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511.00/9–1054

The Acting Secretary of State to the Director of the United States Information Agency (Streibert) 1

confidential

Dear Mr. Streibert : On August 18 the President by letter established a special Cabinet Committee to assure effective and immediate use of a $5 million fund voted by Congress for stepped-up U.S. participation in international trade fairs and for increased travel abroad by American cultural and artistic groups. The Director of the U.S. Information Agency was designated as Executive Agent to carry out this program.

[Page 1792]

At the first meeting of the Cabinet Committee on August 20,2 it was agreed that action responsibility would be lodged in the Department of Commerce with respect to trade fairs and in the Department of State with respect to cultural groups—both, however, working through the Executive Agent.

Subsequently, the Department of Commerce established an operating committee on trade fairs composed of interested Government agencies and chaired by the Department of Commerce. This committee has moved ahead rapidly in the development of a concrete program.

The Department of State, in like manner, has formed an interagency operating committee on cultural group activity. This group, too, has proceeded actively. Meanwhile the Director of the U.S. Information Agency has appointed two special advisors to serve full time with the operating committees of Commerce and State.

The Cabinet Committee named by the President includes the agencies which regularly participate at meetings of the Operations Coordinating Board—Department of State, Foreign Operations Administration, and USIA. In addition, it includes the Secretaries of Commerce, Labor, and Health, Education and Welfare—and the Director of the Bureau of the Budget who was named as advisor to the Committee. Inasmuch as the membership of the Committee duplicates to a large extent the membership of the OCB, which has had responsibility for coordinating overseas programs of this type, I would like to suggest that matters requiring the attention of the Cabinet Committee in the future be taken up at regular meetings of the OCB.

I believe this suggestion will result in a saving of time and will prevent overlapping between the work of the Cabinet Committee and the OCB. In addition it will provide for regular participation by two other members of the OCB—the Department of Defense and CIA—which in the past have contributed significantly to the development and carrying out of trade fair programs, and which can also make valuable contributions to the cultural group activity. Furthermore, the staff facilities of the Board would be available to assist in the coordination of these programs with other activities related to the implementation of our foreign policy.

Under this plan the two operating committees under the chairmanship of the Department of Commerce and the Department of State referred to above will become regular working groups within the framework of the OCB. Action responsibility on trade fairs remains [Page 1793]in Commerce, and on cultural groups in State. The Director of USIA continues as Executive Agent for the over-all program.

Will you please let me know whether this arrangement will be satisfactory to you?3

Sincerely,

Walter B. Smith
  1. Drafted by Staats of OCB and cleared with Washburn of USIA. A notation on the source text reads: “Identical letter to Director, FOA.” A similar letter was sent by Smith to Secretary of Commerce Sinclair Weeks the same day, and a notation on this letter notes that copies were sent to Cutler and to the Director of the Budget.
  2. A summary memorandum of this meeting is in Secretary’s Memoranda of Conversation, lot 64 D 199, “Notes, UM–N”.
  3. Streibert replied on Sept. 16 as follows:

    “We are fully in accord with the recommendations in your letter of September 10 that President’s Fund matters be dealt with by OCB.

    “I regret that I did not bring up the question of implementation through OCB originally, and am glad that it is being worked out satisfactorily to all concerned.” (511.00/9–1654)