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November 17, 2016
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September 3, 1998
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Publication Date: 
February 11, 1959
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PDF icon CIA-RDP78-02771R000500350002-4.pdf350.78 KB
Approvs'~tF' F~'~ Re~f~`%08/27.: ~""~ ^7718000500350002-4 ~/Fr c/pp G/S~ // DEB 3? 25X1A2g On 31 January 1957, from 1015 to 1200 howcs, Representative Jami? L. Whitten was debriefed in the Directors Conference Room, Admiaiatretion Building, at a meeting attended by the DCI, the DD/I and six Agency analysts. Representative Whitten, as a member for the past two years cf the House Appropriations Subaommittas (also Chairman of the House Agrioultnre Subcommittee), toured the Soviet IIaioa and East Enropeas Satellites from 1!. September to 22 October 1956, leaving Budapest 13 days before the Hungarian uprieiag, Zhe primary purpose of his tour was to make a field appraisal of IIS defense estimates. Ha made the trip on the following three conditions, all of which were granteds 1. Mo appoiatments with any Communist offioi~].a, so that upon returning to the US, he could not be charged with having been sold a "Commie bill of goods." 2, Travel be permitted to the fullest extent possible by train and automobile. 3. Only US Embassy officials be need as interpreterao* . Whitten stated at the outset of the debriefing that he world not go into a detailed description of his tour because ha already had written a lengthy report on it which would soon be published,** The purpose of his appearance at the debriefing was to register with CIA and the DCI his deep concern over the lack of a balanced iata311gencs picture ?n Soviet strengths sad wealmesses is testimony presented before the Hours Appropriations Subcommittee, and its effects on II3 public opinion and defense spending, He stated that the testimony given by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Secretary and Under Secretary of Defense created the opposite impressit~ of what US Embassy officials abroad told him as we31 as what he saw during his tour? He complained that all the Subcommittee gets is that evidence selected to support a bigger sad better military build-up each year. Such rvidence, he said, includes only the "senaational highlights" and fails to offset against Russian capabilities the many very real and eignifioant Russian wealmessea which he noted during his trip! * Ha praised highly the services of Horace Davis, US Embassy, Moscow, both as interpreter and for his knowledge and grasp of internal conditions in Russia, particularly agriculture. ** He gave to the DD/I a copy of his report in galley proof tv be reproduced for internal Agency use. _: Approved For Release 2000/08/27 :CIA=?^c~718000500350002-4 R~~x Approved For Release 2000/08/27 t ~#~i- 78-027718000500350002-4 He claimed that basic information on Soviet vulnerabilities is not being presented by US officials to his Subcommittee.* He questioned why this has not been done and wondered if IIS intelligence is actually getting the broad, objective, unaensational day-today facts, or whether such a lack of information indicates a slipup somewhere is the intelligence business. He sited as one example the followings Before his trip he was briefed by the Defense Department, particularly on Russian transport and railroads, and directed to find out how rail transloading from narrow to wide gauge was made at Brest upon leaving Poland for Moscow. He discovered there was no reason why the Defense Department should not have had this information years egos as the trans- loading procedure at Brest, effected by hydraulic jacks, was evident to anyone passing through the railroad station and yards, access to which was unrestricted. Furthermore, this transloading procedure has been followed for a number of years as the cars were old and worn and had white painted indicators where the jacks were to be placsde** It's his impression that Admiral Radford and Defense Secretary Wilsoa are not getting a balanced intelligence picture on-the Soviet Union. He found in questioning these Defense officials that they did not appear to be aware of the nature and extent of recent changes in the Soviet Univa since Sta73n's death and the effect and significance of such changes for defense estimates. When he asked the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to explain the reason for the currant budget increase, he said AdmireRl Radford replied that the over-all estimate was-based largely on the convictions of the Defense Department ax~i President Eisenhower that there had been no change slate Stalin's deaths particu- larly is ultimate Soviet intentions for world domination, R.ep. Whitten said he had observed during-his trip that there had been all sorts of aignifiaant changes since Stalin's death, which if encouraged, might affect ultimate Soviet intentionsi should pressures for change became sufficiently greats He deplored the confusion created in US public opinion by contradictory stateanents which responsible US officials have issued on what ~ and ~ ~ changed in the Soviet Uni?a. He feels this confusion has resulted is a rigid unrealistic axe. inflamed picture of fear which 3oe Smith carries in his mind about Ivan Ivanovitch. He sited as one example the reaction of his own con- stituents in Mississippi. Upon learning of his impending trip to the Soviet Union, ~aany wrote him begging h3.m sot to go. Theg feared he would never leave the Soviet Union alive because of "what those Russians might do to you." On the contrary, throughout his trip he was astonished and amased at the friendliness The DCI indicated this may be the result of cont'~isioa as to which govermaent department or agency is responsible for what particular category of intelli- gence. He stated CIA would b? more than happy to prepare a briefing for the Subcommittee at any time. (Rep. Whitten's remarks are to be evaluated within the context and scope of his trip and the fact he is cleared through Secret but has no access to Top Secret info tics and estimates on Soviet capabili- ties, vulnerabilities sad intentiona,~ ** Rep. Whitten said in passing that US military attaches abroad are being used to da too many things, which because of their knows status, readers then conauiauoua in situations where civilian e~xperta would have easier access. Approved For Release 2000/08/27 : Old!!!-027718000500350002-4 and curiosity of the average citi$ena he encountered, including Russian soldiexs (although, ae the DCI stated, the Russian people, as distinct from their leadership, have traditionally been friendly toward the American people). He was also surprised at the ease with which he could take pictures wherever he traveled. The image of an t~rwallian "Big Brother" electronic eye following the every moveaaent of each Soviet citizen and the Security Polies breathing down the neck of each peasant is not an accurate or true reflection of internal conditions as he observed thann. Yet he is convinced that an astonishing percentage of the gmsriean people, fed by sensational ~ournaliam~ have this impression of the life of average Soviet aitisena,e Rep. Whitten conceded his remarks did not mean we should relay our gttar~'!. He made it clear he firmly supports legitimate defense and the necessary ex- penditures f?r nuclear and guided missile development.. 3'hia, he thinka~ can be achieved while still cutting a "healthy percentage" of current defense estimates. But, he does find cause far alarm is -- 1. Steadily mounting appropriations each year for defense and the extant to which Congress has built military support into such an integral part of the t!S economy, increasing that sector of employment devoted to unproductive nor-consumer goods, which if continued unchecked maT wreck the economy. 2. The attitude refloated in the description of the present appropriations bill tsy the Chairman of his own Subcom-nittse as "containing something for everyone," 3? The spectacle of his fellow Congressmen more concerned with whoa gotten the moat money rather than whether the amount appropriated is commensurate with legitimate needs, 4. The spending of additional unnaaeasary funds on the location of Air Force and military development installa,tiona in the least desirable sites (using his awn state as an exampled because of political influence. 5. The intensified scramble to snap up new shares of stooks in aircraft and oth?r defense companies which continue expansion as appropriations for contracts increase each year. --all of which he deplores because of the parasitic consolidation of those pressures having a vested interest in maintaining and perpetuating a distorted and inflamed public opinion. This fear of the Russians refloated itself ao effectively in the preceding Congress that the last budget resulted in the unique spectacle of granting the Secretary of Defense considerably wore than even he asked fora He contends that the lack of a balanced picture #.n information currently presented for American eonsumptioa has developed in the US public a fear psychosis which, as reflected in Congreas~, makes it exceedingly diffimtlt to work out long- term solutions (which might now be possible in view of opportunities offered by resent changes in the Soviet Union] short of war. * He said he even had difficulty in having hie report of his trip published commercially (~ ~ ~ $~ was not interested) because it coar- tained no sensations revs at one. a DD/T aut~ported this point b9 ra- 25X1A5a1 Approved For Release 2000/08/27 ? ~':~ ?r1~?~? ^"718000500350002-4 He strongly urged adoption ofs 1. A greatly increased exchange of persons program to facilitate direct conta.cta between American and Soviet citizens and the elimination of present requirements for fingerprinting exchange visitors from Russia, Rep. Whitton said he was usually asked wherever he went in Russia the questien of "When is the IIS going to lift its Iron Cu~ctaia?" He feels few US officials are sufficiently aware of the. tremendous efforts Russia is making to attract tourism en a world-wide basis. Many new hotels are being built, on? recently in Brest complete with English-speaking waiters? The Russians clais~ they will complete by Heart summer a new four-lane highway from Brest to Moscow, 2. A program designed to take fullest advantage of recent Soviet changes. Because Russians currently have nothimg with which to compare their Qwn standards, the primary eanphasis in an increased exchange program should be direct contact in the U'S with those consumer goods commodities which the Soviet system cannot supply its citi$ena, thereby footeri~ag dissatisfaction with what Russians have at home increasing pressures for ahangt and developing demands which the Sov~et system cannot meet, Rep. Whitten cited as an example the very evident admiration and curiosity the Ehibassy's new Ford stationwagon evoked wherever he drove. The nearest model the Russians have produced (noted at the Moscow fair) is a copy of a 1948 Buick which is not even in mesa production. He feels the "consumer vulnerability" is one of the most sensitive Soviet weaknesses which an effective ~3 program could profitably exploit, 3. A concerted effort by QS agencies reaponslble~for intelligence to provide the American people an ob3ective and balanced picture of Russia and the everyday life and .attitudes of its people to relax tensions and release pressures an Congress which, in turn, xould permit a more positive approach toward fiadingtshort of wart solutions to current problems. Because, from what he observed, Russian realities are so far below Russian claims of achievement, there is much in which the American people can take comfort and opportunity, which would also facilitate more favorable conditions for the conduct end acquisition of intelligence. He believes it is 3ust as important to sell this aspect of the picture to the Americas people as it is for Congress to continue to authorize necessary funds for legitimate IIS defense .needs. Between these two pointer the Representative from Mississippi pleads fora "sane" balance,e * Tho DD/I felt that such an over-all program urged by Rap. Whitten for the relaxation of tensions would require in Congress the strong vigorous leaderL ship and prestige of the President of the US, Rep. Whitten showed colored slides taken on his tour and made them available for Agency screening and use. Approved For Release 2000/08/27 :CIA- P~~i,~.18000500350002-4 ~r r ~L.