Intelligence Espionage

Britain, America and Anti-Communist: The Information by Andrew Defty

By Andrew Defty

Within the chilly conflict conflict for hearts and minds Britain was once the 1st state to formulate a coordinated worldwide reaction to communist propaganda. In January 1948, the British govt introduced a brand new propaganda coverage designed to 'oppose the inroads of communism' through taking the offensive opposed to it.' A small part within the international workplace, the innocuously titled info examine division (IRD), used to be verified to collate info on communist coverage, strategies and propaganda, and coordinate the discreet dissemination of counter-propaganda to opinion formers at domestic and in another country.

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Additional info for Britain, America and Anti-Communist: The Information Research Department (Cass Series: Studies in Intelligence)

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321–9. Scott Lucas, ‘Beyond Diplomacy: Propaganda and the History of the Cold War’, in Rawnsley, Cold-War Propaganda in the 1950s, pp. 11–30. Lucas sought to correct this deficiency in, Freedom’s War: The American Crusade against the Soviet Union (New York: New York University Press, 1999). 4 ‘Future Foreign Publicity Policy,’ CP(48)8, 4 January 1948, CAB 129/23, PRO. 5 Ibid. 6 Foreign Office circular to British Missions, 12 May 1948, PR 229/1/G, FO 1110/6, PRO. 7 Reference on the Information Research Department for the Foreign Office Order Book, 22 March 1951, FO 1110/383, PRO.

Propaganda was used widely by the Labour Governments: to explain their policies at home and abroad; to reassure Britain’s allies, most notably the USA, about Labour’s socialist policies; to promote trade; to counter colonial insurgency; to promote good relations with the newly independent colonies; and to undermine Britain’s enemies. This study will focus on just one, very important, aspect of this, the use of propaganda to counter communism. It will show how the Cold War became the defining characteristic of British propaganda policy at home and abroad, and how propaganda was elevated from being an adjunct to policy to become Britain’s principal weapon for fighting the Cold War.

4 (London: FCO, November 1993). 96 Quoted in, ‘Secret Cold War Files Are Scrapped by Foreign Office’, The Observer, 25 February 1982, p. 4. 97 Ibid. 98 For example, copies of the first 21 issues of the ‘IRD Digest’ from 1948 and 1949 may be found in the files: FO 371/71713, FO 371/71714, PRO. 99 IRD basic papers, which ran from 1948 may be found in class FO 975; The Interpreter, a periodical from the 1950s may be found in class FO 1059, PRO. 100 Examples of these serials may be found elsewhere.

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