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Incremental Reorganization

In 1924, the Secretary of State—who had final responsibility for policy and administration—had relatively few senior officials to help him. The Under Secretary provided support on policies of special importance. Three Assistant Secretaries handled economic and financial questions, international law, and general administration. The Chief Clerk supervised both the Department's clerks and its physical property, while the Director of the Consular Service also served as budget officer. The Solicitor handled legal business, and the Economic Adviser made recommendations concerning international trade and finance. Various other bureaucratic entities, such as the Division of Passport Control and the Bureau of Accounts, provided additional support. Five geographic bureaus maintained communications between Washington and missions abroad.

When problems grew acute or new responsibilities arose, limited modifications were made to the 1909 bureaucratic structure. For example, a Division of Publications was established in 1921 to centralize work on informational projects such as the documentary series Foreign Relations of the United States. In 1929, a Division of International Conferences and Protocol was formed to cope with the very substantial increase in multilateral negotiations. Two new divisions were created in 1938—a Division of International Communications and a Division of Cultural Relations.

But in real terms, growth in the Department of State stagnated. Between 1920 and 1930, the domestic work force increased by only six to 714, the Foreign Service grew from 514 to 633, and annual expenditures rose from $13.6 million to $14 million.