Reds and Redefection

November 7, 1956

Report Outline
Use of Redefection as Cold War Weapon
Soviet and Satellite Redefection Efforts
Means of Thwarting Redefection Pleas

Use of Redefection as Cold War Weapon

Effect of Satellite Turmoil on Redefection

Hungary's “black day of sorrow” has brought a new flood of refugees to the West. On Sunday, Nov. 4, the day the short-lived democratic government of Hungary was overthrown by Russian armed forces, 10,000 fugitives from Soviet vengeance were reported to have crossed the border into Austria. The Communist redefection campaign, vigorously and successfully prosecuted for more than a year and a half, is now operating in reverse so far as Hungary is concerned.

On the other hand, the new “national Communist” government of Poland, which has stated its willingness to accept economic aid from the United States if no strings are attached, may be able to offer Polish defectors in the West more attractive “come-home” invitations than in the past. It may be expected in any event that Communist efforts to bring about the return of fugitives from Red rule—efforts put forth sporadically since the early 1920s—will be resumed on a broad scale once the relations of the Soviet Union with its satellite states in Eastern Europe have been redefined.

Taking advantage of the improvement in East-West relations that followed the summit conference at Geneva in July 1955, the Soviet and satellite governments stepped up their efforts to induce escapees from Communist rule to return to the countries from which they had fled. The extent and intensity of the redefection campaigns left no doubt of the importance placed on them by the Reds. An exhaustive study by a private group headed by Gen, William J. Donovan, chief of the wartime O.S.S., concluded that the campaigns were “long-term, extravagantly financed, and well-coordinated with Communist agents and agencies throughout the world.”

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