Foreign Service Information and Educational Exchange Circular1
Subject: USIE And Indigenous Operations
1.1 The attention of the officers in charge is called to the need for coordinating USIE and other overt United States Government propaganda activities with any other propaganda activities which the Government may undertake.
1.2 The purpose of this instruction is to describe certain appropriate spheres of action in the field of propaganda activity, as between the overt agencies (Department of State and the Economic Cooperation Administration—hereafter ECA) and other responsible agencies of the Government engaged in propaganda operations and to specify the mechanism agreed for liaison in Washington and in the field. A further purpose is to ensure that the activities of all United States propaganda agencies are secure, related to the common effort and achieve maximum effect.
For the purposes of this instruction the following definitions of terms are used:
- Terms applying to information or propaganda material:
- White—means openly acknowledged as emanating from or distributed by the United States Government.
- Gray—(If and when employed) means that Government connection is not acknowledged but is concealed and attribution is made to some other source within or outside the United States (other than a hostile source) or no attribution of source is made.
Black—means that the genuine source is not acknowledged but is concealed and attribution is made to Soviet, Communist, or other hostile sources, or to sources dominated by or known as sympathetic with such hostile sources.
The word “black” is sometimes mentioned in connection with propaganda material. In that context, its meaning is generally as indicated in the above definition. Neither the Department of State nor the ECA [Page 955] or representatives of either organizations are authorized to undertake “black” propaganda activity.
- Terms applying to the conduct of propaganda activities, as
distinguished from the propaganda materials defined above:
- Overt—means conducted in such a manner that they may be attributable to or acknowledged by the United States Government.
- Covert—means that the techniques used (clandestine in nature) are designed to conceal Government interest or connection therewith, since the United States Government would be unwilling to acknowledge responsibility or have responsibility plausibly attributed to it.
3. Criteria To Be Applied To Proposed Projects
The following criteria will permit a ready determination of responsibility for the execution of proposed projects. If the answer to one or more of the following three questions is affirmative, the activity is not a Department of State or ECA responsibility. The activity could be handled only by an appropriate designee of the National Security Council (hereafter NSC). The propagation of any “black” material whatsoever would be the exclusive responsibility of the NSC designee (if and when named). If the answer to all the three questions listed below is negative, the activity is obviously appropriate to and action responsibility rests with the Department of State and/or the ECA.
- Would the disclosure of the source occasion serious embarrassment to the United States Government or to the agencies responsible for the propaganda activity?
- Would the activity or the materials disseminated be seriously discredited if it were to become known that the United States Government was responsible?
- Would the outlet be seriously damaged if it were to become known that the activity is subsidized or otherwise assisted by the United States Government?
4. Determination of Responsibility for Action Where Substantial Doubt Exists
4.1 In those situations where doubt exists concerning the replies which might be made to the questions in paragraphs 3a, b, or c above, consultation shall be undertaken through the liaison channels described under 6 below. Such consultation will result in a determination as to the organization best equipped to carry out the proposed activity expeditiously and securely.
4.2 This provision for the settling of cases which may not clearly fall into the area of responsibility of either agency should be followed whenever there is any doubt about how a proposed activity should be conducted. It should not be considered a method to be resorted to only [Page 956] in extreme eases but rather a procedure to be employed frequently to insure smooth relationships between the two organizations.
5. Illustrative Examples of the Application of the Criteria
5.1 The following are examples of activities or projects which would normally be executed by the Department of State and/or the ECA:
- Contracts for purchase of published materials for overt distribution abroad, including subscriptions to magazines, purchase of additional copies of books, pamphlets, or other printed material prepared by foreign organizations, publishing houses, trade unions, et cetera. The prices paid should, in such cases, approximate the market or fair value of the published materials, thus avoiding indirect subsidies through this means.
- Contracts for dissemination of information materials such as posters, pamphlets, or leaflets, motion picture films, still photos, exhibits, et cetera when these contracts conform to the criteria set forth under paragraph 3 above.
- Contracts with publishers, motion picture producers and other producers of information media for production of materials for foreign distribution when these contracts conform to the criteria set forth under paragraph 3 above.
- Direct production and dissemination of material which may be attributed to the United States Government without serious embarrassment or produced and/or disseminated without attribution to any source provided it conforms to the criteria set forth under paragraph 3 above.
5.2 The following are examples of activities or projects which would not be executed by the Department of State and/or the ECA;
- Financial assistance including direct subsidies to foreign newspapers, magazines, and other public information media.
- Financial assistance to foreign labor, youth and women’s groups and the like, and programs for propaganda purposes other than the purchase of materials or services as described under 5.1 above. (This shall not, however, be deemed to include serving such organizations in a direct overt advisory capacity.)
- Propaganda campaigns designed to influence foreign political elections.
5.3 The examples given in paragraphs 5.1 and 5.2 above have the limitations of all examples in that they can be construed to narrow the application of the general provisions set forth in this instruction. It should be remembered that they are only examples and that the general provisions should be referred to for the full intent of this instruction.
6. Machinery for Application of the Criteria
6.1 The coordination required for application of the principles is achieved by creation of appropriate liaison arrangements in Washington and in the field. Field coordination shall also permit a flow of [Page 957] suggestions and ideas between designated representatives of the Department of State and/or the ECA and those of a designee of the NSC. It should also provide a method by which foreign facilities of the latter could assist propaganda operations.
6.2 Coordination arrangements in Washington are the responsibility of the Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs. He will be responsible for appropriate coordination of necessary liaison arrangements and clearances within the Department of State, the ECA, and with the designee of the National Security Council.
6.3 Washington coordination between the designee of the NSC and the Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs must be supplemented by field coordination. The designee of the NSC and the Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs will each provide mutually acceptable points of contact in selected field missions for the purpose of field coordination.
6.4 Whenever deemed necessary by the Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs and the NSC designee, representative(s) of other United States agencies engaged in propaganda activity abroad will be included in such coordination machinery.
6.5 Whenever the field representative (s) of United States agencies engaged in propaganda activity abroad take under consideration projected propaganda operations which do not clearly fall within the criteria set forth in paragraphs 3 and 5 above, the representative of the designee of the NSC shall be consulted. Any determination made as to the agency which will undertake the project will be in accord with the criteria set forth in paragraphs 3a, b, and c above. If the designated field representatives are unable to reach agreement, the question and related circumstances will be referred for advice to Washington by the channels of the designee of the NSC.
- This was sent to all USIE posts.↩