7. Memorandum From Patricia Newcomb, Motion Picture Industry Coordinator, Motion Picture Service, United States Information Agency to the President’s Press Secretary (Salinger)1

Gene Kelly2 will be in Washington on Monday, January 27 for a debriefing at the State Department following a month-long tour of French West Africa and Ghana under the cultural exchange program. According to reports received here Mr. Kelly’s tour has been a tremendous success and he was extremely well received by press, youth groups, officials, etc.

Kelly ran fifty minutes of film which he put together on many of his famous dance numbers and followed this show with a lecture on the history of American dance, motion pictures in the U.S. and a lot of other things plus answered questions directed to him by the various groups to whom he spoke.

He went to Senegal, Upper Volta,3 the Ivory Coast (because he speaks fluent French) and Ghana because of its current significance.

I realize the President will be going to Miami the night of the 27th4 but would it be at all possible for him to have a brief meeting with Mr. Kelly sometime prior to his departure?

I think it is of particular importance because Kelly did take a month out of his busy schedule to make this tour because we felt he could make an important contribution to U.S.-Afro relations. The results prove us to be right. He will be in Washington all day the 27th so anytime convenient to the President would naturally be fine.

In as much as we are trying to encourage our articulate artists to go abroad, particularly to the underdeveloped countries to talk to [Page 19] students, drama groups, etc. I hope very much you will be able to arrange this appointment.

Patricia Newcomb5
  1. Source: Johnson Library, White House Central Files, Subject Files, Foreign Affairs, EX FO 6–3, Box FO–60, FO 6–3 Publicity, International 11/22/63–4/7/64. No classification marking. In the upper right-hand corner of the first page of the memorandum an unknown hand wrote “Did not see President.”
  2. Popular American film actor, dancer, and entertainer.
  3. Reference is to the previous name for the West African country of Burkina Faso.
  4. According to the President’s Daily Diary, Johnson did not travel to Miami on January 27. (Johnson Library)
  5. Newcomb signed “Pat” above this typed signature.