72. Letter From the Director of the United States Information Agency (Marks) to the Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs (Frankel)1

Dear Charles:

I recently received from Palmer Hoyt, Publisher of the Denver Post, an inspiring letter with suggestions on exchange of persons in Asia.2 He points out that our objectives in South Vietnam are being misunderstood in the Far East and urges that we take certain specific steps to show people in the Far East that we in the United States are united as a nation, that we are not waging a racist war, and that our intentions in Asia are honorable.3

Here are some of the specific suggestions which he has made:

Demonstrate once again to Asians that the United States is made up of people of many races and backgrounds. Senators Dan Inouye and Hiram Fong, Congressman Spark Matsunaga and Congresswoman Patsy Mink, all of Hawaii, might be sent together or separately on just such a4 mission as described above . . . (national unity). They might also be joined by some of our outstanding Negro congressmen. Their visits should be concerned less with meeting government officials than with calls on universities, business and industrial leaders, labor leaders, sessions with opposition political leaders, newspaper editors, municipal and provincial legislators, religious leaders, etc. Being seen and heard would be sufficient; they wouldn’t necessarily have to say a word about Vietnam to serve the purpose.

Capitalize on the national interests of the various Asian peoples in the fields of sports, music and arts as a means of reaching the common people with the non-political but nonetheless very important message that Americans are nice people. The Japanese, for example, are rabid baseball fans; a series of baseball clinics conducted around [Page 210] Japan by athletes like Willie Mays, Maury Wills and other Negro athletes whose names are household words in that country would expose them to the view5 and admiration of millions. Korea is a great country for track and field; Taiwan has hundreds of outdoor basketball courts; Thais are rabid boxing enthusiasts and someone like Floyd Patterson would be greeted like a hero. The possibilities are endless.6

A similar program of good will and favorable exposure of Americans could be carried out with musicians and artists. Not long ago the University of Denver jazz band toured the Far East and made friends wherever they went. Projects such as this ought to be expanded. Imagine the reception that a sparkling Nisei7 personality such as Pat Suzuki, the singer, would gain if she could be sent out to show Indonesians or Malaysians in a subtle, soft-sell manner that Americans are nice people and come in a variety of sizes and colors.

Re-export, if only temporarily, some of the skills and talents contributed to the American melting pot by the offspring of Asian immigrants. I have in mind such men as Minoru Yamasaki of Detroit, one of America’s outstanding architects, who might be persuaded to travel through Asia talking to builders and developers about the architecture of a reawakening Asia. I am also thinking of Baron Goto, vice-chancellor of the East-West Center in Honolulu, already well-known throughout Asia, who is extremely versed in Asian agricultural problems. Of District Judge John Aiso of Los Angeles who can reach the legal profession. Of the Koda brothers who grow more rice in Central California than many Asian provinces. While all these men are Japanese-Americans, I am sure there are persons of comparable stature among the Chinese-Americans, Korean-Americans and Filipino-Americans, all capable of helping to bury the myth that the United States is an Anglo-Saxon nation waging a racist war in Asia, and expressing our interest in the welfare and progress of the people of Asia.

I would indeed appreciate your reaction to these views.


Leonard H. Marks8
  1. Source: National Archives RG 59, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Files, Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs Subject Files, 1965–66, Lot 69D260, Entry UD UP 175, 1966—EDX 32—Cultural Presentations. No classification marking. The letter is incorrectly dated January 14, 1965. Another copy is in the National Archives, RG 306, DIRCTR Subj Files, 1963–69, Bx 6–29 63–69: Acc: #72A5121, Entry UD WW 257, Box 24, ADVISORY GROUPS—General, 1965.
  2. Reference is to a December 20, 1965, letter from Hoyt to Marks. (Ibid.)
  3. An unknown hand underlined the following phrases in this sentence: “show people in the Far East that we,” “are united as a nation,” “waging a racist war,” and “Asia are honorable.”
  4. An unknown hand drew a bracket to the left of this paragraph from the words “of people” to the words “just such a.”
  5. An unknown hand drew a bracket to the left of this paragraph from the words “people with the non-political” to the words “expose them to the view.”
  6. An unknown hand drew a bracket to the left of this paragraph from the word “Taiwan” to the end of the paragraph.
  7. Reference is to the Japanese word that means “second generation.” In this context, the word is used to describe the American born children of first generation Japanese immigrants.
  8. Marks signed “Leonard” above this typed signature.