175. Memorandum From the Assistant Cultural Affairs Adviser, Office of Policy and Research, United States Information Agency (Groff-Smith) to the Executive Director, Council on International Educational and Cultural Affairs, Department of State (Colligan)1


  • U.S. Information Agency Activities to Carry Out President Johnson’s New Initiatives in the Field Of International Education


Pursuant to President Johnson’s message of February 2, 1966, emphasizing the need for increased efforts in the field of international education,2 the United States Information Agency increased its efforts to stimulate conferences of leaders and experts throughout the world. Since February 1966, USIS posts around the world have organized some 590 seminars, bringing together leading American experts with top-ranking leaders in foreign countries. These seminars have all been of at least one day’s duration and many of them have been as long as two weeks. All have been directed to highly specialized groups. In addition to these seminars, many lectures and conferences have been held all over the world.

The seminar technique has proved to be a highly useful one to convey our message and also an effective technique to bring together leading educators. In the European area some 150 seminars were organized in 1966. This increased to 180 in 1967 and it is contemplated that some 200 seminars will be held in 1968.

In Africa it has been found that individual lectures and informal discussions are still the most useful techniques and have proved to be effective methods of promoting international education and understanding. Fifty-nine seminars were held in 1966 and 1967, and many lectures and meetings of experts were sponsored.

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Examples of some of the effective seminars held in 1966 and 1967 are attached.3


Pursuant to the President’s Initiative, the United States Information Agency has taken several steps to increase the flow of books and other educational material abroad. A program to refurbish information centers and to make these centers and libraries more attractive is in process and is serving to increase attendance and use of books and magazines. Exhibits such as “The World of Paperbacks” have been circulated to universities, information centers, book fairs, and binational centers to expand the interest and readership of books. The circulation of these book exhibits has also spurred the commercial market for American publications.

There has been a significant increase in the last two years in the USIA Donated Book Program. In FY 1965 USIA sent 1.37 million books abroad under this program. This increased to 1.88 million copies in FY 1966 and to 1.94 million in FY 1967. At the present moment there are more than 3.5 million titles being processed for shipment overseas.

Recently there has been a significant increase in the number of American titles which have been published abroad by commercial publishers. USIA encourages foreign publishers to print American books as part of their own commercial activities by suggesting titles, assisting in the obtaining of copyright privileges, advising on distribution and facilitating production. The substantial increase in American Studies at foreign universities, a program which has had an impetus from USIA, will create an additional commercial demand for American book titles.

The United States is now a member of both the Beirut and the Florence Agreements which grant duty free entry of audio visual and educational materials respectively.4 Already there has been an increased flow in these items and it is fully expected that there will be a steady and notable increase in the future.


Pursuant to the President’s Initiative in emphasizing the importance of international education, USIA has stressed English teaching [Page 560] abroad. It is estimated that the number of teachers who have been trained in USIS sponsored English teaching seminars in the past two years is 32% higher than in the two previous years. In 1966 and 1967 USIA taught English to some 648,000 individuals—an approximate 25% increase over the 1965–66 period. Further, USIA has significantly increased its efforts to target English teaching activities toward teachers and key individuals in order to make far more effective use of available resources.

The above information refers to activities carried out directly by USIA. In addition, the overseas USIS posts were involved in implementing several other of the President’s Initiatives as part of their responsibilities for administering CU’s Educational and Cultural Exchange Programs abroad.

Geoffrey Groff-Smith5
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 306, Subject Files 1955–1971: Acc. #74–0044, Entry UD WW 102, Box 1, CUL 3 Council on International Educational and Cultural Affairs. No classification marking. Drafted by Groff-Smith; cleared by White, and in IOP and IOP/PA. Copies were sent to Lewis, Weld, Oleksiw, Rylance, Carter, Bell, Fanget, and Jaffie.
  2. See footnote 3, Document 89.
  3. Attached but not printed is an undated paper entitled “Sample Seminars and Conferences Sponsored by USIA Which Have Served To Build New Bridges of International Understanding 1966 and 1967.”
  4. See footnote 3, Document 113.
  5. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.