– Domani Spero
The State Department’s Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs Janice Jacobs announced last week her retirement from from the State Department effective April 3. Ambassador Jacobs was appointed to the CA Bureau on 2008. Previous to this appointment, she was the U.S. Ambassador to Guinea Bissau, accredited at the same time to Senegal and was a resident in Dakar. Excerpt from the announcement email sent to CA folks:
“It has been a wonderful thirty-plus years with the Department of State, serving in many different roles and in
many different locations around the world. As many of you have heard me say, my almost six years as Assistant Secretary has been the most enjoyable and the most rewarding of all the positions I have held. I am extremely proud of the role the Bureau has played as a trailblazer in the area of leadership, and now, management. Our team is recognized by counterparts throughout the Department for our balanced approach, our smart goal-setting, and our wise use of resources. I am confident that you all will continue to innovate to provide the best of government service.”
Ambassador Jacob’s two immediate predecessors, Maura Harty and Mary Ryan were both career Foreign Service officers, but seven of the twelve appointees since 1953 had been non-career appointees.
A quick summary of this top CA position via history.state.gov:
The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 (Jun 27, 1952; P.L. 82-414; 66 Stat. 174) established within the Department of State a Bureau of Security and Consular Affairs, headed by an Administrator with rank equal to that of an Assistant Secretary. From Mar 1 to Dec 30, 1954, the Bureau was renamed “Inspection, Security, and Consular Affairs”. From 1953 to 1962, the Secretary of State designated incumbents to this position. The Migration and Refugee Assistance Act of 1962 (Jun 28, 1962; P.L. 87-510; 76 Stat. 123) made the Administrator a Presidential appointee subject to the advice and consent of the Senate. In 1962, the Department transferred the security function to the Deputy Under Secretary for Administration, but the title remained unchanged until 1977, when the Foreign Relations Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1978 (Aug 17, 1977; P.L. 95-105; 91 Stat. 847) changed the Administrator’s title to “Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs.” This title has been given in full in all subsequent commissions to this office.
Here are the previous appointees.
- Robert Walter Scott McLeod (1953-1957)
- Roderic L. O’Connor (1957-1958)
- Abba Philip Schwartz (1962-1966)
- Barbara Mae Watson (1968-1974) — the top annual award for Consular Officers is named after her.
- Leonard Frederick Walentynowicz (1974-1977)
- Barbara Mae Watson (1977) – the top annual award for Consular Officers is named after her.
- Diego Cortes Asencio (1980-1983) — the first FSO to be appointed CA chief, see Oral History here (pdf).
- Joan Margaret Clark (1983-1989)
- Elizabeth M. Tamposi (1989-1992)
- Mary A. Ryan (1993-2002) click here (pdf) for her Oral History, a must read for anyone interested in the CA Bureau.
- Maura Ann Harty (2002-2008)
- Janice Lee Jacobs (2008-2014)
The last political appointee assigned to the CA Bureau as Assistant Secretary was Elizabeth Tamposi under President George H. W. Bush . If you don’t remember the Bill Clinton passport files scandal, the NYT covered it here and here. More reading here (Berry v. Funk) for some background and a separate judgement here, where the court granted monetary award to Ms. Tamposi for reimbursement of attorneys’ fees and expenses.
If you have time to spare, you might also want to read Sherman Funk’s Oral History interview here; he was the IG at that time. All Oral History interviews referenced to here are available via the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training.
* * *
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- More on State’s Illegal Passport Revocations in Yemen (wemeantwell.com)
- State Department Annual Awards 2013 – A Banner Year for Consular Officers (diplopundit.net)
- US Embassy Yemen: Revocation of U.S. Passports, a Growing Trend? (diplopundit.net)