171. Editorial Note

From 12:02 to 12:45 p.m. on May 27, 1966, the President and Vice President met in the Cabinet Room with Special Assistant Walt Rostow and 16 members of the National Security Council Staff. The President outlined major themes of his administration, and various NSC staff members presented subjects on which they were working. (Johnson Library, President’s Daily Diary) A memorandum for the record summarizing the meeting, prepared by NSC staff member Harold Saunders on June 13 and printed in volume X of Foreign Relations, 1964–1968, Document 129, indicates that “the President said he was very happy with the memos, analyses, and recommendations coming from the staff. What he would like to see more of now is ’ten new ideas’ in his reading folder every night. He said these were beginning to flow but he wanted more and more of them.”

In a memorandum for the record prepared January 24, 1992, and based on notes taken during the meeting, Rostow stated that he requested that the President meet with the NSC staff because “they wrote a flow of memoranda which he read and on which he depended, but they rarely saw him.” According to Rostow’s memorandum, the President’s remarks included the following comments about the staff’s work: 1) “I expect of you three things: information, analyses, and recommendations. But I expect you to bring to your technical work a sense of concern, responsibility, and obligation”; 2) “In developing proposals for me I want you to unlock your brains; let your proposals reflect new ideas and your visions. I don’t need a staff to maintain the status quo”; and 3) “As for your jobs on the NSC staff, each of you has the most challenging assignment a man can have. Your President wants ten ideas a week from each of you. Cut it to nine, but one will give me satisfaction. Dream your dreams and let me have them.” (Johnson Library, Reference File, Walt Rostow)