140. Memorandum From the Director of the U.S. Information Agency (Murrow) to the Executive Secretary of the National Security Council (Smith)1


  • Your Memorandum of August 9, 19622

We appreciate the opportunity to re-do the statement of the mission of the U.S. Information Agency. Our proposed restatement, a substitute for NSC 165/1–10/24/53, is attached.3

I agree it would be desirable if the President issued it, rather than making it a National Security Council document.

We do not think it necessary for part of the statement to be unclassified, as was the case in 1953.4 We no longer need a statement to hang on the wall; rather we desire a realistic, meaningful definition of the Agency’s mission for internal use within the Government.

Edward R. Murrow
  1. Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Departments and Agencies Series, USIA, Box 94F. Top Secret.
  2. In this memorandum to Murrow, Bromley Smith extended the opportunity to “re-do” the existing 1953 NSC directive establishing the U.S. Information Agency “in light of the agency’s current mission,” a reference to the various extensions and clarifications of that mission that had occurred since President Kennedy’s inauguration. The opportunity came to Murrow as part of the overall “effort to rescind, reaffirm or revise National Security Council policies” then underway. (Ibid.)
  3. The proposed restatement, which is marked Confidential, is not attached, but a copy is ibid., Box 290. Text of NSC 165/1 is in Foreign Relations, 1952–1954, vol. II, pp. 17531754.
  4. Murrow believed that the unclassified nature of the earlier mission statement could not be repeated in the new statement because doing so would preclude an accurate description of the USIA’s expanded national security role. However, the U.S. Information Agency later believed that the inability to point publicly to any statement would be as much a hindrance as an incomplete statement, and eventually favored the issuance of a partially unclassified statement. See footnote 3, Document 144.