Overseas Staffing:

Embassies in the Former Soviet Union

NSIAD-92-306: Published: Aug 31, 1992. Publicly Released: Sep 10, 1992.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the staffing actions of the Department of State and the Department of Commerce for the new Soviet republic embassies, focusing on: (1) planned and actual embassy staffing; (2) U.S. estimates of the amount of staff needed to represent U.S. business interests; and (3) the actions of other countries in promoting their business interests.

GAO found that: (1) commercial representation receives inadequate attention due to limited staffing levels and the varied duties of embassy officials; (2) 13 of the 14 Soviet embassies have a limited staff of between 5 and 7 State officials and approximately 4 additional positions from other agencies; (3) the Kiev embassy staff has increased from 4 to 29 positions, including one commercial officer; (4) many of the vacant embassy positions result from appointed officers finishing home leave, completing tours at other facilities, or acquiring language or technical training; (5) neither State nor Commerce has established long-term embassy continuity and attention to commercial representation; (6) the provision of commercial officers to other Soviet embassies relies upon additional funding requirements and pending legislation; (7) political, consular, administrative, and other duties restrict embassy officials' performance of commercial work; and (8) the United States is the only country with diplomatic representation in every republic, while other countries have limited representation.

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