By Arthur Cyr
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The Plowden Committee report on the reform of the diplomatic service was published in 1964, and the following year a new integrated service was established, composed of the previously separate Foreign, Commonwealth and Trade Commissioner services. In 1966, a new Commonwealth Office was formed by merging the Commonwealth Relations and Colonial Offices, and in 1968 this was joined with the Foreign Office to produce a completely unified foreign relations department. In 1969, another important review, the Val Duncan report, was issued, which urged further integration within the diplomatic service, modernisation of training and promotion techniques along the lines recommended in the Fulton report for the domestic service, and increased co-ordination and interchange with domestic departments.
Government policy did enjoy some brief success. There was an especially significant victory in the struggle to hold down inflation. For two years, from 1948 to 1950, co-operation among government, business and labour effectively prevented prices and wages from rising. The key element was willingness of unions to forego wage increases. This was achieved through a combination of direct appeal and other policies designed to restrain food prices, impose a levy on capital, and limit dividends. More broadly, gains were made in 1948 to reduce the balance-of-payments deficit, and there was growth in exports, national income and industrial production.
Socially and psychologically, the world of government in Britain is more closed, intense and limited than in the US. In London, civil service life is made up of a complex and highly efficient network based upon personal relationships, confidence and histories of professional association between particular individuals. 1 Diplomatic Service Personnel: United States and Britain 1. Britain Administrative class Executive class Totals At home Abroad Total diplomatic service 400 900 1300 700 1000 1700 1100 1900 3000 2.