154. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant for Science and Technology (Hornig) to the President’s Special Assistant (Califano)1

SUBJECT

  • Water For Peace

At the meeting the other day2 you raised the question of where we stood. I assume you are aware that a fat report, “Water for Peace” together with a copy of a letter to Secretaries Rusk and Udall from Holum and Pollack was sent to the President just over a week ago under a covering letter from Secretaries Rusk and Udall.3

The Holum-Pollack letter identified 12 items drawn from the report as having high priority.4 In his Summerville speech, September 2, the President referred to all of these items except community water development, increased support of international sources of capital, and establishment of a Water for Peace office.5 The Bureau of the Budget recommended not releasing the Holum-Pollack letter or the Udall-Rusk letter which also mentioned the priority items until they had time to examine the budget implications and the possible perturbations to international assistance policy.6 I agree, but also because I am concerned about the management of the program. The report is deficient in that it does not adequately deal with responsibility for implementation.

As an integrated program, the priority items could add up to something worthwhile and reasonably exciting. Generally these items, while individually perhaps not dramatic, are directed toward improving conditions which now inhibit the effectiveness of our international [Page 279]water program. Some systematic attempt to deal with them could result in considerable improvement.

The report suggests a Water for Peace office having a coordinative role guided by an interdepartmental committee. It does not say where the office is to be located. I think the attractiveness of the program will depend on having someone in charge with sufficient rank and a directive to do the job. In short, if we want to go ahead, the President probably ought to appoint someone and tell him to get the job done. While I recognize Interior’s interest in water, I think the leadership here belong in State and the job might either be added to one of the Secretary’s assistants for “Food for Peace” or “Fish and Wildlife” or perhaps a new one added.

Dean Peterson in my office has been close to the development of this program thus far, but since he has now left, the responsibility will be undertaken by Mr. Robert Smith, a distinguished authority on water, who is just about to join my staff. We are working together with BOB in trying to speed their review and recommendations.

Donald F. Hornig 7
  1. Source: Johnson Library, Papers of Donald Hornig, Box 4. No classification marking.
  2. Not further identified.
  3. Not printed; attached to Document 153.
  4. These items were: “Regional Centers for Water Resources Development; Education and Training; Increase assistance for all water projects, particularly community water supply; Cooperative studies in water pollution; Assistance to desalination plants; International rivers; International hydrological decade; Expert technical services; Support international organizations; Support US career water service; Water for Peace office; International Conference on Water for Peace.”
  5. The President spoke on September 3 in Summersville, West Virginia. For text of the speech, see Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Lyndon B. Johnson, 1966, BookII, pp. 943–947.
  6. In a September 2 memorandum, Schultze advised the President not to endorse the proposals in total: “they are potentially very costly, their relationship to our existing foreign assistance programs is unclear, and administrative arrangements have not been thought through.” (Johnson Library, National Security File, Subject File, Water for Peace (2 of 2))
  7. Printed from a copy that indicates Hornig signed the original.