198. Department of State Press Release1


Today, Secretary of State Cyrus R. Vance launched a concerted effort to recruit more women and minority group members into the Department of State, and to upgrade the employment status of minorities and women already employed by the Department. This action came as a result of the Secretary’s acceptance of the recommendations made by the Executive Level Task Force on Affirmative Action.2 The Task Force, whose membership consists of top level officials within the Department, has met repeatedly since March under the chairmanship of Richard M. Moose, Assistant Secretary for African Affairs.

“I find myself in substantial agreement with the Task Force recommendations,” Mr. Vance said. “Specifically, I have accepted the recommendations which call for substantial increases of minorities and women in the Foreign Service.”

Among highlights of the report were proposals to:

—Boost the hiring goals of two existing affirmative action programs.

—Centralize recruitment and hiring for all employees.

—Commit senior officers to appointment of “a more significant number” of women and minority group members to executive level positions.

—Establish affirmative action considerations as a factor in personnel performance evaluations, and in promotions.

—Name more women and minority group members to selection boards in the Foreign Service, and to merit promotion panels in the Civil Service.

Mr. Vance asserted: “I am personally concerned that all facets of employment in the Department be free from the taint of discrimination based on an individual’s race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age or handicap.

“By now you know the importance placed by this administration on the human rights of all people in our global community. This Department, whose mission it is to conduct the foreign policy of this govern[Page 804]ment, must impress the rest of the world with our concern for human rights by clearly demonstrating that those same rights are guaranteed to our employees at home and abroad. . . .

“I will expect all employees in the Department to cooperate in making equal employment opportunity an integral part of the mission of the Department. This program must become thoroughly institutionalized in the conduct of our daily business.”

The Secretary directed the Task Force to remain in existence and to monitor progress for him.

The report noted that, even though the Department has had an affirmative action program for several years, progress had not been impressive. At the end of 1976, less than 10% of the Foreign Service officers were women and minority group members represented only 4% of the Officer Corps. In the Civil Service, 4% of those holding senior positions were minority group members and 16% were women.

Members of the Task Force in addition to Mr. Moose are: Mr. John M. Thomas, Assistant Secretary for Administration; Ambassador Carol C. Laise, Director General of the Foreign Service; Ms. Patricia M. Derian, Coordinator for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs; Mr. Hodding Carter, III, Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs; Mr. John A. Burroughs, Jr., Deputy Assistant Secretary for Equal Employment Opportunity; Ambassador John E. Reinhardt, Director, U.S. Information Agency; and Mr. John M. Gilligan, Administrator, Agency for International Development.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Records of the Under Secretary for Management (M), 1977–1978, Box 7, Chron December 1977. No classification marking. Drafted by Burroughs.
  2. See Document 194.