Jean Frederick and Irene JOLIOT-CURIE

  • Catalogue ref: KV2/3686
  • Date: 19/01/1937 - 19/05/1950
KV2/3688 Jean Frederick Joliot-Curie

Joint winners of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1935, the Joliot-Curies were communists from the late 1930s. In 1937 Frederic was organising armaments for the Spanish Government during the Civil War before joining the French party in 1944; and in 1938 Irene, daughter of Pierre and Marie Curie, was a member of a communist anti-war committee in France. Frederic was later the head of the French atomic energy programme until he was dismissed in 1950 following his speech to the Communist Party Congress. Irene was dropped from the Atomic Commission the following year.

The files span KV2/3686 to KV2/3688. File KV2/3686 is available to view online.

Basil Risbridger DAVIDSON alias Basil CRAIG

  • Catalogue ref: KV2/3697
  • Date: 24/01/1950 - 01/05/1960

An influential and prolific journalist and author with a particular interest in the developing world, latterly Africa, Davidson was an active member of various Communist dominated or influenced organisations, and a close associate of leading Party members. Although his numerous press articles and books displayed a consistently left wing and anti-imperialist bias, Davidson was never formally a member of the Party and took a strongly critical and independent line on the Soviet intervention in Hungary in 1956. KV2/3697 contains a summary of his activities relating to the British Communist Party as well as a final assessment of his character which concluded that he was never a 'true communist'. It also contains details of a row in Parliament over Davidson's prohibited immigrant status in the British Colonies in Africa in which James Callaghan, among others, spoke in his favour.

The files span KV2/3690 to KV2/3697. File KV2/3697 is available to view online.

Charles Spencer CHAPLIN; alias Charlie CHAPLIN

  • Catalogue ref: KV2/3700
  • Date: 22/09/1952 - 20/12/1960
KV 2/3700 Charles Spencer Chaplin

This file was opened in 1952 when Chaplin was reported to have made a covert donation to the American Communist Party in 1923 and to have subsequently continued his communist associations. Following a 1952 request for information on Chaplin from the US Embassy, an investigation was launched into the circumstances of his birth. However a search of birth records held at Somerset House drew a blank. 'It would seem that Chaplin was either not born in this country or that his name at birth was other than those mentioned', a report concluded. The Americans were informed that there was 'no trace in our records of Charlie Chaplin' and 'no evidence that Chaplin's name is or ever has been Israel Thornstein'- the alias that had been suggested. Further enquiries and the suggestion that Chaplin 'may have been born in France' also proved fruitless. In 1953 Chaplin was prevented from returning to the USA, although he denied being a communist. In 1958 the Security Service, which had never been convinced by the American reports, concluded that there were no reliable grounds for regarding him as a security risk, while acknowledging that his name had been exploited in the interests of communism as 'one of the victims of McCarthyism'. He was assessed as 'progressive or radical' rather than communist. The file includes a greetings telegram to Chaplin from the Soviet agent Ivor Montagu.

FilesKV2/3700 and KV2/3701 can be viewed online.