Page 21 - Foreign Service Journal - April 2013

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the Foreign Service journal
April 2013
reported that the board had “only partially come to grips” with
the questions raised in McClintock’s memo. Lightner had come
into ofce, he said, “raising soul-searching questions having
to do with the fundamental nature of the association and its
potentialities for better serving its membership,” and he left the
board unsatisfed.
When board chairman Hugh Appling gave his valedictory
report in 1962, he noted that the board had discussed “the
propriety and desirability of…taking an interest in pending leg-
islation afecting the Foreign Service.” But though it appointed
an ad hoc committee to examine the issue, the board took no
further action.
AFSA’s hesitation did not pass unnoticed. Foreign Service
ofcer Jack Armitage wrote to the
in 1962: “It is a fact
known to all that there is little, if any, deeply felt association
with AFSA on the part of the membership. Large numbers [of
members of the Service] do not even belong. …I would submit
that AFSA has no meaningful concept of what the Foreign
Service should be and of what it—the association—should do
to develop, sustain and maintain it.”
Armitage was right about membership. In 1961, AFSA had
fewer than 3,600 active members, out of an eligible pool about
For these and other reasons, by 1960 many Foreign Service
ofcers were dissatisfed with the structure, management and
culture of the Service. Te Kennedy transition team noted
growing frustration among “young, imaginative, all too often
circumscribed” FSOs. Tese new ofcers began to use their
social organization, the Junior Foreign Service Ofcers Club, to
agitate for institutional change.
A Lost Opportunity
Tis widespread dissatisfaction with, and within, the
Service ofered an opportunity that AFSA failed to seize. Pres.
Kennedy’s 1962 executive order on labor-management rela-
tions touched of a surge in membership in public-employee
unions—but not in the Foreign Service.
Well before that opening presented itself, Robert
McClintock, chairman of the Foreign Service Journal Editorial
Board, had argued in a 1958 memorandum to AFSA’s board of
directors that the association should provide leadership to its
members and assert itself more vigorously on their behalf with
the department, Congress and the public.
When the chairman of the 1957-1958 AFSA Board of
Directors, E. Allan Lightner Jr., left ofce in October 1958 , he
AFSA President Ambassador Foy Kohler, at right, confers with outgoing Board Chairman David H. McKillop, center, and new Board
Chairman Lannon Walker, left, in September 1967. A 31-year-old FSO-5, Mr. Walker was “the youngest and least senior chairman
of the AFSA board within living memory,” the
reported at the time. Walker led the “Group of 18” slate put together by the
“Young Turks” to run for AFSA’s electoral college in the 1967 election, pledging to choose AFSA’s new board from among themselves.