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Anatomy of a Lie

Abstract:  this essay analyses the origins of the homosexual allegation in the Casement controversy. This aspect appeared suddenly when Casement arrived in Christiania on 29th October 1914 and it appeared in a document prepared in the British Legation and sent to the Foreign Office that same evening. In the last 102 years no Casement author has analysed this document.

The document, a purported memorandum, is demonstrated as the invention of two legation officials, Lindley and Findlay; its factual content amounts a mere 7%. To support the allegation in the ‘memo’ Findlay later invented the Olsen story which came in two contradictory versions.

Both the ‘memo’ and the Olsen story alleged that Casement was homosexual. A year later when Casement was in prison, the British authorities circulated typescript pages which they said were copies of diaries written by Casement; the content recorded homosexual activity over several years.

The ‘memo’ and the Olsen story are phase 1 and the typescripts are phase 2; they are related by a common allegation which was intended to destroy Casement’s reputation. The relationship is demonstrated to be one of sufficient causation; the allegation in phase 1 is the same allegation in phase 2 and this is not a coincidence but is the result of a shared strategy. The document in phase 1 is demonstrably false and cannot produce truth in the phase 2 document. The harmful outcome derived directly from the phase 2 typescripts and indirectly from the phase 1 ‘memo’ and that outcome was both intended and reasonably foreseeable from the start. The phase 2 typescripts are as false as the phase 1 ‘memo’.

“Sir Roger Casement

There is a curious though … persistent feeling among quite important persons in Germany, that the above is in the pay of the British Government. … arguments for this are the following:

…  it is noticed that he is received into the best circles both officially and personally …

… it is noticed that he appears to devote his chief attention to persons who influence … either the public opinion or relations with Foreign Powers. That he is kept informed to an extraordinary degree, as to movements, both prospective and in execution, of the troops on all fronts.

It is generally considered … that the whole story of his attempted assassination is an extremely well-laid scheme, as is proved by the fact that the individual responsible still remains at his post.

As a reward … he will be given a high position in the English Government … and … be allowed to carry out with success a law sanctioning Home Rule.

…  would you sanction a scheme … whereby the matter could be so arranged that evidence could be manufactured by which the position of the man would be rendered untenable. If you wish for the names of the persons in Germany who are interested, I can furnish them at short notice.” [italics added]Report to British Intelligence by un-named agent in Germany dated 8.8.15. The National Archives KV-2/6.


The ‘Memo’

On the night of 29th October, 1914, Mansfeldt de Cardonnel Findlay[1], Minister to the British Legation in Christiania, placed a four-page handwritten document into the diplomatic bag along with a short covering letter addressed to Foreign Minister Edward Grey. The sealed diplomatic bag was collected by that night by Hugh Gurney from the Copenhagen Legation.

Findlay’s document and covering letter reached Grey the following day and were passed to British Intelligence. The letter described the four-page document as a memorandum written on 29th October by Francis Lindley[2] who had interviewed Adler Christensen, Casement’s servant, that afternoon. The text stated that Christensen showed copied documents and that his un-named master was travelling to Germany “about trouble in Ireland” and that he was an English nobleman who had been decorated by the king. The ‘memo’ also included the following; “I understood that his relations with the Englishman were of an improper character.”

The ‘memo’ sent to the Foreign Office by Findlay, on 29th October contains handwriting which is often illegible with letter and word formation compromised; the document looks untidy and improvised with many cancellations, interpolations, corrections. It is not addressed to anyone and the term ‘memorandum’ does not appear. Overall it is very unprofessional and does not look like the work of an Oxford educated diplomat. In the bottom right corner of the last page, squeezed into the margin, there appear to be Lindley’s initials – F.O.L. – with the date, but written in a different ink or perhaps in pencil.[3]

Despite its improvised appearance the so-called ‘memo’ was written by the Winchester and Oxford educated diplomat and future ambassador, Francis Lindley. Within days the ‘memo’ was in the hands of Major Frank Hall, former secretary of the UVF, who prepared a typed version for circulation.[4] Hall was born in Warrenpoint, County Down and had been one of the masterminds behind the illegal 1914 Ulster gunrunning from Germany which aimed to militarily defy the UK parliament over Home Rule. He had become a high-ranking British Intelligence officer with special responsibility for Ireland. With reference to the ‘memo’, Hall wrote “I am awaiting further information on this point, and also as to his habits (natural & un-natural!)”. The ‘memo’ had arrived precisely where Findlay had intended – in the hands of Casement’s sworn enemies.

Neither Hall nor Lindley nor Findlay had ever met or even seen Casement. But with these thirteen fateful words, the conspiracy began; “I understood that his relations with the Englishman were of an improper character.”

Scrutiny of the ‘memo’ reveals 17 cancellations, and 21 interpolations, some in a lighter ink or in pencil. Several parts have been squeezed in after composition was completed. The document is not addressed to anyone and bears no heading as memorandum. Many words are scribbled and almost illegible due to poor or non-existent letter formation. Overall the visual impression is of hastily improvised and untidy workIt would be reasonable to think it improbable that any diplomat would produce such a document for presentation to his superior. It is inexplicable that any crown official would send such a shoddy, partly illegible document to a famous cabinet minister. Improbable and inexplicable – but that is what happened. An analysis of the circumstances of the creation of the document will illuminate why and how it happened.

Did You Know?

The ‘memorandum’ which is analysed in Anatomy of a Lie is referred to in one book only of all those published about Casement. The Inglis study of 1973 cites only 57 words from this document and 29 of those words constitute the first veiled allegation of ‘unnatural relations’. That Inglis selected only this reference reveals the bias which inspired his book. Of all the studies, his is the only one without source references despite being probably the most widely read book on Casement. That later Casement authors did not mention this important document after reading the Inglis study can only mean that they chose to ignore it. It cannot be said that they were unaware of the existence of the ‘memorandum’. Nor can it reasonably be argued that these scholars considered the ‘memorandum’ to be of no significance. It is a primary source document and no serious scholar would ‘overlook’ such a document without very good reason to do so. An impartial person, indifferent to the political equations, would wish to know what that very good reason might be.

Given its strategic importance in the Casement story from 1914 onwards and given that Inglis cited only a short extract in one paragraph it might be expected that later biographers would have given the document more attention than Inglis. But they gave it none at all.

That there is a link between the allegation in the ‘memorandum’ and the allegation in the police typescripts shown in 1916 cannot reasonably be doubted unless one believes in coincidences which are miraculous. Equally it cannot be doubted that the Casement experts would have noted the connection since the allegations are identical. It follows that having seen the connection, they decided to ignore the memorandum and thereby the connection. For precision: they suppressed their perception that the same allegation appears in both documents. The impartial reader is invited to select the most probable explanation for this suppression from the following;

1 – the experts did not wish to confuse their readers,
2 – the experts believed in miraculous coincidences,
3 – the experts were confused,
4 – the experts thought the connection was insignificant,
5 – the experts’ understanding of the the significance of the connection compelled them to suppress it.

If the fifth option is favoured it follows that the experts were at least skeptical about the content of the ‘memorandum’ and felt it unwise to draw attention to this primary source document. That is, the experts understood clearly that their readers did not believe in miraculous coincidences and would see for themselves the connection between the allegation in the ‘memorandum’ and the same allegation in the later typescripts. It was ‘unwise’ because readers would arrive at the illuminating analogy; the ‘memorandum’ alleged that Casement was a Martian and, acting on this unsupported allegation, the Metropolitan Police produced diary typescripts to reveal his Martian origins.

Those who do believe in miraculous coincidences might reflect on the following:

“It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into.”
Jonathan Swift.

With the exception of Brian Inglis, none of the Casement authors mentions this document which is analysed here for the first time in 102 years. TNA FO 337/107.

Firstly the document, which is mentioned by Inglis,[5] is extremely difficult to find in The National Archives because it does not resemble what is usually called a memorandum with the conventional identifiers From X and To Y. Indeed it was located only after the personal intervention of a specialist at TNA. If Casement’s other biographers have seen this document they chose to avoid it. Given that this document contains the first ever reference to the homosexual dimension, it is significant that it has not received the attention it deserves. When given attention, anomalies, incongruities and a major contradiction emerge.

Lindley met Christensen at around 2 pm on 29th October in the British Legation. Christensen returned after the meeting to the Grand Hotel and informed Casement. Accounts suggest that the meeting was relatively short – perhaps 30 minutes.

In the ‘memo’ the crucial words are “I understood that his relations with the Englishman were of an improper character; it is just possible I may have been wrong in this, but I don’t think so.” The second sentence has been cancelled with single strokes on each line. Casement’s biographers have interpreted the first sentence as the result of an implication made by Christensen to Lindley but none have offered any explanation of why he might have made a self-incriminating implication to a complete stranger. The construal by the biographers is also based upon later remarks made by Findlay who on 30th October wrote “with whom he evidently has unnatural relations”[6] and on 31st October wrote “He implied that their relations were of an unnatural nature[7]  and later on 24th February converted this alleged implication into statements made by Christensen when he wrote “… informer stated the unnatural character of their relations to myself and Lindley.”[8] Findlay conjured the initial innuendo in the ‘memo’ into an implication the following day and then into a statement without any evidence of such implication or statement.

But the first sentence makes no reference to any speech act or gesture by Christensen which might constitute an implication. Lindley does not say Christensen made any implication; he says “I  understood …” which refers to his own mental process during or after the encounter. He attributes nothing to Christensen. The sentence merely reports a subjective mental impression without explanatory evidence to give it context. The second qualifying sentence indicates that no clear signals were perceived by Lindley. Both sentences require analysis.

The concept of implicature developed by H. P. Grice allows a deeper understanding of how these sentences function logically and semantically.[9] Implicature is a technical term in linguistics which refers to what is suggested in an utterance, even though neither expressed nor strictly implied. Example: ‘John is meeting a woman this evening.’ This suggests that the unidentified woman is not his mother, sister or wife. By not identifying the woman, the speaker tacitly invites the hearer to assume that John is involved with the woman.

By contrast, the statement ‘John is meeting his wife this evening’ entails that John is married. If John is not married the statement is false. The truth of the statement is predicated upon John’s being married.

Entailment statements cannot be qualified or cancelled without compromising their truth value. Implicature statements can be cancelled and can be qualified. The two sentences in the ‘memo’ constitute an implicature in which the second sentence qualifies the first sentence and then is cancelled in order to disguise that together they function as an implicature – a suggestion, an innuendo unsupported by facts or evidence. The truth value of implicature statements cannot be determined from the statements themselves. Entailment statements convey bare information whereas implicature statements convey unstated meanings which require external verification. Therefore the ‘memo’ sentences have no intrinsic truth value until verified by external evidence. They have the same status as gossip.

Lindley’s “I understood …” is a self referential report which precludes external verification of that which is reported. Nothing can verify Lindley’s report of a mental impression because his words refer to an exclusively subjective invisible state rather than a fact in the tangible world. The written words do not entail the experience reported. Therefore nothing can establish the truth or falsity of those words. Statements which cannot be verified or falsified cannot contribute to the determination of facts. Lindley’s sentence does not refer to facts or even to alleged facts; it is innuendo. But on the basis of this innuendo a defamatory conspiracy was founded.

Further scrutiny of the ‘memo’ reveals incongruities which indicate that the plot began in Oslo on the evening of 29th October, 1914. By definition, conspiracy requires at least two persons and scrutiny indicates that Findlay was co-author of the ‘memo’.

A highly significant anomaly is the verb tense used in the qualifying sentence – “I may have been wrong …” – which indicates that the words were written in a later time frame distinct from the time of the meeting.  If these words were written in the same time frame as the event, it would be more natural to write ‘I may be wrong …’. For precision; the two time frames are a) the meeting at around 2 pm and the minutes after, and b) later that evening of 29th several hours after the meeting. The tense used strongly indicates the evening time frame as the time of the hasty composition of the document. Since the document, despite its improvised look, was placed in the diplomatic bag that evening by Findlay along with his brief covering letter, the presence of Findlay during composition that evening is a near certainty. The many interpolations and corrections strongly indicate the intervention of a second person assisting composition before final approval. It is reasonable to deduce that the document is the joint work of Lindley and Findlay improvised in haste for immediate dispatch. This deduction explains why the so-called memorandum lacks the normal identifiers ‘From’ and ‘To’. It never was a memorandum in any normal sense of the term. This deduction is further supported by Findlay writing in his letter of 31st October to Grey “He [Christensen] went over much the same ground as he had covered with Mr. Lindley on Thursday evening.[10] (Italics added.)  It is undisputed that Christensen met Lindley in the early afternoon. The “ground” referred to in Findlay’s letter is that covered by himself and Lindley that evening when they composed the four-page document.

The grounds for holding that the ‘memo’ was composed in the evening as a joint effort outweigh the grounds for believing it was written by Lindley alone earlier that day. Evening composition means that it is not a memorandum at all since both supposed sender and recipient were involved in its composition. The fact that such an unkempt bout de papier was sent that evening to the Foreign Office indicates that it was composed for that specific purpose and in a hurry. This is supported by the fact that no fair copy was written out or typed up as would be professional and correct when sending legation documents for the attention of Foreign Secretary Edward Grey.  To this must be added the observation that Lindley did not need to write any ‘memo’ to a colleague in the same office whom he would in any case see in person later that same day. (See Appendix II)

On 30th and 31st October Findlay wrote two drafts and two letters to Grey at the Foreign Office, three of which refer to the ‘memo’. It is clear from Findlay’s unfinished short draft of 30th October that this was written after the 11 am meeting with Christensen and before the 3 pm meeting but the draft does not refer to any implication by Christensen to him at that 11 am meeting. In that draft, Findlay wrote “with whom he evidently has unnatural relations” which refers only to the ‘memo’ of 29th since this allegation would not be ‘evident’ to Grey except from the ‘memo’ already sent to him. Therefore this idea of a confirming implication made at the 11 am meeting on 30th came to Findlay after he had written the incomplete draft letter following that 11 am meeting. The implication allegedly made by Christensen on 30th appears only on 31st when Findlay wrote the longer draft letter to Grey. Neither the draft of 30th nor the first short letter of 31st mentions any implication made by Christensen at either meeting on 30th.  For greater precision: Findlay’s first two written records after his meetings with Christensen do not record any implication about unnatural relations made to him. Since the short letter of 31st was written after both meetings on 30th and omits any implication, a rational person would deduce that no implication was made at either meeting.

However, in his second much longer letter to Grey on 31st, Findlay wrote “He implied that their relations were of an unnatural nature and that consequently he had great power over this man who trusted him absolutely.” (Italics added) It is not clear which meeting is referred to. On page 4 of the eight-page draft of that letter Findlay’s first version of the above sentence reveals three corrections including “their relations were improper” with the word ‘improper’ inexplicably cancelled and replaced by the incongruous “of an unnatural nature”. By this ‘correction’ Findlay avoided repetition of the word ‘improper’ previously used in the ‘memo’.

The ‘memo’ contains detail on page four attributed to Christensen as the source but which it is extremely improbable he could possibly have known; that there were eight German officers travelling on the Oskar II with false passports. It is not credible that these officers would have revealed such compromising information to anyone on board far less to an unknown Norwegian travelling second class. The true source of this information was Emile Voska, a Czech spymaster in New York who obtained a list of German reservists living in the US who had bought false passports in order to return to Germany for war service. The list was passed to Captain Gaunt of British Naval Intelligence in the US who passed it to Hall in London who in turn sent it to the Foreign Office. From there the list was sent to legations and embassies in Europe and thus to Findlay in Oslo who fed the information to the Norwegian police with hopes that the Germans could be arrested for possession of false papers. (See Appendix III)

Most importantly there is a contradiction in the ‘memo’ itself which can only be explained as an oversight due to the haste of its composition. This concerns two pencil copy letters allegedly shown to Lindley, one addressed to the German Chancellor “outside” and one to Harden[11], both in Berlin. Another two letters allegedly mentioned by Christensen had not been copied and therefore were not shown to Lindley. But on page 4, the ‘memo’ mentions the two copy letters (to the Chancellor and to Harden) allegedly shown and then refers to a third letter “addressed to the G. Minister here, which I also saw in copy …”; this refers to the minister at the  German Legation in Oslo and not to the Chancellor in Berlin (italics added). Yet the memo states clearly on page 2 that only two letters were allegedly copied and shown.  “There were four letters and my informant steamed them open (before returning them) and had made pencil copies (of two) which he showed me.” (Parentheses added to indicate interpolations.) The page 4 affirmation contradicts the alleged fact on page 2.  This means that Lindley claims he saw a third copy letter which he also states did not exist. Page 2 and page 4 cannot both be true but both can be false. Page 2 was written before page 4 and whether page 2 is false or true it follows that page 4 is false. The affirmations on page 4 refer to three copy letters allegedly shown. The demonstrated falsity of page 4 entails the falsity of page 2. Therefore no copy letters were shown.

This contradiction has implications which reach beyond the veridical status of the ‘memo’ itself and those implications compromise the drafts and letters subsequently written by Findlay in support of the ‘memo’. The detail about copy letters in the ‘memo’ amounts to 56% of the overall length of 463 words and that detail has been demonstrated as false. (Word count of the ‘memo’ includes all cancelled and interpolated words.)

However, that 56% of the document is false does not entail that the remaining 44% is also false; 7.56% of the document is certainly true and is undisputed. These are the 35 words on page 1 which refer to Christensen’s afternoon presence in the Legation, his being Norwegian and that he arrived from the US on the Oskar II. The remaining 36.29% is, however, compromised if only because it cannot be verified and therefore no facts can be derived. This includes the innuendo on pages 1 and 2. Therefore 92.44% of the document contains text which is either false or compromised.  Only a lawyer who wished to commit professional suicide would present the ‘memo’ as evidence in a court of law. Only those in a severe state of cognitive dissonance would insist that the ‘memo’ is authentic.

The scrutiny above is the first and only analysis of this faux memorandum in 102 years. The fact that the principal Casement authors have avoided it cannot be due to negligence since it is a fundamental document in the Casement story. It constitutes the birth of the conspiracy which will pass through further phases of development in the hands of Findlay and of British Intelligence.

The extensive unverifiable references to copy letters and to German officers with false passports are intended to furnish illusory authentic detail as a supportive framework for the innuendo.

The probability of Findlay’s claims that Christensen made a self-incriminating implication (later a statement) of homosexual conduct can be safely left to the impartial reader’s judgment based on his/her knowledge of human nature and on common sense. Equally, the probability judgment can be based on the record of Findlay’s overall integrity vis-à-vis the false ‘memo’ and his later attempts to corroborate this.


In March 1915, Findlay sent a letter to Arthur Nicolson at the Foreign Office which contained his account of events on the night of Casement’s arrival in The Grand Hotel on 29th October 1914.[12] Findlay was not present in the hotel but he reported his source as an un-named informant, a person with “private interests” who would identify himself only “if absolutely necessary”. According to Findlay, the informant was witness to compromising behaviour in Casement’s room at around 2 am on 29th October, 1914. Christensen was present.

Did You Know?

The 1911 typescript is the most explicit with the incriminating material exceeding 45% of its length. Some commentators have found it the least credible of the diaries on account of its depiction of an uncontrollable appetite for sodomy and also due to the improbable number of enormous penises reported. On 20th December, for example, the author reports sighting five males all super-endowed plus “lots of huge ones-perfect monsters”. The location is Pará which perhaps merits an entry in the Guinness Book of Records for penis dimensions.

However, on page 27 of the typescript containing entries for the days before Christmas, there is a most curious contradiction which has been avoided by the Casement experts. The contradiction extends over four days from 19th to 22nd December and it concerns the times reported for arrival and disembarking in Pará. In the space of three days, three distinct times are given for an event which in the real world can only happen once.

  • 20th – diarist goes ashore at 07.10 “just 15 hours after we arrived”; vessel anchored at 17.40 on previous evening.
  • 21st – diarist states he “landed today at 8.30am.”
  • 22nd – diarist states he obtained luggage from Customs at 5pm which he states is “near 48 hours after landing” which indicates he landed at 5 pm on 20th.

In addition to this confusion, the entry for 21st reads “See Yedy’s entry, in error made under Wednesday. I only landed today at 8.30a.m.” Therefore the events of 20th already recorded in the typescript (including the sightings of many generously proportioned penises) are denied as if they never happened. Those events are not relocated to the 21st – they disappear. Their disappearance leaves the 20th empty, meaning the many fine penises recorded as seen that day were not, in fact, seen at all.

Further confusion; the entry for 19th states “we should arrive in Para before 6pm tomorrow evening …” This means he anticipates arrival the following day on 20th; but then in the same entry three lines below he records arrival at 5.40 on that same day, the 19th. This arrival time would correspond to the time recorded in the 22nd entry – around 5pm – but is one day out. It appears that this error in the entry of 19th is the cause of the irreparable confusion in the following entries.

The vessel carrying this diarist to Pará has arrived a full day early. The diarist leaves the vessel three times, twice on 20th and again on 21st. The diarist on his first day ashore records his delight in viewing many splendid penises which on the following day he records as penises he never saw on the preceding day. This diarist has lost not only those generous penises but an entire day of his life has been thrown out because recorded by error. All those penises lost …

All attempts to reconcile the contradictions fail to salvage any coherence in these entries. The 1911 typescript was the last completed – only days before the trial. Composition of the narrative and typescript were obviously compromised by time restrictions.

This is a repeat of several similar ‘errors’ in the 1910 Dollard where a mistake is ineptly remedied by another mistake. Most conspicuous is the significance given to the error which if genuine in a private diary intended for no-one else to see, would logically not matter to the diarist . Above all, the tell-tale locution ‘I only landed today …’ is not addressed to the first person diarist but to a confused reader of the diary.  It is the clumsy correction which betrays the presence of the false author.  Add the ‘missing day’ to about one hundred other anomalies and inexplicable discrepancies in these four days  and this might have satisfied Brian Inglis when he wrote in 1973 “… a single mistake in any of them would have destroyed the whole ugly enterprise.” A single mistake? Indeed!

On 21st July 1916, Findlay’s informant identified himself before Inspector Sandercock at New Scotland Yard as Gustav Olsen, former chief reception clerk at the hotel and he signed a typescript account of events that night twenty-one months earlier.[13] In general terms the accounts coincide but in detail they differ significantly. B.L. Reid in his 1976 book reports the earlier version but is not wholly convinced of its truth.[14] The second version is one of the so-called affidavits solicited in 1916 by Thomson as corroboration. However, the statement signed by Olsen contains no oath and is therefore not an affidavit.Findlay’s 1915 account tells of a “German Secretary” repeatedly asking for James Landy (Casement) in the hotel for 2 days before his arrival. At 2 am on 28/29th October, the German again asked and Findlay’s anonymous informant went to the room and entered without knocking to find Casement and Christensen sitting on the bed, embracing but fully dressed. The German was shown up and remained in the room until 6.30 am.

The account which Olsen signed in 1916 tells of a German “Naval Attaché” Hans Hilmers seeking James Landy (Casement) urgently at 2 am on 28/29th whereupon Olsen went to the room, knocked and “without waiting for an answer” entered to find Casement and Christensen “half-naked” and in a sexually compromising position over the bed. Casement asked Olsen to show the German up who remained in the room until early morning.

Casement’s account states that Hilmers “from the German Legation” arrived to see him at midnight but on the 29th /30th October to advise him to remain in the hotel during the following day.[15] Hilmers returned at 6.30-7 am on the morning of 30th October to inform Casement that travel arrangements were under way and that Count v. Oberndorff would visit at midday.

The significant variation in detail between the 1915 and 1916 versions might be explained as follows: the first version was prepared by Findlay in person in a handwritten letter marked ‘Private and Secret’ and therefore without the informant having seen it; the second version was revised and typed by Scotland Yard and then signed by Olsen in person in London some twenty-one months after the alleged events. The second version was created by the Metropolitan Police as corroboration for the ongoing campaign against Casement. Therefore this police version was ‘inspired’ by the first which Olsen had never seen.

Despite allegedly witnessing this criminal behaviour in the hotel, Olsen did not report to his superiors or to the police; instead he allowed both men to stay a further night and had no qualms about welcoming Christensen back to the hotel on November 26th for 2 nights and again on 5th December for 2 nights according to his 1916 statement, and on 12th December and yet again on 2nd January and as late as 20th October, 1915.[16]

That B.L. Reid, who always favours the official version, had doubts about the Olsen story is not surprising. The weakest link in both versions of the story is the German Secretary or Naval Attaché without whom Olsen had no reason to disturb Casement at 2 am. The alleged insistence of the German is the tell-tale mechanism. The ‘urgency’ indicates something important but there is no record of such an urgent meeting on the night of 28th/29th in Casement’s writings. That the urgent information could not wait a few hours until morning indicates the inherent implausibility of the Olsen story since urgent information implies immediate action. But there was no action which Casement could possibly have taken at 2 am and indeed, by Olsen’s account, he took no action but remained in his room until morning.

That Hilmers allegedly remained in the room for four hours delivering his urgent information is not credible; he was supposedly resident in the same hotel and might have returned to sleep. That the chief reception clerk was on night duty rather than a night porter is also strange. That Olsen knew when Hilmers left Casement’s room is also strange.

The police version of 1916 is above all founded on an uncanny sense of timing – Olsen entered the unlocked room just when the unambiguous act was about to occur.  Olsen records neither protest by Casement nor any shock at what he allegedly witnessed. This is not credible.

MacColl’s 1956 book does not mention the Olsen story at all and he gives a different time for Casement’s arrival at the hotel. MacColl quotes directly from Casement’s own account: he left the ship at 1.30 am and arrived at the hotel at nearly 2 am.[17] By the 1916 police account, Casement arrived at the hotel “just after midnight”. However, the vessel SS. Oskar docked at midnight. 2 am is after midnight but not just after midnight. By this account Olsen’s ‘uncanny sense of timing’ failed him.

The Inglis book of 1973 does not mention the Olsen story nor is it mentioned by Sawyer. Ó Síochain briefly refers to Reid’s account of the Findlay version of 1915 without mentioning Reid’s scepticism.

Discrepancies between Findlay’s 1915 version and the police version signed by Olsen in 1916:

1 – Findlay version – un-named German Secretary / police version – named Naval Attaché,

2 – Findlay version – Olsen entered without knocking / police version – Olsen knocked and entered without waiting for reply,

3 – Findlay version – “not undressed” / police version – “half naked”,

4 – Findlay version – sitting on bed / police version – compromising position over bed.

Another anomaly is Findlay’s later description of Christensen as “fleshy and of dissipated appearance” while the police version describes him as “good looking”. When these discrepancies are added to the other unexplained aspects such as the four-month delay before the story’s appearance, the different timing of Casement’s arrival at the hotel, the vital insistence of Hilmers a day early, both versions of the story are seen to require a generous credulity that most level-headed persons would be unable to find. Either one version is true or both are false. The second version is an ‘upgraded’ but contradictory version of the first. For both to be true they must agree in all details which they do not. Whether the first is false or true, the second is false since the versions contain contradictory details. Upgrading cannot convert falsity into truth. Therefore the second version signed by Olsen is false and this falsity compromises the possible truth of the Findlay version which Olsen had not seen.

On 21st July, 1916, three weeks after Casement’s conviction, Olsen travelled to London to sign this statement for the Metropolitan Police as part of their campaign to corroborate the allegations in the police typescripts. TNA HO 144/1637

The Olsen Story

It may seem paradoxical but the Olsen Story was probably not told by Olsen at all since the first version was written by Findlay and the second was typed by the Metropolitan Police for his signature.Here is the relevant extract from page two of Findlay’s March 13th handwritten letter, marked Private & Secret, to Nicolson at the Foreign Office.

“I have received the following information from an independent Norwegian source. My informant would be prepared to come forward if absolutely necessary, but as his private interests would suffer may not wish to do so.

For two days before Casement’s arrival on Oct. 28th, a German Secretary who had been living at the Grand Hotel enquired repeatedly for Mr. James Landy under which name Casement was passing.

Casement & Christensen arrived at Christiana at midnight & asked for rooms near each other. At 2. a.m. the German Secretary turned up & insisted on seeing ‘James Landy’ at once. My informant (who is a respectable man) was asked to go himself to Landy’s room; he consented, & found Casement & Christensen sitting on Casement’s bed with their arms round each other. They were not undressed but the nature of their relations was evident. The German Secretary remained with them from 2. a.m. till 6.30 a.m. and the waiter warned my informant that Casement and his friend or servant were evidently spies. This appears valuable corroboration of fact that German Legation had been warned to expect them and of the nature of their relations. It strengthens our case …”

Findlay ends this letter by repeating an earlier request of 21st February for information. The information he was still seeking concerned the reason for Casement leaving the consular service – “Was it sodomy?” and if he was known “to be addicted to sodomy”.  Answers to those questions might have had relevance three weeks earlier before the Olsen story but at this point on 13th March having just revealed his witnessed evidence of ‘unnatural relations’, Findlay no longer needed those answers since they could add nothing to what he already allegedly had learned from his informant. But he automatically repeated the request as if he was unwittingly signaling the falsity of the account he had just set out.

It is clear from grammar of the opening sentence of the above extract from Findlay’s letter that he did not possess the informant’s story much before March 13th, 1915, therefore some four and a half months after the alleged events.  Again ineptly, he does not explain how he obtained the story although it is clear that the informant is a male hotel employee on night duty who knows where guests are located. It is not clear how the informant’s “personal interests” might suffer but possibly he feared prosecution. If Findlay had possessed the Olsen story in October or early November, he inexplicably kept it quiet for an unaccountable length of time.  Yet in late February he was still seeking confirmation about ‘unnatural relations’ whereas earlier knowledge of Olsen’s story would have made confirmation unnecessary.

On 13th March 1915, Findlay sent this account of the Olsen story to London. That such a delay occurred between the alleged event of 29th October and Findlay’s report of it to London indicates that he did not have the Olsen story before March 1915 despite claiming in writing that Christensen had made an implication of ‘unnatural relations’ as early as 30th October. These facts support the argument that the Olsen story originated in new circumstances after the written promise of January 3rd and when Findlay was aware not only that he had been duped and humiliated but that he faced the threat of a criminal lawsuit in the Norwegian courts. That Findlay did not report the Olsen story in October indicates that either Olsen or Findlay kept the matter quiet until March or it was invented in March. That Findlay had nothing more substantial than an alleged implication in late February 1915 is clearly demonstrated in his communications with London.  Therefore Findlay ‘found’ the Olsen story after 24th February 1915.  It was Findlay rather than Olsen who had motive to invent the story – to defend himself from a prosecution by Casement over his written bribe.

The Findlay version of 1915 does not rest upon a single verifiable fact and when considered in the context of Findlay’s distressed mental state, its inherent implausibility compels one to regard it as a poisonous fiction. The poison was concocted by Findlay in late February or early March and was transmitted to London. But an anonymous story from a reluctant ‘witness’ and without demonstrable proof could not be safely used against a free Casement in Germany without risk of a strong legal reaction which would publicly verify Findlay’s bribe on behalf of the British government – his prime motive for the poisonous fiction.

That the Foreign Office and the Intelligence chiefs appeared to overlook Findlay’s story in March and the following months suggests that either they perceived its inherent implausibility and shared Reid’s later scepticism or they felt it was too weak legally (being anonymous and uncorroborated) to be used against Casement at that time without risk of a court action for slander. British Intelligence would prefer tangible, visible and incontrovertible evidence to stand as ‘self-sufficient proof’ of the behaviour Findlay had clumsily invented for them. Ideally, Casement should damn himself. Thomson’s discussion (reported in his 1922 book Queer People) with his informer Maundy Gregory, a professional expert on sexual scandal in high places, introduced the idea of compromising diaries. In the absence of such diaries, the self-damning evidence would have to be manufactured when the time came.

On 24th February Findlay wrote to Nicolson: “Casement is evidently unaware that informer stated the unnatural character of their relations to myself and Lindley.”[18]  Neither the false ‘memo’ nor Findlay’s letters of 31st October mention any such statement made by Christensen. But by 24th February, the alleged implication had become for Findlay an unambiguous affirmation of a fact. From this self-deluding position Findlay moved towards the invention of his informant’s story for March 13th.

In March Findlay converted these unverified insinuations into alleged facts as a self defence tactic by engaging an anonymous informant in the hotel. In light of his earlier generous offer to Christensen it is highly probable that Olsen, his anonymous informant, had also received a generous offer especially when, by his own admittance, Findlay was accustomed to paying informers for information. Therefore Findlay’s curious locution “his private interests would suffer” was code for the price of Olsen’s false testimony which he duly provided in July 1916 when it was safe to do so after Casement’s conviction.

Oslo – Two Versions

MacColl jacket

MacColl was a hugely influential journalist for The Daily Express, the most widely-read newspaper in the UK.

In his 1956 book René MacColl wrote: “… the British Minister in Norway, the late M. de C. Findlay, made a fairly spirited attempt to have Casement kidnapped. British agents got hold of Christensen and took him to see Findlay, who tried to bribe him to deliver Casement into British hands … Christensen seems to have been loyal to Casement in everything having to do with this affair … He promptly reported back to Casement …”.[19]

Later authors gave a very different version of these events in which Christensen is the villain. The later version is that Christensen went on his own initiative to the British Legation on 29th October with a proposal to betray Casement. This is now the standard version invented by Inglis, Reid etc. from 1973 onwards. However, the evidence in the Foreign Office documents for his alleged treachery comes from one man – Findlay. The few verifiable facts do not sustain the version based on Findlay’s incomplete account which MacColl had not seen.  Some might consider it ironic that MacColl’s book which is certainly hostile to Casement, might contain a more honest version. That MacColl found the Christensen version credible indicates that he believed Findlay capable of plotting to capture Casement by bribing Christensen and this seems confirmed in Nicolson’s later letters warning Findlay that no physical harm must come to Casement. Later authors describe the Christensen version as a preposterous pulp fiction emanating from a vulgar imagination but it was believed and published by MacColl, the distinguished journalist and jewel of the Beaverbrook empire. It was also believed by thousands of readers who, like MacColl, did not find it preposterous. But when an alternative, more comfortable Findlay version was released to the Public Records Office in late 1967, the version believed by MacColl necessarily became a pulp fiction.

A Great Mistake

Findlay photo

Said to be the tallest man in diplomacy at the time, Findlay was also a teller of tall tales. From the tales he told about Casement, it appears he was obsessed with homosexuality. Such obsessions are rarely short-lived as Iago confirmed: “the thought whereof / Doth, like a poisonous mineral, gnaw my inwards” (2.1.295-296). Othello.

Findlay’s judgment had already caused grave concern in Britain for his involvement in the Dinshawai controversy in Egypt in 1906 and his authorization of a summary court hearing which led to the hanging, flogging and incarceration of eighteen peasant villagers accused of the alleged murder of a British officer. Despite being reprimanded for his gross over-reaction and his justification of the retaliatory punishments, it was Pro-Consul Lord Cromer who paid the price with his resignation shortly after. It is difficult to imagine that Findlay would hesitate to take whatever retaliatory measures he felt necessary against Casement, the renegade and traitor.

On January 3rd, 1915 Findlay issued Christensen an undated one-page note written on Legation notepaper promising him on behalf of the British Government a reward of £5,000 for information leading to the capture of Casement.[20] This note was to play a key role in determining subsequent events. The sum offered had been approved by the Foreign Office on 27th November but Findlay was at once rebuked by Nicolson for having personally given a signed, written undertaking to Christensen. Findlay apologised. When Casement heard of the bribe he determined on a legal action against Findlay in the Norwegian courts which he believed would provoke a diplomatic scandal; so began what has been called ‘The Findlay Affair’.

Over the following weeks Findlay was to suffer for that written promise. After Nicolson’s immediate rebuke, Findlay wrote on 6th January: “I regret you should disapprove of my action … I would never have done so in time of peace.”[21] And as his mood darkened at the failure of his plan to trap Casement, he wrote again on 14th January to Nicolson: “I need hardly say that the failure of the coup … has distressed me greatly and I could not forgive myself if it was due to mismanagement on my part … I cannot see how I could have acted otherwise than I did … I am sorry if I was wrong in doing so …”[22]

In seeking to defend himself to London, Findlay erred again by describing his written promise as simply an offer of reward for information such as might be posted in any police station. But such public reward offers do not name the recipient of the reward in advance, nor do they offer immunity and free passage to another jurisdiction. Findlay’s promise was a bribe made to a specific person.

The full extent of Findlay’s humiliation arrived in late February in a letter from Nicolson which made clear the degree to which a man of low intelligence, a “loathsome beast”, had succeeded for months in duping His Majesty’s Minister Findlay.[23]

“I enclose a copy of a letter which has been received from Casement … You will see that Christensen was playing a double game … merely a ruse to obtain something from you in writing. You made a great mistake in giving it … I have no doubt that Casement and his German friends will make the most of it. If Casement carries out his threat of exposing the whole story in Norway you should immediately see the Minister for Foreign Affairs and put the best light on the case by telling him frankly the main outlines.”

To this humiliation was added the threat of full exposure by Casement in the courts and therefore a diplomatic scandal and a consequent risk to Findlay’s entire career. It was by then clear to Findlay and to his superiors that Casement had masterminded the deception and that Christensen had played his role loyally.

Findlay had been ‘dirtied’ and humiliated by his contacts with Christensen and his response was to intensify his plot against Casement. The chemistry of Findlay’s anger fermented hurt pride into personal vendetta. Insinuations, however insidious, are not facts but even insinuations can be made to perform as facts with the creative touch of lies. On March 13th, out of the blue four and a half months after the ‘memo’, Findlay produced the story from his anonymous informant. The poisoned bait had been set in the October ‘memo’ by Findlay who, by then intoxicated and desperate, transformed it ineptly into the Olsen lie which in turn fed the vengeful plans of Thomson and Hall.

Those vengeful plans were formed soon after the arrival of the Findlay ‘memo’ when the trunks were found. That the trunks were found long before arrest comes, surprisingly, from Sawyer’s 1984 book on page 137. Sawyer cites Hall as hearing of the homosexual scandal “21 months before the execution” and locating the trunks then.[24] The scandal heard by Hall obviously comes directly from the Findlay memo sent to London in late October but Sawyer astutely does not mention Findlay or the memo. It is perfectly credible that Hall knew of the scandal in December 1914 since it was known to Grey and to Frank Hall of MI5 who prepared a typed copy of the memo for circulation.

After questions in parliament by MP Emrys Hughes in July 1959, Richard Crossman was asked to investigate. Crossman had no motive to invent Hall’s location of the trunks. Since Hall’s only motive for the location of the trunks would be to investigate the contents, he had no motive to ignore them for 19 months. Moreover, he would certainly have been told by Thomson of Maundy Gregory’s advice to him regarding the use of diaries to defame Casement. It can be reasonably deduced (and many commentators have agreed) that the trunks came into police possession in December 1914 and that these were opened and the contents examined. From this deduction it follows that both the interrogation transcript and the police list of contents are false since both attest possession on 25th April 1916.

No reasonable person will ask an impartial observer to believe that the police found the TNA bound volumes in December 1914 and decided to keep these explosive diaries secret for 19 months thus protecting the reputation of the renegade they were actively pursuing. From this it follows that the TNA diaries were not found in the trunks. This is supported by the absence of any evidence that the bound volumes were shown to anyone during Casement’s lifetime. Thus the two false police documents attest to the start of the diary plot in late 1914 which allows sufficient time for the preparation of the narratives which later became the typescripts.

Verified Facts

It is essential to indicate the few facts which are not in dispute. These are as follows:

1- Christensen was at the Legation once on 29th October and twice on 30th October.

2- Christensen told Casement of first visit at once.

3 –After Christensen met Findlay in person at 11 am on 30th October, Casement instructed him to return that afternoon as invited by Findlay.  Christensen returned & met Findlay again.

4 – Christensen did not tell Findlay on either visit that Casement already knew of his earlier visits.

5 – Christensen received the written bribe on January 3rd and gave the document to Meyer on the 5th.

The most improbable aspect of the ‘official’ version that Christensen went uninvited on 29th October, intent on betrayal is the fact that Christensen informed Casement of that first visit. The second most improbable aspect is Christensen allegedly making a self-incriminating implication to Findlay. The source of the first aspect is not Findlay but Brian Inglis et al. The source of the second aspect is Findlay. A rational explanation for both of these improbable aspects must be predicated on the truth or falsity of the alleged betrayal plan. That there was no betrayal plan is verified by Nicolson’s letter which informed Findlay that Christensen had deceived him.[25] There never was a genuine betrayal plan instigated by Christensen. From this fact it is reasonable to conclude that Christensen did not go to the Legation uninvited on 29th October as alleged not by Findlay but by Inglis et al. From this it is reasonable to conclude that Christensen was indeed contacted by Findlay’s agents as per his account related to Casement upon return. From this conclusion it follows that Findlay authorised that first contact and therefore knew of the presence of ‘Landy’ and Christensen in the hotel on 29th October. This knowledge implies an informer in the hotel and that informer was later identified in July 1916 as Olsen. It is also verified by Findlay himself that his Legation colleague Goff was resident in the hotel and had seen both Casement and Christensen there.

In Findlay’s letter to Grey of 31st October he stated on page 3 that he had identified Landy as Casement and he attributed that identification to Christensen at the meeting on 30th. The attribution cannot be verified. The only aspects of Findlay’s version which can be verified are that Christensen was in the Legation on 29th and 30th October where he met Lindley and Findlay separately and that Findlay had identified Casement by 30th October.

The verified facts above seriously undermine the biographers’ version of the Christensen meetings on 29th and 30th October. When these facts are placed alongside the fact that Olsen was Findlay’s hotel informer, the version believed and published by MacColl has greater credibility than the version invented for Findlay by the later biographers. To the proven falsity of the ‘memo’ must be added Findlay’s dishonesty in the Olsen story of March 13th with the result that the balance sheet for his integrity displays a painful shortfall. He predicated his Casement strategy from the beginning upon ‘unnatural relations’ for which he possessed no verifiable evidence but which he could not renounce. When Nicolson exposed his deception by Christensen his strategy was in crisis; soon after, Findlay manufactured the evidence of the Olsen story to save face and to protect himself.

The Fatal Nexus

When Christensen visited the British Legation on 29th and 30th October, a kind of chain reaction was started which eventually led to the diary conspiracy and to Casement’s destruction. With the ‘memo’ in the hands of his enemies that lie quickly infiltrated the state security organs long before his arrest. The growing conspiracy created the degenerate traitor and the necessary evidence was manufactured in order to take revenge. Like all revenge, it was personal, very personal. Empire had honoured his name that the empire’s honour be seen in his person and he, the empire’s hero, had openly defied the honour of the largest empire in history. The fatal nexus between treachery and ‘unnatural relations’ forged by Findlay in the ‘memo’ was also a malediction which uncannily prophesied the shape of things to come; his lies bound others into an uncontrollable vortex of deceit which endures to the present day. Evil is prolific, by its nature fertile; otherwise it would not exist. The poisonous lie invented by one man in 1914 still has its toxic effect a century later.

Believing is Seeing

The falsity of the ‘memo’ and of the subsequent Olsen story has been demonstrated. The fact that Findlay never explained how first contact with Christensen was made compromises the versions published by post-1973 biographers.  Two verified facts remain: a) Casement was informed of the visits; b) no betrayal took place.

It is undisputed that Christensen, following Casement’s instructions, systematically duped Findlay to obtain the written bribe. The verified fact remains that Christensen did not sell Casement to Findlay in spite of the bribe and that on February 19th, 1915; he spoke to a German newspaper about the bribe and the Findlay plot.

The falsity of the Inglis version of first contact reinstates the MacColl version which is the Christensen version. The demonstration that Findlay made first contact also produces a second confirmation of the falsity of the Olsen story; possession of that story on 29th or 30th October would have induced Findlay to exploit it immediately and not four months later. Such an immediate exploitation would also have made the alleged implication totally unnecessary.

It remains to demonstrate the relationship of the ‘memo’ to the defamatory typescripts circulated in 1916.To establish a causal link in law an agency must be demonstrated to act as a substantial factor in the harmful outcome in order to be considered a cause of it. Agency and outcome must be intimately and obviously linked. The criterion for the existence of causal connection in law is that that the cause must possess a specific feature in relation to the consequence in order to demonstrate causal connection.  In the case of the Findlay ‘memo’ and the defamatory typescripts, this special feature is identity of allegation which acted as substantial and sufficient factor in the harmful outcome. Both ‘memo’ and typescripts were intended to destroy Casement’s reputation with the same allegation and they achieved this shared objective.

That link is reinforced by the fact that the allegation in the typescripts was not determined by the ‘memo’ but was freely chosen as an extension of the same strategy and intent to defame. This free choice linked the ‘memo’ and the typescripts into a single continuous allegation bonded by a single intent. Within the parameters of legal causation, the ‘memo’ is the sufficient indirect cause and the typescripts are the direct cause of the harmful outcome.

With regard to the veridical status of the documents, it has been demonstrated that the ‘memo’ is untrue. From this there follow two considerations. A) Accepting that the memo is demonstrably false makes it impossible for a rational person to believe that the typescripts are true copies of Casement writings. The impossibility arises from accepting that those who composed the ‘memo’ acted dishonestly while also believing that those who prepared and circulated the typescripts acted honestly. No rational person can believe this because the reductio ad absurdum is obvious – both parties made the same basic allegation which is therefore both true and false. B) The ‘memo’ as sufficient indirect cause of the harmful outcome cannot be the cause of the alleged authenticity of the typescripts. If the typescripts are genuine copies, their authenticity derives from other factors and not from the false ‘memo’. Those other factors are the claims of Findlay’s government colleagues who circulated the false ‘memo’ and the defamatory typescripts without any evidence of their veracity. It is undisputed that, whether genuine copies or not, the typescripts were circulated in order to defame. Those colleagues are therefore accessories to the crime of defamation inspired by Findlay[26]. Their testimony can only be admitted if it serves to prove the allegations are true. The accessories did not seek or provide material or witness evidence as to the veracity of either ‘memo’ or typescripts before their circulation. There were no ‘other factors’ to verify the typescripts which fact signifies they were not demonstrated to contain true facts before circulation. Because they are an integral part of the defamation initiated by Findlay’s ‘memo’, their claim to be factual is without foundation and it follows that the allegation in the typescripts must be deemed as false as the same allegation made in their originating source. To hold that the typescripts are genuine copies is to hold that truth can be brought into being by falsity. A simple analogy illustrates this; Findlay alleged that Casement was a Martian and, acting on this unsupported allegation, his colleagues produced diary typescripts to reveal his Martian origins. If truth can be derived from falsehood, then the categories are meaningless because they cannot be distinguished. If the typescripts are genuine copies it follows that Findlay’s ‘memo’ is also factually true. Conversely, proof of ‘memo’ falsehood is also proof of the falsity of the typescripts.

It is undisputed that those who produced the memo and the typescripts acted with a common malicious purpose. If the two phases are unrelated despite sharing the same basic allegation, then this was a most remarkable coincidence. Both phases so closely resemble conspiracies that an impartial observer might deploy Occam’s razor and conclude that there was one conspiracy since there was one outcome which was reasonably foreseeable from the start. Coincidences do happen but, by definition, they cannot be made to happen.

Had it not been for Findlay’s fear of a threatened lawsuit, he would not have felt it necessary to invent the Olsen story. By late February when Findlay realised he had been duped and made to look foolish, these toxic ingredients fermented in his mind to become the poison which resulted in the Olsen story which only then he transmitted to London. There the poison was incubated for future use. The destruction of the world famous renegade knight required much more than an anonymous and improbable yarn by an unknown hotel employee in a foreign city.  But the poison lost none of its lethal potency over the following year and even before Casement’s arrest, British Intelligence had decided how it could best be used. From Findlay’s lies and insinuations there grew the plan to destroy Casement as a moral degenerate with the ‘self-damning’ diary typescripts. The smear campaign was essential to ensure there would be no reprieve once condemned.

The initial success of the smear campaign with the typescripts bound the British authorities to maintain authenticity indefinitely.  Governments do not admit they have lied to everyone for a century. Thus in 1916 the typescripts were sufficient and necessary for the immediate task; today the bound volume diaries in TNA are still essential because they act to protect the typescripts, the original lie repeated by successive governments; this was always a lie which would have to be maintained no matter the circumstances. Paradoxically, radically altered attitudes to sexuality have made the lie easier to maintain – there is no slur today despite the original intention.

Thus was born in the troubled and duplicitous mind of one man who had never met Casement, the lethal virus which was used by Thomson and British Intelligence to rapidly infect the British establishment with a visceral hatred for a man all had honoured only a few years before. Findlay’s ‘memo’ in the ‘right hands’ evolved directly into the diary plot which guaranteed Casement’s destruction.

Upon this single document without evidential value an entire edifice of deception and innuendo was constructed with Findlay laying the first lie in the ‘memo’ then a second in the Olsen story followed by another by British Intelligence which was taken up by Scotland Yard and the press and the agents of state propaganda; within this Escher-like structure of illusions moved the main players in Casement’s destruction leading the bewildered through new perspectives of belief which spins lies into truths, distorting and controlling perception so that common sense is lost as in a trance, cause and effect are compounded and believing is seeing. A new generation of illusionists posing as impartial scholars and biographers shored up the edifice of lies for decades. In the art of deception they were as skilled and successful as their predecessors Findlay, Thomson, Hall, Blackwell etc. The tentative reference by Inglis in 1973 did not encourage other authors to risk further examination. These word-juggling alchemists convinced tens of thousands that their research had produced truth – not a difficult task but one they felt was necessary because they knew the illusory structure might crumble at any time. The hypnotic power of mass media broadcasting completed the task of disinformation and extinguished the possibility of doubt and with it, the possibility of truth.

Appendix I

There has been much misinformation and confusion about Christensen’s role in the events of 29th to 31st October and particularly about how he came to be in the Legation on 29th. His version is that he was contacted by an Englishman in the hotel, invited outside and taken there in a large car where he was asked about his master by Lindley. This version was undisputed until the Inglis biography of 1973 in which Inglis wrote “the Foreign Office files told a different story”. The new story was that Christensen went entirely on his own initiative with intention to betray Casement. However, scrutiny of those Foreign Office files reveals that they do not tell “a different story” because they do not tell any story at all.  Nowhere in those files is there any account of how Christensen came to be in the Legation on the 29th. At no later time did Findlay account for his presence on that day. Only on 17th February does Findlay state that Christensen arrived on 30th October “of his own accord”.  But this is true for all three visits since he was not compelled. Therefore Findlay’s comment does not contradict the account of first contact given by Christensen on 29th to Casement; nor is there any documentary evidence to prove that Christensen’s account is false.

The Inglis citation is simply an unsupported insinuation which was taken up by later authors.  One of these is B.L. Reid who continues: “In his first account of these events, sent to Sir Edward Grey on 31 October 1914, Findlay wrote that Christensen had simply presented himself at the door of the British Legation at 79 Drammensvein in the late afternoon of the twenty-ninth.” This is wholly untrue. Findlay’s letter of 31st does not contain this apparently paraphrased written statement attributed by Reid to Findlay. Here is the relevant extract of Findlay’s letter: “The man called at the Legation about 11 a.m. and asked to see me alone. He went over much the same ground as he had covered with Mr. Lindley on Thursday evening.” In this letter there is no reference anywhere to Christensen’s arrival at the Legation on the afternoon of Thursday 29th. Therefore Reid has misinformed his readers by falsely attributing to Findlay his own false account of Christensen’s arrival on 29th. (p. 213, The Lives of Roger Casement, 1976.)

Ó Siochain’s version is even more duplicitous:

“…. Two versions of what happened survive. According to the British legation account, Christensen had presented himself at the door of the legation, intimating that he had information on a well-known ‘Englishman’ involved in an ‘Irish-American-German conspiracy’. Francis Lindley, the first Secretary, was the first official to interview Christensen. While cautious, he was willing to hear more, and asked his visitor to return the following day

Casement’s version painted a very different picture. According to it, early in the afternoon of 29 October, Christensen was approached by a stranger in the hall of the hotel and taken by car to a large house, which Casement later ascertained to be the British legation; here he was questioned about his master… Over the course of three visits, Christensen’s hosts, Findlay and Lindley, quizzed him about his master, whose identity legation officials were very interested in… Christensen claimed to have driven a hard bargain and to have, ultimately, extracted a promise of £5,000 in gold for delivering Casement… Christensen, it seems likely, was playing a double game, seeing possible advantages for himself, especially financial gain, on both fronts.

During his encounters with Christensen, Francis Lindley received from him information on Casement’s homosexuality: ‘He implied that their relations were of an unnatural nature and that consequently he had great power over this man who trusted him absolutely’ … In addition to Christensen’s hints to Lindley and Findlay, the latter subsequently acquired corroborating information from a Norwegian …” (italics added)

(Ó Síochain, Roger Casement – Imperialist, Rebel, Revolutionary. 2008. p. 393/ 4)

This is almost entirely invented. 1 – there is no “British legation account” and no evidence in the ‘memo’ or elsewhere that Lindley “asked his visitor to return the following day”. 2 – Christensen met both Lindley and Findlay alone, not together as suggested above. 3 – Findlay himself claims that Casement was identified at the second meeting therefore Christensen was not “quizzed” about this “over the course of three visits”. 4 – Lindley had one encounter only with Christensen. 5 – there is no “information on Casement’s homosexuality” in the ‘memo’. 6 – the quotation in the last paragraph comes from Findlay’s letter of 31st October and not from the ‘memo’ or from Lindley. 7 – there is no proof of any “hints” made at any time. 8 – the “corroborating information” refers to the Olsen story the falsity of which has been demonstrated.

Conspicuously missing from Ó Siochaín’s duplicitous version is any reference to the ‘memo’. While he mentions Christensen’s sworn deposition of April 1915 he does not quote from it, preferring to quote Findlay instead. The “double game” theory emerged only in 1973 with Inglis and in 1976 with Reid. The theory is very weak and easily disposed of by the following undisputed facts: 1 – he did not betray when the Oskar II was boarded by the British Navy, 2 – he did not blackmail Casement who was in possession of a considerable sum of money, 3 – he informed Casement of all his legation visits, 4 – he gave Casement the ‘earnest money’ given him by Findlay at the third meeting, 5 – he persisted with Findlay for two months to obtain the bribe in writing, 6 – he did not betray Casement when he had the written bribe, 7 – he at once gave the written bribe to Meyer in Berlin, 8he later gave a newspaper interview about the Findlay Affair.

This voluntary surrender of the written bribe is of vital importance because it demonstrates that Christensen never had any intent to betray Casement. Casement’s biographers are sensitive to these verified facts but they overlook that the handing over of the written bribe renders utterly untenable the theory of a double game. The undisputed facts show that there was but one game – the deception and entrapment of Findlay. Therefore since there was one game only, the biographers’ claim that the first contact was on his own initiative is not credible. Christensen’s account is very detailed and very plausible. He gave no information to Lindley and was not invited back by Lindley. He did not tell any ‘story’ as the ‘memo’ claims nor did he show any papers to Lindley. He also guessed on the 29th that he was in the British Legation. Christensen gives the numbers of the taxi cabs used on his two visits on 30th. He records the 100 kroner ‘earnest money’ as a single bank note. He gives precise times. Christensen gives name & address of contact given by Findlay on 30th saying it was written in block capitals on legation paper with top address torn off by Findlay. The contact name and address was later confirmed to Casement as being that of an employee of the Norwegian lawyer representing the British Legation. Findlay confirmed giving the contact address in his long draft of 31st. Christensen’s sworn deposition was made before US Vice Consul in Berlin in April, 1915.

Appendix II

Lindley’s private letters of 1914-15 reveal a rather mediocre personality but one who was fully complicit in Findlay’s plotting against Casement. His private letters do not mention the events of 29th October; this silence can be explained by the fact that the ‘memo’ was secret and confidential. In a letter dated 21st February 1915, after Casement’s open letter to Grey had been “spread all over the place”, Lindley wrote briefly about ‘The Findlay Affair’ without revealing his meeting with Christensen or his role in the ‘memo’. There is no mention of the written bribe issued on January 3rd which had provoked Casement’s letter. Lindley writes; “The truth is that Casement is a b- er …. His “friend” a blackguardly young Norwegian American came up to the Legation and supplied us with a lot of very valuable information about Casements [sic] plans and accomplices. Finally after a good many visits and after we had got a lot out of him he fell out about the money, wanted a big sum down before he had supplied the goods.” Since the “very valuable information” had proved false and worthless long before 21st February, Lindley seems to be out of date or misinformed or is simply covering up the mess created by Findlay.

Appendix III

There is considerable written and circumstantial evidence which indicates that Findlay was in contact with British Intelligence during this period. Given that it was wartime and that Norway was in a strategic position, it would be surprising if he was not in such contact. In his draft letter of 30th October Findlay writes; “I am arranging to obtain news of what this man does after arrival in Germany”. The only way such news could be obtained was through agents and spies within Germany. It is reasonable to deduce from this that he also had contact with agents elsewhere. Casement records that his hotel was being watched constantly from the time of his arrival and that his taxi was followed on the evening of 29th. From these circumstances it would not be unreasonable to conclude that Findlay had been pre-alerted to Landy/Casement’s arrival in Oslo. He had been under surveillance while in the US until 14th October when, by subterfuge, he boarded the Oskar II in New York and his disappearance thereafter must have been noticed.

In his draft letter of 30th and short letter of 31st to Grey, Findlay wrote; “The alleged Casement is described as very tall …” and “The man alleged to be Casement is described as very tall, dark, heavy jaw … he is now clean shaved and is said to have formerly worn a beard.” This information does not appear in the ‘memo’ and is not attributed to Christensen. The most probable source is British agents in the US who would have seen a bearded Casement before his departure. Use of the passive “is described” twice conceals the source of the information. These deductions strongly indicate that Findlay was in contact with intelligence agents in relation to Casement. This helps to explain his actions and motivation; it also partly explains his failure to publicly rebut the accusations in Casement’s published letter to Grey.


[1]  Findlay (1861-1932) Minister at Christiana from 1913 to 1923, knighted in 1916.

[2] Francis Oswald Lindley, 1872-1950, succeeded Findlay in 1923; future ambassador to Austria, Greece, Portugal, Japan. Knighted in 1926. His memoirs A Diplomat off Duty were published in 1928.

[3] PRO FO 337/107

[4] TNA KV-2-6

[5] Roger Casement, Brian Inglis. Coronet, 1974. Strangely, this study contains no source references whatever.

[6] TNA FO 337/107

[7] TNA FO 337/107

[8] PRO FO 95,776

[9]  In linguistic pragmatics H. P. Grice, the philosopher of language, (1913-1988) developed a theory of meaning which involved the concept of implicature. Among his principle works is Studies in the Way of Words, 1989, Harvard University Press.

[10] TNA FO 337/107

[11] Maximilian Harden (1861-1927), influential and controversial German editor & journalist. Born Felix Ernst Witowski, he damaged the reputation of the Hohenzollern caste by exposing the Eulenburg homosexual scandal in 1906.

[12] Letter from Findlay to Nicolson 13 March, 1915. PRO FO 95,776

[13] Typed statement signed by Olsen 21 July, 1916. PRO HO 144 1637 311643 140.

[14] The Lives of Roger Casement, B.L. Reid, 1976. p. 212, footnote ᵇ.

[15] Diaries of Sir Roger Casement, Dr. Charles E. Curry (Ed.) Munich 1922. Memorandum, p. 48.

[16] Christensen stayed in The Grand Hotel on 20 October, 1915 when he arrived from NY with Monteith as related in Casement’s Last Adventure, Robert Monteith. Chicago 1932.

[17] Roger Casement; A New Judgment, René MacColl, 1956. p. 140-141.

[18]  Letter from Findlay to Nicolson, 24 February, 1915. PRO FO 95,776

[19] Roger Casement, A New Judgment, René MacColl, 1956.  p. 141

[20] Findlay’s handwritten bribe to Christensen, undated and issued on 3 January, 1915. UCD Archives. Boehm/Casement Papers P 127/1

[21] Findlay to Nicolson, 6 January, 1915. PRO FO 95,776

[22] Findlay to Nicolson, 14 January, 1915. PRO FO 95,776

[23] Nicolson to Findlay, undated, late February 1915. PRO FO 95,776

[24] “… on 27 July Emrys Hughes, MP stated categorically in the House of Commons that there had been  ‘a special intelligence department at Scotland Yard which carefully forged diaries and letters …’ To test the veracity of such a statement it seemed wise to approach Richard Crossman who, as British Director of Political Warfare against the Enemy and Satellites or as Assistant Chief of the Psychological Warfare Division of SHAEF, might reasonably have been expected to inherit whatever machinery was used in the previous war. He elicited help from Donald McLachlan*, who had held a number of propaganda posts which came loosely under the heading ’Naval Intelligence’ … it was his guidance which led to the discovery that Hall had heard of Casement’s alleged proclivities twenty-one months before the execution, and not long afterwards Hall discovered the whereabouts of the traitor’s personal luggage.” Casement: The Flawed Hero by Roger Sawyer. P.137. Routledge, 1984.

*Donald McLachlan, 1908-1971, an Oxford educated Scot, head of Naval Propaganda and Commander of Naval Intelligence Division NID 17Z in WW2.

[25] Nicolson to Findlay, undated, late February 1915. PRO FO 95,776

[26] At the time homosexual acts were criminal acts; therefore the defamation was criminal in nature.