226. Message From Secretary of State Vance1


I met recently with members of the Executive Level Task Force on Affirmative Action to review developments in our Equal Employment Opportunity Program.2 I was pleased to learn of the progress made so far to implement most of the Task Force’s original 89 recommendations.3 These recommendations cover the full range of personnel activities and decisions affecting minorities and women: recruitment, hiring, training, assignments, counseling, promotions and career development.

Additionally, the Department has reached five of the nine key EEO goals which I set for this fiscal year—an intensified recruitment effort based on cooperation with minority and women’s organizations; increased emphasis on upward mobility for employees at the lower pay levels; the initiation of a vigorous, comprehensive Hispanic Employment Program; the formation of a Retention and Career Progression Study Group to address the various problems affecting the two EEO hiring programs; and expanded EEO awareness training at the Foreign Service Institute.

The recruitment and retention of qualified minority members and women are crucial to the success of our EEO program efforts. We have made progress in this area—but I am not yet satisfied that we are making enough. Last year, for the first time, the Department met its hiring goal for the affirmative action program for Junior Foreign Service Reserve Officers. Despite this there are only 161 (4.7%) minority FSO’s. This represents an increase of just 1% in nearly two years. The rate of increase for women FSO’s was also only 1% over the past two years. [Page 929] Ten percent of the FSO Corps are now women, but this low rate of increase is unsatisfactory.

I am deeply committed to an aggressive affirmative action program for the Department. I am therefore asking all Seventh Floor Principals and Assistant Secretaries to become actively involved in equal opportunity.

We have accomplished a great deal in laying the groundwork for a comprehensive EEO program, but I need everyone’s personal participation and commitment in achieving our fundamental goal of utilizing to the fullest the talents of every employee and making the Department and the Foreign Service better reflect the values and diversity of American society.

Cyrus Vance
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Records of the Under Secretary for Management (M), 1978–1979, Box 10, Chron August 3–11, 1979. No classification marking. A July 31 covering memorandum from Read to Vance indicates that Vance signed the message on August 6. (Ibid.)
  2. No minutes of this meeting were found.
  3. See Document 194.