New FS Blog: The Consuls’ Files

I have added The Consuls’ Files in my blog index.Cassandra Was Right quietly started blogging in May 2009.Her blog is called The Consuls’ Files, ‘bringing humanity, common sense, realism and humor to the work of the US consul.’

Her blog is a place —

“Where U.S. consular officers can …
… ask questions, answer questions, question answers, express frustrations, tell their favorite consular stories, uncensored and anonymous.Sensible immigration attorneys and puzzled visa applicants, petitioners, and beneficiaries are warmly welcomed, as well.”

And she tells stories like this one:

A young man from a South Asian suburb had been refused visas at least six times before.[…] I reviewed the prior applications, interviewed him, then started on my refusal patter: “I’m very sorry, but you don’t qualify for a …”At that point he interrupted and cried, incensed, “But madam! This time I’m telling the truth!”


She has an Ask the Consul option in her side bar where readers canAsk a question, suggest a topic.” But she wants you to “Be nice; pretend you’re writing to your mother.”

Update: Unfortunately, this blog has gone missing since Friday, October 2, 2009. Read the Hunt for Madam le Consul here.

Insider Quote: Next DG on Diplomacy 3.0

“One of the Secretary Clinton’s highest priorities is to increase our diplomatic staffing by 25% over the next four years. It is an ambitious but achievable goal, and can be achieved while maintaining the high standards that have allowed the Department over the years to attract and retain the nation’s best. This hiring increase has been termed “Diplomacy 3.0: Diplomacy, Development, and Defense,” reflecting the need to develop State Department personnel’s skills to support an integrated approach to foreign policy goals.

The President’s 2009 Budget will allow the Department of State to hire 2300 new Civil Service and Foreign Service employees this year, including 1200 new employees above attrition. These new personnel will fill existing vacancies, improve coordination with the Department of Defense, the U.S. Agency for International Development and other interagency partners, and provide us opportunities to increase our training in critical skills.”

Nancy J. Powell

Confirmation Testimony
As Director General of the Foreign Service and Director of Human Resources
June 16, 2009