31. Editorial Note

At the Cabinet meeting at 11 a.m. on April 20, 1961, President Kennedy directed that Roswell L. Gilpatric, Deputy Secretary of Defense, personally head a Presidential Task Force on Vietnam. Secretary of Defense McNamara so informed Gilpatric later that day, and during the afternoon of April 20 sent a memorandum to the President stating that he had arranged for the preparation of:

“A program of action to prevent Communist domination of South VietNam. Mr. Gilpatric will personally direct the preparation of this plan. We expect to have it ready for your review on Friday, April 28.” (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Vietnam Country Series)

Membership in the Task Force consisted of Gilpatric; Lansdale (Operations); Colonel Edwin F. Black, Military Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Defense (Executive Secretary and Defense Department Representative); Rostow (White House Representative); Major General Charles H. Bonesteel III, Secretary of the General Staff, United States Army (JCS Representative); Thomas C. Sorensen, Deputy Director,USIA; U. Alexis Johnson, Deputy Under Secretary of State; and for the CIA, Desmond FitzGerald. For a record of the first meeting of the Task Force, see Document 33.