37. Information Memorandum From the Assistant Director, Information Center Service, United States Information Agency (Schneidman) to the Director (Reinhardt)1


  • Propaganda in the United States

The continuing question is, “should any part of the dialogue being conducted abroad be made available to the American people?”


1. Materials, in whatever format, developed by personnel of the U.S. Information Agency or its successor, or conceived and commissioned by the Agency, are not and should not be available within the United States now or in the future.2

2. It may be cruel to say so, but the material referred to in (1) above is not the most important part of the Agency’s efforts and in my view we would not be terminally disadvantaged were we to be denied this source of materials.

3. The fruits of American society which are identified, acquired, and disseminated abroad by the Agency, after they have been conceived and produced here, are routinely available to the American people.

4. Why then can we not gain approval, both political and legal, for making available to the American people, materials conceived and produced by foreign individuals and institutions as part of this dialogue and where Agency personnel and funding come in to play only after the fact of creation?3

5. A case in point is a collection of papers by U.S. and foreign Americanists resulting from the Bicentennial series of regional confer [Page 100] ences on American Studies that we sponsored.4 If we now publish the collection for our foreign audiences, this not insignificant body of work will be forever denied to Americans.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 306, Office of the Director, Executive Secretariat, Secretariat Staff, Correspondence Files, 1973–1980, Entry P–104, Box 117, 7701170–7701179. No classification marking. Reinhardt and Fraser initialed the memorandum, indicating that they had seen it. A stamped notation on the reverse of the first page of the memorandum indicates that it was received in I/SS at 9:27 p.m. on April 19.
  2. Reinhardt placed a vertical line in the left-hand margin next to this point and wrote: “The Kennedy film?” Reference is presumably to John F. Kennedy: Years of Lightning, Day of Drums, a 1964 film produced by the United States Information Agency as a memorial to Kennedy. Although USIA films could not be shown domestically, in 1966, a special act of Congress allowed for the film to be shown in commercial theaters in the United States. Documentation on the film and its U.S. screening is scheduled for publication in Foreign Relations, 1917–1972, Public Diplomacy, 1964–1968.
  3. Reinhardt placed a vertical line in the left-hand margin next to this point and wrote “can’t we?”
  4. For documentation on USIA’s planning efforts for the American Revolution Bicentennial, see Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, vol. XXXVIII, Part 2, Organization and Management of Foreign Policy; Public Diplomacy, 1973–1976, Documents 85 and 86. Documentation on the planning efforts is also scheduled for publication in Foreign Relations, 1917–1972, Public Diplomacy, 1969–1972.