The Foreign Service Journal, February 2011

F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 1 / F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L 49 Peking, Rome, Quito, San Salvador and Port-au-Prince. Chapin returned to Washington, D.C., in 1936 to serve as assistant chief of the American Republics Division. After a tour in Montevideo, he was named executive secretary of the Committee on Political Planning in the Department of State in 1943. Because re-establishing diplomatic relations in Europe following Allied victory was a priority, this assign- ment led directly to his 1943 assignment to Allied head- quarters in Algiers and, later, as chargé d’affaires, first in Algiers and then Paris. In January 1945 Chapin returned to Washington as deputy director of the Office of the Foreign Service, assuming the directorship in May. As the war wound down, it became apparent that both State and the Foreign Service were ill-prepared to meet the de- mands of the postwar world. Both institutions were seriously understaffed and lacked the pro- fessional skills needed to meet the challenges emerging from the new international order. Moreover, as wartime agencies — e.g., the Office of War Infor- mation, Office of Strategic Serv- ices and Office for Inter-Ameri- can Affairs —were phased out in 1945 and 1946, many of their functions and personnel were transferred to State. At the same time, more than 12,000 employees, mostly serving overseas, were added to State’s rolls, posing new budgetary, operational and managerial burdens. These num- bers dwarfed the department’s Foreign and Civil Service staffs. A May 1946 State Department report lists 55 chiefs of mission, 818 Foreign Service officers, 640 auxiliary (tem- porary) FSOs, 3,800 non-career vice consuls and other staff; and 2,500 alien employees. (Civil Service data for State at that time are not available.) Integration of these functions and personnel coincided with a transition in the department’s leadership. Secretary of State James F. Byrnes, a Truman confidant and a former South Carolina senator, replaced Edward R. Stettinius in July 1945, bringing in a new group of senior officials who joined those already added to manage the new responsibilities. This, in turn, delayed a planned effort to enact new Foreign Service legislation during the first session of the 79th Con- gress in 1945. Creating the Foreign Service Act As director of the Office of the Foreign Service, Chapin was charged with developing the reform legislation. Be- cause President Harry Truman had approved the depart- ment’s legislative concept and plans in June, preliminary work on the legislation continued at a slow pace in the sum- mer and fall. There was no shortage of ideas about how to shape the bill. The department had carried out several studies, in- cluding one with input from the Bureau of the Budget (the precursor of today’s Office of Management and Budget). In addition, AFSA had earlier held an essay contest in the Foreign Service Journal , eliciting contributions from throughout the Service that were turned over to his office. Chapin met regularly with the AFSA Executive Committee and department division chiefs throughout the process. Perhaps most important, however, were his own con- cepts of the structure and ad- ministration the new act should prescribe. These were based on the Navy personnel system, and the Navy’s DNA remains evident to this day. In December 1945, the new assistant secretary for adminis- tration, Donald S. Russell, a close associate of Sec. Byrnes, in- structed Chapin to prepare a complete draft of a new Foreign Service Act. Four critical deci- sions were made at this juncture. The legislation would codify in law key elements of the system intended to: • Restrict political influence and patronage; • Establish a Foreign Service Reserve officer element; • Permit limited lateral entry from the newly added per- sonnel; and • Defer to a later date the larger question of amalgamat- ing the existing Foreign and Civil Service elements into a single unit. As if that task were not daunting enough, enactment would be sought during the congressional session ending July 31, 1946, just seven months away. Chapin and his six-person drafting committee were under the gun. They finished a first draft of the bill on Jan. 3, 1946. After review and revision within State’s Administrative Division, Chapin circulated a summary of its principal features to sen- ior department officials. Their responses in hand, a second draft was completed on Feb. 1 and circulated for formal de- partmental clearance. It established a framework consisting of the following elements: • A Director General of the Foreign Service position, with enhanced authority; • General executive oversight of all personnel actions rest- ing with the Board of Foreign Service Personnel, giving it greater authority and a larger State Department majority; Chapin was among the first group of officers appointed pursuant to the Rogers Act of 1924, which created the modern Foreign Service.