57. Memorandum to the Executive Secretary of the National Security Council (Lay)1


  • Third 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 March 6, 1951, be circulated to the members of the Council for their information.
In addition to steps taken to strengthen the existing organization under NSC 59/1 as reported in the second progress report,3 further measures have been taken in this direction. Twenty-one weekly or semi-weekly meetings of the National Psychological Strategy Board have been held since the last progress report. The new procedures for expediting the conduct of Board meetings were approved in December 1950, and the appointment of a full-time Executive Secretary to the Board is pending.
New arrangements were made for closer interdepartmental coordination of information policy guidances.

A survey team composed of Colonel W.J. Bohnaker, Joint Subsidiary Plans Division of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Lt. Col. Frederick R. Young, Psychological Warfare Division, Department of the Army, and Mr. W. Bradley Connors, Department of State, was sent to Tokyo and Korea in October. Findings of the survey group were reviewed by the Interdepartmental Foreign Information Organization at its meeting of November 13, 1950, and on 18 January 1951 the Director, Mr. Barrett, transmitted to executing agencies the following statement on psychological warfare activities in Korea:

“The Interdepartmental Foreign Information Organization, having reviewed psychological warfare activities in Korea on the basis of information now available, which is admittedly incomplete, and noting that psychological warfare activities in the Department of the Army have been elevated to the status of a Special Staff Division, concludes that:

  • “1. The importance of psychological warfare as an instrument of national policy should be emphasized to all executing agencies in the field;
  • “2. Executing agencies should give psychological warfare the priority commensurate with its importance.
  • “3. The fullest use should be made of all known techniques and facilities now available for psychological warfare.
  • “4. To assure the most effective coordination of psychological warfare measures at the national level, it is desirable that agencies executing psychological warfare programs in the field provide full reports on current plans and operations.”

Periodic reviews of psychological warfare activities in Korea have been made subsequently by the Board with the purpose of implementing the above conclusions. It is the view of the Department of State, however, that proper status and importance have not yet been given psychological warfare in Korea.

A Plan for National Psychological Warfare for General War, prepared by the Interdepartmental Foreign Information Staff under the terms of NSC 59/1, has been forwarded to the Director and is under consideration by the Board.
The staff has also notified the Director of completion of a study on “Detailed Functions of a National Psychological Warfare Organization,” pending a decision on the location of the organization under NSC 74/3.4
Plans for the following areas have been developed interdepartmentally or by the Department of State and have been accepted by the Board for implementation or are under present consideration:
  • Korea
  • China
  • Indo-China
  • Russia
  • Germany
“Project Troy”.5 A report developed by the Department of State after consultation with the National Psychological Strategy Board, has been submitted; its implementation is now under consideration. The report covers only the first stages of the study described below, and [Page 109] will be available to other departments shortly. Under this project, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology assembled 30 of the nation’s top scientists and other experts to explore all means—conventional and unconventional—for penetrating the Iron Curtain. The report endorses the large scale expansion of radio facilities, already initiated, and calls for even further expansion along lines which should facilitate further piercing the curtain by means which will not interfere with other telecommunications channels (military).
“Project Vagabond”. Under this project, a study has been made of the use of seaborne portable radio transmitters to be mounted for stationary operations at negotiated bases in our overt information activities, but also to be available for covert operations and for military psychological warfare in the event of war.
“Project Brain Wave”. The Department of State is developing and has reported to the Board a project designed to stimulate display of indigenous anti-Communist sentiment in the countries of Western Europe.
“Project Nobel”. The Board has approved a project for the issuance of a pro-Western statement by all surviving holders of the Nobel peace prize.
The Board has continued to study the use of balloons as propaganda carriers. CIA has been assigned the project of a continuing study in this field and has also been instructed to stockpile one thousand large-sized propaganda balloons of the best type presently available.
The Board has at various meetings studied the question of defectors and their possible use in the information and psychological warfare programs.
The subject of the relationship between SHAPE, NATO, State and Defense, with respect to both the current information program and psychological warfare planning, is under active study by staff and Board.
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1950–54, 711.5200/3–751. Secret. Drafted by Oechsner.
  2. For text of NSC 59/1, see Document 2.
  3. Document 28.
  4. Regarding NSC 74, see Document 17. NSC 74 and NSC 74/1 are in National Archives, RG 59, S/P–NSC Files: Lot 63 D 351, NSC 74. NSC 74/3 was not found.
  5. Project Troy, initiated in October 1950, was a research study undertaken by a group of scientists and social scientists assembled by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The “Project Troy Report to the Secretary of State” was submitted on February 1, 1951. It proposed technical means to get around Soviet jamming of VOA and ideas for political and psychological warfare. A copy is in National Archives, RG 59, INR Historical Files: Lot 58 D 776, Project Troy, Perforating the Iron Curtain. Documentation on the report and consideration of it within the Department of State is ibid., Central Files 1950–54, 511.00, 611.00, 711.5, and ibid., S/P Files: Lot 64 D 563. See also Document 59.