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James F. Kerney, Paris Representative, Committee on Public Information, to Committee on Public Information

<March 7, 1918.>

From: Paris Naval Staff Representative London.

To:   Opnav, Washington.

     #4827 For Compub Washington, Conferred today with French, English Italian Ministers of information Pichot and Franklin[-]Bouillon, France[;] Galleanga, Italy[;] Buchan England all agree that greatest immediate need for our work is Spain and Italy where Germany is making hardest propaganda drive against America. Informed them had not authority to mix in politics anywhere they will handle that end. Say impossible for Marion1 to cover Spain [and] Italy because of lack [of] communication and suggest he remain Spain which agrees with his views. Galleanga says most desirable to have me in touch with Italy until you find men. If you approve get introduction to Vatican for me from Cardinal Gibbons.2 Galleanga also urges sending young Italians over from America to talk to working people. All agree use of pamphlets no longer effective on this side. Agree Strong for movies, news service and speakers. Agree Wilson3 speeches best propanganda in world today. They think would be helpful if he would say something to hearten Poles. Buchan put 20 copies last George speech into heart Germany and checked up result.4 Will use same method for Wilson messages for United States. All aiming to be in position of advantage when end comes and I cannot urge you too strongly to feature President in pictures and news. Any statement sent in his name most valuable. Getting pictures of him in action for magazine use. Must do everything possible to hold his present commanding position 02107 Kerney,  23207.


Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. Document identifier in upper right hand corner: “IL-4766.” The date is handwritten but is confirmed by the time/date stamp just before the signature. Kerney, a former editor of the Trenton Evening Times, had been sent to France to serve as representative for the Committee on Public Information. George Creel, How We Advertised America: The First Telling of the Amazing Story of the Committee on Public Information (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1920), 290-92.

Footnote 1: Frank J. Marion, an “outstanding figure” in the U.S. motion picture industry, was working for the Committee on Public Information in Spain. Ibid., 337.

Footnote 2: James Cardinal Gibbons was the Roman Catholic bishop of Baltimore. He was founder of the National Catholic War Council during World War I.

Footnote 3: President Woodrow Wilson.

Footnote 4: John Buchan, Baron Tweedsmuir, had circulated a speech by Prime Minister David Lloyd George of Great Britain.

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