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Cultural Diplomacy and Propaganda During the Cold War

Weighing the Evidence

All documents and text associated with this activity are printed below, followed by a worksheet for student responses.

Introduction

Diplomacy is defined as "The art or practice of conducting international relations, as in negotiating alliances, treaties, and agreements" (American Heritage English Dictionary). Why do we conduct diplomacy? Do we do so in order to ensure peaceful coexistence? Or, are we generally interested in learning about other nations? How would you define cultural diplomacy? How does the meeting of cultures benefit our country in the conduct of international relations?

Closely analyze each primary source below by clicking on the orange new window icon to view the entire document or watch the video. Then move each box to the scale according to which interpretation it supports. The documents and images in this activity may seem to lack connection. However, by keeping the above questions in mind, you'll be able to identify the relationships between them and explore the goal of cultural diplomacy.


Name:
Class:

Worksheet

Cultural Diplomacy and Propaganda During the Cold War

Weighing the Evidence

Examine the documents and text included in this activity. Consider how each document does or does not support two opposing interpretations or conclusions. Fill in the topic or interpretations if they are not provided. To show how the documents support the different interpretations, enter the corresponding document number into the boxes near the interpretation. Write your conclusion response in the space provided.

Interpretation 1
Sharing American culture genuinely helps to build goodwill with other countries.

Propaganda and Cultural Diplomacy
Interpretation 2
Cultural Diplomacy is propaganda under the guise of building close relationships with those abroad.



1

Activity Element

President's Backup Copy: Address to a Joint Session of the Congress: Report on the Geneva Summit

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2

Activity Element

Executive Order 10924 dated March 1, 1961, in which President John F. Kennedy establishes the Peace Corps

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3

Activity Element

Memorandum on the Exchange of Visits with Russian Astronauts

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4

Activity Element

Photograph of Peace Corps Volunteer Roger Rhatton with Students

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5

Activity Element

Telegram from Foreign Minister Gabriel S. Valdes of Chile to Secretary of State William P. Rogers

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6

Activity Element

National Security Action Memorandum No. 144 Assignment of Highest National Priority to the APOLLO Manned Lunar Landing Program

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7

Activity Element

Wealth of a Nation

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Conclusion

Cultural Diplomacy and Propaganda During the Cold War

Weighing the Evidence

  • On which side of the scale did most of your evidence fall?
  • Why did the scale tip the way it did?
  • Do you think the activities of cultural diplomacy constitute propaganda? Why or why not?


Your Response




Document

President's Backup Copy: Address to a Joint Session of the Congress: Report on the Geneva Summit

11/21/1985

Ronald Reagan's backup speaking copy of the November 21, 1985 nationally televised address which he delivered, to a joint session of Congress, upon the conclusion the 1985 Geneva Summit with Mikhail Gorbachev.
This primary source comes from the Collection RR-WHORM: White House Office of Records Management File Systems (White House Central Files).
National Archives Identifier: 198475
Full Citation: President's Backup Copy: Address to a Joint Session of the Congress: Report on the Geneva Summit; 11/21/1985; Collection RR-WHORM: White House Office of Records Management File Systems (White House Central Files), . [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/presidents-backup-copy-address-to-a-joint-session-of-the-congress-report-on-the-geneva-summit, November 24, 2020]


President's Backup Copy: Address to a Joint Session of the Congress: Report on the Geneva Summit

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President's Backup Copy: Address to a Joint Session of the Congress: Report on the Geneva Summit

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President's Backup Copy: Address to a Joint Session of the Congress: Report on the Geneva Summit

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President's Backup Copy: Address to a Joint Session of the Congress: Report on the Geneva Summit

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President's Backup Copy: Address to a Joint Session of the Congress: Report on the Geneva Summit

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President's Backup Copy: Address to a Joint Session of the Congress: Report on the Geneva Summit

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President's Backup Copy: Address to a Joint Session of the Congress: Report on the Geneva Summit

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President's Backup Copy: Address to a Joint Session of the Congress: Report on the Geneva Summit

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President's Backup Copy: Address to a Joint Session of the Congress: Report on the Geneva Summit

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President's Backup Copy: Address to a Joint Session of the Congress: Report on the Geneva Summit

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President's Backup Copy: Address to a Joint Session of the Congress: Report on the Geneva Summit

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President's Backup Copy: Address to a Joint Session of the Congress: Report on the Geneva Summit

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President's Backup Copy: Address to a Joint Session of the Congress: Report on the Geneva Summit

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Document

Executive Order 10924 dated March 1, 1961, in which President John F. Kennedy establishes the Peace Corps

3/1/1961

President John F. Kennedy signed Executive Order 10924 on March 1, 1961 which established the Peace Corps.

Transcript

Executive Order 10924

ESTABLISHMENT AND ADMINISTRATION OF THE PEACE CORPS IN THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE

By virtue of the authority vested in me by the Mutual Security Act of 1954, 68 Stat. 832, as amended (22 U.S.C. 1750 et seq.), and as President of the United States, it is hereby ordered as follows:

SECTION 1. Establishment of the Peace Corps. The Secretary of State shall establish an agency in the Department of State which shall be known as the Peace Corps. The Peace Corps shall be headed by a Director.

SEC. 2. Functions of the Peace Corps. (a) The Peace Corps shall be responsible for the training and service abroad of men and women of the United States in new programs of assistance to nations and areas of the world, and in conjunction with or in support of existing economic assistance programs of the United States and of the United Nations and other international organizations.

(b) The Secretary of State shall delegate, or cause to be delegated, to the Director of the Peace Corps such of the functions under the Mutual Security Act of 1954, as amended, vested in the President and delegated to the Secretary, or vested in the Secretary, as the Secretary shall deem necessary for the accomplishment of the purposes of the Peace Corps.

SEC. 3. Financing of the Peace Corps. The Secretary of State shall provide for the flnancing of the Peace Corps with funds available
to the Secretary for the performance of functions under the Mutual Security Act of 1954, as amended.

SEC. 4. Relation to Executive Order No. 10893. This order shall not be deemed to supersede or derogate from any provision of Executive Order No. 10893 of November 8, 1960, as amended, and any delegation made by or pursuant to this order shall, unless otherwise specifioally provided therein, be deemed to be in addition to any delegation made by or pursuant to that order.

JOHN F. KENNEDY

THE WHITE HOUSE,
March 1, 1961.
This primary source comes from the General Records of the United States Government.
National Archives Identifier: 300010
Full Citation: Executive Order 10924 dated March 1, 1961, in which President John F. Kennedy establishes the Peace Corps; 3/1/1961; Executive Orders, 1862 - 2011; General Records of the United States Government, ; National Archives Building, Washington, DC. [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/executive-order-10924, November 24, 2020]


Executive Order 10924 dated March 1, 1961, in which President John F. Kennedy establishes the Peace Corps

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Executive Order 10924 dated March 1, 1961, in which President John F. Kennedy establishes the Peace Corps

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Document

Memorandum on the Exchange of Visits with Russian Astronauts

10/21/1959

Selected from 500 applicants, the Mercury Seven were to be the first Americans in space. Introduced to the world on April 10, 1959, the men considered themselves to be military test pilots but became instant national heroes. However, the men were caught in the middle of the larger Cold War rivalry and space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. NASA, concerned about the growing competition between the two countries, sent this memo regarding the exchange of visits with Russian astronauts, proposing to publicly work with Russia. It said: “Propaganda-wise, we apparently stand to gain a great deal and could lose little or nothing.” Two of the Mercury Seven, Walter M. Schirra and Donald K. Slayton, in an apparent protest to this, crossed their names out and did not sign.
This primary source comes from the Records of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
National Archives Identifier: 4662499
Full Citation: Memorandum on the Exchange of Visits with Russian Astronauts; 10/21/1959; Reference Files on Project Mercury, 1958 - 1963; Records of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, ; National Archives at Fort Worth, Fort Worth, TX. [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/memo-visits-russian-astronauts, November 24, 2020]


Memorandum on the Exchange of Visits with Russian Astronauts

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Memorandum on the Exchange of Visits with Russian Astronauts

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Document

Photograph of Peace Corps Volunteer Roger Rhatton with Students

1965

Pictured in this 1965 photograph are Roger Rhatton, 24, a Peace Corps volunteer from Bay Village, Ohio, and students in Tanganyika (now part of the nation of Tanzania), Africa. Established in 1961, the Peace Corps produced and collected photographs that illustrated its history and mission of overseeing Federal international volunteer and related domestic volunteer programs.
This primary source comes from the Records of the Peace Corps.
National Archives Identifier: 593669
Full Citation: Photograph 490-G-32-3; Photograph of Peace Corps Volunteer Roger Rhatton with Students; 1965; Selected Photographs of Peace Corps Activities (Chronological File), 1960 - 1990; Records of the Peace Corps, ; National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD. [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/rhatton-students, November 24, 2020]


Photograph of Peace Corps Volunteer Roger Rhatton with Students

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Document

Telegram from Foreign Minister Gabriel S. Valdes of Chile to Secretary of State William P. Rogers

7/21/1969

In this telegram, the foreign minister of Chile congratulates the United States on the successful landing of a man on the moon.

Additional details from our exhibits and publications

This telegram from the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Chile congratulates the United States on its “marvelous feat.” It is one of many telegrams and letters from foreign dignitaries sent to the Department of State. The State Department and the United States Information Agency sponsored public viewings at embassies in foreign countries so that the astronauts’ first steps on the Moon could be seen around the world.
This primary source comes from the General Records of the Department of State.
National Archives Identifier: 594314
Full Citation: Telegram from Foreign Minister Gabriel S. Valdes of Chile to Secretary of State William P. Rogers; 7/21/1969; General Records of the Department of State, . [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/telegram-from-foreign-minister-gabriel-s-valdes-of-chile-to-secretary-of-state-william-p-rogers, November 24, 2020]


Telegram from Foreign Minister Gabriel S. Valdes of Chile to Secretary of State William P. Rogers

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Document

National Security Action Memorandum No. 144 Assignment of Highest National Priority to the APOLLO Manned Lunar Landing Program

4/11/1962

Memorandum for Vice President and others concerning the Apollo Moon Mission.
This primary source comes from the Collection JFK-NSF: Papers of President Kennedy: National Security Files.
National Archives Identifier: 193535
Full Citation: National Security Action Memorandum No. 144 Assignment of Highest National Priority to the APOLLO Manned Lunar Landing Program; 4/11/1962; Collection JFK-NSF: Papers of President Kennedy: National Security Files, . [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/national-security-action-memorandum-no-144-assignment-of-highest-national-priority-to-the-apollo-manned-lunar-landing-program, November 24, 2020]


National Security Action Memorandum No. 144 Assignment of Highest National Priority to the APOLLO Manned Lunar Landing Program

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Document

Wealth of a Nation

1966

This film created by the U.S. Information Agency explores freedom of speech in the United States. The original description is that it "illustrates that freedom of thought and expression, including violent dissent, is a source of national strength in U.S. politics, education and the arts."

It was created by William Greaves, a prominent African-American filmmaker and producer from the 1960s-2000s. His career led him everywhere from the National Film Board of Canada, to Africa, to India and around the world. One of his jobs was with the U.S. Information Agency (USIA). The USIA’s primary goal was to promote understanding, “inform, and influence foreign publics in promotion of the U.S. national interest, and to broaden the dialogue between Americans and U.S. institutions and their counterparts abroad.”

The USIA was particularly prolific in the 1950s and 1960s, during the post-WWII period and throughout the Cold War. It was during this period that Greaves produced and directed Wealth of a Nation and The First World Festival of Negro Arts for the USIA.

You can also watch this film in our main National Archives online catalog.
This primary source comes from the Records of the U.S. Information Agency.
National Archives Identifier: 50289
Full Citation: Motion Picture 306.3957; Wealth of a Nation; 1966; Moving Images Relating to U.S. Domestic and International Activities , 1982 - 1999; Records of the U.S. Information Agency, ; National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD. [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/wealth-of-a-nation, November 24, 2020]


Wealth of a Nation

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