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Declassified Preliminary Report:
Senate Investigates Foreign Agents - 1961-1963

“In recent years there has been an increasing number of incidents involving attempts by foreign governments, or their agents, to influence the conduct of American foreign policy by techniques outside normal diplomatic channels…..there have been occasions when representatives of other governments have been privately accused of engaging in covert activities within the United States and elsewhere, for the purpose of influencing United States Policy (the Lavon Affair).”

Documents

On October 21, 2010 the National Archives and Records Administration released Box #1 (of 67) from sealed US Senate records about the activities of non diplomatic representatives of foreign governments active in the United States.  The formerly classified documents reveal the rationale for extensive investigations and Justice Department enforcement actions in 1962-1963.  Top US lobbying firms, public relations consultants and foreign lobbying groups were ordered to submit records under threat of subpoena to Senate Foreign Relations Committee researchers.

A declassified March 17, 1961 three-page memorandum outlines why the Senate Foreign Relations Committee focused intensely on the Jewish Agency, the American Zionist Council and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (then functioning as the AZC's lobbying division, before incorporating):

“In recent years there has been an increasing number of incidents involving attempts by foreign governments, or their agents, to influence the conduct of American foreign policy by techniques outside normal diplomatic channels…..there have been occasions when representatives of other governments have been privately accused of engaging in covert activities within the United States and elsewhere, for the purpose of influencing United States Policy (the Lavon Affair).”

The "Lavon Affair" refers to a false flag Israeli terrorist bombing plot code named “Operation Susannah” against US and other targets in Egypt.  It was designed to reverse US policy pressuring British withdrawals and reverting control of the Suez Canal to Egypt.  Israeli agents infiltrating as Arabs were discovered, arrested and criminally prosecuted in Egypt when their explosives malfunctioned, leading to a crisis in the Israeli government and relations with the US.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which mentioned the Lavon incident twice in three pages, expressed caution about investigating such sensitive matters.  “There would undoubtedly (even with care) be instances which would lead to foreign governmental protests, to violent attacks by special groups in the United States...” 

The declassified Senate memo suggested three avenues for Senate investigation.  “I. Public receipt of testimony from Department of Justice and Department of State….II. Public receipt of testimony from selected law and public relations firms….III Executive (perhaps public) receipt of testimony on the Lavon Affair, and similar ‘grey area’ activities…”

The Senate record of the May 23 and August 1, 1963 hearings on Israel lobbying outline covert activities, but many were heavily redacted at the insistence of the Jewish Agency and its allies in Congress. No testimony on the Lavon Affair or any other false flag attacks was ever given during the investigation.

03/17/1961   Confidential Staff Report to Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair J.W. Fulbright

"In recent years there has been an increasing number of incidents involving attempts by foreign governments, or their agents, to influence the conduct of American foreign policy by techniques outside normal diplomatic channels…..there have been occasions when representatives of other governments have been privately accused of engaging in covert activities within the United States and elsewhere, for the purpose of influencing United States Policy (the Lavon Affair).”

Internal   Library of Congress - Staff report on whether Foreign Agent material was on file at Library of Congress as required by 1938 Foreign Agents Registration Act

"Lenvin [Nathan Lenvin, head of the FARA Section at DOJ] told me that the Library [of Congress] had set aside a room to handle all the material that was flowing up there, but everything turned out to fit on just a few shelves.  The man in the stacks who has jurisdiction over the material said I was the first person who had ever come to look at it."

05/10/1961   Letter from DOJ FARA Section Chief Nathan Lenvin to John Newhouse, Senate Foreign Relations Committee listing all FARA related prosecutions from 1/1/1950 to 5/5/1961

..."U.S. v. Hector Garcia Soto On May 3, 1960, an indictment was returned in the Southern District of Florida against Hector Garcia Soto for a willful failure to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. The case went to trial and the defendant was acquitted by the jury...."

07/21/1961  

Internal Memo from Carl Marcy, chief of staff  

"When we get into the lobby hearings, JWF (J. William Fulbright) would like to obtain from the Zionist outfits a list of individuals who have spoken to them in the past, and how much they got paid?"

09/29/1961   Outline of Further Staff Investigation into Influences of Foreign Governments and Other Foreign Groups Upon U.S. Foreign Policy through Non-Diplomatic Channels

"1. To what extent is United states foreign policy being influenced through nondiplomatic channels by foreign governments and other foreign groups?

2. To what extent are the following - and other - channels being used by foreign governments?

3.To what extent are the following - and other - practices employed by foreign governments?

4. Is the Foreign Agents Registration Act adequate to protect the American public against improper influences by foreign governments and parties?

5. Do traditional international concepts of t1improper interference in internal affairs" require review? At what point does the need of the U. S. Government to influence foreign governments and public opinion impose a limit on U. S. restraints on propaganda and public relations activities of foreign governments here?

6. To what extent are intelligence and internal security agencies of the U. S. Government cognizant of propaganda and public relations activities of foreign governments and parties? To what extent do such agencies facilitate or sponsor such activities?"

10/05/1961   Memorandum for the Record: "Timing of further staff investigation regarding non-diplomatic influences by foreign governments."   

"The chairman decided today that he liked the attached outline [9/29/1961] of a further staff investigation on this subject and the idea of hiring Walter Pincus to help John Newhouse, but he also decided that the start of such additional staff work should be delayed until 1, April of 1962."

07/1962   Confidential Committee Print NONDIPLOMATIC ACTIVITIES OF REPRESENTATIVES OF FOREIGN GOVERNMENTS - A Preliminary Study - Prepared by the Staff of the Committee on Foreign Relations of the United States Senate
Archive   Justice Department Orders the American Zionist Council to register as an Israeli Foreign Agent - partially based on Senate Foreign Relations Committee preliminary work.
Archive   ACTIVITIES OF NONDIPLOMATIC REPRESENTATIVES OF FOREIGN PRINCIPALS IN THE UNITED STATES

Redacted Senate report on Israel lobbying.

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is presented without profit for research and educational purposes, most importantly understanding how government functions during law enforcement actions involving Israel and its lobbyists. The Israel Lobby Archive has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of the content nor is it endorsed or sponsored by the originator.

 
 
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