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FG 230 (United States Information Agency)

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Scope and Content Note

Subject file category FG 230 contains material relating to the United States Information Agency, the Federal agency established in 1953 to promote understanding of the United States in other countries. Prior to 1953, overseas information responsibilities were overseen by both the Department of State and the Mutual Security Agency, under the authority of the United States Information and Education Exchange Act of 1948. Most of the Government's international information programs administered under this Act were transferred to USIA during the 1953 consolidation. Passage of the Mutual Educational and Exchange Act in 1961 provided a further mandate for USIA to promote educational and cultural exchanges, and U.S. participation in international trade fairs and expositions.

USIA uses many means to disseminate abroad information about the people, culture, Government, and policies of the United States: radio broadcasting, television, motion pictures, exhibits, information centers and libraries, publications, lectures, seminars, and other forms of personal contact. The USIA's U.S. Information Service works with U.S. missions overseas in areas relating to communication and public opinion. Except in cases specifically exempted by Congress, USIA is prohibited from using within the United States material produced for overseas distribution.

Principal correspondents in FG 230 include the President and those White House staff members whose areas of responsibility included foreign relations and international trade, or information, communications, and press relations: Henry A. Kissinger, Alexander M. Haig, Jr., Ronald L. Ziegler, Gerald L. Warren, W. Bruce Whelihan, Herbert G. Klein, Peter M. Flanigan, and James Keogh. Also included are White House staff who dealt with scheduling, personnel, and other administrative matters, notably Dwight CHapin, H. R. Haldeman, and Hugh W. Sloan. Within USIA, principals include Director Frank Shakespeare, his successor, James Keogh, and Deputy Director Henry Loomis.

The terms Executive and General precede each of the FG 230 file designations. These terms were used by the White House Central Files unit to indicate separation of documents according to source and handling. Executive items include communications among national, foreign, and state and local governments and their agencies, members of Congress, and selected prominent correspondents. General designates communications between Government officials and private citizens, institutions, and private interest groups, as well as some Congressional correspondence handled over staff rather than Presidential signature. Where "/A" follows a numeric file designation, it indicates files relating to appointments, nominations, and resignations within the designated agency or office.

FG 230 files primarily contain letters and memoranda, either carbons, electrostatic copies, or originals in draft and final form. When a document included several subjects, or could be placed in several similar or overlapping file categories, the White House Central Files unit placed cross reference notations on the item and filed copies accordingly. Where FG 230 was not the primary filing location, only the first page of multi-page items was usually filed in cross-reference. In such cases, the first file designation listed shows the location of the complete item. This filing procedure particularly affects correspondence of Frank Shakespeare, many of whose cover and forwarding memoranda are found in FG 230, but whose attachments and enclosures are filed in other subject categories.

Some of the files related or cross-referenced to FG 230 include:

White House Central Files: Subject Files

CO Countries
FG 11 Department of State
FO Foreign Affairs
IT International Organizations
ND National Security-Defense
SP Speeches
TR Trips

White House Special Files: Central Files, Subject Files: Confidential Files

CF CO
CF FG 11
CF FG 230
CF FO
CF ND
CF TR

White House Special Files

Herbert G. Klein [see Carol V. Harford file]
Ronald L. Ziegler

FG 230

Materials filed in the FG 230 category include analyses of USIA's programs, goals, and general effectiveness; appointments to the United States Advisory Commission on Information (notably that of William F. Buckley, Jr.); presentation of information on specific events, such as the Apollo moon missions, and the President's speeches on Vietnam and foreign policy; conflict between the legislative and executive branches over the right of USIA to withhold confidential information from Congress; Presidential statements for use at trade fairs, expositions, and conferences; budget and appropriation issues; and personnel matters. Director Shakespeare frequently forwarded information items of interest for the President. Many of his covering memoranda are included in FG 230 but, as noted, some of the enclosures are filed in other subject categories.

FG 230/A

This subcategory covers material relating to appointments, nominations, and resignations.

FG 230-1

Included here are documents relating specifically to the Voice of America, the radio broadcasting service of the USIA. Among the issues of note are broadcast schedule allocations for existing VOA programs, such as the Byelorussian, Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian services, and inquiries regarding the addition of Yiddish language broadcasts. In addition to debates over air time allocations, there is correspondence generally addressing the effectiveness of VOA. Also included are inquiries regarding personnel matters, and press accreditation.

FG 230-1/A

This single item subcategory deals with the swearing in of Kenneth Giddens as head of the VOA.

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