Chapter 16 - Reagan’s Freedom Strategy: Key Freedom Speeches, Public Diplomacy, Supporting Anti-Communist Resistance

[Objective] . . . to strengthen the organization, planning and coordination of the various aspects of public diplomacy of the [U.S.] Government relative to national security. Public diplomacy is comprised of those actions of the U.S. Government designed to generate support for our national security objectives.

[Special Planning Group] A Special Planning Group (SPG) under the [NSC] will be established under the chairmanship of the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs. Membership shall include the Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, the Director of the U.S. Information Agency, the Director of the Agency of International Development, and the Assistant to the President for Communications or their designated alternate. . . . The SPG shall be responsible for the overall planning, direction, coordination and monitoring of implementation of public diplomacy activities. It shall ensure that a wide-ranging program of effective initiatives is developed and implemented to support national security policy, objectives, and decisions. . . .

[NSC Staff Support to SPG and Coordination of Four Public Diplomacy Interagency Committees] Four interagency standing committees will be established and report regularly to the SPG. . . . The NSC Staff, in consultation with the regular members of the SPG, will provide staff support to the SPG and facilitate effective planning, coordinating, and implementing. . . . The NSC Staff will call periodic meetings of the four committee chairmen or their designees to ensure inter-committee coordination. [The four committees were the: Public Affairs Committee, International Information Committee, International Political Committee, and International Broadcasting Committee.] . . . Each designated committee is authorized to establish as appropriate, working groups or ad hoc task forces to deal with specific issues or programs. . . . All agencies should ensure that the necessary resources are made available for the effective operation of the interagency groups.11

NSSD 2–83 on International Information—March 1983. NSSD 2–83—U.S. International Information Policy, issued on March 12, 1983 directs a study due on May 1, 1983 with terms of reference, including the following, that provide a comprehensive overview of the Reagan Administration’s far-reaching public diplomacy considerations:

In the interests of clarifying and elaborating national policy in the area of international information and integrating information policy and strategy with the other components of US National security, I am directing that a comprehensive study of US international information policy . . . result in a draft National Security Decision Directive . . . [that] should include consideration of the following topics:

[Scope] The international information environment, including the general role of ideas, opinion and communications factors in international politics. Role of international information in US national security policy. . . . Roles and missions of US international information agencies and organizations. Relationship of US international information to other components of US national security strategy: diplomacy, political action, economic action, military force. Role of US international information organizations and facilities in situations of crisis and war. Guidelines and principles of US international information in the political, economic, social, and military and arms control areas, with particular attention to the issues of freedom of information and human rights. The role and conduct of research on public opinion, communications and cultural factors affecting US policy concerns. Programming policy and strategy relative to the instruments of international information: radio broadcasting, publications, speakers, films and TV exhibits, the foreign press. (heading added)12

NSDD 130 on U.S. International Information Policy as a Strategic Instrument—March 1984. A year after NSSD 2–84, Reagan on March 6, 1984 signed NSDD 130—U.S. International Information Policy that built on a year of further study and experience. Sections of the directive provide guidance on International Radio Broadcasting, Other International Information Instruments, Information and Communication Assistance, International Information Policy in Peace and War, and International Information: Functional Requirements. Of special note are calls for additional resources and the following general guidance:

International information is an integral and vital part of US national security policy and strategy in the broad sense. Together with the other components of public diplomacy, it is a key strategic instrument for shaping fundamental political and ideological trends around the globe on a long-term basis and ultimately affecting the behavior of governments. . . . The fundamental purpose of US international information programs is to affect foreign audiences in ways favorable to US national interests. Such programs can only be credible and effective by respecting accuracy and objectivity. At the same time, the habits, interests, expectations and level of understanding of foreign audiences may differ significantly from those of the domestic American audiences, and require different approaches and emphases. . . . While US international information activities must be sensitive to the

[Book pg. 378]