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Digital Archive International History Declassified

March 23, 1955

POLISH INTERIOR MINISTRY REPORT ON INTERCEPTED LETTERS SENT TO RADIO FREE EUROPE COVER ADDRESSES

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    This document is an early reflection of concern with RFE’s impact in Poland. Particular attention is given to the broadcasts of Jószef Światło, the senior Interior Ministry official who defected in December 1953.
    "Polish Interior Ministry Report on Intercepted Letters Sent to Radio Free Europe Cover Addresses," March 23, 1955, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, IPN. Obtained by Lechosław Gawlikowski. Translated by A. Ross Johnson. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/121536
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[Excerpt]

[Interior Ministry Department IX]
Warsaw, March 23, 1955

Top Secret

Information Bulletin no. 4/1955
Reference: Letters Addressed to RFE Cover Addresses

In the period between January 1 and March 1, 1955, department IX confiscated 391 letters sent from various places in Poland to 35 cover addresses in England, France, Sweden, West Germany, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, and Switzerland.

Among the total number of letters were:

– anonymous with hostile content – 230

– hostile content with a sender – 7

– containing various requests regarding searches [for persons], passing on greetings, and establishing contacts – 154

Among the anonymous letters were 11 messages about the provocateur Swiatlo, based on listening to RFE broadcasts or [reading] brochures distributed by balloon.

A writer from Łodź, saying he is a railroad worker: “[VOA] recently broadcast the revelations of Józef Światło. They should broadcast the entire series of programs, as RFE has done. What a sensation Światło is for Poles. We are greatly indebted to [him] for the revelations, which are historic, and which are on everyone’s lips. He has openly taught our rulers a good lesson, showing their true faces to Polish society…”

[More excerpts from letters about Światło follow.]

Many of the anonymous letters with a markedly hostile content, some 17%, were written by young people. Many of them seek contact and instructions for opposing the existing system in Poland, or for assistance in leaving Poland. […]

Other letters are about the programs of Radio Free Europe. They demonstrate the weakness of the ideological struggle and the need for heightened efforts in that direction. […]

All letters have been transferred to department III and section III of the security service in order to identify and take action against the senders.

For the Director of Department IX of the Security Service
Lt. Col. M Taboryski