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Foreign Policy and the Bureaucratic Process: The State Department's Country Director System

Foreign Policy and the Bureaucratic Process: The State Department's Country Director System

William I. Bacchus
Copyright Date: 1974
Pages: 366
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  • Book Info
    Foreign Policy and the Bureaucratic Process: The State Department's Country Director System
    Book Description:

    In 1966, the Department of State attempted to strengthen the working level of its geographic bureaus through the establishment of "Country Directors" charged with government-wide leadership and coordination of policy matters concerning individual foreign countries. Through extensive interviews with incumbent Country Directors and members of the foreign affairs community, William I. Bacchus has explored the role of the Country Director, gaining insights into the foreign policy process, and noting obstacles that limit planned modification in large organizations.

    By focusing on the working level, where day-to-day affairs are conducted, this book amplifies and expands on the findings of a number of recent studies of organizational change and behavior, the foreign policy process, and bureaucratic politics.

    Originally published in 1974.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-6714-1
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-ix)
  3. Tables
    (pp. x-x)
  4. Charts
    (pp. xi-xi)
  5. Abbreviations
    (pp. xii-xiv)
  6. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-2)
  7. Introduction
    (pp. 3-14)

    In the 1970s, it is hardly necessary to emphasize the profound changes that have occurred in the nature and conduct of American foreign policy since World War II. The United States has experienced great difficulties, substantively and organizationally, in coping with the fundamental transformations of our foreign relations in a rapidly changing postwar (and cold-war) and increasingly postcolonial world. Surveys of these trends have been presented to the point of exhaustion elsewhere,¹ but a brief recital of their impact on the Department of State perhaps will serve to indicate the magnitude of the challenges State has faced in this period,...

  8. Chapter One The Context of Foreign Policy Making
    (pp. 15-42)

    The new trends and complexities confronting American foreign policy makers and executors since World War II discussed earlier imply what is perhaps the fundamental feature of current policy making in foreign affairs: It is a shared prerogative of a great number of individuals and organizations standing in uncertain relationship to each other. Policy making can thus be viewed as a complicated process by which these actors work with and against each other to evolve and carry out proposed courses of action. Since the primary focus here is the role played by one group of individual actors, the overall characteristics of...

  9. Chapter Two The Country Director Idea: Origins and Development
    (pp. 43-75)

    Devolution of responsibility into functional and geographic segments is the central element of State Department organization.¹ The boundary between them is frequently contested in border skirmishing, but the general division of labor is accepted by almost all participants. Yet it did not exist for the first eighty years of the department’s life and State began to resemble its current form only after World War II. Chart II-l summarizes the earlier patterns of organization.

    The current era began in 1949 when the Hoover Commission recommended widespread changes in the department. Subordinate to the secretary, the under secretary, and two new deputy...

  10. Chapter Three The Emerging Role of the Country Director
    (pp. 76-113)

    It has long been realized that organizational life cannot be adequately described by examining only formal structures and procedures. As a result, concepts such as Barnard’s “informal organization,”¹ distinctions between “rational” and “natural system” models of organizational activity,² and the notion of the “living system” of an organization³ have been introduced in an attempt to capture reality. A divergence between what is intended and what actually happens is always present, so one should not expect official commentary about the country director system to do more than sketch some possibilities about how it might function in practice. The true place of...

  11. Chapter Four One Actor among Many: The Country Director in the Foreign Affairs Community
    (pp. 114-176)

    The country director’s role by definition involved coordination and interaction with many members of the foreign affairs community. Disputes and conflicts were inevitable, given differences of perspective and conflicting goals, but he had to seek continuing cooperative relationships which could survive disagreements on individual issues. Through these encounters residual norms and expectations carried over, and through them new ones deriving from the CD’s formal responsibilities became manifest.

    The country director’s influence with field posts, other agencies, and foreign embassies was dependent upon his relationship with his superiors, most particularly the geographic assistant secretary, under secretary, and secretary. It was hoped...

  12. Chapter Five The Country Director in the Policy Process: Points of Impact
    (pp. 177-215)

    The emerging country director role and the nature of the interaction patterns in which CDs participated provide a basis for exploring the important question of the influence they exerted in the policy process itself. Role strength and impact on policy are substantially interdependent, since a strong, legitimized CD role helps make considerable influence possible, while skill exhibited by individual CDs in the policy process aids in gaining acceptance for their role. This relationship requires more specific attention to the way in which CDs might affect policy outcomes.

    In Chapter I, it was argued that it is misleading to conceive of...

  13. Chapter Six Individuals and the System
    (pp. 216-232)

    Since the CD role was in many respects poorly defined, idiosyncratic factors became very important determinants of CD behavior. The individual CD’s personal preferences and abilities influenced the style and content of his performance to a necessarily large degree. The wide possibilities were indicated in the description by one of them of what had happened in his bureau:

    I have noticed that about 40 percent of the country directors through time have been in what I call group A, who set out to be active and not take decisions upstairs, and to take on the functions of the ambassador to...

  14. Chapter Seven The Country Director Experiment: Some Perspectives on Attempted Organizational Change
    (pp. 233-260)

    Although the Department of State is frequently characterized as the most tradition-laden and Byzantine of Washington’s bureaucracies, many of its officials cannot fairly be accused of a reluctance to attempt alterations in its organizational patterns in order to improve performance and contend with changing circumstances. It is equally clear that changes have not always come easily and have almost always been resisted. Many that might have improved foreign affairs management have failed through lack of support. Moreover, those that have become permanent and accepted have generally become woven into the fabric of tradition and orthodoxy and are themselves zealously defended...

  15. Chapter Eight The Country Director’s Future: Survival, Modification, or Extinction?
    (pp. 261-287)

    A paradox of the country director system is that although it did not approach its intended purpose of gathering all the multifarious strands of U.S. policy and programs in individual countries under the strong control of one individual, it nevertheless became generally accepted and approved in its modified and less encompassing operating version. Of the many suggested changes in the system put forth almost from its inception, virtually all have been directed toward strengthening the role the country director could play. Again there is a paradox, for most of the actions actually taken which affected the system tended to vitiate...

  16. Chapter Nine Conclusion
    (pp. 288-302)

    The country director system did not live up to the expectations of its architects. There was novelty in some areas, but CDs could hardly be said to have assumed “full responsibility … for all activities in the country or countries assigned to them.”¹ The previous chapters, tracing the history of the CD from the conditions that led to creation of these new positions, through the way the role surrounding them developed to the part they came to play in the policy-making process, hopefully leave the reader with a reasonably complete picture of what the country director has been able to...

  17. Appendix A A Profile of Country Directors: Backgrounds and Experience
    (pp. 303-322)
  18. Appendix B Country Director Areas of Responsibility
    (pp. 323-326)
  19. Appendix C Methodology
    (pp. 327-334)
  20. Select Bibliography
    (pp. 335-340)
  21. Index
    (pp. 341-350)
  22. Back Matter
    (pp. 351-351)