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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

January 1958 - Thirteenth Report of the United States Advisory Commission on Information


Commission Members:
Mark A. May, Chairman
Erwin D. Canham
Sigurd S. Larmon
Philip D. Reed
Lewis W. Douglas

Staff Director: Louis T. Olom



The Commission stressed the urgent need for long-term planning in the international information field. This report recommended that USIA continue its present non-partisan character, strive to develop closer relations with Congress, continue its independent status, recruit and train high caliber personnel, have the help of adequate representation funds, constantly clarify and review its objectives, do more in making available its specialized knowledge to the formulation and implementation of foreign policy, and provide information leadership for the United States. The report also recommended that USIA review its objectives, appraise its major themes and programs, establish a career system, increase East-West exchanges, and improve cooperation with private enterprise. Several opportunities for positive action in international information were listed.


"This Thirteenth Report to Congress which covers the Commission’s work for the calendar year 1957 marks the tenth year of the Commission’s existence."

"The Commission believed that a strong international information program should be high on the United States’ list of long-range defense activities."

"It is important to take advantage of present world conditions that offer the United States a chance to achieve its own victories in the information area."

"Reports from the field indicate an aroused receptivity for books, pamphlets, exhibits, and motion pictures. There is now probably more curiosity and concern about the scientific and economic strength of the United States than in the past."

"Many mistakes have been made. The United States has had to learn by doing and errors are a natural result of that process. For example, there has often been too much emphasis on United States material achievements and comforts which, in many instances, appeared boastful. But the foreign information program has learned from its mistakes. Many of the early errors are being corrected. Many successes have been achieved."

"If the Commissioners could be put in a position to use independent investigators from time to tie who would report to them, they would be willing in inaugurate such a program."

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