80. Airgram From the Department of State to All Posts1



  • Planning and Programming in Foreign Affairs

Many Chiefs of Mission are acquainted with the Department’s experimental work of the past three years in developing a programming system for the United States foreign affairs program. Others will become acquainted this year through involvement in the planning-programming-budgeting systems of each foreign affairs agency, being developed at the direction of the President and under the leadership of the Bureau of the Budget.

The issuance in March of National Security Action Memorandum 341, placing added responsibilities on the Secretary of State and the Department for directing overseas operations and creating the Senior Interdepartmental Group, provides added urgency to our need to make full use of such management tools as policy planning and programming.

Accordingly, the Department intends to take further steps during this year to improve the capabilities of the foreign affairs community in this field. The other foreign affairs agencies and the Bureau of the Budget will participate fully and actively in this effort.

The first step will be to define the requirements for a foreign affairs programming system and its relationship to the planning-programming-budgeting systems being developed in each agency, as well as to address other key issues that will define the nature and scope of such a system.

The second step will be to develop the system and put it into operation at the earliest practicable date.

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To assist in these tasks, the Secretary is establishing an advisory group on foreign affairs planning-programming-budgeting. Dr. Charles Hitch, now Vice President of the University of California and formerly Comptroller of the Department of Defense, has consented to serve as Chairman. Dr. Hitch was an architect of the Department of Defense programming system introduced by Secretary McNamara. The Stanford Research Institute will provide staff resources to Dr. Hitch, the advisory group, and the Department of State. The advisory group will present its analysis and recommendations to the Secretary.2

The developmental work will be carried on jointly by the advisory group, the Stanford Research Institute, and Deputy Under Secretary Crockett’s staff in close association with the first regional bureaus to be involved. Maximum participation of other agencies and close coordination with the planning-programming-budgeting systems of individual agencies will be sought. The Secretary is, therefore, requesting Deputy Under Secretary Crockett to establish an interagency group to advise us in the development and implementation of the overall system.3

As we proceed with this work, the individual agency PPBS efforts will continue in selected countries and should receive your full cooperation.

Following the development and approval of a foreign affairs programming system, it will be installed region-by-region and will be improved as we gain experience in its use. We will start with Latin America and follow with Africa in view of the interest and request of Assistant Secretaries Gordon and Palmer. We hope to be able to proceed in Latin America for a full planning-programming-budgeting cycle for fiscal year 1969.

As these efforts proceed in those missions where Executive Assistants have been assigned, I urge their use to assist you in your review and analysis of mission programs and operations.

The content of this airgram should be discussed with your staff and representatives of all agencies at your mission. Concurrent discussions will take place with agency heads in Washington. Your own ideas and conclusions concerning the best means of developing and using these management tools and making them most effective will be welcomed.

A programming system for foreign affairs will permit the Department and other agencies in Washington to better support your [Page 172] efforts in each country and to become the means of giving increased scope and flexibility to the country team concept you are already effectively utilizing.

Over the next several years, virtually every Chief of Mission will become involved in these new developments in planning and programming. Your cooperation in this effort will be an important contribution to its success.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, ORG 1. Unclassified. Drafted by Barrett on June 4, cleared by Crockett, and approved by Ball.
  2. The formation, meetings, and report of the Hitch Committee are discussed in detail in Mosher and Harr, Programming Systems and Foreign Affairs Leadership, pp. 146–171. Mosher was a member of the committee. See also Document 99.
  3. The Interagency Working Group’s first meeting on August 11–12 is discussed in a Department of State paper, Background Information, drafted August 18. (Kennedy Library, Crockett Papers, MS 75–45, Foreign Affairs Planning System, 1966)