The Foreign Service of the United States

By Tracy Hollingsworth Lay; Charles Evans Hughes | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XI
THE RETIREMENT SYSTEM

The corner-stone of reorganization. --For several important reasons the retirement system may be regarded as the corner-stone of the Foreign Service reorganization structure. To build a permanent service--a life career--with no outlet for superannuated officials would be tantamount to stagnation. In the course of a few years the higher grades would become clogged with men of advanced age, thus effectually blocking all prospect of promotion for those in the lower ranks. Indeed, strong symptoms of such a condition had already begun to manifest themselves in the old service, where the maintenance of the prevailing standard of efficiency was rapidly becoming an administrative problem. In seeking the presidential approval of the reorganization plan, Secretary of State Hughes referred to the proposal for a retirement system as follows:

"Owing to the length of time that the Diplomatic and Consular Services have been on a civil service basis, there are a number of positions, especially in the Consular Service, being held by officers advanced in years whose retention impairs the efficiency of the service as a whole. It has become urgently necessary to provide for the retirement of these officers, and in view of the fact that both branches of the service are well established on a civil service basis it appears feasible to bring them under the provisions of the civil service retirement act of May 22, 1920, modified only as to the age of retire-

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