People have the right to choose their own form of government. That lofty principle, affirmed by Churchill and Roosevelt in the Atlantic Charter, was to guide post-war foreign policy. But suppose that people given a chance to choose their government make the "wrong" choice? Suppose they choose a government unfriendly to the United States, an undemocratic form of government at odds with our national interests? What then? Out of this conflict between idealistic principles and practical self-interest sprang the CIA's first peacetime covert operations. In this book historian Sallie Pisani shows how the US added a Cold War corollary to the principle of self-determination: massive foreign aid and non-military covert operations to reshape war-torn Europe in the image of the US. Pisani tells the story of the top CIA operatives who were instrumental in developing the non-military covert intervention policies of the early Cold War years and the office of Policy Co-ordination that carried them out.
Through interviews with Deputy Director of Plans Richard Bissell (Bay of Pigs), OSS officer and later CIA official John Bross, CIA General Counsel Lawrence Houston, CIA field operative Kermit Roosevelt, and Frank Lindsay, head of paramilitary operations for OPC, Pisani traces covert operations from their roots in the New Deal and World War II through the years of the Marshall Plan.show more