250. Letter From the Deputy Secretary of State (Ingersoll) to the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee (Eastland)1 2

Dear Mr. Chairman:

On July 28, 1974, I wrote to Chairman Morgan of the House International Relations Committee about my plan to have attached to my office someone who could advise me on overall progress in human rights matters and ensure full consideration of human rights factors in decision making. I am pleased to inform you that I have now appointed James M. Wilson, Jr., an able senior Foreign Service Officer with broad experience, to the position of Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs. This is a new position expressly created to bring a clear focus on human rights issues to activities throughout the Department, and to assure attention at the highest level, as these issues deserve.

Mr. Wilson will be charged with coordinating the efforts of all of the existing offices within the Department engaged in work which is directed toward, or impinges upon, human rights and humanitarian affairs. He will in addition undertake the direct supervision of activities now performed by Frank Kellogg, Special Assistant for Refugee and Migration Affairs, and the office of Frank A. Sieverts, my Special Assistant for Prisoner of War and Missing in Action Matters. Mr. Wilson will of course work closely with the Under Secretary for Security Assistance, the Deputy Under Secretary for Management, and the Legal Adviser, all of whom have broad Department-wide responsibilities in this area.

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In short, I am instituting centralized direction of the Department’s efforts on human rights, refugees, humanitarian assistance, prisoners of war and with the Red Cross, other voluntary agencies and such related institutions.

I would like to stress that our objective in creating this new position, and appointing Mr. Wilson to fill it, is to expand and upgrade the time and attention devoted to human rights considerations in the work of the Department of State. In so doing, we intend to consult fully with you and your colleagues in Congress, a task to which Mr. Wilson will be devoting special effort.

I shall report to you further on the progress of this reorganization.


Robert S. Ingersoll
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files, P750069–1497. No classification marking. For Ingersoll’s letter to Morgan, see Document 240. Letters identical to this were sent to members of the House and Senate Foreign Affairs Committees.
  2. Ingersoll informed Eastland that the Department of State had created the position of Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs and appointed James M. Wilson to the post.