The Foreign Service Journal - September 2017
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he Planning Committee was convened by the Board

of Directors of the American Foreign Service Associa-

tion late last year to appraise the present activities of the

Association and the manner in which future activities might

evolve over the coming decade.

The principal recommendations of the Committee follow:

As it read the Charter of the Association, the Committee

concluded that the Association’s principal purposes were to

advance the welfare of its membership and “the intelligent,

efficient and skillful discharge of the duties of the member-


These purposes will remain the tasks of the future, and

it is to them that the Committee has directed its recom-

mendations. The Committee assumed that the foreign

relations of the United States would become more complex

in the next 10 years. It assumed that the president would rely

increasingly on the Secretary of State for direction and coor-

dination of foreign affairs, provided that the personnel avail-

able to the Secretary of State were adequate to the task. The

Committee concluded that those concerned with foreign

affairs—whether they be serving at home or abroad—will

require greater expertness in familiar, as well as new, fields.

The Committee also assumed that to meet these future

requirements, the Foreign Service will

have to attract and retain the brightest,

most imaginative and dynamic young

Americans entering the job market. This,

in turn, will require attractive conditions

of employment and a concern for the

continuing well-being of the employee

which do not always characterize the agencies concerned

with foreign affairs.

It follows, the Committee believes, that the Association

must concentrate in the years immediately ahead on the

essential tasks of becoming an organization with a serious

intellectual base and an active—even combative—concern

for the people at the heart of foreign affairs, regardless of

their agency affiliation. Should it succeed in these tasks,

the Association may attract to active membership the

many who now stand aloof from the Association and may

also elicit greater understanding and support from those in

American society who have a special interest in the conduct

of foreign affairs.

–E. Allan Lightner Jr., chairman of the AFSA Planning

Committee. Excerpted f

rom the September 1967 Foreign Service Journal.

50 Years Ago

Report of AFSA’s Planning Committee

Governors Asa Hutchinson of Arkan-

sas, Chris Sununu of New Hampshire

and Phil Scott of Vermont, all Repub-

licans, have made free trade a pillar

of their message in recent trips as the

Trump administration mulls revising or

outright rejecting existing trade agree-

ments, such as the North American Free

Trade Agreement.

Gov. Hutchinson traveled to Europe

to meet with industry leaders, and Govs.

Sununu and Scott traveled to Canada

to reaffirm the importance of NAFTA.

“We’re going to keep pushing this

administration so it knows the benefits

for countries on both sides of the bor-

der,” Sununu declared. Gov. Scott says

the intent was to give “reassurance that

we’re there for them.”

Prime Minister Trudeau addressed the

Governor’s Association meeting in mid-

July, the first foreign head of state to do so

in the association’s 109-year history.

While offering to remain open

to updating the existing agreement,

Trudeau remarked: “Since the trilateral

agreement went into effect in 1994,

U.S. trade with your NAFTA partners

has tripled. That accounts for millions

of well-paying middle-class jobs, for

Canadians and Americans. Free trade

has worked. It’s working now.”

The meeting was also attended by

officials from Mexico, Vietnam, China

and Japan.

Climate change policy shifts also

prompted state-level breaks with the

administration. A coalition of 12 states

launched the United States Climate

Alliance to uphold their commitments

to the Paris Agreement on the same

day that President Trump announced

the United States’ withdrawal from the

climate accord.

Gov. Jerry Brown of California,

a Democrat who co-chairs the alli-

ance, traveled to China days after the

announcement to attend an energy

conference and meet one-on-one with

Chinese President Xi Jinping.


This edition of Talking Points was

prepared by Gemma Dvorak, Dmitry Fili-

poff, Donna Gorman, Susan Maitra and

Andrea Philbin.