In the early 1950's, CIA Special Operations Division agents made attempts to develop resistance movements inside Communiat China. The same factors that produced the REDSOX program that operated agains the Soviet Union forced a similar effort in China after Mao expelled the Nationalists in late 1949 and then, in mid-1950, sent the People's Liberation Army south to join the fray in Korea. With US forces in bloody combat there, CIA launched a frantic effort to weaken the 'chinese intervention by infiltrating the mainland with guerillas and potential resistance leaders. Drawing personnel from Nationalist elements and also from non-Nationalists - the latter representing the seed of a hoped-for anti-communist Third Force - the Agency trained and dropped a number of agents onto the mainland.
William Colby, later as Chief of the Far East (FE) Division, described the basis of the technique. "The rationale ... springs essentially from World War II experience.... The population was essentially passive to friendly, with at least a small element willing to participate in intelligence, sabotage, or resistance operations." Probably because it was so obvious, Colby did not make explicit the connection between favorable indigenous attitudes and the exactions of an occupying foreign power. He also left unmentioned a key element in the motivation of potential recruits for intelligence and resistance operations, namely the prospect of liberation.
Hans Tofte, who ran the operations, later said that communications intercepts reflected Beijing's belief that 50,000 guerrillas threatened its rear area; he therefore rated the program a success. But Agency management was not persuaded that these operations were in fact diverting any substantial Chinese resources from Korea.
By late 1951, Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) Gen. Walter Bedell Smith was prepared to give up on them. The Agency could tie up more communist resources, he thought, if it turned to larger scale attacks and feints along the coast. Accordingly, CIA trained guerrillas who conducted at least a dozen coastal raids. Whatever the results of these attacks - they may have been significant - the black entry program remained unproductive.
Seeking to explain the paucity of results, a contemporary project review noted the poor quality of team personnel and the disruptive effects of a change of mission. Teams selected and trained for sabotage missions had abruptly been directed to ereate resistance movements, a task requiring a very different set of skills. If these were the operative factors, better agents and more coherent tasking would improve the program's performance.
On November 9, 1952, CIA agents John Thomas Downey and Richard George Fecteau were captured on the Chinese mainland where they had been organizing and training two teams of Nationalist Chinese agents to stir up mainland Chinese against their Communist government.
CIA Director William E. Colby stated that from 1953 until February 1973, the CIA 'conducted several programs to survey and open selected mail between the United States and two Communist countries. " According to a secret Senate memorandum the CIA survey focused on mail sent to and received from the Soviet Union and China and was centered in New York City and San Francisco. Colby stated that the purposes of the programs were "to identify individuals in active correspondence with Communist countries for presumed counter-intelligence purposes", to attempt "to learn the foreign contacts of a number of Americans of counterintelligence interest," and "to determine the nature and extent of censorship techniques."
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