10. Memorandum From the Counselor of the Department of State and Chairman of the Policy Planning Council (McGhee) to the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)1


  • Future Responsibility for Activities Handled Formerly by OCB Functional Working Groups

The Department of State has already taken steps to carry forward the activities of those former OCB Working Groups which dealt with specific geographic regions or countries. Those steps are consistent with the statement which was made by the President upon issuing the Executive Order of February 18, 1961 which abolished the OCB. In certain instances where it may appear desirable or necessary to reestablish interagency working groups in connection with those activities this will be done under the Department’s leadership.

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There were, in addition, twelve OCB Working Groups on subjects of a functional nature whose activities have as yet not been assigned as the continuing responsibility of any single department or agency.

Seven of those functional groups, each formerly chaired by a representative of the Department of State, concerned activities which were of primary concern to the Department and will continue to have significant foreign policy implications. They might well be dealt with in a manner similar to that which I understand has already been agreed to informally between yourself and Under Secretary Bowles for the activities of the former working groups on Antarctica and on Civil Aviation Policy Toward the Sino-Soviet Bloc, i.e., that the Department will assume leadership of the coordination and implementation of policies in those areas. Those seven groups were:

Working Group on Antarctica
Civil Aviation Policy Toward the Sino-Soviet Bloc
Cultural Presentations Committee
Ad Hoc Working Group on Foreign Disaster Relief Operations
Interdepartmental Escapee Committee, Escapees and Refugees
Working Group on Nuclear Energy Projects and Related Matters
Technical Panel on International Broadcasting

The activities of two of those functional groups, the one on Outer Space and the one on Security of Strategically Important Industrial Operations, appear not to require a specific assignment of responsibility for the future since the former is now the concern of the reactivated National Aeronautics and Space Council and the latter no longer requires special interdepartmental attention.

The three remaining former functional groups concerned subjects which are of principal interest to the other departments and agencies, i.e.:

The Exhibits Committee (USIA)
The Committee on People-to-People Program (USIA)
The Trade Fair Committee (Commerce)

The Department of State would be prepared, if you agree, to accept responsibility for the activities of the seven working groups enumerated in the third paragraph above and suggests that responsibility for the three working groups enumerated in the penultimate paragraph be assigned elsewhere as indicated.

George C. McGhee2
  1. Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Subject Series, Policy Planning, 2/11/61–5/61. Secret.
  2. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.