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and it is difficult to see how they could be attracted to it in preference to opportunities at the great universities. The latter institutions, moreover, have the advantage of a reservoir of specialists in such fields as economics, law, history, political science, and area studies which could not be reproduced at a specialized foreign affairs college.
As a much superior arrangement, I believe, the Government should seek to work out with a number of the major universities special training courses for midcareer Foreign Service officers, drawing on the full resources of available faculties but adapting certain of the courses to the special needs for midcareer training of foreign affairs practitioners.
TOURS OF DUTY AND CHARACTER OF ASSIGNMENT Not only for Ambassadors, but for officers working abroad at all levels, tours of duty have tended to be too short. On this point I am strongly in accord with the views of Ambassador Briggs. As a general rule, I would aim at 4-year tours, with provision for one home leave in the middle. The practice, however, need not be uniform and should take into account díffering conditions in various countries of assignment.
Within Latin America, for example, a relatively short tour might be appropriate for a very small Central American Republic. In Brazil, on the other hand, with its continental dimensions, great variety of conditions from region to region, and political, social, and economic complexity, 2 years is certainly too short. There is also the element of language competence, an absolute working necessity for effective operation in this country. Portuguese is a relatively easy language, but not being one of the recognized international languages, it is rarely learned except by persons working in Brazil, Portugal, or one of the Portuguese territories. For these reasons, an officer might well spend as many as 8 years in this country, changing his location and specialty at least once and perhaps twice, and still have ample opportunity to broaden his experience as well as his usefulness to the Service. Such an extended tour would not differ materially from a series of tours in several Spanish-American countries, several Arab countries, or several countries of southeast Asia.
In general, I believe that the early management of the "Wriston reforms” was handled in a somewhat arbitrary manner, moving officers from specialty to specialty and location to location as if they were interchangeable parts who must all be exposed to an identical set of career phases. This may simplify the administration of a personnel system, but it is not nearly as productive as a more flexible system which takes account of the varying needs and qualities of experience in different parts of the world, and the varying talents and interests of the members of the Service. 'In a Service as large as ours, with the varied responsibilities which it must face, we should have room for and make full use of persons with special background and keen interest in particular regions or particular professional specialties such as economics or political-military relations. Armies have long since learned that even foot soldiers are not interchangeable parts. This is all the more so of the gifted persons whom the United States should be attracting to and maintaining in the exceptionally arduous tasks of foreign policy making and oversea representation in the modern world.
COMMENTS BY THE HONORABLE DEAN ACHESON ON THE TRAINING AND EXPERIENCE OF FOREIGN POLICY OFFICERS, IN LETTER TO SENATOR J. WILLIAM FULBRIGHT, CHAIRMAN, COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS
JULY 29, 1963. Hon. J. W. FULBRIGHT, Chairman, Committee on Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C.
DEAR SENATOR FULBRIGHT: In your letter of June 10, 1963, you asked me to submit to you, for use by the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, my views on S. 865 of the current Congress, a bill to provide for the establishment of the National Academy of Foreign Affairs, and for other purposes. The bill and the report of the distinguished group out of which it grew had already come to my attention; you kindly made available to me a galley proof of testimony taken by the Senate committee.
I am not in favor of the enactment of this bill for the reasons set out below.
The bill would establish in the Washington area a National Academy of Foreign Affairs as a center of study and instruction for officers of the Government and such private persons as might be "deemed in the national interest.” A Board of Regents, composed ex officio of the Secretary of State as Chairman, and the Chancellor of the Academy, together with five officers of Government serving indeterminately, and five private persons serving for 5-year terms, would lay down policies and guidance for the operation of the Academy.
The detailed plan for teaching, study and other work of the Academy is to await elaboration by the Chancellor, but enough is said in the report of the Presidential Committee and the testimony before the Senate committee to outline the general scheme, purpose and expectations. The Academy would consist of two main operating divisionsone for instruction, the other for research.
The instructional part would take over and enlarge upon activities of the existing Foreign Service Institute other than instruction in technical aspects of State Department responsibilities such as consular functions and visa and immigration administration. It would embrace: (1) Language instruction, (2) area studies, (3) orientation of Government officers and employees designated for service abroad and accompanying relatives, (4) orientation of new officers with responsibilities related to foreign affairs, and (5) courses roughly counterpart to those provided at the existing Institute for midcareer and senior officers of this Government in agencies related to foreign affairs It is not, however, this work of instruction which is claimed as justi. fication for the Academy. If this were all, it could be adequately done by the existing Institute with added funds for the desired enlarged student body and curriculum. And, indeed, it would be better done in this way than it would be if involved with the rest of the proposed Academy's projected endeavors. For this work embraces indoctrination, training and instruction with few, if any, speculative aspects and having negligible bearing on policy issues.
The work which is cited as justifying the Academy proposal is far broader in character and presents quite different considerations. The courses for midcareer and senior officers would be broadened into—as one proponent put it—"a series of courses aimed at comprehensive career development” and “specialized courses as needed to help off
*** face and handle crises and adapt to new situations that cannot be covered within the framework of the regular courses.” The research component would, according to another proponent, engage with such topics as: (1) The “global Communist menace, including its theory, practices, resources, vulnerabilities, and techniques," (2) the problem of “how industrialized nations can live and work together for mutual benefit and security,” and (3) the "less-developed nations, and their problems of economic and social development, political evolution, and internal defense."
It is because of this part of its work that proponents of the project stress the particular academic character desired for the Academy. It is to be “a graduate-type institution.” Its autonomy is emphasized. It is to be “a new and unique institution.” It is expectantly described as “topnotch." Though a Government enterprise, "it has to have freedom of inquiry.” It is to enjoy “the advantages of the traditional academic environment” along with access to official secrets. In prestige and efficacy, it is to be on a par with
any of the great universities. It will pool “the best of American minds." The bill
anticipatorily refers to it as "a great institution,” carrying forward "our American tradition of academic freedom.” Hence, published utterances and writings of persons attending or serving the Academy are, according to the bill, not to be considered publications of the Government with respect to certain statutory restrictions.
If one asks why the proponents of S. 865 believe that this sort of an academic institution can contribute to the national welfare and how, being a governmental academy, it can hope to do what is expected of it, the answer is found in certain presuppositions or assumptions either explicitly stated or implied in the bill or testimony. As to the “why," the rationale is this: "The security and welfare of the United States require that our commitment in the struggle for peace throughout the world be strengthened” and that “integrated U.S. efforts overseas and at the seat of Government” be intensified "by the development of better trained and more knowledgeable officers of our Government and others concerned with the increasingly complex problems of foreign affairs." Formal, specialized, professional training with an increment of research is essential to produce these better trained and more knowledgeable officers. Training is as important for them as for military men.
Let us examine these assumptions. Few would doubt that we should devoutly pursue the aim of strengthening and integrating our foreign policy, commitments to peace and administration at home and abroad, that all these matters are becoming increasingly complex, or that they call for the best trained and most knowledgeable persons to cope with them.
Yet, one should take care not to bank too heavily on the saving power of mere intellectual improvement up and down the line. Not knowledge alone, but how it is marshaled by will and brought to bear in action, must remain the determining consideration in the conduct of foreign policy. Intellectual capabilities at what one may call the
officer level are not to be scorned. Indeed, they are to be valued and cultivated, for they can contribute appreciably to the making of sound and effective policy. In the face of an obdurate world, the critical and central considerations must remain, however, the factors of insight and will at the top levels of political authority. With any
deficiency in such factors where great decisions are disposed, mental grasp of problems at subordinate levels avails little. When wisdom and courage prevail at the top, such qualities will be generated all along the line.
The bill and its proponents reflect unbounded confidence in educative processes. The bill itself declares: “The United States can assure that its position as a leader among nations shall be maintained and improved by maximum utilization of its potential by pooling the best of American minds and resources to create a great institution"namely, the proposed Academy. The language-specifically such superlatives as “maximum utilization” and “the best of American minds”—tends to weight the argument. Nevertheless, one may venture a doubt.
Able individuals may indeed be improved by instruction as by experience. Minds not instructible by events and disinclined to derive wisdom and proficiency in policy from responsible contact with actual problems are little likely to receive such qualities vicariously from the lectern or the archives. This is not to decry formal instruction and specialized study but only to put their utility in proportion. Undoubtedly some substantial benefit comes from relieving officers from their usual duties occasionally and affording them time and opportunity for contemplative study. To assume, however, the existence within the academic realm of resources of transferable knowledge such as to equip officers "to handle crises"—to quote one proponent again-is an exaggeration of what can be done. A considerable burden of proof, moreover, should be placed on those who assert great potential benefits to policy in the creation of yet another among all the burgeoning establishments preoccupied with churning through the data in the name of research. The in-boxes of bureaucracy abound with their products. More papers, thoughtful and otherwise, than a mind can cope with and books enough on foreign policy to fill a lifetime of reading are at hand. Whatever the national shortcomings in foreign policy may be, they are surely not attributable to a lag in scholarly inquiry or a lack of reading matter on foreign affairs in general or on the three contemplated topics in particular.
Furthermore, it is seriously misleading to compare foreign policy officers with members of the military profession in respect of time spent in training. An advocate of the Academy project is quoted as saying:
We are not keeping up with the armed services in this regard. The average military officer spends approximately 12 percent of his career in formal training. The comparable figure for a State Department officer is 5 percent.
The comparison is not materially significant. In times of peace : military establishment is in-being but it is, in an ultimate sense, not in operation. Its force is brought to bear through consciousness of its potential rather than being actually employed. Such an establishment devotes its energies to readiness rather than to action. This is not the case with a foreign policy establishment, which operates in
the fullest sense at all times, and specifically in peace. Military establishments must everlastingly prepare for hypothetical eventualities. The State Department is unremittingly involved in actual politics. The respective training requirements differ quite as the need of practice is unequal as between boxers and coal heavers.
For these reasons I remain highly skeptical of the premises upon which are rested the value of the proposed Academy to the conduct of our foreign relations. The next question is whether the Academy can ever, as a practical matter, have the qualities or do the job expected of it. The belief that it will'is rested on the following propositions, expressly stated : first, that the attainment of academic freedom for the faculty of the Academy is an essential prerequisite; second, that this achievement is practicable for the staff of an agency of Government responsive to politically accountable officials, all of whom-staff and officials alike-are dealing with so inherently controversial a subject as foreign policy; and third, that the privileges of official Washington life, including access to classified material in particular, are sufficient to attract the superlative talent desired for the Academy's staff.
If the ambitions for excellence should not be realized if the institution should prove to be of a mediocre sort—then difficult issues about academic freedom might not arise. For the moment and for argument, however, let us assume the sufficiency of the alleged advantages of the Washington scene for attracting first-rate pedagogical talents from other institutional connections. Let us assume the “pooling of the best of American minds”-whatever the phrase implies and entails—in a faculty of acknowledged preeminence. The question is whether any administration would, in actuality, permit such free public scope to the members of such'an establishment. To doubt this is not to impugn the sincerity of officials devoted to the project. But one would be naive not to realize that here actuality is likely to differ drastically from abstraction.
No one questions the importance of untrammeled critical analysis of foreign policy. Indeed, even at a cost in occasional pain to pride, those in supreme charge in foreign policy should give scope to critical faculties among subordinates. Freedom to question accepted premises, to say so candidly and to tell why when things go amiss, and to propose alternatives to what is being contemplated or undertaken is essential to proper working of the policy apparatus. But to say this should not blur the distinction between academic freedom and the scope for critical faculties appropriate within a governing establishment.
For analogy, one can imagine one of the great motor companies permitting and indeed encouraging its engineers, designers, and other experts to find fault with the current product and to propound ways of improving on it in subsequent models, and even sending some of its experts out to study in advanced institutions so as to learn to become even more critical of what is, and more creative as to what ought to be even to outside institutions where faults of the company's product are discussed without constraint. What is beyond realistic imagination is for such a company to permit its experts, even while on the payroll, to publicize their views on what is wrong with what the company is trying to market.