343. Editorial Note

In March 1972, the Department of State issued United States Foreign Policy, 1971: A Report of the Secretary of State. The 621-page volume, Secretary Rogers’ second annual report to the Congress, sought to provide a comprehensive record of how U.S. foreign policy was implemented during 1971. Included was a chapter on management that focused on implementation of the Policy Analysis and Resource Allocation system:

“The long and difficult effort to develop a system for policy analysis and review, linking U.S. interests and objectives with available resources, culminated in 1971 in the establishment of the Policy Analysis and Resource Allocation (PARA) system. Systems of this type are not new. The Department’s problem has been to adapt the tools which such a system provides to the area of foreign policy, so much of which cannot be ‘quantified’ and so much of which depends on judgment and incomplete information. We believe, however, that we have the beginnings of such a system in PARA.

“During the year a number of specific PARA actions were taken:

  • “1. Under the aegis of the Secretary, the Under Secretary and other Department principals began to conduct a cycle of annual policy reviews for major areas of the world. The objective has been to look beyond current operational problems toward the general lines of policy we should follow over the next five years and the programs and activities required for the support of these policies.
    • “—Some of the reviews of the past year have been concerned with U.S.-Canadian relations, U.S. policy toward the Andean countries, the implications of U.S. energy policy for U.S. foreign relations over the next decade, U.S. relations with north Africa, and U.S. policy toward certain countries in East Asia and western Europe. These reviews have permitted the leadership of the Department to consider issues which might not normally have been brought to its attention. They also enabled the Assistant Secretaries to present their views on long-range policy issues to the Department’s leadership in a more systematic manner. Increasingly, Ambassadors will be invited to participate to insure that the views of the Embassies and the country teams will be fully taken into account.
    • “—With the pattern now set, we expect in the coming months to achieve comprehensive coverage by the PARA system, improve our analytical techniques, relate policy objectives to the various resource allocation processes, and further develop regional and subregional policy frameworks within which the individual country PARA’s will be formulated.
  • “2. The country PARA review system is based on an annual document prepared jointly by the Department and the Embassy’s country team. After the paper has been reviewed at staff level by an informal interagency working group, it is referred to the Department’s leadership. An ‘issues’ paper is prepared by the Secretary’s Planning and Coordination staff, which becomes the agenda for the review session chaired by the Under Secretary or another of the Department’s principals. The development of the ‘issues’ paper injects the ‘adversary’ role into the decision-making process, as recommended by the task forces on Diplomacy for the 70’s. After the review session, a guidance memorandum is prepared establishing the Department’s position. The PARA document is then reviewed by an assistant secretary level interdepartmental group which approves the U.S. Government position on the various issues raised. This interagency group is part of the National Security Council mechanism. If the agencies cannot reach agreement, the matter is referred to higher levels, such as the NSC Under Secretary’s committee.
    • “—The PARA process provides the opportunity for cyclical reviews of bilateral, regional, and global issues, and establishes systematic and cumulative policy dialogues between the country team and the Washington agencies on major policy issues.
    • “—During the past year, the Bureau of Inter-American Affairs completed another programming cycle, involving consideration of a Country Analysis and Strategy Paper (CASP), a review of this document by the National Security Council (NSC) Interdepartmental Group for Latin America, and the adoption of policy positions and programs. The Bureau of African Affairs also completed a cycle of policy reviews and approval by the NSC Interdepartmental Group for Africa. Both the Bureaus of European Affairs and East Asian Affairs prepared documents for a selected group of countries in these regions, as an initial step toward a comprehensive 1972 cycle.
    • “—A new programming system for security assistance was developed, designed to coordinate the Military Assistance and Supporting Assistance Programs and to relate them to U.S. interests and objectives.
    • “—These new developments were, of course, in addition to the existing programming processes of the Agency for International Development (A.I.D.), the United States Information Agency (USIA), and the Educational and Cultural Exchange Program.
  • “3. In addition to the regional, functional, and country PARA process, the Department has established a formal series of special policy [Page 763] studies as requested by the Department’s leadership. These special studies concern issues in such areas as U.S. policy in Asia, U.S. policy toward the enlarged European Community, the future scope and focus of educational and cultural policies and programs, international science and technology programs, and the prospective role and evolution of international economic organizations. After the completion of each study, a review session chaired by one of the Department’s principals is held and a position is formulated on the issues raised.
  • “4. Each of the reviews, whether they concern bilateral, regional, or functional issues result in a decision-guidance memorandum, signed by the principal who chaired the review session. In some instances, these reviews also result in communications from the Secretary to the President, expressing his views on the examined issue.

“The specific details of the PARA process may undergo changes as the Department improves its techniques. However, the central objectives have been established and will continue to govern:

“In Washington:

  • “—To assist in the early identification of emerging issues and their orderly analysis and review.
  • “—To assist in linking policy and resources allocation, insuring that resource requirements are taken into consideration in decisions and that allocations are consonant with U.S. interests and their priorities.
  • “—To provide the supporting rationale and data base for the Department’s funding and personnel requests in the budget/appropriation process.
  • “—To facilitate Department policy and resource allocation guidance for the overseas programs and operations of other agencies, especially in the foreign affairs area.
  • “—To support the Department’s in-house policy planning process.

“In the field:

  • —To encourage country teams, under the Ambassador’s leadership, to periodically reassess the U.S. role in the host country.
  • —To provide the basis for coordinated submission of foreign affairs programs and budgets by State and other agencies represented at a post, through a single integrated presentation of the proposed programs and activities, relating objectives and resource requirements.” (Ibid., pages 387–390)

In connection with the implementation of PARA, Under Secretary of State Irwin established a series of policy study memoranda (PASMs) and a complementary series of decision memoranda (PADMs). Copies of PASM 1 through PASM 16, dated October 15, 1971, through December 12, 1972, are in the Department of State, S/S–I Files: Lot 82 D 126, PASMs. Copies of PADM 1 through 62, dated September 13, 1971, through March 6, 1973, are ibid., PADMs. The PADMs consist of memoranda from Irwin summarizing the conclusions of PARA reviews [Page 764] conducted either of policies toward specific countries and regions or of the performance of bureaus. Files on PARA review meetings, including agendas, issue papers, background papers, and memoranda, are ibid., Lot 83 D 113. The Department also contracted with the Social Sciences Department of the Bendix Corporation to perform an evaluation of PARA. In July 1972 Bendix submitted its final report, entitled “PARA: Process, Problems and Potential.” A copy is in the National Archives, RG 59, Office of the Deputy Under Secretary for Management, Management Reform Task Force Papers: Lot 74 D 394, MR: TF XIII, PARA. In his Annual Management Report for fiscal year 1972, submitted to the Office of Management and Budget on September 19, 1972, Deputy Under Secretary for Management Macomber called PARA “perhaps the most pervasive of the changes we have made in the way we do our work.” He described the progress made in implementing the system and outlined “priority improvement projects” needed to refine and further develop PARA. (Ibid., Macomber Files: Lot 73 D 421, ORG 10) In United States Foreign Policy, 1972: A Report of the Secretary of State (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1973), which was presented to Congress on April 19, 1973, Rogers once again devoted a significant portion of his discussion of management to PARA, describing the results of the first PARA cycle as completed in 1972. (pages 229–233)