Memorandum by the Under Secretary of State ( Webb ) to the President 1

Subject: “Campaign of Truth” Appropriation Request

The following are the points which you may want to emphasize in talking with the Congressional leaders about the new “Campaign of Truth” appropriation request:

We have to face it: the so-called cold war is still very serious. The Russians have pitched the battle on the psychological front; and we need the wherewithal to counter them.
The London meeting of the Foreign Ministers agreed that a sharpened and more effective psychological effort by the nations of the free world was needed at the earliest possible date.2
The problem has been considered by the National Security Council and the proposed program for an intensified effort in the critical areas only has been endorsed in principle by NSC as a priority matter.3
The only weapons we have today, short of military arms, are the economic, political and the psychological. It is important to put all we can into the psychological and do so now.
To get a start on the job, you asked the Secretary of State in April to develop a new program for your consideration.4 This program was designed to let the United States get under way immediately with a tougher and sharper psychological effort in the critical areas.
A new plan for taking the psychological offensive, with an array of new affirmative themes, has been prepared. It is designed to thwart Russian advances and to help to push the Russians back. This is now being coordinated with all agencies concerned within the Government.
To make this program really effective we must have the mechanism for doing so. To do it on a full scale will involve doubling or tripling our present manpower and facilities—but still this will cost less than one battleship.
In the last few years we have learned a great deal about information operations. We have a firm foundation on which to build what is needed in this critical situation today.
The budget request will probably go to the Hill within the next week and it will be appreciated if it gets all possible support. It is of vital importance in the situation we face today.

James E. Webb
  1. At a meeting with President Truman on June 22 to discuss various important foreign policy questions, Under Secretary Webb, substituting for Secretary of State Acheson, apparently took up the question of Presidential support for the request for a Congressional appropriation for an expanded information program by the Department of State. Webb apparently asked the President to give his very strongest backing to an appropriation request at his next meeting with the principal leaders of Congress, urging them to give high priority to the request as a very special program. According to Webb’s record of the discussion, not printed, the President was prepared to support fully the expanded information program and was willing to speak to Congressional leaders about it, but he desired a memorandum on which to base his conversation with the Congressional leaders (Secretary’s Memoranda, Lot 53 D 444, Secretary’s Memoranda—June 1950). The memorandum printed here was presumably the response to the President’s request. When the Secretary of State met with President Truman on July 6, the President stated that he had not had an opportunity to talk with the Congressional leaders about the expanded information program. He planned to do so on July 10 and again asked for a memorandum from the Department of State for his use in the discussion (memorandum by the Secretary of State, July 6: Secretary’s Memoranda, Lot 53 D 444, Secretary’s Memoranda—July 1950). In response to the President’s request, two more copies of the memorandum printed here were sent to the White House on July 7.
  2. Regarding the meeting of the Secretary of State with the British Foreign Secretary and the French Foreign Minister in London in May, see the editorial note, p. 306.
  3. See the memorandum of May 26 by Acting Secretary Webb for NSC Executive Secretary Lay, p. 311.
  4. The reference here is presumably to the President’s speech of April 20; see the editorial note, p. 304.