American Propaganda in Foreign Countries

April 26, 1961

Report Outline
Complications in Propaganda Program
Growth of American Propaganda Media
Proposals to Improve Present Program

Complications in Propaganda Program

The Ability of Communists to make propaganda capital, alike out of their own accomplishments and out of the failures of others, has been brought home anew in recent days. Through skillful use of radio and television, speeches and statements, and public demonstrations, the governments of Communist nations—aided in many cases by Communist partisans in other countries—have exploited to the full both Soviet Russia's man-in-space achievement and the abortive attempt of Cuban rebels to spark an anti-Castro insurrection. Whether the task is to boast of Communist prowess or to denounce and embarrass capitalist adversaries, the Reds can be relied on to do an impressive propaganda job. In this field they present a challenge that free nations find particularly hard to meet.

Critics of propaganda efforts of the United States have often asserted that no other nation ever had a better story to tell but failed so lamentably to tell it effectively. The Kennedy administration, seeking to revitalize the country's propaganda programs, chose Edward R. Murrow, prominent television and radio commentator, to take over direction of the United States Information Agency. Murrow's task is to devise means of getting the American story across to the masses of people, notably in the underdeveloped countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America, who are targets of intense Communist efforts to discredit the policies and motives of the United States.

Many-Sided Mission of U.S. Information Agency

Although opinions have differed as to whether U.S.I.A. should merely let facts speak for themselves or should dress them up in propaganda trappings, the agency's operating functions have been clearly defined. The U.S. Advisory Commission on Information, a group created by statute in 1948 to examine the work of the information agency and submit evaluations to Congress, said in its latest report, Feb. 13, that the duties of U.S.I.A. were to:

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
America's Image Abroad
Jul. 23, 2010  America at War Updated
Mar. 2007  Anti-Americanism
Feb. 02, 2007  Rethinking Foreign Policy
Nov. 23, 2001  Hating America
Sep. 11, 1981  America's Information Effort Abroad
Apr. 13, 1964  Anti-Americanism Abroad
Apr. 26, 1961  American Propaganda in Foreign Countries
Jul. 03, 1957  Anti-Americanism and Soldiers Overseas
Cold War
Regional Political Affairs: Russia and the Former Soviet Union