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On peut lire par ailleurs, sur ce même site et datant d'il y a un an et demi, des commentaires et des appréciations de notre part sur le livre Who Paid the Piper?, de Frances Stonor Saunders. Ce livre vient d’être (enfin) publié en France, sous le titre Qui mène la danse ? — la CIA et la Guerre froide culturelle (Chez Denoël, publié en mai 2003, quatre ans après la publication initiale du livre de Saunders.)
Nous sommes toujours, — nous sommes plus que jamais enthousiastes à propos de ce livre. C’est un bijou qui recèle, dans ses éclats, toutes les extraordinaires ambiguïtés de la Guerre froide, de l’américanisme, des relations entre l’Europe et les USA, de notre crise très actuelle, depuis le 11 septembre 2001. Nous avons pensé qu’il était utile d’enrichir sa découverte ou sa relecture de textes de commentaire retrouvés, des trois dernières années, de 2000 à 2002.
La particularité de ces textes est qu’ils sont tous trois le fait de partisans des opérations décrites par Saunders dans son livre. Successivement, vous pouvez lire :
• Un texte de Peregrine Worsthorne, écrivain et commentateur politique britannique, de tendance traditionaliste et indiscutablement tory, chroniqueur au Times de Londres. Le texte est un commentaire du livre de Saunders, publié sur un site de critique littéraire, non daté mais que nous daterions de l’année 2000. Worsthorne fut impliqué, involontairement ou pas cela reste à voir, dans l’opération de la CIA, comme écrivain et intellectuel.
• Un texte de Robert de Neufville publié dans The Washington Monthly, en mai 2000. De Neufville est le petit-fils de Lawrence de Neufville, qui joua un rôle essentiel dans l’opération générale que décrit Saunders, comme agent de la CIA et l’un des chefs de cette opération, comme animateur très efficace du Congrès pour la Liberté de la Culture jusqu’en 1954.
• Un texte de Thomas M. Troy, Jr, officier de la CIA, publié début 2002 dans la revue interne de la CIA “Studies In Intelligence”, Volume 46 n°1. Troy analyse le livre de Saunders et nous livre les réactions d’un officier de la CIA.
Effectivement, l’intérêt de ces textes est d’avoir trois acteurs, ou proches d’acteurs de cette opération gigantesque de la CIA, d’avoir trois appréciations toutes favorables à cette opération, la justifiant et la jugeant à la fois fondée et estimable. Cela est en contraste avec le livre de Saunders, qui est plutôt critique de l’action de la CIA. (Mais la qualité du bouquin, de l’enquête de Saunders, n’est nulle part mise en cause, dans aucun de ces trois textes cités.)
Le thème général, sous-jacent ou exprimé, dans ces trois textes est bien celui-ci : comment la CIA a sauvé l’Occident de la barbarie, et, d’une façon générale, comment la CIA représentait le plus parfaitement l’élite anglo-américaine qui est (était ?) seule capable de mener le développement de la civilisation, notamment culturelle. Il se dégage de ces trois textes, d’abord une affirmation presque agressive de la justesse de cette entreprise, ensuite une incontestable nostalgie pour ce que fut cette entreprise par rapport à la situation actuelle. On découvre alors que dans l’esprits de ces “croyants”, — chacun d’eux, chacun d’eux à sa manière, Peregrine, Neufville et Troy, ils sont tous trois des “croyants”, — la véritable entreprise d’américanisation du monde, pour la sauvegarde du monde civilisé, se situe à cette époque-là. Ce qui se passe aujourd’hui, par contraste, en est une bien pâle caricature. (« For it was probably the last example of what splendid results could be achieved by the old Anglo-American elite, écrit avec un orgueuil non dissimulé Peregrine Worsthorne, — alas, now no longer anything but a shadow of their former selves. »)
Tout est fondé, justifié, “légalisé” par cette appréciation du monde selon laquelle la sauvegarde de la civilisation passe par le projet anglo-américain (anglo-saxon). Peregrine ne le cache pas, finalement : « For while the West European governments and peoples were only too happy to accept American money for reconstruction, their intellectual elites, particularly in France, would have resisted to the death any idea of accepting American cultural aid, believing that America's crass lack of culture posed rather more of a long-term threat to Europe than did Marxism-Leninism. » Et, plus loin, ceci encore : « The second purpose was to counter the virulent anti-Americanism of the postwar years by presenting the US in the most favourable light possible. » L’anti-américanisme (surtout français) était perçu comme un danger au moins aussi grand que la sensibilité aux thèses marxistes, et le but était bien, non seulement de contenir la pénétration marxiste, mais encore de réduire l’anti-américanisme, — et, peut-être, plus encore : réduire l’anti-américanisme pour faire naître l’américanisation.
On doit comprendre la réelle signification de cette affaire à la lumière de notre temps : la lutte contre le marxisme est un aspect tactique, conjoncturel, tenant aux exigences de l’époque ; la bataille pour l’américanisation du monde (de l’Europe) en est le centre, la stratégie, la substance même, et elle se confond avec la bataille pour la liberté. Lorsque les uns et les autres avancent l’argument que la CIA intervenait pour que les intellectuels puissent exprimer librement leur opinion, on se trouve dans l’habituel sophisme de l’américanisme : l’américanisme étant la liberté per se, le défendre, l’impooser ou faire sa promotion, revient à défendre, imposer ou faire la promotion de la liberté. Le raisonnement est impeccable, la logique évidente, la vertu incontestable, — pourvu que la prémisse soit juste. Là est l’essentiel du débat, et c’est un débat complètement actuel. Pour cette raison, l’appréciation de Thomas M. Troy, Jr, de la CIA, est complètement fausse, lorsqu’il écrit : « If The Cultural Cold War had been published in the 1960s or 1970s, it most likely would have caused a sensation and been a best seller. [...] Published at the turn of the century, however, the book is something of a curiosity. » Bien au contraire, c’est aujourd’hui, en référence à ce qui se passe, à nos rapports avec les USA et avec l’américanisation, que ce livre prend tout son intérêt.
La nostalgie de nos trois auteurs ci-dessous, c’est celle de l’innocence, celle du temps où, fondamentalement, la légitimité de l’Amérique à parler au nom de l’Occident, du Monde Libre, la légitimité de l’américanisme à s’identifier à la liberté, n’étaient pas fondamentalement contestées. A cet égard, le marxisme joua son rôle de faire-valoir, d’“idiot utile” si l’on veut. Bien entendu, à lire Qui mène la danse ? à la lumière du temps présent, on en vient à des interrogations fondamentales sur l’ambition de l’Amérique, sur la signification de son engagement extérieur à partir de 1941-45, sur la signification réelle de sa bataille contre le marxisme. Pour certains cas, on connaît déjà les réponses.
Gripping, Chipps Channonish gossip about the great and the good, and the not so good; stories of high-level espionage up to John Le Carré standards; disturbing disclosures such as only the finest investigative reporter comes up with, and a literary style of enviable sharpness and wit -- these are some of the ingredients to be relished in this somewhat wrong-headed but marvellously readable account of how the free world's thirty-year-long cultural Cold War against Communism was both materially strengthened and morally weakened by the practical necessity for it to be funded covertly by the CIA; and of how this element of duplicity, made necessary by the need to keep a philistine American Congress out of the act, cast a compromising shadow over the lives and reputations of many of the mid-twentieth century's finest writers, artists and intellectuals. So the book is also a morality tale which gives a new twist to the age-old truth that the path to hell is paved with good intentions.
Before explaining why this young author's somewhat censorious approach to her subject is wrong-minded, let me fill in a bit of the background. By the end of the Second World War, western Europe was not only materially impoverished, for the remedying of which Washington drew up the great multimillion-dollar Marshall Plan, but culturally impoverished as well, particularly in Germany and France, for which there was no such straightforward remedy. For while the West European governments and peoples were only too happy to accept American money for reconstruction, their intellectual elites, particularly in France, would have resisted to the death any idea of accepting American cultural aid, believing that America's crass lack of culture posed rather more of a long-term threat to Europe than did Marxism-Leninism.
Yet without American aid there was no way a ruined western Europe could find the resources to compete with the range of cultural front-groups lavishly financed by the Soviet Union, already actively at work promoting the Communist cause. So what was to be done? Who came up with the answer first it is difficult to say, but much of the credit -- repeat, credit -- must go to Melvin Lasky, a young American intelligence officer then stationed in Berlin, whose clarity of mind and strength of will, not to mention fire and eloquence, persuaded his military seniors, notably General Lucius Clay, and ultimately Washington, that the only solution was for the US to use secret intelligence funds -- not examinable by Congress -- to set up its own network of front organisations.
From this germ of an idea sprang the Paris-based Congress of Cultural Freedom, which, without making clear where its money came from, recruited not only a small number of ex-Communist writers like Stephen Spender, Silone, Malraux and Arthur Koestler (at least the last of whom would have been happy to help even had he known about the secret funding), but also a much wider circle of progressive cultural gurus -- like Bertrand Russell, Freddie Ayer and Isaiah Berlin -- who, while happy and eager to participate in the work of an independent group pledged to the ideals of freedom and democracy, would have shied away from any organisation known to have the CIA as the piper calling the tune, as even more certainly would T S Eliot, the only remotely reactionary-minded star in the galaxy.
One of the first actions of the Congress of Cultural Freedom was to use the lavish funds at its disposal to set up a network of highbrow intellectual journals in Paris, Berlin and London. Their primary purpose was to strengthen Europe's non-Communist Left -- which at the time seemed the most promising bulwark against the Communist threat. The second purpose was to counter the virulent anti-Americanism of the postwar years by presenting the US in the most favourable light possible. In addition, the Congress organised a series of high-profile conferences on both sides of the Atlantic, attended by every non-Communist luminary imaginable, to outshine comparable conferences being organised, often in the same place and at the same time, by Europe's vastly more numerous pro-Soviet front organisations.
Here I must bring myself, then a young leader writer on The Times, into the story, since to my amazement and delight I was invited to write for the new London-based journal, Encounter (then jointly edited by Stephen Spender and an American ex-Trotskyist, Irving Kristol) -- which, of course, I was only too proud to do, vainly assuming that it was the quality of my writing that had won me the honour. The author of this book, however, has sown seeds of doubt in my mind. For with the characteristically suspicious approach which colours the whole book, she asserts that in the early issues several dud writers were commissioned, not so much for the quality of their writing as for their stooge-like willingness to beat the American drum -- an assertion which I have to take personally, since the only other contributors were all writers of the calibre of Albert Camus and Mary McCarthy, to whom it cannot possibly apply.
Frances Stonor Saunders also finds something a bit sinister in the fact that the salary paid to Margot Walmsley, Encounter's one and only managing editor, came from secret Foreign Office funds. Although I do not doubt this to be true, it gives a wholly misleading impression of this most angelic and guileless creature. The same could be said of much of the rest of the dirt Stonor Saunders has unearthed from the Encounter archives -- nothing worse than very occasional CIA interference in the editorial decisions, rows and vendettas between Spender and Kristol, etc, which, although fun to read about, do not begin to do justice to the invaluable contribution made by that journal to the London literary scene, which would have been immeasurably less distinguished and colourful if it had not existed.
So indeed would the free world's cultural scene in general, since the Congress of Cultural Freedom went on to launch comparably distinguished journals in India, Australia and the Middle East -- not in Africa, which in those days was considered outside the civilised pale. Not content with literature, it went on to be the driving force behind the postwar renaissance in all the arts, covertly subsidising orchestras like the Boston Symphony and galleries like the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In short, much of great cultural value was achieved, and although Stonor Saunders lists these achievements, her main focus, as always, is on the extraordinary ruses adopted by the CCF to disguise who was the real Maecenas coughing up the dough behind the scenes. And what a story these ruses make. Not only were all the great American foundations like Ford and Rockefeller corralled into the deception, but so were many of the great American corporations as well. Even Henry Luce's Time-Life Inc was persuaded by the CIA, as a ploy to counter America's philistine image abroad, to support abstract modernism, which previously it had consistently mocked. This is the only case (in my view but not the author's) when the CIA can at all fairly be accused of betraying its cultural mission.
Truth to tell, loyally aided and abetted by the British Secret Services, the CIA did an impressive job as the free world's Ministry of Culture, and in spite of Stonor Saunders's exaggerated concerns about the undemocratic nature of the set-up, I cannot find it in my heart to wish it had been otherwise. For it was probably the last example of what splendid results could be achieved by the old Anglo-American elite -- alas, now no longer anything but a shadow of their former selves. They acted in concert without consulting Parliament or Congress, on the principle that if covert operations were regarded as justifiable to help win the hot war against Fascist totalitarianism, why should they not be justifiable when used to win the cold war against Communist totalitarianism?
In those days, it is important to remember, with Truman and then Eisenhower in the White House, the CIA was still run by East-Coast Ivy Leaguers cast more in the mould of John Buchan's well-bred Richard Hannay than Ian Fleming's ill-bred James Bond, and that time was long before the tricks it got up to were seen, if they were seen at all, as reactionary, let alone 'dirty'; long before, that is, Vietnam or Presidents Nixon and Reagan. Wasps like Dean Acheson and George Kennan were still in charge politically and the likes of Jock Whitney and Nelson and David Rockefeller still in charge financially, which meant that the American government was still rightly assumed to be on the side of the angels rather than doing the devil's work.
The CIA was then part of the American Establishment and, as such, run by civilised, God-fearing Second World War heroes, mostly with private incomes, beautiful wives and somewhat disturbingly progressive views (very anti Joe McCarthy), who lived in charming Georgetown houses full of modern art and antique furniture. Stonor Saunders does not try to disguise this attractively stylish side of the CIA in its early years. But the young author cannot resist a faintly censorious tone: 'Lively, self-confident, voluble, Wisner [then running the CIA] and his colleagues were driven to enjoy a good party just as they were driven to save the world from Communism.' Only later with Vietnam and Presidents Nixon and Reagan did standards begin to fall, as neo-Conservative zealots like Colonel Oliver North began to replace the East-Coast gentry.
As I say, her book is quite unputdownable. There is a gem on almost every page. Did you know, for example, that Sonia Orwell was persuaded by one of the CIA cultural agents to give the film rights of Animal Farm to Hollywood in exchange for an assignation with Clark Gable; that Mary McCarthy, appalled by George Orwell's swing to the Right, said 'it was a blessing that he died so young'; that Partisan Review, America's oldest and most reputable left-wing journal, was only kept going by the CIA, which also had a hand in making sure that in the crowd scenes in many 1950s Hollywood classics there was always an unrealistically inflated number of contented middle-class blacks and an unrealistic absence of any white drunks or bums? (Not unlike, incidentally, the current Hollywood habit, which, for all I know, may also be induced by the CIA, of distorting reality in favour of burnishing the image of homosexuals and women.)
A final word about my friend Melvin Lasky (now living again in Berlin, where the whole story began), who is very much the villain of this book, with a picture on its cover making him look very much the part. If there has to be a villain, I suppose he is the obvious choice since he clearly did deceive his CCF friends and associates, thereby gravely -- as they liked to think -- compromising their reputations. I do not doubt that this is what they, or their descendants, told the author of this book. But none of them, in my view, was really harmed except in the imagination, and so much good was done. Dare one hope that the free world's classless chatterboxes of today might produce as many brave men and true should any challenge of the same order arise in the next millennium? Sadly, I must beg leave to doubt it.
Although his Hartford neighbors never knew it, my grandfather Lawrence de Neufville worked for the better part of two decades as a spy. Among other things, he helped oversee a vast cultural propaganda campaign in Western Europe for the CIA. When Frances Stonor Saunders contacted him for this fascinating new book, he was amused to think his cover would finally be blown, more than 40 years after he left the Agency. ''I guess the old boys here in town will get a bit of a surprise,'' he said.
The linchpin of this effort, from 1950 until its link to the CIA was exposed in 1967, was the Congress for Cultural Freedom. Through the Congress and parallel organizations, the CIA secretly underwrote international conferences, art expositions, music festivals, and more than 20 magazines, including the highly respected Encounter, which was edited originally by Stephen Spender and Irving Kristol. The CIA campaign was so extensive that, at its height, it would not be wrong to say that the agency acted as a secret ministry of culture. Nearly every prominent Western intellectual in the early years of the Cold War was, wittingly or unwittingly, involved with some CIA-backed program. Among those most notably implicated were historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr., French social theorist Raymond Aron, novelist and essayist Arthur Koestler, and philosopher Bertrand Russell. According to a U.S. government oversight committee, by the mid-'60s almost half the grants given out by various philanthropies---including some by the Ford and Rockefeller foundations---involved some CIA money.
The campaign was designed to bolster Western Europe against the ideological encroachment of Soviet Communism. Specifically, and in an apparent irony, the CIA wanted to highlight the way the American system protected the right of the individual ''to hold and express opinions ... different from those of his rulers.'' CIA planners had realized that the key battle of the Cold War---and indeed the battle whose loss ultimately spelled the end of Soviet power in 1991---was not merely for physical control of Europe but for the hearts and minds of Europeans.
Saunders glosses over the hard question of whether or not it made practical sense or was ethically right to secretly finance intellectual and cultural activity. Instead, she is content to assume that the CIA campaign was sinister and anti-democratic, compromising the very values it championed. This is the easy answer, especially in light of the more serious perversions of the Cold War. But it's one that sits somewhat uneasily with the complex story she tells.
It is clear from Saunders' history, for example, that one of the real, unstated goals of the program was simply to support cultural activity in general, both for aesthetic reasons and out of the belief that it was the most compelling evidence of American freedom. This faith in culture had something to do with the fact that the CIA had grown out of Allied intelligence during World War II, which had offered a way for the best-educated recruits to contribute to the war effort while largely avoiding the front lines. The first American spies of the Cold War were thus drawn from the brightest minds of their generation, the so-called ''cultural elite.'' In fact, a surprising number of the first spies were also accomplished poets and scholars. These included a number recruited after the war by John Crowe Ransom, the founder of the prestigious Kenyon Review.
It should not be surprising, then, that Encounter was, among other things, a cultural magazine of the first rank, which ran stories and essays by the likes of Jorge Luis Borges, Vladimir Nabokov, W.H. Auden, Arnold Toynbee, and Isaiah Berlin. The CIA likewise financed an enormous number of excellent books that might not otherwise have been published, and even, in one particularly bizarre episode, airdropped translations of T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets into Russia. Perhaps most strikingly, the CIA took an early interest in Jackson Pollock and abstract expressionism, realizing before most art critics that its vibrant creativity put the repressed painting of socialist realism to shame.
There is moreover no evidence that the program was used to influence the U.S. political process or to push the particular agenda of those in power. On the contrary, the program was primarily aimed at swaying members of the non-communist left---swing voters in the contest for European minds. CIA money thus went to back intellectuals and artists who were considerably to the left of even the Kennedy administration---a fact that at one time put the program in danger of being scuttled by McCarthyism.
Nor does the program seem to have much compromised anyone's intellectual freedom, in spite of Saunders' insistence to the contrary. No one was asked to write or sign on to anything he did not believe. Where the CIA did exert its influence it amounted to an unspoken editorial slant more than censorship. Most of those who benefited from the program were not even conscious of having taken CIA money, much less being under any political pressure. When the operation was blown in 1967, the Partisan Review was able to publish an open letter condemning the magazines that had been subsidized as suspect, which was ironic (or perhaps hypocritical) considering that CIA support had kept the Review itself afloat several times when it was on the verge of bankruptcy.
The fact is that the CIA campaign was designed to subsidize ideas, not suppress them. If the program had been run openly it would have raised few eyebrows, but it also would have been much less effective. The architects of the campaign were thus motivated by the elitist, but not wholly unreasonable, fear that the American system might not win on its merits alone. If we are inclined to judge the program harshly now, it is because, as the Cold War wore on, it became clear that the real threat to democracy was not Soviet subversion but our own government's lack of accountability. Still, putting on a Jackson Pollock exhibition seems a harmless enough thing.
The Washington Monthly, Mai 2000
If The Cultural Cold War had been published in the 1960s or 1970s, it most likely would have caused a sensation and been a best seller. It would have provoked anguished editorials in major Western newspapers and a barrage of ''we-told-you-so'' items in the communist-controlled media. Published at the turn of the century, however, the book is something of a curiosity. (1) It contains a long cry of moral outrage over the fact that the CIA committed ''vast resources to a secret program of cultural propaganda in western Europe.'' (2) At the same time, the author, an independent filmmaker and novelist, has produced a well-written account of a basically unfamiliar story with a cast of many larger-than-life characters who played roles in the Cold War.
To over-simplify the historical background: In the late 1940s, Washington did not take it for granted that the people in Western Europe would support democratic governments and that their states would effectively oppose the Soviet Union and support the United States. To help promote democracy and to oppose the Soviet Union and West European communist parties, the CIA supported members of the non-communist left, including many intellectuals. Because the CIA's activities were clandestine, only a few of the beneficiaries were witting of the Agency's support, although a large number suspected Agency involvement.
Frances Saunders evidently was dismayed and shocked! shocked! to learn there was gambling in the back room of Rick's café. She finds the Agency's activities to be reprehensible and morally repugnant and believes that the CIA's ''deception'' actually undermined intellectual freedom. She rejects the ''blank check'' line of defense offered by some people that the Agency ''simply helped people to say what they would have said anyway.'' (3) She reminds readers that the CIA overthrew governments, was responsible for the Bay of Pigs operation and the Phoenix Program, spied on American citizens, harassed democratically elected foreign leaders, and plotted assassinations. The CIA denied these activities before Congress and, ''in the process, elevated the art of lying to new heights.'' (4) Ms. Saunders vents her spleen mainly in her introduction, but in the text she repeatedly returns to the theme that the CIA injured the cause of intellectual freedom by clandestinely supporting (oh, irony of ironies!) champions of intellectual freedom. Not adverse to using clichés, Saunders refers to the CIA at various times as a ''wilderness of mirrors,'' an ''invisible government,'' and a ''rogue elephant.''
According to Saunders, the list of CIA covert activities during the 1950s and 1960s is long. The Agency subsidized European tours of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and paid for the filming of George Orwell's 1984 and Animal Farm. It clandestinely subsidized the publishing of thousands of books, including an entire line of books by Frederick A. Praeger, Inc., and the renowned work by Milovan Djilas, The New Class . It bailed out, and then subsidized, the financially faltering Partisan Review and Kenyon Review .
The centerpiece of the CIA's propaganda campaign—and the focus of Saunders's book—was the Congress for Cultural Freedom and its principal publication, the journal Encounter . Saunders's diligence and hard work shows as she describes the creation, activities, and downfalls of the Congress and the journal. She read the Church Report, performed research in various archives, and conducted many interviews, including some with retired CIA officers. (5) Her fine writing style and occasionally even gossipy method of presenting the material makes what could have been a dry-as-dust account of institutions read easily. She also has some fascinating characters, for the people discussed in The Cultural Cold War are among the leading intellectual figures of post-World War II Europe and America. She presents these people with wit and occasionally a pen dripping with acid.
After the CIA established and funded the Congress for Cultural Freedom and Encounter magazine, did it then call all the shots? Did the Agency determine what the Congress should support or what Encounter should publish? Evidently, no. In the 15 years that the Agency ''ran'' the magazine, Encounter probably published about 2,000 articles and reviews. Saunders can cite only two (rather dubious) cases in which the CIA may have intervened to prevent the journal from printing articles.
For Saunders, however, the CIA's ''interference'' was much more invidious. She writes that, ''The real point was not that the possibility of dissent had been irrevocably damaged...or that intellectuals had been coerced or corrupted (though that may have happened too), but that the natural procedures of intellectual enquiry had been interfered with.'' (6) And, ''Whilst Encounter never shrank from exposing the useful lies by which communist regimes supported themselves, it was never truly free itself of the `bear trap of ideology,' of that pervasive Cold War psychology of `lying for the truth'.'' Encounter ''suspended that most precious of western philosophical concepts—the freedom to think and act independently—and trimmed its sails to suit the prevailing winds.'' (7) I must admit that as I read such passages, I kept thinking ''those poor stupid intellectuals.''
Saunders deserves praise for presenting opposing views. She admits that other people thought and think much differently than she does on the issue of the CIA's stifling of intellectual freedom. She offers quotes from, inter alia , George Kennan, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., and Michael Josselson that in effect are rebuttals to her arguments. (8)
She also does a fine job in recounting the intriguing story of how the CIA worked with existing institutions, such as the Ford Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation, and established numerous ''bogus'' foundations to ''hide'' its funding of the Congress for Cultural Freedom and its other covert activities. Everything came a cropper in 1967, however, as a result of press articles, especially revelations in the long-gone Ramparts magazine.
The Cultural Cold War has some major shortcomings. First and foremost, despite Saunders's assertions that the CIA undermined intellectual freedom, she does not present any examples of people whose intellectual growth was stunted or impaired because of the Agency's programs. Nor does she provide any examples of people switching ideological sides after the revelations about the Agency's role in the Congress and Encounter . She mentions that Jean Paul Sartre switched sides—or just ''dropped out'' of the Cold War; however, Sartre denounced the Soviet Union and repudiated communism after the USSR invaded Hungary. (9)
Saunders also fails to discuss the results of the CIA programs. Granted, it would be difficult to measure objectively the effectiveness of propaganda programs or campaigns. What did CIA achieve by ''running'' the Congress for Cultural Freedom and Encounter ? I would venture the guess that Irving Brown and Jay Lovestone won more ''hearts and minds'' in Western Europe by working with the trade unions than any 20 people involved in the Congress or all the articles in Encounter . (Of course, according to Ms. Saunders, the CIA also subsidized the activities of Brown and Lovestone.) I also suspect that the ham-handed tactics of the Soviet Union and its allies had a far more profound impact on the West European populaces than any Western propaganda program. Saunders, however, is so intent on asserting that the CIA ''crippled'' West European intellectuals that she does not take time to analyze the effectiveness of the Agency's propaganda campaigns.
Another flaw in The Cultural Cold War is that the book discusses only the Western side and barely mentions communist participants in the Cold War. The author does not mention the communist coup in Czechoslovakia in 1948, the Soviet military intervention in East Germany in 1953, or the upheaval in Poland in 1956. There is one sentence each about the Berlin blockade and the Berlin Wall. She does devote two pages to the Soviet invasion of Hungary, but offers several pages on Western ''desertion'' of the Hungarian rebels. Perhaps Saunders thought her readers would know all about the Soviet cruelties and decided it was unnecessary to discuss or even mention them. A more captious view would be that she did not want to discuss Soviet actions lest it appear that perhaps the CIA and the West in general had real reasons for doing what they did in the ''cultural Cold War'' in Europe.
The Cultural Cold War contains some silly mistakes and some real gaffes. For example, Charles Bohlen was not the US Ambassador to France in 1948; (10) he became Ambassador to France in 1962. Edward Barrett was never Secretary of State; (11) he is correctly identified as an assistant secretary of state elsewhere in the text. (12) The KGB did not have a spy ''planted'' on Willy Brandt in West Berlin in 1962; (13) unless Saunders knows something nobody else does, she is probably mistakenly referring to East German spy Guenter Guillaume, who infiltrated Brandt's office in Bonn in 1969. If the Cuban missile crisis was an ''imperial blunder,'' then it was a Soviet imperial blunder, not an American one. (14) Finally, the author relates a story from an interview with former CIA officer Tom Braden that David Rockefeller frequently donated money to aid the CIA, including at one time writing a check for $50,000 to assist European youth groups. (15) Saunders believes that such ''freelance transactions'' and ''governmental buccaneering'' created a culture that eventually resulted in ''Oliver North-type disasters.'' She says the comparison is ''apt'' because ''like the architect of Irangate'' these ''earlier friends of the CIA were never once afflicted by doubt in themselves of their purpose.'' I think the comparison is absurd.
As should be clear, I do not share Frances Saunders's opinion about the ''morality'' of CIA's activities and do not accept her notion that CIA undermined ''intellectual freedom'' in Western Europe. I highly enjoyed and strongly recommend her book, however. Consider it to be similar to your favorite TV broadcast: enjoy the program and ignore the commercials.
Studies in Intelligence (CIA) Vol46 n°1, 2002
Thomas M. Troy, Jr., served in CIA's Directorate of Intelligence. — UNCLASSIFIED
1. The book was published in 1999 in the United Kingdom with the title Who Paid the Piper? Page citations throughout this review are from the paperback edition, published in the United States in 2001.
2. Saunders, The Cultural Cold War, p. 1.
3. Ibid., p. 4.
4. Ibid., p. 3.
5. Senator Frank Church was Chairman of the Senate Select Committee that investigated the CIA in the mid-1970s. The official title of the report, published in 1976, was Final Report of the Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities .
6. Saunders, p. 409.
7. Ibid. , p. 322.
8. According to Saunders, Josselson was the ''agent'' who handled the Congress for Cultural Freedom from 1950 to 1967. Saunders confuses her readers by frequently mixing the terms ''agent'' and ''case officer.'' In the case of Michael Josselson, one of the heroes for Saunders, she quotes him (on page 42) as writing in his unfinished memoir that he joined the ''outfit'' as ''chief of its Berlin station for covert action'' in the fall of 1948. According to Saunders, however, the ''outfit'' was the Office for Policy Coordination, which was not completely folded into the CIA until 1950. It is my impression from reading this book that Josselson was most likely not a CIA staff officer but rather a contract employee or a fully witting agent.
9. Saunders, pp. 305-306.
10. Ibid., p. 61.
11. Ibid., p. 97.
12. Ibid., p. 80.
13. Ibid., p. 352.
14. Ibid., p. 362.
15. Ibid., p. 145. Tom Braden was one-time chief of the International Organizations Division of the Directorate of Plans, the CIA office that ''ran'' the Congress for Cultural Freedom and Encounter magazine.