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A Blog on Understanding, Informing, Empowering, and Influencing Global Publics, published by Matt Armstrong

Mid-Week Quote: “information consequences of policy ought always be taken into account”

Today’s quote comes from the Fourth Semiannual Report of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Information, submitted to the Congress in April 1951.

Sometimes policy is “made” by the junior officer who writes an original memorandum. Sometimes it is made by an unexpected utterance at a top-level press conference. But the information consequences of policy ought always be taken into account, and the information man ought always to be consulted.

The Mid-Week Quote will be a recurring feature of the blog, although it may not appear every week.  Email me to suggest a quote.  See below for more on the report this quote is taken from.

The 22-page report (available at the website of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy) assessed that the State Department’s information program is being effectively administered, that the personnel has greatly improved, and that most of the Commission’s previous recommendations had been put into effect.  The Commission expressed concern whether taking the program outside of the State Department to the about to be established United States Information Agency would be an improvement or a detriment to operation.

The Commission recommended that the program should be expanded, better evaluated, and remain closely tied to the policy-making and public affairs areas of the State Department.

It is worth taking a look at the number and purpose of committees the Commission recommended the State Department establish.

The Commission has been most desirous to carry out the purposes of Public Law 402 by opening up wider channels of contact with appropriate professional and private sources. To that end, under the authority of the Act, it has recommended and the State Department has set up seven advisory committees.

Radio Advisory Committee:

  • Judge Justin Miller, Chairman (& member of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Information)
  • William S. Paley, Chairman of the Board, Columbia Broadcasting System
  • Theodore C. Streibert, Chairman of the Board, Mutual Broadcasting Company
  • Charles Denny, Executive Vice-President, National Broadcasting Company
  • Wesley I. Dumm, President, Associated Broadcasting, Inc.
  • Donley F. Feddersen, President, University Association for Professional Radio Education, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois
  • Jack W. Harris, General, Station KPRC, Houston, TX
  • Henry P. Johnston, General Manager, Station WSGN, Birmingham, AL
  • Edward Noble, Chairman of the Board, American Broadcasting Company
  • John F. Patt, President, Station WGAR, Cleveland, OH
  • Mefford R. Runyon, Executive Vice-President, American Cancer Society
  • G. Richard Shafto, General Manager, Station WIS, Columbia, SC
  • Hugh B. Terry, Vice President and General Manager, Station KLZ, Denver, CO

General Business Advisory Committee

  • Philip D. Reed, Chairman (& member of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Information)
  • James A. Farley, Chairman of the Board, Coca Cola Export Corporation
  • Ralph T. Reed, President, American Express Company
  • W. Randolph Burgess, Chairman of the Executive Committee, National City Bank of New York City
  • Sigurd S. Larmon, President, Young & Rubicam, Inc.
  • William M. Robbins, Vice President for Overseas Operations, General Food Corporation
  • David A. Shepard, Executive Assistant, Standard Oil Company of New Jersey
  • J.P. Spang, Jr., President, Gillette Safety Razor Company
  • Claude Robinson, President, Opinion Research Corporation
  • Warren Lee Pierson, Chairman of the Board, Transcontinental and Western Air, Inc.
  • Meyer Kestnbaum, President, Hart, Shaffner & Marx

Ideological Committee

  • George Gallup, Institute of Public Opinion
  • George S. Counts, Teachers College, Columbia University
  • Allen W. Dulles, Director and President, Council on Foreign Relations
  • Elmer Davis, News Analyst, American Broadcasting Company
  • Alexander Inkeles, Harvard University

The following were Members of the Advisory Commission on Information at the time of the report:

  • Erwin D. Canham, Chairman
  • Philip D. Reed
  • Mark A. May
  • Justin Miller
  • and Ben Hibbs was nominated but not yet confirmed

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