329. Telegram From the Department of State to All Posts1
8959. For Chief of Mission from Deputy Under Secretary Macomber. Subject: Implementation of Task Force Recommendations on the Roles and Functions of Diplomatic Missions.
To assure systematic and timely implementation of the management reforms proposed by the Task Forces, an action program was submitted to the Secretary along with the reports of the thirteen task forces.2 The Secretary has now approved the action program below and has asked me to assume responsibility for carrying it out.
Of major importance are those recommendations concerning the role, function, and structure of our diplomatic missions. Recommendations on the missions were submitted not only by Task Force XI on the role and function of diplomatic missions, but also by Task Force VII on creativity, and Task Force IX on openness.
Their recommendations are aimed at three principal objectives:
- To strengthen the executive direction of the mission and enhance its overall organization and program management.
- To promote creativity and openness within missions.
- To stimulate openness and closer contact with the host country and with the visitors from the United States.
These recommendations are summarized in the following sections. Each summary concludes with a paragraph requesting specific action by the missions.3
Mission Organization and Management
Task Force XI (Diplomatic Missions) reemphasizes the paramount roles of the Ambassador and suggests various management reforms to give him better control over the activities of his mission and greater organizational flexibility in meeting problems. These reforms are also intended to provide better communication throughout the mission and more thorough consideration of creative and innovative views.[Page 729]
Task Force XI gives high priority to an improved system of Policy Analysis and Resource Allocation (PARA), resembling but going beyond the Country Analysis and Strategy Paper (CASP) procedure used successfully by the Interdepartmental Group of the Bureau of Inter-American Affairs (ARA/IG). PARA’s basic intent is to analyze U.S. interests and policy objectives more systematically, with the aim both of (a) sharpening policy definition and guidance and (b) providing a more logical method for the allocation of resources (money and people) by all agencies.
Such a system would provide both the Department and the chief of mission with sound concepts and procedures for guiding and controlling all programs and functions at a mission. The Department is now considering how best to implement these recommendations and will keep the missions informed of its findings.
Task Force XI’s remaining recommendations on organization and management of missions are related to the PARA system, but are not dependent on it. While it does not call for a dismantling of the traditional mission organization, Task Force XI does encourage chiefs of mission to cut across established jurisdictional lines by establishing either ad hoc or standing groups to meet short-term or continuing management problems. It finds the standard Country Team to be deficient as a management tool and underscores the utility of greater organizational flexibility both in solving problems and in stimulating creativity.
In urging that the executive section of missions be strengthened, Task Force XI recommends the formation of management systems (1) to deal specifically with the need for coordination of information collection and reporting and (2) to focus on policy formulation and related resource allocation problems. Illustrations of such systems are provided.4
While mindful that no precise blueprint can be applied to every mission, the Department is in fundamental agreement with the mannagement objectives set forth by Task Force XI.
Action Suggested: In considering the recommendations relating to organization and management, numbers 420 through 425, and 499 on the attached list, you would be aided by a review of the rationale and conclusions given in Task Force XI’s report on diplomatic missions (pages 451–459 of Diplomacy for the 70’s). After reviewing this material and related aspects of the task force reports on creativity and openness, you are urged to consider how these principles can best be applied, taking into account the size, nature and functional requirements of your particular mission.[Page 730]
By March 15, 1971, I would appreciate your report on the results of this examination, giving us your judgment of how far we might go in refining the organization of the mission to achieve the intended purposes.
Creativity and Openness in the Mission
Task Force VII (Creativity) concludes that the climate in many of our missions is not altogether hospitable to creative thinking. It finds that creativity is inhibited by “an almost feudal quality” in the relationship between senior officers and the lower ranks in the mission. It appeals for a “democratization” of personal relationships within the mission, adding that the principal factor in attaining it will be the personal style of the chief of mission himself. Task Force VII also believes that greater use of ad hoc task forces would stimulate freer expression of views among the diverse units and agencies of the mission and would give younger officers greater opportunity to participate and be heard.
In dealing with creativity and openness, the recommendations of Task Force XI (Diplomatic Missions) parallel and sustain those of Task Force VII. Task Force XI calls attention to the impatience of younger officers with “antiquated rules of protocol and behavior” and emphasizes the importance of creating an atmosphere in which the chief of mission and his ranking staff members open themselves to ideas from below and, in turn, encourage those they direct to look beyond the narrow confines of their job descriptions. It recommends the use of informal discussion groups in the mission, preferably self-administered so as to give participants a sense of freedom and spontaneity.
Task Force IX also sees the “hierarchical attitudes” of the Foreign Service as limiting openness and calls for measures for the promotion and transmission—in and out—of ideas, viewpoints and criticisms.” (Pages 3911–3 of Diplomacy for the 70’s.)
We are in fundamental agreement with the task forces that more democratic working relationships within the missions can induce creativity and openness. But like the task forces, we are mindful that there are no universally applicable formulas for achieving this. Above all we recognize that, since chiefs of missions must have wide latitude in the management of their missions, the effectiveness of missions could suffer if rigid rules governing relationships among their personnel were imposed on them.
We believe that the best way of carrying out the task force recommendations lies in the preparation of specific guidelines for the chief of mission. Although these guidelines would be drawn up within the Department, they should reflect fully the views of the missions themselves.
Action Suggested: The missions are asked to review carefully the relevant passages of the reports of Task Forces VII, IX, and XI. We would appreciate by March 15 your reactions to task force recommendations [Page 731] 426 through 429 and your recommendations for the proposed guidelines.
Openness Outside the Mission
Task Force IX (Openness) finds that “conditions of service abroad encourage clannishness.” This group decided that greater efforts were needed to expose mission personnel to sources of influence which might previously have been neglected. Among these sources would be not only representatives of a broad spectrum of the population of the country to which the employee is assigned, but also U.S. visitors who can bring to the mission a greater understanding of and sensitivity to the U.S. domestic scene.
We call particular attention to the recommendations concerning reporting. Task Force IX concludes that too much of an officer’s time is devoted to the reporting of particular events at the expense of broader and more frequent contacts. Task Force XIII (Management Tools) also stresses this theme, recommending that “spot” reporting be reduced in favor of a few well developed analytical pieces. Task Force VII recommends the appointment of a special study group to “recommend measures for the paper flow.” The problem of the quantity and type of field reporting is a familiar one for the Department. While we can claim some progress in our efforts to streamline and rationalize the reporting function, we are still not fully satisfied with current practices. We will be most interested in your comments on recommendation 436.
Action Suggested: I would be grateful if by March 15, 1971, you could report on the actions you have taken or intend to take to implement recommendations 430 through 436.
I recognize that the criticisms and suggestions that you are being asked to deal with may not, in every case, be applicable to your mission. Where you find one or more of them to be inapplicable, and believe no significant improvements are needed in the areas they deal with, please say so. But before reaching such a conclusion, I ask that in each instance you bear in mind that the criticisms and suggestions we are dealing with are not the work of “outsiders” but rather of experienced “insiders” drawn from all ranks of the Foreign Service and the Department.
Many thanks for your cooperation.
The schedule of actions to implement the recommendations of the 13 Task Forces on Management Reforms listed below is divided into the following three categories:
- Category I—Recommendations approved for implementation.
- Category II—Recommendations requiring further study—decisions to be made within 90 days.
- Category III—Recommendations requiring further study—decisions to be made within 180 days.
- 420. Ambassadors should adapt their line organizations to the nature of their particular missions and the requirements laid on it. II
- 421. In many posts, the role of the DCM should broadened to make him the equivalent of a corporation executive vice-president in charge of operations and coordination. The DCM would then become the operation director of a PARA system. II
- 422. In missions with large operational programs, it may be necessary to augment the supervisory role of the Ambassador and DCM with another officer in an executive/management capacity. This officer could be a “counselor for management” an “executive secretary” or a lower ranking officer. II
- 424. Except for small missions, management systems should be established to (a) improve the collection and reporting of information and (b) provide adequate analysis and policy formulation to support a PARA system. II
- 425. In larger missions, consideration should be given to the formation of three management coordination groups: (a) information collection and reporting group, (b) policy and budget group, and (c) operations group. II
- 426. It is recommended that the Department give active consideration to measures for significantly democratizing the personal relationships in the mission. III
- 427. Ambassadors should seek greater openness and participation through less rigid compartmentalization. II
- 428. In our missions abroad, the Deputy Chief of Mission should see as an integral part of his management function the promotion and transmission—in and out—of ideas, positive viewpoints and criticisms. II
- 429. Encourage cross-mission communication at all levels and the consideration of creative views from all levels and sections. This can only be accomplished through impetus from the top. The executive section must make clear that this effort has its continuing interest. II
- 430. Ambassadors should insure that greater use of U.S. visitors is made. For example, Congressional travelers and other VIP’s should be asked to participate in give-and-take exchanges with selected cross sections of a mission. II
- 431. Visiting Congressmen should be asked to brief a mission on domestic developments. II
- 432. Embassy officers should be given, on a regular basis, the opportunity to act as escort or control officer for important visitors. II
- 433. Sufficient funds should be made available for travel and language improvement so that local contacts will be as widespread and useful as possible. II
- 436. Reduce reporting in favor of fewer, more perceptive analyses. If these analyses are indeed to improve in quality they must derive from broader contacts outside the Embassy. The aim should be to assure that a minimum of one quarter of a substantive officer’s time is devoted to out of the office contact and travel. III
- 499. Attaché reporting should be more closely coordinated with other mission intelligence through the operation of a reporting committee. III
Recommendations 423, 434, 435 have not been assigned to missions.
- Source: National Archives, RG 59, Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of State for Management, Management Subject Files: Lot 76 D 210, ORG 8 Task Force Recommendations. Unclassified. Drafted by Robert Foulton, Chief of the Management Staff in Macomber’s office, and approved by Macomber.↩
- See Document 312.↩
- Regarding responses from the missions see Document 312; and National Archives, RG 59, Office of the Deputy Under Secretary for Management, Management Reform Task Force Papers: Lot 74 D 394, Task Force File, March 1971. Ambassador to Nepal Carol Laise’s response is Document 332.↩
- Not further identified.↩