135. Editorial Note

According to a memorandum by William Smith, the entire White House daily staff meeting on July 19, 1963, was devoted to Walt Rostow’s presentation “of State Department plans for using strategic studies of various countries as a basis for policy making and programming.” Such studies would emphasize especially the smooth coordination of economic and military aid. Two such studies were almost complete, but it was “not clear at this point who would approve them. State would like to have them approved either by some interdepartmental group” or by the President.

Smith wrote that the “economists and budgeteers of the group seemed more interested than the political experts, with the exception of Forrestal.” Bundy “questioned the idea most sharply by saying he did not believe that a country-by-country approach was the right way to turn around our aid program. We would be well into Teddy’s Administration before the task was completed. He also commented that a paper itself would be of no use unless it was approved as a basis for action, and that its chances for approval depended in part upon its intrinsic merit.” Bundy “admitted that analyses of the type suggested would produce information which would be available in time of a crisis and might facilitate action then.” (National Defense University, Taylor Papers, Chairman’s Staff Group, July 1963)

In a September 23 memorandum to Bundy, Komer stated that he felt that Rostow’s effort’s were hampered by “trying to kill two birds with one stone.” Rostow had started with the idea of the strategic study as an “imaginative reexamination of old shibboleths which could provide a new base for sensible policies,” but this objective suffered when Rostow “took on Rusk’s mandate to bring under control the variety of overlapping studies” being done by other agencies. “It is just too much to expect that you can at one and the same time (a) produce a penetrating long-range policy analysis; (b) translate it into detailed interagency operational [Page 489] guidance; and (c) get all concerned to sign on.” The Policy Planning Council hadn’t “the leverage to accomplish what the NSC and OCB couldn’t.” Despite Rostow’s optimism, the agencies were not “going to buy.” (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Meetings and Memoranda Series, Robert Komer 6/63-11/63)