79. Memorandum by the Counselor of the Department of State and Chairman of the Policy Planning Council (Rostow)1



  • Some Reflections on National Security Policy, February 19652

Since I must leave for a trip to Germany on March 11 and I greatly desire the guidance of my colleagues, I have scheduled a meeting on [Page 219] this somewhat long paper for Wednesday, March 10.3 It is an effort to outline the main directions for U.S. policy in the months and years ahead in the light of three quite general characteristics of the world scene:

The growing assertiveness of governments both within the Free World and within the Communist world;
The fact that this growing assertiveness in the Free World has not been accompanied by a development of military power (aside from U.S. power) capable of coping with either Soviet or Chinese Communist military strength; and
The fact that conventional nationalism does not permit nations to grip their major economic, security, and even regional political problems successfully.

Paragraph 11 (pages 22–25) sets out the major functional tasks of U.S. security policy that flow from this view of the world scene.

Part II then explores these questions:

The extent to which these functional tasks might be carried forward in the present environment by the creation or further development of regional organizations and devices in which the U.S. is integrally involved. Paragraph 15 (pages 31–32) underlines the special concept of regionalism suggested here and its twofold objective: “To permit nations to grip collectively problems that do not lend themselves to satisfactory solution on a national or bilateral basis”; and “To permit nations to deal with the U.S. (and, where relevant, other industrialized powers of the Free World) on a basis of greater dignity than bilateralism permits.”
The appropriate degree and character of U.S. involvement on the world scene in the future, which is set out against an analysis of whether we are or are not in some sense “over-committed” (pages 44–48).

One operational question of some interest is raised by this analysis, not dealt with in the text: Would the further elaboration of regional economic development arrangements, symbolized by the emergence of an African Development Bank and the movement towards an Asian Development Bank, help meet the kind of criticism we now confront with respect to foreign aid by Senator Fulbright and others?

W.W. Rostow 4
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, S/S–NSC Files: Lot 70 D 265, (General) National Policy Papers. Secret. According to a distribution list at the end of the memorandum, it was sent to Secretary Rusk, Under Secretary Ball, 19 senior Department of State officers, AID Administrator David E. Bell, and Jacob D. Beam, Assist-ant Director of the International Relations Bureau of ACDA.
  2. This is the title of Rostow’s paper, Document 80.
  3. Secretary Rusk attended this meeting on March 10 from 10:05 to 11:03 a.m. (Johnson Library, Rusk Appointment Book) No record of the discussion has been found.
  4. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.