34. Information Memorandum From the Deputy Under Secretary of State for Administration (Crockett) to Secretary of State Rusk1


  • A Critique of the Combined Organization for Latin American Affairs

We have completed a review of the combined State/AID organization for Latin American Affairs (normally called Back-to-Back). The review concluded that the experiment achieved worthwhile results such as:

  • —Decisions can be made more quickly. The capacity exists and many officers find that decision-making time has been shortened.
  • —State and AID now speak to U.S. Missions with one voice.
  • —Side-stepping responsibility by buffeting issues between State and AID is stopped.
  • —Joint approach permits better coordination.
  • —State and AID personnel are better informed through greater exchange of information and attendance at common staff meetings.
  • —Manpower is used with greater flexibility.
  • —Issues are more comprehensively and sharply presented for decision by senior officials.
  • —Personnel perspective, understanding, skills and interests are broader.
  • —There is less memo writing.
  • —We believe from these findings that it is worthwhile to move forward with this arrangement in AF and NEA. FE has been completed.2

  1. Source: Kennedy Library, Crockett Papers, MS 75–45, ORG 8. No classification marking. Concurred in by Thomas of ARA. Copies were sent to Ball and Mann. The memorandum indicates it was seen by the Secretary. The Bureau of Inter-American Affairs in the State Department and the Bureau of Latin America in AID were combined in March 1964 (see Foreign Relations, 1964–1968, vol. XXXI, Document 10. Crockett’s memorandum is based on a study entitled “Critique of the Combined Organization for Latin American Affairs,” prepared by the Office of Management, Department of State, in January 1965. Fifty State and AID officers were interviewed for the study, of whom “few expressed serious doubts regarding the usefulness of combined operations.” The critique pointed out, however, that the effectiveness of combined organization in ARA could be “attributed, at least in part, to the unique combination of responsibility in Mr. Mann for the Alliance for Progress as well as for the conduct of U.S. foreign relations with Latin American countries”; and the critique submitted recommendations for “important and significant improvements that must be made” if the combined organization were to become “fully successful.” (Kennedy Library, Crockett Papers, Combined Organization for Latin American Affairs)
  2. In 1966 Gladys Rogers (O/SP) and Harry Fite (AID) conducted a survey of the combined organization and produced an 82-page report. Rogers forwarded the report to Crockett under cover of a January 3, 1967, memorandum in which she stated that “briefly, the consolidated geographic offices are working out very well indeed [but] the consolidated administrative office has encountered more complex problems and has a long way to go yet.” (Ibid.)