Office of War Information

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Early in the Second World War, the U.S. Office of War Information was created as the overt information or "white propaganda" agency of the U.S. government.[1] It was spawned from an earlier, interim organization, the ambiguously named Coordinator of Information (COI), which also spawned the intelligence and covert action organization, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). OSS had the responsibility for "gray" and "black" propaganda.

William J. Donovan was the first COI, who went on to be the Director of OSS. Other immediate offspring included the Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs, headed by Nelson Rockefeller and focused on overall wartime relations with Latin America.

Elmer Davis was the OWI director, who saw his role as supportive of the war effort: "A war agency, which owes its existence solely to the war, and was established to serve as one of the instruments by which the war will be won". OWI activities in areas of operations were subordinate to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the relevant theater commander.[2]


  1. Franklin D. Roosevelt (June 13, 1942), Executive Order 9182 Establishing the Office of War Information., The American Presidency Project, John T. Woolley & Gerhard Peters, University of California at Santa Barbara
  2. Friedman, Herbert, OWI Pacific PSYOP Six Decades Ago