25. Letter From Abbott Washburn to the Director of the United States Information Agency (Murrow)1


  • Briefing of the Cabinet

Previous directors of the Agency briefed the Cabinet on USIA’s worldwide operations, stressing the need for close cooperation with other departments and agencies of Government and underscoring that statements and actions by Cabinet officers can often have profound impact on world opinion either positively or negatively for the United States.

These briefings were always well received, and in one instance the President directed that the presentation be brought to the second echelon of management in the various Cabinet agencies.

Ted Streibert made two such presentations, using charts and samples of printed output, etc. Arthur Larson used charts and film clips, with a carefully timed and rehearsed script (30 minutes). George Allen handled it verbally, largely without props.

Invariably these presentations caused discussion at their conclusion. From the questions asked it was often clear how little the Cabinet officers knew about the overseas information program and what could (and could not) be expected of it.

Now, with an entirely new Cabinet, you may wish to take advantage of the precedent.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 306, Director’s Subject Files, 1961, Entry UD WW 142, Box 6, Office of the Director—(I) General 1961. No classification marking.