S/PNSC Files: Lot 61 D 167: NSC 58 Series

Memorandum by the Acting Secretary of State to the Executive Secretary of the National Security Council (Lay)1

top secret

Subject: Second Progress Report on the Implementation of NSC 58/2, “United States Policy Toward the Soviet Satellite States in Eastern Europe”2

NSC 58/2 was approved as Governmental policy on December 13, 1949. It is requested that this Progress Report dated May 23, 1950, be circulated to the members of the Council for their information.

Since the first Progress Report (dated February 3 [2], 1950)3 there has been no fundamental change in the situation of the satellite states or in the character of the Soviet-satellite relationship. The presence of Soviet armed forces, which are still stationed in Poland, Hungary and Rumania, ostensibly to maintain their lines of communication to occupation zones in Germany and Austria, remains a factor in the system of Soviet control. There has been a continuation of the drastic purges which have liquidated doubtful elements and apparently have established more securely in power the most trusted Moscow agents. The Soviets have been successful in warding off any trend which would start one or more of the satellite countries along the road which Yugoslavia has taken,4 although it cannot be determined with accuracy whether they have been able to stamp out nationalistic resistance to Soviet domination. Meanwhile there has been no let-up in the campaign to extinguish Western influence in these states. It remains likely that the long-range Soviet objective is their annexation but there is still no basis for judgment on when this development will take place.

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The basic problem considered in NSC 58/2 remains the same. We are attempting to pursue a double objective: to sustain the hope and morale of the democratic majorities in these countries and at the same time to take full advantage of actual and potential cleavages among the Communists and ruling groups in order to weaken the Soviet grip and make it possible for the latter to be drawn out of the orbit of Soviet domination.

Because of the concerted Soviet-Communist campaign against U.S. missions and officials in the satellite states, which has already obliged the U.S. to suspend diplomatic relations with one of them, Bulgaria, these missions are likely to be of decreasing usefulness in obtaining information and otherwise contributing to the achievement of the objectives of NSC 58/2. This situation compels us to rely more heavily on propaganda and on other means. The absence of diplomatic relations with Bulgaria and Albania,5 and the particularly exposed position of the latter, may make it possible to take a somewhat more active line in pursuit of our objectives in those two countries than in the other satellites.

The long-term objective of the establishment of free governments in the satellite countries is supported by present propaganda operations, particularly through the Voice of America, which will be supplemented in the near future by radio broadcasts operated by the refugee national committees in the United States. Furthermore, by pursuing the case against Bulgaria, Hungary and Rumania, under the Peace Treaty procedures and in the UN, for their violations of human rights, we are attempting to demonstrate the permanent American interest in the rights of these peoples and to sustain their hopes for eventual liberation.

The Department is currently engaged in negotiations with the British and French with a view to achieving general agreement on Western objectives in the cold war and methods of waging it. In this connection the three powers appear to be in general agreement on the lines of policy toward the satellite states and on coordinating their activities in the field of propaganda, in the UN, and in the use of exiled leaders and refugee groups.

The Department of State has followed the policy of using to full advantage the developments in Yugoslavia as a means of influencing the situation in the satellite countries. We have contributed to the spreading of information on Yugoslavia’s successful defiance of the Kremlin and have attempted to widen the split in the world communist movement created by Titoism. Thus far it has not been feasible to establish close cooperation with the Yugoslavs for the purpose of weakening Soviet control of the satellite states. However, certain initial [Page 33] approaches are being made in attempts to deal with the problem of refugees who flee from the satellite states into Yugoslavia.

In the field of propaganda the Department has prepared a new comprehensive directive and a series of separate country directives to cover the information program to the satellite states. In accordance with the argumentation of NSC 58/2 the emphasis in these directives is on exposing Soviet exploitation and domination of the satellite nations and on cultivating their spirit of nationalism. Our propaganda is intended to increase confusion, suspicion and fear among the Communist leaders and parties in these countries as well as to fortify the anti-Communist resistance of the masses of the population.

Since the last progress report a working group consisting of representatives of the appropriate intelligence agencies of the Government (Intelligence Division, Department of the Army; Office of Naval Intelligence; Office of Air Intelligence; Central Intelligence Agency; and Office of Intelligence Research, Department of State) has been established to explore the various intelligence aspects of the problem of developing possible economic measures to detach satellite countries from the Soviet Union. This working group has reviewed the several factors involved and each agency represented has submitted to the Department of State all materials and papers which it has developed on these factors. These various materials and findings are being incorporated into a draft paper for submission to the intelligence working group for revisions and additions. When completed it will be submitted to the interdepartmental group which includes, in addition to representatives of the members of the NSC, representatives of the Departments of Treasury and Commerce and the ECA.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

James E. Webb
  1. The source text was circulated to the National Security Council as a Council Progress Report by the Acting Secretary of State, dated May 29.
  2. For the paper under reference here, dated December 8, 1949, see Foreign Relations, 1949, vol. v, p. 42.
  3. Ante, p. 7.
  4. For documentation on the concern of the United States over the conflict between Yugoslavia and the Cominform countries, see pp. 1338 ff.
  5. For documentation on the attitude of the United States toward the regime in Albania, see pp. 363 ff.