On July 1, 1924, there became effective an act for the reorganization and improvement of the Foreign Service of the United States, popularly known as the Rogers Act, which had been approved on May 24. That act combined the hitherto separate diplomatic and consular services into a single Foreign Service. Admission to the Foreign Service was for the most part to be upon competitive examination, and promotion was to be based upon merit. The act left to the executive the establishment of the system for ascertaining merit.
Pursuant to the Rogers Act, an executive order of June 7, 1924, created a Foreign Service Personnel Board. The composition of the board was slightly changed by an executive order of February 25, 1928, under the terms of which the board was to be composed of three assistant secretaries of state to be designated by the Secretary of State, and three Foreign Service officers. The three Foreign Service officers, representing both the diplomatic and consular branches, were to constitute the executive committee of the board.
Among other things, the Foreign Service Personnel Board was charged with the duty of submitting to the Secretary, when vacancies should arise in the Foreign Service, lists of officers whose records of efficiency entitled them to advancement in the service and who were therefore recommended for promotion. A departmental order directed the executive committee to take possession of all records relating to the personnel of the diplomatic and consular services and to keep the efficiency records of all Foreign Service officers.