32. Memorandum From the Deputy Under Secretary of State for Administration (Crockett) to the President’s Special Assistant (Busby)1

Dear Buzz:

Yesterday I sent you a nice, polite, bureaucratic note on how to prevent over-staffing of overseas operations.2 Today I am giving you my views of the problem, particularly with regard to administrative staffing overseas. This is only one area of proliferation but of great importance since in many aspects it follows a pattern of program diffusion and confusion.

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I have been involved in this problem for almost 15 years, 7 years here in the Department and 8 years abroad as an Administrative Officer. I have seen the State Department make repeated efforts to consolidate administration in the field for the purpose of reducing over-all cost to the taxpayer and improving over-all efficiency. None of these efforts have really achieved more than monetary success. Why? Because the other agencies involved don’t want to lose their own independence and the people involved don’t want to lose their kingdoms.

At the present time, we are like a candy shop offering our products (administrative support) to our customers (U.S. agencies) around the world. Instead of having a single, total package of administration, we permit them to come in and shop, some taking this service and some taking that and most of them not ever agreeing to the final price.

We have some 10,000 people around the world who are paid from the services we render to other U.S. agencies and we must bear the overhead of supporting these people out of State Department appropriations until we know whether or not an agency will finally agree to pay its bill. In most instances they take the service and then chisel on the cost.

Administration around the world is characterized by duplication, inequitable practices and policies among agencies, special privileges for the people of some agencies, public wrangling over bureaucracy, payments, costs, delays, and no thought for really saving money for the taxpayer.

In this 15-year effort we have had lip support from the Bureau of the Budget and virtually no support from the Congress. The General Accounting Office has repeatedly pointed out the waste and the duplication to no avail.

To somewhat the same extent, the substantive areas have the same problems of proliferation of responsibilities, duplication of efforts and, therefore, excessive staffing. There have been repeated studies and task force reports pointing up the “problem”—even pinpointing the specific locations and the specific over-staffing. But the results (correction of the problem) have been minimal.

I certainly do not have the answers to these difficult problems, if in fact answers exist. But I do know that the lack of clear definition of agencies’ missions (in military terms) and the lack of clear-cut authority to deal with them are two basic reasons for proliferation and excessive staffing. Where there is no guidance and a vacuum, everybody tries to fill it.

My 15 years of effort in the administrative vineyard have convinced me that I am crying in the wilderness and that no reform will come about until one appropriation is made to the State Department for [Page 72] the support of all administration overseas. I would like to go beyond this and suggest that the final solution probably lies in an all-encompassing Department of Foreign Affairs.3 I believe this is the only real way for the President to control the wasteful monster that we have built up abroad in the post-war era. Anything short of this will be makeshift and temporary and will last only as long as the pressure of attention is focused upon it. But once the pressure is released, fragmentation and growth will start again.

Sincerely yours,

William J. Crockett 4

P.S. For the most part the above remarks do not apply to USIA, where our relationship has been close for the last 10 years.

  1. Source: Kennedy Library, Crockett Papers, MS 74–28, WJC Book. No classification marking.
  2. Not found.
  3. In an April 28 memorandum to Bill Moyers, Crockett forwarded a collection of staff papers on various aspects of Department of State reorganization. The papers proposed creation of a Department of Foreign Affairs that would incorporate AID and USIA. (Johnson Library, Crockett Papers, MS 74–28, WJC Book)
  4. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature and the typed initials below.