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When the FBI Grilled Julia Child Over Her Alleged Communist Ties

No stone left unturned.

A version of this story originally appeared on Muckrock.com.

Anyone with Google, a passing interest in espionage, or a love of Amy Adams knows by now that the life of television personality and French cook Julia Child was entwined in the U.S. intelligence apparatus.

During World War II, the future-famed cook joined the Office of Strategic Services, the United States’ massive intelligence organization and the pre-curser to the CIA. Her career with the organization spanned continents and a number of positions and culminated in a life in post-war Paris and a marriage to fellow OSS agent Paul Child.

More ambiguous, however, is Child’s relationship to the FBI as the U.S. moved out of the joyous tidings of V-J Day and into the cold uncertainty of McCarthyism. Although a number of documents have apparently been deleted, documents released by the FBI on Julia Child contain evidence of a seemingly exhaustive interview conducted in 1957.

1

Although McCarthyism’s close associations between communism, disloyalty, and homosexuality led many to believe the FBI had questioned Paul Child’s sexuality, Julia’s file reflects only her association with friends and suspected communists Jane Foster and her husband George Michael Zlatovski.

2

Although run-ins between Paul Child and the FBI had made him an avowed anti-McCarthyist as early as 1955, the interview, conducted with Julia on February 14, 1957, traced her friendship to Jane Foster all the way back to their mutual tenure with the OSS.

3

You can read the full document below.