155. Memorandum From Stuart S. Janney of the Office of Management Operations and Paul L. Ahern and Robert B. Off of the Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of State for Management to the Deputy Under Secretary of State for Management (Eagleburger)1


  • Political Impact of 1976 Campaign on the State Department

By now it is clear that Presidential politics will have a marked effect on the conduct of foreign policy and that foreign relations will in turn strongly influence Presidential politics. While this is normal every four years, the effect this year will be heightened by the fact that the Secretary has dominated foreign policy for the last eight years and is the most prominent link remaining to the Nixon Administration.

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While the conduct of foreign policy cannot be dictated by election year polls, the Department and particularly the Secretary must be more sensitive to national political currents than in non-election years. This also means that there must be changes made in the way the Department through its principals presents foreign policy to the public. In an election year for example scholarly presentations of foreign policy are less effective and must at times give way to short, hard-hitting statements of a particular position.

We recommend that you approve continuing or beginning the following activities designed to (a) keep principals informed of political developments and (b) present Administration foreign policy in the context of an election year.

I. Informing principals of political developments which impact upon the conduct of foreign policy.

A. Activities and projects to be undertaken—

1. Weekly analysis of political developments to you at the end of each week.

2. Action memos to you based on daily analysis of breaking news as appropriate.

3. Regularly scheduled discussions with you concerning the impact of domestic developments on the conduct of foreign policy—at least twice weekly—preferrably, in the late afternoon or evening on Mondays and Thursdays.

4. Liaison with the White House (with the exception of Personnel related matters) Roy Hughes and Tim Austin in Morton’s office2 and Bill Kendall in Congressional Relations.

5. Compilation of statements made during the Presidential campaign by all contenders which touch upon foreign policy issues.

II. Presenting Administration foreign policy in an election year.

A. Activities and Projects to be undertaken—

1. Publications.

a. Rebutting criticism—we recommend concentrating drafting efforts on periodicals and dailies which have criticized Administration foreign policy. The fact that there has been criticism not only indicates reader interest but permits the Department to argue that another point of view should be printed and makes it appropriate to draft a “strong” defense of the particular policy under attack. Some assistance from S/PRS is needed to review the major national and regional dailies and periodicals for critical articles. Where appropriate and worthwhile [Page 542] we will prepare rebuttal for in-house or outside authors (possibly members of Congress).

b. General descriptions of Department activities—we have discussed with you the possibility of placing articles of general interest on State Department activities in magazines that normally do not carry foreign policy articles. We believe there is limited utility in pursuing this effort. Too much time would be expended in identifying publications that would be willing to run a foreign policy story. Furthermore, the article would have to concentrate on the Department as an institution rather than on current Administration foreign policy or the Secretary of State. Finally we anticipate encountering during an election year considerable opposition and skepticism from the periodicals that we approach.

2. Speech Writing—we recommend more encouragement to members of Congress to speak in support of Administration foreign policy. An offer of drafting assistance could serve as an important inducement.

3. Speaking engagements of principals—the public appearances of principals must henceforth take into account the schedule of primaries and other relevant political factors. PA is now providing a weekly update on all speaking engagements for seventh floor principals.

4. Public appearances by the Secretary—again there is a need to factor in the political pressures that are generated by the Presidential race. It is important to continually review whether the tone, content and length of the Secretary’s speeches are suited to an election year. We must determine what is the optimum manner for the Secretary to convey his views to the American people. We suggest a hard look at the speech drafting process to see whether it satisfies election year demands.

5. There needs to be an intensified schedule of informal meetings between the Secretary and members of Congress, academics, media representatives, and other opinion makers in the foreign policy field—where the long-term views of the Secretary can be most effectively articulated.


In proposing that the above procedures and policies be implemented we do not wish to indicate that there will not be other, possibly more important, activities that will require our attention. By the very nature of an election year, needs are hard to anticipate. For this reason we have not suggested a rigid set of procedures; but rather a program which should allow the flexibility necessary to quickly shift priorities.

  1. Source: Department of State, Files of Lawrence S. Eagleburger: Lot 84 D 204, Chron—March 1976. No classification marking. Eagleburger added a handwritten note addressed to Kissinger: “HAKFYI. I’ll have these 3 working on this more or less full time from now on.”
  2. Rogers C.B. Morton, Counselor to President Ford.