Memorandum by the Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs (Barrett) to the Secretary of State 1

Subject: The President’s Request that you Discuss Today General Sarnoff’s Proposal of a Committee to Consider How to Improve the Voice of America.2

David Sarnoff’s proposal touches directly a problem I have been giving high priority: how to gear up this Government for an all-out effort to penetrate the Iron Curtain with our ideas. This is probably a broader concept than General Sarnoff’s proposal to establish a high-level committee “to look into the problem of improving the Voice of America”. I had thought of suggesting a Presidential directive to put top priority of the agencies of Government into immediate exploration of all techniques and resources for communication of ideas behind the Iron Curtain—including use of radio broadcasting.

I suggest you tell the President that Sarnoff’s proposal has considerable merit, and that it is along the lines the Department has been exploring. However, in view of the possibility of an even broader approach being required under present circumstances, you would like to give the President within the next week a detailed plan for attacking the problem.3

E[dward] W. B[arrett]
  1. A marginal notation on the source text indicates that this memorandum was included in the Secretary of State’s “White House Briefing Book” on March 2. The Secretary presumably used it during his conversation with the President referred to in footnote 4, supra.
  2. See the President’s memorandum of March 1, supra.
  3. See Assistant Secretary of State Barrett’s memorandum of March 6 to Under Secretary of State Webb, p. 274.