The Formulation and Administration of United States Foreign Policy

By H. Field Haviland; Robert E. Asher et al. | Go to book overview

APPENDIX E
DEPARTMENT OF STATE ORGANIZATION FOR INTER-AMERICAN AFFAIRS1

Demonstrations during the visit of the Vice President to Latin America in the spring of 1958, as well as more recent expressions of anti-Americanism, have caused renewed concern over U.S. relations with Latin American countries. Although the countries to the South have long been of strategic, economic, and political importance to the people of the United States, events leading up to the Second World War and postwar global commitments have shifted the emphasis in American foreign policy to other critical areas for more than two decades. Undoubtedly, many Latin Americans feel that the United States has not given adequate attention to these problems.

Specific Latin American grievances are publicly expressed as charges of American economic neglect and provision of American military assistance in a manner which helps dictatorial regimes remain in power against the wishes of the people. The Latin American nations are in the midst of an epic social revolution, with the vast majority of their people demanding visible improvements in living standards and a greater voice in their governments. Dependent as many of the Latin American countries are upon one or, at most, a few commodities, the effect of American trade policy has sometimes had grave economic repercussions. As in many other parts of the globe, apparent American support of a regime which is becoming less popular with its own people has been an additional source of irritation.

A major portion of the responsibility for the formulation and conduct of American foreign policy toward Latin America is centered in the Bureau of Inter-American Affairs in the Department of State. It should be acknowledged that the Bureau's impact upon economic, military, and even political aspects of policy has been limited by the interests of other bureaus in the Department of State and by such other agencies of the Government as the Departments of Agriculture, Defense, and the Treasury. If many factors influence the relative success or failure of American foreign policy toward Latin America, the Bureau's organization and methods of operation are still of considerable importance. They are a supplemental if not a critical factor in determining the nature of American relations with Latin America. Reviewed here are some of the problems which confront the Bureau in: (1) the allocation of decisionmaking, (2) the acquisition and use of intelligence, (3) policy planning, (4) policy execution, (5) direct contact with foreign countries in Washington and abroad, (6) personnel management, and (7) budgeting.


A. ALLOCATION OF DECISIONMAKING

The Bureau of Inter-American Affairs is staffed by 80 officers and 56 clerical employees. About 75 of the officers are members of the Foreign Service. Only some five civil service officer-level employees remain in the Bureau since Wristonization. Heading the Bureau are an Assistant and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, both Foreign Service officers. Under them are four directors of geographic offices and two directors of regional offices -- regional political affairs and regional economic affairs. Two of the geographic office directors are responsible for five countries; one, for six; another, for four. Officers in charge for each of the 20 Latin American Republics report to the appropriate geographic office director. Specialists in aspects of economic, political, or international organization affairs report to the directors of the regional offices. A number of officers performing special duties report directly to the Assistant and Deputy Assistant Secretaries.

____________________
1
By Robert E. Eldker, Colgate University.

-181-

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