Michael Goodwin

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Michael Felix James Goodwin (31 January 1916 - 7 September 1988) was a BBC producer and intelligence asset. He was involved in various covert propaganda operations by the Congress for Cultural Freedom and the Information Research Department and later became Director of the Institute for the Study of Conflict after Brian Crozier’s departure.

Biography

At the BBC

Goodwin joined the BBC in 1935 and became North Regional Drama Producer in 1938 and West Regional Drama Director in 1939. After the Second World War he returned to the BBC as a script writer and producer, first in the Features Department and then in the Overseas Service. [1] Whilst still at the BBC he became a drama critic for The Weekly Review and Assistant Editor at the famous monthly journal The Nineteenth Century and After. In 1947 Goodman left the BBC to become editor of The Nineteenth Century and After which was renamed The Twentieth Century. [2]

Covert propaganda

In 1951 The Twentieth Century was saved from financial ruin by the CIA covert propaganda group the Congress for Cultural Freedom, under the understanding that it refute the supposedly pro-communist line taken by the New Statesman and the Nation. The Paris branch of The Congress paid off the journal’s landlord and funded its move to a new office in London’s Henrietta Street. This was followed by two emergency subsidies of $2,000 and £700, to meet outstanding printing and paper bills in August 1951, plus a further monthly subsidy of £150 to keep the journal out of the red. [3] A British affiliate of the Congress, the British Society for Cultural Freedom was established that year and moved into The Twentieth Century’s, new Henrietta Street offices. [4] Goodwin became joint Honorary Secretary of the British Society with John Lowe, and his personal bank account at Westminster Bank in St. James’s Park was given a monthly deposit of £700. [5]

By the time Goodwin had become involved in the Congress for Cultural Freedom, he was already a contract employee of the Information Research Department, [6] the section of the Foreign Office that produced anti-communist propaganda. In 1952 he left The Twentieth Century to become editor of Bellman Books, which he ran until 1955. [7] Bellman Books was a book series published by the MI6/Information Research Department front group Ampersand. Goodwin directed Bellman until 1955, during which time it produced Leonard Schapiro’s The Future of Russia (Schapiro later co-founded the Institute for the Study of Conflict which Goodwin director) and Denis Healey’s Neutralism, which attracted other link minded figures to Healey and eventually led to the founding of the Institute for Strategic Studies. In 1955 Goddwin became Director of Contact Publications, and from 1955–60 was Director of Newman Neame. [8] He was financial adviser to the Paris based International Association for Cultural Freedom from 1967-73. [9]

At the Institute for the Study of Conflict

In 1971 Goodwin became Administrative Director of the Institute for the Study of Conflict. In 1979 after founding director Brian Crozier was forced out, Goodwin took over as Director. [10] In 1980 he recruited former Information Research Department head Nigel Clive as an editorial consultant, hoping to change the Institute’s reputation as a centre for fanatical Cold War propagandists. However, he rejected Clive’s advice and Clive resigned. [11] According to The Times, Goodwin “rightly perceived that sound financing was important, and travelled extensively in Britain and the United States, on fundraising tours.” [12] Goodwin headed the Institute until his death in 1988.

Notes

  1. Biographical Note in Michael Goodwin, Nineteenth Century Opinion: An Anthology of Extracts from the First Fifty Volumes of The Nineteenth Century 1877-1901
  2. ‘GOODWIN, Michael Felix James’, Who Was Who, A & C Black, 1920–2007; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2007
  3. Frances Stonor Saunders, Who Paid the Piper? The CIA and the Cultural Cold War (London: Granta Books, 1999) p.109-110
  4. Hugh Wilford, David Caute, The CIA, the British Left, and the Cold War (Routledge, 2003) p.205
  5. Frances Stonor Saunders, Who Paid the Piper? The CIA and the Cultural Cold War (London: Granta Books, 1999) p.107
  6. Frances Stonor Saunders, Who Paid the Piper? The CIA and the Cultural Cold War (London: Granta Books, 1999) p.107
  7. ‘GOODWIN, Michael Felix James’, Who Was Who, A & C Black, 1920–2007; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2007
  8. ‘GOODWIN, Michael Felix James’, Who Was Who, A & C Black, 1920–2007; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2007
  9. Michael Ivens, ‘Obituary of Michael Goodwin: Arms and the quiet man’, The Guardian, 10 September 1988
  10. ‘GOODWIN, Michael Felix James’, Who Was Who, A & C Black, 1920–2007; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2007
  11. ‘Nigel Clive’, The Independent, 9 May 2001
  12. ‘Mr Michael Goodwin; Obituary’ The Times, 9 September 1988