58. Editorial Note

On March 4, 1966, the White House and the Department of State implemented an elaborate scenario to announce the issuance of NSAM 341 (Document 56) and explain its implications. Acting Special Assistant for National Security Affairs Komer briefed the President on the scenario in a memorandum of March 3. (Johnson Library, National Security File, NSAMs, NSAM 341) Department of State Executive Secretary Read briefed Secretary of State Rusk in a March 4 memorandum to which he attached draft comments and other material for use by the President, Rusk, and Taylor at a Cabinet meeting, by White House Assistant Press Secretary Fleming at a press briefing, and by Rusk at his meeting with the Assistant Secretaries. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, S/S-SIG Files: Lot 70 D 263, Instructions and Authority for SIG Documents) For Rusk’s remarks to the Assistant Secretaries, see Document 59. Congressional leaders were informed about NSAM 341 by letter and telephone. Presidential Administrative Assistant Mike Manatos’ letter of March 4 to Senator Henry Jackson, Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on National Security Staffing [Page 132] and Operations, is at the Johnson Library, White House Central Files, Subject Files, Ex FO. A memorandum of Rusk’s telephone conversation with Senator Fulbright is in the National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, S/S-Rusk Files: Lot 72 D 192, Telcons. Rusk told Fulbright that the White House was “sharpening the responsibility of the SecState and we would try to do a little more in Washington than in the field. This tightens up State’s responsibility. It isn’t earth-shaking but was being done in an effort to get a better job done.”

The Secretary of State and the Problem of Coordination: New Duties and Procedures of March 4, 1966, a committee print issued in 1966 by the Senate Committee on Government Operations, includes six documents explaining NSAM 341, the first four of which are dated March 4: the White House press release; a transcript of the press briefing by General Taylor and U. Alexis Johnson; Department of State Foreign Affairs Manual Circular No. 385; Rusk’s message to his colleagues in the Department of State and abroad; U. Alexis Johnson’s article in The Foreign Service Journal, April 1966; and Taylor’s Speech to the American Foreign Service Association, March 31. Circular 385 and Rusk’s message are also printed in American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1966, pp. 1128–1131. Newspaper articles and columns reporting and discussing NSAM 341 are in the National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, S/P Files-SIG Papers: Lot 74 D 344, Public Statements/Press.