Stokely Carmichael and SNCC

Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)

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Central Intelligence Agency. "International Connections of U.S. Peace Groups." February 28, 1968.


MEMORANDUM FOR: The President This is the third report in our series on the foreign connections of United states peace groups. There have been no startling developments since December, but we note some interesting new twists.
Richard Helms


Central Intelligence Agency

28 February 1968


SUBJECT: International Connections of US Peace Groups -- III

1. We have continued to keep a close watch on the international connections of individuals and groups active in the US peace movement. During the two months since our last review of this activity,* there have been no major developments on the peace front nor any new information come to light that would lead us to alter the conclusions reached in our original study.**

2. Contacts and communications on the international peace network appear to have dropped off sharply from the peak levels reached around the time of the world-wide protest demonstration in October and the second session of the "International War Crimes Tribunal" in December. The only noteworthy events so far this year involving American activists on the international level were the release of three more prisoners of war and the large demonstrations against the Vietnam war held in West Berlin. [SANITIZED] The following paragraphs discuss aspects of these recent developments.

3. Continuing coordination between US peace activists and the North Vietnamese, a development reviewed at length in our original study, was evident [SANITIZED]. The leading US activist, David Dellinger, was the principal contact for Hanoi in arranging the return of the three American prisoners earlier this month. Dellinger claimed publicly that the North Vietnamese had asked him to nominate two peace leaders to receive the prisoners in Hanoi and accompany them on their return to the US. [SANITIZED] escorted the prisoners as far as Vientiane, where the officers elected to transfer to US military aircraft.) The "Defense Committee" organized by Dellinger and Tom Hayden in November (see our report of 21 December 1967) to "encourage the release" of POWs and "defend" their rights presumably was instrumental in the negotiations with Hanoi, but no evidence of this has come to hand.


5. Hanoi also kept in touch with peace ac- tivists involved in other enterprises. For ex- ample, its women's front sent messages to women's peace organization in Western Europe and the US (Women Strike for Peace) urging all-out support for former Representative Jeanette Rankin's peace march in Washington.


7. The much ballyhooed "Vietnam Congress" held in West Berlin in mid-February was largely an all-German show. Despite speculation that a number of leading lights among US peace workers-- including Dellinger and Stokely Carmichael--would attend, no major US leader turned up. American participation was limited to SNCC activist Dale Allen Smith and four little-noted members of Students for a Democratic Society.

8. Ralph Schoenman's activities seem to have taken a significant new turn. [SANITIZED] The special target of Schoenman's efforts since his arrival here reportedly has been the Black Power movement, and the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in particular. His objective apparently is to involve militant negro elements actively in the anti-Vietnam war agitation and to force organizational links between the two movements. He hopes to achieve this by convincing the racist organizations that their struggle for "liberation" and the struggle against the war have the same adversary and are fundamentally the same struggle.

9. This is not an entirely new tack for Schoenman. His marked Trotskyite tendencies have predisposed him as much toward revolutionary struggle as toward peace. He has been an exponent of the "war of liberation" and a particular admirer of Che Guevara and the doctrines of Castro. Stokely Carmichael's vision of a "Third World" liberating itself from white oppression is one which is not congenial to Schoenman's way of thinking but one which can be readily adapted to the Vietnam cause.

10. Schoenman claims to have carried his appeal to all the major Black Power strongholds in the US and to have been accepted by at least some militant groups. Much of this can be put down to Schoenman's tendency to exaggerate and to inflate his own importance. It would be surprising if more than a few Black Power advocates found either Schoenman himself or his ideas very appealing. Aside from a few internationally oriented leaders, the militant Negro movement has shown little interest in peace issues. Their concern over Vietnam generally is limited to such areas as the draft and racial discrimination in the services. Many Negro activists would, of course, be quite willing to use Schoenman, his funds, and his extensive contacts to serve their own ends.

11. Schoenman's missionary work among the Negro militants reported has produced several results. [SANITIZED]

12. In addition, Schoenman and John Wilson of SNCC have been involved in the establishment of a "commission" whose purpose will be to draw the various black communities into the war resistance movement. The composition and tactics of the commission, which will be staffed largely by SNCC personnel, are to be worked out at a "conference" to be held at some time in the future, possibly the national conference on "Blacks Against the Draft and In Resistance to the War" which Schoenman and SNCC leaders reportedly have been planning for April.

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