Intelligence,  Psychological Struggle,  Public Diplomacy

Quoting History

Today’s reports are too often unknowing rehashes of reports that have gone before. What is new is the context and specific details. From Charles Thomson’s Overseas Information Service of the United States Government, published by The Brookings Institution, 1948:

In the United States, foreign policy arises out of and tends to be subordinated to domestic policy; foreign policy tends to be discontinuous; and the goals of foreign policy are much more diverse than those encompassed by achieving a balance of power. The American propagandist, however, tries to circulate a self-consistent, continuous body of propaganda, usually in the form of naturalistic news and information about policy and its ramifications; he abhors sharp shifts in government policy, even when top officials give him time, material, and opportunity to prepare his audiences for them. …

Since foreign policy is to a certain degree responsive to public opinion, the overseas information program must take domestic opinion into account … as a possible indicator of policy shifts. …

In the past, the reluctance of central policy makers to think about information problems has left to the information policy specialist the task of interpreting foreign policy in information terms, of proposing appropriate information action to central policy officials, and of controlling operations to carry out policy. …

It is the broad function of propaganda intelligence to do three things: (1) to provide a complete set of evaluated facts about conditions affecting propaganda in all countries abroad in which our information service is operating; (2) to provide similarly complete information about the social structure of these countries, so that propaganda targets can be chosen intelligently; and (3) to provide complete information about the general effectiveness of our propaganda techniques and operations, with considerable specific information about the impact of particular programs upon their recipients. This last sort of information is of particular importance in demonstrating how propaganda actually accomplishes its portion of national strategic tasks. …

Good intelligence is basic to strategy, to policy, and to operations. Intelligence tells the strategist what his concrete problems are: it is not necessary to counteract opposing propaganda if investigation reveals that the propaganda itself if backfiring in a manner desirable from our standpoint; it is not necessary to engage in specific propaganda campaigns to establish beliefs and attitudes if they are already what we wish them to be. Propaganda policy is partly a function of strategic objective and partly of propaganda conditions. For example, it may be a desirable strategic objective to weaken the hold of Stalin on the Russian people; yet propaganda intelligence may say that direct attacks would only serve to strengthen his hold. Consequently, a propaganda policy of direct attacks would backfire from the standpoint of its effect on Russian audiences, although such attacks might have favorable effects on Americans who wish to have such attacks carried out.