The Secretary of State to
Certain Diplomatic and Consular Offices
Washington, July 20,
The Secretary of State refers to the information and educational exchange
programs2 and in particular to recent communications concerning
United States information policy with regard to anti-American propaganda.
There is enclosed for the information of the Officers in Charge and other
appropriate officers, particularly those concerned with the information and
educational exchange programs, a statement of the objectives of United
States information policy with regard to anti-American propaganda. There is
also enclosed a statement of guidance for the selection and preparation of
information materials with regard to anti-American propaganda prepared by
the Department primarily for the use of its media divisions but which, it is
felt may be useful to officers concerned with the activities of the
information and educational exchange programs in the field.
The Department appreciates the suggestions and recommendations received to
date from various missions on the subject under reference and will
appreciate further comments which the Officers in Charge may wish to make,
either on the general subject under reference or on any particular aspect of
this subject as it relates to conditions in the country to which he is
United States Information Policy With Regard to
The objectives of U.S. information policy with regard to anti-American
- To report the truth objectively and factually in the
dissemination of information through all media available.
- To influence opinion in third countries in a direction
favorable to the attainment of U.S. national objectives.
- To win more positive support abroad for U.S. policies and to
gain a more sympathetic understanding of U.S. actions.
- To counteract the effectiveness of the anti-American
propaganda campaign in third countries.
- To diminish the acceptance of and belief in, false or
distorted concepts about the U.S. in third countries.
- To gain acceptance, among the peoples of third countries, of
the truth about the policies and actions of the USSR and its
satellites with a view to strengthening opposition to the USSR
and to Communist organizations.
- To increase materially knowledge among the peoples of third
countries concerning the United States, its policies, actions,
life and institutions.
Guidance por the Selection and Preparation of
Information Materials To Implement the Objectives of U.S. Information Policy With Regard to Anti-American
- We should continue to report the truth about U.S. life,
institutions, policies and actions, but with greater attention to
those facts which will more effectively serve to implement our
- We should continue always to affirm U.S. policy, emphasizing its
constructive aspects, its support of the principles of freedom,
prosperity, and independence implicit in the Charter of the United
Nations. [Page 595] We should avoid
giving the impression it is on the defensive or is vulnerable to
- We should use all our resources to correct, as far as possible,
the false or distorted sterotypes concerning the U.S. which are
widely held among the people of third countries. The most
widely-held sterotypes include:
- The belief that the U.S. and its citizens have unlimited
- The belief that the U.S. is imperialistic and desires to
“dominate” other nations.
- The belief that the U.S. government is run by “Wall
Street” and by “the monopoly capitalists.”
- The belief that Americans are wholly materialistic, have
no culture worthy of mention, and judge everything by its
value in dollars.
- The belief that Americans are generally “immoral”, have
little “family life” and condone “loose living.”
- The belief that American democratic principles are loudly
proclaimed as a cloak for undemocratic practices and for the
purpose of concealing wide-spread racial and economic
discriminations and extensive concentration of political and
economic power in the hands of the few.
- We should use all our information resources to create confidence
in the political and economic stability of the U.S., its government
- We should use our information resources to convince the people of
third countries that achievement of their own aspirations will be
significantly advanced with the realization of U.S. national
- We should expose Soviet policies and actions that directly or
indirectly jeopardize the interests of third countries, their
independence or the aspirations of free men in those countries. This
should be done only when hard facts can be used that will be
acceptable as truth by the people of third countries in the face of
Soviet and Communist counter-charges. Criticisms of Soviet policies
and actions should be confined to important issues or situations,
should be specific, and supported by good evidence.
- We should openly take cognizance of the major themes of
anti-American propaganda, and impute their dissemination, when
desirable, to Soviet or Communist sources throughout the
- We should expose falsehoods, correct errors and state the motives
for distortion, in significant cases and when hard facts and good
evidence can be used.
- We should expose the discrepancy between professed Soviet and
Communist aims and actual Soviet and Communist practices on all
major issues which illustrate the distinction between democratic and
totalitarian government or which have a direct bearing on the vital
[Page 596] interests of third
countries. Specifically, we should use our information resources to
- The difference between Soviet pretensions as a
“peace-loving” estate and Soviet actions in obstructing
efforts toward the peace settlements, toward control of
atomic energy and similar problems.
- The difference between Soviet pretensions as a state
interested in economic well-being of all peoples and Soviet
action in obstructing efforts toward world economic
- The difference between Soviet pretensions in support of
the sovereignty and independence of smaller nations and
Soviet actions resulting in the domination and exploitation
of smaller nations.
- We should only permit ourselves to be drawn into accusations and
counter-accusations with respect to the USSR or countries with
Communist regimes when the advantages of such a propaganda exchange
are clear. They should be clear when the issue directly involves the
vital interests of a third country or a vital issue in the conduct
of U.S. foreign policy and when accusations can be carefully
- We should abstain from using the propaganda patterns of the USSR
and Communist organizations and we should abstain from personal
vilification of Soviet and Communist leaders.
- We should bear in mind that the people of third countries do not
react with shock, anger or indignation to the charges made in
anti-American propaganda as do some Americans.
- We should bear in mind that anti-American attitudes often exist
within strongly nationalist but non-Communist groups in third
countries who, because of this, are susceptible to Soviet and
Communist propaganda, but who can and should be won over to a more
friendly and sympathetic attitude toward the U.S.
- We should bear in mind that the people of most third countries are
primarily interested in those U.S. policies, actions and internal
developments that directly affect their welfare, their immediate
economic prospects and their immediate individual interests.
- We should bear in mind that the people of most third countries are
little concerned with pretentions of the righteousness of U.S. aims
or the sincerity of U.S. motives unless there is concrete supporting
evidence that specific U.S. aims and motives are directly beneficial
to their interests.
- We should bear in mind that the people of most third countries
have little conception of American democratic principles and
practices and that their interest in our democratic principles and
practices is likely to be in direct proportion to the demonstrated
value of our experience in the solution of their immediate