Carl Rowan

Wednesday, October 07, 1964

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

From card catalog: Carl T. Rowan, head of USIA and Voice of America, talks about the United States government's activities in spreading information and ideas. He also emphasizes the need for this.

McGurn introduces Rowan by listing his accomplishments. Rowan opens with a story about President Wilson and quotes Jefferson and Milton to illustrate the issues of nuclear warfare. Quotes Kruschev.

USIA has the job of protecting the nation's vital interests by influencing what foreigners know and believe. The first friend of tyranny is information. Information versus Propaganda.

Gulf of Tonkin example: After the attack, it was decided that US Military response was needed. To avoid escalation, it was deemed wise to inform the world of the limited nature of the response and "stern intentions of the future." Show that we are using our power responsibly.

Just how well are we doing in this ideological struggle? The US is #3 (after Radio Moscow and Radio Peking) in international broadcasting. Increasing language services in other countries in an effort to spread political ideals.

Greatest resource for USIA is the people, not the budget. We don't have all the money we need, but every year we learn to stretch the tax dollar.

Transmitter in Thailand.

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection

WNYC archives id: 70417
Municipal archives id: T583

Hosted by:

Barrett McGurn


Carl T. Rowan


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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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