tv Reel America The U.S. Overseas Information Program - 1954 CSPAN April 3, 2021 10:00pm-10:29pm EDT
the united states was in a fierce battle of ideas with the soviet union and china. and in about an hour men of the forest from 1952 a the u.s. i.s. was established during world war ii as the overseas components of the office of war information, and became part of the u.s. information agency when it was created in august of 1953. ♪ ♪
>> throughout the world, there is widespread misunderstanding of the united states. the communists are quick to take advantage of this and devise they are spreading -- the lies they are spreading. today, the united states is the leading power of peace. we bear tremendous response buildings in the world -- responsibilities in the world. if we are to carry out our responsibilities, we must let people know who we are, what we believe, what we seek as a nation, and we must combat soviet propaganda. this is the job of the united states information agency. each of us is vitally concerned for our national security is at stake. the document you are about to
see pictures the problems we face, and how the united states information agency is dealing with them. >> today the greatest threat to peace is the expansionist aims of the kremlin. already, one out of three, 800 million people are prisoners of the iron curtain. outside the soviet, another billion in europe. the e sam farr e start -- the east and far east are threatened. everywhere, our freedom is in jeopardy. a primary tool of soviet expression is propaganda. it is through propaganda that the north koreans were prepared for their attack on south korea. they were saturated with soviet propaganda. by june of 1950, the north koreans were soviet-ized to make an onslaught against their brothers. soviet propaganda can also be measured by the money they
spent. right now, the soviet union is spending more than a billion dollars a year on propaganda. if you add the expenditures and satellites in red china, it is $3 billion. the principal target of these lies is the united states. since 1948, the soviets have been carrying out an attack on every phase of u.s. life. typical of the way they distort the truth are the scenes we will see in a moment from a soviet newsreel prepared from east germans. using american film, carefully edited and narrated, the soviets presented it as the truth about america. >> skyscrapers and big-city rhythm. a good backdrop for the usa's big circus act. the biggest propaganda press in the world, unbeatable, unequal.
why does the lion bite? because he prefers wrigley's chewing gum. the most beautiful legs in the world on view only in the usa. sensations. airplane crashes. the car burns deep in the heart of texas. broadway at night, the greatest sea of lights in the 20th century. >> did you know that these demagogues, like all the american film actors, are obliged by contract let themselves be photographed in all sorts of poses, have to dressed or without any clothes at all, just like a cheap pinup girl? the actors do not want to do it, but they are forced to. this is what they call artistic freedom. >> the ms. beautiful women, the most beautiful clothes. this is the way tom, digg, and harry c america, and this is how
they should see it, from behind a facade. it looks very different. while dogs get manicures at beauty salons, over 2 million americans are without work, and according to official statements, the number of unemployed will rise to 4 million by spring. another 5 million are part-time workers. workingmen hungry? unimportant. what is important is that the prices don't follow. millions living in slums? unimportant. the facade hides everything. negroes in the limelight, but only as harmless, handpicked ornaments. your brothers and sisters rot in the paradise of freedom. ladder and ladder, the voice of the people is heard in america
-- louder and louder, the voice of the people is heard in america too, the voice of the other america. the name of western freedom, terrorism versus progress. in the name of dollar democracy, police versus worker. but how much longer? the facade will fall, and the usa, as everywhere in the world, nothing can stop with the people's victory. narrator: but they do not stop with these distortions. the current one has accused us of brutal atrocities in korea, such as they portray in this poster. the kremlin is trying to drive a wedge between the united states and the rest of the free world. there peace offensive, illustrated by this soviet propaganda poster, is also closely related to this effort to isolate the united states.
it illustrates the claim that they are exerting their full weight of peace against the warmongers of the west. as great as the soviet menace is, there are problems in the free world of equal or greater significance. this is the area of decision in the struggle to preserve freedom. we have millions of friends, but many of them are uninformed or misinformed about the united states and the differences between communism and democracy. others are suspicious, jealous, or openly antagonistic. a paul taken by a french institute of public opinion in january of 1953 brought out the fact that an alarming number of frenchmen think americans have poor taste, our overgrown children, are only interested in money. a surprising amount also think the americans only live in skyscrapers and have no family life.
false impressions such as these are by no means confined to the french. a positive effort must be made to overcome these misconceptions. in many areas of the world, the people are not yet committed in the struggle between freedom and slavery. these regions are crucial, for if these people are lost, strategic areas and irreplaceable resources go with them, resources such as tungsten, copper, oil, hemp, materials which are vital for economic progress in peace time and which might spell the difference between victory and defeat should war come. while many of these lands are potentially rich, the people who subsist on them are faced with the problems of poverty, hunger, ignorance, and disease. disease weakens and discourages its victims. discouragement leads to desperation, a fertile breeding ground for communism.
the communist agitator will be found wherever these conditions exist, haranguing his potential victims, plying his trade of false promises. and he organizes mobs to demonstrate against the governments of the west. considering the importance of these areas and the intensity of communist activity, we must do everything we can to convince the people that their future lies with us and not with communism. in this job, deeds are more important than words. what we say must be matched what we do. the job before us is a big one, but it is a job we must do well. president eisenhower described its magnitude when he announced the appointment of the first director of the new u.s. information agency. the agency was established on august 1, 1953. it combined under one head the overseas information programs and the jewel security agency.
-- mutual security agency. the agency is the result of exhaustive studies over the past year aimed at strengthening our overseas information programs. it is the job of the new agency, first of all, to unite the peoples of the free world against communism. secondly, to get the facts to the people behind the iron curtain. lastly, to bring to the people of europe and asia a message of hope. to see how the agency is going about its job, let's turn to the free world. through 217 overseas posts, the agency, known abroad as the u.s. i.s., is protecting programs in 77 countries. let's visit a post in rio de janeiro. here, as in every post, the nerve center of the information program is the public affairs officer. he directs all of our
information activities in brazil, planning and supervising day-to-day operations and maintaining high level contact of all kinds. he confers for glee with the united states ambassador to make sure that you sis operations properly support operations in that country -- that you sis -- u.s.i.s. operations properly support operations in that country. he also supervises the diverse information operations for which he is responsible. one of these is the thomas jefferson library, an important source of information for the people of rio. he also supervises activities like the usis film program and the usis radio show. posts such as rio, however, are the exception. many of the posts are in more remote places, such as cebu, philippines.
there are several local employees. thousands of you sis pamphlets, leaflets, and posters are distributed throughout the area. finally personal contacts are the heart of -- friendly personal contacts are the heart of usis operations in cebu. the officer provides newspaper editors with usis news bulletins, which are an important source of information on american policies and actions. he talks to the people of cebu in a weekly usis broadcast over a local radio station. one of the best ways to achieve mutual understanding is through informal discussions over coffee or coke, like this one between the p.a.o., members of his staff , and local editors.
by means of a mobile van, the usis is able to exhibit films in remote areas that do not have projection facilities or even electricity. other information is also distributed from the van. the usis team puts up the latest edition of the federal review, a bulletin containing pictures dealing with significant events of the day. the screen and movie projector are made ready for the evening's show. this film showing is an important event in the village. most of the townspeople turn out. the show is about to begin. back home in washington, the u.s. information agency provides our public affairs officers overseas with policy direction, information materials personnel, supplies and equipment, and other support needed to do their job. as we have seen, our pao's use many means in telling america's
story -- press, radio, motion pictures, information centers, and libraries. the agency can go into action quickly. take the press operation, for example. leaders of the free press of america assembled in washington to hear the president of the united states. he spoke of peace. he laid down a challenge for all the world to hear. this is what he said. president eisenhower: i know nothing i can add to make clearer the sincere purposes of the united states. i know of no course that can be called the highway of peace. i know of only one question upon which progress waits. it is this. what is the soviet union ready to do? whatever the answer is, let it be plainly spoken. the hunger for peace is too great.
the hour gets to be too late for any government to mock men's hopes with mere words and promises and gestures. narrator: hours before the president spoke these words, the press operation was speeding the full text of the speech by wireless to our public affairs officers around the world. just a few hours after it was delivered in washington, it appeared in newsletters in paraguay, ireland, algeria, and other countries. but initial impact is not enough . the piece challenge had to be sustained. to accomplish this, several techniques were used. take pamphlets as an example. a pilot model called the peace we seek was sent to all usis posts in english. the model contains the full text of the speech and many illustrations depicting its key packages -- passages. this was adopted by local usis posts and translated into arabic, japanese, persian, and
20 other languages. in all, over 4 million copies were distributive buyer posts overseas. the poster was another technique used to to point out the key themes of the speech for the man on the street everywhere, and thus, in these many ways, the press operation did its part to make it known to the court of world opinion the president's channel to -- the president's challenge to the kremlin, who really wants peace. closely associated with our press and publications activities are the u.s. information centers and the many cultural activities associated them. the heart of the center was a library. people assembled freely in the centers for lectures, concerts, classes in english, and exhibits. more than 36 million people from all walks of life visited these centers last year. portable libraries and bookmobiles, traveling exhibits,
and translations of american books extend understanding of american life and culture far beyond the walls of our centers. cultural activities such as these have a special importance, for people abroad too often think of us as an industrial giant without a soul. are these activities effective? we have reason to believe they are. the communists closed down 16 information centers which we operated a hind the iron and bamboo curtains. yes -- behind the iron and bamboo curtains. yes, we know our centers are doing a good job, but there was other evidence these activities are effective. after a library open today far eastern city, sales at a communist bookstore fell by more than 40%. in hoch. a, japan -- in japan, when a library was to be closed, 40,000 citizens petitioned the
centers stay open. another way to reach citizens in the free world is through motion pictures. motion picture's excel in bringing together people. audiences gather in halls, theaters, and on hillsides to see usis films. narrations of these films have been prepared in 38 languages and dialects. most films are documentaries, designed to provide factual information and show the identity of our interests with those of other people. for example, usis films have brought the true story of how chinese prisoners of war were cared for in united nations prison camps. our foreign policy and action often provides a splitted opportunity to dramatize our story and motion pictures -- a splendid opportunity to dramatize our story and motion pictures. the place, iran, during the locust plague.
this is the old way to fight locusts. this plane brings another method for fighting locusts. smaller planes bring aerial spray. it falls hollow on the ears of people who have seen these pictures of faded sent 10,000 miles -- aid sent 10,000 miles we needed. another film that is popular is dr. milton eisenhower's tour of latin america. he is able to construction projects symbolic of their economic growth. he discussed problems with the workers, visiting 10 countries in south america. spiritual values are important to humankind about the world over. -- humankind the world over. they are reflected in many of our films, such as tanglewood, a motion picture and music festival in tanglewood, massachusetts. ♪
german. >> [speaking german] narrator: hindi. >> [speaking hindi] narrator: voice is crucial in our efforts to reach the people held captive by the communists. it is the only means we have for penetrating the iron curtain, and that is why over 70% of ways of america broadcasts -- voice of america broadcasts are deemed to audiences in communist areas. the agency has created a far-flung radio network. recently, three new one million watt transmitters, located in munich, the philippines, and okinawa, have been added to this network to beef up our signals in these areas. these stations are among the most powerful in the world. one of the interesting developments is operation back about. -- operation vagabond.
this is a seagoing radio station. by agreement with fernley countries, it can operate in their waters. right now, the courier is based off the high-level roads -- isle of rhodes in the eastern mediterranean. a seagoing turntable is ready for pitch or roll. since going into operation in the mediterranean, the ship has strengthened the signal to the balkans, southern russia, and the near east. the antenna is held aloft 1000 feet means of a helium balloon. -- by means of a helium field balloon. the courier is on its way to the crossroads of the world. permission freedom, cargo true.
using what the agency is doing to reach audiences behind the iron curtain, and the european satellites, it has been estimated with 50% of the people with radio sets listen to the voice of america. in the soviet union, listeners have been reported in 69 cities. in communist china, in 14 mainland provinces. because they fear the truth, the communists inflict severe penalty for listening to radio broadcasts from the free world. despite the danger, people continue to listen. why do they take such risks? the answer has been given repetitively, such as by this polish interpreter, who led communism. -- fled communism. >> voice of america is a true source of the news.
voice of america brings the polish people truth, help, and courage in hard times. narrator: the revolt of workers in east germany gave the united states information agency on unusual chance to use all of its information techniques to reveal what life is really like in the workers paradise. the outbreaks began on june 16, when workers demonstrated throughout east berlin. they demanded an end to soviet injustices and called for a strike route the next day -- throughout the next day. throughout the day, the american radio station in the western section of berlin spread news of demonstrations and a call for a general strike. on june 17, violent riots spread from east berlin to the eastern zone of germany.
the u.s. information agency went into immediate action reporting these events. the story is clearly told in these films, shown by usis throughout west germany, and by the united states and foreign newsreel companies in all parts of the world. here is a sequence from one of these films. >> the demonstration began as a protest against extensive work schedules. from this window, rioters throw out uniforms of the east urban police -- east german police. russian army tanks rumble up the streets backed by fully armed soldiers. estimates of casualties cannot be accurately obtained, but at least 16 persons are recorded killed and hundreds injured in east berlin alone. east german communist leaders
shaken by the events pictured in these usis films, trying desperately to cover up the facts. "east germans are not oppressed. western provocateurs caused the outbreaks." the films themselves were a vivid denial of these false charges. the press operation of the united states information agency also hit hard at the communist lies. the reporting of these events in germany to people throughout the world is but one example of your u.s. information agency in action. this, then, is what your government is doing through its overseas information program to unify the free world against communism without war, and ticket facts and a message of hope to the people behind the iron curtain. however, it by no means represents the full weight of america's efforts. the activities of private groups
at a whole new dimension. many times we are asked, how can i come as an american citizen, joining our overseas information effort? individual private citizens and groups are doing a great deal, and the united states information agency is striving in every way possible to stimulate and assist this private participation. date, a total of 750 organizations have participated. activities carried on by private organizations are as diverse as our country is vast. take the letter writing campaign to get facts about america into the envelope, many things have been done. they run the gamut from encouraging organizations to sponsoring penpal groups to enlisted a good -- to soliciting the support of americans who still have close ties abroad. another cooperation is the town affiliation program. four years ago, graz, austria,
accepted an invitation to pair with montclair, new jersey. the mayors came to montclair. since then, they have exchanged everything from visitors to metal equipment. through the magazine collection project, american magazines are salvaged and sent to foreign countries. this program has had the cooperation of groups all the way from big industry to the boy scouts. there is no limit to what american citizens and industry can do to persuade other free peoples that their goals are similar to the united states. the united states information agency stands ready to help americans help themselves in doing this vital job. ♪ ♪