SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
Page 1 TOP OF DOC75634PDF
THE ROLE OF PUBLIC DIPLOMACY IN SUPPORT OF THE ANTI-TERRORISM CAMPAIGN
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED SEVENTH CONGRESS
OCTOBER 10, 2001
Serial No. 10747
Printed for the use of the Committee on International Relations
Available via the World Wide Web: http://www.house.gov/internationalrelations
COMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
Page 2 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
HENRY J. HYDE, Illinois, Chairman
BENJAMIN A. GILMAN, New York
JAMES A. LEACH, Iowa
DOUG BEREUTER, Nebraska
CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH, New Jersey
DAN BURTON, Indiana
ELTON GALLEGLY, California
ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN, Florida
CASS BALLENGER, North Carolina
DANA ROHRABACHER, California
EDWARD R. ROYCE, California
PETER T. KING, New York
STEVE CHABOT, Ohio
AMO HOUGHTON, New York
JOHN M. McHUGH, New York
RICHARD BURR, North Carolina
JOHN COOKSEY, Louisiana
THOMAS G. TANCREDO, Colorado
RON PAUL, Texas
NICK SMITH, Michigan
JOSEPH R. PITTS, Pennsylvania
DARRELL E. ISSA, California
ERIC CANTOR, Virginia
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCJEFF FLAKE, Arizona
BRIAN D. KERNS, Indiana
JO ANN DAVIS, Virginia
TOM LANTOS, California
HOWARD L. BERMAN, California
GARY L. ACKERMAN, New York
ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA, American Samoa
DONALD M. PAYNE, New Jersey
ROBERT MENENDEZ, New Jersey
SHERROD BROWN, Ohio
CYNTHIA A. McKINNEY, Georgia
EARL F. HILLIARD, Alabama
BRAD SHERMAN, California
ROBERT WEXLER, Florida
JIM DAVIS, Florida
ELIOT L. ENGEL, New York
WILLIAM D. DELAHUNT, Massachusetts
GREGORY W. MEEKS, New York
BARBARA LEE, California
JOSEPH CROWLEY, New York
JOSEPH M. HOEFFEL, Pennsylvania
EARL BLUMENAUER, Oregon
SHELLEY BERKLEY, Nevada
GRACE NAPOLITANO, California
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCADAM B. SCHIFF, California
DIANE E. WATSON, California
THOMAS E. MOONEY, SR., Staff Director/General Counsel
ROBERT R. KING, Democratic Staff Director
KRISTEN GILLEY, Senior Professional Staff Member
MARILYN C. OWEN, Staff Associate
C O N T E N T S
The Honorable Charlotte Beers, Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, U.S. Department of State
Marc Nathanson, Chairman, Broadcasting Board of Governors
Ambassador Kenton Keith, Senior Vice President for Programming, Meridian International Center
Tom Korologos, Board Member, Broadcasting Board of Governors
LETTERS, STATEMENTS, ETC., SUBMITTED FOR THE HEARING
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The Honorable Henry J. Hyde, a Representative in Congress from the State of Illinois, and Chairman, Committee on International Relations: Prepared statement
The Honorable Edward R. Royce, a Representative in Congress from the State of California: Prepared statement
The Honorable Charlotte Beers: Prepared statement
Information submitted for the record by the Honorable Dana Rohrabacher, a Representative in Congress from the State of California
The Honorable Benjamin A. Gilman, a Representative in Congress from the State of New York: Prepared statement
The Honorable Diane E. Watson, a Representative in Congress from the State of California: Prepared statement
Marc Nathanson: Prepared statement
Ambassador Kenton Keith: Prepared statement
The Honorable Joseph R. Pitts, a Representative in Congress from the State of Pennsylvania: Prepared statement
Page 6 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
THE ROLE OF PUBLIC DIPLOMACY IN SUPPORT OF THE ANTI-TERRORISM CAMPAIGN
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 10, 2001
House of Representatives,
Committee on International Relations,
The Committee met, pursuant to call, at 10:15 a.m. in Room 2172, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Henry J. Hyde (Chairman of the Committee) presiding.
Chairman HYDE. The Committee will come to order. As Americans we are justly proud of our country. If any nation has been a greater force for good in the long and tormented history of this world, I am unaware of it. We have guarded whole continent from conquest, showered aid on distant lands, sent thousands of youthful idealists to remote and often inhospitable areas to help the world's forgotten. Our generosity is a matter of record from rebuilding our defeated enemies to feeding tens of millions around the world. Why then, when we read or listen to descriptions of America in the foreign press, do we so often seem to be entering a fantasy land of hatred?
Much of the popular press overseas, often including the government-owned media, daily depict the United States as a force for evil, accusing this country of an endless number of malevolent plots against the world. Today, as we strike against the terrorists in Afghanistan who masterminded the murder of thousands of Americans, our actions are widely depicted in the Muslim world as a war against Islam. Our efforts at self-defense which should be supported by every decent person on this planet, instead spark riots that threaten governments that dare cooperate with us.
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
The poisonous image of the United States that is deliberately propagated around the world is more than a mere irritation. It has a direct and negative impact on American interests, not only by undermining our foreign policy goals, but by endangering the safety of Americans here at home and abroad.
How has this state of affairs come about? How is it that the country that invented Hollywood and Madison Avenue has such trouble promoting a positive image of itself overseas? Clearly, this situation has not emerged suddenly or without warning. It has been building for decades, even as we stood and watched. Over the years, the images of mindless hatred directed at us have appeared on our television screens with sickening regularity. All this time we have heard calls that something must be done. But clearly, whatever has been done has not been enough. The question facing us is what can we do to correct this problem?
When I look at the range of programs that constitute our public diplomacy efforts overseas, I see many things of value, but even if the individual programs have merit, can anyone doubt that the sum of our efforts has been insufficient? It is not my purpose to place blame on any person or agency for this state of affairs, for that would be neither accurate nor helpful. Were the problems solvable simply by urging others to work better or harder, I would happily make that call. However, we must assume that the responsible individuals are committed and competent public servants who do in best to perform the job before them.
It appears to me that the problem is too great and too entrenched to be solved by our current efforts. The same must be said about any partial reforms, such as tweaking an agency here or reshuffling a program there. Instead, we must ask ourselves whether or not our public diplomacy effort, as currently constituted, can ever do the job of correcting the damage that has been done to our image and reputation overseas, and beyond that, establishing a positive image of the United States abroad.
Page 8 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
If we ask this question, a host of others follow. How can we use our current programs to better effect? What new approaches to promoting Americas image abroad should we consider? Is there a role for the private sector and does it have any lessons to teach us? How can we measure impact? Who are our allies in efforts overseas? Can we enlist the resources of friendly governments? There are many questions to be asked, and it is my hope that these hearings will be a beginning of that process.
We must open this discussion to many others, to all who have expertise in this subject and who have ideas to offer. This must, of course, include those currently in positions of responsibility, but we must also hear from those whose experience lies in different areas, especially those in the private sector whose careers have focused on the creation of images both here and around the world.
I cannot claim to have a ready solution to this problem, but surely one exists. We must accept there can be no quick fixes. The problem has been gathering strength for several decades and an effective approach will take time to assemble, but we must begin now if we are to win this long overlooked struggle. In so doing, we must remember that we will not only be the beneficiaries of success. As Abraham Lincoln stated, ''Our country represents the last best hope of earth.'' We must reestablish the identity of America and hope among the peoples of the world if we are to merit that description, and by so doing secure our world for the generations to come.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Hyde follows:]
Page 9 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCPREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE HENRY J. HYDE, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, AND CHAIRMAN, COMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
As Americans, we are justly proud of our country. If any nation has been a greater force for good in the long and tormented history of this world, I am unaware of it. We have guarded whole continents from conquest, showered aid on distant lands, sent thousands of youthful idealists to remote and often inhospitable areas to help the world's forgotten. Our generosity is a matter of record, from rebuilding our defeated enemies to feeding tens of millions around the world.
Why, then, when we read or listen to descriptions of America in the foreign press, do we so often seem to be entering a fantasy land of hatred? Much of the popular press overseas, often including the government-owned media, daily depict the United States as a force for evil, accusing this country of an endless number of malevolent plots against the world. Today, as we strike against the terrorists in Afghanistan who masterminded the murder of thousands of Americans, our actions are widely depicted in the Muslim world a war against Islam. Our efforts at self-defense, which should be supported by every decent person on this planet, instead spark riots that threaten governments that dare to cooperate with us.
The poisonous image of the United States that is deliberately propagated around the world is more than a mere irritation. It has a direct and negative impact on American interests, not only by undermining our foreign policy goals but by endangering the safety of Americans here at home and abroad. How has this state of affairs come about? How is it that the country that invented Hollywood and Madison Avenue has such trouble promoting a positive image of itself overseas? Clearly, this situation has not emerged suddenly or without warning. It has been building for decades, even as we stood and watched. Over the years, the images of mindless hatred directed at us have appeared on our television screens with a sickening regularity. All this time, we have heard calls that ''something must be done.'' But, clearly, whatever has been done has not been enough.
Page 10 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
The question facing us is what can we do to correct this problem? When I look at the range of programs that constitute our public diplomacy efforts overseas, I see many things of value. But even if the individual programs have merit, can anyone doubt that the sum of our efforts has been insufficient? It is not my purpose to place blame on any person or agency for this state of affairs, for that would be neither accurate or helpful. Were the problem solvable simply by urging others to work better or harder, I would happily make that call. However, we must assume that the responsible individuals are committed and competent public servants who do their best to perform the job before them.
It appears to me that the problem is too great and too entrenched to be solved by our current efforts. The same must be said about any partial reforms, such as tweaking an agency here or reshuffling a program there. Instead, we must ask ourselves whether or not our public diplomacy effort as currently constituted can ever do the job of correcting the damage that has been done to our image and reputation overseas and, beyond that, establishing a positive image of the United States abroad.
If we ask this question, a host of others follow. How can we use our current programs to better effect? What new approaches to promoting America's image abroad should we consider? Is there a role for the private sector and does it have any lessons to teach us? How can we measure impact? Who are our allies in this effort overseas? Can we enlist the resources of friendly governments? There are many other questions to be asked, and it is my hope that these hearings will be a beginning of that process.
We must open this discussion to many others, to all who have expertise in this subject and who have ideas to offer. This must, of course, include those currently in positions of responsibility, but we must also hear from those whose experience lies in different areas, especially those in the private sector whose careers have focused on the creation of images both here and around the world.
Page 11 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
I cannot claim to have a ready solution to this problem, but one surely exists. We must accept that there can be no quick fixes. The problem has been gathering strength for several decades, and an effective approach will take time to assemble. But we must begin now if we are to win this long-overlooked struggle. In so doing, we must remember that we will not be the only beneficiaries of success. As Abraham Lincoln stated, America represents ''the last, best hope of earth.'' We must reestablish the identity of America and hope among the peoples of the world if we are to merit that description and by so doing secure our world for the generations to come.
Chairman HYDE. I now ask Mr. Lantos for an opening statement.
Mr. LANTOS. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I want to commend you for calling this hearing, and before I make my formal statement, I cannot help but comment on yesterday afternoon when you and Senators Biden and Jessie Helms and I had a lengthy meeting with the President on a whole range of foreign policy issues, but the issue that most powerfully remains in my mind and will for a long time was the President's very genuine, very sincere and very straightforward question, why do they hate us? Why is it that from the streets of Jakarta in Indonesia to Pakistan to scores of other countries, the white venom of hate is oozing in a singularly ugly and sickening fashion?
The President asked properly. There has never been a more generous Nation. We covet no one's territory. We are trying to preserve, or in some places create, a civilized society, and yet the venom is oozing in our direction. And I think the fundamental answer truly lies in our appalling failure to conduct public diplomacy with the seriousness and with the resources that this very important function desperately calls for.
Page 12 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. Chairman, the U.S.-led international military campaign launched Sunday against Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda network and his Taliban protectors represents a first step in a long and difficult and costly struggle against terrorism.
If September 11 was Pearl Harbor, October 7 was D-day, the beginning of the end of international terrorism. Our forceful counterattack demonstrates that the terrorist acts of the last month have not paralyzed us. They have galvanized us. Winning the war against terrorism will require much more than military might. It will also require, among other diplomatic and economic initiatives that we launch, a concerted campaign to win over the people of Afghanistan and scores of other countries around the globe who are subjected to a daily barrage of vituperative misinformation and vicious hate. The war against terrorism will be fought in the air, on the land, on the seas, but particularly the airwaves.
In many respects, Mr. Chairman, we and our allies are losing the battle of the airwaves. We are literally being outgunned, outmanned, out maneuvered on the public information battle field. For years the Taliban has showered Afghanistan with their hateful propaganda, via Radio Shariat. The insidious messages of that radio echo throughout the Middle East and South Asia as fringe organizations and mainstream media alike spread their anti-American venom. The riots we see in the streets of Indonesia and Pakistan, two Nations we have helped enormously since they gained independence, is proof positive that we are losing this aspect of the war. Now, of course the broadcasting of hate is not new.
From Goebbels' Nazi propaganda machine to the hate radio broadcast in Rwanda during the Tutsi genocide repressive regimes have used misinformation campaigns to terrorize, manipulate, and provoke civilian populations. Osama bin Laden himself has taken a page from this playbook, manipulating most recently Arab media to further his evil ends.
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
It is time, Mr. Chairman, that we strike back by strengthening and intensifying our public diplomacy efforts. As a teenager in the anti-Nazi underground living in Hungary during the second World War, I recall fondly the inspirational and uplifting and liberating broadcasts of the Voice of America and the BBC, and I can testify personally to the incredibly dramatic effect these programs had in providing hope to captive people. With the proper commitment of resources and energy, public diplomacy can be made to work again. But since the end of the Cold War, Mr. Chairman, the United States has neglected our public diplomacy efforts. International information and broadcasting budgets have been vitiated over the years and the merger of USIA and the Department of State may have further complicated our diplomacy efforts.
After nearly a decade of neglect, we are today suffering the consequences of a chronically underfunded public diplomacy establishment. The United States currently spends in international broadcasting a sum that I can only describe as paltry and shameful. We are spending about as much as BBC spends on its world service, and to give some perspective to our spending priorities, we are spending $2.2 billion on chewing gum, $75 billion on cigarettes and $400 million on the public broadcasting establishment. It is high time, Mr. Chairman, that this Congress and our Administration took public diplomacy seriously.
Last month with virtual unanimity, we appropriated about $40 billion in emergency funds for waging war on terrorism. This morning, I call on President Bush to allocate from these funds whatever is required to increase dramatically U.S. broadcasting to Afghanistan and throughout the Arab and Muslim world. We must not shortchange this vital account and rob the State Department and the broadcasting agencies of the resources they need to carry out this important fight. The time for bold decisive action on this crucial front on the war against terrorism is long overdue.
Page 14 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Some Members, Mr. Chairman, have proposed a creation of a Radio Free Afghanistan, a concept I support, but establishing a new broadcasting service from scratch will take considerable time. As we build infrastructure, listenership, and credibility for a Radio Free Afghanistan, we must expend upon the current remarkable capabilities of the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty which have made important inroads into Afghanistan. Some polls indicate that up to 80 percent of Afghan males listen to VOA through its Pashtun, Farsi, and Uda services. We must build upon this success, not abandon it for a new service that will take months, perhaps years, to establish.
Public diplomacy entails more than broadcasting, however. We must also increase educational and cultural exchanges with the Middle East and South Asia and promote educational programming in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other countries that lack access to basic education. As I have said before, Mr. Chairman, the war on terrorism is like no other war America has ever waged, and it will require all that we as a people can muster. Public diplomacy is one arrow in America's quiver in this war, and it is time we use it.
If you will allow, Mr. Chairman, there is one more observation I would like to make. One of my most unforgettable memories was a day I spent in Geneva many years ago with my late friend, Edward R. Murrow. We both stayed at the Hotel Beauregard. By chance we met in the morning and spent much of the day together. Ed Murrow, who knew more about this incredibly important instrument than anyone, taught us not just the importance, but the absolute essentiality of making our public diplomacy credible.
So I would like to conclude by quoting the great Edward R. Murrow whose contributions to American society are gigantic:
Page 15 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
''To be persuasive,'' he said, ''we must be believable. To be believable, we must be credible. To be credible, we must be truthful. American public diplomacy will have to be truthful. We cannot match, nor should we, the latter day Goebbels in their lies and distortions. Our story sells itself if it is told powerfully, accurately and with credibility.''
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you. We will now receive opening statements. I would admonish the Committee to be as brief as possible because we have several witnesses and we'd like to get to them. But I think it is important that each Member have an opportunity to express themselves succinctly and briefly, the first to be Jo Ann Davis, the gentlelady from Virginia. You have no statement?
Mr. FLAKE. Mr. Chairman, I would rather hear the witnesses, thanks.
The CHAIRMAN. We are having a mild dispute about the order of calling people. Some have said when they get here, they ought to take precedence and others suggest seniority, and I have friends on both sides. And I am for my friends. Mr. Leach.
Mr. LEACH. So that there is no misunderstanding, Mr. Chairman, I was the first Member here and I am not making the insistence and there is no argument to that extent. But having said that, I want to just very briefly say I identify with both the Ranking Member and the Chairman in their comments and would only add one modest follow-up, and that is that as we look at public diplomacy, the word ''diplomacy'' is more important than the word ''public,'' and if there is any lesson that this Committee, with its jurisdiction, ought to be taking very seriously, it is that the budget of the United States Department of State should be looked at in the wake of international challenges of this nature just as the budget of the Central Intelligence Agency in the public diplomacy function. The political games with the State Department budget and the multilateral budgets, including the United Nation's, should be looked at in a very professional way. With that, I would yield back the balance of my time.
Page 16 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you. Mr. Berman of California.
Mr. BERMAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I hardly ever do this, but I want to make a general exception and actually make an opening statement at this hearing because I think this subject is so important. We have a number of distinguished witnesses who we will be hearing from on both panels, and a number of people who have done incredible work in public broadcasting and public diplomacy are at this hearing today. The war against terrorism is much more than a military operation. It is also a battle of ideas.
As an editorial in Washington Post notes, the terrorist enemy that the United States and its allies are facing includes not just networks of fighters and their leaders, but an extremist ideology that has gained a substantial following. Osama bin Laden is doing his best to persuade the world that the strikes on Taliban and al Qaeda facilities amounts to an attack on Islam. It is up to us to convince people, especially moderates in the Arab world, that he's wrong. Fortunately we have the facts on our side, and in the end, the truth will prevail; but the importance of U.S. public diplomacy in the Middle East extends far beyond the current conflict in Afghanistan. At last week's Middle East Subcommittee hearing, all the distinguished witnesses agreed that we have lost the public relations battle on Iraq.
Jeffrey Kemp, a member of President Reagan's National Security Council staff said, and I quote,
''The U.S. has been losing the propaganda war, and it should be a priority to retain the high ground on the matter of who is most responsible for the suffering of the Iraqi people. We know that Saddam refuses to use funds available under the Oil for Food Program to buy food and medicine to sustain his people. We know the sanctions would be lifted if he allowed U.N. weapons inspectors back into the country. We know he uses profits from illicit oil sales to build more palaces for himself while the Iraqi population remains mired in poverty.''
Page 17 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Unfortunately, these facts have been lost on much of the world, including some of our allies. With anti-American sentiment on the rise in the entire Middle East, with Saddam still at the helm in Bagdad, with no end in sight to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, we must intensify our efforts to explain U.S. policies and perspectives to the broad Arab public; but we need to find new ways to do so, because current international broadcasting of the region has not always been effective.
Our shortwave and AM broadcasts are barely audible in many parts of the Middle East, and generally have an extremely small audience, 2 percent or less of the population in most of the 22 countries that receive VOA's Arabic language programming. Much of this has to do with the growing popularity of Al Jazeera and other media outlets in the region. To their great credit, the Broadcasting Board of Governors has proposed a new Arabic service that will broadcast news, in depth analysis, editorial comment, talk and popular music 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in an attractive and accessible format. Unlike current VOA broadcasts, the network will be carried on FM and AM radio stations located in region. It will also provide programming streams tailored to specific audiences, particularly educated young adults in Sudan, the West Bank, Gaza, Iraq, Egypt, Jordan, the Gulf states, and other areas.
The Middle East Radio Network will expose the future leaders of the Arab world to American ideas values and culture, and facilitate the free flow of ideas in countries that still routinely engage in press censorship. It will provide a counter to the disinformation, hate speech, and incitement to violence that are all too often contained in official and private media sources in the region. I strongly support this initiative and hope all of my colleagues will as well.
Page 18 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
I also, in closing, want to draw my colleagues' attention to legislation introduced by our colleague, Ed Royce, that would establish a Radio Free Afghanistan. There is clearly need for additional broadcasting into Afghanistan. According to a National Public Radio report that aired on Tuesday, the three things the Afghan people want most are food, water, and information. Hopefully we can provide all three.
I agreed to be a lead Democratic co-sponsor of this legislation with the understanding that given limited resources, the author had no intention of pursuing Radio Free Afghanistan at the expense of the broader Middle East Radio Network. Indeed, as Mr. Royce understands, these initiatives are complementary. I support my colleagues' effort to establish Radio Free Afghanistan under Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, whose effectiveness in this area under its excellent leader Tom Dine, in the audience today, is well known to everyonenot in lieu of but as a supplement to VOA's Afghan broadcasting.
Mr. Chairman, I thank you for your indulgence and I yield back whatever time I might have left.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. First let us note that when people say why are we hated, that there are some major policy decisions that the United States has made that have not made us friends, and during the Cold War we had to make certain compromises in which we sided with some very unsavory characters at times, just as we did during World War II. We can't just say it is a lack of communication, but there are some policy issues that we need to pay attention to as well if we are going to have the hearts and minds of the people of the world.
Page 19 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
In Indonesia, for example, we supported a less than democratic and less than honest regime there for many years. There is reason for the people of Indonesia to say we suffered, we have had this type of regime and the United States bears some responsibility for that. I think now that the Cold War is over, many of the decisions that we made along that line can be corrected, and I think the United States has moved to correct them.
I think that human rights has played an important role in American foreign policy development. Mr. Lantos and I and others have tried to express that on many occasions, make that part of the national debate, and I think it will go a long way toward solving some of the vitriol that is aimed at the United States. However, there are communication problems as well. I see Mr. Berman has stepped out for a moment, but I agree with him totally on his analysis on the propaganda war about Iraq, and the fact is, we have lost that war and there was no reason for us to lose it.
The Iraqi people are suffering tremendously, yet Saddam Hussein has gotten away with it and we have accepted the blame and we haven't made our case. Unfortunately, I will have to say some Americans, Americans of Muslim descent, gave credence to those charges, and I think that the Muslim community in the United States needs to have some very serious soul searching on this issue of Iraq and the position they have taken over the last year or 2 on whether or not they gave credence to this charge that the United States, not Saddam Hussein, is primarily responsible for the suffering of their people. I would hope that they take a second look at this and think about it in the future.
I would like to tip my hat to my colleague, Mr. Ed Royce, who from the time he arrived here understood the importance of communication to the security of our country and to the cause of human freedom and has dedicated himself and made such major contributions in the area of broadcasting to areas in the world that are, in the world, trying to contest the hearts and mind of the people. And I certainly wholeheartedly support his efforts to try to now focus on Afghanistan.
Page 20 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
But one last note. There have been some serious questions in the last 10 years, actually before that, about the job that Voice of America has been doing. Mr. Lantos, I know, quoted Edward R. Murrow and, quite frankly, he certainly isI am a former journalisthe is one of my heroes. We have to take his admonition to be truthful, but I believe there is all kinds of evidence to suggest that the Voice of America has taken truthfulness to mean that they have to try both sides of every issue. I don't believe that is necessary for truthfulness. We have been paying quite often in these last several decades for the dissemination of information that is basically helpful to some of the dictators and tyrants whom we oppose.
Over these last few years, I have been raising questions many times about the Pashtun service in the Voice of America, feeling every time there is a story negative about the Taliban, they have felt they have had to present the Taliban side to have the other side. I am going to be asking our witnesses about their opinion on this criticism.
To be truthful, you don't need to present the Taliban side of an argument as long as you are trying to be truthful in the presentation of the facts. You don't have to have Adolph Hitler's side or Mussolini's side either, or Joe Stalin's side of an argument. Both sides of the argument are not what we are paying for as taxpayers. We are hoping for truthfulness, but we want to make sure that the interest of the United States is being protected and being promoted during these broadcasts. So with that, thank you very much for holding this hearing, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman HYDE. Thank you.
Mr. Delahunt of Massachusetts.
Page 21 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. DELAHUNT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. When we hear the concept of public diplomacy, in my mind it provokes the concept of education, and I would even extend it beyond educating those in foreign lands, and I think it is important to be honest with ourselves too. How many Americans had heard of Afghanistan, let alone Uzbekistan or Tajikistan, until recent events? So when we talk about public diplomacy I think it has to also be directed inwardly, and I would suggest that we have got to start to educate ourselves, and I am not just talking about the American people. I am talking about Members of Congress. I would hate to ask my colleagues if a month ago they knew the capital of Afghanistan. I dare say there wouldn't be 100 percent. We would not receive a grade of A.
The CHAIRMAN. Would the gentleman yield?
Mr. DELAHUNT. I would.
The CHAIRMAN. Is the gentleman suggesting, and I hope he is, that geography be incorporated into the curriculum of our schools?
Mr. DELAHUNT. Absolutely, Mr. Chairman. I know you say that facetiously, but I think it is very important. So what we are talking about here is education. I have had the good fortune of being in Prague and meeting with Mr. Dine and seeing Radio Free Europe. I think it is a tremendous operation, and our government is to be complimented and we need to tell them, Tom [Dine], it is good to see you here. It was very impressive.
Again, I also want to share the kudos being thrown in the way of Mr. Royce and support that. But also in addition to enhancing our public broadcasting efforts, have we a policy or do we have anI am looking for the right words here, and I can't seem to find them. But what kinds of efforts are we making to access those media outlets, such as Al Jazeera to convey and to educate those people, not just about the specific issue, but American valueswhat we are about? Any Member of Congress who has traveled extensively throughout the world discovers very, very quickly that there are so many misunderstandings and misperceptions about what we are about as a people, as a society.
Page 22 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
The truth is, and I think it was Mr. Berman who mentioned, that we have a radio audience of some 2 percent. I think we have to encourage the efforts that have been taken as we have seen in Qatar, but we need to be on those stations giving our opinions because that is what the people of those nations are listening to. As Mr. Lantos said, none of us clearly are afraid of the conflict of our ideas with their ideas because we will prevail, but we have got to think, I would respectfully suggest, beyond the box, and beyond the traditional effort which isand maybe I am incorrectwhich has been focused simply on the Voice of America and similar kind of public broadcasting initiatives. And with that, I will yield back.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Royce.
Mr. ROYCE. Thank you, again, Mr. Chairman, for calling this timely hearing. By way of rebuttal, it has been said by the Ranking Member that Radio Free Afghanistan would have to get up and running and that that would have to be from scratch. I wanted to clarify that. The individuals who are now at Radio Free Europe who ran Radio Free Afghanistan from 1985 to 1993 are, in fact, in place. There are eight Afghans there in that service. They have the experience and expertise on the subject. I will also mention that currently, those broadcasts are done in Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and neighboring Iran, and the reason that is done is those top three-tiered countries were in the former Soviet Union; so they were allowed to continue there on mandate.
What I suggested some years ago when the Taliban came on the scene was that this mandate be extended so they might also continue to broadcast into Afghanistan and put this team in place. Now, I don't know what the lies are that the gentleman from California suggests we might broadcast. I don't think anyone believes the U.S. would be broadcasting Goebbels-like propaganda, but what I would like to point out is that nobody in Afghanistan has had the opportunity to see the vision on the screen of the planes crashing into the World Trade Center, and the reason they haven't is because it is a serious felony under Taliban law to own a television, and the penalty for that is a public beating.
Page 23 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
So if people find it hard to believe in this part of the world how broadcasts could have misconstrued that the World Trade Center bombing was a hoax or was done by the Israelis or Indian intelligence services, the answer to that is, frankly, they haven't had the opportunity to see it. They haven't heard an effective rebuttal and what this bill seeks to do is to go up on the air 12 hours a day in Pashto and in Dari and give the people the facts, give the people the truth. Who is going to do the broadcasting? The same organization that broadcast into Eastern Europe effectively in every country, except the former Yugoslavia, where we blocked their broadcasting.
If you talk to Vaclav Hovel or Lech Walesa they would tell you that the things that changed the situation, changed the minds of the people in Eastern Europe, were those constant broadcasts from Radio Free Europe. So we know what works, and that is why I am suggesting if we are going to have a war on international terrorism, part of that war is going to be on the information and idea front and this is going to have to be carried out in a way that other wars have not been.
The messages we communicate to the world through broadcasting will be critical to our victory over terrorism and critical to our victory over those regimes that support terrorism. The Taliban and the terrorists they are harboring are in power, in my view, for one reason. They use propaganda and censorship to maintain that power. The reason it has been being reported, I have told you that the attacks were engineered by other forces. We are familiar with the argument that there were 4,000 Jewish workers in the World Trade Center that did not go into work that day. That has been repeated.
Page 24 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Fortunately, through air strikes we have taken out Radio Shariat, but the other side of the coin is providing accurate information to counter these lies. When people are interviewed in Uzbekistan, when refugees are interviewed in Iran, they say why don't you have a Radio Free Afghanistan like you have a Radio Free Uzbekistan, so they can find out inside the country what is going on?
We had hearings here several years ago that I organized in this Committee, and at that time we brought up to testify Hasa Nouri from California, and others in the Afghan community, who explained how important getting information into the community was. I will share with you one of the disinformation campaigns used effectively by the Taliban to take control. They told people as they were moving across that country, via Radio Shariat, that the Taliban was going to come in and bring the king back. One of the reasons they did that is because people didn't know what the Taliban represented. It was, in fact, trained in neighboring Pakistan by the intelligence services there and half of their rank and file were, in fact, not Afghans, so
Chairman HYDE. The gentleman's time has expired.
Mr. ROYCE. Well, I thought I would lay out the case, and in closing, let me make the point that by the time I talked with Robin Rafael, subsequently with Mr. Inderfurth, former Assistant Secretary, with our Secretary of State, and with the President to try to urge this kind of action to be taken, I would suggest with 33 co-authors now is the time for us to move this legislation and move in a serious way to get the truth on the air.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Page 25 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [The prepared statement of Mr. Royce follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE EDWARD R. ROYCE, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
Thank you Mr. Chairman for calling this timely and important hearing.
The war on international terrorism must be a war on the information and idea front in a way that few other wars have been. The messages we communicate to the world will be critical to our victory over terrorism and regimes supporting the terrorists. Public broadcasting must be an effective tool in this effort.
The Taliban and the terrorists they are harboring use propaganda and censorship to maintain power. In the region it is being reported that the attacks on the World Trade Center were the work of the Israelis and Indians, and that Osama bin Laden is innocent. Fortunately, we have taken out Radio Shariat. The other side of the coin is providing accurate information to counter these lies.
This is why public broadcasting is so important. As we look at the broadcasting services, we must always remember that serving U.S. interests is the primary rationale for public broadcasting abroad. This mandate should color all broadcasting decisions.
I've been calling for Radio Free Afghanistan for several years. I think it's fair to say that the previous Administration had no interest in broadcasting to Afghanistan. If we had had Radio Free Afghanistan up and running for several years now, the terrorists would not have had the fertile ground they have found in Afghanistan. We certainly would not be behind the curve, running around to ramp-up broadcasting to the region now.
Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
I believe Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty is the best organization for broadcasting to Afghanistan. I now have over 30 co-sponsors of legislation to give Radio Free Afghanistan responsibility to RFE/RL. This is a significant congressional endorsementI'm not aware that VOA has this type of support for this mission.
Besides its outstanding impact behind the Iron Curtain during the Cold War, RFE/RL ran Radio Free Afghanistan from 1985 to 1993. It has experience and expertise on Afghanistan. It was successful in rallying the Afghan people against the Soviets. I think it will have the best chance of rallying the Afghan people against the Taliban now.
RFE/RL is also what is called a surrogate service. It broadcasts news about Afghanistan, as if Afghanistan had a free and vibrant press. The Afghan people rightly care most about what is occurring in their country. It is the voice of Afghans talking about the radicalism of the Taliban that will be our best ally. RFE/RL is the best-positioned service for this task.
I look forward to hearing from our witnesses Mr. Chairman.
Chairman HYDE. The Chair regrets that we are going to have to curtail further statements because the witnesses have other commitments, and we do want to hear their statements. I will recognize Mr. Kerns for a brief statement, and then we will go to the witnesses.
Mr. KERNS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would like to begin this morning by thanking the Chairman and the leadership for putting this important hearing together, and I look forward to hearing the testimony of the panelists and a meaningful discussion of our policy and diplomacy. After having the opportunity to spend the last week traveling abroad with my colleagues through Russia, Turkey, and Italy, I was able to witness public diplomacy at its finest. I found there was no better way to promote our country, our culture and government through the people and people exchanges. There is no better time to do so than now, but we must also promote America via other means in, and in the wake of events on September 11 public diplomacy has been challenged. Coverage of the United States and our policies have expanded greatly to an international audience, and we must question how effective our efforts are in promoting a positive image of the United States and our foreign policy goals. There are new measures that should be taken to make sure that our messages are effective and purposeful, and I look forward to hearing our testimony from our distinguished panelists as they share their thoughts and provide their insight on how we promote our great country. With that Mr. Chairman, I will yield back.
Page 27 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Chairman HYDE. Thank you.
The Chair announces that any statements that have not been read or delivered may be included in the record without objection. I would like to welcome Mrs. Charlotte Beers, the newly sworn in Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy. Secretary Beers comes to the Administration from the private sector. Most recently she served as Chairman of two of the top ten worldwide advertising agencies, Jay Walter Thompson and Ogilvy & Mather. Her experience in international advertising should provide the insight and energy so important to the U.S. public diplomacy. As only the second person to hold the Under Secretary position, she has an opportunity to shape a strong coordinated and effective public diplomacy profile.
I would also like to recognize Richard Boucher, the spokesman for the State Department and the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs. Mr. Boucher was acting Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy prior to Mrs. Beers's confirmation. Mr. Boucher has served as Chief of Mission to the U.S. Council General in Hong Kong and U.S. Ambassador to Cyprus. He has also previously been the spokesman for the State Department and brings a strong background to this area of domestic public relations and the counterpart public diplomacy for international audiences.
Secretary Beers, please proceed.
STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE CHARLOTTE BEERS, UNDER SECRETARY FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Page 28 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. BEERS. Thank you. Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee, you have made some very important opening comments that give us much to think about. Provocative questions have a lot to do with defining the problem. Defining the problem well is a long way toward making a solution. I am delighted to appear to you today just 8 days after being sworn in. It was just 2 weeks ago that is Senate acted on my confirmation, and I am grateful for the vote of trust and confidence. As you just indicated, Mr. Chairman, Richard Boucher is here and I want to thank him for the exceptional job he has done of stewarding our public diplomacy work. It is also an excellent time to thank the very talented men and women in public diplomacy who have been working some exceptional hours in these exceptional times. Like every other Department in State, we have been galvanized by the terrorist attacks of September 11 and the great challenge that President Bush posed for all of us. I can assure you we are working carefully with our colleagues at State, the National Security Council, the Department of Defense, and other entities to wholeheartedly focus on our number one priority, fighting the international war on terrorism.
As Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, I am responsible for the overall planning and management of this global effort. We have been developing a communications platform that is based in part on these four tenets. The attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were attacks not on America but on the world. In many places particularly, in our IIP capacity, we have worked around the clock to make sure that the world understands that this was an attack on the world starting with a very important graphic that showed in one picture how many members of the world were influenced by those attacks. In addition to that, U.S. News and World Report has indicated that our Web site is one of the top five in the country. This has given us a much higher profile than we have ever had before. The hits on our Web site have gone from 1 million to 2 million, doubled, and in many times, certain pages are nine times the reader rate they used to be, something to think about as we discuss different distribution channels. Let us all remember that the Web and the Internet are a third important point to radio and television. We also have, as a major tenet, the war is not against Islam. This piece of communication will take a long time and it has begun now. I was very interested in our ability to use articles that are in the pressThe Washington Post had a very good series of articles about America's generosity to other Muslims in our country. We made sure that such articles were available to all of our embassies so that many times we are making the message about where we stand on this through the voice of others.
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
American supports the Afghan people, which is why President Bush is providing 320 million in humanitarian assistance. Here it is very crucial that we act in a timely fashion. We put a note about our Afghan assistance program up the very day the President announced it and 3 days before the raids started. We had great cooperation with the Voice of America in putting speakers on the air who constantly brought forward this message of humanitarian aid. We wanted it to be parallel with all the necessary news about the raids.
Finally all nations must ban together to eliminate international terrorism. This is not a job for America alone. Here comes into play something you also supported for over a long period of time, and that is our exchange programs. It is significant, I think, that 50 of the world leaders with whom we are trying to develop a coalition have been members of and participated in our exchanges over the long number of years that you have supported them. Dialogue that we set up so long ago is not only going to help us build a coalition, but to sustain it.
We are working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in a special task force team within a task force at the State Department. We do constant monitoring of reactions, and hopefully we can develop responses just as quickly.
We just reported yesterday all of the response of the Muslim clerics and the headlines from around the world so we can send these into our embassies, and hopefully mount positive and important corrections on misinformation. Our embassies are given daily cables and information and newspaper clips and speeches and pieces of material and talking points that they can quickly put in place with host media.
Page 30 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
It is interesting that we just put together a video teleconference with Arab journalists who all gather in London. It has been kind of a gateway to communication to the Arab world, and we are doing weekly digital videos with not only these journalists, but Arab scholars, so that we begin a more constant dialogue. As well as doing more immediate turnaround tasks, we are in the process of doing business as usual.
We conduct our Web site in six languages. Our embassies translate material into many other languages. The Fulbright academic exchanges and other professional exchanges must continue, and are doing so in 140 countries. It is interesting how we quickly jumped on opportunities. We had a woman who was in Syria for the purposes of developing an art show called Cityscapes. She arrived there on September 8, she put her Cityscape up, everyone in the community came and applauded her. They learned so much about more about America that it was one moment of major diplomacy.
In Damascus at the time of the strike of the attack on America, we had a Syrian Muslim American cleric who was quickly sent to meet with everybody in the area and had a dialogue with local clerics. In small ways like that, happening in incidences all over the world, we have these exchanges and dialogues taking place.
Now we are using the context we learned over the yearswith many of the communities that came as part of our exchanges and scholarshipsto develop a whole new level of dialogue between moderate Muslims and the United States. While some issues do require instant turnaround, we have to be mindful that we are in a long-lived engagement to reach new audiences in different ways, exactly as so many of you have said this morning. We will activate our ability to engage in dialogue.
Page 31 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
One of the most painful disciplines of the communication process is that it can never be one-sided. No dialogue takes place without a comprehensive understanding of who the audience is, which means whether we agree with them or not, we are bound to comprehend, to understand, and to walk in their shoes so we know how to draft those messages back to them. We must constantly put a picture of humanity on the rather sterile words that the government sometimes uses for communication.
If you think of the September 11 attack as a big building going down, you haven't gotten it. If you think of it as how many orphans were made that day and how many people are still weeping and mourning, you will remember. It is part of our goal to put those pictures in the communication process that is so active now in all forms of public diplomacy. We need to become better at communicating the intangibles, the behavior, the emotions that reside in lofty words like democracy.
When we say it, we think people know what we mean. It's not what we say. It is what they hear. So now the burden is on us to act as if no one has ever understood the identity of the United States, to redefine it for audiences who are, at best, cynical.
Here is a quote that I thought was fascinating. After we put out on the Web site the Afghan humanitarian aid information, this is the report we got back from one of the newspapers in Qatar:
''The irony is the first humanitarian aid came from the Americans. The food bags have USA written on them. When I saw the Afghans running toward the American bags of flour, I smiled and for the first time in my life, I did not curse America.''
Page 32 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
So our goal is to take that kind of response and magnify it many fold so that we have our story in front of such unlikely candidates. This is a war about a way of life and fundamental beliefs and values. We did not expect to ever have to explain and defend concepts like freedom and tolerance. We have to prepare our people for an era of vigilance for nearly invisible enemies with goals that are quite unfamiliar: to destabilize, to make radical, to hate all that we hold dear. We must redefine what is success in this new uncharted territory.
I consider this hearing a special opportunity to ask you to take part in the communication that we make to the American people. After all, you are on the front line of a more intimate dialogue with people in your constituencies than we can really reach. You do, in fact, embody the brandthe United States. You have a more intimate daily dialogue and you hear the questions back. In our public affairs bureau we are going to be fielding even more speakers, making them available to you in all parts of the United States. Our town meetings are going to double in number, and we are even going to give you if you should desire, PowerPoint presentations of which the advertising business would be proud.
Finally, I am working with the Ad Council. This is a group that collaborates with all the advertising agencies in the United States, all of whom have world capabilities. They have offered us their services, and we are now working with them on what messages can we put together that will work not only in the United States for these kinds of issues that we must address for our own people but also around the world. We will have to be prepared to prepare these messages in almost every kind of channel of distribution.
I thank you very much for this time and we look forward to hearing any questions you might have.
Page 33 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
[The prepared statement of Mrs. Beers follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE CHARLOTTE BEERS, UNDER SECRETARY FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee:
I am delighted to appear before you today, just eight days after being sworn in as Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. It was just two weeks ago that the Senate acted on my confirmation. I am grateful for this vote of trust and confidence.
With me today is someone you all know, Richard Boucher, Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs and Department spokesman, and, for the past several months, the official in charge of Public Diplomacy. I would like to thank him for his stewardship of the Department's public diplomacy efforts. Additionally, I would like to take the opportunity to salute the dedicated men and women who work in Public Diplomacy here and in our embassies overseas.
Public diplomacy, like every other part of the State Department, has been galvanized by the terrorist attacks of September 11 and the great challenge that President Bush posed to all of us, as citizens of this great nation and as public servants. I can assure you that Public Diplomacy, in concert with our colleagues at the State Department, the NSC, the Department of Defense and other entities, is wholeheartedly focused on our number one priority: fighting the international war on terrorism. As Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, I am responsible for the overall planning and management of this global effort.
Page 34 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
And this is our message to the world:
The attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were not attacks on America but were attacks on the world.
This is not a war against Islam. The war is against terrorists and those who support and harbor them.
America supports the Afghan people, which is why President Bush is providing $320 million in humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people.
All nations must band together to eliminate the scourge of international terrorism.
Public diplomacy has delivered these messages beginning September 11 and every single day since then. Let me tell you what we are doing to enlist foreign publics in the campaign against terrorists and their supporters, to magnify these key messages, including that of our support for the Afghan people:
The State Department has established a 24/7 team within its task force dedicated to public information programs in our campaign against terrorism. State is monitoring the full range of public and media reaction around the world to ensure fast response by US officials.
Our public affairs officers in our embassies around the world work every day with their host country media outletsTV, newspapers, radio, publicationsto ensure that our anti-terrorism message remains front and center.
Page 35 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Public Diplomacy's main international web site, Response to Terrorism, is updated daily and features dramatic visuals, including a map showing the 81 countries that lost citizens in the World Trade Center attack. This information is featured in six foreign language sitesArabic, Russian, Chinese, Spanish, French and Portuguese, as well as on scores of sites in local languages at individual embassies around the world.
In times of crisis, we see the benefits of Public Diplomacy. For example, over 50 world leaders are alumnae of our exchange programs. These long-term relationships help us deal with international challenges at a time when the United States is seeking to build a coalition of nations against terrorism.
We are bringing exchange participants to the U.S., giving them a first-hand view of our democratic institutions and how Americans from many backgrounds pulled together in the aftermath of the attacks. Journalists in these programs now receive special briefings on our anti-terrorism policies from high-level U.S. officials.
Fulbright academic exchanges and other professional exchanges continue in 140 countries.
While the Broadcasting Board of Governors will go into detail, let me just say that the radio services have increased their broadcasts in 53 languages, with special emphasis on the key frontline states in Central and South Asia and in the Middle East.
We continue to program speakers all over the world. Whether they are addressing civil society or economic reform, they find themselves discussing the crisis we now face.
Page 36 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
In our outreach effort, one of my priorities will be to identify the words and pictures that will make people around the world understand that the Osama bin Ladens of this world act not out of a religious impulse, that terrorists are not martyrs or heroes, but criminals and cowards.
I met with the Ad Council last week to discuss a series of public service announcements, here and overseas, that distill the values and virtues of American democracy and the many good things we have achieved on the international front.
I thank you for this opportunity to report to you about how public diplomacy is supporting the President's call to war against terrorism. I would be happy to answer any questions you may have.
Chairman HYDE. Thank you very much, Secretary Beers. Tom Lantos.
Mr. LANTOS. Mr. Chairman, I withhold my questions. I would like to hear from Secretary Boucher.
Chairman HYDE. Secretary Boucher will not testify. He is just here to balance the podium.
Mrs. BEERS. And to answer the really tough questions.
Chairman HYDE. So if you want to ask him any questions, go ahead.
Page 37 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. LANTOS. Let me commend our new Under Secretary for a very fine presentation and let me publicly pay tribute to Assistant Secretary Boucher for the superb job he does, day in and day out. We all admire not only your knowledge, but your unflappable approach to horrendously unpleasant people.
If you had a free hand, Madam Secretary, what kind of a budgetary request would you make of the Congress?
Mrs. BEERS. Well, I haven't done too much budget work yet after 8 days, but I can tell you, in principle, I would like to reach the young. I would like to be able to reach wider audiences. I would like to have a different set of skills available to the Department, communication skills that are a little more sensitive to the emotional context of messages. I might ask for different kinds of research to help me deal with the beliefs and the myths and the legends as well as the facts.
I can't answer for you that we are planning to ask for extra money in certain areas, but these are the broad-based goals of what would be an extended effort in public diplomacy.
Do you want to specify more than that, Richard?
Mr. BOUCHER. Just to say one thing, and this is also in reference to comments you made before about the oozing venom and the comments that Congressman Delahuntabout education and other things that people say.
Page 38 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
We do have some support in the Arab world. We have people cooperating with us on overflights and on the various efforts that are being made against terrorism. We have leaders like Hosni Mubarak in Egypt and President Musharraf in Pakistan who have spoken out very clearly in support of what we are doing. But we also have a group that seems to be pathologically opposed to the United States, that grow up in schools where they are taught this sort of venom every day, that grow up with information that is controlled, distorted and often just patently false.
Some of the things that we need to do more and better in the future are reaching that younger and up and coming audience, people who want to be part of the world, who want to see what the possibilities are. And that involves everything from expanding our exchange programs, supporting this proposal for Middle East broadcastingthe President's budget I think had some money in there for the Board of Broadcasting Governors to establish that servicegetting out with, as Charlotte said, ads around the world that can reach different audiences in different places. So I think a lot of that sort of long-term building needs to be done, because there has been long-term building against us.
Mr. LANTOS. I would like both of you to respond to my next issue which I think is to some extent central to this controversy that surrounds us. Compromise is the currency of a free society. And, of course, the fanatic fundamentalists who oppose us reject the very concept of compromise. Compromise, by definition, is evil.
If you accept these assumptions, what specific conclusions do we draw from this in terms of dealing with fanatic fundamentalist movements and leaders who are totally disinterested in reaching an accommodation and are publicly hell-bent on total victory, however unrealistic that goal might be?
Page 39 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
It seems to me that much of our public diplomacy is predicated on the assumption that we are dealing with the Midwest, when in fact we are dealing with the Mideast and these are entirely different universes. And my question to both of you is: Is it feasible to conduct the rational and patient and compromise-prone approach which has characterized, obviously, all of our domestic dialogue, but which is so totally inappropriate in dealing with a virulently hostile segment of the world which views us, all of us, as infidels and has a very clear formula as to what should happen to infidels?
It has been very customary in recent weeks, and very properand we have all engaged in thisto say that this is not a war against Islam, it is a war against terrorists. And I certainly subscribe to that notion. But at the same time, we must understand that Islamic fanaticism is engaged in a war against free and open Democratic societies. Irrespective of their policies, fanaticism hates us for what we are, not for what we do. And since we cannot change and choose not to change what we are, what policy recommendations do you draw from these assumptions, Secretary Beers?
Mrs. BEERS. Well, I think the reason I put the emphasis on the emotional context on which our messages will be delivered is because so much of the fanatics' message is grounded in that kind of extreme emotional environment. I think we have to be students of exactly what these fanatics claim, and debunk them piece by piece, point by point.
There are a number of ways to talk about Islam and the beauty of that belief and the significance it has in being so close to so many other religions in the world with common ground. We can address those messages to moderates who are found here, as spokespeople, through clerics who might be willing to talk to us, through supportive community leaders that we do have around the world. It is not necessarily true that we are always going to be the one carrying the message. And I think that, you know, the fanatics have to have devoted followers and a number of those followers will be vulnerable to hearing another message. I doubt that we are in a position to convert a fanatic per se. But I think there are people surrounding them and people who are extremely open to the kind of message that we can prepare for them.
Page 40 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. LANTOS. Secretary Boucher.
Mr. BOUCHER. I think the follow-on to that answer is some of the things that were said earlier. First of all, it is getting our voice out there clearly, getting the facts that do sometimes speak for themselves; that we are the people who have been feeding the people of Afghanistan for many years, and that the people of Afghanistan have suffered enormous hardships under the Taliban as well as suffered from drought and winters and other things.
The second is to get ourselves on the outlets, not only that we control, but the ones that people watch and listen to. We are making people available more often to Al-Jazeera, for example, to make sure that we get our point of view on that airwaves. And they have been, I think, taking in recent weeks, more Americans, former Administration officials and things like that, in getting the voice on those airwaves that the people are used to listening to.
And the third is to do what we can to amplify the voices that are out there, the credible voices from people's own communities. The Muftis in Saudi Arabia have spoken against terrorism and these kind of groups. The Organization of the Islamic Conference had a statement right at the beginning, saying that this kind of terrorism was anti-Islam; and they are issuing another statement today that I haven't actually seen yet, but it probably reiterates that point. But to the extent we are able to pick up and amplify and draw people's attention to the voices from their own communities, I think that provides a credible way of getting the message across.
Page 41 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Chairman HYDE. The gentleman from Iowa, Mr. Leach.
Mr. LEACH. I will be very brief and I want to make several quick observations. One, I think there is real consensus on the Committee and within the government on the knee-depth grade public diplomacy. We had an incident a week or so ago about the question of how independent are our realms of public diplomacy. And I would only stressand I think Tom Lantos in the citing of Edward R. Murrow was absolutely on target when he talked about integritybut I would be very cautious of the censorship from the Department's point of view. I think the greatest strength of our public diplomacy is open the news as we can, recognizing that we want to emphasize the kinds of themes that are sensible. But let us be very cautious of censorship. Thank you.
Chairman HYDE. Mr. Berman.
Mr. BERMAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. An observation and a question. Secretary Boucher mentioned the fact that we do have friends in the Arab world. But part of the problem for some of our friends in the Arab world is that those friends aren't necessarily a product of internal democratic process. And part of the way that they maintain their support and their control is by allowing, tolerating, promoting, encouraging, the kind of incitement through government-sponsored media, and that makes the case for our public diplomacy so much more compelling. They have their own reasons. In other words, it is even in the areas where we have friends that kids are hearing from a very early age as part of official curriculum, facts about their part of the world and the United States that are not accurate and are not justified, so this becomes particularly important.
Page 42 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The fact is, the situation is very different right now in many ways than it was even a year ago when the whole Middle East broadcasting initiative first came up and when the Administration decided to support it. As a result of what happened on September 11, the resources are there. Congress appropriated $40 billion. There are many claims on that $40 billion. But in some of these initiatives, we are talking about sums in the millions of dollars, very, very small percentages of the total appropriation that can make huge differences in our public diplomacy and in our message.
Part of the test, I believe there is bipartisan support here and I believe we can find that in the appropriators as well, for the kinds of increases needed. It will be a very small percentage of the total sums that Congress appropriated for this purpose, and part of what I believe the way to take your great testimony and make your vision happen is to go through that interagency process and get a little bit of this money for these initiatives that Mr. Royce and so many others here have been talking about.
The question I have, when the merger came between USIA and the State Department, if you call that a mergersome thought of it as a takeover
Mr. LANTOS. It is like the merger of Jonah and the whale.
Mr. BERMAN. One of the concerns, Secretary Beers, your vision is a compelling one and it is an exciting one, but your support staff to implement that vision is now dispersed into the regionalthe geographic agencies as Assistant Secretaries. So many of the people utilized in the old days to try and implement the public diplomacy message are not now directly under your control. And maybe it is unfair to ask you after 8 days. Frequently these Assistant Secretaries have their own government-to-government relationships, the kinds of things that may want to make them a bit shy about doing some of the things that are being talked about in terms of effective public diplomacy. They are getting hassled by heads of state and foreign ministers in these countries. How can you grab ahold of that support staff, which has been dispersed through the geographical regional assistant secretaryships and regional bureaus, to implement that vision?
Page 43 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mrs. BEERS. Well, it is not as simple as the organizational chart at Ogilvy & Mather. It is not simple, but it was easier to be CEO. The matrix organization that I see and understand at State I find to be very collaborative, and I don't think there is any choice but that we all work together in these diverse reporting systems. It forces us to be constantly in dialogue with one another. I can't imagine trying to do this job unless the USIA was in the State Departmentbecause we literally need to be in daily contact with all the traditional diplomacy efforts. When we hear back from the field, as we do daily, we learn a lot more about everything that is going on because we are forced to be in constant collaboration. It is occasionally clumsy, but it is almost always more informed and more productive.
Mr. BERMAN. I would just like to hear Secretary Boucher's diplomatic way of handling this issue.
Mrs. BEERS. He will tell you how it really is.
Mr. BERMAN. No, he won't.
Mr. BOUCHER. I will tell you how it really is. I lived through the merger. Largely I was overseas. And I think what we actually did in the merger was to take a system that worked very well overseas and tried to make it work that way in Washington as well. Overseas, public diplomacy is part of the country team. Every time we discuss an issue, every time we discuss an event, public diplomacy people are there working with it from the start.
All too often in Washington and in the past, we have been in separate bureaucracies and separate buildings, and we were making policy, and then we would sort of hand it off later and say, go out and publicize this; and not always well done.
Page 44 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
I think now we have a much more integrated approach. Each of the Assistant Secretaries does have public diplomacy people involved in their bureau and their planning and their policy decisions and this works quite well. We have the piece of the department for which Under Secretary Beers has direct controls. I am among that, and several other bureaus are as well. And then we have public diplomacy and public affairs officers in the different bureaus that support the Assistant Secretaries and work with us. I depend on those people every day for the information I need for my press briefing. They are often the ones that come up with the more targeted and focused ideas.
So we have a situation, for example, where we have assigned one officer to sort of follow Al-Jazeera; what are they saying about us; what are we doing with them; how are we getting our people out on their air, making sure we are doing everything we can to get our point of view, or people who share our point of view, on their airwaves.
That happens to be a person in the Near East Bureau who really does understand broadcasting in that region. That is just not somebody who works directly for either of us. But it is a collaborative process, and that is where we found the best person. I look at these people more as resources that we can draw and people who give us particular expertise, people who can handle a part of the world either with the answers to questions or with the contacts that we need to make. And I think the system does work very, very well, in addition to having everybody together so we work together.
Chairman HYDE. Mr. Flake of Arizona.
Page 45 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. FLAKE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Under Secretary Beers, what problems are we having in the Middle East in terms of countries that scramble the radio signal? Do we have a problem with that?
Mrs. BEERS. If you are willing to forward that to the next panel, you may have better information. If not, I will get it back to you.
Mr. FLAKE. We do have problems elsewhere in the world, TV Marti, for example. And I will save that for the next panel. Thank you.
Chairman HYDE. Mr. Delahunt.
Mr. DELAHUNT. Yes. Let me join with others, Madam Secretary, in saying that I really welcome your vision. And I for one, along with what has been implied by other comments, really see this public diplomacy as a critical component, almost a centerpiece at this point in time in history as alike I said, a critical part of our foreign policy effort.
I have been receiving calls, as I am sure other Members of Congress have, from the Arab American community that oftentimes feels frustrated, that wants to participate somehow given the events of September 11. I was impressed with the appearance on Al-Jazeera by Tony Blair. I would be interested in the impact and any feedback you might have on that.
But again, thinking out of the box, has there been any consideration given to utilizing the human stories and the experience of Arab Americans in this country given, in frequent cases, their ability to understand both cultures, to communicate?
Page 46 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
I also want to say that I really think that the point made by Secretary Boucher in terms of speaking to the young people is so critical. We really have to understand that this has to be a permanent component, well founded in terms of our relationships all over the globe. It just cannot be a crisis-provoked ratcheting up of our efforts; it has to become something that is permanent, is sustained, and understands how to communicate to different regions in the world.
We continually hear about the Arab street. Well, let us get on the street. Let us talk to those people that have these misunderstandings of what our intentions are and really what we are about as a society. It is so ironic to think that this Nation that hasyou know, when we think of the United States and private enterprise, we think of Madison Avenue, our ability to communicate and to market and to be candid, but I think we have failed miserably.
So again, welcome, Madam Secretary, and I would be interested to hear your impressions in terms of accessing those modalities and those media outlets that really at this moment in time resonate with the Arab street.
Mrs. BEERS. Well, the point you make about can Arab Americans help is something we are very interested in. The data that we are collecting is so mind-opening. In this country, the Muslim religion is the fastest growing. They have a 30 percent conversion rate, which suggests they are perfectly free and very successful at proselytizing and they have a great deal of spirit and energy and true American enterprise working in all of their communities.
We are considering this in our work with the Ad Councilactivating them to be spokespeople with us, considering them in exchanges that we are going to develop, and definitely tapping into their ability to have another person overseas understand the American experience in a very special way. I think we will be able to put them to work.
Page 47 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
I think you said something we care a lot about, which is the battle for the 11-year-old mind. It is important to see how long ago that education and that indoctrination was started. And education, as you pointed out, is very important. It has to become part of our program. At the moment our resources don't allow us to reach much more in communication than the elites or the governments. But it is a definite goal.
Mr. DELAHUNT. With all due respect, we can't afford not to find the resources for that effort or we will allow future Osama bin Ladens to walk across the stage. That is just unacceptable.
Chairman HYDE. The gentleman from California, Mr. Rohrbacher.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Thank you very much. I would like to submit for the record, Mr. Chairman, a letter by Ambassador Peter Thompson. He is a longtime specialist in Afghanistan, analyzing the IBB report and, what I would say, whitewash of the Voice of America's treatment of the Taliban government for the last 5 years.
Chairman HYDE. Without objection, it shall be made a part of the record.
[The information referred to follows:]
Page 48 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC75634b.eps
Page 49 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. ROHRABACHER. I understand that there have already been steps taken to deal with this problem. But let me just say that I think it is a bit embarrassing that our government, after having been warned about this biasness in the Pashtun Service toward the Taliban, that it had to take an attack on the United States of America for us to get around to doing something about it. Let me note that Peter Thompson suggests that one third of all the Pashtun Service reports over Voice of Americaone third of themwere basically pro-Taliban reports. And this is not acceptable.
Voice of America, as I mentioned earlier, should be always truthful. Being always truthful does not mean that you have to present the other person's opinion, balanced opinion. You don't have Adolf Hitler, Mussolini, and Joe Stalin over here giving their side of the story every time there is a negative story about them in Voice of America.
And so I would hope, Madam Secretary, that you are aware that your job is promoting America's interest in being truthful and not necessarily providing both sides of the story when we are dealing with good and evil.
Mrs. BEERS. Well, thank you. I have no trouble with the charter of the Voice of America. I think it is properly balanced and allows us to work very well together. My understanding of that investigation about a situation of bias was that after some careful independent scrutiny, there was no bias. There was some clumsiness and inadequacy in some of the language.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Well, I would suggest that you take a personal look at it yourself. I can assure you that having been on this Committee and begging and pleading people to pay attention to Afghanistan for the last 5 years, and having been in Afghanistan numerous times, it was bias. You know, you take a look at the number of stories and interviews with Taliban leaders, it is a disgrace. Our government either stands for democracy and freedom, human rights, maybe market economy, or we stand for nothing. And when you have dictatorial and fanatic regimes like the Taliban regime, we should not be providing them airtime as is indicated by the number of minutes on the air being spent interviewing Taliban leaders and giving them access to our airwaves.
Page 50 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Again, I am not suggesting that we all ever compromise the truth. That is not what I am suggesting, and no American would suggest that. But I would hope that you look at that. In fact, I would suggest, Madam Secretary, whoever told you that, you should start questioning their opinion. And I am serious about it. I have looked over this International Broadcasting Bureau report on this and it is totally unacceptable. This is just another example where bureaucracy covers for bureaucracy which covers for bureaucracy.
I applaud your goal of reaching out to the younger people of the world. That truly is where we need to put our emphasis. And I think we reach them with America's ideals. I think we reach them with the fact that young people want to be free. Young people want to have democratic government. Young people want to be able to control their own destiny and have a better standard of living for their families. We have the greatest message there is to provide. And I would hope that againsome people might call this censorshipwell, it isn't censorship. You are not compromising the truth, but you are making sure that something we are paying for as taxpayers is being used to further our ideals, and there is nothing wrong with that.
Chairman HYDE. The gentleman's time has expired.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman HYDE. Thank you, sir. The gentleman from Pennsylvania, Mr. Hoeffel.
Mr. HOEFFEL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I think all of us understand the need to get the truth into Afghanistan to make sure that people understand what America is doing, what our coalition is doing, whether it is the food drops, whether it is fighting the Taliban. All of this is very important. And while I am very sympathetic with what Mr. Rohrabacher said, I am not sure it is always wrong to put the other side on the Voice of America. But I think it would always be necessary to counter it, to take issue with whatever misinformation their spokespeople might be offering, because, as he said, we are not for censorship. We want the truth to come out. We want a balance.
Page 51 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
I am sure that the citizens of Afghanistan can smell propaganda or spin very easily, whether it is coming from us or coming from the Taliban. But certainly all they are getting from the Taliban is spin and a lack of balance and certainly not the truth and certainly not any representation of a tolerant society. What troubles me is there seems to be a turf war, I hope I am wrong, between the VOA and Radio Free Europe. I am a supporter of Mr. Royce's bill to restart Radio Free Afghanistan. That seems to have rubbed some people the wrong way. It shouldn't. We should be united on this. We all agree on what we want to accomplish, but there seems to be some backing and filling and disagreement on our side. And if we have that going on, how can we get the truth out to the rest of the world.
In your 8 brief days, what have you picked up? What can we do to deal with this? Everybody is well-intentioned, I don't challenge that. But I would hate to see us use up resources or energy disputing each other about the best way to go forward.
Mrs. BEERS. I think the better answer for the issue, if any, that exists between Voice of America and Radio Free Europe will be better answered by the next panel. My sense of our relationship with the BBG and Voice of America is that we are mightily dependent on one another. I am going to spend this afternoon taking my first seat at the board of the BBG. I am looking forward to that. I know that they, too, are undergoing a transition as they take in new officers who will be appointed by the Administration on President Bush's team.
I would just like to say that I am going to be very sensitive to our ability to create a sum larger than its parts, and that is what I would like to dedicate myself to doing. I can't imagine starting over and inventing any of these resources that we now have so successfully at play. So I intend to be a very constructive participant. And if there is other detail, I think the wisdom you have in calling for the other panel is a good place to ask that.
Page 52 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. HOEFFEL. It certainly is. But clearly, the State Department is the major player here. And until, I guess, 2 or 3 years ago, Voice of America and Radio Free Europe were directly within the State Department. I think there has got to bewe need a lot of guidance here to make sure that we have unity and that we are speaking with one voice. There is certainly a lot of institutional history with Radio Free Europe that used to do Radio Free Afghanistan, as Mr. Royce pointed out. I hope we can get this thing rolling quickly. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman HYDE. Mr. Ed Royce of California.
Mr. ROYCE. Thank you. I wanted to start, if I could, by thanking you, Secretary Beers, for your testimony and ask you about a particular problem that we are seeing that is growing exponentially, and that is the anti-American sentiment in the Middle Eastern media that we have seen over the last few years. Sometimes it is simply a request by government-sponsored media to boycott U.S. products. But sometimes it runs to anti-American statements that appear in the government-controlled media.
I just wanted to share a few of them with you because they should give us pause. The Egyptian government-sponsored newspaper, Al-Akhabrthis was 2 weeks before the World Trade Center bombing on August 28:
''the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor must be destroyed because of following the idiotic American policy that goes from disgrace to disgrace in the swamp of bias and blind fanaticism. The age of the American collapse has begun.''
Page 53 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Then we have from the television station out of Qatar, Al-Jazeera, they quote the Mufti of the Palestinian Liberation Army:
''My blessings to those who carried out the USS Cole operation. And it should be known that Cole was the greatest product of the American mind and it was destroyed by two people only. The two prayed to Allah, penetrated this destroyer and sent all of its passengers to hell.''
I am sure they broadcast that in the interest of balance.
My concern is that these repeated broadcasts by government-sponsored radio and television in Saudi Arabia, certainly in Qatar, in Egypt, need to be countered. And I just wanted to say that that is why Congressman Howard Berman and myself and other Members here over the years have tried to organize support for a counterbalancing media program in the Middle East.
I just would like to know of your commitmentnot just in concept for the program, but for the resourcesto go forward and see that this is done effectively so that people in the Middle East and people in south Asia begin to hear a coherent explanation from us on a full-time basis, or actually from their own people, from people in the Middle East, from people in south Asia, who will explain and put things in context.
Secondly, I wanted to ask you about Radio Free Iraq, how things are going there, who is running that program and if you have any observations on that.
Mrs. BEERS. We see these headlines ourselves every day. The one you just referred to is devastating. And it was, as you pointed out, before the attack. Even before the attack, we too had been trying to work with Al-Jazeera on balance, and we had Secretary Powell on and we have had a number of Administration officials. After the bin Laden tape, we waged a furious response with them and did get them, I think, to move toward balancing by having a number of previous officers of the Administration on, including, as I think someone mentioned, Tony Blair.
Page 54 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Those are balancing acts. Under the circumstances, I think our job is to constantly weigh in against that powerful network to give us balanced time.
I certainly would consider buying time on Al-Jazeera to run advertising that we are trying to put together with the Ad Council. So we are not done with trying to get equal voices in there. None of us are in a position to deny the opportunity for something like Radio Free Afghanistan. I am just concerned that I must deal now with the resources and the allocations that we have toward Voice of America. It has a very important role in our present diplomacy effort, and I am just anxious that that not be diluted. I think you understand that yourself in your dialogue. In that case, we can only support that effort.
Mr. ROYCE. Let me lastly explain what Mr. Rohrabacher was trying to share with you with respect to the issue of some of the broadcasts over the last 5 years. We hear it more than you do, because we in southern California have a large Afghan population there.
The reason that they have been so concernedand I will just tell you the word on the street among Afghans in the United States, they call it ''voice of the Taliban,'' or had in the pastand let me tell you why. The feeling has been that the recruitment of the particular Pashtun speakers that were chosen was not balanced. And I understand your internal evaluation.
Let me just read briefly from Peter Thompson'sfrom the University of Nebraskafrom his sort of rebuttal to that as maybe something that you should take into consideration. He says,
Page 55 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
''I would like to differ with the IBB evaluation. In my July message to you, I sought to indicate the importance of ensuring that the Pashtun-speaking evaluators you chose are objective and fair. Unfortunately, in my personal judgment, the Pashtuns who played key roles in the evaluation cannot be considered fair and objective. Here is why. One is the former head of the ultranationalist Afghan Milli party. Afghan Milli members almost always support the Taliban because of the Taliban's Pashtun's nature and its attempt to dominate the Tajiks and other Afghan minorities inside Afghanistan, even though Afghan Milli members may not subscribe to the religious views of the Taliban. This intense Pashtun nationalism translates into Afghan Milli support for the Taliban and opposition to the mostly non-Pashtun opposition to the Taliban.
''Further, there is no doubt that there is a great lack of balance in the VOA Pashtun Service reporting. Interviews with members of the anti-Taliban opposition inside Afghanistan are as rare as hen's teeth,''
he says. No knowledge of Pashtun is not an excuse. Then he goes on to explain
Chairman HYDE. The gentleman's time has long expired.
Mr. ROYCE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman HYDE. I would suggest a private conference.
Mrs. BEERS. I will look into this.
Page 56 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GILMAN. I would submit my opening statement for the record. I am being called to another meeting.
Chairman HYDE. Certainly. Without objection.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Gilman follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE BENJAMIN A. GILMAN, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NEW YORK
I appreciate the Chairman's holding of this hearing.I welcome Under Secretary Beers and Assistant Secretary Coucher and the others who will be testifying here.
We are obviously doing something wrong to be disliked so intensely by so many people in the Arab worldto have so few people willing to believe us. But it is not only what sort of public information program we have, although we certainly have to do a better job. We simply cannot do it all by ourselves.
Most importantly, we are not making it clear to governments in the Middle East that blaming the United States and Israel for all the ills of the Arab world is inappropriate, to say the least. The atmosphere of anti-Americanism that pervades the region is fostered by most of the governments which cannot seem to find anything good to say about the United States, no matter how much we do to secure their borders or their economies.
If the Arab governments talk about ''Israeli terrorism'' when discussing Israeli policies, they cheapen the language; they are left with nothing to say when real terrorism hits. The Arab governments put themselves into a vicious cycle:
Page 57 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
In an effort to retain power, the leaders focus the attention of their people on America and Israel, rather than to their own needs.
Anyone who complains is labeled a Westernizer or Zionist. This leads to more unrest, and that unrest can only be dealt with by more and harsher rhetoric. And, eventually, that rhetoric will boil over.
When we ask for help, the Arab governments claim that they cannot do so because of public opinionthe very same public opinion they have created.
The fact is that our diplomats do not seem ready to take an ''in your face'' attitude toward anti-Americanism and toward promoting our values, even if it makes them unpopular. A senior American official in an Arab country told a member of our staff, before September 11th, that we ''talk to host country people about things we can agree on.'' That is not good enough, certainly not today. We need to engage the Arab public at all levels about things we and they will be uncomfortable talking about, if we are to get anywhere.
We need to focus more on results. What results exactly do we want, especially in terms of ''outputs?'' Do we want the credibility of our spokesman to increase as measured by polls? How exactly are we going to get from here to there? Who is willing to be held responsible for achieving our goals? I hope we can get clear answers to these questions from today's witnesses and I look forward to hearing from them.
Chairman HYDE. Mr. Faleomavaega.
Page 58 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would be the last person to try to raise any questions with you, Madam Secretary, given the fact that you have only been in office 8 days. I think that there is tremendous relevance and concern, as expressed earlier from my good friend from California, Mr. Rohrabacher, in terms of how do you define truth.
We always are wondering what is truth. I have heard it said that truth is knowledge of things as they were, as they are, and as they are to come. I knew when I was an elementary student it was the absolute truth that Columbus discovered America, only to find out later he got lost. I learned in my youth that the truth was Captain Cook discovered all these islands in the South Pacific. And I learned later, how could he possibly discover these islands when people have been living there for thousands of years?
So what is truth? I think this is always a constant problem when we talk about public diplomacy. As you had mentioned earlier, you said dialogue can never be one-sided. I think at the same time, I do express a very serious concern. How do you measure the truth of the opposition or people expressing at least in their opinions, very biased, to say then that should be permissible on our airwaves, paid by the American taxpayers?
Let me give you an example, and maybe it is not a good example, but I think most Americans have heard recently on television Osama bin Laden making the claim that one million children were murdered by the Americans, or something to that effect, and his appeal to the whole Muslim world that this is jihad. These are opinions. And I suppose that you might say that they are intangible, because he claims to be a very religious man.
Page 59 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC How do you sift through the process saying that Osama bin Laden's statement was just as truthful as some of the things we have claimed? The question I want to ask concerns the reports that the Committee has here, and the seriousness of having people who are very biased against Americafor what we stand. I think what Mr. Rohrabacher and I agree with is as long as what we say through our airwaves, paid by the American taxpayer, should be the truth.
What disturbs me is that if we allow the same opportunity for the Taliban to express their opinions that are not necessarily truthful, at least in terms of maybe the evidence or facts that are given to the contrary, how do you measure this? What process do you follow to say that this is the truth and we stand by it, especially if you give opposition people like the Taliban, the opportunity to saywhat credibility are we going to give themto say whatever they say publicly to the world. Should that be acceptable at the American taxpayers' expense? I don't know.
Mrs. BEERS. That is a pretty far-reaching philosophical question: How do we communicate the truth? But I will say in the communication disciplines that I have had to practice all my life, that it is possible to communicate to another person, with respect, your beliefs. And since an individual's beliefs are borne of a number of experiences in an interior landscape that they have, there is no one that can deny you the right to your own belief set, your value system.
I think we are on very good ground when we speak about the beliefs and the value system of the United States. We are very fortunate in that our country can actually speak with one voice about such things and we have a common vocabulary. When it comes to understanding what the fanatics' view as their truths, I think all we can do is weigh the consequences and point out the end results of such a belief system.
Page 60 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. The problem, Madam Secretary, is that in our country, there is always a constant process of reviewing, analyzing, even among the journalists. Even the journalists disagree. Even the journalists are very opinionated. Some conservatives, some liberals, and all of that.
But how do you do it with an extremist like Osama bin Laden or those who are of the very, very strong and extreme view that America is the father of evil; that we must bring this Nation to its knees, destroy them, and his appeal goes out to the world that it is to be done in the name of Allahexcuse the expression. Where does the State Department come into focus to say that maybe we'd better not air this kind of so-called opinion, or how do you say that this is the truth?
Mrs. BEERS. Are you talking about the particular interview that was an issue, Mullah Omar's interview?
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. That one, and the highly publicized statement that Osama bin Laden made to the whole world, where our country got to learn a little more about the man's
Mrs. BEERS. Well, I think it's bin Laden's tape you're referring to, that ran in such a timely fashion. The best way I think we have to counter that is to place our communication efforts toward those who surround him, those we judge to be vulnerable, those we judge to have even a little window of openness. I don't think we intend to make, nor would it be very productive to send communications directly to the fanatics. I think anything and everything we do will be disavowed. I believe it is possible over time to brand this fanatic as a false prophet.
Page 61 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
I think that they have rested themselves, in a perverse way, on the religious beliefs of the Koran, and there are a number of Muslim clerics who are beginning to really speak out about this. If we can help them find voice, we can magnify their capacity to do that. And as time goes by, their willingness I believe will get higher, and through those people I think we can make it clear that this is not grounded in honest religious edicts of Islam.
Chairman HYDE. The gentleman's time has expired. Mr. Chabot.
Mr. CHABOT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Just a couple of points. Mr. Rohrabacher had earlier raised the issue about that we shouldn't be so quick to perhaps give the Taliban's side on some of this stuff. I just happened to have the experience of listening to NPR the other evening and they were talking about the Secretary of Defense and generals talking about the first couple of days of the air campaign and emphasizing that we are trying to reduce civilian casualties, of course, and just talking about the campaign. Then they talked about the Taliban side of this and saying that essentially we hadn't hit any military targets, there had been no damage done, no military people killed, but we killed a lot of civilians. And then the NPR's comment was something along the lines like they had no independent verification to verify which side was telling the truth, or something along those lines. That may not be the exact terminology, but I was pretty personally incensed when I heard that.
Now, that is for domestic consumption as opposed to what we are talking about today. But it is just an observation that I will make.
Secondly, I have heard a number of comments from my colleagues, some of which I agree on, and one that concerns me a little bit is just the idea of spending perhaps a significant amount of additional dollars, and I think that is certainly something for us to look at. I really think it is not how much we spend, but how we spend what we do spend.
Page 62 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
This war on terrorism that we are involved in is something that is absolutely deadly serious, and we as a Nation have to take it very seriously. We have to be very careful that we don't look at it as an opportunity for spending considerably more dollars than we ought to and therefore hurting the economy and hurting our overall national security.
My final point would be, I would be interested to hear your comments relative toone of the problems that I think we face in our public relations campaign is that some of our friendssome of our friendly governments in the Middle East may oftentimes bewell, let me just do this. Let me read a quote here. This was from this past week's Meet the Press. And Tom Friedman was commenting, and here's his quote:
''In the Arab world where the press is controlled by the governments and the governments have adopted a very deliberate strategy and the strategy being''
and he quotes here,
''you are free. You are free to criticize America. You are free to criticize Israel. You are free to criticize the Jews, as long as you don't criticize us,''
meaning the moderate government itself.
They basically unleash the press as a steam valve for all this resentment that is really about the government, or at least in part about the government, and deflect it on to America and on to Israel. And as a result, you basically have a generation that has grown up with absolutely no room for any other attitude.
Page 63 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
And then Tim Russert's comment was, ''And to avoid any real scrutiny of their lack of democratic government?'' and Friedman's response was, ''Absolutely.''
So the point being, it is free to target the United States and Israel, but to deflect any kind of animosity on that so-called moderate government. Would you comment on that particular observation made by Mr. Friedman?
Mrs. BEERS. We are acutely aware of these things now, and we really weren't in an earlier period. And we have to now be about the business of finding distribution channels that we haven't had available before, and put messages across on them that speak so that the young impressionable people in those communities can hear us. And we just have to get started. They are such isolated worlds.
The point of entry into those worlds is something that we work now through our embassies, through the Internet, our Web sites, through speaker programs and exchanges.
But, you know, a number of those facilities were not available to us in countries close to Afghanistan. Now the problem is to open those up and to get a communication in that is sensitive to the fact that we are talking to an audience that has been largely engrained with one message, from one point of view. We haven't been able to carry the kind of communication power that we do in so many countries through our brands, through our movies, through our marketing, through the dialogue we have with business and all those other natural moments of exchange that take place in so many parts of the world. We start every day with the recognition that we are dealing with people coming from a different point of view.
Page 64 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Chairman HYDE. Mr. Schiff?
Mr. SCHIFF. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I just wanted to reiterate one of the points that was made. We spent a fair amount of time talking about how do we talk to the fanatics. As one of my colleagues likes to say, ''With reasonable people I will reason; with unreasonable people, there is no opportunity to reason.''
And I don't think we should even try. There is no reasoning at the point of a gun. The people we need to reach are those who don't know anything different. They have been raised and educated with a certain point of view, who aren't necessarily closed to other things, but have never had any reason to question what they have been taught, and in particular those that are too young to have even been indoctrinated. Those are the groups that we need to target.
I think probably the least effective spokespeople are Americans of non-Muslim origin. And while there is probably a marginal value to having American spokespeople on Al-Jazeera, it is probably only marginal, targeting those two critical populations.
American Muslims, I think, would be more effective spokespeople. The most effective spokespeople are probably Muslims from around the worldMuslim leaders from around the world. And the challengeand I know you tried to address it, but I still can't get my arms around how we are going to accomplish this, and I don't envy the taskhow do you reach these young children that are taught in schools that you cannot really penetrate?
This has been a problem in Israel in trying to reach the Palestinians who have been educated in schools where Israel is not on the map in their textbooks. This is a microcosm, I think, of the larger problem. How do we reach these young people? And how do we also, if the most effective spokespeople are Muslim leaders from around the world and some of the leaders of these moderate governments, how do we rely on the leaders of nondemocratic regimes to be extolling the merits of democracy? That is a difficult dilemma for us.
Page 65 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Some of the criticism that we have received is that we have a double standard on democracy. We support it at home. But when they are friendly to us around the world, we support them even if they are not democratic. How do we use those nondemocratic regimes to help make the case for democracy or express our point of view?
Mrs. BEERS. I think that we all recognize that, over time, we have to reach the young people of what have been very isolated governments. I mean, this is partly a war of small victories at a time. For example, we put together a fund to save the music of Afghanistan. This was out of ECA. I consider this very typical of the face of America, to care so much about a country's music that we will preserve it for them when the Taliban had vetoed it and they were not allowed to hear it.
Now we want to get the music into all the many refugee camps so that we will be offering more than food. Part of what I hope we can offer, as we begin to work on these programs, is also a kind of education, because there we have an opportunity to reach people in difficult conditions. It is a beginning.
The second thing is how do we reach these somewhat tentative nondemocratic leaders. And I think that even though some of them are so-called nondemocratic, they have had exchanges and dialogues with the United States, and we have ways of knowing them and being in contact with them. We are going to have to be extremely skillful in helping them find the words they can use as opposed to just assuming they are going to take the kind of position that we would like them to take.
Page 66 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We see this happening. When our embassies and our Ambassadors sit down with some of these people, we talk about what would be appropriate for them to say and what we can help them identify. We give them a lot of information that doesn't do them any harm in their own marketplace. That is part of what we are doing.
Mr. BOUCHER. I think the only thing I would add is that we know that even nondemocratic governments are sensitive to public opinion to some extent, and sometimes that leads to what Congressman Berman and Congressman Chabot were referring tothe say what you want about America, leave us alone kind of phenomenon.
Our Ambassadors, embassies, and leadership do call other governments on those kinds of things where they have influence and it is not being exercised. We will raise it with foreign leaders, our embassies and Ambassadors in Arab countries, in the Gulf, and frequently make this point to other governments that if they are going to have influence over the media, it needs to be responsible influence. You can't let people ride herd and poke the Americans with a stick every time they want to. We have done that in this Administration and done it in the past as well.
Part of what we are talking about today is not just true facts. There are facts that are wrong that we can counter. There are facts that we can complain about when somebody says 4,000 Jews were absent from the World Trade Center that morning. We can make the case that that is just plain wrong. We are right, they are wrong. But beyond that, we are talking today about reaching people, and particularly the young people, at a more fundamental level. And that is a place where foreign leaders don't need to extoll the virtues of the Bill of Rights, but they can make the case that their cooperation with America is important, is good for their own society. That is where we need to encourage and we do encourage other leaders to speak out on our behalf.
Page 67 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Chairman HYDE. Mr. Kerns.
Mr. KERNS. I thank you, Mr. Chairman. After considerable efforts over decades, it appears that we have not done the job that we would have liked in communicating the message of American people and our way of life. And most recently, after traveling to Russia, Italy and Turkey, it was suggested by other governments that we have not done an effective job, and even made specific recommendations on ways maybe we can improve that, even including that when we participate in humanitarian efforts, marking such relief given that it is the compliments of the American people by the United States Government, so they in fact know what we are doing and participating and trying to communicate a positive measure.
Do we have a way of measuring our effectiveness and progress in communicating a positive message and tying that directly to some means? Are we performing properly in the right way? Do we need to take a look in another direction? And I do share the concerns of Mr. Rohrabacher, Mr. Chabot, and Mr. Royce. So with that, Mr. Chairman, I yield back.
Chairman HYDE. I thank the gentleman. Ms. Watson.
Ms. WATSON. Mr. Chairman, I would like to extend my opening statement forward, submit my opening statement for the record please.
Chairman HYDE. Without objection, so ordered.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Watson follows:]
Page 68 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE DIANE E. WATSON, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, for holding this hearing. U.S. public diplomacy programs have for decades been an effective means of enhancing mutual understanding between the United States and other foreign countries. Many programs in our public diplomacy arsenal are highly regarded and widely known, including the Fulbright and International Visitors Programs. Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) have not only effectively made the transition to a post Cold War world, but have remained highly relevant and well respected among their listening audiences and a model to many countries that are still struggling to establish an independent press. Similarly, Voice of America has retained a diverse and loyal base worldwide who regard its broadcasts as factual and even-handed. It is not surprising that a majority of males in Afghanistan listen to VOA.
Despite the successes of our public diplomacy programs, I am concerned that we now live in a world that truly is more accessible, diverse, and will require Americans to be more conversant in their knowledge and understanding of foreign languages and cultures. I appreciate that many of our public diplomacy programs also allow U.S. citizens to travel and study abroad. However, I am also mindful that we as a nation have been parochial and sometimes cavalier about world affairs due, in part, to what we perceived to be our relative geographic isolation. Perhaps this attitude explains in part the Committee Report of the Intelligence Authorization Act, passed by the House last week, which notes that one of the intelligence community's greatest needs is for greater numbers of foreign language-capable personnel and that it is a deficiency throughout the intelligence community. I would be interested in finding out whether the State Department's public diplomacy programs are sensitive to the fact that we as a nation need to more than ever acquaint a growing number of our own citizens to the various cultures, languages and regions of the world, and in so doing solidify the future credibility of our public diplomacy programs throughout the world.
Page 69 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Ms. WATSON. I would just raise something you said, Mrs. Beers, that we have to work with youth. I took groups to South Africa during the apartheid, and I found that the youth were ready to embrace the globe. I also found that they were compelled by the music and the artists that they heard from America and Great Britain, and I would think that this would be a very effective way to start our message, through our music makers and to the youth.
Also, athletics. When I think about the Goodwill Olympics, there is a way that youth relate to youth across their countries' boundaries in pursuits. So maybe you would want to consider using some of these games to also send the messages from our country to other countries. I think we have got to start with those whose minds are still developing, and we have to use the airwaves. It is really important that we speak their language, very important to know their customs and traditions.
I have been talking about my dream team that I would send over to the Taliban. It starts with Farakhan and Jessie Jackson; Al Pouissant, the psychiatrist from Harvard; Cornell West, the theorist; Bishop Tutu, who did a good job of selling us in America of getting involved and removing apartheid; and the Ambassador, and led by Nelson Mandela. Give it a thought.
Mrs. BEERS. Pretty good team. Expensive.
Ms. WATSON. Well, we are going to have to put the dollars out there to try to reach our goal.
Chairman HYDE. Ms. Ros-Lehtinen.
Page 70 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I would like to ask about participation in exchange programs by persons committed to human rights and democracies.
You may be aware since 1996 that the State Department has been required by law, as we had discussed, to provide opportunities for participation in U.S. exchange programs to persons, ''committed to advancing human rights and democratic values,'' in countries whose people do not currently enjoy freedom and democracy. Yet I am informed that our exchange programs with dictatorships, particularly with those such as China and Vietnam whose governments have not allowed the development of civil society, are still overwhelmingly dominated by participants with close ties to those governments. Recently, I read about a journalist from China whose exchange visits had to be cut short after he was seen cheering the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.
Can you tell us what concrete steps the Department has taken over the last 5 years to ensure the participation in exchange programs to independent thinkers, perhaps even to people who have publicly dissented from government policy? Can you evaluate the success of these actions? Are we providing meaningful access to our exchange programs for people who don't see eye to eye with their governments?
Of course, we also want to include people who may be connected with the government but who may benefit from exposure to the United States so that perhaps they can be converted to our way of thinking. But, even so, shouldn't we try to screen our programs to avoid forcing U.S. taxpayers, as has been said over and over again this morning, to fund free vacations for the very worst anti-Americans, people who can only be characterized as tyrants and thugs, such as those who cheered when they saw the live video of the mass murder of the World Trade Center?
Page 71 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Even when our exchange visitors show contempt for freedom and democracy in ways that are not quite so vivid, such as by engaging in political and religious persecution back in their home countries, doesn't this participation bring discredit to our programs both here in the United States and among decent people abroad?
In 1999, Congress reiterated our concern about ensuring access to our exchange programs for people who don't support dictatorial regimes. We came to the conclusion that part of the problem was that some of the contractors who run the programs may themselves be too close to the government in the countries that we are concerned about. So Congress enacted a law requiring that, whenever practicable, selection of organizations to run these programs be by open, competitive bidding and that, by competing organizations, they should be evaluated in part on their ability and willingness to include participants who are committed to freedom and democracy.
Can you tell us about the progress in implementing this law? The law that I am referring to is section 102 of the Human Rights, Refugee and Other Foreign Relations Provisions Act of 1996, as amended by the Foreign Relations Authorization Bill for Fiscal Years 2000 and 2001.
Mrs. BEERS. Thank you. I am familiar with that.
I am impressed with the way the exchanges are able to collect a very diverse and highly qualified group of people. This is put in place by the embassies. They understand fully that we are looking for people whose potential is great in their own country and whose capacity to be a contributor to our country is part of their criteria. I think that diversity and the nongovernment connection is working well, just as that was intended. We just had that evaluated, too, by an outside panel.
Page 72 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
But it is also true that when people comewho might be borderline on such situationsto the United States, there is nothing quite like the transformation that takes place when they have had a chance to see what it is like to live in America and what these programs do to help them understand and experience the American way of life. Had we had such exchanges going with Afghanistan, we would be a lot further along in having a real dialogue.
Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. The terrorists who committed these acts were in the United States, they were enjoying freedom and democracy, and it did not seem to change their minds. Being here, it is not by osmosis
Mrs. BEERS. I think there is a difference between having people who are in an evolution of their own life and their view of the democratic process and pure fanatics, and I am not trying to confuse those two.
Chairman HYDE. The gentlelady's time has expired.
Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman HYDE. Our last witness before the second panel, Ms. Lee.
Ms. LEE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you, Madam Secretary, and let me tell you how delighted I am to meet and listen to you this morning.
Page 73 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
I want to follow up on Congresswoman Watson's very insightful and very serious statement with regard to diversity. I believe that utilizing the diversity of America could be a real strength in our public diplomacy efforts in support of our antiterrorism campaign. So I am just asking, have you been thinking about this as you formulate public diplomacy efforts toward Muslim countries? And if you haven't been thinking about that as being really a central aspect of antiterrorism campaigns, would you consider that? Because I think we have to look at our efforts now in a new way.
Mrs. BEERS. I thank you. We are looking at that.
I think that one of the great value systems of our country is the kind and degree of tolerance, and the best way to demonstrate that is the great diversity of people in our country, and that will be one of the messages we try to put on the board.
Ms. LEE. Also, utilizing our diverse population in your public diplomatic efforts.
Mr. Boucher, do you have
Mr. BOUCHER. I was just going to say that the example of America is very powerful. These exchange programs are among the best things we do. We bring people to the United States. We send Americans overseas. We give people an education in the United States. That pays off for 5, 10, 15, 20 years down the road; and I have seen it myself overseas with leaders around the world. The training we give to journalists, to people who are trying to support civil society in countries that don't have very much is very, very important; and the fact that they meet Americans from all backgrounds and all walks of life is part of the very important effort that goes into these programs. I think we will hear more about them later, but the fact that these people who are going to be influential get a chance to meet all kinds of Americans becomes an informative part of their entire life.
Page 74 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Ms. LEE. Thank you very much. I am glad to hear that you are seeing that as valuable.
The second point I want to make that we have heard over and over today is one of the ways to really combat terrorism at a very fundamental level is through education. Your Department has the Bureau for Educational and Cultural Affairs, in which you sponsor the international education initiatives such as the Fulbright program and the Humphrey fellowships. It has been charged in the past, or at least we have heard comments to the fact that these programs have concentrated more on Europethat they are very focused not on the developing world but on Europe. Is that the case and do you think now we need to look at the developing world more in terms of these international educational programs?
Mrs. BEERS. I don't think it is true that they are biased. It might have been true at one time. Some of the other countries contribute an immense amount of their own money to make their exchanges more productive, and in that case we just cooperate with them on that, and that may be why you feel they are a little bit out of balance. But we have very aggressive exchange programs with the developing world; and when we get the chance, we will certainly be concentrating on activating those in the parts of the world where we are now shut off.
So I think that, if anything, our energies, our resources, our share of thinking is going very heavily toward the developing world.
Ms. LEE. Thank you.
Page 75 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
My final question is, have you had a chance to make an assessment with regard to our antiterrorism initiatives and policies in the past and how much has public diplomacy been key in our strategies, or are the tragic events of September 11 now forcing us to look at this more closely?
Mrs. BEERS. Well, I think everything in this country is being looked at differently as a result of an event we never actually expected to happen. I think public diplomacy's urgency and its proper place in the world of dialogue with people who are fanatics has risen to a new sense of awareness for all of us. So I have to say that the willingness of the country and its awareness to fight terrorism is at an all-time high, and we are just taking part in that.
Ms. LEE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman HYDE. Thank you.
We have reached the end of the questions for this panel.
I want to say, Under Secretary Beers, you did a great job under extremely hazardous conditions.
We have one more distinguished panel to go. I am going to declare a 4-minute recess, and we will start right up in about 4 minutes. So if the second panel will take your place, and, Secretary Boucher, thank you as always. Thank you.
Page 76 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. ROYCE. [Presiding.] All right. The Committee will come to order at this time.
We welcome the Chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, Mr. Marc Nathanson; and active board member Tom Korologos. Mr. Nathanson was confirmed as the Chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors in 1998. The Broadcasting Board of Governors is an independent government agency responsible for all of the national broadcasting of the U.S. Government; and under the Board is the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia, and Broadcasting to Cuba.
In addition to his duties of board Chairman, Mr. Nathanson is also the Vice Chairman of the Executive Committee of Charter Communications, which is the nation's fourth largest cable TV operator. He brings extensive experience in the area of broadcasting which is invaluable to the Board.
Also with him is Tom Korologos, a long-time member of the Broadcasting Board of Governors. He is Chairman of Timmons and Company; and he has been involved in the Advisory Commission of Public Diplomacy and served in the Reagan and Bush Administrations. We welcome both of you.
Also on the second panel is Ambassador Kenton Keith, the Senior Vice President of Meridian International Center. Prior to assuming this position, Ambassador Keith had a long and distinguished career as a Foreign Service Officer with the former U.S. Information Agency. He now has responsibility at Meridian for management of the professional exchanges activities associated with the State Department's international visitor program.
Page 77 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
While in the Foreign Service, Ambassador Keith directed USIA's Office of North African, Near Eastern, and South Asian Affairs, managing field operations and public diplomacy activities for this large geographic area. We have asked him to provide his thoughts on public diplomacy challenges in this region at this critical time.
Gentlemen, please proceed; and we ask that you summarize your statements, 5 minutes each, if you will. Thank you.
STATEMENT OF MARC NATHANSON, CHAIRMAN, BROADCASTING BOARD OF GOVERNORS
Mr. NATHANSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee. I want to thank you for your opening comments. They were very insightful. I will shorten my remarks but submit my entire statement for the record.
My name is Marc Nathanson; and, as you said, I am Chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors. Sitting next to me is Tom Korologos, also a member of the Broadcasting Board of Governors. In the audience we have Governor Ted Kaufman, Governor Mark Ledbetter, and Governor Norm Pattiz, in addition to the heads of U.S. international broadcasting entities.
I want to assure you that U.S. international broadcasting has responded as never before in its history to this horrible act of terrorism and are working together with you, the Administration, and other government agencies. We welcome the opportunity to do much more.
Page 78 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. Chairman, even as I speak, millions of people throughout the Middle East, Central and South Asia and the Arab world have radios, televisions and Web browsers set for frequencies and Web addresses of U.S. international broadcasting.
Our reach has been extraordinary. Immediately after the attack, we increased our broadcast hours in critical languages, including Arabic, Dari, Farsi, Pashto and Urdu. Most of our broadcast services, which include many of the languages of the world, have switched to an all-news format. The International Broadcasting Bureau's transmitter network is at maximum power. Our international Web sites are taking millions of hits each day.
We have carried the exact words of our national leaders. President Bush's speech to the joint session of Congress on September 20 was broadcast around the world in all of our languages, as was his October 7 speech. The Voice of America translated the President's speech into Dari and Pashto so that the people of Afghanistan could hear the President's unfiltered message.
As Ari Fleischer said in Monday's afternoon press briefing, the White House and the State Department believe that the Voice of America will continue to provide information to the Afghan people so they have full knowledge about what is happening in their country from sources other than the repressive Taliban regime that has not shared all the information with the people it seeks to represent.
The Voice of America has recently interviewed over 40 Members of Congress, senior policy officials of the State Department, and distinguished leaders of the private sector. We have carried penetrating discussions with well-recognized religious scholars who have made clear that the death of innocent people in a terrorist attack is a perversion of Islam.
Page 79 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
This has been a team effort. The Voice of America broadcasts to the Arab world, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Radio Free Europe has blanketed the former Soviet Central Asian republics. RFE and VOA broadcasts to Iran and Iraq. Radio-free Asia and VOA have kept Asian listeners informed on the fast-breaking events, and the Martis speak to the people of Cuba about what is going on.
Once again, on the evening of October 7, U.S. international broadcasters surged their programming, explaining to people in the region the reasons for the military action and describing our humanitarian assistance. VOA's English, Farsi, and Arabic services broadcast the President's speech live, and the Pashto service interviewed Richard Boucher of the State Department, your previous guest, and simultaneously translated his comments.
VOA as a stand-alone entity has been on the air for some 5,000 hours since the tragedies of September 11. Mr. Chairman, I will candidly acknowledge that, in the pursuit of this historic story, there have been some problems and mistakes as we have ramped up our coverage, which I have discussed in my longer text. But, overall, the vast majority of VOA programming has been excellent.
From September 11 to October 2, 829 separate reports were done, 103 background stories, 43 summaries of editorials in American papers around the world. Overall, our reporters on the front line are doing the job and are true to the principles that Congressman Lantos paraphrased when he quoted Edward R. Murrow. We deliver the truth about terrorism to the people of Afghanistan; and, as we have been told and our research has indicated, these people are listening.
Page 80 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
VOA's Pashto service is heard by an astonishing 80 percent of the male population of Afghanistan on a weekly basis. Eight out of 10 of those surveyed said foreign broadcasting was a principal source of news about their country.
Mr. Chairman, I wish I could tell you that our reach was just as effective in the Middle East. Public opinion in the Middle East will be increasingly important as the struggle against terrorism continues to escalate. Last year, the Board surveyed our ability to reach the Middle East and found very disappointing results. Our transmitters in the Middle East for the most part are around the periphery of the region and are mostly shortwave. We need to reach the area on AM, FM, and satellite.
As many of you said in your opening statements, we have almost no youthful audience under the age of 25 in the Arab world, and we are concerned that independent research has shown this important segment of the population has a growing as well as enormous distrust of the United States. In our view, the present crisis only underscores the importance of moving ahead on our Middle East broadcasting initiative as proposed in our 2002 budget.
As Governor Tom Korologos has repeatedly reminded us, international broadcasting is the most cost-effective weapon in our foreign policy arsenal. Low cost and high yield make it a great bargain. Our annual budget of less than $500 million is a fraction of the cost of major weapons systems.
Finally, Mr. Chairman, let me speak plainly. U.S. international broadcasting, this Board, is fully committed to playing a crucial role in public diplomacy in support of U.S. foreign policy, working with Congress and the executive branch. We will continue to tell the truth about terrorism and the United States' response to it. We cross all borders, broadcasting in over 60 languages to tens of millions of people around the globe who desperately need to hear American's story.
Page 81 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
These are my abbreviated remarks. Governor Korologos and I will be happy to answer questions when you are ready for that.
Mr. ROYCE. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Nathanson follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF MARC NATHANSON, CHAIRMAN, BROADCASTING BOARD OF GOVERNORS
Chairman Hyde, Members of the Committee:
I want to thank you very much for the opportunity to speak with you today about the role of international broadcasting in this time of crisis. My name is Marc Nathanson and I have been on the BBG for six years and I have been chairman for the last three years. I was raised in Illinois and reside in California.
My fellow Governors and I are private citizens who have other jobs even though as a board we are ultimately responsible for running the Agency. I have spent 30 years in the communications business and I am currently Vice Chairman of Charter Communications and I own 20 radio stations in California and Oregon. Next to me is my fellow Governor who has also been on the BBG board for six years, and a distinguished American, Tom Korologos of Virginia.
In the audience we have the rest of our Governors, Cheryl Halpern of New Jersey, Ted Kaufman of Delaware, Mark Ledbetter of Mississippi and Norm Pattiz of California. In addition, the heads of our U.S. international broadcasting entities are here, Tom Dine, President of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Dick Richter, President of Radio Free Asia, Myrna Whitworth, Acting Director, Voice of America (as you know President Bush has named Robert Reilly to be the next VOA Director), and Brian Conniff, BBG Chief of Staff. Salvador Lew, the New Director of Radio and TV Marti could not be here today.
Page 82 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
I want to assure you that U.S. international broadcasting has responded, as never before in its history, to this heinous act of terrorism. And working together with you, the Administration and other agencies, we welcome the opportunity to do much more.
Mr. Chairman, even as I speak, millions of people throughout the Middle East, Central and South Asia and the Arab world have their radios, televisions and Web browsers set to the frequencies and Web addresses of U.S. international broadcasters, waiting for direct, up-to-date, unbiased, unfiltered news and information about the attack on terrorism.
With the most powerful network of satellites and transmitters on the face of the earth, we are able to skip across international borders. Our clear, accurate, timely reports provide an alternative to the rigidly controlled and hate-filled broadcasts of tyrannical regimes in places like Afghanistan and Iraq. According to a September 24 report by Guardian News reporter Ian Traynor from Bagram, North of Kabul, ''Street urchins in the villages of the valley accost strangers with yelps of 'America, America'.'' Their parents stroll around with tiny radios glued to their ears listening to the BBC, Voice of America or Iranian Radio, desperately seeking clues to what may be about to befall them.''
The U.S. simply has no better way of making this connection, directly with the people of Afghanistan then through U.S. international broadcasting. As the U.S. seeks to build coalitions to combat terror, people need to know what we are doing and why. They need to know that this country is not the enemy of Islam, but will not tolerate terrorism.
Since September 11 until today, U.S. international broadcasting has been working around the clock to expand our coverage and reach to the critical areas of the region to tell America's story and encourage freedom and democracy.
Page 83 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Our reach has been extraordinary. Immediately after the attack, we increased our broadcast hours in critical languages, including Arabic, Dari, Farsi, Pashto, and Urdu. Most of our broadcast services, which include many of the languages of the world, have switched to an all-news format. The International Broadcasting Bureau's transmitter network is at maximum power. Our international web sites are taking thousands of hits.
We have given a human face to the victims, telling the heart-breaking stories of people who came to America from scores of nations. Our reports have made it clear that the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were attacks on freedom and democracy throughout the world.
We have carried the exact words of our national leaders. President Bush's speech to a joint session of Congress on September 20 was broadcast around the world in all our languages, as was his October 7 speech. The Voice of America translated the President's speech into Dari and Pashto, so that the people of Afghanistan could hear the President's unfiltered message. As Ari Fleishcer said in Monday's afternoon press briefing, the White House and the State Department believe that the Voice of America will continue to provide information to the Afghan people so they can have full knowledge about what is happening in their country from a source other than a repressive Taliban regime that has not shared all the information with the people that it seeks to represent.
The Voice of America has recently interviewed over 40 members of Congress. Senior policy officials of the State Department and distinguished leaders of the private sector have been asked to give comments. We've also carried penetrating discussions with distinguished religious scholars, who made clear that the death of innocents in a terrorist attack on civilians is a perversion of Islam.
Page 84 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
This has been a team effort. The Voice of America broadcasts to the Arab world, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Radio Free Europe has blanketed the former Soviet Central Asian republics. Radio Free Asia and the VOA have kept Asian listeners informed of the fast-breaking events.
Once again on the evening of October 7, U.S. international broadcasters surged their programming explaining to the people of the region the reasons for the military action and describing our humanitarian assistance. VOA's English, Farsi, and Arabic services broadcast the President's speech live, and the Pashto service interviewed Richard Boucher of the State Department, your previous guest, and simultaneously translated his comments. VOA currently has two reporters in Islamabad and a stringer in Northern Afghanistan providing up-to-date coverage of this fast breaking story.
VOA alone has been on the air for some 5,000 hours since the tragedies of September 11. Mr. Chairman, I will candidly acknowledge that in the pursuit of this historic story, there have been some problems and mistakes as we ramped up our coverage. But, overall, the vast majority of VOA reporting has been excellent.
There were two reports, however, that in retrospect, I wish had been handled differently. In the days just after the attacks, one report, of about two minutes in length, quoted an Egyptian exile living in London who has been associated with the Islamic Group, one of Egypt's most violent terrorist organizations. The group's leanings, and the fact that the man was under death sentence in Egypt, should have been made clear in the sourcing. That was a serious omission.
Page 85 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
The reporter who filed the story has been reassigned. The editors who handled the story have been admonished. The Voice of America has put in place a set of rigorous guidelines to ensure that this kind of mistake won't be repeated.
In another case, the Voice of America carried 12 seconds of the voice of Mullah Omar, the leader of the Taliban, as part of the reaction to President Bush's September 20 speech to the Congress. The process by which this report was received, edited and aired was not seamless. There were passionate debates within our own organization and within the Board of Governors about the wisdom of putting Mullah Omar's voice on the air. Some were against it, arguing that VOA was being used by the Taliban. Others argued it was worthy of news coverage.
I welcome this opportunity to publicly put this controversy into perspective. Less than three minutes of broadcast time is involved, out of thousands of hours. Focusing on these incidents runs the risk of obscuring the critical role U.S. international broadcasters have played in this crisis.
In the end, we learned lessons about sure-footedness and the need for constant internal communication. We have issued extensive guidelines in an effort to follow the clear intent of the legislationwhich charges us with broadcasting consistent with the broad foreign policy objectives of the U.S., while also exemplifying the highest standards of journalism. We will work to eradicate all mistakes and communicate better about the role of the Board in these critical times.
But overall our reporters on the front lines are doing an excellent job and are true to our principlesto deliver the truth about terrorism to the people of Afghanistan. And, as I indicated, they are listening. VOA's Pashto service is heard by an astonishing 80 percent of the male population of Afghanistan on a weekly basis. Eight out of ten of those surveyed said foreign broadcasting was their principal source of news about their own country.
Page 86 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Listeners know full well that the VOA is funded by the U.S. Government. And they depend on it as a beacon of clear, accurate information on human rights in their own country and the policies of the United States Government.
We are closely monitoring the programs of the Pashto, Dari, and Farsi services. And we have commissioned outside experts to examine earlier allegations of bias. Those studies have found that our programming has been accurate and fair, but in some cases could use improvement in journalistic training. The Board and leadership of VOA have carefully followed the suggestions of our outside experts.
Mr. Chairman, I wish I could tell you that our reach was just as effective in the Middle East. Public opinion in the Middle East will be increasingly important as the struggle against terrorism in Afghanistan continues to escalate. Last year, the Board surveyed our ability to reach the Middle East, and found disappointing results. Our transmitters are, for the most part, on the periphery of the region, and mostly on shortwave. We need to reach the area on AM, FM and satellite.
We have almost no youthful audience under the age of 25 in the Arab world and we are concerned that independent research has showed that this important segment of the population has enormous distrust of the United States.
In our view, the present crisis only underscores the importance of moving ahead with our Middle East broadcasting initiative as proposed in the FY 2002 budget as aggressively and quickly as we possibly can.
Page 87 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
As Governor Tom Korologos repeatedly reminds us, ''International broadcasting is the most cost-effective weapon in the foreign policy arsenal. Its low cost and high yield makes it a great bargain. Our annual budget, of less than $500 million, is a fraction of the cost of a major weapons system.''
There is one additional piece of legislation that we think would be helpful in reaching our goals. That is to lift the Congressional restriction on building short-wave transmitters at our site in Kuwait. Kuwait is an ideal location for reaching South and Central Asia on shortwave, but under current law we are prohibited from doing so. We are happy that you have included a repeal of this legislation in your pending State Department authorization bill.
Finally, Mr. Chairman, let me speak plainly. U.S. international broadcasting, this Board, is fully committed to playing its crucial role in public diplomacy in support of U.S. foreign policy, working with Congress and the Executive Branch.
We will continue to tell the truth about terrorism and the United States' response to it. We cross all borders, broadcasting in over sixty languages, to tens of millions of people around the globe who desperately need to hear America's story.
That concludes my remarks, and Governor Korologos and I would be happy to answer your questions.
Mr. ROYCE. Ambassador Keith.
Page 88 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
STATEMENT OF AMBASSADOR KENTON KEITH, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT FOR PROGRAMMING, MERIDIAN INTERNATIONAL CENTER
Mr. KEITH. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I am Kenton Keith, Senior Vice President of the Meridian International Center and Chair of the Alliance for International Educational and Cultural Exchange. The Alliance is an association of 64 U.S.-based exchange organizations, and we have worked closely over the years with this Committee.
Meridian International Center is a nonprofit organization that promotes international understanding through the exchange of people, ideas, and the arts; and our biggest business is the international visitor program.
Prior to taking up my current positions, I was a career Foreign Service Officer with the United States Information Agency. Much of my career was spent in the Middle East, including an appointment by President Bush in 1992 as U.S. Ambassador to Qatar. Following that assignment, I headed USIA's area office that supervised all the agency's operations in the Near East, North Africa, and South Asia. In 1997, my swan song at USIA was to be the representative of the agency on the interagency task force that drafted the blueprint for the amalgamation of USIA into the Department of State.
Both in my present capacities and based on my past experience, I welcome the opportunity to testify today before the Committee about the importance of public diplomacy, especially in the wake of the horrific events of September 11 and in support of our national campaign to rid the world of terrorism.
Page 89 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
In a week when American's military might is being brought to bear in dramatically effective fashion, we need to begin to think as a Nation about the role public diplomacy will play in this campaign. I applaud the Committee's leadership in opening this very timely discussion. As a long-term solution to the profound problems of cultural misunderstanding, there will be no substitute for public diplomacy. It must be a key component of our long-term effort to eradicate terrorism.
The attacks on the United States brought with them two important lessons. First, we must be much better equipped to manage and control all nonimmigrant visitors to this country. The exchange community supports sensible, effective measures to accomplish that; and I will identify those in my testimony.
Second, and equally important, is that we must remain open to the world. Bringing students and professionals to our country provides us with a unique opportunity to educate the next generation of world leaders.
Our national security requires that we balance these two important interestsincreased security and continued openness.
Your Committee has before it a resolution introduced by Congressman Jim Kolbe, co-sponsored by Congressman Leach, Congressman Gilman and six other Members of the both parties. The resolution calls for the establishment of a national policy on international education. A similar resolution, sponsored by Senators Kerry and Lugar, passed the Senate in April by unanimous vote.
Page 90 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
The resolution calls for increasing the number of foreign students and exchange visitors to the U.S. and for increasing opportunities for Americans to go abroad. Clearly, we need that increased capacity in languages, in travel, in knowledge of foreign cultures, in government, in business and in higher education.
After September 11 we believe that a national policy on international education must go even further. The exchange and higher education communities propose and will support the following steps: One, developing a national computerized entry/exit system that will allow the INS to identify quickly those who overstay their visas. Two, full Federal funding for the computerized tracking system, alternatively known as CIPRIS and SEVIS, now being developed by the INS to track J, F, and M visa holders.
Three, reporting at regular intervals by exchange organizations and higher education institutions of basic data on exchange participants and immediate reporting of no-shows, dropouts and program completion.
And, four, improving our first line of defense at the Department of State's consular post overseas, with enhanced funding to provide more officers, improved facilities where needed and effective use of information technology.
Mr. Chairman, as a public diplomacy professional for more than 32 years, I know full well that changing minds is a long and painstaking process. It will require us to be patient as we try to reach audiences whose attitudes toward us range from profoundly skeptical to openly hostile. What we must do is change a climate of opinion that unjustly paints the United States as a source of evil, and this will require a major effort. We will need to focus this effort on a very broad range of countries, in an arc reaching from North Africa to the Middle East, stretching further eastward from North Asia to the Indian subcontinent to Southeast Asia. I am suggesting a major exchange initiative engaging the countries of the Islamic world.
Page 91 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
There also needs to be work at the State Department. As part of my written testimony, which I have submitted in two parts, I have expressed concern that the reorganization of the foreign affairs agencies that resulted in the demise of the U.S. Information Agency has created unmet challenges for public diplomacy.
In my written statement I focused on the structural problems that have hampered coordination between Washington, public diplomacy officers, and the public affairs officers in the field, and I pointed to new bureaucratic challenges that keep PAOs away from their primary duties.
I also called for full support for the BBG's establishment of a new kind of Voice of America based on better signal and more targeted programming.
Thank you very much for the opportunity to address the Committee. I will be happy to amplify my statement or answer any questions. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman HYDE. Thank you, Ambassador Keith.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Keith follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF AMBASSADOR KENTON KEITH, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT FOR PROGRAMMING, MERIDIAN INTERNATIONAL CENTER
Page 92 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Good morning. I'm Kenton Keith, senior vice president of the Meridian International Center and chair of the Alliance for International Educational and Cultural Exchange. The Alliance is an association of 64 U.S.-based exchange organizations, and we have worked closely with this committee, Mr. Chairman, on a variety of issues. MIC is a nonprofit organization that promotes international understanding through exchanges of peoples, ideas, and the arts.
Prior to taking up my current positions, I was a career Foreign Service Officer with the United States Information Agency. Much of my career was spent in the Middle East, including my appointment by President Bush in 1992 to be U.S. Ambassador to Qatar. Following that assignment, I headed USIA's area office that supervised all the agency's operations in the Near East and South Asia.
Mr. Chairman, both in my present capacities and based on my past experiences, I welcome the opportunity to testify today before your committee about the importance of public diplomacy, especially in the wake of the horrific events of September 11 and in support of our national campaign to rid the world of terrorism.
In a week when America's military might is being brought to bear in dramatically effective fashion, we need to begin to think as a nation about the role public diplomacy will play in this campaign. I applaud your leadership, Mr. Chairman, and the committee's, in opening this very timely discussion. As a long-term solution to the profound problems of cultural misunderstanding, there will be no substitute for public diplomacy. It must be a key component of our long-term effort to eradicate terrorism.
Page 93 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
From my perspective, Mr. Chairman, as a practitioner of public diplomacy, the attacks on the United States brought with them two important lessons. One is that we need to be much better equipped to manage and control all nonimmigrant visitors to this country. The exchange community supports sensible, effective measures to accomplish that, and I will identify those in my testimony.
The second lesson, equally important, is that we must remain open to the world. Under Secretary Beers suggested at her recent confirmation hearing that one-third of the world leaders with whom we seek to construct a coalition to combat terrorism had their first substantive encounter with the United States through an exchange program or as foreign students. Bringing students and professionals to our country provides us with the unique opportunity to educate the next generation of world leaders. As Secretary Powell himself has pointed out, this is a foreign policy asset of incalculable value.
Our national security requires that we balance these two important interestsincreased security and continued openness. I would like to offer some suggestions on how to accomplish that.
Mr. Chairman, your committee has before it a resolution introduced by Congressman Jim Kolbe, cosponsored by Congressman Leach, Congressman Gilman, and six other members of the House of both parties. The resolution calls for the establishment of a national policy on international education. A similar resolution, sponsored by Senators Kerry and Lugar, passed the Senate in April by unanimous vote.
Page 94 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The resolution calls for a national policy that accords increased priority to the productive roles that our education and exchange communities can play in America's engagement with the world. The resolution calls for increasing the number of foreign students and exchange visitors to the U.S., for increasing opportunities for Americans to go abroad (a policy matter addressed creatively in the last Congress by former chairman Ben Gilman), and the need for many more Americans to gain a level of expertise about foreign cultures and foreign languages. Clearly, we need that increased national capacityin government, in business, and in higher education.
After September 11, we believe that a national policy on international education must go further. Such a policy must also encompass the measures we must take to insure that exchanges of students, scholars, and professionals take place safely. Such a national policy combines the two vital interests of which I have spokencontinued openness and increased security.
The exchange and higher education communities propose and will support the following steps:
Developing a national, computerized, entry/exit system that will allow the INS to identify quickly those who overstay their visas.
Full federal funding for the computerized tracking system, alternately known as CIPRIS and SEVIS, being developed by the INS to track F, J, and M visa holders.
Reporting at regular intervals by exchange organizations and higher education institutions of basic data on exchange participants, and immediate reporting of no-shows, drop-outs, and program completion.
Page 95 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Improving our first line of defense at the Department of State's consular posts overseas, with enhanced funding to provide more officers, improved facilities where needed, and effective use of information technology to aid in visa screening.
For a fuller picture of the higher education community's views and proposals on these subjects, I draw the committee's attention to a recent letter to Congress from David Ward, president of the American Council for Education.
Mr. Chairman, these steps will add important tools to our effort to protect our homeland security, while maintaining the openness we need to build strong relationships with future leaders and to strengthen the global awareness of our own citizens. We will welcome the opportunity to work with your committee on the Kolbe resolution, and in crafting a national policy that addresses both these important needs.
In this context, members of our community were gratified to learn over the weekend that Senator Dianne Feinstein apparently has decided against introducing legislation to mandate a six-month moratorium on the issuance of visas to foreign students and exchange visitors. Judging from press reports, Senator Feinstein came to share the view of our community that a moratorium would not solve the problems we must address, and would have significant negative consequences for our nation.
Not least of these consequences would be economic. Mr. Chairman, I am sure you are aware that there are approximately 514,000 foreign students in the United States. Additionally, some 250,000 exchange visitors come to our country every year on shorter-term programs. Beyond the significant policy, social, and academic benefits we derive from these visitors, we estimate that they bring as much as $13 billion to the U. S. economy annually. As the President and the Congress are considering an economic stimulus package, we should use extreme caution in limiting a sector that constitutes our country's fifth-largest service sector export.
Page 96 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
These people-to-people ties are a critical element in our public diplomacy. As Ambassador Arthur Burns once said, ''The achievement . . . of true understanding between any two governments depends fundamentally on the kind of relationship that exists between the peoples, rather than on the foreign ministers and ambassadors.''
Changing mindsor merely opening themis a long, painstaking process. It will require us to be creative, disciplined, and patient as we try to reach audiences whose attitudes towards us range from profoundly skeptical to openly hostile. We will not succeed in opening every mind, but we do not need to do so. What we must succeed in doing is challenging and changing a climate of opinion that unjustly paints the United States as a source of evil. Improving the kind of relationship that exists between peoples is the best way to do that. And if we succeed, terrorists will find it much more difficult to find support, either from governments or from general publics.
This will require a major effort, and we will need to focus this effort on a very broad range of countries, in an arc reaching from North Africa to the Middle East, stretching further eastward from Central Asia to the Indian subcontinent to Southeast Asia. Addressing so many countries and cultures will demand thoughtfully differentiated approaches to public diplomacy. In some countries, significant increases in our traditional exchanges, such as the Fulbright and International Visitor programs, will be appropriate, welcome, and effective. In other countries, such an approach may be seen as deeply threatening. Particularly in those cases, we must be creative in finding ways of reaching more skeptical publics, such as journalists and religious communities.
Page 97 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC To undertake this demanding assignment, our public diplomacy officers in the field will need increased support and the ability to focus on this initiative as their top priority. Mr. Chairman, in the report accompanying your authorization bill this year, the committee pointed to the need for adequate public diplomacy resources at our embassies overseas. Your colleagues in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee raised similar concerns. Getting public diplomacy right at our overseas posts need not necessarily require more officers; it certainly will require a recognition at the State Department of the importance of public diplomacy to this campaign, and to ensuring that public diplomacy officers have the tools and support, including administrative support, necessary to succeed at this task.
We also must significantly increase the number of American specialists in the languages and cultures of these regions. Enhancing our national capacity in this realm must be a very high priority. Programs that support this type of academic preparation, not all of which fall under the jurisdiction of this committee, need to provide opportunities for more Americans to gain this valuable expertise.
Mr. Chairman, a complex, far-reaching public diplomacy strategy of the sort I am suggesting will require thoughtful planning. The American exchange and higher education communities, represented by the Alliance, are prepared to work closely with our colleagues in the Department of State and other federal agencies to craft such a strategy in more detail.
A major exchange initiative of the sort I am suggesting, engaging the countries of the Islamic world, will require additional resources. As we sustain our global campaign against terrorism, we will need a robust capacity for world-wide public diplomacy to support our efforts. This suggests strongly that the Congress will need to make increased resources available to fund expanded programs in the Islamic world, in addition to funds already authorized and appropriated for exchange. While more preparatory work will be needed to arrive at a precise figure, Mr. Chairman, I hope the committee will be supportive of such a request in the future.
Page 98 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. Chairman, public diplomacy will be an essential component of our success in this campaign. We must engage foreign publics more effectively, and we will do so. One of our most powerful resources in this regard is the American people, who enthusiastically engage in exchange programs and who understand the importance of building bridges of understanding. Americans who host visitors in their communities, their homes, their schools and institutions of higher education, do so because they want to make a difference. They do so because they understand that the world is getting smaller, and that we need more friends with whom we can work to solve common problems.
We in the Alliance believe they will respond to your leadership and the committee's in providing a vision of how they can become involved on behalf of our great nation at this challenging time.
Mr. Chairman, it is indeed timely for the committee to examine our Public Diplomacy assets in the wake of the attacks on our nation. I would like to draw your attention to problems that exist in two areas, problems that handicap the dedicated individuals who carry out Public Diplomacy in Washington and in the field. First, there are structural problems stemming from the amalgamation of USIA into the Department of State in that have had the unintentional effect of diminishing the thrust of our Public Diplomacy efforts. Second, we have lost ground in the competition for media attention in key regions of the world, including the Middle East, because of outmoded broadcasting technology and a failure to take advantage of the media habits of audiences.
Page 99 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Structural faults: An opportunity deferred
I served as the USIA representative on the Planning Committee. In the months of our deliberations it was clear to me that the disappearance of the USIA Area Offices would be the biggest challenge to the effective linkage of Washington to the field operations. The Area Offices, which corresponded to the State Department regional bureaus, had tremendous clout. They were headed by the Agency's senior-most career officers, they controlled field budgets, they had direct and regular access to the Agency's Directors and the political appointees who headed the Information and Educational and Cultural Exchange bureaus, and they shared with Ambassadors abroad the performance evaluations of our PAOs, the public diplomacy directors in the field. In other words, PAOs were accountable to both their ambassadors and their area directors.
In almost every case Area Directors sat in on the meetings of State Department regional Assistant Secretaries. Indeed, it was most often the case that they had long professional relations with those Assistant Secretaries from shared field assignments, and there was a mutual respect and trust built over time. Thus, it was natural that they were aware of the short and medium range policy concerns of any given period. They were also the custodians of the long range public diplomacy effort to create better understanding by foreign audiences of American culture, institutions and values.
The interagency planning team was unable to reach a consensus on how to replace these vital functions, and the final report went forward with ''bracketed language,'' indicating this disagreement. In the event, the Area Offices were reduced in size and power. Area Directors were replaced by office directors attached to the State regional bureaus. Also, some public diplomacy officers, usually even more junior, were assigned to functional bureaus. Moreover, budget control for field operations was moved to the Executive Officers in the regional bureaus in Washington, and to State administrative officers in the field.
Page 100 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
What was lost?
USIA area directors had the power to intercede with the Educational and Cultural Exchange Bureau and the Information Bureau (and to some extent with the VOA and television producers) to shape products for field use and to ensure that they were integrated into a well-managed public diplomacy operation in the field posts. This made it possible to mount a region-wide public diplomacy effort to meet emerging needs.
PAOs were accountable to their ambassadors, of course, as they are today, but they were also accountable to the Area Directors. With this arrangement, PAOs not only responded to the ''brush fire'' public diplomacy issues at the mission, but also to the longer range challenge of building understanding and trust through exchange programs, libraries, English language teaching and cultural exchanges.
Once PAOs lost their status as representatives of an independent agency, they lost their independent administrative infrastructure. The idea was to eliminate redundancy and save money. The result has been that PAOs have become mired in the bureaucratic complexities of the Department's operations, and have had to spend time with added forms and reports when they should be out engaging with audiences. Over the years, USIA had developed procedures, including grant management and flexibility in raising money from the private sector for joint programs, that took account of the fact that it was a programming agency. This was new to State, and the loss of these tools has hampered public diplomacy operations.
Page 101 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. Chairman, I believe the prescription for change would include the following elements:
First, the bureaucratic stature of Public Diplomacy officers in the Regional Bureaus must be enhanced. Public Diplomacy officers should have the rank of Deputy Assistant Secretary. This would give them more of a voice in policy formulation (one of the stated objectives of the original reorganization), it would give them more authority in budget control for public diplomacy in the field, and it would give them more of a voice in the performance evaluation of PAOs over the entire range of public diplomacy duties.
Second, a formal link should exist between the regional DAS for Public Diplomacy, the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, the Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs, and the Coordinator for International Information Programs. In USIA the close coordination with the Director, the Counselor and the Area Directors facilitated broad public diplomacy responses to any given challenge. At present, the only persons within the Department who have the authority to launch public diplomacy initiatives across regional bureaus are the Secretary of State and his Deputy.
A New Voice of America
Mr. Chairman, I understand there is before Congress a request for funding for a new VOA broadcast service to the Middle East. It consists of FM broadcasting to Arab audiences with substantial programming of local news and features voiced by speakers of the principal regional dialects, with a centrally produced world news program in modem standard Arabic.
Page 102 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
The Broadcasting Board of Governors is to be commended for this initiative, and I urge your support. For too long we have clung to short wave broadcasting with a diminishing audience, or we have used FM signals that were too weak to be heard. But more important still is the need for content that speaks to the audiences we seek to reach. This requires the kind of research and production effort that costs money, but will pay great dividends. In the present circumstances, the absence of such a voice is tragic.
Chairman HYDE. We will now go to Mr. Korologos.
STATEMENT OF TOM KOROLOGOS, BOARD MEMBER, BROADCASTING BOARD OF GOVERNORS
Mr. KOROLOGOS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I want to echo the remarks made by our Chairman, Governor Nathanson, that International Broadcasting is fully committed in playing a crucial role in public diplomacy and in support of the foreign policy initiatives of the United States.
As a result of September 11, our surge capacity came into play. You have seen the numbers. The charts here will show the increase in broadcasting that we did in the entire area.
And I want to say another thing. This is a united Board on this issue. We are bipartisan in the pursuit of all these initiatives that we have been discussing here from Governor Nathanson today. We look forward to continuing this program, and we look forward to working with the policymakers, working with this Committee and increasing and doing better. Sure, everybody can do better, and we look forward to any initiatives that the policymakers and the Administration and the Hill put together.
Page 103 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. ROYCE. I thank you all for your testimony here today.
I am going to confess that, actually, I am an enthusiast for Voice of America, and I want you to understand that. As we debate this issue about the best way to go forward in terms of Afghanistan, let me just share with you that part of the criticism is driven by our Afghan American constituents who are the ones who brought us the original information about the feeling of bias in the Pashto service there.
Mr. Nathanson, in your published transcript that you have submitted, I appreciate your being forthcoming about some of the mistakes made in the past; and I want to make it clear that I am not critical of VOA. I think VOA does a fantastic job. But we find ourselves right now much as we found ourselves during the Cold War in Eastern Europe. We now find ourselves in a hot war. And, to reiterate a point, we found during the Cold War that there was a particular methodology that worked very, very well in changing the attitudes, changing the minds of people, and that was surrogate broadcasting, a special surrogate broadcasting mission that Radio Free Europe embarked upon in which we can today test the results of that by talking to leaders in each of those countries in which they reflect to us Radio Free Europe's effectiveness.
Now, on top of that, we know how effective Radio Free Europe was in its broadcast into Afghanistan startingI think it was about 1985? 1985. They were effective in turning the people in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union.
I believe that that same team can be just as effective in turning the people in Afghanistan now against the Taliban. Why? Because the Taliban is not indigenous to Afghanistan. It was imposed upon Afghanistan. It came over the border from Pakistan, from the madrasas, from educational schools there. Pakistani intelligence brought that in and imposed that on the people.
Page 104 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
We have at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, eight Afghans who were involved during those years, and Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty broadcasts into Afghanistan, and they are anxious to replicate what they were able to do in the past in terms of offsetting the propaganda that a totalitarian power broadcast into their country. We have stringers on the ground, they have stringers on the ground in all the Afghan refugee camps, in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, in Iran. Why? Because they, frankly, are already broadcasting. They already have the mission of broadcasting.
So we have a bill before this Committee, myself and Congressman Berman and others, and what we are asking for basically is 12 hours a day of putting this team in play again, not to compete with VOA, not to override VOA, but I think the skill sets that these individuals have, the experience, the expertise that they have, the stringers that they have all, would add an element of effectiveness in terms of rebuttal to what people have been hearing over the years from Radio Shariat. I would just like your thoughts on that subject if I could. Thank you.
Mr. NATHANSON. Sure. I think your comments, which are very well taken about VOA and the role that VOA has in Afghanistan and other places in the world, are very important because it is very important to this Board that we don't diminish that or take away funding from that
Mr. ROYCE. I concur.
Mr. NATHANSON [continuing]. As you indicated is the case.
Page 105 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC That being said, we also, as the highest priority, want to get funding which is in the current appropriations for the Middle East broadcasting; and we don't want those funds diminished. As a matter of fact, we think they should be increased.
Mr. ROYCE. I concur. Let me say whatever we can do right now for AMFM broadcasting stations throughout the Middle East we should be doing it. If we haven't learned by now
I also want to indicate how strongly I feeland I know that effort has been spearheaded by Congressman Berman. I am in complete support, and I want to indicate to you my desire to help move the rest of the Congress behind exactly that objective.
Mr. NATHANSON. With those two statements being said that I am very happy you agree on, this Board is very open to any, any efforts that Congress or the Administration wants us to do in international broadcasting, including a specialized service to Afghanistan. We think VOA is doing an excellent job. We want that to continue. But if we could have more broadcasting to Afghanistan we think that would be very positive as long as we have the proper funding and it doesn't take away from the other programs, which is my fear that somehow that might happen.
Mr. ROYCE. I concur
Mr. NATHANSON. If that does not happen, we are very open to that, and we encourage and this board is behind any type of more programming to Afghanistan or other areas involving any of our services, including the excellent job that Radio Free Europe does, Radio Free Asia does, and we would be happy to work with you in making that a reality.
Page 106 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. ROYCE. I appreciate that, and I have worked before this on legislation to expand the funding for Radio Free Asia to broadcasts in all the major dialects into China and to build the transmitter at Tinian island. We have been able to get that legislation through, and I am making a commitment to work with you now in order to achieve these objectives.
I am going to turn to Congressman Berman.
Mr. BERMAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It is great to have these distinguished witnesses, one of them from Los Angeles and a long-time friend, and the other one not from Los Angeles and a long-time friend, and a third witness who spoke directly, in his testimony, to some questions I had asked earlier and has some very interesting suggestions for better integration of the regional bureaus and the public diplomacy and educational and cultural exchange functions that I think we should look at.
It is all set forth there in the testimony in the context of both persuasion within and to the Administration, perhaps when we next approach State Department authorization legislation. It is interesting. Hindsight is wonderful, but when I heard you talking about the origins of the Taliban and how it came about, I remember a hearing long before September 11 and you were asking those questions, and I was thinking, jeez, it seems sort of obscure, and I was wondering where your information was coming from and why were you interested in it. Now, in hindsight, you were focused on just the issue which we now as Americans are rapidly learning about very clearly. So this is one area where even a Republican can be appreciated, and you definitely were.
Page 107 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I think, as I indicated earlier, with the money that Congress has appropriated in the crisis in the context we are in, even perhaps the Office of Management and Budget can understand that the resources are there to do what we need to do, not pitting one service against the other but adequately and quickly funding a Radio Free Afghanistan that can start up pretty quickly in the context of the RFE, RL Board, and at the same time continue to fund the Voice of America service there.
Then a particular issue, as the Chairman noticed, that I am interested in and which I would like to ask you about, Mr. Nathanson, is the status of the Middle East broadcasting initiative where we have such problems now and where I think a real sense of interest and excitement, both I note from the Administration and inside Congress, has come from BBG's proposal there. What is the status of this proposal at this time?
Mr. NATHANSON. I believe that we are moving forward rapidly in that we have some very good news to report to you that has not been announced publicly, but we are permitted to announce it today, that the King of Jordan has given us permission to put FM transmitters to reach the area in Jordan with the appropriate frequencies, and this is very critical to the Middle East broadcasting proposal. We are going forward with the transmitter on Cyprus, which is also critical for Egypt and Lebanon and other areas. So we are moving forward with all rapid haste to the Middle East broadcasting.
As we all heard in the comments that all of you made, it is more important than ever particularly to reach the young people of the Middle East in Arabic, where we have very little audience today. We need to beef up our AM and FM and digital satellite transmission to the area because it is almost nonexistent. We have some shortwave, but the young people don't have shortwave radios. They are listening to radio and television, and we need to be there as rapidly as possible.
Page 108 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
So we are proceeding with that. It is of the highest priority to this Board. It is on the top of our list of what to do. We believe it will be a model for VOA in other areas of the world, but we want to make sure it is successful in the Middle East and has the proper funding. It is in the President's budget.
Mr. BERMAN. It is in the President's budget for fiscal year 2002. You are using some resources now to get these transmitter projects going. The House has appropriated a portionsome of this money for this purpose?
Mr. NATHANSON. Yes.
Mr. BERMAN. We are at the critical time in the context of a final resolution of the fiscal year 2002 budget.
Mr. NATHANSON. Right.
Mr. BERMAN. Separate from that, the House funding was only a partial funding, as I understand it, so the hope is here we might be able to use some of the supplemental funding that was just appropriated to fully implement this project as quickly as possible?
Mr. NATHANSON. Yes. Out of the $40 billion that was passed, any way we can get the funding in there would be important to speed up putting in the infrastructure to have the Middle East broadcasting in place. And we recognize, working with the Administration, that we need to do this as rapidly as possible.
Page 109 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. BERMAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I see my time has expired.
Mr. ROYCE. Thank you, Mr. Berman.
We will now go to Mrs. Davis of Virginia.
Mrs. DAVIS OF VIRGINIA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Ambassador, knowing that you spent most of your career in the Middle East, why do you think it is so hard to convey the U.S. message there?
Mr. KEITH. I think you have to go back to the basic dispute we have with Middle East peoples, which is not Christianity versus Islam, it is not the east versus west, it is their perception of our policies toward the Arabs, the Arab/Israeli dispute. That is at heart of the matter. There are many people in the Middle East who give the United States a great deal of credit for moving us to the place where we are, and I must say that if you think back to the time in 1965 when I first went to the Middle East and the name Israel couldn't even be mentioned in Arab newspapers, to the point where we are now, we have come a very long way, especially if you think that Ariel Sharon appears on Al Jazeera as well as Osama bin Laden. But the heart of the matter is that.
Mrs. DAVIS OF VIRGINIA. Thank you, Mr. Ambassador.
Mr. Nathanson, when you were responding to Mr. Royce about the VOA and the possibility of Radio Free Afghanistan and you stated that you needed more money, what would you consider to be your lowest priority on VOA?
Page 110 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. NATHANSON. One of the problems is there are no low priorities in VOA. We are broadcasting in over 50 languages on VOA as an agency, of all of our broadcasting over 67 languages, and frankly with our budget of $450 million to $475 million dollars, it is very hard to do an excellent job in all those areas. There is just not enough money to do that. So the Board has to annually review, with input from the State Department those priorities, and we just realized we cannot do the type of job that we are talking about in the Middle East all over the world. We also have to convert our technology, which has for years been based on shortwave radio, to more modern technology such as the internet satellites and AM and FM radio broadcasting. And we would like to do more in television but that all requires money. So, from a priority point of view, it is constantly changing and looked at every year by this Board through an extensive program review process.
Mrs. DAVIS OF VIRGINIA. How do you set your priorities? Do you get input from the National Security Council, State Department or how?
Mr. NATHANSON. Yes. We get input from the State Department as well as all branches of government. The Secretary of State, or in this case Charlotte Beers, the Under Secretary, sits on the Board. They give policy and planning impact, and we put our resources and allocations for services based on all that impact as well as a number of other factors in the area.
Then if there is a crisis, as you can see by the charts next to you, we have had to increase enormously our broadcasting to the Middle East and to Afghanistan until we are on that grid showing a 24-hour broadcasting chart in multiple languages to the region, and that was an adjustment that had to be done immediately. We couldn't wait for the annual review because of the current crisis we are in.
Page 111 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mrs. DAVIS OF VIRGINIA. You have to forgive me if I ask you a question that seems a little dumb to you, but I am new to the Committee as well as Congress. Are you in other places now other than what I see on this chart?
Mr. NATHANSON. Yes. This chart is showing the area of the region and the number of hours that we have increased by language, and the grid shows our 24-hour cycle of the languages that we are broadcasting into Afghanistan. In addition, we are in a number of other languages.
One of our concerns in the importance of this Middle East project is that we have had limited amount of Arabic programming. It was 7 hours. It has now been increased to 9 hours, but we want to go to a much broader Arabic service and not have one service for the whole broad area from Morocco to the Sudan. We want to segment that service by individual broadcasting directed toward countries there and to try to customize that on a 24-hour grid, which we do not have right now.
Mrs. DAVIS OF VIRGINIA. Thank you, sir.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. ROYCE. Thank you.
I want to thank our panelists, and I would agree there are no low priorities when it comes to the issue of broadcasting the truth, especially when we consider that what you are broadcasting against many times is what I would call hate radio. It is very important for the United States to get this message out around the world, and I think we understand that.
Page 112 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Pending before the OMB is a request for part of the second crunch of funding through the emergency supplemental, and I would just ask what the status is of that request at OMB. You have probably had consultation there, and I think it would be helpful for us to know where things stand.
Mr. NATHANSON. It is pending, but I don't have any more information than that. We can ask OMB and get you more information. They have just told us that it is pending, but we haven't heard anything other than that.
Mr. ROYCE. We look forward to working with you on the issues that have been discussed here. I certainly appreciate your coming all the way here to Washington, DC today to testify before this Committee. In closing, let me mention that 15 of our Members are co-authors here on this Committee of the Radio Free Afghanistan bill, so I would also like to work with you on that.
Any other closing remarks? Congressman Berman.
Mr. BERMAN. No, Mr. Chairman.
Just when you talk about the priorities, here we have had a hearing on international broadcasting. To show you how quickly they shift, I can't imagine a hearing on this subject without discussion about Radio Free Asia and broadcasting to China and their jamming efforts. And because of what has happened, literally, all of a sudden, not I think in any permanent fashion but at least momentarily, they have dropped off the agenda.
Page 113 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. ROYCE. Thank you, Congressman Berman.
I think we all concur that we have learned the hard way from where the United States has been absent in the past in terms of being able to communicate our message, and I think we have a formula here that is going to work for the purpose of getting the truth out, and I thank you all for your involvement in that.
This meeting stands adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 1:20 p.m., the Committee was adjourned.]
A P P E N D I X
Material Submitted for the Hearing Record
PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE JOSEPH R. PITTS, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for convening this important hearing to examine the role of diplomacy in the campaign against terrorism.
The new war on terrorism has put the United States under the spotlight of the entire world. Many individuals and world leaders are critical of our nation and are closely watching to see how we respond to the attacks. They are watching our course of action and determining our priorities. Do we care about innocent civilians caught in the middle of the campaign? Do we only care about our own? How do we conduct ourselves as neighbor, friend, and leader in freedom and democracy?
Page 114 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Our global diplomacy is vital under these conditions. How the United States conducts itself and the information we share with the world will impact our ability to forge a global and steadfast alliance.
We have seen some of the hate and frustration that has been directed at the United States. I cannot help but think that these individuals do not know us and do not understand us, That is why they view us as elite and self-regarding. Those are not the Americans I know. We are nation of heart, of passion and compassion. We are a nation that cares about our fellow man.
We recognize that many nations have a history of social and ethnic tensions and that many suffer from lack of economic opportunity. For these reasons, it is essential that the world understand the United States, the people that live here, and the nature of our foreign policy. It is imperative that the world understand that we are a caring nation.
Because I believe in the importance of telling the American story, I believe that we must recognize the importance of internationally broadcasting American goals and values. We are up against governments and organizations that are voicing another message. The American voice must be heard in defense of the claims against us. Continued funding for international broadcasting is essential in making sure America is heard. The broadcasting programs are a vital part of our foreign policy. They enable us to spread democratic values of freedom as well as present accurate information regarding U.S. foreign policies.
These programs play a key role in our interaction with other nations, particularly developing nations. The funding needs to be kept intact for these programs, including academic and business exchanges. People in other nations listen to these radio programs and are affected by themare encouraged by the democracy and freedom that's promoted on the programs. They are impacted by the hope of liberty that many Americans take for granted. While we should critically examine the broadcasting system, we should be careful not to add unnecessary regulations that could hinder these programs.
Page 115 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
More importantly, we have to recognize that, while diplomacy by means of the media is important, nothing can replace the effectiveness of true relationship building. People to people diplomacy is one of the most valuable means of building relationships and trust. In many of these cultures, personal relationships are of the utmost importance.
A friend of mine from a Muslim nation told me the principles of his political partythat true relationships develop when individuals get to know each other. As they get to know one another, they learn to trust each other. And as that trust develops, they are able to begin to cooperate and work together. Only with that trust through relationship does true cooperation follow.
So, as we examine United States diplomacy by means of media and public education, lets remember that in this time of crisis we are really seeking to develop more friendship and cooperative efforts. That is the true intention of our diplomatic efforts. It is important, therefore, to remember that true friendship takes effort and commitment and it begins person to person.
Thank you Mr. Chairman. I yield back.