204. Letter From the Deputy Under Secretary of State for Management (Read) to the Speaker of the House of Representatives (O’Neill)1

Dear Mr. Speaker:

Secretary Vance has asked me to submit the following report on actions taken by the Department of State to facilitate the employment of Foreign Service spouses, pursuant to section 413 of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act for FY 1978.2

We have allocated three positions to a Family Liaison Office (M/FLO) which we expect to open in March 1978. Mrs. Janet W. Lloyd, wife of a Foreign Service Officer, has been selected as the Director of the new office, reporting directly to me. This office will investigate providing career counseling for Foreign Service spouses. It will also be responsible for representing the interests and concerns of all Foreign Service family members to me and to other senior officials in the foreign affairs agencies.

We are in the process of contracting with Ms. Cynthia Chard to establish an automated skills bank in the Family Liaison Office. The automated system will provide a centralized system for cataloging the skills and various governmental and non-governmental overseas employment opportunities available to Foreign Service spouses. A computer terminal will be installed in the Family Liaison Office to assure up-to-date information and FLO personnel will be responsible for [Page 817] seeing that spouses are made aware of the information contained in the computerized system.

In addition, Ms. Chard’s contract will encompass research work with our posts abroad to determine the real employment situation in each country. After she has completed the overseas job information survey and the automation of the Skills Bank, I have asked Ms. Chard to research the feasibility of getting an International skills bank started with other government agencies and private corporations and foundations. She will travel to New York to visit the various foundations and multinational corporations to determine if there would be serious interest in setting up such a bank. At the same time, she will make each group well aware of the installation of the computerized job skills system in the Department and request their cooperation in informing the Department of all available jobs in and out of the country.

Revised regulations on the acceptance of employment by members of a U.S. citizen employee’s family are currently being considered. The revision will provide that family members may accept gainful employment in a foreign country if such employment does not violate any law of such country or of the United States. The revision will further state that if the Chief of the United States Diplomatic Mission in such country determines that the employment would damage the interests of the United States, the Chief of the Mission must so certify in writing to the family member. The new regulations will be sent in the near future to the Civil Service Commission for clearance prior to being published in the Federal Register.

We are at present working on a bill that could facilitate establishment of reciprocal agreements regarding work permits for family members. Once the legislation on the Vienna Convention passes the Senate, the Department will pursue this question further.

In the meantime, I understand that the Department is already working with the Immigration and Naturalization Service on new regulations on employment of dependents of a number of G–4 visa holders (e.g., dependents of World Bank employees). If these regulations, which have already been forwarded to the House Judiciary Committee for its review, are found workable, the Department will pursue similar regulations providing the basis for reciprocal agreements on the employment of A–1 and A–2 visa holders (e.g., dependents of foreign diplomats and staff accredited to the United States) will follow.

The Department of State continues to employ qualified family members of United States Government employees (including family members of Foreign Service personnel) in temporary positions at our posts abroad. Over the past few years, however, we have had to assure that posts did not violate the intent of the temporary hires by employing on a full-time basis resident Americans in permanent part-time posi[Page 818]tions. We are in the process of re-issuing regulations on the part-time, intermittent, and temporary positions to define more closely the ground rules for hiring in such positions, including the hiring of dependents. These new regulations should be ready for issuance by the end of February.

In addition, it has become clear that the Department needs to examine closely how it can better meet its temporary human resource needs overseas. Accordingly, I have requested that the Director of Management Operations (M/MO) review all the Department’s temporary resource allocations. I expect this review to begin in March after the M/MO has completed its comprehensive review of our permanent resource allocations. The Department will consult with USIA, AID, and other related Foreign Affairs agencies at that time.


Ben H. Read
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Records of the Under Secretary for Management (M), 1977–1978, Box 8, Chron February 1978. No classification marking. Drafted on January 24 by Phyllis A. Buscko (M/MO); cleared by Joan M. Clark (M/MO), Barnes, Horace Shamwell (L), and Millie Groobey (H) by phone.
  2. P.L. 95–105. For more information on the role of Foreign Service wives, see Documents 338 and 341 in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, vol. II, Organization and Management of U.S. Foreign Policy, 1969–1972.