In separate studios, in CBS's modernistic, mid-Manhattan short-wave headquarters, sit a pair of dark-haired, olive-skinned announcers, their eyes on the red second hands of electric clocks. At the same moment, both begin to speak, one in Portuguese, the other in Spanish. Engineers throw two switches, send the Portuguese commentary splashing out over WCBX for pick-up in Brazil, the Spanish commentary over WCRC and WCDA for rebroadcast in the other Latin countries south of the border. La Cadena de las Americas (The Network of the Americas) is on the air.
In operation experimentally since the first of the year, The Network of the Americas was honored last week by a swank dedicatory dinner at Washington's Carlton Hotel, a 90-minute dedicatory broadcast over the 76 stations of La Cadena and also over the entire CBS domestic circuit.
The dedication broadcast set a neighborly good example for regular broadcasts to follow. From Hollywood came a variety program with Master of Ceremonies Edward G. Robinson manfully speaking side-of-the-mouth Spanish, Ronald Colman, Rita Hayworth (nee Cansino), Jinx Falkenburg and other film figures contributing their best. South American stars in Washington and Manhattan did themselves proud.
The Presidents of Peru, Venezuela and Nicaragua, the Ministers of Mexico and Guatemala (in beautiful Spanish) the Vice President of the United States (in Spanish) and other American officials made proper remarks.
> Said Peru's Dr. Manuel Prado, first South American president to visit the U.S. while in office, in a broadcast from New York: "I am glad to send my greetings to the sister nations of the continent and express to them my profound admiration for the immense effort which the great North American Republic is realizing in behalf of the ideals of democracy. The future shall gratefully remember these heroic moments of the life of humanity when at the cost of much sorrow and sacrifice the great values of civilization and of culture will be cemented."
> Said CBS President Paley: "The propaganda method of democracy is to tell the truth."
> Said Sumner Welles: "You don't have to undertake propaganda in your relations with your friends and your equals when the channels of free communication are open to you. . . ."
Only hitch in the program was the failure of La Cadena to pick up President Rios of Chile, President Baldomir of Uruguay. President Rios canceled.
3,500,000. The main importance of the new network is that it opens a vast field of listeners to U.S. broadcasts. From Mexicali to Cape Horn there are roughly about three and a half million receiving sets, only half of which can pick up short wave. In the past, listeners to the shortwave sets received all the attention of Axis and U.S. broadcasts. Now CBS programs reach South American listeners regularly over their own stations (La Cadena has 46 long-wave, 30 short-wave outlets in Latin America). Each station is contract-bound to present at least one hour of network programs daily.