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Boy Scout founder was invited to meet Hitler

Lord Baden-Powell, the founder of the Scout movement, was invited to meet Adolf Hitler after holding friendly talks about forming closer ties with the Hitler Youth, newly declassified MI5 files reveal.

His cordial meeting with a leader of the Nazi boys' club came as intelligence chiefs were investigating fears that Hitler Youth groups were using cycling trips in Britain as a cover for espionage.

The Security Service was so concerned about the danger posed by “spyclists” that it ordered police to report whenever a group of touring German cyclists arrived in the country.

MI5 took a close interest in a visit to Britain by 28-year-old Hartmann Lauterbacher, chief of staff of the Hitler Youth, in November 1937, the previously secret files released by the National Archives show.

The main aim of his trip was to foster closer relations with the British Boy Scout movement formed by Baden-Powell in 1907.

Joachim von Ribbentrop, who was German ambassador to London at the time and became Hitler's foreign minister the next year, invited the Scout leader to tea with Lauterbacher on November 19, 1937.

Baden-Powell later wrote that a meeting with Hitler had been suggested to him, but it never took place.

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