28. Memorandum From the Under Secretary of State (Webb) to the Executive Secretary of the National Security Council (Lay)1


  • Second Progress Report on NSC 59/1 “The Foreign Information Program and Psychological Warfare Planning”2

NSC 59/1 was approved as Government policy on March 10, 1950. It is requested that this Progress Report as of September 30, 1950, be circulated to the members of the Council for their information.

With the outbreak of hostilities in Korea, the Secretary of State took immediate steps to meet the urgent requirements of the situation. These steps included:

the issuance of public policy guidance for all U. S. Government information media on Korea;
the establishment within the Department of State of an ad hoc interdepartmental group to facilitate rapid coordination, especially between the Department of State and the Department of Defense, of psychological warfare policy matters in connection with the Korea situation;
the establishment of communications with Toyko, with the Department of the Army as executive agent, and transmission to CINCFE of numerous suggestions for increasing the effectiveness of our psychological warfare effort in Korea;
the assignment to the psychological warfare section established by General MacArthur in G–2 of Department of State information specialists normally attached to the information staff of Ambassador Muccio3 in Korea.

In order to meet the requirements of further situations in which joint political and military action is required in the psychological warfare field, the Secretary of State took action to strengthen the existing organization under NSC 59/1.

With the concurrence of the Interdepartmental Foreign Information Organization, the Department of State on August 16, announced the establishment of a national psychological strategy board to carry [Page 46] out the functions assigned to the present Organization as established under NSC 59/1.4 Instead of serving simply as policy consultants, the representatives of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Director of Central Intelligence are meeting regularly each week as members of the Board with the Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs as Chairman. Liaison representatives from the National Security Resources Board and the Economic Cooperation Administration are also meeting with the Board. A liaison representative from the Central Intelligence Agency will be available to attend Board meetings as required for intelligence matters. In addition to the responsibilities laid down in NSC 59/1, the Secretary of State is looking to the Board for concrete advice on both policy and operating problems in current situations where joint political and military action is required in the psychological warfare field.

The Board has taken action on a report forwarded by the Interdepartmental Foreign Information Staff (IFIS) on August 16, recommending adequate research and development on balloons for possible use as an alternative means of reaching the Soviet Union in the event of war or in the absence of diplomatic relations. The Central Intelligence Agency has been requested to arrange for the development and stocking of suitable types of balloons for possible use in emergency or war.

Other IFIS reports considered by the Organization include one on training of personnel for psychological warfare and foreign information.

The report prepared by the Organization on a Plan for Psychological Warfare was transmitted to the Executive Secretary, National Security Council on July 7, 1950.5 This report has been distributed for consideration by the NSC and is now under study by the interested Departments and Agencies.

James E. Webb
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, S/S–NSC Files: Lot 66 D 148, Psychological Warfare. Secret. This memorandum was circulated by Lay on October 17 as a National Security Council Progress Report. (Ibid.)
  2. For text of NSC 59/1, see Document 2; the text of the first progress report on NSC 59/1, June 21, is in the National Archives, RG 59, S/S–NSC Files: Lot 66 D 148, Psychological Warfare.
  3. Ambassador to Korea John J. Muccio.
  4. Reference is to the National Psychological Strategy Board; see Document 17. With the establishment of the Psychological Strategy Board on April 4, 1951 (see Document 60), the National Psychological Strategy Board was redesignated the Psychological Operations Coordinating Committee.
  5. See Document 17.
  6. Printed from a copy that indicates Webb signed the original.