April 1960 - Fifteenth Report of the United States Advisory Commission on Information


Commission Members

  • Mark A. May, chairman
  • Erwin D. Canham
  • Sigurd S. Larmon
  • Philip D. Reed
  • Lewis W. Douglas


The Commission looked at anticipated trends for the 1960s and discussed some challenges for the future of international communication for the United States. It recommended that binational information activities be further developed, that USIA suggest and encourage the initiation of special events and activities, that more attention be given to fitting programs to countries, and finally, that personnel policies be based on the fact that the finest media output is no substitute for personal contact.


"The results of the Commission’s studies have confirmed its long standing views that although a well-coordinated foreign information and education program must be closely associated with the diplomatic process, it can maintain maximum operating flexibility and effectiveness if it remains an independent agency in Washington."

"The foreign information program of the United States is probably one of the most evaluated and scrutinized programs of the U.S. Government."

"The past decade has seen the start of television as a means of international communication. There have been advances in the use of radio and other media. This march of science is not likely to stop."

"Sympathetic understanding and appreciation of other people is most easily gained by visits to other countries, and this is perhaps even more true of visitors to the United States than of Americans going abroad."

"The United States cannot fail to benefit from the increasing movement of people, for negative attitudes can be corrected and popular misconceptions of our country and our way of life eliminated. The President’s proclamation of 1960 as “VIST USA YEAR” is a significant move in the direction of attracting to this country a larger flow of visitors from many lands."

"The Commission has observed that in recent years the Agency shifted its approach from so-called propaganda to straight information. The Agency and its Director have made a determined effort to increase the reliability of USIA as a source of factual information about the United States. Without in any way cutting down programs that depict American progress and advances in many fields, there is deliberate policy to omit any suggestion of boasting or bragging which frequently alienate and annoy foreign audiences. The aim is to present the truth, and foreign recognition of this aim will gradually produce that high degree of credibility that the Agency seeks."