109. Memorandum From the Deputy Secretary of State (Ingersoll) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Scowcroft)1


  • Organization of International Information, Educational and Cultural Relations

The Department of State has carefully studied the report made by the Panel on International Information, Educational and Cultural Relations which was issued on March 11, 1975.2 The Panel’s proposals provided a useful stimulus to an evaluation by this Department of the mission and structure of United States information and cultural programs.

Following discussions of this issue among appropriate officials of the Department3 and after weighing various options, we have [Page 388] reached a number of general conclusions which we submit for your consideration.

The fundamental need is to establish policy coherence in our international communications efforts. They should serve two related goals:

1. Encourage respect for America and American policies in our interdependent world. This requires coherent articulation, honest explanation and fidelity to our commitment to individual liberty and cultural diversity.

2. Promote interactions which deepen mutual understanding, encourage rationality and strengthen cooperation among Americans and other peoples.

We do not believe the Panel’s recommendations to divide our information programs into “policy information” and other information programs and to establish the Voice of America as an independent agency will contribute to this needed coherence and therefore we do not favor these recommendations. With specific reference to the VOA, it is our view that the VOA must at all times be fully responsive to our foreign policy objectives and must therefore maintain its present close links to USIA, and through USIA to this Department, for guidance. We believe that this arrangement is highly advisable, whatever decisions are reached on the Panel’s other proposals.

On the other hand, integration of the functions of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs with those of USIA in an agency related to the State Department in such a way as to assure creative as well as coordinated policy management would be a major step forward.

We would therefore (1) merge the Department’s educational and cultural activities with USIA, (2) continue VOA’s organic relationship to USIA, (3) provide for effective State Department leadership in planning and coordinating coherent communications strategies by establishing a new Under Secretary in the area of intercultural communications who would also serve as director of the expanded USIA, and (4) maintain program independence and creativity by providing the organizational and budgetary autonomy for USIA in a relationship to the Department like that of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. We also believe that the new, expanded USIA should probably be renamed in order to reflect its broad responsibilities in the area of intercultural communication.

By virtue of his dual assignment, the new Under Secretary would have both staff and operational functions. He would assure that foreign policy considerations govern the development and operation of communications programs and that the policy formulation process has adequate regard for communications considerations. In addition, he would provide communications policy guidance for other international affairs agencies, such as Defense, AID, and the Peace Corps, as [Page 389] well as for those departments and agencies whose programs, while domestically oriented, are related in significant measure to intercultural communications.

These arrangements, in addition to encouraging policy coherence would permit improved program management and a simplification of bureaucratic structure plus administrative and personnel savings.

Our final recommendation is that no steps should be taken at the present time regarding the Panel’s recommendation to integrate USIA’s FSIO’s into the Department’s FSO Corps. The issue of personnel integration should, however, be reexamined at a later date.

In our view, the implementation of these, or alternative proposals should be deferred to the next Administration. They need, however, to be explored carefully with other agencies and with the Congress, and we recommend that the State Department be authorized to be responsive along the above lines in discussions within the Executive Branch and with the appropriate Committees of Congress.

Robert S. Ingersoll
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 306, USIA Records, Historical Collection, Subject Files, 1953–2000, Entry A1 (1066), Box 7, Relations with State, 1975–1977. Unclassified. Richardson initialed the memorandum. Although no drafting information appears on this version of the memorandum, a previous version, December 17, 1975, was drafted by Frederic N. Spotts (M) and cleared by Richardson and Eagleburger. (Ibid., RG 59, Policy Planning Staff (S/P), Director’s Files (Winston Lord), 1969–1977: Lot 77 D 112, Entry 5027, Box 359, Chronological File, Jan 1–15, 1976) NSC Staff Secretary Jeanne Davis prompted the Department for its assessment of the Stanton Panel report in an October 28, 1975, memorandum to Springsteen, who replied that, as of November 5, the Department was “still studying the recommendations” and had “not yet reached any final conclusions.” Both memoranda are in the Ford Library, White House Central Files, Subject File, 1974–1977, Box 178, FG 230 United States Information Agency (Executive), 6/1/75–12/31/75.
  2. The Panel’s report, made public on March 15, 1975, is Document 103.
  3. For Richardson’s personal views, see Document 104.