800.711/79a: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Chargé at Algiers (Chapin)

1473. For Murphy. Wide and hostile coverage given in all papers here to reports that Tito’s interview with AP stopped by censors of Allied Mediterranean Command despite official assurances that political censorship would not be imposed in Mediterranean Theater. No reasons for suppression Tito interview given in domestic stories.

[Page 1509]

Article signed by Tito radioed by All Slav Committee Moscow to magazine “Free World” New York, highly critical of Mihailovic, passed without question by United States Office Censorship on grounds that since it came by radio it was subject to enemy interception and presumably known to them. Accordingly criticism aroused by political censorship imposed Algiers will cause more harm than appearance of any stories such censorship might stop, particularly when they can reach United States by means beyond control Algiers censorship.

Department, in concurrence with War and Navy Departments and Office of Censorship, feels strongly that there should be no censorship of purely political matters and agrees entirely with action taken by you in present instance.

In order that we may give the question further attention, please report on composition of Algiers censorship board and any recommendations you may have to offer on its reconstitution. For your confidential information we do not look with favor on participation by an American political representative and see no need for political representation on board if there is to be no political censorship.11

Repeated to London as Department’s no. 3852.

  1. In telegram 1580, May 15, 1944, 7 p.m., from Algiers, Mr. Murphy reported that “There is no Algiers censorship board as such. The Information and Censorship Section, AFHQ, including Public Relations, Psychological Warfare and Censorship branches is headed by an American Brigadier General, with a British Lieutenant Colonel in direct charge of the censorship branch. I believe the present setup is satisfactory.” (800.711/80)