Memorandum of Conversation, by the Chairman of the Interdepartmental Foreign Information Staff (Stone)


Participants: Messrs. Stone1 and Frye,2 Department of State and
Mr. Watson,3 British Foreign Office

Mr. Watson called at Mr. Stone’s office for general discussion of the problems and possibilities of liaison and coordination between the State Department and the Foreign Office in the field of information and propaganda.

The discussion was principally concerned with existing organizations in the Foreign Office for the formulation of propaganda policy and the guidance of operations. Mr. Watson also discussed briefly certain key individuals in these organizations, as well as in the Labor and Conservative Party organizations and certain private institutions, who might be most useful to Mr. Frye in the London assignment.

Mr. Watson also expressed the view that the State Department (P) was ahead of the Foreign Office in the use of information and propaganda to influence local opinion in favor of substantive policy objectives, as against the mere report and justification of national characteristics and intentions. This was particularly true, I thought, in the use of formal statements by the President, the Secretary of [Page 1684] State and others to clarify the American position on current questions. However, he said the Foreign Office was conscientiously seeking to develop this type of action in the British Government, and particularly to bring about a new awareness on the part of Chiefs of diplomatic missions and government officials of the functions and usefulness of information activities and to enlist more consistent support of it.

He expressed the view also that the liaison representatives, Mr. Watson in Washington and Mr. Frye in London, occasionally should attend regional meetings of information officers and perhaps make other field trips in order to maintain a degree of personal knowledge of operational problems involved in the policy considerations on which they are advising their Governments.

  1. W. T. Stone, Chairman of the Interdepartmental Foreign Information Staff.
  2. W. F. Frye, Foreign Service Officer and Information Liaison Officer in London.
  3. J. H. (Adam) Watson, First Secretary at the British Embassy and Information Liaison Officer in Washington.