108. Memorandum From Secretary of State Kissinger to President Ford1


  • Request for Restoration of FulbrightHays Exchange Program Budget Cut

I urge you to restore $8 million appropriated by Congress for Fiscal Year 1976 (and the transitional quarter) and $10 million for Fiscal Year 1977 for the FulbrightHays exchange-of-persons program.2

Many regard this program as the most cost-effective of any we have in the field of foreign affairs. Our $65 million request for Fiscal Year 1977 (previously reduced by the Office of Management and Budget from $79 million) would permit us, with adjustments, to carry on the most essential elements of present exchange arrangements while responding also to several urgent new foreign policy needs.

All over the world I encounter former participants now in key positions: 200 are now members of cabinets in other countries; so are one in seven heads of state in the world today, not to mention thousands of editors, commentators, university presidents, prize-winning novelists, trade union executives, parliamentarians, historians and civic leaders in this and every other country in the world. Daily we are able to draw [Page 386] on the reservoir of enhanced international understanding these activities promote.

Through this program we now cooperate with and help support the international activities of hundreds of private American organizations, comprising the cream of American leadership interested in our foreign relations. These include scholarly institutions, professional and business associations, journalist organizations, young political leadership groups, service clubs, women’s organizations, sports associations and many more.

I am especially concerned about a cut in a program which was allowed to deteriorate in the ’60s but is widely known in this country and abroad to have been steadily strengthened and improved since then.

Carried out between the U.S. and 122 countries, FulbrightHays exchanges express and help us to confront the growing interdependence of nations and provide support for policy initiatives in all parts of the world.

Our Soviet and East European cultural and educational activities are on a rapidly rising curve. We are expanding programs in Portugal, Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Turkey. Ambassadors in Africa clamor for more exchange-of-persons money, arguing that this is the most useful tool of diplomacy they have. Our current policy posture toward Latin America requires the further development of precisely the low key, mutually respectful communications capability the exchange program represents. Additional support is also needed for new joint commission undertakings in the Middle East. And in East Asia, the “mutual understanding” these exchanges foster is crucial because the power relationships are changing in an area where cultures and ways of thinking are fundamentally different from ours. These are some of the factors exerting upward pressure on this budget.

I have reexamined allocations within the total Department budget and have concluded that further reprogramming to meet this need would be unduly disruptive.

I strongly believe this Administration should continue to provide solid support to this sound and highly effective people-to-people dimension of our policy.


1. That you refrain from any request to Congress to rescind funds already appropriated for the FulbrightHays program for Fiscal Year 1976;3

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2. That you include in your Fiscal Year 1977 budget request $65 million for the FulbrightHays program.

  1. Source: Ford Library, White House Central Files, Subject File, Box 30, FO 5: Information—Exchange Activities (Executive) (2). Unclassified.
  2. Fulbright, who resigned from the Senate on December 31, 1974, following an unsuccessful bid for reelection, sent a letter to President Ford on December 15, 1975, urging him “to support the modest sum suggested by the Secretary of State.” (Ibid.)
  3. The memorandum bears no indication that Ford approved or disapproved either of Kissinger’s recommendations. However, according to a handwritten note on a December 22 memorandum from Janka to Scowcroft, Ford “restored $3 million (FY 77) of OMB cut” during a meeting that afternoon to discuss the FY 77 Federal budget. Scowcroft notified Fulbright in a January 6, 1976, letter that Ford “has agreed to restore $3 million of the funds which had been tentatively cut from the budget request for this program for fiscal year 1977. Our FY 77 budget will therefore include the sum of $58 million for these programs, which, while not all we would wish to provide, is relatively generous in a budget so constrained as this.” Janka’s memorandum and Scowcroft’s letter are ibid., White House Central Files, Subject Files, FO 5: Information—Exchange Activities (Executive) (2).