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The government has discussed ways to improve the U. image abroad with motion picture executives.(2) The White House established an Office of Global Communications to coordinate U. propaganda worldwide.(3) The Defense Department developed plans for an Office of Strategic Influence to sway international opinion, but backed off following published reports that stories placed by the Pentagon would include disinformation.(4) Further propaganda activities correlated directly with the Bush administration's planned war against Iraq are underway.(5) With the attacks, the magnitude of Middle Eastern disaffection for the United States was brought, violently, to the attention of official Washington, and a new focus on propaganda was one result.According to the Bush administration, "a deep misunderstanding of the United States and its policies" created this hostility.
In general, however, I told him that we would welcome such a movement under his leadership because we could be sure that it would be friendly and wisely led." [Doc.
55] Image versus Reality The idealized image to be projected in the Middle East of a freedom-loving America was contradicted by the U. government's mutually beneficial relationships with autocratic regimes in the region.
This was a fundamental component of the decades-long U. 28] But suggestions that American propaganda should be distributed in the kingdom were viewed skeptically by U. These officers were the nucleus of what later became Ba'thist domination of Iraq's army.) (9) By 1954, however, the American embassy was expressing disappointment with the government of Iraq: "The constant hope of USIS officers that an indigenous distribution channel for non-attributed anti-Communist material could be opened with government help has never, until now, materialized." One problem was the government's view that the most effective way of spreading the anticommunist message was "to demonstrate its links with Israel and with world Zionism. also wanted Iranians to understand that it was necessary for the British-Iranian oil dispute to be settled on terms acceptable to the West: the article noted that "There seems to be a failure on the part of many of them to realize how necessary it is for them to stand behind their Government in a determined attempt to solve the most important problems of the country before the emergency aid which the United States has extended to Iran is exhausted." [Doc. to have decided he will accept long-standing British advice that he should have a British security expert to set up an anti-subversives department . For example, Ambassador to Iraq Burton Berry said in 1952 that "we, as propagandists, can only do our best to keep alive the hope in the Arab world that a political solution [to the Arab-Israeli dispute and continuing colonial interference by Britain and France] on the part of the United States is possible.
S.-Saudi "special relationship." Britain created Iraq as a national state after World War I by consolidating several provinces of the collapsed Ottoman empire, and established a monarchy, the short-lived Iraqi Hashemite dynasty, by installing a World War I ally from Arabia to rule as a king amenable to British interests. Since support for Zionism is also linked in the public mind with the United States any such campaign creates a sort of neutralist 'plague on both your houses' attitude and could stir up increased enmity against the United States at the same time." However, the government provided "the only possible indigenous channels" for propaganda, and "All other channels must be opened and oiled by means not within the proper scope of USIS," so it, along with the embassy, decided to support the Iraqi campaign "by supplying raw material for the consideration of the committee and by such verbal advice on techniques as may seem appropriate. 114] (The collaboration of American media, including the Washington Post, the New York Times, Time, and Newsweek, with "the intelligence community" was discussed, post-Watergate scandal, in a report prepared by the congressional Church Committee and in more detail in a Rolling Stone article by Carl Bernstein.) (11) Press helpfulness is also illustrated by an incident involving Kuwait. consulate sources observed that there was "no evidence of increased Communist activity in Kuwait--or for that matter of any Communist activity" or any indication that any Kuwaitis had been to Vienna, or that there were any Kuwaiti unions. in that the [Kuwaiti] Director of Public Security appears to have been enough frightened . We can do this by emphasizing the growing interest in contemporary Middle East political problems on the part of Americans;" to do so he recommended "the channel to the activities of the American Friends of the Middle East [AFME]." [Doc.
Despite rhetorical claims, influential Americans tolerated and valued authoritarian rule.
The State Department said of American press views of the shah of Iran, "For a time, some hope was even expressed that he might assume personal leadership in Iran, possibly establishing military dictatorship in the fashion of Egypt's Naguib. The continuity which this form of Government gives, the absence of irresponsible electioneering, freedom from a local gutter press, and the non-existence of the more unpleasant aspects of nationalism are factors which greatly assist the conduct of our operations." (The writer was also concerned about the resistance of Kuwait's rulers to reform -- but only because this could ultimately undermine Western interests.) [Doc.
117] This message was considered especially important for the military sector: the NSC wanted to enhance "the understanding of the Army leadership [in the Middle East], and secondarily, the enlisted personnel towards the purpose of U. military aid as a factor in strengthening their national independence." [Doc. funded the display of posters at schools, shops, and other public buildings "sponsored by the Iranian Government and . 16] Brochures related parables, such as the illustrated story of "two young Iranian boys who are faced with the choice between communism . Franklin Roosevelt directed in 1945, the year of his famous meeting with Saudi Arabia's King Abd al-Aziz, that U. influence in the Middle East be expanded, and proposed, along with his wife Eleanor, that American films be shown in the region. Disney as a patriotic duty could be interested in preparing such a film that could be used to defend democracy where the communist system is being touted loudly." [Doc. Ambassador Loy Henderson felt that the Iranian government was insufficiently aware of the disapproval that the U. press was expressing regarding its policies, and suggested that the VOA transmit critical U. editorials (while also conveying the rather contradictory impression that the U. was "generally sympathetic with Iranian aspirations for full econ and polit independence.") He also wanted to have the VOA transmit programs to Iranians making "friendly ref to Shah as their progressive leader." [Doc. (Following this report, the aforementioned agency head requested that a messenger deliver future USIE scripts to him, without cover notes.) [Doc. to transfer as much as possible of info activities to friendly Iran Govt institutions." [Doc. engaged in activities contrary to [the] interests [of] Iran." [Doc. Support with factual coverage and moderate, selected comment Iran GOVT efforts to quell disorder and GOVT exposés of Tudeh COMMIE machinations." [Doc. induced to sponsor" various film titles, "as apart from direct USIS presentation. news media could be useful tools for both direct and indirect manipulation of opinion in Iran. 107] Demonstrating "the overwhelming and increasing industrial and military strength of the United States" was viewed as one way of increasing its influence. It was "assumed that such a visit would be undertaken only with an enthusiastic invitation from the Saudi Government." [Doc. 70] Since one aspect of the Cold War was competition between capitalism and communism as systems for achieving development and prosperity, scripts prepared by USIE for broadcast by Iran's Department of Press and Propaganda "did not neglect to present the result of the latest research in the United States and to make rather prominent mention of the country. So a brochure prepared for Iranian consumption, illustrated by a dancing bear, contrasted Soviet statements and its "youth demonstrations" with the accomplishments of the "Free World" and the United Nations, including assistance for health care, food and clothing distribution, and rehabilitation training. 96] Radio Baghdad broadcasts, of probable USIS origin, denied Communist claims of social equality and accused the Soviet Union of hypocrisy, charging that, despite its stated support for peace, it "mobilizes all its material power for war. He also planned the first publication in Saudi Arabia of the Koran, according to the State Department, and asked ARAMCO to get him radio broadcasting equipment.
127] Unfortunately, observers friendly to the American government in the region noted that economic assistance was being characterized as an effort by "Western imperialists to buy friendship." [Doc. 4] In Iraq, embassy staff wrote their own cartoon script, featuring a scary symbolic bear menacing prehistoric humans. 41] During this crisis, the State Department was acutely aware of the potential for negative reaction to American propaganda. It is believed that the American Embassy has been paying sums of money to the Press and Propaganda Department with a view to using that Department as a means of propaganda for the United States." The head of the department was on the U. 47] Soon thereafter, the Iranian Interior Ministry ordered the closing of all information and cultural centers outside of Tehran, including those belonging to the USIE. it is our intention in case we do suspend activities . 49] An Iranian official expressed regret to the American embassy about the closings but said that "Some fo[reig]n cultural institutions in prov[ince]s had . 69] In May 1953, Ambassador Henderson was at pains to assure the State Department that his embassy was conducting an effective propaganda campaign: it compiled "a list of 260 articles, features, editorials and commentaries which ha[d] been placed in the local Tehran papers, as well as provincial papers, on anti-communist subjects." In addition, "Individual Iranian governmental offices are . As an example: 'Azerbaijan Day' [on the Russian occupation of a part of Iran following World War II] has been shown publicly both by the Ministry of Education and the imperial Iranian Gendarmerie while the Department of Propaganda has refused to take part in the sponsorship of the film." [Doc. The State Department suggested that it could seek "to inspire editorials or articles in U. publications which can be useful in case Embassy should desire certain points of view brought out for benefit American public . In October 1950, the ambassador to Iran suggested an emphasis in propaganda on the "quick overwhelming effectiveness U. This is also true of the present new industries series which have covered such things as plastics, rayon, diesel engines, chemurgy, frozen foods and fertilizer." [Doc. It produces atomic planes, heavy guns, and tanks, and mobilizes and trains the army in preparation for war, and spreads fear and horror among the peaceful nations." [Doc. on armed invasion of Egypt motivated by principles morality and justice . A department official was helpful: "It was pointed out to him" that he needed to get people used to tuning in.
Britain appointed Sunni Muslims rather than members of Iraq's Shi'a majority to staff its administrative infrastructure. At the same time, the Public Affairs Officer and the Information Officer" would "endeavor constantly to point out effective local anti-Communist lines other than those which might ultimately react unfavorably against the United States." [Doc. ambassador noted that the Iranian government was "extraordinarily cooperative" in providing radio facilities for American broadcasts reaching "Soviet people in sensitive Caucasian and Central Asian areas." [Doc. A late 1953 Newsweek story described insular and conservative Kuwait, improbably, as a new soft spot for communism, and reported that "a Kuwait union organizer" attended a World Federation of Trade Unions conference in Vienna. But it noted that even if the story were untrue (perhaps derived from a Soviet broadcast "picked up by a monitoring service" (not identified)) the article "may have done some immediate good . 74] Several years later, a State Department officer commented that "In a number of cases we have found it extremely helpful to call on AFME to sponsor certain visits which we as government were not able to sponsor.
Over the following decades, the British-established order was contested by a wide range of opposing factions, including Shiites, Kurds, Communists, and nationalists, the latter including, by the 1950s, followers of Ba'thism, an ideology calling for unity among all Arabs, development, technology, and resistance to foreign and neocolonial interference. 118] Iraqi government pamphlets with "heavy emphasis on the links between Communism and Zionism" were disseminated using a USIS mailing list. sought cooperation from Iran both for propaganda directed at Iranians and for propaganda broadcast outside the country. 8] For domestic propaganda, the embassy recommended that "There should be the minimum of open USIE activity and the maximum use, if necessary without attribution to USIE, of indigenous, Iranian channels." [Doc. 111] The infrastructure available to exploit new propaganda opportunities in Iran included a "P area of the Department of State" that used "the Department's News Division in dealing with local correspondents, a Historical Division, and offices which deal in the placement of magazine articles and arrangements for official speaking engagements." There was also "a confidential American agency [the CIA was only a few years old when this document was created] which is sometimes in a position to provide assistance in the propaganda field. When the Iranian people finally realized the situation, under the leadership of those loyal to the Shah and to Iranian institutions, the forces opposed to alliance with or domination by the communists arose in wrath . Exchanges under such auspices tend to give the individuals concerned an independent status which enhances their effectiveness in whichever Middle Eastern country may be concerned." Occasionally, it would be necessary for this appearance of impartiality to be real: "We recognize that to retain AFME's independent appearance its leader should express objective viewpoints on U. Government policies and actions." However, any such divergence should be "restrained". 134] After the British and American-sponsored coup in Iran, the local USIS office requested additional staffing for the Iran America Society, in order to extend "our operations into a number of special classes for high ranking ministry people and others in our prime target groups." The society had "contributed greatly toward our objectives" as "a very strong center in which pro-American sentiments can be widely and efficiently developed with much less chance of the label 'American Propaganda' being affixed." [Doc.