21. Circular Telegram From the Department of State to All Diplomatic Missions1

58. To Chief of Mission from the President. The President has been concerned over repeated reports that in some countries various United States activities are not being effectively coordinated and evaluated by the Chiefs of Diplomatic Missions. This message relates to that problem.

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The President is also concerned over reports that in some instances the total number of United States individuals assigned to tasks abroad has become too great. A later message will deal with this and related problems.2

In order to emphasize his view that the several foreign operations established by law to further the interests and objectives of the United States must be carried out in a coordinated manner the President has approved the following instructions governing relationships between Chiefs of Diplomatic Missions and the representatives of all United States agencies conducting operations in foreign countries:

The representatives of all United States agencies in each foreign country are subject to the supervision and leadership of the Chief of Mission in connection with any of their activities which in his own judgment affect relations between the United States and the country to which he is accredited. The Chief of Mission must exercise active leadership and supervision in connection with such matters, subject to any general and specific instructions from the President or the Secretary of State.
The Chief of Mission has specific additional responsibilities with respect to the Mutual Security, agricultural, informational and related programs referred to in Section 201(b) of Executive Order No. 105753 and in Executive Order No. 10560. Primary responsibilities for the administration of these programs have been assigned to various United States agencies which maintain direct operating relationships with their representatives abroad. At the country level, however, the Chief of Mission has ultimate responsibility to assure that these program activities are carefully planned and effectively carried out within the framework of established policy, and that they are coordinated with each other. The organizations which are administering these programs at the country level are therefore subject to the supervisory authority of the Chief of Mission in carrying out this responsibility.
In discharging his responsibilities the Chief of Mission will need and should have the close collaboration of representatives of all United States agencies. In this connection Section 201(d) of Executive Order No. 10575, which precludes delegation of his functions, should not be interpreted narrowly to obstruct establishment of an effective staff pattern within the country. The ultimate responsibility of the Chief of Mission cannot be delegated, but when directing [Page 85] large and complex operations he necessarily carries out his executive and coordinating functions in some degree through subordinates.

  1. Source: Department of State, A/MS Files: Lot 54 D 291, ICA–1956. Confidential.
  2. Circular telegram 168 from the President to the chiefs of certain diplomatic missions, September 5, not printed. (Ibid.)
  3. Executive Order 10575, “Administration of Foreign Aid Functions,” was promulgated November 6, 1954; for text, see 19 Federal Register 7249, or Department of State Bulletin, December 13, 1954, p. 914.