23. Memorandum From Robert W. Komer of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)1


[Omitted here is discussion of an upcoming March 8–11 conference at the Ministerial level with the United Kingdom on Africa.]

New subject. Despite his new capacity, Harriman is quite anxious to carry on with C–I Group.2 He likes it and there is nobody else who would run it. I also assume that he wants to keep as many oars in as possible. He says Ball is in favor, and Rusk said he’d think about it.3

We have managed to put a little new life into this exercise and I’m inclined to feel it could still be useful if we gave it a new hunting license. There’s little doubt that USG has not yet focused enough on preventive aspects of counter-insurgency. The Group provides a useful hortatory forum for this purpose. But we either ought to give it a bigger (though still advisory) mandate or gradually close it out. Until we decide, I’d suggest encouraging Harriman to stay on.

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Name File, Komer Memos, Volume I [2], Box 6. Secret.
  2. Reference is to Harriman’s role in the Special Group (Counter-Insurgency) after the impending announcement (March 11) of his transfer from the position of Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs to Ambassador at Large. President Johnson suggested this new position for Harriman as early as late 1964. (Memorandum from Bundy to President Johnson, November 30, 1964; ibid., Memos to the President, McGeorge Bundy, Vol. 7, Box 2)
  3. In the margin next to this paragraph, Bundy wrote: “I’d like to play this very open with no firm commitment to Harriman.”