February 1973 - Twenty-Sixth Report of the United States Advisory Commission on Information


Commission Members:
Frank Stanton, chairman
Hobart Lewis
James A. Michener
John M. Shaheen
George H. Gallup

Staff Director: Louis T. Olom


The Commission evaluated the past 25 years of international information policy since Public Law 402 by looking at Presidential remarks and also made several recommendations. These recommendations included: making USIA present during the “take-offs as well as the landings” in foreign policy, expanding USIA’s practices of inviting Congressmen to regional conferences, encouraging USIA to focus on substance and balance cultural and informational programming, and keeping the Voice of America competitive. The Commission also renewed its 1968 recommendation for a comprehensive review of USIA conducted by an outside organization.


These efforts have introduced into foreign countries a steady stream of information about the United States—its intentions, policies and way of life—for the attention of foreign elites, opinion molders as well as average citizens. American public opinion on US policies and American opinion on the policies of other nations have been included.

This Commission’s previous 25 Reports to Congress have examined the questions. These reports have focused on major trends—on accomplishments and failures, assets and liabilities, strengths and weaknesses—as observed by private citizens who have served as an outside, independent assessment and advisory board.

It is no exaggeration to state that this increase in the peoples’ “attention zone” all over the world is the major pivotal contribution of communications. And all of the major nations of the world have taken note of this development by arming themselves with the entire panoply of communications.

The end result, each hopes, is greater understanding and respect, more trade, more influence and a more favorable position among the nations of the world.

For if the US had an impact on the world, so did the world—nations with different religions, philosophies, economies, political systems and life styles—leave its mark on the US. The decade of the 60’s and of the early 70’s in the US, so difficult to explain abroad, also reflected this gigantic encounter—an encounter of clash and challenge, of new values brought about in large part by the revolution in communications.