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Orwell named Charlie Chaplin as communist sympathiser

A complete list of suspected communist sympathisers handed over to the British Government by novelist George Orwell shortly before his death was released to the public yesterday.

Orwell supplied the names of 38 writers and journalists he believed were "crypto communists, fellow travellers or inclined that way" in 1949.

Among those he declared "should not be trusted as (communist) propagandists" were comedian Charlie Chaplin, novelist JB Priestley and actor Michael Redgrave.

Orwell gave the list to Celia Kirwan, a friend who worked in the information research department of the Foreign Office.

One of the suspects, Peter Smollett, a Daily Express reporter, was later found to be a Soviet agent.

In his list, Orwell described Smollett as "a very slimy person" who gave a strong impression he was "some kind of Russian agent".

The author of Animal Farm, who was dying of tuberculosis in a sanatorium in Gloucestershire, was asked to help in the Government's efforts to counter communist propaganda.

The list was found after Ms Kirwan's death last autumn.

Other secret correspondence released today suggests that Orwell had expressed "his whole-hearted and enthusiastic approval" of the Government's aims. Orwell, who died in 1950, also gave Ms Kirwan suggestions of possible writers who could produce anti-communist articles for distribution in British colonies.

Here is the full list of 38 suspected communist sympathisers in alphabetical order:

Anderson, John; Aldred, (Christian name unknown); Beavan, John; Blackett, Prof PMS; Carr, Prof E H; Chaplin, Chas; Crowther, JG; Childe, Prof Gordon; Calder-Marshall, Arthur; Deutscher, I; Duranty, W; Driberg, Tom; Dover, Cedric; Goldring, D; Hooper, Major; Jacob, Alaric; Kohn, Marjorie; Litauer, Stefan; Morley, Iris; Macmurray, Prof John; Martin, H Kingsley; Mackenzie, Norman; McLeod, Joseph; Mitchison, N; Moore, Nicholas; McDiarmid, H; Mende, Tibor; Neumann, R; O'Donnell, Peader; Parker, Ralph; Priestley, JB; Padmore, George; Redgrave, Michael; Smollett (aka Smolka), Peter; Schiff, Leonard; Werth, Alexander; Young, Commander E P; Stewart, Margaret.

 
 
 

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