104. Memorandum From John J. Adams of the Foreign Affairs Programming System Development Office to the Deputy Under Secretary of State for Administration (Crockett)1
- Report on Recent Trips to Europe and Latin America Regarding Prospective Foreign Affairs Program-Budgeting
This memorandum sets forth my Findings and Recommendations regarding Foreign Affairs Program-Budgeting which are based upon interviews conducted by Frederick Mosher and myself in three European Missions and four Latin American Missions in October and [Page 220] November of 1966. The European Missions were London, Paris and Bonn. (Mosher alone went to Bonn.) The visited Latin American Missions were Guatemala, Rio de Janeiro, Santiago, and to a limited extent, Mexico City. A list of the interviewees in these Missions is attached.2
The purpose in conducting the interviews was generally to ascertain each Mission’s experience with previous programming techniques, the attitudes of the personnel toward future programming efforts and the present methods for coordinating agency activities within the Mission. Particular attention was focused upon the nature of the decision making process implicit in country program development. Paramount consideration in this regard was given to the effect, if any, of NSAM 341.
Two comments seem appropriate on the Findings stated in this memorandum. First, little or no attempt is made to comment upon the Findings or to indicate any responses either Mosher or I made at the time to the statements used in support of the Findings. To have done so would not only unduly lengthen this memorandum but possibly convey the impression that the statements supporting the Findings were either unwarranted in their expression or dispelled by our responses. Whether or not such is the case is not germane. What is important is that the Findings are intended to reflect as accurately as possible whatever attitudes, impressions or statements were conveyed to us, as it is within such a frame of reference that any future foreign affairs programming must be conducted.
Second, more lengthy consideration is accorded the Findings in Latin America than in Europe. This is for two reasons: (i) more Missions were visited and more time was spent in those Missions in Latin America than Europe, affording a greater exposure in depth, and (ii) in terms of future foreign affairs programming, as this memoranda will indicate, Latin America is preeminent.
I. Findings in European Missions
Previous Program Experience
- EROP experience was regarded in both Great Britain and Germany as failure, if not a disaster. Universal feeling existed throughout the Missions that in EROP the State Department put Ambassadors in an impossible position—requiring them to recommend curtailments in other agency activities and thereafter failing to support them and their decisions when chips were down. As a result, this exercise defined “programming” [Page 221] in minds of field officers as essentially a mammoth paper, data-collection operation used as an “administrative” device for budget-cutting, but in which the recommended cuts were eventually applied only to State and USIS.
- Other agencies viewed EROP as solely a State Department exercise to limit other agency presence without an intense and thorough examination and [Page 222] understanding of the activities and programs of the affected agencies. No EROP hearings were conducted by Ambassador in Britain prior to the submission of his recommendations, but agencies were generally advised of Ambassador’s recommendations; hearings were held in Germany, but agencies were generally not advised of recommendations. (Germany continues annually with a comparable field review, focused solely on efficiency and without complete CCPS data; CCPS efforts have been dropped entirely in Britain.)
- Section chiefs and agency representatives in Great Britain found CCPS data of no use in assisting them in their operations, except in isolated cases where data was used to support pre-conceived notions.
- Because the predominance of other agency activity is primarily not in furtherance of U.S. foreign policy objectives but in service of domestic agency requirements and therefore principally concerned with overseas staffing levels, in Great Britain and France there is no State Department review of other agency program-budget proposals prior to their submission to Washington, except for a limited USIS review of essentially a budgetary and non-programmatic nature. Consequently, while Ambassadors are deeply concerned by the extent of U.S. presence in their countries, they feel unequipped to review program-budgets of other agencies because of insufficient knowledge of domestic agency requirements. This view of the Ambassador’s inability to conduct an effective and knowledgeable program review is strongly voiced by the other agency representatives.
- No Mission was found to be truly integrated with respect to non-State agencies. While widely used locally with reference to the relationship of other agencies to the Embassy, the term “integration” really meant the presence of “coordination” or, more often, “liaison”, not State Department direction or management. For example, while in Paris the Office of the Scientific Attaché has reporting to it for coordinating purposes the representatives of NASA, AEC and NIH, no program-budg-et review or management activities with respect to these agencies are undertaken by this Office or the Ambassador. Thus, while coordination or liaison channels are established, other agencies tend to operate generally as independent “fiefdoms” in pursuit of their myriad activities.
Understanding and Attitudes Towards Planning, Programming and Budgeting
- Ambassadors and ministers feel generally that their primary mission is not to program, direct, and control U.S. operations abroad but to further general U.S. foreign policy objectives, which they consider are not programmable, and to establish and maintain effective relations between the two governments. Only a limited number of officers are directly involved in activities related to this described mission.
- Any need for and an understanding of programming, i.e., rational relationship of programs and resources to objectives, is virtually absent. Due to the absence of large dollar programs directed toward attainment of U.S. foreign policy objectives, no expression of need for programming is found. Consequently, and because of prior experiences, programming is generally identified with data collection, work measurement, efficiency studies, and budget cuts.
- Most section heads and agency representatives (other than political and some economic officers) felt they could project programs some years in advance, but, because programs were largely of a service or reportorial nature, some were not convinced it would be worthwhile. The most favorable, but guarded, response to programming was where there had been no EROP experience, i.e., France. There a majority of Foreign Service officers interviewed tended to be favorably disposed to “country” versus “agency” programming.
- There is a present absence of any systematic measurements of effectiveness to determine program composition in substantial non-State agency activities directed at local population. While this was noticeably the case with respect to USIS, it can be attributed also to the activities of USTS and, to a lesser extent, the agricultural and commercial trade fairs.
- General feeling exists throughout the Missions that the structure of agency appropriations, White House domination and congressional committees is decisive in program budgeting, and that the State Department will never be able to direct foreign affairs programming through NSAM 341 or anything else. Moreover, strong cynicism and skepticism expressed that State Department would ever desire to assert such a leadership role, even if it could.
II. Findings in Latin American Missions
In the interval between our European and Latin American trips, there had begun to be developed within the Department a new concept of arraying programs against country objectives. While this concept was still in its early stages of development, in our Latin American interviews we sought to solicit responses to this new design. In summary form, this portion of our presentation included the following elements: [Page 223]
- Simultaneous submissions of proposed program by agencies to the Ambassador;
- Submissions to the Ambassador by agencies of proposed programs in an interagency adopted format which would array all agency proposed programs in common categories against commonly adopted U.S. objectives for that country;
- Recommendation by the Ambassador through State Department channels of the total U.S. proposed program within the aggregate agency budget guidance received in the field, but (i) allowing for Ambassadorial re-direction of proposed program composition within the limits of any agency’s budget guidance, and (ii) permitting the Ambassador to recommend shifts of resources from one agency’s proposed budget request to another agency’s to support the total proposed program mix for the country;
- Reporting by the agencies through their channels the program composition approved by the Ambassador, first, for regional aggregation by their agencies in preparation for individual agency appropriation requests, and, second, as an appeal channel for agency field exceptions to the Ambassador’s recommended program composition; and
- Absent a decision in Washington by any concerned agency to present an appeal of an Ambassador’s decision on that agency’s proposed program and budget to either the appropriate IRG or the SIG, the concerned agency would comply with the Ambassador’s position on program composition in development of its appropriations requests.
Previous Program Experience
- In the two posts which had had CCPS experience, there existed a universal reaction against CCPS-type data. The criticisms generally fell into one of two categories: (i) the data collection excessively focused upon minutiae or (ii) was unrelated to budget dollars and, therefore, of little or no use. The feeling of lack of utility of CCPS data as weighed against the extensive time devoted to its collection, continues today to have an adverse influence upon attitudes toward any future programming effort. (This attitudinal concern is more expansively discussed hereinafter.) Ambassador Freeman did favorably comment upon the use of CCPS data on his arrival in Mexico City in familiarizing him with the activities of the Mission, particularly in comparing the activities of the seventeen Consulates.
- The EROP experience in Guatemala caused strong resentment among affected agencies and increased doubts among State Department officials as to whether basic decisions implicit in any foreign affairs programming system would ever be made in Washington. Agency resentment particularly focused upon their being unable to present their own case prior to the [Page 224] Ambassador having reached his decision on the recommendations he would make regarding their activities.
Each Ambassador visited readily and forcefully acknowledged his role as manager of the U.S. foreign affairs community. They view themselves primarily in this capacity (as opposed to the more traditionalist view) and evidence a conscious effort in trying to increase their managerial capability. For example, Ambassador Dungan in Chile this year assigned to the four political officers a geographical region of Chile for which they are responsible to advise the Ambassador “how to oversee and coordinate” all U.S. operations in their respective areas. Specifically, he has directed these officers to investigate and make recommendations for guiding the programs and activities of other U.S. agencies. The Political Counselor expressed genuine enthusiasm on the part of his officers toward this new responsibility.
The Ambassadors presently conduct fairly extensive program and operational reviews, particularly in AID and MAAG and, to a lesser extent, USIS and Peace Corps. Hindrances toward more effective program review and, more importantly, direction include (i) limitations of time for Ambassadorial review between field program development and its submission to Washington, (ii) too extensive documentation in a format meaningful to the agency but considerably less so to the Ambassador, (iii) budget guidance constraints imposed by Washington agencies (particularly USIS) which inhibit field flexibility in program development, and (iv) Ambassadorial realization that any unresolved differences between himself and other agencies in the field over program composition will, with rare exception, be decided adverse to his position once they leave the field.
- Other agency representatives acknowledge the leadership role of the Ambassador in program development and operation. Their greatest difficulty is reconciling the views of the Ambassador with guidance they receive from their agencies in Washington. This recognition of the Ambassadorial leadership exists, though to a lesser extent, even with those agency representatives whose activities may generally be characterized as foreign extensions of domestic activities and over which the Ambassador exercises little, if any, program review.
- While agencies share a feeling of common purpose and ad hoc interagency working relationships frequently occur upon convergence of agency programs, there is no conscious effort nor formalized procedure for integrated program development. Agency review of other agency program proposals varies from Mission to Mission, but it is of a limited nature and nowhere is there a conscious effort for an agency to develop its programs in active coordination with other agency program development. During [Page 225] current year operations, of necessity, operational programs often dictate a degree of interagency coordination.
- During current year operations there is extensive shifting of resources by agencies in which little or no Ambassadorial concurrence is sought. While this is true of all the foreign affairs agencies, it is particularly pronounced in AID. In that agency no “thresholds” have been established to determine when Ambassadorial concurrence is sought in reallocating resources from sector to sector or project to project. One AID Mission Director estimated that these shifts would amount annually to approximately forty percent of his three million dollar technical assistance funds.
Understanding and Attitudes Towards Planning, Programming, and Budgeting
- All of the Ambassadors visited expressed extremely favorable responses to the described program-budgeting system and to the expanded management role of the Ambassador implicit therein. Central to this favorable attitude was the proposed ability to see all agency programs at the same time and acceptance by the agencies that, absent their taking affirmative action through the described appeal channels, an Ambassadorial decision adverse to their interests would be followed by the agencies in their program development.
- With few exceptions, the attitude of other agency representatives interviewed was generally receptive to the described system. As one AID Director said, “It’s long overdue.” Or as another AID Director stated, “While this system would ultimately diminish the role of the AID mission, it is certainly in the best interests of the entire U.S. Mission.” Such expressions of genuine receptivity, however, were conditioned upon allaying certain concerns and apprehensions hereinafter described. The clearest negative notes were heard from representatives of the Department of Defense. MAAG Commanders evidenced either explicit or implicit concern over the capability of an Ambassador, as compared with knowledgeable military personnel, to determine the degree and nature of military assistance to the host country. Implicit, but not expressed, concern existed with DIA personnel regarding the ability of an Ambassador to evaluate their field requirements necessary to meet the reporting and other requirements imposed upon them by their agency. While not found elsewhere in Latin America, in Brazil apprehension was expressed by the Peace Corps Representative that the described system presented a possible means for an Ambassador in the development of an integrated country program to distort the unique mission of the Peace Corps. Central to this expression of concern was the long standing view that the Peace Corps is not an arm of U.S. foreign policy and that the apparent intimate association with the Embassy inherent in the described programming system would run counter to this view.
- Universal disbelief and cynicism exists throughout the entire U.S. Mission that the State Department in Washington will ever espouse the leadership role necessary to make any program-budgeting system in the foreign affairs community truly operational, NSAM 341 not withstanding. This attitude was unquestionably the single strongest one expressed throughout the visited Missions. It can be summed up in a question posed by one Foreign Service Officer, “You don’t think this is really going to happen, do you?”
- Strong resistance was expressed by all other agencies, as well as the Ambassadors, to any program-budgeting system which would impose yet an additional submission requirement upon the field. Because of the earlier State Department efforts, there is real apprehension among other agencies that any new system will be but another “paper-exercise” and would not supplant, but be in addition to, present program submissions. This attitude prompted one AID program officer to state in the following vein: “Unless this has utility to me and my agency, you will get my least experienced personnel working on this and the allocation of resources to objectives is liable to be pretty fictitious.” The extent of present submission requirements imposed upon the field is illustrated by a recent study conducted by Ambassador Dungan in Chile which determined that thirty percent of the time of AID personnel was devoted to preparation of various submissions required by Washington.
- There presently exists among all Ambassadors a lack of appreciation for the need of an analytical capability, either in the field or in the State Department in Washington, available to them in the development of their proposed program composition. Each Ambassador strongly resisted increasing his own staff beyond, at most, one additional officer. In contrast to the development of a State Department analytical capability responsive to their needs, the Ambassadors tended to prefer to rely upon the admittedly limited resources of the Country Team. This lack of appreciation for the necessity of a State Department analytical capability was perhaps one of the most disquieting aspects of our conversations with the Ambassadors. In marked contrast were the views of most AID personnel who were quick to realize that it was imperative that the State Department develop such a capability and that in doing so it would probably be at the expense of AID in drawing upon that agency’s present analytical staff.
Because of the earlier programming efforts, the
uncertainty of the implications of NSAM 341, the individual agency PPBS efforts, and a general lack
of understanding of program-budgeting, certain general concerns
and apprehensions in varying degrees of intensity will confront
the inauguration of any new program-budgeting system. In
addition to those already mentioned, the following seem pertinent:
- There exists a fear that current-year operations will become inflexible under a predetermined program composition.
- Considerable apprehension was expressed over the role of the computer as a “decision maker,” thus eroding the position of the Ambassador in the development of program composition.
- Though seldom vocalized, implicit in many of the reactions to the described system was concern for retention of agency identity and apprehension over the prospect of agency competitiveness inherent in country-wide program development. Generally, however, there was little appreciation of the fact that interagency competitiveness would, as it does not today, occur in the program planning stages.
- Limited concern was expressed regarding the susceptibility in any programming system of stress upon quantification to the detriment of securing objectives which, by their very nature, are not quantifiable.
- Considerable concern exists in the other agencies regarding the ability of the Ambassador and his staff to make knowledgeable decisions on program composition in highly technical areas.
With the exception of limited resources in AID, there exists no real field analytical capability nor is there any significant utilization of meaningful measurements of effectiveness in the development of program composition. The absence of meaningful measurements of effectiveness is particularly pronounced in USIS. One PAO stated that the selection of U.S. activities he sought to publicize was largely by hunch and ad hoc judgement wherein no measurements of effectiveness were employed.
This absence of measurements of effectiveness became the focal point of discussion at a dinner meeting of various agency representatives in one of the Missions visited. A frank and honest concern was expressed that we really don’t know if all of our program efforts to date are achieving the affects we desire. The agency representatives present felt that the U.S. knew little or nothing about the forces, power structures, and institutions which really decided the course of the host country’s people. This mutual expression of doubt as to the effectiveness of the entire U.S. effort in that country was not only revealing to all those present, but generated a high degree of receptiveness for the described country-wide programming system as possibly developing meaningful objectives and effective programs.
A majority of the Ambassadors visited viewed the role of the Country Director in the described programming system as the advocate for the Ambassador, not as an independent voice in the determination of program composition nor as an appeal point for an agency to reverse the Ambassador’s decision on program composition. The one dissenting Ambassador felt that his Country Director should be independent to the extent that if he opposed the Ambassador’s program composition he should voice his objections to the Assistant Secretary and, if necessary, the Ambassador would have to come to Washington to defend his position. This Ambassador, however, did not consider the Country Director as an appeal point for agencies to reverse Ambassadorial decisions on program composition.[Page 228]
The majority of the Ambassadors felt that the Country Director’s objections to the Ambassador’s program composition should, except in extreme cases, be expressed not to the Assistant Secretary but to the Ambassador for his consideration in program modification. They looked to the Country Directors to advise them on factors they may not have considered, as well as to furnish a Washington perspective on program composition. The question of the Country Director serving as an agency appeal point arose in one meeting with both the Ambassador and Country Director present. The Ambassador initially suggested that possibly the Country Director should serve in an appellate capacity. The Country Director voiced immediate objection and stated that he thought of himself as an advocate for the Ambassador, principally for two reasons: first, the appeal point concept would place an unbearable strain upon the relationship of the Ambassador and his Country Director and, second, the absolute necessity for an advocate of the Ambassador in the Washington forum. The Ambassador acknowledged the merits of the Country Director’s arguments and concurred in his conclusions.
[Omitted here are: Section III. Recommendations; a partial list of persons interviewed; and an appendix that presents a “design mechanism for undertaking foreign affairs programming.”]
- Source: Kennedy Library, Crockett Papers, MS 75–45, Rpt. on Recent Trips to Eur & Latin Amer Regarding Prospective For Affairs Program-Budgeting. No classification marking. Adams was a management analyst with the FAPS Development Program in the Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of State for Administration. Adams’ report and a similar one by Mosher (Document 113) “received considerable circulation within the Department and in other foreign affairs agencies,” according to Mosher and Harr, Programming Systems and Foreign Affairs Leadership, p. 177.↩
- Attached but not printed.↩