9. Information Memorandum From the Associate Director for Policy and Plans, United States Information Agency (Bastian) to the Director-designate (Reinhardt)1


  • Agency Contacts with New Administration

In light of our conversation yesterday, I thought it might be useful to provide you with a summary of USIA contacts with the Carter administration. Early contacts date back to the Democratic Convention (we were not trying to pick the winner—we did the same thing at the Republican Convention) when we set up a press center to assist foreign journalists.2 I visited the Carter headquarters in the Americana Hotel and talked with the Carter people concerned with foreign press liaison.

A partial list of the Agency’s contacts with the new Administration includes:

IMV is producing a four-part series on the new Administration to introduce the Administration to the world.3 Hosted by Edward P. Morgan, the first part has been completed and shipped overseas. Included in the first part were interviews with Messrs. Brzezinski, Jordan, Lance, Lipshutz and Powell.

—Reports on foreign media reaction to President Carter’s election, to his message to the world,4 to his inauguration and to his “fireside chat”5 were hand delivered to the White House press office immediately following production of the reports. Jody Powell acknowledged the value of these reports in a letter to IOP/M.6

—The President’s message to the world7 was an unprecedented action which brought the image of the President before one of the [Page 26] largest audiences ever to see a political message. IOP discussed the message with the White House press office before it was taped, IMV handled transmission of the televised message by satellite, and the VOA broadcast the message in 36 languages.

IOP invited Albert Eisele, Vice President Mondale’s press secretary, to a briefing in which policy and area officers discussed with him the public relations aspects of the Vice President’s trip to Europe and Japan.8 Suggestions on ways in which USIS posts could contribute to the trip were offered to Mr. Eisele. As a result of this briefing, Rome PAO Robert Amerson traveled with the Vice President’s party to handle contacts with the foreign press and to advise USIS posts what would be required of them. After the trip Mr. Eisele returned to USIA to brief area and policy officers on the results of the trip and on USIA and USIS posts’ contributions to the mission.

Robert Hormats, senior staff member for international economic affairs in the NSC gave a briefing to Agency officers on the economic plans of the Carter administration. IPS based an article on the briefing, and after obtaining clearance from Mr. Hormats, distributed it worldwide.

Joe Hanson and I met with NSC press adviser Jerrold Schecter on February 15 to discuss policy guidance and to outline what USIA could contribute to the NSC. IOP/M’s media reaction reports were of particular interest. They will be delivered regularly to the NSC and a special weekly report on worldwide media reaction to the Carter administration’s foreign policy9 will be prepared specifically for the NSC.

—The policy guidance staff (IOP/G) maintains regular contact with the White House press office and serves as liaison with the White House for other Agency elements.

—The White House press office has designated Anne Edwards to act as liaison with USIA. She is currently on a 90-day contract, after which the White House would like her to become a USIA employee (Schedule “C”) and continue in the same capacity.

—We are studying the possibility of employing David Colton, who worked in the Carter campaign and in the transition, in the media [Page 27] reaction unit. He has worked for Der Spiegel, which would be ideal background from which to handle West European media reaction.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 306, Office of the Director, Executive Secretariat, Secretariat Staff, Correspondence Files, 1973–1980, Entry P–104, Box 128, 7702560–7702569. No classification marking. Fraser initialed the upper right-hand corner of the memorandum.
  2. The Democratic National Convention took place at Madison Square Garden in New York, July 12–15, 1976; the Republican National Convention took place at Kemper Arena in Kansas City, August 16–19.
  3. See Documents 3 and 20.
  4. See Document 3.
  5. Reference is to the President’s February 2 fireside chat, broadcast live over television and radio. For the text, see Public Papers: Carter, 1977, Book I, pp. 69–77. For additional information about the address, see footnote 2, Document 33.
  6. Not found.
  7. See Document 3.
  8. Mondale traveled to Brussels January 23–24, Bonn January 24–26, Berlin on January 26, Rome January 26–27, Vatican City on January 27, London January 27–28, Paris January 28–29, Keflavik on January 29, and Tokyo January 30–February 1. For the President’s remarks prior to Mondale’s departure, the text of news statements and addresses, and Mondale’s remarks at a news conference following his return to Washington, see Department of State Bulletin, March 7, 1977, pp. 181–182, 185–197.
  9. See Document 12.