317. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon 1
- Letter from Turner Shelton
Attached is a memorandum I have received from Turner Shelton with whom you are acquainted. Shelton makes the following comments about State Department and Foreign Service personnel:
- —It is impossible to convert or to re-educate members of the Foreign Service who retain strong emotional ties to former Presidents or former Administrations.
- —There is a professional elitism in the Foreign Service which tends to delude its members into believing that they have a charter to dominate the conduct of foreign affairs. This is further complicated when they also harbor allegiance to previous Presidents.
- —There is a general lack of responsiveness in the Department of State in implementing directives and instructions from the White House and a deficiency in personal loyalty to you.
- —The State Department system rewards conformity and discourages those who have the courage to break new ground, thus resulting in a general void of originality and forcefulness.
- —The Foreign Service is inbred, opposes the infusion of new blood and tends to dominate key posts to permeate its power.
Shelton recommends a measured review of key State Department posts with the objective of replacing those personnel who do not support your policies. This would offer the additional benefit of encouraging less influential Foreign Service officers who already share your views.2[Page 707]
- Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Subject Files, Box 339, HAK/Richardson Meetings, April–May 1970. Confidential; Eyes Only. Sent for information. Turner Shelton worked in USIA and the Department of State during the 1950s and 1960s. During the Kennedy and Johnson administrations he served in the Bureau of European Affairs and the Bureau of Public Affairs and as Counselor of the legation in Budapest and Counsul General in Nassau. By 1968 he had left the Department. In October 1970 Nixon appointed him Ambassador to Nicaragua, a post he held until August 1975.↩
- The President wrote the following comments below: “He’s right, of course. K—, 1) See if we can get Shelton assigned to a personnel post in State—Make some discreet inquiries on this point—He might know what post matters—2) Also—discuss this matter (without revealing the source) with Richardson—See if he has any ideas as to how we could shake up the place—3) Get from Shelton and others the names of F.S.O. men who do share my views & then have Flanigan push them hard.” Briefing memoranda prepared by Kennedy and Haig for Kissinger’s weekly meetings with Richardson on May 21, May 28, and June 12 included the following item: “Ask Under Secretary Richardson what actions he would recommend be taken to place more persons in key State Department positions who share the Nixon outlook on foreign policy. Also ask him if he has any suggestions as to how we can reward those Foreign Service Officers who have the imagination and forcefulness to break new ground.” Shelton’s letter and the President’s comments were attached. There is no indication on the memoranda as to whether Kissinger raised the issue.↩
- No classification marking. Printed from an unsigned copy.↩