233. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy) to the President1


  • Item for your 4 o’clock meeting this afternoon2

I think it would be a wise precaution at the end of this meeting to ask that one copy of all important separate instructions and reports made on any channel—State, CIA, DOD, USIA, and JCS—be sent over here during this next period for your personal information.

My object here is to provide a check on the tone of voice of policy-level messages in these tense periods. There is just no doubt at all that a good deal of our trouble in the last three months has come from differences of emphasis, at least, in what we have said to the field. It is pointlessly cumbersome to inhibit the dispatch of business by requiring interdepartmental clearance on everything, but the existence of a single information copy of everything important for you over here will allow Mike and me to call to your attention any serious divergences.

In requesting such a single information copy, you would be safe in saying that in no case would any such copy be given any additional circulation without direct notice from you to the agency concerned.

I do not underestimate the sensitivity of this order. JCS, DOD, and CIA particularly feel that they have a right to communication downward that is not monitored from above. But your interest is not served by the uncritical acceptance of that right.

  1. Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, McGeorge Bundy Files, Memos for the President.
  2. See Document 234.
  3. Printed from a copy that bears these typed initials.