13. Memorandum From the Deputy Under Secretary of State for Administration (Crockett) to Secretary of State Rusk1
It seems to me that the opportune moment has now arrived for serious consideration on a number of management issues. I think we have a rare opportunity to put forth to the President some concrete proposals which should greatly enhance the effectiveness of the foreign policy operations of the Executive Branch.
Just this past week, a couple of major issues have arisen which once again highlight the difficulties encountered by the Department in trying to force conformance by other agencies to its policy guidance. These issues concern the staffing of certain overseas posts. The Assistant Secretaries responsible for the areas involved were frustrated by their inability to move other agencies in the direction of reducing or eliminating their representations. This, as you well know, is an old story, but I believe should not be left unsettled for too much longer.
In an effort to improve the effectiveness of our policy operational guidance I have a number of proposals that I would like to bring to your attention. If they appear to have merit, they all need to be completely staffed out.
State Department Organization
I would like to have your approval to proceed on the studying of several specific recommendations intended to achieve the following objectives:
- Provide Secretary sufficient time and staff resources to enable him to perform primary function of leadership and policy direction to all foreign affairs activities.
- Provide Under Secretary sufficient time and staff resources to enable him to be “alter ego” to Secretary and to perform role as “operating head” of Department.
- Reduce to minimum number of officers reporting directly to Secretary and Under Secretary.
- Transfer to maximum extent operational responsibilities from staff officer to operating bureaus.
- Restructure regional bureaus in order to reorganize work-load of regional bureaus to reflect recent foreign policy developments and insure adequate direction.
- Reorganize and strengthen S/S to provide better information flow.
- Improve consular operations by abolishing SCA.
At your convenience, I am ready to discuss some of the specific recommendations I have in mind.
Increase Delegation to the Assistant Secretaries
- I would like to develop a Presidential message which would in essence give the Assistant Secretaries greater jurisdiction and control over the programs of other agencies. We find ourselves in the intolerable position of having provided Ambassadors with certain authorities which they can theoretically apply at the post level, but for which they cannot get equal support from the Assistant Secretary responsible for that area.
- I would like to attempt a rewrite of President Kennedy’s letter to all Ambassadors of May 19 , 1961.2 I believe in the first place it is essential for President Johnson to put his own stamp of approval of the way his personal representatives in the field can and should operate. Secondly, with the passage of over three years, we have learned through bitter experience that the 1961 letter is deficient in certain respects. For example, through some of the Comprehensive Country Programming Systems that we have installed, we have found that field representatives of other agencies have certain rights and prerogatives that have not been delegated to the Ambassador. Furthermore, in certain instances the Ambassador’s views on certain issues are considered by other agencies only by sufferance, rather than as a requirement. We have also found that despite our best efforts, inequities still exist in the regulations governing the privileges and prerogatives of personnel of various agencies. We must if we can, enable an Ambassador to set a standard for all government employees at a post so that the odious comparisons that have been our albatrosses in the past can be eliminated.
Although this area is part of some of the ideas discussed above, it might be useful to view it as a unique and separate matter. Some discussions have already been held concerning the desirability of requesting Congress for permanent authority for the AID program. One of the possible avenues for such action would be to incorporate in the organic act authority for development programs. We should also keep in mind the possibilities of Chairman Rooney being assigned responsibility for Congressional review of the AID 1966 appropriations request. Should this come about it would mean that Mr. Rooney and his subcommittee [Page 24] would be reviewing appropriations requests for the Department, USIA, and AID. It is logical to assume, I think, that in making such a review the subcommittee will be interested in analyzing the activities taken by one agency in comparison with similar activities taken by the two other agencies. I know, for example, that Congressman Bow has always been critical of what he considers to be the duplicatory and overlapping administrative organizations of State and AID.
In reviewing the State-AID relationships there are a number of specific issues that should be scrutinized.
- The integration of some AID functional offices with their State counterparts—starting perhaps with the areas of Public Affairs and Congressional Relations.
- The desirability of further back-to-back or integrated desk operations.
- The desirability of appointing more Ambassadors as AID Mission Directors.
- The role of an Under Secretary (or Deputy Under Secretary) for Economic Affairs, if such a position should be established.
- The desirability of delegating to the other Assistant Secretaries, authority similar to the one now possible to Mr. Mann.
Before I depart, I would appreciate an opportunity to discuss these thoughts with you. I have a loose-leaf folder3 which incorporates all the ideas on organizational changes that have been proposed in the last few months. I would like to leave this with you so that I could discuss some of the ideas with you when I return.
- Source: Kennedy Library, Crockett Papers, MS 74–28, Box 32, untitled folder. Confidential. Under a covering memorandum to Rusk, November 9, Crockett stated that his memorandum was essentially the same as a November 6 draft given to Ball, which was attached.↩
- For text of the May 29 letter, see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1961, pp. 1345–1347. See Document 19 for a summary.↩
- Presumably the six papers included in a report, “Aspects of Organization and Management of Foreign Affairs,” November 9, 1964. (Kennedy Library, Crockett Papers, MS 74–28, Box 31)↩