U.S. Army Field Manual 30-31B

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The US Army Field Manual 30-31B is Cold War-era hoax conducted by the Soviet intelligence services.[1][2][3][4][5] It is an alleged classified appendix to a US Army Field Manual that describes top-secret counter insurgency tactics. In particular, it identifies a "strategy of tension" involving violent attacks which are then blamed on radical left-wing groups in order to convince allied governments of the need for counter-action. It has been called the Westmoreland Field Manual because it is signed with the alleged signature of General William Westmoreland.[6] It was labeled as supplement B (hence "30-31B"), although the publicly released version of FM 30-31 only has one appendix, Supplement A.[7][1][2][3][4][5]

The U.S. government and academic sources describe the document as a forgery. The document first appeared in Turkey in the 1970s, before being circulated to other countries. It was also used at the end of the 1970s to implicate the Central Intelligence Agency in the Red Brigades' kidnapping and assassination of former Italian prime minister Aldo Moro.[1]


An alleged appendix to F.M. 30-31 was first mentioned in the Turkish newspaper Barış (sometimes anglicized to Barish), in 1975.[4][8]

A facsimile copy of F.M. 30-31B first appeared a year later in Bangkok, Thailand,[4] and in various capitals of Northern Africa.[8] In 1978, it appeared in various European magazines, including the Spanish Triunfo and El Pais.[4][8] The January 1979 issue of the ex-CIA agent Philip Agee's CovertAction Quarterly produced a copy as well.[9] The Italian press picked up the Triunfo publication, and a copy was published in the October 1978 issue of L'Europeo.[4]

A wide range of Field Manuals including 31-15 can be accessed through web sites that catalog the obsolete US Field Manuals. The supposed supplement B is not among the field manuals published by the military.[10]

The "Westmoreland Field Manual" was mentioned in at least two parliamentary commissions reports of European countries, one about the Italian Propaganda Due masonic lodge,[11] and one about the Belgian stay-behind network. The latter says that "the commission has not any certainty about the authenticity of the document".[12]


U.S. official sources, including the U.S. House Intelligence Committee,[2] and the U.S. State Department,[7] state that it is a forgery.

The discovery in the early 1990s of the Operation Gladio (NATO stay-behind networks) in Europe led to renewed debate as to whether or not the manual was fraudulent. According to Daniele Ganser who popularized the history of Gladio stay-behind networks, Licio Gelli, the Italian leader of the anti-Communist P2 freemason lodge told the BBC's Allan Francovich, "The CIA gave it to me".[13]

Peer Henrik Hansen, a scholar at Roskilde University, wrote two scathing criticisms of the Ganser's theories, describing Ganser's work as "a journalistic book with a big spoonful of conspiracy theories" that "fails to present proof of and an in-depth explanation of the claimed conspiracy between USA, CIA, NATO and the European countries." Hansen also criticized Ganser for basing his "claim of the big conspiracy" off the US Army Field Manual 30-31B, a Cold War era hoax document.[14][15] Hayden Peake's book review Intelligence in Recent Public Literature describes: "Ganser fails to document his thesis that the CIA, MI6, and NATO and its friends turned GLADIO into a terrorist organization."[16] Philip HJ Davies of the Brunel University Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies likewise concludes that the book is "marred by imagined conspiracies, exaggerated notions of the scale and impact of covert activities, misunderstandings of the management and coordination of operations within and between national governments, and... an almost complete failure to place the actions and decisions in question in the appropriate historical context." According to Davies, "The underlying problem is that Ganser has not really undertaken the most basic necessary research to be able to discuss covert action and special operations effectively."[17]


  1. ^ a b c Elizabeth Pond (1985-02-28). "The West Wakes Up to the Dangers of Misinformation". Christian Science Monitor. 
  2. ^ a b c "House Intelligence Committee Begins Inquiry into Allegations of Forgeries". Washington Post. 1979-01-17. 
  3. ^ a b U.S. House. Hearings Before the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Soviet Active Measures. 97th Congress, 2nd session. July 13, 14, 1982.
  4. ^ a b c d e f U.S. House. Hearings Before the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Soviet Covert Action (The Forgery Offense). 96th Congress, 2nd session. February 6, 19, 1980.
  5. ^ a b Peer Henrik Hansen (2005). "A Review of: 'Falling Flat on the Stay-Behinds'". International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence 19 (1): 182–186. doi:10.1080/08850600500332656. 
  6. ^ Rowland Evans, Robert Novak (20 February 1979). "'Dirty tricks' by Russians seen as spur". Lawrence Journal-World. p. 4. 
  7. ^ a b "Misinformation about 'Gladio/Stay Behind' Networks Resurfaces" (Press release). United States Department of State. 2006-01-20. Retrieved 2007-06-24. A thirty year-old Soviet forgery has been cited as one of the central pieces of 'evidence' for the false notion that West European 'stay-behind' networks engaged in terrorism, allegedly at U.S. instigation. This is not true, and those researching the 'stay behind' networks need to be more discriminating in evaluating the trustworthiness of their source material. 
  8. ^ a b c Fernando Gonzalez (1978-09-23). "Top Secret, Documentos secretos del Pentágono (FM 30-31 B)". Triunfo. pp. 28–32. "Top Secret, Documentos secretos del Pentágono (FM 30-31 B)". Triunfo Digital. Retrieved 2008-05-02. 
  9. ^ Philip Agee. "The Mysterious Supplement B; Sticking it to the "Host Country"" (January 1979). CovertAction. pp. 9–18. 
  10. ^ Department of Army, Headquarters (May 1961). "Collection of Army Field Manuals" (PDF). Approved for public distribution. Retrieved 2009-01-22. 
  11. ^ (Italian) Commissione parlamentare d'inchiesta sulla loggia massonica P2 : Allegati alla Relazione Doc. XXIII, n. 2-quater/7/1 Serie II, Vol. VII, Tomo I, Roma 1987, pp. 287-298
  12. ^ Parlementaire Commissie (1991). "Verslag van het parlementair onderzoek met betrekking tot het bestaan in België van een clandestien internationaal inlichtingennetwerk" (pdf). Belgian Senate. pp. 80–82.  (Dutch)(French)
  13. ^ Daniele Ganser (2005). NATO Secret Armies - Operation Gladio and Terrorism in Western Europe. London: Franck Cass. p. 235. ISBN 978-0-7146-5607-6. 
  14. ^ Peer Henrik Hansen, "Review of NATO’s Secret Armies," Journal of Intelligence History, Summer 2005. Web Archive - archived website of August 26, 2007
  15. ^ Peer Henrik Hansen, "Falling Flat on the Stay-Behinds," International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, January 2006, 182-186.
  16. ^ The Intelligence Officer’s Bookshelf Hayden Peake, CIA, April 15, 2007
  17. ^ Philip HJ Davies, "Review of NATO’s Secret Armies," The Journal of Strategic Studies, December 2005, 1064-1068.

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