78. Memorandum From the Secretary of State’s Special Assistant for Research and Intelligence (McCormack) to the Assistant Secretary of State for Public and Cultural Relations (Benton)0

Since receiving your attached memorandum of September 26 to Frank McCarthy,1 I have talked with Lt. Colonel Little, Chief of the Morale Operations Branch, of the Strategic Service Unit. Col. Little, if I understand him correctly, thinks that his unit should continue its activities in the post-war era along the following lines:

Propaganda in foreign countries by means of covert sources, i.e., “black” propaganda;
Collection of information relating to foreign propaganda, by means of field agents; and
Analysis of foreign propaganda, the emphasis under (2) and (3) being on “black” propaganda and on propaganda which is disseminated through other than the usual public media.

As to (1), it is my view that the United States should not maintain clandestine operators in a foreign country against which we are not at war, and through such operators to attempt so-called “black” propaganda operations; that to do so would be contrary to the fundamental premises of our own Governmental system and would be honoring the totalitarians by imitating them.

As to the collection of information concerning foreign propaganda, by use of agents abroad, that is no doubt desirable, but I think that it is neither desirable nor feasible to maintain the Morale Operations Branch as a separate collecting organization, apart from the other intelligence collecting operations.

As to the third point, I believe that a rounded intelligence research organization should include among its operations the systematic and careful analysis of the propaganda of foreign countries, including the types of propaganda that the MOB has concentrated on.

Do you agree? If so, do you think that the State Department should take over that part of the Morale Operations Branch, SSU, which is engaged in the analysis of foreign propaganda?

I should like to get your views as to the need of such a service to your organization.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Records of the Department of State, Decimal File 1945–49, 101.5/10–2445. No classification marking.
  2. Not found.