Talk:United States Department of State

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Under "policy", it needs some specification that it carries out its mission when politically expedient. The state department will not help out Americans if it makes a country like Iran look bad, when they don't want to upset their enemies. For instance, wasn't there a Christian that got imprisoned there, and the state department stayed mum about it? That should probably be mentioned, and a picture of him should be put up instead of John Kerry's. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:59, 4 February 2014 (UTC)

Where do the post numbers come from? More than 250 posts around the world? Where is the evidence to support that statement? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:19, 7 November 2009 (UTC)

'This is cited numerous times on the DoS website, for example:

Seyon (talk) 19:55, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

Not all U.S. Diplomats are Foreign Service Members

It is worthwhile noting that the State Department is increasingly assigning people overseas under non Foreign Service systems. These are "assignments", not just "TDY". In some cases, this is to circumvent the five-year limit on limited appointments specified in the Foreign Service Act of 1980. In other cases, it is apparently done to save money, because non FS diplomats receive inferior benefits. There are many cases in which employees work side by side in the same positions at major Embassies, but are assigned under different personnel systems. The article is misleading because it creates the impression that the Department only uses the FS system to assign personnel abroad. It should be modified to reflect the reality - that the Secretary is authorized, but not required to use the FS personnel system for positions abroad.ExplodingBoy22 (talk) 05:31, 28 July 2008 (UTC)

(Not to mention that about 1/3rd of Ambassadors are political appointees) Seyon (talk) 19:57, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

Revised employment language

Given the recent spat of reverts from anons and likely sockpuppetry edits, I have reverted to the language from February. This is supportable from various sources, most clearly from the Department of State's own employmnet/career page - - which clearly states the verbage used in the old language.

"Foreign Service Officers (FSOs) advocate American foreign policy, protect American citizens, and promote American business interests throughout the world. FSOs staff our Embassies, consulates and other diplomatic missions devoted to strengthening peace, stability, and prosperity. Their perceptiveness, dedication, and creativity drive the formulation and achievement of American foreign policy objectives. Increasingly, transnational issues such as the environment, science and technology; the global struggle against diseases such as AIDS; international law enforcement cooperation and counter narcotics trafficking; counter proliferation and international action against trafficking in persons have gained stature among American foreign policy objectives."

"The Department of State offers career opportunities to professionals in specialized functions needed to meet Foreign Service responsibilities around the world. As a Foreign Service Specialist, you will provide important technical, support or administrative services at one of 250 posts overseas, in Washington, D.C., or elsewhere in the United States."

"Civil Service employees at the U.S. Department of State help transform societies into stronger democracies and full partners in the international community while experiencing extraordinary careers as they work in the Department's Washington, D.C. headquarters location, or other cities throughout the United States. To meet the challenges of the 21st century — and beyond — we need intelligent, creative, strategic-thinking, adventurous individuals who can bring their academic knowledge, professional and personal experiences, cultural awareness and appreciation, and dedication to improving the world in which we live"

Yes, there are people who are not in the Foreign Service in embassy's overseas (mainly other agencies, like DOD, DEA, DHS, etc). Yes, there are civil service folks who are given limited career appointments in the Foreign Service for hard to fill posts where other Foreign Service personnel are unavailable - just look at the most current ALDAC telegram (assuming you are a department employee) that lists availabilities for Civil Service folks to serve overseas. Or, go to and see the following language

"Civil Service (CS) to Foreign Service (FS) Hard-to-Fill Program The Department's annual "Foreign Service Hard-to-Fill" exercise provides opportunities for Civil Service career development and mobility while helping meet critical Foreign Service staffing needs. Civil Service assignments to overseas Foreign Service positions have been an important part of the Department's HR program for many years, allowing CS employees the opportunity to participate directly in the Department's overseas missions and to experience life and work at an embassy or consulate. Some CS participants in the CS to FS HTF Program have used it as a first step towards careers in the Foreign Service. The CS to FS HTF Program is designed to help meet critical overseas staffing needs while providing a unique career development opportunity for CS personnel."

This is not a controversial subject within the department - at all. Bevinbell (talk) 23:58, 22 April 2008 (UTC)

You probably should have archived the page rather than deleting most of it. Now to make the generalized statement there is no controversy in the Department as far as relations (spacially and personally) between FSOs, Specialists, and CS would be over simplifiation but it is not as bad as the sockpuppet indicated by a long shot. Also, the assignment of CS personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan to meet critical needs may not have followed the CS/FS HTF procedures perhaps? But I agree 100% as far as how wording in the article should be changed to reflect the true nature of State abroad which is staffed by the Foreign Service other than noted above. Maybe we need to refer to an article clearly spelling out FS vs GS (maybe United States Foreign Service?) Mikebar (talk) 19:45, 25 April 2008 (UTC)
I courtesy blankedI archived it - given the sockpuppetry comments (multiple comments by same editor trying to make it look like something that is not there - seemed appropriate. Its all still there for anyone who wants to see it - maybe if you want, you can make it an archive in stead. Personally, if they do not want to follow HTF for Iraq, that's no worries for me unless it sets precedent for other posts. Maybe you take a stab at creating a new page describing the differences? I assume it would not be an easy draft to reach consensus on. Maybe a GS page since FS has its own? Bevinbell (talk) 21:05, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

SF-50 Form

This has recently been cited as evidence that there is no difference between those serving at the state department. Here is the OMP link to the form - I see nothing on the form that uses the word Civil Service. I see Federal Service, but nothing about Civil Service. Interesting...Bevinbell (talk) 05:12, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

This form has a section 34 called "position occupied. It lists the 4 employment systems currently used at the State Department, Excepted Service, Competitive Service, Senior Executive Service General. (SES General) and Senior Executive Service Career (SES Career). These are all defined as part of the Civil Service under Title 5. State employees are assigned abroad under these systems. The State Department Foreign Affairs Manual separately refers to "foreign service employees" and "civil service employees". That is a source of much confusion and controversy. One only has to look at the SF-50 form for "foreign service employees" to see that they are part of the "Excepted Service". The so-called "excursionist" people, or as this article suggests "civil service employees serving in FS positions" are also "Excepted Service". In fact, the Secretary of State appoints employees to the Foreign Service before they serve abroad. This includes so-called "civil service employees" who are converted to "foreign service employees" before serving overseas. There are no "civil service employees" serving overseas - by law they must all become members of the FS personnel system in order to fill positions designated as FS positions.
The main point I am trying to make here is that these personnel categories are complicated and overlapping, and are also a source of friction and dispute within the bureaucracy. It would be best to leave the section about "foreign" vs "civil" service members out of this article and focus on the functions of the State Department. If necessary, a separated entry could be made about the roles that various personnel designations play, but that would probably not be useful in a general reference article. If left as is, the section will continue to generate debate and bad feeling among DOS employees. I have taken the liberty of deleting this section in a spirit of eliminating unecessary controversial details. JST Foreign Affairs Officer —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:44, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
I think it is a bit of a stretch to paint a broad brush from the form, especially since it does not use the words civil service anywhere on it. Considering that the FAM is the codified regulations of the department, that carries a lot more weight than a govenment wide standardized form from OPM that does not even use the words civil service. I think that by removing any reference to the Foreign Service is fairly offensive to folks who are commissioned officers who have to spend the careers overseas serving the country with the benefits of the civil service system nor locality pay.
Please sign your posts. Also, It looks like you have posted under various pen names and wiki names. To avoid the apperance of sock or meat puppetry, please use a consistent name, preferable a wiki account. I do not know if you are Fsbrat or his other confirmed user names, but if you continue to make proactive edits that remove reference to the FS and do so with an anon IP, I will revert. If you try to log in under various user names or pen names with this IP, I think it is safe to assume that you are the same person. Assume good faith, but make consistent edits under a single name and maybe a consensus version can emerge. Just deleting what you don't like isnt going to work. Bevinbell (talk) 00:01, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
This is an interesting article read by many USG employees - I just checked the FS 50 form and was shocked to see that it does not mention the Foreign Service. That must be a major oversite by whoever printed the form. It is very offensive indeed to post anti-FS rhetoric on this site. Please remove the offensive content and any reference to the SF-50 form until a revised version can be issued. It is absolutely intolerable for anyone to blur the Foreign Service, consisting of highly qualified diplomats serving on the front lines of diplomacy with civil servants who work fixed hours, do not speak foreign languages and often have never even applied for passports. long term trainee, FSI Arlington Virginia —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:34, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
What, are you kidding or something. I have great respect for our CS department folks (well, except maybe my personell tech). They work the same hours I do, speak plenty of other languages, and many have ppts. No need to be insulting IP Again, instead of anon posting why not get a log in so you can be taken somewhat more seriously? Bevinbell (talk) 17:15, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

CS vs FS

As a retired FSO I can state unequivocally that this is the number one issue of concern. FSOs have had their careers and prestige ruined by the shameful policies which led to assignment of civil servants overseas. The most notorious was a civil servant assignment as DCM in Lima, Peru. Fortunately under the leadership of AFSA, through concerted efforts of FSOs around the world, that person was curtailed. However, FSOs are still threatened by loopholes that let civil servants and other unqualified groups of people take jobs at Foreign Service posts which by law. may only be filled by members of the Foreign Service.

More information is viewable at the AFSA web site I propose that a filter be set up on this site to prevent civil servants from defacing this article or posting any anti FS rhetoric. There is a small handful of troublemakers that seek to blur the distinctions between the Foreign Service and civil servants who are there to support FSOs in the field. CaliforniaSushi (talk) 13:45, 21 June 2008 (UTC)

Domestic duties[edit]

It would be intriguing to discuss the few domestic duties that still accrue to the State Department. For instance, when Nixon resigned, he submitted his resignation level to Sec. of State Kissinger, as you can see here. I believe that the SoS must officially sing off on constitutional amendments, as well? --Jfruh (talk) 05:33, 20 January 2009 (UTC)


1787-1987 History

(research) in 1787 the president was given power of foreign relations. in 1789 the house and senate approved legislation to establish the Department of Foreign Affairs. in 1789 the president signed it into law. in 1789 the name was changed to Department of State. in 1789 Thomas Jefferson became the first secretary of state. in 1790 Jefferson returned from Paris. in 1790 the number of employees was eight (8) in 1790 the number of consular posts was ten (10) in 1790 the United states had diplomats in France and England nowhere else. in 1800 ca. the Department of State moved to Washington, D.C. in 1825 the department of state grew to twenty 920) employee's in 1825 the department focused on ships and commerce (is that a fact?) in 1830 the number of employees increased to twenty three (23) in 1830 the number of countries that had diplomatic contact with the united states was fifteen (15) in 1830 the number of consular posts was 141 in 1833 Secretary of State Louis McLane carried out the first reorganization of the department, and that was the creation of Diplomatic, Consular, and Home Bureaus. in 1852 William Hunter is appointed chief clerk in 1860 the number of consular posts was two hundred and fifty two (252) in 1860 the number of employees at the state department was forty two (42) in 1860 the united states was in contact with thirty three (33) other nations in 1860 fourhundred and eighty (480) consulates, commercial agencies, and consular agencies abroad. in 1866 a second assistant secretary was added to the department in 1870 Hamilton Fish redefined the department's bureau structure and issued a series of rules and regulations updating its administrative practice. in 1886 William Hunter dies. in 1890 sevenhundred and sixty (760)consulates, commercial agencies, and consular agencies abroad. in 1893 congress approved appointment of ambassador rank representatives to the United Kingdom. in 1895 Grover Cleveland issued regulations requiring the filling of vacanies on the basis of written exams. in 1900 the budget was $141,000 and nintey one (91) employees in Washington, D.C. in 1909 Philander Knox introduces political-geographic divisions. expanded the departments solicitor. assigns administrative tasks to the third assistant secretary of state. in 1919 congress creats the position of under secretary of state. in 1920 the budget was $1.4 million and sevenhundred eight (708) employees in 1920 career officers serving as chief of mission was zero (0) in 1924 congress created the Rogers Act creating a unified and profession foreign service. in 1924 career officers serving as chief of mission was thirty percent (30%) in 1925 women are admitted into Foreign Service in 1925 blacks admitted into Foreign Service in 1925 Clifton Wharton became a Foreign Service officer in 1926 Foreign Services Buildings Act created construction of consulates overseas. in 1933 Ruth Owen served as minister to Denmark in 1937 Florence Harriman served as minister to Norway in 1940 the budget was $2.8 million and one thousand one hundred twenty eight (1,128) employees in 1950 National Security Council (NSC) document no. 68, which took for granted a long period of world crisis. in 1945 employement reached three thousand and seven hundred (3,700) in 1947 Executive Secretariat and Policy Planning Staff were created in 1944 Bureau for Administration and Economic Affairs were established in 1946 secretary for economic affairs is created in 1949 a department restructuring was carried out creating the bureaus of Inter-American Affairs, Far Eastern Affairs, European Affairs, Near Eastern and African Affairs, International Organization Affairs, and Congressional Relations. in 1949 a deputy under secretary for management was created 1949 deputy under secretary for political affairs overseas political bureaus in 1950 employment reaches nearly nine thousand (9,000) in 1952 a Bureau of Consular Affairs is created in 1957 a Bureau of Intelligence is created in 1958 the geographic bureau structure is rounded out- African is being rapidly decolonized in 1960 a Bureau of Cultural Affairs is created


Notes: Early secretaries of state included Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, and John Quincy Adams later included Martin Van Buren and James Buchanan Consuls promote the expansion of American Commerce.William Hunter was chief clerk from 1852 until 1866. William Derrick. William Hunter. Alvey Adee. 1909 Know may have created Divisions for Information and for Trade Relations book is unclear if he did this. 1919 congress created {position of under secretary of state} needs more information. 1900 to 1914 telegrams increased. "American Black Chamber" effeort to decipher coded messages. {Cordell Hull} used telephone to intruct a mission needs a date. Margaret M. Hanna was a clerk for correspondence Bureau succeeded by Blanche Halla circa 1930. Ruth Shipley needs more information. research q: When did women become a part of the state department? Women were admitted into the {new} Foreign Service beginning in 1925. Ruth Bryan Owen demark minister. Florence Jaffrey Harriman norway. Clifton Wharton first black to enter foreign service needs more information. Jews were not included. 1924 rogers act needs more information. career officers serving as chief of mission rose from zero before 1920 to thirty percent in 1924 and 55% in 1940 needs more information 30% of zero?

Algar Hiss Henry Lodge

George Thomas Kurian ed. "A Historical Guide to the U.S. Government" New York: Oxford University Press, 1998. (this citation is not correct)also I suggest citing the history section with this source, as it reads as follows "These responsibilities grew to include management of the Mint, keeper of the Great Seal of the United States, and the taking of the census." —Preceding unsigned comment added by Alexw6 (talkcontribs) 21:47, 31 October 2009 (UTC)


Why is the State department known as the Department of State? Why did Congress change the name from Foreign Affairs to State? --Son (talk) 03:39, 22 January 2009 (UTC)

Yes, 8 years later, unanswered, still as good a question now as it was then. Most other "English"speaking countries have "Foreign Affairs" Departments. So why was it changed?

Another image[edit]

State Department, Washington, D.C., from Robert N. Dennis collection of stereoscopic views.jpg

When a history section is more fleshed out, this belongs in it. This was State Department headquarters for a decade starting in 1866. - Jmabel | Talk 07:25, 24 January 2011 (UTC)

overstating sources for blog[edit]

Given the sources, the statements about the blog go well beyond what's factual (found in the sources). Perhaps the statement can be repaired using a newer source. TEDickey (talk) 00:53, 19 April 2011 (UTC)


See and for new organization for State after adopting changes recommended by the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review. I've started to make changes, could use some help. Mikebar (talk) 17:33, 20 January 2012 (UTC)

New 2012 Organization Chart[edit]

State has updated it's org chart on the Department website - see Mikebar (talk) 22:53, 2 April 2012 (UTC)

Franklin Fellows program merge[edit]

I have merged the small section from the article here.

Office of the North Korea Policy Coordinator[edit]

In which branch does the "Office of the North Korea Policy Coordinator" belong?[1]Cite error: A <ref> tag is missing the closing </ref> (see the help page). Twillisjr (talk) 07:54, 13 December 2012 (UTC)

citation needed[edit]

Please explain to me why this department was needed. With a budget of $57.533 Billion (FY 2012) there should be some serious reason and the "History" section gives no details other than "it soon became necessary." (talk) 02:07, 13 May 2013 (UTC)

Why is there no mention of the accomplishments of the state department?[edit]

have they accomplished anything important? (talk) 02:10, 13 May 2013 (UTC)

Why no mention of the many and various controversies surrounding Kerry?[edit]

From tossing his medals over a fence, to Kerry's dishonest congressional testimony in which he slammed an entire generation of veterans without having the slightest personal knowledge of the land war, to Kerry being out on his yacht on a Wednesday when Egypt was descending into chaos, there are a tony of controversies about Kerry. If I added any of them to the article, some liberal would falsely claim it was vandalism and delete it. But, for the article to be meaningful and honest, it cannot simply ignore the Secretary of State or pretend he is universally loved and admired. There has to be some intellectual heft to the article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:07, 12 July 2013 (UTC)

Not just the Secretary of State, this article gives the impression that the US State Department is universally admired. Instead of this love-fest, can we have some more honest views on the US State Department and John Kerry? (talk) 22:23, 5 April 2014 (UTC)

Sunday 4 April, just posted the following remark:

"Cheer-leader Wikipedia and their Love-in with the State Department

Given the speed at which it was deleted, it seems that questioning remarks about the US State Department will not be allowed. For, as with the last deleted posting, it should be interesting to see how long this comment stays in place. As if a crime, it seems that negative comments about the Department are far from welcome on this site. But is not Wikipedia the site that anyone can edit?"

If people object to such anti-State Department statement - can they give reasons for deleting then? (talk) 22:33, 6 April 2014 (UTC)