As far as the Soviet bloc is concerned, I have not the slightest doubt that the most effective way of influencing the Hungarian, the Romanian and the Soviet peoples was the Voice of America. Far above everything else, because everything else was restricted and even though the Voice of America was jammed in the indigenous languages, it was not jammed in English.
In 1959, when I visited the Sokolniki Park exhibit, I was also instructed to call on the Foreign Office to protest the jamming. The Deputy Foreign Minister – I forget his name now -- who received me was obviously prepared that I would object to their jamming the Russian programs. When I walked into his office, I immediately realized that he was going to play a trick here because he had on his desk a large Grundig radio receiver. When I started talking, he said: “Well, Mr. Roberts, we don’t jam the Voice of America.” I said: “Well, of course you do.” He said, no, and he turns and turns the radio on and there was the Voice of America in English coming in loud and clear. I said, “Yeah, but that’s in English but you jam the Russian.” He said: “Mr. Roberts, is Russian your language?” I said “No, but we broadcast in Russian in order to converse with the Russian people.” He said: “But that is an interference in our internal affairs.” And so on and so on – a typical conversation. But they did not jam the Voice of America in English.
|Jazz program host Willis Conover and Louis Armstrong on the VOA|