185. Report Prepared by the National Security Council1

NSC 5509


Part 6—The USIA Program

[Here follows a table of contents.]

[Page 505]


The first semi-annual report of the USIA covered the establishment of the Agency and the beginning of its operations under the NSC statement of mission (NSC 165/1, October 24, 1953).2 The second, to June 30, 1954, reported completion of organizational plans and adaptation of policies and activities to the mission assignment.3 In the six months just ended, the Agency attained an operational plane which permitted development of new methods for pursuing its mission successfully, bringing various elements into closer coordination, focusing effort more sharply, and planning on a longer-range basis.

Substantively, operations reflected American reactions to nuclear age developments and emphasized more heavily America’s devotion to peace and the need for unity and strength to maintain it. The Agency launched a cultural campaign to make the American way of life better understood, and capitalized on the series of Free World accomplishments which strengthened unity of purpose and resolved long-standing differences.

Numerous … in Southeast Asia, the Near East and Latin America were devoted to undermining Soviet prestige and effectiveness. A special action plan was put into effect unobtrusively to capitalize on the underlying animosities of the Chinese for Russians. At the same time, the Agency attempted generally to offer audiences more positive concepts in its output, showing that the U.S. is not merely or even primarily concerned with opposing Communism but stands for things which humanity values, and devotes itself to human progress.

In response to a special request by the Director, Agency personnel in the U.S. and overseas responded with a flow of ideas which might help in the winning of men’s minds. The Agency also began to develop longer-range delineation of standing policy, to give operations continuity and coherence, and to develop global guidance which will marshal facilities in all geographic areas behind objectives with worldwide significance.

In all areas USIA field posts have developed specific short-range objectives to focus efforts on immediate as well as more long-range tasks. This, in effect, is an additional pinpointing of programs in time as well as audience.

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I. Global Activities

A. Major Propaganda Problems

Two of the major propaganda problems during the period were the wide currency given the Soviet slogan “peaceful co-existence” and continued Soviet efforts, at the UN General Assembly and elsewhere, to convince peoples that the U.S. is another western colonial power.

To expose the “peaceful co-existence” slogan as a barren promise, the Agency developed a third global theme designed to convince peoples abroad that the U.S. stands and works for peace, and for a peace which is more meaningful than simple co-existence of two blocs of nations. All of the statements by the President and other top officials on this subject were widely publicized. The Christmas Pageant of Peace, highlighted by the President’s message, was given extensive coverage around the world, in many places by simultaneous observances. Effort was concentrated on developing confidence in the free world in the light of successes such as the London and Paris agreements, the Manila Pact, resolution of the Trieste problem, and other actions which demonstrate the essential unity of purpose of the free world.

The issue of colonialism continues to be a propaganda problem, particularly in former colonial areas, and one which will not be easily overcome. We have, however, continued to emphasize the genuine interest of the U.S. in the independence of all free nations.

Every statistical and other opportunity to reflect the soundness of the U.S. economy was utilized by press, radio and other media to generate confidence in the stability of the U.S. News and features on U.S. forces capabilities and new weapons were used to show the strength-for-defense of this country, without rattling any sabres. Official and editorial statements demonstrating U.S. determination to deter aggression were emphasized. To balance the picture of U.S. military might and help prove its purely defensive purposes, the Agency continued to utilize discussion of disarmament possibilities, mainly in the UN, to show that the U.S. is sincerely intent on finding some properly safeguarded means of controlling armaments.

During the period under review, all available means were used to combat false impressions abroad and to further the understanding that in the United States democratic processes and the rights of individuals were safe and that basic American unity remained strong.

Particular attention was devoted to an effort to convey to others the deep morality characteristic of the U.S. and to show that America stands for positive values, including the positive freedoms—freedom to learn, to debate, to worship, to work, to live and to [Page 507] serve. Promotion of the peaceful-uses-of-atomic-energy theme was still further enhanced. The Voice continued to broadcast back to the USSR anti-religious actions and statements of Soviet leaders. That Moscow has subsequently ordered a soft-pedalling of its activities in suppressing religion may be relevant.

B. Intra-Governmental Relations

USIA continued its active participation in the Operations Coordinating Board and the OCB inter-agency working groups.

At the same time, contact with the work of NSC was improved by designation of an officer to attend all meetings of the Planning Board and by the attendance of the Director at NSC meetings. The resulting greater familiarity with highest national security policy, and the reasoning behind it, has proved of great value to the Agency in attempting to bring its varied operations more squarely into line behind the national purposes they are designed to support.

In its efforts to integrate its programs more fully with other activities of the Government, the Agency sent representatives to serve on the U.S. delegations to several international conferences, among them the UNESCO session in Montevideo at the year-end, the September meeting in Manila of the Southeast Asia Pact nations, the December NATO meetings in Paris, the RIO conference on inter-American economic affairs, and the General Assembly session of the UN in New York. At each, the Agency was afforded a better insight into the matters it is responsible for explaining to peoples abroad, and was enabled to contribute its points of view in the pooling of ideas for accomplishing U.S. purposes more successfully in the information and psychological realm.

The Agency advisor to the delegation at the General Assembly was in New York for the duration of the Assembly session, providing policy direction to the Agency’s coverage of developments at the UN. Delegates of other countries were utilized extensively for recorded interviews to be beamed abroad over Voice of America facilities or to be sent to their home countries for broadcast on indigenous radio stations and networks. Speeches, statements and actions of the U.S. delegation were widely employed by all USIA media. The Agency played a major role in organizing an atomic energy exhibit for a reception sponsored by Ambassador Lodge and attended by representatives of all other delegations. This was credited with helping to obtain unanimous adoption of the “peaceful atomic uses” item on the General Assembly agenda. Later, a USIA “Atoms for Peace” exhibit (destined for subsequent shipment to South Asia) was displayed in the delegate area at UN headquarters the week of November 29. It evoked favorable reactions from other delegations and the UN Secretariat, which proposed that USIA show [Page 508] the exhibit at the Tenth Anniversary celebration of the Charter signing in San Francisco in June, 1955.

C. Cultural Activities

Agency steps to strengthen its cultural program were taken in a special effort to gain the respect of foreign intellectuals (artists, writers, educators, persons in the professions) for American leadership, and to gain their active allegiance to the principles of the Free World. One such step was a message by the Director to the field July 6, 1954,4 expressing his desire for greater emphasis on the cultural side of the Information Program. Another was creation of the position in the Office of Policy and Programs of Cultural Affairs Advisor and the assignment thereto of an officer with long field experience.

The President’s Emergency Fund for International Affairs permitted a tremendous step forward in presenting American culture abroad.5 The Director of USIA serves as the President’s executive agent of this Fund, with operational responsibility for trade fairs assigned to the Department of Commerce and for cultural exchanges to the Department of State. Under the Fund a number of the highest-quality American artistic performers have already been presented abroad. Other projects have been approved. Effectiveness of this program in combatting Soviet propaganda was demonstrated by the outstanding success enjoyed by the Porgy and Bess company in its visit to Yugoslavia and the Middle East. Of its visit to Belgrade the New York Times correspondent wrote on December 22, 1954: “Yugoslavs responded to Porgy and Bess, as one governmental official put it, ‘with the observation that only a psychologically mature people could have placed this on the stage.’ With charm and grace, members of the cast created new perspectives here for a Communist-led people sensitive to reports of American race prejudice and exploitation.”

The greater emphasis being placed by the Agency on cultural activities is designed to carry out that section of NSC 165/1 which states that the purpose of the Agency should be carried out, in part, “by delineating those important aspects of the life and culture of the people of the United States which facilitate understanding of the policies and objectives of the Government of the United States.”

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D. International Broadcasting

During this period the move of Voice of America facilities from New York to the Health, Education and Welfare building in Washington was completed, resulting in closer integration policy-wise with other Agency programs.

Improvement of radio effectiveness was the goal of two related studies. As a result of the Schramm Committee study,6 and subsequent recommendations by the OCB, steps were taken (a) to improve the quality of programming and linguistic appropriateness; (b) to strengthen worldwide English programs by hiring top-flight personnel to write, produce and broadcast the shows; and (c) to have further, detailed studies made abroad to ascertain the effectiveness of transmissions to certain Free World areas for which sufficient valid information is lacking. On the technical side, the report to the NSC on the Effectiveness of U.S. International Broadcasting7 by the Director of ODM recommended not only continuation of broadcasting and further study of effectiveness, but more transmission power as the only presently known answer to Soviet jamming. It also advocated other technical improvements, starting with installation of higher power transmitters now in Government possession but not yet installed.

II. Geographic Area Activities

A. Soviet Orbit

USIA sought, through operations directed at the captive peoples in the Soviet satellite states of Eastern Europe, in the USSR and in Communist China, further to advance the basic U.S. national objective of reducing the relative power position of the Soviet Orbit.

The “Voice of America” continued to be the main U.S. overt instrumentality for reaching captive audiences, beaming 75% of its total radio programming to the Soviet Union, the European Satellites, China and other Communist-dominated Asian areas. Local jamming [Page 510] continued to a considerable degree in the large urban centers of the USSR and to a lesser degree in the satellite area.

Reception is better in suburban and rural areas. The Schramm Report concluded that USIA broadcasts are “accomplishing in good part their assigned tasks of helping to maintain hope, … to spread news the regimes want to suppress, and to create a favorable climate of opinion for the eventual furtherance of our foreign policy objectives behind the Iron Curtain.”

To the USSR, the Agency began a daily two hour program of popular American music, announced in English, with a view to establishing and maintaining a channel to Soviet youth.

In support of NSC directives, USIA continued to devote its major effort with respect to Eastern Europe to encouragement of popular resistance to Soviet consolidation of the area, and to maintaining faith and confidence in eventual liberation from Soviet control. Heavy emphasis was given the “new economic course” which, it was pointed out, represents no fundamental reversal of the basic Communist position. VOA also stressed conflicts between old line “Stalinists”, who are afraid of measures likely to weaken party controls, and the “new course” elements, who recognize that Stalinist practices must be modified.

Other exploitable developments during the period included satellite governmental reorganizations; the U.S. Atoms for Peace Plan; Free World determination to deter Soviet aggression, the Balkan Pact being one good evidence; settlement of the Trieste issue; the Paris-London accords; and the Praca-Gottwald defectors.

Full coverage was afforded the Kersten Committee hearings regarding techniques of the Communist takeover in Eastern Europe.8 The President’s Flood Relief Program was presented as a reflection of continuing U.S. interest and concern for the welfare of the captive satellite peoples. Heavy emphasis was placed on the U.S. Escapee Program, particularly the resettlement phase.

One of the most important psychological developments of the period was the defection of Josef Swiatlo, who provided USIA with a great deal of material highly effective in Eastern Europe.

USIA continued to govern output to the Soviet Union in accordance with recommendations of the Jackson Committee9 as approved [Page 511] by the NSC… . USIA developed its global theme designed to expose the true nature and intent of the international Communist conspiracy.

Special emphasis was placed on the policies, problems and failures in Soviet agriculture and the apparent inability of the regime to take steps required for substantial improvement of food production.

Plans are now underway to develop means other than radio for reaching Soviet audiences. USIA has formulated a set of concrete proposals designed, on the one hand, to improve information penetration of the USSR and, on the other, to enhance the effectiveness of existing information programs, directed to the Soviet Union. The ideas were discussed in detail with Ambassador Bohlen when he was in Washington in November and they are undergoing further study. With Department of State advice and assistance, USIA is endeavoring to determine their practicability and put into operation any that may be prudent and feasible. The possibilities include revival of the Russian language periodical “Amerika”, introduction of American classical books, circulation of more American “movies”, getting printed matter to sailors in alien ports and the soldiers stationed abroad, exchanging more persons, use of other governments’ publications as vehicles for materials to be circulated in the USSR, developing pressures to induce Soviet publications to reproduce more of official U.S. statements, employment of additional or auxiliary transmitters, circulating anti-jamming hints, putting more power behind English language programs (which are not jammed), and inaugurating the special music program designed for the “golden youth” of the USSR. The music program, begun on New Year’s Eve, is aimed ostensibly at a Scandinavian audience but is intended to capitalize on the interest of Soviet youth in western popular music. It is hoped that gradually some commentary can be included in the program.

. . . . . . .

B. Western Europe

USIA’s 388 Americans at 66 posts, in 20 European countries where 14 languages are spoken, gave increasing attention to direct personal contacts with leaders, encouraging and assisting indigenous forces to forward our objectives of collective security, European unity, “Atoms for Peace”, socio-economic reconstruction and U.S.-European cultural unity.

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An Information Officer was assigned to London to work with journalists from the Near and Far East, and to stimulate use of U.S. materials in British publications going to those areas. Plans were completed for increasing the Cultural Affairs Staffs overseas and an English teaching specialist was assigned to each of four of the European posts.

Popular understanding and support for NATO were promoted by a systematic, daily effort, included cross-reporting of news of America’s role and contributions, and of the many positive achievements of the other NATO nations, to help create a convincing picture of 14 sovereign nations working together for mutual advantage with increasing effectiveness. At the December NATO Council Conference in Paris, a USIA information policy officer and team of reporters gave world-wide press and radio coverage to the unanimous completion, in a single day, of a particularly crowded, important agenda.

Cultural activities, often in conjunction with State’s Exchange of Persons program, were stepped up to meet the Soviet “cultural offensive”. Four chairs of American studies at Italian universities made study of the U.S. a regular feature of Italian higher education for the first time. Ten of the 17 French universities now have established chairs of American studies; a new one was set up in Belgium, and two Germans received the first Ph.D. degrees in “Amerikanistik” since the War.

USIA’s broad lecture and special events program included a commemoration of the late atomic physicist, Enrico Fermi, in Genoa under auspices of a local democratic cultural society. A record-breaking audience attended, aborting Communist plans to exploit Fermi for their own purposes.

Major “Atoms for Peace” exhibits in Berlin, Italy and Belgium capped USIA’s continuing press, radio and film campaign to popularize the President’s atom-pool proposal. A five-truck Italian exhibit was seen by nearly 2,000,000; thereafter, a poll revealed that more Italians, percentage-wise, were aware of the President’s program than were Britons, French or Germans. Plans were laid for the exhibits to cover all major European cities in 1955.

As in the case of EDC and Western European Union, USIA played an indirect but positive role in the crucial matter of furthering French-German reconciliation. Both short-and long-range plans in this field were developed for 1955.

In Italy, where the Communists threaten to capitalize on the democratic government’s socio-economic gains as well as on its failures, USIA “primed the pump” for two large-scale Italian information efforts. In the crucial southern area, plans were completed for a comprehensive Italian Government program in which most of the [Page 513] money and manpower for a “grassroots” impact program are supplied by the Italian Government and materials are furnished by USIA. The Agency also is stimulating the four democratic center parties to hold joint “cultural-political seminars” for young party and labor leaders in the principal provincial centers.

At Naples, USIA induced the Christian Democratic organization to print a pamphlet exposing Communist lies about alleged lack of economic progress in the area. The pamphlet was distributed first at the Communist-front “People’s Congress of Southern Italy”, with good effect.

Intensified personal contact work in France included setting up regular press luncheons, off-the-record briefings and evening sessions at the homes of USIA officers for French and American newsmen. Later, German correspondents were brought together with their French counterparts.

In West Germany, special Voice of America programs were placed on local networks and stations, … . This routine is designed to continue even in case future pressure should reduce or cancel VOA relay arrangements.

In Spain, the Agency’s stepped-up program to explain our agreements for military bases now reaches more than four million Spaniards a year with an extensive library service, special periodicals, radio programs, exhibits, movies, lectures and round-table discussions. American libraries and information centers are jammed all day long, and the first of two new reading rooms was opened where new air force bases will be constructed.

The special radio series of English-teaching lessons, “Bob y Maria”, designed to develop better understanding of U.S. life and culture, has been so popular that Spanish radio authorities have asked the Agency to continue the programs for another series of broadcasts.

In Austria, special USIA activities included (a) giving widespread publicity to the U.S. flood relief program, (b) anticipating and helping to counter in advance the propaganda impact of the two major international Communist-front meetings in Vienna, and (c) providing specialized and comprehensive news and feature coverage of the visit to the U.S. of Austrian Chancellor Raab.

Press tours of the Keflavik Air Base for Icelandic newspapermen intensified USIA press service and contributed to improve public understanding. Icelandic-language USIA documentary films were effective in helping to counter the Communists’ own intensified propaganda efforts.

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C. Near East South Asia and Africa

USIA tasks in support of U.S. objectives in the area involved (a) promoting government and economic stability in certain countries, such as Pakistan and Iran, where economic difficulty, political uncertainty, social restiveness and military weakness were prominent factors; (b) pointing up the danger of communist subversion; (c) fostering the collective-security-for-peace-concept; (d) countering communist commercial and cultural campaigns; (e) confronting colonial and white supremacy issues; and (f) advancing the atomic-energy-for-peace campaign.

Special campaigns were conducted on the basis of foreign policy developments or news events:

Aid to Pakistan. To help insure the most effective use of the $105,000,000 American aid to Pakistan, both for economic and political stability, USIA initiated, in cooperation with the Pakistan Government, a continuing campaign on the nature of the aid and the ways in which it would bolster Pakistan’s economy. The campaign included a special effort to alert the people to Communist infiltration tactics and to forewarn against subversion.

Iranian Oil Settlement. To forestall disillusionment over lack of immediate benefits, USIA worked closely with the Iranian Government to publicize long-term benefits. Agency officers met almost daily with Iranian Government information officials. As the period ended, plans were being made for providing Iran with a 50-kilowatt transmitter so the government can reach areas presently receiving mainly Soviet stations.

Aid to Iraq. Signing of the U.S. Military Aid Agreement with Iraq launched a low-key campaign to condition Iraquis to join a collective security arrangement, and to prepare neighboring countries for an eventual extension of collective security arrangements for the Middle East. Arrival of a small MAAG mission and of the first shipment of materials was used as a peg for discussion of collective security. Iraq, which continues to receive USIA assistance in its anti-Communist campaign, tightened regulations against internal Communism. USIA supplied the Ministry of Information factual materials showing methods international Communism employs to take over a government through subversion and infiltration. This effort affected Iraq Government pronouncements, broadcasts and news stories.

Spy Trials in Iran. In August, wholesale arrest of Iranian Army officers as communist spies provided USIA with a good opportunity to point up throughout the Middle East and Southeast Asia the practical danger of communist subversion. Indigenous comment was stimulated and cross reporting continues… .

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Manila Pact and Pacific Charter. To offset adverse Indian reaction to the Manila Pact, USIA played heavily on the theme of collective security as a means of preserving peace. Particular emphasis was given to the Charter’s declaration that signatories would uphold principles of self-determination, self-government and independence. However, the impact of this declaration was largely nullified by the position adopted by the U.S. in the UN on Cyprus, New Guinea, Morocco and Tunisia. Progress of the London conference and Western European Union gave USIA an opportunity to stress the strides Europe is making in collective security. This reportedly has had a considerable effect in India, Nehru being aware that Indian neutralism needs a strong West.

Nehru10 and China. USIA maintained a neutral attitude on Nehru’s visit to Red China. The Prime Minister’s criticism of the Indian Communist Party soon after his return was publicized throughout the NEA area. USIA also contributed substantially to an increase in anti-communist material in Indian papers… .

Flood Relief. Prompt U.S. aid to East Bengal and the Punjab during their disastrous floods provided an outstanding public relations opportunity. USIA itself stayed in the background. The Pakistan Government and media told the story, using, for the most part, materials prepared by USIA. USIA cross-reported the story throughout South Asia and the Near East.

State Visitors. Visitors from Pakistan (Mohamed Ali11), Ceylon (Sir John Kotalawala12), Ethiopia (Hailie Selassie13) and Liberia (President Tubman14), as well as the private visit of the Shah and Empress of Iran, gave USIA an opportunity to flood local media with materials emphasizing the themes of collective security for peace, mutuality of political and economic interests, and U.S. sympathy and concern for people in underdeveloped and newly emerging states. A special effort was made to convince local peoples that their countries are regarded as partners by the U.S. Daily radio and press transmissions to Ethiopia in Amharic on the Emperor’s visit had the salutary effect of eliminating censorship of U.S. services, and made it possible for USIA to circulate film shows freely for the first time.

Trade Fairs and Cultural Projects. To counter Russian and Red Chinese commercial and cultural offensives in the area, USIA made every effort through indigenous groups and country cross-reporting to exploit to the full the few U.S. cultural athletic missions to the area. This was particularly effective in the case of Dr. Sammy Lee, [Page 516] Olympic diving champion, his Korean origin and his profession in private life serving to point up the respect and position which orientals can earn in America. To prevent Syria’s first International Trade Fair from being dominated by the exhibits of Soviet and satellite countries, USIA put a major amount of time and effort into the showing of CINERAMA at the Damascus Fair. Widely heralded from the first performance, CINERAMA drew thousands of persons from the entire Arab world, eclipsing communist exhibits at the Fair. In India, USIA arranged for the India Arts and Crafts Society to sponsor an American Water Color Exhibit. Under the Society’s auspices, the exhibit was widely publicized in each city (including banners across streets), and Nehru himself signed the introduction to the handsome catalogue. The Society also sponsored an exhibit of American handicrafts.

Evacuation of Suez. USIA in Cairo worked closely with the Chief of Mission throughout Suez Canal negotiations. Intimate liaison with influential editors and publishers helped to allay press outbursts. Every effort was made to emphasize constructive roles played by the British and Egyptians in the settlement and to keep the U.S. out of the picture. When U.S. economic aid was extended to Egypt, USIA immediately initiated programs, in cooperation with the Egyptian Government, to encourage the people to take full advantage of the economic benefits.

Jordan River Project. Benefits of hydroelectric plants and irrigation projects for industrial and agricultural development were kept before the Arab peoples. Reports indicated that this program helped develop a more conciliatory attitude on both sides of the Jordan River.

De-segregation. In Africa, extensive initial USIA publicity on the anti-segregation decision of the U.S. Supreme Court was followed by accounts of progress in de-segregation and by a series of stories on eminent American Negroes. De-segregation stories also were emphasized in India.

Atoms for Peace. In all countries the President’s atoms-for-peace program was exploited through press placement, radio broadcasts, film shows, exhibits and information center activities. Indian editors were especially receptive.

D. Far East

Communist military victory in Vietnam, and the succeeding Geneva agreement, underlined the importance of greater U.S. information activity throughout the Far East, but particularly in Southeast Asia and in Japan. Accordingly, the increase of USIA activity, begun during the previous reporting period, was continued on an even greater scale in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. The program under-went [Page 517] drastic changes commensurate with demands of the altered situation.

To align psychological operations as closely as possible with the differing political and psychological climates in the three states, the Indochina Program, which had operated under the direction of the Public Affairs Officer in Saigon, was divided into three separate and independent country programs. This move paralleled establishment of separate diplomatic missions in Cambodia and Laos. Staff levels, media operations, and budget were increased as the programs were expanded to include the peoples of the three states, among whom Communists conduct vigorous propaganda campaigns. In the post-Geneva situation, the program goals were redefined as promoting popular support of the government, discrediting the Vietminh before local and world opinion, generating an awareness of the threat of communism and encouraging active resistance to it, and stimulating the growth of stability.

Operations in Japan were aimed at overcoming the influence of renewed left-wing, popular front and neutralist activities. All media were used where communist efforts seemed to be most successful: among students, teachers and labor groups. Radio, press, selected books, other publications and personal contacts with leaders in education, labor and indigenous media were employed to counteract attempts to prevent attainment of U.S. policy objectives.

Major Japanese newspapers continued to reprint from a translated wireless bulletin prepared by USIA in Japan an average of 8,000 column inches a month. USIA radio programs rebroadcast by Japanese Government and commercial radio stations at the year end averaged over 400 station hours weekly. Indirect support was given to the publication of anti-Communist books, two of which became best-sellers. USIA in Japan was producing or inspiring the publication of selected books at the rate of more than 100 a year. Through personal contacts in the Agency’s headquarters in Tokyo and at the 14 cultural centers in Japan, USIA is placing large quantities of both attributed and unattributed materials in educational institutions, with labor groups, and into other local channels.

USIA also is assisting in production of Japanese motion pictures on anti-Communist themes, one of which became a major box-office success. Another film, The Yukawa Story, based on the life of the prominent Japanese nuclear physicist, was completed. It shows that a Japanese youth is able to combine the knowledge he acquires from the U.S. and his Japanese cultural heritage to better serve his own country.

Through good will engendered in the USIA cultural centers, some influential Japanese speakers and newspapermen helped counter anti-Americanism aroused by the contamination of fishermen [Page 518] and fish by hydrogen and ash fallout. These leaders used cultural center facilities, including films and publications, to amass counteracting materials.

In Thailand, the psychological offensive initiated by USIA and operated through the Thai Government was further developed to reach officials and educators… .

The Northeast border area, which has a concentration of Vietminh sympathizers, was saturated with USIA materials.

Burma’s strengthening resistance to communist propaganda was reflected in better acceptance of anti-communist materials. Their distribution along the China border was accelerated. Negotiations began for establishment of a new Information Center at Moulmein. Only lease arrangements remained before a USIA branch library could be set up at the University of Rangoon to counter Communist influence among students. USIA made progress in overcoming Government resistance to anti-Communist materials, and for the first time induced the government to use USIA posters in its anti-Communist campaign in the Kachin area.

In Korea, emphasis was placed on the U.S.–UN economic aid program. USIA decreased activity against possible unilateral ROK military action northward, and shifted main emphasis to a thorough exploitation of the aid program to help “sell” the ROK Government and South Koreans in general on measures the U.S. considers necessary to attain its economic goals in Korea. All information facilities and other media of U.S.–UN organizations in Korea began devoting themselves to this now well-coordinated effort. Motion pictures, many produced locally by USIA, proved the most effective medium; audiences totalled 3.7 million during the calendar quarter ended September 30, 1954. The audiences were made up of government officials and moulders of public opinion, armed forces and police, students and teachers, professional societies, farmers and the general public.

USIA undertook additional steps to promote Philippine prestige in Southeast Asia with the aim of increasing the chances of success for any action the Philippines might take to strengthen regional security, as envisioned in the Southeast Asia Collective Defense Pact. Special attention also was devoted to placing in proper perspective the controversy about U.S. bases in the Philippines. On this issue, a new press campaign was begun.

During the Manila conference and after the pact agreement in September, the Agency heavily publicized not only the defense agreement but the Manila Charter. Support of the pact was made [Page 519] one of the principal objectives of the program throughout the Far East.

E. Latin American Republics

The President’s “Atoms for Peace” proposal, the Rio Economic Conference, and the pertinent recommendations of the Milton Eisenhower Report on Latin American15 all received major attention in planning and output. They provided basic subject matter for two of the three fundamental tasks on which the Latin American program has been concentrated: (a) expounding the free enterprise system and inter-American economic interdependence; (b) exposing the threat of international communism and its machinations in the area; and (c) demonstrating the positive values of democracy as exemplified in American life and culture.

Faced with the pessimism and truculence that characterized informed Latin American opinion in anticipation of the Rio Economic Conference, the Agency sought by persistent use of research and feature material in all fast media to support announced U.S. policies and to call popular attention to the positive and dynamic aspects of our economic relations and of Latin America’s own situation. At the Conference itself, a five-man information team, providing tactical coverage by means of films, photographs, news stories and recorded interviews, constituted a sensitive instrument to exploit the better atmosphere that developed midway in the session.

Under the Economic Information Project established in the spring of 1954, sets of an “economic bookshelf” were sent to the field for presentation, a series of fourteen half-hour dramatic shows were produced for local broadcast, seven short films were put out on self-help projects in Puerto Rico and one on FOA in Haiti, and two major films neared completion on the economic growth and prospects of the hemisphere. Seven of thirteen monthly newsreels produced by USIA Brazil were released for showing in Brazilian theatres. Two writer-photographer teams gathering raw material on FOA achievements throughout the Continent are about to complete their assignments.

In the Latin American program, effort was re-oriented toward priority countries such as Brazil, Chile, Bolivia, and Guatemala, where chronic conditions called for increased impact on public opinion. Special resources were diverted on a short-term basis to Brazil, for the period of the national elections, and to Chile, in [Page 520] recognition of the critical politico-economic situation there. The scope of the Bolivian program was increased with the development of numerous local projects designed to publicize and complement FOA assistance.

In Guatemala, program activities were revised and elaborated to take advantage of the post-revolutionary opportunity for re-establishing cultural ties with the U.S. and aiding in the democratic reorientation of teachers, labor and youth. By participation in an inter-agency task force sent to Guatemala just after the revolution, the Agency obtained a large volume of documentation for continuing use in exposing the methods and characteristics of communism. It produced one film on Guatemala, purchased and distributed another, and underwrote a Spanish edition of a current book on the subject. Anti-Communist radio programs, in both recorded and script form, were supplied to the field in considerable quantity.

In Middle America, particular attention was devoted to labor and free-labor movements, especially in Mexico, Honduras and Panama, where specific problems arise from Canal Zone relations. The regional media servicing operation for Central America, based in Mexico, was strengthened and became increasingly valuable.

Increasing use was made of the Agency publication “Problems of Communism”. In Paraguay, responsible officials credited USIA with turning the tide in favor of the Government’s adoption of a resolution denouncing Communist intervention.

The central positive theme of the program was the President’s “Atoms for Peace” proposal. Of special significance was the elaborate exhibit entitled “Atoms for the Benefit of Mankind” developed under AEC guidance and displayed at Sao Paulo, Brazil, from August to December. Total attendance reached 300,000. A color film of the exhibit was prepared for general distribution. A separate panel exhibit on the same theme was provided to each Latin American post. Ten other major exhibits were put into circulation and some 96,000 books and publications transmitted for use by the Binational Centers or for presentation.

The Wireless File was converted from a partial to a complete Spanish-language news service and steps were taken to expedite its delivery to consumers. As an immediate result, the largest Brazilian newspaper chain agreed to incorporate the File into its own telegraphic service to journals in the interior, assuring far wider coverage than ever before achieved.

An agreement was reached and put into effect with the Government of Puerto Rico for wide distribution by the Agency of films, pamphlets and other materials supporting U.S. objectives produced by the Puerto Rican Information Program. This major project will [Page 521] benefit informational output in all areas, but most directly in Latin America.

  1. Source: Department of State, S/SNSC Files: Lot 63 D 351, NSC 5509. Secret. This paper is a collection of reports prepared by various executive agencies. Part 6, dated February 11, was prepared by USIA
  2. For text of NSC 165/1, “Mission of the United States Information Agency,” October 24, 1953, see Foreign Relations, 1952–1954, vol. ii, Part 2, p. 1752.
  3. For text of NSC 5430, August 18, 1954, “Status of United States Programs for National Security as of June 30, 1954,” see ibid., p. 1777.
  4. See circular airgram USIACA–8, ibid., p. 1773.
  5. Regarding the President’s Emergency Fund for International Affairs, see the President’s letters to the President of the Senate, July 27, 1954, and to the Secretary of State, August, 18, 1954, ibid., pp. 1776 and 1790.
  6. Headed by Dr. Wilbur Schramm, the Committee first began annual meetings in Europe in 1954 to assess the effectiveness of U.S. broadcasting to the Soviet orbit. Representatives from Soviet bloc posts and from Berlin, Bonn, Munich, Frankfurt, and Vienna relayed views from their stations on the impact of the broadcasting efforts. The Schramm Committee report is in an Operations Coordinating Board Report of March 2, 1955, Reports from Agencies on Implementation of Recommendations Re U.S. International Broadcasting (Schramm Report). (Department of State, S/SOCB Files: Lot 62 D 430, International Broadcasting II)
  7. The study is in a memorandum of February 2, 1955, from NSC Executive Secretary James S. Lay, Jr., to the National Security Council on “Electro-Magnetic Communications: Effectiveness of U.S. International Broadcasting.” (Ibid.,S/SNSC Files: Lot 63 D 351, NSC 169)
  8. Representative Charles J. Kersten (R–Wis.) served as chairman of the House of Representatives Select Committee on Communist Aggression in 1954. The Committee conducted hearings in Europe and investigated Communist influences in Guatemala and the Communist seizure of Hungary. A summary of the Kersten Committee’s work appears in Congressional Quarterly, Almanac, 83d Cong., 2d sess., 1954 (Washington, Congressional Quarterly News Features, undated), vol. X, pp. 286–287.
  9. Chaired by William H. Jackson, the Committee was established on January 24, 1953, by a Presidential Directive to survey and evaluate international information policies and activities of the executive branch of the government. For text of the Committee’s report of June 30, 1953, see Foreign Relations, 1952–1954, vol. ii, Part 2, pp. 1795 ff.
  10. Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime Minister of India.
  11. Prime Minister of Pakistan.
  12. Prime Minister of Ceylon.
  13. Emperor of Ethiopia.
  14. William V.S. Tubman.
  15. Presumably a reference to “The Americas—Facing the Future Together, A Report to the President of the U.S.” by Dr. Milton Eisenhower, prepared in Spanish by USIA for distribution to 20 Latin American stations on December 28, 1953. (CA–355; Washington National Records Center, USIA/IPS Files, FRC 63 A 171)