134. Memorandum From the Chairman of the Senior Interdepartmental Group (Katzenbach) to the Executive Chairmen of the Interdepartmental Regional Groups and the Chairman of the Political-Military Group 1

SUBJECT

  • Planning in Anticipation of Foreign Crises

On May 23, 1968 the SIG approved the draft paper on contingency studies and crisis management, entitled Planning in Anticipation of Foreign Crises, with minor amendments. The approved text was circulated as an attachment to SIG Memo #71 dated June 4. 1968.2

As you know, this directive has the effect of dissolving the Contingency Coordinating Committee (CCC) and placing responsibility for contingency planning and crisis management directly on the regional Assistant Secretaries of State and the IRGs. The mandate for contingency studies is broadened to encourage examination of possible political or economic crises even if involvement of United States military forces is not anticipated. These studies often may require the participation of functional bureaus, such as IO and E, as well as other government departments and agencies which are not regularly represented in the IRGs. Finally, to assist the SIG, the Political-Military Group (PMG) will be responsible for reviewing interagency studies which anticipate possible use of United States military forces in situations where the United States national security requires it.

In the near future the Staff Director of the SIG will provide you with more detailed information on the current status of contingency planning. [Page 314]Under the terms of the approved directive, quarterly reports on such planning will be prepared by the SIG Staff Director with the assistance of the Staff Directors of the IRGs and the PMG, and I propose to submit these reports to the SIG not later than the fifteenth of April, July, October, and January to cover the preceding quarter in each case. The first quarterly report, therefore, will be submitted on July 15.3

Attached is a procedural guide4 designed to assist the regional bureaus in their organization for crisis management. The guide sets forth in some detail the definitions and responsibilities which henceforth will be observed within the Department of State. I would appreciate your ensuring that all responsible officers under your supervision are acquainted with the new directive and the procedural guide.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, S/S-SIG Files: Lot 70 D 263, SIG Memo #73. Confidential.
  2. Not printed. (Ibid., SIG Memo #71)
  3. Studies in Anticipation of Foreign Crises, Quarterly Status Report, July 15, was circulated as an attachment to SIG Memo #77, 7/23/68. (Ibid., SIG Memo #77)
  4. Attached but not printed.