Eisenhower Library, John Foster Dulles papers, “Telephone Conversations”

Memorandum of Telephone Conversation1

Telephone Conversation with George Sokolsky2

Mr. Sokolsky telephoned Feb. 11 and said that whenever Mr.Dulles had a moment he would like to talk with him. The Secretary returned his call today.

Mr. Sokolsky said that the investigation now going on in New York (Sen. McCarthy) would touch on the VOA material.3 The interpretation is that they are still pro-left and this will come out in the hearings. He wanted Mr. Dulles to know about it.

The Secretary pointed out that he took office less than a month ago and that none of his assistants were sworn in until much later and that it was impossible for him to personally study the VOA material. He pointed out that Mr. Lourie was still not in office,4 although he would be in a position to do something about this had he been confirmed.

Mr. Sokolsky said that the investigation had brought out that instructions were sent to an O’Connor to use Howard Fast (a Communist) [Page 1671] as an example or expression of America.5 He just wanted Mr. Dulles to know these things and that he will be protected.

The Secretary explained that the President has set up a Committee to study the status of VOA,6 whether it should be included in the State Department. He is hesitant to do anything about it until he knows whether it is his responsibility.

Mr. Sokolsky said that McCarthy is in New York, that they are going ahead with the investigation. The Secretary said he did not object to that, he thought they might be helpful, if they do not unfairly try to blame him for things he has had nothing to do with.

The Secretary also mentioned Mr. Humelsine’s resignation.7 Mr. Sokolsky said, “Isn’t he one of the Hiss men?”, JFD said he knew nothing about that. Sokolsky said he would tell Sen. McCarthy, he thought he would be interested. He will keep in touch with the Secretary if anything comes up.

  1. Drafted by Secretary Dulles’ personal secretary, Burnita O’Day.
  2. George E. Sokolsky, nationally syndicated newspaper columnist, radio commentator, and lecturer.
  3. The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, which McCarthy chaired after January 1953, conducted hearings into the operations of the Voice of America in February and March 1953 as part of its more general inquiry of the Department of State information program. See the editorial note, infra.
  4. Donold Lourie was confirmed as Under Secretary of State for Administration by Senate action on Feb. 13, 1953.
  5. For information on this incident, see the testimony of W. Bradley Connors, Assistant Administrator for Policy and Plans, U.S. International. Information Administration, in 83d Cong., 1st sess., U.S. Senate, Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the Committee on Government Operations. Hearings: State Department Information Program—Voice of America, Part II (Government Printing Office, 1953), pp. 126–143. Further documentation on the instructions concerning the works of Howard Fast issued in 1952 and 1953 is found in the paper prepared in the Department of State entitled, “Chronology of Pertinent Directives”, July 13, 1953, USIA files, lot 58 D 581, “Material for McCarthy Hearings”.
  6. For information on the reorganization of the foreign information program in June–July 1953, which led to the abolition of the U.S. International Information Administration in the Department of State and the creation of the U.S. Information Agency, see the editorial note, p. 1709.
  7. Carlisle H. Humelsine resigned as Deputy Under Secretary of State for Administration on Feb. 13, 1953.