From The Daily Telegraph
When Ian Fleming gave a presentation copy of You Only Live Twice, his James Bond classic, to a close friend, it could not have been a more appropriate gift as an espionage novel. The recipient was the former CIA director Allen Dulles, who is mentioned by name in that book.
The creator of one of the most iconic characters in 20th-century literature added a mock-Japanese inscription that alludes to a plot in which 007 is sent to Japan: “To Celestial Dulles-San from Miserable Fleming-San”. The inscription reflected a friendship between two men who had both held senior positions in their nation’s respective intelligence agencies and who both inspired the other’s work.
Now that copy is likely to excite collectors of Bond memorabilia as it has been acquired by Peter Harrington, leading antiquarian booksellers in London. Such is its rarity that it will be offered for sale at £27,500.
Dulles headed the CIA from 1953 to 1961. He was a significant figure in the early Cold War and, research by Christopher Moran, an expert in US national security, suggests that he was fascinated by Fleming’s fictional spy. While real-life CIA agents tried to copy Bond-style technology and gadgets - including the poison-tipped dagger shoes worn by a villain in From Russia With Love - Dulles in turn influenced Fleming's writing about US intelligence agencies.
In You Only Live Twice, M mentions Dulles by name in complaining that the CIA has stopped revealing information to MI6: “They regard that as their private preserve. When Allen Dulles was in charge, we used at least to get digests of any stuff that concerned us, but this new man McCone has cracked down on all that.”
The two men first met in 1959, dining together in London. They hit it off immediately, and the friendship lasted until Fleming’s death in 1964.
Bookseller Pom Harrington said: “Bond offered popular respect for the CIA's work, especially at a time when the Soviet shooting down of the U-2 Spy plane and the failed Bay of Pigs invasion under Dulles's watch - he had to resign over the latter - led to claims that the agency was ineffective and poorly run.”
He added: “After Dulles's death, the CIA impounded his private papers, finding with some shock that in Dulles and Fleming's correspondence the former revealed much sensitive information to the latter, and that Dulles actively sought Fleming's advice on intelligence matters… The relationship between Dulles and Fleming shows that real intelligence also finds inspiration in spy fiction, for their public presentation, for technologies, and for their heroic self-image. It dispels the notion that Bond is a subject of interest purely to fans and critics of popular culture and not one worthy of study by historians.”