Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Statement by the President Upon Signing Bill Establishing the Foreign Service Information Officer Corps.

August 21, 1968

I HAVE signed S. 633, which will strengthen the foreign service personnel system of the U.S.. Information Agency.

Our overseas information and cultural programs--which communicate directly to other peoples the spirit, the aims, and the reality of our Nation--are today an integral part of our diplomacy. Communication with other peoples is 20th century diplomacy, just as much as the exchange of notes between foreign offices or the negotiation of an international treaty. Thus USIA officers who provide this communications link with the world are performing a vital function in the foreign relations of the United States.

This law brings overdue recognition to the foreign service personnel of the U.S.. Information Agency, and to their mission. In 1955 President Eisenhower made the first proposals to give the Agency a career foreign service. President Kennedy's administration and then my own continued to work toward that goal. Approval of the act today culminates the determined efforts of three administrations, numerous Members of Congress, advisory committees, and private citizens who have understood that the United States needs a professional career service for this new arm of its diplomacy.

For the first time, USIA will have a career foreign service system with a permanent statutory base. This legislation provides for the establishment of a Foreign Service Information Officer Corps under the Director of USIA. Career officers of USIA will meet the same high standards, and be subject to the same requirements of competitive merit, which mark the career Foreign Service Officer Corps of the Department of State. The two career officer systems will be administered under compatible policies and regulations.

I sign this act with genuine satisfaction, believing that it gives the U.S.. Information Agency merited recognition for its work of the past, and better tools with which to meet the challenges of the future.

Note: As enacted, the bill (S. 633) is Public Law 90-494 (82 Stat. 810), approved on August 20, 1968.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Statement by the President Upon Signing Bill Establishing the Foreign Service Information Officer Corps. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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