4. Memorandum From Secretary of State Rusk to President Kennedy0


  • Coordination of Foreign Economic Policy

On March 12, 1961, at your direction, the Council on Foreign Economic Policy was abolished and its functions transferred to the Secretary of State.1

On May 26, 1961, in your letter to the Congress transmitting the foreign assistance bill,2 you reaffirmed this decision and indicated that you expect the Secretary of State to become the focal point of responsibility for coordination of foreign economic policies. You also expect him, in facilitating executive branch coordination of foreign economic policies, to choose whatever mechanisms he finds appropriate, including the formation of interagency working groups.

Pursuant to these actions, I have asked the Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs to assume, under my direction, responsibility for assuring proper interagency consultation and coordination in this field.

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He is undertaking to assure that appropriate consultation and coordination is achieved by holding periodic meetings, under his chairmanship, with the Under Secretaries in the interested departments. I am enclosing a letter which he has dispatched to the various participants in this activity outlining the work and procedures of such meetings.3

This approach constitutes an initial step by this Department to assure that the views of the agencies concerned will be brought to bear early and fully on foreign economic policy matters.

Dean Rusk4
  1. Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Kaysen Series, Ball Committee. No classification marking. In a July 28 memorandum to Secretary Rusk, Ball indicated that he had drafted this memorandum, which he attached for the Secretary’s signature. (Department of State, E Files: Lot 65 D 68, Interdepartmental Committee of Under Secretaries on Foreign Economic Policy-Origin)
  2. A copy of the White House Press Release, March 17, announcing the immediate termination of 17 interdepartmental committees, is ibid., Interdepartmental Committee of Under Secretaries on Foreign Economic Policy-Agenda, Creation.
  3. See Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: John F. Kennedy, 1961, pp. 407-411.
  4. Not attached, but a copy of a letter from Ball to Walter W. Heller (and the other members of the Under Secretaries Committee), dated July 31, is in Department of State, E Files: Lot 65 D 68, Interdepartmental Committee of Under Secretaries on Foreign Economic Policy-Origin.
  5. Printed from a copy that indicates Rusk signed the original.