[UK Foreign Office Information Research Department and Soviet bacteriological warfare propaganda.] Confidential printed information paper for 'Her Majesty's Missions and information Officers', titled 'The Communist Germ Warfare Campaign'.

Information Research Department, Foreign Office; Sir John Peck (1913-1995); Cold War; germ warfare; bacteriological warfare; Soviet propaganda; Secret Intelligence Service (MI6)]
Publication details: 
Information Research Department, Foreign Office [Whitehall, London]. Dated at end 'June 1952.'
SKU: 21260

In Sir John Peck's obituary in the Independent, 20 January 1995, the diplomat Michael Cullis (1914-2004) states that in the early 1950s (when the present document was produced), Peck was 'instrumental in organising and intensifying official efforts to counter Soviet propaganda and disinformation in the initial stages of the Cold War. To that end he much developed, in succession to its founder (the late (Sir) Ralph Murray), the innocuously named Information Research Department, or IRD.' See also the report in The Times, 17 August 1995, which reveals that the activities of the Information Research Department were financed from the budget of the Special Intelligence Service, otherwise MI6. 13pp, foolscap 8vo. Stapled. In good condition, lightly aged, with rusted staples. Housed in a grey card folder, with cloth spine and ties, on the cover of which is printed the government crest, 'Supplied for the Public Service' and 'Portfolio for Important Documents (Foolscap)'. The text covers the first 8pp, ending with the date 'June 1952'; it is followed by a five-page appendix (pp.9-13) titled 'Germ Warfare Campaign – Chronology of Events'. The text is divided into five numbered sections: 'Introduction', 'Opening of the campaign' (beginning 'The theme of bacteriological warfare first appeared in Communist propaganda at the “Warsaw Peace Congress” in November 1950.'), 'Campaign becomes world wide' (beginning 'The first steps in the world campaign were taken by the World Peace Council. Following an appeal by Kuo Mo-jo, chairman of the Chinese Peace Committee, against alleged germ warfare attacks on North Korea and China, Professor Joliot-Curie, French Communist chairman of the World Peace Council, appealed to the peoples of the world to act against the “American crime.”'), 'The answer of the west' (beginning 'At first the Communist germ warfare charges received little publicity in the free world for such propaganda campaigns have become such a recurrent feature of Communism that the vast majority of people are immune to tales of horrible crimes said to have been committed against Communists throughout the world.') and 'Conclusion' (beginning 'The germ warfare campaign is part of a long-term propaganda drive designed to further Soviet aims of world domination by convincing the peoples of the world that the only true defender of peace is the Soviet Union.'). The beginning of the introduction sets out the document's position neatly: 'The propaganda campaign alleging American bacteriological warfare in North Korea and north-east China, though the largest both in scale and intensity, and the most hostile yet undertaken by the Communists, is an integral part of a long-term strategy of political warfare. | It comes as a climax in the world-wide Communist “peace” campaign which has been going on for the past five years, especially since the start of the war in Korea, and which aims at the building up of a climate of popular opinion in which Soviet policy, and the general Communist thesis, can gain acceptance. | The “peace” campaign has passed through numerous phases. The first phase, up to March 1950, consisted of the establishment of an international organisation, conforming to the standard type of Soviet-controlled international bodies, with a permanent nucleus inder strict Communist control, and a network of national committees and sub-committees.' The appendix is an exhaustive list, in small type, of events dating from between 21 June 1951 ('Liu Tsin-yan, Vice-Chairman of the Women's International Democratic Federation, spoke in Sofia of the need “to stop the bacteriological warfare and criminal activities of the American troops in Korea.” But this reference found to echo in the resolutions of the Federation adopted on the 22nd June, in the letter of protest to the United Nations, or in the appeal addressed to the women of the world on 23rd June. The report of the Women's International Democratic Federation Investigating Commission in Korea, dated 6th-27th May, makes no mention of bacteriological warfare although it lists almost every other kind of crime.') and 16 May 1952 ('The Korean Central News Agency publishes a report by a joint delegation of Korean and Chinese Physicians and Journalists on their investigation of American germ warfare in Korea and China. The delegation was formed by the World Peace Council and the Chinese People's Committee in Defence of Peace and against American Aggression. | Pravda publishes germ warfare “confessions” by Robert Gilarol, an American airman, who is alleged to have dropped colorado beetles in Germany, to have trained germ warfare criminals and to have been one of the first to use germ warfare weapons in Korea.'). Stapled to the front of the document is a twelve-line covering slip from the 'Information Research Department, | Foreign Office', printed in red, headed 'CONFIDENTIAL | PR 2/122/52'. The covering slip states that 'The attached material is for the information and use of Her Majesty's Missions and Information Officers in particular.' The slip continues by stating that the information given is, 'as far as it is possible to ascertain, factual and objective'. At the end of the slip is the underlined sentence: 'This note must be detached from any copy of the material before it passes beyond official use.' No other copy has been traced.