74. Memorandum From Acting Secretary of State Ball to Secretary of Defense McNamara 1

Dear Bob:

The Department of State has no objection to your raising with the President the question of discontinuing the Net Evaluation Subcommittee (NESC) of the National Security Council. The case you present in your draft memorandum of December 23 to the President2 is a persuasive one and the Department believes the President would be well advised to consider whether he wishes to retain the Subcommittee, at least in its present form.

The participation of representatives of this Department in the preparation of strategic studies at the working level has been useful to this Department. Therefore, it is hoped that arrangements can be made to continue such participation.

Moreover, although surveys such as the last NESC study may not qualify as a basis for planning guidance, the Department believes that a similar broad survey of a possible major conflict between the United States and Communist China could serve a useful purpose in clarifying issues and highlighting areas which could usefully be the object of more detailed consideration.

If you agree, we suggest that Ambassador Thompson meet soon with Mr. Vance and General Wheeler to discuss these matters.


George W. Ball 3
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, DEF 1. Top Secret. The memorandum forms Attachment A to a January 25 memorandum from Llewllyn Thompson to Rusk, which summarizes the rationale for the reply to McNamara. Also part of this package is Attachment B (Document 72); an earlier, undated draft of the memorandum printed here; and a January 27 note from Read to Rusk explaining that he had received calls from McNamara’s office urging action on McNamara’s proposal to abolish the Net Evaluation Subcommittee and noting that all other agencies had concurred in the proposal.
  2. Document 72.
  3. Printed from a copy that indicates Ball signed the original.