156. Memorandum From the Office of Public Information of the U.S. Information Agency to Agency Employees1
- Some Changes in USIA since March, 1961
Since the appointment of Edward R. Murrow as Director, in March, 1961, a number of far-reaching changes have been effected in the policies, operations, procedures and output of the U.S. Information Agency. Inventoried below are some of the more significant of these changes. This listing is for the information of USIA employees who, engrossed in [Page 297] their own segment of the Agency operation, may like to know of changes and developments in other areas.
The role of the Director and his senior officers in the formulation of foreign policy has been greatly strengthened. No longer is USIA handed a policy and told to make the best of it. The Agency’s counsel is now sought whenever national policies with foreign implications are being formulated. The Director participates actively in all meetings of the National Security Council and its executive committee. His key officers consult daily with their counterparts in the White House, the Department of State and other federal departments and agencies. President Kennedy’s January 25, 1963 statement of mission for USIA charged the Agency with the responsibility for “advising the President, his representatives abroad, and the various departments and agencies on the implications of foreign opinion for present and contemplated United States policies, programs and official statements.”2 That statement is very much an operational fact.
A revamping of functions has taken place in the Agency’s Office of Policy to meet the problems and opportunities of the changing times. The country planning mechanism was overhauled to streamline and sharpen the functioning of USIS as an integral component of the overseas country teams. A media coordinator has been assigned to ensure that the many instruments of communication used by USIA are synchronized both in content and in timing. A long range planning officer has also been assigned to provide guidelines for other than immediate policy and media objectives to be reached in five to 10 years. A youth and student affairs officer plans and promotes activities and output directed to these critically important audiences. Another officer has been assigned to ensure the inclusion of overseas research findings in the Agency’s policies and programming.
At overseas posts paper work has been subordinated to leg work. The volume of reporting from the field to headquarters has been reduced by about 20% to permit a corresponding increase of field officers’ time in furthering programs and policies. Remaining reporting procedures have been simplified and streamlined.
Length of overseas tours, except in critical hardship posts, has been extended 50% from two to three years and a policy is followed whereby key officers often return to the same post for a second tour. This permits better use of officers who thus have greater time to develop contacts and know the problems.[Page 298]
Regional specialization for foreign service officers has been made the rule. No longer are officers assigned from one area to another throughout their careers, thus acquiring a smattering of expertise in one area only to be assigned away from it for the next tour. To the extent possible, they now spend the bulk of their overseas careers in a single cultural or ethnic region.
The diffusion of effort and output that characterized USIA during the first years of its existence is ended. No longer is the Agency’s mission “to tell America’s story abroad”; no longer does USIA scatter its fire indiscriminately to all segments of all populations. “Targeting”, always an ideal, is now a reality. Audiences are carefully selected-together with the techniques of reaching them and the contents of the message-to achieve maximum influence leading to political action. All USIA media function in synchronization: if the theme is Free Choice, and the peg is Berlin, each medium devises a message best communicated through its instrument. The messages are carefully related each to the other and each supports the other. This results in a multiplied opinion impact.
A much greater awareness of the function of USIS has spread among senior U.S. operating officials in the 106 countries abroad where the Agency now has posts. Chiefs of mission now know that the public affairs officer and his staff have a dual responsibility: (1) to advise the mission on the psychological implications in the country of U.S. policies, plans and actions and (2) to serve as the information, cultural and psychological link between the mission and the people of the host country.
Since the spring of 1961 the Agency has increasingly emphasized operations in Africa and Latin America and because of these priorities has had to curtail somewhat its operations in Western Europe where normal communications with the U.S. are relatively full and open. The Agency has opened 12 new mission posts and eight branch posts in Africa in this period; 11 new branch posts in Latin America; two mission posts and one branch post in the Far East; one mission post and two branch posts in the Near East; in Western Europe, USIA closed four branch posts and opened one new one.
To assist the African area in its tasks of organizing many new posts, the Agency has conducted in Africa a series of training workshops for local employees. These have covered subjects such as office practices, maintenance and operation of motion picture projectors, the establishment and operation of a library, techniques of handling small exhibits, and the servicing of multilith presses.
The Agency has become increasingly effective in acting as a catalyst in producing the maximum favorable impression overseas out of the [Page 299] travels abroad of prominent American Government officials, and others. USIS posts thoroughly prepared for trips such as President Kennedy’s to Latin America and Europe, Mrs. Kennedy’s visit to India and Pakistan, and Vice President Johnson’s travel to the Near East and Scandinavia. All the media in Washington did their advance work, too. During the trips, foreign service officers facilitated coverage by commercial media and also covered the events themselves. Films, special editions of magazines and pamphlets help to broaden, and make more lasting, the impact of such visits.
A Foreign Correspondents’ Center was opened in New York City to help some 500 journalists who usually live in the U.S. to cover America and the United Nations. The Center arranged briefings by prominent American officials and others. It also facilitates visits outside New York. A documentation center is another service.
Greatly increased Agency-wide attention is being paid to key youth, student and labor groups abroad. For details see 20th Semi-Annual Report to Congress, pages 18–21 and 28–35.
Voice of America
In February, 1963 the short wave power of the Voice of America was doubled. A giant new transmitter complex—nearly five million watts, equal to the broadcast power of 96 of the top U.S. commercial radio stations—was completed at Greenville, North Carolina. This complex gives USIA a far better signal to Latin America, Europe and Africa.
Four highly versatile air-transportable transmitters have been constructed and put into operation. Three are near Monrovia. They provide an interim signal to Africa south of the Sahara until a large permanent transmitter complex of 1.6 million watts is completed in March, 1964. The fourth, on Marathon Key off Florida, beams medium wave broadcasts to Cuba.
Improvements in VOA’s short wave broadcast service include: consolidation of Chinese-language casts by eliminating Amoy and Cantonese and concentrating on Mandarin, the principal language on the mainland and on Formosa; inauguration of Portuguese broadcasts to Brazil; increase of Spanish broadcasts to Latin America from one hour to nine hours daily; inauguration of dictation-speed newscasts in Spanish and Portuguese to facilitate wider diffusion by the printed word; considerable increase in the number of (stringer) correspondents reporting to VOA.
Other VOA construction advances: (1) the first of six new transmitters at Woofferton, England—increasing VOA power there fivefold to 1.25 million watts—goes on the air shortly; (2) relay facilities aboard Coast Guard Cutter, Courier, are being land-based on Island of Rhodes [Page 300] where the Near East Arabic services are being concentrated; (3) agreements for relay-transmitter installations were made with Greece and the Philippines; (4) relay facilities in the U.S., at Bethany, Ohio, and Delano and Dixon, California are being modernized; (5) new antennas have been built for RIAS, the Agency’s station in West Berlin, with a resulting five-fold increase in power at night for broadcasts that blanket East Germany. Meanwhile, obsolescent relay transmitters at Brentwood, Long Island, Schenectady, New York, and Wayne, New Jersey, were retired from service.
The volume of VOA short wave broadcasting has increased nearly 30% since January, 1961: from 617'45" to 796'15" hours weekly.
The volume of placement on overseas medium wave transmitters of VOA-produced tapes has increased more than 150% since January, 1961: from 5,457 to 14,000 hours weekly. Some 5,500 radio stations in the free world, both commercial and government-owned, carry such VOA taped programs.
Twice the Voice of America has massed its transmitters to deliver to listeners behind the Iron Curtain an electronic Sunday punch consisting of vital information which Communist governments had been denying their people. The first: November 5, 1961, employing 52 transmitters, 4.3 million watts and 80 frequencies during an eight-hour period. It told the Russian people of world-wide revulsion because the Soviets had callously broken the atomic testing moratorium and resumed atmospheric tests. The second: October 25, 1962, employing the same strength and number of frequencies as the year previous, to broadcast the full story of the crisis confrontation over Cuba. In both cases, monitoring and the reports of correspondents in the USSR confirmed that, despite intensive jamming efforts, the broadcasts got through to an immense audience.
Motion Picture Service
Sixty-seven films have been completed since March, 1961. Thirty-six of these are documentary, and 31 are major films on the visits of foreign dignitaries and other topical subjects. Among the more important films have been:
“United in Progress”, two reels in color, based upon the participation of President Kennedy in the Costa Rican conference of Central American chiefs of state;
“A Philosopher’s Journey”, two reels in color, on the visit of the President of India to the United States, symbolizing the friendship between the two nations;
“Invitation to India” and “Invitation to Pakistan”, both in color, depicted Mrs. Kennedy’s visit in 1962 to those countries;
“The Farmer and I”, two reels in color, shows the life and labor of an American farmer;[Page 301]
“China and the Far East”, two reels, black and white, is one of a number of anti-Communist films;
“Escape to Freedom”, three reels, black and white, shows the drama and the tragedy of the flight of refugees from Communist lands;
“School at Rincon Santo”, “Evil Wind Out” and “Letter from Colombia” were produced to support the Alliance for Progress. Each is one reel, black and white.
“The Five Cities of June”, three reels in color, depicts five significant events in June, 1963.
Since March, 1961 sixty-six films have been acquired from non-Agency sources at little or no cost. For its “packets” of films of specialized subjects, IMS acquired 1,173 prints, and 801 more prints are on loan for field use. It is estimated that acquisition activities during FY 1963 saved IMS $501,097. Sources for these films were several organizations, societies and associations, hospitals, doctors and institutions, trade unions, government agencies, foundations, museums and private industry. Among the more outstanding films acquired were: “Agriculture USA”, “Project Telstar” and “The John Glenn Story.”
The Agency is now placing special emphasis on one-reel documentaries because this type of picture is relatively easy to place in public theaters, whereas lengthy films are rarely accepted by theaters. Strong evidence of the success of this operation is the report from USIS Santiago. The report concerns “Horizons”, the news magazine for Latin America. Recently USIA adopted the policy of issuing “Horizons” as two separate one-reel productions per month instead of a single two-reel production. USIS Santiago reported that 10 first run theaters accepted prints of the single reel version of “Horizons”, whereas only five of these theaters would accept the two-reel issues. The audience for the two-reel version was 50,400, whereas the two 10-minute issues were placed in a total of 18 principal theaters in Santiago and were seen by 132,500.
With the cooperation of the American Science Film Association, USIA has sponsored, organized and coordinated American Science Film Forums in many countries. These traveling forums show selected American science films, accompanied by lectures, discussions and seminars under the leadership of outstanding American scientists. Their purpose is to emphasize U.S. pre-eminence in science; the relationship of science to human progress; and to demonstrate the application of films to research, education and the popularizing of scientific knowledge.
The U.S. Government and the American film industry participation in major international film festivals has been greatly strengthened. George Stevens served as Chairman of the American delegations to the festivals at Cannes and Venice in 1962; in 1963 he was chairman of the [Page 302] American delegations to the Moscow and Venice festivals and a member of the delegation to the Berlin festival. Because of the reluctance of the Motion Picture Association of America to select U.S. entertainment feature films for the 1962 Cannes film festival, the Hollywood Guilds Festival Committee was established upon the recommendation of USIA.
To fulfill its advisory function and to tailor output, USIA must know continuously and quickly what people abroad think about U.S. foreign policy actions and statements, along with their reaction to other major happenings. In recognition of this, reporting of such reactions has been expanded and speeded.
During the October 1962 Cuban crisis, for example, reports on global reaction were prepared twice a day, then daily, then intermittently as required. An over-all assessment of the situation was prepared later when there was time for adequate evaluation. Similar reports were issued on many subjects including the Sino-India border conflict and the Buddhist protests in South Viet-Nam.
Public opinion studies overseas have been enlarged in scope and depth to examine long-term values and aspirations as well as current views. In 1963 the Agency’s Survey Research Division conducted its first world-wide public opinion study designed to measure attitudes on a global basis. Surveys also are used to study target groups that USIA is attempting to influence, to investigate channels and methods of communication and to examine the effectiveness of specific Agency programs. There has been a substantial increase in field commissioned research projects, including pre-testing of media materials and studies to determine the impact of particular programs. An effort is being made to study the attitudes of emerging peoples. This work has been expanded considerably in the past two years with an accumulation of invaluable information.
The Agency’s research staff has stimulated applicable study by independent American scholars, foundations and universities. Survey findings now are being exchanged through information centers established at several universities.
A special projects research division was established in January, 1962 to cultivate fields of private research by offering suggestions, encouragement and limited financial backing. Additional resources have been utilized when research objectives converged with those of USIA and other government agencies. The values and aspirations of developing peoples, the clash of ideologies and political semantics have been the chief fields of exploration under this program. Research findings are being used to help tailor Agency information output.[Page 303]
Communist propaganda reporting and analysis now is handled on a daily basis. An early morning briefing from the overnight files informs key Agency officials on the latest Communist propaganda lines. Soviet and Cuba specialists prepare daily reports summarizing the foreign and domestic output from Moscow and Havana. Interviews with refugees and travelers from Communist countries have been utilized to probe public opinion in nations closed to us. By this method the Agency has acquired some indications of popular attitudes and communications habits in the Communist orbit.
The Agency’s research library has introduced an automatic punch-card system of procurement, which reduced overtime and cut out hundreds of man hours spent annually in typing and filing. New equipment has speeded the transmission of materials between the library’s several branches and has made file materials more readily available to operating services. Two new library branches were opened. One is the Foreign Correspondents’ Center, a reference and circulating library near the United Nations headquarters in New York. The other is a limited collection selected for the particular benefit of Agency trainees.
During the past two years, American business and individuals have given the Agency a considerable volume of materials, otherwise unobtainable because of budget limitations, which were essential in overseas posts for initiating and welding a relationship with priority audience groups. Examples:
About half of all donated books are now carried overseas free by several major steamship lines; in the past two years some 800,000 books were shipped this way. At no charge, U.S. truckers are also moving impressive quantities of books and other materials from points of donation to the Agency’s Brooklyn and Washington warehouses where they are screened and shipped. Last Spring the U.S. Post Office Department agreed to give the Agency all books received in its 14 dead letter centers—100,000 to 150,000 annually. Most are new books, delivered by the Post Office to the USIA warehouse in Washington at no cost to the Agency. Some 150 wives of Agency officers have volunteered a half-day or more a week to sort and pack them. Supervised by a professional librarian, they so far have selected about 60,000 volumes for USIS use overseas. These include new high-quality reference works, texts, publications suitable for special presentations, as well as fine groups of American fiction, both hard and paper backed.
USIA’s cooperative effort with American industry to inform U.S. businessmen stationed abroad on critical issues of American foreign [Page 304] policy now enters its third successful year. Over 8,000 such businessmen receive from their home office briefing material supplied by the Agency to 441 international companies. The most recent was on the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty; it reached recipients while international interest in the treaty was at its peak.
For the past year the Agency has operated an editorial exchange program with company and professional association publications that circulate overseas. USIA provides those publications with feature and policy materials for background, and which also suggest articles that will help to convey U.S. objectives to overseas readers. More than a million people are reached by the 67 American private publications now receiving such Agency material. In exchange, the Agency obtains, without cost, industrial and association material of value to Agency editors and writers. Additionally, a hundred exceptionally high quality publications, showing the achievements of American business, science and technology, are now received monthly or quarterly for distribution to USIS libraries.
The increasing need for sports equipment abroad led to the creation of an International Sports Kit Project in cooperation with the People-to-People Sports Committee. Begun in September 1962, the project resulted in requests for more than 12,700 Sports Kits from USIS posts in 86 countries. During the first year U.S. organizations and individuals donated 250 Sports Kits valued at $7,000 for distribution by USIS posts in 50 countries. Recent promotional efforts are expected to result in a significant increase in the giving of Sports Kits. Within a price range of from $12 to $64, the six kits provide equipment for boxing, baseball, softball, volleyball, soccer and basketball.
Emphasis in the donated books and magazine program has shifted from used to new material. Most of the 800,000 donated books shipped overseas by the Agency last year were new. In addition, the Book-of-the-Month Club has donated full subscriptions to 700 foreign libraries recommended by USIS posts. To avoid duplication and achieve greater effectiveness, a joint USIA-Peace Corps Donated Book Pool has been established to solicit book donations and to fill Peace Corps Volunteer and USIS book needs. While the magazine newsstand program continues at the 2,000,000 annual new magazine level, greater stress has been placed on technical and professional journals such as medical journals or the Scientific American.
Agency officers and executives of American companies with international operations have been meeting to delineate areas of mutual interest. These discussions, with over 150 companies, have served two purposes: first, to encourage these industries to identify their overseas activities with the economic and social development of the countries [Page 305] where they are operating, and second, to explore the possibilities of cooperation abroad between industry and Agency representatives. In this connection, USIS Public Affairs Officers are now visiting the home offices of companies with substantial operations in the countries where these officers are stationed.
Just over a year old, and now managed by a private non-profit corporation, the “Books USA” program allows Americans to purchase packets of 10 selected paperback books, at $4.00, for distribution abroad by USIS and the Peace Corps. This project, which requires no appropriated funds, takes advantage of the “at cost” basis on which many paperback publishers are prepared to make good books available, and it allows USIA control of distribution and presentation according to current target priorities.
Three automobiles, each towing a fully equipped travel trailer, have been made available to Agency foreign service officers for refamiliarization trips during their home leave in the United States. All costs, including gas, oil and insurance are borne by the Wally Byam Foundation. Twelve USIS officers and their families this year were able to benefit from this opportunity to reacquaint themselves with the grass roots life of the country for which they are spokesmen overseas on their next assignment.
The Agency has expanded the training program for junior officers to include the eight week, basic officers course at State’s Foreign Service Institute. USIA officers thus receive essentially the same basic preparation as do junior diplomats. At the same time, USIA has the opportunity of indoctrinating future ambassadors in the role of the Agency. This is done through professional contributions to the curriculum and by the presence and actions of Agency junior officers participating in the courses.
The Agency has also increased its participation in the mid-career course from four or five officers a year to 20 or 25. With USIA assistance the course of instruction has been completely revised. Slightly over half of the Foreign Service Officers of this Agency are in grades R–5 and R–4. Training opportunities, other than language, for officers at this level are limited. For this reason USIA attaches great significance to the mid-career officers course and hopes to increase its participation in the future.
Substantial changes have been made in the training and placement of junior officers. In addition to the basic officers course, language training is heavily emphasized. Approximately 70% of the Agency’s junior officer trainees now receive six months of language instruction [Page 306] before leaving for the field. Of these, 50% are trained in languages other than French, German and Spanish. Every junior officer now gets a basic course in the language of his training post; previously, European languages were stressed. A junior officer is now assigned to his training post or area for at least one tour of duty following his ten-month training period, unless there are overriding reasons to the contrary. This is completely contrary to previous policy. USIA has encouraged the Foreign Service Institute to develop a series of short courses (six months or less) in the so-called “hard” languages. Many USIA junior officers achieve phenomenal results from these intensive studies and, when followed by living in the country for three years, they develop a high degree of proficiency.
USIA has organized a number of special seminars and institutes for the domestic establishment of the Agency. These have covered such topics as youth and student affairs, international labor, U.S. efforts and accomplishments in space and the special seminar on problems of developing areas. Approximately 1,200 employees of the Agency have benefited from the program; for many it has been their first formal Agency training.
The USIA Intern Program for young graduates of university cinematography schools was inaugurated in October, 1962. Those selected, five in number, have done graduate work in films, have made films of their own and have worked closely with skilled professionals. They work for a year in the Agency on motion picture projects and receive special technical training and general instruction during those activities in preparation for assignment overseas. A new group of five interns will be inducted very soon.
The Printed Word and Pix
During the past two and one-half years, the Press and Publications Service has developed new directions in both the nature of its output and its operational methods. In content, the major change has been in the emphasis on five major themes, which are the framework for the bulk of the service’s output. The main effort has been to create Press and Publications material designed to emphasize the sources of strength on which U.S. foreign policy is based. Simultaneously, material not linked to America has been diminished.
Direction of IPS visual output has been concentrated in one operating branch with a direct line of responsibility to the director of IPS. Previously, it was diffused. A Run of Paper color service has been initiated to provide overseas publications with color separations on thematic subjects, which greatly reduces reproduction costs and increases use.[Page 307]
Picture service on chief-of-state visitors has been speeded. The old presentations albums that took a minimum of two months to produce have been replaced with prestige leather portfolios presented to the visitor before he leaves the United States to return home.
In graphics, the True Tales continuity strip is now being offered the field in jumbo size suitable for display and presentation. All regular cartoon continuity strips are now being produced in Spanish as well as English.
A series of cartoon-type booklets was devised to carry the Alliance for Progress and anti-Castro messages to the mass audience in Central and South America. Each booklet depicts actual happenings in color-drawing sequences. They have been extremely effective, making necessary large volume reprints. Twenty titles have been published. Nearly 20 million copies have been printed and distributed.
In order to improve the Agency’s still picture output and keep abreast of technical developments, the Agency’s photo laboratory was modernized. The lab’s capacity for speedily turning out large quantities of copy negatives was greatly increased by the purchase of a continuous film processor. A Log-E-Tronics Unit, the first step toward electronic production of multiple prints was installed.
The IPS newsroom was reorganized as follows: Coverage, formerly the sole responsibility of a press coverage desk, was divided between the Washington desk and the telegraph desk. For the first time, a copy desk was created, to edit not only newsroom copy but also that of the features section and the visual materials branch. A news editor was added to supervise these desks. Several experienced newsmen were added to these desks (for example, a former associate editor of the Saturday Evening Post, an assistant city editor of the Louisville Times, a Sunday editor of the Corpus Christi Caller Times). An additional reporter has been assigned to the IPS UN Bureau. Coverage-in-depth, as opposed to straight top of the news coverage, has increased, with the production of a markedly greater number of backgrounders, situation pieces and interpretive stories.
The volume of IPS content has been tightened materially, but the Wireless Files have been expanded, largely in Africa. In March, 1961, 91 posts were equipped for direct Wireless File reception, of which only 18 were in Africa. In 1962, receiving equipment for 15 new African posts was put into operation and a separate African regional file was inaugurated. It started as a four-hour English transmission and now is six hours in English and French to 30 countries. Jamaica, British Guiana, Malaya, the Dominican Republic and Guayaquil also started getting the Wireless File. Altogether, 111 posts now receive it.
IPS pamphlet output has sharpened its political accent while reducing quantity which conforms with the Agency’s role as the psychological arm [Page 308] of the Government in implementing foreign policy. Consequently, much of the material once presented as Americana is no longer used, except when it is essential as a means of suggesting a method for action in other countries. Examples of this closer keying to major current objectives were when the nuclear test ban treaty was under negotiation. IPS quickly issued a number of pamphlets in support; when Berlin was the hot issue, graphic pamphlets were produced. Heavier emphasis on graphics resulted in a picture pamphlet on Castro’s betrayal of the Cuban people. Currently a comprehensive documentation of the Sino-Soviet split is being prepared.
In IPS mail features, science output has doubled, with space developments by far the biggest subject, but with increases also in subjects such as medicine, scientific applications in industry and similar subjects of great interest abroad, particularly in underdeveloped areas. Overseas rights have been acquired for material produced under domestic commercial contracts with the Astronauts. The volume of material on Civil Rights also has doubled in the past two years.
The number of IPS special packets, on such subjects as “The U.S. Trade Expansion Program”, “Thirty Years of U.S. Social and Economic Progress”, and “New Products and Processes in U.S. Industries”, has increased sharply. Much more is being done to explain how the Democratic form of government assists and benefits its citizens. For example, a series called “How the U.S. Government Helps the People” has been running more than two years, and has developed more than 30 byliners by heads of various Federal Agencies outlining functions directly benefitting the citizen and the community. The effort to explain America within a mutual frame of reference is being carried out in the series, “Profile of an American”, which has included a school teacher, doctor, farmer, steel worker and editor, among others.
In magazine reprints, a special service has been established to increase the number and variety of articles with intellectual appeal, for use in USIS-produced scholarly magazines. This in turn has led to servicing of more articles on public affairs by such government policy-makers as Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., and Walt Whitman Rostow.
Special materials output by IPS has devoted increasing attention to the international effects of Communism. For example, an exhaustive series of articles was produced on Communist infiltration of free nations, covering most of the world’s non-Communist nations. More is being done on the Communist economic offensive to show how trade and aid are used to promote purely political goals. The volume of background articles on the Sino-Soviet split has increased, and they point out that the dispute is primarily ideological and that the goals of world conquest remain unchanged.[Page 309]
The Africa Branch of IPS completed its second year of operation last month. It now serves 33 countries through 47 USIS posts. Thirty of them have radio telephone and telegraph equipment to receive the daily bilingual file. A small French staff provides French versions of both Wireless File and mail materials. From its beginning, the Branch has carried a heavy load in supplying copy on African visitors and other U.S. African firsts, and has played a leading role in telling a frank but constructive and continuous story of race relations in this country.
In September, 1963, secure teletype circuits were put into service between the State and Agency wire rooms and USIA assumed the responsibility for its own terminal processing. Reproduction workloads were sharply reduced and delivery times, both in and out, greatly improved.
A Regional Service Center was established in Mexico City in March, 1962. It was staffed with editorial specialists directing their efforts to selected audiences of labor, students, and self-help phases of the Alliance for Progress. Their end products are in the form most suitable for the transmitting media—finished printed material, lithographic negatives for local printed reproduction and manuscripts of material designed for placement in local magazines, newspapers, radio and television stations. Two other overseas Centers, at Beirut and Manila, sharpened their operations by increasing services while reducing costs. Services to using posts were increased and unit costs reduced. Meanwhile, a survey of press requirements for West Africa was made and the new posts were provided with minimum equipment for producing printed materials.
Exhibits prepared initially for showing in the USSR under US–USSR Cultural Exchange Agreements and later shown in other East European countries:
“Plastics USA” (5,000 sq. ft.): Shown for three weeks each in Kiev, Moscow and Tbilisi, between May and September, 1961, to audiences totalling 375,000 people. Exhibited in Rumania at Bucharest and Cluj; at Posnan (as part of an International Trade Fair) and Warsaw, Poland; and in Zagreb, Yugoslavia (again as part of an International Trade Fair)—between March and September of 1962—to an additional audience of 1,590,000.
“Transportation USA” (7,000 sq. ft.): Displayed in Volgograd and Kharkov between October 24 and December 27, 1961 to a total audience of 172,000. Shown again in Belgrade and Ljubljana between May and October of 1962, to an additional audience of 390,000.[Page 310]
“Medicine USA” (7,000 sq. ft.): Shown in Moscow, Kiev, and Leningrad for three weeks in each city, between March and July, 1962–to a total audience of 206,954. It was displayed in Zagreb and Belgrade in April and May to an additional 202,600 persons. This exhibit also formed the U.S. representation at Izmir (Turkey) International Fair in August, 1963, attracting there a quarter of a million visitors.
“Technical Books USA” (7,000 books and reference materials): Shown in Moscow, Leningrad and Kiev between January 23 and June 11, 1963—three weeks in each city—to 140,423 visitors.
“U.S. Astronaut Orbits the Earth”: This exhibit consisted of seven unmounted panels printed in color. Two thousand copies were prepared and shipped to posts all over the world well in advance of John Glenn’s orbital flight. The posts made them ready for display as soon as word of Glenn’s safe landing on February 20, 1962, was received, and many posts have continued to display them on appropriate occasions.
“Friendship Seven Mercury Capsule”: in which John Glenn made his orbital flight. The capsule was made available by NASA, transported by the Air Force and toured under USIA auspices to 23 countries between April and August of 1962. Standing-in-line and attendance records were broken by the Friendship Seven all along the way.
“U.S. Progress in Space Sciences”: A 30-panel free-standing exhibit with seven models. Eleven sets have been distributed to all areas. Among the places where this exhibit has been shown with success to date (usually in combination with other Agency-supplied exhibits and models) are Rome and Sao Paulo in international affairs, Tokyo and four cities in Portugal.
“Graphic Arts USA” opened in Alma Ata in early October and was an immediate smash hit.
Book Publication and Distribution
Fiscal Year 1963 was the most productive year in the history of the Agency’ s book publishing program. One thousand two hundred and two editions totalling 10,850,000 copies were published in 36 languages.
The Agency’s Latin American Book Translation Program was expanded dramatically during the last two years, increasing from contracting of 64 editions in Spanish and Portuguese totalling 541,000 copies in fiscal year 1961 to contracting of 332 editions totalling over 3,500,000 copies in fiscal year 1963. To insure that these vastly increased quantities of books reach Latin American readers, a campaign to encourage vigorous commercial promotion and sale of these books has been developed throughout the area.
With the emergence of some 16 Sub-Saharan French-speaking colonies and dependencies into independence, low-priced American book [Page 311] translations into French became an important concern of the Agency. By July, 1963, over one million copies of more than a hundred titles were available in French to African readers at the equivalent of 20 cents a copy.
Since the spring of 1961, over a million copies of some 200 American textbooks have been translated into 18 languages and published and placed in schools and universities in 17 countries under the PL–480 Textbook Programs.
The Low-Priced Book Program in English has produced 3,085,921 paperbacks since March, 1961, and has sold 1,830,294. Reflecting improved distribution and promotion during the past two years, sales represented almost 50% of the total sold since the program began seven years ago.
The criteria by which the eligibility of informational materials for Informational Media Guaranty coverage is determined were substantially revised in September 1961. Eligibility is now limited to those materials which make a positive contribution in support of U. S. policy objectives and reflect favorably on the United States. The limited IMG resources are now allocated on a priority basis to assure that certain basic needs are met. For example, in fiscal year 1963, $350,000 in IMG contracts were issued for English-teaching materials. The bilateral agreement with Pakistan was amended to remove restrictions on the use of rupees acquired under the IMG program. A bilateral agreement was negotiated with the Republic of Guinea. Two new country programs were started (Korea and Afghanistan) and three other programs were phased out (Burma, Israel and the Philippines).
The Agency identified as of potential usefulness, and reviewed in relation to Agency objectives, over 10% of the books issued by the American publishing industry (18,000 titles published in 1961; 22,000 in 1962).
As a field service based on ICS book reviews, the Agency recommended about 3,000 titles a year to USIS posts for special consideration in ordering books. Blue Books have also been compiled and distributed to all USIS posts. These annuals combine, cumulate and list in an orderly fashion all the books recommended to USIS posts by various elements of ICS.
The Agency compiled and issued periodic subject bibliographies and special lists of books to assist USIS officers in obtaining useful materials. Of particular importance were book lists on modernization, labor, history, periodicals, a series entitled Focus U.S.A., and shorter lists on areas of particular Agency emphasis.
Books were selected to accompany the increasing quantity and range of Agency-sponsored exhibits. These varied from large book collections shown in Iron Curtain countries, to a model American book store for presentation in the Middle East, and to smaller book displays which accompany exhibits travelling throughout the Free World.[Page 312]
The Agency’s American Studies Program came of age with the publication of “The United States of America, A Syllabus of American Studies.” This “Syllabus”, along with complementary material on the University of Pennsylvania certificate program, is helping to promote the growth of American Studies at many posts around the world. By September, 1963, 63 posts had requested 1,883 sets of the Syllabus for presentation to university libraries, education officials and professors.
“Restatement of Purposes and Technique of Agency’s Cultural Packets” was published in July, 1961. In it the cultural operations division announced the continued production of ghost-written lectures on those aspects of American society, culture, history and government of interest to overseas audiences, and of importance to the Agency’s over-all program.
Nineteen new information centers have been opened on the African continent for an area total of 54. Two additional regional librarians have been appointed: one for Dakar and former French West Africa, one for Brazzaville and former French Equatorial Africa. This brings the total number of librarians in Africa to six.
Collection of books in French have been increased considerably for French-speaking countries with the institution and growth of the “Nouveaux Horizons” series of low cost books in French for Africa. Over 100 titles in this series are now on USIS Library shelves in Africa.
The Agency has steadily increased its production of television programs to meet the immense need and interest overseas. In Fiscal Year 1963, slightly more than 113 hours of programs on film and tape were produced compared with 101 hours in 1962. In 1963, 22 new positions were added in the Television Service to improve the production, quality and capacity: 10 positions in production, six on the technical staff, four in programming, and two in administration. These additions, and the Agency acquiring its own production equipment, have resulted in quality programs at costs lower than commercial stations.
New TV studios, nearing completion, will permit USIA to more than double the volume of in-house productions. The new facilities will enable USIA to do language adaptations, dubbing, editing, original programming and transfer of programs from tape to kinescopes. They also will make it possible to record audio and video direct transmissions from any of the three networks via the leased circuits, to transmit audio and video to 1776 Pennsylvania Avenue for direct screening and produce programs in three scanning standards. The equipment can handle many technical jobs that formerly had to be done under contract.
Agency productions and acquisitions have been placed on more than 40 new stations world-wide since mid-1961.[Page 313]
A series of 13 programs, entitled “World Americana”, was recently produced especially for the Japanese national television network. These programs described significant and interesting aspects of American life—leisure time, the American housewife, American youth, an American university and other subjects. Another targeted TV series, entitled “Personal Report”, was inaugurated for Nigeria, using a Nigerian student in Washington as the commentator. This series projected selected aspects of the American scene to a Nigerian audience in terms comprehensible to them. Twelve programs have been produced to date. In 1962 a series entitled “Washington Reports” was started for Japan. This bi-weekly program features a Japanese correspondent reporting on various current events of interest to Japan. Still another series aimed for the Far East is “Washington Newsletter”, a monthly series of reports to Thailand on events of interest in the United States.
In Fiscal 1963 a series of 13 half-hour Spanish-language programs, entitled “The Experts Answer”, was inaugurated for Latin America. In this series, Latin American newspaper correspondents question an American expert in the fields of government, labor, industry, science and the performing arts. This series has been sent to 19 Latin American countries for placement.
A 15-minute weekly public affairs type of TV show in Spanish and Portuguese, “Panorama Panamericano”, begun in 1961, has been improved and streamlined. Today it is carried in 19 Latin American countries.
Two special film programs on the Alliance for Progress were produced in Fiscal 1963. “Report from Colombia”, commemorating the first anniversary of the Alliance for Progress, was sent to 17 Latin American countries; and “Report from Venezuela”, on the subject of land reform, was distributed to 19 countries in Latin America for television and film showings. Recent films dealing with Castro have included “Focus: Cuba”, “Cuba—A World Verdict”, “The Lost Apple”, “Castro and Cuba”, among others, were produced and distributed world-wide for both TV and motion picture showings.
Television correspondents from the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Sweden, Holland and Italy are getting increased help from USIA in producing programs on the United States. Notable among these was a one-hour program produced in early 1961 by British Independent Television on the Kennedy administration, entitled “The New Americans”. It featured interviews of top New Frontier officials and the President himself. The following year the same network returned to produce, with USIA assistance, a one-hour program on the United States entitled “State of the Union”.[Page 314]
Other cooperative programs in which USIA has recently helped foreign television networks and stations include: two one-hour programs entitled “Science International” with the BBC; a program on the U.S. space effort entitled “Destination Moon”; a series to consist eventually of 13 programs on the United States by the French National television; six programs on the United States by Finnish television; a one-hour program on integration produced by Italian television; a series of 13 programs on science with Belgian television; a film documentary on the history of the American Negro by French National TV; a program on the space communities of Cape Canaveral and Houston by Italian TV; three shows on the U.S. space program for the new second German television network.
Another major achievement has been the Agency’s “Let’s Learn English” series which is or has been telecast in 37 countries to an audience of millions around the world. Because of the phenomenal popularity of the programs a second set called “Let’s Speak English” has been produced and a third is planned for production in the near future.
“Science Reports”, a television series comprising two 15-minute program segments per month and featuring achievements in science and technology in the U.S., is currently telecast in 52 countries around the world.
The first two volumes of a six-book English Teaching textbook series were produced under contract with the National Council of Teachers of English and the McGraw-Hill Publishing Company. A new English teaching quarterly, “The English Teaching Forum”, is aimed at the overseas teacher of English. Articles include both linguistic theory and practical classroom problems.
Because of the limited number of professionally trained linguists available, the Agency has initiated a program whereby selected, outstanding teachers of English with broad Agency experience are sent to a university to undertake special studies in linguistics and the teaching of English as a foreign language. A professional training program has also been instituted for English teachers and binational center administrative personnel prior to departure for overseas posts.
The Agency has made significant progress in the more effective utilization of women officers. One woman has risen to the FSR-1 level, the highest career grade in USIA; another is the country public affairs officer for Chile; a third opened and operated a country program in Africa and is the only Agency officer to achieve a working proficiency in [Page 315] Swahili. Another woman has become the Agency’s deputy budget officer; the editor-in-chief of “America Illustrated” is a woman, and three women officers have attained the GS–15 level.
Since the spring of 1961, the Agency has made strides in developing fuller utilization of minority personnel and in according them rank commensurate with their skills. Since that date, the number of Negro officers of GS–12 or higher rank in the domestic service, for example, has increased from one to seven. The number of Negro officers in the foreign service has about doubled from the 1960 figure of two dozen. Three country public affairs officers are Negroes. About 10% of all foreign service officers of rank equal to GS–12 or above are Negroes.
USIA officers are participating in Washington seminars on the “Problems of Developing Countries”, examining techniques and materials that assist emergent countries to develop viable political structures resistant to Communist and other hostile attempts to subvert and weaken them. These seminars bring together some of the most skilled and experienced U.S. and foreign personalities in the field.
USIA officers also actively participate in both the Inter-Departmental Committee and the faculty responsible for the Country Team Seminar on Problems of Development and Internal Security. USIA normally enrolls 12 senior officers in each of the six sessions of this seminar and has one officer assigned full time to the faculty. USIA also has a liaison officer attached to the faculty of the Army Special Warfare School at Fort Bragg.
The quality and quantity of candidates for positions in the Agency’s domestic and foreign services have increased sharply during the past 30 months.
General knowledgeability in the United States about USIA purposes and operations has also increased sharply; domestic press attention to the Agency, as one index, has increased in volume by some 2,000%, virtually all of it favorable.