249. Draft Memorandum From the Executive Secretary of the National Security Council (Smith) to President Johnson 1


  • Need for White House Representation on 303 Committee

The 303 Committee, the small four-man group consisting of Cyrus Vance, Alexis Johnson, Admiral Raborn, and formerly McGeorge Bundy which has been meeting weekly since 1963, is in need of a White House representative to continue its vital work.

This group, as you know, (set up by NSC 5412)2 reviews and approves the most sensitive covert operations involving largely overhead reconnaissance and political action. When agreement is not reached, the proposals are referred to Rusk and McNamara and occasionally to yourself.

It was thought for a time that Robert Komer would take Mr. Bundy’s place on this committee, but his new assignment would seem to preclude this.3

According to the Executive Secretary, Peter Jessup, a number of important and sensitive matters awaiting decision have backed up and need attention. These include deployment and possible use of the A–12 aircraft, support to the Congo, Dominican Republic election, etc. The Senior Interdepartmental Group, in its first meeting, agreed that it would not deal with the most highly classified matters presently under 303 cognizance.

The White House representative should hopefully have some background in these sophisticated matters as well as interagency relationships and be able to sit as a coequal with Messrs. Vance, Johnson, and Raborn.4

B. Smith 5
  1. Source: National Security Council, Special Group/303 Committee Files, Subject Files, The 40 Committee. Secret; Eyes Only.
  2. See Document 263 and footnote 5 thereto.
  3. On March 28 Komer was named Special Assistant to the President in charge of U.S. non-military programs for peaceful construction in Vietnam.
  4. Helms informed Raborn in an April 4 memorandum that he been told by Moyers that the President had decided to have both Moyers and Rostow sit on the 303 Committee. Rostow would be chairman, since “Moyers feels that he should not be locked into this position in view of his other duties and responsibilities.” (Central Intelligence Agency, Executive Registry, Job 80–B01580R, DDCI) However, Moyers attended only one 303 Committee meeting as a regular member, on May 5. (National Security Council, Special Group/303 Committee Files, Minutes)
  5. Printed from a copy that indicates Smith signed the original.