The proximate cause of the cable was an article in State Magazine, the in-house journal of the Department, in which the Legal Advisor, who was black, walked into different offices and stated that the personnel did not look like him. I asked, as you will see, whether a criterion for employment at State was to look like the Legal Advisor.
The flurry that this cable set off, subsequently, had me declare myself a black woman and defy the Department, using its own rules, to deny that. It was hilarious. It also left me with a huge cloud over my head. Torrential rains were only prevented by my good relations with Helms' office. The words "Senator Helms" made even the most senior Department officials quiver.
Let me just add that I knew people were out to get me, especially in the DG's office, so I made it my policy never to meet women employees in my office with the door closed or without a trusted witness. Progressive "healing" has that sort of effect.
Anyhow, there's lots more but for now this will do. Enjoy the cable that nearly ended my career . . . well, there were other things, too, but this is enough, now--you can look up some of those other things under my name (often misspelled with 'n' replacing 'm' as is the case in the Congressional Record piece below) and the word "Guatemala." Some day I will write about that stuff, but not today--my stomach is not up for all that recollection.
Congressional Record Volume 140, Number 128 (Wednesday, September 14, 1994) STATE DEPARTMENT'S QUOTAS Mr. HELMS: Mr. President, we are left to suppose, in horror, that the Serbs are ``ethnically cleansing'' the former Yugoslavia of both Moslems and Croats. In Rwanda, Hutus and Tutsis are slaughtering each other. The world has always been polarized but it now has become violently so.
Meanwhile, the State Department is drumming up a new brand of polarization called diversity. Foggy Bottom would rather fulfill ethnic quotas, thereby creating divisions and resentment, than choose the best qualified people to tend U.S. interests abroad.
The State Department's problem is that the American people reject ethnic and gender quotas. It is an absurd policy and it is unfair. It is an insult to basic American precepts and principles.
I hope Senators will take note of a cable written by Lewis Anselem, the political counselor at the United States Embassy in Bolivia. This cable, highly critical of the State Department's quota policy, was published in the July edition of Washingtonian magazine. Mr. Anselem raises a number of significant questions about the Clinton administration's pursuit of ethnic quotas at the State Department.
Mr. Anselem deserves forthright answers to his questions but I recommend that nobody hold his or her breath until answers are forthcoming from the State Department.
I recall Hubert Humphrey's asking the Senate 30 years ago, ``Do you want a society that is nothing but an endless power struggle among organized groups? Do you want a society where there is no place for the individual?'' If Hubert were still around he would instantly recognize that this administration has made clear that it values special interest groups over independent individuals. And Hubert would discover that the ``politically correct'' crowd in charge today is making the ground fertile for polarization.
Mr. President, the State Department should reject its misguided efforts to enact quotas. I ask unanimous consent that W. Lewis Anselem's cable, published by Washingtonian magazine, be printed in the Record at the conclusion of my remarks.
[From the Washingtonian, July 1994] Undiplomatically Yours (A cable from W. Lewis Anselem, political counselor in the United States embassy in La Paz, Bolivia, on diversity within the State Department has been making the rounds in Foggy Bottom. Here is the text of the cable.)
1. I am taking advantage of your call for a full exchange of views of personnel issues to send you this message on ``diversity.'' I probably should use the ``dissent channel'' but given my prior experience with that channel on a different issue (i.e., eight months to get a reply), I have chosen to address you directly. A previous cable I sent the Director General (93 La Paz 15382) on diversity issues was replied to six weeks later by the acting DIRGEN (State 384875) in a ``form letter'' which ignored the bulk of the issues I raised. A follow-up cable (La Paz 734) was ignored.
2. I realize senior Department officers cannot provide personal answers to all cables they receive; I certainly don't expect that. But given repeated calls by those officials for a full and frank exchange in diversity and other personnel issues, those officials should be ready and willing to address such issues in a full and frank manner somewhere and somehow. That has not happened. What statements these officials have made on diversity reveal a lack of understanding of basic issues, are contradictory, deceptive, condescending in the extreme, insulting, and, above all, confusing. It is that sort of behavior, I think, which led the Department to be the target of prior lawsuits and creates an unease in the ranks today that could result in new ones tomorrow. Current AFSA leadership seems to be management's pet puppy on diversity, eager to please its master (I urge everyone I know to stop paying AFSA dues).
3. I won't repeat what I stated in previous cables on diversity. I want to discuss two articles in the February and March issues of ``State Magazine.'' Those articles contain statements by the Director General and the Legal Advisor that need clarification; anything you can do would be appreciated. I apologize for this cable's length, but the topic has many facets. Role of Exams 4. In the February ``State Magazine'' report on the January 11 ``townhall meeting'' the Director General (pg. 2) is cited as stating on the issue of FS [Foreign Service] employees who enter without taking the exam, that ``while some `assume that we want to give a free pass to people who couldn't pass the exam' it is rather the opposite, she said, explaining there are persons who are so highly sought after that State could never hope to recruit them if it had to wait for the lengthy exam process.''
5. Is this an accurate characterization of the Director General's position on the exam issue? If so, is that an accurate reflection of Department policy? Who are these persons ``who are so highly sought after"? What special skills do they bring to the promoting of American overseas interests? Does the Department consider those who took the exam and put up with the lengthy exam process as second-class citizens? Why have exams if they only draw second-raters such as myself? Will a warning label be placed on the exam so that potential test-takers know they are not "highly sought after"?' Perhaps something similar to what we have on tobacco goods: Warning: The Director General has determined that if you take this test you are second-rate.
6. Will the same attitude of disregard for the exam extend to the EER [employee evaluation report]? Can we anticipate that certain persons will be promoted outside of the EER process (because they are so ``valuable'') while only we non- valuable ones need worry about EER ratings? The Evils of Merit 7. In the same issue of ``State,'' the Department's Legal Advisor (identified as black although no one else's race is mentioned, a matter which should be taken up with the editor) is portrayed as claiming the following (pg. 3): ```We must get rid of the notion that merit has been such a success that we don't have a problem . . . It just doesn't do to walk into a bureau and to see no one or only one person who looks like me.' The fact is, he added, that white males are overrepresented in the Department . . . He continued: `We shouldn't assume that because a woman or minority winds up as a DAS [deputy assistant secretary], that this was reserved for a woman or a minority. What we should assume is that the person was qualified for the job.'''
8. Is this an accurate characterization of the Legal Advisor's position? Can we conclude that, under this administration, merit is no longer the basis for employment and advancement in the Department? If, indeed, merit is no longer the basis of assignment, advancement, etc., why should we assume a person holding a particular job is qualified for the job? Why shouldn't women and minorities feel stigmatized, as the Director General rightly worries they are? How can the Legal Advisor's statements be reconciled with repeated assertions (including in that same article, pg. 2) by the Director General and others that no dichotomy exists between diversity and merit?
9. Is it Department policy that white males are ``overrepresented?'' What others does the Department consider ``overrepresented?'' Are there too many Jews in the Department? How will the Department solve the ``Jewish problem?'' Too many Catholics? Too many Baptists? Too many Asians? Too many Mormons? Too many left-handed Protestants? What else is there too many of? Is the Legal Advisor out to cull the herd? What is the Legal Advisor's position on the Chicago Bulls? That organization doesn't have too many people who look like me, but as a team based on merit, not diversity, they play great ball. Should we lower the net and shorten the court so short, fat, cigar-smoking white guys can play? What about the engineering school at UCLA? Not many folks who look like me there, either, but they sure are good engineers. From the charts provided in the Director General's article in the March ``State'' it seems minorities are ``over-represented'' in the government workforce in general (see chart on pg. 20). Will the Advisor propose minorities in other agencies be fired to bring down their representation to the ``proper'' level? Or is it only OK to insult and degrade white males?
10. The Legal Advisor is also quoted as saying (pg. 3) that litigation is ``a blunt instrument but one that gets our attention.'' I predict that if the Department adopts the attitude apparently held by the Legal Advisor, a lot more ``blunt instruments'' will get your attention. On Definitions and the Plastic Medium of Statistics 11. In the March issue of ``State'' (pp. 18-25), the Director General presents a number of statistics on the Department workforce. Most of these are partial and misleading. I note, however, that the second chart on pg. 21 clearly makes the point that there is ``gender bending'' going on in promotions. Since 1989 female officers are consistently more likely to be promoted than are their male colleagues. The 1993 figures are very telling. In that chart alone, I suspect there is enough for a lawsuit. What that chart doesn't show (but previous stats laboriously squeezed out of the Department do) is that women are much more likely to cross the FS-1 to senior officer threshold than are men. In addition, they are much more likely to get DCM [deputy chief of mission] or P.O. [principal officer] jobs in desirable postings than are men (a glance through the ``Key Officers'' book shows that). And, please, despite what the Director General claims, we all know some positions are held as long as possible for applicants of the ``right'' sex, race, or ethnicity; it's one of the worst kept secrets in the Department.
12. Nowhere in the article does the Director General provide a definition of ``minority.'' This is a critical failing I have noticed throughout the discussions of the diversity issue. What is a minority in a country of minorities? From what I can tell if you don't file a lawsuit, you ain't a minority.
13. The issue of defining ``minority'' is a critical one. When we join the Foreign Service we have to auto-declare ourselves Hispanic, black, white, Native American, etc. Is this the only means we have? Surely this is not very accurate. Many Americans (myself included) are of mixed background. How do we know who is ``truly'' white, black, or Hispanic? How many white ancestors must you have before you are no longer another race? What if you have one black great- grandmother? Would a person with one European-origin parent and one African-origin parent be white or black? What about one with an Asian and an African parent? How does the Department know it is not being conned by unscrupulous race and ethnic jumpers? What if you are currently a man but ``feel'' you are really a woman? Can those of us who listed ourselves as in one group get reclassified?
14. If you are serious about racial labels, then Department medical services should be brought in to determine degrees of racial ``purity.'' You can hire phrenologists and other experts on racial traits. There are lots of those people now unemployed in South Africa or under false names in Paraguay (better move on this last group fast, they're getting old). Ah, Yes . . . One More Definition 15. In the whole debate on diversity, including in the two articles I mention, I have yet to see a definition of ``diversity.'' I just can't believe personnel officers would launch a policy without knowing what it is. Please provide a definition of ``diversity.'' How will we know when we have it? What are the exact quotas established? Once those are reached, will the Department have a ``diversity maintenance'' program to ensure old devil merit doesn't upset the correct mix?
16. Will only race and gender be considered? What about regional diversity? Are there too many Californians? Too many Alaskans? What about elderly Americans? What about those of Albanian descent? I have an Albanian-American friend from Chicago; I would like him to know what his quota is. Would Albanian-Americans from Philadelphia have a different quota than those from Chicago (my friend has a brother in Philadelphia)? What's the point system? Oh Yes, I Want my Country to be Just like Yugosalvia 17. I find diversity's obsession with race and gender repugnant and potentially dangerous. Despite what the Director General claims, it is not those who object to diversity who corrode efficiency and morale in the service, it is those who promote diversity who do so. I might add, the Director General takes a cheap shot in her March article (pg. 18) by implying that those opposing diversity so do either out of fear of change or resentment over diminished promotion possibilities.
18. There are many legitimate and idealistic reasons to oppose diversity. Not the least is that qualified women and minority officers are being stigmatized by diversity and the obvious ``white man's burden'' mentality behind it. The assumption is that women and minorities (however defined) can't compete unless the Great White Father designs a ``special program'' for them (what would the Bulls say about that?). Diversity is causing serious, perhaps permanent damage to a service already battered by years of abuse as a playground for unqualified political appointees (not always: I've served under some very fine political appointees). Can you imagine a used car salesman commanding a nuclear aircraft carrier? No? How about one as ambassador of the world's most important country?
19. My parents did not immigrate to America so their kids could face quotas. They came to get away from prejudice. The social engineers in the Department and its AFSA sidekick have forgotten that the idea of America is to let people be their best and in that way we all benefit. If engineering schools have an ``overrepresentation'' of Asian-origin students, it doesn't bother me. If for whatever reasons one group or another has a greater tendency to go into one sort of business rather than another, that doesn't bother me at all. Diversity zealots are toying with explosive issues; no matter how ``civilized'' we think we are, eventually, as we have seen in Yugoslavia and only God knows how many other places, we all will come out to defend our ethnicity, race, religion, etc.--and at times violently. Call it tribalism or whatever you want, but it's there under the surface. Let it stay there; don't stir it up with misguided polices.
20. Thank you for this opportunity to express my views. ____________________