131. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson 1
The State Department has been holding informal discussions with the Italians about a broad agreement for cooperation in scientific activities. The Italians started the talks because they are interested in strengthening their bilateral relationships with us on these matters and we have responded because of certain attractions we can see in having [Page 274] a broad “umbrella” agreement with them that would serve both scientific and foreign policy purposes.
Last November Professor Vincenzo Caglioti, the President of the National Research Council of Italy, and some of his associates visited Washington and a specific draft agreement was discussed.2 However, it was agreed that signing should be deferred until specific projects could also be announced.
Several collaborative projects are now ready for initiation and final preparations are being made to conclude the agreement. Present planning is for an agreement to be signed in Washington early in June with the Under Secretary of State and Dr. Hornig signing for the U.S., and Leopoldo Rubinacci, the Italian Minister for Coordination of Science and Technology, signing for Italy. It is also contemplated that certain members of Congress will be participating in the signing ceremony.
This sort of “umbrella” agreement, not restricted to specific fields of science nor to specific agencies or institutions, represents for the U.S. an innovation in the conduct of international science relations. Copies are enclosed of the draft agreement and the guidelines developed for the Executive Agency that will coordinate this program on the U.S. side (it is intended that the National Science Foundation serve as the U.S. Executive Agency). Both the draft agreement and the guidelines have been favorably reviewed by the Federal Council for Science and Technology.3
Because of your strong interest in maximizing international cooperation in scientific matters, the State Department would like to determine the extent of your interest in associating the White House with the signature of this agreement. In view of the fact that this may be the first of a number of similar agreements to be signed with other countries, and the current demands on your time, I recommend that the ceremony not be held at the White House but that an appropriate Presidential greeting to the signers might be prepared for release at the ceremony at the State Department.