151. Memorandum From the Director of the United States Information Agency (Marks) to President Johnson1

On Friday,2 Vice President Humphrey scheduled a meeting with me, Nick Katzenbach, and Sargent Shriver to discuss an expansion of the information program in Western Europe and the need for more speakers representing the Administration on “Great Society” programs.

At the meeting I suggested the following:

1. That Cabinet officials and Agency heads cooperate with me in meeting the foreign press in New York at our Foreign Correspondents Center. Over 400 foreign correspondents are registered in New York and we have been able to attract a substantial number when top-name speakers are scheduled. The Vice President agreed to meet with this [Page 465] group within the next two weeks, as did Sargent Shriver. I will keep the pressure on other Administration spokesmen to do likewise.

2. Our Public Affairs Officers in Western Europe will be instructed to stimulate radio and television producers in their countries to visit the United States in order to prepare documentaries on subjects such as water pollution, urban renewal, low-cost housing, city planning and traffic control. As an inducement, we will offer the cooperation of the affected governmental agency in providing the necessary information and guidance, as well as top-level spokesmen.

3. When Administration officials travel abroad, if they will give me advance notice of their plans we will schedule them for interviews by press, radio and television and conferences with significant local groups. In the past we have not had advance notice and have been unable to make the most desirable arrangements of this nature.

I am planning a two-day meeting with our Public Affairs Officers from all of Western Europe on June 19–20 at Brussels.3 These plans and other Agency operating problems will be reviewed at that time.

I thought you might also be interested in the program which I have started to acquaint our representatives with current activities in domestic programs when they return to Washington for home leave or consultation. We now schedule intensive courses on the legislative programs passed by the 89th Congress and significant actions of this Administration relating to the topics I have enumerated above and other social welfare programs.

Leonard H. Marks4
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 306, Director’s Subject Files, 1967–1967, Entry UD WW 108, Box 2, Congressional Relations—Vice President, 1967. No classification marking. Sent through Kintner. Marks sent a copy to Humphrey under a May 8 covering memorandum, in which he drew Humphrey’s attention to the fact that he had shared information about their meeting with the President and also that “many of our posts in Europe have held seminars on ‘Great Society’ activities.” (Ibid.) On May 8 Marks also wrote a memorandum for the file summarizing the May 5 meeting with Humphrey, Katzenbach, and Shriver. In it, Marks noted that Humphrey was “distressed to find so little knowledge of American domestic activities by otherwise well-informed Europeans.” Humphrey suggested several ways to correct this, including expanding the “leader grant program” to attract more young people; encouraging U.S. Government officials “to travel abroad and attend meetings, make speeches and be interviewed on radio and television”; and “describing the work that we are now undertaking in relieving poverty, improving education, controlling water pollution, traffic, crime control, etc.” According to Marks, Humphrey called the meeting in order “to stimulate activities in this field and that he would periodically request reports on the progress being made.” A copy of Marks’ memorandum summarizing the meeting is in the same file as his May 8 memorandum to Johnson.
  2. May 5.
  3. Weld summarized the June 19–20 Brussels PAO conference in a July 31 memorandum to Marks, Ryan, Olom, Canter, and the PAOs from all the principal European posts. (National Archives, RG 306, Director’s Subject Files, 1967–1967, Entry UD WW 108, Box 3, Field—Europe (IAE), 1967)
  4. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.