13. Notes of Secretary of State Rusk’s Daily Staff Meeting1

1. Remarks by the President

The Secretary welcomed the President to the staff meeting and invited him to comment. The President expressed his appreciation to the Secretary and the Under Secretaries for the work they were doing. He said that the positions of the Assistant Secretaries, as well as those of [Page 32] Mr. Murrow, Mr. Berle and Mr. McCloy are extremely responsible and carry as much importance as those of Cabinet officers. The decisions they make affect all areas of the world. The President desires a close relationship with the Assistant Secretaries and he hoped that this was the first of many meetings with them.

The President noted the report by the Jackson Subcommittee which was referred to in the press this morning2 and which emphasized the role of the Department and the Secretary of State. The President said this report reflects his point of view. The responsibility for political action in crises falls squarely on the Secretary and on no other Department. The President concluded by emphasizing again his belief that the jobs of the Assistant Secretaries are essential in our Government.

The Secretary noted that the confidence of the President in the State Department places even more responsibility on the officers of the Department in the discharge of their functions.

[Here follows discussion of unrelated subjects.]

  1. Source: Department of State, S/S Files: Lot 66 D 147, Secretary’s Staff Meetings. Secret. Drafted by Stoessel.
  2. Reference is to Organizing for National Security: Inquiry of the Subcommittee on National Policy Machinery of the Committee on Government Operations, United States Senate, Vol. 1, Hearings, Vol. 2, Studies and Background Material, and Vol. 3, Staff Reports and Recommendations (Washington, 1961). This report of a subcommittee, which was established in July 1959 with Senator Henry M. Jackson of Washington as its Chairman, includes hearings held and reports prepared during the Second Session of the Eighty-Sixth Congress and the First Session of the Eighty-Seventh. This reference is apparently to the section in vol. 3 entitled “The Secretary of State and the National Security Process” (pp. 41-56), which had been released on January 28.