141. Memorandum for Record1


  • Daily White House Staff Meeting, 27 January 19642

1. Bromley Smith presided throughout the meeting.

[Omitted here is material on several foreign policy issues and on Colonel Howard Burris’ staff responsibilities.]

7. NSC Staff. During the meeting Bromley Smith mentioned Bundy’s return next week,3 and made some comment that Bundy might have trouble “finding his operation.” This hit home to more than one staff member because Bundy’s operations are clearly not the same as they were. Consequently, those staff members who worked primarily for Bundy have little or nothing to do. This includes everyone on the staff except Komer and Forrestal, who sometimes work directly with the President’s office. It is hard to judge how these two are doing. Forrestal is out of town, and Komer tries to give the appearance of being in on the know.

One major difficulty is that no one is moving in to take charge of White House operations. Neither Jenkins, Moyers, nor Valenti are really managing the President—or even parts of him, insofar as preparation for visits of foreign dignitaries and other affairs with foreign policy implications are concerned. The result is continued confusion and uncertainty. It looks as though this may last for some time, however.

  1. Source: National Defense University, Taylor Papers, Chairman’s Staff Group, Nov 63–Aug 64. Secret; Eyes Only.
  2. McGeorge Bundy held regular (though not necessarily daily) meetings with his staff. In Bundy’s absence, Bromley Smith chaired the meetings. General Maxwell Taylor’s aide, Major William Y. Smith, attended the meetings and took notes August 1961–August 1964. His memoranda for the record are ibid.; copies are at the Johnson Library. Chester Cooper of CIA attended 45 staff meetings January 6–July 15, 1964, and summarized the proceedings in memoranda to CIA’s Deputy Director for Intelligence, Ray Cline. The memoranda are at the Central Intelligence Agency, DDI Files, Job 80–R01447R, White House Staff Meeting Memos 1964. Peter Jessup attended 24 staff meetings between January and June 1965 and provided CIA with information on each meeting orally, which CIA then put in a memorandum for the record. The memoranda are ibid., White House Staff Meetings 1965. On August 30, 1965, Jessup telephoned CIA and, according to the memorandum for the record, “apologized for not having reported more frequently, explaining that the White House Staff was rather disorganized, the situation was disjointed, and that there had been few Staff meetings.” (Ibid.)
  3. Bundy was on vacation.