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Poland - 1954-1960

Secretary of State John Foster Dulles pursued a policy of liberation by peaceful means. He was determined not to frustrate legitimate aspirations for freedom from Soviet dominance. Stalinist Poland was a prime target of US foreign intelligence and counterintelligence operations. President Eisenhower appointed Allen Dulles to the post of CIA director on 26 February 1953. The new US administration was determined to put the Soviets on the defensive in the bloc primarily through propaganda and psychological warfare means.

  • BECRIPPLE Project (1954-60) provided Polish operations run from Berlin and other Stations/Bases with support assets such as a secure safehouse on the economy; garage for a German plated vehicle; an agent/cutout for obtaining credit investigations on persons of operational interest; an agent for monitoring local Polish emigre activity; an agent for obtaining clandesting photographs of West Berlin Polish installations and other support facilities.
  • BEKING Project provided live letter drops and phone cutout facilities for Berlin Base Polish operations.
  • BESMIRCH (1953-55) was designed to provide Polish operations with communications links over the Polish-German border through the use of legal travellers.

A brief liberalizing "thaw" in Eastern Europe followed the death of Stalin in early 1953. In Poland this event stirred ferment, calls for systemic reform, and conflict in the ranks of the the Polish United Workers' Party (Polska Zjednoczona Partia Robotnicza--PZPR). The de-Stalinization of official Soviet dogma left Poland's Stalinist regime in a difficult position, especially following Nikita S. Khrushchev's 1956 attack on Stalin's cult of personality. In the same month as Khrushchev's speech, the death of hard-liner Boleslaw Bierut exacerbated an existing split in the PZPR. In 1951 Bierut had won a struggle with Wladyslaw Gomulka for the top position in the party. In June 1956, scores of demonstrators died when army troops quelled street riots in Poznan, inaugurating a recurrent phenomenon of Polish worker protest against the self-proclaimed workers' state.

Realizing the need for new leadership, the PZPR chose Gomulka as first secretary in October 1956. This decision was made despite Moscow's threats to invade Poland if the PZPR picked Gomulka, a moderate who had been purged after losing his battle with Bierut. When Khrushchev was reassured that Gomulka would not alter the basic foundations of Polish communism, he withdrew the invasion threat. On the other hand, Gomulka's pledge to follow a "Polish road to socialism" more in harmony with national traditions and preferences caused many Poles to interpret the dramatic "Polish October" confrontation of 1956 as a sign that the end of the dictatorship was in sight.

CIA attempted to gain control over a number of countries in Eastern Europe with covert action operations and secret armies but failed in these nations also. "We know that efforts to organise them from outside were penetrated and subverted by the secret police in Poland and Albania in the 1950s", Former CIA Director William Colby recalled the efforts of the CIA to set up anti-Communist armies.



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Page last modified: 22-11-2013 00:03:34 ZULU