tv Reel America The U.S. Overseas Information Program - 1954 CSPAN April 4, 2021 4:00pm-4:29pm EDT
saw. the u.s. i.s. was established during world war ii as the overseas components of the office of war information, then became part of the information agency in august 1953. [video clip] >> throughout the world, there is widespread misunderstanding of the united states. the communists are quick to take advantage of this in the lies they are spreading. today, the united states is the leading power of peace. we bear tremendous responsibilities in the world.
if we are to carry out our responsibilities, we must make known to people throughout the world, what 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. just outside the soviet orbit,
another billion in europe, the east and far east are threatened. freedom 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. between they were saturated with 1945-1949, soviet propaganda. by june of 1950, the north koreans were soviet-ized to make a fanatical onslaught against their brothers and accept the signal from moscow. soviet propaganda can also be measured by the money they spend. right now, the soviet union is spending more than a billion dollars a year on propaganda. if we add the expenditures and satellites in red china, it is $3 billion. expensive lying. the principal target of these lies is the united states. since 1948, the soviets have been carrying on a vicious propaganda 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. four using american film, carefully edited and narrated, the soviets presented it as the truth about america. [video clip] >> new york in a thousand colors, jazz drums beat skyscrapers and big-city rhythm. , a good backdrop for the usa's biggest circus act. the biggest propaganda press in the world, unbeatable, unequal. why doesn't the lion bite? because he prefers wrigley's chewing gum. the most beautiful legs in the world on view only in the usa. sensations. sensations. the 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, half-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. >> a super review, the most beautiful women, the most beautiful clothes. this is the way tom, derek, and harry, see america and this is , how they should see it, from it looks very different. behind a façade 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.
so come away with the milk and the grain. 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. louder and louder, the voice of the people is heard in america too, the voice of the other america. today it is gagged, today debility sticks still govern, in 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. >> but they do not stop with these distortions of american life. kremlin has accused us of brutal atrocities in korea, such as they portray in this poster. through such anti-american propaganda the kremlin is trying , to drive a wedge between the united states and the rest of the free world. their peaceful offensive, illustrated by this soviet propaganda poster, is also closely related to this effort to isolate the united states. it illustrates the soviet 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. here 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. for example, a poll 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, are overgrown children, are only interested in money. a surprising number also think of those in france 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,
micah, bauxite 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 age old 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, harangueing his potential victims, plying his trade of false promises. and he organizes mobs to demonstrate against the governments of the west. now 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 by 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, formally carried on by the department of state and the , mutual security agency. the new agency is the result of exhaustive studies over the past year by the president and congress 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.
and lastly, to bring to the captive peoples of satellite 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. information service, or the u.s. i.s., is conducting 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. the public affairs officer 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 frequently with the united states ambassador to make sure that u.s.i.s. operations properly support operations in that country. the pao also meets with the
chief of the culture division. as parts of contacts he also with the host 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. these are put on from the embassy studio. posts such as rio, however, are the exception. most of the 217 posts abroad are , in more remote places, such as cebu, philippines. here the staff consists of one or two americans and several local employees. under the pao supervision, thousands of usis pamphlets, leaflets, and posters are distributed throughout the area. friendly personal contacts are the heart of usis operations in cebu.
the public affairs 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. here the usis team puts up the , latest edition of the federal photo 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. on april 16, 1953 leaders of the , free press of america assembled in washington to hear the president of the united states. he spoke of peace. [applause] he lay down a challenge for
pretenders of peace for all the world to hear. this is what he said. >> i know nothing i can add to make clearer the sincere purposes of the united states. i know of no course that can be other than that marked by these and similar actions 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. again we say the hunger for , peace is too great. the hour in history, too late, for any government to mock men's hopes with mere words and promises and gestures. >> 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. and just a few hours after the speech was delivered in washington, it appeared in newsletters in paraguay,
ireland, algeria, burma, and other countries. but initial impact is not enough . the peace 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 passages. this was adopted by local usis posts and translated into arabic, japanese, persian, and 20 other languages. in all, over 4 million copies of the pamphlet were distributed by our 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 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 with them. the heart of the center is 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 behind the iron and bamboo curtains. yes, the communists know that our centers are doing a good job, but there was other evidence these activities are effective. for example, after a usia library opened in a far eastern city, sales at a communist bookstore fell by more than 40%. in japan, when a library was to be closed, 40,000 citizens petitioned the centers stay open. another effective way to reach peoples's in the free world is , through motion pictures. motion picture's excel in bringing to life remote places, people, and events. others -- audiences totaling a half billion year gather in halls, theaters, and on hillsides to see usis films. narrations of these films have been prepared in 38 languages and dialects. most u.s. i.s. 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 to millions of people, 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 splendid opportunity to dramatize our story in motion pictures. the time, 1951. the place, iran, during the locust plague. this is the old way to fight locusts. this plane from the united states brings with it a modern method for fighting locusts. smaller planes equipped for aerial spraying. talk about decadent america falls hollow on the ears of people who have seen these pictures of aid sent 10,000 miles when it was needed. another film that is popular is the pictorial story of dr.
milton eisenhower's tour of latin america. he inspected 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 the world over. they are reflected in many of our films, such as tanglewood, a motion picture on the annual music festival in tanglewood, massachusetts. ♪ [choral singing] ♪ [choral singing]
>> radio is the fastest means of communicating with people all over the world. at present the voice of america , is transmitting programs in over 30 languages. german. hindi. radio broadcasting by 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 voice of america broadcasts are
beamed to audiences in communist-held 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 strategic areas. these stations are among the most powerful in the world. one of the interesting developments in our worldwide radio network is operation , vagabond. this is the coast guard cut courier, a complete seagoing radio station. by agreement with friendly countries, it can operate in their waters. right now, the courier is based off the isle of rhodes in the eastern mediterranean. voice of america programs picked up by the courier are transmitted instantaneously, or recorded below deck for later it rebroadcast. a seagoing turntable is ready for pitch or roll.
since going into operation in the mediterranean, the ship has greatly strengthen the voice of america signal to the balkans, southern russia, and the near east. the antenna is held aloft 1000 feet by means of a helium filled balloon. heading toward the horizon the , courier is on its way to the crossroads of the world, her mission, freedom, her cargo, truth. 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, the people continue to listen. why do they take such risks? the answer has been given repeatedly by escapees such as , by this polish interpreter, who fled communism. >> the polish people are listening every day to the voice of america. it is a true source of the political news. and the voice of america brings the polish people truth, help, and courage in hard times. >> the revolt of workers in east germany which took place in gave june, 19, the united states information agency an 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 of east berlin demonstrated throughout the city. they demanded an end to soviet injustices and called for a general strike the next day. throughout the day, rias, 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 -- violent strikes and riots from east berlin to the eastern , zone of germany. the u.s. information agency went resources from 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. [video clip] >> the demonstrations began as a protest against excessive work schedules. from this window, rioters throw out uniforms of the east german police.
[melee] russian army tanks rumble up the streets backed by fully armed soldiers. ♪ [artillery fire] estimates of casualties cannot be accurately obtained, but at least 16 persons are recorded killed and hundreds injured in east berlin alone. [screaming] 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 to get 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 add a whole new dimension. many times we are asked, how can i, as an american citizen, join 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. to 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 sponsor penpal groups, to soliciting the support of second-generation americans who still have close ties abroad. another type of private cooperation is the town , affiliation program. four years ago, graz, austria, accepted an invitation to pair with montclair, new jersey. shortly after, the mayor of gratz, spent to you weeks in montclair as a guest of the city. 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 those of the united states. the united states information agency stands ready to help americans help themselves in doing this vital job. ♪ ♪ >>