136. Memorandum From the Associate Director for Programs, International Communication Agency (Schneidman) to the Executive Assistant to the Director (Cohen)1


  • International Arts Policy

The attached decision memo has for this year served as the framework for this institution’s approach to the arts. From several fragmentary comments I have heard, it is not wholly acceptable to ECA for reasons that are not wholly clear to me but which I believe have been communicated to persons outside of the Agency.

At the last full-scale meeting of the Interagency Art Group, held at Mrs. Mondale’s house, I set forth essentially the contents of the attached decision memo. In response to a question, I suggested that $10,000,000 was a good, round figure to pay for the overseas deployment of the products identified, developed and otherwise funded through the Endowments’ domestic infrastructure and that the money be placed in the Endowments’ budget as a separate line item.

The seminal attitudes that should be considered in following on that meeting are the following:

Paul Henze, NSC—“The two Endowments have a role to play in international relations but that role will be determined by ICA.”

Barry Jagoda—“The $10,000,000 should be placed in the ICA budget and not in the Endowments’.”

Liv Biddle, NEA—“Enthusiastic and unqualified support.”

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Joe Duffey, NEH—“General support.”

Nancy Hanks, former Chairman of NEA, at a meeting with the Director—“The arts offer the greatest international impact for the least investment. The creation of the International Exhibitions Committee was the only real mistake in my tenure as chairman.”

Mrs. Mondale—“It is important that these activities be controlled by the creative personnel, in the case of the arts by the artist, rather than by administrators, bureaucrats or impresarios. I will lobby to get you the $10,000,000.”

The only way I know to make a collegial, non-redundant relationship work is to have our international infrastructure list the art and humanities people and products called for by our communication and cultural relations needs. The Endowments would then focus their domestic infrastructure on filling those needs in terms of both quality and Mrs. Mondale’s strongly held views. There may be other ways, better ways, that are not known to me. If so, the possessors of such ideas should come forward with them. What is not acceptable in my view is continuing in the same old comfortable way which adds up to an infinitesimal product in terms of the present and potential need.


Decision Memorandum From the Associate Director for Planning and Program Direction, United States Information Agency (Schneidman) to the Director (Reinhardt)2


  • International Arts Policy

The gathering, called by the attached invitation,3 will be the launching pad for this Administration’s international arts posture and policy.

It has been in gestation for close to half a year. The initiative came from the efforts of some in the arts community and within the government to have the government assume total responsibility for up-front, blank check funding of U.S. participation in the international [Page 395] arts festivals such as Venice, Sao Paulo, Paris, etc.4 This proposal would delegate the entire mission to the International Exhibitions Committee, an offshoot of American Federation of Arts. The Committee has been almost entirely funded by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities (more than $150,000, all of which goes for staffing and honoraria and travel expenses for the members—none for program). The Committee’s non-government fund raising efforts have brought in about $20,000 in two years.

Others believe that the international arts festivals represent an insignificant part of the need and opportunity to engage art and artists in the field of international cultural relations. The leaders of the two Endowments are strongly international minded and anxious to operate with high visibility in that sphere. From the interagency meeting I attended, it was clear that Paul Henze was favorably inclined and said that the Endowments should take their lead from ICA in this matter.

It would seem that a logical and effective division of effort is entirely possible. It could lead to a prompt and dramatic two-way flow of art and artists which would overwhelm the present puny efforts (CU’s cultural presentations to six countries in Eastern Europe, CU’s facilitation of two or three major U.S. museum shows per year, USIA’s present bag of 25 or 30 small exhibits in circulation, our joint funding of a few international arts festivals). The Endowments have the will and the funds. They have a domestic infrastructure; we have an international infrastructure. Linking them collegially would equal mutual self-interest (some say the funds now going to overhead support of the International Exhibitions Committee would be obviated by using the Endowments peer panels for that purpose and that those funds would more than cover the cost of participation in the festivals).


1. No one should speak, even speculatively, of the philosophy of the new Agency.

2. CU’s representative (probably Peter Solmssen) should speak guardedly about the philosophy of the new Agency. _______

3. You (HFS) should speak guardedly about the philosophy of the new Agency. _______

4. (P Solmssen) or (H Schneidman) should speak positively for the new Agency in terms of the last paragraph above. _______5

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 306, Associate Directorate for Programs, Subject Files of Basic Operating Documents, 1969–1982, Entry P–100, Basic Documents—1978 [A]. No classification marking. Printed from an uninitialed copy.
  2. No classification marking. A copy was sent to Bray. Reinhardt and Miller initialed the memorandum, indicating that they saw it.
  3. Not attached and not further identified.
  4. References are to the Venice Biennale, Sao Paulo Bienal, and Biennale de Paris.
  5. An unknown hand, presumably Reinhardt’s, crossed out Solmssen’s name and placed a check mark next to this option. _______