Editorial Note

The Department of State announced on May 7, 1947, the establishment, effective May 5, of the Policy Planning Staff “for the purpose of assuring the development of long-range policy.” The purpose, major functions, and organization of this group are described in the press release containing the announcement; for text, see Department of State Bulletin, May 18, 1947, page 1007.

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The Policy Planning Staff acted as a mechanism for drawing together the views of the geographic and functional offices of the Department of State and non-Departmental sources, enabling the PPS to engage in the broad consideration of policy problems. The PPS initially devoted its attention to the European Recovery Program; however, by November 13, 1947, when it submitted its first report on its activities (PPS/15, not printed), it had prepared thirteen substantive papers on a variety of issues. These studies were submitted to the Under Secretary and/or the Secretary; certain of them are printed in Foreign Relations in compilations relating to the subjects to which they were directed. Eleven of the papers recommended Departmental or Governmental action. According to PPS/15, all of these recommendations exercised some effect on subsequent operations.

The Policy Planning Staff also served as a means by which the views of qualified individuals outside the Department were made available to policy makers. The PPS consulted more than a score of officials of other Governmental agencies and members of the academic community in 1947. In addition, the PPS developed liaison with the armed forces and the National Security Council. (Lot 64D563, files of the Policy Planning Staff, Department of State, 1947–1953; hereafter cited as Policy Planning Staff Files).