134. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski) to Secretary of State Vance, Secretary of Defense Brown, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (McIntyre), the Director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (Warnke), and the Director of the International Communication Agency (Reinhardt)1


  • Interagency Committee on Public Diplomacy and Disarmament2

Whatever the specific accomplishments of the UN Special Session on Disarmament (SSOD),3 it has focused the attention of important publics throughout the world on disarmament issues. As we move beyond SSOD, it is desirable to foster a more informed and rational climate of opinion in other countries within which future official deliberations can take place. I am, therefore, establishing under the Special Coordination Committee an interagency committee to develop a year-long program in public diplomacy addressing the several issues of arms control and disarmament.4

Our goals are:

—to stimulate serious and constructive international discussion of important arms control and disarmament issues;

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—to involve a wider spectrum of thoughtful and interested foreign individuals and institutions in a discussion involving clear statements of the U.S. positions and policies;

—to help develop a broader based consensus in other countries in support of U.S. positions; but at a minimum, to bring more serious and realistic public deliberations to bear on the several issues;

—to diminish the ability of the Soviet Union and others to command public attention in foreign countries on the basis of emotional rhetoric.

Among other means for achieving these goals, the committee should consider:

—regional seminars and conferences bringing together leading intellectuals for realistic discussions of arms control and disarmament issues;

—visits to the U.S. by foreign journalists and scholars to discuss arms control and disarmament issues with American counterparts;

—programs aimed at diffusing the results of these discussions to wider audiences abroad;

—intensified research designed to provide U.S. policymakers with a clearer understanding of the views of important foreign publics.

You should designate an appropriate member of this interagency committee with a rank equivalent to and not lower than that of Deputy Assistant Secretary. The committee will be chaired by the International Communication Agency.5 Final recommendations of the committee should be completed as soon as practicable and in any event no later than August 1, 1978. I would appreciate your communicating to the Director of the ICA the name of your representative to the interagency committee at your earliest convenience. The NSC staff representative will be Dr. Robert Putnam.

Zbigniew Brzezinski
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Office of the Deputy Secretary: Records of Warren Christopher, 1977–1980: Lot 81D113, Box 18, Memoranda to the Secretary–1978. No classification marking. A September 8 memorandum from Bray to Brzezinski (Document 149) indicates that the memo was dated June 8. Christopher sent a copy of the memorandum to Vance under a June 12 note, in which he commented: “Cy: This is a weird subject for the crisis management arm of the NSC.” Vance’s handwritten notation on the June 12 note reads: “I agree—talk to Z. about this it doesn’t make sense.” (Ibid.) Under a June 1 covering memorandum, Huntington and Putnam sent Brzezinski an unsigned copy of the memorandum, recommending that he sign it. Dodson added the following handwritten notation on the covering memorandum: ZB/Rick—You will remember this initiative—Reg [Bartholomew] cleared it with Reinhardt; Sam [Huntington] and Bob Putnam prepared attached. Note: CIA and JCS, our usual participants, are not represented. Ok?” Dodson also added two lines for Brzezinski to indicate whether or not he wanted JCS and CIA representation on the interagency committee. (Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Europe, USSR, and East/West, Putnam Subject File, Box 30, Disarmament: Public Diplomacy: 1–6/78)
  2. An unknown hand underlined the subject line.
  3. The tenth UN Special Session on Disarmament took place May 23–June 30. Documentation on the Special Session is scheduled for publication in Foreign Relations, 1977–1980, vol. XXVI, Arms Control and Nonproliferation.
  4. An unknown hand underlined “Special Coordination Committee” and “arms control” in this sentence.
  5. An unknown hand underlined “International Communication Agency” in this sentence.