Senator Fulbright's Letter to President Reagan on the Importance of Exchange Programs to U.S. National Security

by Sherry Mueller

This month I have the privilege of teaching a Skills Institute entitled: Cultural Diplomacy and Protocol at the AU School of International Service. I use the word “privilege” deliberately because it is a welcome opportunity to interact with 24 remarkably accomplished graduate students. They include a seven-year veteran of the Peruvian foreign service as well as several intelligence analysts, a Fulbright scholar, and a returned Peace Corps volunteer who served in Mongolia. 

As I was reviewing the assigned readings, I was again impressed by this letter that Senator Fulbright wrote to President Reagan. Senator Fulbright articulated persuasively the importance of exchange programs to U.S. national security. At a time when the Congress just reduced the paltry amount the State Department has available to spend on exchanges this fiscal year by $36.5 million, a 4.7% cut, we need to remind our members of Congress of the Senator’s words.