347. National Security Action Memorandum No. 1260


  • Honorable Edward McDermott
  • Acting Director, Office of Emergency Planning


  • Review of Principles and Policies Guiding the Stockpiling of Strategic Materials

To confirm our earlier discussions,1 I am designating you to serve as the chairman of a group of department and agency heads to review the principles and policies which should guide our program for the stockpiling of strategic materials. Any stockpiling must obviously be related to our Nation’s defense strategy, and must insure that materials necessary to our national defense and security will be available in the event of national emergency.

I believe your committee should also give attention to specific goals as well as to basic principles, to the acquisition and maintenance of the materiel, and to the disposal of materials now on hand in excess of goals determined to be appropriate. This program is of vital importance to the Nation both in terms of our security and in terms of the Federal investment in these stockpiled goods. In addition, consideration should be given to the problems of our domestic minerals industry and to the international consequences of our programs of acquisition and disposal.

In the past there may have been justification for classifying all or most of the information bearing on this program, but the changes in circumstances from the initiation of the program to the present call for a review of the secret classifications. I expect, therefore, that your committee composed of the heads of those departments and agencies whose responsibilities bear heavily on whether classification is warranted promptly review this question and that you will take the steps necessary to declassify as much information as possible consistent with national security. I am hopeful that your review will be completed by an early date and, in any event, no later than March 19.

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Those who will serve on the committee with you are the Secretaries of Defense, State, Interior, Commerce and Labor, the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and the Administrator of the General Services Administration.2

John F. Kennedy3
  1. Source: Department of State, S/S-NSC Files: Lot 72 D 316, NSAM 126. Official Use Only.
  2. Not further identified.
  3. President Kennedy sent copies of NSAM No. 126 to the members of the committee listed in this paragraph, with a covering memorandum, February 7, noting the “importance of this review,” the “urgency of prompt action,” and the need “to present a strong case” to the Senate Stockpiling Subcommittee. (Washington National Records Center, RG 40, Department of Commerce, Executive Secretariat Files: FRC 69 A 6828, Office of the Secretary, President’s Committee on Stockpiling)
  4. Printed from a copy that indicates Kennedy signed the original.