200. Letter From Helen Cohn Needham to the Deputy Under Secretary of State for Management (Read)1

Dear Mr. Read:

It has come to our attention that members of the State Department’s personnel staff have been telling women Foreign Service officers that the sex discrimination class actions brought on behalf of women Foreign Service officers2 are frivolous and without basis and that class members will be ultimately liable for the Department’s attorney fees. In our view these comments constitute harassment and intimidation of the class members and we must insist that official action be taken to prevent further improper comments. We request that you inform in writing all members of your staff, that any remarks to women Foreign Service officers which could be interpreted as intimidation, harassment, or otherwise suggesting that they disassociate themselves from the class-action litigation must be halted immediately.


  • Bruce J. Terris
  • Helen Cohn Needham3
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Records of the Under Secretary for Management (M), 1977–1978, Box 8, Chron February 1978. No classification marking. Copies were sent to Palmer and King.
  2. See Documents 195 and 199.
  3. Only Needham signed above these typed signatures.