511.00/1–1953: Circular telegram

The Secretary of State to Certain Diplomatic Posts1


779. Verbatim text. Following is InfoGuide Bulletin 237:

Eisenhower: Inaugural Address2 provides subject and themes for heaviest, continuing exploitation by all US foreign information media and US official publicity outlets overseas during coming weeks.

We maintain tone of output, in originating and selecting comment as well as in reporting, on same level of dedication to high moral purpose as is set by tone of speech itself.

It is essential that we make clear to all areas a fully balanced picture of the address. The new President has outlined principles of a world-wide approach in which all major elements are interdependent. Therefore we must avoid over-regionalization in initial states of exploitation, and seek, wherever possible, to overcome any tendency by other media to give any area only those sections of address which deal exclusively with that area. Regional aspects, emerging after initial full treatment, will be the subject of further guidance.

We should stress that this address is a non-partisan document; that the President has stated a creed incorporating basic principles to which Americans, regardless of politics, can and do adhere. Be alert for all comment along this line, and use it to build a picture of a united America, ready now under new leadership, to rededicate its dynamic energies toward a plainly-stated goal.

In treatment generally, we bear always in mind that this is statement principles repeat and underline principles, not repeat not policies. Fuller definition of projected policies repeat policies, both foreign and domestic, must await “State of Union” message, which may be sometime in preparation.3 Pending that message, therefore, we carefully avoid any comment, foreign or domestic, which seeks speculatively to interpret any particular phrases or passages Inaugural in terms of future actual policy Eisenhower Administration, or to commit new Administration to policies in advance their official enunciation by qualified spokesmen.

Above caution applies particularly to passages dealing with “joint effort” (principle 1), economics and trade (principle 6) and [Page 1653] “regional groupings” (first paragraph principle 7) which may be subject intensive speculation certain areas.

For later condensation and amplification in original and selected comment, these are key-notes, themes and passages most useful our purposes abroad.

Key-notes: (a) “We are called, as a people, to give testimony, in the sight of the world, to our faith that the future shall belong to the free”;

(b) “It is our faith in the deathless dignity of man, governed by eternal moral and natural laws”;

(c) “The peace we seek, then, is nothing less than fulfillment of our whole faith among ourselves and in our dealings with others”;

(d) “Abhorring war as a chosen way to balk the purposes of those who threaten us, we hold it to be the first task of statesmanship to develop the strength that will deter the forces of aggression and promote the conditions of peace”.

We give major emphasis in output in general to themes expressed in following passages (listed for convenience in order of appearance in speech, not in order of priority for emphasis):

Passage beginning “At such a time in history, we who are free etc.”, and ending “that make all men equal in His sight”.
Passage beginning “It decrees that we, the people, elect leaders etc.”, and ending “faith in our country and in the watchfulness of a divine Providence”.
Immediately following passage beginning “The enemies of this faith know no god but Force, etc.,” and ending “This conflict strikes directly at the faith of our fathers and the lives of our sons”.
Passage beginning “The faith we hold belongs not to us alone etc.,” and ending “the American life given in Korea”.
Passage beginning “No free people can for long cling to any privilege etc.,” and ending “thousand-fold intensity in the event of war”.
Passage beginning “So it is proper that we assure our friends again etc.,” and ending “spasmodic reaction to the stimulus of emergencies”.
Passage beginning “We wish our friends the world over etc.,” and ending “capital offense against freedom, a lack of staunch faith”.
Passage beginning “Abhorring war as a chosen way etc.,” and ending “and so make possible drastic reduction of armaments” (principle 1).
Passage beginning “Realizing that common sense and common decency etc.,” and ending “soldier’s pack is not so heavy a burden as a prisoner’s chains” (principle 2).
Passage beginning “Honoring the identity and heritage of each nation etc.,” and ending “our own cherished political and economic institutions” (principle 4).
Passage beginning “In the Western Hemisphere etc.,” and ending “fraternal trust and common purpose” (principle 7).
Passage beginning “In Europe, we ask, etc.,” and ending “its spiritual and cultural treasures” (principle 7).
Passage beginning “Conceiving the defense of freedom, etc.” and ending “in any sense inferior or expendable” (principle 8).
Passage beginning “Respecting the United Nations etc.,” and ending “nor tire, nor ever cease” (principle 9).
Passage beginning “The peace we seek, then, is nothing less etc.,” and ending “and with prayer to Almighty God”.

  1. Drafted by Edward P. Montgomery and Edward V. Roberts of IIA. Cleared in draft by W. Bradley Connors of IIA and Phillips of P, telegraphed to 16 posts, and pouched to 73 others.
  2. President Eisenhower’s inaugural address, Jan. 21, 1953, is printed in Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1953, pp. 1–8.
  3. President Eisenhower’s first Annual Message to Congress on the State of the Union, Feb. 2, 1953, is printed ibid., pp. 12–34.