157. Memorandum From the Assistant Director (Soviet Union and Eastern Europe) of the U.S. Information Agency (Brady) to the Director (Murrow)1


  • Cliches That Should Be Discarded

As you know, we have led a rather long, and particularly successful, campaign against certain cliches that are no longer useful to American best interests. IAS dropped “Soviet Bloc” in its title, as more embarrassing than pertinent. VOA no longer refers to the “Communist bloc” or the “bloc countries.” We think the trend is conducive to better listenership.

Current developments are leading others in the Government to thinking along the same general line. Yesterday morning Bill Tyler told me he had raised the question with Foy Kohler at the UNGA, specifically as concerns use of the term “satellites,” with reference to Eastern European countries. Bill feels we are in no way advancing our objectives at this juncture by continuing to employ this designation, which he thinks must be galling to every true patriot in the area. I fully agree.

He asked me whether I would bring the matter to your attention, as a psychological factor of some importance. His hope would be that you might raise the point at an early NSC meeting, so that not only the Voice and other USIA media would stop using the pejorative term, but major speech writers, document drafters, and official reporters as well. He believes a decision at NSC level would get observance as would nothing else.

Matter of fact, State itself is one of the chief offenders—as witness the attached Airgram (CA–3272, September 23, 1963),2 which violates what we are opposing in just about every form.

Here are six expressions which we think it best to avoid, in our own interest, under current circumstances; they are more misleading than helpful:

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Communist bloc
Soviet bloc use instead Soviet Union and Eastern Europe
bloc countries
Satellites use instead Eastern Europe, or
Communist countries Eastern European countries
Communist-dominated countries

Continued use of such terms is not only psychologically unsound, in view of current goals—it also makes us look ignorant of the evolution we believe is taking place in that area of the world.

  1. Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 306, USIA Files: FRC 72 A 5121, Field-Soviet Bloc/63. Secret.
  2. Not attached. A copy is in the National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1960–63, POL COMBLOC–FWORLD.