Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with J. Michael Springmann
SPRINGMANN: A lot of people liked it, and of course, you were rewarded with a slot in this if they liked you. It was a provision for Commerce people to go overseas and learn the job abroad. And it was also a chance for State Department people who couldn't find a position in the Department that they wanted, and they had to have, for whatever reason, a Washington assignment. So you'd get economic or commercial officers put up in the Commerce Department. It was basically 30-35 positions from both sides.
Q: Looking at the Foreign Service officers that came to Commerce...here they are caught in...was it still a bureaucratic jungle, or not?
SPRINGMANN: At Commerce?
Q: At Commerce by this time.
SPRINGMANN: It was still a jungle, and from what I hear from my friends, it still is after 10-15 years.
Q: How did the Foreign Service work, I mean the Foreign Service officers coming back?
SPRINGMANN: They were generally plugged into management positions. Like Nick Heflin for a time had been director of one section dealing with Southern Europe because he had spent some time in Italy. Other officers were given managerial slots, either as division directors or section chiefs. But they were generally not in the positions that corresponding to their background.
Q: So they were somewhat protected from getting...did they add anything? I'm talking about experience.
SPRINGMANN: I don't think so. They generally weren't there that long. I was surprised because in a year or so they'd be gone without having any real effect. I never got the statement directly from them but I heard from other people who dealt with them, admittedly second or third hand knowledge, that they hated Commerce, and the people who worked at Commerce. The only FSO I ran into directly when I was working on the Planning and Scheduling Staff, was a young economics officer from State who was about my age, and she was an absolute bitch. If you said anything to her about, particularly what she couldn't do because it's against regulations, she would go through the roof.