102. Memorandum From the Chief of the News Policy Staff of the Office of Policy and Programs of the United States Information Agency (Edman) to the Assistant Program Manager for Policy Application of the United States Information Agency (Zorthian)1

News Policy Note 1024–1525


Treatment: In general, media should concentrate on the cross-reporting of events in Poland and of commentary meeting the criteria stated below to the other Soviet satellites in Eastern Europe. We should try to keep the people of the satellites informed about the events in Poland but we should not attempt to incite them to revolt.

In giving full coverage concerning the developments in Poland to the other Soviet satellites, we should call attention to the sections of the Gomulka speech2 rejecting the thesis that Poznan and later protests were inspired by the West and deploring the failure of the Soviet system in Polish agriculture and industry.

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Output should emphasize that we regard the present situation as between Poland and the Soviet Union as a test of Soviet intentions with respect to the promises made by the Soviet leadership at the 20th Party Congress and the discussions last June with President Tito of Yugoslavia to recognize the principle of various roads to socialism. Without speculating on the course of future developments, we should indicate that the outside world will be watching to see whether the Soviet Union will intervene in internal Polish affairs.

Caution: In our coverage and commentary we should avoid the following:

Any direct identification of U.S. official policy with the present resurgence of Polish nationalism.
Any statements which the Poles might resent as outside interference.
All stories which discuss recent developments in Poland in terms of the breaking up of the Soviet power bloc.
Any speculation that events in Poland spell the future doom of Communism per se.

(FYI) The U.S. Position:

It is in the interest of the U.S. to break or weaken the monolithic unity of the Soviet-dominated power bloc. We have shown by our policy towards Yugoslavia that we can have better relations with a Communist country when it exercises greater independence from Moscow. It is in our interest to encourage the present developments in Poland towards an increase in Polish self-determination as a step towards weakening the power balance in the Soviet bloc. We believe that this can best be done by avoiding giving the Stalinist forces in the Soviet Union and in Poland any justification for arguing that the present anti-Stalinist developments in Poland are supported by capitalist enemies. In our output we should also avoid inciting unrest in Poland and in other countries of Eastern Europe to such a point as to give the Soviet leaders any pretext for using force to subdue national communism in Poland and the other satellites.3 (End FYI)

[Here follows background information.]

  1. Source: Department of State, USIA/IOP/C Files: Lot 70 D 398, Poland. Confidential. Drafted by Andrew G. Gabor (USIA/IOP/LN). Also addressed to Eric T. Clarke of the Motion Picture Service (IMS) and to Leo J. Pinkus of the Press Service (IPS) of USIA.
  2. See Document 95.
  3. News Policy Note 1019–1730, “Current Developments in Poland, Hungary and Other Satellites,” dated October 19, from George W. Edman to the same addressees, also cautioned that the United States should not be identified with or appear to support any one member of the “communist satellite hierarchy.” (Department of State, USIA/IOP/C Files: Lot 70 D 398, Poland)