84. Memorandum From the Deputy Director for Policy and Plans, United States Information Agency (White) to the Deputy Director (Loomis)1


  • Sources of U.S. Policy Pronouncements

The Agency is well serviced by the Department of State in the matter of ready information on U.S. foreign policy positions and pronouncements. We are severely handicapped on the other hand, when a White House official or spokesman is the source of a policy position. [Page 207] Not having access, via a prompt transcript or Strowger relay,2 to their exact words, we frequently are unable to provide Agency media and overseas posts with quick information policy guidance on fast-breaking events. While the stories of IBS and IPS correspondents who cover the briefings are helpful, they obviously cannot substitute for a transcript.

If you agree, perhaps you may wish to explore with your White House contacts the possibility of making the following arrangements to remedy this situation:

1. On Kissinger backgrounders: It would be most helpful if the White House would provide us, by messenger service if possible, the transcript of a Kissinger briefing at the same time it delivers copies to State. At present, we get copies only of the State outgoing telegrams containing the transcript, usually 24 or more hours after the event.

2. On daily Ziegler press briefings: Live Strowger transmission of these twice-a-day sessions—similar to that now provided us on the McCloskey briefings—would enable IOP to monitor them, thus providing a strong assist in our policy guidance operation for the fast media. We also are asking Joe Hanson to check with Defense to see if Strowger transmissions can be arranged for briefings given by the DOD spokesman. (NOTE: The Director and staff of State’s Office of Press Relations say they will strongly support our effort to arrange Strowger broadcasts of Ziegler and Henkin briefings. They, like we, are too often dangerously in the dark on White House and DOD policy positions and say they would find Strowger broadcasts “tremendously helpful.”)

Barbara M. White3
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 306, Director’s Subject Files, 1968–1972, Entry A1–42, Box 15, Policy and Plans (IOP)—General 1970. No classification marking.
  2. Reference is to an internal USIA/VOA monitoring system that allowed broadcasters to listen to various audio feeds by using an automatic switching device. In a broader context, the Strowger switch allowed for the development of automatic telephone exchanges, beginning in the 1890s. For additional information about the Strowger relay and its use within VOA, see Alan L. Heil, Jr., Voice of America, A History, p. 472.
  3. An unknown hand, presumably White, initialed above this typed signature.