U.S. Department of State: A Reference History

U.S. Department of State: A Reference History

U.S. Department of State: A Reference History

U.S. Department of State: A Reference History

Synopsis

This reference history describes and analyzes the State Department and Foreign Service of the United States. It also outlines the history of three major State Department functions, namely, the treatymaking process and record, representation in international conferences, and participation in international organizations and other agencies. The volume covers more than two centuries--from the genesis of American diplomacy to the 1990s. Unlike other works, this volume deals with such matters as departmental organization and management; personnel and staffing; administrative practices, reform, and reorganization; and the Department's operations, functions, principal and other officers, and problems.

Excerpt

As with the Foreign Offices of other countries, the Department of State of the United States has inevitably been fashioned by slow and incremental growth and mutation. Those who direct and participate in it during each successive epoch are inclined to be influenced by pre-established practices, principles of law and policy, pragmatic institutions, administrative techniques, reservoirs of potential and experienced practitioners, and related factors. Issues and problems are often inherited from earlier times, others arise from changing circumstances, and some, after thoughtful scrutiny, may be deferred for later resolution. Occasionally there are those that are sublimated into nobler causes which generate determinations that both reflect the past and portend the future. Such developments have applied to the establishment and struggle to perfect the Department of State, the Foreign Service, American diplomatic and consular practice, and other features of the progression of American foreign relations.

A definitive history of the organization and functioning of the Department of State would require several volumes. This is a single-volume, comprehensive reference history covering more than two centuries, from the commencement of American diplomatic relations antedating the Constitution to the present. It is neither a traditional American diplomatic history nor an analysis of American foreign policy. Rather, constituting the primary American agency responsible for the conduct of foreign affairs, as the Department evolved to become one of the world's great foreign offices, this volume focusses on its origin, organization, reform, maturation, and functions, including its leadership, structure, machinery, principal officers, management, and staffing; its personnel system; its diplomatic and consular missions and representation abroad; its treaty making; its participation in international conferences and organizations; and its relations with other government agencies that possess foreign relations responsibilities.

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