National Council of American-Soviet Friendship

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The National Council of American-Soviet Friendship (NCASF) was the successor organisation to the National Council on Soviet Relations (NCSR).

Foundation[edit]

The 1930s witnessed the birth of the politically radical American-Soviet friendship movement which revolved around the Friends of the Soviet Union, founded in 1929. One of the major goals of the movement was for the United States and the Soviet Union to form an anti-fascist alliance. This eventually led to the foundation of the NCSR, which became the NCASF in 1941. The Council's membership was largely made up of professionals sympathetic to socialism and communism.

Key figures[edit]

Corliss Lamont was one of the foundators and the first chairman of the council. Professor Ralph Barton Perry of Harvard University was vice-chairman of the council. Edwin Smith was the executive director of the council. Here's timeline of NCASF office holders:[1]

Chairmen of NCASF
Name Years in service
Corliss Lamont 1943–1947
Reverend William Howard Melish 1947–1951
John Kingsbury 1949–1956
Rockwell Kent 1957–1971
Reverend William Howard Melish 1971–1978
Ewart Guinier 1979–1984
John Cherveny 1985–1987
John Randolph 1988–1991
Executive Directors of NCASF
Name Years in service
Edwin Smith 1944–1945
Reverend Richard Morford 1946–1981
Reverend Alan Thomson 1981–1991
Roy Kaufman 1991

Hollywood support[edit]

Charlie Chaplin was one of the sponsors when the founding of the council was announced in April 1943. when an “American – Soviet Friendship Rally” was held in Madison Square Garden on 16 November 1944, a number of Hollywood movie stars — including Chaplin, John Garfield, Rita Hayworth, Orson Welles, James Cagney, Katharine Hepburn, Gene Kelly, and Edward G. Robinson — signed a message in a gesture of support. The statement said that the artists added their voices in favor of the bond that existed between “our great country and our great Allies.” The message added: “In this friendship lies not only the hope but the future of the world.”[2]

Charges with failing to register[edit]

In 1946 the House Un-American Activities Committee initiated a formal inquiry into the NCASF. In 1947, charges were brought against the Council for failing to register with the Subversive Activities Control Board.

Activity[edit]

During its years of operation the NCASF released numerous publications focusing upon daily life in the Soviet Union and information regarding the state of American-Soviet relations. It ceased operations in 1991. The council was formed of several different branches and offices. Composer Aaron Copland was later questioned by Senator McCarthy regarding his membership on the Music Committee.[3]

The NCASF went out of existence in 1991 and the new successor organization, based in Canada is called the International Council for Friendship and Solidarity with Soviet People (ICFSSP). The magazine of the International Council is called Northstar Compass. The affiliate to the International Council in the United States is the U.S. Friends of the Soviet People and their website is USFSP The current officers of USFSP are Dr. Angelo D'Angelo (Chair), George Gruenthal (Vice Chair), Fiona Fairchild (Secretary), Joseph F. Hancock (Bulletin Editor).

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kinlock, Stacy (1991). "Records TAM 134" (HTML). Guide to the National Council of American Soviet Friendship. The Tamiment Library / Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives. New York, N. Y.: New York University. 
  2. ^ Maland, Charles J. (1991). "Chaplin's Politics and American Culture, 1943-1952". Chaplin and American Culture: The Evolution of a Star Image. Princeton, N. J.: Princeton University Press. p. 253. ISBN 0-691-02860-5. 
  3. ^ "McCarthy Hearings 1953-54 Volume 2". McCarthy Hearings 1953-54. United States Government. Retrieved 1 June 2011.