Forerunners of the Voice of America:
In 1941, the US Coordinator for Inter-American Affairs (CIAA) leased several private transmitters to broadcast programs to Latin America. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt established the Foreign Information Service (FIS) in mid-1941.
Roosevelt named speech writer Robert Sherwood as the first director of the FIS. Sherwood set up operations in New York City and began to make arrangements for FIS programs to be relayed by British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) facilities.
Sherwood asked John Houseman, the well-known author, director, and theatrical producer [who I normally think of from the movie "Paper Chase"], to take charge of the radio operations at FIS. Ironically, Houseman was not yet a US citizen, He was still classified as a Romanian, and with the outbreak of war became an enemy alien overnight. Recalling the time in his autobiography, "Front and Center," Houseman writes: "I did not mention this to Sherwood in Washington, nor did I emphasize it in the official forms I filled out for the Civil Service. If I had any secret doubts of my suitability for the post... I kept them to myself..."