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Letter to the Speaker on the Need for an Expanded Truth Campaign to Combat Communism.

July 13, 1950


I have the honor to transmit herewith for the consideration of the Congress supplemental estimates of appropriation for the fiscal year 1951 in the amount of $89,000,000 for the Department of State and the General Services Administration.

On several recent occasions I have directed the attention of the Congress and the Nation to the growing abuse and vilification of communist propaganda. Unsuccessful in its attempts to win Western Europe through ideological appeals, communism is seeking to discredit the United States and its actions throughout the world. If it succeeds in this effort to create distrust and hatred of our Government and its motives, the gains we have recently made in Western Europe may be substantially nullified. Our material assistance, to be fully effective, must be complemented by a full-scale effort in the field of ideas.

The free nations of the world have a great advantage in that truth is on their side. Communist leaders have repeatedly demonstrated that they fear the truth more than any weapon at our command. We must now throw additional resources into a campaign of truth which will match in vigor and determination the measures we have adopted in meeting postwar economic and military problems. Anything less than our best and most intense effort will be insufficient to meet the challenge--and the opportunity.

This expanded program has been developed on the basis of first things first. It does not propose a general world-wide expansion of our information and educational exchange efforts. Instead it is concentrated on the most critical areas in the world today. Each of these critical areas has been studied with great care; our objectives for each area have been defined. What we are now doing in each area has been appraised, and the additional steps needed have been determined.

I regard such an expanded campaign of truth as vital to our National Security. We will never attain real security until people everywhere recognize that the free nations of the world are the true seekers of permanent peace.

The details of these estimates are set forth in the letter of the Director of the Bureau of the Budget, transmitted herewith, in whose comments and observations thereon I Concur.

Respectfully yours,


[The Speaker of the House of Representatives]

Note: The letter from the Director of the Bureau of the Budget, dated July 13, is printed in House Document 641 (81st Cong., 2d sess.).

On July 17 the White House made public a letter to the President, dated July 14, from the United States Advisory Commission on Information. The letter called attention to the "anomaly which exists by reason of the expenditure of fifteen billions of dollars a year on defense, five to six and a half billions a year on economic and foreign aid and, this year, a little over thirty million dollars on our total information and education program designed to make the rest of the world understand our purposes."

The letter further stated, "You have been aware of the necessity for a much more vigorous 'campaign of truth,' as you demonstrated in your speech to the American Society of Newspaper Editors. In that speech, you said, among other things, '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.'" (See Item 92.)

On September 27, 1950, the President approved a bill making supplemental appropriations for international information and educational activities (64 Stat. 1048).
See also Item 227.

Harry S Truman, Letter to the Speaker on the Need for an Expanded Truth Campaign to Combat Communism. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/230969

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