Arthur Sylvester

Wednesday, July 06, 1966

This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.

Unnamed male speaker welcomes the guests and makes reference to an earlier event held in honor of a reporter killed in the line of duty.

Victor Riesel, president of the Overseas Press Club, then speaks of their fallen comrade (Sam Kasten?)
He speaks of Czechoslovakia, China and Vietnam. He says that since the Ho Chi Minh government came to power 100,000 Vietnamese citizens, as well as Americans, have been killed. After speaking for several minutes about a misunderstanding related to the expectations of the day, he introduces Assistant Secretary of Defense Arthur Sylvester.

Arthur Sylvester explains that he does not have prepared remarks, but wants to explain what the Department of Defense is striving to do for the press. He notes that "top flight" information officers have now been place in Saigon. He also discusses the flight schedules available to newsmen. He also notes that there is a teletype system at all major points in-country.
He notes that there are daily briefings in Vietnam and at his own office at 5am. These taped briefings are available to newsmen.
He says that the news flow today is greater than in any other time, mentioning the Robert McNamara speaks with about 100 newsmen individually per year. He concedes that errors have been made in the past.

Questions and answers follow.

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection

WNYC archives id: 72240
Municipal archives id: T3204


Victor Riesel and Arthur Sylvester


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About Overseas Press Club

Comprised of both speeches and question-answer sessions, this news program brings together foreign correspondents and public figures from culture and politics.

The Overseas Press Club (1940-1967) contains voices from the past that help us understand their time and place in history. What sets these talks apart from others like them is the presence of a live audience of foreign correspondents — reporters with international perspectives and questions. The resulting sessions have a distinctly different dynamic than would those with an audience of American journalists of the period.

Speakers include the German writer Günter Grass talking about his fascination with American prize fighters; a fiery young LeRoi Jones (later known as Amiri Baraka) telling his audience "where it’s at with Mr. Charlie"; James Farmer on the civil rights movement and where it should be going; David Halberstam on the trials of covering the war in Vietnam; Josephine Baker on the focus of her later years, her adopted children; and Herman Kahn on being pushed to the nuclear edge.  Other notable speakers include the actor Alec Guinness, Richard Nixon, and a gaggle of early female pilots competing in the air race known as the Angel Derby. 

With presentations ranging from rambunctious and spirited to contentious and political, this collection provides invaluable access to the language and nomenclature of America's burgeoning global culture.


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