Brainwashing and the CIA


                            CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY
                               WASHINGTON 25, D. C.

                     OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR       25 APR 1956

               MEMORANDUM FOR: The Honorable J. Edgar Hoover
                               Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation

               SUBJECT       : Brainwashing

                    The attached  study  on brainwashing was prepared by my
               staff in response to the increasing acute interest in the
               subject throughout the intelligence and security components
               of the Government. I feel you will find it well worth your
               personal attention.

                    It represents the thinking  of  leading psy-chologists,
               psychiatrists and intelligence specialists, based in turn on
               interviews with  many  individuals  who  have  had  personal
               experience with  Communist  brainwashing,  and  on extensive
               research and testing.

                    While individuals specialists  hold  divergent views on
               various aspects of this most complex subject,  I believe the
               study reflects  a  synthesis  of  majority expert opinion. I
               will, of course, appreciate  any  comments on it that you or
               your staff may have.

                                               Allen W. Dulles

                                      Page 1



           The report that follows is a condensation of a study by training
       experts of the  important  classified  and  unclassified information
       available on this subject.


          Brainwashing, as a technique, has been used for centuries and
       is no mystery to psychologists.  In this sense, brainwashing means
       involuntary re-education of basic beliefs and values.

          All people  are being re-educated  continually.  New  information
       changes one's beliefs.  Everyone has experienced to  some degree the
       conflict that ensues  when  new  information  is not consistent with
       prior belief.

          The experience of the brainwashed  individual differs in that the
       in-consistent information is   forced  upon  the  individual   under
       controlled conditions after the possibility of critical judgment has
       been removed by a variety of methods.

          There is no question that an individual can be broken psycholog-
       ically by captors with knowledge and willingness to persist in tech-
       niques aimed at   deliberately   destroying  the  integration  of  a

          Although it is probable that everyone reduced to such a confused,
       disoriented state will respond to  the  introduction of new beliefs,
       this cannot be stated dogmatically.


          There are  progressive  steps  in  exercising  control   over  an
       individual and changing his behaviour and personality integration.

           The following five steps are typical of behaviour changes in any
       controlled individual:

            1.  Making  the  individual aware of control is the first stage
                in changing his behaviour.  A  small child is made aware of
                the physical and psychological control of  his  parents and
                quickly recognizes  that  an  overwhelming  force  must  be
                reckoned with.
                So, a controlled adult comes  to recognize the overwhelming
                powers of  the  state  and the impersonal,  "incarcerative"
                machinery in   which   he   is   enmeshed.  The  individual
                recognizes that definite limits have been put upon the ways
                he can respond.

       (Approved for Release)          (62-80750-2712X)
       (Date: 8 FEB 1984)

                                                       OA 53-37

            2. Realization of his complete  dependence upon the controlling
               system is a major factor in the controlling of his behavior.

                                      Page 2

               The controlled adult is forced to accept the fact that food,
               tobacco,praise, and the only social contact that he will get
               come from  the  very interrogator who exercises control over

            3. The awareness of control  and  recognition  of dependence re
               sult in causing internal conflict and breakdown  of previous
               patterns of behaviour.
               Although this  transition can be relatively mild in the case
               of a child, it is almost  invariably  severe  for  the adult
               undergoing brainwashing.  Only an individual  who  holds his
               values lightly can change them easily.
               Since the   brainwasher-interrogators   aim   to   have  the
               individuals undergo profound  emotional  change,  they force
               their victims to seek out painfully what is  desired  by the
               controlling individual.
               During this  period  the  victim  is likely to have a mental
               breakdown characterized by delusions and hallucinations.

            4. Discovery  that  there is  an  acceptable  solution  to  his
               problem is  the  first  stage  of reducing the  individual's
               It is characteristically reported by victims of brainwashing
               that this discovery led to an overwhelming feeling of relief
               that the  horror  of  internal conflict would cease and that
               perhaps they would not, after all, be driven insane.
               It is at this point that  they  are  prepared  to make major
               changes in  their value-system. This is an automatic  rather
               than voluntary  choice.  They  have lost their ability to be

            5. Reintergration of values and identification with the cont-
               rolling system is the final  stage in changing the behaviour
               of the controlled individual.
               A child who has learned a new, socially desirable  behaviour
               demonstrates its  importance by attempting to as apt the new
               behaviour to a variety of  other  situations. Similar states
               in the brainwashed adult are (SECTION DELETED BY CIA)
               His new value-system, his manner of perceiving,  organizing,
               and giving  meaning  to  events, is virtually independent of
               his former  value  system.   He  is  no  longer  capable  of
               thinking or  speaking in concepts other than  those  he  has
               He tends to identify by expressing thanks to
               his captors for helping him see the light.
               Brainwashing can be achieved without using illegal
               Anyone willing  to  use  known  principles  of  control  and
               reactions to  control  and   capable  of  demonstrating  the
               patience needed  in  raising  a  child can probably  achieve
               successful brainwashing.

                                      Page 3


          A description of usual communist control techniques follows.

          1. Interrogation. There are at least two ways in which "interro-
             gation" is used:

                a. Elicitation, which is designed to get the individual to
                   surrender protected    information,   is   a   form   of
                   interrogation.  One major difference between elicitation
                   and interrogation used  to  achieve brainwashing is that
                   the mind of the individual must be kept  clear to permit
                   coherent, undistorted     disclosure     of    protected

                b. Elicitation for the purpose of brainwashing consists of
                   questioning, argument,      indoctrination,     threats,
                   cajolery, praise,  hostility,  and  a variety  of  other
                   pressures. The  aim  of  this interrogation is to hasten
                   the breakdown of the  individual's  value  system and to
                   encourage the substitution of a different  value-system.
                   The procurement  of  protected  information is secondary
                   and is used as a device  to  increase  pressure upon the
                   individual. The term "interrogation" in  this paper will
                   refer, in  general,  to this type. The "interrogator" is
                   the individual who conducts  this  type of interrogation
                   and who  controls  the  administration   of   the  other
                   pressures. He is the protagonist against whom the victim
                   develops his conflict, and upon whom the victim develops
                   a state  of  dependency as he seeks some solution to his

          2. Physical Torture and Threats of Torture. Two types of physical
             torture are distinguishable more by their psychological effect
             in inducing conflict than by the degree of painfulness:

                a. The first type is one  in which the victim has a passive
                   role in  the pain inflicted on him (e.g.,beatings).  His
                   conflict involves the decision of whether or not to give
                   in to demands in order to avoid further pain. Generally,
                   brutality of  this  type  was  not  found to achieve the
                   desired results. Threats  of  torture  were  found  more
                   effective, as  fear  of  pain  causes  greater  conflict
                   within the individual than does pain itself.

                b. The  second  type of torture is represented by requiring
                   the individual to stand in one spot for several hours or
                   assume some  other  pain-inducing   position.   Such   a
                   requirement often   engenders   in  the   individual   a
                   determination to  "stick  it  out." This internal act of
                   resistance provide a  feeling  of  moral  superiority at
                   As time  passes  and  his  pain  mounts,   however,  the
                   individual becomes  aware  that  it  is his own original
                   determination to resist  that is causing the continuance
                   of pain.
                   A conflict  develops within the individual  between  his
                   moral determination  and  his  desire  to  collapse  and
                   discontinue the pain. It is this extra internal

                                      Page 4

                   conflict, in  addition  to  the conflict over whether or
                   not to give in to the demands made of him, that tends to
                   make this  method  of  torture  more  effective  in  the
                   breakdown of the individual personality.

          3. Isolation. Individual differences in reaction to isolation are
             probably greater than to any other method.
             Some individuals  appear  to  be  able to withstand  prolonged
             periods of  isolation  without  deleterious  effects,  while a
             relatively short period of  isolation  reduces  others  to the
             verge of  psychosis.  Reaction varies with the  conditions  of
             the isolation cell.
             Some sources  have  indicated  a  strong reaction to filth and
             vermin, although  they  had   negligible   reactions   to  the
             Others reacted  violently  to  isolation  in relatively  clean
             cells. The  predominant  cause of breakdown in such situations
             is a lack of sensory stimulati n  (i.e.,  grayness  of  walls,
             lack of sound, absence of social contact, etc.).
             Experimental subjects exposed to this condition  have reported
             vivid hallicinations  and  overwhelming  fears of losing their

          4. Control of Communication. This is one of the most effective
             methods for creating a sense of helplessness and despair. This
             measure might  well  be  considered  the  cornerstone  of  the
             communist system of control.
             It consists   of   strict   regulation  of  the   mail,reading
             materials, broadcast  materials,  and social contact available
             to the individual.  The need  to  communicate is so great that
             when the  usual  channels  are  blocked,  the individual  will
             resort to   any   open   channel,  almost  regardless  of  the
             implications of using that particular channel.
             Many POWs in Korea, whose only  act  of "collaboration" was to
             sign petitions and "peace appeals," defended  their actions on
             the ground  that  this  was  the  only  method  of letting the
             outside world know they were still alive.
             Many stated that their morale  and  fortitude  would have been
             increased immeasurably  had  leaflets  of  encouragement  been
             dropped to them.
             When the  only  contact  with  the  outside  world  is via the
             interrogator, the prisoner comes to develop extreme dependency
             on his  interrogator  and hence  loses  another  prop  to  his

             Another wrinkle  in  communication  control  is  the  informer
             system.  The recruitment of informers in POW camps discouraged
             communication between  inmates. POWs who feared that every act
             or thought of resistance would  be  communicated  to  the camp
             administrators, lost faith in their fellow man and were forced
             to "untrusting  individualism."  Informers   are   also  under
             several stages of brainwashing and  elicitation to develop and
             maintain control over the victims.

          5. Induction of Fatigue. This is a well-known device for breaking
             will power  and  critical  powers  of judgment. Deprivation of
             sleep results in more intense  psychological debilitation than
             does any other method of engendering fatigue.  The  communists
             vary their methods.

                                      Page 5

             "Conveyor belt"  interrogation that last 50-60 hours will make
             almost any individual compromise,  but  there  is  danger that
             this will kill the victim.
             It is safer to conduct interrogations of 8-10  hours  at night
             while forcing  the  prisoner  to  remain awake during the day.
             Additional interruptions   in   the  remaining  2-3  hours  of
             allotted sleep quickly reduce the most resilient  individual .
             Alternate administration  of  drug  stimulants and depressants
             hastens the process of fatigue  and sharpens the psychological
             reactions of excitement and depression.

             Fatigue, in  addition  to reducing the will  to  resist,  also
             produces irritation  and fear that arise from increased "slips
             of the  tongue."  forgetfulness,   and  decreased  ability  to
             maintain orderly thought processes.

          6. Control of Food, Water and Tobacco. The controlled individual
             is made   intensely   aware   of  his  dependence   upon   his
             interrogator for  the  quality  and  quantity  of his food and
             tobacco. The  exercise  of  this  control  usually  follows  a
             No food and little or no water is permitted the individual for
             several days prior to interrogation. When the  prisoner  first
             complains of  this  to  the interrogator, the latter expresses
             surprise at such inhumane treatment.  He makes a demand of the
             prisoner.  If the latter complies,he receives  a good meal. If
             he does  not,  he  gets a diet of unappetizing food containing
             limited vitamins,minerals, and calories.
             This diet is supplemented occasionally  by the interrogator if
             the prisoner  "cooperates."  Studies of controlled  starvation
             indicate that the whole value-system of the subjects underwent
             a change.   Their  irritation  increased  as  their ability to
             think clearly decreased.  The  control of tobacco presented an
             even greater  source  of  conflict for heavy smokers.  Because
             tobacco is  not  necessary  to  life, being manipulated by his
             craving for it can in the individual a strong sense of guilt.

          7. Criticism  and  Self-Criticism.   There   are   mechanisms  of
             communist thought    control.   Self-criticism    gains    its
             effectiveness from  the  fact  that although it is not a crime
             for a man to be wrong, it is  a major crime to be stubborn and
             to refuse  to learn. Many individuals feel intensely  relieved
             in being able to share their sense of guilt.
             Those individuals however, who have adjusted to handling their
             guilt internally  have  difficulty  adapting  to criticism and
             self-criticism. In brainwashing,  after  a sufficient sense of
             guilt has  been created in the individual, sharing  and  self-
             criticism permit  relief.  The  price  paid  for  this relief,
             however, is loss of individuality and increased dependency.

          8. Hypnosis and Drugs as Controls. There is no reliable evidence
             that the communists are making  widespread  use  of  drugs  or
             hypnosis in brainwashing or elicitation. The exception to this
             is the  use  of common stimulants or depressants  in  inducing
             fatigue and "mood swings."

          9. Other  methods of control, which when used in conjunction with
             the basic processes, hasten  the  deterioration  of prisoners'
             sense of values and resistance are:

                                      Page 6

                a. Requiring   a  case  history  or  autobiography  of  the
                   prisoner provides   a   mine   of  information  for  the
                   interrogator in    establishing    and     "documenting"

                b. Friendliness  of  the interrogator, when least expected,
                   upsets the prisoner's  ability  to  maintain  a critical

                c. Petty  demands, such as severely limiting  the  allotted
                   time for  use  of toilet facilities or requiring the POW
                   to kill hundreds of flies, are harassment methods.

                d. Prisoners are often humiliated  by refusing them the use
                   of toilet facilities during interrogator until they soil
                   themselves.  Often prisoners were not permitted to bathe
                   for weeks until they felt contemptible.

                e. Conviction  as a war criminal appears  to  be  a  potent
                   factor in   creating  despair  in  the  individual.  One
                   official analysis  of   the  pressures  exerted  by  the
                   ChiComs on   "confessors"   and   "non-confessors"    to
                   participation in bacteriological warfare in Korea showed
                   that actual  trial  and  conviction  of "war crimes" was
                   overwhelmingly associated with breakdown and confession.

                f. Attempted  elicitation   of   protected  information  at
                   various times  during the brainwashing process  diverted
                   the individual  from  awareness  of the deterioration of
                   his value-system.
                   The fact that, in most  cases,  the ChiComs did not want
                   or need such intelligence was not known to the prisoner.
                   His attempts to protect such information was made at the
                   expense of hastening his own breakdown.

            From the  many  fragmentary  accounts reviewed,  the  following
       appears to be  the  most  likely  description  of what occurs during

            In the period immediately following  capture,  the  captors are
       faced with the problem of deciding on best ways of  exploitation  of
       the prisoners.  Therefore, early treatment is similar both for those
       who are to  be  exploited  through  elicitation and those who are to
       undergo brainwashing.  Concurrently   with  being  interrogated  and
       required to write   a  detailed  personal  history,   the   prisoner
       undergoes a physical    and   psychological   "softening-up"   which
       includes: limited unpalatable     food     rations,withholding    of
       tobacco,possible work details,  severely inadequate  use  of  toilet
       facilities, no use   of   facilities   for   personal   cleanliness,
       limitation of sleep such as requiring  a  subject  to  sleep  with a
       bright light in his eyes.

            Apparently the  interrogation  and autobiographical  ,material,
       the reports of   the   prisoner's   behaviour  in  confinement,  and
       tentative "personality typing" by  the  interrogators,  provide  the
       basis upon which exploitation plans are made.

                                      Page 7

            There is a major difference between preparation for elicitation
       and for brainwashing  .Prisoners  exploited through elicitation must
       retain sufficient clarity  of   thought   to   be   able   to   give
       coherent,factual accounts.

            In brainwashing , on the other hand, the first  thing  attacked
       is clarity of  thought.  To  develop  a  strategy  of  defense,  the
       controlled individual must determine  what  plans have been made for
       his exploitation. Perhaps  the  best  cues he can get  are  internal
       reactions to the pressures he undergoes.

            The most  important  aspect  of the brainwashing process is the
       interrogation. The other pressures  are  designed  primarily to help
       the interrogator achieve his goals. The following states are created
       systematically within the individual . These may vary  in order, but
       all are necessary to the brainwashing process:

            1. A  feeling  of  helplessness  in attempting to deal with the
               impersonal machinery of control.

            2. An initial reaction of "surprise."

            3. A feeling of uncertainty about what is required of him.

            4. A developing feeling of dependence upon the interrogator .

            5. A sense of doubt and loss of objectivity.

            6. Feelings of guilt.

            7. A questioning attitude toward his own value-system.

            8. A feeling of potential "breakdown,"  i.e.,that  he  might go

            9. A need to defend his acquired principles.

           10. A final sense of "belonging" (identification).

            A feeling  of  helplessness  in  the  face  of  the  impersonal
            machinery of   control   is  carefully  engendered  within  the
            prisoner. The individual who receives the preliminary treatment
            described above not only begins  to  feel  like an "animal" but
            also feels that nothing can be done about it.  No  one pays any
            personal attention  to  him.  His complaints fall on deaf ears.
            His loss of communication, if  he  has been isolated, creates a
            feeling that he has been "forgotten."

            Everything that   happens  to  him  occurs  according   to   an
            impersonal time schedule that has nothing to do with his needs.
            The voices and footsteps of the guards are muted. He notes many
            contrasts,e.g.,his greasy,unpalatable  food  may  be  served on
            battered tin dishes by guards immaculately dressed in white.

            The first steps in "depersonalization"  of  the  prisoner  have
            begun. He  has  no  idea what to expect. Ample  opportunity  is
            allotted for him to ruminate upon all the unpleasant or painful
            things that  could  happen  to  him.   He  approaches  the main
            interrogator with mixed feelings of relief and fright.

                                      Page 8

            Surprise is  commonly  used  in  the  brainwashing process. The
            prisoner is rarely prepared for the fact that the interrogators
            are usually friendly and considerate  at first. They make every
            effort to demonstrate that they are reasonable human beings.

            Often they apologize for bad treatment received by the prisoner
            and promise to improve his lot if he, too, is  reasonable. This
            behaviour is not what he has steeled himself for.  He lets down
            some of his defenses and tries to take a reasonable attitude.

            The first  occasion  he  balks  at  satisfying a request of the
            interrogator, however,  he is  in  for  another  surprise.  The
            formerly reasonable  interrogator  unexpectedly  turns  into  a
            furious maniac.

            The interrogator  is  likely  to  slap the prisoner or draw his
            pistol and  threaten  to shoot  him.   Usually  this  storm  of
            emotion ceases  as  suddenly  as it began and the  interrogator
            stalks from  the room. These surprising changes create doubt in
            the prisoner  as  to  his  very  ability  to  perceive  another
            person's motivations correctly. His next interrogation probably
            will be marked by impassivity in the interrogator 's mien.

            A feeling  of  uncertainty  about what is required  of  him  is
            likewise carefully  engendered within the individual . Pleas of
            the prisoner to learn specifically of what he is accused and by
            whom are side-stepped by the  interrogator.

            Instead, the prisoner is asked to tell why he thinks he is held
            and what he feels he is guilty  of.  If  the  prisoner fails to
            come up  with  anything,  he  is  accused  in  terms  of  broad
            generalities (e.g., espionage, sabotage,acts of treason against
            the "people").

            This usually provokes the prisoner to make some statement about
            his activities.   If  this  take  the  form  of a denial, he is
            usually sent to isolation on  further decreased food rations to
            "think over" his crimes. This process can be repeated again and

            As soon as the prisoner can think of something  that  might  be
            considered self-incriminating,    the    interrogator   appears
            momentarily satisfied. The prisoner  is asked to write down his
            statement in his own words and sign it.

            Meanwhile a strong sense of dependence upon the interrogator is
            developed. It  does not take long for the prisoner  to  realize
            that the  interrogator  is  the  source of all punishment , all
            gratification, and   all   communication.   The   interrogator,
            meanwhile, demonstrates his unpredictbility. He is perceived by
            the prisoner as a creature of whim.

            At times, the interrogator can be pleased very  easily  and  at
            other times  no effort on the part of the prisoner will placate
            him. The prisoner may begin  to  channel  so  much  energy into
            trying to   predict   the   behaviour   of  the   unpredictable
            interrogator that  he  loses  track of what is happening inside

                                      Page 9

            After the  prisoner  has  developed the above psychological and
            emotional reactions to a sufficient  degree,  the  brainwashing
            begins in earnest.

            First, the  prisoner's  remaining  critical faculties  must  be
            destroyed.  He  undergoes  long, fatiguing interrogations while
            looking at a bright light. He  is  called  back again and again
            for interrogations after minimal sleep.

            He may undergo torture that tends to create internal  conflict.
            Drugs may  be used to accentuate his "mood swings." He develops
            depression when the interrogator  is  being  kind  and  becomes
            euphoric when  the  interrogator  is  threatening   the  direst

            Then the  cycle  is  reversed.  The prisoner finds himself in a
            constant state of anxiety which prevents him from relaxing even
            when he is permitted to sleep.   Short periods of isolation now
            bring on visual and auditory hallucinations.

            The prisoner feels himself losing his objectivity.   It  is  in
            this state  that  the prisoner must keep up an endless argument
            with the interrogator.  He may be faced with the confessions of
            other individuals who "collaborated" with him in his crimes.

            The prisoner seriously begins  to  doubts  his own memory. This
            feeling is heightened by his inability to recall  little things
            like the  names of the people he knows very well or the date of
            his birth. The interrogator patiently  sharpens this feeling of
            doubt by more questioning. This tends to create a serious state
            of uncertainty  when  the  individual  has  lost  most  of  his
            critical faculties.

            The prisoner  must  undergo  additional  internal conflict when
            strong feelings  of  guilt  are  aroused  within  him.  As  any
            clinical psychologist is aware, it is not at all  difficult  to
            create such  feelings.   Military  servicemen  are particularly

            No one can morally justify killing  even in wartime.  The usual
            justification is on the grounds of necessity or self-defense.

            The interrogator  is careful to circumvent such  justification.
            He keeps the interrogation directed toward the prisoner's moral

            Every moral vulnerability is exploited by incessant questioning
            along this  line until the prisoner begins to question the very
            fundamentals of his own value-system.

            The prisoner must constantly  fight  a  potential breakdown. He
            finds that  his  mind  is "going blank" for longer  and  longer
            periods of  time.  He can not think constructively. If he is to
            maintain any  semblance  of psychological  integrity,  he  must
            bring to  an end this state of interminable internal  conflict.
            He signifies a willingness to write a confession.

            If this   were  truly  the  end,  no  brainwashing  would  have
            occurred.  The individual would simply have given in to

                                      Page 10

            intolerable pressure.    Actually,   the  final  stage  of  the
            brainwashing process  has  just  begun.   No  matter  what  the
            prisoner writes  in  his  confession  the interrogator  is  not

            The interrogator questions every sentence of the confession. He
            begins to edit it with the prisoner.  The prisoner is forced to
            argue against   every   change.   This   is   the   essence  of

            Every time that he gives in on  a point to the interrogator, he
            must rewrite  his whole confession. Still the  interrogator  is
            not satisfied.    In  a  desperate  attempt  to  maintain  some
            semblance of integrity and to  avoid  further brainwashing, the
            prisoner must begin to argue that what he has already confessed
            to is true.

            He begins to accept as his own the statements  he  has written.
            He uses   many  of  the  interrogator's  earlier  arguments  to
            buttress his position. By this  process,identification with the
            interrogator's value-system becomes complete.

            It is  extremely  important  to  recognize that  a  qualitative
            change has  taken  place  within  the prisoner. The brainwashed
            victim does not consciously change his value-system; rather the
            change occurs despite his efforts.  He  is  no more responsible
            for this change than is an individual who "snaps"  and  becomes
            psychotic. And  like  the  psychotic,  the prisoner is not even
            aware of the transition.


          1.  Training  of  Individuals potentially  subject  to  communist

              Training should provide for the trainee a realistic appraisal
              of what control pressures the communists are  likely to exert
              and what the usual human reactions are to such pressures. The
              trainee must  learn the most effective ways of combatting his
              own reactions to such pressures  and he must learn reasonable
              expectations as to what his behaviour should be.

              Training has  two  decidedly  positive  effects;   first,  it
              provides the trainee with ways of combatting control; second,
              it provides the basis for developing an immeasurable boost in

              Any positive  action that the individual can take, even if it
              is only slightly effective, gives him a sense of control over
              a situation that is otherwise controlling him.

           2.  Training must provide the individual with the means of
               recognizing realistic goals for himself.

                  a. Delay in yielding may be the only achievement that can
                     be hoped for. In any  particular  operation, the agent
                     needs the support of knowing specifically  how long he
                     must hold  out  to  save  an  operation,  protect  his
                     cohorts, or gain some other goal.

                                      Page 11

                  b. The  individual  should  be  taught how to achieve the
                     most favorable treatment  and  how  to behave and make
                     necessary concessions to obtain minimum penalties.

                  c. Individual  behavioural  responses   to   the  various
                     communist control pressures differ markedly.

                     Therefore, each trainee should know his own particular
                     assets and    limitations    in   resisting   specific
                     pressures.  He can learn  these  only under laboratory
                     conditions simulating the actual pressures he may have
                     to face.

                  d. Training must provide knowledge of the  goals  and the
                     restrictions placed upon his communist interrogator.

                     The trainee  should  know  what  controls  are  on his
                     interrogator and to what extent he can manipulate
                     the interrogator. For example, the interrogator is not
                     permitted to  fail   to   gain  "something"  from  the
                     controlled individual. The knowledge  that,  after the
                     victim has proved that he is a "tough nut to crack" he
                     can sometimes  indicate  that  he  might compromise on
                     some little point to  help  the interrogator in return
                     for more favorable treatment, may be useful indeed.

                     Above all,  the potential victim of communist  control
                     can gain  a  great  deal of psychological support from
                     the knowledge that the communist interrogator is not a
                     completely free agent  who  can  do  whatever he wills
                     with his victim.

                  e. The trainee must learn what practical  cues  might aid
                     him in   recognizing   the   specific   goals  of  his
                     interrogator. The    strategy   of   defense   against
                     elicitation may differ markedly from  the  strategy to
                     prevent brainwashing.   To  prevent  elicitation,  the
                     individual may  hasten   his   own   state  of  mental
                     confusion; whereas,    to    prevent     brainwashing,
                     maintaining clarity    of    thought    processes   is

                  f. The trainee should  obtain  knowledge  about communist
                     "carrots" as  well  as "sticks." The  communists  keep
                     certain of their promises and always renege on others.

                     For example,  the  demonstrable  fact that "informers"
                     receive no  better   treatment  than  other  prisoners
                     should do much to prevent this particular evil. On the
                     other hand, certain meaningless concessions
                     will often get a prisoner a good meal.

                  g. In particular, it should be emphasized  to the trainee
                     that, although  little  can  be  done  to  control the
                     pressures exerted upon  him,  he  can  learn something
                     about controlling his personal reactions  to  specific

                                      Page 12

                     The trainee  can  gain  much  from  learning something
                     about internal   conflict    and    conflict-producing
                     mechanisms. He should learn to recognize  when someone
                     is trying   to   arouse   guilt   feelings   and  what
                     behavioural reactions  can  occur  as  a  response  to

                  h. Finally, the training must teach some methods that can
                     be utilized in thwarting particular communist  control

            Elicitation. In  general,  individuals  who  are the hardest to
                         interrogate for  information  are  those  who have
                         experienced previous interrogations.  Practice  in
                         being the  victim  of  interrogation  is  a  sound
                         training device.

            Torture.     The  trainee  should  learn  something  about  the
                         principles of pain and shock. There  is  a maximum
                         to the amount of pain that can actually be felt.

                         Any amount  of pain can be tolerated for a limited
                         period of time.  In  addition,  the trainee can be
                         fortified by the knowledge that  there  are  legal
                         limitations upon the amount of torture that can be
                         inflicted by communist jailors.

            Isolation.   The   psychological   effects   of  isolation  can
                         probably be thwarted best by mental gymnastics and
                         systematic efforts  on  the part of the isolate to
                         obtain stimulation for his neural end organs.

            Controls on  Food  and Tobacco. Foods given by  the  communists
                         will always   be   enough  to  maintain  survival.
                         Sometimes the victim gets unexpected opportunities
                         to supplement  his  diet  with  special  minerals,
                         vitamins and other nutrients (e.g.,"iron" from the
                         rust of prison bars).

                         In some  instances,  experience   has  shown  that
                         individuals could  exploit  refusal  to  eat. Such
                         refusal usually  resulted  in  the transfer of the
                         individual to a hospital where he received vitamin
                         injections and nutritious food.

                         Evidently attempts of this kind to  commit suicide
                         arouse the    greatest    concern   in   communist
                         officials. If   deprivation   of  tobacco  is  the
                         control being exerted. the victim  can  gain moral
                         satisfaction from  "giving  up" tobacco.  He can't
                         lose since he is not likely to get any anyway.

            Fatigue.     The trainee should  learn reactions to fatigue and
                         how to  overcome  them  insofar as  possible.  For
                         example, mild  physical exercise "clears the head"
                         in a fatigue state.

            Writing Personal Accounts and  Self-Criticism.  Experience  has
                         indicated that one of the most effective ways of

                                      Page 13

                         combatting these  pressures  is  to enter into the
                         spirit with an overabundance of enthusiasm.
                         Endless written    accounts   of   inconsequential
                         material have  virtually  "smothered"  some  eager
                         interrogators.In the  same spirit, sober, detailed
                         self-criticisms  of  the  most  minute  "sins" has
                         sometimes brought good results.

            Guidance as  to  the  priority of positions he  should  defend.
       Perfectly compatible responsibilities  in the normal execution of an
       individual's duties may  become   mutually   incompatible   in  this

            Take the example of a senior grade military officer. He has the
       knowledge of sensitive strategic intelligence which  it  is his duty
       to protect. He  has  the  responsibility of maintaining the physical
       fitness of his  men  and  serving  as  a  model  example  for  their
       behaviour. The officer may go to the camp commandant  to protest the
       treatment of the  POWs and the commandant assures him that treatment
       could be improved if he will swap  something for it. Thus to satisfy
       one responsibility he must compromise another.

            The officer,  in  short,  is  in a constant state  of  internal
       con lict.  But if  the officer is given the relative priority of his
       different responsibilities, he is supported by the knowledge that he
       won't be held accountable for any  other  behaviour  if  he does his
       utmost to carry  out his highest priority responsibility.  There  is
       considerable evidence that  many  individuals  tried to evaluate the
       priority of their  responsibilities   on  their  own,  but  were  in
       conflict over whether   others  would  subsequently   accept   their
       evaluations. More than one individual was probably brainwashed while
       he was trying to protect himself against elicitation.


            The application  of  known psychological principles can lead to
       an understanding of brainwashing.

            1.  There  is  nothing  mysterious  about  personality  changes
                resulting from the brainwashing process.

            2.  Brainwashing   is   a   complex  process.   Principles   of
                motivation, perception,    learning,    and   physiological
                deprivation are needed to  account for the results achieved
                in brainwashing.

            3.  Brainwashing   is  an  involuntary  re-education   of   the
                fundamental beliefs   of  the  individual.  To  attack  the
                problem successfully,  the  brainwashing  process  must  be
                differentiated clearly from general education  methods  for
                thought-control or mass indoctrination, and elicitation.

            4. It appears possible for the individual,through training,to
               develop limited  defensive  techniques against brainwashing.
               Such defensive measures are  likely  to be most effective if
               directed toward thwarting individual emotional  reactions to
               brainwashing techniques  rather  than  to ward thwarting the
               techniques themselves.  15 August 1955

                                      Page 14


       (note Declassified)


                            CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY
                               WASHINGTON 25, D. C.

                                    19 JUN 1964

                                              (Commission No. 1131)

               MEMORANDUM FOR: Mr. J. Lee Rankin
                               General Counsel
                               President's Commission on the
                               Assassination of President Kennedy

               SUBJECT       : Soviet Brainwashing Techniques

               1.  Reference is made to your memorandum of 19 May 1964,
                   requesting that  materials relative to Soviet techniques
                   in mind conditioning and  brainwashing be made available
                   to the Commission.

               2.  At my request, experts on these subjects within the CIA
                   have prepared a brief survey of Soviet  research  in the
                   direction and control of human behavior, a copy of which
                   is attached.  The  Commission  may retain this document.
                   Please note that the use  of certain sensitive materials
                   requires that a sensitivity indicator be affixed.

               3.  In the immediate future, this Agency will make available
                   to you a collection of overt and classified materials on
                   these subjects, which the Commission may retain.

               4.  I hope that these documents will be responsive to the
                   Commission's needs.


             (DECLASSIFIED)                            Richard Helms
               (By C.I.A.)                          Deputy   Director   for
           (letter of ___________)


           CD  1131                 SECRET

                                      Page 15


           SUBJECT: Soviet Research and Development in the Field of
                    Direction and Control of Human Behavior.

                   1.  There   are   two   major  methods  of  altering  or
                       controlling human  behavior,  and  the  Soviets  are
                       interested in both.

                       The first    is    psychological;     the    second,
                       pharmacological. The  two  may be used as individual
                       methods or for mutual reinforcement.

                       For long-term control  of  large  numbers of people,
                       the former method is more promising than the latter.

                       In dealing  with  individuals, the  U.S.  experience
                       suggests the pharmacological approach (assisted
                       by psychological   techniques)  would  be  the  only
                       effective method.

                       Neither method would  be  very  effective for single
                       individuals on a long term basis.

                   2.  Soviet   research  on  the  pharmacological   agents
                       producing behavioral effects has consistently lagged
                       about five years behind Western research.

                       They have been interested in such research, however,
                       and are  now  pursuing research on such chemicals as
                       LSD-25, amphetamines, tranquillizers, hypnotics, and
                       similar materials.

                       There is no present  evidence  that the Soviets have
                       any singular, new, potent drugs to force a course of
                       action on an individual.

                       They are  aware,  however,  of the tremendous  drive
                       produced by drug addiction, and PERHAPS could couple
                       this with psychological direction to achieve control
                       of an individual.

                   3.  The  psychological aspects of behavior control would
                       include not  only  conditioning  by  repetition  and
                       training, but such things as hypnosis,  deprivation,
                       isolation, manipulation of guilt feelings, subtle or
                       overt threats, social pressure, and so on.

                                      Page 16

                       Some of the newer trends in the USSR are as follows:

                       a. The  adoption  of  a  multidisciplinary  approach
                          integrating biological,social    and    physical-
                          mathematical research  in  attempts   better   to
                          understand, and   eventually,  to  control  human
                          behavior in  a  manner  consonant  with  national

                       b. The  outstanding  feature,  in  addition  to  the
                          inter-disciplinary approach, is a new concern for
                          mathematical approaches  to  an  understanding of

                          Particularly notable  are  attempts to use modern
                          information theory, automata theory, and feedback
                          concepts in interpreting the mechanisms  by which
                          the "second  signal  system,"  i.e.,  speech  and
                          associated phenomena, affect human behavior.

                          Implied by this  "second  signal  system,"  using
                          INFORMATION inputs  as  causative  agents  rather
                          than chemical  agents,  electrodes  or other more
                          exotic techniques    applicable,    perhaps,   to
                          individuals rather than groups.

                       c. This new trend, observed in the early Post-Stalin
                          Period, continues. By 1960 the word "cybernetics"
                          was used  by  the Soviets to designate  this  new

                          This new science is considered by some as the key
                          to understanding  the human brain and the product
                          of its    functioning--psychic    activity    and
                          personality--to the  development   of  means  for
                          controlling it   and  to  ways  for  molding  the
                          character of the "New Communist Man".

                          As one Soviet author  puts it: Cybernetics can be
                          used in  "molding  of  a child's  character,  the
                          inculcation of   knowledge  and  techniques,  the
                          amassing of  experience,   the  establishment  of
                          social behavior  patterns...all  functions  which
                          can be  summarized  as  'control'  of  the growth
                          process of   the   individual."   1/Students   of
                          particular disciplines  in  the   USSR,  such  as
                          psychologist and  social scientists, also support
                          the general cybernetic trend. 2/ (Blanked by CIA)

                   4.  In summary, therefore, there is no evidence that the
                       Soviets have any  techniques  or  agents  capable of
                       producing particular behavioral patterns  which  are
                       not available in the West.

                       Current research  indicates  that  the  Soviets  are
                       attempting to develop  a  technology for controlling
                       the development  of  behavioral patterns  among  the
                       citizenry of the USSR in accordance with politically
                       determined requirements of the system.

                                      Page 17

                       Furthermore, the  same  technology can be applied to
                       more sophisticated  approaches  to  the  "coding" of
                       information for transmittal to population targets in
                       the "battle for the minds of men."

                       Some of the more esoteric techniques such as ESP or,
                       as the   Soviets   call   it,   "biological   radio-
                       communication", and  psychogenic agents such as LSD,
                       are receiving some  overt  attention with, possibly,
                       applications in mind for individual behavior control
                       under clandestine conditions.

                       However, we   require  more  information   than   is
                       currently available   in   order   to  establish  or
                       disprove planned or  actual  applications of various
                       methodologies by Soviet scientists to the control of
                       actions of articular individuals.


           1.  Itelson,  Lev,  "Pedagogy: An Exact Science?"  USSR  October
               p. 10.
           2.  Borzek, Joseph, "Recent Developments in Soviet Psychology,"
               Annual Review of Psychology, Vol. 15, 1964, p. 493-594.

                                      SECRET          CD  1131

               The  first  letter  and  attachment  are   from
               DECLASSIFIED DOCUMENTS  1984  microfilms  under MKULTRA (84)
               002258, published by  Research  Publication  Woodbridge,  CT
               06525.  Some  original  markings were not retyped,  but  the
               content is the same.

               The  second  letter  and  attachment  are  from   the
               Warren Commission  documents.

               Notice should  be  paid to the different tone Helms gives to
               his letter,  keeping in mind  he was found guilty  of  lying
               to Congress.   He  places  greater  emphasis   on   "Soviet"
               practices and  tries  to  diminish  breakthroughs  gained by

               Some  thought   should  be   given  as  to  WHY  the  Warren
               Commission  sought  such documents  (remembering  that ALLEN
               DULLES  was   a   member  of  that  Commission).   They were
               exploring the Manchurian candidate  theory.

               It  was revealed during  the   Church  Committee hearings of
               1975 that  Helms  had been in charge of Project  AMLASH,   a
               program  to  assassinate  Castro (Cuba),Trujillo  (Dominican
               Republic), Diem (RVN), Schneider (Chile) using MAFIA figures
               John Roselli and Santos Trafficante to do the job.

               Care was used to insure  lines  appear  in  same  length and
               order.  Page length will have to be adjusted  if  you desire
               to print  this.  Look  for  other  specials soon. David John
                                      Page 18