312. Editorial Note

On January 14, 1970, William Macomber, Deputy Under Secretary of State for Administration, gave an address on “Management Strategy: A Program for the Seventies” to Department of State and other foreign affairs personnel. “We are an organization which has traditionally been comfortable with policymaking and with negotiating and promoting that policy abroad,” Macomber stated, but “we have tended to be intuitive in nature, weak in planning, and unenthusiastic about management.” While “Presidents have continued to look to us as their principal staff arm in forging a national policy” and “have continued to expect this Department to ensure that our complex and wide-ranging governmental activities abroad are coordinated and carried out in a manner consistent with the policies they have determined,” we “have not been as systematic, competent, and aggressive as we should have been in meeting these responsibilities.” Macomber then proposed a series of solutions to the Department’s managerial shortcomings, with an emphasis on reforming personnel policies. For text, see Department of State Bulletin, February 2, 1970, pages 130–141; and Diplomacy for the 70’s: A Program of Management Reform for the Department of State, pages 587–605.

Following Macomber’s address, the Department set up 13 task forces to study the Department’s managerial problems and come up with recommendations for reform. Each task force was chaired by an experienced Department officer and composed of about 20 members drawn from within the Department and Foreign Service with a mixture of officers from the United States Information Agency, the Agency for International Development, and other federal agencies. The 13 task forces were assigned the following topics, respectively: 1. career management and assignment policies under function specialization; 2. performance appraisal and promotion policies; 3. personnel requirements and resources; 4. personnel training for the Department of State; 5. personnel perquisites: nonsalary compensations and allowances; 6. recruitment and employment; 7. stimulation of creativity; 8. role of the Country Director; 9. openness in the foreign affairs community; 10. reorganization of the Foreign Service Institute; 11. roles and functions of diplomatic missions; 12. management evaluation system; and 13. management tools. In a July 20 memorandum for Secretary of State Rogers, Macomber highlighted the task force effort in case Rogers might want to bring it to the President’s attention. (Document 321)

The task forces drafted initial reports that were reviewed during the summer of 1970 by Department employees in Washington and diplomatic missions and consular posts abroad and then revised in light of the feedback. For examples of feedback, see Documents 322325. [Page 698] The 13 final reports containing some 500 recommendations together with a summary report were assembled in a single volume entitled Diplomacy for the 70’s: A Program of Management Reform for the Department of State. Macomber transmitted the 610-page volume to Secretary of State Rogers on November 20, 1970; it was released to the public in December. Rogers directed that work begin immediately on carrying out the task force recommendations and approved an implementation plan. On December 8 the Department released a summary statement of action planned on the task force recommendations, which is printed in Department of State Bulletin, December 28, 1970, pages 795–802. Documentation on the work of the task forces, in addition to the documents printed in this chapter, is in the National Archives, RG 59, Office of the Deputy Under Secretary for Management, Management Reform Task Force Papers: Lot 74 D 394. See also Document 120 for excerpts concerning the NSC system from reports produced by the task force on management tools.