"Public diplomacy has been officially acknowledged as a tool in the foreign policy arsenal since World War I. Later, during World War II, it became part of the U.S. government structure when in 1942 the President issued an executive order to create the Office of War Information (OWI). OWI aired the first Voice of America program on February 24, 1942, in Europe. These activities were carried out without any authority or formal recognition by Congress. More recently, during the post-Cold War era of the 1990s, public diplomacy was viewed as a low priority, and was often seen by lawmakers as a source of funds to tap for other programs. This culminated in 1999 when Congress abolished the agency primarily concerned with public diplomacy - the U.S. Information Agency (USIA) - and merged its public diplomacy functions into the Department of State. Following the elimination of the USIA and after the September 11, 2001 attacks, U.S. government officials, foreign policy experts, and academicians began to assess the direction of, and the increased need for, public diplomacy. This report looks at 29 articles and studies on public diplomacy that have been identified by the Department of State as being credible reports with valuable suggestions. Various recommendations from these studies are similar. This report organizes the recommendations and provides a brief discussion of them. CRS takes no position on the recommendations."
CRS Report for Congress, RL33062
United States Diplomatic Mission to Italy: http://italy.usembassy.gov/english/