Volume Summary

This is not an official statement of policy by the Department of State; it is intended only as a guide to the contents of this volume.)

Since 1861, the Department of State’s documentary series Foreign Relations of the United States has constituted the official record of the foreign policy and diplomacy of the United States. Historians in the Office of the Historian collect, arrange, and annotate the principal documents that make up the record of American foreign policy. The standards for the preparation of the series and the general deadlines for its publication are established by the Foreign Relations of the United States statute of October 28, 1991 (22 USC 4351, et seq.). Volumes in the Foreign Relations series are published when all the necessary editing, declassification, and printing steps have been completed.

The documents in this volume are drawn from the centralized indexed files of the Department of State and the decentralized Bureau, Office, and other lot files of the relevant Departmental units. The editors also make extensive use of Presidential and other papers at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston, Massachusetts. The volume also includes records of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Almost all of the documents printed here were originally classified. The Information Response Branch of the Office of IRM Programs and Services, Bureau of Administration, Department of State, in concert with the appropriate offices in other agencies or governments, carried out the declassification of the selected documents.

This volume is the last to be published in the subseries of the Foreign Relations series covering the administration of President John F. Kennedy. Following is a summary of the important issues covered in the volume. Parenthetical citations are to numbered documents in the text.

White House and Interdepartmental Coordination

Following the 1960 election, President-elect John F. Kennedy and his transition advisers focused on various proposals for modifying and streamlining the national policy structure. During the transition period, Kennedy was influenced by the findings and recommendations of the Senate Subcommittee on National Policy Machinery chaired by Senator Henry M. Jackson. (1) Eisenhower administration officials consulted with their successors to facilitate a smooth transition in the Department of State (2) and the Office of the Special Assistant for National Security Affairs. (3) Immediately following the transition, Kennedy enhanced the role of Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson in national security affairs. (5)

McGeorge Bundy, Kennedy’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs, took a prominent role in the organization of foreign policy organs within the executive branch. Bundy criticized the organization of the National Security Council (NSC) under Eisenhower and urged the new President to adopt his own style and agenda for running the NSC. (4) After the Bay of Pigs imbroglio, Bundy offered a critical assessment of White House organization and suggested practical solutions such as regular meetings, better use of staff, and continuous staffing for a new Situation Room in the White House basement. (13) By the end of 1961 Bundy had established the Standing Group of the NSC to meet weekly in the White House Situation Room to address pressing foreign policy issues. (16) After a report by the National Security Staffing and Operations Senate Subcommittee, Bundy suggested that the NSC Standing Group be assigned additional duties to “review ongoing interdepartmental programs and future planning problems.” (23)

As part of a broader interdepartmental review and executive reorganization effort, Kennedy considered the status of the Operations Coordinating Board (OCB). Gordon Gray, Bundy’s predecessor under Eisenhower, urged the incoming Kennedy administration to avoid making a “hasty decision” on the fate of the OCB. (3) Still, less than one month after taking office, President Kennedy issued Executive Order 10920 abolishing it. (8) The Department of State took over many of its activities, including those of the working groups that dealt with special issues in foreign policy. (10, 11) The State Department also took up the country and regional policy papers, formerly prepared by the OCB through the NSC Planning Board. (17) Other responsibilities of the OCB were delegated to the Commerce Department, Atomic Energy Commission, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the U.S. Information Agency. (11) Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) John McCone transmitted former President Eisenhower’s subtle criticisms of the committee system set up to replace the functions of the OCB. (21)

Organization and Reorganization of the Department of State and Foreign Service

This section focuses on efforts of policymakers to reorganize the foreign policy establishment, improve interdepartmental coordination between the State Department and other executive branch agencies, enhance the role of the ambassadors and the Foreign Service, and better respond to crisis situations.

President Kennedy redefined and expanded the role of U.S. ambassadors, emphasizing the need for leadership, decision-making authority, and responsibility for overseeing overseas representatives of other departments and agencies. McGeorge Bundy discussed the role of the ambassador as the senior responsible operating officer. (6) Under Secretary of State Chester Bowles elucidated the background of the ambassadorial functions and placed the new role as a coordinator, leader, administrator, and official representative of the U.S. Government into the broader framework of a State Department re-organization. (30, 33, 49) Bowles stressed the need for “Kennedy-oriented” leadership in the Department of State and Foreign Service to conduct a new diplomacy and the careful selection of ambassadors. (35, 40)

Under Secretary Bowles, who later served as the President’s Special Representative and Adviser on African, Asian, and Latin American Affairs, commented on the structure and function of State Department foreign policy apparatus. In July 1961 he sent President Kennedy a “frank” report on the organizational needs of the Department. Bowles included many suggestions, such as the reorganization of geographic bureaus, regional bureau meetings with field personnel, and the need for “fresh faces” in the Foreign Service. (34, 35) His suggestion for a reorganization of geographic bureaus resulted in a policy study by the State Department’s Office of Management. (42) Following two regional bureau meetings, Bowles further explored the reorganization of regional bureaus in a memorandum to Secretary of State Dean Rusk. (40) The Office of Management concentrated on the roles of Country Desk Officers. (64)

The President’s Special Assistant, Arthur Schlesinger Jr., constructively criticized Bowles’ memorandum and concentrated on the problems pertaining to the Foreign Service created, in Schlesinger’s estimation, by the Eisenhower administration. (37) Bowles later responded with specific suggestions for the Foreign Service. (55) Secretary of State Rusk discounted the need for graduate work as a requirement for Foreign Service officers (57), and summarized the useful findings of the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs Personnel funded by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. (58)

Secretary of State Rusk set forth details for implementing a new system of foreign economic policy coordination. Under the new system, the Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs assumed responsibility for interagency consultation and coordination. President Kennedy wanted to enlarge foreign commerce, which necessitated coordinated Department of State and Department of Commerce representation and facilities abroad. Secretary of State Rusk and Secretary of Commerce Luther Hodges signed a “Memorandum of Agreement between the Department of State and the Department of Commerce on International Commercial Activities,” on November 15, 1961. (46) The Department of State thereafter opposed a legislative plan to separate the commercial service of the Department of State and Department of Commerce. (59, 61, 63) The Budget Bureau reported on the progress and implementation of the State Department reorganization of foreign economic affairs. (51, 54)

Secretary of State Rusk urged a broadening of the recruitment process for the Department of State and Foreign Service, and he criticized discrimination and the Department’s slowness in recruiting minorities for “responsible positions.” Under Secretary Bowles was “critical of the slow pace” of Department of State integration and recruitment efforts, and summarized recommendations for improvement fashioned at a conference between Secretary of State Rusk and African-American leaders. (44)

President Kennedy held an off-the-record meeting on March 30, 1962, in the new Department of State Auditorium with policy officers of the Department down to the desk level. Secretary Rusk suggested topics of discussion before the meeting. (50) The compilation concludes with summaries and selected remarks by Kennedy and Rusk. (52)

A focus on the need for crisis management led to the establishment of the Department of State Operations Center to deal with emergencies on an interdepartmental basis. The Operations Center would work on both small and large problems, headed by a full-time officer under the Secretary of State, and would link foreign policy issues. (6) The organization would work around the clock with rapid communications and with as many as three major interdepartmental Task Forces to deal with crisis situations. (14) Duty Officer watch positions were later expanded from 19-hour days to 24-hour days in 8-hour shifts. (48)

This section also provides documentation on organizational changes in the Department of State, such as combining the positions of Counselor and Chairman of the Policy Planning Council (35, 47), upgrading the Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs and the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (35), abolishing 109 intra-and inter-departmental committees (31), closing marginal consular posts (27, 49, 68), improving the reporting system, and planning for the use of automation to expedite Department operations. (31)

New Programs and Agencies

Kennedy’s “New Frontier” program included the establishment of several new foreign affairs departments and agencies. One of these new programs, the Peace Corps, sought college-age volunteers to aid “newly developing nations of the world.” (69–73) In September 1961 President Kennedy signed a law establishing the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA), to research, monitor, and implement arms control agreements. (74) In the area of foreign assistance, Kennedy supported legislation to assign the overall responsibility and authority for the formulation and execution of foreign development aid programs under a new Agency for International Development (AID) within the Department of State. (69, 75)


During its final month, January 1961, the outgoing Eisenhower administration considered the recommendations of two U.S. Government oversight groups on intelligence matters. One of these, the President’s Board of Consultants on Foreign Intelligence Activities, also known as the Hull Board after its chairman John E. Hull, had been established by Executive Order 10656, February 6, 1956, to review the overall intelligence activities and to find ways to streamline operations, reduce duplication of intelligence missions, centralize command, reduce costs, and more efficiently disseminate information among policymakers. The Hull Board questioned the efficacy of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), particularly in areas of political, psychological, and related covert activities, and the role of the Director of Central Intelligence (DCI), who acted as both the coordinator for all American intelligence activities and as the head of the CIA. (82) Somewhat foreshadowing criticisms of the CIA after the failed Bay of Pigs operation, the Hull Board suggested the possible separation of the Director of Central Intelligence from his duties at the CIA. (82) DCI Allen Dulles downplayed the harsher criticisms of the CIA by the Hull Board. (83) The NSC meeting of January 12, 1961, considered the issue. (84)

The Hull Board recommendations offered constructive criticism of the U.S. intelligence community, not just the Central Intelligence Agency. The board further recommended combining the Communications Intelligence (COMINT) and Electronic Surveillance Intelligence (ELINT) under the direction of the Director of the National Security Agency (NSA), the coordination of the military intelligence services under the Secretary of Defense or the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), and the use of the U.S. Intelligence Board as a “single forum” for “collective consideration of important foreign intelligence matters.” (82) President Eisenhower appreciated the effort of the Hull Board and agreed with many of its observations and suggestions for further analysis. (81, 86)

In addition to the Hull Board, Eisenhower had authorized a Joint Study Group on the Foreign Intelligence Activities of the United States Government, originally derived from a Bureau of the Budget proposal in the Fall of 1959. The Joint Study Group, chaired by CIA Inspector General Lyman B. Kirkpatrick, Jr., was another effort to review and reform the intelligence agencies. Eisenhower later set the guidelines for the adoption of the Joint Study Group’s recommendations. (79) During its last few weeks, the Eisenhower administration also considered the recommendations submitted in a 141-page report by the Joint Study Group. The National Security Council addressed the report of the Joint Study Group at its meetings of January 5, 12, and 18. (78, 80, 84) Eisenhower also noted Kennedy’s negative tone toward his administration. (81, 84)

Although President Kennedy had criticized the policies of the Eisenhower administration, he subsequently adopted many of the recommendations of the Joint Study Group and the Hull Board for the reorganization of the intelligence community. Early in his administration and in the wake of the failed Bay of Pigs operation, a program inherited from the Eisenhower administration, Kennedy increasingly chose to put his own mark on the intelligence community.

The need for modernizing and streamlining the military intelligence system was one of the farthest-reaching suggestions carried over from the Eisenhower administration. (80, 82, 84, 85) These suggestions, taken with Kennedy’s own imprint and that of his new President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB), the successor to the Hull Board, led to the creation of the Defense Intelligence Agency in August 1961. (87, 89, 91, 92)

President Kennedy assigned new duties to John McCone, who had succeeded Allen Dulles as DCI in November 1961, and spelled out his role both as the government’s principal foreign intelligence officer, responsible for coordination of the total U.S. intelligence effort, and as head of the CIA. (95, 99, 104) There was some opposition to McCone in the PFIAB. (91) The PFIAB reviewed the intelligence community after the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962. (107) McCone addressed failures of intelligence, defended the CIA, and strove toward more efficient management of the CIA by reducing duplication and improving coordination throughout the intelligence community. (95, 107, 109, 110) Because Allen Dulles had been criticized for his management of the CIA (82), McCone tried to distance himself from the image of the DCI as a “cloak and dagger” operator and emphasized instead the DCI’s advisory and coordinating role for the President. (112, 113, 115) Plans were also advanced within the CIA for an early warning system and the comprehensive review of data on Soviet missile and space tests. (111)

Both Eisenhower and Kennedy supported the reorganization of U.S. Intelligence Board (USIB), a long-standing committee which reviewed intelligence for the President and the National Security Council. The reorganization of USIB was contingent on the integration of military branch intelligence services (Army, Navy, Air Force) under the umbrella of the DIA. (89, 92, 96–98) The integration of the military branches into the DIA facilitated the reorganization of USIB early in the administration of Lyndon B. Johnson. (114)

Documentation is also included on the establishment of the National Reconnaissance Program (NRP), comprising all satellite and overflight activities, and on the increased role of the Bureau of the Budget in the coordination and management of intelligence operations. (101, 104) The Kennedy administration decided that the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) would be co-managed by the Under Secretary of the Air Force and the Deputy Director (Plans) of the CIA. (90) Bureaucratic infighting between the military, specifically Air Force General Curtis LeMay, and the CIA over the management and setup of the NRO began under Kennedy (82, 84, 85, 90, 106, 110) and would continue into Lyndon Johnson’s presidency.

Information Policy

This section of the volume describes how the U.S. Information Agency (USIA) strove to work in closer cooperation with the State Department and with other U.S. Government agencies. National Security Action Memorandum (NSAM) No. 63 of July 24, 1961, authorized the State Department to provide foreign policy guidance for all U.S. Government media operating abroad. (128)

Presenting U.S. foreign policy objectives to the world in a positive manner was USIA’s primary objective. NSAM No. 61 of July 14, 1961 suggested use of the phrase “world of free choice” as a response to the Soviet Union’s phrase “peaceful coexistence.” (126) During 1963 USIA sought to increase journalistic access to the Soviet Union, to establish outreach to Eastern European countries, and to use less pejorative terms to describe them. (152–155, 157)

Accurate collection and analysis of foreign opinion was an important agency objective. Shortly after becoming Director of USIA, Edward R. Murrow even considered discontinuing opinion polls. (117) By 1963, however, sponsoring opinion polls had become an accepted part of USIA overseas operations. Documentation describes guidelines for their release (146), sample polls taken in Western Europe in 1963, and foreign coverage of President Kennedy’s visit to Europe during June and July 1963. (147, 149, 150)

President Kennedy took a keen interest in foreign information policy, and Murrow participated actively in National Security Council meetings. The last documents in the compilation deal with USIA coverage of the Kennedy funeral, and with continuity of policy under President Johnson. (158, 159)

United Nations

President John F. Kennedy and his advisers took a keen interest in UN affairs. (173, 177, 202, 203, 216, 217, 264) Their summer strategy sessions included what themes the President should use when addressing the General Assembly. (185, 186, 265–268) After Kennedy’s assassination, President Lyndon B. Johnson quickly affirmed his support for the United Nations. (282)

At the United Nations in 1961, a major policy question was how to continue the membership of the Republic of China in the international organization and keep the People’s Republic of China out of it. A complication arose when the Brazzaville Group of Francophone African countries sought the admission of Mauritania to the United Nations. The Soviet Union threatened to veto Mauritania’s admission unless Outer Mongolia was also admitted, which was unacceptable to the Republic of China. Should the Republic of China veto the admission of Outer Mongolia, it was clear to U.S. policymakers that the resulting Soviet veto of the admission of Mauritania would lead the Brazzaville Group to vote to seat the People’s Republic of China. (188–191, 223, 229, 231) The United States shifted its position from sponsoring a “moratorium” in which the UN General Assembly decided “not to consider” the question of Chinese representation to declaring the subject an “important question” that required a two-thirds majority in the General Assembly. (177) In 1961 a Soviet draft resolution to replace the Republic of China with the People’s Republic of China was not adopted, and similar resolutions in 1962 and 1963 also failed to win even a simple majority. (230, 272, 274, 275)

The death of Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold in a plane crash in Northern Rhodesia on September 17, 1961, brought up the question of succession. The United States actively supported the election of U Thant of Burma to serve out the rest of Hammarskjold’s term, and his re-election in 1962 for a full term. (188–191, 223, 229, 231) During the search for a successor, the United States continued to stand fast against Soviet proposals to replace a single Secretary-General with three (“troika”). (183, 187)

Financing of the United Nations was a major issue during 1962 and 1963, in view of the Soviet Union’s unwillingness to pay for peacekeeping and other operations that it opposed. The United States campaigned to have member states buy $200 million worth of UN bonds. (194, 196) A decision by the International Court of Justice on July 20, 1962, held that UN assessments for peacekeeping in the Congo and Middle East were “expenses of the organization” and payments were legally obligatory under Article 17(2) of the UN Charter. Some members’ General Assembly voting rights were expected to be at risk in 1963 under Article 19 of the Charter if their arrears equaled or exceeded contributions due during the past 2 years. (215, 218) In 1963 a Working Group of 21 was founded to study financing of UN peacekeeping operations. (236–244, 279–251, 253) A special session on finances was held starting in May 1963. (254, 256) During the 18th General Assembly, the U.S. and Soviet delegations discussed means of settling the financial question, but the issue remained unresolved at the end of the year. (269, 270, 273, 275–277, 279–281)

Other issues covered in this compilation include defining aggression (198), application of the “important question” formula on Chinese representation in other UN bodies (199, 200, 204, 205), and enlargement of the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council (220, 222, 227, 271, 278, 284, 287, 289, 290). As senior State Department officials planned for each General Assembly session, they recognized the important role that the United Nations played in the overall conduct of U.S. foreign policy. (169, 170, 174, 175, 210, 211, 263)

Human Rights

This section of the volume includes reports of Marietta Tree, U.S. Representative to the UN Commission on Human Rights (292, 294) and notes the progress of the UN Conventions on Slavery, the Political Rights of Women, and the Draft Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (293, 295, 300, 306). The Department of State considered whether it should establish a Special Assistant for Human Rights (298) or support the establishment of a UN Commissioner or Rapporteur for Human Rights (301, 303–305).


As European refugees from World War II and the Cold War were resettled, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees sought to extend the role of his office to Africa and Asia. (311–313) The volume includes extracts from the reports of the U.S. delegation to meetings of the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner’s Program for Refugees. (314, 318, 322)


The United Nations was the principal forum for discussion of the international control of narcotic drugs, and the Treasury Department was the U.S. Government agency most concerned with it. The United States concluded that the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs was not restrictive enough. Its lack of a closed list of countries that could export opium and its provision for the production and export of up to 5 tons of opium without international authority seemed to provide too many opportunities for illicit production. (329) On March 28, 1962, the United States announced its intention not to seek ratification of the Single Convention. (336) Instead, it sought enough ratifications to bring the 1953 Opium Protocol into force. Greece announced its intention to ratify the Opium Protocol on May 28, 1962. Its ratification was deposited on February 6, 1963, putting the Opium Protocol into effect on March 8. (339, 342) Turkey was also considering ratification during 1963.

The volume also includes extracts from the reports of the U.S. delegation to the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs during 1961, 1962, and 1963. (328, 340, 345)

International Science Issues

This section of the volume documents the organization of science-related activities in the State Department. (346, 347, 349–351, 354, 355) Other issues covered are population (348), guidelines for conduct of large-scale scientific experiments with possible adverse environmental effects (352), and international programs in atmospheric science (353).

U.S. Space Program

The State Department was only peripherally involved in the U.S. space program. Concerns included the possibility of U.S. spacecraft inadvertently landing in foreign territory (360, 361, 368), launching of space vehicles that used nuclear power (364), provision of space launcher assistance to other countries (366, 375), and some contingency planning in case the last Mercury flights came down in Soviet-bloc or Asian Communist territory. (369, 379, 380) As Project Mercury concluded, coordination of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and military manned space flight programs became an issue. (377, 378, 382) In the latter part of 1963, the State Department sought information about what NASA programs and facilities overseas might be curtailed to help the U.S. balance of payments problem. (384)

U.S-Soviet Space Cooperation

Despite the initial Soviet advantage in manned space flight and the start of a race to the moon, the United States still sought areas for cooperation with the Soviet Union in scientific research. (387, 388, 415) Letters between President Kennedy and Soviet Premier Khrushchev in early 1962 suggested weather reporting, joint satellite tracking systems, mapping the earth’s magnetic field, communications satellite technology, and space medicine as possible areas of cooperation. (389) The principal U.S. representative for the negotiations, Deputy NASA Administrator Hugh L. Dryden, and Soviet Academician A. A. Blagonravov held their first meetings in New York in March 1962. (390) Later meetings in Geneva led to agreements for cooperative research in three areas: exchange of data from weather satellites, joint mapping of the earth’s magnetic field, and cooperation in experimental use of the Echo communications satellite. (392) Follow-up meetings were held in Rome, resulting in a memorandum of understanding between NASA and the Soviet Academy of Sciences on March 20, 1963. (396–398)

National Security Action Memorandum (NSAM) No. 271 of November 12, 1963, called on NASA to assume responsibility for developing a program for further cooperation with the Soviet Union in space exploration. (410) A report by NASA Administrator James E. Webb would be submitted to President Johnson in January 1964. (413)

Peaceful Uses of Outer Space

NSAM No. 156 of May 26, 1962, called for organizing a State Department committee to devise a policy that could reconcile support for UN resolutions on the peaceful uses of outer space with safeguarding a developing U.S. satellite reconnaissance program. (373, 374, 420) NSAM No. 183 of August 27, 1962, called for explanation and defense of the U.S. space program at the UN Outer Space Committee and in the General Assembly. (425) The General Assembly unanimously adopted the Declaration of Legal Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space (resolution 1963 I (XVIII)) on December 13, 1963, as well as recommendations on the exchange of information concerning scientific experiments in space (resolutions 1963 II–IV (XVIII)).

Communications Satellites

The State Department was also involved in developing U.S. policy toward the organization of a global communications system (435, 439–441, 437, 443, 447–449) and in devising plans for a federal emergency communications system (434, 436, 438, 442, 444–446)


The Antarctic Treaty had been signed in Washington on December 1, 1959, and entered into force on June 23, 1961 after deposit of the ratifications of Argentina, Australia, and Chile. As provided in the accord, a First Consultative Meeting was held in Canberra, July 10–24, 1961 (455); and a Second Consultative Meeting followed in Buenos Aires, July 18–28, 1962 (463, 464). A series of preparatory meetings were held in Brussels in 1963 to discuss the timing and agenda of a Third Consultative Meeting and to devise a convention to protect Antarctic wildlife. (467, 469, 473, 479, 482) The Third Meeting did not take place in 1963, but a meeting on telecommunications was held in Washington, June 24–28, 1963. (475)

After the abolition of the National Security Council’s Operations Coordinating Board, the State Department took charge of policy guidance and coordination of U.S. activities in Antarctica. (453) The Department’s chief concern was how to implement the international inspection system provided for under Article VII of the Antarctic Treaty. (456–460, 465, 468, 470, 471, 476, 477) The Defense Department, which provided logistical support for U.S. scientific activities in Antarctica, was concerned not only with verifying the absence of foreign, particularly Soviet, military activities in Antarctica, but also with safeguarding classified materials aboard U.S. Navy ships transporting the international inspectors. (452) Arrangements had been made and observers had been selected by the end of 1963, and the inspections took place in January 1964. (472, 480, 481, 483) The State Department also considered what legal authority should govern U.S. nationals other than military personnel who might visit or work in Antarctica. (474, 478)

Law of the Sea

In 1961 Canada and the United Kingdom were seeking support for reviving a U.S.-Canadian proposal for a 6-mile territorial sea and a 6-mile contiguous fishing zone that had narrowly failed of adoption at the Second Law of the Sea Conference in 1960 in Geneva. (484, 486) The State Department favored a multilateral treaty as an alternative to proposals for a 12-mile territorial sea (487, 489, 491), but the Canadian proposal faced opposition by the Defense and Interior Departments. The former department believed that since only friendly nations would adhere to such a treaty, it offered no security advantages (492, 493), and the latter feared negative effects on U.S. fisheries. (488, 494) The United States did not inform Canada of its unwillingness to take part in the survey until March 1962 (502), and President Kennedy did not discuss territorial sea issues with Prime Minister Lester Pearson until May 11, 1963. (503)