U.S. Government Alternatives
The evidence of the previous chapters is that the State Department and embassies are involved in a variety of relationships with international companies and have, at times, extended considerable assistance. But the growth of international business is such that these contacts will undoubtedly increase, in both developing and advanced countries-raising the question of the readiness of the U.S. government to play an expanded role, if it decided from a policy standpoint to do so.
To play a more effective role in its relations with U.S. international business the State Department should adopt several measures, in stages or simultaneously. They include an improvement in the procedures of communication and attitudes of cooperation with business; a shift in the international economic priorities away from the postwar criteria and assumptions toward recognition of the increasingly important role played by international companies under new criteria; and reorientation of the elements of the Department dealing with international business. The argument of this chapter leads to the conclusion that all three steps are needed within a relatively short period, though one would have to expect a bureaucratic miracle to be optimistic about the time that will be required. Even if not all can be accomplished soon they should be taken in order, for those discussed last cannot be successful without the preceding changes.
Those officials with whom we discussed these problems around the world-company, host government, and U.S. embassies--repeatedly emphasized that the first priority in improving government-business relations was a significant change in attitudes on the part of all parties concerned. With a change in these attitudes would come a change in the relationships of business to governments, which would itself reinforce the change of attitudes. As a result of these changes new mechanisms of cooperation and communication would likely be developed out of initiatives on the parts of business, the U.S. government, and host governments.
Many of those we interviewed showed a genuine willingness to change past attitudes and a wide recognition that it is time to do so. Frequently, younger offi