75. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy) to President Kennedy 1


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[Here follow paragraph 1, dealing with the appointment of John McCone as Director of Central Intelligence, printed as Document 91; and paragraph 2, dealing with the military budget for Fiscal Year 1963.]

3. There is an important management decision brewing in the foreign aid field. Dave Bell has been working on the executive order to put the new legislation into effect, and he is coming up against the key question of assignment of responsibility, within the Department of State, for coordination of military and economic assistance. Formally, this must go down through the Secretary of State, but the operating question is which of his subordinates will do the job for him, since no Secretary can find the time for this type of judgment—and, in any event, this is not Dean Rusk’s major interest. Bell and I and our respective [Page 138] experts are inclined to press hard for delegation of authority here to Fowler Hamilton. In this case he would act as the Secretary’s agent and not simply as the Director of the AID agency, and he would have to show the kind of wider judgment that is implied in balancing political, military, and economic considerations. But of the available senior men in the Department, he seems the best qualified. And, in particular, this seems a better answer than the one the Secretary may prefer–which is to have the coordination managed directly from his office by a relatively junior special assistant acting in the name of the Secretary. An arrangement of this sort simply would not stick, and the result would be that issues would always be pressed beyond the Department to the White House. Big issues are bound to come to you, but day-to-day matters really should be settled by a man who has the seniority to make decisions stick. The Pentagon is happy to entrust this to Hamilton. Dave Bell is going to try to sell this solution to the Secretary of State, but if he fails, you are likely to find the issue on your desk next week.

[Here follow paragraph 4, concerning Chester Bowles, printed as Document 43; paragraph 5, dealing with Syria; and paragraph 6, dealing with Berlin.]

McG. B. 2
  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.