It has been revealed that the pioneer actor Sir Charlie Chaplin was not rewarded with a knighthood for many years because he was a communist and this might have offended the Americans.
The British Foreign Office opposed move by the Conservative government of Anthony Eden in October 1956 to honour Chaplin with a knighthood, on the grounds that such a move might offend the Americans at a very delicate moment.
Chaplin had never accepted American citizenship despite living in the USA for 42 years. His marriage to two sixteen-year-old girls raised eyebrows even in the permissive 1920s and his open support for Communist and progressive ideals earned the hostility of the American public at large, leading to his being barred from entering the USA after a trip to Europe in 1952.
In July 1956, President Nasser of Egypt ordered the Suez Canal to be taken. Britain and France endeavoured to retake the canal by military means and the attempt was stopped only through pressure from the USA. At a time of growing tension, it was considered that to award Charlie Chaplin with a knighthood would be to unnecessarily antagonise the US authorities and place further strain on cross-Atlantic relations.
Talk about freedom of expression.
Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru
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