Words That Won the War: The Story of the Committee on Public Information, 1917-1919

By James R. Mock; Cedric Larson | Go to book overview

Chapter 15
BELOW THE RIO GRANDE

WARTIME propaganda of the United States in the other countries of the Western Hemisphere is of exceptional interest today because of the importance which "hemisphere solidarity" has assumed in the power politics of the whole world. The contemporary Division of Cultural Relations of the Department of State is attempting, on a modest scale and in unostentatious fashion, to continue a campaign for Pan-American friendship which was started as a governmental activity twenty-two years ago by the CPI, and which had been carried on even before that by the Pan-American Union.

And Latin America commands special attention in the CPI story for an additional reason: in no other part of the world was the relation between Wilson idealism and commercial interest more intricate or more pronounced. American businessmen helped the CPI in all countries, but in Latin America they carried the chief burden of our national propaganda.

The two most important figures in the CPI invasion of Latin America were Lieutenant F. E. Ackerman and Edward L. Bernays.

Ackerman, who was attached to Ernest Poole's Foreign Press Bureau in New York, was dispatched on an organizing trip to South America in the winter of 1918, reaching Pernambuco on March 1 and continuing from there to Rio de Janeiro and then other leading cities of the continent. At each place he set up a CPI office. In Brazil the work was left in the hands of Ambassador E. V. Morgan, with the feature service supervised by Lieutenant William Y. Boyd, assistant naval attaché. H. H. Sevier, former publisher of the Austin ( Texas)

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