73. Memorandum From the Acting Assistant Director, Office of the Assistant Director, Far East, United States Information Agency (Moore) to the Director (Marks)1


  • Summaries of Programs and Problems Submitted by PAOs


  • Your memo of January 19, 19662

1. Major politico-psychological problems—Our major problems stem from Chinese Communist and North Vietnamese overt and covert pressures against the independent nations of the Far East. Not only must we provide material exposing the dangers of these activities but we must also convince our audiences of our determination and ability to fulfill our military and economic commitments in the face of this growing menace.

2. USIS Program Objectives—In all cases, Country Plans are based upon the latest available statements of US policy. Each USIS country program, therefore, reflects the demands of the particular country situation. In all cases, however, the image of American strength, reliability and friendship is basic to our objectives.

3. Media Techniques—Effectiveness and usefulness of media techniques depend upon the audience and message. In all countries, personal contact is necessary in order to establish a receptivity to or [Page 212] awareness of a particular media product and is needed to gauge the value of all our programs.

4. Target Audiences—In almost every country of the area, our programs are directed at elite groups: government officials, university and high school teachers, media representatives, top-level business executives. Rural, mass audiences are also our target in Viet-Nam, Laos and Thailand where there are active counter-insurgency programs. In these countries we concentrate on training the information services of the host government and assisting its programs for establishing greater national unity. In most programs, however, budget stringencies make it impossible to carry out meaningful, mass efforts.

5. Peripheral Activities Eliminated—Cutbacks have been made by some posts in the variety of publications and radio programs distributed. In countries such as Burma, Indonesia and Cambodia, cuts were made at the request of the host governments. At all posts, steadily rising fixed costs make it difficult to maintain the effectiveness of current programs without budget increases.

6. Larger Budget, Manpower—In almost every case, PAOs could use larger staffs to capitalize on personal contact. Related to this is their view that new libraries and information centers can help the Post reach important segments of the population which at present receive minimal attention. They point out that fixed costs are usually eighty percent of their budgets and that added program money could increase the effectiveness of present staffs.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 306, DIRCTR Files Bx 33–36, 1966: Acc. #69–A–3445 [E], Entry UD WW 193, Box 33, The Director’s Office (January through March, 1966). Confidential. Drafted by Smith. Printed from a uninitialed copy.
  2. Marks reviewed several PAOs’ summaries of their activities and programs, which were referred to in the January 7 memorandum he received from White (see Document 69), and subsequently shared his thoughts with USIA’s Area and Media Directors in this January 19 memorandum. He offered three conclusions for the Directors to consider:

    “(1) Almost everywhere we say that our chief audience is leaders, yet our programs are not sufficiently directed toward them, nor are our techniques for identifying and keeping in touch with them as good as they should be.

    “(2) Personal contact is accepted as our most effective medium, yet the nature of our programs is such that we do too little of it. Adding American personnel may be the answer in some cases but not in most; solutions must be found in the workload of the posts.

    “(3) While most PAOs maintain that they have cut out peripheral activities, there is much evidence to the contrary, including inspection reports. PAOs need more help in identifying these activities and in managing their workloads.”

    Marks concluded the memorandum by requesting that the Directors of each area “summarize for me replies that have been received from its posts.” (Ibid.)