1972 Directive

The William  Macomber “1972 Directive”  opened the door to significant change. Two paragraphs, #1  and #5, were particularly influential. #1 stated that since wives were not USG employees, they could no longer be ordered to perform tasks for the Government.  #5 directed that wives could no longer be mentioned in employee evaluations. The result was that wives began to talk about working, since their time was now their own. Furthermore, they dared to speak freely about concerns for themselves and their children, since they were no longer being evaluated.  AAFSW was not involved in the creation of this directive, but it proved to be a catalyst for future AAFSW initiatives.

Stephanie Kinney (2010)[ADST interview][Speech audio recording] Transcript file from ADST.org, p. 59

The shift to the “New Foreign Service Wife” from the “Old Foreign Service Wife”, with all due respect because of the change in policy – and laid out the if there is anything worse than being a dependent, it was being a non-person. And that really spoke to people because they had experienced what that suddenly meant. The older women were bitter and hurt and distressed and the younger women were just uncomprehending of all this. So we brought the two together.

Stephanie Kinney interview with ADST, Tape 2, April 1, 2010.
Document from the Office of the Historian at the Department of State

Bill of Rights of Wives – AAFSW Newsletter – 1972


Article excerpted from AFSA’s Foreign Service Journal, October 1973. Source: https://afsa.org/foreign-service-journal-october-1973


1972 Directive Under Review; AAFSW Newsletter – May/June 1978