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able; and they could hardly have been better accomplished than they were. These activities were conducted by talented, devoted people who gave all they had to the job. Who was I to complain!
It was difficult for me to judge the necessity for the relatively large military staffs. I suspected they were larger than they needed to be; but what was at issue here might have been a matter of two or three people. A cut of this order would not have helped us much.
As for the administrative overhead, I am pleased to report that the centralized administrative section, so unfamiliar to those of us who were brought up in the old Foreign Service, actually proved to be a timesaver to myself. It too, was well conducted; and it was quite effective, as it was intended to be, in freeing my own time for substantive questions. In all instances, the redeeming feature was excellence of personnel and able executive leadership of the respective sections. Perhaps the answer to quantity is quality; certainly, the former without the latter is fatal.
6. QUALITY OF STAFF
I think I may have been particularly fortunate, in Belgrade, in the quality of personnel assigned to work with me. In the case of the regular Foreign Service officers, I cannot say whether this happy result was achieved as a result of the arrangements for selection and promotion with the Service, or in spite of them. I still have misgivings about a Service so large and so impersonal in its administration. I suspect that this feature—the feeling of being a lost cog in a great machine where no one really knew you and your fate would be decided largely by what came out of a business machinerested heavily, at times, on the morale of the men themselves. But in general, the Foreign Service work breeds its own morale, outwardly undemonstrative, often not externally visible, but inwardly far tougher and more devoted than is generally realized. I can only say that my officers were, without exception, fine men, only too anxious to give loyalty where loyalty was given in return, anxious to learn, to grow in their work, and to serve effectively. If men of this caliber do not become effective diplomats, the Government had best look to its own procedures for handling, training, developing, and encouraging its personnel. As of today, it seems to me that the country has a Foreign Service second to no other, and better than it has a right to expect, given the lack of appreciation and respect exhibited by the public at large for its tasks and its achievements.
7. INSPECTION ARRANGEMENTS
Shortly before my departure, the Belgrade Embassy was inspected. I would like to say that I have never seen an inspection better conducted; that is, more thoroughly, more rigorously, yet with greater tact or with greater benefit to the staff and to the functioning of the mission. The Inspection Service of the Department of State has come a long way from the days of the 1920's and 1930's; and the results are beginning to make themselves visible. All that it needs is what the Department and Foreign Service, in general, most desperately need; namely, a demonstration of Executive and congressional
confidence and above all a reasonable measure of administrative stability—the privilege of doing one thing long enough to let it work.
8. CAREER VERSUS NONCAREER
On the law of averages, professional training in the Foreign Service should constitute the best preparation for service as chief of mission, and the majority of our mission chiefs should normally be drawn from this source. There will always be room, however, for people who have come up other ladders, particularly when they enjoy a special intimacy with President or Secretary of State and are well qualified in other respects. In the course of a long career, I have seen a number of talented people come into these positions from other walks of life. In Belgrade, one did not have to go far to find such an instance: we had, next door in Bulgaria, Mrs. Eugenie Anderson, for whose performance there many of us felt much admiration. Any system so rigid as to forfeit the services of such people would be self-defeating. On the other hand, I am profoundly convinced that the day has passed when the United States can afford to place in high diplomatic positions people who represent anything other than the best available talent for the work in question, whatever their origin, their professional background, or their services to a political party.
9. TOURS OF DUTY
I feel that, in general, the ambassadorial tour of duty should be 3 to 4 years, at a minimum. The same is true of foreign service personnel who have special training in, and knowledge of, a particular area. I felt that our performance in Belgrade was definitely weakened by too rapid a turnover in qualified personnel.
10. GENERAL ORGANIZATION OF GOVERNMENT FROM STANDPOINT OF
It remains my view, as it has been for many years, that the President requires something in the nature of a prime minister for the conduct, on his behalf, of the external affairs of the Nation, political, economic, and military. To my mind, this can only be the Secretary of State; and I would like to see him given the requisite authority. Such a change implies, however, a readiness to establish and to maintain, not just in time of war but in time of peace as well, what the German historian Meinicke described as the “priority of foreign policy"—meaning the principle that the external problems of the country should be given precedence over the internal ones, and that foreign policy should not be permitted to become a function of domestic-political convenience. To me, it seems urgently necessary that this change, which is one of the state of mind rather than of administrative reform, come over us all at an early date, for our situation now, in what is nominally a state of peace, is far more parlous than it ever was, prior to 1945, in time of war. But obviously, such an effort to centralize and strengthen the conduct of foreign policy will never be effective unless it has the support of Congress and, to a limited and reasonable extent, of the two great political parties.
INTRODUCTORY NOTE BY SENATOR HENRY M. JACKSON
Ambassador Gordon is a noncareer appointee who comes to his post of Ambassador to Brazil with a broad background of experience in public service and academic life.
Since the formative period of the Marshall plan, Mr. Gordon has been directly involved with problems of foreign policy coordination and oversea organization. In 1951 he served as adviser to Mr. Averell Harriman and then Assistant Director for Mutual Security, and from 1952–55 he was U.S. Minister for Economic Affairs and Director of the U.S. Operations Mission in London. His professorship from 1955 to 1961 in the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration included participation in the Graduate School of Public Administration and the Center for International Affairs.
ORGANIZATION AND COORDINATION OF FOREIGN
POLICY AND OVERSEA OPERATIONS
By Hon. Lincoln Gordon
(U.S. Ambassador to Brazil)
Memorandum for Senate Subcommittee on National Security Staffing
(November 24, 1963)
I very much welcome the opportunity to submit to the Subcommittee on National Security Staffing and Operations this informal statement of my personal views on problems of organization and coordination of foreign policy and oversea operations. I have followed with close attention the hearings of the subcommittee and the documentation of high quality developed for it.
Let me begin with a brief autobiographical note. Since 1936, when I completed 3 years as a Rhodes scholar with a D. Phil. degree from Oxford University, my working life has been almost evenly divided between the academic world and the public service, the latter now being somewhat in the lead. Before the war, my academic work was concentrated mainly in the border area between economics and political science, focused on problems of government relations with the American economy but also including a strong interest in comparative gorernment. My first tour of duty with the U.S. Government began in late 1939 with the National Resources Planning Board, from which I moved into industrial mobilization, serving during the war years in the War Production Board.
After the war, my attention turned to the international field. My chair at Harvard, based in the Graduate School of Business Administration but also including participation in the Graduate School of Public Administration and the Center for International Affairs. shifted from government and business relationships to the field of international economic relations. On the public service side, I was a member of the U.S. Delegation to the United Nations Atomic Energy
Commission in 1946 and 1947, and in the latter year became an active consultant with the Department of State in the formulation of the Marshall plan. I served with the Economic Cooperation Administration in Washington and Paris in 1948, and then moved to Paris in 1949 as Director of the Program Division in the ECA's Office of Special Representative in Europe, working directly under Ambassador Harriman. Late in 1950, I returned to Washington as Economic Adviser to Mr. Harriman, who was then Special Assistant to the President. I later became Assistant Director for Mutual Security, and in 1952 went to London as Minister for Economic Affairs in our Embassy and Director of the U.S. Operations Mission.
I returned to Harvard in 1955, and for the next 5 years engaged in occasional consulting assignments with the Government, including work for the NATO committee of ministers on nonmilitary functions of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and work with the Weapons Systems Evaluation Group of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on various political-military problems, including NATO strategy, limited war, and arms control.
Beginning in 1957, my academic work became increasingly directed toward Latin American problems. In 1959, I began a study of relations between government and business in the process of economic development in Brazil. Late in 1960, I served as a member of President Kennedy's task force on Latin American policy, and in early 1961 became a consultant to the Department of State in the development of the Alliance for Progress. I was a member of the U.S. delegation to the Economic Conference at Punta del Este, Uruguay, in August 1961, and on August 24 I was nominated U.S. Ambassador to Brazil
. I have been serving in this capacity in Brazil since October 13, 1961.
Ever since the formative period of the Marshall plan, I have been directly concerned with various aspects of foreign policy coordination and oversea organization which are under review by the subcommittee. I helped to work out the formal relationships between the Department of State and the Economic Cooperation Administration in 1948, and subsequently had the opportunity to observe these arrangements from the three vantage points of the Washington headquarters, the regional coordinating office in Paris, and the country mission in London. In 1951, as adviser to Mr. Harriman and subsequently Asşistant Director for Mutual Security, my responsibility included the formulation of arrangements for coordinating economic, technical, and military assistance on a worldwide basis. In 1955, I wrote the prize-winning essay in the Foreign Service Journal's competition on the subject of oversea and Washington coordination of foreign operations. In 1956, I contributed two chapters to the American Assembly's book on The Representation of the United States Abroad entitled respectively “The Development of U.S. Representation Overseas,” and "Coordination of Oversea Representation."
Since October 1961, I have had the direct responsibility in Brazil of implementing President Kennedy's letter to all chiefs of mission of May 29, 1961, the historical background of which is fully set forth in the study prepared for your subcommittee by the Historical Studies Division of the Department of State on The Ambassador and the Problem of Coordination.
THE AMBASSADOR AND THE COUNTRY TEAM The subcommittee has asked me to comment in particular on the responsibilities of the Ambassador for coordinating and supervising the whole range of U.S. official activities in the country of his assignment. Let me begin the discussion of this point with a lengthy quotation from what I wrote on this topic in 1956. This was long before it occurred to me that I would ever be serving as a U.S. Ambassador. With very little alteration, however, I would reiterate after 2 years' direct experience what I wrote 7 years ago.
COORDINATION AT THE COUNTRY LEVEL-THE ROLE OF THE AMBASSADOB The Ambassador's responsibilities
Responsibility for coordination of oversea representation at the country level is centered on the Ambassador. What are the tasks faced by a conscientious Ambassador who takes his responsibilities seriously and who is placed in charge of a medium- to large-sized mission in a country participating in the whole range of U.S. foreign operating programs?
The Ambassador has, of course, many official duties which he must perform in person. He must establish and maintain contact with the head of state, the head of the Government, the foreign minister, and other principal cabinet members. If he is assigned to a democratic country with opposition political parties, he must know the leaders of the opposition who may take office. He must come to know the American press corps stationed in the country and the press corps of the country itself. He must exchange formal visits with the other Ambassa. dors, entertain and be entertained by the rest of the diplomatic corps. The local American business community and other resident Americans of influence must be among his acquaintances. His range of contacts must extend beyond the official sphere to all types of leaders—in business, in the labor unions, among religious, civic, and educational leaders, agriculture, and other circles. He is called on for a variety of speeches, some purely ceremonial but many of substance bearing on the country's relationships with the United States. He must travel widely in the country, learn of its internal problems, and meet leading citizens outside the capital city. If he can command the language of the country, his influence may be multiplied manifold.
The Ambassador's function of representation is further magnified by today's ease of travel and the resulting large number of visiting Americans. Many of them expect at least to be seen by the Ambassador, and preferably to be entertained by him. This is of course true of Senators and Congressmen, and of traveling Washington officials from many departments; it is also true of many private citizens. The Ambassador must also facilitate their contacts with the country's government.
While much of the burden of day-to-day negotiations will be carried by his staff, the Ambassador himself must take personal part in bilateral negotiations which reach the Cabinet level. To perform his duties effectively, he must spend a good deal of time keeping informed. This may mean reading hundreds of cablegrams and dispatches each week going in and out of his mission, seeing the local press, keeping abreast of news from home, and drawing information from his innumerable personal contacts of all kinds, as well as from his own staff. He must be prepared, often at very short notice, to return to Washington for consultation and perhaps for testimony before congressional committees.
This extraordinarily diverse range of personal functions is in addition to his responsibilities for coordinating the work of American representatives in the country. In sheer variety and demand on time and energy, although, of course, not in responsibility for decision, the ambassadorial task is perhaps comparable only to the Presidency. It can be properly carried out only by highly capable individuals, backed by effective and well-organized staff support. (There follows a description of the typical country level organization, including embassy and consular organization, semi-independent missions, military attaches and mis sions, etc.)
a The American Assembly, "The Representation of the United States Abroad," Columbla University, New York, 1958, pp. 185-191.