15. Editorial Note

During a telephone conversation on December 10, 1964, Under Secretary of State George Ball and McGeorge Bundy discussed a number of appointments under consideration by Secretary of State Rusk. Bundy indicated that the President was “in favor of finding fresh faces for Embassies” and wanted “to get some people who are his own-to have the same fresh look as happened four years ago.” (Memorandum of Conversation; Johnson Library, Ball Papers, People & Positions III) In a December 13 memorandum to the President, Rusk recommended candidates for five positions that, “apart from finding an Assistant Secretary for Congressional Relations, [were] the most urgent personnel problems in the State Department”: Under Secretary for Economic Affairs, Ambassadors to Indonesia, Spain, and the Netherlands, and Assistant Secretary for European Affairs. Rusk particularly emphasized the importance of filling the third-ranking post in the State Department with an Under Secretary for Economic Affairs rather than an Under Secretary for Political Affairs, noting that, among other things, it “would make it possible for George Ball to free himself from a great deal of inter-departmental economic business so that he could spend all of his time as my alter ego on the whole breadth of State Department problems.” Rusk recommended John Leddy for the post. (Ibid., National Security File, Agency File, State Department, Vol. 5) Ball and Rusk met with the President from 1:05 to 2:25 p.m. on December 20 to discuss the appointments, but no record of their discussion has been found. (Ibid., President’s Daily Diary)