Focus of Research and Principles of Selection for Foreign Relations, Public Diplomacy, 1917-1972, Volume VIII, Public Diplomacy, 1969–1972

In 2007, historians at the Office of the Historian proposed a retrospective series of the Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) volume designed to augment the series’ coverage of U.S. public diplomacy. While the FRUS series began to document the subject in a sustained and concerted way starting with the second administration of President Richard M. Nixon, previous FRUS coverage of U.S. public diplomacy efforts have been far less consistent. These retrospective volumes will fill that gap, which stretches from the First World War to the early 1970s. Resource constraints and the statutory requirement to publish Foreign Relations volumes 30 years after the events that they cover mean that compilations in this volume have been researched and compiled piecemeal over a longer period of time than the typical FRUS volume. Fortunately, progress is being made. During the fall of 2014, the Office released the compilation covering the U.S. Government’s public diplomacy efforts from 1917 to 1919. Subsequent compilations, which will document up to the end of the first Nixon administration, will be published as they are completed.

This compilation, covering the years 1969 to 1972, focuses on the Nixon administration’s efforts to manage public diplomacy during Nixon’s first term in office. It describes how the United States Information Agency (USIA) worked to present U.S. foreign policy objectives to the world during a time of social change within the United States and how USIA attempted to reach new audiences, specifically young adults. The volume chronicles the development of new structures within USIA, including the Executive Committee (ExComm) and the Young Officers’ Policy Panel (YOPP). It depicts how the Agency commemorated the Apollo 11 moon landing, took part in the Women’s Strike for Equality, and planned for the U.S. Bicentennial celebration. The compilation also illustrates how USIA and the Department of State pursued public diplomacy against the backdrop of the Vietnam war, the President’s 1972 trip to China, and the 1972 Moscow summit. Additional documentation chronicles the Department of State’s cultural exchange activities, including administration of the Art in Embassies program and the Cultural Presentations program. The volume should be read in conjunction with Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XXXVIII, Part 2, Organization and Management of Foreign Policy; Public Diplo [Page X] macy, 1973-1976, which contains a chapter on international information policy, public diplomacy, and cultural affairs.

Adam M. Howard, Ph.D.
Acting Historian


The editor wishes to acknowledge the assistance of John Laster and Peter Halligas of the National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.; Elizabeth Gray, David Langbart, Tab Lewis, Don McIlwain, and Richard Peuser of the National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland; John Powers of the National Security Council, formerly of the Nixon Presidential Materials Project, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland; Meghan Parker Lee of the Richard M. Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, California; and Vera Ekechukwu of the University of Arkansas Libraries, Fayetteville, Arkansas.

David H. Herschler, the former Deputy Historian, conducted the initial research for this volume. M. Todd Bennett, the former Chief of the Europe and General Division, and Adam M. Howard, General Editor of the Foreign Relations series, also conducted research. Kristin L. Ahlberg completed the research and edited the volume, under the supervision of Adam M. Howard, who reviewed the compilation. Stephanie Eckroth performed the copy and technical editing, under the supervision of Mandy Chalou, Chief of the Editing and Publishing Division. Kerry E. Hite coordinated the declassification review under the supervision of Carl Ashley, Chief of the Declassification Division.

Kristin L. Ahlberg, Ph.D.