15. Editorial Note

The Central Intelligence Agency’s Office of Policy Coordination sought to make use of ostensibly private organizations and businesses in carrying out its cold war covert action mandate. The National Committee for Free Europe (NCFE) was one of the first such organizations, incorporated in 1949. At the instigation of George Kennan of the Policy Planning Staff of the Department of State, NCFE was created to utilize anti-Communist refugees and émigrés to undermine Soviet control of Eastern Europe. In February 1950, the CIA gave NCFE a [Page 18] transmitter that was installed in Germany and went on the air as Radio Free Europe on July 4, 1950. A host of other organizations also worked with OPC, with more or less independence, in the early cold war years. These included the American Committee for Freedom for the Peoples of the USSR, the Committee for a Free Asia, the Congress for Cultural Freedom, and several youth and student organizations, including the National Student Association. One of the earliest Agency proprietary companies was Air America, which long provided CIA airlift capability in the Far East. CIA purchased Air America from Claire Chennault and his partner on August 23, 1950. Air America provided extensive support for CIA activities during the Korean war.