78. Memorandum From Charles E. Johnson of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Special Assistant (Cater)1


I have been keeping an eye for Mac Bundy on the development of COMSAT ever since the legislation was drafted and had been working closely with Jim O’Connell on a number of problems that come to focus on him, such as our policy on giving help to other countries on satellite communications systems, including ground stations. Recently Komer and I wrote a memo for the President urging greater attention to using satellites for international education and information purposes.2 This [Page 148] happened on the same weekend that Marks talked to the President and got his directive to pull together a Governmental position.3 Since you tie in with the Marks group, it occurs to me that it might be useful for me to keep you filled in on any peripheral space communication activities that might support your work. I keep an eye on COMSAT through Bob Button and generally try to keep in touch with the space community that is thinking about communications matters. I should talk to you about some of these matters at your convenience.

Meanwhile, in case you missed it, I am attaching two cables subsequent to the Paris 3382 cable on the UNESCO meeting that I know you received.4

Charles E. Johnson 5
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Charles E. Johnson Files, COMSAT, NSAM No. 342, #2, Box 12. No classification marking.
  2. Not identified.
  3. In a November 29 memorandum Cater announced the first meeting of a working group composed of representatives of the Departments of State and Defense, the U.S. Information Agency, the Office of the Science Adviser, the Bureau of the Budget, NASA, AID, and the Office of Telecommunications Management. The first meeting was held on December 3. An agenda, minutes, and list of attendees is in the Johnson Library, National Security File, Charles E. Johnson Files,COMSAT, NSAM No. 342, #2, Box 12.
  4. Attached but not printed. Telegram 3382 from Paris, December 14, reported “considerable enthusiasm at the UNESCO experts meeting about the potential of communications satellites.” The U.S. experts in attendance recommended an educational pilot project as soon as possible. The Soviets expressed keen interest, and a U.S. delegation member emphasized that such a project “would unquestionably be of historic significance and command worldwide attention.” The Ambassador added, “I strongly recommend you explore such a pilot educational satellite project as a means of dramatizing President’s new international education program.” (Ibid.) The Department’s response in telegram 2385 to Paris, November 30, included: “FYI—Because deliberations UNESCO Space Mtg may give US some difficulties, we not interested in building up its importance.” (Ibid.)
  5. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.