Psywar by Forgery

18 SEPT 95


Case study of how the Sino-Soviet Bloc intelligence services provide black support for overt psychological warfare themes.


Alma Fryxell

There is nothing new about the use of forged documents in the psychological warfare operations of the Sino-Soviet Bloc intelligence services, especially in pursuit of particular aims within a single country; West Germany, for example, has been flooded with them for years. But the years 1957 and 1958 saw a noticeable increase in internationally distributed propaganda-by-forgery supporting the general Bloc objectives of discrediting the United States and other Western countries and of promoting division in the West. For these two years and the first half of 1959, 18 such forgeries surfaced in facsimile have been discovered, and a number of other instances wherein the text of a purported document was quoted without attempt at reproduction or a document was at least falsely reported to exist makes a total of 32 cases available for study from this period.

Some of these were sniper shots at individual important targets, without relation to any of the others and usually without any further follow-up; but most of them--25--were interconnected into nine distinguishable series, and some formed rather elaborate progressions in prolonged campaigns given heavy play in the overt propaganda media. The false documents were many of them originally surfaced in the overt Bloc media, but a greater number were planted, especially in the underdeveloped countries, in small "independent" newspapers subsidized for such purposes or otherwise controlled. Several were transmitted to their targets through diplomatic channels and a few by covert mailing.

The orchestration of these varied media in a coordinated campaign requires central direction. We know that black propaganda is a function of the Bloc foreign intelligence services under close direction from high Party echelons. It is possible that the entire Bloc show is directed by a unit of the CPSU Central Committee and run by the KGB through its liaison officers with the other services.


Single Documents

An example of the isolated false document is provided by the most recent of the cases in this period, the only one concerned with Black Africa. On 4 March 1959 the Hungarian press agency MTI transmitted in French to its outlets in Europe the purported text of a document signed by the prime minister of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, Sir Roy Welensky, and by the "head of the European organization of Central Africa, Alfred Finsent," 1 which declared that it had been officially decided to transfer African nationalist prisoners "to another concentration camp where all those who would not express their resolution to break with African nationalism would be exterminated." MTI explained that this meant the Hola camp in Kenya, and reported further.

The African prisoners involved number about 80,000. If, after interrogation, they refuse to disown the Nationalist movement they will be thrown into ditches called "poison wells" filled with poisoned water. Within a few days the poisoned water will penetrate the body and kill.... The Cairo bureau of the Kenya African Association states that according to their knowledge, 35 Africans have already been exterminated "experimentally" by this procedure ...

MTI's sensational disclosure of this perhaps too heinous plan was not picked up and used, as far as we know, in other media during 1959.

A more ambitious single-shot effort was made in June 1958 by the Czech intelligence service. It forged, with accurate duplication of format and style, an entire issue of Ceske Slovo, a bona fide newspaper published in Munich by Czech émigrés, and mailed it black from Munich and Vienna to current and former subscribers, using one genuine mailing list it had acquired some years earlier by unknown means and another recently obtained by burglarizing the Ceske Slovo offices. The forged edition carried anti-West propaganda and announced that the newspaper was going out of existence because its editors were disillusioned with the West. In an exceptional follow-up, articles from it were quoted as authentic not only by the official Rude Pravo but by Party papers in Austria and Luxembourg and a non-Party Chicago monthly, Svobodne Ceskoslovensko, that follows the propaganda line of the Czech regime. The Western CP organs are generally not used in the distribution of Bloc forgeries.

A particularly dangerous kind of forged document was put into the mail on 5 July 1957 by the Hauptverwaltung Aufklaerung, the East German equivalent of the KGB, which in January of that year had been assigned psychological warfare as a major operational responsibility. In France that summer one of the biggest news stories was the killing of the Strasbourg police chief's wife on 17 May by a bomb mailed her husband in the guise of a gift package. There had been mailed at the same time and in the same Paris post office a batch of particularly vicious hate-letters to French officials and private citizens in Paris and Alsace-Lorraine, and the conviction was growing that these and the terrorist bomb stemmed from the same source. The letters, demanding the return of Alsace-Lorraine to Germany, were one of several series of Nazistic letters and leaflets signed "Kampfverband fuer ein Unabhaengiges Deutschland," an organization since determined to have been invented by the HVA for agitatory purposes (and given a fraternal plug in a May 1958 broadcast from Radio Moscow warning the French against it and implying that it was secretly supported by the West German government).

The single document mailed on 5 July 1957 was a deep and dexterous thrust evolved from the fictitious Kampfverband's campaign. Addressed to a high French official in West Germany, it was a forged letter from Elim O'Shaughnessy, head of the Political Division of our Bonn embassy, calling the State Department's attention to the activity of German reactionary and ultranationalist groups and recommending that the U.S. Government support these groups and use them. Having been delivered thus simply to its target, the French government, the forgery was never published or replayed in any way. It was convincing enough to have caused genuine damage in U.S.French relationships--except that it had been typed on the same machine as some other HVA psywar productions.

The remaining four individual cases were mere allegations of the existence of incriminating documents, made once and not repeated. One concerned the Near East: on 1 December 1958 the Czech press agency CTK attributed to "the Cairo press" a report that the new Sudanese government had found among the old government's papers some secret documents showing U.S. bribery of high Sudanese officials. The other three were targeted in the Far East and appeared in the Bombay Blitz, a Soviet-controlled "independent" weekly-a State Department directive to Ambassador Bishop in Thailand that he "screen the loyalties of the King and his government members"; a secret pact between Premier Kishi and Secretary Dulles "to permit use of Japanese troops anywhere in Asia"; and a letter from Chiang Kai-shek to President Eisenhower warning that "every third soldier" in the Nationalist army was disloyal.


The Taipei Cables and Indonesia

Blitz was also the vehicle for an extended if not very sophisticated series of facsimile forgeries devised to take advantage of the 24 May 1957 riot at the American embassy in Taipei. On 14 September it prepared its readers for the forgeries by reporting rumors that Ambassador Rankin was in trouble and might be dismissed because some of the embassy's important secret documents had been lost when the premises were raided by the rioters. In its issue of the following week it reproduced the first of these documents, two cables to Washington wherein Ambassador Rankin discusses with some obliquity the methods to be used in assassinating Chiang and others in his entourage and recommends the murders be disguised as accidents. The text was couched in allusive terms for the sake of verisimilitude, but in its accompanying comment Blitz removed any uncertainty its readers might have had about its meaning and left nothing to their imagination. This is the usual Bloc practice in the surfacing of verbatim forgeries; but the rest of the Taipei series used less subtle texts.

The next issue of Blitz, 28 September, reproduced the heading and first lines of two fabricated cables from Ambassador Allison in Indonesia to the Department, as "repeated to Taipei," and quoted their full texts. One urged increased aid, including combat units from Formosa, for dissident Indonesian movements; the other reported progress in intrigues to overthrow Sukarno and gave directions for packaging arms shipped from Formosa and Malaya to the Darul Islam. The same treatment was given the final item in the series, in Blitz' 12 October issue. Beginning on the same page that disclosed the Kishi-Dulles secret pact, there was reproduced a cable from Washington which deplored the tendency of SEATO members exhibited at its Canberra session to use the pact to obtain economic aid, reminded U.S. ambassadors that "control over the armed forces of the Asian members of SEATO remains our prime objective," and outlined steps to keep the local governments in line. Blitz apologized that the text was incomplete because "the lower portion of the second page of this telegram was torn off during the riots."


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After some months' delay the items in this Taipei series were given further play to vulnerable selected audiences. The story of Rankin's plot against Chiang was broadcast to Taiwan by Radio Peking on 30 December. The State Department's cabled views on SEATO were picked up at the turn of the year by the pro-Communist weekly La Patrie published in Bangkok, the capital of the only proper Southeast Asia mainland member of SEATO. On 3 February 1958 Radio Moscow added details implicating Ambassador Cummings in the U.S. subversion of Indonesia documented in the forged Allison cables and broadcast an account of it to the United Kingdom. On 6 April the Djakarta Berita Minggu, another controlled "independent" weekly, announced that the authenticity of the Allison cables had been confirmed, and Peking's news agency NCNA carried this confirmation in its English-language transmission for Europe.

This late replay of the Allison cables merged them into another series concerned with Indonesia. The outbreak of open rebellion there in early 1958 brought new specific and heavily played charges that the United States had planned the revolt and was covertly giving it military support. On 22 March Blitz told its readers that U.S. officers at SEATO headquarters in Bangkok had been ordered to submit immediately an opinion on the construction of U.S. atom bases in Sumatra:

It is known here that a Top Secret agreement has been concluded by the Indonesian separatists with the SEATO and American groups, which provides for both SEATO and U.S. bases in "free" Sumatra. This agreement was finalized after secret talks which took place recently in Tokyo between Col. Sumunal, representing the "Separatist Government" of the Ussain-Shafruddin rump, and representatives of the U.S. Embassy.

This report was followed up on 15 May, in the Rangoon weekly The Mirror (a third controlled "independent"), by the text of a letter said to be from rebel leader M. Sjamsuddin to Ambassador MacArthur, evidently on the subject of implementing the atom-base agreement. It began:

Your phone call proved to be real magic. The meeting ... was very useful. We have agreed on practically all the details. Now, I hope, ties will remain permanent and we will receive all necessary materials without delay.

Soon, however, it became necessary to counter the effect of the United States' publicized friendly negotiations with the Sukarno government, and a new forgery was promptly launched to show that the U.S. public attitude was merely a smoke-screen. On 8 June The Mirror printed the text of a purported letter from naval intelligence chief Rear Admiral Laurence Frost to the rebel leader Kawilarang, telling him "not to despair just because the U.S. issued statements expressing on the surface `no interference' in the Indonesian civil war. We will continue giving assistance to you through Taiwan and the Philippines and other channels." After two weeks this story was repeated in a chronic Indonesian vehicle for plot charges, the "independent" Djakarta Bintang Timur, and its version was carried by the Chinese NCNA and a week later in Soviet domestic broadcasts.

We happen to have some details on the mechanics through which such counterfeit texts would be placed in The Mirror or another of the half-dozen receptive Burmese papers. The KGB rezidentura at the Rangoon embassy would receive them from Moscow in Russian, translate them there into English, and pass them in this form to the more or less controlled press outlets. The papers would do their own translating into Burmese, but the rezidentura would check the published texts against the original Russian and report any variations to Moscow.


Expansionist Israel

A most complex and enduring misinformation series using the full orchestra of rumor campaign, diplomatic whispers, planted intelligence information, press allegations, and published forgeries began half a year after the abortive British-French-Israeli invasion of Egypt. In mid-March 1957 rumors began circulating in official and diplomatic circles in Paris that the French and Israeli General Staffs were working together on a plan for a new joint action against Egypt. When the rumors were traced it was learned, first, that they had no foundation in fact and, second, that all traceable such tales had a single local point of origin-one Andr6 Ulmann, director of a small "independent" weekly, La Tribune des Nations, but notorious as a pro-Soviet propagandist. During the first weeks of April these rumors were complemented by intelligence reports received from Lebanon and from Italy to the effect that France "was launching a plot in cooperation with Israel." The Italian report said that "the Israeli press has not mentioned the matter, but details are being discussed publicly."

On these subtle foundations the campaign was openly elaborated in the fall. On 12 October the Bombay Blitz carried that a long article exposing "Israeli plans to dismember the Arab states and organise an empire":

A Blitz correspondent in a West Asian country had an opportunity of getting acquainted in detail with a secret strategic plan of the Israeli General Staff. We may be able to publish the plan in full in future...

It envisages military operations against the countries bordering on Israel.... In general, the Plan provides for the annexation of the territory bounded by the Suez Canal, the River Litani and the Persian Gulf....

The scheme takes into account the circumstance that Israel will not be able to rely on victory if she acts alone. In this connection, assistance on the part of the U.S.A., Britain and France is envisaged beforehand. The Plan especially emphasizes that "the U.S. is interested in a clash between Israel and the Arab States" and that "the U.S. interest in the strategic points of the Middle East is explained by the striving to strengthen her positions in this oil-rich area."

A month later, in fulfillment of its promise, Blitz put out a 78-page booklet, entitled Dagger of Israel, containing the "Strategic Plan of the Israeli Army for 1956-57, translated from the original in Hebrew." This document, an obvious fraud, is a rambling, badly written tract with the details given in the October article as its propaganda climax. The book had been in preparation, according to its introduction, since March, i.e., the time when the "French-Israeli General Staff" rumors had appeared in France.

After this the drive apparently went into winter quarters, but it was renewed the following spring. On 4 April 1958 Mikhail Stepanovich Rogov, Counselor of the Soviet embassy in Paris and a KGB officer, told a Western diplomat--who of course told his government-that the USSR was currently "worried about increased French-Israeli political and military cooperation." The next day Blitz took up the refrain, with slight variations:

Diplomatic circles at Tel Aviv report that the Israeli Armed Forces command i.Q elaborating jointly with the French Army General Staff a so-called "Plan of Preventive Hostilities" against the UAR. . . . Meantime, Israel is frantically seeking other alliances.... The Americans are now helping her to an alliance with the anti-Arab NATO member Turkey.

U.S. involvement, not to be left thus subordinate, was the main burden of another Blitz article on 19 April reporting that Secretary Dulles had announced in a closed session of the House Foreign Affairs Committee "that the United States would support the demands of the Ben Gurion Government on enlarging the territory of Israel at the cost of the Arab lands." Recounting the year-old rumors of secret joint planning by the French and Israeli General Staffs, Blitz said that the U.S. Government had been kept fully informed of the plan by both the French and the Israeli government.

In October the secret Israeli strategic plan surfaced a year earlier by Blitz was included, as a ten-page excerpt, in a 147-page book published by the State Publishing House for Political Literature, in Moscow, under the title The State of Israel--Its Position and Policies. Presented as a "history of Israel and the Zionist movement," the book as a whole is a vicious propaganda attack, of the misinformation variety, against the State of Israel, all of its political parties except the CP, and "the Zionist bosses"--the United States in particular and the West in general. It seems to have been designed for use in Communist study groups, assuming a Marxist-Leninist viewpoint on the part of the reader. But its similarity in other respects to Blitz's less comprehensive Dagger of Israel is great enough to present the possibility that both manuscripts were prepared in the same place, if not written by the same individual. It is notable that rather crude material like this Israeli plan and Admiral Frost's reassurance to the Indonesian rebels, designed for unsophisticated targets in Asia and the Near East, is deemed suitable for the more knowledgeable but carefully warped Soviet audience.

In November a new edition of the book Arab Dawn published by Blitz carried the author's statement that he had learned in October, in Beirut, "of the latest in the series of Anglo-American plans to `cut Nasser down to size,' which France has since endorsed." The plan, "scheduled to take place next spring or earlier," provided for Western action against Lebanon, Iraq, and the Sudan. In addition, however:

A supplementary plan has been attached to the main project. The supplementary document introduces the latest plan of the Israeli General Staff to take over the West Bank of the Jordan River by means of a swift blitzkrieg. The Israeli plan, which apparently has the approval of the CIA, the British Ambassador in Beirut and the U.S. Ambassador in Tehran ... is built around the possibility of either the flight or the assassination of King Hussein of Jordan in the near future.

The "Israeli General Staff" canard, now enshrined in an official Soviet publication, can continue indefinitely with variations its role as a part of the Bloc psychological warfare arsenal. On 13 April 1959 the Turkish Foreign Ministry denied with protest a report published in the Moscow Red Fleet that the Chief of the Israeli General Staff had come to Ankara toward the end of March and held secret talks on the question of Turkey's support of Israel for an attack against the Arabs, especially against the UAR, in the near future.


Other Near East Forgeries

Alleged U.S. intrigues against the UAR, a side-line in the elaborate Israeli effort, were the whole theme of a shorter but equally important series of forgeries. On 9 April 1958 the clandestine Bizim Radio, located in Leipzig but broadcasting in Turkish as from Turkey, carried the following "news item":

Report from Cairo-The American State Department has sent a secret directive to its envoys in the Middle East with a view to overthrowing the UAR. The directive points out that Soviet influence in the Arab countries has increased owing to Soviet recognition of the UAR and urges the envoys to use every means to spoil Soviet-Egyptian relations.

On 26 July, a fortnight after the Iraqi coup, a document answering to this description was published in facsimile by the Cairo daily Al Ahram. It purported to be a State Department "circular letter" over Assistant Secretary Rountree's signature, cabled on 17 April to diplomatic missions in the Middle East. Explaining that any apparent softening of U.S. policy toward the UAR was merely a tactical device, it stated that one of the principal aims in the Middle East was to destroy the UAR by splitting it into its original Syrian and Egyptian components, to stop the growth of Egyptian influence, and to spoil Soviet-UAR relations.

This forgery was apparently thought convincing enough to be given rather wide play in the overt Bloc media, most heavily to domestic and Near East audiences but also to Europe and South Africa. On 2 August Blitz carried it, making explicit the supposition that the incriminating document had come to light in Bagdad as a result of the Republican coup. In December, when Rountree visited the Near East, Radio Cairo and NCNA revived the story again.


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The Rountree circular, like the Taipei cables, did look more or less like the real thing, but it could not stand up under close examination. Its "Confidential/Security Information" classification was one discontinued in November 1953; there is no "circular letter" in Department nomenclature, and a "circular instruction" is not transmitted by cable; its numbering was bad, a real Circular 11 having been transmitted nine months earlier; the form on which it was typed had been replaced in August 1955; State messages are not signed by an Assistant Secretary but only by the Secretary or Acting Secretary. Operational carelessness is also evident in Bizim Radio's having described it eight days before its purported date and three months before the Bagdad coup was supposed to have made it available.

The Rountree forgery was followed up in late March and early April 1959 by one other, sent anonymously in photostat to some papers and parliament and government members in the Near East and passed around in intelligence circles there. It was ostensibly a letter from Under Secretary Robert Murphy assuring Ambassador McClintock in Lebanon that "Nasser is not the man we shall support" since "you are right to note that we have nothing in common with Nasser and his kind" and adding, with obvious reference to the UAR and Iraq, that "You certainly are aware of what I have in mind when I say that after the snakes devour each other, the jungle becomes safer!" It was never published or otherwise replayed.

The presence of U.S. troops in Lebanon in 1958 had been the occasion for another brief false document campaign. On 11 August Radio Bagdad reported that "in Lebanon, Saeb Salam has received a cable from four American paratroopers expressing their desire to volunteer for service in the people's forces." The cable was never produced nor the story elaborated, but on 25 August the outlawed Beirut Al-Masaa surfaced a forged letter addressed to members of the U.S. Army Task Force in Lebanon and signed "John H," purportedly an officer in the 79th U.S. Engineer Battalion. This American officer, after a salutation which showed that he was given to the use of Briticisms like "79th Engineers" and "officers and other ranks" and to solecistic military abbreviations, wrote as follows:

I arrived together with a group of American officers from Munich on 27 July in a Globemaster aircraft.... A few days ago we received orders to remain in Lebanon for 15 months to safeguard the peace and security of the United States.

There are also plans to undertake large scale works with the object of transforming the airfields of Rayack and Kolein't into American atomic bases; furthermore, 5 rocket launching pads will be erected along the Lebanon-Syrian border. More atomic weapons will be dispatched soon to Lebanon, and Beirut harbor will be transformed into America's principal naval base for its Near Eastern Fleet.

One cannot fail to realize that the object of all these preparations is to wipe out the millions of Arabs who are struggling for their national independence. . . . That is why I am asking you, my comrades, to demand that we be withdrawn from Lebanon to the United States quickly, and if we truly love our country we should return there without further delay. American officers and troops: Don't allow yourselves to be fooled; don't allow yourselves to become involved in military adventure for the benefit of any of the warmongering factions!

The Chinese NCNA, picking up this story, credited the illegal Beirut Al-Masaa for it; but Soviet media-TASS, the Daily Review of the Soviet Press distributed by the Soviet Information Bureau in Moscow, and a widely broadcast Radio Moscow commentary-introduced it with only the phrase, "It has become known here," and they gave the writer's name as "Johnson" rather than "John H," apparently having been furnished a different draft of the forgery.


Irresponsible U.S. Atom Pilots

The black support of propaganda campaigns aimed at Europe was more sophisticated. The principal series began with a Khrushchev statement possibly designed for the purpose, possibly only later recognized as exploitable. In his interview with Hearst and two other American journalists on 22 November 1957, Khrushchev stressed the danger inherent in a continuous airborne, nuclear-armed SAC alert and continued, according to TASS:

When planes with hydrogen bombs take off that means that many people will be in the air piloting them. There is always the possibility of a mental blackout when the pilot may take the slightest signal as a signal for action and fly to the target that he had been instructed to fly to. Under such conditions a war may start purely by chance, since retaliatory action would be taken immediately. . . .
In such a case a war may start as a result of sheer misunderstanding, a derangement in the normal psychic state of a person, which may happen to anybody.... Even if only one plane with one atomic or one hydrogen bomb were in the air, ... it would be not the Government but the pilot who could decide the question of war.

Some five months later, on 7 May 1958, the official East German Neues Deutschland reproduced what purported to be a letter dated 27 March from Assistant Defense Secretary Frank B. Berry to Secretary McElroy reporting that 67.3 percent of all USAF flight personnel had been found to be psychoneurotic, a condition which led to all sorts of phobias, unaccountable animosity, and other irrational behavior. Excessive drinking, drug-taking, sexual excesses and perversions, and constant card-playing were mentioned as further evidence that "moral depression is a typical condition of all crew members making flights with atomic and H-bombs."

Although perhaps convincing to the man in the street, this forgery was full of errors. The letter format would hardly have been used for this kind of report. The vague "group of experts" said to have reached the medical findings would have been named, and no such obscure and ineffectual corrective measures as "further improvement of aircraft equipment" would have been proposed. There is much wrong military terminology--Internal Zone, Air Force Command and AFC, the Patuxent River AFB (Md), the Cooke AFB (Calif). More esoterically, Dr. Berry happened to be away on an official trip on the date of the letter; and finally, it was typed either on a machine assembled in composite from several different makes or one of unknown foreign manufacture.

The letter was widely publicized in the overt media, especially to European audiences. After a month the Delhi Times, perennial purveyor of Bloc propaganda, replayed it, and this gave TASS and Izvestia reason to run it again, crediting the Delhi Times. After almost three months more, on 30 August, the Bombay Blitz carried it, explaining that it had been published "early this month" in Neues Deutschland: the replay copy fabricated for Blitz had apparently been delayed in transit. By August several more installments in the serial had appeared.


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Having provided official evidence that Khrushchev's "pilot who could decide the question of war" was by a two-thirds majority mentally unstable, the planners of the campaign soon fell into an unplanned (one hopes) bit of luck. A mechanic on a USAF base in the UK managed to get into the air in a non-operational Air Force bomber he was neither authorized nor qualified to fly and crashed shortly after takeoff, killing himself. This dramatic example of irresponsibility, reported in the press on 14 June, was seized upon by Radio Moscow and linked with the Berry letter on 17 and 18 June.

The next installment was offered on 3 July: the Soviet embassy in London handed the British Foreign Office and released to the Western press a letter from a USAF pilot stationed in England threatening to drop an atomic bomb off the English North Sea coast in order to alert British opinion to the danger of accidentally triggering a nuclear war. Radio Moscow of course immediately linked this aberration with the Berry letter and the crashed bomber, and the sensational character of the forgery together with its solemn official transmittal aroused extensive comment in the non-Communist press throughout the Western world. No doubt in the hope of repeating this delightful burst of publicity, the Soviet embassy on 9 July released two more letters along the same lines but varying in detail and on 15 September still -a fourth; but these were virtually ignored by the press.

The last act of the campaign began on 2 October, when Neues Deutschland, reentering as the chief protagonist, claimed to have learned through the indiscretion of a USAF officer stationed at Kaiserslautern that SAC commander General Power had recently issued orders forbidding any planes carrying atomic or hydrogen bombs to make flights over U.S. territory. During the next two months the dire implications of this prohibition, together with the Berry letter, were widely played by Bloc media, including the clandestine Radio Espafia Independiente, first to Europe and then to the Near and Far East. By the end of November even Blitz had received and printed its copy.


France, Germany, and the Sahara Oil

On 22 January 1958 Neues Deutschland reproduced, partly in facsimile, a devious and rambling forged letter which it said had been written by former Under Secretary Herbert Hoover, Jr., to "the American capitalist Curtis, who is now in Venezuela." Its purpose was clearly to recruit Curtis for the job of wresting control of the Sahara oil fields away from France and obtaining ownership for U.S. oil companies in order to clip the wings of "the Gallic rooster." There were references to German-U.S. conniving against France and to a "big NATO reorganisation [sic]." Other Bloc media picked up the story and publicized it for several days, especially to Europe and North Africa.


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About a month later a forged letter to Secretary Dulles from Ambassador David K. E. Bruce in West Germany was mailed anonymously to some prominent journalists and other individuals in France and England. It read in part:

It is no secret for the Germans that our policy in Europe is based on the principle the more pressure Germany brings on Britain and France in Europe, the more reasonable they become in Asia and Africa. The West Germans share our view that the sick woman of the Seine is no longer capable of being a good housewife. However, it is possible to discern a certain anxiety in the business community here as to whether German banks will have the future opportunity to expand their exports of capital to French Africa, particularly to the Sahara. Do you not therefore consider it expedient for us, Sir, to give the Germans emphatic assurances that we will continue to help them in the matter of the Sahara, as in other matters, since only a common effort will make it possible for us to consolidate our own positions in this area?

This covert thrust, rather like the O'Shaughnessy forgery of the preceding summer urging U.S. support of neo-Nazi movements at the time of the Kampfverband letters, was never carried into the open, and no kind of follow-up has been reported.


The Summit Conference

Later in 1958 there was another campaign of brief duration centered on U.S. policy, but this was targeted world-wide. On 22 May Rude Pravo printed the text of a letter allegedly written to Chancellor Adenauer by Economics Minister Ludwig Erhard, reading in part:

The highest representatives of the West German armament industry support Adenauer's policy of remilitarization without reserve and emphatically ask Adenauer to frustrate all attempts toward a relaxation of international tension, to prevent the convening of the Summit Conference, and to reject, along with the United States, the policy of peaceful coexistence.

Publicity for this item was confined to Czech media, but on 7 June the East German press agency ADN published what it claimed to be the German translation of a "secret instruction from the U.S. State Department sent to the chiefs of U.S. missions abroad" laying down a U.S. policy of sabotaging negotiations for the summit conference. During the following week this forgery was carried to audiences all over the world by Radio Moscow and other Bloc media, and it was revived again a month later for the Near East.


Rockefeller-Dulles Views on World Domination

The most ambitious of the black propaganda campaigns of the 1957-59 period in point of intended world impact, and the last to be described here, used as its main exhibit a forged letter from Nelson Rockefeller to President Eisenhower outlining a plan for U.S. domination of the world through use of economic assistance as a wedge and cloak for military pacts and political control. It was surfaced by Neues Deutschland in facsimile excerpts and full-text translation on 15 February 1957. Subheads inserted into the translated text by the paper give an idea of the message its forgers wished to convey:

American prestige catastrophically lowered
What is good for Standard Oil is good for the U.S.
How we established NATO
State Department counted on war with China
Iranian foreign policy under our control
Economic "assistance" leads to military ties
Egypt will bog down and need our "assistance"
The hooked fish needs no bait
Forcing neutral states in the desired direction
Bringing others' colonies under our control
About the "selflessness" of American assistance
The objective: to secure military alliances

The forgery was a credible one in general tone and phrasing (one passage has been spotted as taken almost verbatim from a New York Times article), but its execution was really quite unskillful. There are the usual British spellings--favour, economising, emphasising--and some British phrases-"the Flag follows trade," "the hooked fish needs no bait," "ramming home." There are bad translations, apparently from German-"my friends" used in the sense of Parteifreunde or politische Freunde; the writer's "tiresome" discussion with the convalescent President, where ermuedende should have been rendered "tiring." Purportedly written in January 1956, the letter refers in past tense to the visit of Sir Anthony Eden, who did not arrive until 30 January. Worst is the slipshod typing job-indented salutation, uneven touch, ragged margins, strikeovers, errors in punctuation and spelling. It was done on a prewar machine made in eastern Germany. Mr. Rockefeller's real correspondence is done on an electric typewriter with particular attention to neatness and carefully correct spelling and punctuation. The forger was also clearly unaware that Mr. Rockefeller dislikes frequent use of the pronoun "I."


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Such errors as these, however, to the predominant extent that the forgeries are aimed at public opinion rather than officialdom, detract less from their effectiveness than one might expect. Once the forged documents have achieved their initial impact on the public mind, especially in underdeveloped areas, denials and official exposures are likely to be met with skepticism, if indeed they come to public notice at all. Radio Moscow promptly mounted a major effort to publicize the Rockefeller letter and carried it during the following week in dozens of broadcasts in all languages, initially favoring audiences in underdeveloped countries but then broadening to include western Europe. It was assisted by other Bloc media and auxiliary press outlets outside the Bloc.

On 10 March another false document was surfaced in Neues Deutchland to sharpen up one aspect of the Rockefeller revelation, the grasping colonialism of American policy, as a weapon particularly effective against Near East targets. A purported memorandum from Secretary Dulles to the President written in the last half of December 1956 and urging vigorous U.S. action to step into the Near East power vacuum, it was paraphrased with quotes and described as proof that the Wall Street views of Rockefeller formed the basis for the U.S. Government policy manifest in the Eisenhower Doctrine since enunciated.

This occasioned another week-long burst of overt propaganda playing on both documents, mostly for the benefit of the Near East. Covert assets were also employed: in late March an East German trade delegation official met secretly with Arab League personnel and arranged to have the two forgeries translated into Arabic for hand-out to the governments of member states. In November, with the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Lebanon, publicity for the documents was renewed, and by the end of that month more than a hundred instances of replay had been reported, some 80 percent of them world-wide Moscow broadcasts. Even in 1960 the Rockefeller letter continued to crop up-in February in a Hanoi news dispatch, in March in the Bagdad CP organ Ittihad al-Shaab, and in July in a broadcast from Peking to South Asia.


Patterns and Current Progress

It is notable that although the massive overt propaganda facilities of the USSR, seconded by the almost comparable media of Communist China, had the preponderant role in exploiting all nine of the black campaigns studied, neither of them did the original surfacing of any of the forgeries (unless you count the London embassy a propaganda facility in transmitting the four U.S. pilot letters or Khrushchev's complicity in opening the unstable-pilot campaign). Of the overt Bloc media the German were most frequently used for surfacing, but even they brought out only six of the 32 false documents.


(Refer to Hard Copy to View Image)

There were doubtless other individual forgeries during this period that have not come to light, but our list of nine internationally distributed multiple-forgery series is probably fairly complete. It is therefore of interest that they form an almost regular pattern of geographical targeting for the two years in which they were initiated-in 1957 one each aimed at Europe, Asia, the Near East, and the world at large, with none specifically for the western hemisphere; in 1958 the same, but an extra one for the Near East. If this pattern reflects norms imposed on KGB planning sections, 1958 must have created in the Near East section some Heroes of Socialist Forgery, and there should have been a shake-up of the Western Hemisphere staff. Perhaps this is what produced in 1960 the covertly circulated forged Dillon airgram exposed by the State Department on 2 September, referring to "the program set up [by the United States] to liquidate the Castro regime" but dated 5 February, when Under Secretary Dillon was out of town, and marred by formal errors and one of those ineradicable British spellings, "defence."

More seriously, the pattern of recent forgeries suggests that Sino-Soviet black psychological warfare operations, like overt propaganda attacks, may be not only sensitive to the opportunities provided by hot spots around the world, as one might expect, but also subject to administrative damping during efforts to relax East-West tensions. From March 1959 through May 1960 only two new forgeries of the type under discussion appeared, one in Blitz for the Far East and one in Neues Deutschland for Europe. But between the collapse at the Summit and the U.S. election of a successor to President Eisenhower, production was increased sevenfold, on a neat schedule of one new forgery per month.

One of these, happily countered by the State Department before publication, was photocopies mailed to Tokyo newspapers of a purported U.S. embassy memorandum showing that Japan-based U-2 planes were going to be hidden temporarily on Okinawa and then secretly returned to Japan. But the hottest spot of 1960 has of course been Africa. In April MTI's 1959 story of concentration camps and poison wells, credited to the Afro-Asian Permanent Secretariat in Cairo, was used in a speech by a UAR delegate to the Afro-Asian conference in Conakry. In June appeared a forged paper revealing British and American imperialist plots against the newly independent African countries. And in early September, with Lumumba still ascendant in the Congo, Leopoldville newspapers received copies of a frank "letter from Under Secretary Dillon to Ambassador Timberlake"

Limit your contacts with Lumumba's political opponents to a minimum, especially with Tshombe's people, although they should not be discontinued for a moment. We of course are certain that after what he received in Washington, Tshombe will not go back on us, at least of his own free will. God only knows what these blacks are likely to do. It would be difficult to find more mercenary creatures in the whole world. At present, we here do not envisage a more suitable candidate for the post of Prime Minister of the Republic of the Congo. At present he seems to be the only suitable replacement for the high-handed postal clerk who stands on the pedestal as the "liberator of the Congo."

1 Apparently a bad transliteration from Cyrillic through Arabic, along with a garbled title. Alfred Vincent was chairman of the Organization of European Members of the East African Central Legislative Assembly. Neither Cvrillic nor Arabic has a c, and Arabic has no v.

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Historical Document
Posted: May 08, 2007 07:32 AM
Last Updated: Aug 04, 2011 02:27 PM