What is Public Diplomacy?

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What Is Public Diplomacy? Past Practices, Present Conduct, Possible Future
Roberts, Walter R., 1916Mediterranean Quarterly, Volume 18, Number 4, Fall 2007, pp. 36-52 (Article)
Published by Duke University Press

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What Is Public Diplomacy? Past Practices, Present Conduct, Possible Future Walter R. Roberts

On 15 October 2001, five weeks after the tragic events of 9/11, the Washington Post carried a front-page article by Robert G. Kaiser, the paper’s deputy managing editor, headlined “U.S. Message Lost Overseas.” The subtitle read: “Officials See Immediate Need for ‘Public Diplomacy.’ ” Public diplomacy in quotation marks. In other words, a special term not universally recognized. In the article, Kaiser defined public diplomacy as the administration’s “selling of its policies to the public.” A 10 January 2007 article in the Post headlined “U.S. Overseas Image Gets New Focus” reported the creation of a new annual State Department award, the Benjamin Franklin Award for Public Diplomacy, to honor a company, academic institution, or other nongovernmental entity that does the most to “promote the US image abroad through intercultural understanding.” The announcement was made at a conference of public relations organizations at the Department of State. Many participants wondered what public diplomacy really meant. As a matter of fact, there is no agreement among practitioners, foreign policy experts, and scholars on how to define public diplomacy. Is it advocating a government’s policies to foreign publics? Is it promoting a country’s image abroad? And what activities are included? Two well-known programs come to mind: the Voice of America and the Fulbright exchanges. Are either or both public diplomacy?
Walter R. Roberts is a cofounder of the Public Diplomacy Institute of The George Washington University, where he taught a course on public diplomacy for ten years. His government career included service as associate director of the US Information Agency and appointment by former presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton to the US Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy.
Mediterranean Quarterly 18:4 DOI 10.1215/10474552-2007-025 Copyright 2007 by Mediterranean Affairs, Inc.

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Since the term public diplomacy originated in the United States, although it is now accepted worldwide, its historical development will provide the background for its proper definition and for appreciating its vital role. Prior to World War II The term public diplomacy entered the American lexicon only recently. While it had been used by practitioners for at least thirty years, the activities now called “public diplomacy” were previously known as “international information and cultural programs.” When and how did these programs originate? The idea that a government should establish contact with the people of another country in peacetime is relatively new. In wartime, however, such communications — often called psychological warfare — have existed for a long time. Homer describes how soldiers of one warring nation carved messages into stone to break the will of the enemy to continue fighting. Prior to the invention of the radio more than a hundred years ago, foreign publics could hardly be reached. Diplomacy had a very restricted government-to-government interpretation — as late as 1927, the Havana Convention limited a diplomat’s relationship to the foreign office of the host state and clearly considered any direct communication with the host public as undiplomatic. It was a time when Secretary of State Henry Stimson in 1929 shut down the State Department’s cryptanalytic office saying that “gentlemen don’t read each other’s mail.” How, then, did it happen that measures to influence foreign publics in peacetime became acceptable, and indeed vital, in the exercise of foreign policy? Several factors played a role. The first was the invention of the radio. When it was introduced at the end of the nineteenth century, states acquired the previously unavailable means to reach the people of another country without having to deal with that country’s border and customs controls. The second factor was the behavior of the Bolshevik and subsequently the Nazi governments. After 1917, breaking established diplomatic rules, the Soviets used radio broadcasts to encourage other peoples to rise against their governments, and the Nazi regime acted similarly upon gaining power in 1933.


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The third factor was the French government’s decision in 1923 to establish a cultural section in its foreign office, to further cultural relations with other countries. French cultural personalities were sent abroad, where they operated mostly through the local Alliance Française and not as embassy or legation officers, thereby not breaking the then existing diplomatic protocol. Indeed, the Alliance Française, founded in 1883 as an organization to teach French primarily in the French colonies but also in other countries, was the first governmental endeavor to reach foreign publics. Among experts in the area of public diplomacy, Benjamin Franklin is often cited as the first “public diplomat” when he served as minister to France, because he did not confine his activities to French governmental authorities but made direct contact with the French people — hence, the Benjamin Franklin Award for Public Diplomacy recently created by the Department of State. Franklin, who charmed the French, was no ordinary diplomat. He was appointed by Congress shortly after the Declaration of Independence, when there was no American government and the colonies were at war with the British. His task was to persuade the French government to take the side of the colonies. In this he succeeded when a treaty of alliance was signed in 1778. He and his successor in Paris, Thomas Jefferson, were wartime envoys for whom the then strict rules of diplomacy did not apply. The objective of the French foreign office decision in 1923 to establish a cultural section in the Quai d’Orsay was to create, through cultural relations, a pro-French atmosphere among foreign populations. France was convinced that its cultural accomplishments had given it a specific world eminence and role — la mission civilisatrice. These achievements would enhance French prestige abroad and create a pro-French climate among foreign publics. Foreign governments, in turn, would find it easier to accept the objectives of French foreign policy. After 1933, the Nazi government broke protocol and added cultural attachés to the diplomatic list of certain German embassies and legations. These cultural attachés, using the guise of culture, invariably pursued objectives of the Nazi propaganda ministry. The word propaganda was a perfectly benign word until the Nazis came to power in Germany. It goes back to Latin and was used by the Vatican when it created in 1622 the Congregatio de Propaganda Fide, the mission to propa-

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gate the faith. Public relations and advertising sections of American companies were originally called propaganda sections. When the Nazis formed their government, Goebbels called his ministry the Propagandaministerium. It was that ministry’s dissemination of lies that gave the word its malignant meaning, which to this day it has been unable to shed. In 1934, to a large extent driven by Nazi Germany’s aggressive propaganda throughout the world, the British government created the British Council, a semigovernmental cultural organization. A year later, at the behest of the Foreign Office, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) extended its Empire Service’s English broadcasts to other languages. The British Council representatives, following the French example, worked abroad outside British embassies and legations. Its purpose was to familiarize foreign publics with British cultural achievements and thereby create a climate in which British foreign policy objectives would be positively received by publics abroad and, consequently, by foreign governments. The French and British initiatives influenced US attitudes but it was Nazi propaganda, particularly in Latin America, that really aroused the US government to initiate programs intended for foreign publics. First, President Franklin Roosevelt established in 1938 the Inter-Departmental Committee for Scientific and Cultural Co-operation. In the same year, the State Department created the Division of Cultural Relations. In 1940, a new agency came into existence, later known as the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs (CIAA), headed by Nelson Rockefeller. Its mission was to further hemispheric solidarity, including cultural relations, with Latin American countries. In the State Department, discussions about appointing cultural officers at American embassies and legations were held at that time, with one assistant secretary of state opining that the term culture had acquired “a certain amount of odium” through the way Nazi cultural attachés were conducting their business. Nonetheless, in 1941 cultural relations officers were named at several US missions in Latin America and subsequently at other American embassies and legations. Their task was to organize academic and other cultural exchanges and to establish and supervise the various activities of US-funded local American libraries. The Havana Convention, which excluded such activities, was ignored by the United States and the host countries. Concurrently with the creation of the Division of Cultural Relations in


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the State Department, the Division of Current Information (whose origin goes back to 1921, and whose original purpose was domestic — furthering State Department relations with the American press corps) was broadened to include foreign dissemination. Press attachés were appointed at certain US missions abroad as early as 1940. Their primary task was to explain American foreign policy to local publics. Thus, prior to US entry into World War II, the United States had already established a small peacetime program to reach the hearts and minds of publics abroad. World War II and the Immediate Postwar Years After the United States entered World War II, the American government founded the Voice of America (VOA), which started broadcasting in February 1942 in four languages: English, German, Italian, and French. Later in the year, the Office of War Information (OWI) was established, and VOA became its principal program. Other OWI activities were publications, film operations, and the establishment, even before World War II ended, of American libraries in several countries cleared of German forces, such as Yugoslavia. In late 1944, the State Department created the position of assistant secretary of state for public and cultural affairs. This move was based on the US government’s realization that foreign policy had risen in importance during the war and needed greater attention by the State Department in its relations with the media and the American public, and indeed with foreign publics as well. The term public affairs was designated for this information activity, which included primarily the explanation of American foreign policy. Furthermore, it was realized that certain cultural programs, such as relations with foreign universities, would have to be continued and indeed broadened after the end of the war. Public affairs and cultural relations, both outreach activities — one policy oriented, the other cultural — were placed under one assistant secretary of state. When World War II ended, it was anticipated that the wartime agencies would be disbanded, as was the case after World War I, and their activities discontinued. But to the surprise of many, that did not happen. While the wartime agencies were indeed dissolved, many of their programs, foremost the VOA, were not. One of the reasons was that President Harry Truman and

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Secretary of State James Byrnes, who participated in the Potsdam Conference in July 1945, were deeply disturbed by the atmosphere generated by Joseph Stalin. (It was the first time that the new American president had met the Soviet leader.) Truman and Byrnes became convinced that the postwar world would become antagonistic, and information programs, which had proved successful during World War II, might continue to be needed. Rather than create a new peacetime agency to absorb the OWI and CIAA programs, they were transferred to the Department of State and put in the bureau headed by the assistant secretary for public and cultural affairs. These wartime programs were combined with already existing small State Department information and cultural activities into the new Office of International Information and Cultural Affairs. That office became responsible for all government – to – foreign publics programs, such as VOA, press and publications, films, exhibits, American libraries, and the exchange of scholars and students. The predecessor of what is called public diplomacy today, the International Information and Cultural Program, was in place. As this program developed, it became clear to its practitioners that the American interpretation of the word culture had a more constricted meaning than the French word culture or the German Kultur. Hence, American cultural programs confined themselves to academic and educational exchanges, fine arts, music, literature, and so forth, while French and German cultural programs included broader societal subjects that fell into the area of information programs in the United States. The problems created by the words culture and information bedeviled American efforts directed at foreign publics for several decades. Which program was cultural and which informational? Clearly, the explanation of foreign policy was informational and the exchange of students was cultural, but many programs such as radio, publications, libraries, and film activities had dual functions: they were information media that often carried cultural material. Several attempts were made to rationalize the distinction — to wit, cultural programs were long term and informational ones were short-term; cultural programs were cultural, informational ones were policy oriented; cultural programs were directed at elite audiences, informational ones were aimed at mass audiences. The problems were accentuated by the naming of American libraries overseas. They were called information centers or cultural centers


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depending on the preference of the ranking officer. It would have been more sensible to call such a center the American Center or simply the American Library, just as the American occupation authorities had done in Germany and Austria in calling such a center the Amerikahaus. Two important legislative measures strengthened the programs: the socalled Fulbright Bill of 1946 (which actually was an amendment to the Surplus Property Act of 1944) established student exchanges in the fields of education, culture, and science between the United States and other countries, while the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 gave legislative approval for the United States to conduct information and cultural programs abroad. Prior to the passage of the Smith-Mundt Act, a simmering unhappiness of the “culturalists” with the organization of information and cultural affairs came to the surface. The culturalists wanted a divorce from the “informationalists.” They felt that cultural and information programs were different and that, in any case, cultural relations should be kept at arm’s length from foreign policy. The State Department rejected this line of reasoning by saying that both informational and cultural programs were political tools, that complete separation was “neither feasible nor desirable,” that policy supervision and control of both activities should remain with the State Department, and that both programs should be related integrally to US foreign policy. This was, of course, an evolution of State Department thinking and a sign of the times. In 1938, when the Division of Cultural Relations was created in the State Department, it assumed a very limited role: to assist American universities and foundations in establishing relations with their foreign counterparts. A direct or even indirect relationship with foreign policy was never discussed. Indeed, consideration was given to establishing this responsibility in the domestic Office of Education rather than in the State Department. The appointment by the State Department of cultural specialists, mostly academicians, and the transfer of information practitioners, mostly journalists, from OWI and CIAA changed the culture of the department. Many of its Foreign Service officers liked the idea of overall control over information and cultural activities. Others, however, were dubious about so many “outsiders” — professors and newsmen — working in the department. Conversely, many cultural and information officers enjoyed serving in State, while others

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felt too regimented and fearful that the old-line State Department officers would, in the budget process, discriminate against information and cultural activities. I recall a meeting with Secretary of State Dean Acheson, at which the head of information and cultural programs, Charles Hulten, made an impassioned plea for a larger allocation of funds, using the argument of Senator J. William Fulbright that if people around the world were to know each other better, wars would be avoided. Acheson listened intently and then said: “Are you so sure, Mr. Hulten; isn’t it precisely because people know each other so well that there are so many divorces?” Unperturbed, Hulten replied that research data had shown that better knowledge of other countries leads to increased mutual understanding. More recent data confirm this finding, even though several of the 9/11 hijackers had lived in America. Public Diplomacy Introduced In 1952, with the election of Dwight Eisenhower, a man entered the White House who had a high regard for information activities. He knew this program well from the days when he was Allied supreme commander during World War II and believed that it could play an important role in peacetime, too, particularly during the Cold War that was then in full force. Eisenhower’s secretary of state, John Foster Dulles, had no prior relationship with the information and cultural programs; actually, he wanted them removed from the State Department because he regarded the department as purely a policy agency, with no operational responsibilities. Moreover, Senator Joseph McCarthy was riding high at the time, seeing communists all over the State Department. Inasmuch as a relatively large portion of these alleged communists worked in cultural and information sections, including VOA, Dulles believed the detachment of these programs from the department would ease the pressure. Several governmental and nongovernmental commissions in the early part of 1953, aware of the views of Eisenhower and Dulles, recommended that the information and cultural programs be established in a new agency. The US Information Agency (USIA) was created in summer 1953, and all information and cultural activities were to be transferred from the State Department. But


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a hitch developed. The culturalists objected and found an important ally in Senator Fulbright, who opposed putting cultural programs (he really meant the exchange-of-persons programs) in what he called a “propaganda” agency. Fulbright prevailed, but only partially. Although the cultural programs stayed in the State Department, they were directed in embassies overseas by USIA. In 1978, the cultural activities were transferred from State to USIA. The information and cultural programs were again combined and became known as public diplomacy. How did this term originate? As early as the 1950s, practitioners of the international information and cultural programs searched for a term for these activities that would indicate their relationship to foreign policy and avoid the culture-information dispute. The term public affairs was ruled out because it was already used with domestic audiences. After several other possibilities were explored, such as communications diplomacy, public diplomacy became the generally accepted term. Dante Fascell, chairman of a House international relations subcommittee, conducted hearings in 1977 on the future of international information and cultural programs. The printed version of these hearings was titled Public Diplomacy. It was the first time that an official government document carried that term. These hearings were in part a reaction to a report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies in 1975 chaired by Frank Stanton, former president of CBS, who recently died at the age of ninety-eight. The report was titled International Information Education and Cultural Relations — Recommendations for the Future, and its authorship was attributed to a “panel of distinguished experts in the field of public diplomacy.” In the many obituaries in which Stanton was lauded as one of the most eminent broadcast and television executives of our time, no reference was made to this report, which had recommended “that the international information and cultural programs deserve all possible support in the years ahead, that they have demonstrated their success and are therefore an exceptional investment of government energy and the taxpayer’s dollar.” The panel also recommended substantial organizational changes that have to a large extent been implemented over the years. In 1979, two years after the two US advisory commissions created by the

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Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 — one on information, the other on educational and cultural affairs — had been combined, the new commission was named the US Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy. When USIA, after forty-six years as an independent agency, was transferred back to the State Department in 1999 (minus VOA, which was put under a presidentially appointed board), the ranking State Department officer was the undersecretary for public diplomacy and public affairs. The incumbent of this newly created position is responsible for America’s public diplomacy program and also for the State Department’s outreach activities directed at the American people (including the spokesman’s role). During the past ten years many other countries have adopted the term public diplomacy — Britain’s Foreign Office has a Minister of State for Public Diplomacy. Canada and most European countries have public diplomacy departments in their foreign offices and so do India, Japan, and several other nations. Public Diplomacy in Action In the modern, information-rich world, the attitude of publics has assumed an ever-larger impact on the decisions of their governments, even in autocratic countries. Hence, it has become imperative for governments to reach the publics of other countries. The consequence was the split of diplomacy into two parts: the old government-to-government activity, now referred to as traditional diplomacy, and the new government–to–foreign people program called public diplomacy. Thus, public diplomacy is a governmental or governmentally funded foreign policy activity. Its objective is to create, for a given country, as positive a climate as possible among foreign publics in order to facilitate the explanation and hopefully acceptance of its foreign policy. Any successful public diplomacy program must take the views of the target publics into account, as well as their cultural background and their media situations. Nation A must be able to engage in a dialogue about ideas and values with the public of nation B and influence opinions through wellestablished communications strategies, including the use of radio, TV, the Internet (which is assuming ever larger influence), the press, publications,


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films, exhibits, academic and student exchanges, lectures, and other communications activities. Practitioners of public diplomacy must constantly be aware and take into consideration many outside influences on foreign publics, including their own country’s public and private sector activities. As far as the public sector is concerned, those in charge of public diplomacy must make sure that all activities of governmental agencies and governmentally funded organizations aimed at foreign publics are properly coordinated, particularly the programs developed by the military overseas that may not fall under an ambassador’s jurisdiction. The agencies administering American public diplomacy have for years maintained liaison officers with private-sector elements such as media, cultural activities, business, and tourism. Publics are bombarded day and night, even more so since the invention of the Internet, with thoughts and images that may or may not support another country’s public diplomacy efforts. Films are a good example. Some films are helpful, others are not. And that is true not only for the United States but also for other countries, although foreign films shown in the United States, more often than not, appear to support that country’s public diplomacy efforts in America. Public diplomacy has become the subject of serious scholarly work. Universities offer courses on public diplomacy. Public diplomacy institutes have been established in the United States at The George Washington University and the University of Southern California. Books and articles on the subject are being written in the United States and abroad. Some scholars have suggested expanding the concept of public diplomacy to include global governance as well as state-based diplomacy. Such writings propose that the definition of diplomacy be broadened beyond strictly governmental and foreign policy activities. This would be the second time that the concept of diplomacy would be expanded, after having been extended to comprise public diplomacy. Who would have thought before World War II that diplomacy would include official contact with foreign publics? On the basis of the new writings, public diplomacy would be an instrument used not only by governments to establish relationships with foreign publics but also by international organizations (for example, the United Nations, North

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Atlantic Treaty Organization, and European Union), nongovernmental international groups (for example, Doctors without Borders), and even individuals (for example, former presidents Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush, and Bill Clinton for their charity work overseas). On the other hand, there are practitioners in the areas of broadcasting and cultural affairs who wish to narrow the concept of public diplomacy. Some VOA employees believe that VOA should not be part of public diplomacy. They posit that VOA, as an objective journalistic news organization, must not be an instrument of a foreign policy apparatus; that if it were to be identified as such it would become, in the minds of the listeners and viewers, a “propaganda” organization. The US government, nevertheless, should, in its view, fund VOA, because an objective news organization, in and of itself, deserves governmental financial support, since it does enhance the image of the United States as a free and democratic country. The difficulty with this view is that the International Broadcasting Act of 1994 mandates that VOA advance the goals of US foreign policy and that the charter of VOA includes the following paragraph: “VOA will present the policies of the United States clearly and effectively, and will also present responsible discussion and opinion on these policies.” Moreover, it is highly unlikely that Congress would appropriate funds for a completely free-standing radio and TV organization. The culturalists have similar thoughts. They feel that certain cultural programs, such as academic exchanges, should not be linked to foreign policy but do deserve governmental financial support because they benefit the United States. A linkage with foreign policy would actually decrease their effectiveness, they say. That argument was rejected sixty years ago. As in the VOA case, Congress is unlikely to appropriate funds unless the cultural program is linked to foreign policy objectives. Inasmuch as public diplomacy is defined as a governmental or governmentally funded foreign policy activity, VOA is public diplomacy, while CNN, which is also available overseas, is not. Fulbright exchanges are public diplomacy; Gates scholarships for Cambridge University are not. In Britain, a Public Diplomacy Strategy Board coordinates the programs of the Foreign Office, the British Council, and the BBC World Service — a clear indication that the British regard culture and radio, even though they


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are conducted by nongovernmental organization, as integral parts of public diplomacy since they are supported by Foreign Office funds. Due to its influence on US policy, the American public is a favorite target of other countries’ public diplomacy. Not many years ago, a European country had to fill its ambassadorial post in Washington. Two high-level foreign service officers with impeccable credentials were on the final list. “Who of the two will do better on the American Sunday talk shows?” the foreign minister asked. In other words, he was apparently more interested in Bob Schieffer and Tim Russert than in the US secretary of state. Over the years, the public diplomacy of the United States as well as of foreign countries has achieved remarkable successes. It played a significant role in the Cuban missile crisis when President John F. Kennedy invited the USIA director, Edward R. Murrow, to sit in during the thirteen-day crisis. Murrow, however, was sick, so his deputy, Donald Wilson, took his seat. When the question of releasing the U-2 photographs of the missile sites was discussed, the Defense Department and Central Intelligence Agency representatives objected, but Wilson urged their release. Kennedy sided with Wilson and a huge public diplomacy success was achieved when US Representative Adlai Stevenson, in a now-famous UN Security Council session, showed the photographs to the world. Another success was the American information and cultural program in Germany, Austria, and Japan after World War II. The US Army, unencumbered by budgetary restrictions, launched a large-scale information and cultural offensive aimed at the hearts and minds of the people of those countries. In Germany and Austria, German-language newspapers and radio stations were created, Amerikahäuser were established in all major cities, and American cultural attractions and many other US information and cultural activities were arranged. Within a relatively short time, public opinion polls showed an amazing change in the attitude of the populations in favor of the United States. That disposition continued to exist for decades and clearly furthered American foreign policy objectives. It also showed that the availability of sufficient funds is an important ingredient for the success of such programs. The piercing of the Iron Curtain was another public diplomacy success, and the best witness was Mikhail Gorbachev, the then general secretary of

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the Soviet Communist Party. In a speech before the UN in December 1988, Gorbachev declared that, due to the communications revolution, “the preservation of any kind of closed society is hardly possible.” VOA and other Western broadcasts exerted pressure on the Soviet Union for such a long time and with such intensity that all efforts to keep information out collapsed in the end and forced the Soviet Union to open up its society, thus contributing to the collapse of the communist regime. A notable public diplomacy success was achieved by Austria in the immediate postwar era. When World War II ended, most people around the world made no distinction between Germany and Austria. So when Austria was reconstituted as an independent country, the new Austrian government decided that its first foreign policy objective must be to persuade the world that Austria was different from Germany, that it was a country liberated from German troops, and that it had been a victim of German aggression. Traditional and public diplomacy was employed with full force. Austrian cultural achievements were emphasized abroad. Among others, the Vienna Opera and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra as well as Austrian art treasures such as Klimt and Schiele paintings were sent to dozens of capitals. The signing of the Austrian State Treaty in Vienna in 1955 was received almost everywhere in the world with satisfaction. I recall a dinner in Vienna on the eve of the treaty signature at which I sat next to a Polish diplomat. Making small talk, I inquired whether he was enjoying his assignment to Vienna. He said he was not. Upon my asking him his reasons, he answered that he hated the Austrians for having persuaded the world that Hitler was a German and that Beethoven was an Austrian. Public Diplomacy and Policy The information age in which we now live has changed the scope and conduct of diplomacy. Not only has public diplomacy become an essential component of diplomacy, but traditional diplomacy has to be conducted differently. Heads of government and foreign ministers do not have to rely only on coded messages to get in touch with each other or through their ambassadors; rather, they can see each other either directly — jets have reduced flight times — or through video conferences. The role of ambassadors has been


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altered. While still remaining the traditional diplomat, the ambassador has become the senior public diplomat. Indeed, public diplomacy is now in many posts his or her major job. It requires communication skills and techniques that ambassadors only a couple of decades ago did not need to bring to the assignment. The changing role of diplomacy — the decline of traditional diplomacy and rise of public diplomacy — is well summarized by a newspaper headline upon the recent departure from Washington of the German ambassador, Wolfgang Ischinger: “Public Diplomacy Was His Forte.” In the United States, ever since the inception of international information and cultural programs, presidents, secretaries of state, and national security advisers regarded these programs as important instruments of foreign policy but not as integral parts of diplomacy. There were, however, exceptions. John F. Kennedy, by inviting the USIA director to participate in the highest-level discussions during the Cuban missile crisis, indicated that he understood the vital role that public diplomacy can play in the formulation of policy. George Shultz referred several times to the important function of public diplomacy and in a speech before he left office as secretary of state said that “the information revolution promises to change the routine of our planet as decisively as did the industrial revolution of the past century.” USIA directors, in general, did not insert themselves into the foreign policy process. They concentrated on administrating and reporting to the White House and the Department of State on the operation of public diplomacy programs. Murrow, however, was an exception. He sent Kennedy numerous unsolicited memoranda regarding foreign policy matters and, after the Bay of Pigs disaster in 1961, declared that he expected to be informed of a policy decision before its takeoff and not only at its crash landing. (This statement may have impelled Kennedy to invite Murrow to the White House during the Cuban missile crisis a year later). Indeed, the Murrow remarks reflected the situation as it pertained in the early 1960s. He wanted to be informed in advance of a policy announcement so that it could be articulated as acceptably as possible to foreign publics. The next step is now upon us: participation in the policy-making process by those who are in charge of and carry out public diplomacy. This is particularly vital at this time when anti-Americanism has increased in almost

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all areas of the world, and most foreign policy experts and public opinion analysts ascribe these attitudes to current US policies. Traditionally, American policy was arrived at after a process in which, among others, the likely views of foreign governments were taken into consideration. Irrespective of whether this is still the case, the time has come to take the possible attitudes of foreign publics into account when policy is made, since their influence on their own governments has vastly increased in recent times. This does not mean that policies should be changed because publics abroad are likely to disagree, just as it has not meant that policies should be altered because of possible negative views of other governments. It does mean, however, that the anticipated attitudes not only of other governments but also of other publics need to be considered when policy is formulated and articulated. The history of public diplomacy has conclusively shown that its success depended upon a country’s policies. Even finely attuned public diplomacy programs would not and could not make much headway if they were accompanied by policies that are rejected by foreign publics. In other words: it is the policy, stupid. Only a few years ago, when this administration came to power, the president upon the recommendation of Secretary of State Colin Powell appointed a highly successful advertising executive, Charlotte Beers, to the position of undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs, obviously believing that public diplomacy is about advertising, marketing, or branding. Indeed, after a speech, Beers, replying to a question, said that she did not “do policy.” The appointment in 2005 of Karen Hughes as undersecretary of state was a hopeful indication that both the president and the new secretary of state now appreciate the real role of public diplomacy. Hughes has access to the president and thus can directly advise him on the public diplomacy impact of a planned American foreign policy action; and, since she is well versed in communication strategy, she is able to counsel on the manner in which an impending foreign policy action is to be articulated. In addition, and very important, she is in a unique position to persuade the president to allocate adequate resources to public diplomacy activities — the present budget is ridiculously low. The fact, for instance, that VOA has to


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cut its English-language broadcasts — America’s language and now the most important tongue around the globe — when other countries and broadcasting services, including Russia and al-Jazeera, establish English-language transmissions is beyond comprehension. The United States spends at least thirty times more on collecting information than on disseminating it; many countries allocate proportionately a great deal more funds to public diplomacy than the United States. American public diplomacy efforts in postwar Germany and Austria have conclusively shown that adequate budgets can make a difference. In an article in the spring 2007 issue of Mediterranean Quarterly, Undersecretary Hughes expressively outlined the various American public diplomacy programs presently in operation, from the long-range exchange-ofpersons activities to the short-range Rapid Response Unit. Some of these programs have existed for a long time and been brought up to date while others are new and a result of the present state of the communications revolution. Understandably, Hughes does not touch upon her possible part in influencing the president during the process of US policy formulation. Historians will eventually reveal that role, if any. Nor does she divulge her part when the president determines in his yearly budget the resources for the area of public diplomacy. Joseph S. Nye Jr., the former dean of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, has divided a country’s power into hard power and soft power and has included public diplomacy as an important ingredient of soft power. As we live in an age when the application of hard power has become highly problematical and its success more questionable by the day, as the events in Iraq demonstrate, the impact of soft power is increasing. Public diplomacy has become one of the most vital arrows in a nation’s quiver, particularly since the role of traditional diplomacy has declined. Therefore, it is imperative that public diplomacy be properly administered and adequately financed. No longer just an instrument of foreign policy, public diplomacy has become its indispensable public face.

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