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Letter to the President, American Theatres Association, Concerning Government Informational Films.

July 08, 1946

Dear Mr. Fabian:

I have your letter of May 31, 1946, in which you say

"In looking ahead to further cooperation in the Government's program, I feel it is vitally necessary that you designate some agency which will serve as a clearing house for all Federal departments in the matter of films recommended for public showing."

The motion picture industry made a most substantial contribution to the Government's wartime information program. I am glad to have an indication from the motion picture exhibitors pointing to continued cooperation in the problems of the peace.

Your suggestion seems to me a sound one and I have, therefore, designated the Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion as the appropriate agency to provide the necessary clearing house and liaison service in relation to the use of the facilities of the motion picture industry. I have instructed the Director of the agency to establish the necessary central office and to notify all Government agencies that such a clearing house will be used in connection with requests for the theatrical exhibition of Government motion picture informational films. The Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion will be responsible for maintaining liaison with the film industry in the various problems incident to presenting Government messages on the screen.

May I renew my thanks to the motion picture exhibitors and the film industry in general for its splendid wartime service. I should like also to point out that any assistance which this Government may request of any part of the film industry must not be interpreted as interfering in any way with complete freedom of expression and complete freedom of the screen. At a time in contemporary history when freedom of expression is being jeopardized in many parts of the world, I want the film industry to know that freedom of the screen is an important attribute of our democratic system and must be firmly protected.

Sincerely yours,

HARRY S. TRUMAN

[Mr. S. H. Fabian, President, American Theatres Association, 1501 Broadway, New York 18, N.Y.]

Harry S. Truman, Letter to the President, American Theatres Association, Concerning Government Informational Films. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/231765

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