Fateful Decisions: Inside the National Security Council

By Karl F. Inderfurth; Loch K. Johnson | Go to book overview

9
LETTER TO JACKSON SUBCOMMITTEE

McGeorge Bundy

In his written response to the Jackson panel, Mr. Bundy emphasized the changes Presi-
dent Kennedy had made to the NSC he had inherited from President Eisenhower. It was
now smaller, and the line between planning and operations had been dissolved so that
NSC staff officers were involved in the follow-up as well as the formulation of policy. He
also stressed the importance of the secretary of state as the president's top foreign policy
adviser.

U.S. Senate,
Subcommittee on National Policy Machinery,
July 13, 1961

Mr. McGeorge Bundy,
Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs,
The White House, Washington, D.C.

Dear Mr. Bundy:
As you know, our subcommittee will shortly hold hearings bringing to a close its nonpartisan
study of how our Government can best staff and organize itself to develop and carry out the kind

As you also know, we have been deeply concerned from the outset with the organization and
procedures of the National Security Council, its subordinate organs, and related planning and
follow-through mechanisms in the area of national security.

Early in our study, the previous administration was kind enough to make available to the sub-
committee a series of official memorandums describing the functions, organization, and proce-
dures of the National Security Council and its supporting mechanisms. These memorandums,
which were printed by the subcommittee in our Selected Materials, proved of great interest and
value to our members, to students and interpreters of the policy process, and to the wide general
audience which has been following our inquiry.

The purpose of this letter is to ask whether the present administration could now furnish us
with official memorandums which would be the current equivalent of the above documents given
us by the Eisenhower administration.

Reprinted from "Exchange of Letters Concerning the National Security Council Between Henry M. Jackson and Mr. McGeorge
Bundy, Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs." Subcommittee on National Policy Machinery, U.S. Senate
Committee on Government Operations.

McGeorge Bundy served as special assistant for national security affairs from 1961–1966.

-81-

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