« PreviousContinue »
AMENDING ACT GRADING CLERKS IN THE FOREIGN
THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
REPORT FROM THE ACTING SECRETARY OF STATE AND THE DRAFT OF PROPOSED LEGISLATION TO AMEND THE ACT ENTITLED "AN ACT FOR THE GRADING AND CLASSIFICATION OF CLERKS IN THE FOREIGN SERVICE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, AND PROVIDING COMPENSATION THEREFOR” APPROVED FEBRUARY 23, 1931, AS AMENDED
FEBRUARY 29, 1944.—Referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs and ordered
to be printed
THE WHITE HOUSE,
February 29, 1944. To the Congress of the United States of America:
I commend to the favorable consideration of the Congress the enclosed report from the Acting Secretary of State and the accompanying draft of proposed legislation to amend the act entitled "An act for the grading and classification of clerks in the Foreign Service of the United States of America, and providing compensation therefor," approved February 23, 1931, as amended.
FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT. (Enclosures: (1) Report of the Acting Secretary of State, (2) draft of proposed bill.)
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, February 21, 1944. The PRESIDENT,
The White House. The PRESIDENT: I have the honor to submit, with a view to its transmission to the Congress, if you approve, a bill to amend the act of February 23, 1931, as amended by the act of April 24, 1939 (22 U.S. C., secs. 3, 5, 7, 11, 12, 15, 23a, b, c, f, and g).
The principal purpose of this bill is to assure a Foreign Service adequately equipped to deal with the complexity of problems and wider scope presented in modern international affairs. Maintenance of good relations and mutual understanding between the United States and other nations makes indispensable an effective Foreign Service; a Foreign Service trained to cope with political, social, and economic problems, as well as adequately to represent this country's interests, to protect its nationals, to foster its trade.
The problems of the present emergency in the field of international relations and the practical certainty that they will continue either permanently or for an indefinite period after the war have impelled the Department to give careful consideration to the adaptation of the Foreign Service to its new needs and responsibilities and particularly to seek legislative authorization to permit the recruitment of a permanent corps of highly qualified technical and scientific officers. The need for this has been emphasized by the present situation in the other American Republics and elsewhere throughout the world, which has led the Department to provide its missions and certain important consulate posts temporarily with highly specialized personnel not available in sufficient numbers in the ranks of the Foreign Service. This has been made possible through the establishment of the so-called Auxiliary Service, to which appointments have been made for the duration of the war.
It is expected that the volume and importance of regular diplomatic and consular work will continue to increase. The Foreign Service as now constituted is qualified to carry on this work fully and effectively; furthermore, it contains within its ranks some officers who have become specialists in finance, economics, research, public relations, and other technical fields. However, new and unprecedented personnel requirements in the field call for the services of a greater number of specially trained technicians than can be developed within the Foreign Service as presently organized. It is felt, moreover, that a certain number of these should be experts of high standing who have devoted themselves principally or exclusively to important work in their particular fields. Whenever such a specialist is needed, the Department should be in a position to seek the services of the best talent available, and the attached bill provides the necessary legislative authorization for meeting that need.
Recruitment for the Foreign Service was discontinued immediately after Pearl Harbor. Today its strength is below normal and continuing to decrease, while the Department is faced with increased responsibilities of the greatest importance, now practically all of which are directly related to the war effort. When peace comes there will for a number of years have been no new entry. Officers who have remained at their stations as a matter of duty during the war will retire. To cope with the personnel problem which will confront the Department, and to increase the efficiency of the Service, is the principal purpose of the legislation proposed.
It is not enough that new recruits be obtained, who in time will be enabled to discharge the heavy responsibilities of the post-war period, but iminediately hostilities cease and more normal relationships are resumed a corps of technical and scientifically trained personnel will be essential to augment the remaining corps of Foreign Service officers, whose ranks, further depleted by deaths, resignations, and retirements, will be inadequate to the multiple responsibilities of the peace.
Officers of this category will be appointed to the Foreign Service by the Secretary of State, after such examination as he might find suitable. They will be appropriately commissioned with designations appropriate to their duties in the Foreign Service establishments to which they may be assigned. They will be recruited from the existing Foreign Service Auxiliary; the administrative, fiscal, and clerical personnel of the Foreign Service; or from among the personnel of the Department of State or that of other departments of the Government. It is anticipated that in some instances the services of specialists will be required for only a temporary period and provision is made enabling these to be obtained by detail from other departments. However, , there will clearly be a continuing need for a permanent group of highly trained technicians.
The accompanying bill would permit the rapid recruitment, as and when needed, of these specialists, and would afford at the same time to qualified and experienced members of the administrative, fiscal, and clerical branch of the Foreign Service a broader field for advancement. Some of the latter employees have responsibilities equaling those of certain career officers. As a result of long experience, they are experts in one or more fields such as office administration, citizenship and immigration work, shipping, and commercial and economic reporting. They would, under the provisions of this bill, be accorded salary classifications and official status commensurate with the character of their duties. It would also offer them an additional incentive to train themselves to qualify and by examination to become eligible for appointment as Foreign Service officers.
Various Members of the Congress in the course of hearings on appropriation bills have manifested repeatedly a strong interest in this group of employees, and it is believed when the provisions of this bill are enacted the Department will be enabled to attract the best talent available and to retain the valued services of existing personnel who merit recognition.
The bill presented to your consideration carries into the organic Foreign Service law, with minor changes, the provisions of the act approved June 26, 1930 (5 U. S. C. 118a) relating to allowances for living quarters. These allowances are now granted to enable officers of the Foreign Service effectively to represent this country abroad and to enable the making of wide contacts and to permit all American personnel to continue to maintain American standards of living. The allowances, as distinguished from salary, are premised on the varying conditions which obtain at the many duty stations and are essential to meet the extraordinary costs in maintenance of appropriate standards of living and in the performance of the public business. They are essential to the maintenance as well of a mobile, flexible, and fully democratic and efficient service.
Percentage limitations contained in the legislation now proposed for amendment as respects personnel in each class of the Foreign Service are removed as destructive of the initiative and morale of the younger officers, who, by reason of the existing restrictions, are or will be prevented from advancements due to the failure of new recruits to the service and the retention in the higher brackets of officers who but for the war would have applied for and been granted retirement. 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.
The proposed bill provides for the bonding of Foreign Service officers, as well as other officers or employees of the Department or the Foreign Service, and recognizes in its amended form the pertinent provisions of the act approved December 29, 1941 (55 Stat. 875). The revision suggested has been drafted in collaboration with officers of the Treasury Department, to whom it is agreeable.
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 and the provisions of the present bill.
Section 10 of the draft bill amends, agreeable to Reorganization Plan II of the President, section 31 of the act of February 23, 1931, to provide for representation on the Foreign Service Personnel Board of officers of the Departments of Commerce and Agriculture. It, moreover, removes the penalty attaching to acceptance of the position of Chief of the Division of Foreign Service Personnel in the Department, a penalty attaching today to no other position in the Federal Government, and one which as a matter of simple justice, as well as in the interest of good administration, should be removed. It is axiomatic that if an officer is to be chosen by reference to his special qualifications, character, and integrity to assume the responsibilities of this difficult post, he should be accorded the same right to future advancement that is held out to other Foreign Service officers who, while well qualified in various ways, may not combine the qualities and capacities which the Chief of the Division of Foreign Service Personnel must possess effectively and impartially to handle personnel. This officer is especially selected from among officers who have attained the highest grade in the classified service for a most difficult assignment in the Department, acceptance of which occasions loss of the allowances he would be accorded if he were assigned for field duty, and as the law presently provides, he further is denied the privilege of nomination as a minister or ambassador for a period of 3 years following termination of this assignment, even though he may have meritoriously acquitted his responsibilities. I feel confident that this amendment will have the unqualified approval of the Congress.
In addition, the amendment proposed will permit the Division of Foreign Service Personnel to be organized on a basis and scale adequate to cope with the personnel 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. Provision is also made for the Director of the newly created Office of Foreign Service Administration of the Department.
This legislation would increase the cost of maintaining the Foreign Service but would enable strengthening of that service to serve economically and effectively the expanding needs of all Government departments and agencies in the foreign field. The scale of compensation of the clerical, administrative, and fiscal service will follow, insofar as practicable, the Classification Act of 1923 used by the Civil Service, since this would provide a broad and flexible system under which this personnel could be appropriately classified in accordance with their particular qualifications and experience. The special technical and scientific personnel would be appointed to classified grades within the Foreign Service structure commensurate with the candidate's age, qualifications and experience, and personnel of this category detailed for special duty would be paid as though they continued to serve in their regular civil-service positions. Personnel would, as a matter of equity, receive the allowances provided pursuant to the amended provisions of this bill and similar to those now granted Foreign Service officers under section 19 of the act of February 23, 1931 (22 U. S. C., sec. 12). Suitable retirement privileges would be provided for permanent (but not temporary) appointees through their integration into the Foreign Service retirement and disability system.
In the critical years ahead, the Government of the United States will need, and should have, a Foreign Service second to none. has such a Foreign Service at the present time, and the proposed authority to provide it with a corps of highly trained experts and technicians, recruited from the best talent procurable, will enable it to discharge successfully all the new demands and responsibilities that will be placed upon it.
Representatives of the Department of State are prepared, at the request of the appropriate committees of the Congress, to supply additional detailed information with respect to the accompanying bill. It has been referred to the Director of the Bureau of the Budget, who has informed the Department of State that there is no objection to its submission to the Congress. Respectfully submitted.
E. P. STETTINIUS, Jr.
DRAFT OF PROPOSED LEGISLATION
A BILL To amend the act entitled "An act for the grading and classification of clerks in the Foreign Serve
ice of the United States of America, and providing compensation therefor", approved February 23, 1931. as amended
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That section 1 of the Act entitled "An Act for the grading and classification of clerks in the Foreign Service of the United States of America, and providing compensation therefor", approved February 23, 1931, as amended, is hereby amended to read as follows:
"Sec. '1. The administrative, fiscal, and clerical personnel of the Foreign Service of the United States of America shall be graded and classified as follows, and shall receive, within the limitation of such appropriations as the Congress may make, the basic compensation specified, and shall, within the salary range indicated, be entitled to administrative promotions in compensation which shall be made, within the limitations of the appropriations made by the Congress, under such rules and regulations as the President may prescribe:
“Administrative officers: Class I, $4,600 to $5,600; class II, $3,800 to $4,600; class III, $3,500 to $4,100.
"Administrative assistants: Class I, $3,200 to $3,800; class II, $2,900 to $3.500: class III, $2,600 to $3,200.
“Clerks: Class 1, $2,300 to $2,900; class II, all clerks whose compensation as fixed by the Secretary of State is le s than $2,300 per annum.”