MAY 29, 1957
NEW YORK—I never can understand why Americans have such a dislike for a service that tells the rest of the world about the United States. If any curtailment is to be made in Federal spending, the U.S. Information Agency is thought of first as the place to cut.
As a matter of fact, we need very badly to tell about ourselves. For in so many vast areas of the world the Soviets do such a good propaganda job that the knowledge about the U.S. is slim, indeed. If the Asiatic world believes Soviet propaganda, then those people know of practically nothing about this country that is good for persons of moderate means.
I was delighted to note that in Colombo, Ceylon, where the Soviets naturally would put on a big exhibit, we set up a most original one of our own and that it has drawn crowds. This was done by the U.S. Information Agency!
The Soviets always advertise "democratic socialism—the people's government." So we put on a "people's capitalism" exhibit, a documentary of how, clear across the Pacific in the U.S., Ed Barnes, a $6,000 a year steel worker from Pennsylvania, and his wife live.
And while the Communist groups try to make fun of him, 1,500 persons a day have visited the exhibit since May 4, looking at the duplication of a corner of an American living room.
The corner of the living room is actually there, and visitors can feel the furniture and the clothes. It certainly is advisable to have not only pictures but actual products of American life.
The exhibit shows Barnes at work and Mrs. Barnes using the washer dryer. Also depicted is the entire Barnes family, not only at home but at play and in church. So, without mentioning the fact, it shows there are spiritual values in the American home.
Of course, Karl Marx insisted that in any capitalist country the rich got richer and the poor got poorer, but this documentary shows that more people in the U.S. are gradually getting more things that make life worthwhile.
Besides the documentary, there are striking posters and photographs. For instance, a slum area and the housing development that replaced it are shown.
This is the type of exhibit that will have a good effect in acquainting more people with what conditions actually exist in the U.S. I was delighted to read about it, for I think it is an intelligent way of letting people know of the real hopes of our nation for its people.
I had great sympathy for the people of Dallas, Tex., when I looked at the newspaper picture of one of its main bridges under water. As I drove in there last Thursday from Houston, I was a little surprised to look down at a lower level and see cars with water up to their windows while we still were on a nice, dry road.
After an unprecedented drought, it would be necessary for Texas to have unprecedented floods!