3. Memorandum From Secretary of Defense McNamara to President Kennedy1

You asked that I put in writing my recollection of the subjects discussed at the meeting with President Eisenhower at the White House on Thursday, January 19.2 My notes taken at the meeting are not complete, but they indicate that the following statements were made:

[Here follows discussion of Laos and Cuba.]

C. With respect to “limited war”:

Secretary Gates stated, “The United States can handle any number of small limited war situations at one time.”
Secretary Gates stated that the Defense Department had taken the funds authorized by the last Congress over and above what the Department had requested, and had committed these funds to additional airlift capacity and to the design of a new cargo plane.
Secretary Gates stated that major problems relating to airlift capacity were:
the right to over-fly;
the congestion of landing fields.
[Page 11]

D. With respect to the gold flow:

President Eisenhower stated the United States would be better prepared for limited war if we were to bring a division back from NATO and station the division within the continental limits of the United States. He pointed out that such action would ease the gold problem, but would require careful preparation with NATO.
President Eisenhower stated that if the order restricting travel of military dependents remains in effect, similar restrictions should apply to the dependents of personnel of other governmental departments, including the State Department.
Robert S. McNamara
  1. Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OSD Files: FRC 65 A 3464, 381 18 Jan 61. Top Secret.
  2. Reference is to a meeting between President Eisenhower and President-elect Kennedy. A memorandum for the record of the conversation is in the Eisenhower Library, Post-Presidential Papers, 1961-1969, John F. Kennedy 1960-1961 (2).
  3. Printed from a copy that indicates McNamara signed the original.