Diplomacy: Bureaucracy Abroad

A basic law of bureaucracy is that any problem can be solved merely by adding more manpower. But it just does not work, says retired Ambassador Ellis O. Briggs, 63, who somehow never acquired a bureaucratic mentality in his nearly four decades in the U.S. Foreign Service. "Many of our diplomatic missions could perform twice as effectively with half the personnel now infesting the premises," he told a surprised—and appreciative—Senate subcommittee.

Briggs was not talking about State Department personnel, he explained, but about "the tremendous proliferation of American civilian personnel from...

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