410. National Security Action Memorandum No. 2711


  • The Administrator, National Aeronautics and Space Administration


  • Cooperation with the USSR on Outer Space Matters

I would like you to assume personally the initiative and central responsibility within the Government for the development of a program of substantive cooperation with the Soviet Union in the field of outer space, including the development of specific technical proposals. I assume that you will work closely with the Department of State and other agencies as appropriate.

These proposals should be developed with a view to their possible discussion with the Soviet Union as a direct outcome of my September 20 proposal for broader cooperation between the United States and the USSR in outer space, including cooperation in lunar landing programs. All proposals or suggestions originating within the Government relating to this general subject will be referred to you for your consideration and evaluation.

In addition to developing substantive proposals, I expect that you will assist the Secretary of State in exploring problems of procedure and timing connected with holding discussions with the Soviet Union and in proposing for my consideration the channels which would be most desirable from our point of view. In this connection the channel of contact developed by Dr. Dryden between NASA and the Soviet Academy of Sciences has been quite effective, and I believe that we should continue to utilize it as appropriate as a means of continuing the dialogue between the scientists of both countries.

I would like an interim report on the progress of our planning by December 15.

John F. Kennedy
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, S/S-NSC Files: Lot 72 D 316, NSAM No. 271. Confidential. Copies were sent to the Chairman of the National Aeronautics and Space Council, the Secretaries of State and Defense, the Director of Central Intelligence, the Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, the Director of the National Science Foundation, the Special Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, the Director of the Bureau of the Budget, and the Director of the U.S. Information Agency. Also printed in Exploring the Unknown, Volume II: External Relationships, pp. 166–167.