National Committee for a Free Europe

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Group.png National Committee for a Free Europe   Powerbase SourcewatchRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
FormationMarch 17, 1949
FounderAllen Dulles
HeadquartersNew York
Interestsanti-communism, Radio Free Europe
Membership• Dwight Eisenhower
• Lucius D. Clay
• Cecil B. DeMille
• Henry Luce
• Mark Ethridge
• Charles Phelps Taft II
• DeWitt Wallace
• Charles Douglas Jackson
• John McCloy
• John Richardson Jr.
• Whitney Shepardson
• Gardner Cowles
• Henry Ford II
• Oveta Culp Hobby
• Francis Spellman
• John C. Hughes
• Junkie Fleischmann
• Arthur Schlesinger
• Spyros Skouras
• Darryl Zanuck
• Joseph C. Grew
• DeWitt Clinton Poole
• George Kennan
• Frederic R. Dolbeare
• James B. Carey
• Herbert H. Lehman
Anti-communist CIA front organization funding exiles to covertly destabilize Soviet Bloc countries.

The National Committee for a Free Europe (NCFE), later known as Free Europe Committee (FEC), was an anti-communist Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) front organization,[1] founded on June 1, 1949, in New York City, which worked for the spreading of US influence in Eastern Europe and to covertly destabilize Soviet Bloc countries.

The organization created and oversaw the anti-communist broadcast service Radio Free Europe.[2] When the CIA subsidies where exposed, the funding was officially ended in 1971, causing the radio channel to restructure its operations.[3]


The director of the policy planning staff at the State Department, George F. Kennan, presented the document "Inauguration of Organized Political Warfare" at an National Security Council meeting on May 4, 1948 in the presence of President Harry Truman. Kennan highlighted the importance of providing assistance for "liberation committees, underground activities behind the Iron Curtain, and the support of indigenous anti-Communist elements in threatened countries of the Free World."[4]

Kennan, working together with the CIA and drawing on the advice and support from former diplomats, businessmen, and public figures, outlined a plan for an anti-communist struggle that would proceed without official support, allowing the U.S. government to distance itself for the purpose of deniability and in order to maintain diplomatic relations with the East. Political and financial aid to exile leaders could then be presented as a public cause and not as an extension of U.S. foreign policy.[4]


The committee was founded by Allen Dulles, later to be Director of Central Intelligence, in conjunction with DeWitt Clinton Poole. Early board members included Dwight Eisenhower, Lucius D. Clay, Cecil B. DeMille, Henry Luce, Mark Ethridge, Charles Phelps Taft II, DeWitt Wallace,[5][6] and John Jay McCloy. From 1951 to 1952, Charles Douglas Jackson was its president. Alongside George Kennan, other prominent figures to contribute to the formation of the FEC were the former ambassador to Germany and Japan Joseph C. Grew, former diplomat to the Soviet Union DeWitt Clinton Poole, Lazard Frères New York chief and later General American Investors Company chairman Frank Altschul, and former diplomat Frederic R. Dolbeare.


The Committee's articles of association were signed in New York on May 17, 1949. At its first press conference, Joseph Grew introduced a four-point program[4]:
1. Create an institution in which exiles from the Soviet satellite nations could find employment, utilize their skills and, at the same time, document for the world at large the repressive actions of the satellite governments and Soviet Russia;
2. Utilize the political exiles as rallying points and as symbols of unified opposition to communism in the United States and abroad;
3. Relieve the Department of State of the need to deal with exiled political leaders—a delicate task because the U.S. government could not endorse the exiles as "governments in exile" at a time when the United States officially recognized the legitimacy of the satellite governments; and
4. Generally "aid the non-fascist, non-communist leaders in their peaceful efforts to prepare the way for the restoration in Eastern Europe of the social, political, and religious liberties, in which they and we believe."


At the time of its creation, the FEC consisted of four basic divisions: the National Councils Division, responsible for supporting the exile political organizations and, in 1954, for the creation of the "exile parliament," the Assembly of Captive European Nations (ACEN); the Middle European Studies Center for scholarly research; the American Contacts Division that provided the link between the exiles and American audiences, especially the trade unions; and finally,Radio Free Europe, the main broadcasting propaganda channel.

The committee operated the radio station Radio Free Europe from July 1950. Wages, current expenses and technical facilities were financed by the US government. The CIA provided a complete transmission system installed in Germany for this purpose.[7] According to Bernd Stöver, the station was "the first anti-communist station that was founded specifically for the liberation of Soviet-controlled Eastern Europe and was deliberately separated from the sphere of responsibility of official US policy."[8]

As a "symbol of freedom", the committee presented the residents of West Berlin with the Liberty Bell, which has been hanging in the Schöneberg Town Hall since 1950. She was created according to her model, the American Liberty Bell. The historian Dominik Geppert considers this gift to be the "most effective propaganda campaign on a mass scale" of the National Committee's "Crusade[s] for Freedom" launched in 1950 in the "anti-communist fighting spirit of those years focused on Berlin".[9]

The revelation by New Jersey senator Clifford P. Case that the FEC had been receiving long-term covert financial assistance, uncontrolled by the U.S. Congress, effectively spelled the end of CIA subsidies for the Committee.[4] CIA support for the committee and Radio Free Europe ended in 1971, and Radio Free Europe was soon merged with Radio Liberty and moved from the CIA budget to a separate item on the US state budget.[10]



Known members

11 of the 25 of the members already have pages here:

Lucius Clay
Gardner CowlesUS media mogul
Dwight EisenhowerFormer five-star general, supreme commander of NATO, Eisenhower was the US President who notably warned that "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence... by the military–industrial complex."
Henry Ford IIGrandson of Henry Ford. Ford CEO after WW2. Hotchkiss School, Yale University, Book And Snake.
C. D. JacksonOSS, US Deep sate operative, first Bilderberg
George KennanSuspected US deep politician, member of the Georgetown Set
Henry Luce
John J. McCloyUS deep politician, Warren Commission, CFR Chair for 17 years, President of the World Bank ...
DeWitt Clinton Poole
Whitney Hart Shepardson
Francis SpellmanArchbishop of New York 1939-1967 and protector of Ivan Illich.
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  1. Prados, John (2006). Safe for Democracy: The Secret Wars of the CIA. Ivan R. Dee. p. 47. ISBN 9781615780112.
  2. Mihail Bumbes - Un simbol: Europa Libera -Evenimentul Zilei Nr. 4989, 20 Februarie 2007
  4. a b c d
  5. Weiner, Tim: "Legacy of Ashes", page 36. Doubleday, 2007.
  6. Shipkov, Michael (1950). Breakdown. National Committee for a Free Europe, Inc. p. Inside Front Cover.
  7. Stefan Meining: Eine Moschee in Deutschland: Nazis, Geheimdienste und der Aufstieg des politischen Islam im Westen. C.H.Beck 2011, S. 65f
  8. Bernd Stöver: Das Veto der Bombe. Amerikanische Liberation Policy im Jahr 1956: Das Beispiel Radio Freies Europa. In: Roger Engelmann, Thomas Grossbölting, Hermann Wentker: Kommunismus in der Krise: die Entstalinisierung 1956 und die Folgen, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2008, S. 207ff
  9. Dominik Geppert: Symbolische Politik: Berliner Konjunkturen der Erinnerung an die Luftbrücke. In: Helmut Trotnow (Hrsg.): Die Berliner Luftbrücke: Ereignis und Erinnerung. Für das AlliiertenMuseum, Frank & Timme, Berlin 2010, ISBN 978-3-86596-267-6
  10. Urban, George R. Radio Free Europe and the pursuit of democracy (Yale University Press, 1997
  11. Syracuse University Press (2003) War of the Black Heavens. Syracuse University Press. pp. 41 . ISBN 0815604793. "Dulles was briefly the first president of the Free Europe Committee"