Out of the 74 new US diplomatic positions, China will get 15, including a dozen at the US Embassy in Beijing [ Images ] followed by India with 12 new posts, seven of them in New Delhi [ Images ], according to two State Department lists obtained by The Washington Post.
Indonesia is at the third slot with five new positions in Jakarta. Other countries that are to receive at least three more US diplomatic slots include Nigeria, Israel, Lebanon, Vietnam, Tajikistan, Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela and Nicaragua.
Of 61 positions slated for elimination in the initial batch, 10 will fall in Russia [ Images ] and seven in Germany [ Images ]. US embassies in several other countries -- Belgium, Poland, Italy [ Images ], Spain, Ukraine, Japan [ Images ] and Brazil [ Images ] -- will lose two or three posts.
Rice announced plans last month to shift hundreds of foreign service positions from Europe and other developed countries to more challenging assignments in Asia, the Middle East and elsewhere as part of an increased American focus on battling terrorism and strengthening security in threatened regions.
The closures and add-ons constitute just the beginning of a major rearrangement that State Department officials say will affect a substantial portion of the 6,400 foreign service positions, the report said.
The first round of restructuring grew out of assessments by regional bureaus of jobs they could "safely give up" and of "places where there was a crying, urgent need to have additional representation," a senior State Department official involved in the planning told the Post. "This is a down payment for a shift that will probably take place over several years," the official said.
Rice has described the restructuring as an essential feature of her larger "transformational diplomacy" campaign, which envisions a more active role for US diplomats in fostering the growth of democratic states worldwide.
Although the shifting of posts has been welcomed generally by the American Foreign Service Association representing US diplomats, the potential scale of the change has unsettled some State Department employees. One particular concern, the officer said, involves future levels of security and support for the expanded embassies and consulates.
The new jobs listed so far have been confined to political, economic and public diplomacy positions. No mention has been made of additional security personnel to enhance protection, office management specialists to handle heavier administrative loads or technology experts to deal with computer problems and other technical issues.
The senior State Department official said parallel plans are being drawn to provide extra support staff. To find volunteers for the newly created positions, the State Department issued a memo last month advising foreign service personnel not to wait for the formal bidding process normally used to decide assignments. Instead, willing officers were encouraged to make their interest known to the relevant regional bureaus.