117. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson 1
Nick Katzenbach asks your approval to get Tom Schelling for the State Department as a Presidential appointee to drive forward the programming work in foreign affairs. A slot is available.
I strongly recommend that you approve this request for two reasons.
- —The work will simply not be done unless a man like Schelling is brought into the State Department.
- —Schelling is just about the best man I could conceive of for this, if Nick can hook him.
I would recommend to you a condition in granting Nick’s request; namely, that you will grant it only if Nick personally guarantees that he will hold a Senior Interdepartmental Group (SIG) meeting every two [Page 260]weeks at the minimum, and that he will personally assure that the Interdepartmental Regional Groups (IRGs) will press forward.2 My reason is this; and it derives from more than 4 years as a working stiff in the State Department: Unless the Under Secretary will find the time to insure this interdepartmental leadership is exercised from day to day, it won’t happen; and if it doesn’t happen, the programming effort that Schelling is being brought in for won’t be worth a damn.
- Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, NSAMs, NSAM 341. Confidential. The memorandum was included in the President’s Night Reading. A handwritten note at the top of the memorandum reads: “Mr. Rostow notified Mr. Katzenbach.”↩
- Nick has thus far been busy and hasn’t given this high enough priority; and the machinery is beginning to rust, with considerable disappointment over your NSAM 341. [Footnote in the source text, handwritten by Rostow.]↩
- The President checked this option.↩
- The President checked this option. Attached to Rostow’s memorandum is a memorandum from Rostow to Katzenbach, March 18, indicating the President’s approval of hiring Schelling and stating: “It is the President’s understanding that you will also drive forward other elements in NSAM 341 and, in particular: hold a Senior Interdepartmental Group Meeting approximately every two weeks and personally see to it that the Interdepartmental Groups are actively carrying out their responsibilities under NSAM 341.”↩
- A reference to President Kennedy’s May 29, 1961, letter, printed in American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1961, pp. 1345–1347.↩
- See the attachment to Document 99.↩
- Not further identified.↩
- Secretary Rusk’s initials appear in his own hand below Katzenbach’s signature.↩