Public Diplomacy -- according to the US State Department, "engaging, informing, and influencing key international audiences" -- was coined in the mid-1960s by Dean Edmund Gullion of the Fletcher School of Diplomacy as a term meant to be more acceptable than propaganda.
Since the abolishment of the United States Information Agency, the State Department has struggled to balance the need of the embassies with what Washington perceived was needed. This challenge has been particularly acute on the Internet where the resulting mix of information and voices can undermine the very purpose and effectiveness of engagement.
On March 30, 1949, in its first semi-annual report by the US Advisory Commission on Information, the predecessor to today's Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy, recommended an "immediate and broad expansion of the world-wide information program being conducted by the State Department, including the activities of the Voice of America."
American public diplomacy has been the subject of many reports and much discussion over the past few years. But one rarely examined element is the true impact of the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948, which for all practical purposes labels U.S. public diplomacy and government broadcasting as propaganda.
Since 1948, Cold War legislation has been tying the hands of practitioners of U.S. public diplomacy and international broadcasting. The law in question is the Smith-Mundt Act, which was intended to allow the State Department to counter Soviet propaganda in foreign media...
On July 13, US Congressmen Mac Thornberry (TX-13) and Adam Smith (D-WA), both members of the House Intelligence and Armed Services Committees, introduced “The Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2010” (H.R. 5729), a bipartisan bill to revise an outdated restriction that interferes with the United States’ diplomatic and military efforts.
On June 9, 2010, Senator Richard Lugar's (R-IN) office, under the leadership and guidance of Senior Professional Staff member Paul Foldi, released a report prepared for the U.S. Senate's Committee on Foreign Relations on the future of U.S. International Broadcasting. The report, titled, "U.S.