State Department File 649

Check out what surely must have been a special collaborative project with Hollywood to shake off the Commie-sympathizer image of State: State Department File 649

The overriding message was: State Department officers bravely serve America abroad. The acting was terrible and the storyline thin and predictable. It was good for some laughs at how outrageous it was though.
Also, if it was an accurate portrayal of Foreign Service Officers back in 1949, it is not now. We don’t carry guns and we don’t single handedly take on Mongolian warlords. Anyway, an interesting movie and fun piece of history if not cinematic excellence.

In 1947, Congress repeatedly told State to purge itself of Communist sympathizers (and Socialist New Dealers for that matter).  The House Rules committee went so far as to say it wouldn’t support any legislation backed by the State Department for this very reason.  In 1948 there was Alger Hiss. 

Did State have a Hollywood liaison?  Dunno, but they needed one.  Was the role originally for an OSS officer?  

From the review, I don’t think I’ll watch to figure it out. 

3 Replies to “State Department File 649”

  1. Oh, and you asked: “…Did State have a Hollywood liaison?”From Wikipedia:
    Operation Mockingbird was a Central Intelligence Agency operation to influence domestic and foreign media, whose activities were made public during the Church Committee investigation in 1975 (published 1976).
    The word Mockingbird was first used by Deborah Davis’ 1979 Katharine the Great. While Davis alleged that the media had been involved in propaganda activities, her book was controversial at the time, and has since been shown to have a number of erroneous assertions.[1] In his 2007 memoir American Spy: My Secret History in the CIA, Watergate and Beyond, E. Howard Hunt alleges the existence of “Project Mockingbird,” a covert operation in which print and broadcast media were used for propaganda and intelligence gathering inside the United States.
    In 1948, Frank Wisner was appointed director of the Office of Special Projects (OSP). Soon afterwards OSP was renamed the Office of Policy Coordination (OPC). This became the espionage and counter-intelligence branch of the Central Intelligence Agency. Wisner was told to create an organization that concentrated on “propaganda, economic warfare; preventive direct action, including sabotage, anti-sabotage, demolition and evacuation measures; subversion against hostile states, including assistance to underground resistance groups, and support of indigenous anti-Communist elements in threatened countries of the free world.”[2]
    Later that year Wisner established Mockingbird, a program to influence the domestic and foreign media. Wisner recruited Philip Graham from The Washington Post to run the project within the industry. According to Deborah Davis in Katharine the Great; “By the early 1950s, Wisner ‘owned’ respected members of The New York Times, Newsweek, CBS and other communications vehicles.”[3]
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    The Office of Policy Coordination (OPC) was funded by siphoning of funds intended for the Marshall Plan. Some of this money was used to bribe journalists and publishers. Frank Wisner was constantly looking for ways to help convince the public of the dangers of communism. In 1954, Wisner arranged for the funding of the Hollywood production of Animal Farm, the animated allegory based on the book written by George Orwell.[8]

    In full, just he tip of the disinformation and public diplomacy iceberg

  2. I disagree. This was a very good film, though outdated now, of course. The acting was not “terrible”. The film has a trenchant presentation that serves to inform as well as entertain. Your assertions prompt me to wonder if you actually saw the film – or possibly, you fell asleep half-way through. Bill Lundigan and Ginny Bruce never carried a gun, and when were they ever “single-handedly” fighting the nemesis? There was a constant collaborated American presence in Peiping, China during the entire film. I highly recommend the film to interested parties.

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