142. Memorandum From Charles E. Johnson of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)1


Here is a draft memorandum that the Bureau of Budget staff has prepared for Charlie to send to Jack Valenti to warn against a foreign aid “spectacular” for desalting.2

I have asked the BOB staff to delete your name, but said that my request in no way indicated that you were sympathetic to the idea of a large offer of financial assistance to foreign countries or that you were necessarily opposed to such an idea.

Keeny and I find ourselves somewhat at odds with Bob Komer over the possibility that something might be salvaged out of the Interior-AEC idea of a Presidential commitment to a major aid program at the First International Conference on Desalting.3 We share the feelings of State, AID, the Bureau and Treasury that it is premature to make a commitment in view of our primitive technology and the large number of [Page 255] policy questions to which we don’t have answers. We also feel that if the offer is hedged to such an extent that it is “only pie in the sky” the effect might be the opposite of what we expect. It might be interpreted as nothing but an empty and politically motivated gesture.

I understand that you have been filled in as to what occurred at the meeting with Udall last week and are not uninformed. Therefore, this note is principally to keep you up to date on what has happened since that meeting.4

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Subject File, Desalting Projects, Vol. 1. No classification marking. Copies were sent to Komer and Keeny.
  2. Not printed; the final version is printed as Document 143.
  3. See Document 141.
  4. Bundy wrote “Thanks” in the margin next to this sentence.