,” given the codename Maori and was “in contact with Drozhzhin”.
Sutch therefore appears to have been recruited in New York as he was secretary-general of New Zealand’s United Nations delegation there from 1947 to 1951.
At the time Sutch was working for the Soviet Union, they were a totalitarian murdering regime that jailed and killed political dissidents. He was a horrible traitor.
However he was an apologist and supporter of a murdering Stalinist regime. That makes him a man of incredible flawed and warped judgement regardless of whether or not he was a spy.
The SIS files on him are worth a read. He once described himself as a “Stalinist” and opposed NZ entry into WWII (the speculation being because of the German-USSR peace treaty) until the USSR became an ally.
Even after Stalin was denounced by Krushchev, Sutch defended Stalin’s actions on the grounds of economic necessity. He also disregarded instructions from the NZ Govt and voted in UN bodies with eastern bloc countries against his own Government’s wishes. He also thought the USSR invasion of Hungary was justified. …
So as I said, he may or may not have spied for the USSR. But he was a dedicated supporter of it and apologist for it. In my eyes that is like the difference between having worked for the Nazis, or defending what the Nazis did – neither are testaments of good character.
A very flawed man.