171. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson1

Mr. President:

Herewith the records in our minutes of meetings of the 303 Committee (and its predecessor group, 5412 Committee) which refer to CIA connection with support for youth and student groups. The first such reference is 25 February 1959; the last is 3 December 1964.2

Those present at the meetings are noted.

You should know that the basic work of the 303 Committee is to examine new programs; although, in the period I have been here, I have asked for reexamination of certain programs when current issues arose.

Clark Clifford’s committee may be more deeply engaged in studying the whole of the CIA program; although I am not sure about this.

W.W. Rostow 3


Chronology of Briefings of 303 Committee on Youth and Student Activities

a. 25 February 1959 Minutes

“The DCI pointed out to the Group that there are a number of Agency programs under way which began before the approval of NSC 5412/2 and thus the establishment of the Special Group.

[Page 543]

Members present were: Christian Herter, Gordon Gray, Mr. Irwin, Allen Dulles, Richard Bissell

b. 4 March 1959 Minutes

“The DCI showed the Group the summary of actions approved by it since its inception. Mr. Dulles repeated what he had said at last week’s meeting to the effect that this summary represents only the individual actions taken by the Special Group and that some of them have since been incorporated in continuing CIA programs.” (We do have the summary referred to here; it does not include [less than 1 line of source text not declassified].)

Members present were: Christian Herter, Gordon Gray, Mr. Irwin, Allen Dulles

c. 14 February 1961 Minutes

“Mr. Dulles, assisted by Mr. Bissell, then summarized for the benefit of the new members of the Special Group the specific actions taken by the predecessor group during the past year, and also a list of significant projects which antedate the beginning of 1960 and which it is planned to continue. (We do have the list mentioned; [less than 1 line of source text not declassified].)

Members present were: Messrs. McNamara, Gilpatric, Bowles, Bundy, Dulles, Gen. Cabell, Bissell

d. 24 August 1961 Paper read by the Special Group reviewing CA Operations

“Youth and Student Organizations. A program designed to oppose the international communist fronts in the youth and student field, the World Federation of Democratic Youth (WFDY) and the International Union of Students (IUS). To this end, CIA supports and works through the International Student Conference, Coordinating Secretariat of National Unions of Students, U.S. National Student Association, World Assembly of Youth, Young Adult Council, World University Service and the International Union of Socialist Youth, to preserve youth movements from communist leadership and to gain support of youth organizations from communist leadership and to gain support of youth organizations and potential political leaders for Western causes.”

Members present at 31 August 1961 meeting were: General Taylor, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Dulles, General Lansdale

e. 12 December 1963 Minutes

“Mr. McCone stated that he agreed, and in addition to the continuing reviews made inside CIA and with the State Department, he had [Page 544] reviewed all of the covert action programs twice with higher authority. Mr. Alexis Johnson also affirmed that constant reviewing was being done in the Department of State and that he was satisfied with the importance and necessity of the covert action activities currently undertaken by CIA.” (We have the briefing outline used by the DDP on covert political action and PM projects. Mr. Meyer covered “all other covert action” but no outline is available. It is likely that he covered Youth and Student activities.)

Members present were: Mr. Bundy, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Gilpatric, and Mr. McCone. Present from Bureau of the Budget were Mr. Gordon, Mr. Staats, Mr. Hansen and Mr. Amory. Present from CIA were Mr. Helms, Mr. Meyer, [2 names not declassified]

f. 30 October 1964 Minutes4

[1 paragraph (15 lines of source text) not declassified]

Members present were: Mr. Bundy, Ambassador Thompson, Mr. Vance, Mr. McCone and Mr. Meyer

g. 3 December 1964 Minutes

World Youth Festival—The CIA paper entitled, ‘Program of Covert Counteraction against the 9th World Youth Festival, Algiers, August 1965,’5 was approved promptly. Mr. McCone noted that the site of this event would produce more difficulties than those encountered in the relatively friendlier areas of Helsinki and Vienna. Mr. Bundy observed that he was personally acquainted with the considerable educative impact on young Americans participating in this type of confrontation with a Communist organization, a useful by–product to an important effort.” (The paper referred to does not detail the instruments available to CIA to carry out the covert action. It implies the use of democratic youth and student organizations.)

Members present were: Mr. Bundy, Ambassador Thompson, Mr. McNaughton, and Mr. McCone

[Here follow paragraphs d. and e. of Document 134.]

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Intelligence File, 303 Committee, Box 2. Secret; Eyes Only.
  2. An attached February 23 memorandum from Bromley Smith to Secretary of Defense McNamara notes that the enclosed chronology “was referred to by the President at the luncheon meeting yesterday.” Smith was apparently referring to the weekly White House luncheon attended on February 22 by the President, Secretaries Rusk and McNamara, General Taylor, General Wheeler, Bromley Smith, and George Christian. (Ibid., President’s Daily Diary) In his memorandum Smith asked McNamara to return the chronology, which McNamara did along with Smith’s memorandum on which he wrote: “2/24 to Mr. Bromley Smith. Thanks, RMcN.”
  3. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.
  4. See Document 58.
  5. Dated November 20, 1964; filed with December 3, 1964, minutes of 303 Committee. (Department of State, INR/IL Historical Files)