Learn about the beta

1980–1989

February 21, 1980

Foreign Affairs Manual Circular 7 announced a reorganization of the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Operations, effective February 24. The Supply and Transportation Division became the office of Supply, Transportation, and Procurement, which was divided into the Supply, Transportation, and Procurement Divisions. The Office of the Director of Operations became the Office of Facilities Management and Administrative Services, which was divided into the General Services, Audio-Visual Services, and Language Services Divisions; the Employee Services Center; and the Claims Staff. The Evacuation and Relocation Staff was transferred to the Operations Center. The Foreign Affairs Document and Reference Center became the Foreign Affairs Information Management Center. The Center was composed of the Records Management and Directives Management Staffs, the Publishing Services Division (formerly the Publishing and Reproduction Division), the Information Acquisition and Processing Division (formerly Document Analysis and Processing), the Information Access and Services Division, and the Library.

March 17, 1980

The Refugee Act of 1980 (94 Stat. 109) made the Coordinator for Refugee Affairs a Presidential appointee and gave them the rank of Ambassador.

March 24, 1980

A reorganization took place in the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs. The position of Deputy Assistant Secretary for Commercial and Telecommunications Affairs was abolished. The title of the Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Trade Policy was changed to “Trade and Commercial Affairs.” The new office acquired the Office of Commercial Affairs. The title of the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Transportation Affairs was changed to “Transportation and Telecommunications.” The Combined Economic Reporting Program Staff was transferred to the Foreign Affairs Information Management Center. A new Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Energy Policy was established, comprising Offices of Energy Consumer-Country and Producer Country Affairs, and replacing the Office of Fuels and Energy. Foreign Affairs Manual Circular 15 announced the reorganization on April 2.

April 4, 1980

An administrative action made the Office of Refugee Programs into the Bureau of Refugee Programs. The Coordinator became a Director with rank equivalent to an Assistant Secretary of State. The new Bureau was established May 26.

April 10, 1980

The Bureau of Intelligence and Research was divided into sixteen Offices and a Staff, under a Director and four Deputy Assistant Secretaries. The latter replaced four Deputy Directors. Foreign Affairs Manual Circular 26 announced the reorganization on June 24.

May 7, 1980

Foreign Affairs Manual Circular 23 announced the establishment of a U.S. Special Negotiator for Economic Matters was established in the office of the Assistant Secretary for Economic and Business Affairs.

July 7, 1980

An Office of Science and Technology Support was established under the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Science and Technology in the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs. The Special Assistant for Scientific Attaché Support was abolished and its functions transferred to the new office. Foreign Affairs Manual Circular 27 announced the change on July 14,

August 8, 1980

Foreign Affairs Manual Circular 33 transferred the Office of Press Relations and the Spokesman of the Department from the Bureau of Public Affairs to the Office of the Secretary, retroactively to July 1. The Spokesman received rank equivalent to an Assistant Secretary until the positions of Spokesman and Assistant Secretary were combined once more in January 1982.

September 7, 1980

The Director of the Office of Medical Services received rank equivalent to an Assistant Secretary of State.

October 17, 1980

The Foreign Service Act of 1980 divided the Foreign Service into FSO generalists and FS specialists, the latter of which replaced the Foreign Service Reserve (FSR) and Foreign Service Staff (FSS) categories, and established a common salary scale for both groups. It also established a Senior Foreign Service with the ranks of Minister, Minister-Counselor, and Counselor. The President could confer the personal rank of Career Ambassador on members of the Senior Foreign Service with particularly long and distinguished records. Foreign Service personnel who were not available for worldwide assignments would have three years to convert to Civil Service status or resign. The retirement age for FSOs was raised from 60 to 65.

The Act also (94 Stat. 2080) made the Director General of the Foreign Service a Presidential appointee. The Inspector General of the Foreign Service also became a Presidential appointee with the new title of “Inspector General of the Department of State and the Foreign Service.” A five-year inspection cycle was established for posts, bureaus, and operating units. Most provisions of the Act took effect on February 15, 1981.

October 31, 1980

Foreign Affairs Manual Circular 47 announced a reorganization in the Bureau of Personnel, effective November 2. The Office of Recruitment, Examination, and Employment was divided into the Recruitment, Employment, and Examination Divisions, as well as a new Administrative Support Staff.

November 17, 1980

A Department Notice enumerated the responsibilities of the Bureau of Refugee Programs and the Coordinator for Refugee Programs. The Bureau funded and monitored overseas relief and assistance programs and managed refugee admissions to the United States. The Coordinator was in charge of “inter-agency policy questions.”

February 18, 1981

In response to a series of attacks on U.S. embassies in the Middle East, the Department ordered all overseas posts to: review and update their contingency plans to protect personnel and facilities; to reduce the amount of non-essential classified materials held to a minimum; and to discuss protection of the post with the host government.

February 23, 1981

Executive Order 12293 authorized the Secretary of State to consult with the Secretaries of Agriculture and Commerce and with the Directors of the International Communications Agency, the U.S. International Development Cooperation Agency, the Office of Personnel Management, and the Office of Management and Budget to ensure compatibility between the Foreign Service personnel system and those of other federal agencies. It also established a salary scale for the Senior Foreign Service comparable to that of the Senior Executive Service, as well as a Board of Examiners for the Foreign Service.

May 19, 1981

Joan M. Clark, Director General of the Foreign Service, became the first member of the Senior Foreign Service when the Senate confirmed her new rank of Minister-Counselor.

June 18, 1981

The Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs had three Offices abolished: Disarmament and Arms Control, International Security Policy, and International Security Operations. Three new Offices were established: Strategic Nuclear Policy, Theater Military Policy, and Regional Security Affairs. The Office of Systems Analysis became the Office of Policy Analysis.

August 9, 1981

The Office of Press Relations was transferred back from the Office of the Secretary to the Bureau of Public Affairs.

August 24, 1981

Foreign Affairs Manual Circular 81-36 (FAMCs were re-numbered again in 1981) abolished the Office of Law of the Sea Negotiations and the position of Ambassador at Large for the Law of the Sea and transferred their functions to a new Office of Ocean Law and Policy in the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs.

October 22, 1981

A Deputy Director for Nuclear and Technology Affairs and a Technology Transfer Assessment Staff were established in the Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs.

November 20, 1981

Telegram 308936, “Post Management Responsibility for Security” made Chiefs of Mission responsible for security at their posts. However, Regional Security Officers received more authority to implement security improvements.

December 29, 1981

The Department of State established the position of Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy, who reported to the Under Secretary of State for Security Assistance, Science, and Technology.

Responsibilities for issues relating to the Law of the Sea Conference and international population policy were transferred from the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs to the office of the Under Secretary for Security Assistance, Science, and Technology.

January 15, 1982

The Office for Combatting Terrorism was placed under the Under Secretary for Management, as was the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization.

January 25, 1982

The Bureau for Refugee Programs was reorganized into functional rather than geographical offices.

February 18, 1982

An Office of the Director for the Multinational Force and Observers was established in the Bureau of Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs. The new Office was responsible for support activities for an organization that oversaw implementation of the 1979 Egypt-Israel peace treaty. Foreign Affairs Manual Circular 82-13 announced its establishment on March 15, 1982.

April 14, 1982

Secretary of State Alexander M. Haig, Jr. responded to Executive Order 12343 of January 27 that called on cabinet officers to designate their line of succession. After the Deputy Secretary, the Department of State’s line of succession included the Under Secretaries for Political Affairs, Economic Affairs, Security Assistance, and Management, the Counselor, and the Assistant Secretaries for the regional bureaus in order of seniority.

May 3, 1982

Secretary of State Haig announced a Civil Service Employee Development Program for Department personnel.

May 21, 1982

Executive Order 12363 expanded the Board of the Foreign Service to include four members of the Department of State, two members each from the International Communication Agency, the International Development Cooperation Agency, the Agriculture Department, and the Commerce Department; and one member each from the Labor Department, the Office of Personnel Management, the Office of Management and Budget, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The Executive Order also granted Foreign Service status to members of the Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and to some members of the Commerce Department’s U.S. Travel and Tourism Administration and International Trade Administration.

August 24, 1982

The Department of State Authorization Act for Fiscal Years 1982 and 1983 (96 Stat. 284) authorized an Office of Foreign Missions to facilitate the secure and efficient operation of U.S. diplomatic missions abroad and foreign diplomatic missions in the United States. Foreign Affairs Manual Circular 82-27, dated October 15, established the Office of Foreign Mission as of October 1. It was supervised by the Under Secretary for Management. James E. Nolan, Jr. was appointed Director on February 22, 1983.

Under P.L. 97-241 (96 Stat. 291), the International Communication Agency reverted to its former title of U.S. Information Agency. USIA was incorporated into the Department of State in 1999.

The Office of Security Assistance Special Projects in the Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs was abolished and its functions transferred to the Office of Security Assistance and Sales.

November 4, 1982

The Department of State and AFSA announced an agreement to simplify the Foreign Service skill code system.

November 26, 1982

A Department Notice announced the establishment of a Center for the Study of Foreign Affairs in the Foreign Service Institute. Its mission was to promote foreign policy research projects.

December 8, 1982

The Policy Planning Staff was reorganized into a four to six-member Policy Planning Council and an eighteen-member Policy Planning Staff. The Staff Director became a Deputy Assistant Secretary.

January 1, 1983

The Department of State began issuing passports that were valid for ten years rather than the previous five years. The new passports were machine-readable and would be more difficult to counterfeit. Persons under 18 would still receive five-year passports. The new fees would be $35 for a ten-year passport and $20 for a five-year passport. The first machine-readable passport was issued on August 1, 1985.

March 25, 1983

Foreign Affairs Manual Circular 83-7 announced that the Audio-Visual Services Division was abolished and its functions transferred to a newly-established Graphic Services Branch in the Publishing Services Division. The former Photographic and Technical Branches of the Audio-Visual Services Division became party of a new Technical Services Branch in the General Services Division. The changes took place April 3.

April 11, 1983

The Assistant Secretary of State for Congressional Relations was designated as the Assistant Secretary for Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs. The Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, which was in charge of liaison with state and local governments, was transferred from the Bureau of Public Affairs.

April 15, 1983

The Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy received rank equivalent to an Assistant Secretary and the personal rank of Ambassador. Diana Lady Dougan was the first to hold the title.

August 18, 1983

Foreign Affairs Manual Circular 83-12 changed the designation of the Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs to “European and Canadian Affairs,” effective September 15. A fifth Deputy Assistant Secretary was placed in charge of Canadian affairs.

November 22, 1983

The Department of State Authorization Act for Fiscal Years 1984 and 1985 (97 Stat. 1025) made the Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy a Presidential appointee. The Director of the Office of Foreign Missions also became a Presidential appointee with the rank of Ambassador (97 Stat. 1043).

December 15, 1983

Following a December 12 truck bomb attack on the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait, the Department of State began placing barriers around the Main Department of State building. The next day, embassies were ordered to follow suit.

December 22, 1983

A Department Notice announced new security standards for office automation systems that used classified information.

January 20, 1984

The Under Secretary for Security Assistance, Science, and Technology assumed responsibility for supervising transfers of technology and strategic goods.

May 15, 1984

The order of succession within the Department of State was modified. The Secretary and the Deputy Secretary would be succeeded by “an Under Secretary of State or the Counselor as may be specifically designated from time to time by the Secretary of State or of the Acting Secretary of State.”

July 1, 1984

The Office of Foreign Missions began issuing titles, registrations, and license plates for the cars of foreign diplomats stationed in the United States.

November 30, 1984

Foreign Affairs Manual Circular 84-15 announced that the Office of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia would become the Office of Vietnam, Laos, and Kampuchea.

January 22, 1985

Assistant Secretary of State for Administration Robert E. Lamb was designated Assistant Secretary for Administration of Security. The Bureau of Administration became the Bureau of Administration and Security. Lamb became Coordinator of the Office of Security on July 1, and became Director of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security on November 4.

April 9, 1985

Foreign Affairs Manual Circular 85-4 announced the establishment of an Office of the Director for Northern Gulf Affairs in the Bureau of Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs. It included the country desks for Iran and Iraq. Iran previously had an office of its own, while Iraq fell under the Office of Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Syrian Affairs.

June 4, 1985

The Bureau of International Communications and Information Policy was established, replacing the Office of the Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy. Diana Lady Dougan became Director of the new Bureau, and became a Presidential appointee.

July 23, 1985

The Language Services Division became the Office of Language Services.

August 16, 1985

The Foreign Relations Authorization Act of 1985 (99 Stat. 405) changed the title of the Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs to “Economic and Agricultural Affairs.”

The Act also authorized the appointment of an Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research, who replaced the Director of the Bureau and raised the number of Assistant Secretaries from 13 to 14. It also authorized acquisition of a new site for the Foreign Service Institute that was outside the District of Colombia but “within reasonable proximity to the Department of State” (99 Stat. 414).

October 9, 1985

The Inspector General of the Department of State and the Foreign Service was redesignated as the Program Inspector General.

November 4, 1985

In response to the recommendations of the Advisory Panel on Overseas Security (the Inman Panel), a Department administrative action established the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, whose Director held rank equivalent to an Assistant Secretary of State. The new Bureau incorporated the Diplomatic Courier Service and the Rewards for Justice Program.

The Director of the Office for Combatting Terrorism became the “Ambassador at Large for Counter-Terrorism.”

December 3, 1985

The Department of State acquired Arlington Hall, a former Army reservation in Arlington County. The Department of State Authorization Act for 1986-87 provided for the construction of new quarters there for the Foreign Service Institute.

April 14, 1986

The Director of the Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs became an Assistant Secretary of State.

August 27, 1986

The Omnibus Diplomatic Security and Antiterrorism Act (100 Stat. 856) authorized an Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security. The Act also established the Diplomatic Security Service. After the establishment of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, the Bureau of Administration resumed its original name.

Section 413 (100 Stat. 867) changed the title of the Inspector General of the Department of State and of the Foreign Service to “Inspector General of the Department of State.” It also established an Office of Program and Policy Review, whose Director held rank equivalent to an Assistant Secretary of State.

October 9, 1986

In the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, the Office of Food and Natural Resources became the Office of Ecology and Natural Resources.

Spring 1987

The Department of State began issuing machine-readable identification cards to its personnel.

March 1987

The Department of State opened a new communications center in Beltsville, Maryland, which was intended to house the Office of Communications, the Information Systems Office, and the Foreign Affairs Information Management Center.

June 3, 1987

A Department Notice set forth policies regarding smoking in the workplace.

June 16, 1987

The Department of State banned smoking in portions of all of its buildings. Chiefs of Mission were requested to devise smoking policies based on the Department’s policies in domestic facilities, but with adaptations to local cultural norms.

July 2, 1987

In Palmer v. Shultz, The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the Department of State had not assigned sufficient female employees to higher-level positions, and that its written examination tended to shunt too many female employees to the consular cone and not enough to the political cone. Alison Palmer and other female FSOs had originally filed their class action suit in 1976.

August 1, 1987

The Foreign Relations Authorization Act for Fiscal years 1988-89 reintegrated the Office of Program and Policy Review into the Inspector General’s office. The Office of Equal Employment Opportunity and Civil Rights was moved from the Office of the Under Secretary for Management to the Office of the Secretary. An advisory council of members of minority and women’s employee organizations was also established.

September 18, 1987

Secretary of State Shultz warned Department employees that drastic reductions would be necessary to comply with budget restrictions. These might include eliminating 21 high-level positions, some of which would be deputy assistant secretaries. Functions would be centralized in the regional bureaus. At least 15 posts would be closed, and “small embassies” might be established that did not handle classified material and therefore needed less-sophisticated communications equipment. Ambassador Brandon H. Grove would lead a steering group that would implement the changes.

October 1, 1987

The Bureau of Legislative Affairs and Intergovernmental Affairs was redesignated as the Bureau of Legislative Affairs. The Intergovernmental Affairs Unit was returned to the Bureau of Public Affairs on November 27.

A Department Notice announced the establishment of a special occupational category of science and technology officers in the Foreign Service. The category would be a generalist subfunction of the economic cone.

October 9, 1987

The Bureau of Inter-American Affairs instituted a new electronic mail system known as the Foreign Affairs Information System.

May 7, 1988

A budget steering committee under Deputy Secretary John C. Whitehead planned to eliminate 10% of the Department’s 101 deputy assistant secretary positions by September 30.

May 9, 1988

A Department Notice announced plans to open two child care centers, one at Main State and one at the Foreign Service Institute. On August 18, plans were announced to establish another child care center in Columbia Plaza (SA-1). Work on the Columbia Plaza center began in May 1993.

August 1, 1988

An Advisory Commission on the Foreign Service Personnel System was organized under John M. Thomas. The Foreign Relations Authorization Act for 1988-89 had called for a review of the Foreign Service Act and its implementation in order to develop a system that would provide “adequate career stability” for Foreign Service personnel.

August 5, 1988

A steering group led by Ambassador Brandon H. Grove concluded six months of study of the Department of State’s administration. Its report was entitled Administrative Functions for the 1990s.

August 15, 1988

The Assistant Secretary of State for Administration was designated Assistant Secretary of State for Administration and Information Management. The new bureau would contain parts of the Office of Communications, the Information Systems Office, the Information Technology Planning Staff, the Classification/Declassification Center, the Foreign Affairs Information Management Center, and the Domestic Telecommunications Division.

September 9, 1988

The Priorities Policy Group was reconstituted. Its first topics for discussion were the security program for fiscal year 1989, and budget and financial planning. Under Secretary for Management Ronald I. Spiers chaired the Group.

November 1, 1988

The Office of Management Operations was renamed the “Office of Management Policy.”

March 16, 1989

A Department Notice announced the termination of the Department of State Bulletin, which published its last issue in December 1989.

May 1, 1989

The Ambassador at Large for Counter-Terrorism became the “Coordinator for Counter-Terrorism.”

June 19, 1989

The Commission to Study the Foreign Service Personnel System presented its report. Recommendations included: a long-range personnel planning capability; separation of the management and direction of Foreign Service personnel policy from administration of agency personnel systems; removal of the Foreign Commercial and Agricultural Services from the Foreign Service system; setting aside a set percentage of Senior Foreign Service positions for noncareer appointees; increased and improved recruitment of women, minorities, and younger candidates; elimination of the cone system; and a measured rate of promotion.

September 1989

The Department of State announced plans for major renovations of the Main State and Columbia Plaza office buildings. Work began at Columbia Plaza in December. Offices of the U.S. Bureau of Mines and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission were moved out. The Office of Medical Services, the Employee Services Center, and the Office of Transportation were scheduled to move in during the winter of 1991-92. Other offices moving into Columbia Plaza included part of AID, the Bureau for Refugee Programs, the Visa Office, parts of the Bureau of Consular Affairs, and the Office of the Historian. Renovation of Main State was to begin in 1993, starting with the 21st Street section.

September 7, 1989

An ombudsman for Civil Service personnel was appointed; John Byerly of the Legal Adviser’s Office was the first to hold the position. The position had been authorized by Sect. 172(c) of the 1988-89 Foreign Relations Authorization Act of December 22, 1987 (103 Stat. 1360).

October 1, 1989

The Department of State deployed contract security guards in black-and-white uniforms at Main State, ten annexes in Washington, and at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. A Department Notice also required Department personnel to wear their identification badges in a visible location at all times when in Department buildings.

October 1989

The Department of State signed a lease that made possible the construction of a new mail service facility near Dulles Airport. Site clearance began in November, and completion was scheduled for October 1990.

November 19, 1989

The Comptroller’s title was changed to Chief Financial Officer, who headed a new Bureau of Finance and Management Policy. The new Bureau incorporated the functions of the Office of Management Policy.

November 28, 1989

In an address to the Foreign Service Club, Under Secretary for Management Ivan Selin announced plans to establish a fifth, multifunctional cone for mid-level FSOs. By the fall of 1990, over 800 FSOs opted for the multifunctional cone.

A Departmental Notice from the Director General of the Foreign Service announced new guidelines on duties for Department secretaries.

December 6, 1989

The Assistant Secretary for Administration and Information Management reverted to the title of Assistant Secretary for Administration.