58. Action Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for Congressional Relations (Bennet) to Secretary of State Vance1
Hearings on USIA Reorganization
Issue for Decision
Congressman Dante Fascell’s Subcommittee on International Operations is planning a series of hearings on USIA reorganization before the July 4 recess. He has requested your appearance, preferably prior to June 15, to initiate the hearings. You would be followed by John Reinhardt and outside witnesses, to include those supporting and those opposing the Stanton and Murphy commissions’ recommendations on USIA reorganization.2 Fascell recalls having discussed this subject with you during the transition period.
Because of his Subcommittee Chairmanship and personal interest in the subject, Fascell will play a leading role in Congressional considerations of any USIA reorganization plans we recommend. However, Fascell is impatient that the Administration seems not to be recognizing the importance of viewing international public diplomacy in a cohesive, coordinated fashion and addressing the possibility of reorganization on the basis of such a perception. He recognizes—in fact, he prefers—that you not appear before the Committee with a detailed reorganization plan proposal. Rather, what he hopes for is a general discussion which clearly demonstrates the concern of the Carter administration for “public diplomacy in its full meaning”. He views USIA, including VOA, the exchange program and CU, the operations of Radio Free [Page 156] Europe and Radio Liberty, and our international communications policy (which is currently directed by EB and IO) as part of an overall package. Fascell would like you to appear personally to address these questions in general terms, reassuring the Committee that the Administration is taking a broad new look at the entire problem and stating some of the objectives you would like to see accomplished through this review and any subsequent reorganization proposals. These objectives in terms of Fascell’s expectations could include such things as a tightly-coordinated strategy for dealing with international communications policy questions such as satellite television transmissions, COMSAT receiver stations in underdeveloped countries, etc., a clear recognition of the distinction between international public diplomacy and domestic public diplomacy (Hodding Carter’s operation), the most rational use of our resources in cultural programming, etc. Fascell feels that the principal gap in the Administration’s present perception is in the U.S. international communications field where he believes policy is being mismanaged by the private sector and dealt with at the technical working level only in the Executive branch. He apparently also feels that the anachronism of the split between CU and USIA should be dealt with.
Joe Duffey, Dick Moose and Kempton Jenkins have all spoken with Fascell about these hearings, and he has emphasized to all that he has an open mind about the reorganization question and would not expect a detailed exposition at this appearance. This should simplify accepting his invitation prior to having a final White House-approved reorganization plan in hand before testifying.
In the Senate, you will recall Percy and McGovern sponsored a reorganization plan for State and USIA which was, in fact, a mirror image of the Stanton plan. This was adopted by McGovern’s Subcommittee but defeated in the full Committee.3 We, together with USIA, expressed our opposition to the McGovern/Percy proposal at that time. The Foreign Relations Committee instead adopted a general statement calling on the Administration to review existing proposals for reorganization and come up with its own recommendations by next September.
That you authorize us to inform Fascell that you welcome the opportunity to appear before the Committee and provide a broad policy statement of the Administration’s objectives in this field. We would work out a date with your office and Fascell’s.4[Page 157]
ALTERNATIVELY, that you authorize us to inform Fascell that, while you would like to make an appearance and provide a policy overview, the press of other business makes it impossible and that we would propose that Deputy Secretary Christopher appear in your stead.5
- Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P770102–1421. Confidential. Sent through Christopher and Moose; Christopher did not initial the memorandum. Drafted by Jenkins. Vance’s initials are in the lower right-hand corner of the first page of the memorandum. An unknown hand wrote “OBE 6/10/77” in the top right-hand corner of the memorandum.↩
- See footnote 3, Document 1 and footnote 6, Document 30.↩
- See footnote 2, Document 49 and footnote 5, Document 51.↩
- Vance did not approve or disapprove the recommendation. Below it, Moose wrote: “Cy: I believe this is important—Dick.”↩
- Vance did not approve or disapprove the recommendation. Christopher testified before Fascell’s subcommittee on June 21; see Document 72.↩