Sir Dick White, Former Head of MI5-MI6 Secret Services, Dead
Feb. 22, 1993
LONDON (AP) _ Sir Dick White, former chief of the British secret services whose job was the model for ''M'' in Ian Fleming's books on James Bond, died at his Sussex home, his family announced Monday. He was 86.
White, who died Sunday, had been ill with intestinal cancer most of the past year.
In the shadowy world of the secret services, White was one of the most powerful and least-known government servants until his cover was blown in 1967 by the Saturday Evening Post magazine.
At that time White was head of MI6, the British service responsible for intelligence services overseas.
In those days British newspapers tended not to publish the names of intelligence chiefs because they were protected by D-Notices - a system of government requests for secrecy that the newspapers honored voluntarily.
The Evening Post scoop was relayed to British newspapers, which quoted from the article and disclosed that the head of MI5 was Sir Martin Furnival-Jones.
Dick Goldsmith White was educated at Bishop's Stortford College in Hertfordshire and Oxford University's Christ Church College. He also attended the University of Michigan and the University of California.
During World War II he served as a colonel and worked with Gen. Eisenhower's Supreme Allied Headquarters.
He was appointed leader of the team ordered to investigate reports of Adolf Hitler's death and took a team into Berlin to determine if the German dictator was dead.
The team uncovered a diary belonging to Hitler's valet and later a will that was authenticated as signed by Hitler. It also conducted lengthy interviews with survivors from the bunker where Hitler died and pieced together the dictator's final hours.
After the war White disappeared into the closed world of postwar intelligence, with MI5 - Britain's counter-espionage agency. In 1956 he moved on to head MI6 - the job made famous as the fictional ''M.''
He was in command when the treachery of British double agents Guy Burgess, Donald McLean and Kim Philby was uncovered - scandals that seriously damaged Britain's relations with the Central Intelligence Agency.
He was one of the men who knew that Sir Anthony Blunt, art adviser to Queen Elizabeth II, was the ''Fourth Man.'' Blunt confessed his treason in 1964 but received immunity in exchange for information on the three others. Blunt was exposed publicly in 1979, four years before his death.
After White's retirement, he was criticized for helping several spy authors with books but the government decided against taking any action.
He was made Knight Commander of the British Empire in 1955, and Knight Commander of the Order of St. Michael and St. George in 1960.
Survivors among he and his wife, Kathleen, who had four children, Adrian, Frances, Jenny and Stephen, were not immediately known nor were funeral plans announced.