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104. Memorandum by the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Cutler)1

BASIS ON WHICH THE NSC MECHANISM CAN EFFECTIVELY SERVE THE PRESIDENT

1.
The National Security Council should be the channel through which recommendations for national security policy reach the President for his decision.
a.
The policy of the President is not permanently to assign an area of national security policy formulation as the responsibility of a department, agency, or individual outside the NSC mechanism.
b.
The President should make decisions on national security policy—except in special cases of urgency—within the framework of the Council.
2.
Except in special cases of urgency, security policy recommendations by the Council to the President should be based on written papers:
a.
prepared by the Council’s Planning Board in deliberations at which the views of all affected departments and agencies are sought, debated, and integrated;
b.
circulated to and studied, in advance of the Council meeting, by those to attend that meeting;
c.
discussed by the Council at a meeting presided over by the President.
3.
To assure that security policy recommendations for Council consideration are of high quality:
a.
the Special Assistant for National Security Affairs, Chairman of the Planning Board, should participate in the Board’s deliberations;
b.
each Planning Board Member should be recommended to the President by his department or agency chief, approved by the Special Assistant for National Security Affairs, and appointed by the President;
c.
the stature and abilities of the Planning Board Members must meet the same standard required for Assistant Secretary; their attendance at all regular Planning Board meetings should be required; and their alternates should be of high competence;
d.
each department and agency should change its Planning Board Member about every third year in order to bring fresh points of view into Planning Board deliberations.
4.
To make the agenda and operations of the Council responsive to current needs:
a.
except as directed by the President, matters to be considered by the Council should insofar as possible deal with the making or alteration of broad policies—either policies for the future or policies immediately required by currently developing events—and with reports on the progress of carrying out approved policies. The Council does not concern itself with inter-agency conflicts not involving policy considerations;
b.
papers submitted by the Planning Board for Council consideration should be shortened and sharpened. Each should include: a concise statement of the general considerations on which the policy recommendations are based; a succinct statement of long-range and short-range objectives; clear policy conclusions on major issues (but not a routine listing of courses of action); a brief indication of financial implications (but not detailed financial appendices);
c.
fresh consideration should be given to the use of qualified, representative civilian Consultants—individually or as committees— for particular tasks;
d.
fresh consideration should be given to the number of people authorized by the President to attend Council meetings.
5.
Because the Operations Coordinating Board is a valuable mechanism for coordinating the planning of responsible departments and agencies under approved national security policies and of following up their performance thereunder, the office space of the OCB has been juxtaposed to the office space of the NSC Staff; and the OCB:
a.
should be brought by Executive Order within the NSC structure;
b.
should be financed through the NSC budget, which would be expanded to include its cost;
c.
should have a Chairman and a Vice-Chairman appointed by the President, the latter being his Special Assistant for National Security Affairs.2
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  1. Source: Department of State, S/SNSC (Miscellaneous) Files: Lot 66 D 95, NSC Administration. Attached to a letter to Dulles from Cutler, dated January 7. According to Cutler’s letter, the President approved this memorandum when he appointed Cutler his Special Assistant for National Security Affairs. Cutler is identified as the author of the memorandum in a memorandum from Hoover to Dulles, dated January 11. (Ibid.)

    Eisenhower’s letter to Cutler, dated January 7, appointing him Special Assistant, outlined his duties in that position. Cutler would have the duties set forth in Cutler’s recommendations regarding the National Security Council, March 16, 1953, as approved by the President on March 17, 1953, printed in Foreign Relations, 1952–1954, vol. II, Part 1, p. 245. In addition, Eisenhower wanted Cutler to concern himself “with assuring that there is proper coordination and timing of the execution of national security policies involving more than one Department or Agency,” and he designated him as a representative of the President on the Operations Coordinating Board and as Vice Chairman of that Board. A copy of Eisenhower’s letter to Cutler is in Department of State, S/SNSC (Miscellaneous) Files: Lot 66 D 95, NSC Administration.

  2. On February 25, President Eisenhower signed Executive Order 10700, which formally brought the OCB within the NSC structure. According to a press release by James C. Hagerty, dated February 25, the purpose of the Executive Order was to provide “a closer relation between the formulation and carrying out of security policies.” Offices of the OCB were to be moved to space adjacent to the offices of the NSC. (Eisenhower Library, Project Clean Up, OCB) The order also designated the Director of the International Cooperation Administration as a member of the OCB. Though the order specified only that the “Board shall have a chairman and vice chairman, each of whom shall be designated by the President from among its members,” the President had previously announced that he would designate Under Secretary of State Christian A. Herter as chairman, OCB, and Cutler as vice chairman, OCB. These appointments continued the arrangements since the creation of the OCB in 1953 to have the Under Secretary of State serve as chairman and the Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs serve as vice chairman. Executive Order 10700 became effective on July 1. (Fed. Reg. Doc. 57–1526, vol. XXII, No. 39, pp. 1111, 1113)