The Russian Assignment
Ian settled in well at Reuters and in April 1933 he was sent to Moscow to cover the Metropolitan-Vickers trial, where six British engineers were found guilty of espionage and sabotage. Fleming’s boss Bernard Rickatson-Hatt sent a telegram to the Moscow office to announce Fleming’s arrival, ‘I AM SENDING YOU IAN FLEMING ONE OF OUR ABLEST YOUNG MEN TO HELP COVERAGE OF TRIAL’, thus marking the start of his first major assignment. Whilst in Moscow, Ian took the opportunity to write to Stalin to try and secure an interview. His request was unsuccessful but his efforts were rewarded with a signed letter of refusal. The assignment also earned him an invitation to report his impressions of the current Soviet situation to the Foreign Office which surely marked his name on records for future intelligence work.