23. Editorial Note
On July 1, 1964, Director of the United States Information Agency Carl Rowan, in his official statement before the Senate Subcommittee of the Committee on Appropriations, stated: “I do not think I am being overly dramatic today, Mr. Chairman, when I say that the Nation’s need for this Agency to do an adequate, even inspired, job has never been greater.” He continued:
“The fires of conflict burn in southeast Asia; the winds of disillusionment blow on every continent; our adversaries are spreading the seeds of discontent, of hostility toward the institutions of freedom that we seek to preserve in Latin America and wherever frustrated men will listen.”
I know that you of this committee understand that we have no choice but to use every feasible means of communication—radio, television, motion pictures, books, newspapers, pamphlets, and the force of the knowledge and personalities of our people overseas—to insure that no man chooses tyranny because we have defaulted in telling freedom’s story.
“Mindful that USIA’s fundamental reason for existence is to tell that story, to advance the foreign policy interests of the United States, I have undertaken a zealous campaign to insure that every foot of film, every minute of broadcasting, every stick of type that is set in our name, goes to portray this country’s strength, its dedication to human freedom, its social progress, its economic vitality, its belief in the rule of law—and most of all the yearning for world peace that guides its every effort.” (See, for example, the USIA film, The President and the Press, Appendix A.2.)
Rowan continued: “There have been two foreign policy developments recently that point up dramatically the magnitude of the current challenge to USIA. The first is the easing of tensions between the United States and a portion of the Communist bloc; the second is the Sino-Soviet split.
“In backing away from the Cuban confrontation to a posture of ‘peaceful coexistence,’ Khrushchev stated emphatically that there can be ‘no ideological coexistence,’ so the Soviet propaganda apparatus is busier today perhaps than in the worst days of East-West tension.”
“The fact is,” Rowan further stated, “the Sino-Soviet split imposes upon USIA a demand for greater activity and greater zeal, for in their efforts to outdo each other, the Soviet Union and Red China each has intensified its propaganda campaign, particularly in the underdeveloped areas where they boast that they will ‘bury us’—each in its preferred way.
“Not only have we added and altered broadcasts and sharpened other elements of our program to meet this challenge, but we are taking [Page 65] on new responsibilities and devising new techniques to meet crisis situations abroad.
“For example, we have increased our broadcasting in Vietnamese from our VOA facilities in the Philippines, and in a few weeks we will add three 50-kilowatt shortwave transmitters to our Philippines complex so as to strengthen by 40 percent this country’s shortwave voice in southeast Asia. In mid-June the VOA will be relayed strongly into all of Vietnam over a new medium-wave transmitter that is being constructed in South Vietnam in cooperation with the Department of Defense.”
Rowan concluded: “In short, Mr. Chairman, we are determined that our friends not be confused, or the doubtful misled, because we, either through lethargy or a misguided notion of economy, have failed to state this country’s case.” (Departments of State, Justice, and Commerce, The Judiciary, and Related Agencies Appropriations, 1965, Hearings Before the Subcommittee of the Committee on Appropriations, United States Senate, Eighty-Eighth Congress, Second Session on H.R. 11134, Washington: Government Printing Office, 1964, Part 1, pages 1487–1489)