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Department of State bulletin (Volume v. 22, Apr- Jun 1950) online

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"\Miat you can do is to give them the facts they
need to make up their own minds. That is a
tremendous responsibility.

Most of you are meeting that responsibility
well — but I am sorry to say a few are meeting it
badl}'. Foreign policy is not a matter for partisan
presentation. The facts about Europe or Asia

' Made before a meeting of the American Society of
Newspaper Editors in Washington on Apr. 20, 1950, and
released to the press on the same date.



should not be twisted to conform to one side or
the other of a political dispute. Twisting the
facts might change the course of an election at
home, but it would certainly damage our country's
program abroad.

In many other countries today, the papers print
about foreign affairs only what their governments
tell them to print. They can't add anything, or
cut anything. In the democracies, the papers
have a free hand. Only in a democracy is there
such mutual trust and confidence among citizens
that a private group is given such an all-important
role in determining what the Nation as a whole
shall do. There is too much nonsense about
striped trousers in foreign affairs. Far more in-
fluence is exerted by the baggy pants of the
managing editor.

There has never been a time in our history when
there was so great a need for our citizens to be
informed and to understand what is happening
in the world.

The cause of freedom is being challenged
throughout the world today by the forces of im-
perialistic communism. This is a struggle, above
all else, for the minds of men. Propaganda is
one of the most powerful weapons the Communists
have in this struggle. Deceit, distortion, and lies
are systematically used by them as a matter of
deliberate policy.

This propaganda can be overcome by truth —
plain, simple, unvarnished truth — presented by
newspapers, radio, and other sources that the peo-
ple trust. If the people are not told the trutli, or
if they do not have confidence in the accuracy and
fairness of the press, they have no defense against
falsehoods. But if they are given the true facts,



May 1, 1950



669



these falsehoods become laughable instead of
dangerous.

We can have confidence that the free press of
the United States and most of the other free na-
tions will keep us from being deceived by Com-
munist propaganda. But in other parts of the
world, the struggle between falsehood and truth
is far more intense and dangerous.

False Promise of Communism

Communist propaganda is so false, so crude, so
blatant, that we wonder how men can be swayed
by it. We forget that most of the people to whom
it Ls directed do not have free access to accurate
information. We forget that they do not hear
our broadcasts or read impartial newspapers. We
forget that they do not have a chance to learn
the truth by traveling abroad or by talking freely
to travelers in their own countries.

All too often the people who are subject to Com-
munist propaganda do not know Americans, or
citizens of the other free nations, as we really are.
They do not know us as farmers or as workers.
They do not know us as people having hopes and
problems like their own. Our way of life is
something strange to them. They do not even
know what we mean when we say "democracy."

This presents one of the greatest tasks facing
the free nations today. That task is nothing less
than to meet false propaganda with truth all
around the globe. Everywhere that the propa-
ganda of Communist totalitarianism is spread,
we must meet it and overcome it with honest in-
formation about freedom and democracy.

In recent years, there has been tremendous prog-
ress all over the world in education and the ex-
change of ideas. This progress has stirred men
everywhere to new desires and new ambitions.
They want greater knowledge, they want better
lives, they want to be masters of their own affairs.
We have helped and encouraged these people,
but the Communists have seized upon their de-
sires and ambitions and are seeking to exploit
them for their own selfish purposes.

In the Far East, for example, millions are rest-
lessly seeking to break away from the conditions
of poverty and misery that have surrounded them
in the past. The Communists understand this
situation very well. They are trying to move in
and take advantage of these aspirations. They
are making glittering promises about the benefits
of communism. They reach directly to the peas-



ant or the villager in these vast areas and talk to
him directly in his own tongue about the things
he has learned to desire. They say that they can
get these things for him. And too often he hears
no voice from our side to dispute them.

We know how false these Communist promises
are. But it is not enough for us to know this.
Unless we get the real story across to people in
other countries, we will lose the battle for men's
minds by default.

The Communist propaganda portrays the So-
viet Union as the world's foremost advocate of
peace and the protector of defenseless peoples.
The contradiction between what the Communist
leaders have promised and what they have actu-
ally done is so startling that we are amazed that I
anyone can be deceived. In Berlin, in Czecho-
slovakia, in the Balkans, in the Far East, they
have proved, time after time, that their talk about
peace is only a cloak for imperialism. But their
intended victims will not learn these facts from
Soviet propaganda. We are the ones who must
make sure that the truth about communism is
known everywhere.

Discrediting Free Nations

At the same time, we must overcome the con-
stant stream of slander and vilification that the
Communists pour out in an effort to discredit the
United States and other free nations.

Soviet propaganda constantly reviles the United
States as a nation of "warmongers" and "imperial-
ists." You and I know how absurd that is. We
know that the United States is wholly dedicated
to the cause of peace. We have no purpose of go-
ing to war except in defense of freedom. Our
actions demonstrate that we mean exactly what we
say. But when men throughout the world are
making their choice between communism and de-
mocracy, the important thing is not what we know
about our purposes and our actions — the important
thing is what they know.

Communist propaganda also seeks to destroy our
influence in the world by saying the American
economy is weak and about to collapse. We know
this is preposterous. The industrial production
of the United States is equal to that of the rest of
the world combined. Our agricultural production
is more than adequate for our needs. Our people
enjoy the highest standard of living in the world's
history. Our economic strength is the bulwark of
the free world.



670



Deporfmenf of State Bulletin



From every standpoint, our free way of life is
vastly superior to the system of oppression which
the Communists seek to impose upon mankind.
In many parts of the world, however, where men
must choose between freedom and communism,
the true story is going untold.

We cannot run the risk that nations may be
lost to the cause of freedom because their people
do not know the facts.

Extending Democratic Freedoms

I am con\nnced that we should greatly extend
and strengthen our efforts for making the truth
known to people in all the world.

Most of us have recognized for years, of course,
how important it is to spread the truth about free-
dom and democracy. We are already doing some
very good work — through the Voice of America
and the United States information offices and li-
braries in many parts of the world, through the
exchange of students, through the United Nations
and its affiliated organizations, and in other ways.
But events have shown, I believe, that we need to
do much more, both ourselves and in collaboration
with the other free nations. We must use every
means at our command, private as well as govern-
mental, to get the truth to other peoples.

Private groups and organizations have an im-
portant part to play. Our labor unions have al-
read}' done fine work in communicating with labor
in Europe, in Latin America, and elsewhere. The
story of free American labor, told by American
trade unionists, is a better weapon against Com-
I munist propaganda among workers in other coun-
tries than any number of speeches by government
officials.

The same principle applies to other groups.
Tlie best waj' for farmers in other countries to
find out about us is to talk directly with our own
farmers. Our businessmen can speak directly to
businessmen abroad. We need to promote much
more direct contact between our people and those
of other countries.

We should encourage many more people from
other countries to visit us here, to see for them-
selves what is true and what is not true about our
country. We should find more opportunities for
foreign students to study in our schools and uni-
versities. They will learn here the skills and tech-
niques needed in their own countries. They will
also see at first hand the rights and duties of citi-
zens in our land of democratic institutions.



Our colleges should train more Americans to
go abroad as teachers, especially to teach modem
methods of farming, industry, and public health —
and, by example, to teach our concepts of de-
mocracy. The notable record of our many chari-
table and religious organizations who .send teachers
abroad is proof of what can be done.

Another major part of our effort must be carried
out through our great public information chan-
nels — newspapers and magazines, radio, and mo-
tion pictures. We must strive constantly to break
down or leap over barriers to free communication
wherever they exist. We must make full use of
every effective means of communicating informa-
tion, in simple, understandable form, to people
whose backgrounds and cultures are different from
ours.

This poses an enormous challenge to groups
such as yours, a challenge which can be met only
by extraordinary inventiveness and enterprise.
I am confident that the American press can and
will make a tremendously useful contribution to-
ward finding new solutions.

The Government's programs for telling the
truth about the United States to the peoples of
the world also need constant improvement. Our
present overseas information and educational ex-
change program is getting results. For example,
the Voice of America has been carrying to peo-
ple behind the Iron Curtain the true story of world
events. It has been so successful that the Soviet
Government is using a vast amount of costly equip-
ment in an attempt to drown out our broadcasts
by jamming. We must devise ways to break
through that jamming and get our message across.
And we must improve and strengthen our whole
range of information and educational services.

This is not a conclusion reached by Government
officials alone. We have had the valuable aid of
the United States Advisory Commission on Infor-
mation created by the Congress. Your own so-
ciety is ably represented on that Commission by
Murk Ethridge and Erwin D. Canham. The
members of the Commission have given intensive
study to the overseas information program and
have made repeated recommendations that it be
substantially expanded. Similar reconnnenda-
tions for the exchange program have been made
by the Advisory Commission on Education,
headed by Dr. Harvie Branscomb. I have been
glad to see that many Members of the Congress
have urged an improved and expanded program



May 1, 1950



671



in these fields — as shown, for example, by the reso-
lution introduced recently by Senator Benton for
himself and a number of his colleagues.

Because of the pressing need to increase our ef-
forts along this line, I have directed the Secretary
of State to plan a strengthened and more effective
national effort to use the great power of truth in
working for peace. This effort will require the
imagination and energies of private individuals
and groups throughout the country. We shall
need to use fully all the private and governmental
means that have proved successful so far — and to
discover and employ new ones.

Reaching Upward Through Truth

Our task is to present the truth to the millions
of people who are uninformed or misinformed or
unconvinced. Our task is to reach them in their
daily lives, as they work and learn. We must be
alert, ingenious, and diligent in reaching peoples
of other countries, whatever their educational and
cultural backgrounds may be. Our task is to show
them that freedom is the way to economic and so-
cial advancement, the way to political independ-
ence, the way to strength, happiness, and peace.

This task is not separate and distinct from other



elements of our foreign policy. It is a necessary
part of all we are doing to build a peaceful world.
It is as important as armed strength or economic
aid. The Marshall Plan, military aid, Point 4 —
these and other programs depend for their success
on the understanding and support of our own citi-
zens and those of other countries.

We must make ourselves known as we really
are — not as Communist propaganda pictures us.
We must pool our efforts with those of the other
free peoples in a sustained, intensified program to
promote the cause of freedom against the propa-
ganda of slavery. We must make ourselves heard
round the world in a great campaign of truth.

We have tremendous advantages in the struggle
for men's minds and loyalties. We have truth
and freedom on our side. The appeal of free in-
stitutions and self-government springs from the
deepest and noblest aspirations of mankind. It
is based on every man's desire for liberty and op-
portunity. It is based on every man's wish to be
self-reliant and to shape his own destiny.

As we go forward with our campaign of truth,
we will make lasting progi-ess toward the kind of
world we seek — a world in which men and nations
live not as enemies but as brothers.



THE CONGRESS



Legislation

International Technical Cooperation Act of 1949 ("Point
IV" Program) : Hearings before the Committee on For-
eign Affairs, House of Representatives, 81st Cong., 2d
sess., on H. R. 5615, a bill to promote the foreign iwlicy
of the United States and to authorize participation in a
cooperative endeavor for assisting in the development of
economically underdeveloped areas of the vporld ; Sep-
tember 27, 28, 30, October 3, 4, 5, G, and 7, 1949. iv, 360
pp. [Indexed.]

Act for International Development ("Point IV" Pro-
gram) : Hearings before the Committee on Foreign Af-
fairs, House of Representatives, 81st Cong., 1st and 2d
sess., on H. R. 5015, H. R. 0026, H. R. 6834, H. R. 6835,
and H. R. 7346, bills to promote the foreign policy of
the United States and to authorize participation in a
cooperative endeavor for assisting in the development of
economically underdeveloped areas of the vforld ; Part
2, January 12, 13, and 17, 1950. vi, 524 pp. x. [Indexed.]

Act for International Development: Hearings before
the Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate,
8lKt Cong., 2d sess., on an act for international develop-
ment; March 30 and April 3, 1950. iii, 124 pp. [Depart-
ment of State, pp. 3-39.]

To Amend the Economic Cooperation Act of 1948, as
Amended : Hearings before the Committee on Foreign



Affairs, House of Representatives, 81st Cong., 2d sess. on
H. R. 7378, a bill to amend the economic cooperation act
of 1948, as amended; Part 1, February 21, 22, 24, 28,
March 1, 2, 1950. iv, 243 pp., xvii. [Indexed.]

— H. R. 7378 and H. R. 7797 . . . Part 2, March 3,
7, 8, 9, 10, 14, 15, 1950. v, pp. 254-616, xxi. [Indexed.]

Extension of European Recover.v — 1950 : Hearings be-
fore the Committee on Foreign Relations, United States
Senate, 81st Cong., 2d sess., on S. 3101, a bill to amend
the Economic Cooperation Act of 1948, as amended ; Feb-
ruary 21, 22, 23, 24, 27, 28, and March 3 and 7, 1950. iii,
413 pp. [Department of State, pp. 13-17, 93-110, 355-
303.]

Foreign Aid Appropriations for 1951 : Hearings before
the subcommittee of the Committee on Appropriations,
House of Representatives, 81st Cong., 2d sess. ii, 684 pp.
[Indexed.]

Department of State Appropriations for 1951 : Hearings
before the subcommittee of the Committee on Appropria-
tions, House of Representatives, 81st Cong., 2d sess. ; Part
1. ii, pp. 517-963.

January 19.50 Economic Report of the President: Hear-
ings before the Joint Comimttee on the Economic Report,
Congress of talie United States, Slst Cong., 2d sess.,
pursuant to Sec. 5 (A) of Public Lav? 304 (79th Congress) ;
January 17, 18, 19, 20, 1950. iii, 297 pp.

Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of the
United States for the Election of President and Vice
President. II. Rept. 1858, 81st Cong., 2d sess.. To accom-
pany S. J. Res. 2. 5 pp.

Preparatory Commission for the International Refugee
Organization. H. Rept. 1870, Slst Cong., 2d sess.. To
accompany H. R. 5863. 6 pp.

Permitting .Acceptance of Foreign Decorations for Par-
ticipation in the Berlin Airlift. H. Rept. 1878, 81st Cong.,
2d sess.. To accompany H. R. 6820. 3 pp.



672



Deparfmenf of State Bulletin



THREATS TO DEMOCRACY AND ITS WAY OF LIFE



Address hy Secretary Acheson '



Tonight. I would like to discuss with you the
thin": that is most important to all of us: the
well-being and hajipiness and security of the
United States.

I ask you to put aside, for the moment, all con-
siderations that are less important, to forget all
differences of opinion that are less than vital, and
to consider with me this most important problem
of the security and well-being of our country.

We are faced with a threat — in all sober truth
I say this — we are faced with a threat not only
to our country but also to the civilization in which
we live and to the whole physical environment in
which that civilization can exist. This threat is
the principal problem that confronts the whole
United States in the world today.

To understand this threat to our country and
our civilization, we have to go back 200 years and
examine the ideas on which the United States was
founded. We could go back more than 2,000
years, to the very beginning of Western civiliza-
tion. For more than 2,000 years, the ideas we
inherited, and live by today, have been fought
over, have been suppressed, and have been reborn
in the minds of men.

The adventurous people who settled the eastern
shores of North America in the seventeenth and
eighteenth centuries brought with them certain
ideas whicli had come down to them through the
whole stormy history of civilization. The first
of those ideas was freedom — freedom of the mind
and spirit, the most dynamic and adventurous
idea ever to seize the mind of man. It drove
men — and it continues to drive men — to inquire

' Delivered before the American Society of Newspaper
Editors, Wasliington, D.C., Apr. 22, 1950, and released to
the press on the same date.



into the relation between man and God ; to study
the nature of the universe ; to explore the purpose
of human society.

Every thought we have in our minds, every re-
lationship we have in our private lives, every insti-
tution under which we live, all of modern science
has been moulded, and in many cases created, by
the exercise of the freedom of the human mind.

The second principle on which this country was
built is the idea of diversity. If you have free-
dom of the mind, you are bound to have diversity,
and you are bound to welcome it. We welcome
people who think differently from ourselves. We
welcome people with new ideas. We will not be
chained to ideas of the past. We resist conform-
ity. We refuse to be crammed into a single nar-
row pattern.

These ideas, freedom and diversity, have sur-
vived and flourished here in the United States
because we accept and practice a third idea — and
that is tolerance. We say, and we believe, "My
freedom, my right to be different, depends on
yours. I can be free only to the extent that you
are free too."

The only limitation we put upon the exercise of
freedom is that each of us must use it so that others
can have the same right. I must exercise my free-
dom in such a way that it does not interfere with
your freedom.

So it is these great concepts that have under-
lain the whole development of our civilization, not
as mere abstract thoughts but as the very life
blood, the dynamic push, which has created the
civilization we know.

The threat we are facing is to these great con-
cepts. It comes from a system which denies every
premise we hold valid.



May J, J950



673



Soviet communism does not permit divereity of
ideas. Freedom, this doctrine says, is an evil
thing. It says that people who exercise freedom
of thought, people who dare to depart from the
doctrine laid down in the Kremlin in Moscow
are criminals. It puts such people behind bars,
or it puts them to death.

Now this threat of Soviet communism would
be serious enough if it were just the old idea of
tyranny that was challenging our idea of freedom.
It is that, but it is infinitely more than that.

This fanatical doctrine dominates one of the
great states in this world, a state which, with its
satellites, conti'ols the lives of hundreds of millions
of people, and which today possesses the largest
military establishment in existence.

That would be serious enough. But, it is even
more serious than that, because those who hold
and practice this doctrine pick out our country as
the principal target of their attack. From their
point of view they pick it out rightly. It is our
country, with its belief in freedom and tolerance,
its great productive power, its tremendous vital-
ity, whicli stands between the Kremlin and do-
minion over the entire world. We must not forget
that it is we, the American people, who have been
picked out as the princijjal target of the Soviet
Communists.

Added to all this is the fact that these people
use the great resources of modern science, particu-
larly those that have to do with an understanding
of the liuman mind, to pervert the human mind.
They resort to every trick, to every insidious and
brutal device to destroy what we think is essen-
tial — the self-respect of the individual, the integ-
rity of his mind and spirit.

What do we mean when we say that our country
is the principal target of Soviet communism ? We
mean that the Soviet authorities would use, and
gladly use, any means at their command to weaken
and to liarm us. Although, they have not thought
it wise to use military force against us, they are
trying otlier methods. One method is the attempt
to confuse and divide the American people.

If the United States can be confused and di-
vided; if it can be made to doubt the desirability
of helping other free nations; if it can be brought
to doubt the desirability of maintaining its own
defenses; if we cease to be rational and resolute;
if we can be brought to doubt one another — then
we will be softened up. Then, we will be too
weak to stand up to Communist thrusts in other



parts of the world, and too divided and confused
to stand up to Communist infiltration at home.
To create that situation is one of the main objec-
tives of the people in the Kremlin.

They have another objective, which is to pick
off members of the free conununity of nations one
by one. They do that partly to add to their power.
But, they have another important purpose and
that is to build up the idea that communism is in-
evitable, that it is the "wave of the future."

They believe that that gives other countries a
sense of fright and hopelessness. They think that
if they can spread this idea of a Communist world
closing in on us, then we will begin to get rattled,
and some people will move in one direction and
otliers will move in another direction, and the
United States will be torn apart.

The men in the Kremlin have another clear ob-
jective, and that is to change the balance of pro-
ductive power in the world. At present, that
balance is very strongly against them, but that
would not be so if they could get control in West-
ern Europe and in Japan.

So I say to you — make no mistake about it : We
are faced with a challenge and a threat to the very
basis of our civilization and to the very safety of
the free world, the only kind of world in which
that civilization can exist.

Now, in this situation, we have a great many
suggestions and proposals put forward by leaders
of American life, and by citizens who are con-
cerned — and rightly concerned — about the uneasy



Online LibraryUnited States. Dept. of State. Office of Public CoDepartment of State bulletin (Volume v. 22, Apr- Jun 1950) → online text (page 33 of 116)