Ted Lipien for Cold War Radio Museum
Thanks to several lawmakers, both Republicans and Democrats, the U.S. Congress became aware during World War II of Voice of America’s (VOA) communist propaganda in broadcasts to Yugoslavia. Most members of Congress opposed such U.S. government-produced support of communist groups at American taxpayers’ expense while a few progressive Democrats uncritically praised Yugoslav communist leader Josip Broz Tito, most likely as a result of successful disinformation from various communist sources. Congressional critics also exposed during the war pro-Soviet propaganda in VOA broadcasts to Poland and to other countries, both in eastern and western Europe.[ref]”Senator Taft’s early warning of Soviet propaganda in WWII Voice of America,” Cold War Radio Museum, April 2, 2018, https://www.coldwarradiomuseum.com/senator-tafts-early-warning-of-soviet-propaganda-in-wwii-voa/.[/ref] Such public exposures eventually led to the almost complete defunding by Congress of the domestic propaganda activities by the executive branch, at that time President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration, but were not enough to protect the Voice of America overseas broadcasts from Soviet influence which remained strong until the end of the war and persisted to some degree until the early 1950s. Even while the United States was engaged in a global war against Nazi Germany and Japan, members of Congress of both parties managed to reduce drastically in 1943 the domestic propaganda budget of the Voice of America’s parent federal agency, the Office of War Information (OWI), when they realized that not only foreign audiences but also Americans were being exposed to Soviet and other foreign propaganda, as well as partisan propaganda in favor of President Roosevelt and his administration.[ref]”HISTORY How Congress Exposed, Defunded and Stopped Domestic U.S. Government Propaganda in 1943,” USAGM Watch, June 22, 2020, https://bbgwatch.com/history-how-congress-exposed-defunded-and-stopped-domestic-u-s-government-propaganda-in-1943/.[/ref] At the same time, U.S. lawmakers had only limited success in preventing pro-Soviet and pro-communist messages from being broadcast overseas by VOA journalists although congressional critics also cut some of the funding for U.S. foreign radio broadcasts while America was still at war with Germany and Japan.
OWI management’s plans to continue their foreign propaganda activities without effective outside control and accountability did not materialize after the war. President Truman closed down the controversial agency in 1945 and transferred much reduced Voice of America operations to the State Department, placing VOA firmly within and under the control of the U.S. foreign policy establishment.[ref]Harry S. Truman, “Executive Order 9608—Providing for the Termination of the Office of War Information, and for the Disposition of Its Functions and of Certain Functions of the Office of Inter-American Affairs,” August 31, 1945, The American Presidency Project, https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/documents/executive-order-9608-providing-for-the-termination-the-office-war-information-and-for-the.[/ref] His decision put an end to outright pro-Soviet propaganda by Voice of America journalists—an activity being tolerated or sometimes encouraged by some of the like-minded OWI officials. Those who have examined archival U.S. government documents would know that while the Office of War Information still existed as an independent agency during World War II, many Voice of America officials and journalists were radically leftist. Some of OWI employees were members of various communist parties and were highly supportive of Stalin’s Russia, its aggressive foreign policy and other communist causes. In contrast, most Americans and most members of Congress were anti-communist although many Americans saw the need to support the Soviet Union as an all-important military ally against Nazi Germany and possibly also in the future against Japan. The need for such support ended in 1945 with the capitulation of both Germany and Japan and growing signs of blatant Soviet violations of promises of free elections and democracy in Eastern Europe, but it took the Voice of America another ten years before it adjusted to the new realities of the Cold War and started to counter Soviet propaganda together with the newly-established Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty. In 1948, Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. Senate were still saying that Voice of America broadcasts contained “baloney,” “lies,” “insults,” “drivel,” “nonsense and falsehoods,” amounting to “useless expenditures” and “a downright tragedy.”[ref]Ted Lipien, “Voice of America? – Why The Question Mark?,” Cold War Radio Museum, July 14, 2019, https://www.coldwarradiomuseum.com/1948-voice-of-america—why-the-question-mark/. See Senator Home E. Capehart of Indiana, “Voice of America?” (Washington: United States Government Printing Office, 1948), http://www.coldwarradiomuseum.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Sen-Capehart-on-VOA-1948.pdf.[/ref]
As a result of congressional hearings in the early 1950s and pressure from Congress for a programming policy change, Voice of America broadcasts eventually took on a completely different tone from what they were during the war, but even then criticism of the communist regime in Yugoslavia led by Marshal Josip Broz Tito was still muted because of his subsequent conflicts with Moscow and his new status as a leader of non-aligned nations. Still, by the early 1950s newly-hired emigre journalists, many of them refugees from communism, transformed VOA broadcasts from pro-communist and pro-Moscow to anti-totalitarian and pro-human rights. This was also true for VOA broadcasts to Yugoslavia.[ref]Ted Lipien, USAGM Agency Honors Refugee Journalist Who Resisted Fascism and Communism, USAGM Watch, August 17, 2020, https://bbgwatch.com/usagm-agency-honors-refugee-journalist-who-resisted-fascism-and-communism/.[/ref] Under pressure from Congress, VOA’s management in the State Department lifted in 1951-1952 former restrictions on exposing Stalin’s crimes committed before, during and after World War II. It took the Voice of America about ten years from its founding in 1942 to admit that Stalin was a mass murderer and that Soviet communism was a threat to peace and democracy. During World War II, however, both Stalin and Tito were highly praised in wartime VOA broadcasts. In a secret and still little known collusion with the Soviet Union, U.S. officials controlling the agency in charge of VOA were coordinating American domestic and foreign propaganda with Soviet propaganda. According to various accounts, Voice of America broadcasts to Yugoslavia during the war were produced by communist journalists who were supporters of both Stalin and Josip Broz Tito. Unfortunately, very few known recordings of World War II era Voice of America radio broadcasts have been preserved to be examined, but members of Congress and other critics described their authors as sympathetic to communism, Tito and the Soviet Union. Only after the war and the passage of the 1948 Smith-Mundt Act in response to earlier scandals, the Voice of America staff was changed over a number of years and most communist were gone by the early 1950s contrary to unsupported claims by Senator Joseph McCarthy that they were still employed. The passage of the 1948 Smith-Mundt Act ensured strict security background checks for VOA broadcasters. The Smith-Mundt Act also prevented VOA programs from being distributed domestically in the United States.
Foreign propaganda in Voice of America broadcasts was not, however, completely unnoticed during the war. Several members of the U.S. Congress, both Republicans and Democrats, were warning against pro-Tito and pro-communist influence in early VOA shortwave radio programs to Yugoslavia and to other countries. A few members of Congress, however, most notably Rep. Henry M. “Scoop” Jackson, expressed at the time their strong support for Tito, and some made speeches presenting Soviet dictator Josef Stalin as a supporter of democracy. Rep. Emanuel Celler (D-NY) was one of the most outspoken defenders of Soviet Russia, Stalin, and OWI’s Voice of America foreign broadcasting. Some other lawmakers were also easily fooled by Soviet disinformation and OWI’s own misleading public relations messages, but Celler and other liberal members of Congress of both parties were at the same time strong supporters of Jewish and other wartime refugees, as well as outspoken advocates in support of civil rights for black Americans. Some of them later renounced their excessive praise of Stalin. Henry “Scoop” Jackson was elected in 1952 to the U.S. Senate and may have regretted later his enthusiastic endorsement of Tito, which he made in a June 23, 1944 speech in the U.S. House of Representatives. His remarks sounded as it were written by Tito’s communist agents in the United States. Senator Jackson eventually became one of the strongest anti-communist and anti-Soviet Democrats in the U.S. Congress. He was a co-sponsor of the Jackson–Vanik amendment to the Trade Act of 1974 which linked granting of U.S. trade privileges to communist-ruled countries with guarantees of respect for basic human rights, including freedom of emigration. One of the beneficiaries of the Jackson-Vanik amendment were Soviet Jews, the so-called Refuseniks, who were denied by their totalitarian government the right to emigrate. Unlike Soviet leaders and to greater or lesser extent other communist regimes, after establishing his regime Tito generally did not try to restrict the right of Yugoslavs to travel to the West and to work or settle in Western countries. However, his communist Partisans and later regime officials under his control were directly or indirectly responsible for the death after the war of hundreds of thousands of people, as were the Nazis, Chetniks, and Croatian Ustashi during the war.[ref]Rudolf Rummel, Statistics of Democide, “Chapter 9: Statistics of Yugoslavia’s Domocide — Estimates, Calculations, and Sources,” https://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/SOD.CHAP9.HTM.[/ref]
When in March 2020 the Voice of America marked the 77th anniversary of the launch of its Serbian broadcasts, practically no one remembered that VOA’s pro-Soviet wartime propaganda was designed to help Tito’s Communists to defeat not only the Nazis but also to destroy some of his democratic opponents who were not fascists and to solidify communist control over Yugoslavia, just as pro-Soviet Voice of America officials and broadcasters were helping Stalin install communist governments in East Central Europe, including Poland and Czechoslovakia. This early VOA’s love affair with communism, Soviet Russia, Stalin and Tito has been subsequently hidden by U.S. government executives and agency supporters from historical accounts for several decades because it might have undermined VOA’s credibility during the Cold War and did not reflect well on the progressive part of the American political elite.
There was a strong military rationale for American support for some communist leaders, communist parties and for Soviet Russia while the war with Germany and Japan continued. During World War II, Josip Broz Tito and Yugoslav communists were seen as close allies of the Soviet Union and as America’s allies against Nazi Germany. Stalin eventually turned against Tito when he discovered that he could not control him the same way he was able to dominate communist parties and their regimes in East-Central Europe. Tito broke with Stalin in 1948 and later liberalized to some degree the communist system in Yugoslavia. Because of that he was viewed by various U.S. administrations largely as a positive player in the East-West Cold War conflict. A 1981 Voice of America document described Yugoslavia as “an important Third World leader and the major country not in the Warsaw Pact.” The VOA document further stated in 1981 that “Special nationality sensitivities create a potential for serious problems that can affect not only the existence of Yugoslavia, but stability of the entire region.”[ref]Vello Ederma, Acting Chief, The European Division (VOA/PE), July 1981.[/ref] Still the imposition of Tito’s communist rule in Yugoslavia, initially supported by VOA, claimed countless innocent victims and delayed by decades securing of political liberties, national sovereignty for various ethnic groups, economic progress and integration with the rest of Europe. Because of Yugoslavia’s and Tito’s special status, Radio Free Europe never launched programs in Serbian, Croatian or Slovene. In 1981, VOA broadcast one hour and fifteen minutes daily in Serbo-Croatian and half an hour daily in Slovene. VOA Serbo-Croatian broadcasts started in March 1943. VOA Slovene broadcasts were on the air from 1944 until the end of World War II and were resumed in 1949.
Just as the wartime Voice of America supported Tito, VOA’s fellow traveler officials and journalists also contributed in a minor way with their pro-Soviet propaganda to the establishment of communist regimes in countries of East-Central Europe which murdered and imprisoned hundreds of thousands of people and kept millions behind the Iron Curtain as virtual prisoners for several decades. In a complete change of purpose and direction during the Cold War, the Voice of America later helped to usher the fall of communism in East Central Europe and in the former Soviet Union but its directors and journalists have never officially acknowledged VOA’s early role in support of Soviet communism and most of them know nothing about this history. While the establishment of Soviet-dominated communist regimes in East-Central Europe was almost inevitable with or without support from the pro-Soviet Voice of America because of the presence of the Red Army on the ground, VOA may have provided some of the critical propaganda help Tito needed to defeat his political opponents. While whether such propaganda help was of critical importance cannot be easily determined, there is substantial evidence that German, Czechoslovak, Polish, Yugoslav and other foreign language services of the Voice of America during the war had communists working as managers, journalists and broadcasters. Julius Epstein[ref]“How a refugee journalist exposed Voice of America censorship of the Katyn Massacre,” Cold War Radio Museum, April 16, 2018, http://www.coldwarradiomuseum.com/how-refugee-journalist-exposed-voice-of-america-katyn-censorship/.[/ref], a Jewish refugee journalist from Austria who himself had a brief infatuation with communism during his student days in Germany, wrote after the war that when in 1942
[he] “entered the services of what was then the ‘Coordinator of Information’ which became after a few months the O.W.I., I was immediately struck by the fact that the German desk was almost completely seized by extreme left-wingers who indulged in a purely and exaggerated pro-Stalinist propaganda.”
Stalin was then our “gallant ally,” Epstein, who became a fierce critic of the Voice of America, explained in his 1951 article calling for reforms to improve countering of Soviet propaganda and disinformation.[ref]Julius Epstein, “The O.W.I. and the Voice of America,” a reprint from the Polish American Journal, Scranton, Pennsylvania, 1951.[/ref]
Epstein told congressional investigators in 1952 that
One of the greatest OWI scandals broke when Frederick Woltman published his article “AFL, CIO Hit OWI Radio As Communist.” Woltman article appeared in the New York World Telegram of October 4, 1943. It showed that the AFL as well as the CIO, the two great American Labor Organizations, which nobody but the Communists ever accused of being reactionary, withdrew their cooperations with the OWI labor desk because of the latter’s outspoken Communist attitude. Woltman, in an excellent expose, revealed that the CIO as well as the AFL had already in December, 1952, [sic – should be 1942] jointly protested to Elmer Davis that the OWI’s New York Overseas Branch [Voice of America] had been regularly broadcasting communist propaganda in its daily shortwave radio programs.[ref]Julius Epstein, Executive Session, September 19, 1952, Hearings Before the Select Committee to Conduct An Investigation of the Facts, Evidence and Circumstances of the Katyn Forest Massacre, 25-16.[/ref]
According to Julius Epstein, even communists who were not on the OWI payroll managed to attend agency planning meetings and spied on legitimate American journalists, including famous radio broadcaster Dorothy Thompson who in 1934 was expelled from Nazi Germany and in 1939 was recognized by Time magazine as being equal in influence to First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.
Mr. Mitchell. Did you attend those meetings?
Mr. Epstein. Very seldom. I attended one or two and I met Mr. Budzislawsky.
Mr. Mitchell. Who is he?
Mr. Epstein. He was editor in chief in Europe of the one hundred percent [sic – presumably communist] periodical called Die Neue Weltbuehn. Translated it would be New World State. I asked a friend of mine how is it possible that this party member comes to the OWI? He told me, “Well he had an OWI badge; he has some position as an adviser.” And he was at that time the Secretary of Dorothy Thompson. And Mr. Budzislawsky left and went back to Germany and is now professor at the University in Leipzig, the Soviet Zone, and Dorothy Thompson wrote an article about him, entitled “How I Was Duped by the Communists” [sic – actual title was “How I Was Duped By A Communist.”] This article appeared a few years ago in the Saturday Evening Post.[ref]Julius Epstein, Executive Session, September 19, 1952, Hearings Before the Select Committee to Conduct An Investigation of the Facts, Evidence and Circumstances of the Katyn Forest Massacre, 47-48.[/ref]
There are not many archival references to OWI Voice of America wartime radio programs to Yugoslavia, but there are a few brief mentions in the Congressional Record and in various archives about communist influence over these broadcasts. The Polish Ambassador to Washington Jan Ciechanowski who represented the Polish Government-in-Exile during the war was one of the key persons in Washington responsible for exposing the Soviet influence within the Office of War Information and the Voice of America to members of Congress and mainstream American media. Ciechanowski was in touch with the Yugoslav Embassy in Washington which represented the anti-communist Yugoslav Government-in-Exile. Democratic governments-in-exile of Poland and Yugoslavia were officially recognized by the United States and were America’s allies in the war against Germany, but both were viewed by Stalin as enemies of his plans to establish Soviet control over the region, which he planned to achieve with the help of local communist parties. Anti-communist Poles and Yugoslavs were themselves targets of relentless Soviet propaganda and disinformation.
As a traditional diplomat, Ambassador Ciechanowski worked mostly behind the scenes in wartime Washington. His activities in fighting Soviet propaganda never became fully known, even after the war. But thanks to his efforts, the Office of War Information lost nearly all of its funding from Congress in 1943 over management scandals and domestic media censorship that he helped to expose. Only part of the OWI budget was cut in 1943 for funding foreign radio broadcasts, but Congress sent a strong message of displeasure with the agency over the pro-Soviet activities of its officials and journalists.
Ambassador Ciechanowski wrote in a secret cable to the Polish Government-in-Exile London, dated July 13, 1943, that pro-Soviet and communist propagandists gained control over Voice of America programs to Poland, Greece, Holland and Yugoslavia. These were, of course, not the only countries targeted with pro-Soviet propaganda produced by VOA during the war, but unlike West Germany, France, Italy and Greece, they found themselves after the war under communist rule and, with the exception of Yugoslavia and Albania, also under domination by Soviet Russia.
The O.W.I. started to attract mediocre journalists completely subservient to Davis’ [OWI Director Elmer Davis] politicized assistants mentioned above. Polish affairs were placed in the hands of a group of Polish citizens manifesting their pro-Soviet stand, such as T.N. Hudes, Al. Hertz, Art. Salman, M. Zlotowska and politically disoriented because of her long-term absence from Poland Mrs. Irena Balinska. She reports to Joseph Barnes, a declared communist, preparing flyers and propaganda publications designed for distribution in Poland.
As soon as this situation developed, I personally called Mr. Davis’ attention during a special visit to the inappropriate selection of Polish personnel. Despite his promises, my intervention produced no results. Similar interventions by Ambassadors from Greece, Holland and Yugoslavia–countries whose O.W.I. desks are staffed by communists and army and navy deserters, etc.–also met the same fate.
Two of the former Voice of America journalists mentioned by Ambassador Ciechanowski in his 1943 secret diplomatic cable —Artur Salman (Stefan Arski) and Mira Złotowska (Michałowska) —became after the war propagandists for the Soviet-dominated communist regime in Warsaw. Salman-Arski was famous for his crude anti-U.S. propaganda and attacks on Radio Free Europe and the Voice of America. Mira Złotowska Michałowska published soft pro-communist regime propaganda in mainstream American news magazines under her pen name Mira Michal while obscuring her role as the wife of a prominent communist diplomat. There is less specific information in archival materials on who had worked in VOA’s Yugoslav Service during the war, but according to Congressman Roy Woodruff (R-MI), VOA broadcasts to both Yugoslavia and Poland were then strongly pro-communist and pro-Soviet. Congressman Woodruff’s disclosure of Russian and communist influence came a decade before Senator Joseph McCarthy started his embarrassing and failed crusade to find communists and Soviet agents in the State Department and in the Voice of America who by then were long gone.
However, there were during World War II at the Voice of America Communist Party members and many more fellow travelers, although in most cases they were not active Soviet spies or agents. Some of them communicated with the Soviet Embassy and with known NKGB (the KGB’s predecessor) operatives in the United States. The chief VOA news editor and writer in 1943, Howard Fast, joined the Communist Party USA after leaving VOA in early 1944. He became a reporter and editor at the party’s paper, The Daily Worker, and in 1953 received the Stalin International Peace Prize.[ref]Ted Lipien, “First VOA Director was a pro-Soviet Communist sympathizer, State Dept. warned FDR White House,” Cold War Radio Museum, May 5, 2018, http://www.coldwarradiomuseum.com/state-department-warned-fdr-white-house-first-voice-of-america-director-was-hiring-communists/.[/ref]
A bipartisan congressional investigation in the early 1950s, which was not connected with Senator McCarthy and was not compromised by his anti-communist antics, determined that the Office of War Information, where Voice of America radio programs originated, broadcast Soviet propaganda during the war and covered up Stalinist crimes in support of the policies of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the military alliance with Soviet Russia. The aim of wartime American propaganda was to defeat Nazi Germany, but the congressional committee concluded that some of OWI activities and VOA broadcasts violated basic American values and harmed America’s long-term interests.[ref]The bipartisan Select Committee to Conduct an Investigation and Study of the Facts, Evidence and Circumstances of the Katyn Forest Massacre, also known as the Madden Committee after its chairman Ray J. Madden (D-IN), said in its final report issued in December 1952: “In submitting this final report to the House of Representatives, this committee has come to the conclusion that in those fateful days nearing the end of the Second World War there unfortunately existed in high governmental and military circles a strange psychosis that military necessity required the sacrifice of loyal allies and our own principles in order to keep Soviet Russia from making a separate peace with the Nazis.” The committee added: “For reasons less clear to this committee, this psychosis continued even after the conclusion of the war. Most of the witnesses testified that had they known then what they now know about Soviet Russia, they probably would not have pursued the course they did. It is undoubtedly true that hindsight is much easier to follow than foresight, but it is equally true that much of the material which this committee unearthed was or could have been available to those responsible for our foreign policy as early as 1942.” The Madden Committee also said in its final report in 1952: “This committee believes that if the Voice of America is to justify its existence, it must utilize material made available more forcefully and effectively.” A major change in VOA programs occurred, with much more reporting being done on the investigation into the Katyń massacre and other Soviet atrocities, but later some of the censorship returned. Radio Free Europe (RFE), also funded and indirectly managed by the U.S., never resorted to such censorship, and provided full coverage of all communist human rights abuses. See: Select Committee to Conduct an Investigation and Study of the Facts, Evidence and Circumstances of the Katyn Forest Massacre, The Katyn Forest Massacre: Final Report (Washington: United States Government Printing Office, 1952), 10-12. The report is posted on the National Archives website: https://archive.org/details/KatynForestMassacreFinalReport.[/ref] Only when key VOA managers along with broadcasters started to side with pro-Soviet communists in Italy and France, did the Roosevelt White House limit in 1943 the most blatant pro-communist programs. The State Department quietly forced the resignation of VOA’s first director John Houseman who recruited Howard Fast and other communists for VOA jobs. Later in 1943, several other pro-Soviet OWI officials were asked to submit their resignations.
The Pentagon feared that communist propaganda in English, French and Italian VOA broadcasts could endanger the lives of American soldiers fighting in North Africa and Europe. There was much less concern within the Roosevelt administration and its propaganda agency with the fate Yugoslavia, Poland and Czechoslovakia, but high-level State Department officials who were liberal Democrats and friends of President Roosevelt managed to convince the FDR White House to get rid of John Houseman.[ref]The memorandum about Soviet and communist influence within the wartime Voice of America, signed off with a cover memo by Under Secretary of State Sumner Welles, a distinguished career diplomat and a major foreign policy advisor to President Roosevelt and his personal friend, was forwarded to the White House with the date, April 6, 1943. The attached memorandum with the addendum listing names of individuals who had been denied U.S. passports for government travel abroad was dated April 5, 1943. The documents were declassified in the mid-1970s and have been accessible online for some time from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library and Museum Website and the National Archives. It appears, however, that they have never been widely disclosed and analyzed before now. They are presented for the first time with a historical analysis on the Cold War Radio Museum website. Under Secretary of State Sumner Welles April 6, 1943 memorandum to Marvin H. McIntyre, Secretary to the President with enclosures, Franklin D. Roosevelt Library and Museum Website, Box 77, State – Welles, Sumner, 1943-1944; version date 2013. State – Welles, Sumner, 1943-1944, From Collection: FDR-FDRPSF Departmental Correspondence, Series: Departmental Correspondence, 1933 – 1945 Collection: President’s Secretary’s File (Franklin D. Roosevelt Administration), 1933 – 1945, National Archives Identifier: 16619284.[/ref] However, most communist sympathizers among early VOA journalists, including those who prepared broadcasts to Yugoslavia, stayed in their jobs until at least the end of World War II, and in some cases even longer.
It is important to note that the term “propaganda” did not have the same strongly negative connotations when used by American officials, members of Congress and U.S. media during World War II to describe American information efforts, most of which were directed against Nazi and fascist propaganda and Japanese propaganda. Soviet propaganda and to some degree communist propaganda were not seen at that time by some Americans as alarmingly misleading or threatening. This was partly due to OWI’s own domestic propaganda aimed to convince Americans that Stalin was no longer a dictator but rather a radical democratic supporter of freedom and social progress.
On June 29, 1943, Congressman Emanuel Celler (D-NY), who at other times praised Stalin and the Soviet Union as defenders of peace, progress and democracy, inserted in the Congressional Record several articles defending the Office of War Information from congressional attempts to cut its budget for domestic and foreign propaganda activities.
[From the Birmingham Age Harold of June 21, 1943] “The fundamental error lies in the assumption that the work of the Domestic Division of the Office of War Information is concerned with propaganda and not the dissemination of news. It overlooks the fact that it can well be the duty of a Government to see that the people are correctly informed and as completely informed as possible, always, of course, with the provision that no restrictions be placed upon the private gathering and publishing of news.”[ref]89 Cong. Rec. (Bound) – Volume 89, Part 11 (June 9, 1943 to December 21, 1943), A3307.[/ref] [From the Asheville Citizen of June 21, 1943] “Congress could not very well extinguish the whole Office of War Information program, which is integrated so securely with military operations. To Mr. Davis’ credit he has acknowledged that the Office of War Information’s overseas work is ‘frankly propaganda.’ And most everyone knows or should know its necessary uses in wartime.[ref]Ibid. A3308.[/ref]
The Soviet Union was in fact at that time America’s principle military ally against Nazi Germany. But even then some key members of the Roosevelt administration, including Under Secretary of State Sumner Welles [ref] Ted Lipien, “First VOA Director was a pro-Soviet Communist sympathizer, State Dept. warned FDR White House,” Cold War Radio Museum, May 5, 2018, https://www.coldwarradiomuseum.com/state-department-warned-fdr-white-house-first-voice-of-america-director-was-hiring-communists/.[/ref], U.S. military leaders, including General Dwight Eisenhower[ref]Ted Lipien, “General Eisenhower accused WWII VOA of ‘insubordination’,” Cold War Radio Museum, May 14, 2018, https://www.coldwarradiomuseum.com/general-eisenhower-accused-wwii-voa-of-insubordination/ Footnote in “Waging Peace” by Dwight D. Eisenhower: “During World War II the Office of War Information had, on two occasions in foreign broadcasts, opposed actions of President Roosevelt; it ridiculed the temporary arrangement with Admiral Darlan in North Africa and that with Marshal Badoglio in Italy. President Roosevelt took prompt action to stop such insubordination.” Dwight D. Eisenhower, The White House Years: Waging Peace 1956-1961 (Garden City: Doubleday & Company, 1965) 279.[/ref], members of Congress and some American journalists were alarmed that Americans were being exposed to and influenced by U.S. government propaganda from the Office of War Information which included pro-Soviet and pro-communist disinformation.
Support for Stalin and his plans to install Moscow-controlled governments in Eastern Europe continued unabated in Voice of America programs until at least 1945, if not much longer, although not with the same intensity after 1945 as during the war. Some of the censorship of news reports about communist crimes lasted at the Voice of America until the early 1950s. A few pro-Soviet journalists who later declared themselves as communists worked at the Voice of America until 1945, and in one known case until 1947.[ref]At least two World War II Voice of America journalists who earlier had held key positions in the Polish Service (Stefan Arski, a.k.a Artur Salman and Mira Złotowska), and the Czechoslovak Service (service chief Dr. Adolf Hoffmeister), went to work for communist regimes after the war. In 1947, Arski became an influential anti-U.S. propagandist for the communist regime in Poland, while Hoffmeister was Czechoslovak Ambassador to France from 1948 to 1951.[/ref]
By the early 1950s, almost all pro-Soviet wartime VOA broadcasters were replaced by anti-communist refugee journalists who helped to make VOA a strong force against Soviet propaganda later in the Cold War. Together with Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, the new team of Cold War Voice of America refugee reporters and commentators contributed significantly to the eventual fall of communism in Europe.
It should be noted also that during World War II, the name “Voice of America” was not commonly used and these programs were not referred to as VOA or Voice of America; they were called OWI programs or had various other names. Broadcasts for overseas audiences were identified as originating in OWI’s Overseas Division in New York, as described by Congressman Roy Woodruff in his speech to the House of Representatives on April 20, 1943:
“These reports tell us that much of this propaganda follows the American Communist Party line and is designed to prepare the minds of the Polish people to accept partition, obliteration, or suppression of their nation when the fighting ends. The same is true of Yugoslavia, where. I am told, the name of the great Mlhailovitch is blocked out by O. W. I. radicals.”
“I cannot understand why the Director of War Information is feeding Communist propaganda to the American people in regard to the conditions in Yugoslavia.”
At that time, propaganda broadcasts, as they were often described by OWI, were also redistributed and rebroadcast in the United States. Alarmed by pro-Soviet and pro-communist propaganda being pushed by U.S. government employees on Americans, Senator Robert Taft introduced a resolution demanding that all OWI materials, including what would later be described as Voice of America broadcasts in English and foreign languages, be made available for inspection by congressional staff and media. Congressman John Lesinski was also warning about Soviet and communist influence over Voice of America wartime broadcasts.
“I have followed with a great deal of interest the releases in regard to Yugoslavia, and I cannot understand why the Director of War Information is feeding Communist propaganda to the American people in regard to the conditions in Yugoslavia.”
All of these warning turned out to be accurate but were later swept under the rug by Voice of America management. They were forgotten and replaced with self-serving propaganda that the Voice of America never wavered in broadcasting the truth and was never compromised by foreign agents. Important lessons were lost leading to some VOA officials, managers, editors and reporters once again engaging in partisan politics, both in the United States and abroad, and allowing themselves to be feted and influenced by domestic and foreign politicians.
In August 2020, a group of 14 Voice of America English newsroom editors and reporters, protesting against plans by Trump-appointed U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM) CEO Michael Pack to make security clearances for VOA employees comply with strict requirements from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), wrote that “Mr. Pack has made a thin excuse that his actions are meant to protect national security, but just as was the case with the McCarthy ‘Red Scare,’ which targeted VOA and other government organizations in the mid-1950’s, there has not been a single demonstrable case of any individual working for VOA — as the USAGM CEO puts it — ‘posing as a spy.'”[ref]Letter of 14 Voice of America Journalists to VOA Acting Director Elez Biberaj, August 31, 2020, https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/7048656/LettertoVOAdirector.pdf.[/ref] Most of VOA officials and journalists who during World War II supported communist takeover of Yugoslavia, Poland, Czechoslovakia and other countries were also technically not Soviet spies, but as members of Congress of both parties had warned repeatedly, they represented a serious threat to America’s interests and values and a threat to VOA’s honest and unbiased journalists. It would be astoundingly foolish to assume that Vladimir Putin’s Russia, communist China, theocratic Iran, communist Cuba, communist North Korea and quite a few other nations ruled by totalitarian or authoritarian regimes are not engaging in efforts to subvert the Voice of America. It would be also naive to think that these regimes do not pose a security threat to VOA journalists, especially those working for foreign language services.
April 20, 1943
￼Mr. WOODRUFF of Michigan. Mr. Speaker, there Is no people for whom the American Nation has a greater sympathy than those of Poland. They have been crushed, pilloried, and persecuted from both sides of their boundaries. And every American on the battle front or on the home front wants to see the day when Poland will again be an independent nation taking its place in a friendly community of nations.
For 3 years the Polish Government In exile has been working to keep morale within Poland alive against the time of liberation. But now reports are constantly reaching me and other Members of Congress that the propaganda activities of the Polish Unit of O. W. I.’s Overseas Division are destroying rather than building the morale of the helpless Polish people.
These reports tell us that much of this propaganda follows the American Communist Party line and is designed to prepare the minds of the Polish people to accept partition, obliteration, or suppression of their nation when the fighting ends. The same is true of Yugoslavia, where. I am told, the name of the great Mlhailovitch is blocked out by O. W. I. radicals.
If It is true that Communists have infiltrated into the O.W.I.’s Overseas Division and are following the party line In their propaganda to Poland, as well as other countries, then it is an outrageous violation of the faith that is reposed in Elmer Davis and Robert Sherwood. If this is not true, then the Polish people in America are entitled to have allayed the rumors which may be enemy inspired.
The best way to find this out Is to have all of this propaganda made available here In the United States. The enemy knows all about it, so Americans should not be In the dark.
The press and Congress also should know the names and backgrounds of the people who have the delicate task of interpreting American ideals to foreign lands. I am informed that the man in charge of the Polish Overseas Unit of O. W. I. has not lived in Poland for 15 years and has been active in French Communist circles, coming recently to America.
United States Congress
WOODRUFF, Roy Orchard, (1876 – 1953)
WOODRUFF, Roy Orchard, a Representative from Michigan; born at Eaton Rapids, Eaton County, Mich., March 14, 1876; attended the common schools and the high school of Eaton Rapids; apprenticed to the printing business 1891-1899; enlisted as a corporal in Company G, Thirty-third Regiment, Michigan Volunteer Infantry, during the Spanish-American War; saw active service and was mustered out; was graduated from the dental department of the College of Medicine, Detroit, Mich., in 1902 and practiced dentistry in Bay City, Mich., 1902-1911; mayor of Bay City 1911-1913; elected as a Progressive to the Sixty-third Congress (March 4, 1913-March 3, 1915); was not a candidate for renomination in 1914; served for two years in the First World War as an Infantry officer, acquiring the rank of major during his service in France; elected as a Republican to the Sixty-seventh and to the fifteen succeeding Congresses (March 4, 1921-January 3, 1953); was not a candidate for renomination in 1952 to the Eighty-third Congress; died in Washington, D.C., February 12, 1953; interment in Elm Lawn Cemetery, Bay City, Mich.
￼The Truth in Regard to the Yugoslavian Situation
EXTENSION OF REMARKS
HON. JOHN LESINSKI OF MICHIGAN
IN THE HOUSE OP REPRESENTATIVES
Friday, June 23, 1944
Mr. LESINSKI. Mr. Speaker, there has been much in the press in recent ￼weeks in regard to the Yugoslavian situation, and particularly in regard to Tito.
Under present war restrictions, news in regard to our allies—or, for that matter, any foreign country—is not printed unless it has the approval of the Office of War Information, of which Hon. Elmer Davis is Director.
I have followed with a great deal of interest the releases in regard to Yugoslavia, and I cannot understand why the Director of War Information is feeding Communist propaganda to the American people in regard to the conditions in Yugoslavia.
The American people are led to believe that Tito and his Partisan army has the support of the people of Yugoslavia, whereas, as a matter of fact, that is not so—General Mihailovich, the commander in chief of the Yugoslavian Army and also the minister of war of the Yugoslavian Government in Exile, has the support of the people of Yugoslavia.
Yugoslavia was overrun by the Nazi hordes on October 6, 1941. and under the magnificent leadership of General Mihailovich, the people have been bravely fighting the savage invader since that time.
It would appear from recent international political incidents that the United States has forsaken two of its oldest allies in this war—Poland and Yugoslavia. Poland was the first country to be invaded by the Nazi, and since September 1, 1939, has been valiantly fighting the Germans. Certainly, Poland and Yugoslavia, which were among the earliest to suffer the devastation of Axis aggression, deserve to be honored by every member of the United Nations, and particularly by countries which did not ex￼perience the blow of the Axis aggressor until much later, such as our own Nation, on December 7, 1941, and the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941. However, that does not appear to be the case, and is a matter to be greatly deplored and one which deserves the protest of all honest men who seek nothing of selfish gain for themselves out of this terrible Global War.
I wish to call attention to a sequence of events, with respect to Yugoslavia, which will correct the false impression given the American people by the propaganda released by the Office of War Information.
On May 5, 1944. General Velebit, chief of Tito’s military mission to England, said that Tito had an army of 300,000 flghting men and that Tito has liberated and now controls two-thirds of the territory of Yugoslavia. We have been given to understand through public anouncements made by such authorities as Prime Minister Churchill that because of the vast army Tito has, it is the basis on which Great Britain, primarily, and the United States, secondarily, has switched their support from General Mihailovich to Tito. In brief, the fact that Tito is supposed to have liberated and now controls the major portion of the territory of Yugoslavia and that he has a larger and a more active fighting force opposing the Nazis than General Mihailovich, with some 300,000 men as against 16,000 under General Mihailovitch, as charged ￼by Tito, or 40,000 as claimed by General Mihailovitch.
The only honorable reason which the American people and the Allies can accept for abandoning General Mihailovich, who organized and maintained Yugoslav opposition to the Nazis ever since May 20, 1941, and for switching our support now to Tito who did not emerge as a leader of any opposition to the Nazi until the middle of 1942, would be only if it were true that Tito has won the support of the Yugoslav people, and General Mihailovich has lost the support of the people to such an extent that he is now able allegedly to muster no more than 16,000 men under arms, and that he has ceased—or practically ceased—to fight the Nazis, but the facts are just the opposite as have been revealed by recent events.
On May 25, 1944, a German broadcast reported a surprise raid on Tito’s headquarters by a few hundred Nazi parachutists. For 3 weeks this report remained unconfirmed by Allied sources. Then in a dispatch by Reuter’s, the semi-official British news agency, there came confirmation that Tito had fled his mountain retreat. The Reuter’s said that the sudden German attack necessitated the transfer of Tito’s headquarters from one part of Yugoslavia to another. But finally the truth came out as to Tito’s whereabouts; it was established that he had fled to Bari, Italy. Coincidently, Reuter’s reported that Tito is conducting negotiations with the new Yugoslav Premier, Dr. Ivan Subasic, somewhere in Yugoslavia. That also appears to be not so. The fact appears to be that the negotiations are being conducted in Italy. ￼
This sequence of events now raise questions which go to the very heart of the publicly announced reasons for switching Allied support from General Mihailovich to Tito.
The Nazi raid on Tito’s headquarters exploded the myth of Tito’s claim that he had 300,000 followers. No sensible person, whether they had military training or not, could be lead to believe that 300,000 men, secure in mountainous terrain, in a country where they knew every mountain pass and trail, could be dispersed—yes, annihilated—by a few hundred enemy parachutists. It also raises the question as to how it would be possible for a few German troops to drop from the skies and recapture the liberated territory claimed to comprise two-thirds of Yugoslavia, causing Tito to flee from his liberated territory and take refuge under Allied guns in Bari, Italy.
In reality Tito’s army never did consist of more than a band of Communist followers, and because of Great Britain’s wish to appease Stalin, they have been supporting Tito and have withdrawn their support from General Mihailovich, and the United States has apparently acquiesced to Great Britain’s wishes in the matter.
In view of Tito’s claims as to the enormous size of his army and the territory he is supposed to have liberated, which propaganda has been disseminated to the American people by the Office of War Information, there arises now in the mind ￼of any fair-thinking person doubt as to whether any of the claims made by Tito or in his behalf are true or ever were true.
This is obviously a most important question, and if Tito’s claims are not, or never were true, what are the reasons for switching Allied support from General Mihailovich to Stalin’s satellite, Tito? There is no need to exaggerate the import of these questions. There is no need to go to the extreme of denying or questioning the probable fact that Tito has been engaged in some military activities against the Nazis, and that he has helped to harass the foe, and there is no reason to belittle what Tito has actually done, and on the other hand, there is no need to exaggerate.
It is, indeed, unfortunate that the American people have been led to believe by releases of the Office of War Information and with statements of so-called facts which appear to support their contentions that Tito is the “whole show” in the Yugoslav opposition to the Nazis and that he has the unqualified support of the people of Yugoslavia.
It is reasonably clear, however, to anyone who takes the time to examine the facts, that Tito’s activities against the Nazis have been grossly misstated—small skirmishes were exaggerated into great campaigns—small bands of partisans were exaggerated into great armies, negligible hit-and-run raids against minor villages and uninhabited places were exaggerated into great military triumphs, and the passage of a handful of partisans through some tiny village was exaggerated into the imaginary capture of hundreds of great towns and thousands of miles of territory. ￼
In fact, there is still fresh in our memory the reports released through the Office of War Information from time to time as to how Tito had invaded Hungary, Austria, Bulgaria, Rumania, and Italy—of all these reports, the only one that now bears the faintest semblance of truth is the report that Tito invaded Italy. We now know it was not at the head of a victorious army, but as a refugee under the shelter of American and British arms, a leader who deserted his followers after a few hundred German paratroopers landed in their midst and captured two-thirds of his men; then by some means, the so-called great Tito was able to escape, leaving a greater portion of his followers to be either killed or captured by the Germans.
The only explanation for the wild exaggerations of Tito’s activities against the foe and the withholding of news from the American people as to the true situation in Yugoslavia is the desire of the O. W. I. to play ball with those who are charged with the responsibility of dishing out propaganda as to the British foreign policies. All that the American people know of what has been going on in Yugoslavia are through releases of the O.W.I., which come to us principally from London, or from Cairo and Bari—all three of which are centers of British control and British censorship.
It is indeed most significant that when the United Press attempted to send one of their correspondents to Yugoslavia at the Invitation of General Mikhailovich ￼so that the American public could obtain direct information, that the British detained the United Press correspondent in Cairo for 3 months until the United Press abandoned the effort in exasperation.
It is equally significant that when two correspondents were sent from Cairo to Yugoslavia, that they were John Talbot, representative of Reuter’s, the semiofficial British news agency, and Stoyan Pribicevich, Life and Time magazines correspondent who had for over 2 years been one of Tito’s leading propagandists in this country, and, incidentally, Talbot and Pribicevich were sent not to both General Mihailovich’s and Tito’s headquarters in Yugoslavia, but only to Tito’s headquarters.
General Mihailovich, as commander in chief of the Yugoslav armies, has extended repeated invitations and requested that Allied correspondents be permitted access to his headquarters and to the Yugoslav territory which he controlled, but to no avail. These facts tend to impress the fair-minded observer that a deliberate effort has been and is being made to obscure and minimize the efforts of the duly designated field commander of the legitimate Yugoslav Government, while, at the same time, false propaganda is being spread for the purpose of building up Tito’s prestige.
We know what has happened since the exposure of the Tito hoax. Even now, the new Yugoslav Premier, who was recently appointed by King Peter under British pressure, continues to negotiate with the discredited Tito in Bari, Italy, with a view to saving Tito’s prestige and position. ￼We note that the new Yugoslav Premier, Dr. Ivan Subasic, himself is unable to obtain the support of the Yugoslav people. We note that for more than a month he has been attempting to form a cabinet and that none of the political parties of Yugoslavia will permit their representatives to enter that cabinet.
Who is Dr. Subasic whom Churchill has forced upon King Peter? One of the most significant answers is provided by The Bulletin, published by the Communist pro-Tito propaganda machine in the United States, which even before—and after—his appointment as Premier carried his name as an honorary member.
Recently a United States military mission returned to the United States from Yugoslavia. This mission was comprised of two American Army officers who spent 6 months with General Mihailovich. The American officers were able to make first-hand inspection tours of areas comprising about three-fifths of the territory of Yugoslavia, all under the control of General Mihailovich.
I understand on reliable advices that the American military mission reported that General Mihailovich obviously had the support of the Yugoslav people in their fight against the Nazis, that he was energetically opposing the enemy in the field and harassing the Nazis throughout the length and breadth of that unfortunate land.
￼There is more than an inference that the report of the American military mission has been suppressed because when a request was made on the floor of this House that the two American officers who had spent more than 6 months with General Mihailovich in Yugoslavia be summoned to testify and render a report to the Military Affairs Committee of the House, both officers were cautioned against speaking on the subject, and one of them was almost immediately thereafter transferred to duty in China. The fact that these officers were not permitted to testify and the circumstances surrounding the suppression of their report as to General Mihailovieh’s activities, whereas the O.W.I. has been consistently issuing releases as to Tito’s activities and his prestige should be explained to the Congress and the American public.
The surprise raid of a few hundred German parachutists with one pin thrust completely exploded the Tito hoax and myth, and has demonstrated that the “Partisan army” of 300,000 is a fantasy of someone’s fevered imagination, and it follows that the alleged “liberation” by Tito of thousands of miles of Yugoslavia Is one of this war’s tremendous lies which has been broadcast to the American public by the O.W.I. for the purpose of building up Tito’s prestige and his communistic following.
The true facts expose the real situation in Yugoslavia—that the majority of the people of Yugoslavia do not support the partisans and that Tito does not have the support of the Yugoslav people.
￼Why, then, does the American Government policy, complaisant and compliant under British pressures which cannot bear open and honest scrutiny permit itself to be used to foist an odious Communist regime upon an unwilling people and to force Tito down their throats?
Why, also, does a compliant American foreign policy, tied as a tail to a British kite, permit the idealistic motives of the American people in this war to be twisted and perverted by the ruthlessness of power politics of other nations into serving ends that the American people, if they knew the truth, would never sanction?
Now that the Tito hoax has been exploded, is there some other reason why we continue to permit the American people to be misled as to what is really going on in Yugoslavia? And why does the United States find it necessary to abandon the valiant General Mihailovich, under whose leadership the brave fighting men and women of Yugoslavia have been fighting the Nazis since their country was invaded?
If there is any reason why our Government should cast aside General Mihailovich, the American people have a right to know what it is. If there is none, we have no reason to permit the continuing betrayal of the Yugoslav people and their Government-in-exile at the behest of the secret policy of another nation. The situation involves the honor of our Government’s foreign policy, based upon the provisions of the Atlantic Charter, and In the coming days of ￼peace may affect our own national interests.
This is an all-out war effort—we should give every assistance to all of our allies because they are fighting the Germans and every effort that is being put forth against the Germans—it matters not how small it may be—will save the lives of American fighting men. The people in the occupied countries—Poland and Yugoslavia—cannot fight bare-handed—they must have supplies and materials, and when our support is withdrawn from these recognized governments, the war effort is being handicapped. The eyes of the people of Poland and Yugoslavia are turned towards America for aid and assistance—they are depending upon America to bring about their deliverance—yet with more than 4 years of warfare behind them, they have not had delivered to them supplies and materials. It is true that the underground in both Poland and Yugoslavia are doing excellent work in harrasslng the Germans and sabotaging their military machine, but they could do far better work if they were given supplies and materials, and despite the many promises, they are becoming disallusioned because the supplies and materials promised have not been forthcoming. I am at a loss to understand why, and, in my opinion, the Congress and the American people should be given an explanation.
United States Congress
LESINSKI, John (1885-1950)
LESINSKI, JOHN, (father of John Lesinski, Jr.), a Representative from Michigan; born in Erie, Pa., January 3, 1885; and three months later moved with his parents to Detroit, Mich.; attended St. Albertus School, St. Cyril and Methodeusz Seminary, Orchard Lake, Mich., and Detroit Business University, Detroit, Mich.; engaged extensively in the building and real estate business in Detroit; established lumber and supply companies in Hamtramck and Dearborn areas of Detroit; president of the Polish Citizens’ Committee of Detroit 1919-1932; State commissioner in charge of the sale of Polish bonds in 1920; awarded the Polonia Restituta by the Polish Government; delegate to the Democratic National Conventions in 1936, 1940, and 1944; delegate to the Democratic State conventions in 1936, 1940, and 1944; elected as a Democrat to the Seventy-third and to the eight succeeding Congresses and served from March 4, 1933, until his death in Dearborn, Mich., May 27, 1950; chairman, Committee on Invalid Pensions (Seventy-fourth through Seventy-ninth Congresses), Committee on Immigration and Naturalization (Seventy-ninth Congress), Committee on Education and Labor (Eighty-first Congress); interment in Mount Olivet Cemetery, Detroit, Mich.
Recognition of Yugoslav Government of Liberation
EXTENSION OF REMARKS
HON. HENRY M. JACKSON OF WASHINGTON
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Friday, June 23, 1944
Mr. JACKSON. Mr. Speaker, the valiant people of the Balkans have been suffering under the domination of the Hitlerite Fascist’s boot since the Nazis came to power in Germany. Prom the very first day when the Nazis came to power, they have been pouring agents through the Balkans intent upon dividing and conquering the little brave people of these small countries and converting them to slavery under the “master race.” Of all the peoples of the Balkans, one group more than any other has resisted from the very first the Hitler intimidation. It has fought back inch for inch, foot for foot, and yard for yard against the terror and torture of the Nazis. That group is the free people of Yugoslavia.
Mr. Speaker, Yugoslavia, like so many other countries, has had its “quislings.” ￼There have been many in Yugoslavia who are not averse to kneeling and groveling before the Fascists; boot lickers for a pound of sliver for the blood of their neighbor’s veins. There are some, Mr. Speaker, who first saw fit to fight and later on, wearying of the struggle, weak at heart and weak of mind, sold out to the would-be conquerors. But the very weakness of its leaders seemed only to add strength to the people’s movement for the liberation of Yugoslavia, and out of the chaos which rose from Hitler’s invasion of the Balkans in 1941 has come one man and one group which has never swerved from its determination to carry on the good fight against our common enemy. That is the partisan movement of Marshal Tito, the dynamic, brave, fiery leader of the free peoples fighting fascism in the mountains, the cities, the villages, and the fields of Yugoslavia today.
At this very moment, side by side with our own boys, uncounted numbers of whom have parachuted into partisan territory to take up the fight, and side by side with our heroic British allies, Marshal Tito’s forces continue to plague the Nazis at every point.
Who are the people who fight with Tito? The people who fight with Marshal Tito are the free people of Yugoslavia. The National Liberation Army banded together under Tito is composed of Serbs, Croats, Slovenes. Montenegrins, and Macedonians, It is composed of members of the Christian Socialist Party, the Social Democratic Party, the Communist Party, the labor unions, and the Slovenian Catholic Party. In its ranks are Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes in proportion to the relative strength of each of ￼these groups throughout all Yugoslavia. Its members know no party, know no race, know no separate creed, but only the common struggle against the common enemy.
While the traitors of the King Peter government have been busy carrying on continued collaboration with the enemy, Marshal Tito and his National Liberation Army have never ceased to fight and fight hard; yet our Government still permits agents of the proven traitor, Mihailovich, to use funds of the King Peter government to propagandize against this great hero, Tito, in the United States.
Yet, Mr. Speaker, there are still those In our State Department who try desperately to rescue the discredited Mihailovich clique from the oblivion into which it has so correctly sunk.
We must demand, Mr. Speaker, that the funds of the Yugoslav Government in the United States be transferred at once to the representatives of Marshal Tito and the national army of liberation which so valiantly fights our common enemy.
While our own fighting sons, brothers, and loved ones are dying on the beaches and the hills of France at the hands of the Nazis, we are making a mockery of the crosses which lie over their heads by permitting the continuance of the anti-Tito propaganda machine which has trafficked so viciously with the enemy under our very nose. ￼In my own State of Washington, reside many thousand Yugoslav Americans. They are a splendid, hard working, patriotic people—the finest type of American citizens. Those Yugoslav Americans are unanimous in their sup- port and faith in the government of liberation in Yugoslavia. They are united in calling upon our Government to freeze the funds held in this country by the royal government in exile. They demand that these funds be diverted to the use of its partisan armies under Josip Broz and to the restoration of their country after the war.
Mr. Speaker, let me point out further that the Senate in the State of Washington has unanimously passed a resolution urging recognition by our Government of the liberation government of Yugoslavia, and the freezing of the funds now held by the royal government in exile.
Mr. Speaker, I submit we should join our efforts with the Yugoslav Americans of our country in bringing about full recognition to the liberation government of Yugoslavia.
United States Congress
JACKSON, Henry Martin (Scoop) (1912-1983)
JACKSON, HENRY MARTIN (SCOOP), a Representative and a Senator from Washington; born in Everett, Snohomish County, Wash., May 31, 1912; attended the public schools and Stanford University, Stanford, Calif.; graduated from the law school of the University of Washington at Seattle in 1935; admitted to the bar the same year and commenced practice in Everett, Wash.; prosecuting attorney of Snohomish County 1938-1940; attended the International Maritime Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1945 as adviser to the American delegation; elected president of the International Maritime Conference held in Seattle, Wash., in 1946; elected as a Democrat to the Seventy-seventh Congress and to the five succeeding Congresses (January 3,1941-January 3, 1953); was not a candidate for renomination in 1952; chairman, Committee on Indian Affairs (Seventy-ninth Congress); elected to the United States Senate in 1952 and reelected in 1958, 1964, 1970, 1976 and again in 1982, serving from January 3, 1953, until his death on September 1, 1983, in Everett, Wash.; chairman, Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs (Eighty-eighth through Ninety-fifth Congresses), Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (Ninety-fifth and Ninety-sixth Congresses); chairman of the Democratic National Committee in 1960; unsuccessful candidate for the Democratic nomination for president of the United States, 1972 and 1976; interment at Evergreen Cemetery, Everett, Wash.; posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom on June 26, 1984.
Congressional Record — Senate
April 19, 1943
￼DISCLOSURE OF GOVERNMENT PROPAGANDA MATERIAL
Mr. TAFT. Mr. President, I am submitting today in the Senate two resolutions requiring the Office of War Information and the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs to file with the Secretary of the Senate all propaganda material which this country is distributing to the people of foreign nations and to its own armed forces.
Under present conditions, propaganda is undoubtedly a valuable weapon in the war, although I think its importance is overemphasized by many. Paced with a propaganda directed against us, it is undoubtedly necessary to resort to counter-propaganda and to psychological attacks upon the morale of the enemy. Our Government is, therefore, spending millions of dollars today on short-wave propaganda to foreign countries in every conceivable language and for the distribution of printed matter throughout the world.
It is obvious to me that the people of the United States want to know what is being said in their behalf. What promises are being made? What statements of national policy are being disseminated throughout the world? Ugly rumors are abroad that much of this short-wave broadcasting is futile and idiotic, and very inferior to that of other nations. It is said that some of it is communistic and some of it is fascistic, and that much of it tries to play European politics, about which we know nothing, instead of presenting the American point of view.
We certainly do not wish to be accused later of double-crossing foreign people because we do not carry out the statements made secretly in our behalf and without our knowledge by irresponsible Government employees, many of whom are not even Americans. ￼There can be no claim that this material must be kept secret, for in its very nature it is being broadcast to all the world. It is already in the hands of all enemy governments and United Nations governments. Only in America it seems to be impossible to obtain copies, and the American people are the only people in the world who do not have access to it.
Finally, it is important that there be a complete historical record of all features of this propaganda organization. Unless an official record is required, much of the material is likely to be destroyed. Perhaps some of it is already destroyed.
I am also submitting a resolution to require the filing of O. W. I. material distributed to the armed forces. Conceivably some of this may require secrecy, and I have therefore provided that upon request of the general staffs secrecy will be ordered, but I doubt whether the heads of the armed forces are transmitting any secret orders or instructions to their soldiers and sailors ￼through the O. W. I. Samples of O. W.I. propaganda which we have already seen lead me to doubt seriously whether the soldiers are receiving an impartial account of the facts dealt with by the propaganda they receive. Propaganda by any government is basically dangerous. We have seen the effects of its misuse in foreign lands. Surely in the United States of America there is no reason why it should be conducted in
The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The two resolutions submitted by the Senator from Ohio will be received and appropriately referred.
The resolution (S. Res. 140) was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, as follows:
Whereas the Government of the United States during the war period has found it necessary to embark upon a campaign of transmitting news, information, and propaganda to the peoples of foreign lands by radio, written literature, and motion pictures; and
Whereas it Is highly desirable that the Congress and the people of the United States have full information regarding the matter which is thus being distributed, including particularly the policies declared and promises made In their behalf; and
Whereas, although this matter is being widely disseminated to enemy nations and is necessarily fully available to the people of enemy nations and of the United Nations, but is not available to the American people, the Congress of the United States, and the American press and radio:
Now, therefore, be It Resolved.
That the Director of the Office of War Information and the Coordinator or Inter-American Affairs are hereby directed to file with the Secretary of the Senate of the United States within 2 weeks after the passage of this resolution:
￼(1) Authoritative transcripts of all material broadcast since January 1, 1943. by short wave or otherwise, to countries other than the United States of America, Including the nations of the Western Hemisphere, this material to be deposited both in the language in which it was broadcast and in a direct English translation thereof, together with actual recordings of such broadcasts where such recordings are available;
(2) Copies of all written literature distributed tn any manner among the people of such foreign countries since September 1, 1942, this material to be deposited in the form and language In which it was distributed, and in a direct English translation thereof;
(3) Copies or prints of ail motion pictures, or other visual material circulated among the people of such foreign countries since September 1, 1942; be It further Resolved, that after the adoption of this resolution the Director of the Office of War Information and the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs shall deposit daily with the Secretary of the Senate of the United States the material described In paragraphs (1), (2), and (3) above within 72 hours after any such material reaches the foreign people to whom it is directed; be It further Resolved, that the material so deposited shall, upon its deposit with the Secretary of the Senate, be available for inspection, study, and publication by authorized representatives of Members of Congress and by authorized representatives of the press, radio, and magazines of the United States.
The resolution (S. Res. 141) was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, as follows:
Whereas the Office of War Information is producing sound-recorded material, printed ￼material, motion pictures, and other visual material, and distributing the same to the armed forces of the Doited States; and
Whereas the men In such armed forces do not have available all the information and material distributed through ordinary press, radio, and motion-picture channels, and particularly when they are overseas their information is largely dependent on the mamaterial supplied by the Office of War Information;
Whereas the citizens of the United States, and particularly the relatives of members of the armed forces, have a direct and vital interest in knowing what material is supplied to the armed forces:
Now, therefore, be It Resolved,
That the Director of the Office of War Information is hereby directed to deposit with the Secretary of the Senate ail such material, whether sound recorded, printed, written, or Aimed, within 1 week after such material is distributed to the armed forces of the United States; and be
It further Resolved,
That such material shall upon deposit with the Secretary of the Senate, be available for Inspection, study, and publication by authorized representatives of Congress and authorized representatives of the press, radio, and magazines of the United States; unless in any ease It is accompanied by a certificate of the General Staff of the Army or the General Staff of the Navy that such material is a military secret, in which case such material shall be deposited In the Congressional Library and preserved for public use whenever the General Staff giving the certificate shall certify that secrecy is no longer necessary.
United States Congress
TAFT, Robert Alphonso, (1889 – 1953)
Senate Years of Service: 1939-1953
TAFT, Robert Alphonso, (son of President William H. Taft, nephew of Charles Phelps Taft, father of Robert Taft, Jr.), a Senator from Ohio; born in Cincinnati, Ohio, September 8, 1889; attended the public schools of Cincinnati, Ohio, and of Manila, Philippine Islands, and Taft School, Watertown, Conn.; graduated from Yale University in 1910 and from Harvard University Law School in 1913; admitted to the Ohio bar in 1913 and commenced practice in Cincinnati, Ohio; director in a number of business enterprises in Cincinnati; assistant counsel, United States Food Administration 1917-1918; counsel, American Relief Administration 1919; member, Ohio house of representatives 1921-1926, serving as speaker and majority leader 1926; member, Ohio Senate 1931-1932; elected as a Republican to the United States Senate in 1938; reelected in 1944 and again in 1950 and served from January 3, 1939, until his death; majority leader 1953; co-chairman, Joint Committee on the Economic Report (Eightieth Congress), chairman, Committee on Labor and Public Welfare (Eightieth Congress), Republican Policy Committee (Eightieth through Eighty-second Congresses); sponsored the Taft-Hartley Act, designed to create equity in collective bargaining between labor and management; unsuccessful candidate in 1940, 1948, and 1952 for the Republican presidential nomination; died in New York City, July 31, 1953; lay in state in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol, August 2-3, 1953; interment in Indian Hill Episcopal Church Cemetery, Cincinnati, Ohio.
Photo from Harris-Ewing collection [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
American National Biography; Dictionary of American Biography; Patterson, James T. Mr. Republican: A Biography of Robert A. Taft. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1972; Wunderlin, Clarence E. Robert A. Taft: Ideas, Tradition, and Party in U.S. Foreign Policy. New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2005.