75. Memorandum From the Assistant Director, Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, United States Information Agency (Davies) to the Director (Marks)1


  • Pravda Confirms Our Success

A searching analysis of Russian manpower waste by Pravda, the Soviet party newspaper, reported by Theodore Shabad in the New York Times of January 24, provides justification for one of the basic tenets of our policy in Eastern Europe.2

We have long maintained that our efforts directed toward the “satellite” countries of Eastern Europe are not only important for their impact upon the peoples of these countries but equally so for their pass-on impact upon the Soviet Union. A belated discovery that the Soviet citizen wastes 70 percent of his leisure time because of badly organized service industries has caused Pravda to advise Soviet planners to emulate the experience of the other countries of Communist [Page 216] Eastern Europe. Pravda points, for example, to the efficiency of the supermarkets like the Polish “Super Sam” which first came into being after we had displayed such a store at our exhibit in Poznan in 1958.3

Pravda may in fact be rushing us a bit. One of the major objectives of our Trade Fair exhibits in Eastern Europe this year is to encourage the spread of small, privately owned service shops. While we have been moving in this direction for several years, added impetus was provided earlier this year by Polish authorities who expressly asked that we show some of the machinery used in our service and repair shops. As with the supermarket, we are hopeful that a seed planted in the “satellite” countries will nurture fruit in the Soviet Union also.

There are other examples of this pass-on impact, the most obvious being the widespread popularity of American popular and dance music which spreads like wildfire from the Western borders of the Communist bloc to the East. Pravda’s recognition of this comes late, but is interesting, nevertheless.

IASR. T. Davies4
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 306, Director’s Subject Files, 1963–1967, Entry UD WW 101, Box 3, Field—Soviet Union and Eastern Europe 1966. Limited Official Use. Copies were sent to Akers, Anderson, Chancellor, Kolarek, Wright, and Jacobs.
  2. Attached but not printed is Theodore Shabad, “Pravda Asks Freer Free Time, Says Chores Fill 70% of Leisure,” New York Times, January 24, 1966, p. 9.
  3. Reference is to the city in Poland where major trade fairs were held in 1957 and 1958; the United States had exhibitions at both. (“U.S. Fairs Abroad Lift Iron Curtain,” New York Times, January 7, 1958, p. 54; A.M. Rosenthal, “Poznan Fair: Jazz, Sputnik, Blue Jeans,” New York Times, June 9, 1958, p. 1)
  4. Davies signed “Dick” above this typed signature.