The Public Diplomacy Reader

The first in the IWP course reader series, The Public Diplomacy Reader provides a look at slices of public diplomacy: the art of communicating with foreign publics to influence international perceptions, attitudes and policies. Like any art form, the real definition of public diplomacy is subjective, and can be the source of lively and often bitter debates.  

Rather than attempt to create a specific definition of public diplomacy, this edited volume takes some of the most insightful and historically significant writings, statements and official documents, from a variety of professional disciplines and political perspectives, so the reader can develop his or her own sense of what the field is all about.

This book makes no pretensions about completeness. The editor found it challenging to keep it under 500 pages of actual text. Here is how The Public Diplomacy Reader is designed to serve the user: To provide in a single volume a useful primer on public diplomacy, straight from some of the leading thinkers and practitioners across time and culture.

Praise for The Public Diplomacy Reader

"The Public Diplomacy Reader, a unique and outstanding compilation of materials on public diplomacy going back as far as the ancient Greeks and colonial America, will be of great value to all seeking an understanding of the history of this neglected discipline and its potential role today."

- Carnes Lord, Professor of Strategy, U.S. Naval War College; author, Losing Hearts and Minds? Public Diplomacy and Strategic Influence in the Age of Terror (Praeger, 2006). "J. Michael Waller is one of the outstanding theoreticians and practitioners of public diplomacy. His wide ranging Public Diplomacy Reader brings the wealth of experience and knowledge upon which he has drawn in his distinguished career to bear for an in-depth study of this craft.  It is indispensable for both students and anyone wishing to win 'the war of ideas.'"    - Robert Reilly, former Director, Voice of America


Table of Contents


Definitions: What is Public Diplomacy, and What Is It For?

Foundational definition: To influence foreign publics

Edward R. Murrow Center for Public Diplomacy (1965)

A basic human right

Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)

Transnational government and non-government interaction

Edward R. Murrow Center for Public Diplomacy (1965)

Programs to inform and influence

U.S. Department of State (1987)

The open exchange of ideas and information

Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy (1991)

A promoter of the national interest and national security

Edward R. Murrow, U.S. Information Agency (1963)

A new dimension for foreign policy operations

House Foreign Affairs Committee (1964)

A form of international political advocacy

Paul A. Smith (1989)

To supplement and reinforce traditional diplomacy

Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy (1985)

At it most successful, it's straightforward

Carnes Lord (2007)

A strategic instrument to shape ideological trends

National Security Decision Directive 130 (1984)

To promote the national interest with information

U.S. Advisory Group on Public Diplomacy for the

Arab and Muslim World (2003)

A means ‘to win support for U.S. foreign policy goals'

U.S. Department of State (2007)

Part of a larger whole

Carnes Lord (2007)

We're better at the ‘inform' than we are at ‘influence'

Charlotte Beers (2002)

As part of post-9/11 strategy

Patricia S. Harrison (2004)

Different from public affairs

U.S. Department of State (1997)

Different from traditional diplomacy

USIA Alumni Association (2002)

A component of strategic communication

Defense Science Board (2004)

An essential element of psychological strategy

Stephen Tanous (2003)

An asset built in fits and starts, and not always seriously

Juliana Geran Pilon (2006)

‘It takes two hands to clap'

Karen P. Hughes (2005)

Is ‘influence' no longer a core function in new strategy?

U.S. Department of State (2007)

An American Tradition

Appeal to the Inhabitants of Quebec

Continental Congress (1774)

Petition to the King

Continental Congress (1774)

Address to the People of Great Britain

Continental Congress (1774)

Letter to the Inhabitants of Canada

Continental Congress (1775)

Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms

Continental Congress (1775)

Petition to the King

Continental Congress (1775)

Letter to the Inhabitants of Great Britain

Continental Congress (1775)

Letter to the Lord Mayor of London

John Hancock (1775)

Address to the Assembly of Jamaica

Continental Congress (1775)

To the Inhabitants of the Island of Bermuda

George Washington (1775)

To the Inhabitants of Canada

George Washington (1775)

Declaration of Independence

Continental Congress (1776)

Dialogue between Britain, France, Spain, Holland, Saxony and America

Benjamin Franklin (1777)

The Power of Ideas and Values

The Four Freedoms

Franklin D. Roosevelt (1941)

The underlying conflict in the realm of ideas and values

Paul Nitze, NSC-68 (1950)

Know the enemy and exploit its weaknesses

Paul Nitze, NSC-68 (1950)

‘A call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle'

John F. Kennedy (1961)

Human rights as a cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy (The ‘inordinate fear of communism' speech)

Jimmy Carter (1977)

‘Ash heap of history' - the speech at Westminster

Ronald Reagan (1982)

Political action: An ideological thrust

Ronald Reagan (1983)

The ‘Evil Empire' speech

Ronald Reagan (1983)

‘Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!'

Ronald Reagan (1987)

Truth and Trust

Truth-telling liar

Aesop (6th century B.C.)

‘Act sincerely'

Aesop (6th century B.C.)

Biases color the perception of truth

Pericles (431 B.C.)

Campaign of Truth

Harry S Truman (1950)

Truth is the best form of propaganda

Edward R. Murrow (1963)

Voice of America Charter

Voice of America (1960)

RFE/RL Code of professional journalism standards

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Cultural Diplomacy

An art form since the Bronze Age

Richard T. Arndt (2005)

The linchpin of public diplomacy

U.S. Advisory Committee on Cultural Diplomacy (2005)

‘Rock music helped bring down the Iron Curtain'

Andras Simonyi (2003)

Music's role must be part of an idea-based strategy

Robert R. Reilly (2007)

Keep the end purpose clear

John Lenczowski (2007)

Humanitarian Public Diplomacy

‘He who does a kindness hath the advantage'

Pericles (431 B.C.)

Avoid one-way aid programs: Let the recipients plan

George C. Marshall (1947)

USAID could not inform people how it was helping them

U.S. Advisory Group on Public Diplomacy in the Arab and Muslim World (2003)

Congress calls on State Department to credit U.S.

Public Law 108-468 (2004)

Medical diplomacy generates large-scale goodwill

Terror Free Tomorrow (2006)

Religion and Public Diplomacy

‘Religion and morality' in diplomacy

George Washington (1796)

Proposal for Christian-Muslim ‘common moral front'

U.S. Consulate General, Dharan, Saudi Arabia (1951)

Script for Radio Jidda

Dean Acheson (1952)

‘Interpret the Moslem religion on the basis of tolerance and to condemn terrorism'

American Embassy, Beirut (1952)

Propaganda in Saudi Arabia ‘will not be tolerated'

American Embassy, Jeddah (1952)

Country plan for Iran

American Embassy Tehran (1952)

Early public diplomacy funding of Islamic event

U.S. Department of State (1953)

Never fail to stress the spiritual factor

Dwight D. Eisenhower (1958)

A sample of a U.S.-funded religious broadcast

Fr. George Benigsen, Radio Liberty (1988)

An inability or unwillingness to come to terms with religion

Adda Bozeman (1988)

The case for a religion attaché

Douglas M. Johnston (2002)

Effective ideological engagement requires understanding of religion

Jennifer A. Marshall (2006)

A civil society approach to public diplomacy

Jennifer A. Marshall (2006)

‘Islam is part of America'

Karen P. Hughes (2006)

Engage Muslim communities . . .

U.S. Department of State (2007)

... but alienate them if we must

U.S. Agency for International Development (2007)

A model fatwa

Islamic Commission of Spain (2005)

Broadcasting as a Mission

RFE/RL Mission Statement

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Bringing news to people who need it

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

VOA Journalistic Code

Voice of America (1995)

An instrument of national security policy

Ronald Reagan, NSDD-45 (1982)

A clear and continuing mission

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Democracy and security in U.S. foreign policy:

The role of RFE/RL

Thomas A. Dine (2001)

Communicating to the world's most volatile hotspots

Thomas A. Dine (2004)

Mission, vision, priorities, strategic goals and objectives

Broadcasting Board of Governors (2007)

Words and Language

Aphorisms about words

Proverbs, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Mark Twain, Pope John Paul II, et al.

Distortion of language in wartime

Thucydides (5th century, B.C.)

Thought corrupts language, and vice-versa

George Orwell (1946)

When a word is true and false

Václav Havel (1989)

Carelessness in adopting the language of our opponents

Fred Charles Iklé (1970s)

Semantic infiltration

Daniel Patrick Moynihan (1979)

Defenses against distortions of language

Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy (1984)

Take back the language

Ronald Reagan (1983)

Know the traditional meanings of Islamic terms

Layla Sein (2002)

Reclaim the true meanings

Asma Afsaruddin (2002)

Qur'an and Muhammad made emphatic distinctions

Sayyid M. Sayyid (2003)

What we should be saying is . . .

Jim Guirard (2001)

Islamic words, ideas and customs can be our best ally

J. Michael Waller (2007)

Psychological Planning and Strategy

Every policy can have a psychological dimension

Psychological Planning Board (1952)

Political and psychological offensives can outflank us militarily

Dwight D. Eisenhower (1958)

Wisdom requires the long view

John F. Kennedy (1962)

‘Relatively low priority'

House Foreign Affairs Committee (1964)

Origins of U.S. psychological strategy

Stephen Tanous (2003)

Management of public diplomacy relative to national security

Ronald Reagan, NSDD-77 (1983)

U.S. international information policy

Ronald Reagan, NSDD-130 (1984)

Restructuring public diplomacy

Bill Clinton (1998)

Useful reminder: Be there at takeoff, not just at crash landings

Edward R. Murrow (1961)

Public Diplomacy and Propaganda

U.S. officials disagree on difference

USIA Alumni Association (2002)

Propaganda agency

Edward R. Murrow (1963)

Call it what you want

Richard Holbrooke (2001)

Books are weapons

Franklin D. Roosevelt (1942)

Propaganda battle: from VOA to bulletins to health campaigns

Edward W. Barrett (1951)

Public diplomacy, propaganda and rhetoric

Mark Blitz (1986)

Counterpropaganda: Don't Let the Other Side Control the Story

Keep the enemy in the wrong

Samuel Adams (1775)

Insulate the homefront against foreign intrigue

George Washington (1796)

We need resources to combat covert propaganda

Philip Habib (1986)

Counterpropaganda: An absolute essential

Herbert Romerstein (2006)

How to identify misinformation

U.S. Department of State (2005)

Definitions of misinformation and disinformation

U.S. Department of State (2005)

The interagency Active Measures Working Group: An eyewitness account of U.S. counterpropaganda strategy

Herbert Romerstein (2006)

A counterinsurgency approach to counterpropaganda

Andrew Garfield (2006)

Integration of Intelligence, Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs

A model white paper

U.S. Department of State (1981)

Public Diplomacy After 9/11

New target: Networks

George W. Bush (2003)

A three-dimensional strategy

National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (2002)

A new strategy: ‘Beyond elites to strategic communities'

Patricia S. Harrison (2004)

Strategy still needed

Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy (2004)

Nothing at the top

National Security Council (2005)

‘Lack of clarity' in Saudi Arabia - five years after

Office of the Inspector General, U.S. Department of State (2006)

‘Transformational public diplomacy'

Karen P. Hughes (2006)

2006 Audit: ‘Strategic approach still lacking'

Government Accountability Office (2006)

‘Guided by our tactics'

U.S. Department of State (2006)

An urgent appeal

Eleven former VOA Directors (2007)

2007 Audit: Still no visible strategy

Government Accountability Office (2007)

A strategy emerges

U.S. Department of State (2007)

Technology Challenges and Opportunities

They jammed our satellite. Now what?

Broadcasting Board of Governors (2003)

Uncle Sam's blog

Hampton Stephens (2005)

Enhanced technology initiatives

U.S. Department of State (2006)

Perhaps the State Department should try the Internet

Hampton Stephens (2006)

Virtual Diplomacy Initiative

U.S. Institute of Peace (1997- )

Citizen Public Diplomats

Ten things Americans can do to support public diplomacy

U.S. Department of State (2007)

World citizen's guide: Practical advice for Americans traveling abroad

Business for Diplomatic Action

Public diplomacy advocacy

Public Diplomacy Council (2007)

What the Law Says

Founding law: the Smith-Mundt Act and its amendments

Ban on domestic USIA activities

Zorinsky Amendment (1985)

Foreign Affairs Reform & Restructuring Act

U.S. House of Representatives, Report 105-432 (1998)

International Broadcasting Act of 1994

U.S. Senate (1994)

Foreign Affairs Reform and Restructuring Act (broadcasting)

U.S. House of Representatives (1998)

Post 9/11 public diplomacy: what Congress passed into law

Federal law calls for public diplomacy offensive in Saudi Arabia

Public Law 108-468 (2004)

Federal law calls for ideological campaign in Muslim world

Public Law 108-468 (2004)

Federal law calls for political action against Islamic dictatorships

Public Law 108-468 (2004)

Federal law calls for Muslim broadcast programming

Public Law 108-468 (2004)

Public diplomacy responsibilities of the Department of State

Public Law 108-468 (2004)

Public diplomacy training: A top congressional priority

Public Law 108-468 (2004)

Promotion of democracy and human rights

Public Law 108-468 (2004)

Expansion of Islamic scholarship and exchange programs

Public Law 108-468 (2004)

Grants to U.S.-sponsored schools in Muslim countries

Public Law 108-468 (2004)

International Youth Opportunity Fund

Public Law 108-468 (2004)

The use of economic policies to combat terrorism

Public Law 108-468 (2004)

Middle East Partnership Initiative to promote rule of law

Public Law 108-468 (2004)

Toward a comprehensive global strategy against terrorism

Public Law 108-468 (2004)

About the Editor

About The Institute of World Politics

Related Links
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