32. Letter From the Under Secretary of State (Bowles) to U.S. Ambassadors1

Dear Mr. Ambassador:

As you know from President Kennedy’s recent letter to you, he is deeply interested in our operations, not only here in Washington but also abroad.

In order to strengthen our efforts here and to give improved support to our overseas operations, I have been taking a close look at the administrative structure of our Bureaus here in Washington, going over each Bureau in detail with its Assistant Secretary and our Administrative people.

We are also planning to hold a series of regional meetings of Chiefs of Missions throughout the world. The first of these meetings will be in Lagos, Nigeria, in late July, a second is scheduled for Nicosia, Cyprus, and the third for New Delhi. Additional meetings will be held later in Europe, Latin America and the Far East.

I plan to attend each of these meetings, and with me will be high officials from USIA, ICA, Defense and appropriate areas of the Department. [Page 60] It is my hope that you will be able to bring with you your chief advisers. You will shortly be receiving or may have already received specific details about these conferences.

In the meantime we thought it might be useful to send you some thoughts which we have put together here on various aspects of the problems we want to discuss in these conferences. The attached memoranda spell out in some detail the kinds of problems we feel you might profitably consider in advance of the meetings. They include suggestions and ideas which have proved useful in some of our Missions in achieving better integration of our activities and presenting a more positive impression to the people of the country in which we work.

Our purpose in sending them now is simply to elicit your reactions and suggestions. We will then discuss reactions from you and your colleagues in detail at our regional meetings. The memoranda will be the basis for much of our discussions.

Although the time is obviously very tight, I would appreciate getting at least some of your views before I leave Washington on July 24 for the first of these regional meetings. A preliminary reply by cable would be very helpful.

Let me add that these memoranda were written with considerable hesitation. The subjects touched upon are complex and often personal. We do not pretend to have all the answers. However, our embassy relations are so vital that I am sure you will agree that we must explore every practical way to improve our performance.

With my warmest regards,


Chester Bowles2
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Conference Files: Lot 65 D 366, Rocs Miscellaneous. Confidential. The letter is a master letter intended for separate transmission to each individual Ambassador. Attached are four additional memoranda, each addressed to “All Chiefs of Mission” and dated July 8: Memorandum No. 1, Leadership and Supervisory Responsibility of the Ambassador (Document 33); Memorandum No. 2, Foreign Service Reporting (not printed); Memorandum No. 3, Establishment of Close Relationship with People of Country of Assignment (not printed); and Memorandum No. 4, Impact of American Official Personnel on Local Community (not printed).
  2. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.