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

SUBJECT

  • Washington News

[Here follow paragraph 1, which deals with the appointment of John McCone as Director of Central Intelligence; paragraph 2, concerning the defense budget for fiscal year 1963; and paragraph 3, dealing with the management of foreign aid. Paragraphs 1 and 3 are printed as Documents 91 and 75, respectively.]

4. Chester Bowles and I smoked a peace pipe this week. He is still wholly unclear about his relation to the Secretary and to the Department. With a man who had time to keep a close eye on him, I am now convinced that he could be an effective deputy for certain kinds of work. He really does have a sharp eye for personnel, and he understands better than the Secretary the need for executive energy in the geographical bureaus and other Assistant Secretaryships. The trouble is that he is constantly wanting to make policy, without even knowing, really, that this is what he is doing. And his policy is not on all fours with your own, and still less with Mr. Rusk’s. I recommended to him [Page 85]that he have a wholly frank and clear-cut discussion with the Secretary, but I am not hopeful of the result. Rusk finds it hard to use a Deputy, and Bowles finds it even harder to be a No. 2.

Yet when we turned to talk of empty embassies and how to fill them, Bowles made good sense, and I think his recommendations are well worth your attention. Unless you are planning to keep him in the deep freeze, I suggest that you invite him in for a talk on this specific subject.

[Here follow paragraphs 5 and 6 concerning Syria and Berlin, respectively.]

McG. B2
  1. Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Bundy Memoranda to the President, 8/22/61–9/30/61. Secret.
  2. Printed from a copy that bears these typed initials.