62. National Security Action Memorandum No. 3291


  • Secretary of State
  • Secretary of the Treasury
  • Secretary of Agriculture
  • Secretary of Commerce
  • Administrator, Agency for International Development
  • Director, Bureau of the Budget
  • Chairman, Export-Import Bank


  • Task Force on Southeast Asian Economic and Social Development

I herewith direct my Special Assistant for National Security Affairs, Mr. McGeorge Bundy, to establish a task force on Southeast Asian economic and social development. I request each of you to designate a senior official or officials to work with Mr. Bundy in this task force. I hope that you yourself will take a direct interest in this matter, and I am asking Mr. Bundy to review all recommendations of the task force with you before they are brought to me for approval.

The task force will prepare plans and recommendations for me and for Mr. Eugene Black with respect to the positions the United States should take for the support of the broad policy announced in my statement to the Cabinet of March 252 and my speech at Johns Hopkins on April 7.3 The work of the task force will be conducted in conformity with my desire that our position be that of readiness to respond to the plans and proposals of Asian leaders. In particular, it is my desire that this work be conducted in such a way as to give the largest possible opportunity for leadership and initiative by the Secretary General of the United Nations.

By the close of business Thursday, April 15, I wish to have a first report from the task force.4 This report should deal with the following topics:

An assessment of the most desirable form of regional arrangement for Southeast Asian development. This assessment should include an examination of the conditions that will be necessary to make U.S. contributions effective and to ensure public confidence in their effectiveness.
A preliminary assessment of the size and shape of the assistance which could be effectively used within an appropriate regional framework of development. This assessment should examine the possibilities both under conditions of continuing conflict in Vietnam and under conditions of peaceful settlement. It should consider how much of the input could effectively be in the form of surplus commodities, and how much of it might be medical and other technical assistance.
An estimate of the contributions we should look for from other industrialized nations, both now and in the event of a peaceful settlement in Vietnam. There should also be recommendations on ways of making these contributions as large as possible.
The steps that can be taken to encourage additional private investment by industrialized countries in Southeast Asia.
A review of the pros and cons of an immediate increase in U.S. assistance to Southeast Asia even before the establishment of a new regional development program. In particular this review should examine the possibilities for an immediate increase of the input of surplus commodities into the region in ways which will contribute effectively to the broad purpose I have stated.

The Special Assistant for National Security Affairs is authorized to call on the appropriate Departments and Agencies for necessary staff support for this task force.

Lyndon B. Johnson
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, NSAMs. Confidential.
  2. See footnote 2, Document 57.
  3. See Document 60.
  4. The report was made on May 11; see Document 65.