2. Notes of Meeting of United States Information Agency Director’s Staff1


Mr. Wilson, Acting Director


Something has gone out of all of us, but we must be heartened by the rewarding years that we have had under President Kennedy. The Agency has had an excellent Director and excellent support from the [Page 3] White House. The President’s undelivered Dallas speech2 contained a favorable reference to USIA. Now we have a great deal to do and must concentrate on doing the task ahead just as well as we possibly can.

All of those who have been involved in the special efforts of the last few days deserve high praise.

The new Administration has been sent a summary of the Agency’s weekend activities3 and has sent thanks. We can count on the continuation of the working relationship we have had with the White House.

A major problem for us is the need for authoritative evidence that the crime was committed by Oswald4 and that it was a solo act. The President is well aware of the effect of this problem on world opinion.


While there is only one John F. Kennedy, we can take pride in the fact that Lyndon Johnson was the best prepared Vice President since Theodore Roosevelt.5 He was intimately involved in all matters with which the White House was involved, and has the temperament and integrity as well as the experience for his new office. We must now concentrate on telling the story of President Johnson and the continuity of our Government.


Last Tuesday,6 Mr. Wilson testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the Foreign Agents Registration Act.7 Now that Senator Fulbright has been won, there is a slight chance that our recommendations will be adopted.

[Page 4]


On his recent visit to Eastern Europe, found the difference in the six capitals accentuated by the difference in their economic situations. In each country their growing nationalism is increasingly apparent. We need to analyze the current trends in the Bloc countries for purposes of our own programming.

John Steinbeck’s8 visit to USSR has been even more effective than had been anticipated. His devotion, insight, and humor have made him a most effective visitor.


During the weekend the regular ITV newsreel clip service for some of the Latin American posts was expanded and is now going to 35 posts. Today posts will be sent items on the funeral and the reception.

We are negotiating for a UPI-produced film biography on Lyndon Johnson which will be sent to television countries by ITV and to the other countries by IMS.

The President’s address to Congress9 on Wednesday will be covered and English prints should be shipped by 5:00 PM on Wednesday.

The celebrated television writer, Rod Serling,10 has volunteered his services to prepare a thirty-minute program on President Johnson which we hope to have ready in ten days.

ITV is looking into the possibility of obtaining rights from BBC to the excellent “That Was the Week That Was”11 memorial program shown here on NBC.


Mr. Bunce plans to meet Arthur Lee, PAO Cambodia in Hong Kong for a discussion of the possible program implications of the cancellation of U.S. aid.

[Page 5]


We are looking into the reported updating of Mooney’s “The Lyndon Johnson Story”12 which was on our recommended list when it was published in 1957. Checks will be made with other publishers on their plans for a Johnson biography.

Tokyo reports a huge demand for the Ladder editions13 in Japan, well beyond our budget resources. An arrangement will be made with a Japanese publisher for him to publish additional copies, and we will pay the American publishers.

We are obtaining for distribution copies of the NY TIMES special supplement on AFL–CIO, Nov. 1714 at ten cents per copy.

Mr. Sivard pointed out the problem of getting really good pictorial material on Johnson for use in the Paper Show being prepared by the Exhibits Division. Mr. Wilson did not feel the exhibit should be delayed and that private media should be immediately explored.


VOA abandoned its regular programs at 2:10 PM Friday, Nov. 22, and will continue its special programs until after the President’s speech to Congress. Emphasis has been placed on the orderly transition of government, with increasing focus on President Johnson.

VOA programs were rebroadcast in many countries where their own programs were abandoned to relay from VOA.

All output has been checked and it has definitely been established that, with the exception of one reference on Special English15 to Dallas as “the scene of right-wing movements,” there was no reference to “Dallas, the center of right-wing movements” as alleged in Krock’s column in the NY TIMES.16

[Page 6]


A special Wireless File has been carried ever since Friday.17 IPS has also serviced nearly 100 pictures.

A pamphlet on President Johnson is to be sent by Wireless to be printed by the RSC’s and some of the posts.

The White House is to be checked on the color photograph of the President to be used.

125 pictures of the attending dignitaries were obtained at the reception.18 The President is to sign the mat pictures for presentation to the dignitaries.


The meeting in the White House today at 4:00 PM19 with the Latin America dignitaries, which will reaffirm the Alliance for Progress,20 will receive full coverage.


PAO Baldanza who was here on consultation from Leopolville21 extended his stay to take back IPS photographs for use in Africa publications.


A film “World Peace”22 based on the American University speech of President Kennedy,23 made 2 months ago, is already in the field. It is believed the film should be especially useful now and its use will be recommended to PAOs.

[Page 7]


A message will be sent to 25 posts requesting an assessment of reaction to the new President.24

It has been decided that plans for the world-wide survey would not be altered because of the recent events.

Mr. Ewing regretfully announced the death of Alfred Sansone of ICS.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 306, Office of the Director, Executive Secretariat, Entry P–123, Box 2, Director’s Staff Meeting Notes, 1963. Limited Official Use. No drafting information appears on the notes.
  2. Reference is to remarks prepared for President John F. Kennedy to deliver at the Trade Mart in Dallas, Texas, on November 22. According to these undelivered remarks, Kennedy noted: “That is why our Information Agency has doubled the shortwave broadcasting power of the Voice of America and increased the number of broadcasting hours by 30 percent, increased Spanish language broadcasting to Cuba and Latin America from 1 to 9 hours a day, increased seven-fold to more than 3.5 million copies the number of American books being translated and published for Latin American readers, and taken a host of other steps to carry our message of truth and freedom to all the far corners of the earth.” (Public Papers: Kennedy, 1963, pp. 890–894)
  3. Reference is to a November 19 memorandum from USIA to the President. A copy is in the National Archives, RG 306, Office of Policy and Plans, General Subject Files, 1953–1971, Entry UD–WW 151, Box 113, White House Reports—1963.
  4. Reference is to Lee Harvey Oswald, the man accused of assassinating Kennedy.
  5. Roosevelt, William McKinley’s Vice President, assumed the Presidency following the latter’s assassination in September 1901.
  6. November 19.
  7. Presumably a reference to Wilson’s November 19 testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in hearings on S. 2136 to strengthen the Foreign Agents Registration Act. (109 Cong. Rec. D558 (1963) Daily Digest—November 1963)
  8. American author who visited the Soviet Union in October and November 1963 on a USIA exchange program. (“Steinbeck Meets the Soviet Press,” New York Times, October 22, 1963, p. 34)
  9. See footnote 3, Document 1.
  10. Popular American screenwriter, television producer, and narrator in the 1950s and 1960s.
  11. Reference is to the popular British television comedy and satire program produced by the BBC that aired between 1962 and 1963. According to the New York Times, the episode of the program that aired in the United States on NBC the evening of November 25, contained a 19-minute tribute to Kennedy: “The 19-minute show seen here last night contained no politics and no satire. It was made up of seven young persons prominent in British arts, giving short tributes to President Kennedy.” (“A British Program Honoring Kennedy Shown Over N.B.C.,” November 25, 1963, p. 10)
  12. Reference is to The Lyndon Johnson Story, written by Booth Mooney and published in 1956.
  13. “Ladder books” were editions of American literary classics in English language with glossaries provided to explain words in the text perceived to be difficult.
  14. Entitled “The Hands That Build America.” (New York Times, Section 11, pp. 1–44)
  15. Reference is to VOA programming in which programs were presented in English, but at a slower pace and using a limited number of English words. See Holli Chmela, “Giving News of America in English, with a Twist,” New York Times, July 31, 2006, p. A15.
  16. New York Times columnist Arthur Krock asserted that VOA had made allegations that Dallas, Texas, was the “center of right-wing movements.” (“In the Nation: The Modern Miracle and the Ancient Curse,” New York Times, November 26, 1963, p. 36)
  17. November 22.
  18. Presumably a reference to a November 25 reception at the Department of State. (Johnson Library, President’s Daily Diary)
  19. The meeting took place in the East Room of the White House. Johnson stressed the theme of policy continuity: “So I reaffirm the pledge which President Kennedy made last week to improve and strengthen the role of the United States in the Alliance for Progress.” (Public Papers: Johnson, 1963–1964, Book I, pp. 6–7)
  20. The Alliance for Progress was a United States Government policy to seek economic development in and ties with Central and South America originating with the Kennedy administration and first publically articulated by Kennedy on the U.S. Presidential campaign trail in November 1960. For further information about the origins and development of the Alliance for Progress, see Foreign Relations, 1961–1963, vol. XII, American Republics, Documents 172.
  21. Reference is to the previous name of the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
  22. Not further identified.
  23. Reference is to Kennedy’s June 10, 1963, commencement address, which he delivered at American University. For text, see Public Papers: Kennedy, 1963, pp. 459–464.
  24. Not found.