Minutes of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy January 2004 Official Meeting

Remarks
American Embassy
London, United Kingdom
January 9, 2004


Commissioners:

DFO: Matt J. Lauer, Director

Guests:
Dan Sreebny, Public Affairs Officer, Embassy London
Megan Harris, Embassy London

Chairman Barbara Barrett: I would like to welcome the public to this meeting of the Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy. The Commission has been engaged in a number of study activities over the past month and a lot of benefit was derived from the Commission member’s meetings and activities - even very recently as last night.

Thank you all for your participation in our dinner and discourse. Commissioner Jay Snyder, thank you very much. I’d like to say on the record how very successful was the exchange, the animation, the environment you created by hosting that dinner. Thanks so much.

We have had some activities in the past month or so. The confirmation of Ambassador Tutwiler to be Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy has occurred. Secretary Tutwiler was invested in December and she began her official duties in January. Will you join me in congratulating her and welcoming her to the role?

We also had further confirmation. Stuart Holliday was confirmed for his new role as Deputy Representative for Political Affairs at the United Nations, where he carries the rank of Ambassador. So would you join me in my congratulations to Stuart Holliday in his new role?

Frank Ward, who some of you know, had been the PAO in Turkey, will be acting in Stuart’s place as Coordinator of International Information Programs. Any questions or comments about that?

Commissioner Harold Pachios: What is the job description of this special political person do you know?

Ms. Barrett: It is number three - immediately under the Deputy Chief of Mission.

Mr. Pachios: What do they do?

Commissioner Jay T. Snyder: Specifically, peace keeping. He is involved in the Security Council.

Ms. Barrett: Other comments or questions?

Commissioner Sophia Aguirre: Are you going to request a meeting with Ambassador Tutwiler?

Ms. Barrett: Yes, in fact it is slated for Tuesday. I will meet with her on Tuesday and from that determine her interest in the work of this Commission.

Mr. Pachios: Just as a matter of background, the commission for thirty years met with the director of the USIA every time they had a meeting. The director of the USIA would come. If the director was out, then the deputy director of the USIA would meet with the commission and talk about what they were doing and talk about issues. So while the commission did not have a working relationship as it should have with members of the Congress, it had a very close working relationship with the chief Public Diplomacy officers of the United States Government. So as a matter of history, in the years in the 1990s when I was on, we even met with Joe Duffy or Penn Campbell every single meeting we had and it was very helpful. After consolidation, we tried to do it with Evelyn Lieberman and it was sporadic at best and then we tried to do it with Charlotte Beers and it was essentially non-existent - it happened two or three times with Charlotte. I think it is very important to have them understand that we want a regular working relationship with them.

Director Matt J. Lauer: I think we will work towards building a regular update and working relationship so that you have it and that it is a regular working situation.

Ms. Barrett: Would you want to substitute our meeting in Washington for this offshore meeting? What we talked about as a Commission was four meetings in the field and two meetings in Washington per year. So a routine schedule of six meetings each year with two meetings per year in Washington where we would anticipate slating meetings with Under Secretary Tutwiler, but also on occasion, the Secretary of State, Colin Powell.

Mr. Pachios: No, that’s fine. I’m just saying whenever we meet in Washington we should try to meet with the chief Public Diplomacy officer in the department.

Ms. Aguirre: Also could we incorporate cultural and the ECA as well?

Ms. Barrett: That would be under the meeting with Under Secretary Tutwiler. Probably if we meet with Under Secretary Tutwiler, we could have each supportive office in attendance. We would want to adjust participants to correspond with the time allocation and nature of our meetings.

Mr. Lauer: We will work to foster the individual teams’ relationships with the individual areas. And, so let me go on to just give you a brief update on where the commission is over the past month regarding budget. We do not yet have an official budget so you do not have anything to approve. We are on a congressional continuing resolution. Essentially once the budget is approved all of what you have spent will be deducted from an official budget that comes forward. Hopefully, that will happen in the coming months when congress reconvenes and hopefully it will be the budget which our Chairman worked closely on with Pat Harrison and that would be the increased funding for fiscal year 2004 and the approval to go forward with the report that we outlined in November.

Mr. Pachios: Do you have an understanding, Barbara, with Pat Harrison as to where this is going to be?

Ms. Barrett: Well, we anticipate this with the transition. We have no certainty but it seems pretty probable. Matt, do you have any doubts?

Mr. Lauer: No, I don’t have any doubts. Of course, it is always up to the preference of the Under Secretary, but all indications are that we are moving forward on the plan and budget that was submitted in September, so I think that is a good sign.

Ms. Barrett: Now we will move on to the topic of Commission Internships. Matt.

Mr. Lauer: Internships: Because we have such a small staff, we are working to get a new Roemer intern who should join us in the coming week. This person again will do the regular news briefings for you when we are filled there. There are requirements in Washington. They will also do some background research; however, it is an undergraduate level of study so it is an individual who is there to learn. Over the past month, I have gone to Johns Hopkins University and given a little speech there to their advanced studies students and I am trying to secure an internship from Johns Hopkins so that it is an advanced level individual who could help to do some writing and could help work with the commissioners. This is somebody who is getting a master’s degree. Right now we have one candidate for the position; however, the key is we have to get the State Department clearance of the security level, which is more of the problem than actually getting the willing and intelligent student to actually go forward. So we are in negotiations right now with diplomatic security to get this person on board.

Ms. Aguirre: I have another question for you on that fund. Could you use the help of an additional undergraduate because an undergraduate would more likely be willing to work without pay if budget is a problem, or will it give you more trouble than help?

Ms. Barrett: Matt, could we take that topic off line and discuss it after the meeting? Would that work?

Mr. Lauer: Yes, and I think that at the graduate level is helpful because we need that high level study but let’s take that and discuss possible staffing for that. Additionally on support, I have been working to secure a senior Foreign Service officer-advisor type of individual, somebody that could work with the commission. We are mandated by Congress to only have the two people that serve at the pleasure of the chairman with the commission right now. We could have someone that is dedicated; that’s accounted from a separate bureau, primarily IIP, which is the authority over our budget. I have spoken to Frank Ward, the acting coordinator of IIP and he seems to indicate that it may be interesting to him. It would be a tremendous help to us to have a senior level advisor, somebody similar to Chris Ross who worked with the Djerejian Commission, Ambassador Ross. Perhaps not quite at that level, but someone who may not be at the State Department full time - what’s called a WAE (while actually employed) - somebody who is retired but could help the commission to some degree, have an office and do a bit of research and advise you on certain things.

Mr. Pachios: For thirty or forty years, the commission always had a career foreign service officer assigned to it. Usually, it was a year at a time and would replace them each year. And usually they were on rotation back from a foreign post and transitioning into something at USIA, and always there were at least five employees at the commission so that has all changed. But the tradition of having someone who has come from the field or is going out in the field in another year is an extremely helpful resource.

Mr. Snyder: Do we have some choice in this individual?

Mr. Lauer: You probably would not. You would have input into it but primarily since the individual would not be working for the commission and would be working for a separate bureau and seconded to the commission as assistance, as advice, it would probably not be an active foreign service officer but probably somebody who is working within another bureau and helping us out. I would be happy to discuss that further with you at the conclusion of the meeting, as well, if you think that is a useful idea.

Ms. Barrett: So we now have three resolutions on which the chair will entertain a motion. They are, as we discussed, the request that we submit insights and advice to the Senate on the ECA budget and on the BBG budget. The third resolution would be a concurrence in the outline that Jay and Sophia have developed for their Commission field work.

Mr. Pachios: I move adoption of the three resolutions.

Commissioner Charles "Tre’" Evers: Second.

Ms. Barrett: Is there further discussion? (pause)

All those in favor of the first resolution please indicate by saying "aye". Now I am going to take that as a vote on the first of the three resolutions.

The three resolutions are:

  1. The Commission resolves that it will issue an advisory opinion on priorities within the Bureau of Educational and Cultural affairs by the conclusion on February 2004.
  2. The Commission resolves that it will issue an advisory opinion on priorities in government broadcasting overseen by the Broadcasting Board of Governors.
  3. The Commission resolves that the outline submitted by Commissioners Aguirre and Snyder is a sufficient guide for the field of study with the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Those in favor of the second resolution, please indicate by saying "aye". Opposed: None.

All those in favor of the third resolution, which is the outline of field work please indicate by saying "aye". Opposed: None.

Thank you very much. The Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy will meet again in Washington, D.C. on March 10 at 9:00am.

So is there anything else to come before the meeting, official business?

Mr. Pachios: I move we adjourn.


Barbara M. Barrett, Chairman
Maria Sophia Aguirre
Elizabeth F. Bagley
Charles "Tré" Evers
Harold C. Pachios, Jay T. Snyder