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


  • Washington News

1. The McCone appointment is the big news here.2 I, for one, underestimated the strength of the opposition in the second and third levels of CIA and State. It appears that most of the people involved in intelligence estimates on atomic energy matters thought McCone was highly prejudiced. He also had a reputation, in these circles, as an “operator” whose loyalty to Administration policy was doubtful. So there is a significant problem in working out a pattern of strong cooperation and support for him.

Less important in the long run, but more urgent at the moment, is the unrest in the President’s Board of Consultants on Foreign Intelligence.3Killian has made noises about resigning, and indicates that he thinks one or two other members of the Board may also withdraw. In part this is because they feel they were not consulted, but more deeply it arises from the fact that several of them—Killian, Gray, and Baker—have had sharp disagreements with McCone in the past. General Taylor has talked to Bobby about this and probably is trying to calm Killian down. I am planning to have a talk with Allen Dulles about it with the same purpose in mind, and I think I can also do something with Baker and the scientific community generally. I have also talked to Joe Alsop, and I think we will got a helpful column from him, aimed in part at this same problem. He thinks it is the best possible appointment and says he will try to say so in terms calculated to encourage sensible scientists and bureaucrats. (I have some doubt whether he will succeed-Joe’s feeling is that anyone who is against McCone is a proven follower of twaddley, and I doubt his ability to be gentle with people whom he views in this light—unfortunately his diagnosis is wrong, and some very good men are disquieted.)

[Here follow paragraphs 2–6 concerning other subjects. Paragraph 2 deals with the defense budget. Paragraph 3, concerning foreign aid legislation, is printed as Document 75; paragraph 4, concerning Chester [Page 189] Bowles, is printed as Document 43. Paragraphs 5 and 6 deal with Syria and Berlin, respectively.]

McG. B.4
  1. Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Bundy Memoranda to the President, 8/22/61–9/30/61. Secret.
  2. President Kennedy appointed John A. McCone to the position of Director of Central Intelligence on September 27.
  3. The former President’s Board of Consultants for Foreign Intelligence Activities was replaced on May 4 by the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board; see Document 87.
  4. Printed from a copy that bears these typed initials.