This article examines the linkages between diplomacy and public diplomacy activities by tracing the promotion of American Studies in the Netherlands against the backdrop of US-Dutch diplomatic relations. The development of American Studies within the university systems of other nations has been a central part of US public diplomacy strategy since the Second World War. The belief has always been that this will contribute towards foreign publics being well-informed about the United States, its people and policies. By providing opportunities for research and teaching in the United States, and ultimately by establishing permanent positions, an academic community could be nurtured whose members would function as interpreters of all things American within their national environment. In this way a cross-border cultural affinity can be cultivated to provide a positive context for the practice of diplomatic relations. The case of the Netherlands demonstrates the interlinkage of short-term and long-term interests in pursuing this approach.