159. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson 1


  • Water for Peace

In order to provide a central point within the government for leadership and coordination of the Water for Peace program, I hereby assign to you responsibility for overall direction and coordination of the international water-related activities of the United States Government under the Water for Peace program.

In fulfilling this responsibility, I expect that you will carry out the following functions on a continuing basis:

  • —Formulate comprehensive policy, plans and evaluations of the international water-related activities of the government.
  • —Assist in the formulation, presentation, and review of program and budgetary requirements for such activities.
  • —Assure appropriate consideration of Water for Peace programs in foreign policy decisions.
  • —Maintain liaison with inter-governmental bodies and non-governmental organizations dealing primarily with international water-related programs.
  • —Provide information on Water for Peace activities to the Congress and the public and take appropriate action on their requests.

I would like you to survey all of the international water-related activities currently being carried out or supported by the government, to identify needs which are not being met, and to recommend to me by October 1, new measures required to meet those needs. Therefore, I would like to have an annual report on the Water for Peace program, including recommendations for improving the coordination and effectiveness of our various bilateral and multilateral efforts.

In carrying out these functions you should work closely with the Secretary of the Interior and heads of other agencies having responsibilities and technical competence in the water resources field.

I request that you establish adequate organizational and staffing arrangements within the Department of State to assist you in fulfilling this assignment.2

Lyndon B. Johnson
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Subject File, Water for Peace, Vol. 1. No classification marking. A covering memorandum from Rostow to the President reports the concurrence of Rusk, Udall, Hornig, and Schultze, and recommends signature. Johnson checked the “approved” line on Rostow’s memorandum and wrote “Who do we get to run this?” next to it.
  2. On May 25 Secretary Rusk established the Water for Peace Office under the direct supervision of the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs. On June 24 he named Robert F. Woodward as Interim Director. (Department of State Press Releases 116 (May 25, 1967) and 168 (July 28, 1967), Department of State Library) Dean Peterson was named permanent director on April 29, 1968. (Department of State Bulletin, May 20, 1968, p. 668)