appearing iii May, as a taxpayer,
/\ before the Senate Appropria-
J. \.tions Subcommittee, Mr. Eu-
gene Castle, well-known author and
U. S. information specialist during
two wars, leveled sharp criticism at
the expenditures and overseas operations of the U. S. Information Agency.
Penetrating questions were directed
at Mr. Castle when he appeared as a
guest on a recent Reporters' Roundup
radio program. Questioners were Mr.
L. Edgar Prina, Senate correspondent
of the Washington Evening Star, and
Mr. Donald O'Connor, Washington
correspondent of the Detroit Times.
Although the areas in which their
opinions were at variance were not
stressed, the impression was given that
these seasoned newsmen did not subscribe in toto to Mr. Castle's analyses.
According to Mr. Castle, a more
efficient propaganda campaign could
be conducted if the informational activities now dealt with by the USIA
were returned to the State Department, which has in the past been responsible for the dissemination of all
news regarding United States government policy.
Robert F. Hurleigh, Mutual commentator ancl director of Washington
operations, who moderated the discussion, stated, "American policy-makers
admit reluctantly that the Communists are making substantial progress
in their propaganda campaign to win
and influence people all over the
world. And they admit privately that
they wish they could say the same
thine; about the United States. Some
Reporters' Roundup Guest
EUGENE CASTLE Discusses
IN THE U.S. INFORMATION AGENCY
"We have already spent $700 million for worthless propaganda. Yet
we're no better off now than the day we spent the first dollar," charges
The basis for his criticism is closely questioned during this half-hour
advisers warn that the Soviet Union
has succeeded in taking the lead in
promoting communism in the court of
world opinion and urge a complete
reappraisal of the administration's
United States Information Agency."
Mr. O'Connor pointed out that serious criticism of the United States is
often heard abroad, which has led to
such charges as Mr. Castle's that our
propaganda activities are having, if
anything, an adverse effect.
"Can you tell me, Mr. Castle," he
asked, "how it could be that our propaganda abroad is having an adverse
effect when we are spending millions
ancl millions of dollars yearly to publicize the 'good things about this democracy?"
"First of all, we have the greatest
news services in the world," replied
Mr. Castle. "They not only serve the
papers in the United States, but also
the papers of the leading cities of the
world. And this propaganda, which we
have been increasing by millions year
after year, is not helping us — but is
Asked whether he favored abolishing propaganda altogether, or would
merely change it into "sort of a government news service," Mr. Castle emphasized that a good press agent
never reveals his hand as a press agent.
"Why, I have in my office in New
York," he related, "a file containing
three or four hundred handouts that
USIA has fed to the press services and
to the world. And in the opening paragraph of each is the pronouncement
that 'the United States Information
Agency ancl Director Theodore Strei-
bert suggest' — or 'say' — and so on.
This should be done anonymously, if
at all, through our ambassadors. We
should have able press representatives
in every ministry and embassy
throughout the world, disseminating
legitimate news. If we put a feeling of
legitimacy into this, people in foreign
countries will believe us. You must
realize that Hitler, Mussolini, and
Stalin have propagandized people to
death under a government label — and
now Khrushchev and Bulganirj are
doing it. It's beneath the dignity of
the United States. After all, it is the
duty of every U. S. ambassador to
interpret the policies of the United
States. Let them do it, so that Mr.
Dulles can stay home and run his
Mr. Prina pointed out that if ambassadors were to carry this job of
countering Soviet propaganda and
distortions of the truth, in addition to
painting a picture of life in the United
States ancl all we stand for — it would
be only a shoe-string program, based
upon the amount of time ambassadors
could spend in this manner.
"How did we become the greatest
nation in the world before there was
a USIA?" countered Mr. Castle, pointing out that our ambassadors bad
done a fine job for us in the past.
"We're overdoing this thing now,
he continued, "ancl in doing it we are
making people suspicious. We are be-
ing called warmongers. And to support it we are going to spend $140
million a year on foreign propaganda.
Facts Forum News, August, 1956