‘The “Bowl of Jelly”: The Department of State in the Kennedy and Johnson Years, 1961-68’,

Colman, Jonathan orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-1223-9679 (2015) ‘The “Bowl of Jelly”: The Department of State in the Kennedy and Johnson Years, 1961-68’,. The Hague Journal of Diplomacy, 10 (2). pp. 172-196. ISSN 1871-1901

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1871191X-12341305


The article explores efforts to reform the State Department under presidents Kennedy and Johnson, with the intention of making the Department better able to lead and coordinate the sprawling foreign policy apparatus. However, Kennedy soon gave up on what he described as the 'bowl of jelly', so the reform effort was left to Johnson. Under him there were attempts to boost the State Department's internal efficiency and its ability to support counterinsurgency efforts. Yet there was a justified perception by the end of 1968 that the State Department was unredeemed managerially and in terms of its standing in the foreign policy nexus. Reasons for the lack of progress include sporadic presidential engagement, and Secretary of State Dean Rusk's limited aptitude for managerial affairs.

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