5. Editorial Note

In his letter to the members of the Interdepartmental Committee of Under Secretaries on Foreign Economic Policy, July 31 (see footnote 3, Document 4), George Ball proposed regular meetings of the committee every other Wednesday afternoon. He also indicated that the Council of Economic Advisers and the new head of the Agency for International Development would participate. Ball, who served as chairman, designated Joseph D. Coppock as executive secretary. Coppock circulated the planning papers in advance as well as follow up actions.

In a memorandum to the members of the Interdepartmental Committee of Under Secretaries on Foreign Economic Policy, July 2, 1962, Coppock attached, among other things, a copy of Ball’s July 31, 1961, letter setting forth the functions of the committee, the attendance record of the official members, a list of subjects taken up in the meetings, and Coppock’s evaluation of the committee. (Department of State, E Files: Lot 65 D 68, Interdepartmental Committee of Under Secretaries on Foreign Economic Policy-Origin)

In a memorandum to Under Secretary of Commerce Edward Gudeman, July 9, 1962, Assistant Secretary of Commerce Jack N. Behrman offered a critique of Coppock’s evaluation. Essentially, Behrman argued, [Page 12]Coppock avoided the central question of “whether or not the Committee should be a decision-making body.” Behrman went on to argue that “the Committee should make recommendations on broad foreign economic policies.” (Washington National Records Center, RG 40, Under Secretary of Commerce Files: FRC 66 A 1971, Foreign Economic Policy Meetings (Ball), Miscellaneous Material)

This interdepartmental committee met regularly until late June 1962 when it recessed with the expectation of resuming meetings in the fall. The committee remained inactive, however, for 6 months. A background paper on the committee and its future was transmitted under cover of a memorandum from G. Griffith Johnson to George C. McGhee, January 17, 1963. (Department of State, E Files: Lot 65 D 68, Interdepartmental Committee of Under Secretaries on Foreign Economic Policy, Reactivation of Committee) The committee was reactivated in January 1963 and held six more meetings, the last one on May 23, 1963.