Forty years ago America opened up a crucial front in its war against the enemies of freedom. It was 79 days after Pearl Harbor and the nation was mobilizing all its resources in the epic struggle that by then had engulfed the planet.
In those days, as now, truthm was a vital part of America's arsenal. A spirited band of professionals -- men and women dedicated to what their country stood for and anxious to do their part -- began broadcasting from the fourth floor of a New York City office building. In those early days, under the able direction of John Houseman, programs were recorded on acetate discs and shipped via bomber to England and Latin America for broadcast.
From this humble beginning the Voice of America has grown into a respected institution of American communication, a global radio network broadcasting 905 hours weekly in 39 different languages.
Though born in war, Voice of America has continued in peace and has made enormous contributions. Today, as we witness new forms of inhumanity threatening peace and freedom in the world, the Voice of America performs a vital function. By giving an objective account of current world events, by communicating a clear picture of America and our policies at home and abroad, the Voice serves the interests not only of the United States but of the world. The Voice of America is for many the only source of reliable information in a world where events move so quickly.
Today we celebrate the 40th anniversary of an institution that has given hope to the citizens of . . . communist regimes and all victims of tyranny. The challenges we face are no less grave and momentous than those that spawned the Voice 40 years ago. Freedom is no less threatened and the opposition no less totalitarian.
In this struggle there is no greater weapon than the truth. Free men have nothing to fear from it, it remains the ultimate weapon in the arsenal of democracy. We are justifiably proud, that unlike Soviet broadcasts, the Voice of America is not only committed to telling its country's story, but also remains faithful to those standards of journalism that will not compromise the truth.