351. Letter From Secretary of Commerce Hodges to President Kennedy0

Dear Mr. President: The report of the Executive Stockpile Committee sent to you on March 19, 1962,1 recommended the establishment of a long-term affirmative disposal program for stockpile materials significantly in excess of objectives. At the same time it proposed a change in Defense Mobilization Order V-7 which would require consultation with instead of approval by the agencies concerned in regard to disposal plans. In effect, this would eliminate the right of individual agencies to veto any disposal program proposed by the Office of Emergency Planning and the General Services Administration. The Department of Interior and the Department of State strongly dissented from this proposed change.

In the course of our participation in the preparation of Executive Stockpile Committee report we expressed strong views about the need for a continuing, effective disposal program and pointed out how the exercise of individual veto powers of the several agencies based on their special interests could interfere substantially with an overall sales program. [Page 789] Further, we believed that final responsibility for determining the national interest in the matter should rest with the Director of OEP. These views were reflected in the Report, but we consider them of such importance that we have prepared a more detailed position paper regarding them. We submit this paper herewith in the hope you will find it useful in making your determinations regarding the stockpile operation.2

Respectfully yours,

Luther H. Hodges
  1. Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Kaysen Series, Economic Policy, Stockpiling of Strategic Materials. Administratively Restricted.
  2. Document 349.
  3. Not printed. This 5-page paper, dated March 19, expanded on the position taken in Hodges’ letter. (Department of Commerce Executive Secretariat Abstract of Secretarial Correspondence, April 6; 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)