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FOREIGN SERVICE OF THE UNITED STATES
MARCH 1, 1945.- Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the state
of the Union and ordered to be printed
Mr. Bloom, from the Committee on Foreign Affairs, submitted the
(To accompany H. R. 689)
Since H. R. 689 was reported to the House on February 1, 1945, certain questions have been raised relating to the scope and intent of that bill. This supplemental report is submitted for the purpose of supplying answers to the questions raised by many Members of the House, and, because of the keen interest shown in the proposed legislation, to elaborate in more detail, the reasons given in the original report for the urgent need for the enactment of this bill.
First. There is created an administrative and fiscal corps within the Service.
There is now no organization in the Service between officer personnel and clerical personnel to handle the intensified administrative problems with which it is increasingly confronted. Either clerks are imposed upon to fill these jobs or officers are used for assignments which do not utilize their full capacities. Provision for an administrative corps with salaries up to $5,600 will permit recruitment both from within and from outside the Service of personnel with administrative capacities sörely needed, particularly with the reopening of consular and diplomatic establishments in areas liberated by the military. This provision of the bill is not automatic but simply provides a salary scale appropriate to the duties envisaged for which personnel must be appointed. Eventual classification of job responsibilities may result in increased salaries to certain personnel who may continue to perform duties presently assigired when, with enactment of the legislation proposed, it is possible to evaluate those jobs according to civil-service classification standards. Such recognition to qualified and experienced members of the administrative and clerical branch of the Foreign Service is in keeping with the Classification Act of 1923 and while affording a broader field for advancement will
enable the Department to adjust titles and salaries commensurate with the importance of the duties performed, the age, qualification, and experience of the personnel, and to attract the best talents available when replacement or additional personnel is required.
The salary scale proposed under the bill is identical with the salary scale provided under the Classification Act of 1923 for the same type of work except that $5,600 is the maximum salary proposed to be paid. The classification survey necessary to proper evaluation of the job responsibilities entailed is now being undertaken by the Department and it is too early for the Department with exactness to estimate the costs of the classifications which will eventually be recommended for adoption. However, it is not contemplated that all personnel will be found to be entitled to salary adjustment, but even were the entire present Service to be stepped up, as is most unlikely, the cost would not exceed $400,000 per annum for the personnel presently employed, an average of $390 per employee, and in any event this must be later presented to the Appropriations Committee.
Second. The percentage restrictions of section 10 of the act of February 23, 1931, which limits the top six grades of the Service in the aggregate to 56 percent of the total number of Foreign Service officers, are eliminated, thus making it possible to make necessary adjustments presently impossible.
The current problem of the Department is occasioned because since before Pearl Harbor the Selective Service Act, affecting men aged 21 to 35, has essentially stopped Foreign Service recruitment at the bottom. Retention of officers scheduled for retirement because of the emergency has congested the top, classes. A log jam has resulted, precluding the granting of deserved promotions which affect 35 percent of the Service, chiefly men in the middle classes. Removal of the percentage limitations is obviously necessary to prevent the Service from becoming completely frozen and to remove the serious threat to efficiency and morale which now exists.
The change proposed will make it possible to carry out the intention of the Congress as expressed in the existing statutory authority relating to the compensation of Foreign Service officers and advancement on the basis of merit and seniority in accordance with the heavier responsibilities with which they are charged. Adjustments to be effected will be made within the limits of funds presently available. Other than the removal of the percentage limitation there is no other change in this section which pertains to the salary prescribed for this group of personnel and which remains exactly as contained in the act of February 23, 1931.
Third. The assignment to the field of qualified personnel from all branches of the Federal Government to meet specialized demands in Foreign Service work (an extension of existing authority to use personnel from Commerce and Agriculture) is permitted, as is the detail of Foreign Service personnel to the Department of State or to any department or agency to perform special work to meet special needs.
The Department has need for men of maturity and specialized experience, for longer or shorter periods of time, to meet present and future needs in specialized and technical foreign work. It is proposed that such specialists be detailed from throughout the Government (with no prejudice to the established domestic Government careers which such personnel enjoys) to discharge certain complex Government business abroad; for example, technical questions involving agriculture, labor, telecommunication, the press, aviation, finance, etc. Similarly Foreign Service personnel for limited periods will be made available to other agencies of the Government to meet the special requirements of this Department; as, for example, to serve in collaboration with the Bureau for Foreign and Domestic Commerce in bringing to the attention of the interested business, industrial, and commercial interests of the United States the latest pertinent information available from the area served by such officers.
Fourth. Other amendments of a minor character are proposed as matters of administrative convenience without in any way impairing the effectiveness of necessary controls over those now provided and in keeping with changed conditions. Among them are:
(a) A provision to bond certain Foreign Service personnel; (6) The elimination of the penalty attaching to assumption of duties as Chief of the Division of Foreign Service Personnel. Under existing law this officer may now not be recommended as Minister for a period of 3 years following termination of his assignment in this capacity;
(c) Provision to permit the Division of Foreign Service Personnel to be organized on a basis and scale adequate to cope with the problems of the Foreign Service which have long since outgrown the physical capacity of the Division as it has been possible to organize it under existing law which prohibits the assignment for duty of Foreign Service officers below class I rank;
(d) The Director of the recently created Office of Foreign Service in the Department will, however, be a Foreign Service officer of class I;
(e) Amendment of the existing provision of law authorizing a grant at all posts of living quarters and post allowances by increasing the authority solely to permit of consideration of expenses incurred for gas and electricity used for power, as well as for heat and light as at present; and lastly
) The Board of Foreign Service Personnel for the Foreign Service is formalized as it has existed since the amalgamation of the Foreign Service of the Department of State with the foreign agricultural and foreign commerce services.
Living quarters allowances are now provided for Foreign Service personnel in commutation of various additional expenses incurred by this personnel incident to service abroad and not experienced by professional officers in domestic positions. In addition representation allowances are granted certain selected officers on a modest scale to meet costs sustained incident to their representative capacities and in others to meet in part costs incident to cooperative, commercial intelligence, and trade promotional work. There is also provided at posts where the cost of living may be higher than it is in Washington allowances to adjust official incomes to the ascertained costs of living at levels meeting service requirements. In no case does American Personnel at posts where the costs of living are less than they are
H. Repts., 79-1, vol. 1-11
ascertained to be in Washington receive allowances of this character and they receive in such instances no more than has been provided by statute in terms of the officer personnel or administratively in terms of the lesser personnel as may be determined to be a proper scale of compensation following the Classification Act of 1923 and now used by the Civil Service Commission.
The early passage of this legislation is recommended in order that the Department of State through its Foreign Service may be in a better position to carry on effectively a wide range of duties abroad for various branches of the Government of a character traditionally conducted by the Foreign Service or incident to foreign relations as without the facilities provided by this bill the Department and the Foreign Service are now seriously handicapped.