The year was 1957, when Singapore was still a colony of the British, and the PAP was at the time an opposition party.
The party in power at the time was the Labour Front, led by Singapore’s then Chief Minister Lim Yew Hock.
By the time, the British had already set the wheels in motion for self-governance.
Pro-communists had won control of the top positions in the PAP’s Central Executive Committee.
A CIA intelligence report states that because of this, Lee considered quitting the PAP and starting a new part with the Labour Front’s Lim.
An unnamed source within Lim’s Labour Front party told the American consulate-general that Mr Lee was staying in the PAP temporarily so as to lead the moderates in the party “to create confusion among the leadership”.
The report adds that Lee wanted to form a new party with Lim because he failed to regain his authority in the PAP.
But as history would have it, the Labour Front government under Lim launched a crackdown on suspected communists, with many who were arrested coming from the PAP.
This allowed the moderates of the PAP to regain control of the party, and subsequently lead the PAP to win 13 out of 32 seats in the city council.
This revelation comes from a trove of recently declassified documents from the CIA, which comprise over 930,000 documents detailing the agency’s activities.