197. Action Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson1
As the attached minutes of yesterday’s 303 meeting indicate, we now have firm agreement, including Secretaries Rusk and McNamara, on how to proceed with respect to Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty.
Your decision is required over the weekend because the deadline for informing the organizations in New York is, apparently, December 18.
Under the proposal we would:2
—Provide [number not declassified] million in a lump sum payment (“surge funding”) to cover the two radios at present levels of activity down to the end of fiscal 1969.
Under existing New York law the two organizations would not have to file with the New York Attorney General their revenues until December 1968.
—Inform the two radios that it is the intent of the U.S. Government to find in the year ahead an alternative way to keep them in business. For your information, the two major options are: the overt creation by the Congress of a special public corporation for this purpose, or an arrangement via USIA.
With respect to questions at the end of the year about the implementation of the Katzenbach report,3 we agreed that, if asked, we would say that no exceptions were made to the recommendation of the Katzenbach committee; and, in certain cases, funds were provided to permit organizations to adjust to a new status; but we would make no breakdown as to what organizations were supported or what amounts had been given in surge funding.
- —Inform the Radio organizations in New York that they were to maintain tight security about the method of financing through fiscal 1969; and we would request them to end the solicitation of small private donations via radio and television—a method which is in the [Page 648] process of ending in any case. Solicitation of funds from large corporations which are aware of government financing would continue.
- Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Intelligence File, 303 Committee, Box 2. Secret; Eyes Only.↩
- The President wrote “Whose?” with an arrow pointing to the word “proposal.”↩
- See footnote 2, Document 176.↩
- This option is checked.↩
- Copies were sent to Katzenbach, Nitze, and Helms.↩
- Covert funding of private organizations first came before the 303 Committee at its May 5 meeting, but discussion of the subject was deferred until May 27. See Document 180.↩
- Schultze outlined his plan for surge funding in a memorandum to Secretary Rusk, dated early December 1967. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Intelligence File, 303 Committee, Box 2) In a December 13 memorandum to Rostow, Jessup wrote: “As it now stands, Mr. Rusk, at first reluctant, has bought the Schultze formula.” (Ibid.)↩
- Outside brackets in the source text.↩
- Not further identified.↩