Jane Foster

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This article is part of the
Venona
series.

Secret apparatus
Board of Economic Warfare
Office of Strategic Services
Foreign Economic Administration
Mocase

Jane Foster Zlatovski, also Jane Foster Zlatkowski, 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.

Zlatovski was recruited into Soviet intelligence espionage in 1938 by Martha Dodd, the daughter of the U.S. Ambassador to Germany during the Weimar period. Zlatovski said that she was told by Dodd and William Browder, the brother of Earl Browder, General Secretary of the CPUSA "not to be so open in my Party work, as I could be more helpful to the Party if I were more discreet."

In 1942 Jane Foster rented a room from Henry Collins in Washington, D.C., who likewise was active in the Secret apparatus and began working in the Board of Economic Warfare. From 1943-1947 she worked in the Indonesian section of the Office of Strategic Services. After World War II she and her husband became members of the Mocase, a Soviet espionage ring run by Jack Soble. Her code name in Soviet intelligence and in the Venona files is SLANG, where she is referenced as engaged in transmitting information and in other espionage tasks.

Russian-born George Zlatovski had arrived in the U.S. with his parents in 1922 at the age of twelve, settled in Duluth, Minn.. He earned the nickname "Trotsky" in high school because of frequent comments in defense of Russia and Communism. He studied civil engineering at the University of Minnesota, and fought with the Comintern-sponsored Abraham Lincoln Brigade in the Spanish Civil War. In 1943 he joined the U.S. Army, rose from private to lieutenant, in 1945-47 was assigned to U.S. intelligence work in Austria.

Jane Foster Zlatovski was from California, the daughter of the retired medical director of the Cutter Laboratories, was a 1935 graduate of Mills College. She joined the Communist Party in 1938, married a Dutch foreign service officer and lived in the Dutch East Indies. Where or how Jane Foster lost her first husband is a mystery, but she met and married Zlatovski in Washington, D.C. in 1943, then remarried him three years later.

The Zlatovskis became part of the Soble network in January 1940. At times they dealt directly with Soble, while on other occasions they worked with Russian-born Hollywood producer Boris Morros, a Hollywood studio producer and courier, who later defected to U.S. counterintelligence agents.

According to Morros, Jane and George Zlatovski were useful espionage agents and served a crucial role in the Soble spy network. In 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. VENONA decrypts have revealed that Jane as (SLANG) used information gleaned from confidential OSS sources to write an incisive report on Indonesia as well as dossiers on known U.S. intelligence agents. Though her husband George (Soviet code name RECTOR) was not as active as his wife, gathering mostly information on refugees for Soviet intelligence. As a team, the two collected information on the "sexual and drinking habits" of U.S. personnel stationed in Austria, apparently to blackmail recruitment of new agents for espionage activity.[1]

Jane Foster Zlatovski later found work with the Netherlands Study Unit during the war which eventually was absorbed by the Board of Economic Warfare. She wrote that Charles Flato was her closest friend at the board.

After revelations of the Soble network appeared in the press in 1957, both Jane and George Zlatovski denied Morros' allegations. They remained in hiding in Paris, France, which at the time did not have an extradition treaty with the United States for crimes of espionage.[2]

In 1980 her autobiography entitled, An Un-American Lady, was published in London by Sidgwick and Johnson.

References

  1. Ever-Widening Ring, Time Magazine, July 22, 1957
  2. Ever-Widening Ring, Time Magazine, July 22, 1957

Sources

  • Haynes, John Earl, and Klehr, Harvey, Early Cold War Spies: The Espionage Trials that Shaped American Politics, Cambridge University Press (2006)
  • Haynes, John Earl & Klehr; Harvey; Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America, Yale University Press (1999).
  • The Mocase Case.
  • Ever-Widening Ring, Time Magazine, July 22, 1957
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