Friday, July 29, 2016

The role of a Public Diplomacy Foreign Service Officer in the field (1977)

Note: For a brief period (1978-1982), the United States Information Agency (USIA, 1953-1999) was renamed/reorganized as the International Communication Agency.

From the newly-published papers newly by the Office of the Historian, U.S. Department of State:


68. Memorandum From the Director of the United States Information Agency (Reinhardt) to all USIS Principal and Branch Posts and Heads of Offices and Services

Washington, June 17, 1977

II. Summary of Key Discussion Points During Meetings of June 2, 8, and 15 Policy Explication ... 
If you start with an officer ... he is at least a reflection of the society. He is the contact point, the person the audience knows. He must be someone attractive enough to that audience, interesting to them, one who can develop a relationship with them to permit him to present a whole variety of wares. If he cannot do that, the game is lost. Because we have acquired of late a lot of very attractive wares—VTRs, magazines, etc.—we are becoming increasingly in this Agency impressarios, distributors of products. We are by default almost entirely that, or too much so. If a USIS officer repeatedly says to a foreigner, “I don’t know anything about that, but in two weeks I can get you the best speakers on the subject,” that officer after a while will not have the kind of relationship which will make him useful in that mission. ...

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