A new report by a private foreign policy group urges the United States to act swiftly to counter its declining image abroad. The group's findings underscore similar warnings from a White House-led bipartisan panel, which reported on Wednesday that hostility toward America among Muslims and Arabs abroad has reached shocking levels.

A Council on Foreign Relations task force warns that world opinion of the United States and its policies has tumbled in the wake of the U.S.-led war in Iraq.

The New York-based Council's "Task Force on Public Diplomacy," was made up of former top government leaders, business executives and academics. It says that anti-Americanism is more widespread and dangerous than ever before.

David Morey, who runs a global strategic consulting firm in New York City, is a member of the task force. He said the United States must be more sensitive about the impression it makes around the world. "We've got to define what America is, why it makes decisions as it does more effectively to the next generation of people around the world," he said. "Some of them can become terrorists if they're not communicated to, if they're not educated and sensitized to where the United States is coming from."

Specific task force recommendations include appointing a special presidential diplomatic representative, forming a White House Office of Global Communications, improving outreach to foreign media and increasing foreign public-opinion polling.

Mr. Morey pointed out that the U.S. government needs help from the private sector in communicating its diplomatic message overseas. "Government can't move quickly enough today to tell the story of foreign policy," he said.

The task force is proposing the creation of an independent not-for-profit Corporation for Public Diplomacy, modeled after the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which provides financial and other support to non-commercial radio and televsion broadcasters across the United States.