33. Editorial Note

In a statement made to the Cabinet on March 25, 1965, and released to the press the same day, the President instructed Secretary of State Rusk and Bureau of the Budget Director Kermit Gordon to review U.S. overseas programs in 10 to 15 countries, on a country-by-country basis. The goal, he stated, was to “make certain that our people abroad and the money we spend abroad are used to achieve maximum support of the accomplishment of our foreign policy objectives.” For text, see Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Lyndon B. Johnson, 1965, Book I, page 318.

The President’s directive resulted in the Executive Review of Overseas Programs (EROP), an in-depth review of all U.S. programs in each of 13 countries using the Department of State’s Comprehensive Country Programming System. The Department explained the procedures of EROP in airgram CA–12444, May 21. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, ORG 1) Secretary Rusk endorsed EROP in a letter of May 28 to the Chiefs of Mission of [Page 73] the 13 countries chosen for the review (Document 39). In a June 12 memorandum to the President, Rusk and new Bureau of the Budget Director Charles Schultze reported on the status of EROP, noting that “each Chief of Mission has been instructed to propose a comprehensive program encompassing all United States agencies and activities in his country for fiscal year 1967.” (Johnson Library, National Security File, Agency File, State Department, Executive Review of Overseas Programs)

A report documenting the “results, conclusions, recommendations, and evaluation” of EROP was prepared in the Department of State’s Office of Management Planning in October 1965. The report recommended that “a foreign affairs programming system be established under the direction of the Secretary of State” and “that planning and programming procedures continue to emphasize country rather than agency or functional programs as the initial entity for program review and evaluation.” (Kennedy Library, Crockett Papers, MS 75–45, October 1965-Executive Review of Overseas Programs) On December 3 Richard Barrett, Director of the Office of Management Planning, drafted a memorandum to the President from Rusk and Schultze (Document 49) that reviewed EROP and incorporated the recommendations of the October report. However, the Bureau of the Budget and other agencies disagreed with the recommendations, and the memorandum was never forwarded. For an extended discussion of EROP based on first-hand experience, see Frederick Mosher and John Harr, Programming Systems and Foreign Affairs Leadership, pages 74–114. During 1965 Harr was a member of State’s Management Planning Staff and then Deputy Director of the Office of Management Planning. For reaction to EROP on the part of officials at the embassies involved in the review, see Documents 104 and 113. For the Central Intelligence Agency’s reaction to EROP, see Document 234.