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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Papers: Churchill's Cousin Met With Soviet Intelligence

LONDON -- When Winston Churchill served as Britain's Treasury chief in 1925, a cousin who espoused "Bolshevism and free love" divulged details of a conversation they had to a Soviet intelligence officer, according to British government documents that were to be released Thursday by the Public Records Office.

The documents, which all date back to the 1920s, show that Clare Sheridan, a journalist, author and sculptor, apparently had contact with Soviet agents several times.

One document from 1925 included details of a monitored conversation between two Soviet agents, known as A and B; A apparently knew Sheridan.

The document explained that Sheridan had told A "that she had a conversation with Winston who had stated to her that it was not certain that the French could hold on in Syria."

In his book, "Churchill and Secret Service," historian David Stafford suggested Churchill knew Britain's domestic intelligence service MI5 may have used his cousin to cultivate Soviet leaders.

"I think the Clare Sheridan episode is a particularly intriguing episode in Churchill's life, occurring when he was deeply engaged in anti-Bolshevik enterprises of various sorts," Stafford said Wednesday.

One document says that at a reception in Rome she "not only openly aired her views in favor of Bolshevism but tried to convince some of the guests of its advantages, especially in connection with 'free love.'" Sheridan died in 1970.

Other documents released Thursday show that British authorities considered the wife of World War II fascist leader Sir Oswald Mosley to be more dangerous than her husband.

Lady Mosley acted as a go-between for Mosley and Adolf Hitler, whom Mosley deeply admired.

An unidentified source quoted in a police document said Lady Mosley "is said to be far cleverer and more dangerous than her husband and will stick at nothing to achieve her ambitions -- she is wildly ambitious."