145. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant (Cater) to President Johnson1

I met with Secretary Rusk late yesterday afternoon to discuss the plans for the committee which is to serve as followup to the Katzenbach Report.2 Two points emerged which you may wish to consider:

1. Rusk believes that this committee would be the wrong group to dig deeper into CIA operations. He suggests that a better way to accomplish this would be to get Clark Clifford and the Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board3 to make a systematic review of all CIA clandestine activities. Alternatively, you could designate whoever you wished to serve with the Interdepartmental Review Committee—the 303 Committee4—to conduct a special review of all such activities. Either of these arrangements could provide you a far more searching and secure means of finding out what goes on in CIA. When it is completed, you might wish to review it with certain of the Senators and Congressmen who sit on the CIA Subcommittee. But Rusk doubts that this public committee would be well equipped to do the initial review.

2. In discussing ways to carry out the Katzenbach Report suggestion that we “. . . establish a public-private mechanism to provide public funds openly for overseas activities of organizations which are adjudged deserving, in the national interest, of public support. . . .” Rusk thought serious consideration should be given to placing this [Page 451] responsibility in the new center for international education in HEW.5 If this proves to be the best course it may be awkward to propose this when Gardner wasn’t a member of the Committee. I suggest that you may wish to consider either making him a Committee member or else indicate publicly that he will be consulted as the Committee performs its work.

Make Gardner Committee member? Yes_______ No _______

Designate Gardner to be consulted by Committee? Yes_______ No_______

See me: Yes_______ No_______6

  1. Source: Johnson Library, Office Files of the White House Aides, Files of S. Douglass Cater, Box 16, Cater, Douglass: Memos to the President, March, 1967. No classification marking. Annotation in an unknown hand in the top left-hand corner of the memorandum reads: “rec’d 3–31–67 1030a.”
  2. No record of this meeting was found, Reference is to the Rusk Committee, which was announced in the President’s March 29 statement regarding the release of the report prepared by Katzenbach, Helms, and Gardner (see footnotes 2, 3, and 4, Document 144; and Roy Reed, “President Orders C.I.A. to Halt Aid to Private Groups.” New York Times, March 30, 1967, p. 1)
  3. For additional information about the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB), see Foreign Relations, 1964–1968, vol. XXXIII, Organization and Management of Foreign Policy; United Nations, Document 183.
  4. The 303 Committee, was originally known as Special Group 5412 and established by National Security Council Directive NSC 5412/2. This group was comprised of representatives of the President and the Secretaries of State and Defense. The group was to be advised prior to the establishment of major covert action programs and were to advise and approve these programs. See Foreign Relations, 1958–1960, vol. XIX, China, footnote 1, Document 277. NSAM 303 officially changed the name of Special Group 5412 to the 303 Committee, but “in no way alters the composition, function or responsibility of the Special Group 5412.” (Foreign Relations, 1964–1968, vol. XXXIII, Organization and Management of Foreign Policy; United Nations, Document 204)
  5. Presumably a reference to the proposed Center for Educational Cooperation.
  6. An unknown hand, presumably that of the President, checked all three “No” options.