28. Memorandum From the Senior Program Adviser, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (Espinosa) to the Director, Office of Policy and Plans, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (Roth)1


  • Comments on the Winks Report2

Although somewhat superficial, this is a thoughtful and very timely and useful report.

The report as presented is, as it purports to be, an outline of specific problems and recommendations directed to “possible improvements” (p.2) in the conduct of academic exchanges under the binational commission programs under the Fulbright-Hays Act, those administered under the terms of that Act and the specific executive agreements with each of the 44 countries where such executive agreements are operative.

The author states: “I also take it as reasonable to assume that, after nearly thirty years, this specific program in educational exchange needs modification.” It would be erroneous for the reader of the report to assume that it is a matter of bringing up-to-date policies and techniques initiated 30 years ago that have jelled without change since that time. I think that most of the managers of CU recognize that the world has changed considerably in the last 30 years.

Many of the problems raised are continuing ones, and a number of these have from time to time been thoroughly analyzed and improvements have been made. But while we talk of the country approach, which is basic, we neglect disparate country-by-country requests, especially in cost factors. Thus, unfortunately, special studies have been followed by later studies, and the correct points are made, but then the issue is often neglected until it again becomes a problem.

Therefore, I believe it would be premature at this stage to seek a substantial grant from a private foundation “the better to engage the private sector in support of the public . . . exchange program, using the grant to implement the more significant of the recommendations [Page 71] that follow elsewhere in this report.” (p.10) What is needed first is some continuing CU homework on the subject, starting with a systematic analysis of the specific recommendations in the Winks report vis-a-vis today’s country-by-country requests versus old policies universally applied.

1. p.10: The “records, as now kept and dispersed, make it difficult to provide answers to the many questions that rightly arise about future government programs.”

The first step, I believe, as the CU History Office has suggested with regard to the CU History records, is to hire a first-rate professional archivist and a human census and statistics expert (of the type that can be found in the Census Bureau) as consultants to give us expert advice. These are matters that require professional advice.

2. p.11: “Responsibility is now divided, perhaps too extensively and certainly without full clarity, between too many bodies. CU, BFS, CIES, the Advisory Commission, USIA through the CAOs and their country plans, binational commissions, IIE, and other contract agencies. . . the Fulbright program would appear to be excessively expensive to administer.” The report suggests that a private foundation be asked, through its own funds, to study this whole problem. Before such action would merit any attention, the recommendation requires careful analysis by CU itself, based on the reasons for and realities of the Department’s role in CU/private, CU/legislative, and CU/BFS/binational commission relationship, in the dynamics of the program.

3. pp.13–15: The discussion on these pages repeats what was written some 20 years ago, as the records will amply demonstrate, without indicating what has been done about these matters in the intervening years and specifically where improvements are needed and why. Inhibitions on progress should be fully analyzed. However, if the situation appears to others the way it appears to Winks, CU should certainly clarify the picture. CU has ample factual information and experience to make a careful analysis of Winks’ comments, and to state clearly what has been done about these matters over the years and what specifically needs new thinking now, clearly thinking through the restraints that seem to dominate our thinking.

4. pp.15–17: Recommendations 9, 10, 11, and 12 are those which Winks considers most innovative and important among his recommendations. “I therefore see the recommendations with respect to regional programming as one of the most important of those offered here.” (pp.28–29) He then hastens to point out that the initiative for this type of activity should come from the binational commissions (p.29). Again on page 31, he remarks that CU and the BFS take the “risk” of pushing the idea anyhow. Then on pages 32 and 33 cautions on the delicacy of taking unilateral action, while recognizing that the program’s whole [Page 72] strength is its binational character (p.29). The binational character of the program, a jointly administered program between the U.S. and another country, the source of its binational character and commitment by each of the matching countries, the U.S. and another country and their educational communities, should be stated. Any regional or multilateral approach should be a topic for joint binational consideration unless the whole concept is in question. This point needs much deeper and fully documented analysis.

5. The other recommendations, most of which touch on improving existing techniques, or such matters as the adequacy of the level of grantee stipends, which obviously are not the same as they were 30 years ago, should each be fully reviewed and analyzed by CU, in relation to the above, before seeking outside advice. What are the restraints? What are the limits, and when is outside cooperation essential? There is no evidence that Winks has read the many CU reports and recommendations by CU to the BFS on this subject, and the actions taken. In any case, the question of desired or possible improvements should be based on where we are now in relation to country-to-country requirements, the steps taken over the years, and the fact that, with regard to techniques and administrative details, country-to-country requirements are more important than regional or worldwide concepts of uniformity.

6. With regard to academic exchanges, Winks states: “Bi-National Commissions continue, to my mind, to be the most effective means of administration abroad . . .” (p.29). If so, a question that BFS might discuss at a future date, but which CU ought seriously to study first, is why there have been no new Executive Agreements since 1964, and what in today’s world is the meaning of “binational” in the context of what we mean when we are talking specifically of the binational commission programs.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 306, USIA Historical Collection, Subject Files, 1953–2000, Entry A–1 1066, Box 50, Educational Exchanges, Robin Winks’ Study of Academic Exchange, 1977. No classification marking.
  2. Reference is to a February 15, 1977, report drafted by Winks, entitled “A Report on Some Aspects of the Fulbright-Hays Program.” A copy of the report is in the National Archives, RG 306, Associate Directorate for Programs, Subject Files of Basic Operating Documents, Entry P–100, Statement of Mission & Concepts CU.