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Foreign Service - History

Foreign Service - History

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Foreign Service - part of the Department of State. The Foreign Service has thousands of ambassadors and staff members, who are trained to represent the United States in embassies, missions, liaison offices, consulates and other agencies in the United States and throughout the world. Ambassadors report to the President via the Secretary of State. They are responsible for implementing US civilian foreign policy within the countries to which they are assigned.


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Foreign Service - History

While the Department struggled with McCarthyism, it also sought to modernize its personnel practices. Postwar growth produced what one historian described as “inertia, inflexibility, and loss of efficiency in the use of personnel.” Stanton Griffis, a businessman who served as ambassador to several countries, later satirized the confused situation. Overseas missions, he noted, constituted "a fantastic network of men, women, and typewriters, who report [on] political, economic, labor, and agricultural conditions.” These reports then went to Washington, where they were immediately filed away. Then “the home team, having properly disposed of the information from the field, proceeds to write its own endless reports to go forward to the same ultimate fate in the embassies throughout the world.”

The post-1945 personnel problems of the Department of State attracted the attention of a commission created to investigate all aspects of government organization after World War II, which was headed by former President Herbert Hoover. In 1949, the commission called for reforms to eliminate one important source of difficulty—the negative distinctions between Foreign Service officers and Civil Service employees who staffed the Department's headquarters in Washington. In 1954, Secretary of State Dulles asked Henry M. Wriston, the president of Brown University, to undertake a study of the Department's personnel practices. Dulles drew attention to a number of concerns, among them poor morale because of managerial shortcomings, low intake into the Foreign Service, and inequities that stemmed from variations in the treatment of different categories of employees. After examining these matters, Wriston called for the integration of many Civil Service employees into the Foreign Service, a process that took several years and was known as “Wristonization.” By the end of 1957, the Foreign Service had more than doubled in size to 3,436 officers. By August 1959, 1,523 Foreign Service officers were assigned to positions in the Department in an effort to improve communications between Washington and the overseas missions and to fulfill the legal requirement that Foreign Service officers spend a portion of their careers in the United States.


USDA posted its first employee abroad in 1882, with assignment of Edmund Moffat to London. [2] In 1894, USDA created a Section of Foreign Markets in its Division of Statistics, which by 1901 numbered seven employees. [3]

It was succeeded over the next few decades by increasingly larger units. Creation of this series of units in Washington to analyze foreign competition and demand for agricultural commodities was paralleled by assignment abroad of agricultural statistical agents, commodity specialists, and "agricultural commissioners".

Moffat went out as a "statistical agent" of USDA's Division of Statistics but with the status of Deputy Consul General on the roster of the Department of State at London. [4] Subsequent USDA officials assigned overseas, however, did not enjoy diplomatic or consular status. This impeded their work, which at that point consisted mainly of collecting, analyzing, and transmitting to Washington time-sensitive market information on agricultural commodities. [5]

The analytical unit in Washington, by the early 1920s supervised by Leon Estabrook, deputy chief of USDA's Bureau of Agricultural Economics, compiled publications based on reports from the USDA's overseas staff, U.S. consuls abroad, and data collected by the Rome-based International Institute of Agriculture. [6]

In 1924, USDA officials Nils Olsen and Louis Guy Michael and Congressman John Ketcham began drafting legislation to create an agricultural attaché service with diplomatic status. The legislation passed the House multiple times, but it did not pass the Senate until 1930, in part due to opposition from then-Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover. Hoover, however, eventually supported the legislation in order to garner support of the farm bloc during his presidential campaign. [7] Accordingly, the Foreign Agricultural Service was created by the Foreign Agricultural Service Act of 1930 (46 Stat. 497), which President Herbert Hoover signed into law on June 5, 1930.

The law stipulated that the FAS consist of overseas USDA officials. The USDA also created a Foreign Agricultural Service Division within the Bureau of Agricultural Economics to serve as the FAS's headquarters staff in Washington, D.C., naming Asher Hobson, a noted economist and political scientist, as its first head. The 1930 Act explicitly granted the USDA's overseas officials diplomatic status and the right to the diplomatic title attaché. In short order, FAS posted additional staff overseas, to Marseille, Pretoria, Belgrade, Sydney, and Kobe, in addition to existing staff in London, Buenos Aires, Berlin, and Shanghai. In Washington, Hobson hired Lazar Volin, a Russian émigré, as the agency's first D.C.-based regional analyst, to specialize in the study of Russia as a competitor to U.S. agriculture.

In 1934, Congress passed the Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act, which stipulated that the President must consult with the Secretary of Agriculture when negotiating tariff reductions for agricultural commodities. Secretary of Agriculture Henry A. Wallace delegated this responsibility to the Foreign Agricultural Service Division, and thus began the FAS's role in formulation and implementation of international trade policy. [8] The FAS led agricultural tariff negotiations, first concluding a new tariff agreement with Cuba, followed by Belgium, Haiti, Sweden, Brazil and Colombia. By 1939, new agricultural tariffs were in place with 20 countries, including the United Kingdom, the United States' largest agricultural trading partner. [9]

This new responsibility spurred a change in field reporting from overseas offices. In order to negotiate tariff agreements, the FAS needed comprehensive information on the domestic agricultural policies of trading partners, and the primary source of this information was the agency's field offices abroad. Thus, in addition to traditional commodity reporting, the attachés and commissioners were called on to add policy analysis to their portfolios. [10]

On December 1, 1938, the Foreign Agricultural Service Division was upgraded, made directly subordinate to the Secretary, and renamed simply the Foreign Agricultural Service. On July 1, 1939, however, President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered all diplomatic personnel, including the agricultural attachés and commissioners, transferred to the Department of State. [11] The Foreign Agricultural Service was abolished, and its headquarters staff was renamed the Office of Foreign Agricultural Relations (OFAR). [12] At that time the Director of Foreign Agricultural Relations, Leslie A. Wheeler, was appointed by executive order to the Board of the Foreign Service and the Board of Examiners, an acknowledgement of OFAR's status as a foreign affairs agency. [13]

OFAR began handling food aid in 1941 when President Roosevelt and the Congress authorized $1.35 billion of food assistance to Great Britain. During this period OFAR also led negotiations that resulted in creation of the International Wheat Council, and began assisting Latin American countries to develop their agriculture. This latter effort was related to the need for strategic commodities as World War II loomed, as well as the need to tie South America closer to the Allies and thereby to keep Nazi Germany from gaining a foothold in the New World. [14] During World War II, OFAR analyzed food availability in both allied and enemy countries, and promoted the stockpiling of 100 million bushels (2.7 million metric tons) of wheat for feeding refugees after the anticipated end of the war. [15]

After the war OFAR was instrumental in carrying out land reform in Japan and offering agricultural technical assistance under the Marshall Plan and the Point Four Program. By 1953, OFAR had roughly 400 agricultural specialists working on development programs in 27 foreign countries. OFAR also continued food aid programs, particularly using the Agricultural Act of 1949's authorities to donate surplus commodities. The intent of these efforts was first, to combat communism second, to promote export sales of U.S. agricultural products and third, to improve diets in foreign countries through extension of technical assistance and technology transfer. [16]

At this point OFAR directed the work of overseas technical assistance programs while the Department of State directed the work of the agricultural attachés. Frictions began to develop as the Department of State began to deny USDA requests for information from the attachés, leading to pressure from both agricultural producer groups and influential congressmen for the attachés to be returned to USDA control. [17]

OFAR participated actively with the Department of State in negotiating the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), signed in 1947 and expanded through subsequent negotiation rounds, although agriculture was not a major focus until the Uruguay Round of negotiations. At the same time, OFAR was heavily involved in founding the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, with Director of Foreign Agricultural Relations Leslie A. Wheeler playing a particularly instrumental role. [15]

On March 10, 1953, Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson abolished OFAR and reconstituted the Foreign Agricultural Service. [18] In April 1954, FAS handed off national security–related technical assistance to the International Cooperation Administration (USAID's forerunner) and began to concentrate on foreign market development for U.S. agricultural commodities, signaling a radical shift in the agency's focus. [19] On September 1, 1954, following passage of H.R. 8033 (P.L. 83-690), the agricultural attachés were transferred back from State Department to FAS.

In the same year, Congress passed Public Law 480 (P.L. 83-480), the Food for Peace Act, which became the backbone of FAS's food aid and market development efforts. Agricultural attachés began negotiating agreements for concessional sale of U.S. farm commodities to foreign countries on terms of up to 30 years and in their own local currencies. The Act was uncommon in that it allowed for the agreements made by the FAS to bypass the normal advice and consent of the U.S. Senate. [20]

In 1955, FAS began signing cooperative agreements with groups representing American producers of specific commodities in order to expand foreign demand. The first such agreement was signed with the National Cotton Council. This activity came to be called the Market Development Cooperator Program, and the groups themselves to be called "cooperators". [21]

In 1961, the General Sales Manager of USDA's Commodity Stabilization Service (CSS) and his staff were merged into FAS, bringing with them operational responsibility for export credit and food aid programs. In particular, the General Sales Manager was responsible for setting prices for export sale of USDA-owned surplus commodities that had been acquired through domestic farm support programs. [22] At the same time, the CSS Barter and Stockpiling Manager was also moved to FAS. In the postwar era USDA's Commodity Credit Corporation was heavily involved in efforts to barter CCC-owned commodities acquired via domestic farm support programs for strategic commodities available from foreign countries short of hard currency. By the mid-1960s, however, as European and Asian economies recovered, the emphasis on barter waned. [23]

In 1969, the General Sales Manager and his staff were split off to form a separate USDA agency, the Export Marketing Service (EMS). [24] In 1974, however, EMS was re-merged with FAS. [25] In 1977, under pressure from the Congress, the Carter Administration created an "Office of the General Sales Manager" nominally headed by the General Sales Manager, but in reality still a subunit of FAS and subordinate to the FAS Administrator. [26] In 1981 the Ronald Reagan Administration abolished the Office of the General Sales Manager and formally restored its status as a program area of FAS. [27] During that time, the GSM's responsibilities expanded from mere disposition of surplus commodities to management of commodity export credit guarantee programs, foreign food assistance programs, and direct credit programs.

The Foreign Agricultural Service, a foreign affairs agency since 1930, was included in the Foreign Service Act of 1980. Agricultural attachés were offered the choice of remaining civil servants or being grandfathered into the Foreign Service. Since that time the vast majority of agricultural officers overseas, just like State Department officials overseas, have been Foreign Service Officers. Since 1953, 12 former agricultural attachés have been confirmed as American Ambassadors.

Trade tensions with the European Economic Community (EEC) boiled over in 1962 with the first "Chicken War", a trade dispute arising from the EEC's application of protective tariffs on poultry meat imported from the United States in retaliation for President Kennedy's imposition of a ceiling on textile imports and raising of tariffs on carpets, glass and bicycles. FAS negotiators and analysts, including future Administrator Rolland "Bud" Anderson, supported talks that resulted in the EEC paying $26 million in damages, though in Anderson's words, "We won the battle but lost the war as U.S. exports of these products to Europe soon became insignificant". The so-called "Chicken War" was a precursor to numerous other trade disputes, including the 2002 "Poultry War", when Russia retaliated against the United States' steel tariffs by barring imports of U.S. poultry meat, and the dispute over the European Union's ban on imports of U.S. beef produced from cattle treated with growth promotants.

In 1972 a short grain crop in the USSR resulted in the Soviet Union quietly concluding grain purchasing contracts from a relatively small number of the secretive private multinational grain traders who dominated world trade in cereals. Because crop surveys in mid-spring had given the impression of a normal crop, FAS's agricultural attaché in Moscow chose not to follow up with additional crop observation travel, and thus missed a severe drought that set in after the last trip. As a result of this lapse, international grain traders and exporting nations were unaware of the Soviets' dire need for massive grain imports. By the time the scope of Soviet purchases became known, the USSR had locked in supplies at low, subsidized prices, leaving other importers and consumers scrambling for what was left at significantly higher prices. [28] [29] This event, known as the "Great Grain Robbery", led to creation in the Foreign Agricultural Service of a satellite imagery unit for remote sensing of foreign crop conditions, negotiation of a long-term grain agreement (LTA) with the Soviet Union, and imposition of an export sales reporting requirement for U.S. grain exporters. It also impressed on FAS the need for "boots-on-the-ground" observation of crop conditions in critical countries.

In the 1980s, the European Economic Community (EEC) emerged as a competitor for export sales, particularly of grain. EEC export restitutions (subsidies) undercut U.S. sales, with the result that farm-state Members of Congress, led by Senator Bob Dole of Kansas, pushed through new legislation authorizing broader subsidization of commercial export sales. This Export Enhancement Program (or EEP, though it was originally called "BICEP" by Senator Dole) was used primarily to counter EEC subsidies in important markets. Use of EEP opened the United States to criticism from less developed countries on the grounds that export subsidies undercut their own farmers by depressing global commodity prices. By the mid-1990s EEP was largely abandoned in favor of negotiating for a multilateral ban on agricultural export subsidies it was last used, for a single sale, during the Clinton administration. With founding of the World Trade Organization in January 1995, trade-distorting domestic agricultural supports were capped in all member states and absolute import quotas were banned, but negotiations on eliminating export subsidies continue still.

FAS has managed food assistance programs since 1941, and today uses a mix of statutory authorities. The traditional programs are Section 416(b) of the Agricultural Act of 1949, which makes surplus commodities available for donation overseas, and Title I of Public Law 480 (Food for Peace), which authorizes concessional sales. These programs were designed to support government-to-government transactions. The 1985 Farm Bill created the Food for Progress program, which facilitated delivery of food aid through non-governmental organizations as well as foreign governments. Food for Progress can draw on multiple sources, including in-kind surplus commodities and appropriated funds.

The most recent addition to the array of FAS-implemented food aid programs is the McGovern/Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program. Named in honor of Senator Dole and Senator George McGovern, it supports school feeding programs in less developed countries, and reserves authority for supporting maternal and child health programs. It was authorized by the 2002 Farm Bill and reauthorized in 2008. Funding sources have varied since the pilot Global Food for Education program was deployed in fiscal year 2001, often combining both appropriated funds and funding from the Commodity Credit Corporation’s borrowing authority. [30] [31]

After a nine-year hiatus from international agricultural development work at USDA, on July 12, 1963, Secretary Orville Freeman ordered creation of an International Agricultural Development Service (IADS), which was subordinate to the same Assistant Secretary of Agriculture as but separate from FAS. IADS served as USDA's liaison with USAID and other assistance organizations, linking them to USDA expertise in pursuit of developmental goals. Matthew Drosdoff was hired effective February 19, 1964, to be the first permanent Administrator of IADS. In March 1969, after the Richard Nixon Administration came to power, IADS was briefly merged into FAS, then in November 1969 was split out into a separate Foreign Economic Development Service (FEDS). On February 6, 1972, FEDS was abolished and its functions transferred to the Economic Research Service, where it became the Foreign Development Division. [32]

In 1977, Quentin West proposed consolidating three USDA units involved in technical assistance and development work into a single agency to be called the Office of International Cooperation and Development: the Foreign Development Division, the Science and Education Administration, an interagency consortium funded by foreign currency earnings, and FAS' International Organization Affairs Staff. West's proposal was accepted and thus OICD was created, with responsibility for technical assistance, training, foreign currency-funded research, and international organization liaison. [33] In 1994, USDA's Office of International Cooperation and Development was merged with FAS, bringing technical assistance back to FAS after a 40-year absence. [34]

In 2003, FAS posted agricultural officers to Baghdad, not for the by-then traditional purposes of market intelligence and market development, but to reconstruct the Iraqi Ministry of Agriculture. FAS also began organizing USDA contributions to Provincial Reconstruction Teams in Iraq and Afghanistan. [35] [36] This marked FAS' return to national security work. [37] [38] Then-Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack pledged to continue and to expand that work. [39] FAS' role in national security work, however, remains controversial. [40] [41] [42] [43]

Heads of Service Edit

From 1930 to about 1934, division heads in USDA, including the heads of the Foreign Agricultural Service Division, had no formal title, but were referred to as "In-charge", though the Official Register of the United States Government listed them as "Chief". [44] Beginning around 1934 and until 1938, the head of FASD was called the "Chief". When FAS was renamed in 1938, the head was titled "Director", and that title carried over into OFAR and then the renewed FAS until 1954. The first head of FAS to bear the title "Administrator" was William Lodwick in that year. [45] Heads of the Foreign Agricultural Service and Office of Foreign Agricultural Relations since 1930 have been (periods as acting head are in italics):

Name Term Agency
Asher Hobson 1930–1931 Foreign Agricultural Service Division
Bureau of Agricultural Economics
Leslie A. Wheeler 1931–1934, 1934–1938 Foreign Agricultural Service Division
Bureau of Agricultural Economics
1938–1939 Foreign Agricultural Service
1939–1948 Office of Foreign Agricultural Relations
Dennis A. FitzGerald 1948–1949 Office of Foreign Agricultural Relations
Fred J. Rossiter 1949 Office of Foreign Agricultural Relations
Stanley Andrews 1949–1952 Office of Foreign Agricultural Relations
Francis A. Flood 1952 Office of Foreign Agricultural Relations
John J. Haggerty 1952–1953 Office of Foreign Agricultural Relations
Francis R. Wilcox 1953 Office of Foreign Agricultural Relations
Romeo Ennis Short 1953 Foreign Agricultural Service
Clayton E. Whipple 1953-1954 Foreign Agricultural Service
William G. Lodwick 1954–1955 Foreign Agricultural Service
Gwynn Garnett 1955–1958 Foreign Agricultural Service
Maxwell S. Myers 1958–1961 Foreign Agricultural Service
Robert C. Tetro 1961–1962 Foreign Agricultural Service
Raymond A. Ioanes 1962–1973 Foreign Agricultural Service
David L. Hume 1973–1977 Foreign Agricultural Service
Thomas R. Hughes 1977–1981 Foreign Agricultural Service
Richard A. Smith 1981–1985 Foreign Agricultural Service
Thomas O. Kay 1985–1989 Foreign Agricultural Service
Rolland E. Anderson 1989–1991 Foreign Agricultural Service
Duane C. Acker 1991–1992 Foreign Agricultural Service
Stephen L. Censky 1992–1993 Foreign Agricultural Service
Richard B. Schroeter 1993-1994 Foreign Agricultural Service
August Schumacher, Jr. 1994–1997 Foreign Agricultural Service
Lon S. Hatamiya 1997–1999 Foreign Agricultural Service
Timothy J. Galvin 1999–2001 Foreign Agricultural Service
Mattie R. Sharpless 2001 Foreign Agricultural Service
Mary T. Chambliss 2001-2002 Foreign Agricultural Service
A. Ellen Terpstra 2002–2006 Foreign Agricultural Service
Michael W. Yost 2006–2009 Foreign Agricultural Service
Suzanne K. Hale 2009 Foreign Agricultural Service
Michael V. Michener 2009 Foreign Agricultural Service
John D. Brewer 2010-2011 Foreign Agricultural Service
Suzanne E. Heinen 2011–2012, 2012–2013 Foreign Agricultural Service
Philip C. Karsting 2013–2017 Foreign Agricultural Service
Holly Higgins 2017–2018 Foreign Agricultural Service
James Higgiston 2018 Foreign Agricultural Service
Ken Isley 2018–present Foreign Agricultural Service

General Sales Managers Edit

General Sales Managers since 1955 have been (periods as acting GSM are in italics):

Name Term Agency
Francis C. Daniels 1955–1959 Commodity Stabilization Service
Sylvester J. Meyers 1959–1961 ditto
Frank LeRoux 1961–1966 Foreign Agricultural Service
James A. Hutchins, Jr. 1966–1967, 1968–1969 ditto
George Parks 1967–1968 ditto
Clifford Pulvermacher 1969–1972 Export Marketing Service
Laurel Meade 1972–1974 ditto
George S. Shanklin 1974 Foreign Agricultural Service
James Hutchinson 1974–1977 ditto
Kelly Harrison 1977–1981 ditto
Alan Tracy 1981–1982 ditto
Melvin Sims 1982–1989 ditto
F. Paul Dickerson 1989–1991 ditto
Christopher E. Goldthwait 1991–1993, 1993–1999 ditto
Richard Fritz 1999–2001 ditto
Mary T. Chambliss 2001 ditto
Franklin D. Lee 2001–2002 ditto
W. Kirk Miller 2002–2009 ditto
Patricia R. Sheikh 2009 ditto
John D. Brewer 2009 ditto
Christian Foster 2010 ditto
Janet A. Nuzum 2010–2011 ditto
Suzanne E. Heinen 2011–2013 ditto
Philip C. Karsting 2013–2014 ditto
Asif J. Chaudhry 2014–2015 ditto
Suzanne Palmieri 2015–2016 ditto
Allison Thomas 2016–2017 ditto
Bryce Quick 2017 ditto
Bobby Richey 2018 ditto
Clay Hamilton 2018–present ditto

Heads of International Development Edit

Administrators of the Office of International Cooperation and Development and its predecessors from creation until it was merged with FAS in 1994 were (periods as acting Administrator are in italics):

Name Term Agency
Matthew Drosdoff 1964–1966 International Agricultural Development Service
Lester R. Brown 1966–1969 ditto
Quentin West 1969–1972 Foreign Economic Development Service
Quentin West 1972–1977 Foreign Development Division, Economic Research Service
Quentin West 1977–1980 Office of International Cooperation and Development
Ruth Zagorin 1980–1981 ditto
Joan S. Wallace 1981–1989 ditto
Robert Scherle 1989–1990 ditto
Steve Abrams 1990 ditto
Duane Acker 1990–1992 ditto
John Miranda 1992-1993 ditto
Lynnett M. Wagner 1993–1994 ditto

Ambassadors Edit

Agricultural officers who have served or are serving as Ambassadors are:

Name Agricultural Posts Ambassadorships, Presidential Appointments, Significant Appointments
Lester D. Mallory assistant agricultural commissioner, Marseille and Paris agricultural attaché, Paris and Mexico City Jordan, 1953–1958, Guatemala, 1958–1959, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, 1960
Charles R. Burrows assistant agricultural attaché (rank of vice consul), Buenos Aires Honduras, 1960–1965
Howard R. Cottam agricultural economist, Paris agricultural attaché, Rome Kuwait, 1963–1969
Clarence A. Boonstra assistant agricultural attaché, Havana agricultural attaché, Manila, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro and Lima Costa Rica, 1967–1969
Philip Habib agricultural attaché (vice consul), Ottawa and Wellington South Korea 1971–1974 Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs 1974–1976 Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs 1976–1978 Acting Secretary of State 1977 Special Negotiator for the Middle East 1981 winner of the Presidential Medal of Freedom 1982 featured on a postage stamp 2006
H. Reiter Webb assistant agricultural attaché, London agricultural attaché, Cairo Chief Negotiator for Textile Matters with rank of Ambassador 1979–1981 (not confirmed by the Senate)
George S. Vest agricultural attaché (vice consul), Quito European Community 1981–1985, Director General of the Foreign Service 1985–1989
Christopher E. Goldthwait assistant agricultural attaché, Bonn agricultural attaché and counselor at Lagos Chad 1999–2004
Mattie R. Sharpless administrative assistant, Paris (OECD) assistant agricultural attaché, Brussels USEC agricultural attaché, Bern agricultural counselor, Rome agricultural minister-counselor, Paris Central African Republic 2001–2002
Suzanne K. Hale agricultural attaché and agricultural trade officer, Tokyo agricultural minister-counselor, Beijing and Tokyo Federated States of Micronesia 2004-2007
Patricia M. Haslach agricultural attaché, New Delhi Laos 2004–2007, APEC 2008–2009, Coordinator for Assistance Transition in Iraq (with ambassadorial rank) 2009–2010, Deputy Coordinator for Diplomacy, Office of the Coordinator for the Global Hunger and Food Security Initiative, 2010–2013, Ethiopia 2013–2016, acting Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs, 2016–2018
Asif J. Chaudhry agricultural attaché, Warsaw senior agricultural attaché, counselor, and acting minister-counselor, Moscow agricultural minister-counselor, Cairo Moldova 2008–2011, Foreign Policy Advisor to the Chief of Naval Operations, 2011-2014
Allan Mustard agricultural attaché, Moscow agricultural trade officer, Istanbul agricultural counselor, Vienna agricultural minister-counselor, Moscow, Mexico City, and New Delhi Turkmenistan, 2015–2019

  1. ^"FAS Mission Statement" . Retrieved April 10, 2010 .
  2. ^ National Archives, Record Group 59, General Records of the Department of State, Consular Correspondence, 1785-1906, Instructions to Consular Officers, Consular Instructions, 1800-1906, vol. 104, p. 99, call number A-1, Entry 59
  3. ^Official Register of the United States Government, 1901, vol. 1, p. 1094
  4. ^ Moffat's status is attested in the British diplomatic lists in London, the Official Register of the United States Government, and the State Department Register.
  5. ^ Clem, The U.S. Agricultural Attaché, His History and His Work
  6. ^ Letter from Secretary Henry C. Wallace to the Hon. Milton William Shreve, May 3, 1924, in the National Archives, Record Group 16, Records of the Secretary of Agriculture, General Correspondence 1906-1970 (1924), Box 1032.
  7. ^Papers of Nils Olsen and Reminiscences of Leslie A. Wheeler
  8. ^Organization and Functions of the Office of Foreign Agricultural Relations
  9. ^ Progress in tariff negotiations is documented in the annual Report of the Secretary of Agriculture for the years 1935 -1939.
  10. ^Report of the Secretary of Agriculture, 1935, p. 6.
  11. ^Reorganization Plan No. IIArchived 2008-04-28 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ Secretary's Memorandum 825, June 30, 1939
  13. ^ National Archives, Record Group 16, General Correspondence of the Office of the Secretary of Agriculture, 170/6/34/1, Box 3024, and also Reminiscences of Leslie A. Wheeler.
  14. ^ National Archives, Record Group 16, Records of the Office of the Secretary of Agriculture, General Correspondence, 1906-75, Foreign Relations (1940), Box 87. Memorandum for the Secretary, June 25, 1940, "Re: Need for clearer publicity on Inter-American cartel," from Mordecai Ezekial
  15. ^ abReminiscences of Leslie A. Wheeler
  16. ^ "The United States Farmer and the World Around Him", speech by John J. Haggerty, Director of Foreign Agricultural Relations, contained in the Journal of Farm Economics, December 1952
  17. ^ Memorandum by Fred J. Rossiter, Assistant Administrator, Foreign Agricultural Service, January 26, 1954
  18. ^ Secretary's Memorandum 1320, Supplement 1, March 10, 1953
  19. ^ Memorandum of Understanding between USDA and Department of State on "Conduct of Technical Assistance Overseas," April 14, 1954, and also Memorandum "To All Employees of the Foreign Agricultural Service" from acting Administrator Clayton E. Whipple, November 19, 1953
  20. ^
  21. Mustard, Allen (May 2003). "An Unauthorized History of the FAS". The Foreign Service Journal. Vol. 80 no. 5. pp. 38–39.
  22. ^ Howard, et al, Partners in Developing Farm Markets Overseas
  23. ^ Commodity Stabilization Service Notice General No. 305, June 28, 1955 Secretary's Memorandum 1446, February 24, 1961
  24. ^ National Archives, Record Group 166, Records of the Foreign Agricultural Service, Policy Correspondence 1951-1964, Boxes 2, 4, 6, 7.
  25. ^ Secretary's Memorandum No. 1648, Supplement 1, March 28, 1969
  26. ^ Secretary's Memorandum 1833, Supplement 1, February 1, 1974
  27. ^ Secretary's Memorandum 2001, November 27, 1979, and interview with George Pope, former Assistant Administrator for Export Credits, Foreign Agricultural Service
  28. ^ Interview with George Pope
  29. ^ Morgan, Merchants of Grain Luttrell, "The Russian Wheat Deal - Hindsight vs. Foresight, Reprint No. 81"
  30. ^ Oral history of R. Keith Severin.
  31. ^ Partially derived from information on the FAS website at
  32. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-05-15 . Retrieved 2009-05-31 . CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) .
  33. ^ Interview with Mary T. Chambliss, former Deputy Administrator for Export Credits, Foreign Agricultural Service
  34. ^ Personal recollections of Verle Lanier, Richard Rortvedt, and Mollie Iler, augmented by information gleaned from past issues of the FAS Letter and miscellaneous records from the National Archives and Records Administration.
  35. ^ Interview with Hal G. Wynne, former budget director, Foreign Agricultural Service, cited in Mustard.
  36. ^ Department of Agriculture Reorganization Act of 1994
  37. ^ Rebuilding Agriculture and Food Security in Iraq, News About Iraqi Agricultural Reconstruction (2003–Present)
  38. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-10-20 . Retrieved 2012-09-16 . CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  39. ^USDA at Work for Agriculture in Afghanistan, November 2010Archived 2012-06-06 at the Wayback Machine
  40. ^Foreign Service Journal, May 2009, FAS At a Crossroads: Reshaping Ag Diplomacy (pp. 27-31)
  41. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-05-05 . Retrieved 2009-05-05 . CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  42. ^ Statement by Michael V. Michener Administrator, Foreign Agricultural Service, U.S. Department Of Agriculture, before the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs, Washington, DC, Tuesday, May 19, 2009
  43. "Archived copy" (PDF) . Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-01-07 . Retrieved 2010-02-04 . CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  44. ^Washington Post, "Tom Vilsack: Leading 'an Everyday, Every-Way' USDA", May 21, 2009 [1]
  45. ^ Jerry Hagstrom, "Interagency debate over FAS role heats up", Government Executive, October 9, 2009.
  46. ^ Jerry Hagstrom, "Conflict Over FAS/USAID Roles: Clinton Strong Defender of FAS Traditional Purpose", Progressive Farmer, October 9, 2009
  47. ^ Jerry Hagstrom, "Lugar questioning FAS role" [dead link] , AgWeek, October 5, 2009
  48. ^
  49. Hagstrom, Jerry (December 23, 2009). "Head of Foreign Agricultural Service reassigned". Government Executive.
  50. ^ Wheeler, Reminiscences, and Official Register
  51. ^Official Register
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  • Mustard, Allan (2003). A study of management doctrines and leadership philosophies of selected organizations with international missions. Arlington, Virginia: Foreign Agricultural Service, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture. pp. vi, 85 leaves : col. ill., 28 cm. Archived from the original on 2015-10-19 . Retrieved 2009-05-31 .
  • Official Register of the United States Government. Washington: USGPO. issues of 1883, 1885, 1889, 1891, 1893, 1899, 1901, 1903, 1905, 1907, 1925-1959. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  • Olsen, Nils. Papers of Nils Olsen. special collections of the Iowa State University Library: unpublished. Archived from the original on 2009-04-10 . Retrieved 2009-03-28 .
  • Taylor, Henry Charles Anne Dewees Taylor (1952). The Story of Agricultural Economics in the United States, 1840-1932. Ames: Iowa State College Press. p. 1121. ISBN978-0-8371-7653-6 . Archived from the original on 2017-12-01 . Retrieved 2009-03-31 .
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture (issues of 1883-1885). Report of the Commissioner of Agriculture. Washington: USGPO. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture (issues of 1893, 1903, 1905, 1920, 1922, 1931-1939, 1952-1954). Report of the Secretary of Agriculture. Washington: USGPO. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  • U.S. Department of State. Biographic Register. Washington: USGPO. LCCN09022072.
  • U.S. Department of State. Foreign Relations of the United States. Washington: USGPO.
  • U.S. Department of State. Foreign Service List. Washington: USGPO. LCCN10016369.
  • Wheeler, Leslie A. (1940). Reciprocal Trade Agreements—A New Method Of Tariff Making (Yearbook of Agriculture, 1940, pp. 585-595). Washington: USGPO. [permanent dead link]
  • Wheeler, Leslie A. (1952). Reminiscences of Leslie A. Wheeler. New York: Oral History Collection of Columbia University.

U.S. government websites Edit

Statutes Edit

  • "U.S. Code, Title 7 (Agriculture), Chapter 35A (Price Support of Agricultural Commodities)" (PDF) . Retrieved 2020-05-28 . Chapter 35A contains Section 416of the Agricultural Act of 1949 (7 U.S.C. 1431), the surplus disposal authority making Commodity Credit Corporation-owned commodities available for donation to foreign beneficiaries.
  • "U.S. Code, Title 7 (Agriculture), Chapter 41 (Food for Peace)" (PDF) . Retrieved 2020-05-28 . Chapter 41 includes the Food for Peace Act (7 U.S.C. 1691 et seq.), Food for Progress Act of 1985 (7 U.S.C. 1736o), McGovern-Dole Food for Education Program (7 U.S.C. 1736o–1), Local and Regional Procurement Program (7 U.S.C. 1726c), Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust Act (7 U.S.C. 1736f–1).
  • "U.S. Code, Title 7 (Agriculture), Chapter 42 (Agricultural Commodity Set-Aside), Section 1748 (Annual reports by agricultural attachés)" (PDF) . Retrieved 2020-05-28 .
  • "U.S. Code, Title 7 (Agriculture), Chapter 42 (Agricultural Commodity Set-Aside), Section 1749 (Attaché educational program)" (PDF) . Retrieved 2020-05-28 .
  • "U.S. Code, Title 7 (Agriculture), Chapter 43 (Foreign Market Development)" (PDF) . Retrieved 2020-05-28 .
  • "U.S. Code, Title 7 (Agriculture), Chapter 87 (Export Promotion)" (PDF) . Retrieved 2012-10-24 . Basic authority for the Foreign Agricultural Service resides in Subchapter V: Foreign Agricultural Service (7USC5692-5695).
  • "U.S. Code, Title 7, Sec. 3293. Agricultural fellowship program for middle income countries, emerging democracies, and emerging markets" (PDF) . Cochran Fellowship Program authority
  • "U.S. Code, Title 19 (Customs Duties), Sec. 2152. Advice from executive departments and other sources" (PDF) . Retrieved 2020-05-28 . (President must seek advice of Secretary of Agriculture before signing any trade agreement)
  • "U.S. Code, Title 19 (Customs Duties), Chapter 22 (Uruguay Round Trade Agreements), Subchapter IV (Agriculture Related Provisions), Sec. 3601-3624" (PDF) . Retrieved 2020-05-28 .
  • "U.S. Code, Title 22 (Foreign Relations), Chapter 52 (Foreign Service), Sec. 3922 (Utilization of Foreign Service personnel system by other agencies)" (PDF) . Retrieved 2020-05-28 .
  • "U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Compilations of Agricultural Law, Index by Subject" . Retrieved 2020-05-28 .

Federal Regulations Edit

  • "Code of Federal Regulations: Title 7—Agriculture, Chapter XIV—Commodity Credit Corporation, Department of Agriculture, Subchapter C—Export Programs" . Retrieved 2020-05-28 .
  • "Code of Federal Regulations: Title 7—Agriculture, Chapter XV—Foreign Agricultural Service" . Retrieved 2020-05-28 .
  • "Code of Federal Regulations: Title 7—Part 1484 RIN 0551–AA96 Foreign Market Development Program" (PDF) . Retrieved 2020-11-10 .
  • "Code of Federal Regulations: Title 7—Part 1485 RIN 0551–AA97 Market Access Program" (PDF) . Retrieved 2020-11-10 .

Departmental Regulations Edit

USDA Regulations Edit
Foreign Affairs Manual Edit

Other Edit

Other publications and documents Edit

  • "U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Announces Millions to Promote U.S. Food and Agricultural Exports, January 26, 2010". Archived from the original on 2010-02-03 . Retrieved 2010-02-03 .
  • "Congressional Research Service, Agricultural Export and Food Aid Programs, April 15, 2008". Archived from the original on August 7, 2011 . Retrieved 2009-03-24 .
  • "Congressional Research Service, Agricultural Exports and the 2007 Farm Bill, October 31, 2007" (PDF) . Archived from the original (PDF) on July 19, 2011 . Retrieved 2009-03-24 .
  • "AgExporter, October 2004, Fighting World Hunger: U.S. Food Aid Policy and the Food for Peace Program" (PDF) . Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-04-07 . Retrieved 2009-03-26 .
  • "AgExporter, December 2003, In Pursuit of Opportunity: FAS and Foreign Market Development" (PDF) . Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-04-07 . Retrieved 2009-03-26 .
  • "AgExporter, March 2003, Helping U.S. Producers Feed, Clothe and House the World" (PDF) . Retrieved 2009-03-23 .
  • "AgExporter, March 2003, FAS Attachés: U.S. Agriculture's Eyes and Ears Abroad" (PDF) . Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-04-07 . Retrieved 2009-03-26 .
  • "Statement of A. Ellen Terpstra, Administrator, before the House Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies". March 5, 2003. Archived from the original on March 22, 2009 . Retrieved 2009-03-25 .
  • Hanrahan, Charles E. (May 30, 2001). "IB98006: Agricultural Export and Food Aid Programs". CRS Issue Brief for Congress. Congressional Research Service. Archived from the original on 2009-01-09 . Retrieved June 6, 2010 .
  • "Senate Report 105-051 - Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriation Bill, 1998" . Retrieved 2009-03-25 .
  • "AgExporter, November 1, 1995, USDA has long history in overseas agricultural development" . Retrieved 2009-03-24 .
  • "Mission of Foreign Agricultural Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture : joint hearings before the Subcommittee on Foreign Agriculture and Hunger of the Committee on Agriculture and the Subcommittee on Information, Justice, Transportation, and Agriculture of the Committee on Government Operations, House of Representatives, One Hundred Third Congress, first session, November 10 and 16, 1993" . Retrieved 2009-03-26 .
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Public Affairs, Video and Teleconference Division. "FAS recruiting video from 1990" . Retrieved 2011-01-20 . CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  • "FAS Letter, 1957-1977". Archived from the original on 2009-09-27 . Retrieved 2009-10-03 .
  • "Congressional Record, May 26, 1954, Statement by the Honorable Congressman Samuel Yorty of California on the need to return agricultural attachés to USDA" (PDF) . Archived from the original (PDF) on October 13, 2008 . Retrieved 2009-03-24 .
  • "Secretary Benson Creates New Foreign Agricultural Service, USDA Press Release #583-53, March 11, 1953" (PDF) . Archived from the original (PDF) on October 13, 2008 . Retrieved 2009-03-24 .
  • "Organization and Functions of the Office of Foreign Agricultural Relations, 1940" . Retrieved 2009-03-27 .
  • "Memorandum 804, Describing Functions of the Foreign Agricultural Service, January 28, 1939" . Retrieved 2009-03-27 .
  • "The Foreign Agricultural Service Act of 1930, June 5, 1930" . Retrieved 2009-03-27 .
  • "The Foreign Crops, USDA statistical circular, by Charles M. Daugherty, May 1911-April 1913" . Retrieved 2009-03-27 .
  • "Report of the Commissioner of Agriculture, 1883" . Retrieved 2020-05-28 . (see page 10 for report of posting to London of Edmund Moffat)

Oral Histories On Line Edit

  • "Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training Oral Histories" . Retrieved 2009-03-23 . (use the search engine for a "Full Text" search on "Foreign Agricultural Service" in quotes)
  • "Oral History of Stanley Andrews at the Truman Presidential Library" . Retrieved 2009-03-25 .
  • "Oral History of Dennis A. Fitzgerald at the Truman Presidential Library" . Retrieved 2009-03-25 .

Media Articles (chronological order) Edit

  • "Government Executive, January 27, 2010, Vilsack names more key deputies, by Jerry Hagstrom" . Retrieved 2010-02-03 .
  • "Government Executive, October 9, 2009, Interagency debate over FAS role heats up, by Jerry Hagstrom" . Retrieved 2009-10-10 .
  • "Progressive Farmer, October 9, 2009, Conflict Over FAS/USAID Roles: Clinton Strong Defender of FAS Traditional Purpose, by Jerry Hagstrom" . Retrieved 2009-10-10 .
  • "Lexington Clipper-Herald, October 5, 2009, Smith calls for hearing on new ag export markets, by Robert Pore" . Retrieved 2009-10-10 .
  • "AgWeek, October 5, 2009, Lugar questioning FAS role, by Jerry Hagstrom" . Retrieved 2009-10-10 . [dead link]
  • "Foreign Service Journal, September 2009, Mission Cleavage (p. 61)". Archived from the original on 2010-05-04 . Retrieved 2010-12-06 .
  • "Foreign Service Journal, May 2009, Hoping for a Break: Foreign Trade Agencies Under Pressure (pp. 15-22)". Archived from the original on 2011-05-16 . Retrieved 2009-05-04 .
  • "Foreign Service Journal, May 2009, FAS At a Crossroads: Reshaping Ag Diplomacy (pp. 27-31)". Archived from the original on 2011-09-16 . Retrieved 2011-10-13 .
  • "Foreign Service Journal, May 2009, Emerging Challenges: Farm Trade in the Age of Globalization (pp. 32-36)". Archived from the original on 2011-09-16 . Retrieved 2011-10-13 .
  • "AgWeek, March 8, 2009, A Mess at FAS, by Jerry Hagstrom".
  • "Foreign Service Journal, May 2003, An Unauthorized History of FAS" (PDF) . Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-10-26 . Retrieved 2009-03-23 .
  • "Foreign Service Journal, May 2003, High Stakes, High Hurdles: US Farm Trade Policy" (PDF) . Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-10-26 . Retrieved 2009-03-23 .
  • "Foreign Service Journal, May 2003, The Foreign Agricultural Service Today" (PDF) . Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-10-26 . Retrieved 2009-03-23 .
  • "Journal of Farm Economics, December 1952, The United States Farmer and the World Around Him" . Retrieved 2009-03-26 .
  • "Journal of Farm Economics, July 1930, News Items" . Retrieved 2009-03-23 .

This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Department of Agriculture.
This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the National Archives and Records Administration.
This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Library of Congress.

A Brief History of the Consular Service

When most people think about consular matters, if they think about them at all, it’s only because they are having difficulties in a foreign country or because they have to apply for a visa to travel, study, or immigrate abroad. However, in focusing only on these functions, as important as they are, we also overlook the rich history and the key role consuls have played in international trade and diplomacy. Consular service attracted such luminaries as writer Brett Harte and future mayor of New York Fiorello LaGuardia as well as its share of the corrupt and power hungry, who liked the money their services brought in and the autonomy that isolation from Washington provided. Herewith a brief history of the consular service from the time of the pharaohs to the courts of France to the growing pains of the American Republic.

These excerpts are taken from the book The American Consul, written by Charles Stuart Kennedy, who spent more than 35 years in the Foreign Service as a consular officer, including in Saigon, Athens, and as consul general in Naples. A revised 2nd edition is forthcoming in the ADST-DACOR Diplomats and Diplomacy Series, retitled The American Consul: A History of the United States Consular Service 1776–1924. For the past quarter century Kennedy has served as the Director of Oral History at ADST.

From the Pharaohs to the Courts of Europe

The origin of consuls predates that of permanent ambassadors by almost two millennia. The first ambassadors set up residence in foreign countries during the late Middle Ages. An establishment closely approximating a consular service had been created in Egypt in the sixth century B.C. during the reign of the Pharaoh Amasis, who, wishing to encourage trade with the Greeks, set aside Naucratis, a city in the Nile Delta, where they could live under their own governors. Those governors had many of the characteristics of modern consuls in that their principal functions were to encourage trade, act as magistrates for their citizens living in Egypt, serve as intermediaries with the Egyptian authorities, and report back to their city-states on political and economic conditions in Egypt. Naucratis was not a Greek colony but existed at the sufferance of the Egyptian pharaoh, who delegated certain powers to the Greek governors in the manner that countries today will allow foreign consuls to perform certain legal functions for their own citizens.

The Greek city-state system, and later that of the Romans, had their versions of consuls however, with the collapse of the Roman Empire and the advent of the Dark Ages, it was not until the eleventh and twelfth centuries that the trading states of Europe began to reassemble their systems of laws, codes, and commercial practices. Gradually merchants in northern Europe (especially members of the Hanseatic League) and the Mediterranean were enabled to enjoy a certain security in knowing that their goods and agents were not completely at the mercy of capricious local magistrates. With the codification of mercantile practices, consuls began to reappear to help merchants of their cities or states on foreign shores. By the thirteenth century, Venice had more than thirty consuls placed abroad in Tunis, Alexandria, Cairo, and Damascus, as well as in all of the major European ports.

As commerce grew, countries and city-states began to send their ambassadors to reside at courts of foreign rulers rather than to perform a specific mission and then return. These resident ambassadors took away some work consuls had performed, especially in dealing with major problems affecting large numbers of their subjects, but few ambassadors had the interest, experience, or authority to deal with commercial matters or intercede for merchants or sailors in trouble. Courts and ports were two different worlds, and it took different types of men to deal with each. Even today, although there are attempts to meld professional diplomats with consuls, individual differences in personality and outlook sharply affect preferences for one or the other field of work.

By the time of the American Revolution, the French had a highly organized consular service. Elaborate rules were drawn up by Louis XIV’s officials: requiring a consul to be over thirty years old, to have served over three years as a vice consul, and to have proved himself worthy of further advancement. The consul received a salary and could not engage in trade. More authority was given to French consuls over their king’s subjects abroad than was given by the British to their English counterparts. British consuls were selected from merchants, naval or military officers, or other men of responsibility and experience. They were given a salary while serving abroad.

The British consuls’ duties were spelled out in a series of instructions. The king’s consul was to learn the local language acquaint himself with the laws, ordinances, and customs of the area and maintain the dignity of his office. The consul was to protect British subjects, seeking redress for injuries or insults they might suffer and acting as their advocate should they injure or insult a native. British subjects charged with crimes committed at sea were to be transported to Great Britain for trial. The consul was to relieve distressed British mariners and send penniless subjects home on British ships. The consul was to see that British ships paid their bills before leaving port, claim and recover what he could from the wrecks of British ships, arbitrate trade disputes between British merchants and ship captains, and put disorderly seamen and captains into prison. The consul was to complain against any oppressive regulations, arbitrary actions, or infractions of treaties in relation to the commerce of his country, and he was to transmit periodic reports on trade. With the exceptions of putting seamen and their captains in a consular jail and protecting the Protestant faith in Catholic countries, these instructions given out in the time of George I (1714–27) cover some of the major responsibilities of modern consuls of most countries today, including those of the United States.

The United States Consular Service in the 18 th and 19 th Centuries

Until the colonial Americans severed their ties to Great Britain in 1776, American merchants and seamen benefited from the British consular system, which looked after the interests of all British subjects. By 1776, any country with major shipping interests and markets abroad recognized the need to have a consular service and the value of having one that recruited and kept men who were knowledgeable in trade and in dealing with foreign governments.

During George Washington’s administration the American army was kept at shadow strength, the navy was nonexistent, and the diplomatic service was limited to a few capitals. The consular service, however, spread itself throughout Europe, the West Indies, and North Africa and maintained its representation in China.

Two factors caused this remarkable growth. The first was the appointment of Thomas Jefferson to the new position of Secretary of State, the ideal person to preside over the inauguration of the consular service. He was a man of great intellect and diverse interests, with a practical experience in consular matters that no other figure in the formative years of the Republic had. Jefferson had served in France for five years and had successfully negotiated the first American consular convention with a foreign power thus he understood both the domestic and foreign concerns that consular operations raised. As a congressman he had learned what was possible from that deliberative body and – more importantly – what was not possible. As a tobacco planter and former governor of Virginia, Jefferson was attuned to the dynamics of American trade abroad and knew how consuls could help that vital export trade. All this knowledge and experience were put to use as Jefferson shepherded the consular service through its early years.

The other reason for the growth of consular appointments in the first decade of the United States under the Constitution was that the service expanded without cost to the government. There were no attempts by Washington, Jefferson, or Congress to make the consular service into a professional body with salaries, rotation in posts, or promotion upward. It was agreed that the United States could have an adequate distribution of consuls abroad by using those who would serve for whatever compensation they might personally extract from their positions as consuls. It cost money to maintain an army or navy, but the American flag could be flying from consuls’ offices throughout the world with little expense except that of the ink and paper to print their commissions. The only drawback to this favorable fiscal situation was that the men appointed were often not experienced or trained for their new positions.

Despite Jefferson’s impatience, Washington’s pleas, and the fact that a score of consuls were already at their posts waiting for legal status, Congress procrastinated, not enacting the necessary legislation until 14 April 1792. The 1792 act, which was to remain the basic legislation for the consular service for the next century, stipulates that officials were to:

— Receive protests or declarations regarding American shipping matters

— Take provisional possession of the estates of American citizens dying abroad if there were no legal representative present, and notify the Secretary of State of the death

— Take charge of stranded American ships and endeavor to save them and their cargoes until the owners could take charge and

— Collect certain fees for taking statements and holding and inventorying estates.

From the beginning, American consuls were set apart from American diplomats in that they had judicial duties prescribed by law regarding notarial acts and estates and police functions over American ship owners and their masters. American diplomats did not have these responsibilities. If there was a conflict between a minister and a consul over a legal matter involving consular duties, the judgment of the consul was to supersede, a fact that did not always please an aggressive minister.

For the most part, however, American ministers (and later ambassadors) and their secretaries were only too happy to concern themselves with court life and leave estates, shipping, and other such business to their consuls.

The Consular Act of 1792 contains nothing about assisting distressed American civilians abroad, but the care of seamen was spelled out in detail. Even in the laissez-faire time of the early Republic it was recognized that sailors needed special care and treatment, almost as wards of the government.

By extension, it is not surprising that the young United States Navy and the consular service were often involved in mutual activity that fostered a strong alliance. In times of peace the American consul in a port was surely heartened to see a warship enter the harbor flying the Stars and Stripes. The round of official calls between the naval vessel and the local authorities helped the standing of the American consul. For many foreign officials and civil leaders in Europe and elsewhere the United States was as yet a little-known country. A well-turned-out warship represented a country to be reckoned with. The American consul became more important in their eyes. American naval officers benefited from the consul’s services. He helped them resupply their ships, introduced them to the social delights of the port city after perhaps months at sea, and could get their crews out of the hands of the local authorities if they overindulged in celebrating their shore leave.

In time of unrest or war the close proximity of a frigate might relieve a consul’s mind and make his work easier as the protector of American interests. Mobs had far more respect for cannon than for consular credentials. Local authorities understood the threat a hostile ship presented to the city’s commerce. If a situation came to the worst, the American naval ship could pluck the consul and his family out of danger.

Cronyism and Attempts at Reform

Throughout the 19 th and early part of the 20 th Centuries, consular service attracted a great many talented people, several of whom made their names in other fields. Early on the service was often viewed as a refuge for men engaged in the arts, such as Nathaniel Hawthorne, James Fennimore Cooper, William Dean Howells, and later Bret Harte, as well as others of lesser renown who looked to a consular post to ease their financial burdens or give them some social status abroad. Years later, a young Fiorello LaGuardia would work as a consular clerk in Budapest, then as a highly competent commercial agent in Fiume, before embarking on his political career.

While duty and the allure of a life abroad brought in many dedicated men, it also was the siren call for those of lesser qualifications (and principles). The period between the Civil War and the Spanish-American War was the nadir of the U.S. consular system. President Ulysses S. Grant (1869–77) set the tone for the period with his almost complete indifference to competence in his consular appointments. Grant sought to reward friends and take care of the many veterans of the Union armies, now disbanded, with many of the ex-officers requesting jobs overseas. Consular ranks soon became full of former generals, colonels, and even men of lesser rank.

Although diplomatic appointments suffered from lack of discrimination almost as much as the consular ones, Secretary of State Hamilton Fish made an effort to keep scoundrels, incompetents, or grossly unsuitable men out of the more important legations. One of Fish’s friends described the period of appointments as resembling the rutting season among stags, with the amenities and decencies of civilization forgotten. In the early days of the Grant administration, the Department of State’s anterooms were full of office seekers hoping for a legation or consulate.

In 1883, Congress took a major step toward reform in the government by passing the Civil Service Act, known as the Pendleton Act, which established the principle of selection by competitive examination for certain positions within the civil service. Unfortunately for the consular and diplomatic services, this positive development did not inspire Congress to take immediate measures to extend the competitive principle to those organizations. Moreover, because the Pendleton Act removed so many positions in the domestic civil service from the patronage system, Congress was not ready to close off consular and diplomatic jobs too from patronage requests.

Without waiting for an obviously reluctant Congress to pass an anti-patronage act, President Cleveland in September 1895 took action regarding the consular service by issuing an executive order providing that any vacant consular position of which the salary was between $1,000 and $2,500 a year should be filled by a person designated by the President for examination and having successfully passed it. Unfortunately, there were flaws in this seemingly auspicious beginning of consular reform. Cleveland, prior to issuing his executive order, entered his second term as President with a thorough sweep of the consular service — one of the most drastic in its history — by throwing out many serving consuls and putting in deserving Democrats. Having fulfilled his patronage responsibilities, he talked reform. The Republicans responded in kind when McKinley replaced Cleveland in 1897. McKinley left the executive order in place but recalled 259 of the 320 serving consuls to replace them with men sponsored by the Republican Party. The examination process became a farce: 1 candidate was rejected out of the 112 tested in the first round.

A More Professional Consular Service and Yet…

World War I and a subsequent change in American attitude toward immigration added another burden to the consular establishment — visas, immigrant and non-immigrant. Although there had been some screening of visitors and immigrants for medical problems by consuls prior to World War I, immigrants and visitors to the United States had been examined for suitability at American ports, with Ellis Island as the main reception center on the east coast. Because of wartime controls and subsequent legislation to limit immigration, the initial responsibility for examining the qualifications of emigrants abroad was transferred to the consuls and this has remained a major task of the consular service to the present day.

By 1924 both the consular and diplomatic services of the United States, by that point filled with career men with the exception of ambassadors and ministers of legation, were joined together into the Foreign Service. There was some concern on the part of those who had specialized in the diplomatic field that the more numerous consuls might dominate the new Foreign Service. This did not happen.

The diplomatic officers, now called political officers (because they reported on political events in foreign capitals), quickly seized the levers of power in the State Department’s assignment and promotion machinery and, in due time, completely submerged the consuls. Political officers kept promotions to senior rank and important positions in legations, embassies, and the Department of State under their own preview. Not until the late 1960s and 1970s was some redress made in this systematic discrimination through revitalized leadership in the consular bureau and long-overdue Congressional outrage at this state of affairs.

When one looks back on the long history of the U.S. consular service from 1776 to 1924, one finds it hard to understand why it took so long to turn it into a more professional service somewhat resembling the officer corps of the American army and navy. Other countries, notably France, Great Britain, and Russia, had career consuls long before the American Revolution. Although Congress might have been apprehensive about losing patronage, there were never more than 300 jobs at stake, and a good number of those neither paid a salary nor afforded a prospect of giving a living to any appointee. Simply stated, the President, Congress, and the American people were content for more than a century to leave consular appointments to political chance.

In some ways there still has been no improvement in the overseas representation of the United States. While consular posts today are run almost exclusively by career men and women of the Foreign Service, most American embassies in the more important capitals around the world are headed by political appointees, many of whom are amateurs in the field of foreign policy. The saving grace is that today these diplomatic neophytes are backed up by a solid professional service in subordinate ranks.

Although the American public is better served by the new breed of consuls, something has been lost. The old consular service had its incompetents, dishonest men, and time servers, but it also had its share of men with drive and initiative who were able to deal with rapidly changing situations without waiting for instructions or playing safe, resorting to bureaucratic niceties and doing little. Perhaps the old consular service was what the United States needed during its first 120 years. There was little direction from the President or Congress and there was scant understanding at home by the American public about foreign affairs. Communications were necessarily slow and frustrating and often failed disastrously. But the creaky system suited the American style of government. Assign a randomly chosen consul to a post and let him sink or swim. Throughout the history of the consular service, most consuls proved to be good swimmers.

Edmund A. Walsh, SJ

Born in 1885 in South Boston, Mass., Edmund A. Walsh began his Jesuit novitiate and studied philosophy in Maryland before teaching at the preparatory school run by Georgetown University and studying in Ireland, England and Austria-Hungary. Walsh was ordained in 1916 and became dean of Georgetown College a year later, but his deanship was soon interrupted. The War Department (now the Department of Defense) requested his participation on a board comprised of five educators who designed the academic program for the Student Army Training Corp. The Training Corp educated new military personnel to prepare for America’s entry into the First World War.

This experience drew his attention to the lacking American education in diplomacy, which helped shape Fr. Walsh’s conception of the SFS. He realized Georgetown University, with its DC location and values of service, would be the ideal home for the United States’ first school in international affairs.

State Dept. adds 71 historical names to plaque honoring on-duty foreign service deaths

Jason Vorderstrasse was carpooling to work with other Foreign Service officers in Hong Kong when he heard about the grave. A colleague mentioned visiting a nearby military cemetery and being surprised to find the headstone of a U.S. diplomat.

Curious, Vorderstrasse went to see it for himself. The grave belonged to F.R. Engdahl, who died in 1942. That was strange, he later recounted, because Engdahl’s name wasn’t on the Memorial Plaques at State Department headquarters in Washington, which honored about 250 in the Foreign Service who have died on duty.

That was in 2007. Fourteen years later, Vorderstrasse’s quest to get Engdahl’s name inscribed has grown into something much bigger. On Friday, the State Department and the professional association and union representing Foreign Service officers unveiled 71 more names after an exhaustive search through the archives to find forgotten or overlooked people who qualify. Included are three envoys who died of yellow fever in the Republic of Texas, then an independent country a Black diplomat who was born enslaved and died an ambassador to Liberia and Engdahl, who died in an accidental fall while he was a Japanese prisoner of war.

Five myths about the Foreign Service

The American embassy in Havana, Cuba. (Adalberto Roque/AFP/Getty Images)

Members of the U.S. Foreign Service, the professional diplomats who represent the United States government and help U.S. citizens abroad, have long been the target of jibes from lawmakers, pundits and the public. Often portrayed in films as elitist dilettantes, they typically come off second best compared with hard-charging military officers or focused intelligence agents. But it’s worth taking a closer look at the people who make up the Foreign Service and the work they do abroad.

According to any number of spy films, diplomats are always going to cocktail parties in luxurious settings, where men are decked out in tuxedos and women in stunning evening wear.

Working dinners and receptions have always been parts of a Foreign Service workweek. But today’s diplomats enter the job with the expectation that they will frequently serve in hardship posts and war zones. Out of 170 countries with authorized Foreign Service posts, officers serving in 27 of them (almost 16 percent) are eligible to receive “danger pay” because of active hostilities, civil conflict, high levels of criminal violence or the real possibility of targeted kidnappings, often aimed at U.S. diplomats.

Since 1950, eight U.S. ambassadors have died in the line of duty overseas. Six were killed by militants and two in plane crashes. The most recent example was Ambassador Chris Stevens in Benghazi, Libya, in 2012, and let’s not forget communications specialist Sean Smith, who died with Stevens, and public affairs officer Anne Smedinghoff, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2013. And recall the 52 Foreign Service officers and other embassy workers held in Tehran for 444 days from 1979 to 1981.

Apart from the more severe dangers inherent in Foreign Service life, those serving at no less than 67 percent of U.S. posts are also eligible for hardship differential, which can be based on challenging health conditions, extreme climates, physical isolation, difficulties in maintaining a healthy diet or other conditions that the State Department monitors and documents regularly.

In a 2014 blog post, a former diplomat complained that “Breaking into the Good Old Boys Diplomatic Club is Still Hard to Do,” and in his book “A Lifetime of Dissent,” Raymond Gonzales likewise argues that “as Foreign Service Officers, the odds for Hispanics or Blacks making the cut are pretty grim. Thus, the good ol’ boy network perpetuates itself.”

There was a time when members of the Foreign Service almost exclusively came from well-heeled families of American patrician society and were educated in one of the Ivy League bastions of privilege, part of an “old boys’ ” network (sarcastically referred to as “pale, male, and Yale”).

These days, though, Foreign Service officers look more like America. They come from rural and small-town as well as urban areas, and from state and small private colleges as well as the Ivy League. If you think you can compete for the opportunity to represent this country abroad and are prepared to tolerate — in many posts — regular power outages, poor public health and sanitation standards, and a danger-curtailed lifestyle, you’re welcome to apply.

But while the Foreign Service has changed, when it comes to gender and racial diversity, there’s still work to be done. Almost half a century ago, in 1970, less than 5 percent of Foreign Service officers, and only 1 percent of senior-level officers, were women. By 2003, women were one-third of the officer corps and 25 percent of those at senior levels. The latest State Department report lists women as 40 percent of the “FS Generalist” corps (accounting for most diplomats) and one-third of the Senior Foreign Service.

Likewise, the share of black career officers is still disappointingly small but growing from prior decades: It reached 6 percent in 2005 and by this spring was not any higher. That’s better than the mere two dozen black officers at work in 1968, but with clear and needed room for improvement.

According to a 2015 essay in Foreign Policy, at least some presidential administrations have reasons to mistrust Foreign Service officers. “Republican administrations,” journalist Nicholas Kralev wrote, “. . . tend to view the diplomatic service as liberally inclined and excessively internationalist.” Indeed, former speaker of the House Newt Gingrich suggested in Foreign Policy in 2003 that President George W. Bush’s State Department was purposefully undermining his objectives abroad. But this mistrust mistakes specialized knowledge, which may not reflect what administrations believe, with rogue agendas.

Like military officers, Foreign Service officers have commissions from the president and take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution. We serve the president elected by the people of the United States, as well as the officials appointed and confirmed to help formulate and execute our country’s foreign policy and international relations.

We also, however, are responsible for advising the secretary of state or the president when we believe differently than they do, especially when it comes to advancing the nation’s best interests. After 266 Foreign Service officers resigned in 1968 over the Vietnam War, the State Department in 1971 established a formal “Dissent Channel ” to be used for transmitting recommendations that disagree with official policy. Such messages might say that some of our “friends” are politically corrupt, bleeding their countries dry through bribery or payoffs, or telling us what we want to hear about political democracy while jailing those seeking a modicum of political space. This is not disloyalty but frank and very helpful advice — from the perspective of on-the-ground observers.

According to a 2012 Atlantic article, “digital diplomacy . . . faces such high expectations as a supposedly revolutionary technology.” Indeed, after the Obama administration prioritized digital diplomacy, and with some hailing it as a way for “governments and citizens to communicate faster and more effectively,” one might come to the conclusion that high-tech diplomacy could soon edge out old-fashioned diplomatic work.

Social networking is useful as a diplomatic tool, but only as a complement to the work of face-to-face contacts with key audiences and decision-makers. There comes a point in human relations (particularly when dealing with another society and culture) when you must engage face to face, in the local language, to develop the trust and committed relationships that we need to discuss serious international issues (including, as an extreme example, military and/or diplomatic support).

For instance, then-Secretary of State John Kerry didn’t Skype in to Ukraine but instead visited that country twice in recent years, first in March 2014 in the face of the Russian campaign to annex Crimea and then in July 2016 to promote solidarity with the United States amid separatist fighting. He personally took his message to Kiev, making his point more forcefully than if he had delivered it through an electronic transmission. We obviously didn’t roll back the Russians, but it was a clear demonstration of where we stood and our willingness to send personnel in the flesh to make our point.

From Teddy Roosevelt’s famous “Speak softly and carry a big stick,” analysts and foreign policy professionals have agreed that diplomacy without force to back it up rarely gets the job done — especially in cases that are vital to national security (think Iraq, Syria and North Korea).

But the pendulum may have swung too far in recent years to favor the big stick. The best response to this argument probably came from then-Defense Secretary Bob Gates. He told a Washington think tank in 2008 that diplomacy and development should lead American efforts abroad, and he warned against a “creeping militarization” of U.S. foreign policy. “It is important,” he said, “that the military is — and is clearly seen to be — in a supporting role to civilian agencies.”

The Foreign Service is typically our first contact in our relations with other states and other peoples. Experts inside and outside government know that it is cheaper and more effective to allow our diplomats to deal with crisis situations before they explode, rather than after. But even if the money is appropriated, it is difficult to claim success for the civil war that has been averted, for the mass rapes that have not occurred or for the state that has not failed. We all know, however, how easy (if regrettable) it is to claim success for the combatants killed, the enemy strongholds taken and the number of prisoners captured. In an update of Gates’s statement, we can recall Gen. Jim Mattis’s 2013 remarks, while leading U.S. Central Command: “If you don’t fund the State Department fully, then I need to buy more ammunition .”

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Five myths is a weekly feature challenging everything you think you know. You can check out previous myths, read more from Outlook or follow our updates on Facebook and Twitter.


“Undergraduate economists from around the country deserved an event in which they could interact significantly with each other and the professional academic community.”
– Christopher L. Griffin, Jr., founder of the Carroll Round

The Carroll Round conference began in 2001, as a way to foster the next global ‘round’ of economic and political dialogue among top undergraduates.

Inspired by the quality of informal discussions among fellow students at Georgetown and abroad, the Carroll Round’s first conference in 2002 provided a unique opportunity for undergraduate economics students from across the country to present their work in a serious research setting.

Over the past 12 years, the annual Carroll Round conference has grown to attract the highest quality research in international economics from undergraduates around the world. The quality and quantity of submissions to participate in the Carroll Round grows each year. Since 2006, presented papers have been published in the annual journal, The Carroll Round Proceedings.

Carroll Round participants also have the opportunity to meet leading academics and policymakers in the field as guest speakers at each conference. Speakers have ranged from Nobel Laureates to members of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve- for instance, John F. Nash, Jr., Thomas Schelling, Susan Athey, Eric Maskin, Joseph Stiglitz, William Easterly, Steven Radelet, Kemal Derviş, Gene Sperling and many more.

With each year, the Carroll Round alumni group has grown into a professional and academic network unlike any other for young economists. The Carroll Round serves as a key experience for aspiring undergraduates in the field of international economics.

Foreign Service Act of 1946

The Foreign Service Act of 1946 (P.L. 79-724) is a reorganization initiative established to develop professional opportunities to attract foreign service officers and to train them to become a "disciplined corps" of civil servants. Prior to the passage of the Foreign Service Act, there was little control over the selection of diplomatic and consular personnel representing the United States. After World War I, it became clear that the Foreign Service required restructuring. The first initiative was the Rogers Act of May 24, 1924, which established a career service combining the diplomatic and consular branches of the Foreign Service. Selection of officers was based on an examination and successful completion of a period of service. The second initiative was the Moses-Linthicum Act of February 23, 1931. This act revised the Rogers Act and attempted to address concerns regarding the need to coordinate the diplomatic and consular branches and regularize the promotion policy. These two initiatives contributed substantially to the development of the Foreign Service.

Following America's period of isolation in the early part of the twentieth century and as the demands made on the Foreign Service during the Second World War began to exceed its traditional functions, efforts continued to focus on means of ensuring the comprehensive reorganization of the Foreign Service. Following President Franklin Roosevelt's second Reorganization Plan, effective July 1, 1939, the Department of State became responsible for the foreign activities of the Departments of Agriculture and Commerce. It also became responsible for ascertaining the "welfare and whereabouts" of American nationals in dangerous zones abroad. In March 1944, the American Foreign Service Journal announced an essay contest open to Foreign Service officers for the purpose of presenting criticisms of the operation of the Service and making recommendations for improvements. On the basis of its own studies, the Department of State drafted a proposal for reorganization.

The Foreign Service Act was passed by unanimous consent without lengthy debate on August 13, 1946. The act undertakes "to improve, strengthen, and expand" the existing Foreign Service organization. It also addresses concerns regarding lack of representation of the American people as a whole by including the objective of eliminating "conditions favorable to inbred prejudice and caste spirit." In addition, according to Alona E. Evans, the major areas of change included administrative organization, personnel structure, and training. The introduction to the act reads:

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the President is authorized under the provisions of this Act to appoint, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, not to exceed two hundred and fifty persons to positions as Foreign Service officers. Each such appointment shall be made by commission to a classified grade and shall be in addition to all other appointments of Foreign Service officers.

The Foreign Service Act of 1946 contributed to increasing the organization of the Foreign Service, the attractiveness of the career aspects of the service, and the regularization of promotions within the service. The number of classes within the career service was reduced from eleven to seven, a new post of Career Minister was introduced, and promotions followed the pattern of "promotion-up or selection-out" which provides for a designated maximum time in which a foreign service officer can remain in a post without being promoted. It also called for the training of Foreign Service officers in the political and economic policies of other countries so as to enable Foreign Service officers to act, according to Alona Evans, with "objectivity and understanding" abroad.

Foreign Service Accounts from the Oral History Archives

August marks the 30th anniversary of the Burmese student pro-democracy demonstrations that began on 𔄠/8/88”. The U.S. subsequently withdrew its ambassador in protest of the military regime, beginning a hiatus in relations that lasted until 2012.

Frank Huffman, who was Assistant Public Affairs Officer in Rangoon, described the demonstrations in pages 43-44 of his ADST oral history, noting that “More people were killed that day than were killed in Tiananmen Square in Beijing a year later, but for some reason the world didn’t pay much attention.”

Vic Tomseth, then Director of the Office of Thai and Burma Affairs, wrote about the effects of the military crackdown on the embassy and the bilateral relationship in his ADST account: “…when the military cracked down on the pro-democracy movement in September of 1988, the trauma that the embassy staff experienced was very profound. I like to compare it to what happened in Teheran in February of 1979 when the embassy was attacked by several armed groups with some casualties.”

See also ADST accounts for two Foreign Service stalwarts who passed away recently: Ambassador Princeton Lyman on August 24 and Ambassador Darryl Johnson on June 24.

Current Articles

  • 25 from 25 – Picks from our Archives on Policy and the Environment
  • May 2021
  • Is Diplomacy Back? Making the Case to the American People
  • The Impact of Climate Change on U.S. Foreign Policy and the National Interest
  • Why the U.S. Should Help Prevent Lebanon’s Collapse
  • Time to Rethink Development Assistance in the Sahel
  • Locally Employed Staff Are the Lifeblood of Cultural Diplomacy
  • When the KGB Sends Its B Team
  • Military Crackdown in Burma and the Massacres of 8/8/88
  • Beijing Brushstrokes
  • The Nine Lives of Pakistan: (Dispatches from a Precarious State)
  • Books of Interest May 2021
  • February 2021
  • Celebrating and Commemorating
  • Can Sisyphus Win? Reforming Diplomacy for New Challenges
  • Can the U.S. Still Be an Example to the World?
  • How Do We Talk to Foreign Audiences After Trump’s Subversion?
  • Cold War Conflicts over a Khmer Temple
  • Promoting Peace and Prosperity Through the United Nations

Featured Sections

NOTE: The opinions expressed by the authors published in this Journal are not necessarily those of members of the Journal’s staff or the American Diplomacy Board of Directors, nor of the Triangle Institute for Security Studies or the Curriculum for Peace, War & Defense at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

Picks from 25 Years

To mark our 25 th anniversary, we spotlight past articles about diplomatic practice and challenges facing the State Department

Watch the video: Foreign Service Officer: Evelina (August 2022).