69. Circular Airgram From the United States Information Agency to All Principal USIS Posts1



  • China Reporting Program

Stepped-up Communist Chinese propaganda activities, especially in newly-developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America, have heightened the need for information materials to counter these efforts.

[Page 184]

The China Reporting Program (CRP) conducted by USIS Hong Kong is a unique and major source of factual, corrective reporting on conditions in Communist China. The program was initiated in 1956 to provide U.S. Missions, USIS posts and foreign educational institutions, media and government officials with credible, authoritative, readable material on the policies, programs and methods of the Peiping regime.

Evidence is accumulating that AFP and Reuters, the only major non-communist news agencies filing from Peiping, are able to maintain their operations there only through observance of severe restrictions on the type of material they file. This augments the importance of the CRP as a world source of accurate material on Communist China.

The Agency calls the attention of the Post to the four basic types of output comprising the CRP described below. While many posts have been making effective use of some of this output, it is requested that all posts review possibilities of using types of materials not previously used. Costs of CRP materials are borne by USIS Hong Kong and not chargeable to the GOE of USIS posts in receiving countries.

CRP materials are non-US-attributed. Posts should not think in terms of CRP materials as “handouts” but as materials which should get into local circulation and use through whatever channels would be most effective, e.g. direct mail from Hong Kong (Has the post provided Hong Kong with all potentially useful addresses for direct mail?); cooperation of other elements of the Country Team; distribution by other governments; or commercial sale. As CRP are non-US-attributed, direct mailing is made from private sources in Hong Kong and not from USIS Hong Kong.

The four basic types of CRP output are as follows:

(1) Current Scene—“In-depth” feature articles issued two or three times each month depending on the availability of material. Now received by 54 USIS posts and 800 individual addressees which posts and other sources have provided. A representative issue of Current Scene is attached.2

(2) China Report—Short articles, issued as available, for press and magazine placement. 54 posts now using.

(3) English Language Books—Non-fiction and fiction by Chinese and other foreign authors, published by established commercial outlets in Hong Kong. Now provided on order to 108 USIS posts. 56 titles published to date. Language rights available on request. Version of one or more titles in Arabic, Urdu, Bengali, Hindi, Spanish, German, Italian, [Page 185] French, Japanese, Vietnamese and Indonesian have been undertaken by field posts.

(4) Research Backgrounders—Hard-bound reference works on topics of long-range interest (Religion in Communist China, Land Problems, Tibet, the Sino-Indian Border Issue), for academic and research institutions, scholars, libraries.

Posts are requested to review opportunities which may exist for wider exploitation of these materials. Local translation or translation at the RSC servicing the post may be feasible and desirable in some instances.

Proposals for expanded use of CRP materials should be sent to USIS Hong Kong and repeated to the Agency in field message form. Proposals involving RSC’s should be addressed for action to the RSC, repeated to Hong Kong and the Agency.

If your review of local distribution possibilities for CRP materials indicates that the program cannot be effectively employed in the host country, so inform the Agency.

A separate communication3 will describe the Taiwan Reporting Program (TRP) which originates material showing the economic and social progress achieved on Taiwan by the Government of the Republic of China.

For Latin American posts: Centralized selection and translation of CRP materials in Mexico City are planned for the Latin American area. Posts should therefore consider for action only those parts of this message referring to direct mail by Hong Kong CRP sources to potential users, including commercial booksellers, in your countries. Continued or augmented English servicing will be available for those posts so desiring.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 306, Alphabetical Subject Files Containing Policy Guidance, 1953–1961, Entry UD WW 199, Box 165, China (Communist) (to 1965). Confidential. Drafted by Battey and Moceri on January 10; cleared in draft by Ehrman, Glatzer, Battey, George Mann, and in IAL; approved by Anderson. Sent via pouch.
  2. Not attached.
  3. Not found.