Present organization of geography in State Department (1946)

A useful organization chart of the organization of geography within the Department of State in 1946, that is, after the OSS had been disbanded and elements of the Research and Analysis (R&A) taken into State Dept.

DSC_0359According to the Org chart, obtained from the archives of the American Geographic Society Library (AGSL) at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, geography was positioned within the Office of Research Coordination and Liaison (OCL). The OCL chief was William Langer, who had been head of R&A at the OSS. Below him was S[amuel] Whittemore Boggs, Special Advisor on Geography, DoS. Boggs is an interesting character, his publications include a piece for the American Philosophical Society (Phila.) in 1949 on the topic of “mappable knowledge.” Boggs argued that there was a desperate need for better world maps, and that we are largely ignorant of vast areas. (He refers to the “Iron Curtain,” a phrase popularized by Winston Churchill in 1945 referring to the Soviet Union.) Boggs also used the phrase “known ignorance” many years before Rumsfeld’s “known unknowns.” The reason for this, Boggs argues, is that we are entering a condition of “world problems,” and a need for global, rather than local, solutions to problems. (As evidenced by the emergence at this time of the United Nations.)

Other parts of the chart reveal where many former OSS men had gone, and the exact set-up of the maps division (under Otto E. Guthe, who was at DoS during the war. Guthe later went on to be quite senior in the CIA (his papers are at Georgetown).

I believe “IFI” refers to the then-division of International and Functional Intelligence (perhaps someone from State can confirm this). Atwood at first I thought may be Walter Wallace Atwood (dec’d 1949) who was in the OSS, and more famously is the founder of the Clark geography department, and president of that institution. (His papers are at Clark, which I need to check over the Orthojector and the ATCOROB device). But actually I believe it is a Rollin S. Atwood, as revealed in this CIA “Directory of Intelligence Personnel” that someone has kindly got under FOIA.

Also notice Robert Voskuil, ex-OSS (including time at the London office), and chief of the Cartography branch at State. Wilson is Leonard S. Wilson (again, former OSS) and well-known cartographer.


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