159. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy) to President Johnson1


  • Letter of resignation
I attach a revised letter of resignation.2 John McCloy is out of town, so I have spoken to his successor, Jay Stratton, who is a deeply discreet man. Stratton immediately undertook to agree, in the name of the Trustees, to the condition which I have stated in the next to last paragraph.3 I hope it is stated in a way that is acceptable to you.

If you think well of it, you might wish to add the fact that we asked for this condition and that the Ford Foundation granted it, to any background account which Bill Moyers might give of our discussions. The month in which we have worked on the matter might then look something like this:

  • November 7—McCloy offered Bundy the job.
  • November 8—Bundy reported the offer to the President.
  • November 11—At the Ranch the President told Bundy he would talk with him the following week in Washington.
  • November 19—The President and Bundy had a thorough talk in Washington. The President told Bundy he was free to make his own decision in the light of his judgment of what he could most usefully do, and Bundy told the President that he would like to accept the Ford offer if the Ford Trustees would allow time for an orderly transfer of his duties at the White House. The President authorized Bundy to report this decision to Mr. John McCloy personally, and asked him to work out a time schedule for the transfer in terms of the national interest alone—and then to see if that schedule was acceptable to Mr. McCloy.

Between November 20 and 28, Bundy studied this problem and consulted about it with Secretary Rusk and Secretary McNamara. He reached the conclusion that he ought to stay on his present job through February, 1966. The President has agreed with this judgment, and Mr. McCloy, for the Ford Foundation, accepted the delay it involves on November 29.

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On December 2, the President and Bundy discussed the matter further and began the consideration of a successor. The President asked Bundy to obtain assurance from the Ford Foundation that he would be available to undertake special assignments, and on December 3 Bundy obtained such assurance from the Ford Foundation.

McG. B.
  1. Source: Johnson Library, Office of the President File, McGeorge Bundy. Eyes Only.
  2. Attached, together with his initial letter of resignation, but not printed.
  3. “I have asked the Trustees of the Ford Foundation if I may accept their invitation on the understanding that I shall always be free to accept any special assignments from you, and they have generously agreed to this condition.”