100. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Meeting to Discuss the Crusade for Freedom held in Mr. Barrett’s Office on January 17, 1952


  • CIA—Mr. Allen Dulles, Mr. Frank Wisner, Mr. Tom Braden and Mr. Gates Lloyd
  • NCFE—Mr. C. D. Jackson and Mr. Abbott Washburn
  • State—Mr. Edward W. Barrett, Mr. Howland H. Sargeant, Mr. Foy Kohler, Mr. Robert P. Joyce and Mr. John Devine


As the result of the discussion it was agreed that the Crusade for Freedom would be continued in 1952 but in a considerably lower key in comparison with the 1951 Crusade. The precise nature of the Crusade is to be worked out cooperatively by NCFE, CIA and the Department of State.


Mr. Jackson said that he and his colleagues realize that they cannot repeat the 1951 type Crusade. He raised the question of whether there should be a Crusade at all and answered it by saying that he felt that some sort of Crusade had to continue. He said that the major question was what sort of Crusade could be organized and still not present serious problems for the Department of State. Mr. Jackson said that the most troublesome aspect of the 1951 Crusade was its length of three months. He said that a shorter Crusade pitched at a lower level would solve many of the problems that had occurred in the past year. He said that one good idea that had been developed by local committees was to have a one-day civic organization doorbell ringing campaign. Some buildup of publicity would be necessary for a national doorbell ringing campaign but it would be nothing to compare with the extended Crusade of this year. Mr. Jackson said that the direct mail approach had been tried this year with some success and could be expanded. He added that he felt the short campaign would have the additional advantage of removing the possibility of the public’s making invidious comparisons between RFE and VOA. He said that with the [Page 235] short campaign there would not be time for the public to reflect on such issues.

Mr. Barrett reminded the group that NCFE had started as an organization to look after and make use of the various Eastern European refugee groups. He recalled that giving these groups a radio voice was something of a later development. He also recalled that the Crusade was established primarily as a cover for the governmental support of the enterprise. Mr. Barrett raised the question of whether or not the Crusade had grown to such proportions that it was now a case of the tail wagging the dog. He also raised the question of whether the two or three million dollars that might be raised in the Crusade might be endangering the $85,000,000 involved in the appropriations for the USIE operations. He thought it was important to get back to the idea of just enough of a Crusade to give the minimum necessary cover to NCFE. Mr. Barrett suggested direct mail solicitation of funds, magazine advertisements and coupons, and corporation solicitations. He also said that he thought the device of large anonymous gifts might be looked into further.

Mr. Jackson said that after the 1951 campaign it became clear to him that the Crusade had actually done an important selling job on the American public in the matter of psychological warfare and the importance of such an effort to our nation. He felt that this was a most important aspect of the Crusade and one that had been usually overlooked. Mr. Jackson said also that an efficient field organization had been built up for the Crusade and it was one which could respond to almost any kind of stimuli we wanted to apply.

Mr. Kohler suggested that the Crusade’s national organization might be used to communicate to the public other messages which would be useful in connection with the United States’ psychological warfare effort.

Mr. Sargeant said that if the Crusade’s national organization were really going to continue to be a force in the situation, it would be necessary to keep it busy the year around with useful projects such as film shows, publicizing the visits of foreign labor leaders, and participating in other activities relating to the international propaganda situation.

Mr. Barrett said that it was important to secure international sponsorship for the RFE broadcasts as had been done for the balloon operations.

Mr. Jackson said that the international nature of the balloon message did not add anything to its effectiveness. He said that current attempts to set up committees in France and England along the lines of NCFE were not succeeding and he doubted seriously whether that was a fruitful line of further endeavor. Mr. Jackson said that he felt the development should be toward the Munich-type of operation to Czechoslovakia where [Page 236] the program has acquired such a predominantly local coloration that the American connection is almost completely submerged. Mr. Dulles agreed that an international committee was not a workable arrangement.

Mr. Washburn said that two million dollars gross had been raised in the Crusade this year when there was a stated goal. He thought that the next Crusade need not have a specific goal and that such a change would help keep things in a low key.

Mr. Kohler commented that in the 1951 Crusade, the impression was given that the combined efforts of RFE and RFA were covering the world as far as radio propaganda needs were concerned.

Mr. Sargeant said that he felt a Crusade national organization could serve a useful purpose in developing popular interest in psychological warfare and could at the same time assign tasks to local groups which would actually assist in the psychological warfare effort. He mentioned writing of letters and essay contests.

Mr. Dulles said that he hoped that the group could agree on the Crusade’s going ahead this year on a program that will be worked out in close coordination with VOA.

Mr. Jackson said that he hoped a four point decision could be reached:

That the Crusade should go ahead this year.
That it should take place in September at the earliest and not last more than two weeks.
That the Crusade national organization should proceed in the meantime with the jobs of general education on psychological warfare matters, and an explanation of VOARFE relationships.
That NCFE should collaborate with the Department of State on what should be said to local groups.

Mr. Jackson’s suggestions were discussed but there was no general agreement.

Mr. Barrett felt that agreement at this time should be limited to saying that the Crusade organization should not be disbanded, that there should be a Crusade in 1952 of a considerably lower pitched nature, and that the precise character of the 1952 Crusade should be worked out in close consultation between NCFE, CIA and State. This was agreed to by all present.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, S/S–NSC Files: Lot 63 D 351, no folder title, Box 48. Top Secret; Security Information. Drafted by John Devine of the Bureau of Public Affairs on January 21.