46. Editorial Note

At the February 8 meeting of the Operations Coordinating Board, the question of balloon operations against Eastern Europe was discussed:

“5. Free Europe Balloons

“. . . mentioned simply as a matter of information that we might soon be forced to take some kind of a stand with respect to the ‘Free Europe Balloon’ operation, particularly in the light of the recent situation with respect to balloons. . . . the Free Europe people to soon be . . . asking what policy we would adopt. Should they, for example, reduce substantially their present operations, or what? . . . would be opposed to giving up the Free Europe Balloon operation, but that he had an open mind about reduction in launchings. . . .

“There was no further discussion, but the problem was noted.” (Department of State, OCB Files: Lot 61 D 385, Minutes—Preliminary Notes)

Earlier in February, the Czechoslovak Government had raised the subject of the Free Europe Committee’s balloon operations with the International Civil Aviation Organization. In addition, on February 11 the Polish Government officially protested to the American Embassy in Warsaw. (Telegrams 894 to Brussels, February 3, and 532 from Warsaw, February 12; ibid., Central Files, 511.49/1–3156 and 511.48/2–1256, respectively)