By Patrick Major, Rana Mitter

This booklet asks the reader to reconsider the chilly warfare not only as superpower clash and excessive international relations, yet as social and cultural historical past. It makes cross-cultural comparisons of the socio cultural facets of the chilly warfare around the East/West block divide, facing concerns together with broadcasting, public opinion, and the creation and intake of pop culture.

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287, Voice of America broadcast, Saigon, 26 Aug. 1963. ’ JFKL Hilsman papers, box 3, Countries, Vietnam, ‘VOA Vietnamese Broadcasts re. US Aid’, 26 Aug. 1963. 69. 289, Minutes of Meeting at White House, 26 Aug. 1963. 70. JFKL NSF, Countries: Vietnam, box 198, State Cables, Rusk to Lodge, 26 Aug. 1963. 71. 489–90. 72. NYHT, 27 Aug. 1, 10; Interview: Bernie Kamenske, 6 Dec. 1995; Alex Klieforth, 7 Jan. 1997; JFKL VOA, reel 11, Loomis to Murrow, 24 Sept. 1963, IBS Monthly Report, Aug. 292–4. Klieforth visited Vietnam shortly after this incident and explained the VOA version of events first to Lodge (with Across the blocs 38 whom he had worked in the 1950s) who accepted the VOA version and then, on the return journey, to Ambassador Edwin Reischauer in Tokyo, who had been alarmed by the story.

USIA acted as the ‘in-country’ end of US educational exchange programmes and the schemes to enable potential leaders in particular countries to visit the United States (later in the decade the young Margaret Thatcher made her ideologically-formative first pilgrimage to the USA as part of such a joint USIA/State Department scheme). Hence the success or otherwise of USIA must be judged across decades and in broad trends rather than solely through attention to the spikes. The Murrow period saw a growth of institutional pride within the agency that played into the long-term development of its work.

The world press recoiled in horror. ’59 As violence escalated with the murder of Civil Rights activist Medger Evers, and mass gaoling of protestors, Communist bloc propaganda went into overdrive. 61 The President’s address on the issue on 11 June, disseminated internationally by USIA, attracted more positive reporting. The Morning Post of Nigeria praised Kennedy as ‘one of the greatest champions of the rights of man that ever lived’. 62 With this background, Murrow worked hard to ensure maximum publicity for Martin Luther King’s march on Washington in August 1963.

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