143. Memorandum for Record1


  • Daily White House Staff Meeting, 10 February 1964

1. Mr. Bundy presided throughout the meeting.

[Omitted here is material on foreign visitors and Panama.]

5. Bundy’s LBJ Ranch Visit. Bundy several times mentioned his discussions at the LBJ ranch over the weekend.2 He and the President evidently ranged over many subjects, both substantive and on methods of operation of Bundy’s staff.

On substantive matters, Bundy said he now had a much clearer picture of the matters the President wanted to handle directly and those on which the staff could have a freer hand. Rather than list them he said he would handle them as matters came up. He did say at the present time the President considered there were only two major crises: Vietnam and Cuba. These were explosive situations. The remainder of our current problems were difficult ones, but not of the same order of magnitude.

With respect to White House staff procedures, the President reiterated he was very pleased with the support he was getting. (At this point Bundy half-jokingly commented that it proved again how unnecessary he was, and he felt like leaving things in Bromley Smith’s hands.) The President expects disagreements from his staff, and flaps. He knew the Bundy staff was different because there were no leaks and no sniping criticism. He wanted this to continue.

As to the type of function the staff performs, the President considers these necessary. He had talked with Rusk about it, who agrees. Rusk said he believed Bundy’s staff performed a very important function for the President and that he and Bundy had learned to live with the backlash from various levels of government.

All in all, the LBJ ranch visit seems to have been very useful in that probably for the first time Bundy and the President talked alone on matters that will guide the NSC staff operations in the future.

[Omitted here is material on Venezuela.]

  1. Source: National Defense University, Taylor Papers, Chairman’s Staff Group, Nov 61–Aug 64. Secret; Eyes Only. Prepared by Colonel Smith.
  2. Bundy spent Saturday evening, February 8, and most of Sunday at the LBJ Ranch before returning to Washington with the President by airplane on Sunday evening. (Johnson Library, President’s Daily Diary)