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Protocol M and Project X

(19 April 1948)

From The Militant, Vol. 12 No. 16, 19 April 1948, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

An important commodity on the international market has suffered a recent slump – forgeries. Time was when the intelligence services of the big powers could pick up first-class, detection-proof political forgeries for a song. Then shady operators, eager for quick killings in this profitable trade, began to flood the market with cheap, shoddy products. Not only has the saturation of the market tended to depress prices, but the crude quality of the goods has undermined public confidence.

A case in point is “Protocol M.” That is the document, you may recall, which the British several months ago alleged was a copy of the Cominform’s blueprint for launching large-scale sabotage, strikes and revolts in the Ruhr. The British intelligence service, by sheer coincidence, released this document to the public press at precisely the moment when the Ruhr workers were striking because of starvation rations.

Now it is revealed that the British intelligence service – generally reputed to be shrewd and sharp traders – were “hoodwinked” when they laid out good British sterling for “Protocol M.” They have “discovered that it actually had been prepared by an anti-Communist German,” reports C.L. Sulzberger in the April 11 N.Y. Times. “Moreover, a few days ago,” reports Sulzberger, “the French Ministry of the Interior was duped by a document purporting to give inside information on the future activities of the French Communist Party.” As a consequence, observes Sulzberger, “it is likely this bonanza for fake documents will end.”

Fortunately this does not affect reliable brokers for the Allied imperialists like the Social Democratic labor leaders, ex-Gestapo agents, etc. Washington already has an international WPA project ready to take care of these worthy persons. It is called “Project X” and is in the nature of a supplement to the European “Recovery” Program. In fact, it’s Wall Street’s “Protocol M” – and no forgery either.

“Project X,” we are informed by a March 25 United Press dispatch from Washington “is a mysterious, multi-million dollar” program “to finance anti-Communist underground-forces behind the iron curtain” and similar groups in the Western Bloc countries. A bill before Congress would provide 30 million dollars as a starter to finance anything from newspapers to arms for pro-capitalist and anti-Soviet agents.

“Project X” – even without benefit of official Congressional sanction – has already been spreading its benificence. In Italy, Sulzberger reports, in the current election campaign “the United States and the Catholic Church have been helping out with funds.” He says “it is also known that United States agents are trying to break the hammerlock of Communist control over French dock workers.”

With Washington tossing big money around in Europe, ready to buy up anything from “good” forged documents to political parties, it is rumored that certain American labor leaders are thinking of emigrating back to the Old Country. Why should foreigners lap up the gravy, while 100 American union leaders do the State Department’s dirty chores for nothing?

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