4. Memorandum From the Acting Director of the United States Information Agency (Wilson) to President Johnson1

Weekly Report

1. USIA is using every facility at its command, including the resources of other government agencies, to bring your speech to Congress today quickly and completely by word and picture to every corner of the globe.2

An expanded Voice of America network, 55 transmitters aggregating 5.5 million watts, will carry the entire speech live in a special hour-and-a-half program.

The speech will be broadcast simultaneously with delivery in Spanish and Portuguese on six short wave frequencies to Latin America, and also on medium wave to Cuba.

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Translations of the speech in 36 additional languages will be broadcast throughout the day and night.

Special direct feeds for relay over domestic broadcasting networks were set up for Germany, Japan, Greece, and some African and Southeast Asian countries.

There is, of course, heavy and continuing coverage in news and commentaries in all languages.


Film prints of the entire speech will be rushed immediately to 110 posts in 103 countries, for both motion picture showing and TV use.

Countries where Spanish or Portuguese are spoken will receive translated film versions of the full speech. Other posts will make their own language versions.

TV stations in 74 countries, embracing a total of 2,200 transmitters, normally use TV materials from USIA.

The speech will also be made available to nine other networks, mostly in the Soviet Bloc, which do not normally use our material but may accept this speech.

Motion Pictures

Extensive 35 mm. film excerpts of the speech will go at once to USIA posts in 40 countries where we have arrangements for insertions in local newsreels. The speech will be covered in an unattributed but USIA-controlled newsreel shown in 28 African and Asian countries, and our attributed newsreel produced for 33 African countries.

We are also shooting color coverage of the speech for inclusion in the special film documentary on your rise to the Presidency which is now in preparation.


Before you finished speaking, 110 USIA posts in 103 countries had the full text through our radioteletype network, for immediate translation and delivery to local press and government officials.

At the same time, the speech was filed in Spanish translation to 22 Latin American countries, and in French to Viet Nam and 30 African countries where French is the key language.

Still photographs of your appearance at the Capitol will be air pouched late this afternoon.

News stories and commentaries on the speech will be teletyped to all points throughout the afternoon.

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Satellite Relay

The Relay Satellite was in phase for Europe shortly after you spoke and was to replay your appearance from 1:12 to 1:30 p.m. today for Western European TV (Eurovision).3 There has been no indication whether the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe (Intervision)4 will also pick up the relay.

Other Government Outlets

I have requested the Defense Department to carry your speech in full at prime time on all stations of the Armed Forces Radio and Television service, and the CIA to assure maximum play on Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty.5

This is done under National Security Action Memorandum No. 63,6 which authorizes the Director of USIA to pre-empt time in the national interest on all international broadcasting facilities operated or controlled by the U.S. Government.

2. Reactions to the death of President Kennedy and your accession to the Presidency were surveyed by the French Gallup Poll affiliate on November 25 in the Paris area,7 with these results:

—Asked to name the word which best expressed their reaction, 34 per cent said indignation, 34 per cent stupefaction, 16 per cent horror, 8 per cent compassion, and 5 per cent concern.

—More than half of the people interviewed—57 per cent—were able to name you correctly as the new President.

De Gaulle’s8 attendance at the funeral was considered proper by 90 per cent, and only 25 per cent were surprised that he chose to go.

—58 per cent of the sample thought Jack Ruby9 killed Oswald to prevent further police interrogation, 18 per cent believed it an act of revenge, 8 per cent named other motives, and 17 per cent did not know.

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—35 per cent believed President Kennedy’s death increases the chance of world conflict, 43 per cent that the risks remain the same, and 21 per cent did not know.

—33 per cent thought President Kennedy’s assassination was due to some racist organization, 19 per cent the act of a madman, 10 per cent that a pro-communist organization was involved, 8 per cent a pro-Castro10 group, and 30 per cent did not know.

Donald M. Wilson11
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 306, Office of Policy and Plans, General Subject Files, 1953–1971, Entry UD–WW 151, Box 113, White House Reports—1963. Secret. Drafted by Anderson. The President initialed the top right-hand corner of the memorandum. According to attached distribution sheet copies were sent to the White House on November 26.
  2. See footnote 3, Document 1.
  3. Reference is to the Eurovision Network, which was established in 1954 as part of the European Broadcasting Union, for the purpose of exchanging television programs and news information.
  4. Reference is to the Intervision Network, which was the equivalent of the Eurovision Network for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.
  5. Radio Free Europe (RFE) and Radio Liberty (RL), founded in 1950 and 1953 respectively, originally broadcast uncensored news and anti-communist information. RFE broadcast to Eastern European countries; RL broadcast to the Soviet Union.
  6. See footnote 2, Document 5.
  7. Not found.
  8. Charles de Gaulle, President of France from 1959 to 1969.
  9. Jack Leon Ruby, a Dallas nightclub owner, shot and killed Oswald on November 24.
  10. Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz, Prime Minister of Cuba from 1959 until 1976, then President from 1976 until 2008.
  11. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.