147. Briefing Memorandum From the Deputy Under Secretary of State for Management (Eagleburger) to Secretary of State Kissinger1

Murphy Commission Report

The attached paper summarizes the major recommendations of the Murphy Commission Report.2 While the work of the committee touched every branch of the government concerned with foreign af [Page 514] fairs, this Department was more carefully studied and is more deeply affected by the recommendations than any other organization. Some of the proposals regarding the Department and the Foreign Service are similar to our own plans and trend of thinking while others are at variance with them. We want to examine all of these points, and I have therefore established a task force to review our position on the issues raised in the report. Since it took more than three years to prepare the report, it seems reasonable for the Department to take several months to consider the recommendations and consult with those bureaus most affected by them. Once our study is completed, we will report to you our conclusions and recommendations.


Summary of the Murphy Commission Report3


1. Organization

The commission was established by Congress to “submit findings and recommendations for providing a more effective system for the formulation and implementation of the nation’s foreign policy.” Its aim was to propose improvements in the organization of the executive departments as well as in relations between the executive branch and Congress.

2. Political Issues of the Future

Government organization must be related to the evolving nature of political problems. The near future will be characterized by growing [Page 515] interaction and tightening interdependence among all nations of the world. Economic issues, technological and environmental and related affairs will become more important, with foreign policy and domestic policy tending to merge. Policy making will require greater public and congressional participation.

3. The President

The President is dependent on assistance of three kinds:

—an able staff. The present Assistant for National Security Affairs has met the requirements of this post while also serving as Secretary of State. However, the responsibilities of this Assistant are sufficiently different in nature from those of the Secretary of State that the Assistant should in the future hold no other duties.

—an effective organizational structure. The NSC should be upgraded and, with the recent increase in importance of economic issues, should be expanded to include the Secretary of Treasury and should address itself to international economic problems.4 Other cabinet and staff officials concerned with domestic issues should also be invited to attend sessions on an ad hoc basis. The NSC should be more extensively used as a deliberative body.

—cabinet departments. These departments must be drawn into policy formulation.

4. Department of State

As the central point for the conduct of foreign affairs, the State Department should concentrate on three major functions: (1) Assess the overseas impact of proposed decisions; (2) Play a major part in the formulation of all policy with significant foreign implications and “monitor and influence” the foreign activities of other foreign agencies; and (3) Conduct relations with other governments and international organizations.

In keeping with these aims the Department should be reorganized as follows:

—the Under Secretary of Political Affairs should be retitled Under Secretary for Political and Security Affairs while the position of Under Secretary for Security Assistance should be abolished. The Under Secretary should be the focus of greater Department attention to defense issues.

—the Under Secretary for Economic Affairs should become the Under Secretary for Economic and Scientific Affairs.

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EB, OES, and the functional units of IO should be reorganized into four new bureaus:

  • —International Economic and Business Affairs
  • —Energy, Transportation and Communication
  • —Oceans, Environmental and Scientific Affairs
  • —Food, Population and Development

—a new senior officer for policy information should be established to direct press affairs and policy information activities currently belonging to USIA.5

CU should be transferred to a new Information and Cultural Agency.6

—the Deputy Under Secretary for Management should be made an Under Secretary.7

5. International Economic Policy

International economic policy deserves greater attention; the following steps would lead to this objective:8

—The White House should appoint a senior assistant for economic policy; establish an international policy advisory board of private citizens; establish an independent study group on international economic issues and create a subcouncil on international economic policies.

—The State Department must significantly improve its ability to deal with foreign policy aspects of economic, scientific, transportation, population and related issues by:

  • —appointing more ambassadors and DCMs with economic expertise.
  • —expanding personnel interchange among agencies and between government and business.
  • —increasing “multiagency participation” in political negotiations overseas.
  • —giving Treasury primary responsibility for supervising U.S. commitments to international development institutions.
  • —transferring the President’s special trade representative to the State Department upon completion of current trade negotiations.
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6. Defense

To strengthen defense as an instrument of foreign policy, the following steps are recommended:

—Create a National Security Review Committee to insure integration of defense policy with foreign policy aims.

—Create an Advisory Board on National Defense comprised of private citizens to inject the public view into defense affairs.

—The State Department should improve its handling of political-military issues; the new Under Secretary for Political Affairs should assist this.

ACDA should be strengthened by (1) making the Director the principal advisor to the NSC on arms control and disarmament;9 (2) making the Director a member of the National Security Review Committee; (3) expanding external research concentrating on long-term issues; and (4) substantially increasing ACDA’s budget.

OMB should give greater attention to broad defense policy issues.

—Within Defense, ISA should be given a greater role in formulating defense programs and budget.

7. Intelligence

National security and an effective foreign policy require an intelligence capability. However, there should be firmer oversight of the intelligence community and a better review of its covert activities.10 To this end:

—The Director of CIA should have closer contact with the President (with an office in the White House) and delegate much of his day-to-day responsibility to his deputy, who should no longer be military.

CIA should be retitled FIA (Foreign Intelligence Agency) to emphasize its exclusive foreign responsibility.

—The Director of FIA should normally be someone from outside the career service.

—The President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board should become the President’s principal source of intelligence.

—The NSC Intelligence Committee should be more active in improving the quality of intelligence.

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8. Public Opinion and Humanitarian Considerations

—The new Office of Humanitarian Affairs in the State Department should be upgraded.11

—An Advisory Committee to the Secretary of State on Human Rights should be created.

—The U.S. representative to the U.N. on Human Rights should be given a broader mandate.

9. Practice of Diplomacy in our Bilateral Relationships

—Ambassadors must have greater control of communications and personnel in their missions.

—Foreign service reporting requires substantial improvement.

—Inspections of overseas posts should be modified.

In our public diplomacy the conclusions of the Stanton Panel should be endorsed.12

10. Planning

Serious planning work is of great importance and a Council of International Planning should be established at the presidential level.

11. Budget

Congress should simplify the authorization process.

12. Personnel

The State Department’s personnel system must be improved by:

  • —encouraging greater functional expertise.
  • —encouraging better management.
  • —revising employee-management relations.
  • —instituting a strong executive development program.

13. Executive-Congressional Relations

There should be better arrangements regarding executive agreements, executive privilege and a comprehensive security classification system. The four presidential proclamations of national emergency which are currently in effect should be terminated.

14. Congressional Organization

A Joint Committee on National Security should be established to perform for Congress the political review and coordination now performed for the executive branch by the NSC. This committee [Page 519] should take responsibility for congressional oversight of the intelligence community.

Supplementary Views

In comments attached to the report,13 Congressman Broomfield, Senator Mansfield and Vice President Rockefeller disagreed with some aspects of the report. Broomfield strongly opposed the Commission’s endorsement of the Stanton panel report on USIA, in particular the proposal to give VOA greater independence. Vice President Rockefeller also expressed some reservation on this point. In a scathing attack on the entirety of the Commission’s work, Mansfield remarked that “the ratio of effort to result has not been up to expectations. A surfeit of words masks an absence of clarity.” Mansfield considers the commission’s findings and recommendations on executive-congressional relations to be fatuous at best, the section on intelligence inadequate at most and the emphasis on economic issues risking the danger of fadism.

  1. Source: Department of State, Policy and Procedural Files of the Deputy Under Secretary for Management: Lot 79 D 63, Murphy Commission, 1974–1975. Unclassified. Drafted by Frederic N. Spotts (M) on July 8. Kissinger initialed at the bottom of the page.
  2. On July 13, 1972, Congress established the Commission on the Organization of the Government for the Conduct of Foreign Policy under the chairmanship of former Ambassador Robert D. Murphy. Known as the Murphy Commission, this blue-ribbon panel was charged with studying a wide range of organizational subjects across all government foreign policymaking bodies. The Murphy Commission’s final report was submitted to President Ford, President pro tempore of the Senate James Eastland (D–Mississippi), and Speaker of the House of Representatives Carl Albert (D–Oklahoma) on June 27, 1975.
  3. No classification marking. Copies of the Murphy Commission report were circulated for comment to all concerned Federal departments and agencies by NSC Staff Secretary Jeanne W. Davis on July 11. Their responses are in the Ford Library, National Security Council Institutional Files, Box 98, IFG Logged Documents, Murphy Commission—Comments on the Commission Report, 4 folders. The Department of State comments on the report, drafted by the Policy Planning Staff, were sent to Sohm by Lord for decision on July 18. (National Archives, RG 59, Records of the Policy Planning Staff, Director’s Files (Winston Lord) 1969–77, Entry 5027, Jul 16–31, 1975) The Murphy Commission’s final report was released in June 1975. (Commission on the Organization of the Government for the Conduct of Foreign Policy, pp. 161–192)
  4. See Document 202.
  5. A senior officer position for policy information was not created during the Ford administration.
  6. In 1978, under the provisions of Reorganization Plan No. 2 (91 Stat. 1637), the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs was abolished and its responsibilities transferred to the International Communication Agency (as the U.S. Information Agency was titled under the Carter administration). The Bureau was re-established in 1999, with the integration of the U.S. Information Agency into the Department of State. See footnote 8, Document 110.
  7. The Deputy Under Secretary of State for Management was made an Under Secretary by Congress on October 7, 1978. (P.L. 95–426; 92 Stat. 968)
  8. See Document 179.
  9. See footnote 6, Document 202.
  10. For a more detailed discussion of the Murphy Commission’s recommendations on intelligence, see Document 45.
  11. See Document 186.
  12. For documentation on the Stanton Panel, see Documents 102, 103, and 106.
  13. Not found.