|Lucius D. Clay|
On 20 April 1950, President Harry S. Truman spoke at a luncheon of the American Society of Newspaper Editors on American foreign policy. President Truman called for a “campaign of truth” in the United States information programs:
The cause of freedom is being challenged throughout the world today by the forces of imperialistic communism. This is a struggle, above all else, for the minds of men. Propaganda is one of the most powerful weapons the Communists have in this struggle. Deceit, distortion, and lies are systematically used by them as a matter of deliberate policy.
We must make ourselves heard round the world in a great campaign of truth.
On 26 April 1950, DeWitt C. Poole, president of the National Committee for a Free Europe (NCFE), announced that Retired Army General Lucius D. Clay accepted the chairmanship of the Crusade for Freedom, which “has been in a developmental stages since 1 February.”
In Clay’s name, an emotional “statement of purpose” of the Crusade for Freedom was issued to the press, which, in part, read:
· The soul of the world is sick, and the peoples of the world are looking to the United States for leadership and hope.
· They are looking to us for leadership in a great moral crusade—a crusade for freedom, friendship and faith throughout the earth
· If we to prove equal to this desperate need, each U.S. citizen must feel a personal responsibility. We cannot leave the job to government alone.
· We have suffered serious setbacks in the contest of ideas between our way of life and totalitarianism.
· It is with a great deal of humility that I have accepted responsibility as national chairman of this Crusade, for I am convinced that upon its success could very well depend the prevention of World War III.
On 1 May 1950, President Truman sent a telegram to the NCFE, which, in part read: “I hope that all Americans will join with you in dedicating themselves to this critical struggle for men's minds.” The telegram was released to and printed by newspapers in the United States. President Truman did not, of course, reveal that the true sponsor of both the NCFE and Crusade for Freedom was the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
Also on 1 May 1950, the Crusade for Freedom’s Campaign Letter Number One was sent to the newly appointed Regional and State Crusade Chairmen in the United States, also under General Clay’s name, with details of the Freedom Bell and the outline for future fund raising efforts:
· The long range, broad-gauge objectives of the Crusade for Freedom are to enlist several million Americans in a Crusade for Freedom and Friendship to put the lie to Kremlin propaganda that our goal is world domino and war to affirm our resolution that America is in the Crusade to stay.
· The ideal of the Crusade for Freedom is to feed human souls.
· Compelling symbol of the Crusade will be a great new Freedom Bell … Throughout history the struggle toward human freedom has been one of the noblest achievements of man. The Freedom Bell will become a permanent memorial to all the men and women, of all periods, who gave their lives to the cause of freedom.
· The first clap of the Freedom Bell will be carried to the peoples of the earth by the most extensive network of radio power ever assembled -- spearheaded by Radio Free Europe. Simultaneously, bells will ring out all over America: church bells, city hall bells, school bells.
· Contributions on a broad basis – from nickels and dimes from school children on up will be sought to underwrite the Bell and the rest of the Crusade program, via radio and newspaper publicity. The assistance of the Advertising Council will be very helpful in this regard.
The letter went on to list the various functions of the Regional and State Chairmen regarding city and state activities. Among them were:
· Appoint bell-ringing committees in every community.
· Stimulate and organize the sending of printed matter overseas – to show how we live in America.
· Develop contests among both groups and individuals for the best ideas on how to get our message and freedom and friendship to people abroad.
The Crusade for Freedom and the battle for men’s minds in Eastern Europe had begun.