Voice of America Ignored Katyń Anniversary and the Menendez Resolution
Originally published on April 22, 2020 and last edited for formatting changes on February 19, 2021.
By Ted Lipien
The Voice of America (VOA) had a particularly bad but still hidden history of being fooled by Soviet propaganda during World War II before it was reformed in later years and able to contribute significantly to the fall of communism in the Cold War. Starting in 1943, VOA broadcasts repeated and aggressively supported Soviet propaganda lies on many foreign policy and human rights issues, including the mass executions in 1940 of nearly 22,000 Polish prisoners of war. The victims of this Stalinist crime were Polish military officers, government employees and many intellectuals captured by the Red Army. The murders are collectively known as the Katyń Forest massacre, named after a place in western Russia where some of the graves of the bound and gagged men (and one woman), each one shot in the back of the head with a pistol, were discovered. The Voice of America today has so far ignored in its programs and online content the 80th anniversary of the Katyń murders, as well as a bipartisan resolution proposed last week by U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and other two other senators, another Democrat and one Republican, which “condemns both past and present attempts to cover up truth of the Katyń Massacre.” During various times in its history, the Voice of America was guilty of covering up or limiting reporting on Stalinist atrocities and other communist human rights abuses. At other times, VOA contributed to bringing the truth out about Katyń. But the current official narrative from the Voice of America management once again distorts the history of the organization, covers up its journalistic mistakes and by ignoring some news also fails to stand up to the Russian propaganda offensive driven by President Putin’s attempts to falsify the history of World War II.
The 1940 genocidal murder of Polish prisoners of war in Soviet captivity, for which no Soviet official or NKVD secret police executioner has ever been tried or punished, became Voice of America’s greatest news reporting failure that lasted a number of years, and in some respects even decades. This monumental journalistic malpractice is still being covered up with silence by the Voice of America’s management and reporters. Most of them do not know this history and those few who do are afraid to speak up or intentionally remain silent. Hopefully, the Menendez Resolution will force these VOA executives to at least stop some of their misleading historical narrative to divert attention from current programming and managerial shortcomings and scandals.
When in April 1943 German troops accidentally discovered the graves of murdered Polish officers and the Nazis publicized their discovery for propaganda purposes, pro-Soviet fellow traveler Voice of America officials and journalists ignored advice from the U.S. State Department and fully embraced and promoted the Katyń lie coming out of Moscow that it was the Germans who had carried out the mass executions. The Germans were not guilty, at least not in this case, and officials in charge of the Voice of America were warned by the State Department and others that the Soviets were the likely perpetrators of the crime. The Roosevelt White House and the U.S. State Department also had some of the early evidence of Soviet guilt. The Roosevelt White House and President Roosevelt himself wanted Americans and the world to believe that Stalin could not have committed such a crime, but the State Department told VOA officials in April 1943 that it would be better to say nothing than to accept what was likely a Soviet lie that later could hurt America’s reputation and VOA’s credibility. U.S. diplomats were not exactly advocating for telling the whole truth about Katyń or other Soviet atrocities, but ideologically blinded VOA propagandists and journalists chose an even worse path of suspending all skepticism and actively supporting the Soviet lie. VOA also promoted Soviet socialism as a model for Eastern Europe and the establishment of pro-Moscow, communist -dominated governments. This was also tolerated by the Roosevelt White House and less so by the State Department, but when pro-Soviet VOA broadcasters went too far in their zeal to promote Soviet propaganda and put at risk the lives of American and allied soldiers, including Polish troops fighting the Germans in North Africa and Italy, President Roosevelt finally put his foot down and publicly rebuked such VOA broadcasts. Several officials in charge of VOA were asked to resign.
The mass murders of Polish prisoners of war were carried out by the Soviets 80 years ago, in April and May 1940. Some of the bodies of Polish victims were discovered by German troops in Russia 77 years ago, also in April, but today’s Voice of America completely ignored these two anniversaries.
After the initial full censorship of Soviet responsibility for the Katyń massacre was lifted by the Voice of America management sometime in the late 1940s, VOA started to quote briefly from time to time various individuals who accused the Soviet Union of committing the murders. Such reporting by VOA increased considerably in the early 1950s as a result of strong pressure from the U.S. Congress. Censorship of the Katyń story returned later in a limited form in the 1960s and the 1970s in order not to upset the U.S. government’s policy of detente with the Soviet Union. These restrictions did not apply to Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty where they were strongly resisted by RFE and RL officials and journalists. Finally in the 1980s, the Voice of America was allowed during the Reagan administration to report in full about Katyń, but by that time the history of VOA’s early collusion with the Soviets in hiding the truth about the massacre was itself so well hidden that even Reagan administration officials in charge of VOA at that time did not know about it. In recent years, VOA English and Russian services have posted articles about Katyń from time to time, although not in connection with the current 80th anniversary, but almost all of these VOA reports were short on facts, poor on analysis and did not mention the initial cover-up of Soviet guilt by the Voice of America.
VOA ignored this month not only the two anniversaries but also a bipartisan resolution to commemorate the 80th Katyń anniversary which was proposed for consideration by the U.S. Senate a week ago by Senators Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Jim Risch (R-Idaho), ranking member and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and by Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) A search of the VOA English and Russian websites several days later did not produce any results for the 80th anniversary or for the Menendez-Risch-Durbin Katyń resolution which will be formally introduced when the Senate reconvenes and is likely to be approved with no opposition.
Monday, April 13, 2020
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Jim Risch (R-Idaho), ranking member and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, were joined by Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) in announcing a Senate Resolution commemorating the 80th Anniversary of the Katyn Massacre. Eighty years after 22,000 Polish soldiers and civilians were executed by Soviet forces, the bipartisan resolution honors their lives and legacy, and recognizes those who fought to tell the truth of the Katyn Massacre despite a Soviet cover-up campaign. The resolution, which also condemns efforts by the present-day Russian government to spread disinformation about the history of World War II, will be formally introduced when the Senate reconvenes.
“Today I join Polish-Americans in New Jersey and around the country in honoring the 22,000 Polish soldiers and civilians who were murdered by the Soviet Union during the Katyn Massacre,” Menendez said. “The world must remember the truth of this heinous crime to prevent history from repeating itself. The United States stood with the people of Poland in pushing back on Soviet lies about the Katyn Massacre decades ago, and with this effort today we once again stand with them against Vladimir Putin’s ongoing campaign to distort the history of World War II.”
“On this solemn 80th anniversary of the Katyn Massacre, we honor the 22,000 Polish soldiers and civilians who were murdered by the Soviet Union after Poland was invaded first by Nazi Germany and then by the USSR,” Risch said. “The Russian Federation’s attempts to cover up the truth about this crime and spread disinformation about the massacre and the history of World War II are unacceptable, and I stand with the Polish people in encouraging continued education of the facts of this tragic event.”
“Ten years ago, I was honored to lead a resolution that unanimously passed the Senate expressing sympathy to the people of Poland over the death of then President, Lech Kaczynski. President Kaczynski’s plane tragically crashed while traveling to Katyn, Russia, for a memorial service marking the massacre’s 70th anniversary,” Durbin said. “Today I am similarly honored to join with my colleagues, Senators Menendez and Risch, to express deepest sympathies and solidarity with the Polish people and Polish-American community, so many of whom call the Chicago area home, on this somber anniversary of those tragic events in Katyn.”
A copy of the resolution can be found here.
VOA Again Accused of Promoting Foreign Propaganda
In a twist of historical irony, 80 years later the Trump White House and many independent experts who are not Trump supporters and even strong critics of him and his administration, have accused the scandal-ridden Voice of America of promoting Chinese and Iranian propaganda. SEE: Amid a Pandemic, Voice of America Spends Your Money to Promote Foreign Propaganda by The White House; SEE: A Statement from VOA Director Amanda Bennett; SEE: Understanding the White House’s Attack on VOA by Matt Armstrong, MountainRunner.us.; SEE: President Trump: What Voice of America Says About America Is “Disgusting”… “A Disgrace” by USAGM Watch.
Defenders of the embattled holdover Obama administration Voice of America director Amanda Bennett who write for The Washington Post, a paper once owned by her husband, compared criticism of mismanagement and demands for accountability to McCarthyism and called it an attempt to politicize VOA by the Trump White House. SEE: Trump’s attack on the VOA reeks of McCarthyism by Colbert I. King who identified himself as “a family friend” of the VOA Director. Also SEE: Why Has the Voice of America Become a Voice of Confusion? by John Fund, National Review.
Amanda Bennett’s defender, Colbert I. King, got it completely wrong on historical facts because communists and Soviet sympathizers working for the Voice of America who were fired, including first VOA Director John Houseman, were fired or forced out quietly by the Roosevelt administration. They were not fired during Senator Joseph McCarthy’s deplorable and destructive campaign ten years later. McCarthy focused mostly on the State Department and did not uncover any communists at VOA because by that time they were all gone. A few of these early VOA journalists went to work for communist regimes in Eastern Europe. Since 2017, the current senior management of the Voice of America appointed during the Obama administration carried its own purge of journalists, but they were not communists but strongly anti-communist Chinese-born journalists who disagreed with VOA Director Amanda Bennett. The Washington Post columnist defending the VOA director got his facts and historical analogies mixed up. It’s not about McCarthyism but about a lack of leadership and mismanagement.
One current VOA news reporter with many years of experience in multimedia journalism posted her comment anonymously because she is afraid of reprisals: “Isn’t the firing by senior VOA and Agency leaders of Chinese-American anti-communist Mandarin Service chief Dr. Sasha Gong who wanted to broadcast in full an interview with a Chinese whistleblower disgusting and disgraceful?”
Moscow’s fellow travelers were at the Voice of America in large numbers in the 1940s when VOA broadcast Soviet propaganda, including the Katyń lie, but they were not victimized by Senator McCarthy. Some—not all—we’re quietly removed due to pressure from liberal members of the Roosevelt administration and from General Eisenhower and the U.S. military intelligence. One of them was VOA’s chief news writer and news editor Howard Fast who later became a Communist Party USA activist and received the Stalin Peace Prize in 1953. Communist and Soviet influence at the wartime Voice of America was confirmed with some documentary evidence in 1952 by the bipartisan Madden Committee which investigated the Katyń massacre and to some degree VOA’s role in the subsequent coverup. The committee was named after Rep. Ray Madden, a Democrat from Indiana. I found many more declassified U.S. government documents in the National Archives pointing to pro-Soviet collusion among early VOA officials and journalists.
The Menedez-Risch-Durbin Katyń resolution includes a reference to the bipartisan Select Committee to Conduct an Investigation and Study of the Facts, Evidence, and Circumstances of the Katyn Forest Massacre known as the Madden Committee. One could say that through parts of Voice of America’s history, members of Congress of both parties have shown much more courage and willingness to expose and counter Russian and Chinese communist propaganda than some key VOA officials and some VOA journalists. Archival documents confirm this observation.
Commemorating the 80th Anniversary of the Katyn Massacre.
IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
Mr. MENENDEZ (for himself, Mr. RISCH, and Mr. DURBIN) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on
Commemorating the 80th Anniversary of the Katyn Massacre.
Whereas, on August 23, 1939, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union secretly pledged nonaggression toward one another through the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, in which they divided Poland between themselves;
Whereas Nazi Germany invaded Poland from the west on September 1, 1939, and the Soviet Union invaded Poland from the east on September 17, 1939;
Whereas over 60,000 Polish soldiers died in combat defend ing Poland from these invasions;
Whereas, after the Red Army invaded Poland, it captured thousands of Polish military personnel and civilians, many of whom had fled east from the Nazi invasion;
Whereas the Soviet People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs, or NKVD, took charge of the Polish prisoners from the Red Army and transferred them to the Kozelsk, Starobilsk, and Ostashkov internment camps in the western Soviet Union, where many were subject to lengthy interrogations;
Whereas, on March 5, 1940, Soviet General Secretary Josef Stalin and three Soviet Politburo members signed an NKVD order to execute nearly 22,000 prisoners by shooting that also identified more than 10,000 additional Polish prisoners for possible execution;
Whereas, in April and May 1940, the NKVD summarily executed the condemned Polish prisoners at several sites in the Soviet Union, including at the Katyn Forest west of Smolensk in the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Re public, and buried them in mass graves;
Whereas, in April 1943, occupying Nazi troops discovered eight mass graves in the Katyn Forest with the remains of many of those Polish prisoners;
Whereas, following this discovery in the Katyn Forest, the mass executions by the Soviets of the Polish prisoners from all three camps became known as the Katyn Massacre;
Whereas the 21,892 victims of the Katyn Massacre included military officers, chaplains, professors, doctors, lawyers, engineers, teachers, journalists, and refugees, many of whom were military reservists who had been mobilized as a result of the Nazi invasion;
Whereas between 700 and 900 Polish Jews were killed in the Katyn Massacre;
Whereas the Soviet Union falsely blamed Nazi Germany for the massacre and broke off diplomatic relations with the Polish govemment-in-exile following a request by the government-in-exile that the International Committee of the Red Cross examine the Katyn mass graves;
Whereas an international medical commission excavated the area in Spring 1943 and determined that the massacre occurred in 1940, when the area was under Soviet control;
Whereas the Soviet Union continued to deny responsibility for the Katyn Massacre, blaming the Nazis and concealing evidence of its guilt, for nearly 50 years;
Whereas, on September IS, 1951, the United States House of Representatives established the Select Committee to Conduct an Investigation and Study of the Facts, Evidence, and Circumstances of the Katyn Forest Massacre, which is referred to as the Madden Committee;
Whereas, after reviewing witness testimony and relevant documents, the Madden Committee unanimously found that the NKVD, and thus the Soviet Union, was responsible for the executions and recommended a trial before the International World Court of Justice;
Whereas scholars in the United States and United Kingdom published books and articles demonstrating the truth of the Katyn Massacre during the decades of Soviet denial;
Whereas, in Poland in 1981, the Solidarity movement erected a memorial with the inscription “Katyn, 1940” that the Communist government removed and replaced with a memorial falsely blaming the Nazis for the massacre;
Whereas, in 1988, demonstrators marched in Warsaw to demand an official inquiry into the Katyn Massacre;
Whereas, on April 13, 1990, 50 years after the executions of the Polish prisoners and 47 years since the day the dis covery of the mass graves was announced, the Soviet government issued a statement accepting responsibility for the Katyn Massacre and calling it “one of the most heinous crimes of Stalinism”;
Whereas on that day Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev gave Polish President Wojciech Jaruzelski copies of Soviet archival materials pertaining to the executed prisoners that confirmed Soviet responsibility for the massacre;
Whereas, the following day, President Jaruzelski and his delegation paid tribute to the Polish officers murdered at Katyn, calling a roll of honor at the graves for the first time;
Whereas, in recent months, President Vladimir Putin and other Russian officials have attempted to propagate a false narrative that Poland was responsible for the out break of World War II, ignoring the facts of the Molotov- Ribbentrop Pact and the coordinated Nazi and Soviet invasions of Poland;
Whereas, in October 2019, Russian officials ordered the removal of a plaque at a former regional NKVD head quarters in Tver commemorating the estimated 6,000 Poles murdered in the building as part of the Katyn Massacre;
Whereas President Putin and the Government of the Russian Federation use these historical revisionist narratives, including false accusations about Polish responsibility for World War II, as a tool in their attempt to whitewash Soviet crimes against humanity, elevate Russia’s international position, and sow political discord among its neighbors and adversaries; and
Whereas the year 2020 marks the 80th anniversary of the Katyn Massacre: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the Senate—
(1) honors the lives and legacies of the approximately 22,000 Polish soldiers and civilians who were murdered by the Soviet People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs, or NKVD, during the Katyn Massacre 80 years ago;
(2) recognizes the witnesses, scholars, activists, and demonstrators who fought to bring the truth of the Katyn Massacre to light in the face of the cover- up campaign orchestrated by the Soviet Union;
(3) condemns both past and present attempts to cover up truth of the Katyn Massacre;
(4) condemns broader efforts by the Govern ment of the Russian Federation to spread disinformation about the history of World War II; and
(5) encourages education about the facts of the Katyn Massacre, including the horrors of the massacre itself and subsequent attempts to deny it or cover it up.
Union Calendar No. 792
82D CONGRESS, 2D SESSION- – – – – – – – – – – HOUSE REPORT NO.2505
THE KATYN FOREST MASSACRE
SELECT COMMITTEE TO CONDUCT AN
INVESTIGATION AND STUDY OF THE FACTS,
EVIDENCE, AND CIRCUMSTANCES ON THE
KATYN FOREST MASSACRE
H. Res. 390
H. Res. 539
A RESOLUTION TO AUTHORIZE THE INVESTIGATION
OF THE MASS MURDER OF POLISH OFFICERS IN THE
KATYN FOREST NEAR SMOLENSK, RUSSIA
DECEMBER 22, 1952.—Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on
the State of the Union and ordered to be printed
UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
WASHINGTON : 1952
SELECT COMMITTEE TO CONDUCT AN INVESTIGATION AND STUDY OF
THE FACTS, EVIDENCE, AND CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE KATYN FOREST
RAY J. MADDEN, Indiana, Chairman
DANIEL J. FLOOD, Pennsylvania
FOSTER FURCOLO, Massachusetts
THADDEUS M. MACHROWICZ, Michigan
GEORGE A. DONDERO, Michigan
ALVIN E. O’KONSKI, Wisconsin
TIMOTHY P . SHEEHAN, Illinois
JOHN J. MITCHELL, Chief Counsel
ROMAN C. PUCINSKI, Chief Investigator
LUCILE S. BIEBIGHAUSEE, Secretary
OFFICE OF WAR INFORMATION, FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
When the Nazis, on April 13, 1943, announced to the world the finding of the mass graves of the Polish officers at Katyn and accused the Soviets, the Allies were stunned by this action and called it propaganda. Mr. Elmer Davis, news commentator, then head of the Office of War Information, an agency established by Executive order, told this committee he reported direct to the President. Under questioning he admitted frequent conferences with the State Department and other Government agencies. However, testifying before this committee, when faced with his own broadcast of May 3, 1943, in which he accused the Nazis of using the Katyn massacre as propaganda, he admitted under questioning that this broadcast was made on his own initiative.
This is another example of the failure to coordinate between Government agencies. A State Department memorandum dated April 22, 1943, which was read into the record (see vol. VII of the published hearings), stated:
and on the basis of the various conflicting contentions [concerning Katyn] of all parties concerned, it would appear to be advisable to refrain from taking any definite stand in regard to this question.
Mr. Davis, therefore, bears the responsibility for accepting the Soviet propaganda version of the Katyn massacre without full investigation. A very simple check with either Army Intelligence (G- 2) or the State Department would have revealed that the Katyn massacre issue was extremely controversial.
Furthermore, members of the staff of both OWI and FCC did engage in activities beyond the scope of their responsibilities. This unusual activity of silencing radio commentators first came to light in August 1943 when the House committee investigating the National Communications Commission discovered the procedure.
The technique utilized by staff members of OWI and FCC to silence was as follows: Polish radio commentators in Detroit and Buffalo broadcasting in foreign languages after the announcement of
the discovery of the mass graves of Polish officers at Katyn reported facts indicating that the Soviets might be guilty of this massacre.
In May 1943 a member of the FCC staff suggested to a member of the OWI staff that the only way to prevent these comments was to contact the Wartime Foreign Language Radio Control Committee. This committee was made up of station owners and managers who were endeavoring to cooperate with the OWI and FCC during the war years. Accordingly a meeting was arranged in New York with two of the members of this industry committee. They were specifically requested by the OWI staff member to arrange to have a Polish radio commentator in Detroit restrict his comments to straight news items concerning Katyn, and only those by the standard wire services. The fact that a member of the FCC staff attended this meeting is significant because the FCC in such a case had no jurisdiction. In fact, the FCC member was in New York to discuss the renewal of the radio license of one of these industry members. The owner of the radio station in Detroit was contacted and requested to restrict the comments of the Polish commentator on his station, and this was done.
By applying indirect pressure on the station owner, these staff members accomplished their purpose, namely, keeping the full facts of the Katyn massacre story from the American people. (See vol. VII of the published hearings.)
Office of Censorship officials testified and supported the conclusion of this committee that the OWI and FCC officials acted beyond the scope of their official Government responsibilities on this matter of Katyn. Testimony before this committee likewise proves that the Voice of America—successor to the Office of War Information—had failed to fully utilize available information concerning the Katyn massacre until the creation of this committee in 1951. The committee was not impressed with statements that publication of facts con- cerning this crime, prior to 1951, would lead to an ill-fated uprising in Poland. Neither was it convinced by the statements of OWI officials that for the Polish-Americans to hear or read about the Katyn massacre in 1943 would have resulted in a lessening of their cooperation in the Allied war effort.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON
Mr. Justice Jackson appeared before this committee and advised that he had received no instructions or information concerning the Katyn massacre. When asked to explain how the Katyn affair happened to come on the agenda of the Nuremberg trials under the indictment of Herman Goering, he stated that the Soviets were responsible for drawing indictments on war crimes committed in eastern Europe. Mr. Justice Jackson stated as follows:
To the United States was allocated the over-all conspiracy to incite and wage a war of aggression. The British were assigned the violation of specific treaties and crimes on the high seas. Violations of the laws of war and crimes against humanity were divided on a geographical basis. The French undertook crimes in western Europe, and the
Soviet prosecution was assigned the duty of preparing and presenting evidence of crimes in eastern European area largely in Soviet occupation, and to much of which the others of us had no access. The geographical area thus as- signed to the Soviet representatives included Katyn wood and Poland as well, but at that time it was not known that the Katyn massacre would be involved.
When asked by the committee if he had received the various reports then in the files of the State Department and Army Intelligence (G-2), Mr. Justice Jackson testified that he had not. When asked by the committee what he would have done if he had received these reports, he replied as follows:
Of course, any information would have been helpful. If we had had information of that kind, I cannot pass on whether this would have been adequate, but if we had had adequate information of Russian guilt, we would not have consented at all to have the charge against the Nazis. It would have strengthened our hand in keeping it out immensely and probably would have resulted in the Soviets not making the accusation.
Before this committee was formed, many allegations were made that Americans on Mr. Jackson’s staff at Nuremberg assisted the Soviets in the preparation of this case on Katyn against the Nazis. The committee desired to clarify this point and specifically asked Mr. Jackson this question, and he denied that any member of his staff participated in the preparation of the Katyn indictment. The committee viewed with interest Mr. Justice Jackson’s statement in his testimony which is as follows:
This history will show that, if it is now deemed possible to establish responsibility for the Katyn murders, nothing that was decided by the Nuremberg Tribunal or contended for by the American prosecution will stand in your way.
1. 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. 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. And, it is equally true that even before 1942 the Kremlin rulers gave much evidence of a menace of Soviet imperialism paving the way for world conquest. Through the disastrous failure to recognize
the danger signs which then existed and in following a policy of satisfying the Kremlin leaders, our Government unwittingly strengthened their hand and contributed to a situation which has grown to be a menace to the United States and the entire free world.
2. Our committee is sending a copy of this report, and volume 7 of the published hearings, to the Department of Defense for such action as may be proper with regard to General Bissell. We do so because of the fact that this committee believes that had the Van Vliet report been made immediately available to the Department of State and to the American public, the course of our governmental policy toward Soviet Russia might have been more realistic with more fortunate postwar results.
3. This committee believes that the wartime policies of Army Intelligence (G-2) during 1944-45 should undergo a thorough investigation. Testimony heard by the committee substantiates this belief, and if such an investigation is conducted another object lesson might be learned.
4. Our committee concludes that the staff members of the Office of War Information and Federal Communications Commission who participated in the program of silencing Polish radio commentators went beyond the scope of their duties as official Government representatives. Actually, they usurped the functions of the Office of Censorship and by indirect pressure accomplished domestic censor- ship which was not within the jurisdiction of either of these agencies.
5. This committee believes that if the Voice of America is to justify its existence it must utilize material made available more forcefully and effectively.
6. This committee began its investigation last year, and as the committee’s work progressed, information, documents, and evidence was submitted from all parts of the world. It was at this same time that reports reached the committee of similar atrocities and violations of international law being perpetrated in Korea. This committee noted the striking similarity between crimes committed against the Poles at Katyn and those being inflicted on American and other United Nation troops in Korea. Communist tactics being used in Korea are identical to those followed at Katyn. Thus this committee believes that Congress should undertake an immediate investigation of the Korean war atrocities in order that the evidence can be collected and the truth revealed to the American people and the free peoples of the world. This committee will return to Congress approximately $21,000 in surplus funds, and it is suggested that this money be made available by Congress for such an investigation.
The final report of the Select Committee Investigating the Katyn Forest Massacre hereby incorporates the recommendations contained in the interim report, filed on July 2, 1952 (H. Rept. No. 2430).
This committee unanimously recommends that the House of Representatives approve the committee’s findings and adopt a resolution:
1. Requesting the President of the United States to forward the testimony, evidence, and findings of this committee to the United States delegates at the United Nations;
2. Requesting further that the President of the United States issue instructions to the United States delegates to present the Katyn case to the General Assembly of the United Nations;
3. Requesting that appropriate steps be taken by the General Assembly to seek action before the International World Court of Justice against the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics for committing a crime at Katyn which was in violation of the general principles of law recognized by civilized nations;
4. Requesting the President of the United States to instruct the United States delegation to seek the establishment of an international commission which would investigate other mass murders and crimes against humanity.
RAY J. MADDEN, Chairman.
DANIEL J. FLOOD.
THADDEUS M. MACHROWICZ.
GEORGE A. DONDERO.
ALVIN E. O’KONSKI.
TIMOTHY P. SHEEHAN.
SUPPLEMENTARY STATEMENT BY MR. SHEEHAN
On November 22d I addressed a letter to the Honorable Ray J. Madden, chairman of our committee, listing my conclusions for the consideration of the Katyn Committee to be incorporated in the final report.
Most of these conclusions have been incorporated in the final report and I am happy to join with my colleagues in making this a unanimous report. However, it seems to me that there is need for further emphasis on several points covered in the report and I feel these points can be best emphasized by this addendum to the final report.
MISJUDGMENT OF RUSSIA
On page 3 of this final report the opening sentence under the heading “Second phase” read:
The Congress requested that our committee determine why certain reports and files concerning the Katyn massacre disappeared or were suppressed by departments of our Government.
From the disclosure of many hitherto secret documents and from the oral testimony of men like our former Ambassadors Standley and Harriman, Special Ambassador George Earle, the former Under Secretary of State Sumner Welles and others, the cover-up of the facts of the Katyn massacre and withholding them from the American people was but a part of the desire on the part of the Democrat administration to cover their basic and colossal error in their foreign policy judgment.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who Mr. Harriman stated set our foreign policy and was the final authority on all foreign policy decisions, thought that Russia would disintegrate immediately after the end of the war. When warned by various of his appointees that Russia would become a great menace, Mr. Roosevelt silenced these men and refused to heed their advice. Mr. Roosevelt kept committing our country to agreements with the Russians in spite of the fact, as Mr. Harriman stated, that—
* * * There were a series of misdeeds by the Russians, from our standpoint, beginning with the Ribbentrop treaty, that it (revelation of the Katyn massacre) would have contributed, I think, to further distrust of the Soviets.
Roosevelt’s misjudgment that Russia would honor her agreements, in spite of the factual record of her past broken promises, has proven to be the major error in our entire foreign policy. In setting this policy, our Government, through the State Department, the Army Intelligence (G-2), the Office of War Information,
and the Voice of America, followed the policy line so that the American people were misled. During the war the American public was led to believe that Russia was a loyal and trustworthy ally and after the war and until very recently, the executive department covered up the fact that they were so grossly mistaken about Russia.
To me, the reason why our Government suppressed the truth about the Katyn massacre was because this was but a small part of the giant error made in our foreign policy program. If our Government would have disclosed the truth about Katyn and the sellout of Poland, it would have had to disclose more truths about the perfidy of Russia. The American people would have then spoken in no uncertain terms and the Democrat administration did not want that to happen for very obvious reasons.
Admittedly, during the Katyn investigation, we but scratched the surface on the part that the Office of War Information and the Voice of America took in following the administration line in suppressing the facts about the Katyn massacre. During the war there may have been a reasonable excuse for not broadcasting facts which were available in our State Department and Army Intelligence about the Katyn massacre and other facts which proved Russia’s failure to live up to her agreements. After the war there certainly was no excuse for not using in our propaganda war the truths which were in the files of our various Government departments.
One of the witnesses from the Department of State, which controls the policy of the Voice of America, stated that they did not broadcast the fact of Katyn behind the iron curtain was because they did not have sufficient facts on it. Yet the preponderance of evidence presented to our committee about the cover-up came from the files of the State Department itself.
The Voice of America, in its limited broadcasts about the Katyn massacre, followed a wishy-washy, spineless policy. From other in- formation revealed about the policies followed by the Voice of America, a committee of the Congress ought to make a thorough investigation and see to it that the Voice pursues a firm and workable propaganda program and does not serve to cover up the mistakes of the State Department or the incumbent administration.
ARMY INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES
The United States Congress should investigate the wartime and postwar operation of the Army Intelligence (G-2) and the Counter- intelligence Agency. In our search for the missing Van Vliet report in the Army Intelligence Agency, there was revealed a very serious lack of close liaison between the various Government agencies. There was revealed to the committee a definite pro-Soviet sympathy by certain people working for G-2 during the war. In early 1942 one of our military attaches connected with Intelligence recommended that counterintelligence measures be set up against the Russians; he was advised that he showed a Russian bias and did
not know what he was doing. Several men who were openly anti-Russian were soon transferred out of this department. Documents were missing from this department which tended to be contrary to Russian interests. It was pointed out to our committee in executive session that quite a number of employees in G-2 who were suspected of Communist or leftwing sympathies were transferred to the Counter-intelligence Agency. Just several months ago two German officials of an agency which is the equivalent of our Federal Bureau of Investigation refused to make use of our Counter-intelligence Agency because they stated the German division of this agency was infiltrated by the Communists.
Mr. Harriman in his testimony stated that on the “strong recommendation of our Chiefs of Staff every effort was made to get Russia to come into the war against Japan. The quick and complete collapse of Japan took everyone by surprise because we thought the American armies would be forced to land on the plains of Tokyo. Postwar revelations proved that Japan sought out Russian help about 6 months prior to the end of the war, pleading with Russia to act as a peace intermediary. The Joint Chiefs of Staff were undoubtedly following the advice of Army Intelligence agencies, which apparently were grossly mistaken.
Did Russian influence in our Army Intelligence contribute to this gross miscalculation of Japan’s fighting capabilities? If so, is this element still in Army Intelligence? For the peace and security of our country, some independent body, such as Congress, should investigate.
Mr. Alvin E. O’Konski concurs in the above statement of Mr. Sheehan.
SUPPLEMENTARY STATEMENT OF MESSRS.
MADDEN, FLOOD, AND MACHROWICZ
We have carefully examined the statement submitted by Mr. Sheehan. We believe that the final report adopted unanimously and signed by all the members of the committee adequately and fully explains all the matters contained in this addendum. We are therefore submitting no additional remarks.
Disclosure: Ted Lipien, a former Voice of America acting associate director, is a co-founder and supporter of BBG – USAGM WATCH.