120. Statement Prepared by the President’s Special Assistant (Rostow) for President Johnson 1
I issued in March 1966 NSAM 341, after a thoroughgoing review of governmental organization in the field of foreign affairs conducted by General Taylor.
My decision was to assign responsibility for the direction, coordination and supervision of overseas interdepartmental activities to the Secretary of State. A key part of that decision was to activate the Senior Interdepartmental Group, which was to be chaired by the Under Secretary of State and to include those at the Under Secretary level from the various departments and from the White House.
The simple fact is that for 15 months now NSAM 341 has not been implemented.
I have felt the lack on many issues; for example, the Middle East, Viet Nam, counterinsurgency problems in Latin America.
I have come to the conclusion that either the Department of State must now energetically and effectively implement NSAM 341—and, especially, make the Senior Interdepartmental Group perform its functions—or I shall have to organize this kind of leadership and coordination out of the White House.
- Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, NSAMs, NSAM 341. Confidential. Attached to a June 27 memorandum from Rostow to the President, that states: “Herewith the statement you wanted me to formulate.” The memorandum indicates that the President saw it. No information was found to indicate how the President used the statement.↩
- Taylor forwarded this memorandum, dated March 27, to Rostow, who drafted a covering memorandum for the President on March 30, but did not forward either memorandum. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, Box 260, Gen Taylor)↩
- None of these options was checked.↩