221. Memorandum From the President’s Special Consultant (Bundy) to the Special Committee of the National Security Council1
- Minutes of NSC Special Committee 6:30 p.m., Thursday, June 8, 1967
The President expressed in the strongest terms his view that too many officers talking with foreign diplomats about US policy are going beyond what the President or the Secretary of State has seen or approved. He ordered that all diplomatic contacts involving policy questions be carried out only by the Secretary or by another officer specifically delegated by him in specific cases, and that there should be discussion of major policy positions only after the President himself has approved them.
The President also stated that providing press guidance on policy questions is the direct responsibility of the President or the Cabinet officer [Page 378] concerned. He instructed the Cabinet level members of the Committee to handle such press discussions themselves, except as they may specifically authorize senior officers of their departments on particular topics. He expects the Information Subcommittee of the NSC Special Committee to provide routine guidance. But he insists that each Cabinet officer put a stop to the present situation in which other officers discuss their own personal ideas as if they were the position of the U.S. Government.
The President has asked me to emphasize that this guidance is intended to apply to all members of the Government, including the Special Committee.2
- Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, NSC Special Committee Files, Special Committee Meetings. Secret. No drafter is indicated on the memorandum, which was prepared June 9. Present for the entire meeting were Rusk, McNamara, Fowler, Katzenbach, Wheeler, Helms, Clifford, Eugene Rostow, Battle, Walt Rostow, Bundy, and Saunders. The President attended from 7:10 to 7:45 p.m. (Ibid., President’s Daily Diary)↩
- Bundy had suggested that the President might want to make these points at the meeting in a memorandum that he sent to the President at 5:25 p.m. (Ibid.)↩