Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Remarks at the Swearing In of Carl T. Rowan as Director, United States Information Agency.

February 28, 1964

Mr. and Mrs. Rowan and members of the family, ladies and gentlemen:

This is a very delightful and happy moment for me, and I want to welcome all of you here for this event. It is always cheerful when a man of intelligence and courage, and capability, accepts a position of great responsibility in his own government. Carl Rowan's whole life has been spent, it would seem to me, in preparation for this extremely important assignment that he is taking over.

The USIA is not a propaganda apparatus. It is, rather, an instrument for the communication of truth throughout the world. Truth, unfortunately, is not an abundant commodity in the world. Too often people in other lands who want to believe the best in us are fed mistruths that seem to bring out the worst in us. So my only admonition to Carl Rowan is: Tell the truth.

Carl Rowan's response to that was, "Mr. President, that is all I know how to do."

So I think it is good for our country at this time and at this point in the history of the world that Carl Rowan takes over the sensitive post of Director of the USIA. He succeeds a very able man. He has a very difficult job to do. But it is a good job, telling the people of the world about the good things and the bad things in our own country.

My wish to you, Carl, is that you may serve your country in the future as you have in the past. And if you do that, I believe this Nation's posture will be the principal beneficiary. I approached you with some reluctance because I saw how happy you were in your ambassadorial assignment. I commented when I returned from the Scandinavian countries that you were very high on the list of the outstanding jobs that I observed being done. You will go to an organization that I know welcomes you and that will work with you.

All I can say is Godspeed.

Note: The swearing-in ceremony was held in the Cabinet Room at the White House. The text of Mr. Rowan's response was also released.

Mr. Rowan had been serving as Ambassador to Finland since March 9, 1963. As Director of the U.S. Information Agency he succeeded Edward R. Murrow, who served in that capacity from March 15, 1961, through January 20, 1964.

On January 21 the White House released an announcement of Mr. Murrow's resignation together with a statement by the President on appointing Ambassador Rowan as his successor.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks at the Swearing In of Carl T. Rowan as Director, United States Information Agency. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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