308. Memorandum From the Under Secretary of State (Richardson) to the President’s Assistant (Flanigan)1


  • Relative Proportions of Career and Non-Career Ambassadors

For your information the material that follows updates my memorandum to you of May 292 on the above subject:

1. Appointments made by President Nixon as of September 10:

Career Percent Non-Career Percent
Announced 39 62 24 38
Total3 45 62.5 27 37.5

Note: Thee figures show that as we approach the end of this year’s round of Ambassadorial appointments, we are settling in towards roughly a five to three ratio as between career and non-career appointments. [Page 689]The limited number of appointments which we foresee as occurring during the balance of 1969 (e.g. for Guinea, Malawi, Sweden, Uganda and Venezuela) are probably not going to alter the present ratio of about 63 percent to 37 percent by more than a percentage point or two, one way or the other.

2. Holdovers from Previous Administration (as of September 10):

Career Percent Non-Career Percent
27 84 5 16

Note: All Ambassadors who have been or will be replaced by new appointments included in No. 1 above (including those still unannounced) have been excluded from this count. Except as noted in Annex C, most of the 32 remaining holdovers counted here seem likely to stay on through the rest of this calendar year.

3. Total (1 and 2 combined):

Career Percent Non-Career Percent
72 69 32 31

Note: This puts the present total proportion of career officers somewhat above average by comparison with the records of the preceding three administrations.4 For convenience, I repeat here material in my earlier memorandum, showing the records of these three administrations based on the two dates (on a January 1 and July 1 basis) for each which establish its high and low water marks for the proportion of career appointments:

Total Posts Career Percent Non-Career Percent
Eisenhower—1/1/59 76 53 70 23 30
7/1/55 69 38 55 31 45
Kennedy—7/1/61 93 69 74 24 26
7/1/62 92 59 64 33 36
Johnson—7/1/65 104 78 75 26 25
1/1/69 108 68 63 40 37
Elliot L. Richardson 5
  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Richardson Papers, Box CL 2, Chron File. Confidential; Limdis. Annexes A, B, and C are not attached.
  2. A copy is in the National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Special Files, Staff Member and Office Files, Flanigan Files, Box 13, Ambassadors—Broad Memoranda.
  3. In addition to the 63 appointments already announced, this group includes nine nominations currently in the clearances process. Complete lists of the President’s career and non-career appointments are attached at Annexes A and B respectively. Note that these figures include only country ambassadors; representation to international bodies (e.g., NATO, OAS) are not included. [Footnote in the source text.]
  4. John M. Steeves, Director General of the Foreign Service from 1966 to 1969, later wrote in his memoir, Safir, pp. 195–198, that he thought “for a general average of what the ratio should be, I would say that 75% career and 25% [non-career] is about right.” Steeves had substantial misgivings about the impact of non-career appointments on career officers in the Foreign Service, but he also believed that non-career appointees had an “important place. Not only do we need the leavening influence from outside disciplines, but specific skills have to be sought outside the Foreign Service.”
  5. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.