Edited by board administrator February 5, 2016, 10:37 pm
I first came across this on a post on an internet messageboard from someone four or five years ago who says he was on the first Courier cruise in 1952. I can't now find the bookmark. It was a vaguely worded post saying that as well as cruising round various countries in Central America and the Panama broadcasts they did some broadcasts to a certain Central American country. The country was not named. The wording was in a such a way as to imply that this was not a VOA broadcast but a Government one, CIA or similar political agency.
The broadcasts to Guatemala are mentioned in paragraph 7 of a Wavescan feature written by Dr. Adrian Peterson. He's been involved with Adventist World Radio for as long as I can remember, must be in his seventies. His articles indicates he has a lot of old radio magazines, newspaper clippings and has done library/public archive research.
This is confirmed in an interview with VOA Director Edgar T Martin in 1988, note how he says this broadcasting was not widely known and they stuck to a cover story.
Go to page 22 and he's again critical of the Courier not being held in reserve, he says it could have been used in Iran
Shortwave historian Gerry Dexter has put some new information on the Courier, particularly on the shakedown cruise, on his website, including a Spanish/English leaflet they published and a recording of an announcement
But there was a presumably grey or black, rather than white, propaganda mission involved.
Two years later the Arbenz government which the CIA had run a psychological campaign against fell. This used a number of black propaganda stations broadcasting as Radio Liberacion or similar. Some reports say Swan Island, later used for the CIA controlled anti Castro station and was heavily involved in the failed Bay of Pigs operation, was a reserve site for this operation. Both Radio Liberation and Radio Swan, later Radio Americas were run by David Atlee Philips.
The CIA documentation on Guatemala says that President Truman asked for plans to overthrow Arbenz in April 1952 following a visit by the Nicaraguan President, for example this one, page 2, PBFORTUNE. Concerns had already been expressed.
The Courier sailed for a six week cruise on March 4 1952.
Work on a second Vagabond ship was nearing completion in 1953
The full congressional hearings referred to are at this link. This is the McCarthy era, he was on the Committee. Witnesseslwere asked if they had Communist sympathies. The letter from Bridges to McCarthy comes up if you use shipborne, there's some other discussion if you use Vagabond or Courier. The conclusion was that the project was wasteful and technically poorly planned.
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