30. Memorandum From the Executive Secretary of the National Aeronautics and Space Council (Welsh) to Vice President Humphrey1


  • Space Council Meetings

It would probably be well if you called a Council meeting in the relatively near future.2 There is a tendency on the part of some, both in and out of the Government, to measure the Vice President’s interest in space by the frequency of the Council meetings.3 I believe that to be unfair as meetings should not be called just for the sake of having them. However, an occasional meeting is clearly warranted.

The procedure to date has been for there to be a discussion as to a subject or subjects for the meeting; to decide upon a convenient day and time; and then to have me call the members and advise them of the meeting. I follow that up with a written notice as soon as the time has been made firm.

You may have a subject or subjects in mind. If not, possible items for joint consideration are: (1) Status and plans for the DOD’s Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL); (2) Action if Congress should restore funds for SNAP 8, the 260 solid engine, or the M–1 liquid engine; (3) Review [Page 68] of the Soviet space program; (4) Status of the Supersonic Transport program;4 (5) International aspects of the space program, including a report on U.N. activities.5

In cases like item (4) above, for example, my recommendation would be to bring Halaby of FAA into the meeting.

I would like to discuss this subject with you at your convenience.

E.C. Welsh
  1. Source: Minnesota Historical Society, Papers of Hubert H. Humphrey, Vice Presidential Files, Outer Space General Files, 1964–April 1967, 150.F.9.10 (F). No classification marking. No official minutes of the Space Council meetings were kept. According to a later Humphrey staff memorandum: “The Executive Secretary has been approached by the staff regarding the preparation of a record of action memorandum signed by the Chairman to be sent to the Council members following the meetings. The Executive Secretary is opposed on the basis that the meeting results are privileged material. At present, interested individuals from the participating Agencies are briefed on the meeting results at their request on an ad hoc basis by the Executive Secretary.” The result was that each agency had its own interpretation of the taken decisions which could lead to confusion: “In instances where the participating Agency may be lukewarm about the Council findings the net result can be inaction.” (“Suggestions for Improving the Effectiveness of the Space Council,” May 3, 1966; ibid.)
  2. In early December 1964, Secretary Rusk agreed to request a meeting of the National Aeronautics and Space Council (NASC) once Vice President Humphrey assumed the chair to review the overall U.S. effort in space (see Document 28). Rusk charged the Office of International Scientific and Technological Affairs (SCI) to work with the NASC to arrange a meeting.
  3. Humphrey had begun preparatory work for his new position as Chairman of the Space Council, scheduling meetings with Glenn Seaborg of the AEC and Brockway McMillan of the Air Force. (Memorandum from Norman Sherman to Humphrey, March 5; Minnesota Historical Society, Papers of Hubert H. Humphrey, Vice Presidential Files, Outer Space General Files, 1964–April 1967)
  4. “Checked—never occurred” has been noted by hand at the bottom of the page with a line drawn to this item.
  5. On March 22 SCI’s Acting Director, Herman Pollack, submitted to Rostow for comment a draft request to the Vice President to hold a meeting. Rostow’s response and a copy of the draft memorandum are attached to a March 24 memorandum from Rostow to Pollack. (Department of State, S/PC Files: Lot C, Scientific and Technological Development, 1965) On April 8 Welsh sent notification to participants that the meeting would be held on April 13, and that the Vice President “has indicated that he wishes a discussion of the international aspects of the space program.” (Memorandum from Welsh to Rusk, April 8; Minnesota Historical Society, Papers of Hubert H. Humphrey, Vice Presidential Files, Outer Space General Files, 1964–April 1967) At the meeting, the Vice President circulated a series of questions to which he requested responses from Rusk, McNamara, Webb, and Seaborg.