249. Report by an Ad Hoc Subcommittee of the State–Army–Navy–Air Force Coordinating Committee0

SANACC 304/11


The Problem

1. To determine whether at the present time the U.S. should utilize coordinated psychological measures in furtherance of the attainment of its national objectives; if so, what organization is required and what should be its terms of reference.

Facts Bearing on the Problem and Discussion

2. a. The USSR is conducting an intensive propaganda campaign directed primarily against the U.S. and is employing coordinated psychological, political and economic measures designed to undermine all non-Communist elements in foreign countries which are capable of opposing Soviet aspirations.

b. The ultimate objective of this campaign is not merely to undermine the prestige of the U.S. and the effectiveness of its national policy but to weaken and divide foreign opinion to a point where effective opposition to Soviet aspirations is no longer attainable by political, economic or military means.

c. In conducting this campaign, the USSR is utilizing all such measures available to it through satellite regimes, Communist parties, and organizations susceptible to Communist influence.

d. The U.S. is not now employing coordinated psychological measures to counter this propaganda campaign or to further the attainment of its national objectives.

e. The extension of economic aid to certain foreign countries, particularly in Europe, is one of the principal means by which the U.S. has [Page 636] undertaken to defend its vital interests. The extent of this aid and other U.S. contributions to world peace is unknown to large segments of the world’s population. Inadequate employment of psychological measures is impairing the effectiveness of these undertakings.

f. None of the existing departments or agencies of the U.S. Government is now charged with responsibility for utilizing coordinated psychological measures in furtherance of the attainment of U.S. national objectives.

g. Taking into account the foregoing considerations the ad hoc Committee has reached the following Conclusions:


3. The present world situation requires the U.S. immediately to develop and utilize coordinated measures designed to influence attitudes in foreign countries in a direction favorable to the attainment of U.S. objectives and to counteract effects of anti-American propaganda.

4. It is considered that the initial steps to implement paragraph 3 above should be designed to provide closer coordination of policies, more effective integration of existing facilities, and intensification of psychological measures.

5. a. The Secretary of State should be charged with responsibility for the general direction and coordination of psychological measures designed to influence attitudes in foreign countries in a direction favorable to the attainment of U.S. objectives and to counteract effects of anti-American propaganda. It is assumed that this responsibility will be delegated to the Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, hereinafter referred to as the Assistant Secretary. The Assistant Secretary should be assisted by an informal group composed initially of representatives of the Army, Navy and Air Force Departments, and the Central Intelligence Agency, and subsequently of other departments or agencies at his discretion.

b. All participating departments and agencies should be directed to insure the most effective utilization of all their appropriate facilities, and to perform such additional functions as may be necessary, for the execution of approved policy decisions.

c. The Assistant Secretary should be furnished with qualified full-time personnel from each participating department or agency, headed by a director appointed by the Secretary of State. The major responsibilities of the Director should be to implement the policies and plans established by the Secretary of State by:

Obtaining the most effective utilization and coordination of all informational facilities and of related psychological activities within the participating departments and agencies;
Providing effective liaison with other departments and agencies whose related activities can be profitably employed;
Initiating and developing for the approval of the Assistant Secretary specific plans and programs designed to influence foreign opinion in a direction favorable to U.S. interests and to counteract effects of anti-American propaganda.

6. As a matter of priority, the Assistant Secretary should take steps to determine the need for such funds as may be necessary to insure performance of the responsibilities assigned in paragraph 5 above.

7. The Assistant Secretary and Director should be furnished by the Central Intelligence Agency with appropriate foreign intelligence.

8. The Assistant Secretary should be furnished with classified information necessary for the fulfillment of his responsibilities by the participating departments.

9. In carrying out the responsibilities assigned in paragraph 5 above, the Assistant Secretary and the Director should maintain the closest possible liaison with the SANACC Subcommittee on Special Studies and Evaluations, in order that the latter may adequately fulfill its responsibilities.

10. The utmost secrecy should be observed with regard to the contents of this report.


11. It is recommended that:

SANACC approve the above Conclusions.
After approval by SANACC, the Conclusions of this paper be forwarded to the National Security Council for appropriate action.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 353, Records of the Interdepartmental and Intradepartmental Committees—State Department, Records of the State–War–Navy Coordinating Committee, Box 55, File 304, 381, Psychological Warfare Pt. 2. Top Secret. Although dated November 7, SANACC amended and approved the report on November 13, and the last 2 pages of the source text bear the typed notation “Revised 13 November 1947.” The source text is an enclosure to two memoranda, neither printed. (Ibid.) The first is a November 13 covering note from the SANACC secretaries explaining the changes. The latter is another note by the SANACC secretaries, dated November 7, which indicates that the text amended and approved by SANACC was a revised version of the report originally submitted by the ad hoc committee on November 3 and designated as SANACC 304/10. (Ibid.) See the Supplement for SANACC 304/10.