ODA Files, Lot 60 D 512

Discussion Brief for Bilateral Talks on Colonial Policy To Be Held at London and Paris (Agenda Item IV (b) 8)


Item IV (b) 8—More effective measures to counter Soviet-inspired propaganda activities in colonial areas and Soviet exploitation of the theme of “Western Imperialism” in their propaganda

I. Problem: To determine more effective measures to counter Soviet-inspired propaganda. Some reasons for the apparent success of Soviet propaganda are:

Soviet propaganda has been cleverly designed to capture the imagination of colonial peoples and play upon their susceptibilities, particularly of those whose standard of living is low;
Soviet attack is facilitated by the fact that nations which have risen to independence from colonial status consider colonialism an anachronism in world of today. This attitude also makes it difficult for Administering Authorities convincingly to defend colonial relationship.

II. Recommended United States Position:

A. We believe that general measures to counter Soviet propaganda should include:

A progressive colonial policy providing for rapid political and economic advancement which would include the following:
development of organs of self-government,
training of peoples to assume political, administrative and managerial responsibilities, and
rapid promotion of sound systems for improvement of territorial economies and educational and social reforms necessary to support political structures.
Consideration of desirability of advance announcement, wherever possible, of impending attainment of self-government or independence in particular territories, as for example, was done in cases of Philippines, Libya and Somaliland. Such announcement would, in our opinion, be potent weapon in deflating Soviet propaganda.
Pointing out, where appropriate and when colonial relationship as an institution is attacked, that all Members of UN have subscribed to Chapters XI and XII.
Administering Authorities might argue that all Members of UN have (1) thus recognized constitutional bases of colonies, and good faith of Administering Authorities to provide good government, and (2) further agreed their policy in respect to these territories must be based on general principle of good neighborliness.

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B. We believe specific measures in UN should include these tactics:

Answering Soviet attacks calmly, fully and authoritatively;
Including more representatives from territories in national delegations to various meetings in order that they can assist in countering Soviet propaganda;
Giving wide publicity to progress achieved in various territories; and
Using every effort to keep discussion in Committee 4 on substantive questions. However, we suggest that advantage should be taken of every opportunity to point out that principal threat to dependent peoples today is conspiracy of Soviet imperialism. It might be remarked at appropriate opportunities that world’s real concern is with number of independent countries which have recently become dependent, thus reversing world trend.

C. Following suggestion made by Belgian and U.K. representatives, U.S. has begun study and suggests that there be discussion at later date on question of best tactics to meet standard Soviet resolutions.