De Toledano,









M. Wesley




INT: But you had to fight for that at the beginning, didn't you?

JN: At the beginning, the main fight was really against the liberation policy, in its, you know, this pushing towards something more than non-organised resistance. This policy failed completely in '56, with the Hungarian uprising, and then, you know, American policy went through all kinds of changes. There was a policy of co-existence, then a policy of building bridges, then the policy of détente. But the basic American idea was to contain Soviet power and to, without any conflict and in this way to enhance American security. This was their point of view. Our goal was to really work for freedom of our countries and, but there was no conflict between the two.

INT: Can you just very briefly tell me the story about how the CIA were putting out coded messages at the end of the broadcast...

JN: Yes.

INT: ...and you intervened.

JN: Well, you know, I joined RFE to start everything from scratch and initially we had only news, only news in Polish and then editors, Polish editors, [unintelligible] after the news they are broadcasting some code words, like BBC during the War. What it is? So I went to my American partner, who was the political adviser, what it means and he didn't answer my question. I said, look, it has to stop today. I'm not going to be responsible for something I don't know anything about. And it was stopped. But at that time, Americans were trying to encourage underground movements, underground resistance, which under Soviet methods was hopeless. The Americans did not understand that unlike Gestapo, KGB and the Polish political police developed the art of infiltrating, of penetrating the movements and any attempt to form underground organisations as a rule ended with the arrest, secret trial or open trial and either execution or long... and that was the way to eliminate the most courageous, the most patriotic elements. Poland, without these people, would be like a man without spine. So we resisted it very, very strongly. I wrote a memorandum, which had a very long, very vast distribution, trying to explain to Americans, don't try to form underground organisations, because it's a hopeless effort, which is counter-productive and I know that my memorandum had a very wide distribution and maybe had some impact.

INT: Fine. I'm just going to jump ahead actually and tell you, because you were talking about that, can you tell me what you knew about the capture of those American agents, how many there were and how...?

JN: There were, you know... This was the efforts of the CIA and the young refugees were recruited. They were trained in haste in all kinds of subversion, sabotage, intelligence, they were given cameras, short radio stations, codes and were simply sent there. But the regime did penetrate it. All these training camps and the reception committee was waiting for these people and arresting them and now political police archives were made public, four hundred fifty people were executed, four hundred... They were all in their twenties, they all went there, trusting that they again take part in the struggle for the liberation of Poland. And it was a senseless effort and totally unjustifiable from the moral point of view. It was dropped. At the end of '53, one of the underground organisations proved to be in the hands of UB and above, I don't know, two million dollars, landed in the hands of the Polish political police. They came to a conclusion that it's counter-productive and abandoned it. Fortunately. And they did accept that my proposition that Radio Free Europe should not have a network of sources inside Poland, because I knew all these people would face political trial and there was never any political trial.


INT: Just repeat back to me effectively what the organisation as called and how it was controlled by the...?

JN: In the first stage of the Cold War, American CIA organised the covert operation by recruiting young refugees who managed to get to the West. They were trained in special schools, trained in a great haste in subversion, sabotage, intelligence. They were given codes, short wave radio stations, all kinds of instructions and they were sent into Poland. But again, the regime sent the refugees that were provocateurs, they were their agents and they infiltrated the schools so that they knew in advance who would be coming, who would be the people sent there and there were reception committees waiting for them and they were all executed and only now it was made public, four hundred fifty young people in a totally senseless way lost their lives. They were all sent by the CIA into Poland and the man who was responsible for it, he was Frank Lindsay, he went to Alan Dulles, said, sorry sir, I quit on moral grounds, we cannot do it. And Alan said, à la guerre, cette à la guerre, this is war, it's a Cold War, but it's a war. The survival of the United States is at stake and we have to use every possible means like in the war to win this war. That was false and the best evidence of it was the story of the Vein, an underground organisation which initially was run by the AK people, by the underground people of the time of war, who were in the anti-Nazi resistance movement called AK. They were all, one by one, arrested, because the organisation was infiltrated. Americans did not understand the difference between Gestapo methods and NKVD or Polish political police methods. They were very successful in infiltrating any underground organisations. So in the last two years, Vein had a leadership that consisted exclusively of the agents of political police and two millions dollars landed in their hands. Until that time, they would never show any arrested agent on the radio or in television, because this would be a signal to Americans and to these people, so this was secret, kept secret. In later time, they had an agent who was a member of our staff who was not the agent from the beginning, he was simply blackmailed and offered some kind of a reward and he was forced to go back to Poland, his name was Andre Chekovic, and he was produced on television, on radio, he was going around Poland with lectures and he was used as a very effective instrument of propaganda against Radio Free Europe.

INT: That's an excellent answer. Jumping back now, back to the radio, can you tell me at the time what you saw of the success - and this is up to '53 - how successful and what you saw of it, of the Polish broadcast, the Polish section of RFE was?

JN: I'm not the judge to assess effectiveness of my own radio, being the man who was responsible, to judge of the Polish people. We were enjoying tremendous support, most of our information were volunteered by people and when I returned to Poland, after '89, after the collapse of Communism, I felt I was the man who won the war. I mean, the kind of reception thaI got there, taxi driver refused to take a fee from me, and I was invited to address Polish parliament and the marshal of the Polish parliament, if not for this man, which was of course, symbolic, we would not be here, we would not be free. Walesa said, you my professor, because since thirteen I was listening to Radio Free Europe, when asked here by journalists what Radio Free Europe said, do you imagine the life without sun, we could not imagine our life without Radio Free Europe. And the opposition, I mean, the jamming, the attacks, efforts to compromise me was tremendous. It shows that really, I mean, they believed in what Lenin said, they ideas are more dangerous than bullets. And it proved to be right. I think in Poland, people are crediting Radio Free Europe as a important factor in collapse of Communism and they... I don't have to prove it, you will find it in the press. I got the highest Polish decoration as a former director of Radio Free Europe. Really I don't believe that I was the one, but I personified Radio Free Europe to people, therefore in my person, they were expressing their recognition for what Radio Free Europe did. So effectiveness was very high. I believe that Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty, were the main factors in winning the Cold War.

INT: Fine, OK. Can we just pause there for a moment.