9. Philby warned Maclean and Burgess of the plans of the Foreign Office
After learning the Foreign Office intended to confront Maclean on May 28, 1951, Philby warned his fellow spies in London. Burgess and Maclean departed Britain on Friday, May 25, by taking a day cruise across the English Channel to France. Day cruise tickets allowed the two to remain in St Malo, France, for several hours without requiring passports. On arrival in France, they traveled by a combination of taxis and trains to Paris, and then on to Berne, Switzerland. There, by prior arrangements organized by KGB agent Modin, they were welcomed in the Soviet Embassy. At first the Soviets, awaiting Maclean but unaware Burgess accompanied him, were unsure what to do with the latter spy. Eventually, both Englishmen were equipped with the proper papers allowing them to travel as Soviet diplomats.
From Berne they went to Zurich, from whence they flew to Prague, safely within the Soviet zone of influence. Within days the two former spies appeared before their KGB masters in Moscow. When Maclean failed to report to work on Monday, May 28, British intelligence agents immediately raised concerns over whether he had fled to the Soviets. Within hours, they became aware Burgess too had vanished. Anthony Blunt spent several days that week erasing evidence of the pair’s flight, as well as evidence which incriminated Cairncross and Philby. Burgess and Maclean had long been sloppy with classified documents, and Blunt later claimed to have removed significant amounts of classified materials from their rooms. In Washington, American and British intelligence agents reacted to reports of the missing diplomats with considerable alarm.