Planning for Foreign Policy: A Framework for Analysis

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Linda P. Brady, Chancellor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: `Avoid trivia.' Such was the advice given to George F. Kennan, first director of the Policy Planning Staff (s/P)1 of the United States Department of State by the Secretary of State, George C. Marshall. The staff was created by Marshall in April 1947 in response to perceived threats of economic collapse and political chaos in postwar Europe. Kennan and his five-man staff assumed active roles in the formulation of the Marshall Plan, attesting to their acceptance of Marshall's advice. The effects of the plan were not only to speed immediate European economic recovery, but also to lay the foundation for future European economic prosperity.2 In this situation the Policy Planning Staff had a dramatic impact on the direction of American foreign policy. The powerlessness of the staff in the formulation of United States policy in Vietnam during the early and mid-1960s provides a striking contrast. Although Director Walt Rostow instituted the National Policy Papers as strategies for developing innovative policy guidelines, his efforts went unheeded by the Secretary of State, Dean Rusk. According to many observers, the influence of the Policy Planning Staff dropped to the lowest point in its history during the 1961-6 period, and particularly with respect to Vietnam policy.3 What has made the difference between success and failure for the Policy Planning Staff over time? Why has it had an impact on policy in some situations but not in others? More generally, what does the staff's experience tell us about the conditions under which planners can influence the direction of foreign policy?

Additional Information

International Journal, Vol. XXXII, no. 4 (Autumn 1977), pp. 829-848
Language: English
Date: 1977
Policy Planning Staff, Department of State, foreign policy, United States foreign policy, influence

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