“A Short History of the Department of State” has been retired and is no longer maintained. For more information, please see the full notice.
New Prestige, New Growth
These major changes in policy and the subsequent increase in U.S. international political commitments resulted in a newly invigorated Department of State. The Department was thoroughly reorganized to meet its new responsibilities and important steps were taken toward the development of professional, democratic foreign services.
In 1898, the Department employed 82 people; by 1910 the number had risen to 234. The Diplomatic Service grew modestly from 93 people in 1900 to 121 in 1910. But expansion required a considerable increase in the annual budget. The expenditures of the Department at home and overseas increased from $3.4 million in 1900 to $4.9 million in 1910. The Consular Service also experienced a significant addition to its workload. Reflecting the boom in overseas trade from $1.8 billion to $3 billion, annual fees collected almost tripled in less than 20 years.
Increased responsibility necessitated a thorough reorganization of the Department in 1909. One reformer, Assistant Secretary of State Francis M. Huntington Wilson, succeeded in increasing the number of leadership positions, so that the Department now had three Assistant Secretaries of State, a Counselor to undertake a Counselor to undertake special assignments, and a Director to administer the Consular Service.
The bureau system was expanded to organize diplomacy by distinct geographic region—Western Europe, the Near East, the Far East, and Latin America—a move that fostered improved overseas communication. Several other bureaus and divisions were created to handle other new areas of responsibility, notably a Bureau of Trade Relations and a Division of Information. Talented diplomats were brought back to Washington to staff the new geographic bureaus, adding much-needed field experience.