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The Somerton Man Case. The body of a man found on an Australian beach close to a major Atomic Testing ground, he was probably poisoned, a copy of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam and an unbroken Code page found and associated to him. Set against a Cold War background in 1948, was this man a spy? We think so and this blog focuses on the evidence that was left behind and in some cases missed, the Code page, Dry Cleaning numbers, A Poem and a small, torn piece of paper bearing the words TAMAM SHUD.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017



Above is a photograph of President Eisenhower addressing the UN, 8th December 1953. This was his 'ATOMS FOR PEACE' speech which led to the creation of the IAEA. 

Almost 4 years later, led by this man, Stirling Cole, one-time US Diplomat and UN Official, the IAEA was formed. The first IAEA General Conference was held in October 1957 and was coincidentally formed with diplomats and scientists from 57 Nations.

First IAEA General Conference October 1957

On the Soviet team was a man named Pavel Ivanovich Fedosimov. The same name as the man who has been put forward on this blog as being the most likely candidate for being the Somerton Man.

Much discussion and criticism has ensued since that post but the position remains the same, I still believe that Pavel Fedosimov as pictured below on the right in a comparison image of the Adelaide University's artists impression of the Somerton Man, is, in fact, the Somerton Man.:

But what of the man with the same name who turned up almost 10 years, and for some years later as a diplomat at the IAEA conferences?

Followers would be aware that Clive and I have spent quite some time patiently following up with the IAEA to see if we could get confirmation or otherwise that the Diplomat was the same man as the SM candidate. This would, of course, mean that the suggestion that he was our man was wrong. The only way we could hope to clarify the position was to obtain a photograph of the Diplomat whilst at the IAEA, a positive link would then be established. Without such a photograph, there would be no evidence which in itself would be another kind of evidence.

It has been almost 8 months now and despite a number of emails sent by Clive, we had received nothing in response. Trawling through the IAEA information, we found a new email address and it was from this address that we received the long-awaited response.

Here's the content of the email:

Dear Mr Turner,

You sent a similar request in February. I assume that my colleague sent you the information that I sent her then:

I regret to inform you that after an exhaustive search, I was not able to locate any images of P. Fedosimov. Mr Fedosimov was part of the Permanent Mission of the USSR, and he was one of the alternates for the Governor from the USSR on the Board of Governors. Although he attended several General Conferences, I could not find a photo of him. I am sorry that we could not be of more assistance.

You can trace his attendance of the General Conference by looking at documents in the General Conference Archives on the IAEA website: Otherwise, as previously stated, we have no images of Mr Fedosimov.

Best regards,
Elizabeth Kata

Ms Elizabeth KATA | Archives Assistant |
Archives and Records Management Section | Division of General Services| Department of Management |
International Atomic Energy Agency | Vienna International Centre, PO Box 100, 1400 Vienna, Austria |
Email: or T: (+43-1) 2600-21192

And there we have the result, no images of Pavel Ivanovich Fedosimov were found. 

Considering the fact that the first appointed Director General of the IAEA was an ex-US Diplomat, you would have to think that the structures that he would have put in place including the credentials committee, would have been designed to ensure that not only unwelcome countries were barred but also unwelcome individuals.

The Pavel Ivanovich Fedosimov we have put forward was a KGB Major, he was a known spymaster, he ran amongst others, Harry Gold and perhaps the most well-known of all Atom spies, Klaus Fuchs. The man had orchestrated all of the espionage activities and networks that resulted in the theft of the US's most secret weapons development documents. This was no ordinary spy, this was a man of the highest level in the US during the years 1941 to 1948.

You would have to believe that had this particular man been put forward as a USSR diplomat and representative, Mr Cole would have been well aware of his history. Do you honestly think that such a man would be allowed to be involved in the world governing body, the IAEA?

Would it be possible? In those days there was much wheeling and dealing and whilst it may be possible, it is in my view, highly unlikely.

The bottom line is that there is absolutely no photographic evidence that the diplomat and the spy were one and the same person.

We will continue to search for and examine any relevant photographs from other sources and will update if, as and when such images are found.

With thanks to Clive for his ongoing enthusiasm and superb contributions.


In response to a comment, the following charts may shed some light on the enormity of the espionage tasks facing the Soviets in the US at the relevant time.

First off, the Manhattan Project Orgnisation Chart:

And secondly, a typical organisation chart for a Soviet Espionage cell, the Soviet Controller position was, I believe, a Moscow based role.:


  1. Just a couple of thoughts/questions re Fedosimov:
    Where do we get that he was a MAJOR from? I've only found reference to that on one other site, and get the impression it's an assumption based on the codename 'MAJ' (which torned out to be Stepan).
    Doesn't it seem a little odd that Fedosimov is thought to be STEPAN? Do you think this is because the CIA assumed Stepan was STEPAN, and when they realised Stepan was MAJ they assumed the person they had thought was MAJ must be STEPAN (from most of what I've read STEPAN was or possibly Fedosimov - ie there's a bit of uncertainty?

    Why did Fedosimov return to Russia? Someone suggested he was no longer trusted, but do we know any more than that?

    To me, the lack of literature on Fedosimov makes him seem a pretty small player - he appears through 1944 and is mentioned once or twice outside that (including his departure from the US) - there was one subsequent photo id of him as a handler which is really the closest to implicating him.

    To me it appears that he might have been reluctant to involve himself too deeply in espionage - which may have been the reason for his removal from the US.

  2. Apologies for the delay, a tad snowed under at the moment and this response will have to be brief and I will need to follow up again with it, some details to be clarified.

    My understanding is that Pavel was first in San Francisco around 1935 returning to Russia in 1939 and then back to the US in 1941 or 42.

    His code name was originally STEPAN, he replaced Stepan Apreysan as the NKVD 'rezident' in 1945. He handled Donald Maclean when he visited New York as well as the spy in the 'ENORMOZ' project known initially as VOGEL but who later, according to Venona cables, became PERS. The information supplied included the layout of the 'ENORMOZ' plant and more but sadly some of the Venona traffic was indecipherable so there are only fragments. If we now add to this admittedly short, list Harry Gold and Klaus Fuchs it is clear that Pavel was no lightweight, he was a heavy hitter.

    In 1948 Stalin perceived threats from Tito and Yugoslavia, he was also aware of newly formed agencies in the US one of which had as it's specific role to set up underground organisations in various people's republics. Conditions were ripe for a purge and that is what happened, the purge of Soviet Jews, Purges of those who said or thought the wrong things at the wrong time. Many were recalled from overseas postings with many of them never seen again or who were destined to spend long years languishing in one gulag or another. Not a good prospect for a man like Fedosimov if that were his circumstance.

    What we have I suspect is a high flying spy being recalled to Russia in the midst of a time of purge in the mother country, was he turned? A distinct possibility but we have more to do in order to get closer to the truth.

    I think therefore that he was deeply, no, totally immersed in espionage is probably a more accurate term and therefore in my view, the likelihood of Pavel giving up his star position because the game wasn't for him is highly unlikely.

    I will add a couple of charts to this post, they will give an idea of just how complex the Manhattan espionage task would have been and another that shows a typical 'rezident' handler/spy relationship.

    Apologies for the brevity, it is a big story and there is a lot more to it, it deserves a lot more coverage but sadly time does not permit at this moment. I will organise a post in the near future.


  3. This comment is for Milongal and JS regarding the comparison photo of Pavel and the artist's impression organised by Professor Abbott. The comments I read on Cipher Mysteries regarding that particular image related to the reason why I put that image there. I can see why you might think it was done for effect but the reality is that it's not the case.

    In days gone by amongst the things learnt were ID parades/Lineups, we would when necessary, go out on the street and find a number of people of similar description to a suspect, their appearance their height, their clothing and if the suspect was wearing a hat or a beanie at the relevant time, then everyone would wear one.

    It really wasn't done for effect, Fedosimov had a hat and that is not so easily removed in a digital sense, far easier to add a hat to the comparison image.

    I hope that clears it up for you and that it is of help.


  4. On the same theme and again for Milongal and JS, I think it was you Milongal that mentioned the similarity between the original images of SM and the face of the plaster bust. I agree with you on that and, if you look back at the blog here and to earlier work done by Clive and published on this blog, Mr Lawson clearly stated that he had used the 'photographs' from the autopsy of SM to create the plaster bust, the condition and even the size of the body were an issue. Here is the link to the relevant post:

    The ears, in particular, are of interest, they were noticeably deteriorated and almost impossible to model. Consider that and the profile image of the pre-burial pics of SM, the ear in that shot is a perfect match to the autopsy image. For me that suggests that the pre-burial photos were significantly altered and the earlier image was transposed in part on to the later one. We know, amongst other things, that the facial appearance, the height and build of SM pre burial were quite different to the autopsy images.

    Way back in 2014, I had published a post on the Autopsy images and showed how the images had been modified. This was later proved correct. here are a couple of links from early 2014:



    In the coming week or so we will be updating that post and hope to clarify that and other issues with Mr Lawson.