194. Memorandum From Robert W. Komer and Ulric Haynes of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)1
We’re quite concerned over the prospect of an imminent Negro leadership conference to set up an organization to influence US policy on Africa.2 As I recall the President’s view, this is just what he doesn’t want.
As I get it, the President’s view is since he’s working to make the American Negro fully a part of American society, he doesn’t think it at all a good idea to encourage a separate Negro view of foreign policy. We don’t want an integrated domestic policy and a segregated foreign policy. While the President recognizes the American Negro Community’s natural interest in African affairs, he doesn’t think they should make it their special province. Rather than becoming a special interest group, they should be interested in the totality of US policy as Americans.
Fortunately the conference has been postponed briefly. This gives us a little turnaround time. Only the White House could turn this aside, so we ought to consider putting out discreet high level word to the most responsive of the key people involved, along the lines of LBJ’s comment.
Who’s the best man to do this—Moyers? Hobart Taylor? Yourself?
We believe the recipients of our counsel should be: (a) Roy Wilkins and Martin Luther King—the key figures; (b) Phil Randolph; and (c) Dorothy Height.
If there is an inevitable trend toward the emergence of a major private organization interested in US policy toward Africa (which may be the case), we should guide this toward a non-racial outcome, i.e. it should include whites as well as Negroes.
If we’re going to move on this we ought to do so fast. At any rate, the President ought to be informed, given his previous strong views.
- Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Africa, General, Vol. II, Memos & Miscellaneous, 7/64–6/65. Secret. A copy was sent to Clifford L. Alexander, Jr., Associate Special Counsel to the President.↩
- A March 25 memorandum from Haynes to Komer stated that a meeting of the American Negro Leadership Conference on Africa would be held in New York on April 1 to create a permanent organization concerned with American Negro influence on U.S. foreign policy in Africa. Haynes recommended doing something to eliminate the raison d’etre of such a group, such as a high-level U.S. friendship tour of Africa. (Ibid., Haynes Files, CHRONO (Haynes), 3/1/65–6/15/66)↩