9. Letter From the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy) to Secretary of State Rusk 1

Dear Dean :

The President has asked me to start to keep track of directives and requests which he makes in the area of national security affairs. Such requests and actions may come from memoranda of his, from phone calls which he makes or asks one of his assistants to make, or they may come from discussions which he has directly with members of the Administration in private meetings, or they may come out of the discussions of the National Security Council. Wherever they come from, he is eager to keep track of the things which he personally initiates.

Accordingly, we are beginning a series of National Security Action Memoranda, and I enclose herewith the ones which relate to your Department from the last discussion of the National Security Council.2

It is not our intention to pester the departments and agencies with untimely follow-up messages on these action memoranda, and I have [Page 24] the strong impression, from my brief experience, that departments and agencies will always be acting just as fast as they can to respond to the President’s directives. At the same time, it is obviously important to him to have some orderly procedure for follow-up. So we will try to keep track over here as each problem is acted on, and will bother you only if in the normally brisk dispatch of business we are not in the position to tell the President what is happening.

I hope that this method of action may seem sensible to you, and if you have any questions I hope you will let me know.


  1. Source: Department of State, S/P Files: Lot 67 D 548, NSAMs. Top Secret Attachment.
  2. Enclosed is NSAM No. 3; see footnote 5, Document 8.