118. Editorial Note

On December 7, 1962, President Kennedy visited Offutt Air Force Base near Omaha, Nebraska, where he and other officials received a briefing by officers of the Strategic Air Command. Among those present at the briefing were Vice President Johnson, Secretary of Defense McNamara, all of the Joint Chiefs except General Taylor, McGeorge Bundy, and General Power. In his memorandum for the record of the White House daily staff meeting on December 10, Colonel Legere reported on the President’s visit as follows:

Komer asked how the Omaha part of the President’s weekend trip had gone. Bundy said that the SAC people out there, although they did an excellent technical job, seemed to be speaking from two underlying convictions: firstly, that the Soviets probably had about four times as many missiles as the rest of the intelligence community, including the USAF, seemed to think; and secondly, that the really neat and clean way to get around all these complexities was to strike first. Bundy said that of course the President had not reacted with any such comments, but Bundy’s clear implication was that the President felt that way.” (National Defense University, Taylor Papers, Chairman’s Staff Group December 1962-January 1963)