Jane Foster Zlatovski

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Jane Foster Zlatovski (1912–1979) allegedly engaged, with her husband, George Zlatovski, in covert activities on behalf of the Soviet Union while employed in sensitive U.S. Government wartime agencies during World War II. They were indicted in 1957. Their case was never tried and both Zlatovskis denied the accusations.

Early life[edit]

Jane Foster grew up in San Francisco, California. Her father, Harry Emerson Foster, was the medical director of the Cutter Laboratories. Her mother was Eve Cody Foster. Foster attended Mills College in Oakland, California, graduating in 1935.[1]:29

Foster married Dutch diplomat Alleendert Kamper[2] in October 1936. She and Kamper separated after 18 months. Foster, required to spend five months on Dutch soil in order to finalize the divorce, travelled to Bali. She remained there until September 1939, returning to the United States due to the British declaration of war on Germany.[1]:31 She briefly joined the Communist Party in 1938.[3]

Foster met and married Zlatovski in Washington, D.C. in 1943, then remarried him three years later. She was employed by the Board of Economic Warfare ond the Office of Strategic Services from late 1943 until early 1946[2] in the Indonesian section.[4]:349 Foster was one of the first OSS agents to reach Indonesia after the Japanese surrender in 1945, where she interviewed Sukarno to discover whether he planned to align himself with Allied interests.[5] Foster wrote in her autobiography that Soviet agent Charles Flato was one of her closest friends at the Board.[4]:119

Allegations of espionage[edit]

Foster was allegedly recruited into espionage in 1938 by NKVD operative Martha Dodd.[6] In 1942, Foster rented a room from Henry Collins in Washington, D.C., who likewise was active in the secret apparatus. After World War II, Foster and her husband allegedly became members of a Soviet espionage ring run by Jack Soble.[7] She is believed to be identified in Soviet intelligence and in the Venona project files with the code name SLANG, where she is mentioned as engaged in transmitting information and in other espionage tasks.[4]:349 According to Gregg Herken, SLANG is named in two cables decrypted in the Venona project, one dated 21 June 1943, the other dated 30 May 1944.[8]

The Zlatovskis were indicted by a Federal grand jury on July 8, 1957, on charges of espionage.[2] The couple were living in Paris at the time, and denied the charges in a brief interview with the New York Times.[9]

Time Magazine sensationally alleged in 1957 the Zlatovskis became part of the Soble network in January 1940. At times they dealt directly with Soble, while on other occasions they are thought to have worked with Boris Morros. According to Morros, Jane and George Zlatovski were useful espionage agents and served a crucial role in the Soble spy network. As reported in Time, "[I]n covert meetings in the U.S. and a dozen European cities (including Moscow) the Zlatovskis turned over to Morros a file-load of valuable information that was passed to Soviet intelligence."[3] George Zlatovski (alleged code name RECTOR[10]) was not as active as his wife, gathering mostly information on refugees for Soviet intelligence.[3] As a team, the two allegedly collected information on the "sexual and drinking habits" of U.S. personnel stationed in Austria, apparently for blackmail recruitment of new agents for espionage activity.[2]

After revelations of the Soble network appeared in the press in 1957,[3] both Jane and George Zlatovski denied Morros' allegations. They remained in exile in Paris, where Foster reconnected with Julia Child and her husband, Paul, both of whom had worked with Foster in the OSS.[11] Although the U.S. government tried to extradite the Zlatovskis,[12] it was unable to do so.[13] Although she continued to publicly deny her involvement in espionage, it has been reported Foster confessed to both French intelligence agents and to the Paris office of the FBI.[7]

Her autobiography, An Un-American Lady, is a colorful account of an upper-class expatriate socialite in the pre- and post-World War II era, and also recounts her involuntary detainment in the U.S., surveillance by FBI and CIA agents, and description of McCarthy-era America.[14]


  1. ^ a b Conant, Jennet (5 April 2011). A Covert Affair: Julia Child and Paul Child in the OSS. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 978-1-4391-6352-8. Retrieved 15 October 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d Anderson, David (9 July 1957). "2 Ex-Aides of U.S. Indicted as Spies". New York Times. p. 1. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Ever-Widening Ring". Time Magazine. 22 July 1957. 
  4. ^ a b c Haynes, John Earl; Klehr, Harvey (11 August 2000). Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America. Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-08462-7. Retrieved 15 October 2011. 
  5. ^ Smith, Richard Harris (1 August 2005). OSS: The Secret History of America's First Central Intelligence Agency. Globe Pequot. p. 267ff. ISBN 978-1-59228-729-1. Retrieved 15 October 2011. 
  6. ^ Brysac, Shareen Blair (23 May 2002). Resisting Hitler: Mildred Harnack and the Red Orchestra. Oxford University Press. p. 396ff. ISBN 978-0-19-515240-1. Retrieved 15 October 2011. 
  7. ^ a b Romerstein, Herbert; Breindel, Eric (25 December 2001). The Venona Secrets: Exposing Soviet Espionage and America's Traitors. Regnery Publishing. pp. 295–6. ISBN 978-0-89526-225-7. Retrieved 15 October 2011. 
  8. ^ Herken, Gregg (19 August 2003). Brotherhood of the Bomb: The Tangled Lives and Loyalties of Robert Oppenheimer, Ernest Lawrence, and Edward Teller. Macmillan. pp. 352–. ISBN 978-0-8050-6589-3. Retrieved 15 October 2011. 
  9. ^ Blair, W. Granger (10 July 1957). "2 Accused by U.S. Deny Spy Charges". New York Times. p. 1. 
  10. ^ Haynes, John Earl; Klehr, Harvey; Vassiliev, Alexander (2009). Spies: the rise and fall of the KGB in America. Yale University Press. p. 327. ISBN 978-0-300-12390-6. Retrieved 15 October 2011. 
  11. ^ Reardon, Joan (1 December 2010). As Always, Julia: The Letters of Julia Child and Avis DeVoto. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 249. ISBN 978-0-547-41771-4. Retrieved 15 October 2011. 
  12. ^ Blair, W. Granger (24 July 1957). "French Suggest Spy-Case Course". New York Times. p. 10. 
  13. ^ Wright, Richard O. (1974). Whose FBI?. Open Court. ISBN 978-0-87548-148-7. Retrieved 15 October 2011. 
  14. ^ Foster, Jane (1980). An unamerican lady. Sidgwick and Jackson. ISBN 978-0-283-98711-3. Retrieved 15 October 2011. 

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