State Department Historical Advisory Committee Meets

On June 23, 2009, the Historical Advisory Committee (HAC) met for the first time since the issuance of the Office of the Inspector General’s (OIG) report on the operations of the Office of the Historian at the U.S. Department of State. The OIG recommended that Director of the Office of the Historian, Dr. Marc Susser, be replaced. As a result, Susser was reassigned within the State Department, and Ambassador John Campbell was named as Acting Director of the Office of the Historian.

Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs P. J. Crowley opened the meeting by expressing his commitment to the mission of the Office of the Historian and to ensuring that the necessary resources are allocated to the Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) to meet its 30-year publication deadline.

Ambassador Campbell began his presentation by announcing he intended his tenure to be brief. He stated would be leaving the position by September 1, 2009, to assume a position with the Council on Foreign Relations. His intent is to stay no longer than that date or whenever a permanent replacement has been named, whichever comes first.

He committed himself to ensuring that the Office of the Historian addresses all of the recommendations of the IG’s report, restoring the morale and decorum among the staff, and reviving the relationship between the Office and the HAC.

Ambassador Campbell noted there were 24 specific recommendations in the IG’s report designed to improve the transparency and efficiency of the Historian’s Office. Campbell said a few had already been met, and that he had set up task forces to address the remaining ones. These include improving the office working environment, internal and external professional development, office security, the issue of print versus electronic volumes and timely completion of the Carter and Reagan FRUS volumes. He noted that staff attrition had further delayed the completion of FRUS volumes.

It was announced that William McAllister had been named Acting General Editor of the FRUS.