AUTHOR AND FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT
COMMITTEE ON UN-AMERICAN ACTIVITIES
OF REPRESENTATIVES ,
MARCH 13, 1958
Printed for the use of the Committee on Un-American Activities
United States Government Printing Office
This document is copied from the Congressional record. The introductory information about the Congressional Committee has been placed at the end of this page.
See also Brainwashing and "Education Reform"
MR. HUNTER: "The Communist inquisitors in the POW camps depended first of all on a screening process to provide them with the men most likely to succumb to brainwashing. They picked the ones they figured would be most useful to them from among these. Cunning was all that was needed, along with a complete disregard for ethics; no special intelligence.... They have based their technique primarily on the complete abandonment of morality."
Communist psychological warfare is now winning such extensive victories in the United States that the Red bloc will not need to employ direct military force against us in order to win the total war which they are waging, with this country the principal target. Edward Hunter, American expert on Communist brainwashing, warned in a consultation with the staff of the Committee on Un-American Activities.
Mr. Hunter, whose career as a foreign correspondent, author, editor, world traveler, and specialist in propaganda warfare, qualifies him as an authority on Communist propaganda techniques, stated:
“I spent 30 years, a little bit more perhaps, in countries under various forms of Communist pressure and attack. What I am witnessing in America is no different from what I saw in those other countries. I am often referred to as someone who has made phenomenal predictions that proved correct on things to come. Actually, I have never made a prediction as such in my life. I have only predicted in the manner that one predicts the total of 4 after seeing the figures 2 plus 2.
“I have been watching developments under communism in other parts of the world, and now I see exactly the same developments here in America.”
These developments, he continued, “include, first of all, the penetration of our leadership circles by a softening up and creating a defeatist state of mind. This includes penetration of our educational circles by a similar state of mind, in addition to one other thing—the long-range perspective of the professor who is above anything that is happening here and now, and considers himself as an objective spectator in a long, long vista of history.
“I see, primarily, as part of this softening up process in America, the liquidation of our attitudes on what we used to recognize as right and wrong, what we used to accept as absolute moral standards. We now confuse moral standards with the sophistication of dialectical materialism, with a Communist crackpot Communist crackpot theology which teaches that everything changes, and that what is right or wrong, good or bad, changes as well. So nothing they say is really good or bad. There is no such thing as truth or a lie; and any belief we actually held was simply your being unsophisticated. They don’t say this in so many words, except to those who are already indoctrinated in communism.
“What they do say to the rest of us is to be objective; and then they twist that word ‘objective’ into meaning what they mean by dialectical materialism.”
“War has changed its form,” Mr. Hunter declared. “The Communists have discovered that a man killed by a bullet is useless. He can dig no coal. They have discovered that a demolished city is useless. Its mills produce no cloth. The objective of Communist warfare is to capture intact the minds of the people and their possessions, so they can be put to use. This is the modern conception of slavery that puts all the others in the kindergarten age.
“The United States is the main battlefield in this Red war. I mean specifically the people and the soil and the resources of the United States.
“It should be obvious to anyone who has observed the so-called cold war that the United States is its principal target. We need only read what the Communists themselves say, but we refuse to do so, exactly as we could not believe that Hitler meant what he said in Mein Kampf.
“The first battles in this total war have already been won by the forces of international communism in the United States. These victories are identical to those they have won in every country which they have ultimately taken over. They have succeeded in softening up a large element of the American population, particularly among those to whom we look for guidance, our so-called intellectuals and our so-called liberal circles. They have succeeded in making the United States think and talk of a coexistence period, as if that were an end in itself; while in other parts of the world, as in India, the Reds frankly explain that this coexistence is merely intended to give the Americans an easy way to choose their road toward communism.
“This is strategy. The Kremlin is merely giving the United States a choice in surrendering by voluntary change of attitude, to avoid more destructive ways of surrender. Unfortunately, in the United States, large elements, mainly among our non-Communist population, have been softened up into believing that if we can just stall on this situation, it will take care of itself. The Reds have succeeded in inducing business communities to look to Soviet trade as a means of restoring prosperity. Large business elements, with all their financial and other resources, are now being used to help the Communist objective of softening up America for recognition and acceptance of Red China, for instance.”
The Communists are being abetted in their brainwashing program in the United States, Mr. Hunter declared, by the collapse of traditional American ideals of self-reliance and individual integrity.
“The Communists have been in operation for a full generation, taking strategic advantage of the American principles, exploiting the best sides in our characters as vulnerabilities, and succeeding for a generation in changing the characteristics of Americans. I remember when I was a young man, every personnel department was looking for leadership qualities. What was sought was a man’s capacity as an individual to achieve new things. Today that is not even considered by personnel departments in their employment policies. They ask, instead, if the man ‘gets along’ with everybody. They do not ask what is his individuality; they ask how he conforms. When we raise a young man to believe that at all costs he must get on with everyone, we have put him into a state of mind that almost guarantees, if he falls into the hands of an enemy such as the Communists, that he will react as he had been raised, to try ‘to get on,’ because he must not be ‘antisocial.’
“Being ‘antisocial’ has become the cardinal sin in our society. We have to again go back to characteristics of ours which made us, as individuals, say that what is right is right, and whether or not it is antisocial, makes no difference. The young man who broadcast for the Red Chinese was simply ‘getting along’ as he had been taught to do by our educators.”
As an example of the success the Communists are achieving, Mr. Hunter cited statistics on American prisoners of war in Korea.
“Never before in history had so many captured Americans gone to the aid of the enemy.
“For 2 years the services studied the records of the prisoners. What they found was not pretty.
“A total of 7,190 Americans were captured. Of these, 6,656 were Army troops, 263 were airmen, 231 Marines, 40 Navy men.
“In every war in American history some men have managed to escape. Korea was the exception.
“Roughly 1 of every 3 American prisoners collaborated with the Communists in some way, either as informants or as propagandists.
“In the 20 prison camps, 2, 730 of the 7,190 Americans died, the highest morality rate among prisoners in United States history. Many of them died unnecessarily. They either did not know how to take care of themselves of they just lay down and quit. Some sick or wounded died of malnutrition abandoned by their comrades.
“Discipline among Americans was almost nonexistent. It was a case of dog eat dog for food, cigarettes, blankets, clothes.
“For the first time in history, Americans -- 21 of them -- swallowed the enemy’s propaganda line and declined to return to their own people.”
Mr. Hunter declared that in the struggle with the Soviet Union, “we are losing so fast that unless we put a very drastic end to it, the question of who is winning will be academic in a decade.”
“People at lectures and elsewhere,” he declared, “frequently ask that of me, as if begging me to say that we are winning. I wish I could, but one only has to think of the position of the United States at the end of the war and compare it to now. We only have to look at the map of the world as it was when signed the peace on the battleship Missouri and compare it to the map now. Great areas with enormous populations have fallen into the hands of the Reds, not through any approximation to the democratic process, but through sheer power pressures, by psychological warfare.”
Even an ultimate superiority in military weapons may not be sufficient to guarantee the survival of the United States, Mr. Hunter cautioned.
“In Korea, we had atomic weapons, but lost the war and were unable to use those weapons because of a political and psychological climate created by the Communists. The Kremlin today is fighting total war, and this means total, not with weapons of physical destruction alone, but mental destruction, too. The new weapons are for conquest intact, of peoples and cities. The future Pearl Harbor sputnik will be used if the situation demands it. But not unless the Kremlin has first succeeded in conquering the character and minds of a large enough element of the American people so that it will be fitting itself into the desires and needs of the Communist apparatus, no matter whether they think of themselves as Red or anti-Communist.”
Mr. Hunter continued: “The most deadly misconception of all, that requires a softening up in our thinking before we can make it, is the idea that there are different kinds of communism, and that besides international communism there is something called national communism, which fundamentally differs. There is nothing of the sort. We are again interpreting, on the basis of wishful thinking, what the Communists themselves are plainly saying. We base this national communism conception on Titoism. Tito at no time disowned or expressed doubt in any of the fundamental tenets of communism, and he is today expending all the time he can in trying to tell the world that he believes in communism, intends Communist objectives to win out in the long run all over the world. Communism in this, too, has been able, as always, to get the help it needs from the non-Communist and principally the anti-Communist world.
“Each time there has been a crisis in Soviet Russia, it could depend on the outside world for help. Today, under the theory that there are different forms of communism, and some Communist forms are not really Communist, or are less Communist than others, we are giving through aid programs and such propaganda assists as so-called exchange scholarships, the help and sustenance that these Communist countries require to survive. I have heard that under certain technical requirements of the law, completely fantastic statements have come from the White House and the State Department that communism in Yugoslavia really isn’t communism any more, and that communism in Poland is not real communism. I thought we had learned our lesson in China. We said that the communism of China, the communism of Mao Tse-tung was not really communism. We said it was not the communism of Moscow. Mao Tse-tung was saying it was the same communism, exactly as Tito says that the Communist ideology is basically the same everywhere, and that the objective for a Communist world is identical.”
The following consultation with Edward Hunter, author and foreign correspondent, was held at 10 a.m., March 13, 1958, in room 226, Old House Office Building, Washington, D. C., pursuant to the authorization of the Committee on Un-American Activities composed of:
Francis E. Walter, Pennsylvania, Chairman
Morgan M. Moulder, Missouri Bernard W. Kearney, New York
Clyde Doyle, California Donald L. Jackson, California
Edwin E. Willis, Louisiana Gordon H. Scherer, Ohio
William M. Tuck, Virginia Robert J. McIntosh, Michigan
Staff members present: Richard Arens, staff director, and William F. Heimlich, consultant.
MR. ARENS: The session today is the first in a series of consultations on the subject of the Communist psychological warfare which the Committee on Un-American Activities has inaugurated.
We are pleased to welcome to the consultation today Mr. Edward Hunter, whose distinguished career as foreign correspondent, author, editor, world traveler, and specialist in psychological warfare eminently qualifies him to speak authoritatively on the subject at hand.
STATEMENT OF EDWARD HUNTER
MR. ARENS: Mr. Hunter, may I ask you if you would kindly give us for the purpose of this record a thumbnail sketch of your own personal history?
MR. HUNTER: I am a journalist whose career began on a newspaper in New Jersey, the Newark Ledger, where I became news editor, then went to Europe and joined the Chicago Tribune in Paris. After an interlude on newspapers in America, I went to Japan to join the Japan advertiser, becoming its news editor.
A year later, I went to China and took over the Hankow Herald from the Communists. The Reds had just left, and shopkeepers still were talking of boxes of American dollars brought in by Moscow.
COLONEL HEIMLICH: What year was that, Mr. Hunter?
MR. HUNTER: Between 1926 and 1928. I remember events well, but not their years.
Next I went to Peking to become managing editor of the Peking Leader. I joined the Hearst newspaper syndicates in 1931, when the “Manchuria Incident” began. I witnessed the creation of the puppet state of Manchukuo. I accompanied the League of Nations mission of inquiry in Manchuria and saw the coronation of Emperor Pu-yi, now a prisoner of the Reds.
Hearst International News Service then sent me to Europe about the time of the Reichstag fire and its fake trial. I covered the conquest of Ethiopia by the Italian Fascists, which took modern psychological warfare one step beyond Manchukuo. I also saw two civil wars in Spain, the outbreak in the Basque territory and the big fight, which was a rehearsal for World War II.
Back to Europe, I witnessed the intrigue in the various foreign offices preceding the outbreak of hostilities. I saw the Nazis take back the Rhineland, and how the German Army expected the French government under Premier Flandin to exhibit determination and show up Hitler as a failure. Instead, it provided Hitler with a new demonstration of seemingly inevitable victory, and World War II, of course, followed.
I returned to America just before World War II, joining the foreign news desk of the New York Post. The Newspaper Guild then was Communist-dominated. I set up a national committee to coordinate the efforts of the various anti-Communist factions. For the first time in the history of trade unionism in America, the entire executive committee of the union was voted out, although all I did was simply communicate with these anti-Communist units and let them know they were not alone. This election restored the Newspaper Guild to American instead of Moscow-orientated newspapermen.
COLONEL HEIMLICH: When the war came along, Mr. Hunter, you went into OSS, I understand.
MR. HUNTER: Yes; as a propaganda specialist. I call that my sabbatical year -- really 2 years – away from journalism.
COLONEL HEIMLICH: You covered a very broad area of Asia during the war years, didn’t you?
MR. HUNTER: I was in what is generally known as the CBI THEATER: China, Burma, and India.
COLONEL HEIMLICH: Do you find a measurable difference between the attitudes of the people during that period and the present?
MR. HUNTER: During that period, America still had its old meaning to the peoples of Asia as a symbol of hope that could be relied on to help on a realistic basis.
Back on the New York Post after the war, I found myself in the midst of a little cold war that perfectly reflected the big one. The Post helped Wallace for president, and I got up a petition which almost everybody on the staff signed, pointing out that this did not represent our true feelings. The result was a thunderbolt to the lady who owned the newspaper. She fired the executives and divorced her husband, the publisher. He went out and started the pro-Red Compass.
I stayed on a while as foreign news editor, then returned to Asia as roving correspondent for the Cox newspapers. I interviewed Chinese who had escaped from the Red holocaust, witnessed the jungle warfare in Malaya, and the war by terror in Indochina. I traveled between Japan, Indonesia, and Burma. Recently I returned after a year in Afghanistan.
MR. ARENS: Mr. Hunter, how would you characterize the struggle between the East and the West?
MR. HUNTER: We do not have a war between the East and West. Certainly the Filipinos are not in the West. They are mostly Asians, like the peoples of Thailand, Iran, and Japan.
This expression, “the war between the East and the West,” has become a part of our thinking processes, an example of how a phrase can put great masses of people in a camp where they do not belong. What we really have is a total war in which a pattern for conquest by the Communist hierarchy is set up against the peoples of all countries outside the Red orbit – no matter whether they call themselves anti-Communist or neutralists.
MR. ARENS: Who are the antagonists in this total war?
MR. HUNTER: They are the Communists on the one side and all the other peoples of the world on the other. The Reds have a very practical setup. The antagonists, in their view, are the two strongest elements: on the one side the Kremlin, on the other side the United States.
MR. ARENS: When you say there is a total war, what do you mean? It is obvious that there is very little shooting going on in the world today. What are the devices of this total war?
MR. HUNTER: War has changed its form. The Communists have discovered that a man killed by a bullet is useless. He can dig no coal. They have discovered that demolished city is useless. Its mills produce no cloth. The objective of Communist warfare is to capture intact the minds of the people and their possessions, so they can be put to use. This is the modern conception of slavery that puts all others in the kindergarten age.
MR. ARENS: Where is this war being waged? Where are the battlefields? What are its geographical locations?
MR. HUNTER: The battlefield is wherever there is no Red “peace.” Peace, in the Communist vocabulary is the period when all have accepted, in a so-called voluntary manner, the inevitability of a Communist world. The battlefields are all the countries, which have not yet fallen into this Red orbit. The weapons used in this war are adjusted to the practical situation in each of those countries.
MR. ARENS: What are those weapons?
MR. HUNTER: They range from a smile and a “discussion meeting” to a leaflet and a booklet.
MR. ARENS: Is the United States part of this battlefield?
MR. HUNTER: The United States is the main battlefield in this Red war. I mean specifically the people and the soil and the resources of the United States.
It should be obvious to anyone who has observed the so-called cold war that the United States is the principal target. We need only read what the Communists themselves say, but we refuse to do so, exactly as we could not believe that Hitler meant what he said in Mein Kampf.
MR. ARENS: Does this mean that the principal objective is to convert the people of the United States to communism? Is their objective conversion, or subversion and conquest?
MR. HUNTER: Since Hungary, the world should know that communism is not an ideology except as a weapon for conquest. The Red objective against the United States is not the conversion of the American people to communism any more than it was to make true Communists out of the American prisoners of war in Korea. The Communist system is a power system, just as was that of Genghis Khan. We now have the same invading armies, given a new, pious political phraseology, making them hypocritical in a manner that the original hordes never were. The objective of all Communist conquest is simply use for power. They seek to conquer the United States in a manner so that it “voluntarily” falls into the Red orbit. If we have to be conquered by destructive nuclear-age weapons, it will be considered a setback by the Kremlin. Their objective is to make the same use of the American people as they make of the Czechs in the uranium mines in Czechoslovakia, and as they make of the Chinese in the mills of China. We are to become subjects of a “New World Order” for the benefit of a mad little knot of despots in the Kremlin.
MR. ARENS: On the basis of your background and experience, and as an intimate observer of this total war, Mr. Hunter, please express to us now your best appraisal of who is winning and who is losing this total war?
MR. HUNTER: I am always surprised to hear that question. People at lectures and elsewhere frequently ask that of me, as if begging me to say that we are winning. I wish I could, but one only has to think of the position of the United States at the end of the war and compare it to now. We only have to look at the map of the world as it was when we signed the peace on the battleship Missouri and compare it to the map now. Great areas with enormous populations have fallen into the hands of the Reds, not through any approximation of the democratic process, but through sheer power pressures, by psychological warfare. We are losing so fast that unless we put a very drastic end to it, the question of who is winning will be academic in a decade. People today also like to say, “This is a hundred-year war.” Human beings cannot remain in that sort of tenseness for a hundred years, and the Soviet Russia regime knows it. We are being lulled into feeling that although we are losing, we don’t have to do anything about it because by the time the situation reaches a climax we will be dead. We may be dead, but it won’t be the result of a natural death. I try to avoid phrases such as “the clock is nearly striking 12,” but there are times when they are the best descriptions of a reality, and this is one such time.
MR. ARENS: Some may ask how you can say that, Mr. Hunter, when we here in the United States are separated by thousands of miles of ocean from any potential military aggressor, when we have such military might and such apparent alertness to the potential threat of an attack by guided missiles?
MR. HUNTER: I wish we had alertness. We have everything except alertness to the way the Kremlin is fighting this war. We are being tremendously alert to the ways it is not fighting this war.
MR. ARENS: What do you mean by that?
MR. HUNTER: In Korea, we had atomic weapons, but lost the war and were unable to use those weapons because of a political and psychological climate created by the Communists. The Kremlin today is fighting total war, and this means total, not with weapons of physical destruction alone, but mental destruction, too. The future Pearl Harbor sputnik will be used if the situation demands it. But not unless the Kremlin has first succeeded in conquering the character and minds of a large enough element of the American people so that it will be fitting itself into the desire and needs of the Communist apparatus, no matter whether they think of themselves as Red or anti-Communist.
MR. ARENS; What is the nature of victories which are being won by the international Communist apparatus in the United Sates?
MR. HUNTER: The first battles in this total war have already been won by the forces of international communism in the United States. These victories are identical to those they have won in every country which they have ultimately taken over. They have succeeded in softening up a large element of the American population, particularly among those to whom we look for guidance, our so-called intellectuals and our so-called liberal circles. They have succeeded in making the United States think and talk of a coexistence period as if that were an end in itself; while in other parts of the world, as in India, the Reds frankly explain that this coexistence is merely intended to give the Americans an easy way to choose their road toward communism.
This is strategy. The Kremlin is merely giving the United States a choice of surrendering by voluntary change of attitude, to avoid more destructive ways of surrender. Unfortunately, in the United States, large elements, mainly among our non-Communist population, have been softened up into believing that we can just stall on this situation, it will take care of itself. The Reds have succeeded in inducing business communities to look to Soviet trade as a means of restoring prosperity. Large business elements, with all their financial and other resources, are now being used to help the Communist objective of softening up America for recognition and acceptance of Red China, for instance.
This Communist offensive has a double objective. One is the softening up, first stage of this total war. The other is to convince the peoples in their own Red-dominated countries that there is no hope. Since the Hungarian revolt, nobody in a Communist country thinks any longer of Red ideology, but only of Red power. The overwhelming mass of people is against communism in each Red country, including Red China and Red Russia. The only means by which these people can be discouraged from overthrowing their despots is by convincing them that they stand all alone; that the free world has accepted communism as inevitable.
American students, professors, and businessmen who wander through Red countries, in the eyes of the people there, confirm the Communist propaganda line that there is no hope; that the free world, especially America, the symbol of the free world, has given in to the Reds. That was the Communist purpose at the much-publicized Banding Conference, when the Asian and African countries met. The broadcasts to the people of China by the Peking regime stressed that all this proved that the outside world had recognized that Red China is here to stay. Any time an American student walks down a street in Red China, he is conveying one message to the silenced people who see him, and that is, “Don’t look to the outside world, don’t look to America, for help in your hour of need. We have let you down. We are betraying you.” There is no hate so fierce as the hate of a friend who feels he has been betrayed, and that is the theme of the whole world Communist propaganda program today; to convince the people inside communism, who hate it, that we have betrayed them, while convincing the people outside of the Communist world, principally in America, that there is a future for what they call, in their doubletalk, coexistence.
MR. ARENS: What is your reaction to the suggestions which we now hear from many quarters that the United States of America through its leaders sit down at a conference table with Kruschev and his associates and work out an agreement or agreements or some kind to solve this impasse?
MR. HUNTER; You can always sit down around a green table with the Communists and negotiate anything you wish, so long as it does not require actual concessions by the Communist world, but requires only concessions by ourselves. That has been the uninterrupted record of such negotiations with the Reds.
MR. ARENS: What, in your judgment, would be the result of another summit meeting?
MR. HUNTER: The same as with all such meetings in the past, only on an aggravated scale. We had a Geneva Conference. The results were broadcast throughout Asia as a stunning defeat for the free world. The results in actual conquest, the taking over of non-Communist areas by the Communists, were visible to anyone who compared maps. The Geneva Conference was a surrender. Its “spirit of Geneva,” which Prime Minister Nehru holds forth as the pattern to be followed by us in the future, meant no more than piecemeal surrender. The Reds will always give up something that is a paper promise, no matter what, in exchange for something tangible. We still accept paper promises as equivalent to what is tangible. So long as we continue in that delusion, such conferences serve only the purpose of continued chiseling away of parts of the free world.
MR. ARENS: Let us return to what you have characterized as the battleground in the United States in this total war, Mr. Hunter. It is quite obvious that there is no shooting going on in the United States. What is going on here that you can characterize or describe?
MR. HUNTER: I spent 30 years, a little bit more perhaps, in countries under various forms of Communist pressure an attack. What I am witnessing in America is no different from what I saw in those other countries. I am often referred to as someone who has made phenomenal predictions that proved correct on things to come. Actually, I have never made a prediction in my life. I have only predicted in the manner that one predicts the total of 4 after seeing the figures 2 plus 2.
I have been watching developments under communism in other parts of the world, and now I see exactly the same developments here in America.
MR. ARENS: What are those developments?
MR. HUNTER: They include, first of all, the penetration of our leadership circles by softening up and creating a defeatist state of mind. This includes penetration of our educational circles by a similar state of mind, in addition to one other thing – the long-range perspective of the professor who is above anything that is happening here and now, and considers himself as an objective spectator in a long, long vista of history. I see primarily, as part of this softening up process in America, the liquidation of our attitudes on what we used to recognize as right and wrong, what we used to accept as absolute moral standards. We now confuse moral standards with the sophistication of dialectical materialism, with a Communist crackpot theology which teaches that everything changes, and that what is right or wrong, good or bad, changes as well. So nothing they say is really good or bad. There is no such thing as truth or a lie; and any belief we actually held was simply our being unsophisticated. They don’t say this in so many words, except to those who are already indoctrinated in communism. What they do say to the rest of us is to be objective; and then they twist that word “objective” into meaning what they mean by dialectical materialism.
MR. ARENS: Is this weakening in America coincidental with the Communist drive, or in your opinion, is it concocted and deliberate?
MR. HUNTER: Even the most naïve among us can no longer believe that Communist international policy is set up for all the world except the United States. We have ample evidence in every country that has fallen under communism or which is under attack by communism, such as Malaya today, that the stages in this softening up process, which is part of their total war, did not just happen. They were planned by a political and military strategy board. They have their same strategy, with the same planning, in the United States as they had in China, and as they are doing in Malaya, and as they have done everywhere else they have conquered.
MR. ARENS: What is the mechanism in the United States?
MR. HUNTER: We are again talking of the obvious, except that it is obvious on so bold and broad a scale that we “just can’t believe it.” How often I hear that soporific phrase. The mechanism in the United States operates in exactly the same way as elsewhere.
In Korea, we persisted in talking of just a Korean war. The Communists never talked of just a Korean war; they talked of an all-Asia war. The advantage they derived from this was decisive. Whereas the British were dealing simply with a Malaya war, and the French with an Indochina war, and the Americans with a Korean war, the Communists were dealing with one front and one war, and moved their propaganda and fighting forces around according to the need. The United States has a Communist Party, and those who say that this is a weak party simply because it doesn’t have millions of members are deceiving themselves. This committee has produced volumes and volumes which prove the existence of fifteen or twenty thousand hardshell Communists in the United States, with a knot of hard-core Communist leaders. A huge, bulky party would not achieve the results they can. A small, powerfully knit element that can manipulate the non-Communist elements in the population is located in our nerve centers, where they can first paralyze us, and then defeat us.
MR. ARENS: How would you characterize the Communist Party in the United States?
MR. HUNTER: It is superficially a joke; but behind the façade are the real Communist operators. They know exactly what they are doing, and they adapt exactly what they are doing to the requirements and strategy of world communism. The Communist Party of America is simply one of the fingers on the two hands of world communism, and operates just as obediently to the mind of communism.
We are again engaging in doubletalk when we talk of the Communist “Party.” There is no such thing as a Communist Party, if by party we mean what our dictionaries call a party. It is a communist conspiracy, a Communist psychological warfare organization. The Communists derive their strength in America from their unity with world communism, and from their ability both in clandestine and overt circles to pull the strings for the non-Communists alone. Communists have never been able to achieve anything without a front. The communism that wins is always the communism that makes the non-Communist its ally; by non-Communist I don’t necessarily mean fellow travelers. I mean non-Communists who allow themselves to be trapped by Communist strategy. We see that operating today in official and business circles, which are essentially anti-Communist.
The business circles that do so have the false hope that there will be tremendous trade available, that the entire automobile industry of America will find great new markets in Red China, and that two families of nations, Communist and non-communist, can work together. That is merely a restoration under different terminology of what was so disastrous to us at the end of World War II when we were told that Mao Tse-tung and the Communists of China were not really Communists, but only agrarian reformers, sort of Chinese New Dealers, who thought and reacted the same as we.
MR. ARENS: On the basis of your background and experience, please tell us what part of this total warfare is psychological?
MR. HUNTER: Since man began, he has tried to influence other men or women to his way of thinking. There have always been these forms of pressure to change attitudes. Atrocities were the simplest changes through which people were forced in the old days to change their minds. Often they didn’t change their minds, but acted as if they did, which had the same result, and, as time went on, the new thoughts often actually came to be believed. There has been a remarkable difference developing in the last 30 years or so, which makes this as different from modern psychological warfare as the airplane is from the canon; it merely brings a shell a longer distance before dropping it somewhere. That is sheer sophism. The moment we discovered how to rise and remain above the earth, we had achieved something fundamentally new. It was no longer a cannon. It was an airplane. The same is true with modern psychological warfare. We discovered in the past 30 years a technique to influence, by clinical, hospital procedures, the thinking processes of human beings.
The basis for the modern psychological warfare, which makes it different from whatever was done in the past, are the findings of the Russian physiologist, Pavlov. He is not a Communist. He had completed his most important discoveries before the Communists took power. His first discovery was the effectiveness of using a living animal in experiments, rather than a dead animal. His second great discovery was that the instincts of an animal, that we call reflexes, were of two kinds. One was the reflexes which the animal was born with, its unconditioned reflexes. The other was its conditioned reflexes, which man can train into the animal. Most of us have heard of Pavlov’s experiments with dogs and lights. He first provided a bowl of food and turned on a light of a certain color, then an empty bowl and turned on a different colored light. After he had done this a number of times, he turned on the light that accompanied the food, but presented an empty bowl to the animal, and the dog deposited just as much saliva as when the bowl was full. When he presented a bowlful of food with the wrong light, the animal did not eat. After he switched the lights and bowls of food, the animal became neurotic, barked, was driven into a state which among human beings we can insanity.
When the Communist hierarchy in Moscow discovered that it was unable to persuade people willingly to follow communism, when they found that they could not create what they wanted, the “new Soviet man” in which human nature would be changed, they turned to Pavlov and his experiments. They considered people the same as animals anyway, and refused to recognize the role of reason or divinity in a human being. They took over the Pavlovian experiments on animals and extended them to people. They did so with the objective of changing human nature and creating a “new Soviet man.” People, they anticipated, would react voluntarily under Pavlovian pressures, in the way the dog does, to Communist orders, exactly as ants do in their collectivized society.
MR. ARENS: What were the results of their application of these techniques to people?
MR. HUNTER: We have been witnessing the results without knowing how they came about for 30 years and more. We saw the first results in the Moscow trials, when the Old Bolsheviks, who had dedicated their lives to Communist ideology and had successfully captured the Russian Revolution away from the democratic elements, appeared in open court and beat their breast and pleaded for execution as traitors to the Bolshevism they had set up. We heard confessions that came from the mouths of these people, but which no sense to us because they fit into no logical framework that we could as true. We saw such developments go on, not only with a small group of people picked for trial, but in a curiously similar fashion with large parts of the population in Communist areas, in their schools and in their villages. We saw the fine brain of Cardinal Mindszenty cracked in open court, and heard him brand himself everything we all knew the cardinal was not.
Against all this background that I had obtained as a foreign correspondent abroad, when I returned to Asia after World War II, I began to observe an unmistakable pattern in these strange, Communist psychological victories. These successes were being obtained not only with individuals, but in a very peculiar fashion, with masses of people. I came upon the pattern itself as a result of the use of this strategy in a careless manner by the Chinese Communist Government against the conquered people of China. I later saw it used in similarly crude fashion against American prisoners of war in Korea.
MR. ARENS: Would you then kindly give us the benefit of your observations, first, in the use of this technique by the Chinese Communist Government against its people; and then, secondly, in the use against the American prisoners of war?
MR. HUNTER: I am very glad you asked me first to talk about what I saw being done to the people of China, because that puts it in its proper context. While I was in Hong Kong, soon after the fall of the mainland, I interviewed Chinese who had fled from the mainland, all of whom expressed themselves in a strange but very similar fashion. I was stunned to hear them telling me things I had heard before. I had that weird feeling once, while interviewing a schoolteacher who had fled from the interior of China, after welcoming the Red Army into his city and facilitating its capture of the city. He had found out in time how different the Reds are to how they picture themselves, and he had escaped. As I was taking notes, I felt that I had written all this before, and yet how could I have done so? I had only recently returned to Hong Kong. Then it suddenly struck me. Some years before, I had interviewed one of the heads of the faculty of Leningrad University, who had escaped from Russia. This schoolteacher from the interior of China was telling me exactly what I had heard from the Russian professor of a different culture, many tens of thousands of miles away. I had that same eerie feeling often during that period, of different stories being related in some strange manner. In the jungles of Malaya, I came across the diaries taken from the bodies of slain Chinese guerrilla fighters. I had a number translated. To my amazement, I read exactly what I had heard from these people who had fled from China. The same “discussion meetings” that were held in the schools and factories of Red China, I now read about in these diaries as being held beneath a knot of tall trees inside the jungle.
In Indochina, I covered the trials of some of the terrorists who had engaged in such propaganda warfare pressures as rolling a hand grenade down the aisle of a children’s cinema when a Walt Disney movie was being shown. Those on trial spoke the same language, with the same expressions and the same explanations as I had heard from Red China, and had read in the diaries kept by the guerrillas in Malaya. A set of Soviet Chinese textbooks were smuggled out of China for me. They were being used in every school from Dairen in Manchuria to Canton in the south. I came across the same teachings as I heard in the interviews, read in the diaries and listened to at the trials. One day I interviewed secretly a young man who had come out of Red China on a mission. I had known his family. During the interview, he used the phrase “hsi nao” or “wash brain.” I immediately stopped him, asking what he meant. He laughed and said, “Oh, that’s nothing; it’s only something we say when close relatives or friends get together.” When somebody said something the Peiping Government wouldn’t like, a relative or friend was liable to say to him, “Watch out, you’ll get your brains washed. “ that was the first time I heard the word “brainwashing.” I was the first to use the word in writing in any language, and the first to use it in a speech in any language except for that small group of Chinese. That and its connotation, against this background that I had been weaving ever since I started in journalism, especially during the years since the civil war in China became acute, was like a streak of lightning, clarifying the pattern of which I had already discerned it shadows. Brainwashing was the new procedure, built up out of all earlier processes of persuasion, using the Pavlovian approach to make people react in a way determined by a central authority, exactly as bees in a hive.
MR. ARENS: And now will you kindly recount your experiences and observations of brainwashing in Korea?
MR. HUNTER: The Korean war began after my discovery of brainwashing. That is very significant. Before I went to Korea, I had engaged in intensive research directly related to this word “brainwashing,” because I wanted to know exactly the content of the word. I found it was a strategy for the conquest of the world by communism, that it was not merely another tactic, but was the framework for the entire activity of the Communist hierarchy. I was so impressed with the importance of this discovery that I wrote a book on it called Brain-Washing in Red China, in which I made no effort to do any special interpreting, but merely outlined as plainly as I could the various elements that went into brainwashing. For the first time, our side now had the pattern through which the international communist movement had made its advance throughout the world. I wrote about brainwashing in newspaper articles and for a magazine before I did the book. Then I went to Korea, where I found that the same pattern that I had seen everywhere else was being followed by the Communists. I heard of American captured personnel broadcasting denunciations of their own country and confessing to a non-existent germ warfare in a manner and in a language that fit exactly into the brainwashing pattern that I had found in China and the rest of Asia.
MR. ARENS: Exactly what is this brainwashing?
MR. HUNTER: A more exact term in the military lexicon would be “mind attack.” We are accustomed to such terms as infantry attack, naval attack, air attack. Mind attack simply recognizes a new dimension to the kinds of war used against armies on the field or against peaceful populations.
Brainwashing consists of two processes, a softening up and an indoctrination process. Each of these is formed out of a set of different elements. I listed them in my second book, Brainwashing: The Story of Men Who Defied It—as hunger, fatigue, tenseness, threats, violence, and in more intense cases where the Reds have specialists available on their brainwashing panels, drugs and hypnotism. No one of these elements alone can be regarded as brainwashing, any more than an apple can be called an apple pie. Other ingredients have to be added, and a cooking process gone through. So it is in brainwashing with indoctrination or atrocities, or any other single ingredient.
The moment we think of brainwashing as only one of the elements of which it is composed, we no longer have brainwashing, any more than we have a pumpkin pie from pumpkin alone.
MR. ARENS: Now, specifically, what happened to the American prisoners in Korea?
MR. HUNTER: Let me quote from a newspaper dispatch from the New York Times of January 6, 1957, sent out from Washington by the Associated Press 2 days before. The subject was out new troop indoctrination program, based on the Code of Honor that President Eisenhower proclaimed on August 17, 1955. The figures were taken from official accounts. Here is what the article says:
"Never before in history had so many captured Americans gone to the aid of the enemy. For 2 years the services studied the records of the prisoners. What they found was not pretty.
"A total of 7,190 Americans were captured. Of these, 6,656 were Army troops, 263 were airmen, 231 Marines, 40 Navy men. In every war in American history some men have managed to escape. Korea was the exception. Roughly 1 or every 3 American prisoners collaborated with the Communists in some way, either as informers or propagandists.
"In the 20 prison camps, 2, 730 of the 7,190 Americans died, the highest mortality rate among prisoners in United States history. Many of them died unnecessarily. They either did not know how to take care of themselves of they just lay down and quit. Some sick or wounded died of malnutrition, abandoned by their comrades.
"Discipline among Americans was almost nonexistent. It was a case of dog eat dog for food, cigarettes, blankets, clothes.
For the first time in history Americans -- 21 of them -- swallowed the enemy’s propaganda line and declined to return to their own people."
This is only part of the picture. A glimpse.
MR. ARENS: What were the techniques used?
MR. HUNTER: The Communist inquisitors in the POW camps depended first of all on a screening process to provide them with the men most likely to succumb to brainwashing. They picked the ones they figured would be most useful to them from among these. Cunning was all that was needed, along with a complete disregard for ethics; no special intelligence. This should be stressed. They have based their technique primarily on the complete abandonment of morality. That is their contribution to world thought.
There can be no doubt that they had Communist underground guidance in this work in the United States, through the party and Red agents. They were well prepared ahead for all phases of the Korean war, while we allowed ourselves to caught unawares, as if by intent.
They sized up each prisoner’s character to find out whether he carried a grudge against his superiors, his neighbors, or society in general, or whether he made an intellectual fetish out of objectivity, indoctrinated by his own side in concentrating on the good points on every side, so he could “get along” with everybody and not be “antisocial.” The most effective trick in the Communist indoctrination process was to exploit this quack liberal and make-believe tolerant approach by equating what was the exception on the one side with what was typical on the other, and reaching the conclusion from that basis that both were alike. If the prisoner was the quite usual type we had been developing, who had been brought up to as, “What’s in it for me?” he was considered particularly a fine prospect.
The Communist interrogators, as the brainwashers called themselves, sought to remove a man’s trust in his own side, and to convince him that he was being let down and even betrayed by his own country and relatives, especially by his wife or girl friend. The Reds sought to deprive him of all hope. Once they could accomplish this, they presented themselves to him as his new friends, as “Big Brother,” who would always stand by him through thick and thin, who would always love him. The cruelties they had perpetrated on him they now interpreted the discipline of a kind father.
They took sly advantage of our shocking failure even to make an attempt to communicate with our captured men, or to try to free any of them. Even a failure would have been better for morale than utter silence which, under the circumstances, looked as if we didn’t care. The Red indoctrinators built up this impression and fit it into their patter of selfish, imperialist American led by bloated Wall Street financiers who were using our people as cannon fodder.
They had a Roman holiday over our failure even to tell our men why they were being sent to Korea to fight. When I was in Korea as a foreign correspondent, a high Army officer once came to me and pleaded with me to tell him what he was doing in Korea. He knew that the Red propagandists were spreading their reasons for him to be there, even among his own men, and he had no answers to their questions. “Nobody tells me anything,” he said. This man had a heroic fighting record in the Normandy landings and was a career officer. There was no question of his sincerity and patriotism. Yet how could he have been expected to stand up against brainwashing? He was typical of those who were captured, who had not been told why they were fighting in Korea, or anything about the nature of communism. The Red inquisitors filled the gap for these men, as possibly their most effective work.
The Reds presented their version of why the Americans had come and in default of any other information it upset many of the men. Even when they kept quiet, they couldn’t stop worrying over what the Reds said. Half-truth and even entire lies sounded convincing to men who had no knowledge of the situation at all. The inquisitors gave our men nothing to think of except communism. How were out boys to know that this was one of the Red techniques to break them down?
The Reds selected Americans who had fine intelligence quotients, but with poor education. Their heads were like a good, solid but empty bucket, only waiting to be filled. The Reds did so with their own slanted material. They deprived all these men of reading matter except what was pro-Red, and gave them plenty of that, and lots of time in which to read it. They especially fed the boys the writings of pro-Communist Americans. One of the most corrosive publications was a magazine called The China Monthly Review, published by American pro-Communists at Shanghai. The men couldn’t get over the shock of an American-edited magazine being put out in Red China. They read it out of indignation or curiosity, and because they had nothing else to do. The smoothly written poisons caught them by utter surprise, leaving a deep impression on their minds. In a number of cases, it was the decisive factor in their softening up.
The enemy didn’t neglect the indoctrination process, but used it simultaneously. The one thing the prisoners least expected was to come into a classroom atmosphere. Yet this was what the Communists endeavored to create. Americans respect learning and have been taught to gather it everywhere they can, and also to see all sides of every question. Unfortunately, they have been taught this objectivity in a salesmanship context in which the principal axiom is “The customer is always right.” They were first seduced into accepting something superficial about communism with which they agreed, which they would admit was good. They had no way of checking up. The indoctrinators depended on their one-sided control of information and their doctrinal skill in subterfuge and doubletalk to soon have these men admitting that white was black, and war was peace, in the semantics of the Newspeak language described with such genius by George Orwell in his book, 1984.
Perhaps the best illustration of the pressures put on our troops was given to me by an Air Force officer named Capt. Zach W. Dean. He was taken on a “death march” and put in a Korean hut and left to hunger and freeze while the Reds harassed him with threats and propaganda and what they called “learning,” until he became so weak and sick that he felt he was going to die. At once the Communists changed their tactic, providing him with vitamin tablets and injections, good enough food, and kindly words, until they saved his life. A few weeks passed and the cat-and-mouse game switched back once more. He was again put under the brainwashing pressures. He became sick again, catching pneumonia on top of another case of freezing. Deprived of all attention, he was positive he was going to die this time. Then once more they switched moods, and he was given the best available of everything, and again his life was saved. Zach knew what a deep study I had made of all this. I can never forget the look he gave me when he told me about it, saying, “Mr. Hunter, I don’t believe you’ll be able to understand what I’m going to tell you now. After the Reds do that to you a few times, you are grateful to them for saving your life. You forget that they are the people who almost killed you.”
That is the Red technique used on all occasions under every sort of circumstance, from a POW camp to a United Nations session or a Geneva conference.
No man has ever been brainwashed whose mind has not first been put into a fog. That is the objective of all the Red pressures from group hunter to a “study group.” The patient first has to be deprived of his bearings, to be shaken loose from whatever belief and convictions he formerly held, until he loses faith in them entirely. We contributed to the enemy’s success by bringing up our young men and women without real convictions except to “get ahead.” The obvious way to “get ahead” in POW camp was to play along with the Communists. Hungry, tired, sick, worried, and hopeless, the prisoner’s mind could not be expected to work well. He was caught off guard. The Reds first lured the individual into believing the Red tenet in the pseudoscientific Marxian philosophy which teaches constant change, even in such basic conceptions as truth and falsity, good and bad. The Reds were helped in putting this across by comparing it to our tolerance and liberalism. Where convictions were already worn thin by their upbringing, the line became blurred until these noble traits were twisted out of shape by becoming tolerance for evil and the inability to distinguish between a college huddle back home and a brainwashing session in a POW camp.
Note that I use the word “patient” in referring to the prisoner. I do so deliberately, because brainwashing can only be properly understood from the clinical viewpoint; it is a treatment, as evil as a black mass.
Brain-Washing in Red China had been published in sufficient time to warn our troops about this procedure. It was recommended for the book kits and approved by all concerned. Somehow, influences from the woodwork prevented it from being distributed to the men. After the release of the POW’s, I felt sick at heart to hear them tell me how much suffering it could have saved them, and how many could have preserved themselves from falling into a treasonable situation, if they had only read that book. “Why wasn’t I told?” was their agonizing question to me.
MR. ARENS: What significance do you attach to the brainwashing episodes in Korea?
MR. HUNTER: We have been so overwhelmed by the shock of what took place in those brainwashing cells in Korea that we forget that this was not the first time it was used in a concentrated way. Remember, I had started writing a book about it even before the Korean war started.
The Reds always operate with an immediate as well as a long-range objective. They have a worldwide objective for brainwashing, just as they had a local objective in the POW camps; the same as they have a global operation going on all the time in brainwashing, adjusted in Communist countries to the non-Communist peoples, as in the United States. In the POW camps, they put their emphasis on the softening up process, exactly as they are doing now in America, because that was what gave them what they wanted at once for the immediate needs of the war. A great proportion of people in the POW camps, as in any Communist country, did not believe the Red line, and never did believe it. We should not regard this as proof that the Communists failed, which some of us are doing, but as indication of the Communist technique. They never expected the mass of soldiers to be Communists. They didn’t them as true believers. It wasn’t necessary.
Hungary has shown an example of a population which appeared satisfied with the Red control, seeming to believe in its doctrines. In Hungary, we saw overnight the people who acted and talked as if they were Communists reveal themselves as unbelievers, furiously fighting to the death with their bare hands against communism. Yet, such a population is pointed out as pro-Red. What is important to the Communist hierarchy from its power standpoint is that others act and talk as pro-Reds. That is what happened inside the POW camps. Very few people in any Communist country are Red. We should never forget this. The Reds believe basically in power, in what individuals say and what they do. So long as people do what they are told, and go through the verbalisms and motions attached to belief, that is satisfactory to a power faction such as the Kremlin constitutes. This is the immediate short-range objective.
A certain element must become deeply indoctrinated, especially those who have thrown their interests irrevocably into the Red camp, and these constitute the activists, the hard core of the party. They are a small minority, and the constant purges even in their ranks shows how untrustworthy even these are.
In any area under communism, so long as the Reds are able to maintain a controlled environment, and are indisputably in power, the population comes to talk and act as pro-Communist. The people follow orders, even to the expression of the Communist point of view. That is how it is in any Communist country, and how it was in the POW environment. After all, a nation under communism is a prison state, and its people do not live under any essentially different conditions.
The Communist hierarchy well knows that its brainwashing is only skin deep in the overwhelming number of cases, and can be depended on only so long as the individual can be kept isolated from outside information or influence. That is the significance of the Iron Curtain, as true for a Red satellite as for a POW enclosure. Once the POW reached the fresh air of the free world, of course, the poisons usually began to leave his system. So it is with anyone from a Communist country, and is why the normal individual is not allowed out of his native land except when he leaves his loved ones behind as hostages, or his return is otherwise assured. Indoctrination in the majority of cases does not bring about true belief, but only submission.
We shouldn’t allow ourselves to be misled or lured into inaction by this, for it makes little difference to the issue at the time whether the man who is lecturing on how he dropped germs on a peaceful population believes he or doesn’t. When the desired effect on the audience is achieved, the result is the same. That is what the Communists mean by power politics. By the time the audience learns differently, the Reds will have achieved their end.
If we deal with such Red-dominated populations as our enemy, refusing to recognize our secret allies, we will be defeating ourselves, making our collapse sure in this sleepy, coexistence era, with or without the need for a sputnik Pearl Harbor.
MR. ARENS: Is this technique used by the Communists applicable to areas and circumstances other as between a captor and prisoner?
MR. HUNTER: Unfortunately for the Korean POW’s, and unhappily for civilian foreigners and especially the inhabitants of Red countries, knowledge of brainwashing was kept quite secret until near the end of the Korean war. Only the determined efforts of the released POW’s succeeded in breaking through that partly concocted, partly bureaucratic curtain. Brainwashing was being successfully hushed up the same way as information about the tremendous slave labor camps in the U.S.S.R.
This delay in revealing brainwashing left the public with a twisted conception of it. People still think it has something to do only with prisoners of war, and possibly foreigners put under arrest. They still don’t conceive of it as having to do with the populations of Communist countries. I’ve told that in my two books on brainwashing, but try to find them in your bookshops or even in most public libraries. They are high up on recommended lists for libraries and schools, as has been read into the Congressional Record. Brainwashing only incidentally concerns military prisoners or foreigners. This strategy of mind attack is aimed principally at the inhabitants of Communist countries, and has as its objective a forced change in their nature to make them over into “new Soviet men.”
This is the true character of mind attack, which the Reds have succeeded in hiding. Those who pretend that American prisoners were not submitted to brainwashing either have to deny that the people under communism were put under these pressures, or else hush up the details. My original brainwashing findings were based on what was happening to civilians on the Chinese mainland. I wrote about the brainwashing of Chinese officials, teachers, and merchants – all ordinary folk. What they underwent, the American and British troops did later on in Korea. I will never forget the amazement that spread over the faces of released POW’s when they first saw this book, and the relief it gave many who still felt sick over their experience. As the liberal book reviewer, Sterling North wrote:
"Why do the books revealing these truths get so little notice in the New York press and so modest a play in the bookstores? Terror is terror, no matter who perpetrates it. Unless we are to be known as a nation of hypocrites, the time has come to drop our blinders."
He wrote this in 1952, and the hush-hush continues in 1958. Those blinders are still over our eyes. Persistence in bringing out such facts, as this committee is doing, is the main obstacle to the success of the Communist psychological warfare techniques. You are doing a work which if left undone would leave our country helpless and betrayed before a new nuclear age sneak attack. The wonder is not that you are the butt of a subtle campaign to put you out of existence, but that it isn’t even more intensified. Take pride in it.
We should not lose sight of the significant fact that the pressures used between captor and prisoner in the POW camps were identical to those utilized in Red China between Communist Party interrogators and the people. The Red Chinese population, the Russian populace, the Hungarians, and the inhabitants of the other satellite countries are all under the same treatment, and are our secret allies. The major objective of the Red network is to make us betray them. The issued, for instance, is not representation in the U.N. and at Washington, for 600 million Chinese by Peking, but their misrepresentation. That is what is being urged, and the stakes are high; either their help in overthrowing our common foe, or their blind fury against us for letting them down when they needed us most.
The similarity between the treatment given to military prisoners and to their own people by the Red hierarchy is perhaps the most convincing evidence we find of the callousness and inhumanity with which a Communist regime regards its own people.
The routine in the so-called “learning” classes for the faculty of any Chinese Communist school or government bureau, factory or business establishment, was identical to that in the POW camps, with the identical stages that progressed through the writing of biographies and self-criticisms, along with diaries that had to be made available to the indoctrinators, to intermittent confessions and the ultimate indecent and humiliating disrobing of minds in an enforced mental orgy called “thought conclusions.”
These were all the same in essence, the only difference being in the greater or less stress put on the various elements that constitute brainwashing, according to the needs of the particular environment. In a Red community, such pressures as hunger and fatigue, threats and violence, are enforced as a way of life through the manipulation of an artificially maintained low standard of living. Exactly as they dare not do away with the conditioned environment, popularly known as the Iron Curtain, the Red governments dare not permit their people to sleep well, and to have unimpeded leisure, any more than in POW camps. The people of a Red country are considered just as much as enemies by the Communist hierarchy as were the American and British POW’s in Korea.
Incalculable tens of millions of Chinese people have been arrested by the Mao Tse-tung regime on political charges since the fall of the mainland, and a horrible percentage of them killed. They all had to attend “learning” classes the same as the POW’s. All the Chinese people who have not been imprisoned also have had to undergo this clinical form of “learning,” which is obligatory for every human being on the Chinese mainland.
The word “learning” should be in quotation marks, because it is a bizarre example of Red semantics. The word is written in Chinese with a different character than the ordinary word “learning,” although pronounced the same, and means only political learning from the Communist point of view. Those who translate the word without revealing this are abetting the Communist propaganda intent. We’re almost trapped into doing it whether we like it or not. That is Red semantics, the most effective of the tools utilized in brainwashing.
MR. ARENS: Do you have a specific illustration of the way in which the leadership in our Nation has been duped or brainwashed with reference to the international Communist conspiracy?
MR. HUNTER: The most deadly misconception of all, that requires a softening up in our thinking before we can make it, is the idea that there are different kinds of communism, and that besides international communism there is something called national communism, which fundamentally differs. There is nothing of the sort. We are again interpreting, on the basis of wishful thinking, what the Communists themselves are plainly saying. We base this national communism conception on Titoism. Tito at no time disowned or expressed doubt in any of the fundamental tenets of communism, and he is today expending all the time he can in trying to tell the world that he believes in communism, intends Communist objectives to win out in the long run all over the world. Communism in this, too, has been able, as always, to get the help it needs from the non-Communist and principally the anti-Communist world.
Each time there has been a crisis in Soviet Russia, it could depend on the outside world for help. Today, under the theory that there are different forms of communism, and some Communist forms are not really Communist, or are less Communist than others, we are giving through aid programs and such propaganda assists as so-called exchange scholarships, the help and sustenance that these Communist countries require to survive. I have heard that under certain technical requirements of the law, completely fantastic statements have come from the White House and the State Department that communism in Yugoslavia really isn’t communism any more, and that communism in Poland is not real communism. I thought we had learned our lesson in China. We said that the communism of China, the communism of Mao Tse-tung, was not really communism. We said it was not the communism of Moscow. Mao Tse-tung was saying it was the same communism, exactly as Tito says that the Communist ideology is basically the same everywhere, and that the objective for a Communist world identical. Yet we insist on saying that Tito and Mao Tse-tung, just as Hitler, did not mean what they were doing their best to say they did mean.
MR. ARENS: What can we do about it?
MR. HUNTER: First of all, we have to begin by realizing that we are very, very late. The Communists have been operating for a full generation, taking strategic advantage of the American principles, exploiting the best sides in our characters as vulnerabilities, and succeeding for a generation in changing the characteristics of Americans. I remember when I was a young man, every personnel department was looking for leadership qualities. What was sought was a man’s capacity as an individual to achieve new things. Today that is not even considered by personnel departments in their “employment policies. They ask, instead, if the man “gets along” with everybody. They do not ask what is his individuality; they ask how he conforms. When we raise a young man to believe that at all costs he must get on with everyone, we have put him into a state of mind that almost guarantees, if he falls into the hands of an enemy such as the Communists, that he will react as he had been raised, to try “to get on,” because he must not be “antisocial.” Being “antisocial” has become the cardinal sin in our society. We have to again go back to characteristics of ours which made us, as individuals, say that what is right is right, and whether or not it is antisocial makes no difference. The young man who broadcast for the Red Chinese was simply “getting along” as he had been taught to do by our educators.
What we can do in defense against brainwashing is very difficult now, because we have lost a generation. We should begin by scotching a type of mentality that is both defeatist and unrealistic and which repeats the so-called sophisticated observation, “Every man has a breaking point,” with the inference that brainwashing is hence unbeatable and we might as well not do anything about it. That seems to be the preferred conclusion in certain circles. Anyone who comes forth with that finding is welcomed by them, and has no difficulty having his writings displayed in the bookshops and learnedly reviewed. A psychiatrist would be needed to analyze that masochistic trait in some of us.
Pavlov’s experiments do have significance for the human being, so we are destined to become ants through the medium of a collectivist society, is the blasé deduction in these sadistically inclined, fake intellectual circles.
But this is loose thinking. Of course every man has a breaking point, has always had, and will always have. Even granite can be crushed into power. What does that signify? The huskiest wrestler in the world can stand only a certain amount of weight on his arm before it cracks. The healthiest man in the world can be killed in a moment by a bullet that penetrates a vital organ. So what? They simply avoid such situations wherever normally possible. They narrow down the times when they can be trapped that way, or they make it too costly for the assailant.
The basic point is that this breaking point varies constantly with the same individual. Exercise, training, determination, and a host of other elements all enter into it. There isn’t a single human being so weak or so strong, so stupid or so clever, that he cannot be improved. His mental resistance can be strengthened just as much as his physical.
The type of mentality I have been outlining is the result of the softening up that has been taking place in our society during the past few decades under Communist encouragement. Our fist task is to correct that sloppy way of thinking, especially when coated with a veneer of the professional.
The world situation has created the need for a conscious extension of the sort of training we give Boy Scouts, for example. They are taught what to do when lost in the woods. Our pilots are taught the same survival methods, so they know what berries can poison them or keep them alive. We simply have to extend that nowadays to teaching a man what to do when lost in an ideological jungle, giving him what I call “mental survival stamina.” No longer is it sufficient for him to just enjoy the privileges of a free society. He must learn what constitutes freedom, and the pitfalls that destroy it. We have always had camp crafts in the military. This merely extends them farther. That was the simple basis on which the services presumably are adopting a program to resist brainwashing.
The experiences of those who have undergone brainwashing tell us what traits are effective in providing mental survival stamina. In my second book, Brainwashing: The Story of Men Who Defied It, I list them the same way as I do the pressures that break a mind. They are given as follows:
"Faith, convictions, clarity of mind, a closed mind, purpose, keeping one’s mind busy, confidence, deceit, high jinks, adaptability, crusading spirit, group feelings, being yourself."
Some of these are readily understandable, others can be misinterpreted and require explanation, as the closed mind, deceit, and possibly high jinks. A closed mind does not mean narrowmindedness of fanaticism. What it does mean is that you have already reached a conclusion on a specific matter in question and under the circumstances there is no earthly use in discussing it. One doesn’t discuss, for instance, whether it isn’t all right to slap one’s mother in the face, or to slap one’s country in the face with a propaganda talk while under the enemy. One doesn’t have to prove himself objective or fairminded by discussing those matters. There are innumerable others. The difference between a closed mind and fanaticism is that one shuts the door in the former case, locks it, and puts the key in one’s pocket. You can open the door if you wish, but there’s no logical reason to do so. The fanatic cements the door in place so it never can be opened again. A balanced mind reaches conclusions on basic subjects, then passes on to others. He doesn’t return to the earlier ones unless some drastic reason impels him to. A POW camp is certainly not the locale, with all the dice loaded and in the hands of the brainwasher.
Anyone who wouldn’t use deceit on a crazy man advancing toward him with a dagger would be extremely stupid. A madman is humored, and that is another way of saying deceived. The Communist ideology, like the Fascist, has a streak of insanity in it. Stalin had it the same as Hitler. Prisoners of war still are soldiers, and it surely is no more wrong to deceive an enemy than to kill him. Deceit is a recognized part of military tactics. As told me by the Reverend Olin Stockwell, an American missionary who was intensively brainwashed by the Reds, “I lied like a trooper.” He had sense. The Reds were at war with his church as well as his country, and he would have been silly to make believe not.
The Reds extracted confessions from practically anyone, no matter on how trivial a matter, even when they knew it was a fake from beginning to end. This mystified the prisoners, but there was a psychological reason. Confession is a form of submission, and was so recognized in early language. Confession accustoms the individual to surrender his integrity as well as his body.
Quite a bit of controversy has arisen over the way to counteract the confession tactic. While some insist on not replying to the Communists, giving no answers to their questions, other urge total confessions of everything imaginable, except the truth, by everybody. There are serious drawbacks to both of these as an exclusive approach, but there is no reason why we have to choose any single defense tactic. Let us use them all, according to the situation and how we’re organized at that time. That’s adaptability. We already know the utter falsity of Communist-obtained confessions, and that much, at least, should be proclaimed to all the world. We seem to feel that we mustn’t hurt the feelings of the Reds by stressing any such ugly trick of theirs.
We can also acquaint the world at once with this Pavlovian approach that equates a man with beasts of the field. Strangely, we are hushing up that aspect of it. I tell in Brainwashing: The Story of Men Who Defied It, about a film I saw, made in the U.S.S.R. for training purposes, that shows experiments on a human being as if he were a dog. I can imagine no more effective anti-Communist movie, and we didn’t make it; Moscow did. The film is available, yet we are careful not to offend the Reds by showing it. I cannot conceive of anyone in Hindu India or Moslem Egypt seeing that film and retaining anything except disgust for the Reds.
The most important elements of mental survival stamina are faith and convictions. I never expected this to be questioned. After all, my information came out of the experiences of the brainwashed themselves. Yet there has been a most peculiar resentment of that finding. I believe this is the most significant of my discoveries for Americans, for it reveals a national vulnerability that has crept into our character, which it is the responsibility of every one of our citizens to help remove.
I had gathered the material for my first book by the old-fashioned way of going to news sources for it. I kept extensive notebooks. I decided to retain that method in all my writing. I built up Brain-Washing in Red China out of the material in my notebooks, giving each interview and each experience the way it happened, so the reader would obtain each picture as I saw it originally. Only after I had finished it and read it in published form did I realize the full extent of what I had brought out. My faith in the bare truth, in the manner in which I had been taught to believe in it as a cub reporter in a generation now past, was completely justified. The brainwashing secret that the Kremlin had been able to keep bottled up in the Lubyanka and the other dungeons of its secret police had slipped out through its back door in China.
I made many lasting friendships through my first book. One was with Dr. Leon Freedom, a Baltimore brain specialist and psychiatrist, and also his keen-minded wife, Virginia. Before I ever heard of him, he was giving talks based on my book. After we met, I began going to him after some especially important interview, and we would discuss it for hours after his busy day at the clinic. He would analyze it from the medical point of view. He clarified the connection between brainwashing and Pavlov’s conditioning of dogs. He opened that vista for me.
One day, I was jotting down notes during an interview with a brainwashed man from Eastern Europe, when I recognized once more that these words were alike others I had been recording, told me by persons who had undergone this mental torture in China. The subject of the particular paragraph was how he had managed to survive to the extent he had under those horrible pressures. The significance of this dawned on me. That night I went over my notebooks and found the second patter, this time for the preservation of a man’s mind, not merely for its destruction. Our survival depends on us understanding that.
Each time a man told me how he had come out of the hands of his Red inquisitors, to the extent that he had retained his integrity, he had explained how he had defeated it. I found these details always the same, no matter whether the individual came from Siberia or China, the Soviet Union or Czechoslovakia, or whether he was American or German, Chinese or Japanese, irrespective of his profession, whether military or missionary of merchant. I realized then that I had in my notebooks the patter for the defeat of brainwashing, for the preservation of men’s minds against the most vicious and sly attacks ever made on the human brain, in which all of our great contributions of science and civilization were being focused on the upside-down task of making healthy minds sick. When I came upon this patter for what I called mental survival stamina, I now know I had the material for a second book, and the responsibility to write it. That was how Brainwashing: The Story of Men Who Defied It came into existence.
To complete the record, I have written a third book, The Story of Mary Liu. I am told it reads like a novel, although every name and detail are true. There is a Mary Liu. The story deals with this same human problem of the preservation of man’s integrity under tremendous odds. The Story of Mary Liu gives the experience of a single individual, and deals primarily with the religious field. Because of her very special condition, she was able to witness from behind the scenes what foreigners were not allowed to see in Red China, even those who were pro-Communist.
MR. ARENS: Thank you very much, Mr. Hunter.
(Thereupon, at 1:30 p.m., Thursday, March 13, 1958, the consultation was concluded.)
COMMITTEE ON UN-AMERICAN ACTIVITIES
UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Francis E. Walter, Pennsylvania, Chairman
Morgan M. Moulder, Missouri
Clyde Doyle, California
Edwin E. Willis, Louisiana
William M. Tuck, Virginia
Bernard W. Kearney, New York
Donald L. Jackson, California
Gordon H. Scherer, Ohio
Robert J. McIntosh, Michigan
Richard Arens, Staff Director
Public Law 601, 79th Congress
The legislation under which the House Committee on Un-American Activities operates is Public Law 601, 79th Congress , chapter 753, 2d session, which provides:
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
Part 2--RULES OF TIIE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Sec. 121 Standing Committees
17. Committee on Un-American Activities, to consist of nine members.
Powers and Duties of Committees
(q) (I) Committee on Un-American Activities.
(A) Un-American activities.
(2) The Committee on Un-American Activities, as a whole or by subcommittee is authorized to make from time to time investigations of (i) the extent, character, and objects of un-American propaganda activities in tile United States, (ii) the diffusion within the United States of subversive and un-American propaganda that is instigated from foreign countries or of a domestic origin and attacks the principle of the form of government as guaranteed by our Constitution, and (iii) all other questions in relation thereto that would aid Congress in any necessary remedial legislation shall report to the House (or to the Clerk of the House if the House is not in session) the results of any such investigation, together with such recommendations as it deems advisable.
For the purpose of any such investigation, the Committee on Un-American Activities, or any subcommittee thereof, is authorized to sit and act at such times and places within the United States, whether or not the House is sitting, has recessed, or has adjourned, to hold such hearings, to require the attendance of such witnesses and the production of such books, papers, and documents, and to take such testimony, as it deems necessary. Subpenas may be issued under the signature of the chairman of the committee or any subcommittee, or by any member designated by any such chairman of the committee or any subcommittee, or by any member designated by any such chairman, and may be served by any person designated by any such chairman or member.
Sec. 136. To assist the Congress in Appraising the administration of the laws and in developing such amendments or related legislation as it may deem necessary, each standing committee of the Senate and the House of Representatives shall exercise continuous watchfulness of the execution by the administrative agencies concerned of any laws, the subject matter of which is within the jurisdiction of such committee; and, for that purpose, shall study all pertinent reports and data submitted to the Congress by the agencies in the executive branch of the Government.
RULES ADOPTED BY THE 86TH CONGRESS
House Resolution 8, January 3, 1951
1. There shall be elected by the House, at the commencement of each Congress,
(q) Committee on Un-American Activities to consist of nine Members.
Powers and Duties of Committees
17. Committee on Un-American Activities.
(a) Un-American activities
The Committee on Un-American Activities, as a whole or by subcommittee, is authorized to make from time to time investigations of (1) the extent, character, and objects of un-American propaganda activities in the United States, (2) the diffusion within the United States of subversive and un-American propaganda that is instigated from foreign countries of a domestic origin and attacks the principle of the form of government as guaranteed by our Constitution, and (3) all other questions in relation thereto that would aid Congress in any necessary remedial legislation.
The Committee on Un-American Activities shall report to the House (or to the Clerk of the House if the House Is not In session) the results of any such investigation, together with such recommendations as It deems advisable.
For the purpose of any such investigation, the Committee on Un-American Activities, or any subcommittee thereof, is authorized to sit and act at such times and places within the United States, whether or not the House is sitting, has recessed, or has adjourned, to hold such hearings, to require the attendance of such witnesses and the production of such books, papers, and documents, and to take such testimony as It deems necessary. Subpoenas may be issued under the signature of the chairman al the committee or any subcommittee, or by any member designated by any such chairman, and may be served by any person designated by any such chairman or member.
26. To assist the House in appraising the administration of the laws and in developing such amendments or related legislation as it may deem necessary each standing committee of the House shall exercise continuous watchfulness of the execution by the administrative agencies concerned of any laws, the subject matter of which is within the jurisdiction of such committee; and, for that purpose, shall study all pertinent reports and data submitted to the House by the agencies in the executive branch of the Government.
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