84. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson 1

SUBJECT

  • Transmittal of the Perkins Committee Report on Foreign Aid

At Tab A are the comments from Rusk, Nitze, Gaud and Zwick on the Perkins Report on Foreign Aid.2 They all agree it is an excellent job that should be valuable to the new Administration and to the coming public discussion on the future of foreign aid.

Nitze and Gaud question the recommendation of the Perkins Committee on the separation of military and economic assistance, mostly because of expected Congressional opposition. Zwick also believes the multilateral aid target in the Committee report is too ambitious and has some reservations on giving the proposed Overseas Development Corporation the authority to borrow from the Treasury. These are essentially tactical differences rather than serious reservations about the Committee’s approach and its main recommendations.

You previously approved a letter to Perkins thanking him for his work and saying that you will pass the report on to the new Administration (Tab B).3 In the meantime, the other members of the Committee have submitted their letters of resignation.

The Committee is naturally anxious to get its report on the public record. But it is still true—and the Committee recognizes this—that your successor may feel he can give the report a better hearing if the report is not published for awhile.

I believe you could complete action on the report in one of the following ways:

1.
Pass on the report and Cabinet comments through Bob Murphy and say we plan to publish the report unless your successor objects.
2.
Pass on the report and comments quietly and leave its disposition to the President-elect.
3.
Publish the report as we pass it on with the comments.

I think it makes most sense to do option 1. The report is sound and thoughtful—it can only help the public discussion on aid. But no one will [Page 239]argue that your successor should not have a quiet shot at the report if he wants it.

Whatever your decision, I recommend we handle it with a memo from me to Bob Murphy. (A draft memo is at Tab C.)4 Charlie Murphy concurs that this would be a good channel to use.

Walt

OK option 1; say we’ll publish unless there is objection

Simply pass report on quietly5

Publish and pass on routinely

Call me

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Subject File, Foreign Assistance Programs—President’s Advisory Committee on [Perkins Committee] [1 of 3], Box 17. No classification marking.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Document 81.
  4. Not attached but a copy is in the Johnson Library, National Security File, Subject File, Foreign Assistance Programs—President’s Advisory Committee on [Perkins Committee] [1 of 3], Box 17. In this December 11 memorandum to Robert Murphy, U.S. Political Adviser, Rostow wrote in part: “The President believes it would be appropriate and most useful to leave the disposition of the [Perkins Committee] report, including the decision on how and when to publish it, to the President-elect. Our comments on the report, of course, are confidential.”
  5. This option is checked.