S/PNSC Files: Lot 61 D 167: NSC 66 Series

Memorandum by the Acting Secretary of State to the Executive Secretary of the National Security Council (Lay)1


Subject: Supplemental Budget Estimate for the Information and Education Exchange Program

The President, in his speech to the American Society of Newspaper Editors,2 directed the Secretary of State to plan a strengthened and more effective national propaganda effort. In order to carry out a part of that effort, the Department of State has prepared a supplemental budget estimate for the information and educational exchange program.3 This appropriation request represents support for a propaganda [Page 312] weapon in our effort to win the cold war. If we should fail to win the cold war the United States, as a result of the approval of this budget, would be materially strengthened in its preparation for psychological warfare in a greater emergency.

The force to be brought to bear by this planned effort will be directed at 28 high priority countries which are now subjected to or threatened by the growing force of Communism. This effort to influence public opinion and action in these critical areas will be taken on the basis of selection of more important target groups in each country and the most effective media to be used in informing and influencing those groups. The total estimate represents a plan for carrying out the “campaign of truth” as called for by President Truman in his address to the American Society of Newspaper Editors.

The four areas with which this budget deals are: (1) the Hard Core of Soviet communism—U.S.S.R. proper; (2) the Iron Curtain or “captive” countries; (3) the Crucial Periphery—those countries which because of their geographical position and their weak or indecisive governments are or could easily become the next targets for Soviet aggression; (4) the Danger Zone—countries which at present are subject to harassment rather than conquest, which are weak or unstable, and whose fall would constitute a severe blow to U.S. security interests.

The countries included in each zone are as follows:

Hard Core Iron Curtain Crucial Periphery Danger Zone
U.S.S.R. Albania Burma France
Bulgaria Indo-China Italy
China Thailand India
Czechoslovakia Malaya Pakistan
East Germany Afghanistan Ceylon
Hungary Iran Indonesia
North Korea Finland Philippines
Manchuria Greece
Poland Turkey
Rumania Yugoslavia
Tibet West Germany*
South Korea

The program is highly fluid by nature and necessarily so; within the space of a few weeks the geographical composition of the areas of concern may shift, priority targets may change, target media relationships may be altered.

[Page 313]

No additional funds are being requested at this time for countries other than those in the first four zones of concern. Funds provided in the regular 1951 budget for other areas are sufficient only for a minimum holding operation. The program in these areas however will be augmented by the availability of a substantially larger amount of basic media material prepared initially for use in the first four zones. Finally, there is a physical limitation on the rate to which the USIE program can be expanded. It is therefore necessary to take a calculated risk with countries for which the time factor does not seem as urgent at this moment.

The budget estimate which has been prepared provides 82.3 million additional funds for operations and 47.6 million for the construction and improvement of radio broadcasting facilities. An additional item will be added to this budget for administrative support.

The Congressional calendar requires an extraordinary handling of this budget request. It must necessarily be handled in rather broad terms of principle and it is recommended that the National Security Council endorse this supplemental budget request as being in the interest of national security.

With this in mind, the Department of State is submitting this paper for circulation to the members of the Council on an urgent basis.

James E. Webb
  1. This memorandum was circulated to the National Security Council, under cover of a memorandum of May 29 by Executive Secretary Lay, “for consideration on an urgent basis” (S/PNSC Files, Lot 61 D 167, NSC 66 Series). At its meeting on June 7, the National Security Council, in Action 307, endorsed in principle the supplemental budget request outlined here, as being in the interest of national security. It was noted, however, that the action did not constitute Presidential approval of the specific budget estimate submitted by the Department of State, pending completion of the normal review by the Bureau of the Budget (S/PNSC Files, Lot 62 D 1, NSC Records of Action). Lot 62 D 1 is a serial and subject master file of National Security Council documents and correspondence for the years 1948–1961, as maintained by the Policy Planning Staff of the Department of State.
  2. Regarding the President’s speech of April 20 under reference here, see the editorial note, p. 304.
  3. The proposed budget for the Department of State for fiscal year 1951 included a request for $36.6 million for international information and educational activities. In the omnibus funds bill passed by the House of Representatives on May 10 (HR 7786), this amount had been reduced to $34 million. This amount was subsequently still further reduced to $32.7 million in the funds bill passed by the Senate on July 13. As ultimately agreed upon in a House–Senate conference and approved by both chambers on August 28, 1950, the General Appropriations Act of 1951 (Public Law 759, 81st Cong., 2d Sess.; 64 Stat. 595) provided $32.7 million for the international information program.

    Regarding the supplementary appropriation for information programs, approved September 27, see the editorial note, p. 316.

  4. Funds for programs in these countries are carried in other appropriations. [Footnote in the source text.]
  5. Funds for programs in these countries are carried in other appropriations. [Footnote in the source text.]
  6. Funds for programs in these countries are carried in other appropriations. [Footnote in the source text.]
  7. Funds for programs in these countries are carried in other appropriations. [Footnote in the source text.]