PSB files, lot 62 D 333, “Psychological Strategy Board”

Memorandum for the President by the President’s Advisory Committee on Government Organization1

Memorandum No. 14
  • Subject:
  • Foreign Affairs Organization


The security and welfare of the Nation have become increasingly and critically dependent on the successful conduct of our foreign affairs in all its aspects: political, military, economic, and psychological. In the conduct of our foreign policies and programs, it is not enough simply to react to developments as they occur; it is imperative that all our material and intellectual resources and skills be harnessed to the formulation and execution of positive and effective efforts designed to achieve the National goals.

The organization of the Federal Government for this task can be materially strengthened.

The Committee considers it of the highest importance that the Secretary of State have sole responsibility (subject to the President) for the formulation and control of foreign policy and that he be freed from foreign program operations in order that he may concentrate on his primary function.

The foreign policy primacy of the Secretary of State should be maintained through clear Presidential mandate and through the President’s consistent practice of employing the Secretary of State [Page 1692] as the Executive’s channel of authority on foreign policy questions. This relationship should, of course, be sustained on specific issues by the President.

At the same time, within the framework of foreign policy, the Secretary of Defense (subject to the President) should have clear primacy in the formulation and direction of military policy.

The Committee considers that to achieve this clarity of responsibility and to assure the proper coordination and execution of our foreign operations, it is essential that there be a single agency in which all foreign assistance and economic operations, to the greatest degree practicable, shall be centralized or coordinated, and that a similar consolidation be effected in the administration of the foreign information programs. These agencies should exercise their functions subject to foreign policy as determined by the Secretary of State, and military policy as determined by the Secretary of Defense.

Accordingly, the following steps are recommended: [Here follow recommendations 1, 2, and 3 dealing with a proposed foreign operations agency to oversee the Mutual Security Program. These recommendations are printed in volume I, Part 1, page 615.]

Recommendation No. 4—Hereafter the term “Voice of America” should be applied only to statements of the official United States’ positions, including those on current developments, for use abroad.

The State Department should have responsibility for development of this program. The material should be given to a new foreign information agency (to be established as set forth in Recommendation No. 5) for dissemination abroad as directed by the Department of State.

No other material, regardless of its nature, origin, or medium used for its dissemination, should be identified as the “Voice of America”.

Recommendation No. 5—Establish a new foreign information agency, in which would be consolidated the most important foreign information programs and cultural and educational exchange programs now carried on by the United States International Information Administration, by the Technical Cooperation Administration, by the Mutual Security Agency, and by the Department of State in connection with the Government of Occupied Areas.

Under this proposal, the major activities for interpreting abroad United States policies and practices (with the exception of formulating materials for the official “Voice of America” program which [Page 1693] shall be handled as outlined in Recommendation No. 4) together with foreign cultural and educational exchange programs, would be placed under a new foreign information agency. This transfer would not apply to foreign information and educational exchange services which are an integral part of technical assistance programs. The new agency would be established under the National Security Council under arrangements paralleling those set forth in the National Security Act for the Central Intelligence Agency.

The above would require legislation or action through Reorganization Plan.

The head of the new agency would be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. He would have full administrative authority for the operations of the agency, including development of programs, budget, administrative procedures, and the hiring and dismissal of personnel, but subject to foreign policy as determined by the Secretary of State and to such other instructions as may be furnished by the National Security Council. With respect to the official “Voice of America” program, the new agency should accept responsibility for dissemination abroad, including necessary services of translation, technical preparation, transmission, and distribution, for which services the new agency should provide within its budget.

Since the successful functioning of this agency will depend upon the skill and wisdom of its operations no less than upon its adherence to U.S. foreign policy, it is important that its Director receive expert counsel upon operating procedures. Public Law 402, the United States Information and Educational Exchange Act of 1948, created the United States Advisory Commission on Information and the United States Advisory Commission on Educational Exchange to formulate and recommend to the Secretary of State policies and programs for carrying out this Act, and to report to Congress upon the effectiveness of these efforts. Under the proposed reorganization, these two Commissions logically would counsel the head of the new information agency instead of the Secretary of State. Legislation or action under the Reorganization Plan would be necessary to effect this change.

These Commissions should play an even more active role than in the past, since the collective wisdom and practical experience of their members would be invaluable to the new information agency.

There is a second commission in the field of international educational exchange—the President’s Board of Foreign Scholarships, established under Public Law 584. Congress and the Executive Branch might wish to give consideration to the merger of this Board with the United States Advisory Commission on Educational Exchange, since both groups operate in the same field.

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The head of the new agency would attend meetings of the Psychological Strategy Board when appropriate, and would be authorized to provide staff services for the PSB upon foreign information matters.

The authority and responsibility now vested in the Secretary of State pursuant to appropriate National Security Council papers and Executive Orders for interdepartmental coordination of foreign information activities should also be transferred to the new agency.

The responsibilities now exercised by the Secretary of State with respect to informational media guaranties should be transferred to the head of the new information agency by an amendment of Executive Order 10300.

Recommendation No. 6—Organize the structure of the foreign economic operations agency and of the foreign information agency so that their operations will be responsive to foreign policy determination by the Secretary of State and to military policy determination by the Secretary of Defense.

At the Washington level, the line organizations of the two operating agencies should be organized as far as possible on a common pattern with those of the Department of State, with the sub-divisions of each dealing with parallel areas of the others.
Regional staffs should be established only in cases where there is a regional organization or multilateral activity of sufficient importance to warrant the establishment of a diplomatic mission.
At the country level the field staffs of the agencies should be organized in such a manner as to provide for effective foreign policy direction and coordination of their operations by the United States Mission Chief (the Ambassador or Minister). The field staff of the economic agency would perform the major economic staff assignment in the development of country programs and in estimating economic capabilities and requirements.

The Secretary of State, and the Secretary of Defense, as appropriate, should have authority and responsibility to review plans and policies relative to military and economic assistance programs and foreign information programs, and legislative proposals of the foreign economic operations agency and the foreign information agency, to assure that, in their conception and execution, such plans, policies and proposals are consistent with and further the attainment of foreign policy and military policy objectives.

The heads of the new agencies should furnish information to the Secretaries of State and Defense in such manner and form as may be agreed between the head of the agency and the Secretary concerned to insure that the programs of the agencies and the implementation of such programs conform with foreign policy and military policy objectives.

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To assure to the new economic agency its proper role with respect to the coordination and direction of the military assistance programs, the Secretary of Defense would be required to keep the agency currently informed on the status of such programs, including military end item procurement and deliveries, both domestic and offshore.

Recommendation No. 7—Executive Order 10338,2 relating to overseas personnel relationships, should be extended to cover the representatives of the new economic and information agencies, and when amended should be supplemented as stated below.

Executive Order 10338 defines the authority of the Chief of Diplomatic Mission (Ambassador or Minister) to coordinate the activities of United States personnel in his area who are engaged in carrying out programs under the Mutual Security Act and provides that he shall exercise general direction and leadership of the entire effort. This Order should be amended to cover the representatives of the new economic and information agencies, and when amended should be supplemented as follows:

The Chief of the Diplomatic Mission would have the authority, through appropriate official channels, to effect the withdrawal of U.S. personnel in his area;
The Chief of the Diplomatic Mission shall be kept fully and currently informed, as he desires, by all U.S. representatives, including the representatives of the new economic and information agencies and the chiefs of military assistance advisory groups, on all matters, including prospective plans, recommendations, negotiations, and actions, relating to the programs of such agencies; and
The Secretary of State should have the right to veto the proposed appointments of the chief representatives abroad of the foreign economic and information agencies.

The Committee strongly recommends that at the country level, where mutually agreed among the agencies concerned, there be an integration of personnel performing related functions under a single top official, as is now the case where the Chief of the MSA Mission also performs the duties of the Counsellor of Embassy for Economic Affairs, or where the Public Affairs Officer directs the foreign information activities of the MSA and the U.S. International Information Administration.

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Recommendation No. 8—The Secretary of State should retain his position on the NAC to assure that the foreign loan policies of the U.S. are consistent with and further the attainment of U.S. foreign policy objectives.

The foreign policy responsibility of the Secretary of State in matters involving loans and credits is of equal importance to his responsibility in matters involving grants. They represent alternative forms of financial assistance designed to implement foreign policy.

Reorganization Plan or Legislation?

Many of the above recommendations, it will be noted, can be carried out either by Reorganization Plan or by legislation. The decision as to which course shall be followed, if the recommendations are approved, is one of considerable political importance. The advantages and disadvantages of each course may be summarized as follows:

The Reorganization Plan approach would have the following advantages:

It would enable the President clearly and specifically to set forth the organizational arrangements which he desires for the administration of foreign affairs and programs.
The Reorganization Plans would become effective unless rejected by a Constitutional majority of either House. While the Plans could be rejected in their entirety, they could not be amended as in the case of legislation.
Responsibility of the Administration for the reorganizations would be clearly fixed.
The Reorganization Plan procedure (if the plans are submitted promptly) might be a quicker method of putting the recommendations into effect, since it would undoubtedly take more than 60 days to obtain legislation.

The principal advantages of proceeding by legislation are as follows:

Legislation must be requested, in any event, for certain basic authorities under the Mutual Security Act which expire on June 30, 1953, and must be renewed.
This has been the traditional method of determining organizational structure in the field of foreign affairs and might be preferred by the Foreign Affairs and Armed Services Committees. In the last two years the committees which handle these programs have shown a concern about organization at least equal to their concern about the magnitude of the programs and are therefore likely to desire to consider all aspects of these programs at one time.
It has been suggested that a more sympathetic consideration of Administration proposals concerning organization for foreign affairs would be given by the legislative committees than by the Government Operations Committees.

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If the legislative leaders concur, the Committee believes that it would be preferable for the President to effectuate the contemplated reorganization by Reorganization Plan.

Before reaching a decision on this matter the President may wish to consult with the Secretaries of Defense and State, the Director for Mutual Security, the Director of the Bureau of the Budget and probably others among his advisors; and, after obtaining their views, with legislative leaders.

In the course of the Committee’s study, the Departments of Agriculture and Commerce have raised certain issues which the Committee has not had time to explore thoroughly. These should be dealt with later.3

  1. President Eisenhower established his Advisory Committee on Government Organization on Jan. 29, 1953, naming Nelson A. Rockefeller of New York as chairman. President Eisenhower subsequently discussed the purpose of this Committee at some length in his first Annual State of the Union Message to Congress, Feb. 2, 1953 (Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1953, p. 25) and in his memoirs (Mandate for Change (New York, 1963), p. 133). For the list of Committee members and a résumé of the Committee’s work, see U.S. President’s Advisory Committee on Government Organization; Report of Nelson A. Rockefeller … summarizing the Committee’s principal activities from January, 1953 to date (Government Printing Office, 1958).
  2. Executive Order 10338, Apr. 4, 1952 dealt with coordination procedures under section 507 of the Mutual Security Act of 1951. It is printed in 17 Federal Register 3009.
  3. On Apr. 16 Howland H. Sargeant, in the Office of the Secretary of State, transmitted to Ralph Burton, Assistant Division Chief of the Bureau of the Budget, four documents “drafted in the Department of State” as requested at the “meeting of April 10, 1953.” The four documents were: a draft reorganization plan concerning international information and educational exchange; a draft message of the President transmitting the reorganization plan to Congress; documents to effect a division of responsibility between the Department of State and the Mutual Security Agency for multilateral aid programs (alternatives “A” and “B”); and draft material for inclusion in the President’s letter to agency heads entitled the Voice of America program. In his memorandum of transmittal, Sargeant added that the documents, though drafted in the Department, did not represent official views and were drafted on an individual basis as requested by the Bureau of the Budget. He concluded by stressing the “understanding” that the Bureau would afford the Department an opportunity “at the appropriate time” to express its official views. The memorandum under reference and the enclosed documentation is in the A/MS files, lot 54 D 291, “IIA, 1953”. The Apr. 10 meeting referred to above cannot be identified.