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REORGANIZATION PLAN NO. 2 OF 1977
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 18, 1977
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
LEGISLATION AND NATIONAL SECURITY SUBCOMMITTEE OF THE COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS, Washington, D.C. The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:08 a.m., in room 2154, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Jack Brooks (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Present: Representatives Jack Brooks, John E. Moss, Don Fuqua, Dante B. Fascell, Frank Horton, and John N. Erlenborn. Also present: Representative Elliott H. Levitas.
Staff present: Elmer W. Henderson, staff director; William M. Jones, general counsel, William H. Copenhaver, associate counsel; Joy S. Chambers, professional staff member; Craig J. Gehring, professional staff member; Guadalupe R. Flores, professional staff member; Susan E. Phillips, secretary; Richard L. Thompson, minority staff director; J. P. Carlson, minority counsel; and James L. George, minority professional staff, Committee on Government Operations.
OPENING STATEMENT OF CHAIRMAN BROOKS
Mr. BROOKS. The subcommittee will come to order.
This hearing has been called to consider President Carter's Reorganization Plan No. 2 of 1977, which he submitted to Congress on October 11. As you know, unless a resolution of disapproval is passed by either the House or the Senate, the plan will go into effect in 60 days, barring recesses of more than 3 days.
I have introduced House Resolution 827 as required by the Reorganization Act. The plan will create a new agency in the executive branch to be known as the Agency for International Communication. There will be transferred into it the U.S. Information Agency and its authorities, and the educational and cultural affairs functions now carried out by the State Department, among other transfers. Approximately 8,500 employees and a budget of $350 million are involved. The plan also establishes a U.S. Advisory Commission on International Communication, Cultural and Educational Affairs, which combines the functions of the existing Advisory Commission on Educational Cultural Affairs and the Advisory Commission on Information.
The new Agency will carry out international communications programs, including the Voice of America, now being handled by the USIA and the international educational and cultural exchange activi
ties now conducted by the State Department. The Director of the new Agency will be the principal adviser to the President, the National Security Council, and the Secretary of State on international information and exchange activities.
The President has stated that the purpose of the reorganization is to broaden our intercourse with the world, to inform others about our country, and inform ourselves about the rest of the world. The integrity of educational and cultural exchange programs will be maintained and the Board of Foreign Scholarships will be retained by the plan. The Voice of America's news gathering and reporting functions will be kept independent and objective. Voice of America, the President, stated, will continue to present U.S. policy clearly and effectively ar be solely responsible for the content of news broadcasts. The Preside believes that the reorganization will result in greater efficiency by unifying in Washington the management of programs which are already administered in a consolidated manner in the field. ·
We have with us today representatives of the Office of Management and Budget, the Department of State, the U.S. Information Agency, and organizations which represent the employees affected by the reorganization.
I am particularly pleased that we have on this subcommittee Representative Dante B. Fascell, who is also chairman of the International Operations Subcommittee of the Committee on International Relations and who has made a detailed study of our international information and cultural affairs programs and the agencies which now carry them out. I understand that the President's plan follows, to a considerable degree, recommendations the Fascell subcommittee made to him.
I now recognize the gentleman from New York, Mr. Horton.
I looked forward to receiving the President's plan to reorganize the Government's activities relating to international communications, educational, and cultural affairs, and the broadcasting activities due to its potential importance.
As most experts agree, we are embarking on a new era of what is being called "public diplomacy," that is, those programs in the area of information, international broadcasting, educational exchanges, and cultural exchanges. We have numbers of examples of how initial public diplomacy exchanges have led to more substantive diplomatic endeavors. The "ping pong" diplomacy that helped pave the way to limited diplomatic relations with the Peoples Republic of China is probably the most famous example, but there were others. And, of course, the new emphasis on human rights will require a concentrated effort in public diplomacy.
In the past few years this has been an area of great concern and study with reports from citizen groups, the Stanton Panel; Government studies, the Murphy Commission; Congress own General Accounting Office; and just this past June, the House Committee on International Relations held 9 days of hearings with testimony from many distinguished scholars and statesmen concerned with this problem. In short, there is no dearth of information on this important subject.
The plan, in essence, just combines two agencies, the U.S. Information Agency and the State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, into one new organization called the Agency for International Communication. USIA and the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs are two of our smaller organizations and ones that are often overlooked. But they could, and should, be of great importance in this new day of public diplomacy. The President, the Secretary of State, and some of our more outspoken ambassadors make the headlines, but it is the U.S. Information Service personnel that have to deal with the day-to-day problems and constantly project our image in a world that is not altogether friendly these days.
It is with this background that I must admit a certain disappointhent with Reorganization Plan No. 2. Instead of using this opportunity for a whole new thrust for public diplomacy, we have seen a rather simple consolidation of the two agencies concerned with this subject. I think that it is important to note that this consolidation is not necessarily bad, just rather uninspiring. In all fairness to the President, perhaps I am expecting too much from reorganization. But, this disappointment reflects the feeling from experts in the field. Therefore, I hope that this reorganization plan is just the first step in the subject of public diplomacy.
I do have two other comments that are somewhat related. First is the great lack of specificity to this plan. For example, the plan calls for four Associate Directors, but does not specify what they are for. In the message, the President does state that one will be for Educational and Cultural Affairs and another for the Voice of America. But we are still left in doubt for the assignment of the other two Associate Directors. We also have no idea what happens to personnel in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. All we really know is that two old agencies are being combined into a new agency called the Agency for International Communication.
I would like to remind the administration of section 903 (b) of the Reorganization Act which states:
The message shall also estimate any reduction or increase in expenditures (itemized so far as practicable), and describe any improvements in management, delivery of Federal services, execution of the laws, and increases in efficiency of government operations, which it is expected will be realized as a result of the reorganizations included in the plan.
Now let me read what the President's message said regarding specifics:
It is not practicable to specify all of the expenditure reductions and other economies that will result from the proposed reorganization and therefore I do not do so.
I am disappointed that the message did not attempt to comply more with the intention of section 903 (b).
As we saw with Reorganization Plan No. 1, there is a great lack of, in fact, no backup material. As I mentioned earlier, this has been a subject of great concern to a lot of people lately. The International Operations Subcommittee hearings alone are 691 pages long, yet there is absolutely no backup material to Reorganization Plan No. 2. While this subject is fairly simple, we will be getting into some very complex