Memorandum by Mr. Marshall D. Shulman, Special Assistant to the Secretary of State, to the Secretary of State 1

top secret

Subject: White House attitudes on political warfare, and the President’s speeches.

1. In the course of recent sessions with Charles Murphy2 and his assistants on the President’s speeches, several considerations have been raised again and again, and have now reached a point which requires, I believe, Departmental recognition and action.

2. Murphy and his assistants, principally David Lloyd3 and George Elsey,4 expressed these concerns:

The recommendation contained in the JCS staff paper (Top Secret) now before the NSC Senior Staff,5 that the Government intensify its political warfare activities, both overt and covert, has found a very responsive reception from Murphy and his assistants. They feel that the Department has not been as active in this field as it ought to be, and are determined to stimulate further action if possible.
They feel that our present foreign policy has not been effectively enough “packaged,” and is therefore not well enough understood by our people, and cannot compete emotionally with such solutions as are offered by General MacArthur,6 and may be offered by others in the future. They feel that a more precise expression of our objectives in relation to the Soviet Union would give our policy more emotional appeal. In several recent speeches, they have sought to express our policy as being intended to achieve the overthrow of the Soviet regime, and the liberation of the satellite states, but have withdrawn these efforts following strong representations from us that this would be untimely and unsound.
They propose, for an early Presidential speech (possibly next week), to try for a more effective formulation of our foreign policy goals—perhaps on the order of the Atlantic Charter, or the Four Freedoms. They feel that this can be developed out of the symbol of Freedom, in one way or another, and that in some degree, it ought to suggest our ultimate aim of universal liberty. They believe that this would not only implement our political warfare aims abroad, but would help to generate the kind of emotional support for our present policy that would sustain a larger degree of mobilization for a long [Page 923] time. Their feeling is that “people need to see light at the end of the tunnel”, to be willing to go along with the sacrifices being asked of them.

3. I believe it would be useful to have a session, this week if possible, between Murphy (and such of his assistants as he wants to bring) and Webb, Matthews,7 Barrett, Nitze, Perkins8 (or Rernhardt)9 and perhaps Joyce.10 The meeting would be intended to accomplish three things:

Bring Murphy up to date on what we are now doing in the field of political warfare, of various kinds;
Discuss with Murphy more fully our thinking on the disadvantages of enlarging our publicly-expressed objectives toward the Soviet Union at the present time;
Indicate to Murphy our readiness to help seek a formulation of our foreign policy that would increase its acceptability, but would not at the same time create policy difficulties for us.

I believe if we can help Murphy and his crew in a constructive way to accomplish the objectives they seek, it will have beneficial results all around. If we do not, there may be greater difficulties for us to meet later.11

Marshall D. Shulman
  1. A handwritten notation on the memorandum reads: “Dear Jim [Webb]: Let’s forget relations with the public, press and Congress long enough to establish them with the White House Staff. These young men need days of your briefing room, George Kennan and the whole works. D.A.”
  2. Charles S. Murphy, Special Counsel to the President.
  3. David D. Lloyd, Administrative Assistant to the President.
  4. George Elsey, Administrative Assistant to the President.
  5. See footnote 1, supra.
  6. General of the Army Douglas MacArthur had been relieved of all his commands (Supreme Commander, Allied Powers in Japan; U.S. Commander in Chief, Far East; Commanding General, U.S. Army Forces Far East; and Commander in Chief, United Nations Command, in Korea) on April 11. He had spoken before a joint session of Congress on April 19 and had testified May 3–5 before the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committees.
  7. H. Freeman Matthews, Deputy Under Secretary of State.
  8. George W. Perkins, Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs.
  9. G. Frederick Reinhardt, Director of the Office of Eastern European Affairs.
  10. Robert P. Joyce of the Policy Planning Staff.
  11. No record of such a meeting has been found in the Department of State files, but a May 19 memorandum from Barrett to Shulman, headed “White House Meeting,” proposing “an evening session with the group we had at lunch Friday” (May 18), suggests that one was held (Barrett Files, Lot 52 D 432).