On Transparency and Foreign Funding of U.S. Think Tanks
10/13/2020 10:38 AM EDT
Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State
The Department of State maintains close ties with the academic community, think tanks, and various external sources of expertise in foreign affairs to advance the interests of the United States. We welcome diverse views when doing so. We are mindful, however, that some foreign governments, such as those of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Russian Federation, seek to exert influence over U.S. foreign policy through lobbyists, external experts, and think tanks.
The unique role of think tanks in the conduct of foreign affairs makes transparency regarding foreign funding more important than ever. To protect the integrity of civil society institutions, the Department requests henceforth that think tanks and other foreign policy organizations that wish to engage with the Department disclose prominently on their websites funding they receive from foreign governments, including state-owned or state-operated subsidiary entities.
Disclosure is not a requirement for engaging with such entities. Department staff will, however, be mindful of whether disclosure has been made and of specific funding sources that are disclosed when determining whether and how to engage. This policy is distinct from disclosure requirements under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), 22 U.S.C. 611 et seq.
We hope one day soon that U.S. efforts to promote free and open dialogue about economic and personal liberty, equal citizenship, the rule of law, and authentic civil society, will be possible in places such as China and Russia.