Coward’s handler was Cary Grant, the British born Hollywood star, known to have close links to intelligence services on both sides of the Atlantic.
The 43 year old playwright, who worked in the strictest secrecy, was vilified by a furious British press who assumed he was staying in America as a ruse to avoid the war.
Ironically, he was also being monitored by the FBI which disapproved of British agents operating in a still neutral country.
In a letter to a Vansittart dated August 21th, 1940, a very frustrated but rather naive Coward writes: “Would it be possible to tell the state department the truth, which is that I was sent over by the Ministry of Information to work, with your approval, at gauging various cross sections of American opinion and reporting on it? I think I should be only too delighted to register as a Government agent and I think it would do away with a lot of the false rumour and wild surmise. I am most definitely not over here on personal business.
Can anyone find Bogie in that top photo? I did!
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