The Secretary of State to the Embassy in the United Kingdom


No. 352

The Secretary of State refers to the Department’s information and educational exchange program, and in response to inquiries received from various missions concerned, has prepared the enclosed policy statement2 to serve as a guide to the Department’s information activities within certain countries of the Near East.

The Department has been informally advised that the British Foreign Office has issued a guidance on the question of cooperation with United States field representatives in an anti-Communist publicity program, and that this guidance has been sent to all British missions concerned. The Department understands that the guidance states that as a result of the various discussions that have taken place it has been agreed that there should be a degree of cooperation in this matter. It indicates that there has been an agreement to exchange information and ideas where desirable without any obligation on either side except when consultation has resulted in agreement on a particular course of action.

The Department perceives no objection to the exchange of views with corresponding British officers relative to our general policy in this area inasmuch as it is to the Department’s advantage to receive corresponding information concerning British plans and policy there. It would however not be to the advantage of the government of the United States to enter into any arrangement which gave the appearance of joint action or that our activities were in any way inspired by joint policy or a unified approach. The Department therefore desires that complete independence of action and operation be retained by responsible officers abroad in charge of our information and educational [Page 82] exchange programs, while using the amicable exchange of views to the greatest advantage.

During his period of training in the Department, Mr. Mallory Browne3 was apprised of the above-mentioned action on the part of the British Foreign Office in issuing instructions to all British missions concerned for cooperation with the United States field representatives hi an anti-Communist publicity program. Mr. Browne discussed informally this subject with officers in the Department.

The Officer in Charge is requested to make appropriate comments and suggestions relative to this instruction as well as on the enclosed policy statement.


Information Policy for Arab States


It is probably not an exaggeration to say the US information program in the Arab States is faced with problems of unprecedented delicacy. In the space of a few short years the United States has fallen from a position of unequalled esteem, respect and honor in the attitudes of the peoples of the Arab world to one of embittered distrust and animosity.

The outstanding achievements of American philanthropy over a period of nearly a century plus a somewhat long-range admiration of America’s accomplishments in peace and war were responsible for the former and the US foreign policy vis-à-vis the Palestine problem4 is entirely chargeable for the latter.

As of the moment we must recognize that the Arab countries of the Hear East are convinced that America alone is primarily responsible for the success which has attended the establishment of the de facto State of Israel in what is regarded as Arab territory. The part which other great powers have had in the past or present in bringing about that which is inimical to their interests has largely been forgotten in the wave of anger directed at the United States for her part in bringing about the present situation. Despite the role which the United Nations has played in the matter, even this international body has not taken very much of the curse off of the United States leadership and backing.

The problem therefore which is posed is: In view of this extremely unfavorable position of US prestige, what policy is to be pursued in [Page 83] informational output content in all media and further what general principles may be established at this juncture as general guides to our information activities and programs as a whole in the Arab states?

The sole remaining American associations which are regarded with any degree of tolerance and esteem are the American institutions engaged in educational pursuits and philanthropy and, secondly, American oil interests, chiefly because of the material benefit derived and the personal attitudes of Americans engaged in the business locally. There is a wide-spread tendency in the Arab world to divorce American foreign policy and its baneful aspects from individual Americans and American institutions within the Arab countries.

u.s. information objectives in the arab states

To present the factual record of U.S. policy and actions continuously.
To make clear that the U.S. and its people have a real and continuing interest in the social, economic and political development of the Arab states and their peoples.
To show that U.S. policies and aims are fundamentally compatible with the preservation of the sovereignty and independence of the Arab states and that realization of the national objectives of the U.S. are basically in accord with the national aspirations of the Arab states and their peoples.
To make clear that the objectives of the USSR and its satellite states as shown by their actions are inimical to the national aspirations and interests of the Arab states and their peoples.
To retain and expand wherever possible the existing good-will and friendly feelings of the people of the Arab states toward individual Americans and toward private American activities and enterprises.

guidance for the selection and preparation of information materials

We should treat American policy statements and actions factually. With respect to those policies and actions which may be antagonistic to the Arab states and their peoples, reporting should be brief, but sufficient to keep the record straight.
We should use information materials concerning activities and events in the U.S. which demonstrate that the American people have a real interest in the culture, social, economic and political advancement of the Arab states and the Near and Middle East in general.
We should refrain from comment or reporting, except with special guidance, on the activities of private American institutions and enterprises in the Arab states in order to preserve the concept that Americans and their private activities are not agents of their government, [Page 84] but do represent America as distinct from official American policy. The purpose of this caution is to retain existing good-will toward American institutions and enterprises in the face of general antagonism toward American policy.
We should cover fully and continuously those activities of the USSR, satellite states and Communist organizations which demonstrate that herein lies the real threat to the independence and national aspirations of the Arab states.
We should constantly make clear that the U.S. is supporting the independence and development of the small states in the Mediterranean and Middle East areas. We should refrain from depicting the USSR as a colossus with which smaller, nearby states must come to terms to avoid obliteration.
We should use copiously Americana feature material through all media which depicts America as progressive in the arts, sciences and culture and possessing those things, which, if made available to countries requiring our assistance, will result in their economic and scientific advancement and thus contribute to the security of their independence.
We should use, whenever possible, any material relating to the operations of ECA which demonstrates that ECA is a world recovery program and which shows concrete benefits to the Arab states derived from ECA operations.

cultural and educational exchange activities

This statement of policy is largely concerned with information activities. The large comparable program of cultural relations and the activities under the educational exchange program have not been dealt with in detail, but will of course be the subject of subsequent study and statements. In view of the troubled political conditions making an overt information program at times difficult to execute, the Department will endeavor to place greater emphasis on cultural relations and the educational exchange activities both in Government programs and those under the auspices of private agencies operating in the Arab states.

  1. Infra.
  2. During his period of training, Mr. Browne was Public Affairs Officer at the Embassy in the United Kingdom.
  3. Documentation on this subject is scheduled for publication in part 2 of this volume.