Structure and Scope of the Foreign Relations Series

This volume is part of a subseries of volumes of the Foreign Relations series that documents the most important issues in the foreign policy of the administration of President Jimmy Carter. This volume documents the public diplomacy efforts of the Carter administration from 1977 until 1980. Readers interested in a more detailed examination of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty should consult Foreign Relations, 1977–1980, volume XX, Eastern Europe. Additional documentation on the USIA reorganization effort, as well as documentation on efforts to reorganize other aspects of the conduct of U.S. foreign policy, is in Foreign Relations, 1977–1980, volume XXVIII, Organization and Management of Foreign Policy. The political aspects of the Carter administration’s decision to boycott the 1980 Moscow Olympics and a broader treatment of information policy are in Foreign Relations, 1977–1980, volume XXV, Global Issues; United Nations Issues.

Focus of Research and Principles of Selection for Foreign Relations, 1977–1980, Volume XXX

This volume documents the Carter administration’s efforts to conduct public diplomacy. A primary emphasis of the volume is the fundamental role that the United States Information Agency (subsequently the United States International Communication Agency) played in the formulation and implementation of public diplomacy. The documentation focuses on the merger of the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (CU) and the United States Information Agency in late 1977 and the establishment of the United States International Communication Agency in early 1978; the reports and recommendations of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Information and the U.S. Advisory Commission on International Educational and Cultural Affairs; the production and dissemination of USIA/ICA research reports, briefing papers, and surveys; the conceptualization and administration of broadly-based cultural initiatives such as ARTS AMERICA; the development of initiatives designed to celebrate the American Constitution bicentennial; foreign responses to exhibits, films, radio and television programs; a new emphasis on younger, foreign audiences; and USIA/ICA’s efforts to adapt to and utilize new forms of technology to refresh and enhance its programming.

The volume also draws attention to the Department of State’s public diplomacy efforts. The documentation focuses on people-to-[Page X]people, cultural, and educational exchanges, administered in the Department by CU. Following the integration of CU into USIA, senior officials worked to strengthen the institutional relationships between the two agencies. The volume also includes documentation on the Department’s initiative to inform the American public about U.S. foreign policy and the world.

Within the White House, the President and his primary advisers grappled with the organizational and intellectual challenges posed by the CUUSIA merger and establishment of ICA. Carter, in creating ICA, emphasized not only ICA’s charge to inform the world about American society but also ICA’s new role of informing the American public about the world, what ICA would term the “reverse” or “second mandate.” The documentation reveals the ways in which Carter, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs Zbigniew Brzezinski, and other advisers pushed USIA/ICA Director John Reinhardt and his agency to develop programming and initiatives to support foreign policy successes such as the Camp David Accords and respond to crises such as the taking of U.S. hostages in Iran, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the 1980 Olympic boycott, and Cuban refugees. In addition, the volume also highlights Carter’s appointments to the Board for International Broadcasting, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and the advisory commissions on information and cultural affairs.


The editor wishes to acknowledge the assistance of Ceri McCarron, Brittany Parris, Keith Shuler, and Charles Stokley of the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library; Seth Center and Martin Manning of the Department of State; and Elizabeth Gray, David Langbart, Tab Lewis, Alan Lipton, Don McIlwain, and Richard Peuser of the National Archives and Records Administration. The Historical Staff of the Central Intelligence Agency helped to arrange access to CIA files.

The editor conducted the research for this volume and selected and annotated the documentation under the supervision of Adam M. Howard, General Editor of the Foreign Relations series. Stephen P. Randolph, Director of the Office of the Historian, reviewed the volume. Chief of the Declassification Division Carl Ashley coordinated the declassification review. Stephanie Eckroth and Craig Daigle did the copy and technical editing under the supervision of Mandy A. Chalou, Chief of the Editing and Publishing Division. Do Mi Stauber Inc. prepared the index.

Kristin L. Ahlberg, Ph.D.