Yuri Ivanovich Sum,
INT: So how...
YM: Yes, yes, it's all very old method, you know. (Laughs) I'm not speaking about any new machines which make the life of a spy or intelligence officer easier. No. I wasn't wasn't been able to use them at all.
INT: So what did you do - write everything down, or how...?
YM: No, I filmed them. (Pause) I filmed them. That's it.
INT: Now when it comes to the processing of all this information, when all this gets back to Moscow, for instance, there must be an enormous amount of information coming...
YM: Enormous, yes. Well, you know, the point is that..., at first there were very experienced intelligence officers working in this... in the intelligence station, and I've translated this, some of them, and they showed me, "That is important, that is important, that is not important." And, you know, in a very short period of time, because I was always dealing with the international relations, with political problems and all that, I've got an ability to knew what is important and what is not important; so without any help from anyone I knew what is needed for our leadership, and I've tried to think and to behave as our leaders, in my view, ought to behave. And so, generally speaking, they've got what they wanted.
INT: And who did the information go to? Again, perhaps you can name the names of the three main people who received the processed...
YM: Oh, yes, I reported that to the pure intelligence section, which was... of which I was a member.
INT: And where did the information go from there? I'm thinking particularly...
YM: (Overlap) Yes, yes, but there are information officers who were... trying to correct what I've written or what I've... translated, and they publish it and send it to the leadership. That's that - it's simple. (Laughs)
INT: So is it true that it was Stalin, Molotov and Beria who would receive copies of the...?
YM: Three, yes, they've received the most important one, the most important one.
INT: Perhaps you can just tell us on camera, then, who were the three who received... because my questions will be taken out of the programme. So if I said to you: where did the information go finally?
YM: Well, I send it to the centre, to Moscow, to Lubyanka, as... (Laughs) you call it, and there are specialists there, information officers, who decided to whom to send - maybe to dozens of men, maybe to five, maybe to seven, maybe to three, maybe to one. There were documents which were sent only to Stalin, and that's that. And then the rest is just mechanical work, you know.
INT: Now can you tell me, what in your view makes... what characteristics make a good spy? Is it like the fiction, the James Bond figure?
YM: Oh, well, it's very difficult for me to say that, because I've been working with them at the earlier period, when we had no... no help from anyone. We even haven't got a car. I haven't got a car; I've got in the later years. And it... you know, James Bond never worked too mu... too much, and you know, he drived mostly. And the younger intelligence officers of my service also tried and used to drive in cars. I never did it, because I ever believe in the car; I thought that the most safe and the most reliable thing is my legs. It... I paid for that very much, because sometimes here have been just blood when I returned home; but you know, it helped: I never was caught. And I thought that if someone will use these methods and wouldn't... and would spend a certain time - not an hour, not two hours, but something more - he would be absolutely... can be sure that he wouldn't be caught.
INT: I think a lot of people imagine that a spy's life
is very glamorous.
YM: Oh, no, no, it's not. As far as my intelligence service is concerned, no. Well... that's what I want to say: I wanted to say something unpleasant for my colleagues, some of my colleagues - not all, some of them - but I wouldn't.
INT: Right. Let's just go back a little bit now, if we may, and then I shall pick up one or two points in a moment. I'd like to go back in time to the war years themselves, and ask you: how much did Russian intelligence know about the British and American work on the atom bomb?
YM: You know, it's very difficult for me to say that, because it was some different department. I knew about all this, just because I've read at the time, during the war, read the dossier on Cairncross, and when I came to the one passage in which it was said that he was the first who warned that the British and Americans are doing a great research on this subject, about atomic energy, and that led our country, our leadership, to organise..., well, the working in this sphere. But I can't say you anything more detailed. As a matter of fact, a couple of years ago I and a group of my colleague(s), all old men, we have been invited to America, and we went to... we've been everywhere in America, we've been there for months; but we have been invited to Los Alamos, you know (Laughs), the place where all this had been done. At the (unclear) was my friend, Volodya, Barkovsky, tak?, who was...who does know this problem much better than I do, because he understands all these problems and he knows how it was done. I don't know, really.
INT: But when Truman spoke to Stalin in person at the Potsdam Conference...
YM: Potsdam, yes...
INT: ... and said, "We have a bomb we're about to use," Stalin was not surprised.
YM: No reaction. (Laughs) No, Stalin... he's a clever man (Laughs), as a matter of fact. He didn't react. I think it's all right.
INT: But he must have known about...
YM: Certainly, certainly. He knew absolutely everything - no doubt about that.