AFSC and the FBI (1957)


Marked confidential, this July 31,1957 declassified redacted memo from FBI director J. Edgar Hoover to General Robert Cutler outlines information obtained by a confidential FBI informant. The informant stated “he had obtained some information from an individual who is in contact with the American Friends Services Committee. He did not name this individual” (p.2).

The American Friends Services Committee (AFSC) is a Quaker organization formed in 1917 to aid conscientious objectors, and since been involved in social justice concerns around the globe. The FBI memo emphasizes surveillance of AFSC’s work in drawing attention to nuclear war and disarmament on the August 6, 1957 commemoration of Hiroshima bombing, which included a meeting with President Eisenhower. From the memo:

All ethical and moral factors involved in H-Bomb tests and the use of the H-Bomb in the event of war will be discussed with the President. The physical aspects of the tests will be discussed.

It’s odd the memo mentions Communist Party activities alongside AFSC’s’ work  (p.2-3); portions of the memo are redacted making it difficult to ascertain the full range and intent of this association and its relation to AFSC’s anti-nuclear work.

Additional FBI documents on the AFSC released under the Freedom of Information Act are found on the FBI’s Web site: