Chapter 7: The Battle for Members

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Early Cold War: Middle East

Brian F. Begy, “The State-War-Navy Coordinating Committee and the Origins of the Cold War in the Near East: A reinterpretation,” The UCLA Journal of Middle Eastern Studies 10, 1994; pp 31-50.

Stephen Kinzer, All the Shah’s Men: An American coup and the Roots of Middle Eastern Terror (Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley, 2003)

Kermit Roosevelt, Jr., Countercoup: The Struggle for the Control of Iran (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1979) ] Legendary CIA figure who claimed credit for engineering the coup in Iran and restoring the Shah to the throne.

Hugh Wilford, America’s Great Game: The CIA’s Secret Arabists and the Shaping of the Modern Middle East (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2013) Also contains a good overview of American Friends of the Middle East.

Salim Yaqub, Containing Arab Nationalism: The Eisenhower Doctrine and the Middle East (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2004).


Early Cold War: India & Indonesia & Korea

Chester Bowles, Ambassador’s Report (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1954)

J.C. Kundra, Indian Foreign Policy, 1947-1954: A Study of Relations with the Western Bloc (New York: Institute of Pacific Relations, 1956)

Paul G. Pierpaoli, Truman and Korea: The Political Culture of the Early Cold War (Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press, 1999)

Andrew Roadnight, U.S. Policy Towards Indonesia in the Truman and Eisenhower Years (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002)

Phillips Talbot and S. L. Poplai, India and America (Bombay: Oxford University Press, 1958

Baskara T. Wardaya, Cold War Shadow: United States Policy Toward Indonesia, 1953-1963 (Yogyakarta: PUSDEP in collaboration with Galangpress, 2007)


Early Cold War: Latin America:

Brands, Latin America’s Cold War. (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2010)

Michael Grow, U.S. Presidents and Latin American Interventions: Pursuing Regime Change in the Cold War (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2008)

Gerald K. Haines, The Americanization of Brazil: A Study of U.S. Cold War Diplomacy in the Third World, 1945–1954 (Wilmington, DE: SR Books, 1989)

Richard H. Immerman, The CIA in Guatemala: The Foreign Policy of Intervention (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1982)

Stephen Kinzer and Stephen Schlesinger, Bitter Fruit: The Story of the American Coup in Guatemala (New York: Doubleday, 1982

Alan McPherson, Intimate Ties, Bitter Struggles: The United States and Latin America since 1945 (Washington, DC: Potomac, 2006)

Stephen G. Rabe, Eisenhower and Latin America: The Foreign Policy of Anti-communism (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1988).

Stephen G. Rabe, The Killing Zone: The United States Wages Cold War in Latin America (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011)



ALL notes correspond to the endnotes in Patriotic Betrayal, supply additional information or evidence, and should be read together.

Note 8: NSA and Henry Kissinger: NSA international affairs vice president Avrea Ingram (1951-53) cooperated with Henry Kissinger, whose summer seminar at Harvard was also funded by the CIA, re information about foreign students. See, for example, June 10, 1952, Ingram from Kissinger re potential Asian candidates for Kissinger’s Harvard seminar. H/NSA Box 34 (Misc. Corres); See also William Y Elliott papers at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. Elliott, the Harvard Professor and CIA consultant who discussed the NSA international program and funding with CIA Director Allen Dulles (Chapter 5) transmitted the seminar proposal to CIA officials.

Note 17: Helen Jean Rogers letters to Latin Americans: The quantity and creativity of Rogers’ approach to Central and Latin American students is breath-taking. She congratulated Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, and El Salvador student unions on their national independence days. She contacted Puerto Rican students and praised President Truman’s decision to commute the death sentence of Oscar Collazo, an advocate of Puerto Rican independence who tried to assassinate the president in 1950, writing: “We are happy along with you that the President has again demonstrated his magnanimity in understanding this misguided Puerto Rican patriot.”

The reference in this end note to Rogers’ rejection by the Harvard Graduate School, and her subsequent admission, is meant to suggest (circumstantially) that the CIA or Harvard faculty who worked with the NSA/CIA had a hand in the reversal. A large number of former NSA officers and international staff were admitted to Harvard University for graduate or law school. Since the CIA had close relationships with both Harvard professors and administrators, a well-placed word in a powerful ear could be accomplished without the applicant ever knowing there had been an intervention.   However, there is no implication that Rogers wasn’t qualified – by all accounts she was brilliant, but in 1952 few women were admitted to Harvard.

Note 28: Kenneth Holland contacts: In his August 6, 1952 letter, Holland to Avrea Ingram, suggested, on behalf of Friends of the Middle East, Ingram contact four Iranians; four officers of Organization of Arab Students; and one student each from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt.

Note 31: Foreign Student Associations in the U.S.: The founding in the early 1950s of Middle East associations of foreign students (Afghanistan, Pakistan, Organization of Arab States, etc) may be documented through both NSA documents and Friends of the Middle East. Similarly, see below, Note 77, the CIA role in the United States founding the Association of African Students in the United States and Canada can be documented. The CIA role in organizing Latin American students in the United States is less clear or less-well documented. Hints of an organizing efforts appeared in the New York Times on April 17, 1957. On May 1, the Times reported that foreign students from Cornell, Harvard, Columbia, MIT and New York University, among others, met and established a new association. Their stated aim, according to the Times, was to organize 2, 500 Latin American students currently enrolled on American campuses who ten represented 20 different Latin American countries. By the mid-1950s, there were over 8,000 Latin American students studying on American campuses. If any Latin American scholar has further information about the 1950s organizations in the United States, I would welcome a source.

Note 33: Iranian delegate to the 1953 3rd International Student Conference in Copenhagen: Houshang Pirnazar was a student at Columbia University when he was supported by NSA to attend the ISC. After his death in 2007, a friend remembered him Pirnazar during his college days in Iran as pro-Tudeh, then regarded as pro-Soviet. If so, his views changed: After graduating from Columbia University, Pirnazar returned to Iran to work for the Shah, holding several high positions in his government. After the 1979 revolution, Pirnazar returned to the United States and resided until his death in Santa Cruz, California. See

Note 41: Vaughn Index: In ruling against the CIA’s request for a blanket exemption in the case the Freedom of Information lawsuit filed on behalf of the United States Student Association (successor to NSA), the judge required the CIA to produce a Vaughn Index that listed each withheld document, the specific grounds on which it was withheld, and specific information on how its release would damage national security. This ruling resulted in a thick computer print-out of itemized documents. In practice, however, the CIA used a code to answer the required questions, making the print-out laborious to read. It should be noted that the CIA stopped disclosing the date of specific documents, after an attorney in the case had begun to correlate items on the Vaughn index with documents in the USNSA collection at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. Nevertheless, one is able to distinguish between a recruitment document or a field report.

Note 53: Subroto’s relationship with NSA: The first contact between NSA and Subroto (Soebroto), the Chair of the major Indonesian student union, PPMI, appears to have been in the spring of 1952 when Subroto was invited to participate in a University of California program for Indonesian students. See H/NSA Box 102 (UC Indonesia Project). See also correspondence between Subroto and Frank Fisher, H/NSA Box 27 (Fisher). This correspondence continued for several years after Fisher left NSA. Fisher routinely forwarded the correspondence to the NSA international office. See, for example, May 28, 1954, NSA letter of thanks to Fisher for Subroto letter.

During the time Subroto was head of PPMI, Richard Hafner, a University of California graduate, then in Djakarta with the Times of Indonesia, kept in touch with Subroto and reported to NSA that Subroto was “an ideal representative …Good English, friendly, sharp, extroverted, lots of fun.” H/NSA 102, May 19, 1952. Frank Fisher also reported that Hafner was on excellent terms with PPMI leaders. See H/NSA Box 140 (SE Asia, ’51-‘52), June, 1952 Fisher report.

A year later, in 1953, Bill Ellis, who traveled with FYSA/CIA funding to Asia, warned NSA about Subroto’s criticism of the U.S. government; he had complained to Ellis that the United States Information Service in Djakarta ignored PPMI when it chose Indonesian students for travel or scholarships to the United States. See H/NSA Box 140 (SE Asia, ’52-’53), July 1953 Ellis report.

By late 1954, Subroto’s principal contact appears to have been Paul Sigmund, then the NSA international affairs vice president. See Subroto letter to Sigmund in H/NSA Box 102 (Indonesian Student Leader Tour), December 13, 1954.

Subroto became an economist. He studied at MIT, Berkeley and Stanford, and held high level positions in the Suharto regime. An author critical of Subroto dubbed him and other Suharto confidants, the “Berkeley mafia,” since five of the people most central to Suharto’s government had University of California at Berkeley degrees. For an interview that casts Subroto in favorable light, see Benito Lopulalan: Subroto: Man of his Country, September 21, 2011:

Note 64: William Ellis, Burma: In 1953, Ellis believed the culprits who burned the ballot boxes on campus were left-wing students, if not communists. However, Janet Welsh, a former NSA officer who went to Burma on a Fulbright in 1954, later wrote that no proof ever emerged to identify which students were responsible.

Note 74: Reporting Priorities: After Frederick Thomas reported his confusion to Avrea Ingram over where to send his reports on the Middle East to FYSA or to NSA, Frank Fisher instructed Thomas that, as his funder, FYSA had first priority, and that it was up to John Simons to decide whether or not to share them with NSA. See H/NSA Box 27 (Fisher), May 21, 1953.

Note 77: Robert Williams and NSA. Before Williams became a desk officer for NSA in 1953, he helped organize the CIA-funded African American Institute (originally called Institute on African American Relations). He also played a key role in establishing an Association of African Students in the United States and Canada.

  • On April 2, 1953, Williams introduced himself by letter to Avrea Ingram, citing a referral by the former NSA President Ted Harris. Williams, then living in Arlington, Virginia, said he and Harris met at Princeton while working in the Arab Studies program, but he had shifted his focus to African students. “I have been working with a group of Washingtonians who are particularly interested in African students since we have a large number here at Howard University. We are especially concerned about assisting in their adjustment to American student life and what might be done to represent to them America in its most favorable light.” See H/NSA 88 (African Scholarship in the U.S.).
  • On April 20, 1953, Ingram wrote to Williams re his proposal for a Howard University conference to form an Association of African Students in America, and its submission to FYSA. Ingram urged caution: “I was relatively encouraged about the reception the program you are working on received from the Foundation, but I will be quite frank in saying that one can never tell until one obtains an approval of a grant as to just how encouraged to be.” Ingram then announced his intention to meet with Williams soon in Washington, D.C.
  • On May 4, 1953, William Hansberry (Howard University foreign student advisor) wrote to Ingram that he and Williams had been summoned to New York to discuss the proposal with John Simons and David Davis at FYSA.
  • On June 11-13, 1953, conference (of African students) material identifies Robert Williams as its coordinator and his institutional affiliation as “the Institute on African American Relations.” Ingram represented NSA, which co-sponsored the conference through its chapter on the Howard campus.   See press coverage of the conference in the Washington Post, June 11, 1953. It placed attendance at 100 persons, and reported the formation of the Association of African Students in the United States and Canada.
  • On June 18, 1953, Ingram’s executive assistant, Ed Gable, wrote to Williams and expressed Ingram’s joy at the conference’s success: “We here in the office have not often seen the nearly unbounded enthusiasm that your meeting generated in Avrea.” All the above material is from H/NSA Box 88 (African Scholarship in the U.S.)
  • In the autumn of 1953, Williams enrolled in a new African Studies program at Boston University, funded by the Ford Foundation and directed by former OSS veteran William O. Brown. While in Boston, Williams became an NSA/HIACOM desk officer for the Middle East, one of the few non-Harvard students to participate in HIACOM.

The above information illustrates several points: Witting officers, such as former NSA President Ted Harris, credentialed each other. (It was against protocol for any witting person to acknowledge his status to another witting person, a protocol often violated in practice, but whose prohibition required additional subterfuge.)   Both Ingram and Williams knew that CIA/FYSA was calling the shots; in fact, Ingram’s caution to Williams might be seen as expressing mild exasperation with Simons and FYSA. Once funding was secured for the conference at Howard University, the purpose of the project, to organize yet another foreign student organization in the U.S., was easily accomplished. The addition of Canada in the association’s name can be interpreted as a) expanding the CIA’s reach to a then small pool of African students in the United States; and b) making small inroads into British’s assertions of superior access (and ease) with Africans throughout the British empire/commonwealth, an attitude that created considerable tension between the Americans and the British in COSEC, see Chapter 16.

Note 82: Ted Harris visits to Shaaban: In 1953, former NSA President Harris returned to the Middle East on a Fulbright grant. According to Shaaban, “I see Ted at least once every two weeks.” See H/NSA 197 (Egypt), November 20, 1953. Harris’ continued assistance to NSA was also discussed on October 18, 1953 at an International Advisory Board Meeting. See H/NSA Box 74 (IACB).

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