Harry S. Truman photo

Letter to Senator Flanders on the Appropriation for the Campaign of Truth.

August 30, 1950

Dear Senator Flanders:

I have studied with interest the letter of August eighteenth, signed by you and 27 other Senators, calling for "total engagement of our psychological and spiritual forces." It is gratifying to have this expression of support for the Campaign of Truth which we are now waging throughout the world.

As you know, I have for many years consistently urged the expansion of our activities in the field of international information and education. The Voice of America, through its radio broadcasts, has produced concrete results in giving the facts about the United States to people all over the world. The Government's films, publications, libraries, overseas information centers, and exchange of persons activities have given the world a clearer understanding of this country's progress and ideals. Week by week, there is increasing evidence that our program for getting the truth to people on both sides of the iron curtain is successful and can be made even more successful.

On April 20 of this year, I issued a public call for a greatly expanded Campaign of Truth. At that time, I stated:

"Because of the pressing need to increase our efforts 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--

"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 propaganda of slavery. We must make ourselves heard round the world in a great campaign of truth."

The Secretary of State, in testifying on the Benton Resolution, has also expressed the need for strengthening the information and educational exchange program.

Fortunately, the Government has been able to draft for service in this campaign a number of outstanding men whose qualifications for the work have been widely hailed by the press and public. We are continuing to bring into the Government men with wide experience and vision who can lend new vigor to this important activity. With the cooperation of two distinguished advisory commissions, we are setting up panels of consultants in order to draw upon the ideas and energies of citizens and organizations outside the Government.

The Advisory Commission on International Information, under the chairmanship of Mark Ethridge, publisher of the Louisville Courier Journal, has unselfishly spent many weeks studying our information operations in this country and abroad. The members of this Commission have been of enormous assistance in bringing about steady improvement in this field.

The Advisory Commission on Educational Exchange, under the chairmanship of Dr. Harvie Branscomb, Chancellor of Vanderbilt University, has been of comparable assistance in improving the programs for exchange of persons, for overseas libraries and information centers, and related activities. Both of these Commissions have reported to me that our operations have clearly demonstrated their worth to the American taxpayers, have steadily improved month by month, and are now in a position where large-scale expansion is both justified and urgently needed.

For these reasons, I am glad to see that you and your colleagues agree that "we need more funds and a great expansion of facilities." On July 13, I transmitted to the Congress an appropriation request for $89,000,000 to carry forward the Campaign of Truth. The House of Representatives has cut this amount to $65,655,850. This is far less than the amount needed to carry on the kind of campaign that you advocate. I trust that you, and the other members of the Senate who signed the joint letter of August 18, will support the full amount of $89,000,000 necessary for the expansion of our education and information activities. The Senate can render a great service if it will see that the necessary funds are provided. At a time when the Kremlin is sparing no effort to spread the most flagrant lies about this country and our allies, we must forge ahead with this great and affirmative campaign. Truth must prevail throughout the world, if we are to have just and lasting peace.

Very sincerely yours,


[Honorable Ralph E. Flanders, United States Senate, Washington, D.C.]

Note: For the President's letter to the Speaker of the House on the need for an expanded truth campaign to combat communism, see Item 190.

Harry S Truman, Letter to Senator Flanders on the Appropriation for the Campaign of Truth. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/230185

Filed Under



Simple Search of Our Archives