MI5, the British intelligence agency, cooperated with J Edgar Hoover’s FBI in tracking the actor Charlie Chaplin in the 1950s for alleged communist sympathies, reports the Guardian.
Describing Chaplin as “Hollywood’s parlour Bolsheviks,” the FBI asked MI5 for cooperation in having him banned from the US. MI5 put together “extensive personal files” on the actor, files which are now being released publicly, according to the Guardian.
“Chaplin has given funds to communist front organisations … He has been involved in paternity and abortion cases,” a Washington-based MI5 liaison warned in October of 1952.
“There is a great deal of good in communism. We can use the good and segregate the bad,” Chaplin had told an American Soviet group in Los Angeles in, according to the files.
Eventually, MI5 found no evidence of Chaplin being a threat.
“We have no trace in our records of this man, nor are we satisfied that there are any reliable grounds for regarding him as a security risk,” Sir Percy Sillitoe, then head of MI5, told the chief police commissioner in South Africa, where Chaplin was planning a visit,according to the paper.
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