INTRODUCTION Networks of Empire: The Foreign Leader Program in Global Perspective The United States has a unique ability to project and manage empire. Above all other nations it possesses an ‘enormous repertoire of instruments by which to implement its power’ abroad.1 Alongside its unquestioned political, military, and economic strength, the cultural capital and ‘drawing power’ of the United States for other nations and individuals as a source of inspiration, modernisation, hope, fascination, knowledge, and opportunity was immense during the second half of the twentieth century. This book examines in detail the Foreign Leader Program, one of the principal means the USA, as a ‘soft power superpower’, has used to project and manage its global ambitions since World War II. The Foreign Leader Program (FLP) occupies a special place within this imperial endeavour. Inaugurated in 1949-50, it continues to operate today (it was renamed the International Visitor Program in 1965, then the International Visitor Leadership Program in 2004) and its operating principles have largely remained the same.2 It has always involved inviting and bringing individuals and groups from abroad to the United States, with a personal tour arranged around particular interests suggested by the participant. Itineraries were flexible and varied, with meetings with professional counterparts interspersed with tourist visits and small-town hospitality. Since the aim was to spread improved knowledge and understanding of the United States abroad, for most participants this would be their first visit to that country. Since 9/11, public diplomacy – the attempt to influence foreign publics in order to ensure a favourable audience for one’s own policies, culture, and interests – has taken on a new significance for the United States.3 Exchange programmes have been recognised as a vital element to achieve these goals, allowing individuals the freedom to see the United States for 1 Nye, J. ‘Soft Power’, Foreign Policy, 80 (1990), p.167. 2 For the sake of consistency, and to fit with the terminology used at the time, ‘Leader Program’ and ‘FLP’ will be used throughout this book to designate the activities in question. 3 See for instance Appendix A of Public Diplomacy: A Review of Past Recommendations, Congressional Research Service, 2 September 2005, which lists 18 separate studies on US public diplomacy by government and private agencies that were released between January 2002 and September 2005. Available at <www.opencrs.com/rpts/RL33062_20050902.pdf> (8 May 2007). themselves, ‘up close and personal’.4 The renewed application of tried and tested standards is clear to see. In December 2005 Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice announced the inauguration of the Edward R. Murrow Journalist Program, which provides annual fellowships for 100 media professionals from around the world to attend leading US journalism schools.5 The Murrow Program is a continuation of similar journalist exchange projects that were first run by the Committee of Public Information during World War I, and later expanded by the State Department and other government agencies during World War II and the Cold War. The international context may be different but the principles and the goals that motivate this kind of public diplomacy are very much the same.6 From early on State Department officials considered the Leader Program to be “the most effective cultural and educational activity in support of American foreign policy objectives”.7 Practitioners-turned-historians have pointed it out to be “the most prestigious USIA exchange operation” and “a key American weapon in the Cold War with communism”.8 Foreign Service Officers (FSOs), familiar with its uses, have regularly referred to it in their oral histories as one of the most useful methods an embassy had to establish constructive relations and gain influence in its local environment.9 On a tour of US embassies in Europe in 1950, the first year of the FLP’s operation, State Department official William Johnstone Jr. found that “every post […] urged consideration of an expanded leaders and specialists program.”10 US Ambassadors continue to rank this exchange programme as the most useful among the range of public diplomacy tools available to them.11 By the end of 1997 it was calculated that 100,000 people had participated in the programme since 1950, 177 of whom thereafter became head of state or government.12 Between October 2003 and September 2004 4500 people, either as individuals, members of groups, or as voluntary visitors, went to the United 4 See for instance Hughes, J. ‘Winning the War of Words in the Campaign against Terrorism: Exchange Programs help us win Hearts and Minds in the War on Terror’, Christian Science Monitor, 17 May 2006. 5 See <http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2005/57989.htm> (19 May 2006). 6 On the applicability of Cold War models to a post-9/11 context see Kelley, J. ‘US Public Diplomacy: A Cold War Success Story?’, The Hague Journal of Diplomacy, 2 (2007). 7 Ketzel, C. ‘Exchange of Persons and American Foreign Policy: The Foreign Leader Program of the Department of State,’ PhD dissertation, University of California, 1955. 8 Dizard, W. Inventing Public Diplomacy: The Story of the US Information Agency, Boulder, Lynne Riener, 2004, p. 189; Mahin, D. History of the US Department of State’s International Visitor Program, draft manuscript for the History Project, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, US Department of State, 1973, p.2. 9 See for instance the oral histories collected by the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training, Washington DC, available online via the Library of Congress at <http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/collections/diplomacy/> (8 May 2007). 10 ‘Report on European Survey Trip,’ William C. Johnstone Jr., 1950, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Historical Collection, MC 468, Group XVII Box 337 Folder 9, Special Collections, University of Arkansas Libraries, Fayetteville (hereafter ‘CU’). 11 Field Survey of Public Diplomacy Programs, Office of the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, US Department of State, Washington DC, 2000. 12 See the USIA website from 1999 at <http://dosfan.lib.uic.edu/usia/E-USIA/education/ivp/ivhistry.htm> (12 March 2007). States on this programme alone.13 All those who participated in or received assistance via this programme were in some way or another sanctioned and selected by US embassies on the basis of their local influence and leadership qualities. Commenting on the numbers of former grantees who subsequently became heads of state in their home countries, Secretary of State Colin Powell stated in November 2004 that “I know tomorrow's leaders are among the thousands of men and women who will participate this year in U.S government and privately sponsored educational exchange programs”.14 To manage empire, particularly the American version of informal empire, it is crucial to maintain alliances and nurture friends. The focus of this book is an examination of the ways in which the Leader Program, often in combination with other tools of public diplomacy, was used to cultivate and facilitate relations with three key US allies within the Atlantic alliance: The Netherlands, Britain, and France. Each of these three nations played a special role in US foreign relations during the 1950s and 1960s. Britain was the closest ally, its global reach making it a vital partner, while France, swaying between ambivalence and hostility, was a crucial player in US transatlantic strategy. While much has been written on relations between the United States and these two nations, the Netherlands deserves more attention in Cold War historiography for its role as a transatlantic bridge-builder and contributor to the alliance.15 After WW II the Dutch abandoned their long-standing neutrality in foreign affairs to join the Western alliance. Despite some misgivings among the political elite, there was a broad understanding that the enforced decolonisation of the East Indies (in which the United States played a crucial role) pointed to a re-anchoring of Dutch foreign relations around a transatlantic axis. From the perspective of the United States, the Netherlands was an ideal ally. The Dutch were close politically to the UK and were opposed to European affairs being dominated by either a renewed France or a resurgent Germany. Despite a brief wave of support for the Communist party in the immediate post-war years, the Dutch body politic, dominated as it was by the democratic socialists and christian parties, was resoundingly anti- communist in outlook. The Netherlands was also positive towards a US-led free trade regime, and was wholly committed to building a managed post-war economic and political order based around international organisations such as the IMF, the World Bank, and the OECD. Used to negotiating among larger powers, the Dutch were skilled arbitrators who were active 13 See the Department of State information page at <http://exchanges.state.gov/education/ivp/history.htm> (12 March 2007). 14 Commenting on International Education Week, 15 October 2004, available at <http://exchanges.state.gov/iew/statements/powell.htm> (13 April 2006). 15 Good studies of the American impact on post-WW II Netherlands are scarce. A fine recent exception is Snyder, D. ‘US Public Diplomacy in the New Netherlands, 1945-58: Policy, Ideology, and the Instrumentality of American Power,’ PhD dissertation, Southern Illinois University, 2006. in smoothing the paths of diplomacy through both governmental and non-governmental contacts (such as the Bilderberg conferences). The Netherlands’ contribution to regional and global order, underrated in much historiography, was always acknowledged by the US embassy in The Hague, if not always by Washington. As a 1953 embassy report remarked, the Dutch were “perhaps closer ideologically to the United States than any people in Europe”.16 The focus here, therefore, is on the contribution of the FLP towards generating and maintaining an atmosphere of favourable bilateral relations with three vital allies in the Atlantic alliance. Psychological warfare operations during WW II and the early Cold War placed great hopes in the ability to change the attitude and political opinion of individuals, and this way of thinking inevitably fed into exchange programme operations. However, it became clear that these programmes instead worked best by strengthening and magnifying already-existing favourable opinions.17 Exchange programmes, in contributing to the constant transatlantic traffic in people and ideas, were thus a prime tool for facilitating alliance management during the Cold War. During 1950-70 there were 167 grantees from the Netherlands (including one future Minister President), 512 from the UK (including two subsequent Prime Ministers), and 648 from France (including one subsequent President).18 What follows looks at who these participants were and how their invitations to participate interacted with particular US foreign policy interests in these countries over time. 16 Country Plan for USIS The Hague, 30 January 1953, 511.56/1-3053, RG 59, National Archives, College Park (hereafter ‘NA’). 17 The unique case in that period, where the optimum conditions existed for using exchange programmes to facilitate societal change, was in occupied Germany. The scale and the depth of the German programmes, run first by the military authorities and then from 1950 by the State Department, place them in a special category and several large-scale studies on them already exist. The aim here is instead to track how the lessons learned in Germany were applied elsewhere. See Johnston, H.W. ‘United States Public Affairs Activities in Germany, 1945-1955,’ Ph.D. dissertation, Columbia University, 1956; Kellermann, H. Cultural Relations as an Instrument of US Foreign Policy: The Educational Exchange Program between the United States and Germany 1945-1954, Washington DC, Department of State, 1978; Duggan, S. ‘The Politics of US-German Educational Exchange: Perspectives of German Decision-Makers’, Ph.D. dissertation, Stanford University, 1988; Schmidt, O. “Civil Empire by Cooptation: German-American Exchange Programs as Cultural Diplomacy, 1945-61”, Ph.D. dissertation, Harvard University, 1999. 18 A Statistical Profile of the US Exchange Program, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Annual Report, 1971. These figures compare with for instance Germany (5575), Italy (583), Belgium (197), and Denmark (170) during the same period.