80. Letter From the President’s Special Assistant for Telecommunications (O’Connell) to the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)1

Dear Mr. Bundy:

At a recent meeting,2 it developed that serious concerns exist in several departments of the Government as to:

The progress being made in exploiting the new capabilities of satellite communications.
Restraints imposed or to be imposed on or by common carriers in the development of this new capability.
The need for additional Executive Branch representations to the FCC on the authorized entity issue.
Constraints on U.S. leadership in communication satellites as a result of the Communications Satellite Act of 1962 and the International Agreement of 1964.
The future potential viability of Communications Satellite Corporation.
The problems to be encountered in the 1969 international conference to determine a suitable permanent form of organization for the consortium.

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All these matters have been of continuing concern to me during the past year. Memoranda have from time to time been given to the President to acquaint him with the situation.

It appears timely to make better known to all agencies the actions of my office on these matters and more importantly to receive proposals of the interested departments and agencies for policies, ways, and means to improve our progress in communications satellites.3 I will appreciate receiving the views and guidance of all departments toward policy modifications they consider important to improve the position of the United States and in formulating further policy in this field. For this purpose, I propose the establishment of an Ad Hoc Committee to accomplish these objectives. I propose that the initial meeting of this committee be held at 10:00 A.M., Monday, February 7, 1966, in room 749, 1800 G Street, N.W., Washington.

Would you be so kind as to let me know of your designated representative.


J.D. O’Connell
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Charles E. Johnson Files,COMSAT—US Communications Policy, NSAM No. 338, #1 [1 of 2], Box 13. Confidential. Copies were sent to Komer and Charles Johnson.
  2. Not further identified.
  3. In a February 3 note to Komer, Charles Johnson wrote: “O’Connell is trying to head off the establishment of a policy committee under the chairmanship of State by pre-empting the field with his own Ad Hoc committee. I don’t think he will succeed because his tactic is too late and too transparent. The solution the Bureau of the Budget is thinking about and discussing with the major agencies is a continuing policy committee under State chairmanship with O’Connell providing secretariat services.” In the margin next to the last sentence, Komer wrote “Amen.” (Johnson Library, National Security File, Charles E. Johnson Files, COMSAT—Educational Purposes NSAM 342 (Domestic and Foreign), #1, Box 12)