146. Memorandum From Secretary of State Rusk to President Johnson1


  • Scope of Special Review of Funding of Private Voluntary Organizations Abroad

On March 29, you asked me2 to serve as Chairman of a special committee to consider a recommendation in the Katzenbach-Gardner-Helms report3 that

The Government should promptly develop and establish a public-private mechanism to provide public funds openly for overseas activities of youth, educational, cultural, and labor organizations which are adjudged deserving, in the national interest, of public support.

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This memorandum outlines for your approval the way in which I plan to proceed with this assignment.


1. I propose to have the committee review the kinds of activities formerly funded by CIA which might accept overt Government funding to determine whether continued support is in the U.S. interest.

—We will concentrate on the organizations (excluding Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty—see below) which the Katzenbach committee identified as possible recipients of overt Government support. [2 lines not declassified]

—We will also attempt to judge the extent to which the many voluntary American organizations not formerly funded by CIA may seek and qualify for public support, if overt funding is available.

—The committee should not review CIA covert activities, beyond those identified by the Katzenbach committee as prospects for overt U.S. funding.4

—Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty should not be included at least initially in the study of the special committee, since the radios are primarily propaganda instruments, not cultural and educational. The 303 committee5 with the support of the Budget Director should proceed immediately with a study of the alternatives for the future of these organizations.

2. If there is a demonstrated need for public funding, we will examine form or means of public support. Should we expand existing appropriations (like HEW’s Center for International Education) or should we create new organizations, including the quasi-public foundation or council proposed in the Katzenbach report?

3. In connection with a quasi-public council, we will explore any advantage to transferring to such a body the funding of existing agency educational and cultural activities.

—“Education and World Affairs,” a non-profit corporation, representing seven major foundations, has suggested transfer to such a body, a large part of the $400 million of educational and exchange programs carried out by regular Government agencies.

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—Realistically, we propose to limit the committee’s consideration to a smaller package of activities in the range of $50–$60 million annually. These might include Fulbright academic exchanges, support of East-West Center,6 American colleges and universities abroad such as the one in Beirut,7 and cultural and athletic presentations.

4. We will also look into the relation between Federal and private financing. Our experience demonstrates a reluctance on the part of private contributors to give sustained operating support to entities basically funded by the Federal Government (e.g., the Smithsonian). On the other hand, Government has given grants to institutions which are almost wholly funded privately.

I expect to hold the first meeting of the committee on my return from Punta Del Este.8 My objective is to complete the work of the special committee in about 60 days. I will keep you regularly informed as the work of the committee proceeds.

Dean Rusk

Approve _______

See me _______9

  1. Source: Johnson Library, White House Central Files, Confidential File, Oversized Attachments, Box 68, CF Oversized Attachments 12/2/68, Packet # 2. No classification marking.
  2. Johnson likely asked Rusk to serve as Chairman during an “off record” meeting he had with Rusk, McNamara, Rostow, and Christian on March 29 in the Cabinet Room of the White House between 5:07 p.m. and 6:16 p.m. (Johnson Library, President’s Daily Diary)
  3. See footnotes 3 and 4, Document 144.
  4. According to the Committee report, “no useful purpose would be served by detailing any other CIA programs of assistance to private American voluntary organizations.” See Document 144.
  5. See footnote 4, Document 145.
  6. See footnote 4, Document 92.
  7. Presumably a reference to the American University of Beirut.
  8. Rusk was in Punte del Este April 7–14 for the OAS Heads of State and Foreign Ministers meetings. (For additional information see Foreign Relations, 1964–1968, vol. XXXI, South and Central America; Mexico, Document 292; “Rusk in Uruguay for Talks,” New York Times, April 8, 1967, p. 10; and John M. Goshko, “Hemisphere Chiefs Vow to Modernize Latin Life,” Washington Post, April 15, 1967, p. A1)
  9. The President did not check either option.