25. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy) to President Kennedy1

I have been very slow in sending this memorandum on long-range planning aspects, prepared in Walt Rostow’s office and forwarded at the end of February by Dean Rusk.2 The reason is that I just could not find a time when I thought you were likely to give it the attention they would like. But perhaps now you could have a quick look and agree to have a meeting with Walt and the Secretary and a very few others next week on these planning problems. My own guess is that what is needed for Walt is a real sense of your own interest and some sense on priorities, and beyond that we could probably organize the consideration of some of these long-range problems in the Standing Committee which you, Bobby and I have been discussing.

That Committee is now, incidentally, agreed around town and will begin operation next week. Its title will be “Standing Committee of the NSC” and we intend to have absolutely no publicity about it in order to avoid useless chatter about seizing the initiative from the State Department or restoring the OCB, or otherwise reorganizing ourselves in the spring of our discontent.

McG. B.3
  1. Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Meetings and Memoranda Series, Standing Group Meetings General, 4/63–5/63. No classification marking. Another copy is ibid., Bundy Memoranda to the President, 3/63–4/63.
  2. Reference is to a February 28 memorandum from Rusk to the President, entitled “Critical Planning Tasks.” (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, S/S-NSC Files: Lot 70 D 265, BSNP 1963) The memorandum, drafted in the Policy Planning Council, described the status of 32 basic national planning tasks (see Foreign Relations, 1961–1963, vol. VIII, Documents 70 and 83), 8 strategic studies on individual countries, all in Latin America and Africa, and 13 political contingency plans. The memorandum recommended that the President “meet soon with a few of your key advisers to review the state of national security planning and, especially, to isolate those planning tasks you personally regard as critical.” For additional background, see ibid., Document 126.
  3. Printed from a copy that bears these typed initials.