144. Memorandum for Record1


  • Daily White House Staff Meeting, 28 February 1964

1. Mr. Bundy presided throughout the meeting.

[Omitted here is material on several foreign policy issues.]

5. NSC Meeting. There will be an NSC meeting tomorrow and, in discussing it, Bundy made an interesting comment. He was wary of bringing up certain matters because the Speaker of the House would be in attendance,2 and there might be some conflicts between the legislative and executive approach. This being the case, it seems the NSC can play no crucial role until after the election at least, and by then the pattern will have been set to live without it, assuming the President is re-elected.

[Omitted here is material on the command and control system and the Kennedy Library.]

8. The President’s Work Habits. Bundy said that experience has taught him that the best way to do business with the President is probably in writing rather than talking with him, as Bundy originally tried to do. The reason is that not only is it difficult to get to the President, but when one does it is usually at the end of the day when the President does not go into things thoroughly. At night, however, the President evidently works through his papers thoroughly. Bundy’s suggestion was that the procedure most desirable now seems to be to write a brief explanatory memorandum with issues to be resolved and a recommendation. The paper should also leave space for the President to indicate whether he agrees or prefers something different or needs more information. Complicated issues, of course, cannot be handled this way, but Bundy feels a goodly number of things that the President must see can be.

  1. Source: National Defense University, Taylor Papers, Chairman’s Staff Group, Nov 63–Aug 64. Secret; Eyes Only. Prepared by Colonel Smith.
  2. The President asked the Speaker to attend in place of the Vice President, whose office was vacant during 1964.