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but it is clear that wasn’t the first Voice of America program because at one point the script calls on one of the announcers to refer to something he said “yesterday.” The reference to the previous day’s program obviously means there had been a broadcast on Monday, February 2. Walter Roberts and I had independently noticed that the illustration of the February 11 script in the Houseman book had a Roman numeral XI typed under the title, and guessed that it might mean it was the eleventh in the series.
Sure enough, at the top of the February 3 script, just under the title That means the first broadcast would have taken place on Sunday, February 1, just as Walter had been arguing all along.
On February 25, 1957, we rated a presidential visit. adjusted ever so slightly in 1957 to accommodate the schedule of President Eisenhower so he could make a speech on VOA’s “anniversary.” However it happened, apparently nobody at VOA noticed when the American actor and film producer John Houseman, the first Voice of America director, recalled in his 1979 autobiography that the initial program had been broadcast on February 11, and even published a photograph of the dated script to prove it.
The wartime general and postwar president, Dwight Eisenhower, began a formal speech on foreign policy that day from our Master Control room by saying: “For fifteen years now the Voice of America has been bringing to people everywhere the facts about world events, and about America’s policy in relation to these events.” VOA broadcast the speech worldwide. It should have been obvious to anyone reading Houseman’s book that the February 25th anniversary we had been celebrating was incorrect.
And since one of the tenets of the archival process is that records must be preserved precisely as they are received, the surviving documents are organized according to the idiosyncratic filing systems of each transmitting agency—in most instances, inside the original file folders that were delivered to the Archives.