The Pentagon Papers, 1971: Use By American Adversaries

Today’s post was written by David Langbart, archivist in Textual Reference at the National Archives at College Park, MD.

Previous posts, described some of the Department of State’s actions relating to the publication of the “Pentagon Papers.”  One key point in the government’s argument against publication was that it would provide aid and comfort to America’s overseas opponents.  As the Department’s June 17 telegram about the repercussions of the publication of the documents predicted, America’s international antagonists quickly moved to take advantage of the situation. 

The following intelligence report is an early discussion of how the Communist Bloc was handling the revelations.  The Department of State Bureau of Intelligence and Research noted that the Soviet propaganda machine “moved quickly to mount an intense campaign on the ‘utter hypocrisy’ of US policy in Indochina.” 

reports on Soviet depicting Justice Dept suppression of free speech
value of leaks to Soviet's is intelligence reveal;
Soviet handling for their propaganda sometimes results in falsification of Pentagon Papers
no official comment received from Eastern Europe
Intelligence Note – Soviet and East European Handling of the Pentagon Report Disclosures, Jun 24, 1971 (NAID 580618)

The discussion about the release of the “Pentagon Papers” continues today, 50 years after their initial public releases.

The National Archives has a research page for the “Pentagon Papers.”


Sources: Intelligence Note RSEN-47, June 24, 1971, file POL 27 VIET S, 1970-73 Subject-Numeric File (NAID 580618), RG 59: General Records of the Department of State.

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