The Congress for Cultural Freedom:
Making the Postwar World Safe
for Fascist `Kulturkampf'
by Steven P. Meyer and Jeffrey Steinberg
Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer were two of the earliest leaders of the Frankfurt School, and were co-directors of that Authoritarian Personality project of the late 1940s, that willfully engineered the Baby Boomer drug/rock/sex counterculture two decades later. These two were brought back to Germany in 1950, to reorganize and "de-Nazify" the postwar German educational system and cultural institutions, under the auspices of Occupation High Commissioner, and leading American Synarchist banker, John J. McCloy. In that assigned capacity, Adorno and Horkheimer were pivotal players in the overall project to wreck European and American culture. This project was known, hypocritically, as the Congress for Cultural Freedom (CCF).
Far from "de-Nazification," the efforts of the Congress, and related early-Cold War Kulturkampf ("culture war") fronts, were aimed at destroying the last vestiges of European Classical culture, and replacing it with a culture of perversity, bestialization, and pessimism. This was done under the preposterous guise of "fighting godless communism" and other forms of "authoritarianism."
In reality, the mission of the Congress for Cultural Freedom was to make the world once again safe for a renewed Synarchist assault against that type of modern nation-state system that had most recently and successfully been represented by the U.S.A. of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who, more than any other figure of the middle half of the 20th Century, had defeated the Synarchist drive for a worldwide Hitler-led fascist empire. With Franklin Roosevelt's untimely death in April 1945, everything changed. Even Soviet dictator Josef Stalin grasped the significance of FDR's death, declaring, "The great dream has been lost." Roosevelt had vowed that he would usher in a postwar world free from the shackles of European colonialism. As former U.S. Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger was to emphasize in his May 10, 1982 address at London's Chatham House, on this issue, FDR and his wartime ally, Winston Churchill, stood on opposite sides of the barricade.
The mission of the Congress for Cultural Freedom subsumed the commitment to ensure that no future FDR could ever emerge in the United States or Continental Europe. This CCF mission was to be accomplished by creating such a cultural wasteland of dumbed-down conformity, and pursuit of sensual gratification, that any isolated case of genius could be easily isolated and destroyed.
The presence of Lord Bertrand Russell as one of five honorary chairmen of the CCF was emblematic of this mission at the CCF's inception. Russell, the author of the post-Roosevelt, pre-Eisenhower, Truman Doctrine of "world government through terror of nuclear weapons," had written a 1951 book, The Impact of Science on Society, which spelled out his vision of the future. It was a far more precise, more revealing "mission statement" for the Congress for Cultural Freedom than anything that the CCF would ever publish in its own name:
"I think," Russell wrote, "the subject which will be of most importance politically is mass psychology.... Its importance has been enormously increased by the growth of modern methods of propaganda. Of these the most influential is what is called 'education.' Religion plays a part, though a diminishing one; the press, the cinema, and the radio play an increasing part.... It may be hoped that in time anybody will be able to persuade anybody of anything if he can catch the patient young and is provided by the State with money and equipment."
Russell continued, "The subject will make great strides when it is taken up by scientists under a scientific dictatorship.... The social psychologists of the future will have a number of classes of school children on whom they will try different methods of producing an unshakable conviction that snow is black. Various results will soon be arrived at. First, that the influence of home is obstructive. Second, that not much can be done unless indoctrination begins before the age of ten. Third, that verses set to music and repeatedly intoned are very effective. Fourth, that the opinion that snow is white must be held to show a morbid taste for eccentricity. But I anticipate. It is for future scientists to make these maxims precise and discover exactly how much it costs per head to make children believe that snow is black, and how much less it would cost to make them believe it is dark gray."
Russell concluded with a warning: "Although this science will be diligently studied, it will be rigidly confined to the governing class. The populace will not be allowed to know how its convictions were generated. When the technique has been perfected, every government that has been in charge of education for a generation will be able to control its subjects securely without the need of armies or policemen."
In the same book, Russell also advocated a level of genocide that made Hitler look tame by comparison. Ranting about the population growth among the darker-skinned races, Russell offered a solution: "At present the population of the world is increasing at about 58,000 per diem. War, so far, has had no very great effect on this increase, which continued throughout each of the world wars.... War ... has hitherto been disappointing in this respect ... but perhaps bacteriological war may prove more effective. If a Black Death could spread throughout the world once in every generation, survivors could procreate freely without making the world too full.... The state of affairs might be somewhat unpleasant, but what of it?"
The Post-FDR Paradigm Shift
FDR's untimely death on April 12, 1945 had left an ill-equipped crude political hack, Harry Truman, in the Presidency. Within months, under the overwhelming influence of a group of pro-British Synarchists, Truman needlessly dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, at a moment when Japanese surrender was already imminent. Thus, the era of thermonuclear terror ws launched, an era which had been promoted for decades by H.G. Wells and Bertrand Russell, as the pathway to world Fabian dictatorship.
Shortly after the close of the war, Russell, soon to be CCF honorary chair, wrote an infamous article for the September 1946 Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, advocating a preventive U.S. atomic bomb strike on the Soviet Union (Russell collaborator Edward Shils would be a founder of the Bulletin and a later director of the American branch of the CCF). Already, prior to that 1946 statement, Russell, following the events at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, had written similar sentiments to his mistress Gamel Brenan: "There is one thing and only one thing that can save the world, and that is a thing which I should not dream of advocating. It is that America should make war on Russia during the next two years, and establish world empire by means of the atomic bomb."
Roosevelt's death had fully cleared the path for the leading Synarchist elements within the wartime U.S. intelligence structures to pursue their "separate peace" with leading Nazis, who were to be fully incorporated into a postwar crusade against the Soviet Union, all in line with the Russell schemas. To make the postwar world safe for the Synarchist revival, individuals like Allen Dulles, Whitney Shephardson, John Foster Dulles, William Draper, John J. McCloy, and Averell Harriman schemed to purge the wartime and postwar intelligence services and postwar German occupation authority of any FDR loyalists.
Within days of the President's death, a whole contingent of European-based Office of Strategic Services (OSS) officers, including the entire command structure of the Italian OSS theater, were summarily fired. OSS documents reveal that a meeting had taken place in the south of France, involving Allen Dulles, Shephardson, and others, to draft the purge list, prior to Roosevelt's death. Later the same targetted individuals were blackballed from ever serving in U.S. intelligence, and were subjected to media slanders and other dirty tricks. Their crime: their opposition to the Dulles brothers' "separate peace" treachery, which enabled such leading Nazis as Hjalmar Schacht, Otto Skorzeny, Licio Gelli, Klaus Barbie, and countless others, to join the Cold War Western intelligence circus.
In Germany, under McCloy and "General" William Draper, the wartime chairman of the investment house Dillon Reed, the power of the German military-industrial cartels was fully restored, a scandal recounted in the 1950 book All Honorable Men, by postwar occupation decartelization chief James Stewart Martin. Martin catalogued that Americans like Allen and John Foster Dulles, Draper, Harriman, and the J.P. Morgan interests, in league with British, French, and Belgian bankers and heavy industrialists, had been the secret wartime partners of the Nazi banking and business barons, and had helped fuel the Nazi war machine, even after Pearl Harbor brought the United State directly into the war. The Dulles brothers had been longtime collaborators of Schacht, and the notorious Kurt von Schroeder, whose Stein Bank in Cologne, Germany handled all of the funding of Himmler's SS, through business groups like the "Keppler Circle."
But it was not just the fascist cartel bosses and apparatchiks who were spared the gallows at Nuremberg. Fascist culture was embraced as the weapon-of-choice in the Cold War battle of ideas, and the Congress for Cultural Freedom was the chosen Anglo-American vehicle for the cultural "re-Nazification."
Schizophrenia and Necrophilia
One of Theodor Adorno's specialties was music. A promising future concert pianist in his youth, he had later studied in Vienna under the atonal composer Arnold Schoenberg. In 1946, while in the United States, working on the Frankfurt School's "Cultural Pessimism" agenda, the former Soviet Comintern (Communist International) asset, now living on the largesse of the Rockefeller Foundations and other Anglo-American fondi, wrote an infamous book, The Philosophy of Modern Music, a barely intelligible diatribe against Classical culture. Ostensibly a commentary on the musical compositions of Igor Stravinsky and Schoenberg, the Adorno book made clear the purpose of modern music:
"What radical music perceives is the untransfigured suffering of man.... The seismographic registration of traumatic shock becomes, at the same time, the technical structural law of music. It forbids continuity and development. Musical language is polarized according to its extreme; towards gestures of shock resembling bodily convulsions on the one hand, and on the other towards a crystalline standstill of a human being whom anxiety causes to freeze in her tracks.... Modern music sees absolute oblivion as its goal. It is the surviving message of despair from the shipwrecked."
Adorno continued, "It is not that schizophrenia is directly expressed therein; but the music imprints upon itself an attitude similar to that of the mentally ill. The individual brings about his own disintegration.... He imagines the fulfillment of the promise through magic, but nonetheless within the realm of immediate actuality.... Its concern is to dominate schizophrenic traits through the aesthetic consciousness. In so doing, it would hope to vindicate insanity as true health."
To bring about the total disintegration of postwar European and American society—which, he argued, was the precondition for the defeat of the authoritarian impulse—Adorno insisted that all forms of beauty had to be purged. Instead, he argued for a steady cultural diet of "Top Forty" pop music and other degenerate forms of "mass culture," which, he argued, over time, would trigger various forms of mental breakdown, on a mass scale.
Adorno itemized these: 1. depersonalization, the loss of connection to one's own body; 2. hebephrenia, which he defined as "the indifference of the sick individual towards the external"; 3. catatonia ("a similar behavior is familiar in patients who have been overwhelmed by shock"); and 4. necrophilia. Adorno declared, "Universal necrophilia is the last perversity of style."
Adorno summarized his case for the exploitation of "Top Forty" music: "The authoritarian character of today is, without exception, conformist.... In the final analysis, this music tends to become the style for everyone, because it coincides with the man-in-the-street style."
Adorno had practiced what he preached. During the 1940s, he had ventured to Hollywood, where he teamed up with Igor Stravinsky to compose motion picture scores. In Hollywood, Adorno and Stravinsky were part of the "British Set," a collection of avant-garde cultural degenerates which also included Aldous Huxley, whose fictional and non-fiction writings propagandized for the use of brainwashing and psychotropic drugs to pacify whole societies, and create "concentration camps without tears"; Christopher Isherwood, author of the Berlin Diaries (later adapted for the stage as Cabaret), which promoted that degenerate Weimar culture of drugs and perversion that helped usher Hitler into power; Alexander Korda, protégé of Frankfurt School founder Georg Lukacs, later a leading figure in Britain's wartime Special Operations Executive (SOE) and a leading Hollywood movie producer. The "British Set," particularly Isherwood, were the "Hollywood connection" for British literary perverts W.H. Auden and Stephen Spender, who would play pivotal roles in the CCF, and, later, in the 1960s Counterculture project, in league with such Frankfurt School cultural icons as Herbert Marcuse and Erich Fromm.
Adorno had written his Philosophy of Modern Music prescription for producing a society of necrophiliacs, through the perversion of music and culture, while also working, with Horkheimer, on The Authoritarian Personality. This effort was, at the time, the most ambitious mass social profiling of the American public ever undertaken. The project, part of the larger Studies in Prejudice series, financed by the American Jewish Committee, aimed at "proving" that the American people, despite their heroic sacrifices to defeat Hitler and Mussolini, were intrinsically fascist and anti-Semitic, and that advanced techniques of psychological manipulation were vital and justified for purging the populace of these evil, "authoritarian" impulses. The two key weapons for this cultural lobotomy: Conformity and Eros, or what is known today as the tyranny of "political correctness."
The authors of The Authoritarian Personality let it all hang out in the concluding chapter of the book, in which they summarized their findings and spelled out their recipe for social transformation. The echoes of Bertrand Russell's kindred recipe for brutalizing the flock of human beings into a sheep-like psychological impotence, ring out in the words of the authors of The Authoritarian Personality:
"It seems obvious, that the modification of the potentially fascist structure cannot be achieved by psychological means alone. The task is comparable to that of eliminating neurosis, or delinquency, or nationalism [emphasis added] from the world. These are products of the total organization of society and are to be changed only as that society is changed. It is not for the psychologist to say how such changes are to be brought about. The problem is one which requires the efforts of all social scientists. All that we would insist upon is that in the councils or round tables where the problem is considered and action planned the psychologist should have a voice. We believe that the scientific understanding of society must include an understanding of what it does to people, and that it is possible to have social reforms, even broad and sweeping ones, which though desirable in their own right would not necessarily change the structure of the prejudiced personality. For the fascist potential to change, or even to be held in check, there must be an increase in people's capacity to see themselves and to be themselves. This cannot be achieved by the manipulation of people, however well grounded in modern psychology the devices of manipulation might be.... It is here that psychology may play its most important role. Techniques for overcoming resistance, developed mainly in the field of individual psychotherapy, can be improved and adapted for use with groups and even for use on a mass scale."
The authors conclude with this most revealing proposition: "We need not suppose that appeal to emotion belongs to those who strive in the direction of fascism, while democratic propaganda must limit itself to reason and restraint. If fear and destructiveness are the major emotional sources of fascism, Eros belongs mainly to democracy."
Eros was precisely the weapon that the Frankfurt School and their Congress for Cultural Freedom colleagues employed, over the next 50 years, to create a cultural paradigm shift away from the so-called "authoritarian" matrix of man in the living image of God (imago viva Dei), the sanctity of the nuclear family, and the superiority of the republican form of nation-state over all other forms of political organization. They transformed American culture, step by step, toward an erotic, perverse matrix, associated with the present "politically correct" tyranny of tolerance for dehumanizing drug abuse, sexual perversion, and the glorification of violence. For the "anti-authoritarian" revolutionaries of the Frankfurt School, the ultimate antidote to the hated Western Judeo-Christian civilization was to tear that civilization down, from the inside, by turning out generations of necrophiliacs.
But the "Kulturkampf" project, aimed ultimately at stripping the United States of the entirety of its European Renaissance/republican heritage, would be unleashed, first, with lethal efficiency, on the already-shattered populations of a Western Europe, which had gone through two decades of depression, fascism, and war.
'Kulturkampf' in Paris
In April of 1952, CCF embarked upon its maiden voyage in mass brainwashing to spread cultural pessimism, when it held a month-long festival in Paris entitled "Masterpieces of the 20th Century." Over 30 days, CCF presented 100 symphonies, concertos, operas, and ballets by over 70 composers of the 20th Century! The conference opened with a painful performance by the Boston Symphony of the "Rite of Spring," by Adorno's collaborator Igor Stravinsky.
Also getting top billing at the Paris conference were Adorno's teachers, Schoenberg and Alban Berg, the leading atonalists; Paul Hindemeith; and Claude Debussy. Other works performed were those by Gustav Mahler, Bela Bartok, Samuel Barber, Erik Satie, Francis Poulenc, and Aaron Copland, to name a few.
Paris saw its first productions ever of Alban Berg's "Wozzeck," Benjamin Britten's "Billy Budd," Gertrude Stein's and Virgil Thomson's "Four Saints in Three Acts," with Alice B. Toklas attending (she was famous for handing out brownies laced with hashish).
CCF continued its assault in this field. In 1954, it held two conferences: one a festival at the Palazzo Pecci in Italy which was devoted almost entirely to atonal music and the 12-tone scale, and another, in April of that year—the International Conference in Rome, entitled "20th Century Music," which was devoted solely to avant-garde music. The latter included prize competitions, and the winners were given American premieres by the Boston Symphony at its summer school at Tanglewood. The Symphony was hitched tightly to CCF, and eight of the 11 board members of CCF's music project were associated with Tanglewood.
Classical culture—the tradition of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, and Brahms—was repudiated as an "authoritarian" tool of Soviet Communism and wartime German and Italian fascism. For example, the CCF conducted a witchhunt against the great German conductor Wilhelm Furtwaengler as a Nazi.
The month-long Paris show also showcased an equally grotesque modern art and sculpture exhibit which New York's Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) organized. It included works by Matisse, Derain, Cezanne, Seurat, Chagall, Kandinsky, and other masters of early-20th-Century modernism. Jackson Pollack and Alexander Calder were leading figures of the American Committee for Cultural Freedom.
MOMA, a project of Nelson Rockefeller and his family, played a big role in CCF and its art projects. In 1955, they ran CCF's "Young Painters" exhibit in Rome (and touring the continent), and in 1960, MOMA ran another European show exclusively showcasing abstract impressionism—which, like Adorno's work in music, was known to express mental schizophrenia. George Kennan and Allen Dulles were big supporters of modern art, and the Fairfield Foundation, set up to conduit CIA funds to CCF, also funded MOMA.
The maiden Paris "Kulturkampf" of 1952 also included literary debates with Nashville Agrarian "Fugitive" writers Allen Tate and William Faulkner; Fabian perverts Stephen Spender and W.H. Auden; and others.
The entire Paris show was run under the auspices of the Office of Special Plans of the State Department, run by the CIA's Frank Wisner and funded by the Fairfield Foundation, a CIA money laundromat.
Synarchist Spooks Launched CCF
Frances Stoner Saunders, the author of The Cultural Cold War, a history of CCF, documented that CCF was the 1950 brainchild of two prominent groups of private individuals, who would soon assume prominent positions in the Cold War intelligence structures.
The first was centered around Allen Dulles, longtime friend of the Time magazine empire's Henry Luce, who ran a group of activists and planners called "the Park Avenue Cowboys." Dulles and his group worked to establish a permanent intelligence organization in the aftermath of World War II. This group was comprised of Dulles, Frank Wisner, C.D. Jackson, Kermit Roosevelt, Tracy Barnes, Richard Helms, and Royall Tyler, who would go on to head the World Bank.
CCF was created under the auspices of Wisner, who was then heading the Office of Policy Coordination at the State Department, which later transferred to the CIA as the covert action section. Dulles's personal liaison to the intelligence community who ran CCF on the ground, from its international headquarters in Paris, was Tom Braden, who had been Nelson Rockefeller's executive secretary for the Museum of Modern Art from 1947-49 before joining the CIA.
At an appropriate moment, in 1967, Braden was also the person designated to "out" the Congress as a CIA front. In a famous Saturday Evening Post article entitled "I'm Glad the CIA Is 'Immoral,' " Braden had written: "I remember the enormous joy I got when the Boston Symphony Orchestra won more acclaim for the U.S. in Paris than John Foster Dulles or Dwight D. Eisenhower could have bought with a hundred speeches. And then there was Encounter, the magazine published in England and dedicated to the proposition that cultural achievement and political freedom were interdependent. Money for both the orchestra's tour and the magazine's publication came from the CIA, and few outside of the CIA knew about it. We had placed one agent in a Europe-based organization of intellectuals called the Congress for Cultural Freedom. Another agent became an editor of Encounter. The agents could not only propose anti-Communist programs to the official leaders of the organizations but they could also suggest ways and means to solve the inevitable budgetary problems. Why not see if the needed money could be obtained from 'American foundations'? As the agents knew, the CIA-financed foundations were quite generous when it came to the national interest."
C.D. Jackson, an early "Cowboy," was one of Luce's top intelligence hands and executives. He had joined Time-Life in 1931 as an advertising executive. During the war he became the deputy chief of the Psychological Warfare Division of SHAEF (Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force). After the war, he returned to become vice president of Time-Life.
Jackson left Time-Life to take on various intelligence roles for Dulles, becoming the president of the National Committee for a Free Europe, a Dulles initiative, which was the precursor to CCF and which funded many CCF operatives. He was also instrumental in creating Radio Free Europe, a CIA project launched under the auspices of the National Committee for a Free Europe.
When Eisenhower took office in 1953, Jackson was posted special advisor to the President for Psychological Warfare. Here he approved the core of the CCF projects and personally helped create and promote the American Committee for Cultural Freedom, whose board he ultimately joined. Jackson laundered articles to Luce's publications to promote CCF activities.
The second grouping of private individuals was centered in the person of Charles "Chip" Bohlen. Regular meetings took place at his home in Georgetown with Isaiah Berlin, the British "philosopher" who was implicated in the early-1950s Kim Philby espionage scandal, and George Kennan. This second grouping was known as the "Sovietologists."
Bohlen had spent years in Russia and was posted after the war as Ambassador to France, where he helped direct the CCF's international secretariat. He was the mentor of Nicolas Nabokov, the Soviet exile and composer who became CCF's General Secretary.
Kennan was instrumental in creating the secret intelligence mechanism which would ultimately run CCF, and he was an influential participant in many of its international symposia. Author of the famous 1947 "Mr. X" article in Foreign Affairs announcing the Cold War, his philosophy was to outdo the Soviets in lies and deceit, for, in his estimation, truth and economic aid were useless in such combat! He authored numbers of National Security directives for the Truman White House, including PSBD-33/2, establishing the Psychological Strategy Board (PSB), whose papers are still classified.
PSB was established on April 4, 1951. Its first chairman was Gordon Gray. Its purpose was to centralize and coordinate the psychological warfare operations of the CIA, Department of Defense, and State Department. As Charles Burton Marshall, a PSB officer who became a vocal opponent, detailed, in a critique of its working principles and activities, PSB was run by a group of self-appointed elites in a totalitarian nature that was "in a manner reminiscent of Pareto, Sorel, Mussolini and so on.... Individuals are relegated to tertiary importance. The supposed elite emerges as the only group that counts. The elite is defined as that numerically limited group capable and interested in manipulating doctrinal matters."
By May of 1952, PSB took over the supervision of "Packet," the code name for the CIA's psychological warfare program to influence overseas "opinion leaders." Under this rubric, PSB assumed the supervision of the American Committee for Cultural Freedom; the Moral Rearmament Movement, which had been a hotbed of wartime Synarchist activity, with Rudolf Hess and other top Nazis being among the leading members; the Crusade for Freedom, which was the funding conduit for Dulles's National Committee for a Free Europe (NCFE); NCFE's Radio Free Europe; and Paix et Liberté.
A PSB document from June 1953 defined these programs as necessary to "break down worldwide doctrinaire thought patterns which have provided an intellectual basis for Communism and other doctrines hostile to American and Free World objectives."
C.D. Jackson, the Dulles-Luce operative, became the Delphic potentate for these programs. His detailed log at the White House showed PSB planners had to consult with him before their plans became operational. Jackson met regularly with Tom Braden to approve CCF operations.
The president of the CCF's Executive Committee was Denis de Rougemont, a Swiss national who had introduced Paris to the works of Nazi philosopher Martin Heidegger, Soren Kierkegaard, and Karl Barth before World War II, through his magazine Hic et Nunc.
De Rougemont, known for his book Love in the Western World, wrote a Gnostic broadside attacking the morality of the United States under FDR, which can only be taken as an attempt to undermine the mobilization to defeat Fascism in World War II. Entitled "On the Devil and Politics," and written while he was stationed in the U.S. working for the Office of War Information (OWI), it was published in the June 2, 1941 issue of Christianity and Crisis.
De Rougemont's thesis is that all men have an inherently evil side to them which is at least an impulse. Every individual risks that his impulse might actually become real under certain circumstances, and an individual must know that evil resides in himself, or he is not a functioning human being.
"(American democracy) too believed and still believes that the Nazis are animals of an altogether different race from Americans. She too risks discovering some day that after all, they are men like us. And it is quite true that they are men like us, in the sense that their sin is also in us, secretly.... It seems to me that the clearest lesson which emerges from European events is this: The sentimental hatred of the evil that is in others may blind one to the evil that one bears in himself and to the gravity of evil in general. The overly facile condemnation of the wicked man on the opposite side may conceal and favor much inward complaisance toward that very wickedness. I suspect a profound ambivalence in certain democratic denunciations of Hitlerism, for in the violence of the tone and the obstinate simplism of the judgements, we betray our bad conscience, our secret anxiety, our unacknowledged temptation. In regard to anti-fascists who wish only to be anti, I cannot help thinking that sooner or later the pro which slumbers in a corner of their soul will suddenly awaken and overwhelm them.... I believe that I know whereof I speak when I say to the honest democrats: Look at the Devil that is among us! Stop believing that he can only resemble Hitler, or Stalin, or Senator Wheeler, for it is you yourself that he will always contrive to resemble the most.... And then only will you be cured of your almost incredible naiveté before the totalitarian danger and be able to escape hypnosis."
How Dulles Ran CCF
CCF was run through Frank Wisner's Office of Policy Coordination (OPC), which gave CCF the codename QKOPERA. Reporting to Wisner was the CIA's Lawrence de Neufville, who worked at the Agency's French Labor desk. Michael Josselson of the CIA worked in CCF's Paris headquarters. James Burnham, the former Trotskyite, was hired as a consultant to OPC and was the primary liaison between the CIA and the intellectual community.
The bag man and paymaster for the operation was Irving Brown, who also ran CIA covert programs through European trade-union covers. Recently discovered archival material from the Federal Bureau of Narcotics indicates that Brown was under investigation in the mid-1960s for trafficking in drugs, or money-laundering from drug-trafficking (which provided funds for covert operations). U.S. documents linked him to notorious French crime bosses and Italian mafia figures.
The Fairfield Foundation and several other foundations were created by the CIA as fronts to pass funds. Once programs were established, the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations took over major aspects of the funding, with the help of other leading U.S. family foundations. Former German High Commissioner McCloy had personally written to mid-1960s Ford Foundation president McGeorge Bundy, to secure funding for the Congress, at the moment that the CIA was exposing its former ties to CCF, via the Tom Braden Saturday Evening Post story.
Victor Marchetti, the former top CIA officer who wrote the first major exposé of the Agency's covert operations, the 1974 The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence, explained that the Agency had gone overboard in their use of front foundations: "The CIA's culture-loving, optimistic, freewheeling operators, however, made serious tactical errors in funding these 'private' institutions. Over the years, the Agency became involved with so many groups that direct supervision and accounting were not always possible. Moreover, the Agency violated a fundamental rule of intelligence in not carefully separating the operations of each organization from all the others. Thus, when the first disclosures of CIA involvement were published early in 1967, enterprising journalists found that the financing arrangements and the conduit foundations were so intertwined and over-used that still other groups which had been receiving CIA funds could be tracked down."
In 1954, Cord Meyer replaced Tom Braden at the CIA's International Organizations Division (IOD) as Dulles's personal liaison to CCF operations. Meyer had been the editor of Yale's literary magazine and a graduate in the class of 1942. His favorite poets were Allen Tate and John Crowe Ransom, who were at the center of the Nashville Agrarians.
Ransom's handful of protégés in 1938 were a special crew, known as "Ransom's Boys." Meyer recruited several to the CIA. Robbie Macauley, Ransom's assistant at the Kenyon Review, was posted to IOD to replace Lawrence de Neufville in the summer of 1954. He moved to Paris to oversee CCF operations. In 1956, Meyer placed another of the "Ransom's Boys," John "Jack" Thompson, as the executive director of the Fairfield Foundation, a post he held for more than a decade. Needless to say, Tate, Ransom, and fellow Agrarian Robert Penn Warren all wrote for CCF's Encounter magazine.
The American Branch of the Congress
The American branch of CCF was founded in 1951. The principal force behind the American Committee for Cultural Freedom (ACCF) was Sidney Hook, its first chairman. Hook was then a contract consultant to the CIA, and he liaisoned with CIA director Walter Bedell Smith and PSB director Gordon Gray.
Hook had been an early student at the Frankfurt School, during his Marxist youth in the 1920s. His From Hegel to Marx was a compilation of lecture notes from the Frankfurt School founder, Karl Korsch, a leading Comintern operative at the time, and later a close associate of Bertrand Russell in launching the linguistics project associated with MIT's Professor Noam Chomsky today. When the Frankfurt School was to be redeployed to the United States at the point of the Hitler takeover in Germany, it was Hook and his mentor (and fellow CCF director) John Dewey, who provided the funding and political support for the emigré invasion, through Columbia University and the New School for Social Research, which later provided a home to fascist philosopher Leo Strauss, and Martin Heidegger's mistress and Frankfurt School/CCF ideologue Hannah Arendt.
Irving Kristol, managing editor of The American Jewish Committee's Commentary magazine, served as ACCF's first Executive Director. Kristol, in a 1995 autobiographical essay, touted himself as the godfather of neo-conservatism. He identified CCF founder Lionel Trilling, Leo Strauss, and Nashville Agrarian writer John Crowe Ransom as the three leading intellectual influences on his life.
ACCF board members included Sol Levitas, editor of the New Leader. Levitas was a protégé of Allen Dulles and C.D. Jackson. Dulles used Levitas's New Leader to promote the creation of a "commission of internal security" to investigate subversive influences in the United States. Levitas provided intelligence reports from his international correspondents to Henry Luce, for which he was paid. Philip Rahv, editor of Partisan Review, was also a board member of ACCF. Luce became Partisan Review's financial angel when it was about to go bankrupt, and he also surreptitiously funded ACCF.
Close Encounter of the Third Kind
In early 1951, Frank Wisner travelled to London to meet with his counterparts in Britain's Secret Intelligence Service (SIS). Over a series of meetings it was decided to create a flagship intellectual journal for CCF.
It was agreed that the Americans and British would have joint oversight over the London-based Encounter magazine, and there would be joint funding. ACCF executive director Irving Kristol was chosen by Sidney Hook to become co-editor with British Fabian Stephen Spender.
Born in February 1909, Spender was orphaned in his early teens, and in 1928, he entered University College, Oxford. There, he was taken in by several leading literary giants with whom he formed close relationships. According to biographer David Leeming, T.S. Eliot and Virginia Woolf served as surrogate parents; W.H. Auden and Christopher Isherwood served as surrogate older brothers. Isherwood and Auden, both homosexuals, were British intelligence operatives, stalking the European and North American cultural scenes for particularly degenerate and vulnerable recruits.
Spender left Oxford without getting a degree, and travelled extensively through Europe, having numerous pedophilic affairs, living for a time in Weimar, Germany. He became a well-known poet and essayist in these circles, and his poetry contained allusions to his affairs. "Whatever happens," he wrote, "I shall never be alone. I shall always have a boy, a railway fare, or a revolution."
Spender worked for the British Control Commission in Germany after the war and then spent much of his time in the United States, where he was taken under the wing of John Crowe Ransom and Allen Tate. In later years, he would befriend "beatnik" poet Allen Ginsberg, the LSD advocate and sexual notable, who became one of the gurus of the counterculture movement of the '60s.
As time went by, CCF would add to its own family of magazines Kenyon Review, Sewanee Review, and Poetry—all projects of the Fugitives and their associates—The Journal of the History of Ideas, which Luce supported; Partisan Review, Paris Review, and Daedalus.
Kristol moved to London in early 1953 to assume his new duties, and Sidney Hook went along to manage the editorial ideas and to oversee the start-up. By June, Encounter was up and running with a $40,000 grant from the Fairfield Foundation. At the outset, it ran articles by Julian Huxley, Allen Tate, Lionel Trilling, Robert Penn Warren, W.H. Auden, Thornton Wilder, Jayaprakash Naryan, Mircea Eliade, André Malraux, and Guido Piovene.
Malcolm Muggeridge, a member of the CCF steering committee, was the liaison to British MI6. His funding conduits to CCF for this project were Sir Alexander Korda, the film director, and Lord Victor Rothschild, who remained close to Encounter up through the mid-1960s. Frederic Warburg, of Secker and Warburg, agreed to use his company as the publisher. Warburg was the publisher of George Orwell, who was also quite active in CCF.
Warburg was the treasurer of the British Society for Cultural Freedom (BSCF), whose founding members included T.S. Eliot, Isaiah Berlin, Lord David Cecil, and Richard Crossman, the Secretary General of the British Labour Party. The Information Research Department paid into a private account at Secker and Warburg; that account paid BSCF, which passed on cash to Encounter. In intelligence community parlance, it was a "triple pass" which paid Spender's salary.
Kristol published many Labour Party writers from Encounter, including Hugh Gaitskell, Roy Jenkins, C.A.R. Crosland, Richard Crossman, Patrick Gordon-Walker, John Strachey, Rita Hinden, Denis Healey (British correspondent of Levitas's New Leader), and Roderick Macfarquhar. Many of these individuals were active participants in CCF international seminars; others, like Gaitskell, travelled on behalf of CCF projects. Crosland worked with Daniel Bell, who took official leave as labor editor of Luce's Fortune magazine to plan CCF's founding international seminars. Crosland also joined CCF's international governing committee. CCF funded Rita Hinden to expand the Fabian Society's official journal, Venture. When the British Labour Party beat the Conservatives at the polls in 1964, there were half a dozen regular Encounter writers placed in Harold Wilson's new government.
CFF's Very Own Comintern
The working relationship between the British elites and their American counterparts, in what ultimately became the CCF, traced back to a 1948 tour of America by Arthur Koestler. Koestler was an experienced intelligence operative with a checkered past.
Born in 1905 in Budapest, as a young man he was an aide to Vladimir Jabotinsky, the self-professed Zionist promoter of Mussolini Fascism. When he was 27, he joined the Communist Party and went to Russia, where he wrote Of White Nights and Red Days, which was funded by the Comintern.
Koestler next operated in Germany, and was exiled to Paris when Hitler took power. There, he worked for leading Comintern agent Willi Munzenberg, and became an expert in running infiltration and neutralization operations against political organizations. In 1936, Munzenberg deployed him on a spy mission to Spain, where he was interned as a political prisoner. Though he was a well-known Sovet intelligence asset, it was the British who intervened to get Koestler freed. In 1938, he resigned from the Communist Party and went to Paris. During World War II, he was interned in France, and while in jail, wrote his "Damascus Road" repudiation of communism, Darkness at Noon. His book became one of the propaganda documents of choice for Dulles and company, circulated through the Congress for Cultural Freedom.
After release from prison, he made his way to England and joined the Ministry of Information, receiving British citizenship. When Britain created the Information Research Department (IRD) in February of 1948 to covertly fight the Cold War, Koestler became an official advisor and one of their most important agents. IRD purchased 50,000 copies of Koestler's Darkness at Noon and distributed them in Germany. Luce's Time magazine printed his book in the United States.
During 1948, Koestler was sent on a tour of the U.S. with the cooperation of the U.S. intelligence community. His purpose was to solidify a network of operatives who would recruit America's intellectuals, many of whom were former fellow travellers of communism, to help the Anglo-American elites fight the Cold War. Koestler first went to Paris to meet with André Malraux and Charles Bohlen, the newly appointed Ambassador to France, to discuss his trip. While onboard ship for the U.S., he had extensive meetings with John Foster Dulles. James Burnham, who would become the éminence grise at William Buckley's National Review, was his permanent escort.
Koestler established a working relationship with the CIA, and together, they targetted what the State Department called the "Non-Communist Left"—intellectuals and trade unionists who were disillusioned with communism, but who were still faithful to the ideals of socialism. In Europe they would target the Democratic Socialist movement. In the U.S., their targetting included many of the supporters of President Roosevelt's New Deal.
Koestler, along with the CIA's Michael Josselson and Melvin Lasky, surreptitiously planned the founding Berlin Congress in 1950 to launch CCF. Koestler also wrote the founding Manifesto adopted at that conference. Lasky, an American, was an expert in cultural warfare and had been promoted by German High Commissioner John J. McCloy. Based in Berlin, Lasky ran Der Monat, a German-language anti-communist cultural journal which became a CCF publication. Lasky was also the correspondent for Levitas's New Leader, as well as Partisan Review.
New Paradigm: Deindustrialization and Depopulation
Vladimir Lenin once wrote that the Western elites would purchase the rope to hang themselves. CCF's venture into economic and cultural "reform" proved Lenin's point. Through a string of Cold War-era study groups, seminars, international conferences, and books, the Congress became an early, leading promoter of the Malthusian ideas of the "post-industrial society."
In 1956, Daniel Bell took leave from his post as labor editor of Luce's Fortune magazine (the same magazine which promoted Italian fascist labor policies) to become the first director of CCF's Seminar Planning Committee.
In April 1957, the first seminar was held in Toykyo entitled "Problems of Economic Growth." Thirty economists from 12 Western, Asian, and African countries attended. According to Frances Stone Saunders in The Cultural Cold War, "The conference was the precursor of the impending shift by development economists from an emphasis on growth of per capita income to one on the quality of life, social justice, and freedom as the true measure of development." Bell would later author The Coming Post-Industrial Revolution, ushering in the consumer society, and marking the end of the American System of productive economic activity. The "post-industrial society" was the perfect vehicle for the burgeoning drug/rock/sex counterculture, which had been the long-term cultural warfare objective of the Congress and its Anglo-American Synarchist backers.
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