The Foreign Service Journal, May 2003

ber of attachés from seven to 74, with heavy coverage in Europe and Latin America. As time went by, however, friction developed. Although OFAR could influence attaché selection, State’s hiring process was geared to the liberal arts and not agriculture. Thus between 1939 and 1954 only two new officers were hired for the career agri- cultural attaché service. OFAR complained that during tight budget years, State cut the agricultural attachés before cutting other programs, and also largely disregard- ed OFAR input when evaluating and promoting attachés. State also sometimes used the agricultural attaché service as a dumping ground for underperformers. The final blow came in June 1951, when the State Department obtained authority from the White House to block requests from other departments for economic information from U.S. diplomatic missions. State began unilaterally deleting reports from USDA’s standing attaché report schedule, and USDA’s protests were ignored. With this, efforts got under way to bring the agricultural attachés home to USDA. President Eisenhower’s new Secretary of Agriculture, Ezra Taft Benson, changed OFAR back to FAS, an agency of the USDA, on March 10, 1953 — the date considered the modern FAS’s “birthday.” Benson’s budget assistant, W. Arthur “Art” Minor, began orchestrating lunches between FAS employees and key Congressmen to make the case for transferring the agricultural attachés back to USDA. Public Law 83-690, to do just that, passed with scant opposition and was signed into law on Aug. 28, 1954. A little over a year later, Secretary Benson emphasized two things in a speech to the USDA attachés assembled in Paris: they were again employees of USDA, and at the same time were to “function as a part of the working team of our embassies where you serve.” It is indicative of the depths to which relations had sunk, however, that a still-in-effect 1954 memorandum of understanding between USDA and State specifies that State shall not obstruct communications between an agri- cultural attaché and USDA headquarters. The New Foreign Agricultural Service Outsiders view FAS as a single, unified agency, but it was actually cobbled together from several groups that sur- vive today as four identifiable subcultures within the agency — the analysts, the marketing specialists, the sur- plus disposal folks, and the agricultural development and technical assistance group. By the end of the 1950s, the first three groups were working smoothly, though it took until 1981 to incorporate the surplus disposal function for- mally into FAS. The core of the FAS was made up of about 30 country and commodity analysts from OFAR, headed by Fred Rossiter as assistant administrator for “foreign service and agricultural analysis,” and the attachés themselves. The attachés had a close kinship to the OFAR analysts, but vir- tually none of them had ever served in Washington. The analysts and attachés focused on economic and statistical analysis, and formed the kernel of what became FAS’s ana- lytical and trade policy units. Starting in November 1953, the second “subculture” began to take shape as FAS launched a new program area, “market development and commodity programs.” For this FAS needed a new type of employee. The old-line attachés, used to being reporting officers, thought market development “strange,” and the old OFAR commodity analysts simply didn’t know anything about marketing. In addition to the stereotypical “farm boy with a Ph.D.” of the old attaché service, FAS went out to recruit commodity specialists from other corners of USDA. They generally had less formal education but enjoyed deep knowledge of specific agricultural products and the markets in which they moved. They formed a close partnership with the pri- vate-sector “cooperators,” trade associations which in 1955 began to sign cooperative agreements with FAS on market development overseas. Thus by the end of the 1950s FAS consisted of the ana- lysts close to the numbers and the marketing specialists close to “the trade.” Nearly 50 years later, this dichotomy has even been codified in law. The agricultural attaché, authorized under 7 USC 1762 as well as the Foreign Service Act of 1980, is principally engaged in market intel- ligence and trade policy matters; the agricultural trade offi- cer, authorized under 7 USC 1765a, is required by law to focus on market development. It is unusual for corporate culture to be reflected in law, and no less unusual for a for- eign affairs agency to have three legal authorities to send people overseas. During the same period, the third distinct “subculture” of FAS came into being: the “surplus disposal” group led by Marshall Plan veteran Gwynn Garnett. Garnett had been a tank company commander in World War II, and after V-E Day was named director of the Food and Agricultural Division of the U.S. military government in West Germany, where he was deeply involved in the Berlin F O C U S 38 F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L / M A Y 2 0 0 3