128. Editorial Note

On December 6, 1960, President Eisenhower met with President-elect John F. Kennedy at the White House. Kennedy was interested in the organization and operations of the White House staff, the National Security Council, and the Pentagon, and Eisenhower urged him to avoid any reorganization until “he himself could become well acquainted with the problem.” Eisenhower also explained the functions of the White House staff and the relations between the President and Cabinet officers and between the military and civilian staffs within the White House. The two men also discussed Europe, NATO, atomic energy policy, and the balance of payments.

At the end of the meeting, Kennedy asked Eisenhower if he could call on the President “to serve the country in such areas and in such manner as may seem appropriate.” Eisenhower agreed but noted that he preferred not to undertake “errands which might necessitate frequent and lengthy travel.” Kennedy also said that he wanted to retain General Goodpaster for 2 months in the new administration.

The full text of President Eisenhower’s account of the meeting is in the Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, Eisenhower Diaries. It is printed in The White House Years: Waging Peace, 1956–1961, pages 712–716.