72. Memorandum From the Deputy Under Secretary of State for Administration (Crockett) to the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs (Palmer)1


  • Urgent Need to Increase Minority Group Representation at African Posts

In a recent memorandum addressed to me and Ben Posner, Assistant Director for Administration, USIA, Bill Hall of AID passed on some cursory impressions from his recent visits to the Sudan, Ethiopia, Nigeria and the Congo.2 He made a number of observations and recommendations which we will no doubt be discussing in the days ahead. I would like to share with you at this time his observations on the question of civil rights:

“None of the foreign affairs agencies has adequate minority representation on its staffs. AID and USIA are better than State, but all are completely inadequate. We need to consider how we can improve this situation.”

Bill Hall’s views are substantiated by the report3 which you sent to Congressman Adam C. Powell last December concerning Negro-Americans assigned to our posts in Africa. At the 40 AF posts to which Americans are assigned there are a total of 21 Negro officers in State, 25 in USIA, 36 in AID, and 21 in the Peace Corps. Twenty-six of the 40 posts have no Negro officers at all. At the 4 posts visited by Bill Hall, we have 2 Negro officers in the Congo, 1 in Nigeria, 2 in Ethiopia and none in the Sudan.

This is a problem which both you and I share, and I think we ought to start planning now on providing some remedy. One approach might be to focus on all positions we now have vacant in the African area overseas and for which we do not have presently qualified and available FSO’s and FSSO’s and give priority to finding, recruiting, and employing minority group candidates who can fill these positions. I would hope also that we might be able to utilize some of our promising Foreign Affairs Scholars at the R–8, R–7, or Staff Corps levels.

I have asked Eddie Williams to submit to you any files he feels are worthy of your personal consideration. I am willing to do all I can to expedite this matter; I would suggest that appropriate members of your staff [Page 162] rely heavily upon Eddie Williams in developing the names of additional candidates.

  1. Source: Kennedy Library, Crockett Papers, MS 74–28, WJC Book. No classification marking. Drafted by Eddie Williams.
  2. Not found.
  3. Not found.