United States Department of State
Department of State
Department of State
Jerry Israel and
David L. Anderson
Upon his resignation in 1792, Henry Remsen, the first chief clerk of the Department of State, left the following instructions:
Such of the Foreign Letters as are not filed away in the cases, are for the present put on my desk in two pigeon holes at the right hand side. The Consular returns are at the bottom of said desk right hand side … the drafts of foreign proceedings … are filed in said desk left hand pigeon hole. The letters from our ministers and charge des affaires now in commission Mr. Jefferson keeps…. A little attention will be necessary inseparating the foreign from the domestic letters, as they are sent to the Office by Mr. Jefferson to be filed. My rule in making the separation was by reading them. The domestic letters to be filed in the Office down stairs, the foreign letters in the Office up stairs.
Nearly two centuries later, commenting on the move from "Old State" to headquarters in "New State" (1947) and finally, "New, New State"(1961), the diplomat Henry Serrano Villard wrote:
Even this fantastically outside complex is inadequate. Spilling over into nine rented buildings, using nearly 1.5 million square feet of space, the State Department premises are already too small; if AID [Agency for International Development], ACDA [Arms Control and Disarmament Agency] and USIA [United States Information Agency] are added, the total is twenty buildings with 2,547,377 square feet. Offices are overcrowded, tenants must double up, conference rooms must be lopped off, new outlets sought.
The irony of these comparisons of simple and complex styles is that Villard's larger department was if anything less rather than more involved in the making of American foreign policy, the State Department's primary responsibility. Along these lines, in modern times, especially since World War II, one notes the competitive foreign policies of departments such as Commerce, Agriculture, Defense, Labor, Treasury, Interior, and Health and Human Services, plus the role of the Central Intelligence Agency and Federal Reserve Bank, not to mention semiofficial business, scientific, cultural, and journalistic groups. By the mid-1960s, only one-fourth of federal personnel in U.S. embassies were employees of the State Department. In addition, there is the superior and sometimes competitive power of the president and groups or individuals on the White House staff and otherwise outside the State Department that the president may especially empower.
Henry A. Kissinger noted the paradox of an increasingly specialized, bureaucratized society having negative consequences for American policy and policymakers. Calling for a return to the individual and intellectual approach to problems and policy, not uncharacteristic of the formative age of Jefferson and Remsen, Kissinger writes of policy "fragmented into a series of ad hoc decisions which make it difficult to achieve a sense of direction or even to profit from experience. Substantive problems are transformed into administrative ones. Innovation is subjected to 'objective' tests which deprive it of spontaneity. 'Policy planning' becomes the projection of familiar problems into the future. Momentum is confused with purpose. There is greater concern with how things are than with which things matter." As Richard Nixon's national security adviser and then as secretary of state, Kissinger waged his own assault against the inertia of bureaucratized foreign policy.
Borrowing from the example of Remsen and the explanation of Kissinger, it is possible to observe—at least until the mid-twentieth century—that amidst efforts to institutionalize the apparatus of the State Department, what machinery there was rested on a precious few long-lived cogwheels. Working backward not quite all the way from Kissinger to Remsen, one traces a remarkable continuity within the careers of just three men: Wilbur J. Carr, with forty-five years of service (1892–1937); Alvey A. Adee, with forty-six years in Washington (1878–1924) and seven before that for the Department of State in Madrid; and William Hunter, with fifty-seven years (1829–1886) as chief of bureau, chief clerk, and second assistant secretary (the latter two being key administrative posts held also by Carr and Adee).
As late as 1929, the Department of State was small and its central leadership even more scant. When Henry L. Stimson took office as Herbert C. Hoover's secretary of state, there were—including everybody from the secretary to chauffeurs, clerks, stenographers, and janitors—six hundred people. Yet Stimson, not unusually for the department, surrounded himself with an able, tight-knit group of assistants including Carr, Joseph Cotton, Francis White, and Nelson T. Johnson. Like Cotton, some assistants were new to foreign policy; others, like Carr and Johnson, had seen extended service in the consular and diplomatic corps. They blended together, however, to advise the secretary and the president on critical policy matters in Latin America, Europe, and Asia.
The history of the State Department until the mid-twentieth century was tied, it appears, to the history of the few men who had served as secretary of state or to their staffs. The role of the individual has since, however, become increasingly institutionalized, and with that change has come a State Department larger and yet often less effective than it was in its humbler days.
THE CALIBER OF LEADERSHIP
It is tempting to start at the very beginning with Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, and the Virginia dynasty. Indeed, it must be noted that these Founders and "systems builders" used the State Department's highest official, not the vice president, as counselor and successor. Yet it remained for one of the second generation of American revolutionaries, John Quincy Adams, to achieve the golden age of American diplomacy and thereby establish the model, perhaps yet unequaled, of a great secretary of state. Adams dominated events in which the United States signed the Treaty of Ghent (1814), which concluded the War of 1812; issued the Monroe Doctrine; and strengthened American maritime power by agreeing with England to clear the Great Lakes of warships and by obtaining rights to fish off Labrador and Newfoundland. Under Adams's leadership at State, the United States extended its landed empire by annexing Florida, removing Russia from the west coast of North America, settling the Canadian boundary from the Great Lakes to the Rockies, and claiming, for the first time, the Pacific coast. Even amidst Adams's successes, however, the State Department and its secretary retained the highly personal and political character developed under the Virginia dynasty.
Adams himself dangled the post of secretary of state in front of Henry Clay in 1824 in what their political rivals, the Jacksonians, called a "corrupt bargain." While personally worlds apart, Adams and Clay were closer together in support of an "American system" of economic regulation and internal improvements than has been generally noted. Nonetheless, a pattern of granting political favors or rewarding factions with high office in the State Department was well established and would continue into the twentieth century with the appointments of William Jennings Bryan (by Woodrow Wilson in 1913) and Cordell Hull (by Franklin Roosevelt in 1933). Perhaps no period was more replete with political partisanship in the State Department than the years between Adams and the Civil War. First used by the followers of Andrew Jackson as patronage rewards, or the spoils of victory, the department's leadership positions were given— especially in the administrations of James K. Polk, Franklin Pierce, and James Buchanan—to proponents of southern slave expansion who styled themselves "Young Americans."
By 1860, and certainly after the Civil War, the rapid advance of the industrial economy of the United States and the transfer of power from planters to industrialists and financiers was closely mirrored in the composition of State Department leadership. In fact, resisting the divisive trends of the Young Americans, some department leaders such as Daniel Webster and William Learned Marcy had begun in the 1840s to develop interest in a new wave of expansionism directed toward California, Hawaii, and Asia. Foremost among postwar figures was William Henry Seward, next to Adams the greatest secretary of state of the nineteenth century.
Seward, like John Quincy Adams, was also an intellectual. He had read widely and well in the classics and contemporary works. His ties to Adams were as strong a link as was the more mundane relationship between Hunter and Adee, whose careers overlapped those of their more famous superiors. After Adams's death in 1848, Seward mourned, "I have lost a patron, a guide, a counsellor, and a friend—one whom I loved scarcely less than the dearest relations, and venerated above all that was mortal among men."
Seward's State Department years saw the out-line developed for a vast, coordinated American worldwide empire with its great continental base producing goods for the consumers of Latin America, Africa, and Asia. While Seward's master plan was not fulfilled during his tenure in office, it was followed carefully by such capable, if less visible, successors as William M. Evarts and Hamilton Fish.
With Evarts, in particular, the State Department began to take on its modern cast as an organization intent, in its own way, on "the fostering, the developing, and the directing of … commerce by the government." In October 1880, under Evarts's supervision, the State Department received congressional approval and appropriations for the publication of monthly consular reports, a step urged by local chambers of commerce throughout the country. Also characteristic of the years ahead, Evarts was a lawyer. Indeed, like many future secretaries of state, he was a dominant figure in the American bar at the time—a profession gaining increased significance in modern American business and government.
THE LEGAL MIND
A list of the secretaries and undersecretaries of state of the twentieth century reads like a hall of fame of attorneys: Elihu Root, Philander C. Knox, Robert Lansing, Charles Evans Hughes, Henry L. Stimson, Edward R. Stettinius, Dean Acheson, John Foster Dulles, William P. Rogers, Cyrus R. Vance, George P. Shultz, James A. Baker III, and Warren M. Christopher, not to mention Huntington Wilson, William Phillips, Joseph C. Grew, Nicholas deBelleville Katzenbach, and Elliot L. Richardson. Indeed, a number of these men served both at the State and the Justice departments, and the number of secretaries of state who have also been attorney general is significant. The modern business flavor; cross-examining perception; studied, organized knowledge; attention to detail; and developed cynicism of the legal mind—as found, for example, in a Root or a Stimson—are important to note as traits common to the personnel of the Department of State. More precisely, those in leadership positions at State have often been Ivy League–trained, Wall Street lawyers whose careers have paralleled the growth of the American industrial system and policy. Such lawyers have been uniquely prepared to deal on a large scale with the organization of railroads, banks, and other developing enterprises at home and abroad.
Dulles's law firm, Sullivan and Cromwell, was involved in the making of American foreign policy as early as the Panamanian revolution of 1903, in part engineered in a New York City hotel room by Phillip Cromwell. Stimson's clients included the Continental Rubber Company, the United States Printing Company, the National Sugar Refining Company, the Bank of North America, the Mutual Life Insurance Company, and the Astoria Power and Light Company. In such representations, Stimson, like his colleagues, was accustomed to high finance. In foreign policy matters, once in the service of State, a Stimson, Root, Dulles, or Christopher would easily fall into the conditions and attitudes emerging from a successful legal practice. Such men could easily talk as though they had the will and power to arrange a set of conditions for society. They were concerned, as always, with the important things: money, boundaries, goods, and, perhaps for the first time, guns.
Corporation lawyers derived their power from their relationship to the developing corporate economy they helped to construct. They had the power of expertise in legal matters. They also had the power of individuals who had a broader perspective of the total system and could thereby give advice to those functioning in narrower channels. By controlling various scientific, educational, and cultural projects through foundations and associations, they also could dramatically influence opinion and events in noneconomic aspects of American life. They served, in particular, as key people in educating persons who were going to be decision makers in foreign policy matters, which were less directly tied than domestic concerns to political and congressional sanctions. By taking the leadership at State and other departments (for example, Treasury), corporation lawyers came to dominate American foreign policy by the beginning of the twentieth century. They moved comfortably within expansionist objectives outlined by Seward. The primary concern of State Department officials became the articulation of a managed, professional structure by which to achieve this well-defined strategy.
Developed—like all cabinet-level executive departments of the federal government—along the lines of precedent and personality rather than constitutional or legislative sanction, the State Department until the twentieth century had little organizational rhyme or reason. From Jefferson and Remsen through to Evarts and Adee, the department functioned by tradition, and often did so rather poorly. For example, in 1906 an inspector of American consulates in Asia found two consuls who were decrepit; two otherwise unfit for duty; one morally suspect; one charged with coercing a sultan into paying a debt for which he, the consul, was collector; one charged with drunkenness and the issuance of fraudulent papers; and one, "a coarse and brutal type," against whom eighty-two complaints were registered. Pressure to restructure the consular service, the branch of the department charged directly with the responsibility of looking after American citizens and business interests abroad, came, in great part, from those business interests themselves. Nearly a decade of lobbying went into the executive order of November 1905 and the passage in April 1906 of a consular reorganization bill. The purpose of the pressure and the proposals produced by it was the same, "in a word, to put the entire diplomatic system on a business basis, and to manage it in the future in accordance with the principles of sound common sense." Such principles included more effective training programs. Selective language training in the foreign service began in 1895 through the assignment of officers as "student interpreters" to the American legations in Persia, Korea, and Siam. In 1902 ten student interpreter posts were created at Peking (Beijing) for Chinese language training.
Training in consular responsibilities dates from 1907, when seven new consuls were given thirty-day courses of instruction. The purpose was "to give novitiates in the consular service some practical training in the running of a consular office before sending them off to their posts." In 1924 additional training for diplomatic and consular officers began with the establishment of a foreign service school, which sent new officers to divisions of the department for several months before their assignment abroad. In the 1930s the renamed Foreign Service Officers' Training School provided junior officers with training in consular and commercial work after their two-year probationary tour abroad.
Increasingly, some officers were also sent to universities for graduate study. While all training was suspended during World War II, it was resumed after the war with the establishment of the Foreign Service Institute. In theory, the intention was to copy a business model by creating the most efficient system with the most efficient people. Such changes included revised entrance examinations and consular associations, in addition to the foreign service schools.
The reforms were perhaps best represented in the internal system of ratings and inspections used to rule on promotions. Forms, which eventually swelled to some 212 questions by the 1920s, and departmental retention and promotion rating codes were used to provide uniform standards for personnel decisions. The most significant concern expressed by the forms and rating codes was to be a measuring device of the "efficiency of the individual." It was hoped that such evaluations would purge the "decrepit, unfit, morally suspect, drunken and coarse and brutal types, etc. " from the consular service.
Deeply felt personal, status, and career differences separated the department's consular service from the diplomatic, which officially represented the government of the United States in international relations. Diplomats often considered themselves professional policymakers and were more bound to State Department traditions. Managers and planners, usually emerging, like Carr, from the consular side, were held in low esteem. One diplomat observed those "administrative types who inflate themselves with all sorts of rich and resonant titles like Career Evaluators, and General Services Specialists, and even Ministers of Embassy for Administrative Affairs. These glorified janitors, supply clerks, and pants-pressers yearn to get their fingers in the foreign affairs pie, and when they do, the diplomatic furniture often gets marked with gummy thumbprints."
It must be noted, however, that truly significant organizational reform in the Department of State did not stop at the consular-diplomatic demarcation. Diplomats such as Phillips and Grew remarked at how much of their work concerned the same business interests and pressures directed at the consuls. New departures were taken with a view to improving the efficiency of the State Department, not just one part of it.
Of most direct contact with the business-consular developments of the early twentieth century were modifications in the preparations of commercial reports. The Bureau of Statistics, a province of influential geopoliticians such as O. P. Austin, was renamed the Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce. Although control of it was shifted to the Commerce and Labor Department in 1903, a corollary agency, the Bureau of Trade Relations, was immediately established. The State Department advanced this effort to collect and analyze business data with the creation of the Office of the Economic Adviser in 1921. This position came to be held by important advisers such as Herbert Feis.
The State Department's approach to filing and record keeping, somewhat more detailed than in Remsen's day, was reworked several times in the twentieth century to provide greater systemization. Thus were created in turn the Numerical Files of 1906–1910 and the more comprehensive and efficient Decimal Files in 1910. In the 1960s began a subject-numeric system, and in the 1970s the department's central file was computerized. The Division of Information, created in 1909, took responsibility for preserving the depart-ment's data and publishing selected annual excerpts in the already established House of Representatives publication series, Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS). This series entered what has been called its "modern era" in 1921, under the supervision of Gaillard Hunt and another agency he headed called the Division of Publications. During and after World War II, tremendous growth in the number of pages of files and the widespread practice of stamping documents with secret classifications slowed release of FRUS volumes. In 1989 more than thirty years separated the publication of official correspondence from its original date, and Congress set a statutory goal of a thirty-year maximum elapsed time for issuing the volumes.
Of greatest precedence on the diplomatic side was the creation in March 1908 of the Division of Far Eastern Affairs and the structuring of the whole State Department into a number of similar geographically grouped "divisions" in the years that followed. Before World War II, when the Department of State still numbered well below one thousand employees in all, these regional divisions were small, usually manned by only a few "desk officers" dealing with American embassies and legations overseas. Their purpose was to provide better machinery for the coordination of policy at all levels. In time, the five regional divisions (Europe, East Asia, Near East and South Asia, Inter-American, African) and a sixth desk, the Bureau of International Organization Affairs (responsible for relations with the American mission to the United Nations), grew dramatically in size and complexity. An assistant secretary headed each bureau and supervised the close contact with American embassies in the respective areas of responsibility. Below the assistant secretary were office directors, each responsible for a small group of countries. The country desk officer was the "low man on the totem pole," concerned with policy toward a single foreign nation.
The culmination of all these administrative changes came in two efforts to make the various components of the State Department into "inter-changeable" parts. First was the Rogers (Foreign Service) Act of 1924 and second was the movement known as "Wristonization" in the 1950s. The pressures and reasoning producing the Rogers Act, which merged the consular and diplomatic services into a single foreign service, were similar to those that resulted in the previously mentioned separate and more piecemeal reforms on both sides of the department. As Representative John Rogers remarked, business forces were united and once again exerting influence. He noted that "practically every chamber of commerce and trade organization in the United States and many of the American chambers and trade organizations functioning in other parts of the world have gone on record as favoring this particular reorganization of our foreign service." Rather than a radical departure, the Rogers Act was a culmination of the well-defined premises of efficient control and a transition to still further forms of administrative systemization. In place of the separation and distinction between the broadly separated categories of political interest in the diplomatic service and commercial interest in the consular service, there would be one unified Department of State.
With the increased size of the department, a movement had developed by the 1950s to merge still further the civil service staff of the State Department with the foreign service. With a shortage of personnel for positions, especially within the training programs, and a distrust between the "line" desk officers and the "staff" administrators, a committee was charged by Dulles with the task of additional State Department reorganization. The chairman of the committee was Henry M. Wriston, president of Brown University, and hence the merger of the two staffs became known as Wristonization.
This reform was not only another in a series; it also gave the first real evidence that the similar ones that had preceded it might not, after all, have been effective. Throughout the century, optimism had prevailed. Thus, Huntington Wilson had boasted in 1908, "I am happy to tell you that one of my pet hobbies, the politico-geographical division, has at last received final recognition by the creation of the Division of Far Eastern Affairs … so I now have much better machinery for my direction of the Far Eastern business." Or after the Rogers Act, Grew felt the State Department had "a new order … established, a new machine developed." But the Wriston committee described well the catalog of State Department problems after a half century of such administrative reforms. In sum, there was a marked decline in public confidence in the State Department; a similar decline in morale in the diplomatic ranks; and failure to carry through on various legislative mandates such as the Foreign Service Act of 1946, which provided for inducting officers into all levels of the foreign service so as to make it more flexible and successful.
Although Wristonization itself was another management panacea, it drew attention to the fact that the State Department's "management of human resources has been irresolute and unimaginative." Even though the question of personnel management had been under repeated study, "substantially nothing has been accomplished." The committee remarked that "all modern personnel management organizations utilize machines to facilitate the mechanical tasks of keeping personnel records; the Department however has not effectively utilized such a system." In particular, Wriston's committee criticized the "occasional tinkering" and "token" programs of recruitment and training. Congress had intended the Foreign Service Institute to be "for the State Department, what the Naval War College, the Army War College, and the National War College are for the Armed Services—an advanced training ground for officers destined for high command." But since the institute had been given little attention by the department, it did not provide the kind of educational leadership and scholarship that had been intended. Such was characteristic of the State Department's general lack of a clear concept of training requirements, career planning, and development.
The Wriston committee missed the perhaps larger significance of the protracted failure of management reforms and put all its faith in a still bigger and, it hoped, better structure. While many civil servants had been seriously involved in foreign affairs and thus would benefit themselves and the State Department by merger with the foreign service officers, a larger number of straight administrative employees (office personnel, for example) were trapped by the move into being diplomatic officers, for which they had neither ambition nor preparation.
The career uncertainty that these bureaucratic reforms injected into the department coincided with the chilling effect on creativity and responsiveness caused by McCarthyism's assault on the foreign service. Unfounded allegations of communist sympathies cost many veteran diplomats their jobs in the 1950s. McCarthyism was a grotesque extreme of a problem that had plagued State in the past and would burden it in the future, namely the tension between careerists and politicians. Foreign service officers were trained to suppress their personal views, but political appointees to posts in the department or partisan leaders outside often put pressure on careerists for political or ideological loyalty. Caution and conformity became the order of the day in the diplomatic service, with a resultant weakening of State's leadership role in foreign policy.
Forgetting, or perhaps choosing not to remember, that organizational reform enthusiasm similar to Wristonization had failed to deter and might be blamed for the bad situation now at hand, the brightest people in and out of the Department of State continued to talk of what could be done to increase management efficiency and policy effectiveness. Thus, one had come almost full circle from Remsen to Kissinger. The larger and more complex the State Department and the world became, the less important was the role of the department in making foreign policy. Instead of individual advice, the department became expert in institutional adjustments and its influence shrunk proportionally. A Rand Corporation think-tank study, United States Policy and the Third World (1967), never once mentioned the State Department.
As State's structure grew and its power vanished in the mid-twentieth century, its once high and mighty place became almost laughable. Thus, satires of departmental memoranda about such things as waste-power removal were not uncommon, nor were genuine titles such as chief of the administrative management and personnel division of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. While some flirted with participative management and Dean Rusk instituted a department suggestion box, few shared the Kissinger or Villard view that perhaps the goal might once again be "top-notch organization in which the human equation is not sacrificed to the Moloch of bureaucracy."
LEADERSHIP OR MANAGEMENT?
In the 1780s, Benjamin Franklin's diplomatic dispatches from France sometimes took months to cross the Atlantic. Two centuries later, flash cables or secure e-mail messages could be in the hands of the secretary of state within moments. Can, in short, the modern secretary of state, however talented and qualified, break free as Kissinger suggested from the management ethos?
The obstacles to such freedom were rather clear in duties and responsibilities of the secretary of state at the beginning of the twenty-first century. The secretary was a senior personal adviser to the president and the only cabinet officer primarily charged with looking at the nation as a whole in its relations with the outside world. The secretary of state was also the ranking diplomat in dealing with foreign governments at the same time that he served as an administration spokesman on American foreign policy to Congress, the country, and abroad. As chief of the State Department, the secretary was responsible to the president and accountable to Congress. Finally, the secretary was also in direct line to presidential succession. The modern secretary of state was thus adviser, negotiator, reporter of trouble, spokesperson, manager, and coordinator. One thinks of days filled with calls, conferences, talks with senators, ambassadors, delegations of private citizens, journalists, and bankers, not to mention the increasingly frequent global troubleshooting, all the time while running a department.
Secretary Stimson's biographer reports on one day, even in the more serene pre–World War II world, as follows:
A conference at ten o'clock with Silas Strawn, the United States delegate to a conference at Peking on Chinese tariffs. At 10:30 a press conference followed at 10:45 by an appointment with Dr. McClaren of the Williamstown Institute. Between 11:00 and 12:00 receiving the Spanish Ambassador and a representative from the Bolivian delegation. They were followed by Senator Howell at 12:00, Congressman Keyes at 12:40 and General Allen at 12:55. After lunch at 2:30 he began to sign the official mail, a task he had finished by 3:30 when Congressmen Robinson, Thatcher, Walker, Newhill, Kendall and Blackburn called upon him and talked for an hour. Elihu Root, Jr., appeared at 4:30 and remained until 5:00. Just before going home the Secretary called James M. Beck, then a congressman, in New York. That evening he attended a dinner given by the Chilean Ambassador in honor of the Chilean Minister of Finance.
How against these activities does one formulate the basic strategies and plans of action required? Even if time and attention are found, more myriad problems await in terms of the delegation of authority to bureaus that distrust each other's prerogatives or to individuals anxious for good assignments and promotions. Each bureau, each office within a bureau, each officer, is improvising from day-to-day, unaware, unprepared, or uninspired in the work of partners, neighbors, and colleagues.
Against this setting, some post–World War II secretaries of state have stood out in the effort to orchestrate the department's activities. Most notably mentioned by those in the State Department, George C. Marshall, accustomed to command, and Dean Acheson, experienced on the Hoover Commission for government reorganization, brought about a sense of planning amidst the chaos. Most secretaries of state since World War II, however, have been less engaged with the department itself and more in touch with the White House. Some, such as Dulles, Kissinger, and Christopher, were out of town a lot. Baker was George H. W. Bush's closest personal friend. Shultz stayed in the post for seven years in part because he was a better organization man than most, but he often clashed with Ronald Reagan's conservative loyalists, who thought Shultz was too close to foreign service liberals.
The task for secretaries of state has been difficult because the role of the State Department is, in the last analysis, so weak. Primacy in coordinating foreign policy itself, the lifeblood of the State Department's leadership in the days of Adams and Seward, has been challenged and the counterattack has had few bases for claims to legitimacy. The Constitution says nothing of the State Department and refers only to "executive" and "presidential" responsibilities. Congress has never helped. The original legislation setting up the State Department also recognized the president as supreme. Even when granting power to the secretary of state, it has always been under-stood that he or she "shall act under the direction of the President." Such direction has wandered from giving State considerable room to those who have wanted State out of foreign affairs.
Some analysts of American diplomacy go even further to suggest that the State Department, while it never had a constitutional or legislative claim to primacy, did, at one time in the nineteenth century, come to hold such a position by tradition and that the department itself gradually allowed such power to erode. One of the first four departments to be established (along with War, Treasury, and Justice), the State Department came to view itself as the first among equals. This, in turn, led to an attitude of general superiority in the federal establishment—an attitude that, regardless of ability, the State Department had a special dispensation to control foreign policy. If other valid interests arose in other departments, the State Department worked for too long not to foster them but to cut them off. Thus began a movement to place control of foreign policy in more reasonable and responsive hands. Also, the "legal mind" and "administrative efficiency" movement made State more introspective and took it further from the center of integrated policy.
As the State Department failed to keep abreast and federal agencies multiplied, new voices emerged to decide, negotiate, and implement foreign policy. When the State Department cried "foul" but showed little aptitude, foreign policymaking moved elsewhere. The emergency experience of World War II, in particular, put personal presidential policy in the forefront. Self-defensively, the State Department took to eulogizing its establishment, and the American people had to be reminded frequently after the war that "the Department of State, under the direction of the President, in cooperation with Congress is responsible for the advancement of our foreign policy objectives."
In reality, however, such leadership moved most directly to the National Security Council. Created by the National Security Act of 1947 (the same statute that established the Central Intelligence Agency), the National Security Council was, in fact, charged with the responsibility of "effectively coordinating the policies and functions of the departments and agencies of the Government relating to the national security." It was provided with a staff and set about operating, close to the White House, as an interdepartmental committee with functions most immediately related to questions of foreign policy. Thus was created what the State Department had once been, a coordinating, orchestrating mechanism for the various elements of policy at the highest level. The State Department, at least in the contemporary United States, was not a part of the primary machinery by which the nation would set about to meet the demands of increased world leadership.
In the competitive world of Washington's bureaucratic politics, the State Department is one of the smallest players. Its annual budget and number of employees are dwarfed by such behemoths as Defense and Health and Human Services. Although the total amount is secret, the annual funds for the CIA far exceed those of State. With a lack of resources and an increasing centralization of foreign policymaking in the White House, it is not surprising that other departments and agencies in Washington often have more influence in shaping U.S. foreign policy than does the State Department.
Despite these challenges, the State Department has made various efforts to revitalize its headquarters' operations in the somewhat aptly named Foggy Bottom section of Washington. The program Diplomacy for the 1970s, embarked on by Secretary of State William P. Rogers and his chief assistant, Elliot L. Richardson, was one of the most publicized and professional. Yet it must be noted that when one scratches underneath the rhetoric of the program, it was, in short, still another management reform package, not unlike in design, if not in definition, the earlier programs that had failed and, in part, led to disaster for the department.
The Rogers-Richardson proposals at least incorporated the knowledge, which had begun with Wristonization, that structural reforms were not universally productive. Indeed, they noted, "substance can suffer at the hands of technique; spirit can be alienated from operation." The lessons of the participative managers, more serious than the mere superficiality of a suggestion box, were also deeply ingrained. A prime focus of Diplomacy for the 1970s was a new era in management-employee relations. Openness and creativity were encouraged. There was even concern, for the first time, for ensuring equal employment opportunities and new openings for women. The role of the foreign service wife was redefined, giving her more training and staff support for her unique position as an unofficial representative of the United States.
Still, characteristically, the new proposals clung to the same brass rings. First was the commitment to a belief that this was the only real, significant reform where all the acknowledged previous attempts were specious and superficial. All previous reformers of management guidelines had believed similarly about their proposals, from Huntington Wilson's geopolitical divisions through Wriston's merger. Second was a still-unshattered faith in techniques, no matter what the preamble, to solve problems. Demonstrating this faith was a program called Policy Analysis and Resource Allocation (PARA), under the aegis of the secretary's Planning and Coordination Staff (S/PC). One of the tasks of the program was to provide a structural way back into the top echelons of decision making for the department by writing annual reviews designed to serve as common denominators for discussion in the department, the Inter-Agency Group of the National Security Council, and the White House. In turn, Policy Analysis and Resource Allocation was to feed into an even more centralized executive council known as the Secretariat. The authors of Diplomacy for the 1970s proudly acclaimed this Secretariat, at the "heartbeat" of department operations, as "thoroughly modernized" and ready with "up-to-date techniques and equipment for high-speed telecommunications and automated information handling." Thus, Secretary Rogers urged development of a new operations center and improved information management known as Secretariat Automated Data Indexing System (SADI).
Into this nerve center of the Department of State in 1973 moved Kissinger, who had challenged the hegemony of efficiency while an outsider. It is difficult to perceive how a Kissinger or certainly a Remsen, Adams, Seward, Adee, or Evarts could function in the kingdom of PARA and SADI, that is, an environment where "substantive problems are transformed into administrative ones." What was the remaining role of leadership and policy in a department that could issue forth Airgram 5399, concerning the use of the title "Ms."? The message read in part: "The Department has added 'Ms.' to the personnel title codes … maintained in the automated master personnel file. All documents which access these codes and which are printed by the computer may now employ this form of address."
The "Ms." example reveals not only a preoccupation with management details but also a diversity problem in State. For the department specifically charged with representing the United States to the various peoples of the world, the career officers in State had always been remarkably homogeneous. In the 1970s the department made great strides to catch up with other government offices in the area of diversity. The number of new female foreign service officers doubled during the decade, and by the end of the decade the department was actively recruiting African-American candidates. As a result, by the end of the century the number of female and African-American ambassadors had noticeably increased even before the nation had its first woman as secretary of state with Madeleine Albright and its first African-American secretary of state with Colin Powell.
During the last quarter of the twentieth century, the State Department continued its parade of re-reorganizations that had begun with creation of the first geographic division in 1908 and the professionalization of the foreign service with the Rogers Act of 1924. The Foreign Service Officers Act of 1980 aimed to make career officers more effective through reform of the promotion and recognition system. The bureaucratic pyramid of functional and geographic divisions was continually readjusted, but the process of getting a policy recommendation through this maze of specialists remained time-consuming and an obstacle to policy innovation. During the Clinton administration a new undersecretary of state for global issues was added to make the department more responsive to contemporary world problems, such as the environment and population growth. One of the most significant changes of the 1990s was to bring the previously independent U.S. Information Agency and the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency into the department to save costs and enhance management efficiency.
The explanation of the shifting power of the secretary of state and the department itself since World War II was not in internal organization, or in major historical events like the Vietnam War and the end of the Cold War, or in scandals like Iran-Contra. The key was in the growth of power and complexity of the modern presidency, beginning with Franklin D. Roosevelt and continuing thereafter. Much public discussion focused on the relative balance of power between the National Security Council after its creation in 1947 and the State Department. During the Johnson years, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara and national security advisers McGeorge Bundy and Walt Rostow were seen as overshadowing Dean Rusk. Under Nixon, Kissinger dominated the policy process through his NSC staff and his direct access to the president within the White House. Reagan claimed that George Shultz would restore the primacy of the State Department, but Shultz was often in conflict with Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger and later the NSC staff over dealings with Iran and Central America. With the end of the Cold War, Bill Clinton elevated another player in the policy game, the secretary of commerce, as he gave priority to economic competitiveness. The determining consideration in all of these cases was how the president chose to exercise his executive prerogatives.
Despite efforts to improve its own organization, the State Department was unable to reclaim the leadership and coordination of foreign policy of which it had once been able to boast. The centralization of policymaking in the White House that had begun during World War II and increased during the Cold War remained. The National Security Council staff had the advantages of greater access to the president, more rapid response to changing situations, and more domestic political awareness than State. Indeed, bureaucratic battles between the department and the NSC staff at times—such as in the Iran-Contra scandal of the 1980s—wrecked the policy process. No national security adviser after Kissinger ever equaled his level of control over decisions, but policy unity was always difficult. The Defense Department, CIA, NSC, and other departments often had as much or more input into foreign policy than did the State Department.
The juxtaposition of Airgram 5399 about the use of "Ms." and Remsen's original instructions put one in mind of a debate between two diplomatic historians about the utility of speedy publication of foreign policy files by the Department of State. While both scholars supported such a policy, their reasons differed dramatically. The first argued the administratively defensible position that quick access to such documents and the resulting historical monographs, sure to follow, would teach contemporary diplomats how to do a better job. More reflectively, the second historian suggested that while scholarship and research demanded quick access, better policy would emerge not from monographs, but from "wisdom."
Leadership, the quality of greatness inherent in the work of an Adams or a Seward, is still possible. The Department of State is not beyond its grasp. Yet one must conclude that its achievement slips further and further out of reach in the wake of those variables the department has come to identify as progress since the mid-twentieth century: complexity, bigness, and accelerated change.
Bemis, Samuel Flagg. John Quincy Adams and the Foundations of American Foreign Policy. 2 vols. New York, 1949. A good biography of a great secretary of state.
Bemis, Samuel Flagg, ed. American Secretaries of State and Their Diplomacy. Vols. 1–10. New York, 1928–1958. Good, short sketches.
Bemis, Samuel Flagg, and Robert Ferrell, eds. American Secretaries of State and Their Diplomacy. New series. Vols. 11–19. New York, 1963–1980. Continues the older Bemis series with the same title.
Crane, Katherine E. Mr. Carr of State. New York, 1960. Gives a favorable view of a key middle manager.
DeConde, Alexander. The American Secretary of State. New York, 1962. Contains useful analyses.
Elder, Robert E. The Policy Machine: The Department of State and American Foreign Policy. Syracuse, N.Y., 1960. A landmark political science study.
Graebner, Norman A., ed. An Uncertain Tradition: American Secretaries of State in the Twentieth Century. New York, 1961. One of the most used sources for general, interpretive information.
Hartmann, Frederick H., and Robert L. Wendzel. America's Foreign Policy in a Changing World. New York, 1994. Describes how policy is made in Washington, D.C.
Heinrichs, Waldo. American Ambassador: Joseph C. Grew and the Development of the United States Diplomatic Tradition. Boston, 1966. Besides being a biography of an important man, it traces the evolution of foreign policy implementation.
Ilchman, Frederick. Professional Diplomacy in the United States, 1779–1939. Chicago, 1961. A careful and documented study.
Kegley, Charles W., and Eugene R. Wittkopf. American Foreign Policy: Pattern and Process. 3d ed. New York, 1987. Discusses State's relationship to other departments.
McCamy, James. Conduct of the New Diplomacy. New York, 1964. A revision of the author's previous volume, The Administration of American Foreign Affairs (New York, 1950), based on the intervening decade.
Morison, Elting E. Turmoil and Tradition: A Study of the Life and Times of Henry L. Stimson. Boston, 1960.
Plischke, Elmer. Conduct of American Diplomacy. Princeton, N.J., 1950. A standard work.
Rubin, Barry M. Secrets of State: The State Department and the Struggle over U.S. Foreign Policy. New York, 1985. Analyzes the decline of State with regard to the National Security Council.
Schulzinger, Robert D. Henry Kissinger: Doctor of Diplomacy. New York, 1989. Examines Kissinger's significant role in shaping the policy process.
Stuart, Graham H. The Department of State: A History of Its Organization, Procedure, and Personnel. New York, 1949. An older source of itemized changes.
Villard, Henry S. Affairs at State. New York, 1965.
White, Leonard. The Federalists: A Study in Administrative History. New York, 1948.
See also Decision Making; Department of Defense; Doctrines; National Security Council; Presidential Advisers; Presidential Power .
A TALE OF TWO SPEECHES
In early 1950, two speeches, one by Secretary of State Dean Acheson and the other by Senator Joseph McCarthy, illustrated the tension between pragmatism and politics in the modern State Department. Acheson's 12 January address to the National Press Club, "Crisis in Asia," was a model of pragmatic policy analysis. Also known as the "defense perimeter speech," because it placed Korea beyond America's line of defense in the Pacific, this talk was quite perceptive. Noting "bewilderment" in the American reaction to the communist victory in China in 1949, Acheson detected "a failure to understand [the] basic revolutionary force which is loose in Asia" and explained that "the communists did not create this but they were shrewd and cunning enough to … ride this thing into victory and power." Such sophisticated, accurate, and timely analysis was precisely what State Department bureaucrats needed to provide to policymakers.
McCarthy's 9 February speech to the Republican Women's Club of Wheeling, West Virginia, advanced a strikingly different interpretation of what he labeled the "impotency" of U.S. policy. He charged that the United States had failed to prevent communist successes "because of the traitorous actions of those who have been treated so well by this Nation…. This is glaringlytrue in the State Department. There the bright young men who are born with silver spoons in their mouths are the ones who have been most traitorous." In the senator's inflammatory rhetoric, the department's elitist past remained to haunt it in the frightening uncertainty of the early Cold War.
The staff analysis that went into the Press Club speech demonstrated State's bureaucratic expertise. Contrary to partisan complaints based upon distorted or nonexistent evidence, the level of patriotism, competence, and strategic toughness within the department was high, as exemplified by its shaping of NSC 68, the April 1950 program for militarized containment of global communism. State remained at the center of foreign policymaking in the 1950s, but damage to the department's credibility from McCarthy's excesses revealed the vulnerability of its expertise to political and ideological challenges.
State, Department of
STATE, DEPARTMENT OF
STATE, DEPARTMENT OF. President George Washington signed legislation creating a United States Department of Foreign Affairs on 27 July 1789. The department was one of three federal agencies established by Congress during the first session held under the Constitution.
Just a few months later, the Department of Foreign Affairs was renamed the Department of State. The name change better reflected the range of foreign and domestic responsibilities to be carried out by the new agency. Besides executing the foreign policy of the United States, the early State Department was responsible for managing the mint and the patent offices, as well as conducting the census. It was not until one hundred years later, when the United States embarked on a more assertive foreign policy, that these "home affairs" were completely taken over by other branches of the government.
The State Department was initially a tiny agency consisting of the Secretary of State, several clerks, and a part-time translator. The department oversaw a handful of foreign missions in European capitals. In addition, a network of consular posts was established to promote overseas business and protect ships and their crews.
The first leaders of the State Department were the fledgling republic's ablest politicians: Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, and John Quincy Adams. After leaving the post of U.S. Secretary of State, each man was elected President. As secretaries of state, they had two central goals: to secure the United States' newly won independence and to acquire additional territory for settlement and trade. Meanwhile, they wanted to steer clear of alliances with troublesome Old World powers.
Jefferson and his successors succeeded in achieving America's foreign policy aims. The United States managed to stay neutral in the Napoleonic wars. After 1794, favorable treaties were signed with Britain and Spain, resolving borders with Canada and Florida. The U.S. also gained permission to engage in shipping on the Mississippi River, and foreign troops were cleared from American soil. In 1804, President Thomas Jefferson and Secretary of State James Madison struck a brilliant deal with Napoleon. For $15 million, they were able to double the size of American territory with the Louisiana Purchase
Under Secretary of State John Quincy Adams, the United States began asserting its interests in Latin America. Adams was instrumental in formulating the Monroe Doctrine, warning Europe against seeking Caribbean colonies that had become independent of Spain. The United States also pledged to stay out of European conflicts.
When Adams left the State Department to assume the presidency in 1825, it was still very small and had only about twenty employees. It was considered a difficult place to work. All official documents had to be copied by hand, so the State Department's shoestring staff found themselves burdened with clerical duties.
During the years preceding the Civil War, the United States sought to remain aloof from the affairs of the Great Powers. American contacts with Europe were kept to a minimum, and consequently few new diplomatic posts were added abroad. Only seven new missions were added to the fifteen existing overseas posts from 1830 to 1860.
On the other hand, the expansion of American business across the oceans boosted the need for many more new consular stations. To protect and promote this vigorous trade, hundreds of consular posts sprung up around the world during the mid-nineteenth century. In 1860, the State Department was overseeing 480 consulates, commercial agencies, and consular agencies abroad.
Around midcentury, Congress began removing domestic responsibilities from the department and assigning them to new agencies such as the Interior Department and the Census Bureau. Slowly, new management positions were introduced in the department. In 1853, the position of Assistant Secretary of State was added to the State Department's developing bureaucratic structure.
William Henry Seward, Secretary of State during the Civil War, was a key adviser to President Lincoln. He conducted the diplomacy that kept the European powers, especially Great Britain, from actively aiding the Confederacy or declaring war on the Union. He enhanced the prestige and size of the Department of State significantly. During his tenure, there were two assistant secretaries of state to manage the agency's growing workload.
The continued development of international trade continued to be the key factor behind the expansion of the State Department into the twentieth century. As America neared the rank of a Great Power, the department's role in diplomacy became more important, and Congress decided to raise the status of its diplomats. In 1893, the U.S. appointed its first ambassador and established its first official embassy in London. Soon ambassadors were named to other powerful nations in Europe, the Far East, and Latin America.
The State Department and U.S.Global Involvement
The 1898 Spanish-American war was a turning point for U.S. foreign policy and the State Department. The United States had broken with its tradition of isolationism and non-intervention by going to war against Spain. America's victory over the Spanish led to U.S. possession of its first overseas territories—Cuba, Hawaii, and the Philippines.
During the war against Spain, the State Department established itself as an important source of information for the press and the public. Secretary of State John Hay conducted regular news conferences to help sway public opinion to support this new imperialism.
In response to America's mounting interests around the globe, in the early part of the twentieth century, the State Department was forced to modernize operations and hire many new civil servants and diplomats abroad. In 1900, the department had ninety-one employees in Washington. Two decades later, the department employed 708 employees and had a budget of $1.4 million.
The bureaucratic structure of the department was divided according to political and geographic categories. New offices for disseminating information and managing trade relations were added. Although political patronage was still the surest route to entering the State Department, there were small moves toward the creation of a professional diplomatic corps.
Some who led American foreign policy, however, criticized the department for not changing its ways fast enough. They felt that the Foreign Service was filled with too many amateur diplomats and that the organization operated inefficiently. According to historian Robert Beisner, when Elihu Root became Secretary of State in 1905, he said he felt "like a man trying to conduct the business of a large metropolitan law firm in the office of a village squire." The consular service, Root remarked, was a place "to shelve broken down politicians and to take care of failures in American life …at government expense."
Root's concerns about the poor quality of the State Department workforce were addressed somewhat by presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft. Roosevelt signed an executive order in 1906 requiring entry-level consular officers to be appointed only after passing an examination. In 1909, Taft extended the merit system to higher-level Foreign Service Officers below the rank of minister and ambassador. Yet, the pay was so low in the Foreign Service that only men of wealth usually considered a diplomatic career.
The outbreak of World War I in 1914 raised pressing questions of diplomacy, the likes of which the United States had not seen since the era following independence from England. President Wilson looked to the department's leadership and its overseas envoys for assistance in determining what course of action the U.S. should take in response to the European conflict. Once the United States decided to enter the war on the side of Great Britain and Wilson laid out a global role for America in crafting the peace that would follow, the department was called upon to formulate a comprehensive foreign policy.
World War I modernized communications in the State Department. The use of telegraphic codes and ciphers became commonplace during the five-year conflict. The department instituted security measures to protect information and began labeling official documents "Secret" or "Confidential" to designate who would be granted access to them. After the war, the department began a program to interpret other nations' secret codes.
In the decades after World War I, important moves were taken to upgrade the qualifications of those who joined the Foreign Service. The definitive step toward the creation of a professional Foreign Service was Congress's passage of the Rogers Act on 24 May 1924. The Rogers Act made merit rather than political patronage the primary means of selecting diplomats abroad. It created a unified Foreign Service, composed of consular and diplomatic officers. It established a system of challenging written and oral qualifying exams for those seeking to become diplomats.
Under the Rogers Act, a career path was mapped out for Foreign Service Officers, with established requirements for being promoted. A career would encompass regular rotations to a variety of posts and leadership positions. Better salaries were introduced.
Before the Rogers Act was implemented, all the diplomats serving at the rank of chief of mission were political appointees. In 1924, thirty percent of mission chiefs were career appointees. By World War II, half of all chiefs of mission were career Foreign Service Officers. The Foreign Service did not fully shake off the profound influence of patronage until after World War II. By the end of the twentieth century, approximately seventy percent of all ambassadors were career envoys rather than men and women appointed by the president.
American participation in World War II and the onset of the Cold War turned the United States into a global superpower. The United States could no longer isolate itself from overseas developments. After the war, the U.S. would lead the reconstruction of war-torn Europe while working to contain the expansion of Soviet communism. For the first time, the United States became part of permanent military alliances (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization). Consequently, the State Department was burdened with immense new responsibilities in areas of the world where the nation previously had few interests.
The Cold War and Beyond
During the Cold War, the job of secretary of state became even more important to the crafting of America's international relations. The men that headed the State Department under presidents Truman and Eisenhower—James F. Byrnes, George C. Marshall, Dean Acheson, and John Foster Dulles—were key policymakers who charted America's containment strategy. These department chiefs traveled extensively around the globe to participate in conferences and negotiations. Dulles, for example, logged 480,000 miles of travel during his tenure.
The State Department became more accessible to the public and the press after World War II. In the 1930s, Roosevelt's Secretary of State Cordell Hull began holding news conferences, and his successors also met with the press from time to time. However, starting in the 1950s and continuing to the early 2000s, it became more common to have State Department spokesmen meet regularly with the news media. The department started publishing copies of important speeches by the Secretary of State, and conferences on current international problems were organized for foreign policy experts, the public, and the press.
To meet the burdens of policymaking during the Cold War, the entire State Department bureaucracy was restructured. New bureaus were created, such as Administration, Economic Affairs, Public Affairs, International Organization Affairs, and Congressional Relations. Other geographic policy areas were added—Inter-American Affairs, Far Eastern Affairs, European Affairs, and Near Eastern and African Affairs.
In 1947, Secretary of State Marshall set up the Policy Planning Staff to streamline executive-level decision making. George F. Kennan and Paul Nitze, the original directors of the Policy Planning Staff, were central figures in shaping the United States' aggressive response to Soviet expansionism.
The department grew exponentially after World War II. In 1945, there were 3,700 State employees in Washington and in 1950, nine thousand men and women worked at State headquarters. In 1945, the U.S. managed diplomatic missions in fifty-six foreign capitals. Another 125 posts were added during the next fifty years.
In the 1990s, there were over eight thousand domestic and six thousand overseas employees of the State Department. The State Department also found it necessary to staff its embassies and consulates with thousands of foreign nationals.
In the late 1950s, the department began an extensive program to build embassies and consulates in Europe, Africa, and Asia. Marine guards were deployed to guard embassies in countries considered dangerous because of civil conflict.
To accommodate the growth in personnel, in 1961 the department moved from the State, War, and Navy Building on 17th Street in Washington, D.C., to a four-block site in Foggy Bottom, between Virginia Avenue and C Street and 21st and 23rd streets.
After World War II, the Department of State was no longer the only government entity devoted to foreign policy. The complexities of American foreign policy resulting from the Cold War led to the creation of other agencies to assist in the maintenance of national security. In 1947, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was created to undertake covert intelligence gathering and secret political missions overseas. In 1953, a U.S. Information Agency was established to promote American cultural interests abroad. In 1961, the Agency for International Development was created to manage foreign aid and development initiatives abroad.
To coordinate decision making among the multitude of foreign affairs agencies and offices, in 1947 President Truman established the National Security Council (NSC). Its members were the top ranking foreign policy officials from the White House, State Department, CIA, and the Defense Department.
The department underwent a tumultuous period in the 1950s amidst congressional hearings about communist infiltration of the U.S. government. Fears about communist subversion led President Eisenhower to order the department to conduct background checks on State employees and diplomats to determine whether they were considered security risks. These measures led hundreds of civil servants and diplomats to be charged with treasonous activity. Although some people were rightfully fired on these grounds, many others were innocent victims of the anti-communist "witch-hunt."
Out of concern about communist infiltration, the State Department ousted many of its top Far Eastern experts under suspicion of being sympathetic to world communism. In a case of "guilt by association," the Far Eastern experts were blamed for having contributed to the 1949 "fall of China" by not having been enthusiastic supporters of Nationalist Chinese leader Chiang Kai-Shek. The Asia experts believed Chiang would inevitably fail to repress Mao Tse Tung's revolutionary communist forces and had advised the United States to pull back its financial backing to Chiang. Some diplomatic historians argue that the dearth of Asia experts at the State Department led to flawed U.S. policymaking toward Vietnam.
In the late twentieth century, U.S. leaders grappled with management of the diverse corps of American government employees that were working abroad.
By the early 1960s, there were approximately thirty thousand U.S. government workers abroad, and only one third of them were employed by the State Department. The rest were overseas employees of the Treasury, Agriculture, and Commerce departments. President John F. Kennedy tried to bring leadership to overseas posts by requiring all U.S. government workers in a particular country to report to the chief of a diplomatic mission abroad, usually the ambassador. President Richard M. Nixon reaffirmed that order in 1969.
Coordination between the foreign affairs agencies has also been a source of difficulty for presidents attempting to craft a unified foreign policy. President Truman believed the NSC would streamline foreign policy formulation. But, successive presidents have not been satisfied and experimented with alternate paths for executive decision making. President Kennedy relied heavily on his own advisers in the White House to handle foreign policy crises during his presidency. Presidents Nixon and Ford kept authority over national security matters within the White House and the National Security Council more so than in the State Department. In the late twentieth century, the State Department's ability to lead foreign affairs largely depended on the relationship a particular secretary of state had with the president. For example, Henry Kissinger was an unusually powerful Secretary of State because he was so closely trusted by President Nixon.
U.S. global leadership and the diversity of its interests around the world led to the creation of additional bureaus at State in the 1970s and 1980s. Offices were created to deal with terrorism, science, the environment, human rights, arms control, refugee affairs, and human rights. By 1990, State had 30 different bureaus. These specialized policy offices were designed to address a multiplicity of new crises and problems the U.S. faced overseas. But successive administrations felt that the additional bureaucracy limited the department's ability to offer clear-cut recommendations. Thus, presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush often found it expedient to rely on their own set of White House foreign affairs advisers to the exclusion of the State Department's policymakers.
During much of the twentieth century, the State Department and the diplomatic corps were viewed as the government's most elitist institutions. It has taken many years for the department to include more women and men from ordinary backgrounds and people from non-white ethnic groups.
In the early twentieth century, the department engaged in the notorious practice of segregating its workforce. This meant that black and white State Department employees ate in separate cafeterias. It was not until 1925 that the department admitted an African American to the Foreign Service. Segregation quietly ended during World War II, but African Americans have struggled to gain jobs and promotions to leadership positions in the department. President Carter and Secretary of State Cyrus Vance began affirmative action programs to ensure that more African Americans and women were hired and promoted fairly. Because Congress felt the department moved too slowly on this front, it passed the Foreign Service Reform Act in 1980, calling for stricter standards for hiring and promoting diplomats to minimize the chances for discrimination.
Women made their initial inroads at the State Department in administrative jobs and were first admitted into the Foreign Service in the 1920s. President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed the first two female chiefs of mission. In 1933, he named the daughter of former Secretary of State Williams Jennings Bryan, Ruth Bryan Owen, to serve as the U.S. Minister to Denmark. Florence Jaffrey Harriman served as Minister to Norway from 1937 to 1940. But the presence of women in the diplomatic corps has grown slowly, especially since married women were excluded from overseas assignments until 1971. In 1975, women made up only nine percent of the State Department workforce, and they were concentrated in the lowest levels of the Foreign Service. A class-action discrimination lawsuit filed in 1971 accused the department of discriminating against women, and its settlement nearly two decades later required the department to cancel the Foreign Service entrance examination while corrective actions were taken to prevent further discrimination. In 1995, twenty-eight percent of the department's employees were women and women comprised ten percent of the senior Foreign Service. Promotion rates for women and minorities from 1987 to 1993 were slightly higher than for other Foreign Service Officers.
Even though the United States emerged from the end of the Cold War as the most powerful nation in the world, the State Department was actually one of the smallest government agencies. At the end of the twentieth century, department leaders complained that a shortage of funding was hindering the department's ability to cope with new and dangerous foreign affairs challenges, such as terrorism, nuclear proliferation, and the outbreak of numerous civil wars around the globe.
Beisner, Robert L. From the Old Diplomacy to the New, 1865–1900. Arlington Heights, Ill.: Harlan Davidson, 1986.
Plischke, Elmer. The U.S. Department of State: A Reference History. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1999.
Slany, William Z. "A History of the United States Department of State, 1789–1996." U.S. Department of State, Office of the Historian, July 1996. Available from http://www.state.gov/www/about_state/history/dephis.html.
Steigman, Andrew L. The Foreign Service of the United States: First Line of Defense. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1985.
The U.S. Department of State is part of the executive branch of government and is principally responsible for foreign affairs and foreign trade. It advises the president on the formulation and execution of foreign policy. As chief executive, the president has overall responsibility for the foreign policy of the United States. The Department of State's primary objective in the conduct of foreign relations is to promote the long-range security and well-being of the United States. The department determines and analyzes facts relating to U.S. overseas interests, makes recommendations on policy and future action, and takes the necessary steps to carry out established policy. In so doing, the department engages in continuous consultations with the Congress, other U.S. departments and agencies, and foreign governments; negotiates treaties and agreements with foreign nations; speaks for the United States in the united nations and in more than 50 major international organizations in which the United States participates; and represents the United States at more than 800 international conferences annually.
The Department of State, the senior executive department of the U.S. government, was established by an act of July 27, 1789, as the Department of Foreign Affairs and was renamed Department of State by an act of September 15, 1789.
Office of the Secretary
The State Department's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices
One of the U.S. State Department's most important tasks is to submit to Congress annual reports on the state of human rights in countries throughout the world. The Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, as the book containing these reports is titled, contains extensive and detailed information that allows Congress and the State Department to make better decisions regarding U.S. policy toward foreign nations.
The State Department has submitted country reports to Congress each year since 1977. In the first year, the reports covered 82 countries, and by 1995 that number had grown to 194.
U.S. embassy staff members in each country write the preliminary report about the country. They obtain information from government and military officials, journalists, academics, and human rights activists. Embassy staff members often put themselves at great risk in collecting human rights information in countries with extensive rights violations. State Department staff members then edit the reports. They attempt to gather still more evidence from international human rights groups, international bodies such as the united nations, and other sources.
The country reports are prefaced by an overview of human rights developments around the world, written by the assistant secretary of the Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Division of the State Department. This overview summarizes the international human rights situation, identifies those nations with serious rights violations, and comments on the state of democracy around the world.
Each report begins with basic information regarding the government and economy of a nation, followed by detailed information on the status of human rights in the country.
The 1995 report about Brazil serves as an example of the extensive detail in the country reports. The Brazil report chronicles significant human rights abuses in that country, including killings by police and military death squads, the murder of street children in Rio de Janeiro, and numerous instances of torture. The report also describes the social, political, and legal factors in Brazil that contribute to human rights violations. These include overloaded courts and prisons, corruption of public officials and police, widespread poverty, and ineffective investigation into police and military brutality.
Each report also analyzes the human rights situation for women, racial and ethnic minorities, and workers in the country. The report about Brazil indicates a high incidence of physical abuse of women, while noting that the country has increased the number of special police stations assigned the task of preventing crimes against women. Serious violations against the rights of indigenous peoples are also recorded, including atrocities committed by the military and private parties during land disputes. On the subject of workers' rights, the Brazil report details unsafe working conditions, use of child labor in sugar and charcoal production, and use of forced labor in mining and agriculture.
"Country Reports on Human Rights Practices." 2001. Available online at <www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2001> (accessed February 27, 2004).
Secretary of State The secretary of state, the principal foreign policy adviser to the president, is responsible for the overall direction, coordination, and supervision of U.S. foreign relations and for the interdepartmental activities of the U.S. government overseas. The secretary is the first-ranking member of the cabinet, is a member of the national security council, and is in charge of the operations of the department, including the Foreign Service.
The office of the secretary includes the offices of the deputy secretary, under secretaries, assistant secretaries, counselor, legal adviser, and inspector general.
Economic and Agricultural Affairs The under secretary for economic and agricultural affairs is principal adviser to the secretary and deputy secretary of state on the formulation and conduct of foreign economic policy. Specific areas for which the under secretary is responsible include international trade, agriculture, energy, finance, transportation, and relations with developing countries.
International Security Affairs The under secretary for international security affairs is responsible for ensuring the integration of all elements of the Foreign Assistance Program as an effective instrument of U.S. foreign policy and serves as chair of the Arms Transfer Management Group. Other areas of responsibility include international scientific and technological issues, communications and information policy, and technology transfers.
Regional Bureaus Six geographic bureaus, each directed by an assistant secretary, are responsible for U.S. foreign affairs activities throughout the world. These bureaus are organized by region as the bureaus of African Affairs, European and Canadian Affairs, East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Inter-American Affairs, Near Eastern Affairs, and South Asian Affairs. The regional assistant secretaries also serve as chairs of interdepartmental groups in the National Security Council system. These groups discuss and decide issues that can be settled at the assistant secretary level, including those arising out of the implementation of National Security Council decisions. They prepare policy papers for consideration by the council and contingency papers on potential crisis areas for council review.
Diplomatic Security The Bureau of Diplomatic Security, established under the Omnibus Diplomatic Security and Antiterrorism Act of 1986, as amended (22 U.S.C.A. § 74803 etseq.), provides a secure environment for conducting U.S. diplomacy and promoting U.S. interests worldwide. The assistant secretary of state for diplomatic security is responsible for security and protective operations abroad and in the United States, counter-terrorism planning and coordination, security technology development, foreign government security training, and personnel training.
The Security Awareness Staff directs the development and execution of bureau-wide security and information awareness policies and programs, press and media relations, and public awareness. The Security Awareness Program provides information on diplomatic security concerns and is a focal point for responding to public inquiries and maintaining media relations on diplomatic security issues and events. The Training Support Division provides publications and training videotapes on diplomatic security concerns.
The Private Sector Liaison Staff maintains daily contact with and actively supports the U.S. private sector by disseminating timely, unclassified security information concerning the safety of U.S. private-sector personnel, facilities, and operations abroad. The staff operates the Electronic Bulletin Board, a computerized, unclassified security information database accessible to U.S. private-sector enterprises. It also provides direct consultation services to the private sector concerning security threats abroad.
The Overseas Security Advisory Council promotes cooperation on security-related issues between U.S. private-sector interests worldwide and the Department of State, as provided in 22 U.S.C.A. § 2656 and the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended (5 U.S.C.A. app.). The council serves as a continuing liaison and provides for operational security cooperation between department security functions and the private sector. The council also provides for regular and timely exchange of information between the private sector and the department concerning developments in protective security. Additionally, it recommends methods and provides material for coordinating security planning and implementation of security programs.
Economic and Business Affairs The Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs has overall responsibility for formulating and implementing policy regarding foreign economic matters, including resource and food policy, international energy issues, trade, economic sanctions, international finance and development, and aviation and maritime affairs.
Intelligence and Research The Bureau of Intelligence and Research coordinates programs of intelligence, analysis, and research for the department and other federal agencies and produces intelligence studies and current intelligence analyses essential to the determination and execution of foreign policy. Through its Office of Research, the bureau maintains liaisons with cultural and educational institutions and oversees contract research and conferences on foreign affairs subjects.
International Communications and Information Policy The Bureau of International Communications and Information Policy is the principal adviser to the secretary of state on international telecommunications policy issues affecting U.S. foreign policy and national security. The bureau acts as a coordinator with other U.S. government agencies and the private sector in the formulation and implementation of international policies relating to a wide range of rapidly evolving communications and information technologies. The bureau promotes U.S. telecommunications interests bilaterally and multilaterally.
International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs The Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs is responsible for developing, coordinating, and implementing international narcotics control assistance activities of the Department of State as authorized under sections 481 and 482 of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended (22 U.S.C.A. §§ 2291, 2292). It is the principal point of contact with and provides advice on international narcotics control matters for the office of management and budget, the National Security Council, and the White House office of national drug control policy in ensuring implementation of U.S. policy in international narcotics matters. The bureau provides guidance on narcotics control matters to chiefs of missions and directs narcotics control coordinators at posts abroad. It also communicates or authorizes communication as appropriate with foreign governments on drug control matters including negotiating, concluding, and terminating agreements relating to international narcotics control programs.
International Organization Affairs The Bureau of International Organization Affairs provides guidance and support for U.S. participation in international organizations and conferences. It leads in the development, coordination, and implementation of U.S. multilateral policy. The bureau formulates and implements U.S. policy toward international organizations, with particular emphasis on those organizations that make up the United Nations system.
Legal Advisor The legal advisor advises the secretary and, through the secretary, the president, on all matters of international law arising in the conduct of U.S. foreign relations. The legal advisor also provides general legal advice and services to the secretary and other officials of the department on matters with which the department and overseas posts are concerned.
Consular Affairs The Bureau of Consular Affairs, under the direction of the assistant secretary, is responsible for the administration and enforcement of the provisions of the immigration and nationality laws, insofar as they concern the department and the Foreign Service, for the issuance of passports and visas and related services, and for the protection and welfare of U.S. citizens and interests abroad.
Approximately 5 million passports are issued each year by the Passport Office of the bureau, which has agencies in Boston, Chicago, Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, Stamford, and Washington, D.C.
Political-Military Affairs The Bureau of Political-Military Affairs provides guidance and coordinates policy formulation on national security issues, including nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction and missile technology, nuclear and conventional arms control, defense relations and security assistance, and export controls. It acts as the department's primary liaison with the defense department. The bureau also participates in all major arms control, nonproliferation, and other security-related negotiations.
The bureau's major activities are designed to further U.S. national security objectives by stabilizing regional military balances through negotiations and security assistance, negotiating reductions in global inventories of weapons of mass destruction and curbing their proliferation, maintaining global access for U.S. military forces, inhibiting adversaries'access to militarily significant technologies, and promoting responsible U.S. defense trade.
Protocol The Chief of Protocol is the principal adviser to the U.S. government, the president, the vice president, and the secretary of state on matters of diplomatic procedure governed by law or international custom and practice. The office is responsible for visits of foreign chiefs of state, heads of government, and other high officials to the United States, operation of the president's guest house, Blair House, and conduct of official ceremonial functions and public events. It also is charged with the accreditation of more than 100,000 embassy, consular, international organization, and other foreign government personnel and members of their families throughout the United States. In addition, the office determines entitlement to diplomatic or consular immunity.
Office of International Information Programs In 1999 Congress dissolved the u.s. information agency and transferred its functions to the Office of International Information Programs. This office designs for and distributes internet and print publications to media, government officials, and the general public in 140 countries. It emphasizes the electronic distribution of information through various Web sites and CD-ROMS.
Foreign relations are conducted principally by the U.S. Foreign Service. In 1996 representatives at 164 embassies, 12 missions, 1 U.S. liaison office, 1 U.S. interests section, 66 consulates general, 14 consulates, 3 branch offices, and 45 consular agencies throughout the world reported to the Department of State on the foreign developments that had a bearing on the welfare and security of the United States. These trained representatives provided the president and the secretary of state with much of the raw material from which foreign policy is made and with the recommendations that help shape it.
Ambassadors are the personal representatives of the president and report to the president through the secretary of state. Ambassadors have full responsibility for implementation of U.S. foreign policy by any and all U.S. government personnel within their country of assignment, except those under military commands. Their responsibilities include negotiating agreements between the United States and the host country, explaining and disseminating official U.S. policy, and maintaining cordial relations with that country's government and people.
Center for Strategic and International Studies. 1998. Reinventing Diplomacy in the Information Age: A Report of the CSIS Advisory Panel on Diplomacy in the Information Age. Washington, D.C.: Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Plischke, Elmer. 1999. U.S. Department of State: A Reference History. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press.
Rubin, Barry. 1996. Secrets of State: The State Department and the Struggle over U.S. Foreign Policy. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.
State Department. Available online at <www.state.gov> (accessed August 13, 2003).
Department of State, United States
Department of State, United States
█ JUDSON KNIGHT
The Department of State is a cabinet-level division of the United States government concerned with the planning, conduct, and management of U.S. foreign policy and foreign relations. The secretary of state is the highest-ranking member of the cabinet, and traditionally, secretaries of state have been among the most powerful members of the government. The State Department includes six major sections, each headed by an under secretary of state, concerned with Political Affairs; Economic, Business, and Agricultural Affairs; Arms Control and International Security; Global Affairs; Management; and Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. The department manages some 250 diplomatic posts worldwide, along with a number of special offices, bureaus, and agencies tasked to address issues such as counterterrorism, arms control and proliferation, organized crime, and narcotics trafficking. Also notable is the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), through which the United States extends assistance to nations recovering from disasters or trying to improve their political and/or economic conditions.
Oldest executive department of the federal government, the State Department grew out of the Committee of Secret Correspondence, established by the Continental Congress in 1775. Its first chairman was Benjamin Franklin. Over the next 14 years, the office went through a number of name changes until, on September 15, 1789, Congress designated it the Department of State.
Initially, the department had a range of domestic responsibilities, such as operation of the mint, issuing of patents, and regulation of immigration, that have long since passed on to other departments and bureaus. John Jay, who had served as secretary for foreign affairs (as the title of the chief American diplomat was called between 1781 and 1789) served as acting secretary until President George Washington's appointee, Thomas Jefferson, took office as secretary of state in 1790.
For the next 80 years, appointment as secretary of state tended to be set aside for persons distinguished in politics or government, but not necessarily diplomacy. These included future presidents Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Martin Van Buren, and James Buchanan, as well as other notable leaders, mostly from Congress, including Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, John C. Calhoun, and William H. Seward.
In those early years, America remained largely isolated from the rest of the world, and the State Department saw little activity except in times of war, or when the federal government sought to acquire lands. In the years leading up to the Civil War, Washington sought to ensure European support for the union, a critical matter since Great Britain and France depended to a large degree on cotton from the South.
The State Department only emerged as a vital component of U.S. policy after the Spanish-American War of 1898, as the United States acquired territories overseas and became increasingly involved in foreign affairs. The first modern secretary of state was John Hay, who, during his tenure (1898–1905), negotiated several treaties toward the building of the Panama Canal, and promoted open access to trade in China.
The fact that President Woodrow Wilson went personally to Paris to serve as U.S. negotiator at the post-World War I peace conference shows that even in 1919, the State Department had yet to acquire its present significance. Only in the wake of World War II did the United States, having fully left isolationism behind, begin to place a heavy emphasis on its State Department.
In the early years of the Cold War, three strong secretaries of state—George C. Marshall (1947–49), Dean Acheson (1949–53), and John Foster Dulles (1953–59)—helped forge the framework of U.S. policy. Among the components of that policy were containment of Communism, support for liberal democracies in Europe, and promotion of U.S. interests in the third world. The latter strategy involved not only alliances with pro-American movements, but also assistance. In service of this aim, President John F. Kennedy and Secretary of State Dean Rusk (1961–69) in 1961 created USAID and the Peace Corps. (The latter became an independent agency in 1981.)
Since the Kennedy era, the importance of the secretary of state has risen or fallen depending on the administration. The power of Henry Kissinger's (1973–77) influence was substantial, and was derived from his position as national security advisor, an office he held concurrent with his appointment at state for some time. Among the more active secretaries of State are two from the turn of the twentieth century: Madeleine Albright (1997–2001) and Colin Powell (2001—), who were also the first female and African American, respectively, to hold the position.
Duties and Structure
The State Department has its headquarters in a marshy area, nicknamed Foggy Bottom, near the Potomac River in Washington, D.C. Hence the name "Foggy Bottom" is sometimes used as a metonym for the department itself. The Department's entire foreign affairs budget—including U.S. representation overseas, foreign assistance programs, foreign military training, and efforts against international crime—comprised just one percent of the federal budget, and cost each American citizen about twelve cents a day.
To promote and protect U.S. interests abroad, the State Department works to assure peace and stability in regions of vital interest; to create jobs at home by opening markets overseas; to help developing nations establish stable economies that encourage growth and opportunities; and to bring nations together in order to address global issues such as disease, terrorism, humanitarian crises, environmental threats, weapons proliferation, and nuclear smuggling.
As the lead U.S. foreign affairs agency, the State Department has the primary role in leading interagency coordination in developing and implementing foreign policy; managing the U.S. foreign affairs budget and other foreign affairs resources; leading and coordinating U.S. representation abroad; conducting negotiations and concluding agreements; and coordinating and supporting the international activities of U.S. agencies and officials.
The department maintains embassies in about 180 nations, or all but about a dozen countries (among which are states such as Cuba, Iran, and North Korea), and also has representation with non-governmental organizations such as the United Nations (UN) or NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization). Among the services provided by the department, both as a whole and through its various embassies, are protection and assistance for U.S. citizens living or traveling overseas; assistance for U.S. businesses in the international marketplace; coordination and support for international activities of other U.S. agencies, as well as other diplomatic efforts, including official visits overseas and at home; and keeping the public informed regarding U.S. foreign policy and international relations.
State Department leadership. The significance of the secretary of state, from an official standpoint, is indicated by the fact that he or she is fourth in the line of succession for the presidency, after the Speaker of the House, vice president and president pro tempore of the Senate. As chief diplomat, the secretary of State is the president's principal advisor on foreign affairs, and sits on the National Security Council (NSC) and other important committees. In practice, the importance of the secretary's position depends on the significance accorded to the office, or its holder, by the President. The secretary's relationship with Congress is also important to his or her success, because all authorization of funding for foreign policy initiatives comes from Capitol Hill. Additionally, the Senate must approve all treaties and ambassadorial appointments.
The Office of the Secretary of State includes a number of key positions and personnel, among them the Deputy Secretary and Executive Secretariat. The latter is responsible for inter- and intradepartmental coordination on foreign policy initiatives. Additionally, attached to the Secretary's office are a number of important bureaus, including the Policy Planning Staff, which provides the Secretary with independent policy planning and analysis; the Office of Protocol, whose duties include planning and hosting diplomatic events; the Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism, which works to improve coordination of U.S. counterterrorism efforts with those other governments; and a variety of other offices.
There are other bureaus that, while not attached to the Office of the Secretary, report directly to the Secretary. These include the Office of the Permanent Representative to the United Nations; the Bureau of Legislative Affairs; the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, part of the State Department's participation in the U.S. Intelligence Community; the Office of Inspector General, which independently audits Department activities; the Office of the Legal Adviser; and the Counselor of the Department, who advises the secretary on major foreign policy problems.
Under secretaries and their responsibilities. There are six under secretaries in the State Department. The under secretary of political affairs manages international crises, and is responsible for looking after U.S. political, economic, and security interests in the nation's bilateral relations. The section has six geographic bureaus—for African, East Asian and Pacific, European and Eurasian, Near Eastern, South Asian, and Western Hemisphere affairs—headed by assistant secretaries. Also within Political Affairs is the Bureau of International Organization Affairs, which coordinates U.S. policy within organizations such as the UN and NATO.
The under secretary for Economic, Business, and Agricultural Affairs is the senior economic official at the State Department, and addresses issues involving economics and trade. Duties include coordination of State Department efforts on behalf of U.S. businesses, as well as working with the Commerce Department to promote American economic interests abroad.
Within the purview of the under secretary for Arms Control and International Security are the Bureau of Arms Control, the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, the Nonproliferation Bureau, and the Bureau for Verification and Compliance. As a whole, this section of the State Department is concerned with global U.S. security policy, primarily in the areas of nonproliferation, arms control, regional security and defense relations, arms transfers, and security assistance.
The under secretary for Management oversees a number of offices responsible for management improvement, security, information technology, support services, consular affairs, training, and other personnel matters. Among its sections is the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, which manages the Counterterrorism Rewards Program and the Overseas Security Advisory Council.
Included under the heading of the Global Affairs Group, headed by another under secretary, are offices that address a variety of global issues. Among these are the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor; the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs; the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs; and the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration.
Finally, the under secretary for Public Democracy and Public Affairs is concerned with cultural and educational exchanges, as well as international information programs. Its Bureau of Public Affairs helps Americans understand U.S. foreign policy, while the Bureau of Economic and Cultural Affairs attempts to foster mutual understanding between the Untied States and other nations. The Office of International Information Programs sponsors a variety of information and strategic communication initiatives involving print, electronic media, and the Internet.
█ FURTHER READING:
Craig, Gordon Alexander, and Francis J. Lowenheim. The Diplomats, 1939–1979. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1994.
Gore, Albert. Department of State and U.S. Information Agency: Accompanying Report of the National Performance Review. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1993.
Plischke, Elmer. U.S. Department of State: A Reference History. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1999.
Principal Officers of the Department of State and United States Chiefs of Mission, 1778–1990. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of State, 1991.
"Reinventing Government": Change at State. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Management, 1993.
State 2000: A New Model for Managing Foreign Affairs: Report of the U.S. Department of State Management Task Force. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1993.
U.S. Department of State. <http://www.state.gov/> (April 25, 2003).
Coordinator for Counterterrorism, United States Office
Department of State Bureau of Intelligence and Research, United States
Diplomatic Security (DS), United States Bureau
FEST (United States Foreign Emergency Support Team)
International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), United States Bureau
Terrorist Organization List, United States
State, United States Department of
United States Department of State, executive department of the federal government responsible, under the President's direction, for the making and execution of American foreign policy.
Current Organization and Duties
The secretary of state, who heads the department, is aided by a deputy secretary and five undersecretaries—for political affairs, economic, business, and agricultural affairs, arms control and international security affairs, management, and global affairs. Six assistant secretaries direct the regional bureaus of African, European, East Asian and Pacific, Western Hemisphere, Near East, and South Asian affairs. The department is charged not only with determining and executing foreign policy, but also with supervising more than 100 embassies, numerous consulates, and special missions. The power over foreign policy assigned to the secretary of state is limited by the role the president takes in foreign affairs.
Evolution and Reorganizations
The Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries
The first government body in America to deal with foreign affairs was the Committee of Secret Correspondence—a committee of five instituted (1775) by the Continental Congress and headed by Benjamin Franklin. In 1777 it was redesignated the Committee of Foreign Affairs, but this body after a time became so ineffective that it ceased to have jurisdiction. This committee was superseded in 1781 by the Dept. of Foreign Affairs, which, operating under the Articles of Confederation, also became ineffective.
After the new government was organized under the Constitution of the United States, an act was passed (July, 1789) creating a new Dept. of Foreign Affairs. It was reorganized in Sept., 1789, as the Dept. of State gaining added functions. Besides being charged with foreign negotiations and correspondence, the department was given duties such as keeping the Great Seal of the United States and receiving the bills and resolutions of Congress. The Dept. of State is the oldest of the federal departments, and thus the secretary of state, at the head of the department, is the first ranking cabinet officer. Thomas Jefferson, the first secretary of state (1790–93), quickly brought prestige to the department, which was soon given added responsibilities: supervision of the U.S. Mint, the issuing of patents and copyrights, and the printing of the U.S. census. The responsibilities of the mint were transferred (1795) to the U.S. Treasury Dept. After 1849 many of the domestic responsibilities of the Dept. of State were transferred to the U.S. Dept. of the Interior. The affairs of the territories were supervised by the department until 1873, when they also were given to the Dept. of the Interior.
In the field of foreign affairs, the department did not expand much in the 18th cent. but thereafter grew in ever-widening circles. Under Secretary John Quincy Adams (1817–25) the department's organization was clarified and improved, but the first major reorganization was effected by Secretary Louis McLane (1833–34) and Secretary John Forsyth (1834–41). Later, salaries were generally increased, more personnel added to meet the growing needs, and the position of first assistant secretary of state was created (1853). Three additional assistant secretaryships were later created in the department, and in 1919 the office of undersecretary of state was established. In 1855, Congress passed a law formulating grades, posts, and salaries in both the diplomatic and the consular service attached to the department, and 50 years later diplomatic and consular positions, except for the posts of ambassador and minister, were put on a civil-service basis.
Largely through the efforts of Hamilton Fish (1808–93), who headed the department from 1869 to 1877, a sweeping reorganization of the Dept. of State was effected in 1870. To meet the demands of an economy-minded Congress, Fish made 31 officials the nucleus of the department and divided its activities among nine bureaus and two agencies. The First Diplomatic Bureau was set up to supervise correspondence with European and East Asian countries, and the Second Diplomatic Bureau was given jurisdiction over American diplomacy in Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa. The consular activities were similarly organized in 1870.
Very few changes occurred in the department's organization in the later years of the 19th cent., but when the United States became a world power after the end of the Spanish-American War, there was a need for adjustments. Several important steps were taken during the secretaryships of John Hay (1898–1905) and Elihu Root (1905–9), but it was not until 1909, in the administration of Philander C. Knox, that the department was reorganized with the essentials of its present-day structure. Several new posts, notably those of counselor and resident diplomatic officer, were set up, the duties assigned to the assistant secretaries of state were altered, and foreign policy and relations were reorganized along geographical divisions—Western European, Middle Eastern, Far Eastern, and Latin American.
The Twentieth Century
Before and during World War I, several new responsibilities were assumed during the tenures of William Jennings Bryan (1913–15) and Robert Lansing (1915–20). The Rogers Act of 1924 abolished the separate diplomatic and consular bureaus in favor of the Division of Foreign Service Information, and under the administrations of Frank B. Kellogg (1925–29) and Henry L. Stimson (1929–33) other new agencies were created. In 1931 the office of the solicitor—given charge through the years of such matters as extradition, naturalization, expatriation, passport problems, neutrality, and extraterritoriality—was superseded by the office of legal adviser.
During the long administration (1933–44) of Cordell Hull a variety of changes was effected, at first to meet the needs of recovery from economic depression, but later to face the rising tide of World War II. In 1938 the Division of Cultural Relations—soon to undergo several changes—was begun to stimulate cooperation with other nations through the various media of mass communication; the same year the Division of International Communication was started to meet problems concerned with worldwide telecommunications. Two reorganizations within the Dept. of State occurred in 1943 and 1944, and with the close of the war the department's machinery was geared to dispense information to foreign nations (e.g., the radio program "The Voice of America" ), to establish strict secrecy concerning its operations, to integrate foreign policy with the economic-aid programs, and to bring about effective liaison between the United States and the United Nations.
In 1949 the Hoover Commission (Commission on Organization of the Executive Branch of the Government) criticized the fact that the Dept. of State and the Foreign Service were manned by a distinct and noninterchangeable corps of employees and urged amalgamation of the personnel of the two bodies. Opposition to this, especially from the Foreign Service, which considered itself an elite corps, was partly resolved in 1954, when a committee headed by Henry M. Wriston, president of Brown Univ., recommended integration rather than amalgamation of the personnel. The Foreign Service was greatly enlarged, and as a result it lost its semiautonomous position and was brought securely under the authority of the secretary of state. In 1961 the Agency for International Development and the Peace Corps were created as agencies within the Dept. of State. The Peace Corps was later removed from the department when it was merged (1971) with other volunteer service agencies.
In terms of policy formulation the department suffered a decline in the 20th cent., especially after the administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who was often said to be "his own secretary of state." John Foster Dulles (1953–59), Henry M. Kissinger (1969–76), and James A. Baker 3d (1989–92) were, however, particularly strong secretaries. Madeleine Albright, President Bill Clinton's second secretary of state, was the first woman to hold the post, and Colin Powell, President George W. Bush's first secretary of state, was the first African American.
See A. De Conde, The American Secretary of State: An Interpretation (1962); S. Simpson, Anatomy of the State Department (1967); J. P. Leacacos, Fires in the In-Basket (1968); R. D. Schulzinger, The Making of the Diplomatic Mind (1975); D. P. Warwick et al., A Theory of Public Bureaucracy (1975); B. Rubin, Secrets of State (1985).