74. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy) to President Johnson1


  • Helping Others to Use Communications Satellites

Attached (Tab A)2 is a complicated proposed internal U.S. policy statement governing what we do to help other nations become technically [Page 142] able to use communications satellites. It is the product of Jim O’Connell’s lengthy negotiations with State, Defense, Commerce, and NASA, and is approved by everybody concerned in the White House and EOB.

The core of the proposed policy is to use our technological superiority to discourage commercial competition with COMSAT and/or wasteful investment in several duplicative Free World defense-related systems. Essentially, the statement says that we will:

Devote our effort and know-how to development of the single, world-wide commercial system envisaged in the COMSAT Act.
Use the commercial system ourselves except where security demands that we use our separate defense system.
Encourage other governments to promote and use the COMSAT system rather than create or subsidize other systems.
Encourage selected allies to buy time on our national defense system for their security needs.
Provide technical information, launch vehicles and launching services to other nations only when they:
  • —assure us that what we supply is needed to develop or use the global commercial system, or
  • —assure us in writing that what we provide will only be used pursuant to special bilateral agreements for use of our defense system, and will not be transferred to any third country with out our consent.

Though some problems of interpretation and enforcement will inevitably arise, I think that this is the right sort of general policy statement to start with. If you approve, I’ll let the affected agencies know through the attached NSAM (Tab B).3 And then at an appropriate time the publishable parts of this policy could be a public statement.4

McG. B.
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Charles E. Johnson Files, COMSAT—US Communication Policy NSAM No. 338, #1 [1 of 2], Box 13. Confidential.
  2. Document 73.
  3. Document 75.
  4. The approve line is checked and a handwritten note beside the final paragraph reads: “CEJ: Will you see if this can be done? Return to Bundy/Pres later.”