123. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant (Cater)1

The President has approved and asked me to transmit to you the attached National Policy Statement on International Book and Library Activities. In addition, he has approved a directive to government agencies for Implementation of the National Policy Statement, a copy of which is also attached.

The President believes that an intensified effort in book and library activities must be a basic part of America’s effort in international education as described in his Message to Congress on February 2, 1966.2

Douglass Cater


National Policy Statement Prepared in the White House3


In his message to Congress of February 2, 1966, the President said, “Education lies at the heart of every nation’s hopes and purposes. It must be at the heart of our international relations.” Books, by definition, are essential to education and to the achievement of literacy. They are also essential to communication and understanding among the peoples of the world. It is through books that people communicate in the most lasting form their beliefs, aspirations, cultural achievements, and scientific and technical knowledge.

In the United States and other developed countries, where there has been the opportunity for a long time to emphasize education and books, there have been created vast resources of printed materials and other forms of recorded knowledge in all fields of human endeavor. [Page 383] In the United States, a great complex of library systems has emerged, serving ordinary citizens as well as students and scholars. In the developing countries, where more than two-thirds of the world’s population live, there is an acute need for the books essential to educational growth and general social progress, and for libraries which can enable these nations more easily to acquire and use the technology of the modern world. The United States Government declares that it is prepared, as a major policy, to give full and vigorous support to a coordinated effort of public and private organizations which will make more available to the developing countries these book and library resources of the United States which these countries need and desire.

The total needs of the developing countries with regard to books cannot be adequately filled by assistance from the outside; nor, under present conditions, can they be filled from local resources. From a long-range point of view, the establishment of viable book publishing and distributing facilities in the developing countries and regions is essential. It shall therefore also be the policy of the United States Government to encourage and support the establishment of such facilities.

The utility of books goes beyond their contribution to material progress. The free and full exchange of ideas, experiences and information, through books, is indispensable to effective communication between people and nations, and has a unique role to play in the enrichment of the human spirit. Recognizing this, the United States Government is further prepared, as a major policy, actively to promote the free flow of books and other forms of recorded knowledge.

The task of filling the world’s need for books and of achieving an adequate exchange of books among the nations is immense. No single institution or agency and no single government can hope to accomplish it alone. It is therefore essential that all agencies of Government concerned in any way with international book and library programs assign to these a high priority. It is further essential that they coordinate their book and library efforts with those of other pertinent government agencies and private institutions. “Agencies will propose to the President for transmittal to the Congress any requirements for new legislation or special funds to carry out this policy.” All agencies of Government, under the direction of the Department of State, should actively seek to cooperate with other governments on a bilateral or multilateral basis in the achievement of these objectives.

The Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs has the responsibility for coordinating United States Government efforts in this field.

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Directive Prepared in the White House4


I. To carry out the foregoing policy, agencies are directed to develop specific courses of action, within the framework of their financial resources and statutory responsibilities, to accomplish the following goals:

A. To ensure that the book and library assistance programs of all federal agencies contribute on a coordinated basis to the broad objectives of educational growth and peaceful progress in the developing countries by such activities as:

(1) Assisting in the development of textbooks and supplementary reading materials for indigenous school systems;

(2) expanding programs for distributing and supporting the publication of low-priced editions of American books, including textbooks and source materials, in English and in translation;

(3) establishing, under local auspices, English and indigenous language rental libraries and bookstores for high school and college students;

(4) providing graded reading materials for new literates in local languages or English;

(5) providing books to support the basic professions and trades and the learned disciplines, theoretical and practical;

(6) providing funds and technical assistance to establish viable indigenous book publishing and distributing facilities;

(7) contributing to the development of greater professional competence by increasing the number of exchange and training programs for book publishers, librarians, textbook writers and editors, and persons engaged in related activities;

(8) supporting a program of library development, in cooperation with the U.S. publishing industry, U.S. libraries, library organizations and institutions, to include:

[Page 385]

(a) assistance in adapting to local conditions and needs the most advanced library technology;

(b) overall “collection development” programs by cooperating institutions in the U.S.;

(c) counseling on library development;

(d) sizeable expansion of the present Smithsonian program to provide core libraries overseas with U.S. journals and serial publications;

(9) initiating a major training program for library personnel, to include:

a) strengthening of existing national and regional library schools, plus refresher and in-service training and selected work-study training in the U.S.:

b) development of additional regional library schools, with provision of scholarship funds;

c) instruction in the application of modern technology to library practices.

B. To encourage and directly support the increased distribution abroad of books studying or reflecting the full spectrum of American life and culture by:

(1) expanding U.S. book “presentation” programs and otherwise facilitating gifts of books abroad;

(2) encouraging cooperative ventures between U.S. and overseas publishers for the publication of American books abroad, in translations or in inexpensive English-language reprints; and

(3) increasing the number of American libraries and bookstores overseas.

C. To further a greatly increased inflow of foreign books and materials including journals, microfilms, and reproductions of art, music, folklore, archival and manuscript collections, to U.S. libraries through the use of PL 480,5 appropriations under Title II c of the Higher Education Act of 19656 and other funds.

D. To stimulate and support a much more extensive exchange program in books and related materials between U.S. and foreign libraries, museums, educational and research institutions.

E. To encourage closer liaision between American and foreign libraries, greater exchange of reference and bibliographical information, and closer collaboration in the development of information storage and retrieval and computer utilization programs.

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F. To support as appropriate measures designed to lower or eliminate tariff barriers, exchange restrictions and other impediments to the free flow of books and related educational materials.

G. To provide greater support to the efforts of the U.S. book industry toward the attainment of these goals.

II. The Department of State, in consultation with appropriate agencies, is directed to ensure:

A. That activities of U.S. Government agencies are coordinated in such a way that Government resources will be used with the greatest efficiency and economy.

B. That the actions of the U.S. Government take into account the activities of private institutions and of the American book industry in the international book and library field.

C. That specific actions are tailored to conditions in specific countries or regions.

III. In seeking any new legislation or additional funds, agencies, in consultation with the Department of State, should make appropriate proposals to the President through normal legislative clearances and budgetary channels.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 306, Director’s Subject Files, 1967–1967, Entry UD WW 108, Box 5, Government Agencies—White House—General 1967. No classification marking. Sent to Rusk, Gardner, Gaud, Mumferd, Vaughn, Ripley, and Marks. Another copy is in the Johnson Library, Marks Papers, Box 16, Book Programs [1 of 2].
  2. See footnote 3, Document 89.
  3. No classification marking.
  4. No classification marking.
  5. The United States Government used excess local currencies accruing under P.L.–480 to fund these types of programs.
  6. Reference is to Title II, Part C, of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (P.L. 89–329), entitled “General Provisions” (Sec. 301. [20 U.S.C. 1041]).