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we have proposed to them that they consider after that the possibility of our establishing in each other's Embassies our own wireless communication.
Even so, we would want the leased line, because the wireless communication is not always completely dependable, and you need a double check.
But this is a problem that has concerned me. We run behind for a matter of hours on some of the critical messages, and, of course, we were operating around the clock during the Cuban crisis. But it did
highlight the inadequacy of our communications in Moscow, which I think is true of a lot of State Department communications in general. We ought to have a better system on a global basis
. Senator BREWSTER. Is there anything that Congress or the State Department should do with respect to communications or other logistic support that will make our mission more effective? Or does this have to be negotiated by our mission with the Russians?
Ambassador KOHLER. It has to be negotiated, and as I said, when I talked to Mr. Gromyko, just before I came away, I was encouraged. I was encouraged to think that as soon as it is technically possible for them to give us a leased wire into Western Europe, we can get it, and he indicated it would be the latter part of this year.
Senator BREWSTER. Thank you very much, Mr. Ambassador.
Senator Jackson. What steps, if any, do you think would be helpful at this stage in Washington to provide further backup and support for our ambassadors in their role as chief of mission overseas?
We have asked this general question or a similar one of the ambassadors before our committee, in an effort to find out what constructive steps might be taken to strengthen the hand of our ambassadors in their assigned role as chief of mission.
Ambassador KOHLER. Well, I will start by again saying that in some ways the steps that have been taken to support us ought to be applied throughout the Service. We have this close working relationship. It is headed up by Ambassador Thompson, who plays the special role of keeping in touch with us, and then this is followed up through the Bureau of European Affairs.
I personally have a great deal of sympathy for the idea that Secretary Rusk put forward, here, that the level of backup of the embassies abroad ought to be raised, supplemented, so that you in fact have a kind of duplicate of our mission here, backing us up.
Senator JACKSON. Upgrading the desk officer?
Ambassador KOHLER. Upgrading the desk officer. And then I think logistic support ought to be improved in the Foreign Service, and the problem that Senator Brewster just raised is illustrative.
Here we sit, today, with some of our military organizations having instantaneous global communications, and our peace organization does not have such a system.
Now, I know that the President is conscious of this, that he has appointed a committee to try to solve this problem. But I think we should modernize these things, that we should have better communications, that we should have IBM systems that give us access to information more quickly and to quotations from people that we talk with, and that these should be provided to us.
This is the general line of my thought on the subject.
Senator JACKSON. I should like to ask another broad question. What steps do you suggest whereby the Foreign Service could produce a larger number of senior officers of first-rate quality to fill the posts of great responsibility in the State Department and to become Ambassadors ?
Ambassador KOHLER. Senator, I could write a book about this.
Of course, I think the fundamental is the selection of the proper personnel at the start, and giving them both training and responsibility. I personally would like to see, and feel myself fortunate to have had, an experience that included the Information Agency, that included ICA and the administration of fairly large offices. I think this has helped in my own development.
I think we would have to keep our eye on precisely this question, and improve our personnel management, so that more people have experience with running fairly large operations before they are called upon to take the responsibility for running a big embassy, so that we develop a real executive type.
Now, beyond that, whether that man is specialized in one function or another does not matter too much, if he knows what the overall picture is and where his specialty fits.
But you cannot take a man who has been a staff officer and put him in charge of a big going operation overnight and expect him to produce satisfactorily. He just does not know how to operate it.
But the possibility, with effective career management, of developing good executives inside the State Department, and particularly if you are willing to have State Department personnel serve in some of the operating agencies for a while, exists, and I think could be more effectively utilized than it has been in the past.
Senator Jackson. Mr. Engberg?
Mr. ENGBERG. I realize the Moscow embassy is something of a streamlined affair, so this is probably more in the area of general information.
Since your office and all embassies are so dependent on the information that comes up from your staff, have you any suggestion on how the personnel might be improved on the lower levels in your staff to bring to you pertinent information, immediate information, as to what is going on in the country that you are assigned to?
Ambassador KOHLER. Well, I would have to except Moscow from this, because this is a topnotch staff. Senator JACKSON. I take it, as you said earlier, that
your operation is something of a showcase, and you would hope that gradually this sort of operation would be extended to the Foreign Service in general.
Ambassador KOHLER. I think this is true, although I will say, in terms of operating offices, that the effectiveness of the staff depends in great measure on the effectiveness of the boss. You can stimulate and provoke work and suggestions coming to you from your own staff.
Again, if you have the right people, and if they are able and ambitious, they will see to it that they get their ideas into the hopper, and I think it is your job, on the top, to see that they are encouraged to do so.
It is a general question that it is hard to make more than a superficial answer to.
Senator Jackson. Would you develop somewhat further your point about the possible use of computers in making available to you, in time, information that is necessary to do a better job?
Ambassador KOHLER. Well, it seems to me that we have modern techniques now that ought to be applied to the diplomatic process.
The simplest kind of illustration would be quick availability of research material on a problem that comes up unexpectedly. I personally have seen research analysts around the Department spend days looking through archives, trying to find pertinent information to a problem that comes up.
It seems to me that much of this information should be tabulated on IBM machines, so that you could really pull it out at the drop of a hat.
Frequently, an officer like myself, for example, will remember that many years ago a leading political figure with whom we are dealing today said something, but you want to have for your purpose, if you are talking with him, the precise quote, and say, “Why did you say this then, and why do you say this now?" And frequently, it is an impossible task to find the exact quote.
Mr. ENGBERG. That would apply, of course, to information that comes up from the lower level of an embassy, also, if you wanted to fall back on this material.
Ambassador KOHLER. That is right. And I just think that we should have more efficient methods of getting into the archives and getting them at your disposition today for dealing with the problem which faces you today, but which has a long, long tail back into history, perhaps.
Senator Jackson. For example, such simple things as biographic information on key foreign diplomats and members of delegations to regional and international meetings could be provided almost instantly.
Ambassador KOHLER. And why we should have to do this laboriously with people trying to remember what someone said at some time. instead of having it at our fingertips with the modern methods that are today available, I do not understand.
Senator JACKSON. Mr. Ambassador, we want to express to you on behalf of the committee our deep appreciation for your fine cooperation here this morning. We wish you well in your assignment, and we want to compliment you on your long and distinguished career
. Ambassador KOHLER. Mr. Chairman, it is a great pleasure to be with you, and I thank you for the reception, and I thank you for the work that you are doing that will help us improve the Department and the Foreign Service.
Senator Jackson. We will hold this hearing record open for a paper on communications which we expect to receive from the State De partment.
(Whereupon, at 10:30 a.m., the subcommittee recessed, to reconvene at the call of the Chair.)
DEPARTMENT OF STATE COMMUNICATIONS
(Comment by the Department, transmitted to the subcommittee, April 20, 1964)
A. Prior to World War II the Department of State met its communications requirements by a pouch "system,” by a few more formal designated official Couriers, and by relatively infrequent telegrams transmitted by commercial telegraphic companies. American ship captains, Foreign Service officers, and American travelers were given sealed packages of mail with instructions as to delivery on arrival at destination. These individuals were called “Bearers of Dispatches." They were not paid for these services but were accorded special passports which at that time were much sought after. The number of Couriers as distinguished from “Bearers of Dispatches” varied widely in the years between World Wars I and II with the high point occurring in 1918–19 when 70 men were engaged in this activity. Financial considerations forced steady cutbacks and the service was terminated at the end of fiscal year 1933. In fiscal year 1935, it was reinitiated with a budget of $24,000—the staff consisted of three couriers based in Paris. In those instances where the telegram contained secret or classified information, the text was encoded utilizing codebooks which were widely held throughout the Foreign Service posts. The telegraphic workload for the whole of 1930 amounted to approximately 2,200,000 words. The staff at Department Headquarters consisted of 144 for all functions; coding, telegraphers, pouch and records personnel.
B. During World War II, the military requirements for rapid communications produced major advances in transmission techniques and in coding methods. The Department of State benefited directly from these advances during the war and the years following its termination. Machines emerged as prime means of accomplishing necessary protection for secret or confidential information, although the brevity and economy codebooks were still used. Radio came into its own as the transmission means for huge volumes of traffic. The advantages of teletypewriter machines were adapted to use on radio circuits with the result of extending the capacity of transmission systems severalfold. The Courier System exploded during this period-for example, the 1943 budget was $335,000. The Courier System moved directly with or immediately behind the military forces, setting up, service as territory was "liberated.” In 1945, the first regional office in the Far East was established in Shanghai.
C. As the interests and representation of the United States grew so rapidly during the period following World War II, the demands for communications improvements also grew. It became increasingly important for the Secretary of State to be in frequent and rapid contact with the Ambassadors abroad. It also became important for him to have available coding systems which facilitated rather than hamstrung his communications with these representatives abroad. Vol
umes of work also heightened the need for mechanical and electromechanical means for dealing with it and for increases in the technical staff to guarantee effective handling. Much of the equipment in use by the Department during the post-World War II period was furnished by U.S. military authorities. At its inception, transmission facilities to most posts were provided by commercial communications carriers.
D. The acquisition of a new headquarters building in 1947 permitted the creation of a new and modern communications center where telegrams and other official correspondence were processed in more satisfactory surroundings and with comparatively modern facilities. Relatively few changes were made, however, in the backbone equipment utilized at the field posts and the companion equipment items used at the Department. The present New State headquarters building again afforded an opportunity for some plant improvements and the Department was able to install a number of telegram-handling features which increased the capacity of its main communications center. Most equipment continued to be of World War II vintage, subject to the mechanical problems of age and with some types suspect from security viewpoints due to rapid advances in technical fields. At present, the Department utilizes the telephone, messengers, couriers, accompanied and unaccompanied pouches, and classified and unclassified telegrams in its communications system.
E. Where time factors are not completely controlling and/or where bulky materials are involved, the mail, pouch, and courier facilities are employed. These operations are managed from Washington; the mail operation as such is serving Washington area "customers' exclusively. The Diplomatic Pouch and Courier Service is responsible for the movement of official mail to and from oversea posts. International protocol and precedent have for many years permitted governments, through their Foreign Offices, to transmit correspondence under sealed conditions to and from their accredited diplomatic missions abroad. Properly sealed and documented, the diplomatic pouches are passed through normal governmental controls without inspection. The Department of State, as the “Foreign Office” of the U.S. Government is the only Federal department or agency which can prepare and receive sealed diplomatic pouches within this accepted usage. It falls to the Department, therefore, to provide this facility for all other U.S. Government departments and agencies.
F. Security considerations separate the sealed containers or pouches into two categories. Unclassified official correspondence and urgent related material is sent unaccompanied, generally as air cargo aboard commercial aircraft. (Airmail is used only to a small degree as airmail rates are considerably more expensive than air cargo.) Classified material must be afforded the additional protection of being in the personal custody of a properly documented and authenticated courier. The Department of State's Diplomatic Courier Service now operates from regional offices located in three major transportation centers overseas, each capable of servicing wide geographic regions. There are now 83 Diplomatic Couriers making scheduled deliveries to 108 diplomatic posts throughout the world, covering annually a total of nearly 11 million miles. All but 24 of the 108 posts receive courier service twice weekly with delivery times from Washington varying