350. Memorandum of Conversation1

SUBJECT

  • Status of Economic Officers in the Department of State

During my call with John Irwin the President brought up the role and status of economic officers in the Service.2 He wanted us to consider steps to enhance the status of our economic officers in the Department and particularly abroad. From his various travels abroad he had the impression that Embassy economic officers were low on the totem pole. This was a serious mistake. He contrasted the relatively [Page 773]low estate of the Economic Counselor and other economic officers with the status and role of AID Administrators and other officials. In most cases the Economic Counselor has a much more important role than the AID Administrator and should at least be accorded the status and position given these AID officials.

I mentioned to the President that the American Foreign Service Association had made various recommendations for improving the economic side of the Department. We will be reviewing them and others so that we can come up in the near future with specific practical steps to improve and upgrade this area.3

ELR
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, PER 1. No classification marking. Drafted by Richardson on March 14. Copies were sent to Rogers, Pedersen, Samuels, Greenwald, Rimestad, and Hastings.
  2. The President met with Richardson and Irwin from 4:22 to 5:05 p.m. on March 12. (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Central Files, President’s Daily Diary)
  3. During a March 17 telephone conversation, Richardson discussed Nixon’s views on upgrading State’s economic role with Nathaniel Samuels, whom Nixon appointed Deputy Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs on March 28. (Notes of conversation; Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Richardson Papers, Box 100, Personal)