250. Memorandum from Komer to Bundy, December 121

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Here is the report of the so-called Counter-Guerrilla Task Force set up under Bissell following the President’s approval of first list of Planning Projects we sent him back last March. The report itself is just so-so, but the important thing from our point of view is the Action Recommendations on how to get some movement in this whole critical field.

Though we have long since reached consensus in the town on the importance of dealing with Bloc “indirect aggression”—actual and potential, no one has been assigned high-level responsibility for getting things done. To me, this is the nut of the problem. Hence I took advantage of Walt’s imminent departure to press for what I think is the most logical solution, i.e., to tag Taylor and the Special Group with this task. Since it cuts right across inter-agency lines, no single agency has a clear title (State comes closest, but is the least likely to have the necessary steam). Moreover, Taylor is already heavily involved in this problem area, and expansion of Special Group functions builds on a going concern. Walt and I touched base with Taylor; he is in full agreement.

While Task Force is unanimous that this is the proper solution, getting official inter-agency concurrence may be quite another matter. Therefore, the technique we decided on was to have Bissell transmit the report to you so that you could send a chit to the agencies concerned suggesting that we have an NSC meeting on it. We’ve tried to draft the Recommendations so that they could be issued as an NSAM.

As to the Action Recommendations, I had to do them quick and dirty in order to force everybody’s hand and avoid another six weeks [Typeset Page 911] of delay. Such matters as the jurisdictional ball park proposed for Taylor and the Special Group and for the task forces may need some redefining (State, for example, may not wholly approve giving Taylor such broad terms of reference). But the main thing was to get humping, and these problems can be worked out in the process of inter-agency review.

The next step is for you to look this over. If you go along, I suggest we send out the attached memo to the town.

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Your representatives have received a report on “Elements of US Strategy to Deal with ‘Wars of National Liberation’” prepared by a task force of senior officials set up pursuant to the President’s request last March. It contains a set of action recommendations which the President desires to discuss at an early NSC meeting. He feels that we urgently need some such form of high level coordinating mechanism as that recommended, in order to focus adequate attention on this crucial problem.

Therefore, I propose to schedule this report for NSC discussion during early January.

McGeorge Bundy
  1. Discussion of Counter-Guerrilla Warfare Task Force report and recommendations regarding same. Secret. 2 pp. Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Komer, 11/61–12/61.