1. Editorial Note

The Operations Coordinating Board (OCB) was established on September 2, 1953, in pursuance of Executive Order 10483, for the purpose of strengthening national security machinery by providing for the coordinated interdepartmental implementation of national security policies approved by the President after consideration in the National Security Council (NSC). The OCB originally consisted of the Under Secretary of State, who served as chairman, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, the Director of the Foreign Operations Administration, the Director of Central Intelligence, and a representative of the President. The Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs was authorized to attend all meetings of the OCB as an adviser. The Director of the United States Information Agency also acted as adviser to the OCB, until February 28, 1955, when he became a member of the Board. For additional information concerning the formation of the OCB, see Department of State Bulletin, September 28, 1953, pages 420–422. For information relating to subsequent reorganization of the OCB, see ibid., March 14, 1955, page 436.

Each member of the OCB was aided by a Board Assistant. These Board Assistants met regularly as a group to review and to ensure the adequacy of papers scheduled for OCB consideration. They were also responsible for assisting the OCB in carrying out agreed action programs, and in certain cases for acting on behalf of their principals. Within their respective agencies, Board Assistants helped to provide staff support for their principals on OCB matters, and to continue departmental and interdepartmental coordination of OCB problems. The Under Secretary of State’s Board Assistant worked with the Operations Coordinator in the Department of State, who was responsible for the coordination of the Department’s operational planning.

The OCB constituted an important working extension of NSC machinery. The President’s Special Assistant for National Security [Page 2] Affairs, who also served as chairman of the NSC Planning Board, regularly attended OCB meetings; and a member of his staff participated in the Board Assistants meetings. The OCB Deputy Executive Officer, in turn, acted as adviser to the NSC Planning Board and briefed the Planning Board on OCB progress reports when they were on the agenda for NSC discussion. The OCB reported to the NSC on each assignment it received from the President, approximately every 6 months, and reviewed its total range of activities in a semiannual report to the NSC. A majority of the OCB’s assignments came from the President, but it could also initiate new proposals for courses of action within the framework of existing national security policies. Through standing working groups, such as the Working Group on Latin America, the OCB prepared outline plans of operations subsequent to the President’s approval of a national security policy, and also drafted progress reports concerning the status and effectiveness of operating programs. In early 1957, the OCB was formally integrated into the NSC; for pertinent documentation, see ibid., March 25, 1957, pages 504–506.

The minutes of OCB meetings, the Board Assistants record of actions, OCB activity and status reports, and extensive related documentation for the period 1953–1960 are in Department of State, OCB Files: Lot 62 D 430.