156. Memorandum of a Conversation Between the Secretary of State and the President’s Special Assistant (Rockefeller), Department of State, Washington, July 12, 19551

Nelson Rockefeller left with me a copy of a booklet for the President, dated July 11, 1955, entitled “Psychological Strategy at Geneva”.2 I glanced through this hastily and saw that it involved making proposals with reference to the handling of the various matters that might come up at Geneva. In many cases, these proposals were not in accord with State Department policy.

I said to Mr. Rockefeller that I had grave question as to the propriety of the President getting this kind of advice from sources outside of the State Department. I said that the Secretary of Stale was supposed to be the principal adviser of the President with relation to foreign affairs, but that if he was getting advice on the whole gamut of international issues from Mr. Rockefeller, that would put us into a competitive position which I did not think was good organization. I said that there had been Presidents who did get much of their advice from private advisers, ignoring the State Department, but that that was not my idea, nor was I disposed to be Secretary of State under those conditions.

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Mr. Rockefeller said that he had not thought of the matter that way but he saw the force of my remarks. He was, however, bewildered as to what to do. He presumably had a job and did not know how to do it other than the way he was doing it. He would be glad to funnel into the State Department, but had not found any way to do so and the OCB Committee was not practically functioning. He said that if there was no real role for him to play in his present job, he would be glad to give it up.

I said that I would give further thought as to how he might coordinate better with the State Department.

He asked whether he could get into the NATO meeting in Paris. I said that I had already had to cut down very sharply the list of prospective participants, and that unless the meeting was to be a very large one, which I did not yet know, I doubted whether I could work him in. However, I would see.

He asked whether there would be means of keeping the Paris contingent informed of what went on in Geneva. I said I thought it would be possible to send to Paris the same bulletin that would come here to the Vice President.

Mr. Rockefeller then gave me a redraft which he had made of the opening statement for the President which I had given the President yesterday.

  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Dulles Papers, Box 50, Nelson Rockefeller. Confidential; Personal and Private; Eyes Only. A note on the source text indicates that it was seen by Hoover and MacArthur.
  2. Document 154.