May 29, 1997
Hon. Madeleine K. Albright
Secretary of State
Department of State
Washington, D.C. 20520
Dear Secretary Albright:
You and your foreign affairs agency colleagues will soon be deciding important issues regarding the proposed re-organization of these agencies. We believe the basic purpose for the re-organization of our foreign affairs organizations and programs must be a stronger and more effective American engagement abroad. Changes in our institutions and programs must enable this nation to shape events to improve security and prosperity for this nation and the world. Reform should not be at the expense of the security and well being of this nation and that of the international community. Because of these concerns, we are attaching suggested guidelines or specific criteria by which our arms control and public diplomacy reforms should be judged.
Our fundamental view, as expressed in a statement by leaders of the foreign affairs community and many of our colleagues on May 16th, is: (1) The basic functions of our existing foreign affairs agencies should be strengthened and improved and the integrity of such programs should be maintained; (2) There should remain, at the highest levels of government, an independent voice and leadership for our public diplomacy, arms control and development assistance programs; (3) There should be open and public hearings on any re-organization proposals; (4) Re-organization should not become an excuse to cut further or otherwise decimate our existing foreign affairs programs and budgets in the name of so-called "savings;" and (5) The professionals who have developed invaluable expertise and experience in the above fields should be properly empowered to carry out their missions to serve American interests.
Re-organization is a process of concern to all American citizens and especially those most closely involved in these programs. Many of our organizations have been working in these fields for decades and thus have some experience and knowledge about what will work and what will not. It is in the spirit of ensuring a better American engagement in world affairs that we have developed these specific suggestions and criteria for both the Arms Control and Public Diplomacy aspects of the re-organization proposal by the Administration.
We would be pleased to meet with you or your representatives and the Task Groups working on these subjects to discuss our views and to provide further ideas on how to ensure that this nation remains strong in these vital fields. We look forward to working with you and other officials on this important task.
Charles F. Dambach, President, National Peace Corps Association,* Chair, COLEAD*
Harry C. Blaney, III, President, COLEAD*
Robert S. Norris, Natural Resources Defense Council*
Sherry Mueller, Executive Director, National Council for International Visitors
Jane Anderson, Executive Director, Fulbright Association*
Hon. Jonathan Dean, Union of Concerned Scientists*
Robert Musil, Executive Director, Physicians for Social Responsibility
Mike McCarry, Alliance for International Education & Cultural Exchange
Robert Chatten, Former President, USIA Alumni Association
Hon. Spurgeon M. Keeny, Jr., President, Arms Control Association*
Tom Farrell, Vice President, Institute of International Education
Dan E. Davidson, Executive Director, American Council of Teachers of Russian
Vice Admiral John J. Shanahan, U. S. Navy Ret, Center for Defense Information
Jack W. Mendelsohn, Deputy Director, Arms Control Association*
Rear Admiral Eugene J. Carroll, U. S. Navy Ret, Center for Defense Information
John B. Rhinelander, Lawyers Alliance for World Security
Mark Schlefer, President, Lawyers Alliance for World Security
* Association designation for identification purposes only
The Vice President
Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
Criteria for Re-Organization of The Arms Control and Public Diplomacy Functions
Prepared for COLEAD (Coalition for American Leadership Abroad) by Foreign Affairs Non-Profit Community Expert Group
As a series of decisions are made by the Administration and the Congress regarding the consolidation of ACDA and USIA into the U.S. Department of State, it is critical that key principles, policies, and programs be strengthened in the process. To this end the following criteria are presented to help the decision process taking place on re-organization. They should act as benchmarks by which changes in organization, leadership, budgets and management should be made.
We believe that the functions of each of our key foreign affairs agencies including ACDA, USIA and USAID, are crucial to effectively carry out the many missions, and protect the interests of this nation. Without effective arms control, non-proliferation and anti-nuclear terrorism programs we would devastate our capacity to protect our citizens from perhaps the most serious threat this nation faces in the new century. Without exchanges such as the Fulbright and International Visitor programs and instruments such as the Voice of America, we would unilaterally disarm our efforts to speak and communicate directly with the diverse people of our globe bypassing sometimes hostile governments. Without sustainable development programs including environmental, health, educational, food, population efforts, as well as activities in other sectors, this nation would not be able to reduce the poverty and chaos that afflict much of mankind and jeopardize our security. These agencies and functions operate most effectively when they focus on their missions and this focus must be maintained in the re-organization.
The arms control and non-proliferation functions carried out by the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency are among the most important instruments protecting American security. ACDA has since the 1960s been on the front lines of the most important achievements of American diplomacy and security policy. For an almost infinitesimal investment of our resources, the return in terms of American security and safety has been extraordinary. ACDA has also performed the function of often being the lone guardian at the gate against tendencies which might have favored more short-term and myopic options. The expertise within ACDA is also important for verification, monitoring and, above all, negotiating landmark agreements in arms control and non-proliferation -- a function no less important today than two decades ago.
With that in mind, we believe the following criteria are indispensable elements in ensuring this function:
Effective public diplomacy is needed today more than ever in a world that is filled with regional, ethnic, and religious conflicts, and security threats posed by global environmental and public health issues. The opportunities are also greater than ever with the ability to communicate and reach directly citizens and private groups around the world through exchanges, radio and TV broadcasts, and cultural and academic programs. USIA has built an infrastructure using its expert personnel, partnerships with private sector organizations, and modern technology, to carry on this vital work which should be maintained in a new State Department.
This reorganization, including the transfer of the U.S. Government-sponsored flagship exchange programs (now administered in the USIA Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs) to State, has the potential to increase the already dramatic positive impact of these programs. Unfortunately, it also carries the potential of emasculating them and squandering resources (both human and financial) that have served long-term U.S. national interests for more than half a century.
Public Diplomacy: Overall Functions and Management
Public Diplomacy: International Exchange and Visitor Programs
Exchanges contribute greatly over the long run to the influence that our nation has in world affairs. Dollars spent on public diplomacy now reduce the need for exponentially more expensive military engagement later. Exchange programs create the web of human connections that make possible negotiations of more advantageous trade agreements, security arrangements, and diplomatic treaties in the future. They are supported by an infrastructure of volunteer organizations throughout the United States whose participation in exchange programs enriches families and communities, improves the U.S. image abroad, and makes a difference in the world "one person at a time."
To maximize the benefits of reorganization for the programs currently administered by the USIA Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs -- and implemented by a wide array of private sector partners -- we urge decision-makers to:
Foreign Affairs Agencies
U.S. Information Agency