United States. Dept. of State. Office of Public Co.

Department of State bulletin (Volume v. 41, Jul- Sep1959) online

. (page 62 of 88)
Online LibraryUnited States. Dept. of State. Office of Public CoDepartment of State bulletin (Volume v. 41, Jul- Sep1959) → online text (page 62 of 88)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

The life of a statesman is never easy.

But I can remember more than once hearing
the late John Foster Dulles remark that we do
not need to worry whether a certain nation likes
us or not, providing they remain free. Popu-
larity is not the final test of sound policy.

Sometimes we also hear it charged abroad that
the United States practices "dollar diplomacy,"
that we are seeking to conduct our foreign policy
for the profit of our businessmen. At the same
time we may hear it charged at home that we
are too much concerned with other nations and
show too little interest in the American business-

If the complaints are about equal on each side,
that often indicates that we have a fairly good

It is a simple and inescapable fact of our life
in the world today that American pi'osperity de-
pends heavily and increasingly upon the prosper-
ity of others. A rapid pace of economic develop-
ment abroad means widening markets for our in-
dustries at home. A high level of economic
activity anywhere means greater prosperity every-

Thus, if we design our foreign policy primarily
for a selfish profit, it will fail, financially and
otherwise. But if we design it with a broad con-
cern for the common good, we will find that it
brings us both profit and peace.

These are some of tlie things a nation cannot
do in its foreign policy. Within the framework
of these limitations there are other things it must
do. It must possess the power and the determina-
tion to resist aggression and to prevent domestic
disorder. It must promote for itself and its
neiglibors the economic development essential for
stability and continued freedom. It must act to
keep open the channels of international commerce
so that any nation which seeks it can enjoy the
trade it needs to live and move ahead. It must en-
courage and support cooperation and consultation
among groups of nations for the more rapid
achievement of common goals. It must render full
support to the efforts of the United Nations to re-
duce the risk of war and increase the chance for
peace for the world community as a whole. It
must seek unceasingly to reduce the danger and
burden to all the world's peoples which result
from a headlong armaments race. It must do all it
can to close whatever gap of misunderstanding,
suspicion, and fear exists between any nations, any
peoples, any regions of the world. And it must
support and perfect an apparatus of day-to-day
diplomacy which will make these other efforts
effective and thus insure to its people maximum
opportunity to choose a life of freedom, prosperity,
and peace.

Only Road to Freedom and Peace

So it is clear that no nation today can ignore the
existence and concerns of the other nations of the
world. But neither can it dominate or dictate to
them. It cannot buy friendship with money. No
more can it sacrifice long-term stability for short-
term profit.

What each nation can and must do, within these
limits, is to seek by every resource of diplomacy
and statesmanship to insure that its people will
enjoy maximum freedom to choose how they will
live. Then in very important measure it is up to
the teachers to insure that the people have the
capacity to choose wisely.

This is the road, perhaps the only road, to
prosperity, freedom, and peace. The World Con-
federation of Organizations of the Teaching Pro-
fession has given important support and, I am
sure, will continue to give it to all nations which
seek to travel this road.

Augosf 37, 7959


Cultural Diplomacy and the Development of Mutual Understanding

hy Robert H. Thayer'^

In the early days of the Kepublic, mindful of
the stern ■warning of our forefathers to avoid en-
tangling alliances, our foreign policy was to try to
keep to ourselves as much as possible, with a min-
imum of political treaties. Our ambassadors and
ministers maintained such foreign contacts as we
had. They were engaged in "political diplo-

Political diplomacy was the method used to im-
plement our foreign policy. Later, much later,
after the industrial revolution and after we had
begun to develop our country economically so that
the impact of our economic position began to be
felt in the world, there gradually grew up "eco-
nomic diplomacy." Our isolation reduced the vol-
ume of political diplomacy; our rapid economic
development emphasized and developed economic
diplomacy; foreign relations became involved in
trade agreements, customs duties, export and im-
port activities, and the like.

During the first hundred years of our Republic
foreign affairs signified only one thing: political
negotiation amongst heads of state and their diplo-
matic representatives. Wlien economic negotia-
tions developed, the field of negotiation was some-
what broadened, but economic diplomacy was still
a field of relationships between governments.
With our expanding economy, tourist trade de-
veloped, but the number of people who could go
abroad was relatively limited ; travel was long and
it wasn't cheap — the world was a big place and
foreign countries were very far away.

Then came World War I and World War

' Address made before a group of secondary school
teachers at the University of Maine, Orono, Maine, on
Aug. 10 (press release 583). Mr. Thayer is Special As-
sistant to the Secretary of State for the Coordination of
International Educational and Cultural Relations.

II, and the world began to diminish in size very
rapidly indeed. As a child my favorite voyage
was Boston to Rockland by the Bangor boat. If
we were lucky enough to find the buoys in the
fog, it would take about 12 hours, almost 4 hours
more than it took the Vice President and his party
to go to Moscow from Washington some weeks
ago. Distances have disappeared ; your next-door
neighbors are no longer from the State of Maine —
they are from every country and every race of the

What does this mean? It means that foreign
relationships are no longer only relationships be-
tween governments or heads of state. Foreign
relationships are the relationships between peoples
of all countries, and relationships between peo-
ples are governed by the way people think and
live and eat and feel, and this represents the cul-
ture of a people. And so today we have, in the
forefront of the implementation of our foreign
policy, "cultiiral diplomacy," to my mind the most
important means of bringing complete mutual im-
derstanding between peoples, which in turn com-
pels mutual understanding between governments.

Mutual Understanding Required

Wliat is cultural diplomacy, and how is it coor-
dinated ? "Culture" is a word considered by many
people as carrying weird and unpleasant connota-
tions — long hair, Bohemian living, musty books,
and ivory towers — or else it is considered as being
either something way up in the intellectual strat-
osphere or a false facade of artificial refinement.
I am using the word in its most simple connota-
tion. I am using it to mean every possible facet
of the way people live their everyday lives — the
way they think and the way they express their
thoughts by words or dress or song or story, the


Department of State Bulletin

things tliey make, the things they do. The cul-
ture of a people is the life of a people, and cul-
tural diplomacy is the act of successfully commu-
nicating to others a complete comprehension of
the life and culture of a people. The objective of
American cultural diplomacy is to create in the
peoples of the world a perfect understanding of
the life and culture of America.

This doesn't soimd too difficult, but there's a
catch in it. You can't effectively communicate
the culture of one people to another without com-
pletely understanding those with whom you are
communicating. It is the requirement of mutual
understanding which is the basis of successful cul-
tural diplomacy, and it is this requirement which
helps make cultural diplomacy so vitally impor-
tant today.

Why is mutual imderstanding so important to-
day? During the month of April, I traveled
through some of the countries of the Near East,
and it was in one of these countries that I heard
the best answer to this question. I was speaking
in one of the countries to a government official
charged with directing cultural relations, and he
said, "In the old days, if settlements between gov-
ernments couldn't be reached, one or the other
could always resort to war. Today that is no
longer possible ; the concept of war has been elim-
inated as self-destroying. Mutual understanding
between peoples is therefore essential as the only
ultimate method of settling disputes."

Commimication is one of our greatest problems.
I think it is one of the paradoxes of our time that,
despite all the technical advances we've made in
communications, nations are not getting through
to each other very well. The United States and
the Soviet Union have embassies in each other's
capitals, but this constitutes diplomatic relations,
not communications. Wlien we and the Soviets
speak of peace, we have entirely different concepts
in mind. When we speak of peace we have in
mind the settlement of differences among sover-
eign nations through mutual respect without re-
sort to armed conflict and with the maximum
reliance upon the established principles of inter-
national law. When the Soviets speak of peace
they have in mind the Red peace, the absolute vic-
tory of world communism. The same situation
holds true for the word "democracy." Accord-
ing to the Soviet vocabulary, Himgary is a shin-
ing example of a democracy.

In October 1956, when Hungarian refugees
came streaming across the Austrian border, Amer-
ican consular officers were working around-the-
clock sliifts trying to process the flow of immi-
grants into the United States. One refugee was
asked, like all the others, to explain why he had
left his home to cross the border. As the refugee
hesitated in his answer, the harried consular offi-
cer suggested that he might have escaped because
he wanted the blessings of democracy. The refu-
gee replied immediately that the blessings of Hun-
garian "democracy" were just what he was nm-
ning away from.

Exchange-of-Persons Program

Thorough and effective communication of the
culture of a people can most successfully be
brought about by example. The old saying that
"seeing is believing" is now as true as it ever was.
Bringing people from foreign countries to Amer-
ica and sending Americans overseas to see, to
study, to live amongst the people of other lands
is a sure way to become familiar with their lan-
guage and their customs and bring about mutual
imderstanding. Tlois process is known as the ex-
change-of-persons program and is one of the
principal functions of my office.

Now there is one point that I wish to emphasize.
Mutual understanding does not necessarily mean
mutual comity; to understand someone doesn't
mean that you have to like Mm. Some of my
ultraconservative friends who like to pooh-pooh
the exchange-of-persons program quote the old
saying that the way to get to dislike someone is
to get to know him too well, and they ask me,
"What makes you think that if you get to know
someone it's going to make you like him?" That
isn't the point. Likes and dislikes, as we all know,
depend on a great many things — chemistry as
much as anything else — but understanding of
people that we don't like makes living with them,
even closely, perfectly feasible. Wliereas, if dis-
like is coupled with a lack of understanding, there
lies the danger of the clashes and incidents which
lead to war.

Our first exchange-of-persons program was car-
ried out with the other American Republics just
prior to World War II, when the Nazi ideology
was beginning to make itself felt in Latin Amer-
ica. We knew very well that the military threat
could be coimtered in time by our superior eco-

August 31, 7959


nomic and military potential, but the threat of
ideological subvei-sion was more subtle and there-
fore a more ambiguous target to attack. Tlie
sponsorship of student and professor exchanges
was one way of showing our sincerity in our ex-
pressions of good neighborliness. We have often
been accused of neglecting our Latin American
neighbors, but the good-neighbor policy has al-
ways remained a strong factor in promoting good
hemispheric relations.

Thereafter, farsighted Senators and Kepresent-
atives in the American Congress introduced legis-
lation designed to break through the interna-
tional barriers of ignorance, prejudice, and mis-
trust. Cultural exchanges of persons became a
permanent activity of the Federal Government,
carried out under the Fulbright and Smith-
Mimdt Acts and other laws in the same field. A
growing number of American students, professors,
and elementary and higli scliool teachers found
themselves in schools and universities in foreign
countries in every region of the world, from Ar-
gentina to Afghanistan. At the same time, for-
eign students, teachers, and professors were being
sent to American schools in every State of the

At the same time that it set up a permanent
framework for exchange-of-persons programs, the
Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 also established a per-
manent overseas information program which now
includes the translation and sale of American
books overseas under the informational media
guarantee program, the purchase of American
textbooks for foreign educational institutions, the
teaching of English to about 200,000 foreign stu-
dents a year in 55 countries, and the maintenance
of libraries, binational centers, and reading rooms

In providing its permanent legislative authori-
zation for both international cultural exchange
and information programs, the Congress declared
that its objectives were "to promote a better un-
derstanding of the United States in other coun-
tries, and to increase mutual understanding
between the people of the United States and the
people of other countries."

It has been 11 years since Congress stated those
objectives in the Smith-Muudt Act, and much has
been accomplislied toward those ends in a short

In the Department of State we have such activ-


ities as the international educational exchange
program, whicli includes the exchange of approxi-
mately 6,500 students, professoi-s, teachers, leaders,
and specialists between the United States and
more than DO other countries each year. Most of
you, I'm sure, know people who have received
Fulbright and Smith-Mundt grants to undertake
cultural projects abroad. Some of the elementary
and high schools in Maine that have sent teachers
to such widely separated countries as Japan,
France, and Australia include the Deering High
School in Portland, the Jordan Grammar School
in Lewiston, the Nanson High School in West
Buxton, the high schools in Rockland and York,
and many others represented here today.

In addition to an exchange-of-persons program,
the international educational exchange program
also provides financial and other aids to American-
sponsored schools in other countries. Many for-
eign students who might otlierwise not have an
opportunity to visit the United States are learn-
ing about the American way of life through these
schools, many of which are staffed by American

Under my jurisdiction in the Bureau of Inter-
national Cultural Relations I also have the Presi-
dent's Special International Program for Cul-
tural Presentations, which assists groups of
American performing artists and athletes to ap-
pear in other countries. Right now the New
York Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra is on a
2-montli tour of Europe and the Near East under
this program. More than 140 such groups have
been assisted in visiting more than 90 countries
by the Department of State since 1954.

East-West Contacts

One very busy office in my bureau these days is
the East-West Contacts Staff, whicli administers
the exchange pi-ogram between the United States
and the Soviet-bloc nations. This program has
served to pmich a few holes in the once impene-
trable Iron Curtain, and, compared to the situa-
tion a few years ago, the number of exchanges
witli the Soviet Union in all fields is now consider-
able. We would like to see the flow of persons
in both directions increased, and we are doing our
best to assure tlie renewal of the current exchange
agreement witli the Soviets," which expires at the
end of this year.

■ For text, -see Bulletin of Feb. 17, 1958, p. 243.

Deparfmenf of Sfate Bulletin

Let me descrilie to you an example of the effect
on one country within the Soviet bloc of the visit
of three American athletes. It was in 1956, and
I was at the time U.S. Minister to Rumania. An
international track meet was to take place, and
I had besieged the Department of State with
requests for U.S. representation. The day of the
track meet arrived, and so did Willie Williams,
a colored boy who had broken the world's record
for the 100-meter dash, younir Bob Gutowski, the
great U.S. pole vaulter, and Ernie Shelton, a
high jumper. Into a stadium full of 100,000
Rumanians the athletes from countries all over
the world marched behind the flag of their coun-
try. There were teams from France, Germany,
and Belgium, and as they came in in alphabetical
order the crowd politely applauded their entrance
and their march around tlie stadium. It was a
colorful spectacle; the Rumanians Iiave a wonder-
ful sense of color and drama. There were unusual
flags and flowers and bunting everywhere, with
bands, and the crowd was gay. Suddenly the
American flag appeared through the archway of
tlie stadium, borne by Willie Williams, with Ernie
Shelton behind him — Gutovvski's pole-vault event
was the first and he was already warming up.
Only two young athletes were representing Amer-
ica, by far the smallest of any of the teams which
had marched in. There was a moment of dead
silence as the flag and the two boys appeared,
and then every man and woman in the stadium
was on his feet, and a mighty roar of greeting
came from the throats of 100,000 Rumanians.
They waved and yelled during the entire progress
of these boys around the track. It was the first
time they had been able to show their feelings
toward our country without fear of reprisal.
When the Soviet team came in a few minutes
later behind the Red flag of communism a flutter
of polite handclapping was all that they received.

The presence of these Americans and their en-
suing performance and contact with the Ruman-
ian people thereafter did more to give the lie to
the false stories in the Rumanian radio and press
about America than hours of counterradio and
tons of literature could ever have done.

Other Programs

Extensive as the Department of State's ex-
change programs are, similar programs sponsored
by nongovernmental organizations such as uni-

Augtisl 31, 1959

517815—59 3

versities, foundations, hospitals, service clubs, and
professional societies are far larger in scope.

■We saw firsthand evidence of this right in
Washington during the past week, when the Na-
tional Education Association played host to this
year's meeting of the World Confederation of
Organizations of the Teaching Profession.
Re{)resenting 72 countries, more than 400 dele-
gates provided a stirring example of the fact that
the ideals and problems of education are not lim-
ited by national boundaries.

A recent survey of the Institute of International
Education revealed the presence of more than
47,000 foreign students at American institutions
of higher learning during the past academic year.
Less than 5 percent of those students were under
United States Government sponsorship. The
same situation exists for exchanges of professors,
doctors, scientists, and persons in a host of other

In addition to the State Department other
United. States Government agencies sponsor ex-
change-of-persons programs designed to provide
training and other forms of assistance to nationals
of other countries. The International Coopera-
tion Administration brought 8,000 foreign citizens
to the United States for training last year and
sent more than 3,500 American technicians abroad
to teach skills to the peoples of other countries.
The Defense Department has invited more than
9,000 high-ranking foreign military officials to
the United States since 1950 under its military
assistance program. In all, at least 15 Govern-
ment agencies have active programs in the cul-
tural exchange field.

On the level of regional and international or-
ganizations the United States cooperates closely
with the cultural programs of UNESCO, the
North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the Organi-
zation of American States, and other specialized
agencies. !

The exchange-of-persons program is not all
plain sailing. We have our problems, and one of
the principal problems we have is the person who
comes from overseas to America and, finding it to
his or her liking, wishes to remain here. The
objective of the exchange-of-persons program is to
have people return to their country with an un-
derstanding of America and explain to the people
of their country the meaning of what they have
seen and heard and lived. We wish them also to


take back with tliem tlie results of their studies,
the skills they may have learned, in order that
their own country may obtain the benefit of their
experience here. This objective is defeated every
time someone insists on remaining, and yet there
are many instances where a promising, talented
specialist in a particular field begs to stay and
continue research where there are facilities for
him which do not exist in his own country. It
is not easy to turn these people down. Yet, un-
less we take a firm stand in most of these cases,
the countries from which these people come will
accuse us of recruiting their best brains and strip-
ping them of the services of their best citizens
whom they need so badly in the developing and
building of their own nation.

Promoting International Good Will

Although the ICA and Defense Department
programs, as well as many hundreds of privately
sponsored exchange programs, are not specifically
designed to promote mutual understanding — as are
the State Department's programs — their potential
contribution toward that end is great.

Here you have a picture of tens of thousands of
people traveling to and from the United States
each year to undertake academic or cultural as-
signments. Not only is it important for these
people to complete their projects or training; it is
equally important for them to develop a basic
understanding of the ideals and way of life of
the peoples among whom they have lived. At
the same time it is important for the cultural
traveler to convey an accurate impression of his
own way of life to his hosts. He must get beneath
the veneer of tourist attractions and meet the
people if he is to make an important contribu-
tion to international good will. If we ignore
these aspects of cultural exchange or if we handle
them badly, cultural diplomacy can become a lia-
bility rather than an asset.

That is why we consider it so vital that our
foreign guests be introduced to American homes,
factories, schools, churches, theaters, community
centers, supermarkets, and all other institutions
that are part of our daily lives. That is why, in
choosing Americans to go abroad under our ex-
change program, we attempt to .select individuals
who have demonstrated the ability to get along
well with people as well as superior academic and
professional qualifications.

Underscoring Foreign Policy Goals

With hundreds of separately sponsored overseas
exchange programs in existence, a second respon-
sibility of my office is to animate and underscore
the one bond all of them have in common — the
potential for contributing to our long-range ob-
jectives in foreign aifairs through the interchange
of persons, knowledge, and cultural materials.
It is this single factor that provides a common
ground for such divei-se programs as the Ameri-
can Field Service teenager exchanges, the "Books
Across the Sea" program of the English Speak-
ing Union, and the Guggenheim Foundation
awards to postdoctoral scholars, to cite just three
examples. It is part of my responsibility in help-
ing the Secretary of State carry out foreign
policy to encourage an awareness of this factor
among all sectors of our society engaged in over-
seas activities, whether they be imiversities, busi-

Online LibraryUnited States. Dept. of State. Office of Public CoDepartment of State bulletin (Volume v. 41, Jul- Sep1959) → online text (page 62 of 88)