Author: Avital Smotrich-Barr, Yale University
Hubert Pach, SY '21
Kevin Xiao, PM '23
Daniel Blokh, TD '24
Emma Gray, SY '21
Maya Ingram, '23 MC
Sharmaine Koh Mingli, SM '22
From 1959 to 1991, the United States Information Agency (USIA) sent a total of nineteen exhibits to the Soviet Union as part of a series of larger Cultural Exchange Agreements. This paper examines seven of those exhibits, starting with the 1959 American National Exhibition in Moscow and exploring two groupings of smaller travelling exhibits, one each in the early and mid-sixties, before ending with the 1976 bicentennial USA–200 Years exhibit. The paper seeks to fill a gap in historical scholarship, which almost uniformly focuses analysis of the exhibit program solely on the 1959 National Exhibition and depicts the exhibits as static pieces of propaganda. This paper argues that the exhibits were evolving and dynamic spaces in which guides and visitors engaged in far-ranging conversations that allowed the USIA to both influence and collect data on Soviet public opinion. Guides were unique in their ability to reach Soviet audiences in a meaningful and personal way, but their individual agency made them unpredictable. Organizers encouraged free dialogue between guides and visitors during periods of American confidence, but fell back on more predictably scripted messages during periods of uncertainty.
In 1966, a twenty five year old Russian engineer in Rostov-on-Don insisted that the North Vietnamese could not have committed any aggression against the South that would justify American intervention.1 Perhaps he was asserting his own opinion or parroting an argument in the Soviet press. Either way, he would have been surprised to discover that his comment found its way back to Washington, D.C. The engineer, a visitor at Hand Tools–USA, one of many United States Information Agency (USIA) exhibits held in the Soviet Union, had been talking to a young American guide who staffed the show of American tools.
When the USIA’s exhibit program began in 1959, the Soviet Union was a closed society, and the USIA struggled to reach ordinary Soviet citizens. Voice of America (VOA) broadcasts were jammed, and Amerika magazine was rarely distributed. In this context, the ease and openness with which exhibit guides could speak with Soviet visitors — and the USIA’s ability to collect data from those conversations — was nothing short of extraordinary. The exhibit program was an experiment in communicating American values and realities to Soviet citizens, but it also provided an unexpected opportunity for the USIA to gather information on Soviet opinions. The young, college-educated guides were both interpreters of the exhibits’ physical displays and, much like the displays themselves, captivating windows into American life.
The history of the American-Soviet exhibit exchange program under the auspices of the USIA was one of evolving goals, strategies, and measures of success that, taken together, reveal much about America’s self-image: the USIA fluctuated between the national confidence and profound anxiety that characterized the United States during the Cold War. Basking in the United States’ perceived victory during Nixon and Khrushchev’s “Kitchen Debate” at the 1959 American National Exhibition in Moscow, the America reflected in USIA exhibit reports when it launched its first traveling exhibits in the early 1960s — Plastics, Transportation, and Medicine–USA — was proud of its material wealth and convinced of its moral superiority. In contrast, American exhibitors’ confidence wavered during the turbulent mid-sixties, when USIA officials, concerned by American vulnerabilities surrounding Vietnam, urged guides at the Hand Tools and Industrial Design–USA exhibits to constrain conversation to topics closely related to the subject matter of the displays. The lack of faith in the favourable appeal of the bare facts of American life and politics to Soviet citizens had receded by the 1976 USA–200 Years exhibit, and organizers were again confident that the United States’ accomplishments outweighed its faults.
Drawing primarily on original interviews conducted with former guides and archival research on reports compiled by USIA officials over the course of each exhibit, this paper examines the USIA’s shifting understanding of the exhibit program’s role in American foreign policy. The paper advances two arguments. First, although the exhibits, especially the 1959 American National Exhibition, are often presented in historical scholarship as static cultural objects, they were part of an evolving and iterative program. Exhibitors’ goals and strategies changed throughout the six-week showing of the National Exhibition and continued to shift over the course of the exhibit’s thirty-year run. While the 1959 Exhibition has received significant attention in historical scholarship on the USIA and American cultural diplomacy, the traveling exhibits that followed are
rarely addressed. This gap in the historiography reinforces a one-dimensional view of the exhibition. The traveling exhibits provided an outlet for USIA personnel to experiment with different approaches to the challenge of representing American life and to refine successful tactics used in the National Exhibition. Second, the young American guides who accompanied the exhibits, and were originally intended to play a supporting role, became essential to the exhibit program. As a result, officials were constantly reassessing and renegotiating the guides’ roles within the exhibits. Guides are discussed in USIA reports not just as popular displays, but also as important catalysts for meaningful dialogue with Soviet visitors.
History and Historiography of the USIA’s Exhibit Exchange Program
The USIA was officially established on August 1, 1953, with the mission of “telling America’s story to the world.”2 The agency worked to fulfill this mission through a variety of means: organizing exchanges, distributing informational movies and pamphlets through American embassies, and broadcasting directly to international audiences through VOA. In January 1958, in a “significant first step in the improvement of mutual understanding” between their two “peoples,” the United States and the Soviet Union signed an exchange agreement “in the cultural, technical, and educational fields.”3 The agreement addressed radio broadcasts and the distribution of magazines as well as exchanges of students and specialists, all of which was overseen, on the American side, by either the State Department or the United States Information Agency (USIA).
A vital part of this exchange, the USIA exhibit program began with the American National Exhibition in Moscow in 1959 and continued through the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991. The exhibits provided Soviets with small windows into American life, industry, and consumer culture and were staffed by 20- to 35-year-old Russian-speaking American guides who explained the displays to Soviet visitors. USIA personnel highly valued the exhibits, lobbying continually for congressional appropriations and negotiating with their Soviet counterparts to keep the exhibits running by leveraging other aspects of the cultural exchange that Soviets found beneficial. Its themes tried to strike a delicate balance, powerfully conveying the benefits of the American system without eliciting Soviet charges of propaganda. As a result, exhibits such as “Plastics” or “Hand Tools” focused on material aspects of American society but aimed to convey messages of American freedom, innovation, or prosperity.
Adhering to a strict policy of reciprocity, Soviets held an equal number of exhibits in cities across the United States, although they never garnered the same attention or attendance as American exhibits in the Soviet Union.4Margot Mininni, a former guide who attended several Soviet exhibits — one in Baltimore on women and another in the Midwest on sports — remembered the themes as effectively highlighting areas in which the Soviet Union excelled. Americans, however, were less interested in learning about the Soviet Union than Soviets were in learning about the United States. Moreover, the Soviet guides, who Mininni suspected had been recruited from the KGB, were widely seen as ineffective at engaging Americans in conversation.5 They were older and responded to visitors with well-rehearsed, polished answers, in stark contrast with the young Americans who staffed exhibits in the Soviet Union.6 Technical reciprocity belied American advantages. The Soviet-American exhibit exchange program presented the USIA with a powerful propaganda opportunity in the information-starved Soviet Union and a new forum in which to gauge Soviet public opinion.
In the exhibit program’s over-thirty-year run, the USIA put on nineteen different exhibits in cities across the USSR from Odessa in modern Ukraine to Vladivostok on the Sea of Japan. Historical scholarship on the exhibit program, however, centers almost exclusively on the 1959 American National Exhibition in Moscow with little to no mention of the smaller traveling exhibits in the three decades that followed.7 Historians focus on the 1959 Exhibition’s expansive display of American consumer culture and the confidence it demonstrated in the belief that American-made goods could convey both the country’s immense wealth and the superiority of its system of capitalist democracy and freedom of choice.8 The so-called “Kitchen Debate” is central to this narrative. In a now famous photograph of the debate, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev and American Vice President Richard Nixon lean against a railing near one of several model kitchens in the large consumer goods section of the National Exhibition. The debate, captured in dramatic images and film, seized Americans’ imaginations. It strayed from American bases surrounding the Soviet Union to the benefits of dishwashers and from the ongoing conference in Geneva to the Exhibition’s American bathing suit models. The model home in which the most heated moments of the Kitchen Debate took place had been a topic of contention even before the Exhibition opened, with the Soviet press insisting that it was far beyond the reach of working class Americans. The debate thus provided Nixon with an opportunity to publicly disavow those claims. Nevertheless, the exchange was more of a verbal battle in which neither leader conceded a point.9 Nixon stressed the importance of free choice, but he did not clearly articulate why that choice mattered.10 The Kitchen Debate is remembered today as an American diplomatic victory, and the National Exhibition, despite being filled with exhibits on modern art and architecture, photography, and books, is known primarily for its consumer goods displays.
Yet USIA officials resisted this focus on consumer goods. USIA psychologist Ralph K. White observed that guides did not primarily talk about the displays, but instead answered questions “about what was uppermost in people’s minds,” namely the day-to-day realities of American life.11 Regardless, he wrote in his report on the Exhibition, that in future shows, “[he] would hope for somewhat less of all [the] external, material things” and a greater focus on “the comfort and humanness of everyday life” as well as “more on the meaning of American democracy” and the workings of the American political system.12 In the New York Times, Richard G. Cushing, the director of the Office of Public Information of the USIA, went further in emphasizing the need to express American ideals and culture over consumption. He highlighted “cultural displays, reflecting [American] freedom of the spirit and of the creative imagination” as the primary successes of the Exhibition.13 Thus, the American National Exhibition cannot be understood solely through the displays of consumer goods that have become so dominant in the widely accepted Kitchen Debate-centric narrative of the Exhibition.
Some historians have begun to move away from this emphasis on the consumerist freedom of choice, and focus instead on the controversy and domestic debate over freedom of expression that surrounded the Exhibition’s display of abstract art.14 United States Information Agency (USIA) officials, supported by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, hoped for the exhibit to encompass the full range of post-World War I American artistic expression. They believed that highlighting the diversity of American art would be an effective form of propaganda. By including art that contained social criticism, they hoped to convince Soviets of the degree of freedom that a democratic system ensured. Conversely, members of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) believed that by exhibiting artwork that focused on the darker underbelly of American capitalism in Moscow, the USIA abetted Soviet authorities in asserting their own system’s superiority. HUAC Chairman Representative Francis E. Walter, claiming to speak for “Mr. and Mrs. America,” argued for showcasing only America’s greatness, natural beauty, and rich history.15 The exhibit that eventually opened at the National Exhibition landed somewhere between these two approaches, displaying a wide range of artwork, including critical pieces alongside a few more traditional paintings.
Historians adopting either of these lenses ignore their similarity. If the narrative of the Kitchen Debate was that American capitalist democracy created freedom of choice for its citizens, the message of the abstract art exhibit was that it allowed for freedom of expression. Both lenses rely heavily on how physical artifacts communicated American values to Soviet citizens. By focusing on the static displays and the image of America they presented, historians miss the more dynamic interactions the exhibits facilitated and the critical role of the guides in reaching Soviet audiences. Guides were central to provoking reflection and introspection among visitors.
As the USIA made this realization, it began to prioritize guides over the displays and ostensible themes of the exhibits. An extended view of the exhibit program, which moves beyond the dominant image of the National Exhibition as a symbol of American material wealth to examine the less-covered traveling exhibits, reveals the USIA’s discovery of the guides’ power as propaganda tools.
USIA officials valued guides as a way to access the seemingly impenetrable Soviet Union and offset the advantage Soviets gained from the relative ease with which Soviet propagandists could infiltrate the United States’ significantly more open society.
Revelations in the early 1950sof the existence of Communist spy rings only fueled officials’ fears. Eisenhower’s 1956 People-to-People program, also run under the auspices of the USIA, provides an interesting comparison to the guide model of mobilizing ordinary citizens for government propaganda. It called on citizens and corporations to help humanize America for millions of Soviets who had never met an American and might imagine the greedy, war-mongering capitalists described by their government’s propaganda. People-to-People was predicated on the Eisenhower administration’s belief that Soviets would be unreceptive to anything they perceived as government propaganda, but would be open to individual contact and more trusting of Americans with whom they had personal relationships. Eisenhower and then USIA director Theodore Streibert emphasized that “Americans would be goodwill ambassadors, not ideological warriors” in a program intended to promote mutual understanding.16 The People-to-People program’s power came from its claim to be non-governmental, independently funded, and reliant only on the personal initiative of American citizens.
The USIA’s exhibit program, by contrast, was overtly government-run and funded through congressional appropriations. Nonetheless, young, Russian-speaking American guides were able to achieve the same access to Soviet populations that Eisenhower had sought in his People-to-People program. They operated relatively autonomously, were able to relate to Soviet visitors on a personal level, and maintained independent credibility despite their positions as temporary employees of the United States government. Kathleen Rose, a guide on the 1976 Photography–USA exhibit and a self-described “sixties person” who participated in campus protests and lived on a commune before joining the guide staff, felt “uncomfortable… being perceived as an official government [representative].”17 Rose tried to be as truthful as possible, even if that meant discussing the United States’ failures, and she was surprised to find that to be perhaps “the biggest propaganda tool” because visitors were “impressed” that “every day [she got] up and criticize[d] [her] country and then the next day [she was] still [t]here.”18 Guides spent long, exhausting days on the exhibit floor explaining displays, arguing with hecklers, and, more than anything, having conversations with Soviet citizens, most of whom had never before seen an American.
The guides came from diverse backgrounds and were selected for their ability to answer questions thoughtfully and think on their feet. According to John Aldriedge, a former guide who later helped in the USIA recruiting process and served as director of three exhibits, the variety among the guides was an “intentional” attempt to create a representative mix of gender, race, ethnicity, and age.19 Many guides joined the staff directly out of college or graduate school, but Aldriedge joked that they “needed a few people who had actually paid an electric bill or bought bread,” since those were the types of issues about which Soviet visitors were curious. Guides of all ages tended to hear about the exhibit program through word of mouth and joined because they saw it as an exciting opportunity to practice Russian and travel. Despite the stress of working the exhibit floor, guides often returned to work on later exhibits or took on administrative roles. Many even went on to have longer careers in the Foreign Service.20
Training for the guides evolved over the course of the exhibit program. Jane Picker, a guide on the 1962 Medicine exhibit, remembered only two or three days of training in Washington during which guides were warned to expect to be followed and reminded that although they were “free to answer any questions [Soviet visitors] asked with [their] own opinions… [they] should never comment on any kind of internal affairs of the Soviet government.”21 John Aldriedge served five years later on the 1966 Hand Tools exhibit and remembered a more involved three-part training that included trips to American manufacturers to see how the tools on display were made.22 Guides also received basic information on America so that they would be better able to answer questions such as “How many square meters in an average apartment?” or “How much is a kilogram of bread?”23 In later years, training included role playing in which experienced guides posed as Russian visitors and asked questions about American history, literature, or politics to test new guides’ knowledge and help them practice thinking on their feet. Although these same categories remained a part of the guide training well into the 1970s, Kathleen Rose remembers fearing that she did not know enough about the minutiae of photographic techniques to satisfy curious Soviet visitors. She felt that USIA officials had constructed the training on the assumption that Soviets would be more interested in the United States generally than in any specific exhibit display. In her experience, role-playing was emphasized, and guides, reminded that they were representing America, were instructed on how to handle themselves in “potentially volatile situations.”24
Over the course of each exhibit, research officers conducted periodic interviews with the guides, asking them to relay their interactions with Soviet visitors.25 Officials collected these and other observations to file weekly reports to the embassy that were then sent on to the State Department. These reports captured a shift from a relatively minimal review of Soviet public opinion at the American National Exhibition to an extensive analysis of Soviet views of American foreign policy at Hand Tools-USA and an even more comprehensive catalogue of Soviet sentiments at USA–200 Years. Reports also revealed the value USIA officials placed on guides’ conversations with visitors and their potential to shape Soviets’ views of the United States and Soviet Union. Conversations fluctuated between tightly constrained exchanges on the subject matter of the exhibits and far- reaching discussions of American and Soviet life. These conversations took place in a changing Soviet context. Whereas the goal of the 1959 American National Exhibition was to shake Soviets’ seemingly unshakable faith in their ideological system, by the USIA’s 1976 bicentennial exhibit, visitors were surprisingly open to assimilating American perspectives. While USIA officials came to take for granted the guides’ role in influencing and gathering information on otherwise unreachable Soviet populations, these officials only began to recognize guides’ immense potential during the USIA’s first exhibition in Sokolniki Park, Moscow.
As previously discussed, historical scholarship on the USIA exhibit program focuses almost exclusively on the American National Exhibition in Moscow and portrays the Exhibition as a static set of displays conveying simple messages about American freedoms. In reality, the USIA lacked clarity in defining what constituted success, and often seemed more reactive than deliberate in shaping the exhibit program. USIA officials stumbled only accidentally on the value of the guides, defining these guides’ role through trial and error. As a result, the National Exhibition evolved over its six-week showing to focus on challenging Soviet preconceptions about America rather than simply asserting the value of American freedom of choice or freedom of expression. Recognizing this initial shift is essential to understanding the ways in which the exhibits continued to evolve in the years that followed.
Interrupting the Soviet Monologue: The American National Exhibition in Moscow
A little after 9:00 pm on September 4, 1959 the lights were turned out at Sokolniki. The visitors did not want to go. They hung back as much as they could, begging a last look at the Sears, Roebuck catalog, trying for one more conversation, one more question, one more contact, one more glimpse.
– Leslie Brady, Counselor for Cultural Affairs26
The 1959 American National Exhibition in Moscow, a one and a half month showcase of American life, sought to overwhelm Soviet visitors with the United States’ immense material wealth and cultural diversity. As organizers battled to achieve the contradictory goals of humanizing America and demonstrating, undeniably, the country’s material and cultural superiority over the Soviet Union, USIA officials themselves seemed overwhelmed by the expansive vision of America they had created. The Agency’s mission of “telling America’s story to the world” could encompass everything from vacuum cleaners to high art, a message of free consumer choice to a broad call for open dialogue in the civic sphere, and at the Exhibition it did. When the National Exhibition opened in Moscow on July 25, 1959, Soviet citizens swarmed through its pavilions, eager for a small window into American life. Visitors entered a grassy wedge of Sokolniki Park, where the fair was held, through a large, gold, geodesic dome modeled on Buckminster Fuller’s design. They were greeted by a series of seven screens flashing images of typical Americans’ daily routines. Clusters of umbrella-shaped structures on either side of the dome housed Edward Steichen’s Family of Man photography exhibit and a series of photographs on American architecture. In a vast curved glass pavilion, visitors wandered between exhibits that displayed everything from books to beauty products. The exhibition contained model kitchens and living rooms stocked with the newest appliances and most recent styles of furniture. It included a fashion show and featured American citizens selected to represent the “typical” American. And everywhere there was a plethora of toys, televisions and other American products with colorful advertisements that likely added to Soviet visitors’ excitement.
The USIA hoped that this abundance of Americana would convey the wealth, diversity, cultural leadership and, above all, freedom of the American people, but they provided little interpretation to help Soviet visitors navigate the bewildering assortment of displays. Although the American National Exhibition in Moscow is often portrayed as the culmination of more than a decade of the USIA’s international exhibition efforts, it was America’s first foray into exhibiting in the Soviet Union.27 A close reading of reports written over the course of the Exhibition shows that the USIA’s goals and understanding of what constituted success evolved throughout its showing. Organizers’ confidence in the United States’ moral and material leadership, however, never wavered.
As with any government-funded program, the USIA sought to provide evidence of success, and it began to assess the efficacy of the American National Exhibition before officials had truly determined its goals. The USIA collected data through a wide variety of different avenues. Attendance numbers were estimated at exhibition entrances, as were the numbers of the huge crowds who waited in line for hours to enter. Voting machines demonstrating the mechanisms of American democracy collected visitor feedback, asking Soviets to rank their favorite displays and overall impressions. Comment books invited visitors to express their appreciation or vent frustrations. Guides, as well as USIA and Embassy officials, circulated through the vast crowds, listening to visitors’ comments and conversing with them freely.
Evaluating the feedback he received from these diverse assessment methods, USIA psychologist Ralph White concluded that the Exhibition was not the overwhelming success depicted in American newspapers, and many of the guides and other members of the Exhibition staff agreed with his appraisal. Despite high attendance, positive results from the voting machines and favorable notes in comment books, White concluded that “in popularity the success of the Exhibit was moderate and somewhat equivocal.”28 He believed that attendance could indicate anything from genuine curiosity to a visitor’s desire to mock the Exhibition. In White’s analysis, the most fruitful data came when guides engaged visitors in direct conversation.29 He wrote that more than half of overheard comments were negative and suggested that it was important to “analyze candidly, without complacency, the reasons for… disappointment in Soviet reaction” in order to “do an even better job in another possible exhibit in the USSR.”30 Organizers, then, remained unconvinced that Soviet visitors had been impressed by the jumble of displays in Sokolniki and saw evoking a more positive Soviet response as a relevant goal for future exhibits.
The American National Exhibition included much of what museum studies scholar Andrew Wulf conceptualizes as “living dioramas.”31 In the model house and numerous kitchen displays, Soviet visitors could see “American goods being used by ‘real’ Americans in picture-perfect scenographies.”32 General Mills representatives baked Betty Crocker cakes, “typical” American families were selected to pose in the model home, and American models displayed the latest trends in a dramatic fashion show.33
Hired to provide basic information on the displays, guides were not initially conceptualized as part of this group of representative Americans, but the far-ranging conversations they had with Soviet citizens soon made them integral to the Exhibition’s message of American greatness. Following the logic of Eisenhower’s People-to-People program, USIA officials saw the guides’ ability to connect with Soviet visitors on a personal level as an important propaganda asset. Ralph White recognized that the guides “increased good will” simply through “the warmth of the visitors’ human contact with [them],” something missing from Voice of America broadcasts.34 For White and other USIA staff members, each guide’s ability to establish “rapport with the audience” through humor, politeness and a dedication to answering even hecklers “factually and reasonably” allowed for their “tremendous effectiveness.”35 The USIA saw the American National Exhibition as the successful beginning of an effort to close a gap in the “much more effective” area of “face-to-face grass-roots propaganda.”36 USIA officials believed Americans had “been playing second fiddle to the Communists” for too long.37 One of the goals of the Exhibition was to challenge Soviet propaganda that had long characterized Americans as greedy, warmongering capitalists by exposing Soviet citizens to ordinary Americans. Guides gave the USIA access to an otherwise inaccessible population, and at least one USIA official argued that the guides’ “contribution to piercing the Iron Curtain [could not] be overestimated.”38
As their conversations with visitors strayed from simple messages of American freedom of choice and freedom of expression, guides moved beyond their role as interpreters of the displays. By answering questions on life in the United States and sharing personal stories, guides became living displays that gave Soviet visitors the taste of America they craved. Sarah Carey, who served as a guide at the American National Exhibition, said in a State Department interview that the exhibit was “just a vehicle” for the guides; “these bright young kids who had broad liberal arts educations [and] who were allowed to talk freely… [on topics that] ranged from atheism to space to material wealth.”39Cultural Attaché Hans Tuch explicitly picked up on this idea when he wrote that the “American guides at the exhibition… themselves represented possibly the best ‘exhibit’ of America.”40 He described the guides as “a group of intelligent, attractive, informed young people” and argued that they could “communicate to Soviet visitors what is meant by the ‘American way of life’ better than any display of goods could alone.”41
Ironically, given the overpowering display of American material and cultural strength at the National Exhibition, USIA officials found that the exhibit’s greatest success was not awing visitors or convincing them of American superiority, but inspiring them to think more critically. By definition, propaganda encourages individuals to think and act in a certain way and oversimplifies nuanced issues. Yet at the Exhibition, the most successful American propaganda emerged as a sort of anti-propaganda.
USIA officials saw any indication that the exhibit had given Soviets something new to think about as a success. They appeared not to care whether visitors had been impressed by the wealth of Americana or had internalized the intended messages of American freedom. Tuch’s argument that “whether many people were convinced or believed or liked everything they saw or heard [was] relatively unimportant” was representative of many USIA officials’ opinions.42 What was important to these officials was that by showing Soviets a “glimpse of life outside their own” the Exhibition gave them a new perspective against which to compare that presented by their government and allowed them to form more nuanced understandings of the United States.43 For Tuch and others, the Exhibition marked the beginning of “a dialogue between Americans and Soviets” that for the first time interrupted “the constant monologue which [was] Soviet propaganda.”44 This goal was stated even more explicitly in White’s preliminary report, when he wrote that “if [Soviet citizens] beg[an] to break down the black-and-white picture of the world that their propaganda ha[d] inculcated, and recognize[d] that [Americans were] maybe grey instead of black, a great deal of the force in Communist propaganda [would be] taken away.”45 To officials viewing the black and white world constructed by Soviet propaganda, any independent thought on the part of Soviet citizens was potentially subversive and thus beneficial to the United States. The USIA saw evidence that the Exhibition had begun to undermine the Soviet system in the phenomenon, described by one official, of Soviets approaching Americans beyond the boundaries of the exhibit to “[conduct] short information gathering session[s]” with seemingly “no fear.”46 This official believed that the “habit may have been acquired by Moscow residents at [the] Exhibition,” and registered his hope that it would have a lasting impact. That the Exhibition could have contributed to this visibly freer public sphere spoke, for USIA administrators, to the success of the guides as a form of diplomacy. In a similar vein, another official wrote about a widespread rumor that the American Exhibition had led to the introduction of installment buying plans in Moscow. He asserted that there was “no factual basis” to the rumor, but believed it was significant that “the Exhibition should have had enough impact so that the people len[t] credence to such a rumor.”47 To him, the veracity of the rumor was less important than its proof that the American Exhibition had captured Soviet citizens’ imaginations.
Over the course of the National Exhibition’s six-week showing, USIA officials continually reassessed their goals. As Counselor for Cultural Affairs Leslie Brady writes, the reports “had as aim the translation of a bit of the spirit of Sokolniki, through anecdote or observation” with “no attempt to evaluate” for fear of losing their “full freshness.”48In practice, this meant that research officers reported on attendance numbers and comment book entries, as well as compiling their own observations with those made by Embassy officials and guides. Contrary to Brady’s assertion, they did analyze their findings, but they resisted generalizing the implications of those findings until the end of the National Exhibition. Early reports on Sokolniki focused almost entirely on official Soviet reception of the Exhibition, noting challenges such as negative press coverage, limits on ticket accessibility, agitation, police interference, and Soviet attempts to create competing exhibits to draw away the American Exhibition’s audience.49Officials began to identify successes, indicating the popularity of the automobiles, books, and model home as well as the controversy surrounding the art exhibit, but shied away from stating if one type of interest — popularity or controversy — was more desirable. By the fourth and fifth weeks of the Exhibition, reports largely documented conversations that took place on the exhibit floor.50 This shift in officials’ focus can be partially attributed to warming relations between the US and USSR after the announcement, during the Exhibition’s second week, of Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev and American President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s intentions to exchange visits to each other’s countries. Yet the shift also reflected internal decisions to prioritize more self-reflective information gathering.51
At its heart, the 1959 National Exhibition was an experiment in communicating the American way of life — a concept as complex as the overwhelming confusion of displays
— to Soviet citizens amidst the underlying tensions of the Cold War. As the weeks went on, several key features would emerge that were carried throughout the exhibit program. Both a strong reliance on the guides and the practice of sending “various members of the embassy… to attend the Exhibition and to keep their eyes and ears open” would carry over to the later traveling exhibits.52 Comment books also became an important source of information about Soviet visitors and a staple in future exhibits.53 Most importantly, USIA officials’ focus at the National Exhibition on creating grey space in Soviets’ black-and- white ideological worldview would continue to shift towards an even greater emphasis on provoking critical reflection among visitors at the USIA’s first traveling exhibits.
Shaping Conversations: The First Small Traveling Exhibits in the Soviet Union
It was winter so it was a lot of talking with Russians sitting on park benches in the snow eating ice cream… None of them had ever traveled abroad; none of them had ever met an American before. Most of them had never met a foreigner before… And they were just very curious… we felt they didn't understand the danger that they might be in by befriending us, so we would try and see them at times and places when we were not likely to be followed.
– Jane Picker, Guide, Medicine–USA54
In November 1959, the United States and Soviet Union renewed their agreement on cultural, technical, and educational exchanges, which also provided for the exchange of traveling exhibits between the two superpowers. In return for allowing the Soviet Union to send its own exhibits to cities across the United States, Americans would put on three exhibits — Plastics, Transportation, and Medicine — in the USSR. Beginning in 1961 and continuing into 1962, the exhibits ran for nine weeks each, with three-week showings in three different cities. As with the 1959 Exhibition, the stated goal of these exhibits was to “[contribute] to a lessening of international tension,” and “provide the Soviet public with concrete and accurate information on the United States.”55 Soviets would see a small glimpse of America and meet real Americans, who organizers, learning from the experiences of the 1959 National Exhibition, believed could not only provide visitors with basic information on the United States, but also convince them of the essential humanity of its people. Although the traveling exhibits were vulnerable to Soviet criticisms that such small shows could not accurately represent as large and powerful a country as the United States, at least one official on Plastics–USA believed that “the small, moveable exhibit ha[d] one great advantage” in that it “allow[ed] the US to tell its story and show its products — to leave a concrete imprint — on the inhabitants of provincial cities who otherwise would have no opportunity to experience directly anything of the American way of life.”56 Over the course of the Plastics and Transportation exhibits, USIA officials began to clarify the goals of the exhibit program. Reports still drew on attendance records, comments left by visitors, and conversations relayed by guides to argue that these exhibits had been a success. Cultural Attaché Hans Tuch and Research Officer Alexander Park, however, now defined success based on each exhibit’s potential to prompt visitors to think critically about the negative aspects of Soviet society. Interactions between visitors and guides at Plastics and Transportation confirmed for USIA officials the importance of guides in reaching Soviet audiences. The USIA’s basic conceptualization that such far-ranging conversations would take place without explicit cultivation, however, would be challenged by Medicine–USA.
Exhibitors at Plastics and Transportation hoped to prompt critical reflection among visitors. Plastics, which displayed everything from kiddie pools to medical equipment and operating machinery, opened in Kiev in early June 1961 before moving to Moscow in July of the same year and then on to Tbilisi, Georgia. In addition to more predictable displays such as plastic toys or prosthetics, Plastics included a small section on the use of plastics in modern art. From the start, the art exhibit became “the principal focus of controversy,” and Tuch wrote that comments such as “‘This insults humanity’ [or] ‘It’s monkey smearing’… summarize[d] the sentiment” of most visitors.57 These negative comments were strikingly similar to those heard in Moscow in 1959 and could not have been entirely unexpected, suggesting that organizers saw value in shocking Soviet visitors even if they were consistently “most displeased with the abstract art.”58 The USIA’s decision to include a modern art section in the Plastics exhibit demonstrated its commitment to creating
thought-provoking displays and its belief that the controversy the modern art had aroused at the National Exhibition had been beneficial.
Even as the USIA adapted its exhibiting techniques to smaller, movable contexts, guides remained essential to the program. Guides, like the objects they presented, were snapshots of American life who captivated the attention of Soviet visitors. Hans Tuch saw “the presence of Russian speaking guides” at Plastics–USA in Kiev as an “even greater advantage” for the exhibit than the superior quality of American consumer goods.59 He noted that “visitors tend[ed] to congregate and linger wherever guides appear[ed]” and wrote that “the feeling of the visitors [was] perhaps best summed up” by a woman’s comment that they “didn’t come to see the exhibit; [they] came to see [Americans].”60 A similar pattern emerged during the Transportation–USA showings. After discussing the relative popularity of displays like the Ford Thunderbird or the travel trailer, Alexander Park wrote that “the real hits of the transport exhibit [were], of course, the young Americans who [had] come to Stalingrad to demonstrate the devices and to explain the models on display,” adding that “their appearance anywhere on the floor [was] a signal for the formation of great clusters of visitors.”61 This popularity would create opportunities for more meaningful interactions with visitors.
As the value of conversations between visitors and guides became clear, USIA officials paid careful attention to the way other aspects of the exhibits affected these interactions. Over the course of the Kiev showing of Plastics, for example, Tuch suggested that the introduction of a microphone increased the political nature of questioning and led to a “consequent decrease in rapport” between guides and visitors.62 During Transportation, microphones were also seen as contributing to “a formal and impersonal atmosphere,” and exhibit platforms had a similar effect, increasing visitor attention to a given display but hurting the “rapport which [arose] in direct face-to-face conversation.”63 Based on their experiences during the National Exhibition two years earlier, USIA officials believed that guides’ rapport with visitors allowed for the open-ended conversations essential to undermining negative Soviet propaganda on the United States, so these effects could not be ignored.
The guides’ ability to draw large crowds of visitors into conversation made them especially effective bridges from the static exhibit displays to the wider context of American society. Guides had been trained to answer technical questions about the exhibit from the “resistance to temperature and pressure” of various plastics to “their application to advanced industrial processes.”64 Exhibit displays, however, only served as the starting point for conversation, and guides were often asked a myriad of questions on American life. At Plastics, for example, “visitors asked the prices of all sorts of products,” beginning by asking about those on display before moving to items like meat or eggs that were not represented in the exhibit but were highly valued and hard to obtain in the Soviet Union.65 This interest soon turned to more generalized discussions of trade and the divide between Soviets’ desire for American consumer goods and the Soviet government’s desire for industrial knowhow.66 At Transportation, as well, visitors often “initiated conversations… by questioning guides about their personal life experiences” or by asking them questions about the availability or use of the products on display.67 Guides spent seventy-five to eighty percent of their time answering these types of questions, which, at their heart, were “about how Americans live, how they solve their problems and how they view the outside world.”68 These ostensibly personal questions served as an entry point for broader conversations about American society.
At their most effective, conversations with guides prompted visitors to reflect on their own society as well. USIA officials spent much time dissecting “pattern[s] of visitor curiosity” and highlighting evidence that the exhibits had provoked reflection among visitors on the Soviet Union’s shortcomings.69 During Plastics–USA in Kiev, Hans Tuch recorded as a success the fact that “after hearing an explanation of the American system of unemployment compensation,” a man who had been unemployed for two months complained that the Soviet Union did not have equivalent programs.70 Tuch later noted that “discussion of racial discrimination in America ha[d] also led to several heated affirmations and denials of discrimination against Jews,” an association he again saw as positive.71 Writing on the Moscow showing of Plastics, Park similarly suggested that the displays and guides changed visitors’ thinking about both the United States and the Soviet Union. He argues, for example, that “the space chair and suit… undoubtedly created a focus for increased visitor interest in the American and Soviet space programs.”72 Yet given the opportunity to inspect real American equipment, Soviet visitors were forced to reflect not only on the relative merits of the two space programs, but also on broader social questions. Most visitors were proud of Soviet Yuri Gagarin’s April 1961 flight and unimpressed by American Alan Shepard’s flight a month later, but also commented on the frustrating secrecy of their own program. Park claims this as a success, noting a Soviet visitor’s admission that “he knew ‘more about American satellites than [the Soviet Union’s] own.’”73
Medicine–USA, the third in the series of traveling exhibits negotiated in the 1961 Cultural Agreement, forced the USIA to further define its goals and reassess the best ways to achieve them. Soviet reception of the exhibit surprised USIA officials. In their report on the first week of the exhibit in Moscow, Research Officers Irving Wechsler and Andrew Falkiewicz wrote that “the experience of Medicine USA [had] differed sharply from that of previous American exhibitions.”74 The exhibit, they believed, did “what no previous exhibition [had] done: drawn an audience largely interested in the subject matter of the show” rather than one primarily interested in “satisfy[ing] curiosity about the US and its personal representatives — the guides.”75 This shift in visitor interest led to fewer conversations unrelated to exhibit material and forced USIA officials to directly address their goals for the exhibit program. Less technical displays still elicited questions similar to those asked at earlier exhibits. Jane Picker, for example, was assigned to answer questions about drug regulation in the United States at the model drugstore display. Instead, Soviets pelted her with questions that ranged from why she wasn’t married to whether Americans bought rubbing alcohol to drink.76 These types of questions, however, were much fewer in number, and it was “not possible to provide reports comparable to those growing out of previous exhibitions,” giving research officers the space to reflect more thoroughly on the impact of exhibiting decisions.
The unexpected visitor response to Medicine–USA highlighted for USIA officials the importance of conversations between visitors and guides that reached beyond a confined discussion of the displays. After the shock of the first Medicine showing in Moscow, exhibit organizers made minor changes to the exhibit layout and structure that, although not “of a kind or magnitude that would make the Kiev showing of ‘Medicine USA’ parallel to the experience of ‘Plastics USA’ or ‘Transportation USA’” nonetheless moved the exhibit “in that direction.”77 In Kiev, the continued lack of conversation on topics beyond the displays made intelligence on Soviet opinion “comparatively sparse,” so Wechsler and Falkiewicz focused their analysis on the guides themselves.78 The Kiev reports, somewhat self-consciously, noted that although there was “more analysis of the impact of the crowds on the guides than of the guides on the crowds… the complex interplay of crowds, guides, and displays [was] a vital factor in thinking about almost any aspect of the exhibition.”79
The authors of the Medicine reports stressed the human element of the exhibit, recording the way “the far more pleasant surroundings and site of the exhibition in Kiev” as well as “the onset of Spring” influenced both the guides and visitors.80 They also began to understand the potential pitfalls of relying on relatively untrained young people to represent America. The authors argue that “there is a very strong tendency for the guides… to relish, to seek out, and to be most simulated and feel most rewarded by those interchanges with Soviet visitors that are, broadly put, propagandistic.”81 They go on in increasingly flowery language to describe the temptation to “see [oneself] as tinged with the missionaries’ dedication, the Crusaders’ cause, and even the Scarlet Pimpernel’s mission, bringing in the light of truth, smiting Evil, subverting the forces of darkness and freeing the captive minds.”82 Moreover, USIA research officers saw that “battle fatigue” from the “inescapable frustrations and irritations of life in the Soviet Union” led to increased “combativeness among the guides” and a “noticeable tendency” for them to give “spiels” rather than answer individual Soviets’ questions.83 The guides’ greatest strength was their ability to avoid the appearance of propaganda by relating to visitors on an individual level, explaining America through personal stories rather than broad generalizations. When they instead turned to exaggerated or dramatic language to expound on American greatness, they lost much of their value.
Yet, as USIA officials increasingly understood how much agency guides had over their interactions with Soviet visitors, they found benefits as well. Guides began to “exercise selectivity in the questions they react[ed] to, and the lines of inquiry they tacitly invite[d]… more deliberately manag[ing] the dialogue between themselves and the visitors.”84 The guides’ control over the conversation meant that “non-medical guides” who had grown “a trifle bored with technical matters” often redirected the conversation towards topics unrelated to the exhibit material and spent more time answering those types of questions.85 As guides realized that they could assert some control over the direction of the conversations, they avoided topics in which, because of the strength of Soviet sentiment, “there [was] usually little headway to be made.”86 Germany was one example of a topic guides tended to avoid. Collective memories of World War II were still fresh and visitors passionately believed Soviet propaganda that American support of West Germany was equivalent to re-arming the fascists who had wrought so much destruction in their country. Guides’ ability to redirect exchanges towards broader discussions of American life or away from fruitless conversations could only support the USIA’s goal of provoking critical reflection.
Identifying these pitfalls and advantages helped USIA officials to clarify the guides’ roles as representatives of America and to establish the displays as loci of interaction between guides and Soviet visitors. The physical artifacts that populated USIA exhibits initiated, shaped, and in many ways, limited the content and tenor of the conversations that took place. Wechsler and Falkiewicz saw the guides’ “primary mission” as providing “insights into important aspects of US life… counteract[ing] confusions and stereotypes, [and] correct[ing] misinformation.”87 The best guides, they wrote, were “adept at manipulating the subject-matter of the exhibit,” and “utilize[d] the implications of the display and apparatus to suggest broader aspects of the US and to counter negative assumptions on the part of the questioners.”88 The authors registered their hope that such an “exploitation of the exhibition” might be “a technique upon which all guides relied.”89 USIA officials had highlighted guides’ ability to use the displays as the basis for all- embracing conversations on American society as early as Plastics–USA, but it wasn’t until Medicine, when this practice no longer emerged organically, that they explicitly articulated it as a successful strategy for influencing Soviet audiences.
Hostility and Hospitality: Exhibiting During the Vietnam War
We were just worried about remembering how to conjugate our Russian verbs on the go… That was the hard part. As far as what we thought about Vietnam… we didn't have to worry about it.
– John Aldriedge, Guide, Hand Tools–USA90
In 1966, at the height of the Vietnam War, the USIA exhibit program came close to unraveling. Just days after the USIA concluded cultural exchange negotiations with the Soviet Union, a coalition of organizations including the Committee for a SANE Nuclear Policy, Women Strike for Peace, and Students for a Democratic Society organized anti-war demonstrations in cities across the United States as part of the second Days of International Protest.91 USIA organizers faced the very real possibility that both Soviet visitors and the young American guides staffing the exhibits would be vocally critical of US policy in Vietnam.
American Ambassador Foy Kohler opened the first Hand Tools–USA exhibit with a speech focused on peace and mutual understanding, but the lead-up to that exhibit had been fraught with diplomatic setbacks.92 Hand Tools, first negotiated in the 1964-1965 Cultural Exchange Agreement, was originally set to open in November of 1965. The Soviets stalled, however, citing “the situation in Viet-nam” as reasoning for what amounted to a unilateral cancellation of the exhibit.93 Although Kohler protested this violation of the agreement, a showing of Hand Tools in the USSR would not be scheduled until after negotiations for the 1966-1967 Cultural Exchange Agreement were concluded in mid- March 1966.94 In early August 1966, after more delays from the Soviets, Hand Tools finally opened in Kharkov, a Ukrainian industrial center south of Moscow.95 Industrial Design–USA, the second exhibit negotiated in the 1966-1967 Cultural Exchange, faced similar challenges, opening after delays and amid Soviet protests that hurt attendance during its first week.96
The two exhibits’ subject matter was hardly controversial. Hand Tools featured a range of hand and small power tools “available for use in industry, in construction work, and in the American home.”97 The exhibit also included an introductory film, a library of books related to hand tools, and live demonstrations of the tools’ use. Industrial Design contained a wider range of products, from cable connectors and razors to automobiles, aircraft propeller blades, and fire hydrants. The exhibit again included a library and an introductory film, this one showing a whirlwind overview of the United States and the way in which designers had shaped the built environment.
Although USIA officials chose the “Hand Tools” and “Industrial Design” themes partially to avoid Soviet accusations that the exhibits were propagandistic, organizers had a clear and carefully defined message they hoped to convey.98 Officials ambitiously believed that the subject would convey to Soviet visitors not only “the increased availability of leisure time due to an ever-decreasing work-week,” but would also depict America as a “‘classless’ society where people in the professions [did] not consider it beneath their dignity to… [work] with their own hands” and workers were paid high wages.99 Industrial Design stressed American innovation, comparing “the clumsy wood-and-brass prototype of the late nineteenth century to the continuous-band plastic razor of [the mid-1960s]” and arguing that it was America’s system of capitalist democracy that made this innovation possible.100 Guides, and the unique perspectives they brought to conversations with visitors, remained an essential part of the exhibit program’s appeal even in the tense political climate of the mid-sixties. In the first week of Hand Tools in Kharkov, Evaluation Officer Lafayette Grisby noted “that quite a few [visitors] admit[ed] that they [were] really not interested in the tools but came primarily to talk with guides in order to learn more about life in America.”101 At least one Hand Tools guide believed that these conversations were “the whole point” of the exhibits, allowing Soviet visitors to “go from one guide to another and hear a different story.”102 In his parting speech to Industrial Design guides the next year, Assistant Director R. T. Davies concurred, emphasizing that guides were “the important part of all [American] exhibits” [emphasis added] since they were able to have “more or less free interchange of views on various aspects of American life.”103 The Vietnam War, however, tested this commitment to open dialogue.
Anxieties about Vietnam and especially its ramifications for America’s image abroad led USIA officials to attempt to limit the conversations that guides could have with visitors. In the same speech in which he stressed Soviets’ desire for knowledge about America, R. T. Davies warned Hand Tools guides that although they would certainly experience hospitality in the Soviet Union, they would also experience “hostility… enforced through a system of surveillance, espionage, informing, and provocation.”104 He gave Industrial Design guides a similar speech on the vulnerabilities they would face in the Soviet Union, but his speech to the Hand Tools guides was particularly notable.105 Straying from the USIA’s usual hands-off approach with the guides, Davies warned them not to “polemicize with exhibit visitors about Viet-nam.”106And he continued:
There is one question you will be asked, particularly with regard to U.S. bombing of objectives in North Viet-Nam, but also in connection with other aspects of US operations in Viet-Nam. That question is, ‘But what do you personally, think about it?’… If you do not feel you can answer them in consonance with and in support of current United States policy in Viet-Nam, now, during this training course, is the time to make that known. Any of you who considers he cannot in good conscience say, in answer to such a question, ‘I support the policy of my government,’ should not accompany this exhibit to the USSR.107
It is perhaps unsurprising that a government should require its employees to publicly support its policies. Nonetheless, former guides looking back on the transcript of these remarks were surprised. Of the seven guides interviewed for this paper, who together served on a total of nine different exhibits spanning thirty-one years, all remembered receiving little to no ideological direction from USIA officials during the extensive training they received prior to arriving in the USSR. John Aldridge, who served as a guide on the Hand Tools exhibit, did not remember ever hearing this speech and contended that there was a range of guide opinion even if most “guides were basically against Vietnam.”108 That likely contributed to Davies’s concerns. Davies’s warning revealed that USIA officials feared the damage American guides could do to the United States’ image abroad at least as much as they feared Soviet hostility and propaganda. There is a clear disconnect between guides’ memories of the exhibit and the thinking of USIA officials as revealed in archival documents. Whether or not Davies’ warning was internalized by the guides, or even delivered to them, his reluctance to allow the same unconstrained conversation on the topic of Vietnam that the USIA otherwise encouraged was reflected in the writings of other officials as well. In a series of written exchanges with Soviet Affairs Officer Alexander Barmine, Counselor for Cultural Affairs Ernest Wiener urged special caution on the topic of Vietnam, an “issue so central and so sensitive” that he believed “extensive discussion [could] hardly fail to lead to trouble.”109 He believed guides at Hand Tools and Industrial Design should be trained to state briefly the position of the U.S. Government before pivoting away from the topic, or else avoid commenting on the war entirely.110 Wiener’s suggestion that guides “turn the conversation… back to subjects more closely related to the theme of the exhibit” marks a strong departure from previous practice.111 During earlier exhibits, the theme functioned as a starting point for broader dialogues, and candid conversation on topics unrelated to the displays was seen as an indication of an exhibit’s success. Although guides at Hand Tools continued to build off the displays, they were encouraged to focus on the contrived official narrative of a classless American society in which workers were paid high wages and professionals had the leisure time and do-it-yourself mindset to spend that time on home improvement projects. Policy Officer Marlin W. Remick displayed an attitude similar to Wiener’s in his note to Industrial Design Evaluation Officer Hans Holzapfel. Genuine conversation was less important to Remick than the guides’ ability to “counter [Soviet] arguments or the effects of such arguments” with pre-packaged messages of American greatness “before moving on to other, more pleasant topics.”112 As the USIA shifted away from the open- ended dialogue that earlier officials had portrayed as the exhibits’ primary value, exhibition spaces became sites to rehash ideas that only highlighted irreconcilable differences between the US and USSR.
Whereas in earlier reports Evaluation Officers attempted to capture Soviet opinion through anecdotes of individual Soviet citizens influenced by the exhibit, reports from the 1966-1967 exhibits presented the American message and Soviet response as separate, binary, and irreconcilable. This structure suggested that there was little room for conversation — one was either convinced of the American position or opposed to it.
Lafayette Grisby’s Hand Tools reports, for example, clearly delineated conflicting Soviet and American stances, especially on the subject of Vietnam. At the Kharkov showing, he aggregated visitors’ questions, dismissively referring to them as “all of the expected questions and comments” before turning to what he saw as an American victory:
The guides appear to have been largely successful in making crowds understand at least several points. They are: (1) if any of its friends or allies is attacked, the U.S., not unlike the USSR, is obligated to render whatever aid is deemed necessary; (2) at the start of World War II many persons said that Europe was far away and that the Nazi invasion was none of America’s business; (3) most citizens in any country would answer their government’s call to war; (4) many American families have had loved ones killed and wounded in the various wars of this century and fully know what war is like.113
These points were impersonal, structured to refute general Soviet propaganda rather than engage an individual with specific and valid concerns. They addressed broader claims like the idea that “Vietnam is too far away to be of any major concern to the U.S.” but ignored more intimate questions like “Would you serve in Vietnam?”114 Grisby’s focus on impersonal exchanges was perhaps reflective of the USIA’s fear that freer conversation could undermine American efforts to justify the war in Vietnam.
American anxieties over Vietnam also led to a greater focus on understanding Soviet public opinion about American foreign policy. If the primary goal of earlier exhibits was to provoke critical reflection and prompt Soviets to reexamine the limitations and disadvantages of their own system, the main focus of the exhibits negotiated under the 1966 Cultural Exchange Agreement was information gathering. The USIA still focused on finding and highlighting deficiencies in the Soviet system, but less so on the ways in which the exhibits or guides might provoke self-reflection among the visitors. At the Kharkov and Rostov-on-Don showings, the exhibit itself appeared to be a secondary concern. Four and a half pages of Grisby’s six-page Kharkov report covered Soviet opinions on subjects as far reaching as Vietnam, Germany, China, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the space race, former Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, President Lyndon B. Johnson, former President John F. Kennedy, and race relations in the United States.115 Grisby’s report on Rostov-on-Don was similarly devoted to cataloguing Soviet opinions.116 Grisby focused especially on what visitors’ questions revealed about Soviet perceptions of the United States. For instance, questions on American atrocities in Vietnam revealed the success of Soviet newspapers in disseminating that information, and questions on American support for the President’s Vietnam policy displayed Soviet visitors’ belief that ordinary Americans opposed the war but were powerless to influence their corrupt government.The intelligence gathered in these reports informed USIA efforts beyond the exhibits, including VOA broadcasts and Amerika articles. The Evaluation Officer for Industrial Design, Hans Holzapfel, was instructed to “cover the same topics as those covered by Lafayette Grisby at the Hand Tools exhibit, but of course… add any additional topics of current interest to the Agency.”117 USIA officials responded to his reports with suggestions for additional information to collect. For example, Amerika editor John Jacobs asked that Holzapfel obtain more specific information from the guides on the magazine’s distribution, and Policy Officer Marlin W. Remick requested that he “continue to report as specifically as possible on… alleged U.S.-Chinese collusion” since the agency was “concerned” by the possible success of Soviet attempts to “promote anti-Americanism” with this allegation.118 The fact that Evaluation Officers tailored the data they collected to specific agency needs is a clear indicator that by 1966 such collection had become central, not simply incidental, to the exhibit program.
Despite their focus on gathering information, the reports also reflected the USIA’s need to distance itself from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).119 In instructions to Holzapfel, Assistant Director R. T. Davies emphasized that guides should be told that the USIA’s interviewing practices had “absolutely nothing to do with intelligence or the CIA” and claimed instead that the “USIA, particularly including VOA, need[ed] to know the questions and attitudes of Soviet citizens in order to continue to improve its programs and activities for the Soviet Union” and that interviews also “enable[d the USIA] to better prepare the guides of future exhibits for the questions they [were] likely to encounter.”120 While technically true, this statement obscured the fact that guides provided politically valuable information that allowed the USIA to target certain Soviet attitudes. In fact, Davies explicitly contradicted his own claim, writing of the need for exhibits to retain an Evaluation Officer despite tightening budgets because their reports were so “greatly appreciated by the Department and the intelligence community.”121 Reports, then, were not only useful in evaluating exhibit performance and providing valuable information for future USIA projects and objectives, but also, perhaps, for members of the wider intelligence community.
Uneasy with the unpredictability of open dialogue, USIA officials sought diplomatic victories through safer avenues with less likelihood of leading to criticism of American policy in Vietnam. One such approach was a renewed emphasis on the United States’ material wealth. Hand Tools, like earlier exhibits, was designed to impress visitors. Evaluation Officer Lafayette Grisby asserted that “the residents of Kharkov came out in large numbers to see the exhibit… expressing admiration for the diversity and quality of the tools on display.”122 The attention Grisby paid to attendance numbers and the appeal of the tools’ “diversity and quality” reflected the exhibit program’s shift towards a more forthright attempt to emphasize the value of consumer choice and saturate Soviet consciousness with American consumer goods.123 In a prepared statement for an Armenian Moscow News reporter at the Yerevan, Armenia showing of Hand Tools, Director Fritz Berliner and senior staff member Jerry Verner, a former guide who worked at the 1959 American National Exhibition in Moscow, wrote that the goal of the exhibit was to “show a cross section of how and with what [American] people live.”124 Berliner and Verner especially highlighted the “with what” aspect of this goal, stressing hand tools’ ability to lighten workloads as well as improve both the quality and cost of various products.125
In private, USIA officials were even more frank in their focus on material wealth as a political tool. When a staunchly anti-communist constituent wrote to Republican Congressman John Duncan of Tennessee’s second district, irate after hearing an announcement that 179 American firms would be participating in Industrial Design in Moscow, Duncan reached out to the USIA for an explanation.126 In his response, USIA General Counsel Richard Schmidt reassured the congressman that the firms involved would simply be showcasing their products and not, as the constituent wrote, “trading with the Communists who accuse us of genocide.”127 He then cited the high numbers of Soviet visitors reached by the USIA’s exhibits and stated the agency’s belief that by “further acquaint[ing] the Soviet people with the vast material and social benefits available… under [the American] free-enterprise system,” the exhibits contributed to “the increasing pressure of the Soviet people on their government for more and better consumer goods.”128 If Soviets began to demand high-quality American-style goods, the logic went, the USSR would need to redirect funds away from its military to satisfy citizens’ desires. The consumption-driven diplomacy of the 1959 American National Exhibition in Moscow had returned in full force.
A Renewed Faith: USA – 200 Years
There was a sense of wonder… there were 10,000 people a day standing in lines stretched as far as the eye could see in all kinds of weather just to engage with this strange creature who came from a different planet really… Our very presence there scored propaganda points.
– Mike Hurley, Guide, USA – 200 Years129
“One of the most significant events of the Bicentennial Year in the USSR and one of the most successful exhibits ever undertaken by USIA in [that] country,” the United States Information Agency’s USA–200 Years exhibit ran for five weeks in Sokolniki Park in Moscow.130 Parallels with the American National Exhibition went beyond the location. Counselor for Press and Cultural Affairs Raymond E. Benson asserted that no exhibit had “made such an impact… [since] the famous 1959 ‘kitchen debate’ show.”131 USA–200 Years was half of the exchange; the Soviet Union would send an exhibit on the 60th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution to Los Angeles in November of 1977. The USA– 200 Years exhibit “portrayed the U.S. struggle to establish an independent nation and presented… ‘America: As a Land, as a People and as an Idea.’”132 For twenty-eight days in November and December of 1976, Soviet visitors learned about American history and read Russian translations of founding documents such as the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Declaration of Independence. They listened to jazz, rock, and country music on stereo headsets and walked through busts of famous Americans. They saw cars, model airplanes, telephones, television sets, and other American inventions. Some even used voting machines to cast votes on real American ballots.
All but three of the thirty guides who accompanied USA–200 Years had staffed previous exhibits, and a report claims that these “exhibit veterans had not witnessed such excitement over an American exhibit in the Soviet Union since the first one in 1959.”133 Yet, creating excitement was not the primary goal of the exhibit. Instead, the exhibit was seen as a space in which the USIA could both collect information on visitors’ opinions on subjects from blue jeans to American-Soviet relations and influence Soviet visitors to think critically about their country. By the USA–200 Years exhibit, the reliance on the guides and focus on conversation that had evolved over the course of prior exhibits was formally integrated into the structure of the program.
The report on USA–200 Years was visually polished, highly structured, and written in a tone that suggested certainty. This change in the publication signaled the USIA’s renewed confidence in America’s moral superiority and faith in the efficacy of their program. Beginning with its table of contents, the report divided the information into sections on attendance, guides, and physical organization, as well as visitors’ questions on Soviet domestic and international issues, American domestic and international issues, and USIA programs. In the sections that followed, the report focused primarily on the Soviet visitors and their opinions on various issues, pausing only briefly to reflect on the ways in which the exhibit displays or guides effectively shaped interactions with visitors. Whereas in previous reports, USIA research officers posed questions on the best way to structure the displays or the most effective means for guides to communicate their points, this report confidently asserts the successes of the exhibit and particularly of the guides.
Although the actual content of USA–200 Years was similar to that of previous shows, officials seemed to think that it was not. One USIA administrator referred to the exhibit as a “milestone” because it “marked an important departure from the product- oriented shows of the past.”134 He believed that “for perhaps the first time, gadgetry took a back seat to the things that really [made] America what it [was] — its geographical setting, its heterogeneous population, and its basic political philosophy of a republican government responsible to its own citizens.”135 Given the physical similarity of the 200 Years exhibit to earlier shows — it contained the same mix of gleaming automobiles and cultural reference points that had previously proved so successful — this assessment reflects more on the ways in which the exhibit was used than on its actual form. It suggests that, as exhibit organizers put increasing emphasis on the guides, physical displays faded from their awareness. USA–200 Years definitively rejected the focus on a consumerist message of freedom of choice that had resurfaced in the turbulent sixties and institutionalized the USIA’s use of the exhibit space to facilitate conversation and information gathering. At USA–200 Years, organizers unambiguously acknowledged guides’ unique ability to reach Soviet citizens. Guides were once again encouraged to engage in open dialogue with Soviet visitors, but they were also called upon to fill the intelligence role they had played during the Vietnam War. The “Role of guides” was discussed in its own subheading under the section of the report on “Response to [the] exhibit” — a fact that neatly illustrates the institutional value placed on the guides.136 The research officer who authored the report wrote that “the thirty Russian-speaking guides were probably the most important and interesting components of the entire exhibit” for the “vast majority” of Soviet visitors and “unquestionably… the main attraction.”137 He then went on to argue that, in contrast with the skepticism with which they approached anything they read in newspapers, visitors were “by and large receptive” to what guides had to say.138 The research officer explicitly identified the propaganda value of the guides, writing that they were “an extremely persuasive source of information.”139 Moreover, he suggested that this persuasiveness stemmed from their “frank[ness]” and ability to incorporate their “own personal experience” in answers to visitors, lending credence to their statements on American life more generally.140
The way in which the guides and their personal stories served as catalysts for broader conversation echoed experiences at exhibits as early as the 1961 showings of Transportation–USA, but in 1976, the report emphasized the desirability of the trend and its centrality to the USIA’s goal of provoking critical reflection among Soviet visitors. The report did not detail specific interactions between visitors and guides as earlier ones had, but instead described general trends in visitors’ questions and the reception to common answers given by the guides. The author found it “most encouraging” that “visitors received and accepted new information” with “eagerness” and only rarely “openly disagreed with what a guide had to say on almost any American domestic issue.”141 This openness to the American perspective was depicted as yet more evidence of the guides’ effectiveness.
Perhaps due to warming relations between the US and USSR, a new sense of openness pervaded much of theUSA–200 Years exhibit. The report’s author wrote that “visitors were extremely friendly and often surprisingly outspoken in discussing their own country with exhibit guides.”142 Their “willingness to bring up such sensitive topics as Solzhenitsyn and emigration” surprised even those guides who had previously worked on other USIA exhibits.143The author wrote, however, that “perhaps the strongest impression” USIA staff took away from the exhibit was that the “majority” of visitors “seemed to have a positive image of the United States in spite of the bleak picture of American life presented by Soviet media.”144 This freer atmosphere and more positive view of the United States shaped the nature of the conversations that took place on the exhibit floor. According to the USIA report, “the most heated discussions took place among the visitors themselves while guides looked on noncommittally.”145 Many of the more animated debates began with a visitor defending a guide against questions they deemed “rude or unintelligent.”146 The report suggested that visitors were especially likely to debate each other when one “made outlandish claims about life in the Soviet Union which those around them would not allow to pass.”147 Soviet visitors were less likely to argue when a fellow visitor made negative remarks on the Soviet Union. The report mentioned, for example, a Soviet visitor who came to the exhibit with the express purpose of obtaining a Bible and claimed that Bibles were “impossible to obtain in the Soviet Union.”148 The author noted that “although he made this statement in front of several Soviet young people, they made no attempt to interrupt or ridicule him.”149 The American exhibit, then, not only created an opportunity for dialogue between Soviet and American citizens, but also created public space for candid conversation and even debate among Soviets themselves. Conclusion
The USIA relied on guides to move beyond simple messages of American freedom conveyed by physical artifacts during periods of confidence, but retreated to the surety of these messages and displays during moments of national anxiety. In the first three years of the USIA’s exhibit program, the shows evolved from static pieces of propaganda with impressive physical displays conveying simple messages about American freedom and prosperity to dynamic spaces organized to facilitate conversation. The young American guides who accompanied the exhibits had proven themselves essential to this transformation. Conversations between visitors and guides often began with questions related to the exhibit displays or the guides’ personal lives, but they soon expanded to address a wide gamut of issues concerning both the United States and the Soviet Union.
Research officers had begun to recognize the immense value of informal conversation by the end of the 1959 American National Exhibition in Moscow, but they did not clearly articulate guides’ ability to shape these conversations as a propaganda strategy until the 1962 Medicine–USA exhibit. Guides’ ability to connect with visitors on a personal level and maintain their independence even within the context of the explicitly government-run exhibit program lent them a credibility not accorded to permanent government spokespeople. Through their conversations with visitors, guides were able to prompt critical reflection on the Soviet Union’s faults and humanize Soviets’ views of Americans.
In the mid-1960s, as the United States faced the domestic and international crises precipitated by the Vietnam War, the USIA attempted to constrain guides’ ability to speak freely on the subject of Vietnam. Organizers feared that conversations of the same openness that had characterized earlier exhibits would undermine the American attempts to
justify the war. USIA officials expected guides to counter Soviet charges rather than engage visitors in more nuanced conversations. Guides, however, remained central to the exhibit program. Conversations, where they occurred, became important sites for the USIA to gather information on the desires and opinions of ordinary Soviet citizens, especially with regards to American foreign policy.
By the American bicentennial USA–200 Years exhibit, the USIA had returned to the model it had refined during the early years of the exhibit program of using the physical displays as prompts for more open conversation. Officials also expanded the guides’ information gathering role. Reports were filled with information on Soviets’ opinions on everything from the correct balance between order and freedom to visitors’ favorite music genres. The bicentennial exhibit and American guides also created a public space for Soviets to relatively freely express their opinions and, in a departure from past exhibits, debate each other.
The USIA exhibit program continued strong until the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991, with its final exhibit, Design–USA, closing earlier that same year. The longevity of the program speaks to its power as a tool of cultural diplomacy. The exhibit program, with its odd mix of American bravado and humility, complicated an accepted understanding of propaganda: not only bold displays of American greatness, but also open-ended conversation intended to provoke reflection and thoughtfulness. It also complicated common narratives of who fought the United States’ battles in the Cold War: not CIA operatives or government bureaucrats, but young Americans, fresh out of college or graduate school, and excited by the adventure of traveling through the Soviet Union. While the United States and Soviet Union fought for global domination and nuclear supremacy, Americans and Soviets were chatting relatively amicably about power tools and jeans. Bibliographic Essay
I was first introduced to the United States Information Agency (USIA)’s exhibit program in the spring of 2018, when I came across an article written by Izabella Tabarovsky for the Wilson Quarterly, a publication edited by the Wilson Center, a non- partisan policy forum and research center. Tabarovsky is originally from Novosibirsk, Siberia and wrote about the Photography–USA exhibit that came to her hometown in 1977, highlighting Soviets’ overwhelming desire for human contact. Tabarovsky was too young in 1977 to attend the exhibit, but in the fall of 2016 she had interviewed several of the American guides who had accompanied Photography–USA to Novosibirsk. After reading her article I became fascinated by the guides, and especially by the suggestion that guides’ criticism of United States policy in Vietnam became effective propaganda for American free speech. I was fortunate enough to talk with Tabarovsky over the phone and then meet her in person. Through her and other unexpected channels I was put in touch with Kathleen Rose and John Beyrle, two of the guides who had served on that 1977 Photography exhibit. These former guides were still in touch with other USIA exhibit guides with whom they had overlapped in the program or had met later in life and bonded with over their shared experiences. I was eventually able to interview seven former guides.
As a young American in my early twenties, only a few years younger than many of the guides had been, looking towards graduation with a mix of excitement and apprehension, I cannot help but be in awe of the experiences these guides had. Serving as an exhibit guide was an exciting opportunity to travel to a foreign country, one often depicted as the United States’ mortal enemy. It was also an immense responsibility to represent their country to people who knew even less about the United States than the
guides knew about the Soviet Union. Given the limits of an undergraduate thesis and my focus on official USIA analysis of the exhibits, I was only able to include a fraction of the wealth of stories I heard in my interviews with guides. The Wilson Center, the State Department, the Association for Diplomatic Studies & Training, and others have attempted to capture the stories of these informal ambassadors, but nothing can compare to the experience of meeting them in person or talking over the phone, hearing their stories first hand, and getting a glimpse into the close ties and sense of community that still holds them all together sixty years after the inaugural American National Exhibition in Moscow and twenty-eight years after the exhibit program’s end. Hearing their stories deepened my curiosity about the program and began to reframe my research. I was especially intrigued that guides uniformly told me that they were given complete autonomy to express their own views on American life and politics and wanted to find out if this hands-off approach was an official policy.
In addition to the guides, each USIA exhibit that toured the Soviet Union was also accompanied by a Research Officer tasked with collecting information on the exhibit and visitors and debriefing the guides. Research Officers compiled weekly reports throughout each exhibit’s three-week stay in a given city and forwarded the reports to the State Department, National Security Council, and Central Intelligence Agency through the American Embassy in Moscow. This paper is centered on an analysis of the reports, housed at the National Archives at College Park. The reports gave me a window into official thinking behind the exhibit program and provided another anchor for my research. While the USIA archives cannot reveal how this information was ultimately used, the
reports provide important insights into USIA officials’ goals for the exhibit program and assessment of its success.
I originally situated my research at the intersection of two larger bodies of literature on cultural diplomacy and the spread of American consumer culture. In the first grouping, Nicholas Cull’s The Cold War and the United States Information Agency was essential in shaping my understanding of the broader project of American cultural diplomacy and the United States Information Agency’s role within that project. Cull describes his book as a “biography of an idea,” cataloguing the successes and failures of the United States Information Agency (USIA) in its effort to influence world opinion to reflect positively on American policy and culture. He begins with the USIA’s inception in 1953 and follows its evolution until the agency’s last remaining functions were subsumed into the State Department in 1999. Although he spent relatively little time on the exhibit program itself, Cull’s book helped me to understand the larger political and institutional context in which the exhibits took place. Beginning with a grasp on the USIA’s wider priorities and goals allowed me to investigate the more specific priorities and goals of the exhibit program.
Victoria De Grazia’s Irresistible Empire provided a framework for thinking about the spread of American consumer culture through the lens of imperialism. She argues that America’s mass production-driven consumer culture pushed for an understanding of rights that privileged the freedom to choose over a state-guaranteed minimum standard of living. Although De Grazia primarily addresses the spread of America’s Market Empire into Western Europe, her book provided me with a model for understanding the mechanisms by which American products entered Europe and drove consumer demands. As I initially understood it, much of the USIA’s exhibit program was focused on saturating Soviet
consciousness with American consumer goods and emphasizing the value of consumer choice, attempting to tie capitalism and freedom of consumption to American freedoms more generally.
As I continued to research, I found that the exhibits’ role in furthering the spread of American consumer culture was well covered. Jack Masey and Conway Lloyd Morgan’s Cold War Confrontations: U.S. Exhibitions and Their Role in the Cultural Cold War documented US participation in international exhibitions and world fairs as well as individual exhibits put on by the United States Information Agency (USIA). It focused specifically on the role of architects and designers in crafting America’s image abroad, but it also addressed the importance of America’s “wealth of consumer goods.”150 Andrew Wulf’s U.S International Exhibitions During the Cold War: Winning Hearts and Minds through Cultural Diplomacy, which traces American exhibiting over the course of the twentieth century, also focuses its analysis of the American National Exhibition in Moscow on the plethora of consumer goods on display and the “living dioramas” of model American homes that became so important in the common narrative of the Exhibition.151 Laura Belmonte’s Selling the American Way even more explicitly addresses this theme, arguing that the American National Exhibition in Moscow exemplified the way in which “American propagandists” linked “the material advantages and intangible values of democratic capitalism.”152 Increasingly, as I read more about the importance of American consumer culture in secondary sources on the exhibit program, I became less convinced that the image of the exhibits reflected in USIA reports merited this emphasis. Three gaps began to emerge that I hope this paper will begin to fill. The first is simple. Although the 1959 American National Exhibition in Moscow has received significant attention in literature on the USIA and American cultural diplomacy, the traveling exhibits that followed are rarely addressed. For example, although Masey and Morgan’s Cold War Confrontations contains an in- depth analysis of the 1959 American National Exhibition in Moscow, the book provides only short synopses on the traveling exhibits and says nothing on their import. The traveling exhibits provided an outlet for USIA exhibits personnel to experiment with different approaches to the challenge of representing American life and to refine successful tactics used in the 1959 National Exhibition. The American National Exhibition was the USIA’s first attempt at exhibiting in the Soviet Union and must be understood in that broader context.
This brings me to the second gap I hope to address, which is that the exhibits, especially the National Exhibition, are often presented in the literature as static cultural objects rather than as an evolving and iterative program. Although many discuss the evolution of the United States’ exhibiting in World Fairs prior to 1959, all present the American National Exhibition as the culmination of these efforts and, to use Andrew Wulf’s characterization, a “carefully planned bombardment.”153 USIA reports reveal, however, that exhibitors’ goals and strategies changed throughout the six-week showing of the American National Exhibition and continued to shift over the course of the exhibit programs’ over thirty-year run. Moreover, the 25- to 35-year-old American guides who
accompanied the exhibits were not just expected to explain the displays, but became a driving purpose behind the exhibit program. As a result, officials were constantly reassessing and renegotiating the guides’ roles within the exhibits.
Which brings me to the third and final gap I hope to fill. All of the authors I’ve encountered in my research have mentioned the popularity of the guides and their centrality to the exhibit program. In weekly USIA reports, however, the guides are discussed not just as popular displays, but also as important catalysts for meaningful dialogue with Soviet visitors. Officials hoped the exhibits would provoke critical reflection and prompt Soviets to reexamine the limitations and disadvantages of their own system. To do this, they relied on the guides’ ability to transition from the objects on display to broader statements on American society. Although the popular appeal of USIA exhibits and their ability to showcase America’s material wealth certainly remained factors in official decision-making, the reports reveal the increasing emphasis on facilitating conversation between visitors and guides to disrupt and even undermine Soviet ideological frameworks.
My focus remains in dialogue with the historical scholarship discussed thus far, yet it also enters a conversation on person-to-person diplomacy most often raised in the context of non-governmental programs such as sister city networks or individual student exchanges. The exhibit program is unique in its combination of close governmental oversight and individual freedom for guides to express their own views and connect with Soviets in a meaningful and personal way.
I would first like to thank my advisor, Professor Beverly Gage, who helped guide this project from the very beginning, read multiple drafts, and provided insightful feedback at key points in the process. I am incredibly grateful for her support and knowledge.
A number of other faculty and staff were also instrumental in supporting me in writing this thesis. In particular, Professor David Engerman generously offered his time to talk through the arc of my paper and directed me towards potential secondary source material. Barbara Riley, the Timothy Dwight College Writing Tutor, provided thoughtful edits on my drafts and took the time to help me untangle my arguments.
A special thank you goes to Izabella Tabarovsky, whose article “Walking in Each Other’s Shoes, Through the Iron Curtain and Back,” introduced me to the exhibit program and who launched me on this journey. Additionally, none of this could have happened without John Aldriedge, John Beyrle, Jocelyn Greene, Mike Hurley, Margot Mininni, Jane Picker, and Kathleen Rose — former guides who welcomed me into their homes or took the time to talk with me about their experiences. Their stories and the community they have created were the inspiration for this project and continued to drive me throughout the writing process.
I would also like to thank my friends and siblings for putting up with and supporting me this past year, as I talked incessantly about the exhibit program. And last, but certainly not least, I would like to thank my parents, who valiantly tried to remind me to enjoy the process.
1 A. L. Grisby, “Hand Tools USA Exhibit – Rostov-on-Don, October 2-8, 1966,” October 1966, RG 306, A1 1039, Box 39, Records Concerning Exhibits in Foreign Countries; 1955-1967, USSR [Folder 1/2], National Archives II, College Park, Maryland.
2 “Records of the United States Information Agency (RG 306),” National Archives and Records Administration, , accessed May 2018, https://www.archives.gov/research/foreign-policy/related-records/rg- 306.
3 “Joint US-USSR Communique on Agreement on Exchanges,” RG 306 UD 1048, Box 2, Reaction File, Office of Research and Intelligence Headquarters Subject Files 1955-1970, National Archives II, College Park, Maryland
4 This sentiment was consistently expressed by guides across all seven interviews conducted by the author.
5 Margot Mininni, in discussion with the author, September 14, 2018.
7 Nicholas Cull’s otherwise exhaustive bureaucratic history of the United States Information Agency (USIA),
The Cold War and the United States Information Agency: American Propaganda and Public Diplomacy, 1945-1989, briefly touches on the 1959 American National Exhibition and debates surrounding what some officials saw as an over-emphasis on consumer culture, but does not address the USIA’s later traveling exhibits in the Soviet Union. Jack Masey and Morgan Conway Lloyd’s Cold War Confrontations: U.S. Exhibitions and Their Role in the Cultural Cold War similarly focuses on the American National Exhibition, describing the role of architects and designers in crafting the Exhibition as well as the organizers’ efforts to solicit donations of displays from private companies. Cold War Confrontations does address some of the smaller traveling exhibits, but it provides only short synopses and says nothing on their import. Both The Cold War and the United States Information Agency and Cold War Confrontations mention the importance of the guides who accompanied the exhibits, but neither delve more deeply into the topic. These texts’ approach to the exhibit program is indicative of historical scholarship as a whole.
8 Organizers also hoped to encourage Soviet consumer desire to achieve policy goals. In October 1958, in an early planning paper for the Exhibition, Director of Exhibits Robert Sivard wrote under the heading “Objectives of the Moscow Exhibit” that “expansion of demand for consumer goods creating additional pressure on the regime [was] the most effective way to bring about modification of the economic plan at the expense of the aggressive potential.” In other words, he saw the Exhibition as an opportunity to introduce Soviet consumers to a wide range of American consumer goods and thus pressure the Soviet government to redirect its limited capital towards satisfying citizens’ material wants rather than building up its military. See “Office of International Trade Fairs Supplement to Gorki Park, Moscow, Planning Paper,” October 6, 1958, RG 306, P 351, Box 7, Records Relating to the American National Exhibition in Moscow 1956-1965, American National Exhibition in Moscow Folder 2, National Archives II, College Park, Maryland.
9 “The Two Worlds: a Day-Long Debate,” The New York Times, July 25, 1959, accessed 2018,
10 Harrison E. Salisbury, “Nixon and Khrushchev Argue in Public As U.S. Exhibit Opens,” The New York Times, July 25, 1959, accessed 2018, https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1959/07/25/.
11 “Report on American Exhibition in Moscow: Visitors’ Reactions to the American Exhibit In Moscow, A Preliminary Report,” September 28, 1959, RG 306, P 351, Box 7, P-47-59, National Archives II, College Park, Maryland.
13 Richard G. Cushing, “Our Exhibit in Moscow,” The New York Times, August 23, 1959, accessed 2018, https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1959/08/23/.
14 For example, Michael L. Krenn’s Fall-Out Shelters for the Human Spirit makes a compelling argument for the importance of the art exhibit at the American National Exhibition as a piece of propaganda, focusing heavily on the battle over form, abstract versus more representational art, but he misses much of the underlying conflict over what type of American identity the show’s proponents and detractors hoped to show to the world and fails to address later USIA exhibits in the Soviet Union. Andrew Wulf’s U.S International Exhibitions During the Cold War: Winning Hearts and Minds through Cultural Diplomacy also briefly
addresses the modern art pavilion at the American National Exhibition before turning to the “living dioramas” of model American homes that have become so important in a Kitchen Debate-centric narrative of the Exhibition. He too, fails to address the traveling exhibits. Nicholas J. Cull’s The Cold War and the United States Information Agency and Jack Masey and Morgan Conway Lloyd’s Cold War Confrontations similarly situate the art exhibit within the National Exhibition, although still privileging a Kitchen Debate centric narrative of the Exhibition.
15 The American National Exhibition, Moscow, July 1959 (The Record of Certain Artists and an Appraisal of Their Works Selected for Display): Hearings before the Committee on Un-American Activities, House of Representatives, Eighty-sixth Congress, First Session. July 1, 1959 (Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office., 1959), 900.
16 Kenneth Osgood, Total Cold War: Eisenhower's Secret Propaganda Battle at Home and Abroad (Lawrence, Kansas: University Press of Kansas, 2006), 233.
17 Kathleen Rose, in discussion with the author, June 20, 2018.
19 John Aldriege in discussion with the author, July 16, 2018.
20 John Beyrle, a guide who later served as Ambassador of the United States to both Bulgaria and the Russian Federation in the mid-2000s, is one example, but many other guides went on to Foreign Service careers as
well. John Beyrle, in discussion with the author, July 9, 2018. Also see “Interviews of Former American Exhibit Guides,” U.S. Department of State, accessed Summer 2018, https://2009- 2017.state.gov/p/eur/ci/rs/c26659.htm.
21 Jane Picker, in discussion with the author, July 12, 2018.
22 John Aldriege, in discussion with the author, July 16, 2018.
24 Kathleen Rose, in discussion with the author, June 20, 2018.
25 Jocelyn Greene, in discussion with the author, July 9, 2018.
26 “Six Weeks of Sokolniki,” September 11, 1959, RG 306, P 351, Box 7, Records Relating to the American National Exhibition in Moscow 1956-1965, Exhibits – American National Exhibition, Moscow, 1959 (Cables), National Archives II, College Park, Maryland.
27 Cull, for example, refers to the American National Exhibition as the “apotheosis of all that the United States had achieved in its international exhibition program to date.” See Nicholas Cull, The Cold War and the United States Information Agency: American Propaganda and Public Diplomacy, 1945-1989 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 164.
28 “Report on American Exhibition in Moscow: Visitors’ Reactions to the American Exhibit In Moscow, A Preliminary Report,” September 28, 1959, RG 306, P 351.
31 Andrew James Wulf, U.S. International Exhibitions during the Cold War: Winning Hearts and Minds through Cultural Diplomacy (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2015), 118.
33 Jack Masey and Conway Lloyd Morgan, Cold War Confrontations: U.S. Exhibitions and Their Role in the Cultural Cold War, (Baden, Switzerland: Lars Müller Publishers, 2008), 217; Wulf, U.S. International Exhibitions during the Cold War, 135.
34 “Report on American Exhibition in Moscow: Visitors’ Reactions to the American Exhibit,” September 28,
38 “POST MORTEM on Sokolniki,” October 6, 1959, RG 306, P 351, Box 7, Records Relating to the American National Exhibition in Moscow 1956-1965, Exhibits – American National Exhibition, Moscow, 1959 (Cables), National Archives II, College Park, Maryland.
39 Sarah Carey (Chairman of the Board for the Eurasia Foundation and Partner, Squire, Sanders & Dempsey,
LLP, Exhibit Guide, 1959), interview by Ian Kelly, U.S. Department of State, The American Exhibits to the U.S.S.R.: 1959-1993, October 1, 2008, https://2009-2017.state.gov/p/eur/ci/rs/110891.htm.
40 “POST MORTEM on Sokolniki,” October 6, 1959, RG 306, P 351.
42 “POST MORTEM on Sokolniki,” October 6, 1959.
45 “Report on American Exhibition in Moscow: Visitors’ Reactions to the American Exhibit,” September 28, 1959.
46 “Six Weeks of Sokolniki,” September 11, 1959, RG 306, P 351.
48 “Six Weeks of Sokolniki,” September 11, 1959.
49 “Seven Days of Sokolniki,” August 3, 1959, RG 306, P 351, Box 7, Records Relating to the American National Exhibition in Moscow 1956-1965, Exhibits – American National Exhibition, Moscow, 1959 (Cables), National Archives II, College Park, Maryland.
50 “Five Weeks of Sokolniki,” September 8, 1959, RG 306, P 351, Box 7, Records Relating to the American National Exhibition in Moscow 1956-1965, Exhibits – American National Exhibition, Moscow, 1959
(Cables), National Archives II, College Park, Maryland.
51 “Two Weeks of Sokolniki,” August 13, 1959, RG 306, P 351, Box 7, Records Relating to the American National Exhibition in Moscow 1956-1965, Exhibits – American National Exhibition, Moscow, 1959 (Cables), National Archives II, College Park, Maryland.
52 “Three Weeks of Sokolniki,” August 20, 1959, RG 306, P 351, Box 7, Records Relating to the American National Exhibition in Moscow 1956-1965, Exhibits – American National Exhibition, Moscow, 1959 (Cables), National Archives II, College Park, Maryland.
53 “Two Weeks of Sokolniki,” August 13, 1959, RG 306, P 351.
54 Jane Picker, in discussion with the author, July 12, 2018.
55 “Section IX. Exchange of Exhibitions,” Third Supplemental Appropriation Bill, 1961, 520-521.
56 “Summary and Evaluation of Kiev Showing of Plastics USA Exhibit,” July 11, 1961, RG 59, Box 2635, 861.191-BA/4-1161, General Records of the Department of State, Central Decimal File, 1960-63, National Archives II, College Park, Maryland.
57 “‘Plastics – USA’ Exhibition in Kiev – Second Week,” June 9, 1961, RG 59, Box 2635, 861.191-BA/4- 1161, General Records of the Department of State, Central Decimal File, 1960-63, National Archives II, College Park, Maryland.
58 “Summary and Evaluation of Kiev Showing of Plastics USA Exhibit,” July 11, 1961, RG 59, Box 2635.
60 “‘Plastics – US’ Exhibition in Kiev – First Week,” June 2, 1961,
61 “‘Transportation USA’ Exhibition – Stalingrad,” October 30, 1961, RG 59, Box 1065, 511.612/5–261,
General Records of the Department of State, Central Decimal File, 1960-63, National Archives II, College Park, Maryland.
62 “Summary and Evaluation of Kiev Showing of Plastics USA Exhibit,” July 11, 1961.
63 “Transportation USA in Stalingrad Second Week,” November 9, 1961, RG 59, Box 1065, 511.612/5–261, General Records of the Department of State, Central Decimal File, 1960-63, National Archives II, College Park, Maryland.
64 “First Week of PLASTICS U.S.A.,” July 14, 1961, RG 59, Box 2636, 861.191-MO/7-161, General
Records of the Department of State, Central Decimal File, 1960-63, National Archives II, College Park, Maryland.
67 “‘Transportation USA’ Exhibition – Stalingrad,” October 30, 1961, RG 59, Box 1065.
69 “First Week of PLASTICS U.S.A.,” July 14, 1961, RG 59, Box 2636.
70 “‘Plastics – USA’ Exhibition in Kiev – First Week,” June 2, 1961, RG 59, Box 2635.
71 “‘Plastics – USA’ Exhibition in Kiev – Second Week,” June 9, 1961, RG 59, Box 2635.
72 “First Week of PLASTICS U.S.A.,” July 14, 1961, RG 59, Box 2636.
73 Ibid.; Efforts to reframe or avoid conversations on American shortcomings and pivot to the Soviet system’s limitations were not always successful. Research Officer Alexander Park argued that guides serving on Transportation – USA in Stalingrad had “made some progress in replying to… questions and accusations” on the topic of racial discrimination by emphasizing the progress the US had made, but that they were not “wholly convincing.” Moreover, the only African-American guide who served on the Transportation exhibit was “accused directly of being an American propaganda tool,” and guides had been even less successful in “getting a real hearing for the American point of view” on issues relating to foreign affairs. Neither guides nor administrators, however, understood why these efforts had been less successful. See “‘Transportation USA’ Exhibition – Stalingrad,” October 30, 1961 and “Transportation USA in Stalingrad Second Week,” November 9, 1961, RG 59, Box 1065.
74 “First Week of ‘Medicine – USA’ Exhibition in Moscow,” March 23, 1962, RG 59, Box 1066,
511.612/11–3061, General Records of the Department of State, Central Decimal File, 1960-63, National Archives II, College Park, Maryland.
76 Jane Picker, in discussion with the author, July 12, 2018.
77 “SOVEX: Report on Medicine – USA Exhibition in Kiev,” May 15, 1962, RG 59, Box 1066, 511.612/4–
262, General Records of the Department of State, Central Decimal File, 1960-63, National Archives II, College Park, Maryland.
79 “Transmittal of Second Report on Kiev Showing of ‘Medicine – USA’ Exhibit,” June 4, 1962, RG 59, Box 1066, 511.612/4–262, General Records of the Department of State, Central Decimal File, 1960-63, National Archives II, College Park, Maryland.
80 “SOVEX: Report on Medicine – USA Exhibition in Kiev,” May 15, 1962, RG 59, Box 1066.
83 “Transmittal of Second Report on Kiev Showing of ‘Medicine – USA’ Exhibit,” June 4, 1962.
85 Ibid.; “Transmittal of Second Report on Kiev Showing of ‘Medicine – USA’ Exhibit,” June 4, 1962, RG 59, Box 1066.
86 “SOVEX: Report on Medicine – USA Exhibition in Kiev,” May 15, 1962.
87 “SOVEX: Report on Medicine – USA Exhibition in Kiev,” May 15, 1962.
88 “Transmittal of Second Report on Kiev Showing of ‘Medicine – USA’ Exhibit,” June 4, 1962.
90 John Aldriege, in discussion with the author, July 16, 2018.
91 “Introduction,” in An Index to the Microfilm Edition of America in Protest: Records of Anti-Vietnam War Organizations, Part 2: National Coordinating Committee to End the War in Vietnam, 1964-1967, ed. Alissa
De Rosa, (Primary Source Media, 2008), accessed February 2019, http://microformguides.gale.com/Data/Download/9150000C.pdf.
92 “‘Hand Tools – USA’ Exhibit Opens in Soviet Union,” RG 306, P458, Box 7, EXH Exhibits
(U.S.S.R.), Regional Subject Files 1965-1970, National Archives II, College Park, Maryland.
93 R. T. Davies, “Item for White House Report,” September 7, 1965, RG 306, P458, Box 7, EXH Hand Tools 1965, Regional Subject Files 1965-1970, National Archives II, College Park, Maryland.
94 Wallace W. Littell, “Result of Ambassador Kohler’s Protest to Gromyko re Cancellation of the ‘Hand Tools – USA’ Exhibit,” August 23, 1965, RG 306, P458, Box 7, EXH Hand Tools 1965, Regional Subject Files 1965-1970, National Archives II, College Park, Maryland.; “Joint U.S. – Soviet Communique on the
Exchanges Agreement For 1966-67,” March 19, 1966, RG 306, P458, Box 7, EXH Exhibits (U.S.S.R.) 1965, Regional Subject Files 1965-1970, National Archives II, College Park, Maryland.
95 “Possible Soviet Blockage of U.S. Exhibit under Exchanges Program,” RG 306, P458, Box 7, EXH
Exhibits (U.S.S.R.) 1965, Regional Subject Files 1965-1970, National Archives II, College Park, Maryland. 96 R. T. Davies, Letter to John A. Armitage, June 20, 1967, RG 306, P458, Box 8, EXH Industrial Design, Regional Subject Files 1965-1970, National Archives II, College Park, Maryland.
97 “Special International Exhibitions (Fourth Annual Report),” RG 306, P458, Box 6, EXH Exhibits (U.S.) (General), Regional Subject Files 1965-1970, National Archives II, College Park, Maryland.
98 Letter from Yale W. Richmond to Assistant Director Richard T. Davies, August 28, 1967 RG 306, P458,
Box 6, EXH Exhibits (U.S.) (General), Regional Subject Files 1965-1970, National Archives II, College Park, Maryland.
99 “‘Hand Tools’ — Comments and Suggestions,” Letter from Robert C. Hickok to Francis Mason, October
12, 1965, RG 306, P458, Box 7, EXH Hand Tools 1965, Regional Subject Files 1965-1970, National Archives II, College Park, Maryland.
100 “Advance Release for Thursday A.M.’s, February 16, 1967: Design Show Will Give Soviets Glimpse of
American Products,” RG 306, P458, Box 7, EXH Industrial Design 2/3, Regional Subject Files 1965- 1970, National Archives II, College Park, Maryland.
101 A. L. Grisby, “Audience Attitudes at Hand Tools – USA Exhibit, August 8-14, 1966,” August 26, 1966, RG 306, A1 1039, Box 39, USSR [Folder 1/2], Records Concerning Exhibits in Foreign Countries; 1955- 1967, National Archives II, College Park, Maryland.
102 John Aldridge, in discussion with the author, July 2018.
103 R. T. Davies, “Final Talk with Washington Group of Industrial Design Guides,” February 9, 1967, RG 306, P458, Box 7, EXH Industrial Design 2/3, Regional Subject Files 1965-1970, National Archives II,
College Park, Maryland.
104 “Remarks made by R. T. Davies to Exhibit Guides for Hand Tools – USA,” July 5, 1966, RG 306, P458, Box 7, EXH Exhibits (U.S.S.R.) 1965, Regional Subject Files 1965-1970, National Archives II, College Park, Maryland.
105 R. T. Davies, “Final Talk with Washington Group of Industrial Design Guides,” February 9, 1967, RG 306, P458, Box 7.
106 USIA Exhibits organizers were very aware of guides’ youth and worried that attempts to control their
actions could have inverse effects to those intended. See Letter to John A. Armitage, June 1, 1966, RG 306 P458, Box 7, EXH Exhibits (U.S.S.R.) 1965, Regional Subject Files 1965-1970, National Archives II, College Park, Maryland.; “Remarks made by R. T. Davies to Exhibit Guides for Hand Tools – USA,” July 5, 1966.
107 “Remarks made by R. T. Davies to Exhibit Guides for Hand Tools – USA,” July 5, 1966.
108 John Aldridge, in discussion with the author, July 2018.
109 Ernest G. Wiener, Letter to Alexander G. Barmine, RG 306, P458, Box 7, EXH Exhibits (U.S.S.R.) 1965, Regional Subject Files 1965-1970, National Archives II, College Park, Maryland.
111 “Remarks made by R. T. Davies to Exhibit Guides for Hand Tools – USA,” July 5, 1966.
112 Marlin W. Remick, Letter to Hans Holzapfel, March 21, 1967, RG 306, P458, Box 8, EXH Industrial Design 2/3, Regional Subject Files 1965-1970, National Archives II, College Park, Maryland.
113 A. L. Grisby, “Audience Attitudes at Hand Tools – USA Exhibit, August 8-14, 1966,” August 26, 1966,
RG 306, A1 1039, Box 39.
116 A. L. Grisby, “Hand Tools USA Exhibit – Rostov-on-Don, October 2-8, 1966,” October 28, 1966, RG 306, A1 1039, Box 39, USSR [Folder 1/2], Records Concerning Exhibits in Foreign Countries; 1955- 1967, National Archives II, College Park, Maryland.
117 R. T. Davies, Letter to Hans Holzapfel, February 23, 1967, RG 306, P 458, Box 8, EXH Industrial Design 2/3, Regional Subject Files 1965-1970, National Archives II, College Park, Maryland.
118 John Jacobs, Letter to Jerry Verner, forwarded to Hans Holzapfel, 1967, RG 306, P 458, Box 8, EXH
Industrial Design 2/3, Regional Subject Files 1965-1970, National Archives II, College Park, Maryland.; Marlin W. Remick, Letter to Hans Holzapfel, March 21, 1967, RG 306, P458, Box 8.
119 The USIA even tried to avoid the term “Research Officer” because it might sound suspicious to Soviet
officials sensitive to the threat of American spies. Instead, Jocelyn Greene, a former Research Officer on the 1978 Agriculture–USA exhibit, remembered being called “Assistant to the Director” or some equally innocuous title. See Jocelyn Greene, in discussion with the author, July 9, 2018.
120 R. T. Davies, Letter to Hans Holzapfel, February 23, 1967, RG 306, P 458, Box 8.; Davies wrote that “some guides might… be entertaining suspicions about the interviewing-reporting function” after “the notoriety recently accorded the National Student Association tie-in with CIA financing.” Although the National Student Association (NSA) was not associated with the USIA exhibit program, revelations about CIA financing of the group contributed to a larger culture of suspicion and fear.
121 R. T. Davies, Letter to Herbert Fredman, “Evaluation Officer for Industrial Design Exhibit,” December
21, 1966, RG 306, P 458, Box 8, EXH Industrial Design 2/3, Regional Subject Files 1965-1970, National Archives II, College Park, Maryland.; The same letter also suggests the importance of an Evaluations officer at a time when the USIA increasingly had to justify its expensive exhibit program to Congress.
122 A. L. Grisby, “Audience Attitudes at Hand Tools – USA Exhibit, August 8-14, 1966,” August 26, 1966.
124 Fritz D. Berliner, Letter to Nikita Moravsky and John A. Armitage, December 12, 1966, RG 306, P 458, Box 7, EXH Hand Tools 1965, Regional Subject Files 1965-1970, National Archives II, College Park, Maryland.
126 G. R. Schettler, Letter to John J. Duncan, February 28, 1967, RG 306, P 458, Box 8, EXH Industrial Design 2/3, Regional Subject Files 1965-1970, National Archives II, College Park, Maryland.
127 Richard M. Schmidt, Jr., Letter to John J. Duncan, March 29, 1967, RG 306, P 458, Box 8, EXH Industrial Design 2/3, Regional Subject Files 1965-1970, National Archives II, College Park, Maryland.; G.
R. Schettler, Letter to John J. Duncan, February 28, 1967, RG 306, P 458, Box 8.
128 Richard M. Schmidt, Jr., Letter to John J. Duncan, March 29, 1967, RG 306, P 458, Box 8.
129 Mike Hurley, in discussion with the author, October 12, 2018.
130 “Final Report: USA 200 Years, Moscow, USSR,” RG 306, P 232, Box 19, USA – 200 Years, Moscow
Bicentennial Exhibit: Nov. 11 – Dec. 13, 1976, Final Report, Vol. 1, Final Reports 1867-1985, National Archives II, College Park, Maryland.
132 “USSR: ‘USA–200 Years’ Exhibit — Soviet Visitor Reactions,” May 27, 1977, RG 306, P 142, Box 45, R-10-77, Research Reports; 1960-1999, National Archives II, College Park, Maryland.
134 “Final Report: USA 200 Years, Moscow, USSR,” RG 306, P 232, Box 19.
136 “USSR: ‘USA–200 Years’ Exhibit — Soviet Visitor Reactions,” May 27, 1977, RG 306, P 142, Box 45.
150 Jack Masey and Conway Lloyd Morgan, Cold War Confrontations: U.S. Exhibitions and Their Role in the Cultural Cold War, (Baden, Switzerland: Lars Müller Publishers, 2008), 158.
151 Andrew James Wulf, U.S. International Exhibitions during the Cold War: Winning Hearts and Minds
through Cultural Diplomacy (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2015), 134.
152 Laura A. Belmonte, Selling the American Way: U.S. Propaganda and the Cold War (Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010), 88.
153 Wulf, U.S. International Exhibitions during the Cold War, 97.
Aldriege, John. In discussion with the author. July 16, 2018. Beyrle, John. In discussion with the author. July 9, 2018.
Greene, Jocelyn. In discussion with the author. July 9, 2018. Hurley, Mike. In discussion with the author. October 12, 2018.
Mininni, Margot. In discussion with the author. September 14, 2018. Picker, Jane. In discussion with the author. July 12, 2018.
Rose, Kathleen. In discussion with the author. June 20, 2018.
Carey, Sarah. (Chairman of the Board for the Eurasia Foundation and Partner, Squire, Sanders & Dempsey, LLP, Exhibit Guide, 1959). Interview by Ian Kelly. U.S. Department of State. The American Exhibits to the U.S.S.R.: 1959-1993. October 1, 2008. https://2009-2017.state.gov/p/eur/ci/rs/110891.htm.
Newspapers and Periodicals
Salisbury, Harrison E. “Nixon and Khrushchev Argue in Public As U.S. Exhibit Opens.” The New York Times, July 25, 1959. Accessed 2018. https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1959/07/25/.
Cushing, Richard G. “Our Exhibit in Moscow.” The New York Times. August 23, 1959. Accessed 2018, https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1959/08/23/.
“The Two Worlds: a Day-Long Debate.” The New York Times. July 25, 1959. Accessed 2018. https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1959/07/25/.
Archival Material / National Archives II, College Park, Maryland
General Records of the Department of State (Record Group 59) Central Decimal File, 1960-63
Records of the United States Information Agency (Record Group 306)
A1 1039, Records Concerning Exhibits in Foreign Countries; 1955-1967 P 142, Research Reports; 1960-1999
P 232, Final Reports 1867-1985
P 351, Records Relating to the American National Exhibition in Moscow 1956- 1965
P458, Regional Subject Files 1965-1970
UD 1048, Reaction File, Office of Research and Intelligence Headquarters Subject Files 1955-1970
“Budget of the United States Government - Appendix.” FRASER. Accessed February 2019. https://fraser.stlouisfed.org/title/233.
“Section IX. Exchange of Exhibitions,” Third Supplemental Appropriation Bill, 1961, 520- 521.
The American National Exhibition, Moscow, July 1959 (The Record of Certain Artists and an Appraisal of Their Works Selected for Display): Hearings before the Committee on Un-American Activities, House of Representatives, Eighty-sixth Congress, First Session. July 1, 1959. Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office., 1959.
Belmonte, Laura A. Selling the American Way: U.S. Propaganda and the Cold War.
Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008.
Caute, David. The Dancer Defects: The Struggle for Cultural Supremacy During the Cold War. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.
“Chronology: American Exhibits to the U.S.S.R.” U.S. Department of State. Accessed March 2018. https://2009-2017.state.gov/p/eur/ci/rs/c26473.htm.
Cull, Nicholas John. The Cold War and the United States Information Agency: American Propaganda and Public Diplomacy, 1945-1989. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008.
de Grazia, Victoria. Irresistible Empire: America's Advance through Twentieth-century Europe. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Pr., 2006.
Gaddis, John Lewis. The Cold War: A New History. London: Penguin Books, 2007. Haddow, Robert H. Pavilions of Plenty: Exhibiting American Culture Abroad in the 1950s. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1997.
“Interviews of Former American Exhibit Guides,” U.S. Department of State, accessed Summer 2018, https://2009-2017.state.gov/p/eur/ci/rs/c26659.htm.
“Introduction.” In An Index to the Microfilm Edition of America in Protest: Records of Anti-Vietnam War Organizations, Part 2: National Coordinating Committee to End the War in Vietnam, 1964-1967. Ed. Alissa De Rosa. Primary Source Media, 2008. Accessed February 2019. http://microformguides.gale.com/Data/Download/9150000C.pdf.
Krenn, Michael L. Fall-Out Shelters for the Human Spirit: American Art and the Cold War. Chapel Hill, North Carolina: University of North Carolina Press, 2005.
Masey, Jack, and Conway Lloyd. Morgan. Cold War Confrontations: U.S. Exhibitions and Their Role in the Cultural Cold War. Baden, Switzerland: Lars Müller Publishers, 2008.
Mickiewicz, Ellen. "Efficacy and Evidence: Evaluating U.S. Goals at the American National Exhibition in Moscow, 1959." Journal of Cold War Studies13, no. 4 (November 22, 2011): 138-71. doi:10.1162/jcws_a_00171.
Osgood, Kenneth. Total Cold War: Eisenhower's Secret Propaganda Battle at Home and Abroad. Lawrence, Kansas: University Press of Kansas, 2006.
“Records of the United States Information Agency (RG 306).” National Archives and Records Administration. Accessed May 2018. https://www.archives.gov/research/foreign-policy/related-records/rg-306.
Saunders, Frances Stonor. Who Paid the Piper?: The CIA and the Cultural Cold War. London: Granta Books, 1999.
Snyder, David J. Reasserting America in the 1970s: U.S. Public Diplomacy and the Rebuilding of America's Image Abroad. Edited by Hallvard Notaker and Giles Scott-Smith. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2016.
Tabarovsky, Izabella. “‘A Tribe of Exhibit People’: American Guides Recall Soviet Journey.” Wilson Quarterly. June 28, 2017. Accessed March 2018. https://wilsonquarterly.com/quarterly/the-lasting-legacy-of-the-cold-war/a-tribe-of- exhibit-people-american-guides-recall-soviet-journey/.
———. “Walking in Each Other's Shoes, Through the Iron Curtain and Back.” Wilson Quarterly. June 28, 2017. Accessed March 2018. https://www.wilsonquarterly.com/quarterly/the-lasting-legacy-of-the-cold-war/walking-in-each-others-shoes-through-the-iron-curtain-and-back/.
“U.S.-Soviet Cultural Exchange Agreement, 1958-60.” Passing Through the Iron Curtain.
June 20, 2012. Accessed Spring 2019. https://librariesandcoldwarculturalexchange.wordpress.com/how-the-other-half- lives-the-role-of-libraries-and-librarians-in-cultural-exchange/u-s-soviet-cultural- exchange-agreement-1958-9/.
Von Eschen, Penny M. Satchmo Blows up the World: Jazz Ambassadors Play the Cold War. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2009. https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/yale-ebooks/detail.action?docID=3300383.
Wulf, Andrew James. U.S. International Exhibitions during the Cold War: Winning Hearts and Minds through Cultural Diplomacy. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2015.
Image credit: Crowds waiting to enter a USIA exhibit in Leningrad. National Archives II, College Park, Maryland.