Committee on International Relations
U.S. House of Representatives
Henry J. Hyde, Chairman

CONTACT: Sam Stratman, (202) 226-7875, October 1, 2003

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Hyde Comments on Release of Report
Critical of U.S. Public Diplomacy Efforts


“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.”

(WASHINGTON) - U.S. Rep. Henry J. Hyde (R-IL), chairman of the House International Relations Committee, commented on today’s release of a Congressionally mandated report: Changing Minds, Winning Peace, A New Strategic Direction of U.S. Public Diplomacy in the Arab and Muslim World. The report was prepared at the request of U.S. Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-VA) by an advisory group headed by former Ambassador Edward P. Djerejian:

It is by now obvious to most observers that the role of public diplomacy in our foreign policy has been too long neglected. The problem is more than a simple lack of attention. Even were it standard practice to accord public diplomacy a more prominent place in our foreign policy deliberations, few would assert that our existing programs have been effective in achieving even the modest goals set for them.

Much of the popular press overseas daily depicts the United States as a force for evil, accusing this country of an endless number of malevolent plots against the world. Images of this mindless hatred have become a familiar fixture on our television screens.

The poisonous image of the United States 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.

Today’s report, like so many previous ones detailing America’s deficient public diplomacy apparatus, provides a useful guide to remedy the problem. I am heartened that many of the key legislative recommendations in the report are already contained in the Freedom Promotion Act which passed the House of Representatives in July as part of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act.

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