132. Circular Telegram From the Department of State to All Diplomatic Posts1

138199. Subject: Dept guidance CIA NSA story and subsequent press developments. Ref: State 137161.2 Circular.

1. Press follow-up to Rampart disclosures of past CIA assistance to National Students Association assures continuing worldwide interest in story and makes likely inquiries to many posts from press, diplomatic colleagues and friendly host governments.

[Page 412]

2. Under Secretary of State Katzenbach, who has been directed by the President to undertake an immediate and full survey and study of the problems involved in this matter today said:


QTE The President believes strongly that the integrity and independence of the education community must be preserved. He has directed a careful review of any government activities that may endanger this integrity and independence.

He has further directed me, in consultation with Secretary Gardner and Director Helms, to formulate a policy which will provide necessary guidance for government agencies in their relationship to the international activities of American educational organizations.

At the same time, the President recognizes the great need of America’s private organizations to participate in the world community. Other countries provide heavy subsidy for such activities. He has asked me to explore means for assuring that US organizations play their proper and vital role. UNQTE


3. Department should be informed immediately of grantees in NSA-administered programs who are targets of official or public hostility. Department in turn will provide posts as much background as can be assembled quickly on overt, federal assistance to student programs.


4. Press reports today included the following:

Washington Star,3 leaving source unattributed, reported CIA has also given substantial support to US Youth Council (USYC), World Assembly of Youth (WAY), and International Student Conference (ISC). [US Youth Council is umbrella organization that embraces 36 political, service and student groups; it is American member of WAY. WAY is federation of more than 50 national committees that embrace youth groups in member countries; it has headquarters in Brussels and is counterpart of Moscow-dominated World Federation of Democratic Youth. ISC is federation of Western and non-aligned national student unions, with headquarters at Leyden, the Netherlands, and is counterpart of Moscow-dominated International Union of Students.]

Story says that CIA gave millions over more than a decade to those organizations; that money was channeled through foundations; that principal donor to those organizations and to NSA is Foundation for Youth and Student Affairs in New York; that in WAY and ISC a limited [Page 413] number US citizens have served in executive posts and usually were only ones aware of source of funds.

Story adds that the two international organizations, like NSA, received CIA funds after it became apparent they were engaged in bitter struggle with Communist-financed counterpart organizations for allegiance of youth and student leaders in emerging nations of Africa, Asia and Latin America. While NSA and USYC have sizable programs aimed at increasing political awareness and participation of students and youth in US, as well as extensive international programs, according to story, WAY and ISC involved almost entirely in continuing ideological struggle with Communist-controlled counterparts headquartered in Prague (IUS) and Budapest (WFDY). It was against this background that CIA in early 1950s began providing financial support.

Story charges that young people in all four organizations carried on limited intelligence work, forwarding to CIA confidential reports from overseas representatives and reports on foreign students or youth leaders visiting US. Policies of all groups involved described as generally liberal.

Story says CIA came to rely on NSA as means of developing potential recruits; adds that officers of the four organizations played musical chairs in moving from group to group.

Harry Lunn, former NSA president and current director Foundation for Youth and Student Affairs, quoted as saying his organization was not CIA front. While relying heavily on CIA for money, he said it also receives sizable contributions from a number of wealthy US citizens, and has made donations to wide variety nonprofit groups.

New York Times,4 quoting NSA officers, said CIA financed NSA seminar on student newspapers in 1965 in East Africa. Student newspaper editors from Zambia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Ethiopia attended. It said in earlier years, between 1958 and 1962, CIA financed scholarship program for Algerian students through NSA, presumably because USG decided it could not publicly provide scholarships for Algerians, many of whom had been expelled from French universities for anti-French activities, at time when France was attempting quell Algerian rebellion. After Algerian independence, State Department began openly funding the program.

James Reston5 in Times said that the history of international youth and student organizations and the use made of them by the USSR help explain both the CIA policy with regard to them and the embarrassing [Page 414] consequences of that policy. He said the reason for establishing CIA help to the student association is perfectly clear.

Washington Post6 quoted former CIA official as saying that CIA gave American students the wherewithal to attend international student conferences such as World Youth Festivals in Helsinki in 1962 and in Vienna in 1959.


5. In addition specific guidance contained reftel and future guidance from Dept, posts may wish emphasize following points in off-the-record discussions with friendly foreign officials:

a. USG support for NSA began at height of cold war, when USSR was seeking to dominate international youth movements with Party-picked7 and financed delegates. Aforementioned article by James Reston developed this, pointing out communist delegations gained control of key positions at first World Students Congress in Prague in 1946 and notes inter alia that first Soviet Vice President of International Union of Students was Aleksandr Shelepin, later chairman Soviet State Security Committee (KGB). Dept also preparing fuller summary for background info of posts.

b. At that time, USG was only source of funds to enable American students to participate on equal basis in international youth activities.

c. Student groups from all countries obviously require and receive extensive financial support. In totalitarian countries, it generally known that delegations are financed by government or ruling party and that delegates have no alternative but to advocate official government line. From some free world countries, youth delegations are customarily sponsored and chosen by dominant political party. Covert support of US student activities in international field had obvious disadvantages, as noted in background quoted reftel, but had advantage permitting students express own opinion without government interference.

d. American delegates to international conferences have in fact traditionally expressed their own views irrespective of official USG policy.

e. Knowledge of CIA support limited to very few NSA officials, hence disclosure this past association carries no implication that all American youth active in student work were witting beneficiaries of USG assistance. (Many such former youth leaders are now active in government; among those now in Foreign Service and AID, Reston article mentions US Ambassador to Chile Dungan, AID Director in [Page 415] Peru William Dentzer, and special assistant to Director of AID Robert Smith.) It also totally unfounded to assume that students active in NSA, with or without knowledge CIA support, maintained continuing association with CIA after student days. (Front page Washington Post article Feb. 15 quotes unnamed NSA officers to effect that CIA recruited agents from top echelons of NSA over period of fourteen years.)

f. Covert CIA funding should not be confused with other student activities with which agencies of USG, including State, have been and are openly associated. Resume of activities which Department’s Bureau of Cultural Affairs arranges on contract basis with NSA being provided septel.8

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Subject File, Box 44, Ramparts—NSACIA. Confidential. Drafted by Geraldine Sheehan (G/Y), Robison, and Slocum; cleared by Canter, German, and Walker; approved by Kohler. All brackets are in the original.
  2. See footnotes 3 and 4, Document 131.
  3. A daily afternoon newspaper published in Washington, DC, between 1852 and 1981.
  4. See Neil Sheehan, “Order by Johnson Reported Ending C.I.A. Student Aid,” New York Times, February 15, 1967, p. 1.
  5. “C.I.A. Aid on Campus,” The New York Times, February 15, 1967, p. 19.
  6. See Andrew J. Glass and Gerald Grant, “NSA Officers Describe Aid Given by CIA,” Washington Post, February 15, 1967, p. A1.
  7. Reference is to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
  8. Not found