Angola Terrorist Report.

Author:Baker, Robert
Position:Foreign Service Life

May 2016

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Until I did my report on the March, 1961 terrorist uprising in Angola, I had done well at my job as an intelligence analyst, especially at the hard slog of scanning thousands of pages of reports to assemble a good picture of communist efforts in Africa. My reports helped guide where and how the U.S. Information Agency (USIA) directed its propaganda efforts. They also helped convince Congress that USIA needed more money to match the communists. They outspent us in propaganda by about ten to one, measured by their output of films, radio broadcasts, books, pamphlets, magazines and exhibits tailored for Africa. Communists also gave more equipment and mass media training to Africans than did the U.S., though the West got the best students and other trainees and had a head start in African mass media and education programs. Few top students really wanted to learn Russian or Czechoslovakian for example, nor to live in those countries and to study communist theory in addition to their technical or academic work. A handful of African students at communist universities were recruited for communist intelligence work when they arrived back in Africa.

I tracked communist activities in Africa carefully. That led to my Angola problem. Angola was at the time a Portuguese colony. The Portuguese claimed it was an "overseas territory" and therefore an internal Portuguese matter. That meant the U.N. could not legally demand Portugal give Angola freedom. The Portuguese government had strongly encouraged some 200,000 Portuguese, mostly peasants, to emigrate to Angola to become coffee and cotton farmers. The government did that partly for the economic benefits but also to bolster the claim that Angola was an integral part of Portugal.

Portugal had for decades been under the harsh dictatorship of President Antonio Salazar, and his secret police (PIDE). Portugal in 1960 had only 40% literacy and was very poor. It was economically dominated by roughly four hundred wealthy, almost feudal, families. It was also a member of NATO and so provided us with some of its intelligence reports.

A handful of the elite's off spring joined the outlawed, underground Portuguese Communist Party. When the PIDE caught ordinary communists, they were imprisoned or killed.

PIDE occasionally discovered communists among the children of the rich. Those were given a chance to choose exile in Africa rather than prison in Portugal. However, they had to give the secret...

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