(This had been prompted by a post by the Grumpy Spindoctor, and led to a 2005 Sunday Times article.)
I said then that, when opportunity arose, I would have a look at the file in the Kew PRO and see what it said. I managed to do that last week, while there having a look at some of the naval stuff I normally go there to research.
So, here is a transcript of one of the key documents in HO 45/23801:
"Edinburgh City Police CID – 8 Jan 1941
I beg to report that our contact with the above Movement and Thomas Maxwell of the Young Nationalist Party, visited Arthur Donaldson at North Halkett, Lugton, Ayrshire on Sunday 5 January1941.During a long conversation, Donaldson gave great praise to Germany saying that England would be completely crushed by the early spring; the Government would leave the country and that England's position would be absolutely hopeless, as poverty and famine would be their only reward for declaring war on Germany. Scotland on the other hand had great possibilities.
We must, he declared, be able to show the German Government that we are organised and that we have a clear cut policy for the betterment of Scotland; that we have tried our best to persuade the English Government that we want Scottish Independence and that we are not in with them in this war. If we can do that you can be sure that Germany will give us every possible assistance in our early struggle. The time is not yet ripe for us to start a virile campaign against England, but when fire and confusion is at its height in England, we can start in earnest. He then went on to tell them that he had an idea in his mind for fixing up a wireless transmitting set in a thickly populated district in Glasgow or Edinburgh, in order to give broadcasts to the public.
At the moment he is working very hard in an endeavour to combine all the Nationalists together as a unit, whereby they can strike out with great force when the time comes. He is naming this combined body “The National Aid Society”. If any questions are asked, he said, you can say it is to help the dependents of young men who have been called to the Services. Actually it is to help members who have refused to fight and are at present in hiding. He mentioned that he had a number of places that could be used as hide-outs."
I think we can work out why MI5 and CID were interested in this bloke, can't we?
Of course, an obvious retort would be that this is all a fit-up, was never stood up in court, and at worse could be "pub chat".
But the file also contained a number of the leaflets and flyers which Donaldson produced and distributed - complete with his name and address. Lots of exhortations to Scots not to "fight for England" and instead dodge the call-up.
One was particularly interesting, because it brought together the two reasons I was there:
"Scottish News and Comment – No.28 - March 1941
NEW ASPECTS OF THE MILITARY SITUATION
The German aerial attack in January on the English Mediterranean Fleet...
The possibilities are enormous as the English admitted losses show...
The German campaign against English shipping..."
Our Arthur is referring to the Luftwaffe Stuka attack on the aircraft-carrier HMS Illustrious, on 10 January 1941. The ship was crippled and had to limp into Malta for emergency repairs, although she later escaped and received full repairs (lasting around a year) in the US. 126 men were killed and 96 men were wounded in the attack, and there were further Maltese casualties in the "Illustrious Blitz" of bombing raids which took place as the Luftwaffe and Regia Aeronautica tried to finish her off. With the Mediterranean Fleet now shorn of air cover, the Luftwaffe were also able to bomb the cruiser HMS Southampton so heavily that she had to be abandoned and sunk, with further loss of life.
Still, it's nice and wholesome to know that Mr Donaldson thought that all these losses to the armed forces attempting to save Europe from Nazism were "English", isn't it?
And that he thought that the "possibilities were enormous"?
So, while I don't know whether the person who wrote these things is also likely to have planned to set himself up as a Scottish Quisling under Nazi occupation, I know what I think.
Make your own mind up.