79. Memorandum From the Director of the United States Information Agency (Marks) to the Assistant Directors for the Areas1


  • CU Programs

I have been concerned for some time that we may not be getting as much from the CU programs as we might if they were given more attention and better planned. I am thinking particularly of the American leader grants and the performing artists, which are a major resource in furthering our national objectives.

My concern goes both to the quality of the selections and to the choice of what kind of grantees and performers.

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I believe the Assistant Directors for the areas should be as concerned with and, in effect, know as much about these programs in their respective areas as they do about the ones we finance.

This will require two things:

(1) Substantially greater initiative on the part of PAO’s and CAO’s to request well in advance those leaders and performers that will directly support U.S. objectives in their countries.

(2) Much closer cooperation between you and the regional branches of CU in the earliest stages of planning and programming.

You should be in a position to support and defend the selection of an American leader grantee or a performing artist for your area as well you are your own programs.

I realize there will be differences of opinion and that the position of USIA will by no means always prevail. However, when you are in very fundamental disagreement on a major program, or where you think the resources of the Government may be wasted, or where you think a particular grant or tour will be actually harmful, these can be brought to me for direct discussion with Dr. Frankel.

You should also make certain you are aware of and concur in every monetary or other grant to a foreign academic or cultural institution, or to a U.S. institution for activities abroad. We had a recent incident where a grant of $214,000 was made to an American University for cultural activities in Paris, of which no one in this Agency—in Washington at least—was aware.2 This was at a time when we were undertaking a controversial change in our own cultural activities there.

I am attaching a copy of a letter I’ve sent to Dr. Frankel which I hope will facilitate more intimate cooperation between you and the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Leonard H. Marks
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Letter From the Director of the United States Information Agency (Marks) to the Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs (Frankel)3

Dear Charles:

As you know I have for some time shared your concern about certain aspects of the exchange program, particularly the selection of American leader grantees and performing artists.

I recognize that our policy and desk officers have worked closely with your regional people for some time and that there has been cooperation in planning your program.

It occurred to me that this program for which you and I both have a responsibility might be materially enhanced if my Assistant Directors worked more closely with their regional counterparts in your office. I know that you would welcome such further assistance and accordingly, I am instructing my Assistant Directors to keep me fully informed of your program so that I can defend and support it when any inquiry is made.

This letter is prompted primarily by our current preparation for hearings before the Appropriations Committee and the realization that in some instances we have not known about your plans until they were announced. Specifically, the recent action making available $214,000 to the University of the State of New York for activities in Paris came at a time when we were retrenching our library activities there to carry out congressional mandates. Obviously, your assistance to the University of the State of New York at this time could have been—and may still be—a source of embarrassment to both of us.

The instructions which I have issued hopefully will preclude any similar incident in the future.


Leonard H. Marks4
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 306, Director’s Subject Files, 1963–1967, Entry UD WW 101, Box 4, Government Agencies—State, Department of, 1966. No classification marking.
  2. According to the New York Times, “The signing of an agreement in Paris last Friday under which the University of Paris and the State University of New York will jointly operate the Institute of American Studies in Paris with the continued aid of the United States Government.” (Farnsworth Fowle, “State University Plans a Role in Foreign Study and Exchanges,” January 25, 1966, p. 36)
  3. No classification marking.
  4. Marks signed “LHM” above this typed signature.