20. Memorandum From the Director of the United States Information Agency (Rowan) to President Johnson 1

As you are aware, the situation in the Congo continues to deteriorate. There is an ever-increasing likelihood that we may be faced with the need to mount an informational-psychological offensive of the magnitude we now are undertaking in Viet-Nam.

As in Viet-Nam, the basic problem continues to be security. However, also as in Viet-Nam, a military solution will not be possible unless an energetic political, psychological, and informational campaign is promptly undertaken designed to obtain the active support of the local tribal leaders and their followers to the central government.

I am readying USIA for the need to make an all-out informational-psychological effort in the Congo, and for a more effective program in the rest of Africa. The following actions have already been taken:

1) Radio Congo is the principal means of communication between the government of Prime Minister Adoula and the people of the country. Upon learning that Radio Congo’s studio equipment was in critical need of repair (only three of eight studios capable of operation), I immediately authorized transfer of funds and resources from less critical programs to be used to repair facilities on an emergency basis. I also assigned a USIA radio engineer to the Congo to take charge of this operation.

2) I have transferred one of my senior and most able officers (John W. Mowinckel) from Paris to Leopoldville,2 where he will be in charge of our field operations. He will be on duty in early July.

3) I have appointed a new Area Director for Africa, Mark Lewis, who most recently was Public Affairs Officer in Ghana. Lewis is a top-notch officer with considerable African experience who is highly regarded by all of our Ambassadors with whom he has served. He has drive and imagination, both vitally needed in the direction of a program for Africa. I have instructed Lewis to go to the Congo to review the situation and to report to me personally on steps we need to take.

Carl T. Rowan 3
  1. Source: Johnson Library, White House Central Files, Confidential File, Federal Government Organizations, Box FG–33, FG 296 U.S. Information Agency (1964–1966). Confidential.
  2. Reference is to the former name for Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
  3. Rowan signed “Carl” above this typed signature.