State Dept Slow to Follow White House Order

08.22.17 | 1 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

When President Trump issued a National Security Presidential Memorandum (NSPM) on US policy towards Cuba on June 16, he included a provision ordering that it be published in the Federal Register: “The Secretary of State is hereby authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.”

Now, more than two months later, the document has still not appeared in the Federal Register. (Previous memoranda in this series were all published in the Federal Register less than a week after they were signed by the President.)

Since the text of the Cuba NSPM has already been posted on the White House website (though without its identifying number NSPM-5), it is not a secret. And in the larger scheme of things, failing to publish it in the Federal Register is no great dereliction of duty.

But it indicates a glitch in the machinery of government in this Administration. When the President directs a subordinate to carry out an action, no matter how trivial, it is supposed to be carried out. That did not happen here.

For some reason, the gears in this Administration are not turning normally and predictably. Even easy things are not consistently getting done.

Why not?

In response to our inquiry, the State Department offered not an explanation for the delay but only an affirmation that the Department still plans to publish the Presidential memo in the Federal Register. Sometime.