I had smuggled the $3,000 that Federico had given me in Madrid into Portugal without any trouble. I had rolled the money up tightly and slid it into a rubber sheath, then I had cut a tube of toothpaste open at the bottom end, emptied out all the toothpaste, inserted the notes and rolled the bottom of the tube up to look as if it were half empty.
With this money I bought a Baedeker tourist guide to England, Bradshaw’s railway time-table and a large map of Great Britain and retired to Cascais to study them in detail.
Then in October 1941 I sent my first message to the Germans from Cascais although, as far as Federico was concerned, I was already in England; it was a quite long message.
In invisible ink, I told them that before leaving Portugal I had posted the key to a safety box in the Espírito Santo bank to the German embassy in Lisbon, with instructions that they should send it to Federico at the German embassy in Madrid.
A Dutch pilot
I went on to explain that on arriving in Britain, I had got talking to the KLM pilot who flew us in to London and had become very friendly with him, introducing myself as a Catalan political exile who had to flee because of my political views.
I had then persuaded the KLM pilot to take my Spanish mail to the Espírito Santo bank in Lisbon on a regular basis. In my letter I also said that he had not at first been too keen to help, perhaps because he suspected something, but that I had assured him that none of my envelopes would be stuck down so he could always see for himself what the contents were.
I had also told the pilot, I said to the Germans, that this, my first letter, would merely be informing my fellow Catalan patriots in Spain of my arrival in the British Isles.
Finally, I suggested to the Germans that I was thinking of going to live near Lake Windermere in the centre of Britain because I have heard that there were a fairly large number of troops stationed up there.
I had had to devise this ploy about the KLM pilot because, as I was still living in Portugal, there was absolutely no possibility of my letters being franked by the British Post Office.
So this, my first letter, consisted on the surface in ordinary ink of an enthusiastic account of England by a passionate Catalan democrat with all the information for the Germans written in between the lines in invisible ink.
I had become a real German spy.