368. Memorandum for the record, October 231

[Facsimile Page 1]


  • Daily White House Staff Meeting, 23 October 1962

1. Mr. Bundy presided. DEFCON 3 is, of course, in effect worldwide. (However, I saw a cable from Stoessel in the Situation Room this morning which indicated that General Norstad has not applied DEFCON 3 to US forces in Europe. I have not yet officially received this cable, however.)

2. The following matters arose:

a. Bundy very rapidly explained that a “Committee of the NSC” would be meeting daily at 1000 until further notice. He went so rapidly that I missed some of the names and titles, but this group will include besides the President, the Vice President, Secretary of Defense, Secretary of State, the Attorney General, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, the Director of Central Intelligence, the Chairman JCS, Mr. Sorensen, Mr. Bundy, and, as I say, some others that I missed. He said this committee would confine its attention to the current Cuba crisis as much as possible but could probably not avoid overlapping into other related areas and problems.

b. Carl Kaysen referred to the Executive Order on trade with Cuba which I mentioned several times in my staff meeting memoranda of last week. Even though this Executive Order is dwarfed by current crisis actions, it was agreed that it should be issued so as to complete the follow-through and keep the records straight.

[Typeset Page 1149]

c. Bundy then very rapidly ran over his preliminary thinking on the initial arrangements for internal White House organization and handling of crisis actions. For transmittal of information, Captain Shepard is the prime contact with the Pentagon. Problems requiring decision will issue through and from Secretary McNamara, and it appears that Clifton will be in on this act somehow. For White House staff handling of these matters for decision, Bromley Smith is the key person, with Chuck Johnson backing him up. Within the NSC staff, Bundy announced that Forrestal, Klein, Komer, and Legere would function as duty officers on the civil side; the implication seems to be that Shepard and Clifton will be cranking up [Facsimile Page 2] some arrangements for parallel duty officers on the military side. Bundy told Forrestal to give particular attention during these coming days and weeks to the UN and OAS aspects; he told Klein and Legere to continue giving particular attention to the Berlin aspects; he told Legere to establish close liaison with ISA on these crisis matters; he told Komer to act as “demonologist” (meaning analyst of Soviet motives and possible moves); he told Kaysen and Belk to cover the rest of the world. This is all pretty loose so far, but my reading of it is that Bundy will very much continue to sit on top of the important policy matters himself, and that the rest of us over here will try to keep him informed and man the graveyard shift in the Situation Room.

  1. Daily White House staff meeting, Bundy presiding re handling of crisis actions. Secret. 2 pp. NDU, Taylor Papers, Chairman’s Staff Group, Oct.–Nov. 1962.