3. Editorial Note

In a January 14, 1977, memorandum to Acting Director of the United States Information Agency (USIA) Eugene Kopp, Associate Director for Policy and Plans Walter Bastian indicated that the incoming Carter administration had asked the United States Information Agency “to handle completely the drafting, recording and transmitting to as [Page 11] many countries as possible, of an approximate three-minute television statement to the world by the President-elect.” Bastian also explained that the videotaping of President-elect Jimmy Carter’s message would take place at Blair House on January 19. “Transmission of the message by satellite,” Bastian continued, “would go out over the next 18 hours so that it would be in the hands of foreign television stations for release at noon on January 20. We have the capability, through satellite transmission, of reaching 79 countries but the final count will depend on how many actually want it.” (National Archives, RG 306, Office of the Director, Executive Secretariat, Secretariat Staff, Correspondence Files, 1973–1980, Entry P–104, Box 113, 7700590–7700599)

In the address taped on January 19, President-elect Carter reinforced the themes he planned to emphasize during his January 20 inaugural address:

“I have chosen the occasion of my inauguration as President to speak not only to my own countrymen—which is traditional—but also to you, citizens of the world who did not participate in our election but who will nevertheless be affected by my decisions.

“I also believe that as friends you are entitled to know how the power and influence of the United States will be exercised by its new Government.

“I want to assure you that the relations of the United States with the other countries and peoples of the world will be guided during my own administration by our desire to shape a world order that is more responsive to human aspirations. The United States will meet its obligation to help create a stable, just, and peaceful world order.

“We will not seek to dominate nor dictate to others. As we Americans have concluded one chapter in our Nation’s history and are beginning to work on another, we have, I believe, acquired a more mature perspective on the problems of the world. It is a perspective which recognizes the fact that we alone do not have all the answers to the world’s problems.

“The United States alone cannot lift from the world the terrifying specter of nuclear destruction. We can and will work with others to do so.

“The United States alone cannot guarantee the basic right of every human being to be free of poverty and hunger and disease and political repression. We can and will cooperate with others in combating these enemies of mankind.

“The United States alone cannot ensure an equitable development of the world resources or the proper safeguarding of the world’s environment. But we can and will join with others in this work.

“The United States can and will take the lead in such efforts.

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“In these endeavors we need your help, and we offer ours. We need your experience; we need your wisdom.

“We need your active participation in a joint effort to move the reality of the world closer to the ideals of human freedom and dignity.

“As friends, you can depend on the United States to be in the forefront of the search for world peace. You can depend on the United States to remain steadfast in its commitment to human freedom and liberty. And you can also depend on the United States to be sensitive to your own concerns and aspirations, to welcome your advice, to do its utmost to resolve international differences in a spirit of cooperation.

“The problems of the world will not be easily resolved. Yet the well-being of each and every one of us—indeed our mutual survival—depends on their resolution. As President of the United States I can assure you that we intend to do our part. I ask you to join us in a common effort based on mutual trust and mutual respect.

“Thank you.”

The United States Information Agency distributed the address to 26 countries on January 20. (Public Papers: Carter, 1977, Book I, pages 4–5)

The United States Information Agency also planned to distribute other media products designed to educate foreign audiences about the new presidential administration. In telegram 17356 to multiple diplomatic and consular posts, January 26, the Department of State described USIA’s Transition ’77 film program:

“1. The first installment of Transition ’77, USIA’s four-part film/VTR series which will introduce the new administration will be ready for shipment early in February. It will describe the role of the Carter White House in formulating and coordinating policies of the U.S. Government and introduce members of the White House staff who will figure prominently in international policy matters.

“2. On January 27, an IMV team is scheduled to tape interviews conducted in the White House by noted commentator Edward P. Morgan with Zbigniew Brzezinski, Hamilton Jordan, Bert Lance, Robert Lipshutz, Jody Powell and Charles Schultze. The first program will consist of excerpts from these interviews, filmed segments of the White House working environment, and commentary by Mr. Morgan.

“3. Subsequent programs in this series will focus on the Cabinet, White House/congressional relations, and on foreign policy. Our aim is to complete the series by April.”

(National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770028–0194)

For additional information about the Transition ’77 program, see Document 20.