59. Memorandum From Robert J. Hooker of the Policy Planning Staff to the Director of the Policy Planning Staff (Nitze)1


  • Troy Report2

The Troy Report almost uniformly reflects a very high order of technical competence, political sophistication, and common sense. It deserves the most serious consideration. It lays down principles and techniques for the conduct of political warfare which, with few exceptions, seem worthy of adoption. On the non-technical side its value is not so much its originality—few of the ideas will seem original to anyone who has sat around the S/P table—as its cogency. Development of Staff views as to what recommendations should be adopted, and how we can secure their adoption, would seem to be in order.3

Following are its highlights. I am intruding my own comments only with respect to recommendations which seem to be questionable.

Volume I—Foreword

Explains that although the initial study was directed primarily toward the technical problems confronting VOA because of Soviet jamming, it was agreed that other methods of piercing the Iron Curtain should be examined, “and that the nature of any technical facility was inevitably tied to the target and to the content of the material to be conveyed and finally to the effect which was ultimately desired.” (p. viii) Thus the study has emerged with the concept of “political warfare”. “The newness of our idea, if any, lies in the understanding of the strategic power of the several elements when combined as a well rounded and coordinated whole.… the idea that the United States must develop a coordinated political warfare effort is the most important idea in the report.” (p. ix)

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Part I—Political Warfare

Chapter I—Political Warfare

Urges the “unification of political warfare”, which “should be organized like any form of warfare, with specialized weapons, strategy, tactics, logistics, and training”. (p. 3)

Part II—Communication Into Shielded Areas

Deals with means of communication for piercing the Iron Curtain, mentioning, besides radio and balloons, and other existing ways, the use of direct mail to send professional journals and industrial and commercial publications and questions “Impulsive emotional blockades of this kind of communication, such as the recent ban on shipments of The Iron Age”. It also mentions sending of objects, typical of American life, drugs, flash lights, fountain pens, small radio receivers, etc.

Chapter II—Radio

“Really important advances can be made along two complementary lines: a) by developing a broadcasting system which combines standard elements in a special way to achieve the effect of enormous power and, b) by developing a tiny, cheap, self-contained, durable receiver that could eventually be distributed in large numbers over the world.” (p. 11) It notes that a hundred, perhaps a thousand, Soviet jamming transmitters are in use, which “appear to be centrally controlled, although the individual transmitters are widely distributed”. (p. 13) “The evidence suggests that the operation is growing in scale and is a direct and major threat to high-frequency radio communication within and to Europe generally”. (p. 14)

Recommends use of “the coherent transmitter” technique whereby a ten unit cluster, radiating one megawatt each, costing about 1.5 million dollars apiece, would have the same power as a single one hundred megawatt unit, “and if well-located could reach most of Eastern Europe at night.… (a) it cannot easily be jammed over a large area; (b) it can be heard with a receiver as insensitive as a simple crystal set”. (p. 21)

Recommends also “a concerted effort to develop crystal and transistor receivers for mass production”. (p. 22)

Points out “The Russian jamming operation seems to us to have clear and serious implications extending beyond the immediate problems of the Voice of America.… Already there have been instances of deliberate, effective jamming of intercontinental point-to-point transmissions, both United States and British.… If our high-frequency transmissions were jammed (they could be jammed tomorrow) and the Atlantic cables cut by submarine action, air mail would be our only means of communication with Europe.… the problem must be faced, [Page 112] as a matter of national security, now.… A wideband transatlantic communication facility, reliable and secure against jamming, can and must be provided. The appropriate agency should at once sponsor a thorough engineering study of the several possible methods. The national telecommunications policy must be reexamined.… The challenge of the electro-magnetic war is serious and we are not organized to meet it.” (pp. 24–27)

Chapter III—Balloons

“An area of a million square miles could be saturated with a billion propaganda sheets in a single balloon operation costing a few million dollars.… If the area of dispersal in such an operation were restricted to 30,000 square miles, which may be practicable, there would be a leaflet laid down, on the average, for each area of 30 by 30 feet.… The dispersion of balloons in flight and the dispersion of leaflets in falling from altitude both lend themselves to saturation operations.… Production specifications should be established now and productive capacity should be located.… The operational testing and production program should be undertaken now. It may cost about one million dollars.… In order to coordinate balloon use with other political warfare operations, organizational planning for the final operations should start now.… A stockpile sufficient for an actual operation should be created now, and the questions of size and type of stock should be reviewed periodically as the program develops”. (pp. 29–35)

Part III—Notes on Target Areas


Observes that VOA “programs should deal insofar as possible with subjects that are matters of real emotional concern to the members of the audience.… There is a real danger … that heavy emphasis on news will lead to a neglect of longer range types of programs dealing with the local concerns of people behind the curtain”. (p. 40)

Chapter IV—Russia

Notes that appeals to reason or efforts to modify ideological views have small chance of success. Suggests efforts should be directed toward undermining Soviet rulers’ confidence in themselves and each other: noting possibility of producing deterioration in administrative structure “by overloading the system with material introduced from outside”; disturbing confidence of the leaders by increasing defection; stimulating mutual distrust by artificial means, bogus letters, etc.; promoting distrust of dependability of military and political organizations among the satellites. Comments that although the “full and fair” formula is officially abandoned, it remains in the habits of psychological warfare operators. Recommends “We should avoid the position, express [Page 113] or implied, that communism is bad, or any implication of contempt for communism … rather … that Stalinism has betrayed certain ideals of Marxism which have actually had a peaceful evolution in the West.… Discord in the United States is not only tolerable but actually necessary. Variation and divergence … are … an evidence of strength, not weakness… There should be no direct or indirect disparaging of Soviet culture.” (pp. 44–45)

Our principal targets should be the intelligentsia, skilled workers, bureaucrats, personnel of the mechanized armed forces, rural areas. Major themes should be “The Soviet peoples have proven themselves capable, patriotic, hard-working … having with their sweat and blood built up a large scale industry and modern agriculture, are now being denied the fruits of their labor by a harsh and grasping regime.… the USSR and the United States … have … common interests and common attitudes.… Americans grant that the teachings of Marx, Engels, and Lenin have great historical importance. Yet the Stalinist system has not evolved … as Marx and Engels would have wished”. (p. 46) The handling of the material “should be persistent, simple and consistent … based on genuine sophistication in Stalinist thinking … truly personal … occasionally seek the opportunity for drama … should get on the band-wagon at the earliest possible moment for programs which are certain to be widely popular among the Russian people, even if they also have official Russian support.” (pp. 46–47)

Chapter V—Europe

Proposes “a program based on the concept of European unity.… one must look to European tradition itself.… Nor will mere verbal argument suffice if in our other acts we appear to encourage the continuance of inequities or special privilege long associated with the managerial elites of European society.” (pp. 51–55)

Recommends exploiting the opportunities offered by Yugoslavia.

Recommends considering seriously the inclusion of satellite and possibly Russian units in the all-European Army and, with suitable acknowledgment of the difficulty of the problem, emphasizes the importance and the genuine possibility of organizing a European Army with national units as small as companies. (Comment: The inclusion of satellite and Russian units under their own flags or so organized as to appear to the world as national units would seem questionable prior to an outbreak of hostilities. But they should be so organized that they can readily be converted into national units. The Report’s unwillingness to accept the assumption that national units in the European Army must be of division size seems warranted, provided the problem is approached with suitable realism and flexibility.) The economic program should be designed to reduce the inequalities between social classes, [Page 114] reduce the feeling of isolation from sources of raw materials and markets for manufactures, eliminate barriers between the nations of Europe and encourage increase in productivity.

Recommends emergency aid and all possible support to Yugoslavia.

Chapter VI—China and Southeast Asia

“We cannot appeal to them to align themselves with us against Russia, save in terms of the fact that we, rather than Russia, can aid them in their struggles for development.… There is needed now a special Presidential Commission on Aid to Asia”. (p. 66) Political warfare operations “should operate at the local level and specially trained technical personnel should participate at the local level.… projects must fit local needs, local customs, and local requirements”.

Chapter VII—The Defector

Makes the highly questionable recommendation that an experimental Russian government-in-exile should be set up, “a small but responsible state with its own territory and a more or less free hand to develop social and political institutions which could fit the needs of present day Russians.… the creation of Russian troop units to serve in the all European Army … almost immediately”. (p. 71)

The remaining recommendations are closely similar to the policy decisions already taken and now pending with respect to defectors, except for a recommendation, the necessity for which seems questionable, “that the defector program be set up under a single individual with authority to draw on necessary resources and personnel wherever located within the government”. (p. 72)

Part IV—Some General Conclusions

Chapter VIII—General Conclusions

“In the absence of plans the conduct of political warfare tends to become a series of defensive responses to enemy action.… The success of our political warfare depends finally, upon the public support of national policies.… What is needed, what is indeed indispensable, is a planned research effort to insure first, that scarce resources of personnel, wherever located, are assigned tasks of the highest priority and second, that pieces of the research mosaic not lying clearly within the responsibility of existing agencies are supplied to complete the whole picture.… there must be some single authority concerned with political warfare exclusively, with the capacity to design a comprehensive program and the power to obtain execution of this program through the effective action of all the agencies and departments that are now engaged in waging political warfare.” (pp. 79–81)

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Volume II

Annex 1—Political Warfare

Points out that “the rise of technology has so changed the play of economic and social forces that the questions that now divide nations … go too deep to yield easily to negotiation … international relations must therefore increasingly be conducted through channels that reach the mass of people directly”. (pp. 1–2)

Observes that U.S. Civil War was the first since the religious wars of the 17th Century to be fought consciously over an idea, and was fought not by professional armies but by masses of men representative of the whole society, with spectacular losses on both sides, won less by superior tactical skill than by overwhelming weight, and ended in unconditional surrender. “Technological advance has now put in our hands logistical weapons of such power that we find ourselves literally unable to use them for limited objectives. War has become for us not only all-out but all-or-none.… Even though such a weapon might win a war, it probably would not do so in a way that will lead to a satisfactory peace. Atomic war thus falls outside the Clausewitz definition. Its possession gives us time to develop a united world, but its use will not continue that policy.” (p. 3)

Thus, we must seek other ways of reaching our international objectives. “Fear of all-out war has so far kept us from aggressive steps to halt the Russian advance. This is just the wrong attitude. A carefully planned series of forward steps that erode the Russian power provides the best way of avoiding, not provoking, the last great battle of the West … we must remember clearly that all international actions—wars included—are directed at the minds and emotions of men.… This interconnected simultaneous use of all instruments of international action to obtain a single objective is what we call, in this Report, political warfare.… a political war consisting of well-planned attacks on a series of limited objectives will make an all-out shooting war impossible for Russia and unnecessary for us.” (pp. 3–4)

Annex 2—Briefing Travelers

Points out desirability of briefing travelers and U.S. soldiers abroad to make a good impression and answer intelligently the types of questions they will be asked.

Annex 3—The Mails

Points out value of use of the mails for “some sort of access to the U.S.S.R. and easy access to some of the satellites.… this channel should be used for what it is worth.… suited to a long-range background program.… can provide an equal-status contact—a professional talking to an already-sympathetic professional.… of non-government [Page 116] origin.… Lists of appropriate printed material, commercial or noncommercial should … be selected from that now distributed in the United States.… (1) of a high standard (2) non-political.” (pp. 1–2)

Annex 4—Distribution of Objects

Seems far-fetched, with the all-important exception of crystal radios capable of receiving new and future VOA programs.

Annex 5—Overload and Delay

An “attack … should be directed at those weaknesses which could not be corrected without seriously reducing the power held by those few at the top. We might, for instance, take actions which would result in a serious overloading of the top levels by a crippling increase in the number of problems referred upward for a decision. How far could the Soviet system go in increasing the decision-making powers at the lower ranks before it fell below the critical level of centralized control for maintaining a dictatorship? We should explore all the ‘input’ points available to us, and we should deliberately embark on a program for increasing them, particularly at the lower levels.… deliberately experiment in this area … investigate the nature of departures from routine which make any local action improbable.… We might create many difficulties for the system by making as many of the situations it must meet highly conditional.” (pp. 3–4)

Annex 6—Albania

Discusses possible defection of Albania in terms which add nothing to our understanding of this problem and its potentialities.

Annex 7—Two Doctors

Skip it.

Annex 8—Political Warfare—United States vs. Russia

“… propaganda against the U.S.S.R. will be a squandering of money and of personnel and may actually be harmful unless there is a certain minimum coordination of words and acts.… unless its policy makers know in advance of significant military, economic, and political moves which are to be undertaken by all Government agencies … our programs of attack must be derived from the properties of the target, not from the properties of the weapons we happen to have.” (pp. 2–3)

As objectives for VOA discusses friendship, creating doubt, resistance, and social groupings by classes, sex and age, the peasantry, nationality groups, party affiliation, and military-civil.

It recommends strongly against “the non-Party people being set off against the Party members. This has long been a shaky proposition, because it neglected the structure of the Party and the diversity of its actual roles in Soviet society.… A very high proportion of displaced [Page 117] persons … maintain that a large number of the Party people are blameless, were forced into their membership, and do their best not to harm people.… To stress the theme of Party as against non-Party people might serve to push them deeper into the Party rather than away from it.” The crucial differentiation is between “we” and “they”, “between the ordinary, poor driven people both within and without the Party, and those in power or associated and/or identified with it”. (p. 12)

“The suggested approach does not slight, minimize, or debunk Soviet accomplishments. A series error is often made in assuming that because so many Soviet citizens seem to have so strong a rejection of the Soviet regime, they equally reject all of its works and institutions. Nothing could be further from the truth. Work with defectors indicates that even among the most disaffected there tends to be strong personal, even emotional, identification with many of the features of society developed under Soviet rule.…

“By the same token, we should be exceedingly cautious in attacking the Soviet system not to permit the impression that this means for us the sweeping away of all the basic institutions of contemporary Soviet society and their replacement by institutions imported from the West. Our central appeal is the promise of an end to the oppressive, compulsive totalitarian aspects of the Soviet regime.…

“… There are two closely related themes which meet the requirements indicated. The first stresses that the Soviet regime is impersonal, harsh, capricious, with little or no respect for the human dignity or for the basic rights to justice and fair play of a hardworking, decent, long-suffering people. The second stresses that the Soviet people have made great sacrifices and endured extraordinary hardship and suffering to build up in the Soviet Union a great and powerful industry and a promising agricultural establishment, but they are being denied the fruits of their labor and the just reward for their suffering—which itself need never have been so great or so long-lasting—by a regime which is exploiting the ordinary people, peasant, worker, and intelligent [sic]4 alike, for purposes of its own having nothing to do with the welfare of the people.” (pp. 15–16)

Volume III

Annex 9—Personnel for Southeast Asia and Other Backward Areas

Proposes “the recruiting of a group of American youth willing and able to spend two to four years of their lives in intimate personal contact with the village people of Asia. Their primary task would be the demonstration of suitably modified western techniques of public health [Page 118] and agriculture.… The training program would have, of course, to be elaborated with care and modified on the basis of future experience … whether the scheme proposed here can actually meet the need in practice can only be found out by trying. The importance of the problem certainly justifies a pilot project to test the possibilities.” (pp. 1–3)

Annex 10—Population Problems

Notes futility of economic aid when “no ingenuity of Marxist dialectic, and no Point IV can reason away or buy off the rules of biology.” In the not-very-long run the various proposed measures of assistance “will increase in even greater proportion the number of mouths”.

Suggests efforts to build up in such areas of the Far East “somewhat different attitudes toward individual life than now exists. Specifically, this change can be described in terms of encouraging mothers to recognize the value of having a limited number of healthy, energetic and well-nourished children rather than a succession of sick, feeble and starving ones.… Demonstration that medicine and public health provide a more certain means of survival may well reduce the exaggerated drive towards numbers”. (pp. 1–2)

Annex 11—Research in Support of Political Warfare

“… it is particularly crucial that research be instituted which will guide the central coordinating body charged with fashioning the overall national political welfare [warfare?] strategy.… [it]5 must be of such a kind that it provides partial predictions concerning the psychological repercussions at home and abroad of economic, military, diplomatic, and informational policies.”

Recommends study of the political control systems utilized for influencing the decisions of groups holding or seeking power, analysis of the social structure of key target areas, and of basic attitudes of target populations, investigation of major channels of communication within a country and existing attitudes towards materials carried in these channels, continuing studies of domestic vulnerability to political warfare, and research on the changing of attitudes.

Also recommends research in support of the defector program, on the use of radio, the creation of the image of America, methods of disrupting Russian administrative systems, vulnerabilities of Russian satellite armed forces, revolutionary role of Russian intellectuals, the concept of “United Europe”, the problem of inventing things for Southeast Asian requirements, the effectiveness of the exchange of persons, and political warfare administration.

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Annex 12—Defectors

“The lesson of history is clear that exiles or defectors have played a key role in revolutionary or counterrevolutionary movements. To the extent that they have been supported and aided by foreign governments … such support has usually paid good dividends in terms of national interests to the foreign government … [1½ lines not declassified]. If so, however, the consequences of such techniques for our general defection program must be carefully evaluated before any such decision is made.… [6 lines not declassified] … The intelligentsia and the middle occupational elite are more strongly represented in the defector group than in the total Russian population. A third (at least) of the defectors had Party and/or Komsomol membership—this is much higher than a random sample. This fact militates strongly against the contention that defectors overwhelmingly represent the rejects of Soviet society or people who were never able to adjust to the Soviet regime.” (pp. 5–19)

Annex 13—Forward Planning

Deals with the possible impact on our society of the developing situation and its “threat to some of the historic qualities that we have heretofore assumed to be an inherent part of our way of life”, diversity, mobility, curiosity, and affection or sympathy. “We earnestly recommend a research program that will pool the energies and wisdom of historians, anthropologists, economists and psychologists to analyze the possible effects of a prolonged preparedness upon this society and provide us with a basis for dealing intelligently with the life that lies immediately before us.” (pp. 2–4)

[Comment: This might well be a desirable project for the Ford Foundation to undertake.]6

Annex 14—Public Opinion

“A special problem of public support might arise if Russia were to appear to relax or stabilize her aggressive pressure.… Other problems of public support may well arise if the government adopts a policy of aggressive political warfare.” (p. 1)

Discusses, among the type of problems which can be anticipated: How does public opinion influence foreign policy? How can policy be best presented to earn support? How can public understanding and support be increased? and America’s image of itself.

Annex 15—Stalin

“Since Stalin’s death offers the best opportunity for exploiting the fear and self-interest of the Soviet elite with the aim of weakening the [Page 120] regime to the point where it can no longer threaten our world objectives, and since the death of the dictator can occur at any time, it is of the utmost importance to initiate planning for this eventuality without delay.… it is proposed that a special section be set up within the Political Warfare Executive to concentrate exclusively on this task.… to collect the views of the most competent students of Soviet Government and society and those of recent refugees from the U.S.S.R. as to what is likely to take place when Stalin dies. From these views, several hypotheses should be developed.… For each one of these hypotheses the general outline of a political warfare campaign would be developed. Failure to have a strategy worked out might permit consolidation of power under a new dictator, and we might have to wait another quarter of a century (if we survive that long) for another opportunity.”

Annex 16—Biography of Team

Annex 17—Consultants

Annex 18—Project Troy Briefing

Volume IV

The annexes contained in Volume IV, 19 through 26 inclusive, all deal with the various technical problems of breaking through the Soviet jamming of VOA.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, S/P Files: Lot 64 D 563, Political and Psychological Warfare 1951–1953, Box 11A. Top Secret. Drafted by Hooker. All ellipses in the original.
  2. See numbered paragraph 8 of Document 57 and footnote 5 thereto.
  3. Another evaluation of the Troy report is in a memorandum from Armstrong to Barrett, March 26, which complimented the report for “its appreciation of the nature of political warfare and in its proposals as to the techniques that could be employed in disseminating our propaganda and otherwise carrying on political warfare activities.” In his memorandum Armstrong also offered a critique of the “over-all substantive approach” of the Troy report. (National Archives, RG 59, INR Files: Lot 58 D 776, Box 14)
  4. Brackets in the original.
  5. Brackets in the original.
  6. Brackets in the original.