The Foreign Service Journal - October 2017

14 OCTOBER 2017 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL A final imaginary Foreign Service ill is its illusion of utter political impotence. It is true that the Foreign Service is a small group, about half of whom are out of the country at any given time. The Foreign Service does not control large numbers of jobs, or large amounts of money. …The Foreign Service way of life tends to make its members a slightly pecu- liar breed. Their regional accents are blurred. Their interests are influenced by their special lives. They may even take on some of the superficial character- istics of their foreign environment, and they have an atypical sympathy with foreign viewpoints which follows from closer contact and better understanding. Moreover the trauma of the McCarthy era is still regarded by the Service as fearful evidence of what it can expect, and the scars of that period still linger under the surface. But in actuality the Foreign Service is unique in the level of its domestic governmental contacts. …It is unique, also, in its area of competence, the grav- ity of its responsibility and its political strengths, as well as its weaknesses; and if it showed more self-assurance in its dealings with Congress, it would not have so much to worry about. In fact, the record proves that the Foreign Ser- vice is not really the underdog which it thinks itself; if it is a convenient public whipping-boy, this is irritating but not by any means determining. The three requisites of power proposed by Tennyson apply also to the Foreign Service: self-reverence, self-knowledge, self-control. … There must be changes in Foreign Service attitudes and behavior patterns, to cope with the new challenge of a larger organization and more complex tasks. Much has been done in the past few years to promote inquiry and find solutions. The trouble is that the Foreign Service, as such, has not been suf- ficiently brought into the process. Hence the inquiries and their results are suspect. Moreover, there has appeared to be a degree of cut-and-try, almost of playing with new schemes, even when the basic institutions of the Service are involved. The result has been to engender more anxiety than improvement. … On the other hand, non-FSOs in senior departmental positions should recognize and accept that there is much of the Foreign Service style that is necessary and valuable. For instance, they should give due weight to the for- mal organization pattern of their offices, and take some initiative in seeing that the grease does not go only to the squeaking wheel in a group conditioned not to squeak. They should recognize that dedication and reflection often do serve a useful purpose, as well as brilliance, and often last longer. — FSO Donald S. MacDonald, excerpted from his article by the same title in the October 1967 Foreign Service Journal. 50 Years Ago Quo Vadimus? [Where Are We Going?] allowing FBI agents and members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to travel to Cuba to investigate, and Cuban authorities have strengthened security around diplomatic residences. “Cuba has never allowed, nor will it allow the Cuban territory to be used for any action against accredited diplomatic officials or their families, without excep- tion,” the Cuban Foreign Ministry has stated. “We’ve not been able to determine who’s to blame,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Aug. 8, adding that Washington holds the Cuban authorities responsible for finding out who is carry- ing out the attacks. Secretary of State Slashes Special Envoy Positions S ecretary of State Rex Tillerson has identified at least 30 special envoy positions to eliminate. He outlined the changes in a letter to Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Sen- ate Foreign Relations Committee, made public on Aug. 28. In the letter, the Secretary notes that many of the special envoy or similar political positions have outlived their pur- pose—for example the Special Envoy for the Six-Party Talks, which ended in 2008. He also argues that in some cases, the duties of the special envoy would be more efficiently handled by an existing State Department bureau. For example, the duties and respon- sibilities of the U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change will be “folded back” into the Bureau of Oceans and Interna- tional and Scientific Affairs; and those of the Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan will return to the Bureau of Afri- can Affairs. One surprise is the decision not to