Office of Policy Coordination

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The Office of Policy Coordination (OPC) was a United States covert psychological operations and paramilitary action organization. Created as an independent office in 1948, it was merged with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in 1951.


On June 18, 1948, the United States National Security Council approves NSC 10/2 which created the Office of Special Projects.[1] Frank Wisner from the U.S. Department of State was installed as its 1st Director.

On September 1, 1948, this Office of Special Projects was unveiled as the renamed Office of Policy Coordination or OPC under the authority of the June 18, 1948 National Security Council Document NSC 10/2. The OPC's directors included representatives of the United States Department of State and United States Department of Defense as well as the CIA. Though a unit of the CIA, the OPC Director reported to the State Department.[2]

State Department official George F. Kennan was the key figure behind OPC's creation.[2]

Continuing on from the Office of Special Projects, the OPC's 1st executive director will be Frank Wisner,[3] a former OSS figure in Romania in 1944-1945.

The OPC was originally known as the Office of Special Projects.[4]

Operational Scope[edit]

Point 5 of the NSC 10/2[5] defines the scope of covert operations as to be overseen by the OPC:

5. As used in this directive, “covert operations” are understood to be all activities (except as noted herein) which are conducted or sponsored by this Government against hostile foreign states or groups or in support of friendly foreign states or groups but which are so planned and executed that any US Government responsibility for them is not evident to unauthorized persons and that if uncovered the US Government can plausibly disclaim any responsibility for them. Specifically, such operations shall include any covert activities related to: propaganda, economic warfare; preventive direct action, including sabotage, anti-sabotage, demolition and evacuation measures; subversion against hostile states, including assistance to underground resistance movements, guerrillas and refugee liberation groups, and support of indigenous anti-communist elements in threatened countries of the free world. Such operations shall not include armed conflict by recognized military forces, espionage, counter-espionage, and cover and deception for military operations.

The OPC grew rapidly during the Korean War. In April 1951, US President Harry Truman established the Psychological Strategy Board in order to coordinate all US psychological warfare strategy.[6]

In 1952, the office came under the direct control of the CIA and was merged with its Office of Special Operations to form the Directorate of Plans.[7]

Amongst the propaganda mission the psywar staff carried out was the funding of the 1954 Hollywood production of George Orwell's "Animal Farm", which should portray communist domination in an allegorical way.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b Miscamble, 199
  3. ^ Will Brownell and Richard N. Billings, So Close to Greatness: A Biography of William C. Bullitt (NY: Macmillan Publishing, 1987), 299
  4. ^ Richelson, Jeffery T. (1997-07-17). A Century of Spies: Intelligence in the Twentieth Century. Oxford University Press, USA. ISBN 9780195113907. 
  5. ^ Foreign Relations of the United States, 1945–1950 Retrospective Volume, Emergence of the Intelligence Establishment, Document 292; 292. National Security Council Directive on Office of Special Projects (June 18 1948)
  6. ^ "Foreign Relations 1964-1968, Volume XXVI, Indonesia; Malaysia-Singapore; Philippines: Note on U.S. Covert Action Programs". United States Department of State. Archived from the original on April 28, 2005. 
  7. ^ Marchetti & Marks p.45
  8. ^ Thomas p.33


  • Peter Grose, Operation Rollback (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2000)
  • Victor Marchetti & John Marks. CIA and the Cult of Intelligence. New York: Dell Publishing, 1975.
  • Wilson D. Miscamble, George F. Kennan and the Making of American Foreign Policy, 1947-1950 (Princeton University Press, 1992))
  • Evan Thomas, The Very Best Men. The Daring Early Years of the CIA. Simon & Schuster, 2006. (first published in 1995).
  • Richard C.S. Trahair, Encyclopedia of Cold War Espionage, Spies, and Secret Operations (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2004)