Advertisement

Journal of Transatlantic Studies

, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 313–330 | Cite as

‘A military ERP’? Military assistance and US public diplomacy in Norway in the early 1950s

  • Helge DanielsenEmail author
Article

Abstract

This article explores how U.S. public diplomacy resources in Norway were mobilised in support of the Mutual Defense Assistance Program in the early 1950s. These efforts had two main objectives: to display U.S. commitment to allied security, and thus provide ‘psychological reassurance’, and, secondly, to mobilise popular support for increased defence spending by the Norwegian Government. The first ambition played well with local audiences. The second was more controversial, as it could be apprehended as meddling in domestic affairs. Close cooperation with local actors, a characteristic of U.S. public diplomacy in Norway at large, was therefore particularly important in this case.

Keywords

public diplomacy foreign aid military assistance containment 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 1.
    Lawrence S. Kaplan, A Community of Interests. NATO and the Military Assistance Program, 1948-1951 (Washington, DC: Historical Office, Office of the Secretary of Defense, 1980), 18–20, 71CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 1a.
    James A. Huston, One for All. Nato Strategy and Logistics Through the Formative Period, 1949-1969 (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1984), 43Google Scholar
  3. 1b.
    Michael J. Hogan, The Marshall Plan. America, Britain, and the Reconstruction of Western Europe, 1947-1952 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987), 388CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 1c.
    Steven L. Rearden, History of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Volume I: The Formative Years 1947-1950 (Washington, DC: Historical Office, Office of the Secretary of Defense, 1984), 504, 518.Google Scholar
  5. 2.
    Chester Pach, Jr., Arming the Free World. The Origins of the United States Military Assistance Program, 1945-1950 (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1991), 5, 122, 130, 198, 201Google Scholar
  6. 2a.
    David W Ellwood, Rebuilding Europe. Western Europe, America and Postwar Reconstruction (London: Longman, 1992), 161–2; Rearden, Formative Years, 489.Google Scholar
  7. 3.
    Helge Danielsen, ‘Making Friends at Court: Slow and Indirect Media in US Public Diplomacy in Norway, 1950-1965’, Contemporary European History 18, no. 2 (2009): 180–2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 4.
    David W. Ellwood, The Shock of America. Europe and the Challenge of the Century (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), 372–4, and Rebuilding Europe, 178CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 4a.
    Günter Bischof and Dieter Stiefel, eds., Images of the Marshall Plan in Europe. Films, Photographs, Exhibits, Posters (Innsbruck: StudienVerlag, 2009).Google Scholar
  10. 5.
    Nicholas J. Cull, The Cold War and the United States Information Agency. American Propaganda and Public Diplomacy, 1945-1989 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008), xvGoogle Scholar
  11. 5a.
    Kenneth A. Osgood and Brian C. Etheridge, eds., The United States and Public Diplomacy, New Directions in Cultural and International History (Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2010), 12–14.Google Scholar
  12. 6.
    Laura A. Belmonte, Selling the American Way. U.S. Propaganda and the Cold War (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008), 38–40; Cull, Cold War, 51-3.Google Scholar
  13. 7.
    Helge Danielsen, ‘Mediating Public Diplomacy: Local Conditions and U.S. Public Diplomacy in Norway in the 1950s’, in New Directions (see note 5).Google Scholar
  14. 8.
    One exception is David Snyder, ‘Domesticity, Rearmament, and the Limits of U.S. Public Diplomacy in the Netherlands During the Early Cold War’, Journal of Cold War Studies 15, no. 3 (2013), on US attempts to gather support for rearmament by targeting the most sceptical demographic, namely Dutch housewives. Another exception is Linda Risso’s research on NATO and public diplomacy, referred to below.Google Scholar
  15. 9.
    Danielsen, ‘Mediating’; Helge Pharo, ‘Bridgebuilding and Reconstruction: Norway Faces the Marshall Plan’, Scandinavian Journal of History 1, nos 1–2 (1976)Google Scholar
  16. 9a.
    Kjetil Skogrand, ‘Cash and Cannons. Norway, Denmark and the US Aid Programmes 1947–1952’, IFS Info 2/1998 (Oslo: Institutt for Forsvarsstudier, 1998).Google Scholar
  17. 10.
    The documents are mainly from the National Archives and Records Administration (NA) at College Park, MD, primarily from Record Group (RG) 59 (The Department of State) and 469 (U.S. Foreign Assistance Agencies), supplemented with files from RG 84 (Foreign Service Posts), 306 (United States Information Agency (USIA)), 330 (Records of the Secretary of Defense), and 334 (Interservice Agencies). In the National Archives of Norway (NNA), the archives of the organisation Folk og Forsvar (Privatarkiv (PA) 828) have been analysed. Details are provided throughout the endbl]Notes.Google Scholar
  18. 11.
    Olav Riste, Norway’s Foreign Relations - A History (Oslo: Universitetsforlaget, 2001), 194–6 and 203-4; Helge Danielsen and Helge Pharo, ‘Reception and Representation of the Marshall Plan in Norway’, in Images (see note 4), 88-9Google Scholar
  19. 11a.
    Geir Lundestad, America, Scandinavia and the Cold War 1945–1949 (Oslo: Universitetsforlaget, 1980), 290–319Google Scholar
  20. 11b.
    Sven G Holtsmark, ed., Naboer i frykt og forventning. Norge og Russland 1917–2014 (Oslo: Pax Forlag, 2015), 280.Google Scholar
  21. 12.
    Rolf Tamnes, ‘Integration and Screening: The Two Faces of Norwegian Alliance Policy, 1945–1986’, in Forsvarsstudier VI, ed. Rolf Tamnes (Oslo: TANO, 1987), 59–61Google Scholar
  22. 12a.
    Kjetil Skogrand and Rolf Tamnes, Fryktens likevekt: Atombomben, Norge og Verden 1945–1970 (Oslo: Tiden, 2001), 169–70.Google Scholar
  23. 13.
    Bjørn Alstad, Norske meninger 1946–1993, 1. Norge og verden (Oslo: Sigma, 1993), 82.Google Scholar
  24. 14.
    IPOR Research Report on Norwegian Attitudes on Selected National and International Issues, 5 January 1952, in NA, RG 306, Office of Research, Box 36. Similar studies carried out between 1955 and 1960 show similar tendencies, however with some nuances, see Stian Bones, ‘I oppdemmingspolitikkens grenseland. Nord-Norge i den kalde krigen 1947-70’ (PhD diss., University of Tromsø, 2007), 170.Google Scholar
  25. 15.
    Bones, ‘Grenseland’, 159-60, Danielsen, ‘Mediating’, 287, Danielsen and Pharo, ‘Reception and Representation’, 88-9.Google Scholar
  26. 16.
    IPOR report, 5 January 1952.Google Scholar
  27. 17.
    Bones, ‘Grenseland’, 92-3; Rolf Tamnes, The United States and the Cold War in the High North (Oslo: AdNotam, 1991), 43; Lundestad, America, Scandinavia, 304-5; Pach, Free World, 210-1.Google Scholar
  28. 18.
    Tamnes, High North, 61-5.Google Scholar
  29. 19.
    Between 1950 and 1965, American aid financed 85% of Norwegian military materiel. Total worth: $920,8 million, more than twice the amount received via the ERP. Paul V. Wiker, Amerikansk våpenhjelp til Norge 1949–1953’, IFS Info 1/1997 (Oslo: Institutt for Forsvars-studier, 1997), 3; Gullow Gjeseth, ‘Den amerikanske våpenhjelpen. Modernisering eller konservering? 1950–1968’, Oslo Files on Defence and Security 02/14 (Oslo: Institutt for For-svarsstudier, 2014), 6, 19–20Google Scholar
  30. 19a.
    Kjetil Skogrand, Alliert i krig ogfred, Norsk Forsvarshistorie Bind 4, 1940–1970 (Bergen: Eide Forlag, 2004), 174, 213-14.Google Scholar
  31. 20.
    Helge Danielsen, American Culture as “High Culture”: U.S. Cultural Diplomacy in Norway, 1950-65’, in Nordic Cold War Cultures. Ideological Promotion, Public Reception, and East-West Interactions, ed. Valur Ingimundarson and Rósa Magnúsdottir (Helsinki: Aleksanteri Cold War Series 2, 2015); Danielsen, ‘Friends at Court’.Google Scholar
  32. 21.
    Pach, Free World, 220.Google Scholar
  33. 22.
    Oslo to the Secretary of State, 15 December 1949, NA, RG 469, Records of the US Foreign Assistance Agencies, 1948–1961, Director of Administration. Administrative Services Division. Communications & Records Unit Geographic Files, 1948–1953, Box 258.Google Scholar
  34. 23.
    Danielsen, ‘Friends at Court’, 182; Six sections of the United States Information and Exchange (USIE)/Oslo semi-annual evaluation report, Oslo to the Department of State, 11 January 1952; Semi-Annual Evaluation Report, December 1, 1951 to May 31, 1952; USIE-Oslo to the Department, 25 July 1952, both in NA, RG 59; Central File, 1950–1954, Box 2415; Telegram from US Ambassador in Oslo to the Secretary of State, 19 May 1952, NA, RG 59, Central File, 1950–1954, Box 3768.Google Scholar
  35. 24.
    Report to the President by Ambassador William H. Draper, Jr., United States Special Representative in Europe, 22 August 1952, in NNA, PA 828, Box 38.Google Scholar
  36. 25.
    Third Semi-annual Report to Congress on the Mutual Defense Assistance Program, 6 October 1950 to 31 March 1951, submitted 25 June 1951, NNA, PA 828, Box 38.Google Scholar
  37. 26.
    Policy Statement: Norway, 15 September 1950, NA, RG 59, Records Relating to International Information Activities, 1938–1953, Box 40.Google Scholar
  38. 27.
    IPOR report, 5 January 1952, Riste, Foreign Relations, 227.Google Scholar
  39. 28.
    Telegram, Oslo to the Secretary of State, 18 April 1950, and ‘The Status of Public Information on Defense in Norway’; Report, Oslo to the Department of State, 12 July 1951, NA, RG 59, Central File 1950-4, Box 3767 and 3766, respectively; Wiker, ‘Våpenhjelp’, 14.Google Scholar
  40. 29.
    Oslo to the Secretary of State, 15 December 1949, NA, RG469; Records of the U.S. Foreign Assistance Agencies, 1948–1961, Director of Administration. Administrative Services Division. Communications & Records Unit Geographic Files 1948–1953, Box 258.Google Scholar
  41. 30.
    Oslo to the Department of State, 11 April 1950, and Monthly Report of the Special Assistant for MDAP-Oslo, 3 April 1950, both in NA, RG 59, Central File 1950–1954, Box 3767.Google Scholar
  42. 31.
    Oslo to the Department of State, 24 April 1950 and 3 May 1950, both in NA, RG 59, Central File 1950–1954, Box 3767.Google Scholar
  43. 32.
    ‘The Status of Public Information on Defense in Norway’, 12 July 1951, Box 3766, Report on Norwegian Publicity on MDAP Training Program, 7 September 1950, MDAP Monthly report November 1950, 28 December 1950, both Box 3767; Supplement to MDAP Monthly Report March 1951, 11 April 1951, MDAP Monthly Report December 1951, 17 January 1952, Report on press coverage on return of cadets, 22 January 1952, MDAP Monthly Report March 1952, 15 April 1952, all in Box 3768; MDAP Monthly Report May 1952, 12 June 1952, Box 3769. All documents are sent from the Embassy in Oslo to the Department of State, all in NA, RG 59, Central File 1950–1954.Google Scholar
  44. 33.
    Oslo to the Department of State, 9 February 1951, MDAP Monthly Report January–February 1951,16 March 1951, both in NA, RG 59, Central File 1950–1954, Box 3768, Oslo to the Secretary of State, 14 January 1951, in NA, RG 59, Office of the Secretary of State, Office of International Security Affairs, Subject Files relating to program management, 1949–1951, Box 67.Google Scholar
  45. 34.
    Report on Thunderjet-delivery, Oslo to the Department of State, 17 September 1951, Monthly Report on MDAP in Norway, September 1951, 17 October 1951, Message from ECA Oslo to the Department of State regarding Semi-annual report to Congress, 25 October 1951, all in RA, RG 59, Central File 1950–1954, Box 3768; Semi-Annual Evaluation Report, December 1, 1951 to May 31, 1952, USIE-Oslo to the Department, 25 July 1952, in NA, RG 59, Central File 1950–1954, Box 2415.Google Scholar
  46. 35.
    USIE-report January 1950, Oslo to the Department of State, 10 February 1950, ‘The Status of Public Information on defense in Norway’, Oslo to the Department of State, 12 July 1951, MDAP Oslo Monthly Report March 1951, 11 April 1951, all documents in NA, RG 59, Central File 1950–1954, Box 2414, 3766 and 3768, respectively.Google Scholar
  47. 36.
    MDAP Monthly Report April 1952, Oslo to the Department of State, 15 May 1952, NA, RG 59, Central File 1950–1954, Box 3768.Google Scholar
  48. 37.
    Press Release 2 May 1952, Attachment to letter from USIS to Folk og Forsvar, 28 May 1952, NNA, PA 828, Box 38.Google Scholar
  49. 38.
    Excerpts from speech by Ambassador Strong, 11 May 1956, Oslo to the Department of State, 6 June 1956, in NA, RG 59, Central File 1955–1959, Box 3462, Press release by USIS Oslo, 30 July 1956, in NNA, PA 828, Box 38.Google Scholar
  50. 39.
    Six sections of the USIE/Oslo semi-annual evaluation report, Oslo to the Department of State, 11 January 1952, NA, RG 59, Central File 1950–1954, Box 2415.Google Scholar
  51. 40.
    Danielsen and Pharo, ‘Reception and Representation’, 98-9; Bones ‘Grenseland’.Google Scholar
  52. 41.
    MDAP Monthly Report May 1952, 12 June 1952, in NA, RG 59, Central File 1950–1954, Box 3769, MDAP Monthly Report April 1952, 15 May 1952, NA, RG 59, Central File, 1950–1954, Box 2415, Linda Risso, Propaganda and Intelligence in the Cold War. The NATO Information Service (London: Routledge, 2014), 177–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. 42.
    MDAP Monthly General Report September 1950, Oslo to the Department of State, 20 October 1950, NA, RG 59, Central File 1950–1954, Box 3767, Danielsen ‘Friends at Court’.Google Scholar
  54. 43.
    Ibid., Giles Scott-Smith, Networks of Empire, The US State Department’s Foreign Leader Program in the Netherlands, France, and Britain 1950-70 (Brussels: PIE Peter Lang, 2008).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. 44.
    Report on Norwegian journalists’ field trip to EUCOM schools, Oslo to the Department of State, 3 November 1950, NA, RG 59, Office of the Secretary of State, Office of International Security Affairs, Subject Files relating to policy and program development 1947–1952, Box 9, MDAP Monthly General Report October 1950, 9 November 1950, NA, RG 59, Central File 1950–1954, Box 3766.Google Scholar
  56. 45.
    MDAP Monthly Report May 1951, 20 June 1951, Box 3766, ‘Third Semi-annual Report to Congress on the Mutual Defense Assistance Program’, October 6,1950 to March 31,1951, in NNA, PA 828, Box 38, Scott-Smith, Networks of Empire, 193-7.Google Scholar
  57. 46.
    MDAP Monthly Report June 1951,16 July 1951, MDAP Monthly Report September 1951, 17 October 1951, MDAP Monthly Report November 1951, 20 December 1951, allNA, RG 59, Central File 1950–1954, Box 3768, Letter on ISAC Leader Program, Oslo to the Secretary of State, 10 July 1951, NA, RG 59, Office of the Secretary of State. Office of International Security Affairs, Subject Files relating to program management, 1949–1951, Box 28.Google Scholar
  58. 47.
    On the term multiplier, see Scott-Smith, Networks of Empire, 59–60 and Danielsen, ‘Friends at Court’, 185.Google Scholar
  59. 48.
    Six sections of the USIE/Oslo semi-annual evaluation report, Oslo to the Department of State, 11 January 1952, NA, RG 59, Central File, 1950–1954, Box 2415, Report on NATO information meeting, Oslo to the Department of State, 13 September 1951, NA, RG 59, Central File 1950–1954, Box 3768.Google Scholar
  60. 49.
    Gjeseth, ‘Våpenhjelpen’, 8–9; Sigurd Sørlie og Helle K. Rønne, Helefolket iforsvar. Total-forsvaret i Norgefrem til 1970 (Oslo: Unipub, 2006), 71–5.Google Scholar
  61. 50.
    Årsberetning 1954, Box 1, Årsberetning 1958, Box 2, Memos from Per Monsen to the Board of Folk og Forsvar, 5 September 1951, Box 1, and 6 August 1954, Box 18, all NNA, PA 828.Google Scholar
  62. 51.
    Six sections of the USIE/Oslo semi-annual evaluation report, Oslo to the Department of State, 11 January 1952, NA, RG 59, Central File, 1950–1954, Box 2415.Google Scholar
  63. 52.
    Memo on Scholarships from Per Monsen to the Board of Folk og Forsvar, 8 December 1951, Letter to the Norwegian Press Association, 19 January 1952, Annual Report 1954, all in Box 1, Annual Report 1959, Box 7, Draft Pamphlet on Folk og Forsvar 1951–1966, Box 3, all in NNA, PA 828, MDAP Monthly Report October 1951, 16 November 1951, NA, RG 59, Central File 1950–1954, Box 3768.Google Scholar
  64. 53.
    Various annual reports of Folk og Forsvar, NNA, PA 828, Boxes 1–2, MDAP Monthly Report June and July 1952,13 August 1952, NA, RG 59, Central File 1950–1954, Box 3768.Google Scholar
  65. 54.
    Kontakt-Bulletin nr. 13, 1 July 1952, in NNA, PA 828, Box 38, MDAP Monthly Report June and July 1952, 13 August 1952, NA, RG 59, Central File 1950–1954, Box 3768, Fleischer (PAO/USIS-Oslo) to Sand, 21 September 1953, NNA, PA 828, Box 38.Google Scholar
  66. 55.
    MDAP Monthly report September 1951, 17 October 1951, NA, RG 59, Central File 1950–1954, Box 3768, Monthly General Report, August 1951, 18 September 1951, RG 469, Records of the US Foreign Assistance Agencies, 1948–1961, Deputy Director for Operations, Office of European Operations, Norway Division. Subject Files 1948–1953, Box 34, Program Forsvarsutstillingen 1951, NNA, PA 828, Box 20, Aftenposten, 15 and 17 September 1951, Adresseavisen, 15 September 1951.Google Scholar
  67. 56.
    Various documents on Defence Exhibitions, NNA, PA 828, Box 20, Bergens Tidende, 5 and 15 May 1952, Aftenposten, 6 July 1953.Google Scholar
  68. 57.
    Invitation to the traveling exhibition, for example one sent to the Mayor of Mo, 21 September 1953, Correspondence between the Secretariat of Folk og Forsvar and B.M. Andersen, in NNA, PA 828, Box 19, Letter from Koren to Fleischer, USIS-Oslo, 5 March 1954, Letter from Torland, USIS, to Koren, 12 October 1953, Letter from MoD to Folk og Forsvar, 29 august 1953, all in NNA, PA 828, Box 36.Google Scholar
  69. 58.
    Annual Report 1959, in NNA, PA 828, Box 5, Linda Risso, ‘Propaganda on Wheels: The NATO Traveling Exhibitions in the 1950s and 1960s’, Cold War History 11, no. 1 (2011): 9–25.Google Scholar
  70. 59.
    MAAG/U.S. Embassy Oslo to Commander in Chief, U.S. European Command, 9 January 1959, RG 84, Entry 3054B, Box 13, Military assistance program Norway December 22,1958 to September 21, 1961.Google Scholar
  71. 60.
    Linda Risso, ‘“Enlightening Public Opinion”: A Study of NATO’s Information Policies Between 1949 and 1959 Based on Recently Declassified Documents’, Cold War History 7, no. 1 (2007): 58–60.Google Scholar
  72. 61.
    Wiker, Våpenhjelp, 17; Skogrand, Alliert, 256-8; Gjeseth, ‘Våpenhjelpen’, 21-2.Google Scholar
  73. 62.
    Magne O. Rønningen, ‘Striden om tjenestetiden i Forsvaret, 1951–1963’ (Master’s thesis, University of Oslo, 2008); Skogrand and Tamnes, Fryktens likevekt.Google Scholar
  74. 63.
    Kenneth Osgood, Total Cold War. Eisenhower’s Secret Propaganda Battle at Home and Abroad (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2006), 47–8, 56-7, 74-5; Cull, The Cold War, 101-2; Belmonte, Selling, 55-7.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Board of Transatlantic Studies 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies (IFS)Norwegian Defence University CollegeOsloNorway

Personalised recommendations