MAY 9, 1947
HYDE PARK, Thursday—It is a curious thing that just at this time Congress should want to silence the State Department's radio program, the Voice of America. Of course, I know that what has been done by the House may be changed by the Senate. However, the members of the House are supposed to represent the people of their districts, and it seems rather strange that they should believe that their constituents do not want the Voice of America to be heard throughout the world.
I am quite willing to believe that the first broadcasts to Russia were not the best broadcasts ever made. This is a new venture.
I have seen it said that one of the reasons for not supporting the continuance of the broadcasts is the fact that a book called "The Wallaces of Iowa" received some comment on the program. The State Department explains that this broadcast was written before Henry A. Wallace's trip to Europe. As a matter of fact, it would be a strange thing if our books, as they came out, were not mentioned. And if a book about as important a family as the Wallaces had not been mentioned, whoever was doing the book reviews for the program should certainly have been censured.
I can remember a Secretary Wallace in the Cabinet many years ago who was a Republican. That was Henry A. Wallace's father. And I can also remember a number of rather important experiments made by the present Mr. Wallace for the benefit of the farmer. The story of the family makes interesting reading. They are a typical American family which has contributed to the growth of the country. Surely a review of a book about them should be no valid reason for silencing America's voice on the air at this time.
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One grows to feel that our representatives in Congress are willing to give money for military opposition to Communism, but are not willing to give money to the spread of intellectual understanding of democracy. Yet if we do not want to see our sons go off to war again, we must spread the understanding of the value of our way of life and of our type of government.
There is bound to be some criticism of us throughout the world, since both our Constitution and our Bill of Rights enunciate certain principles which we have never been quite able to live up to in practice. But if we stop talking to the rest of the world, we cannot even tell them what our achievements have been, nor can we explain the reasons for the positions we take.
We take it for granted that the world as a whole believes in our good intentions. I sincerely hope they do, for unless the Senate restores the State Department's funds for cultural and informational activities, the world is going to have to take us on faith—and we may find that faith in the world today is at a low ebb.